What I Read Online – 02/05/2013 (p.m.)

06 Feb
    • The natural man is in bondage to his lusts (Rom. 3:10–18), but at our conversion, because of our union with Christ, we are delivered from the dominion of lusts
    • Beg of God a clean heart, renewed and sanctified by saving grace
    • Walk in the fear of God all the day long, and in the sense of his omniscient eye that is ever upon you
    • Avoid lewd company, and the society of unclean persons; they are panderers for lust.
    • Exercise yourself in your calling diligently; it will be an excellent means of preventing this sin
    • Put a restraint upon your appetite: feed not to excess
    • Choose a spouse and delight in the one you have chosen
    • Take heed of running on in a course of sin, especially superstition and idolatry: in which cases, and as a punishment of which evils God often gives up men to these vile affections (Rom. 1:25–26). Sin inevitably breeds sin.
    • At the risk of sounding like a minimalist or reductionist, our union with Christ ought to cause us to be collegial and gracious in our disputes, debates, and dialogues with others who also “call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” but with whom we may have significant differences on various points
    • The indwelling Spirit is the essence of our communion with the Father and the Son (2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 2:18). John Calvin said, “The Holy Spirit is the bond by which Christ effectually unites us to himself” (Institutes 3.1.1).
    • Union with Christ in Paul’s Epistles
    • we are united to Christ in terms of the Father’s decision to elect individual fallen sinners and redeem them through His Son
    • There is a second aspect of union with Christ, which some have called our representative or federal union. In Christ’s earthly ministry, everything that He did, He did in behalf of His bride, the church
    • A third aspect of our union with Christ is what some call the mystical or personal union. This is the personal indwelling of the believer by faith through the person and work of the Holy Spirit
    • In other words, in our union with Christ, we receive not only the benefit of justification, but we also have the benefit of sanctification
    • This is deep theology indeed. Yet virtually the profoundest statement we can make about God is that the Father is “in” the Son and the Son “in” the Father. It seems so simple that a child can see it. For what word can be simpler than in?


      Yet this is also so profound that the best of minds cannot fathom it. For whenever we seek to contemplate the one person of the Father, we find we cannot do so without thinking of His Son (for He cannot be a father without a son). Neither can we contemplate this Son apart from the Father (for He cannot be a fatherless son). All this is possible only because the Spirit illumines who the Son really is as the One through whom alone we can come to the Father.

    • Thus, to be united to Christ is to share in a union created by the indwelling of the Spirit of the incarnate Son who Himself is “in” the Father as the Father is “in” Him. Union with Christ means nothing less than fellowship with all three persons of the Trinity
    • Perhaps one of the reasons Spurgeon resonated with this classic was its realistic portrayal of depression, doubt, and despair. Spurgeon and Bunyan, like their Savior, were men of sorrow, acquainted with grief (Isa. 53:3).
    • What is most instructive in Bunyan’s allegory is how Christian and Hopeful finally find the way of escape. Christian says:


      “What a fool I have been, to lie like this in a stinking dungeon, when I could have just as well walked free. In my chest pocket I have a key called Promise that will, I am thoroughly persuaded, open any lock in Doubting- Castle.” “Then,” said Hopeful, “that is good news. My good brother, do immediately take it out of your chest pocket and try it.” Then Christian took the key from his chest and began to try the lock of the dungeon door; and as he turned the key, the bolt unlocked and the door flew open with ease, so that Christian and hopeful immediately came out.


      What was the key? It was called “Promise.” God has given us “his precious and very great promises” (2 Peter 1:4).


    • Three secrets of productivity, however, are worth mentioning: (1) Learn to fill in the little empty periods that clutter each day. (2) Don’t fritter. When you work, work hard; when you are not working, quit entirely. (3) Discover how different aspects of your work can leverage other aspects of your work. For example, choosing your reading to feed into things that you’ll be preparing over the next six or nine months adds to godly efficiency.
    • First, the home should encourage vigorous Christian understanding. The most dangerous seedbed for intellectual rebellion is a home where faith is sentimental and even anti-intellectual, and where opponents are painted as ignorant knaves, because eventually our children discover that there are some really nice people who are atheists and agnostics, and they can present arguments in sophisticated, gentle, and persuasive fashion.
    • Similarly, the local church with young people who are heading off to college should be doing what it can to prepare them—first with a solid grasp of Christian essentials, and second with the rudiments of responsible apologetics.
    • At the same time, both the home and the church should be living out a Christian faith that is more than intellectually rigorous. It should be striving for biblically-faithful authenticity across the board: genuine love for God and neighbor, living with eternity in view, quickness to confess sin and seek reconciliation, a concern for the lost and the broken, faithfulness in praise and intercessory prayer, a transparent delight in holiness, and a contagious joy in God
    • Fourth, wisdom in shaping our kids demands more structure when they are young; more discussion, carefully monitored controls, and a safety net as they grow older; and a willingness, in most instances, to wait to be asked for advice when they have genuinely left the nest and are no longer dependent on our roof or our wallets
    • Finally, pray for them
    • Theology that doesn’t make us sing has failed in its mission, no matter how correct it may be. Worship that doesn’t take us deeper into Christ has also failed, no matter how glorious the music or how applicable the sermon. Praising God properly means deepening our knowledge of this God we adore. Our hearts should be set aflame when we really explore how the Father sent His Son into the world to save us, and then joined us to that Savior by sending His Holy Spirit into our hearts. Great theology stirs the heart. Excellent worship grows our knowledge.


    • Theology is meant to set us singing. Our worship is meant to take us deeper into the glorious truth of our Redeemer’s work. These two are meant to be dance partners into eternity.
    • We must, like Paul and the author of Hebrews, have our fingers on the pulse of our people in order to gauge how best to feed them from the pulpit
    • We must also listen carefully to our members individually to discern where they really are with Christ
    • Lastly, we must listen to fellow elders and other pastors, as much for our personal well-being as for the sake of our ministries
    • An important reason for listening to the world is to recognize false philosophies and worldviews, lest they infect our Christian faith
    • The point is this: Christians—who have no patience with Darwinistic materialism—often sound as progressive as the most ardent evolutionist. They look for “new” theologies, “new” ways of worship, and “new” music, being quite willing to toss out their entire “old-fashioned” Christian heritage. Such thinking comes from a failure to “understand the times” in which we live.
    • By first listening to those we are trying to reach, we can avoid giving pat, canned, impersonal answers. Instead, we can address them personally, authentically, and soul to soul. If they sense we are truly listening to them, they may grant us a hearing. They will feel that we have earned the right to be heard.

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

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Posted by on 06/02/2013 in Current Issues


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