31 March 2012

Wasting our Afflictions

John Piper
This is just too good not to share...

The design of God in our cancer is not to train us in the rationalistic, human calculation of odds. The world gets comfort from their odds. Not Christians. Some count their chariots (percentages of survival) and some count their horses (side effects of treatment), but we trust in the name of the Lord our God (Psalm 20:7). God’s design is clear from 2 Corinthians 1:9: “We felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” The aim of God in our cancer (among a thousand other good things) is to knock props out from under our hearts so that we rely utterly on him. - John Piper, Don't Waste Your Cancer, Crossway Books. Download the free pdf here.

Knowing Jesus through Trials

Octavius Winslow
Shrink not from, nor rebel against, that which makes you more intimately acquainted with your best Friend, your dearest Brother, the tender, sympathizing, Beloved of your soul. You will know more of Jesus in one sanctified trial than in wading through a library of volumes or in listening to a lifetime of sermons.

Winslow, Octavius (2011-11-01). The Works of Octavius Winslow (Kindle Locations 85009-85012). Monergism Books. Kindle Edition.

30 March 2012

The Basis for Hell

    But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife's knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.
(Acts 5:1-6 ESV)

29 March 2012

The Preciousness of Christ in Trials

Octavius Winslow
It is in adversity that human friendship is tested. When the wintry blast sweeps by, when fortune vanishes, and health fails, and position lowers, and popularity wanes, and influence lessens, then the summer birds of earthly friendship expand their wings and seek a warmer climate! The same test that proves the hollowness of the world's affection and constancy confirms the believer in the reality, power, and preciousness of the friendship of Jesus. To know fully what Christ is we must know something of adversity. We must be tried, tempted, and oppressed—we must taste the bitterness of sorrow, feel the pressure of want, tread the path of solitude, and often be brought to the end of our own strength and of human sympathy and counsel. Jesus shines the brightest to faith's eye when all things are dark and dreary. And when others have retired from our presence, their patience wearied, their sympathy exhausted, their counsel baffled, perhaps their affection chilled and their friendship changed, then Christ approaches and takes the vacant place; sits at our side, speaks peace to our troubled heart, soothes our sorrows, guides our judgment, and bids us "Fear not." Beloved reader, when has Christ appeared the nearest and most precious to your soul? Has it not been in seasons when you have the most stood in need of His guiding counsel and of His soothing love? In the region of your heart's sinfulness you have learned the value, completeness, and preciousness of His atoning work, of His finished salvation. But the tender, loving, sympathetic part of His nature, you have been brought into the experience of only in the school of sanctified trial. Oh, how precious has that trial made Him!

Winslow, Octavius (2011-11-01). The Works of Octavius Winslow (Kindle Locations 84990-85001). Monergism Books. Kindle Edition.

27 March 2012

Profiting from Trials

Octavius Winslow
The more your faith is tried, the more it deals with God, and travels to Christ; and it is impossible for you to spend one minute with God, or to catch one glimpse of Christ, and not be sensibly and immeasurably the gainer. The more your faith leads you to the throne of grace, the more precious will prayer become. The more your faith deals with the atonement of Christ, the more will the glory of His work unfold to your mind. The more your faith takes hold of the Divine promises, the more will it be confirmed in the truth of God's word. Thus faith—so supernatural and wondrous a grace is it—transmutes everything it touches into most precious gold, and so confers upon its tried but happy possessor "greater riches than the treasures of Egypt."

Winslow, Octavius (2011-11-01). The Works of Octavius Winslow (Kindle Locations 84944-84949). Monergism Books. Kindle Edition.

26 March 2012

Dishonored At Home - Mark 6:1-6

    He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief.
    And he went about among the villages teaching.
(Mark 6:1-6 ESV)

23 March 2012

The Nature of Hell - Matthew 13:47-50

    “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
(Matthew 13:47-50 ESV)

22 March 2012

18 March 2012

See you there!

I was glad when they said to me,
        “Let us go to the house of the LORD!”
(Psalm 122:1 ESV)

16 March 2012

Spurgeon on Psalm 16:2

    I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord;
        I have no good apart from you.”
(Psalm 16:2 ESV)

"O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord." In his inmost heart the Lord Jesus bowed himself to do service to his Heavenly Father, and before the throne of Jehovah his soul vowed allegiance to the Lord for our sakes. We are like him when our soul, truly and constantly in the presence of the heart-searching God, declares her full consent to the rule and government of the Infinite Jehovah, saying, "Thou art my Lord." To avow this with the lip is little, but for the soul to say it, especially in times of trial, is a gracious evidence of spiritual health; to profess it before men is a small matter, but to declare it before Jehovah himself is of far more consequence. This sentence may also be viewed as the utterance of appropriating faith, laying hold upon the Lord by personal covenant and enjoyment; in this sense may it be our daily song in the house of our pilgrimage. "My goodness extendeth not to thee." The work of our Lord Jesus was not needful on account of any necessity in the Divine Being. Jehovah would have been inconceivably glorious had the human race perished, and had no atonement been offered. Although the life-work and death-agony of the Son did reflect unparalleled lustre upon every attribute of God, yet the Most Blessed and Infinitely Happy God stood in no need of the obedience and death of his Son; it was for our sakes that the work of redemption was undertaken, and not because of any lack or want on the part of the Most High. How modestly does the Saviour here estimate his own goodness! What overwhelming reasons have we for imitating his humility! "If thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thine hand?" (Job 35:7.) 

Spurgeon, Charles H. (2011-04-07). The Treasury of David: Charles Spurgeon Commentary on Psalms (with Active Table of Contents) [Illustrated] (Kindle Locations 6792-6796). Niche Edition. Kindle Edition.

15 March 2012

A Great Recovery -- 1 Samuel 30:16-31

One of the most encouraging and comforting sermons I've ever heard for those who are down. Give it a listen and share it with whoever you can.

14 March 2012

Calvin on Psalm 19:13

     Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
        let them not have dominion over me!
    Then I shall be blameless,
        and innocent of great transgression.
(Psalm 19:13 ESV) 

It is to be observed, that while he calls himself the servant of   God, he nevertheless acknowledges that he had need of the bridle, lest he should arrogantly and rebelliously break forth in transgressing the law of God. Being regenerated by the Spirit of God, he groaned, it is true, under the burden of his sins; but he knew, on the other hand, how great is the rebellion of the flesh, and how much we are inclined to forgetfulness of God, from which proceed contempt of his majesty and all impiety. Now, if David, who had made so much progress in the fear   of God, was not beyond the danger of transgressing, how shall the carnal and unrenewed man, in whom innumerable lusts exercise dominion,  be able to restrain and govern himself by his own free will? Let us   learn, then, even although the unruliness of our wayward flesh has been   already subdued by the denial of ourselves, to walk in fear and trembling; for unless God restrain us, our hearts will violently boil with a proud and insolent contempt of God. This sense is confirmed by the reason added immediately after, that they may not have dominion over me. By these words he expressly declares, that unless God assist   him, he will not only be unable to resist, but will be wholly brought under the dominion of the worst vices. This passage, therefore, teaches us not only that all mankind are naturally enslaved to sin, but that   the faithful themselves would become the bond-slaves of sin also, if   God did not unceasingly watch over them to guide them in the path of holiness, and to strengthen them for persevering in it.

Calvin, John; Beveridge, Henry; Anderson, James; King, John; Bingham, Charles William; Pringle, John; Myers, Thomas; Owen, John; Pringle, William (2011-11-15). Complete Commentaries (With Active Table of Contents) (Kindle Locations 94679-94688). Kindle Edition.

13 March 2012

Luther on 1 Peter 4:12

    Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.
(1 Peter 4:12 ESV)

The Scriptures are accustomed to illustrate what we call suffering, by burning or trial by fire. This is St. Peter's conclusion, that we should not suffer ourselves to be surprised, or to think it strange and wonderful that the heat or fire should meet us, whereby we are tried, just as gold is when it is melted in the fire. When faith begins, God does not neglect it; He lays the cross upon our back in order to strengthen us and make our faith mighty. The Gospel is a powerful word, but it cannot enter upon its work without opposition, and no one can be sure that it possesses such power, but he who has experienced it. Where there is suffering and the cross, there its power may be shown and exercised. It is a living word, and therefore it must exercise all its energy upon the dead. But if there is no such thing as death and corruption, there is nothing for it to do, and none can be certain that it possesses such virtue, and is stronger than sin and death. Therefore, he says, are you tried; that is, God appoints for you no flame or heat (in other words, cross and suffering, which make you glow as in a furnace), except to try you, whether you rely upon His word. Thus it is written, Wisdom x., of Jacob, "God appointed for him a severe conflict, that he might learn by experience that divine wisdom is the strongest of all things." That is the reason why God imposes the cross on all believers, that they may taste and prove the power of God which through faith they have possessed. 

Luther, Martin (2009-10-04). The Epistles of St. Peter and St. Jude Preached and Explained (Kindle Locations 2031-2039). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition.

12 March 2012

Calvin on Psalm 71:20

    You who have made me see many troubles and calamities
        will revive me again;
    from the depths of the earth
        you will bring me up again.
(Psalm 71:20 ESV)

...When David complains that calamities had been shown to him, he means that he had suffered them. And as he attributes to God the praise of the deliverances which he had obtained, so he, on the other hand, acknowledges that whatever adversities he had endured were inflicted on him according to the counsel and will of God. But we must first consider the object which David has in view, which is to render by comparison the grace of God the more illustrious, in the way of recounting how hardly he had been dealt with. Had he always enjoyed a uniform course of prosperity, he would no doubt have had good reason to rejoice; but in that case he would not have experienced what it is to be delivered from destruction by the stupendous power of God. We must be brought down even to the gates of death before God can be seen to be our deliverer.

Calvin, John; Beveridge, Henry; Anderson, James; King, John; Bingham, Charles William; Pringle, John; Myers, Thomas; Owen, John; Pringle, William (2011-11-15). Complete Commentaries (With Active Table of Contents) (Kindle Locations 113258-113260). Kindle Edition.

09 March 2012

The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler


The Guarantee of the Spirit

    For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
(2 Corinthians 5:1-5 ESV)

07 March 2012

Church membership

Church Membership

1. Membership Rolls are Biblical
   a. OT  Ps. 87:6; Ps. 69:28
   b. NT Ac 2:31; Ac 2:47; 1Tim. 5:9
   c. Heaven Luke 10:20; Phil. 4:3
2. The Father's Lordship is visibly expressed
3. Pastoral Oversight Ac. 20:28
4. Discipline Matt. 18:15-20; 1 Cor. 5
5. Church is the Bride of Christ  Matt. 25
6. Communion of Saints Ac. 5

05 March 2012

Delivering a Demoniac

    They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.
    The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.
(Mark 5:1-20 ESV)

02 March 2012

The Witness of the Spirit

So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
(Romans 8:12-17 ESV)