31 October 2013

Godliness in Heart and Life

photo credit: Chiceaux via photo pin cc
Discipline is a metaphor from wrestlers contending for a prize. It is a resolution to put forth full strength and power. Paul challenged Timothy to godliness at all cost. We must follow our heavenly Captain with the greatest industry, and be labourers not loiterers. Lay aside any hindrance, for godliness is not to be a side-business, but a main business.

God is our chief good and portion. Godliness is worshipping in the heart and life according to his revealed will. We must give him our love, highest joy, deepest sorrow, strongest faith, and greatest fear. The fear of God should stand at the door of our heart to examine all that goes in, lest the traitor, sin, should steal in. Godliness is the worshipping of God in the inner workings of the heart and the outward actions of the life. Heart-godliness pleases God best, and life-godliness honours him most.

In a godly man's heart, though some sin is left, no sin is liked; in his life, though sin remains, yet no sin reigns. His heart is suitable to God's nature and his life answerable to God's law. The life of godliness lies mostly in his heart. Discipline gives godliness precedence in all of his actions. Whatever is left undone, this business is sure to be done. He allots time every day for his spiritual duties with the utmost power. Whoever is displeased, or whatever is neglected, he will take care that God is worshipped.

Godliness is the errand for which man is sent into the world, to serve his Master before himself. Godliness takes precedence the first of the day. As soon as he is awake he is with God. Like the lark, he is up early, singing sweetly to the praise of his Maker; and often, with the nightingale, up late, singing the same pleasant tune. Earthly callings must give way to heavenly. He gives God the cream of all his affections. He loves God without measure.

– George Swinnock, as quoted in Voices from the Past, ed. Richard Rushing, (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2009).

Further Reading
Conquering by the Spirit of God
Blessed to Be in the Body
The Lord Reigns

29 October 2013

Many Americans Claim 'God Told Me'

"God told me." "God spoke to my heart." "God gave me a vision/dream/liver shiver."

There is no shortage of ways in which people today claim the Lord of the universe has spoken personally and directly to them outside of Scripture. These professions of personal revelation are perhaps one of the most dangerous daggers being wielded in the visible church today. Once the man (or worse, the woman) on stage or behind the pulpit claims that he (or she) has received a personal word from the Lord, the authority of God's true revealed Word as found in Scripture is thrown under the proverbial bus. After all, who can argue with "Thus saith the Lord"?

And if God allegedly has told one person one thing and another person a contradicting thing, how is one to know who has the true word? All reason and truth becomes relative to each individual's experience and the only truth that can be known and trusted—God's Word—is placed back onto the bookshelf or coffee table to collect dust while the more vivid and emotional experiences rock the professing believer to and fro.

Yet none of this has hindered myriads of professing Christians from seeking to hear directly and personally from the Almighty outside of His Word. Recent research from YouGov reveals the following:
Out of the 76% of Americans who said that they personally believe in the existence of a God, half say that they have at least once before done something because God told them to. Including non-believers, this makes up 38% of the entire country.

The group most likely to have acted on God's command are 'born-again' or evangelical Christians, who make up about a third of Americans. Almost two-thirds (65%) of born-again Christians say God has told them to do something at least once before. Only a quarter (25%) of the remaining population have ever had the same experience.1
In fairness, this article does not specify the means by which 'God' instructed these individuals. Perhaps some of them meant that 'Gold told them' to do something through His Word. Those who have been saved by God do, of course, seek to obey the One who was gracious enough to redeem them.

28 October 2013

NoCo90: Fathers and Funerals



If you have an idea or suggestion for an episode of NoCo90, contact No Compromise Radio at their website, on their Facebook page, or via email at: info [@] nocompromiseradio.com.

Additional Resources
NoCo90: Christ's Federal Headship
NoCo90: Donate Buttons and Christian Begging
NoCo90: No Arminians in Heaven

25 October 2013

This 'n' That

I do not understand Halloween decorations. This is not simply due to my opinion of Halloween and the Christian's response to it. Even as an unregenerate youth who loved horror movies, vampire television shows and Dean Koontz murder mystery novels I never understood the allure of decorating with death, even a watered-down, silly version of it.

Really, what is the attraction of attaching a huge, fake spider to the front of your house? Or hanging ghoulish goblins from your trees? Or placing a Styrofoam tombstone in your landscaping? Or, perhaps worst of all, hanging up one of those witches that looks like it has crashed into a tree—what is the deal with that?

All of us will die one day. And for many, many people, life after death will not be a thing to be celebrated. Why, then, do we find it amusing and fun to dress up and celebrate blood, gore and death while we still are in this life? Ought we not instead appeal to those who are lost to repent of their sins and believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ? Ought we not instead celebrate and sing the praises of the One who gives eternal life? The priorities of this world are grossly misplaced, but those of us who have Christ have been set apart. Let us use this ridiculous 'holiday' of Halloween to truly live out what it means to be set apart for Christ. Let us share Life with a dying world.
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." (John 14:6)
Now, before you rush outside to remove that oversized arachnid from your house, take a few minutes to first enjoy your week in review (kind of):

23 October 2013

22 October 2013

Conquering By the Spirit of God

Richard Baxter
You are not to conquer difficulties and oppositions in your own strength, but by the Spirit of God. The power of his grace is sufficient, and his strength appears the greatest in our weakness (2 Cor 12:9). All the saints in heaven have gone this way. They have overcome oppositions and difficulties; they were tempted, troubled, scorned, opposed, and now they triumph in glory (Rev 7:14). All that have gone to heaven are likely to have come this way. Do you desire to have their outcome without following their path?

Consider how much greater difficulties the ungodly go through to hell. They have stronger enemies than you have; God himself is their enemy, and yet on they go. Men threaten us with death, but God threatens damnation to discourage them, and yet on they go and they are not discouraged. Will you be more afraid of man than sinners are of God, and more afraid of death and scorns, than they are of hell?

Consider what abundant mercies you have to sweeten your present life and to make your burdens easy. You have all the blessings of this life and the promise of everlasting joy. What an abundance of mercy you have in your bodies, estates, friends, names, and souls! What promises and experiences to refresh you! What freedom of access to God; a Christ and heaven to rejoice in! Shall a stony or a dirty way discourage you more than these shall comfort you? Your work will grow easier and sweeter to you as your skill and strength increase. Your enemies are as grasshoppers before you. The power of the Almighty is engaged by love and promise for your help. Do you pretend to trust in God, and yet fear the face of man (Isa 50:6–7)? 'Fear not the reproach of man' (Isa 51:7–8). We strive for unspeakable glory, and nothing should seem too difficult, or sufferings too great.

– Richard Baxter, as quoted in Voices from the Past, ed. Richard Rushing, (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2009).

Further Reading
The Christian Way of Facing Trials
Strangled and Burned: Remembering William Tyndale
The Lord Reigns

An Eyewitness's Open Letter to Mark Driscoll

Even if it did not proceed as planned, it is clear that Mark Driscoll's publicity stunt at last week's Strange Fire conference achieved its purpose. Driscoll has indeed garnered a great deal of attention following his childish antics.

Perhaps the saddest aspect of the entire ordeal is Driscoll's obvious and shameless lies regarding the sequence of events that day. One eyewitness, Darren Wiebe, who is an M.Div student at The Master's Seminary and the man on the left in the photo below, has written an open letter to Mark Driscoll following this PR performance.

18 October 2013

Acting Like Men? Mark Driscoll Crashes Strange Fire, James MacDonald Watches

The Strange Fire conference has caused no small stir among charismatics. Leaders of the movement like Michael Brown have been outspoken about their disapproval of the event in the weeks leading up to it. But so-called 'Reformed Charismatics' have been more silent, yet it is this group that largely should be listening to the truth taught at this conference. They have been silent, that is, until now.

This 'n' That

This is what my computer will look
like if it doesn't start working soon.
Today's post will be short and sweet for two main reasons. First, I've not been online much this week to gather the usual panoply of links for you. Second, when I finally did try to find some time to sit down and write this post, my main computer (you know, the one that has my entire life's work saved on it) decided that it was going to enter early retirement. It did not consult me on this decision, so we are trying to work out a compromise. In the meantime, don't tell John MacArthur or the other folks at the Strange Fire Conference that I've been laying hands on my computer to try to raise it from the dead.

Speaking of Strange Fire, have you been watching? If you haven't, try to tune in today for some of the sessions, and keep watching for the audio and video to be posted online. We will link to that here as soon as it's available. While you wait for that, take some time to enjoy your unintentionally abbreviated week in review (kind of):

17 October 2013

NoCo90: Salvation By Death


If you have an idea or suggestion for an episode of NoCo90, contact No Compromise Radio at their website, on their Facebook page, or via email at: info [@] nocompromiseradio.com.

Additional Resources
NoCo90: Christ's Federal Headship
NoCo90: Donate Buttons and Christian Begging
NoCo90: No Arminians in Heaven

15 October 2013

Do Not Miss the Strange Fire Conference


The much anticipated Strange Fire Conference, hosted by Grace to You and held on the campus of Grace Community Church, finally will begin on October 16. For those of us who cannot attend in person as we had hoped or planned, every plenary session will be live streamed in six languages: English, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Mandarin, and German. To access the live stream, visit the website of Grace to You.

Also available for download is the Strange Fire Conference app. The app will allow you to access the live stream, as well as schedule and speaker information, social media links and more.

May we all be praying for the speakers at this event: John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, Steve Lawson, Conrad Mbewe, Phil Johnson, Justin Peters and others. May we also be praying for those in attendance as well as for those who are trapped in and deceived by the very things that will be addressed at this event. May God's truth be proclaimed boldly and without apology. May this conference shine a desperately needed light into the darkness of the dangerous charismatic movement.

Further Reading
When Tolerance Is Valued over Truth
Bill Johnson: God Does Not Cause Illness and Never Chooses Not to Heal
Tyler Perry and T.D. Jakes Offer Strange Fire

The Christian Way of Facing Trials

When the great day comes, the genuineness of your faith will be made manifest. There will be praise and honor and glory. Your little faith, the faith you think is so little, will stand out as something tremendous. It has stood the test and it is going to minister unto “praise and honor and glory.”

Whose honor and praise and glory?

First of all, His . . . the Lord Jesus Christ. He will stand at that great day and look with a sense of satisfaction at Christian people, those whom He called. They have not faltered. He will look at them and He will be proud of them.

But it will also be to our honor and glory and praise, yours and mine. We shall hear Him praising us and saying, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”

He will clothe us with His own glory and we shall spend our eternity enjoying it with Him. The greater and the more genuine our faith, the greater will our glory be.

We may be in heaviness through many temptations and trials at this present time, and we may be weeping as we go along. It does not matter.

We are promised that the day will come when God Himself “shall wipe away all tears from our eyes,” and we shall be with Him in glory everlasting.

That is the Christian way of facing trials. Thank God we are in His hands. It is His way of salvation and not ours.

Let us submit ourselves to God. Let us be content to be in His hands. Let us say to Him: Send what You will, our only concern is that we may ever be well-pleasing in Your sight.

— Martyn Lloyd-Jones

HT: Truth Community Fellowship

Further Reading
You Cannot Sneak into Heaven Without a Cross
When Tolerance Is Valued over Truth
Strangled and Burned: Remembering William Tyndale

11 October 2013

This 'n' That

Photo: Wikimedia
How do you eat your M&Ms? I want you to think carefully about this, because it is a crucial question. Do you shove an entire handful (or bagful) into your mouth at once? Do you eat them one at a time? Must you separate them by color before eating them?

How you consume these candy-coated chocolatey treats says a lot about you. Perhaps you eat your M&Ms two at a time so that you can chew one on each side of your mouth, letting them melt just enough so that the shell can be cracked away and eaten first, followed quickly by the chocolatey goodness inside. If so, then this is the correct way.

The next all-important question is, of course, what kind of M&M is your favorite? Do you prefer the original milk chocolate, peanut, dark chocolate, dark chocolate peanut or almond? Perhaps you like to wait for the seasonal flavors, like Winter's white chocolate mint M&Ms or Autumn's pumpkin spice (I just bought a bag of these and they are disappointing. If you're a fan of pumpkin, don't waste your money or the calories). The flavor of M&M to which you gravitate also says a lot about you.

These are the important things to ponder in life, and here at Escalator Church, we are determined to do so in light of the Bible. So don't miss our upcoming sermon series beginning November 3: Breaking through Your Candy-Coated Shell. Pastor Bobby's first message, "How to Be a Peanut in a Plain Milk Chocolate World" will be off the hook amazing. And there's a reason we aren't starting this until after Halloween. That's right, since the stores will all have their candy 50% off by then, we'll be handing out free fun size bags of M&Ms to every person who walks in the door. Don't miss it!

Okay, for those of you who are newer to the blog and are completely confused right now, please see hereherehere and here. Oh, and here, herehere and most recently here to learn more about Escalator Church. Once you've caught up on all of that silliness, please sit back and enjoy your week in review (kind of):

08 October 2013

'Preachers of L.A.' Is Powerful . . . a Powerful Insult to the Church

Source
Do Not Be Surprised first commented in July on the Oxygen Network's upcoming, new series, 'Preachers of L.A.' In the post, "'Preachers of L.A.' Sure to Be an Insult to Both Television and the Church" it was concluded that,
Ultimately, what the Christian must consider is this: What should one think about the shepherd of God's flock who would agree to appear on a "reality" TV show? Reality TV exists to elevate men and to feed their ego and vanity. Even if one were to proclaim the gospel on camera, it would be extremely surprising if such a proclamation actually made it past the editing room. Television networks such as Oxygen primarily celebrate one thing: the world. Any pastor participating in such a thing, then, has at best made a na├»ve decision, and most certainly has made an unwise one. 
"Preachers of L.A." may demonstrate that pastors are sinners, too, but it sadly will not reveal to the viewer what are the true qualifications of an elder as set forth by God Himself.
Yet Oxygen continues to promote this certain television aberration, which finally will premiere tomorrow, 9 October. The latest commercial for this show appeals to quotes from the media, both in support of and in opposition to the reality series:

06 October 2013

Sunday Morning Praise

'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus

Strangled and Burned: Remembering William Tyndale

William Tyndale
Each day, millions upon millions of Christians open a Bible to read the written Word of God that is so graciously given to us by the Creator of the universe. Many of these same Christians possess multiple copies of this Word. Various translations and bindings, sizes and formats may fill the bookshelf of any blessed believer. Sitting among the comforts of Western society, sipping tea while feasting upon this Word, it is all too easy to forget that the Scripture resting in our lap has sailed down to us on a sea of blood.

On this day in history, 6 October 1536, Protestant scholar, reformer and translator William Tyndale was murdered for his devotion to Christ and His Word. Ten years earlier, in 1525–1526, Tyndale was the first to print the New Testament in the English language, making the Scriptures available to be read by the laymen of his land. "He was the first person to take advantage of Gutenberg's movable-type press for the purpose of printing the Scriptures in the English language."1

05 October 2013

NoCo90: No Free Will in Heaven

If you have an idea or suggestion for an episode of NoCo90, contact No Compromise Radio at their  website, on their Facebook page, or via email at: info [@] nocompromiseradio.com.

Additional Resources
NoCo90: The Myth of Free Will
Lydia's Conversion and God's Irresistible Grace
The Doctrine of Election, Part 1 (sermon by Dr. John MacArthur)

04 October 2013

This 'n' That

photo credit: mugley via photopin cc
There actually are quite a few things I could share with you this week, but for some reason nothing is striking me as particularly chuckle-inducing, or thought-worthy. Although if I'm honest, it just comes down to the fact that I've been too busy this week to even sit down and type. The blog may be more silent than usual over the next couple of weeks. Rest assured, however, that I will be back! So hang around. I won't be gone long and in the meantime, I'll try to continue to post the thoughts and words of men far smarter than this little ol' blogger. Men like Charles Spurgeon, for example:
A knowledge of the truth reveals the atonement by which we are saved: a knowledge of the truth shows us what that faith is by which the atonement becomes available for us: a knowledge of the truth teaches us that faith is the simple act of trusting, that it is not an action of which man may boast; it is not an action of the nature of a work, so as to he a fruit of the law; but faith is a self-denying grace which finds all its strength in him upon whom it lives, and lays all its honor upon him. Faith is not self in action but self forsaken, self abhorred, self put away that the soul may trust in Christ, and trust in Christ alone. (Charles Spurgeon, Salvation by Knowing the Truth)
For now, though, it is still Friday. And you still need to catch up on your week in review (kind of):

01 October 2013

Blessed to Be In the Body

photo credit: Chiceaux via photo pin cc
Aside from silly anecdotes, it is not often that I share much here about my personal life. There is a reason for that, and that is because, though I maintain this blog, it is not my desire that this be a blog about me. Who am I? It really does not matter. Who is Jesus Christ? Ah, now that matters, and it matters eternally. A Christian blog should not point to the blogger, but to the One who saves souls, namely our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Today, though, I feel compelled to share this with you: I am blessed. I am confident that every one reading this now would agree and affirm that they, too, have been blessed greatly by the Lord. To list and detail every undeserved blessing that God has bestowed upon this still-being-sanctified sinner would no doubt keep this blog in business until the Lord returns or calls this blogger home. Yet today I am overwhelmed with thankfulness for one thing in particular: the fellowship of the saints and my dear sisters in Christ.