Archive for March, 2013

This is a great article by David Murray. There are so many benefits to being together with other human beings that are hard to qualify. This is especially true of the local church.

What Yahoo can teach us about church | HeadHeartHand Blog.

“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25

When God gave his law He was revealing himself to his people, the Israelites, and the surrounding nations. In Deuteronomy 4, Moses is encouraging the people to obey God’s law. He gives several reasons why they should obey God’s commands.
1. He reminds them in verse 4, “But you who held fast to the LORD your God are all alive today.” God’s Word saves and God’s Word brings life.
2. In verse 6, Moses reminds the people that God’s commands will be their wisdom and understanding. This was so evident that other nations remarked at how wise this nation was. God’s Word brings wisdom.
3. God’s law shows how close He is to His people. Verse seven says, “What great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the LORD our God is to us, whenever we call upon Him?” God’s word shows that he cares about us.
4. God’s law shows how righteous he is. In verse 8, it says that the nation of Israel is great because of their great God who gave them righteous rules and statutes to follow.
It’s no wonder that they next paragraph encourages the people to treasure God’s law and to pass it on to their children.
Finally, in verses 32-39, there is a summary of God’s working in creating the nation of Israel. It was so truly remarkable and unlikely that people would stand back and say “The LORD is God in heaven above and on earth beneath; there is no other.” Image

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My summary and highlights of the book are below. First, I want to say that I loved this book. It isn’t too long and as I read it I realized it would be perfect for a teenager, especially one raised in the church. My note have the Kindle page numbers for reference because I read the majority of this book on my Kindle. However, as I began to read it I bought a hard copy of the book to give/loan to the teenagers in my youth group.
 
Christianity is unique among religions of the world because of the gospel: Jesus Christ died for our sins and was raised for our justification. We believe in salvation by grace alone through faith alone in the finished work of Christ alone. Because salvation is not of works, a Christian can have assurance. This is completely logical as Greer explains throughout the book. So many people struggle with assurance because they think their faith is an act of work by which we earn God’s approval. It is not. Faith is a gift of God. 
 
The command of the New Testament is not to pray a repeated prayer but to repent and believe. I am so thankful for this work by Greer to help explain what that means in our life today. 
 
 
 
1. Baptized Four Times 
The biblical summation of a saving response toward Christ is “repentance” and “belief” in the gospel. (243-244)
Salvation comes not because you prayed a prayer correctly, but because you have leaned the hopes of your soul on the finished work of Christ. (314-315)
 
2. Does God Even Want Us to Have Assurance? 
I can say with certainty that God wants you to have certainty about your salvation. He changes, encourages, and motivates us not by the uncertainty of fear, but by the security of love. That is one of the things that makes the gospel absolutely distinct from all other religious messages in the world. (337-339)
 
Only the gospel and the assurance it yields creates a passion for the right in our hearts, because only the gospel goes deep enough to actually change the warped nature of our hearts. (403)
 
3. Jesus in My Place 
Our hope of heaven is based upon Jesus’ finished work, plus nothing. (695)
 
4. What Is Belief?
Repentance is belief in action. (744)
 
there is no noun for faith in Hebrews, because faith does not exist apart from its action. Faith starts with mental assent, but if this mental assent does not lead to obedience, it is not yet “faith.” (755)
 
Salvation is a posture of repentance and faith toward the finished work of Christ in which you transfer the weight of your hopes of heaven off of your own righteousness and onto the finished work of Jesus Christ. (794)
 
Don’t try to find assurance from a prayer you prayed in the past; find assurance by resting in the present on what Jesus did in the past. (862)
 
There is only one posture ever appropriate to Christ: surrendered to His Lordship, and believing that He did what He said He did. From the very beginning of their lives, I want my kids to assume that posture! (883)
 
5. What Is Repentance? 
Repentance is evidenced by outward action, but it does not equal that. (1013)
 
Repentance is not securing a pardon before God so that we can go on sinning with impunity; it is a choice to submit to God and to seek ceasing from sin entirely. (1065)
 
Be encouraged: a desire to desire God is the first echo of a heart awakened to God. (1236)
 
6. If “Once Saved, Always Saved,” Why Does the Bible Seem to Warn Us So Often about Losing Our Salvation? 
 
Saving faith always endures to the end. (1364)
Faith that fades, no matter how luscious its firstfruits, is not saving faith. (1409)
 
“once saved, forever following.” (1491)
“Faith that fizzles before the finish was flawed from the first.” (1509)
 
7. The Evidence You Have Believed
Often the strongest evidence of my growth in grace is my growth in the knowledge of my need for grace. (1749)
 
8. When You Continue to Doubt
On your very best of days, you must rest all your hopes on God’s grace. On your worst of days, His finished work should be your refuge. (1781)

Greear, J.D. (2013-01-31). Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You Are Saved. Kindle Edition. 

 

I was thinking about how the gospel affects a “good” city. Do we even need churches if things seem to be pretty nice already. Then I remembered the opening lines in Michael Horton’s book Christless Christianity

“What would things look like if Satan really took control of a city? Over half a century ago, Presbyterian minister Donald Grey Barnhouse offered his own scenario in his weekly sermon that was also broadcast nationwide on CBS radio. Barnhouse speculated that if Satan took over Philadelphia (the city where Barnhouse pastored), all of the bars would be closed, pornography banished, and pristine streets would be filled with tidy pedestrians who smiled at each other  There would be no swearing. The children would say, “Yes, sir” and “No ma’am,” and the churches would be full every Sunday…where Christ is not preached.”

May our churches be filled with Christ. 

You’ve Got

Posted: March 2, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Very cool story about the friendliest restaurant in America.