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Archive for May, 2009

CSL2065Do you examine yourself to see if you are in the faith (II Cor. 13:5; Matthew 7:16-23)? Unfortunately, the following is what is considered an adequate test in some circles today. Granted, it’s not offensive. But it’s also not biblical and therefore ineffective.

*Do you know you are a sinner?
*Do you want to go to heaven?
*Have you asked Jesus into your heart?
*Do you remember a time when you prayed to receive Christ as your Lord and Savior?
*If not, would you like to do that now? Repeat after me. “Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner. . .”

Now, I don’t want to simply point out problems. I don’t want to complain or be overly negative. But, come on! Maybe, just maybe, the following is a possible alternative. Yes, a few things would need to be explained or elaboration might be necessary, but overall, I think it may be much more effective.

*Do you believe that you are sinner who has fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)?
*Do you believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:16; Acts 8:37)?
*Do you believe that He died for your sin according to the Scriptures, that He was buried and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (I Corinthians 15:3-4) and that apart from His substitutionary, atoning work on the cross you would spend eternity in hell according to the Scriptures (John 3:16; II Corinthians 5:21; I John 4:10)?
*Have you confessed Him as Lord (Romans 10:9-10)?
*Do you hate your sin (Ezekiel 36:31; Romans 7:15-20)?
*Do you treasure Christ more than anything or anyone else (Philippians 3:7-10)?
*Is your life characterized by a spirit of continual repentance (Romans 2:4; II Cor. 7:9-10)?
*Do you strive to be holy in all your behavior (I Peter 1:15)?
*Do you long for the Word of God (Psalm 119:20; I Peter 2:2)?
*Do you bear fruit in keeping with repentance (Matthew 3:8)?
*Do you love your Christian brothers and sisters (I John 3:14-16)?
*If not, come to the cross. Repent of your sin and believe the gospel (Mark 1:15). Turn from the darkness to the light, from the dominion of Satan to God and receive the forgiveness and inheritance God offers in Christ (Acts 26:18). Confess Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior (Romans 10:9-10), go and sin no more (John 8:11), and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace (II Timothy 2:2; Hebrews 12:14).

I don’t know. . .maybe?

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Reformed Rap?

Yep! I don’t know what it is, but this is something that has crossed my desk or been a part of a conversation on more than one occasion recently. It began a few months ago when my son brought home his first Christian Rap CD. The latest was through Lisa’s blog. Here are two videos for your consideration. The first is a doctrinally sound rap. Regardless of what you think about the music, you have to admit it is solid biblically! The second is a sermon by Paul Washer that he shared with Reformed Rappers. I hope you enjoy both.

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CSL047This list was posted by Mike Lumpkin at University Baptist Church. I thought it would be good for us as well.

Ten Practical Preparations for Hearing the Word of God on Sunday Morning

By John Piper

March 2, 1998

1. Pray that God would give you a good and honest heart.

The heart we need is a work of God. That’s why we pray for it. Ezekiel 36:26, “I will give you a new heart.” Jeremiah 24:7, “I will give them a heart to know Me.” Let’s pray, “O Lord, give me a heart for you. Give me a good and honest heart. Give me a soft and receptive heart. Give me a humble and meek heart. Give me a fruitful heart.”

2. Meditate on the Word of God.

Psalm 34:8, “O taste and see that the LORD is good.” On Saturday night read some delicious portion of your Bible with a view to stirring up hunger for God. This is the appetizer for Sunday morning’s meal.

3. Purify your mind by turning away from worldly entertainment.

James 12:1, “Putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.” It astonishes me how many Christians watch the same banal, empty, silly, trivial, titillating, suggestive, immodest TV shows that most unbelievers watch. This makes us small and weak and worldly and inauthentic in worship. Instead, turn off the television on Saturday night and read something true and great and beautiful and pure and honorable and excellent and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8). Your heart will unshrivel and be able to feel greatness again.

4. Trust in the truth that you already have.

The hearing of the word of God that fails during trial has no root (Luke 8:13). What is the root we need? It is trust. Jeremiah 17:7-8 says, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream.” Trusting in the truth you already have is the best way to prepare yourself to receive more.

5. Rest long enough Saturday night to be alert and hopeful Sunday morning.

1 Corinthians 6:12, “All things are lawful for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything.” I am not laying down any law here. I am saying there are Saturday night ways that ruin Sunday morning worship. Don’t be enslaved by them. Without sufficient sleep, our minds are dull, our emotions are flat, our proneness to depression is higher, and our fuses are short. My counsel decide when you must get up on Sunday in order to have time to eat, get dressed, pray and meditate on the Word, prepare the family, and travel to church; and then compute backward eight hours and be sure that you are in bed 15 minutes before that. Read your Bible in bed and fall asleep with the Word of God in your mind. I especially exhort parents to teach teenagers that Saturday is NOT the night to stay out late with friends. If there is a special late night, make it Friday. It is a terrible thing to teach children that worship is so optional that it doesn’t matter if you are exhausted when you come.

6. Forebear one another Sunday morning without grumbling and criticism.

Psalm 106:25, “They grumbled in their tents; they did not listen to the voice of the LORD.” Sunday morning grumbling and controversy and quarreling can ruin a worship service for a family. When there is something you are angry about or some conflict that you genuinely think needs to be talked about, forebear. Of course if you are clearly the problem and need to apologize, do it as quickly as you can (Matthew 5:23-24). But if you are fuming because of children or spouse delinquency, forebear, that is, be slow to anger and quick to listen (James 1:19). In worship open yourself to God’s exposing the log in your own eye. It may be that all of you will be humbled and chastened so that no conflict is necessary.

7. Be meek and teachable when you come.

James 12:1 “In meekness receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.” Meekness and teachability are not gullibility. You have your Bible and you have your brain. Use them. But if we come with a chip on our shoulder and a suspicion of the preaching week after week, we will not hear the Word of God. Meekness is a humble openness to God’s truth with a longing to be changed by it.

8. Be still as you enter the room and focus your mind’s attention and heart’s affection on God.

Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” As we enter the sanctuary, let us “come on the lookout for God and leave on the lookout for people.” Come with a quiet passion to seek God and his power. We will not be an unfriendly church if we are aggressive in our pursuit of God during the prelude and aggressive in our pursuit of visitors during the postlude.

9. Think earnestly about what is sung and prayed and preached.

1 Corinthians 14:20, “Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature”. So Paul says to Timothy, “Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything” (2 Timothy 2:7). Anything worth hearing is worth thinking about. If you would take heed how you hear, think about what you hear.

10. Desire the Truth of God’s Word more than you desire riches or food.

1 Peter 2:2 “Like newborn babies, desire the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.” As you sit quietly and pray and meditate on the text and the songs, remind yourself of what Psalm 19:10-11 says about the Words of God “More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.

Pastor John

© Desiring God

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: www.desiringGod.org

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finally-aliveDr. Jon graciously handed out a copy of “Finally Alive” by John Piper to anyone who wanted one today after worship (Thanks Jon!). If the following quotes are any indication, this book may well be Piper’s best ever.

. . . in this research the term ‘born again’ refers to people who say things. They say, ‘I have a personal commitment to Jesus Christ. It’s important to me.’ They say, ‘I believe that I will go to heaven when I die. I have confessed my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior.’ Then the Barna Group takes them at their word, ascribes to them the infinitely important reality of the new birth, and then slanders that precious biblical reality by saying that regenerate hearts have no more more victory over sin than unregenerate hearts. – pg. 14

But instead of following the Barna Group, the Bible says that the research is not finding that the born again are permeated with worldliness; the research is finding that the church is permeated by people who are not born again. – pg. 16

More later (though I’m not making any promises).

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