Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Can You Help a Fellow Out?

People join churches every day for the wrong reason. Unfortunately, many stay at their church for the wrong reasons also. I want to write about the church in future blogs and I need your help. Please take some time, think through your answers, and share some information about two very important decisions.

Why did you leave the church you left?

Why did you join the church you joined?

Monday, July 30, 2012

I Need Your Help!

The church of Jesus Christ is one of my favorite themes. I love the church of Jesus Christ. I want to write on the church in future blogs and need your help. I want to evaluate your responses to two important questions. I will then write a series on the church based on your responses. Please think through your answers and give specific details. Please take this very seriously.

Why did you leave the church you left?

Why did you join the church you joined?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Where Are You Carving?

A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.

Charles H. Spurgeon, Pastor
Metropolitan Tabernacle
(19 June 1834 – 31 January 1892)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Hymns for People Over 55

Give Me the Old Timers Religion 
Precious Lord, Take My Hand, And Help Me Up  
Just a Slower Walk with Thee 
Go Tell It on the Mountain, But Speak Up 
Nobody Knows the Trouble I Have Seeing 
Guide Me O Thou Great Lord God, I've Forgotten Where I've Parked The Car 
Count Your Many Birthdays, Count Them One By One 
Blessed Insurance 
It Is Well With My Soul, But My Knees Hurt

Friday, July 27, 2012

Love the Sum of all Virtue

“When God and man are loved with a truly Christian love, they are both loved from the same motives. When God is loved aright, he is loved for his excellency, and the beauty of his nature, especially the holiness of his nature; and it is from the same motive that the saints are loved – for holiness sake. And all things that are loved with a truly holy love, are loved from the same respect to God. Love to God is the foundation of gracious love to men; and men are loved, either because they are in some respect like God, in the possession of his nature and spiritual image, or because of the relation they stand in to him as his children or creatures – as those who are blessed of him, or to whom his mercy is offered, or in some other way from regard to him. Only remarking, that though Christian love be one in its principle, yet it is distinguished and variously denominated in two ways, with respect to its objects, and the kinds of its exercise; as, for example, its degrees etc.”

Jonathan Edwards

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Pursuit of God's Glory In Salvation

Doctrines of Grace

The Doctrines of Grace are a systematic expression of the faith once delivered to the saints.  Specifically, an expression of that portion of the faith which relates to God’s gracious work in redeeming fallen men from the condemnation of sin. 
The Doctrines of Grace are not a creedal statement.  They are not an addition or a substitute for the systematic, doctrinal, expositional teaching of the entire counsel of God’s holy word. 
          The Doctrines of  Grace
  • Sovereignty of God
  • Complete Depravity of Man
  • Unconditional Election
  • Particular Redemption
  • Effective Grace
  • Perseverance of the Saints
 Sovereignty of God
By affirming the Sovereignty of God, we accept the Bible’s teaching that God is the Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer and Disposer of all that is.  His Sovereignty is universal and absolute over all his creatures.  He is subject to none.  He is influenced by none.  He does as he pleases, only as he pleases, and always as he pleases.  None can frustrate him.  None can resist him.  None can change him. None can stop him.  None can hinder him.  God sits upon the throne of universal dominion, decreeing all things, directing all things, ruling all things, and working all things with infinite holiness, goodness and wisdom after the counsel of his own will for his glory and for the good of his elect.
Complete Depravity of Man
By affirming Complete Depravity, we accept the Bible’s teaching that all men are born with a fallen, sinful nature inherited from Adam.   This sin nature corrupts the entire being; body, soul, spirit, mind, will and emotion.   There is no portion of natural man which is not corrupted by the fallen nature.   Consequently, the natural man is incapable of any spiritual good, including responding in faith to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Unconditional Election
By affirming our belief in Unconditional Election, we accept the Bible’s teaching that God has elected unto himself a specific people from the entire fallen human race whom he will save because it pleased him to do so.  God’s choice is not contingent, conditioned or constrained by any goodness in the elect or any predisposition on the part of the elect to believe the gospel.
Particular Redemption
By affirming our belief in Particular Redemption, we accept the Bible’s teaching that the Lord Jesus Christ has paid the penalty for the sins of the elect, thereby satisfying the strict demand of divine justice.  Christ has fully exhausted the wrath of God for the elect once forever, so that they do not receive the just punishment for their sins.  We affirm that Christ has not simply made it possible for the elect to be saved but rather he actually redeemed the elect at Calvary and made certain their ultimate salvation. We affirm the Bible’s teaching that the substitutionary sacrificial atonement made by the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary was on behalf of the elect alone.  He did not die for those who are not elect and who suffer the just punishment for their sins in everlasting hell.
Effective Grace
By affirming our belief in Effective Grace, we accept the Bible’s teaching that the elect will be saved.  God will effectively call all those for whom Christ died to faith in him.  The Holy Spirit regenerates the elect and simultaneously bestows the gifts of faith in Christ and repentance toward God. 
Perseverance of the Saints
By affirming our belief in the Perseverance of the Saints, we accept the Bible’s teaching that none of those for whom Christ died will be lost eternally. We affirm that those who are genuinely converted will persevere and endure to the end.  The Lord will restore them in his mercy and sovereign grace even if they fall grievously following public profession of faith.  
It is liberating and humbling to understand and believe the Doctrines of Grace. Liberating, because we know that we have a sovereign, gracious Lord who has granted us his certain and everlasting salvation.  Humbling, because we realize that we have contributed nothing and can contribute nothing.
"...Salvation is of the Lord." (Jonah 2:9, NKJV)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Steps to the Study of Scriptgure (Part III)

Last Wednesday, (see Part II, July 18, 2012), we began our eight week/step lessons on how to study the Scripture. We began with step one which we called Getting Started.

1.1 Read the larger context
1.2 Read the passage repeatedly
1.3 Compile a list of difficulties
1.4 Analyze the passage
1.5 Begin an “I want to know more list.

Today we continue with our steps as we examine the next step.

Step Number Two – Dive into the Content

This step is related to the various kinds of details that make up the content of the passage that you have undertaken to study. This step enables you to develop the “what” of your text. This step actually deals with text itself as well as some examination of the grammar in the passage.

Use the center margins and footnotes of your primary Study Bible to see some of the textual variants which exist in regards to the passage you are studying. This gives you the opportunity to evaluate them.

2.1 Look up your list of key terms

As you read and re-read your text take the list of key words you listed in your “I want to know more list” in step one. Look these words up in the appropriate reference material in order to understand them and to see how or why they are used in your section of scripture.

2.2 Do a word study on any crucial term (s?)

For example, if you chose to study Matthew 5:13, it would behoove you to do an in-depth word study on the word “salt.” This allows you to see both its meaning and how the author intended to use this word or term. Don’t ignore or by-pass theological terms. Take the time to study words or terms like propitiation, justification, adoption, grace, sober, diligence, or worship.

2.3 Investigate important historical-cultural matters and terms

You will find great help when you understand the historical-cultural matters that are truly significant to the meaning of your text. Investigate the background on the historical usage of “hell,” “salt,” or “marriage.” Take the time and make the effort to read about slaves and their treatment at the time of Christ.

As you can see studying the scripture is much more than merely reading a section of scripture. Some words or terms may be known to you from the beginning of your study. Others that are not known need to be looked up, examined, and even studied to determine the meaning that the original author intended to convey to his readers.

This step isn’t that hard however it is time consuming. Effective bible study is similar to the crossing of a bridge. You are standing on the twenty-first century, white, Anglo-Saxon side of the bridge. Coming to understand various terms and definitions enable you to cross over these “gaps” and gain insight into the first century mind of the bible writer.

Reading a passage may give you bits and pieces of familiarity. However, diligent study of words, terms, definitions, places, and cultural distinctions will take you past familiarity. Studying the content will enable you to determine the original meaning of the ancient text. This is the first step necessary to make accurate and appropriate application to your specific circumstance and/or situation.

Continued Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Eight Lessons from Colorado

Where Are You In Tragedy?

First, let me say that this post is in response to an article I found in Zionica. The author uses three examples to ask three questions. The first example is that of a baby goat apparently almost killed by a raccoon. The kid “had been bloodied almost to death,” records the writer. Then, the classic and seemingly mandated question was asked, “Why would God allow a precious little kid, entirely innocent, to be violently attacked and disfigured?

The second example offered by the writer was the brutal murder of his cousin on her twenty-first birthday. Again, another agonizing question was put forth, “How could God have let this happen?

The third and final example recorded by the author was that of 9/11. This time the question is even more poignant, “Does God even exist?” I am sure had the author written this article July 21, 2012 the shooting in Colorado would have been included.

I do not want to minimize any of these terrible examples of pain and suffering. Even though the author of the article, “Where is God in Tragedies?” concluded with two valid points, I think a third point could have and should have been made. The author concluded with a great point that many times the question of where is God is nothing more than a protest against God for allowing such things to upset our “peaceful and tranquil” lives. He write, “Often, our question of suffering is self-focused, not theological…” Secondly, he mentions the existence of sin as a reason for many of the atrocities that occur.

I think a major point that needs to be made is not “why did God let this happen, or where is God or why couldn’t He have stopped this _______ (fill in the blank) from happening.” I think the question that we should be asking, is “why not me?” Maybe we could re-phrase a little and ask, “Where am I?”

The author made an excellent point when he wrote, “Strikingly, no one seems to complain that God has set before us many opportunities to idolize ourselves. I have never heard anyone saying how irksome it is to be given the freedom to indulge the self in pleasure and self-exaltation—to overeat, to boast, to gossip, to get drunk. Nobody shouts at God for allowing them to sin in their favorite ways.” Isn’t that great?

We have no right to question God. We have no right to question His wisdom, His purpose, or His decrees.  God is beyond any dispute or cross-examination. Listen to what He says,

“Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other, I am God, and there is no like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.’” (Isaiah 46:8010, ESV)

God may not choose to reveal His reason or His purposes for what we conceive or perceive as tragedies. He is not on trial and won’t be examined or cross-examined as Job very well found out. Events such as 9/11, or Columbine, or Colorado, should bring us to a place where we thank and praise God that we were spared and that those events become lessons where we recognize God’s sovereignty as well as our vulnerability.

The question is not where is God or why did God allow this to happen? The question is why not me? We should learn that unless we too repent we may perish as those at Columbine, Colorado, the author’s cousin, etc. We should run to God and thank Him that it was not us and for the fact that we were spared.

Take a real hard look and learn from Matthew, There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them; do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.’” (Luke 13:1-5, ESV)

Even though God may have a myriad of divine reasons for the various tragedies that He allows in our lives, He may never disclose those reasons to us. We cannot judge those who have been so horribly affected various tragedies to be any greater of a sinner than anyone else. We need to see eight distinct principles and we need to learn eight lessons from Colorado:

1.  God is absolutely sovereign in all matters and He is perfect in all that He does. He does things according to His own good pleasure and purpose and does not seek counsel from any human being.

2.  God’s absolute grace toward His creatures prevent each one of us from receiving what we truly deserve. Each demonstration of Gods’ grace toward us is a reminder that grace is that “unmerited favor” which God lavishes on His creation.

3.  Each and every “tragic” event is a reminder that we are vulnerable, our life is short, and that our days are limited and we will all die and face God as our judge. The moment and means of our death had been set before God created the heavens and the earth.

4.  Each and every “tragic” event is a clarion call to turn to God, to repent of our sin and sins and to cry out to God for mercy and forgiveness.

5.  Each and every “tragic” event is not a platform to question God’s reasoning and/or purpose, but it is an invitation to look to God for salvation

6.  Each and every “tragic” event is an opportunity for the true bride of Christ to function as Christ’s ambassadors on earth by demonstrating and making know the marvelous character and nature of our God through the ministry of reconciliation and good deeds.

7.  Each and every “tragic” event has been designed and permitted by God with a unique and specific purpose to be accomplished in the lives of each person affected by such events.

“Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the LORD has done it? (Amos 3:5)

8.  Each and every ‘tragic” event should never be attributed to bad luck, misfortune, a “waco-fringe element,” bizarre behavior, or mentally/morally deranged individuals. Each one of us needs to take note that God is at work in His sovereign wisdom, and each one of us needs to respond accordingly.

May we cease with the folly of asking where God is and why didn’t He prevent the shooting in Colorado. May we praise God that we were not present in Colorado that night. May we pray for and find a way to serve those who are experiencing this horrible tragedy with means that reveal God’s character and nature to them in a salvific manner.

Where are you in this tragedy?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Book Review: History of the English Calvinistic Baptists 1771-1892

Title:  History of the English Calvinistic Baptists 1771-1892

Author:  Robert W. Oliver

Publisher:  The Banner of Truth Trust

First Copyright:  2006

Type of Book:  Hardcover

General Subject Matter:  Historical narrative delineating differences and principle spokesmen between closed and open communion among Particular and General Baptists during the period of 1771-1892

Price:  $27.00

ISBN:  0-85151-920-0

The purpose of this book is to trace the story of the English Calvinistic Baptists from the death of John Gill in 1771 to that of Charles Haddon Spurgeon in 1892. So states the author in the dust jacket notes and in his introduction. Oliver asserts that no Christian community exists without some type of controversy. Oliver details the controversies that developed at this time.

The theme of this book is the development of Strict and Particular doctrines and practices.

The thesis of this book is that even though the emergence of two distinct Baptist denominations out of English Separatism which differed in the proper candidates which could be received as communicants at the Lord’s table, the Strict Baptists (Particular Baptists) and General Baptists.

The author uses a combination of narration and exposition to develop his thesis. The author tells the story of a series of events, developments, and changes that took place after the death of the historic pastor John Gill through the death of another historic pastor, Charles H. Spurgeon in a chronological order. Oliver emphasizes various events to tell his readers about the various developments and what factors precipitated them.

Oliver also uses exposition to explain each event and its significance. Oliver also gives excellent analysis of these events. The author attempts to present the facts as clearly as possible. These facts range from the development of doctrinal papers, establishment of various churches, the calling or dismissing of various pastors, and other essential events from both “camps.”

This book was very interesting. Oliver, although unafraid to admit his bias, was very objective and very thorough in his presentation. Oliver was extremely detailed. This book is very useful to its intended audience as it provides extensive research explaining how various churches developed strict or open communion practices and how they changed during the period of 1771-1892.

Oliver seems to not only defend the position of strict or closed communion but he seems to defend and uphold “hyper-Calvinism.”  He seems to venerate men such as Gill, Gadsby, Philpot, Fuller and Booth who were seemingly hyper-Calvinists.

I would agree with Oliver that communion is preceded by believer’s baptism. I agree with the author’s opinion that the doctrines of grace are biblical doctrines taken straight from the pages of the Scriptures. I agree that only adult candidates who profess and demonstrate conversion should be baptized.

Oliver divides his book in to three distinct sections. Part One is a detailed history of what Oliver calls “the eighteenth-century heritage.” He examines the life, ministry, and contribution (good or bad) of a number of eighteenth century men. Oliver also details controversies such as antinomianism. Part Two details the differences of three prominent men who preached and wrote extensively on the questions and issues of their day; Andrew Fuller, Abraham Booth, William Gadsby, and John Stevens. Part Three begins with the movement toward open communion, the question of the free offer of the gospel, the impact of both John C. Philpot and Charles H. Spurgeon on these issues.

Robert W. Oliver pastored the Old Baptist Church in Bradford on Avon in Wilshire for over thirty-five (35) years. He was a frequent lecturer on Church History in the London Theological Seminary.

This book is a hardback copy. The layout of this book makes it very reader friendly. The typography is very easy to read. There are a number of black and white renditions and sketches of a number of principle men connected to this period and these controversies.

This book is replete with footnotes at the bottom of the page. This book contains three (3) appendices giving further information and summaries. This book contains an extensive bibliography. There are three (3) indexes at the end of this book, one for names, another for places, and a third for subjects.

In summary, Oliver detailed the development of the Strict and Particular brands of the church community in the nineteenth century. He believed it was not a “stagnant backwater that is best forgotten,” but needed to be recorded for great benefit today. Oliver contended that there was a “spiritual vitality” to this group (English Calvinistic Baptists) that needed to be remembered. Oliver skillfully provided a very detailed and useful overview of both the thought and activities of this group of believers.

I found this book to be very interesting and informative. I find it difficult to do a general summary of this book due to the fact that Oliver made each chapter stand on its own. The chapter titles are as follows:

The Legacy of John Gill
Blessings in the Cotswolds
Three Noteworthy Leaders
The Communion Controversy 1772-1781
The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation
William Huntington’s Controversy with the Particular Baptists

Andrew Fuller and Abraham Booth
William Gadsby
John Stevens

Moves Toward Open Communion
The Beginnings of the Strict Baptist Magazines
Joseph Charles Philpot
Charles Haddon Spurgeon

The main topics of this book are:

 Who may take the Lord's Supper? 

"From the seventeenth century onwards, Baptists had debated the question of whether communion should be closed or open, but it was not until the nineteenth century that differences over this issue led to distinct Strict Baptist groupings." (page 58)

"The Particular Baptist denomination remained divided on terms of communion but the two sides within the communion was not settled." (page 87)

What is the role of the law in the Christian life?

John Gill wrote, "[The Law] (sic) is of use to saints and true believers in Christ...to be a rule of life and conversation to them; not a rule to obtain life by; but to live according to; to guide their feet, to direct their steps, and to preserve them from going into bye and crooked paths." (page 112)

In 1957 John Murray wrote, "An erroneous conception of the function of the law can be of such a character that it completely vitiates our view of the gospel; and an erroneous conception of the antithesis between law and grace can be of such a character that it demolishes both the substructure and the superstructure of grace." (page 112)

Is there a biblical warrant for making free offers of the gospel to all and sundry? 

Andrew Fuller wrote in 1815, "I have preached and written much against the abuse of the doctrine of grace; but that doctrine is all my salvation and all my desire. I have no other hope than that from salvation by mere, sovereign and efficacious grace, through the atonement of my Lord and Savior. With this hope I can to into eternity with composure." (page 89)

Andrew Fuller's publishing of The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation in 1785 was a powerful challenge to the prevailing Hyper-Calvinism within the Particular Baptist Churches. William Button and John Martin had been heavily influenced by John Gill. Button was compelled to denounce Fuller's publication, charging Fuller with Arminianism. Button wrote:

There are those, who warmly espousing Mr. F.'s (Fuller) cause, have been pleased to say, they hope his book will cure some their Gillism and Brinism. To such I beg leave to say, I am ashamed of their contemptuous manner of speaking of those great and good me, Gill and Brine, who characters and works ought to be revered and esteemed by all, who call themselves Christians." (page 100)

I received a complimentary copy of this book from The Banner of Truth Trust for this review and nothing else. The opinions offered in this review are mine and I was not required to offer a favorable opinion.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday's Quips and Quotes #30 - (David Brainerd)

Once more, Never think that you can live to God by your own power or strength; but always look to and rely on him for assistance, yea, for all strength and grace.

David Brainerd
April 20, 1718–October 9, 1747

Friday, July 20, 2012

How To Pray for Your Elders

R.W. Glenn is pastor of preaching and vision at Redeemer Bible Church in Minnetonka, MN. He blogs at Red Meat for the Soul. 
About nine years ago, I developed the following list of prayer requests that I gave to every willing hand. I haven’t passed them out in at least four years, but I decided to resurrect them. Why? I need prayer…badly! And so does your pastor. As leaders in the church, we have unique and often more intense temptations (“Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter”). So will you consider praying for your pastor the way I ask my people to pray for me?
1. That the gospel would be the focal point of my life and identity – not manhood, not being a husband, not being a father, not being a pastor, but who I am in Christ.
2. That I would not fear man by desiring the admiration of people; that the Lord’s “Well done” would be ever before my eyes.
3. That the Lord would not allow me to go long between repentances; that I would keep short accounts with Him and be sensitive to and ruthless with my sin.
4. That I would continue to grow in the character qualities of a man of God (1 Tim. 3:1-7 ; 2 Tim. 2:22-26 ; Titus 1:5-9 ).
5. That I would have a consistent, powerful, diligent life of private prayer; that I would grow in my dependence on the Holy Spirit.
6. That the Lord would give me great diligence in study and sermon preparation, making the most of my time.
7. That my preaching and teaching ministry would be empowered by the Holy Spirit; that the Lord would effect real change in our lives through it; and that by it we would be more endeared to Christ.
8. That I would boldly and faithfully and humbly and joyfully and intentionally share the gospel with the non-Christians in my social orbit.
9. That I would see Jesus as supremely valuable, my greatest treasure, and as my dear friend.

Copied from Trevor Wax at the Kingdom Living Blog

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bars, Beer, and the Bible

I stumbled across this in a magazine. I found it interesting and I am convinced somewhere there is going to be a heated discussion over this. 

What do you think?

Every Monday night, Uncle Charlie’s bar in Cheyenne, Wyo., hosts “Bibles and Beer,” a discussion that routinely pulls in people of all faiths — and an atheist.

As many as 45 people have shown up, some toting Bibles. Some might have a drink; others stick to water. Some talk; others mostly listen. There are only a few ground rules: Avoid debate and stick to the text to be discussed that week.

“There really is not a focus on drinking,” insists Rodger McDaniel, a Presbyterian minister who organized the weekly gathering more than a year ago. “But at the same time, it is a much more relaxed atmosphere than in a church basement. If I put this on in my church, I don’t think we would have five or six people.”

Across the country, faith is becoming bar talk. The trend combines the traditional religious charge to go where the people are with the reality that a lot of them are in bars. Organizers include those from mainline churches, those building churches and bar owners and brewers. Some are trying to push the model nationally, taking an ageless yearning for meaning and purpose to places where people often go to try to wash their worries away.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Steps to the Study of Scripture (Part II)

Last week (see Part I, July 11, 2012) it was established that each and every believer has the responsibility to study the bible in order to determine God’s original intended meaning so that each believer can apply the truths of Scripture to their everyday life situations. It is your duty to invoke an encounter between the word of God from the first century and your life of today.

Remember, the scriptures were not written to you. They were written to first century Jewish and Gentile Christians in Asia, Macedonia, Palestine, and such. They were not written to twenty-first century white, Anglo-Saxon Americans. Therefore, one must use recognized tools and great care bathed in prayer to ascertain the original intended meaning of scripture in order to derive a valid application.

The scriptures are not to be thought of as a “Dear Abby” or as a horoscope where one can find a “special message” designed uniquely for any given situation. Now mind you I do not desire to erode your confidence in Scripture. The bible is a valid source energized by the Holy Spirit to be brought to bear on every situation in our lives.

How does one do this? We must carefully exegete, or “lead out” of the passage the principles existing within the passage at hand. In other words, learning the “steps” or the “rules” to biblical exegesis, or bible study enables the believer to determine God given principles from scripture that we are then to bring to bear on each instance or circumstance of our lives.

What are those steps or rules which lead to effective study of the bible? First, they are not many. You may be relieved by this. Second, they are not that difficult, either. Third, these “steps” or “rules” are utilized in conjunction with earnest prayer and absolute reliance upon the Holy Spirit for guidance and insight. Having said this, allow me to take the next seven (7) Wednesday’s and develop these seven steps for you.

Step Number OneGetting Started

1.1 Read the larger context involving your passage

Take the time to develop a good sense as to where your current or specific passage fits into the overall writing from which you are choosing to study. 

Remember your text is only one small part of a “whole” and was never intended to be looked at as an independent portion.

Read enough of that which comes both before and after your passage in order to understand how it relates to a major section of your book and to the book itself. 

1.2 Read your passage repeatedly

Read and re-read your passage for its basic content. Read the passage out loud several times. Read in order to get a feel for the passage as a unit. Read your passage until you can keep the essentials of the passage in your head in an orderly form. Read your passage in a number of translations if you can.

1.3 Compile a list of difficulties

Make a list of those things in the passage that initially seem difficult or confusing to you. Make a list of things (names, places, terms, customs, etc.) that you will need to look up in an English dictionary, a bible dictionary, a bible encyclopedia, a customs and manners book, or concordance.

1.4 Analyze the Passage

Develop a good sense of the structure of the passage and the flow of the bible writer’s argument. It is good to write out a summary of what the author has said. Summarize and analyze any division or natural break in the passage. Paraphrasing the passage is also a good way to develop a summary of the passage.

1.5 Develop an “I want to know more list”

As you read, re-read, and analyze the passage make a list of things you want to delve deeper into. Names, places, events, reasons, doctrines, teachings, or phrases may pique your curiosity and cause you to dig deeper into those areas.

You can increase this list or pair it down to something easily managed depending on your need at the time and what you are studying. Never skip or ignore parts of a passage you don’t understand. Never guess about a portion of scripture. Never bring your own prejudice or bias to a passage.

To be continued Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Five Essential Questions Demanding a Correct Answer!

1.  If A Man Dies, Shall He Live Again?  (Job 14:14)

In Christ, gloriously so, forever and ever, world without end. Amen!  For he that believeth in Christ can never, never die. Though the outward man perish, the inward man is renewed day by day. If the house of this tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building of God made without hands, eternal in the heavens.

2.  What Think Ye of Christ?  (Matt 22:42)

He is the glorious Son of God, the Son of David, the first and the last, the beginning and the end! He is the Savior of His people, the Lord of Lord and the King of Kings!

3.  What Shall I do then with Jesus Which Is Called the Christ?  (Matthew 27:22)

I shall cry out for mercy begging God to be merciful to me and for Him by His grace to make and claim me His own, that I might own Him as Lord and Savior, the King of my life and my hope of life in this world and in the world to come.

4.  What must I do to be saved?  (Acts 16:30)

I must look to Jesus the author and finisher of faith, the propitiation for sin. I must cry for mercy to the one who appeased the Father’s Wrath and became sin for me that His righteousness might be imputed to me. Look to Him in order to live! I must trust in the finished work of the Christ on the cross of Calvary.  
5.  Who will separate us from the love of Christ?
Romans 8:35 

Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nothing, no nothing, shall ever separate us from the love of Christ. Nothing in heaven, nothing on this earth, or anything under this earth shall be able to separate us from the love of God.

Monday, July 16, 2012

An Evangelistic Prayer

Father of mercies, bow Thine ear,
Attentive to our earnest prayer;
We plead for those who plead for thee,
Successful pleaders may they be!

Let thronging multitudes around,
Hear from their lips the joyful sound;
In humble strains thy grace adore,
And feel Thy new-creating power.

Let sinners break their massy chains
Distressed souls forget their pains,
And light through distant realms be spread,
Till Zion rears her drooping head.

Benjamin Beddome, Pastor, The Baptist Chapel
History of the English Calvinistic Baptists
Page 16

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday's Quips and Quotes # 29 (John Owen)

If we do not abide in prayer, we will abide in temptation. Let this be one aspect of our daily intercession: ‘God, preserve my soul, and keep my heart and all its ways so that I will not be entangled.’ When this is true in our lives, a passing temptation will not overcome us. We will remain free while others lie in bondage

John Owen

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Thankfulness for an Unshakable Part

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe; for indeed our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:28-29, NRSV)

The section of scripture beginning in verse twenty-five (25) and concluding in verse twenty-nine gives to us as believers a very somber warning and command. The writer of this epistle is very clear to remind his readers that the Exodus Israelites did not escape judgment and punishment for their blatant disregard of God’s provision. The writer goes to warn his present generation readers that if they were punished, then how much more would those who rejected the grace of God through Jesus Christ be punished? He reminds his readers with a reference to Isaiah (13:13) that God will “shake” both heaven and earth. This shaking is a reference to severe judgment and destruction of all that is not eternal neither associated with the righteousness of God.

We are reminded that we have not received something from God that can be judged or destroyed, but we have received a part in the kingdom of God that cannot be “shaken” or destroyed. For this reason we are to be thankful, or grateful to God. Our sin shouts vociferously toward heaven when we fail to be thankful! Oh, the hideousness of the sin of unthankfulness. The lack of gratitude leads us to bitterness, to complaining or mumbling. We come like the Exodus generation in the wilderness. The promise is plain, we have a part in something that is eternal and cannot be judged or destroyed.

It is our duty to go to God in humility and beg forgiveness for such an ungrateful attitude. We need to beg God in assisting us through His Holy Spirit to enable us to develop the attitude of thankfulness with reverence and awe. The command of our writer is, “let us give thanks.” Be sure to consider the example of the Exodus Israelites. They rejected the grace of God, they complained, they were bitter, and they were punished severely.

Make it your prayer today to be thankful, to have a thankful heart and attitude. Ask God to rid your heart of grumbling and complaining. Remember that we have a part in a kingdom that will never be shaken when God comes to shake both heaven and earth.

Friday, July 13, 2012


Friday the 13th
by Gregg Metcalf
(July 12,2012)

Lo, and behold I turned the calendar page
while staring up at I and making me age
was the day and date that many do fear
Friday the thirteenth once more was here

Friggatriskaidekaphobia is the real name
of this culprit which receives the blame
For mishaps, accidents, and problems galore
and anything else you can name or explore

Do you know before the nineteenth century?
There was never a mention of this misery
It wasn’t until Gioachino Rossini did expire
on Friday the thirteenth raised any ire

Rossini was surrounded at the very last
by admiring friends who watched him pass
but was Friday really such an unlucky day?
Is thirteen an unlucky number, who’s to say?

Twelve apostles, twelve numbers on the clock
Twelve gods on Mount Olympus’s huge rock
command many to say, twelve tis enough
thirteen is too much for any kind of stuff

What do you think about this day so foul?
Will you mark it with a shout or a howl?
Do you fear so simple a number?
Or at its very notion do you slumber?

For me, it is all silly balderdash
coughs, colds, fevers, or red rash
may come your way with great pain
blaming a number is really insane

Believers place their trust in our Lord
they cling to the promises in his Word
they place no faith in things superstitious
or things that one might call suspicious

Bad luck, good luck, they do not exist
take courage, cowboy up and resist
the notion that any day of the week
would give you reason to fear or freak 

Black cats broken mirrors and such things
like walking under a ladder in the spring
bothers me naught, for I have no fear
when Friday the thirteenth is here

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thanks Mr. Postman!

Remember Bobby King's "Thanks Mr. Postman?" That is what I am singing today! Thanks Mr. Postman!

Arrived via the United States Post Office and my wonderful Postman (Letter Carrier) one box from The Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA. What was in that box? WooooooooHoooooooooo! That is what was in that box!

History of the English Calvinistic Baptists (1771-1892) by Robert W. Oliver  (410 pages)

A History of the Work of Redemption by Jonathan Edwards (440 pages)

SPURGEON:  A New Biography by Arnold Dallimore  (252 pages)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Steps to the Study of Scripture (Part I)

The Process

The process for effective and beneficial study of the Bible is really very simple. The process involves two (2) basic areas of theological or biblical aspects: exegesis and hermeneutics. Please do not be afraid of these terms nor shun them.

Exegesis comes from the Greek word ἐξήγησις which is a derivative of ἐξηγεῖσθαι, meaning “to lead out.” The idea is that one “draws out” the biblical meaning of a specific passage. This is in juxtaposition to eisegesis which means “to lead into.” More specifically it means to bring presuppositions, meanings, interpretations, or personal biases to a given text.

The specific goal of biblical exegesis or bible study is to “explore the original meaning of the text which then leads to discovering the significance or relevance for today. Exegesis is the careful, systematic, and analytical study of a biblical passage to discover the original intended meaning in order to make a direct application to today’s setting.

Now, lest you think this process is just for the pastor or teacher in the local church, allow me to state emphatically that this is the job or responsibility of every true or biblical Christian. When you are thinking of the pastor’s job of studying the bible in order to prepare studies or sermons, you are thinking of homiletics.

You, as a believer, have the responsibility to study your bible in order to determine God’s original intended meaning so that you can apply those truths to your everyday life situations.

“These Jews were more receptive than those in Thessalonica, for they welcomed the message very eagerly and examined the scriptures every day to see whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11, NRSV)

(II Timothy 3:14-17) But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

(Psalms 119:11, ESV) I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

(Psalms 18:11, ESV) Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.

The terms exegesis and hermeneutics have been used interchangeably. However, hermeneutics is a more widely defined discipline of interpretation theory: hermeneutics includes the entire framework of the interpretive process, encompassing all forms of communication: written, verbal and nonverbal, while exegesis focuses primarily on the written text.

I do not mention this to intimidate you nor in attempt to show you that I might know something. I only mention this so that I might demonstrate to you, your responsibility to “rightly study” or exegete a passage of Scripture

Your responsibility is twofold: first, you must discover the original intended meaning of the biblical writer and second, make application of that original intended meaning to your life today. You, as a biblical believer must extract from a passage of scripture the essentials that pertain to sound interpretation of Scripture in order to bring that interpretation to bear upon your personal life.

The Exegetical Task

In order to effectively study the bible, you must invoke an encounter between the word of God from the first century and yourself in the twenty-first (21) century. The exegetical task discovers the meaning of a passage of scripture in the first century and then applies that meaning to the present. Do not be afraid of appropriate terms, meanings, or definitions. Do not be afraid of the process of studying your bible!

To be continued Wednesday, July 18th, 2012