Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Rather than contemplating universals, Zen Buddhism urges the contemplation of absurd riddles through the exercise of koan. The next time someone asks you what is the sound of one hand clapping, all you have to do to answer that is reach over and slap him in the face. The contemplative riddle will be solved and you can get on about your business in the world of reason rather than contemplating the absurd. [Gary DeMar, ed., Pushing the Antithesis: The Apologetic Methodology of Greg L. Bahnsen, (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 2007), 200, fn. 1. Bolding mine for emphasis - DSS.]
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Open your mouth for the mute, For the cause of all those who are appointed to die. 9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, And defend the cause of the afflicted and needy. (Proverbs 31:8-9)I then said, "some of you have been sticking your fingers in your ears as I have preached the gospel . . ." then one girl in the group, having taken the tape off of her mouth interrupted me mid-sentence and shouted something like this, "You have preached nothing but condemnation and judgment to these people. They are confused, hurting, and mixed up, and they need to hear about the love of God, not judgment!" to which I responded, "Ma'am, have you not heard me preach about the grace, love, and mercy of God?" and she said, "NO!" and then she started weeping and wailing very loudly, fell to her knees, and then put her face on the ground.
I then said to the rest, "You are asking me to be more holy than the apostles themselves. Paul said that he would have not known what sin was unless the Law of Moses had said, you shall not covet. In the same way, a sinner cannot understand the love, mercy, and grace of God found only in Christ Jesus unless they first understand the wrath that they must be saved from. In order to be rightly related to God, you must first see yourself as a sinner, repent of that sin, and place your sole trust/faith in Christ for salvation. Paul said to the pagan philosophers at Mars Hill that God had fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through Jesus Christ and that He is now commanding that all people everywhere should repent because Judgment Day is coming! If you are a Christian, that is the same message you should be preaching. If you want people to stop killing their children, you must preach the gospel to them, for that is the power of God unto salvation. Some of you may not have ears to hear what I'm saying to you right now, but hopefully you will read your Bibles and see that what I'm saying is no different than what Paul and the other apostles preached."
This group's mission statement is succinctly stated here:
Bound4LIFE is a grassroots prayer mobilization movement targeting the ending of abortion, the increase of adoptions and the reformation of government and society through spiritual awakening. Our mission is to mobilize a groundswell of prayer through:I fully realize that this pro-life group's primary focus is to have a prayer meeting and I think that prayer is desperately needed in situations like this. The statement above says clearly that their desire is to reform society and government through spiritual awakening, appeal to the Judge of the earth to execute speedy justice, and to petition God to afflict the conscience of America for it's tolerating the sin of abortion. That all sounds great, but in my past interactions with the young people of this professing pro-life Christian group, none of them have a clue what the gospel really is. Instead, they consistently confuse preaching against sin, righteousness, and judgment followed by the grace of the gospel as a message of hate and condemnation. Have they not read their New Testaments? I believe that these young people are simply a product of their apathetic, market-driven evangelical churches; churches that have long left the purity of the gospel, thus having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:5). The result of such religious pragmatism will always be some version of moralistic, therapeutic deism, a religion that suits the American masses, but is devoid of the Gospel of Christ.
- “Silent Sieges” in front of courthouses and abortion clinics across the nation.
- Millions of Christians wearing “Life Bands” and making the Bound4LIFE covenant–PRAY, VOTE & OBEY.
When LIFE tape is placed over our mouths, we are identifying with the silent screams of the unborn and of those who have no voice. Our stand is not a protest, but a silent prayer meeting. We make our appeal to the Judge of the earth and ask Him for speedy justice to be released. Oh that God would subpoena the conscience of the nation! [bolding mine for emphasis - DSS]
Please pray for America. It is truly apathetic and has traded a mess of postmodern pottage for the power of God unto salvation.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Introduction: Being content to remain married to an unbeliever for the purposes of obedience to Christ, love for that spouse, and a commitment to evangelize them is one thing, but for many people, being content with life in general can be quite another. Because some in the Corinthian Church had accepted false teaching about spirituality, they wanted to not only to be able to divorce their unbelieving spouses for the purpose of attaining to a higher spiritual status (7:10-16), but they also wanted to change their social standing in order to do the same. Paul says to the first-century Corinthian Church that whether you are a Jew, Gentile, slave, or freed-man, your social standing can’t do anything to improve your spiritual standing with God. They were to be content with their present situation in life, and not consider a change in their social rank as a guarantee that they will become more holy or more spiritual. So it was with them, so it should be with us.
Teaching & Application
Verses 17-20, Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. And so I direct in all the churches. 18 Was any man called when he was already circumcised? He is not to become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in uncircumcision? He is not to be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God. 20 Each man must remain in that condition in which he was called.
- A Command (v. 17): When God “calls” each one to salvation, that He has an appointed lot in life for them (cf. 1:9, 24). They should be content to live (“walk”) in this divinely ordained lot and not seek to change it just because they think it will make them more spiritual or holy (v. 17a). This command wasn’t meant just for the Corinthians, but for all Christians everywhere at every time (cf. v. 17b; 1:2). Paul isn’t saying that you cannot “better yourself” through education, job improvements, etc., but he is saying that one’s social status does not necessarily guarantee true, Biblical spirituality.
- Ethnic Differences Don’t Mean a Thing (vv. 18-19): Whether you become a Jew by participating in some religious ritual or you already are a Jew, either way it doesn’t matter. Becoming a Jew and having faith in Christ isn’t going to help you become “more spiritual” any more than remaining a believing Gentile. A Christian cannot become “more spiritual” with God by changing their social status. Changing your social status by participating in a religious ritual doesn’t give you any spiritual benefits per se, only faith in Christ and obedience to His word does that (v. 19).
- Stay Where You Are (v. 20): Paul tells them if they were called to faith in Christ as a Jew, they don’t have to become Gentiles to get spiritual blessings, they already have as many spiritual blessings as they could have by being united to Christ by faith (Eph. 1:3). Likewise, if they were called to faith in Christ as Gentiles, they don’t have to become Jews to get more spiritual blessings because they already have all of them by being united to Christ by faith (Eph. 1:3). The point is, you don’t need to change your social status to get spiritual benefits from God, just stay in the social setting that God saved you in and work for the Lord from there. God might be pleased to have you change your social status through greater or lesser income or by moving into a different neighborhood with a different culture. Either way, none of that in and of itself makes you a more spiritual or more holy person. What makes you more holy and spiritual is when you become more like Jesus by obeying His word (John 14:15, 23; 15:10; Rom. 12:2; Phil. 2:1-5; 1 John 2:3; 5:3). That can happen in any social setting, regardless of your income, the neighborhood you live in, or your religious and cultural background. What matters is not your social status, but keeping Jesus’ commands.
Verses 21-24, Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that. 22 For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord's freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ's slave. 23 You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. 24 Brethren, each one is to remain with God in that condition in which he was called.
- You’ve Got to Serve Somebody (v. 21): If a Corinthian Christian was a slave, they weren’t to be concerned about it (v. 21a). Instead, they were to serve their earthly master like their Heavenly Master and preach the gospel in their sphere of influence (cf. 1 Peter 2:13-24). If they were granted freedom by their earthly masters, then they should use that newfound freedom to promote the gospel of their Heavenly Master (v. 21b). Either way, they were to be content and preach the gospel in whatever lot God gave them, whether slave or freed-man. The command in verse 21 isn’t “Stay as you are!” but instead, “Don’t let your situation in life trouble you.” Being troubled about your lot in life can hinder you from being an effective slave of Christ because you mistakenly think that your social condition determines your spiritual worth, your holiness, or your effectiveness for the Kingdom. We are not under compulsion to change our social situation unless that social situation is immoral or sinful in some way. We are under compulsion not to be concerned about our God-ordained lot. Remember, Paul said, “do not worry about it . . . .”
- A “Free” Slave is Still a Slave (v. 22): The one who is converted to Jesus while being an earthly slave is really a “freed-man” for Christ; meaning that since he has been set free from the bondage of his sins he is now able to effectively serve Jesus even as an earthly slave (v. 22a. Cf. John 8:31-36). On the other hand, those who are free men are enslaved to Christ; subject to Him to do His will because He is their Heavenly Master. Both the free man and the earthly slave are spiritual slaves and both are commanded to live most effectively for Christ without being concerned about whether their lot in life makes them more effective servants of the Kingdom. Men say, “You must do so and so and attain to this worldly standard to be an effective servant for the Kingdom.” Christ says, “You must deny self, sin, and Satan and take up your cross daily and follow me as My slave, then you will be an effective servant of the Kingdom.” (Luke 9:23).
- Christians Cannot be Slaves to the World, the Flesh, and the Devil (v. 23): The metaphor of being “slaves of men” has to do with who owns you spiritually. The slave is free and the free person is a slave because both have been purchased by Jesus through the blood of the cross. The slave is still socially a slave, but in Christ he/she is both free and a slave: purchased by Jesus so as to be set free by Him, one has at the same time come under His rightful sovereign ownership. The free person is still socially free, but in Christ he/she is both a slave and free: purchased by Christ so as to belong to Him, one has at the same time experienced the spiritual freedom from sin that only He can give. And so the result is this: “do not become slaves of men”; which means that you are not to become enslaved to worldly wisdom, philosophies, and ideas but instead, you must embrace true spirituality as found only in the foolishness of the message preached (1 Cor. 1:21)! Just as an earthly slave can’t have two earthly masters, so a spiritual slave cannot serve two spiritual masters (Luke 16:13). You are either a spiritual slave of Jesus or you’re a spiritual slave of the teachings of worldly men. If you try to ride the fence in serving these two spiritual masters you will eventually become devoted to the one and hate the other. The question is: Which one will you be devoted to? If you are a Christian, you have been purchased by Christ’s blood and will ultimately serve Him as a devoted spiritual slave because He causes you to persevere in spite of yourself and your growth in sanctification causes you to hate the philosophies of the world. If you are not His, you will be devoted to self, sin, and Satan. As your rebellion against Christ grows stronger, your heart will grow colder until you eventually leave Christ and His people; only to forever “have it your way” in Hell.
- Remain with God and Be Content to Serve Him Where You Are (v. 24): Be content to remain with God in the social condition in which you were converted. Don’t swallow the lie which says that you must change your social status in order to become an effective ambassador for the Kingdom. Jesus and the apostles were poor men; but they turned the world upside down.
Conclusion: In a fact-paced culture where chasing hard after the riches of the world at the expense of your own soul is considered normal, Paul's message to the Corinthians needs a fresh hearing in many American evangelical churches. On the other hand, there are others who think so poorly of their lot in life that they find it very difficult to see how their social standing can be a legitimate place in which to live out their calling as believers. They need to hear Paul's message too. Either way, most modern American evangelicals have a tendency to see worldy status as significant and upward social change as absolutely necessary for, or at least a bone-fide indicator of upward spiritual progress. In summary, the two points Paul makes in verses 17-24 need to be heard afresh: (1) Worldly status or prestige is ultimately irrelevant with God. Spiritually speaking, one is simply no better off one way or another. This doesn't mean that one cannot seek to improve or "better" their provision for their family through education and job opportunities. But it does mean that Christians should not put any stock in those things because both now and in eternity it doesn't and isn't going to matter what your net worth was, where you lived, or what you earned per year. All those things are irrelevant when you have a heavenly perspective. (2) Because the effectiveness of our spiritual lives are not determined by our social standing but by God's act of saving us and our obedience to His word, we need to learn to be content with our lot in life and "remain with God" in the life He has ordained for us. Paul is not concerned with change in status as much as he is concerned with us being content to live out the gospel in whatever status we find ourselves in. We are called to happily serve the Lord in whatever social condition we exist, whether as a businessman, a medical professional, a blue-collar worker, in singleness, as a homemaker, or being married to an unbeliever. God, as the One whho ordains the end and the means to that end, knows better than we, and we ought to happily rest in His bountiful providence, for Paul said ". . . for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Quote solicited a question from Margaret Sanger: "I wonder which human weeds she is referring to?"
This demon-strates the real motivation behind abortion: The murder of innocent human beings. Romans 1 proven true by Judge Ruth.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
What HE does is right!
I want to share with you what the Lord has been impressing upon me these last few months. No matter what I am dealing with at any given time I am certain of these biblical truths. First, my Father in Heaven is absolutely in control of my situation. He is, in a way that I do not fully understand, the first cause of ALL things (Ephesians 1:11). Second, everything that comes into my life is motivated by the love of the Father for me. Third, my Father in Heaven is perfectly wise, therefore whatever I am experiencing is exactly what He wants me to experience without exception. This is what Romans 8:28 is teaching. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
Therefore, in light of the above, our only biblical response is to give wholehearted thanks to our Father for each and every situation that He brings our way (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Beware of giving grudging thanks. This version of thanks acknowledges that our God is in control but does not like what He is doing. This response is just another version of the sin of unthankfulness. Embrace your circumstances as something that has been uniquely crafted by your loving Father for you. Nothing else would do, otherwise He would give you something else. Give wholehearted thanks and experience the joy of being in his family.
HT: In-Depth Studies