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Archive for the ‘Sanctification’ Category

joy

 

Did you know that God commands us to be glad?

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)

 

1) God created us for his glory.

“Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth,… whom I created for my glory” (Isaiah 43:6-7)

God made us to magnify his greatness – the way telescopes magnify stars. He created us to put his goodness and truth and beauty and wisdom and justice on display. The greatest display of God’s glory comes from deep delight in all that he is. This means that God gets the praise and we get the pleasure. God created us so that he is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.

 

2) Every human should live for God’s glory.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

If God made us for his glory, it is clear that we should live for his glory. Our duty comes from his design. So our first obligation is to show God’s value by being satisfied with all that he is for us. This is the essence of loving God (Matthew 22:37) and trusting him (1 John 5:3-4) and being thankful to him (Psalm 100:2-4) It is the root of all true obedience, especially loving others (Colossians 1:4-5).

 

3) All of us have failed to glorify God as we should.

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

What does it mean to “fall short of the glory of God?” It means that none of us has trusted and treasured God the way we should. We have not been satisfied with his greatness and walked in his ways. We have sought our satisfaction in other things, and treated them as more valuable than God, which is the essence of idolatry (Romans 1:21-23). Since sin came into the world we have all been deeply resistant to having God as our all-satisfying treasure (Ephesians 2:3). This is an appalling offense to the greatness of God (Jeremiah 2:12-13).

 

4) All of us are subject to God’s just condemnation.

“The wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23).

We have all belittled the glory of God. How? By preferring other things above him. By our ingratitude, distrust and disobedience. So God is just in shutting us out from the enjoyment of his glory forever. “They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (2 Thessalonians 1:9).

The word “hell” is used in the New Testament twelve times – eleven times by Jesus himself. It is not a myth created by dismal and angry preachers. It is a solemn warning from the Son of God who died to deliver sinners from its curse. We ignore it at great risk.

If the Bible stopped here in its analysis of the human condition, we would be doomed to a hopeless future. However, this is not where it stops…

 

5) God sent his only son Jesus to provide eternal life and joy.

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…” (1 Timothy 1:15)

The good news is that Christ died for sinners like us. And he rose physically from the dead to validate the saving power of his death and to open the gates of eternal life and joy (1 Corinthians 15:20). This means God can acquit guilty sinners and still be just (Romans 3:25-26). “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Coming home to God is where all deep and lasting satisfaction is found.

 

6) The benefits purchased by the death of Christ belong to those who repent and trust him.

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out” (Acts 3:19). “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

“Repent” means to turn from all the deceitful promises of sin. “Faith” means being satisfied with all that God promises to be for us in Jesus. “He who believes in me,” Jesus says, “shall never thirst” (John 6:35). We do not earn our salvation. We cannot merit it (Romans 4:4-5). It is by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). It is a free gift (Romans 3:24). We will have it if we cherish it above all things (Matthew 13:44). When we do that, God’s aim in creation is accomplished: He is glorified in us and we are satisfied in him – forever.

 

Does this make sense to you?

Do you desire the kind of gladness that comes from being satisfied with all that God is for you in Jesus? If so, then God is at work in your life.

What should you do?

Turn from the deceitful promises of sin. Call upon Jesus to save you from the guilt and punishment and bondage. “All who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). Start banking your hope on all that God is for you in Jesus. Break the power of sin’s promises by faith in the superior satisfaction of God’s promises. Begin reading the Bible to find his precious and very great promises, which can set you free (2 Peter 1:3-4). Find a Bible-believing church and begin to worship and grow together with other people who treasure Christ above all things (Philippians 3:7).

 

The best news in the world is that there is no necessary conflict between our happiness and God’s holiness. Being satisfied with all that God is for us in Jesus magnifies him as a great Treasure.

“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16:11)

 

Source: Desiring God Ministries (www.desiringgod.org)

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love-god-purse-holiness-slide

 

In light of our new Disciple Hour series, “The Pursuit of Holiness”, it’s important that we consider the Biblical motivations for such a pursuit. There’s no doubt that the primary catalyst for our desire to strive for holiness is the gospel. In fact, if our central motivation is not gospel-centered, it’s safe to say that we’re missing the point. Yet, at the same time, as Kevin DeYoung recently wrote about in an article titled, “How Many Motivations are there for Godliness”, Scripture does provide us with other distinct reasons to pursue godliness, which are directly connected to the gospel. Here’s what he wrote:

 

“Is there just one proper gospel-centered rationale for holiness? Should we, in speaking about sanctification, avoid threats and warnings and coming judgment and focus simply on our acceptance in Christ? How many motivations does the Bible have for godliness?

 

I see at least twenty. In the three chapters of 2 Peter alone.

 

1.    We pursue holiness so that we might become partakers of the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4).

2.    We make every effort to grow in godliness because God has already set us free from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire (2 Pet. 1:4).

3.    We grow in grace so we will not be ineffective and unfruitful  in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 1:8).

4.    We pursue Christlike character so we will not be blind, having forgotten that we were cleansed from our former sins (2 Pet. 1:9).

5.    We work hard at holiness in order to make our calling and election sure, so that we will not fall (2 Pet. 1:10).

6.    We practice these godly qualities so there will be richly provided for us an entrance into the eternal kingdom (2 Pet. 1:11).

7.    We pursue godliness because Jesus is coming back again in great power, and we know this to be true because of the glory revealed on the Mount of Transfiguration and because of the prophecy of Scripture (2 Pet. 1:16-21).

8.    We walk in obedience to Christ because those who wander into sensuality are condemned and will be destroyed (2 Pet. 2:3).

9.    We are serious about holiness because we believe God knows how to judge the wicked and save the righteous (2 Pet. 2:4-10).

10.    We turn from ungodliness because those who revel in sin are ugly blots and blemishes, irrational animals, unsteady souls, and accursed children (2 Pet. 2:10-16).

11.    We pursue holiness because sin never delivers on its promises (2 Pet. 2:17).

12.    We pursue holiness because those who live in their sin again are like those returning to slavery, returning to mire, and returning to vomit (2 Pet. 2:19-21).

13.    We must remember to be holy because in the last days scoffers will come following their own sinful desires (2 Pet. 3:3).

14.    We make every effort to be godly because the world will not always continue as it does now; the heavens and the earth are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly (2 Pet. 3:4-7).

15.    We must take Christlikeness seriously right now because we do not know when the Lord will return (2 Pet. 3:10).

16.    We pursue holiness because all our works will be exposed on the last day (2 Pet. 3:10).

17.    We pursue holiness because whatever we live for in this life will be burned up and dissolved (2 Pet. 3:11).

18.    We strive to walk in obedience and repentance because in so doing we may hasten the coming of the day of God (2 Pet. 3:12).

19.    We living in righteousness now because we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness will dwell forever (2 Pet. 3:13).

20.    We pursue godliness so that Christ might be glorified both now and to the day of eternity (2 Pet. 3:18).”

 

Source: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2014/02/04/how-many-motivations-are-there-for-godliness/

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Nine ways to disciple your husband

9

1) Get a burden – (Galatians 6:1) Your husband is caught in sin. What I mean here is that he is not entirely sanctified. The Bible does not teach sinless perfection, which means your husband has sin struggles like you and me.

If you don’t have a burden for your husband’s sanctification, then you will miss out on the opportunities to help him in his sanctification. If your marriage is more about what you can get out of it rather than what you can put into it, then you are not leading well.

  • Are you willing to set aside what you want for what he needs?

2) Pray for him – (1 Corinthians 1:4) I know; I know. I’m a Christian so I’m supposed to add prayer to the list of things a person should do to help someone. Yes, prayer is a great way to access the Trinity on behalf of the sanctification of your husband. Maybe the LORD will change him and maybe you should ask Him to change him. So pray.

While I mean prayer for that reason, what I’m really thinking about is how Paul prayed for the Corinthians. Paul spent time thanking God for the Corinthians. I want you to spend time thanking God for your husband.

If you don’t have affection for the person you want to help, then the help you’re going to offer may blow up on you. Paul had extravagant affection for the Corinthians, which paved the way for him to correct them.

  • Do you have extravagant affection for your husband?

3) Model your goal – (Philippians 4:9) Write out on a piece of paper the things you would like for your husband to become. Here are a few examples: humble, servant, encourager, respectful, loving, kind, gentle, and passionate for God.

I’m sure you can add to the list. If not, just these few things will make your marriage sing. A core tenet of biblical leadership is to become the person you want others to be.

To think otherwise is hypocritical and destructive to any relationship. To expect or demand someone to be what you are not is wrong on so many levels. To lead well is to show them what to become by your other-centered, God-honoring example (Ephesians 5:1; 1 Corinthians 11:1).

  • Are you a clear biblical example of what you want him to become?

4) Win him with encouragement – (Ephesians 4:29) Make sure your words have a building up effect rather than a corrupting, tearing down effect. A word fitly spoken can transform your world and one not fitly spoken can destroy it (Proverbs 25:11).

You have power in your words. You can draw your husband to you and Christ by what you say or you can push him farther away. One of the most effective assessment questions you can ask in this area is, “What do you experience more from me: my encouragement or my displeasure?”

If you want to lead your husband well, then be courageous and grace-filled enough to check your blind spots. Ask him about his experience with you.

  • Are you an encourager?

5) Make it easy – (Genesis 3:7) Your husband is a proud, self-reliant person who does not want to show weakness. I know this because I am one. We men are wired to be strong and impenetrable. Throw in a little sin and what you get is a person who does not want to reveal his flaws to anyone, especially to his wife.

He wants to impress you, which makes your condemnation and criticism of him more acute. Perhaps he has given up on impressing you. This is not hopeless, it just means you have more leadership work to do.

One of the most effective things the LORD does to win us to Him is by making it crystal clear that He is for us (Romans 8:31). The more your husband knows you are for him, the more you will be able to disciple him.

  • Ask your husband if he thinks you are for him.

6) Pick your spots – (Proverbs 15:1) Be careful about confronting him head-on or when you are angry. This is unwise and unhelpful. Know your audience. Find non-fight times to talk to your husband.

The moment of your disappointment is probably not the best time to talk about what is wrong with him. You’re more than likely going to say it the wrong way, which will only exacerbate an already negative situation.

Find a vulnerable time to talk to him. These are those moments when he’s not as defensive and you’re not as disappointed. It could be when you are already talking in a civil manner and you feel his receptivity to what you are saying.

  • Do you have self-control, which governs the timing of your communication?

7) Don’t be manipulated – (John 2:24-25) Sometimes a husband can become defensive by resorting to manipulative tactics. He will do this to throw his wife off the scent of his destructive ways.

Rather than owning his sin when she confronts him, he begins to blame, justify, or make excuses for his actions. If the wife is manipulate-able, she will buy what he is selling. This will cause her to be double-minded (James 1:5-8).

When she is away from him, she will see his actions clearly. When she gets within his manipulative orbit, she loses discernment. She gets lost in his noise and her mind becomes muddled. Some women struggle more with this than others.

If you can be easily muddled, then you need to fixate on what the problems are with your husband and your marriage. While you want to hold your assessments loosely (humbly), you don’t want to hold them so loosely that you’re double-minded about what is happening.

It may be wise to seek counsel about your marriage. Another perspective could clear up the fog, while giving you someone you can go to when your mind becomes cloudy.

  • Are you easily manipulated?

8) Be a matchmaker – (1 Corinthians 15:33) You should not have to help your husband alone. Though you are his primary discipler, you are not his only discipler.

Begin praying about a male friend who can come alongside him to help him. Build community. This could also quicken the process of sanctification. The typical husband will open up quicker to a third party he does not know before he will open up to his wife.

  • Who is a guy your husband may be willing to open up to?

9) Find community – (Proverbs 11:14) It’s also imperative you have your community to help you as you help your husband. You don’t want to be alone either. Your local church should be the best place for you to find friends to come alongside you.

If you live in a place where that is not possible, then I appeal to you to jump into our community. We have a network of friends who are more than willing to help you in this great adventure of husband discipleship. You can learn more about that here.

  • Who is caring for your soul?

 

Source: Adapted from Rick Thomas (www. rickthomas.net). Read full article here

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Spiritual Schizophrenia

If I watched a video of your everyday life for the past six weeks, would I conclude that your faith shapes everything you think, desire, say, and do? Or, as I watched that video, would I begin to see a separation between your spirituality and reality?

I want to write today about something that I call Spiritual Schizophrenia. I can summarize it with a question: does the public persona of your faith live in harmony with the private realities of your life? Here are a few examples:

  • Are you a mother that joyfully sings “Amazing Grace” during a worship service, and then on the way home, yells at your kids for making noise and disrupting your peace and quiet?
  • Are you a husband that prays and reads the Bible in the morning before work, but treats your wife with cold harshness before walking out the door?
  • Are you a member of a small group who participates with spiritual enthusiasm in front of people but lives in fear and discouragement when no one is looking?
  • Are you a pastor that boldly proclaims the Bible from the pulpit but fails to live in the same biblical manner with your family?

The examples can go on and on, but you get the picture. I’m afraid that there’s a big separation between many believer’s worlds of spirituality and reality. Outside of the spiritual world (worship services, small group, ministry activities, personal devotion, etc), their reality is untouched by the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Here’s the problem – we’ve created these two worlds when the Bible never gives any indication that these two worlds exist. Jesus never talked about a separation between reality and spirituality, because true spirituality means that everything in my life has new meaning, new purpose, new focus, new direction, and new motivation. My reality is motivated and structured by my spiritual relationship to God and the purposes He has for my life.

I’m deeply persuaded that in this fallen world, with all of its interesting activities and seductive temptations, Christian activity often gets substituted for true Christian living. In many ways, Christian activity will look and feel like the real thing, but it won’t be the real thing because the real thing is about Jesus’s constant work to change me at the core of who I am.

FIVE SIGNS

Is there evidence that you’re living with a separation between your spirituality and reality? However slight, this separation shouldn’t exist. So maybe you’re asking now, “What will my life look like if my spirituality begins to transform my reality?” Let me give you five signs:

First, there will be a humble awareness of the extent and the gravity of your sin. You won’t become complacent about your sin; you will see the fact that your words and your actions depict a constant need for the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Second, you’ll be aware of that constant battle for control of your heart. Your heart is a worship center, and if it doesn’t worship the Creator, it will worship the creation. There’s always a war for your heart, and you’ll be aware of that battle all the time.

Third, there will be a clear holding on to the present benefits of Christ’s grace right here and right now. You’ll be so thankful that there’s not just grace for the past and grace for the future, but that there’s grace for the things that you face right now, in your family, in work, in your neighborhood, and all of your activities.

Fourth, there will be a daily pursuit of God’s call to personal growth and change. You’ll not be satisfied with who you are. You’ll not be satisfied with the way you’re speaking, acting, and responding. You’ll want to grow, you’ll want to change, and you’ll see that over the course of your everyday life.

Fifth and finally, there will be an everyday lifestyle of repentance and faith. There will be this constant turning and depending on the Lord. You’ll say, “Lord, I can’t do it, but You can.”

I would ask you again: Is there somehow, someway, however slight, that a separation exists between your reality and your spirituality? Pray that God would close that gap in your life.

(Source: Paul Tripp http://paultripp.com/articles/posts/spiritual-schizophrenia)

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lies

 

LIE: This is such a minor, insignificant sin! It’s not really a big deal in God’s eyes.

TRUTH: Every sin is a horribly offensive to God. Sin is the sum of all evils, the opposite of all that is good, holy, and beautiful. Even the smallest of my sins required the death of the Son of God. There is no such thing as a minor sin. Every sin is cosmic treason.

LIE: I’ll give into sin this one time, then I’ll be done with it. I just need to get it out of my system.

TRUTH: Every time I give into a sin it becomes more difficult to break the power of that sin. Sin has a way of sinking it’s barbed hooks deep into my heart. I can’t simply sin and then walk away from it unscathed. The more I give in to sin, the more entangled I become. Sin always leaves scars.

LIE: This sin is part of who I am. I’ve always struggled this way and I always will sin this way.

TRUTH: Sin does not define my identity! I am a new creation in Christ. Christ has set me free from the enslaving power of sin. I absolutely do not have to obey the sinful passions that surge through me. I may have always struggled this way, but my past does not define my future.

LIE: I need to give in to this sin in order to be happy.

TRUTH: Sin never provides true happiness. It promises sweetness, yet ultimately delivers a payload of destruction, dissastisfaction, ruined relationships, and hardness of heart.

LIE: God wants me to be happy, therefore it’s okay for me to give in to sin.

TRUTH: God does want me to be happy. However, my happiness will only rise as high as my holiness. Sin ultimately erodes and destroys true holiness and true happiness.

 

 

Source:  Stephen Altrogge (www.theblazingcenter.com)

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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

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love

We have spent much time studying the Doctrine of God’s love. One particular portion of this study was looking at the outworkings of such a love in which we concurred with the Apostle John “if God so loved us, we ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11).

Please allow the following scripture references serve as a guide as you seek to apply the principles of our study to your life:

Source: Pastor Paul Tautges (Biblical Counseling Coalition)

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