Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A.W. Pink: "The Holy Spirit" (9/32)

Chapter 9
The Work of the Spirit

It is a great mistake to suppose that the works of the Spirit are all of one kind, or that His operations preserve an equality as to degree. To insist that they are and do would be ascribing less freedom to the Third Person of the Godhead than is enjoyed and exercised by men. There is variety in the activities of all voluntary agents: even human beings are not confined to one sort of work, nor to the production of the same kind of effects; and where they design so to do, they moderate them as to degrees according to their power and pleasure. Much more so is it with the Holy Spirit. The nature and kind of His works are regulated by His own will and purpose. Some He executes by the touch of His finger (so to speak), in others He puts forth His hand, while in yet others (as on the day of Pentecost) He lays bare His arm. He works by no necessity of His nature, but solely according to the pleasure of His will (1 Cor. 12: 11).

Monday, June 29, 2009

Fighting Five Articles of Interest

Ligonier Blog

R.C. on worship.

The importance of touch in worship.
Tim Challies

Death is No Escape by Tim Challies

Tim comments on the Richard Evans World War II book, The Third Reich at War, and the justice of God.

Reformation 21

Article by Beeke encouraging Christians to trust and emulate Christ when suffering affliction.

DeYoung Restless and Reformed

Christians should not only know what the Bible teaches. They should learn to like and love God's sacred Word.


Dr. Mohler's Blog

Dr. Mohler's address to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary at the service commemorating the sesquicentennial of the seminary’s founding.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Spurgeon Monday: Comfort for the Desponding


"One more form of this sad condition. There are some of us, dearly beloved, who have not as much zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of men as we used to have. Months ago, if we saw a soul going to destruction, our eyes were filled with tears in a moment; if we did but see a man inclined to sin, we rushed before him with tears in our eyes, and wished to sacrifice ourselves to save him; we could not walk the street, but we must be giving somebody a tract, or reproving some one; we thought we must be for ever speaking of the Lord Jesus; if there were any good to be done, we were always first and foremost in it: we desired by all means to save some, and we did think at that time that we could give up ourselves to death, if we might but snatch a soul from hell. So deep, so ardent was our love to our fellowmen, that for the love we bore Christ's name, we would have been content to be scoffed at, hissed at, and persecuted by the whole world, if we might have done any good in it. Our soul was burning with intense longing for souls, and we considered all things else to be mean and worthless; but ah! now souls may be damned, and there is not a tear; sinners may sink into the scalding pit of hell, and not a groan; thousands may be swept away each day, and sink into bottomless woe, and yet not an emotion. We can preach without tears; we can pray for them without our hearts. We can speak to them without feeling their necessities; we pass by the haunts of infamy—we wish the inmates better, and that is all. Even our compassion has died out. Once we stood near the brink of hell, and we thought each day that we heard the yellings and howlings of the doomed spirits ringing in our ears; and then we said, "O God, help me to save my fellow-men from going down to the pit! "But now we forget it all. We have little love to men, we have not half the zeal and energy we once had. Oh! if that be your state, dearly beloved; if you can join in that, as your poor minister, alas! can do in some measure, then may we well say, "Oh that I were as in months past!"

Comfort for the Desponding

A Sermon(No. 51)
Delivered on Sabbath Morning, November 25, 1855,

by the REV. C. H. Spurgeon

At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark,

"Oh that I were as in months past."—Job 29:2.

FOR THE MOST part the gracious Shepherd leads his people beside the still waters, and makes them to lie down in green pastures; but at times they wander through a wilderness, where there is no water, and they find no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainteth within them, and they cry unto the Lord in their trouble. Though many of his people live in almost constant joy, and find that religion's ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace, yet there are many who pass through fire and through water: men do ride over their heads,—they endure all manner of trouble and sorrow. The duty of the minister is to preach to different characters. Sometimes we admonish the confident, lest they should become presumptuous; oftentimes we stir up the slumbering, lest they should sleep the sleep of death. Frequently we comfort the desponding, and this is our duty this morning—or if not to comfort them, yet to give them some exhortation which may by God's help be the means of bringing them out of the sad condition into which they have fallen, so that they may not be obliged to cry out for ever—"Oh that I were as in months past!"At once to the subject. A complaint; its cause and cure; and then close up with an exhortation to stir up your pure minds, if you are in such a position.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Fighting Friday: "Satan's Schemes" by George Whitefield

"Fighting Friday" will now be a regular feature on this blog site highlighting a classic sermon or article every Friday. This weeks sermon is "Satan's Schemes" by George Whitefield and edited by Tony Capoccia from Bible Bulletin Board.


For more than two centuries, George Whitefield has been considered the most brilliant and popular preacher the modern world has ever known. He began preaching at an early age of twenty-two and his voice startled England like a trumpet blast. He boldly preached the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith and was attacked by clergy, the press, and even mobs. Most of His preaching was in the open air to crowds of twenty to thirty thousand people. Yet for all his popularity and impact he remained a man of humility and deep spirituality. He died at the age of 55 and had preached an estimated 30,000 sermons. His penetrating comments are as wise and relevant today, as they were when he first preached them. His sermons have been consistently recognized, and their usefulness and impact have continued to the present day, even in the outdated English of the author's own day.

Why then should expositions already so successful and of such stature and proven usefulness require adaptation, revision, rewrite or even editing? The answer is obvious. To increase its usefulness to today's audience the language in which it was originally written needs updating.

Though his sermons have served other generations well, just as they were preached in the eighteenth century, they still could be lost to present and future generations simply because, to them, the language is neither readily nor fully understandable.

My goal, however, has not been to reduce the original writing to the vernacular of our day. It is designed primarily for you who desire to read and study comfortably and at ease in the language of our time. Only obviously archaic terminology and passages obscured by expressions not totally familiar in our day have been revised. However, neither Whitefield's meaning nor intent have been tampered with. Tony Capoccia

Satan's Schemes


George Whitefield (1714-1770)

"In order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not
unaware of his schemes. "[2 Corinthians 2:11]

These words were spoken by the Apostle Paul to the church of Corinth. In that church there was an unhappy person, one who had committed the sin of incest, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: The man had taken his father's wife; but either on account of his wealth, power, or for some other reason, like many notorious offenders today, he had not been exposed to the discipline of the church. The Apostle Paul, therefore, in his first epistle, severely reprimands the church for this neglect of discipline, and commands them, "When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord," that is, they should solemnly excommunicate him; which back then was commonly followed with some bodily disease.

The Corinthians, being obedient to the Apostle, as soon as they received this reproof, like dear children, submitted to it, and cast the offending party out of the church. But while they were endeavoring to amend one fault, they unhappily ran into another; and as they formerly had been too mild and negligent, so now they behaved towards him with too much severity and resentment. The Apostle, therefore, in this chapter, reproves this, and tells them, that "The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him:" that he had now suffered enough; and that, therefore, lest he should be tempted to say with Cain, "My punishment is more than I can bear;" therefore, "Forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow."

Now that he had given proof of his repentance, you now needed to forgive him, to confirm your love towards him, and to restore him in the spirit of meekness; "In order that Satan, (who is trying to tempt him to despair) might not outwit you." Satan wants the church to be unforgiving and to be the vehicle that drives the repentant sinner to despair, thereby representing you, the church, as being merciless and cruel, and to cause the Holy Name of Christ to be blasphemed, by which you are called; "for we are not unaware of his schemes:" we know very well how many subtle ways Satan has to distract and deceive unguarded and unthinking men.

Thus, as Satan has many schemes, and as his quiver is full of other poisonous darts, besides those which he shoots at us to drive us to despair, I shall, this morning, discuss the following,

I. First, I will briefly attempt to help you understand who Satan is.

II. Secondly, I will point out to you the principal schemes, he generally uses, to lead astray new converts to Christ, and also prescribe some remedies against them.

(Please click here to read the rest of "Satan's Schemes")

Thursday, June 25, 2009

On the Passing of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett

In less than 24 hours, we have lost two of this cultures greatest pop icons in the fair haired beauty Farrah Fawcett, and the self-proclaimed "King of Pop" Michael Jackson.

Farrah Fawcett rose to instant stardom because of the seventies show Charlies Angels. She was also America's favorite pinup girl whose poster sold by the millions and adorned the walls of many males and adolescent teens. She would later star in a made for television movie called the "Burning Bed" where she brought to the forefront the issue of husbands abusing their wives.

Michael Jackson was the gifted singer and dancer who made his start along with his brothers and formed the Jackson 5 where Michael was the lead singer. Jackson would later blossom as a solo singer and dancer, and would later create the biggest selling album of the time called Thriller with memorable hit songs such as "Billie Jean" and "Beat It". Jackson was one of my favorite recording artists when I was a teen. I was in high school when Thriller was released.

Fawcett and Jackson were rich, famous, adored by millions, and now are dead without Christ. So sad. There is no evidence that either Fawcett or Jackson had repented of their sins and put their trust in faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Fawcett claimed that she knew God from published reports during her bout with cancer, but it seemed that the God she knew was a God of her own making and not the God of the Bible. Jackson was a former Jehovah's Witness, and in his later days became involved with the Black Muslims.

This society has been brought back to the reality of the finality of death once again because of their adoration for these two cultural icons. Many in this society who have been lulled to sleep by the pleasures of this world are once again peering at death face to face. It's an opportunity for Christians once again to use this event as an opportunity to proclaim the Gospel to their unsaved friends, co-workers, and family members. An opportunity to remind them of the uncertainty of life and the judgment to come (James 1: 11, James 4:14, Heb. 9:27). An opportunity we cannot afford to pass up.

Fighting Five Articles of Interest

Pulpit Magazine

The Importance of a Good Example, by John MacArthur

John describes a recent sports story involving a high school basketball coach and how being a good example to young people is better than winning championships.

Tim Challies

Sharing the Gospel in the Gay Village, by John Bell (guest blogger)

Tim's friend John Bell, pastor of New Baptist Church in Toronto, shares his experiences evangelizing the LGBT community. This article does a good job in describing and giving an example of one aspect of evangelism which is friendship/relationship evangelism especially in the challenging enviroment of the LGBT community.

Reformation Theology

Understanding Romans 10:17, by John Samson

Does one only believe in Reformed Theology/Calvinism because he has heard it multiple times? John Samson answers this question.


Principles in Reformed Apologetics/Evangelism, by John Hendryx

John Hendryx gives some insight into Reformed Apologetics/Evangelism.

"FIGHTING MAD" or Other Items of Note

Pulpit Magazine

The Marks of Saving Faith, Part 1, by John Mac Arthur

The Marks of Saving Faith, Part 2, by John Mac Arthur

What are the characteristics of a true believer? John examines this issue in these two very helpful articles.

Los Angeles Times

Robert Schuller taps his daughter to lead ministry's grand comeback, by Dana Parsons

Robert Schuller chooses his heir apparent.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hell: Fact or Fiction

In considering the N.T. Wright issue concerning his view of hell coupled with the fact that one of my people from our evangelism ministry asked me if I could provide some Bible verses concerning hell, I thought it may be a good idea to put those verses I am preparing for her on the blog so it can be referred to again.

The Bible is quite clear regarding the existence of hell. Jesus mentions the subject of hell more times than almost any other subject (I believe money is the number one subject). The only way a person can worm his way out of the existence of hell in the Bible is to change its' definition or to say its allegorical which is not the case. You should use the following verses along with the article concerning the N.T. Wright issue by Dan Phillips as further reference. Also, you may want to look at Hell Under Fire. It is a book of essays on the subject of hell by theologians such as Al Mohler, J.I. Packer, Douglas Moo, and others. Two more resources you should consider concerning this subject is Death and the After Life by Robert Morey and International Outreach's book of sermons by Jonathan Edwards on the subject of hell called The Torments of Hell. Here are the verses:

"Then they will go forth and look on the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me For their worm will not die and their fire will not be quenched; and they will be an abhorrence to all mankind." (Isa. 66:24)

"Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake,these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt." (Dan. 12:2)

"For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze," says the LORD of hosts, "so that it will leave them neither root nor branch." (Mal. 4: 1)

"But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ' You good-for-nothing,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell." (Matt. 5:22)

"If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell." (Matt. 5: 29-30)

"Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matt. 10:28)

"Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. "Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you." (Matt. 11: 22-24)

"So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matt. 13: 49-50)

"I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. (Matt. 16:18)

"If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell." (Matt. 18:9)

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves." (Matt. 23:15)

"You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?" (Matt. 23:23)

"Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.' "Then they themselves also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You? The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.' "Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; (Matt. 25: 41-46)

"If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire," where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.] "If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, than, having your two feet, to be cast into hell, where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.] If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell, (Mark 9:43-47)

"But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him! (Luke 12:5)

"Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. "In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. "And he cried out and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.'" (Luke 16: 22-24)


"For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment;" (2 Pet. 2:4)

And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Rev. 20: 13-15)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fighting Five Items of Interest


N.T. Wright on Hell by Dan Phillips

Dan Phillips critique on N.T. Wright's unbiblical view of hell.

Institute of Nouthetic Studies Blog

"Church" by Jay Adams

Jay Adams short yet insightful description of the church.

Possessing the Treasure

The Lamp of the Body, by Mike Ratliff

Spiritual insight is only given to those that have repented and believed in Christ and in humility have relied totally on the authority of His word.

by Faith, The Web Magazine of the Presbyterian Church of America

The Current Case of Our Policy on Female Deacons, by Ligon Duncan

The Case of Commissioning (and not) Ordaining Deaconesses, by Tim Keller

Interesting debate between Ligon Duncan and Tim Keller on the ordination of female deacons.

Reformation 21

Calvinism and Worldliness, by Iain D. Campbell

Campbell's short critique of Peter Masters' (Metropolitan Tabernacle) article on contemporary Calvinism: "The Merger of Calvinism and Worldliness". In Master's article, Masters' pretty much criticizes everything that's wrong with contemporary Calvinism especially the charismatic style of worship at certain Christian conferences ("Resolved") and a lack of adherence to following the Sabbath (Sunday Sabbatarianism). Masters' article makes an interesting read from his perspective, but he takes an unfair shot at those who do not agree with his particular view of Calvinism. Dan Phillips (Pyromaniacs, Biblical Christianity) also comments on the Masters' article: "On Peter Masters' Rant: in which I add only one small thought to Messrs. Turk and Wilson". Here is Frank Turk's reply to the Masters' article: "Jiggling One's Jenga"

A.W. Pink: The Holy Spirit-"The Advent of the Spirit" (8/32)

(NOTE: This post is a continuation of our 32 part book study on A.W. Pink's "The Holy Spirit" from the old e-mail list. Subsequent chapters from Pink's book will now be posted every Tuesday.)

Chapter 8

"The Advent of the Spirit "

It is highly important we should closely observe how each of the Eternal Three has been at marked pains to provide for the honor of the other Divine Persons, and we must be as particular to give it to Them accordingly. How careful was the Father to duly guard the ineffable glory of the Darling of His bosom when He laid aside the visible insignia of His Deity and took upon Him the form of a servant: His voice was then heard more than once proclaiming, "This is my beloved Son." How constantly did the incarnate Son divert attention from Himself and direct it unto the One who had sent Him. In like manner, the Holy Spirit is not here to glorify Himself, but rather Him whose vicar and Advocate He is (John 16:14). Blessed is it then to mark how jealous both the Father and the Son have been to safeguard the glory and provide for the honor of the Holy Spirit.

The Importance of the Advent of the Spirit
"‘If I go not away, the Comforter will not come’ (John 16:7); He will not do these works while I am here, and I have committed all to Him. As My Father hath visibly ‘committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father’ (John 5:22, 23), so I and my Father will send Him having committed all these things to Him, that all men might honor the Holy Spirit, even as they honor the Father and the Son. Thus wary and careful are everyone of the Persons to provide for the honor of each other in our hearts" (T. Goodwin, 1670).

The public advent of the Spirit, for the purpose of ushering in and administering the new covenant, was second in importance only unto the incarnation of our Lord, which was in order to the winding up of the old economy and laying the foundations of the new. When God designed the salvation of His elect, He appointed two great means: the gift of His Son for them, and the gift of His Spirit to them; thereby each of the Persons in the Trinity being glorified. Hence, from the first entrance of sin, there were two great heads to the promises which God gave His people: the sending of His Son to obey and die, the sending of His Spirit to make effectual the fruits of the former. Each of these Divine gifts was bestowed in a manner suited both to the august Giver Himself and the eminent nature of the gifts. Many and marked are the parallels of correspondence between the advent of Christ and the advent of the Spirit.
(Please click here to continue reading this chapter)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Spurgeon Monday: Job's Regret and Our Own


"And, let me add, that very often these regrets of ours about the past are not wise. It is impossible to draw a fair comparison between the various stages of Christian experience, so as to give a judicious preference to one above another. Consider, as in a parable, the seasons of the year. There are many persons who, in the midst of the beauties of spring, say, "Ah, but how fitful is the weather! These March winds and April showers come and go by such fits and starts, that nothing is to be depended upon. Give me the safer glories of summer." Yet, when they feel the heat of summer, and wipe the sweat from their brows, they say, "After all, with all the full-blow of beauty around us, we admire more the freshness, verdure, and vivacity of spring. The snowdrop and the crocus, coming forth as the advance guard of the army of flowers, have a superior charm about them." Now it is idle to compare spring with summer; they differ, and have each its beauties. We are in autumn now, and very likely, instead of prizing the peculiar treasures of autumn, some will despise the peaceful Sabbath of the year, and mournfully compare you fading leaves to funeral sermons replete with sadness. Such will contrast summer and autumn, and exalt one above another. Now, whoever shall claim precedence for any season, shall have me for an opponent. They are all beautiful in their season, and each excels after its kind. Even thus it is wrong to compare the early zeal of the young Christian with the mature and mellow experience of the older believer, and make preferences. Each is beautiful according to its time. You, dear young friend, with your intense zeal, are to be commended and imitated; but very much of your fire I am afraid arises from novelty, and you are not so strong as you are earnest; like a newborn river, you are swift in current, but neither deep nor broad. And you, my more advanced friend, who are much tried and buffeted, to you it is not easy to hold on your way under great inward struggles and severe depressions, but your deeper sense of weakness, your firmer grasp of truth, your more intense fellowship with the Lord Jesus in his sufferings, your patience, and your steadfastness, are all lovely in the eyes of the Lord your God. Be thankful each of you for what you have, for by the grace of God you are what you are."

Job's Regret and Our Own

A Sermon(No. 1011)
Delivered on Lord's-day Morning, September 17th, 1871,

At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

"Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me when his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness; as I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my tabernacle."—Job 29:2,3,4.

If Job here refers to the temporal prosperity which he had lost, we cannot condemn him for his complaint, neither can we commend him. It is but the expression of a natural regret, which would be felt by any man who had experienced such great reverses. But there is everywhere in the expressions which he uses such a strain of spirituality, that we are inclined to believe that he had more reference to the condition of his heart than to the state of his property. His soul was depressed; he had lost the light of God's countenance; his inward comforts were declining, his joy in the Lord was at a low ebb, this he regretted far more than anything besides. No doubt he deplored the departure of those prosperous days when, as he words it, his root was spread out by the waters, and the dew lay all night upon his branch; but, much more did he bemoan that the lamp of the Lord no more shone upon his head, and the secret of God was not upon his tabernacle. As his spiritual regrets are far more instructive to us than his natural ones, we will turn all our attention to them. We may, without violence, appropriate Job's words to ourselves; for I fear that many of us can with great propriety take up our wailing and mourn for the days of our espousals, the happy days of our first love. I shall have to trouble you with many divisions this morning; but I shall be brief upon each one, and I hope that our thoughts may be led onward, and rendered practically serviceable to us, by the blessing of God's Spirit.

Click here to continue reading Job's Regret and Our Own.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Fighting Five Items of Interest

A regular feature of this blog will be to highlight blog articles, news articles, and other events of interest.

Al Mohler

Dr. Mohler dispells the myths about the media's perception of fatherhood.

Reformed Baptist Fellowship

Selfolatry, Alan Dunn

America's growing obsession with self has sadly become an idol in this country. Evangelicals are not immune to this form of idolatry.

DeYoung Restless and Reformed

Kevin shows us that we should not only be praying for our evangelical leaders who are in the spotlight, but to be careful to not make them idols, and to be discerning in what they teach.

Reformation Theology

John discusses the issue of man's inability to come to God by his own free will.

Press Unto Glory

Take It From Me, Leon Brown

The difficulty of balancing marriage and ministry and how marriage is always the priority over ministry.

Friday, June 19, 2009

FGFF Recommends: Seeds/Hide the Word

"Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You." (Psalm 119:11)

"But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season. And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers." (Psalm 1: 2-3)

If you're like me, one of my struggles throughout my Christian life has been to memorize God's Word in a consistent manner. I have made many valiant efforts in the past to consistently memorize His Word, but they have not come to fruition. I don't have any problems reading or meditating on God's Word or even memorizing some passages in Scripture for evangelistic purposes. However, in terms of memorizing Scripture and putting them in my heart on a consistent basis as Scripture commands us do, I have problems.

The Bible clearly states that we should be treasuring God's Word in our hearts, and if Christians don't make a consistent habit of memorizing God's Word, they may eventually fall to temptation and sin. Scripture is clear that memorizing God's Word is one of the keys to combating sin (Psalm 119:11).

I may have found the solution for my past failures in memorizing Scripture by memorizing Scripture that has been put to music. That's right, memorizing Scripture that has been put to music and listening to it over and over again. Do you recall in the past before you became a Christian how you could recall all the songs by your favorite recording artist even though its been years since you've listened to that song? The reason that you remember those songs is that you kept listening to that song over and over again. Moreover, it was also because you enjoyed the songs' lyrics and the way those lyrics were being presented. The same can be true for memorizing Scripture. In fact, by singing and listening to the Bible verses that you are memorizing you would be killing two birds with one stone. You would be memorizing Scripture and worshipping the Lord at the same time. Here are two resources that I highly recommend:

The majority of the people that attend Grace Community Church, especially those that have children in our Children's Ministry, have known about Seeds Family Worship for a few years now. My wife and I found out about Seeds from my wife's cousin who has her children in our Children's Ministry. My wife's cousin was raving about Seeds and encouraged us to buy the CDS. I finally succumbed, with some reluctance, and I have been raving about Seeds myself ever since. The CDS are produced by Jason Houser and they also hold concerts throughout the year in different venues. Jason and the Seeds worship team just had a concert at our church a few weeks ago. If your church or ministry wants to schedule a concert with the Seeds worship team or want to find out more about them you can contact them at the following web site:

Did you also know that Sovereign Grace Ministries also has a similar memorization program put to music? Their "Hide the Word" series which is currently at "Hide the Word 8" is produced by the father and son team of Mark and Stephen Altroge. Sovereign Grace Ministries has consistently produced music that has been Biblical and glorifying to God, so it's no surprise that they would have this type of memorization program. Here is the link to their web site:

I currently have all the Seeds worship CDS and some of the Hide the Word CDS, and I try to diligently listen to them every day especially in my car as I am driving to work. The amazing thing about memorizing Scripture, is that once you get in the habit of doing it again, you will even start to remember the verses that you memorized a long time ago. So if you ever see my wife and I singing in the car, don't think we're weird. We are just praising and worshiping our Lord and hiding His Word in our hearts.

Reflections: "The Key to Holiness Is Prayer" - John Owen

From time to time, I will be posting some of the quotes/passages from the book that I am currently reading. I am currently going over and about to finish John Owen's book "The Holy Spirit". The following passage on prayer and holiness is something that struck me, and had me thinking and meditating on the whole day. John Owen's last sentence in the passage you are about to read is a simple truth, yet profound in its meaning and depth. Here is the passage:

"There are two kinds of prayer needed when dealing with sin and its power. The first kind is the prayer of complaint. This is the title of Psalm 102: 'A prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed and pours out his complaint before the Lord'. Faced with the prevailing power of sin and soul pours itself out in the complaints (Psalm. 55:2; 142:2; Rom. 7:24). What can be more acceptable to God than for his children, out of pure love to him and his holiness, out of fervent desires to please him by a life of holy obedience and conformity to the image of Christ , to come with their complaints to God? Their complaint is that sin keeps them from being holy. They complain of their weakness. They complain in deep humility of all the evils that still remain in them (Jer. 31: 18-20). The second sort of prayer is the prayer of petition. These are prayers to God for supplies of grace to fight and conquer sin. It is in our petition that the Holy Spirit helps us. Prayer excites all graces to produce the fruit of holiness and so weakens the power of sin. The soul of a believer is never raised to a higher determination of spirit than when it is in prayer. It is in prayer that the soul's love for and delight in holiness are increased . It is prayer that the believer grows more holy. The best way of abiding in holiness is to abide in prayer." (John Owen, "The Holy Spirit", ppg. 174-175, Banner of Truth)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Inaugural Post

One of the meanings of the word inaugural as defined in the dictionary is first or initial. Another meaning of the word inaugural is related to the word inauguration as in the inauguration of a president. A few months ago, this country celebrated the inauguration of our new president, Barack Obama, who also happens to be our first black president. As with the election of our first black president, there is a first for everything in one's life: first day at school, first time driving a car, first time sharing the Gospel with someone. Some of these firsts are wonderful and memorable experiences, but others we would rather soon forget.

Hence with this inaugural post, it is important that I state this blog's purpose. The purpose of this blog is to not only to aid, educate, and disciple Christians who desire to become better evangelists, but also to aid them in leading holy lives which glorify God. You can never be an effective evangelist and not desire to lead a holy life. The one (holiness) cannot be separated from the other (evangelism). Our earthly vessels must be continually sanctified for the Master's use in order for our evangelism to be effective. In fact, in order to become an effective evangelist, the Christian must seek and desire to be as holy as Christ is (Lev. 11:44, 1 Pet. 1:16). If the Christian does not desire to trust in the sovereignty of God in regards to his evangelism or lead a holy life which is pleasing to God, his evangelistic efforts will be in vain. Why will the Christian's evangelistic efforts be in vain if he does not trust in God's sovereignty or desire to lead a holy life? His evangelistic efforts will be in vain because he will be trusting in his own flesh and in his own efforts rather than trusting in God who is sovereign in all things which includes evangelism.

I am by no means and expert in this field, nor would I ever claim to be. However, I have been in this field now for over 10 years either participating in or leading evangelism ministries, and my hope is, by God's grace, that I can aid those who not only desire to become proficient evangelists but who also desire to live lives mirroring the Gospel which they proclaim.

The inspiration for the title of this blog site "Fight the Good Fight of Faith" was inspired by an article recently written by fellow blogger, Mike Ratliff. It is an excellent article, and I commend it to you for your edification as the "inaugural" post for this blog site:

Fight the Good Fight of FaithJune 16, 2009 — Mike Ratliff
by Mike Ratliff

As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:5-8 ESV)

There is much terribly wrong going on right now in the visible Church. The main leaders of the emergent movement such as Brian McLaren are teaching rehashed heresies that deny the doctrines of Hell and Penal Substitution. The tragedy is how popular these teachings are with so many in the visible Church. These “fellows” deny all of the essential elements of the Gospel and then decry any teaching that proclaims its exclusivity. They proclaim that all of the world religions lead to God. Let us be honest my brethren. Isn’t there a drive or pull within us that proclaims all of the positive aspects of these false teachings? That “voice” tries to make us see how standing firm is so unpopular and all of this self-denial is sure excluding us from the majority. Those who finish the race by fighting the good fight and keeping the faith were never part of the “majority” or the “popular.” If that is so, then why do we even listen to that “voice?”

But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:11-12 ESV)

Polemics lead to division. That is the nature of the beast. If we stand firm and refuse to compromise with the world and those professing Christians who love being part of the majority as well as enjoying temporal pleasures while compartmentalizing their lives with their “faith” in a very obscure well-hidden spot that is restricted to Sunday mornings or “whatever” then there will be conflict between them and us. This small compartment in their lives has little to no affect on the rest of their lives except when it is to their advantage. The “these things” in v11 above is referring to the love of money. This would also include the love of possessions and the lifestyle that goes with accumulating much of the world’s goods. The one who is called to fight the good fight of faith is commanded to flee from these things. In place of pursuing what the world desires above all, we are to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness.

This is referring to Christlikeness my brethren and the exclusivity of that leaves no room for conformity to the world. This is why it is so obvious why the Seeker-Sensitive and Church growth movements are compromised. They attempt to conform to the culture in order to be more like the world so the unchurched will not be offended by the exclusivity of the Gospel.

This good fight of the faith requires self-denial and the taking up of one’s cross and then following Christ very closely. This is abiding in Christ as you are yoked up with Him. This is walking through this life as a living sacrifice. This is running the race set before us with eyes firmly fixed on Christ. This is only possible for those who draw near unto God in prayer and immersion into His Word. Then Christ’s character will become manifest more and more as humility increases and pride is diminished as the flesh is denied continually. Mind renewal is used by the Holy Spirit to lead us into the correct path, which is to take hold of the eternal life to which we are called.

The Greek word used here that is translated “Take hold” is ἐπιλαμβάνομαι or epilambanomai. This verb is in aorist tense, imperative mood, and middle voice. All this means is that is a command, request, or entreaty in which the action is done to or affects oneself. This is much more than simply learning the meaning of what Paul is talking about. It is referring to laying hold of these words then assuming them just as Christ took upon Himself human nature of the seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16). Therefore, what we are being commanded to do here is to become totally immersed in the fact that we have this eternal life and along with that we live out or walk out our lives accordingly. We are to be defined by the fact that we have this eternal life and that excludes it from being just being an add-on to our lives or something compartmentalized into obscurity.

I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time–he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. (1 Timothy 6:13-16 ESV)

To fight the good fight of faith is to stand firm against all who desire to take the Gospel and edit it to please men. Any attempt to change it is to create something else that is not the Gospel, but is stained with compromise and reproach. We are told here to never stop defending God’s Truth until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. When leaven is found in the body of Christ, we are to expose it and warn the brethren to avoid it and those who teach it because a little leaven leavens the whole lump. I know so many in these last days who decry what I just said. They hold in derision all who point out false teachings and those who teach them. I know one who used to comment here quite a bit, but who now writes things such as those who stand firm against apostasy and heresies don’t really know Christ or are not Christians because they are being judgmental. That used to hurt a bit since he has included me in some of this stuff mainly because

I refuse to back off of the exclusivity of the Gospel and that God’s grace does not trump His holiness and justice. What God calls sin is sin. Those who know this, but excuse themselves from walking in repentance in order to walk in compromise are giving evidence of an unregenerate heart.

One of this man’s “friends” linked to my article of George Tiller’s murder saying that I had “wished” for God to exclude him from heaven for being a mass murderer of the unborn. I never said any such thing. His article seemed to be saying that all that is required to be included in God’s Kingdom is a profession of faith. Tiller claimed to be Christian, but killed thousands of unborn babies. This paradox bothered me some and I did not address the article in any way nor do I intend to. However, I did read part of Nehemiah today in which he prayed to God the following prayer:

Hear, O our God, for we are despised. Turn back their taunt on their own heads and give them up to be plundered in a land where they are captives. Do not cover their guilt, and let not their sin be blotted out from your sight, for they have provoked you to anger in the presence of the builders. (Nehemiah 4:4-5 ESV)

What is he praying here? This is referring to the enemies of those attempting to obey God in building the wall of Jerusalem and restore proper worship of God in the Temple and every day life. These enemies attempted to stop the work to discourage those standing firm and obeying God. Nehemiah prayed for God to turn their wickedness back on them and not forgive them.

Wow! How unforgiving of Nehemiah! Yes, I know that our Lord told us to pray for our enemies and not return evil for evil and we must obey Him. However, there are some interesting statements made in the last chapter of Revelation.

I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.” “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. (Revelation 22:8-19 ESV)

Yes, let us pray for our enemies that they repent. When professing Christians do evil things and refuse to repent then we should pray for them that God will draw them to repent, but if they do not then they are in His hands and that is scary. The unrepentant sexually immoral, murderers, idolaters and liars are excluded from the tree of life. These would be the unrepentant ones though because we know that God can and will save even people who have done very wickedly, but the key is that they prove that they are of Christ because they walk in repentance.

Meditate on these things my brethren. Are you fighting the good fight of faith or are you seeking to pollute the truth by distorting the very words of our Lord, giving license to the wicked? We are told over and over in God’s Word that genuine believers give evidence of their faith through their conformity to the character of Christ. No one in this life will be perfect, but Christians walk in repentance and even those struggling mightily with sin will never be a peace with it if they are New Creations in Christ.

Soli Deo Gloria!
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