I have already posted on the heretical book the Shack to serve as a "trial run" of sorts for my blog.
I wanted to take this opportunity to lay out some of what I want this blog to be and what I would like to accomplish for the Glory of Christ through this blog. If I'm going to spend even 5 seconds posting to it, it needs to be about the Glory of Jesus Christ and certainly not about me and my life.
So let's give this a run and to God be all Glory, Honor, Power, Praise, Might, Authority, and Dominion.
January 2, 2009
What a great time of year for both reflection and anticipation. Perhaps you have made (and possibly broken) your New Year's resolutions. It seems like I am continually discovering and seeing areas of my life where I fall well below what a Godly-man looks like. My wife is always speaking so wonderfully about me. What a great wife she is! I hope to be the man one day that she speaks of. I hope to attain the heights of Godly-character she sees in me.
When I know that I will be preaching somewhere, I like to spend a considerable amount of time (bey0nd my daily study) the day or two before studying and feeding myself on Scripture and beginning to think about what I will preach. I have often preached some of my best sermons while driving in my car or laying in my bed. Perhaps as good as Spurgeon....OK...perhaps not. If only I preached as well when I stood up to preach.
Anyway, as I prepared to preach on New Year's Eve, I began to think of how to begin the preaching and I wanted to draw from the New Year's event to springboard into the law and gospel message. Just like writing a term paper or a blog-post, starting off always seems to be the hardest part.
What hit me was the idea of the way New Years has come to symbolize new beginnings for so many. As people throw away the 2008 calendar, it's as though their past is behind and their lives are starting all over again with a new set of 365 days. However, what we must realize is that our infinite, eternal, omniscient, God does not obligate Himself to conform to our calendars, schedules, timetables, or agendas. He dwells outside of our finite perspective.
Psalms 90:4-6 tells us....
For a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday when it passes by, Or as a watch in the night. You have swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep; In the morning they are like grass which sprouts anew. In the morning it flourishes and sprouts anew; Toward evening it fades and withers away.
Our sin against an eternal God does not erase itself every 365 days. Our sin bares with it, eternal consequences because the sin committed is against an eternal God. There is an eternal hell that is a physical place where Jesus said in Mark 9 (three different times) the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.
Is it reasonable for a loving God to levy such a heavy punishment on those He created??
Perhaps I can illustrate my response like this....
If I tell a lie to my children, what can they do to me??? The answer is NOTHING...
If I lie to my wife, what can she do to me??? Perhaps, make me sleep on the couch.
If I lie to my boss, what can he do to me??? I could lose my job.
If I lie to the government, what can they do to me??? Send me to prison.
The same action (lying) bares a stricter punishment as the act is committed against a higher authority.
How much more infinitely powerful is God than the US government? You may see your lie as a trivial act and even justify yourself to others but before Jesus, your sin against His perfect character and will carry with it eternal hell (Revelation 21:8) which is the second death. So yes, because God is so good and so holy, hell is absolutely reasonable.
Oh, but what a glorious Gospel!!!!
Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His loving kindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;
Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2: 3-7
God, desiring to show, Himself merciful to an unlovable people, created a body and filled (like a hand fills a glove) it in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus being fully God and fully man, humbled himself to the ridicule, and shame of the death on a cross ( see Philippians 2:8). If there was anything loveable about us, then it wouldn't be grace. We were fully deserving to drink the full cup of God's fierce wrath. Yet Jesus took that cup and drank every drop for us. He took the punishment and weight of God's wrath upon himself in our place. He was the acceptable sacrifice made for only those who would forsake their sin (repentance) and place their faith in Jesus Christ alone. He defeated death the third day when He arose bodily from the tomb and He is alive today seated at the right hand of God the Father and He makes intercession for His Children. Jesus will return in a flame of fire on a day of His choosing and He will judge the world in righteousness. He will take vengeance on those who do not know Him and those who do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ ( see 2 Thess. 1: 7-8)
We would all do well to read our Bibles and get to know the God that is revealed there. Especially if we are still of the mindset that eternal torment in hell seems unreasonable or if the good news of the gospel is anything less than glorious to us. The reason we assert such silly ideas about God and His character is because we esteem ourselves way too high and God way too little. We have received the God of Rick Warren and Joel Ols teen as the God of Scripture. I assure you that the Spirit of anti-Christ that John spoke about is working through the false teaching of such men. It is deceiving a great many. We must guard ourselves from such error that will lead us to a false hope and ultimately to hell.
So I ask you....Do you know the God of Scripture? What are his attributes? What are the key doctrines of Christianity? Are you ready to defend your answer with the Bible?
We must, as Jude commanded, contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. You won't learn to contend for the faith from NBC, CBS, or any other network. It will come in the quiet of your study. As you plow, and plow, and plow. Not to gain knowledge to impress your peers with, but so that God might be most glorified through you as you know Him more and more.
I am committing this blog to contending earnestly for the faith that has been delivered to the apostles, church fathers, martyrs, and Christians of the 21st century. Some may disagree. Please comment and let me know. I need sharpening as well. I want us to know God as He has revealed Himself in the Bible. I'm not interested in what I think is true. I'm interested in the truth that Scripture reveals. We must conform our lives to that.
Sanctify the Lord in our hearts and be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks us to give an account for the hope that is in you with gentleness and reverence.
1 Peter 3:15
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15