What Does It Mean To Be “Worldly”?

A lot of Christians struggle with what is considered “worldly,” trying hard to avoid such things. In our last Q Series, this was a question that was asked by a couple of people: what exactly makes something “worldly”? Check out this short video clip…

In the video I reference the following Scriptures:

You can check out some other topics that we addressed in the Q Series like an apologetic for the Bible, parables, end times events, and prayer.

6 Quotes On Being Poor In Spirit From “The Blessing Of Humility”

The Blessing Of HumilityAs I stated in my review of Jerry Bridges’ book The Blessing Of Humility, reading through these thoughts slowly—Beatitude by Beatitude—would bring about the most life-changing impact. In that spirit, I will be sharing some noteworthy quotes one Beatitude at a time. Here are some quotes on blessed are the poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3)…

“The Greek word that Jesus used for ‘poor’ is the word ptochos. It is used to describe not ordinary poverty but abject poverty. Ptochos is not like my parents struggling to make ends meet [during the Great Depression]. Rather it describes a person who is completely destitute and helpless to do anything about it.”

Spirit refers to one’s inner being, our self-awareness. Specifically here it means how we evaluate ourselves with regard to our own spiritual condition. This abject poverty of spirit comes from our awareness of our own dreadfully sinful condition.”

“In the Beatitudes Jesus is talking about the character traits of those already in the kingdom. And He says we should be poor in spirit. It should be the ongoing daily attitude of one who is growing spiritually. Believers who are growing continue to see more sin in their lives. It is not that they are sinning more; rather they are becoming more aware of and more sensitive to the sin that has been there all along. … And it is the realization that even the sins, which seems so minor in our eyes, would bring us under the wrath of God, were it not for the atoning blood of Christ shed for us on the Cross, that should cause us to be poor in spirit.”

“Those who are poor in spirit…see Christ’s blood and righteousness as their hope not only for eternity but for God’s favor each day. They groan over their sin and earnestly pursue holiness but they do not trust in their holiness. Instead they say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty’ (Luke 17:10).”

“The person who is poor in spirit has a deep, awe-filled reverence for God and His Word.”

“We live in a culture that promotes self-esteem. And I am concerned that this attitude has permeated the body of Christ. We see ourselves as better than we are. We look at sinful society around us, and we can be like the Pharisee who prayed, ‘God, I think You that I am not like other men’ (Luke 18:11).”

Quotes on the next Beatitude will be posted soon. Stay tuned…

Thursdays With Oswald—The Memory Of Sin

Oswald ChambersThis is a periodic 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.

The Memory Of Sin

     No aspect of Christian life and service is in more need of revision than our attitude to the memory of sin in the saint. When the Apostle Paul said “forgetting those things which are behind,” he was talking not about sin, but about his spiritual attainment. Paul never forgot what he had been; it comes out repeatedly in the Epistles—“For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle” (1 Corinthians 15:9); “unto me who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given” (Ephesians 3:8); …sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15). …

     If one wants a touchstone for the depth of true spiritual Christianity, one will surely find it in this matter of the memory of sin. There are those who exhibit a Pharisaic holiness, they thank God with an arrogant offensiveness that they are “not as other men are”; they have forgotten the horrible pit and miry clay from whence they were taken, and their feet set upon a rock through the might of the Atonement. … 

     May the conviction of God come with swift and stern rebuke upon any one who is remembering the past of another, and deliberately choosing to forget their restoration through God’s grace. When a servant of God meets these sins in others, let him be reverent with what he does not understand and leave God to deal with them. 

From Conformed To His Image (emphasis added)

These are good questions for Christians to ask themselves regularly: (1) Am I remembering the sins of others the way I would want others to remember my sins? (2) Am I remembering my forgiven sins the way that God remembers them (Psalm 103:10-12)?

Thursdays With Oswald―Don’t Become A Pharisee

Oswald ChambersThis is a periodic 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.

Don’t Become A Pharisee

   If I cannot see God in others, it is because He is not in me. If I get on my moral high horse and say it is they who are wrong, I become that last of all spiritual iniquities, a suspicious person, a spiritual devil dressed up as a Christian. 

   Beware of mistaking suspicion for discernment, it is the biggest misunderstanding that ever twisted Christian humility into Pharisaism. When I see in others things that are not of God, it is because the Spirit of God has revealed to me my own meanness[*] and badness; when I am put right with God on the basis of His Redemption and see those things in others, it is in order that God may restore them through my intercession.

   [*] meanness as used here: something or someone ordinary, common, low, or ignoble, rather than cruel or spiteful.

From Not Knowing Where

Pharisees are so quick to point out what’s wrong with other people. Pharisees are so quick to look at others’ shortcomings as a means of propping up their own “religious perfection.”

As Oswald Chambers points out, the only reason God would ever show me something out of place in someone else, is so that I may intercede in prayer for them. If that revelation causes me to talk about them, instead of talking to God about them, then I have become a Pharisee.

Links & Quotes

link quote

Some good reading from today…

“One doesn’t realize in early life that the price of freedom is loneliness. To be happy one must be tied.” —C.S. Lewis

“The Savior looks at sin through the glass of compassion; we often look upon it through the lens of Pharisaic pride.” —Charles Spurgeon

The longer the answer is delayed and the more effectually you pray, the more important He becomes and the less important the answer becomes.” Read more from David Wilkerson in his post Power In Prayer.

I always enjoy Tim Elmore’s insights into the youth mindset. Check out his post 4 Meta-Beliefs of Generation iY.

I think it is quite comical that so-called serious scientist says that a certain level of CO2 gas is “symbolic,” and how they extrapolate data with no regard to past data nor any mitigating future events. All in all, “climate change” proponents are more philosopher than they are scientist.

Mobile, Messy & Meaningful

21st-century Americans in Christ's timeI think we have made the Church and Christianity something different than what the New Testament shows us. We’ve created far too many “things” which simply aren’t in the Bible. That’s not to say these things are wrong, but they may become stumbling blocks to us if we make secondary things the primary thing.

So what is the primary thing about church?

It might surprise you to know that the word church is only used twice by Jesus (Matthew 16:18, 18:17). He used a Greek word ekklesia, which meant a gathering of people called out from their homes into some public place. This word originally had more of a “town hall” meaning to it, but Jesus used this as a starting point to show us true church.

In Christ’s time the church for Him was…

Mobile—wherever He was, church was. Look at the extensive traveling He did. He held as many “church services” in people’s dining rooms as He did in the synagogues.

Messy—often as Jesus was speaking…

  • People constantly coming and going
  • Pharisees yapping and interrupting
  • Kids playing
  • Women sitting at His feet, anointing Him, crying over Him
  • Food and drink were usually involved
  • Foot washing was taking place
  • When He was outdoors: wind, waves, farmers, passers-by…
  • When He was indoors: food being served and eaten, roofs being ripped off…
  • People constantly interrupted His sermons: “Blessed is Your mother…”; “Tell my brother to give me my inheritance…”; “My daughter is dying!…”

Meaningful

  • “I must go through Samaria.”
  • “It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”
  • “Zaccheus, today I’m eating dinner at your house.”
  • “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me to preach good news to the poor, freedom to the captive, sight to the blind, favor to the oppressed.”

Jesus asked His disciples Who they thought He was (see Matthew 16:13-18). The correct answer was Peter’s declaration, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!” Jesus said, “You’re right, and on that declaration I will build My church.”

Our job is to make Jesus known as the Christ, the Son of the living God (v. 16).

Christ’s job is to build His Church (v. 18).

He didn’t tell us to build a building and invite people to come on Sundays.

He didn’t tell us to start a Sunday School or a feeding program or a youth group.

There’s nothing wrong with these things, but they are not the main thing. 

The main thing is Jesus being seen as the Son of the living God. Where we are gathered together in that confession and purpose—even just two or three of us—that’s where His church is (see Matthew 18:20).

We must be mobile, taking a meaningful message into people’s messy lives. That is true church.

7 Quotes From “Did Jesus Rise From The Dead?”

Did Jesus Rise From The DeadDid Jesus Rise From The Dead? is an excellent apologetic for both the biblical skeptic and the biblical student. You can read my full book review by clicking here. Below are seven noteworthy quotes and one infographic from this fascinating book.

“One of the most noteworthy facts about the early Christian belief in Jesus’ resurrection was that it flourished in the very city where Jesus had been publicly crucified. So long as the inhabitants of Jerusalem thought that Jesus’ corpse lay in the tomb, few would have been prepared to believe such silliness as the claim that God had raised Jesus from the dead.”

“We have the extraordinary number of at least five independent sources for Jesus’ burial, some of which are extremely early. The Gospels describe Joseph as a rich man, a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin. As a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin that condemned Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea is unlikely to be a Christian invention. The Sanhedrin was a sort of Jewish high court made up of seventy of the leading men of Judaism, which presided in Jerusalem. There was an understandable hostility among early Christians toward the Jewish Sanhe-drists, for Christians blamed the Sanhedrists for engineering a judicial murder of Jesus at the hands of the Romans. … Therefore, Jesus’ burial by Joseph is very probably historical, since it would be almost inexplicable why Christians would invent a story about a Jewish Sanhedrist who gives Jesus a proper burial.”

“Matthew is clearly working with an independent source, for he includes the story of the guard at the tomb, which is not derived from Mark and is unique to his Gospel; moreover, his comment that the rumor that the disciples had stolen Jesus’ body, ‘And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day,’ (Matthew 28:15) shows that the guard is not Matthew’s own creation, but was part of prior tradition. Luke also has an independent source, for he tells the story, not found in Mark, of two disciples’ inspecting the tomb to verify the women’s report that the tomb was vacant. This story cannot be regarded as Luke’s own creation, since the incident is independently reported in John’s Gospel. And, again, given John’s independence of the other three Gospels, we have yet another independent report of the empty tomb.”

Did Jesus Rise From The Dead infographic

(click image for a larger view)

“To appreciate how restrained Mark’s narrative is, we need only read the account in the second-century apocryphal Gospel of Peter. It describes Jesus’ triumphant exit from the tomb as a gigantic figure whose head reaches above the clouds, supported by giant angels, followed by a talking cross, heralded by a voice from heaven, and all witnessed by a Roman guard, the Jewish leaders, and a multitude of spectators! This is how real legends look: They’re richly decorated with theological and apologetical motifs. By contrast, Mark’s account is stark in its simplicity.”

“Think about that: ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away’ [Matthew 28:13]. The Jewish authorities did not deny the fact that Jesus’ tomb was empty; instead they entangled themselves in a hopeless series of absurdities, trying to explain it away. In other words, the Jewish claim that the disciples stole the body presupposes that the body was, in fact, missing. Therefore, we have evidence from the very adversaries of the early Christian movement for the fact of the empty tomb.”

“All the followers of those first century messianic movements were fanatically committed to the cause…. But in no case right across the century before Jesus and the century after Him do we hear of any Jewish group saying that their executed leader had been raised from the dead, and he really was the Messiah after all.” —N.T. Wright

“A supernatural explanation of the empty tomb, the resurrection appearances, and the origin of the Christian faith is not contrived given the context of Jesus’ own unparalleled life, ministry, and personal claims.”

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