Monthly Archives: August 2012

Proper Bible Study and Reading

I really like this from Doug Wilson about proper Bible study, it kind of reminds me of the same thing MacArthur says Here… Wilson says… Proper Bible study must always be preceded by thorough reading. Most mistakes in interpretation are caused because the context of the passage is neglected. In most cases, the context is neglected because it is not read.

Often new Christians are introduced to certain “narrow” types of Bible study (memorization, Bible study guides, etc) without having any idea of what the Bible as a whole is all about. This causes several problems. First, someone could “study” the Bible for years in this fashion without ever really learning. Secondly, this ignorance is seldom dealt with because it is hidden behind an impressive array of Bible quotes. When a Christian quotes a passage out of Hosea from memory, it rarely occurs to others to wonder if he has ever read Hosea. If he hasn’t (as is frequently the case), he cannot know the context of the passage he quotes. This is because he learned it off a little white card and the card has no context. Read the entire article Here

1 Peter 2:2 like newborn babies,
long for the pure milk of the word,
so that by it you may grow in
respect to salvation,

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

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The Irresistibility of God

Working as the agent of God in our lives, the Holy Spirit beckons us to be reconciled to our lord. But, it is not the desperate cry of a beggar. It is the efficacious call of authority, based on an eternal plan, made sure by everlasting love. And when God calls, His people most certainly and willingly respond, drawn by His infinite power and unalterable decree. God is a personal God. He “calls out” His people by name. He wrote their names in the lamb’s Book of life. He has predetermined a time in each of their lives when they would recognize His voice and respond. In fact, the very name by which His assembly of believers is identified speaks to this same fact. The word church, sometimes rendered assembly, is the Greek word ekklesia. It is a combination of the Greek terms ek, or out of, and klesis, or a calling. The church is a gathering of individual people called out. They are the out-called ones. By Grace Alone, a doctrinal study by Jim McClarty

“Divine sovereignty is not the sovereignty of a tyrannical Despot, but the exercised pleasure of One who is infinitely wise and good! Because God is infinitely wise He cannot err, and because He is infinitely righteous He will not do wrong. Here then is the preciousness of this truth. The mere fact itself that God’s will is irresistible and irreversible fills me with fear, but once I realize that God wills only that which is good, my heart is made to rejoice.” A.W. Pink

“A man is not saved against his will, but he is made willing by the operation of the Holy Ghost.  A mighty grace which he does not wish to resist enters into the man, disarms him, makes a new creature of him, and he is saved.” C.H. Spurgeon

God is a personal God.
He “calls out” His people by name.
He wrote their names in the lamb’s Book of life.

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

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What I Learned In Church This Week

Everything was pretty much back to normal, and that is a beautiful thing! The songs and hymns were God honoring, the gospel was proclaimed. There is nothing like the coming together of believers to worship the God we love and to proclaim our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ who died for our sins. I’m reminded of a verse I just read yesterday in 1 Peter 2:5 when Peter says we are living stones being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

That is why we come to church to offer up to God spiritual sacrifices acceptable to Him and He reveals Himself to us that can happen only when we come together in the temple of God. David says in Psalm 5:7 But as for me, by Your abundant lovingkindness I will enter Your house, At Your holy temple I will bow in reverence for You. Giving God all the glory He deserves and all the praises go to Him and we exalt Christ, rejoicing that He has saved those who are His.

But it all starts before Sunday, we can’t just muster up some praise to God and then live anyway we want during the week, our lives must be a continued sacrifice to God which is acceptable to Him. Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. We can’t live two lives, one life at home conforming to this world and a different life at Church on Sunday morning. Paul says in Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

One writer said “Fruitful and acceptable worship begins before it begins.” There is one key factor in coming to worship God on His day, when His people come together to honor and praise Him and that’s the state of the hearts of the believing saints and it begins before it begins! Our corporate worship is the by-product or results of our transforming lives that are worshiping God in all we do, say and live… It is unacceptable if our lives are conforming to this world living our way, then trying to flip a switch on Sunday mornings. It’s been said many times but it’s worth repeating many times, that corporate worship is a overflow of our private lives.

Here is something to think about today, you are only doing one of two things today, you are either conforming to this world where Satan is its king or you are being transformed by the renewing of your mind by the word of God and Christ our Savior…. So we present our bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God….

So worship begins before it begins!

so that you may prove what the will of God is,
that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

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

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MacArthur Monday

If you’re saved, spirit-filled, sanctified, submissive, suffering and thankful – you ready for this? Do whatever you want. Do whatever you want. Marry whoever you want. Go wherever you want. Work wherever you want. Choose whatever you want. You say, “Whoa. Are you sure?” Absolutely. Because if this is true of your life, guess who’s controlling your wants.

Psalm 37:4, you ready for this? “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” That doesn’t mean he’ll fulfill yours, it means He’ll plant His. You delight in the Lord, saved, spirit-filled, submissive, all of those things. You delight in the Lord and He will plant His desires in your heart.

Taking the Mystery Out of Knowing God’s Will

“We discover the will of God by a sensitive application of Scripture to our own lives.” Sinclair Ferguson

You delight in the Lord
and He will plant
His desires in your heart.

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

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A little of this and a little of that

 

Casual Worship by Jason Helpoulos… There are words that just don’t go together. We would never think of describing sandpaper by the adjective “smooth”–it doesn’t work. You will never hear someone call a surgical operation “fun”–it doesn’t exist. No one has ever slept on a “hard” pillow, maybe “firm” (which is the one my wife seems to give me every night), but never “hard.” There are adjectives that should never be used as descriptors for certain nouns. Read the rest Here.

Last week I linked to Fellowship and Conversation by Mike Riccardi. Here is his follow up to that, Fellowship and Confrontation… Last week, I spoke about our need to improve our everyday, relaxed, natural conversation, especially with other believers. And this was in the service of grounding our subjective experience of fellowship in the objective reality of fellowship (the Gospel). I concluded that one of the best ways to attain that goal is by speaking to one another about the things of Christ. Read the rest Here.

The Genuine Article by John MacArthur… What is repentance? The literal Greek word, metanoia, has to do with changing your mind. But authentic repentance is much more than merely changing your opinion, your thought process, or your mood. It’s a complete spiritual about-face. And if it’s genuine, it will always result in a change of behavior, too. Read the rest Here.

Silencing the Devil by R.C. Sproul Jr. How easily, because of his craftiness, we confuse Satan and Santa. Their names are indeed anagrams of each other, and they both were obviously told by someone, somewhere along the way that they look good in red. We tend to think, however, that just as Santa carries about a giant bag of goodies, so the devil carries around a giant bag of temptations, that his principle weapon is to tempt us toward illicit pleasures. Truth be told Satan’s name is derived from the word for Accuser. He is far more interested in pointing out our past failures than he is enticing us to new ones. Read the rest Here.

A Brief Comparative Study of: Arminianism and Calvinism… According to Arminianism: Salvation is accomplished through the combined efforts of God (who takes the initiative) and man (who must respond) – man’s response being the determining factor. God has provided salvation for everyone, but His provision becomes effective only for those who, of their own free will, “choose” to cooperate with Him and accept His offer of grace. At the crucial point, man’s will plays a decisive role; thus man, not God, determines who will be recipients of the gift of salvation. Hmmm, interesting, you should really read the rest Here.

For a more in-depth study of the doctrines of grace, here is free book in PDF form By Grace Alone a doctrinal study by Jim McClarty. Jim writes… The sovereignty and grace of God are interwoven through every verse of Scripture. As we come to know the lord of Scripture, we will more readily recognize his lordship in Scripture. This book is merely the tip of the iceberg, meant to stimulate thought and discussion, and to aid us on our search for the truth of salvation in Christ our lord. May God bless you as you read. Download the book Here

A free kindle book… The Apostle: The Life of Paul [Kindle Edition] John Pollock (Author) Get Here

and this quote from John Piper on why we come to a worship service…

Brothers and sisters, we must be more earnest in seeking God in worship. We must be less flippant and less frivolous and thoughtless and casual and disrespectful as we approach the chamber of God in the assembly of the faithful. Have you ever thought through the implications of Jeremiah 29:13 where God says, “You will seek me and find me; when you seek me WITH ALL YOUR HEART.” There is only one reason to come to this service – to seek and find GOD! And the Lord God says to you straight from his Word every Sunday, “You will find me when you seek me with ALL YOUR HEART!”

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

 

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Christian Contentment

I was reading the puritan Jeremiah Burroughs The Rare Jewel Of Christian Contentment and read these edifying words about being content as Christian… Convicting and very encouraging:

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. Philippians 4:11

‘Therewith to be content’-The word rendered ‘content’ here has great elegance and fullness of meaning in the original. In the strict sense it is only attributed to God, who has styled himself ‘God all-sufficient’, in that he rests fully satisfied in and with himself alone. But he is pleased freely to communicate his fullness to the creature, so that from God in Christ the saints receive ‘grace for grace’ (John 1:16). As a result, there is in them the same grace that is in Christ, according to their measure. In this sense, Paul says, I have a self-sufficiency, which is what the word means. But has Paul got a self-sufficiency? you will say. How are we sufficient of ourselves! Our Apostle affirms in another case, ‘That we are not sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves’ (2 Corinthians 3:5).

Therefore his meaning must be, I find a sufficiency of satisfaction in my own heart, through the grace of Christ that is in me. Though I have not outward comforts and worldly conveniences to supply my necessities, yet I have a sufficient portion between Christ and my soul abundantly to satisfy me in every condition. This interpretation agrees with that place: ‘A good man is satisfied from himself’ (Proverbs 14:14) and also with what Paul avers of himself in another place, that ‘though he had nothing yet he possessed all things’. Because he had a right to the covenant and promise, which virtually contains everything, and an interest in Christ, the fountain and good of all, it is no marvel that he said that in whatsoever state he was in, he was content.

He ends this book with these last words…

Oh, that you would but say so in respect of the art of Christianity! When anything is spoken concerning the duty of a Christian, Oh, that Christians could but say, I have been a Christian so long, and I hope I am not wanting in a thing that is so necessary for a Christian. Here is a necessary lesson for a Christian, that Paul said, he had learned in all estate therewith to be content. Read The Rare Jewel Of Christian Contentment HERE

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

 

 

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What I Learned In Church This Week

There are times I wake up on Sunday mornings and get so worked up about the fact that I have to teach, thoughts run through my mind like crazy. Sometime I struggle with what I’m going to bring to them, did I study hard enough, am I accurately handling the word of truth 2 Timothy 2:15? Is what I’m going to teach, what God would say? I mean James says this is a serious matter.

I cringe when I hear a person set aside the clear word of God so that he can be in line with current thinking. I cringe when I see a person have such a lack of respect for God and His word. I cringe when I hear men come to teach us a word from God and have nothing to say but their own agendas…

I want to hear what God says! I want to be convicted of my sin, rebuked and encouraged, I want to hear that there is hope for me with some encouraging word from God.

I say this knowing that one of the hardest positions to fill in the church is teachers, but James knowing this also says Let not many of you become teachers. So much responsibility comes with it.

James says there are many ways in which we can misuse our tongue, but none are more serious than to misrepresent and distort the Word of God! James 3:1 Says Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. What’s the worst thing we can do with our tongue? Misrepresent the Word of God! Evidently there were people who were trying to teach that really had no business doing so. They look at it as a elevate place, it was all show for them, but only revealed the attitude of their heart.

James felt it was a serious enough problem that he addressed it in chapter three when he gets into the sins of the tongue… One can only imagine that these people had their own personal gain in view, maybe they had their own agenda or theology that they wanted to promote, leading to the word of God being Misrepresented… My desire would never to teach for my personal gain… But always (ALWAYS) to edify the believers, to live by example and more importantly to glorify God in all I say and do.

I remember when I began to teach in my church many years ago, it was the middle school kids, my friend who was the Sunday School coordinator asked me to give it a go… I was so worked up over it week after week, I felt this overwhelming desire to bring truth to these kids minds, I remember leaving the set curriculum and just reading the word of God to them, that’s how God called me to teach, my desire for the word grew and grew and I just wanted to do it right and be an example for my Church by my submission to His word and how I treated it. Fire began to kindle in my bones Jeremiah 20:9.

There are times when I have failed miserable and not spoke with grace and compassion, and times when I have spoken to harshly, and I’m sorry for that, but I would rather error that way than have my brains spilled out of my mouth with men pleasing words.

The teacher/preachers job is to get the text right, accurately handling and understand the word of God 2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. It means you study hard and long if that’s what it takes, “Study” is spoudazō “to make haste, to exert one’s self, endeavor, give diligence.”

I like Wuest’s translation of this verse Bend your every effort to present yourself to God, approved, a workman unashamed, expounding soundly the word of the truth. It also means you use the brains of other men if that’s what it takes… Men who have done the hard study, who have searched out the scriptures, who can help us formulate what we need to say about the word of God. Spurgeon said “He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains proves that he has no brains of his own.”

God takes teaching and preaching His word serious, we only need to heed Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 One writer comments that “He tells us that teachers can build with gold, silver and precious stones or with wood, hay and stubble. The coming day of judgement will reveal the kind of work that we have done, and those who have built with the wood, hay and stubble will see their work utterly consumed and will realize that they have accomplished absolutely nothing!”

This writer has a little harsher word for those who have such a lack of respect for God’s word, who flippantly teach and preach it… like tacking jello to a wall.

“When the minister of the gospel faces the Lord God as judge, there will be many questions addressed to him. There will be many standards of accountability. There will be many criteria of judgment, but in the end the most essential criterion of judgment for the minister of God is, “Did you preach the Word? Did you fully carry out the ministry of the Word? In season and out of season, was the priority of ministry the preaching of the Word?”… There is one central, non-negotiable, immovable, essential priority, and that is the preaching of the Word of God.” R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

Then of course we shine everything up to the light of scripture as John Wycliffe writes….

“The true Christian was intended by Christ to prove all things by the Word of God, all churches, all ministers, all teaching, all preaching, all doctrines, all sermons, all writings, all opinions, all practices. These are his marching orders. Prove all by the Word of God; measure all by the measure of the Bible; compare all with the standard of the Bible; weigh all in the balances of the Bible; examine all by the light of the Bible; test all in the crucible of the Bible. That which cannot abide the fire of the Bible, reject, refuse, repudiate, and cast away. This is the flag which he nailed to the mast. May it never be lowered!”

and I will never lower that flag, never!

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

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MacArthur Monday

What is true about the true believer is that he loves the Word of God. The true Christian loves the Word of God. In the New Testament we find this again and again indicated to us in the language of our Lord, for example, in the eighth chapter of John, he says in verse 31, “If you abide in My Word, if you find your place, your resting place, your living place, your dwelling place, your settling place in My Word, then you are truly disciples of Mine, real disciples.” Mathetes alethos, genuine disciples live and abide in the Word because it is their only spiritual food. In John 14 and verse 15 Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” There will not only be a love for the Law of God, there will be obedience to that Law from the heart with joy and eagerness. First John chapter 5, “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. By this we know we love the children of God when we love God and do His commandments.” How can you tell when you’re a child of God? You love the Law of God and you obey His commandments.

Watch the rest below

“When the minister of the gospel faces the Lord God as judge, there will be many questions addressed to him. There will be many standards of accountability. There will be many criteria of judgment, but in the end the most essential criterion of judgment for the minister of God is, “Did you preach the Word? Did you fully carry out the ministry of the Word? In season and out of season, was the priority of ministry the preaching of the Word?”… There is one central, non-negotiable, immovable, essential priority, and that is the preaching of the Word of God.” R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

There is one central, non-negotiable,
immovable, essential priority, and that
is the preaching of the Word of God.

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

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A little of this and a little of that

Chris Rice, Peace Like a River: The Hymns Project. I love this Album of Hymns by Chris Rice

Before the Throne of God Above lyrics
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing lyrics
Great is Thy Faithfulness lyrics
How Great Thou Art lyrics
It is Well With My Soul lyrics
A Mighty Fortress is Our God lyrics
O Freedom lyrics
O Love That Will Not Let Me Go lyrics
The Old Rugged Cross lyrics
Rock of Ages lyrics

Download from Amazon Here and iTunes Here

Ligonier Ministries has a new GOD-HONORING 24-HOUR INTERNET RADIO COMMITTED TO the HISTORIC CHRISTIAN FAITH… PREACHING, TEACHING, SCRIPTURE, NEWS, MUSIC, AUDIOBOOKS, & MORE…

You can Listen on-line free Here or download free app Here

Fellowship and Conversation by Mike Riccardi… When the Lord first blessed me with an opportunity to teach regularly at one of Grace Church’s home Bible studies, I spent some time thinking and praying about what I’d wanted to teach on as I began my time with that wonderful group. Eventually, my heart was inclined to teach something on fellowship, because a home Bible study is a place where life is lived out together in community, a place where we can spur one another on to love and good deeds (Heb 10:24-25), Read the rest Here

Plain Preaching — Puritan Evangelism by Joel Beeke… Although evangelism differs to some degree from generation to generation according to gifts, culture, style, and language, the primary methods of Puritan evangelism—plain preaching and catechetical teaching—can show us much about how to present the gospel to sinners. This week we will consider plain preaching. read the rest Here

‘The great hymns of the church are on the way out. They are not gone entirely, but they are going and in their place have come trite jingles that have more in common with contemporary advertising ditties than the psalms. The problem here is not so much the style of the music, though trite words fit best with trite tunes and harmonies. Rather it is with the content of the songs. The old hymns expressed the theology of the Bible in profound and perceptive ways and with winsome memorable language. Today’s songs are focused on ourselves. They reflect our shallow or nonexistent theology and do almost nothing to elevate our thoughts about God. Worst of all are songs that merely repeat a trite idea, word, or phrase over and over again. Songs like this are not worship, though they may give the church-goer a religious feeling. They are mantras, which belong more in a gathering of New Agers than among the worshiping people of God.’~ James Montgomery Boice

Here are two of the Hymns on the The Hymns Project by Chris Rice

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

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When Adam fell… We fell!

I’m preparing to teach on Adams fall in Romans 5:12 which says Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— I came across this from Thomas Brooks……

Adam’s first estate was a state of perfect knowledge, wisdom and understanding. It was a perfect state of holiness, righteousness and happiness. There was nothing within him, but what was desirable and delectable; there was nothing without him, but what was amiable and commendable; nor was there anything around him, but what was serviceable and comfortable.

Adam, in his innocent estate, was . . .

  • the epitome of wisdom and knowledge,
  • the image of God,
  • the delight of heaven,
  • the glory of the creation,
  • the world’s great master,
  • the Lord’s great darling.

But when Adam fell—we fell.
When he lost all—we lost all.

There are five things we lost in our fall:

  1.  Our holy image—and so became vile;
  2.  Our divine sonship—and so became children of Satan;
  3.  Our friendship with God—and so became His enemies;
  4.  Our communion with God—and so became strangers;
  5.  Our happiness—and so became miserable.

Sin and death came into the world by Adam’s fall. For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:17

O sirs! what a wonder is this—that the great God, who was so transcendently dishonored, despised, provoked, incensed, and injured by poor base sinners; should so freely, so readily, so graciously, condescend to vile forlorn sinners—as to own them, as to love them, and as to enter into a covenant of grace and mercy with them! This may well be the wonder of angels, and the astonishment of men!~ Thomas Brooks, “Paradise Opened” 1675

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

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