31 January 2015

Equipping Eve: What Is Truth?

As our Lord stood on trial before him, Pilate uttered the question that still resounds on the lips of many unbelievers today: “What is truth?” On this episode of Equipping Eve, we turn to the source of all truth—the Word of God—to answer Pilate’s question.

Click here to listen to this latest episode of Equipping Eve.

To listen to the sermon recently preached by Steve Lawson that is discussed in this episode of Equipping Eve, click here.

30 January 2015

Justification and Sanctification

Let me show you the essential difference between justification and sanctification. Look at it like this: Justification is an act of God the Father; sanctification is essentially the work of God the Holy Spirit. There is this division of work in the blessed Persons of the Trinity. It is the Father who declares righteous and just. It is the Holy Spirit who sanctifies.

Second, justification takes place outside us, as in a tribunal; sanctification takes place within us, in our inner life. I stand in the court when I am justified, and the judge pronounces that I am free; it is a statement about me, outside me. But sanctification is something that is worked and takes place within.

Third, justification removes the guilt of sin; sanctification removes the pollution of sin and renews us in the image of God.

And therefore, last, by definition justification is a once-and-for-all act. It is never to be repeated because it cannot be repeated and never needs to be repeated. It is not a process but a declaration that we are pronounced just once and forever, by God. Sanctification, on the other hand, is a continuous process. We continue to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord until we are perfect beyond the veil.

So there is nothing quite so erroneous and confusing and unscriptural as to mistake the essential difference between justification and sanctification. That is the whole trouble with Roman Catholic teaching and all Catholic piety. If you confuse sanctification with justification, you will be doubtful as to whether you are justified or not. If you bring in your state and condition and sin that you may commit, then you are querying your justification. But if you realize that justification is forensic, external, and declaratory, you know that you are justified whatever may be true about you.

– Martyn Lloyd-Jones

This 'n' That

Thinking of celebrating with a good,
old-fashioned roller skating party. Who's in?
A couple of days ago, I felt a little bit like celebrating. I finally completed a rather large project that I had been working on for months (okay, one year and a few months, but who's counting?). So, as you can imagine, it felt really wonderful to finish it and yet, at the same time, it felt a little anti-climactic. No confetti dropped from the ceiling, no streamers were thrown, no noisemakers were blasted. It just happened that, after months and months of studying and writing, I hit 'save' for the final time (or at least for the final time that I would be creating new content). It was a silent victory, but a victory nonetheless.

It made me think about the Kingdom, and about that coming day when believers will all stand before the Lord for a judgment of the works they did in this life (2 Corinthians 5:10). A judgment, not of our sin, but of the deeds and fruit that were wrought in us following our salvation. How many, I wondered, who have labored silently for the Lord here on this earth, will be given their reward by Christ Himself before the masses of the redeemed? The world may not celebrate their works, but the Lord knows.

Brethren, we do not have to be 'radical' to be faithful. We do not need to change a nation, or a city, or even a neighborhood. We do not need to draw circles, or brush the hair of strangers, or travel to a third-world country to dig wells to fulfill our calling. No, we are to be faithful where God has placed us, and faithful to heed His call in whatever ministry He would graciously grant to us. Is that ministry your family? Praise God. Is that ministry a church? Praise God. Is that ministry your coworkers? Praise God. Is that ministry your neighbor? Praise God. Regardless of where​ your ministry is or to whom it is directed, the purpose of all of our ministries is the same: To unashamedly call people to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, and to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

And what if it is difficult? What if sin continues to weigh you down? What if you are persecuted?
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1–3)
Run on, brothers and sisters, and run well. But don't forget to pause for a moment so you can enjoy your week in review (kind of):

29 January 2015

Becoming Holy

The Scriptures place great emphasis on our part in sanctification, on what you and I have to do. What is the point of the mighty arguments of Paul and the apostles in their letters if sanctification is something that I am to receive? Why the exhortations?

Here is one exhortation from the apostle Peter: "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul" (1 Peter 2:11). Do you notice what he says? We do not receive our sanctification and are then delivered from theses things. No; he tells us to abstain from them and to keep ourselves from them. And the tragedy is that so many people are spending their lives waiting to receive something, and in the meantime they are not abstaining from these fleshly lusts.

Take a statement from Paul: "Let him that stole steal no more" (Ephesians 4:28). That is what he is to do. He is not to wait to receive something; he is commanded to give up stealing. What can be more specific than that? And people who are guilty of foolish talking and jesting and other unseemly things are not to do them (Ephesians 5:4). "Be not conformed to this world" (Romans 12:2). You do not wait to receive something; if up to this moment you have been conforming to the world, you must stop.

People have often come to me about this and said, "You know, I've been trying so hard, but I can't get this experience." To which the reply is that the Scripture commands you to abstain: "Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded" (James 4:8). And I repeat that these injunctions are quite pointless and a sheer waste of ink if sanctification is something that I can receive. If it is, we would surely be told, "You need not worry about this question of sin–you can receive your sanctification in one act, and all you do then is to maintain it and abide in it." But this is most certainly not the New Testament teaching.

– Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Walking with God Day by Day

23 January 2015

This 'n' That

Because this post is random, and so is this picture.
Ah, Friday, we meet again. As often happens, in spite of an eventful week, I find myself sitting before my computer, largely unable to determine how I'd like to open this week's post. Instead of a few nice, carefully written paragraphs, then, you simply get to enjoy a few of my random thoughts as they pop into my head. Don't worry, I'm as wary as you probably are, because I'm not quite sure how this is going to work. Let's give it a try, shall we?

So…the Packers lost on Sunday. I know, I know, it's Friday and I should get over it. I'm working on it. Apparently I heal slowly.

Speaking of healing, I think someone must've stolen the anointed Benny Hinn healing hanky I ordered. Guess I'll just have to take Jesse Duplantis' advice and shout the devil away instead of wiping him away.

I have a daily devotional on my desk that is absolute rubbish (it's okay, I knew it was when I bought it. The purchase was intentional). Everyday it tells me how awesome I am. No, I'm not joking. It's kind of making me nauseous just looking at it, actually.

On the flip side, I also have a Martyn Lloyd-Jones devotional on my desk, which seems to help keep the universe in balance.

I was pondering the circumstances of my life this week (or at least some of them), and was absolutely awed at what God has graciously done and is doing, both in the joys and in the trials. And I don't just mean so-called 'big' things, I mean He has been over-the-top faithful in my mundane, everyday life. I am so utterly unworthy, and my praise and thanks just seem to pale in comparison to His goodness. Brethren, do you realize what an amazing God we serve? I love Him, don't you?

This seems like a good time to turn things over and let you sit back and enjoy your week in review (kind of):

22 January 2015

A.W. Pink on the God of Scripture

A.W. Pink; Photo: Wikimedia
How vastly different is the God of Scripture from the “god” of the average pulpit! Nor is the testimony of the New Testament any different from that of the Old: how could it be, seeing that both have one and the same Author! There too we read, “Which in His times He shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords: Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen” (1Timothy 6:15-16). Such an One is to be revered, worshipped, adored. He is solitary in His majesty, unique in His excellency, peerless in His perfections. He sustains all, but is Himself independent of all. He gives to all, but is enriched by none. . . .

Such a God cannot be found out by searching. He can be known only as He is revealed to the heart by the Holy Spirit through the Word. It is true that creation demonstrates a Creator so plainly that men are “without excuse”; yet, we still have to say with Job, “Lo, these are parts of His ways: but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of His power who can understand?” (26:14). . . .

The God of Scripture can only be known by those to whom He makes Himself known. Nor is God known by the intellect. “God is Spirit” (John 4:24), and therefore can only be known spiritually. But fallen man is not spiritual; he is carnal. He is dead to all that is spiritual. Unless he is born again, supernaturally brought from death unto life, miraculously translated out of darkness into light, he cannot even see the things of God (John 3:3), still less apprehend them (1 Corinthians 2:14). The Holy Spirit has to shine in our hearts (not intellects) in order to give us “the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). And even that spiritual knowledge is but fragmentary. The regenerated soul has to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus (2 Peter 3:18). The principal prayer and aim of Christians should be that we “walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10).

–A.W. Pink, The Attributes of God

Further Reading
The Narrow Gate
Man's Predicament and God's Salvation
Mormons Launch 'He Is the Gift' Initiative

18 January 2015

Equipping Eve: What Happens When We See Beth Moore Teach the Bible

Dreams, visions, voices—are these the best ingredients for biblically sound teaching? A recent Christianity Today article upholds Beth Moore as a favorable example of a female Bible teacher. This leads us to ask in this latest episode of Equipping Eve: What happens when we see Beth Moore teach the Bible?

Click here to listen to the latest episode of Equipping Eve.

Additional resources for this episode of Equipping Eve can be found here.

Sunday Morning Praise

My Jesus, I Love Thee

16 January 2015

This 'n' That

photo credit: Tiger Girl via photopin cc ​
Between Perry Noble's 'word from the Lord'-derived Christmas Eve sermon, and Beth Moore's ongoing claims to personal, direct revelation, and others within professing evangelicalism who would affirm their personal conversations with the God of the universe, there has been quite a bit of chatter (actual chatter, not 'gee, I think that might have been God giving my heart a little squeeze') about the nature of how God speaks today and whether or not impressions, instincts, and nudges can originate from Him.

'Don't put God in a box!' is an argument I hear quite often (and, quite frankly, I'd really appreciate it if continuationists, postmoderns, and undiscerning Christians would adopt a new slogan. This one is pretty tired). Well, how about I contain Him not in a box, but a book? A book that, incidentally, He Himself wrote as holy men were carried about by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21).
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. (Hebrews 1:1–2)
For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”-- and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (2 Peter 1:16–21)
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16–17)
Is that okay? Is it okay for me to 'limit' God, as it were, within the confines of His holy Word? Look, I get it. Sometimes we just 'feel led' (if you'll forgive the expression) to do or say something, and it turns out that God, in His providential, sovereign plan and timing, ordained that circumstance to further His perfect plan. But that doesn't mean that God was talking to you personally and directly outside of Scripture. Let's be careful with our terms, shall we, brethren? Because when we say that 'God told me' to do or say or write something, we tread into very precarious waters.

Think with me for a moment—if I say, 'God told me' to write this blog post, what does that ultimately imply? It implies that this blog post has all the authority of the written Word of Scripture. 'No, no,' you argue, 'God speaks to me, but I would never elevate that experience higher than the Bible.'

My friend, if you think that God is speaking to you directly and personally, but you do not elevate that as high as Scripture, then you sin. Does God ever speak with less authority? Does He say, 'Hey, Jim, I want you to make note of this and act on it, but just know that I'm not speaking with my full authority as the Lord of all here'? Really, if you think about it, to view God in this way is to view Him as little more than the pope. The pope, after all, holds quite a bit of earthly authority, but He only speaks 'infallibly' when he's speaking ex cathedra (in Catholic theory and tradition, anyway). Do you see how illogical and ridiculous it is for us to apply the same thinking to the Lord and King of the universe? Worse, do you see how utterly blasphemous it is for us to do so?

Causing further confusion amid these claims to revelation is the fact that the recipients of these alleged 'words from the Lord', while claiming to not elevate such words above Scripture, also do not want anyone to question those words. After all, these words and thoughts came from God. Again, this returns us to the issue of authority. Either God speaks authoritatively or He does not. You cannot have it both ways, so pick one. If you believe He speaks authoritatively at all times that He speaks, and you believe that He is still giving revelation today, then buy a Bible with a lot of blank sheets in the back so that you can keep adding to Scripture each time your liver shivers. If you don't believe He speaks authoritatively, then stop calling Him God and stop waxing eloquent about what you think He told you. In either instance, if you think He is still providing ongoing revelation, you probably should stop talking, open your Bible, and do some prayerful study and examination.

Now...wait...hold on just a minute...is that you, Lord? What's that? You want the readers to stop listening to the murmurs of their deceitful heart and hungry tummy and instead want them to pause and enjoy their week in review (kind of)? Well, okay then. I can't argue with that. Here's your week in review (kind of):

13 January 2015

Email Exchange Between Beth Moore and Discerning Christian Woman

Screenshot: YouTube
In a recent blog post, "It's Hunting Season for Heretics," popular Southern Baptist Bible teacher Beth Moore lambasted a young woman who dared to publicly refer to Ms. Moore as a false teacher. The issue has received much attention on social media in recent days and it was not long before Moore reached out to this young woman to engage in conversation via email.

That discerning young woman, Jessica Lam, has made her email exchange with Beth Moore public. That conversation can be found here.

HT: Discern.org

Further Reading
Why Beth Moore and Not Me? The Danger of Claiming to Receive Direct Revelation
Beth Moore's 'Twelfth Month Redemption'
Beth Moore Prophesies Coming 'Outpouring,' Warns of 'Scoffers'

09 January 2015

This 'n' That

Like most of you, just a few short weeks ago I was doing a little Christmas shopping. While wandering past the men's department, I couldn't help but notice this display:

What a relief to know that Ed Young and his 'Pastor Fashion' are still relevant. I, however, am still waiting for bloggerfashion.com to take off.

With that, there really isn't much more to say. Ed Young has a way of leaving us speechless, doesn't he? Now why don't you try to erase that video from your memory by taking some time to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

08 January 2015

The Narrow Gate

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matthew 7:13–14)

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ (Matthew 7:21–23)

07 January 2015

Ladies, Join Us at Naomi's Table: Radio Interview

Naomi's Table is a ministry for women who love God's Word and desire to know it better. I recently was invited to join host Amy Spreeman at the table as we talked about Equipping Eve and the vital need for women to know the truth of God's Word so that they can be prepared to confront the many errors running rampant today. Ladies, why don't you pull up a chair and join us? You can listen to the interview here.

Additional Resources
Ladies, Pull Up a Chair and Join Us at Naomi's Table (Erin's First Interview with Naomi's Table)
Naomi's Table: Discussing Dangerous Claims of Direct Revelation
What God Says About His Word

03 January 2015

Equipping Eve: On Women, Roles, and Hillsong

First Timothy 2:12 reads, “But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.” What did Paul mean by these words? Are these instructions open for interpretation? And if they are not, why do so many popular, professing Christian women seem willing to violate this command? What is the role of women in the Church? This latest episode of Equipping Eve tackles this controversial topic.

02 January 2015

Visit the Equipping Eve Blog

Well, it has taken some time, and updates are still being made, but the Equipping Eve website is slowly starting to take shape. Articles and links to articles are now available, and more will be added over time. Links to the podcast are always available, as are links to the Equipping Eve Facebook and Twitter.

One of the most important additions is the Equipping Eve blog. Ladies, I hope you will visit there and subscribe! Two posts have already been published: 'New Year, New Blog' and 'Starting the Year in Truth'. Stop by and let me know what you think! There are still a few aesthetic elements that I want to tweak, but right now, the content is what is most important. And don't worry, faithful DNBS readers—moving forward, I likely will be cross-posting many articles between the two blogs so you don't miss anything.

My heartfelt thanks go out to all of you who have provided encouragement, suggestions, and prayers since we began Equipping Eve. May God continue to use it for His glory in 2015!

This 'n' That

photo credit: tambrieann via photopin cc 
Currently, I am taking a class in the principles and practices of worship. It is basically answering the question, what is worship? What does a biblical paradigm of worship look like? It discusses practices, styles, and a little bit of hymnology, which is really interesting. Of all the books I've read so far for the class, though, I most appreciate John MacArthur's aptly and succinctly titled book, Worship. Why this book over some of the others? Because MacArthur doesn't dwell so much on style and practice, but on the object of worship, our triune God. When we have a right understanding of who God is, our worship will flow naturally into every area of our lives.

It seems as though a similar principle lies behind A.W. Pink's book, The Attributes of God. When we better know the God we serve, the Master who bought us, and the Spirit who quickens us, we will worship better with our lives, lips, minds, and hearts. It is a profoundly simple concept, really, but one that seems lost on many professing Christians. That is why so many select a church based on its 'worship style' (i.e., music style), with the sole criteria that the music appeal to their senses. Professing Christians today need to understand that the centerpiece of worship at a church service is the proclamation and teaching of God's Word. It also must be understood that worship is not something that happens only on Sunday morning. Our whole lives ought to be lived in worship to God, to the praise and glory of His name. Is this how you think of worship?

Now that we've been talking about worship and music, don't start singing any 7-11 praise choruses. They will get stuck in your head for days. And I'm fairly certain the shoddy theology in most of them will just make you dumber. Instead, take a few moments in this new year to sit back and enjoy your week in review (kind of):

01 January 2015

Charles Spurgeon on the New Year

We ought not, as men in Christ Jesus, to be carried away by a childish love of novelty, for we worship a God who is ever the same, and of whose years there is no end. In some matters "the old is better." There are certain things which are already so truly new, that to change them for anything else would be to lose old gold for new dross. The old, old gospel is the newest thing in the world; in its very essence it is for ever good news. In the things of God the old is ever new, and if any man brings forward that which seems to be new doctrine and new truth, it is soon perceived that the new dogma is only worn-out heresy dexterously repaired, and the discovery in theology is the digging up of a carcase of error which had better have been left to rot in oblivion. In the great matter of truth and godliness, we may safely say, "There is nothing new under the sun."

Yet, as I have already said, there has been so much evil about ourselves and our old nature, so much sin about our life and the old past, so much mischief about our surroundings and the old temptations, that we are not distressed by the belief that old things are passing away. Hope springs up at the first sound of such words as these from the lips of our risen and reigning Lord: "Behold, I make all things new." It is fit that things so outworn and defiled should be laid aside, and better things fill their places.