5/24/16 - The Gospel, Salvation, and Sanctification - Part 90

Video     Audio

Trust In the Process
In particular, trust in the supernatural God of the Universe. For example, when it comes to God's sovereignty vs. your free will, in many ways, it's actually better that we don't understand it fully because it demands faith!..."without faith it is impossible to please Him" (Heb 11:6).
Ro 8:28
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
"to will and to work"
His "causing all things to work together for good" means that certain fruit, with His divine stamp of goodness on it, will be borne in each of our souls, as believers.
Determining Truth
Whatever theology is clearly stated in the scriptures is the truth about a matter. Experiences can only complement, or be interpreted by, the correct theology.
Accepting Parables
A child would simply believe and get out of the way, allowing the Spirit to work in them with it.
1 Pe 1:6-7
In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Fruit-Bearing
True believers will produce fruit, because God says so; and if they don't for a time, He'll rectify it, because He says He will; and if they never come back, they were never His child in the first place, because they are what scripture calls apostates.
Jn 15:1-2
"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.
Parable Branches
Just because scripture calls out a "branch", it doesn't always refer strictly to believers; rather it establishes a certain relationship to the vine/tree/root. (*Jn 15:2; Ro 11:16-24) - *under one interpretation.
Parables
Man has a tendency to impose his own restrictions on the parables in the Bible. Parables are predominantly meant to drive a single point or two home. They are NOT meant to be plucked apart and forced to shed light on things outside of their primary scope of revelation.
Parables
If a parable doesn't allow for certain specifics, then we can't impose them, even though we desire to draw certain conclusions. Parables aren't meant to be dissected ad nauseam; they are meant to be consumed whole so a general rule or theme may be understood.
Parables
Man has a tendency to impose his own restrictions on the parables in the Bible. Parables are predominantly meant to drive a single point or two home. They are NOT meant to be plucked apart and forced to shed light on things outside of their primary scope of revelation.
Parables
If a parable doesn't allow for certain specifics, then we can't impose them, even though we desire to draw certain conclusions. Parables aren't meant to be dissected ad nauseam; they are meant to be consumed whole so a general rule or theme may be understood.
Pastor's point:
We must learn to read parables correctly...in keeping with the intended context and scope of the parable.
Reading Parables
If you learn to read the parables correctly, what you'll find is that they are like sculptures...beautiful and effective at conveying our Great Author's intentions...but they exist as full "sculpture", not as bits and pieces hacked into doctrines that possibly don't even exist!
Jn 15
Is it possible that Jesus was simply sharing the nature of the relationship between a vine and branches when He made the strong statement that the Vinedresser, God, doesn't care for fruitless branches???
Jn 15
You might even challenge your own traditional thinking and ponder whether or not Jesus' intention was to even make distinctions between believers and unbelievers, strictly speaking?
"cast them into the fire"
Scripture depicts the burning by fire as ultimate judgement, as that reserved for unbelievers (Mt 7:19; 13:40-42).
Fruit-Bearing
True believers will produce fruit, because God says so; and if they don't for a time, He'll rectify it, because He says He will; and if they never come back, they were never His child in the first place, because they are what scripture calls apostates.
Ro 8:28
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God [believers], to those who are called according to His purpose.
Matt 4:19-20 NIV
"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him.
Ro 8:28 [Amplified]
And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.
Is God a Puppeteer, or...?
Your theology will have to either suggest that YOU can do good things, e.g. your "new creature"; or, you will have to propose that God is an eternal puppeteer (just consider Heaven for clarity).
 

5/22/16 - The Gospel, Salvation, and Sanctification - Part 89

Video     Audio

Trust In the Process
In particular, trust in the supernatural God of the Universe. For example, when it comes to God's sovereignty vs. your free will, in many ways, it's actually better that we don't understand it fully because it demands faith!..."without faith it is impossible to please Him" (Heb 11:6).
Determining Truth
Whatever theology is clearly stated in the scriptures is the truth about a matter. Experiences can only complement, or be interpreted by, the correct theology.
Spiritual "Paradoxes"
There are things that we simply cannot comprehend, though these things are fundamental to our faith! "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Heb 11:1).
Theology vs. Application
Theology lays out principles. Life is where those principles are applied. The Bible gives us insight into both. The common error is to make theology out of human experiences recorded in scripture. (e.g., Job's wife, the Corinthian's failures, etc.)
Fruit-Bearing
True believers will produce fruit, because God says so; and if they don't for a time, He'll rectify it, because He says He will; and if they never come back, they were never His child in the first place, because they are what scripture calls apostates.
"does not bear"
from me pheron [not + bearing]; is in the present tense, active voice, implying a lifestyle; for example, a tree in hibernation "does not bear" fruit, as it's out of season; if that tree never bears fruit, then it is dead
"He takes away"
"He takes away" - from airei - means to raise, to take up, to lift; is in the present tense, active voice, indicative mood (dogmatic statement of fact); in context, can mean one of three things: God lifts up a believer to bearing fruit; or God lifts up a believer to Heaven (the sin unto death); or God throws the unbeliever into Hell (eg. an apostate). In all possibilities, God actively MAKES something happen.
Parable Branches
Just because scripture calls out a "branch", it doesn't always refer strictly to believers; rather it establishes a certain relationship to the vine/tree/root. (*Jn 15:2; Ro 11:16-24) - *under one interpretation.
Parables
Man has a tendency to impose his own restrictions on the parables in the Bible. Parables are predominantly meant to drive a single point or two home. They are NOT meant to be plucked apart and forced to shed light on things outside of their primary scope of revelation.
Parables
If a parable doesn't allow for certain specifics, then we can't impose them, even though we desire to draw certain conclusions. Parables aren't meant to be dissected ad nauseam; they are meant to be consumed whole so a general rule or theme may be understood.
2Pe 2:22
It has happened to them according to the true proverb, "A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT," and, "A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire."
Parable Branches
Just because scripture calls out a "branch", it doesn't always refer strictly to believers; rather it establishes a certain relationship to the vine/tree/root. (*Jn 15:2; Ro 11:16-24) - *under one interpretation.
Parables
Man has a tendency to impose his own restrictions on the parables in the Bible. Parables are predominantly meant to drive a single point or two home. They are NOT meant to be plucked apart and forced to shed light on things outside of their primary scope of revelation.
Parables
If a parable doesn't allow for certain specifics, then we can't impose them, even though we desire to draw certain conclusions. Parables aren't meant to be dissected ad nauseam; they are meant to be consumed whole so a general rule or theme may be understood.
"cast them into the fire"
Scripture depicts the burning by fire as ultimate judgement, as that reserved for unbelievers (Mt 7:19; 13:40-42).
Fruit-Bearing
True believers will produce fruit, because God says so; and if they don't for a time, He'll rectify it, because He says He will; and if they never come back, they were never His child in the first place, because they are what scripture calls apostates.
Ro 8:28
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God [believers], to those who are called according to His purpose.
Ro 8:28 [Amplified]
And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.
Experiential Sanctification
By grace, God changes us. By grace, He's made us new creatures "in Christ". We have new natures that are perfect, therefore can only do His good will. The new "us" is "willingly humble" and supernaturally fellowships with God, making our fruit-bearing a collaborative, joint-labor.
Experiential Sanctification
To avoid assigning any creature credit in the production of divine good fruit in our lives, we simply refer back to scripture, which says, "By the grace of God I am what I am" (1Co 15:10). God has qualified us to work with Him, "in Christ".
Experiential Sanctification
We are not somehow passive robots, whose free will is merely an academic construct that God invented to appease our flesh's desire for independence. At salvation, He literally changed us. It's because of that grace activity that we are able to join Him in accomplishing His will in time. We desire obedience!
Is God a Puppeteer, or...?
Your theology will have to either suggest that YOU can do good things, e.g. your "new creature"; or, you will have to propose that God is an eternal puppeteer (just consider Heaven for clarity).

 


5/19/16 - The Gospel, Salvation, and Sanctification - Part 88

Video     Audio

Trust In the Process
In particular, trust in the supernatural God of the Universe. For example, when it comes to God's sovereignty vs. your free will, in many ways, it's actually better that we don't understand it fully because it demands faith!..."without faith it is impossible to please Him" (Heb 11:6).
Php 2:12b-13 work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
+
1Pe 2:2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,
"does not bear"
from me pheron [not + bearing]; is in the present tense, active voice, implying a lifestyle; for example, a tree in hibernation "does not bear" fruit, as it's out of season; if that tree never bears fruit, then it is dead
"He takes away"
"He takes away" - from airei - means to raise, to take up, to lift; is in the present tense, active voice, indicative mood (dogmatic statement of fact); in context, can mean one of three things: God lifts up a believer to bearing fruit; or God lifts up a believer to Heaven (the sin unto death); or God throws the unbeliever into Hell (eg. an apostate). In all possibilities, God actively MAKES something happen.
Fruit-Bearing
True believers will produce fruit, because God says so; and if they don't for a time, He'll rectify it, because He says He will; and if they never come back, they were never His child in the first place, because they are what scripture calls apostates.
"cast them into the fire"
Scripture depicts the burning by fire as ultimate judgement, as that reserved for unbelievers (Mt 7:19; 13:40-42).
Experiential Sanctification
By grace, God changes us. By grace, He's made us new creatures "in Christ". We have new natures that are perfect, therefore can only do His good will. The new "us" is "willingly humble" and supernaturally fellowships with God, making our fruit-bearing a collaborative, joint-labor.
Experiential Sanctification
To avoid assigning any creature credit in the production of divine good fruit in our lives, we simply refer back to scripture, which says, "By the grace of God I am what I am" (1Co 15:10). God has qualified us to work with Him, "in Christ".
Experiential Sanctification
We are not somehow passive robots, whose free will is merely an academic construct that God invented to appease our flesh's desire for independence. At salvation, He literally changed us. It's because of that grace activity that we are able to join Him in accomplishing His will in time. We desire obedience!
Is God a Puppeteer, or...?
Your theology will have to either suggest that YOU can do good things, e.g. your "new creature"; or, you will have to propose that God is an eternal puppeteer (just consider Heaven for clarity).
Considering Ro 7:15-25:
Do you believe that you are "in Christ", in union with Him? If yes, then ask yourself, do you believe that Jesus Christ, Himself, is able to produce good fruit on His own? If "yes", then why doubt that YOU can??? Are you not a "partaker of grace"? (Php 1:7; Jn 1:14; 2Jn 3)
The Book of Ephesians
There wasn't any primary point of contention in view, therefore, Paul was free to expand upon the glories of the Gospel in the lives of believers! It's a magnificent treatise on what living the Gospel looks like in a church that hasn't been overrun by the flesh.
The Book of Ephesians
In his "confirmation of the gospel" (ala Php 1:7), Paul refers to grace a LOT in the Book of Ephesians. This makes total sense, given the "stewardship of God's grace" was given to him to teach. Grace is the lynchpin of the Gospel, hence it was frequently extolled and defended by Paul and others.
Grace Offends the Flesh
If it's by God's grace, then it is simple. Salvation is simple, as is sanctification. Man is responsible for complicating things.
Striving for So-Called "Spiritual Maturity"
If one's pursuit of so-called "spiritual maturity" is the cause for anxiety, angst, increasing confusion, etc., it is fair to say that it is ungodly by nature (fruit of the wrong nature, aka OSN).
Maturity
Maturity in Jesus' mind was opposite from His disciples' mind. There are multiple examples of Jesus having to readjust His disciples (e.g., Mk 10:13-16; Lk 9:46-48; 22:24-30; etc.).
Maturity
The most mature people in any church are the greatest servants (Mark 10:45). Look at your own heart and your desire to serve others rather than self; consider your deeds, even. (Lk 21:1-4; 2Co 8:12)
Immaturity
If you have nothing to give because you've given in to all of your own wants (not needs), then your "readiness" isn't pure. From the blog titled, "I'd love to help, but...", Charity has been stymied by irresponsibility.
Maturity
The most mature people in any church are the greatest servants (Mark 10:45). Look at your own heart and your desire to serve others rather than self; consider your deeds, even. (Lk 21:1-4; 2Co 8:12)

5/17/16 - The Gospel, Salvation, and Sanctification - Part 87

Video     Audio

1 Peter 2:2
like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation
"work out your salvation"
Refers to your involvement in sanctification. Sanctification is salvation come alive in you, it is living in the Gospel reality, it is realizing God's eternal love for you. You do so "with fear and trembling" in awe of and respect for all that He's done.
Our Role in Sanctification
The key is to understand the "willingness" to do so...AS A RESULT of what God has already done in them!
Experiential Sanctification
By grace, God changes us. By grace, He's made us new creatures "in Christ". We have new natures that are perfect, therefore can only do His good will. The new "us" is "willingly humble" and supernaturally fellowships with God, making our fruit-bearing a collaborative, joint-labor.
Experiential Sanctification
To avoid assigning any creature credit in the production of divine good fruit in our lives, we simply refer back to scripture, which says, "By the grace of God I am what I am" (1Co 15:10). God has qualified us to work with Him, "in Christ".
Experiential Sanctification
We are not somehow passive robots, whose free will is merely an academic construct that God invented to appease our flesh's desire for independence. At salvation, He literally changed us. It's because of that grace activity that we are able to join Him in accomplishing His will in time. We desire obedience!
Php 2:12-13
In v12, scripture states that we are individually responsible (via volition) to God for the work we complete... and vs. 13 reveals the supernatural nature of this calling and how it combines with God's will and work in you.
The New You
He takes that changed vessel, even though it's still dragging around "this body of death" (Ro 7:24), and He empowers it to bear good fruit to His own glory.
The Vine and the Branches
John 15 depicts the supernaturally wrought reality that is a believer's intimate relationship in/with their Savior. There is an eternal, familial relationship established between our Lord and His disciples.
"to will and to work"
God doesn't merely desire that His children "do" His will, He changes them so that they "will" to work for His good pleasure. This is one of the hallmarks of a true believer - their new creature desires to please God.
"to will and to work"
The desires of our heart change more and more. He is bringing us to love, and therefore the desire to be a willing, joyful servant of His.
Php 2:12 [Amplified]
So then, my dear ones, just as you have always obeyed [my instructions with enthusiasm], not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation [that is, cultivate it, bring it to full effect, actively pursue spiritual maturity] with awe-inspired fear and trembling [using serious caution and critical self-evaluation to avoid anything that might offend God or discredit the name of Christ].
Php 2:13 [Amplified]
For it is [not your strength, but it is] God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure.
The Parable of the Flower
Just like the flower and its growth is simply accomplished through God's grace, so goes the spiritual life. Intellectual striving is the antithesis of grace, and it leads to bondage, not clarity. Freedom is afforded to those with the faith of a child.
"in the defense and confirmation of the gospel"
This sums up the nature of Paul's ministry. He "fought the good fight" (2Ti 4:7) to preserve the Gospel complete and unstained. He preached "by grace through faith" (Eph 2:8-9) as the lynchpin of a believer's confidence in Christ. He just wanted others to know Christ (Eph; 1Co 2:2; 2Co 11:3).
The Book of Ephesians
In his "confirmation of the gospel" (ala Php 1:7), Paul refers to grace a LOT in the Book of Ephesians. This makes total sense, given the "stewardship of God's grace" was given to him to teach. Grace is the lynchpin of the Gospel, hence it was frequently extolled and defended by Paul and others.
Pastor Collins on Ephesians
Paul is proclaiming the virtues of the Gospel on the merits of God's grace through Christ Jesus...it's beautiful.

 


5/15/16 - The Gospel, Salvation, and Sanctification - Part 86

Video     Audio

Jas 4:6b [Message]
..."God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble." "Willful" implies "full of human will", which points to the flesh "doing"; whereas, "willing" implies "not already full, but open to being filled", which points to the humble.
"work out your salvation"
Refers to your involvement in sanctification. Sanctification is salvation come alive in you, it is living in the Gospel reality, it is realizing God's eternal love for you. You do so "with fear and trembling" in awe of and respect for all that He's done.
Experiential Sanctification
By grace, God changes us. By grace, He's made us new creatures "in Christ". We have new natures that are perfect, therefore can only do His good will. The new "us" is "willingly humble" and supernaturally fellowships with God, making our fruit-bearing a collaborative, joint-labor.
Experiential Sanctification
To avoid assigning any creature credit in the production of divine good fruit in our lives, we simply refer back to scripture, which says, "By the grace of God I am what I am" (1Co 15:10). God has qualified us to work with Him, "in Christ".
Experiential Sanctification
We are not somehow passive robots, whose free will is merely an academic construct that God invented to appease our flesh's desire for independence. At salvation, He literally changed us. It's because of that grace activity that we are able to join Him in accomplishing His will in time. We desire obedience!
"work out your salvation"
Refers to your involvement in sanctification. Sanctification is salvation come alive in you, it is living in the Gospel reality, it is realizing God's eternal love for you. You do so "with fear and trembling" in awe of and respect for all that He's done.
The Vine and the Branches
John 15 depicts the supernaturally wrought reality that is a believer's intimate relationship in/with their Savior. There is an eternal, familial relationship established between our Lord and His disciples.
"to will and to work"
God doesn't merely desire that His children "do" His will, He changes them so that they "will" to work for His good pleasure. This is one of the hallmarks of a true believer - their new creature desires to please God.
Php 2:12 [Amplified]
So then, my dear ones, just as you have always obeyed [my instructions with enthusiasm], not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation [that is, cultivate it, bring it to full effect, actively pursue spiritual maturity] with awe-inspired fear and trembling [using serious caution and critical self-evaluation to avoid anything that might offend God or discredit the name of Christ].
Php 2:13 [Amplified]
For it is [not your strength, but it is] God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure.
The Parable of the Flower
Just like the flower and its growth is simply accomplished through God's grace, so goes the spiritual life. Intellectual striving is the antithesis of grace, and it leads to bondage, not clarity. Freedom is afforded to those with the faith of a child.
"in the defense and confirmation of the gospel"
This sums up the nature of Paul's ministry. He "fought the good fight" (2Ti 4:7) to preserve the Gospel complete and unstained. He preached "by grace through faith" (Eph 2:8-9) as the lynchpin of a believer's confidence in Christ. He just wanted others to know Christ (Eph; 1Co 2:2; 2Co 11:3).
The Book of Ephesians
There wasn't any primary point of contention in view, therefore, Paul was free to expand upon the glories of the Gospel in the lives of believers! It's a magnificent treatise on what living the Gospel looks like in a church that hasn't been overrun by the flesh.
The Book of Ephesians
In his "confirmation of the gospel" (ala Php 1:7), Paul refers to grace a LOT in the Book of Ephesians. This makes total sense, given the "stewardship of God's grace" was given to him to teach. Grace is the lynchpin of the Gospel, hence it was frequently extolled and defended by Paul and others.
The Book of Ephesians
There wasn't any primary point of contention in view, therefore, Paul was free to expand upon the glories of the Gospel in the lives of believers! It's a magnificent treatise on what living the Gospel looks like in a church that hasn't been overrun by the flesh.
The Book of Ephesians
In his "confirmation of the gospel" (ala Php 1:7), Paul refers to grace a LOT in the Book of Ephesians. This makes total sense, given the "stewardship of God's grace" was given to him to teach. Grace is the lynchpin of the Gospel, hence it was frequently extolled and defended by Paul and others.
"in the defense and confirmation of the gospel"
This sums up the nature of Paul's ministry. He "fought the good fight" (2Ti 4:7) to preserve the Gospel complete and unstained. He preached "by grace through faith" (Eph 2:8-9) as the lynchpin of a believer's confidence in Christ. He just wanted others to know Christ (Eph; 1Co 2:2; 2Co 11:3).
Grace Offends the Flesh
If it's by God's grace, then it is simple. Salvation is simple, as is sanctification. Man is responsible for complicating things.
1Co 14:33
for God is not a God of confusion [instability, confusion, disorder, tumult, disturbances] but of peace [welfare, peace, without disturbances], as in all the churches of the saints.
Striving for So-Called "Spiritual Maturity"
If one's pursuit of so-called "spiritual maturity" is the cause for anxiety, angst, increasing confusion, etc., it is fair to say that it is ungodly by nature (fruit of the wrong nature, aka OSN).
Synthesizing...
• Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
• 1Co 2:16 For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.
Doctrines Don't Mature, People Do
The Church isn't responsible for seeing to it that Christ's doctrines are "matured". His doctrines preexisted humanity (Jn 1:1). Paul and the other Apostles wrote about confirming and defending the Gospel (ala Php 1:7), not "maturing" it somehow, or suggesting their disciples "progress" it further through determination/striving.
Maturity
Maturity in Jesus' mind was opposite from His disciples' mind. There are multiple examples of Jesus having to readjust His disciples (e.g., Mk 10:13-16; Lk 9:46-48; 22:24-30; etc.).
Maturity
The most mature people in any church are the greatest servants (Mark 10:45). Look at your own heart and your desire to serve others rather than self; consider your deeds, even. (Lk 21:1-4; 2Co 8:12)

 


5/12/16 - The Gospel, Salvation, and Sanctification - Part 85

Video     Audio

"work out your salvation"
Refers to your involvement in sanctification. Sanctification is salvation come alive in you, it is living in the Gospel reality, it is realizing God's eternal love for you. You do so "with fear and trembling" in awe of and respect for all that He's done.
Kneading
Jesus was never distracted from saving us. Even today, He's kneading out salvation in us - that is sanctification!!! We mustn't become rigid, we must relax and let Him massage our souls. There may be knots He has to focus on, but it's all good. :)
The Gospel Focus
We've now gone back to the very words of Jesus Christ in His earthly ministry in order to nail down what His focus actually was, given the fact that He is the giver of both the Great Commission and the Holy Spirit, our Helper in it.
So-Called "Spiritual Maturity"
Neither Jesus nor His disciples ever used the phrase "spiritual maturity", nor were they, or their ministries, preoccupied with the concept of it. Nor was the early church (Ac 2, 3, 10, 17).
The Parable of the Flower
Just like the flower and its growth is simply accomplished through God's grace, so goes the spiritual life. Intellectual striving is the antithesis of grace, and it leads to bondage, not clarity. Freedom is afforded to those with the faith of a child.
"in the defense and confirmation of the gospel"
This sums up the nature of Paul's ministry. He "fought the good fight" (2Ti 4:7) to preserve the Gospel complete and unstained. He preached "by grace through faith" (Eph 2:8-9) as the lynchpin of a believer's confidence in Christ. He just wanted others to know Christ (Eph; 1Co 2:2; 2Co 11:3).
The MacArthur Study Bible - NASB
Recommended Study Bible
The Book of Ephesians
There wasn't any primary point of contention in view, therefore, Paul was free to expand upon the glories of the Gospel in the lives of believers! It's a magnificent treatise on what living the Gospel looks like in a church that hasn't been overrun by the flesh.
"in the defense and confirmation of the gospel"
This sums up the nature of Paul's ministry. He "fought the good fight" (2Ti 4:7) to preserve the Gospel complete and unstained. He preached "by grace through faith" (Eph 2:8-9) as the lynchpin of a believer's confidence in Christ. He just wanted others to know Christ (Eph; 1Co 2:2; 2Co 11:3).
Synthesizing...
• Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
• 1Co 2:16 For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.
Doctrines Don't Mature, People Do
The Church isn't responsible for seeing to it that Christ's doctrines are "matured". His doctrines preexisted humanity (Jn 1:1). Paul and the other Apostles wrote about confirming and defending the Gospel (ala Php 1:7), not "maturing" it somehow, or suggesting their disciples "progress" it further through determination/striving.
The Completed Canon ~ A.D. 95
If the Church was so mature by then, then why were the Apostles still fighting the exact same battles? Their opposition may have been more mature, but the Gospel given was already fully matured. The true Church wasn't somehow "more mature" by doctrinal standards. It may have been expanding, but the doctrines didn't somehow "mature".
Maturity
Maturity in Jesus' mind was opposite from His disciples' mind. There are multiple examples of Jesus having to readjust His disciples (e.g., Mk 10:13-16; Lk 9:46-48; 22:24-30; etc.).

 


5/10/16 - The Gospel, Salvation, and Sanctification - Part 84

Video     Audio

PTEJC
I used to think that spiritual maturity was about me growing up, but now I know that it's about the Gospel growing up in me, unfettered, unhidden, fully bloomed, brilliant Light, as of Jesus Christ, Himself.
PTEJC
I used to perceive that my salvation was a historical event, something to be grateful for, of course, but now I know that my salvation is my sanctification, that my sanctification is my salvation.
Perspective Matters
When reading theology, we must tap into the new creature's perspective - the one that never has a problem with the plainly stated things in the Bible.
Big-Picture Reading
If we read the Bible with the Gospel lens, we clearly see God's doctrines, the mind of Christ (1Co 2:16). However, if we read it with a doctrinal lens, we run the risk of losing sight of the Gospel (e.g., 1Co 13).
The Nature of the Early Church
Jesus' ministry was focused on salvation. Being Jewish, and given the Jews part in the Gospel, He often spoke keenly on topics at the forefront of their minds (e.g., the "kingdom of Heaven/God"). The keystone of His message was salvation (not so-called "spiritual maturity").
The Early Church Wasn't Hyper-Categorical
Hyper-categorization runs the risk of disjointed doctrines, which ultimately ruins one's vision of the Gospel in its purest, fullest sense.
Acts 20:21 NIV
I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.
Lk 19:10
"For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."
Jesus' Commission From the Father
Fishing implies catching. The focus is not on fisheries, where fish are matured, it is on catching souls (saving them), hence, the great commission He gives His disciples in Mt 28:18-20.
The Life of Jesus
Jesus was born to die. He came to save sinners. His audience was in shambles, a disoriented mess. His focus was to call His sheep to Himself (it was not to somehow mature them). Given the vastness of His ministry, the physicality of it, even, He had much to do regarding the simplicity of the Gospel.
Mature Reading
The central theme in the Bible is the Gospel. The central Person is Jesus Christ. The more "mature" you are, the more you'll read every passage of scripture in light of these two truths, and every passage will amplify them.
"Spiritual Maturity"
Spiritual maturity is an issue of faith, as a function of humility. The Pharisees example proves that intellect has nothing to do with maturity. God's righteousness is only satisfied by faith given to us as believers.
Get Your Focus Right
The idea of "spiritual maturity" has been blown WAY out of proportion, with some teaching against divine wisdom, even (e.g., Ecc 12:12). Jesus' ministry (and His Great Commission for believers) was NOT focused on so-called maturity, but rather saving souls! "[Making] disciples" (Mt 28:19) means making believers!
1 Peter 2:1-3
Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.
"In the know" Garbage
Historically, the flesh has hijacked the simple, pure things of the Gospel for the purpose of self-elevation/-separation/-righteousness. The Pharisees and the Gnostics are examples of this. Today, we have other elitist ideologies that hyper-focus on spiritual maturity in the absence of having even the Gospel full/accurate.
"love is perfected with us"
This doesn't mean that at salvation we become perfect lovers; it means that perfect love is now "with us", providing us with a definite hope and confidence regarding eternal life.
The Great Litmus Test
The hallmark of true love is a base desire to live for others. "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). The Spirit will assure you of your faith by revealing to you His love in you (1Jn 3:14,19-20; 4:13).
One or the Other
We can't have the simplicity and purity of the Gospel Truth while complicating and intellectualizing the Word.

5/8/16 - The Gospel, Salvation, and Sanctification - Part 83

Video     Audio

How To Master the English Bible
By James M. Gray
PTEJC
I used to think that spiritual maturity was about me growing up, but now I know that it's about the Gospel growing up in me, unfettered, unhidden, fully bloomed, brilliant Light, as of Jesus Christ, Himself.
PTEJC
I used to perceive that my salvation was a historical event, something to be grateful for, of course, but now I know that my salvation is my sanctification, that my sanctification is my salvation.
PTEJC
I used to think that the "real" work is done after salvation, but now I know that the great work is already done in me. I've learned through scripture that maturity is a function of shedding preconceptions. The Bible records how others have been sanctified like this. It's simple.
PTEJC
I used to think that Jesus' words were for "another era" and forever reserved for "another people", sterilized by the context of His life. I now know that His words are the most fundamental of all. In fact, He sent His disciples out to preach and defend them forevermore ("...and lo I will be with you always, even to the end of the age." - Mt 28:20b).
PTEJC
I used to focus on me, with Jesus always there by my side. Now, I focus on Jesus, with me by His side. I am His slave, He is not mine. He bought me when I was broke, I did not purchase Him from an evangelist.
McLaren on 1Ti 1:15
That great Gospel which fills the Bible and overflows on the shelves of crowded libraries is here, without harm to its power, folded up into one saying, which the simplest can understand sufficiently to partake of the salvation which it offers.
McLaren on 1Ti 1:15
Now, every word there is weighty, and might be, not beaten out, but opened out into volumes.
Perspective Matters
When reading theology, we must tap into the new creature's perspective - the one that never has a problem with the plainly stated things in the Bible.
Big-Picture Reading
If we read the Bible with the Gospel lens, we clearly see God's doctrines, the mind of Christ (1Co 2:16). However, if we read it with a doctrinal lens, we run the risk of losing sight of the Gospel (e.g., 1Co 13).
The Nature of the Early Church
Jesus' ministry was focused on salvation. Being Jewish, and given the Jews part in the Gospel, He often spoke keenly on topics at the forefront of their minds (e.g., the "kingdom of Heaven/God"). The keystone of His message was salvation (not so-called "spiritual maturity").
The Early Church Wasn't Hyper-Categorical
Hyper-categorization runs the risk of disjointed doctrines, which ultimately ruins one's vision of the Gospel in its purest, fullest sense.
The Nature of the Early Church
Jesus' ministry was focused on salvation. Being Jewish, and given the Jews part in the Gospel, He often spoke keenly on topics at the forefront of their minds (e.g., the "kingdom of Heaven/God"). The keystone of His message was salvation (not so-called "spiritual maturity").
Jesus' Commission From the Father
Fishing implies catching. The focus in not on fisheries, where fish are matured, it is on catching souls (saving them), hence, the great commission He gives His disciples in Mt 28:18-20.
The Life of Jesus
Jesus was born to die. He came to save sinners. His audience was in shambles, a disoriented mess. His focus was to call His sheep to Himself (it was not to somehow mature them). Given the vastness of His ministry, the physicality of it, even, He had much to do regarding the simplicity of the Gospel.
Mature Reading
The central theme in the Bible is the Gospel. The central Person is Jesus Christ. The more "mature" you are, the more you'll read every passage of scripture in light of these two truths, and every passage will amplify them.
The Life of Jesus
Jesus was born to die. He came to save sinners. His audience was in shambles, a disoriented mess. His focus was to call His sheep to Himself (it was not to somehow mature them). Given the vastness of His ministry, the physicality of it, even, He had much to do regarding the simplicity of the Gospel.
"Spiritual Maturity"
Spiritual maturity is an issue of faith, as a function of humility. The Pharisees example proves that intellect has nothing to do with maturity. God's righteousness is only satisfied by faith given to us as believers.
Get Your Focus Right
The idea of "spiritual maturity" has been blown WAY out of proportion, with some teaching against divine wisdom, even (e.g., Ecc 12:12). Jesus' ministry (and His Great Commission for believers) was NOT focused on so-called maturity, but rather saving souls! "[Making] disciples" (Mt 28:19) means making believers!
"In the know" Garbage
Historically, the flesh has hijacked the simple, pure things of the Gospel for the purpose of self-elevation/-separation/-righteousness. The Pharisees and the Gnostics are examples of this. Today, we have other elitist ideologies that hyper-focus on spiritual maturity in the absence of having even the Gospel full/accurate.
"love is perfected with us"
This doesn't mean that at salvation we become perfect lovers; it means that perfect love is now "with us", providing us with a definite hope and confidence regarding eternal life.
Cambridge Bible Commentary
The Apostle thus anticipates a possible objection. A man may say 'I can love God without loving my brother, and I can prove my love by keeping His commandments' (Jn 14:15). 'Nay', says S. John, 'your own argument shows your error: you cannot keep His commandments without loving your brother'.
Cambridge Bible Commentary
Thus then we have two revelations of God: our brother, who is His image; and His commandment, which is His will. Not to love our brother is a flagrant violation of both. As Pascal puts it, we must know men in order to love them, but we must love God in order to know Him.
The Great Litmus Test
The hallmark of true love is a base desire to live for others. "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). The Spirit will assure you of your faith by revealing to you His love in you (1Jn 3:19-20; 4:13).
Paul's Ministry
• What is the nature of a well-written introduction, like the one in Php 1?
• What is the primary theme of Paul's ministry, as described from a prison cell?
McLaren on 1Ti 1:15
That great Gospel which fills the Bible and overflows on the shelves of crowded libraries is here, without harm to its power, folded up into one saying, which the simplest can understand sufficiently to partake of the salvation which it offers.
McLaren on 1Ti 1:15
Now, every word there is weighty, and might be, not beaten out, but opened out into volumes.
Big-Picture Reading
If we read the Bible with the Gospel lens, we clearly see God's doctrines, the mind of Christ (1Co 2:16). However, if we read it with a doctrinal lens, we run the risk of losing sight of the Gospel (e.g., 1Co 13).
The Nature of the Early Church
Jesus' ministry was focused on salvation. Being Jewish, and given the Jews part in the Gospel, He often spoke keenly on topics at the forefront of their minds (e.g., the "kingdom of Heaven/God"). The keystone of His message was salvation (not so-called "spiritual maturity").
LK 19:10
"For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."
MT 4:19-20
And He *said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.
1Pe 2:24
and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.
The Life of Jesus
Jesus was born to die. He came to save sinners. His audience was in shambles, a disoriented mess. His focus was to call His sheep to Himself (it was not to somehow mature them). Given the vastness of His ministry, the physicality of it, even, He had much to do regarding the simplicity of the Gospel.
"Spiritual Maturity"
Spiritual maturity is an issue of faith, as a function of humility. The Pharisees example proves that intellect has nothing to do with maturity. God's righteousness is only satisfied by faith given to us as believers.
Get Your Focus Right
The idea of "spiritual maturity" has been blown WAY out of proportion, with some teaching against divine wisdom, even (e.g., Ecc 12:12). Jesus' ministry (and His Great Commission for believers) was NOT focused on so-called maturity, but rather saving souls! "[Making] disciples" (Mt 28:19) means making believers!
"In the know" Garbage
Historically, the flesh has hijacked the simple, pure things of the Gospel for the purpose of self-elevation/-separation/-righteousness. The Pharisees and the Gnostics are examples of this. Today, we have other elitist ideologies that hyper-focus on spiritual maturity in the absence of having even the Gospel full/accurate.
The Great Litmus Test
The hallmark of true love is a base desire to live for others. "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). The Spirit will assure you of your faith by revealing to you His love in you (1Jn 3:19-20; 4:13).
PTEJC
I used to think that spiritual maturity was about me growing up, but now I know that it's about the Gospel growing up in me, unfettered, unhidden, fully bloomed, brilliant Light, as of Jesus Christ, Himself.
PTEJC
I used to perceive that my salvation was a historical event, something to be grateful for, of course, but now I know that my salvation is my sanctification, that my sanctification is my salvation.
PTEJC
I used to think that the "real" work is done after salvation, but now I know that the great work is already done in me. I've learned through scripture that maturity is a function of shedding preconceptions. The Bible records how others have been sanctified like this. It's simple.
PTEJC
I used to think that Jesus' words were for "another era" and forever reserved for "another people", sterilized by the context of His life. I now know that His words are the most fundamental of all. In fact, He sent His disciples out to preach and defend them forevermore ("...and lo I will be with you always, even to the end of the age." - Mt 28:20b).
PTEJC
I used to focus on me, with Jesus always there by my side. Now, I focus on Jesus, with me by His side. I am His slave, He is not mine. He bought me when I was broke, I did not purchase Him from an evangelist. 

 


5/5/16 - The Gospel, Salvation, and Sanctification - Part 82

Video     Audio

How To Master the English Bible
By James M. Gray
Perspective Matters
When reading theology, we must tap into the new creature's perspective - the one that never has a problem with the plainly stated things in the Bible.
"Sometimes we think too much."
- SG
Big-Picture Reading
If we read the Bible with the Gospel lens, we clearly see God's doctrines, the mind of Christ (1Co 2:16). However, if we read it with a doctrinal lens, we run the risk of losing sight of the Gospel (e.g., 1Co 13).
"love is perfected with us"
This doesn't mean that at salvation we become perfect lovers; it means that perfect love is now "with us", providing us with a definite hope and confidence regarding eternal life.
Cambridge Bible Commentary
The Apostle thus anticipates a possible objection. A man may say 'I can love God without loving my brother, and I can prove my love by keeping His commandments' (Jn 14:15). 'Nay', says S. John, 'your own argument shows your error: you cannot keep His commandments without loving your brother'.
Cambridge Bible Commentary
Thus then we have two revelations of God: our brother, who is His image; and His commandment, which is His will. Not to love our brother is a flagrant violation of both. As Pascal puts it, we must know men in order to love them, but we must love God in order to know Him.
The Great Litmus Test
The hallmark of true love is a base desire to live for others. "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). The Spirit will assure you of your faith by revealing to you His love in you (1Jn 3:19-20; 4:13).
God Wants His Children To Be Assured
God desires to let those that are of His household know that they truly are members of His family. His Spirit convicts believers that they are indeed saved.
Theology existed long before the human experience with it.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (Jn 1:1).
Have Fun Reading Your Bible
There's no rush. Let the Spirit's wisdom speak to you through scripture. Receive the "mind of Christ" with the same vigor you receive the Lord's supper, for example.
Choose Wisely...
If you had to choose between more faith or more knowledge, which would you choose? Which are you currently "pursuing"? Which is an exclusive gift to believers?
Walking (ala Col 1:10)
God has empowered us to "do" His commands - that's "walking". It's by grace through faith that we do so.
Experiencing Theology
Looking back on your own life, considering how much God has done in/through you. Your experience highlights God's basic promise that He will sanctify you (Php 1:6).
Supernatural Walking
Do you have to "try" to "be" grateful? No - you can be reminded of things to be grateful "for", but GOD is the one who GIVES us the ability to "be" grateful - that's true grace. If you "try" to "be" something you're not, you're a hypocrite (Ro 12:9).
Be Yourself!!!
Faith Is Received By the Humble
Even though the overarching theology states dogmatically that God will sanctify all of His children, some children grow up quicker than others in faith.
Faith is received by the humble.
Lk 17:5
The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"

 


5/3/16 - The Gospel, Salvation, and Sanctification - Part 81

Video     Audio

Determining Truth
Whatever theology is clearly stated in the scriptures is the truth about a matter, and experiences can only complement, or be interpreted by, the correct theology.
Golden Rule for Interpretation
"When the plain sense of scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise" - David L Cooper
"And the Word became flesh"
The very expression of God's thoughts became manifest in a human being. The profundity of this cannot ever be overstated, for how does one fully comprehend the supernatural becoming natural, or the God of the Universe humbling Himself, or the love that motivated the Cross?
A spiritual oxymoron...
There are things that we simply cannot comprehend, though these things are fundamental to our faith! Heb 11:1 - faith is the substance of things not seen, not understood.
Got a problem?
Since God is infinite, His theology is also... and the flesh hates this.
Why the Flesh Hates Theology
The existence of theology is antagonistic to the flesh; not just because of the content of it, but also because of its infinite structure. The flesh desires to control its surroundings, facilitating dominance over it. However, the Word is unbounded, which precludes the flesh from achieving its end-goal.
While You Read Your Bibles...
My great comfort is in knowing that the Holy Spirit (assuming you keep on reading) will ultimately iron things out in your souls. You must remain humble and resist the flesh's temptation to pervert theology when you see it.
Faith and Humility give Freedom
Have fun reading your Bible. There's no rush, so go into each day wondering what God is going to show you today.
Theology vs. Application
Theology lays out principles. Life is where those principles are applied. The Bible gives us insight into both. The common error is to make theology out of human experiences recorded in scripture. (e.g., Job's wife, the Corinthian's failures, etc.)
The Fruit of the Flesh
Why has mankind struggled with prejudice throughout history when God is clearly impartial, Christians even? (cp. Ro 2:11; 1Ti 5:21)
Fleshly Doctrines
The flesh prefers to use human experience as the basis of its doctrines. For example, consider something that you are REALLY afraid of - chances are, you have had some personal exposure (directly or indirectly) with that thing.
Boxing the Supernatural Out
Human beings learn prejudice through their experiences. While it makes rational sense to do so, it boxes out God's supernatural promises (cp. Jdg 7:7; Mk, 10:27; Php 4:13).
Jdg 7:7
The LORD said to Gideon, "I will deliver you with the 300 men who lapped and will give the Midianites into your hands; so let all the other people go, each man to his home."
Impossible???
• Mk 10:27 Looking at them, Jesus *said, "With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.
• Php 4:13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
On 1Jn 3:4-6
• C. I. Scofield: "[John] is stressing the fact that a Christian cannot keep on practicing sin, because he is born of God."
• J. V. McGee: "If you can be happy in sin, my friend, then you are not God's child because God's children have the nature of their Father."
• J. MacArthur: "If no check against habitual sin exists in someone who professes to be a Christian, John's pronouncement is absolutely clear - salvation never took place."
1Jn 3:6 Theology
Believers abide. No believer's lifestyle is characterized by sin. Anyone who does live that way is not a believer.
Theology 101
When it comes to theology, you must accept the openness of it at face value. If something is stated clearly, then you must accept it on faith, regardless of whether it is something you can personally relate to.
Theology 101
Theology smashes any notion of human rationalism. We cannot read the personal records of individuals in the Bible and back into our theology. We must seek to understand that which already exists as theology, that is, the mind of Christ.
Conclusions
In THEOLOGY, man has every right to say that a person who is saved will bear good fruit! In PRACTICE, man never has the right to judge someone else's salvation status.
Grace Gifts
God has provided authorities for OUR benefit. We need the structure, and leading, and discipline that authority provides us while on earth. Our opinion or personal taste doesn't matter.
Jer 3:15, Heb 13:17, 1Co 16:15-16, 1Th 5:12-14

 


5/1/16 - The Gospel, Salvation, and Sanctification - Part 80

Video     Audio

Golden Rule for Interpretation
"When the plain sense of scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise" - David L Cooper
"And the Word became flesh"
The very expression of God's thoughts became manifest in a human being. The profundity of this cannot ever be overstated, for how does one fully comprehend the supernatural becoming natural, or the God of the Universe humbling Himself, or the love that motivated the Cross?
Why the Flesh Hates Theology
The existence of theology is antagonistic to the flesh; not just because of the content of it, but also because of its infinite structure. The flesh desires to control its surroundings, facilitating dominance over it. However, the Word is unbounded, which precludes the flesh from achieving its end-goal.
A right thing must be done in a right way.
How To Master the English Bible By James M. Gray
While You Read Your Bibles...
My great comfort is in knowing that the Holy Spirit (assuming you keep on reading) will ultimately iron things out in your souls. You must remain humble and resist the flesh's temptation to pervert theology when you see it.
Theology vs. Application
Theology lays out principles. Life is where those principles are applied. The Bible gives us insight into both. The common error is to make theology out of human experiences recorded in scripture. (e.g., Job's wife, the Corinthian's failures, etc.)
The Fruit of the Flesh
Why has mankind struggled with prejudice throughout history when God is clearly impartial, Christians even? (cp. Ro 2:11; 1Ti 5:21)
Fleshly Doctrines
The flesh prefers to use human experience as the basis of its doctrines. For example, consider something that you are REALLY afraid of - chances are, you have had some personal exposure (directly or indirectly) with that thing.
Boxing the Supernatural Out
Human beings learn prejudice through their experiences. While it makes rational sense to do so, it boxes out God's supernatural promises (cp. Jdg 7:7; Mk, 10:27; Php 4:13).
Impossible???
• Mk 10:27 Looking at them, Jesus *said, "With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.
• Php 4:13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
On 1Jn 3:4-6
• C. I. Scofield: "[John] is stressing the fact that a Christian cannot keep on practicing sin, because he is born of God."
• J. V. McGee: "If you can be happy in sin, my friend, then you are not God's child because God's children have the nature of their Father."
• J. MacArthur: "If no check against habitual sin exists in someone who professes to be a Christian, John's pronouncement is absolutely clear - salvation never took place."
1Jn 3:6 Theology
Believers abide. No believer's lifestyle is characterized by sin. Anyone who does live that way is not a believer.
Distinctions
While the new creature walks away edified, in peace, loving every moment of learning God's Word by grace through faith, the flesh walks away frustrated because of its learned prejudices. The flesh is inherently uncomfortable with supernatural theology.
W. MacDonald on 1Jn 3:6
The question naturally arises, "When does sin become habitual? How often does a person have to commit it for it to become characteristic behavior?" John does not answer this. Rather he puts each believer on guard, and leaves the burden of proof on the Christian himself.
Theology 101
When it comes to theology, you must accept the openness of it at face value. If something is stated clearly, then you must accept it on faith, regardless of whether it is something you can personally relate to.
Theology 101
Theology smashes any notion of human rationalism. We cannot read the personal records of individuals in the Bible and back into our theology. We must seek to understand that which already exists as theology, that is, the mind of Christ.
Conclusions
In THEOLOGY, man has every right to say that a person who is saved will bear good fruit! In PRACTICE, man never has the right to judge someone else's salvation status.
Keeping It Simpler
There's enough theology, proper, to occupy us for the rest of our lives. We do not need to add complexity by manufacturing doctrines as a result of observing the actions of others, even if we are reading about them in the Bible.
Eph 4:11-12
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;
Eph 4:13
until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.
Calling Out Spades
If your excuse for NOT submitting to and obeying me, your shepherd, is that I'm imperfect, well, consider yourself my final proof point this morning on the very topic of using human experience to narrow proper theology.

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