Selfishness

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Selfishness is something we are all too well familiar with. Me, myself and I are the three people we tend to be most consumed with. Selfishness is the state of being concerned primarily with self and it begins with the craving to satisfy your desires, and it is then carried out by actions that are all about you. The sin of selfishness is such a debilitating sin. It robs us of the joy of being satisfied with God and His sovereign purposes. Continue reading Selfishness

Down, But Not Out

Opportunity

How many times have you disobeyed the Lord and not received what you deserved? I am sure that if we all think long and hard, we will be amazed that we are still here! Why is that? God is merciful and gracious. There are many things that we have done that removed us from the pathway of obedience. We know what His Word says, but we selfishly reject it. Such acts of rebellion (both private or public) against God’s Word are damaging and can cause great devastation. When we deviate from God’s will it robs us of joy in the Lord and opportunity to be faithful and glorify His magnificence.

If we have miserably failed in living according to God’s will, what should our next steps be? Instead of becoming despondent or moving in a direction of deeper depravity, as children of God we must confess our sin to the Lord, seek His forgiveness and repent from our sin. It is then we will know the joy and freedom that repentance brings (cf. ). The fact that the Lord has provided you an opportunity to know the seriousness of your sin and the occasion to seek His forgiveness reveals His wondrous grace and mercy toward you! He would be just in simply punishing us on the spot if he so desired.

This reminds me of Jonah. In an earlier post we learnt that due to his reluctance, Jonah ran away from God’s will. Despite his selfish and rebellious act of running away from God, the Lord chased him and got his attention. The Lord sovereignly prepared a great fish to swallow him up (). It was in the depths of the sea creature’s belly that Jonah saw the error of his way. He confessed his sin and repented.Despite his disobedience, in a merciful and miraculous way “the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land” (). God then provided Jonah with another opportunity to obey Him (cf. ). This says a lot concerning the character of God. What mercy and grace on display!

Perhaps you are down and despondent as a result of your sin. Don’t despair, instead look unto the Lord God and seek His forgiveness. Be thankful to Him that He has provided you with an opportunity to do this! As He grants you occasion, seek His grace to be faithful and fervent in your service to Him. You may be down, but by His grace you don’t have to be out.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

17  And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

10 And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.

3:1 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.”

The Necessity of Repentance

Repent

Is repentance necessary? It is strange and sad to think that many Christians do not view the doctrine of repentance as a necessary doctrine. They will be quick to say that it is ideal and even important, but it is not necessary. Others might say it is necessary, but they deny this by not teaching it or applying it. Why is it strange and sad? Regardless of what certain individuals propagate in their writings, sermons or interaction with others, the Scripture remains clear that the doctrine of repentance is necessary. It is necessary in one’s embracing of the gospel message and necessary in daily Christian living. Continue reading The Necessity of Repentance

The Components of Genuine Repentance

Repent

The title of this post implies that there is a kind of repentance that is not genuine. Sadly, this counterfeit repentance is rampant in many gospel presentations and in the belief of many today. This is devastating because counterfeit repentance is of no value. Continue reading The Components of Genuine Repentance

What is Repentance?

Wrong Way Imagine the horrifying experience of driving on the wrong side of a busy road, and then to be confronted with a sign, “Wrong Way, Go Back”. The sign is designed to warn you of the potential danger ahead and the necessary action to be done so as to avoid the potential harm. Though such a sign may be startling, it is actually very gracious and helpful. Continue reading What is Repentance?

Getting the Gospel Right

Gospel copy

Getting the gospel right is critical.  The word “gospel” comes from the Greek word euangelion, which literally means “good news”. It is good news because it contains the message of God’s salvation to sinful man. It contains the declaration of deliverance from sin. If we are going to get the gospel right, it is essential that we understand the necessary components of the gospel message.

A Right Understanding of God

Who is God? God is the creator of the “heavens and the earth” (), He makes everything in the universe work (), and He rules over the entire universe (). The Bible says that there is one God (Is. 44:6). Though there is only one God, He exists in three Persons – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (). God is holy in all His perfections () and all humanity owes Him their complete love and obedience.

A Right Understanding of Sin

Sin is any thought or act that does not conform to the Word of God. To sin is to miss the mark of God’s standard and it is the committing of an actual transgression. Every person is a sinner () and every person must be judged and punished by God ().

A Right Understanding of Man

All people are made in the likeness of God (), however this similitude has been marred by sin. All people are sinful () and dead in their trespasses and sins (). For this reason, we are estranged from God (; ) and in need of reconciliation. In our sinful condition we are unable in and of ourselves to earn or obtain salvation. We are in need of a righteousness outside of ourselves ().

A Right Understanding of Christ

Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God (; ). At the Divinely appointed time in history, He was sent into the world “born of woman, born under the law” () so as to save sinners (). Jesus Christ is without sin and was a substitute for sinners ().

A Right Understanding of the Cross

The cross has become a religious symbol for many. Sadly, this is only a symbol and a religious add-on to their lives. We need to know and remember that there is a deep and profound meaning when we think of the cross of Christ. In the first century the cross was the place where painful and gruesome public execution occurred. The horrific event of the Lord Jesus Christ being crucified on the cross was not an event that captured the Lord by surprise (Acts 2:23). At the cross the Lord Jesus Christ suffered for sins as a substitute for sinners (1 Pet. 3:18). This is how salvation for sinners was secured.

A Right Understanding of Grace

On what basis does God save sinners? The glorious gift of salvation comes to the sinner by grace (). Grace is the undeserved gift of God’s favour and goodness in providing salvation. Such grace is truly amazing.

A Right Understanding of Repentance

Repentance is something that is ignored or redefined by many when it comes to preaching the gospel. Despite such practices, the Word of God remains clear. Repentance was a part of Christ’s preaching (; ) and the apostolic preaching (). Repentance refers to the God given ability to recognise our sin, to detest it and turn from it as we embrace Christ in faith.

A Right Understanding of Faith

Saving faith does not trust in or rely on one’s own achievements; instead, the object of trust and reliance is the Lord Jesus Christ. Genuine saving faith is the recognition that we have nothing to offer God in-order to be forgiven of our sin and be saved. Faith is God’s appointed means in-order for us to receive salvation. Therefore, faith is coming to God on the grounds of grace – having nothing to offer – and trusting and adhering to Christ as Lord.

A Right Understanding of Works

We cannot be saved by means of our works. In fact, our best works in the sight of God are filthy rags (cf. Is. 64:6). The only works that save a sinner are the works of Jesus Christ. But once an individual embraces the gospel (by faith in Jesus Christ) their life will be followed by works (). These works are the natural outflow of the child of God. In the words of Martin Luther, “We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.”

1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

“You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.

Our God is in the heavens;
he does all that he pleases.

14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

2:1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins

12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

Ephesians 4:18

18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.

21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,

and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—

5:1  Now muster your troops, O daughter of troops;
siege is laid against us;
with a rod they strike the judge of Israel
on the cheek.
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days.

1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 8:58

58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,

15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.

19 Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out,

Acts 17:30

30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Bringing Back Backsliders

The Return of the Prodigal Son, 1667-1670 Bartolome esteban Murillo

What is backsliding? In his book Getting Back in the Race: A Cure for Backsliding, Joel Beeke (the modern day puritan) writes, “Backsliding is a season of increasing sin and decreasing obedience in those who profess to be Christians”[1]. Backsliding is the dark and debilitating reality of disobedience. For some it is a season of compromise, whereas for others it is the process that begins to reveal that they are not genuinely converted. In Beeke’s excellent book, he reveals the signs of compromise: (1) coldness in prayer, (2) indifference under the word, (3) growing inner corruptions, (4) the love of the world, (5) declining love for believers, and (6) man-centered hopes (pp. 21-36). All of us battle with this and must be dealing with such practices daily by means of God’s grace.

What can we do for backsliders? At the end of his letter James writes these words,

My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins” ().

Continue reading Bringing Back Backsliders

19 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

Repenting from Sin

Creative Commons: Epignosis

As we continue in this series on the war on sin, I want to discuss a right action and plan for us when we fall short of the Lord’s command and actually sin. Of course, such an action is not rare for the believer. Think about the following scenario: The believer is in a battle against the world, the flesh and the devil. This individual finds himself in a tempting situation and fails in his attempt to refuse sin, as he is lured away and then “enticed by his own desire” (). Sin has been committed. What now? The wound is there, it is too late to prevent it. Is there any hope?

Yes, there is!

This leads us to another critical strategy for fighting sin, and that is repenting from sin. Though the believer must fight against sin by recognising sin, replacing sin, and refusing sin. The believer will not be free from its presence and influence until Continue reading Repenting from Sin

14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.

Melbourne’s Earthquake and the True Rock

© chnrdu under Creative Commons

Melbourne was struck by an earthquake on Tuesday night. The HBC Ministry Leadership Team were meeting at my home and we were deep in discussion, when suddenly the whole house started shaking. People out in the La Trobe Valley would have felt it even more than those of us in the suburbs. Earthquakes are a very rare event in Victoria, and this was the largest for over 100 years. God was gracious to Melbourne and basically no damage has been reported. Some people’s homes are Continue reading Melbourne’s Earthquake and the True Rock