All Creation Sings God’s Praise

Louie Giglio Mashup of Stars and Whales Singing God’s Praise

Psalm 148

1 Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!

2 Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his hosts!

3 Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!

4 Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!

5 Let them praise the name of the LORD!
For he commanded and they were created.

6 And he established them forever and ever;
he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.

7 Praise the LORD from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all deeps,

8 fire and hail, snow and mist,
stormy wind fulfilling his word!

9 Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars!

10 Beasts and all livestock,
creeping things and flying birds!

11 Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the earth!

12 Young men and maidens together,
old men and children!

13 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
his majesty is above earth and heaven.

14 He has raised up a horn for his people,
praise for all his saints,
for the people of Israel who are near to him.
Praise the LORD!

Faith – the Gift of God

gift02“The nature of the Divine goodness is not only to open to those that knock, but also to cause them to knock and ask.” – Augustine

“We the human instruments bring the gospel; only God the Holy Spirit can bring the faith.” – Mark Dever

“When you pray for unconverted people, you do so on the assumption that it is in God’s power to bring them to faith.” – J. I. Packer

“Faith does not proceed from ourselves, but is the fruit of spiritual regeneration.” – John Calvin

“The entire work of salvation is God’s work exclusively; nothing derives from humans, it is all pure grace.” – Herman Bavinck

“The reason that the brilliant minds do not accept Christianity is that all minds are blind, unless they are regenerated.” – Edwin Palmer

“If I was not a Calvinist, I think I should have no more hope of success in preaching to men, than to horses or cows.” – John Newton

“The Arminian says ‘I owe my election to my faith.’ The Calvinist says, ‘I owe my faith to my election.’” – J. I. Packer

Acts 13: 48; 16:14; Eph 2:8, 9; Phil 1:29

The Rise & Fall of Pastors

http://scottsauls.com/2016/04/25/pastors/

and

How to Destroy a Church in 4 Simple Steps
http://www.challies.com/articles/destroy-a-church-in-4-simple-steps

Continually Washed By The Gospel

time02The following excerpt is taken from God in Our Midst by Daniel Hyde.

Right after you were born, the blood and vernix on your body was washed off by a nurse or even your mom or dad. Have you taken a bath or shower since the day you were born? Of course you have. Our bodies continually become dirtied, requiring new cleansing. It is the same way with us spiritually. Even after we are born again by the Spirit of God (John 3:1–8), we continue to sin. We have to be washed for the first time by Jesus, but He also continues to wash us of our sins.

The Lord said to Moses, “You shall also make a basin of bronze, with its stand of bronze, for washing. You shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and you shall put water in it, with which Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet. When they go into the tent of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn a food offering to the Lord, they shall wash with water, so that they may not die. They shall wash their hands and their feet, so that they may not die. It shall be a statute forever to them, even to him and to his offspring throughout their generations.” (Exodus 30:17-21)

The bronze basin filled with water was not placed in the midst of the tabernacle courtyard for a once-for-all initial washing, after which it became a useless relic. It had to be used continually. God required the priests to wash “when they go into the tent of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister” (Ex. 30:20). How many times was that? It was as many times as they entered the tent, offered a sacrifice, or lifted up a prayer. They had to wash every time with no exceptions, which means they had to do so every day.

This is a great lesson for us today. We live in a time when the gospel of salvation has been divorced from the ordinary and everyday Christian life. With modern methods of crusade evangelism and seeker-sensitive worship services in which the focus is on unbelievers, most Christians today think that the “gospel” is something that we tell unbelievers so that they might be saved. We had to hear it long ago to be saved, and unbelievers now need to hear it to be saved. But we learn something different from this part of Exodus 30. We learn that God’s people, who are described in both the Old and New Testaments as “a kingdom of priests” (Ex. 19:6; 1 Peter 2:9), must constantly hear the good news of the gospel and constantly apply its cleansing to their hearts.

Just as the priests had to be washed again and again, we need to be washed continually by the good news that Jesus’ blood and Spirit have cleansed and continue to cleanse us of our sins. The Apostle John told ancient Christians: “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 2:1–2a).

Above Reproach and Well Thought of By Outsiders

questionmarkredstandingArticle: What Does It Mean for an Overseer to Be “Above Reproach” and “Well Thought of By Outsiders?” by Kevin DeYoung (senior pastor of University Reformed Church (PCA) in East Lansing, Michigan).

Original Source: here.

According to 1 Timothy 3:2 an overseer (whom I take to be the same as an elder or pastor) must be “above reproach” (cf. Titus 1:6, 7). Along the same lines, verse 7 says “he must be well thought of by outsiders.” What do these two requirements mean?

Not This

Let’s start with what the requirements cannot mean. Surely, Paul is not saying that a man who would serve as an elder or pastor must be without any enemies or any accusations, for elsewhere in his correspondence to Timothy, Paul intimates that many have opposed him, deserted him, and been ashamed of him (2 Tim. 1:8, 15, 16; 4:10, 14-16). Moreover, we know from Paul’s other letters he was accused of being everything from fickle and foolish, to overly weak and overly harsh (2 Cor. 1:12-23; 10:1-10). Likewise, in Acts, Paul is often derided as a rabble-rouser, a violator of the Torah, and an enemy of the law of Moses (e.g., Acts 21:27-36). Paul was certainly not above reproach in the eyes of his opponents, neither did he have a good reputation with all outsiders.

We see this same dynamic even more plainly with Jesus. If anyone could be labeled “controversial” or “embattled” or “haunted by serious allegation” or “surrounded by scandal,” it was Christ. He was accused of being a glutton and a drunkard (Luke 7:34), a false prophet (Luke 7:39), a Sabbath breaker (Luke 6:2, 7), a friend of sinners (Luke 7:34), insane (Mark 3:21), demon-possessed (John 10:19-20, 31-33), and a blasphemer (Matt. 26:57-67). He died as a convicted criminal with hardly a public friend in the world. He was, as Rich Mullins put it, “a man of no reputation.”

So unless we want to exclude Paul and Jesus from serving as an overseer in the church, we must conclude that being above reproach and being well thought of by outsiders must mean something other than, “everyone likes this guy; he has no enemies and no accusations against him.” Not only is this standard untenable for almost anyone who has a public profile in today’s social media world, it’s not biblically consistent. The qualifications in 1 Timothy and Titus must mean something else. Continue reading

The Regulative Principle of Worship

While speaking and answering questions on other topics of interest, Dr. James White (at the 24 minute, 28 second mark) takes a call on the matter of the regular principle of worship, and how it applies to exclusive psalmody and the use of intruments in worship:

Out of the Word of Faith

Three Audio and Video Resources:

CONFESSIONS OF A FORMER WORD OF FAITH PASTOR
For quite some time, I was a pastor in the “word of faith” movement. On this “Dividing Line” show, I shared something of an insider’s guide, as well as the powerful biblical truths God used to alert me to the gross deception. How grateful I am to God for bringing me out!

JOURNEY OUT OF HERESY AND DECEPTION

Behind every deception there lurks the crafty, hissing serpent appealing to the pride of man. “You don’t need a God.. why? You can become one,” he says. “Learn my wisdom and my laws; put them in motion and you can control your destiny and environment to make it as you please.”

REFORMED BIBLE CONFERENCE – SATURDAY, MARCH 12, 2016, SOVEREIGN GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH, GLOBE, ARIZONA

SESSION ONE: DECEIVED PEOPLE, DECEIVE PEOPLE

Sermon audio:

Youtube video:

SESSION TWO: THE JOURNEY OUT OF HERESY

Sermon audio:

Youtube video:

The Same God?

Sproul0003Article “Are Allah and Yahweh the Same?” by Dr. R. C. Sproul (original source here)

A rose is a rose is a rose. This dictum reinforces the adage that a rose by any other name is still a rose. The idea is that the essence of the rose is not conditioned by what name is attached to it. It is its res, not its nomina, that determines what it is. In different languages, the same flower is known by different names, but it is still the same flower.

When we apply this idea to theology things get a bit more complicated. Indeed the rose adage has been transferred indiscriminately to religion in order to create a theological concept. The concept is: “God by any other name is still God.” Now certainly, it is true that the immutable essence of God is not changed by the alteration of His name. In English, we may say “God,” in German “Gott,” in Greek “Theos,” yet all these names or words are used to point to the same Deity.

Beyond this, however, things get murky. It is a quantum leap to go from saying that God by any other name is still God, to saying that all the great religions in the world believe in the same Being though they call Him different names.

This irrational leap is prodded by the popular analogy of the mountain. This analogy notes that their are many roads up the mountain. Some progress on a more direct route, while others wind about on more circuitous roads, but sooner or later they all arrive at the same place, at the top of the mountain.

So, it is argued, there are many roads that lead to God. They may be different routes but they all end up in the same place—with God Himself. That is, the differing roads indicate no difference in the God who is found. God’s being, then, becomes the lowest (or highest) common denominator of all religions.

The road analogy is buttressed by the democratic truism that all religions are equal under the law. The fallacy in this axiom is thinking that just because all religions enjoy equal tolerance under the civil law, they therefore are all equally valid. That might be true if there were no God, but then it would be better to say that with respect to their ultimate affirmation they are all equally invalid.

To argue that all religions ultimately believe in the same God is the quintessential nonsense statement. Even a cursory examination of the content of different religions reveals this. The nature of the Canaanite deity Baal differs sharply from the nature of the biblical God. They are not remotely the same. This sharp distinction is also seen when comparing the God of Israel with the gods and goddesses of Roman, Greek, or Norse mythology.

The problem becomes even more complex when we consider that sometimes different religions use the same name for God while their views of the nature of God differ radically. Consider, for example, the religion of Mormonism. It claims to embrace the Bible (as well as the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, and Doctrine of Covenants) and professes belief in the God of the Bible as well as the biblical Christ. Mormons call themselves The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Yet historic Christianity does not accept the Mormon religion as a branch or denomination of Christianity. Why? Because the Mormon view of the nature of God and of Christ differs sharply at essential points of faith. For example, Mormonism categorically rejects the full deity of Christ. Christ is said to be pre-existent, but not eternal. He is highly exalted—indeed revered—but He remains a creature, not Creator, in Mormon theology. Continue reading