Saturday, November 29, 2008
Great D.A. Carson interview (at least I'm assuming it's great--haven't had the chance to listen yet) over at Church Matters.
This was a neat story about 3 time Super Bowl Champion Je'Rod Cherry: Cherry Hopes Hollow Ring Will Save Children.
Steve McCoy hooks us up with new Tim Keller audio on Preaching to the Heart.
If you are near the St. Louis area this sounds pretty cool: A Global Networking Dialogue.
The Resurgence has posted free media of a recent Parenting Conference with Tedd Tripp.
This post generated some heat. Tom Ascol discusses three events that widened the divide between the SBC and Calvinism. Be sure to read all of the comments.
Here's a promo for the latest book all of your friends will want for Christmas--give it a few months and maybe your church will be having a seminar:
"By making the soul bold to venture upon the occasions of sin"
In other words Satan tempts us to flirt with sin. This is Satan tempting us to walk by the harlot's door while assuring us that we will not enter in. For remedies:
- Dwell upon those scriptures that do expressly command us to avoid the occasions of sin, and the least appearance of evil. (1 Thess. 5:22)
- Consider that ordinarily there is no conquest over sin, without the soul turning from the occasion of sin. (In other words the alcoholic probably will not quit drinking until he stops visiting bars)
- Consider that other precious saints, that were once glorious on earth, and are now triumphing in heaven, have turned from the occasions of sin, as hell itself
- Consider that the occasions of sin, is an evidence of grace, and that which lifts up a man above most other men in the world.
Since reading this chapter a couple of months ago the Lord has used this section frequently to combat sin in my life. If Satan can get us to walk by the harlot's door, to sit with the drunkard, to dwell upon evil thoughts, etc. then he will soon have us ensnared by those things. The advice Brooks gives in this chapter is wonderful. The thing that has stuck with me most is remedy number two: We will not get conquest over sin until we forsake the occasion for the sin. If you know when you are more apt to fall it is a good idea to avoid those situations. Simple, yet profound.
"We must shun and be shy of the very show and shadow of sin, if either we tender our credit abroad, or our comfort at home." (66)
"God will not remove the temptation, except you turn from the occasion." (67)
"To rush upon the occasions of sin is both to tempt ourselves, and to tempt Satan to tempt our souls." (68)
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
"By persuading the soul that hte work of repentance is an easy work, and that therefore the soul need not make such a matter of sin."
It is worth repeating Brooks' explanation of this device: "Why! Suppose you do sin, saith Satan, it is no such difficult thing to return, and confess, and be sorrowful, and beg pardon, and cry, 'Lord, have mercy upon me!' and if you do but this, God will cut the score, and pardon your sins, and save your souls. By this device Satan draws many a soul to sin, and makes many millions of souls servants or rather slaves to sin." To combat this device consider:
- That repentance is a mighty work, a difficult work, a work that is above our power.
- The nature of true repentance. By this Brooks means, 1) The formal act of repentance is a changing and converting. 2) The subject changed and converted is the whole man. 3) The terms of this change and conversion, from which and to which both heart and life must be changed; from sin to God.
- That repentance is a continued act
- That if the work of repentance were such an easy work as Satan would make it to be, then certainly so many would not lie roaring and crying out of wrath and eternal ruin under the horrors and terrors of conscience, for not repenting; yea, doubtless, so many millions would not go to hell for not repenting, if it were such an easy thing to repent.
- That to repent of sin is as great a work of grace as not to sin.
- That he that now tempts thee to sin upon this account, that repentance is easy, will, ere long, to work thee to despair, and for ever to break the neck of thy soul, present repentance as the difficultest and hardest work in the world.
This is, perhaps, one of the most important sections in the entire book. If one comes to understand that repentance is a work of grace and is not an "easy" thing to do then it disarms Satan of one of his favorite weapons. How often have you taken sin lightly becasue you assumed that you could repent later? Recently, I had the opportunity to counsel a teenager that was flirting with the things of the world. This person was very close to forsaking the gospel (at least for a season in her mind) and run after the pleasures of the world. I used some of Brooks' thoughts here as well as numerous Scriptures, helping her see that such a decision puts her on really shaky ground. How do you know God will allow you to come to repentance? May we tremble at the prospect of sin.
"Thou art as well able to melt a [diamond], as to melt thine own heart; to turn a flint into flesh, as to turn thine own heart to the Lord; to raise the dead and to make a world, as to repent." (56)
"Repentance for sin is nothing worth without repentance from sin." (57, footnote)
"Every sin strikes at the honor of God, the being of God, the glory of God, the heart of Christ, the joy of the Spirit, and the peace of a man's conscience; and therefore a soul truly penitent strikes at all, hates all, conflicts with all, and will labor to draw strength from a crucified Christ to crucify all." (58)
"Repentance is no transient act, but a continued act of the soul." (61)
Friday, November 21, 2008
Calvinists are often considered to hold to their particular soteriology because of "rational reasons", Michael Patton challenges this with Calvinism is the Least Rational Option.
John Piper tells us how to approach God when feeling rotten.
Colin Adams gives us 10 Ways to Ruin a Day Off. I think I have broken most of those--I wonder if the list is different for those in vocational ministry?
You can download Mark Driscoll's book Porn-Again Christian for free.
How can a miscarriage be used by God to rip idolatry out of our hearts? Read here.
Bob Kauflin Encourages Spontaniety with our worship at church.CJ continues his series on procrastination.
Thabiti asks Do You Enjoy Your Church Gatherings?
Mama Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Pastor's:
Friday, November 14, 2008
CJ offers Confessions of a Busy Procrastinator.
Michael Patton asks, Can You Marry the Wrong Person?
Amidst all the accusations Michael McKinley offers a few reasons why Obama may not be the Antichrist.
Great quote, here, by Thomas Oden on the relevance of irrelevance.
Ancient Rome at Google Earth. (HT: JT)
Todd Burus gives a good summary of the recent John 3:16 Conference. Check out his other links as well.
John Hendryx (I think it's Hendryx) asks whether or not the Mosaic Covenant is Works or Grace?
Colin Adams peruses the RTS reading list for students to find 61 Essential Books.
Any idea what Ecclesiastical Myopia is? RC Sproul will tell you...and trust me...this really is a very insightful article.
Are they Unchurched or Unsaved? What does our language reveal about our beliefs? Trevin Wax posits an answer.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
"To present God to the soul as one made up of all mercy."
This device is one that is fairly obvious to see in our current church climate (especially speaking of the Western world). "Go ahead and sin", says Satan, "God is a God of mercy." Satan tricks us into only seeing God's mercy and not his wrath. For remedies consider:
- That it is the sorest judgment in the world to be left to sin upon any pretence whatsoever.
- That God is as just as he is merciful.
- That sins against mercy will bring the greatest and sorest judgments upon men's heads and hearts.
- That though God's general mercy be over all his works, yet his special mercy is confined to those that are divinely qualified.
- That those that were once glorious on earth, and are now triumphing in heaven, did look upon the mercy of God as the most powerful argument to preserve them from sin, and to fence their souls against sin, and not as an encouragement to sin.
At first glance the first consideration may seem to not fit. However, when you really understand what Brooks is saying it becomes clear. If God does but "wink" at your sins it is a most horrible condition. This is a mark of not being a child of God and though he "winks" now he will come in wrath later. The rest of the devices are reminders that God is just towards sin and also that his mercy is to be used not to continue sinning but as a motivator to turn away from sin.
"A soul given up to sin is a soul ripe for hell, a soul posting to destruction." (50)
"When mercy is despised then justice takes the throne." (51)
"There is nothing in the world that renders a man more unlike to a saint, and more like to Satan, than to argue from mercy to sinful liberty; from divine goodness to licentiousness. This is the devil's logic, and in whomsoever you find it, you may write, 'This soul is lost.'"
Monday, November 10, 2008
Timmy Brister sums up the
Bill Mounce discusses whether Philippians 1:6 can be used to give assurance to a believer.
I was unaware of this new blog by Timmy Brister called Sowing Grace. Check it out.
What if Starbucks marketed like a church:
"By presenting to the soul the best men's sins and by hiding from their soul their virtures; by showing the soul their sins, and by hiding from the soul their sorrows and repentance."
What Brooks means by this is that Satan will show us the sins of such great saints (such as David in his adultery, Noah in his drunkenness, Peter in his blasphemy, etc.) so that when we look at them we can say, "See there is a man that struggles just like I, and he turned out okay". However, what we fail to see is the pain of David losing his son, the shame of Noah, the bitter weeping of Peter. We see them in their restored state and forget the deep hurt that brought them to that precious condition. For remedies consider:
- That that the Spirit of the Lord has been as careful to note the saints' rising by repentance of sin, as he has to note their falling into sins.
- That these saints did not make a trade of sin. (They were not habitual sinners)
- That though God does not, nor never will, disinherit his people for their sins, yet he has severely punished his people for their sins.
- That there are but two main ends of God's recording of the falls of his saints. 1) To strenghten the weak by their example 2) To provide an example lest we also fall in the same manner.
Again with piercing insight Brooks uncovers one of the devices of Satan. How often may we be tempted to look at the fraility of this dear saints, acknowledget that they (and we) are but dust, and then sin accordingly. Our authors advice is also quite fitting. He reminds us of the Scripture's speaking of their repentance and also reminds us that these falls are not the usual behavior of these mighty men of God. His third point may sound foreign to our contemporary ears--yet we do see throughout Scripture that God will discipline his children.
What do you think about this remark by Brooks? "God is most angry when he shows no anger. God keep me from this mercy; this kind of mercy is worse than all other kind of misery."
It is also worth noting a story Brooks quotes from Clement concerning Peter. "Clement notes that Peter so repented, that all his life after, every night when he heard a [rooster] crow, he would fall upon his knees, and, weeping bitterly, would beg pardon of his sin."
"Ah, souls, you can easily sin as the saints, but can you repent with the saints?" (46)
"The saints cannot sin with a whole will, but, as it were, with a half will, an unwillingness; not with a full consent, but with a dissenting consent." (47, ed. note)
"It is a mercy that our affliction is not execution, but a correction." (48)
Friday, November 7, 2008
"By extenuating and lessining of sin"
Satan puts degrees upon sin and makes them seem not as bad as they really are. "Ah! saith Satan, it is but a little pride, a little worldliness, a little uncleanness, a little drunkenness, etc." (38) For remedies consider:
- That those sins which we are apt to account small, have brought upon men the greatest wrath of God.
- That the giving way to a less sin makes for a committing of a greater.
- That it is sad to stand with God for a trifle.
- That there is great danger, yea, many times most danger, in the smallest sins.
- That other saints have chosen to suffer the worst of torments, rather than they would commit the least sin.
- That the soul is never able to stand under the guilt and weight of the least sin, when God shall set it home upon the soul.
- That there is more evil in the least sin than the greatest affliction
Brooks' advice here is rather simple--that which you consider to be small is actually quite large. It may start small but will make room for the greater sins. If sin as an offense to God then a "small" sin is an offense just as a "great" one. The modern church, myself included, should hear this well. While we lambast such atrocities as homosexuality, pornography, abortion, gambling, etc. (and we should) let us not forget to also have fervor in rooting out of our midst pride, greed, slander, gluttony and all other forms of "respectable" sins.
"Satan will first draw thee to sit with the drunkard, and then to sip with the drunkard, and then at last to be drunk with the drunkard." (39)
"The debates of the soul are quick, and soon ended, and that may be done in a moment that may undo a man for ever." (40)
"Little sins often slide into the soul, and breed, and work secretly and undiscernibly in the soul, till they come to be so strong, as to trample upon the soul, and to cut the throat of the soul." (42)
"Oh! how should this make us tremble, as much at the least spark of lust as at hell itself; considering that God the Father would not spare his bosom Son, no, not for the least sin, but would make him drink the dregs of his wrath." (45)
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Funny story posted by Josh Harris about Terrorist and the Time Changes.
This one is funny, I'd post the video but I am substitute teaching again and cannot post videos. It's a new techonoly to take your preaching to the next level. Watch it here.
Speak of preaching great words from Piper a few days ago: Is it true and is it precious? Preach what is both. If it is true, preach it with authority. If it is precious, preach it with passion. Read the rest...
Great reminder from William Gurnall on Christ's Love for Tempted Saints.
"By painting sin with virtues colors"
Brooks is saying here that this device of Satan is to paint a different picture of sin that what it really is. "Pride, he presents to the soul under the name and notion of neatness and cleanliness, and covetousness to be but good husbandry; and drunkeness as good fellowship, and riotousness under the name and notion of liberality, and wantonness as a trick of youth." (34) For remedies:
- Consider that sin is never a whit the less filthy, vile, and abominable, by its being colored and painted with virtue's colors.
- That the more sin is painted forth under the color of virtue, the more dangerous it is to the souls of men.
- To look on sin with that eye [with] which within a few hours we shall it. (In other words, look at sin with the eyes of dying man)
- Seriously to consider, that even those very sins that Satan paints, and puts new names and colors upon, cost the best blood, the noblest blood, the life-blood, the heart-blood, of the Lord Jesus.
Call sin what it is. Satan is in the business of toning down sin and our flesh is comforted by such a thing. Our hearts shun conviction when we paint gossip as a "prayer concern". Is it "having an affair" or is it committing adultery? Brooks, is encouraging us to not join Satan in painting virtue on things that cost Christ his life. Consider what that "little sin" that you are trifling with has cost the Lord. Yes, it is not only for the "gross" sins that Jesus has died but also for the "respectable" ones.
"A poisonous pill is never a whit the less poisonous because it is gilded over with gold..." (34)
"...look upon sin now as you must look upon it to all eternity." (36)
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Device #1 and Remedies
"To present the bait and hide the hook"
In other words Satan presents the pleasure of sin but not the painful after affects. "There is an opening of the mind to contemplation and joy, and there is an opening of the eyes of the body to shame and confusion. He promiseth them the former, but intends the latter, and so cheats them--giving them an apple in exchange for a paradise, as he deals by thousands now-a-days." (29) For remedies:
- Keep at a great distance from sin, and from playing with the golden bait that Satan holds forth to catch you
- Consider that sin is but a bitter sweet
- Consider that sin will usher in the greatest and saddest losses that can be upon our souls
- Consider that sin is of a very deceitful and bewitching nature
This is a fitting first device because it seems to be the one that Satan most often employs. He makes sin look sweet and hides the destruction it brings. I have witnessed countless youth dabble with sin only to find themselves ensnared by it. Brooks' remedies are also helpful. If we would consistently remember to call sin what it is, remove the pretty looking bait, and observe the hook, then we would be less likely to fall into these traps Satan sets before us.
Extracted Elixir's (I know it's a stretch!)
"Adversity hath slain her thousand, but prosperity her ten thousand". (30)
"If there were the least real delight in sin, there could be no perfect hell, where men shall most perfectly be tormented with their sin." (32)
"Sin so bewitches the soul, that it makes the soul call evil good, and good evil..." (33)
"...a man bewitched with sin had rather lose God, Christ, heaven, and his own soul than part with his sin." (34)
Monday, November 3, 2008
In the first chapter Brooks aims to merely prove his point. To do this the author takes us to a few choice Scriptures. From Ephesians 6:11 we see the following observations taken from the word 'wiles':
- "It signifies such snares as are laid behind one, such treacheries as come upon one's back at unawares...the word signifies an ambushment or stratagem of war..."
- "It signifies such snares as are set to catch one in one's road."
- "It signifies such as are purposely...and craftily set for the taking of the prey....Satan doth more hurt in sheep's skin than by roaring like a lion."
From 2 Timothy 2:26 we observe:
- "The word for 'taken captive' signifies being taken alive...[it is] properly a warlike word..."
- Satan hath snares for all manner of people. The wise and simple, the hypocrite and the upright, the rich and the poor, etc.
From Revelation 2:24 we observe:
- That souls can be so deceived that they believe their opinions to be from the depths of God but they are really from the depths of Satan.
Next time we will begin looking at the several devices Satan uses to draw the soul to sin.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
The audio for the Total Church Conference is now available. I may have linked to this before--but this appears to be more audio.
Here is a great offer for The Reformation Study Bible. Give any donation to Ligonier and get a free Leather Reformation Study Bible.
Jared Wilson gives us his 95 Theses for the American Church.
My favorite Christian rapper, Flame, gets a shout out from his college dean Denny Burk.
Abraham Piper gives 22 ways for new bloggers to improve.
John Piper reminds us that Bad Times are Good for Missions.
Great talk by Paul Washer: