Saturday, September 29, 2012

BW Newton on Why Matthew 24 is for The Church

"It is important to observe that Jerusalem and all her people, including the remnant finally to be spared in Israel (for it is they who will at last say, "Blessed is He that cometh,") are all left at the end of the twenty-third chapter, and are addressed no more.  They are left to their desolation and judgment.  In the twenty-fourth chapter not a word is said to them.  They are spoken OF, but they are not spoken TO.  The body thus addressed in the twenty-third chapter is as diverse from that addressed in the twenty-fourth, as blessing is different from woe.  The first were rejectors of Jesus - refusing to call Him blessed.  They were the representatives of hardened, blinded, unbelieving Israel.  But the others, that is to say, those addressed in the twenty-fourth chapter, were the disciples of Jesus.  They had already called Him blessed.  They were going without the gate bearing His reproach.  Whilst blindness was resting upon Israel, they were to be His ministers, and His witnesses.  They were to walk in light whilst the others were groping in darkness.  They were addressed, therefore, not as the representatives of hardened, unbelieving Israel, or of Israel partially enlightened.  They were addressed as the representatives of the Church of the living God.  To them it had been said, "Blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear."  Having Christ they had all things.  How important, therefore, to distinguish between the "ye" of the twenty-third chapter, and the "ye" of the twenty-fourth.  In each case it is a corporate "ye," and has already extended over nearly two thousand years."

Benjamin Wills Newton
December 12, 1807 - June 26, 1899

Do you know the instruction and truths in Matthew 24?  As followers of Jesus Christ, as citizens of His kingdom, it is very important that we know it.

One of the Sweetest Promises in the Bible

"I will come again and receive you to Myself,
that where I am,
there you may be also."  

John 14:3

Free From Guilt

Believers are the only people who live free from the guilt of their sin.  No one else is free from the guilt of their sin.  Believers who live feeling guilty over their sin are believing a lie.  We are to live mourning over our sin, confessing it, and repenting of it, but never feeling guilty over it.

Those who mourn over their sin, will be comforted - Matthew 5:4.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

...Because He Delights in Unchanging Love

Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity
And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession?
He does not retain His anger forever,
Because He delights in unchanging love.

He will again have compassion on us;
He will tread our iniquities under foot.
Yes, You will cast all their sins
Into the depths of the sea.

Micah 7:18,19

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Point of an Image

When the first chapter of the Bible says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27), what is the point? The point of an image is to image. Images are erected to display the original. Point to the original. Glorify the original. God made humans in his image so that the world would be filled with reflectors of God. Images of God. Six billion statues of God. So that nobody would miss the point of creation. Nobody (unless they were stone blind) could miss the point of humanity, namely, God. Knowing, loving, showing God.

John Piper

Friday, September 21, 2012

Traits of a Growing Child of God

Traits of a growing child of God - 
  • More love for God
  • More love for others
  • Better at resolving conflict
  • Strong in the face of temptation - the victories over sin are increasing
  • Deeper in the knowledge of God's Word
  • Quicker to admit wrongs and confess them
  • Slower to be captured by things that are worthless
  • A growing passion for reaching the lost
  • Finding identity as a child of God first
If these character traits define who we are, we can be confident that we are growing in devotion to and in likeness of our precious Savior.

Poor In Spirit

What does “poor in Spirit” look like in the life of a believer? Or what are the effects of being poor in spirit? 

According to Thomas Watson:

1.     He is weaned from himself – he understands that without Jesus he is going to hell – he loses his pre-occupation with self. Self is nothing – Jesus is everything!  Galatians 2:20 – Not I, but Christ.
2.     He is a Christ- admirer – all his thoughts lead to Christ.  Christ is not only his Savior but his source of life, wisdom, help, joy and belonging.  Everything he needs is in Christ.
3.     He does not complain about life, no matter how difficult.  He knows that what he deserves is far worse than anything he is currently experiencing and this causes a grateful heart in all things – lives with an eternal perspective – Romans 8:17,18.
4.     He is lowly of heart. He sees the strengths and virtues of others, as well as the weakness of his own sin.  He puts the needs of others before himself – Phil. 2:3.
5.     He is constantly in prayer.  A beggar constantly begs – he recognizes his complete dependency on God and God’s continuous presence in his life.  He has an ongoing conversation all day with the Lord.
6.     He will take Christ on Christ’s terms and lay aside his own.  “A castle which has long been besieged and is ready to be captured will surrender on any terms to save their lives.”  He will do anything to have Christ.
7.     He is an exalter of free grace.  He is ever in a state of thanksgiving and praise.  He was condemned and then pardoned – he greatly proclaims the goodness of his master.

"For the word of God is 
and active,
and sharper,
than any two edged sword,
and piercing
as far as the division of soul and spirit,
of both joint and marrow,
and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."

Hebrews 4:12

"Sanctify them in the truth;
Your word is truth."  John 17:17

There is only change into Christlikeness when the Word of God is slicing away self and being replaced with Jesus...

Monday, September 17, 2012

An Amazing Act of Love

If we want to grow in our relationship with God, if we want to become more like Christ and be all that God would have for us, we need to devote ourselves to God's Word, because in that is the power to change.  God's Word is one of the greatest acts of love in human history.  God, in His glory and majesty, revealed Himself to us in a way that we could understand.  Do we want to know who Christ is?  He gave His Word to show us...

"This is who I am."

"This is what I love."

"This is what I want you to be."

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Cross -

God's wrath on Me,
     Because of My everlasting love, for you.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

First Place, First Thought

We will never experience the fullness of joy that we were created to know, until Jesus Christ has first place in every area of our life.  

What does it mean for Jesus to have first place?

He is our first thought...we place everything through His Divine Grid.


Why put Jesus first place?  

Because He died on the cross, in our place.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Oregon Road Trip

Oregon Road Trip

Click on the link above to view the album of pictures I took on a recent road trip with my mom to Oregon.  The first group of shots is at Anthony Lake, a favorite place to go when we visit my aunt and uncle in Baker City, Oregon.  We also enjoyed a picnic dinner at a park with my cousin's family.  The final grouping of pictures, waterfalls, were taken along the Columbia River Gorge. are several sneak preview shots...


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

He Giveth More Grace

Let's choose faith, and not doubt, dear friends...

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful."  Colossians 3:15

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Clearly Changed - 6

Putting off Doubt, Putting on Faith

God is looking to expose us through His Word, and to change us.

Hebrews 11:1“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

Doubt – A lack of confidence that God will keep His promises.

Some promises God has made:
1.     He’ll never flood the whole earth again – Gen. 9:11
2.     He’ll never leave us or forsake us – Heb. 13:5
3.     He will return – Jn. 14:3
4.     He will wipe away every tear – Rev. 21:4
5.     He’ll supply all of our needs – Ph. 4:19
6.     He’ll withhold no good thing from those who walk uprightly – Ps. 84:11
7.     His steadfast love never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; His mercies are new every morning – Lam. 3:21-23
·      We get the mercy and grace when the problem comes, not in pre-doses, but as needed for the day
8.     In sowing good things, we will reap good things – Gal. 6:7 (The opposite is  
also true with this sowing/reaping promise – choose to sin, choose to suffer.)

Why do we doubt and have a lack of confidence that God will keep His promises?

We fail to understand that –
Fact 1 -  God places regular tests of faith before His children
·      Circumstances come where we are brought to a crisis – are we going to doubt or have faith in God’s promises?

Matthew 7:24-25 – “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house in the rock.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” 

The contrast:  Matthew 7:26-27 – “And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell and great was the fall of it.”

Both hear, only one does…

The circumstances of life expose what our foundation is – a person that believes God or a person that doubts God will keep His promises.

The problem with doubt - doubt compounds.  Once we start to doubt, it becomes our default condition .  It can go from a decision we’ve made to an attitude we develop.

Faith works the same way.  The more that we have faith, the more that we see that God is true to His promises.  Our confidence builds because we’ve seen God be true to His promises. 

Both are choices, both become attitudes. 

The tests are perfectly suited for each of God’s children.  What God gives me won’t be what He gives you.

Fact 2 – Tests will shrink or grow your faith
·      When we choose doubt, our confidence in God will shrivel
·      When we choose faith, we will add another story to our lives where God proved faithful to His promises because He is faithful to His promises

Fact 3 – The drive is short from doubt to despair
·      If doubt becomes your attitude/lifestyle, be prepared to live in the wilderness

The consequences for choosing doubt –
·      We miss the opportunity for God to prove Himself faithful
·      We miss the opportunity to be a witness to those around us
·      The most devastating is that unchecked doubt will lead to despair

Desperate plans come from despairing hearts.  When we choose to doubt, we miss the blessings of walking in obedience and seeing God prove Himself faithful to His Word.


Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”  ESV

NKJV – “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Powerful words – assurance, conviction, substance, evidence

Faith Definition – Faith is believing the Word of God, and acting on it, no matter how I feel, because God promises a good result.

Independent of what any of us think, that God’s Word is true or not, or that the Bible is God’s Word nor not, it is true, and it is His Word.  Faith is believing the Word of God, and nothing else…

When we step out in faith, it opens us up to experiencing God’s blessings in a way never understood before. 

Walking by faith will change a community of believers.

Hebrews 11:4 – “By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts.  And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.”

Genesis 4:3-8 – “In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions.  And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard.  So Cain was very angry, and his face fell.  The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen?  If you do well, will you not be accepted?  If you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door.  Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

In Cain’s offering not being accepted, he became depressed (face fell) and angry.   God instructs Cain to do well.  If he does, his depression will be lifted.  He will be accepted.  God doesn’t tell Cain to feel better first, God tells him to do well.  “It spite of how you feel, do the right thing, Cain.” 

Commit to no more decisions made out of emotion, based off of feelings.

Jeremiah 17:9 – “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?”

When we make decisions based on how we feel, we are putting our hearts in the driver’s seat.  We don’t want the heart captaining our boat.  Make decisions off of God’s Word and the confidence that He will be true to what He has said.  (Because God promises a good result…)

Hebrews 11:6-7 – “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.  By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household…”

v. 8 “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive…”

Abraham did fail at choosing faith.  He chose doubt at times.  He had a child through Hagar.  Had Sarah leave out part of the truth out of fear for his life.  We do see Abraham’s confidence in God grow so that at the testing with Isaac, Abraham knew Isaac was the child of promise.  He was so confident in God, He believed God would raise Isaac from the dead.  v. 19  He displayed great faith evidenced by his obedience.  Abraham through the years, found God to be faithful. 

v. 22 – Joseph was so confident in God that God’s people would make it to the promised land, as God promised, he gave directions concerning his bones so he would be buried there. 

We have the record of God’s faithfulness to His Word, in His Word.  Choose to have faith and our confidence in God will grow to the point that even if we are called to martyrdom, our faith will not fail. 

v. 35-40 – “Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life.  Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.  They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword.  They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated – of whom the world was not worthy - wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.  And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.”

The faithfulness of God does not mean that He is going to make our lives easy. 

“…did not receive what was promised…”  These faithful looked ahead to Jesus and the cross.  They never saw the incarnate Jesus.  Their faith was in the promise that He would come as God had promised.  We are on the other side of the cross.  We can look back and see the provision that God made for us.  We can see the life of Jesus Christ.  We know definitively that Jesus came and took our place, paying a debt we could not pay, rising from the grave and He is now seated at the right hand of the Father.

Where is our faith?

Four ways to grow our faith, from Hebrews 12:1-2.

1.     Faith is grown in community.
·      since we are surrounded
·      let us also lay aside
·      let us run with endurance
·      the race that is set before us
·      our faith

The witnesses in verse one are the faithful in chapter 11.  They have witnessed the faithfulness of God and are confident in God.

Come together as a community to help each other grow in faith.  It is also the purpose of small groups.  Get involved.

Faith is grown when we –
2.     Run without encumbrances
·      The sin in our lives must be dealt with (lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely)
·      1 Jn. 1:9 - a powerful promise that if we confess our sins, God will forgive us (He is faithful and just)
·      Rahab is an example that there is nothing in our past that God holds against our account when we hide in what Jesus did on the cross

Faith is grown when we –
3.     Run with endurance

Faith is grown when we –
4.     Look to Jesus

When God’s Word cuts, make the changes we know we should make.  Live by faith, believe the promises of God.  Surrender all to Jesus.  Repent of sin, and follow Him.  It’s not about us, it’s about Jesus.