Monthly Archives: June 2009

Pragmatism Goes to Church

itunes_tozer1It is not by accident that the philosophy of pragmatism around the turn of the century achieved such wide popularity in the United States. The American temperament was perfect for it, and still is. Pragmatism has a number of facets and can mean various things to various people, but basically it is the doctrine of the utility of truth. For the pragmatist there are no absolutes; nothing is absolutely good or absolutely true. Truth and morality float on a sea of human experience. If an exhausted swimmer can lay hold of a belief or an ethic, well and good; it may keep him afloat till he can get to shore; then it only encumbers him, so he tosses it away. He feels no responsibility to cherish truth for its own sake. It is there to serve him; he has no obligation to serve it.

Truth is to use. Whatever is useful is true for the user, though for someone else it may not be useful, so not true. The truth of any idea is its ability to produce desirable results. If it can show no such results it is false. That is pragmatism stripped of its jargon. Now, since practicality is a marked characteristic of the American people they naturally lean strongly toward the philosophy of utility. Whatever will get things done immediately with a maximum of efficiency and a minimum of undesirable side effects must be good.

The proof is that it succeeds; no one wants to argue with success. It is useless to plead for the human soul, to insist that what a man can do is less important than what he is. When there are wars to be won, forests to be cleared, rivers to be harnessed, factories to be built, planets to be visited, the quieter claims of the human spirit are likely to go unregarded. The spectacular drama of successful deeds leaves the beholder breathless. Deeds you can see. Factories, cities, highways, rockets are there in plain sight, and they got there by the practical application of means to ends. So who cares about ideals and character and morals? These things are for poets, nice old ladies and philosophers. Let’s get on with the job.

Now all this has been said, and said better, a few dozen times before, and I would not waste space on it here except that this philosophy of pragmatism has had and is having a powerful influence upon Christianity in the middle years of this century. And whatever touches the faith of Christ immediately becomes a matter of interest to me and, I hope, to my readers also.
The nervous compulsion to get things done is found everywhere among us. We are affected by a kind of religious tic, a deep inner necessity to accomplish something that can be seen and photographed and evaluated in terms of size, numbers, speed and distance. We travel a prodigious number of miles, talk to unbelievably large crowds, publish an astonishing amount of religious literature, collect huge sums of money, build vast numbers of churches and amass staggering debts for our children to pay. Christian leaders compete with each other in the field of impressive statistics, and in so doing often acquire peptic ulcers, have nervous breaks or die of heart attacks while still relatively young.

Right here is where the pragmatic philosophy comes into its own. It asks no embarrassing questions about the wisdom of what we are doing or even about the morality of it. It accepts our chosen ends as right and good and casts about for efficient means and ways to get them accomplished. When it discovers something that works it soon finds a text to justify it, “consecrates” it to the Lord and plunges ahead. Next a magazine article is written about it, then a book, and finally the inventor is granted an honorary degree. After that any question about the scriptural-ness of things or even the moral validity of them is completely swept away. You cannot argue with success. The method works; ergo, it must be good.

The weakness of all this is its tragic shortsightedness. It never takes the long view of religious activity, indeed it dare not do so, but goes cheerfully on believing that because it works it is both good and true. It is satisfied with present success and shakes off any suggestion that its works may go up in smoke in the day of Christ.

As one fairly familiar with the contemporary religious scene, I say without hesitation that a part, a very large part, of the activities carried on today in evangelical circles are not only influenced by pragmatism but almost completely controlled by it. Religious methodology is geared to it; it appears large in our youth meetings; magazines and books constantly glorify it; conventions are dominated by it; and the whole religious atmosphere is alive with it. What shall we do to break its power over us? The answer is simple. We must acknowledge the right of Jesus Christ to control the activities of His church. The New Testament contains full instructions, not only about what we are to believe but what we are to do and how we are to go about doing it. Any deviation from those instructions is a denial of the Lordship of Christ.

I say the answer is simple, but it is not easy for it requires that we obey God rather than man, and that always brings down the wrath of the religious majority. It is not a question of knowing what to do; we can easily learn that from the Scriptures. It is a question of whether or not we have the courage to do it. (A.W. Tozer-God Tells the Man Who Cares)

Romans 11:36
Grace and Peace to you
in Him who saves -Lenny

Leave a Comment

Filed under Lenny's Post

Dead Faith Versus Demonic Faith

johnny-mac3“Someone may well say, ‘You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.’ You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?” (James 2:18- 20).

In recent years there has been an alarming rise in the number of professing Christians who believe that there’s no necessary relationship between what they believe and what they do. They say you can’t judge a person’s spiritual condition by what he or she does because salvation is a matter of faith alone–as if requiring works violates the principle of faith.

It was that kind of reasoning that prompted James to issue this challenge: “You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:18). The Greek word translated “show” means “to exhibit,” “demonstrate,” or “put on display.” His point is simple: it’s impossible to verify true faith apart from holy living because doctrine and deed are inseparable.

Can you know if someone is a Christian by watching his behavior? According to James, that’s the only way to know! In verse 19 he says, “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.” In other words, affirming orthodox doctrine isn’t necessarily proof of saving faith.

Demons believe in the oneness of God, and its implications fill them with fear, but they aren’t saved. The phrase “you do well” is intentionally sarcastic. The implication is that demonic faith is better than non- responsive faith because at least the demons shudder, which is better than no response at all.

You can’t be a Christian in creed only–you must be one in conduct as well! James makes that very clear. Don’t be confused or deceived by those who teach otherwise. Continually aim your life at bringing glory to God through obedient application of biblical truth.

Suggestions for Prayer: Reaffirm to the Lord your commitment to abide by His Word.

For Further Study: Read John 8:12-47. Make a list of doctrines and deeds that characterize dead faith and a corresponding list of those that characterize true faith.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com .

Available online at: http://www.gty.org/Resources/Devotionals
COPYRIGHT ©2009 Grace to You
You may reproduce this Grace to You content for non-commerical purposes in accordance with Grace to You’s Copyright Policy (http://www.gty.org/Meet/Copyright).

Romans 11:36
Grace and Peace to you
in Him who saves -Lenny

Leave a Comment

Filed under Lenny's Post

A little of this and a little of that

lenny26Articles, Sermons, web-sites and thoughts from other people I’ve read through out the week. To help edify you in your walk with Christ. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. Romans 15:2

John MacArthur on What Happens When a Christian Dies?

“The old truth that Calvin preached, that Augustine preached, that Paul preached, is the truth that I must preach to-day, or else be false to my conscience and my God. I cannot shape the truth; I know of no such thing as paring off the rough edges of a doctrine. John Knox’s gospel is my gospel. That which thundered through Scotland must thunder through England again.”—C. H. Spurgeon A Defense of Calvinism

There is a new craze to go along with Facebook and Albert Mohler  is talking about it-Tweeting with Twitter

Rick Warren’s new online magazine, Purpose-Driven Connection promotes the book The Shack —- But you might want to read this review of the Shack

Those of you who text while driving, not good- a  friend of mine shared with me this article on Texting And Driving Worse Than Drinking and Driving

I’ve been thinking a lot about church growth lately and how Contemporary Christianity has taken it away from God and placed it in the power of Man. They have their models for church growth, their pragmatic approaches, falling away from Historic Christianity Jeremiah 6:16 Jesus said this  Matthew 16:18 “I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.” That gives me much peace to know that God builds his church, the true church- the body of Christ. Acts 2:42 gives us God’s Growth Plan “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”1Peter 1:1-9 The word Salvation is so great and wonderful. He wants us to go make disciples and proclaim His word, not go fill my church with pew warmers. Matthew 28:16-20 buts it’s by the power of God Romans 1:16-17 The Prophet Jonah said this “Salvation is from the Lord” Jonah 2:9

Romans 11:36
Grace and Peace to you
in Him who saves -Lenny

Leave a Comment

Filed under Lenny's Post

A.W. Tozer on Preachers

itunes_tozerWhat a great responsibility God has laid upon us preachers of His gospel and teachers of His Word. In that future day when God’s wrath is poured out, how are we going to answer? How am I going to answer? I fear there is much we are doing in the name of the Christian church that is wood, hay and stubble destined to be burned up in God’s refining fire. A day is coming when I and my fellow ministers must give account of our stewardship:

What kind of a gospel did we preach?

Did we make it plain that men and women who are apart from Christ Jesus are lost?
Did we counsel them to repent and believe?
Did we tell them of the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit?
Did we warn them of the wrath of the Lamb-the crucified, resurrected, outraged Lamb of God?
With that kind of accounting yet to come, the question John hears from the human objects of God’s wrath is especially significant: “Who can stand?” (6:17). Who indeed?
( From Victory in Jesus)

Acts 20:18-21; Romans 1:18; 1 Corinthians 3:12-14; Galatians 1:6-7; Ephesians 2:12-13; Revelation 6:12-17

Romans 11:36
Grace and Peace to you
in Him who saves -Lenny

Leave a Comment

Filed under Lenny's Post

Propitiation -What a Word!

lenny25I wanted to go a little deeper with Propitiation than I did yesterday, so I’m re posting a video from Paul Washer -Propitiation -What a Word! Paul says in Romans 3:23-25

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed

Proverbs 17:15  He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD

Looks like we have a problem- watch the video

The one who dies on that tree must be God, because salvation is from the Lord Jonah 2:9 Paul Washer

Romans 11:36
Grace and Peace to you
in Him who saves -Lenny

Leave a Comment

Filed under Lenny's Post

Biblical Words

lenny24I’m in the process of preparing for a sermon on 1 Peter 1:10-12 the word Salvation is such a great part of 1 peter. it just got me thinking, that I really love to study and dig into biblical words.

I love the word Doctrine because it involves all teachings that are in the bible. I love to study doctrine. I love the word Theology ( the study of God) I love that it leads me to His Attributes. I love to study about His holiness, which makes me realize we’re not like Him, we’re not like him at all. It brings me face to face with my sinfulness. I love the word Repentance. In studying the word I realized it wasn’t just turning towards God and believing, but also turning away from our my former life of habitual sin 1 Thessalonians 1:9 and this Repentance was a gift from a sovereign God Romans 2:4. But one of my favorite words in the bible other than the word Salvation is the word Propitiation. I love saying that word Propitiation. Contemporary Christianity has sadly taken that word away” Propitiation” I could keep saying that word all day, I love the word Propitiation.

In Romans 3:23-25 Paul says For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed

Our problem is SIN and it pleased God to crush His only Son Isaiah 53:10 But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand. So much to learn on this word Propitiation (Appeasement).

What are the implications here, If you have believed in Christ and God has saved you, know this God isn’t angry with you any longer.

For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Hebrews 9:13-14.

My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. 1 John 2:1-2.

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:10.

So much more to learn about Propitiation.

But what a  word !!

Romans 11:36
Grace and Peace to you
in Him who saves -Lenny

Leave a Comment

Filed under Lenny's Post

What Good Is It?

tozer_crop3And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. Isaiah 6:3

If you want to pray strategically, in a way which would please God, pray that God might raise up men who would see the beauty of the Lord our God and would begin to preach it and hold it out to people, instead of offering peace of mind, deliverance from cigarettes, a better job and nicer cottage.…What good is all our busy religion if God isn’t in it? What good is it if we’ve lost majesty, reverence, worship-an awareness of the divine? What good is it if we’ve lost a sense of the Presence and the ability to retreat within our own hearts and meet God in the garden? If we’ve lost that, why build another church? Why make more converts to an effete Christianity? Why bring people to follow after a Savior so far off that He doesn’t own them? We need to improve the quality of our Christianity, and we never will until we raise our concept of God back to that held by apostle, sage, prophet, saint and reformer. When we put God back where He belongs, we will instinctively and automatically move up again; the whole spiral of our religious direction will be upward.(A.W.Tozer The Attributes of God volume 1)

Romans 11:36
Grace and Peace to you
in Him who saves -Lenny

Leave a Comment

Filed under Lenny's Post

God Takes Pleasure in Himself

tozer_crop2God takes pleasure in Himself and rejoices in His own perfection. I’ve prayed and thought and searched and read the Word too long to ever take that back. God takes pleasure in Himself and He rejoices in His own perfection. The divine Trinity is glad in Himself! God delights in His works.

When God created the heaven and the earth and all things that are upon the earth, He kept saying, “It was good” (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25). Then when God created man in His own image He looked and said, “It was very good” (1:31). God rejoiced in His works. He was glad in what He had done. Redemption is not a heavy work for God. God didn’t find Himself in a fix and have to rush off somewhere and try to get “foreign policy” straightened out with the archangels. God did what He did joyfully. He made the heaven and the earth joyfully. That’s why the flowers look up and smile, and the birds sing and the sun shines, and the sky is blue and rivers trickle down to the sea. God made the creation and He loved what He did!

He took pleasure in Himself, in His own perfection and in the perfection of His work. And when it comes to redemption, I repeat that this was not a heavy task laid upon God by moral necessity. God wanted to do this. There was no moral necessity upon God to redeem mankind. He didn’t have to send His Son Jesus Christ to die for mankind. He sent Him, but at the same time Jesus did it voluntarily. If God was willing, it was the happy willingness of God. A mother doesn’t have to get up and feed her baby at 2 in the morning. There’s no law compelling her to do it. The law probably would compel her to take some care of the little tyke, but she doesn’t have to give him that loving care that she does. She wants to do it. I used to do it for our little fellows, and I enjoyed doing it. A mother and a father do what they do because they love to do it.

It is the same with this awesome, eternal, invisible, infinite, all-wise, omniscient God, the God of our fathers, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and the God we call “our Father which art in heaven.” He is boundless and infinite; He can’t be weighed or measured; you can’t apply distance or time or space to Him, for He made it all and contains it all in His own heart. While He rises above it all, at the same time this God is a friendly, congenial God, and He delights in Himself. The Father delights in the Son: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). The Son delighted in the Father: “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth” (Matthew 11:25). And certainly the Holy Ghost delights in the Father and the Son.

The incarnation, too, was not something that Jesus Christ did gritting His teeth and saying, “I hate this thing-I wish I could get out of it.” One of the dear old hymn writers said, “He abhorred not the virgin’s womb.” The writer thought about this and said, “Wait a minute here. The womb of the creature? How could the everlasting, eternal, infinite God, whom space cannot contain, confine Himself inside one of His creatures? Wouldn’t it be a humiliation?” Then he smiled and said, “No, He abhorred not the virgin’s womb,” and he wrote it and we’ve been singing it for centuries. The incarnation of Jesus Christ’s immortal flesh was not a heavy thing. The second person of the Trinity, the everlasting Son, the eternal Word made Himself flesh-joyously! When the angels sang about the incarnation, they sang joyously about it.  (A.W.Tozer The Attributes of God VOLUME 1)

Romans 11:36
Grace and Peace to you
in Him who saves -Lenny

Leave a Comment

Filed under Lenny's Post

A little of this and a little of that

lenny23Articles, Sermons, web-sites and thoughts from other people I’ve read through out the week. To help edify you in your walk with Christ. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. Romans 15:2

Yesterday was John MacArthur’s 70Th Birthday-Happy Birthday Dr MacArthur. Just this past year he celebrated 40 years of ministry, that’s amazing in itself, but he’s done this at one Church. Go to Grace to You or click on the Vault on the left side to get more than 3000 free sermon from him. He’s in my opinion, with many others the greatest Preacher we have today.

John MacArthur Quote

“The church will never have a revival until it comprehends the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man, out of which true brokenness comes…. true revival isn’t people saying, “We’ve arrived spiritually”; its people being broken over the sense that they have not arrived. So if you wonder whether current trends in Christianity mark a genuine revival, ask yourself, “Does it mark itself by an overwhelming sense of the holiness of God, a comprehensive sense of the depth of sin, a spiritual experience that results in brokenness rather than self-congratulation? That’s the stuff that makes for true revival. Because what you have in the church today is this incessant talk about love, acceptance, tolerance, self-esteem, and the presumption that God wants you healthy, wealthy, and happy, then you are really at the very opposite pole from the elements of genuine revival. And the reason for this is that the church, not understanding the holiness of God, doesn’t deal with the sinfulness of sin and consequently never purges itself. (Taken from a sermon “The Discipline of God’s Children (Part 3)”)

Here some pictures of some four legged friends of mine.

Maxx (friends dog) and me sharing a meal together. Maxx is the most gentle dog there is.

img00053

My dogs Luke and Luna (aka lunatic) She the one 3 feet off the ground.

_device-memory_home_user_pictures_img00050

Not sure his name, or who he is, or where he came from, but he’s eating all by himself.

bear

Romans 11:36
Grace and Peace to you
in Him who saves -Lenny

Leave a Comment

Filed under Lenny's Post

Final Part Back to Sunday School John 15:2

lenny6Well,  we find ourselves back to John 15:2 the verse that we started to look at on Monday. This verse says “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.This again is the verse that most people (Arminians) pull out of context and say this proves we can lose our salvation. You see, if we only profess to be Christians and do not do His will, or bear the fruit of a true believer, we weren’t saved in the first place. That false conversion, salvation that we hold on to- Christ says He takes away. That leafy green fruitless branches that cling to the vine, that chokes the other branches-Christ says I take away.

We the branches must be joined to the Vine, the purpose of that is to bear fruit. We’re attached to the branch to bear fruit. You see a fruitless branch can still be attached to the vine, but in order for the fruitful branches to grow more, the fruitless ones need to be cut off and thrown away. I think back to when I used to go over to my in laws house. I would always see my father in-law pick off the leaves and branches that weren’t bearing any life or fruit and throw them away. He would always say the good branches need some space to grow and continue to bear fruit. My father in law was known as Kenny Gardener, the man knew his plants and flowers. He was a great gardener.

Jesus said this in Matthew 7:15-23 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20″So then, you will know them by their fruits. 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

But we know as Paul did that, God causes all things.

Romans 8:28-30 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren: 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

Then look at verse 31

Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

This gives me great hope in my salvation that God is in control, working in me to bring me to glory !! As my father in law was a great gardener, then how much more is God, a great and awesome gardener.

Jesus said this John 15:16 “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.

Here is my question -Are you bearing fruit or are you just going through the motions of Contemporary Christianity ?

God always finishes what he starts in a true believer. Salvation is from the Lord Jonah 2:9

Romans 11:36
Grace and Peace to you
in Him who saves -Lenny

Leave a Comment

Filed under Lenny's Post