THE ONLY TRUE STANDARD

John CalvinJohn Calvin:

God’s Word is the only true standard we have a divine mandate to conform to, and it is the ultimate standard by which we will be judged. Success or failure in ministry therefore cannot be evaluated by numerical statistics, financial figures, popularity polls, public opinion, or any of the other factors the world typically associates with success. The only real triumph in ministry is to hear Christ say, “Well done.”

LIVING BY GRACE IN AN UNFAIR WORLD

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16 ESV)

Samuel A CainSometimes a sense of unfairness may even afflict a Christian’s heart. We travel through hard times and do not know why. We often think only with a focus on our circumstances rather than on God’s Word and His Grace. Yet, we must trust God and wait on Him, not our circumstances.

I do not, personally, know anyone who has not suffered troubles at some point in their life, including myself. The inevitable human question is “Why?” Why do awful things happen to us? Why do bad things happen to people we love? We must learn to accept that some of our questions will only be answered in heaven. Continue reading

COSMIC TREASON

R. C. SproulR.C. Sproul:

“Sin is cosmic treason. Sin is treason against a perfectly pure Sovereign. It is an act of supreme ingratitude toward the One to whom we owe everything, to the One who has given us life itself. Have you ever considered the deeper implications of the slightest sin, of the most minute peccadillo? What are we saying to our Creator when we disobey Him at the slightest point? We are saying no to the righteousness of God. We are saying, “God, Your law is not good. My judgement is better than Yours. Your authority does not apply to me. I am above and beyond Your jurisdiction. I have the right to do what I want to do, not what You command me to do.” (The Holiness of God)

SLIDING TOWARD GODLESSNESS

D. A. CarsonD. A. Carson:

“People do not drift toward Holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.”

COMMANDMENTS, COMMUNION, AND FEELINGS

. . . do not inquire about their [other nation’s] gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods?—that I also may do the same.’ You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the LORD hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods. Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it. (Deuteronomy 12:30-32 ESV)

Samuel A CainThere is a particular mindset in this age which makes “truth” the product of a popularity contest. If a celebrity, voices an opinion – then it must be true. Right? If someone from your political party says something negative about the opposition party, it must be true. Right? If you read it on Twitter or Facebook, it’s the absolute truth. Right? Many people today think that if they believe something to be true because many other people believe it, it must be true. This attitude has also crept into the church.

Suppose you attend church one Sunday and the pastor announces that the church leadership team has voted to change future communion services. After a lot of thought, discussion, and a sample polling of the congregation – the leadership decided that chocolate cake and Pepsi Cola will be substituted for the bread and wine (or grape juice) during communion. This announcement is welcomed with a warm round of applause from most of the congregation. How would this announcement concern you? Does this manner of communion honor God according to the Bible? Continue reading

ARE WE DOING THE SAME?

Bishop J. C. RyleJ.C. Ryle:

“The early Christians made it a part of their religion to look for his return. They looked backward to the cross and the atonement for sin, and rejoiced in Christ crucified. They looked upward to Christ at the right hand of God, and rejoiced in Christ interceding. They looked forward to the promised return of their Master, and rejoiced in the thought that they would see him again. And we ought to do the same.” (Practical Religion)

IDOLATRY

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4 ESV)

Samuel A CainHuman nature frequently leads people to try to change God and His worship into something that is more pleasing to them. Man’s chief end – “to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever” (The Westminster Shorter Catechism) – is often neglected simply for the pursuit of personal joy.

Idolatry is very appealing. Our culture actually encourages self-worship. There are “cultural Christians” who believe they can use their faith to manipulate God for their own worldly prosperity. They worship the gift not the Giver. Many in our congregations can barely sit still for 30 minutes unless they are hearing a sermon titled “Five Steps to Success” or “Seven Steps to What You Really Want”. Others run to the church that entertains them the most. They say they are there because of the worship. However, they do not include hearing God’s Word preached in their definition of “worship”. They attend because they are entertained – thus, diminishing worship to idolatry. Continue reading

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