This is a very important program that ministers, leaders, counselors, and pastors in the church should take the time to listen to. The White Horse Inn radio program recently did a show entitled The Foolishness of God in which a discussion took place on the relationship of the church to culture. There are a thousand different “approaches” out there. But more and more, it seems many within evangelicalism are bent on the idea that the primary role of the church is to address the various needs of the culture in various temporal ways, instead of primarily ministering the Gospel to its own people. This isn’t just in the emerging church now either, it’s in many average evangelical congregations and fellowships. The question is which approach is Biblical?
Tag: gospel Page 3 of 5
If you really want to dive deep into the implications and ramifications of God’s grace and mercy to us in Christ, you really need to take the time to listen to this series of sermons on Romans 9 by John Piper. It is unfortunate these passages get skimmed over, ignored or nuanced to such a great degree there is nothing left but hollow theology. There is gold here if you will spend the time with it. Romans 9 answers these questions (though Romans 10-11 continues the answers as well):
- “If God has made such great promises to us in Christ that will NEVER fail (as explained in Romans 8), why is it that a majority of Israel rejected Christ, the only One who could save them?”
- “If all of Israel is not saved, and God’s promises have failed them, what are we to make of the promises of God given to us in Romans 8?”
- “Is God required to show mercy to everyone?”
- “Is God free to show mercy to whom He pleases?”
- “Is God bound by what the creature does or doesn’t do, or is He free to do as He pleases, to His own glory and for His own purposes?”
- “From where did our faith come from?”
“When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, ‘It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.’ So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, ‘Your father gave this command before he died, “Say to Joseph, Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.” And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.’ Joseph wept when they spoke to him. His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, ‘Behold, we are your servants.’ But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.’ Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.” – Genesis 50:12-21
Often people wonder how in the world they can possibly forgive someone who has injured them so deeply. Whether it was a parent (or parents), a boyfriend, a rapist, a boss, a spouse, or a murderer who took away their child’s’ life, how can we forgive from the heart and it not be a forced thing that we know we’re supposed to do? How can forgiveness just come naturally as a way you operate when offended?
- There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)
- He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8:11)
- All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Romans 8:14)
- The Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26)
- We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
- Those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29)
- Those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:30)
- If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
- Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? (Romans 8:33)
- Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised— who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. (Romans 8:34)
- Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? (Romans 8:35)
- In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:37)
- For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
(FYI, if you’re coming from a politically liberal-leaning point of view, please ignore the caption at the beginning and end of this video … that’s totally irrelevant to the main issue at hand: Oprah’s deceit. In addition, I realize there is a book mentioned apparently directly linking Obama to the occult and New Age movement at the end of the video. I have done no investigation of these claims or the book and would liken such a title to far-right fear mongering of some kind … though certainly the actual proposal of establishing a Department of Peace does sound eerily familiar to the Ministry of Love in Orwell’s classic 1984, a place in the story in which the main character, Winston, is tortured into submission to “love” for Big Brother, but I seriously digress from the real topic at hand 🙂 )
This is the absolute essence of false religion, the antithesis of Christianity, the antithesis of the Gospel. In this thinking, You are the starting point for all that is in your world and the world that is out there, as it were. How utterly vain. This kind of thinking, left unchecked, will eat our culture from the inside out, because the ultimate end, the ultimate goal of the type of person this creates is a sociopath. A society of sociopaths? Frightening prospect, just on a worldly level, let alone the abandonment and suppression of the Gospel.
When we read Scripture and particularly the Old Testament, it is so easy to automatically view those heroes of the faith, those glowing golden embossed characters we have all read about as kids as if they did no wrong. Sadly, a lot of times, we carry those portrayals with us into adulthood. Sure they made “mistakes,” the thinking goes, but they are people who kept their act together 99% of the time and are worthy of imitation as a result. And unfortunately, this is where we think the teaching stops.
The natural result of this thinking and its resultant teaching is that the historical characters of the Scriptures merely become our models for how to live, people we should imitate in faith and good works. Now of course, to a certain extent that is true. Yet, is that all there is to these narratives? I thought the Bible was a book about God and His works? Does this not apply to every square inch of Scripture including every single narrative?
After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. 5 Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here am I, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.
Is the Old Testament just a bunch of stories and instruction for what we should and shouldn’t do? Or is it one big story compiled of smaller stories, that all make up an unfolding drama of redemption from Genesis to Revelation, in which God reveals hints and pictures that all point to the grand climax of this story: the perfect, law-fulling life, sacrificial death and hope filled resurrection, ascension and return of Christ? I would argue the latter. For instance, the writer of Hebrews says of Moses:
By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. – Hebrews 11:24-26
After reading this article by Keller, and reading more in The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges, I feel like too many times, what I write on here fits the mold of what Keller and Bridges describe, and this is deeply convicting to me. After reading Keller’s article, I feel like for a second I had an outside perspective of the way others may be perceiving how I come across as well as the way I truly am sometimes.
As I posted recently on here, my blog compromises only a small fraction of my life. But regardless, how I come across may be exactly how some people view me all the time: arrogant, frustrated, self-righteous, etc. I don’t feel like this most of the time, but in all honesty before people reading this, I am that sometimes. This is sin and I deeply need the grace and mercy of Christ provided in His cross and resurrection to cleanse me.