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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Protest Or Proclamation?

Recently the media has been playing on people's prejudices and feelings, and people are all too willing to be led.
It is like a cancer attacking all parts of a body.  It stirs up emotions and bitterness that hardens people.
People are quick to rush to judgment in situations where not all of the facts are known.
People let their feelings rule them.

Disrespect of authority is spreading like a wildfire, and it's destroying relationships.
Feelings can't be trusted, and many perceived injustices are really not injustices.
Even when there is a real injustice (which happens in this world), we need to fight bitterness and sinful anger.
As a Christian, the Bible tells me to love my enemies....even to pray for them.
We can't always right every wrong, and we need to be careful not to sin in return...even if we think our anger may be righteous.

Romans 13 tells Christians to submit to governing authorities.  There are right ways to appeal when we think something is wrong and wrong ways to react.  There are legal ways and illegal ways.
Sadly in this day and age people often are wrong about what is actually an injustice.
Morality has been turned on its head when God's Word is rejected as our authority.
Demanding our rights is not the foremost purpose of Christians, and we have more joy and blessings in the next life that will make whatever wrongs we face in this life seem small.

Injustices do occur in this world, but what should the goal of Christians be?

"The object of life is no longer to fix past injustices. The object of life now is to proclaim Christ to whomever..." 
John MacArthur

 "When the Gospel changes your life, you go from social issues to spiritual issues."
John MacArthur speaking about Christians on the subject of racism and the Gospel.

 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Truth For Your Children

I was looking at some notes I typed out while listening to John MacArthur live-streaming from Grace Community Church awhile back, and it struck me that there was a clear message of the Gospel in his message on what to teach your children.
Some countries will tell people they are not allowed to give this message to children, but that is wrong.
They have the whole series on GTY now, so you can find the first message of that by going HERE.

I'm just going to share a portion of my slightly edited notes, because this message is something that everybody needs!

  1.  Teach your children God is Holy & His law demands perfect holiness.  He hates sin & always punishes sin.
  2. Sinners we are, & we cannot stand before God on our own.  Sin makes peace with God impossible & destroys peace with others.  All of us are worthy of death.
  3. Sinners can do nothing to change this.  We can't change our nature.  We are helpless and headed for eternal judgment in Hell.
  4. There is a remedy - Jesus- eternally God, became a man -- sinless.  He died - the only acceptable sacrifice.  He conquered death for us, and took the wrath of God. 
  5. Tell your children to repent and turn to Christ and trust in Him as Savior & Lord and follow Him in obedience.
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I am thankful that we are able to supplement a local church service by usually listening to Grace Community Church live-streaming each Sunday.
If you are able to listen as well, you can watch it by going HERE.  
The times listed are U.S. Pacific time.
If you are in another time zone, you can convert the time here.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Gentle Correction

with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,
2 Timothy 2:25 NASB

Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted.
Galatians 6:1 NASB

Sometimes people need correction...non-believers and Christians as well (in different ways).
The goal of correction should be reconciliation to Christ, and the method should be loving while standing firmly on the truth of God's Word.
Inside the Church, God has prescribed a method of church discipline.

When the issue that is being addressed is a lack of wisdom in a professed believer, we must be very careful not to be crushing in our attempts to address the person.
Sometimes, there may not be a black and white Biblical issue, even though Biblical principles may apply.  
In such cases, the person may have to learn by life experience and Bible study.
Other times, it may be that a person is not as far along in their spiritual growth process or understanding of Scripture.
It may be that they need time to be refined.
Sometimes people learn through making wrong decisions or by trials that show just how far we still have to go in growing.

Public teaching that is error can be addressed publicly (pastors are to address it in a different way than others...direct confrontation of false teachers and teaching may be needed by pastors elders), but there is a fine line between someone who intentionally leads people astray and someone who is in error who needs gentle correction.

Protecting sheep is good, but the difficulty is to do so without harming other sheep or the reputation of the Church at large.

No matter how error or blatant sin is addressed, someone will be offended.
The difficulty is to speak the truth in love.
It should be the Biblical truth we stand on that they have a problem with - rather than how we say it.
This would be true with dealings with Christians and non-Christians alike.

I have seen many believers unwilling to stay friends with each other when they have strong disagreements, though I believe they are likely all true Christians.
This is true of a number of relationships, so don't take this as being only about one situation.

While secondary separation is sometimes necessary, people needn't be unforgiving and harsh when two people are truly Christian brothers (or sisters).

Patience, love, kindness, gentleness, and forgiveness... 
these are all things that should be what Christians exemplify....even if we can't support the behavior or decisions of someone else.
God has been patient with me.  He loved me even when I was His enemy.  He loves me though I still sin and don't want to.
I'm much like the person J.C. Ryle described who struggles with assurance confusing justification and sanctification though I have knowledge of the difference. 
If God is patient with me, I shouldn't shun others (though there may be some I wouldn't publicly endorse).

True Christians have unity around the Gospel, and we can strongly disagree about some things while letting each other know that we still love each other.
Sometimes our behavior seems to contradict what we say.
One day all true Christians will be in Heaven together.
We'd best remember that.

This post is me digging in and thinking out loud.
May it be of some edification for those who read it.

but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ,
Ephesians 4:15 NASB

Monday, September 12, 2016

Mercy Day & Reviving New England

Mercy Day
September 13 is Mercy Day.
It is a day when Christians can remind the world what the rainbow is really all about.
Not long ago, the Creation Museum in Kentucky opened a replica of the ark that God had Noah build.  I have seen pictures taken by a family member, and it is quite amazing.
In the days of Noah, people did what was right in their own eyes (evil) much like today it seems, and God sent a flood...waters from below and from above...which catastrophically destroyed people and change the surface of the earth.
This is likely why there are layers that have land and sea creatures together in places where the ocean isn't.
Noah, his family, and the animals on the ark survived the worldwide flood.
After they landed on the mountains of Ararat, God put His bow in the sky as a covenant not to flood the entire earth again.
Please check out MercyDay.Com , and you can share about it on your social media pages!
Perhaps next year,  even more people will get involved.

Reviving New England 
A new book that I'm interested in is scheduled to come out on October 15, 2016!
Pastor Nate Pickowicz who once upon a time also wrote a guest post for me, has finally finished his book, and it is ready to come out next month!
After having watched lectures on historical Theology by Nathan Busenitz some time back (which were excellent), I am interested to see what Pastor Nate has to say.
He has some pretty great endorsements.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Was Teresa Really A Saint?

The Roman Catholic Church is declaring "Mother" Teresa a "saint."
So, the Gospel Coalition decided to tell us what they think we should know about her in such a way as we are mostly left to our own discernment to figure out what's wrong ( in this article).
To their credit they admit her views are "irreconcilable with the gospel."

Those already discerning will quickly see what is wrong with Teresa's views shared in their article, but it would have been much better to go over each section of it - pointing out what is wrong for the many who are not discerning.

Even where the writer pointed out how Christians feel (in the TGC article),  I almost felt he was talking about someone else.
I notice he did link to Tim Challies' post about Teresa.
True Christians actually wouldn't have wanted Teresa to be evangelistic, because we want people to become true Christians.
God saves people through hearing the Word of Christ.

I believe we are in a time much like in J. C. Ryle's ...  people are majorly trying to blur the line between Christianity and Roman Catholicism.
We are now in a time where many people (like Rick Warren for example) are calling Catholics "Christians," and praising the seemingly "good" works Catholics have done.
People like Beth Moore want to include Catholics as another group of Christians.
Russell Moore was willing to meet with the pope for a discussion on marriage.

There are so many compromising or completely caving into a false unity, and Rome would love to lull people into thinking that there really is very little difference of importance.
They want us to think the Reformation was a mistake, and they want people to come back into the fold.

When people are persecuted in other countries, they often are called "Christians" when they are Catholic.
We must not blur the lines of distinction, and we really need to learn why this is wrong!
Roman Catholicism has not only erred, they have a false "gospel" that doesn't save.
Whatever came of people who considered the pope as an anti-Christ?

This was my reply on social media to TGC's post:

Teresa had the wrong Gospel, and people who have the wrong Gospel are not saints. 
Only true Christians are saints...all true Christians are...and we didn't earn it in any way. 
I have gotten tired of Christians praising Teresa over the years. 
All our righteousness is as filthy rags. 
People need to study about the Reformation and why it was needed. 
In the 1800s people began to go back to ritualism and J.C. Ryle decried it. 
We should spend more time on studying the truth and evangelizing the living rather than remembering the idols of the unbelieving world. Let's remember true saints instead....or read Hebrews 11!

I did some blog posts in the past on why Christianity and Roman Catholicism are not the same thing (some links may be outdated):


Here is a great link (not by me) to share with those who are Roman Catholics:


Am I Guilty?

I'm a presuppositionalist when it comes to apologetics, so I avoided the original God's Not Dead movie, especially after reading a review on it.
We are not God's judge or jury, and I'm thankful to those who have pointed out from Romans 1 that we don't need to (and shouldn't try to) prove God exists.

I was gong to skip the second movie (God's Not Dead 2) at first, but then I was told it wasn't as bad as the first one.
I decided to watch it with friends and family, and it had its good points and bad.
I'm not too thrilled that it focused so much on proving the historical Jesus, but I did appreciate the certainty that the main character exhibited.
I was a little annoyed with her saying God spoke to her, but since the words came from Scripture I'll give that a pass.

So, though I had issues with some of the movie (and there was a little immodesty too), I'm not going to say you definitely shouldn't watch it or that you should.
I really did like the song "Guilty" though!


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Prepared To Stand Alone Part 2

I have been plodding along on Iain Murray's book about J.C. Ryle, and I've reached chapter 12.

Some of you know who J.C. Ryle was, and some of you may not.
J.C. became a bishop during his lifetime (in England).
He was around in the 1800s, and it wasn't until recent years that I became aware of him at all.
I did a previous post on the earlier chapters from the book, so now I will continue with my thoughts on recent chapters.

J.C. Ryle believed in God's Sovereignty in salvation, and he believed in evangelism and prayer.
He believed in pastors visiting the flock under their care.
Ryle also believed in helping orphans and those in need.
His last wife (the first 2 had died) also was very involved in the distribution of tracts, helping people, and praying.
She preceded him in death, but he was married to her for many years.

Ryle had hopes for unity for the Anglican church (around the truth), but sadly things got worse to the point where he was the odd man out.
He would not give up the truths about baptism not saving people, or about other important doctrines.
He would not cave toward the acceptance of Roman Catholic practices in the church, and when people began to reject parts of Scripture as not being God's inspired Word...he would not cave.
So, he did not believe in unity at all costs.
He had a core set of Biblical beliefs which he would stand on without compromise.

One very sad thing is that his son Herbert turned to wrong liberal views of Scripture like others of his day.
J.C.'s daughter on the other hand was his faithful helper and friend after his wife's death.
I look forward to reading the rest of the book, and I hope that these short summaries will  be of interest to some of you.  You might even decide to read it yourself (although some of you may already have finished it)!

One thing is clear to me.  Unity must always be around the truth of God's Word.
There must be no compromise to the acceptance of Roman Catholicism and its practices.
Catholics need the truth...not our wrongfully calling Catholics "Christians". and we must not be compromising back to pre-Reformation views.
We  also cannot accept people as Christians who deny the Scripture as God's Word.
I recently ran across someone online who seemed to only accept Jesus words as Scripture, but they rejected other parts of Scripture as God's inspired Word.
Sometimes it's hard to know how to respond to someone who blatantly and blindly denies the truth while claiming to be a Christian.
Only the Spirit can get through to people and change their minds and bring repentance.
I can state the truth, but I can't make people believe it.

Also, there are some things we can strongly disagree on with actual Christians, but we should remember that not all differences make someone an unbeliever.
We may have doubts, but we may be surprised to see that some people may be in Heaven that we weren't sure about.
There are people who are at different levels in their walk with Christ.
I have been aware of this right along.  
That is why when I show concern for some professing Christians and may be unsure about their salvation,
I often don't come out and say for sure they aren't Christians.
If they believe the truth of Scripture and the true Gospel and belong to Christ, He will bring them around one day!

When the world condemns and denies the truth, I want to be someone willing to stand alone on the truth of God's Word.
How about you?