Archive for March, 2012

That’s the Gospel

Posted: March 30, 2012 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship, The Christian Life

“What’s the gospel? I’ll put it in a sentence.

The Gospel is the news that Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, died for our sins and rose again, eternally triumphant over all his enemies, so that there is now no condemnation for those who believe, but only everlasting joy.

That’s the gospel.”

— John Piper
The Gospel in 6 Minutes
(Minneapolis, Minn.: Desiring God Ministries, September 12, 2007)

HT:OFI

Psalm 67

Posted: March 30, 2012 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity

English Standard Version (ESV)

Make Your Face Shine upon Us

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Psalm. A Song.

1 May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
that your way may be known on earth,
your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth. Selah
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!

The earth has yielded its increase;
God, our God, shall bless us.
God shall bless us;
let all the ends of the earth fear him!

a paper presented at the Gospel Coalition April 13th 2011 by Ray Ortlund

My purpose is to clarify the social dynamics of grace-justification as opposed to the social dynamics of self-justification, so that we can enlarge our understanding of what it means to be faithful to the gospel. (more…)

READ it

Posted: March 30, 2012 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship, The Christian Life

“There is more Bible buying, Bible selling, Bible printing and Bible distributing than ever before in our nation. We see Bibles in every bookstore; Bibles of every size, price and style. There are Bibles in almost every house in the land. But all this time I fear we are in danger of forgetting that to HAVE the Bible is one thing, and to READ it quite another.” ~ J.C. Ryle

Celebrating God

Posted: March 29, 2012 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship, The Christian Life

 

“The celebrations in eternity that are recorded in Scripture are not about human position, power, or achievement. They are about God’s position, God’s Power God’s faithfulness, and God’s grace. They celebrate God’s victory over evil and the eternal life God gives us. These celebrations remind us of what is essential and truly important, and they welcome us to live in light of these values today.”

– Paul David Tripp, “Forever” pg 164

“The fatherly care and tender love of our Lord Jesus Christ was eminently revealed in this pleading prayer he poured out for his people at his parting with them. “Having loved his own, which were in the world, he loved them to the end” (John 13:1).

What an evidence of his tenderness to you, that he should so intently plead your concerns with God at such a time as this. A world of sorrow encompassed him on every side; a cup of wrath was mixed and ready to be delivered into his hand; the clouds of wrath grew black. One would have thought all his care and thought would have been on his own sufferings. No, he does as it were forget his own sorrows, to mind our peace and comfort. O love unspeakable!

If Christ so eminently showed his care and love for his people in this his parting hour; then we conclude: the perseverance of the saints is unquestionable.

Do you hear how he pleads! how he begs! how he fills his mouth with arguments! how he chooses his words, and sets them in order, how he winds up his spirit to the very highest pitch of zeal and fervency? and can you doubt of success? Can such a Father deny the pleading of such a Son? Oh no, it can never be.”

— John Flavel
The Fountain of Life
(HT:OFI

Her candlestick shall sooner or later be removed

Posted: March 29, 2012 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship

Take any church on earth, the most renowned for wisdom, the most famous for age, the most apostolic in her government; and we are bold to tell you if that church is unfaithful to the Bridegroom Christ Jesus, if she does not hold forth the light of the pure gospel, if she leaves her first love, if she allows false prophets to teach and seduce, if she becomes lukewarm, and says “I am rich and increased with goods,” if she rests content with having a name to live while she is dead, and plumes herself on keeping hold of the truth while she does not witness to it—we are bold to tell you, however long God’s mercy may spare her, her candlestick shall sooner or later be removed, for we know this fearful threat has been over and over again made good.

~ J.C. Ryle

Tract: The Unchanging Christ

An interesting piece looking at the evangelical church in  America from a 2001 article written by RC Sproul

The Pelagian Captivity of the Church

(HT:Effectual Grace)

True Peace

Posted: March 28, 2012 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship

Christ is always the same! It is this which makes the gospel so excellent and precious. We do not bid you depend on anything less than the tried corner-stone, the fountain whose water shall never fail – the city of refuge whose walls shall never be broken down – the sure Rock of Ages. Churches may decay and perish; riches may make themselves wings and fly away, but they who build their happiness on Christ crucified and union with Him by faith, that person is standing on a foundation which shall never be moved, and will know something of true peace.

~ J.C. Ryle

Tract: The Unchanging Christ

D.A. Carson, Gal 5

Posted: March 28, 2012 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship, The Christian Life

THE BEGINNING AND THE ENDING OF Galatians 5, taken together, tell us a great deal about the Gospel that Paul preaches.

In the first part, Paul is still trying to persuade his Gentile Christian readers in Galatia that adding Jewish heritage and ritual to their Christian faith does not add something to it, but subtracts something from it. In particular, if they submit to circumcision, then “Christ will be of no value” to them at all (Gal. 5:2). Why not? What harm could arise from being circumcised? Paul explains that the Gentile who allows himself to be circumcised “is obligated to obey the whole law” (Gal. 5:3). That was the symbol-significance of circumcision: it was the mark of submission to the law-covenant. But to take that step betrays a massive failure to understand the true relationship between the law-covenant and the new covenant that the Lord Jesus Christ introduced. The former prepares for the latter, announces the latter, anticipates the latter. But to commit oneself to obeying the terms of the law-covenant is to announce that the new covenant Jesus secured by his death is somehow inadequate. These Galatians, who have in the past clearly understood that men and women are justified by grace through faith, are now “trying to be justified by law,” and in so doing “have been alienated from Christ”; it means nothing less than falling away from grace (Gal. 5:4). The ultimate righteousness will be ours at the end, when Jesus returns. Meanwhile, “by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope” (Gal. 5:5). To understand the crucial significance of Christ this way means that those who believe in Christ Jesus—what he has accomplished for us in his central place in redemptive history—know full well that circumcision itself is neither here nor there (Gal. 5:6). But circumcision actually subtracts from Christ if one undergoes it out of a desire to submit to a covenant that in certain respects Christ has made passé.

While in the first part of the chapter Paul talks about the work of Christ, he slips in a brief mention of the Spirit: “By faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope” (Gal. 5:5, italics added). Already the Spirit is given to believers, consequent upon Christ’s work. Christians, then, are those who “keep in step with the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25), who display the lovely fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23). Pursue those things; there is no law against them, and they stand over against the wretched acts of our sinful nature (Gal. 5:19-21; cf. Prov. 6:16-19) against which the Law pronounced but which it could not overcome.

(HT:LoveOfGod)

Come!

Posted: March 27, 2012 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship

The Lord Jesus does not bid the laboring and heavy-laden “go and work.” Those words would carry no comfort to heavy consciences—it would be like requiring labor from an exhausted person. No—He bids them “Come!” He does not say, “Pay Me what you owe.” That demand would drive a broken heart into despair—it would be like claiming a debt from a ruined bankrupt. No—He says, “Come!” He does not say, “Stand still and wait.” That command would only be a mockery—it would be like promising to give medicine at the end of a week to one at the point of death. No—He says, “Come!” Today—at once—without any delay, “Come to Me.”

~ J.C. Ryle

Tract: Christ’s Invitation

Gospel everyday

Posted: March 27, 2012 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship

Scripture is of no use to us if we read it merely as a handbook for daily living without recognizing that its principle purpose is to reveal Jesus Christ and his gospel for the salvation of sinners. All Scripture coalesces in Christ, (more…)

O Love that Will not Let me Go

Posted: March 26, 2012 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity

we sang this song recently

 

Study to learn Christ

Posted: March 26, 2012 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, The Christian Life

Christ is the bread of life. Let us feed on Him day by day, as Israel on the manna, and not on our own experiences. Let Christ become more and more all things to us! His blood our peace, His intercession our comfort, His Word our authority, His grace our strength, His sympathy our support, His speedy coming our hope. Let others spend their time on new books if they will, let us rather study to learn Christ. We know a little of Christ as our Savior, but oh!, how small a portion have we seen of the fulness that is in Him!

~ J.C. Ryle

IN REAL LIFE, MOST OF US ARE A MIX of wise and foolish, prudent and silly, thoughtful and impulsive. Nevertheless it helps us to see what the issues are by setting out the alternatives as a simple choice. That is what Proverbs 9 does for us. It pictures two women, Wisdom and Folly, calling out to people. In some ways, this drive toward a simple choice—wisdom or folly, good or evil, the Lord or rebellion—is typical of Wisdom Literature. It is a powerful, evocative way of getting across the fundamental issues in the choices we make.

Let us begin with Folly (Prov. 9:13-18). The way Folly sits in the door of her house reminds the reader of a prostitute. She calls out to those who pass by, to those who otherwise “go straight on their way” (Prov. 9:15). She is “undisciplined and without knowledge” (Prov. 9:13). What she offers is never fresh: it is warmed over, stolen stuff, garnished with promises of esoteric enjoyment—not unlike the promise of illicit sex (Prov. 9:17). Those who are snookered by her do not reflect on the fact that her seductions lead to death (Prov. 9:17).

Wisdom, too, builds a house and calls people in (Prov. 9:1-6). But her house is stable and well-built (Prov. 9:1). Like Folly, Wisdom calls “from the highest point of the city,” where she can be heard (Prov. 9:3, 14); but unlike Folly, Wisdom has prepared a delicious and nourishing meal (Prov. 9:2, 5). The “simple,” i.e., those who do not yet have wisdom but are willing to acquire it, may come and feast, and learn to “walk in the way of understanding” (Prov. 9:6).

Of course, to speak of informing or correcting the simple immediately draws attention to how the counsel of Wisdom will be received. There is a sense in which someone who accepts wisdom is already proving wise; the person who rejects wisdom is a mocker or wicked. Hence the powerful contrast of the next verses (Prov. 9:7-9): “Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you” (Prov. 9:8)—with the two alternatives fleshed out in the verses on either side of this one (Prov. 9:7, 9).

The high point in the chapter comes with Proverbs 9:10-12: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Prov. 9:10). Normally, there are blessings even in this life for those with such priorities and commitments (Prov. 9:11-12). Above all, this definition of “the beginning of wisdom” powerfully shows that the wisdom held up in Proverbs is neither esoteric insight nor secular intellectual prowess; rather, it is devotion to God and all that flows from such devotion in thought and life.

(HT:LoveOfGod)