Archive for January 2009

The difference between the dead old man and the flesh

January 30, 2009

Summary from “The works of Christopher Love” volume 1.
From “Who were the puritans” by Matthew McMahon, lesson 8:

Some Bible verses first:
Romans 6:6
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Eph. 4:22
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

Colossians 3:9
Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

Romans 7:5-6
For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

Now, the syllogism with 17 points

1. What is the old man? 
It’s not the sinful nature. The old man is the man, or state of being  in the unregenerate state. The state of the stony heart, the state of being under the dominion of sin.
There’s remnants of the sinful nature, but the old man is gone, he’s dead.

2. What nature is the old man (with the stony heart) dominated by?
It was dominated by the sin nature, or the flesh

3. What does God fully remove from us when we are saved? (what does He take out)
The old stony heart has been removed.

4. What does God replace the stony heart with?
He replaces it with a new heart:
Ezekiel 36:26
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
Heart = will, emotion, inner man, affections toward God

5. Regeneration or receiving a new heart, instills in us what?
According to what Jesus says to Nicodemus and to the disciples in many of His discourses:
New principles of life have been instilled in us, that is the new man, the regenerate man, we have a new man now that’s living.

6. Do we have our old heart, or has God given us a new heart?
We have a new heart, and the old heart is taken away, it no longer exists

7. Can the old man live without his heart?
(the old man whose heartbeat was of the stony heart and that heart is ripped out and a new heart is put in, that is not akin to the old man, can the old man live without his heart?)
No, he cannot live without his stony heart

8. Is the old man dead?
Yes. He is dead. Dead as a doornail. Very important.

9. Though God instilled in us a new principle of life, killing the old man who is now dead, did He also remove the sinful nature from us? (the flesh)
No

10. Why?
To be discussed in a next lesson by Matthew McMahon

11. What is the flesh?
The corruption nature of man by original sin (corruption understood by habit or as an act)

12. Are Christians dominated by sin?
The old man was dominated by sin.
No, the Christians are dominated by the Holy Spirit

13. Also the answer to the “why” not dominated by sin.

14. What is the old man?
We were a certain kind of man, but now this man is crucified, he’s dead.

15. Distinction between the old crucified man and the flesh.
(basic distinction that Paul, the reformers, and the puritans make)
The flesh is the sinful nature, the remnants of it is still left in us.

16. Do Christians do currently war against the flesh?
Yes, by all means.

Romans 13:14
But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
2. Corinthians 12:7
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
Whether physical or spiritual, it doesn’t matter. “Lest I be exalted”.
Gal 5:24
And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
In that context, does “crucified” mean “dead”?
In Paul’s context dealing with Jesus dying on the cross, we know He’s talking about deadness, but is it the same here? Is the sinful nature dead? 
The old man is dead. Is the sinful nature dead? 
No, it’s not dead, it’s not completely crucified.
“Crucified” doesn’t always mean “dead”. It always means that it will ultimately die, (when the Christians get to heaven), but not necessarily right here on the spot.
Crucifixion is a long, arduous death.
When you’re the roman soldier constantly watching the flesh as it dies on the cross, but desires to have its resurrection, you must not allow it.
Ephesians 2:3
Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

The flesh still wants to revive those former lusts and you want to kill it. That’s the idea of mortification.
17. The flesh is looking to the old man to revive.
The old man is dead, but the flesh is still around and it’s looking for the old man.
The flesh doesn’t know that the old man is dead and it’s looking to resurrect, to revive the old man.
It is looking to conquer the old man, as it has done before, but guess what it runs into.
It runs into the Spirit.  The Father, the Son and the Spirit who dwell in the Christian.

Think of yourself like of those lion hunters on a safari trip, and of the flesh like  of a big lion. You’ve wounded the lion severely, you’ve shot it, it’s bleeding, in a manner  in which it is going to die, but you’re still on your guard, because the lion doesn’t know it’s gonna die so even in the end of its life, even as you’re mortifying it is trying to sink its teeth into you, it is still trying to destroy you.
A beast who has been severely wounded by a hunter tries in every possible way to stay alive.
It is still dangerous, maybe more dangerous in the last hours than any time in its life.

So this is the sinful nature, the dangerous lion that desires to devour us.
And it is bleeding.
And it will be bleeding for the rest of our life, until either we die, or Christ returns.
The old man is dead, and sometimes we act stupidly, trying to revive the old man, to put him back on, and we’re not supposed to be doing that. We’re supposed to live for Christ. 

Romans 8:13
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

Practical Wisdom (not only for calvinists)

January 25, 2009

Before I writing about Puritan and calvinist works, I’d like to post something written by Darryl M. Erkel. 

Firstly, I’ll see it more often (if posted here on the blog) and secondly, maybe some one else will find it good too:

  • Recognize that Salvation is Broader than the Calvinist Camp.
  • God commands us to accept one another in Christ, in spite of our differences 
  • Calvinism is not the Gospel
  • Scripture alone is the final standard of authority for doctrine and practice
  • Be very careful about accepting entire systems of theology
  • The truth is, some aspects of Reformed theology are erroneous (like infant baptism)
  • Don’t View Any Period of Church History as Perfect (e.g., the Protestant Reformation of the 16.th Century),Nor Any Particular Group of Christians (e.g., the Reformers, Puritans, Anabaptists)
  • Be the Model of Humility and Love
  • Recognize That You Can Learn From Those Who Are Outside of the Reformed Camp.
  • Seek to Be A Man/Woman of the Text of Scripture.
  • Recognize That Your Greatest Power is Found in Prayer.

It was written with the calvinist theology in mind, but it can be just as good applied for Puritan writings.

Here the complete text: Practical Wisdom For Calvinists

Carnal Christian!?

January 25, 2009

He was a regular guy, grew up in the church, “received Jesus” and was baptised at 16, enjoyed youth groups and youth conferences, even the church sometimes (not always), used to (and liked to) sing in the church (including choir).

Nevertheless, after a while he didn’t want God anymore in his life.

But let’s have a closer look at him:

-Did he enjoy reading the Bible? Not really. Well, at times preachers/youth ministers would have prod him to read his Bible more, but it didn’t last.

-Prayer? The same. Not passionate about it, it was rather “got to do it because they say so”. Before leaving for a trip his mother would say “let’s pray” and he always thought “here she comes again…do we have to go through that every time?”

-Also related to sharing the Gospel, at times they had in that city Evangelizing rallies, and that would prod him to be there and occasionaly witness to others about Christ, but it was always (as far as he can remember) in the flesh. The Spirit of God was never there. And I assume it could go on.

-Was he worldly? You couldn’t tell that by the way he dressed, or talked, but in his heart he was always attracted to what the world had to offer. A minister asked him to accompany him in his missions. He didn’t want to because he would miss Sunday afternoons, when they had good TV shows. And because he was not passionate about the missions (and even in the countryside!? if it were at least in some bigger cities…). Then, friends from a youth choir would gather on Saturday evening to practise. For him would have been unconceivable to give up this precious time of the week.

-He once even held the morning prayer service (it was a small country church)

– A group of Christian young men came once to his city (they were Americans) and he asked one of them whether he liked Bruce Willis. For our guy the response wassurprising: “No, I don’t. Too much like the world”. He thought “not to like Bruce Willis!?”

It is so easy to “act” being a Christian (he didn’t do it consciously, of course). You have to have the right friends (in the church), go out mostly to “Christian” (birthday) parties and weddings, show up nicely in the church Sunday morning and in the youth groups and in Christian camps, etc.

Obviously, I was not bearing fruit (because I was the guy, of course). All these could be done (and were) in the flesh. The others didn’t know it, but, even worse, I didn’t know it myself. 

For all these years I thought that I was a saved Christian and that I went away from God. Now, when I think back, it is obvious that I wasn’t saved. I only thought I was. Because:

Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. (John 15:2)

You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? (Matthew 7:16)

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter (Matthew 7:21)

And:

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! … (2 Corinthians 13:5)

There’s no such thing as a “carnal Christian”!

Paul Washer

January 12, 2009

Did you try to picture how would John the Baptist look like? (in his preaching)

Or the apostle Paul?

I  think it would look like Paul Washer. Powerful and fierce for the Lord. A kind of Leonard Ravenhill (I never heard him preach, like I did Paul Washer, but I read “Why revival tarries”. And the tone is the same).

Then, at times I would think about what it would take to be invited on a national TV program to talk about Jesus. And to be invited again.

Again, I think about the John the Baptist, who preach against Herod and his affair, and about Paul and Barnabas who were imprisoned and stoned because of their message against the world. I think it is almost impossible to preach the same message these men of faith did and be liked or invited again. Sure, there are enough godly preachers whose message is biblical and maybe even have national audience at some point in time. But none of them is as fierce as Paul Washer (or at least I didn’t hear anyone like him). 

I think he not only would never be invited again, but his message would last maybe 2 minutes, after that any producer in the world would cut him off. You won’t hear from him anything that is ear-itching. Even in evangelical circles he is not wanted to preach. Like it was the case with the speech he gave at 2002 Youth Evangelism Conference in Montgomery, Alabama, USA. He was speaking about what he thought it was wrong with Evangelicalism (at least in US). Very harsh. And when some applauded, he said “Why are you clapping!? I’m talking about you here.” You could hear a pin drop. Of course he was never invited again (and I’m sure he will never be).

This video is Shocking message. It is a must see, I think.

He also maintains that “the sinner’s prayer” is the greatest heresy in American Evengelicalism and that this sent a lot of people to hell. 

And I think he has a point.

Another (somehow similar video) is 10 Indictments Against the Modern Day Church

Paul Washer is definitely worth reading and hearing. 

Listening to him definitely makes one want to know God more, to love Him more, to let Him have more of us, to love our neighbour more.

And he reminds people all the time that nothing is about us and that everything is about Christ.

What else I learned from him: 

– doctrine matters (even if it is not enough)

-the best way to be against the culture is to be biblically oriented

-to read about the puritans

-that the doctrine of “carnal christians”, so loved in the Evangelical churches, is a trap, and it’s not biblical

John MacArthur

January 12, 2009

John MacArthur is the first preacher I heard tell about the pragmatism in our modern church. In short, this theory (which fits the American way of life) says that if you get results as a church (many church visitors, many getting saved, etc) then your methods are good. If you have results, then it’s a good method. Of course, there are also extreme methods (like “emerging church” or “purpose-driven church”), but I assume this is always tempting, even if we don’t get as far as Saddleback or Willow Creek. 

In my opinion, MacArthur has a sound doctrine (and of course this should be the most important factor). By the way, he’s a calvinist (not sure whether a five-point one, but he has a good dose of calvinism nevertheless).

By the way, a joke from one of his Q&A sessions. Someone asked if there will be pets in heaven or animals altogether. And he replied “no, there’s no evidence in the Bible that there will be animals in heaven”. Ok, did he continue, we are told in Revelation that Lord Jesus will ride a white horse. And, then, in a tone of “ok, you got me here”, “Yes, there will be a white horse in heaven. But that’s all” 😉

For me, he (and his ministry, Grace to you) has been a blessing (and continues to be). A lot of free sermons, on virtually every topic.