If you have the urge to carry around all of Calvin’s Commentaries (in case you want to argue with some vile Arminian) now you can do it for less than a buck. [NB- I’m not sure why they say it’s 3x bigger than Matthew Henry… it’s a lot more than 3x larger… but there it is].
Let me start of by making one thing perfectly clear: there is no such thing as a “First Lady” in the church, because Jesus was the “First Man” of the Church. The Pastor’s wife is simply that – the Pastor’s wife. Not Co- Pastor, Not Co-Apostle,Not Co-Bishop, Not Co-Reverend, not Co- Anything. The role of the Pastor’s wife is to Co-operate as her husband serves the people, and not assume some inflated grandiose position.
Church members have given these so-called First Ladies the impression that this is a real recognized position, and they deserve to be worshiped just because they’re married to a preacher! She is just his wife, and he is just a man in charge of the “Christian Meetings” – that’s it. Please turn off the lights on your way out…
“Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen” (Eph 6.24). I believe that this benediction rightly belongs to many who have criticized my catechism and me. I sincerely wish you all, my beloved brethren, every blessing in Christ.
The major concern is the catechism’s application to abused wives. Scripture testifies abundantly that our glorious God is full of compassion for the weak and oppressed, and that He is righteously zealous against their tormentors (e.g., Exod 22.21-24, among many similar passages). He hates the mistreatment that abused wives and many others suffer today. I adore and worship Him for this.
Many have pressed me to provide biblical support for the catechism; I gladly yield to them. The subject is complex, so please be patient while I address many important issues that have been raised. This post is only an initial response. Because God’s Word is…
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“Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood, who draw sin as with cart ropes, who say: “Let him be quick, let him speed his work that we may see it; let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near, and let it come, that we may know it!” Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight! (Isaiah 5:18-21)
I know of no better thermometer to your spiritual temperature than this, the measure of the intensity of your prayer.
The ship of prayer may sail through all temptations, doubts and fears, straight up to the throne of God; and though she may be outward bound with only griefs, and groans, and sighs, she shall return freighted with a wealth of blessings!
It is a good rule never to look into the face of a man in the morning till you have looked into the face of God.
It is well said that neglected prayer is the birthplace of all evil.
Methinks every true Christian should be exceedingly earnest in prayer concerning the souls of the ungodly; and when they are so, how abundantly God blesses them and how the church prospers!
Oh, without prayer what are the church’s agencies, but the stretching out of a dead man’s arm, or the lifting up of the lid of a blind man’s eye? Only when the Holy Spirit comes is there any life and force and power.
Prayer girds human weakness with divine strength, turns human folly into heavenly wisdom, and gives to troubled mortals the peace of God. We know not what prayer can do.
Prayer meetings are the throbbing machinery of the church.
Remember, Christ’s scholars must study upon their knees.
True prayer is measured by weight, not by length. A single groan before God may have more fullness of prayer in it than a fine oration of great length.
If I were to ask you if you believed in God, I am confident almost all of you would respond in the affirmative. But if I were to follow that question up by asking you to describe God to me, to give me a list of His attributes or to speak to me about the essential qualities of His nature, the answers would not be as forthcoming. While most people claim to believe in God, they are not really sure who He is, what He is like, and how we can know these things about Him with certainty.
As I sat down to write this message, it occurred to me the task before me was next to impossible. How do I say all I need to say about God? I cannot. So this is a disclaimer upfront. I can neither be exhaustive nor comprehensive in my treatment of this topic…
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Readers may wish to review my introductory article on this subject before proceeding.
Furthermore, I will add here, apologetic methodology should not be so complicated that only academics or theology geeks are the only ones familiar with it. Apologetic methodology must have a practicality to it so that Ricco the shop mechanic, Tina the Wal-Mart associate, and Mary the housewife can learn quickly and utilize it in an effective manner.
Now, I am not saying we Christians should never take the time to…
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While the United States celebrated her 238th birthday last Friday, many Americans are unaware of another significant anniversary taking place this week. On July 8, 1741, America heard what is often hailed as the greatest sermon preached on her soil from a man who is often hailed as the greatest theologian and thinker to minister on her soil.
In the years 1733 through 1737, Jonathan Edwards continued to preach in the Northampton pulpit that was now his own, having been bequeathed to him by his grandfather, Solomon Stoddard. During these years God had blessed Edwards’ preaching and ministry with revival in New England and beyond. Many were converted and others edified in their faith. Biographer George Marsden quips, “By March and April of 1735, the spiritual rains had turned the stream [of conversions] into a flood.” Edwards himself describes the revival’s effect on his congregation:
Our public assemblies were then beautiful, the congregation was then alive in God’s service, everyone earnestly intent on the public worship, every hearer eager to drink in the words of the minister as they came from his mouth; the assembly in general were, from time to time in tears while the Word was preached; some weeping with sorrow and distress, others with joy and love, others with pity and concern for the souls of their neighbors.
From 1739 through 1742, New England and other colonies experienced what historians now refer to as The Great Awakening. This was largely accomplished through the itinerant preaching of George Whitefield and the theological ministry of Jonathan Edwards. While Whitefield is known as the preacher of the Awakening, Edwards is often revered as the theologian of the Awakening. Nevertheless, Edwards was no less the preacher, as a perusal of any of his sermons would prove.
On July 8, 1741, Edwards traveled to a town named Enfield, where he had been invited to attend a church service. Enfield was a notoriously hard-hearted town. While the neighboring town of Suffield was enjoying much of the grace of God poured out in the revival, Enfield remained obstinate. A team of ministers devised a plan and “instituted a series of weekday services where they would travel back and forth between pious Suffield and impious Enfield, hoping to spread the infection of revival.”
On that particular Wednesday, Edwards intended to hear a sermon, not preach one. But as providence would have it, the pastor of that church was sick, and Edwards was called upon to preach. He “just happened to have the sermon manuscript in his saddlebag,” and so 273 years ago Tuesday he preached the most famous sermon delivered on American soil: “Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God.”
The light-hearted congregants of Enfield were sobered by the gravity of their desperate condition made known to them in detail. The sermon created a stir among them unlike anything before or since. Stephen Williams, a man in attendance, wrote of the service in his diary:
A most awakening sermon. … Before the sermon was done, there was a great moaning and crying out through the whole house. ‘What shall I do to be saved? Oh I am going to Hell! Oh, what shall I do for Christ?’ … The shrieks and cries were piercing and amazing. … Amazing and astonishing the power of God was seen. Several souls were wrought upon that night, and oh the cheerfulness and pleasantness of their countenances that received comfort!
I want to share with you some of the more memorable passages from this sermon that God so powerfully used in that Enfield church. My hope is that reading a bit from Edwards on the realities of the hell we deserve will do four things:
To Lighthouse Trails:
Hello there, I am hoping you can provide some assistance with this question I have. With the influx of the heresies that are being introduced into the church, how am I supposed to go about finding a church that’s not being infiltrated. I keep looking for churches where I have recently moved to. On the outside churches appear okay on the surface but for example visited a church online then I saw a number of books that they are promoting and couldn’t condone. Was with a church for many years that I saw going in the wrong direction; spoke to an elder also to no avail. Where are the shepherds? What’s a sheep to do.
Thanks for listening and hope to hear from you.
Your sister in Christ
Here is an article we posted last year. We hope it will give you some ideas on how to find a good church.
At times it can be easy to forget the depth of deception that exists among professing Christians. Those of us who are blessed to be in churches where the Word is proclaimed without compromise can forget what it was like to be starving for truth and spiritual meat. Yes, we see many concerning things on the Internet and lament and decry theses deceptions. Perhaps we even speak out against them on social media. But Twitter, Facebook and blogs are not real, tangible life and it is not until ‘real life’ is standing and talking to you in your driveway that you remember just how active is the Great Deceiver.
Last month, this ‘real life’ confronted me in my driveway as I engaged several individuals in conversation during the neighborhood garage sale. There were a few ‘Christian themed’ items in our sale and this inevitably invited conversation. I live in a fairly religious-minded area, so folks usually are open to at least talking about God. The name of Jesus, however, doesn’t fall from their lips so easily. And of course, the big mystery always is—to which God are they referring?
Helping a Counselee Understand Chemical Imbalance
Often counselees are told by their doctors that they have a “chemical imbalance” that only medicine will correct. But is this correct? Continue reading →
I come to Michael Brown’s final chapter of Authentic Fire. Here is where he wraps up what he has been saying throughout his book, as well as provides his concluding words of exhortation as to what we, his readers, should take away from the Strange Fire conference.
He begins by laying out four reasons why the Strange Fire conference and the published book will be significant.
by John MacArthur
There is a raging debate about sanctification—where it comes from, what its nature is, and how it is achieved. Some people will tell you that spiritual growth is entirely optional—that a believer can live whatever lifestyle he or she might choose after a simple confession of faith. Others will tell you that spiritual growth happens by virtual osmosis, as believers reflect on God’s grace in their lives and live accordingly.
The truth is that legitimate spiritual growth takes work. In fact, Scripture teaches that true sanctification is the product of God’s enabling power and the believer’s godly self-discipline. Here’s how the apostle Paul described the cooperative work of spiritual growth:
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12-13)
As we saw last time, sanctification is essentially the believer’s work of mining out the spiritual riches that God placed within him at salvation. It is the active and aggressive pursuit of obedience.
In Philippians 2:12, Paul suggests five truths that believers must understand to sustain such a pursuit. We’ll consider the first two today.
Understanding Christ’s Example
The first element of believers’ working out their sanctification is understanding Christ’s example. The phrase “so then” is translated from the Greek particle hōste, which was used to draw a conclusion from a preceding statement. Here it refers back to the example of Jesus Christ, whose perfect model of humility, submission, and obedience was described earlier in the epistle (Philippians 2:5-8).
In His incarnation, Jesus did not cling to His equality with God the Father, but emptied Himself of His divine rights and prerogatives. Taking the form of a humble bond-servant, He was obedient to His heavenly Father, even to the point of dying on the cross as a sacrifice for sin. It is also true that the self-emptying of the Son of God placed Him in the role of a servant to the will of the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit. In fact, one of the greatest realities of the incarnation was that everything Jesus did, He did in the Spirit’s power (cf. Luke 4:1, 14, 18; 5:17; Acts 10:38).
Christ’s life, then, is the perfect example of how we are to live and grow as believers. The essence of living the Christian life is being obedient like Him: “The one who says he abides in [Christ] ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6).
Understanding Christ’s Love
Paul’s next words in Philippians 2:12 suggest a second element of believers’ working out their sanctification—understanding that they are greatly loved. “My beloved” was unmistakably a word of comfort and encouragement. The apostle knew that the Philippians would face many disappointments and failures as they sought to follow the Lord’s example in living for Him. Paul’s love for them reflected Christ’s love for His church (cf. Philippians 1:8).
Paul was well aware of their weaknesses and shortcomings. But just as the Lord did with him and does with all of His children, the apostle made allowance for their failures. They did not serve a hard, merciless deity, as did their pagan neighbors. They served a merciful, forgiving, gracious Lord who was always willing to restore them to fellowship with Himself.
Despite their imperfections, the Philippian believers were Paul’s and the Lord’s “beloved” brothers and sisters, for whom he longed “with the affection of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:8). Not only does Paul consider them beloved, he speaks of them as his “joy and crown,” whom he longed to see and entreated them to “stand firm in the Lord” (Philippians 4:1). He understood that, like himself, they had not yet “become perfect,” that they, too, were pressing on to “lay hold of that for which [they had been] laid hold of by Christ Jesus,” not regarding themselves “as having laid hold of it yet; . . . forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,” and were faithfully pressing “on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12–14).
Paul’s charge for them to work out their salvation was not an indifferent directive. It was rather an affectionate call to follow Christ’s example in confidence of His love by practicing the things they had “learned and received and heard and seen” in Paul (Philippians 4:9).
God’s love recognizes and understands the frailties of its object. It’s a forgiving love that makes room for failure—not for open, unrepentant sin, but for the struggle of breaking old sinful patterns and establishing godly new ones.
Understanding Christ’s example fixes in our mind both the goal and the means of spiritual growth. And understanding God’s nurturing, parental love brings encouragement through the process of spiritual growth. Paul still has three more vital truths that sustain and stimulate our sanctification. And that’s where we’ll pick it up next time.
(Adapted from The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Philippians.)
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- Why do we believe in the Trinity?
- God is talking to Francis Chan.
- Well, you know what summer means in the seeker-driven churches, don’t you? Movie-based sermons! Ed Young recently preached from the movie Dumb and Dumber. No comment.
- Okay, let me get this straight. Leaving your baby in a subway station = bad. Willingly allowing your unborn child to be murdered via abortion = good. Is that right? Seems perfectly upside down, so it must be right.
- Jonathan Merritt asks: Are Christian bookstores the next gay ‘marriage’ battleground?
- I have not been following the World Cup, but apparently now it is down to Pope vs. Pope. There’s a joke in that picture somewhere.
- Speaking of popes…exorcism, anyone?
- The Emergent Wild Goose Festival was little more than nature worship. I’m shocked, shocked I say!
- Here’s your weekly dose of adorable.
- Wait—one of the Mormon scriptures may not be a literal translation? My whole world may collapse! Wait a minute…nope, never mind.
- I continue to wonder just which Bible The Bible miniseries actually used.
- Pastor Don Green preached a wonderful sermon from Ephesians 1 this past Sunday—’Chosen‘.
- Along those same lines, you also need to listen to Pastor Steve Cooley (“Tuesday Guy” to you NoCo fans) preach from John 6: Do you believe Jesus? and Do you believe in Jesus?
- Phil Johnson also delivered a fantastic message this past weekend. His was from Romans 6 on the distinction between justification and sanctification: Live Like You Were Dead.
- The bells of Reformation.
- Three reasons you should not try to bind Satan.
- Who is responsible for your spiritual growth?
- A prayer for protection.
- The Scum of the Earth. If that title doesn’t get your attention, nothing will:
In what is likely a first, Calvary Baptist Church in Washington ordained Allyson Robinson, who was previously ordained as a man, to the gospel ministry.
LTRP Note: As many of you know, Roger Oakland, of Understand the Times, International, and Chris Lawson, of Spiritual Research Network, are former Calvary Chapel pastors/teachers, who both left the movement when their warnings about the infiltration of serious false teachings fell on deaf ears for several years and when they felt they could no longer, in good conscience, remain associated with the movement. Last week, Lighthouse Trails was informed of another Calvary Chapel pastor, Steve Shively of Refuge Church in Atascadero, California, who has made the decision (along with his church elders) to disaffiliate from the Calvary Chapel movement. The following letter was sent to the Calvary Chapel Association on June 29th, 2014. We are posting it with permission: