Archive for August, 2009

I’m posting this one for me. If it speaks to you too that would be awesome……….

Thanks to Ben Davis for posting this on Facebook….

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Scripture diagnoses sin as a universal deformity of human nature, found at every point in every person (1 Kings 8:46; Rom. 3:9-23; 7:18; 1 John 1:8-10). Both Testaments have names for it that display its ethical character as rebellion against God’s rule, missing the mark God set us to aim at, transgressing God’s law, disobeying God’s directives, offending God’s purity by defiling oneself, and incurring guilt before God the Judge. This moral deformity is dynamic: sin stands revealed as an energy of irrational, negative, and rebellious reaction to God’s call and command, a spirit of fighting God in order to play God. The root of sin is pride and enmity against God, the spirit seen in Adam’s first transgression; and sinful acts always have behind them thoughts, motives, and desires that one way or another express the willful opposition of the fallen heart to God’s claims on our lives. Sin may be comprehensively defined as lack of conformity to the law of God in act, habit, attitude, outlook, disposition, motivation, and mode of existence. Scriptures that illustrate different aspects of sin include Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 12:30-37; Mark 7:20-23; Romans 1:18-3:20; 7:7-25; 8:5-8; 14:23 (Luther said that Paul wrote Romans to “magnify sin”); Galatians 5:16-21; Ephesians 2:1-3; 4:17-19; Hebrews 3:12; James 2:10-11; 1 John 3:4; 5:17. Flesh in Paul usually means a human being driven by sinful desire; the niv renders these instances of the word as “sinful nature.” The particular faults and vices (i.e., forms and expression of sin) that Scripture detects and denounces are too numerous to list here. Original sin, meaning sin derived from our origin, is not a biblical phrase (Augustine coined it), but it is one that brings into fruitful focus the reality of sin in our spiritual system. The assertion of original sin means not that sin belongs to human nature as God made it (God made mankind upright, Eccles. 7:29), nor that sin is involved in the processes of reproduction and birth (the uncleanness connected with menstruation, semen, and childbirth in Leviticus 12 and 15 was typical and ceremonial only, not moral and real), but that (a) sinfulness marks everyone from birth, and is there in the form of a motivationally twisted heart, prior to any actual sins; (b) this inner sinfulness is the root and source of all actual sins; (c) it derives to us in a real though mysterious way from Adam, our first representative before God. The assertion of original sin makes the point that we are not sinners because we sin, but rather we sin because we are sinners, born with a nature enslaved to sin. The phrase total depravity is commonly used to make explicit the implications of original sin. It signifies a corruption of our moral and spiritual nature that is total not in degree (for no one is as bad as he or she might be) but in extent. It declares that no part of us is untouched by sin, and therefore no action of ours is as good as it should be, and consequently nothing in us or about us ever appears meritorious in God’s eyes. We cannot earn God’s favor, no matter what we do; unless grace saves us, we are lost. Total depravity entails total inability, that is, the state of not having it in oneself to respond to God and his Word in a sincere and wholehearted way (John 6:44; Rom. 8:7-8). Paul calls this unresponsiveness of the fallen heart a state of death (Eph. 2:1, 5; Col. 2:13), and the Westminster Confession says: “Man by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able by his own strength to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto”

I thought this was pretty awesome, so I figured I’d share it with you all………..

“Many of us read the Bible, and many of us do not. Many of us go into Bible reading looking for anything but transformation, which is unfortunate, given that transformation is the primary reason the written word of God exists. Devotional Scripture reading requires discipline and consistency, but its aim is the treasuring of God’s word in our hearts and the delighting of ourselves in God’s statutes. We have at our fingertips the very revelation of God to us, and yet we treat Scripture like a blunt instrument, like a reference book, like a prop for our propaganda, anything but the wellspring of God’s truth to be drunk deeply from. Devotional Scripture reading means meditating on Scripture, chewing on it, savoring it, learning not just how to read Scripture, but how to feel it.

My conviction is that evangelicals by and large have lost their ability to feel Scripture. The great irony is that now when the Bible is more available than any time in history, we are perhaps more biblically illiterate than any Christian generation in history.
The great opportunity in this, of course, is that our generation is now extra ripe for biblical transformation and a revival in commitment to the deep well of Scripture.

I’ve come up with five ways one might begin to develop a greater feeling for Scripture. Some or all of these may not be new to you (and none were invented by me, of course), as they are basically good practices for essential Bible study, but put into disciplined practice, these approaches to study can condition us to feel Scripture more keenly.”  Read More Here.

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Our great object of glorifying God is, however, to be mainly achieved by the winning of souls. We must see souls born unto God. If we do not, our cry should be that of Rachel “Give me children, or I die.” If we do not win souls, we should mourn as the husbandman who sees no harvest, as the fisherman who returns to his cottage with an empty net, or as the huntsman who has in vain roamed over hill and dale. Ours should be Isaiah’s language uttered with many a sign and groan—“Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?” The ambassadors of peace should not cease to weep bitterly until sinners weep for their sins. If we intensely desire to see our hearers believe on the Lord Jesus, how shall we act in order to be used of God for producing such a result? This is the theme of the present lecture. Since conversion is a divine work, we must take care that we depend entirely upon the Spirit of God, and look to him for power over men’s minds. Often as this remark is repeated, I fear we too little feel its force; for if we were more truly sensible of our need of the Spirit of God, should we not study more in dependence upon his teaching? Should we not pray more importunately to be anointed with his sacred unction? Should we not in preaching give more scope for his operation? Do we not fail in many of our efforts, because we practically, though no doctrinally, ignore the Holy Ghost? His place as God is on the throne, and in all our enterprises he must be first, midst, and end: we are instruments in his hand, and nothing more. This being fully admitted, what else should be done if we hope to see conversions? Assuredly we should be careful to preach most prominently those truths which are likely to lead to this end. What truths are those? I answer, we should first and foremost preach Christ, and him crucified. Where Jesus is exalted souls are attracted; – “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.” The preaching of the cross is to them that are saved the wisdom of God and the power of God. The Christian minister should preach all the truths which cluster around the person and work of the Lord Jesus, and hence he must declare very earnestly and pointedly the evil of sin, which created the need of a Saviour. Let him show that sin is a breach of the law, that it necessitates punishment, and that the wrath of God is revealed against it. Let him never treat sin as though it were a trifle, or a misfortune, but let him set it forth as exceeding sinful. Let him got into particulars, no superficially glancing at evil in the gross, but mentioning various sins in detail, especially those most current at the time: such as that all-devouring hydra of drunkenness, which devastates our land; lying, which in the form of slander abounds on all sides; and licentiousness, which must be mentioned with holy delicacy, and yet needs to be denounced unsparingly. We must especially reprove those evils into which our hearers have fallen, or are likely to fall. Explain the ten commandments and obey the divine injunction: “show my people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins.” Open up the spirituality of the law as our Lord did, and show how it is broken by evil thoughts, intents, and imaginations. By this means many sinners will be pricked in their hearts. Old Robbie Flockhart used to say, “It is of no use trying to sew with the silken thread of the gospel unless we pierce the way for it with the sharp needle of the law.” The law goes first, like the needle, and draws the gospel thread after it: therefore preach concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment to come. Let such language as that of the fifty-first Psalm be often explained: show that God requireth truth in the inward parts, and that purging with sacrificial blood is absolutely needful. Aim at the heart. Probe the wound and touch the very quick of the soul. Spare not the sterner themes, for men must be wounded before they can be healed, and slain before they can be made alive. No man will ever put on the robe of Christ’s righteousness till he is stripped of his fig leaves, nor will he wash in the fount of mercy till he perceives his filthiness. Therefore, my brethren, we must not cease to declare the law, its demands, its threatenings, and the sinner’s multiplied breaches of it.

Here’s another awesome video from the fine folks over at I’ll Be Honest. Be prepared to have your world rocked…………….

 

WOW! This is awesome!!

It was asked of me in another post, how can I believe the way I do and still worship at church. I’m not sure in what spirit the question was being asked in, and really it doesn’t matter. It is hard to convey a passion for something on a blog post like you can in face to face meetings, which makes answering the question in a way the other person can fully understand more difficult. But as I read this Puritan prayer this morning it reinforced , not only my doctrinal and theological beliefs, but I think it may provide an answer to the question that was asked of me this morning. I hope as you read it, it blesses you as it did me………….This is why I worship.

 

O Lord,

Iam a shell full of dust,

      but animated with an invisible rational soul

      and made anew by an unseen power of grace;

Yet I am no rare object of valuable price,

   but one that has nothing and is nothing,

   although chosen of thee from eternity,

   given to Christ, and born again;

I am deeply convinced

   of the evil and misery of a sinful state,

   of the vanity of creatures,

   but also of the sufficiency of Christ.

When thou wouldst guide me I control myself,

When thou wouldst be sovereign I rule myself.

When thou wouldst take care of me I suffice myself.

When I should depend on thy providings I supply

   myself,

When I should submit to thy providence I follow

   my will,

When I should study, love, honour, trust thee,

   I serve myself;

I fault and correct thy laws to suit myself,

Instead of thee I look to a man’s approbation,

   and am by nature an idolater.

Lord, it is my chief design to bring my heart back

   to thee.

Convince me that I cannot be my own God,

     or make myself happy,

   nor my own Christ to restore my joy,

   nor my own Spirit to teach, guide, rule me.

Help me to see that grace does this by providential

    affliction,

   for when my credit is good thou dost cast me

      lower,

   when riches are my idol thou dost wing them

      away,

   when pleasure is my all thou dost turn it into

      bitterness.

Take away my roving eye, curious ear, greedy

     appetite, lustful heart;

   show me that none of these things

     can heal a wounded conscience,

     or support a tottering frame,

     or uphold a departing spirit.

   then take me to the cross

   and leave me there.