Learning and Living the God-centered life

One Biblical Doctrine at a time…

Review of May 31

So much to cover but so little time! Wow, it seems like we only got started this morning in the Trinity and church history and class was over.

Hey, no worries, by the grace of God, we will review quickly next week and make it through the rest of the Trinity and church history. Again, I am not so concerned with us going through the material but rather the material going through us. This subject is very important and we need to be well informed in the areas of our church history. The doctrine of the Trinity is one of those essentials. Therefore the history of how we got this doctrine, who were some of the heroes and how does it apply to our Christian living is all very relevant for us today. I need to apologize for trying to cover to much too quickly and I did a poor job of managing the time today. So in honor of that confession I am giving my self the weekly “FIRE HOSE” award. Normally my good friend Steve Brown pulls me aside when the teaching gets too fast and furious.

Below are all the notes that I would ask you to review prior to next weeks class. Also remember that the audio for today’s class can be listened to directly or downloaded at SERMON.NET. It will be the first entry that appears and the title is “The Trinity in church history.”

Heroes of the faith

This morning in SS class our discussion will be on the Trinity in church history. One of the heroes of the faith is a man named “Athanasius.” Here is a paper that I wrote which will give those of you especially interested in church history, a good overview of this man’s life and contribution to the church.

Ridgecrest Retreat 2009

This is a complete summary of the teaching and notes from our Ridgecrest Retreat on May 1-3, 2009. Carmel Church has graciously agreed to provide audio CD’s from each of the teaching sessions. I will make these available hopefully with the next couple of weeks.

Friday night: May 1
Hold fast to your faith_Part 1 (audio)

Hold fast to your faith_Part 2 (audio)

Saturday night: May 2
The Sovereignty of God_Part 1 (audio)

The Sovereignty of God_Part 2 (audio)

Sunday morning: May 3
The Doctrine of Sin (audio)

The Doctrine of Justification (audio)

Audio Clip of the Week

The Christian Life is War!

The Trinity in church history

Again, my thanks to Dr. Bruce Ware for his writing and lecturing in regard to the Trinity. As we move into the relationships between the persons of the Trinity I will be borrowing liberally from Dr. Wares book “Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

Overview of the Trinity in church history

Short definition for the Trinity:
God eternally exists as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and each person is
fully God, and there is one God.

We begin with the early Christian conviction that there is only one God.
A scriptural monotheism.

An Old Testament Israel and in the New Testament church we have in Judaism and early Christianity a wholehearted commitment to believe that there is only one and only one God.

Why is that so remarkable, because that sounds right to us?

The reason is true for ancient Israel and today for early Christians because they were surrounded by polytheistic cultures.

Everyone around them believed in a multitude of deities

Think of the apostle Paul when he entered Athens, the Greco-Roman world in acts 17 “beholding a city full of idols”
Cultures that are deeply polytheistic
And we have is the faith of Israel and the early Christians affirming there is one God. This was in the face of enormous opposition.

Point #1
So is it clear that the Old Testament teaches one God?
Answer - Absolutely!

Genesis 1:1 - “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth
Is this a monotheistic text?
Answer - it sure is, if we understand what Moses the writer is doing, his main purpose is to establish their uniqueness, the oneness of the one true and living God of Israel.
In contrast to the polytheistic views of the nations that surround Israel.

And these religions they held the different gods help territorial jurisdictions over different portions of the created order. And therefore they had lordship over various parts of creation.

And in contrast to that Moses writes Genesis 1:1 and explains that there is one God who made all of it which means that he alone has rights of rulership, over every one and everything.

In Biblical theology there is a close connection between creation and lordship.

Think of Acts 17:24
God who made the world and all things in it, since he is Lord of heaven and earth

Do you hear the connection between Creator and Lord?

And this is exactly what Moses is saying from verse one of the Bible:
There is one God who made it all
This God rules over all he made
God rules over the nations like Assyrians, Babylonians, Philistines and Egyptians - why, because He created and has the right
Deuteronomy 4:35 (READ THIS SCRIPTURE)
Deuteronomy 6:4 - (READ THIS SCRIPTURE) the famous “shama” text of Israel
There is one God and He is our God (meditate on this fact!)

And friends by his grace he has brought us to worship him, the one true living God. What mercy has been extended to us who are of the faith of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus.

1 King 8:59-60 (READ THIS SCRIPTURE)
This comes at the end of the address that Solomon gives regarding building the temple

Yes in the age of pluralism in which we live now, these words are enormously relevant whether others out there acknowledged this or not, there is one God and He reigns over all people and they must bow the knee to him or they perish.

May we see the truth of His word, and how contemporary these verses are for us today.

“I am the LORD and there is no other”
This is about Cyrus who was born over 200 years before this was written

The Old Testament concludes there is one true God

But now when we moved to the New Testament, in which we clearly can see God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit, it would have been easy to affirm three instead of one true God the calls of the polytheistic cultures

But no the New Testament is insistent that there is one true God
  • John 17:3
  • 1 Corinthians 8:6
  • 1 Timothy 2:5
  • Romans 3:30
  • James 2:19

Wayne Grudem on the Trinity

This is from Dr. Grudem’s book on Systematic Theology. Take your time to review the outline. But I have included these notes so you can see the amount of Scripture references that we have in studying the Trinity.

Chapter 14: God in Three Persons: The Trinity

How can God be three persons, yet one God?
Explanation and Scriptural Basis (226)

God eternally exists as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and each person is
fully God, and there is one God.

A) The doctrine of the Trinity is progressively revealed in Scripture. (226-231)
1) Partial Revelation in the Old Testament
a) Although the doctrine of the Trinity is not explicitly found in the OT, several
passages suggest or even imply that God exists as more than one person. (Gen. 1:26,
3:22; Isa. 6:8; Ps. 45:6-7; Heb. 1:8; Ps. 110:1; Matt. 22:41-46; Isa. 63:10; Mal. 3:1-2;
Hosea 1:7; Isa. 48:16; Prov. 8:22-31)

2) More Complete Revelation of the Trinity in the NT(Matt. 3:16-17; 28:19; 1 Cor. 12:4-6;
2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 4:4-6; Jude 20-21)

B) Three statements summarize the biblical teaching. (231-241)
1) God is three persons.
a) The fact that God is three persons means that each person of the Trinity is distinct
from the other two persons. (John 1:1-2, 17:24; 1 John 2:1; Heb. 7:25; John 14:26;
Rom. 8:27; Matt. 28:19; John 16:7; 1 Cor. 12:4-6)
i) The Holy Spirit is a distinct person not just the power of God. (Eph. 4:4-6; John
14:26, 15:26; Rom. 8:26-27; 1 Cor. 2:10; Acts 16:6-7; Acts 8:29; Eph. 4:30)
(a) Passages that would not make sense if the Holy Spirit is just the “power of
God.” (Luke 4:14; Acts 10:38)
(b) What about 2 Cor. 3:17?

2) Each person is fully God.
a) God the Father is clearly God.
b) The Son is fully God. (John 1:1-4, 20:28, 30-31; Titus 2:13; Rom. 9:5; Isa. 9:6; Col.
c) The Holy Spirit is also fully God. (Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 12:4-6; 2 Cor. 13:14; Acts 5:3-
4; 1Cor. 3:16)

3) There is one God. (Deut. 6:4-5; 1 Kings 8:60; Isa. 45:5-6, 21-22; 1 Tim. 2:5, Rom. 3:30;
1 Cor. 8:6; James 2:19)

4) Simplistic solutions must all deny one strand of biblical teaching.

5) All analogies have shortcomings. Ultimately no analogy adequately teaches about the
Trinity, and all are misleading in significant ways.

6) God eternally and necessarily exists as the Trinity. (John 1:3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2; Gen.
1:2; John 17:5, 24)

Streamlined and Organized

As we move forward I continue to learn the finer points of website development. This has been a huge learning curve for me, as I attempt to place training aids from notes to audio to video in the area of Bible doctrine. My goal is simple: To spread a passion for Christ in such a way that His word becomes the food and daily nourishment for learning and living the God-centered life. A life in which we are transformed by the power of the Spirit by seeing the face of God in the Lord Jesus Christ!

In the past week I have come across a great website called SERMON.NET that is still in the developmental stages. But even so I have decided to use this as the primary place for all of our class teaching audio files. So far I have been able to upload all the classes in which we have audio for the 2009 year. And these audio files are now available for you to listen, download, or embed any that you like on social network sites like Twitter, Facebook and etc.
You can even sign up for these as podcast and they will directly import to itunes.

Over the 10 months of our class a number of people have said to me that when they tried to listen to a teaching session but the audio play did not work. This is not unusual because the audio player that I use is developed with my Mac. Therefore sometimes other browsers will simply not work or respond. However in using this new website the problem should be solved. You can search for messages by topic or date and provides a very easy way to get around and find exactly what you want. Also each of the notes for all the classed can be found at SLIDESHARE.NET. Therefore you have both written notes and audio and depending on learning style can be tailored to fit your needs.

For those of you who are regular visitors of this site I would appreciate your feedback. Therefore if you would go to this WEBSITE and try to listen to several different messages.
Obviously you can just listen to the first few seconds to hear if this works properly with your computer. Anyway, if you would leave some comments to let me know how it does, this will be extremely helpful to me.

Also know that I am taking on a redesign of the entire website with a new look and easier tabs to get along with extended information for study tools. This means that I will need some time away in order to do the work necessary for this kind of task. I would covet your prayers as I start on this particular project.

Below is a short training video for those who want to learn more about the options available on the SERMON.NET website.

Click on the word Vimeo in the bottom right hand part of the screen and will take you directly to site where you can view in full screen.

Review of May 24

This includes the notes from today’s class in which we covered three aspects of the Trinity in Ephesians 1:1-14:

Also in these power point slides are the notes regarding the Trinity and church history which we should cover next week.

Hopefully I will post the audio for today’s class sometime this evening.

Evangelical Malpractice

I spent the majority of my years in the business world in sales and sales consulting. My boss used to say regarding salespeople “a prognosis without a proper diagnosis is malpractice.”

As you read this article written by William MacDonald, one can see that many times as evangelicals we have been guilty of spiritual malpractice.

There is a curious problem today in the evangelical [and fundamental] world — one that poses sobering questions for the church and for the individual believer. The problem in brief is this: a great army of personal soul-winners has been mobilized to reach the populace for Christ. They are earnest, zealous, enthusiastic, and persuasive. To their credit it must be said that they are on the job. And it is one of the phenomena of our times that they rack up an astounding number of conversions. Everything so far seems to be on the plus side.

But the problem is this: The conversions do not stick. The fruit does not remain. Six months later there is nothing to be seen for all the aggressive evangelism. The capsule technique of soul winning has produced stillbirths.

What lies at the back of all this malpractice in bringing souls to the birth? Strangely enough it begins with the valid determination to preach the pure gospel of the grace of God. We want to keep the message simple — uncluttered by any suggestion that man can ever earn or deserve eternal life. Justification is by faith alone, apart from the deeds of the law. Therefore, the message is “only believe.”

From there the message is reduced to a concise formula. For instance, the evangelistic process is cut down to a few basic questions and answers, as follows:

“Do you believe you are a sinner?”
“Do you believe Christ died for sinners?”
“Will you receive Him as your Savior?”
“Then you are saved!”
“I am?”
“Yes, the Bible says you are saved.”

At first blush the method and the message might seem above criticism. But on closer study we are forced to have second thoughts and to conclude that the gospel has been over-simplified. Read More...

The Trinity in Ephesians 1:1-14

First of all I want to thank my good friend and theologian Dr. Bruce Ware for his relentless and untiring work regarding the doctrine of the Trinity. In tomorrow’s class I will be teaching from his lecture notes (listed below) and from time to time will bring some of my own comments to bear on this subject. But I give Dr. Ware the credit for his outstanding writing and orthodox perspectives as we continue to learn and live the God-centered life in this critical area of our doctrine.

Turn to Ephesians 1:1-14 - and notice 3 things about the text

The clear delineation in the Trinity as Paul distinguishes the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
So we have to ask is this Paul just ad hoc, or is it purposeful in order to teach us

Notice the implicit ranking of the members of the Trinity, and early church Fathers used the word taxis, which indicates the ordering found in the Trinity

Also notice the centrality of the Son when it comes to salvation. The Father has chosen to make the Son the center piece of His cosmic work in salvation and accomplishing it to His glory.

Ephesians 1:1-2 (READ THE TEXT)
Stop and think about what the apostle Paul is writing in these verses

Notice he writes “Paul an apostle of Christ Jesus, by the will of God, which means the Father.” Paul uses theos when talking about God the Father in Trinitarian context.
2 Corinthians 13:14
Paul’s shorthand for the The Father is when he writes God
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.

Point #1 - Isn’t there a distinction here that Paul is making between the Father and the Son. They are two different Persons of the One true and Living God. Two different expressions of the Father and Son and yet they are distinct

Paul is an apostle of Christ “by the will of God”

Point #2 - Doesn’t this also imply a ranking with the Trinity?

Paul is an apostle of Christ sent by Christ one who is sent to carry out the mission of Christ but he does this ultimately not because Christ has said so but in fact because the Father has said so.

The Father has willed that Paul be an apostle of Christ.

There is primacy that is given to the Father.

The saints are to be faithful in Christ, and Paul is an apostle of Christ, while understanding that they do so under the authority of the Father.

The Father whom we will see receives the ultimate glory in this work of salvation, done in His Son.

So in verse 1 we can see the following:
  • Distinction
  • Ranking
  • Centrality

Followers not of God or the Spirit but of Christ

Ephesians 1:2
God the Father “AND” (kai in the Greek) think of the significance of this one word in the Greek that links together God our Father AND the Lord Jesus Christ

If verse 1 shows us the distinction between the Father and Son then verse 2 shows us the identity and unity of the two.

So Grace and Peace flow from whom?
Answer- the Father and the Son.
They are both identified as givers of grace to their people.

The "CONSUMER" gospel

At our men's Bible study the other night I opened with some comments about the consumer mentality that exists in America. How easily that has invaded the church today and we have in essence a "Burger King" (have it your way) Jesus. In this sense we market the gospel to be a self help program, a gospel that can develop better leaders, fix a bad marriage, keep our children from rebelling, give better health, and even secure our 401 K plans via divine guidance and protection. So think about this for a minute, if Jesus can do all of that, plus I don't have to go to hell where I suffer for an eternity, and my sins can be forgiven so I don't go to bed with a guilty conscience, and you can convince me that God does have a wonderful plan for my life, then sure I will take Jesus - do you have more than one?

We have created in our consumerism a gospel of felt needs and we sell Jesus as the One who can fill the need. The Christian life becomes in essence an off shoot of going to the local Jiffy Lube where they roll out the red carpet and give you service in 15 minutes and you are on your way. I go into Christian book stores and see devotion books that are labeled a "5 minute time with God daily." And in my mind I am thinking "love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul and strength." Folks there are 1,440 minutes in every day which means 1% of our day would be 14 minutes with God in the morning or evening for prayer and Bible. And yet for the American consumer who has little time for Christ other than Sunday, holidays and emergencies, we market a 5 minute devotion book. This is the day of "fast food" religious activity but it is not the gospel spoken of in the Bible. Something is wrong, desperately wrong and every fiber of my being wants to cry out REPENT AND BELIEVE!

I am drawn to the language in the Bible that the Lord Jesus Himself spoke when it comes to being a "genuine" Christian. Look closely at these words and compare them to the consumeristic gospel that exists for us so that we can have our "BEST LIFE NOW!"

Mark 8:34 And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. The context of these words are when Jesus first tells His disciples in plain language that He must go to cross and die and then 3 days later be raised from the dead.

The Christian life is about:
1. Denying self - in the day and time in which we live this is something I rarely hear talked about or preached. This is about us denying everything in our lives that could be a distraction from the real treasure and prize which is Christ Himself. As C.S. Lewis once stated "we have been so happy for years playing with mud pies in the streets and we have no idea what it would be like to enjoy a day on the shores of the Mediterranean.
Do you see how this statement of "deny yourself" plays out in a day of consumerism? Tell the people in church, it is not about what you can get from Jesus but what you are willing to give up in order to follow Jesus. Let me ask you a question - what are the things in your life right now that take your time and attention away from Christ? Is there something or are there things that you value here on planet earth that you value more than Him? Read More...

Truth Wars

This is our “AUDIO CLIP OF THE WEEK.” In this brief audio segment Dr. John MacArthur gives an excellent examination of Joel Osteen’s book and philosophy about this being “YOUR BEST LIFE NOW.”

Truth Wars-Is this your best life now?


Why "Bible doctrine" is so critical!

This comes from free online outline by Curt Daniel looks like a really helpful site as it relates to the Basics in Christian Doctrine.

Doctrine” Means Teaching

In the Greek New Testament, there are 2 words for doctrine: DIDACHE and DIDASKALIA. Both mean teaching, instruction, education, and explanation. Pro. 4:1-2 equates doctrine with “instruction and understanding”. A doctrine is a statement about a specific truth. It is a statement, not a command or a question. “Doctrinal” means “having to do with doctrine”. Jesus taught doctrine (Matt. 7:28, 22:33; Mk. 1:22, 4:2, 11:18, 12:38; Luke 4:32, etc.). One of the main characteristics of early New Testament Christians was that they followed “the Apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:42).

Doctrine Must Be True and Sound

God says, “I give you good doctrine” (Pro. 4:2). Acts 13:12 calls it “the doctrine of the Lord.” True doctrine must come from God, not from mere men. Even the Lord Jesus said, “My doctrine if not Mine, but His who sent Me” (John 7:16). Paul placed a very high value on doctrine which is true and must be sound (I Tim. 1:3, 10, 4:6, 13, 16, 5:17, 6:1, 3; 2 Tim. 1:3, 3:10, 16, 4:2-3; Titus 1:9, 2:1, 7, 10). 2 John 9-10 says that we are to ignore any so-called Christian who believes or teaches anything other than “the doctrine of Christ” (the doctrine from and about Christ).

Sound Doctrine is an Anchor Against the Danger of False Doctrine

You can’t fight something with nothing. We need true doctrine to fight and be defended against false doctrine. False doctrine is not only useless; it is dangerous. Eph. 4:14 warns us against the winds if false doctrine. Heb. 13:9, “Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines.” Jesus warned of “the doctrine of Balaam” and “the doctrine of the Nicolaitans” (Rev. 2:14-14. Cf. vs. 24), “the doctrines of men” (Matt. 15:9; Mk. 7:7; Col. 2:22) and “the doctrines of demons” (I Tim. 4:1). Truth sets us free (John 8:32). God urges us to note those who cause divisions contrary to “the doctrine which you learned” (Rom. 16:17).

There is No Substitute for the Good Knowledge of Bible Doctrine

God desires to feed us to His Word, and we become spiritually malnourished when we do not graze in the pastures of His Word. We become imbalanced, anemic, confused, easily led astray, prone to doubt and backsliding. Some Christians do not recognize the hunger pangs they are suffering because they are not studying the Bible. Doctrine alone does not produce spiritual maturity, but there is no maturity without it. It is erroneous to say “I just want Christ, not doctrine.” Christology is the doctrine of Christ. Nor is it true that “Doctrine divides”. False doctrine divides; truth unites. Read More...

Being the Christian...

Last night was the third of four session in the men’s Bible study of “Being the Christian you say you’ve become.” We have been looking closely at Romans Chapter 6 and in the last 3 weeks Romans 6:15-23.

Here is a brief overview of SEVEN general observations we discussed last night to get a better handle on this section of Scripture:

#1 - The word for slave in the Greek (doulos)
This word doulos occurs 10 times in Romans and 9 times in Romans 6:15-23

#2 - The use of indicative verbs in Romans 6:16, 17, 18 and 19

Romans 6:16 Romans 6:17 Romans 6:18 Romans 6:19

And now in the last half of Romans 6:19 the apostle Paul switches from an indicative verb to an IMPERATIVE verb (verb of command)
“so now PRESENT your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification”

Men's Bible Study

Tomorrow night in our men’s Bible study we will continue to understand “how to be the Christian that we say we have become.” And specifically our study will cover Romans 6:15-23. In the book of Romans the word “slave” or “doulos” in the Greek appears 10 times. In 9 of those 10 times it occurs in Romans 6:15-23. Therefore we will spend some time tomorrow night unpacking and comprehending the word for slave in Romans 6.

Below is a video in which Dr. John MacArthur gives an excellent teaching on what it means for one to be a slave of Christ.

Now Available!

Back to the Basics

As I come across sound articles of Bible doctrine and I will continue to share on this blog site. Michael Patton over at the Parchment and Pen is a theologian who teaches Bible hermeneutics. Hermeneutics means a system by which we come to study the Scriptures. If you want to read his full article then click on this LINK. Here is what really caught my attention that I want to share especially with our community.

Today, I believe that we (evangelicals included) are dangerously close to Gnosticism with regards to our Bible study. We have lost the spirit of Reformation hermeneutics, especially in the pews. We sit around in Bible study circles and ask “What does this passage mean to you?” We applaud as someone gives their answer and then move on to the next and ask the same question. “What does it mean to you Billy?… And what does it mean to you Sal?… What does it mean to you Kevin?” We affirm each person’s response even if it means something different to each person. Can the text have different meanings? Only if you are practicing a Gnostic hermeneutic where the Bible becomes a magic book with a secret spiritual meaning that transcends the literal.

While the Bible can have different and subjective applications, it cannot have different and subjective meanings. It means what it meant. Nothing more, nothing less. There is no person, group, denomination, tradition, or magisterial authority who has a magic decoder ring. There is no secret hidden meaning. The only meaning that we can discover is what the original author meant.

While this does produce fear of the Scriptures, I believe that this is a healthy fear. After all, the Bible is God’s word, isn’t it? We can’t take it lightly.

The absolutes of Scripture

I am continuing in my study of Romans 6:15-23 for our men's group on Tuesday night. This morning I noticed once again how the Scripture deals with and in absolutes. Did you know that our cultural platform in America is one of tolerance? However isn't it ironic that orthodox evangelicals seem to be the group that no one will tolerate. And the reason is because we stand on the absolutes of God's word and we will not tolerate a deviance from this truth. In learning these doctrines and living out these truths you and I are always going to be branded as intolerant.

Back to my study time this morning in Rom. 6:16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? When I read this verse my mind immediately went back to our study of Matthew 7 and the following verse.
Matt. 7:13 ¶ “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.
Matt. 7:14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Do you see the clear absolutes in both of these verses? In Matthew the Lord Jesus says there are only 2 gates, one is a broad gate that leads to a broad way that concludes with destruction. And the other gate is narrow and lead to a narrow way that concludes with life. Leadership team the question is which road are we on?
Then Paul writing through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit captures the absolute of being a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness. He writes that if you are a slave to sin that will conclude in death but if you are a slave to righteousness that will conclude in life.

Now just make a comparison between the two verses:
There is one ABSOLUTE way of life that leads to death
There is another ABSOLUTE way that leads to life

No one can be kinda or sorta on both roads at the same time. A person is on one road or the other road. They are a slave to one thing or slaves to the other. There may be more than one way for you to get home from Carmel Church but you can only travel one road at a time to get you home. And the Bible is teaching us that we must embrace and live by these biblical absolutes.

This is really a wonderful litmus test for those in your sphere of influence as to their Christian lives. When you have the right time take them to Matthew 7:13-27 and ask, by the way "which road are you on?" You can also go to Romans 6:16 and ask, "are you a slave to sin or are you a slave to righteousness?"

Allow me to ask you
Which road are you on?
What are you a slave to?

The answer to these questions is a matter of life or death!


Review of May 17

Today was our part 2 teaching on the doctrine of REDEMPTION. OK, let me give a quick review on where I hope you are on what we have been studying.

Are you able to define these words in easy to use and understandable language?
Can you give a clear illustration that would help someone understand the term?
Would you be able to support the definition and illustration with Scripture?

Again, this isn’t Bible jeopardy and it’s not who knows the most Bible wins the prize. This is about knowing, loving and serving Christ in such a way that He is demonstrated as great!
We started this morning in Romans 3:24-25. I reiterated that Romans 3:21-26 is probably the most important paragraph in the Bible. Do you see the four words mentioned above in this section of Romans? Even though the word ATONEMENT is not used it is implied by the death of Christ on the cross as payment for our sins.

Below are the notes from class today and we didn’t cover everything that I had planned. There are approximately 58 Bible verses in these study notes. I hope this will encourage you in study time, to use the cross references located in the margins, in order to better understand these doctrines in the Bible.

As we move to the summer people will be on vacation therefore may I encourage you not to coast, relax or move into a luke warm season. The apostle Paul uses metaphors that include an athlete, farmer, solider, and builder. Why? Because this is not easy, the Christian life is about running, planting, war and building. Does any of that sound like it could mean we are to continue laboring and striving in Christ? So my point is don’t let up, take what we have learned over the past 10 months and continue to TRUST and OBEY. I know many of you are so, so busy but please I appeal to you keep the main thing the main thing. Don’t move away from God’s word and as you are learning and living the God-centered life.


Audio for today’s lesson included in Slidecast

Sent and Went

Yesterday a number of us had the privilege and blessing of praying with Nancy Brown and her son Ben as they leave for Russia. This is so encouraging to see how God works in the lives of His people in order that His name be known and glorified! As I watch Nancy and Ben go I am reminded of three specific illustrations starting in Acts 8, then Acts 9 and finally Acts 10.
In Acts 8 you have Philip who was a big city evangelist and then God called him to take a donkey ride in the desert. Do you suppose Philip said “hey Lord, don’t you see how many people I am preaching to and the large crowds?” No, in Acts 8:27 we read that this big city evangelist got sent and he went!

Travel over to Acts 9 and meet Ananias who the Lord sent to lay hands on the great persecutor of the church a man named Saul. But we read in Acts 9:17 that Ananias was sent and he went.

And finally check out the story of Cornelius in Acts Chapter 10. Well the Lord brought three men to the house of Peter to tell him of a mission journey. It was to the home of this man Cornelius and we read in Acts 10:23 that Peter was sent and he went.

Isn’t that a wonderful look at what it means to be a faithful follower of the Lord Jesus Christ? Whenever, whatever and to whomever He says to go, it is a story of sent and went. Therefore I am rejoicing with my sister Nancy and brother Ben as they are part of the sent and went story that is being recorded in the heavenly records. And there is a good chance that this side of heaven they will never know the seeds planted and the fruit that is borne from this trip. However they go not for themselves but out of obedience. That reminds me of a song, tell me have you heard it? Trust and Obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey!

Nancy and Ben; “the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the “Lord lift up His countenance on you and give you peace.”

It's Greek to me!

Here is a short video on the indicative mood versus the imperative mood as it relates to a Greek verbs. Hey before you get intimidated and think this is too complicated, just take a few minutes to watch. This is a short breakdown as it relates to Romans 6:17-19. I think you will understand from this why we need to learn our Bible, in order to correctly do what the Bible teaches. And that is why we are called the “learning and living the God-centered life” community.
Are you having fun yet?

Being the Christian...

For the additional notes and audio of our teaching session on Tuesday, May 12 just click on this LINK.

The name of our men’s Bible study for May is “Being the Christian that you say you have become.” This is our attempt to launch the men in our class into the summer by studying Romans Chapter 6.

Basically Romans 6 can be broken down into two main sections:
  1. Romans 6:1-14 Dead to sin and alive to Christ
  2. Romans 6:15-23 Slaves to sin or slaves to righteousness

Last week we reviewed in depth Romans 6:1-14 and tonight the plan is to take on the second half of Romans 6. You can see from the outline above that one of the key words in understanding Romans 6:15-23 is the word slave. This word is doulos in the Greek and the word occurs 10 times in Romans and 9 times in verses 6:16-23. Therefore tonight we are going to take a close look at this word in order to better appreciate why Paul uses it so much in this context.

Here are some of the preliminary notes that I am planning to cover at Pat’s home tonight.

OK, let's look at the word bond-servant in some detail. The word itself is doulos in the Greek. In the 13 epistles of the apostle Paul he uses this word a total of 38 times. Here is what it means:
One who give himself or herself up another's will, those whose service is used by Christ to advance His kingdom or one devoted to another to the disregard of their own interest.
Some other words that you see associated with bond-servant are:
  • ownership
  • possession
  • allegiance
  • subjection
  • dependence

Review of May 10

Bible Doctrine...don't leave home without it!

From time to time I come across blog articles that I know must be posted to our site. The following is such an article from CamponThis which is called “weekly dose of the gospel.” I appeal to each member of our community to read this carefully as an excellent review of what we have been covering the last 6 weeks.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. -Romans 5:1-2


"therefore having been justified by faith"

Justification is the heart and soul of the gospel. It is the Atlas, as Packer says, which bears on its shoulders the weight of all other Christian doctrines. To be justified means to be declared righteous by God. That the judge of the entire universe declares a man or a woman has right standing before Him. He is no longer under the judgment of God, no longer under the wrath of God, he is now the friend of God; more that that, he is the child of God; he is the son of God. God has fully and completely accepted him as righteous. That only happens by faith and faith alone. And that’s, of course, the great reformation truth. That God declares the sinner righteous on the basis of faith and faith alone. Read More...

Indicatives and Imperatives

The Greek language is fascinating and so exact. In this brief audio Pastor Ken Jones gives a clear understanding between the INDICATIVE and IMPERATIVE moods with regard to Greek verbs. As we continue to “chase the Greek verbs” in the New Testament, these types of sound bites will add much to our study.

The INDICATIVE and the IMPERATIVE - Pastor Ken Jones

God is the good in redemption

Since our subject will be REDEMPTION this week, here is a quote to help us put the word into its proper category. Folks again we need to stay God-centered in our focus as we read, devote and study these great doctrines of the Bible.

“The redeemed have all their objective good in God. God himself is the great good which they are brought to the possession and enjoyment of by redemption. He is the highest good, and the sum of all that good which Christ has purchased. God is the inheritance of the saints; he is the portion of their souls. God is their wealth and treasure, their food, their life, their dwelling place, their ornament and diadem, and their everlasting honor and glory. They have none in heaven but God; he is the great good which the redeemed are received to at death, and which they are to rise to at the end of the world.

The Lord God, he is the light of the heavenly Jerusalem; and is the ‘the river of the water of life’ that runs, and the tree of life that grows, ‘in the midst of the paradise of God.’ The glorious excellencies and beauty of God will be what will forever entertain the minds of the saints, and the love of God will be their everlasting feast. The redeemed will indeed enjoy other things; they will enjoy the angels, and will enjoy one another: but that which they shall enjoy in the angels, or each other, or in anything else whatsoever, that will yield them delight and happiness, will be what will be seen of God in them.”

—Jonathan Edwards, “God Glorified in the Work of Redemption,” in The Sermons of Jonathan Edwards: A Reader, ed. Wilson H. Kimnach, et al (1999): 74-75

Retreat 2009_Sunday morning_parts 1&2

We concluded our time together at Ridgecrest by discussing two important doctrines that relate to the gospel. The first session was on the doctrine of sin and the second session covered the doctrine of justification. The audio is included as an option within each of the Slide Shows.

Audio clip of the week

Widely known for his thorough, candid approach to teaching God’s Word, John MacArthur is a fifth-generation pastor, a popular author and conference speaker, and has served as pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California since 1969. John and his wife, Patricia, have four grown children and fourteen grandchildren.

John’s pulpit ministry has been extended around the globe through his media ministry, Grace to You, and its satellite offices in Australia, Canada, Europe, India, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Africa. In addition to producing daily radio programs for nearly 2,000 English and Spanish radio outlets worldwide, Grace to You distributes books, software, audiotapes, and CDs by John MacArthur. In thirty-six years of ministry, Grace to You has distributed more than thirteen million CDs and audiotapes.

John is the president of The Master's College and The Master's Seminary, and he has written hundreds of books and study guides (see below), each one thoroughly biblical and practical. Best-selling titles include The Gospel According to Jesus, The Second Coming, Ashamed of the Gospel, Twelve Ordinary Men, and The MacArthur Study Bible, a 1998 ECPA Gold Medallion recipient.

John MacArthur on “What is the emerging church?”

Retreat 2009_Friday night session

We started the retreat on Friday night, with an exhortation to remain faithful and steadfast, as we hold fast to the assurance of the gospel. The audio is included with the Power Point Presentation.

Illustration for Justification

There's your picture on a baseball card. Turn it over, and whose stats, season by season, do you find there? Not yours, but Jesus'. A great career.

Thanks to Ray Ortlund


As we come to the doctrine of redemption we are talking about the back view of the cross.

When we are talking about God’s saving work we are talking about the problem with sin and how that needs to be remedied if we are going to have a happy forever.

This is a problem that outstrips our resources so this means if this problem gets solved it means that God will have to step in and do something in order to overcome that.

There are two sides to this problem:
We can understand that we are perpetrators, the Scriptures tell us that while we were enemies that Christ died for us. 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 atonement, propitiation and justification 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. In this view Jesus comes in as the substitute who makes satisfaction through His atonement for the guilt of our sin, that we might regain favor for God because He has paid the penalty and the price.

But there is another side to the cross because there is another problem with sin. We are not only perpetrators but we are also victims. This means that we are brought into this world in bondage to the forces of sin, death and the devil. We do not have the personal resources to rescue us from this bondage in order to live as God intended us to live in a fellowship relationship with Him. So the back view of the cross looks at the cross with the terms that the NT provides to show what Jesus has done to deliver us from the evil forces and powers. And in this sense His work on the cross redeems or buys us back a kind of deliverance by achieving a victory over those forces through redemptive work.

The cross might be analogous to a diamond in that there are many facets that one can look at to see the whole. And in the NT there is no one word or facet in which we can see the entire picture of the cross. Because there is no one term to describe for us the devastating effects of sin. As the sinful condition of the human being is multi-faceted we shouldn’t be surprised to notice that the saving work of Christ is also multi-faceted.

Front view of the cross
We have looked at some of the terms or categories in which Jesus deals with our guilt in order that we can regain the favor of God.

Back view of the cross
This relates to terms and concepts where the NT describes the cross as to how the forces of evil have been overcome and we have now been delivered from their power and dominion. Read More...

The Trinity

We are back from our retreat at Ridgecrest in Asheville and I am excited about continuing in our study of the Trinity. During the first 8 months of our class we focused mainly on “back to the Bible.” My encouragement was for each of us to consider a Bible reading plan, time of devotion and study in order to get us back to the word so the word can get back into us! This consisted of three main sections of teaching:
  • Preparation of the heart
  • Explanation to the head
  • Application for the feet

Now we are on a pursuit of the doctrine of God and our first stop is to look at the Trinity. Since we came to this teaching during the Easter season, I thought it might be beneficial to specifically look at the Trinity and salvation. And over the last number of weeks the subjects have been atonement, propitiation and justification which all deal the front view of the cross. This view of the cross focuses upon the significance of what Jesus accomplished in relationship to how we stand before God. We are perpetrators, or you might say fugitives from justice, who have a bad record because we have broken God’s laws.
Therefore the cross solves this first problem which is our legal standing before God in which the death of His Son causes God to look at us as not guilty. In these past weeks hopefully we have seen how atonement, propitiation and justification are critical for us to understand this front view of the cross.

This week, Lord willing, we take a look at the back view of the cross. This focuses upon the significance of what Christ accomplished in relationship to the bondage that the powers of sin, death and the devil have over us. The fact is we come into this world enslaved to sin and here the cross presents to us the important work of Christ’s death. It is His death on the cross which has redeemed and delivered us from these evil powers. Therefore the emphasis this week will be on the words redemption and ransom. As always I want to exhort you to as we study together have a working knowledge of these particular words. Also I think it will be helpful to have working illustrations that a 10 year old can understand. And finally be able to support your conclusions with Scripture. Read More...