Thursday, May 25, 2017

Resources On The Five Points Of Calvinism

For those not familiar with the five points of Calvinism, they are:

Total Depravity

Unconditional Election

Limited Atonement

Irresistible Grace

Perseverance of the Saints

These words form the acrostic T.U.L.I.P. There are many resources on the five points of Calvinism. Here are few that I recommend:

Articles by R.C. Sproul:

TULIP and Reformed Theology: An Introduction

Total Depravity

Unconditional Election

Limited Atonement

Ireesistible Grace

Perseverance of the Saints

Books:

Five Points: Towards a Deeper Experience of God's Grace by John Piper

Going Beyond the Five Points: Pursuing a More Comprehensive Reformation

What's So Great About the Doctrines of Grace? by Richard D Phillips

Proof: Finding Freedom Through the Intoxicating Joy of Irresistible Grace by Daniel Montgomery and Timothy Paul Jones

Sermons:

God Condemns Justly with Joe Thorn

God Saves Sovereignly with Joe Thorn

God Atones Effectively with Joe Thorn

God Calls Irresistibly with Joe Thorn

God Sustains Faithfully with Jim Renihan



Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Be Christ-Centered On Social Media

Social media is a wonderful tool that the Lord has allowed His people used to engage with Christians in other cities that they would normally not be able to go. Social media is a also a chance to interact with people who may not know Jesus. Whatever your reason is being on social media, I hope you keep one thing in mind: Be Christ-Centered.

Yes, social media is where we tell one another our location, what we are having for dinner, and show our excitement when our favorite sports team wins a game. These are all good things, but we must always be Christ-centered. Let us not forget to share what God is doing in our lives, share a passage or two, or even share a post from a Christ-centered website.

In your dealings with people on social media, remember you are Christ's ambassadors. The lost world is watching. We must exhibit Christ-centered conversations in all our interactions on social media. If you talk about your differences, please be respectful (Those who like baptism debates on Twitter, that goes double for you).

Colossians 4:6 says that our conversations should "always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person." That not includes people in our daily living and church body, but also the ones we interact with digitally. Hebrews 3:13 says we are to "exhort one another every day." Granted, we are not all part of the same local church, but we are still all brothers and sisters in Christ. We must exhort another especially on social media.

As I said, social media is a wonderful tool, but we must honor Christ like in everything else and be Christ-centered in our interactions with those who follow us or just happen to be in on the conversation.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Christian Life Is A Race

You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you (Galatians 5:7-8).

The Christian life is a race. There’s a beginning and an end. There’s also a path on which to run, and a prize to obtain.

The beginning of the Christian race is, of course, conversion. The end or finish line is the final judgment. And the prize? Well, it’s nothing less than eternal life itself, what the Bible refers to as “the crown of life,” held out for those who endure all the way to the end (James 1:12).

What is the path on which we run? That’s the gospel. What God has done in Christ Jesus to free sinners from their bondage to sin—this is the track. The Christian life, then, is a gospel race. Or as John Bunyan says in his classic allegory The Pilgrim’s Progress, it is the “race of saints in this our Gospel-day.”

Yet what does it mean to run this race? Here’s where Paul’s answer may come as a surprise: believers run the race by obeying the truth of the gospel (5:7). The track is gospel truth, and obedience to it is how we run.

Adapted from Galatians: Gospel-Rooted Living by Todd Wilson

Friday, May 19, 2017

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Rest In The Bible

There are many good books out there and there are not so great books as well. I am thankful for the number of books I have read over the years that have stretched and challenged me. Some of those books have been reviewed on the blog while there are others I have shared quotes from whether on the blog or on social media.

While it is good to read books, it is very important that Christians must not neglect the reading of the Word of God. Psalm 119:105 says that God's Word is a lamp onto our fight and light for our path. Psalm 119 is a love letter to God's Word. The psalmist says God's Word is sweeter than honey and more precious than silver. The Bible is a treasure that all Christians have but I fear it is neglected for many reasons.

We cannot substitute our Bible reading with reading our books including devotionals or even reading blogs. Don't misunderstand me, these are all good, but they should never take the place of reading the Bible. If you are reading this, I am glad you have visited the blog, but I pray you stay in the Word. I hope you attend a church that encourages Bible reading and study where theology is not looked as an academic field.

Charles Spuregon once said, visit good books, but rest in the Bible. That is my hope for every believer that they would rest in the Bible The Bible is the final authority for faith and practice. If I read a book where the author is off in centerfield, I am going to take the Bible over that author and the same goes with a pastor.

Christians, rest in the Bible. That is God's Word to us.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Should Christians Fear The Devil and His Demons?

The Bible says that Satan prowls like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). Does this mean Christians should be afraid of Satan or does this mean we should be ready for when he and his demons attack?

John MacArthur tells us what power the devil and his demons have and where our ultimate victory lies:

Demons possess the great power of angels (Rom. 8:38; 1 Cor. 15:24), greater than humans but far less than their Creator. They have the power to carry out the following actions:
1.Indwell humans and animals (Mark 5:1–16)

2.Physically afflict people (Mark 9:17, 22)

3.Terrorize humans (1 Sam. 16:14–15; 18:10; 19:9; Acts 19:13–16; 2 Cor. 12:7)

4.Initiate false worship (1 Cor. 10:20–21)

5.Promote false doctrines (1 Tim. 4:1)

6.Perform false signs and wonders (2 Thess. 2:9; Rev. 16:13–14)

7.Deceive prophets (1 Kings 22:19–23)

8.Encourage idolatry (Deut. 32:17; Ps. 106:37)

9.Engineer death (Judg. 9:23, 56–57)

Demons work from a powerful heavenly hierarchy to execute their evil deeds. Words such as “angels,” “authorities,” “cosmic powers,” “dominions,” “powers,” “rulers,” and “thrones” can be used to describe the hierarchies of either holy or evil angels. In context, Romans 8:38; 1 Corinthians 15:24; Ephesians 2:2; 6:12; and Colossians 2:15 most likely refer to various ranks or levels among the evil angels, that is, the demon hierarchy. In context, Ephesians 1:21; Colossians 1:16; and 1 Peter 3:22 most likely refer to various ranks or levels in the holy angel hierarchy.

Scripture never elaborates on the specifics of these hierarchies to explain their order or function. Since Satan imitates and falsifies God’s character and kingdom characteristics, it is most likely that there is both an authoritative functional hierarchy for holy angels who worship God and a parallel counterfeit hierarchy for evil angels who give their allegiance to Satan.

However strong demons might be, they also have serious weaknesses and vulnerabilities:
1.They unwittingly serve God’s purposes (Judg. 9:23).

2.They were terrified of Christ and the gospel (Matt. 8:29; Mark 1:24; James 2:19).

3.They obeyed Christ (Matt. 8:32).

4.They obeyed the Twelve (Matt. 10:1–8) and the Seventy-Two (Luke 10:17–20).

5.They cannot separate believers in Christ from the love of God (Rom. 8:38).

6.They can be restrained by the Holy Spirit (2 Thess. 2:6; 1 John 4:4).

7.They have been judged already by God (2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6) and will be again in the future (Rev. 20:10).

Adapted from Why We Should Not Fear Satan and Demons which is based on MacArthur's book, Biblical Doctrine: A Systematic Summary of Bible Truth

Monday, May 15, 2017

Bible Reading That Satan Leaves Alone

John Piper:

Satan is real.

His main identity is “a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). His way of lying is more by deception than bold-face falsehoods. He “is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world” (Rev. 12:9). Therefore, he hates “the Spirit of truth” (John 15:26). He hates God the Father from whom the Spirit proceeds (John 15:26). He hates the Son of God, who is truth (John 14:6). And he hates the word of God because God’s “word is truth” (John 17:17).

Therefore, he will do his best to take away the word, if he can, and twist it, if he can’t—the way he did in the garden of Eden (Gen. 3:1) and in the temptations of Jesus (Matt. 4:6). Jesus described how Satan takes away the word: “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart” (Matt. 13:19). How does that happen? It might be by sheer forgetfulness. Or Satan may draw a person from Bible reading to an entertaining video, with the result that any thought of Christ’s worth and beauty is quickly lost in the flash of fire and skin.

Or Satan may simply blind the mind to the worth and beauty of Christ, which the Scriptures reveal. This is what Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 4:3–4:

Even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

“The god of this world” is Satan. He is called “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30), and John says that “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). It is this enormous blinding power that puts us in need of a supernatural deliverer. The thought that we could overcome this satanic force on our own is na├»ve.

When the risen Christ sent Paul “to open their [the Gentiles] eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God” (Acts 26:18), he did not mean that Paul could do this in human strength. Paul made that clear: “My speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Cor. 2:4–5). That is what it takes to overcome the blinding effects of Satan.

Let it not be missed that the specific focus of Satan’s blinding work is the gospel. That is, his focus is on our reading—or hearing—the heart of the message of the Christian Scriptures. Satan “has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.” Satan would be happy for people to believe ten thousand true facts, as long as they are blind to “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.” Let them make A’s on a hundred Bible-fact quizzes as long as they can’t see the glory of Christ in the gospel—that is, as long as they can’t read (or listen) with the ability to see what is really there.

So Jesus (Matt. 13:19), Paul (2 Cor. 4:3–4), and John (1 John 5:19) warn that Satan is a great enemy of Bible reading that sees what is really there. Bible reading that only collects facts, or relieves a guilty conscience, or gathers doctrinal arguments, or titillates aesthetic literary tastes, or feeds historical curiosities—this kind of Bible reading Satan is perfectly happy to leave alone. He has already won the battle.

But reading that hopes to see the supreme worth and beauty of God—reading that aims to be satisfied with all that God is for us in Christ, reading that seeks to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 34:8)—this reading Satan will oppose with all his might. And his might is supernatural. Therefore, any reading that hopes to overcome his blinding power will be a supernatural reading.

Adapted from Bible Reading That Satan Leaves Alone from Crossway, which is based on Piper's latest book, Reading the Bible Supernaturally: Seeing and Savoring the Glory of God in Scripture

Music Monday: Radical by Disciple

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Privilege of Sonship

And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:6)

To receive adoption as sons—what a remarkable privilege! This fact alone ought to thrill our hearts, and all the more as we further understand the privilege of being adopted into God’s family. Which is where Paul takes us in the very next verse; in fact, he points to two privileges: “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” (v. 6).

One privilege of divine adoption is the change of a child’s nature. Human adoptions are of course very special, but they don’t change a child’s nature. The change is only legal and relational; there’s no inner transformation of the child. But when God adopts a person into his family, he changes who he or she is from the inside out. In Christ we become new creatures! We receive new spiritual DNA, God’s own in fact.

How does that happen? God changes our nature by sending the Spirit of his Son into our hearts. And there, in the very core of our being, his Spirit remains and resides. He never departs. But more than that, he transforms us, starting from the inside and steadily working his way out, over time consuming the whole of who we are.

This leads to a second privilege of divine adoption: a change of disposition. Those with new DNA through the Spirit of God express that changed nature in a changed disposition, toward both God and the circumstances of their lives. From the moment of their new birth they begin to cry like newborn babies. However, theirs is a distinctive cry because it flows from this new Spirit-given nature and disposition. It is a cry of intimacy and dependence, and this is what it sounds like: “Abba! Father!”

But what kind of cry is this? Well, the only other person who cries this way is Jesus. In fact this is the cry he uttered in the garden of Gethsemane. His final hour had come. He was staring death in the face. No doubt he was also coming to terms with the suffering he was about to endure on the cross. His soul was in utter anguish. And at precisely that moment he voiced this cry: “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:36; cf. Matthew 26:39; Luke 22:42).

The cry “Abba! Father!” is the Son’s cry of distress to his loving heavenly Father. It’s his way of addressing his Father in his time of greatest need. Yes, this is a cry of intimacy and dependence. But it is even more fundamentally a cry—a response to pain, something one utters in the face of suffering or in the midst of hardship.

Because God sends the Spirit of Christ into the hearts of every one of his adopted children, they learn to cry this same cry when they’re in a time of need. Adopted sons and daughters cry out to their heavenly Father in the same way God’s one and only Son did. In fact, the cry of an adopted child of God is the cry of the Son himself, uttering his cry to God in them and for them through his Spirit (cf. Romans 8:15-17).

God’s adopted children have, then, a very distinctive cry; they have a distinctive way of responding to life’s challenges. The distinctive thing is not that God’s children have fewer challenges. Nor is it that God’s children don’t grieve or experience disappointment. Instead the distinctive thing about God’s children is this: when they cry they make a different sound than those who aren’t God’s children. When faced with suffering, whether great or small, God’s children turn to their heavenly Father and cry out to him, “Abba! Father!” And by faith they expect their heavenly Father to hear and respond to their cry.

Have you listened to yourself cry lately? What do you sound like when you are faced with difficulties or hardships or suffering or setbacks? If we heard a recording of your response to some recent difficulty in your life, what would we hear? Would we hear the sound, “Abba! Father!”? Or would we hear something else entirely, perhaps the sound of grumbling or even the gnashing of teeth?

All too often the children of God get into difficulties in life and start to cry, as well they should, but it’s not the distinctive cry of his adopted sons and daughters. Instead it sounds like the cry of those who don’t know God as their Father. It’s not the cry of intimacy and dependence; instead it’s the cry of indignation and desperation—“What am I going to do!” or “How can God do this to me!”

God’s children who are walking with the Lord don’t gnash their teeth at their heavenly Father. Even when they receive a heavy blow in life, they don’t curse the day they were born, much less curse the God who made them. Nor do they cry the way the world does—blaming themselves or others or God, suffocating under a sense of guilt and shame, or redoubling their efforts to work harder to get themselves out of their mess. God’s children look to their heavenly Father in faith and cry out to him, “Abba! Father!”

Adapted from Galatians: Gospel-Rooted Living by Todd Wilson

Friday, May 12, 2017

Around The Web-May 12, 2017

Jesus is Neither Democrat nor Republican by Michael J Kruger

Katy Perry Missed the Gospel of Grace by Todd Hill

The Shape of Gospel Astonishment in Psalm 24 by Jared C Wilson

Giving Thanks for Forty Years of Tabletalk by Nathan W Bingham

Pastoral Bullies by Erik Raymond

Sleep Disorders & the Glory of God by Eric Davis

The Proper Usage of the Law by Matthew Adams

As most of you may be aware, Hank Hanegraaff, a.k.a. The Bible Answer Man, as recently joined the Eastern Orthodox Church. Many are wondering why is this a big deal, but most importantly what do they teach. This video from "When We Understand The Text" explains what the Orthodox church believes.

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