"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,for it is the power of God to salvation
for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek." Romans 1:16

R.C. Sproul-Confronting Paganism

from the Ligonier blog, 19 December 2010

 

Nehemiah served in a pagan government as a believer in God. He was humble and respectful to the king, but proper fear of his king did not stop him from acting to save his people. He prayed to God and made a request of the king, asking for permission to go to Jerusalem to rebuild it. He also asked for letters that he might present to various governors for safe conduct, and even a grant for building materials.

Not all the pagan governors were sanguine toward Nehemiah and his plans. Indeed, some were fiercely resistant to them. When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite heard of his efforts, they were deeply disturbed that a man had come to seek the well-being of the children of Israel.

When Nehemiah set about the task of rebuilding, his enemies laughed at him and despised him. Nehemiah, though, did not let his critics determine his agenda. Nehemiah’s temptation would have been to allow the pagans to alter the plans and engage in a joint venture of compromise in the mission. That would have eased the burden on his own people and won him the applause both of the Jews and the pagans. But Nehemiah cared nothing for the applause of men and was totally unwilling to compromise the mission he had undertaken for God.

Instead of worrying about accommodating the pagans, Nehemiah focused on the reforms needed among his own people. The paganism Nehemiah feared was not the paganism of the pagans; it was the paganism of his own people. It was not paganism outside the camp that threatened Israel so much as the paganism within the camp.

Coram Deo: Are you seeking the applause of men rather than the approval of God?

Nehemiah 2:18: “And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king’s words that he had spoken to me. So they said, ‘Let us rise up and build.’ Then they set their hands to do this good work.”

Nehemiah 2:10: “When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard of it, they were deeply disturbed that a man had come to seek the well-being of the children of Israel.”

Nehemiah 4:9: “Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night.”

Growing into Conformity

from the Ligonier Daily Devotional

The modern distinction between the “carnal Christian” and the “Spirit-filled Christian” is a dangerous one. If a carnal Christian is described as one whose fallen nature has not yet been changed by grace, it is a contradiction in terms. If a person is carnal in the sense that the Holy Spirit resides in him without affecting his constituent nature in any way, then he is simply not a Christian. To view regeneration as not effecting any real change in the person is a serious distortion of regeneration. Here the Holy Spirit indwells but does nothing to effect change in the person.

If a Spirit-filled Christian is defined as one in whom the flesh is absent entirely, then the only Spirit-filled Christians are those now in heaven. Every Christian is to some degree carnal in this world, insofar as the remnants of the flesh are still there provoking warfare. In this sense, the Apostle Paul, after his conversion, was a carnal Christian. Every Christian is also spiritual in that the Holy Spirit indwells him and works in him, through him, and on him.

The biblical view involves the indwelling of a divine person within a human person who has been truly regenerated by the power of the divine person. The human person has changed. His old nature is dying, and by cooperation with the grace of the Holy Spirit, the new man is growing into conformity to Christ.

Coram Deo

Thank God for the ministry of the Holy Spirit working in, through, and on you.

Passages for Further Study

Romans 8:1–4

No Place for Heresy

by C. Fitzsimmons Allison

Corruption and Reform in the Christian Church could be a title of a work on church history. There has been no age that has not seen this phenomenon occur and reoccur.

One of the best examples of reform is that which occurred at Cluny in the tenth century in southern France following the darkest times of the Western church after the fall of Rome (see Nick Needham’s article above for more on the Cluniac revival). It brought a visible seriousness of spiritual discipline that lasted for more than two centuries. The acknowledged founder, Berno of Baume (d. 927), was followed by long-serving, effective leaders. The order reached its height under Hugh (d. 1109) with well over one thousand houses affiliated with the mother monastery of Cluny.

As Cluny gained power, influence, and wealth, this reform itself needed reform. It too became corrupt, but fortunately it was replaced by the Cistercian reform movement led by the incomparable Bernard of Clairvaux (d. 1153).

It is undeniable that the monastic institution and religious orders were instruments in the reform of church corruption over many centuries and that papal authority protected them from lay intrusions. Yet by the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the monasteries and papacy were both in dire need of reform.

[Read more...]

What the Gospel is and what it isnt.

Scott Reiber, pastor of Westminster Presbyterian in Vicksburg, MS (my home church) and I are taping a series of Mike Corley Programs on the topic of What is the Gospel? You can listen to the first installment HERE.

How wonderful it was to learn of this great offer available through Ligonier Ministries:

Free Messages Explaining What the Gospel Is and What It Is Not

from Karisa Schlehr

What would happen if every time we spoke of the gospel we got it wrong? It is imperative that we know, believe, and proclaim no other Gospel than the one delivered by Jesus Himself. May these free streaming messages and resources help you as you study the biblical Gospel of salvation.

What Is the Gospel? by R.C. Sproul
Understanding the Gospel by R.C. Sproul
Meaning of the Gospel by R.C. Sproul
Evangelism According to Jesus: 2008 National Conference
The Doctrine of Justification and the New Perspectives on Paul Resource Collection

Also….the June issue of Tabletalk Magazine is tremendous and features articles on “The New Calvinism“, including great articles by Buck Parsons, Iain Campbell, Ken Jones and of course Dr. Sproul. If you are not a subscriber to Tabletalk, I highly suggest you sign up today at http://www.ligonier.org/tabletalk/