An Example of Why Theology is Important

We’re coming to the end of our summer series entitled Assurance: The Genuine Article.  Loosely based on J. D. Greear’s Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart, we’ve tried to encourage our folks that they can indeed have assurance of their salvation.

This past Sunday I preached with the title Genuine Doubts from Hebrews 10:19-25.  I tried to help our folks know that when they have genuine doubts, there are answers from the Scriptures to encourage them.

One of the reasons some people doubt they are saved is because they’ve been taught, and continue to believe, bad theology.  There are people who believe theology is useless.  But in this case, theology hits people squarely at the point of their need.

If we can be truly saved, then lose that salvation, imagine the fear we will live with.  How would we ever know we are saved?  How would we know we lost our salvation?  How would we know we’ve done enough to stay saved?  How would we know when we’ve done too much to be saved again?  We would, as James says, be double-minded people unsteady in all our ways.

Poor theology, in this case, would lead to fear and worry.  If Jesus has invited us to come to Him so that we can find rest, what rest would we have if we can’t have assurance we’re saved?

We must all be careful that we don’t kick theology to the curb thinking it’s really for professional theologians.  In a sense, we’re all theologians.  The question is whether we have good theology or bad.


He Has a Wonderful Plan for My Life?

4spirituallawsThe famous Four Spiritual Laws has been around for a long time.  Law #1 was God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.  And as the Four Spiritual Laws go on to explain, that wonderful plan for our lives is found in the finished work of Jesus Christ through His life, death, and resurrection for sinners.

But we must make clear to those hearing these laws that the wonderful plan for our lives doesn’t mean everything in this life will necessarily be wonderful.  Trusting in the finished work of Jesus doesn’t mean I’ll necessarily get that promotion, or be free from cancer, or have my marriage healed, or get back a prodigal child, or live in a world full of rainbows and unicorns.

Jesus told those who were thinking about following Him…

Matthew 16:24 (HCSB) 24  Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.

Peter says this…

1 Peter 2:21 (HCSB) 21  For you were called to this, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in His steps.

Jesus told Ananias what kind of life Paul could expect as a Christian…

Acts 9:16 (HCSB) 16  I will show him (Paul) how much he must suffer for My name!”

I think too many of us hear wonderful plan for my life and immediately think of the quality and quantity of our lives on earth.  But that’s not at all what we’re promised by our Lord when we become followers of Christ.  From the world’s perspective, our lives may look like anything but wonderful and blessed.

But isn’t our God the God of the great reversal?  Doesn’t He teach us that to live for this life only is to live foolishly?  Didn’t Jesus model a life that focused on the eternal that wasn’t caught up with the temporary amusements of this world?

I’m not saying that the Christian life is one without joy.  In fact, joy is only one of the fruit of the Spirit that we produce.  I am saying that when we share the good news of the gospel with people, we must be careful that we don’t promise something the Scriptures never promise.

There is a world coming without sin and its effects.  That is the wonderful plan He has for my life.  But that world is yet to come.  Until our Lord Jesus returns and sets up that world, we must faithfully proclaim that Jesus saves sinners, not so that they’ll have their best life now, but so that they can have the sure hope of their best life to come.


Genuine Doubts…The Notes

The notes from yesterday’s sermon are below.  You can go here to listen to the sermon if you would like.

GENUINE DOUBTS

Hebrews 10:19-25

Why do we sometimes struggle with doubt?

1. Because we aren’t really saved.

2. Because we continue to sin, maybe even struggling with the same sin(s) over and over.

3. Because we are slaves to our feelings/emotions.

4. Because we have bad theology.

 

How can we overcome our doubts, where do we take our doubts?

1. Remember our hope is in the finished work of Jesus…look to the cross and the empty tomb!

A medical diagnosis tells you what is wrong; a prescription tells you what to do about it.  God’s prescription for every diagnosed spiritual malady is faith in the gospel.

J. D. Greear Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart (p. 106)

2. Run to God for He is faithful when we are weak.

3. Rest in the truths of the Scriptures.

4. Remain accountable and committed to the local community of believers in which God has placed you.


Genuine Doubts

I’m on my next to last sermon in our summer sermon series Assurance: The Genuine Article.  Here’s the text for today’s sermon…

Hebrews 10:19-25 (HCSB)
19  Therefore, brothers, since we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus, 20  by a new and living way He has opened for us through the curtain (that is, His flesh), 21  and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, 22  let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. 23  Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24  And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, 25  not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.


Saturday Stuff

ben-affleck-batman-v-superman-dawn-of-justiceAfter a week of vacation, Saturday Stuff is back.  And there are lots to look at, especially with the San Diego Comic-Con convention going on this week.


6-String Salvo, July 25, 2014

bigstock-Guitar-950679The 6-String Salvo is back after a week of vacation!

1. John Piper asks and answers if Satan is still prowling like a lion, in what way is he disarmed?

2. An encouragement from Randy Alcorn: death isn’t a wall but a turnstile.

3. Doug Wilson helps us to see that there are times when Christians who rebel against the government are okay with the Lord.

4. Here’s a 3-part series from David Murray on how sinners can help sinners stop sinning (part 2, part 3).

5. Interested in checking out some podcasts? Trevin Wax has some suggestions for you.

6. Living knowing the end times are here may be more radical than you realize.

Here’s Joe Walsh with Funk 49

 

 


Why We Resort to Name-calling Those Who Disagree with Us

Male Professor Shouting Though MegaphoneOne of the greatest losses we’ve had over these fairly recent, highly polarized years is the ability to disagree, to do so with class, and to recognize the value of the other person with whom we disagree.  We instead turn to shouting, vitriol, and the impugning of everything from motives to intelligence of those who disagree with us.

Why is it we must shout down and shame those who disagree with us?  I think there may be a few reasons…

  1. Our own position is weak and hard to defend. It’s kind of like the magician who wants you to look at one hand while he does the “magic” with the other hand. If I shout out “Bigot!” or “Intolerant!” maybe attention will be taken away from the weakness of my position.
  1. Our own position isn’t really ours, we’ve simply been caught up in the mob and we’re storming the castle along with it. Maybe I don’t want to be on the “wrong side of history” or maybe some people I respect have a position and I go along for the ride without looking at the cost on the meter. But when I’m forced to speak to or defend what I believe, I realize I haven’t a clue what I believe, so I begin shouting stuff to hide my lack of knowledge and conviction.
  1. Our own position troubles us, but we’ve gone “all in” and would look foolish doing a 180. We could inwardly be troubled by some of the positions we have taken. We might even see where the train is heading and the end isn’t Paradise City but the wreckage at the bottom of the gully.  But maybe we’ve been on the train so long, if we started pulling the brake line others would call us names and start shouting at us, so we keep riding the train silently ruing the day we first got on.
  1. Our own position is so radically different from the status quo we feel we must radically defend it. Perhaps we’ve decided if it walks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck it must be a coyote. We know we’re changing the rules, our opponents know we’re changing the rules, but by golly, we’re not gonna stop until we shout our opponents down because the only way we’ll be heard and taken seriously is if we silence them.
  1. We can’t reason with our opponents, so we have to overcome them with brute tactics. Maybe it’s not so much a problem with our position, but a problem with our opponents. They are so dense, ignorant, and backwoods that the only position they respect is one of strength.  And because we believe so strongly that we are right, a scorched earth, take no prisoners approach rightly fits our situation.
  1. We are in the minority, so we have to shout and shame with the hope that the majority will back down or go away because they’re tired of dealing with us. You know the little brother or sister who pitches a fit about the actions of the older sibling because that’s the only way to get the attention of the parents and the older sibling finally walks away because he/she is tired of the fight? We might hope that if we shout and shame loud enough and long enough the majority will walk away out of frustration leaving us to our victory.

Can I encourage all of us, whichever side we happen to be on, to know not only what we believe but why we believe it?  Can I encourage all of us to know the position(s) of those with whom we disagree so that we can accurately lay out their positions and then debate their beliefs?

And the point of this post, while there are real bigots and folks who are intolerant, can I encourage us to quit making those labels our “go to” arrows in the quiver?  Can we agree that disagreeing isn’t necessarily, or likely, a sign of an intolerant bigot?  And even if they are, calling them that does not mean you’ve defeated their position.  It may mean you don’t really understand yours.


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