June 2014

Top 10 Books on Theology and Piety

Top 10 Books on Theology

Institutes of the Christian Religion, by John Calvin
The book was written as an introductory textbook on the Protestant faith for those with some learning already and covered a broad range of theological topics from the doctrines of church and sacraments to justification by faith alone. It vigorously attacked the teachings of those Calvin considered unorthodox, particularly Roman Catholicism, to which Calvin says he had been "strongly devoted" before his conversion to Protestantism. The over-arching theme of the book--and Calvin's greatest theological legacy--is the idea of God's total sovereignty, particularly in salvation and election.

The Economy of the Covenants, by Herman Witsius

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 14:58 -- john_hendryx

True Love - 1 John 4:7-13

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.

Any parent—or at least those recognized as good parents—knows that to love their children does not mean we give them whatever they want. Sometimes we give them things they don’t want, like the nutritious food instead of the snack. Or, worse yet, medicine. We don’t do whatever they want, but we do what’s best for them in a given situation, because we love them.

The same is true of God’s love for us. And it should be true of our love for others.

Wed, 06/25/2014 - 12:24 -- john_hendryx

Definition of Regeneration

Regeneration. a word used to describe the radical and permanent change in a person's whole outlook achieved by the Holy Spirit. The word itself is used only twice in the NT, in Mt. 19:28 ('new world', RSV) to refer to the future restoration of everything and in Tit. 3:5 to refer to the change in an individual. Other terms, which relate to it are 'new birth' (Jn. 3:3; 7:1, Pet 1:3,23), describing the continuous application and expression of regeneration. It was prefigured in the OT by such passages as Je. 31:31ff., which sees God's law written on human hearts and Ezk. 37:1ff., Ezekiel's vision of dry bones brought to life by God's breath.

The NT regards the effects of sin to be so serious that without regeneration a person cannot enter the kingdom of God. The initiative is God's, whose decisive act of regenerating someone is once and for all (Jn. 1:13, 3:3ff.) As a result, the individual actively repents, believes in Jesus, and then lives in newness of life (cf. 1 Jn 3:9, 4:7; 5:1). There is no change to the personality itself, but the person is controlled differently; instead of being ruled by the law of sin, he or she is directed by the Holy Spirit towards God. However, the regenerate person is not yet perfect, but has to grow (1 Pet 2:2) and be continually filled with the Spirit (Rom 8:4, 9, 14; Eph 5:18).

The means by which regeneration is ministered to a person have been disputed. 1 Pet 1:23 and Jas. 1:18 refer to God's Word as a means of new birth, Tit 3:5 relates it to baptism. But as John distinguishes between regeneration and the faith that results  (Jn. 1:12f.), Peter and James are referring to the whole process, not the means. Also regeneration is possible before baptism (Acts 10:33f.; 16:14f.). Therefore regeneration comes to people directly from the Holy Spirit; God's word brings it to expression in faith and repentance; and baptism bears witness to it.

Tue, 06/24/2014 - 19:37 -- john_hendryx

Test the Spirits - 1 John 4:1-6

4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

We live in an age that has a very high level of credibility regarding things spiritual, but a very low level of discernment. Part of this is because of the widespread belief that truth is relative and any and all claims to spiritual insight are equally valid. This often stems from or is at least assisted by an intellectual laziness; rather than investigating varying truth claims it is easier to simply say they are all true, even if they are mutually exclusive. In the same way, many don’t even evaluate truth claims to see if they even square with the world they live in.

Tue, 06/24/2014 - 12:48 -- john_hendryx

Love, Compassion and Reassurance - 1 John 3:11-24

11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 11:05 -- john_hendryx

Monergism Weekly Highlights - 6-19-2014

The following are a sampling of the best resources we made available over the last week on Monergism.com. May the Lord richly use the for His own glory and your edification.

Spirit Empowered Mission (14-Part MP3 Series)
by Dr. Arturo Azurdia III

Preaching the Gospel from the Old Testament - Part 1 & Part 2 (MP3s)
by Dr Raymond C Ortlund Jr.

A Body of Divinity (Free eBook)
by Thomas Watson

No Hope Outside of Christ
by Paul David Tripp

Exposition of Revelation 5:9 - Particular Redemption
by Dr. Arturo Azurdia III

The Immediate and Only Ground of Justification: The Imputed Righteousness of Christ
by James Buchanan

An Alien Righteousness
by B B Warfield

The Doctrine of Justification by Faith (Free eBook)
by John Owen

Persecuted for Righteousness' Sake: The Christian and Persecution
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 14:11 -- john_hendryx

Born of God - 1 John 3:4-10

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

There are two misconceptions about sin in the life of the believer that John is dealing with here.

The first is that, if we are born of God, we are so transformed that we will be incapable of sin. But this contradicts what John has already said in chapter one. We all sin, and if we say otherwise we are liars (1:8), and even make God a liar (1:10). If we are honest, this also matches our experience.

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 08:38 -- john_hendryx

Abiding and Preparing - 1 John 2:28-3:3

28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. 29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.

    3 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

In the previous passage, John says, “Children, it is the last hour,” referring to the immanent return of Christ. He cites the appearance of those opposed to Christ has proof.

But surely the most amazing thing John says here is the fact that God loves us and calls us His children (3:1-2)! The Maker and Sustainer and Sovereign Lord of the universe loves us and has made us His own. Though we were estranged through Adam’s sin and our own, Christ Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, died in our place, turning aside God’s righteous anger and reconciling us to Him. And now He does not just tolerate us, he loves us.

This is the basis of our relationship as John talks of Christ’s return and our meeting Him. He speaks first of what we do with ourselves while we wait. Until that day, we simply abide. We remain in Him. As in John’s discussion of the antichrists, we don’t reject Christ or go looking elsewhere for salvation. We remain in Him (2:28). There might be trials and persecutions and disappointments and disillusionments. Hold on. Don’t give up. He is coming. And remember, God loves us.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 10:22 -- john_hendryx

Many Antichrists Have Come - 1 John 2:15-27

18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life. 26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.

Tue, 06/17/2014 - 09:15 -- john_hendryx


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