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I have been woefully absent from blogging for a long time. In the midst of life adjustments I forgot about blogging, but I think I’m back. And I have also moved.

Come check out the new digs here: www.EveryManComplete.com

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difficultdoctrineWe have always heard in Christian circles from a young age that God loves us, but seldom do we study the doctrine of the Love of God. The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God by D.A. Carson is just a short book (96 pages) that is drawn from four lectures he delivered in 1998. This book makes for an easy read, despite some deep theology.

The book is broken down into four chapters, On Distorting  the Love of God; God is love; God’s Love and God’s Sovereignty and God’s Love and God’s wrath. Each chapter does well in exploring what the Bible teaches on the given subject. He also does a great job in presenting a balanced view without sounding judgemental towards those that might be differing. His discussion on the view of limited atonement is worth the purchase price of the book.

Overall I found this book refreshing and thought provoking. It was nice not having to sift through hundreds of pages of text, but being able in a short hour or two to cover this doctrine with great ease and explanation. I highly recomend this book.

“Sin is what you do when your heart is not satisfied with God. No one sins out of duty. We sin because it holds out some promise of happiness. That promise enslaves us until we believe God is more to be desired than life itself.” – John Piper, Future Grace

I thought for this post I would reference The Resurgence’s website for all of the notes from the conference and give a few highlights from day two and three.

For most of the past 10 months I have been carrying around a Moleskine journal. I have never been much of a journal type of person, but this has come in handy for note taking and general good ideas (of which there are many empty pages for the second one). I couldn’t help but notice a lot of attendee’s carrying around a Moleskine journal during the conference (must be the “fad” thing to do, glad I figured that out and now I am offically cool!).

So, I will open up my Moleskine journal and share some thoughts that stuck out from day two and three.

Kenneth Edward Copeland (not to be confused with Kenneth Copeland) was the first speaker and was great, probably the best in my opinion. He preached from 2 timothy 3:1-9, preaching in the last days. “Since we are in the last days, we have no time for recreational preaching!” Some people will gather up preachers to tickle their ears, but we need to preach truth and preach it now. Another one of his phrases throughout, “You can arrange the wood – but God can only send the fire!” What a impacting sermon – download it here for listening pleasure.

Bryan Chapell was next and preached on 2 Timothy 3:10-4:5. His message was entitled “Preach the Word!” He did a great exposition of this passage and here are a few highlights. “Augustine said, ‘When the Bible speaks, God speaks! The church is God’s mouth house.” He talked about how the inerrancy of scripture is fading away among churches in this last generation. “Ultimately believing that the Bible is the word of God is an act of faith. May we all be faithful!.” You can download the message here – enjoy!

Day three:

First up was Ligon Duncan. I have heard Duncan preach before and sometimes he can be hard to follow, but after he finished his lengthy introduction he jumped into the passage and was clear, concise and very convicting. His job was to close the letter of 2 Timothy (4:6-22) and he did an excellent job expounding the text. Here are a few highlights: “Theology informs our methodology – not the other way around! God will build His church.”

He talked about the warnings in 4:14-18: “Paul said to Timothy to not be surprised when you find yourself alone. Being faithful in gospel ministry does not mean you won’t be all alone. Don’t wimp out!” The benediction in the letter was very convicting on how we communicate with God’s people. “When that benediction comes we don’t leave the Lord, but He goes with us! Grace be with you – that is how we can go and serve, through grace.” What a great message and one you will want to listen to – download it here.

D.A. Carson was last to end the conference and he also didn’t disappoint. I would like to summarize his message, but feel I wouldn’t do it complete justice so I again encourage you to download it and hear for yourself. Carson is one man that when I hear him preach I almost have to put away my notes and zero in on what he is saying and hope to listen to the message again. And that is what I need to do, so no notes for this message.

I hope this was a blessing as it was to me! Thanks to all for the encouragement to go to this conference, it was well worth the time.

-jeff

I have been reading another Jerry Bridges book for some time. Actually it’s been months, but not because it is boring or not interesting; but because it is a lot to chew on. The book is “The Great Exchange – My Sin for His Righteousness“.

It is just when I think that I pretty special, like I am someone important, that God brings me back to ground and shows me my “true” worth. Today it was in Bridges book and the following scriptures. The whole idea of this book is to showcase the incredible and indescribable beauty of our God in His atonement on our behalf. We are all still stuck in our sinful bodies and as Paul writes to the Corinthian church he is dealing with the issue of sinful practices that had crept into the church. “Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” 1 Cor. 6:18-20

Paul is saying we need a change of mind concerning our salvation through Christ’s atonement. If we say we are a believer, then our actions should reflect that. Bridges says,

“By laying down his life for us at the cross, Christ purchased us for God – all parts of us, body, soul, spirit, and mind. As a result, God owns us. But this goes beyond the rights of God can inherently claim as our creator; we are doubly owned by him, first by virtue of his creator rights and then by virtue of his redeemer rights.”

We were once enslaved to sin and Christ paid the ransom price and redeemed us from that sorry state. “The amount he paid is displayed in the nature, intention, and scope of Christ’s obedience to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2:8).” What a Savior we have!

What should our response be to this, “Glorifying, magnifying, and making much of God is to be our response to the great love God demonstrated in Christ’s purchase of us while we were yet sinners (Rom. 5:8).”

May God be glorified today in our lives!

-jeff

I was thinking today about the section in Jerry Bridges book, “Respectable Sins” in which he is dealing with pride as a sin that we tolerate and excuse in our lives. He says,

…the assumption that whatever my doctrinal beliefs are, they are correct, and anyone who holds another belief is theologically inferior.” (p.92)

I think it is a great statement that needs to be made in light of our present situation in Christendom. We all can be guilty of this sin of pride, whether we are dispensational or covenant theology or calvinist or arminian. What struck me as I thought about this subtle sin, is that we somehow justify our attitudes, words or actions in the name of Christ or His Word. When we say that we have cornered the market on a certain doctrinal belief, we are actually saying that we are Spiritually superior.

Now, by no means do I condone not being passionate about our convictions from Scripture. But my point, along with Bridges, is that we need to hold to those beliefs with an attitude of humility. Bridges brings out the passage in 1 Corinthians 8:1 as a support of how we sometimes allow our doctrinal stances to turn into sin. “Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that all of us possess knowledge. This knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” (1 Cor. 8:1, ESV) Bridges writes, “Paul agreed with their ‘knowledge’ — that is, their doctrinal belief regarding eating food offered to idols — but he charges them with doctrinal pride. Their ‘knowledge’ had puffed them up” (p.92)

I have just recently been in a conversation with a believer who was very upset with those that hold to post-tribulational view of end times. He was so disgusted with this view that he was sharing how he couldn’t see how he could even be a friend to those that hold to that belief. He was choosing isolation over friendship because of his doctrinal pride. The issue is not the belief, but the attitude in which we deal with the differences that we have. Maybe we don’t have anyone right now in our circle of friends (or acquaintances) that differ from our belief system, but we will someday.

My hearts desire is to hold to my doctrinal beliefs with passion and zeal; but also to hold to them with genuine humility that honors the name of Jesus Christ.

-jeff

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I’m a book reviewer

I review for Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers