Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What Martin Luther Would Say To Brian McLaren

I recently had the priveledge of speaking with Phil Johnson. As we spoke, Phil reminded me that almost all of the new fads and trends that permeate modern evangelicalism are rehashed heresies from centuries ago. The emergent movement is no exception. They like to portray themselves as cutting edge "theologians" with precious new and fresh insights into how nobody has ever really understood the Bible and that they are the first ones humble enough to admit it.

Brian McLaren is at the forefront of this trend when he writes:

If I seem to show too little respect for your opinions or thought, be assured I have equal doubts about my own, and I don't mind if you think I'm wrong. I'm sure I am wrong about many things, although I'm not sure exactly which things I'm wrong about. I'm even sure I'm wrong about what I think I'm right about in at least some cases. So wherever you think I'm wrong, you could be right. If, in the process of determining that I'm wrong, you are stimulated to think more deeply and broadly, I hope that I will have somehow served you anyway. (A Generous Orthodoxy p19-20)

It is easy to see why God is not the author of confusion - Brian Mclaren is!

I have just finished Ray Comfort's book "Luther Gold" where he harvests some of the best golden nuggets from the extensive writings of Martin Luther. In one of the excerpts, Luther recounts his "conversation" with a group known as the "Sophists". As you read on you will notice that this ancient sect has an uncanny resemblance to Brian McLaren and the emergent movement.

Since we have been persuaded to the contrary by this, by that pestilent saying of the Sophists, "the Scriptures are obscure and ambiguous," we are compelled, first of all, to prove that first grand principle of ours, by which all other things are to be proved: which among the Sophists, is considered absurd and impossible to be done . . . let us proceed, and drown that pestilent saying of the Sophists, in Scriptures.

Psalm 19:8 saith: "The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes." And surely, that which enlightens the eyes is not obscure or ambiguous! Again, Psalm 119:130: "The door of they words giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple." Here it is ascribed unto the words of God, that they are a door, and something open, which is quite plain to all and enlightens even the simple. Isaiah 8:20 sends all questions ". . . to the law and to the testimony;" and threatens that if we do not do this, the light of the east shall be denied us.

Malachi 2;7 commands, ". . . that they should seek the Law from the mouth of the priest, as being the messenger of the LORD of hosts." But a most excellent messenger indeed of the Lord of hosts he must be, who should bring forth those things, which were both so ambiguous to himself and so obscure to the people that neither he should know what he himself said, nor what they heard!

And what, throughout the Old Testament, in the 119th Psalm especially, is more frequently said in praise of the Scripture, than that, it is itself a most certain and most clear light? For Psalm 119:105 celebrates its clearness thus: "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." He does not say only - thy Spirit is a lamp unto my feet; though he ascribes unto Him also His office, saying, "Thy good Spirit shall lead me into the land of uprightness" (Psalm 143:10). Thus the Scripture is called a "way" and a "path": that is from its most perfect certainty. (Luther Gold p86-87)


The entire emergent movement just got "owned" by Martin Luther!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Just Added - The New Answers Book

This outstanding creation apologetics book has just been added to my resource directory!

THE NEW ANSWERS BOOK
Ken Ham (Editor)

Category: Creation/Evolution
Click Here To Order
The New Answers Book (also available as volume 1 of a three publication series) is packed with biblical answers to over 25 of the most important questions on creation/evolution and the Bible. This book features 15 authors including Ken Ham (who also served as general editor), Dr. David Menton, Dr. Georgia Purdom, Dr. Tommy Mitchell, Dr. Jason Lisle, Dr. Terry Mortenson, Dr. Monty White, and Paul Taylor. It covers such foundational questions as: What about the gap theory? Where did Cain get his wife? and Is there really a God? It also covers topics like natural selection, death and suffering, plate tectonics, the big bang, the laws of nature, UFOs and extraterrestrials, the alleged dinosaur-to-bird connection, distant starlight, and more. The NEW Answers Book 1 even has a section on radiometric dating, including the results of the recent RATE (Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth) project, sponsored by the Institute for Creation Research and the Creation Research Society.

Monday, June 28, 2010

John Macarthur On "Cleverness" And "Salesman" Evangelism

I thought it approriate today to follow my recent series on Recovering Abused Bible Verses with a sermon snippet of John Macarthur where he responds to "cleverness" and "salesman" evangelism. Drink deeply . . .

Friday, June 25, 2010

New To The Bottom Line - Recommended Christian Resource Directory

One of the great frustrations I experience in this earthly sojourn is every time I visit a "local Christian bookstore" (with the exception of the ones at the churches pastored by John Macarhur and Jeff Noblit). Generally speaking, these stores are a blend of sound biblical resources lightly mingled in a jungle of pop-psychology, pragmatism, and man centered "theology". Closer examination often reveals that many of these stores are a part of a chain that is owned by a larger secular parent company. The same can be said for most Christian recording labels and publishers. The tragedy that has unfolded over this gradual occurrence is that the almighty dollar becomes the ultimate determing factor. The front of the store is dominated by whatever sells with little or no discerning examination of the content. Zondervan, for example, are more than happy to publish John Macarthur's landmark work "The Gospel According To Jesus" alongside Rob Bell's heretical "Velvet Elvis".

When "everyday Joes" like us enter the local Christian bookstore in search of a spiritual steak we are faced with the same dilemna as ocean rescuers. They can be found but require dedicated surveillance of the vast ocean of spiritual salt water (undrinkable), with constant look out for sharks. And between the early 1990's and 2010 I can safely say that i have seen a dramatic increase in the sharks that roam these waters.

With this in mind, I have constructed my own resource library/bookstore that contains books, audios, CDs, and DVDs that I have read, watched, or heard - and most importantly, recommend as biblically sound and solid spiritual food. If you are looking for the good stuff then you will find a lot of it in this library. More will be added over time as I read and view more material. But what I have constructed so far is quite sizable and diverse. Also, books can be filtered by category, author, or title.

To explore further, please click on one of the four options (recommended audios, recommended books, recommended DVDs, and/or recommended music). You will see these in the right hand column of this blog under the heading "bookstore" (or below in this post). I am calling it a bookstore because I have put a purchasing link on each item that will take you straight to a page where you can order the product. Some of the products, if purchased via this website, will entitle me to a small kickback (although I am not sure I have set it up right) which I hope to use in support of my missionary labors in Denmark (I will talk more about that in a later post).

So please, check it out, surf around and see what interests you.

RECOMMENDED AUDIOS

RECOMMENDED BOOKS

RECOMMENDED DVDs

RECOMMENDED MUSIC

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Recovering Abused Bible Verses (Part 6) - Luke 18:25

5. When Jesus talks about a camel going through the eye of a needle He is actually talking about the gate to an ancient city.

This is a very popular idea among the Word Faith teachers. I have heard it taught in Australia, the US and Europe. The most frightening thing about this teaching is not the teaching itself (as bad as that is) but what it says about how little teachers and church members in these churches know their Bibles.

Here's an example of this teaching:



The motive behind the teaching seems quite clear. They want to say that it is good to be rich, you just have to be like the camel that has to bow down as it enters the narrow gate of the city. Likewise the rich man only has to bow down in humility to enter heaven’s gate.

Just a very quick glance at this passage of Scripture shows this teaching to be wrong. But, equally tragically, it ignores a truth that is way more exciting than anything this world has to offer. Let’s pick this up at Luke 18:22 near the end of Jesus’ conversation with the “rich young ruler”:

22When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." 23But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, "How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." 26Those who heard it said, "Then who can be saved?" 27But he said, "What is impossible with men is possible with God." (Luke 18:22-27)

Is the eye of the needle the gate of a city? We can be certain it is not because in verse 26 the disciples understood it as something impossible “who can be saved” and in verse 27 Jesus confirms that he is describing something physically impossible. But Jesus is explaining that salvation is impossible unless God works a miracle. I found it the greatest irony that the people who teach that the eye of the needle is the gate to a city also invite people to make a decision to become a Christian. Even though the text says that “with man this is impossible”.

Here is the great truth we learn from Luke 18:

Conclusion 5: Man is utterly incapable of saving himself. But God is fully able to save sinners – conversion is a miracle!

It is a miracle made possible by the atoning work of Jesus Christ. Once again, it all points to Christ's redemptive work. Those who abuse Scriptuire continually point away from the cross of Jesus Christ. The Cross is where we must begin and end our theology. We need to preach the Cross again and again. It needs to take center stage in our preaching. The older preachers knew this. Spurgeon was once told that his sermons all sounded alike. His response:

That may be so. I can take any verse in the Bible and make a bee-line for the Cross.

As we have gone through this series I have wanted to make these two major points. In all of the five abused Bible verses i have discussed, each can be clearly understood by reading the surrounding text. It is true in fact that most interpretive problems are readily solved by a plain reading of the surrounding text. My other major point has been that sound teachers always take the text they preach and show how it ultimately points to the cross of Jesus Christ - as we will now see as we conclude by reviewing this series.

In Part 2 (John 3:17) we learned that :

Jesus did not come to condemn because this world is already condemned under the wrath of God.

In Part 3 (Romans 2:4) we learned that:

The kindness of God that leads to repentance is shown in that He delays His wrath giving sinners time to repent.

In Part 4 (Matthew 18:20) we learned that:

Two or more of us gathering in God's Name for the purposes of church discipline gives those of us in the church confidence that we have Divine authority to deal with unrepentant sin within our camp.

In Part 5 (Jeremiah 29:11) we learned that:

Jeremiah 29:11 was a promise of blessing to a particular future generation of the Israelites in Babylonian slavery - it is not a verse that we can apply as a personal promise from God to us. If that were the case then we would also have to apply the verses personally that concern God cursing certain people. The major message to 21st century Christians from Jeremiah 29:11 is that God does not abandon His people!

And in Part 6 (Luke 18:25) we learned that:

The eye of the needle Jesus spoke about was not the gate to a city. The following two verses clearly refute this bogus teaching. Jesus' major point here is that man is utterly incapable of saving himself. But God is fully able to save sinners – conversion is a miracle!

Coming Soon - Popular Myths Embraced By Popular Teachers.

Go Back To Part 5
Go Back To Part 1

Monday, June 21, 2010

Recovering Abused Bible Verses (Part 5) - Jeremiah 29:11

4. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.



This lame video also has very lame handling of Scripture. It is very common these days to see professing Christians treating the Bible like a smorgasbord. People like to pick the verses that they like and claim them as their own personal verse. And Jeremiah 29:11 would have to be at the top of this category! But reading it in its context and wider context we learn that this is a part of a particular message, to a particular people, at a particular time, in a particular situation. What was the situation of Jeremiah 29:11?

Israel had been taken by the Babylonians into captivity. The temple is in ruins and the king has had his eyes cut out. The glory of Israel as a nation is finished. But in the midst of this terrible situation – God speaks.

4"Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. 8For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, 9for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the LORD. 10"For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. 15"Because you have said, 'The LORD has raised up prophets for us in Babylon,' 16thus says the LORD concerning the king who sits on the throne of David, and concerning all the people who dwell in this city, your kinsmen who did not go out with you into exile: 17'Thus says the LORD of hosts, behold, I am sending on them sword, famine, and pestilence, and I will make them like vile figs that are so rotten they cannot be eaten. 18I will pursue them with sword, famine, and pestilence, and will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, a terror, a hissing, and a reproach among all the nations where I have driven them, (Jeremiah 29:4-18)

We could spend all day talking about this but I’ll give just a few points to consider:

1.Why do people think they can claim verse 11 as their own but decide that verses 17 and 18 don’t apply to them?
2.When God speaks in verse 11 remember that verse 4 shows us that He has His foot on their neck while He is saying it.
3.The people receiving the promise in verse 11 will not even live to see it’s fulfillment (it will take 70 years).
4.The reason Israel was in Babylonian slavery was because that they spent their time listening to prophets who told them things they liked to hear.

It is foolish to read Jeremiah 29:11 as a personal message from God to us as individuals. But there is something far greater that we learn from this story in its true context:

That God does not abandon His people!

As this series concludes in my next post, I hope you will see the overarching message from the true meaning of these abused Bible verses.

In Part 2 we learned that:

Jesus did not come to condemn because this world is already condemned under the wrath of God.

In Part 3 we learned that:

The kindness of God is shown in that He delays His wrath giving sinners time to repent.

In Part 4 we learned that:

Two or more of us gathering in God's Name for the purposes of church discipline gives those of us in the church confidence that we have Divine authority to deal with unrepentant sin within our camp.

In today's post we see that:

The major message to 21st century Christians from Jeremiah 29:11 is that God does not abandon His people!

Concludes on Wednesday - Part 6: When Jesus talks about how difficult it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, is he speaking of the gate to a city or . . . the eye of a needle?

Go On To Part 6
Go Back To Part 4
Go Back To Part 1

Friday, June 18, 2010

Recovering Abused Bible Verses (Part 4) - Matthew 18:18-20

3. When two or three gather in God’s Name He is there among us. Whatever they bind and loose on earth shall be bound and loosed in heaven.

This was a very popular saying in the Pentecostal church that I attended for ten years. I would have heard this quoted hundreds of times and almost always at every prayer meeting. I don’t think it is entirely incorrect to believe that God is among us when we gather in His Name, but it is amazing that, considering the number of times this verse was quoted, I never heard it in its context. It actually appears in Matthew 18:

"If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them." (Matthew 18:15-20)

What is the context here? Church discipline! Church discipline is the true Christian’s friend and the false Christian’s reality check. It restores the fallen brother and removes the false convert. God, in His kindness, delays His wrath, giving lost sinners time to repent. In this time when God restrains His wrath (that will come one day) He has given the church the authority to deal with unrepentant sin in the congregation. Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 5 that God deals with those in the world. The church deals with those in the church. And sometimes the church casts people out into the world to protect the believers and in the trust that God will now deal with them.

Conclusion 3: Matthew 18:15-20 gives those of us in the church confidence that we have Divine authority to deal with unrepentant sin within our camp.

As this series continues I hope you will see the overarching message from the true meaning of these abused Bible verses.

In Part 2 we learned that:

Jesus did not come to condemn because this world is already condemned under the wrath of God.

In Part 3 we learned that:

The kindness of God is shown in that He delays His wrath giving sinners time to repent.

In todays post we see that:

Two or more of us gathering in God's Name for the purposes of church discipline gives those of us in the church confidence that we have Divine authority to deal with unrepentant sin within our camp.

Continued on Monday - Part 5: Yes! It's going to be Jeremiah 29:11!

Go On To Part 5
Go Back To Part 3
Go Back To Part 1

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Recovering Abused Bible Verses (Part 3) - Romans 2:4

2. It’s the kindness of God that leads people to repentance.

As with most of today’s "trendy churches", catchy slogans and worldly wisdom have replaced the exposition of God's Word. We are now reaping the harvest of this pragmatic philosophy with multiple generations of biblically illiterate church-goers. People who readily embrace cliches and spiritual sound bites without ever testing them for biblical soundness. Many of those who shepherd are also a product of this landscape and only serve to perpetuate the trainwreck. Joel Osteen is a high profile representative of the many therapists self esteem gurus out there masquerading as theologians and shepherds. True to that heritage, Joel Osteen claims:

“We’ve heard a lot about the judgment of God and what we can’t do and what’s going to keep us out of heaven. But it’s time people start hearing about the goodness of God, about a God that loves them….. It's the goodness of God that leads people to repentance.” (online source)

Joel Osteen has quoted this as a reason why he doesn’t talk about sin. Do you know where this verse is? Actually it’s only a part of a verse – a part of Romans 2:4 (I will highlight the whole verse in bold print):

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man--you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself--that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed. (Romans 2:1-5)

Here we see what God’s kindness is. It is God’s forbearance of our sin. It is that God is withholding wrath that we deserve. When we see our sinfulness and rebellion against God against the background of God’s kindness in withholding the wrath that we deserve – this leads to repentance. This is consistent with Paul’s teaching to the Corinthian church:

As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. (2 Corinthians 7:9-10)

Conclusion 2: The kindness of God leads to repentance because this kindness is shown in that He delays His wrath giving sinners time to repent.

As this series continues I hope you will see the overarching message from the true meaning of these abused Bible verses.

In Part 2 we learned that:

Jesus did not come to condemn because this world is already condemned under the wrath of God.

In todays post we see that:

The kindness of God is shown in that He delays His wrath giving sinners time to repent.

Continued on Friday - Part 4: When two or three gather in God’s Name He is there among us. Whatever they bind and loose on earth shall be bound and loosed in heaven. In the meantime here is a very provocative video to watch . . . if you dare!



Go On To Part 4
Go Back To Part 2
Go Back To Part 1

Monday, June 14, 2010

Recovering Abused Bible Verses (Part 2) - John 3:17

1. Jesus Did Not Come To Condemn Anybody

Have you heard that quote before? People say it a lot. In fact Rob Bell says that very thing in one of his best selling videos called "Bullhorn Guy" which I discussed in an earlier post. He uses the argument that "Jesus didn't come to condemn anybody" against preaching about sin.

Where this verse is in Scripture? It appears just after the most famous verse of all, John 3:16. Let’s go there and see if we can find out the context for why Jesus did not come to condemn.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God." (John 3:16-21)

Jesus did not come to condemn the world because it is already condemned. The condemnation is that sinful men love darkness and hate the light and will not come to the light so that their sinful works will be exposed. Preaching about sin is not what condemns people – their own sin has already condemned them. Preaching about sin, righteousness and judgment is the most helpful thing we can do for people already condemned by a Holy God for their crimes against Him. Jesus did not come to condemn because this whole fallen sinful world is already under God’s wrath as we see later in the same chapter (John3:34).

Conclusion 1: Jesus did not come to condemn because this world is already condemned under the wrath of God.

Continued on Wednesday - Part 3: It's the Kindness Of God That Leads People to Repentance.

Go On To Part 3
Go Back To Part 1

Friday, June 11, 2010

Recovering Abused Bible Verses (Part 1)

If I was to say to you as a preacher:

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26)

And then go on to teach on why we should hate our parents - how would you respond?

1. You would read the verse in context. This is why expository preaching is important and that also that the preacher works his way through a book verse by verse (Yes - I realize the irony of using a topical blog post to point this out). Here we see that Jesus is explaining the radical cost of discipleship and is using what we call hyperbole to make a point. Hyperbole is defined as:

A figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect, as in I could sleep for a year or This book weighs a ton.

2. You can also check for a parallel verse in another Gospel.

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:37)

3. Another rule of Bible interpretation is that it cannot contradict the rest of Scripture.

You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.' (Luke 18:20)

I could go on into the greek but I think you get the point that you cannot teach hatred of parents from Luke 14:26. How about the old favorite “you shall not judge” which is a popular response to people who make biblical assessments of sin. Do you realize that that verse is quoted from Matthew 7, the very same chapter where Jesus teaches how to judge between true and false teachers.

We need to be careful when listening to teachers (myself included) that the Scripture is being handled rightly. We also need to be careful in our own use of Scripture. There is so much bad use of Scripture I keep hearing today and there are several verses that often get used or abused for the sake of a false teacher’s agenda. I keep encountering it on Christian TV, in sermons, in books, and in conversations. I really believe it would be helpful to take a closer look at this for two reasons:

1. We need to test all teaching against Scripture.
2. The real meaning of the abused verses I will be examining over the coming weeks is something way more excellent and profound than the way they get abused.

This post is the first of a six part series. In each of the following five posts I will take a look at an often used and often abused verse from Scripture. I will show how the abuse is quite easily detectable. I will also show that this abuse serves to conceal far more glorious and profound truth than the carnal falsehoods that false teachers glean. We are going to take a look at five popular Bible verses that get used regularly and wrongly and focus on their real meaning. So stay tuned!

Go On To Part 2

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Tale Of Two Kings (Part 5)

In my previous two posts we saw that the difference between David and Saul (in God's eyes) was not the scale or scope of their sin, but the difference between true biblical repentance and worldly remorse. Everybody sins - and that is terrible. But not everybody repents - as we see with Saul. Sure he thought he was repentant, but he was really only sorry for the being busted and the consequences that came from that. Saul reminds me of Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. I always considered the disgraceful aspect of Clinton's behavior was not his immorality (though that was extremely bad). What was disgraceful was his unwillingness to admit to any wrongdoing, his continual self justification, his continual portrayal of himself as a victim, and his continual blaming of right wing conspiracies against him. David, on the other hand, came straight out and confessed his sin and accepted full responsibility.

There are two types of people - sinners who try to cover their sin, and sinners who repent. Which one are you?

Repentance
Repentance is clearly important to God. The Old Testament prophets, John the Baptist, Peter, Paul, and Jesus Himself all began their ministries with a call to repentance. Jesus made it very clear when He spoke about a natural disaster of His time where eighteen people died. He said that although they did not die because they were more sinful than others, “unless you repent, you too will all perish” (Luke 13:3).

The word repentance comes from the Greek word “metanoia” which means a change of mind. Several other states of mind can easily be mistaken for repentance so before defining repentance let’s define what it is not.
1.Repentance is not reformation.
2.Repentance is not remorse.
3.Repentance is not regret.

Repentance Defined
Wayne Grudem defines it as “a heartfelt sorrow for sin, a renouncing of it, and a sincere commitment to forsake it and walk in obedience to Christ”. Repentance is genuine sorrow for offending God that changes us to be more like Jesus.

God’s View
Jesus said “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 just persons who need no repentance” (Luke 15:7). Our repentance starts a party in heaven.

Free at Last
It is repentance that sets us truly free. Free from the fear of being found out. Free from condemnation. Free from the facades that we live behind. Free from guilt. Repentance should not be a one-off event but a lifestyle practice. We all need to live this way because we are all sinners. The Bible makes it clear that we are all sinners (Romans 6:23) therefore we’ve all got stuff we need to repent of. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).

Prayer
Heavenly Father, Maker of heaven and earth, Your ways are so much higher than our ways. All that You do is perfect and all of Your ways are just and right. I come to You in the name of Jesus Christ knowing that I cannot stand in Your presence in any other way. I have sinned against You and have no excuse. You know all the thoughts and intents of my heart. I confess them to You. I am not sorry because of the consequences but because it damages my relationship with You. I repent of it, turn away from it, and plead Your forgiveness. I put all of my trust in Your promise that You will immediately totally cleanse me of all my unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Thank You Lord for the greatest act of love in history by dying for my sins so that I can have right standing with You and eternal life instead of hell. In Jesus name amen.

Go Back To Part 4
Go Back To Part 1

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Tale Of Two Kings (Part 4)

In today's fourth installment we will look at David's response to the exposure of his sin. In this and the previous post we really get to see what made Saul and David so different and perhaps where the dividing line lay between the king rejected by God and the king that was known as a man after God's own heart . . . read on . . .

And the LORD sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, "There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds, but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him." Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, "As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity."

Nathan said to David, "You are the man! Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. And I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.' Thus says the LORD, 'Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.' (2 Samuel 12:1-12)


David’s Response (2 Samuel 12, Psalm 51)

1.Confession

David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." (2 Samuel 12:13)

Rather than follow Saul's path of lying, blaming, and justifying - David immediately confesses. God doesn't categorise us into sinners and righteous, but rather those who confess and forsake their sin, and those who don't. Which one are you?

“He that covers his sins shall not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

2.Repentance

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Psalm 51:1-17)


David put his repentance on display in the 51st Psalm. Here is where David differs markedly from Saul.

Question: How many times does David attempt to justify any of his actions in this Psalm?
Question: How many people does David blame for his predicament in this Psalm? Who?
Question: Does David seem concerned about his public reputation?
Question: Is David more concerned about losing the throne or losing the Holy Spirit?

I could speculate that if Saul had written the 51st Psalm he would have said things like "create in me an even greater reputation" and "cast me not away from my throne O Lord" and "please don't take from me the royal car with the flag on top".

3.Acceptance of living with the consequences.

Though God pardoned him, David still suffered the consequences of his actions and none of them were pretty. Repentance doesn't get us off scot free, we will usually reap what we have sown, but it is an open door to right standing with God and David knew that was the one thing he couldn't live without. Covering sin only delays the consequences. Nothing remains hidden forever. But better to live with the consequences of our earthly actions, with a repentant heart and a clear conscience, than to dive headlong into the unquenchable flames of hell.

Go On To Part 5
Go Back To Part 3
Go Back To Part 1