Tuesday, 29 April 2008

God is the Gospel

Had a good time this morning meditating on Matthew 5v 11+12:

11"Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all
kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for
your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were
before you.''
What's the reward? What do we get for being persecuted? What's the hope (1 Pt 3v15)? God. God is the gospel.
On Sunday I asked my Sunday school class the question: 'What's the ultimate point of the Cross?'. One girl said Heaven, another said 'to be forgiven'. Both answers are wrong. If the ultimate goal of the cross is to purchase the context of heaven then Christ is degraded to a door. He becomes useful to allow us in. That's not the gospel!! God is the gospel.
The ultimate purpose of the cross?
'For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God' (1 Peter 3v18)
We are purchased to behold His glory.
Any other reason makes the cross a tool to our joy outside of Christ. In other words: idolatry.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Know Christ

Thursday, 24 April 2008

NWA 09 Wishlist

My desired lineup for New Word Alive 2009:

Morning Bible Readings- John MacArthur on Colossians

Evening Celebrations 1 & 2- C.J. Mahaney on Hebrews 12v1+2

Evening Celebrations 3 & 4- Ian Murray on the need for Revival and Reformation

Eveining Celebration 5- Josh Harris on Living the Humble Orthodoxy

Monday, 21 April 2008

Reckless Service

"Where are the young men and women of this generation who will hold their lives cheap (Rev 12v11), and be faithful even unto death?
Where are those who will lose their lives for Christ’s sake – flinging them away for love of Him?
Where are those who will live dangerously, and be reckless in His service (Acts15v26)?
Where are his lovers – those who love Him and the souls of men more than their own reputations or comfort, or very life?
Where are the men who say “no” to self, who take up Christ’s cross to bear it after Him who are willing to be nailed to it in college or office, home or mission field; who are willing, if need be, to bleed, to suffer, and to die on it?
Where are the men and women of vision today?
Where are the men of enduring vision?
Where are the men and women who have seen the King in His beauty, by whom from henceforth all else is counted but refuse that they may win Christ?
Where are the adventurers, the explorers, the buccaneers for God who count one human soul of far greater value than the rise or fall of an empire?
Where are the men who glory in God-sent loneliness, difficulties, persecutions, misunderstandings, discipline, sacrifice, death?
Where are the men and women who are willing to pay the price of vision?
Where are the men and women of prayer?
Where are the men and women who, like the Psalmist of old, count God’s Word of more importance to them than their daily food?
Where are the men and women who, like Moses of old, commune with God face to face as a man speaks with his friend, and unmistakably bear with them the fragrance of the meeting through the day?
Where are God’s men and women in this day of God’s power?"
Howard Guinness, Sacrifice, (IVP)

Saturday, 19 April 2008

A Catechism of Christian Hedonism

1) What is the chief purpose of God?
To glorify God.

2) How worthy is God of glory?
God is infinitely glorious therefore is worthy of infinite glory.

3) Can God exist without preferring His glory above everything else?
God by nature has to glorify Himself in all that He does being infinitely worthy of glory.

4) How does God give Himself glory?
God gives Himself glory be enjoying Himself.

5) How is God's self-enjoyment shown?
God's self-enjoyment is shown by having supreme delight in all that He is: every person and work of the trinity; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

6) Does God have any interest in humanity?
Yes. He wants humans to share in the enjoyment of His glory.

7) What is the chief purpose of humanity?
To glorify God.

8) How can humans glorify God?
Humans can glorify God by enjoying Him.

9) Why should humans glorify God?
Humans should glorify God because God is the only all-satisfying being.

10) Why aren't Christians more excited about the gospel?

Friday, 18 April 2008

The Law of the Lord is perfect...

Following yesterdays thoughts on the law:

'It is no small matter then to understand rightly what the law is, and what is the true use and office thereof... we reject not the law and works, as our adversaries do falsely accuse us...
We say that the law is good and profitable, but in his own proper use: which is first to bridle civil transgressions, and then to reveal and to increase spiritual transgressions.
Wherefore the law is also a light, which shows and reveals, not the grace of God, not righteousness and life; but sin,death, the wrath and judgement of God... the law, when it is in his true sense, doth nothing else but reveal sin, engender wrath, accuse and terrify men, so that it brings them to the very brink of desperation. This is the proper use of the law, and here it hath an end, and it ought to go no further.'
Martin Luther

Thursday, 17 April 2008

NWA Reflections

Well I'm safely back from F-welly (Pwllheli to the welsh) after having an awesome time at New Word Alive.

Terry Virgo started the conference preaching from the last half of Romans 5. His theme was Treasuring Christ and Grace. I constantly need to be reminded that there is now no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus, only everlasting joy! I think it was Luther who said that the default mode of mans heart is works. In other words we naturally believe that our works effect our standing before Him. As a result of this we either become proud or full of guilt.
Terry showed us that we are completely righteous. Our justification in Christ is not based on our achievements. Our acceptance with Christ is not altered by how sinful we feel. Justification is founded on the declaration that God has made as a result of His Son's perfect obedience.

He then went on to expound Romans 5v14b: 'You are not under law but under grace'. Terry suggested that the believer is without relationship to the law. His sermon seemed to imply antinomianism as he didn't clearly define that Rom 5v14b is speaking about the believers relationship with the law in terms of obeying it for salvation. We don't keep the law for righteousness. I believe this is the meaning Paul is conveying by saying that we have died to the law.
I think some may have misunderstood Terry's sermon to imply that the law is without use today or we do not need to obey it. Scriptures like 1 Tim1v8: 'the law is good if one uses it lawfully' also Psalm 19v 7+8: 'The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul' on the surfacem, seem to contradict what he said.

Carson went through 1 John in the morning Bible readings. These were very good. He really showed us the passion of John when writing against the Gnostic's. The epistle opens with John's affirmation of the humanity of Jesus. It's powerful to ponder over the greatness of our God being 'contracted to a span' all for us. That we might have life, and as John says that our 'joy may be complete'!

Carson is cool. I like his preaching style. It's down to earth but yet powerful and proclamational. As Carson was preaching I was reminded of the power of true doctrine saturated with love. John is writing against rampant heresy but he focuses so much on the love of God. He challenges us to love one another to a greater extent than we can imagine!

More to follow...

Photo: Ian Davidson

Friday, 4 April 2008

Fly with the Gospel

Run, John, run, the law commands
But gives us neither feet nor hands,
Far better news the gospel brings:
It bids us fly and gives us wings.
John Bunyan

Thursday, 3 April 2008

The Repercussion

Take a look at this:

Good isn't it? They're called 'The Repercussion'. My friend Bruce is the singer. Her real name is Becky Rewse!

This is the blurb from their site:

The 4 piece band were formed in early 2004 in Dorset. Their sound is the result of a 'fusion' of various genres from Rock to laid back indie with some other bits in there as well to suit everyones tastes. 2007 has been a big year for this band so far, they are already getting many bookings from all around the country for 2008 and have just completed an Autumn Tour in September due to the success of 'Rushing Away' which was released in December 06.

Take a look at their website and youtube channel.

NWA Excitement

New Word Alive is just around the corner. I wish I could say that about the geographical location of the event.

I actually cannot wait. Most of my Christian friends are going. Jesus well be there that's the best bit about it. As an added bonus my mates DC, JP and TV will also be preaching God willing. For anyone who isn't familiar with the code of Sussex CU I'm talking about Don Carson (preaching on 1 John), John Piper, and Terry Virgo. What a line up! I've been commissioned by HB to make up a joke featuring the three. My thinking cap is on. I've got till Monday should be enough time.

Here's ten other things I'm looking forward to concerning NWA:

1) Inevitable banter with the CU boys

2) Discussing of Romans 9 with Povey

3) Someone recording what I say when I'm asleep

4) Visiting Wales and trying to pronounce 'Pwllheli'. Then being corrected by John Price.

5) Meeting up with friends who don't live in Brighton

6) Playing Pit with Sarah

7) Being an Anglican for 5 days...(I'm going with BH)

8) Trying to get into the promotional video for NWA 09. HB and others got in the one for this year

9) Finding the answer to the question: 'I wonder if DC will preach on the part of 1 John 5v7 that doesn't appear in some modern manuscripts?'.

10) Knowing that Jesus promises to be with His followers and bless us even though we don't deserve it.

Will blog on the event on return...

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Creative Calvinism

Visual learners love diagrams. Take a look at this one I found on reformationtheology.com

Nice isn't it? I'm a firm believer in the doctrines of grace. Sometimes the TULIP is known as 'Calvinism'. This makes me a little annoyed. Mainly because I don't believe that Calvin (even though he was a good Bible teacher) should get the credit for what is clearly taught in scripture. As a result of Calvin being so closely linked with 'Calvinism' people think that he was a guy who ranted on about election and the sovereignty of God all the time. Mike Reeves states (in a series of mp3's on Calvin's book 'The Institutes of Christian Religion') that there is very little in the institutes on election. Instead Calvin's main purpose of writing the book was to attack the heresy of the Catholic Church. MP3's available here. They're very good. Well worth a listen.

As you can see the diagram shows that all of the doctrines point to God's love and glory. With this said some people are angry Calvinists. Boo to them. They make Calvinism their all in all. Calvinism isn't Jesus, we can't worship it! We have to enjoy doctrine but not make it our God. We must fight for truth but not at the expense of love. We fight for truth with love as the primary motivation-love for God and people.

It's easy to let doctrine make us proud (1 Cor 8v1) that's why we need humble orthodoxy. A dedication to guarding, preserving, and fighting for clear objective truth. And a humility that constantly explains the message as people who are rescued not just 'right'...

...I got that last line from Josh Harris. It's not my own!

The fool says in his heart...

Another thought. The verse says 'the fool has said in his heart' ...not his mind.

The verse doesn't only apply to atheists but theists who haven't accpeted Christ as Saviour. We can easily recognise God in our mind. The real foolishness comes when we welcome the interlectual ideas of God and don't bow to Him being Lord in our hearts. The opinion of our mind towards the reality of God doesn't make any difference. The heart and the mind must both testify to God.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

The fool says in his heart: There is no God.

''The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God'.
They are corrupt,
They have done abominable works,
There is none who does good.''
(Psalm 14v1)

This is everyone. Everyone is or has been foolish because we've all rejected the reality of God. We were born in that way. We suppress the truth about God. The created world tells us there must be a God but we bottle that voice up and put our existence down to blind chance.

Why do we deny the power of God? 'They are corrupt'. We are born sinners, separate from God. Our nature is sinful, it wants everything except a real relationship with God. We want the bodies that God has given, the families that he has placed us into, the style and culture that come from artistic creativity (a gift from God)...but we don't want Him.

We refuse to except the one being who can offer us hope, constant joy and satisfaction, we are messed up! Sin is a disease that's destroyed our perception and feeling of God, we see a distorted image of Him. We think of God as unjust, unloving and unkind. The problem is within us we are the ones who haven't been fair with God. We have refused to give Him love, refused to treat Him as if He has value. These are the 'abominable works'. We have turned our backs on God, spat in His face and claimed that we are better than Him. And this attitude affects everything we do. As a result: 'There is none who do good'.

We can never pay God back by 'being good'. So many people think they will get to Heaven because they have never murdered or stolen anything, if that is the case pride is the sin. And pride has to be punished. People think they can get to Heaven by going to Church, it's not true going to Church doesn't make anyone a Christian.

There is hope! God is a loving God. He doesn't want anyone to go to Hell, to be punished for sin. He knows we are sinners and chooses to love us with unconditional, real love...the best love ever. And He demonstrates His love: God became a Man. The creator became similar to the creature. He walked on earth and then chose to die on the cross. On the cross a transaction happened. Jesus took the sin of those who love Him. He transferred it supernaturally from us to Himself. Then God the Father gave Jesus the punishment we deserve for that sin, the perfect anger meant for us. Then Jesus died. He rose again after two nights and ascended into Heaven.

God loves us and doesn't want us to be punished in Hell. He doesn't want to be angry with you...even though you deserve it! And He doesn't want you to try and do good things to earn His favour. God already cares. He just wants us to simply trust in Him and turn away from sin. If you do that then you can now real powerful love. You can experience a real God and have a relationship with Him like as a friend .Knowing God is better than living in sin. Knowing God is better than sex outside of marriage or getting drunk. God wants a good life for you, free from sin. God wants you to be happy. God is the only person who can give you real happiness, he wants you to enjoy Him forever on earth and in Heaven.
Please turn away from your sin and trust in Jesus.
Please respond to this post with questions.