Posted tagged ‘Christian walk’

Jesus doesn’t need your heart (if that’s all you’re giving Him)

March 23, 2010

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

The whole idea of “you can’t judge a book by its cover” is not in the Gospel of Jesus. As a matter of fact, He said just the opposite: “you will know them by their fruit”

We have in our baptist churches this idea that you need to “receive Jesus”, and maybe “in your heart”.
This is, first and foremost, not biblical, and, secondly (but also important) not in the history of the church.
Our salvation is not a process in which God does half of it, and we do the other half. It is a supernatural work of God. It’s not simply jumping out of the way to hell and jumping in the line to heaven.
The moment we are saved we become new creatures (if we are truly saved)
And this change will affect everything in our life. I don’t believe there’s a single area in our existence that will remain untouched by God.
How can we, then, live, talk, think (and, yes, even dress – there are dress codes in the Bible) like the world!?

Today the notion of worldliness is almost lost. And this happens because the doctrine of sanctification is also almost lost.
It doesn’t bother us that we cannot be told apart from the world.
The moment you bring this up in a conversation (“we are Christians, we are not supposed to do that”), you are reminded instantly of the Pharisees. “You don’t know their heart” goes the reasoning further.

This is not a salvation of works. We are saved by faith alone. But this faith is always accompanied by godliness. Not in order to be saved, but as a result of being saved.
“Sola fide” (by faith alone) emerged with the Reformation, as a reaction to the Roman Catholic idea that good works are neccessary for salvation.
But look at what we, the baptists, have done: the Gospel that we are proclaiming holds that it doesn’t matter how we live, as long as Jesus “is in our heart”!
We have reduced the supernatural work of God that transforms us to almost nothing, since we can (presumably) live the way we used to when we were in and of the world.

“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.”

“for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”

Jesus can, and will look at your heart. But He doesn’t need to.

“A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”

What happened to 1 John, 2 Peter, the sermon on the mountain?
Did we stop reading that? (and preaching that)

How can we say that Jesus is in our heart, but this doesn’t neccesarily affect the whole body?

This is the litmus test:

“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you– unless indeed you fail the test?”

We are supposed to take holiness seriously. And also take sin seriously.

A quote by JC Ryle (that we should probably hear more often) :”Perhaps you think the saints of God [are] too strict and particular and serious. You rather avoid them. You have no delight in their society. There will be no other company in heaven”

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Others May, You Cannot!

November 14, 2009

—G.D. Watson (1845-1924)

If God has called you to be really like Jesus, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility, and put upon you such demands of obedience, that you will not be able to measure yourself by other Christians; and in many ways, He will seem to let to let other good people do things which He will never let you do.

Other Christians and ministers, who seem very religious and useful, can push themselves, pull wires and work schemes to carry out their Christian goals, but these things you simply cannot do. Others may boast of their work or their writings or their success, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing, and if you ever try it, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.

Others may be allowed to succeed in making money, but most likely God will keep you poor, because He want you to have something far better than gold, namely, a helpless dependence on Him and the joy of seeing Him supply your needs day by day out of an unseen Treasury.

The Lord may let others be honored and keep you hidden and unappreciated because He wants to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade. He may let others do a work for Him and get the credit for it, but He will make you work on and on without others knowing how much you are doing; and then, to make your work still more precious, He may let others get the credit for the work which you have done, and thus make your reward ten times greater when Jesus comes.

The Holy Spirit will rebuke you for little words or deeds or even feelings, or for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem to be concerned about, but you must make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign and He has a right to do whatever He pleases with His own. He may not explain to you a thousand things which puzzle your reason in the way He deals with you, but if you will just submit yourself to Him in all things, He will wrap you up in a jealous love and bestow upon you many blessing which come only to those who are very near to His heart.

Settle it then, that He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue, or chaining your hand, or closing your eyes, in ways that He does not seem to use with others. Now, when you are so possessed with the living God that your secret heart becomes pleased and delighted with this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, then you will have entered the very vestibule of heaven itself.

God’s Sovereignty

April 19, 2009

My most precious fiance lent me a great book, “Trusting God”, by Jerry Bridges:

http://www.amazon.com/Trusting-God-Even-When-Hurts/dp/0891096175

And this book impressed me so much that I have to share some thoughts.

 

There were things that we thought about, but (as far as I’ve seen) no-one formulated it so well: God is sovereign on EVERYTHING. Not just on salvation, when it comes to our lives as Christians, but also on every other aspect of our life, on all nations, on wicked men, on nature.

Particularly important I found the chapter “God’s sovereignty and our responsibility”, also dealing with “Our failures and God’s sovereignty”.

 

After reading this book I came to believe that we have the Old Testament mainly to reveal the way God carries out His divine plan and how everything is being subjected to this purpose. We don’t have the theology of the Christianity in the Old Testament (in the way we have it in, for instance, Romans or Ephesians), but we can see clearly how God unfolds His plan according to His good pleasure.

 

God’s sovereignty is crucial. 

We can call it the arminianism vs calvinism controversy, but take His sovereignty out of the Bible and we are left off with some custom-made god we created according to our imagination.

Everything is affected by the fact that God is sovereign (or not).

Sovereign in our salvation, in the way it is initiated, in the way we are kept in His will. But also everything happens to us in our daily walk with Him.

 

A quote from the book which I liked a lot:

“God in His love always wills what is best for us. In His wisdom He always knows what is best, and in His sovereignty He has the power to power to bring it about”

A personal note about a not so personal blog

April 19, 2009

Right now (and in the last two months) I am simply overwhelmed by the way God chose to bless me.

But before I get to that, there is something I got to say something about what happened before God’s blessings came upon me.

Even though the blog was called “nothing between”, there was still something I wanted to keep – in a way – for myself. I was thinking that was a reasonable compromise, but it was not reasonable at all.

I think that the people who compromise are the most unhappy of all. They are too bad when compared to the church, and in a sense, too good when compared to the world (we are actually not “good” ourselves, though, we have it from Him).

My close friends, you know all about it and I want to thank you so much you for your prayers!

We think so often (like I did) that we can manage sin. We cannot. God knows EVERYTHING about us. He knows that it is infinitely better for us to just obey Him, even when we think we “know better”. 

On the other hand, I’m so glad God is not frustrated by our failures. And He never tells us “I told you not to do that. Now deal with the mess you are in”.

It is my responsibility all that happened and if the Christians will be judged, I’ll be judged for that too. 

Was is God’s will that I sin? No, absolutely not!

Was that God’s plan? Again, no.

But God in His sovereignty can turn our life around at any point (no matter how low). All it takes is our availability to surrender it all.

Now, that this is over, I realize that it is simply too “expensive” not to obey God completely. It was for me, in the sense that it was painful, because I knew it was not right. Someone said that “one always feels miserable when he disobeys God, and on the same time one feels so good (in the sense of “doing what’s right”) when one obeys God.

This is definitely true. Now, that I think back, I don’t want another step outside God’s will, no matter how small the step.

And a big disclaimer: throughout this blog, I didn’t mean to seem what I was not (namely godlier). It was not the purpose of the blog. If I did it, it was unconscious, but I’m sorry and prayed that God forgives me too. And for the most special person in my life, please forgive me too.

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.

Favourite quotes

October 20, 2008

Contextualization be damned. We have our own story. And if it clashes with the stories we find around us, so much the worse for the other stories. After all, our story is big enough to encompass every other. Peter Leithart, Against Christianity, 58ff.

Revival doesn’t come by chasing revival. It only comes by chasing Christ (Washer)

Our hearts are a perpetual factory of idols (Calvin)

If there is one maverick molecule in the universe, then God is not sovereign. (Sproul)

Isn’t it amazing how you and I have the ability to take the most trivial thing and turn it into a god? (Paul Washer)

We marvel at the Declaration of Independency but what we need is a Declaration of Dependency (to Jesus)

Some ask “why do bad things happen to good people?” but the right question is “how does anything good happen at all in this fallen world?”

(Speaking of our evangelizing methods, where “do you know you are a sinner” is number one) Everyone knows he is a sinner. The problem is that they don’t realize how heinous and terrible that is.

I have good news and bad news. The good news is “God is here”, and the bad news is “God is here”. It depends which side of the line you’re standing on.

It’s not the devil who rules over hell, but God.

Fear of failure is many times wrapped up with pride (fear of losing the reputation)

Persecution is always meant for evil, but God always means it for good.

If you don’t take care of that today, you didn’t take care of that long time ago either (talking about the moment someone was saved)

So difficult is our salvation that only God can make it happen.

Jesus promised you two things: a cross to die on, and eternal life.

Agenda for today: let God.

The thing that most consumes your thoughts is your god (Paul Washer)

If God does not exist, then nothing matters.
If God does exist, that is all that matters.

For us in this world it’s as bad as it’s gonna get, as opposed to the world, where it’s the other way around.

If the first characteristic of the church is love, the second is suffering

William Mac Donald: If we attempt anything without Jesus, we will fail miserably – or succeed even more miserably

If God were first, we would end up having nothing

God being first means the end of our individual rights.

Some think that nothing times nobody equals everything (evolution)

Jesus took us out of mud, and let us walk on marble

Savonarola: if we know that God is above, we won’t care what happens below

It’s not that he loved us because we have value, but we have value because he loved us.

More than what He gives us, we need Him

Love God’s word, and you will love Him

You can get a lot of work done if you don’t care who gets the glory

Better dead at Jesus’ feet than alive anywhere else.

Labour is not a substitute for love, and doctrine is not a substitute for devotion

Much for God means much with God

It’s possible to say “I’m saved” before you have any sense that you are even lost.

Jesus plus nothing equals everything

God did not redeem us so that we could spend our lives being punctual and well-behaved people

The hell is going to be filled with people who admire Jesus

Jesus didn’t say “love me, like me, admire me, consider me”, he said “follow me”

You don’t have to defend the Word of God. It’s just like defending a lion: let it out of the cage and it will defend itself

The world couldn’t get along with the holiest man that ever lived, how will they get along with us!?

The Gospel is supposed to be a scandal, like it always was.

It’s God we should try not to offend, not the world (or, there’s something worse than an empty church, namely an offended God)

God chooses to glorify Himself not through our strengths, (talents, abilities, wealth, education, influence, etc.), but rather through our weakness.

If I were to go to heaven, and find that Christ was not there, I would leave immediately, for heaven would be hell to me without Christ (Thomas Goodwin)

Sin is a family disease (which we all inherit from our first parents, Adam and Eve) – JC Ryle

What does He want from us? Everything.

Do you enjoy God as much as you did yesterday the football game?

How much has cost you to be a Christian?

Our redemption is not a once-and-for-all flu-shot.

Offer your family what you offer God and see how long you have a family.

If every man on the earth became blind it would not diminish the beauty of the sun and if every man turned atheist it would not diminish the glory of God (AW Tozer)

On judgement day I’d rather be a liberal politician than a conservative preacher (Paul Washer, regarding the watered-down Gospel that is preached today)

Men who labor to hide God from themselves, can never hide themselves from God.

Perhaps you think the saints of God [are] too strict and particular and serious. You rather avoid them. You have no delight in their society. There will be no other company in heaven (JC Ryle)

The natural man is afraid to burn in hell, but he’s not afraid to sin (Augustine)

Grace is the understanding that God is a better savior than you are a sinner (Christopher Love)