A Front Row View Of The Church
Who are you trusting? - Sun, 25 Jan 2015
Are you a self made man or woman? Everything you have is because of your own hard work,abilities,intelligence? Many people who have no regard for God often think that they alone have provided all the nice things they enjoy. I know many successful people who claim to be self made and scoff at the notion […]
Jesus built this church on love - Thu, 22 Jan 2015
Thinking today about the church and it’s mission. There are about as many opinions about what the mission of the church is as there are people writing them. See if you’ve heard some of these “missions of the church”….. make disciples mentor evangelize witness preach the gospel OK, you get it, right? The church has […]
More of You - Sun, 11 Jan 2015
This morning my heart is longing for more of Jesus. It’s not a Sunday thing or a church thing.It’s a personal thing. It’s a God thing. I often reflect upon times past when as a new Christian I hungered and longed for God.And through the many seasons of life there have been times when I […]
Challies Dot Com
Do You Believe God Will Save Your Kids? - Thu, 29 Jan 2015
There are few things I pray for with greater frequency or intensity than the salvation of my children. I long for them to be saved, and long to be able to be able to call them not only my son and daughters, but my brother and sisters. I long for them to profess faith, and for those professions to be proven true.
I don’t only pray it and long for it. I believe it. I believe God will save them. I believe he will save them because that is what he does—he saves. I believe he will save them because that is who he is—he loves to save. I believe he will save them because from their infancy they have been exposed again and again to the powerful gospel of grace, and that gospel is too good and too powerful to do nothing.
I believe it, but sometimes find myself trying to hedge my bets just a little bit. Sometimes I edge away from the gospel of God’s free grace and begin to trust in works—not their works, but mine. Sometimes I try to bring my works before the Lord, adding a little of my merit to their account.
I can find myself putting my trust in worldview training, believing that if I can only get them to think right, they will turn to Christ. Or I can find myself putting my trust in Bible training, convinced that if I can only get them to know enough facts about the Bible, they will believe in the God of the Bible. And for a time I can feel confident, at least until I remember all the kids I grew up with who knew their Bible and their worldview and their catechism, and who jettisoned it all the moment they got out from under their parent’s authority. Or until I meet other kids who appear so much more advanced than my own. And then, in despair, I have to admit what a shaky edifice I’ve constructed.
In those moments I have to remind myself to be careful what I wish for. I need to be careful what I hope for, or what I hope in. I can go before the Lord and plead all the things I’ve done right for my kids, but if I do that, I also need to go before him to admit all the things I’ve done wrong. And he, better than anyone, knows how much I’ve done wrong. Do I really want to take this accounting before him? The math is simple: If all the good things I do count toward their salvation, then all the bad things must count toward their perdition. And if that is the case, I, of all fathers, am most to be pitied.
So instead I entrust their souls to him. I put my confidence in him, and in his character, and in his Word. This is an act of the will—I have to push myself to believe it, and stretch my faith to hold firm to it. And then, in confidence, I do what is right before my children as God opens my eyes to see the right: I teach them the Bible, I help them construct a Christian worldview, I tell them all about Jesus, and I involve them in a Christian community. Mostly I just plain love them in a way that reflects God’s love for me. I don’t do all this in order to accrue favor, but because these are the means God uses to save his people, to expose them as sinners and to reveal the Savior.
I do what is right and trust his grace, pleading not my own merit, but the merit of Christ, trusting not in my own works, but in the work of Christ. And I pray—I pray that the God who graciously extended favor to undeserving me, would extend it to my undeserving children as well.
Image credit: Shutterstock
Self-Control - Thu, 29 Jan 2015
Self-control is a fruit of the spirit I don’t hear much about. In my Bible study the other night, I was reminded of how many areas are encompassed in this one character trait. America has become a feel-good society. “If it feels good, do it” was the slogan of the hippies but many still have […]
Indicatives and Imperatives - Wed, 28 Jan 2015
The Bible is full of commands, Old Testament and New. Perhaps no issue confuses people as much as rightly determining which commands are for New Covenant people and how they are to obeyed. Early in the history of our religion, an argument arose that continues still today: does almighty God command man to do that […]
Ekstasis Worship? - Tue, 27 Jan 2015
Reposted from “The Museum of Idolatry”. This is the result of what happens when you get away from the truth of God’s Word. Incredibly, the guy speaking in the background and talking about ekstasis worship makes a bold statement that does not line up with Scripture starting around :40 seconds into the video. “It’s no […]
Do Not Be Surprised
Free from the Love of Money - Wed, 28 Jan 2015
by John MacArthur
It is a severe and perverse corruption of biblical ministry to be in it for money. Contrary to the model we often see today, pastoral work and church leadership are not meant to be avenues to wealth and fame. In fact, men who carry the love of money into ministry are on the fast track to becoming false teachers (cf. 1 Peter 5:2; 2 Peter 2:1–3, 14).
In his list of qualifications for church leaders, Paul includes the vital reminder that godly shepherds must be “free from the love of money” (1 Timothy 3:3). A similar prohibition is found in Titus, where Paul writes that a qualified elder is “not fond of sordid gain” (Titus 1:7). That phrase is translated from a compound of aischros (“filthy, shameful, base”) and kerdos (“gain, profit, greed”), and it refers to a person who, without honesty or integrity, seeks wealth and financial prosperity at any cost. Paul says such a man is not fit for ministry.
That doesn’t mean godly shepherds shouldn’t be paid. All Christians, including pastors, have a right to make a living for themselves and for their families. Jesus said “the laborer is worthy of his wages” (Luke 10:7). Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, “If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we should reap material things from you? . . . So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:11, 14). A pastor not only has a right to earn a living but has a right to be paid by those to whom he ministers.
However, from the infancy of the church, false teachers have entered the pastorate simply to make an easy living. They were “men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose[d] that godliness is a means of gain” (1 Timothy 6:5). They were in the pastorate for the money, not to serve the Lord or His people. “Godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment.” Paul went on to say:
For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. (vv. 6–11)
Paul used the term “man of God” as a technical term for pastors and elders (see also 2 Timothy 3:17) in much the same way that it was often used in the Old Testament of prophets (cf. 2 Kings 1:9, 11). Just like those in the early church, false prophets and teachers in Old Testament times were “shepherds who [had] no understanding; they . . . all turned to their own way, each one to his unjust gain, to the last one” (Isaiah 56:11). Peter admonished pastors: “Shepherd the flock of God among you,” he said, “exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness” (1 Peter 5:2)
In the light of such clear biblical warnings and prohibitions, it’s incredible that so many false teachers and prosperity preachers not only survive, but flourish—some for decades. The church is overrun with brazen thieves who use the façade of ministry to cloak their pyramid schemes and snake oil sales. They’re wolves who prey on the gullibility of people looking for a shortcut to spiritual blessing and wealth. For men and women like that, ministry is nothing more than a confidence game.
Contrast that with Paul’s financial perspective on ministry: He told the Philippians “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am” (Philippians 4:11), and he assured the Ephesian elders that during his three years of ministry in their city, he had “coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothes” (Acts 20:33). Paul was faithful to the work the Lord had called him, regardless of the reward. And on at least one occasion, he sacrificed his own financial reward for the sake of the ministry (2 Corinthians 11:7-15).
A godly shepherd is not greedy, stingy, or financially ambitious. His focus is not on his bank account, but on the building up of the church to greater spiritual growth and godliness—that is his true reward. A man whose priority is anything else is unqualified for ministry.
Ligonier Ministries Blog
2014 in review - Thu, 01 Jan 2015
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt: The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 150,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at … Continue reading
Expose of the (not so) Holy Ghost Movie with Tim Wirth and Sandy Simpson - Tue, 11 Nov 2014
I watched this video about a week ago and the memories of the things I had once been involved with brought me to tears. These are the exact things that I was personally a part of and have been speaking … Continue reading
Prayer Needed - Sun, 12 Oct 2014
Originally posted on Possessing the Treasure:
I received the following email from my brother-in-law this morning. 10/09/14 Thursday 6:39 P.M. Prayer Request from Dan and Marilyn Wilson Missionaries who are in the areas that are being attacked by ISIS are…
Philippine Garbage Dump Children December 2014 - Wed, 14 Jan 2015
Dear Bro. Jacob and Bro. David, Grace and peace be unto you from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It’s really an additional happiness to our dump children. We gave them the Year End Thanksgiving Party. We reminded them of God’s goodness, your loving concern to them together with the love of our supporters for [...]
When Change is Expressly Forbidden - Tue, 30 Dec 2014
by Danny Ison Jan 15,2014 “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. (Deuteronomy 4:20) “Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor [...]
Victor Smydja - Tue, 30 Dec 2014
by Jams Jacob Prasch December 29, 2014Victor SmydjIt was on Christmas Eve upon receiving word from Ronnie Cohen in Jerusalem that my wife Pavia & I learned that The Lord called Victor Smydja home after many decades of faithful service to Yeshua as a founding leader of Jerusalem’s first modern indigenous Messianic Fellowship in modern Israel. [...]
Possessing The Treasure
Let us draw near unto God - Wed, 28 Jan 2015
by Mike Ratliff 7 You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: 8 ‘ This people honors ME with their lips, But their heart is far away from ME. 9 ‘ But in vain do they worship ME, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.'” (Matthew 15:7-9 NASB) What does it mean biblically to draw near unto God? Obviously, the […]
Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory - Tue, 27 Jan 2015
by Mike Ratliff 1 In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. 2 Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings:with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two […]
Authentic Christians, apostates, and antichrists - Mon, 26 Jan 2015
by Mike Ratliff 28 Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 […]
Watch your language, Guard your relationships - Thu, 29 Jan 2015
But notice what Paul himself said about lewd and off-color language. He classifies it as impurity in Ephesians 5:3-6, where he treats indecent language as one of several worldly substitutes for love. The Greek term Paul uses is akatharsia, a word that refers to every kind of filth and pollution—"uncleanness" in the KJV. Paul is talking about real spiritual uncleanness, not ceremonial defilement, but moral filth.
And when he gives some specific examples of akatharsia in verse 4, all of them have to do with the misuse of language: "obscenity," "foolish talk," and "coarse jesting." He is talking about the words we use, the things we talk about, and the spirit of our conversation. He covers all the bases.
Look at any of Satan's strongholds; any place where wickedness operates unrestrained; wherever you find a band of thieves or a federation of scoundrels—from the juvenile gangs that roam our streets to the old-men's club that hangs out at the neighborhood tavern. "Filthiness . . . foolish talk [and] crude joking" are always their main stock in trade. That's what will consume the leisure time they spend together. Because those are the main badges of fleshly fellowship, and that is the glue that substitutes for authentic love virtually every worldly fraternity. That is exactly what Paul is describing, and he says, Don't let such things characterize your fellowship with one another.
In order to obey the principle Paul sets forth here, we need to be intentionally counter-cultural, because our culture values evil companionship much more than wholesome love. Have you ever considered the degree to which this is true? "Filthiness . . . silly talk, [and] coarse jesting" are virtually the trademarks of secular society. Vile language, crude subject matter, silly talk, and sheer folly are the main currency of the contemporary entertainment industry. The corrupt notion of brotherhood Paul is attacking here is exactly what most of our culture has substituted in the place of real love.
That's why movies are filled with dirty words and smutty themes. That's why contemporary comedy is so dependent on vile language and filthy subject matter to get a laugh. Situation comedies on television used to feature families and plot lines. Now they are shows about nothing dealing mainly with relationships between friends who are unmarried, unattached, and lacking any discernible direction in their lives. "Filthiness . . . foolish talk[, and] crude joking" describes about 99 percent of the content of programs like that.
Our culture insists those things are perfectly benign, but Paul says they are not. Carnal camaraderie is practically the antithesis of true, godly love. Crude language, filthy joking, and risque entertainment are "not fitting" for Christians. They have no place in the Christian's walk. Verse 12: "For it is a shame even to speak of those things which [they do in secret]." Keep those things out of your life. More than that, keep references to things like that out of your conversation, Paul says.
And notice this: he categorizes spicy talk about frivolous subject matter along with some of the most serious of all sins. Don't get addicted to that brand of language and humor, and especially don't allow that kind of companionship to characterize your own life.
Sola Dei Gloria
Patriotism is Harlotry - Mon, 26 Jan 2015
This article was shared at facebook by Teresa Cassie under a post in which the “big block-buster film” American Sniper is being discussed. Hope you’ll read it. As I wrote there, America’s reaction to this film shows me we’ve reached the bottom of the barrel, folks. And what the author of this article below (which […]
Fifth child dies from exposure to freezing temperatures in war-torn Gaza - Thu, 22 Jan 2015
Another tragic death of a child from the results of last summer’s “conflict”. This in the face of the US congress threats to cut off any further aid to these suffering people in retaliation for Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas signing the treaty to join the ICC (International Criminal Court). Just a personal observation: When, and […]
To News or Not to News? - Tue, 13 Jan 2015
Something I personally wrestle with every day now. Please see the most recent post, To News or Not to News?, at Another Voice blog
Killing the King - Thu, 29 Jan 2015
God made people for the purpose of delighting in his glory. We delight in his glory by rejoicing in his character, and believing by faith his promises. The nature of this faith results in both a hatred of sin, as well as an eager joy at learning more and more about God. But because of […]
When Your Church Is Disappointing and Boring - Wed, 28 Jan 2015
Let’s face it. Church is not always as exciting as we would like. Sometimes it’s boring and disappointing. It’s possible that there are good reasons for that. But it’s possible that there are not. Being bored is not the worst thing that can happen to us in our churches. In fact, it may be the […]
Answering Attacks on Biblical Prophecy - Tue, 27 Jan 2015
Fulfilled prophecy is one of the strongest evidences for the truthfulness of the Bible and the authenticity of Jesus Christ. Numerous Old Testament predictions were fulfilled perfectly in Christ. As the apostle Peter preached: “To Him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name” (Acts […]
The Watchman’s Bagpipes