Archive for the ‘Books of Bible’ Category

1437541_28976297   “For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error.” (2 Peter 2:18, ESV)

“If a person today wants to gain a following, he does not put on a robe and go out into the streets carrying a sign warning about the end of the world. Rather, he buys a closetful of expensive suits, learns to speak with a rhetorical flourish, rents big arenas or builds big churches, and charges people big bucks for getting in on the show.  And many people are swept off their feet by such an impressive appearance of affluence and power. Paul had to battle this problem in Corinth. False teachers, better looking than Paul, better dressed than Paul, and rhetorically  more skilled than Paul, had invaded the church. Unlike him, they charged the people for their ministry. They seemed to be “strong”; Paul appeared “weak.” . . . We must not judge Christian leaders, teachers, and pastors by their appearance. We must not judge a Christian conference or seminar on the basis of the slickness of the advertising or the impressiveness of the facilities rented for it. We must not judge the content of a book by the artistry of its cover”

–Moo, Douglas  J. (2011-02-22). 2 Peter, Jude (NIV Application Commentary, The) (Kindle Locations 3584-3592). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

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Herman Bavinck:

Whatever apostasy occurs in Christianity, it may never prompt us to question the unchanging faithfulness of God, the certainty of his counsel, the enduring character of his covenant, or the trustworthiness of his promises. One should sooner abandon all creatures than fail to trust his word. And that word in its totality is one immensely rich promise to the heirs of the kingdom.

It is not just a handful of texts that teach the perseverance of the saints: the entire gospel sustains and confirms it. The Father has chosen them before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), ordained them to eternal life (Acts 13:48), to be conformed to the image of his Son (Rom. 8:29). This election stands (Rom. 9:11Heb. 6:17) and in due time carries with it the calling and justification and glorification (Rom. 8:30).

Christ, in whom all the promises of God are Yes and Amen (2 Cor. 1:20), died for those who were given him by the Father (John 17:612) in order that he might give them eternal life and not lose a single one of them (6:40; 17:2); he therefore gives them eternal life and they will never be lost in all eternity; no one will snatch them out of his hand (6:39; 10:28). The Holy Spirit who regenerates them remains eternally with them (14:16) and seals them for the day of redemption (Eph. 1:134:30).

The covenant of grace is firm and confirmed with an oath (Heb. 6:16-18;13:20), unbreakable like a marriage (Eph. 5:31-32), like a testament (Heb. 9:17), and by virtue of that covenant, God calls his elect. He inscribes the law upon their inmost being, puts his fear in their heart (Heb. 8:10;10:14ff.), will not let them be tempted beyond their strength (1 Cor. 10:13), confirms and completes the good work he has begun in them (1 Cor. 1:9;Phil 1:6), and keeps them for the return of Christ to receive the heavenly inheritance (1 Thess. 5:232 Thess. 3:31 Peter 1:4-5).

In his intercession before the Father, Christ acts in such a way that their faith may not fail (Luke 22:32), that in the world they may be kept from the evil one (John 17:1120), that they may be saved for all times (Heb. 7:20), he is to behold his glory (John 117:24). The benefits of Christ, which the Holy Spirit imparts to them, are all irrevocable (Rom. 11:29). Those who are called are also glorified (8:30). Those who are adopted as children are heirs of eternal life (8:17; Gal. 4:7). Those who believe have eternal life already here and now (John 3:16). That life itself, being eternal, cannot be lost. It cannot die since it cannot sin (1 John 3:9). Faith is a firm ground (Heb. 11:1), hope is an anchor (6:19) and does not disappoint us (Rom. 5:5), and love never ends (1 Cor. 13:8).

Excerpted from Reformed Dogmatics 4.269-70 (paragraph breaks are mine)  (HT: Kevin DeYoung)

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“There were also false prophets among the people,
just as there will be false teachers among you.” (2 Peter 2:1)

I am preaching through 2 Peter 2. Tomorrow will be our last message in this chapter which has dealt with false teachers.  I was hoping to use this article from Colin Smith on 7 Traits of False Teachers which begins:

There are no “ifs, ands, or buts” in Peter’s words. It’s a clear and definite statement. There were false prophets among the people (of Israel in the Old Testament). That’s a matter of history.

False prophets were a constant problem in the Old Testament, and those who falsely claimed to be prophets of God were to be stoned. The people rarely had the will to deal with them, so they multiplied, causing disaster to the spiritual life of God’s people.

In the same way Peter says, “There will be false teachers among you.” Notice the words “among you.” Peter is writing to the church and says, “There will be false prophets among you.” So he is not talking about New Age people on television. He is talking about people in the local church, members of a local congregation.

There is no such thing as a pure church this side of heaven. You will never find it. The wheat and the tares grow together. Warren Wiersbe writes:

Satan is the counterfeiter. . . . He has a false gospel (Galatians 1:6-9), preached by false ministers (2 Corinthians 11:13-12), producing false Christians (2 Corinthians 11:26). . . . Satan plants his counterfeits wherever God plants true believers (Matthew 13:38).

Colin goes on to mention several distinctions between false teachers and genuine believers.  Take a look so that you can identify counterfeit believers more readily.

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Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober- minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. – 1 Peter 1:13

As if he had said, “Wherefore, since you are so honoured and distinguished, as above, Gird up the loins of your mind. You have a journey to go, a race to run, a warfare to accomplish, and a great work to do; as the traveller, the racer, the warrior, and the labourer, gather in, and gird up, their long and loose garments, that they may be more ready, prompt, and expeditious in their business, so do you by your minds, your inner man, and affections seated there: gird them, gather them in, let them not hang loose and neglected about you; restrain their extravagances, and let the loins or strength and vigour of your minds be exerted in your duty; disengage yourselves from all that would hinder you, and go on resolutely in your obedience.~ Matthew Henry

What can you do today to discipline your mind for godliness?  

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David Walls shares two brief stories that illustrate the truth of moving forward in the Christian life.

Sir Edmund Hillary failed in several of his early attempts to climb Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world. On one occasion he had to leave five associates dead on the side of that great mountain. Still, the British parliament wanted to recognize these valiant efforts, so they invited Hillary into their chambers. They even placed a picture of Mount Everest at the front of the room.

When Sir Edmund Hillary entered the room, the members of Parliament rose to give him a standing ovation. When he saw these great legislators standing and applauding his good effort, tears filled his eyes. Many members of Parliament noticed the tears and thought, Look, the tears of happiness that we are recognizing this good effort he has made.

They were not tears of happiness and joy; they were tears of anger and frustration! Sir Edmund Hillary certainly had not set out to leave five associates dead on the side of that mountain, so he walked to the front of the room and literally pounded on the picture of Mount Everest. He screamed at the mountain: “You defeated me! But you won’t defeat me again! Because you have grown all that you can, but I am still growing!”

As Hillary walked to the front of the room, he recognized something that many people never recognize: Certainly he had made a good effort to climb that mountain, but the greatest enemy of excellence is good! He had not set out to make a “good effort” at climbing Mount Everest, but to arrive at the top. Ultimately, he was the first person to climb Mount Everest. Why? Because he continued to grow and refused to be satisfied with the good.

Having worked for many years in Africa, David Livingstone returned to England briefly. Someone greeted him, “Well, Dr. Livingstone, where are you ready to go now?” Livingstone responded, “I am ready to go anywhere, provided it be forward.”

Every Christian should find a moment of transparent honesty for spiritual life assessment. Are we, with Sir Edmund Hillary, still growing? Are we, with David Livingstone, moving forward? Or, has rigor mortis of the soul begun to set in?

Walls, D., & Anders, M. (1999). Vol. 11: I & II Peter, I, II & III John, Jude. Holman New Testament Commentary; Holman Reference (26).

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1 Peter 1:23 declares the Word of God is living and endures forever.  The Word of God produces and sustains life. The Word of God is never out-of-date or irrelevant.  It is living and enduring because its Author, the God of this Universe, lives and endures forever!

Today, lots of ministers to listen to the demon “relevance” which says “When you preach you must be relevant to your people. Beware of being irrelevant.” Now there is a half-truth in that but as Christopher Ash contends,

“How do we define what is relevant? Who decides what Is relevant? Answer: the hearers do! What relevance means is that I must scratch where they itch. And therefore my method is the method of the contemporary politician. I must find out where they are itching.. So I gather a Focus Group, I take an opinion poll, I build up a picture of the issues bugging people. And this forms my agenda, which I address in my topical preaching. My preaching agenda is their itching agenda. They come to me as patients with their presenting symptoms, perhaps of anxiety, discomfort, low self-esteem or loneliness. And as their spiritual doctor I prescribe remedies for their perceived ills.

The problem—as every good doctor knows—is that the patient’s perceived ills, their presenting symptoms, their itches, may mask a deeper but unperceived illness. And the only one who knows the deeper illness is the God who made us. The Bible is the written expression of God’s agenda, the word of the God who made us. It expresses his purposes, his plans; it centers on him, not on us, and speaks to us only as we relate to him. To preach expositorily through a Bible book is to trust that the agenda of God is the right, the deepest, the best agenda. (The Priority of Preaching, p. 112)

This was part of my sermon on “Gospel-Powered Love” (PDF or MP3) from June 24, 2012.

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1 Peter 1:4 informs us that those who are in Christ have an inheritance which is “imperishable, undefiled, unfading, and kept in heaven for us.”  That is our inheritance is death-proof, sin-proof, time-proof, and theft-proof.”  God is guarding this inheritance and He is not going to lose it.  Our spiritual inheritance in heaven is glorious–not subject to decay, death or dissolution.  It will never be tainted by sin. It will never lose its beauty!  Paul tells us we have already obtained this inheritance and he prays “that the eyes of our heart would be enlightened so that we may know what is hoep to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:11, 18)

So how do we live right now, today,  in light of the glorious inheritance that we have in Christ. Here are three NT exhortations to keep in mind:

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:1–2)

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:15–17)

Let us live in light of our inheritance this day!

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In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,” (1 Peter 1:6, ESV)

Dr. Tom Schreiner writes, “The New Testament regularly sees sufferings as the road believers must travel to enter into God’s kingdom (cf. Acts 14:22; Rom 5:3–5; Jas 1:2–4).37 We should not deduce from this that sufferings are somehow enjoyable or that a specific reason should be assigned to each suffering; nor should we minimize the evil actions of others in inflicting suffering (Acts 2:23). Peter assured his readers, however, that God is working out his plan even in their anguish. [Schreiner, T. R. (2007). Vol. 37: 1, 2 Peter, Jude in The New American Commentary Series].

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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,” (1 Peter 1:3, ESV)

“That we were created men, was grace; because we might have been of a lower order of beings, like beasts: but to be new-created, after that we were fallen, and by this new creation to be made sons of God, is not only “mercy,” but such mercy as never was vouchsafed to the angels that fell: no; it was reserved for us: and “abundant” mercy it was! The very angels in heaven have not in this respect been so highly favoured as we: for they can sing of grace only: whereas we, when we had abused and forfeited all the blessings of grace, had them all restored to us through the tender mercy of our God.]”

Simeon, Charles (1832-63). Horae Homileticae Vol. 20: James to Jude (138). London.

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Dr. Will Varner on an overview of James from his devotional commentary called “To Love God and Love Others”

“I suggest the following outline of the letter, based on its “exhorting” character. The two bolded points (8 and 9) indicate the sections that (1) express the main subject and (2) convey the strongest exhortation. In my commentary I call these two sections the “thematic peak” and the “hortatory peak” of the letter. Each of the following sections is either addressed to the “brothers” or to a group who are condemned (as in Jas 4:13 and 5:1). Each group is then given an imperative command or asked a rhetorical question.

1. Salutation Jas 1:1

2. Be Joyful in Trials Jas 1:2–15

3. Do Not Be Deceived about God’s Goodness Jas 1:16–18

4. Become a Good Hearer/Doer of the Word Jas 1:19–27

5. Do Not Show Favoritism Jas 2:1–13

6. Show Your Faith by Your Works Jas 2:14–26

7. Be Consistent in Your Speech Jas 3:1–12

8. Follow the Wisdom of God Jas 3:13–18

9. Become a Friend of God Jas 4:1–10

10. Do Not Speak Against One Another Jas 4:11–12

11. Do Not Plan Presumptuously Jas 4:13–17

11. You Rich Should Treat the Poor Justly Jas 5:1–6

12. Wait Patiently for the Lord’s Coming Jas 5:7–11

13. Do Not Swear but Pray Jas 5:12–18

14. Convert the Erring Brother Jas 5:19–20

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