Learning and Living the God-centered life

One Biblical Doctrine at a time…

Review of February 22

Thanks again to Pastor Russ Rosser for teaching our class last Sunday morning. Below are the notes from his teaching from the book of Acts. I would like to say publicly what a blessing it is to have both Pastor Russ and Carol at Carmel Baptist Church. And over the years I have affectionally tagged him with the nickname “Papa Russ.”

SBS Class Feb 22 2009 Pastor Acts)


Quote for the day

“The doctrines of the gospel are meant to mould us so that our lives begin to ’set’ in the likeness of Christ. We have made little or no impression upon the world, for the very reason that the gospel doctrine has made a correspondingly slight impression upon us. It cannot be overemphasized that men and women who have accomplished anything in God’s strength have always done so on the basis of their grasp of truth.”

- Sincalir Ferguson, The Christian Life (Carlisle, Pa.: Banner of Truth Trust, 1981), 8-9.

We're moving March 8


Please make a note on your calendars that our community is moving on March 8th to the choir room.
Thanks again to the leadership team that met last night and their ongoing service in our class to be sure all that is done is to the glory of God!

Bible Doctrine

Doctrine always precedes application. Doctrine is simply what the Bible has to say about any particular subject. So we must have truth about things before we go into the application for life.

The apostle Paul gives us the first 6 chapters in Romans to tell us what has happened in Christ before his first exhortation in Romans 6:11. Victory in the Christian life comes first from comprehending the truth. Jesus said in John 8:32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. Jesus also said in John 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. sanctify them by the truth, your word is truth.

Good Bible doctrine leads to good Bible application. The place for doctrine is that if rightly understood will come out in our day to day living. The purpose of knowing doctrines is not so that we can be smarter than other people when it comes to the Bible. Many times the people that have no understanding of doctrine are more pleasing to God because they are walking closer to Him.

In the last few weeks our discussion has been on justification and regeneration: A special thanks to Pastor Charles Leiter on his excellent book and teaching on this subject.

Justification takes place in the courtroom of God where He pronounces me right in the sight of His law or we could say declares me righteous.

Regeneration takes place down here on earth within the heart of a man. It is a supernatural act of God that happens to bring life where there once was death.

Justification a declaration on the part of a righteous judge. When God says that your sins have been paid for they really have been paid for! The sins committed the most vile and wicked thoughts, words and acts that you have ever done are not floating in space that actually came down on and were absorbed by the Lord Jesus Christ and paid in full. Therefore when God looks in the book and sees paid in full that is actual and real.

Regeneration is not a declaration from a righteous judge but a supernatural creation done by the Creator on the heart of a man. It is solely from God as an act of creative power.

Justification takes care of my condemnation in the eyes of the law.

Regeneration takes care of my perversity and wretchedness in the inner core of my being.




God's protection of His word

This is a blog article I recently read from pastor-teacher Ken Silva at Apprising Ministries:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:17-18)

We live in a time of a growing Christian agnosticism within evangelicalism currently being advanced by leaders within the postliberal Emergence against Sola Scriptura. It seems good right now to think a bit about God’s protection, as well as about His Word, in the Bible, as it applies to the remnant the Great Shepherd is calling out as this apostasy rapidly accelerates throughout the visible church. We go now to verse 17 above as Jesus says — “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill” (KJV) We know here that Jesus is teaching that He is the fulfillment of all the Scriptures concerning Himself.

But in our time marked by relativism and skepticism masquerading as so-called postmodernism, and those outside the Church are even worse, there is another question we need to address: Did Jesus teach that the texts of God’s Word would be preserved? Yes, He did; and right in the next verse of our text. Verse 18 — “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (KJV). Now, at last check—as near as I can tell—this would not appear to have happened yet. So the Master is telling us that until everything in Scripture comes to pass mankind is accountable for everything that is written in God’s Word.

As a matter of fact we’ve all heard someone say something along the lines of: “It doesn’t make one iota of difference to me.” Matthew 5:18 is where this type of statement originates. Jesus has just said to us — “I tell you the truth, until Heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” Not the smallest letter is the word iota in the original Greek. Dr. Louis Barbieri’s comment is helpful here:

Jesus’ fulfillment [of New Testament Scripture] - would extend to the smallest Hebrew letter, the ‘jot’ (lit. yod), and even to the smallest stroke of a Hebrew letter, the ‘tittle’ (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, NT, 30).

The reference to the “jot” and the “tittle,” as you saw above is from the way verse 18 reads in the King James Version of the Bible. Dr. Barbieri further points out that in our English language “a jot would further correspond to the dot above the letter ‘i’ (and would look like an apostrophe),…” (ibid.). As far as the “tittle,” Dr. Barbieri tells us that the “small angled line that completes the ‘R’ is like a ‘tittle’ ’’ (ibid.). The point should now become clear. Our faithful Shepherd wants us to know that we can be eternally sure we will have every Word that comes from the mouth of God. And not only that but we can also be sure He will watch over His Word so intently that not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.
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Quote for the day

“Life can only be received. Life is offered as sheer gift. In new birth from above, there is no way for those already dead in their sins even to ask for new life, which being dead in sin they cannot even conceive (Rom. 8:10, 11; Eph 2:1-5).

Apart from grace one cannot even pray for or hope for a reborn relationship to God. No one can simply grasp, claim, or seize the new birth of faith, hope, and love. They are gifts of the Spirit which until given, the unawakened sinner cannot manipulate into conception, birth, or growth. Like Incarnation and Resurrection, the new birth comes on God’s own initiative.” — Thomas Oden, The Justification Reader (Grand Rapids: Eeerdmans, 2002), 85

Review of February 15

We are continuing down the category of application for the feet as it relates to the Bible. One of the most exciting and challenging chapters for me over the years has been Romans 6. During the past week I decided to take us through a verse by verse look at Romans 6:1-14. There are two Bible doctrines that are important which we need to learn and apply. They are justification (Romans 3:20-4:25) and regeneration which we see in Romans 6:1-14. As each of these categories is learned, formed and lived the Spirit will build in us these foundational truths so important in our walk with Christ.

The audio is embedded within the power point notes. It may be that the file will need to buffer all the way before it can be played.

Blessings

Be who you are_Part 2 (preview)

Lord willing, this coming Sunday we are going to continue in Romans 6 with our application for the feet teaching. I am titling the two Sunday classes in Romans 6 as “Be Who You Are.” What a concept for those who are in Christ, don’t you think? So maybe we should ask that all important question “who are you?” Well, according to the apostle Paul via regeneration, which is a secret act of God whereby He imparts spiritual life, you are dead to sin and alive to Christ. As 21st Century evangelicals are we reminding ourselves and others of this truth on a regular basis? When I use the term “dead to sin” I don’t mean removed from the presence of sin. But this means according to the New Testament that sin no longer has dominion or control over the Christian. In other words we no longer are slaves to sin. And the term alive to Christ means that now I have a desire, treasuring and passion to present myself and the members of my body to God. Before I was “born again”, regenerated or experienced the new birth my modus operandi was completely ME centered. I didn’t want anything to do with Christ, the Bible. a local church community or any kind of service in which God could be demonstrated as great. Instead I was in the mind set of doing all that I did ultimately for the glory of my self.

Romans 6 is one of my favorite chapters in all of the Bible. And though I would like to stay here for the next several months, this coming week will conclude our 2009 launch via application of the feet. Well, at least that is the plan as of this blog entry.

So may I ask each of you to read through Romans 6 this week. I will continue to teach it by dividing this chapter into two major sections based on the questions that Paul is asking.

Romans 6:1 and Romans 6:15 tests our understanding of grace
Romans 6:2-11 and Romans 6:16-23 tests our understanding of regeneration

My goal on Sunday will be for us to build an application category from the three imperatives in Romans 6:11-13. I have found that in the past and even in
these last two weeks the study of these doctrinal truths from Romans 6 are life transforming!

Care Group 2009

As Care Groups start to meet and fellowship please feel free to send any pictures or video clips. Here is a sample for our get together last night at Tom and Terri’s house. The food was good and the our time of prayer and fellowship was equally nourishing. Blessings



Care Group 2009 from Pastor B. on Vimeo.

Review of February 8

Who are you in Christ? No, wait a minute, don’t read past that last question to fast, who are you in Christ? Then as we did today in class, read Romans 6 and hear the apostle Paul telling us “Be who you are!” Therefore the teaching for our class today could have been titled “Be who you are in Christ.”

Before you go to the notes or the audio may I suggest that you again read through Romans 6. At some point in time, probably the last phase of our teaching curriculum I am going to suggest that we memorize this chapter. Even though we are months and months away, this is a good time to get familiar with this chapter in Romans.

I am going to do a brief outline and make some points from this mornings class that will help as we continue in Romans 6. First of all I would like to suggest that we break up Romans 6 into two basic sections based on Paul’s two questions. The first question comes to us in Romans 6:1 and then the second question in Romans 6:15. At this point it may be helpful to write a theme or topic sentence for these two sections of Scripture. For example:

Romans 6:1-14 - the new person you are In Christ
Romans 6:15-23 - free from sin and enslaved to righteousness

Next I would you to observe the pattern of writing with the apostle Paul in these two sections of Scripture. It is as follows:
  • Question
  • Response
  • Reason with a detailed explanation that follows

Now follow me with this next line of thinking as you read through Romans 6.
The two questions that Paul asks in Romans 6:1 and 6:15 test our understanding of grace. The concluding answers that he gives in Romans 6:2-11 and Romans 6:16-23 test our understanding of regeneration. Again the quick definition for regeneration is a secret act of God in which He imparts to us spiritual life.

And this is why I wanted to take the next couple of weeks to simply touch on Romans Chapter 6. It will better help in our understanding of grace and regeneration. For those of you who have been following our launch into 2009 the initial question asked was “which road are you on?” from Matthew 7:13-27?”
And we have worked ourselves back to the fact that if a man, woman, boy or girl is going to be able to enter the kingdom of God then they will have to be born again. In our two weeks on the subject of born again we determined from Scripture that being born again is what God does to us out of His mercy and grace. There is no way we can demand it, inherit it, earn nor even deserve it because this is from Him and Him alone.
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The different hats of Pat Jones

Why learning then living?


I had some devotion time this morning in Romans. In thinking about the structure and flow of Romans it reminded me about the ways of God. The practical application of Romans really begins after the “therefore” in Romans 12:1. And as most scholars agree the “therefore” is looking back to the first eleven chapters in the book. So obviously since Paul writes under the inspiration of the Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16) we are studying the mind of God. As we study the mind of God we then start to understand the ways of God. And even though we can only know in part, that part is still valuable in our overall Christian development.

In other words, according to the Bible the learning precedes the living when it comes to doctrine. Some in the evangelical churches today are saying that doctrine divides, so we don’t teach it. But the Lord Jesus Himself said “if you know the truth, the truth will set you free.” It is the truth of Bible doctrine that allows a person to be free in the Christian life. For example there are Christians who think that God is holding them daily to a certain level of performance. And if they don’t jump the bar so to speak they will not meet with God’s approval. This translates into the love of God being either given or with held based on what I do for Him. If a person lives this way they are not free in Christ but are in bondage to the law of performance. So if we continue to be ignorant of doctrines like justification and regeneration, and have no solid Biblical theology for what Christ has done for us and how He now lives in us, then we are going to be miserable. Because God is not withholding His love from us due to how we perform. Since we have been reconciled in Christ, God is 100% on our side all the time no matter what happens in our life! Therefore being in Christ, we have a new heart (born again) and we are a new person, and no longer have any of our sins upon us, because they have been absorbed by Christ at the cross.

These are basics but they must be learned and embraced in order that we can live in the fullness of these Biblical truths. Now please don’t misunderstand my initial point or take it to an extreme. Obviously we are applying truth along the way even before we learn all these doctrines in detail. But again the principle applies and you will see this especially with the epistles of Paul, there is truth that must be learned in order that the truth can be properly lived.

Review of February 1

This past Sunday was the conclusion of our 5 week launch into 2009 titled “which road are you on?” Since our January 4 class we have looked briefly but distinctly at 3 critical Bible doctrines in regard to application for our lives. They are as follows:

Regeneration
Justification
Sanctification


The teaching today covered 5 basic points regarding the doctrine of regeneration and how we apply this to the glory of God! Each week I have posted the notes along with the verses in Scripture covered in class. As time allows would you take some time to read over and allow these foundational categories to become grounded in your hearts and minds. These doctrines will continue to surface during the year so l encourage you to learn them well.

Next week it is back on our tour Bus of the Bible which should take us till the end of February.

keep running the race, fighting the good fight and keeping the faith



The audio for Sunday’s class is contained within the power point notes.

APPLICATION FOR UNDERSTANDING THE “HEART OF FLESH”

Lava Lamp from Pastor B. on Vimeo.

Devotion Time

One of the key focus areas during the teaching this year will be in the area of Bible devotions. I will post devotion times in order to encourage and challenge you to stay consistent. A devotion normally provides me with a theme or main thought that I can chew on during the day. This is one of the reasons I am so excited about Carmel’s commitment as a church in spading through the gospel of John and now Acts. Because as you read there will be certain sections of Scripture that you want to go back to in order to have your devotion time.

May I appeal to you in starting devotion time with concentrated prayer, asking God to open your eyes in order that you might behold wonderful things from His law? (Psalm 119:18)

I spent some time this week thinking through the implications of the following text in the gospel of Luke 7. In my study Bible it is titled "Parable of Two Debtors."

Luke 7:40 And Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." And he replied, "Say it, Teacher."
Luke 7:41 "A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.
Luke 7:42 "When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?"
Luke 7:43 Simon answered and said, "I suppose the one whom he forgave more." And He said to him, "You have judged correctly."
Luke 7:44 Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
Luke 7:45 "You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet.
Luke 7:46 "You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume.
Luke 7:47 "For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little."
Luke 7:48 Then He said to her, "Your sins have been forgiven."
Luke 7:49 Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, "Who is this man who even forgives sins?"
Luke 7:50 And He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

What would you say the main point of the parable is in Luke 7:41-42?
Here is my shot at it - "love for Christ is directly proportional to our recognition of debt that has been forgiven us." Now keep that in your mind and drop your eyes down to Luke 7:47 and see if the dots connect.

Why does this woman love so much and why does this Pharisee love so little?
The woman recognizes her debt (sinful condition) and it is so great that only a great Savior could pay for it in full. She can't demand it, nor does she deserve it, and her love is proportional to the greatness of her sin debt that only Christ can forgive.
On the other hand the Pharisee, who is self-righteous, as he attempts to keep the law doesn't think there is much if any sin that needs to be forgiven. And therefore the love he is able to express for Christ is little because he sees little that needs to be forgiven.

Oh brothers and sisters in Christ if we could see the utter sinfulness of sin and how it impacts the very glory of God! The reason for a small love for Christ is a direct result of our small understanding of what has been forgiven us! This means that we need a healthy grasp of the cross so our love for Christ will continue to grow. As we come to the recognition of our sin and what has been forgiven, then we will love much, knowing that Christ has forgiven much!

May I encourage you to praise Him today for the very sins that were as scarlet are now as white as snow, by faith in Christ. (Isaiah 1:18)

Blessings,

Men's Bible study - February 10


I am very excited about our men’s study that will start on February 10 and last for six weeks. This starts next Tuesday night and I appeal to the men in our class, put this on your calendar. The start time will be prompt at 7 PM and will conclude at 8:30 PM. The purpose of our men’s study will be consistent with the purpose of the Bible and that is to glorify God! The how to that statement is found in the study and living out of His word.

If you have some time to look at our class blog site, you will quickly notice the amount of Biblical material we have covered to date. It is not the plan nor curriculum of this study to give more truth but to help and process the truth we have already covered. Therefore the study will be divided initially into 3 two week components:
Week #1 and 2 - study of the heart (why preparation is a non-negotiable)
Week #3 and 4 - study of the glory of God (why Bible reading, study and devotion must be God-centered)
Week #5 and 6 - study of salvation (regeneration, justification and sanctification)


These represent the 3 main components that we have been studying since August and some of the basic Biblical categories we need to understand, embrace and learn how to practically live out.

Please come prepared for questions and discussion. The apostle Paul instructs in Philippians Chapter 2 that we are to “work out our salvation.” As you know from previous classes this is a three fold word that includes our justification (past), sanctification (present) and glorification (future). It will be my desire during the next six weeks to post something prior to our study that can direct our questions for that particular night.

In summary for the guys who are reading this blog article allow me to take you back to Genesis 2:15. Keep in mind that this is the instruction of God Himself to Adam prior to the fall. Look with me at this verse and as always be sure to read in context. But for the sake of this exhortation I will just stay with Genesis 2:15 “Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.”
When you start to look more carefully at this text then you see God’s responsibility and man’s responsibility.
  • God is the one who takes and puts
  • Man is the one who cultivates and keeps

Guys each of us has been taken and put in a spiritual garden (immediate family and church) in which we are commanded to work and protect. It becomes obvious to us reading in Genesis 3 that Adam does not follow this command from the LORD. How does the serpent end up in the garden walking and talking with Eve if Adam was doing his God given assignment of protecting his wife? Men, I think we need to band together and come back under the authority of God word so that we can protect our wives and children especially in this increasingly dangerous culture. And that includes our knowing, embracing and living out the Bible before our families. Again the goal of this study is to provide some foundational components that can be learned and taught as essential to our Christian walk.

May I encourage you to come for 6 weeks each Tuesday night, and together let’s get back into the word of God so that the word of God can get back into us!

Blessings

A God-centered life

How would the people who are close to you and those in your sphere of influence speak about you on the day of your funeral? In this 21st Century American culture of affluence and diversity there could be any number of answers that those described above might give about you. Some might conclude that you were devoted to the family, community, career or even a favorite cause. Those speaking could say you were a zealous member of your church and then bring out the list of all activities, service projects, Bible studies and various committee meetings. But would it be said or could it be said that you loved God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.

Jesus said in the gospels “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” If we think about that statement and apply it to life it could sound as follows: “out of the abundance of my heart I am constantly thinking, speaking and doing.” My question is do you think about God correctly and live in such a way that He is demonstrated as great? The God-centered life that we are studying in this class has two basic but critical components. We are learning to discern what the Bible means and then applying the meaning to our daily living. This curriculum starts with a very simple approach, let’s get back to the reading, devotion and study of God’s word. It is quite a radical approach to an environment and society dedicated to the unholy trinity of I, me and my. We have seminars for self-esteem and self-development. And even in the book stores we see a huge section of material called self-help. When we come to the Bible it doesn’t take long to understand that the subject that God is most interested in, is God Himself. It is grasping this important Biblical principle that can be the most important shift in our Bible reading and devotion time. God has created us in such a way that our souls have an itch that can only be scratched with His glory. Therefore God via His mercy and kindness gives to us the best thing that we could ever have and that is God!

May I encourage you to pray in this regard on a daily basis? Pray that the God who created you would give you a desperate passion for His word! As you read, devote and study God will transform you by His Spirit as His word is revealed unto you. Do you remember the lava jar in class from yesterday? The process is often slow and happens from one degree of glory to the next (2 Corinthians 3:18). But as we are being challenged to live the God-centered life this year please know it is about “direction of life” and not “perfection in life.” There will be times of failure, sin, and falling down but the Bible tells us that God is faithful to complete the work that He starts (Philippians 1:9). Read More...