Raiding Satan’s Strongholds By The Instruction of God’s Word

One of the saddest features of Protestant Christendom today is the wide breakdown in teaching the Word. Instead of constructive indoctrination, in thousands of our denominational churches there is a meagre fifteen or twenty minute discourse on some moral or social or other topic of current interest. This is no petty criticism on our part, but a sincere complaint with a sob in it. The breakdown in sound teaching of the Bible leaves our people the easier prey of error, and in recent years hundreds of thousands have been beguiled away by specious counterfeits. The call to each of us is to so know our Bible that we can ‘instruct’ others. Despite rebuffs from ‘them that oppose,’ our words will be used of the Holy Spirit to ‘recover’ others from Satan’s snare…Those who best know their New Testament are least prone to these new heresies. All of us who know the truth of Salvation according to the New Testament should take pains to ‘instruct,’ as opportunity allows, those who are ensnared.

– Awake My Heart: Daily Devotional Meditations For The Year, J. Sidlow Baxter, pg. 330, commenting on 2 Timothy 2:22-26.

What a word! Are you sobbing over the theological and doctrinal famine sweeping through our churches? Do you know the Bible? Are you taking pains to teach others what it says? The means and only means of rescuing those ensnared and deceived by counterfeit doctrine is sound instruction of the Word (see 2 Timothy 2:22-26)!

Weekend Roundup: Seven Articles for your Musings

OK. So it has been nearly a month since I did this so this one isn’t so much a “weekend roundup” as it is a “monthly roundup.” Because of that there are also more than seven for you to muse. Enjoy!

Finders and keepers: “Has familiarity bred contempt? Do we value the truth as we should? With what eagerness or languor will you go to church tomorrow to hear the Word of God read and preached? Will once be enough? How often do you turn to it during the week?”

Who are You to “Who are You” Me?: Have you ever been in a conversation with someone about abortion or homosexuality and suddenly someone says, “Who are you to judge me?” Jay Watts very helpfully points out that such a response is “lazy thinking, if it can be categorized as thinking at all” and later goes on to say, “If by “Who are you to judge?” they mean to imply judgment is wrong then they are wrong to judge you. If they mean that you are wrong to judge others based on your criteria of judgement, then they need to focus on the reasons offered to support your criteria and not you.”

Jesus, Sex, and (gay) Marriage: In this article, Kenny Burchard puts to rest several often-used rationale from the culture with respect to the Bible and especially with respect to Jesus. I especially found #2 helpful as I have encountered that several times in my own ministry and #5 is especially important. Homosexuals are not the enemy. The enemy are the wolves within the church who are teaching homosexuality is OK and encouraging it as an acceptable lifestyle. As Christians, we must compassionately reach out to every kind of person. We must tell them of God’s love and call them to repent of their sins that they might be forgiven and declared righteous by the Lord God Almighty.

Yes, All Things, In Fact: I couldn’t agree more with Kevin DeYoung thoughts on God’s providence over all things and personally love to proclaim it whenever I can. God’s providence is a pillow for our heads. Especially uplifting is this paragraph – “You can look at providence through the lens of human autonomy and our idolatrous notions of freedom and see a mean God moving tsunamis and kings like chess pieces in some kind of perverse divine play-time.  Or you can look at providence through the lens of Scripture and see a loving God counting the hairs on our heads and directing the sparrows in the sky so that we might live life unafraid.  “What else can we wish for ourselves,” Calvin wrote, “if not even one hair can fall from our head without his will?” There are no accidents in your life.  Nothing has been left to chance.  Every economic downturn, every phone call in the middle of the night, every oncology report has been sent to us from the God who sees all things, plans all things, and loves us more than we know.” Now if we could only keep this in mind when the times of crisis or emergency come upon us. It seems we are more often than not practical atheists in times of suffering!

How to Fight the Good Fight for Joy: Seven ways to fight for the joy Jesus promised us.

What Macklemore got wrong…and right: Denny Burk shares the real question everyone should be thinking about post-Grammy’s – “In the wake of the Grammys, the big question is not what you thought of Macklemore. The big question is which God you will believe in. The false god of “same love,” or the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ? Which one will you choose?”

The Biggest “Contradiction” in the Bible: What do you think it might be?

5 Ways Facebook May Be Harming Your Christian Life: Kruger asks, “What effect does “social media” technology have on the way we view church? What effect does it have on the way we conceive of life in the body of Christ?” and then shares 5 characteristics of a “Facebook culture” that we need to reckon with.

The Wikipedia Church: The article begins this way – “Jesus made a definitive statement regarding the church.  He said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).  From the days of the early church, a pattern has existed regarding the church’s nature and function.  The very word “church” indicates a calling out from the world.  R.C. Sproul, in his commentary on Ephesians has written, “To be called by God out of the world and into the body of Christ is the highest vocation possible.”  However, in our present day, pastors and church leaders seem to be consistently looking to the culture to redefine, reinvent, and restructure church.  This type of behavior is much like the modern Wikipedia site where the culture contributes to define terms and provide research.  We are living in a “Wikipedia Church” culture.”

9 Benefits of Expository Preaching: I am a strong believer in expositional preaching. It is how my dad preaches. It is what was modeled to me in college and it is what I strive to do every Sunday. I often get asked why I preach the way I do. Now I have a list of 9 reasons! Many of the benefits of it are hard to measure but here are nine practical-theological benefits worth noting.

Map: More than half of humanity lives within this circle: A really interesting population map that shows Asia’s population dominance.

Spiritual Heartburn

“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself…they said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?’”  – Luke 24:27, 31

Christian, pray to see what Luke recounts to happen time and time again. Pray to see this happen every time you hear the Word of God preached. Pray to see this happen every time you open the Word. Pray that God’s people everywhere would be thrilled in all the Scripture. Pray that God’s church would be filled with intense emotion and excitement and praise as the Scripture with Jesus and the gospel at the center are expounded. Pray that we would not be slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Pray to see God’s people ask, “Did not our hearts burn within us?”

The Most Offensive Verse in the Bible

What do you think it is? Dan Phillips answer may surprise you but I think you will agree.

I absolutely love it:

When Piers or Larry or Tavis or Rosie or Ellen or The View or whoever tried probing me about homosexuality, or wifely submission, or any other area where God has spoken (to the world’s consternation), I think I’d decline the worm altogether. I think instead, I’d say something like,
“You know, TaPierRosEllRy, when you ask me about X, you’re obviously picking a topic that is deeply offensive to non-Christians — but it’s far from the most offensive thing I believe. You’re just nibbling at the edge of one of the relatively minor leaves on the Tree of Offense. Let me do you a favor, and just take you right down to the root. Let me take you to the most offensive thing I believe. “The most offensive thing I believe is Genesis 1:1, and everything it implies.

Click HERE to read the rest!

“What More Can He Say Than To You He Hath Said?

Justin Taylor on his blog  Between Two Worlds has posted a snippet from David Powlison’s book Suffering and the Sovereignty of God. In this snippet, Powlison is meditating on the fourth line of the first stanza of the great hymn, How Firm a Foundation?What more can He say than to you He hath said? Here is what he says:

I don’t know how you read Scripture. But there is a way to read Scripture that leaves you wishing God had said a whole lot more. How did Satan become evil? Why does Chronicles add zeros to the numbers in Samuel and Kings? How did Jonah avoid asphyxia-tion? Who wrote the book of Hebrews? And those aren’t even the questions that most often divide and perplex the church. Wouldn’t it have been great if the Lord had slipped in one killer verse that pinned down the eschatological timetable; that resolved once and for all every question about baptism; that specifically told us how to organize church leadership and government; that told us exactly what sort of music to use in worship; that explained how God’s absolute sovereignty neatly dovetails with full human responsibility? Only one more verse! And think what he could have told us with an extra paragraph or chapter! If only the Lord had shortened the genealogies, omitted mention of a few villages in the land distribution, and condensed the spec sheet for the temple’s dimensions, dishware, décor, and duties. Our Bible would be exactly the same length—even shorter—but a hundred of our questions could have been anticipated and definitively answered. Somehow, God in his providence didn’t choose to do that.

It comes down to what you are looking for as you read and listen. When you get to what most matters, to life-and-death issues, what more can he say than to you he has said? Betrayal by someone you trusted? Aggressive, incurable cancer? Your most persistent sin? A disfiguring disability? The meaning and purpose of your life? Good and evil? Love and hate? Truth and lie? Hope in the face of death? Mercy in the face of sin? Justice in the face of unfairness? The character of God? The dynamics of the human heart?

What more can he say than to you he has said? Listen well. There is nothing more that he needed to say.

Tolle Lege

Here are a couple of posts from “the Sola Panel” that are quite thought provoking, so I thought I would pass them along for your encouragement. Take some time to muse over them and let us know what you think!

Ministry in the year of the swine flu by Tony Payne

Women and the Bible by Paul Grimmond


Foolishness of Preaching

The Apostle Paul was committed to “the foolishness of preaching” (1 Cor. 1:21). But what is preaching anyways? What is its purpose? Murray Capill in Preaching with Spiritual Vigour puts it this way:

Preaching…is not merely intended to entertain, help or inform. it is intended to produce, by the grace of God, a deep impression on the hearts and souls of the hearers. it is a divinely ordained means of drawing people to God and compelling them to respond to him. it is intended to grip, thrill, move and change lives, well after the excitement of the meeting has worn off.”

Rob Smith says in an article entitled “Borers in the Pulpit” in The Briefing:

“Too many sermons are like a chef’s description of what’s on the menu, replete with explanations of how each dish is made. However, little actually arrives on the table or enters the stomachs of hungry people. Such preaching may have its uses, but it’s unlikely to strengthen believers to fight the good fight of today, or cause unbelievers to be cut to the heart and to exclaim that God is really among us.”

May God fill his churches with preachers who faithfully expound his word and compel others to respond to him!

God help me!