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Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.
“There is no better test of our spiritual state and condition than our missionary zeal, our concern for lost souls. That is always the thing that divides people who are just theoretical and intellectual Christians from those who have a living and a vital spiritual life.” -Martyn Lloyd-Jones (Romans – God’s Sovereign Purpose)
In 2012 well, I went to Constance (Konstanz) in the South West corner of Germany to visit sites of historical importance to the Reformation. My plan was to of course visit the impeccable Constance munster (cathedral), John Huss (Jan Hus) museum and memorial stone. Or so I thought. As you may imagine the city of Constance always has its jaw dropping surprises and humorous detours. No wonder John Huss was short changed in that infamous Council of Constance by the Emperor Sigismund.
As I took in the nostalgic natural and ancient delights of this mesmerizing lake side University city guess who I stumbled upon again? Yup, that controversial Emperor Sigismund has had a statue of himself made. Well believe me it’s not a flattering one though. It is as controversial as it’s own colorful infamy.
Imagine walking down a peaceful foot path with park benches lining the sides of a clear lake harbor. A flower garden gives you a warm bear like hug from behind and thrusting you forward to catch the hue of the sun hidden behind the Spring time cloud line over the Lake Constance. There as you are intoxicated by the glory of the natural beauty of creation with no care in the world and just as you are about to take a nice cool sip of juice. There just before you can say “John Huss” There before you even can say “gesundheit”. There as you …Read More!
Is there a God? Is He sitting some where twiddling His thumbs or biting His finger nails as the world spirals into debauchery? Ever fancied taking a peek over His shoulder and catching Him taking a cat nap or slumped over in a yoga- pose with legs helplessly inter twined? Calvinism is associated with Reformed Theology the Theological system associated with the Reformer John Calvin that emphasizes and underlines the vitally important truth that God is in control of all things, not man; that God is the source of salvation; and that men and women can do nothing to save themselves. It emphasises our total dependence as guilty sinners on the mercy and grace of God for salvation. The Father chose a people, the Son died for them, the Holy Spirit makes Christ’s death effective by bringing the elect to faith and repentance, thereby causing them to willingly obey the gospel. The entire process (election, redemption, regeneration) is the work of God and is by grace alone. Thus God, not man, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation. Read More
Going through my old mail (this article was first run in 2011) I came across a copy of one of the hardest letters I have ever come to write. I have edited the particulars and specifics but featured the letter in it’s entirety. I have featured it not to cause any malice but to perhaps help somebody who may be in a similar situation. When breaking fellowship with a church that is digressing from orthodoxy, it is never easy especially after you have been a devout member. I thank God for the journey I have come through, without which I would not have known his providence and grace.
Dear Pastor XX,
Warmest summer greetings to you and your family. The last six or seven months have been a period of soul searching and re-evaluation of our own lives, our family and church visions in light of the Gospel. Read More
“Remember the perfections of that God whom you worship, that he is a Spirit, and therefore to be worshipped in spirit and truth; and that he is most great and terrible, and therefore to be worshipped with seriousness and reverence, and not to be dallied with, or served with toys or lifeless lip-service; and that he is most holy, pure, and jealous, and therefore to be purely worshipped; and that he is still present with you, and all things are naked and open to him with whom we have to do. The knowledge of God, and the remembrance of his all-seeing presence, are the most powerful means against hypocrisy.”
― Richard Baxter
An excerpt from the missions book Warfare Prayer:
Is it possible for a missionary’s zeal to dwindle and spiritual life go dry? Not only is it possible, it will become a painful reality unless deliberate steps are taken to avoid this peril. One of the enduring misconceptions about missionaries is that they are super-saints, entirely immune from the doubts, temptations, fears, struggles, and sins that plague everyone else. Not only are we encumbered with the common burdens of all believers, but these trials are even more exacerbated on the mission field…
Pray that your missionaries will maintain daily, intimate fellowship with The Lord. Our spiritual life and ministry depend on it. ~ David Sitton
Free missions book courtesy of To Every Tribe ministries and David Sitton: Warfare Prayer ebook here.
When it comes to missionaries to South East Asia or rather India in particular William Carey, a shoemaker by trade is the first name that springs up. Born in England in 1761 he spent an active forty-one years serving the Lord in India, including translating the Scriptures. This was after being heckled,”Young man, sit down: when God pleases to covert the heathen, He will do it without your aid or mine.”
To know what William believed I will let this excerpt unfold the story:
William Carey’s greatest contribution to the modern missions movement was his trust in the sovereignty of God in missions. This fueled his zeal to reach the heathen with the gospel. In his youth, he was told to sit down by an elder brother, a hyper-Calvinist, who told him that when God wanted to reach the heathen He would do it without him or Carey. Carey’s Calvinism however, his theological understanding of God’s sovereignty and the responsibility of man, would not allow him to either doubt God’s sovereignty or neglect his responsibility. Read More…
There is a video clip of a pastor who seems to be unleashing extra ordinary waves of powers into an emotionally charged congregation with a slight swing of a finger and a swerve of an arm. In some circles such a man is given the almighty title ‘mighty man of God’ placing him above any pastor in the land and becomes the linch pin for any ‘revival service’. For it is then believed that he has reached a higher echelon of power. The preacher’s worthiness becomes the virtue on to which the congregation clings to so as to per chance swing the pendulum of fate and fortune in their own lives.
Such preachers are suave and charismatic and very winsome and convincing in their trade. Once they have amassed a sizeable congregation, they sneakily put their bibles far aside as they go to great lengths to mesmerise and entertain. But once they make you their convert you become seven times worse emotionally, financially and spiritually – you sadly become more faithful and dependant on them for answers to your prayers than to God.
Martin Luther once said on prayer that:
Some say, “I would feel better about God hearing my prayer if I were more worthy and lived a better life.” I simply answer: If you don’t want to pray before you feel that you are worthy or qualified, then you will never pray again. Prayer must not be based on or depend on your personal worthiness or the quality of the prayer itself; rather, it must be based on the unchanging truth of God’s promise. If the prayer is based on itself or on anything else besides God’s promise, then it’s a false prayer that deceives you—even if your heart is breaking with intense devotion and you are weeping drops of blood.
We pray because we are unworthy to pray. Our prayers are heard precisely because we believe that we are unworthy. We become worthy to pray when we risk everything on God’s faithfulness alone.
So go ahead and feel unworthy. But know in your heart that it’s a thousand times more important to honor God’s truthfulness.
Oh how the words of some hymns just linger in the recesses of your mind and nourish you with rich spiritual truths. Today I will feature the first two verses and the last verse of William Cowper’s hymn ‘There is a fountain filled with blood’
There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains…
The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away… …Read More!
Why do so-called Christians forsake the pure wine of Gospel joy for the adulterated poison which the whore of the world smilingly holds out to them in her golden chalice? Is it because the message of the Gospel, which once sparkled in the preached Word, and furnished comfort to mourners, has now gone stale? Or has that stream of spiritual joy which has run through the lives of saints for so many generations, without mingling with the world’s polluted pleasures, at last fallen into them and lost its divine nature? No, the Gospel stays the same. . . and the joy it brings is as refreshing and restoring as it has always been. It will be lovely as long as God and Christ continue to be life, for it flows and is fed from their heart.
The problem is not in the Scripture; it lies in those who say they hold to it. Those who insist that they obey this Gospel are not like holy men and women of earlier times. The world has grown callous, and men’s priorities and affections have chilled and become cold. Our palate is no longer chaste; it no longer prefers the heavenly foods served in the Gospel. The cheer is as lively as ever but the guests are as deadened by constant contact with the world. We have grown debauched in our judgments and corrupt in our principles; no wonder that our joys are carnal.
Error is a whore that lures the heart away from Christ and His spiritual joys. Once the mind is confused by error and begins to malign the truth, it affects the heart, poisoning it with carnal joys. Here, then, is the root of the misery of our times. ..Read More!
Look around in the world, and you may see some in every place who are objects of pity, bereaved by sad accidents of all the comforts of life, while in the meantime Providence has tenderly preserved you .- John Flavel
On the perseverance of the saints…
Psa 138:8 The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Ecc 3:14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him.
Isa 46:4 even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.
Jer 32:40 I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.
Rom 11:29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
Phi 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
2Ti 4:18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safety into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Of all whom he has called and brought to Christ, none will be lost
Joh 6:39-40 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
Joh 10:27-29 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
Rom 8:28-31 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? …Read More!
Many missionaries learn of God’s wonderful providence in times of difficulty and more so in financial difficulty. David Sitton shares in his free book on how to pray and support missionaries Warfare Prayer:
Financial anxiety increases with the sudden drop of support. Every missionary has gotten the “Dear John” letter explaining why support is being discontinued. One such letter I received had a final check and a hand scribbled note explaining that it was no longer financially feasible to invest in the ministry, as the parking lot of the church building needed re-paving.
My missionary mentor, Joe Cannon, encouraged us during tough financial times by saying: “Check and see if the sparrows have eaten today. As long as they eat, we eat. When God quits feeding the sparrows, missionaries will become extinct.” How true that is. Yet, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Dependence upon God and his daily provision is a wonderful way to live. ~David Sitton
Luke 12:6-7: Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
In this day and age when kids think being a missionary and going into all the world is dressing up like an Avenger or Captain America or one of those Marvel comic characters and busting a few skulls in the process makes you realise there’s a whole lot of teaching to be unlearned and re-learned the right way.
Needless to say Scripture is clear when it explains God’s desire for his church to participate in global evangelism (Matt 28:18-20, Acts 1:8) and take the good news of the gospel to the ends of the world. Scripture is equally clear in explaining God’s desire for his people to train up their children in his ways (Deut 11:18–21, 32:46, Prov 22:6; Isa 38:19; Eph 6:4; 2 Tim 1:5, 3:14–15).
Mike Pettengill has written an article on how to engage the youth from an early age to understand missions. For the expansion of Christ’s kingdom, it is vital that the youth in our churches be taught about God’s passion for the lost and that he desires his disciples to reach out to non-believers and teach them about the grace and mercy of Christ.
Here are seven ways (adapted from Mike) on how your church can reach the kids of your congregation and teach them about the importance of world missions:
1. Study Missionary Biographies
In your children’s church and youth groups, include a series of stories about the great missionaries of the past. Tell your kids about the incredible missionaries who have served in the name of the Lord. Revere the martyrs and laborers who sacrificed for God. Let the youth see how these great servants were not super-Christians, but simply obedient Christians. Have the youth study, write, and report on their favorite missionaries of today and the past.
2. Video Conference With Missionaries
Help the children of your church get to know missionaries by asking missionaries to use video conferencing technology to talk directly to your Sunday school or VBS classes. Take a few minutes to interview the missionaries and their kids and let the kids of your church ask questions that interest them. Help your youth to get to know the missionaries your church is supporting and praying for. Allow the kids to learn missionaries are normal people just like they are.
3. Study Biblical Missions
Make concerted efforts to regularly study what Scripture says about the relationship between the church and missions. Help your youth understand missions and evangelism are central themes throughout the Bible. Train the kids of your church to see missions was on the heart of God from the beginning of time and that it is a command every church is to follow. Learn about biblical missionaries like Abraham, Jonah and Paul and study how God used average disciples to accomplish amazing things. …Read More!
“Christ can soften hearts which seem as hard as the millstone. He can bend stubborn wills which have long been set on self-pleasing, sin and the world. He can create, transform, renew, break down, build and quicken with irresistible power. There are no incurable cases with Christ. Let us never despair about the salvation of others for as long as we live. Let us name them before the Lord day and night and cry to Him on their behalf.” J.C. Ryle
One of the most important questions for a Christian after where will I spend eternity and whom shall I marry is what church shall I attend? Well of course if you just need a joint where to spend Sunday morning ‘s hang over then you may as well a steer away from this site. Steer far away.
I was recently asked by a friend how to choose a good church. To be honest it is a head ache. Possibly a migraine of a decision. With the plethora of churches on the high street these days one needs a lot of prayerful patience. You probably won’t find a perfect church but a good solid Biblical church with sound doctrine is indeed a God send. There’s More
“If you ask me how you may shorten your sermons, I should say, STUDY THEM BETTER. Spend more time in the study that you may need less in the pulpit. …Read More!
Is the truth that which I imagine to be revealed to me by some private communication? Am I to fancy that I enjoy some special Revelation and am I to order my life by voices, dreams and impressions? Brothers and Sisters, fall not into this common delusion! God’s Word to us is in Holy Scripture. All the Truth that sanctifies men is in God’s Word! Do not listen to those who cry, “Lo here!” and, “Lo there!” I am plucked by the sleeve almost every day by crazy persons and pretenders who think that they have Revelations from God. One man tells me that God has sent a message to me by him—and I reply, “No, Sir, the Lord knows where I dwell and He is so near to me that He would not need to send to me by you.” Another man announces, in God’s name, a dogma which, on the face of it, is a lie against the Holy Spirit. He says the Spirit of God told him so-and-so, but we know that the Holy Spirit never contradicts Himself. If your imaginary Revelation is not according to this Word of God, it has no weight with us! And if it is according to this Word, it is no new thing! …Read More!
We must not concentrate overmuch upon our feelings. Do not spend too much time feeling your own pulse taking your own spiritual temperature, do not spend too much time analyzing your feelings. That is the high road to morbidity.—Martyn Lloyd-Jones. (Spiritual Depression)
This is an excerpt from a Table Talk (TT) magazine interview with an African pastor (Conrad Mbewe) of Kabwata Baptist Church in Zambia…
TT: What are two important lessons that Western Christians can learn from the African church?
CM: Western civilization has lost a lot of its interpersonal virtues. It has become overly individualized—if you see what I mean. Issues like hospitality, respect for authority and the elderly, being more people-conscious than time-conscious, and so on are largely lost. This has affected not only the society generally but Christians as well.
Western Christians have filled their lives with too many things (toys?) that have robbed them of eternal perspectives. Electronic gadgets, holidays, sports, recreation, and so on have almost become idols. Even church must be about having fun.
God brings different seasons in our lives to teach us different lessons. There are times of joy, plentifulness and happiness and there are also times of difficulty and trials where our most immediate cry is almost”Lord, how long?”
This is an excerpt from an article of a man who learnt of the comfort that only comes from the God of all comfort when he and his family went through a very tough time:
I had known throughout my ministry, of course, that God comforts His own. I had taught about the ministry of the Holy Spirit, our paraclete, who was sent by Christ to help us. And I had seen that the reading of the Bible brings solace to sorrowing hearts and peace to those in great turmoil.
But now my wife and I are experiencing God’s comfort for ourselves. In the months since Elsie’s stroke, we have known daily the comfort of the Savior, the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the precious Word of God…
The faith of the Christian should grow stronger in times of trial and trouble. Trials have a way of digging up the soil of our hearts and turning up weeds. That is good for us, for it is not in the sunshine but in the storm that we discover the depth of our need. Someone has said, Great soldiers are not made in the barracks nor on the parade ground, but on the battlefield where the going is tough.
Trials provide opportunities for us to get to know God better. In his epistle to the Colossians, Paul assured the Christians that he was praying for them on a regular basis. Included in the list of things for which he prayed was the request that they might be increasing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10). Paul knew that one of the secrets to a full and blessed life is getting to know God better.
A few words of encouragement from a man who has seen many days go by. So, when Jim Sayers stops to give you a few tips on starting out in ministry then you had better take notes.
Here are seven of Jim’s fifteen tips for starting well as a pastor:
Consider how much you owe to his forgiving grace, that after ten thousand affronts he loves you as infinitely as ever; and after a myriad sins, his Spirit still resides within you. Consider what you owe to his power; how he has raised you from your death in sin how he has preserved your spiritual life, how he has kept you from falling, and how, though a thousand enemies have beset your path, you have been able to hold on your way! Consider what thou owest to his immutablity. Though thou hast changed a thousand times, he has not changed once; though thou hast shifted thy intentions, and thy will, yet has he not once swerved from his eternal purpose, but still has held thee fast. Consider thou art as deep in debt as thou canst be to every attribute of God. To God thou owest thyself, and all thou hast. “Brethren, we are debtors.”
Spurgeon, Charles H. Spurgeon’s Sermons. Vol. 2. The Christian, A Debtor. August 10, 1856.
If God is for us, who can be against us?
Do not be discouraged at the difficulties and oppositions that will rise up before you when you begin resolvedly to walk with God. Discouragements turn multitudes from religion, and provide a great temptation for many young beginners to turn back. Israel in the wilderness was ready to retreat to Egypt. God himself will have his servants and his graces tried and exercised by difficulties, and Satan, will quickly raise up storms before us, as soon as we are set out to sea.
But God is on your side and has all your enemies in his hand, and can rebuke them, or destroy them in a moment. O what is the breath or
fury of dust or devils, against the Lord Almighty! In the day you entered into a covenant with God, and he with you, you entered into the most impregnable rock and fortress, and covered yourself in a castle of defence, where you may (modestly) defy all adverse powers of earth
or hell. If God cannot save you, he is not God. …Read More!
It’s the 21st century now and it’s been awhile since we heard of nation wide outpourings of a sense of conviction over sin and a turning to the Lord in revival. It almost feels like no body prays for revival any more.
Speaking of which I recently went to Wales. Yes … the land of the Welsh revival of 1904! Oh yes again… I also had an opportunity to visit a church with an interesting historical root – the church at Blaenannerch. It’s pronounced differently by the Welsh and markedly differently by the English – Pahaha. Please just don’t ask me to explain.
Well, it is quite sobering what happened in that year in Wales. Listen to this account…
Thousands of people were saved. Public houses became almost empty. Men and women who used to waste their money getting drunk were now saving it and giving it to the church. They were using their money to buy clothes and food for their families.
Stealing and other offences became less and less. Often a magistrate came to court and found that there were no cases for him to try.
Men who blasphemed learned to talk purely. The miners put in a better day’s work but the pit ponies could not understand what had happened to the miners as they spoke to them more kindly. They were so used to being sworn at that they became disobedient!
People who had been careless about paying their bills or paying back money they had borrowed gave back all they owed.
David Livingstone gave his life to serve Christ in the exploration of Africa for the sake of the access of the gospel.
Here is what Livingstone said to the Cambridge students about his “leaving” the benefits of England:
For my own part, I have never ceased to rejoice that God has appointed me to such an office. People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. . . . Is that a sacrifice which brings its own blest reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter? …Read More!
“It wasn’t the half-naked woman breastfeeding her baby on one breast that captured my attention. Rather, it was the piglet munching down on the other breast that stunned me into silence.”
So begins David Sitton’s autobiography, and I must say that the tone of that first sentence captures the tenor of the book. Reckless Abandon is a the summary of Sitton’s 35 years as a church planter among unreached people groups in Papua New Guinea, with a few forays into México (and one pit-stop in Minneapolis). The introduction explains that for Christians there is no such thing as a risk, because the worst-case scenario to all of our actions is death (“airmailed to Jesus” is Sitton’s phrase), and the rest of that book demonstrates this kamikaze world view.
If Jesus is worth more than our lives, then we should be willing to face death to take the gospel to the nations. What would a person’s life look like if they a) actually believed that, and b) actually lived that out? Reckless Abandon provides a good answer to that question. Sitton labors among the most difficult to reach groups in PNG, capitulates home to get a wife, returns to PNG until he gets expelled, then recapitulates to the states to start a lifetime of tourist visas. Reading this book made my passport feel tired.
Some one once said George Whitefield preached a pure gospel, a powerful gospel and a passionate gospel. He was a man of deep prayer, tremendous spiritual fortitude with a burdened heart, burning lips and brimming eyes. A contemporary of Jonathan Edwards and John Wesley, he was an English Anglican preacher who spent most of his life spreading the gospel by preaching in open air and was one of the major instruments of God used in the Great Awakening in Britain and the United States.
He drew great crowds when he preached to people from all walks of life. From a lordly chamber heavy with the pungent aroma of costly perfumes, Whitefield would race off to a street meeting. Catch his joy as he says, “There I was honored with having stones, dirt, rotten eggs, and pieces of dead cats thrown at me.”
Now it’s possible to download read and study atleast 59 George Whitefield sermons either as a kindle ebook, pdf or EPub.
“Fathers and mothers are the most natural agents for God to use in the salvation of their children. I am sure that, in my early youth, no teaching ever made such an impression upon my mind as the instruction of my mother. Neither can I conceive that, to any child, there can be one who will have such influence over the young heart as the mother who has so tenderly cared for her offspring. A man with a soul so dead as not to be moved by the sacred name of ‘mother’ is creation’s blot. Never could it be possible for any man to estimate what he owes to a godly mother. Certainly I have not the powers of speech with which to set forth my valuation of the choice blessing which the Lord bestowed on me in making me the son of one who prayed for me, and prayed with me. How can I ever forget her tearful eye when she warned me to escape the wrath to come? Read more of this post
So, did Pastor Ulrich Zwingli (the Reformer) die hacking and water boarding enemy soldiers in battle as some snidely suggest? I will leave that bit of history for the urban myth busters to refute. However today we will go through the Heinrich Bullinger’s account of the day Zwingli died.
On the battlefield, not far from the line of attack, Mr. Ulrich Zwingli lay under the dead and wounded. While men were looting . . . he was still alive, lying on his back, with his hands together as if he was praying, and his eyes looking upwards to heaven. So some approached who did not know him and asked him, since he was so weak and close to death (for he had fallen in combat and was stricken with a mortal wound), whether a priest should be fetched to hear his confession. …Read More!
This note was written while Charles Spurgeon was in Venice. We all love Spurgeon for his impeccable use of the English vocabulary. This note to his wife when he was being plagued by mosquitoes will make you see the human and mortal side of the Spurgeon as he battles the mundane. This should be a light hearted read for you…please do not laugh (well enjoy it whichever way)
6 a.m.—I awake grateful for another night’s peaceful rest, only to find myself very badly bitten by mosquitoes. A mosquito is the most terrible of beasts. A lion delights in blood, but he does not suck it from living animals; he does not carefully prolong their tortures. A viper poisons, but he is generally content with one use of his fangs; but these small-winged serpents bite in scores of places in succession.
My hands are a series of burning mountains. The creatures are as nearly omnipresent as Satan, which means that, though a mosquito cannot be everywhere, yet no mortal can be sure that he is not near him, or tell where he is not. Curtains are a delusion, pastilles are a snare; the little enemies are irritated by such attempts to escape their malice, and give you double punishment. O Italy! I have shed my blood for thy sake, and feel a love of thee (or something else) burning in my veins!
In Christian theology, cessationism is the view that the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as tongues, prophecy and healing, ceased being practiced early on in Church history. Cessationists usually believe the miraculous gifts were given only for the foundation of the Church, during the time between the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, c. AD 33 (see Acts 2) and the fulfillment of God’s purposes in history, usually identified as either the completion of the last book of the New Testament or the death of the last Apostle.Cessationists are divided into four main groups: Read More
Walk into a modern church and tell the women to come back the next sunday with hats and fancy head covering and you will have started a fad. But any one reading through 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 will always ask what is the head covering Paul is talking about and does it apply to us today? Well a couple of views:
The following ‘exegesis’ (if we can call it that) is really no more than an attempt to wrestle with the major hermeneutical-pragmatic double question of this passage, viz., what is the head covering and in what sense is this text applicable today?
There are several views in vogue on the text, but within evangelicalism three or four come readily to mind:
O that the Lord would be pleased to pass by some of you at this time! O that he may call you by his Spirit, and make you a willing people in this day of his power! For I know my calling will not do, unless he, by his efficacious grace, compel you to come in. O that you once felt what it is to receive Jesus Christ into your hearts! You would soon, like Zaccheus, give him everything. You do not love Christ, because you do not know him; you do not come to him, because you do not feel your want of him: you are whole, and not broken hearted; you are not sick, at least not sensible of your sickness; and, therefore, no wonder you do not apply to Jesus Christ, that great, that almighty physician. You do not feel yourselves lost, and therefore do not seek to be found in Christ. O that God would wound you with the sword of his Spirit, and cause his arrows of conviction to stick deep in your hearts!
When we have young children going into teenage or young adults at church it’s not un often that the topic of modesty comes up. Some say women must dress modestly so as not to stumble the weaker ones (read brothers). Either way – its good you are reading this article as this is a good opportunity to reflect on a couple of things. Modesty is an issue that should be looked at with alot of seriousness and thoughtfulness both by women and men.
Tom Hicks when writing about this prickly issue actually highlights 5 important points as he cautions on modesty.
I recently read an article about modesty that prompted me to write this post. The article says that women, particularly young women, should dress modestly to keep their brothers from stumbling into sin. I’ve talked that way in the past, and I’ve even taught it, but I’ve come to believe that it’s not helpful. Biblical modesty is really about humility and the glory of God.
1. Modesty as Humility. Often when Christians speak of modesty, they speak in terms of dress, but in reality, modesty is about not “showing off” any of your attractive qualities in words or deeds. It’s about refusing to set yourself above others and refusing to draw attention to yourself as an end. Modesty means not bragging about our work accomplishments, not showing off how intelligent we are, or even how “godly” we are, and it also means not showing off our physical bodies. Modesty means that we regard others as more important than ourselves and refuse to make ourselves out to look better than others.
2. Modesty is a Matter of the Gospel. Because of Christ’s imputed righteousness, we don’t have anything to prove to anyone. We are clothed in His holy robes of perfect obedience, which means we don’t have to grasp for the high opinions of men, the attraction of others, or for feelings of superiority over them. As believers in Jesus, we already have Him and all things in Him. Jesus says we will inherit the earth. We are seated in the heavenly places with Christ. God says we are “righteous” and that we are His “sons.” It really doesn’t matter what others say or think about us and it doesn’t matter whether others desire us. God wants us. He accepts us freely. Therefore, we can be modest.
I am currently reading a rare and out of print 1993 book that was kindly given to me by a retired pastor and I have reached the interesting section on ‘church discipline’. Indeed my coffee cup is filled to the brim and I am sprawling on a tiny chair as I indulge in savory words of virtue and wisdom. Okay lets back track a bit -church discipline -this of course is a delicate issue facing any congregation of Christians:
On one hand, believers are sensitive to the claims of truth on the conscience. They are further aware that truth is for the purpose of promoting godliness. Consequently, sin is to be taken seriously, and discipline when necessary, is to be administered according to the gravity of the offense in question. ‘If your brother sins,’ says our Lord, ‘correct him.’ (Matt 18:15).
On the other hand, Christians are aware that the truth has not been entrusted to the church in abstraction from the welfare of the people who are recipients of that truth.
If sin is exposed and corrected, it is only to the end that Christ may be glorified by the recovery and restoration of his errant sheep (cf James 5:19-20). The problem of church discipline, accordingly resides in the BALANCE of the truth and love of people… Read More!
Quoting John Newton:
Do you ask how it is with me? Just as the weather is this morning. My heart is cold as the snow under foot, and cloudy as the sky over my head. Not a beam of sunshine, but it is a mercy to have daylight. It will not be always winter, though it has been a long winter with me. We want a revival at Olney both for the shepherd and the sheep. Yet my mouth is not stopped. I can sometimes talk loud and look big in the pulpit, but how different a creature am I behind the scenes! Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord!
“I had sooner die than live to be such a being as many who stand up in the pulpit wholly to waste people’s time and not to win souls!” – Charles Spurgeon
This is quite interesting….
HT: Rated R for Reformed.
Ah, souls! when you shall lie upon a dying bed, and stand before a judgment-seat, sin shall be unmasked, and its dress and robes shall then be taken off, and then it shall appear more vile, filthy, and terrible than hell itself; then, that which formerly appeared most sweet will appear most bitter, and that which appeared most beautiful will appear most ugly, and that which appeared most delightful will then appear most dreadful to the soul.
~ Thomas Brooks, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices
Perhaps up to 800 years of Adam’s 930 (Gen 5: 5) were spent watching human culture deteriorate from the perfection that he and Eve once enjoyed. He experienced the heartbreak of a murdered son and of another being a castaway (Gen 4: 15-16). His heart was grieved as he witnessed his descendants sliding deeper into a culture of “sexual immorality, impurity , sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies” (Gal 5: 19-21). What a contrast to that perfect pre-sin wholesome culture of “love, joy, peace , patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5: 22-23)!
It is therefore no wonder that when one preaches the gospel to the ultra modern millenial or the most savage unreached tribe and they come to a realisation of their helpless state, both are anxious to free themselves from their degraded cultural practices. The light of the gospel brings them hope.
Oh how wonderful it is to hear that even though we like sheep have gone astray, each one in his own way -the Lord has laid on Christ the iniquity of us all.
By Charles Spurgeon
An evil is in the professed camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most shortsighted can hardly fail to notice it during the past few years. It has developed at an abnormal rate, even for evil. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments. The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them. Read More
It is not that often that televangelists and faith healers open their doors and have their theology and doctrinal practices tested against the standard of scripture. More often than not these offices always come shrouded in mystery and sadly mysticism. However a brave Chris Rosebrough managed to get an interview with Brian Powers a popular televangelist and faith healer and they decided to go through some honest doctrinal issues.
Tony-Allen Cucolo writes an interesting summary of common responses when most of these “hyper” anointed men are confronted with scripture.
- A complete and utter inability to answer any direct question (here especially regarding the Trinity, his personal sin, etc.), usually going off on another tangent instead.
- A double standard in regards to accusing someone of harping on doctrine (eg., Trinity), while at the same time accusing others of violating Christian doctrine (eg., Charismatic Gifts of the Spirit).
- Almost zero knowledge of church history.
“Be very sure of this–people never reject the Bible because they cannot understand it. They understand it too well; they understand that it condemns their own behavior; they understand that it witnesses against their own sins, and summons them to judgment. They try to believe it is false and useless, because they don’t like to believe it is true. An evil lifestyle must always raise an objection to this book. Men question the truth of Christianity because they hate the practice of it.” – J. C. Ryle
Having faith in God and putting your trust in Him involves trusting Him for your salvation and through your sanctification. Your sanctification is for His glory and for your good through times and situations you do not understand. More times than not there will be tough times; occasions when the proverbial thorn remains in your side and He will not take it away. In such times where do you draw your strength from? Our trust should always be in The Sovereign God knowing that what God ordains is always good for me for His glory. In the words of Nancy Guthrie…
Some claim that strong faith is defined by throwing our energies into begging God for a miracle that will take away our suffering and then believing without doubting that he will do it. But faith is not measured by our ability to manipulate God to get what we want, it is measured by our willingness to submit to what he wants. It takes great faith to say to God, ” Even if you don’t heal me or the one I love, even if you don’t change my circumstances, even if you don’t restore my relationship, even if you allow me to lose what is most precious to me, I will still love you and obey you and believe that you are good. – Nancy Guthrie (Hearing Jesus Speak Into your Sorrow) …Read More!
Quoting Richard Sibbes:
This bruising is required before conversion that so the Spirit may make way for himself into the heart by leveling all proud, high thoughts, and that we may understand ourselves to be what indeed we are by nature. We love to wander from ourselves and to be strangers at home, till God bruises us by one cross or other, and then we `begin to think’, and come home to ourselves with the prodigal (Luke 15:17). It is a very hard thing to bring a dull and an evasive heart to cry with feeling for mercy. Our hearts, like criminals, until they be beaten from all evasions, never cry for the mercy of the judge. …Read More!
We live in days of abounding religious profession. There are more places of public worship than there ever was before. There are more people attending them than there ever was before. And yet in spite of all this public religion, I believe there is a vast neglect of private prayer. It is one of those private transcripts between God and our souls which no eye sees, and therefore one which people are tempted to pass over and leave undone.
I believe that hundreds of thousands never utter a word of prayer at all. They eat. They drink. They sleep. They rise. They go forth to their work. They return to their homes. They breathe God’s air. They travel on God’s earth. They enjoy God’s mercies. They have dying bodies. They have judgment and eternity before them. But they never speak to God. They live like the animals that perish. They behave like creatures without souls. They have not one word to say to Him in whose hand are their life and breath, and all things, and from whose mouth they must one day receive their everlasting sentence. How dreadful this seems; but if the secrets of men were only known, how common.