Learning and Living the God-centered life

One Biblical Doctrine at a time…
Jan 2009

Ridgecrest Retreat - May 1-3

On May 1-3 we will have our initial class retreat in Asheville, NC at the Ridgecrest Conference Center. In the above picture Pat Jones meets with our representative at Ridgecrest who has reserved our rooms and meeting space.

The subject and title of the retreat will be “The Gospel, the power of God.” This of course comes from Romans 1:16 in which the apostle Paul is exhorting the Christians in Rome to continue believing the gospel. Many times in our Christian walk we can think that the gospel is something I heard and have done (past tense) but we need to understand, embrace and live out the gospel daily. Therefore I am excited about our time away where we can discuss the most important things in life as we seek to be transformed into the likeness of Christ. Over the next few months I will be posting a number of blog articles regarding our time together. There will be passages to read and meditate on and questions that will help us start to prepare for our time studying the gospel.

Below is a short video on the Ridgecrest Conference Center

Ridgecrest Conference Center from Pastor B. on Vimeo.

Preview of February 1

Here is a preview of our class for tomorrow. There are two basic slide share presentations. The first will be my introductory notes and then the second represents what I hope to cover regarding the doctrine of regeneration.


New Birth

The primary subject this coming Sunday will be on the “new birth.” In the church we also refer to this as being born again and to be more technical it is called the doctrine of regeneration. At the present I am only introducing us as a community to these terms and later on down the road we will study in more detail.

As a quick refresher for the month of January we have talked about a continuing obedience to the word of God (sanctification process). We a couple of weeks ago emphasized the need for a person to REPENT and BELIEVE (justification process). And last Sunday we asked how does a person come to the place where they have the desire to REPENT and BELIEVE. And from John 3 we learned in the talk that Jesus had with Nicodemus a person must be born again (regeneration process).

So now you see that we are touching on and establishing Biblical categories that I will be teaching on as it relates to the practical daily living out the Christian life. Again these three categories in January have been:

Based on the class teaching and the notes provided on this blog site, could you discuss these basics with a family member or friend and give Biblical support? The leadership team in our class is sensitive to this not being about more information for your brain but rather Christ-like transformation of the heart. And the way this happens is through God’s word. So we can’t separate or we shouldn’t separate growth into Christ-likeness and the Bible. But as we are learning this means hearts prepared, texts that are understood based on what the author intended them to mean when he wrote them, and lives in submission and obedience to His word.

Here is some of what I plan to cover on Sunday. If you will grab your Bibles and turn to John Chapter 2:23 - 3:14. I think that John 2:23-25 gives us a good set up for the problem we are going to deal with and the discussion that Jesus has with Nicodemus. As discussed on Sunday it becomes obvious that Jesus is giving to Nicodemus a spiritual category that Nicodemus doesn’t have nor understand. Jesus is quick to point out that Nicodemus needs “new life.” This must have been shocking to Nicodemus who was the teacher in all of Israel and as Jesus indicates he doesn’t understand these things. The question is do we as 21st Century evangelical Christians understand these things? Did you know that a living person can be spiritually dead? Even if we were all to say “Amen” to that question are we able to support it with Scripture? So before moving on let’s establish that prior to our “new birth” we are in the category Biblically know as the living dead. Read More...

Preview of January 25

In Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus says that everyone on planet earth is on either of one or two roads. One road leads to destruction and the other road leads to life. In Matthew 7:24-25 Jesus talks about the building of two houses. After a bad storm the one house stands while the other house collapses. As we concluded this teaching the point we came to was as follows:
The validation that a believers salvation is genuine is dependent upon their ongoing obedience to the word of God.

Last week we took a step back to ask “how does a person get on the road that leads to life?” We then looked at the words of Christ in Mark 1:15 - “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” In the notes from the past week I have given you a brief word study on repent. There is an implication in the New Testament that repent and believe go together even when both words are not used. I have also included in the notes some verses that have repent only, others that have believe only and one that contains both repent and believe.

In summary to date:
A person on the road that leads to life is obedient to the word of God on an ongoing basis. In order to get on this road there must be a time where they repented and believed, but it doesn’t end there. Now that they have been justified (see notes) it means that as part of their sanctification (see notes) they will continue to repent and believe.

Now this week we are going to go back yet another step and ask this very important question - “How does a person REPENT and BELIEVE?” The answer to that question we will explore through the study of John 3. We as a church are presently reading through the gospel of John. And I want to conclude this launch into 2009 by helping us to understand what it means to be “born again.” Did you know that the words “born again” only occur 4 times in the New Testament? Read More...

Review of January 18 (Part 4)

In yesterday’s review we left off with the three essential categories for our understanding of the word “salvation.” If you remember they were:

(something that has happened in the past)
(something that is happening in the present)
(something that will happen in the future)

I want to spend some time with the terms justification and sanctification as they relate to our

Justification refers to my status (righteousness)
Sanctification refers to my state (becoming what I already am)

Justification is about God's attitude toward me changing
Sanctification is about God changing me

Justification is about how God looks on me
Sanctification is about what He does in me

Justification is about Christ dying for my sins on the cross;
Sanctification is about Christ at work in me by the Holy Spirit transforming my life

In the coming months we will talk about these words more and also give Scriptural support for them as we study. However right now I want you to be aware of what they mean and start to form a sound Biblical category as they relate to our salvation.

Now allow me to go back to the summary statement that was made at the conclusion of Matthew 7:24-27.

The validation of one’s salvation or the validation one is on the road that leads to life (entering narrow gate and on narrow way) and building a house that stands depends on one’s obedience to the word of God! Read More...

What every Christian ought to know

These are class notes and audio for those who are taking the “What every Christian ought to know” class at Carmel on Wednesday nights. Last week we covered the importance of the Bible and this week the subject was “how do we study the Bible.” I started the class with a simple graph of the Christian life. Each item on the chart can be supported by Scripture but I think it is a good visual representation of how we are to live.

The first thing I normally point out is the bigness and magnificence of God. And I contrast that with the smallness and insignificance of man. By this I mean we are insignificant in that we add nothing to the greatness or to the glory of God. Unfortunately in the evangelical church throughout America we have at times had much man-centeredness and far too little God-centeredness. Messages that are consumed with having a better marriage, better relationships, and a better way to handle your finances. We want to be the center of the universe because as Americans the culture is constantly convincing us that it’s all about me. So it is natural for me to want to hear motivational and positive preaching and teaching that is about me. I remember double dating with a guy years ago and after two straight hours of talking about himself he said something like this “hey that is enough of me talking about me tell me what do you think of me.” Folks one of the how to categories we need to get firmly implanted in our minds is as follows; the primary subject of the Bible is God and not us!

So if we are going to start with good “how to” study, then our categories must understood and not too tainted by our strong cultural influences. After I mention the greatness of God and the littleness of man I then proceed to GRACE. It basic terms this is the unmerited favor of God towards the believer. Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones said that the problems with most Americans is that they think too much. Instead of thinking they should be preaching the gospel to themselves on a regular basis. The finite mind obviously cannot handle this infinite thought but we still need to meditate on the grace that came to us at the cross. There is only one thing that we can do with grace and that is to receive it. There is no way to earn it, deserve it, demand it, inherit it, or merit it and therefore we receive grace by faith. In the next part of the chart I show the word JOY as rising from the person who receives and understands grace. The wider the gap between God and man the greater the grace. As grace increases then joy and satisfaction in God rises up. This is consistent with brothers and sisters in Christ that I have walked with and observed, with amazing grace comes amazing joy!

Review of January 18 (Part3)

The question we began with several weeks ago as we launched into 2009 was simply this:
What road are you on? According to Christ everyone is either on a road that leads to destruction or a road that leads to life. So how does a person get on the road that leads to life? Turn with me if you will to Mark 1:15 and let’s examine these words from the Lord Jesus Himself. In this verse He says “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” In this summary review of our lesson on Sunday I would like for us to look more closely at the meaning of these words. First let’s do some study of the word repent. But before we do, may I just say this is not an exhaustive study but brief review of these words so as to encourage your own personal study. The first word we will consider is what does it means to REPENT.

The word REPENT in Mark 1:15 is a verb that is in the present tense which means habitually, continuously and as a constant way of life. So first of all when reading the word repent don’t just think in terms of a past tense action but something that you are continuing to do each and every day. (A quick side note of application. When is the last time you repented over sin in your life?) Many times when I hear someone give a personal testimony the majority of the language is in the past tense. Even though the past action is important, I am also listening for not just what happened, but what is happening in the life of the person walking with Christ.

Second the word repent is in the imperative which means the mood of command. This is said by Jesus NOT in the form of an invitation but rather as something He commands! And we in the church today need to be sure that we understand He commands not only that we repent at a point and time but that we continue to repent. Folks we say we are orthodox Christians which means that we believe the Bible is the word of God. And in saying that we affirm that the Scripture is inspired, infallible and inerrant. Therefore we submit and yield to the authority of God’s word for faith and practice in life. These words mean not what I think, feel or even experience but they mean what the author intended at the time in which he wrote them. And to put it very clearly the verb form of REPENT means a continuous process that is commanded by Christ Himself. It may help at this point to get a clearer understanding of this word REPENT.

A basic word study on REPENT:
The Greek word for repent (verb form) is Strong’s number 3340. metanoeo; from 3326 and 3539; which means to change one’s mind or purpose: repent(26), repented(5), repents(3). This word (in the verb form) occurs in the New Testament 34 times but only once in the epistles and that is in 2 Corinthians 12:21.
The Greek word for repentance (noun form) is 3341. 3341. metanoia; from 3340; change of mind, repentance: repentance(22). This word occurs 22 times in the New Testament
Strong’s definition - to think differently or afterwards, i.e. reconsider (morally, feel compunction): repent.
Thayer’s definition - to change one’s mind, i.e. to repent (to feel sorry that one has done this or that, Jonah 3:9), of having offended someone, of (on account of) something 2 Cor. 12:21; used especially of those who, conscious of their sins and with manifest tokens of sorrow, are intent; on obtaining God’s pardon; to repent clothed in sackcloth and besprinkled with ashes, Matt. 11:21; Luke 10:13. to change one’s mind for the better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins. The following is a user friendly laymen’s definition of the word repent from Josh Harris who is the senior pastor at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

True repentance is a change of direction. It involves turning away from sin and toward God---replacing sinful actions with righteous ones. Genuine repentance springs from heartfelt sorrow over sin because it is against God and then leads to real change in the way a person thinks and lives.

I understand that we all learn in different ways. Some learn best through reading, while others are visual, and still other folks are very auditory. Therefore I have an audio clip (a little over 2 minutes) that gives how we have come to a basic misunderstanding of the words repent and believe.
Repent and Believe - Pastor Paul Washer


Snow Day and Isaiah 1:18

What a glorious sight when I woke up early this morning and looked outside. I am reminded of the following verse in Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together,”Says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet,They will be as white as snow;
When you see the snow today and look upon its whiteness may it remind you brothers and sisters in Christ that you sins, past-present-future, look to your heavenly Father as if they are white as snow. Why is that? Because at the cross Christ absorbed the full wrath of God that you and I deserved and paid via His death the full price for our sins. Today in Charlotte as the snow falls remember that that all your sin, which Christ died for, is now as white as the snow in your front yard! Did I hear someone singing “Amazing Grace?”

Here are some photo reminders-- hope you enjoy!

Review of January 18 (Part2)

As we come to part 2 let me start with the concluding verses that Jesus taught in Matthew 7:24-27. You may remember and it will be part of the power point notes on this section that there is one distinguishing difference between the wise man and the foolish man. But please keep this in mind, it is such an important difference that it parallels with the difference between being on the narrow way leading to life and the broad way leading to destruction in Matthew 7:13-14. Therefore the IMPORTANT difference that Jesus points out in the story is this, the wise man hears the word and acts on what he hears whereas the foolish man hears the word but he does not act. Hmmm....Both men were hearers of the word so the problem was not hearing the word but it was acting on the word that was heard. Let’s travel over to the book of James and pick up a passage in context to review, that I think will also reinforce the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 7:24-27.

One of the goals in our study this year is to also learn how to study as we read and have devotions. If there is one most important “how to” in the system of studying the Scriptures it would probably be context. We need to learn how to read the Scriptures in context. Therefore even though our passage will be James 1:22, I think it will be helpful for us to look at it within the context of the paragraphs. Turn in your Bibles to James 1:19-25. Again as a good study exercise it may be good to start without a study Bible and see if you can come up with a topic sentence or theme to these verses. Just so you know in the ESV Study Bible these verses are titled as “Hearing and Doing the Word.” Does that sound similar to the verses we are studying in Matthew 7:24-27? Keeping context in mind let’s read and study James 1:22 which says: But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. Here are some study notes on the words doers and delude;

The word for doers (4163) is the Greek word poietes. This is from the Greek word poieo (4160).
This is the same word we find in Matthew 7:24:
Matt. 7:24 Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and ACTS on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.
Let’s put it in a James 1:22 translation:
Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and IS A DOER of them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.

Delude is the Greek word paralogizomai which means to miscalculate or falsely reason.
Thayers dictionary - a. to reckon wrong, miscount: Demosthenes, p. 822, 25; 1037, 15. b. to cheat by false reckoning (Aeschines, Aristotle); to deceive by false reasoning; hence, c. universally, to deceive, delude, circumvent: tina, Col. 2:4; James
Strongs dictionary - misreckon, i.e. delude: beguile, deceive.

Isn’t the meaning clear in James 1:22 when it comes to the problem of not acting on the word that one hears? The result according to this verse will be a person or a people who are deluded. And now we are back to the very basics of why the “Learning and Living the God-Centered Life” community exists for 2009 at Carmel Baptist Church. It is designed so that as we all learn healthy and sound Bible doctrine and then live out these truths, we will in fact glorify Christ in us who is called the “hope of glory.”

The warning is this; WARNING-WARNING-WARINING Will Robinson (that is from a show long ago called “Lost in Space”) be obedient to the truth of the word that you are hearing lest you be deceived! Read More...

Review of January 18 (Part1)

This review will encompass our last two weeks of teaching through Matthew 7:13-27. I will write several blog articles this week and also give you some verses to consider for the upcoming teaching this Sunday. Later on in the week I will post the most recent power point notes and the audio but for now read through and study, as you can, these notes. Some of the terms I plan on covering with you in these articles are a bit technical and may seem unfamiliar to you. However the more we study, discuss and learn they will become part of our dialogue in which you will get quite comfortable. Please know these are the basics of the Christian faith but unfortunately there has been somewhat of a drift from them within the last 100 years. I am committed to taking whatever time is necessary to work with you through these precious doctrines that we hold as valuable when it comes to our Christian faith. It will take some time for you to study, read and think through these Biblical truths. But know that as that happens, you are building a solid foundation that will support the living out your life in Christ in a way that demonstrates His glory!

Just today I had a call from a former ministry partner who is now living in Raleigh. He was asking about our class and it gave me a chance to boast about all of you in Christ. Please know what an encouragement and delight it is to teach, discuss, answer emails and meet with you on these things concerning the word of God. Let’s lock arms together as we run the race, fight the good fight and continue keeping the faith to build the kingdom of God for the glory of God.

What road are you on in regard to your spiritual life? Jesus Himself gives us only two options in Matthew 7:13-14. There is a road that leads to destruction and there is a road that leads to life. As we launch into the 2009 teaching of “learning and living the God-centered life” this is the question that is before us as a community. When we started the class back in August the teaching focused on the preparation of the heart. And now as we begin our curriculum in January we deal with the most important area in application of the feet. What road are your feet on and where is that road leading? As our class concluded on Sunday January 11 we finished looking at Matthew 7:24-27:
Matt. 7:24 ¶ “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.
Matt. 7:25 “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.
Matt. 7:26 “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.
Matt. 7:27 “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”
Here was my concluding summary for the two houses, one built on rock the other built on sand, the two men, one wise and one foolish and the two results, one house that stood strong and the other house that was destroyed. The conclusion was as follows:
The validation of your salvation or the validation you are on the road that leads to life (entering narrow gate and on narrow way) and building a house that will always stand depends on your obedience to the word of God!

In addition here are some verses for you to consider in light of the statement made above. I will include some brief comments Read More...

Why memorize Scripture?

Listen carefully to Dr. John Piper on the importance of hiding God’s word into your heart!

Review Sunday January 11

When we started our class back in August our first teaching session dealt with the preparation of the heart. As we continue getting back to God’s word we have been studying explanation to the head and this past Sunday application for the feet. In Matthew 7:13-27 we have a wonderful section of Scripture that is the conclusion of the sermon on the mount. In the reading and studying of these Scriptures there is a profound question that each of us needs to ask. And that question is which road are you on? Are you on the road that leads to destruction or are you on the road that leads to life?

The power point presentation below is called a “Slide Cast.” These are the slides that I went over yesterday in our study but the audio has been done so as to match up with the slides. The first 8-10 minutes I spend with introduction so you will stay on slide #1 and then as I instruct keep following through the slide presentation of Matthew 7:13-27. This will take some time for you to go through but I hope that it helps to encourage you as we “learn and live” the God-centered life.

Sbs Class January 11 2009
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Review Sunday January 4

The posting has been slow this week due to a coughing virus I received from my daughter or son over the holidays. It was yesterday that I started to make a comeback and today I am almost back to normal, well normal for me at least.

This class could be called back to the basics of the Bible. Over the course of the next year it is my goal to touch on critical doctrines such as:
• God
• Man
• Christ
• Holy Spirit
• Salvation

Doctrine simply means what does all of Scripture say about any particular subject. The Greek word for doctrine in the New Testament is didaskalia. If one does a word search for the various words in the New Testament related to doctrine (Strong’s numbers 1319-1322) it reveals that they occur over 200 times. For example as it relates to doctrine reflect on the epistles of the apostle Paul. One can see how he often starts by addressing the doctrine and then moves to the application. In the book of Ephesians the first three chapters describes the doctrine of who we are in Christ. In the last three chapters we are then exhorted to act in a way consistent with who we are in Christ. The book of Romans gives us eleven chapters on the doctrine of salvation. And then starting with chapter 12 we enter into application of the very doctrine that Paul has been teaching in the first eleven chapters. My point and the focus of our class is this, if we don’t learn Biblical truth correctly then how can we expect to live it our correctly. The answer to that question is we won’t and we can’t.

So our class is a roll up your sleeves, grab up your Bibles and let’s get back to the basics. This is just good old fashion Bible reading, study and devotion with no short cuts or quick fix solutions. The one requirement that is non-negotiable is a heart prepared to hear, receive and be obedient to God’s word. We studied Mark 4 and the parable of the sower in our first month. Do you remember the main point of that parable? The success of the seed is dependent upon the condition of the soil. And when king Solomon was given that one request by God we determined that in looking at Scripture he actually asked for a hearing heart. I often wonder about those I have taught as to whether or not this principle has made a significant impact in their Bible study. My recommendation and this is something that I have been consistent with over the years, is to never start Bible reading, study and devotion without a prepared heart.

Take some time to look through the power point notes from our class last Sunday. I have listed the first 12 principles in our tour of the Bible which takes us through the Old Testament. The purpose of taking this tour of the Bible is to give you an overall view of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. Even though it is a thumb nail sketch it should provide a good structure in order to help you work you way through the Bible. I suggest that as a homework assignment you try and go through the first seventeen books of the Old Testament. Can you follow the flow of the Old Testament from Genesis through Esther? The next assignment then is to place the poetical books (Job-Song of Solomon) and prophetical books (Hosea-Malachi) along the timeline with a brief description of each. You should have everything in the past notes I have provided in order to accomplish this task.

Sbs Class Jan 4 2009
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Due to technical problems (Bert’s fault) we have no audio for this week’s lesson.

Bible tour principle #12

Principle #12 - The period between the end of the Old Testament (approximately 400 BC) and the beginning of the New Testament (the ministry of John the Baptist around AD 30) is often referred to as the Silence Period, though God was at work providentially preparing the way for His Son.

Remember the southern kingdom of Judah returned from Babylonian captivity to rebuild the temple (the book of Ezra) and the Walls (the book of Nehemiah) in Jerusalem. The prophets Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi ministered during this time.

After Malachi prophesied around 425 BC, there were no other voices to be heard for the next four hundred years until the voice of John the Baptist was heard crying out in the wilderness, “Make ready the way of the Lord” (Matthew 3:3)

That four hundred period is often referred to as the Silence Period, simply because there were no inspired prophets ministering during the time. However, it must be noted that God was at work preparing the way for the Gospel of His son.

- God was at work through the influence of the Greeks as the entire region felt the unifying presence of the Greek culture and language.

- God was at work though the influence of the Romans as they brought military peace to the region, built extensive roads, and provided a more stable government.

-God was at work among His people, the Jews, as their oppression under the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Greeks, and the Romans had sparked in them a great hope for the coming of Messiah.

Again, thanks to Mitch Mayer for given me permission to take this from his Clarifying the Bible.