Monthly Archives: October 2011

MacArthur Monday

“The church is not a building made with stone. It is a building made with living flesh. We believers are living stones in God’s temple (1 Peter 2:5), and when we come together we constitute a place of worship where God manifests Himself in ways that He cannot manifest Himself when we are alone. Believers become the living temple of God, offering to Him spiritual sacrifices not possible anywhere other than in the assembly of the redeemed church.” John MacArthur The Ultimate Priority

John MacArthur was recently asked… As you survey the evangelical world, what things are strengthening the church today?

Upon this Rock I Will Build My Church

Soli Deo Gloria

Lenny

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Martin Luther and the Reformation

 

Remembering Halloween Christian or The Reformation on October 31 I love these words from Martin Luther “Here I Stand” When I hear them I always think of 1 Corinthians 16:13 Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Martin Luther did just that… Here are some Selected Works of Martin Luther.

The 95 Thesis… Out of love and concern for the truth, and with the object of eliciting it, the following heads will be the subject of a public discussion at Wittenberg under the presidency of the reverend father, Martin Luther, Augustinian, Master of Arts and Sacred Theology, and duly appointed Lecturer on these subjects in that place. He requests that whoever cannot be present personally to debate the matter orally will do so in absence in writing.

  1. When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said “Repent”, He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.
  2. The word cannot be properly understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, i.e. confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy.
  3. Yet its meaning is not restricted to repentance in one’s heart; for such repentance is null unless it produces outward signs in various mortifications of the flesh.

Read the rest of the 95 Theses Here

Here is Martin Luther standing firm and being captive by the word of God.

Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms

A Mighty Fortress ( is our God ) Martin Luther

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and pow’r are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing,
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us;
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly pow’rs, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth;
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

Soli Deo Gloria

Lenny

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Vivaldi – Lauda Jerusalem

Here is a great piece by Vivaldi that will get your blood pumping this morning.  Enjoy.

 

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His Predetermined Plan And Foreknowledge

Lately it seems I have engaged in conversations about predestination and foreknowledge, it seems to always come up, whether in Sunday school or with the group of men that meet at my house on Saturday mornings to study theology proper or just getting a phone call to help a brother or sister to understand better… And as we try to understand and know God better we read things like this in His word. Acts 2:23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. Jesus death was not an after thought and it was most certainly not the wrong definition of foreknowledge you hear today that God travels through the corridors of history to see if we would respond to His grace and if we do then in turn He would travel back to His holy place and then write our names in the book of life and then predestined us to eternal life. If that was the case then God would have had to do the same for His Son whom He had a predetermined plan to send to the cross to save those who would believe. It seems to me God would be sitting there waiting for His Son to do His will, not knowing and hoping He would.

Look at 1 Peter 1:1-4  Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,

According to the foreknowledge of God… and then in Romans 8:29 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; We discussed earlier what it doesn’t mean (God travels through the corridors of history to see if we would respond to His grace and if we do then in turn He would travel back to His holy place and then write our names in the book of life and then predestined us to eternal life.)

What does foreknowledge mean? Foreknowledge (prognosis from verb proginosko from pro = before + ginosko = to know) literally means to know in advance or beforehand. Thinking about Acts 2:23 He knew beforehand that His Son would do His will right? Why because it was His predetermined plan… Same word foreknowledge same meaning. In 1 Peter 1:1-4 Peter reminds them that they were chosen in Christ beforehand. So not only does God’s foreknowledge mean He knew beforehand but that He also planned beforehand.

Well there is more if you’re not convinced yet, look at 1 Peter 1:20 as he explains Christ… For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you. God just didn’t know! But He also predetermined a plan of redemption for sinners through Jesus Christ. Warren Wiersbe writes in his commentary “Foreknowledge does not suggest that God merely knew ahead of time that we would believe, and therefore He chose us. This would raise the question, “Who or what made us decide for Christ?” and would take our salvation completely out of God’s hands. J.I. Packer writes “The God of Israel is King of kings and Lord of lords… He knows, and foreknows, all things, and his foreknowledge is foreordination; he, therefore, will have the last word, both in world history and in the destiny of every man; his kingdom and righteousness will triumph in the end, for neither men nor angels shall be able to thwart him.”

The word of God teaches both God’s sovereignty in salvation and man’s responsibility… I like to put it this way… We love God because He first loved us, we choose God because He first chose us, Look at John 6:44 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. That word draw literally mean to compel or drag, If he’s drawing you, your coming because in John 6:37 “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. God’s foreknowledge is that He loves me and owns me, foreordained me, and secured me before the foundation of the world! and that give me great joy 2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,”  For the glory of God Amen!

Soli Deo Gloria

Lenny

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Spurgeon On Ambition

AMBITION is an enemy to peace in the church- “Diotrephes loves to have the pre-eminence,” and that fellow has spoiled many a happy church.

It is of no use finding fault because some may have a little pre-eminence. After all, what is the pre-eminence? It is the pre-eminence of one little animalcule over another. Look in a drop of water. One of these little fellows is five times larger than another- I dare say he is very large, and thinks, “I have the pre-eminence inside my drop.” So we live in this little ‘drop of the world’, not much bigger in God’s esteem than a drop of the bucket, and one of us seems a little larger than the other- a worm a little above his fellow worms; but, O how big we get! and we want to get a little bigger, to get a little more prominent- but what is the use of it? for when we get ever so big we shall then be so small that an angel would not find us out if God did not tell him where we were.

Whoever heard up in heaven anything about ‘emperors and kings’? Small tiny insects we are- God can see the animalculae, therefore he can see us, but if he had not an eye to see the most minute, he would never discover us. O may we never get sinful ambition in this church. The best ambition is- who shall be the servant of all. The ‘strangers’ seek to have dominion, but ‘children’ seek to let the father have dominion, and the father only. (From Spurgeon’s sermon, “THE GOD OF PEACE”) HT: Grace Gems

Soli Deo Gloria

Lenny

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What I Learned In Church This Week

The overall question this week in Church from Sunday school and from behind the pulpit was… Does God want us, those of us who believe happy? Does He want to give us everything we need and want? Or does He want us to be obedient and holy? I love when Sunday school and the sermon preached say the same thing. I always say to people God never-never promises us a rose garden, BUT He will help us tip toe through the tulips… I had thought that was original from me but recently found out that the tulip part came from Tiny Tim. Go figure! The sermon title was Why isn’t life a rose garden? From 1 Peter 1:3-9 as this was being preached it got me thinking of the discussion we had in Sunday school that morning about being happy.

Think about those persecuted Christian in 1 Peter 1:1-9 They were being used as torches, set on fire to light Nero’s streets… “Put on a happy face” Are we called as Christians to put on a happy face? Sometime I sense this could be our theme song…

Gray skies are gonna clear up, Put on a happy face;
Brush off the clouds and cheer up, Put on a happy face.
Take off the gloomy mask of tragedy, It’s not your style;
You’ll look so good that you’ll be glad Ya’ decide to smile!
Pick out a pleasant outlook, Stick out that noble chin;
Wipe off that “full of doubt” look, Slap on a happy grin!
And spread sunshine all over the place, Just put on a happy face!
Put on a happy face
Put on a happy face

Was the apostle Paul always HAPPY? With all the trials and suffering he went through, It reminded me of what he said in 2 Corinthians 11:23-29…

Are they servants of Christ?-I speak as if insane-I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. 24 Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. 26 I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; 27 I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern?

Paul wrote in Philippians 4:10-14 that he was content But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. 14 Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction.

That wouldn’t make me happy to have gone through what the apostle Paul went through, nobody would be happy. Do you think he woke up every morning and said Happy, Happy, Happy and sang that tune “Put on a Happy Face” Paul said “I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.” Paul response is “But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly” In my opinion Happiness and Joy are two different things, You win the lottery you’re gonna be happy, you spend all the money you’re not. Joy comes from within… Paul says I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

James said Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, James 1:2-5

  • Are you suffering for Christ? Count in all Joy
  • Are you being persecuted for your faith? Count in all Joy
  • Are you going through trials in your life? Count in all Joy

I can’t do that I’m not strong enough, I’m to weak good, that’s right where you need to be. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9, 10

We need His strength to get through these circumstances in our lives and you know what else wouldn’t hurt if we as Christians come together and share in each other circumstances Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction. Philippians 4:14 Romans 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. and Bearing one anther’s burdens Galatians 6:2

I’m not a happy camper all the time, but I know Him who has saved me and He will see me through… Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 2 Timothy 3:12 Peter called these persecuted Christians aliens 1 Peter 1:1 were not of this world were just passing through… Paul said, “But our citizenship is in heaven,” Philippians 3:17-21 17 Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. 18 For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

How many reading this will join in following Paul’s example… Because we are citizens of heaven we can live in great expectation of Christ’s return. No matter your trial, no matter your suffering… our Joy, your Joy if you are in Christ is that we live in the hope that one day, we will see Him face to face and be with Him in glory.

That gives me great JOY!

and that’s what I learned in church this week.

Soli Deo Gloria

Lenny

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MacArthur Monday

Two week ago I shared the The Glorious Gospel… Last week I shared The Gospel Satisfies the Sinner’s Need. So this week we have The Gospel Satisfies God’s Demands

Romans 3:25-31 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; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one. 31 Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.

The Gospel Satisfies God’s Demands


Soli Deo Gloria

Lenny

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A little of this and a little of that

In the Danger Zone: Raising Our Children in the Age of the Screen… By Albert Mohler… Christian parents must be concerned, not just with what content children are watching, but how much exposure they really experience. Something has gone wrong when the default position of the television is on, rather than off. Read the rest Here

Last week I mentioned  The Reformation and the Men Behind It by Steve Lawson… Here is Prince of Translators: William Tyndale,  Zurich Revolutionary: Ulrich Zwingli and Fortress for Truth: Martin Luther

You are Rich!

Preaching About Preaching from Unashamed Workman

Recently I preached about preaching. The sermon looked at the foundational basis of preaching (God achieves his purposes through His Word), the role of the preacher, and how the congregation should listen to sermons.

The outline was:

  1. The Lord Speaks
  2. The Preacher Proclaims
  3. The Church Hears…… Here is the audio: “Preaching.”

“It [feminism] is mixed up with a muddled idea that women are free when they serve their employers but slaves when they help their husbands.”

–G.K. Chesterton HT: Pure Church

I often play with my German Shepherd Luna (short for lunatic) with a tennis ball and racket, I hit the ball she runs and gets the ball easy right? Well this time she wanted the racket and left me getting the ball.

kindle Afresh From Yours Truly

Anytime I begin to fall back or lose focus on what my purpose is and the gifts God has given me, anytime my walk with Christ weakens, anytime I begin to minimize the word of God I remember these words from Paul to Timothy… Read the rest Here

A Prayer for Trusting God When Trusting Others Is Hard

Psalm 143:8 Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning; For I trust in You; Teach me the way in which I should walk; For to You I lift up my soul. Read the rest Here

“Faith in Christ is not the cause of the new birth, but the result.”

~Don Fortner

Soli Deo Gloria

Lenny

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“All Truth Is God’s Truth,” Admits the Devil by John Piper

I am doing a lesson this Sunday on truth and came across this article. Hope you enjoy.

Sometimes the slogan “All truth is God’s truth” is used to justify dealing in any sphere of knowledge as an act of worship or stewardship. The impression is given that just knowing God’s truth and recognizing it as such is a good thing, even a worthy end. But the problem with this is that the devil does it.

“If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.” (1Corinthians 8:2-3). Which I take to mean that until we know in such a way that we love God more because of it, we do not yet know as we ought to know.

Alongside “All truth is God’s truth,” we need to say, “All truth exists to display more of God and awaken more love for God.” This means that knowing truth and knowing it as God’s truth is not a virtue until it awakens desire and delight in us for the God of truth. And that desire and delight are not complete until they give rise to words or actions that display the worth of God. That is, we exist to glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31), and merely knowing a truth to be God’s truth does not glorify him any more than the devil does.

All truth exists to make God known and loved and shown. If it does not have those three effects it is not known rightly and should not be celebrated as a virtue.

I give thanks that unbelievers see God’s truths in the natural world in a limited way. They know many scientific and cultural facts. But they do not feel desire for God or delight in God because of them. So these facts are misused. This is not a virtue.

I also give thanks that that believers may learn many of God’s truths from unbelievers and see them rightly and thus desire God more and delight in God more because of those truths, so that unbelievers become, unwittingly, the means of our worship.

Thus an unbeliever’s knowing God’s truth is not ultimately a virtue—that is, not a knowing that accords with God’s purpose for knowing—nevertheless that knowing may be a useful knowing for the sake of what God makes of it for his self-revealing and self-exalting purposes in the world, contrary to all the expectations of the unbeliever whose knowing God uses.

It is fitting, therefore, for God’s sake—for love’s sake—that believers learn what we can from unbelievers who see many things that we may miss, but do not see the one thing needful.

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Predestination, Of God’s Eternal Decree

I was listening to R.C. Sproul’s lecture series on Predestination via podcast, and he mentioned The Westminster Confession of Faith I have read it before but decided to read chapter 3 again and here is what it said with Scripture references. BTW those of you in the Romans Study… Take notes!

Of God’s Eternal Decree Chapter 3

1. God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass:(a) yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin,(b) nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.(c)

(a) Ps 33:11; Eph 1:11; Heb 6:17 (b) Ps 5:4; Jas 1:13-14; 1 John 1:5; Hab 1:13 (c) Acts 2:23; Matt 17:12; Acts 4:27-28; John 19:11; Prov 16:33

2. Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions,(d) yet hath he not decreed anything because he foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.(e)

(d) 1 Sam 23:11-12; Matt 11:21,23 (e) Rom 9:11,13,16,18

3. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels(f) are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death.(g)

(f) 1 Tim 5:21; Jude 6; Matt 25:31,41
(g) Eph 1:5-6; Rom 9:22-23; Prov 16:4

4. These angels and men, thus predestinated, and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished.(h)

(h) John 13:18; 2 Tim 2:19; John 10:14-16,27-28

5. Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen, in Christ, unto everlasting glory,(i) out of his mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith, or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving him thereunto;(k) and all to the praise of his glorious grace.(l)

(i) Eph 1:4,9,11; Rom 8:28-30; 2 Tim 1:9; 1 Thess 5:9
(k) Rom 9:11,13,15-16; Eph 2:8-9; Eph 1:5,9,11
(l) Eph 1:6,12

6. As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so hath he, by the eternal and most free purpose of his will, foreordained all the means thereunto.(m) Wherefore, they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ,(n) are effectually called unto faith in Christ by his Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified,(o) and kept by his power, through faith, unto salvation.(p) Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.(q)

(m) 1 Pet 1:2; Eph 2:10; 2 Thess 2:13
(n) 1 Thess 5:9-10; Titus 2:14
(o) Rom 8:30; Eph 1:5; 2 Thess 2:13
(p) 1 Pet 1:5
(q) John 10:14-15,26; John 6:64-65; Rom 8:28-39; John 8:47; 1 John 2:19

7. The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or withholdeth mercy, as he pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by; and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice.(r)

(r) Matt 11:25-26; Rom 9:17-18,21-22; Jude 4; 1 Pet 2:8; 2 Tim 2:19-20

8. The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care,(s) that men, attending the will of God revealed in his Word, and yielding obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal election.(t) So shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God;(u)  and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the gospel.(w)

(s) Rom 9:20; Rom 11:33; Deut 29:29
(t) 2 Pet 1:10; 1 Thess 1:4-5
(u) Eph 1:6; Rom 11:33
(w) Rom 11:5-6,20; Rom 8:33; Luke 10:20; 2 Pet 1:10

Soli Deo Gloria

Lenny

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