Sunday, September 30, 2007
Matthew 5-7 (English Standard Version)
1Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
2And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 "Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
13"You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
14 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
21 "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.' 22But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, 'You fool!' will be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.
27 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' 28But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
31 "It was also said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' 32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
33"Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.' 34But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37Let what you say be simply 'Yes' or 'No'; anything more than this comes from evil.
38 "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' 39But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
43 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
1"Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
2 "Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
5"And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
7"And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
16"And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
19 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 "The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
24 "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
25 "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
1 "Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
6"Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.
7 "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
12"So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
13"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' 23 And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'
24 "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it."
The Authority of Jesus 28And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
For those who don't know, the Founders Ministries is a Southern Baptist ministry that adheres to the doctrines of grace and represents the Southern Baptist churches who are faithful to the doctrine that the founding Southern Baptist "fathers", so to speak, who were reformed in their perspective of the gospel and baptist in their adherence to believers baptism, laid out in the beginning of the SBC.
A cool ministry that I appreciate very much. Anyway, now that I'm off subject, here is the link I was telling you about in regard to Mark Driscoll. Driscoll reminds me a bit of Martin Luther. A bit of a bad boy, with a sometimes foul mouth, quick to repent, and solid in doctrine. If you've never heard him, you should listen to his preaching sometime. I don't always agree with him, but I respect what he is doing there in Seattle and the influence that he has in that culture.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
The rough draft is 23,989 words, which will equal about a 100 page book I believe. I may very well continue to ponder the title and change it once again, but this title at least captures the purpose of me writing the book. My desire is to challenge protestant Christians to return to the theology (reformed theology) that made them protestants to begin with.
No matter what denomination people are a part of, their roots take them back the reformation and the theology of the reformers. It is this theology that is the most consistent and biblical view of the gospel as summed up by the doctrines of grace.
I'm going to see if I can get a couple of different people to read it and help me revise and edit it, and then I'll hopefully have it ready to submit to publishers very soon thereafter. If nothing else I've learned of some pretty affordable self publishing options that I might go with if I can't get my book picked up by by publishing house (a difficult thing to do for an unpublished author the first time).
I'll keep you informed as things develop!
In Him -Jacob
Friday, September 21, 2007
Kathy Griffen while accepting her Emmy for her show "Life on the D List."
As compassionate as we are to be towards sinners and share the gospel of Christ with all who don't deserve grace, just as we ourselves do not deserve grace, there is still something that I think we should look forward to about God's justice.
One day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
I would sincerely hate to be Kathy Griffen or one of the other millions of people like her who mock Jesus and give their worship to the idol of self appreciation or any other idol for that matter.
I think it's fair for Christians to feel two polar extremes when it comes to sinners.
1. We should feel love and compassion for them because we too are sinners just as worthy of destruction whom God has shown love and grace to.
2. We should also look forward to God's triumphant victory over sin and evil (that which He has already won on the cross, but we look to the total fulfillment of in the last days) when Christ returns and everything is put in subjection to Him and everyone will know that He is God.
As much as I long for Kathy Griffin's salvation, I too long for God's hand silencing the arrogant, boastful fools who have replaced the immortal God, the Creator of all things, and worshiped the creature, namely themselves, in His place.
Grace and Mercy are wonderful things... but so is God's justice. Is this not what Romans 9 speaks of? Is not God equally glorified by showing his mercy on His people as He is glorified by making an example out of Pharaoh?
It may seem a dichotomy to some, but I think Christians should love God's justice towards sinners as much as His grace towards sinners. I believe it is biblical to do so.
So may God save and show mercy on Kathy Griffen or may He justly condemn her for her hardened heart, regardless, to God be the Glory forever and ever AMEN!
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Saw this video at Reformed Geek, had to put it here. Amen Dr, MacArthur... Amen.
By the way, if you haven't ever checked out Reformed Geek, you should. It's one of my favorite blogs that I read on a regular basis.
Good questions to ask at the beginning of this discussion might be, "Where does the belief in human free will come from?" And "Is it in accordance with Biblical teaching?"
To answer these questions up front I would say:
1.) This belief stems from apparent truth rather than actual truth.
2.) Depending on what you mean by "free will" it may or may not be Biblical.
Let me start with question one and give a little more depth to my simplistic answer. People tend to believe in free will because it appears to be true. For instance, if you are hungry, you decide whether or not you are going to go to Applebees or Pizza Hut. It's your decision... right! It certainly seems so. If you are faced with a decision between doing what is moral and what is sinful, it's up to you, right?
In some sense, this is absolutely true. I think we are Scripturally safe in saying that we as human beings are not forced to do anything against our will. We do that which we most want to do. However, does this necessarily mean that our will is truly free?
As Christians we must submit to the teaching of Scripture. So what does the Bible have to say about the issue of mans will?
While we do not have a specific discourse, persay, on the issue of human will in the Bible, that is not to say that the Bible doesn't reveal the state of the human will.
Consider with me if you will Pharaoh, king of Egypt in the exodus account. I've been reading this account recently once again and something I find interesting is the "hardening" of Pharaoh's heart. Sometimes it very clearly says that "God hardened Pharaoh's heart" and other times it says that Pharaoh hardened his own heart. How should we understand this?
I suggest that we should understand this to mean that Pharaoh, a sinful man who did not fear God, did that which he most wanted to do. He hardened his heart. We could, as many theologians foolishly try and do, simply leave it at that. But what then does it mean when it says that God hardened Pharaohs heart? It's nonsense to say that God hardened Pharaoh's heart because Pharaoh chose to have a hardened heart. This is especially nonsense in light of the following passage:
"But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth. 17 You are still exalting yourself against my people and will not let them go."
God says that He raised Pharaoh up for the purpose of showing His power, so that His name would be proclaimed in all the earth, and yet God says that Pharaoh is exalting himself against God's people. So we see that God made Pharaoh for the purpose of making an example of him and yet He doesn't have to force Pharaoh to do evil, He does it of his own desire. But clearly it is the will of God that Pharaoh's heart be hardened, and it is God who initiates this hardening, not the other way around.
Romans 9:18 adds to this discussion "So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills." It is God's choice to harden hearts and to show mercy.
So though Pharaoh did that which he most desired to do, could he have done anything else? No, he couldn't have because he was doing what the LORD willed him to do, although God did not have to force Pharaoh. Interesting, is it not? And lest we think this is an isolated case, here is another prime example: Judas Iscariot.
Have you ever thought to yourself, "What if Judas hadn't betrayed Jesus?" What a thought. If he had not done so Christ would not have died on our behalf becoming sin for us on the cross and propitiating our sins. We'd be in some trouble to say the least. But could Judas have not betrayed Jesus? No, he had to.
As Jesus said in John 17:12 in His high priestly prayer for his disciples "While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled."
Judas had to do what he did for the Scriptures to be fulfilled. Consider Acts 2:23 in Peters sermon at Pentecost when he says "this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men." Clearly the plan of God was for Jesus to be crucified, but it was done by the hands of lawless men doing lawless deeds. They were not compulsed by God, they did as they desired to do, yet according to God's "definite plan", according to the will of God.
Some will surely say, "Perhaps God does this with certain people, but not all." Can this be true? Look at Ephesians 1:11.
"In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will."
It seems that the Scripture teaches that God "works all things according to the counsel of His will." This is pretty inclusive I would say. When you put this together with verses like Daniel 4:35,
"all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, "What have you done?"
And Proverbs 16:33
"The lot is cast into the lap,but its every decision is from the LORD."
There are many more verses we could look at that carry similar idea's about God's total sovereignty over all creation and yes even the will of man. It is clear that mans will is subject to God's will, and yet in practice we see only what we desire to do, giving the appearance of "free will."
There is more to consider on this subject as well concerning issues such as being enslaved to sin. When Romans 3:10-12 says "10as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one; 11no one understands; no one seeks for God.12All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one." Can we really say that our will is free when we are so in bondage to sin that we cannot even "seek for God" or do "good" in the sight of God?
Then the other side of the coin is that even when we become Christians, we become slaves to Christ. The Spirit of God comes into our life and influences (to say the least) what we do. And as Paul speaks of, even then we struggle between our old nature that we have died to in Christ and our new nature that we have received by the Spirit of God through faith in Christ.
"15For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me."
So it seems that our will is not so free after all. In fact it seems that our will is subject ultimately to God's will, and below that it is subject to the effects of sin for both non Christians and Christians fighting their old nature.
Clearly if God allowed true "free will" and allowed us always to do that which we would do on our own, no one would ever choose Christ and be saved because all have sinned (Rom 3:23) and due to that sin "no one seeks for God" (Rom 3:10-12).
It would seem that the belief in human free will is indeed a great Christian myth based on a faulty understanding of the things we perceive and the decisions we make appearing to be freely made. There is much more that could be said on this subject, but it is clear that the human will is not free, at least not in the sense that most people mean when they use such terminology.
Saturday, September 8, 2007
No doubt about it. James White is the best apologist around. I love how he forces people to show that they don't know what they are talking about. George Bryson clearly shows here, he does not know what he is talking about.
Answer the question that is asked George!
This is the cross examination portion of a debate over the issues of Calvinism. Specifically Dr. White holds Bryson to the question ragarding John 6:37 and 44. There is no way to answer that question accurately unless you give the Calivinist answer.
I saw this clip over at www.irishcalvinist.com and I had to put it here. I love Dr. Piper.... hand motions and all.
Friday, September 7, 2007
"The grass withers, the flower fades,but the word of our God will stand forever."
A while back my wife and I were driving through the countryside of Kansas, something there is plenty of around here. As we were driving down the country road we both saw the same thing and had the same thought.
There on the side of the road was an abandoned house. Run down to say the least. There was a whole in the roof, most of the paint had pealed off and the house was surely structurally unsound.
The thought that seemed to smack Susan and I both was that this house may have at one time been someones dream house. You could imagine what the house looked like when it was built. You could imagine perhaps a young couple with dreams and aspirations about their life together perhaps having children one day.
I know my wife and I have often thought how nice it would be to own a nice home, a new car perhaps. But what seeing this house did for us was put life into perspective. What lasts forever? Nothing in this world lasts forever. God, His word, Salvation by His grace, these things last forever. Houses do not, cars do not.
I'm reminded of James 4:13-17
"13Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"— 14yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." 16As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin."
We make our plans, we have our dreams and we set out to achieve them. This in itself is not bad, but we can be arrogant in our attitude about it. So many times I know that I make plans and don't consult God. I do things all the time that I think are for God, but I don't ask Him if it's ok.
I suppose my main point is simply this: Be careful how you build. I'm speaking to myself as much as I am you. Dreams and aspirations are great, and often God given. But let us always have the attitude of "if the Lord wills" and everything for His glory.
There are very few things that we do in this life that hold eternal impact. The things that we tend to focus on as important (the material things) they all fade, vanish, and crumble.
Let us remember as Christians that our kingdom is not of this world. We are not home here. This earth and all of creation will one day be destroyed by fire (2 Peter 3:7). So let us be ambitious and have dreams and aspirations, but let us always say "if the Lord wills."
Most importantly, let our dreams and aspirations be focused on those things that are eternal. Growing close to God through His word and prayer, sharing Christ with the lost. Let us focus not on the perishable but the imperishable. What a good and simple reminder an old abandoned house is. There are things that matter during this life and there are things that don't.
Let's focus on what matter's.
1 Peter 1:3-5
3 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."