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"...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)

New Year's Resolutions

It is a sign we are guilty of this self-confidence when we resolve upon a better life, and do not think how unable we are for it. Great resolutions are always vain, unless joined with the consideration of our own weakness. The people of God have promised much, but always it is with the concurrence of Christ. The apostle saith, Phil. 4:12, 'I can,' or will 'do all things,' but it is 'through Christ.'

David promiseth, Ps. 119:32, 'I will run the ways of thy commandments;' but he addeth, 'when thou shalt enlarge my heart.' There are divers such places in scripture. We walk in the strength of our resolutions when we do not see a need that ...Christ should help us, that we may not walk in the same ways of error and maze of misery again...

You must understand it as accompanied with the Spirit's efficacy: 2 Cor. 10:4, 'The weapons of our warfare are mighty through God;' there lies its force. So 2 Cor. 3:6, 'Who hath made us able ministers of the new testament: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.' He calleth the law the letter, as it showeth what is to be done, but ministereth no abilities. The letter killeth, leaveth us miserable, but the gospel, accompanied with the Spirit, is an efficacious instrument to beget life in us; because all the efficacy thereof depends upon the Spirit, therefore, in opposition to the law, it is called spirit.

From A Practical Exposition of the Fifty-Third Chapter of Isaiah - Thomas Manton

December 31, 2010  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

"You don't believe in Limited Atonement do you?"

In a recent video teaching, Dr. James White mentions an incident when a Christian lady came up to him after one of his sermons asking him the loaded question, “You don’t believe in limited atonement do you?”

Dr. White responded by saying, “Yes, Maam, I believe that Jesus Christ saves everyone for whom He dies and He intercedes for them. Maam, who do you think He is interceding for today? …. the High Priest in the Old Testament, when he offered the sacrifice, he had to present the blood of the sacrifice in the holy place – everyone for whom he offered the sacrficie was those for whom he interceded, and He is interceding in heaven today in the presence of the Father specifically for those He is going to save. Do you really think he is interceding for those who are going to spend an eternity in hell and failing in His intercession?”

I think the answer is obvious. In what we refer to as Jesus’ High Priestly prayer in John 17, He made it clear that His intercession was not for everyone. Is it not logical to suggest that His intermediary work as Mediator is done for the exact same people He died for? Note His clear words, “I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.” (John 17:9). More on this here. - JS

December 31, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Understanding 2 Peter 2:1

I recently was asked this question: In 2 Peter 2:1 it speaks of false teachers who "deny the Master that bought them.” Is this not a clear verse teaching universal atonement – that Christ died for everyone?

I attempt to answer that question here. - JS

December 30, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Max McLean Performs The Gospel of Mark

For many years I have been something of a fan of Max McLean. He is widely recognized for his outstanding voice recordings of the Bible, both in the NIV and ESV, but that is by no means the end of his talent. For years he has thrilled audiences with his public performances of Genesis and of Mark’s Gospel, requiring both an amazing memory and remarkable acting skills.

I’ve had the privilege of meeting Max a couple of times while at Ligonier Ministries Pastors’ Conferences and consider him to be a super talented and yet humble man of God with a close relationship with the Lord.

This morning I was thrilled to learn that his performance of Mark’s Gospel is now available on DVD. More than that, it is available to watch free of charge through youtube. As just a sample, here is Max “performing” Mark chapter 4 where Jesus teaches on the Parable of the Sower:

Justin Taylor has taken the time to post each of the 16 chapters of Mark at his site here. Enjoy! - JS

December 30, 2010  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Holy, Holy, Holy by Thomas Brooks

"Who is like You, glorious in holiness?" Exodus 15:11

God is . . .
infinitely holy,
transcendently holy,
superlatively holy,
constantly holy,
unchangeably holy,
exemplary holy,
gloriously holy.

All the holiness that is in the best and choicest
Christians is but a mixed holiness, a weak and
imperfect holiness. Their unholiness is always
more than their holiness.
Ah, what a great deal . . .
of pride is mixed with a little humility,
of unbelief is mixed with a little faith,
of peevishness is mixed with a little meekness,
of earthliness is mixed with a little heavenliness,
of carnality is mixed with a little spirituality,
of harshness is mixed with a little tenderness!

Continue reading "Holy, Holy, Holy by Thomas Brooks" »

December 29, 2010  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Star Size Comparisons

Getting something of a mental grasp of the size of the objects in space is difficult, but a short 2 minute 34 second video helps, found here. - JS

December 29, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Images of the Savior (12 - Gideon's Victory over Midian)

And Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when they had just set the watch; and they blew on the trumpets and smashed the jars that were in their hands. And the three companies blew on the trumpets and broke the jars; and they held in their left hands the torches, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow on; and they cried out, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!”. And they stood each man in his place around the camp; and all the army ran and cried out and fled. And they blew the three hundred trumpets, and Yahweh set the sword of each man against his neighbor, and against all the army; and the army fled until Beth-Shittah, toward Tserera, until the border of Abel-Meholah, by Tabbath. – Judges 7:19-22

If the call of Gideon was an affair attended with many shadowy signs of the final exile of the people of Israel and the gospel era which should afterward ensue, as we discovered last time, then it may be reasonable to suppose that the actual victory which Gideon then wrought against Israel's oppressors should also be full of instructive gospel types. This is a supposition which we will not at all be disappointed in, as we look into the following account; for there, we will find marvelous dreams, suggestive names, amazing events, strange coincidences – but chiefly, one of the most enigmatical victories in the whole history of Israel, which displays God's unique power to save in an extraordinary and evocative way, and points clearly ahead to that greatest victory of all the ages, when God reached down from heaven with an outstretched arm and saved his people from all their oppressors, once and for all. Let us now recount a few respects in which these assertions are certainly true.

Continue reading "Images of the Savior (12 - Gideon's Victory over Midian)" »

December 27, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Quotes from The Letters of John Newton - Indwelling Sin and the Believer

Though sin wars in us — it shall not reign in us. And though it breaks our peace — it cannot separate from his love. Nor is it inconsistent with his holiness, and perfection, to manifest his favor to such poor defiled creatures, or to admit them to communion with himself; for they are not considered as in themselves — but as one with Jesus, to whom they have fled for refuge, and by whom they live a life of faith.

==========

His power is displayed — in maintaining his own work in the midst of so much opposition, like a spark burning in the water, or a bush unconsumed in the flames.

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They dare not, they will not ascribe anything to themselves — but are glad to acknowledge, that they must have perished a thousand times over — if Jesus had not been their Savior, their Shepherd, and their Shield!

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Whoever is truly humbled — will not be easily angry, nor harsh or critical of others. He will be compassionate and tender to the infirmities of his fellow-sinners, knowing that if there is a difference — it is grace alone which has made it! He knows that he has the seeds of every evil in his own heart. And under all trials and afflictions — he will look to the hand of the Lord, and lay his mouth in the dust, acknowledging that he suffers much less than his iniquities have deserved.

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Quotes from The Letters of John Newton - Indwelling Sin and the Believer

December 26, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

A Christmas letter to my 14 year old son

I wrote a letter to each of my children this year to explain some of the things they were receiving as gifts. Here's the one I wrote for my eldest son, age 14. - JS

December 26, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Jesus "the Christ"

The angel told Joseph (and earlier Mary): "[Mary] will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."

The angel declared to the shepherds: "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."

Jesus "the Christ" is the righteousness of God that God requires- -and amazingly provides for sinners to receive by faith.

Jesus simply means "YHWH is Salvation"; his name is JESUS because he will save his people from their sins.

Continue reading "Jesus "the Christ"" »

December 23, 2010  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

If you love Jesus, read Him in context

Jesus' words recently took center stage on The O'Reilly Factor on Fox News, as Bill O'Reilly quoted Jesus and Stephen Colbert responded, quoting.. errr.. Jesus. But before we get too excited about this, it must be pointed out that both men missed the meaning Jesus intended because they failed to take His words in context. Here’s a very good article by Shane Rosenthal where he explains this. I think he does a fine job. - JS

December 23, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

God gives no rewards for being boring

Banjamin Zander is a master communicator. His passion is classical music. As I watched him in action, teaching, I thought of the application to us as Christians. We can learn a great deal from such a man. I write about it here. - JS

December 22, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

The Spirit of Christmas: "O Tidings of Comfort and Joy!"

"O Tidings of comfort and joy," many will sing so happily at Christmas to declare that believers have rest from sin and have found salvation in Jesus Christ ("God rest ye merry gentlemen..."- -and believing ladies, too, of course!). Let us thank God for the Holy Spirit and His ministry that makes this comfort and joy meaningful and real as He teaches us about "Immanuel, God with us" in the Person and Ministry of Jesus Christ.

In Luke 2:21-35 we have the Old Covenant time period meeting the New Covenant fullness of the times. In this overlapping time and fulfillment of two eras, we are called to behold the glorious work of God's Spirit in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Just a few days after Jesus is born in a lowly manger, the Lord graciously grants a righteous man named Simeon an opportunity to behold with his eyes, and embrace with his arms all of the hopes and longings of the Old Testament people. Simeon lived every day with hopes that one day he would see the fulfillment of God's Word.

The Holy Spirit is Christ-centered; He is focused on the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. Believers who have been regenerated and led by the Spirit (like Simeon) are also Christ-centered; our lives are lived focused on the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. How should we understand this focus on Jesus this Christmas?

How do we learn about the work of the Holy Spirit and see His focus on JESUS in Luke 2:21-35:
1. The Holy Spirit gave circumcision to God's people to teach them about their need for Jesus.
2. The Holy Spirit gave the Law to God's people to teach them about their need for Jesus.
3. The Holy Spirit gave the inspired word of God's promises to God's people to teach them about their need for Jesus.
4. The Holy Spirit gave hope of forgiveness to God's people to teach them about their need for Jesus.
5. The Holy Spirit gave Jesus Christ to God's people to teach them about their need for a change of heart before Jesus.
6. The Holy Spirit has given the Church and the Sacraments to God's people to teach them about their need for Jesus. (Continued...CRB)

Continue reading "The Spirit of Christmas: "O Tidings of Comfort and Joy!"" »

December 22, 2010  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Christmas Calvinists

Question: How do you know when someone is a Christmas Calvinist?

Answer: No "L"

(Noel! Noel!)

Yes, it is the missing "L" in the acrostic TULIP.

Joking aside though, all who are particularists (who believe that only some and not all of humanity will ultimately be saved) limit the atonement in some way. The Arminian limits its power (believing Christ's "atonement" was for everybody but only hypothetically as it does not actually atone or save anyone unless man adds his faith to it) and the Calvinist limits its scope (believing that by His death and resurrection He secured a real and effectual atonement and removed the wrath of God for His people - and that the faith that saves is actually God's gift). Here's the first of a series of articles on this important issue. - JS

December 22, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Every The One Believing Meaneth Me

When teaching on the subject of Divine election, there are certain questions people have that always come up without fail. One of the first is to ask how the concept of God choosing can be reconciled with John 3:16. This has been addressed a number of times here on the blog but in that I was recently asked the question again and there are always new readers who may not have seen the material, some might be interested in a short answer I provided today here. God bless. - JS

December 21, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Images of the Savior (11 - Gideon's Call)

And the Angel of Yahweh came and sat under the oak which is in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite; and Gideon his son was threshing wheat in the winepress, to hide it from Midian. And the Angel of Yahweh appeared unto him and said unto him, “Yahweh is with you, O mighty man of valor”. – Judges 6:11-12

As we arrive at the history of that enigmatical judge, Gideon, we must be struck with amazement at the manifold ways in which the gospel is foreshadowed, and the marvelous valor and salvation which comes by God's grace through a naturally weak and cowardly man, given to many foibles, and even susceptible to gross idolatry – and that at the end of his life, after he had already seen the display of such gospel power in his surprising victory over the Midianites. Let us walk through the many types and shadows and appearances of Christ the Savior that we may encounter in these passages, for here there is much fine gospel-gold to be had for just a little labor, which even the weakest of saints might be able to dig up without too much trouble.

Continue reading "Images of the Savior (11 - Gideon's Call)" »

December 20, 2010  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

The Creative Power of Silent Monkery

Imagine, if you will, being a monk and having taken a vow of silence. For very creative monks, that does not mean any inhibitions at all when it comes to Handel’s Messiah “Hallelujah Chorus” – VERY FUNNY!!! Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

December 20, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

The Power is Not in Joseph’s Pants

Luther's last sermon and its application for us today. Short article here. - JS

December 19, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Dan Brown - I'd like you to meet Bishop Melito

Bishop Melito of Sardis speaks from the grave to Dan Brown here.

December 18, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Growing in Humility and Grace in 2011

How to Grow in Humility and Love for Christ

Here is the great Puritan Thomas Brooks on growing in humility and grace. Take time to read this with your family. I believe if we believe and heed this biblical wisdom as Christians, 2011 will be our best year yet as we seek to grow in the grace and love of the Lord Jesus Christ.

(Note: If you only have a moment to give this a glance, jump down and read the main points on growing in humility and grace below).

The Puritans never cease to amaze me. God in His great providence and kind mercies gave us many godly men throughout the 1500-1700s who can still focus our attention on the riches of Christ’s grace and how to grow in our faith and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. As God gave Martin Luther to the Church to instruct us properly in the biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone, so God gave us the Church the Puritans so that we might grow in grace.

One of my favorite Puritans is Thomas Brooks (1608-1662) (I also regularly read and encourage others to read Richard Baxter, Richard Sibbes, John Flavel, and Thomas Watson to grow more in Christ’s grace and in biblical understanding). Thomas Brooks’ ‘Works’ are still in print by the Banner of Truth Trust (HERE), and we should be grateful to God.

Continue reading...(CRB)

Continue reading "Growing in Humility and Grace in 2011" »

December 17, 2010  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Context, Context, Context!

I was asked, "Pastor John, in your article about rules of interpretation you mention context as being vital in terms of obtaining the correct interpretation of a text or passage. Can you expand on that a little more? What I do is look up a word’s meaning in a dictionary. Isn’t that enough?"

I replied: Thanks for your excellent question. Actually my short answer is “no, that is not enough.” More here.

December 16, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Many Congratulations

We give thanks to God and send our many congratulations to Mr and Mrs John Hendryx on the birth of their son, Shaun Luke Hendryx on December 13, 2010, weighing 8 pounds, 3 oz, and measuring 20 inches. We celebrate this happy news with you and pray for continued health for you and all your family John and a long and prosperous life for young Shaun.

December 15, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Ask R.C. Live

On November 30, 2010, Ligonier Ministries held the first session of “Ask R.C. Live.” Dr. Sproul answered a wide range of questions, including “Why is Arminianism so popular in the Church at large in our day?”, “What is the biblical way to leave a church?”, “What are your thoughts on the second commandment?”, and “When did deep-fried frog legs become your favorite food?” If you missed this session at the time, it has now been posted at the Ligonier site and is available to watch now here. - JS

December 15, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

I wept

There are times when it is entirely appropriate to weep. I just experienced such a time. Here's why. - JS

December 14, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Psalm Thirty: Weeping May Endure for a Night, But Joy Comes in the Morning

Images of the Savior from the Psalms
Psalm Thirty: Weeping May Endure for a Night, But Joy Comes in the Morning

There is no psalm that better sums up the very essence of the Christian life than this song of David, written for the dedication of the Temple. Here we have the truth most poignantly expressed that they who suffer and mourn now will be supremely blessed hereafter. Christ did not come to bring healing to the healthy, peace to the complacent, or joy to the mirthful. He came to bind up the brokenhearted, to heal the sick, to open blinded eyes, to forgive the guilt-laden conscience and flood the distressed and burdened soul with peace. “Your enemies will rejoice,” he told his disciples when he was about to save their souls, “but their joy will turn to despair. But you, though you sorrow for a moment, your sorrow will turn into joy that no one can ever take away” (see John 16:19-24). “Blessed are those who mourn,” he declared elsewhere, “for they shall be comforted” (Mat. 5:4).

Continue reading "Psalm Thirty: Weeping May Endure for a Night, But Joy Comes in the Morning" »

December 13, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

The Twelve Doctrines of Christmas

Hilarious! Enjoy! Merry Christmas! - JS

December 13, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

The Reformation - The Broad Picture

I am always aware that we have new readers who might be unfamilar with the history and doctrines of the Reformation. With this in mind, I have just written a short article, which I hope will provide an extremely brief overview of the events and issues here. - JS

December 13, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Does Muhammad's Name Appear in Song of Solomon 5:16?

Are you aware that the Qur'an claims (in Surah 61:6 and Surah 7:157) that the Bible refers to Muhammad? In fact, this idea was a central feature of Muhammad's understanding of his own identity as a prophet.

At his blog at www.aomin.org, Dr. James White writes, "Does Muhammad's Name Appear in Song of Solomon 5:16? The answer, of course, is "no." But how would you respond to the bright-eyed, confident, convinced Islamic college student who told you that surely Muhammad's name does appear in the Bible, and the renowned Bible scholar Ahmed Deedat had proven it to be so? Dr. Bassim Gorial gave me permission to post material from my last appearance in the Jesus or Muhammad Marathon on ABN (www.abnsat.com), for which I am very grateful. Included in this video is a Muslim caller who, well, changed her mind halfway through the call."

December 11, 2010  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Thanks for Praying...

THANKS FOR PRAYING EVERYONE – FINALLY.. (after a week) – HERE’S AN UPDATE ON THE SISTER WHO WAS BRAIN DEAD AND AFTER PRAYER, OPENED HER EYES… - JS

Her sister writes: “She is doing amazing! She was taken off the ventilator and starting communicating. They moved her to the neurological ward at Good Samaritan Hospital. She has no identifiable brain damage on the scans but she is having some short term memory loss and mixing up words and such. Praise God and thanks so much for all the prayers as we well know that her recovery is far from over.”

December 11, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

"Immanuel, Our God is with Us- -and For Us!"


ESV Isaiah 9:6-7: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

Jesus is our Immanuel, very God of very God, "with us"! (Matt. 1:18-23).

Jesus is Immanuel, "God with us" and "God for us" and "God in us" and "God born of a woman for us" and "God born under Law for us" and "God born to die for us" and "God born to live for us in our nature" and "God dead and raised to resurrected Glory for us" and 'GOD IN HEAVEN FOR US"!

What greater hope could we have??!!

The hope of every believer is that Jesus was born for us, lived for us, died for us, and was exalted for us into the Highest Heaven (Read on...CRB)

Continue reading ""Immanuel, Our God is with Us- -and For Us!"" »

December 10, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

God's Foreknowledge and Election

Is Divine election (God's choice to save sinners) based upon His knowing ahead of time what man will choose? Article here. - JS

December 09, 2010  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Is Time On Your Side?

There was a popular song in the 60s that boasted: “Time is on my side- -yes, it is!” (We should ask the aging singer now if this is still true).

But is time really on our side? Every generation wastes a lot of time. The Book of Ecclesiastes is an inspired book on the waste of time contrasted with knowing God and getting wisdom.

Wasting time is nothing new under the sun.

In our culture, how easy it is for us to waste time, yet we are called as the dearly loved children of God to walk wisely making sure to use your time wisely.

ESV Ephesians 5:15-16: Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

We live in a time where time is greatly wasted. Perhaps technology and our ability to be “everywhere” in so many places at once- -mobile networks, handheld devices, iPads, iPods, iPhones, “i-need another one!” etc.

We live in a world where time is not measured by age as much as by the next edition, the next operating system, the next generation of network, or iPod, or Play station, or whatever.

We await the “next, best thing!” The “next version”- -we long to be “upgraded” “rebooted” and “reconfigured”- -but time is ticking…

Not THE END as our goal- -but the “next best thing”.

The chief end of man is not to glorify God and enjoy Him forever- -but to enjoy as God the next best thing! (Read on...CRB)

Time is tick, tick, ticking away...tick tock, tick tock....

Continue reading "Is Time On Your Side? " »

December 09, 2010  |  Comments (2)   |  Permalink

An Explosion of Common Grace

When it comes to worldviews, everyone wears glasses. It is the lens through which we look at the world. What about you? How do you view the events of history? What kind of glasses do you use to look at the world around you - secular or biblical?

The statistics (shown in this video below) are quite mind blowing and impactful, no matter what your world view might be.

Secularists will view them in purely humanistic terms, seeing them as man advancing in knowledge, status and power.

Christians will see them as a combination of man taking the Genesis 1 call for dominion seriously and conquering his environment, along with a huge outpouring of God's grace and blessing. I think that is how the angels would view them too. They reveal the huge escalation and outpouring of common grace over the last 200 years. - JS

December 08, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Sins Many, Much Forgiveness! Much Forgiveness, Much Love!

ESV Luke 7:47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven- for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little."

What is your estimation of yourself? I’m not speaking in terms of estimating your financial worth or estimating your value to others in this world. What is your estimation of yourself before God? Do you consider yourself “pretty good” or “a decent person” or “righteous compared with others”? Or are you sinful? Are you one who has been greatly forgiven?

We must remember that the Bible teaches us that all fall short of the glory of God. We are born and conceived in sin, and therefore we have no righteousness before God from our very conception (Psa. 51). Not only that, but we have no interest or desire for God in our sinful condition, and so we sin against God in our words, thoughts and deeds (Gen. 6:5; Jeremiah 17:9; Eph. 2:1-3).

The Bible tells us that our predicament is so sinful that even our best works of righteousness, our best prayers, our best goodness before God is as filthy rags worthy only of rejection before God’s holy face (Isa. 64:6).

If we are conceived in sin, and we constantly commit actual sins throughout our lives because we resist God and selfishly want to live for ourselves, and our best religious efforts are tainted by sin, and are never acceptable before God, what are we to do?

How can we ever love God and others, if we find ourselves in this sinful predicament?! (Read on...CRB)

Continue reading "Sins Many, Much Forgiveness! Much Forgiveness, Much Love!" »

December 08, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Perfect Love for Imperfect People

How are you doing in your faith today? How are doing in believing God's promises to you in Jesus?

Now don’t merely measure your faith, seeking to find out whether it is strong or weak. Rather, ponder the greatness of Christ’s strength, beauty and love for you! Faith fixes its eyes on JESUS the Author and Perfector of your faith (Heb. 12:1ff). Faith seeks more of Christ. Even the weakest faith can take hold of a STRONG CHRIST.

How are you doing in accepting, receiving and resting upon Christ’s completed work for you?

How are you doing in believing Christ is All-Sufficient and All-Powerful for whatever he calls you to today?


Here is a Scripture from John's first letter that may encourage and strengthen your faith in Jesus:

ESV 1 John 4:18-19: There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.


Our faith is strengthened as we realize God's love for us in Jesus Christ!

Continue reading "Perfect Love for Imperfect People" »

December 07, 2010  |  Comments (4)   |  Permalink

Five Big Myths About Calvinism

Does Calvinism destroy evangelism, appeal to man's pride, stunt personal holiness, make men robots and diminish the love of God? Not at all. But these are all myths that are believed by many in our day. I write a short article on it here. - JS

December 07, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Understanding 1 Timothy 4:10

What does the Bible mean in 1 Tim. 4:10 when it says that God is the Savior of all men, especially of believers? I seek to provide an answer here. - JS

December 06, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

God's Decisive Action

In an article entitled, "One of the Most Important Principles in Reading the Bible," Dr. John Piper writes:

Sometimes readers of the Bible see the conditions that God lays down for his blessing and they conclude from these conditions that our action is first and decisive, then God responds to bless us. That is not right.

There are indeed real conditions that God often commands. We must meet them for the promised blessing to come. But that does not mean that we are left to ourselves to meet the conditions or that our action is first and decisive.

Here is one example to show what I mean. In Jeremiah 29:13 God says to the exiles in Babylon, "You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." So there is a condition: When you seek me with all your heart, then you will find me. So we must seek the Lord. That is the condition of finding him.

True.

But does that mean that we are left to ourselves to seek the Lord? Does it mean that our action of seeking him is first and decisive? Does it mean that God only acts after our seeking?

No.

Continue reading "God's Decisive Action" »

December 06, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Calvinism v. Arminianism

I just wrote a short article here concerning the parameters of the debate. - JS

December 05, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Total Depravity

Historically and biblically speaking, the term "total depravity" does not mean utter depravity (unregenerate man is not as bad as he possibly could be), but that every aspect of man has suffered a radical corruption in the Fall. Article here. - JS

December 04, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

This morning...

I had an interesting interaction this morning on the internet. A lady I know in another state wrote to me saying...

6:56 a.m. EST - M: "I am asking for prayers for my sister- she was found by my brother hanging in her closet and is still alive but on a ventilator and they are not detecting any brain activity- Thanks."

8:49 a.m. EST - Me: "oh nooooo - of course - praying.."

10:15 a.m. EST - M: "Thank you for your prayers!!! She just opened her eyes!"

11:31 a.m. EST - Me: "wow - thank you Jesus - let me know when you know more."

As I say, I don't know any more details than this, but its interesting to note what rises in our hearts when we hear something like this. Unbelief? Thanksgiving to God? perhaps what we call a healthy scepticism (believe it when I see it approach)?

I really am not sure about what happened today exactly. All I know is what I have written here, but I am reminded of the words of Martin Luther, "The Holy Spirit is not a sceptic."

Just something to ponder. - JS

December 03, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Prayer - in preparation for Sunday

I cannot claim to be the author of this prayer (I borrowed heavily and adjusted it only slightly) but feel it can be useful to each of us as we prepare our hearts for the gathering of the saints each Lord's day. Feel free to use it in any way you can. - JS

December 03, 2010  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Are You Humble?

I’m certainly not.

But I have been meditating on a forefather in our most holy faith that was! I wanted to share some of Thomas Brooks’ wisdom with you (he’s the guy who wrote ‘Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices’ that classic spiritual warfare book).

James 4:7 says that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Only Christ was perfectly humble; we can only learn true humility in Christ as we draw nearer and nearer to God, trusting less in ourselves and more in Him!

Humility is both a character and a command. In the Bible, we are commanded to be humble; this may seem strange to you. ESV 1 Peter 5:6 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you…” How is a person to “humble themselves”? Essentially, when the Scriptures teach us to draw near to God, or submit ourselves to God, or to depend upon God, etc. these are admonitions and/or commands to be humble. We are to have a right estimation of ourselves under God before God.

Continue reading "Are You Humble?" »

December 02, 2010  |  Comments (2)   |  Permalink

Natural Revelation, Special Revelation and NASA

Natural Revelation is a phrase used by theologians to describe what God has revealed about Himself through the natural world around us. There is enough revelation in nature for God to declare that mankind knows of His existence inherently so that to deny such leaves a person “without excuse.”

God does not believe in atheists! That is the claim of the Bible in Romans 1:20 where it tells us that God’s invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.

As spectacular as natural revelation is, it has its limitations. Nature does not tell us everything about God, or even all we need to know about God for salvation. Therefore, in addition to natural revelation, God has also given us Special Revelation, the God breathed Scriptures (the Bible). I write more about this in a short article here. - JS

December 02, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink