ESV Bible

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Mid Week Book Buzz - 10/1/14

This past week has been "book heaven" for me. I just came back from the 2014 Desiring God National Conference in Minneapolis, MN. All the books were 40% off, plus some other great buys. Needless to say, I spent more than I probably should have.

There are some great deals this week ONLINE, so check them out:

1. Taking God at His Word - by Kevin DeYoung - $.99 reg. price: $12.99

2. A Place for Weakness - by Michael Horton - $2.99

3. Manhood Restored - by Eric Mason - $2.99 print price: $14.99

4. Recovering Redemption - Matt Chandler - $2.99 print price: $16.99

5. All Things For Good - Thomas Watson - $.99 print price: $5.00

6. The Insanity of Obedience - Nik Ripken - $2.99 print price: $15.99

7. The Insanity of God - by Nik Ripken - $2.99 print price: $14.99

8. The Death of Death in the Death of Christ - by John Owen - $.99 print price: $7.99

9. An Approach to Extended Memorization of Scripture - by Andrew Davis - $.99

10. Lectures on Calvinism - by Abraham Kuyper - $.99 print price: $9.99

11. Biblical Doctrines - by B.B. Warfield - FREE

12. Finding Faithful Elders and Deacons - by Thabati M. Anyabwile $.99 reg. price: $8.99

13. Holy Subversion - by Trevon Wax $.99 reg. price: $11.99

14. Collected Writings on Scripture - by D.A. Carson $1.99 reg. price $19.99

15. How to Argue like Jesus - by Joe Carter $.99 reg. price: $13.99

16. The Atonement - by Loraine Boettner - FREE

17. Start Here: Beginning a Relationship with Jesus - by David Dwight - $2.51 reg. price: $7.99

18. Creature of the Word - by Matt Chandler - $3.99 print price: $14.99

19. The Freedom of Self-forgetfulness - by Timothy Keller - $1.62 print price: $4.99

20. Hope Reborn - by Adrian Warnock - $3.99 print price: $7.99

21. 10 Answers for Atheists - by Alex McFarland - $2.99 reg. price: $14.99

22. Conviction to Lead - by Albert Mohler - $3.03 reg. price: $22.99

23. Which Bible Translation Should I Use? - by Andreas J. Kostenberger - $2.99 print price: $14.99

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Midweek Book Buzz: 9/24/14

I am always online looking at great deals on books to download for my kindle. I will try to put out a list of books that seem to be worth your time and money each Wednesday. Here we go...

1. Calvinism: A Southern Baptist Dialogue by Brad J. Waggnor - $.99 /regular price: $19.99

2. The Francis Chan Collection, which includes: Crazy Love, Forgotten God, Erasing Hell, and Multiply - $12.99 /regular price: $22.99

3. Perspectives on the Doctrine of God by Bruce Ware- $2.99 /regular price: $24.99

4. Perspectives on Christian Worship by Timothy Quill - $2.99 /regular price: $24.99

5. HCSB Study Bible - $2.99 /regular price: $10.99 /print price:  $49.99

6. Be Series Commentaries: Be Complete (Colossians) by Warren Wiersbe- $2.51 /regular price: $12.99

7. A Quest for More by Paul David Tripp - $2.51 /regular price: $17.99

8. The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan - FREE /print price: $8.99

9. Pleasing God by R.C. Sproul - $.99 /regular price: $14.99

10. Systematic Theology by Louis Berkof - FREE /regular price on Amazon: $9.89

Be Edified.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Are you a man or a boy?

Yesterday, Matt Chandler gave one of the best sermons I've ever heard him preach on the topic of headship. I listened to it today as I was driving back from Orlando. This is a MUST listen to sermon for both men and women.

Here is a quick summary of the sermon:

"When God creates man, He gives him
a unique identity and purpose in life. God designs a
specific role for man to fulfill and, by living out that role,
to increase human flourishing. One of the unique ways
that men fulfill their responsibility to the spiritual authority
entrusted to them is through male headship in church
and home. This headship should be characterized by the
commands in Genesis 2:5-15 to work and keep what has
been entrusted to man’s care. As men lead, love, serve
and protect, they fulfill God’s commands to work and
keep what the Lord has given to their care." - Matt Chandler

Listen to the sermon here "A Beautiful Design (Part 3) - Man's Purpose."

Here are the discussion questions.

Be edified.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Thinking on Ephesians Chapter 1 Verses 3-6 PART 2

Eph. 1:3-6 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved." - ESV

When I read this passage in the Bible, I begin to think of the Wizard of Oz. There is a scene in that movie where Dorthy and her friends find out what's going on "behind the curtain." When we read Ephesians (especially the first chapter) Paul seems to give us a "behind the curtain" look at what God is doing in salvation.

Understanding this can be quite difficult for many, because it will run counter to what our culture seems to communicate. Our culture screams individualism, and self proclaimed glory. It's very hard for us to give up the credit. It seems unnatural, and whenever we realize that we don't really deserve the credit for something, we try to come up with some sort of rationalization to at least keep some of it. People do this in the work place, husbands and wives do this in their relationship, and we even see it in our children.

The most prevalent place we see this today is in social media. It seems that many people look to social media for their "self-esteem boost of the day." They constantly want to know if someone "liked" their post, or commented on their picture, or re-tweeted their quote.

Paul takes all of that away in these verses. He strips us of all credit in our salvation! He tells us that it was all part of a master plan that existed before the world was even created. THAT IS HARD TO SWALLOW!

We will focus on the first part of this long, rich doctrinal sentence today, and continue through it next week, so here we go, let's get to work....

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,"

The first thing Paul does is bless God. He gives God honor and glory. WHY? He tells us why. Because God the Father through Jesus the son has given us EVERY spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. It wasn't us, it was HIM!

First, notice all of the Trinity is involved in our salvation.

1. Blessed be the God and Father...
2. ...of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ
3. ...with every spiritual blessing...

As we continue through Ephesians, we will see this Trinitarian element over and over.

If you haven't figured it out yet, the "blessing" that Paul is talking is salvation. The rest of the passage makes that abundantly clear.

Focus on the word "every" for a minute. It's the Greek word pantos. It means the units of the sum, or a complete accounting of.

The point is that when it comes to our salvation, God did not exclude any part of salvation from us when He saved us. Our salvation is COMPLETE! He did not say, "Ok Tim, I'm going to do this much, and you need to do the rest."

This is why we can never loose our salvation...because we didn't have any part in it. I've always thought this was a weird thing to believe anyway. "Honey, I lost my salvation, can you help me find it?" Who says that? It sounds absurd. Yet many believe this non-sense. Some people think if they sin, they "lost their salvation" and have to go pray to God to give (or "get"...because they think they had a part in this) it back. I guess we just haven't read Col. 2:13-14 or 1 Peter 1:17-19. Ultimately, when we say that sin causes us to loose our salvation, we are saying that the blood of Christ didn't really cancel out our debt, we have to do that. It's just another form of trying to earn your salvation.

We know Satan can't take our salvation away (Romans 8:31-39), and we can't loose it because of sin, so the only other person that can take it away would be God, and Jesus told us in John 10:28 - "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand." You know what "never" means in Greek, NEVER!

We were given salvation by God, and God promises that this blessing will never be taken away, perish, lost, or stolen.

One thing I haven't talked about yet is the phrase "in the heavenly places." Paul is communicating that there is a sort of "here and now" element to the blessing of salvation, and a "yet to come" element.

While our salvation is complete in the sense that God has not required anything of us to do, We have not yet experienced the fullness of all that salvation means. This is a "tricky truth" so stay with me.

We have the imputed righteousness of Christ, but we don't live 100% completely righteous lives. We still sin, and we continue to strive toward holiness. This is the struggle Paul speaks of in Romans 7. However, there will be a day that we are fully sanctified and glorified, and we look forward to that day while we strive to "work out our salvation (Phil. 2:12)."

Let us daily "take up our cross and follow Christ (Matt. 16:24; Luke 9:23). We will struggle in sin till we see Christ, but we don't have to strive to earn God's favor. It is He who favored us when he blessed us with EVERY spiritual blessing before the foundation of the world! That's just AWESOME!

Be edified!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Thinking on Ephesians: Chapter 1 Verses 3-6 PART 1

Eph. 1:3-6

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved."

This is one of my favorite passages in all of Scripture. If you are a follower of Christ, I hope it is one of your favorites as well. These two sentences are so rich with the blessings of salvation. These two sentences show the child of God that God's inclusion of them into his family was no accident, but rather part of his master plan from the beginning of time.

As finite beings we have to acquiesce that there are some questions that we will never have answered by God in this time of redemptive history. If we don't come to grips with that truth, we will allow anxiety, fear, and anger to over take our lives. Deut. 29:29 says, "The secret things belong to the Lord our God..."

In Bible College I would often ask the question, WHY? God, why in the world would you choose to save me by having your son die? Isn't there a better way? I mean, you are God, you are all powerful, you know all things, you hold all of time in your hand. Why this?

Now I know that there are some great theological answers to that question above, but when I asked that question, I wasn't looking for a reason to thank God for his rich love for me, I was trying to figure out why in the world would God institute a law of redemption that necessitated death as the means of being redeemed. When I am with the Lord, maybe I will have my answer, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I won't really care at that point.

And so it is with predestination...

God, WHY? I don't understand.

Did you know the death of Christ was predestined in the book of Genesis? Gen. 3:15 is the first prophecy of the death of Christ.  - "...he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."

The Greek word for predestine in the passage is proorizo and it means exactly what you think it means, to decide beforehand or predetermine. It fits the context perfectly as in verses 1-2 and the beginning of verse 3 Paul uses the term kyrois (decision maker) for Christ when he calls him Lord. So we see that Jesus is the decision maker and he made an amazing, gracious decision before the world began.

This is such a rich text, so yes, I will go through it phrase by phrase in the coming weeks, but this is what the Lord is bringing to my mind as I read this morning:

Thought #1

Notice that we were chosen to be HOLY and BLAMELESS before God. Immediately my mind races to justification and Christ's imputed righteousness. Paul is explaining to the Christian that your standing before God is one of righteousness, not condemnation. Romans 8:33 says, "Who can bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies."

We should respond with gratitude, because we will NEVER be able to pay him back for the debt he literally canceled out. Col. 2:13-14 says, "And you who were dead in your trespasses and and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross."

Thought #2

Predestination was done in a certain way to accomplish a specific purpose. It was done in love.

I know what you're thinking..."how is this love?" Well take into consideration the purpose: ADOPTION!

Here is an illustration: If you adopt a little new born baby, you have no idea what that baby is going to do some day. He or she could be the next Disney CEO or develop the iPhone 84S and then they can support you, right? Isn't that what being a parent is all about...getting a return on your investment?

Adoption is a selfless act. It is something done because someone else is choosing to take someone who is not your child and make them your heir, and this is what God did for you and me because of his amazing love.

We should respond by loving people. We don't know who God has chosen to adopt, but we do know that he adopts people from every nation (Matt. 28:19), so we are to love people from every walk of life. God's amazing grace to us is the catalyst for how we respond to the people he places in our life.

Fill your heart with gratitude this weekend and go out and give away the amazing love of our adopter.

Be edified!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Great Advice for Young Pastors

I like to think of myself as a "young" pastor. I know I have three children and have been married for almost 9 years, but I still have a lot to learn about ministry. Below is a great article from three very seasoned ministers of the Gospel...3 men I highly respect and often read. Click the link below to read the article.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

What do you think about para-church organizations?

What do you think about para-church organizations? A friend of mine was saved through the ministry of a para-church organization. Burk Parsons is the editor of Tabletalk Magazine and the co-pastor of St. Andrews Chapel in Sanford, Florida. We went to Bible college together. Read what he has to say about the role of para-churches in the church.

Click on the link below.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Thinking on Ephesians - Chapter 1 Verses 1-2

I've decided to start a series of my thoughts as I read through the book of Ephesians. I hope this series of blog posts will be an encouraging and edifying.

Eph. 1:1-2 says, "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." -ESV

"Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus"

Isn't it interesting how Paul starts this letter. The first thing I notice is that he identifies himself as an apostle. The title of apostle carries with it authority. When the early church compared biblical writings in order to help recognize which books were actually authoritative and were part of the canon of Scripture, one of the tests they used was whether they came from an apostle. Paul wants his readers to know he has authority to speak on the subject. Paul has a very specific encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus. Jesus appeared to him, transformed him, and (literally) gave him new life.

Rest assured that the Bible you carry is AUTHORITATIVE! You can trust what it says and it will CHANGE you as you read it.

"by the will of God"

Paul goes on to tell us that he has been given his apostolic authority by the will of God, not the will of man. He was chosen by God for this task. It was God who called him to be His representative to the church.

You were chosen by God for a task as well. Each and everyone of His children have a ministry. It doesn't always look like what you might think, but God has a very special plan for your life.

"To the saints who are in Ephesus"

Paul calls his recipients "saints." In some churches they actually measure ones good works in this life and if they've done something so self-sacrificing or so amazing they are given the title "saint." I don't like this practice. Why? Because I don't like exulting the works of people. It is God alone who should receive the glory.

The Greek word for "saint" is hagios, and it means set apart for holiness. Paul is addressing a very specific group of people in Ephesus. He is addressing those people who have been set apart by God for holiness. In other words, he is addressing the children of God, Christians.

"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."

I love this! When Paul greets his readers the very first thing he greets them with is GRACE AND PEACE! If you haven't figured it out yet...IT'S ALL ABOUT GRACE! It really is! And when God's grace permeates our lives, His peace that passes all understanding settles our heart and keeps us close to Him.

You can rest assure that this grace and peace is not fleeting because it comes from God and Jesus. This isn't a mere feeling that comes and goes.

Finally, Paul tells us that God is our Father and Jesus is our Lord. We can rest in our daddy's arms because we are surrendered to Christ, our Lord. The Greek word for Lord is kyrou. It means "decision maker." Christ is our decision maker. The reason we have the GRACE and PEACE of God is because we look to Christ for our answers and not ourselves. When I try to take control of my life, I worry, I get angry, and I get stressed out. I have to learn daily that I am not in control. It is Christ who is sovereign over me!

Be edified!