Monday, October 31, 2011

Praying for Renewal

From Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival:

  • Pray that Jesus Christ will become the first love in each other
  • Pray that you will have an increased desire t read and obey God's Word and to Worship Him
  • Pray that any outstanding conflicts would be resolved
  • Pray that any family conflicts represented in your group will be reconciled
  • Pray that you you would be set free from any bitterness, anger, and worry, and that each life would be characterized by love, forgiveness, and God-centered trust
  • Pray that each one will cultivate a habit of turning to God first when faced with any kind of trial
  • Pray that God will renew your minds
  • Pray that each member of your group would experience true revival as you "Seek Him" together in the days ahead.
These topics for remind me of Psalm 24:1-6.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


One of the disciplines of the Christian life is prayer. One of the methods for prayer is called the “scripture text method”. This particular method uses a section of scripture to pray through the subjects that the text brings up.

The following is an example of this method using John 17:11-24. This particular passage comes from Jesus’ high priestly prayer in John’s gospel. The following is a guide that helps you pray through this text. Each subject given to pray for is based upon one or more of the verses in the passage. I would encourage you to read the whole chapter and then use this guide during your personal prayer time this week.
  • Pray for believers to live a Christ-like character before the world (17:11)
  • Pray that Christians will experience the complete joy of Jesus in their lives (17:13)
  • Pray for divine protection from Satan (17:15)
  • Pray that believers will live set apart and holy lives in Christ (17:17)
  • Pray for Christians to be united in mission and purpose (17:20-21)
  • Pray that believers will join Christ in His redemptive work and behold his glory (17:24)
This particular resource for prayer comes out of a little booklet entitled Prayer Prompts for Prayer Groups provided by our Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.

In the foyer area of our sanctuary, there is a bookcase. On that bookcase are several different kinds of resources to help you on your Christian journey with Jesus. I hope that you will avail yourself to any of these resources. They are free--use them for your own walk, get an extra one to give to a friend, or whatever--

2 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Justification by Faith

I was reading through an old sermon this afternoon and found this quote by Albert Barnes on the doctrine of justification:

"What is justification? It is the declared purpose of God to regard and treat those sinners who believe in Jesus Christ as if they had not sinned, on the ground of the merits of the Savior. It is not mere pardon. Pardon is a free forgiveness of past offenses. It has reference to those sins as forgiven and blotted out. Justification has respect to the law, and to God's future dealings with the sinner. It is an act by which God determines to treat him hereafter as righteous--as if he had not sinned. The basis for this is the merit of the Lord Jesus Christ, merit that we can plead as if it were our own. He has taken our place and died in our stead; He has met the descending stroke of justice, which would have fallen on our own heads if He had not interposed."

Monday, October 3, 2011

Does Doctrine Matter?

Yes, absolutely...and here is an article demonstrating why...

"Light up the Darkness" (outline from Sunday's message)

Philippians 2:12-16
Light Up the Darkness
October 2, 2011
  1. Introduction
    1. 2 exhortations based upon the call in 1:27-2:4 and the example of Christ in 2:5-11
    2. Paul makes his appeal to the church at Philippi based upon his affection for them; could have made it based upon apostolic authority, but chose not to - “my beloved” - my dear friends
    3. in these exhortations he calls for their obedience, not to himself but to Jesus
  2. Work out what God Works in (2:12-13)
    1. “work out” - carry out to the goal; carry something to its logical conclusion
      1. “your own salvation” - personal appeal to each member of the Philippians w/ the understanding that this “working out” will be manifested among the congregation of the people
        1. “salvation” - 3 aspects: past, present, & future
          1. Justification; sanctification; glorification
          2. ‘sanctification’ is referred to here - process whereby the Spirit of God takes the word of God and transforms us to be like the son of God;
          3. evidenced by the present tense verb “work out” that carries w/ it the idea of continuous action - “keep on working out”
          4. the ground of our sanctification is our justification--must not miss this truth
      2. “with fear & trembling” - appeals to the Philippians for them to remember their own personal weaknesses in this process; reminder of our inability to do this on our own
    2. appeal to “work out” is not a self-effort/pull yourself up by your bootstrap mentality, v. 13 - “for it is God who works in you” - cf. 1:6
      1. the basis for our being able to work out is the reality of God working in us through his HS
      2. “work” - refers to possessing the energy to accomplish something; that which enables a person to do something--it is the divine activity in our life that produces the divine enablement in our life
        1. the means of this working - Word of God & the HS
          1. Ephesians 6:17 - “the word of God which is the sword of the Spirit”
          2. Hebrews 4:12-13 - For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
        2. the effects of this working of God in us
          1. “to will” - thoughtful purposeful choice; gets to the level of our very desires; the effect of God’s work in us is the changing/transforming of our desires to conform to his will through the work of the Word & the HS
          2. “to work (do)” - refers to the energy & ability to do what God desires for us to do; to in fact do what pleases him - “for his good pleasure”--
            1. Galatians 2:20 - I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
            2. Philippians 4:13
    3. Our “working out” is the faithful & obedient response to what God works into us; it is our application in obedience to what the HS accomplishes in us through the transformation of our character
      1. B/c of the fall, our “will” (our want to; that thing in us that desires) is broken & defective;
        1. God turns our will (continues to change it) and works in us the desire to do his will; then he enables us & empowers us to obey his will; our obedience to his will is the carrying out to completion what God works into our lives
        2. apart from the HS enabling, we could not “work out” what God works in
        3. John 15:5 - “apart from me you can do nothing” - abiding
    4. Illustration: solving equations - give examples; give instructions; give steps to solving equations; ask questions to make sure the students’ understand it; then when it comes quiz or test time, they see an equation, they can apply what they have learned, what has been worked into their brain
      1. in a similar way, God works into our lives the truths of His word through teaching, instruction, & example; the HS not only instructs but also enables us to obey--to apply the truth that God has worked in us
    5. As God works in us & we respond in obedience to that work by applying to our daily lives, we experience spiritual growth, victory over sin, & a closer walk with the Lord
    6. Notice the 2nd exhortation Paul gives...
  3. Do all things without grumbling or questioning (2:14-16)
    1. exhortation may be in reference to the situation between Euodia and Syntyche (4:2) and their quarrel & also a more pressing reminder of the general instructions given in 1:27b & 2:2-4 w/ respect to the spiritual unity of the church & the example of humble servant hood that Jesus modeled
    2. “grumbling” or “questioning” - complaining & disputing & murmuring; attitude of disgruntleness & questioning what is true; carries over into a mentality of “criticism”
      1. mind is immediately drawn to the Israelites in the wilderness in Numbers--no water; no food; no meat
      2. We are all susceptible to this disposition at times; no wonder Paul talked about humility right before this exhortation
    3. One place this seems to show up particularly w/ respect to our witness as Christians
      1. How we treat waiters & waitresses at restaurants
  4. 4 reasons/purposes behind these exhortations - 3 of the 4 purposes have to do with the Philippians’ and our witness to the world around us; the fourth has to do with judgment day
    1. “that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God w/o blemish in the midst of a crooked & twisted generation” - character
      1. idea of proving yourselves to be by having a character of holiness & godliness - a distinctiveness that is evident to the surrounding world; not a holier than thou attitude, but a humble holiness that rests in God’s approval & pleasing him rather than pleasing men & blended in
      2. Example: Daniel - stood in distinction from the culture around him
      3. James 1:27 - “religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans & widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world”
      4. Hebrews 12:14 - “strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness w/o which no one will see the Lord”
    2. “among whom you shine like lights in the world” - influence
      1. the stars in the heavens shine on a backdrop of darkness;
      2. as believers we have a backdrop of darkness in this world that is temporarily ruled by the prince of the power of the air who emanates darkness & evil, who has blinded the minds and hearts of people--in this kind of world God causes us to shine
      3. We are called to light up the darkness w/ the light of the gospel
        1. 1 Peter 2:9 - that you may proclaim the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light
        2. Ephesians 5:8 - for you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord, walk as children of light
        3. Matt. 5:14 - you are the light of world
      4. how do we do
    3. “holding fast to the word of life” - mission
      1. holding fast here can also be understood as holding forth--to hold something out & present something
        1. inclined toward a combination of the two--first that we are held by the gospel & we hold forth the gospel as THE word of life
      2. People are living in darkness & blinded by the evil one
        1. And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-- among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (Eph. 2:1-3)
        2. John 3:19 - “and this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and mean loved darkness rather than light, b/c their deeds were evil”
      3. the answer to the darkness is the light of the world--Jesus--we are smaller lights pointing to the greater light--we are like the moon reflecting the light of the Sun
    4. “so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain” - reward
      1. One day Paul would give an account of the church at Philippi & his ministry there; he wanted to be able to do that with joy & a sense of godly boasting of what God accomplished in their lives
      2. He wanted to be able to look back on his time there with joy and gladness of heart--the same could be said of every pastor--heavy responsibility b/c according to Hebrews 13:17 - “obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you”
  5. Conclusion
    1. Work out your own salvation w/ fear & trembling (personal exhortation w/ a personal & corporate manifestation)
      1. how are you growing as a disciple of Jesus?
      2. what is God teaching you that you are working into your life through application & obedience?
      3. how do you respond when the HS pricks your heart about something?
    2. do all things w/o grumbling & questioning (w/ respect to the body of Christ particularly)
      1. how’s your disposition in daily life?
      2. would the people around you describe you as a grumbler or complainer?
      3. are you a person who is easily agitated?
    3. these exhortations are cause for us to reflect upon our lives & our pursuit of a life that is worthy of the gospel, for us listen to the HS as he instructs us, even convicts us, and flee to the cross of Christ for cleansing & renewal as his people that we might truly “light up the darkness”

Blogs for October 3, 2011

Why bother with church? (interesting post)

Essay on Modern Spiritual Gifts (looks to an in-depth article and interesting)

Eternity Amnesia (interesting)

Ministry Load of Paid & Unpaid pastors/elders (interesting, good counsel)

Self-control and Gospel-change (good post)