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Knowledge and Power - Colossians 1:9-14


And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:9-14)

The last time we looked at Paul’s greeting to the Colossians, where he thanks God for their faith, love and hope. As he continues he prays for knowledge and power.

Tue, 05/13/2014 - 10:50 -- john_hendryx

Faith, Love, and Hope - Colossians 1:3-5


[This is the first installment in a new series in which we will be blogging through Paul's epistle to the Colossians]

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven (Colossians 1:3-5).

In his introduction to his letter to the Colossians, the Apostle Paul thanks God for their faith, their love, and their hope. Paul has not met these saints, as we can tell from verses seven through nine. But he has heard good things about them. And he knows what it means to be a Christian. So we can assume that he expects faith, love and hope to be part of the life of every believer.

The faith Paul mentions is faith in Christ Jesus, the means by which righteousness from God graciously becomes ours. As Paul says elsewhere, “in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last (Romans 1:17).”

The love the Colossians have demonstrated is for all the saints. In the early Christian church, the world did not marvel initially at the Christians’ teaching, but in the way they loved each other. In Philippians, Paul urges the believers there to be in unity, to be humble and to love one another because we have comfort from the love of Christ, Himself.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 09:29 -- john_hendryx

Does Moral Inability Alleviate Our Responsibility? (Dialogue)


This is a short dialog that discusses our fallen condition as human beings and our responsibility to God. 

The following quote was the original post which is followed by a short discussion:

-------------------------------------

"It is the duty and responsibility of all people everywhere to repent and believe the gospel. But all men, in their willful blindness, plunge themselves into darkness and perdition. In other words, so-called "free will" is man's problem, not his solution... only Divine mercy can save him (Rom 9:16, John 6:63, 65, 37)."

Visitor: This statement is ridiculous. It can't be a duty and a responsibility if it is ONLY divine intervention and mercy. Totally self defeating and contradictory. Bro, its either God picks randomly, or everyone has a chance at salvation. If you never had a chance from the beginning and ONLY God gives the ABILITY to repent, then how can true justice be served? So you have a DUTY and a RESPONSIBILITY to do something you do not have the power to do? If you cant see how ridiculous that is, I really don't know what else to say.

Response: After the fall, God called you to obey the Ten Commandments? Do you? Given your reasoning then it is not our responsibility to obey the 10 commandments because we are not able to? Not only does this defy reason, but it defies the Bible. Paul declares the the purpose of God's commands are not to show our ability but to reveal sin (our inability).. .

"...whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin." Rom 3:19-20

Wed, 05/07/2014 - 20:25 -- john_hendryx

The Face of God


The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

(Number 6:24-2

God is everywhere. So we are, literally, always in His presence. The thought alone ought to humble us and cause us to tremble for our lack of holiness. But in His mercy, the Lord veils His presence, so that we are not destroyed by the sheer magnitude of His glory.

But at certain times in Scripture, the Lord made His presence known. He spoke to Abraham several times and appeared to Jacob at Bethel and at Penuel. He appeared to Moses at the burning bush, and again on Mount Sinai. But the Lord told Moses on the mountain that He would show him His goodness. “But you cannot see my face,” He said, “for man shall not see me and live (Exodus 33:20).” So Moses, whom the Lord spoke to, “as a friend (Exodus 33:11),” whose own face shone after being in God’s presence, was unworthy to see God’s full glory.

Wed, 05/07/2014 - 08:27 -- john_hendryx

The "Justification Only" Model of Ministry


In an effort to avoid moralism as well as protect and preserve the gospel of grace alone in Christ alone, some leaders use a "justification only” model of ministry which has a tendency to avoid the topics of obedience, holiness, law and morality from the pulpit. Any call to obedience, they fear, is legalistic so such passages are skimmed over so as to go directly to the gospel. But this is an over-reaction to the moralism many of these pastors may have came out of.  I think the problem arises mostly out of a lack of understanding of the biblical doctrine of regeneration.

Notice the apostles seem to have no issue speaking boldly about obedience. The apostle John declares:

"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." 1 John 3:9

Tue, 05/06/2014 - 17:51 -- john_hendryx

Can God Be Trusted?


The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises
    and faithful in all he does (Psalm 145:13).”

The spirit of our age is all about desire. Our desires determine our goals and dreams. For many, desire even determines right and wrong because, if we desire something strongly enough, it must be legitimate. Nothing should stand in the way of our desires, and if our wishes are not met, we have a right to be upset. And our frustration becomes further proof of the legitimacy of our wants.

God speaks His word even into this age, but we must hear Him with the ears of disciples, and not as the world. The Lord makes promises, and as the Psalmist says, He is faithful to those promises. But He doesn’t promise us whatever we want. He promises what is good for us, and what will bring Him glory. The world can sometimes even agree to that, until we get to the details. But for His followers Christ also promises trials and persecutions. At that point the world turns to run the other way. But Simon Peter answered Christ, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life (John 6:68).”

Even believers, influenced as we are by the world in which we live, are frustrated when we don’t get what we want. We can even blame God. Why would He not grant our wishes? Satan takes advantage of this disposition as he did with Eve in the garden and provokes us to ask, “Is God really powerful? Does He really have my best interests in mind? Is He really good? Can He really be trusted?”

Tue, 05/06/2014 - 08:03 -- john_hendryx

If there is no objective morality ...

I often receive notes from atheists declaring how evil they think the God of the Bible is.

Response:

If there is no objective morality (any real, universal right and wrong) then all the continued talk of morality to me, as if you were trying to persuade me of something, is utterly irrelevant... it is just a personal preference like cooked eggs rather than raw. Why waste your time so passionately trying to persuade me of something so banal as how you like your eggs cooked? I don't care. Your moral declarations of how evil the God of the Bible is carries about the same weight with others as your preference for cooked eggs. If there is no truth to right and wrong then speaking with passion to others about it is absurd. Honesty and dishonesty, doing evil and doing good are all equally consistent with an atheistic worldview, and therefore, equally meaningless.

But humans are irresistibly drawn like gravity to be moral beings. We can't help it and know deep down there is a moral Lawgiver because God has written it in our conscience. Each time you tell others that they are following evil and therefore obligated to obey your morality you reveal your true colors: that you affirm objective morals - morals that are true for you and me regardless of personal opinions. That you believe your morals are better than others... and to be better you need some standard outside yourself to measure it by. Every time you make moral declarations about the evil in the Bible to me, you are not just telling me a personal opinion but want to persuade me... obviously you think you are right. And right means there is a wrong - for everyone ... in reality not just like which flavor of ice cream you like -- for you would never spend time here trying to convince me how vanilla is better than strawberry ice cream .... since that IS a subjective preference.

Mon, 05/05/2014 - 15:27 -- john_hendryx

The Blessed Hope in the Last Days


by Dean Davis

The following is the introduction to the book The High King of Heaven

Knowing that the Passover was at hand; knowing that his hour had come to depart this world to the Father; knowing that he must leave his disciples behind to continue his work; knowing that they, like him, would face terrible opposition in doing so; and knowing that they would need an unfailing source of courage and strength to fulfill so difficult a task, the Lord Jesus Christ—faithfully loving his own to the end—left them with this unforgettable promise: 

      Let not you heart be troubled: Believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am there you may be also.  -- John 14:1-3            

Mon, 05/05/2014 - 14:08 -- john_hendryx

"Blessed are you when others ... falsely accuse you"

The Bible calls us blessed if we are falsely accused for Jesus' name sake (Matt 5:11) and He gives the clear impression that being misunderstood is simply part of what we should expect when we bear the name Christian. In fact Peter even describes it as our calling as witnesses of Christ to bless those who speak and do evil against us.

It seems one of the great falsehoods of our age is the popular accusation that Christians bigoted or homophobic because we think of various culturally-popular ideas are among the many ideas the bible calls sinful. But as you know, this actually reveals a profound lack of knowledge and an unwillingness to understand the Christian faith more than anything else. The most central idea of Christianity is that God only saves sinners, even the worst kind like me ... and those who continue to have high thoughts of themselves or their own goodness have no hope for being made right with God. But all who, by the grace of God, repent of their self-righteousness and trust in Jesus alone, whatever their sins may be been, will be given a new heart, will be reconciled to God, know the forgiveness of sins and be granted eternal life.

It is one thing for people to disagree, to say they disbelieve Christianity and that their beliefs differ from ours, but quite another to pull out the prejudice and bigotry card falsely painting an evil motive on the Christian's call to help liberate fellow sinners from captivity. But we are called to "bless" those who make false accusations ... and since this seems to currently be front and center in this age, we ought to commit it to prayer how we can best bless the culture around us even when they accuse and falsely represent. How we can do good to all who are created in the image of God.

May the Lord give us wisdom to be humble and yet persevere in his ways.

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 13:38 -- john_hendryx

Visitor: Society Determines Morality and Much Biblical Morality is Unacceptable Today

Comment: Do you believe there is an absolute morality? It appears that in the days that we live society determines morality, and it has changed quite a bit from biblical times. There is no commandment against child abuse. Very little is mentioned in the bible that protects children. But, children need special protection because they are vulnerable. There are tribal wars in the bible and ordered killing of women, children, and babies in the bible. And there are many other acts and principles that we do not accept as moral today.

Sun, 04/27/2014 - 17:15 -- john_hendryx

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