23 Life Changing Rock Solid Promises of Scripture

Paul argues in Galatians 4 that Christians are the true Sons of Abraham because we share the faith of Abraham. God made promise to Abraham to bless the entire world through his offspring. Abraham didn’t know the whole story; he trusted God for the revelation God had given him at that time. But now, in Christ, we are able to see all the full grandeur of God’s redemptive promise that he initiated through Abraham. We share the faith of Abraham, but we cling to better promises (Hebrews 8:6), built on a better sacrifice (Hebrews 9:23), and provides for us a better possession (Hebrews 10:34) as we await a better life (Hebrews 11:35) and a better destiny (Hebrews 11:16). This following list is the content of that better promise provided for us by Jesus Christ. God’s promise to Abraham was a shadow of the things to come; but here are 23…

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Thirteen Ways to Diagnose Fear of Man

In last Sunday’s sermon, we talked about thirteen different ways to identify Fear of Man in your life. I drew heavily upon this list and also added some of my own. #1. You frequently think about what other people are thinking about you. #2. You long to be noticed more than you long to be godly. #3. You get angry if you are ever publicly contradicted. #4. You flatter other people with words in order to be liked by them. #5. You rarely confront sin in others directly. #6. You think about what’s politically correct more than what’s biblically correct. #7. You love to cite your own accomplishments. #8. You have a hard time saying what you really think, which prevents you from getting close to people. #9. You prematurely terminate conflicts by yielding, withdrawing, or changing the subject. #10. You frequently put yourself down in order to get other people…

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Is this Gossip?

Two Kinds of Gossip There are two ways to gossip. We can gossip with things we say or with things we listen to other people say. Both are participating in gossip. But the Bible does not forbid talking about other people. There are numerous instances in the New Testament where people are called out by name because their sin has affected other people and those actions were reported to church leaders. A great example is Philippians 4, where a conflict between Euodia and Syntyche was permanently canonized in scripture because someone talked to Paul about it. So we need some way to diagnose our words and our motives in order to gain wisdom about what gossip is. The questions below reveal that most of the things we say about other people are harmful rather than helpful. Gossip through Speaking Will I help or hurt the person’s character by repeating this information? If I talk…

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One of the hardest verses in the Bible

There is an apparent contradiction between two verses in the Bible. James says, “A person is justified by works and not by faith alone” (James 2:24). Paul says, “One is justified by faith apart from works of the law” (Romans 3:28). Although they appear contradictory on the surface, a closer examination of how James and Paul are using words shows that they are talking about two different things. Both James and Paul (and Jesus, for that matter!) argue forcefully that saving faith will always result in a changed life; a life that is characterized by good works. But Paul and James are referring to two different things when they use the word “justified.” Paul uses the word “justified” to refer to the declaration of a person’s initial pardon at the moment of his conversion. James uses the word “justified” to refer to the final accounting of a person’s life before…

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Simple Advice for Bible Reading in 2012

I have read through the Bible several times over the past few years and have found a couple of things helpful. 1. Use a Reading Guide to track your progress. Pretty much all you need to know can be found right here. Here is the plan that I like to use. 2. Choose a readable translation. Here’s a good rule of thumb: Bible reading is different from Bible study. My favorite translation for Bible study is the ESV. But when I’m trying to read large chunks of Bible at once I like to use other translations that are easier to read. Here are a few good ones: New International Version (NIV), New LIving Translation (NLT), Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB). I use the ESV for preaching, but I’m going to be reading the NLT for my personal Bible reading time this year. 3. You won’t understand everything. It’s easy to breeze through Genesis and then get bogged down once you get…

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How to Tell if You’re a Pharisee (Part 3)

This is the final part of this series, taken from the sermon “Barriers: Religion” at Christ the King Church. #7 Pharisees test others to include or exclude. The Pharisees did it to Jesus. In John 8:1-11, the Pharisees caught the woman in the act of adultery. But their whole point in doing this was to “put Jesus to the test.” They tried to box Jesus into a corner with a complicated test to see if he would side with Law or with grace. They did this in the name of justice, but their motives were wrong. This happens a lot with Christian sub-groups. Not only are these sorts of Christians prone to “pet issues” (see part two) but they also devise tests to evaluate one’s commitment to their pet issue. These tests are numerous. Some people make heart judgments about other people based on the clothes they wear, where they…

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Ten Ways to Tell if You’re a Pharisee (part 2)

Continuing this post from last week, here are three more ways to tell if you’re a Pharisee. These are taken from a sermon at Christ the King Church called “Barriers: Religion.” #4 Pharisees don’t extend grace to others. The Pharisees were not interested in restoring this woman who was caught in adultery. Grace was not part of the equation. They seized the opportunity to condemn her simply because it served their desire to trap Jesus. We can see this in our own hearts when we fail to forgive, or when we hold grudges, or we seethe with anger over things other people do. The Pharisee feels as though she has the right to be treated better and when this doesn’t happen she becomes angry and bitter and unforgiving. The Pharisee is upset by the sin of others because she feels that “I deserve better than this.” #5 Pharisees practice selective…

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Ten Ways to Tell if You’re a Pharisee

From a sermon at church yesterday, we discussed 10 Ways to Tell if You’re a Pharisee. I will post them all here throughout this week. The Scribes and Pharisees used a woman caught in the act of adultery as a pawn to get to Jesus in John 8:1-11. From this text, we can learn a few lessons about how the heart of a Pharisee works and how we can avoid these same traps. #1 Pharisees focus on externals more than internals. They look at what’s on the outside of a person rather than what’s on the inside. The Pharisees were more than happy to condemn this woman for her external, obvious sin. Jesus’ response to them was to force them to look internally at their own hearts. The Gospel empowered life starts with a heart that has been changed by God’s grace and works its way out to the external…

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What Church Elders Do

This is a quote from Alexander Strauch’s book, “Biblical Eldership: An Urgent Call to Restore Biblical Church Leadership” (p 98). Biblical elders do not dictate, they direct. True elders appeal to their [flocks] to faithfully follow God’s Word… Out of love, true elders suffer and bear the brunt of difficult people and problems so that the lambs are not bruised. They bear the misunderstandings and sins of others so that the assembly may live in peace. They lose sleep so that others may rest. They make great personal sacrifices of time and energy for the welfare of others. They see themselves as men under [God’s] authority. They depend on God for wisdom and help, not on their own power and cleverness. They face the false teachers’ fierce attacks. They guard the community’s liberty and freedom in Christ so that the saints are encouraged to develop their gifts, to mature, and…

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Why It’s Hard to Love “The Lost”

This is a quote from John Dawson from YWAM (Youth with a Mission). Have you ever wondered what it feels like to have a love for the lost? This is a term we use as part of our Christian jargon. Many believers search their hearts in condemnation, looking for the arrival of some feeling of benevolence that will propel them into bold evangelism. It will never happen. It is impossible to love “the lost.” You can’t feel deeply for an abstraction or a concept. You would find it impossible to love deeply an unfamiliar individual portrayed in a photograph, let alone a nation or a race or something as vague as “all lost people.” Don’t wait for a feeling of love in order to share Christ with a stranger. You already love your heavenly Father, and you know that this stranger is created by Him, but separated from Him, so…

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