Thursday, March 31, 2011

Prayer for a Wise Walk

"For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish." Psalm 1:6

Father, O gracious God, creator of all, wondrous in majesty. Be gracious to this unworthy sinner, a sinner who has disregarded your glory. Help me to walk in the way of the righteous. My desire is to walk in wisdom, which is according to your rule. This world delights in walking in the ways of the flesh, according to the prince of the power of the air. I am temped again and again to walk away from the way marked out in your holy Word. Grant me the grace to walk in the way of Christ. It is a narrow way, a way not often traveled, but it is the way to the eternal city. Help me to despise any distractions that would hinder me on the way to heaven.

Lord, help me to set my face continually upon that great city, where I will see you face to face. Where I will bask in your presence, where I will see Christ in his marvelous glory, where your ransomed church will proclaim, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain"! I pray this in your glorious name. Amen and Amen.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Precious Blood of Christ

One of the things that has started to weigh heavily on my mind as I mature in Christ is how little I treasure the gospel of Christ. As I learn more about the gospel I see the infinite value of the gospel. As I start to see the infinite value of Christ, I see that I am captive of doing nothing but marveling at such an amazing Savior, for an infinitely unworthy sinner.

1 Peter 1:18-19 explains the price of our redemption, “knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” Peter, writing to these former Jews who had now become Christians, calls Christ a Lamb, reminding his readers of an Old Testament teaching concerning the doctrine of substitution: an innocent victim giving his life for the guilty. Here we see Christ is the fulfillment; the Son of God gave up his life for sinful men!

Octavius Winslow says this about the blood of Christ, “Among all the precious things of God there is not one so precious, so inestimable, so influential, as the "precious blood of Christ." All salvation, all purity, all peace, all holiness, all hope, all heaven, is bound up in the atoning blood of Immanuel.”  In other words, everything is about the blood of Christ. Christian, if you want to grow in devotion to Christ, study the gospel of Christ! The more we grow in our knowledge of Christ, the more we are wholly devoted to Christ!

This is what propels us to press on for Christ. This is what reminds us of our depravity, our sin could only be removed by the death of God’s Son. This is what maximizes our worship. This is what keeps us from indulging in the vanities of this present evil world. Let’s meditate on the preciousness of this wonderful gift of God’s only Son, Jesus Christ.

Through The Precious Blood (From Come Weary Saints 2008) by Sovereign Grace Music
You have ordained every breath we take
In pleasure or pain, there is no mistake
Gladness and grief, both are in Your hand
And sufferings brief carry out Your plan
And our fleeting sorrows
Will yield an endless prize
When some bright tomorrow
We’ll see You with our eyes, and

Grace upon grace flows down, flows down
Grace upon grace flows down, flows down
Through the precious blood of Christ

Father of lights, Giver of all grace
Your mercies crown our lives all our days
River of Life, quench our thirsty souls
For no true delight does Your love withhold
And in every season
We are satisfied
For just one reason
Christ was crucified, and

All good gifts, every good thing
Comes to us freely, so freely
All good gifts, every good thing
Comes to us freely, so freely
Through the precious blood
Through the precious blood

Monday, March 28, 2011

Am I missing it?

It seems in Christianity that there are two groups, so to speak, with regard to the word of God and prayer. We have one group who is all about the word, theology, and reading good books. Then we have another group who prays, but who care nothing about truth, doctrine, or theology. I don’t think any Christian would deny that those two spiritual disciplines are extremely important. Nobody can expect to be a fruitful Christian without daily being nourished in the word of God and prayer. For myself, I fall into the doctrine extreme. So often I spend all of my time reading, but not much praying. This is not good. Even though reading Bible, studying Bible, and reading good books are all good if I neglect prayer I am going to be unbalanced.  

I remember watching a short video of someone interviewing Paul Washer. The interviewer asked Paul what the dangers are facing the recent movement of young reformed Christians. He basically said that he applauds these young Christians for being series about truth, doctrine, and living out their faith in the context of 2000 years of Christian history. But he went on to say that the purpose of studying truth is to know God. It is to point us to Jesus and show us who Jesus is. He went on to say that most of the older men that he has talked to had regrets not that they did not study enough, but that they did not pray enough. I am afraid that if I continue in the state that I am right now, I will say the same thing.

We don’t have to read very much of Scripture or of godly men in Scripture to realize that prayer is so, so important.  Daniel prayed three times a day, Paul devoted himself to prayer, Elijah hid himself away to pray, and of course Jesus prayed many times in Scripture.

Not only do we have the example of men in Scripture, we have church history to look back to as well. We find the same thing, the godliest men and women we’re people who spent much time in prayer. Martin Luther prayed three hours a day, David Brainerd was much in the prayer closet, and Jonathan Edwards, the great philosopher and theologian, prayed much.

All of this to say, am I missing it? Am I missing one of the most important if not the most important means of grace? 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Communion Hymn

I have been recently encouraged by the music of Keith and Kristyn Getty, and I wanted to share the lyrics of a particular song that is simply amazing. It is called, "Behold the Lamb," and it is a song to remind us of what the Lord's Supper really means.

Behold the Lamb who bears our sins away,
Slain for us: and we remember
The promise made that all who come in faith
Find forgiveness at the cross.

So we share in this Bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice,
As a sign of our bonds of peace
Around the table of the King.

The body of our Savior, Jesus Christ,
Torn for you: eat and remember
The wounds that heal, the death that brings us life,
Paid the price to make us one.

The blood that cleanses every stain of sin,
Shed for you: drink and remember
He drained death's cup that all may enter in
To receive the life of God.

And so with thankfulness and faith
We rise to respond: and to remember.
Our call to follow in the steps of Christ
As His body here on earth.

As we share in His suffering,
We proclaim: Christ will come again!
And we'll join in the feast of heaven
Around the table of the King.

in the feast of heaven
Around the table of the King

Words and music by Keith and Kristyn Getty & Stuart Townend. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Edwards on Christian Love

I have been reading Charity And Its Fruits by Jonathan Edwards. I have only gotten through the first chapter, but it has been an incredible read. I wanted to share the last couple paragraphs, as I was greatly convicted by Edwards' exhortations.

"Our subject exhorts us to seek a spirit of love, to grow in it more and more, and very much to abound in the works of love. If love is so great a thing in Christianity, so essential and distinguishing, yea, the very sum of all Christian virtue, then surely' those that profess themselves Christians should live in love, and abound in the works of love; for no works are so becoming as those of love.

If you call yourself a Christian, where are your works of love? Have you abounded, and do you abound in them? If this divine and holy principle is in you, and reigns in you, will it not appear in your life, in works of love? Consider what deeds of love have you done? Do you love God? What have you done for him, for his glory, for the advancement of his kingdom in the world? And how much have you denied yourself to promote the Redeemer's interest among men? Do you love your fellowmen? What have you done for them? Consider your former defects in these respects, and how becoming it is in you as a Christian hereafter to abound more in deeds of love. Do not make excuse that you have not opportunities to do anything for the glory of the God, for the interest of the Redeemer's kingdom, and for the spiritual benefit of your neighbors. If your heart is full of love, it will find vent; you will find or make ways enough to express your love in deeds. When a fountain abounds in water, it will send forth streams. Consider that as a principle of love is the main principle in the heart of a real Christian, so the labor of love is the main business of the Christian life.

Let every Christian consider these things; and may the Lord give you understanding in all things, and make you sensible what spirit it becomes you to be of, and dispose you to such an excellent, amiable, and benevolent life, as is answerable to such a spirit, that you may not love only in word and tongue, but in deed and truth."

God help us to abound in love.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Book Review: Radical by David Platt

In this life on this world all of us will live our lives for something. Many choose to live for money, many choose pleasure, many choose comfort, and many other things. However, David Platt in this book presents something that triumphs over absolutely everything this world has to offer. Platt presents a powerful charge for American Christians to give everything for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

When the reality of Christ living, dying, and rising for us changes our hearts, and takes root in our hearts, the result is obedience under the lordship of Jesus Christ. That’s exactly what David Platt has in mind for writing this book. He presents two questions that he has faced and offers to exhort believers in Christ to give a weighty response to. The first question he asked himself, “Was I going to believe Jesus?” The second question was, “Am I going to obey Jesus?” At first you might think that those two questions are not very radical, however, when you read the commands of Jesus in the New Testament you realize that radical Christianity is simply obeying Jesus.

How do we as Christians, who are saturated in this world with the promises of the American dream, do this?

Platt starts to answer this question by giving us a taste of what the gospel is. He makes known many of the problems of the typical American “man centered” gospel. And he presents the biblical, historical, God-centered gospel. The reason why Platt does this is because it is not till we see ourselves as infinite sinners against an infinite God, not until then, will we see Christ as an incredibly awesome Savior. And it is never till we see Christ as infinitely worthy will we offer up our bodies as living sacrifices to serve him.

Platt goes on in another chapter to give some more motivation. Consider, he says, that we we’re made to enjoy God’s grace and extend his glory. This is the twofold purpose behind every stage of biblical history, God pouring out his grace on his people for his own glory.

In one of the most important chapters of this book, Platt goes through a jet tour of the gospel in the book of Romans. He makes a strong case that unbelievers must trust in Christ to be saved, and in order to trust in Christ believers must present the gospel to unbelievers.

Overall this is a great book, but a challenging book. Many after reading this book will look at their own lives and feel very convicted. I want to offer some encouragement to Christians who may feel guilty about their lack of obedience to Jesus.

If you’re reading this book, it’s a very good possibility that you are in a healthy state. Anybody who reads this book, I feel, is somebody who is already starting on the narrow path. And what must we do if we want to continue to grow in our walk with Christ? Jesus tells us, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).

Secondly, look to the gospel for motivation. One weakness of this book could be that Platt does not emphasize enough the reality that the gospel produces our obedience. It is not us obeying apart from the gospel. No the gospel of Christ, his obedience for us, his sin atoning, guilt removing sacrifice for sinners, and rising again from the dead for us, proving that God the Father was pleased with what Christ did, is what we need to motivate us to live for his glory in this world.

After reading this book, the words of C.T. Studd, we’re ringing in my ear, “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

(This book is available on Amazon). 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rejoicing Upon Sovereign Grace

As we are nearing a new season in the year, I thought it would be fitting to talk about what God has been teaching me throughout this past winter. From humbling me, showing me more of the glories of the cross, and giving me many new friends, I am extremely grateful.  As I continue on in the Christian life, one of the greatest acts of faith for me is to believe that in spite of all my sins, in spite of my foolishness, God still loves me as much as he says he does. The incredible news that because of the merits of Jesus Christ with his obedient life, sin atoning, guilt removing, wrath satisfying sacrifice, and His gracious Spirit applying that work to me, a rebel has been redeemed. This is such joy producing news that a sinner like me has been a recipient of sovereign grace!!

I was reading Psalm 5 the other day and just realized that this Psalm has been a great picture of what God has been showing me.

In this Psalm we have 4 realities of grace that penetrate in praise to our great God.

God’s grace propels us to pray to Him (verses 1-3). This past winter God has been revealing to me the great importance of prayer. But I am so prone to self-sovereignty that prayer is often a fight. In this Psalm we see David praying to God with great earnestness, with an example for us to follow, yet how often do we as Christians do this?! God has personally saved each one of us, so that he is now our God and he delights in hearing us. There are great enemies around us, as we see in this Psalm, and we have our own flesh to deal with inside of us, how much then do we need to daily refresh ourselves in prayer to our great King?!

God’s grace awakens us to see the evil of sin (verses 4-6).
I have been making it a priority in my life to daily read chapters from the Bible, and it has been simply amazing to see how much God hates sin. David says this in verses 4 and 5, “For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you. The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers.” How true about God that is! But we children of Adam, born in sin (Psalm 51:5), we delighted in sin (Rom. 5:10), and even boasted in our sin. And to help us our society and people around us encouraged us to sin! But God’s grace awakens us to see the futility of living life for our own glory, and God reveals to us how much he hates sin. This is grace! We should praise God for opening our eyes to see the evil of sin!

God’s grace covers us in the righteousness of Christ (verses 7-8).
“But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward you holy temple in the fear of you.” This a great picture of what Christ has done for us. This reminds me about Ephesians 2:4-5, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved.” God has given us a great gift, the gift of His precious Son. Christ lived a perfect life to the very point of the cross, and his righteous life is credited to our account through faith. So Christians, clothed in the righteousness of Christ enter God’s house! We have a seat at the eternal banquet! This is life transforming, and life producing truth.

God’s grace produces everlasting joy (verses 11-12).
We see in verses 8-10 the futility of a life in rebellion against God, yet the Christian, because of the sovereign grace of God can ever sing for joy! Why? Because Christ has lived, died, and rose for them! Our position is now in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:20). We need the great reminder of sovereign grace to help us to live for Christ. The last couple verses are awesome, “But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover him with favor as with a shield.” Amen.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Commentary Review: 1 Samuel by Dale Ralph Davis

Dale Ralph Davis’ work in this commentary on 1 Samuel has simply been a great blessing to me. As a relatively new Christian the Old Testament has often been tough for me to get into, after reading this commentary, however, the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel has come alive to me. Davis divides this commentary into three parts: Part 1 is called a Prophet from God’s Grace (Chapters 1-7), Part 2 is a King in God’s Place (Chapters 8-14), and Part 3 is called a Man after God’s Heart (Chapters 15-31). After reading and highlighting all over the place I decided to write on a note card what I learned after reading this work, and I want to share some of them, as they will cover some of the major themes of 1 Samuel.

God’s work is often quiet (1 Sam. 2).
God for his people acts with judgement and mercy (1 Sam.4).
Yahweh’s interesting and imaginative ways of deliverance calls forth praise from us (1 Sam. 19).
Yahweh’s protection is completely unknown to us often (1 Sam. 25).

If you are someone who is scared of commentaries this one by Davis will not scare you. You will be able to tell by the first chapter that he does an excellent job explaining the text, illustrating the text, and applying the text for everyday life. Davis most importantly does draw out of the text the glories of Christ in a way that makes you so grateful for our great Savior.

I agree with Eric Alexander, who said this on the front cover, “The best expository commentary I have read in years.” 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


 I wanted to write out some things I've learned about evangelism and mention a couple mistakes I've made. As Christians we are called to share the gospel with others, this can be a daunting task for some, but it really shouldn't be that difficult.

1. When evangelizing keep it simple. I don’t mean to dumb the gospel down, but I do mean keep it simple so people can understand it.  One mistake that I made was that I thought I had to include absolutely every theological word when I would witness to someone. I had to explain justification, propitiation, etc. While these terms are immensely important, to unbelievers they do not mean anything. When you witness to someone it might be as simple as saying, “Look Christ died to save sinners, everyone must trust in Christ for forgiveness of sins.”  Remember it is not our words that do the converting; rather God makes someone understand and trust Christ. Remember when you first trusted Christ? Did the person or preacher who explained the gospel to you make it hard to understand? I remember when I first trusted Christ, I just knew that Christ died for sinners, and I knew I was a sinner. It is that simple. 

2. When evangelizing do not use one method. It is simply dumb to use only one method when witnessing to all types of people with different backgrounds. For example, we only have to look at the way Jesus evangelized different people. He was very different with the woman at the well than the rich young ruler. I don’t mean that we change the message, but we must be open to the fact that we will be dealing with different people, with different religious backgrounds. With a Catholic you will have to really press on justification by faith alone, not of works (Ephesians 2:8-9). With a professing Christian who is not truly converted, who may have a correct understanding of the gospel, but really not treasuring Christ, you will have to deal with him or her in a different way. Act accordingly with what you know about the person. 

3. When evangelizing it is very important to build relationships first. To clarify I do not mean that witnessing to random people is not important, it is, however I have not seen much good come out of it.  I have witnessed to many random people, invited them to Bible studies, but they never seem to come. If you are struggling with boldness witnessing to random people will help with that, but building relationships with people for the purpose of sharing the gospel is a really good way to share the love of Christ.

4. When evangelizing be normal. Let’s face it witnessing to an unbeliever can be very awkward. People love themselves and do not like when someone tells them that they are a sinner.  But the best tip I ever received on witnessing was to be normal.  It doesn't sound too hard, but I've found it really helps. What do you do when you have a normal conversation about the weather with someone? Do the same when you are witnessing.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Bible Study

2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

I was listening to a sermon from Paul Washer, and he was going through some tips on Bible study.  He mentioned that he uses this verse for Bible study in 2 Timothy 3:16 for his own life, and for correcting his family. He made the point that we often will just read or lay the Bible out in front of us, but not actually do anything with the Word of God. The goal for Bible study is godliness and to have the Word of God impact us in our daily lives. I want to lay out what this looks like; I guess it’s the TRCT method.

Teaching: The first step is to teach yourself from the Scriptures. What is being said in a certain verse? What doctrine is being presented before me? What do I need to do as a result? I pray and meditate on what I have read.

Reproof: The second step is to reprove yourself from the Scriptures. This word reproof has the idea of a prosecuting attorney that amasses all the evidence necessary to convict the criminal. This is what we should when we study the Bible. Gather all the evidence until conviction occurs in our hearts.

Correction: The third step is to correct yourself from the Scriptures. The Scriptures are not just a prosecuting attorney that works for our condemnation, but also like a surgeon to correct the problem. The word here for correction has the idea of someone who’s been knocked over and he’s been set back up on his feet. The Scriptures point us to the way we should be, it corrects us.

Training: The last step is to train yourself from the Scriptures. As a result of all that I have learned, what am I going to do to train myself to correct the problem? What texts do I need to memorize? What texts do I need to meditate on? If I screw up again, I confess my sin, I go back and go through the same process, I may ask someone to hold me accountable to help me, to assist me to go through this training process.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Simple Thoughts on Preaching

1. BIBLE KNOWLEDGE: Be mighty in the scriptures (Acts 18.24). Strive to know what is in each chapter, especially the New Testament.

2. A MAIN POINT: It is all too easy to preach without making a main point. I was admonished, “What tree are you after? Don’t just chop off branches. Get the tree chopped down.”

3.  CLARITY: It is a tremendous virtue to be able to speak clearly, that is, with clarity of thought, as it is written, That I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak (Col. 4.4). How can the hearer be edified by an uncertain sound? (1 Cor. 14.8). Wisdom in what to say and how to say it is so desirable. The Spirit of God accompanies wisdom, as it is written,They were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking (Acts 6.10).

4. ILLUSTRATIONS: This indeed helps to clarify the meaning. They are flowers on the table. They are windows to the building. They are pictures for the memory to take back home. Look at the Lord’s example in using parables. Hear His challenge, How shall we picture the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it? (Mark 4.30).

5. SIMPLICITY: Use the text as your outline as much as possible. Go right down the flow. It a great help to the hearer to be able to feel comfortable, to feel he is getting it. The hearer wants to enjoy each word of the text.

6. BREVITY: It is devilish to wear down the saints (Daniel 7.25). It takes a good deal of skill to be brief and concise. It takes holiness to be brief. To the degree you know self-denial, you will be able to be brief. A proud man enjoys hearing himself (Jude 16). The insecure must talk. Yet, God can be in long sermons, Judas and Silas, also being prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brethren with a lengthy message (Acts 15.32).

7.  TO THE HEART: Real communication is supreme. Look everyone in the eye (Proverbs 20.8Mark 3.5Acts 3.4). The saints don’t want a show, they want sincerity and substance, For a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears (Act 20.31). Be more concerned about getting something in (to their hearts), than getting something out (of your mouth). Notes? Too much paper can put out the fire.

8. BOLDNESS: If you stand and apologize and hesitate, stay seated. Anything less than confidence, boldness, and authority is unworthy of the ministry of the word of God (Acts 4.312 Corinthians 3.12Ephesians 6.191 Thessalonians 2.2). But don’t fake it. Performance is for the actors. Rash statements are marks of the insecure.

9. DON’T SCOLD: That is what sadly got Moses in trouble (Numbers 20.10). Trust God to get the job done. Look at souls as precious, as friends. Stephen’s face before enemies was like that of an angel (Acts 6.15). Just seek to be a servant, a helper. Sure, there is a time for anger, but alas, anger is rarely pure (Mark 3.5James 1.20). The joy of the Lord is New Covenant ministry. As the saying goes, “A dull tour guide betrays the majesty of the mountains.”

10. THE POWER OF GOD: It is so different to have the Spirit’s help and liberty – utterance (Luke 4.18Acts 4.311 Corinthians 2.4). Diligence is generally involved to be ready to speak – prayed up, read up, and filled up. And do what you can do to get out of yourself when speaking. Get self to zero. Get free. Stop, pray, quit, or something. It is all an adventure.

-Bob Jennings

HT: Thoughts On The Way

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Sign Your Growing in Grace

One of the many things I have enjoyed reading on Twitter the last couple weeks have been Scotty Smith's series "A Sign Your Growing in Grace". I simply want to put some of my favorites on here, they've been great to think about and read. Enjoy!

A sign you’re growing in grace is less theological arrogance & greater appreciation for diversity in the Body of Christ.

A sign you’re growing in grace is that everybody notices it but you.

A sign you’re growing in grace is when you say, “I’ll be prayin’ for ya”, and you follow through on at least 50%.

A sign you’re growing in grace is committing fewer homicides in your heart of slow drivers.

A sign you are growing in grace is that you are more disgusted with your critical spirit than offended by others’ sins.

A sign you’re growing in grace. You’ve actually read Nahum and Obadiah.

A sign you’re growing in grace. You’re in your seat in the worship center 7 minutes early to pray for the service.

A sign you’re growing in grace. On a 2-lane-becoming-1 road, you don’t speed up just to jet around 3 extra cars.

A sign you’re growing in grace. Your repentances come quicker with less pouting, excuses and vain promises.

A sign you’re growing in grace is a commitment to pray for people you’d really rather gossip about.

A sign you’re growing in grace. If you’re “finally” Reformed, you don’t confuse knowledge with spirituality.

A sign you’re growing in grace. You realize that Presbyterian and Reformed types are .07% of the entire Body of Christ.

A sign you’re growing in grace. The more you learn about Jesus & the gospel the more you realize how little YOU know.

A sign you're growing in grace: You don't do penance to impress Jesus; you do repentant faith which unites you to Jesus.

A sign you're growing in grace: God's promises claim you more than you claim them.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Judas Iscariot's Betrayal of Jesus

The betrayal by Judas Iscariot, one of the original disciples of Jesus, is a very scary event that happened (Matthew 26:47-49). There are many dangers that we can learn from, and professing Christians would do well to look at this betrayal closer. I want to highlight four dangers that we can learn from this incident.

1. Secret sin will be made known one day. Judas Iscariot appeared to be a sincere Christian from the outside, he had the very rare privilege of being one of Jesus’ original disciples, yet he betrayed Jesus and showed he was not a true disciple. We must believe that this betrayal did not happen overnight, I don’t believe Judas just decided out of the blue he was going to betray Jesus. I believe it was a slow fade, slowly drifting farther away from Christ. This tells us that we may profess Christ, yet if we are drifting further and further away from Christ without repentance we should be concerned. Public sins are the result of secret sins. A man or woman never falls in public who does not fall in private. Let Judas remind us to beware of secret sins.

2. Some who appear to be disciples of Jesus are not. This is pretty obvious, but I don’t think we talk about this enough in our day. Judas was with Jesus when he walked this earth. This is the best privilege anybody could ever have. People on the outside would have never thought that Judas ended up being an apostate. Let Judas remind us to beware of a false profession of Christ.

3. Some who profess Jesus will part with Him for worldliness. Judas saw Christ do many great things, he saw Jesus heal many, he probably saw him pray, and he saw His great Person daily. Judas knew Jesus was the Son of God, yet he rejected Christ for a little money!  The apostle Paul tells us that the love of money is a tremendous danger, “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:9) Paul also made clear that Demas, once a faithful servant of Jesus, deserted Paul in love with this present world. (2 Tim 4:10) Let Judas remind us to beware of worldliness.

4. Take care that you do not misuse means of grace. I have already said much of the benefits of what Judas had in sitting under the earthly ministry of Jesus. However, we should let this sink into our minds. Just because we sit under good preaching, or are a part of a biblical church does not mean we are necessarily true disciples of Jesus. Judas knew much about Jesus, yet did not make use of the privileges of grace that he was offered. Let Judas remind us to beware of misusing the grace we have received.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Book Review: Counterfeit Gods

This outstanding book written by Tim Keller examines many of the common idols of our day and age. Keller brings conviction to the reader, but thankfully point’s people to the only hope for us, and it is found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. What is an idol? “An idol is something that we look to for things that only God can give.” We often think of idols as bad things, but the truth is idols are often good things that become bad things because of us. Keller explains, “The greater the good, the more likely we are to expect that it can satisfy our deepest needs and hopes.”  

Taking this truth about us, Keller then goes to the Scriptures to illustrate how Bible characters in the past have been deceived by a counterfeit god.  This is my favorite aspect of Tim Keller’s writing; the way he tells a Bible story is phenomenal.  He tells the stories of Abraham and Isaac, Jacob and Rachel, Zacchaeus, Naaman, Nebuchadnezzar, and Jonah. In each story he examines the particular idol in each person’s heart, and in each story he comes back to the death of Christ for freedom from our idols. I was going to give my favorite story in this book, but I can’t come up with one! They all are so good.

Overall I would highly recommend this book, Keller has given us a great resource to identify our idols and take us to the great Savior Jesus. May we say with George Herbert looking at Christ on the Cross, “Thou art my loveliness, my life, my light, Beauty alone to me.”

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Slave of Christ Jesus

In the first verse of the most important book of the Bible, the apostle Paul makes an impressive statement about himself, “Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus” (Romans 1:1). In this one little statement is found volumes. This is what the Christian life is all about, being a slave to One who is worthy of all devotion, obedience, and service.
 One of the things that I have learned over the years is that everyone is a slave to something. The question is not who is a slave; the question is to what are you a slave to?

We can be slaves to the praises of men.
We can be slaves to money.
We can be slaves to pornography.
We can be slaves to power.
We can be slaves to success.
We can be slaves to our own reputation.
We can be slaves to sports.

All of these things promise to bring joy, but ultimately they do not bring true pleasure. The only true pleasures are the pleasures of God. There is hope though, and it is found in the gospel of Jesus. The beauty of the gospel is that it rescues us from finding our joy in this vain world; Jesus paid the price with His own blood, to rescue us from the slavery of sin. “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life” (Romans 6:22).

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Positives and Negatives on "the Sinner's Prayer"

In this post I want to examine what is commonly called the “sinner’s prayer”. The sinner’s prayer is basically (as I understand it) a way to help sinner’s pray to receive Christ, or an example of how to pray to receive Christ. Sometimes the preacher will say, “Repeat after me in your own heart”, or invite people up to the front individually to do the same process. First I want to explain the positives of the sinner’s prayer, and lastly some negatives as well.


The sinner’s prayer encourages people to receive Christ as Savior. As a Christian, I want to see as many people as possible come to faith in Christ and go to heaven to be with Jesus.  I like that this method of evangelism really does try to do that.

The sinner’s prayer encourages people to pray to receive Christ. I say this because nobody will be in heaven who has not asked for salvation.  Everybody must pray to God if they want to be saved, and the sinner’s prayer encourages people to do that.

Many people have come to Christ through hearing the gospel presented this way. I think it’s an excellent way for people to receive Christ who are not familiar with basic truths of Christianity. It also helps people take that first step into exploring the Christian faith.


The sinner’s prayer method of evangelism is not directly taught in Scripture. For example in the book of Acts, we do not see any of the apostles declare that sinner’s must ask Jesus into their heart, or pray a prayer, nor does Jesus ever mention this method. I agree that some verses in Scripture maybe hint at a possible justification of this method, but still it is not openly declared in the Bible, this to me is the biggest problem.

The sinner’s prayer method of evangelism inevitably makes people think that they will be in heaven if they prayed the prayer. For example, after leading people in a prayer, I have often heard pastors say, “Let’s welcome all these people into the kingdom of God”.  Are you kidding me? When did praying a prayer become the standard for entrance into the kingdom of Christ? Will everybody who exercises true faith in Christ enter the kingdom? YES!! Will everybody who prays the prayer enter into the kingdom? No. Why? Because in Matthew 7:21 Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven”. Jesus means that not everyone who professes him will enter the kingdom. It is very dangerous for an evangelist or pastor to make statements like the one above.

The sinner’s prayer method of evangelism indirectly makes people trust in the prayer or their own decision, instead of the work of Christ alone. In Scripture it is clear that one must repent and believe to receive the benefits of the work of Christ in saving sinner’s (Mark 1:15), yet it also true that faith is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). It is clear to me that often when a person does that prayer; they are usually not focused on the work of Christ, but instead on their own decision. And I realize that most pastors would not want people to do this, but the problem is that most people who pray the prayer don’t realize what they are doing. And the problem is that it becomes dangerously close to a works salvation. If God gets 95% of the credit, it is NOT all of grace, and therefore God does not get all of the glory. In Christianity salvation is ALL of grace, and the triune God gets all of the glory!

For more teaching on the sinner’s prayer, I would encourage anybody to listen to Paul Washer’s sermons here

Here is also a very helpful article on this issue. 

I hope this has been helpful, and would love any feedback from you all.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Martyn Lloyd-Jones Interview

Enjoy a rare interview with Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Lloyd-Jones went to be home with Jesus 30 years ago on March 1st, 1981. I love his accent!