37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:37-38 (NASB)
12 For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 (NASB)
This morning when we attended church we witnessed the baptism of about 15 people. Some were teenagers. Some were adults. Afterwards, we worshipped and prayed then we heard the Gospel preached with power by a young man who was one of the youth in our church when I was teaching there back in the 1980’s. Why does our church have such a large number of people being baptized each month while so many other SBC churches do not? The key to that is that God is moving through the obedience of our people in sharing the Gospel and making disciples as our Lord commanded in His Great Commission.
Jabez cried out to the God of Israel,
Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain. And God granted his request. (1 Chronicles 4:10)
At first glance that looks like a self-centered prayer. It sounds like the man who prayed,
Bless me and my wife, my son John and his wife, us four and no more. But Jabez is really not being selfish. He is praying for something God wanted him to have. That is the difference between being personal and being selfish. Selfish prayers are prayers which ask God for something he does not want us to have, at least not then, demanding prayers that are interested only in our own immediate welfare, for our own satisfaction. But God promises great and mighty things to us personally that we may lay hold of, so to pray in this way is not selfish, but personal.
We are all accustomed to reading works on the spiritual disciplines of the Christian life. We know that as Christians we ought to discipline ourselves to ensure we maintain a lifelong focus on Word, prayer, and fellowship. And so we read the Bible and meditate on it, we pray as individuals and families, and we maintain fellowship with one another through local church worship and the sacraments or ordinances. Well and good! This is the stuff of the Christian life. Yet in his classic work Holy Helps for a Godly Life, Richard Rogers draws out a spiritual discipline that has largely been lost and neglected in recent years—the discipline of watchfulness.
by Mike Ratliff
The Doctrine of Unconditional Election is not for sissies. What I mean by that is if we adhere to this doctrine then we had better be ready for those in unbelief to attack us with their broadsides and accusations. It seems that every Pelagian out there, whether full blown Pelagian or semi-Pelagian or Arminian, is convinced that Man is not dead in his or her trespasses and sins and is fully able to elect God or not. Of course, none of their arguments hold any water because they are derived either from man-centered philosophy or from Bible verses taken out of context (eisegesis). On the other hand, the Doctrines of Grace are all completely Biblical and are based entirely in Holy Scripture expositions done exegetically. Continue reading
Set them apart in the truth; your word is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I set myself apart on their behalf, so that they too may be truly set apart.
I am not praying only on their behalf, but also on behalf of those who believe in me through their testimony, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they may be in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me. (Read verses 22-26 on the site)
These wonderful verses form a fitting conclusion of the most wonderful prayer that was ever prayed on earth–the last Lord’s prayer after the first Lord’s Supper. They contain three most important petitions which our Lord offered up in behalf of His disciples. On these three petitions let us fix our attention.
Read the Scripture: Acts 19:8-20
When Paul came to Ephesus he found the city in the grip of superstition, fear, demonism, and darkness. It was a city devoted to sex and to religion — in other words it was the San Francisco of the Roman empire. The great temple of Artemis was located there and was as familiar to the people of that day as the Golden Gate bridge is to us. It was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Tourists traveled from all over the Roman empire to see it, just as they come to San Francisco to see the bridges and cable cars.
In the nineteenth chapter of Acts, Luke gives us a fascinating account of how the gospel can reach and affect an entire city, and even its surrounding province, through a relatively small band of Christians. The church has forgotten for a long time that God never wins his battles by majority vote. He always uses a relatively small band of people who, working with a different approach than the world has available, are able in a fantastic way to affect whole cities, whole areas, whole nations by the effectiveness of their methods and the power that is available to them. This is what the church has forgotten and we need so desperately to rediscover it, as we are now doing in many ways.
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man,
Where are you? (Gen. 3:8-9)
This is the beginning of prayer. It is suggested here that this was a habitual thing in the lives of Adam and Eve. It is rather remarkable, but the first prayer is recorded only after the fall. Yet the account suggests very plainly that prayer had been a continual delight and blessing to Adam and Eve, and was daily a part of their experience. This seems to be a habitual action on God’s part. He comes into the garden in the cool of the day to converse with the two that had come from his creative hand, and together they talked in the garden.
A Reminder for Fathers by Voddie Baucham
As fathers, it’s important to note that the gospel is eschatological—it is our hope not merely in this age, but also in the age to come.
First, the eschatological nature of the gospel means we do not view our families as ends in themselves. Family shepherds are not men working to shape perfect families that will meet all their earthly needs. On the contrary, we know that Christ alone can meet our ultimate needs, and that he will fully do so only at the end of this present age. We also know that our family ties are temporal, and it’s our ties to the body of Christ that matter eternally. Hence, our greatest desire is to lead our families to the feet of Christ, not to our own.
“Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.” (John 17:11b RSV)
This is the great prayer Jesus prayed before he went to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus is leaving these disciples by means of the garden, the betrayal, the judgment seat of Pilate, and the cross, and to them it appeared that he was abandoning them. They felt frightened, helpless, alone, and unable to understand what was taking place. They could not see that our Lord was merely introducing a higher and a better relationship to them. Continue reading on Ray Stedman Daily Devotions
It is always instructive, it is always enlightening, it is sometimes literally scintillating to turn to the pages of God and see what it has to say and how relevantly it speaks to our time and to our lives. That will be true tonight as we turn in our Bibles to the first chapter of Romans. Romans chapter 1 and we’re going to be looking at a somewhat familiar portion of Scripture to anyone who is a student of the Bible. Romans chapter 1, beginning in verse 18 and running through the end of this chapter.
I’m going to read just the first verse to set the stage for the unfolding of this profound truth.Romans 1:18, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” Continue reading
His heavens shall drop down dew. (Deuteronomy 33:28)
What the dew in the East is to the world of nature, that is the influence of the Spirit in the realm of grace. How greatly do I need it! Without the Spirit of God I am a dry and withered thing. I droop, I fade, I die. How sweetly does this dew refresh me! When once favored with it I feel happy, lively, vigorous, elevated. I want nothing more.
The Holy Spirit brings me life and all that life requires. All else without the dew of the Spirit is less than nothing to me: I hear, I read, I pray, I sing, I go to the table of Communion, and I find no blessing there until the Holy Ghost visits me. But when He bedews me, every means of grace is sweet and profitable.
Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. (Luke 11:4a)
Here is the need for a cleansed conscience, for a sense of peace, of rest with God and man. This is the arena where the emotional clutter of our life takes a very deadly toll. Who of us has not experienced troublesome mental symptoms, morbid depressions and unreasoning fears and insecurity? Both Scripture and modern psychology, in its groping after truth, agree that underneath these symptoms lurk two frightening monsters: Fear and Guilt. If we can find a way to slay these fiery dragons, the whole emotional atmosphere of our life will pass into peace. Continue reading on Ray Stedman Daily Devotions
He said to them,
When you pray, say, Father, hallowed be your name…(Luke 11:2b)
The second petition of the Lord’s Prayer is one of surrender,
Hallowed be your name. I am quite sure this is the petition that makes hypocrites out of most of us. For we can say,
Father with grateful sincerity, but when we pray
Hallowed be your name, we say this with the guilty knowledge that, as we pray, there are areas of our life in which his name is not hallowed and in which, furthermore, we don’t want it to be hallowed. When we say,
Hallowed be your name, we are praying,
May the whole of my life be a source of delight to you and may it be an honor to the name which I bear, which is your name. Hallowed be your name. Continue reading on Ray Stedman Daily Devotions
There is a wounded soldier bleeding out his life upon the battlefield and here comes a friend, merciful and tender, who has brought him a refreshing draught which will help to bring him back to consciousness and open his half-glazed eyes again. He is covered with a clammy sweat, but there is cold water with which to wipe his fevered brow.
His wounds are gaping wide and his very life is oozing forth from him, but his friend has brought the salve and bandages with which to strap up every wound. Is this all that he has provided for the wounded warrior? No, for there is a stretcher, carried by men who choose their steps with care, so that they do not jolt the poor invalid. Where will they carry him?
12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13 for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. Romans 5:12-14 (NASB)
I am a Monergist, that is, I firmly believe that our salvation is God’s work from beginning to end, totally undeserved by all. There is not one person who deserves it nor can they do anything to earn it because of the fall of man from Genesis 3, therefore, it is a gracious gift from God and, these things being Biblically true, those who hold to them are Monergists. Synergists are those who believe the doctrine of the Fall of Man in Genesis 3 is either fallacious or not complete.
And the Lord said,
Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? (Luke 18:6-7)
It is sometimes taught that Jesus is here encouraging what is called
prevailing prayer, which is often another way of describing an attempt to belabor God, to give him no peace, to picket the throne of heaven until we get the request we want. This is not Biblical. Continue reading on Ray Stedman Daily Devotions
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 2 Corinthians 5:10 (NASB)
Read Luke 19:12-15 and Luke 19:26-27 on the site.
Let us now look at that element in Man’s heart that refuses to bow the knee to any god except one with whom it is comfortable. If God the Father or our Lord Jesus Christ are honestly portrayed as we read in Sacred Scripture the vast majority, those whose hearts are overrun by relativism, will stiffen their necks in rejection. …
23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Matthew 24:23-24 (NASB)
I will be 67 years old later this year. I have been a Christian for over 32 years, but I grew up in a “Christian” home going to church every Sunday until I grew up and went my own way. I know that Christians are commanded to be forgiving, kind, and gentle with others. However, we are also commanded to stand firm and withstand false teachers and their doctrines. When I began writing and blogging as an extension of my teaching ministry, I soon experienced a very rude awakening. …
4 “Behold, I have made him a witness to the peoples, A leader and commander for the peoples. 5 “Behold, you will call a nation you do not know, And a nation which knows you not will run to you, Because of the Lord your God, even the Holy One of Israel; For He has glorified you.” 6 Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. Isaiah 55:4-8 (NASB) (Read verses 7-8 on the site)
We have been looking long and hard at the narrowness of the Gospel and how it it is not editable. It is not open to change. No matter how much a person wants it to be otherwise, it is unchangeable. It is God’s Good News to fallen man. This good news is the proclamation that there is a way, only one way, for sinful people to be reconciled to God. It is good news because all people suffer from the same condition. …
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:1-5 NASB)
Those who have a problem with the Doctrine of Original Sin and the Wrath of God against all sin attempt to paint the God of Reformation Theology as some sort of ogre full of anger with very little love manifest except in the case of a chosen few. In their examples of how God operates in saving people, sin is never the issue. …
8 Ephraim mixes himself with the nations;
Ephraim has become a cake not turned. Hosea 7:8 (NASB)
The Gospel is not something given to us in such a way that gives us the right to edit it. Nor is it our prerogative to change the focus of our local churches from what God intended. The Church Growth movement does both. Of course, this movement has pragmatism at its core. It is actually a philosophy. This philosophy says that if something produces the desired results then it must be right and, therefore, the will of God. However, there is a major flaw in this philosophy. It begins with a false assumption.
6 “I hold fast my righteousness and will not let it go.
My heart does not reproach any of my days.
7 “May my enemy be as the wicked
And my opponent as the unjust.
8 “For what is the hope of the godless when he is cut off,
When God requires his life?
9 “Will God hear his cry
When distress comes upon him?
10 “Will he take delight in the Almighty?
Will he call on God at all times? Job 27:6-10 (NASB)
One of the easiest accusations that Christians can hurl at one another is the epitaph “Hypocrite!” I probably receive at least half a dozen emails or comments a week with that accusation firmly pointed at me. Most of those never make it through the spam process. What is a hypocrite? A hypocrite may be a very neat imitation of a Christian. He professes to know God, to converse with him, to be dedicated to his service, and to invoke his protection: he even practices prayer, or at least feigns it. Yet the cleverest counterfeit fails somewhere, and may be discovered by certain signs. The test is here: “Will he call on God at all times?”
Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. Acts 11:25-26
It has been as much as ten years since we have seen Saul. Ten years ago he left Jerusalem with his tail between his legs and went to Tarsus, his home town, defeated and disillusioned because he had been trying to serve God in his own eager zeal. He had not yet learned the process of dependence upon the Holy Spirit, upon the life of Jesus within. But in those ten years he has learned a lot. He was not entirely idle, as he tells us in Galatians. He preached the word throughout the regions of Syria, and of Cilicia, the area around Tarsus. Continue reading on Ray Stedman Daily Devotions
16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray on behalf of one another so that you may be cured. The petition of the righteous, being effective, has great power. James 5:16 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)
Prayer, to me, has always been a very personal thing. Yes, I have always admired those people who can pray those long eloquent prayers publicly, but I am not one of those. When I pray, I do so with a one-on-one between me and God. Of course, there is always Paul’s exhortation from 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
17 unceasingly pray, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)
24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. 25 It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household! Matthew 10:24-25 (NASB)
When God saves a person, it is a resurrection from spiritual death to spiritual life. No matter how many years that person lives in this life after that, that condition will not change. However, all those whom God saves are left to deal with their flesh in a demon infested temporal place that He uses to purify and mold them unto the image of their Saviour. This process is dealt with all through the New Testament and is referred to as fiery trials or tests. …