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Showing posts from April, 2015

looking forward to eternal world

"These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.  If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city."  (Hebrews 11:13-16 ESV) "A continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot

a sign of perishing

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16 ESV) In his 1966 sermon series on the new birth Lloyd-Jones describes one sign of "a perishing condition"... "The only life they know is the life that belongs to the body. That is their realm, their sphere, and of course they are always  talking about it and getting excited about it, spending their money and their time. I need not waste your time telling you in  detail what I mean. We are all perfectly familiar with it. You simply need to read a newspaper or listen to the radio. Now I  am not criticizing these things as such, but I am saying that it is rather odd or strange that people are prepared to give  such time and money and enthusiasm to things that belong only to their animal and bodily and physical part and none at all to  the highest part. That is what it means to be perishing. Not to be alive to and alert to t

it does not matter

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."  (John 3:16 ESV) "It does not matter what you have been; it does not matter what you have done. 'Ah,' people have said to me, 'if you but knew  the life I’ve lived, if you knew the sins I’ve committed . . .'   I always reply, 'I’m not at all interested in your sins. I  don’t care what you’ve done or what you’ve been. We’re all sinners.'  "I do not care how old you are. I will let you into the secret of the essential difference between the life as a doctor and the  life of a preacher and evangelist. When the doctor is handling people, he wants to know their past history, about the father  and the mother, what they died of and so on. He must have the patient’s history. He cannot do anything without it. I am not  interested in histories. I am not interested in testimonies of people describing the sins they have comm

belief is immediate

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped.  But Paul cried with a loud voice, "Do not harm yourself, for we are all here."  And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas.  Then he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"   And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household."  And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized

reading highlights on the new birth

I am continuing to receive much benefit from Martyn Lloyd-Jones' sermons on the Christian's new life, as published in Experiencing the New Birth (Crossway, 2015).  The following highlights are from the sermons about knowing the Triune God, and about the joy that comes from the assurance of salvation... What is Christianity? Christianity is that which brings a man or woman to a knowledge of God. Take our Lord’s own definition  of eternal life: “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”  That is Christianity—knowing God, not just believing a few things about God and living a nice little life. That is not  Christianity. That is often nothing but morality or mere religion. The essence of this is entering into this realm into which  you begin to know and have communion with the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. The best way to thank him for what he did and what he suffered on your behalf is to enjoy these th

faith rests on the pure Word of God alone

"I trust in your word." (Psalm 119:42 NIV)  "The strength of our faith is in direct proportion to our  level of belief that God will do exactly what He has  promised. Faith has nothing to do with feelings,  impressions, outward appearances, nor the probability or  improbability of an event. If we try to couple these things  with faith, we are no longer resting on the Word of God,  because faith is not dependent on them. Faith rests on the  pure Word of God alone. And when we take Him at His Word,  our hearts are at peace.   "God delights in causing us to exercise faith.  He does so to  bless us individually, to bless the church at large, and as  a witness to unbelievers. Yet we tend to retreat from the  exercising of our faith instead of welcoming it. When trials  come, our response should be, 'My Heavenly Father has placed  this cup into my hands so I may later have something  pleasant.'  "Trials are the food of faith. Oh, may we leave ourselv

notes on Hebrews 11:1-7

“If I could have seen land, I might have made it.”  ( Florence Chadwick, long distance swimmer to a reporter after being taken  out of the water a mile from shore in thick fog in her swim from Catalina Island to the California coast in 1952. ) Faith is a way of seeing the unseen , seeing that which is i nvisible but nonetheless real .  It is believing what God has said,  reckoning it (and him) as true, and laying hold of his promises and of hope.   Faith pleases God .  What biblical faith is not :  Not a leap into the dark; it is based upon something God has revealed.  Not a mystical feeling , or  a feeling of dependence on someone (or anyone). It is trust in the God Who Is and what he has revealed. It’s not faith in  faith .  (As in, “I have faith.”)  Biblical faith is not sincerity in believing something , though sincerity in faith is  important. It is more than a mere list of beliefs . What we believe has content, but it is more than information. Biblical  faith is not merely a

by faith we understand

"By faith we understand..." (Heb 11:3) Everybody begins with faith in something.  We trust our own reason and observation and that usually stands us in good stead .   But we can only see clearly and reason clearly when we reason and see from God’s point of view . Adam and Eve were presented  with two ways of seeing the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They yielded to what looked good and made sense to them...  "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes , and that the tree  was to be desired to make one wise ..."  (Genesis 3:6 ESV)  Ever since that day our minds have been darkened , and we have been very muddled in our thinking, especially about God, and  right and wrong, and things unseen by our physical sight and senses .  "For my thoughts are not your thoughts , neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD."  (Isaiah 55:8 ESV)   Paul describes it in Ephesians 4 and Romans 1... th

making the gospel small

Here's the Doctor on "Heavenly Things" (John 3:8) in chapter 12 of Experiencing the New Birth :   "What is your view and mine of the Christian life? Far too often it is just this: 'Oh yes, I believed in Jesus Christ at conversion. I made a decision and accepted him.' You have relied upon that. You have stopped doing certain things, and you begin to do others, and you have it all nice and complete. You do your duties, and you may be active in work, and there you are. You are self-content, and you think that is Christianity. But, my dear friends, is it? Have we received his fullness and grace, ever expanding until we know something of the fullness of God himself? I feel this has been one of the great troubles perhaps in the present century—and I am talking to evangelical people in particular. I feel we have made the gospel something small, sometimes even something glib, something that we can handle, so that we are afraid of yielding ourselves to the possibili

safe at sea, safer in the storm

"And so was Noah safe when the flood came ; and was the great type and instance too of the verification of this proposition. He was put into a strange condition, perpetually wandering, shut up in a prison of wood, living upon faith, having never had the experience of being safe in floods.  "And so have l often seen young and unskilled persons sitting in a little boat, when every little wave sporting about the sides of the vessel, and every motion and dancing of the barge seemed a danger , and made them cling fast upon their fellows; and yet all the while they were as safe as if they sat under a tree, while a gentle wind shook the leaves into a refreshment and a cooling shade.  And the unskilled, inexperienced Christian shrieks out whenever his vessel shakes, thinking it always a danger, that the watery pavement is not stable and resident like a rock; and yet all his danger is in himself, none at all from without :  "For he is indeed moving upon the waters, but fa

frame on creation

Here are some of my highlights from John Frame's Systematic Theology on the topic of creation... "Christians would do well to meditate on creation. To trust God’s salvation is like believing in creation: By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. (Heb. 11:3)" "The point of comparison seems to be that in both cases, faith is directed to the invisible. Faith trusts God in the absence of sight (cf. 2 Cor. 5:7)." "We can trust his Word, his promise, therefore, even when we do not see any visible evidence of the fulfillment." "What scientists may learn from Genesis is that these methods do not work for objects specially created." "My point is simply that any view of origins at all implies apparent age. If there is an origin, the things at that origin will appear to be older than the origin." "...according to Scripture, al

the christian and the world

"For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1 John 5:4-5 ESV) I am working my way through Martyn Lloyd-Jones', Experiencing the New Birth , a new release (2015) from Crossway Books.  I am so enriched by Lloyd-Jones' sermons (these were preached in London in 1966) that it is a delight to read them.  In many ways this is a modern version of the Religious Affections , whereby the Doctor gives us signs and evidences of the new birth.   The new Christian will have a new view of "the world".  Here are some highlights... "This new life differentiates us, and everybody is aware of it, not only us but others also. "Worldliness means thinking of yourself and your life in this world, and the whole of life in the world, without God.  "The Devil will make people good if he c

God walked again in the garden

“They took the body down from the cross and one of the few rich men among the first Christians obtained permission to bury it in a rock tomb in his garden; the Romans setting a military guard lest there should be some riot and attempt to recover the body.  There was once more a natural symbolism in these natural proceedings; it was well that the tomb should be sealed with all the secrecy of ancient eastern sepulcher and guarded by the authority of the Caesars. For in that second cavern the whole of that great and glorious humanity which we call antiquity was gathered up and covered over; and in that place it was buried. It was the end of a very great thing called human history; the history that was merely human. The mythologies and the philosophies were buried there, the gods and the heroes and the sages. In the great Roman phrase, they had lived. But as they could only live, so they could only die; and they were dead. On the third day the friends of Christ coming at daybreak to th