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Archive for the ‘Character’ Category

I stole this from Thabiti Anyabwile’s blog post over at The Gospel Coalition website because I thought it would be great for all of us to consider throughout the day.  Enjoy!

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17)

“We are not the reason the gospel works; the gospel is the reason the gospel works.”

–Ligon Duncan, from the Foreword to Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching

 

The Reason the Gospel Works – Pure Church by Thabiti Anyabwile.

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Follow the link over to CBC Evangelism and check out the short video on idol worship. Then check your own heart concerning this grave matter.

CBC Evangelism: Idol Worship.

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In light of the recent discussion regarding the nature of Christian growth and sanctification, I thought I would re-post the helpful quote below from Sinclair Ferguson. In it, he reminds us that any piety and pursuit of holiness not grounded in, and driven by, the gospel will eventually run out of gas:

The first thing to remember is that we must never separate the benefits regeneration, justification, sanctification from the Benefactor Jesus Christ. The Christians who are most focused on their own spirituality may give the impression of being the most spiritual … but from the New Testament’s point of view, those who have almost forgotten about their own spirituality because their focus is so exclusively on their union with Jesus Christ and what He has accomplished are those who are growing and exhibiting fruitfulness. Historically speaking, whenever the piety of a particular group is focused on OUR spirituality that piety will eventually exhaust itself on its own resources. Only where our piety forgets about us and focuses on Jesus Christ will our piety nourished by the ongoing resources the Spirit brings to us from the source of all true piety, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sinclair reminds us that the secret of gospel-based sanctification is that we actually perform better as we grow in our understanding that our relationship with God is based on Christ’s performance for us, not our performance for him. In fact, those who end up getting better are those who increasingly realize that their relationship to God does not depend on them getting better. This means, as I said in a post a couple weeks ago, that Christian growth does not happen first by behaving better, but believing better–believing in bigger, deeper, brighter ways what Christ has already secured for sinners Col. 1:12-14.

via Gospel-Driven Sanctification – Tullian Tchividjian.

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According to Erwin McManus your dreams are what will encourage you through hardships. This sounds very romantic and wonderful to think about, but the Bible nowhere uses such language and never does it have us turn inward to our dreams for strength in hard times. This is the kind of sentimental, self-help, motivational drivel that McManus continues to spew instead of turning the hearts and minds of people to the true nature of our strength in Jesus Christ and the hope that is found in Him.

In his first epistle, Peter deals with the difficulties of hardship, persecution, trials and tribulations and not once does he point us to our dreams as the means for dealing with our hardships. Peter points us to Christ and Christ alone.

Consider these words by Peter at the end of chapter 4:

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. By no means let any of you suffer as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not feel ashamed, but in that name let him glorify God. For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner? Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right. (I Peter 4:12-19)

John Piper in his sermon “Why We Can Rejoice in Suffering?” makes this wonderful comment on this passage:

The command is found in verse 13: “To the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing.” Keep on rejoicing. When you are thrown in the cellars of suffering, keep on rejoicing. When you dive in the sea of affliction, keep on rejoicing. In fact, keep on rejoicing not in spite of the affliction but even because of it. This is not a little piece of advice about the power of positive thinking. This is an utterly radical, abnormal, supernatural way to respond to suffering. It is not in our power. It is not for the sake of our honor. It is the way spiritual aliens and exiles live on the earth for the glory of the great King.

“Count it all joy when you meet various trials,” is foolish advice, except for one thing—God. Peter gives six reasons why we can “keep on rejoicing” when the suffering comes. They all relate to God.

He then goes on to give six reasons for rejoicing in suffering:

  1. Keep on rejoicing because the suffering is not a surprise but a plan.
  2. Keep on rejoicing because your suffering as a Christian is an evidence of your union with Christ.
  3. Keep on rejoicing because this joy will strengthen your assurance that when Christ comes in glory, you will rejoice forever with him.
  4. Keep on rejoicing in suffering because then the Spirit of glory and of God rest upon you.
  5. Keep on rejoicing in suffering because this glorifies God.
  6. Finally, keep on rejoicing because your Creator is faithful to care for your soul.

It’s interesting that Peter, nor any of the apostles, or Jesus Christ himself when dealing with the subject of hardship, suffering, persecution, pain, problems, trials, and tribulations never reference peoples dreams, but they all call us to look to our great, sovereign, glorious God for all our strength, courage and power to endure. I trust you will heed the truth of the Scriptures before you even consider the meaningless thoughts of Erwin McManus.

 

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J.I. Packer, Knowing God (IVP, 1993), pages 254–255:

The wise person … reads the Bible as God’s personal letter to each of his spiritual children, and therefore to him as much as to anyone. Read Romans this way and you will find that it has unique power to search out and deal with things which are so much part of you that ordinarily you do not give them a thought—your sinful habits and attitudes; your instinct for hypocrisy; your natural self-righteousness and self-reliance; your constant unbelief; your moral frivolity, and shallowness in repentance; your halfheartedness, worldliness, fearfulness, despondency; your spiritual conceit and insensitivity. And you will also find that this shattering letter has unique power to evoke the joy, assurance, boldness, liberty and ardor of spirit which God both requires of and gives to those who love him.

 

RT: Miscellanies

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5 Dangers For Young Men

Over at the blog R.C. Ryles Quotes they have listed the five dangers for young men from Ryles book “Thoughts for Young Men.”

1. Pride

“Young men, do not be too confident in your own judgment. Stop being so sure that you are always right, and others wrong. Don’t trust your own opinion, when you find it contrary to that of older men, and especially to that of your own parents. Age gives experience, and therefore deserves respect. “

Read the rest of the post here.

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What are you beholden too?

Religious people should take care that all the or behavior answers to their profession. But how few know the right measure and bounds of those two necessaries of life, food and raiment! Unless poverty is our carver, and cuts us short, there is scarcely any one who does not desire something beyond what is good for us. Far more are beholden to the lowliness of their state, then the lowliness of their mind; and many will not be so bounded, but lavish their time and money upon trifles.

Matthew Henry (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary – I Peter 3:1)

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