Biblical and Compassionate Response to Gay Pride

“Perhaps worst of all is the knowledge that a rigorous critique of same-sex intercourse can have the unintended effect of bringing personal pain to homosexuals, some of whom are already prone to self-loathing. This is why it needs to be emphatically stated that to feel homosexual impulses does not make one a bad person.

I deplore attempts to demean the humanity of homosexuals. Whatever one thinks about the immorality of homosexual behavior, or about the obnoxiousness of elements within the homosexual lobby, homosexual impulses share with all other sinful impulses the feature of being an attack on the “I” or inner self experiencing the impulses (Romans 7:14-25). The person beset with homosexual temptation should evoke our concern, sympathy, help, and understanding, not our scorn or enmity.

Even more, such a person should kindle a feeling of solidarity in the hearts of all Christians, since we all struggle to properly manage our erotic passions. A homosexual impulse, while sinful, cannot take shape as accountable sin in a person’s life unless one acquiesces to it.

Thus a reasoned denunciation of homosexual behavior and all other attempts at nurturing and justifying homosexual passions is not, and should not be construed as, a denunciation of those victimized by homosexual urges, since the aim is to rescue the true self created in God’s image for a full life.”

Robert Gagnon, The Bible and Homosexual Practice, 31

A Prophetic Message to an Ungodly Nation

A Prophetic Message to an Ungodly Nation: Jeremiah –John MacArthur

Our society is dominated by naturalism. Naturalism assumes that God exists only in the imagination of religious people. Decisions are made based on the belief that we have randomly evolved to be this way.  Belief in a god is acceptable though feeble-minded, but those who believe in the God of the Bible are dangerous and should be kept out of the public discussions on life, ethics, morality, economics, politics and any influence on society. This is the ‘intellectual’ way. However, it is a love of sin not a love of science which drives this.

Jeremiah 5:20-25: The majesty of God on display, the providence of God being manifest  should stir up worship of God with fear and trembling. Men should say let us fear the Lord but do not submit to His Almighty power. He is a source of provision and protection, controlling the ocean keeping it in its place. But Judah broke all the boundaries placed by God. Man in hell-bent on revolt.

Jeremiah preached for 42 years under five kings: Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, Zedekiah. His preaching in no way stopped the slide or halted the judgment. He was faithful but despised. No national revival came.

We likewise stand on the brink of the holocaust soon to also see the judgment of God. The gospel is going forward, we’ve had revivals, Bibles blanket the country, media has extended the reach of the gospel, yet the church is superficial and shallow. People are consumed with self-fulfillment and self-gratification. Like Jeremiah, How do we approach a nation on the brink of judgment?

I. Jeremiah understood that he had a divine mission.

Jesus’ Kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36) likewise Jeremiah’s commissioning came from God. Our mission is not earthly but from God.

A. He was predestined by God. (Jeremiah 1:4-5)

Long before Hilkiah and His wife came together to conceive Jeremiah, God had set him aside to be a consecrated prophet to Judah and the nations on God’s behalf. Jeremiah was intensely human, we love him as we see his weakness and humanity. But his preaching was powerful and his witness faithful despite the relentless rejection of his message. He endured and survived the rejection that marked his entire life. He was so humanly weak he could not stop crying but was so unassailably strong that he would not yield or compromise. He was mysteriously endowed with power from on high.

When there is a crisis people look for a program, God looks for a man or a woman. When the world is falling apart people look for a methodology but God chooses a baby. God sovereignly ordained Jeremiah to do what he did. It was never about results. It was about an overarching divine mission.

B. He was provided for by God with what he needed (Jeremiah 1:7).

People fear public speaking, but when one has something important to say that fear melts away. God gave Jeremiah the words to say; He was given divine wisdom. Jeremiah was speaking for God.

C. He was given divine protection (Jeremiah 1:8).

God took care of Jeremiah despite the nation’s hatred for 42 years. People hated what he said and hated him for it. Even the strongest leaders face the fear that comes with confronting people with the message they do not want to hear.

D. He was given power (Jeremiah 1:9-10).

God put His Words in Jeremiah’s mouth. Jeremiah feared that he was young, a nobody, and unskilled in oration. God said, “don’t fear” the words which come from your mouth will shatter and built, tear down and plant, be destruction to people and nations and construction to other people and nations. No power on earth can approach the power of God. “Kings, nations, empires boast of their power, yet the power in the world belongs to the mouths of the messengers of heaven.”

II. Jeremiah understood that he had a direct message

He did not change the message to appeal to his listeners or to avoid controversy (Jeremiah 14:7; 17:9). He preached against sin, indicting people for their sin. (Chapters 3; 9; 11; 19).

A. He confronted false religion.

He attacked their worship of idols (Chapter 2). People rejected the living water and hewed out empty cisterns full of dead animals. This is not a time for tolerance, “this world is full of damning false religion.” Being labeled intolerance of anything damning people’s souls while promising heaven in a compliment. “We aren’t just talking about making people feel good, we confront lies.” In chapter 7, Jeremiah indicts them for worshiping the queen of heaven who has been recast as Mary by the Roman Catholics. “We have no choice but to confront and expose false religion; that is what Jeremiah did.”

B. He confronted corrupt spiritual leadership. (Jeremiah 5:30)

He confronted the false prophets, the deceivers and liars, corrupt leaders who had infiltrated the true religion. “You cannot be the prophet of God, you cannot be the mouthpiece of God, you cannot be the representative of God, unless you have a direct message that goes at false religion as it exists contrary to the truth and as it exists inside the categories of the truth.” Jeremiah 23; 25. Sure people fill up the places where false teachers tell them what they want to hear, and praise those teachers, but what will they do at the end when they face the judgment.

C. He confronted wickedness in general. (Jeremiah 3:24-25)

Society is immoral; shame describes all conduct. Sexual deviation, perversion of marriage and all wickedness is infused in all people do.

D. He confronted dishonesty. (Jeremiah 5:1-3)

God’s eyes look for truth and cannot find it. Dishonesty is everywhere.

E. He confronted the rejection of scripture. (Jeremiah 11:8-10)

They rejected the Word of God, deliberately abandoning what God says. This perfectly describes our culture and society.

F. Jeremiah 13:1-11 -A visual aid to show Judah’s corruption, God drew them to Himself as intimately as He could, and they became fouler, and fouler, and fouler. Then God separated Himself from them and they corrupted and are under judgment. “God does not change the rules and we do not have covenant protection.”

III. Jeremiah was characterized by a deep mourning.

Jeremiah 13:17 –Jeremiah wept for His people. God wept through the eyes of Jeremiah. As we carry the gospel we must be careful to never become calloused and indifferent. We want to have the heart that Jesus had for Jerusalem, even a nation under impending Divine judgment. Jeremiah 9

IV. The result of Jeremiah’s ministry: None listened (Jeremiah 7:23-24)

But God preserved a remnant to redeem. He will give them a heart to know God and obey Him (Jeremiah 24:4-7). Why do we preach when no one listens? Because there is a remnant whom He will save.

http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/80-367

God’s Will for You: Evangelism

What is God’s will for you? Jesse Johnson, elder and outreach pastor at Grace Community Church, explains what is the single most God-glorifying action a Christian can do while on earth.

http://thecripplegate.com/divine-mathematics/

“If a person wants to maximize their life by living for the glory of God, then that person needs to be passionate about evangelism. If the Lord has saved you, he has saved you for a purpose: to live for the glory of God. Each of us has friends, neighbors, family, and acquaintances who are dead in their sins and trespasses. When you bring them the gospel, and they believe, their life is taken from fighting against God, to living passionately for his glory. God’s glory is then both multiplied and magnified.”

Impending Judgment

“There is a judgment coming! People have their reckoning days, and God will at last have His. The trumpet shall sound. The dead shall be raised incorruptible. The living shall be changed. All, of every name, nation, people and tongue, shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ. The books shall be opened, and the evidence brought forth. Our true character will come out before the world. There will be no concealment, no evasion, no false coloring. Every one shall give account of themselves to God, and all shall be judged according to their works. The wicked shall go away into everlasting fire, and the righteous into life eternal. These are dreadful truths! But they are truths, and ought to be told.”

- J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: John, volume 2, pp. 422, 423. {John 12:44-50}

Biblical Manhood

Biblical Manhood –Dr. Voddie Baucham:  Genesis 2:15-25

It is not good for man to be alone…

By our culture we have been taught to “define manhood on the ball field, in the bedroom and by the billfold.” …“Those who look for this in a man end up with disillusionment.”

“There is no man in the world that it’s more important for me to disciple then my son.”

Asked about why his son travels with Him eight or so days a month, “With you guys doing this how’s he going to play ball? When people say that to me here’s what I hear, ‘I want to know how your son is going to be able to worship at the alter of the sport god?’ Who cares, I don’t, it’s meaningless, it’s absolutely meaningless. We don’t need another ballplayer; we don’t. We need men with trained minds, we need men with godly, biblical character, we need men with multigenerational vision, we need men who commit themselves and all their faculties to the glory of Almighty God. I am raising a warrior for Christ, that’s what I’m raising. Not an entertainer, that’s not what I’m raising. [People say] ‘Well you know team sports, they build character.’ Do you really believe that? …So the guys in this culture with the greatest character ought to be in the NFL and NBA. Is that you final answer? That’s ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous. How did George Washington build character?Adams?Jefferson? Jesus?”

Three things we see here, even before the Fall that a man must be committed to, at least these three.

I. He must be committed to God honoring labor.

“God does not abide lazy men and neither should we.”

The job of a Father is to protect his daughter from unqualified and worthless men.

Our culture has taught you to value a $200,000 car more than a man’s daughter; fathers give up their daughters to a teenage boy who is not yet a man to manipulate her emotions, yet would never give up the keys to a $200,000 car.

God put Adam in the Garden to work and tend the garden. The Curse did not add work, but rather cursed the ground and added toil, labor and sweat. The Protestant/Puritan work ethic that there is gain in labor is foreign to us. Sloth is sinful, laziness is godless. Proverbs 6:6-11; 26:13-16; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12; The Bible says at times it is wrong to give benevolence, If a man in lazy, God intends for him to be hungry. Even Adam inEdenworked. 1 Timothy 5:8.

Hard work is a Biblical command. Hard work should be done for glory to God, seeking excellence in all my hands find to do. I may be a street cleaner, but I should have the cleanest streets in the city, because I clean them to the glory of God.

Procrastination in school is a mark of laziness. Do you study to maximize your learning, or as little as possible to get the grade you want?

II. He must be committed to the law of God.

Genesis 2:16 –The Law of God given before the Fall, the Law is not an answer to sin and the Fall. Most men do not know the law of God, or have a commitment to it. Do you know the Ten Commandments? If you don’t even know the basics of the Law, how do you know the rest? Part of this is to pass on the law of God to others, especially your wife, and to protect her from attacks on that law.

Genesis 3:1- Eve had not been properly discipled, her understanding of the Law of God was skewed. Adam had not showed proper headship thus Romasn 5:12 can say it is his sin that brought the Fall, not just his eating but his lack of headship. Adam was given headship before the Fall, over the animals and his wife. Headship is not blaming your wife. It is taking responsibility. Even in the curse, God rebuked Adam for listening to His wife and disobeying God.

Ephesians 5 –The man is to wash his wife in the word, He is to be discipling her. Ephesians 6:1-4 –The man is to bring up his children in the feat and admonition of the Lord. It is the duty of the man to disciple and spiritually lead his wife and children. Why would a woman marry an unbelieving man? 2 Corinthians commands marriage only among believers, but even if he is entering the Kingdom by the skin of his teeth, that doesn’t mean he knows God’s law. Until you have met a man who is qualified to disciple you and your children, you have not met a man who is qualified to be your husband. He must be committed to the Law of God.

III. He must be committed to the primacy of the family

Genesis 2:18. For the previous days the pattern of creation was the same: let there be, then there was, then it was good. The first time Creation was not good was when man was alone. Yes there are men who have been called and gifted by God to not take a wife and situations when it is best to not take a wife. However, marriage is the preferred position. Every man should be prepared to be a husband and every woman should be prepared to be a wife. What if God has called them to singleness? Is there one standard of godliness for single people and another or those who are married? No. But Jesus was single. Yes, but he is engaged and there is a coming wedding. If a man is to be Christlike, he should be committed to his family.

In your youth protect your purity, when you become a man guard yourself and pray that God provide for you, in your youth, a wife with whom to start a dynasty. The strongest, wisest, and most godly men in the Bible fell into sexual sin. I am not stronger than Samson, wiser than Solomon or godlier than David so I should get married. It is better to get married over burning with passion.

The Ten Commandments: I am God, you are not going to get another. Don’t even make anything that looks like me. Don’t even mess with my name. Work six days, rest the seventh, Don’t mess with my day. Honor your parents, the authority I’ve put in your life, and here is the first promise. Don’t kill others. Don’t commit adultery. Don’t steel. Don’t lie. Don’t covet.

You are subject to your parents until you take a wife and she becomes the family to whom you should commit yourself. If you do not honor and obey your father and mother you are not qualified to create a new family. Are you committed to a multi-generational view of family, to be a father, to raising children, and to provide so that your wife can devote herself to your children?

This is the minimalist version of Biblical manhood; there is a whole lot more than this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDR3xCaXiXc&feature=related

Faith and Trust

“If God has given His Son to die for us, let us beware of doubting His kindness and love in any painful providence of our daily life. Let us never suppose that He can give us anything that is not really for our good. Let us remember the words of Paul, ‘He who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all—how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things.’ (Rom. 8:32.) Let us see in every sorrow and trouble of our earthly pilgrimage, the hand of Him who gave Christ to die for our sins. That hand can never smite us except in love. He who gave us His only begotten Son, will never withhold anything from us that is really for our good. Let us lean back on this thought and be content. Let us say to ourselves in the darkest hour of trial, ‘This also is ordered by Him who gave Christ to die for my sins. It cannot be wrong. It is done in love. It must be well.’”

J.C. Ryle, Faith

Book Highlights

Highlights from Ian H. Murray’s John MacArthur: Servant of the Word and Flock, 2011

“The key to effective leadership has very little to do with wielding authority and much to do with giving oneself.” –J. MacArthur, ‘The Pastor as Leader’ in For the Fame of God’s Name, Essays in Honor of John Piper, 469, (Murray, p. 236)

What is the biggest mistake leaders make? “That’s easy–being impatient with people, not giving them time to grow.” –J. MacArthur, conversation with Tom Pennington, (Murray pp. 233-234)

“Everybody’s got baggage. If you don’t have baggage you’re not going anywhere.” –J. MacArthur, pastoral staff meeting at Grace Church, (Murray p. 234)

“The mark of a mature life is not sinlessness, which is reserved for heaven, but growing awareness of sinfulness.” –J. MacArthur, MacArthur New Testament Commentary Matthew 1-7, p. 160, (Murray p. 235)

“‘The believer sees himself before God: poor, sorrowful, meek, hungry.’ The Christian ought to have no problem seeing that Paul was not referring to a former condition and a past experience when he speaks of himself as a ‘wretched man’.” –Murray, p. 235

“God sustains what e wills…my concern is to be a man of spiritual integrity, to have a ministry of spiritual integrity, and simply to teach the bible under the promise that God blesses His own Word. –J. MacArthur, (Murray p. 227)

‘Many would like to unite church and stage, cards and prayer, dancing and sacraments. If we are powerless to stem this torrent, we can at least warn people of its existence, and entreat them to keep out of it. When the old faith is gone, and enthusiasm for the gospel is extinct, it is no wonder that people seek something else in the way of delight. Lacking bread they feed on ashes.’ –C. H. Spurgeon as quoted by J. MacArthur, Ashamed of the Gospel, p. xi., (Murray p. 226)

“The kind of thing that gains the attention of the world, especially excitement over number and personalities, are of small consequence in the kingdom of God. –Murray, p. 209

“Not the reformation of culture but the salvation of men and women is the church’s mandate.” –Murray, p. 197

Music as Pedagogy in the Church Part. 1

“Like it or not, today’s songwriters are teachers too. Many of the lyrics they are writing will soon be far more deeply and permanently ingrained in the minds of Christians than anthing they hear their pastors teach from the pulpit. How many songwriters are skilled enough in theology and Scripture to qualify for such a vital role in the catechesis of our people?”

–John MacArthur, Joni Eareckson Tada, Robert and Bobbie Wolgemuth, O Worship the King, pp. 12-13

Charismatic Chaos

Ian Murray speaking of John MacArthur’s concerns about the charismatic movement “…the enthusiasm for revelatory prophecies, and for apostles today, ignored the uniqueness and sufficiency of Scripture.”

-Murray, Ian, John MacArthur: Servant of the Word and Flock, p. 121

“Genuine experience must grow out of sound doctrine. We are not to base what we believe on what we have experienced The reverse is true. Our experiences will grow out of what we believe.”

-MacArthur, John, Charismatic Chaos, p. 65

“No genuine revival or orthodox movement has ever been led by people whose authority is based in any way on private revelations from God…A longing for something new and eoteric has replaced historic Christianity’s settled confidence in the Word of God–and that is an invitation to Satan’s counterfeit.”

-MacArthur, John, Charismatic Chaos, pp. 58, 73

God’s Word is the only lamp to our feet and light unto our path (Ps. 119:105). It alone is settled in heaven (Ps. 199:89). Galatians 1:6-9 even pronounces curses on those who alter or add to the revelation that God has already given in canonical Scripture.

Mortal Worship

In Revelation 5 the angelic hosts, the living creatures and the elders cry, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” And “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”

Yet only we, mere mortal men, can say “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain for me, and purchased me for God “You have made me to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and I will reign upon the earth.” And “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain for me to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”

Personal testimony of Gods redemption is reserved for us, the vilest of transgressors for whom He shed his blood. We were shown mercy, not on account of our own deeds, but so that we may worship Him with personal testimony of His grace.