Monergism & Synergism ~ Notes…

(1)
In his book, Grace Unknown, R.C. Sproul states in print, some theological matters that I have heard him say many times on his radio program, Renewing Your Mind. This has to do with the matter of monergism and synergism.

Regarding monergism, this is what Sproul says it is:

“Monergism is something that operates by itself or works alone as the sole active party. Monergism is the opposite of synergism. … Synergism is a cooperative venture, a working together of two or more parties. When the term monergism is linked with the word regeneration, the phrase describes an action by which God the Holy Spirit works on a human being without this person’s assistance or cooperation. … Monergistic regeneration is exclusively a divine act. Man does not have the creative power that God has”
~ pg. 183-4

Regarding synergism, this is what Sproul says:

“As part of the process of our sanctification, perseverance is a synergistic work. This means that it is a cooperative effort between God and us. We persevere as He preserves.”

~ pg. 212
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
(2)
Jerry Bridges also says something similar.

In his book The Bookends of the Christian Life, we find written the following:

“… Paul summed up the concept of qualified synergism with a sweeping, dramatic statement: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11-13).”
~ Pg.88

“So while the Holy Spirit is working in us synergistically to enable us to accomplish our growth agenda, He’s at the same time working monergistically to change us according to His agenda.”
~ Pg. 91

In another book of his, which he co-authored with Bob Bevington, The Great Exchange: My Sin for His Righteousness, Bridges states:

“Definitive sanctification is monergistic, i.e. God acts independently of man to cause the sinner to see the glory of Christ in the Gospel. … When the Bible uses the word sanctification, it is frequently referring to progressive sanctification, which is gradual transformation of the believer in his or her day-to-day experience. Progressive sanctification is synergistic; the believer works in cooperation with God in dependence on His providing the enabling power to change.”
~ Pg. 216

(3) Bruce Demarest in his book, The Cross and Salvation says something similar.

It should be clear that regeneration differs from conversion in several important respects. (1) Conversion involves a synergism of divine and human working, whereas regeneration is strictly a monergistic operation.”

He also some other things that are quite interesting… but I do not want to digress.

(4) J.I. Packer on the very same issue.

“Regeneration was a momentary monergistic act of quickening the spiritually dead. As such, it was God’s work alone. Sanctification, however, is in one sense synergistic – it is an ongoing cooperative process in which regenerate persons, alive to God and freed from sin’s dominion (Rom. 6:11, 14-18), are required to exert themselves in sustained obedience. God’s method of sanctification is neither activism (self-reliant activity) nor apathy (God-reliant passivity), but God-dependent effort (2 Cor. 7:1; Phil. 3:10-14; Heb. 12:14). Knowing that without Christ’s enabling we can do nothing, morally speaking, as we should, and that he is ready to strengthen us for all that we have to do (Phil. 4:13), we “stay put” (remain, abide) in Christ, asking for his help constantly – and we receive it (Col. 1:11; 1 Tim. 1:12; 2 Tim. 1:7; 2:1).”

I think that Packer’s explanation might have the key to help me understand what has not been making sense.

J.C. Ryle on Happiness

~ John Charles Ryle (1816-1900) was a bishop in the Anglican Church. He lived a pretty secular life until shortly after graduating from Oxford University, when he came to a knowledge of Christ Jesus. You can read a short biography of him here by John Piper

What lies below is an excerpt from a sermon by Ryle, titled Happiness that he preached back in 1878. I put the clip in because there is a streak of humor in it. It is on what I would call Faux Happiness – something that is everywhere. (It is exhibited by what I describe as existential incontinence. That is to say that human beings leak – existentially. With their mouths they say “Happy. Happy,” and yet with their lives they say unhappy, unhappy.)

 “Oh, no! Worldly merriment is not real happiness! There is a certain pleasure about it, I do not deny. There is an animal excitement about it, I make no question. There is a temporary elevation of spirits about it, I freely concede. But do not call it by the sacred name of ‘happiness’. The most beautiful cut flowers stuck into the ground, do not make a garden. When glass is called diamond, and tinsel is called gold — then, and not until then, those people who can laugh and revel will deserve to be called happy people.

Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, at a time when all Spain was laughing at his humorous work, was overwhelmed with a deep cloud of melancholy.

Don Quixote ~ Sketch by Pablo Picasso
Don Quixote ~ Sketch by Pablo Picasso

Moliere, the first of French comic writers, carried into his domestic circle a sadness which the greatest worldly prosperity could never dispel.

Samuel Foote, the noted wit of the last century, died of a broken heart.

Theodore Hooke, the facetious novel writer, who could set everybody laughing, says of himself in his diary, “I am suffering under a constant depression of spirits, which no one who sees me in society dreams of.”

A woebegone stranger consulted a physician about his health. The physician advised him to keep up his spirits by going to hear the great comic actor of the day: ‘You should go and hear Matthews. He would make you well.’ ‘Alas, sir,’ was the reply, ‘I am Matthews himself!’

Three Enemies of the Church

My friend told me earlier today that there are three enemies of the Church:

  1. Poverty
  2. Prosperity
  3. Persecution

and that the worst of these is Prosperity. Nothing kills the Church like Prosperity. Surely the Western Church is a signal example of this. This is not to knock being wealthy but to knock against the misuse of wealth.

I tend to agree although I will say that Poverty is probably a frenemy, i.e. both an enemy and a friend.

God and Chintziness ~ Thought in Passing…

Now here is a consideration. Suppose you are an unforgiving person.  You just have a habit of bearing grudges, holding on to deep resentments, not forgetting grievances, and being a generally unforgiving person towards anyone who offends you in the slightest manner.  Why? Because thats the kind of person you are.

~ Now suppose it is Judgment Day and you are being judged by God and you know its not going to go well, so you ask for forgiveness. Suppose God says to you,

“No. For one thing, the time for that is now past (2 Cor. 6:2). You were given ample time, but now not anymore. And for another thing – quite frankly in not forgiving, I am merely exercising your own standards towards you.

Hetty Green (1834-1916) World famous miser
Hetty Green (1834-1916) World famous miser

Now here is a consideration. Suppose you are a habitually stingy miser. You will not share any of your things, let alone help anyone out with your priceless treasures when they are going through difficult times. You hoard everything. You scrimp and save. And even if you are totally able to help someone out when they face hardships, you hold back. Why? Because thats the kind of person that you are. Now…

Now suppose you asked God for something… some blessing…

~ What if God said to you “No. I wont bless you with anything. I am going to withhold. Why? I am just simply exercising your own standards towards you.

What if God were like this? What if God treated us like we treated others? Ouch

“…with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” ~Matthew 7:2b

Surrounded By Sufficiency…

~ I need to be constantly reminded that we work against a background of sufficiency. We are surrounded by a sufficiency of sufficiencies.  Consider that…

God is sufficient.

His Word is sufficient (Psm. 19).

His grace is sufficient (2 Cor. 12:9).

His guidance is sufficient.  (Is. 58:11, 46:4)

His past work on the Cross is sufficient (Heb. 9:26).

His future grace is sufficient (1 Pet. 1:13).

His future works are sufficient (Eph. 2:10)

His providential means are sufficient (Hos. 2:21-22) or if not then He Himself will be our sufficiency (1 Pet. 5:10).

~~~ Yet we may feel insufficient and the truth is that that is quite alright. In fact you can feel sufficient for all the wrong reasons and insufficient for all the right reasons.  Depend on Him.

Linkage: Going Deep with God by Having Him Carry Our Loads

Charles Hodge on the Atonement…

What more does any AntiAugustinian scheme provide?

The advocates of such schemes say, that the design of the work of Christ was to render the salvation of all men possible. All they can mean by this is, that if any man (elect or non-elect) believes, he shall, on the ground of what Christ has done, be certainly saved.

But Augustinians say the same thing.

Their doctrine provides for this universal offer of salvation, as well as any other scheme. It teaches that God in effecting the salvation of his own people, did whatever was necessary for the salvation of all men, and therefore to all the offer may be, and in fact is made in the gospel.

If a ship containing the wife and children of a man standing on the shore is wrecked, he may seize a boat and hasten to their rescue. His motive is love to his family; his purpose is to save them. But the boat which he has provided may be large enough to receive the whole of the ship’s company. Would there be any inconsistency in his offering them the opportunity to escape? Or, would this offer prove that he had no special love to his own family and no special design to secure their safety.

And if any or all of those to whom the offer was made, should refuse to accept it, some from one reason, some from another; some because they did not duly appreciate their danger; some because they thought they could save themselves; and some from enmity to the man from whom the offer came, their guilt and folly would be just as great as though the man had no special regard to his own family, and no special purpose to effect their deliverance.

Or, if a man’s family were with others held in captivity, and from love to them and with the purpose of their redemption, a ransom should be offered sufficient for the delivery of the whole body of captives, it is plain that the offer of deliverance might be extended to all on the ground of that ransom, although specially intended only for a part of their number.

Or, a man may make a feast for his own friends, and the provision be so abundant that he may throw open his doors to all who are willing to come. This is precisely what God, according to the Augustinian doctrine, has actually done. Out of special love to his people, and with the design of securing their salvation, He has sent his Son to do what justices the offer of salvation to all who choose to accept of it.

Christ, therefore, did not die equally for all men. He laid down his life for his sheep; He gave Himself for his Church. But in perfect consistency with all this, He did all that was necessary, so far as a satisfaction to justice is concerned, all that is required for the salvation of all men. So that all Augustinians can join with the Synod of Dort in saying, ‘No man perishes for want of an atonement.’

Stylized Portrait of Serena Williams

SerenaWilliamsStylized_RGBRao

The above is a stylized portrait of the tennis player, Serena Williams – Wimbledon Tennis Champion, 2015.  The idea had been in my mind for some time now… I finally drew it. It is vector art and I used Xara to do this.

*Note: Pls keep in mind that this is stylized so… I am not striving for accuracy.

SW

 

When You Indulge in Pornography, You Participate in Sex Slavery ~ Naselli Article

~ The following is a blog post with a link to an article written by Dr. Andy Naselli that I think is very important.  It is something that we really need to be aware of. He says at his post that there are three questions that he is trying to answer:

  1. What is sex slavery?
  2. How does pornography fuel sex slavery?
  3. How should men feel about pornography?

WHEN YOU INDULGE IN PORNOGRAPHY, YOU PARTICIPATE IN SEX SLAVERY ~ Blog Post

WHEN YOU INDULGE IN PORNOGRAPHY, YOU PARTICIPATE IN SEX SLAVERY ~ Article in PDF form.

 

1 Corinthians 1:1-9 – Various Notes

Corint

The church of Corinth consisted of
– Romans
– Greeks and
– Jews

And the Roman city of Corinth was a major economic center that also was very religious. It consisted of a polytheistic culture which included many temples for various gods (Hermes, Poseidon, Isis, Apollo, etc.)  over and including a major temple of Venus situated atop a hill.

~ Athletics & sports was in the air there as a nearby city, Isthmia hosted the Isthmian Games every 2-3 years.

Paul came to Corinth on his 3rd missionary journey and planted the Church there. He then ministered there for 18 months.

Cor

After having moved on from Corinth, and at a later time, Paul received news from members of the Corinthian church about problems there. These had to do with 1) gross immorality and 2) factions. Paul also received a letter from them requesting his guidance on 3) various matters such as marriage, divorce, eating food sacrificed to idols, spiritual gifts, collections for the poor and so on.

Further problems also were present – people questioning where Paul was an authentic apostle, Communion observance abuses, questions about the resurrection.

Walk Through 1 Corinthians 1:1-9 …

1 Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes,

~ Given that Paul’s credentials as an apostle were challenged, here Paul is stating that he in fact an apostle by God’s will.  Acts 1 lays out the qualifications for what constituted an apostle. An apostle had to have
1) been an witness to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
2) been appointed by Jesus Christ and
3) finally he had to be able to authenticate his status as an apostle by way of miraculous signs.

So given these criteria, do you think was Paul an apostle?

Sosthenes might have been the ruler of the synagogue (in Corinth) mentioned in Acts 18:17. Given what the Sosthenes of Acts 18:17 went through.

Sosthenes (2nd from the left)

“Then the crowd there turned on Sosthenes the synagogue leader and beat him in front of the proconsul; and Gallio showed no concern whatever.”

It would not at all be surprising if he later on joined the church.

~ Sosthenes is also likely Paul’s scribe for this letter. That is to say that, Paul dictated and Sosthenes wrote.

2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:

~ Note the use of the term “call” here. In verse 1 God called Paul not just to be a saint, but also to be an apostle. In verse 2, we see that all those who are believers – they are also called to be saints. So there is a general call to be a saint and there is also a specific call to be an apostle. The latter is not applicable to everyone.

~ Saints: Everyone who has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour is regarded by the Bible as being a saint. You do not have to be an Church Father like St. Athanasius or some super individual like Mother Theresa who as per the canonization of the RC Church apparently became a saint. You are a Saint by virtue of the Holy Spirit dwelling in you.

3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

{Research something here and update later.}

4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge—

~ All speech and all knowledge would have referred to:
1) Prophesying aka forth-telling aka giving a sermon aka teaching … even when the Church critiques culture
2) Prophesying aka foretelling aka predicting
3) Speaking in Tongues – glossolalia aka ecstatic speech
4) Speaking in Tongues – speaking in other languages like Aramaic or French
5) Speaking with eloquence and persuasively anywhere and everywhere.
6) Sharing the Good News with others
7) Good social skills
8) A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. ~ Proverbs 25:11
9) …

6 even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— 7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ,

~ No Christian is without a gift. Every Christian has some kind of God given to him or her by God. This could be stewardship, encouragement, financial wisdom, counseling skills, preaching skills, being good at Art or Engineering, exhortation and so on. As regards the matter of tongues or Prophesying (type (2) above), its controversial as to whether they are still around today.

8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

~ The Bible teaches that once one accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, then it is forever. If you have genuinely converted then God bears the primary burden of seeing to it that you make it to Heaven without falling away. He will sustain you to the end and He cannot fail.

Cor3

Exercise: I just covered 9 verses. In these 9 verses, how many times does Paul reference Jesus Christ?

Abraham …

I was sifting through some old lecture notes and liked this so I am blogging this.

“Everyones gotta do an Abraham once in a while.” ~ Graham Cole

~~~ Other notes from GC:

Missio Dei: To secure God’s people in God’s place, under God’s rule, living God’s way in God’s holy and loving presence.

Covenant: A relationship founded on promise.

God’s Speech-Acts…

~ The following is an interesting excerpt from an article by Timothy Keller at the Christianity Today website, titled, Preaching That Unleashes the Bible’s Power: Why expository sermons should make up your church’s main diet.

“It is important to know not only in general that the Bible is true but also that in the Bible God’s words are identical to his actions. When he says, “Let there be light,” there is light (Genesis 1:3). When God renames someone, it automatically remakes him (Genesis 17:5). The Bible does not say that God speaks and then proceeds to act, that he names and then proceeds to shape—but that God’s speaking and acting are the same thing. His word is his action, his divine power.”

Tim Keller – photo from the Center For Gospel Culture.

In the Meantime … Questions

– Jesus was asked 183 questions.
– Jesus asked 307 questions.
– and Jesus answered … ???

… Guess?

Follow Me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Jesus answered 3 questions.

Aside: Some notes on types of questions…
1. Perfunctory questions: Will the snow ever end?
2. Personal questions: The perfs eventually lead to the pers.
3. Personal-Spiritual: Obvious… when it gets deep

Traffic Jam Therapy . . .

What follows below is an excerpt from a blogpost by Dr. David Murray. In the excerpt, I post 6 six questions that he poses to help you get out of a … a funk – shall we say? I find the first question itself to be a show stopper for me when I start to get into negative thinking.  A good and needed show stopper.

The Happy Christian by David Murray

I actually picked up on his questions not from his blog, but from a book of his that I am currently reading – The Happy Christian. I so liked the things that he says in the book, that I googled the first question with his name and came upon his blog-post.

Anyway here is the excerpt:

Traffic Jam Therapy
Let me return now to a simpler and less serious example in order to break this down further in a way that we can all relate to (well, the men at least).

Next time you’re sitting in a traffic jam and you start steaming and screaming, try to understand where these feelings and actions are coming from by asking yourself these questions.

Step 1. What are the facts? The facts are that I am in a two-mile back-up and the radio tells me it will take one hour to clear due to a breakdown in the fast lane several  miles ahead.

Step 2. What am I thinking about these facts? I’m thinking about the idiot who broke down in the fast lane. I’m thinking about all that I could have done with this hour.

Step 3. What am I feeling? I’m angry at the guy who broke down, I’m frustrated about the lost time, and I’m worried about what my friends will think about me for being late.

Step 4. Can I change the facts? No, there is no way out of the traffic jam.

Step 5. Can I change my thoughts about the facts? Yes, I can believe that this is God’s plan for this hour of my life. I can be grateful for time to stop and think and pray in the midst of a busy day. I can practice my breathing relaxation techniques. I can listen to a sermon on the radio. I can pray for my friends.

Step 6. What am I feeling now? Slowly I feel peace, tranquility, calm, and trust in God coursing through my heart and body.

We are what we think
In each of these examples, I’ve asked six questions in two groups of three. The first three – about facts, thoughts, feelings – help us identify our thoughts and recognize how they are impacting our emotions and behavior. The second three – also about facts, thoughts, feelings – help us challenge our thoughts, change them, and so change our feelings and actions. In summary:

  • How did I get into this mood? Facts, thoughts, feelings.
  • How do I get out of this mood? Facts, thoughts, feelings.

The Psalmist follows these stepDr. David Murrays when he found himself depressed and worried (e.g. Ps. 42, 73, 77).

These six steps are also at the core of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and help explain why it is so effective as part of a package of holistic care for suffering people.

Six Steps to Better Thoughts, Feelings, and Actions ~ @ Head, Heart & Hand

Writer’s Block… sort of… Artist’s Unblock…

~ Been in a strange sort of rut… The thoughts about what I want to blog about come to me when I am really busy in life with all sorts of things. So I cannot write. However when I get some time and sit down to write… at that point the thoughts don’t quite land. What has been coming out is a scramble of confetti. Oh well…

On the flip side, things are a wee bit better on the Art end. Here is my latest experiment:

SalwarKameez_CheongsamMixRGBRao
Salwar Kameex & Cheongsam mix

~ The above is a fusion of the Chinese cheongsam and the Indian salwar kameez.  I am sure its been done in real life a thousand times. The idea came to me almost randomly as I was sketching around.

~~ I used Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 10 to make the line art and then used Manga Studio 5 to color it and add some other touches.

Koine Graffiti ~ χάρις – Charis

~ I have had in mind to do graffiti artwork of verses of the Bible in Koine Greek. I gave it a first shot in 3D and that did not work out. So I then tried 2D, and this worked out much better. Here is the word “grace” – χάρις – graffiti-cized. I used Xara for this.

Hebrews 4:16

Grace: χάρις, ιτος, ἡ – I always say: “Grace is the cement that fills the cracks in our lives.”

Also, the verse on the left is Hebrews 4:16 – Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Money, Time & Redemption (7)

~ I once heard a Christian who was a retired CEO of some big company, say with regards to the issue of applying somewhere for a job and being rejected,

“When you live life under God, there is no such thing as rejection. Only redirection.”

He was exactly right. When you live life under God, His love swallows up all of our rejections and spits it out into the dustbin. Josephs brothers rejected him. However, what did that mean when Joseph reached the peak of Egypt as second to none but Pharaoh?

Yet I want to qualify what the CEO said one step further. I will say it like this.

“When you live life under God, there is no such thing as rejection. Only redirection, and redirection is a form of redemption.”

~ And this here does not just apply to the job situation, but it applies to everything. Perhaps you go rejected trying out for the soccer team or perhaps you auditioned to join a band and were rejected… or perhaps … a 1,000 perhaps… God’s redemption swallows up all the rejections in our lives and so to speak cancels it out.

Money, Time & Redemption (6)

Job:
~ Job in the anguish of his suffering did not say “I know the Lord lives” or “God Almighty is alive!” or something else. No, rather Job said,

“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.” ~Job 19:25

Why did Job use the term “Redeemer” and not something else?

Why?

Money, Time & Redemption (5)

~ Basically for my purposes, what I am working towards… I am trying to say that redemption is very active today.

In one sense God has finished and applied redemption. If you have accepted Jesus Christ at your Lord and Savior, then you have been redeemed. You have been purchased by His death on the cross and have passed from darkness to light.

Yet in another sense – redemption is very active in our lives… All the crap from your pre-Christ past, all the baggage, all the sins, all the mistakes, goof-ups, the foolish business ventures, the struggles with the bottle as an alcoholic, the bad grades in your classes at the U, the car accident where you broke your hip and now walk with a slight limp…

All the crap, the junk, the goop, the garbage from your past will be divinely recycled. God will make it go towards a good end. This was Joseph’s conclusion:

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” ~ Gen. 50:20

~ And not only the past, but so also today. All the bad things going on today – nothing will go to waste. God is not 99% efficient. He is 100% efficient. God will bring about good from exhaustively everything someway, somehow:

“And we know that ALL things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” ~ Romans 8:28

It will all be redeemed. All the junk in your life. And it will be redeemed because the payment has already been made on the cross.

M.M. Dutt

~ I just came across Micheal Madhusan Dutt (1824-1873) almost randomly on the net. I had never heard of him before.  I think this brief bio is worth a read. There are lessons to learn.

“Michael Madhusudan Dutt was born to Rajnarayan Dutt and Jahnabi Devi in Sagordari, Jessore District in East Bengal (now in Bangladesh). Rajnarayan Dutt was a famous lawyer. Madhusudan’s formal education started in a school in the village of Shekpura, where he studied Persian. His intellectual and literary talents and imagination were quickly recognized. His parents decided to give him an English education, so he studied European literature at home before being sent to the prestigious Hindu College in Kolkata (i.e. Calcutta) in 1833.

Fifteen years after his death, Dutt’s work began to get the recognition it deserved. The next generation of Bengali writers and scholars praised his work and argued that it was among the best poetry produced in the language. Dutt’s work thus helped shape Bengali language and literature.”

“My fallen country! Where abide
Thy envied splendour and thy glory now,
The Pathan’s and the Mughal’s pride,
Spread desolation far and wide
And stain’d thy sinless brow.

~ Excerpt from King Porus.

  • Apparently this was a pro-freedom poem in response to the British yoke.

Money, Time & Redemption

On my shelf, I have a book, Metaphors We Live By by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson. Very fascinating book.  In Chapter 2 of this book, Lakoff & Johnson discuss how we often use time as a (financial) metaphor in everyday talk. Here are some of the examples they give:

Time is money.
You’re wasting my time.
This gadget will save you hours.
I don’t have the time to give you.
How do you spend your time these days?
That flat tire cost me an hour.
I’ve invested a lot of time in her.
I don’t have enough time to spare for that.
You’re running out of time.
You need to budget your time.
Put aside some time for ping pong.
Is that worth your while?
Do you have much time left?
He’s living on I borrowed time.
You don’t use your time, profitably.
I lost a lot of time when I got sick.
Thank you for your time.

~ Pretty much this is how we talk about money also. I can think of others:
~~> “Let us negotiate the deadline with the client. Perhaps we can buy some time.”
~~> “I’m sorry. I don’t have time to play games with you. My time is precious.”
~~> “Arey yaar. He just watches TV and fools around social media all day. I don’t think he knows the value of time.”
II. Redeeming vs. Purchasing… simple buying

a. What is redemption. Add graphic..

III. Two verses on Redeeming the Time

IV. Illustrations…

{Finish later. I am lacking the time right now. I have insufficient time to finish up. }

The Church in India…

tgc_logo

The following is a really good article posted over at The Gospel Coalition. The title is “The Gospel in India” and it is by Aubrey Sequeira. It is worth reading twice at least.

Here is an excerpt:

” … Recently, I had the opportunity to interview three faithful Indian pastors. Vivek Jones oversees the Marg family of churches, a vibrant gospel-centered church network with three congregations in the city of Pune, an urban hub in Central India. He also gives leadership to E3 ministries and is associated with Acts 29 in the India region. Edison D’Souza pastors Cross Cultured Church in Mysore, a growing and largely unreached city in Southern India. “Harry” (name changed) pastors a church in a historic northern Indian city and is involved in planting healthy churches across the rural landscape.

This interview offers insights into the state of the church in India, the encouraging and discouraging aspects of ministry there, how Western believers can more fruitfully serve their Eastern brothers, and more. … “

~ Two quick comments:
(1) I resonate with a lot of what is said in the post.  A lot of what was mentioned there –  the good and the bad – have been my observations from my times spent in and out of India.

(2) In the post, there is this movement mentioned, viz. the hyper-grace movement. I had never heard of it before. So I googled it. Here is a post on the concept of hyper-grace at gotQuestions.org, “What is hyper-grace?”

Also: 8 Signs of ‘Hypergrace’ Churches by Joseph Mattera over at CharismaNews

When the Dead Give Life …

When Elisha became sick with the illness of which he was to die, Joash the king of Israel came down to him and wept over him and said, “My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” 15 Elisha said to him, “Take a bow and arrows.” So he took a bow and arrows …

ElishaAndJoash

20 Elisha died, and they buried him. Now the bands of the Moabites would invade the land in the spring of the year. 21 As they were burying a man, behold, they saw a marauding band; and they cast the man into the grave of Elisha. And when the man touched the bones of Elisha he revived and stood up on his feet. ~ 2 Kings 13:14, 15, 20+

~ I have an aunt who is a psychiatrist. She once walked into the room of a new patient and the patient said to her, “Oh. You can’t help me. You don’t know what I have been through!”

Up above we have a story of how Elisha, a man who during his life healed quite a few people and yet now was sick and headed towards death. Then we move forward in his story a short bit to his death and find out something else interesting. Even while dead, he gave life to someone.

Could my aunt have given life to her patient? Or did she need to go out and get felled by the thing that felled this person and then come back and be on with counseling saying “I know just how you feel?”

~ But thats not really what I wanted to talk about… per this story… Here is what . . .

– Some people cannot draw a line. However they are great art critics. In fact their critiques can be so constructive that an artist with an open ear can actually improve in their artwork.

– Some people cannot preach a sentence. However they can give such good feedback on a sermon heard that the preacher becomes much better. Though they themselves are dead in the pulpit, they however can give life to others in the pulpit.

– An English Lit. prof may at best write dead prose and just even on a good day may not be able to write a line of poetry or fiction. However she may be a fantastic writing coach to her students.

– The list of examples goes on… however there was one that I thought flashed my mind, but I have lost it. Cannot remember…

~ ~ I think I now remember… sometimes when you are preparing a message, you may find that you are not getting impacted by it as you should. So you think to yourself, how can I preach this. If I am not feeling anything, how can others? Should you just not bother?

Not necessarily. The fact of the matter is that no matter your condition, the Holy Spirit can still use your work to impact others. Just because you are perhaps in a hopefully temporarily lapsed state does not mean that the message will not effect anyone.

On Giving Too Much Advice

Ephesians 4:29 states,

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

~ Its the “according to their needs” clause that has jumped out at me of late.  I can think of at least two problem areas that this verse calls me on.

(1) Giving misdirected advice: The person has a problem with A, and you give advice on dealing with B. Basically results from not listening well.

I had a friend who once talked to me about how she was thinking about dropping out of college and I just rambled on with all this stuff that I thought would help but failed to see that the problems were really sourced in some psychological issues that also were likely connected to home.

(2) Giving too much advice: Blah blah blah. My above example should serve to explain this as well. I have had a habit of just rambling on presuming to know the entirety of a given situation and a person’s life and … Not!

The Bible & A Fortiori Reasoning… All the more so

~ In the Bible, we often find Scriptures that employ what is known as A Fortiori reasoning. This means that you reason from something greater to something lesser (or vice versa). It is a “how much more” form of reasoning.

For example, when Jonah gets upset that God allowed a little plant to die, God responds,

“You were upset about this little plant, something for which you have not worked nor did you do anything to make it grow. It grew up overnight and died the next day. Should I not be even more concerned about Nineveh, this enormous city? ~ Jonah 4:10-11 (NET Bible)

Or…

If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! ~ 2 Cor. 3:9-11 

And one more for the road…

If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?” ~ Matt. 6:30

I.e. If Jose is willing to let you borrow $1,000,000 for something foolish and frivolous, then how much more will he be willing to let you borrow $10 for other things.

BG_Xara

The Point: There are certain verses that you might come across when reading Scriptures such that you might consider that these apply to you assuming you have an active, walking and talking with God in Christ. For example,

“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” ~ John 14:2

While this is talking about the life beyond this one, it can just as well be applied to today.  From this you could consider that whatever the next stage in your life in the here and now, God goes ahead of you and prepares things for you there and then.  God already has things in the works for when you get there (See Eph. 2:10 also).  And …

And … of course, the usual qualifiers apply of course such as you must be having an active prayer life, seeking Him, not nursing secret sins, etc.

 

The Nature of the Bible

When one considers the nature of the Bible and compares it to the nature of our Lord Jesus Christ, one will find parallels. For example, Jesus Christ was fully human and fully divine. Like so the Scriptures are fully human and fully divine. Another example is that Jesus Christ was without sin – without “blemish or spot” (1 Pet. 1:19). The Scriptures in their original autographs are inerrant.

More about this can be read here: Defending Inerrancy: Affirming the Accuracy of Scripture for a New Generation By Norman Geisler & William Roach.
DI

I draw on this notion of the theanthropic nature of Scripture quite simply to make a simple point and that is that to fix ones eyes upon Jesus is to fix ones eyes upon Scripture. Hebrews 12:2 states “… fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith …” It actually states, “fixing” not “fix” which is almost as if to assume that we will be already doing it.

The point is that one way to fix your eyes upon Jesus is to fix your eyes upon the Scriptures. Got guidance? No? Then read.

Sin, Shame, Guilt & Proclaiming the Evangel (2) ~ More Notes…

I got the following from Logos Bible Software:

FromLogos

 

~ Some quick comments:

It seems to me that shame has both an objective and subjective dimension.

1) You can do something shameful and feel ashamed.

2) You can do something shameful (e.g. steal from your mother) and feel no shame.

3) You can do something thats not shameful and feel shameful. (You may need to get counseling here.)

4) You can do something thats not shameful and feel no shame.  Sounds tautologous..