Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for May, 2017

5779876224_84341ae4b5_b_400x400

In his book, Covenantal Apologetics: Principles & Practice in Defense of Our Faith, K. Scott Oliphant writes,

Jesus is teaching them something that every Christian must learn. He is telling them, as Paul later reminded the Philippians, that they were to be anxious for nothing (Phil. 4:6). Anxiety is a heart confessing that Christ is not Lord. To be worrisome is to think that we are ultimately in control, that we can alter our own circumstances, ultimately by our own power.

The disciples are not to think this way. Jesus knows the kind of suffering that they will be called on to endure. He knows that the Christian road will be rocky and ultimately deadly for them. He knows that they will suffer martyrdom for their faith (see, for example Matt. 20:23; Mark 10:39). To be worried about how their Christian faith will fare in a hostile world would take their minds off of the task at hand. It would distract them from the defense of and preaching of the gospel. Worse still, it would betray a heart that is not resting in Christ and His authority (Matt. 28:18-20).

(p. 204)

“Anxiety is a heart confessing that Christ is not Lord.” I need to remember that.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

download

I’ve come across several articles lately that are good and worth consideration.

First, Jon Bloom writes on “The Real Root of Sexual Sin” at the Desiring God blog. You can read it here.

“70 Prompts for Praising God” is a goldmine of a resource on prayer. You can read it here.

We hear a lot about “privilege” today, especially white privilege. Jonathan Leeman has written a thoughtful piece about it from a biblical perspective. You can read it here.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

img_7601

I had the privilege this morning of preaching on Philippians 1:6. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: God always finishes what He starts – we can be absolutely convinced of it!

Read Full Post »

images

I had the privilege this morning of preaching on Philippians 1:3-5. What follows is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Paul thanked God for the Christians in Philippi and prayed for them, especially because of their partnership in spreading the gospel – and he made sure to let them know it!

Read Full Post »

To paraphrase G.K. Chesterton, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it’s been tried and found difficult.”

He’s right – being a disciple of Jesus Christ is hard. It isn’t easy to follow Christ. Perhaps that’s why Paul told Timothy, “discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness” (1 Tim. 4:7). The word “discipline” has the meaning of agonizing – working to the point of agony – in order to pursue the goal of godliness (which should be the goal of everyone who believes in Jesus Christ).

It’s hard to study God’s Word and properly interpret it in it’s context. It takes work and too often we’re tempted to wait until God “whispers the answer in our ear.” It’s easier to rely on a study Bible or our favorite teacher (or church) to tell us what it means, or even go so far as to say, “There are so many different interpretations; nobody reals knows what it means.”

It’s hard to pray. Our prayer should be fervent and continual, but that’s not easy. Our minds wander and it’s not hard to forget. It’s easier to neglect it and tell ourselves that “God knows what’s in my heart.”

It’s hard to apply God’s Word to our life – to actually try to do what it says. Success in obeying and putting into practice what the Lord has told us involves agonizing work  with a lot of starts and stops. Hearing the Word is easier than hearing it and then doing it.

It’s hard to evangelize. We find it easier to remain quiet and “let our life do the witnessing,” as if that were even possible. It’s easier to leave it to “the professionals.”

It’s hard to have real fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and I mean the kind of fellowship that goes beyond “Hi! How are you?” over coffee and doughnuts. It’s easier to keep to ourselves and not mix too much with those who don’t always think like we do, don’t have the same life experiences that we do, and are just, well, different.

It’s hard to minister to and serve other people. It’s easier to say we don’t have the time or the talent to lend a hand where and when it’s needed, then it is too actually help. It’s easier to see it as an interruption rather than as a divinely given opportunity.

It’s hard to “mortify the flesh” (Rom. 8:13) – to put to death the deeds of our sinful nature. We have to work at it every day, and the truth is that we won’t complete the task in this lifetime. It’s easier to give up and say, “That’s just the way I am; I’ll never change,” or “God understands; He’ll forgive me.”

It’s hard to stand for and defend biblical doctrine and values in a society that denies (and ridicules) all of them. It’s easier to give in and compromise for the sake of “love,” “unity,” and “compassion.”

The list could go on and on, but the point is simple: being a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ is hard – not easy. I’m persuaded that this is a reason some people leave the church (in may cases joining the Roman Catholic church, Eastern Orthodoxy, or some form of Protestant leftism): they get tired of the fight. Sure, they want to identify as a Christian, but the don’t want the fight, the hard work that goes along with it.

The good news is that God gives us the strength and ability to discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness through His Holy Spirit! Hard doesn’t mean impossible when the Spirit of God is involved.

Don’t be deceived into thinking that being a disciple of Jesus is easy – it isn’t. It’s hard, but it’s what God has called us to as His people.

Read Full Post »