Learning and Living the God-centered life

One Biblical Doctrine at a time…

Devotion time in Daniel 4

In our study of Bible doctrine and more specifically the doctrine of God we will cover the sovereignty of God. Our Friday Bible reading is Daniel 1-6 but I am drawn this morning to Daniel 4. This may be the clearest teaching in the Bible regarding the sovereignty of God. Let's look at the verses and then come to a definition of sovereignty.

Daniel 4:28-35 (NIV)
28 All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 Twelve months later, as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30 he said, "Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?"
31 The words were still on his lips when a voice came from heaven, "This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you. 32 You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes."

33 Immediately what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from people and ate grass like cattle. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird.

34 At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever.
His dominion is an eternal dominion;
his kingdom endures from generation to generation.

35 All the peoples of the earth
are regarded as nothing.
He does as he pleases
with the powers of heaven
and the peoples of the earth.
No one can hold back his hand
or say to him: "What have you done?"

The definition of sovereignty: God plans and carries out His perfect will as He alone knows is best, overall that is in heaven and earth, and He does so without failure or defeat. Read More...

What is going on with American Christianity?

Teachers of the Bible in church have two important responsibilities; one is to guard people from false doctrine and the second is to teach what the text means from the standpoint of what the author meant when he wrote it. My old Bible teacher used the example of a glass that was filled with 100% pure drinking water. And then he says I am only going to put 1% arsenic into the glass will you drink it? He then makes the point that the 1% won't kill you immediately but after drinking it over a period of time will bring certain death. The illustration is for those in the church today that have abandoned the truth of the Bible. A solid reading of Romans Chapter 1 should convince us that God will give people over to what they really desire. And now what America has reaped in the wind she is reaping in the whirl wind, yes even within the "professing" church.

I have included as the main subject for this email a recent article from USA Today's religion and faith section. Click on this LINK. The article deals primarily with the 18-29 year old demographic but please don't limit your thinking of this problem to just this group it goes to the generation before and the one that is to come after. May I strongly encourage to process it in light of what the apostle Paul told young Timothy to watch out for at the end of the age.

2 Timothy 3:1-4 "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them."

2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. Read More...

Something to think about...

From Acidri’s Blog

“If we do not preach about sin and God’s judgment on it, we cannot present Christ as Saviour from sin and the wrath of God. And if we are silent about these things, and preach a Christ who saves only from self and the sorrows of this world, we are not preaching the Christ of the Bible . . . Such preaching may soothe some, but it will help nobody; for a Christ who is not seen and sought as a Saviour from sin will not be found to save from self or from anything else”

Devotion time in Psalm 95

I was discipled in my early years of Bible training by a man who taught me the importance of daily devotions. The first thing he instructed was what he called the key to Bible devotion and study. The principle he said I needed to learn was how to prepare the heart! So, listed below is a summary or paraphrase of what he constantly exhorted me to do before devotions and times of study.

The preparation of the heart is a non-negotiable and without it Bible study will nothing more than an academic exercise. If there is no illumination and understanding of the text correctly then there will be no correct application either. Therefore it is critical that we learn to prepare the heart before we start to read, study and have our quiet times. As one scholar once said "it doesn't do much good to tune the fiddle when the concert is over".

1. Confession of known sin or sin that is being tolerated in one's life (1 John 1:9)
2. Prayer of desperation from the heart of one who earnestly desires to hear from, meet with and obey God (Psalm 34:8)

I - Incline your heart (Psalm 119:36)
"Incline my heart to Your testimonies
And not to dishonest gain"

O - Open my eyes (Psalm 119:18)
"Open my eyes, that I may behold
Wonderful things from Your law"

U – Unite my heart (Psalm 86:11)
"Teach me Your way, O LORD;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name"

I am sharing this with you today because of my devotion time in Psalm 95. When you look at the overall structure of Psalm 95 there are two main parts.
1. A celebration of God's kingship (1-7)
2. A warning to Israel about the rebellion of their ancestors (8-11) Read More...

Basic Bible study

For the past couple of weeks we have been studying “Practical Christian Living” from Romans 6. As we study together I thought it might be helpful to list some questions to consider as you come to various sections of Scripture. Again the goal of Bible study is to understand what the author meant by what he wrote. In Bible hermeneutics the cardinal rule is as follows: there can be one and only one meaning for each Scripture but many applications of that Scripture. So with that in mind let’s look at some key questions to ask as one comes before the text.

1. Who wrote/spoke the passage and to whom was it addressed?

2. What does the passage say?

3. Are there any words or phrases in the passage that need to be examined?

4. What is the immediate context?

5. What is the broader context in the chapter and book?

6. What are the related verses to the passage’s subject and how do they affect the understanding of this passage?

7. What is the historical and cultural background?

8. What do I conclude about the passage?

9. Do my conclusions agree or disagree with related areas of Scripture and others who have studied the passage?

10. What have I learned and what must I apply to my life?

Quote for the day

Without the present illumination of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God must remain a dead letter to every man, no matter how intelligent or well-educated he may be. . . . It is just as essential for the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth of Scripture to the reader today as it was necessary for him to inspire the writers in their day. - WILLIAM LAW

Do we have homework?

The short answer to that question is yes. If you are new to the “Learning and Living” Community then here is what you need to know about the homework assignments. This class was started on the premise of getting people back to the word of God, until the word of God got back into them. The three specific disciplines we have taught from day one involve Bible reading, Bible devotion and Bible study. Therefore each week I am prayerful and hopeful that these activities are becoming part of your Christian walk. So I am encouraging a trifold assignment each week and they are as follows:

Assignment #1 - Read through the entire Bible. We are presently reading through a 52 week Bible reading plan that gives a specific section of Bible reading on a daily basis.
So for the person that wants to know, what is the homework for the day, I first want to point them to Bible reading plan. Recent church statistics show that over 90% of those within the church have not read through the Bible at least one time. It is harder to teach when there is not an understanding of the Scriptures as a whole. One of the key components the church is missing today in Bible study is being able to see the big picture connection from Genesis to Revelation. In the first month of our class we covered many different aspects of the Bible. One morning I asked the class, "who is the author of Genesis?" Someone spoke up and said "Moses" to which I replied "that is correct."
Then I repeated the question a different way and asked "who is the real Author of Genesis?" At that point someone else spoke up and said "the Holy Spirit" to which I replied "that is correct." So even though the Bible is composed of 66 books with over 40 different authors, there is one mind and one Author that is connecting it all together.
Therefore we should ask questions and know things like; how is Genesis connected to Revelation, Job to Romans, 1 Samuel to Luke? Getting the overall big picture of the Bible is like putting together a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. We have all learned that the best way to put together this kind of puzzle in to find all the border pieces first. But not only that, we need to have a picture of the box top. By reading the Bible over and over you are getting the picture of the box top and as you learn Bible doctrine that starts to set the border pieces in place. Over the years I have found many in the church don't understand the following two big picture items in regard to the Bible;
1. What is the overall theme of the entire Bible?
2. What is the overall organizing plan that God has set out from Genesis to Revelation?

Again as in the illustration of the jigsaw puzzle these two items above are like the box top. As you read and re-read the Bible you will start to develop a solid understanding as to the unity of the Scriptures. I am a proponent of exegetical Bible study in which you study individual books of the Bible. But I have found it most helpful instead of picking up a piece of the puzzle and observing it and studying each of the aspects of the puzzle piece, we need to have a good picture of the box top that we study first. Read More...

Why the "prosperity" gospel is so dangerous

Here is a short but powerful response to the prosperity gospel by Dr. John Piper.

Jesus said, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” His disciples were astonished, as many in the “prosperity” movement should be. So Jesus went on to raise their astonishment even higher by saying, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” They responded in disbelief: “Then who can be saved?” Jesus says, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God” (Mark 10:23-27).

This means that their astonishment was warranted. A camel can’t go through the eye of a needle. This is not a metaphor for something requiring great effort or humble sacrifice. It can’t be done. We know this because Jesus said, Impossible! That was his word, not ours. “With man it is impossible.” The point is that the heart-change required is something man can’t do for himself. God must do it—“. . . but [it is] not [impossible] with God.”

We can’t make ourselves stop treasuring money above Christ. But God can. That is good news. And that should be part of the message that prosperity preachers herald before they entice people to become more camel-like. Why would a preacher want to preach a gospel that encourages the desire to be rich and thus confirms people in their natural unfitness for the kingdom of God?

Review for April 25

If you would like to listen to the audio from today “What is the gospel?”

If you want to print out the notes from today’s class. Click on this LINK

King Manasseh is a "vassal" king

2 Kings 21:10-12, 16
10 And the Lord said by his servants the prophets, 11 “Because Manasseh king of Judah has committed these abominations and has done things more evil than all that the Amorites did, who were before him, and has made Judah also to sin with his idols, 12 therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing upon Jerusalem and Judah such disaster that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle.
16 Moreover, Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another,
besides the sin that he made Judah to sin so that they did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.

If you came to the retreat in February we looked at the historical context in which the writing in the Old Testament occurred. We can learn much from the historical narratives by our understanding an ancient near eastern practice called "suzerain" treaties. I have included below the verses from today's reading that highlight when King Manasseh sinned he brought all Judah to sin. You could say it this way "so goes the king then so go the people." Also for those interested in a little more information about suzerain treaties I have included some of the retreat notes on this subject. A special thanks to Lee Irons whose teaching I have borrowed from in this area of study. Again these kings are pointers or foreshadows of the vassal king that would eventually come and who would be fully obedient in every way. That vassal king is Jesus and because of His obedience we who are under His rule and authority may enter into the kingdom.

Notes regarding the suzerain and vassal king
In context of the cultures of Mesopotamia, the Hittites and the fertile crescent
They all practiced the culture of ancient near east treaties

There is a treaty format between the suzerain and the vassal
Suzerain simply means the great king
Vassal means the subordinate who has to obey the great king

Review for April 18

Practical Christian Living from the doctrines of justification, regeneration and resurrection will be the subject for the next several weeks. The living out of the Christina life begins with learning proper doctrine. This morning we looked at Romans 6:1-14. My goal was to give a proper background and outline as we come to this very important and exciting chapter that teaches both learning and living the Christian life.

Definition of Justification

We took 5 weeks on our “March to the Cross” to study in more depth the doctrines of justification, regeneration and resurrection. Therefore I am including an excellent definition from Dr. Douglas Moo that is a bit long but very help in understanding justification.

The Bible pictures all human beings as defendants in a courtroom: a courtroom in which God is the judge and our sins constitute the evidence against us. The judge weighs the evidence and finds every single one of us guilty of sin and announces that we, therefore, must be condemned. The marvelous news of justification is that God has himself provided for us the means of escaping that condemnation: by responding to his gracious initiative in faith, we become joined with Christ, who died for us and was raised for us. We become joined to Christ, who takes on himself the penalty for our sin and covers us with the ‘righteousness’ that we need to reverse the verdict of condemnation and receive the verdict of ‘justified’, ‘right’ with God. And because we have been joined to Christ, the holy one, and have in that union received the gift of God’s powerful holy Spirit, we, who have been justified, also find our lives transformed so that we love God and neighbor.

Where in the world is Pat Jones?

Do you remember the game “where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?” Maybe you have watched the today show and seen as they promote “where in the world is Matt Lauer?” Well, we in the Learning and Living class have our own world traveler. His name is Pat Jones our beloved class leader. While I was working hard today I received this email alert. When I opened it was this photo of Pat. Immediately I thought this must go up on the website. Of course on Sunday you will hear the story behind the picture so bring your friends, neighbors and relatives for story time with Uncle Pat.

Click on photo for another surprise

When Regeneration takes place...

From the Sacred Sandwich blogsite

Grace "to" you and Grace "with" you

Yesterday our reading was in 1 Thessalonians Chapters 1-3. Have you noticed how the apostle Paul begins each of his epistles in this manner "grace to you" and end all of his epistle this way "grace with you"?

If I were to ask you a reason for "WHY" he begins and ends the letters in this manner how would you answer that question? Is there a difference between the word "to" and the word "with"? Notice that on the front end the word "to" is always used and on the back end the word "with" is always used. Could you make a 21st century Bible study, Bible devotion and Bible reading application in regard to this observation?

Isn't it amazing that God uses very small words to bring to us very big revelations for our Christian lives!


Rom. 1:7 ¶ to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1Cor. 1:3 ¶ Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2Cor. 1:2 ¶ Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Gal. 1:3 ¶ Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,

Eph. 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Phil. 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Col. 1:2 ¶ To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

1Th. 1:1 ¶ Paul and Silvanus and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.

2Th. 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1Tim. 1:2 ¶ To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

2Tim. 1:2 ¶ To Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Titus 1:4 ¶ To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

Philemon 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Read More...

Thanks "Papa" Russ

This is a blog shout out and thank you to Pastor Russ for teaching our SS community this past week. I received an email from someone who commented on what a great lesson that Russ taught on Sunday.

In 1998 I sensed the calling into full time ministry. It was in April of 1999 that I became part of the pastoral staff at Calvary Church. And not long after that Pastor Russ Rosser was hired and eventually became my boss. We have a long history together and it has been a wonderful friendship and fellowship in our Lord Jesus Christ. One day while working with Russ a co-worker said you know Russ is always around to care and comfort he reminds me of a “Papa Russ.” Well, that nick name stuck and remains even to this day when I call or talk to my good friend. Over the years I have developed a number of “Papa Russ” stories.

Therefore I decided to youtube a story of the first time that I was asked to come into the office of Pastor Russ. You must keep in mind that it was a mile long, and had thousands of books on three sides of the walls. His chair sat up high almost like a king and the chair that you sat in sunk down so that your nose was level with his desk. It was at that time that I learned the “Papa Russ” way. That way always started out with BBBBBEEEERRRRTTTTT, tell me your story. If you would like to see the video then just click on this LINK.

Believers or Unbelievers

The Bible talks in terms of two categories for all mankind:

Believers or Unbelievers

Sheep or Goats

Wheat or Tares

In Christ or In Adam

In the Spirit or in the Flesh

Good tree or Bad tree

Narrow Road or Broad Road

Heaven or Hell

Which category are you in?

The practical outworking of the resurrection

Learn to tell the gospel story

What is the plot line or the story line of the Bible? It is a true story about the unfolding and progressive plan of God to redeem mankind. The story is not about how someone can have a better marriage, a more successful career, or even how to live a healthy lifestyle. But it is a story about mankind being at enmity with God so that the only reconciliation available is through Jesus Christ who died, was buried and three days later rose from the dead. The pronouncement of this event in history is called the good news. And it is good news because God has acted in the person and work of Jesus Christ to save people from their sins. The very sins that once kept them separated from God have been paid in full by the death of Christ on the cross. Also there has been a transferring of righteousness from Jesus to the account of every believer so that they now have the very righteousness of Christ. It is now that the believer can know with 100% confidence that God is for them and no longer is against them. This is really news, good news, the kind of news that makes an eternal difference in the lives of those who will receive it by faith.

Sometimes we get that turned around and end up making our story the subject of the gospel instead of Christ. Often times, since there is very little instruction for people, I hear about how someone got saved. It normally involves mostly a past tense discussion very little present tense and almost no future tense. My other problem is that the story may involve a person who recovered from an addition problem, or the mother decided not to have an abortion, or they survived cancer. Even though there is not an intentional misrepresentation of the "good news" never the less there is a distortion that can be hurtful. The unbeliever may think well if I accept this Jesus then life will get better because that is what has happened to those telling their stories. The young believer can feel despair in thinking that for some reason they are struggling because they just need to believe more. The point is that the main subject and story line in the Bible is Jesus. Therefore the main story line when we tell a story about the good news must be about Jesus. Read More...

Quote for the day

“Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in for free, aim at earth and you will lose both.” - C.S. Lewis

Hermeneutics, a system to study the Bible

Our SS class is on a relentless pursuit to understand what the Bible means. It is our belief that correct learning of God’s word leads to the correct living of God’s word in our daily walk with Christ. When you hear the expression what the Bible means let me clarify that a bit in this article. The goal of “Biblical hermeneutics” is to understand what the author meant by what he wrote. However today in many churches there is a new form of hermeneutics that has taken over. I want to say from the outset that this new type of hermeneutic is dangerous and can lead to heresy in both teaching and living. The fancy name is “neo-orthodox” which means I can interpret the Bible through the lens of what it means to me. This means that there is no right and wrong but only the perspective from which the reader wants to take the text and understand what it means to them. Have you ever been to a Bible study when the facilitator read a verse and then went around the room to get various interpretations. Dr John MacArthur calls that type of Bible study the pooling of ignorance.

Sound Biblical hermeneutics is a system that is based upon three key principles of study:
  • Grammatical-Historical
  • Scripture interprets Scripture
  • The New Testament is ruling hermeneutic for interpreting the Old Testament


During the last 5 weeks we have been looking at three doctrines on our "March to the Cross." In our reading this week our assignment was Leviticus 16-18 which reminded me of another important word and doctrine, that being atonement. By now you know the drill; can you define it, illustrate it and then support it with Scripture. In the old days I would teach on a book, word, doctrine or a particular Bible truth and move on, but not today. I am reviewing more now in my teaching style than ever, staying on subjects longer and finding that you can teach doctrine way too fast but never too slow. So I am going to cover some ground in this blog article that has already been tilled so to speak. But I hope that these type of reviews will promote review and study in order to keep this important Biblical truths fresh in your mind.

This is all prompted by the reading from Leviticus 16 and the word "ATONEMENT."

In general the word ATONEMENT is the reparation or price that is paid for wrong doing.

If you park in a restricted zone down town to go into a store and you get a ticket, that would be considered a wrong doing before the law and you now must pay $35. This is considered to be the price for your atonement. And when you pay the $35 your status moves from guilt to innocent through the atonement made via the payment.

Well, what about the term “vicarious atonement” or “substitutionary atonement,” what does this mean?

Go back to the parking ticket illustration:
You are the guilty party and you owe the $35, but someone else steps in and pays the $35 for you. As long as they are innocent and don’t owe for any outstanding parking tickets, then the clerk will take their $35 and apply it to your account. And though you were guilty you are not innocent but this time through a vicarious atonement, which means one in the stead of another.

Quote of the day

That is why, the gospel never
begins with man and his needs,
but with God and his glory.
The issue of the gospel is not
how do we get sinful people to a holy God;
but how does a holy God come to sinful people
without violating His holiness and justice?
And the answer is the cross—
the once for all atoning and sacrificial
work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

From the course “Dose of the Gospel” - Our Redeemer Lutheran Church

The name Christ or "Christos" in New Testament

Yesterday's reading was in Colossians 3-4. Notice the number of times the word "Christ" appears in Colossians 3:1-17. Therefore I thought it might be helpful to take a brief look at the name of Christ for study purposes.

CHRIST (Gk. Christos). “Christ” is the New Testament designation of Old Testament “Messiah” (Heb. māšîaḥ “anointed”). Frequently the RSV (like the NIV and JB; KJV less often) renders Gk. ho Christos of the Gospels as “the Christ,” meaning that Jesus is the only true Christ (e.g., John 20:31) or the anointed one specifically prophesied in the Old Testament (e.g., 1 Sam. 2:10; Ps. 2:2). At Acts 4:26, a quotation from Ps. 2:2, the RSV translates Gk. toú christoú autoú as “his Anointed,” but at Rev. 11:15; 12:10 the same Greek term is translated “his Christ.”

The two names of Jesus Christ are not really interchangeable. “Jesus” was the name given to the child at his circumcision (Luke 2:21); when the title, Christ, is used, that passage should be understood as a specific reference to the Savior’s office as Mediator, the agent of reconciliation between God and mankind. At times Paul inverts the usual order (“Christ Jesus,” e.g., Rom. 3:24; 8:2, 39).

The appellation “anointed one” derives from the ancient Near Eastern custom of consecrating with oil persons who undertake the responsibilities of a high office. Israel was familiar with this practice during Old Testament times, for prophets, priests, and kings were anointed (e.g., 1 Kgs. 19:16; Ps. 133:2) to confirm that they were officially installed in, and declared competent for, their respective offices. Because these Old Testament figures were anointed for only a short time and discharged their offices imperfectly, Israel anticipated the arrival of the Anointed One, who would not be anointed by men and with oil prepared by human hands, but by God, with the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:16–17 par. Mark 1:10–11; Luke 3:21–22). For that reason Jesus could testify of himself: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me …” (Luke 4:18 quoting Isa. 61:1; cf. Acts 10:38). Thus, the name “Christ” connotes not only his sacred commission as Mediator and Redeemer of his people, but also the authority and power through which he was able to complete this mission.
Myers, A. C. (1987). The Eerdmans Bible dictionary (207). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans.

Review for April 4

This morning was week #5 in our “March to the Cross.” Our discussion of doctrine turned to the resurrection. The goal was to cover the following;
1. Definition of Resurrection
2. Biblical predictions by Jesus Himself
3. Biblical proof
4. Biblical implications - the implications have two sub themes
a. Doctrinal implications
b. Practical implications
5. Biblical results of the resurrection

We actually got through the first three and next week my plan is to finish number 4 and 5. But I am going to include the notes for the entire teaching session for your study. A special thanks to Dr. Wayne Grudem for his book on Systematic Theology. The notes from the Biblical implications have been taken from his section on the resurrection.

If you would like to listen to the audio from today “That is my King.” Click on this LINK

If you want to print out the notes from today’s class. Click on this LINK

Preview for the Doctrine of the Resurrection

Quotes for the day

“Who delivered up Jesus to die? Not Judas, for money; not Pilate, for fear; not the Jews, for envy; — but the Father, for love!” - Octavius Winslow, quoted by John Stott in The Message of Romans (Downers Grove, Ill.; Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), 255.

“The resurrection of Christ not only guarantees us that brand new, sin-free bodies are on the way but a brand new, sin-free world is on the way too.” - Tullian Tchividjian

Evidence for the Resurrection

Michael Patton from the Parchment and Pen Blog Site gives us a great article on evidence for the resurrection.

Here is what we need:

1. Internal Evidence: Evidence coming from within the primary witness documents, the New Testament.

2. External Evidence: Collaborative evidence coming from outside the primary witness documents.

Internal Evidence:

* Honesty
* Irrelevant Details
* Harmony
* Public Extraordinary Claims
* Lack of Motivation for Fabrication

The entire Bible records both successes and failures of the heroes. I have always been impressed by this. It never paints the glorious picture that you would expect from legendary material, but shows them in all their worst moments. The Israelites whined, David murdered, Peter denied, the apostles abandoned Christ in fear, Moses became angry, Jacob deceived, Noah got drunk, Adam and Eve disobeyed, Paul persecuted, Solomon worshiped idols, Abraham was a bigamist, Lot committed incest, John the Baptist doubted, Abraham doubted, Sarah doubted, Nicodemus doubted, Thomas doubted, Jonah ran, Samson self-served, and John, at the very end of the story, when he should have had it all figured out, worshiped an angel (Rev 22:8). I love it! (ahem).

And these are the Jews who wrote the Bible!

In addition, the most faithful are seen as suffering the most (Joseph, Job, and Lazarus), while the wicked are seen as prospering (the rich man). In the case of the Gospels, the disciples who recorded it claimed to have abandoned Christ and did not believe in His resurrection when told. Even after the resurrection, they still present themselves as completely ignorant of God’s plan (Acts 1:6-7). Women are the first to witness the resurrection which has an element of self-incrimination since a woman’s testimony was not worth anything in the first century. If someone were making this up, why include such an incriminating detail? (I am glad they did—what an Easter message this is for us today!)

The Buzz

Welcome to our “Good Friday” edition of The Buzz. Simply click on this LINK for audio intro for this week. (intro music)

Well, there was lots of buzz in the evangelical circles and blog sites this week. Because Dr. John Piper extended an invitation to Rick Warren which was accepted to speak at the National Pastor's Conference. What, are you kidding me, is this an April fools joke? No, this is a true story and it is becoming quite the news. Some of you may know that Pastor Piper and Pastor Warren have extremely different approaches to how we should do church. Since "The Buzz" is where we can cover f the hot topics I thought I would bring you the following; John Piper's invitation to Rick Warren and why. John MacArthur's take on Rick Warren and the Purpose Driven philosophy. And finally a letter that Michael Horton wrote this week on his White Horse Inn blog concerning this whole issue. Well that is why I am here because "inquiring minds want to know."

Dr. John Piper extends invitation to Rick Warren to speak at National Pastor’s Conference. Simply click on this LINK.

Dr. John MacArthur offers critique of Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven Life.” Simply click on this LINK.

Michael Horton writes about Piper’s invitation to Rick Warren. Simply click on this LINK.

Why is it called good Friday?

From the blog site of Erik Raymond

Good Friday is ‘good’ because…

…Jesus was my substitute there upon that blood-stained tree

…Jesus wore the crown of thorns that I might wear the crown of life

…Jesus was scourged that I might be healed

…Jesus was condemned that I might be pardoned

…Jesus was abandoned that I might be accepted

…Jesus was made to be sin that I might be declared righteous

…Jesus pleased the Father whom I had angered

…Jesus tasted death that I may never taste it

…Jesus drank wrath that I might drink the waters of life

…Jesus died that I may live

…Jesus was shamed for my shameful sin

.Jesus was showered with judgment he did not deserve that I might be showered with the grace that I do not deserve

…Jesus distinguished himself as the exclusive basis for divine forgiveness

…Jesus purchased eternal redemption through his eternal sacrifice to pay my eternal debt

…Jesus crushed the serpent’s head (he defeated the devil)

…Jesus pleased the Father

…Jesus vindicated the glory of God

…Jesus put the attributes of God on full display singing in beautiful harmony (justice, love, wrath, forgiveness, holiness, mercy…)

…Good Friday is good because I am so bad

….and Good Friday is only good because the Savior, our Lord Jesus is so good

What does "imputation" mean?

Today we remember the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. The significance of His death is very important as is the resurrection of His body to life. But today let’s look at the word “imputation” as it relates to our salvation and the death of Christ on the cross.

A term suggesting judicial activity, referring to both sin and righteousness; Adam’s sin becomes the sin of all human beings in the judicial processes of God, and Christ’s sacrifice is credited to those who exercise faith in Him; (Romans 4:3; James 2:23; Philemon 18)
Karleen, P. S. (1987). The handbook to Bible study

According to Charles Hodge in his Systematic Theology:
The righteousness of Christ is imputed to the believer for his justification. The word impute is familiar and unambiguous. To impute is to ascribe to, to reckon to, to lay to one’s charge. It seems unnecessary to remark that this does not, and cannot mean that the righteousness of Christ is infused into the believer, or in any way so imparted to him as to change, or constitute his moral character. Imputation never changes the inward, subjective state of the person to whom the imputation is made. When sin is imputed to a man he is not made sinful; when the zeal of Phinehas was imputed to him, he was not made zealous. When you impute theft to a man, you do not make him a thief. When you impute goodness to a man, you do not make him good. So when righteousness is imputed to the believer, he does not thereby become subjectively righteous. If the righteousness be adequate, and if the imputation be made on adequate grounds and by competent authority, the person to whom the imputation is made has the right to be treated as righteous. And, therefore, in the forensic, although not in the moral or subjective sense, the imputation of the righteousness of Christ does make the sinner righteous. That is, it gives him a right to the full pardon of all his sins and a claim in justice to eternal life.

Also I have provided a short audio clip for those who also would like to listen in regard to the doctrine of imputation. Simply click on this LINK.

The wondrous cross

I have included this video to encourage us to take sometime today and reflect on the cross of Christ. Our study in the last four weeks has contained two very important doctrines that resulted from Christ death for us and now His life in us. How easy it is today to live from week to week under a “presumed” grace that lands in the head but never makes its way to the heart. May we as God’s people be amazed at the grace of Christ, who by virtue of His death on the cross takes care of our bad record and bad heart.

Theology to Doxology

As we continue in our study of Bible doctrine, we should be move from theology to doxology. Because the greatest purpose in life is the worship and praise of God.

“Because God is a person (indeed, he is pictured as our Father), our relationship with him has a dimension of warmth and understanding. God is not a bureau or a department, a machine or a computer that automatically supplies the needs of people. He is a knowing, loving, good Father. He can be approached. He can be spoken to, and he in turn speaks.” - Millard J. Erickson (Christian Theology, pg. 296)

March to the Cross

We are entering into week #5 in our “March to the Cross.” This has been a time in our class where we are looking at three important doctrines that relate to the death of Christ and His resurrection. In the first two weeks we studied the doctrine of justification and in the last two weeks the doctrine of regeneration. This week we are going to look at three specific elements of the resurrection.

  1. Biblical predictions
  2. Biblical evidence
  3. Biblical implications

Also within this blog site I plan to give you some resource material that I am coming across in my own study. I hope these short articles will encourage you to study along with me as we look into God’s word regarding the resurrection this coming Sunday.

RESURRECTION. The most startling characteristic of the first Christian preaching is its emphasis on the resurrection. The first preachers were sure that Christ had risen, and sure, in consequence, that believers would in due course rise also. This set them off from all the other teachers of the ancient world. There are resurrections elsewhere, but none of them is like that of Christ. They are mostly mythological tales connected with the change of the season and the annual miracle of spring. The Gospels tell of an individual who truly died but overcame death by rising again. And if it is true that Christ’s resurrection bears no resemblance to anything in paganism it is also true that the attitude of believers to their own resurrection, the corollary of their Lord’s, is radically different from anything in the heathen world. Nothing is more characteristic of even the best thought of the day than its hopelessness in the face of death. Clearly the resurrection is of the very first importance for the Christian faith.
The Christian idea of resurrection is to be distinguished from both Greek and Jewish ideas. The Greeks thought of the body as a hindrance to true life and they looked for the time when the soul would be free from its shackles. They conceived of life after death in terms of the immortality of the soul, but they firmly rejected all ideas of resurrection (cf. the mockery of Paul’s preaching in Acts 17:32). The Jews were firmly persuaded of the values of the body, and thought these would not be lost. They thus looked for the body to be raised. But they thought it would be exactly the same body (Apocalypse of Baruch 1:2). The Christians thought of the body as being raised, but also transformed so as to be a suitable vehicle for the very different life of the age to come (1 Cor. 15:42ff.). The Christian idea is thus distinctive.

Wood, D. R. W., & Marshall, I. H. (1996). New Bible dictionary (3rd ed.) (1010). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.