29 March 2013

Doctrine of the Holy Spirit Week 4

Effectual Calling is discussed this week in our study of the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit.

Question 67: What is effectual calling? 
Answer: Effectual calling is the work of God's almighty power and grace, whereby (out of his free and special love to his elect, and from nothing in them moving him thereunto) he does, in his accepted time, invite and draw them to Jesus Christ, by his Word and Spirit; savingly enlightening their minds, renewing and powerfully determining their wills, so as they (although in themselves dead in sin) are hereby made willing and able freely to answer his call, and to accept and embrace the grace offered and conveyed therein. 

Anonymous (2010-04-30). The Westminster Larger Catechism (Kindle Locations 156-161).  . Kindle Edition.

27 March 2013

Masters & Servants - Colossians 3:22-4:1

    Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.
    Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.
    (Colossians 3:22-4:1 ESV)

25 March 2013

By Whose Authority - Mark 11:27-33

    And they came again to Jerusalem. And as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him, and they said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?” Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? Answer me.” And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But shall we say, ‘From man’?”—they were afraid of the people, for they all held that John really was a prophet. So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
(Mark 11:27-33 ESV)

23 March 2013

Why Study Church History?

Why do we need to study church history? Psalm 78:1-8 makes it clear.

Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth!
I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known,
that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done.
He established a testimony in Jacob
and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers
to teach to their children,
that the next generation might know them,
the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God,
but keep his commandments;
and that they should not be like their fathers,
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
whose spirit was not faithful to God.
 We're bound to pass on what we have learned from those who have gone before us. And, to have that knowledge, we must study church history and all its ramifications. We can learn and apply much from those hearty, godly men who have weathered the theological storms before us. Let's take advantage of the vast amount of writings they have left for us.

22 March 2013

Rejoice & Beware - Philippians 3:1-3

    Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. 
To write the same things to you is 
no trouble to me and is safe for you.
    Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, 
look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we are the circumcision, 
who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in 
Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh—
    (Philippians 3:1-3 ESV)

21 March 2013

20 March 2013

Doctrine of the Holy Spirit Week 3

    ...knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
(1 Peter 1:18-21 ESV)

18 March 2013

The Fig Tree part 2

    As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
    (Mark 11:20-25 ESV)

16 March 2013

Doctrine of the Holy Spirit - Week 2

    And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
(Acts 2:38 ESV)

14 March 2013

Parents & Children - Colossians 3:20-21

    Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
(Colossians 3:20-21 ESV)

12 March 2013

Finding Joy in Your Job (Especially when you don't like it)

    There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God,
    (Ecclesiastes 2:24 ESV)

I've often found myself in employment that I don't like - nay, absolutely can't stand. Nevertheless, I know the Lord has put me there. And, I know there are many like me. So, how do we find joy when the job seems worse than a tooth extraction? Joseph Rhea suggests five ways to find that elusive joy:

1. Repent of "ideal jobolatry."
2. Fill yourself with Scripture and prayer daily.
3. Invest in the tasks and the relationships of your work.
4. Contemplate the goodness of your job.
5. Remind yourself that your identity is in Christ, not your job

If you're really struggling, jump over to the Gospel Coalition blog and read the entire article and begin to work on these five areas. You'll be blessed. 

11 March 2013

Cleansing the Temple - Mark 11:15-19

    And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching. And when evening came they went out of the city.
    (Mark 11:15-19 ESV)

08 March 2013

Doctrine of the Holy Spirit - Week 1

We start a new study this week as we delve into the Doctrine of Man.   

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
(Acts 2:38 ESV)

Don't Wait to Prepare to Suffer

John Piper reminds us:

Suffering is nothing more than the taking away of bad things or good things that the world offers for our enjoyment — reputation, esteem among peers, job, money, spouse, sexual life, children, friends, health, strength, sight, hearing, success, etc. When these things are taken away (by force or by circumstance or by choice), we suffer. But if we have followed Paul and the teaching of Jesus and have already counted them as loss for the surpassing value of gaining Christ, then we are prepared to suffer.

...If when you become a Christian you write a big red “LOSS” across all the things in the world except Christ, then when Christ calls you to forfeit some of those things, it is not strange or unexpected. The pain and the sorrow may be great. The tears may be many, as they were for Jesus in Gethsemane. But we will be prepared. We will know that the value of Christ surpasses all the things the world can offer and that in losing them we gain more of Christ.

Consider now those things you've lost or will lose as gaining Christ. Don't wait. Seek Him out today.

 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ
Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and
count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ
(Philippians 3:7-8 ESV)
Read more here.

06 March 2013

Husbands & Wives - Colossians 3:18-19

    Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, 
love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.
(Colossians 3:18-19 ESV)

05 March 2013

Dealing with difficult circumstances

Some practical and Biblical advice from John Flavel for dealing with difficult Providences...

John Flavel
Do not murmur and complain under new straits. This is a vile temper, and yet how natural to us when wants press hard upon us! Ah, did we but rightly understand what the demerit of sin is, we would rather admire the bounty of God than complain of the straithandedness of Providence. And if we did but consider that there lies upon God no obligation of justice or gratitude to reward any of our duties, it would cure our murmurs (Gen. 32. 10). 

Do not show the least discontent at the lot and portion Providence carves out for you. O that you would be well pleased and satisfied with all its appointments! Say: ‘The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage’ (Ps. 16. 6). Surely that is best for you which Providence has appointed, and one day you yourselves will judge it so to be. 

Do not neglect prayer when straits befall you. You see it is Providence dispenses all, you live upon it; therefore apply yourselves to God in the times of need. This is evidently included in the promise (Isa. 41. 17) as well as expressed in the command (Phil. 4. 6). Remember God, and He will not forget you. 

Do not worry your hearts with sinful cares. ‘Behold the fowls of the air’ (Matt. 6. 26), says Christ; not the fowls at the door that are daily fed by hand, but those of the air, that do not know where the next meal is coming from; and yet God provides for them. Remember your relation to Christ, and His engagements by promise to you, and by these things work your hearts to satisfaction and contentment with all the allotments of Providence.

Flavel, John (2011-11-02). The Treasures of John Flavel (Kindle Locations 1062-1063). Monergism Books. Kindle Edition.

04 March 2013

The Fig Tree - Mark 11:12-14

    On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.
(Mark 11:12-14 ESV)

    “You shall say to them, Thus says the LORD:
    When men fall, do they not rise again?
        If one turns away, does he not return?
    Why then has this people turned away
        in perpetual backsliding?
    They hold fast to deceit;
        they refuse to return.
    I have paid attention and listened,
        but they have not spoken rightly;
    no man relents of his evil,
        saying, ‘What have I done?’
    Everyone turns to his own course,
        like a horse plunging headlong into battle.
    Even the stork in the heavens
        knows her times,
    and the turtledove, swallow, and crane
        keep the time of their coming,
    but my people know not
        the rules of the LORD.
    “How can you say, ‘We are wise,
        and the law of the LORD is with us’?
    But behold, the lying pen of the scribes
        has made it into a lie.
    The wise men shall be put to shame;
        they shall be dismayed and taken;
    behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD,
        so what wisdom is in them?
    Therefore I will give their wives to others
        and their fields to conquerors,
    because from the least to the greatest
        everyone is greedy for unjust gain;
    from prophet to priest,
        everyone deals falsely.
    They have healed the wound of my people lightly,
        saying, ‘Peace, peace,’
        when there is no peace.
    Were they ashamed when they committed abomination?
        No, they were not at all ashamed;
        they did not know how to blush.
    Therefore they shall fall among the fallen;
        when I punish them, they shall be overthrown,
    says the LORD.
    When I would gather them, declares the LORD,
        there are no grapes on the vine,
        nor figs on the fig tree;
    even the leaves are withered,
        and what I gave them has passed away from them.”
(Jeremiah 8:4-13 ESV)

01 March 2013

Confession of Sin

Topical study on confession of sin. Well worth a listen.

So Joshua rose early in the morning and brought Israel near tribe by tribe, and the tribe of Judah was taken. And he brought near the clans of Judah, and the clan of the Zerahites was taken. And he brought near the clan of the Zerahites man by man, and Zabdi was taken. And he brought near his household man by man, and Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken. Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the LORD God of Israel and give praise to him. And tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.” And Achan answered Joshua, “Truly I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and this is what I did: when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath.” So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and behold, it was hidden in his tent with the silver underneath. And they took them out of the tent and brought them to Joshua and to all the people of Israel. And they laid them down before the LORD. And Joshua and all Israel with him took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver and the cloak and the bar of gold, and his sons and daughters and his oxen and donkeys and sheep and his tent and all that he had. And they brought them up to the Valley of Achor. And Joshua said, “Why did you bring trouble on us? The LORD brings trouble on you today.” And all Israel stoned him with stones. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones. And they raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day. Then the LORD turned from his burning anger. Therefore, to this day the name of that place is called the Valley of Achor. (Joshua 7:16-26 ESV)