En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Archive for the ‘desiring god’ Category

Coming Presidential Inaugural Makes Christ a Minister of Condemnation!

Posted by Scott on January 17, 2009

How Barack Obama Will Make Christ a Minister of Condemnation

 

(Author: John Piper)

At Barack Obama‘s request, tomorrow in the Lincoln Memorial, Gene Robinson, the first openly non-celibate homosexual bishop in the Episcopal Church, will deliver the invocation for the inauguration kick-off.

This is tragic not mainly because Obama is willing to hold up the legitimacy of homosexual intercourse, but because he is willing to get behind the church endorsement of sexual intercourse between men.

It is one thing to say: Two men may legally have sex. It is another to say: The Christian church acted acceptably in blessing Robinson’s sex with men.

The implications of this are serious.

It means that Barack Obama is willing, not just to tolerate, but to feature a person and a viewpoint that makes the church a minister of damnation. Again, the tragedy here is not that many people in public life hold views (like atheism) that lead to damnation, but that Obama is making the church the minister of damnation.

The apostle Paul says,

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves , nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

What is Paul saying about things like adultery, greed, stealing, and homosexual practice? As J. I. Packer puts it, “They are ways of sin that, if not repented of and forsaken, will keep people out of God’s kingdom of salvation.” (Christianity Today, January 2003, p. 48).

In other words, to bless people in these sins, instead of offering them forgiveness and deliverance from them, is to minister damnation to them, not salvation.

The gospel, with its forgiveness and deliverance from homosexual practice, offers salvation. Gene Robinson, with his blessing and approval of homosexual practice, offers damnation. And he does it in the name of Christ.

It is as though Obama sought out a church which blessed stealing and adultery, and then chose its most well-known thief and adulterer, and asked him to pray.

One more time: The issue here is not that presidents may need to tolerate things they don’t approve of. The issue is this: In linking the Christian ministry to the approval of homosexual activity, Christ is made a minister of condemnation.

By John Piper

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“Sin is the dare of God’s justice, the rape of His mercy…”

Posted by Scott on March 5, 2008

 

Sound Doctrine  

Tune-Out God’s Holiness, Then Goes Sin and Grace

   Quoting David Wells . . .

The loss of the traditional vision of God as holy is now manifested everywhere in the evangelical world. It is the key to understanding why sin and grace have become such empty terms. What depth or meaning, P.T. Forsyth asked, can these terms have except in relation to the holiness of God? Divorced from the holiness of God, sin is merely self-defeating behavior or a breach in etiquette. Divorced from the holiness of God, grace is merely empty rhetoric, pious window dressing for the modern technique by which sinners work out their own salvation. Divorced from the holiness of God, our gospel becomes indistinguishable from any of a host of alternative self-help doctrines. Divorced from the holiness of God, our public morality is reduced to little more than an accumulation of trade-offs between competing private interests. Divorced from the holiness of God, our worship becomes mere entertainment.The holiness of God is the [foundation of reality]. Sin is defiance of God’s holiness, the Cross is the outworking and victory of God’s holiness, and faith is the recognition of God’s holiness. Knowing that God is holy is therefore the key to knowing life as it truly is, knowing Christ as he truly is, knowing why he came, and knowing how life will end.

From:  No Place for Truth, Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology?

Posted by: Jim B.   Link: http://www.oldtruth.com/blog.cfm/id.2.pid.640
Comments:
“My eyes run with tears because men do not keep your law” Posted by: Matthew Jolley on Friday, November 23, 2007


 

I had a local “pastor” say from the pulpit, that “Sin, after salvation is really JUST a bad choice”.Grieved at the course the ‘pastors’ are heading.

When ‘salvation’ is ‘intellectually’ understood, without the heart understanding from the indwelling Holy Spirit, then this is the spiral the above post has so perfectly nailed.

Posted by: Brent on Friday, November 23, 2007


 

Without the holiness of God sin is no longer an affront against God, but becomes man falling short of his full potential. Look at all the modern terms that so many use for sin: poor choice, bad decision, mistake, falling down, failure, being misdirected, lapse in judgment. People call it such because they have no vision, no grasp, no sense of the holiness of God.If God is not holy then the cross is needless and becomes the cosmic child abuse that Steven Chalke calls it. When sin is renamed by the pastors then it strips God of His holines. When God is stripped of His holiness then the traditional gospel is no longer good news and is replaced by the new gospel, the American gospel, that God loves you and accepts you just like you are. The “life change” that is preached in most churches then is about becoming a better person and fulfilling your potential.

The church must get back to preaching and teaching its people about the holiness of God so that the people can see themselves for what they really are before God. This would lead to the repentance of the lost, and the gratefulness of the saved, and would give a weight to worship that has not been seen much since the time of the Puritans. It might even spark a new awakening. When I think of preaching like this, and the effects it would have “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” comes to mind.

Posted by: Morris Brooks on Sunday, November 25, 2007


 

“Sin is the dare of God’s justice, the rape of His mercy, the jeer of His patience, the slight of His power, and the contempt of His love.”John Bunyan (1628-1688)

Posted by: sarah-luvvom on Monday, November 26, 2007

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Judging Judgment Judgmentally!

Posted by Scott on January 28, 2008

by Abraham Piper

When we’re dealing with people who are different than us (everybody?) and trying to decide how to interpret the things about them that baffle us, we sometimes forget how fundamental beliefs are to the way we all act. As Paul wrote, “We also believe, and so we speak.”Seth Godin points out that everyone has a tendency to misunderstand other people, because we don’t pay attention to what they believe. He notes that when you are dealing with someone “who is bitter, vindictive, loud and out to cost you your job,” it’s important to keep in mind that this probably does not stem from faulty judgment, but different beliefs.

He suggests that in these situations we should remind ourselves, “If I believed what [they] said when [they] wrote that angry blog post, I probably would have written the same thing.”

So before we judge others, accusing them of bad judgment, it’s good to consider what beliefs are motivating them. Then we can admit that if we believed like them we may very well have thought and acted that way, too.

This is humility, and it’s essential if we want to be compassionate (or even just tolerable to be around). It keeps the focus on what really matters when relating to others: understanding what they believe, instead of judgmentally judging their judgment.

-Scott Bailey 2008

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Playing Mercy with Jesus!

Posted by Scott on January 18, 2008

Desiring God Blog

(Author: Tyler Kenney)

 

When I was a kid I would sometimes play a game called “Mercy.” A friend and I would interlock hands and try to put each other into painful, inescapable positions. When one of us couldn’t handle any more we would cry “Mercy!” and the game would be over.Stupid game, huh? But reading in Luke 18 recently I noticed a similar theme in Jesus’ parables and practice.

First, he tells the story of a widow who was seeking justice. Even though the judge was unrighteous, he heard the widow’s case because of her persistence. Jesus applies the parable, saying, “And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night?”

Next, he talks about the Pharisee and the tax collector who both prayed in the temple. Unlike the Pharisee, the tax collector went home justified, because he recognized his unworthiness and cried out, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”

The chapter ends with Jesus’ encounter with a blind beggar who would not quit calling out “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Others were telling him to be quiet, but Jesus stopped and asked the man, “What do you want me to do for you?” At the man’s request, Jesus restored his sight.

In each of these instances the Lord answered prayer—prayer of a certain type: a cry for mercy, desperate and persistent. And this is how he still deals with his people.

The Lord is pleased to help us in our distress, but he doesn’t always answer us right away. Sometimes it feels like we’re playing Mercy with him and he’s going to twist us until all that’s left is for us to beg for help.

He doesn’t have to insist that we ask for justice a hundred times like the judge does to the widow. He could answer after just one prayer. Jesus could have healed the blind man without waiting for him to scream out twice. But often the Lord keeps us under some weighty trial so that we can better see our great need for him and cry for mercy.

Paul notes this in 2 Corinthians 1:8-9:

[W]e were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.

Paul was pushed to the limit, and it was by God’s design. The Father’s purpose in burdening us and making us wait for him is the same as it was for Paul: he wants to make us humble. He wants us to rely not on ourselves but on him.

He wants us to rely on the one who can break our addictions, make us more patient, free us from anxiety, open our hearts to our enemies, open our family members’ hearts to the gospel, and give us greater affection for our Savior (to name a few things I’d like to see happen in my life).

Therefore God, in his mercy, sometimes bends us into painful, inescapable positions so that we will learn to cry “Mercy!” to him for every relief that we seek, and so that we will rely more on him who is able to cure every sorrow and pain.

-Scott Bailey 2008

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When the Adultress Went Home!

Posted by Scott on January 16, 2008

Living Guilt-free with the Consequences of Past Sin

“Neither do I condemn you; go and from now on, sin no more.”

These words were almost unbelievable. A half hour ago she had been dragged out of her illicit lover’s house and shoved through the streets. Just minutes before, she had been bracing herself for the stones of judgment to crush her. Now those stones lay on the ground and the execution squad was gone. And the young rabbi with compassionate eyes was telling her she was free to go, as if she was no longer guilty. It was hard to comprehend. Adultery. Not guilty. Free.

As she turned and began to walk toward home she felt clean—cleaner than she could ever remember. How could that be? She hadn’t done anything to deserve to be clean. There hadn’t even been a ritual sacrifice or water cleansing according to the law yet. That rabbi had simply declared her guilt-free, and it was so. No one ever spoke like this man. She heard God when he spoke.

But after a few minutes of walking it hit her: “I have to go home.” Fear shot through her. She wanted to bolt. The rabbi had forgiven her. But waiting at home was her betrayed husband. And her children. And her parents. And his parents. She had shamed the entire family. Her life was like a broken pot; shards all over the floor. Because of her sin. She almost longed to be buried by the stones.

But she still felt clean.

She pulled her head-covering around her face and took a detour, walking streets where she might not be recognized. She needed time to think. And pray.

That was strange. She hadn’t prayed a heartfelt prayer for years. She hadn’t really wanted anything to do with God. She had merely been going through religious motions while secretly pursuing her own happiness in forbidden places. She had just tried to lay low and escape the Judge’s attention.

But now it was all different. As she thought about God she felt that cleanness again, like she had when the rabbi spoke. She found herself wanting to run to God to hide rather than hide from him. Suddenly he was the one she wanted to talk to the most. This was new. God was no longer her angry Judge. He had become a forgiving Father.

So she ducked into a lonely alley to repent of her horrible, selfish sin and to ask her Father for help with what seemed like an impossible situation. As she prayed, she heard the rabbi’s words again, “Neither do I condemn you.” And then these words followed, “Go, and from now on sin no more. I will be with you. With man it is impossible. But not with God. For all things are possible with God.”

With a new peace that passed understanding, she took a deep breath and headed for what was left of her home.

***

We do not know happened to the adulteress in John chapter 8 after she left Jesus. We can only imagine. God in his infinite wisdom does not tell us. That’s for the best.

What Jesus said to her in forgiving her sin (“Neither do I condemn you”) is true of all of those he calls. But the earthly consequences of sin which we must live with are different in every case. Jesus removed the guilt of her sin, taking it and God’s wrath against it upon himself. But he did not remove the fact that she had sinned and the relational pain that must have resulted. Maybe her husband was also saved and they were reconciled. Maybe he divorced her.

But whatever happened, what remained true was the fact that she was forgiven, clean. She was justified in God’s eyes. In Jesus she became a new creature. Wearing Jesus’ righteousness, the Father viewed her as if she had never sinned and as if she had perfectly obeyed, because Jesus became sin for her and he perfectly obeyed the Father on her behalf. And even the earthly consequences of her sin became a means of grace to her because God caused all of them to work together for her good.

And that’s the hope we all need. We need the hope that we have been justified by the substitutionary atonement of Jesus. And we need the hope of the promise of Romans 8:28, that God will work all things together for good for us, even the fallout from our past sins.

That’s why as we begin a new year we want to point you to a message John Piper preached on Hebrews 13 titled, Strengthened by Grace. In it he says,

When I… feel guilty… and hopeless because of yesterday’s failure… I need the grace of forgiveness based on a great past substitutionary sacrifice on the cross, that covers all my sins… and I need the grace of promised help from Jesus today and tomorrow.

The adulteress had a long walk back home. And no doubt there was much pain as she faced the consequences of her sin. But God’s grace was sufficient for her, both to cover her sins and redeem her life. And his grace will be sufficient for us, too.

Seeking with you to strengthen my heart with grace (Hebrews 13:9),

Jon Bloom
Executive Director

-Scott Bailey 2008

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