New Testing Phase

Monday, 26 December 2011

The Gospel at Christmas

Christmas is the day when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The date itself has been the source of much debate, and while the 25th of December is an unlikely date for the event, that doesn’t change anything. Because for many hundreds of years that’s the day which we celebrate it.

Its About The GospelBut the debate over the date is another typical distraction by those who would take our eyes off the point of Christmas, namely the gospel, which begins with the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ on that day in Bethlehem.

What God accomplished at Calvary, He started that day. What He proved by his resurrection, started its manifestation in the manger. What had been planned and prophesied over for many years and on many occasions, finished and was fulfilled finally as Jesus Christ bore the sins of His elect on that Cross.

But at His birth, His humiliation began. He laid aside many aspects of His divine nature, instead, he took for Himself the lowliest for of humanity, namely a baby, at the same time, to a poor family, a not yet married teenage mother, under Roman occupation and generally a very hard life, or to quote the hymn writer, a ‘mean estate’.

He grew up, under the rule of His parents, subjecting Himself to His subjects. He lived as the son of a carpenter, manual collar work. He once fasted for 40 days, while staying in a wilderness and undergoing the strongest temptations Satan could throw at Him. He spent 3 years absolutely packed with ministry work, preaching, miracle working. During that time He didn’t even have a place to lay His head. He also had many enemies, mostly from the religious rulers of His time. Eventually they arrested Him, subjected Him to an extremely cruel torture and finally breathed His last, naked, nailed to a wooden cross. And in that action, God poured out His wrath onto, and Christ bore it. On His shoulders were placed the sins of those God had chosen to save. Finally, He was laid in a borrowed tomb, and for three days, His body remained. Then on the third day He rose, resurrection, the culmination. What began in Bethlehem, had finished.

The Gospel is the good news that despite a man’s rebellion, despite every single sin done, every lie, every blasphemy, every act and moment of hatred, very lustful thought, and of selfishness, Christ has provided a way for that wicked man to be reconciled to God, forgiven of his sins, to ease his conscience and give him eternal life. Jesus Christ, the God-man, provides the only way to God. He commands you today to repent, and to put your trust in His son, Jesus Christ. Don’t delay, tomorrow is not promised, please be reconciled to God, put your faith in Him, He will save you.

To sum up. Jesus Christ, the God man, bore the sins of people on the cross. At Christmas, we celebrate is birth, the day he began to live on the earth, the start of His humiliation, which culminated in His exultation, and our salvation.

Friday, 23 December 2011

A Personal Manifesto

At what point, do I decide to stop being an idiot, and start acting more like a man
A man provides for his wife, family and those around him. I need to be in a financial position to do this
  • Plan on earning more, working harder and work efficiently
  • Plan on saving more and spending less
  • Plan on giving more to the work of the ministry
A man needs to protect his wife, family and those around him
  • get reasonably fit
  • cultivate greater discernment skills
  • be alert for situations where protection needs to be given, then give it.
A man needs to teach his wife and family
  • finish the degree
  • teach as often as I can
  • get into the habit of preaching the gospel more regularly
  • get into the habit of using language less theological people can understand
  • get into the habit of asking counsel when I don’t understand something myself.
  • read more helpful books
A man needs to lead his wife and family in sanctification and righteousness.
  • repent of all known sins, heat up the war on any sin not yet dead
  • look to Jesus Christ and His gospel for comfort more than at my sinfulness and unworthiness.
  • pray daily for my wife and family, even though I have neither yet.
  • pray much more and be even more diligent in the study of scripture.
  • remember it’s the gospel, it’s the gospel, IT’S THE GOSPEL
Finally, to redeem my time better, pour myself into ministry and take courage with all my heart, to swallow my pride, it’s the only way. I pray God gives me strength

Monday, 19 December 2011

Some Wretched Spoofs for you

The Wretched Radio folks are often putting out spoofs, and they are often both pointed and funny. Here are two Christmas ones for your consideration.

The women who say “snow persons” gets the tone exactly right. I’ve been on the end of a similar tongue lashing

Enjoy them both.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Old heads On Young Shoulders

This is the Grace Gem I got in my inbox this morning, excellent as usual. It reflects on the same topic as the post below. Read it, and reflect on it

Let us settle it in our minds, that grace must have a beginning in every believer's heart; and that we have no right to say a person has no grace, because it does not come to full ripeness at once. We do not expect a child to do the work of a full-grown man--though he may one day, if he lives long enough. Just so, we must not expect a new Christian to show the faith, and love, and knowledge of an old soldier of the cross. He may become a mighty champion of the truth by and by. But at first we must give him time. There is great need of wisdom in dealing with all young disciples.
Kindness, and patience, and gentleness, are of the first importance. We must not try to pour in the new wine too quickly, or it will run over. We must take them by the hand and lead them on gently. We must beware of frightening, or hurrying them, or pressing them on too fast. If they have only got hold of the main principles of the Gospel--let us not set them down as godless, because of a few lesser matters. We must bear with much weakness and infirmity--and not expect to find old heads on young shoulders, or ripe Christian experience in those who are only babes.

~~ J. C. Ryle

Grace Gems

Sunday, 13 November 2011

5 Signs Of Spiritual Maturity Wretched Style

Please watch this video, although truth be told, its actually a youtube of the audio. from Wretched Radio, Todd Friel going over Clint Archer’s recent post from Cripplegate

This is an interesting perspective of an important topic. And well worth the listen

Monday, 7 November 2011

Playing the Blame Game

Blame GameOne of the sins I noticed in myself in the last couple of months, and that I needed to repent of, is that I tend always to blame others. Then I started noticing in conversations, both with unbelievers and with believers, that people are often quick to blame somebody else for some consequence. Often the event is quite insubstantial or trivial, but often it is not. For example, a man is a few minutes late for a meeting. So often he will walk in and say “Sorry I’m late, the traffic was bad” or words to that effect. Did you see what happened, the person in my example shifted the blame for being late to someone, or in this case, something else. Now he might be telling the truth in that there was a problem with traffic, he took his responsibility to be on time, and made the fault of failing that responsibility belong to somebody else.
God holds us responsible for ourselves. That is my premise and I will begin by showing you this from the bible:
We are going to look at a number of texts starting with Leviticus 5:
1"If anyone sins in that he hears a public adjuration to testify, and though he is a witness, whether he has seen or come to know the matter, yet does not speak, he shall bear his iniquity; 2or if anyone touches an unclean thing, whether a carcass of an unclean wild animal or a carcass of unclean livestock or a carcass of unclean swarming things, and it is hidden from him and he has become unclean, and he realizes his guilt; 3or if he touches human uncleanness, of whatever sort the uncleanness may be with which one becomes unclean, and it is hidden from him, when he comes to know it, and realizes his guilt; 4or if anyone utters with his lips a rash oath to do evil or to do good, any sort of rash oath that people swear, and it is hidden from him, when he comes to know it, and he realizes his guilt in any of these;
In this text, God is outlining a case where a person has done something in ignorance, and suddenly he comes to an understanding of his situation. Now read verse 5 and 6
5when he realizes his guilt in any of these and confesses the sin he has committed, 6he shall bring to the LORD as his compensation for the sin that he has committed, a female from the flock, a lamb or a goat, for a sin offering. And the priest shall make atonement for him for his sin
Do you see that God holds the person responsible for his actions and expects him to make an atonement for his sin when he repents. Now for the Christian, that atonement is already made for us in Jesus Christ, for both sins we know about, and those we don’t know about. Even so, it remains the same, when we realise something sinful about ourselves, we know that we are responsible for it, even in ignorance. Lets look at another text.
Galatians 6:1 – 2: 1Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
I give these verses for context, namely that if a believer is caught in sin, they should be restored by the church, then God commands believers specifically to bear up one another’s burdens in the context of a sinning brother. Now read verse 5:
5For each will have to bear his own load.
Paul is clearly saying that each person, will bear responsibility for their own actions, specifically their sins. One final verse.
Revelation 21:8 - But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death."

Ultimate responsibility. John lists a number of ways a person who has committed a sin is described. Those who have lied, worshiped idols, been involved in witchcraft and immoral sexual behaviour are all condemned to hell. Not a nice thought but the ultimate end of any person who has been responsible for committing a sin. Thanks be to God, that there is forgiveness of sins in Christ Jesus, that we might not go to the “lake that burns with fire and sulfure”.

Observation:

With this in mind, let us consider the human condition. We are in denial. We either deny that we are responsible for our sins, saying for example “I’m not as bad as so and so” (usually Hitler) or “the devil made me do it”; or we deny that we are accountable for our sins, denying God as judge. In the first case. We also deny that we are responsible for ourselves, even in a none sinful context. Think of the child who breaks something, and then immediately says, “It wasn’t me it was…” or the person, as I cited earlier, who blamed traffic for being late. It is also said, that if you are in a car accident, you never admit responsibility even if you are clearly at fault.
This problem started early in human history. When we read Genesis 3, that when God questions Adam and Eve they both push responsibility onto someone else. Adam for example says "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate." (Gen 3:12) In other words, “its her fault, and ultimately Yours God, for giving her to me, that I ate the fruit.” He pushes the blame on her. She then pushes the blame on the snake. (Gen 3:13) Notice that God holds each of the three parties responsible for their own actions and gives each a punishment, a curse. But because of His grace He gives the man and woman a promise for future redemption (Gen 3:15) and none for the snake.

So ever since the first day of sin in the world, men and women have been blaming others for their problems. And so do we. Listen out for it, people will very often shift the blame onto someone or thing else, even if the action is perfectly innocent. Often the problem is pride, we don’t want to look bad in front of anybody, we’d rather have someone else do that. Pride is a sin we need to repent of.

dilbert_blame_game

Application:

How then should we respond with knowledge? first off, our response should be to remember the gospel, and that Jesus Christ saved us despite our pride and our many other sins. When we realise that we are blaming other people for our problems think on this verse:

2 Timothy 2:8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel,

Or one of the many other verses in the bible that calls us to remember.

Next we should repent of our sins. Confess and forsake then, put them to death, and in this case, begin owning responsibility for what we are responsible for. Take note in your conversation when you do this, and at that moment, stop, and accept responsibility.

Finally grow in grace, sanctification as in all areas is almost never instantaneous, but persevere until that day when we see Christ.

Philippians 3:14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Another Free Audiobook

gladJohn Piper just tweeted that another of his books this month is being offered by christianaudio.com. Let The Nations Be Glad is one of his most well known books and one of the best contemporary works on the subjects of missions. I have read (or rather listened) to this one already, it really is excellent.

NOTE: to get this for free rather than at the regular price you need to use the coupon GLAD11 to get it for free. I’m not sure how long this offer is on, so don’t delay

Monday, 10 October 2011

Free Audio Book

9781844744886The free audio book on Christian Audio is a treat this month. John Piper’s book think. Having read or listened to several of Piper’s works, I can wholly recommend giving anything he writes a read. And hear is a free audiobook, so whatdya waitin’ for?

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

180 Movie–Watch It Today

As many of you are aware, yesterday Living Waters, Ray Comfort’s ministry released a movie called 180. To describe the film as fascinating is to say the very least. You can watch the whole thing below, or at their request, rather go onto their site to watch it. Want to know how to defeat abortion in seconds, go to 180movie.com

Monday, 26 September 2011

Views

Yay just hit 2000 views, three little words:

Capture

Soli Deo gloria

The Church’s One Foundation

ChurchI though I’d start the week by quoting one of my favourite hymns in its entirety for your consideration. There are one or two verses in here that we don’t normally sing, probably cause it’ll make the song go on for ages (not that that’s a bad thing in my estimation). Nevertheless this is a most excellent summary of ecclesiology, that is, the theology of the church. It’s first two lines that have the biggest bang. If you get these two lines only you will have gotten an excellent nugget of truth about the church. The picture on the left is actually a little inaccurate in depicting the church, as you will find out as you read the hymn.

The Church’s one foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord,
She is His new creation
By water and the Word.
From heaven He came and sought her
To be His holy bride;
With His own blood He bought her
And for her life He died.

She is from every nation,
Yet one o’er all the earth;
Her charter of salvation,
One Lord, one faith, one birth;
One holy Name she blesses,
Partakes one holy food,
And to one hope she presses,
With every grace endued.

The Church shall never perish!
Her dear Lord to defend,
To guide, sustain, and cherish,
Is with her to the end:
Though there be those who hate her,
And false sons in her pale,
Against both foe or traitor
She ever shall prevail.

Though with a scornful wonder
Men see her sore oppressed,
By schisms rent asunder,
By heresies distressed:
Yet saints their watch are keeping,
Their cry goes up, “How long?”
And soon the night of weeping
Shall be the morn of song!

’Mid toil and tribulation,
And tumult of her war,
She waits the consummation
Of peace forevermore;
Till, with the vision glorious,
Her longing eyes are blest,
And the great Church victorious
Shall be the Church at rest.

Yet she on earth hath union
With God the Three in One,
And mystic sweet communion
With those whose rest is won,
With all her sons and daughters
Who, by the Master’s hand
Led through the deathly waters,
Repose in Eden land.

O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we
Like them, the meek and lowly,
On high may dwell with Thee:
There, past the border mountains,
Where in sweet vales the Bride
With Thee by living fountains
Forever shall abide!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Worldview? How You See The World

There is a lot of talk these days about worldviews, Christian worldview, secular worldview, biblical worldview, evolutionary worldview and so on. But what does this little phase mean and why is it important? Or is it even important? The answer to the last question is a resounding YES. Lets first look at the word itself:

The word ‘worldview’ comes from a German word Weltanschauung which when broken up means ‘world’ and ‘view’. Its a concept that comes mainly out of 19th century German philosophy. Basically a worldview is a person’s philosophical view of reality. According to merriam-webster.com  Weltanschauung means: ‘a comprehensive conception or apprehension of the world especially from a specific standpoint'’. A good working definition of ‘worldview’. The next thing to say is that everyone has one. there is not a person on the earth who has not perceived reality in some way, and once you have done that, you have a worldview. Even if you are a day old baby, your worldview is sleep, cry, drink milk, sleep. Our worldview is the key factor is deciding our biases.

For example, I would choose a Coke over a Pepsi every time because I like the taste of Coke more. But lets go through the process of making the choice. I choose coke because I’m biased towards the taste of Coke being better. My bias is informed by preferences which have been filtered either consciously or unconsciously through my worldview. Now lets say that my worldview stated that only pure water was safe to drink, I would probably never touch Coke or Pepsi, and I would say my favourite drink is water. Do you see how my bias comes out of my worldview.

Another example: why do I go to church, and in point of fact would go to church at all costs? The answer is: because I have a biblical worldview, which says to me that the bible is inspired, inerrant and infallible. That means that I have to believe all that it teaches and obey what it instructs me to do. Now the bible instructs that we (Christians) should not forsake the assembly of the saints (Heb 10:25) so that we can stir each other up to love and good works (Heb 10:24). Now my church does this by meeting together on Sunday mornings and evenings. So, according to my worldview, I go to church, and at all costs.

Developing A Christian Worldview

Firstly, why would we want to develop a Christian and biblical worldview? The answer is simple and I quote the Westminster shorter catechism “Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever”. A Christian worldview is the means to this end. I formulate a Christian worldview for this purpose, to maximise my glorification of God and my enjoyment of Him forever.

For me personally, it was very hard for me to consciously develop a biblical worldview. Like many my age I had grown up with parents who did not believe (and therefore did not teach) the bible and went to a school that tried its best to teach me a secular humanist worldview. It took me a fair amount of bible study before the penny dropped in my head that there is a complete contradiction between what the bible taught about creation (God created, 6 days, young earth) and evolution (no creator, millions of years) and that the differences were as much theological as they were about truth, and what actually happened. Theological in the sense that, if evolution is true, that means that there was death before sin, which means that God’s entire plan of redemption and restoration is false, thus eliminating the bible as any kind of source of truth, because it would then be filled with lies.

But a Christian worldview plays itself out in a variety of ways. For example, when I see a scenic view or a sunset, I immediately thank God for creating me and allowing me to see this sight. When I think about the incredible intricacy of some of our natural wonders I don’t think to myself (as I used to) “amazing what evolution can do” but rather I think “amazing what God can do, Glory to Him” And when faced with an ethical dilemma, my worldview informs me that the bible is my source of instruction through all moral and ethical problems. I then consult the bible and make the right decision. Now if all that sounds too good to be true it is. We are still sinful by nature and there are still many times when my flesh overrides my worldview and I sin.

For this reason it is important to be purposeful in formulating our worldview, according to the bible. “But hang on” I hear you say, “don’t we get our view of the bible from our worldview?” Yes, but it also works the other way. Our worldview tells us how we view the bible and if we are a Christian, our bible informs our worldview, it doesn’t usually if a person is not a Christian, because one of the things that happen at conversion is a person begins to formulate a Christian worldview.

worldbviw

This picture brings us nicely to our first danger when talking about a worldview. Many people, especially some of my lecturers, would claim that each arrow is equal or more often, that our worldview informing how we see the bible is more important than the bible transforming and informing our worldview. THIS IS FALSE. If our worldview is different to that of the bible, then we change our worldview, not how we view the bible. This doesn’t mean we don’t have any biases when reading the bible, but we should be aware of them and avoid them if possible.

The other danger I’ve seen is people these days see Christianity as merely a worldview, rather than a life transforming relationship with Jesus Christ. It is popular these days to do just that, to limit yourself to seeing the world christianly rather than being reconciled to Jesus Christ through His atoning work. May it never be…

That’s all for now, I need to flesh this out more at a later date. In the mean time, I recommend the resource linked below. Its a Christian Radio station called The Christian Worldview

John Piper On Abortion

I would appreciate it if you watched this rather power except from a John Piper sermon about abortion. Just listen to it, please.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Chapters And Verses Stats

I had fun a a couple of years ago counting all of the number of verses in the bible and doing a bit of a statistical analysis of that data. I found some interesting things; for example Luke has the most number of verses per chapter, which is why it always took me ages to read through Luke. I hope you find this useful

THE OLD TESTAMENT
Number Of Chapters: Number Of Verses: Average Number Of Verses:
Genesis 50 1533 30.66
Exodus 40 1180 29.5
Leviticus 27 859 31.81481481
Numbers 36 1288 35.77777778
Deuteronomy 34 959 28.20588235
Joshua 24 658 27.41666667
Judges 21 618 29.42857143
Ruth 4 85 21.25
1 Samuel 31 810 26.12903226
2 Samuel 24 695 28.95833333
1 Kings 22 816 37.09090909
2 Kings 25 719 28.76
1 Chronicles 29 942 32.48275862
2 Chronicles 36 822 22.83333333
Ezra 10 280 28
Nehemiah 13 406 31.23076923
Esther 10 167 16.7
Job 42 1070 25.47619048
Psalms 150 2461 16.40666667
Proverbs 31 915 29.51612903
Ecclesiastes 12 218 18.16666667
Song Of Solomon 8 117 14.625
Isaiah 66 1292 19.57575758
Jeremiah 52 1364 26.23076923
Lamentations 5 154 30.8
Ezekiel 48 1273 26.52083333
Daniel 12 357 29.75
Hosea 14 197 14.07142857
Joel 3 73 24.33333333
Amos 9 146 16.22222222
Obadiah 1 21 21
Jonah 4 48 12
Micah 7 105 15
Nahum 3 47 15.66666667
Habakkuk 3 56 18.66666667
Zephaniah 3 53 17.66666667
Haggai 2 38 19
Zechariah 14 211 15.07142857
Malachi 4 55 13.75
Total Number Of Books 39
New Testament
Number Of Chapters: Number Of Verses: Average Number Of Verses:
Matthew 28 1071 38.25
Mark 16 678 42.375
Luke 24 1151 47.95833333
John 21 879 41.85714286
Acts 28 997 35.60714286
Romans 16 433 27.0625
1 Corinthians 16 437 27.3125
2 Corinthians 13 257 19.76923077
Galatians 6 149 24.83333333
Ephesians 6 155 25.83333333
Philippians 4 104 26
Colossians 4 95 23.75
1 Thessalonians 5 89 17.8
2 Thessalonians 3 47 15.66666667
1 Timothy 6 113 18.83333333
2 Timothy 4 83 20.75
Titus 3 46 15.33333333
Philemon 1 25 25
Hebrews 13 303 23.30769231
James 5 108 21.6
1 Peter 5 105 21
2 Peter 3 61 20.33333333
1 John 5 105 21
2 John 1 13 13
3 John 1 14 14
Jude 1 25 25
Revelation 22 404 18.36363636
Total Number Of Books 27

Are You A Good Person

Are you a good person?