You are currently browsing the monthly archive for September 2010.

Just to inform the masses :), I am going on fall break for the next few days. Posting will either be slow or non-existent during this time.

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“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

What qualifications must I have in order to be accepted by Jesus? Well, He spells it out for me: laboring and heavy laden.

Laboring: toiling hard in this life. Life is hard, there is no doubt about it. There are relationships that constantly go array. Needs that seem to go unmet. The constant grind of day to day living with nothing getting better.

Heavy Laden: living with a massive weight upon my shoulders.I can begin with all the failures from the laborings. No matter how hard a try I cannot get my life in order. I work hard and people still get mad at me and I at them. I fail to do the day to day things that need to be done. But on top of my personal failure there is even a greater failure. It is my inability to keep the righteous commands of my Lord. I can’t keep the commands to love my God and to love my neighbor. It light of all this I walk around with a heavy burden upon my back.

Yet, there is Jesus saying, “Come to me! Give me those burden to bear. I want to give you true rest.” He does not want people who think that they have it all together. He does not want people who believe that this life is easy. He does not want people who feel no guilty weight upon their shoulders. It is to those that see and feel their labors and burdens that He says, “Come!”

Do I have burdens? Yes. Am I weighted down with my sin? Yes. Am I too weak to continue to carry the load? Yes.

I qualify!

The core of the gospel, the historical facts of what God did in Christ, is often down-graded today in favor of a more mystical emphasis on the private spiritual experience of the individual. Whereas faith in the gospel is essentially acceptance of, and commitment to, the declaration that God acted in Christ some two thousand years ago on our behalf, saving faith is often portrayed nowadays more as trust in what God is doing in us now. Biblical ideas such as ‘forgiveness of sins’ or ‘salvation’ are interpreted as primarily describing a Christian’s personal experience.

But when we allow the whole Bible – Old and New Testaments – to speak to us, we find that those subjective aspects of the Christian life which are undoubtedly important – the new birth, faith, and sanctification – are fruits of the gospel. This gospel, while still relating to the individual people at their point of need, is rooted and grounded in the history of redemption. It is the good news about Jesus, before it can become good news for sinful men and women. Indeed, it is only as the objective (redemptive-historical) facts are grasped that the subjective experience of the individual Christian can be understood.

~Graeme GoldsworthyThe Goldsworthy Trilogy, p. 20-21

I once was lost in darkest night
Yet thought I knew the way.
The sin that promised joy and life
Had led me to the grave.
I had no hope that You would own
A rebel to Your will.
And if You had not loved me first
I would refuse You still.

But as I ran my hell-bound race
Indifferent to the cost
You looked upon my helpless state
And led me to the cross.
And I beheld God’s love displayed
You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me
Now all I know is grace.

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life

Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone
And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could never come from me.
Oh Father, use my ransomed life
In any way You choose.
And let my song forever be
My only boast is You.

© 2008 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI), by Jordan Kauflin

This is the third lecture in the Greens Lecture Series delivered by Hunter Baker at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

In this lecture Hunter Baker gives some very good arguments against secularism. Secularism will attempt to argue that religion has not place in influencing the politics and laws of a country. Yet, I believe Hunter Baker gives good reasons to reject secularism’s claim.

Secularism, Church, and Society

[Vimeo=http://vimeo.com/15267079]

You can listen or download the Audio here.

Justin Taylor complied a massive list of really good sermons and papers. The first four are his top sermons to read. Then Justin asked several pastors to give their lists as well.

Justin Taylor

Bryan Chapell

Graham Cole

Mark Dever

Dever also mentioned three books:

Kevin DeYoung

Stephen J. Nichols

Ray Ortlund

John Piper

David Powlison

  • B. B. Warfield, “Imitating the Incarnation“  (“The last page and a half offers the most riveting description of the goal of Christian living that I’ve ever read.”)

Fred Sanders

R.C. Sproul

Carl R. Trueman

Bruce Ware

  • R.C. Sproul, Lecture on “The Locus of Astonishment” (A brief summary is available here. For a similar talk, listen to “When Towers Fall.”)

Donald Whitney

Justin Taylor linked to very true words fromPaul Ireland On the danger of making American politics an idol,

In the whole discussion about Mormonism, I think we’re missing a big part of what is going on with Glenn Beck. The problem is not simply Mormonism. The problem is idolatry.

People who follow Glenn Beck may not become Mormon and reject the Trinity, but they will likely follow his Americolatry—his worship of our nation. His view of life rises and falls on the state of our country. Christians I know who follow Beck quickly get pulled into his idolatrous fervor that declares that our nation can be our savior.

Both the left and the right subscribe to this Americolatry. If our government does X, Y, and Z, then we will be joyful, satisfied, safe, and complete. Then we will live in heaven. But if the other guys get their way, it’ll be hell. In that equation, God is no longer our joy, our comfort, our satisfaction, our all. If God is brought into the conversation at all, it is to use God as a means for our own idolatrous ends. This kind of idolatry is very alluring and dangerous for Christians.

There are many counterfeit gospels that can rise to a place of supremacy in a believer’s life.

The same thing happens in a community of believers. The larger group must also unite to fight gospel amnesia. A church’s gospel identity can be replaced by external emphases that direct the church, even while the church theoretically affirms  the centrality of grace. Formalism, legalism, mysticism, activism, biblicism, and psychological and social emphases can slowly gain prominence and influence the entire community. These replacements represent an aspect of truth, but ultimately they only emphasize part of the Christian life is all about. They rob the church of it primary focus on Christ and weaken and impoverish its life.

~Timothy S. Lane and Paul David Tripp, How People Change, p. 213

The only way by which we can persevere in the right faith is to hold to the foundation, and not in the smallest degree to depart from it. For he who holds not to Christ knows nothing but mere vanity, though he may comprehend heaven and earth. For in Christ are included all the treasures of celestial wisdom. There is no other way of being truly wise than by fixing all our thoughts on Christ alone.

–John Calvin, Commentaries on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews, trans. John Owen (Edinburgh: Calvin Translation Society, 1853), 74-76. Calvin is commenting on Hebrews 13:8.

HT: Tolle Lege

For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.  As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother. (2 Thessalonians 3:11-15)

Good things are not always the easy things. It is not as if the good tasks and deeds in this world will always be the things we find absolutely delightful and putting smiles on our faces. No, good things sometimes have to be done in tears. And the hurt is so much that we can be tempted to give up; to give in to the pressure to do the easy thing instead of the good thing.

This is no more real then in church discipline situation happening in Thessalonica. People were not working to earn their won living. Instead they walked in idleness. What was the church suppose to do? They were to make their love tough and have nothing to do with the people, so to warn them as brothers and sisters.

In the middle of this command Paul gives an encouragement to the believers, “Don’t grow weary in doing good.” It was good that the believers got tough with sin in their midst. It was good that they did not do anything with the idle people.

Was it still hard to enact such measures? You bet. That is why Paul had to encourage them. But did the hardness of having to turn down get-togethers with friends not make it good? No. It was still good. There are times that it is hard and painful to do the good things. But we shouldn’t grow weary in doing them. Because in the end, good always brings a harvest and the quick-easy way out always produces unhealthy crops.

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