Learning and Living the God-centered life

One Biblical Doctrine at a time…

Trip to Billy Graham Library

This summer has been full of activity for our class thanks to the planning and leadership efforts of Christa Moose. She would not want me to thank her publicly but please allow me to do just that...THANK YOU CHRISTA!!!

Last week some in our class took a trip to the Billy Graham Library. If you want to see some more of the photos simply click on this LINK.

Review and Return to the Trinity

This Sunday we are back to the "Doctrine of God" as we continue to understand six essential doctrines of our Christian faith. And specifically I will give a short review on the Trinity to date. After that we will look at the relationship between Jesus and God the Father. Before I go further allow me to ask you the following question. Let's say you were at Starbucks meeting with a Christian friend and the subject of the Trinity came up. Your friend looks at you and says "why is the Trinity an essential when it comes to our salvation?" How would you answer that question?

First we need to understand that should we want atonement for sin then we must have the Trinity. Well, because you have to have One that is paying the penalty for our sins who is both God and man. In more technical theological terms this is called the hypo-static union or the two natures of Christ which is God and man. Man as the one who substitutes for us, so it has to be one of us in order to take our place in His death on the cross but if just one of us that will not accomplish the atonement.

A friend of my was discussing the Bible with his 15 year old daughter one night when she asked “how come God sent His Son to pay for sins, in other words after Adam committed sin why didn’t God just make another man who would be perfect and not sin and would not that have done it? Just as a side note how would you have answered that question?

And the answer to that question is not that would not do it. Because if you pay for your own sin then how long will you have to pay for it? Answer-eternally! This is why hell never ends, because the payment never ends. The reason is because your sin has infinitely offended an infinite and holy God. So if another human being took your sin and paid it on your behalf, then how long would he or she have to pay? Answer -eternally!
So at what point and time would you ever be delivered to the point that God could finally look on you and say JUSTIFIED, RIGHTEOUS IN MY SIGHT.
So you would be in a holding zone so to speak and waiting forever for your sin to be paid for. Therefore it must be Jesus the God-man. Read More...

The main problem...

Tim Keller writes an excellent article on the “Centrality of the Gospel.” This was really the theme of our retreat back in May, and I want you to know that we never get away from our need for the gospel each day.

Review for July 26

This morning was the third in a series titled “Back to the Bible a Summer Exhortation.” Over the years I have noticed that when summer comes into full swing, people travel and Bible study fades into the background. Well I want to encourage us as a community to keep the main thing the main thing in our lives. Therefore please know my admonition is this short series is for us to keep our eye on Christ through His word.

Howard Hendricks, who taught at Dallas Theological for many years lists the following as to why people don’t read and study the Bible.
1. The Bible was written so long ago that it doesn't seem relevant to me.
2. The Bible is so hard to understand.
3. I usually end up just feeling guilty when I read the Bible.
4. I am the type of person who relies on the pastor, elder or Sunday School teacher to explain the Bible to me.
5. I have some real doubts about the reliability of the Bible because it's full of contradictions, at least that's what I heard.
6. The Bible seems boring to me.
7. I have a time consuming job, family and lifestyle and honestly just don't have time for the Bible.
8. I have other things that if I am going to read I prefer instead of the Bible.

But as I said this morning Vance Havner the fiery prophet and evangelist once said that an excuse is the skin of a lie stuffed with a reason.

So far in this 3 part series I have covered the following as it relates to getting back to the Bible:
1. Mission
2. Challenge

3. Authority
4. Importance

5. Accomplishment or Achievement

And this morning we focused on number 5, the accomplishment or achievements of God’s word. In particular we looked closely at how the word gives us a litmus test as to our own salvation. May I ask you what could be more relevant than that question? It is not is there an eternity, but rather where are you going to spend eternity? The Bible is very bottom line and the answer is either in heaven or in hell.

In order to hear the audio for today’s lesson and get the notes simply click on this LINK. If you want to refer to this at a later date you can look up by July 26 date or the title “a litmus test for salvation.”

I have missed being with you and good to be back into the normal swing of things, so to speak. Really am looking forward to this fall and our being absorbed together in the “Doctrine of God.” Thanks again to Andy Collins, Pastor Russ, Rodney Young and Jeff Gaskins for teaching while I have been away.

If you should have trouble playing the audio from the Sermon.net then you can play it directly from here.

Coming in August

In August we will be back into our study of the Trinity. We will start with a review of the definition and then look at the relationship between Jesus and His Father.

That's Entertainment

Thousands showed up this past Sunday at some church locations to be entertained not unlike at the Barnum and Bailey Circus. The people commented upon leaving how grateful they were to be entertained and made to feel good. Another person when questioned said yeah "we don't want to think about eternity and things like heaven or hell until we get there." And a young man was quoted as saying the only difference between the circus and his church was that the pastor at his church was much funnier and overall a better comedian.

In this short audio clip Professor Michael Horton gives a brief history of how we came to these days of much church entertainment.

Simply click on this LINK.

Rightly handling the Bible

Over the years I have had the privilege of writing and evangelical blogs. There are many solid, orthodox and God-honoring blog writers, and I came across one today from a guy named Puritan Lad. After reading and because of our class, subject, and the focus of our study I decided to copy and post. Hope you enjoy!

"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15)

What sort of book is the Bible? The answer to that question has great ramifications in how it is preached. Too often, the Bible is misused even by those who believe it's truths, but miss the ultimate story.

First, there are the therapeutics, who treat the Bible as a therapy manual. They are convinced that, whatever problem they may face, there is a specific answer to that problem if they can just find the right passage. If you are lonely, hurt, or depressed, the correct verse will fix your problem and help you "fulfill your purpose".

There are the enchanters, who use the Bible as a magic spell to encounter whatever issues they face. Just observe the popularity that surrounded the mysticism of the "Jabez Prayer" chants and the "Meal that Heals" potions from a few years ago.

Then there are the pragmatics. For these, the Bible is a how-to manual. They believe that. if you want to make more money, become more healthy, find the right diet, improve your relationships, or have better sex, there is a specific Scripture passage for each of these areas. (Note for modern evangelicals: The Bible does NOT teach us "how to have great sex").

Along these same lines are the legalists and the moralists, who hold that the Bible teaches us ways to please God by our works. Just "do good", and if you struggle, it is the job of the church to help you do better, usually resorting to pop-psychology and behavioral modification techniques.

However, while there are certainly practical teachings and wisdom that we can (and should) apply to our lives, the Bible is not a magic book, a therapy manual, a how-to instuction guide, or a book on ethics. The Bible, from beginning to end, is a story of redemption. It is how a Just and Holy God took His wrath, which was deserved to be poured out upon wicked and abominable men clothed in sin and deformity, and instead poured it upon His only Son. It is about God's love, not man's importance; God's grace, not man's worthiness. The Bible's main character is Christ, not the idols of "Me" and "purpose".

Let us not only live as those who believe the Word, but as workers who have "no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15).

Coming Home

Nancy and I plan to be back, Lord willing, this Sunday. First of all I want to thank Andy Collins, Pastor Russ Rosser, Rodney Young and Jeff Gaskins for their excellent teaching while I have been away. This has been a time of study, planning and getting organized for the 2009 and 2010 year. My burden and ministry call it seems from day one has been to exhort people back into the word of God so the word of God can get back into them. In Southeast Charlotte the biggest ministry dilemma I have faced over the past 11 years has been an overall apathy and ignorance regarding God's word. Jesus says in John 8:32 "and you will know the truth (learn), and the truth will make you free (live). In that one verse you can see the very title of our class "learning and living the God-centered life." Because what is the ultimate truth if not Jesus Christ and how has God ordained that we might know Him through His word. Allow me to point you to John 1:14 - And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. We as Christians see the glory of God as the Holy Spirit reveals to us the Lord Jesus through the word. Therefore our class is Bible centered or God-centered so that ultimately as we behold the glory of God in the face of Christ, we will behave in a like manner.

When we return, the challenge that I am going to present before our community is going to be "FINALLY THIS YEAR." And my goal is to encourage each of you, to fill in the blank as it relates to your life and the glory of God. This challenge is primarily directed toward the goal of our class, which is to learn and live out God-centered lives. So in this email may I ask each of you to be praying consistently about your personal reading, devotion and study of God's word.

This is NOT the year for you to put it on a "to-do" list, and pull yourself up by the boot straps, and get it done yourself! No, No, No, but rather this is a year for humble submission before the Father as a living sacrifice, and ask if He would be pleased to extend a measure of faith, so that you might have a passionate desire for His word. This is a year of diligent seeking, again through prayer, that by grace the Spirit would reveal, teach and disclose your known and tolerated sin and that you would hate it! May you hate it and see how utterly sinful it is so that you will REPENT and BELIEVE! And may this be the year that God reveal to in its full intensity the grace of the cross, in which Jesus Christ absorbed the wrath of God for you. All your sin - past, present and future was placed on Him and now your sins have been paid for in FULL and in the courtroom of heaven God has declared you for an eternity to be "NOT GUILTY." Hear these words from Romans 8:1 "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." And in this amazing grace Christ has reckoned, credited or the Bible says imputed to your account His righteousness so that you today are as righteous as Christ Himself! "FINALLY THIS YEAR" would you preach the gospel to yourself multiple times a day since the Scripture teaches us that in the gospel resides the "POWER OF GOD" for each person who continues believing. (Romans 1:16)

Our study in the doctrine of God will get back in full swing in the month of August. The curriculum for this class in what remains to be taught and studied is as follows:

Being Saved...

In my morning devotion I meditated on Luke 9:23 And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.
Awhile later I picked up this audio clip by Dr. John MacArthur who taught on this very passage.

This audio clip begins with Dr. MacArthur reading a quote from Dr. Robert Schuller “once a person believes he is an unworthy sinner, it is doubtful if he can honestly receive the saving grace God offers in Christ.”

So the question that is important to ask is what does the gospel look like in the life of a Christian. I think Luke 9:23 is clear especially when we see the word “follow” from Jesus in the present tense and imperative, which is the mood of command.

Here is a short segment of the audio from Dr. MacArthur that I think will help give us a good picture as to what it means when it comes to genuine salvation.

Click here to play

Overview and Outline

Sometimes it is helpful to study like a helicopter flies over a city. You need to be able to get a good overview before you land and start walking through the streets and the neighborhoods. In this blog article I want to give you several snapshots. These snapshots will relate to our teaching on the relationship between Jesus and His Father. I

If you remember based on previous notes that we are going to be looking at 4 essential truths.

Truth #1 - The Father is supreme among Persons of the Godhead. In order to see the outline for this teaching simply click on this LINK.

Truth #2 - Jesus is under the headship or authority of the Father. Click on this LINK.

Truth #3
- The love relationship between the Father and the Son. Click on this LINK.

Truth #4
- The Father’s purpose that all things be summed up in the Son. Click on this LINK.

I scream, you scream...

And to complete the phrase “we all scream for ice cream.” Well, that is exactly what happened on Sunday night with our Learning and Living community. Thanks to Christa Moose once again for her wonderful organizational skills and to the Staff’s who graciously open their home for an ice cream social.

Christa sent some photos of the group, so when you get a chance click on this LINK and check them out!
You will need Quicktime in order to download slideshow movie. If you don’t have Quicktime then go to this LINK. But if you don’t have Quicktime and don’t feel comfortable with downloading and installing, then no problem simply go to this LINK.

Jesus and the Spirit-Application

This is the last part of the teaching on Jesus and the Spirit in regard to the Trinity. Here we focus on the application.

Devotion time in Job Chapter 42

This morning I was having part of my devotion time in Job Chapter 42. Now after 41 chapters of his pain and suffering, the chiding of his own wife, the bad theology given to him by his friends, Job comes to this conclusion. Check out and let it hit you with its full intensity this revelation that Job speaks to God, "I know that You can do all things and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted."

Just take a minute to think about that statement, again in the context of Job's life that we see here in the book of Job.
1. All his wealth has been taken away
2. All his children have been killed
3. His health has been destroyed to the point that Job wants to die
4. His friends have counseled him with bad theology

Job replies in the following way: Behold I am insignificant; what can I reply to You? I lay my hand on my mouth.
And then we read - "Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, things to wonderful for me to know..." Therefore I retract and repent in dust and ashes."

Now Job sees with spiritual eyes that this God of the universe is sovereign over all things. And He can do whatever He pleases in the counsel of His will. No man has the right to ask God to give an account of anything but it is God who will ask every man to give an account of their life.

Application for me this morning:
Submit, yield and humble myself under the sovereign hand of my God who is just, righteous, wise and merciful and can do whatever He wants and nothing on heaven or earth can stop it. There are things in my life, the church and the world that I simply can't grasp nor understand. It is not for me to fuss with God, complain or challenge, but rather to shut my mouth and repent. He is God and I am to know that the beginning of all wisdom is a fear of the LORD.

humbled by His grace,

Clarifying the Bible

Mitch Maher (Lead Pastor at Fellowship Bible Church in Jonesboro, AR) has a new website featuring an important resource I would warmly recommend. Here's the description:

You have probably been told at some point in your life, “You just need to read the Bible,” or “You just need to study the Scriptures.” But, if you are like most people, nobody has ever taken you by the hand and said, “Before you jump into the Bible, let me introduce you to it first. Let me walk you through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, show you the lay of the land, and give you a bit of confidence as you read and study for yourself.” That is just what Clarifying The Bible does.

Born from the passion of those who heard this material taught in Memphis, TN, Clarifying The Bible is a helpful workbook and one hour forty-five minute DVD presentation that promises to open your eyes to the Scriptures as never before.

If you would like to feel more comfortable as you dive into the greatest Book ever written, then Clarifying The Bible is for you!
The teaching material is clear and helpful; I hope many churches and small groups go through this. It should prove to be a helpful tool to help everyday folks "put the pieces together."

In this short segment I have included part of the video in which Mitch gives an overview from Matthew to John.
Again this is an excellent series for those who want to get a good basic overview of the Bible.

To see a short excerpt from this video series check out the teaching on Matthew-John - LINK.

And also Mitch’s brief summary of Acts - LINK

Jesus and the Spirit (part 2 and 3)

In August we will come back to finish up on the teaching of the Trinity. We will be looking at the relationship between Jesus and God the Father along with Jesus and the Spirit. These notes represent the second and third part of the teaching in regard to Jesus and the Spirit.

Sin and the glory of God

In phrase 3 of our Bible doctrine curriculum we will cover the doctrine of man which will focus on his sinfulness. As we have already seen in our study of the Trinity our church fathers took a very strong stand on these critical doctrines. The same is true when it comes to what the Bible says about sin. Often times we hear a word so often that it tends to become common place. I think we as Christians need to have a good definition of sin that can constantly be recalled in our minds.

In this short audio clip Dr. John Piper gives an excellent definition as it relates to the glory of God. Simply click on this LINK.

Jesus and the Spirit

One of the benefits of being away for a few weeks is not only do I finally catch up but even a little ahead of the game so to speak. Here is the teaching regarding the Trinity and specifically the relationship between Jesus and the Spirit. This will come after we cover the relationship between Jesus and the Father. Hopefully we will get to this in the last week of August. But I am posting this now so that you can preview the Scriptures and what is coming regarding this subject. Again the teaching schedule will be as follows:
July 12 - Rodney Young
July 19 - Jeff Gaskins
July 26 - Bert Brimberry - part 3 of “Back to the Bible”
Month of August - Bert Brimberry - The Trinity
Review of the Trinity
Jesus and the Father
Jesus and the Spirit

Below is the first section of teaching on Jesus and the Spirit. This theme involves how the Lord Jesus lived His life on planet earth in the power of the Spirit.
Again my thanks to Dr. Bruce Ware in his book and lectures on this subject.

Quote for the day

A. W. Tozer once wrote, ‘We of the nervous West are victims of the philosophy of activism… if we are not making plans or working to carry out plans already made we feel that we are failures, that we are sterile, unfruitful, eunuchs, parasites on the body of society. The gospel of work has crowded out the gospel of Christ in many Christian churches... (but) the centre of attraction in a true church is the Lord Jesus Christ.’

Question for us to think about in the American church:
Is it possible to be more devoted to the work of God than to the God for whom we are

Review of July 5

We are taking a short break from our teaching in the Trinity in lieu of a short 3 week series on “Back to the Bible.” Since summer time is very transitional as people continue to travel I have opted to continue our “Doctrine of God” in August when most will be back. I encourage all in our community to review these notes on “Back to the Bible” as you progress through the summer months.

The teaching audio is located at Sermon.net and it titled and dated July 5, 2009. Keep in mind that you can download and also burn any of these teaching classes to a CD. Also I am including the notes on this audio site for your convenience. When we make the switchover to new website then all notes will be located on the Sermon.net site along with all the audio teaching. This will make it very easy for you to review either the audio or notes or both as time allows.