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Redeeming the Time Through READeeming

Recently I started a book club for our church Beaverton Grace Bible Church. The title of the book club is READeeming Book Club. I truthfully have hundreds of books which having and reading books are two separate things. I haven’t always been the best type of person to go about reading books. I also wanted to find one way to encourage the church to read from saints present and past.

I really would encourage you to read and maybe even start a book club. One of my favorite preachers is Charles Spurgeon. In one of his addresses to the church he said “You need to read. Renounce as much as you will all light literature, but study as much as possible sound theological works, especially the Puritanic writers, and expositions of the Bible.” We could add a whole bunch of different things to light literature like video games, movies, television, YouTube, etc while adding sermons like Spurgeon. This leads me to ask how we are redeeming the time.

Redeeming the time can come in many forms. In this case it is through a book club and reading. You put down the remote and pick up a book a little more. Or perhaps pick up the BOOK (the Holy Word of God) to nourish your soul. Be more hospitable, share the gospel with someone, or even write some. Spurgeon had read the Pilgrim’s Progress over 100 times by the time he died. How do we suppose that happened? It wasn’t by sitting around or doing time wasting activities but by purposing himself to read. Purposing is really what separates those who read from those who don’t.

Other ways to redeem your time is to

  • read you Bible
  • listen to sermons
  • be hospitable
  • pray privately and corporately
  • go to church
  • and share the gospel.

So pick something up to read or do something that will get you and others to heaven. What good godly books are reading? I am currently reading C.T. Studd, Cricketeer and Pioneer. Great read and a gospel encouragement to step out for faith in Jesus Christ. By the way a review of the first book can be found at our Beaverton church sermon archive.

Remembering Your Creator

Birthdays. Today is mine. I think we all like our birthdays. We get a chance to see who likes us and perhaps who our friends are. A little attention is given to us by those who love us. Even a little more telling on the kind of person we might be. It should drive us to worship and praise to God. Even the Psalmist says:

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them. (PS 139)

It is amazing that God has made each person. I think that is why we ought to be moved to worship. To praise Him for His marvelous works. I am amazed at everything God does. As He as given me breath, life, and godliness. He has appointed my times, numbered my days, and set the boundaries of my dwelling. And though we grow old He does not. Though we tire He endures forever. Let me admonish you that on your birthday that you would be mindful of our God. Let Ecclesiastes 12:13 a fitting close for the 13 on this matter.

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:

Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.

Defending the Truth From Galatians

Yesterday I started reading Galatians. Paul looks at the Galatian chruch and defends his ministry. He clearly makes a plea that it wasn’t any man like Peter, James, or John but God who gave him his apostleship. As establishing his authority under God Paul defends the gospel Galatians 1:6-9

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

We know that others were preaching another gospel. Peter, possibly James (as certain men came from James 2:12), and Barnabas were swayed by some who crept in. They were Judaizers who were trying to bring them under circumcision. It was another gospel apart from grace. I mention this because it seems that there are some who have snuck in the church and are swaying some from the truth.

Rob Bell in a video about his new book Love Wins questions God’s word about whether Gandhi is in hell. Specifically he mentions a note that was placed on art commemoration Gandhi which said he’s in hell. Then Rob questions that note? If any man preaches another gospel let him be accursed. To deny that man needs to repent of sin is to deny an essential part of the gospel. Rob Bell is clearly preaching another gospel and questions the doctrine of hell. Some talk about the book suggests that he is a universalist. Yet if you look a little deeper you will find that that you don’t need that book to know that he is a universalist.

The doctrine of hell comes from the Bible.

  • Psalm 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, And all the nations that forget God.
  • Revelations 21:8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
  • Luke 12:5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!
  • Luke 12:8, 9 Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.

Let us rejoice in the truth and not question it. I pray that God will save Rob Bell. There is a good book covering false teachers and the battle that rages for the truth called Truth Wars by John MacArthur. I would encourage you to read and get a good view on the defending the truth of God’s word.

The Perfect Law

Perfection is different to everyone of us. In the art community there are paintings that are considered perfections. In sports there are performances that are consider perfect and shouldn’t be altered. We all have different levels of how we value perfection. There is one person whose standard is always perfect without alteration and that is God. When He created the heavens, the earth, and everything it it both man and beast he said it was good. It was perfect without the curse and without sin. There is still one thing that we have here on earth, the scriptures. Psalm 19:7 says “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” The law is perfect converting the soul which should be our first source for evangelism.

Using the law makes perfect sense. God has said his law is perfect. The word for law is torah meaning the entirety of God’s law. That would include the first five books of God’s from Genesis, the creation, and the giving of the law. Yet if God’s law is perfect why are we swayed by arguments to prove God’s existence outside of the law. Not that I am against using apologetics to help illustrate the law but that I am for upholding the scripture before earthly arguments. 1 Corinthians 1:20-22 gives us a good example of this.

For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.

It is the preaching of God’s word that saves. God’s word is perfect which converts the soul. The problem with the philosophical illustrations without a heavy dose of the scripture is that man will suppress the truth in unrighteousness. He will not be saved no matter how fine an argument you deliver. A fallen world without the law will only drive us to a skewed perception of who God is until we have the full revelation of God through his word.

The law and your use. I would encourage you to get a hold of resources that help you deliver the gospel. Here are some resources you can use to help you deliver the law. Way of the Master is para-church organization that develops resources for evangelism. Beaverton Grace Bible is the Church I attend which also has some resources for evangelism.

Listen to Ray Comfort on Hell’s Best Kept Secret.
Buy Hells Best Kept Secret
Find more resources on The Way of the Master.
Beaverton Grace Bible also has a good list of evangelism resources.

The Welcoming Party

We usually think about a welcoming party as something that we have when someone comes home. Yet perhaps this should be a frequent activity among Christians. I am talking about hospitality. Now you might think that this only for some. I would say that there are indeed some people better at hospitality then others. Yet let me challenge you to reconsider being hospitable to others. Hospitality should be a Christian virtue we aspire to.

Hospitality is a command that we should obey. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. (1 Peter 4:8-9) It seems that we are to have fervent (hot) love for one another. Why? Because verse 7 says the end is near. Striving for some godly endeavor is to be hospitable to others. Having someone in your home takes planning and work both before, during, and after. Even with its difficulty it is like stirring up a fire for the saints of God. And all of this without grumbling. We might be inclined to say it’s to much work . , we don’t have enough room, or I am not that kind of person. These are all excuses that should not excuse us from loving someone and obeying the Word.

Another commandment to show hospitality. This clearly stated in regards to love in Romans 12:7-13.

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

Love seems to be shown in the action of hospitality. Given to hospitality almost as if we can’t help ourself but look for opportunities. Perhaps even to the point that we might entertain angels Hebrews 13:9. Ever wonder if you’ve done that. I am not sure that Lot knew when angels visited in Genesis 19. He even made a feast for them. Talk about entertain strangers. Let us consider just a few more verses.

Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers, who have bornewitness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well, because they went forth for His name’s sake, taking nothing from the Gentiles. We therefore ought to receive such, that we may become fellow workers for the truth.

This passage was written to a brother Gauis. His kindness was spoken of by Paul in Romans 16:23 as the host to him and host to the whole church. So when we see this passage we need think about this man who was a host not only to Paul and I am assuming John but also to strangers in Christ. Gaius seems to be a great example of hospitality to us.

So let us be moved to hospitality. Plan a welcoming party. Yes it takes work but it is well worth it to stir up love and good works. Get some food. Plan something to eat. Buy a Welcome Door Mat. Clean the home and be given to hospitality.

A Perfect Average

Have you ever bowled 300? Perhaps you are a great bowler and are a closet 300. I am not. But I am impressed by people who bowl incredibly well. Last night I watched a man at the local bowling alley bowl an average of 264. In three games he landed perfectly on a total score of 800 that night. When I am measured against this man’s skill I am found wanting and have a lot to work on namely skill. In many cases this is how people measure their “goodness” compared to others. We average our good days and our bad days and compare it to others and we don’t look so bad. The reality is that we need to average perfection.

Jesus says the standard is perfection.

After expounding the law of God, the Ten Commandments, in Matthew 5:47, Jesus said: “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” The standard here isn’t man or our own evaluation of self. God is the standard. Does God lie, steal, lust, or murder (hate is murder)? NO and He is our standard. The reality is that we are not good or capable of meeting goodness. Consider these verses.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. (Psalms 51:5, 6)

…They conceive evil and bring forth iniquity. (Isaiah 59:4)

This is God’s value of us. That we are sinners.

Achieving the prefect average.

This isn’t something we can do on our own. Isaiah 64:6 reassures us that our righteousness are as filthy rags. Achieving perfection can only be obtained through Jesus Christ.

For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:3, 4

In order to achieve this we must walk according to the Spirit which is impossible. It is God who must fulfill the requirements of God’s law in order for us to achieve a perfect score.

Remember that perfect righteousness can only come through Jesus Christ. Are you perfectly trusting in Jesus or are you trying to be good on your own terms?