Friday, December 31, 2010

He is 100% for YOU

Indicatives and Imperatives

Per a blog titled Glimpses of Grace
It is awesome. It is written by a close friend named Erik Most. Thanks Erik.


"Most people think that Christianity is spelled DO: they look at the Bible or the life of Christ, and they simply try hard to live like Jesus. Christianity is really spelled DONE: it is what Christ has done that enables us to live a life of obedience.
Our problem is that we confuse the order of the indicative (what is true) and the imperative (what to do). As Bryan Chapell often says 'We put our do's before our who's'. The indicative is what is true about us in Christ. We are loved and accepted because of what Christ has done on our behalf. The imperative is what we do in obedience out of love for Christ. The key to the Christian life is to live out of the reality of who we are so that we can do what God has revealed in Scripture."

--Darrin Patrick quoted in Church Planter

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Word Became Flesh

Genesis 3:15
"And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”

Leviticus 26:11-12
"I will make my dwelling among you, and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people."

John 1:14

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth."

Continual Grace Upon Us

"However you may have reformed your life in many things, and may have had religious affections, and may keep up a form of religion in your families and closets, and in the house of God, it is nothing but his mere pleasure that keeps you from being this moment swallowed up in everlasting destruction...You have offended him infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince; and yet it is nothing but his hand that holds you from falling into fire every moment."

- Edwards: Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God


Those are heavy words, but incredibly liberating. I often overlook sin in my life. Not just things I do or say, but my very diseased nature. I even go through lengths of thought to convince myself I'm doing pretty well based on my lifestyle. These words by Edwards put the deserved weight on my sin and the just consequences. God's wrath is real, and fair. His love is just as real, and gracious. They met at the cross. God gave us a means of salvation through his Son due to his grace. It is all of grace.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Redemptive focus of Scripture

From Bryan Chapell's 'Christ-Centered Preaching',

"In its context every passage possesses one or more of four redemptive foci. The text may be predictive of the work of Christ, preparatory for the work of Christ, reflective of the work of Christ, and/or resultant of the work of Christ"

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The heart of 'Calvinism'

Just started reading a book entitled, 'Letters to a Young Calvinist'. The book is a series of hypothetical pastoral letters from the author to a young man, "Jesse", who has just come into the reformed faith. The author, James K. A. Smith, helps navigate Jesse through the depths and perils of the reformed faith. He answers Jesse's questions and offers him both Biblical and experiential advice.

An obvious reason why I have enjoyed the book so far is its contextual relevance to my life. This book speaks directly to those in the 'new calvinism' movement. More so, I have enjoyed the book because of the pastoral wisdom that James Smith's provides. For example, Smith warns Jesse against the tendency of young calvinists to be arrogant and prideful in their doctrine. Rather, the reformed faith should breed a deep sense of humility. He also challenges Jesse to make God's grace the foundation of his faith. In summarizing the reformed faith, James Smith writes to Jesse,

"At its heart, Calvinism is simply a lens that magnifies a persistent theme in the narrative of God's self-revelation; that everything depends on God. Everything is a gift. This doesn't just apply to salvation-it's true of creation itself. God created the world out of- and for- his pleasure, as an act of love. There's no hint of necessity or requirement here: God could have not created the world. The world exists and is sustained only because of God's sovereign action; and creation is still radically dependent on God's gift of existence. So we might say, that grace goes 'all the way down'. To merely exist as a creature is to be dependent on the gift of existence granted by a gracious God; to be is to be graced."

Who was Jesus?

As Christmas approaches, I am reminded that the Gospel is a historical message. Jesus was a real person. The Gospel is a true story taken from real events. Jesus, the 2nd person of the trinity, the One by whom everything was created, entered His own creation by taking on human flesh in order to redeem a broken and sinful world. Sometimes I forget that this REALLY happened. His life, death and resurrection were actual events.

As reported by Jewish historian Josephus in his 'Antiquities of the Jews',

"Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and the many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Greatest Competitor

Just listened to a David Choi sermon and he quoted Oswald Chambers as so,

"Beware of anything that competes with loyalty to Jesus Christ. The greatest competitor of devotion to Jesus is service for Him. It is easier to serve than to be drunk to the dregs. The one aim of the call of God is the satisfaction of God, not a call to do something for Him. We are not sent to battle for God, but to be used by God in His battlings. Are we being more devoted to service than to Jesus Christ?"

Oswald Chambers

What a great reminder. Is the Gospel enough? Is being loved and found in Christ enough? Or do we need to add our service to Jesus. Are we more devoted to the approval of the Christian community through our devotion/Godliness/leadership/_______, or devoted to Christ himself.

I can remember when the Gospel first took a hold of my life in high school. It was so simple. I was overwhelmed that I was loved of God. Jesus was enough. I didn't need anything else. It was enough to just sit at Jesus' feet and be received by him. It was enough to open His Word and to learn from Him. It was enough that I was loved by Him. It was crazy love. I was satisfied in the Gospel. I was overwhelmed. Have I forsaken my first love? Have I become more about theological acumen and being able to talk with Gospel-centered lingo and the approval of others based on my service?

John Writing to the church at Ephesus, "Yet I hold this against you; You have forsaken the love you had at first"-----Revelation 2:4

What did I do at first? I believed the Gospel. Period. I was satisfied in Christ. It was simple. It was Jesus + nothing. My eyes were fixed on Him alone; not on my spiritual resume. I hope and pray God will renew our hearts to set our eyes upon Jesus, to be fixed on Him. To look upon Him as the alpha and omega, the author and perfecter of our faith, and to be satisfied in this love. I pray that God would indeed fix our eyes on Christ, that we would be overwhelmed with this love that surpasses all understanding; that we would fall more madly in love with Jesus. That Jesus would revisit us with the grace we experienced when we first believed. The kind of love that leaves us sitting in awe, wonder and worship that JESUS LOVES ME, and that this simple truth is enough.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Rejoicing in the Lord

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice"

Philippians 4:4

There is a big difference between 'rejoicing in the Lord' and 'rejoicing in ones commitment to the Lord'. As the Apostle Paul wrote these words to the Philippians, he was imprisoned. He was suffering for the sake of Jesus. Amidst his sufferings, the Apostle is overjoyed. You could say he was suffering well. Paul suffered as to make Jesus look supremely valuable. He was doing a great work in his unceasing commitment to the Gospel, even in jail.

Yet, the Apostle Paul's rejoice is not in his commitment to the Lord, but in the Lord's commitment to him. There is a big difference. When I'm doing well, my tendency is to rejoice in my commitment to God. To say, "God, I'm thankful and I rejoice that I'm so committed to you, unlike these other people". If you want a perfect example of rejoicing in one's commitment to the Lord, go to Luke 18:11. Rejoicing in our commitment to God stems from and produces insecurity, pride and self-righteousness. When we don't truly believe that our standing as sons of God is secure because of what Jesus already accomplished, we begin to think that if we are really committed, then we will be secure with God. So, when we are committed, or do well, the insecure person rejoices because they think it merits them something. It proves to God how committed to Him they really are. Ultimately, it's focus is on what we have done for God. On the other hand, rejoicing in the Lord produces humble confidence, and focuses on what God has done for us.

So, when we do well, like the Apostle Paul was doing in his suffering, let us join him in 'Rejoicing in the Lord' and not 'rejoicing in our unwavering commitment to God'. In the end, what we have to offer God isn't worthy. All we have is what He gives. We have nothing to give Him which He doesn't already rightly deserve. Therefore, whether moments of great weakness or great strength, let's rejoice in the Lord. Let's rejoice in the unwavering commitment God has shown to such pitiful men. Let's rejoice in God's unchanging, fatherly love for His children, which He has lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Law of the Lord is Perfect

The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the LORD is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the LORD are true,
and righteous altogether.

- Psalm 19:7-9

...In knowing we could never keep even one precept purely, God graciously sent His Son, Jesus, who kept every condition perfectly for us. May we be eager to meditate on the law all the days of our life, for it is a reflection and revelation of its author, God himself, who is perfect in every capacity. Praise be to Him!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Our Distrust Cannot Separate Us

"No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”

- Romans 4: 20-25

... I often do not trust in God's promises. From small things to big things, every day I find another way to depend on myself. God, I pray you will extinguish the trust we place in ourselves, and in your sovereignty, bring us nearer to you through your gospel. Keep us in your grip.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

About Sin

some sick rap lyrics from Timothy Brindle's 'The Battle'

"Sin, you're pathetic dude,
I'm having trouble hearin what you're sayin cuz I'm now dead to you,
so I don't have to listen to all that trash that you're spittin,
cuz I know all your tricks like you're a bad magician,
the joy you give is a fake dud,
after tasting Christ, you don't satisfy my taste buds,
So please, will you break out,
cuz I'm not hungry for you like vegans in a steakhouse,
This liar is easy to beat,
I'm way more attracted to Christ, you're no longer pleasing to me,
You're trife and ugly but Christ is lovely,
not to mention His righteous life covers me,
This scum should beat it,
Fighting me means you're fighting Christ who's undefeated,
You're still talking but you're dead,
Bring the Word of God, my sword, and off with your head"

That we may not Grow Weary

With finals week underway........

"...let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself. so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted."

Hebrews 12:1-3

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Need of Grace

"Thou makest me possess the sins of my youth,
and the dreadful sin of my nature,
so that I feel all sin,
I cannot think or act but every motion is sin.

Return again with showers of converting grace
to a poor gospel-abusing sinner.

Help my soul to breathe after holiness,
after a constant devotedness to thee,
after growth in grace more abundantly every day."

- Valley of Vision: Puritan Prayers and Devotions

Friday, December 3, 2010

Permanently Withdrawn

"You forgave the iniquity of your people;
you covered all their sin.
You withdrew all your wrath;
you turned away your hot anger.
Restore us again, O God of our salvation,
and put away your indignation toward us!"

Psalm 85: 2-4

As Christmas season approaches, what a great reminder of the work Christ came into the world to accomplish. Christ came so that all those who turn to Him may be forgiven once and for all. In His death, filthy sinners are cleansed by the blood of Christ. More so, Jesus lived the perfect law fulfilling life, and through union with Him, we are covered in His perfect righteousness. At the cross, God withdrew His just wrath from His people. He permanently turned away His hot anger. Most amazingly, the only way to turn this just wrath away from His people, was to place it on His Son. Jesus bore the wrath of God. Through the finished work of Christ, there is no longer any indignation towards us. We have been restored. Praise be to Jesus who took a quantum leap from His throne in heaven in order to dwell among a perverse, lowly, and weak people. Praise be to Christ, for coming to earth and dying the death that we should have died, in order that we could be forgiven once and for all. Praise be to Jesus who lived the law fulfilling life that we should have lived, and covers us in His righteousness. Thank you Jesus for absorbing Your own Father's wrath at the Cross, so that degenerate rebels may be restored!

Christ's finished work is permanent and sufficient. In Christ, we are forgiven once and for all. Through the cross, God's wrath is permanently withdrawn. Mission accomplished.

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus"

Romans 8:1

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Glimpses of Grace: How Delightful it is

From my good friend Erik Most's blog.

Glimpses of Grace: How Delightful it is:

How delightful it is! When my heart is gracefully, violently torn from the grips of wandering affections and centered firmly on the glory of Christ.

How delightful it is! When Christ shows me the true depth of His sufficiency.

How delightful it is! That I can never out-sin grace, nor escape the pursuit of my great Savior

How delightful it is. That by grace, through the cross, day by day, Jesus liberates me from the shackles of Adam's inheritance, and brings me to Himself.

How delightful it is