Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for January, 2013

evangelism

I was recently asked, by the “Southern Ohio Pastors Coalition”, to write a blog on the use of the law in evangelism. I wanted to share my thoughts with you as well. Click here to read.

In addition to my post I would like to add a few other thoughts from others for your consideration:

“The law of the Ten Commandments …….This law God had given to man before (it was written on his heart by nature); but sin had so defaced that writing that it was necessary, in this manner, to revive the knowledge of it.”

-Matthew Henry (commentary on Exodus 20)

The following is an excerpt from Martin Luther’s “Smaller Catechism”:

(Section 4 – Christian Questions with Their Answers)

 

 “1. Do you believe that you are a sinner?

 Yes, I believe it. I am a sinner

 2. How do you know this?

  From the Ten Commandments, which I have not kept.”

 

Walter Chantry, in his book, “Today’s Gospel: Authentic or Synthetic”, wrote the following:

 “If sinners are unaware of the Decalogue’s requirements for themselves, they will see no personal significance in Christ’s broken body and shed blood. Without knowledge of the condemnation of God’s holy law, the cross will draw sympathy but not saving faith from sinners….Hosts of Christians have a dreadful fear of God’s law, as if it were the useless relic of a past age, the use of which in our day would keep sinners from the grace of God. Our Saviour used the law as a primary tool in evangelism. He knew that preaching the Ten Commandments was the only way to teach a sinner his guilt and thereby stir within him a desire for God’s grace…The present moment of history finds more ignorance of God’s law than in many previous generations. The pulpit ignores Exodus 20…To the natural man, God’s laws are as chains, the harsh imposition of a ruler’s will. Thus the law reveals in him an absence of love for God and men…It is essential to declare the commandments in order to show the sinner his heart of hatred toward God and enmity toward men. Only then will he flee to the grace of God in Jesus Christ to provide him with righteousness and love. Men are not turning to Christ because they have no sense of sinning against the Lord. They are not convicted of sin because they don’t know what sin is. They have no concept of sin because the law of God is not being preached. You cannot improvise a hasty sop, “All men have sinned.” You must dwell on the subject at length. Exposit the Ten Commandments until men are slain thereby (Romans 7:11). When you see that men have been wounded by the law, then it is time to pour in the balm of Gospel oil. It is the sharp needle of the law that makes way for the scarlet thread of the Gospel…Do you see that Jesus was not looking for intellectual assent to the fact that the young man (Rich Young Ruler) was less holy than God? Christ wielded the sword of God’s law until it made deep and painful gashes on the ruler’s conscience…”

And last but certainly not least, Charles Spurgeon, the “Prince of Preachers” had this to say:

“…there is war between you and God’s Law. The Ten Commandments are against you…The First one comes forward and says, “Let him be cursed, for he denies me. He has another god besides me; his god is his belly, he yields homage to his lust.” All the Ten Commandments, like ten great pieces of cannon, are pointed at you today, for you have broken all God’s statutes, and lived in the daily neglect of all His commands. Soul! You will find it a hard thing to go to war with the Law. When the Law came in peace, Sinai was altogether on a smoke, and even Moses said, “I do exceedingly fear and quake.” What will you do when the Law comes in terror, when the trumpet of the archangel shall tear you from your grave, when the eyes of God shall burn their way into your guilty soul, when the great books shall be opened, and all your sin and shame shall be published? Can you stand against an angry Law in that day?”

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

a praying life

If God is sovereign, then he is control of all the details of my life.  If he is loving, then he is going to be shaping the details of my life for my good.  If he is all-wise, then he’s not going to do everything I want because I don’t know what I need.  If he is patient, then he is going to take time to do all this.  When we put these all together–God’s sovereignty, love, wisdom, and patience–we have a divine story.

People often talk about prayer as if it is disconnected from what God is doing in their lives. But we are actors in his drama, listening for our lines, quieting our hearts so we can hear the voice of the Playwright.

You can’t have a good story without tension and conflict, without things going wrong.  Unanswered prayers create some of the tensions in the story God is weaving in our lives. When we realize this, we want to know what God is doing.  What pattern is God weaving?

If God is composing a story with our lives, then our lives are no longer static.  We aren’t paralyzed by life; we can hope.

~ Paul Miller, A Praying Life, page 22

Read Full Post »

Spiritual-Growth

“We habitually and instinctively look to other things besides God and his grace as our justification, hope, significance, and security. We believe the gospel at one level, but at deeper levels we do not. Human approval, professional success, power and influence, family and clan identity- all of these things serve as our heart’s ‘functional trust’ rather than what Christ has done, and as a result we continue to be driven to a great degree by fear, anger, and a lack of self-control. You cannot change such things through mere willpower, through learning Biblical principles and trying to carry them out. We can only change permanently as we take the gospel more deeply into our understanding and into our hearts. We must feed on the gospel, as it were, digesting it and making it part of ourselves. That is how we grow.

Tim Keller, The Prodigal God, p. 115

Read Full Post »

New Year Pressure

new-years-resolutions

 

I know you feel it. The pressure to accomplish something in 2013. To do those things you ought to have done in 2012. To get back up on the horse of the things you failed to accomplish last year. To really make a difference…unlike 2012. Or to top last year. You made it to the top of K2; this year it’s Everest. You got your first book published; this year, it’ll be two – and better sales, too! The New Year pressure is upon us. This post is to help you resist it.

How about instead of aiming high, aiming low? Aim for the boring stuff, the humble stuff. Aim for the mundane. Aim that you would live in 2013 cognizant that your life isn’t mainly lived in the world of your great accomplishments or big decisions; instead, it’s lived, 99.9 percent of the time, in the thousand small decisions you make moment-to-moment and in the tiny accomplishments of grace that no one but God ever sees. Aim for this, and you’ll be all there for your 17 year-old son as he downloads his day to you as you climb into bed, exhausted. Aim for this, and you’ll celebrate the small victories. You repented of your lust this afternoon faster than you did this morning. You emptied the dishwasher for your wife just because you loved her. And you stopped yourself from lashing out in traffic when you were late for an appointment.

Aim for this because this is where Jesus meets you. Everywhere. Every day. He doesn’t care if you accomplish something great in 2013 because he already accomplished for you the only truly great thing in all of history – on the cross of Calvary.

So this year, you don’t need to try to make yourself matter. Say goodbye forever to the New Year pressure and rest in the finished work of Christ.

Source: RW Glenn (Solid Food Media)

Additional Thoughts on this topic:

http://www.gracechurch.org/grace_today/posts.aspx?id=1539

Read Full Post »

summary

God is the sovereign, transcendent and personal God who has made the  universe, including us, his image-bearers. Our misery lies in our  rebellion, our alienation from God, which, despite his forbearance,  attracts his implacable wrath.

But God, precisely because love is of the very essence of his  character, takes the initiative and prepared for the coming of his own  Son by raising up a people who, by covenantal stipulations, temple  worship, systems of sacrifice and of priesthood, by kings and by  prophets, are taught something of what God is planning and what he  expects.

In the fullness of time his Son comes and takes on human nature. He  comes not, in the first instance, to judge but to save: he dies the  death of his people, rises from the grave and, in returning to his  heavenly Father, bequeaths the Holy Spirit as the down payment and  guarantee of the ultimate gift he has secured for them—an eternity of  bliss in the presence of God himself, in a new heaven and a new earth,  the home of righteousness.

The only alternative is to be shut out from the presence of this God  forever, in the torments of hell. What men and women must do, before it  is too late, is repent and trust Christ; the alternative is to disobey  the gospel (Romans 10:16;2 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Peter 4:17).

D. A. Carson in “The  Biblical Gospel” in For Such a Time as This: Perspectives on  Evangelicalism, Past, Present and Future, ed. Steve Brady and Harold  Rowdon (London: Evangelical Alliance, 1986), 80

Read Full Post »