Drawing a Line in the Sand – Part 2

Our Lord was no stranger to doctrinal controversy.  He did not avoid it and often was the initiator, especially when it came to the all important issue of whom we were to place our faith and trust for salvation (John 6:35-40; John 14:6). John MacArthur book, “The Jesus You Can’t Ignore” makes the same point;

“Jesus’ interaction with the religious experts of His time was rarely even cordial.  From the time Luke first introduces us to the Pharisees’ in Luke 5:17 until his final mention of the “chief priests and rulers” in  Luke 24:20, every time the religious elite of Israel appear as a group in Luke’s narrative, there is conflict. Often Jesus deliberately provokes the hostilities.  When He speaks to the religious leaders or about them – whether in public or in private – it is usually to condemn them as fools and hypocrites (Luke 11:40; 12:1; 13:15; 18:10-14).  When He knows they are watching to accuse Him of breaking their artificial Sabbath restrictions or their manmade systems of ceremonial washing, He deliberately defies their rules (Luke 6:7-11; 11:37-44; 14:1-6). On one occasion, when He was expressly informed that His denunciations of the Pharisees were insulting to the lawyers (the leading Old Testament scholars and chief academicians of that time), Jesus immediately turned to the lawyers and fired off a salvo at them, too (Luke 11:45-54).”[1] Continue reading

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Drawing a Line in the Sand – Part 1

Jude 1:3 ( NKJV ) Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

There seems to be two extremes that run through broader evangelicalism. One that is strident and will argue over any deviation of theology or methodology and the other extreme that sees little value in strongly held doctrine and a view of methodology that is purely pragmatic – if it works, then it’s OK.   Whether it’s fundamentalism, seeker driven, emergent, or much of mainline evangelicalism, finding when and where to draw the line in the sand, knowing where to take a stand is an issue that is absolutely necessary to know if we are to “contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.”  Just where is that line?   To even raise the question for many is offensive.  But it must be asked and it certainly needs an answer. Continue reading

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Something to Think About

“The extent to which sheer frivolity and utterly inane amusement have been carried in connection with some places of worship would almost exceed belief…There can be no doubt that all sorts of entertainments, as nearly as possible approximating to stage-plays, have been carried on in connection with places of worship, and are, at this present time in high favour.  Can these these things promote holiness, or help in communion with God?  Can men come away from such things and plead with God for the  salvation of sinners and the sanctification of believers?  We loathe to touch the unhallowed subject; it seems so far removed from the walk of faith and the way of heavenly fellowship. In some cases the follies complained of are even beneath the dignity of manhood, and fitter for the religion if the imbecile than for thoughtful men.” [1]

-Charles Haddon Spurgeon

  1. “Restoration of Truth and Revival,” The Sword and the Trowel (December 1887), 606
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Inauguration 2017

Psalm 118:9 (ESV) 9  It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.

Psalm 146:3 (ESV) 3  Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.

Every four to eight years, for the last 240 years, we have gone through what is, in our country, the ordinary, the natural, and the common place, the peaceful transition of power from one president to another.  But it is also extraordinary, and nearly miraculous, transition of power.  What we experience here, in the United States of America is unheard of in much of the world today.  It is also true that presidential elections and campaigning have often been tumultuous exercises testing a nation’s heart and resolve.  Since the growing reality of the internet and talk radio, this is even much more the case, and we have become a much more divided nation. While I found this process of presidential elections over the years more and more contentious, what has caused me even greater concern is our total trust in victorious leaders we may have voted for in a particular election.  In many cases, I believe, this kind of inordinate trust is there because of the emotional treasure that we expend in the process and in some cases the misplaced decision making process and voting that looks more like our calling a pastor to shepherd a flock rather than a person to hold a political office.  Continue reading

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The Heart and the Gospel

Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV) 9  “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?

You do not need to look far in our modern Evangelical church environment to see multiple movements concerned with getting the message out concerning a personal relationship with Christ.  Much of this has sprung from the “Church Growth Movement, Church Health Movement, Emergent Movement, and the Seeker Sensitive Movement.”  What they all have in common is a desire to see individuals come to a saving knowledge of Christ.  What they also have a in common is a desire to maximize their conversion rate.  So, in each of these movements, the focus primarily focuses in on felt needs, what they believe the hearer’s heart is seeking or wants.   Let me address two areas in which, we as Christians, in our desire to proclaim the Gospel, have fallen victim to a weak Gospel born out our misunderstanding of the heart. Continue reading

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Ecclesiastical Separation

Psalms 119:63(NKJV) 63    I am a companion of all who fear You,  And of those who keep Your precepts.

1 Timothy 6:20(NKJV) 20O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust…

2 Thessalonians 3:6(NKJV) 6But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which  he received from us.

It has been said, that any unity of persons that would honor God must first be a unity that God Himself has produced.

Failure to observe the Scripture’s mandates on Ecclesiastical Separation endangers the integrity of the Gospel with which we have been entrusted. Sometimes, however, our own ideas about Ecclesiastical Separation fall short – neglecting the clear instructions of the Bible or adding our own opinions to the Word of God. Continue reading

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The Spirit of Life – Part 2

In my Bible I have two glimpses of this in human life. The first is spoiled ere I can see it in perfection. The second grows with increasing glory the longer I gaze upon it. I have the “first Adam” and the “last Adam.” When I look at the “first” I see the picture of what the Spirit of God means in human life.

You will remember the verse in Genesis 2, which runs thus: “Jehovah . . . breathed into his nostrils the breath of  lives,” that suggestive Hebrew plural which is used poetically to indicate the fact of spaciousness and breadth which cannot be expressed in the singular number-“the breath of lives;

and man, became a living soul: ‘ Man is made in the image of God and given dominion over the creation of God. There are no details. The broad poetic facts are stated in that chapter. I turn to chapter 2, and I do not find a contradiction, but an explanatory account of a certain fact and phase of human life which had not been dealt with fully in the first chapter. Here there is revealed to us the nature of man. Man is dust and Deity; of the dust, God in-breathed; linked to the material, offspring of the Spirit, of the earth, of the heavens. It is all poetry, but it is true poetry. Man becomes the conscious and capable ego, when by this mystery, baffling all explanation, the God of heaven by breath Divine makes man. Continue reading

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The Spirit of Life – Part 1

I’d like to  share with you this great exposition of Romans 8:2 from G. Campbell Morgan (1863-1945), one of the finest expositors of the last 100 years.

His family experience and the impact of the preaching of D.L. Moody brought him to a ministry of preaching at the age of twelve.  He was twice the pastor of Westminster Chapel (1904, 1943).  He ministered in England and the United States and is well known for his solid expositional preaching and teaching.

This exposition will be broken down into two parts because of its length.  Enjoy the preach of G. Campbell!

Romans 8:2 (NKJV) 2  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

The Spirit is described in the New Testament as “the Spirit of Truth,” “the Spirit of Promise,” “the Spirit of Grace,” “the Spirit of Glory.” “The Spirit of Life” is a suggestive and comprehensive phrase, indicating the relation of the Spirit of God to all life. Two words are here placed together, both of which; refer to life. The word “Spirit” suggests life at its very highest. Here, as always, where the reference is to God, the word indicates the originating cause. The word “life” marks rather a manifestation or a form of the essential than the origination and power thereof. This word translated “life” is a very interesting one. The Greek language is richer than ours in this particular, that it has more words than one to describe life. Where we use our word “life”‘ to include many conceptions, there are at least two words in Greek literature; words that we have become familiar with by their adaptation into our language in scientific usage-the words bios and zoe, from which we have derived our words biology and zoology. These two Greek words indicate two thoughts about life, but in Greek classical literature they are other than the thoughts that they indicate in the New Testament. The order of suggestiveness is reversed in the New Testament, and this is an arresting peculiarity which the purely natural-I may almost say the animal-side of life. The other word, bios, had in it something of an ethical value and a spiritual conception. In all Greek literature you find this contrast is maintained. Continue reading

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To The Glory of God

Psalm 115:1 (NKJV) 1  Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, But to Your name give glory, Because of Your mercy, Because of Your truth.

1 Corinthians 10:31 (NKJV) 31  Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

What cannot be missed when we read the Scriptures is that it is a revelation of who God is, what He has done, what He is doing, and will do.  The first four words in the Bible set the stage; “In the beginning God…”(Genesis 1:1). But because of the fall which corrupted humanity to self-love, even for the believer, to live for the glory of God is no small feat.  The only one who accomplished that was Jesus Christ (John 1:14).   His life was not only sinless but gloriously lived for and in obedience to His Father (John 4:34; 5:36; 14:11). Genesis 1:1 makes it clear, and thunders out, that the whole of creation was not only a work of God but for His glory (Psalm 19:1; Isaiah 6:3). All the wonders of the created universe are His and designed to point to His glory. His creative work is so self-evident and declares his “hidden attributes and his power that man is left without an excuse (Romans 8:20).  In the end, the culmination of all things, the whole of creation will once again singularly express His glory (Habakkuk 2:4). Continue reading

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Security of the Believer – Part 5 (What It Is Not)

Matthew 7:21-23 ( NKJV ) 21“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  22Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  23And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

2 Corinthians 13:5 ( NKJV ) 5Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.

For me, there is no more glorious a thought than to know that I rest in the saving hands of God (John 1:28).  And for many years I rested in this one solid dimension of God’s faithful grace until while reading Romans 9:4-13 I saw that the elective purposes of God stood as the foundational and paramount truth to my position in Christ.  I realized that when we are told that it “is not of works but of Him who calls” (vs.11), I stood solely by the grace of God and that “not of works” meant exactly that.  I saw new and afresh that I was saved “to the praise of the glory of His grace” (Ephesians 1:4), and “that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7).  Continue reading

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