Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Christian Amadeus Lindsey born Tuesday, September 25 at 9:21 PM

The title for this post explains why I'ven't posted on the blog the last few days. You can read more details at our family blog.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Ryle on the remedy for spiritual poverty

Over a hundred and thirty years ago, J.C. Ryle, the first Anglican bishop of Liverpool from 1880-1900, wrote the following in his classic work on Holiness:

It has long been my sorrowful conviction that the standard of daily life among professing Christians in this country has been gradually falling. I am afraid that Christ-like charity, kindness, good-temper, unselfishness, meekness, gentleness, good-nature, self-denial, zeal to do good, and separation from the world, are far less appreciated than they ought to be, and than they used to be in the days of our fathers.

What was true in England so long ago is no less true in the United States today. But what is the remedy? Ryle gives the following answer:
As to the best remedy for the state of things I have mentioned, I shall venture to give an opinion. Other schools of thought in the Churches must judge for themselves. The cure for Evangelical Churchmen, I am convinced, is to be found in a clearer apprehension of the nature and sinfulness of sin.

He then adds:
We need not go back to Egypt, and borrow semi-Romish practices in order to revive our spiritual life.

Of these "semi-Romish practices," Ryle had previously written:
Music, and flowers, and candles, and incense, and banners, and processions, and beautiful vestments, and confessionals, and man-made ceremonies of a semi-Romish character, may do well enough for him under certain conditions. But once let [a man] “awake and arise from the dead,” and he will not rest content with these things. They will seem to him mere solemn triflings, and a waste of time. Once let him see his sin, and he must see his Saviour. He feels stricken with a deadly disease, and nothing will satisfy him but the great Physician. He hungers and thirsts, and he must have nothing less than the bread of life. I may seem bold in what I am about to say; but I fearlessly venture the assertion, that four-fifths of the semi-Romanism of the last quarter of a century would never have existed if English people had been taught more fully and clearly the nature, vileness, and sinfulness of sin.

It is my concern as well that many today, rightly discerning the impoverished condition of the Church in America, nevertheless turn to the wrong means by which to combat the situation. Turning to unscriptural means such as praying through icons, prayer labyrinths, ringing of bells and other man-made practices and ceremonies may invoke religious feelings within a person, but these have nothing to do with biblical holiness. Instead, let us turn to what the Bible concerning sin and sanctification. Let us study the Scriptures and receive wisdom from older teachers who faithfully expound God's Word.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Bible translation: Galatians 2

1 Later, after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas along with Titus as well. 2 But I went up according to a revelation. And I reported to them the Gospel I preach in the nations– but privately, to those reputed to be important, lest somehow I might run, or have ran, in vain.

3 But not even Titus, who was with me, though he was Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. 4 Because false brothers who were smuggled in crept in to spy out our freedom hat we have in Christ Jesus. 5 We didn’t yield to them for a moment in obedience so that the truth of the Gospel might remain unchanged with y’all.

6 But as for those appearing to be something– when, in fact, they are nothing to me (God does not consider a man’s appearance)– those appearing to be something added nothing to me. 7 But on the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the Gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised 8 (for He who effectively worked in Peter’s apostleship to the circumcised also effectively worked in me among the nations), 9 then James, Cephas, and John– those appearing to be pillars–knew the grace given to me, and they gave Barnabas and me their right hands of fellowship that we might go into the nations, but they might go to the circumcised. 10 They only asked that we might remember the poor, which was the very thing I was intent to do.

11 But when Cephas came into Antioch I opposed him to his face, because he had been condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he would associate with the Gentiles. But when they came he began to withdraw and separate himself, fearing those from the circumcision party. 13 And the rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray in their hypocrisy.

14 But when I saw they weren’t straightforward in line with the truth of the Gospel, I said to Cephas in front of everyone, “If you, a Jew, are living like a Gentile and don’t live like a Jew, how do you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?

15 “We– who are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners, 16 after having known that a man isn’t justified by works of the law, but rather through faith in Jesus Christ (and we have believed in Christ Jesus)– since we were justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of law (because by works of law no flesh will be justified)–17 if, while we are seeking to be justified by Christ, we ourselves were found to be sinners, then is Christ a minister of sin? May it never be!

18 “For if I construct again those things I destroyed, I demonstrate myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through law I died to law so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. 20 I live, but it is no longer I, but Christ lives in me. But the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I don’t set aside the grace of God, for if justification is through law, then Christ died in vain.”

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Dave Stephenson blogs!


Dave Stephenson, elder of Grace Bible Church, who I consider to be a pastor, mentor, and friend, has recently (finally) begun blogging on the GBC website. I strongly encourage anyone reading this to check out the new blog, linked above.

Dave's articles (like his preaching) are thought-provoking and sure to either encourage you or make you angry, depending on how enslaved you might be to particular traditions. On thing I can guarantee– you won't be bored. :-)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Bible translation: The Song of the Beloved's Vineyard (Isaiah 5:1b-7)


1b My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hillside,
2 And he weeded it and freed it from stones,
And he planted it with a fine kind of vine,
And he built a watchtower in its midst,
And he also hewed out a winepress in it,
And he looked eagerly for it to yield grapes,
But it yielded sour grapes.
3 And now, O residents of Jerusalem and men of Judah,
Please judge between me and my vineyard.
4 What more was there to do in my vineyard
that I didn’t do for it?
Why, when I looked eagerly for a yield of grapes,
did it yield sour grapes?
5 And now, let me make known to y’all what I am doing for my vineyard:
Remove its hedge and it will be open to grazing!
Tear down its wall and it will be open to trampling.
6 And I will lay it waste:
It will not be pruned nor weeded,
but thorns and weeds will come up:
And I will order the rain-clouds away from raining any rain upon it.
7 Because the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel,
And the men of Judah are the plantation
in which he took delight.
And he eagerly looked for justice
-but behold!- there was bloodshed;
for righteousness- but behold!- there was a cry of distress.

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

New Family Blog

This week, inspired by our friends Nathan and Courtney White, my beloved wife Abby created a blog on which to post our family pictures so that friends and family can see how we are doing. (We expect our family will be especially interested in pictures of baby Christian once he is born.) The new blog can be viewed HERE.

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Monday, September 03, 2007

Bible translation: Galatians 1

1 Paul, an apostle, not from men, nor through a man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead, 2 and all the brothers who are with me,

To the churches of Galatia:

3 Grace to y’all and peace from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ 4 who gave himself for our sins so that he might rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom is the glory forever and ever.

Amen.

6 I am astonished that y’all have turned yourselves away so quickly from the one who called y’all by the grace of Christ unto a different gospel, 7 which is not another (Gospel), although someone is unsettling y’all and desiring to pervert the Gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we– or even an angel from heaven– might preach to y’all in deviation from that which we preached, let him be damned! 9 As we have said before, now I say again, if someone preaches to y’all in deviation from what y’all have received, let him be damned!

10 Now, do I seek the favor of men or God? Do I strive to please men? If I were still seeking the favor of men, then I would not be a servant of Christ!

11 For I declare to y’all, brothers– the Gospel I proclaimed is not according to Man: 12 For I didn’t receive it from a man, nor was it taught to me, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

13 For y’all heard of my former way of life in Judaism, that I persecuted the Church of God to an extreme and I ravaged her, 14 and I advanced in Judaism beyond many peers in my class, being exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.

15 But when the one who had selected me from my mothers womb and called me by his grace was pleased 16 to reveal his Son to me, in order to proclaim him in the nations, I didn’t immediately consult flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up into Jerusalem to the apostles who came before me, but I went away into Arabia and afterward I returned to Damascus.

18 Later, after three years, I went up into Jerusalem to meet Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 I didn’t see any other of the apostles except James, the brother of our Lord.

20 Look! Before God, that which I write to y’all is not a lie.

21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia, 22 but I remained personally unknown to the congregations of Judea that are in Christ. 23 But they kept on hearing, “The one who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith he was formerly destroying.” 24 And they were glorifying God because of me.

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