What I Read Online – 11/09/2012 (a.m.)

    • Grace is the answer. The way of salvation is grace but not with an asterisk. It’s not grace to be saved and law to live by. It is grace, all grace. Grace is the air that true believers breathe; it is the blood that flows in their veins. “Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home.”

       

       

       

       But when it comes to living out grace, the agent of grace is the Spirit. Paul’s solution to our failure is not, here are new and better rules (legalism), or no rules at all (antinomianism). His solution is very clearly, “… be walking [in the] Spirit, and you absolutely will not fulfill the lust of [the] flesh.”
    • So let me say it again. Essential to our faithfulness in gospel ministry is this investment in a succeeding generation of gospel ministers.

         

    • Pornography is a destroyer of lives. Its use is always sin, and there is no legitimate place for any use of it in the life of a follower of Christ.
    • Google disseminates information.  That’s great and helpful…when what you need is information.  But the vast majority of what I need in personal Bible study and even sermon preparation is not information.  I need the Spirit of God to enliven the Word of God and transform my heart.  I need to chew on a text and sweat through it.  Google gives me too quick of an out.  It shortcuts my labor.  And as a result it shortcuts my ownership of the truth as well as my heart. 
    • Church-planters probably never even consider factoring this in when they start. That was certainly the case for some friends of mine in Turkey. For who would have guessed that setting up a cemetery might have to become a key feature of their growth strategy?

       

    • Why should a boyfriend or girlfriend say something before they get engaged? Because it is important that the other person actually knows who he or she is marrying. No secrets. Don’t hide your sin. Mold grows in the darkness, not in the light.
    • Foolishness that is current and on-going needs to be discussed between a boyfriend and girlfriend in some detail because it has huge implications for the immediate relationship. Wisdom is needed as to how much detail to discuss, so it is good to seek counsel from an older, wiser married person before you to talk to your boyfriend or girlfriend.

       

    • When you share with your boyfriend or girlfriend, a general rule of thumb is to be more general and not specific about your past sin. There is no need to go into detail about it (with one exception, see below).
    • Being this vulnerable with your darkest sins is a very hard thing to do. Please realize, your future spouse would much more prefer honesty instead of lying. Hiding your past is basically lying to them. When you get married, you have an expectation that you know your spouse. Many boyfriends or girlfriends will be very willing to walk alongside of you and help you battle your sin, but would be very angry and disappointed if they found out you’ve been hiding things about your past.

       

      • Slavery and the role of women are two critically different issues.
      • The NT neither condemns nor commends slavery.
      • Gender passages apply transculturally because they are rooted in creation.
    • But tracking a biblical trajectory is not the same as allegorizing. And so when we preach from Solomon’s Song we are right to focus on what it is — a display of marital love. But somewhere along the line we must also treat that theme canonically and see marriage as a reflection of Christ’s perfect love for us, and so on.
    • But surely, if our preaching is to be genuinely and distinctly Christian, we must do more, week to week, than re-tell a given narrative and make corresponding ethical exhortations. It all must be an outworking of the gospel. And so our exhortation is not merely, “Behave like this,” but “Behave like this because this is what you are redeemed to, because you now belong to Christ, because this is the inevitable entailment of union with Christ, because we are no longer under sin’s dominion but consecrated to God in Christ, because God is at work in me to this very end, because it is like Jesus,” and so on. This is the apostle’s Paul’s regular model. There are other motivations, to be sure, but this redemptive context must always remain central and prominent and never just assumed
    •  The point here is not that every sermon must be an exposition of the cross per se, but every sermon must at least be cross informed. To do this we must keep an eye on the broad strokes of redemptive history and the Bible’s story line. We must notice how various themes are taken up in Scripture and how the New Testament writers understand the Old, all the while recalling that there is in it all a movement to Christ.
    • So also when we preach from the Gospels we must keep in mind that these are written, simply, to tell us about Jesus. They are not written, primarily, to tell us about ourselves. And so the point of the story of Jesus’ walking on the water and stilling of the storm, for example, is not that we should be careful to keep our eyes on Jesus so as not to sink beneath the waves of trouble that surround us in the storms of life. However legitimate some of this application may be, the point of the passage concerns Jesus, not us. What impressed the disciples in the boat that day was that here was a man who commanded the weather! “What kind of man is this?!” The explicit purpose of the Gospels is to tell us about Christ, and this simple, basic consideration will guide us well as we preach through them.
    • In other words, evolution predicts that in a changing environment, organisms should change in order to adapt. However, when we look at the fossil record, we don’t see such change. Instead, while it is thought that earth’s climate changed dramatically in many different ways throughout the fossil record, the fossils themselves show that the organisms living on earth didn’t change much at all. This has been called the “paradox of stasis,” and while several attempts have been made to resolve the problem2, none of them have been found to be satisfactory.3
    • I strongly agree that science advances when we discover that the simple answers we’d been following for years no longer work. Many scientists have already seen that the “simple answer” of evolution doesn’t work. Science will advance as more scientists come to the same conclusion, and a more reasonable explanation for origins is adopted.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

About Joe Fleener

Lover of Christ & His Gospel, Husband to Mandy, Father to three wonderful children, Servant to the Local Church, Bible College Lecturer
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