Jesus Christ’s life and death demonstrate that God has never dished out any suffering he hasn’t taken on himself.
His death on the cross is God’s answer to the question, “Why don’t you do something about evil?” God allowed Jesus’ temporary suffering so he could prevent our eternal suffering . . .
God wrote the script of this drama of redemption long before Satan, demons, Adam and Eve—and you and I—took the stage. And from the beginning, he knew that the utterly spectacular ending would make the dark middle worth it. Paul writes, “This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time” (2 Timothy 1:9). How could God give us grace before our lives began, even before the universe itself existed? Only because God knew and determined in advance the work of Christ for us on the cross.
The story’s low point is the death of Jesus, yet this low point is the basis upon which he will one day, in a dramatic resolution to the story, return to establish his eternal kingdom on Earth.
The atoning death of the Lord of glory is never to be regarded merely as a pleasant fact of history. Redemption has been accomplished. God promised that the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent, and He promised that the Christ would be a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense. When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order to redeem those under the Law for the express purpose that we, His people, might be adopted as sons of God. God’s Word is filled with the story of God’s enduring love for His people. From Genesis to Revelation, God reveals the progress of the salvation of His people culminating in the death of death in the death of the Savior who cried out “It is finished.” Read More...
This morning I had my devotion in John 6. In John 6 we first have the account of Jesus feeding the 5000. After that He sends the disciples in a boat to Capernaum. Then He joins them and has a confrontation with the crowd. Look at John 6:26 - Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.
Do you see what Jesus spots in the attitude of the crowd? They want the gifts but not the Giver. They desire the blessings (food) but not the Blessor. This group wants all that Jesus can provide for them health, wealth and prosperity but they don't want Him.
Now look at the text and see how Jesus relates the manna that was given to the people of Israel in the wilderness to Himself. And He says in John 6:33 “For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” Side note: Do you see how Jesus is explaining to the people that the manna that came down from heaven was a foreshadowing or a pointer to Him? Again do you see how the NT is able to interpret the OT Scriptures for us so that we can see Christ? Read More...
Tuesday, September 28 from 7:00-8:30 PM at Ballantyne Country Club in the Men’s Locker Room
So for a clear and concise explanation of contemporary vs. traditional read the following story.
An old farmer went to the city one weekend and attended the big city church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was.
"Well," said the farmer, "it was good. They did something different, however. They sang praise choruses instead of hymns."
"Praise choruses?" said his wife. "What are those?"
"Oh, they're OK. They are sort of like hymns, only different," said the farmer.
"Well, what's the difference?" asked his wife.
The farmer said, "Well, it's like this - If I were to say to you "Martha, the cows are in the corn"' - well, that would be a hymn. If on the other hand, I were to say to you:
Martha, Martha, Martha,
Oh Martha, MARTHA, MARTHA,
the cows, the big cows, the brown cows, the black cows
the white cows,
the black and white cows,
the COWS, COWS, COWS
are in the corn,
are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn,
the CORN, CORN, CORN.
Then, if I were to repeat the whole thing two or three times, well, that would be a praise chorus."
The next weekend, his nephew, a young, new Christian from the city came to visit and attended the local church of the small town. He went home and his mother asked him how it was.
"Well," said the young man, "it was good. They did something different however. They sang hymns instead of regular songs."
"Hymns?" asked his mother. "What are those?"
"Oh, they're OK. They are sort of like regular songs, only different," said the young man.
"Well, what's the difference?" asked his mother. Read More...
Some people today claim that expositional preaching is irrelevant for postmodern people. “People today need narrative and conversation and dialogue and drama! They don’t need expositional preaching.”
In fact, expositional preaching is particularly relevant for postmodern people:
Expositional preaching unfolds the multi-faceted riches of Scriptural truth in a way that corresponds to the kind of diversity that postmoderns love to celebrate.
The Bible is not a set of philosophical abstractions, it’s a collection of narratives, poetry, songs, letters, history, laws, and prophesies. And the Bible is diverse not only in its literary form, but in its content: it contains bitter lament, exultant joy, romantic love, the rise and fall of empires, tragedy, deceit, oppression, rebellion, deliverance, celebration, and every imaginable facet of human life and experience. Expositional preaching should highlight this rich literary and existential diversity, which should be particularly satisfying to postmodern sensibilities.
Expositional preaching demonstrates and proves that the Word of God is not merely propositional, it’s effectual (Isa. 55:10-11).
Postmoderns say that even if there were such a thing as objective truth, we could never truly grasp it because we cannot see beyond our own perspectives. But expositional preaching rightly responds to these claims by asserting the clarity and applicability of Scripture to all its hearers. Not only that, but as a preacher faithfully expounds God’s Word, God will use it to transform people’s hearts: to bring them to submit to God, to delight in his Word, to lovingly obey him, and to humbly worship him. Expositional preaching is particularly relevant to postmoderns because it proves that God’s Word not only asserts propositions, it transforms lives.
How does the Gospel Change Everything?
It is found simply in the not-so-simple phrase by J.I. Packer, "God saves sinners."
"God – the Triune Jehovah, Father, Son and Spirit; three Persons working together in sovereign wisdom, power and love achieve the salvation of a chosen people, the Father electing, the Son fulfilling the Father's will by redeeming, the Spirit executing the purpose of Father and Son by renewing."
"Saves – does everything, first to last, that is involved in bringing man from death in sin to life in glory: plans, achieves and communicates redemption, calls and keeps, justifies, sanctifies, glorifies. Sinners do not save themselves in any sense at all. Salvation, first and last, whole and entire, past, present and future, is of the Lord, to whom be glory for ever; amen."
"Sinners – When we are born, we are dead, condemned, depraved, corrupt, perverse, sinful and completely unable to save or even lift a finger to enable salvation (Rom. 2-3; 6:23). This vile sinner doesn't even know he is dead. The law of God exposes the extent of our wickedness (Gal. 3:24)."
The grace of God extends down to us, not because we deserve it, but even as we do not deserve it (Rom 5:8). Our works, even attempts at good works are not adequate to contribute to our salvation or sanctification. Once the Spirit regenerates our dead souls, we by faith receive the completed work of Jesus who accomplishes our justification—a declaration of his righteousness on us. As his grace continues to work in our lives, the gospel comes to fruition (Col. 1:6; 2 Peter 1-3-9) in every aspect of our life.
Because it is one thing to have the attribute and quite another to have the expression of that attribute.
Isn't it different to talk about God's omnipresence which means He is everywhere and God's manifest presence?
Manifest presence means that God is there in a focused, deliberate and intentional way watching over not just seeing what is there but attending to and caring for, providing for, strengthening and enabling and protecting.
God is omnipresent but in the temple God's glory came and dwelled.
Start your week knowing that the God of the Bible who is self-existent, self-sufficient, infinite and omnipresent is with His own in a very deliberate and intentional way. He is not just everywhere in the world but He is right with you. And this God of whom we are studying and knowing and loving is NOT with you because you deserve it or have merited it in any way. Instead God is with you to attend to and care for you and strengthen you because of His grace. Doesn't that bring rise in our very souls to a point of thankfulness (Colossians 3:17) and rejoicing (Philippians 4:4) and demonstrating Him as great (1 Cor. 10:31)? Continue praying that you might always be amazed at His grace!
Most people inside the church think the gospel is for those outside the church. They think the gospel is for non Christians so that when God saves us then we have done that so to speak and now we are ready to move into deeper things. But we need to remember once we get saved God doesn’t move us beyond the gospel but rather He moves us further into an understanding of the gospel.
And that is the very reason that I continue to teach the plan of the Bible to the men on Tuesday night. Because we never move beyond a need to understand it instead we need to move further into our understanding of it.
Now, the key question is: What does faith receive in order to be justifying faith?
The answer, of course, is that faith receives Jesus. “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). “To all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). Faith saves because it receives Jesus.
But we must make clear what this actually means, because there are so many people who say they have received Christ and believed on Christ but give little or no evidence that they are spiritually alive. They are unresponsive to the spiritual beauty of Jesus. They are unmoved by the glories of Christ. They don’t have the spirit of the apostle Paul when he said, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:8). This is not their spirit, yet they say they have received Christ. It looks as though it is possible to “receive Christ” and not have him for what he is.
One way to describe this problem is to say that when these people “receive Christ,” they do not receive him as supremely valuable. They receive him simply as sin-forgiver (because they love being guilt-free), and as rescuer-from-hell (because they love being pain-free), and as healer (because they love being disease-free), and as protector (because they love being safe), and as prosperity-giver (because they love being wealthy), and as creator (because they want a personal universe), and as Lord of history (because they want order and purpose). But they don’t receive him as supremely and person- ally valuable for who he is. They don’t receive him the way Paul did when he spoke of “the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” They don’t receive him as he really is—more glorious, more beautiful, more wonderful, more satisfying, than everything else in the universe. They don’t prize him or treasure him or cherish him or delight in him. Read More...
Then we covered God’s attribute of infinity.
Also you will notice that as part of the class resource tab you can sign up for class membership directory.
In order to do so you will need a user name and password that is to be issued by Stowe Spivey. If you would like to participate in our class directory Stowe’s address is email@example.com.
SBS Class Revised)
When they came to the threshing floor of Kidon, Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark, because the oxen stumbled. The Lord's anger burned against Uzzah, and He struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark..." 1 Chronicles 13:9-10
There are good things we can do, but only God-things we should do. Those activities not born out of the Spirit will result in wood, hay, and stubble. What seems good in our eyes may be an abomination in God's eyes. For instance, if you decide to build an orphanage but God has never directed you to do so, then God will not see that work as good; it was born out of your own strength, even though it was a "good work."
The most difficult challenge a Christian workplace believer will ever have is to know what things to be involved in and what things not to be involved in. Many workplace believers have a great ability to see opportunity. What appears to be a "slam dunk" may come back to haunt us if God never ordains us to enter that arena. There are many good things we can be involved with. However, there are God-things we are supposed to be involved with. Uzzah was a good man in David's sight. It was a time of celebration, and David and the people were transporting the ark of God. However, the ark hit a bump, and Uzzah reached for the ark to hold it steady. He touched the ark, and he immediately died. David became very upset with God about this situation; he questioned whether he could serve God. Read More...
This Tuesday we have men’s Bible camp starting at 7 PM at Ballantyne Country Club in the men’s locker room. Yesterday in our “Learning and Living” class Diane Weatherbee encouraged all the women to send their men to Bible camp. So, with that in mind I want to invite all the men (all ages) in our class to come to Bible camp on Tuesday night. If you would like to review the notes for this week’s lesson then simply click on this LINK.
“There are but two lessons for Christians to learn: the one is, to enjoy God in everything; the other is, to enjoy everything in God.”
- Charles Simeon, quoted by John Piper in The Roots of Endurance (Wheaton, Ill.; Crossway Books, 2002), 113.
Likewise, when your soul feeds on Jesus —it takes away the sweetness of all earthly things; praise, pleasure, fleshly lusts, all lose their sweetness.
Keep a continued gaze! Run, looking unto Jesus. So will the world be crucified to you—and you unto the world!
–Robert Murray McCheyne (1813–1843)
..."Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit," says the Lord
Almighty. Zechariah 4:6
God's people should be the most positive, joyful people on earth. This
joy should be a by-product of a healthy, intimate relationship with
Jesus. In today's business climate, we are barraged with every
possible means of becoming more productive workplace believers.
Positive thinking and self-help philosophy are promoted as tools for
workplace believers to fulfill their potential and overcome the
mountains in their lives. God calls each of us to be visionary
leaders, but we must be careful that vision is born out of His Spirit,
not the latest self-help program. These ideas lead us away from
dependence on God to a self-based psychology designed to give us more
power, prosperity, and significance.
The result is heresy. Our faith in God becomes faith in faith. It is
born out of hard work and diligence rather than obedience to God's
Spirit. The problem lies in that these philosophies sound good, and
can even be supported by Bible verses. Beware of anything that puts
the burden of performance on you rather than God. There are times in
our lives when God doesn't want us to climb every mountain. Sometimes
He wants us to go around. Knowing the difference is the key to being a
man or woman led by the Spirit.
God has called us to affect the workplace through His Spirit, not by
our might. Have you tapped into the real power source of the soul? Ask
the Lord to reveal and empower you through His Spirit today. Then you
will know what real positive thinking is.
As Christians in America we live in a world of meetings, text messages, constant activities, endless social opportunities and 24/7 cable news. It seems that we are distracting ourselves to death.
Have you considered a season of life where you practice Psalm 46:10 - Be still and know that I am God. I came to a blog site where a pastor posted the following questions for his church to consider. After reading these to Nancy this weekend, her suggestion is that we print these out and laminate to have as book marks for our “learning and living” community.
My point in this post is simply this, these are the kind of questions you need to be still before the Lord to consider properly.
1. What’s one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?
2. What’s the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?
3. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?
4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?
5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year? Read More...
- Martin Luther
Dr. S. Lewis Johnson, in his expository sermons on Galatians, gives us some beautiful gospel insight into Galatians 3:10-13. He says:
“There is a beautiful story in three prepositions here, which many have commented upon. Gal 3:10 says, “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse.” I am ‘under’ the curse. Then in the 13th verse we read, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.” The word “for” is a Greek preposition which really has the idea of ‘over’. So here am I ‘under’ the curse, but Christ has been made a curse for us, ‘over us’, so that now he has intervened between the curse and myself, so that the curse, when it falls, falls upon him and it does not fall upon me. Further, he has just said, “Christ hath redeemed us ‘from’ the curse of the Law,” a preposition that means ‘out from.’ So that as a result of the curse falling upon him, I am out from under the curse. Beautiful theology in three prepositions, ‘under’, ‘over’, ‘out (from)’.
Only three Greek prepositions translated as, ‘Under’, ‘Over’ and ‘Out From’, yet what a wealth of good news. It has all been accomplished by one man, the God/Man who is our only refuge. Because of His doing and dying we are guaranteed of a warm and rich welcome at the throne of grace.
And that’s the Gospel Truth
I brought this up in light of the fact that we are studying the doctrine of God. Hopefully this kind of question from Buck Hatch will cross our minds during these coming weeks as we learn about the attributes of God from the Bible. I then went on to have us look at a number of verses that have to do with how we are to please God as the people of God. Even though this is not covered in the notes you can listen to the first part of the class audio if you would like to review.
Just click on this LINK.
During this past Sunday we covered the first two of the six incommunicable attributes of God. I was able to get through the attributes of self existence and self sufficiency. During this coming week we should be able to finish up on the attributes of infinity, omnipresence, eternity and immutability. After that in the coming weeks I will take self sufficiency and immutability and dive a bit deeper into both of these attributes. Read More...
Kay Jones and Patti Duckworth are leading the 2x4 ministry in our community. Here is a short description from Kay of what was scheduled for today.
As you guys know, the Intersect and Brimberry/Jones ladies are building a Habitat home together- Saturday, September 11th in Matthews. Habitat asks that we provide lunch for our group and for the Habitat volunteers that day. The maximum number will be 35 . I have contacted Outlaw BBQ in Matthews and they are giving us a great sack lunch price of $5.00 pp. This will include a BBQ sandwich, chips, slaw, beverage, cups and napkins. We will just need to provide ice and dessert.
Here is an interview with Kay Jones regarding the activities for today and the 2x4 ministry. Click on this LINK. For a view of the doorknob that Kay refers to in this interview click on this LINK. No one brings you 2x4 ministry updates like we do!
Flash news bulletin this just in from Habitat in Matthews. Nancy Brimberry has installed the doorstop! Don’t try this at home kids.
In studying the notes for Sunday it became apparent to me that we are only going to scratch the surface as to the attributes of God. My hope is that these notes will get many of you started and excited about a lifetime study regarding the doctrine of God. I got out some of my reference studies this week and quickly observed from both Stephen Charnock's "The Existence and Attributes of God" and John Frames's "The Doctrine of God" represent about 2000 pages of writing on this subject. And then in review of the notes I plan to cover on Sunday I realize this to be a brief thumb nail sketch on the God of the Bible. There is so much to cover and yet so little time. So my strategy is to summarize these attributes clearly and concisely praying that this will lead many of you to further study and growth in this area.
Doctrine of God
Preparation for Sunday
This week we will start into the specific incommunicable attributes of God. My recommendation is that each of you prepare for this Sunday by starting with slide #16-45. These notes will give us an overview of the following attributes:
This means that the following Sunday (September 19) will be reserved for the discussion of the last two incommunicable attributes we plan to cover which are eternity and immutability. Read More...
May I encourage you to take time this week as your read through the Bible and have your private devotion time, to meditate on the God of the Bible that is both transcendent and immanent.
SBS Class September 52010
Audio sound bite played for class regarding the gospel. Click on this LINK.
Here is Martyn Lloyd-Jones, the great Welsh preacher and longtime pastor at Westminster Chapel in London, explaining what Acts 6 can teach us about the mission of the church and the pastor:
But, and in many ways the most interesting statement of all, I sometimes think in this connection, is one that is found in the sixth chapter of the book of the Acts of the Apostles where we are told that a great crisis arose in the life of the early Church. I know of nothing that speaks more directly upon the present state and condition of the Church, and what is her primary task, than this sixth chapter of the book of the Acts of the Apostles. The essential message is in the first two verses: ‘And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the Word of God, and serve tables.’
This is surely a most interesting and important statement, a crucial one. What was the Church to do? Here is a problem, here are these widows of the Grecians, and they are not only widows but they are in need and in need of food. It was a social problem, perhaps partly a political problem, but certainly a very acute and urgent social problem. Surely the business of the Christian Church, and the leaders particularly, is to deal with this crying need: Why go on preaching when people are starving and in need and are suffering? That was the great temptation that came to the Church immediately; but the Apostles under the leading and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the teaching they had already received, and the commission they had had from their Master, saw the danger and they said, ‘It is not reason that we should leave the Word of God, and serve tables’. This is wrong. We shall be failing in our commission if we do this. We are here to preach this Word, this is the first thing, ‘We will give ourselves continually to prayer and the ministry of the Word.’ Read More...
- J. C. Ryle, quoted by Tim Chester in You Can Change (Wheaton, Ill.; Crossway, 2010), 44.
There is a difference between preaching Christ and preaching about Christ. Preaching Christ is presenting him so clearly and directly that the people experience the sermon this way: “It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified” (Galatians 3:1). Preaching about Christ is presenting ideas related to him. It’s a good thing to do. But preaching Christ is more profound, more daring and more helpful.
After Nancy and I got married I decided to take Tae Kwan Do. The biggest problem for me was the stretching. My instructor "Master Sir" as he was called was determined to get me loosened up. So one day while on the mat he had me sit down and spread my legs to the side as far as they would go. Then he told me to touch my head on the floor. Well, I couldn't do it until "Master Sir" got behind me and pushed so hard that my head did hit the floor. The next day I looked and the inside of my thighs were black and blue. I learned that stretching often causes pain physically and I have noticed that when teaching doctrine it does that spiritually. If you have never studied the "Doctrine of God" over a period of time my warning to you is prepare to be stretched. As one pastor put it "better your mind be stretched to the breaking point as opposed to breaking God’s word.”
This week I will pick up right where we left off last Sunday.
Point #1 - Methodology in the Doctrine of God
I am going to talk about my two favorite ways to study the doctrine of God as it relates to the method.
First we will briefly look at the transcendence of God which will include a working definition along with Scriptural support. And then we will do the same with the immanence of God. If you want to see both of these categories displayed in Scripture then I suggest that you study:
- Isaiah 57:15
- Isaiah 66:1-2