June 30, 2009

My Doctrinal Statement 2

3. Creation: God created everything by His own Word and power (Genesis 1:1; Hebrews 1:2-3,10; 11:3; 2 Peter 3:5; Revelation 4:11). God Himself is the only non-created, self-existent Being. He created all things by His own will and for His own glory, each Person of the Trinity having a role in creation (Isaiah 40:28; Romans 1:20; Malachi 2:10; John 1:3; Colossians 1:16; Psalm 104:30). We believe in a literal 6-day Creation account found in the first chapter of the Bible, which is also backed up by God's own words concerning the origin of the Sabbath day in the Ten Commandments (Genesis 1; Exodus 20:11). We do not believe it was too difficult for God to create everything in 6 days, neither do we believe it will be hard for Him to quickly destroy everything and create all things new again in the age to come (Revelation 21:1; Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; Hebrews 2:5; 2 Peter 3:13).

June 18, 2009

My Doctrinal Statement

I am thinking through some things about writing a short (as far as I'm concerned) doctrinal statement. Here is what I've written so far:

Doctrinal Statement:

1. The Bible:
the Bible alone is the infallible, inerrant Word of God, breathed out by the Holy Spirit and is sufficient for all knowledge of faith and practice as Christians. We interpret the Bible literally based on the intent of the author, context and logical flow of thought, realizing that having a correct historical understanding of the Bible (taking it at its word) is key to rightly understanding and obeying God's will. The Bible should not be interpreted allegorically or metaphorically unless context suggests such, and at that point, interpreting the Bible with the Bible is also necessary (although we do believe there can also be spiritual meaning found behind literal facts of Scripture, as in Galatians 4:24). (Matt. 22:29; John 10:35; Acts 1:16; Acts 17:11; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21; Romans 12:2; 15:4; 16:26; etc.). Additionally, all Scripture must be recognized as Christ-centered (Luke 24:27,32,45; John 5:39; John 20:31; Acts 18:28; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; etc.).

2. God: God exists as the only Sovereign Being, eternally self-existent, holy (set apart from all of creation), and that He is one yet triune (three in one – Trinity, existing as Father, Son and Holy Spirit), the Creator and Sustainer of all things who is infinitely worthy of all worship. All things exist by God's own will and for His glory, and we know Him by revelation in two primary ways, 1. by the revelation in nature through creation, and 2. by the revelation of the holy Scriptures given through His chosen people Israel. (Genesis 1:1; Romans 1:19,20,21; 3:2; Exodus 3:14; John 8:24,58; Psalm 71:19; Psalm 90:2; Isaiah 9:6; 40:28; 55:6-7,8-9; Matthew 28:19; Mark 1:10-11; John 1:1-3,14,18; 1 Timothy 6:13-14,15-16; Titus 2:13; Revelation 5:12-13; 22:12-21 etc.).

More to be continued...

3. Creation:
4. Man:
5. The Law & the Gospel:
6. Salvation:
7. Judgment:
8. about secondary matters:

June 16, 2009

Just meditate on this

For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the LORD, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:32-36 NASB).

Just meditate on that.

June 15, 2009

Grace Abounding: Evangelism cancer, church, the love of Christ

Evangelism in Philadelphia is exciting. Why? For many reasons, including that I'm praying to be useful to the Lord in the service of His gospel (good news), I am so excited to get out there and share what I've been learning through study, praying for the nations of the world and learning about them is extremely exciting when I meet people from those very continents! and many more reasons.

I'm also excited to be learning to speak in tongues, such as Spanish, as well as bits and pieces of other languages.

My uncle is very sick and in a lot of pain from having Mesothelioma cancer. I'm praying for him daily. Oh how we need the Holy Spirit to awaken our hearts to the truths contained in Scripture, because our time on earth is so short.

My pastor and church are growing in grace along with difficulties that have arisen lately. How I am so grateful to be a part of this small band of believers. We are learning to exhort one another toward love and obedience in faith. May Christ truly be honored by us as we consider ourselves very small in His great Kingdom. May all who join us in praising our Savior be blessed as we worship the Lamb who for us was slain.

Grace to all who read my blog and may God bless you with strength to be able to comprehend with all the saints the overwhelming love of Christ (Ephesians 3:14-21).

June 9, 2009

Justified by Works or Faith?

"So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace." (Romans 11:5-6).

What part of the above verse leaves any room for adding works to our salvation?

However, a lot of people insist that because James 2:14-26 says "You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone" (James 2:24), that it means we are not justified by faith alone before God. Is that what James is actually saying?

On the surface it may appear that James is teaching something he is not. Context is always key. When James speaks of being justified, he could be using this term differently than when Paul uses it. Just check the Biblical uses in context of the word justified. You will see that there are many different ways that word is used in Scripture.

Some people see this as a contradiction. They claim that James and Paul contradict each other, as any unbeliever would be delighted to point out. But from the perspective of the Bible, this cannot be true, since there are valid explanations of this difference within the Bible itself.

We need to recognize the Bible teaches that the very same faith which works, as well as the power in the new birth in order to work, are both given by the Father of heavenly lights (James 1:17-18). The fact that faith, as well as every other "good gift" named in the Bible comes as a gift from God, is very plain in Scripture. It is stated also in Ephesians 2:8, where we are told that the faith by which we are saved, is the gift of God.

James seems to be proving from the examples of Abraham and Rahab that they were justified in their claim to have faith by the works they performed in faith. I draw this conclusion from the words James used in James 2:18, when he speaks of showing his faith by his works. In other words, "I will justify myself as having real and living faith, by my works." James is contrasting the dead faith without works with that which justifies.

So in the teaching of James, a man is justified as having living (not dead) faith by his works. He does not say that a man (or woman, as in Rahab) is justified as perfectly righteous before a Holy God by works. Rather, he seems to be reasoning that the person God justifies shows or proves it by their works. This is called being justified, since a person is justified as having faith by the works they perform. We see this same concept repeated in Hebrews 11, where many more examples are given.

I recently argued over this with someone, who still does not agree with me. However, I believe we can conclude confidently what Paul says in Romans chapter 3:

"Therefore, we conclude a man to be justified by faith without works of Law." (Romans 3:28).

June 4, 2009

How to Stand Up For Your Faith

This post continues my thoughts from the last post.

As Christians, we must always be ready to give a defense for our faith (1 Peter 3:15). But that does not mean that we must know all the historical facts about the Bible, how to explain science in accordance with Biblical revelation, etc. etc..

I believe we must always be learning more about how to defend the Bible in the face of intolerant liberalism using that kind of information. But what is the average Christian going to say to his unbelieving family members who accuse him of being "brain-washed"? What is the average Christian going to say to her co-workers who think she is being "too strict about her beliefs"? and the list goes on.

What better answer can you give than to simply reply:

I cannot do this, behave like that, agree with you, or be a different way, simply because Jesus Christ died for me. The Son of God, whom I serve and love and enjoy, gave His life for me, gave me the Bible by His Spirit, and has reconciled me to His Father. I know God my friends, and so I cannot change.

We have a defense, it is the gospel.

God bless!

June 3, 2009

Human Reconciliation with God

"For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved by his life." (Romans 5:10).

The meaning of this text is simple and clear. We (meaning Christians born again by the work of the Holy Spirit) were reconciled (brought into a peaceful relationship with) God, even while we were His very enemies.

What a statement!

We (Christians) were enemies of God; and while we were His enemies, we were brought back to God in a right relationship and belief in Him.

How did this happen?

By the death of His very own Son, God made us to be reconciled. And not only that, but by the life of Christ (resurrection) we will be saved forever from the ultimate wrath of God (Romans 5:9-10).

This means that our reconciliation was made effective by one act in history -- the death of the Son of God. That is how and when we were reconciled to God.

To the non-believer, or anyone living in unrepentance, there is no peace with God, no friendship with God, no escape from the wrath of God, whether one believes in His existence or not.

The only reason why Christians can claim a right knowledge of God, a right relationship to God and a right hope with God, is because Jesus Christ died and rose again for us.

That is our only boast.

We are nothing but recipients of undeserved mercy, and so we have become Christians because Christ died to bring us into peace with Him. The unreconciled are left fighting against God and ultimately defeated by Him without reconciliation.

So in order to explain ourselves, the reason why Christians are the way we are and have the hope we have is one reason -- Jesus died for us.

You cannot ask us to change our minds, we cannot change our minds, because God has reconciled us to Himself by the death of His Son. This is our solid defense and unfailing hope.

He has done it, we can't deny it.

"While we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son."

The Bible is Always Unshakably True

Truly Objective

by John MacArthur

Biblical truth is objective. It is true by itself. It is true whether or not we feel it’s true. It is true whether or not it has been validated by someone’s experience. It is true because God says it is true. It is wholly true, and it is true down to the smallest jot and tittle. Psalm 119:160 says, “The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.”

That is the very starting point and the necessary foundation for a truly Christian world-view. Give up the ground of biblical truth, and whatever belief-system you have left is not worthy to be labeled Christian, even if it retains vestiges of Christian symbolism and terminology.

Many who would call themselves Christians today are in precisely that situation. They use the language and symbolism of Christianity, but their real source of authority is something besides Scripture. Some simply live by their feelings and shape their beliefs in accord with their own personal preferences. Others actually claim God speaks directly to them through voices, strong impressions, or vague feelings which they interpret as direct revelations from the Holy Spirit. Still others think of the Scriptures as an improvisational script, which they can modify or interpret any way they please. In any case, their lives and beliefs are ordered in accord with their own personal preferences.

But historic Christianity is based on the objective revelation of Scripture. That is why our first key word for describing the Christian world view is objectivity. Our faith is grounded in the conviction that God has spoken, and His Word is objective truth. What He has given us is absolute and unshakable — and it is the truth by which all other truth-claims are measured.

Available online at: http://www.gty.org/Resources/Articles/A320
COPYRIGHT ©2009 Grace to You

June 2, 2009

Called to be Slaves of Jesus - Llamados a ser Esclavos de Jesús

Romans 1:6 says that we were "called to belong to Jesus Christ".

Romanos 1:6 dice que fuimos "llamados a ser de Jesucristo".

June 1, 2009

Don't be afraid of the world's hatred

If you say in your heart, 'These nations are greater than I. How can I dispossess them?' You shall not be afraid of them but you shall remember what the LORD your God did to Pharoah and to all Egypt, the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, the wonders, the mighty hand, and the outstretched arm, by which the LORD your God brought you out. So will the LORD your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid.
(Deuteronomy 7:17-19).

The advice God gave through Moses to the wandering Israelites, about capturing the promised land, is good for Christians today. Especially those Christians feeling a little afraid of all the threats, blasphemies and hatred being expressed from unbelievers in our own country.

I'm hearing story after story in the US news lately, expressing extreme prejudice from people in public, against Christians.

Much of this hatred toward Christians attempts to seem veiled behind the gay rights movement. It is nothing more than an attack on the very children of God. Hatred for those sheep for whom God the Father sent His Son to die on a cross.

We as Christians should be very bold at a time like this. Ready to give a defense of the gospel with great patience, gentleness and kindness. Praying for those who oppose us, standing firmly on the solidness of Biblical doctrine and truth. Remembering that we serve a King who is alive and enthroned in Heaven.

We should not be surprised at all that we are seeing prophecy fulfilled today, this is just stronger evidence for the truth of our faith.

Simply roll your mouse over the following Scripture references to read it:

John 15:18-19,
John 15:20.

John 16:1-2,
John 16:3,
John 16:4.

1 Peter 3:13-14,
1 Peter 3:15,
1 Peter 3:16-17.

And the list could go on... but each verse here is selected for your encouragement!

Grace be with all my fellow Christians. We are so blessed to be washed by the blood of our Lord! Thanks be to our Triune God!