The Priestly Treadmill Was Not Meant to Be Plugged in Forever (Thank God!)
O’ how valuable is the beloved Christ, the High Priest who does not die! The High Priest who offers one sacrifice! The High Priest who is in every way holy! Yes this priest would be so valuable to the priests who ran on their sacerdotal treadmill until they died and were replaced by another.
Christ: Prophet, Priest, King
And, in executing the office of a king, Christ conquers all of His and our enemies of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Christ has caused His people to be born of God and therefore to be overcomers of the world (1 John 5:4-5). Christ has suffered in the flesh (1 Peter 4:1-2) and by uniting us to Himself in His death and resurrection, He has done away with our body of sin and freed us from its slavery (Romans 6:5-7). And, through His death, Christ conquered the devil, rendering him powerless so that we need no longer fear him (Hebrews 2:14-15).
Christ’s Merits Affirmed And Ours Denied In The Reformed Confessions
“nor we to merit” (Westminster Larger Catechism 193) “without all respect to any merit proceeding from us” (Scots Confession ch. 12) “we [do not] merit the pardon of sins…” (2nd Geneva Catechism 100) “the works of men so vile and valueless that they cannot merit favor with God” (2nd Geneva Catechism 113) “not on account of any merit of ours” (Second Helvetic Confession ch. 10)
Faithful Minsters Are Fewer Still
The truth must be known that many of these men respond faithfully, preach faithfully and press on faithfully, even when the people do not listen. They can do nothing else. God’s hand is on them so they continue preaching, teaching, writing and pointing others back to Christ. They are the ones who are standing against iniquity and evildoers. The world may take no notice of them and their task.
Preaching: The Word of God and the Work of the Spirit
Simply put, I am committed to expositional preaching because I believe in the Holy Spirit as He is revealed in scripture. Again and again the Spirit of God is shown to work through the word of God to do the work of God. I do not want anything about my ministry to be merely a result of human ability or human wisdom. I want the work that is done through me and those I train to be lasting, eternal, and spiritual. I rely upon the work of the Holy Spirit to do the work of conversion, of sanctification, and of instruction. And I know that the instrument He uses – throughout the Bible and throughout Church history – is the Bible, the word of God.
Exchanging the Truth for the Lie
It is devastating to realize that lying will inevitably become endemic to this utopian culture of “hope and change,” because more and more, and this includes so-called conservatives, the pagan worship of creation rather than the God who created us (Romans 1:25) relativizes truth and falsehood. Thus the rising, Millennial generation has been sold a bunch of subtle lies by its Baby-boomer parents, as well as being trained by postmodern pagans to be suspicious of the very existence of truth.
Easter: Don’t Miss the Miracle
And, can I tell you, that I often forget? In the messiness and mundane moments of life, I miss the miracle. Some days redemption does not feel like rescue. Like the Isrealites, I am easily tempted to go back to the slavery of sin, doubting the promises of God. Unbelief mixes with pride and I believe I am a better author of my own story and can find my own path. When disappointments come, I am slow to trust and quick to complain. My forgetfulness is the source of my hopelessness.
Refusing to Serve Individuals vs. Refusing to Participate in Events
Some are saying, “So what if participating in a same-sex marriage goes against a person’s conscience? It’s wrong to object to same-sex marriage, so it’s okay to force her to do the right thing.” This attitude reflects a low view of human dignity. Instead, I agree with Luther that “it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience.” This is the Christian view.
A La Carte (April 6)
The Fallout of Failed Marriages – John MacArthur: “The best way to defend and uphold God’s design for marriage and family is not through political or legal action—it’s through the living testimony of a faithful, righteous adherence to God’s design.”
What Happens If All The Bees Die? – Answer? Lots of bad stuff. And isn’t it amazing how intricately God has made this world…
The Established Religion – Frank Turek argues that same-sex marriage has become the established religion. “The new established religion chooses the sword of government compulsion over the freedom of religion and conscience.”
Do You Think It Happened Or Not? – This is important: “when Christians assert that Jesus rose from the dead, they are making a historical claim, not a religious one.”
To Be Laughed At – What is it like to be the butt of the Internet’s latest joke? This writer tells you. (Language warning)
The Most Neglected Part – “I have come to believe that the most neglected part of Christ’s saving work is actual what happened to Him in between His death and resurrection.”
ARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
(Click title to go to full article)
Sex is the New Religion – “Sex is the new religion in America, and it’s a religion of the sword. That’s the real reason this controversy has risen in Indiana. A determined and vocal minority from the religion of sex is bullying and cutting down traditionalists who need a law that would allow them to be left alone. This clash of orthodoxies has opposing values with moralists on both sides demanding their rights.”
Hypocrisy – “Today we’re talking about racism, religious freedom and the cultural Marxism that is today’s political correctness. About two years ago we had a Fox News reporter by the name of Steven Crowder on our program. He’d recently put together a video that’s gone viral, in which he visits a number of Muslim bakeries and tries to order a cake for a gay wedding.”
Risen Indeed! – “When he rose he did not bring away the costly aromatics in which his body had been wrapped, but he left them there. Joseph brought about one hundred pounds weight of myrrh and aloes, and the odour remaineth still. In the sweetest spiritual sense, our Lord Jesus has filled the grave with fragrance. It no longer smells of corruption and foul decay, but we can sing with the poet of the sanctuary—”
Covenant Theology and Dispensationalism – “Greg discusses his views on covenant theology and dispensationalism.”
Message To Gateway: HE IS RISEN – Not “It” Is Risen – “Good Friday is a time to for churches to preach how Christ was lifted up on the cross so that people may know that are forgiven of their sins. Resurrection Sunday is a time for churches to proclaim ‘He is risen indeeed’. But for some reason, Gateway Church decided to advertise their Easter with this tasteless erectile dysfunction ad spoof.”
A. W. Pink – Beware of False Prophets
It’s Just the Truth
James White’s Funeral Advice
“If you alter or obscure the Biblical portrait of God in order to attract converts, you don’t get converts to God, you get converts to an illusion. This is not evangelism but deception.” – John Piper
The Two Truths
We are at an interesting point in history. I guess there’s never really a boring point in history, but there are definitely times when things advance or unravel in a hurry. And today we are seeing the full-out charge of a new kind of morality. We see it playing out in the media just about every day, and Nancy Pearcey’s book Total Truth is still one of the most helpful guides to understanding what is happening around us.
Our society insists that there needs to be a radical split between two different spheres: the private and the public. In the public sphere we have society’s great institutions: the state, academia, multinational corporations, the mainstream media, and the like. In the private sphere we have the family, the church, and personal relationships. We are told that these public institutions are based only on what is scientific and objective. Meanwhile, the private sphere is composed of all those things that are subjective or based on personal values; we are allowed to have them, but they are less important than the public sphere and must never be allowed to influence it.
Today we’re talking about racism, religious freedom and the cultural Marxism that is today’s political correctness. About two years ago we had a Fox News reporter by the name of Steven Crowder on our program. He’d recently put together a video that’s gone viral, in which he visits a number of Muslim bakeries and tries […]
With Obama Protecting Them, Iran Sends Millions To Rebuild Hamas Terror Tunnels In Gaza
“According to the report, the funds have been allocated to the rebuilding of Hamas tunnels and restocking of missile arsenals destroyed by Israel during Operation Protective Edge.”
Monday, April 6, 2015
Shrinking Our Souls
Their idols are silver and gold, made by the hands of men. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but they cannot smell; they have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but they cannot walk. Psalm 115:4-7 (NIV)
The psalmist is talking about idols – the things we put in the place that belongs to God, and here’s the punchline: “Those who make [idols] will be like them, and so will all who trust in them” (115:8).
When you put something else in the place of God, you lose the capacity of spiritual hearing and spiritual seeing. You lose the ability to walk in God’s ways and to taste and see that the Lord is good.
The long-term effect of putting anything in the place of God will be the shrinking of your soul. What are you living for? Career? Approval? Success? Pleasure? Put any of these in the place of God, and your soul will shrivel. If you want to be everything you can be, you must let God be God. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge”(Prov. 1:7).
Before the Israelites went into the Promised Land, God warned them about the dangers of provoking him by making idols, “There you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or eat or smell” (Deut. 4:28).
The Israelites ended up worshipping gods of wood and stone; about 800 years later in the time of Jeremiah: “O Lord… you struck them, but they felt no pain; you crushed them, but they refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent” (Jer. 5:3).
Have you seen any of these effects of idolatry in your own life?
That’s this week’s LifeKEY!
Colin S. Smith
This devotional is taken from the sermon series “Battles from the Boardroom of the Soul” by Pastor Colin S. Smith.
What Shall We Do with Moses?
by Mark Snoeberger
A couple of weeks back Bob Jones University made the news by apologizing for statements made a generation ago suggesting that homosexuals should be subjected, like they were during the Mosaic economy, to capital punishment. This mea culpa was a welcome one insofar as the offending statement was insensitive, vindictive, even hateful. But among the tweets and chatter that ensued, it was surprising to see how many bloggers (critics and defenders of BJU alike) made no apparent differentiation between the words spoken in 1980 and the words written in the 15th century BC. Moses is apparently guilty of hate speech, too!
This is a troubling sentiment, I think, and one that seriously erodes Old Testament credibility and authority. Surely as inerrantists we must conclude that Moses was right to write what he did! It is in view of this fact that I ask today, What should we do with Moses and his copious assignment of capital punishment for seemingly trivial crimes (or in some cases, perhaps, for no crime at all)? Shall we defend him? Blush for him? Distance ourselves from him by denouncing the Law as inherently evil and, too our great relief, dead and gone?
It is true that the Mosaic Law has been set aside, and its temporal sanctions suspended in Christ. And with the dissolution of the Jewish kingdom, there is no longer a theocratic representative living on earth with the authority to enforce God’s expectations in the civil sphere. Still, we must surely also say, “The Law was holy, and its commandment holy, righteous and good” (Rom 7:12ff). Further, we must affirm that the God who established that Law is immutably pure in his ethic. So how should we deal today with actions that Moses regarded as capital offenses?
As I see it, there are four categories of capital offense detailed in the Law of Moses, and each requires its own nuanced response. Note the following:
Markets and Morality
by Bill Muehlenberg
This is one of those topics where the amount of sloppy thinking or just plain wrong thinking tends to abound. And sadly plenty of Christians can get things wrong here big time. There is a knee-jerk reaction against the free market in many quarters, including many church circles.
3 Crosses In 1956 Lower Manhattan Easter Photograph Show How Far America Has Fallen
In 1970, just 14 years after the 3 Crosses photo was taken, New York passed the most permissive abortion law in America, one that defined the state as the country’s abortion refuge.
Carson on Islam
From D.A. Carson (Love in Hard Places, pp 121-129):
The A-Z Of Prayer
What is prayer? Here’s a unique answer found in the papers of the puritan Philip Henry, father of the Bible Commentator, Matthew Henry. As he missed out a couple of letters, I’ve supplied them and marked them with *.
A. Access to the Father.
B. Breath of the new creature.
D. Desires that should be offered up to God by us.
E. Enemy to every evil work and way.
F. Friend to faith and godliness.
G. Guard against all temptations.
H. Heart’s ease.
I. Incense in the nose of God.
J. Jesus-stamped petitions.*
K. Key, to unlock all our treasure.
L. Letter to heaven.
M. Music in the ears of God.
N. Nurse of holy joy.
O. Ordinance of all ordinances.
Q. Quickener to all holy obedience.
R. Remedy against care and fear.
S. Salve for every sore.
T. Terror to the devils.
U. Undoing of the devil’s kingdom.*
V. Voice of the Spirit of God.
W. Wrestling with God.
Y. Yielding of ourselves to God in holy obedience.
Z. Zion’s artillery against all the Zamzummims of the world (Deut. 2:20).
Before We Pray for Religious Freedom
I’m not trying to be relevant. From my disadvantaged vantage point from the nether side of the globe (South Africa), the snookered view I have of the brouhaha over Indiana’s religious liberty legislation seems a bit like a storm in a tea cup.
I thought that freedom was already well established as a cherished virtue in the USA since the days of the Mayflower Pilgrims, Liberty Bell, Statue of Liberty, We the people, send us your huddled masses, and all that.
Nevertheless, it behooves all Christians to be reminded occasionally that religious freedom is, biblically speaking, a privilege to be prayed for, not a right to whine over.
Here are two biblical principles with which I try to brace my prayers for religious liberty…
Five Organizational Reasons Many Churches Hit Attendance Plateaus
In a recent post, I noted that 90 percent of churches in America will not go beyond the 350 attendance barrier. I also said that one key reason is organizational challenges. A lively discussion ensued in the comments of that post.
For many years, leaders have moved away from the discussion of numbers and organizational issues. To many, such issues seem unspiritual or secular. Indeed, if the numbers become an end in themselves, such arguments have merit. I fear, however, we are throwing out the baby with the bath water. In our zeal not to seem numbers-focused, we are often failing to be good stewards of our God-given resources.
As I have noted in other posts, the number one reason for declines and plateaus in churches is declining frequency of attendance of church members. Though there are many possible explanations for this reality, some of the reasons are in the category of organizational issues. Let me note five of them.
- The church does not keep good records of attendance of worship services and small groups. Do not neglect this stewardship. You will not begin to know the nature of the problem until you have this data on an ongoing basis.
- The church’s small groups are not an organizational priority. Those in small groups are five times more likely to be active in the church than those who attend worship services alone. Leadership in the church must give fastidious attention to small groups and Sunday school classes.
- The church does not organizationally have some method of action reminders. For example, I know of one church that contacts anyone who has been absent from a small group for two consecutive weeks. The leaders shared with me that it has given them great insights into pastoral needs and hurts before the members drop out of church life.
- The church is not organizationally a high expectation church. I have written and spoken on this issue many times. The best way to address member expectations is through a required new members’ class.
- The church does not have organizational accountability. For example, a small group leader should be accountable to someone to make sure anyone in his or her group is contacted if they miss consecutive weeks.
At the risk of redundancy, let me again emphasize: The number one reason churches are declining or hitting plateaus is the declining frequency of attendance of church members. I have noted five organizational issues in this post. There are many more we will discuss later. In the meantime, let me hear from you.
The post Five Organizational Reasons Many Churches Hit Attendance Plateaus appeared first on ThomRainer.com.
A Wednesday Crucifixion?
Q. I’ve seen an article on several sites I visit claiming the crucifixion took place on a Wednesday and therefore Jesus actually came out of the grave around sunset on Saturday. We only celebrate it on Sunday morning because no one knew about it until then. Have you seen this?
Observing Levitical Feasts
Q. My husband has become quite enthralled with the Messianic movement. I enjoy the services and love to read how the different feasts relate to the Christ.
My husband has been observing the feasts listed in Lev. 23. Since it says 4 times in that chapter regarding the feasts that “It is to be a perpetual statue in throughout your generations” he claim that God has meant for us to observe these feasts as well. The “throughout your generations” is what is emphasized.
Would you explain this to me, please? I can’t argue with the Scriptures but I thought Jesus fulfilled the Law.
Mixing Pagan Traditions With Christian Celebrations
Q. This year our church leaders decided to alter our usual Sunday morning schedule by dropping Sunday School and adding a second Easter service. Between the two services there was an Easter egg hunt in the hope that the activity would draw more of the community’s unchurched who have children. I explained to my Sunday School teacher about the pagan origins of Easter (Ishtar, eggs, rabbits and how the date is determined). In response he quoted Colossians 2:16-17. I told him that was an invalid argument as the previously mentioned items did not fit the definition of Colossians 2:17. Am I off base?
Our Time is Short
Ready to start your new life with God?
Who do you think that I am?
With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.
Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.
Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more
Look to Jesus
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!
30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.
New Believers Guide
The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed
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