Monday, June 20, 2011

Is God the Center of Your Life?

This week's blog posts will be on the subject of centering one's life around God. When the Israelites finally crossed over the Jordan River and set foot upon the promised land that God had given to them, Joshua led them to renew the covenant that God had made with them. Because of the Lord’s faithfulness in fulfilling all of his good promises to the Israelites, Joshua issued the entire nation a very simple challenge:

14Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods of your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:14-15, ESV)

If you are a Christian, if you really claim to follow Christ, do you live like it? I’m not just saying what you do in public..but in your home life? Are you completely devoted to God because of what Jesus Christ has done in your life?

One reason why so many families are dysfunctional is because God is not the center of the household. We spend most of our time sleeping, working, watching television, and on the internet. Do we ever just unplug and study the Bible together and worship God together? In order to do so we need to destroy and desert those things in our life that are keeping us from worshiping our God in Spirit and in Truth as well as discipling our families. Quiet times are necessary. But so are communal times with family. How is your life centered around God? Is it? During this week we'll look at three things we must do as families and individuals in order to truly center our lives around God.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Tedd Tripp on Formative Instruction

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Thank God for His Law (1 Tim. 1:8)

"But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully," (1 Tim. 1:8)

Paul is stating here that the law is good if used correctly. In other words, the God's law is beneficial for our lives when it is used for its purpose. Romans 7:12 says, "Therefore, the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good."

How is that? Well, since God created us, He knows exactly what we were created to do, which is to glorify Him. God's law, which is written on our hearts, in addition to being found in His Word, is there to protect us. It's interesting to really think about what the 10 Commandments are all about:
1) "No other Gods before Him." God says to make no other gods before him because he knows that we will be prone to do just that. Any Christian will tell you that we all struggle with putting other things in our lives ahead of God and when we do our lives start to spin out of control because we were created to put God first in our lives.

2) "No Idols" - Like the first commandment, we are guilty of serving the created things rather then the Creator himself. (Rom. 1:25) God knows that this also is a path that leads to unfulfillment because we were created to only serve the Lord.

3) "No taking the Lord's name in vain" - By bringing disripute on God's name we are slandering ourselves since we are made in our creator's image. Most importantly, we are cursing our loving lifeline.
4) "Remember the Sabbath" - God knows that we cannot work 7-days-a-week without getting rundown. We need a day of rest to re-charge our batteries and to, most importantly, thank God for all of the good things He has given us in our lives.

5) Honor Your Father/Mother" - At this commandment, God's law switches to our horizontal relationships, or our relationships with mankind. Previously, the first four commandments focused on our vertical relationship with God Himself. God gives us a special blessing if we honor the God-ordained people that he has put in our life to watch over us. Even if they have been horrible parents, we are still to honor them because that brings glory to God and he has made us with a natural love towards our parents that when we suppress harbor unforgiving thoughts that are disastrous for our lives.

6) "You shall not murder" - To kill is to kill God's creation which is to kill's part of God's image.

7) "You shall not commit adultery" - God has created sex and marriage to be between a man and a woman. He has chosen this relationship to be the foundation that a family is laid upon and society is birthed from. When we get out of line in these type of relationships we are living outside of God's revealed will of what is best for our lives.

8) You shall not steal" - Stealing is taking what is not our own and hurts other people deeply.

9) "You shall not bear false witness" - Decieving people and being untruthful is the opposite of who God is: Truth Himself.
10) "You shall not covet" - To covet is to tell God, "I am not satisfied with what you have given me and I want more." To covet makes us forget God's blessings and make us think that we deserve more then what we have when He has given us all that we need.

What's important to note is that these commandments were given because we are all prone to do the opposite. God knew this so he gave us a standard to live by to protect us and bring glory to Him. Therefore, to the law is good if used correctly.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Plea Against Biblical Ignorance (1 Tim. 1:7)

"...desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm," (1 Tim. 1:7, NKJV).

In verse 5, Paul stated that the commandment of God was to love each other from a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith. One of the consequences of not loving in this way was that some had turned aside to idle talk and had strayed from the faith (v.6).

Verse 7 states that another consequence of not heeding sound doctrine was that they desired to be seen as teachers, but because of the lack of their knowledge of doctrine they had no idea what they were even teaching.

I think a good number of our Southern Baptist churches have men who desire to be teachers of the Bible but are ignorant of what they speak because they are not biblically literate or they do not know the chief doctrines of the faith. Pastors everywhere should reinforce doctrine in their churches so that our they are not filled with teachers who do not possess the unenviable attribute of "ignorance on fire."

SEC South Park

If anyone is familiar with the cartoon South Park and is familiar with SEC football, this picture should make you laugh. Click on the picture for a closer view.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Vote Naturally Tomorrow

As we come one day closer to election day, I'd like to post Dr. Norman Geisler's "two declarations."

The first decleration is the Divine Lawgiver View which is based on natural law - which states that that all human beings are aware of certain laws that exist for the purpose of governing human conduct and protecting the rights of individuals. This is the context that our country was founded on. This declaration is also known as The Declaration of Independence:

"We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men." (Unshakable Foundations, p.200)

Nowadays, however, our culture has eschewed the historically universal belief in a natural law to that of a positive law...meaning that man has posited or made morality. Essentially, our country has a Naturalistc Evolutionist view of things, which can also be known as The Declaration of Contingency. Indeed, if the D of I were written today it would sound more like:

"We hold these relative truths to be self-evident, that all Homo sapiens have evolved slowly; that they are endowed by nature with certain contingent and relative rights; that among these are the right to kill their babies, the right to full autonomy and the right to pursue what makes them happy. That to create and secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Homo sapiens." (Unshakable Foundations, p.200)

Vote based on the only law that makes sense and won't lead to the degredation of human life and society...the natural law.

Stray Sheep will Talk (1 Tim. 1:6)

"...from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk," (1 Tim. 1:6, NKJV)

In verse five, Paul stated that the purpose of God's commands is to love from a regenerated and thus, pure, heart, as well as a good conscience and a sincere faith that only the Holy Spirit can give. However, there will always be those in the church, who, either because they are unsaved or because they are living a carnal life, will cause disputes in the church and continue to talk about things that have no eternal or kingdom significance.

Many churches get involved in petty arguements and disagreements centering around personal preference as opposed to biblical commands. Paul is warning Timothy, as well as pastors everywhere, that there will always be thoes "idle talkers" in the church who have strayed, missed the point, and have turned away from sound doctrine. Because of this, it is the pastor's duty to constantly teach and reteach sound doctrine in order to correct the stray sheep and protect the ones that are prone to wander away from the flock.

In a day where many churches simply ignore doctrine, these words from Scripture should be well heeded.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

True Love (1 Timothy 1:5)

"Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith," (1 Timothy 1:5, NKJV)

Paul states that the purpose of this divinely-inspired and directed letter (v.1) is that all believers would be filled with love. Where does love come from? Love comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith.

Jeremiah 17:9 states, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?"

If the heart is deceitful and sick how can a brother love others with a pure heart? The only way one's heart can become pure is by being washed and cleansed through the blood of Jesus. When one accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior by asking forgiveness of sins and placing their faith in Him, he is regenerated and becomes a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17).

Because of this, it is possible for one to love with a pure heart, a good conscience, and a genuine faith. These three attributes are only possible by regeneration. Paul commands Timothy to ensure that the Ephesians (as well as church members today) are living Spirit-filled lives instead of sin-filled ones.

Friday, November 03, 2006

No Other Doctrine (1 Tim. 1:1-4)

I've never been one for Scripture memory. Why? Well, (1) I'm lazy, and (2) even though there is much value in memorizing Scripture, I never enjoy learning "parts" of ideas. Therefore, I am making myself memorize Scripture in a way that will make sense to me. Dr. Andrew Davis, pastor of First Baptist Durham, NC has a wonderful (and relatively easy) way to memorize entire books of the Bible. It seems like a chore, but with just a little time and dilligence it can be done. And what a blessing it can be!

I've chosen the book of 1 Timothy to memorize. Because I don't have the best memory and have a nack of proctrastinating, I'm going to use my blogalism to make me accountable. Therefore, six days a week, I'm going to be posting my verse for that day, followed by a short "Charlienopsis" of how the Apostle Paul's words apply to us today. Because I'm already into my 4th day, today I'll cover 1:1-4.

"1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope, 2 To Timothy, a true son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. 3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, 4 nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith." (NKJV)

It's interesting to note that Paul claims apostleship via a decree from God our Savior and Jesus Christ our hope. It is clear that the Spirit guided Paul to write this letter or else he was one card short of a full deck. This letter is addressed to Timothy, who Paul calls his "true" son in the faith.

After wishing Timothy blessings in the name of the Father and our Lord, Paul dives right into to the message and a main reason for the letter: Teach no other doctrine! In fact, the NLT says that Paul wanted Timothy to "
stop those whose teaching is contrary to the truth." Timothy is to rebuke those who are wasting people's time with "endless geneologies," which meant that people were boasting about who they were and from what backgrounds they come from to try to show people how important they were in the faith. Does anything like that happen today? I think I've heard some conversations before that went like this: "Well, my father has been a deacon for 40 years and I was raised in this church," or "My family donated this building to the church so we can't move."

Paul is quick to point out to Timothy that this type of babble causes disputes and tears down, rather then builds up the church. Timothy is to ignore and rebuke these dissenters who are more interested in building up their name rather than building up the name of Christ and likewise grow people in the faith. What word for us to hear today!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Which 'Jesus' do you Serve?

Michael Estes at In Christ Alone has an intriguing critique of emerging church and liberal eccelsiology centered around arguments made by Schaeffer and Calvin.