Monday, July 30, 2012

Memorization Monday - Romans 8:1, 2

Romans 8:1, 2 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

I put together a list of verses from the book of Romans that give the gist of the book. There are 1 or 2 verses to memorize each week. For the entire list, check out this link.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Resources for Life and Godliness

Sometimes as Christians we wonder whether we have the resources we need to live life and especially a godly life. Self-help books are published by the hundreds and we scour titles hoping to find something that will help us be more successful at this business of living the Christian life.

I've been meditating on 2 Peter 1:3 which reads: " as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,"

There are several important things to notice in this verse. First, it requires divine power to provide what we need for life and godliness. Books won't give us the power we need and a whole lot of self assurance won't do it. It takes God's divine power at work to accomplish this.

Next I notice that His power has given us ALL things necessary for life and godliness. There's nothing left out of our resource kit when it comes to successfully living life. God has provided everything we need.

Finally, these resources come through the knowledge of Jesus Christ who is the one who called us. This kind of knowledge is not head knowledge, but a personal relationship knowledge that comes from knowing God through Jesus Christ. He will go on in the next verse to talk about exceeding precious promises. We know those promises because they have been preserved for us through God's word.

Our need is not to scour the shelves of the book stores to try to find some new insight. The insights we need for life and godliness have already been given to us. They are found in the Bible. Joshua 1:8 promises success to the one who meditates on the Word of God frequently and regularly. That's where the answers have always been and still are.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Putting the Flesh to Death - Colossians 3:5

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. .  Colossians 3:5

Do you mortify?  Do you make it your daily work?  Do not take a day off from this work; always be killing sin or it will be killing you.  We must strike it as an enemy until it ceases living.  Sin is laboring to bring forth the deeds of the flesh.  When sin lets us alone, we may let sin alone.  Sin is active when it seems to be the most quiet, and its waters are often deep when they are calm.  Sin is always acting, conceiving, seducing and tempting.  There is not a day but sin foils or it foiled.  There is no safety but in a constant warfare from sin’s perplexing rebellion.  Sin will not only be striving, acting, rebellion, troubling, and disquieting if not continually mortified, it will also bring forth great, cursed, scandalous, and soul-destroying sins (Gal. 5:19-20).  When sin rises to tempt, it always seeks to express itself in the extreme.  Every unclean thought would be adultery if it could; every covetous desire would be oppression; and every thought of unbelief would be atheism.  It is like the grave that is never satisfied.  Sin’s advance blinds the soul from seeing its drift from God.  The soul becomes indifferent to sin as it continues to grow.  The growth of sin has no boundaries but the utter denial of God and opposition to him.  Sin proceeds higher by degrees; it hardens the heart as it advances.  Mortification withers the root and strikes at the head of sin every hour.  The best saints in the world are in danger of a fall if found negligent in this important duty.  Negligence of this duty decays the inner instead of renewing him.  It is our duty to be ‘bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God’ (2 Cor. 7:1), and every day to be growing in grace (1 Pet. 2:2), and seeking to be renewed in the inner nature day by day (2 Cor. 4:16).

From "Voices from the Past" Edited By Richard Rushing, page 53

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Believer's Battle - Temptation

This is the last in the series summarizing our pastor's sermon series on the Believer's Battle. This is just a short synopsis of the message. The link at the bottom will take you to the audio of the sermon, if you would like to hear it.

We are tempted to blame many things and many people for our temptations, but the truth is that temptations are not the fault of other people. Temptations are common to all of us. No one should think he is unusual when he is tempted. It's a normal part of living in a fallen world.

Temptations are not sinful in themselves. Even Jesus was tempted in all points like we are, yet He was without sin. But that doesn't mean that they are easy to deal with. They are a means the devil uses to activate our own desires. That's where the trouble comes from. We are tempted when we are drawn away of our own desires and enticed. (James 1:13-16)

There are some biblical actions we need to take in order to successfully fight temptation.

We need to...

Abide in Christ – John 15:1-11
Walk & be controlled by the Spirit – Ephesians 5:18
Make no provision for the flesh – Romans 13:14
Meditate and heed the Word of God – Psalm 119:9-11
Affirm the truth and priority of God's Word – Matthew 4:1-11
Acknowledge God has made a way of escape – 1 Corinthians 10:13
Avoid situations that make temptation hard – Proverbs 22:3
Pray – Matthew 6:13
Guard yourself and your mind – 1 Peter 1:13
Learn to say, “NO” – Proverbs 1:10

To hear the audio of the message brought to you from Faith Baptist Church in Mattawan, Michigan, click here.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Memorization Monday -- Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Hymn of the Week -- Great God of Wonders

 Great God of Wonders by Samuel Davies
1. Great God of wonders! All Thy ways
Are matchless, Godlike and divine;
But the fair glories of Thy grace
More Godlike and unrivaled shine,
More Godlike and unrivaled shine.

2. Crimes of such horror to forgive,
Such guilty, daring worms to spare;
This is Thy grand prerogative,
And none shall in the honor share,
And none shall in the honor share

3. Angels and men, resign your claim
To pity, mercy, love and grace:
These glories crown Jehovah's Name
With an incomparable glaze
With an incomparable glaze.

4. In wonder lost, with trembling joy,
We take the pardon of our God:
Pardon for crimes of deepest dye,
A pardon bought with Jesus' blood,
A pardon bought with Jesus' blood.

5. O may this strange, this matchless grace,
This Godlike miracle of love,
Fill the whole earth with grateful praise,
And all th'angelic choirs above,
And all th'angelic choirs above.

Who is a pardoning God like Thee?
Or who has grace so rich and free?
Or who has grace so rich and free?

Thursday, July 05, 2012

The Believer's Battle - Sin

Each Thursday I'm sharing a synopsis of Pastor Rawsthorne's series on The Believer's Battle. This series of sermons has been very helpful in focusing our attention on who and what we are fighting and how to successfully wage war against the world, the flesh, the devil, and sin. This week's message was on the battle with sin. There is a link at the bottom of this article if you would like to hear the podcast of this message.

The Problem of Sin

We have a sinful nature. We were conceived in sin and we have hearts that are naturally bent toward sinning. (Romans 3:10, 5:12, Psalm 51:5, Jeremiah 17:9, Ephesians 2:1-3)

Besides having a sin nature, we then engage in sinful actions, attitudes, and thoughts. The Bible describes sin as missing the mark. God has established the target of holiness, and we miss it. Sin is also described as trespassing – going into areas where we should not be. It's crossing the line.
(I John 3:4, 5:17; I Samuel 15:23, Matthew 5:21-28, 15:19)

Sin is our failure to do the right thing. (James 4:17)

We also sin when we violate our conscience. (Romans 14:17) Our conscience is not naturally programmed to know God's standard of right and wrong and therefore has to be taught from God's Word. In the mean time, though, we should not go against our conscience because our conscience becomes seared.

The Nature of Sin

Sin is deceptive.
Sin is destructive, damaging and deadly.
Sin is devilish.
Sin is dishonoring to God and to ourselves.
Sin is defeating and discouraging.
Sin is dominating.

The Judgment of Sin

Throughout the Bible, the judgment for sin is death. God is holy and righteous and cannot condone sin. He must punish sin. (Romans 6:23, Numbers 32:23, Matthew 12:36-37, Romans 12:19, I Corinthians 4:5, I Peter 2:24, Isaiah 53:7-11)

The Remedy for Sin

Salvation – When Christ saves us He grants us forgiveness. We are redeemed from the curse of death and given eternal life. (Ephesians 1:7, Acts 26:18, Romans 6:23)

Confession – When we sin, we are to agree with God that what we have done is wrong and that He is right. That is what confession means. (1 John 1:9, Proverbs 28:13)

Forgiveness-- God graciously forgives us our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. He removes our sins from us as far as the east is from the west. (Psalm 130:4, 103:3, 8, 10, 12, 17)

Forsaking – We not only should confess our sins, but should forsake them and flee from them. We aren't going to gain the victory if we hang around where our sin and temptations are strong. (Proverbs 28:13, I John 5:21, 2 Timothy 2:22)

We can rely on the following truths:

The sacrifice and advocacy of Christ – He paid for our sins and is our attorney before the court of heaven.

The mercy and grace of God – He is the God of all grace. He freely provides us with unmerited love and acceptance.

The power and presence of the Holy Spirit

The authority and ability of God's Word

If you would like to listen to this message from Faith Baptist Church in Mattawan, Michigan, you will find the podcast here.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

What Did Jesus Teach - Blessed are the Mourners

The next Beatitude Jesus gives is “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4) Jesus is continuing His statements of what a truly happy and fortunate person is like and here He hits us with one that makes very little sense to modern Americans. Jesus is not speaking here about mourning over some tragedy such as the death of a loved one. He is speaking of mourning over our sinful condition and poverty of spirit.

In the prophet Joel we read, “'Now, therefore,' says the Lord, 'Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.' So rend your heart, and not your garments.” (Joel 2:12-13)

James, the brother of Jesus, wrote something similar, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” (James 4:8-10)

Now that sounds encouraging, doesn't it! Who wants to be told to have their laughter turned to mourning. Both Joel and James sound like those old mean preachers of a previous century who were trying to make everybody depressed and take all of the fun out of life.

Jesus said that He had come to give abundant life. (John 10:10) But what Jesus knows is that we came into this world in lost condition. We are born rebels and we kick against the way God made the world and the way He wants us to live in it. We are determined to be our own king and master and we will not have God or anyone else rule over us. The problem with this is that it doesn't work. God made the universe to function a certain way under certain guiding principles. Just like there are laws of science, there are spiritual laws that govern how we function best. Until we are ready to humble ourselves, recognize that we are poor in spirit and mourn over our failure to live up to God's standards and to bring our lives into line with the way things actually are, we will never be able to know the happiness that God is very willing to provide.

The good news is that those who mourn in this way will be comforted. There is relief from the right kind of mourning. Jesus says, “Happy is that man who has come to recognize this truth.” As long as we continue blindly through life assuming that the fun we are having is the true happiness, we will fall short of God's plan for us and will ultimately loose everything. As Jesus says later on, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26)

Monday, July 02, 2012

Memorization Monday - Romans 6:22

Romans 6:22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Hymn of the Week -- More Love to Thee

More Love to Thee O Christ -- Elizabeth P. Prentiss

More love to Thee, O Christ, more love to Thee!
Hear Thou the prayer I make on bended knee.
This is my earnest plea: More love, O Christ, to Thee;
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Once earthly joy I craved, sought peace and rest;
Now Thee alone I seek, give what is best.
This all my prayer shall be: More love, O Christ to Thee;
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Let sorrow do its work, come grief or pain;
Sweet are Thy messengers, sweet their refrain,
When they can sing with me: More love, O Christ, to Thee;
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Then shall my latest breath whisper Thy praise;
This be the parting cry my heart shall raise;
This still its prayer shall be: More love, O Christ to Thee;
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!