Archive for January, 2010
I’m excited to get back to our study of Luke’s gospel account this Sunday. Luke 16:1-15 will be our passage. Let me encourage you to take the time to read it and perhaps pray through it before Sunday AM.
I believe verses 1-9 contain one of the most complicated parables Jesus gave. To be honest, I’ve had some trepidation about preaching this passage for a while now. But there’s no avoiding it. Preaching through books of the Bible forces a preacher to deal with passages that he wouldn’t go out of his way to preach — either because they’re hard to understand, or hard to hear, or seem unspectacular, or redundant. I believe God has purposes for us this Sunday in this passage. He sends His Word out and it will accomplish exactly what He intends for it to accomplish (Isa. 55). So let’s assemble on Sunday with eagerness to wrestle with a tough parable and be changed by it.
Acts 20:28 tells us that Jesus obtained the church with his own blood. Is this what your love for the church is based on? If it’s anything less than it won’t last.
- Don’t love the church because of what it does for you. Because sooner or later it won’t do enough.
- Don’t love the church because of a leader. Because human leaders are fallible and will let you down.
- Don’t love the church because of a program or a building or activities because all those things get old.
- Don’t love the church because of a certain group of friends because friendships change and people move.
Love the church because of who shed his blood to obtain the church. Love the church because of who the church belongs to. Love the church because of who the church worships. Love the church because you love Jesus Christ and his glory. Love the church because Jesus is worthy and faithful and true. Love the church because Jesus loves the church.
(HT: Pure Church)
If you want to study more about suffering and how God’s good but mysterious purposes intertwine with it, here are four great books to check out.
• Trusting God, by Jerry Bridges
• If God is Good, by Randy Alcorn
• How Long, O Lord?, by D.A. Carson
On Sunday we gathered over $2,000 to assist with the relief operations in Haiti! As we looked into different options for how to send this money to Haiti, the following organizations stood out:
2. World Relief
These two organizations are already on the ground in Haiti distributing water and food. Please pray that their efforts would glorify God and that many people would trust in Jesus Christ, who also suffered.
Here is a great little article from John Piper explaining from the Bible what some of God’s purposes are in natural disasters. Although the article was written in response to an earthquake back in 1999, God’s Word holds true now just as it did then.
“…when the earth shakes under your feet there is a dramatic sense that there is no place to flee. In most disasters the earth is the one thing that stands firm when wind and flood are raging. But where do you turn when the earth itself is unsafe? Answer: God.”
Check out this helpful summary of spiritual new birth in chapters 3 and 4 of John Piper’s book, Finally Alive.
1. Apart from the new birth, we are dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1–2).
2. Apart from the new birth, we are by nature children of wrath (Eph. 2:3).
3. Apart from the new birth, we love darkness and hate the light (John 3:19–20).
4. Apart from the new birth, our hearts are hard like stone (Ezek. 36:26; Eph. 4:18).
5. Apart from the new birth, we are unable to submit to God or please God (Rom. 8:7–8).
6. Apart from the new birth, we are unable to accept the gospel (Eph. 4:18; 1 Cor. 2:14).
7. Apart from the new birth, we are unable to come to Christ or embrace him as Lord (John 6:44, 65; 1 Cor. 12:3).
8. Apart from the new birth, we are slaves to sin (Rom. 6:17).
9. Apart from the new birth, we are slaves of Satan (Eph. 2:1–2; 2 Tim. 2:24–26).
10. Apart from the new birth, no good thing dwells in us (Rom. 7:18).
Ryan’s sermon on Sunday focused on God’s awesome power to create life in dead people – both in ancient Israel and in modern rebels. It is a miracle of God that we are “born again” to use Jesus’ words. Here are three lists of Bible verses that Ryan compiled to help us meditate on this miracle.
The first list is about the seriousness of our sin. These verses focus on how deeply rebellious and sinful we all are: not just sin sick, but actually dead in our sins. These verses about our sinfulness would be depressing if it weren’t for the next set of verses.
The next list of verses are about regeneration, which is another way to say “the new birth” or “born again.” Because we are dead in our sins, God must give life if we are to have any hope. Look at how God gave us the gift of life and rejoice!
The final set of verses all concentrate on how great God’s mercy and love is and how blessed we are to receive it. These verses magnify God for His powerful love.
May these verses bless you and encourage you as you consider God’s sovereignty and love.
THE SERIOUSNESS OF OUR SINFULNESS
Romans 3:11-12 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.”
Romans 8:7-8 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Ephesians 2:1-3 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
Job 14:4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? No one!
Jeremiah 13:23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil.
1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Isaiah 64:6-7 But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away. And there is no one who calls on Your name, Who stirs himself up to take hold of You;
Jeremiah 17:9 ” The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?
John 8:44, 47 “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do… He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”
REGENERATION AND GOD’S “DRAWING”
Ephesians 2:4-9 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
1 Corinthians 1:23-24 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
1 Corinthians 3:6-7 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.
1 Corinthians 4:7 For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
Acts 11:18 When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.” (see also 2 Tim 2:25)
Acts 13:48 And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.
Acts 16:14 Lydia heard us… The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.
John 10:26-27 “But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
John 6:44, 65 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day…. And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”
1 Thessalonians 1:4-5 knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit.
John 1:12-13 to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 3:6-8 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
THE GRACIOUS, ETERNAL CHOICE TO BE HIS PEOPLE
Ephesians 1:4-6, 11 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace… being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,
1 Corinthians 1:26-29 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.
Romans 9:15-16 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.
1 Peter 2:9-10 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
Matthew 20:15 ‘Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’ (SEE 20:1-15 – parable of the landowner)
Psalm 65:4 Blessed is the man You choose, And cause to approach You,
John 10:16 “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
John 15:16 “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you.
1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us.
Deuteronomy 10:15 “The LORD delighted only in your fathers, to love them; and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day.”
Deuteronomy 14:2 the LORD has chosen you to be a people for himself, a special treasure above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.