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Archive for April, 2009

In Luke 9:23, Jesus says, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”  The way of the cross is hard… but it is nothing less than Christ demands of us.  It is nothing less than what He endured in order to save us… sinners who were helpless and dead (Rom 5:6, Eph 2:1.)

I don’t think I follow Him very well.  No… let me reword that… I know I don’t follow Him well.  I think too much of self and not enough of Christ and others.  I do not willingly suffer on behalf of my Savior and those around me as He would sometimes have me suffer.  I follow Him rather poorly.

I read a very moving post written by Zach Nielsen over at the “Take Your Vitamin Z” blog today describing the experience of a couple (Steffan and Rachael Brown) who made the decision to adopt a child they knew would only live a few months.  As I read this post, I couldn’t get the words of Jesus out of my mind… “Deny yourself… take up your cross daily… follow Me.”  I think this couple understands Jesus’ call to follow Him in a way I probably never will.  

I don’t think I can describe this post to you and do it justice.  Just read it… and see if you feel humbled like I did.  You can find it here http://takeyourvitaminz.blogspot.com/2009/04/yesterday-we-lost-member-of-our-church.html .

And please… remember the Brown family in prayer…

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Do We Pray like Jesus???

Mark 1:35 (ESV) – 35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he (Jesus) departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.

“Thus at the very beginning of His public ministry, the Servant of God prayed.  Surely we, His servants, know that we should follow His example!  Surely we know the importance of prayer in our ministry for Him!  And yet how slow we are to pray!  The reason there is so little burden for souls, so little conviction of sin, so little response to appeals made for workers in the Lord’s harvest field – the reason for our indifference to the things of Christ is our lack of prayer, persistent, persevering, intercessory prayer!  We sing about prayer; we preach about prayer; we talk about prayer; but do we pray?  Like the disciples of old, let us follow Christ’s example, saying, ‘Lord, teach us to pray!” (Louis Talbot, “Why Four Gospels?”, page 140.)

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Thanks to Justin Taylor over at the Between Two Worlds blog (http://theologica.blogspot.com/) for reminding me about this excerpt from S.M. Lockridge.  I remember one of my seminary professors (Dr. Norm Wakefield) playing this for us on my first day of seminary.  I don’t think I have heard it since.  It affected me deeply then… and it still does.  I pray that I will always be affected when I hear the glories of my Savior proclaimed.

Listen for yourself… and praise our God and Savior Jesus Christ…

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While remembering Good Friday, John Piper carries on an imaginary conversation with death.  It isn’t very long, but it is quite powerful.  It is certainly worth your time to read.  You can find it here http://www.desiringgod.org/Blog/1726_a_conversation_with_death_on_good_friday/.

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Remember…

Isaiah 52:13-53:12 (ESV) – 13 Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted. 14 As many were astonished at you— his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind— 15 so shall he sprinkle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which has not been told them they see, and that which they have not heard they understand. 1 Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? 9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. 11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Now… sing praises to our Savior!!!

“Man of Sorrows!” what a name for the Son of God, who came ruined sinners to reclaim! Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude, in my place condemned He stood-—Sealed my pardon with His blood: Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Guilty, vile and helpless we, spotless Lamb of God was He; full atonement! can it be? Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die, “It is finished,” was His cry; now in heav’n exalted high: Hallelujah, what a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King, all His ransomed home to bring, then anew this song we’ll sing: Hallelujah, what a Savior!

                (Hallelujah, What a Savior – Philip Bliss)

Solus Christus!!!

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In a post from February, Nathan Bingham, over at the CAL.VINI.ST Blog posted five reasons why everyone needs to study theology.  Here are the five reasons:

1) You’re a theologian already…

2) Your love for Jesus is intrinsically linked with your knowledge of His Word…

3) Your doctrine will determine how you live…

4) Your affections will determine how you study…

5) Your humility depends on it…

Read the whole thing here http://cal.vini.st/2009/02/five-reasons-you-need-to-study-theology/.

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At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, the inspired author, Matthew makes the following comments regarding the response of those who heard Jesus preach…

Matthew 7:28-29 (ESV) – 28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.

What amazed Jesus’ hearers was the way in which He preached with authority.  He didn’t rely upon the interpretations of other rabbis.  No.  He spoke authoritatively.  His preaching demanded a response.

Of course, Jesus is the only begotten Son of God… very God of very God… the living Word of God (Jn 1:1-18) and in Him all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form (Col 2:9.)  But does this apply to Christian preachers today???

There are many voices today which are constantly telling us that authoritative preaching is outdated and ineffective… even dangerous.  But, in the incarnation, our God and Savior, Jesus Christ, constantly preached with authority (Don’t believe me?  Read through the Gospel of Matthew and note the tone of Jesus’ preaching…) 

Shouldn’t Jesus be the model for our preaching?

Of course, He possessed authority within Himself.  By contrast, our authority as preachers is a delegated authority.  Our authority does not come from within ourselves… but from our interpretation and proclamation of the inspired Word of God.

Listen to Paul’s parting instructions to his protégée, Timothy…

2 Timothy 4:1-4 (ESV) – 1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

Paul calls Timothy… in the presence of God the Father and Jesus Christ… to preach the inspired Scripture.  And by doing so, Timothy is to “reprove, rebuke and exhort” his hearers, even if they don’t want to hear it.  That sounds like authoritative preaching to me…

Not convinced?  Then I would recommend that you listen to Dr. Al Mohler’s recent sermon from the 2009 Shepherd’s Conference.  In this message, Dr. Mohler addresses the issue of preaching with authority in great detail.  I found this message encouraging and convicting and… whether you are a preacher or not…  I highly recommend it to you.  You can download it from the Shepherd’s Fellowship site (located here http://www.shepherdsfellowship.org/ .  You must register if you are not a member, but the message is a free download.)

 

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