30 September 2015

Are You Arguing Over Principles or Methods? - Part 3

We resume where we left off in part two. Actually, I will repeat the closing paragraph from part two to get us started.

The Bible commands us to strive for likemindedness and unity, and this comes about by loving one another while seeking to approach each other in humility to discuss things of a doctrinal matter. It means avoiding being obnoxious, cantankerous, or losing perspective when it comes to these discussions.

We are told in 1 John 1:7 that “if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another” – so if we are both walking in the same light – regardless of if in a Ford or a Chevy - we should both be moving closer towards God and our unity with each other should be growing more and more.

If along the way, I see my brother falling into bad things, like mistreating his wife or family, or failing in some form of a basic duty, then it is my duty in love to walk along beside him and call him out on those things – “look brother, I need to talk to you about this.” That is showing love and that is our brotherly duty – it is being accountable to one another, and should be acceptable behavior that should be accepted by each of us. We do not avoid doing this just to keep the peace. We must keep the peace based on God’s terms, keeping it based on his ways and not based on our own ways.

Review: Vision of New Jerusalem: Now! - Marty Angelo

Vision of New Jerusalem: Now! Vision of New Jerusalem: Now! by Marty Angelo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A nice easy read that is like a three-fold read, at least in the way I have divided it in my reading mind. Section one is a personal testimony of the author and how he went from prison inmate to Christian, and all of the hurdles and studying along the way.

Part two, which is the majority of the book, he discusses his coming to and understanding of the AD 70 Preterist doctrine and how it differs from the modern futurist rapture centered type views.

Part three is the last couple of sections in the appendix. He has written some modern applicational type articles on how this eschatological view can and should be applied to everyday living. Originally I thought that this was actually going to be the majority of the book's topic, but it was just a couple articles at the end after he discussed his coming to his present view.

An interesting read of an interesting journey and how to live in the kingdom age NOW.

View all my reviews

Review: The Unseen Realm - Michael S. Heiser

The Unseen Realm The Unseen Realm by Michael S. Heiser
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When it comes to the topic of the divine council and the unseen realm stuff, I guess I kind of felt a good majority of people already had a general grasp on it. About a year ago I was given the opportunity to preach at our church and I spoke on some basics of the divine council view (view sermon here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EV9P_...), and found out that the understanding was nowhere near as common as I guess I thought it was.

A month or so later I was asked if I had checked out Michael Heiser's stuff, of whom I had never heard of, and was glad to see I was on a lot of the same paths that he was. So, when I heard of this book coming out, I HAD to get it. It was everything I hoped it would be and MORE.

29 September 2015

Are You Arguing Over Principles or Methods? - Part 2

In part one (HERE) of our discussion we began looking at the difference between principles and methods. Principles being the basis for why something is done, and the method being how the principle is accomplished and how there are varying methods that different people can use, and it doesn't mean one is better or more right than another.

Often times, when we come to deal with someone in the Church body, we come at things from one of two extremes. In one extreme, we approach them in disagreement, basically looking down upon them as a weaker brother than us, and constantly attack their methods.

The other extreme would be to approach them in a manner that would be a warped view of love, in that we pretend we must never challenge or admonish them, or ever bring up a discussion on issues of truth. Both are extremes that we have to work to not fall into.

We are to abhor and challenge what is truly evil, while holding fast to what is good, while loving one another and always seeking to outdo them in showing honor. Can you imagine a church where this is truly going on – and everyone is actually fighting to show more honor to each other?

When we are brought into the family of God, God receives us in as we are. However, he does not then just leave us to our own devices, but he continues a work in us to mold us into the person we should be. Everyone who is received in is received in at different stages of life, and the work of the Spirit may be very different in one person as compared to the next. We must remember this, for the Spirit does not bring us in and make us all immediately mature in all things.

Bear One Another's Burdens - Do You?

Another little devition I gave recently for our Lord's Supper service...

I was scanning through my Bible app, looking at the section that shows me a snapshot view of all of the verses I have highlighted in the past. 

I run across some that always give me grief as I read them and realize how far off the mark I tend to fall. So I figured I would share some of the grief this morning. 

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Phil 2:3-4)

This verse always comes to mind when I view the way Christians deal with each other online. Pretty much every professing Christian fails in this type of area when they deal with other Christians online.
They treat each other horribly – there is no humility – there is no looking to the interests of others – it is all about making the other person look stupid. It is about being right, not kind of humble. 

28 September 2015

Are You Arguing Over Principles or Methods? - Part 1

About ten years ago, I heard a lecture by a pastor that really stuck with me. It is from that lecture that I have gleaned pieces and even stole whole chunks of to use for this article. We are going to be looking at principles and methods, and how we should stop to distinguish which is in our focus when we are approaching a brother or sister in Christ to exhort or admonish them. 

Many people seem to not understand the difference, and so our churches across the land today contain many individuals who are quarrelsome and divisive, and do so under the guise of being zealous for God. They are quick to force their own understanding of an issue upon the conscience of another. 

Many people, when they get new light shed on some doctrine, are quick to want to go out and try to shine that light and shove that understanding upon others, and often time in less than a true loving manner.The internet has become a battle ground of doctrinal fights, where words are thrown out with little to no love of consideration for others. It becomes very impersonal as we just use key strokes to lob words at others with condescending attitudes and often including false assumptions.

Something to Pray For - Without Ceasing

A little Lord's Supper devotional I gave a while back...

I just wanted to share a prayer of David from Psalm 25 that would not be a horrible thing for us to remember and pray for ourselves daily.

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous. Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. (Psalms 25:1-5 ESV)

I gleaned some tidbits of info on this section from the words of John Calvin, and added some additional comments of my own:

The Psalmist declares at the very outset, that he is not driven here and there, after the manner of the ungodly, but that he directs all his desires and prayers to God alone. Nothing is more inconsistent with true and sincere prayer to God, than to waver and gaze about as the heathen do, for some help from the world, and at the same time to forsake God, or not to betake ourselves directly to his guardianship and protection.

27 September 2015

The Humanity of Christ Shows Through

A Lord's Supper devotional I gave a while back...


This past week in my Bible reading, I was going through the chapters dealing with the arrest and trial of Yeshua, and in reading through with the chronological reading plan, it of course lumps all of the same gospel stories of this together. So basically I am reading the same story multiple times. In doing so, I was really struck by the humanity of Christ.
 Then he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me." (Matthew 26:38)
The word in the original is much stronger than the one translated “sorrowful.” It means to be pressed down or overwhelmed with great anguish. Some translate it as him saying “my soul is so dissolved in sorrow, my spirit is filled with such agony and anguish, that, if speedy assistance is not given to my body, death must be the speedy consequence.”

25 September 2015

Is This the World You Want?

A Lord's Supper devotion I gave a while back...

A couple weeks ago, I was listening to a new CD we had got by the band Switchfoot. One of the songs caught my attention after a couple listens, and I was drawn to listening more closely to the lyrics, which really touched me. Shortly thereafter, I gave some thought to using them for a Lord’s Supper devotion here, and filed the thought away. 

Then last week in the sermon, the discussion was about our Christian walk. During it, there was one quote that really struck me as relating to the song I had thought about sharing some time earlier. The quote was by the unknown author which said:

You are writing a gospel, a chapter each day. By the deeds that you do, and the words that you say. Men read what you write, whether faithless or true. Just what is the gospel, according to you?

Prior to that in the sermon, (Pastor) Dave had said:

We are to live consistent with what we know, with what we teach, with what we preach, and with what we believe—this is integrity. We are losing all credibility today because we say one thing and do another. We live one way and preach another. We must walk worthy of our calling, or we destroy our effectiveness and become a group of hypocrites.

Are You Murmuring to God?

A Lord's Supper devotion I gave a while back...

Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. (Phil. 2:14-15)

I know for me personally, there are times I can struggle with contentment, and that leads to murmuring, so I wanted to take a quick look at this topic as a reminder to us all to watch for signs of this in our daily lives.

By murmuring, it does not simply mean complaining. There is a legitimate way of complaining to God about our situation that is not considered murmuring. Like when the Israelites were under the heavy yoke of bondage and cried out to God in their affliction. They were moaning about what was happening, and God brought deliverance.

24 September 2015

The Sovereignty of God & "Stonewall" Jackson

A Lord's Supper devotional I gave:

Psalm 4

1 Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
    You have given me relief when I was in distress.
    Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!
2  O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame?
    How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah
3  But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself;
    the LORD hears when I call to him.
4  Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah
5  Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the LORD.
6  There are many who say, “Who will show us some good?
    Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!”
7  You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.
8  In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

In reading this, especially the last verse – it strikes me at how often I lie down to sleep yet cannot, as my mind races with concerns and worries. While I claim to believe in the absolute sovereignty of Yahweh, there are still times where I do not put it into practice. 

What Are You Thinking? - Taking the Lord's Name in Vain

1 Cor. 11:24-34

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.

During the week, as I pondered ideas for this morning, I found myself drawn back to last week’s sermon and the discussion on taking the name of the Lord in vain, and an idea of connecting that thought to the Lord’s Supper.

In the Wilderness: Christ Did What We Couldn't

A Lord's Supper devotional I gave a while back:

Matthew 4:1-11 (ESV)

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Deut 8:3)

Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “ ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Deut 6:16)

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”(Deut. 6:13) Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
Here we find Yeshua about to enter into his public ministry, and right after he is baptized he goes into the wilderness for 40 days. We can see many parallels in what he does here and what Israel experienced in their wilderness wanderings. The connection is seen initially from Yeshua’s quoting of three verses out of Deuteronomy that are part of Israel’s wilderness experience.