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Archive for November, 2008

Monergism is offering a 15 sermon MP3 CD on the Doctrines of Grace. From Dr. Arturo G. Azurdia III who happens to be my favorite preacher. Here are the sermons:

The Doctrines of Grace
Christians often speak about being saved by grace.  But what does this mean?  Does God save us apart from our willing cooperation?  Does God’s grace invalidate the demand for our obedience?  Why do some people embrace the Gospel while others adamantly refuse it?  Is our experience of salvation, from God’s perspective, a predetermined purpose or heartfelt hope?

Track List
1) Total Depravity        
2) Unconditional Election        
3) Limited Atonement        
4) Irresistible Grace        
5) Perseverance of the Saints        
6) Q&A on the Doctrines of Grace Part 1    
7) Q&A on the Doctrines of Grace Part 2    
8) Q&A on the Doctrines of Grace Part 3    
Plus:
9) The Discriminating Love of Jesus Christ – John 13:1
10) Did Jesus Pray for You? – John 17:20
11) Monergistic Regeneration Part 1
12) Monergistic Regeneration Part 2
13) The Ultimate Hermeneutic Part 1
14) The Ultimate Hermeneutic Part 2
15) Solus Christus – Isaiah 55:1-12

About the Speaker
Arturo (Art) Azurdia III joined the faculty of Western Seminary Portland, OR, in January 2006. He directs the pastoral mentoring program and teaches selected preaching courses for both masters and doctoral students. Education: BA-California State University (’81), MA-Simpson College (’83), MDiv-American Baptist Seminary of the West (’88), DMin-Westminster Theological Seminary (’98). Pastoral Experience: 1981-1986: College and Career Pastor at Neighborhood Church; 1987-2005: Founder and Pastor of Christ Community Church. Written Works: Spirit Empowered Preaching and Partners in Preaching

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Many times when I hear Galatians 5 taught, or see it used in a book on sanctification or hear expository sermons on it I hear it discussed as the “fleshly Christian vs the Spiritual Christian”. I want to tell you why I disagree with this given the context. I also want to note many people use Galatians 5 to back their position on Romans 7, which I also disagree with wholeheartedly, it is the old cut and paste method that one person can use to defend their position but others can’t use (I will discuss this in a future post).

First lets note. The warnings to the Galatians are real warnings. They aren’t generic. Paul really means that if they want to be justified by works of the law they will fall away from Christ. I know many of my Calvinistic brothers won’t like that; and will say “well they were not really saved at first”. However, given Hebrews and given Galatians these warnings Paul provide are serious and has a huge impact on the readers. To accept circumcision would make “Christ of not avail”!

Now on to reason of this post here are the verses:

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God

Paul talks about two different people! First those who are led by the flesh are “under the law” and are not of the Spirit! There isn’t this dual fight going on as many propose today! Paul believes those who are led by the flesh are in opposition to the Spirit. We all know the fruit of the Spirit verses but I really believe what Paul is conveying here is not a Christian but one who is under the works of the flesh and in layman terms is not a believer.

Paul says those who “practice” such things will not “inherit the kingdom of God”. Paul doesn’t say “they will not be spiritual christians but fleshly christians”. He says quite plainly that their abode will be hell! He isn’t telling them to walk by the Spirit to be better Christians but to walk by the Spirit to prove their Christianity! Once again many of my “justified by faith” brothers will want to hang me and that is fine also!

What Paul is providing us with is a salvation that works (thats for Q-Dog LOL)! Those opposed to the Spirit are not believers walking in the flesh but nonbelievers that are OF THE FLESH! Paul says something key here about the flesh:

24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Now if I follow the plain reading (as many of my expository brothers say) then Paul means what he says and says what he means. That is that those who are of Christ have “crucified the flesh”! If the flesh is not crucified (I am not talking sinless perfectionism, but a real and living work of the new nature and heart given to all believers) then we are of the flesh and not of the Spirit and are deeds prove to us that we are of the flesh and as Paul says “we will not inherit the kingdom of God”.

I want to stop there; however, Paul is looking for Christian to be more Spiritual but to be Christians, the other side of that is fleshly and that my friend is where Paul says “you will not inherit the Kingdom of God”!

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Here is a post from Alan Knox it is priceless:

One of the most common scriptural metaphors for the church is “family”. In fact, the “metaphor” is so prevalent that it probably isn’t a metaphor at all. In other words, we truly are brothers and sisters in Christ. However, the church rarely acts like a family.

But, what would happen if we turned the picture around? Instead of encouraging the church to act like a family, what would happen if the family acted like a church?

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Two young men walked in the den where grandma was watching her “stories”. They shuffled their feet, made small talk, but finally got down to business.

“Grandma, we’ve all talked about it, and we don’t think you’re doing your job the way you once did – the way we need you to,” the first man started.

“What do you mean, son?” the older lady asked, trying to see the TV around the two men.

“Well, you can’t cook or clean anymore. You don’t tell us stories of the old days. We haven’t heard any wisdom from you in a long time. You usually just watch television and sleep. We’re going to have to let you go,” the second man said.

Grandma hung her head. “I realize that I’m getting older and can’t carry out my duties that I once did. Will you at least give me a few weeks to find a new family?”

“We’ll give you two weeks and a good recommendation. I’m sure that God is calling you to a good older family out there somewhere,” her son said.

——————————————————-

“Hey, Sis!” the lady said as she walked through the open door.

“Hi, to what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?” her older sister asked as she closed the front door behind her.

The younger lady found a place on an overstuffed sofa and replied, “Well, we heard that you gave birth, and we wanted to see the new baby.”

As the older sister brought in coffee, she looked around the room. “I don’t think the baby is here.”

“What do you mean?” her sister asked as she sipped her coffee.

“Well, I’m not very good at raising kids. I just give birth to them and let someone else raise them. In fact, that baby is probably still at the hospital.”

——————————————————-

The parents brought dinner into the dining room for the family. The dining room was immaculate, with heavy drapes, carved furniture, silver place settings, and a crystal chandelier hanging over the middle of the table.

Father prayed an elaborate prayer and set the food down for each family member: a small piece of bread and a sip of juice.

——————————————————-

“This is very difficult for me to say,” Father began with tears filling his eyes. “Do you all remember the people that visited us a few weeks ago?”

The family members nodded as the looked around, trying to discern what Father’s important announcement might be about.

“Well, those visitors were actually a Father Search Committee from another family. They believe that God is calling me to be their Father. After much tearful prayer, I agree. So, in two weeks I’ll be leaving this family to become the Father of their family. Don’t worry. I know that this is all in God’s plan, and I’m certain that God will provide another Father for this family.”

——————————————————-

I suppose I could go on, but I think you get my point. If the church is really a family, then the church would not act like it does towards one another.

So, we should ask ourselves, “Are we not living according to our nature? Or, are we living according to our nature?”

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Here is a link to the book

I don’t understand why I didn’t hear of this work earlier. Hutch pointed this to me a while back! Hutch I appreciate it. I have recommend this to a few people. But it is sort of a Biblical Theology or at least a Christ Centered approach to interpreting the Scriptures. It sort of has a  Goldworthy or Vern Poythress feel to it, if you have read any of their works. Anyway as it relates to an intro to a Christ Centered Hermenutic of the Old Testament I would recommend this one. Not to mention for those who are not pursing a Seminary Eductaion but will be in some teaching capacity I would also recommend this book to them. Please, please check it out. For all my pastor buddies or those who teach in some capacity and especially for my gifted disciple makers give the new disciples this work first, take a sunday school or a small group through it. This book is another worth its weight in platinum!

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When many theologians and Christians want to defend the role of Elders/Pastors many of them run back to the Old Covenant (A Covenant that is abolished by the way and obsolete, and was a ministry of death) and point to the priests as an example (especially some of my Covenental brothers). I want to reiterate we need to borrow nothing from the Old Covenant in relation to ecclesiology because the Church had not been born! There is no Church in the Old Covenant! She does not begin until the Holy Spirit moves His ministry of coming upon people to living within them!

I think most of what is ignored however is the fact that the Levites became the priests because all of Israel failed to! Okay let me highlight this. Remember Moses is on Mount Sinai. He is going up to be a representative for the nation (lets not forget that all of Israel should have been up there, but Israel was afraid and told Moses “you go for us”) and to receive the Covenant! As Moses is up there God says:

Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”

This is what is realized in the New Covenant as Peter not only quotes this but says “you are this nation and you are these priests”! Why didn’t all of Israel receive this promise? It was conditional! That is why! The promise starts with an “if”. As God turns to talk to them in Exodus 20 they say “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” Later Moses comes down and the glory of the Lord and the fear of the nation made Moses veil his face (but we have unveiled faces 2 Corinthians 3). Don’t forget the Levites became servants due to their faithfulness in Exodus 32:27 and Israel’s unfaithfulness with the making of a Golden Calf (the beginning of continual unfaithfulness)

I bring you to a quote from Ketcherside:

Nothing is clearer that the fact that God’s purpose was to make ministry and priesthood co-extensive in “the time of reformation”. Every person who accepted the good tidings was to be a priest, every such person was to be a minister. Every priest was such because he ministered; every person was to minister because he was a priest. In priesthood and ministry all were to be equal rank insofar as liberty, privilege and relationship to God are concerned.  God’s people were no longer to be a kingdom with priests, but a kingdom with priests; they were not to be a congregation with ministers, but a congregation of ministers. Priesthood was to be universal in the kingdom of heaven, ministry was to be mutual and reciprocal. This was to be the grand climax of the ages, the golden era of God’s dealings with mankind. God promised Israel that if they would obey his voice and keep his covenant they would be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation unto him. But they did not obey his voice nor keep his covenant. They never realized the fruition of the magnificent promise because they failed to meet the conditions.

Alan Knox has a beautiful post on this over at his blog The Assembling of the Church. The problem lies here folks. Listen in the Old Covenant God used a few select to minster to Him under the New Covenant He commands/requires that all who are under it to minister to Him and to one another! You see my man many would agree with the post I linked to above and the Reformers such as Calvin and Luther. This is where I take a “Step Past Reformed”. The Reformers failed to take steps toward a proper ecclesiology and because they are well respected (which they should be) where they stop we stop. However as Alan says:

I think that my differences with Alston concerning the priesthood of the believer is primarily found in this sentence: “The church may not be dependent upon the ordained clergy for its existence, but for its well-being it needs the few who are called and set apart by the laying on of hands to the particular vocation of preaching, administering the sacraments, teaching, and pastoral care.” As I study Scripture, I cannot find where only a few are given the responsibility of preaching (proclaiming the good news), administering the sacraments (baptizing and breaking bread – the Lord’s Supper), or pastoral care (caring for one another). Instead, I see where all believers are given these responsibilities.

I nod with eager concurrence! Let allow the scriptures to be what we base our ecclesiology off of. Not man’s writings, no matter how much they contributed to the modern Church. The greatest gift God’s give us as a Church is the Spirit, this Spirit empowers all to be the priests God has ordained us to be. To rob individual Christians of this privilege to be priests and when I say priests I mean full functioning priests, not just in small groups and Sunday schools but whenever the Church of God gathers, is to rob the bride of what her Husband has given her as a gift (It is He who descended and ascended and gives gifts unto man Ephesians 4). Lets take a step past the reformation and reform our ecclesiology!

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Here is a quote from Paul:

I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich…………13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness 14 your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. 15 As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”

In Paul’s second epistle (or third or fourth depending on what you mean) he is encouraging the saints in Corinth to fulfill a promise they had made over a year ago. The Jerusalem Church was suffering (yes Agabus’ prophecy came true). Paul must have taught or talked about it during his missionary journeys. Well this motivated the Corinths to take up an offering to meet this need, somehow this information got to the Phillipi/Macedonia Church and in their great poverty they gave before the Corinths. By the time Paul writes this epistle (again a year later) they still had not given what they promised.

I say that to say this is not an attempt at manipulating the scriptures. I do want to focus in on something Paul says. He says “your abundance at this present time should supply their need……”. Why do I say that? Because today must of us live in abundance, most of us are thinking of nice gifts to give to our families. Power Wheels, jewelry, clothes, trips, movies and the like. Nothing is wrong with that at all. I think God has so blessed us so that we can provide for our families and even give them good gifts. However, that isn’t the only reason. As believers we recognize that we have a higher responsibility than just giving good gifts. We also have the same responsibility that our elder brothers and sisters had. That is to meet the needs of those who lack while we bask in utter wealth (yes we are much wealthier than those who live on $90 a year).

Paul goes on to use an Old Testament reference in the gathering of the “manna”. Why does he do that? Because he was showing us and the Corinths that all that they have comes from God. Just as God had provided for Israel so He provides for us. Not for us to store up and have our “manna” spoil as the Israelites did. But to ensure that no one in the camp lacked! All who gathered had enough for it was God who provided. So God has povided us with much manna so that the rest of the redeem will not lack (How wse is or God?).

The Need!

Second, as you know we are starting this clinic in Burji.  To date, comparing designated gifts for the clinic with costs of the clinic, we are about $10,000 in the red.  The great bulk of this is because the cost of purchasing the solar power stuff (panels, invertors, wire, etc) was more than we had expected, plus we went ahead & are installing the loudspeaker for the chaplain’s communication of the Gospel while people are waiting (now it will be heard in all the area surrounding the clinic as well as under the waiting shelter), plus we had to pay about $5500 to ship the supplies, plus we had to pay about $5000 for Customs fee, storage, loading, etc., and we’ve bought alot of start-up medical equipment (the clinic didn’t even have a blood pressure cuff!)   God’s people have been very generous in helping with these expenses, but we’re still $10,000 off as of today.  Stewardship requires us to monitor this, so we don’t want to get further behind.  Perhaps people reading your website will be appointed by Him to help these people with a “Christmas present” that lasts & lasts, perhaps even to eternity!  All checks can be payable to BeckyLynn Black (non-tax-deductible), or Bethel Hill Baptist Church (tax-deductible, but a minimum of $500).  Either way, the checks should be sent to us at 2691 White House Rd., Nelson, VA 24580.  My son Nathan will be checking our mail daily, so nothing will be lost.

Lets help the Blacksfulfill the Great Commission and not only that lets support a modern Priscilla and Aquilla meet the needs of the Saints of God. These are our brothers and sisters and they don’t have much. EVERYTHING that you give will go to building the clinic and getting wells and meeting the other needs of our Ethiopian sisters and brothers. 100%. Above there is a tax-deductible ($500 minimum) or a (no min..) non tax deductible way to give. Please as you give this Christmas and as you provide gifts for your family please consider giving here! I have met the Blacks personally and they are much lovelier than you would every imagine! If your finances have been effected due to our current economic crisis please, please, please pray then pass this need on by posting the information or letting your church know! God bless and thank you Blacks tell the team we love them and are praying for them.

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Real quickly. If you look at the links on the side. I have updated the links by making a new category for New Covenant Theology. If you are interested in knowing more about New Covenant Theology and its distinctives please visit those sites, I promise you that you will not be disappointed. God bless and let me know if you have any questions about NCT.

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