Tag Archives: Bible

Look at the Book Preview

The folks at Desiring God have put together a sweet demonstration from John Piper’s new Bible reading and sermon prep series.

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Posted by on July 31, 2014 in Video


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Sanctifying Truth

Sanctifying Truth

Today’s Morning and Evening contains instruction, encouragement, and a final warning. It begins with a short primer on the origin and function of sanctification, followed by the implied call to tightly embrace God’s Word and sound teaching. Finally, a warning is made to never make light of error.

God’s Word is truth and that truth sanctifies us. So many men exhaust themselves in the quest to prove that God did not actually write the Bible. For the unbeliever, this is to be expected. But what ground is gained by the confused Christian’s pursuit to discredit the Spirit’s authoritative involvement in authorship?

To the self-inflated inquisitor, the God of Scripture will never be ‘off-the-hook’ or excused from their judgment’s table. He will always be too mean, too judgmental, and too righteous to love. So they try to reconcile the god of the their hopes with the God of the Bible… by pointing to problematic passages and shouting, “Aha! You see! That’s impossible! A perfect God couldn’t possibly inspire that! Let’s throw those silly doctrines of divine authorship, inerrancy, and scriptural authority out the window! Only a fool would believe such nonsense.”

It’s a sad thing that quickly turns ugly. As a best-case scenario, each side feels sorry for the other. The critic feels for the believer who blindly accepts God’s Word as truth. The believer feels for the critic because they reject God’s truth for a lie. As Spurgeon says below, “The passages of Scripture that prove that the instrument of our sanctification is the Word of God are numerous.” In today’s passage, Jesus Himself prayed:

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. — John 17:17

Likewise, the psalmist declared in Psalm 119:160:

The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.

Let’s trust God at His Word and not lean on our own understanding for truth. Our earthly perspective is so limited, but our gracious Father sees and knows everything. His ways are always better than our ways, and sanctification comes from His Spirit through His Word.

Here is Alistair Begg’s modern phrasing of the Spurgeon classic.

* * * * *

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. — John 17:17

Sanctification begins in regeneration. The Spirit of God implants in man that new living principle by which he becomes “a new creation”1 in Christ Jesus. This work, which begins in the new birth, is carried on in two ways-mortification, whereby the lusts of the flesh are subdued and kept under, and vivification, by which the life that God has put within us is made to be a well of water springing up unto everlasting life.

This is carried on every day in what is called perseverance, by which the Christian is preserved and continued in a gracious state and is made to abound in good works unto the praise and glory of God; and it culminates or comes to perfection in glory, when the soul, being thoroughly purged, is caught up to dwell with holy beings at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

But while the Spirit of God is thus the author of sanctification, yet there is a visible agency employed that must not be forgotten. “Sanctify them,” said Jesus, “in the truth; your word is truth.” The passages of Scripture that prove that the instrument of our sanctification is the Word of God are numerous. The Spirit of God brings to our minds the precepts and doctrines of truth and applies them with power. These are heard in the ear, and being received in the heart, they work in us to will and to do God’s good pleasure.

The truth is the sanctifier, and if we do not hear or read the truth, we shall not grow in sanctification. We only progress in sound living as we progress in sound understanding. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”2 Do not say of any error, “It is a mere matter of opinion.” No man indulges an error of judgment without sooner or later tolerating an error in practice. Hold fast the truth, for by doing so you shall be sanctified by the Spirit of God.

1 2 Corinthians 5:17, 2 Psalm 119:105

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Posted by on July 4, 2014 in Devotional


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Passing on the Truth Part 2

Here is the follow-up message to this excellent sermon.

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Posted by on May 16, 2014 in Video


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Morning Coffee – 02/21/14

Here are the stories I put in my coffee this morning.

  • The Flower and Life of True Religion
  • Any thought of joy as being the “icing on the cake” of the Christian life, or a “take-it-or-leave-it” fruit of the Spirit, falls woefully short of the biblical testimony.

  • The Danger of Forgetting How to Read the Bible
  • Leaders stumble for many reasons, and while I could argue that a zealous seminarian has little in common with a vain or depressed middle-aged leader, there is at least one common thread: My peers and my students can both stop reading the Bible as we should.

  • The Christian’s Glorious Freedom
  • Believers sometimes wrongly assume: “I have sinned; therefore, sin still has authority over me. I cannot possibly have ‘died’ to sin.”

  • “Be Anxious for Nothing.” Why?
  • Whether it’s fear, or stress, or a full-blown panic attack, we need to address anxiety as the sin it is – namely, a focus on what might happen without placing confidence in the sovereignty of God.

Match-up Bonus:

  • Eclectic Shock
  • Now that, I thought, is one three-way gentlemanly cage-fight I’d like to tell my grandchildren about.

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Posted by on February 21, 2014 in Links


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Need Help?

Need Help?

This morning’s Morning and Evening is a reminder that our God is more than willing to help us in times of need.

For those of us who despise the growing monster of the prosperity gospel, this can become a surprisingly hard pill to swallow. It is too easy to swing the pendulum so far in the other direction and forget that God takes pleasure in coming to our aid.

This morning’s devotional echos Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:7-11.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

Not only does God give good things; every good gift has come from Him. James 1:17 states,

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

That said, God is not a cosmic gumball machine. He will not supply our every whim. According to James 4:2-3, we often ask with wrong motives or fail to ask at all.

You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

We cannot see the big picture and often our landscapes are filled with self. Thankfully, we have an intercessor who knows exactly how to pray for us and meet our needs. Romans 8:26 says,

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

What a comfort! Let’s not fall too far on either side of the petitioning pendulum with demands for prosperity or too much silence. God is both able and willing to meet our needs in Christ.

In Philippians 4:4-7, Paul writes,

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Even if we don’t get what we want, God will always give us what we need. He is a compassionate and gracious Father who lovingly provides good things for His children. As if that were not enough, He will guard our hearts and minds with His unfathomable peace if we prayerfully and thankfully take our requests to Him.

Here is Alistair Begg’s paraphrase of the Spurgeon classic.

* * * * *

I am the one who helps you, declares the LORD. — Isaiah 41:14

This morning let us hear the Lord Jesus speak to each one of us: “I will help you.”

“It is but a small thing for Me, your God, to help you. Consider what I have done already. What! Not help you? Why, I bought you with My blood. What! Not help you? I have died for you; and if I have done the greater, will I not do the less? Help you! It is the least thing I will ever do for you; I have done more, and will do more. Before the world began I chose you. I made the covenant for you. I laid aside My glory and became a man for you; I gave up My life for you; and if I did all this, I will surely help you now.

In helping you, I am giving you what I have bought for you already. If you had need of a thousand times as much help, I would give it to you; you require little compared with what I am ready to give. It is much for you to need, but it is nothing for me to bestow. Help you? Fear not! If there were an ant at the door of your granary asking for help, it would not ruin you to give him a handful of your wheat; and you are nothing but a tiny insect at the door of My all-sufficiency. I will help you.”

O my soul, is this not enough? Do you need more strength than the omnipotence of the united Trinity? Do you want more wisdom than exists in the Father, more love than displays itself in the Son, or more power than is manifest in the influences of the Spirit? Bring here your empty pitcher! Surely this well will fill it. Hurry, gather up your wants, and bring them here–your emptiness, your woes, your needs. Behold, this river of God is full for your supply; what else can you desire? Go forth, my soul, in this your might. The Eternal God is your helper!

Fear not, I am with you, oh, be not dismay’d!
I, I am your God, and will still give you aid.

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Posted by on January 16, 2014 in Devotional


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Happy Monday: Small Groups 101

Jesus doesn’t eat bacon.


Posted by on January 13, 2014 in Video


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Morning Coffee

Here are the stories I put in my coffee this morning.

  • The Human Dilemma
  • Our righteousness is a myth, but by no means a harmless one. Nothing is more perilous than for an unrighteous person to rest his future hope in an illusion.

  • The Word of God: How Does It Work in My Life?
  • In the words of the Puritan Thomas Watson, “The word is both a glass to show us the spots of our soul, and a laver to wash them away. The word has a transforming virtue in it; it irradiates the mind, and consecrates the heart.”

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Posted by on November 20, 2013 in Links


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