Bought by the Blood

August 19, 2010

Pursuing Greatness

Second Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made him who knew no sin to become sin so that in him, we might become the righteousness of God.” If you’ve been around awhile, you’ve heard me say this, Luther calls it the great exchange. All of our sin, idolatry, narcissism, pride, jealousy, envy, me-ism, all of it, which is sin, goes to Jesus, and he dies paying the penalty for our sin. And he gives us, in addition, reckons to us, imputes to us his righteousness.

This means that you and I now possess, through faith if we are the children of God, the righteousness of Jesus, the perfect, sinless, obedient, selfless, worshipful, imaging life of Jesus. It’s reckoned, credited to our account. So now we want to pursue greatness, not for an identity, but from our identity in Christ. We want to pursue greatness, not for our righteousness, but from the righteousness that is given us by Jesus. Not for our glory, but from the glory of God. Not for God’s approval, from God’s approval in Christ. Not for the love of God, but from the love of God.

Greatness is pursued by the children of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit who indwells them in newness of life, greatness of life, rich or poor, living or dying, healthy or sick, succeeding or failing to the glory of God and the good of others by the grace of God through the power of the Holy Spirit, which is our joy, which is our joy. – Mark Driscoll

via Mars Hill Church | Luke’s Gospel: Investigating the Man Who Is God | Redeeming Greatness.

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December 30, 2009

What All Parents Should Resolve To Do

“The goal of parenting is to teach your kids to be independently dependent on God.  Their relationship with God isn’t all about us, but somehow we release them and tell them “You know you need to depend on God.  You understand you don’t need me anymore. You’ve got His Word, you’ve got His Spirit, now go!”

-Francis Chan

December 1, 2009

Prayer for Sanctification

Oh God my Father
You are my rock and salvation.
I run to you as my refuge and stronghold.
You have delivered me from sin and death
And provide a shield against satan’s attacks.
In you I find my life,
So I continually cry to you.
You are strong and might to save.
I praise you for you are faithful
And have never failed me.
You have chosen to delight in me.
This is a mystery of mysteries.
Fill me with your Spirit so I can live blameless and pure.
Enlarge my heart so I can receive your word.
I want to know your word and live by it
Because it is perfect as you are perfect.
Only by your grace am I made strong.
Without your goodness and support I can achieve nothing.
Help me to trust you more,
My desire is to experience more of your nearness.

November 19, 2009

Spurgeon on the mission of parents

Elisha had to deal with a dead child (2 Kings 4:29-37). It is true that, in his instance, it was natural death; but the death with which you have to come in contact is not the less real death because it is spiritual. Boys and girls are as surely as grown-up people, “dead in trespasses and sins.” May none fail fully to realize the state in which all human beings are naturally found. Unless you have a very clear sense of the utter ruin and spiritual death of children, you will be incapable of being made a blessing to them. Go to them, I pray you, not as to sleepers whom you can by your own power awaken from their slumber, but as to spiritual corpses who can only be quickened by a power divine. Elisha aimed at nothing less than the restoration of the child to life. May you never be content with aiming at secondary benefits, or even with realizing them; may you strive for the grandest of all ends, the salvation of immortal souls. Your business is not merely to teach children to read the Bible, not barely to inculcate the duties of morality, nor even to instruct them in the mere letter of the gospel, but your high calling is to be the means, in the hands of God, of bringing life from heaven to dead souls.

Resurrection, then, is our aim! To raise the dead is our mission! How is so strange a work to be achieved? If we yield to unbelief we shall be staggered by the evident fact that the work to which the Lord has called us is quite beyond our own personal power. We cannot raise the dead. We are, however, no more powerless than Elisha, for he of himself could not restore the Shunammite’s son. Need this fact discourage us? Does it not rather direct us to our true power by shutting us out from our own fancied might? I trust we are all of us already aware that the man who lives in the region of faith dwells in the realm of miracles…

You are sent into the world not to do the things which are possible to man, but those impossibilities which God worketh by His Spirit, by the means of His believing people. You are to work miracles, to do marvels. You are not, therefore, to look upon the restoration of these dead children, which in God’s name you are called to bring about, as being a thing unlikely or difficult when you remember who it is that works by your feeble instrumentality.

-Charles Spurgeon: read the rest at The Spurgeon Archive

November 9, 2009

My Grace is sufficient for you

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

“God never allows pain without a purpose in the lives of His children.  He never allows satan, nor circumstances, nor any ill-intending person to afflict us unless He uses that affliction for our good.  God  never wastes pain.  He always causes it to work together for ultimate good, the good of conforming us more the the likeness of His Son (see Romans 8:28-29)…In this passage, God equates  His grace with His power as specifically displayed in our weakness.  This power infusing our weakness is a  concrete expression of His grace: His power comes to our aid through the ministry of His Spirit in our lives.  This is the mysterious operation of the Holy Spirit on our human spirit through which He strengthens us and enables us to meet in a Godly fashion whatever circumstances we encounter.
Notice I said that the Holy Spirit strengthens us and enables us to meet in a godly fashing whatever circumstances cross our paths.  God’s grace is not given to make us feel better, but to glorify Him.  Modern society’s subtle, underlying agenda is good feelings.  We want the pain to go aways.  We want to feel  better in difficult situations, but God wants us to glorify Him in those circumstances.  Good feelings may come, or they may not, but that is not the issue.  The issue is whether or not we honor God by the way we respond to our circumstances.  God’s grace – that is the enabling power of the Holy Spirit – is given to help us respond in such a way…
John Blanchard said, ‘So he [God]supplies perfectly measured grace to meet the needs of the godly.  For daily needs there is daily grace; for sudden needs, sudden grace; for overwhelming need, overwhelming grace.  God’s grace is given wonderfully, but not wastefully; freely but not foolishly; bountfiully but not blindly.” Jerry Bridges.

October 25, 2009

My Monday Morning Need of the Gospel – The Gospel Coalition Blog

This is a prayer by Scotty Smith which I read on the Gospel Coalition blog. I definitely find this to be an echo of my heart’s cry recently.

Dear Lord Jesus,

While I still believe, with all my heart, you are the only Savior, I now see how more of my heart needs more of you and more of the gospel.

There is nobody on the face of the earth that needs the gospel today, and its transforming resources, more than me, and I am SO glad to be able to acknowledge this reality. I need you today, Jesus, as much as I did in March of 1968 when you washed away all my sins and covered me with the robe of your righteousness.

You have saved me in the past, when I was justified by grace alone through faith alone; you are saving me in the present, as the Holy Spirit applies more and more of your finished work to my whole being; and you will save me in the future, when you return to finish making all things new, including ME!

Lord Jesus, though I’m never tempted to look to any other name for my justification, I am very tempted to look to other names and means for my transformation—worse of all, is when I look to me to be my own savior. But only you, Jesus, are able to save completely those who come to God through you, for you are always living to pray for us and to advocate for us (Heb 7:25). You are my righteousness, holiness and redemption, and that’s why I only boast in you today! (1 Cor. 1:30-31)

So I come to you today, Jesus, right now! Save me more fully from my fear of man, my need to be in control, my ticky-tacky pettiness. Save me from trying to be anybody’s savior. I want to get irritated far less often and to be spontaneous much more often. I want to “light up” more quickly when I hear your name, Jesus, and not be downcast, when I don’t hear my name.

That’s more than enough confession for one day… Indeed, Jesus, I must be saved, I am being saved, through your name alone. Hallelujah!

via My Monday Morning Need of the Gospel – The Gospel Coalition Blog.

October 20, 2009

Be Filled with the Spirit

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, – Ephesains 5:18

I was talking to men in my small group about this verse recently and how I believe that Paul is trying to make a comparison and contrast with the Christian and the drunk.  The way that an alcoholic craves alcohol and is dependent should be the same way we seek the Holy Spirit.  We need to have an attitude of not being able to live without the Holy Spirit and seeking to have our lives constantly, every second of every day, being filled with the Holy Spirit.  We should thirst and crave after the Holy Spirit with an attitude that our lives are not complete unless we are more aware of His presence to strengthen and guide us.  Unfortunately that is not my typical attitude and it is more often than not that I am self-reliant.  On my own I can accomplish nothing, but God invites me to seek Him because He is a good Father that enjoys giving good gifts to His children.  I love the convicting questions J.C. Ryle asks based on Luke 11:9-13

Do we pray in the name of Jesus as needy sinners?  Do we know what it is to ‘ask,’ and ‘seek,’ and ‘knock,’ and wrestle in prayer, like men who feel that it is a matter of life or death, and they have must have an answer? Or are we content with saying over some old form of words, while our thoughts are wandering, and our hearts far away?

And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” – Luke 11:9-13

October 7, 2009

The Holy Spirit Illuminates God’s Word

Filed under: Holy Spirit,J.C. Ryle,John,Uncategorized — cubsfan1980 @ 9:01 am
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When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. – John 16:13-15

“The Spirit of Truth,” says our Lord to his weak and half-informed followers, “shall guide you into all truth.”  That promise was for our sakes, no doubt, as well as for theirs.  what ever we need to know for our present peace and sanctification, the Holy Ghost is ready to teach us…Into all spiritual truth that is really profitable, and that our minds can comprehend and bear, the Holy Spirit is ready and willing to guide us.  Then let us never forget, in reading the Bible, to pray for the teaching of the Holy Ghost.  We must not wonder if we find the Bible a dark and difficult book, if we do not regularly seek light from Him by whom it was first inspired.  In this, as in man other things, “we have not because we ask not.” – J.C. Ryle

August 28, 2009

Fridays are for Fathers

Filed under: Holy Spirit,links,parenting,Satan,Spiritual Warfare — cubsfan1980 @ 8:58 am
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I never thought fatherhood was spiritual warfare until I read the following quote by Owen Strachan

Satan has been warring against men since the garden.  He wants us to be bad dads.  He wants to snare our children and send them to hell.  He wants us to neglect them, even for expressly positive ends, and to make them bitter against us. He will give us all the help we need to accomplish this end…On the other side of Satan, with all people, men or women, Jesus Christ stands and calls us to take up our cross and follow Him, denying ourselves, shirking our sin, aggressively taking dominion of our lives and our world to advance His kingdom and spread His gospel.  Through His awesome Holy Spirit, He waits to empower us.  He searches the earth for men (and women) who will lay their lives down for Him.  He gives us local church accountability, exhortation, and encouragement so we can do just this.

You should check out the post that I linked to above where Owen lists temptation that are common to fathers.

August 19, 2009

Doctrine of Adoption Discussion Outline

What two states do we see Adam and Eve?
A: Pre-fall and Post-fall

Describe the difference between their relationship with God before and after the fall?
A: Adam and Eve had an intimate relationship with God with nothing hindering their communion. Their was no sin and they were not ashamed to be seen as they are by God.

How is it possible for us to have that same kind of relationship with God?
A: Through adoption by means of redemption (you can’t have one without the other.)

for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, 2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
Galatians 3:26-4:7

What have we been redeemed from?
A:The curse of the law, the power of satan and demons, the influence of our sinful flesh and spiritual death

What have we been redeemed to:
A:Living transformed lives by the power of the Spirit, forgiveness of sins, freedom from our sin nature, newness of life, hope of eternity and a resurrection body.

“What christ redeemed us from is the law, with its deadly curse. This is why it was necessary for him to be born under the law. What qualified him to redeem us from the law was the fact that he kept it perfectly. Indeed, everything Paul has said so far about Christ’s coming- his timely arrival, his eternal deity, his true humanity,and his perfect obedience – qualified him to be our redeemer. John Stott writes, “So the divinity of Christ, the humanity of Christ, and the righteousness of Christ uniquely qualified him to be man’s redeemer. If he he had not been man, He could not have redeemed men. If he had not been a righteous man, He could not have redeemed unrighteous men. and if He had had not been God’ Son, He could not have redeemed men for God or made them the sons of God.” But Christ did redeem us, and he did it as the perfect God-man who died on the cross to save sinners…Christ’s coming had an adopting purpose as well as atoning purpose. God sent his Son to make us all his sons and daughters. Christ accomplished our adoption as well as our redemption. It would be enough for God to release us from slavery, to rescue us from our captivity to the law, and so to redeem us from its curse. But God did not stop there. Once Christ had gained our freedom, he gathered us into his family. He went beyond redemption, turning slaves into sons.
-Phil Ryken

What are 5 benefits of adoption that we see in this passage

Benefit 1
V.27 All are on in Christ!
What are the implications of this?
-God does not play favorites. He doesn’t look at our works and love us more or less based on what we accomplish. He loves unconditionally because of what Christ accomplished for us. Our standing before God is secure and will never change. We cannot disappoint God or lose His love, He is committed to us and loves us with an unfailing love!
-We are defined by being in Christ. We are not defined by what we do for a living, how much money we make, our appearance, our sex, etc. The only thing that defines us is our unity in Christ.
–> Ask people where they are tempted to find their identity?
–>Followup by asking how being one in Christ helps to fight that temptation

Benefit 2
v. 29 Recepients of the promise of Abraham
What is the promise of Abraham
-We are justified and made right with God. Our greatest need is taken care of.

Benefit 3
V. 4:3 No longer under bondange
Does anyone still in feel bondage to any reoccurring or besetting sin in their life? If they do, then take time to pray for them, encourage them to either share tonight or in their next accountability meeting

Benefit 4
V. 4:7 We are heirs
What are we heirs of?
All the promises of God are yes in Christ, we receive all blessings through Him and the hope of Heaven and the new earth where we rule and reign with Christ.

Benefit 5
v. 4:6 We have the Spirit
What role does the Spirit play in our adoption
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
-Romans 8:14-17

-The Spirit leads us in holiness by directing us to Christ
-The spirit reminds us of our standing before God and His love for us.

“The Galatians had indeed received the Spirit; and when they did, they also received the assurance that they were God’s sons. For God sent his Spirit as well as his Son. First, he sent His Son to make us hils children; then he sent us his spirit to let us know that we really are his children. The adoption that was accomplished by the Son is applied by the Spirit.
Here we are drawn into the mystery of the trinity. The one true God exists in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Adoption is the work of the Triune God. God the Father, just because he is the Father, is the one who adopts us. He did this by first sending His son to redeem us from bondage, so that we are no longer slaves but sons. Then the Father sent His spirit to convince us that we are indeed the sons and daughters of God.”
-Phil Ryken

Application 1
Romans 8:14-17 –> What practical application do people see in this verse Answer: Self image
How does the doctrine of adoption affect self image?
– Spirit testifies who we are. It speaks to truth to combat the lies that satans wants us to believe. Whenever we are more aware of our sin or circumstances we need to remember who we are in Christ, adopted as Sons and daughter of God.
–>Have someone read 1 John 3:1 When discouragement sets in take time to marvel and be amazed at the love that God has for you.
–>Based on Genesis 2:25 what can we discern about Adam and Eve’s self image?
-There was no shame and they see themselves as God saw them.

Application 2
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”

7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
-Hebrews 12:6-11

What practical application do people see in this verse Answer: suffering and trials prove God’s love for us.
What is God’s purpose in suffering and trial as His children?
-His discipline makes us holy and helps us to cultivate righteousness
-It reassures us of His love because he only disciplines those he loves
–>How do we see Adam and Eve in this application?
-They were image bearers and before the fall they perfectly bore God’s image. God uses trials and suffering to conform us more to His image.

Application 3
Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.

-Matthew 6:9

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
-Matthew 7:7-11

What application do we see in this verse Answer: As children of God we have confidence that He answers our prayers
How does the doctrine of adoption affect prayer?
-We have that same relationship with him that Adam and Eve did. There is no shame and we can approach him freely.
-If we ask, seek and knock then he will answer us. He is a good, powerful and wise father and has the power to answer our prayers and give us the best according to our infinite wisdom.

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