There is more than one way to “squeeze the life out of” a person, even in the figurative sense. Some may use this phrase when speaking of something exceedingly dull or particularly stressful. But there is something running rampant in the church today that can squeeze the spiritual life out of a person: false teaching.
[In August of 1535] … plot was invented [by the papists] to poison the preachers [i.e., the Reformers in Geneva]. It happened however on the appointed day, that Farel ate nothing, and that Froment dined out. The only one who partook of the poisoned soup was Viret, and he suffered from the effects through the whole of his following life.
These proceedings, and the discovery of a plan to poison the bread and wine in the sacrament, excited the indignation of the people. Another public conference was attended by a great increase in the number of the reformed. Farel was now permitted to preach in the church of St. Germain and in the Magdalene, from which, at his entrance, the mass-reading priests hastily fled. This was the case even in the church of St. Peter. Farel opposed the council, which would not allow him to preach in all the churches…
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The truthfulness of Christianity solely hangs on the belief that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified under Pontius Pilate, died and was buried and on the third day he rose again leaving an empty tomb. If this is not true, Christianity is false, period.
Most Christians believe that Jesus rose again leaving an empty tomb through the internal work of God’s Spirit. But is it possible for a Christian to be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks her for the sensibleness of her belief? Can a Christian, with love, gentleness and respect, present a persuasive historical case to show that it is rationally justified to believe that Jesus rose again from the dead?
This first part of my article seeks to demonstrate the rationality of the resurrection hypothesis using minimal facts methodology. Divorcing historical data from best explanation of that data, I chose two leading contemporary non-Christians New…
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By now I’m sure you’re aware of the controversy over the hymn: “In Christ Alone” which happens to contain the line “Till on that cross as Jesus died/the wrath of God was satisfied.”
It’s a beautiful hymn and the line is biblically true, regardless of whether it is popular. The book of Romans (especially in chapter 5) is particularly clear on this point, as is Isaiah 53. Recently, the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. rejected the hymn when they couldn’t get permission to modify that line.
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Part One: Pastoral Visitation: The God-Given Responsibility to Shepherd
God has given to the elders of His Church the responsibility to shepherd His flock. Paul says in Acts 20:28, “Pay attention to yourselves and to all of the flock among which the Holy Spirit has set you to be overseers to shepherd God’s church, that He acquired with His own blood.” Similarly, Peter wrote in 1 Peter 5:1-3, “Therefore, I urge the elders among you, as a fellow elder and witness of Christ’s sufferings and as a sharer of the glory that is going to be revealed, to shepherd God’s flock among you, exercising shepherdly care over it, not out of obligation but willingly, as God would have you do it; not out of eagerness to make a personal profit, but out of eagerness to serve; not lording it over those allotted to your charge, but by becoming models for the flock.”
Part Two: The Lost Work of Pastoral Visitation
“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” —Romans 6:14 Christ’s sacrifice, His atoning death, fulfilling the ceremonial laws for my iniquity, transgressions, and sin, He has freed me from the…
By all means! It is intensely rational. Now, I’ve had the question asked of me, “Is it true that you are a Christian rationalist?” I said, “By no means! That’s a contradiction in terms. A rationalist is somebody who embraces a philosophy that sets itself over and against Christianity.” And so, while a true Christian is not a rationalist, the Christian faith is certainly rational.
Is Christianity coherent? Is it intelligible? Does it makes sense? Does it fit together in a consistent pattern of truth, or is it the opposite of rational—is it irrational? Does it indulge in superstition and embrace Christians who believe that Christianity is manifestly irrational? I think that’s a great tragedy. The God of Christianity addresses people’s minds. He speaks to us. We have a Book that is written for our understanding.
Read More Here: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/christianity-rational/
BCC Staff Note: You’re reading Part One in a three-part Grace & Truth blog mini-series on Biblical Counseling and Anxiety. In addition to today’s post by Bob Kellemen, in Part Two you’ll read about When Anxiety Attacks…Let Love and Peace Rule by Sherry Allchin, and in Part Three you’ll read Counseled by the Birds and Flowers by Paul Tautges.
Philippians As a Model
From cover to cover the Bible has much to say about moving from fear to faith. In this post we’ll look at one book—Philippians—and focus on one chapter—chapter 4. We’re concentrating here not because it is the only or “best” place to look for biblical wisdom regarding anxiety, but because it’s the “common place” with that oft-quoted verse about being anxious for nothing (Phil. 4:6). We want to put that verse in the context of Paul’s entire letter to the Philippians.
My hope is that by the time we’re done you will be thinking. “Incredible! One short epistle and one brief chapter in the Bible have that much relevant counsel about anxiety. I can’t wait to explore the rest of the Word to find truth for life so that I can experience victory in anxiety!”
In the original Greek, Paul’s letter has just 1,628 words. That’s about the size of this blog post. Chapter four has just 356 words—less than two pages in an average book. Yet, we find the following comprehensive (robust) and compassionate (relational) insights for victory in anxiety.
“If I do that,” says one, “When will the blessing come?” The text says, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved,” and the blessing will come at once. Swift as the lightning flash is the act which saves the soul. One moment, a man may be black with accumulated sin; the next moment, he may be white as the driven snow. It takes no time for God to blot out iniquity. We pass in an instant from death to life, from darkness into marvellous light. I am praying that, while I speak to you in feebleness, God may work with his almighty power, with that right hand that rent the Red Sea in twain, that the ransomed of the Lord might cross over dryshod. May he come, and save the people made ready by his grace for this night of…
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People skills are invaluable in leadership. Imagine how difficult it would be for a man to lead if he was timid and indecisive. Or consider the wreckage produced by a leader who is arrogant and brash. In either case, his private life might be orderly and disciplined, but his lack of ability in the public realm would hinder his leadership. The way a man deals with others determines how, and whether, they follow him.
Last time, we examined the biblical qualifications of a Christian leader. He must be a man of private integrity, not given to impurity or excess, but instead moderate and disciplined.
Equally important are those public aspects of his character that affect how he ministers to other believers. First Timothy 3:2-3 says that an overseer must be “hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money.”
The Greek word translated “hospitable” is composed of the words xenos (“stranger”) and phileō (“to love” or “show affection”). It means “to love strangers.” Thus biblical hospitality is showing kindness to strangers, not just friends. In Luke 14:12–14 our Lord said:
When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.
I realize that showing love toward strangers requires vulnerability and can even be dangerous—some might take advantage of you. While God doesn’t ask us to discard wisdom and discernment in dealing with strangers (cf. Matthew 10:16), He does require us to love them by being hospitable (Romans 12:13; Hebrews 13:2; 1 Peter 4:9).
When I consider my responsibility to love strangers, I am reminded that God received into His family we who were “excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). Since God has welcomed those of us who are Gentiles, how can we fail to welcome strangers into our homes? After all, everything we have belongs to God. We are simply His stewards.
A Skilled Teacher
An elder must be a skilled teacher. That’s the one qualification that sets him apart from deacons and the rest of the congregation.
You might wonder why Paul includes this qualification in a list of moral qualities. He does so because effective teaching is predicated on the moral character of the teacher. What a man is cannot be divorced from what he says. “He that means as he speaks,” writes Richard Baxter, “will surely do as he speaks.” (The Reformed Pastor [Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1979], 63)
Paul repeatedly reminded Timothy of the priority of teaching (1 Timothy 5:17; 2 Timothy 2:2, 15). While all believers are responsible to teach others the truths they have learned in God’s Word, not all have the gift of teaching (1 Corinthians 12:29). Those who aspire to church leadership, however, must be so gifted.
What criteria identify a man as a skilled teacher? There are several:
- He must be credible and live what he teaches (1 Timothy 4:12).
- He must have the gift of teaching (1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6).
- He must have a deep understanding of doctrine (1 Timothy 4:6).
- He must have an attitude of humility (2 Timothy 2:24–25).
- His life must be marked by holiness (1 Timothy 4:7; 6:11).
- He must be a diligent student of Scripture (2 Timothy 2:15).
- He must avoid error (1 Timothy 4:7; 6:20; 2 Timothy 2:16).
- He must have strong courage and consistent convictions (cf. 1 Timothy 1:18–19; 4:11, 13).
What kind of man should be in church leadership? A man of sincere devotion and genuine love for others. That mentality is, in itself, a high standard to live by, but it’s one that every church leader must be held to. Other Christians look to the leader for an example to follow, and God holds him accountable to provide one.
Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B130812 COPYRIGHT ©2013 Grace to You
by Mike Ratliff
5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. (Romans 6:5-9 NASB)
As one who has been accused of being a Pharisee bound to legalism more times than I could ever recount, I was very pleased recently when I discovered a more biblical definition for “legalism” which states that the “legalist” is one who attempts to make legal and binding that which is never…
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I love you, but no more talking.
“Common Core: Dangers And Threats to American Liberty and Education,” is a new movie is coming out in September that will help all of us understand better what Common Core is and why we should be concerned. Here’s the trailer:
The film is produced by Freedom Project, a premeire homeschooling resource for parents around the world. Check them out!
“Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.” —John 9:32 Our Lord Jesus did for him what never had been done before for any man. This pleasing fact seems to me to be full of consolation to any…
Have things gotten so bad that it is time to leave the United States for good? That is a question that a lot of Americans are dealing with these days, and an increasing number of them are choosing to leave the country of their birth permanently. Some are doing it for tax reasons, some are doing it because they believe the future is brighter elsewhere, and others are doing it because they are very distressed about the direction that America is heading and they don’t see any hope for a turnaround any time soon. Personally, I have several friends and contacts that regard themselves as “preppers” that have decided that the United States is too far gone to recover. They have moved their families out of the country and they never plan to return. As this nation continues to head down the very troubled road that it is currently on, this trend is probably only going to accelerate even more. (Read More….)
Food-stamp use rose 2.4% in the U.S. in May from a year earlier, with more than 15% of the U.S. population receiving benefits. (See an interactive map with data on use since 1990.) One of the federal government’s biggest social welfare programs, which expanded when the economy convulsed, isn’t shrinking back alongside the recovery.
It’s not just high-priority targets and would-be terrorists that leave a digital trail as they go about their business — millions of Americans each produce gigabytes of data associated with themselves just by walking down the street, browsing the Internet, and using their mobile phone. PRISM and XKeyscore may be in the news, but we’ve been tracked by other means for a long time.
First there was the removal of the Bible from public schools; then there was the legalization of abortion. And just last month the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in support of same-sex marriage. All of this has evangelical Christians hoping and praying for a spiritual revival in America. But are too many Christians sitting on the sidelines both spiritually and politically?
Should we roll out the red carpet and allow millions upon millions of thieves, rapists, gang members and drug dealers to come waltzing into this country any time they would like? Should we broadcast a message to the rest of the world that anyone that can find a way to enter this country and somehow get to a “sanctuary city” can sign up for a plethora of welfare benefits and live a life of leisure at the expense of hard working American citizens? Yes, those questions sound absurd, but what I have just described will essentially be official U.S. government policy if the immigration bill going through Congress becomes law. And unfortunately, Democrats now say that they have the Republican votes that they need to get “immigration reform” through the House of Representatives. If this amnesty bill becomes law, it will encourage even more illegal immigration and it will be one more step toward making the U.S. border essentially meaningless.
Right now, we desperately need the American people to contact their representatives in Congress and demand that they vote against this bill. Sadly, this is not likely to happen because most Americans have absolutely no idea how negatively illegal immigration is affecting this nation.
The following are 19 very disturbing facts about illegal immigration that every American should know…