The Value Of Gospel Truths

The fundamental truths of the Gospel are landmarks to keep us safely within the boundaries set by God. Suppose your grandfather owned some property which at one time had been carefully surveyed. He was there when they set the stakes and could have paced it off blindfolded. But he never took the time to show anyone else the markings.

“Over the years, the markers rotted, were rooted up, or washed away. Now your grandfather has died and left the land to you. But a dishonest neighbor claims it is his, and as proof of ownership points to the burgeoning crop of corn he has planted. You discover the deed and land description have been lost. Since you do not really know the proper boundary lines yourself, how will you defend your case in court? You will probably end up losing your property because no one ever told you where it ends and your neighbor’s begins.

The spiritual parallel is this: Every fundamental truth has some evil neighbor (i.e., heresy) butting up against it, eager to plant a crop of lies upon the sacred ground of God’s Holy Word and thus fool the saints. And the very reason that a spirit of error has encroached so far upon the truth in the last few years is because ministers have not walked the boundaries of the Gospel with their people and acquainted them with these primary truths.” —William Gurnall, The Christian In Complete Armor (emphasis added)

I have shared other quotes from The Christian In Complete Armor herehere, and here.

Thursdays With Oswald—Stay True To The Word

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Stay True To The Word

     We must disabuse our minds of the idea that God sits like a Judge on a throne and batters humanity into shape. …

     We have to remember that an enthusiasm for humanity which ignores the Bible is sure to end in disaster. … 

     It is quite possible for the human mind to blot God out of its thinking entirely, and to work along the line of the elements which are the same in every man, and to band the whole of the human race into a solid atheistic community. … 

     When men depart from the Bible they call humanity “God” in differing terms; the use of the term “God” means nothing to them, God is simply the name given to the general tendencies which further men’s interests. This spirit is honeycombing everything, we find it coming into the way we talk of Christian experience; there is creeping in the idea that God and Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are simply meant to bless us, to further our interests. … 

     Watch the tendency abroad today; people want to get rid of Jesus Christ, they cannot prove that He did not live, or that He was not a remarkable Man; but they set to work to dissolve Him by analysis, to say He was not really God Incarnate. Jesus Christ always upsets the calculations of humanity; that is what made Voltaire say “Crucify the wretch, stamp Him and His crazy tale out,” because He was the stumbling block to all the reasonings of men. You cannot work Jesus Christ into any system of thinking. If you could keep Him out, everything could be explained. The world could be explained by evolution, but you cannot fit Jesus Christ into the theory of evolution. Jesus Christ is an annoyance to satan, a thorn in the side of the world at large, an absolute distress to sin in the individual.

From The Philosophy Of Sin

Oswald Chambers always penned wise words, but what makes his words so wise is that they are solidly rooted in Scripture.

In the above passages, Chambers warns us what happens when we forget the word of God as given to us in the Bible:

  • We see God as harsh and unloving
  • We make short-sighted decisions
  • We build a community in our image
  • We all have a different idea of who God is
  • We make “God” fit into our own molds
  • We water down who Jesus is
  • We create new worldviews not consistent with God’s design

Bottom line: Stay in the Word. Make Bible reading a regular part of your life, so that you don’t get caught up in the churning waves of “popular” culture.

Links & Quotes (video edition)

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A short biography on the richest American who ever lived—

Brett Kunkle and Bobby Conway talk about exposing our children to atheistic ideas—

John Maxwell looks at Christopher Columbus through the lens of leadership development—

Murray Vassar rips apart Joel Osteen’s attempt to re-write and/or twist Scripture to fit his “prosperity gospel”—

WOOD TV8 has a feature on the ArtPrize exhibit out together by Adam Bird and Heart of West Michigan United Way, highlighting some of the Champions of Change in West Michigan.

[Tear-jerker warning!!] A mother has a special note for her adopted daughter on her wedding day—

Links & Quotes

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“The Kingdom of God, as Jesus envisioned it, was not simply for then and there. Jesus announced a Kingdom that had come. His preaching and teaching lead us to understand that the Kingdom is very much a ‘here and now’ reality [Matthew 4:17], that which is to be sought above, within, and through everything else in our lives.” —T.M. Moore

“Sexual sin is a symptom, not the disease. People give way to sexual sin because they don’t have the fullness of joy and gladness in Christ. Their spirits are not steadfast and firm and established. They waver. They are enticed, and they give way because God does not have the place in our feelings and thoughts that He should. David knew this about himself. It’s true about us too. David is showing us, by the way he prays [Psalm 51:8, 12], what the real need is for those who sin sexually—joy in God.” —John Piper

“For the day may come when false prophets shall arise, and delude the people, and by this shall we be able to discover them; if they claim anything beyond what Christ has revealed, put them aside, for they are false prophets, wolves in sheep’s clothing. The Spirit only teaches us that which Christ has taught beforehand either by Himself or by the inspired apostles.” —Charles Spurgeon

“From many modern sermons would you know that there was a Holy Spirit? If it were not for the benediction or the doxology you might go in and out of many churches and meeting-houses by the year together, and scarcely know that there was such a Person as that blessed, blessed Giver of all good, the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we hear a little about His influences, as if the Holy Spirit were not as truly a Person as even Jesus Christ Himself, Who in flesh and blood trod this earth. Oh, dear friends, I fear the first danger, that of running wild with whimsies and fancies about inner lights and new revelations; but I equally dread this last, this going forth to work with the sword, forgetting that it is the sword of the Spirit, and only mighty as the Holy Spirit makes it mighty ‘to the pulling down of strongholds.’” —Charles Spurgeon

No surprises here: Planned Parenthood spends a lot of money to buys votes from your U.S. Senator.

By the way, don’t buy into the lie that if Planned Parenthood is defunded women won’t have access to healthcare. First of all, PP makes way too much money from abortions already. Second, there are 20 comprehensive healthcare centers for every one PP office, so the options are plentiful.

[VIDEO] Jesus in the New Testament is the same as Jehovah in the Old Testament—

If you would like a written form of the charts he shares in this video, click here.

Links & Quotes

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“We can gather that their state [ISIS] rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.” Read more of this fascinating piece in The Atlantic: What ISIS Really Wants.

Frank Viola wrote, “Mark it down: As you go on with the Lord, your faith will be sorely tested. You will be tempted to ‘shrink back’ into unbelief. But you—dear child of God do not belong to those who shrink back.” Read more from his post The Crisis Of Faith.

Rob Bell is fast becoming irrelevant himself, by choosing which parts of the Bible he wants to follow, when he states “the Church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense” for traditional marriage.

[VIDEO] Epigenomes in the human body are like a symphony. How amazing is our Creator! Check out this artistic depiction of how this works—

[Repost] Reading The Bible Isn’t Enough

My wife and kids are on spring break this week, so I’m taking a little blogging break to spend some time with them. I am becoming more and more concerned at the level of biblical illiteracy I observe every day. Even among the pastorate this is becoming quite alarming to me. There is quite simply no book which can compare with the Bible! So this week I’m re-posting a few thoughts I have shared about God’s Word.

I had to give my congregation a heads-up that I was going to say something that sounded a little like heresy, so they wouldn’t throw me out of the church. So I’m giving you the similar heads-up now: Read this all the way through before you label me a heretic.

Our P119 spiritual workout relies heavily on the Word of God. If we are going to grow as Christians, here’s what I believe:

There is no substitute for the Bible, but the Bible is not enough.

The Pharisees of Jesus’ day knew the Scriptures better than anyone, but they misapplied those Scriptures, using them as bully clubs wielded by the sin police. When we read the Scripture, we must respond to what we readPrayer is an indispensable part of our spiritual workout, because prayer is how we properly respond to God’s Word.

Check this out—

In the He section of Psalm 119 (verses 33-40), you will read words that sound more like a prayer than any of the sections before it. You will hear the psalmist crying out to God as he is confronted by his lack of proper application of God’s Word. As he reads the Scriptures, he asks God to:

  • Teach him what the Scriptures are saying
  • Help him discern the truths found in God’s Word
  • Lead him in the right path
  • Turn his heart away from his natural selfish bent
  • Allow him to see the futility of pursuing earthly possessions
  • Give him boldness in standing up for God’s glory
  • Remove the fear of man that would paralyze his pursuit of God

The last verse of this section is the cycle of read the word → respond in prayer in miniature. How I long for Your precepts! Preserve my life in Your righteousness. Do you see the reading of the Word (Your precepts), and the prayerful response (preserve my life)?

The Bible can be an incredible prayer book for us! Get into the Word, and let the Holy Spirit get the Word into you. You will then be able to respond back to God in His own words! And then I think you be astounded at how your spiritual life grows!

Myth Buster

Dick BrogdenGuest Blogger: Dick Brogden

Currently there is an inordinate emphasis on size and speed when it comes to the development of the church. Church history soberly shows that orthodoxy tends not to spread as swiftly as heresy and that bad teaching outpaces good. It is the slow, steady repeated truth of God that builds the enduring church. The largest church at the end of the first century was found in Rome, thought by most scholars to be around two hundred members. The churches in Ephesus, Corinth, Philippi, Colosse, and Thessalonica (among others) were most probably between fifteen and fifty. The record of Acts takes place over about fifty years. Biblical precedent indicates that it takes about a generation to get a few churches to what we now consider modest size. One myth is that the church has to grow quickly; another that a strong church is a big church. The best churches tend to grow slowly and steadily, and the normal first century church comprised less than fifty people.

Disciples, too, are forged over time. If a church is but a collection of disciples, then it makes sense that strong churches require time to become solid. Another common myth today in mission is that all new disciples need is the Bible and the Holy Spirit. As appealing as this sounds, it has never been true in history, and if we are honest, it has not been true for any of us experientially. Consider how many books, sermons, mentors, friends, and external inputs help shape and form our spirituality over time. None of us grew to where we are without multiple sources of input over disparate seasons, all the input submitted to the authority of Holy Spirit and the Word. Biblically there always remains the need for an outside catalyst to help correct our biases and heresies. A group of people studying the Scriptures can just as easily end up pooling ignorance as illumining one another. Acts 15 is a classic example of ongoing external input necessary for the formation of strong disciples and churches. The negative example of external input (requiring circumcision) does not negate the massive, ongoing positive external input.

Paul and Barnabas report the wonderful turning of the Gentiles to Jesus. They also report the negative external pressure. James and the counsel respond by correcting the error and reinforcing what is necessary. In Acts 15:20, James delineates what they should not do–former religious forms and rituals. Paul reminds the council that coming to Jesus demands conversion (v. 3) and James cites Peter that the Gentiles must come out of false religion (v. 14). In Acts 15:32, Judas and Silas “exhort and strengthen the brethren with many words.” In verse 35, Paul and Barnabas teach and preach to the Gentiles and in verse 36, Paul and Barnabas commit to revisit their converts to ensure they are walking correctly. Disciples and churches are forged over time. Let us continue to believe that God will do great things and bring millions into His church. Let us continue to understand that it is slow, steady, life-on-life work to make disciples and build churches.

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