Sometimes Backsliding Can Be A Good Thing

January 31, 2008

This from a conversation today with an evolutionist:

Q: So you think evolution is a good thing?

A: Yes, it got us here didn’t it?

Q: Do you think you’re a good person?

A: Yes, and a good evolutionist (with a laugh, he was a very nice person to speak with).

Q: You wouldn’t mind if we put that to the test would you?

A: Test? What kind of test?

Q: Just a few questions, you only have to answer honestly and you get to grade yourself at the end.

A: OK, shoot.

Q: Are you a racist?darwinfishgone

A: No (his face showed he didn’t like that question at all)

Q: Would you classify yourself as a Darwinist?

A: I think Darwinian evolution is true.

Q: Have you ever read the book by Charles Darwin?

A: The Origin of Species? Yes, it’s been a long time though.

Q: Actually, the full title is “The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life”, right?

A: Yes, that’s it, sounds right.

Q: So as someone who holds to Darwinian evolution, which human race do you think is favored in the struggle for life?

At this point, the man with whom I was speaking became speechless, literally…his lips moved but nothing came out. His discomfort was so profound that I could feel it. It was obvious that, until that moment, this person had never thought about the racial component of the evolution theory-tale.

From that point on, we had a very good conversation about The Gospel. At the end, he told me he would think about our conversation and re-think his belief in evolution.

Sometimes, as with my new found evolutionist friend, backsliding can be a  good thing.


Desires Kindled and Enflamed

January 30, 2008

Do these, or any other considerations, put you upon this enquiry- how shall I get my desires kindled and enflamed towards Christ? Alas! my heart is cold and dead, not a serious desire is stirring in it after Christ.

To you I shall offer the following directions:

Direction 1. Redeem some time every day for meditation; get out of the noise and clamour of the world, Psa 4:4, and seriously consider how the present state of your soul stands, and how it is likely to go with you in eternity: here all sound conversion begins, Psa 69:29.

Direction 2. Consider seriously that lamentable state in which you came into the world. You are a child of wrath by nature, under the curse and condemnation of the law: so that either your state must be changed, or you will inevitably be damned, John 3:3.

Direction 3. Consider the way and course you have taken since you came into the world, proceeding from iniquity to iniquity. What command of God have you not violated a thousand times over? What sin is committed in the world, that you are not one way or other guilty of before God? How many secret sins are upon your score, unknown to the most intimate friend you have in the world? Either this guilt must be separated from your souls, or your souls from God for all eternity.

Direction 4. Think upon the severe wrath of God reserved for every sin; “The wages of sin is death,” Rom. 6:23. And how intolerable the fulness of that wrath must be when a few drops sprinkled upon the conscience in this world are so insupportable, that has made some to choose suicide rather than life. Yet this wrath must abide for ever upon you, if you do not get an interest in Jesus Christ, John 3:36.

Direction 5. Ponder well the happy state and condition they are in who have obtained pardon and peace by Jesus Christ, Psa 32:1,2. And seeing the grace of God is free, and you are set under the means of it; why may not you be as likely to find it as others?

Direction 6. Seriously consider the great uncertainty of your time and the preciousness of the opportunities of salvation, never to be recovered when they are once past, John 9:4. Let this arouse you to lay hold upon those golden seasons while they are yet with you; that you may not bewail your folly and madness, when they are out of your reach.

Direction 7. Associate yourselves with serious Christians; get into their acquaintance, and beg their assistance; beseech them to pray for you; and see that you rest not here, but be frequently upon your knees, begging of the Lord a new heart and a new state.

(Excerpt from Christ the Desire of All Nations by John Flavel)


Be Faithful to What the Bible Teaches

January 29, 2008

There are two reasons in our day for holding to a strong uncompromising view of Scripture.

First and foremost, this is the only way to be faithful to what the Bible teaches about itself, to what Christ teaches about Scripture, and to what the church has consistently held through the ages.

This should be reason enough in itself. But today there is a second reason why we should hold to a strong, uncompromising view of Scripture. There are hard days ahead of us — for ourselves and for our spiritual and physical children. And without a strong view of Scripture as a foundation, we will not be ready for the hard days to come.

Unless the Bible is without error, not only when it speaks of salvation matters, but also when it speaks of history and the cosmos, we have no foundation for answering questions concerning the existence of the universe and its form and the uniqueness of man. Nor do we have any moral absolutes, or certainty of salvation, and the next generation of Christians will have nothing on which to stand. Our spiritual and physical children will be left with the ground cut out from under them, with no foundation upon which to build their faith or their lives.

Excerpt from The Great Evangelical Disaster by Francis Schaeffer (1984)

Not that I consider myself by any means fit to add to or comment on the words of Francis Schaeffer, but to the two reasons he lists, I would also add a third:

The Bible is the only historically reliable source of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ who was and is The Word of Life.

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life– the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us– that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:1-3)


Martin Luther on The Law and The Gospel

January 28, 2008

 

Martin_LutherWe must, therefore, diligently observe that from the beginning God has sent into the world a two-fold  word or message, the Law and the Gospel. These two messages must be rightly distinguished one from the other and properly understood, for besides the Scriptures there never has been a book written to this day, not even by a saint, in which these two messages, the Law and the Gospel, have been properly explained and distinguished, and yet so very much depends on such an explanation.

 

Concerning the Law

The Law is that word by which God teaches what we shall do, as for instance, the Ten Commandments. Now, if human nature is not aided by God’s grace, it is impossible to keep the law, for the reason that man since the fall of Adam in Paradise is depraved and full of sinful desires, so that he cannot from his heart’s desire find pleasure in the law, which fact we all experience in ourselves. For no one lives who does not prefer that there were no law, and everyone feels and knows in himself that it is difficult to lead a pious life and do good, and, on the other hand, that it is easy to lead a wicked life and to do evil. But this difficulty or unwillingness to do the good is the reason we do not keep the Law of God. For whatever is done with aversion and unwillingness is considered by God as not done at all. Thus the Law of God convicts us, even by our own experience, that by nature we are evil, disobedient, lovers of sin, and hostile to God’s laws.

From all this either self-confidence or despair must follow. Self-confidence follows when a man strives to fulfil the law by his own good works, by trying hard to do as the words of the law command. He serves God, he swears not, he honors father and mother, he kills not, he does not commit adultery, etc. But meanwhile he does not look into his heart, does not realize with what motives he leads a good life, and conceals the old Adam in his heart. For if he would truly examine his heart, he would realize that he is doing all unwillingly and with compulsion, that he fears hell or seeks heaven, if he be not prompted by things of less importance, as honor, goods, health and fear of being humiliated, of being punished or of being visited by a plague. In short, he would have to confess that he would rather lead a wicked life if it were not that he fears the consequences, for the law only restrains him. But because he does not realize his bad motives he lives securely, looks only at his outward works and not into his heart, prides himself on keeping the law of God perfectly, and thus the countenance of Moses remains covered to him, that is, he does not understand the meaning of the law, namely, that it must be kept with a happy, free and willing mind.

Just as an immoral person, if you should ask him why he commits adultery, can answer only that he is  law doing it for the sake of the carnal pleasure he finds in it. For he does not do it for reward or punishment, he expects no gain from it, nor does he hope to escape from the evil of it. Such willingness the law requires in us, so that if you should ask a virtuous man why he leads a chaste life, he would answer: Not for the sake of heaven or hell, honor or disgrace, but for the sole reason that he considers it honorable, and that it pleases him exceedingly, even if it were not commanded. Behold, such a heart delights in God’s law and keeps it with pleasure. Such people love God and righteousness, they hate and fear naught but unrighteousness. However, no one is thus by nature. The unrighteous love reward and profit, fear and hate punishment and pain; therefore they also hate God and righteousness, love themselves and unrighteousness. They are hypocrites, disguisers, deceivers, liars and self- conceited. So are all men without grace, but above all, the saints who rely on their good works. For this reason the Scriptures conclude, “All men are liars,” Ps. 116,11. “Every man at his best estate is altogether vanity,” Ps. 39, 5. “There is none that doeth good, no, not one,” Ps. 14, 3.

Despair follows when man becomes conscious of his evil motives, and realizes that it is impossible for him to love the law of God, finding nothing good in himself; but only hatred of the good and delight in doing evil. Now he realizes that the law can not be kept only by works hence he despairs of his works and does not rely upon them. He should have love; but he finds none, nor can have any through his own efforts or Despair out of his own heart. Now he must be a poor, miserable and humiliated spirit whose conscience is burdened and in anguish because of the law, commanding and demanding payment in full when he does not possess even a farthing with which to pay. Only to such persons is the law beneficial, because it has been given for the purpose of working such knowledge and humiliation; that is its real mission. These persons well know how to judge the works of hypocrites and fraudulent saints, namely, as nothing but lies and deception. David refered to this when he said, “I said in my haste, all men are liars,” Ps. 116, 11.

For this reason Paul calls the law a law unto death, saying, “And the commandment, which was unto life, this I found to be unto death,” Rom. 7, 10; and a power of sin. I Cor. 15. 56: “And the power of sin is the law,” and in 2 Cor. 3, 6 he says, “For the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” All this means, if the law and human nature be brought into a right relation, the one to the other, then will sin and a troubled conscience first become manifest. Man, then, sees how desperately wicked his heart is, how great his sins are, even as to things he formerly considered good works and no sin. He now is compelled to confess that by and of himself he is a child of perdition, a child of God’s wrath and of hell. Then there is only fear and trembling, all self-conceit vanishes, while fear and despair fill his heart. Thus man is crushed and put to naught, and truly humbled. Inasmuch as all this is caused only by the law, St. Paul truly says, that it is a law unto death and a letter that killeth, and that through the commandment sin becomes exceedingly sinful, Rom. 7,13, provoking God’s wrath. For the law gives and helps us in no way whatever; it only demands and drives and shows us our misery and depravity.

Concerning the Gospel

The other word of God is neither law nor commandments, and demands nothing of us. But when that has been done by the first word, namely, the law, and has worked deep despair and wretchedness in our hearts, then God comes and offers us his blessed and life-giving word and promises; he pledges and obligates himself to grant grace and help in order to deliver us from misery, not only to pardon all our sins, but even to blot them out, and in addition to this to create in us love and delight in keeping his law.

Behold, this divine promise of grace and forgiveness of sin is rightly called the Gospel. And I say here, again, that by the Gospel you must by no means understand anything else than the divine promise of God’s grace and his forgiveness of sin. For thus it was that Paul’s epistles were never understood, nor can they be understood by the Papists, because they do not know what the Law and the Gospel really mean. They hold Christ to be a law-maker, and the Gospel a mere doctrine of a new law. That is nothing else than locking up the Gospel and entirely concealing it.

Now, the word Gospel is of Greek origin and signifies in German Frohliche Botschaft, that is glad tidings, because it proclaims the blessed doctrine of life eternal by divine promise, and offers grace and forgiveness of sin: Therefore, works do not belong to the Gospel, as it is not a law; only faith belongs to it, as it is altogether a promise and an offer of divine grace. Whosoever now believes the Gospel will receive grace and the Holy Spirit. This will cause the heart to rejoice and find delight in God, and will enable the believer to keep the law cheerfully, without expecting reward, without fear of punishment, without seeking compensation, as the heart is perfectly satisfied with God’s grace, by which the law has been fulfilled.

But all these promises from the beginning are founded on Christ, so that God promises no one this grace except through Christ, who is the messenger of the divine promise to the whole world. For this reason he came and through the Gospel brought these promises into all the world, which before this time bad been proclaimed by the prophets. It is, therefore, in vain if anyone, like the Jews, expects the fulfilment of the divine promises without Christ. All is centered and decreed in Christ. Whosoever will not bear him shall have no promises of God. For just as God acknowledges no law besides the law of Moses and the writings of the prophets, so he makes no promises, except through Christ alone.”

(A sermon excerpt by Martin Luther, 1520’s)


How Many People Face Judgement Every Day?

January 27, 2008

155,000 worldwide*, about 6,614** of those will be deaths in the U.S.

According to itsmylife.com, about 40% of the U.S. deaths are sudden: “So 2,600 Americans woke up yesterday expecting to live for a long time to come. And today they passed away.”

Appointment

Everyone has an appointment with death, everyone will one day be numbered among the ultimate statistic: 10 out of 10 people die. Every day, over 155,000 people will pass from this life to the next and then face judgement.

On that day, how will you be judged? Here’s a quick test to see how you will do. Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever stolen anything? Have you ever used God’s name as a curse word? Have you ever wanted something that did not belong to you? Have you ever allowed someone or something to be more important to you than God?

If you have done these things, you’ve broken God’s Commandments and you will stand before Him as a lying, thieving, covetous, blaspheming, idolater. The Bible says God’s wrath awaits you and on Judgment Day you will end up in hell.

But God doesn’t desire this for you: instead, “God demonstrated His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, came to take upon Himself the wrath and judgment you deserve for breaking God’s Law and sinning against Him. The Bible tells us, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life”. He did this when He shed His innocent blood for the remission of sins as He died on the cross. Three days later, He rose from and forever defeated death. He did this for you, He did this because of Love, He did this as a free gift. To receive this free gift, you must repent (that means to confess and forsake your sins) and put your trust in Jesus. If you do this you will not have to suffer God’s justice in Hell when you become numbered among the ultimate statistic. Repent and believe in Jesus now, please don’t wait. You have an appointment!

*Source

**Source


Theology Barf Bag #2

January 27, 2008

Theology Barf BagBarf chunks:

“The only sin keeping anyone out of the kingdom of God is the sin of rejecting Jesus…You have a right to everything God has…Sin consciousness produces defeat and a false sense of humility…He has provided certain rights for me, and healing is one of these rights…The Holy Spirit is the life-force of God…The Father’s heart was hungry for a family…God has been reproduced on the inside of you!”

 Click the bag to view its contents.

Caution: This stuff stinks.


A Prayer Stir Up

January 27, 2008

Cement Truck

4 “The sin of prayerlessness has been all too apparent. In our abounding wealth and self-sufficiency, we have not had any strong inward necessity driving us to prayer. Many of our prayer meetings need closing down.” (William MacDonald)

4 “The superficial results of many a ministry, the deadness of others, are to be found in the lack of praying. No ministry can succeed without much praying, and this praying must be fundamental, everabiding, ever-increasing. The text, the sermon, should be the result of prayer. The study should be bathed in prayer, all its duties so impregnated with prayer, its whole spirit the spirit of prayer.” (E.M. Bounds)

4 “By being persistent in prayer we show how highly we prize God’s blessings, and God is more inclined to grant His blessings to those who prize them.” (Roger Ellsworth)

4 “Work as if everything depended upon your work, and pray as if everything depended upon your prayer.” (William Booth)

4 “The best prayers have often more groans than words.” (John Bunyan)

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,” (Hebrews 10:24)