Archive for August, 2012

We have taken a kind of synoptic view of the biblical doctrine of redemption. We have looked at it in general. We have surveyed the whole landscape, as it were. We have looked at it from beginning to end, and have seen that God in His kindness and love and mercy and compassion, and in His infinite grace, looked upon men and women when they deserved nothing but hell and destruction, and gave them the promise of their wonderful redemption that would finally be consummated in His own eternal Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Therefore to Him, and to Him alone, must of necessity be all the praise and all the honour and all the glory!

~Martyn Lloyd-Jones~The Great Doctrines of the Bible (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2003) Chapter 19: Redemption: The Eternal Plan of God

HT: The Old Guys

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Fake fruit

On false conversions:

“Suppose we go down after the service to the evening snacks prepared by our ladies.  On one of the tables you see a bowl of fruit that looks inviting.  Yet you realize that someone brought to church a bowl of artificial fruit by mistake instead of real apples, bananas, and oranges.  Not wanting to offend her, you make your selection, sit down, then start chewing on a plastic banana.

That sounds ludicrous, of course.  Yet spiritually speaking that is exactly what is going on in the American church.  Multitudes of church-going people profess Christ but the fruit of their lives testify to the artificiality of their profession.  Not wanting to offend them, we just chew on and try to swallow down the false fruit they are offering.  By the looks of things in our churches, it appears a good act is more acceptable than the good fruits that God requires.”

–Barry York

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You, God, and your fears

Ed Welch talks briefly about how fear, anxiety, and worry short-circuit the Christian life, and how we can gauge growth in these struggles


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Scott shares some reasons why we should keep reading the book of Leviticus today:

1. It’s the Enemy’s Favorite Book to Tear Apart (Think Shellfish, Polyester, Tattoos, and Homosexuality)
2. The Theological Holiness Code Developed in Leviticus is Still Used Today
3. To Understand How the Work of Christ Saves the Soul
4. Because Without Leviticus the Other 66 Books Don’t Make Any Sense

“Every book is intertwined with every other book. This is a huge reason to me. If you are reading Kings or Nehemiah, or one of those other “important” books, you are reading part 11 or part 16, but you never read part 3. Knowing and understanding Leviticus is crucial to understanding any of the other books, just the same as reading and studying Kings is important to reading Matthew.

What sense does Christ being crucified on the cross make without knowing how the sacrificial system works? I understand you can watch the Lord of the Rings or the Star Wars movies out of order and you can still understand them individually, but don’t they make a whole lot more sense as a whole?”

He develops these points briefly  here.  So open your Bibles soon and read Leviticus.

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Anders Breivik’s sentence for killing 77 people in Norway on July 22, 2011 is outrageous. He was deemed sane and sentenced to serve 21 years in prison “in a three-cell suite of rooms equipped with exercise equipment, a television and a laptop.” That’s 100 days of posh prison time for each person he murdered, with a legal release possible at age 53. Life is cheap in Norway.

The news agencies explained that such a sentence

is consistent with Norway’s general approach to criminal justice. Like the rest of Europe . . . Norway no longer has the death penalty and considers prison more a means for rehabilitation than retribution.

They explained that “many Europeans” consider America’s criminal justice system to be “cruelly punitive.” And the blog post I am now writing, naturally, would fall into the category of vindictive.

Do you see the error in this? C. S. Lewis did.

Keep reading John Piper’s article on this travesty of justice.

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Last week ABCNews featured a story on Mormonism–in light of the fact that Mitt Romney’s presidential candidacy.

If you missed it, Mark has a clip from the show as well as a chart that contrasts biblical Christianity and Mormonism. Click here.

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“We are facing a true moral inversion — a system of moral understandings turned upside down. Where homosexuality was even recently condemned by the society, now it is considered a sin to believe that homosexuality is wrong in any way. A new sexual morality has replaced the old, and those who hold to the old morality are considered morally deficient. The new moral authorities have one central demand for the church: get with the new program.

This puts the true church, committed to the authority of God’s Word, in a very difficult cultural position. Put simply, we cannot join the larger culture in normalizing homosexuality and restructuring society to match this new morality. Recognizing same-sex unions and legalizing same-sex marriage is central to this project.”

–Al Mohler goes on to explain four clear responses the faithful church must have toward this issue!

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The Roman Empire was the most tolerant, the most liberal, the most wise, and the most accurate in its handling of the many provinces and religions of its empire of any kingdom that ever existed. Men could worship, have temples, and do as they pleased.

And yet the Roman Empire and the Caesars persecuted the Christians. Why?

For one simple reason: the Christian refused to compromise his faith with any other religion whatsoever.

When the Romans invited them to place Jesus in their Pantheon beside Jupiter, by the side of Juno, by the side of Neptune, by the side of Isis, by the side of Osiris, the Christian flatly refused. It is Christ alone.

When the Christians were invited just to bow down before the Roman image, their lives could be spared if they would merely take a pinch of incense and put it on the fire that burned in the presence of the image of the Roman Caesar. The Christian died rather than compromise with a pinch of incense.

I am telling you what is the faith of the New Testament, the faith of the martyrs, and the faith of the true men of God through the centuries. That kind of a faith is uncompromising. There is no salvation in any other.

The depraved heart of humanity does not change… The offense of the cross and thescandalon of the message of Christ ultimately is no more acceptable today than it was in the generations that have passed. Nor will it be more acceptable in the generations that are yet to come until the Lord returns from heaven and brings righteousness to the war-weary, sin-cursed earth.

– W. A. Criswell, The Offense of the Cross

HT:  Kingdom People

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What if every day, we just started off praying like this, “Lord, make me a little more like your Son today!”?  Wouldn’t that be a great request?  I was challenged to do so after reading Jonathan Parnell’s article on sanctification which ends like this:

Christian, you will be like Jesus one day (1 John 3:2). The perishable will be overcome by the imperishable and you will bear his image with untarnished glory (1 Corinthians 15:53). He who began a good work in you will complete it (Philippians 1:6). As sure as God is God, he will finish his work. And until that day comes we don’t twiddle our thumbs and opt out of the journey. “Look,” Calvin tells us, “toward our mark with sincere simplicity and aspire to our goal.”

Every day the Father gives us another opportunity to make a little progress here, to have a little more of Jesus here. It is another day that he has created — and in which he has made us to exist — so that we will know what one more degree of glory is like in this world. He has reconciled us to himself in Christ and “in him has stamped for us the likeness to which we would have us conform” (686). Though he’ll consummate this conformity in the future, we live now to this end — a little more Jesus today than yesterday. Then more tomorrow. And then more.

O God, give me a little more of your Son today.

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Recently we had a missionary speaker who challenged us to think about the importance of the city.  He pointed to texts about the first city in the Bible, how the Apostle Paul’s missionary strategy was to visit and plant churches in strategic cities and how even in the last chapters of the Bible there is an emphasis on two cities: Babylon and the New Jerusalem.

I have lived in some big cities and outside a smaller city.  I enjoy traveling through and visiting big cities which offer much culturally and cross-culturally.  But I am looking forward to the last city mentioned in the Bible: New Jerusalem.  How about you?

Nathan Busenitz has a a great post about this new city that every Christian is going to visit one day. Here’s just a sampling:

Christians rarely think of heaven as a city, and yet that is precisely how God describes it (Heb. 11:16; cf. John 14:2). Cities have buildings, streets, houses, and citizens. They are places of political power, economic industry, higher learning, refined culture, and impressive architecture. These characteristics are true of the heavenly city as well, though the New Jerusalem will far outshine any of earthly city in both its magnificence and its might.

The fact that every major society on earth organizes itself into cities is indicative of the way God designed human beings. He created them to function in community with other people. It is not surprising, then, to learn that life on the new earth will center around a great municipality. As John MacArthur explains, “The concept of a city includes relationships, activity, responsibility, unity, socialization, communion, and cooperation. Unlike the evil cities of the present earth, the perfectly holy people in the new Jerusalem will live and work together in perfect harmony” (Revelation 12-22, 264).

In stark contrast to the harlot city of Babylon (destroyed in Rev. 18), the holy city of the New Jerusalem is free from God’s judgment (21:9). It is the home of the redeemed and the bride of the Lamb (21:2). It is also a realm characterized by the glory and presence of God (v. 11). Like a giant prism, illuminating God’s glory everywhere, the New Jerusalem will light up the entire new universe.

Unlike the dirty, smoggy cities of this world, the New Jerusalem glistens like a massive jewel as it descends from heaven onto the new earth. The Greek word translated “jasper” in Revelation 21:11 does not necessarily refer to the actual gem jasper, which possesses a reddish or brownish hue. Rather, it is a general term that can refer to any kind of precious gemstone. The further description, “clear as crystal,” suggests that John is describing a diamond. Thus, the New Jerusalem descends from heaven onto the New Earth like a jewel-studded crown from heaven. The image of a heavenly crown is appropriate because, as Revelation 22:2–5 describe, it is the very throne room of God Himself.

According to Revelation 21:15–17, the measurements of the New Jerusalem are immense, approximately 1,500 miles long on each side.  By way of illustration, if one corner of the city were placed on Los Angeles, a second corner would sit on Mexico City, a third corner on St. Louis, Missouri, and the final corner on Edmonton, Alberta. If the center of the New Jerusalem rested where the current Jerusalem stands, it would stretch across three continents from Greece to Iran to Saudi Arabia to Libya. The current city of Los Angeles has an area of 468 square miles. The state of California comprises roughly 164,000 square miles. But the New Jerusalem will encompass over 2 million square miles. That is the equivalent of 14 states of California put together; or 4,807 cities of Los Angeles combined.

Keep reading here.

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