Thursday, March 29, 2012

What Does It Mean To Deny Yourself?: MacArthur Weighs In

Sunday morning we will be studying Matthew 16:21-28. This is an important passage of Scripture which fully summarizes what it means to be a Christian.  It highlights both the necessity of the cross in salvation and in our sanctification. Jesus not only tells Peter that He must go to the cross, but so must Peter, and thereby, you and me. We are to deny ourselves, pick up our cross, and follow Jesus.

But what does Jesus mean by denying yourself? Pastor John MacArthur says:

So, self‑denial then is the way in and it becomes the life pattern. We say no to self and we say yes to the Spirit of God.

What does it mean to live a life of self‑denial, dying to self? What does that really mean? Have you ever thought about that? Think of it this way. When you are neglected, unforgiven, or when you are purposely set at naught and you sting and you hurt with the insult of that oversight, but your heart is happy, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ, that is dying to self. When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed and your advice is disregarded and your opinions are ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart or even defend yourself, you take it all patiently in loving silence, you're dying to self.

And when you lovingly and patiently bear any disgrace, any regularity, any annoyance, when you can stand face to face with folly and extravagance and spiritual insensitivity, and endure it as Jesus did, that is dying to self. When you are content with any food, any money, any clothing, any climate, any society, any solitude, any interruption by the will of God, that is dying to self. And when you never care to refer to yourself in conversation or record your own good works, or itch after commendation from others, and when you truly love to be unknown, that is dying to self. When you see your brother prosper and have his needs wondrously met, and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy and never question God, though your needs are greater and still unmet, that is dying to self. And when you can receive correction, and reproof from one of less stature than yourself and humbly admit inwardly as well as outwardly that he's right and find no resentment and no rebellion in your heart, that is dying to self.

Are you dead yet?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

There is No Gospel Without Blood

Last Sunday I mentioned a number of things we would not have without the precious blood of Jesus Christ.  Here is that list.

1. No Church - “. . . shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28)

2. No Justification - “. . . we have now been justified by his blood . . .” (Romans 5:9)

3. No Forgiveness - "In we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses . . .” (Ephesians 1:7)

4. No Reconciliation - "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:17)

5. No Peace - “and through him to reconcile to himself all things . . . making peace by the blood of his cross.” (Colossians 1:20)

6. No Freedom - “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood.” (Revelation 1:5)

7. No Sanctification - "So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.” (Hebrews 13:12)

8. No Worship - “And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9)

9. No Heaven - “He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.” (Revelation 19:13)

In short, there is no gospel without blood. There is no Christianity.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

"For The Life of Me" This Beautiful Republic

Was I worth the pain?
You had nothing left to gain
I know I'm the only one to blame
I'm broken on the floor
Staring at the door
Waiting on a Savior to walk in
[ Lyrics from: ]
For the life of me, why'd You bear my chains?
For the life of me why'd You walk to Calvary?
For the life of me I can't explain
The reason You died and the reason You came was for the life of me

What do You see in me?
I'm a leper not a king
A mess that's undeserving of Your name
I've disappointed You
Like a rose that never blooms
Failing to display my heart to You

Lord, let me be so bright
I escape every shadow using Your light
Are You waiting to see
That I will show
Your life in me?

Monday, March 12, 2012

What I Learned from Looney Tunes Today: Daffy Goes On a Date

I grew up watching Looney Tunes.  So yes, I had a good childhood. Apparently an updated and newer version of the classic cartoon series is out and in syndication. My son and I were watching it recently and I came across the following scene of Daffy Duck going on a date for the first time.

This scene caught my eye for a number of reasons. This is obviously a kids cartoon and we must be careful not to read too much into cartoons, but in this scenes there are assumptions that reveal the tendencies of the culture and of relationships in general.

Regarding Daffy, we men can relate to him. Not knowing what to say or how to say it all while wishing we had a list of pick-up lines and things women (we think) want to hear would be nice. We've all had sweaty palms while trying to talk to a girl we like.Certainly we can relate to him.

But Daffy throughout is a weak coward dominated by his date. He isn't confident, but cowardly. And when she says something negative to him, he quits and wants to leave.  He is also dominated by his date. Let me just say that if this relationship goes anywhere (I am aware that we are talking about imaginary characters) it will not end well.  Daffy reflects a trend among men who are weak and emasculated. The problem isn't that he is nervous, but that he is wussified. Men grow up and lead.

Another thing that caught my eye was regarding Daffy's date. When asked why she doesn't think the date is over, she goes on this lecture about how to her Daffy is a like an old building that should be destroyed can be fixed. And she, of course, is the one who can fix Daffy.

Ladies, let me just say: You cannot fix your significant other. That is not your responsibility to fix him. He is not an old building that needs your renovation. Enter a relationship to fix a man and you are the one who is going to get broken. There is a strong desire among many women to chase men whom they see some small spark of sweetness in them and think that it is their job to transform them into this heartbreaker into a hearthrob. If that is you, you are only going to get hurt. Don't do it.

This issue reveals something else. Those who rationalize dating a guy that should be avoided use the fixing argument as an excuse for something much deeper. Oftentimes women who feel something around a certain man will oftentimes overlook his shortcomings with her desire to fix him so that she can feel more of it. There is a lust for infatuation that oftentimes clouds our judgment and reveals our idols. More than fixing him, too often young women are chasing something like infatuation, a wrong sense of what love is, or they simply want to be pursued.  Ladies, don't fall for that.

I never thought I could learn so much from a 2 minute scene from Looney Tunes, but as a pastor I feel like I've seen this scene before over and over again. Men grow up and man up. Ladies, don't fall for the traps that your desire to be loved create for you.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

How You Can Help Goshen Help the Storm Victims

Click below to listen to the recent phonevite.