Learning and Living the God-centered life

One Biblical Doctrine at a time…

Leadership Team Meeting

Pat and Kay called a leadership team meeting on Sunday night. We had a great time of planning and fellowship. While everyone else was busy brainstorming and working, I was getting pictures for the blog site.

Quote for the day

“The Bible’s purpose is not so much to show you how to live a good life. The Bible’s purpose is to show you how God’s grace breaks into your life against your will and saves you from the sin and brokenness otherwise you would never be able to overcome… religion is ‘if you obey, then you will be accepted’. But the Gospel is, ‘if you are absolutely accepted, and sure you’re accepted, only then will you ever begin to obey’. Those are two utterly different things. Every page of the Bible shows the difference.”

- Timothy Keller

Bible Reading

Do you read the Bible from a God-centered perspective? This morning during my Bible reading I came across these verses in Joshua 4:23 “For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the LORD your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed;
Josh. 4:24 that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, so that you may fear the LORD your God forever.”

Now just think about this for a minute and be amazed with your God.

Here is how my mind works, (scary I know) when I come to these type of verses:
The reasons God DID NOT bring them into the land in order to:
1. Give them better marriages
2. To help them find more secure and exciting jobs
3. In order that they could raise children that would no longer rebel but would go to good schools and be successful
4. Allow them to have more social contacts and increase networking opportunities
5. To develop their leadership skills

The list above all focus on man-centered reasons and much today in the evangelical church is concentrated on these things. However according to these verses God brought them into the land for the following reason:


Sounds to me like God is most interested and concerned about His name, and His honor, and His glory rather than their comfort and convenience!

Let's put our lives under the plumb line of God's glory, and His desire that His name be honored throughout the earth.
  • Is this the one overriding main priority to our lives as Christians?
  • Is the Christian life for us about the gifts we receive or the Giver?
  • Is this life about the blessings we can have or the Blessor?

just some thoughts as we head into this week - blessings,


Review of April 26

Community Update

A good Bible translation

One of the questions that I am most often asked is about Bible translations. It may help for you to understand some of the basics of a Bible translation. And for that I will allow both Michael Patton and Douglas Stuart along with Gordon Fee to give you some sound instruction.

* Formal Equivalence: Translations that seek to translate word for word (although this is really impossible). Examples: NAS, KJV, ASV, ESV. Less readable, but better for study in contemporary languages. Why? Because they will usually attempt to make fewer interpretive decisions on any text that can be understood in many ways. This allows the reader to struggle through the options.
Literal The attempt to translate by keeping as close as possible to the exact words and phrasing in the original language, yet still make sense of the receptor language. A literal translation will keep the historical distance intact at all points.

* Dynamic Equivalence: Translations that seek to translate thought for thought. Examples: NIV, TNIV, NRSV, etc. Not quite as good for deep study, but usually better for reading and memorization. Dynamic equivalence translations make good pulpit or teaching Bibles.
Dynamic Equivalent The attempt to translate words, idioms, and grammatical constructions of the original language into precise equivalents in the receptor language. Such a translation keeps historical distance on all historical and most factual matters, but "updates" matters of language, grammar and style.

* Paraphrase: Translations that seek to use common language and idioms to get the basic point across in a very readable way. Examples: Message, Philip’s Translation, NLT, GNB, etc. While paraphrases are not good for study or memorization, they are very readable and cause you to read the text differently than you normally would. In this respect, they have great value. Read More...

Homework anyone?

OK, we have invested the last several weeks looking at the Trinity and salvation. When we come to the cross we can see that it provides a solution for two basic problems. We can understand that we are perpetrators, and the Scriptures tell us that while we were enemies that Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) The Scriptures are telling us of the guilt that we have as humans due our rebellion against God’s holy and just will for our lives. And therefore that puts us under God’s wrath and condemnation. The words we have been studying are atonement, propitiation and justification. Each of these words focus on the significance of what Jesus has done to overcome our problem of guilt in order that we would be able to regain God’s favor. And through His atonement He has satisfied the penalty that was against us and now God declares us as righteous in His sight. I am calling this the “front view” of the cross. The second problem that the cross solves we will study in two weeks. But as we have studied recently, my goal has been for us to understand the relationship between the Trinity and our salvation. As a matter of fact if we in the evangelical church ever do away with the doctrine of the Trinity then we will do away with the doctrine of salvation.

The following is a homework assignment that can act as a litmus test to date, to check out in the understanding you have of these words. Please be patient with yourselves and our curriculum at this point. I know that some of the words and definitions are a bit weighty. But these are Biblical words that need to be understood, articulated and applied to our Christian lives. For the most part these doctrines take time to learn, in order for one to feel comfortable with what they mean. Remember 2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” Read More...

The Prince of Preachers

For a downloadable sketch of Charles Haddon Spurgeon simply click on this LINK

A Bible Reading System


Each day you will read one chapter from each list, in order. THAT'S RIGHT -- *TEN CHAPTERS PER DAY*!!! Use ten bookmarks or sticky notes with the individual lists on them to keep track of your locations. On day one, you read Matthew 1, Genesis 1, Romans 1, and so forth. On day 2, read Matthew 2, Genesis 2, etc. On day 29, you will have just finished Matthew, so go to Mark 1 on the Gospel list; you’ll also be almost to the end of 2nd Corinthians and Proverbs, you’ll be reading Psalm 29 and Genesis 29, and so forth. When you reach the last chapter of the last book in a list – start over again. Rotate all the way through all the Scriptures constantly. Since the lists vary in length, the readings begin interweaving in constantly changing ways. You will NEVER read the same set of ten chapters together again! Every year you’ll read through all the Gospels four times, the Pentateuch twice, Paul’s letters 4-5 times each, the OT wisdom literature six times, all the Psalms at least twice, all the Proverbs as well as Acts a dozen times, and all the way through the OT History and prophetic books about 1 ½ times. Since the interweaving is constantly changing, you will experience the Bible commenting *on itself* in constantly changing ways -- the Reformer's principle of 'scriptura interpretans scripturam' -- 'scripture interpreting scripture' IN ACTION!

Audio Clip of the Week

This is going to be a “NEW ADDITION” to this blog which I am calling audio clip of the week. These will vary between short and regular length, past and present theologians, pastors and teachers. Please take some time to listen as we continue to learn and live the God-centered life.

We start this week with a man that some are calling a modern day young Charles Spurgeon. His name is Paul Washer and he preaches and teaches in a prophetic exhortative style. Before you listen to this audio clip, grab your hard hats and seat belts because Paul will not and does not compromise the truth.

Speaking the truth-Washer

Preview for Sunday - Justification Part 2

This Sunday we continue in our study of justification as it relates to the Trinity. Martin Luther said that upon the doctrine of justification the church either stands or falls. In the ScreenFlow video below I cover seven general observations regarding justification. Hopefully this review will spur you on to a greater appreciation and study of this great doctrine.


Here are some of the "but now's" that the apostle Paul writes about in his 13 epistles. This could be a start up Sunday School class and would take someone an entire year to go through each of these verses. The class could be called "The But Now's," kind of catchy don't you think?

For example look at Ephesians 5:8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light. In this verse alone you have the implication of two important doctrines that we have been studying this year.
It refers to the person you once were, unregenerate, rebellious, someone who lived in darkness. Sounds to me like this particular person has a heart of stone. And here is where the BUT NOW comes into play. But now you are light in the Lord, the heart of stone has now become a heart of flesh and you have officially been "born again."
This is the doctrine of regeneration.
But also those who have been regenerated have also been justified. Which means as children of Light the penalty of all your sins has been paid in full and you now are clothed with the righteousness of Christ Himself.
The But Now is a small phrase in Ephesians 5:8 BUT it has some very significant consequences.

How about our friend John Newton who wrote "Amazing Grace." Think about the words to that great hymn, "I once was lost BUT NOW I am found, was blind BUT NOW I see."

I hope you will enjoy reading and having some devotion time in the "But now's" of the New Testament.

Rom. 3:20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.
Rom. 3:21 ¶ But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,

Rom. 6:21 Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.
Rom. 6:22 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.

Rom. 7:5 For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.
Rom. 7:6 But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter. Read More...

A sign of the times

Yes, I know it is a sad day when I launch Twitter on the sidebar of this website. Just so you know, I am committing some Twitter time between now and the retreat. Again I want to give you as much current information regarding Bible study, important church doctrine, current issues as I possible can.

This can be a good resource but we will decide in a few weeks if this has been helpful for your growth in Christ. I will also post some of the websites that I visit that provide good material in hopes that it will be something you might want to check out. Blessings on you as we all lock arms and use tools available to build the kingdom of God for His glory!

Just travel down the right hand side of this site till you see Pastor B. twitter updates and please no laughing.

ScreenFlow begins!

Learning and Living the God-centered community, in an effort to bring you teaching on a continual and as you need it basis I am introducing something called ScreenFlow.
These will be short movie tutorials covering a variety of subjects of interest to those in our class.
This week my goal is to provide a preview of our class Sunday on justification. As a sample here is my initial ScreenFlow production and I hope this will encourage you in the study of God’s word.

Great Christian Minds

Spiegel: Ten Lessons from Great Christian Minds
2 comments | Permalink
From philosophy professor James Spiegel:

1. Augustine (5th century): Remember that you are a citizen of another kingdom.
2. Martin Luther (16th century): Expect politicians to be corrupt.
3. Thomas Aquinas (13th century): God has made himself known in nature.
4. John Calvin (16th century): God is sovereign over all, including our suffering.
5. Jonathan Edwards (18th century): God is beautiful, and all beauty is divine.
6. Thomas a’Kempis (15th century): Practice self-denial with a passion.
7. John Wesley (18th century): Be disciplined and make the best use of your time.
8. Fyodor Dostoevsky (19th century): God’s grace can reach anyone.
9. Dietrich Bonhoeffer (20th century): Beware of cheap grace.
10. Alvin Plantinga (21st century): Moral virtue is crucial for intellectual health.

Preview of April 19

Below are the notes for today’s teaching on justification and the Trinity. Should you want to review a previous post that might be good to read in conjunction with these notes then click on this LINK.
Again I want to thank those who I have studied with through classroom, audio, video, workbooks, books and other resource articles. Dr. Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology. Dr. Larry Dixon, Columbia International University, Dr. Bruce Ware, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Pastor Charles Leiter, Justification and Regeneration, Dr. Stephen Hein, Concordia Institute for Christian Studies, Paul Washer, The One True God
Audio for today’s class
Justification and the Trinity-April 19, 2009

It is God who justifies

Since our subject this morning was justification here is a related quote from Octavius Winslow

“It is God who justifies.”
(Romans 8:33)

Behold the eternal security of the weakest believer in Jesus. The act of justification, once passed under the great seal of the resurrection of Christ, God can never revoke without denying Himself. Here is our safety. Here is the ground of our dauntless challenge, ‘Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God who justifies.’ What can I need more? What more can I ask?

If God, the God of spotless purity, the God of inflexible righteousness, justifies me, ‘who is he that condemns?’ Sin may condemn, but it is God that justifies! The law may alarm, but it is God that justifies! Satan may accuse, but it is God that justifies! Death may terrify, but it is God that justifies! ‘If GOD is for us, who can be against us?’ Who will dare condemn the soul whom He justifies?

How gloriously will this truth shine forth in the great day of judgment! Every accuser will then be dumb. Every tongue will then be silent. Nothing shall be laid to the charge of God’s elect. GOD Himself shall pronounce them fully, and forever justified: ‘And those He justifies, He also glorifies.’”

A matter of interpretation

Retreat Logo

A special thanks to Anna B. who while working with Kay Jones has come up with our retreat logo.
Notice the words and how they contribute to the theme of our time away in a couple of weeks.
Digging deeper in His word and growing gloriously in His grace. As we digger into the truths of the gospel we establish a strong vertical relationship with our heavenly Father. As we continue to read and study Scripture, grace continues to grow which manifests in our joy in God, that overflows in love for others.

The Ultimate Guide to Debt Management

Normally this site just deals with issues of doctrine. But due to the economic conditions I sense there is a need to put up vital “financial management” strategies. So for those who are still looking for a program, strategy and principles to manage your money, check out the video below.

Justification and the Trinity

The subject for tomorrow's class is justification. Justification is an instantaneous act of God in which He thinks of our sins as forgiven and Christ’s righteousness as belonging to us. In so doing He declares us to be righteous in His sight. This doctrine answers the most pressing question in all of human history. How can a man or woman that are in and of themselves rebellious and sinful ever stand before a just and holy God and be acceptable in His sight? Take a look with me for a minute at Titus 3:4-7.
Titus 3:4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared,
Titus 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,
Titus 3:6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
Titus 3:7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Notice the connection between "the kindness of God, His love, His mercy as the reason given that He saved us." The Scripture doesn't go beyond this answer as to WHY you were saved by God Himself. But there are some things that He wants us to know. He did it, and He did it alone! This is made clear for us in Titus 3:5, when it says specifically that God saved us, and He goes on to point out that it was not done on the basis of our righteous deeds. There is nothing in you or me that is deserving of or meriting of our salvation. As a matter of fact if you go back to Titus 3:3 you will see our natural state prior to our regeneration. According to the Scripture we were (past tense) foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lust and pleasures, malice, envy, hateful and hating one another. Again the key question is "how" will a person like this ever be able to stand before a holy God and be freely received into heaven? But now that we have the "WHY", God reveals to us the "HOW" part of the salvation equation. It happens as a two fold process, the first is the doctrine of regeneration which can be seen in the last part of Titus 3:5. The Holy Spirit causes us to be "born again, experience new birth or regenerates us by replacing our heart of stone with a heart of flesh!" The next part of the process is we are then justified through grace alone, by faith alone in Christ alone. And we find this to be true as we read Titus 3:6-7. (Side note the word "justified" in Titus 3:7 is a verb that is written in the passive voice. If you remember from prior examples the passive voice is when the subject is acted upon by the verb. We as believers have been acted upon by God in that He alone is the One who justifies us.) Read More...

The Pursuit of God

In his book “The Pursuit of God” A.W. Tozer has the following quotation:

Sound Bible exposition is an imperative must in the Church of the living God. Without it no church can be a New Testament church in any strict meaning of that term. But exposition may be carried on in such way as to leave the hearers devoid of any true spiritual nourishment whatever. For it is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself, and unless and until the hearers find God in personal experience, they are not the better for having heard the truth. The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.

The Christians Bill of Rights

From the Camponthis blog site, for the entire article click on this LINK

1. As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ we have only one right: and that is to give up all rights to ourselves (2 Cor. 5:14-16; Romans 14:7-9).

2. We have the right to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him (Mt. 16:24-26).

3. We have the right to esteem others more highly than ourselves; and love our neighbor as ourselves (Mt. 22:39; Phil. 2:1-5).

4. We have the right to fulfill the law of Christ in bearing one another's burdens of sin (Gal. 6:1-3).

5. We have the right to be wronged and to maintain a faithful testimony (1 Cor. 6:1-8).

6. We have the right to live in unreciprocated, self-sacrificial love (Eph. 5:1-2).

7. We have the right to forgive others the smaller debt, as God in Christ has forgiven us the larger
debt (Eph. 4:31-32; Matthew 18:12-35).

8. We have the right to suffer for the gospel and to take the blows for the One who took the blows for us (1 Peter 2:21-24)

9. We have the right to be "subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be uncontentious, gentle, showing every consideration for all men" (Titus 3:1-2).

10. We have the right to not be political agitators trading the truth of His Word to play politics with men's souls; thinking that true spiritual change occurs through legislation rather than the transforming power of the gospel of grace. (1 Peter 4:10-16).


Quote for the day

“Suppose a man should come to his dinner table, and there should be a knife laid down, and it should be told him, ‘This is the very knife that cut the throat of your child!’ If the man would use this knife as a common knife, would not everyone say, ‘Surely this man had but very little love to his child, who can use this bloody knife as a common knife!’

Look upon the cross on which Christ was crucified, and the pains He suffered thereon—and the seeming sweetness which is in sin, will quickly vanish. When you are solicited to sin, cast your eye upon Christ’s cross; remember His astonishing sufferings for your sin, and sin will soon grow distasteful to your soul. How can sin not be hateful to us—if we seriously consider how hurtful it was to Jesus Christ?”

—Thomas Brooks, “The Golden Key to Open Hidden Treasures”

Survey Time

Roger Nicole on the gospel

Since we have been studying the word ATONEMENT I thought this article would be good for us to read as a class. It is by Roger Nicole, from his seminar on the atonement, I hope you enjoy!

Moved by His incomprehensible love for mankind, the Triune God was pleased not to abandon our rebellious and corrupt race to the misery and hell that it justly deserved, but to undertake to save a great multitude of human beings who had absolutely no claim on His mercy.

In order to bring this plan into execution, the second Person of the Godhead, the Son, took unto himself a full human nature, becoming in all things like his brethren and sisters, sin excepted. Thus he became the Second Adam, the head of a new covenant, and he lived a life of perfect obedience to the Divine Law.

Identifying with his own, he bore the penalty of human sin on the cross of Calvary, suffering in the place of the sinner, the just for the unjust, the holy Son of God for the guilty and corrupt children of man.

By his death and resurrection he has provided the basis

* for the reconciliation of God to humans and of humans to God;
* for the propitiation of a righteous Trinity, justly angry at our sins;
* for the redemption of a multitude of captives of sin whose liberty was secured at the great price of His own blood.

He offered himself as an expiatory sacrifice sufficient to blot out the sins of the whole world and secured the utmost triumph over the enemies of our soul: sin, death, and Satan.

Those who repent of their sins and believe in Jesus Christ are thus to be absolved from the guilt of all their sins and are adorned with the perfect righteousness of Christ himself. In gratitude to him they are to live lives of obedience and service to their Savior and are increasingly renewed into the image of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

This good news of salvation by grace through faith is to be proclaimed indiscriminately to mankind, that is to every man, woman, and child whom we can possibly reach.

Most U.S. Christians don't think Satan and Holy Spirit exist

ATTENTION-ATTENTION-ATTENTION Learning and Living the God-centered Life Community!

This article came out on April 13, 2009 in the Christian Post. If you want to see the original article just click on this LINK.

However I have copied and put as a blog article in order for you all to see why it is so important that we understand sound Biblical doctrine. If you read this article and digest the stats you will quickly learn that many Christians are living in Biblical ignorance. Folks if we are ignorant of the basic truths in God’s word how are we ever going to live out the Christian life in a way that pleases God?

Is doctrine important? Absolutely, and after reading this article I rest my case.

The majority of American Christians do not believe that Satan is a real being or that the Holy Spirit is a living entity, the latest Barna survey found.

Nearly six out of ten Christians either strongly agreed or somewhat agreed with the statement that Satan "is not a living being but is a symbol of evil," the survey found.

Forty percent strongly agreed with the statement while 19 percent of American Christians somewhat agreed.

In contrast, about 35 percent of American Christians believe Satan is real. Twenty-six percent strongly disagreed with the statement that Satan is merely symbolic and about one-tenth (9 percent) somewhat disagreed.

The remaining eight percent of American Christians responded they were unsure what to believe about the existence of Satan.

Interestingly, the majority of Christians believe a person can be under the influence of spiritual forces, such as demons or evil spirits, even though many of these same people believe Satan is merely a symbol of evil. Two out of three Christians agreed that such forces are real (39 percent agreed strongly, 25 percent agreed somewhat).

Likewise, most Christians in the United States do not believe that the Holy Spirit is a living force. Fifty-eight percent strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement that the Holy Spirit is "a symbol of God's power or presence but is not a living entity."

Only one-third of Christians disagreed with the statement that the Holy Spirit is not just symbolic (9 percent disagreed somewhat, 25 percent disagreed strongly). Nine percent expressed they were unsure.

Interestingly, about half (49 percent) of those who agreed that the Holy Spirit is only a symbol but not a living entity, agreed that the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches. The Bible states that the Holy Spirit is God's power or presence, not just symbolic.

"Most Americans, even those who say they are Christian, have doubts about the intrusion of the supernatural into the natural world," commented George Barna, founder of The Barna Group and author of books analyzing research concerning America's faith.

"Hollywood has made evil accessible and tame, making Satan and demons less worrisome than the Bible suggests they really are," he said. "It's hard for achievement-driven, self-reliant, independent people to believe that their lives can be impacted by unseen forces."

But a large majority of American Christians agree that a person must choose to side with either good or evil. More than six out of ten American Christians strongly agreed (61 percent) with the idea that a person must either side with God or with the devil - that there is no in-between position. Another 15 percent somewhat agreed.

Just one out of ten adults disagreed somewhat (10 percent) and a similar proportion (11 percent) strongly disagreed. Only a few adults (3 percent) did not have an opinion on the issue.


Mark 6:31 and our Retreat

Mark 6:31 And He *said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.
We live in the most hectic and technologically advanced time in human history. The stress levels that most Americans live under are huge and they continue to rise in lieu of our present economy. I have watched and been amazed that when Americans get in crisis they tend to isolate instead of congregate. It is as if we have a built in program that reads “if its to be then it is up to me.” Because of this mentality the average Christian experiences very little of Acts 2:42, in which believers were constantly coming together for teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer.

Therefore I ask that you who are going to the retreat or may still be considering it look with me at Mark 6:31. The context of this verse is the disciples have just finished their first missionary journey and have picked up the body of John the Baptist. This was a very stressful time in their lives and also the life of Christ. But this is how Jesus teaches them and us to handle the stress and the overwhelming challenges that pound on us in this life.

Whenever you say to a typical American that you are stressed out they almost immediately respond with “you need to get away.”
But notice that the Lord Jesus say we need to “come away.” Do you realize that when He says “come away” it is in the form of an invitation? When you come to Jesus then you must leave where you are, and go to where He is. I am so excited to know that the Lord Jesus is already at Ridgecrest and as He has gone before us He is giving us the invitation to come. Read More...

Preview of Justification

This coming Sunday, Lord willing, I am going to start with JUSTIFICATION and there will be no review of the previous two weeks. For those who have been traveling or haven’t gone to the blog notes, I will have audio CD’s available if that is your primary learning style.
Keep in mind we are still talking about the Trinity and Salvation as we finish up on what I am calling the front view of the cross. This is the view of the cross that focuses upon the significance of what Jesus accomplished in relationship to how we would stand before God. Since we are in the Easter season I decided to highlight these important Biblical words as they relate to the Trinity and our salvation. The past two weeks I have emphasized both ATONEMENT and PROPITIATION.

Allow me to encourage you to read through these notes and as time permits to review the associated Bible passages. We are going to pick up the pace a bit this week as we have the final word REDEMPTION on our teaching agenda for April 26.

Martin Luther referred to the doctrine of justification as the doctrine upon which the church stands or falls. Because it is upon this that all sinful human beings stand or fall.
In the Apostles Creed we confess that the church is holy and yet the church is holy in so far as it embraces and is covered with the righteousness of Christ. And that occurs when the church proclaims such a true gospel as the New Testament presents and lives by it. This means the holiness and righteousness of the church is fully dependent upon the righteousness and holiness of Christ and in that alone.
It further means that each individual is unto themselves sinful and we may only reckon ourselves as holy and righteous in our standing before God solely on the basis of the justifying work and the atonement that is ours in Christ Jesus.

So here will be our working definition for justification. Justification is an instantaneous act of God in which He thinks of our sins as forgiven and Christ’s righteousness as belonging to us. In so doing He declares us to be righteous in His sight.

But we naturally want to ask, how can God say that we are righteous and declare that to be so when in fact we are not righteous?

Justification is forensic, meaning that it has to do with the legal proceedings in a court of law. What God does in justification after we have believed in Christ, which means we have trusted in Christ for forgiveness of sins, then God declares that we have no penalty for our sins or we are now right in His sight.

Scriptural support
Romans 8:1
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Romans 4:6-8
Rom. 4:6 just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

Retreat Agenda for May 1-3

Brimberry/Jones Class Retreat

Friday, May 1st to Sunday, May 3rd

Digging DeeperIn His WordGrowing Stronger… In His Grace

Friday, May 1

Check-In Begins 3:30 p.m. Main Desk

Dinner 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. (meet in hotel lobby @ 5:15)

Opening Session 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Saturday, May 2

Breakfast 7:15 – 8:15 a.m.

Session 8:30 – 9:45 a.m.

Break 9:45 – 10:00 a.m.

Session 10:00 – 11:45 a.m.

Women’s Session 11:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Men’s Free Time 11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Lunch 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Free Time Various Group Activities Available

Dinner 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Session 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Sunday, May 3

Breakfast 7:15 – 8:15 a.m.

Sunday Celebration 8:30 – 9:45 a.m.

Break 9:45 – 10:00 a.m.

(Time to remove luggage from room and return keys to Kay Jones)

Session 10:00 – 11:45 a.m.

Lunch 12:00

Back to Charlotte After lunch

Doctrine is Practical

This is an article from Pulpit Magazine. If you want to review the entire article then click on this LINK.

People often ask why I emphasize doctrine so much. Now and then someone tells me frankly that my preaching needs to be less doctrinal and more practical.

Of course, practical application is vital. I don’t want to minimize its importance. But if there is a deficiency in preaching today, it is that there’s too much relational, pseudopsychological, and thinly life-related content, and not enough emphasis on sound doctrine.

The distinction between doctrinal and practical truth is artificial; doctrine is practical! In fact, nothing is more practical than sound doctrine.

The pastor who turns away from preaching sound doctrine abdicates the primary responsibility of an elder: “holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict” (Titus 1:9). We teach truth, we teach error, or we teach nothing at all.

Building on the Truth

Practical insights, gimmicks, and illustrations mean little if they’re not attached to divine principle. There’s no basis for godly behavior apart from the truth of God’s Word. Before the preacher asks anyone to perform a certain duty, he must first deal with doctrine. He must develop his message around theological themes and draw out the principles of the texts. Then the truth can be applied.

Romans provides the clearest example. Paul doesn’t give any exhortation until he has given eleven chapters of theology.

He scales incredible heights of truth, culminating in 11:33-36, where he says, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”

Then in chapter 12, he turns immediately to the practical consequences of the doctrine of the first 11 chapters. No passage in Scripture captures the Christian’s responsibility in the face of truth more clearly than Romans 12:1-2.

Resting on eleven chapters of profound doctrine, Paul calls each believer to a supreme act of spiritual worship — giving oneself as a living sacrifice. Doctrine gives rise to dedication to Christ, the greatest practical act. And the remainder of the book of Romans goes on to explain the many practical outworkings of one’s dedication to Christ. Read More...

Review for April 12

We are all familiar with the expression “your eyes were bigger than your stomach.” In a sense that is what happens each week as I prepare and study these truths from God’s word. I finish my notes and then transfer them to Power Point with the expectation that it can be covered in class. However each week it seems that I always have almost twice as much as I actually can cover on any given Sunday.

In class yesterday I fully expected to cover “JUSTIFICATION” as it relates to the Trinity and salvation but I never got to those notes. In the economy of teaching it is my conclusion that the Lord had other plans and wanted us again to focus on “ATONEMENT AND PROPITIATION.” As we have now moved into the Doctrine of God and specifically the Trinity, here are some of the test questions to date:
  • Do you understand why the Trinity is essential for us to study?
  • Can you start to articulate a Biblical definition of the Trinity?
  • How is the Trinity important as it relates to our salvation? In your answer list each Person of the Trinity and their role and relationship to the process of salvation.
  • What do we mean when we talk about the “front view” of the cross?
  • And what Biblical words do we associate with a front view of the cross?
  • Can you define each of these words, provide an illustration and then give some Scriptural support for your answer?
  • What do we mean when we talk about a “back view” of the cross?
  • Can you define each of these words, provide an illustration and then give some Scriptural support for your answer?

The notes included in this section cover what we went over in class yesterday and also will give a preview for next weeks class. At this time my plan is to briefly cover the doctrine of justification as it relates to the Trinity. Just so you can know the importance of justification, Martin Luther said that on this very doctrine the church either stands or falls.

Allow me to encourage you to take some time this week to review these notes. We are building a foundation of Bible basics that will be there for years to come as you read and study the Scriptures. This is not like fast food service where you show up get you food, eat it and go home. This is going to require patience, diligence and prayer as you process through these essential doctrines in God’s word. It is better to review for 30 minutes each day than to try and absorb 2 hours on one specific day. Again I thank you for the faithfulness and attentiveness that I see in class from week to week. These are not easy things but it is my prayer that as you read, study and have your devotions they will be life transforming things.


Audio for Sunday’s class on Atonement and Propitiation

Pre-retreat planning team

This retreat planning is tough work but someone has to do it. On Thursday we took a day trip up to Ridgecrest to check out the facilities again and to finalize some of the last minute details. On the way back we stopped by Lake James so that we could finish debriefing all the details. It was very intense and hard but we were able to manage.

Quote for the day

Let the old saints be our example. They came to the Word of God and meditated. They laid the Bible on the old-fashioned, handmade chair, got down on the old, scrubbed, board floor and meditated on the Word. As they waited, faith mounted. The Spirit and faith illuminated.

They had only a Bible with fine print, narrow margins and poor paper, but they knew their Bible better than some of us do with all of our helps. Let’s practice the art of Bible meditation… Let us open our Bibles, spread them out on a chair and meditate on the Word of God. It will open itself to us, and the Spirit of God will come and brood over it. - A.W. Tozer

Review of April 5

The subject that we are discussing and teaching on right now is the Trinity. Therefore yesterday we focused on two important words as they relate to the Trinity. The first word we covered was ATONEMENT. Who is the Person of the Trinity that makes atonement for our sin? And as you know the answer is God the Son, Jesus Christ. The next word we discussed in greater detail was PROPITIATION.
One of my goals is to re-introduce to us in the church important Biblical words that have for the most part be neglected over the past 3 decades. Also to show how the Old Testament relates to the New Testament in the meaning of these words. This is why brothers and sisters in Christ that it is important to read through the whole Bible in order to digest the unity of Scripture. Even though I will only be able to briefly cover these different aspects I am hoping it will motivate you to greater study in these areas.

Also please note that today I will include the class review in this article instead of inserting the typical power point notes. Just so you know these words will be coming back into play when we get to the “DOCTRINE OF SALVATION.” But at this point I am introducing them since we are coming upon Easter Sunday and also because we are looking at the Trinity and our salvation.


Can you think of the last time you used the word atonement in a conversation? In general it is not a word that we use often nor are we that familiar with or so it seems.

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

Below is a simple but I think helpful illustration to get the term and concept in your mind.
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.

In the New Testament we learn from our reading and study that Jesus Christ, the innocent One has made atonement for our sins at the cross. There is much to say on this subject but let’s look at some verses that can support this doctrine of “vicarious or substitutionary atonement.”

Romans 3:24-27
24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;
25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;
26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Be aware of good Bible interpretation

Pastor Bob DeWaay will help you understand what this means as he says:

The meaning of the Scripture is determined by the Holy Spirit inspired author. In other words, these writers were inspired by the Spirit, and so [what they wrote] didn’t come from their will, it came from the Holy Spirit Who spoke from God. So therefore the interpretation of the Scripture is to determine the meaning of the Holy Spirit inspired author.

Now your own interpretation would be the postmodern idea that reader determines the meaning. A private interpretation is “this means this to me.” Have you ever been to a Bible study where they do that? Everybody gets their Bible. “Read a verse.” And you read a verse. [Then someone asks], “What’s that mean to you?” [Looking around the room], “What’s that mean to you? What’s that mean to you?” [And so on]. “Okay, next verse.”

Well, what do you have but private interpretation? Somebody’s saying I’m going to infuse my meaning into the Scripture rather than finding out what the Holy Spirit said to me through the Holy Spirit-inspired author.

Nothing more practical than SOUND DOCTRINE

The article below is important for our Sunday School Community to read and to study. This morning I came across an article from Dr. John MacArthur and am in total agreement with his thoughts on the importance of doctrine. Our curriculum this year is focused on first learning doctrine before we discuss application of doctrine. Recently I had an extended conversation with a Christian regarding the practical application of the Bible. The person has a hyper-focus on wanting everything to be applied immediately while spending no time on the foundational components of doctrine. When one is intent on studying application instead of the doctrine then you are working on the wrong end of the problem. May I encourage you to grab a pen and highlighter and study this article.

But now and then someone tells me frankly that my preaching needs to be less doctrinal and more practical.

Practical application is vital. I don’t want to minimize its importance. But the distinction between doctrinal and practical truth is artificial; doctrine is practical! In fact, nothing is more practical than sound doctrine.

Too many Christians view doctrine as heady and theoretical. They have dismissed doctrinal passages as unimportant, divisive, threatening, or simply impractical. A best-selling Christian book I just read warns readers to be on guard against preachers whose emphasis is on interpreting Scripture rather than applying it.

Wait a minute. Is that wise counsel? No it is not.

There is no danger of irrelevant doctrine; the real threat is an undoctrinal attempt at relevance. Application not based on solid interpretation has led Christians into all kinds of confusion.

No discipline is more sorely needed in the contemporary church than expositional biblical teaching. Too many have bought the lie that doctrine is something abstract and threatening, unrelated to daily life.

It is in vogue to substitute psychology and spoon-fed application for doctrinal substance, while demeaning theological and expositional ministry.

But the pastor who turns away from preaching sound doctrine abdicates the primary responsibility of an elder: “holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict” (Titus 1:9).

Practical insights, gimmicks, and illustrations mean little if they’re not attached to divine principles. There’s no basis for godly behavior apart from the truth of God’s Word. Read More...