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Archive for January, 2015

Tyndale’s Marker

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Hero.

Someone of whom the world was not worthy (Hebrews 11:38).

 

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broken

“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Ps. 34:18).

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Ps. 51:17)

“For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy; ‘I will dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the heart of the contrite.” (Isa. 57:15)

“‘All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD.’ But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.'” (Isa. 66:2)

According to Matthew Henry, one is broken and contrite is “humbled for sin and emptied of self; they are low in their own eyes, and have no confidence in their own merit and sufficiency, but in God only.”

It’s obvious that God values a heart that is broken and contrite. In fact, He sees it as absolutely critical. Here’s why:

  1. Without a broken and contrite heart, we’ll never recognize the depths of our sin. We’ll never realize how sinful we actually are and, therefore, how desperately we need God’s grace and mercy.
  2. Without a broken and contrite heart, we’ll never recognize our need for a Savior. We’ll think we’re sufficient in and of ourselves, which will make Jesus nothing more than a “nice little addition” to your life (something like a new hobby) instead of the One who gave Himself for you by His death on the cross, thereby paying the debt for your sin and rescuing you from the wrath of God.
  3. Without a broken and contrite heart, we’ll never grow and mature the way God wants us to. In His mercy, grace, and love, the Lord will bring to out attention areas and attitudes that are not pleasing to Him and are sinful. If we stubbornly and pridefully resist, we won’t learn God’s lessons and we’ll be the less because of it.

How do we come to have a broken and contrite heart? First, by getting to know God – really know Him in a deep and intimate way through His Word, the Bible, and prayer. Confronted with His awesome majesty and blazing purity, we cannot help but be changed. Second, by following the Lord – being obedient to Him. In the course of a life lived in the presence of God, we’ll have multiple opportunities for our heart to be broken and contrite.

May our hearts be broken in order that we may be contrite and revived!

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This morning I had the privilege of preaching on John 3:31-36 (titled “He Must Increase”). Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Jesus must increase because He came from heaven, He has a heavenly message, He has all authority, and our eternal destiny depends upon Him.

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I had the privilege this morning of preaching on John 3:22-30 (titled “I Must Decrease”). Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: John the Baptist is an example of humility, who decreased the Jesus might increase.

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Exposed by the Cross

Milton Vincent writes these insightful words:

Likewise, the deeper I go into the gospel, the more I comprehend and confess aloud the depths of my sinfulness. A gruesome death like the one that Christ endured for me would only be required for one who is exceedingly sinful and unable to appease a holy God. Consequently, whenever I consider the necessity and manner of His death, along with the love and selflessness behind it, I am laid bare and utterly exposed for the sinner I am.

Such an awareness of my sinfulness does not drag me down, but actually serves to lift me up by magnifying my appreciation of God’s forgiving grace in my life. And the more I appreciate the magnitude of God’s forgiveness of my sins, the more I love Him and delight to show Him love through heart-felt expressions of worship.

A Gospel Primer for Christians, p. 33

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5599381097_a4bdf989c7_zThis morning I had the privilege of preaching on John 3:16-21. Here is a summary of my sermon in the space of one sentence: God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, on a rescue mission: many reject, but some, by God’s grace and mercy, believe in Jesus.

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job-and-friends

Job’s friends receive our scorn, and to a certain extent, rightly so.

Perhaps they did their best work by going to be with Job after they heard about what had happened to him. They sat in silence for seven days. On the eighth day, they began to speak and offer their advice to Job. That’s where most of us get off the bus – we’re under the impression that everything they said was wrong. But it wasn’t, at least not all of it. Their advice was correct, but it didn’t apply to Job and his situation.

Therefore, as you read through the book of Job, don’t skip or skim over the words of Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and Elihu. They have some good things to say – things that may not have applied to Job, but do apply to you and me. A case in point is Eliphaz in 5:17-19:

“Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves,
So do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.
For He inflicts pain, and gives relief;
He wounds, and His hands also heal.
From six troubles He will deliver you,
Even in seven evil will not touch you.”

The writer of the book of Hebrews puts it like this:

 You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lordnor faint when you are reproved by Himfor those whom the Lord loves He disciplinesand He scourges every son whom He receives.”

 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of  spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. (12:4-11)

God disciplines, or chastises, His children for our good and in order that we might share in His holiness (in other words, become more holy as time goes by). He’s not punishing us by means of our trials, suffering, and pain, because Jesus Christ was punished for our sins once for all when He died on the cross. According to Eliphaz and the writer of Hebrews, we shouldn’t despise it.

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