Monthly Archives: April 2012

MacArthur Monday

For this morning, we want to open our Bibles again to the eighth chapter of Romans as we continue to take a look at the ministry of the Holy Spirit. I’ve been so blessed and so encouraged to be looking at the Holy Spirit and His ministry in the life of the believer. I am so grateful for the response that I am getting from you. Many personal responses from people who have come out of churches in the past where the Holy Spirit is insulted, where the Holy Spirit is blasphemed, where the Holy Spirit’s ministry and person is misrepresented. Listen to the rest below.

Heirs of God  John MacArthur

and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:17, 18

Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny

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Amazing Grace: The Story Behind the Song

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!

Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!

Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
‘Tis grace hath bro’t me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

and that’s a beautiful thing!
Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny

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Just a Cheap, Fragile and Weak Clay Pot

I don’t think there is a day that goes by that I don’t think about my sin, I found this especially true yesterday… I mean I have this wonderful glorious gospel that has saved me and sealed me for future glory with Christ… I am saved from the wrath of God, yet I still sin, then it always hits me and it takes awhile for me to remember that I was saved by grace, not of myself, for it’s a work of God and He is still working in me Philippians 1:6. That’s way Paul says to 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. But then I say I have been in trusted with this glorious gospel treasure, this light to hold and to show other people 2 Corinthians 4:6.

Yet I sin without even realizing it… The things I do, my sharp words to people and my sinful thoughts. I ask myself why? The answer was to be found in the next verse  2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, I’m just a cheap, fragile and weak clay pot. Why does He entrust me with this treasure in this earthly vessel that is so often afflicted by the troubles of the world, so prone to sin and to fail? I feel at times like I am on a muddy hill trying to climb to the top and slip down to the bottom where the non-believers live, but I don’t like it there, I once lived there. I try to climb back up because I don’t belong there, I am saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, but I’m weak and don’t have the strength on my own.

It’s difficult being a believer in this world, being in business for yourself, constantly being pulled by the things of the world, trying to do His will only to fail at times… The insults, the looks and the difficulties I get from people knowing that I’m a Christian trying to do His will… Then I remember the words of Christ to Paul “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Paul would say “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

So this morning I am reminded by the gospel and His Holy Spirit that His grace is sufficient for me today and the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. So I climb as an earthy vessel and work out my salvation up that muddy hill knowing it is not I but He who lives in me Galatians 2:20 and by His grace I shall be strong today.

and that’s a beautiful thing!
Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny

 

 

 

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True Sanctification

Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. John 17:17

For this is the will of God, your sanctification; 1 Thessalonians 4:3

True sanctification does not consist in outward formalism and external devoutness. This is an enormous delusion, but unhappily a very common one. Thousands appear to imagine that true holiness is to be seen in an excessive quantity of bodily religion,–in constant attendance on Church services, reception of the Lords Supper, and observance of fasts and saints days,–in multiplied bowings and turnings and gestures and postures during public worship,–in self-imposed austerities and petty self-denials,–in wearing peculiar dresses, and the use of pictures and crosses. I freely admit that some people take up these things from conscientious motives, and actually believe that they help their souls. But I am afraid that in many cases this external religiousness is made a substitute for inward holiness; and I am quite certain that it falls utterly short of sanctification of heart. Above all, when I see that many followers of this outward, sensuous, and bodily style of Christianity are absorbed in worldliness, and plunge headlong into its pomps and vanities without shame, I feel that there is need of very plain speaking on the subject. There may be an immense amount of bodily service,ˇ while there is not a jot of real sanctification.  Taken from ARE WE SANCTIFIED? A Question for all Professing Christians. by J. C. Ryle (1816-1900)

I love these words from John Newton “I am not what I might be, I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I wish to be, I am not what I hope to be. But I thank God I am not what I once was, and I can say with the great apostle, “By the grace of God I am what I am.”

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

Paul goes on to say… I love this……..

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; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. 18 You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me. Philippians 2:12-18

and that’s a beautiful thing!
Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny

 


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What I Learned In Church This Week

I always look forward to Sunday school and teaching the book of Romans, as you know we’re going through this book verse-by-verse and some times word-by-word. The past few Sunday school classes have been special for me, even the weeks preparing the study, we’re in the section of Romans 3 that most theologians consider the greatest paragraph in the bible, which I believe has one of the greatest words in the bible, of course we’re talking about Romans 3:21-26 and the word Propitiation. I know there are people who say we don’t need to get deep, just teach and share with them “God loves you, Christ died for you and now it’s up to you.” That’s it?

We dig deep and as Luther said “He studied his Bible as he gathered apples. First he shook the whole tree, that the ripest might fall; then he shook each limb, and when he had shaken each limb, he shook each branch, and after each branch, every twig; and then he looked under every leaf.” Moody said “Merely reading the Bible is no use at all without we study it thoroughly, and hunt it through, as it were, for some great truth.”

We found some great truth this week as we took on verses 25 and 26, It says 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. Romans 3:25, 26 I wrote a little about what we have done in the Romans study here the other day. So lets dig a little deeper!

It says whom God displayed publicly. Means to set forth, to set before the eyes, to set forth so as to be looked at and to expose to public view… As a propitiation (The means by which sins are forgiven—‘the means of forgiveness, expiation.’ (Christ) himself is the means by which our sins are forgiven’ 1 John 2:2. ‘God offered him as a means by which sins are forgiven through faith (in him)’ (Louw-Nida) We learned that the Old Testament equivalent of the word propitiation is mercy-seat found in  Exodus 25:17-22.

It was upon this mercy-seat that the High Priest would sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice once each year on the Day of Atonement, he would enter within the inner veil bearing the blood of the sin offering. A second goat was released as an escape goat to symbolize the total removal of sin and this was done every year… All the sins of the people were brought symbolically to the Holy of Holies, where blood was sprinkled on the mercy-seat as a sacrifice to atone for them.

We learned this past week in Sunday school that the New Testament is crystal clear that it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Hebrews 10:4. Man is not capable of appeasing or satisfying God’s justice, well, except in hell. Our text shows us that atonement was possible because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed Romans 3:25. God set Christ forth publicly as a propitiation by His blood, through faith. Christ appeased God’s wrath as a ransom  1 Timothy 2:6. It’s only Christ who can save and by His blood that was paid… He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.2 Corinthians 5:21

God saves those who put their faith in Him and Him alone, not just believing in the facts about Christ, but when we place our trust in Him as Lord and Savior… Then we wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come. 1 Thessalonians 1:10 Now with great joy and full assurance to those who believe can say with Paul… But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. Romans 5:8, 9

and that’s a beautiful thing!
Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny

 

 

 

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MacArthur Monday

I few weeks back I posted a sermon from Dr. MacArthur titled Reclaiming the Worship of the Holy Spirit and had planned to show this one next… Spirit-Filled Living, but wanted to get Philippians 2:12,13 explained with clarity here, so today on MacArthur Monday we have Spirit-Filled Living Ephesians 5:18-21.

MacArthur writes:

You know, sometimes…well, not sometimes, most of the time people think that I overdo the teaching of the Word of God and that I need to lighten up on it and that our church is too obsessed with it. There is no other means for the sanctification of the believer. There is no experience. There is no music. There is no lighting. There is no mood that we can create that has anything to do with the Holy Spirit. Sometimes you hear a preacher say, “I can feel the Spirit of God in this place.” No you can’t. What does that mean? That just means nothing. You can’t feel the Spirit of God. You can feel whatever you feel, whatever feeling has been induced or created or manipulated or generated or whatever, but you can’t feel the Spirit of God. What the Spirit of God is doing is not available to the senses. It is internal. It is a conforming of the believer to the image of Christ as that believer focuses on the Word. So if the Spirit uses the Word to show us the example and to shape us into that example, how important is it that we be in the Word? How important is it that we focus on Christ?

Then he says this about music….

The music of the redeemed is different. It’s reflective of timeless truth, eternal truth, unchanging truth and an unchanging God and an unchanging revelation. Our music displays features that are consistent with God. It is intelligent, systematic, sequential, orderly, poetic, harmonic, rhythmic. It even possesses, imagine, resolutions. It is beautiful. It is pure. It is virtuous. It is lofty. It is holy.

Music is not worship. It is a means of worship. Music doesn’t motivate worship. You talk to people who think that in order to make people worship, you have to crank up the music. That is a Pentecostal, Charismatic deception, manipulation of the external. Music does not motivate worship. Worship motivates music. Worship comes from the heart. Music, the songs of the redeemed, are not designed to appeal to the unsaved. That is the last concern that we have. We are speaking to ourselves and to our God. Music is not an evangelistic tool. The world is at home with its own music. Its fallenness is mirrored in the fallenness of its music. Let them have their music and let us have the songs of the redeemed.

“In Ephesians 5:18-21 Paul was not suggesting that we can possess the Spirit in varying measures. The Holy Spirit is an indivisible person – one of the divine persons of the Trinity, which means that He Himself is God – and He either indwells a person or not. No one has the Spirit of God in partial measure. But to be “filled with the Spirit” is to be controlled by the Spirit. The contrast Paul made proves the point. To be drunk with wine is to have your faculties controlled by alcohol – to be so given over to its influence that the wine governs you in a negative way. To be filled with the Spirit is simply to be controlled by Him so that His power dominates you in a positive way”. John MacArthur

and that’s a beautiful thing!
Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny

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C. H. Spurgeon–The People’s Preacher

Docudrama on the life of the Prince of Preachers

It was Methodist but I was to cold to care, but little did he know it was God!

I love these from Spurgeon….

“The man who never reads will never be read. He who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains proves that he has no brains of his own.”

“Saving faith is an immediate relation to Christ, accepting, receiving, resting upon Him alone, for justification, sanctification, and eternal life by virtue of God’s grace.”

and that’s a beautiful thing!
Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny

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War on the Word

The first temptation recorded in Scripture is an attack on the trustworthiness of God’s Word. Such attacks have continued unabated to our own day. In the past, such attacks were usually made by liberals, but today we hear more and more doubts cast upon God’s Word by professed evangelicals. In this lecture, Dr. Steven Lawson reminds us of the importance of a commitment to the authority, inspiration, and inerrancy of Scripture.

From the 2011 Ligonier National Conference:

War on the Word

Steven Lawson “War on the Word” from Ligonier on Vimeo.

“Some persons think they can know God by means of their own human reason. But reason is a blind ally spiritually. It has always been the great minds exercising their powers apart from the Word of God who have produced the great heresies. Some think they can discover God by listening to a so-called ‘inner voice.’ But the voice is often nothing more than an expression of their own inner desires. Quite a few think that spiritual truths can be verified by supernatural events or miracles. But the Bible everywhere teaches that even miracles will not lead men and women to understand and receive God’s truth unless they themselves are illuminated by the Bible (see Luke 16:31). I believe that we can state categorically that there is no knowledge apart from Jesus Christ and that there is no knowledge of Jesus Christ apart from a knowledge of the Bible.” James Montgomery Boice

Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny

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The Heart of the Bible

It seems I haven’t talked much about how the Romans study on Sunday mornings are going, just wanted to fill you in a little. We are in Romans 3:25, but before I share some thoughts about that verse I came across as I was studying and preparing for class, I wanted to share where we have been.  We learned that Paul keeps his point going in Romans 2:17-29 with a Q&A session, with an imaginary opponent (Diatribe). He is adamant that we are well aware of who we once were as believers and where many of you might still be as unbelievers. So he shows us our sin in Adam and levels the playing fielding with both the Jews and Greeks in Romans 3:1-8 and writes this in Romans 3 verse 9.

What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; Romans 3:9

Paul then goes on to Quote the Old Testament to show us by literally looking at our bodies piece by piece to show how bad we are Romans 3:10-18. Paul goes on to say in Romans 3 verses 19 and 20 Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; 20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. Romans 3:19, 20

I keep telling the class week after week that… How AMAZING is grace, when we realize that we were once the epitome of Romans 3:10-18, how wretched and awful sinners we were and how amazing is grace now. Paul is ridiculously adamant that BAD news comes first, then grace, law before grace, so here comes the good news…..

We find ourselves in Romans 3:21-26, so many theologians say this is the greatest paragraph in the bible. Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse called this section of Paul’s letter “the heart of the Bible”. Martin Luther called it “the marrow of theology”. Paul has spent 3 whole chapters showing us our sin and how bad we really are, here he begins to show the good news of Jesus Christ.

Justification by Faith

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all means all here in this context, and I love verse 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; and then Romans 3 verse 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. 

a propitiation (hilasterion-hil·as·tay·ree·on) relating to an appeasing or expiating, having placating or expiating force, expiatory; a means of appeasing or expiating, a propitiation. 1a used of the cover of the ark of the covenant in the Holy of Holies (Exodus 25:21), which was sprinkled with the blood of the expiatory victim on the annual day of atonement (this rite signifying that the life of the people, the loss of which they had merited by their sins, was offered to God in the blood as the life of the victim, and that God by this ceremony was appeased and their sins expiated); hence the lid of expiation, the propitiatory. 1b an expiatory sacrifice. 1c a expiatory victim. TDNT, scripture added.

I love this word Propitiation! Why? The Lord Jesus Christ was set forth by God the Father to be the propitiation for all those who believe, and He was willing. All this before the foundation of the world Acts 2:23 We are redeemed with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ, For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you 1 Peter 1:18, 19 and 20.

Jesus Christ our Lord was set forth to be the Propitiation for our sins, that people may come to know and trust in Him, you see God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. For me! For you!

It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. 1 Timothy 1:15-17

and that’s a beautiful thing!
Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny

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Let Go and Let God

Yesterday I mentioned Let Go and Let God and why it’s a bad Idea, well here is a lecture series from Andy Naselli where you will find a Powerpoint presentation, handouts, and all the MP3s from a lecture he did back in 2008. I found this lecture series to be a huge help and to clarify what I had already known about the second blessing, deeper life and Keswick Theology.

“What is “let-go-and-let-God” theology? It’s called Keswick theology, and it’s one of the most significant strands of second-blessing theology. It assumes that Christians experience two “blessings.” The first is getting “saved,” and the second is getting serious. The change is dramatic: from a defeated life to a victorious life; from a lower life to a higher life; from a shallow life to a deeper life; from a fruitless life to a more abundant life; from being “carnal” to being “spiritual”; and from merely having Jesus as your Savior to making Jesus your Master. People experience this second blessing through surrender and faith: “Let go and let God.” Keswick theology comes from the early Keswick movement. Keswick (pronounced KE H-zick) is a small town in the scenic Lake District of northwest England. Since 1875, it has hosted a weeklong meeting in July for the Keswick Convention. The movement’s first generation (about 1875– 1920) epitomized what we still call “Keswick theology” today.” Andy Naselli

Naselli writes… Last week I was honored to give the 2008 William R. Rice Lecture Series at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary on “Keswick Theology: A Survey and Analysis of the Doctrine of Sanctification in the Early Keswick Movement.” (Update: It’s available as a PDF.) Read and listen to the three-part lecture series below.

Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny

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