Monday, October 22, 2018

Beware of False Converts

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’" (Matthew 7:21-23).

Not only does the church need to beware of false prophets, it must also beware of false converts. These are people who say Jesus is Lord with their lips but their lives do not match up. They are those who only demonstrate the outward actions of a believer while they still love their sin. There is no repentance from this people.

Jesus said these people will come before Him and say did we not do these great things in your name and Jesus would tell them He never knew them. A study note from the ESV Study Bible says:

False disciples may exercise power in Jesus’ name but their activities are meaningless because they deceive themselves and other believers, desiring attention for their own spectacular displays. Mighty works are not proof of the Father’s will since they can come from sources other than God, including demons and human contrivance.

James does tell us that faith without works is dead (James 2:17), but the faith we have must show fruit (John 15:1-17; Galatians 5:22-23). The fruit of the Spirit in Galatians is the result of the work of God through the Holy Spirit to conform one to the likeness of Christ. Our declaration must match our actions.

Music Monday: We Stand and Worship

Friday, October 19, 2018

Around The Web-October 19, 2018

Richard Gamble's 2 Volume set on The Whole Counsel of God is on sale at WTS Books

Catching Up on Events Since Travels to Scotland and Israel: Russell Moore, Brandi Miller, and Andy Stanley from James White

The Sword and The Trowel on the heart of the gospel, Traditional Theology & The SBC

Links regarding Baptism In The Early Church from Chris Whisonant

Doctrine and Devotion on The Persecuted Church

Pastor: Are You a CEO or a Christian Shepherd? from Michael Milton

8 Rules of Social Media Wisdom by Thomas Kidd

The Pastor’s Job Isn’t To Fix Things by Tim Challies

In this short video, Robert Godfrey explains faith comes from hearing the promises of the gospel

Book Review: How To Grow by Darryl Dash

One of the most common questions with new Christians and even ones who have been in the faith for years is, how do I grow in my walk with Jesus? Many pastors and authors have given their own advice on the issue. Some have been helpful which others not so much. Darryl Dash has given us some practical ways Christians can grow in their faith, in his book, How To Grow.

The first thing that Dash begins with in his book is the one thing Christians should never outgrow, which is funny because this book about growing in the faith yet there is something Christians should never outgrow. What is this thing Dash is talking about? The Gospel. Dash said the gospel is the key to spiritual growth. The gospel is the good news of Christ and Christians should never outgrow that. Most Christians think the gospel is only for non-believers. That is partially true. Yes, the gospel is the good news that sinners can come to a holy God because of the finished work of Christ to have their sins forgiven. However, the gospel is for believers to reminds us that none of our good works make God love us more nor our sins committed as a believer can take God's love from us. Dash said the gospel is also good news for the believer because it shows that God will transform us.

Dash continues on saying that God created us to grow. God has given us His Spirit to assist us in our growth. He even gives us what growth is and what it is not. Christian growth is also obeying God's commands. Jesus did say the one who loves him does what he has commanded. We grow in our walk with Christ by obeying him. Our Christian growth is not just going to church on Sunday, but it is every area of our lives.

Dash goes on that growth also takes place with the people of God. Yes, Christianity is a personal decision, but it is not a private lifestyle. Being with the church will helps us grow especially when we wrestle with things in the Bible together and worship God together. Dash also gives practical tools to help us grow. One of them is prayer. Prayer is when we communicate with God and show our dependence on him. Another is Bible reading. It is important for us to be in the Bible because God has revealed himself through the pages of scripture. Another way Christians to grow is to serve. We grow as we serve one another. God has given us gifts for ministry that should be use for the glory of God and edification of the saints.

This is a very practical book on Christian growth. I am delighted to recommend this one to a new believer or a believer that is struggling in their growth as a Christian.

Thanks Moody Publishers for letting me review this book.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Justified By Faith Fastened By The Gospel

...just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise (Galatians 3:6-18).

The apostle having reproved the Galatians for not obeying the truth, and endeavoured to impress them with a sense of their folly herein, in these verses he largely proves the doctrine which he had reproved them for rejecting, namely, that of justification by faith without the works of the law. This he does several ways.

I. From the example of Abraham’s justification. This argument the apostle uses, Rom. 4:1-25. Abraham believed God, and that was accounted to him for righteousness (Gal. 3:6); that is, his faith fastened upon the word and promise of God, and upon his believing he was owned and accepted of God as a righteous man: as on this account he is represented as the father of the faithful, so the apostle would have us to know that those who are of faith are the children of Abraham (Gal. 3:7), not according to the flesh, but according to the promise; and, consequently, that they are justified in the same way that he was. Abraham was justified by faith, and so are they. To confirm this, the apostle acquaints us that the promise made to Abraham (Gen. 12:3), In thee shall all nations be blessed, had a reference hereunto, Gal. 3:8. The scripture is said to foresee, because he that indited the scripture did foresee, that God would justify the heathen world in the way of faith; and therefore in Abraham, that is, in the seed of Abraham, which is Christ, not the Jews only, but the Gentiles also, should be blessed; not only blessed in the seed of Abraham, but blessed as Abraham was, being justified as he was. This the apostle calls preaching the gospel to Abraham; and thence infers (Gal. 3:9) that those who are of faith, that is, true believers, of what nation soever they are, are blessed with faithful Abraham. They are blessed with Abraham the father of the faithful, by the promise made to him, and therefore by faith as he was. It was through faith in the promise of God that he was blessed, and it is only in the same way that others obtain this privilege.

II. He shows that we cannot be justified but by faith fastening on the gospel, because the law condemns us. If we put ourselves upon trial in that court, and stand to the sentence of it, we are certainly cast, and lost, and undone; for as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse, as many as depend upon the merit of their own works as their righteousness, as plead not guilty, and insist upon their own justification, the cause will certainly go against them; for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them, Gal. 3:10; Deut. 27:26. The condition of life, by the law, is perfect, personal, and perpetual, obedience; the language of it is, Do this and live; or, as Gal. 3:12; The man that doeth them shall live in them: and for every failure herein the law denounces a curse. Unless our obedience be universal, continuing in all things that are written in the book of the law, and unless it be perpetual too (if in any instance at any time we fail and come short), we fall under the curse of the law. The curse is wrath revealed, and ruin threatened: it is a separation unto all evil, and this is in full force, power, and virtue, against all sinners, and therefore against all men; for all have sinned and become guilty before God: and if, as transgressors of the law, we are under the curse of it, it must be a vain thing to look for justification by it. But, though this is not to be expected from the law, yet the apostle afterwards acquaints us that there is a way open to our escaping this curse, and regaining the favour of God, namely, through faith in Christ, who (as he says, Gal. 3:13) hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, etc. A strange method it was which Christ took to redeem us from the curse of the law; it was by his being himself made a curse for us. Being made sin for us, he was made a curse for us; not separated from God, but laid for the present under that infamous token of the divine displeasure upon which the law of Moses had put a particular brand, Deut. 21:22. The design of this was that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ—that all who believed on Christ, whether Jews or Gentiles, might become heirs of Abraham’s blessing, and particularly of that great promise of the Spirit, which was peculiarly reserved for the times of the gospel. Hence it appeared that it was not by putting themselves under the law, but by faith in Christ, that they become the people of God and heirs of the promise. Here note, 1. The misery which as sinners we are sunk into—we are under the curse and condemnation of the law. 2. The love and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ towards us—he has submitted to be made a curse for us, that he might redeem us from the curse of the law. 3. The happy prospect which we now have through him, not only of escaping the curse, but of inheriting the blessing. And, 4. That it is only through faith in him that we can hope to obtain this favour.

III. To prove that justification is by faith, and not by the works of the law, the apostle alleges the express testimony of the Old Testament, Gal. 3:11. The place referred to is Hab. 2:4; where it is said, The just shall live by faith; it is again quoted, Rom. 1:17; Heb. 10:38. The design of it is to show that those only are just or righteous who do truly live, who are freed from death and wrath, and restored into a state of life in the favour of God; and that it is only through faith that persons become righteous, and as such obtain this life and happiness—that they are accepted of God, and enabled to live to him now, and are entitled to an eternal life in the enjoyment of him hereafter. Hence the apostle says, It is evident that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God. Whatever he may be in the account of others, yet he is not so in the sight of God; for the law is not of faith—that says nothing concerning faith in the business of justification, nor does it give life to those who believe; but the language of it is, The man that doeth them shall live in them, as Lev. 18:5. It requires perfect obedience as the condition of life, and therefore now can by no means be the rule of our justification. This argument of the apostle’s may give us occasion to remark that justification by faith is no new doctrine, but what was established and taught in the church of God long before the times of the gospel. Yea, it is the only way wherein any sinners ever were, or can be, justified.

IV. To this purpose the apostle urges the stability of the covenant which God made with Abraham, which was not vacated nor disannulled by the giving of the law to Moses, Gal. 3:15 Faith had the precedence of the law, for Abraham was justified by faith. It was a promise that he built upon, and promises are the proper objects of faith. God entered into covenant with Abraham (Gal. 3:8), and this covenant was firm and steady; even men’s covenants are so, and therefore much more his. When a deed is executed, or articles of agreement are sealed, both parties are bound, and it is too late then to settle things otherwise; and therefore it is not to be supposed that by the subsequent law the covenant of God should be vacated. The original word diatheke signifies both a covenant and a testament. Now the promise made to Abraham was rather a testament than a covenant. When a testament has become of force by the death of the testator, it is not capable of being altered; and therefore, the promise that was given to Abraham being of the nature of a testament, it remains firm and unalterable. But, if it should be said that a grant or testament may be defeated for want of persons to claim the benefit of it (Gal. 3:16), he shows that there is no danger of that in this case. Abraham is dead, and the prophets are dead, but the covenant is made with Abraham and his seed. And he gives us a very surprising exposition of this. We should have thought it had been meant only of the people of the Jews. “Nay,” says the apostle, “it is in the singular number, and points at a single person—that seed is Christ,” So that the covenant is still in force; for Christ abideth for ever in his person, and in his spiritual seed, who are his by faith. And if it be objected that the law which was given by Moses did disannul this covenant, because that insisted so much upon works, and there was so little in it of faith or of the promised Messiah, he answers that the subsequent law could not disannul the previous covenant or promise (Gal. 3:18): If the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise; but, says he, God gave it to Abraham by promise, and therefore it would be inconsistent with his holiness, wisdom, and faithfulness, by any subsequent act to set aside the promise, and so alter the way of justification which he had thus established. If the inheritance was given to Abraham by promise, and thereby entailed upon his spiritual seed, we may be sure that God would not retract that promise; for he is not a man that he should repent.

Adapted from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Around The Web-October 17, 2018

Justin Peters and KJV Only Discussion from Striving for Eternity

5 Myths about Calvinism by Greg Forester

From the Reformation 21 blog: The Statement on SJ&G Explained (I am sure more will be added to this list in the coming weeks)

Infographic: The Story of Redemption

Why Does Piper Avoid Politics and What’s Trending?

Baptism in the Early Church from Thomas Kidd and Justin Taylor

John Calvin and the Doctrine of Irresistible Grace by Keith Mathison

In this video, the question of the importance of Adam and Eve is explained

Christ The Sun

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— (Galatians 3:13).

The gospel—the most loved and comforting doctrine of all—doesn’t focus on our works or the works of the law. Rather, it shows us the incomprehensible, inexpressible mercy and love of God toward us, who are unworthy and lost people. The merciful Father saw that we were oppressed by the curse of the law and held under it. On our own and through our own efforts, we never could have freed ourselves. He sent his only Son into the world.

He put all the sin of all the people on his Son and said, “You will be Peter, who denied me; Paul, who persecuted, blasphemed, and acted violently; David, who committed adultery; the sinner who ate the apple in Paradise; the thief on the cross. In summary, you will be the one who committed all the sins of all the people. Make sure you pay for these sins and make atonement for them.” At this point the law said, “I find Christ to be a sinner—the one who has taken the sins of all the people upon himself. I do not see sin on anyone else except him. Therefore, he must die on the cross.” Then the law grabbed him and killed him. Since this happened, the entire world has been cleansed and atoned of all sin and freed from death and all evil. If everyone in the whole world believed, God would see only purity and righteousness.

This is because Christ would have taken away all sin and death. And even if there were any remnants of sin remaining, God wouldn’t see them because of the brightness of Christ, the Sun.

Adapted from Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional by Martin Luther

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Beware of False Prophets

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits (Matthew 7:15-20).

Jesus told the people during the sermon on the mount to watch out for false prophets. These are people claiming to be speaking for God which they are only doing it for their own personal gain. False prophets/teachers have been in plaguing the church since day one.

To give you an example, There were people in the church who said that must obey the law of Moses in order to be saved along with faith in Christ. These men infiltrated the church in Galatia where Paul wrote a his letter to them denouncing this teaching and showing the gospel of grace.

In our modern day, we see false teachers all over the place. We see them in our bookstores, television, radio, YouTube, and even podcasts. They preach a different gospel completely different than the one God has given us in scripture, or they add something to the gospel as a means of having control over those who listen.

These false teachers may sound genuine but they only want selfish gain. Some of them may sound like they are preaching the whole gospel when they are really not. They preach only to appease the itching ears of their listeners, which Paul wrote to Timothy:

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

How do we recognize false prophets? Jesus said you will know them by their fruit. What fruit is produced in the lives of those he/she are reaching? Does it produce a fruit for righteousness to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord?

How do we defend ourselves from false prophets/teachers? The best and most simplest way is to know the Bible. False teachers will twist the Bible to suit their desires. We must know what God has said in His Word if we want to discern truth from falsehood. Even Satan tried to tempt Jesus by twisting scripture and Jesus replied back using scripture knowing what Satan was trying to do.

False prophets/teachers are out there so be on guard whether you are at home or with your church family.

Monday, October 15, 2018

The Gospel Was To Get Us To God

Christ did not die to forgive sinners who go on treasuring anything above seeing and savoring God. And people who would be happy in heaven if Christ were not there, will not be there. The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God. It’s a way of overcoming every obstacle to everlasting joy in God. If we don’t want God above all things, we have not been converted by the gospel.

Adapted from God is the Gospel by John Piper

Music Monday: Author/Perfector by Rivers & Robots

Friday, October 12, 2018

Is The Earth Flat?

Of all the most interesting conversations that can be discussed during this day and age is whether or not the earth is flat. Seriously? I feel like I am back in Elementary school studying history or watching an old Looney Tunes cartoon that addressed this issues as well.

What is interesting is that some Christians are also saying the earth is flat. Really? Where they get that from?

Does the Bible say the earth is flat? Gabriel Hughes addresses this issue in this video:

Around The Web-October 12, 2018

Pastors' Talk: On Teaching the Church about the Church

Peter, Fear of Man, and Lying by Jon English Lee

Ask Pastor John: Does Depression Disqualify a Pastor?

What Ever Happened to Civil Debate? by James Williams

Rachel Held Evans: Slaying Giants or Taming the Bible? by Alisha Childers

When You Sense That “Nudge” by Michael Coughlin

Can Christians Lose Their Salvation? (Hebrews 6) by Dennis E Johnson

For you viewing pleasure, Donall and Conall Meet the JWs

What Does It Mean That Jesus Went To Proclaim The Spirits In Prison?

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, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison (1 Peter 3:18–19).

There is much debate about the identity of these spirits. The Greek term pneuma (“spirit”), in either singular or plural, can mean either human spirits or angels, depending on the context (cf. Num. 16:22; 27:16; Acts 7:59; Heb. 12:23; etc.). Among the three most common interpretations, the first two fit best with the rest of Scripture and with historic orthodox Christian doctrine. These are:

(1) The first interpretation understands “spirits” (Gk. pneumasin, plural) as referring to the unsaved (human spirits) of Noah’s day. Christ, “in the spirit” (1 Pet. 3:18), proclaimed the gospel “in the days of Noah” (v. 20) through Noah. The unbelievers who heard Christ’s preaching “did not obey … in the days of Noah” (v. 20) and are now suffering judgment (they are “spirits in prison,” v. 19). Several reasons support this view: (a) Peter calls Noah a “herald of righteousness” (2 Pet. 2:5), where “herald” represents Greek kēryx, “preacher,” which corresponds to the noun kēryssō, “proclaim,” in 1 Pet. 3:19. (b) Peter says the “Spirit of Christ” was speaking through the OT prophets (1:11); thus Christ could have been speaking through Noah as an OT prophet. (c) The context indicates that Christ was preaching through Noah, who was in a persecuted minority, and God saved Noah, which is similar to the situation in Peter’s time: Christ is now preaching the gospel through Peter and his readers (v. 15) to a persecuted minority, and God will save them.

(2) In the second interpretation, the spirits are the fallen angels who were cast into hell to await the final judgment. Reasons supporting this view include: (a) Some interpreters say that the “sons of God” in Gen. 6:2–4 are angels (see note on Gen. 6:1–2) who sinned by cohabiting with human women “when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah” (1 Pet. 3:20). (b) Almost without exception in the NT, “spirits” (plural) refers to supernatural beings rather than people (e.g., Matt. 8:16; 10:1; Mark 1:27; 5:13; 6:7; Luke 4:36; 6:18; 7:21; 8:2; 10:20; 11:26; Acts 5:16; 8:7; 19:12, 13; 1 Tim. 4:1; 1 John 4:1; Rev. 16:13–14; cf. Heb. 1:7). (c) The word “prison” is not used elsewhere in Scripture as a place of punishment after death for human beings, while it is used for Satan (Rev. 20:7) and other fallen angels (2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6). In this case the message that Christ proclaimed is almost certainly one of triumph, after having been “put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit” (1 Pet. 3:18).

(3) In a third view, some have advocated the idea that Christ offered a second chance of salvation to those in hell. This interpretation, however, is in direct contradiction with other Scripture (cf. Luke 16:26; Heb. 9:27) and with the rest of 1 Peter and therefore must be rejected on biblical and theological grounds, leaving either of the first two views as the most likely interpretation.

Adapted from the ESV Study Bible

Thursday, October 11, 2018

No Racial Partiality with God

Paul began his letter to the Romans by declaring the racial impartiality of God (2:11). It is important to remember that the racial separation in the Old Testament helped preserve the genealogical line of Christ. This wall of division between Jews and Gentiles was very important, for salvation (Christ) would be of the Jews. Yet now that the promise of the Abrahamic covenant has been fulfilled in Christ, the dividing wall between Jews and Gentiles has been broken down (Eph. 2:14).

The Jews no longer have exclusive rights to the gospel. According to Paul, the gospel is impartial and has gone into all the world, and is powerful enough to save both Jews and Gentiles: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16).

Not only is the gospel impartial, but the law is also impartial: “There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality” (Rom. 2:9-11).

The law and the gospel do not show any racial favoritism. Gentiles can be saved by the gospel, just as Jews can be condemned by the law: “For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law” (Rom. 2:12).

Adapted from The Kingdom of God: A Baptist Expression of Covenant Theology by Jeffrey Johnson