Archive for August, 2010

Grace of the Mediator

Posted: August 31, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, The Christian Life

“The saved are singled out not by their own merits, but by the grace of the Mediator.”
– Martin Luther

Spurgeon Vs. Hyper Calvinism– a repost

Posted: August 31, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity

In Spurgeon v. Hyper-Calvinism, Iain Murray draws four lessons from that conflict:

1.  “Genuine evangelical Christianity is never of an exclusive spirit.  Any view of the truth which undermines catholicity has gone astray from Scripture.”  Spurgeon regretfully disagreed with hyper-Calvinists who “made faith in election a part of saving faith and thus either denied the Christianity of all professed Christians who did not so believe or at least treated such profession with much suspicion.”

2.  Spurgeon “wanted to see both divine sovereignty and human responsibility upheld, but when it came to gospel preaching he believed that there needed to be a greater concentration upon responsibility.  The tendency of Hyper-Calvinism was to make sinners want to understand theology before they could believe in Christ.”

3.  “This controversy directs us to our need for profound humility before God.  It reminds us forcefully of questions about which we can only say, ‘Behold, God is great, and we know him not’ (Job 36:26).”  “It is to be feared that sharp contentions between Christians on these issues have too often arisen from a wrong confidence in our powers of reasoning and our assumed ability to draw logical inferences.”  Spurgeon saw “how a system which sought to attribute all to the grace of God had itself too much confidence in the powers of reason.”

4.  “The final conclusion has to be that when Calvinism ceases to be evangelistic, when it becomes more concerned with theory than with the salvation of men and women, when acceptance of doctrines seems to become more important than acceptance of Christ, then it is a system going to seed and it will invariably lose its attractive power.”

Iain H. Murray, Spurgeon v. Hyper-Calvinism (Edinburgh, 1995), pages 110-122.  Italics added.

(HT:Ray Ortlund:

Exhibiting the Holiness & Love of God

Posted: August 30, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, The Christian Life

“If we stress the love of God without the holiness of God, it turns out only to be compromise.  But if we stress the holiness of God without the love of God, we practice something that is hard and lacks beauty.  And it is important to show forth beauty before a lost world and a lost generation.  All too often young people have not been wrong in saying that the church is ugly.  In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ we are called upon to show to a watching world and to our own young people that the church is something beautiful.

Several years ago I wrestled with the question of what was wrong with much of the church that stood for purity.  I came to the conclusion that in the flesh we can stress purity without love or we can stress the love of God without purity, but that in the flesh we cannot stress both simultaneously.  In order to exhibit both simultaneously, we must look moment by moment to the work of Christ, to the work of the Holy Spirit.  Spirituality begins to have real meaning in our moment-by-moment lives as we begin to exhibit simultaneously the holiness of God and the love of God.”

Francis A. Schaeffer, The Church before the Watching World (Downers Grove, 1971), page 63.

Christ’s sacrifice for our foolishness

Posted: August 29, 2010 by limabean03 in Uncategorized
preached by Rob Sturdy on Aug 22, 2010

God wills your salvation

Posted: August 28, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity

“God is far more willing to save sinners than sinners are to be saved.”

– J.C. Ryle

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

Satan promotes conflict in many ways. Among other things, he tempts us so we give in to greed and dishonesty (Acts 5:3), he deceives us and misleads us (2 Tim. 2:25-26), and he takes advantage of unresolved anger (Eph. 4:26-27). Worst of all, he uses false teachers to propagate values and philosophies that encourage selfishness and stimulate controversy (1 Tim. 4:1-3). Here are some of the expressions that often reflect the devil’s lies and influence:

“Look out for Number One.”

“God helps those who help themselves.”

“Surely God doesn’t expect me to stay in an unhappy situation.”

“I’ll forgive you, but I won’t forget.”

“Don’t get mad, get even.”

“I deserve better than this.”

Satan prefers that we do not recognize his role in our conflicts. As long as we see other people as our only adversaries and focus our attacks on them, we will give no thought to guarding against our most dangerous enemy.

Food for Thought Read Jesus’ responses to Satan’s temptations in Matthew 4:1-11. Note that in contrast to Satan’s favorite expressions noted above, none of Jesus’ responses contain the word, “I”. What’s more, none of Jesus’ responses to Satan even contain the word, “you”–usually our second favorite word in conflict! How do we prevent Satan from getting a foothold in our conflicts? We keep our conflict responses (and our words) God-centered, remembering that if God is not at the center of our thoughts during a conflict, Satan will be altogether too happy to quietly take God’s place.

Adapted from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) pp. 50-51. ( All Rights Reserved.

Some ways to identify your idols

Posted: August 25, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, The Christian Life

Adapted by K. Stokes from ” Soul Idolatry Excludes Men Out of Heaven,” in The Works of David Clarkson, Vol II,

  1. What do you most highly value?
  2. What do you think about by default?
  3. What is your highest goal?
  4. To what or whom are you most committed?
  5. Who or what do you love the most?
  6. Who or what do you trust or depend upon the most?
  7. Who or what do you fear the most?
  8. Who or what do you hope in and hope for most?
  9. Who or what do you desire the most? Or, what desire makes you most angry or makes you despair when it is not satisfied?
  10. Who or what do you most delight in or hold as your greatest joy and treasure?
  11. Who or what captures your greatest zeal?
  12. To whom or for what are you most thankful?
  13. For whom or what great purpose do you work?

How to become a succesful religion

Posted: August 25, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Church Planting
(disclaimer.. not a real company. this is not a real letter to James the brother of Jesus)
A marketing consultant advises early church leaders.
by Mark Galli
original here

To: James, President of the Jerusalem Council
Re: Initial Impressions

Shalom Marketing Ltd. was recently contacted by a member of your council, asking us to tell you about our services. He said to make it clear that he was footing the bill for this initial evaluation, with the hopes that our sound advice will encourage the council to hire us to guide your marketing efforts for the next strategic stage in your movement’s life.

We have heard reports of your movement for some time now—who hasn’t?—and our initial impressions are very positive! You seem to have dynamic leadership, organizational flexibility, and a natural touch with the people. Add some sophisticated marketing—well, who knows how successful you can become! Naturally, this brief memo will, by its nature, point out areas in need of attention, but make no mistake: We have great optimism about what we call your “effectiveness potential.”

Let’s begin with one of your leading PR men, Peter, who is clearly a gifted communicator. (more…)

Repost: ” No secure Permanent Place”

Posted: August 24, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity

“Jesus Christ warns them that if they disobey his commands, and do not repent, their church’s existence will be ignominiously terminated.  ‘I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent’ (Revelation 2:5).  No church has a secure and permanent place in the world.  It is continuously on trial. . . . Many churches all over the world today have ceased truly to exist.  Their buildings remain intact, their ministers minister and their congregations congregate, but their lampstand has been removed.”

John R. W. Stott, What Christ Thinks of the Church (Grand Rapids, 1958), page 33.

(HT:Ray Ortlund)

Don’t get me wrong, I think my little man is a pretty good guy.  I rejoice daily over his affection for Jesus, his love of the Bible, and his terribly sweet disposition.  However, I’ve noticed that as my son gained the ability to express his will through his body, that doctrine of original sin becomes more and more believable.  So, as much as I hate to say it, even at the age of 2.5 my little boy will from time to time misbehave and let dad down.  I think there’s more to come to be honest.  So I’ve been reflecting frequently about how to reflect the Gospel in my parenting, particularly in those moments when David steps out of line.  And while the misbehaving of a two year old might seem trivial to you, to be honest I’m preparing myself now for the teenage years.  I’ve counselled enough parents through that time to know that I need a game plan in place now.  So, whether your child is two or twenty-two, I hope this brief reflection on parenting in light of the cross of Jesus Christ is of some benefit to you.

When your children disappoint you, remember….

  1. As a parent your chief concern is to preach the Gospel: Remember that your chief concern is to reflect the glory of God through the cross of Christ.  Your children need to learn the Gospel far more than anything else.  As the Apostle Paul once wrote to the church in Corinth, “I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor 2.2).  So with the Apostle, in my parenting I’ve resolved to know nothing except Christ and him crucified.
  2. Intercede for your children: From the cross, Christ interceded for those who had sinned against him.  “And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23.34).  When your children sin, our first reaction as parents should not be anger but intercession.  We should, like Christ, go to the Father and beg mercy on their behalf.  I have often prayed with David that the Father would give him strength to be obedient.
  3. Love them and forgive them unconditionally:  From the cross, Christ won for us a stable platform of love from the Father.  “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5.6-7).  From the cross Christ demonstrated that there was no sin that could separate from the love of God.  So too, parents should first reassure their children that there is nothing that the children could do to endanger the unconditional love of the parent.  Parents should be willing to quickly demonstrate love and forgiveness.  Parents will suffer loss of pride, of rights, and even dignity.  But the loss of these things is a demonstration in part, of the wonderful and unconditional love shown from the cross of Christ for those that betrayed him.  Unconditional love does not rule out discipline, although it does rule out punishment.  Punishment is to rectify a wrong, however discipline is for growth and maturity.  The unconditional love of Christ rules out punishment.  Christ was punished for our sins.  The punishment for sin does not rule out discipline, which is shown in the New Testament to be a necessary means for spiritual growth (Heb 12.10).
  4. Invite them to repent and lead a new life: From the cross Jesus wins for us an invitation for a new life.  “Christ has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him” (Col 1.22).  Having interceded, forgiven, loved, and disciplined, the parent can invite the child to repent and live into the new life won for him through the death of Christ.  This can be reinforced by the theme of a fresh start, blank slate, do over, reset, etc.  If you’re wondering how many times you should do this, then just think of how many times you would like God the Father to do it for you.  Go and do likewise.

In my parenting I’ve resolved that when David breaks the rules he will not know my wrath, my anxiety, nor my disappointment.  Rather, in ever instance, for better or for worse he will receive a demonstration of the Gospel through the means outlined above.  It is not morality that distinguishes Christian parenting from the secular, rather it is the Gospel.

Thansk for listening

Posted: August 23, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity

Love and Justice meet

Posted: August 21, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Apologetics and Evangelism, Christian Theology, Christianity

“The cross can be seen as proof of God’s love only when it is at the same time seen as a proof of his justice.”

– John Stott, The Cross of Christ (Downers Grove, Ill.; InterVarsity Press, 1986), 221.

Glorious message

Posted: August 20, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Uncategorized

“There is no end to this glorious message of the cross, for there is always something new and fresh and entrancing and moving and uplifting that one has never seen before.”

– D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Cross (Westchester, 1986), 155-156.

The glory of God in Wisdom (Prov 8)

Posted: August 19, 2010 by limabean03 in Uncategorized
preached by Iain Boyd on Aug 15, 2010

Faith is a gift

Posted: August 19, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, The Christian Life

“As grace led me to faith in the first place, so grace will keep me believing to the end. Faith, both in its origin and continuance, is a gift of grace.” – J.I. Packer