Banner

"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

Dennis and Greg discuss the Trinity

On the basis of Scripture itself, Christians throughout the centuries have professed belief in the Holy Trinity, affirming the fact that our one God is eternally existent in three Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, who are co-equal, co-existent and co-eternal. This is because the following three things are very clearly taught in Scripture:

(1) There is only one God, who is eternal and immutable (unchanging). (Deut. 6:4; Isa. 43:10; Mal. 3:6; Mark 12:29; John 17:3; 1 Tim. 2:5; Jam. 2:19)

(2) There are three eternal Persons - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These Persons are never identified with one another - that is, they are carefully differentiated as distinct Persons. The Father is not the Son, nor the Son the Holy Spirit, and nor is the Holy Spirit the Father. (Matt: 3:13-17; 28:19; Luke 10:22; John 1:1, 2; 3:16, 17; 15:26; 16:7; 17:1-26; 2 Cor. 13:14)

(3) The Father, the Son, and the Spirit, are each identified as being fully God - that is, the Bible teaches the Deity of the Father, the Deity of Christ and the Deity of the Holy Spirit. (Isa. 9:6; John 17:3; John 1:1, 18; 8:58; 20:28; Phil. 2:5-11; Col. 2:9; Titus 2:13; Heb 1:8; 2 Pet. 1:1; Acts 5:3, 4; 2 Cor. 3:17, 18)

Here's a video I put together where Dennis (the Christian) is explaining to Greg (an Aussie Jehovah's Witness) why he believes in the Trinity. Enjoy! - JS


April 30, 2009  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Gospel Coalition Workshops Now Available Online

Workshops

Session 1

Thabiti Anyabwile "The Decline of African-American Theology"

Buster Brown, "Preaching in a Christianized Culture"

Steven Chin, "Working Faithfully Under a Senior Pastor"

Graham Cole, "Homosexuality and the Bible: Texts, Hermeneutics, and Pastoral Wisdom"

K. Edward Copeland and Charlie Dates, "Mentoring Younger Pastors"

Andy Davis, "The Gospel and Social Action"

Joshua Harris, "Ministering in a Church-Hopping Society"

David Helm, "Biblical Reflections on Building a Staff"

Bill Kynes, "Complementarianism: Definition and Priorities"


Session 2

Crawford Loritts, "Staying Faithful, Staying Relevant: The Use and Abuse of Polemical Preaching"

Jeff Louie, "Gospel and Community: Definitions and Crucial Issues"

Erwin Lutzer, "Finishing Well in Life and Ministry"

C. J. Mahaney, "The Pastor’s Charge"

Tom Nelson and Matt Perman, "The Gospel and Money"

Colin Smith, "Transformational Expository Preaching"

Stephen Um, "On Ministry and Revolving Doors: Practical Challenges and Ideas for Ministry in a Mobile Society"

Sandy Willson, "Gospel Mission to the World: Arrogance or Love?"

April 30, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

The American Captivity of the Church by Dr. Michael Horton

christlesschristianity.jpg What would things look like if Satan really took control of a city? Over a half century ago, Presbyterian minister Donald Grey Barnhouse offered his own scenario in his weekly sermon that was also broadcast nationwide on CBS radio. Barnhouse speculated that if Satan took over Philadelphia, all of the bars would be closed, pornography banished, and pristine streets would be filled with tidy pedestrians who smiled at each other. There would be no swearing. The children would say, “Yes, sir” and “No, ma’am,” and the churches would be full every Sunday . . . where Christ is not preached.

It is easy to become distracted from Christ as the only hope for sinners. Where everything is measured by our happiness ratherthan by God’s holiness, the sense of our being sinners becomes secondary, if not offensive. If we are good people who have lost our way but with the proper instructions and motivation can become a better person, we need only a life coach, not a redeemer. We can still give our assent to a high view of Christ and the centrality of his person and work, but in actual practice we are being distracted from “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Heb. 12:2). A lot of the things that distract us from Christ these days are even good things. In order to push us offpoint,all that Satan has to do is throw several spiritual fads,moral and political crusades, and other “relevance” operations into our field of vision. Focusing the conversation on us—our desires, needs, feelings, experience, activity, and aspirations—energizes us. At last, now we’re talking about something practical and relevant.

Read more...

April 30, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Meet Fireman Jones

FUN STUFF: Kings Church Phoenix has a new spokesperson. Fireman Jones went on Channel 137 News and spoke eloquently about my preaching, but I think he had ulterior motives for doing so. - JS

April 29, 2009  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

John Macarthur - USA Abandoned by God

April 29, 2009  |  Comments (11)   |  Permalink

Irresistible Grace

"This is what we mean when we use terms like sovereign grace or irresistible grace. We mean that the Holy Spirit is God’s Spirit, and therefore he is omnipotent and sovereign. And therefore, he is irresistible and infallibly effective in his regenerating work. Which doesn’t mean that we don’t resist him. We do. The Bible is plain about that (Acts 7:51). What the sovereignty of grace and the sovereignty of the Spirit mean is that when God chooses, he can overcome the rebellion and resistance of our wills. He can make Christ look so compelling that our resistance is broken and we freely come to him and receive him and believe him." - John Piper

April 29, 2009  |  Comments (4)   |  Permalink

Richard Sibbes - Excerpt from Meet the Puritans

Richard Sibbes - Richard Sibbes was born in 1577 at Tostock, Suffolk, in the Puritan county of old England. He was baptized in the parish church in Thurston, and went to school there. As a child, he loved books. His father, Paul Sibbes, a hardworking wheelwright and, according to Zachary Catlin, a contemporary biographer of Sibbes, was “a good, sound-hearted Christian,” but became irritated with his son’s interest in books. He tried to cure his son of book-buying by offering him wheelwright tools, but the boy was not dissuaded. With the support of others, Sibbes was admitted to St. John’s College in Cambridge at the age of eighteen. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1599, a fellowship in 1601, and a Master of Arts degree in 1602. In 1603, he was converted under the preaching of Paul Baynes, whom Sibbes called his “father in the gospel.” Baynes, remembered most for his commentary on Ephesians, succeeded William Perkins at the Church of St. Andrews in Cambridge. More...

Other Puritan Biographies

April 28, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Destroy them?

What about those difficult texts where God commands the literal extermination of an entire tribe, or city, or even nation? Dr. James White answers in this youtube video of a sermon preached on April 26, 2009.

April 27, 2009  |  Comments (2)   |  Permalink

That Creeping Temptation in the Church to be Semi-Pelagian

"Sinners cannot obey the gospel, any more than the law, without renewal of heart." - J.I. Packer

"The saving power of the cross does not depend on faith being addded to it; its saving power is such that faith flows from it" - J.I. Packer.

Semi-Pelagianism was officially condemned as a heresy by the Synod of Orange in 529. Afterwards, due to human corruption, certain aspects of Semi-Pelagianism were still incorporated into the theological doctrines of the medieval Roman Catholic Church, such as a rejection of the bondage of the will and the concept that humans could (with God's help) redeem themselves and maintain their just standing before God through repentance and penance. Pope Gregory the Great even said, "The good that we do is both of God and of ourselves; of God by prevenient grace, our own by good will following." Rome, to this day, by continuing to affirm the semi-pelagian view that redeemed humanity must (through good works) maintain its own just standing before God, in essence declares that Jesus' work on the cross is insufficient to save completely ...that men are justified partly by the grace of God in Christ and partly by their own works. So in RCC dogma, Jesus ends up, not as a Savior, but one who helps us save ourselves.

With regard to God's initial grace to sinners, St. Augustine rightly affirms that grace is what makes the will good, "For", he says, "if a good will comes first, there is obviously no longer a heart of stone." In other words, that even the very desire of fallen humanity to believe and obey Christ is wrought in us by the Spirit, and that it is Jesus alone (not the human will) that makes those who believe differ from those who do not. The RCC view, on the contrary, declares that the unregenerate human will has still some power left to choose good ... to either cooperate with or reject God's grace. By contrast again, The Council of Orange (529 AD) affirms the augustinian/Reformation view that it is the Holy Spirit within us that we [even] have the faith, the will, the strength or the desire to do all these things as we ought (Canon 6).

More on Catholicism

April 27, 2009  |  Comments (2)   |  Permalink

A Good Will Comes from God - Augustine

It is not enough simply to have choice of will, which is freely turned in this direction and that, and belongs among those natural gifts which a bad person may use badly. We must also have a good will, which belongs among those gifts which it is impossible to use badly. This impossibility is given to us by God; otherwise I do not know how to defend what Scripture says: ‘What do you have that you did not receive?’ (1 Cor.4:7) For if God gives us a free will, which may still be either good or bad, but a good will comes from ourselves, then what comes from ourselves is better than what comes from God! But it is the height of absurdity to say this. So the Pelagians ought to acknowledge that we obtain from God even a good will.

It would indeed be a strange thing if the will could stand in some no-man’s-land, where it was neither good nor bad. For we either love righteousness, and this is good; and if we love it more, this is better. If we love it less, this is less good; or if we do not love righteousness at all, it is not good. And who can hesitate to affirm that, when the will does not love righteousness in any way at all, it is not only a bad will, but even a totally depraved will? Since therefore the will is either good or bad, and since of course we do not derive the bad will from God, it remains that we derive from God a good will. Otherwise, since our justification proceeds from a good will, I do not know what other gift of God we ought to rejoice in. That, I suppose, is why it is written, ‘The will is prepared by the Lord’ (Prov.8:35, Septuagint). And in the Psalms, ‘The steps of a man will be rightly ordered by the Lord, and His way will be the choice of his will’ (Ps.37:23). And what the apostle says, ‘For it is God Who works in you both to will and to do of His own good pleasure’ (Phil.2:13).

Augustine, On the Merits and Forgiveness of Sins, 2:30

April 27, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

The Bible - through the eyes of a child

Exactly who put this together, I do not know, but someone has gathered together children's comments on the Bible and the result is.. well, just read and enjoy. - JS

The Children's Bible in a Nutshell

In the beginning, which occurred near the start, there was nothing but God, darkness, and some gas.

The Bible says,'The Lord thy God is one', but I think He must be a lot older than that.

Anyway, God said, 'Give me a light!' and someone did.

Then God made the world.

He split the Adam and made Eve. Adam and Eve were naked, but they weren't embarrassed because mirrors hadn't been invented yet.

Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating one bad apple, so they were driven from the Garden of Eden. Not sure what they were driven in because they didn't have cars.

Adam and Eve had a son, Cain, who hated his brother as long as he was Abel.

Pretty soon all of the early people died off, except for Methuselah, who lived to be like a million or something.

Continue reading "The Bible - through the eyes of a child" »

April 26, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Understanding 1 Timothy 2:4 by Pastor John Samson

God "desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." 1 Timothy 2:4

I have often times heard people quote 1 Timothy 2:4 to dismiss, out of hand, the biblical teaching on Sovereign grace or Divine election. In quoting the verse they have told me that God has no interest in electing certain people to salvation but that His desire is for every person to be saved. Yet, we must remember that the word "all" always has a context. It can sometimes mean all people everywhere - many times it does - but it sometimes means "all" in the sense of "all kinds" or "all classes, types" of people or at other times it refers to all within a certain type or class.. For instance, we do the same thing in our English language when a school teacher in a classroom may ask the question, "are we ALL here?" or "is EVERYONE here?" She is not asking if everyone on planet earth is in the classroom, but because of the context in which the question is framed (the school teacher's classroom) we understand she is referring to all within a certain class or type - in this case, all the students signed up for the class.

I believe 1 Tim 2:4 is speaking of all in this sense of "all types."

What is my biblical basis for saying this?

The context. Lets read the passage:

1 Timothy 2:1-4 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Who are the "all people" of verse 1? I believe the "all people" of verse 1 are the same "all people" of verse 4, as the subject matter does not change in any way at all in the intervening verses.

Continue reading "Understanding 1 Timothy 2:4 by Pastor John Samson" »

April 24, 2009  |  Comments (12)   |  Permalink

Book Review: The Infinite Merit of Christ, by Craig Biehl

The rich and prolific theological legacy of Jonathan Edwards is one of modern American Christianity's greatest treasures, and interest in the great eighteenth century scholar and pastor is currently quite high. It is no surprise, then, that theologians of all persuasions have attempted to use Edwards to support their own points of view. What Augustine was to the sixteenth century doctrinal conflicts, Edwards has largely become to present day theological battles – everyone wants him on their side, and so all are quick to wrest bits and pieces of his vast output to the service of their own agendas. He has been touted as an inclusivist, essentially a Catholic, and a proto-neo-orthodox, among other things. But what did Edwards actually teach, what was the real heart of his theology? In The Infinite Merit of Christ, Craig Biehl has undertaken to let Edwards speak for himself on a topic that colors everything else in his theology; and the admirably-researched product is sure to lend a lot of sanity and clarity to the muddled state of modern Edwards scholarship.

Continue reading "Book Review: The Infinite Merit of Christ, by Craig Biehl" »

April 24, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Five Big Myths About Calvinism

I speak for many when I say that I have not always embraced the doctrines of grace or what is commonly called Calvinism. Its actually unfortunate that a man's name is associated with the doctrines that came out of the Protestant Reformation. Calvin was not the first to articulate these truths, but merely was the chief systematizer of such doctrines. There was actually nothing in Calvin that was not first seen in Luther, and much of Luther was first found in Augustine. Luther was an Augustinian monk, of course. We would also naturally affirm that there was nothing in any of these men that was not first found in Paul and Peter and John in the New Testament.

Even now, I have no desire to be a Calvinist in the Corinthian sense of the word - a follower of John Calvin, per say. Though I believe Calvin was a tremendous expositor of the Scriptures and had many great insights, I am not someone who believes he was in any way infallible. I am with Spurgeon who declared, "There is no soul living who holds more firmly to the doctrines of grace than I do, and if any man asks me whether I am ashamed to be called a Calvinist, I answer - I wish to be called nothing but a Christian; but if you ask me, do I hold the doctrinal views which were held by John Calvin, I reply, I do in the main hold them, and rejoice to avow it." (C. H. Spurgeon, a Defense of Calvinism)

In coming to understand these doctrines that are now so precious to me, I now realize that there were fortresses built in my mind to defend against the idea of God being Sovereign in the matter of salvation. Such was my total depravity! These fortresses were not made of stone and brick but of man made ideas – concepts that I believed Scripture taught with clarity. These fortresses did not come down easily. In fact, I believe it is a work of Divine grace in the heart not only to regenerate His people, but also to open hearts and minds, even of His own people, to the truth of His Sovereignty in election.

There are many false concepts about Calvinism. Here are five that are very common:

Continue reading "Five Big Myths About Calvinism" »

April 24, 2009  |  Comments (13)   |  Permalink

Late Great Planet Church: A Brief Review

lategreatplanet.jpgLate Great Planet Church: A Brief Review
by Joel McDurmon

The long-awaited critical review of dispensational theology has finally arrived: a bit Later than expected, yet even Greater as well. In this information-packed, two-hour DVD, Late Great Planet Church, host and producer Jerry Johnson of NiceneCouncil.com and TheApologeticsGroup.com interviews several scholars and leads you through an eye-opening review of dispensationalism’s little-known (and sometimes dark) history and beliefs.

At first, after noticing the two-hour duration listed on the back, I anticipated the documentary would endure too long, especially since a Volume Two remains in production yet. How in the world did he fill up two hours and not get half of the info in there? So I wondered. The presentation greatly surprised me. Not only did it hold my attention the whole time, but it ended leaving me wishing I already had the second volume. Jerry does what any good presentation should do: he leaves you wanting more.

Perhaps Jerry most grabbed my attention early on in the film when he emphasizes that the argument over dispensationalism does not merely pertain to one doctrine in the way that, say, arguments over baptism, or church government, etc., have limited effects. Instead, the dispy system has universal implications for the Christian faith. It, in fact, has impacted the fate of Western Civilization. This claim jerked me to reality, mainly because—it’s absolutely correct and so absolutely important. From this point on, he had me hooked.

The Late Great Planet Church: The Rise of Dispensationalism (DVD)

Continue reading "Late Great Planet Church: A Brief Review" »

April 23, 2009  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Free Technology which could serve you

I recently came across some innovative technology that can be used for FREE, allowing web sites to FAIRLY EASILY make and display a message on video. I have had a bit of fun with it making a Church mascot named George who welcomes people who visit our church website. I mention this because you may find this same technology useful also. You can check it out at our church website here and after viewing the video, it will display the contact information where you can make your own videos for a web site. - JS

April 22, 2009  |  Comments (2)   |  Permalink

A Book You Don't Want to Pass Up!

GodfreyCalvin.jpgRobert Godfrey's long-awaited book on John Calvin is now available. Dr. Godfrey's deep understanding of church history make this one of those "must reads." What are you waiting for? Don't diddle & loiter around.

Publisher's description: An introduction to the essential life and thought of one of history’s most influential theologians, who considered himself first and foremost a pilgrim and a pastor.

July 10, 2009, marks the five-hundredth anniversary of the birth of John Calvin. As controversial as he was influential, his critics have named a judgmental and joyless attitude after him, while his admirers celebrate him as the principal theologian of Reformed Christianity. Yet his impact is unmistakable—a primary developer of western civilization whose life and work have deeply affected five centuries’ worth of pastors, scholars, and individuals.

What will surprise the readers of this book, however, is that Calvin did not live primarily to influence future generations. Rather, he considered himself first and foremost a spiritual pilgrim and a minister of the Word in the church of his day. It was from that “essential” Calvin that all his influence flowed.

Here is an introduction to Calvin’s life and thought and essence: a man who moved people not through the power of personality but through passion for the Word, a man who sought to serve the gospel in the most humble of roles.

Available at Monergism Books

April 21, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Twin Lakes Fellowship 2009 Audio

Thanks to the hard work of Josh Espinosa the 2009 Twin Lakes audio is online here broken down into Worship audios, Seminar audios and Devotional audios. This fellowship is designed to pursue a twofold purpose: (1) to encourage ministers and churches to promote the work of church planting through their local congregations and (2) to encourage ministers in their personal growth in grace, so as to maximize their effectiveness in promoting the work of the Gospel.

Worship (the audios will be the link with the title of the message)

  1. Dr. Douglas F. Kelly - Deuteronomy 23:3-6 "God Turns Curses into Blessings"
  2. Dr. Derek W.H. Thomas -
    Romans 11:33-36 "The Majesty of God"
  3. Dr. Ligon Duncan - Titus 1:1/1 Timothy 6:2-4 "What is Theology For?"


Seminars (the audios will be the link with the title of the message)

  1. Ron Gleason -
    Herman Bavinck

  2. Ligon Duncan -
    Systematic Theology and Pastoral Ministry
  3. David Robertson -
    Emergent Calvinism
  4. Terry Johnson -
    Biblical, Historical, and Theological Case for Reformed Worship
  5. Jonathan Leeman -
    What in the World is the Missional Church?

Devotionals

April 20, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Monergistic Regeneration T-Shirt (Brown)

By popular demand we have reprinted our Regeneration T-Shirts. With the upsurge of interest in a more robust biblical and Reformation theology, many search for ways to expose their friends and neighbors to monergistic regeneration and the doctrines of grace. This T-shirt piques the interest of onlookers and provides an excellent bridge for introducing the Biblical beliefs recovered and heralded during the Reformation.

When you wear the T-Shirt you help spread the word about Monergism.com and the five solas of the Reformation. The Chinese characters in the logo on the back can be translated as "regeneration precedes faith." The back of the shirt bears the large distressed text "REGENERATION" with a heart that is being transformed from stone to flesh by the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit--impossible with man, but possible with God.

Buy one here at Monergism Books

April 16, 2009  |  Comments (4)   |  Permalink

Monergism Books Reader's Guide to the Christian Life

Monergism Books Reader's Guide to the Christian Life is complete! Help us spread the word about Monergism Books by printing these two-sided guides and and then distributing them to friends or putting them on your church book table ... or anywhere else it might help believers select key titles for growing in their relationship with Christ.. This is a guide to titles everyone should read and are ranked by level and genre.

A Monergism Books Readers Guide to the Christian Life was designed to be folded into 3 columns.
Instructions: 1) print several copies of page 1 on the first side of the paper 2) turn the printed pages over and print the page 2 on the back. Fold into 1/3s. Thanks in advance for your help.

Monergism Books Reader's Guide to the Christian Life

April 15, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Is The New Testament Reliable?

I came across a very good overview concerning historical facts about Jesus and the New Testament (from outside the biblical record) put together by Shane Rosenthal, executive producer of the White Horse Inn. It is information that most people are entirely unaware of and very useful to know when defending the Christian faith, in a 21 page pdf format found here. I highly recommend it. - JS

April 15, 2009  |  Comments (2)   |  Permalink

Of Grace, as it Reigns in our Effectual Calling by Abraham Booth

WE have seen in the preceding chapter, that grace presided in the eternal counsels, and reigned as an absolute sovereign in the decree of election. Let us now consider the same glorious grace, as exerting its benign influence in the regeneration and effectual calling of all that shall ever be saved. Election makes no alteration in the real state of its objects. For, as they were considered, in that gracious purpose, in a sinful, dying condition; so they continue in that situation, till the energy of the Holy Spirit, and the power of evangelical truth, reach their hearts. The means being decreed as well as the end, it is absolutely necessary, to accomplish the great design of election, that all the chosen in their several generations, should be born of the Spirit and converted to Jesus; called of God, and bear his image.

Chapter 4 of Reign of Grace

Continue reading "Of Grace, as it Reigns in our Effectual Calling by Abraham Booth " »

April 13, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Was Anyone Saved At The Cross?

Dr. James White's article on this theme had a profound effect upon me some years ago when I read it, and on this Good Friday, point people to it again. May we all glory in the cross-work of the Perfect Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ - found here. - JS

April 10, 2009  |  Comments (2)   |  Permalink

A Lamb Slain

With some trepidation I am providing a link here to a shocking video. It portrays the actual slaying of a lamb. Todd Bolem also linked to it and wrote: "This is as graphic as it gets. More and more people today don't realize that meat doesn't originate at a grocery store. They have little concept of an animal being raised and then slaughtered. Furthermore, almost no one in the Western world has ever sacrificed an animal for religious purposes. I think, however, that is precisely why this *graphic* video should be shown. We read about sacrifice in the Bible but we don't really understand what that means. We read passages that talk about the "life being in the blood," but those are just words that we don't really consider. We "know" that the wages of sin are high, but we don't get the life lesson that the ancient Israelites received every year. The point of sacrifice was simply this: you deserve to die because of your sin. This animal is dying in your place. Watching the priest slice his throat and watching the blood drain out drove the point home much better than reading a chapter of Leviticus."

I have to admit, I was shocked and deeply moved as I watched this video, but it is something everyone in Old Testament Israel would have been extremely familiar with. It brings home to us so clearly the weightiness of our sin and the worthiness of the Lamb who was slain for us. On this Good Friday, Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. As the link says, don't watch this video while eating, and if you're thinking about showing your children, watch it yourself first here. - JS

April 10, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Excuse Me, Waiter - Did You Mess With The Food?

2 Timothy 3:14 - 4:5 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

To serve as the pastor in the newly formed King's Church in Phoenix is a high calling and an amazing privilege. To serve the King of Kings and the people Christ died for – what could be greater than this? Yet with every great privilege comes great responsibility.

Have you noticed in the above text how it is the presentation of Scripture as God breathed (at the end of 2 Timothy 3) that is the basis for the solemn and holy charge given to preach the Word, in chapter 4? The one thing naturally leads to the other. It is because of the nature of Scripture as divinely inspired that Paul tells Timothy to preach it with boldness, in season and out of season. Literally this phrase means “in good times and bad times,” or by way of application, “preach the word when the people like it and when they do not.”

Continue reading "Excuse Me, Waiter - Did You Mess With The Food?" »

April 10, 2009  |  Comments (3)   |  Permalink

Grace Creates a Truly Free Will - Augustine

Do we by grace destroy free will? God forbid! We establish free will. For even as the law is not destroyed but established by faith, so free will is not destroyed but established by grace. The law is fulfilled only by a free will. And yet the law brings the knowledge of sin; faith brings the acquisition of grace against sin; grace brings the healing of the soul from the disease of sin; the health of the soul brings freedom of will; free will brings the love of righteousness; and the love of righteousness fulfils the law. Thus the law is not destroyed but established through faith, since faith obtains grace by which the law is fulfilled. Likewise, free will is not destroyed through grace, but is established, since grace cures the will so that righteousness is freely loved. Now all the stages which I have here connected together in their successive links, are each spoken of individually in the sacred Scriptures. The law says: ‘You shall not covet’ (Ex.20:17). Faith says: ‘Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You’ (Ps.41:4). Grace says: ‘See, you have been made well: sin no more, in case a worse thing comes upon you’ (Jn.5:14). Health says: ‘O Lord my God, I cried to You, and You have healed me’ (Ps.30:2). Free will says: ‘I will freely sacrifice to You’ (Ps.54:6). Love of righteousness says: ‘Transgressors told me pleasant tales, but not according to Your law, O Lord’ (Ps. 119:85).

How is it then that miserable human beings dare to be proud, either of their free will, before they are set free, or of their own strength, if they have been set free? They do not observe that in the very mention of free will they pronounce the name of liberty. But ‘where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty’ (2 Cor.3:17). If, therefore, they are the slaves of sin, why do they boast of free will? For ‘by whatever a person is overcome, to that he is delivered as a slave’ (2 Pet.2:19). But if they have been set free, why do they puff themselves up as if it were by their own doing? Why do they boast, as if their freedom were not a gift? Or are they so free that they will not have Him for their Lord Who says to them, ‘Without Me, you can do nothing’ (Jn.15:5), and, ‘If the Son sets you free, you shall be truly free?’ (Jn.8:36).

Augustine, On the Spirit and the Letter, 52

------------------------

Note: From this quote, we clearly see that Augustine understood "free will" to mean free from the bondage of sin. But to those without the Spirit he asks this rhetorical question shoing he affirms that the unregerate have no true free will: "If, therefore, they are the slaves of sin, why do they boast of free will?"

April 08, 2009  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

"WORLD" - John's Ten Uses of the Word by Pastor John Samson

The word “world” (Greek: Kosmos) appears 185 times in the New Testament: 78 times in John, 8 in Matthew, 3 in Mark, and 3 also in Luke. The vast majority of its occurrences are therefore in John’s writings, as it is also found 24 times in John’s three epistles, and just three times in Peter.

John uses the word “world” in ten different ways in his Gospel.

1. The Entire Universe - John 1:10; 1:3; 17:5

2. The Physical Earth - John 13:1; 16:33; 21:25

3. The World System - John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11 (see also similar usage in Gal 1:4 – Paul)

4. All humanity minus believers - John 7:7; 15:18

5. A Big Group but less than all people everywhere - John 12:19

6. The Elect Only - John 3:17

7. The Non-Elect Only - John 17:9

8. The Realm of Mankind - John 1:10; (this is very probably the best understanding of the word "world" in John 3:16 also)

9. Jews and Gentiles (not just Israel but many Gentiles too) - John 4:42

10. The General Public (as distinguished from a private group) – not those in small private groups - John 7:4

Seeing this list can be very helpful – especially when traditions reign supreme in some people’s minds that "world" always means all people everywhere. Sometimes it does, but most of the time, it does not. It is a tradition that is very strong but one that cannot survive biblical scrutiny. It is the context that always establishes the meaning of words and their usage.

April 06, 2009  |  Comments (2)   |  Permalink

Christ the Breath of Our Nostrils

I was given the opportunity to preach at my church yesterday (Trinity Church in Minot), in preparation for which, I prepared a "guideline manuscript" -- in other words, I manuscripted the whole sermon, but primarily just to solidify the flow-of-thought, not to read verbatim. I chose my text from Lamentations, a rich, sober, and very beautiful but somewhat obscure passage, that is admittedly more appropriate for Good Friday than Palm Sunday; but in any case, I thought it a fitting prelude to the celebration of Easter Sunday. Following is my manuscript.

The breath of our nostrils, the LORD's anointed, was captured in their pits, of whom we said, "Under his shadow we shall live among the nations." Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, you who dwell in the land of Uz; but to you also the cup shall pass; you shall become drunk and strip yourself bare. The punishment of your iniquity, O daughter of Zion, is accomplished; he will keep you in exile no longer; but your iniquity, O daughter of Edom, he will punish; he will uncover your sins. – Lam 4:20-22

Continue reading "Christ the Breath of Our Nostrils" »

April 06, 2009  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Watch Online - from the recent Ligonier Conference

You can now watch several talks from the recent Ligonier National Conference here http://vidego.316networks.com/player.php?v=ivy2c166. I have just watched Dr. Steve Lawson's message on the legacy of John Calvin and recommend it very highly. - JS

April 03, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Ascension Presbyterian Church

A new congregation beginning in Beaverton, Oregon

For those of you who hadn't yet heard, I got a new job. I've been the Assistant Pastor at Intown PCA in Portland, Oregon, for the last several years. March 29 was my last Sunday there, and now I'm working with Nathan Lewis of Evergreen PCA in Beaverton to start a new church: Ascension Presbyterian (PCA).

Continue reading "Ascension Presbyterian Church" »

April 01, 2009  |  Comments (2)   |  Permalink

Regeneration, Faith, Love—In That Order

Regeneration, Faith, Love—In That Order
by John Piper

In this chapter, we pick up on the very important text, 1 John 5:1–5, which we began to unpack in the last chapter. There is so much more. One of my aims here is to show that our ability to love others imperfectly is based on our assurance that in Christ we already love them perfectly. In other words, I want you to see for yourselves that, even when you fail to love as you ought, Christ’s perfection stands before God in place of that failure. And I want you to see that faith in Christ, not love for people, is the way you enjoy that union with Christ. Therefore, faith must come first and be the root of love and be different from love. Otherwise, love will be destroyed.

If you don’t come at love this way, your failures will probably overwhelm you with guilt and hopelessness. If that happens, you will give way either to hardworking legalism or fatalistic immorality.

Let’s start where we left off at the end of the previous chapter, namely, with the chain of thought in 1 John 5:3–4. The reason we are starting here is to see how regeneration, faith in Christ, and love for people relate to each other. And what will make all the difference is whether you see it for yourselves in the Word of God, not whether you read what I believe about it. That will guide how I lay it out.

Read More...

April 01, 2009  |  Comments (2)   |  Permalink