Bought by the Blood

April 29, 2009

Spurgeon on Prayer

Filed under: Charles Spurgeon,Prayer,Psalms — cubsfan1980 @ 2:53 am
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In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me. – Psalm 86:7

“A pious resolve backed by a judicious reason. It is useless to cry to those who cannot or will not hear; once convince men that prayer has no effect upon God, and they will have no more of it. In these busy days, and especially in troublous times, men cannot afford to waste time in entreaties which must be unavailing. Our experiences confirms us in the belief that Jehovah the living God really does aid those who call upon him, and therefore we pray and mean to pray…because we really, indeed, and of a truth, find it to be a practical and effectual means of obtaining help from God in the hour of need. There can be no reason for praying if there be no expectation of the Lord’s answering…David, as the following verses show, believed the Lord to be a living and potent God, and indeed to be “God alone,” and it was on that account he resolved in every hour of trouble to call upon him.” Spurgeon on the above verse

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April 24, 2009

“Porn Again Christian” discussion

I am having the men in my small group read Mark Driscoll’s book “Porn Again Christian.” This is something that I’ve been wanting to do with them for a while since this book was made available for free online.  Below is the discussion that I prepared for them on the book.

At the end of Chapter 1 Driscoll says:

“God is honest and forthright about the truth and his people must not be so prudish as to try and speak in ways that are holier than their God. In our age of lewdness and perversion we, like our Father, must avoid crassness, while wisely and boldly speaking frankly about the joy and beauty of sexual intimacy when it is confined by the loving directions of the God who created both us and our desires. And, we must refuse to speak in sanitized clinical euphemisms like calling adulteries “affairs,” fornication “dating,” and perverts “partners” because God uses frank words for deplorable sin so we will feel its sickness without anesthesia.”

-Do you see lust as deplorable and sickning as God does? What does it look like to have a right reaction toward this sin?

-Do you view yourself as committing adultery against your future wife when you look lustfully at a woman?

In chapter 3 Driscoll states:

“However, throughout history men have been prone to obey the letter of the law on these matters, while violating the spirit…Practically, this all means that only you and God truly know your heart and, rather than trying to obey legalistic rules, you must be honest about the lusts in your heart and reduce those triggers that stimulate you.”

-very specifically, what does it look like for you to violate the Spirit of God’s commands about lust?

-What are your triggers and how do you fight them?

-Did chapter four change or inform the way you think of the dangers of pornography?

-How did chapter four help you think of what “beauty” is?

-Driscoll says in chapter four “In creation, we see the wise pattern that for every man his standard of beauty is not to be objectified, but rather it should simply be his wife. ” Since you guys are single, what does that mean for your standard of beauty?

-Can masturbation be separated from sexual thoughts? Why is this question important?

-What do you learn from chapter 7 about why and how to fight lust and sexual sin?

-in chapter 2 Driscoll talks about fear of the Lord and uses many verses to help us view sexual sin the way God wants to view it. Does anyone have any questions about these verses? Pray through each verse for greater conviction for ourselves and the singles ministry at CLC

These are the verses that Driscoll uses in chapter 2:

  • 1 Peter 4:3
  • 1 John 2:15-17
  • 1 John 3:9
  • 1 Corinthians 5:9-11
  • 1 Corinthians 10:8
  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

April 23, 2009

Jehovah Jirah

The first small group discussion I ever led was on Genesis 22.  Without a doubt this is one of my favorite Bible passages.  With a rare opportunity to create a discussion I jumped at the opportunity to use this passage again for a discussion topic.  I actually didn’t lead the discussion, but I passed the outline off to my friend Dave to lead as I was home with my dear newborn daughter Miya.  Dave made some edits and improvements to the outline, so I can’t take 100% credit for what you see below.

In  light of Easter Sunday we are discussing Genesis 22.  There are two questions that Lew wants us to consider.  Actually, three questions, but we be providentially blessed to make it through two questions.  The two questions are:

  1. How does this passage foreshadow the cross?
  2. what do we learn about God from this passage?
There are many things that we learn about God from this passage, to get us headed in the direction that Lew wants our conversation to go, we are going to play a little game.  At this point, split the group up in half for the game.  Tell them that the group who wins get an ultra special prize.  The point of the game is to have them list out all of the names of God that they can think of in five minutes.  They can use a Bible if they want to.  After the time limit have one group read their list, if the other group has that name then they need to both cross  it off.  Next, have the other group read their names that were not crossed off.  Each group gets a point for each unique name.  At this point, before you announce the prize, hype it up as something ultra special.  The group with the most points gets a pat on the back.

Ask them to look at the list of names they have and ask if based on the list what specifically I want them to discuss about God’s character.  The correct answer is the name “Jehovah Jirah,” this name means that “God will see to it.”

  • Read Gen 22:1-14

1. How does this passage foreshadow the cross?

Before we discuss how this passage foreshadows the cross, I want to read a quote from James Montgomery Boice: “Genesis 22 is the first passage since Genesis 3:15 in which we are pointed to the love and provision of God for guilty sinners through Christ’s crucifixion.”  There are some obvious and some not so obvious ways that we see the cross.  Since some of these ways are not so obvious, I have included questions that you can ask the group to give them clues.  I have listed out 7 ways, there might be more that people find, but try to get them to find at least these seven ways.  If any of these are unclear let me know, the second one will probably be the toughest for the group to get.

  • Answer: Sacrifice of beloved Son
    1. Question:  How are the sons being offered viewed by their fathers John 3:16 and Genesis 22:2
  • Answer: Mt. Moriah is Jerusalem, where Jesus went to die
    1. Question: what is the significance of the location 2 Chronicles 3:1
  • Answer: There is a confidence in the ressurrection
    1. Question:  Why can these sons be offered up Hebrews 11:17-19
  • Answer: The father initiated
    1. Question: What is the role of the father
  • Answer: The son was willing
    1. Question: what was the role of the son
      1. Important note: Many commentators and scholars believe that Isaac was in his late teens/early twenties.  He willingly let Abraham tie him up as the sacrifice because he could have easily overpowered his father and not allowed himself to be tied up.
  • Answer: a lamb was provided for us
    1. Question: what did God provide Genesis 22:8 and John 1:29
  • Answer: There three days of uncertainty
    1. question: Length of Abraham’s journey and Christ time in the tomb Genesis 22:4 and 1 Corinthians 15:4/Matthew16:21
      1. Important Note:  The difference between this and number 2 is that Abraham didn’t know what the resurrection would be and there was doubt to the outcome of his and Isaac’s journey.  Christ didn’t have any uncertainty, but when we look at the disciples and the woman they had uncertainty as they surely thought that the crucifixion was the end.

Encourage them to get into the habit to look for the promise of Christ, the cross and ressurrection on every page of the Old Testament.  the Old Testament isn’t just history, a book of rules, but it is God speaking to us about the salvation that He is preparing through His Son.  It is a love story that finds its resolution in the New Testament.  Let me know if you want more info on this to share with the group.

2. What do we learn about God from this passage?

  • Why do you think Abraham choose the name, “God will see to it” instead of “God has seen to it.”?
  • Ask for volunteers to read Philippians 4:19 and Romans 8:32

19And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

  • How does knowing about Christ’s sacrifice for us enable us to say “God will see to it?”

[God’s provision isn’t just a one time thing, but He will always provide for our needs; furthermore, we can trust that because He has provided i) what is most costly to Him (His Son), and ii) what is most important for us (justification before God), we can have confidence that He will preserve us until the day we see Him face to face – in Piper’s words, we can have faith in future grace through experiencing God’s past grace]

  • What comfort do we find in this truth?
  • Does anyone have any testimonty of how God has met their needs?
  • How do we battle doubts about God meeting our needs? [look back to the cross]

April 21, 2009

My Chance – Award winning ProLife song

Filed under: Abortion,Adoption,pro-life — cubsfan1980 @ 7:50 pm
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This past weekend I stumbled across the song, “My Chance,” by Jaime Thietten.  Jaime is an independent Christian artist and her song “My Chance,” won song of the year at the Momentum Awards this year.  It tells the story of a young woman who chooses to have an abortion and believes that she will not have any regrets.  In the final verse of the song the listener finds out that woman has not been able to get pregnant since then and misses her one chance to become a mother.

“So many children lose their lives everyday,” Jaime says. “People have asked me why I would want to tackle such a controversial subject at this time in my musical career. My answer is that we can’t afford to wait. Lives need to be saved now. I’m not worried about what others think.”

The song has a double meaning for the singer as her and her husband have been trying for a decade to get pregnant.  There is no such thing as unwanted baby because of the people out there willing and ready to adopt.  The baby that is born and given up for an adoption is another woman’s chance for parenthood.  There is no reason for any life to end needlessly.

Here is a behind the scenes video about the song.

You can read this article for more info.

April 18, 2009

A Father’s Role

Filed under: parenting — cubsfan1980 @ 5:24 pm
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“The dad is the spiritual leader because God planned it that way.  The father portrays a spirit of wordliness or a spirit of godliness.  Either they are leaders for righteousness or examples of slothfulness.  Either they are modeling Jesus Christ or mirroring sinful man.  Make no mistake about it: We are all modeling something.  We are spiritual leaders of one kind or another…

Dad, you’re always modeling.  Keep in mind when you go to the store, when you’re driving on the freeway and when you’re watching a game.  Every situation is a chance for you to disciple your kids.  When they’re in the car with you, do they hear you criticize others, or be gracious to other drivers?  When they’re at the mall with you, do they see your desire to honor God with your money, or do they observe you handling it carelessly and selfishly?  The example you set in the little things helps to shape the character of your children in the big things.” Phil Downer

April 17, 2009

What is this blood that we are bought with

I love’s Spurgeon exposition of the blood of Jesus here.  Christ blood is precious, redeeming, atoning, effective, justifying, sanctifying, cleansing, preserving and indescribably the answer to every yearning heart.

“The precious blood of Christ.” —1 Peter 1:19

Standing at the foot of the cross, we see hands, and feet, and side, all distilling crimson streams of precious blood. It is “precious” because of its redeeming and atoning efficacy. By it the sins of Christ’s people are atoned for; they are redeemed from under the law; they are reconciled to God, made one with him. Christ’s blood is also “precious” in its cleansing power; it “cleanseth from all sin.” “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” Through Jesus’ blood there is not a spot left upon any believer, no wrinkle nor any such thing remains. O precious blood, which makes us clean, removing the stains of abundant iniquity, and permitting us to stand accepted in the Beloved, notwithstanding the many ways in which we have rebelled against our God. The blood of Christ is likewise “precious” in its preserving power. We are safe from the destroying angel under the sprinkled blood. Remember it is God’s seeing the blood which is the true reason for our being spared. Here is comfort for us when the eye of faith is dim, for God’s eye is still the same. The blood of Christ is “precious” also in its sanctifying influence. The same blood which justifies by taking away sin, does in its later action, quicken the new nature and lead it onward to subdue sin and to follow out the commands of God. There is no motive for holiness so great as that which streams from the veins of Jesus. And “precious”, unspeakably precious, is this blood, because it has an overcoming power. It is written, “They overcame through the blood of the Lamb.” How could they do otherwise? He who fights with the precious blood of Jesus, fights with a weapon which cannot know defeat. The blood of Jesus! sin dies at its presence, death ceases to be death: heaven’s gates are opened. The blood of Jesus! we shall march on, conquering and to conquer, so long as we can trust its power! – Spurgeon

April 15, 2009

Justification by faith alone

Filed under: God's Glory,John Stott,Justification — cubsfan1980 @ 10:38 pm
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“Not works, but grace.  Not law, but faith.  Not our righteous deeds but his mercy.  There is no co-operation here between God and us, only a choice between two mutually exclusive ways, his and ours.  Moreover, the faith which justifies is emphatically not another work.  No, to say ‘justification by faith’ is merely another way of saying ‘justification by Christ.’  Faith has absoutely no value in itself; its value lies solely in its object.  Faith is the eye that looks to Christ, the hand that lays hold of him, the mouth that drinks the water of life.  And the more clearly we see the absolute adequacy of Jesus Christ’s divine-human person and sinbearing death, the more incongruous does it appear that anybody could suppose that we have anything to offer.  That is why justification by faith alone, to quote Cranmer again, ‘advances the true glory of Christ and beats down the vain glory of man.'” – The Cross of Christ by John Stott

John Calvin on the final redemption

9 For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. -1 Thessalonians 1:9-10

“For unless we are stirred up to the hope of eternal life, the world will quickly draw us to itself.  As it is only confidence in the divine goodness that induces us to serve God, so it is only the expectation of final redemption that keeps us from giving way and losing heart. Let every one, therefore, who wants to persevere in the path of a holy life apply his whole mind to an expectation of Christ coming.” John Calvin

April 14, 2009

Isaiah’s beatific vision

I recently finished reading Isaiah.  One of the things I was aware of before reading Isaiah was how it pointed to Christ and the age of grace.  This time as I read the book I was more aware of Isaiah’s eschatology and how he points to the new Heavens and new earth.  The poem today is based on Isaiah 60 and what awaits the children of God that hope in Christ return.

Isaiah 60

All the children of God, hope in Christ return.
We live in dark days where sin and wickedness abound,
But when Christ returns His glory will shine,
The everlasting light of His glory will outshine all satan has done
And every knee on earth, under the earth and above the earth
Will bow in awe and wonder at the King of Kings.

Arise all that have been adopted by God,
Look forward with eagerness to Christ return
When His glory will be our light ,
As we will be made majestic and beautiful
In the city whose gates is Praise and walls are called Salvation.

Oh what a wonderful day when we will get to see the glorified Christ.
His glory is great and greatly to be praised.
The everlasting light of His glory will outshine the moon and stars.
Light has no place for darkness, so He is filled with wrath toward sin,
But He is full of mercy and has made undeserving sinners righteous through the cross.

One day those bought by the precious blood of Christ
Will see Him face to face and know joy He has for His children.
Like a father with his children, Christ heart is elated in us.
His heart is exulting and thrilled at those that He redeemed on the cross.
Let us live for this reality as we live for eternity
And pray for the hastening of Christ return.

April 10, 2009

The Wonderful Cross

Filed under: cross,God's love,Isaiah,John,Redemption,Wrath of God — cubsfan1980 @ 12:52 pm
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Leeland Ryken calls the gospel of John a cosmic Gospel, meaning that this gospel portrays Jesus as the answer to the universal human longing.  As I was reading the passion narrative in all four gospels, I noticed one distinct way that John’s gospel stands out as a cosmic gospel than the other gospels.  In the three synoptic gospels they recount Simon helping Jesus to carry the cross, but in John 19.  John is not denying Simon helping Jesus carry the cross, but John sees the ultimate reality of the cross that Jesus is crying.  John sees that Jesus’ ultimate cross is not the torture and suffering of the worst death that mankind has ever known.  The cross that Jesus is bearing the impending wrath of God and having his holiness tainted as He takes on our sin so that we can have his righteousness.  More important than the two pieces of Jesus wood that Jesus is carrying, He is bearing our griefs and sorrows.  The pain He suffers on the cross is nothing compared to being smitting and afflicted by God.

Jesus is the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.  “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.”  This truly is good news, the purchase of my redemption that could only be done by amazing and divine love; this demands my life, my soul, my all.

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride

See from his head, his hands, his feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down
Did ever such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown

O the wonderful cross, O the wonderful cross
Bids me come and die and find that I may truly live
O the wonderful cross, O the wonderful cross
All who gather here by grace draw near and bless
Your name

Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were an offering far too small
Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all by – Isaac Watts

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