Here are a few of the disturbing trends that need to be checked and reformed in contemporary church life from Michael Horton at the Ligonier Blog
1. We are all too confident in our own words
We are all too confident in our own words, so that churches become echo chambers for the latest trends in pop psychology, marketing, politics, entertainment, and entrepreneurial leadership. We need to recover our confidence in the triune God and His speech, as He addresses us authoritatively in His Word.
2. We are all too confident in our own methods
We are all too confident in our own methods for success in personal, ecclesial, and social transformation. We need to be turned again to God’s judgment and grace, His action through His ordained means of grace.
3. We are all too confident in our own good works
We are all too confident in our own good works. We need to repent and be brought again to despair not only of our sins but of our pretended righteousness.
4. We are all too enamored of our own glory
We are all too enamored of our own glory, the kingdoms that we are building. We need to be brought back to that place of trust in Christ where we are deeply aware of “receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken” (Heb. 12:28), because God is building it for His own glory, and the gates of hell cannot prevail against it.
Only as we turn our ears away from the false promises of this passing age to God’s Word, to His saving revelation in Christ as the only gospel, and to the glory of the triune God as our only goal, can we expect to see a genuine revival of Christian discipleship, worship, and mission in the world today.
Archive for August 11th, 2012
Tomorrow many of us will gather in local churches to hear the preaching of God’s word from faithful ministers. So what is the proper spiritual posture we should take for listening to the sermon? In our recently released ebook, Take Care How You Listen, John Piper offers us help in preparing our hearts on Sundays. At one point Pastor John writes this:
Come in a spirit of meek teachability. Not gullibility. You have your Bible and you have your head. But James says, “In meekness receive the implanted word” (1:21). If we come with a chip on our shoulder that there is nothing we can learn or no benefit we can get, we will prove ourselves infallible on both counts. But if we humble ourselves before the Word of God, we will hear and grow and bear fruit. (24)
And a little later he writes:
As you sit quietly and pray and meditate on the text and the songs, remind yourself of what Psalm 19:10–11 says about the words of God: “More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” So because the Word of God is greater than all riches and sweeter than all honey, take heed how you hear. Desire it more than you desire all these things.
As Proverbs 2:3–5 says, “If you cry out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” May God make us a people who hear the Word of God and bear fruit a hundredfold so that the lamp of our lives will be on a lampstand giving light to all who enter the kingdom of God. Take heed how you hear! (26)
For more on this topic, download the entire ebook, Take Care How You Listen, for free here.
Everyone seems to be pursuing gold these days, not only at the Olympics, but all around the world.
The Big Picture has 36 vivid images of people extracting, processing, refining, buying, selling and celebrating over gold.
While I was looking at them, this verse came to mind of something more valuable than gold:
“knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” (1 Peter 1:18–19, ESV)
“I praise you for promising never to stop doing good to us and for finding so much joy in doing us good. This is truly overwhelming, almost too good to be true. However, you’ve already “made good” on your promise to make an everlasting covenant with us, and this fuels the fire of our faith.
Lord Jesus, well beyond Jeremiah’s day, you came and you accomplished everything necessary to prove our Father isn’t exaggerating, in his claim to be so loving and faithful to us. Your life, death, and resurrection, on our behalf, guarantee God is this good all the time, and all the time, God is this good to us! No matter what we see, feel or think, this is how our God is at work.Because of you, Jesus, we’re already perfectly forgiven and have already been declared to be righteous in God’s sight. Because of you, one Day we will be made completely whole and the whole creation will be made new. On that day our Father will plant us in the land of the new heaven and new earth. We believe; help us in our unbelief, dear Lord.Until that day, Holy Spirit, continue your transforming and liberating work in our lives. Free us to love and serve our God with singleness of heart, affectionate reverence, and gospel-driven obedience. Hallelujah, what a salvation! Hallelujah, what a Savior! So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ triumphant and tender name.”
And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.