30 July 2010

The Implication of a Christian Worldview for Christian Education - Dr.Nelson Kloosterman

Dr. Nelson Kloosterman, Professor of Ethics and New Testament Studies at Mid-America Reformed Seminary, spoke at a local conference on the subject of The Implication of a Christian Worldview for Christian Education. It was insightful and enjoyable for all. Below are the audio links. Be blessed.

27 July 2010

True Christian Love

...The true nature of Christian love is a righteous principle which seeks the highest good of others. It is a powerful desire to promote their welfare. The exercise of love is to be in strict conformity to the revealed will of God. We must love in the truth. Love among the brethren is far more than an agreeable society where views are the same. It is loving them for what we see of Christ in them, loving them for Christ's sake.

The Lord Jesus Himself is our example. He was not only thoughtful, gentle, self-sacrificing and patient, but He also corrected His mother, used a whip in the Temple, Severely scolded His doubting disciples, and denounced hypocrites. True spiritual love is above all faithful to God and uncompromising towards all that is evil. We cannot declare, ‘Peace and Safety’ when in reality there is spiritual decay and ruin!

True spiritual love is very difficult to exercise because it is not our natural love. By nature we would rather love sentimentally and engender good feelings. Also many times true spiritual love is not received in love, but is hated as the Pharisees hated it. We must pray that God will fill us with His love and enable us to exercise it without dissimulation toward all. - A.W. Pink

26 July 2010

Fruit of the Spirit Lesson Three

Outstanding lesson on love. What is real love and how do we relate to others in light of the definition of Biblical love.

24 July 2010

Andrew Murray on the Holy Spirit

It was the Holy Ghost Who was given to the church at Pentecost; and it is the Holy Ghost Who gives Pentecostal blessings now. It is this power, given to bless men, that wrought such wonderful life, and love, and self-sacrifice in the early church; and it is this that makes us look back to those days as the most beautiful part of the Church’s history. And it is the same Spirit of power that must dwell in the hearts of all believers in our day to give the Church its true position. Let us ask God then, that every minister and Christian worker may be endued with the power of the Holy Ghost; that He may search us and try us, and enable us sincerely to answer the question, “Have I known the indwelling and the filling of the Holy Spirit that God wants me to have? Let each one of us ask himself: “Is it my great study to know the Holy Ghost dwelling in me, so that I may help others to yield to the same indwelling of the Holy Spirit; and that He may reveal Christ fully in His divine saving and keeping power?” Will not every one have to confess: “Lord, I have all too little understood this; I have all too little manifested this in my work and preaching”? - (From the Deeper Christian Life by Andrew Murray.)

23 July 2010

A man is what his heart is

The man is what his heart is. If this be dead to God, then nothing in him is alive. If this be right with God, all will be right. As the mainspring of a watch sets all its wheels and parts in motion, so as a man “thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7). If the heart be right, the actions will be. As a man's heart is, such is his state now and will be hereafter: if it be regenerated and sanctified there will be a life of faith and holiness in this world, and everlasting life will be enjoyed in the world to come. Therefore, “Rather look to the cleansing of thine heart, than to the cleansing of thy well; rather look to the feeding of thine heart, than to the feeding of thy flock; rather look to the defending of thine heart, than to the defending of thine house; rather look to the keeping of thine heart, than to the keeping of thy money” (Peter Moffat, 1570).

“Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23). The “heart” is here put for our whole inner being, the “hidden man of the heart” (1 Peter 3:4). It is that which controls and gives character to all that we do. To “keep”—garrison or guard—the heart or soul is the great work which God has assigned us: the enablement is His, but the duty is ours
. - A.W. Pink

22 July 2010

The Golden Chain

The Implication of a Christian Worldview for Christian Education - Dr. Nelson Kloosterman

Below is the conference audio of Dr. Nelson Kloosterman teaching on The Implication of a Christian Worldview for Christian Education from last May. Dr. Kloosterman is Professor of Ethics and New Testament Studies at Mid-America Reformed Seminary. Enjoy.

21 July 2010

Why Go I Mourning?

“Why go I mourning?”- Psalm 42:9

Canst thou answer this, believer? Canst thou find any reason why thou art so often mourning instead of rejoicing? Why yield to gloomy anticipations? Who told thee that the night would never end in day? Who told thee that the sea of circumstances would ebb out till there should be nothing left but long leagues of the mud of horrible poverty? Who told thee that the winter of thy discontent would proceed from frost to frost, from snow, and ice, and hail, to deeper snow, and yet more heavy tempest of despair? Knowest thou not that day follows night, that flood comes after ebb, that spring and summer succeed winter? Hope thou then! Hope thou ever! For God fails thee not. Dost thou not know that thy God loves thee in the midst of all this? Mountains, when in darkness hidden, are as real as in day, and God’s love is as true to thee now as it was in thy brightest moments. No father chastens always: thy Lord hates the rod as much as thou dost; he only cares to use it for that reason which should make thee willing to receive it, namely, that it works thy lasting good. Thou shalt yet climb Jacob’s ladder with the angels, and behold him who sits at the top of it-thy covenant God. Thou shalt yet, amidst the splendours of eternity, forget the trials of time, or only remember them to bless the God who led thee through them, and wrought thy lasting good by them. Come, sing in the midst of tribulation. Rejoice even while passing through the furnace. Make the wilderness to blossom like the rose! Cause the desert to ring with thine exulting joys, for these light afflictions will soon be over, and then “for ever with the Lord,” thy bliss shall never wane. -C.H. Spurgeon

“Faint not nor fear, his arms are near,
He changeth not, and thou art dear;
Only believe and thou shalt see,
That Christ is all in all to thee.”

17 July 2010

A Review of "In the care of the Good Shepherd: Meditations on Psalm 23"

To find good, Reformed devotional literature is difficult to do. So when I came across the Reflections series from publisher Day One I was delighted. One book in the series by Iain D. Campbell, In the care of the Good Shepherd: Meditations on Psalm 23, is certainly worth a read.

Don’t be deterred; this is not another boring exposition on Psalm 23. Campbell takes each verse as a chapter and draws out the truth of Scripture while revealing the solace found in the passage. It’s encouraging, comforting and inspirational; a thoroughly enjoyable read. Whether you’re looking for something new for your own devotions or something for group or family devotions this book is worth consideration. It gets a well deserved two thumbs up!

14 July 2010

A.W. Pink on Foreknowledge

Often misinterpreted, God's foreknowledge is critical to a right understanding to the Gospel. Without a correct understanding of it the Sovereign gift God mutates into works righteousness. A.W. Pink clarifies for us:

Let us pause and define our terms. What is meant by “foreknowledge”? “To know beforehand,” is the ready reply of many. But we must not jump to conclusions, nor must we turn to Webster’s dictionary as the final court of appeal, for it is not a matter of the etymology of the term employed. What is needed is to find out how the word is used in Scripture. The Holy Spirit’s usage of an expression always defines its meaning and scope. It is failure to apply this simple rule which is responsible for so much confusion and error.

...Now the word “foreknowledge” as it is used in the New Testament is less ambiguous than in its simple form “to know.” If every passage in which it occurs is carefully studied, it will be discovered that it is a moot point whether it ever has reference to the mere perception of events which are yet to take place. The fact is that “foreknowledge” is never used in Scripture in connection with events or actions; instead, it always has reference to persons. It is persons God is said to “foreknow,” not the actions of those persons.

...The first occurrence is in Acts 2:23. There we read, “Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” If careful attention is paid to the wording of this verse, it will be seen that the Apostle was not there speaking of God’s foreknowledge of the act of the crucifixion, but of the Person crucified: “Him (Christ) being delivered by,” etc.

The second occurrence is in Rom. 8:29, 30. “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the Firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called,” etc. Weigh well the pronoun that is used here. It is not what He did foreknow, but whom He did. It is not the surrendering of their wills nor the believing of their hearts, but the persons themselves that are here in view.

...The last mention is in 1 Peter 1:2: “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.” Who are “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father”? The previous verse tells us: the reference is to the “strangers scattered” i. e. the Diaspora, the Dispersion, the believing Jews. Thus, here too the reference is to persons, and not to their foreseen acts.

Now in view of these passages (and there are no more) what scriptural ground is there for anyone saying God “foreknew” the acts of certain ones, viz., their “repenting and believing,” and that because of those acts He elected them unto salvation? The answer is, None whatever. Scripture never speaks of repentance and faith as being foreseen or foreknown by God. Truly, He did know from all eternity that certain ones would repent and believe, yet this is not what Scripture refers to as the object of God’s “foreknowledge.” The word uniformly refers to God’s foreknowing persons; then let us “hold fast the form of sound words” (2 Tim. 1:18).

...It thus appears that it is highly important for us to have clear and scriptural views of the “foreknowledge” of God. The popular idea of Divine foreknowledge is not only inadequate and erroeneous, but slanders the reality of God’s attributes, bringing Him disgrace rather than the glory which is His due. God not only knew the end from the beginning, but He planned, fixed, predestinated everything from the beginning. And, as cause stands to effect, so God’s purpose is the ground of His prescience. If then the reader be a real Christian, he is so because God chose him in Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), and chose not because He foresaw you would believe, but chose simply because it pleased Him to choose; chose you notwithstanding your natural unbelief. This being so, all the glory and praise belongs alone to Him. You have no ground for taking any credit to yourself. You have “believed through grace” (Acts 18:27), and that, because your very election was “of grace” (Rom. 11:5). (From the Attributes of God by A.W. Pink.)

13 July 2010

Christopher Ness on Foreknowledge

The foreknowledge of God is so often misinterpreted and/or misunderstood that a Biblical understanding of it must by obtained. Christopher Ness (1621-1705) has written:

That which is the fruit and effect of the Divine decree cannot be the cause of it; and faith, perseverance, etc., are but the fruits and effects of electing love.

Such as are given to Christ in the decree of election, do come to, or believe in Christ; others do not come, do not believe; and the cause assigned is, because they are not of His sheep, because they are not given to Him. “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me” (John 6:37). Coming to Christ is believing on Him. “Ye believe not, because ye are not of My sheep” (John 10:26). “As many as were ordained to eternal life believed” (Ac 13:48). We may not (according to the Arminian notion) read it, “as many as believed were ordained unto life;” for this would be setting the cart before the horse, as if the means were ordained before the end. We are predestinated that we should be holy, not because we are holy (Eph 1:4). We are foreordained to walk in good works, not because we do so (Eph 2:10). We are predestinated to be conformed to the image of Christ, not because we are so (Ro 8:29). It is the election that obtains faith, and not faith that obtains election (Ro 11:7). And the Apostle, in 2 Timothy 1:9, excludes all works (both foreseen and existing), showing that God's gracious purpose is the original of all. Yea, Paul himself was chosen that he might know the will of God, not that he was foreseen to do so (Ac 22:14); and he tells the Thessalonians, that “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (2 Thess 2:13). We may not make that an antecedent to election which is but the consequent of it. “I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit” (John 15:16).

...God is the cause of causes, and the first cause of all things. There can be no being but from Him, there can be nothing before Him. “Of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things” (Ro 11:36). “In Him we live, and move, and have our being” (Ac 17:28). O Lord, “Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev 4:11). God is the chief efficient cause, and the ultimate end of all beings; but if any being be antecedent to the determinations of God's will, this would take away the dignity of the supreme cause, and make an act of man superior to that of God. (From An Antidote Against Arminianism by Christopher Ness.)

So we can see from these two brief passages from Hess' brilliant work on Arminianism that is not of ourselves that we believe. To embrace such a belief is to aceppt that man is the controlling factor in his own salvation. If that be the case, who should desire to worship a god who man can manipulate with such ease?

12 July 2010

Fruit of the Spirit Lesson 1

We begin the third quarter with a new series on the Fruit of the Spirit. This lesson is an excellent introduction to the book of Galatians.

08 July 2010

Spurgeon on Isaiah 26:4

Spurgeon never ceases to offer comfort in his writings. Consider the following excerpt from Morning and Evening:

“Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.” - Isaiah 26:4

Seeing that we have such a God to trust to, let us rest upon him with all our weight; let us resolutely drive out all unbelief, and endeavour to get rid of doubts and fears, which so much mar our comfort; since there is no excuse for fear where God is the foundation of our trust. A loving parent would be sorely grieved if his child could not trust him; and how ungenerous, how unkind is our conduct when we put so little confidence in our heavenly Father who has never failed us, and who never will. ...So far from suffering doubts to live in our hearts, we will take the whole detestable crew, as Elijah did the prophets of Baal, and slay them over the brook; and for a stream to kill them at, we will select the sacred torrent which wells forth from our Saviour’s wounded side. We have been in many trials, but we have never yet been cast where we could not find in our God all that we needed. Let us then be encouraged to trust in the Lord for ever, assured that his ever lasting strength will be, as it has been, our succour and stay. (From Morning and Evening: Daily Readings, by C.H. Spurgeon.)

07 July 2010

A Review of "THE HUMANNESS OF JOHN CALVIN: The Reformer as Husband, Father, Pastor and Friend"

John Calvin has been often been misrepresented as a cold, hard, unfeeling, detached man and responsible for the death of Michael Servetus. Nothing could be further from the truth and Richard Stauffer’s, The Humanness of John Calvin, The Reformer as Husband, Father, Pastor and Friend, dispels any ideas of these distortions be true. Not a new work, published in 1971, it is worth another look however as Calvin’s life is back in the limelight with the anniversary of his birthday last year. The author, Richard Stauffer, (1921-1984), was an outstanding Reformation historian in his own right and his exquisite knowledge of the time period is revealed within this 96 page tome.

Stauffer threads his way through the highlights of Reformer’s life and reveals intimate details, most through detailed knowledge of his letters, about Calvin the man; about his humanness. Dispelling many if not all of the unfair and inaccurate characterizations of the Reformer, we read of the kind, loving, deep feeling man that he was. For those who have been indoctrinated with the lies about Calvin, this book is for you. For those who want to know more about the man behind the theology, this book is also for you. I highly recommend it. It could be a first step to a greater understanding of Calvinism.

06 July 2010

The Sufficiency of God

From E.M. Bounds we read,

The sweetest graces by a slight perversion may bear the bitterest fruit. The sun gives life, but sunstrokes are death. Preaching is to give life; it may kill. The preacher holds the keys; he may lock as well as unlock. Preaching is God’s great institution for the planting and maturing of spiritual life. When properly executed, its benefits are untold; when wrongly executed, no evil can exceed its damaging results. It is an easy matter to destroy the flock if the shepherd be unwary or the pasture be destroyed, easy to capture the citadel if the watchmen be asleep or the food and water be poisoned. Invested with such gracious prerogatives, exposed to so great evils, involving so many grave responsibilities, it would be a parody on the shrewdness of the devil and a libel on his character and reputation if he did not bring his master influences to adulterate the preacher and the preaching. In face of all this, the exclamatory interrogatory of Paul, “Who is sufficient for these things?” is never out of order.

Paul says: “Our sufficiency is of God, who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” The true ministry is God–touched, God–enabled, and God–made. The Spirit of God is on the preacher in anointing power, the fruit of the Spirit is in his heart, the Spirit of God has vitalized the man and the word; his preaching gives life, gives life as the spring gives life; gives life as the resurrection gives life; gives ardent life as the summer gives ardent life; gives fruitful life as the autumn gives fruitful life. The life–giving preacher is a man of God, whose heart is ever athirst for God, whose soul is ever following hard after God, whose eye is single to God, and in whom by the power of God’s Spirit the flesh and the world have been crucified and his ministry is like the generous flood of a life–giving river. (Taken from the Power of Prayer by E.M. Bounds)

Mohler at the Resolved Conference

A great video of Al Mohler from the Resolved Conference.

Al Mohler on Reading from Resolved on Vimeo.

03 July 2010

A Short Review of "John Calvin and His Passion for the Majesty of God"

John Piper’s little tome, John Calvin and His Passion for the Majesty of God, is a superb piece that reviews the high points of the Reformer’s life and clearly demonstrates in his thoughts and deeds his desire to display the Majesty of God. Indeed, it is a short work, only 59 pages including the appendix, but it’s a must read for anyone wanting an introductory lesson on Calvin. Moreover, it presents the Reformer's life long passion for sharing God’s majesty, primarily through the preaching of Scripture. If the reader is looking for more depth and information there are other works available (see sidebar).

If there is a down side to this little work it is found in the unnecessary appendix in which we find a defense of Calvin’s involvement in the trial of Servetus. Piper deserves credit for defending him but it is yet another wearisome defense of the Genevan Reformer against those who cannot properly interpret history. This appendix would have been better left out as it distracts from the main thrust of the work.

01 July 2010

God With Us

God shall be with ye. (Genesis 48:21)

Good old Jacob could no more be with Joseph, for his hour had come to die: but he left his son without anxiety, for he said with confidence, "God shall be with you." When our dearest relations or our most helpful friends are called home by death, we must console ourselves with the reflection that the Lord is not departed from us but lives for us and abides with us forever.

If God be with us, we are in ennobling company, even though we are poor and despised. If God be with us, we have all-sufficient strength, for nothing can be too hard for the Lord. If God be with us, we are always safe, for none can harm those who walk under His shadow. Oh, what a joy we have here! Not only is God with us, but He will be with us. With us as individuals; with us as families; with us as churches. Is not the very name of Jesus, Immanuel--God with us? Is not this the best of all, that God is with us? Let us be bravely diligent and joyously hopeful. Our cause must prosper, the truth must win, for the Lord is with those who are with Him. All this day may this sweet word be enjoyed by every believer who turns to "faith's checkbook." No greater happiness is possible. - C.H. Spurgeon

This encouraging word was on my mind today as I struggled through an issue. May it be of help to you.