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Sensual vs. Scriptural - Psalm 22:1-5

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.  Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them.  To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. Psalm 22:1-5

We live in a sensual generation in a sensual society. This is true not just for the hedonistic, “If it feels good, do it,” crowd. It is a logical result of a materialistic world and life view. If there is no God, no truth, only the material world we live in, we will certainly tend to be more strongly influenced our five senses and the tangible, material things that they can see, feel, hear, smell and taste. And following on this, we will be more strongly influenced by feelings and emotions than by abstract philosophical concepts like truth or justice or love or beauty. Feelings and emotions are not concrete, either , but they just happen to us without our conscious effort, and so in that sense they seem more real to the contemporary mind.

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 14:23 -- john_hendryx

Messianic Psalms - Psalm 2

1 Why do the nations rage
    and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers take counsel together,
    against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
    and cast away their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
    the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
    and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
    on Zion, my holy hill.”

I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
    today I have begotten you.

Psalm 2:1-7

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 10:12 -- john_hendryx

Final Words - 1 John 5:18-21

18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

As John finally concludes his letter he reminds his readers of four key points: we don’t have to be the way we have always been, this world is not our home, truth is found in God and, anything that is not from God is against Him.

First of all, we don’t have to be the way we have always been. In fact, we should not be. “Everyone who has been born of God does not keep sinning (v. 18).” If we have experienced Christ’s love and abide in Him we will “walk in the way He walked (2:6),” and sinful patterns and practices from the past will not define us. God so wants us to live new lives that He personally protects us, from sin and from the evil one who would tempt us and who seeks to do us harm.

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 10:29 -- john_hendryx

Faith or Obedience?

As Reformed believers we can rightly become very excited about discovering the depths of the biblical riches of God's grace. But as a result of wrong thinking about this, many of our churches avoid talking about obedience. One reason is that many have been burned in the past by legalistic churches or another is that they may be afraid of compromising the crucial doctrine of justification through faith alone. Those are good things to avoid but passages like Titus 2:12 teach "us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age." In fact the New Testament is full of divine commands or imperatives. True if taken in the wrong way, these commands could be construed as legalism or justification by works, but when regeneration is understood aright, the renewed heart, where the Spirit is at work, makes these commands part of our inner delight in living for Christ. We obey because the Spirit has united us to Christ and inclined our hearts toward holiness .... not in order to be saved but because we are saved. All obedience needs to be grounded in grace ... that is springs from Christ's work, not something we do in order to deserve Christ's blessing.  Our motive for obedience shows whether we understand the gospel or not. 

Wed, 07/09/2014 - 16:28 -- john_hendryx

Why Are Secular Progressives So Threatened by the Christian's View of Homosexual Behavior?

Why do the the secular progressives feel so threatened when homosexual behavior is called a sin by Christians? Is this sin unique among sins? The recent fury by the Hollywood crowd over Kirk Cameron's honest answer to a journalist's question and the firing of verious people for their views on this issue got me to thinking about this.

For thousands of years the church has declared many various things as sinful; practices that are in direct rebellion against the Creator. These are acts that God Himself revealed to men as opposing his Lordship. The church has always declared the sinfulness of sex outside the covenant of marriage (before and after marriage), the sinfulness of idol worship, greed, envy, hatred, pride and arrogance, self-righteousness, murder and many more. And the largest proportion of these are directed toward the church's own sin. You can see this every morning in our prayers and every Sunday (in confessional churches) during the corporate confession of sin where we remind ourselves that we are sinners and do so by then naming specific sins we ourselves are all guilty of ... and the very grace in the gospel constantly reminds that we are no better than others (to think one is better such an easy sin for all of us to fall into), and we also remind ourselves that but for the grace and mercy of God in Jesus Christ alone would would have no hope at all. We confess daily that if we based our ability to please God and earn eternal life on our own broken sinful lives, that none of us would make it, since we all justly deserve God's wrath. Humanity, therefore, needs a Savior because it is in slavery to sin and bent on rebellion against the only one who can deliver us. None of us are immune from sin and our personal sin is not more righteous the sins of the gay person. We are all equally damned without God's grace.

Wed, 07/09/2014 - 15:25 -- john_hendryx

Intercession and Apostasy - 1 John 5:16-17

16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death. 1 John 5:16-17

John has taught his readers to imitate Jesus by obeying the Father, as He has obeyed (2:6, 3:6), and by showing love to our brothers as Christ has shown love to us (3:16). Here he calls on them to intercede with God for those who are sinning. This is an indirect call to imitate Jesus as He is an intercessor, He pleads with God on our behalf. As the Apostle Paul says, “Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us (Romans 8:34).” It is not our intercession that gives life. It is God that gives life (v. 16), and His righteous anger is only turned aside by Christ’s propitiation (2:2). But John is talking about brothers, those who are already followers of Christ. So, in a sense, their sin is already forgiven in Christ, and God is pleased to hear our requests because of Him.

John warns that there is an exception, though, in the “sin that leads to death.” This must be spiritual death, of the type Jesus talks about in the Gospel of Mark:

Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter,  but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin (Mark 3:28-29).”

Wed, 07/09/2014 - 10:49 -- john_hendryx

Gospel Assurances - 1 John 5:13-15

13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him (1 John 5:13-15).

John has taught his readers about many things, like sin and righteousness and light and darkness and truth and lies, the dangers of loving the world and the threat of antichrists. He has also assured them of the the joy they can have as believers, the assurance that Christ is their advocate, and that they are God’s children. He has called them to love one another, following Christ’s example. He warned them that they must discern between good and evil spirits. And he has encouraged them that Christ has overcome the world, its threats and temptations.

John offers powerful encouragements and dire warnings. But as he begins to conclude his letter, he wants to make clear to his readers why he has written them. The promises and the dangers are real, but he also wants to give a big picture perspective. So he says directly that he is writing to Christians, so that they may know that they have eternal life (v. 13).

John similarly who wrote at the end of his gospel that he has

. . . written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name (John 20:30-31).

So, whether John is writing a gospel telling the good news of who Jesus is, hoping his readers might believe and come to have life, or if he is writing to those who are already believers, his emphasis is on eternal life.

Tue, 07/08/2014 - 10:53 -- john_hendryx

Overcoming - 1 John 5:1-4

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

There are various things we must overcome in life: hardships or trials, difficulties or troubles. All of these have negative connotations. So what does John mean when he says that “those who have been born of God have overcome the world”? Most of us have overcome something, like illness or negative attitudes. But to overcome the world either seems wildly ambitious, or paints the world in a pretty negative light.

In fact, John does paint the world in a negative light. But the world he is referring to is the fallen world, characterized by sin and corruption. It is the world governed by the devil, and is opposed to the love of the Father (2:15). It is the world that is the source of the lust of the flesh, eyes, pride of life (2:16), and which is passing away (2:17). This world does not know God (3:1), and hates those who do (3:13). It is filled with false prophets (4:1) and antichrists (4:3). Nevertheless, Christians can take heart, because He who is in us is greater than him who is in the world (4:4). In fact, Jesus was sent and came into the world (4:9) precisely to be the savior of the world (4:14).

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 09:51 -- john_hendryx

Choice Quotes from the Book "None But Jesus" by John Flavel

Here are some choice selections from Banner’s newest book in the Pocket Puritans series: None But Jesus. These quotes from John Flavel will give the reader a good taste of the riches found within this small volume.

Redeemed souls must expect no rest or satisfaction on this side of heaven, and the full enjoyment of God. The life of a believer in this world is a life of motion and expectation: they are now coming to God (1 Pet. 2:4). God, you see, is the centre and rest of their souls (Heb. 4:9).

As the rivers cannot rest till they pour themselves into the bosom of the sea, so neither can renewed souls find rest till they come into the bosom of God.

Christ’s bringing home of all believers unto God, will be matter of unspeakable joy to themselves. For whatever knowledge and acquaintance they had with God here, whatever sights of faith they had of heaven and the glory to come in this world, yet the sight of God and Christ the Redeemer will be an unspeakable surprise to them in that day. This will be the day of relieving all their wants, the day of satisfaction to all their desires: for now they are come where they would be, arrived at the very desire of their souls.

Herein the admirable grace of this heavenly suitor appears, that Jesus Christ passed by millions of creatures of more excellent gifts and temperaments, and never makes them one offer of himself; never turneth aside to give one knock at their door: but comes to thee, the vilest and basest of creatures, and will not be gone from thy door without his errand’s end.

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 12:40 -- john_hendryx

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

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