Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Remembering Billy Graham

As most of you may have heard, the beloved evangelist Billy Graham passed away at the age of 99. He was loved by many Christians and even those who were not believers, respected Graham for his commitment to the message of Christianity. His death was no surprise for he has been battling Parkinson disease which is remarkable that he lived as long as he did, which is only by God's kindness.

One thing that many will remember Billy Graham for is his crusades. He will fill stadiums with people wanting to hear the message he was preaching and thousands came to know the Lord through those him. He also wrote many books, which I have personally reviewed a couple of them on the blog.

What I remember the most about Graham was something he said years ago. I cannot recall where he said, but it stood out as I thinking about writing this tribute to him. He was asked if he was scared of anything. His reply was to do anything that cause Jesus shame. He was afraid of doing anything that would discredit the gospel and the Lord Jesus. I am sure many of you have heard of the "Billy Graham Rule," which is his rule that he would never be in a building alone with a woman other than his wife, which is a rule adopted by Vice President Mike Pence.

There are some that would say even though Graham was a great evangelist, his theology was not altogether. What that means is they did not see eye to eye with what Graham believed and taught. It is true that Graham, at times, may not have had some beliefs that some Christians would not agree with, which is also what we can about other Christian leaders such as Wayne Grudem, John Piper, R.C. Sproul, or Sinclair Ferguson. Regardless if you agreed with Graham or not, one thing can said: He loved Jesus, trusted in Him as his Savior, and longed for people to be saved.

I can imagine he heard the words of the Savior as He entered glory, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Billy Graham fought the good fight, finished the race and kept the faith. Now he has entered his master's rest.

Around The Web-February 21, 2018

10 Things You Should Know about B. B. Warfield by Fred Zaspel

The Doctrine of Election Kills Pride by Josh Buice

Dayton Hartman- Lies Pastors Believe: 7 Ways To Elevate Yourself, Subvert The Gospel, and Undermine the Church from Equipping You In Grace

What Does it Mean to Abide in Christ? by Sinclair Ferguson

Why Transgenderism Threatens Parental Rights by Joe Carter

How 'Sola Fide' Empowers Your Personal Evangelism by Michael Kelley

How Does ‘Willful Sinning’ Threaten My Salvation? from Ask John Piper

In this brief video, we take a tour of Heritage Reformed Baptist Church in Mansfield, Tx, which will serve as the home the new IRBS Theological Seminary

No Other Sacrifices Needed

The first seven chapters of Leviticus seem to be the most neglected passages of the Bible. Every year when someone begins to Bible reading plan and gets to Leviticus, they skip over it because we do not do sacrifices anymore. While it is true that we don't sacrifice animals and our pastors are not covered in blood, it is important to read those chapters because that is what God required under the old covenant.

Another reason we should read those chapters, is to help us, as my Old Testament professor in college once said, understand the sacrifice of Jesus. The death of Christ on the cross fulfilled the sacrificial law. We don't have to take blood from bulls and goats. We also don't have to repeatedly do them. 1 Peter 3:18 says, "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit."

A study note from the Reformation Study Bible says, "Christ’s substitutionary death is sufficient, and no further sacrifices are necessary." Jesus is the perfect sacrifice. We don't need any other sacrifice. Christ's death on the cross was enough.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Charles Spurgeon: God In The Covenant

What a glorious covenant the second covenant is! Well might it be called "a better covenant, which was established upon better promises." Heb. viii. 6. It is so glorious that the very thought of it is enough to overwhelm the soul, when it discerns the amazing condescension and infinite love of God, in having framed a covenant for such unworthy creatures, for such glorious purposes, with such disinterested motives. It is better than the other covenant, the covenant of works, which was made with Adam; or that covenant which is said to have been made with Israel, on the day when they came out of Egypt.

It is better, for it is founded upon a better principle. The old covenant was founded on the principle of merit; it was, "Serve God and thou shalt be rewarded for it; if thou walkest perfectly in the fear of the Lord, God will walk well towards thee, and all the blessings of Mount Gerizim shall come upon thee, and thou shalt be exceedingly blessed in this world, and the world which is to come." But that covenant fell to the ground, because, although it was just that man should be rewarded for his good works, or punished for his evil ones, yet man being sure to sin, and since the fall infallibly tending towards iniquity, the covenant was not suitable for his happiness, nor could it promote his eternal welfare. But the new covenant, is not founded on works at all, it is a covenant of pure unmingled grace; you may read it from its first word to its last, and there is not a solitary syllable as to anything to be done by us. The whole covenant is a covenant, not so much between man and his Maker as between Jehovah and man's representative, the Lord Jesus Christ. The human side of the covenant has been already fulfilled by Jesus, and there remains nothing now but the covenant of giving, not the covenant of requirements. The whole covenant with regard to us, the people of God, now stands thus: "I will give this, I will bestow that; I will fulfill this promise; I will grant that favour." But there is nothing for us to do; he will work all our works in us; and the very graces that are sometimes represented as being stipulations of the covenant, are promised to us. He gives us faith; he promises to give us the law in our inward parts, and to write it on our hearts.

It is a glorious covenant, I say, because it is founded on simple mercy and unmixed grace; quite irrespective of creature-doings, or anything that is to be performed by man; and hence this covenant surpasses the other in stability. Where there is anything of man, there is always a degree of mutability; for creatures, and change, and uncertainty always go together. But since this new covenant hath now nothing whatever to do with the creature, so far as the creature has to do anything, but only so far he is to receive: the idea of change is utterly and entirely gone. It is God's covenant, and therefore it is an unchanging covenant. If there be something which I am to do in the covenant, then is the covenant insecure; and although happy as Adam, I may yet become miserable as Satan. But if the covenant be all on God's part, then if my name be in that covenant, my soul is as secure as if I were now walking the golden streets; and if any blessing be in the covenant, I am as certain to receive that blessing as if I already grasped it in my hands; for the promise of God is sure to be followed by fulfilment; the promise never faileth; it always bringeth with it the whole of that which it is intended to convey, and the moment I receive it by faith, I am sure of the blessing itself. Oh! how infinitely superior is this covenant to the other in its manifest security! It is beyond the risk or hazard of the least uncertainty.

But I have been thinking for the last two or three days, that the covenant of grace excels the other covenant most marvelously in the mighty blessings which it confers. What does the covenant of grace convey? I had thought this morning of preaching a sermon upon "The covenant of grace; what are the blessings it gives to God's children?" But when I began to think of it, there was so much in the covenant, that if I had only read a catalogue of the great and glorious blessings, wrapped up within its folds, I should have needed to occupy nearly the whole of the day in making a few simple observations upon each of them. Consider the great things God has given in the covenant. He sums them up by saying he hath given "all things." He has given you eternal life in Christ Jesus; yea, he has given Christ Jesus to be yours; he has made Christ heir of all things, and he has made you joint-heir with him; and hence he has given you everything. Were I to sum up that mighty masks of unutterable treasure which God has conveyed to every elect soul by that glorious covenant, time would fail me. I therefore commence with one great blessing conveyed to us by the covenant, and then on other Sabbaths I will, by Divine permission, consider separately, one by one, sundry other things which the covenant conveys.

We commence then by the first thing, which is enough to startle us by its immense value; in fact, unless it had been written in God's Word, we never could have dreamed that such a blessing could have been ours. God himself, by the covenant becomes the believer's own portion and inheritance. "I will be their God."

And now we shall begin with this subject in this way. We shall show you first that this is a special blessing. God is the special possession of the elect, whose names are in the covenant. Secondly, for a moment or two we shall speak of this as being an exceedingly precious blessing, "I will be their God." Thirdly, we shall dwell upon the security of this blessing, "I will be their God." And fourthly we shall endeavour to stir you up to make good use of this blessing, so freely and liberally conveyed to you by the eternal covenant of grace; "I will be their God."

Stop just one moment and think it over before we start. In the covenant of grace God himself conveys himself to you and becomes yours. Understand it: God—all that is meant by that word—eternity, infinity, omnipotence, omniscience, perfect justice, infallible rectitude, immutable love—all that is meant by God—Creator, Guardian, Preserver, Governor, Judge,—all that that great word "GOD" can mean, all of goodness and of love, all of bounty and of grace—all that, this covenant gives you, to be your absolute property as much as anything you can call your own. "I will be their God." We say, pause over that thought. If I should not preach at all, there is enough in that, if opened up and applied by the all-glorious Spirit, to excite your you during the whole of the Sabbath-day. "I will be their God."

Click here to read the sermon in its entirety.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

My Reaction To The Incredbiles 2 Trailer

If I was asked the question, what would the one Disney film I could watch for the rest of my life? It would be "The Incredibles." I loved this movie. I still watch it to this day. It was also the first time my wife and I took our son to the movie theatre. If you have seen the movie, you know it ended on a cliffhanger which made people wonder if there was ever going to be sequel especially after 3 Toy Story and 3 Cars movies.

This past week during the Olympics, the first trailer to the high anticipated sequel came out, which has some cheering and some not so much. For those who have not seen it, here it is:

After the trailer was released, I twitted the video saying I have been waiting a long time for this, which is true. Some have voiced their opinion that this is another attempt to promote feminism because Elastigirl is now the main hero while Mr. Incredible becomes a stay at home dad. I can see where they are coming from because it seems Elastigirl is now the main hero of the family. Others have said, I think it is too soon to jump to conclusions because it is the first trailer and the movie has not been released.

My attempt here is not to gloss over any comment or concern regarding what they have seen in this trailer nor am I trying to pick a fight with anyone in particular. I am just giving my opinion over what I have witnessed in this trailer.

While it does seem Disney is pushing feminism by making Elastigirl the primary hero make Mr. Incredible the stay at home dad, I think there is more to the story. There was a lot of cutting a splicing in this trailer where it seemed some of the lines were not matching what the characters were saying. Remember this is trailer not the movie.

I think there is a bigger story as to why Elastigirl is the primary hero while Mr. Incredible is on the sidelines. If the movie does take place where the original left off, something must have happened to why Elastigirl is out fighting crime while Mr. Incredible is at home. There must be more to the story than what this trailer is suggesting.

Wikipedia gives us a brief overview of what the film is about:

Taking place immediately after the first film, the end of which introduces The Underminer (John Ratzenberger), the Parr family struggles to maintain normal lives while Helen Parr (Holly Hunter), also known as Elastigirl, is out fighting crime and campaigning for the return of supers. Meanwhile, Helen's husband Bob Parr (Craig T. Nelson), also known as Mr. Incredible, remains at home watching their children Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dash (Huck Milner) and Jack-Jack, discovering the secret powers of the latter in the process. However, they, along with Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson), will have to battle a new villain with a sinister plot.

So based on this brief overview, there might be more to the story. Am I saying some went overboard with their first impressions? No, I was thinking the same thing at first when I saw the trailer, but at the same time, I was thinking there has to be more than what they showed in the trailer. A lot of times, you get an idea about what the movie is about based in the trailer and even some trailers give away some of the movie.

Some of you probably have decided not to see Incredibles 2, which I respect that. You have the freedom in Christ to do that. The rest of you, along with myself, have decided to reserve judgment till the movie comes out which okay as well. Maybe there was more to the story than what this first trailer was showing, which I know there will be more trailers to come as the release date gets closer, so I am eager to see this movie.

Once again, I am not trying to pick a fight or disagree with anyone regarding their opinion. I am just saying there might be more to the story. However, that does not mean I am going to watch this movie with an open mind, which is not a good idea anyway. I will be watching with a discerning heart and talk to my kids about it once the movie is over. In fact, all Christians should be watching movies and television shows with a discerning heart. The Bible tells us that we should "test everything" (1 Thessalonians 5:21). That includes sermons, books, podcasts, and even our entertainment.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Book Review: Sex In A Broken World by Paul Tripp

Sex is a gift that God has given to man and woman in the context of marriage yet the world doesn't see it that way. Throughout history, sex has been distorted and abused. Even people in the church get it wrong. Sex is a beautiful thing yet has suffered mistreatment due to the Fall.

Paul Tripp in his book, Sex In A Broken World, writes that Christians will face temptation when it comes to sex in this life. Yet, Christians can rejoice because we have a High Priest who hears us and sympathizes with our weakness. God will provide grace for us as continue to live our life in the body and face these temptations.

Tripp also dives into our culture's view of sex through various stories of people he has encountered. These people believe the lie that sex is pure satisfaction if you seek to please yourself and it will not hurt anyone else. The truth is it will hurt those around you and will eventually hurt you. Tripp also writes that the gospel helps us to be sex-wise. The Bible says flee sexual immorality yet our flesh will fight it everyday. The gospel shows us that God will change our hearts to follow him and say no to ungodly desires.

The rest of the book deals with putting sex back in the right context and that is the way God designed it. Sex should also be an expression of worship where we praise God for the husband/wife He has given us. Sex isn't about you, it is about God and glorifying him.

Paul Tripp takes the controversial topic of sex and presents a gospel-centered picture of what the Bible says it is. Yes, this world will distort it and we will face temptation, yet we should not lose heart. The Bible promises that God will provide a way of escape when we face temptation. The Bible also says that the world's desires will fade away including its distorted view of sex.

Thanks Crossway for letting me review this book.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Faith Is An Unswerving Gaze

for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ (Galatians 3:26-27).

Some people imagine that faith is a quality that sticks to the heart on its own, with or without Christ. This is a dangerous error. Christ should be placed directly before our eyes so that we see and hear nothing apart from him and believe that nothing is closer to us than Christ. For he doesn’t sit idly in heaven but is continually present in us. He is working and living in us, for Paul says, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). He also says that you “have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:27).

Therefore, faith is an unswerving gaze that looks on Christ alone. He is the conqueror of sin and death and the one who gives us righteousness, salvation, and eternal life. This is beautifully illustrated by the story of the bronze snake, which points to Christ (John 3:14). Moses commanded the Israelites, who had been bitten in the desert by poisonous snakes, to look at this bronze snake with an unswerving gaze. Those who did so were healed, simply by steadily gazing at the snake alone. In contrast, others who didn’t obey Moses looked at their wounds instead of the snake and died.

So if you want to be comforted when your conscience plagues you or when you are in dire distress, then you must do nothing but grasp Christ in faith and say, “I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, who suffered, was crucified, and died for me. In his wounds and death, I see my sin. In his resurrection, I see the victory over sin, death, and the devil. I see righteousness and eternal life as well. I want to see and hear nothing except him.” This is true faith in Christ and the right way to believe.

Adapted from Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional by Martin Luther

Monday, February 12, 2018

Book Review: The Farewell Discourse and Final Prayer of Jesus by D.A. Carson

John 14-17 is the account of Jesus teaching and being with His disciples before He was crucified. He taught many things to them including praying for them and future believers. These passages have been preached from years. Some have been preached expositionally while others topically.

D.A. Carson is one that preached these verses faithfully through expositional preaching. These sermons are record in a book, which was first published in 1980, called, The Farewell Discourse and Final Prayer of Jesus. Carson begins with the background of where we are in the gospel of John. Jesus just washed His disciples' feet, predicted that someone would betray him, told his disciples to love one another, and predicted that Peter would deny Him three times.

From there, we get into the meat of the book. Carson takes us Jesus final time with the disciples before His crucifixion. Most would think this book is a commentary which can be taken that way, but it is not a commentary. This book is a recording of sermons from a gifted pastor and teacher for the church. The way the chapters are written is as if you are looking at Carson's manuscript for these sermons.

Carson does a marvelous job in faithful exposing the text to the reader. You can tell some of them have been rewritten in a 21st century context. This may not be a commentary to the gospel of John, but this is an excellent resource to use for Bible Study or sermon reference.

Thanks Baker Books for letting me review this book.

Music Monday: All Because of Jesus by Austin Stone Worship

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Book Review: Supernatural Power for Everyday People by Jared C Wilson

The Apostle Paul exhorts the Ephesian church to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). To many in the church today, this is looked on as if one had to be charismatic to be filled with the Spirit. Every believer is sealed with the Spirit yet many do not want to be filled with Him. Many don't want to depend on the Spirit because they don't understand what He does.

Every believer, no matter who you or what your position is in the church, can live a life where you can depend on the Spirit of God. This is the subject of Jared C Wilson's new book, Supernatural Power for Everyday People. Wilson writes that too many Christians are living life based on their won strength which you can tell by how run down they are. Wilson goes on to say the Bible teaches us that every believer has Someone they can depend on to go on in day-to-day living who happens to be closer than most people think. That Person is the Holy Spirit.

Notice, I said the Holy Spirit is a Person, which Wilson does address this issue in the book. The Holy Spirit is not an it. He is not a personal force. The Holy Spirit is a Person, the third part of the Trinity. Jesus mentions what the Spirit's job is in scripture and is always addressed as a Person, not a thing.

Wilson goes to mention the Spirit is there is guide us in everyday life and reminds us of what the Bible teaches us just as Jesus taught in the gospel of John. Wilson takes time to discuss prayer and how we can pray to God. He also mentions the Spirit intercedes for us as Romans 8:26 teaches us with groans that words cannot express. What I love about this book is Wilson echoes what the Bible teaches about the Holy Spirit and how the believer is to depend on Him based on the Bible.

Wilson does take time to address spiritual gifts, including the apostolic ones. He does give, what he believes, the Biblical reasons that the gifts of the Spirit such as tongues as other apostolic gifts are still used today rather than being ceased. He only deals with it in a few pages rather than a whole chapter or half the book in dealing with this issue.

Jared C Wilson is one of my favorite authors. I have enjoyed every book he has written. Supernatural Power for Everyday People is no exception. The point of this book was not make a case against cessionalists, those who believe the gifts of the Spirit has stopped, but to remind the believers that everyone of us have the Holy Spirit to depend on as we live in this world.

Thanks Booklook Bloggers for letting me review this book.

Penal Substitution Is The Heart Of The Gospel

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit (1 Peter 3:18).

Here is one of the richest, clearest, and briefest New Testament summaries of the work of Christ. Theologians describe the heart of the gospel as penal substitutionary atonement. Jesus paid the penalty for sins (penal) as a substitute in our place (substitutionary) to undo the effects of our sin and restore us to God (atonement, literally “at-one-ment”). This is precisely what we find in this verse: Christ “suffered once for sins [penal], the righteous for the unrighteous [substitutionary], that he might bring us to God [atonement].”

As beautiful as are these gospel truths, the work of Christ accomplished even more. For example, the Devil and his demons are once and for all disarmed. The caring and righteous work of Christ is also an example for us to follow, as Peter himself asserts (2:21). But penal substitution is the fundamental heart of the gospel. The other benefits of Christ’s work all flow from this.

Because of the work of Christ proclaimed in the gospel of grace, we are restored to God. The wreckage we have introduced into our lives through sin and failure and error is canceled. All is forgiven, and one day we will be with Christ in the new earth, in perfect joy.

Adapted from the Gospel Transformation Bible