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Archive for December, 2007

Apostasy

 

I remember at at time in my walk with the Lord when I thought that Hebrews chapter 6 and 10 was talking to the believer who had sinned after being saved. I was terrified when reading this and thought I was doomed and had lost my salvation. I thought that my salvation was something that I decided and therefore if I messed up I could lose it. Glory be to God it is not me holding it together. If I made the wrong mistake or slipped I was forever lost. This was before I was introduced to the Biblical doctrines of grace.(i.e. TULIP-Calvinism) I hope you know that for a true believer in Christ it is impossible to lose your salvation. Why? Not because I said it, but because God has said this in His Word. (John 10:27-29, Rom 8:35,38-39, 1 Pet 1: 4-5, & Phil 1:6)

I would like to focus on these two passages.

Hebrews 6:4 For [it is] impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put [him] to an open shame.

Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

In the book of Hebrews the writer starts out building a case for the supremacy of Christ against everyone else prior to his first advent. He proceeds and makes it ridiculously obvious that the Israelites had seen the wonderful works of God and still would not believe in chapter 3. From all of this we are built up to what we understand to be a warning to the apostates. We understand that this could not possibly be talking about the believer simply because we have all sinned prior and after coming to salvation. (1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.) Christ died for our sins past, present, and future.

Many people today and even then in one way or another experience the blessings of God(Romans 1:20). We see the grace of God alone in just life and breathing and others like the Israelites and the people during the life of Christ seen His works first hand. Let us just think of the Pharisees who seen the very hand of God before their eyes and attributed that good to the evil one. To go even further all we have to do is examine the life of Judas and see how he betrayed our Lord after being with the Lord on many more intimate and personal occasions and still turning his back on Christ. In this we see that mere intellectual understanding does not save anyone. Without the gift of faith given to us from God, surely we would all be without hope. The gift of faith(Ephesians 2) coming from the Father is the key that unlocks the shackles that bind us to sin and the evil one. No this does not mean that after salvation we never sin. If you’ve been through the book of first John he makes it clear that after salvation our affections change and we begin to love what God loves and hate what God hates more and more as we get to know him in our temporal earthly journey. (1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.) ( 1 John 2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.) We are to be Christ-like. What does this mean? Well we have to get to the understanding of how badly God hates sin. We simply have to look at the first sin that was committed in Eden to see how serious God is about sin.

I caught of glimpse of this first hand last week at work. My boss simply told all of the people on our team to not do something. I knew that my boss was in a meeting and willfully decided to do it anyway. Immediately the phrase popped in my head, “premeditated sin” and I thought of Psalm 19. Now did I lose my salvation? I certainly hope not!!! We as Christians ought to become so acquainted with the Word of God that sin should not be habitual or permanent in our life.

In Hebrews 10 the comparison is made of the ones who rejected Moses, how much more will they be off when rejecting the one time propitiating blood of Christ and regard it as a common thing. The Greek word used here lets us know that this is not general knowledge but more of a personal “knowing without a shadow of a doubt knowledge.”


Epignosis akin to epiginosko, denotes “exact or full knowledge, discernment, recognition,” and is a strengthened form of gnosis, expressing a fuller or a full “knowledge,” a greater participation by the “knower” in the object “known,” thus more powerfully influencing him.

I wanted to make it clear that when Paul says in Romans 8:1 [There is] therefore now no condemnation(damnatory sentence, condemnation) to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. He meant exactly what he said. My question is what sin do you haphazardly let reside in your life and say, “it is only a small sin.” Does your sin bother you? What things are you doing to eliminate the sin in your life. I leave with a interesting quote by Spurgeon.

“Of all the sins that can happen to us, perhaps the deadliest of all is that of not being conscious of having any sin. A good old Scotchman used to say that there was no devil in the world so bad as having no devil at all, and that not to be tempted was the worst sort of temptation. So I think, and not to be conscious of any sin is, perhaps, to be at the furthest point from God to which any human being can go; for, the nearer we are to God, the more conscious we are of our own shortcomings, and the more earnestly do we struggle to overcome every atom of sin which we discover to be within our souls.”

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Free Books

Lionel graciously bought some books from John Piper’s ministry. I have a couple of copies left from the stash he sent me. If anyone would like a free copy. Please email me or him with your address and I will send you a copy. God Bless in Christ

  tlhorton80@hotmail.com

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Now I will be the first to admit that when I think of visiting California, I don’t think of churches, but beaches and Palm trees. We also understand that California has not been popular for its Christian values either. MacArthur is there though and that is good. To make it even worse, when you think of Compton, CA you typically envision N.W.A murder capital of the world, and Easy-E and Ice Cube (for those of us who grew up on rap music). Well today I want to erase your mind of all that and recommend that you visit Greater Union Baptist Church. The lead pastor is Ken Jones and if you ever heard of the White Horse Inn or the Miami Pastor’s Conference then you may be familiar with him. If you are not, no need to fret, I have his sermons on the side bar below. Now I love good preaching, what I love even more is good preaching sprinkled with a little urban flavor, if you know what I mean. Black preaching has been know for its charisma, energy, and liveliness, Pastor Ken brings all of this, but there is something even better, he brings it with a Reformed perspective. This brother can flat out preach and as I listned to his last sermon of Grace, I had to check the legalist in me. The brother pushed me back to the cross and I found solace in Christ’s finished work and not my ability. You know sometimes we get on a sanctified kick and tend to look at ourselves more highly than we should.  I listened to three of his sermons yesterday and will finish the rest I have on my IPOD today. I have been blessed by Pastor Ken’s teaching and I believe you will also. He has a high view of Christ, great charisma, and a thorough knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. God bless and please don’t wait too long, you will understand once your heart is blessed by the beautiful brother in the Lord.  

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Okay I decided to add some of my white brethren who get heavy rotation on my IPOD. These brothers can preach folks and they are all in my backyard, excluding Steve Lawson, who I believe to be one of the greatest expository preachers this side of heaven. The brother can flat our preach. He is also a great author. Our goal isn’t to just expose you to black preaching, but also to solid reformed preaching, and these guys have been a blessing in my life. All are Reformed Baptist also. So check their websites out and I want to give a special shoutout to Eric Gunny Hartman the pastor of Providence Reformed Baptist Church, this brother has a heart for racial reconciliation within the body of Christ folks. He held an event where he invited a black church within the same community to watch “Remember the Titans” and they had fellowship afterwards, what a great movie to discuss racial reconciliation. Please send him an email and check out his blog at www.gunny93.blogspot.com

 Reedemer Church, Ft. Worth, TX

Providence Reformed Baptist Church, Garland, TX

Christ Fellowship Church, Mobile, AL

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Okay, due to many of us (including me) believing that we have to listen to our White brothes preach Soverign Grace messages, I have added about 7 feeds on the right sidebar of churches who hold to the Doctrines of Grace and just so happen to be African American (or Black whichever term your prefer). Please take the time to download them and listen to them. You will be encoraged and blessed to do so. If you clike on the Title is should take you to the church website (unless they are on Sermon Audio). God bless and please enjoy!

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Here is my second church recommendation. This church is for those living close to the Winston-Salem area here is the link. This church is a Sovereign Grace Church holding to my theological perspective birthed during the Reformation. This is an older group of Elders and I believe Pastor Burrell is bi-vocational. They even have an Institute in which the class was taking through a course on Systematic Theology. SAY WHAT? That is correct. They have an institute in which people graduate from. I have attached a Mid Term Exam for you to examine (hopefully they won’t beat me up). I have dialogue with the Pastor via email and listening to him preach has been a treat. Not only that I really had to examine my heart to “test myself”. Check out the “Hyprocrite” and “Pauls prayer for the Ephesians” sermons. Sovereign Grace gems! God bless and please send an encouraging email.

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