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Church Discipline Misconceived
Monday, August 18, 2014
Few aspects of church life offend modern sensibilities more than the practice of church discipline. The contemporary dogmas of civility and tolerance keep it outside the doors of many congregations, fostering a culture of unrestrained carnality, unrepentant sin, and false professions of faith. But regardless of how liberal a church may be, there is always a threshold where escalating sin can no longer be ignored. It is unavoidable that there will be times when sin has to be dealt with through confrontation.
The Scarlet Thread
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Rahab’s faith was accompanied by fear and there is nothing wrong with that—“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10). In Rahab’s case, fear motivated her faith. She had heard powerful evidence of the Lord’s supremacy over Egypt. She understood that it was the Lord’s might—not sheer military skill—that triumphed over fearsome Amorite kings across the river. Hers was a healthy kind of fear. It convinced her that Israel’s God was indeed the one true God.
Is a Lie Ever White?
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
By lying, Rahab prevented the capture of the Israelite spies and helped pave the way for Israel to conquer Jericho. Remarkably, Rahab is the only Gentile honored for her faith in Hebrews 11. By commending her faith, is Scripture also condoning her methods? Was hers the rarest of circumstances in which lying was the right thing to do?
The Pagan Prostitute and the Promised Land
Monday, August 11, 2014
After more than 500 years, God’s promise of a land for His people was about to be realized. A new generation would receive the promise rejected by their parents and longed for by multiple generations before them. Israel’s arrival at the Jordan River (Joshua 1:2) brought them to the brink of their inheritance. But this inheritance would not be handed to them on a platter—they would have to fight for it. Across the river stood the towering city of Jericho.
God's Presence and Your Sanctification
Thursday, July 24, 2014
The Lord’s presence in the lives of His people is a major theme throughout redemptive history. He is not aloof or distant. In fact, this reality is so important in the mind of God that He takes the name Immanuel—God with us—upon Himself.
The Person and Power of God in Your Spiritual Growth
Monday, July 21, 2014
"Just let go and let God." If you’ve been around the church for any significant time, you’ve probably heard someone offer that passive maxim as spiritual advice. In fact, many believers might use that as shorthand to describe the process of sanctification. It’s the idea that God will do what He wants, when He wants, and believers are just along for the ride.
Your Spiritual Workout
Friday, July 18, 2014
What do you think of when you hear the words “work out”? You probably think of gymnasiums, weights, and all sorts of fitness equipment. Hard work, commitment, time, and resources are necessary to grow and strengthen our physical bodies. While exercise is popular in America today, it’s certainly nothing new.
The Gravity of Sin
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Christians are not meant to be spectators in the sanctifying process. Believers are commanded to strive against their flesh for the sake of holiness and spiritual growth. At the same time, true righteousness is only possible through the power of God. As we’ve seen in recent days, biblical sanctification is a cooperative work between the Lord and His people.
Obedience and Responsibility
Monday, July 14, 2014
Sanctification is work. Hard, work. But whose work is it? For the biblical answer to that question, we’ve been examining Paul’s teaching in Philippians 2:12-13, in which he highlights the cooperative nature of sanctification.
The Model and Motivation for Spiritual Growth
Thursday, July 10, 2014
There is a raging debate about sanctification—where it comes from, what its nature is, and how it is achieved. Some people will tell you that spiritual growth is entirely optional—that a believer can live whatever lifestyle he or she might choose after a simple confession of faith. Others will tell you that spiritual growth happens by virtual osmosis, as believers reflect on God’s grace in their lives and live accordingly.
Who Is Responsible For Your Spiritual Growth?
Monday, July 07, 2014
The Christian life is anything but a passive pursuit. The New Testament commands believers to “be all the more diligent” (2 Peter 1:10), to take “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5), to “strive to enter through the narrow door” (Luke 13:24), to “run” that we may obtain the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24), and to “work out” our salvation (Philippians 2:12). Our spiritual growth clearly involves human exertion. But what, then, are we to make of God’s sovereignty over our growth?
The Apparent Paradox of Sanctification
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
How do you overcome sin and live the Christian life? Is defeating sin something God does in you, or do you defeat it by obeying the commands of Scripture? In other words, is the Christian life an exercise in passive trust or active obedience? Is it all God’s doing, all the believer’s doing, or a combination of both? Those questions are as old as the church, and the varied answers have spawned movements and denominations.
Sin and the Work of the Spirit
Monday, June 30, 2014
There is colossal confusion about what it means to be a Christian. Through mass communication the culture receives conflicting messages about what defines authentic Christianity. Cults, charismatic speakers, and criminally convicted church leaders only muddle the confusion on a grand scale.
Sin and the Work of Christ
Thursday, June 26, 2014
What did Jesus set out to accomplish? Did His death and resurrection have any practical effect for this life, or was it all focused on eternity? Consider this: the holy Son of God set aside His glory, humbled Himself by taking the form of a man, lived a righteous life, and willingly surrendered Himself as a perfect sacrifice for the sins of others. Was all intended to merely to forgive sin without removing it?