Monthly Archives: June 2012

Fools

“What is meant is a weakness of understanding or judgment, sometimes through stupidity, sometimes through confusion, but always demanding censure.” (Kittel TDNT)

 

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Christ, The True Vine

“God has called you to bear fruit and you will bear fruit, you can bear fruit. He has called you to stand in His presents clean and without spot, Jesus Christ did not shed His blood for you so that the very first thing you see in glory is a scowl on His face because of all your failures.”

Jesus Christ said…….

“”I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 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. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:1-5

Watch the rest of the sermon below

“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. John 15:16

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

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In Hope Against Hope

We talked about God’s great grace in Romans 4:16-18 in What I Learned In Church This Week on Tuesday and I said I wanted to touch on a few more points. What really grabbed at me was in Romans 4:18 In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “SO SHALL YOUR DESCENDANTS BE.” How do you have hope when all evidence proves other wise? In Wuest’s word study he translates it like this “Who, being beyond hope, upon the basis of hope believed”

Sarah was beyond hope to have children, but as we learned in verse 17 its God who gives life to the dead Romans 4:17 and it is God who we hope in. Abraham’s situation was beyond hope and yet Abraham based his belief that it would happen on hope. And it did, Sarah had Isaac in Genesis 21:1. Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born and Sarah was ninety years old… Abraham believed God and it was credited to Him as righteous as Paul quoted the O.T. in Romans 4:22, more on that next week.

What about Hope? Peter says “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,” 1 Peter 1:3

Hope (elpis) is … a hope, what is hoped for; basis for hope

Kittel says “When fixed on God, hope embraces expectation, trust, and patient waiting. It is linked to faith, as in Hebrews 11:1, which stresses the certainty of what is divinely given. Romans 8:24–25 makes not only the formal point that we do not hope for what is visibly present but also the material one that what is visibly present offers no basis for hope.”

“The main difference from the OT is that the act of salvation has now been accomplished in Christ, so that hope itself is an eschatological blessing, and there is every reason for confidence such as Paul has in the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 1:12ff.). Hope rests on faith in the act of salvation (Romans 8:24–25) and is sustained by the Spirit (Romans 8: 26–27). It is an integral part of the Christian life.” (Romans 15:13; 12:12). (TDNT)

Christ as our hope… in to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27 No matter what this life brings us as believers…………….

To see Him face to face in glory that’s my hope.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

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

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The Communion Service

But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 1 Corinthians 11:28

At the heart of the present significance of the Lord’s Supper is our communion or fellowship with Christ, hence the term “communion service.” In coming to this service the believer comes to meet with Christ and have fellowship with Him at His invitation. The examination takes place because it would be hypocrisy for us to pretend that we are in communion with the Holy One while actually cherishing known sin in our hearts. (James Montgomery Boice Taken from “Foundations of the Christian Faith-Book I” )

It is true that the Lord’s Supper is only for sinners. But within that group, it is only for repentant sinners. (Mark Dever The Marks of the Church)

Lord God help us come to the Lord’s table with self-examination and discernment… That Jesus Christ will be a reality to us and not just a monthly symbol.

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

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What I Learned In Church This Week

The anticipation I had Sunday morning before the start of Sunday school was like waiting to go get some ice cream when I was a little kid… I couldn’t wait to get there to dig my teeth into the rich creamy ice cream and I couldn’t wait to get to class and teach what I had learned about God’s grace. That it’s God’s grace that enables us to believe. I probable was a little overly excited and probable had a few too many espresso in the morning, but this was great truths that Paul was going to tell us and to share it with the class was, well exciting!

We just finished up Romans 4:13-15 and starting verses 16-18

For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 (as it is written, “A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU”) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. 18 In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “SO SHALL YOUR DESCENDANTS BE.” Romans 4:16-18

Paul says “For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with graceWe learned that the law produces God’s wrath (Romans 4:15), not His justification, but we must not miss this point that the power of justification is God’s grace, it’s NOT man’s faith… A man’s faith can NOT save him, it is God’s sovereign grace that provides the way. You see when grace comes in, it enables us to believe and it’s a done deal, because He will not fail us Hebrews 6:16-19. It’s He who begins the work of salvation in us, it’s He who continues to work in us and it’s He who will bring us home to glory Philippians 1:6.

Paul tells the church at Corinth “I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, 6 even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, 7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:3-9

God calls Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldeans, and as I told the class he was a pagan”There was no Jew or Gentile at this point, but God declared Abrahams faith as righteous before there was a distinction of Jew or Gentile, so Abraham faith was a universal faith and he was the Father of all nations and all people not just the Jews. As one writer puts it “Abraham was the spiritual prototype of every genuine believer. He was a pagan, idolatrous, ungodly sinner who trusted not in his own efforts but in God’s gracious promise.”  

There is so much more in verses 17 and 18 that I want to continue this on Thursday… but for now Paul says “For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace”  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8, 9

The key point here is Jesus Christ our Lord and our God is the object of our faith… The power of justification is God’s great, great sovereign grace, not man’s faith, no! But God’s irresistible efficacious sovereign grace.

and that’s a beautiful thing
Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny

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MacArthur Monday

Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. John 13:1

 

In fact, when you look into the window of the heart of Christ, at this very moment, what is on His mind is love…love. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. He’s thinking about them. He’s going to the cross with a heart of love. There’s no bitterness and no resentment. In fact, just the opposite. His thoughts not only were on the cross, but His thoughts were on the joy that was set before Him after the cross. His reentry into heaven, He was thinking about the great reunion that was going to happen when He went back to the Father. In fact, it was so much on His heart that that same night He prayed this, “Father, the hour is come, glorify Your Son that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave them authority over all flesh, to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. This is the eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom You’ve sent. I glorified You on earth, having accomplished the work which You’ve given me to do, now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” What’s on His mind? Horrible death and the subsequent reentry into the glories of heaven. His humiliation left behind in exalted glory, He will be face-to-face with the Father again. The anticipation of the cross was a crushing sadness. The anticipation of heaven was an exhilarating joy. This was a time when we would be giving Him an opportunity to think about Himself, to deal with His own sorrow, to deal with the coming joy. But His heart is not on His suffering, not totally, and His heart is not on His glory, not totally. His heart runs toward those who belong to Him.

And He loved them until the end.

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

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Teach me Your way, O Lord

Teach me Your way, O Lord, And lead me in a level path Because of my foes. Psalm 27:11

“Teach me, and I will be quiet; show me where I have been wrong.” Job 6:24 O Lord, teach me to know the vanity and emptiness of the world; its insufficiency to gratify the desires, or satisfy the longings of the new born soul; yes, its utter inability to make its most devoted votaries happy.

Teach me to value the bliss of heaven above all earthly joys; and to dread the torments of hell above all earthly sorrow. Alas! how often do the pleasures of sense blunt my sensibilities to those things which are above; while the troubles of time obliterate from my mind, the miseries which await the impenitent and unbelieving.

Teach me, O blessed Savior, cheerfully to refuse the pleasures of sin, which end in everlasting torment; and cheerfully to endure those trials, for Your sake and the gospel’s, which terminate in endless glory!

“Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.” Psalm 25:4-5

(From Thomas Reade, Christian Meditations)

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

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Is Jeremiah 29:11 a promise for us?

Jeremiah 29:11 is a verse that I constantly hear from believers, pastors and teachers, but really is a verse that is wildly misused and misinterpreted. Here is the verse in context supported by the verses around it….

“For thus says the LORD, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.’

Watch and listen to Voddie Baucham

 

Is Jeremiah 29:11 a promise for us?

Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny

 

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When Something Stops Growing, It Dies!

A healthy church has a pervasive concern with church growth – not simply growing numbers but growing members. A church full of growing Christians is the kind of church growth I want as a pastor. Some today seem to think that one can be a “baby Christian” for a whole lifetime. Growth is seen to be an optional extra for particularly zealous disciples. But be very careful about taking that line of thought. Growth is a sign of life. Growing trees are living trees, and growing animals are living animals. When something stops growing, it dies.

In his Treatise Concerning Religious Affections, Jonathan Edwards suggested that true growth in Christian discipleship is not finally mere excitement, increasing use of religious language, or a growing knowledge of Scripture. It is not even an evident increase in joy or in love or concern for the church. Even increases in zeal and praise to God and confidence of one’s own faith are not infallible evidences of true Christian growth. What, then, is evidence of true Christian growth? According to Edwards, while all these things may be evidences of true Christian growth, the only certain observable sign of such growth is a life of increasing holiness, rooted in Christian self-denial. The church should be marked by a vital concern for this kind of increasing godliness in the lives of its members. (Mark Dever Nine Marks of a Healthy Church)

but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18 because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” 1 Peter 1:16

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

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What I Learned In Church This Week

We are continuing our study in the book of Romans and what a great time we are having… Tim has led us through Romans 4:1-15 where he just finished up Romans 4:13-15. Unfortunatly my time in the worship service was cut short by an emergency phone call from work I received and had to leave abruptly, but I hope to get a copy of the sermon soon to continue to listen and learn from that series in Galatians from my Pastor. Back to the Romans Study… I will take back the teaching from Tim starting next week in Romans 4:16 and can’t wait.

Here’s what Romans 4 verses 13-15 say “For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified; 15 for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation.” Romans 4:13-15

There was one quote that Tim gave us from The Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary that really stuck with me throughout the day on Sunday and continued through Monday was…..

The good news of Jesus Christ means not only understanding the first-century context but also understanding ours. We live in an age that is not comfortable with the notion of sin. The idea that God might actually be angry with people for their sin is uncongenial indeed. But we will not appreciate just why Jesus Christ is such good news for the world until we adjust our thinking to match that of the biblical authors. They knew the reality of sin; and they knew the reality of a holy God who could not tolerate sin. Only through the sacrifice of Christ, paying the debt incurred by our sin that we could never pay, could God make a way of accepting people who are by nature unacceptable to him. Those people in our day who ignore or minimize the problem of human sin in the face of a holy God do well to heed the warning of the great medieval theologian Anselm: “You have not yet considered the weight of sin.” (The Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary)

Here’s the part that is stuck in my mind “Those people in our day who ignore or minimize the problem of human sin in the face of a holy God do well to heed the warning of the great medieval theologian Anselm: “You have not yet considered the weight of sin.” I’m thinking to myself, sure the unbeliever is dead in their sins Ephesians 2:1 and they need the grace of God to save them from the wrath to come… But what about the professing Christian?

What are we to do with our SIN? Yes I know we who possess Christ who are truly saved by grace through Jesus Christ and yes it is grace that saved us… We can NEVER forget, But does that “GRACE” give us a license to sin? We have this tunnel vision with our Christian liberty that our Christian brains fall out… Read what Paul says May It never BE! “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Romans 6:1″ Then again in verse 15 “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!” Romans 6:15

That’s one of the reasons I posted this yesterday from Dr. MacArthur, The Believer’s Confession of Sin .

MacArthur writes… “Whenever the church gathers to worship on a Sunday here, it gives the opportunity for one of us to pray a pastoral prayer and part of that pastoral prayer prayed in the service usually after the reading of the Scripture is to acknowledge our unworthiness, our sinfulness. To acknowledge that not only are we sinful and unworthy, but our dreams and ambitions and desires and goals are corrupted. The notion that we’re supposed to come to church to tell God He needs to fulfill everything we want couldn’t be further from the truth. We come to say, “Lord, the things that I want may be worldly things and earthly things and passing things and temporal things and even sinful things and even corrupting things, rather I want what You want for me, the highest and the best and the good. But I confess that none of that is in me.” The church never worships more purely than when it confesses its own sinfulness because that’s the platform in which we enter into worship, recognition of our own sinfulness and our own unworthiness.”

Paul goes on to say in Romans 7 “Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.”  Romans 7:4 You see? Sin DOES remain in our bodies, but because we are in Christ it DOES NOT REIGN in our lives. Christian liberty yes, we are no longer in bondage to sin, we are free in Christ to bear fruit and that fruit will remain Ephesians 2:8-9 and look at verse 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:10  Jesus said in John 15 “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” John 15:16

Want to know if someone is a Christian… Just watch their lives… Jesus said you will know them by their fruit Matthew 7:16. James 2  verse 18 says But 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.”

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

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

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