Learning and Living the God-centered life

One Biblical Doctrine at a time…
Bible Doctrine

Coming this Sunday

On Sunday we are going to finish our look at transcendence and immanence. Then I am planning to teach two more important words that will help give categories in relation to “Doctrine of God.”
In this short video I have included FOUR WORDS that we need to have a working relationship with in our study. In addition I have given the meaning and a challenge for us as a class in regard to how we should study.


Defining the terms

This is a short audio clip of Dr. Michael Wittmer author of the book “Don’t stop believing” has with Michael Horton of the White Horse Inn radio program. We have been talking since the beginning of our class about defining the terms. Just to list some important terms we have talked about in the past would be things like, justification, sanctification, propitiation, redemption, and ransom to name a few. It seems today that we need to define properly the terms before we enter into dialogue regarding these things.

This clip is an excellent review of the terms:

It last less than 3 minutes but will start to help all of us get a good grasp on how these terms are defining the way we do church in America. Also as a teacher let me add that these terms have much to do with how we interpret the Scriptures.

To listen simply click on this LINK.

Preview for Sunday, November 22

We should conclude on Sunday this section of teaching regarding Jesus and His relationship with the Spirit. As a matter of fact this brings us to the conclusion of the teaching on the doctrine of the Trinity which of course falls under the Doctrine of God.

I hope and pray that as we have been discussing the Trinity starting in May of 2009, that you are seeing this doctrine in your Bible reading. Also on Sunday I will do a quick review of the categories to once again establish in your mind in the relationship between Jesus and God the Father and Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Here are an initial preview of the notes for the class on Sunday

THIRD MAJOR THEME - The Spirit's uniform purpose to put forward Jesus (extends the last point)

When the Spirit does His work then Jesus gets top billing,
Jesus gets displayed
Jesus gets glorified

The text though inspired by the Spirit is focused on the Son

You might think that the Author would write about Himself but in fact the Spirit writes about Jesus

Scriptural Support - Go to 2 Timothy 3:16-17
2Tim. 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
2Tim. 3:17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

How does this God breathed Scripture come about?

Go to 2 Peter 1:20-21
2Pet. 1:20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation,
2Pet. 1:21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

The whole of Scripture is God-breathed as the Spirit worked in the life of human authors to write exactly what the Spirit directs them to write as they write freely from their human wills.

This is an excellent example of compatabalism, which is the sovereignty of God working in perfect conjunction with the free will of man, to accomplish all that God purposes and desires.
The Spirit inspires them to write but what do they write about?

Go to Luke 24:24-27, 44

Luke 24:24 “Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just exactly as the women also had said; but Him they did not see.”
Luke 24:25 And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!
Luke 24:26 “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?”
Luke 24:27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.
Luke 24:44 - Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”

Who inspired these writings, the Spirit and what were they written about, they were written about Jesus Read More...

You are hard wired for God's glory

A couple of years ago my daughter, Anna got me into photography. I happened to go out and buy a point and click camera. But when I brought it home Anna said to me “Dad you don’t know what you are holding in your hand.” She went on to give me a small lecture, allow me to paraphrase, she said the world is a canvas and the camera is the brush. Dad, go out there and learn to paint because in everything you see there is a picture.

So while Nancy and I have been away for a few days I got out the camera. These pictures are echoes, shadows and pointers toward the great God of this universe.

Fall pictures; click on this LINK
Butterfly pictures; click on this

Psalms 1 says that the "heavens declare the glory of God."

  • Well how about the sunsets, waterfalls and nightfalls in the desert?
  • Have you ever experienced a great basketball game where your team wins in the last second on a game winning field goal?
  • Have you ever been to a movie in which the images, sounds and script seemed to mesmerize you for a 2 hour period of time?
  • Have you ever been on top of an 11,000 foot snow covered mountain and looked across the horizon of the earth?

What is so incredible about these views and experiences? I will tell you, for a brief moment in time you are occupied and amazed with something much greater than yourself. As a matter of fact you entirely forget about yourself altogether. No one goes to the Grand Canyon to improve their self esteem as one pastor once said. We are all hard wired for glory. What a privilege that every day we have a chance to experience the glory of fellowship with the Lord Jesus, through His living word. There is no satisfaction greater for the human soul. Christ in you the hope of glory! (Colossians 1:27).

Preview for Sunday, November 8

As we conclude Theme #1 in regard to Jesus and the Spirit, here are our summary points.

Overall Point #1
Jesus lived His life in the power of the Spirit as a man by what God provided Him

Overall Point #2
Jesus life of submission to the direction of the Spirit

This is remarkable that the Son of the Father, the second person of the Trinity in His humanity, and His incarnational mission submits fully to the direction and empowerment of the Spirit

The humility of the Son is not only taking on human flesh to be our substitute and become one of us, but also His humility is express in the way the Son accepts the leadership and direction of the Spirit, over whom in the Trinity the Son has rights and authority

Go to Luke 4:1-2

Luke 4:1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness
Luke 4:2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry.
Jesus was lead or impelled by the Spirit (Mark 1:12) the Greek word "ekballo"
Luke 4:14 - And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district.

Jesus lives His life in the power of the Spirit and follows the direction of the Spirit
This is one of the major themes we see in the life and ministry of Jesus as He relates to the Holy Spirit

Jesus and His relationship to the Spirit

Theme #1 - Jesus lived His life in the power of the Spirit
Scriptures we have considered so far in this study:
Isaiah 11:1-5
Matthew 26:39
Galatians 5:22-23
Philippians 2:6-8
Isaiah 61:1-3
Hebrews 5:8-9
Luke 4:18-19
Mark 13:32
Matthew 12:28
Acts 10:38
Acts 1:8
Luke 2:40, 52

While Jesus submitted to the Spirit for the sake of His incarnational mission, the Scripture makes clear that the fundamental role of the Spirit is to extol, elevate, to honor, to glorify Jesus. Therefore we see the Spirit putting Jesus forward and not the Spirit Himself The goal and mission of the Spirit is to always put Jesus in front of people Read More...

A discussion regarding Job

Our reading this week is Job 11-12 but I want to discuss something in Job 1 and 2. A couple of weeks ago I made a statement during the introduction, that one of the goals of Biblical preaching and teaching is when the calamity and adversity hits, that you are the type of person who does not blame God but instead blesses God. And then I used as an example Job, and what he said at the end of Chapter 1 after losing all his wealth and children. Job said “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.”

Once I taught on the sovereignty of God in suffering using Job Chapter 1 and I was approached by a young man at the end of the class. He said to me “did I hear you right?” It seems he was a bit irritated and defensive in his verbal tone and body language. So I backed up and said “tell me what you are referring to specifically.”
He then said “I heard you say that the LORD takes away and that is not right.” Then he went on to explain that in the story of Job it was not the LORD who took anything away but it was Satan. As he kept talking it was apparent his theology was that the LORD can only give and Satan is the only one who can take away.
It was at this point that I asked if we could read the text together when he gave me a look and said “I know what the text says” in a rather irritated way. So I just picked up my Bible turned to Job 1:21 and read the exact wording that came from the writer of Job which says “...The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the LORD.” Then I turned to the young man and said “this is what the Bible says.” The conversation got a bit more intense as he said “if you read the whole story, you would know that Satan is the one who did this to Job.” I then asked “do you think that God is sovereign over Satan?” In other words yes I would agree that Satan was a secondary agent in the adversity with Job, but it could not have occurred outside the sovereign will of God Himself.

In the story of Job, and we really aren’t sure who wrote the book of Job, but the writer must have known this would be an argument. He must have known that as we read chapters 1 and 2 that someone would say if Job had known what was going on up in heaven he would have blamed Satan and not God. But pay careful attention to the text and read carefully what is written in Job 1:22 “Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.” It was not wrong or sinful for Job to contribute the loss of wealth and children to the LORD. As a matter of fact you see almost the same scene play itself out in Chapter 2 when finally now Job has lost his health. His wife comes and says “curse God and die.” And the response of Job is as follows “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity.”

Again Job looks to the primary cause and the writer of Job again lets us know “Job did not sin with his lips.”(Job 2:10)

Keeping the main thing the main thing!

On Sunday our teaching will focus on how Jesus lived His life in the power of the Spirit. As you may remember from our history lesson on the Trinity, it took the church four centuries to finally come to the agreement that Jesus is God. This was an important victory for the church, and it may be that we have put so much emphasis on Jesus being God, that we have provided less teaching on the fact that Jesus was also man. Therefore this next section of teaching on Jesus and His relationship with the Holy Spirit is vital to our daily walk in Christ. The main point for the teaching on Sunday will be "Jesus lived His life in the power of the Spirit." It is from the teaching of Scripture that we see two main themes start to arise as it relates to Jesus and His relationship with the Spirit.
Theme #1 - Jesus submits to, yields to, and follows the lead of the Spirit during His years on planet earth.
Theme #2 - Jesus clearly teaches that when He leaves the Spirit will come in order to glorify the Son.

So the question comes up does Jesus submit to the Spirit or does the Spirit come to glorify the Son? And the correct answer is yes, it is both. Other questions that have come up over the years are what can the Spirit add to the deity of Christ? And since Jesus lived in a way that He was perfect and never committed any sin, how can that be held up as a model to us when He was God and we are not?

This is a category of Christian living that we need to study, understand and embrace. What is more practical than learning how to live out the Christian life in such a way that Christ is demonstrated as great. Of course the only way we can know these things is to go to the word of God. We will be looking at a number of Scriptures and I believe, by the grace of God, some hard ones that have been confusing to Christians over the years. Once we have our Bible doctrine in its proper place, then it is amazing how much clarity it provides for verses that once were difficult to understand. Read More...

How faith glorifies God

Over the last year we have been learning Bible doctrine. Doctrine simply means what the Bible has to say about a particular topic or subject. A few weeks ago in the men’s Bible study I discussed the theme of all the Scriptures which I believe to be “the glory of God.”
And Lord willing, in our last segment of teaching we are going to study the doctrine of salvation. Obviously that will bring us to one of the most important doctrines in the Bible which is known as justification. I have encouraged those in our community from day one to learn the definition as best you can and then see if you can explain it to a 10 year old. If you can’t explain it then it is because you probably don’t know it. Then I have found over the years it is helpful to be able to give an illustration of the doctrine. And finally you need to be able to support it with Scripture.

Last week in class I mentioned the five sola’s that came from the Reformation. Do you remember what they were?

  1. Faith alone
  2. Grace alone
  3. In Christ alone
  4. Scripture alone
  5. To the glory of God alone

We have touched a bit on faith alone as we discussed the doctrine of justification briefly during the past year. This came up as we were studying the Trinity in regard to salvation. This morning I happened upon an excellent illustration for you when it comes to “how faith glorifies God.” Remember that we are justified by faith alone and according to Luther the church either stands or falls upon this doctrine. Read More...

So what are the essentials?

If you were to name the essential doctrines within the evangelical orthodox church, would these make the list?

1. The authority of the Bible from the standpoint that we believe it to be inspired, inerrant and infallible

2. The virgin birth of Jesus

3. The Substitutionary atonement of Christ on the cross for our sins

4. Salvation by grace alone through faith alone by Christ's work alone.

5. Christ's Physical Return in Chronos Time to Judge the Living and the Dead

6. God's Eternal and Conscious Punishment of the Wicked (Hell)

7. The Trinity (God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit)

Did you know that those that have postmodernism as they’re underlying theology question each of these doctrines? And this according to many of those who keep stats are the fastest growing segment of the evangelical church. Now here is my question “how did they get the label evangelical?”

Please don’t forget Paul’s admonition to young Timothy in 2Tim. 4:3 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 2Tim. 4:4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.”

In order to more familiarize yourself with a definition and the dangers of postmodernism within the evangelical church just click on this LINK.

God centered vs. man centered

While skimming through various blog and twitter sites this morning I came upon this new book “In the beginning God” by Marva J. Dawn. As with many books today you can preview the first chapter via a pdf file. So when I came to the first paragraph and read it, I said Amen and decided to bring it to our blog site.

The Bible is all about God That might seem an overly obvious point
with which to begin a book on character formation, but, if we consider
the matter seriously, we discover that we often read the Bible
imagining it is about ourselves

One way to ponder this is to contemplate the underlying question
we usually bring to the Bible Often we ask ourselves as we read,
“How does this apply to me?” or “How will I live out this text?” Less
nobly, we might be subconsciously asking, “How can this text make
me feel good?” or “How can I use this passage to support my own
ideas?” (since we sometimes read other books or journals that way)

Notice that the focus has shifted away from God to us
What would happen if instead we first asked such questions as
these: “What is God doing in this text?” or “What is God revealing
about one or all of the Triune Persons in this passage?” It might seem
like a small matter, but it is actually an enormous shift in perspective
It is the move from self-improvement to adoration.

Folks we need to pay attention to this kind of advice and wise counsel. Are we reading in order that we can improve our moral condition such as better husbands, dads and employees? Or are we reading from this perspective “I come to the Bible today heavenly Father humbly asking that you extend to me a measure of faith in order that I might see Christ as wonderfully glorious! If you say what is the difference it is between a man centered approach and a God-centered approach to your Bible reading.

Review for October 4

We have made it through all 4 categories in the relationship between Jesus and God the Father. Since I included these notes in an earlier post I will simply LINK you to them for your review. Yes, these are doctrines but they are very practical for our day to day living. And also it causes one to stop and consider during devotion time these precious truths about our God.

For example this week I was reading Romans 5 and observed in verse 1 “therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” As I was reading I just stopped and asked a basic question; how am I able to have peace with God? And in this verse it says that is possible when I am justified by faith in Christ. In other words God’s peace come to me NOT apart from Christ but through Christ! Isn’t that exactly what we talked about yesterday in God the Father summing all things up in His Son? You will find these same kind of things happening all through the Scriptures as you read, devote and study.

If you would like to listen to audio from yesterday’s teaching just click on the October 4 date in the sidebar section of this blog.

NEXT WEEK; Jesus and His relationship with the Spirit

Devotion and The Doctrine of God

months we have been taking a close look at the Trinity. As I have said more than once, to know God is to know that God is Triune. Therefore as we read, study and have devotions our goal is NOT to know about God but to know Him. It is NOT to know Him based on what the culture is telling us about Him but in fact what the Bible is telling us about Him.

I have accumulated lots of study notes over the years and as we hit upon the different topics in the Bible I plan to use them in our blog site. The problem is that all the notes are not properly footnoted, so just know that I stand on the shoulders of many wonderful and godly Bible teachers, pastors and theologians.

In our study of the doctrine of God consider the following questions:
  • What is at stake in pursuing a knowledge of God?
  • Does it matter if we know God rightly?
  • Does it matter if we grow in the knowledge of God?

Illustration - Knowledge of the Holy - AW Tozer
The thoughts that we think about God are the most important thoughts that we will ever have
We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God
God has so made us that we instinctively and naturally seek to become like that which we esteem most highly

Now the commandment in Deuteronomy 6:5 takes on a fresh meaning doesn't it?
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Of course because God deserves that kind of love and also because He commands it. However there is another reason and here it is, we become like what we love.

Biblical truth for our consideration?
We are hardwired to take on the characteristics of what we adore


7 marks of genuine salvation

A.W. Pink addresses in this quote seven marks as a litmus test for salvation.

First, by the Word of God having come in divine power to the soul so that my self-complacency is shattered and my self-righteousness is renounced.

Second, by the Holy Spirit convicting me of my woeful, guilty, and lost condition.

Third, by having had revealed to me the suitability and sufficiency of Christ to meet my desperate case and by a divinely given faith causing me to lay hold of and rest upon Him as my only hope.

Fourth, by the marks of the new nature within me - a love for God; an appetite for spiritual things; a longing for holiness; a seeking after conformity to Christ.

Fifth, by the resistance which the new nature makes to the old, causing me to hate sin and loathe myself for it.

Sixth, by avoiding everything which is condemned by God's Word and by sincerely repenting of and humbly confessing every transgression. Failure at this point will surely bring a dark cloud over our assurance causing the Spirit to withhold His witness.

Seventh, by giving all diligence to cultivate the Christian graces and using all diligence to this end.

Legalism, the deadly disease

Since we are preparing to launch the reading of the Bible during the next year, I sensed a need to post something about legalism. One thing I have noticed about American Christians, if you give them a challenge they will respond with in most cases “I can do it!” And what follows can be a duty based mentality instead of one that is motivated by delight. Over the years I have written and read lots of different blogs. Tony Reinke is a blog writer who I credit in this short article regarding “Legalism.” So as we approach the reading of the Bible this year please don’t think that in doing so you are winning the approval of God. If you are in Christ then you already have the 100% approval of God and your obedience to things like reading the Bible should flow out of that truth. So without further ado legalism the deadly disease.

Rules are not the problem

Almost 900 passages in the Bible contain the phrase “do not.” Which is to say that the Bible contains quite a lot of prohibitions. Jesus condensed some chief prohibitions for us: “You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother’” There are a lot of rules in the Bible.

Which is to say that if you apply the entire Bible to the Christian life, you can end up with a long list of helpful rules and reminders (i.e. the “one anothers”).

See the fundamental danger of legalism is not living with rules or not living by rules—whether you attend church every week or not, whether you drink wine or not. Legalism points to a much deeper heart issue.

A false gospel

At its most dangerous level, legalism is a soteriological problem. That is, legalism is a false gospel and a false hope.

Legalism is the lie that says God's pleasure and joy in me is dependent upon my performance rather than the finished work of Christ.

It is legalism that causes the Pharisee to look proudly into the sky in the presence of a tax collector. It is legalism that causes a poor missionary in Africa to think God is more pleased with him than an American Christian businessman driving a Mercedes. It is legalism that causes the preacher behind the pulpit to think God is more pleased with him than the tatooed Christian teenager sitting in the back row. Read More...

Is your obedience to Christ motivated by love?

One of the key points in studying the love relationship between God the Father and Jesus is as follows: It is just as God-like to exert proper and rightful authority as it is God-like to yield, submit to and obey that authority. And the reason for this is because both actions are motivated by love! Think about it, the very frame work of love that we can see in the Trinity is based on authority and submission.

Again look John 14:31 and the words from Christ Himself when he says "but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me..." There is obedience by Jesus to the will of His Father 24/7 and it stems from His love for the Father. So when His disciples bring food to Him in John 4 and say in essence we got the food for you now eat, Jesus says "my food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work." The desire to accomplish the work of the Father stems from His love for the Father.

Do you see the relationship between the Father and the Son which is motivated by love? Then bring this into your own daily Christian walk. We have far too many people actively participating in church ministry that have this part of their doctrine upside down. They go to Bible study, pray, give and serve thinking that in doing so they are receiving the approval of God. It basically looks like this: if I obey God then He will approve of me. However the gospel brings us to this understanding, as a believer in Christ I am already approved of 100% and because of this approval I delight in obeying what Christ commands. The first is based on works to receive merit and approval and the second is motivated by love.

For our 31st wedding anniversary I decided to get Nancy 31 roses. Pretend with me for a minute that I go out that morning and get the 31 roses and come back to the front of the house and ring the door bell. First of all that will strike Nancy as strange because I normally come into the house through the garage. But this time I am outside ringing the door bell and she comes to and opens the door. Now remember behind my back are 31 fresh and beautiful red roses. I bring the roses from behind my back and present them to her and I say "Nancy these roses are for you." And she takes them and says "Brim" (my nickname when she is touched by my sweetness), she says "Brim, why did you do this?" Now listen real carefully to my answer and see what you think. I say "because Nancy I have been reading books about couple married for an extended period of time and they say this is what I ought to do." For the ladies that are reading this "how would you react to that statement?"
Rewind the tape, Nancy says "Brim why did you do this." And this time I say "because my love, nothing makes me happier in my life than when I can honor and be with you!"

What is the difference between scene 1 and scene 2 in the illustration above? In scene 1 the motive is duty and in scene 2 the motive is love. Which scene is playing out in your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ? Keep studying and being aware this year as we read through the Bible this love relationship between Jesus and His Father. Because it is the very relationship that we should have with Him and with others.

for His glory,

Jesus lived to please God, how about you?

Last Sunday we studied about Jesus and His relationship with God the Father. In point #2 the emphasis was that Jesus is under the headship or authority of the Father.
Again read and think deeply on the following verses:
John 8:28 So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.
John 8:29 “And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.”

There is too much here for one blog article but a few points for our learning and living the God-centered life.

Look at these words from the Lord Jesus Himself:
1. Jesus does nothing on His own initiative...and yet would you agree with me that Jesus is God
2. Jesus speak only that which the Father teaches Him...and yet as God there is nothing that Jesus doesn't know right?
3. Jesus always does those things that please the Father...and yet in the Trinity there is an ongoing pleasing taking place between each of the Persons of the God-head

Here is my point, this verse is like a neon sign to show us that this is not Jesus as God though He is God in every way but rather to show us Jesus as man. The early church worked for the first 4 centuries to secure the doctrine that Jesus is God, remember the word "homousious" from our friend Athanasius. This is the word the early church stood on which said that Jesus is the same nature as the Father. However it seems that we have done much of our teaching on the deity of Jesus but we are not as adept when in comes to the humanity of Jesus. (Sidenote: that is why the gospels are so very critical for each of us to read through each and every year! Because it answers the question how can an unrighteous human being every stand before a glorious and holy God. We can see and come to understand that only are we able to do that in Christ because of the life we see Him live out before us in the gospels. And what kind of life was that? Jesus during His 33 years on planet earth perfectly fulfilled the law of God in every way and was without sin. The only way to understand this is read, read, read the gospel accounts which is the story of the life of Jesus. My old seminary professor said it this way "the gospels are passion narratives about Jesus on the way to the cross.") Is that the longest sidenote in history or what? Read More...

Indicatives vs. Imperatives

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?

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

A preview for this coming Sunday

This coming Sunday we continue in our understanding of the Trinity and the relationship between Jesus and His Father. I also want to start with a brief introduction regarding the importance of knowing God by knowing His word. This will serve to help those that are new and coming to our class with the background they need to understand our curriculum. I want to thank Dr. Bruce Ware who is a friend and great scholar for his teaching in this area of doctrine. In this article I borrow liberally from some of his lecture notes.

There is a big difference between knowing about God and knowing God. One of my favorite illustrations regarding this subject is Tiger Woods. I have followed his golfing career almost since day one. I know that he has 70 PGA victories and is third on the all time list behind Jack Nicklaus and Sam Snead. I also know that Tiger has won 14 majors, his caddie is Stevie Williams and his swing coach is Hank Haney. In other words I know many facts about Tiger Woods but I do not know him at all. I think there is a correlation between this illustration and many today in the evangelical church. They know facts about God that they have accumulated over the years but do they know the God of the Bible.

As you know our class is titled “learning and living the God-centered life.” And that infers that we want to come to a real and genuine understanding so that we can know the God of Scripture. So we might ask the following questions on this subject.
What is at stake in pursuing a knowledge of God?
Does it matter if we know God rightly?
Does it matter if we grow in the knowledge of God?
AW Tozer who wrote Knowledge of the Holy said “The thoughts that we think about God are the most important thoughts that we will ever have. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God.”
In other words, God has so made us that we instinctively and naturally seek to become like that which we esteem most highly.

Do you remember the key verse that Dr. Poplin preached on Sunday a week ago?
Deut. 6:4 ¶ “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!
Deut. 6:5 “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

So when you come to these verses what do you think? Of course we are to love God this way because He deserves that kind of love and also because He commands it However there is another reason and here it is, we become like what we love We are hardwired to take on the characteristics of what we adore. Again in the paraphrased words of A.W. Tozer “God has so made us in such a way that we instinctively and naturally seek to become like that which we esteem most highly.” Read More...

The Trinity an extended definition

The plan this Sunday is to start with the following extended definition for the Trinity. Here is your homework assignment...should you decide to accept it.

Go through this video at least three times and write out the things that standout or the the Lord is impressing upon your heart in relationship to the study of the Trinity.

Remember the purpose of the Bible reading, devotion and study is to glorify God!

The Trinity is essential to salvation

Great White Shark and the Glory of God

Nancy and I have been watching “Shark Week” on the Discovery Channel. And during one of the commercial breaks I thought why do we love to watch a program about the great white shark. This fish can attain to lengths over 20 feet and can weigh up to 5000 pounds. Last night we watched a segment in which one great white shark at over 20% of its body weight in blue fin tuna. They just kept throwing these large tunas over the boat and the shark was a perpetual eating machine. It seems each year I am captivated by another version of “Shark Week.”

Why do we sit memorized by a great white shark leaping 15 feet out of the water with the prey in its mouth? It is because we are all hard wired to get near bigness, power and magnificence! After the show was over I noticed that my thoughts had not been on myself at all. There was no attention regarding my self image in any way. When we see great power displayed, like the force of a great white going through the water we are amazed.

Learning and Living Community this is a pointer for us to the supremacy and greatness of our God. He made the great white shark so that as we observe its power it can remind us of God’s power and awesomeness! Think of the things in your life that you have experienced that take your mind completely off of yourself and place it on the object you are enjoying.

For example:
Have you ever seen a sunset over the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean when the sunlight streams through the clouds to bring out shades of red, yellow and violet?
Have you ever been to a movie that kept you captivated for two hours?
Have you ever been a the top of a 10,000 foot mountain and seen a pan aroma of the city below?
Have you ever been to the Indianapolis 500 or the Coca Cola 600 and heard the sound and seen the speed of those race cars?
Have you ever seen the Grand Canyon?
Have you ever seen Michael Jordan play basketball or Tiger Woods play golf?
Have you ever heard Pavarotti sing Nessun Dorma?
Have you ever watched the "Blue Angels" do an air show?

Did you notice that during that time you we focused on the object of your enjoyment and not at all on yourself. When you see excellence, power and greatness demonstrated you are entirely captivated because this is how you were wired and what you were wired for.

We are spring loaded to see, proclaim and enjoy the greatness of God! The Bible reminds us almost at every turn that He is worthy of all praise and exaltation. When we are having the very thoughts of God revealed to us by His Spirit in the Bible, we sit completed amazed and awed by His truth.

So the next time you are being enthralled by the power of a great white shark just know that is but a shadow of the power of the God that we worship and adore.


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...

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.

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.

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.

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.

Jesus and the Father

In our next teaching session on the Trinity we will be specifically be examining the relationship between Jesus and the Father. As we have talked about briefly but will see now in more detail is the ranking of these members of the Trinity. Here is a brief outline of what we will cover together on this subject. And later today I will post the notes in detail for you to study as time allows. Keep running the race, fighting the good fight, and keeping the faith!

Jesus and the Father


The glory of God

Psalm 119 states “The heavens declare the glory of God...” and the beach does also with everything that you are able to see. When you look at the vastness of the ocean and the intricate detail of a small sea shell, one can see both the transcendence and the immanence of our God.

Combined teaching of Trinity in church history

For your convenience I have combined the teaching for the last two weeks on the Trinity in church history. Hopefully these notes will give you a good overview as you dig into this essential doctrine for the church.

Continued study of the Trinity

A special thanks to Dr. Wayne Grudem for his excellent teaching on this subject of the Trinity

Definition of 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 see verses in which they say that the Father is God, the Son is God and the Spirit is God
Then we find verses that say that God is one

In the Old Testament we see and have hints of the Trinity
This doctrine of the Trinity is progressively revealed in the Scripture

Several passages in the OT suggest that God exists as more than one Person
• Genesis 1:26 - "Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;"
This comes across as it could be Inter-Trintitarian conversation

• Genesis 3:22 - Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us...
• Isaiah 6:8 - Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
• Psalm 45 - Psa. 45:6 ¶Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
• Psa. 45:7 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
• Psalm 110:1 - The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at My right handUntil I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” The Father is saying to the Son, sit at my right hand
• Isaiah 63:10 - But they rebelled And grieved His Holy Spirit; Therefore He turned Himself to become their enemy,He fought against them.
The Holy Spirit here is seen as distinct from the Father and the grieving is a personal feeling
• Hosea 1:7 - “But I will have compassion on the house of Judah and deliver them by the LORD their God, and will not deliver them by bow, sword, battle, horses or horsemen.”
• Isaiah 48 - Is. 48:16 “Come near to Me, listen to this: From the first I have not spoken in secret, From the time it took place, I was there. And now the Lord GOD has sent Me, and His Spirit.”

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.”

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)

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...

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.

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...

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

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...

Audio Clip of the Week

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

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

Speaking the truth-Washer

Preview for Sunday - Justification Part 2

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

The Ultimate Guide to Debt Management

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

Justification and the Trinity

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

Preview of Justification

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Doctrine is Practical

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

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

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

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

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

Building on the Truth

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

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

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

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

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

Nothing more practical than SOUND DOCTRINE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preview for Sunday - April 5

This coming Sunday the plan is for us to look at what I will call the front view of the cross. In doing so we will talk about in more detail the words atonement, propitiation and justification. As I have had the privilege to teach over the years I want to tell you what has been criticized the most. It has been those who equate the learning of Bible doctrine, to a person who is a spiritual egghead who ends up knowing all the facts but does nothing about what he knows.

However when one comes to a healthy understanding of the Bible it clearly says learn correctly in order to live correctly. My point here is don’t discount or underestimate the power of learning God’s word. We are not people who are worshipping the word, but rather we look to and rely on Christ in all things through His revealed word. I hope you see the difference. Regardless, we are not learning doctrine to be contestants on Bible jeopardy but in order that we may be transformed into the likeness of Christ. In most cases the biggest critics of intense study in Bible doctrine comes from those who have little passion or desire for the word of God. Allow me to challenge you as I was challenged during the early years of Bible study. My former Bible teacher used to make the following statement with piercing eyes and much passion “you can be no closer to the Lord Jesus Christ that you are to His word!” When ever he would make that statement the room would almost always be left in an eerie silence. He would not leave it, but would stay there long enough to come eye to eye with what seemed to be every person in the class. I fully expect and welcome criticism that scours at an intense study of doctrine and words like atonement, propitiation and justification. But these critics whether they be in or outside the church must stand accountable to Christ on that day. And I say if we are ashamed of the digging into and understanding of His word, then that translates into being ashamed of Him. How might we claim that we love Christ and yet we have no love for His word? OK, time for me to get off my soapbox before I fall off and hurt myself.

When we come to the cross we can see that it provides a solution for two basic problems.
We can understand that we are perpetrators, and the Scriptures tell us that while we were enemies that Christ died for us. 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 this atonement He has satisfied the penalty that was against us and now God declares us as righteous in His sight. I am calling this the “front view” of the cross.

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 what I am calling the “back view” of the cross looks at the cross with the terms in the New Testament.
We also come to understand 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. We looked at this is some detail during the 5 weeks in our study of Romans 6 which was titled “Be who you are in Christ.” The words that we are going to focus on in regard to the back view of the cross are REDEMPTION and RANSOM.

But for now and the next two weeks we are concerned with a “front view” of the cross as it relates to the Trinity. I want to encourage all of you studying along with us to re-read the notes that I posted this past Sunday. These notes are not exhaustive but enough to get us started as we come to grips with these key Bible doctrines. Within these notes are the subjects of atonement and propitiation and now we need to deal with the last subject which is justification. Read More...

Foundations for our study of the Trinity

In the following weeks I am going to be laying out some basic foundations for our study of the Trinity. The first four I am teaching will be as follows:

The Trinity and salvation - the doctrine of the Trinity is both central and necessary for our salvation. If we should remove the Trinity then the whole Christian faith would disintegrate.

The Trinity and prayer - The Christian’s life of prayer must rightly acknowledge the roles of Father, son and Spirit as we pray to the Father, through the Son, in the power of the Sprit.

The Trinity and worship - If we are going to worship Biblically then worship of the true and living God consciously acknowledges the relationship and roles of God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit.

The Trinity and what makes it distinct from other religions and it’s place in church history - The doctrine of the Trinity is one of the most distinguishing doctrines of the Christian faith and therefore is deserving of our careful study, passionate embrace and thoughtful application.

May I encourage those who are actively involved in this study of doctrine to read again the following blog article? This will set in motion some thought processes as we come this week to the Trinity as it regards our salvation. I start out the blog article with the following statement “First of all in regard to our salvation we must have One that is paying the penalty for our sins.” Another name for this is atonement.

Since this is a term Christians have heard but may not have studied we will take a few minutes in our class to define and discuss ATONEMENT. Here are some introductory notes that you can review for homework prior to class on Sunday.

What is vicarious atonement?
We are more familiar with the word atonement, which means a price to be paid for wrong doing.

If you park in a restricted zone down town to go into a store and you get a ticket, that would be considered a wrong doing before the law and you now must pay $35. This is now considered to be the price for your atonement. And should you pay the $35 your status moves from guilt to innocent through the atonement made via the payment.

But now we bring into the picture a phrase called vicarious atonement.


Doctrine Divides

From the Contending and Defending Blog Site:

Whenever you hear this it’s usually followed up with “we all worship the same God” and “can’t we all get along?”

Whenever the mantra “doctrine divides” is employed, it’s always with a negative connotation. But have you stopped to ponder why?

Allow me to submit for your consideration, that “doctrine divides” is actually a good thing–a positive thing. It’s true that “doctrine divides,” and here’s what it divides:

The ones just wanting to be fed from the ones willing to take up their cross.

The false conversions from the true conversions.

The ones under law from the ones under grace.

The swine from the pearls.

The profane from the holy.

The tares from the wheat.

The goats from the sheep.

The wolves from the flock.

The hirelings from the shepherds.

The “other gospels” from the one true Gospel.

The false christs from the one true Christ.

The darkness from the Light.

The lies from the Truth.

The errors from the facts.

The wicked from the righteous.

The wide gate from the narrow gate.

The broad road from the narrow road.


The many paths from the only Way.

Doctrine divides; doctrine divides; thank God Almighty, doctrine divides!

Beware of "application only" approach to Scripture

This is an excellent article to help those in our class understand the importance and distinction between doctrine and application. We have become a culture that focuses on the results. Therefore when you get into the American church things can be driven by application instead of doctrine. And as my old boss used to say that means you are simply working on the wrong end of the problem. The following article is written by Michael C. Patton who has a blog called Parchment and Pen. I hope you will take time to read and process in light of our class that is both about learning and living the God-centered life. Our curriculum is first and foremost about learning sound Biblical doctrine and this article explains why that is a good thing.

Belief is no good without practice is a stupid statement. Yes, I have read James (once or twice).

My argument has been pretty simple so far. God is glorified when he is known truly. God is glorified by our trust in what he says. It is God’s great pleasure to reveal himself to his children. God is glorified when he is known and understood. God desires orthodoxy and right belief.

But some of my comments have made some people very uncomfortable, especially this one (emphasized in italics):

I was in a small group venting about my expository preaching class ten years ago. I said, “They are trying to get me to pull out direct immediate application—something for the people to do—out of every sermon.” I complained about this. My group of young seminarians were divided. I told them that not only were some passages of Scripture not able to produce direct immediate application without sinful manipulation, but sometimes, I told them, “God simply wants us to believe what he said. This is application enough!”

In our Evangelical/emerging climate, we have those who seem to have come to some sort of personal epiphany about the problem with the church. “Doctrine divides and causes problems.” Fair enough. “Christians have the tendency to have an arrogant attitude about doctrine, systematically condemning those who don’t agree with them on everything and, in doing so, fail to express love. They elevate correct doctrine above love.” Agreed. “Therefore, we should quit talking about doctrine and just love each other.” Time out! Love without truth is not Christian.

“But what does being doctrinally correct actually do? How can it help the world today? How does it alleviate oppression? How does it feed the hungry? How does it promote equality? And what about the environment?”

You see? There you go again. You think that this life is about you. You think it is about man. You think that if it does not effect the world within the next hour or day or week, according to your standards, it is a bad stewardship of your time.

“Belief is no good without practice.” Translation in our generation: “Since right belief (doctrine, systematic theology, understanding, etc) does not evidence itself in practical matters immediately and causes people to be arrogant, we should not even worry about belief at all and just get out there and “do” what we know is right. Orthodoxy is bad. Orthopraxy is good.”

This fails to understand that right belief itself is the application—the ultimate application. How so? Because belief will always produce of itself. This belief will sometimes evidence itself in ways that are immediate and sometimes in ways that become an integral part of a persons life and personality. (Hang with me). Read More...

Foundation and Application

The evangelical church today must recommit herself to strong Bible based foundations in the lives of those that attend in order that the results will be God honoring application for life. These foundations include but are not limited to the Bible itself, God, man, Christ, the Spirit, and salvation. Can you imagine building a home in which the foundation was suspect? You go into the kitchen one morning and feel the house start to shift and then back to the bedroom and it shifts again. Wouldn’t this impact your attitude and confidence of living in this home? Of course these kinds of examples we know and understand completely in everyday life, but for some reason we seem less inclined to know and understand them when it comes to our spiritual life.

The Lord Jesus says in John 8:32 “and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” Have we thought much about these kind of statements that Jesus made while He lived on planet earth? Just for a moment let’s look at the opposite of that statement. If a person doesn’t know the truth then the lack of truth will be the very thing that keeps them from getting free or keeps them enslaved. I maintain that the truth here is the truth of His word. And it will be the knowing of His word that frees you from the world, flesh and the devil and frees you to live in and for Christ. This is a very basic example but should teach us that the foundation of truth must be in place before there is an application of that same truth. As a side note just go back one verse and read carefully what Jesus says to those around Him “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine.” The Greek word for continue is “meno” and it means to abide in, to stay in or to remain in. This is the same word as “abide” that we read in
John 15:4 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.
John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
John 15:6 “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.
The foundation is abiding in Christ through His word and the application is the bearing of fruit that results from a word transformed life! Read More...

Bible Doctrine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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...

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 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
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own.

Due to technical problems (Bert’s fault) we have no audio for this week’s lesson.