Grace

Finding Comfort In Abraham

Romans 4 is largely Paul using Abraham to make a theological point–salvation through faith, not works. And yes, this chapter alone gives me great comfort, knowing that God saves sinners like me the same way He saved Abraham–through faith. But, taking a little closer look at Abraham’s life, seeing his struggles, seeing his failures, seeing his weak faith at times, seeing his self-reliance, then seeing God faithfully keep His covenant, strengthens my faith in and love for this God who has covenanted with me and every other believer in Christ. We WILL be saved (Romans 1:16-17; 3:22, 24; 4:24-25; 5:1-2; 6:23; 10:9, 13)!

Much like my own story, Abraham was minding his own business when God called him out of paganism. He was not special. God chose him, set His love on Him, and saved Him apart from works. He wasn’t looking for God when God revealed Himself to Abraham and made a covenant with him.

Abraham’s weak faith and disobedience throughout his life didn’t disqualify him. He did not exhaust God’s patience. In fact, God knew all this beforehand and chose him any way. Abraham received perfect justification through his imperfect faith. It was neither his works nor the greatness of his faith that saved him. His faith was acceptable to God only because our great Lord graciously counted it as righteousness.

God has promised to save us through the same faith that Abraham had (no matter how weak at times) apart from works. He has graciously chosen to count our faith in the crucified, resurrected Messiah as righteousness. Don’t get discouraged and run away from God in shame because of your weak faith or failures. Run to Him. Repent. Rest in the promises of His grace. No one, not even you, if you are truly in Christ, can separate you from His love (Romans 8:31-39)!

Gospel Importance

Gospel Importance Pt.4: Centrality Pt.2

This is the last post in our Gospel Importance series. Gospel Importance Pt. 1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3. We’ll just pick up right where the last one left off. I was talking about why it’s important for Christians to remember the Gospel.

The Gospel Reveals God’s Righteousness

[17] For in it [the gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith… (Romans 1:17, ESV)

[26] It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:26 ESV)

God is righteous and just. He will not leave sin unpunished. In His wisdom He made a way for His justice to be upheld and offer grace and mercy to sinful people at the same time. God’s wrath against us because of our sin will be meted out justly, either in Christ on the cross (when we believe and repent) or on us in Hell for eternity. If we die without Christ’s forgiveness and righteousness, God’s wrath remains on us (John 3:36).

[36] Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. (John 3:36, ESV)

We not only serve a loving God who forgives our sin, but also a God who is just and full of righteous wrath and hates sin. This should, again, make us extremely grateful for His undeserved mercy. And it should burden our hearts for those who have not heard this Good News. This is the story (Good News & bad news) that our culture rails against, calling Christianity closed-minded and exclusive. The gospel of Jesus Christ is simultaneously exclusive (only those who believe in Him will be saved) and inclusive (all are invited to believe in Him).

The Gospel Shows God’s Love For Us

[8] but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8, ESV)

[16] For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. [17] ForGod did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:16-17, ESV)

[4] But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, [5] even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— (Ephesians 2:4-5, ESV)

The gospel reminds us that we are loved… right now. God doesn’t love some future, more mature version of you and me when we will finally “get it right.” He loves us now. He loves us personally, not just us a humans. You. Me. He loved us when we were at our worst-His enemies. We should be comforted by the fact that in Christ we are fully known and yet still loved!

I’m always telling my kids I love them. I mean like, multiple times every day! I’m always hugging on them and kissing them (whether they want it or not). Why? I could say, “well I told them once that I love them and I go to work every day to provide for them and that should be enough.” No. Although they are in my family, and that will never change, my desire is that they be continuously reassured of my love for them. Because, there will be times when they are tempted to think that I don’t love them, that I don’t have their best interests at heart. The continuous display of verbal and physical affection makes them secure in their position in our family. I want them to know that they can never not be my children. How much more does God love us-His children? How much more do we need His constant affirmation that He loves us and His love for us will never change because it is based on His choice to love us and not our performance?

The Gospel Destroys Our Pride

[1] And you were dead in the trespasses and sins [2] in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—[3] among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. [4] But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, [5] even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—… [8] For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, [9] not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:1-5, 8-9, ESV)

We were just like “those sinners” we talk about and to whom we minister and reach out. We were on the same path to destruction as they are and the only reason we are not now is all because of God’s unmerited grace towards us. He sovereignly chose to love us. We are tempted to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. We get caught up in our own awesomeness.

The Hope of the Gospel Drives Faithfulness and Perseverance

[12] Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.[13] Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,[14] I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. [15] Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. [16] Only let us hold true to what we have attained. (Philippians 3:12-16)

The gospel gives us hope that this life of pain and suffering and striving with sin is not all there is. Hope that this life is as close to Hell as we will ever be. We have the hope that this is not our best life now. The gospel gives us hope and the fuel we need to do the things that the world says are stupid or a waste of time. Let’s face it, if the gospel isn’t true, Christians do some really dumb stuff. Giving away your time, your money, raising your kids a certain way, treating your spouse a certain way though they don’t deserve it, etc..

We Never “Outgrow” the Gospel

We never leave the gospel behind. We never cease needing the gospel. We are to grow deeper IN the gospel. We are tempted to think that Christian maturity can happen outside of the gospel. We are tempted to think that maturity requires us to get stronger and stronger, needing God less and less because “we got this” or need to gain some type of adolescent independence. Real maturity understands its weakness and utter dependence upon God’s wisdom, His love, His grace, His strength. Paul prays that the Ephesians (and us) grow in our understanding of God’s glory in the gospel so that we may be filled with the fullness of God.

[16] I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,[17] that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, [18] having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, [19] and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might [20] that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, [21] far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. (Ephesians 1:16-21, ESV)

[16] that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, [17] so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, [18] may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, [19] and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19, ESV)

The more we think rightly about the Gospel the better we see God’s holiness, perfection, wrath, and justice The better we see our sin, rebellion, wickedness, and hopelessness. This should make us overjoyed and eternally grateful for His love, grace, mercy, and wisdom.

We need to hear the Gospel daily (Bible reading, audio bible, sermon podcasts, etc.). We need to learn to preach the gospel to ourselves! This is not just “mind over matter” stuff. No. The gospel has power–it is the power of God!

This is the Good News and we’ll spend the rest of eternity understanding God’s love for us in the gospel! If the gospel fails to excite or motivate you, you’re in a dangerous place!

[2] if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:2b)

Is believing the gospel the pattern of your life?

Christian, remember the gospel.

Live from the Gospel.

[1] Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, [2] and by which you are being saved, (1 Corinthians 15:1-2a)

Gospel Importance

Gospel Importance Pt.3: Centrality Pt.1

This is the third post in our Gospel Importance series. Gospel Importance Pt.1, Gospel Importance Pt.2

This is where I want to spend most of my time. So, I’ve decided to break this last part of Gospel Centrality into 2 parts. How does the Gospel continue to impact the lives of believers? Why does Paul continually remind those who are believing of the Gospel? We know that the Gospel is God’s power to convert unbelieving sinners, but I want to focus on how and why the Gospel is (or should be) at the center of our lives as Christians.

It looks like a long post, but a lot of it will be Scripture. I want us to see this in the Word. I want us as Christians to see God’s power at work in the Gospel to keep believers. Oh, that we would be able to plumb the depths of God’s wisdom, grace, mercy, love, and righteousness in His Gospel. I want us to see why we never outgrow the Gospel, we only dive deeper into the Gospel.

[1] Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, [2] and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. [3] For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, [4] that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, (1 Corinthians 15:1-4, ESV)

Paul is writing to believers-Christians. This seems to be a habit of his. He said to the believers in Rome that he wanted to come and preach the Gospel to them (Rom. 1:16). There are, I believe, at least two reasons he does this. The first is to remind them of the content of the Gospel–making sure they stand firm in the true Gospel. The second is to remind us of who God is, who we are, and all He has done for us in the Gospel. Remembering, meditating on, and growing in our understanding of the Gospel is to be at the center of who we are. It is the power from which we live our daily lives.

Several images come to mind as I think about how this might look. The first set of images shows how the Gospel affects us from the core of who we are, changes us, and gives us power to do the things and be the people God has called us to do and be. The third may be a bit silly, but came to mind as I though about power coming from our core (without which we couldn’t live), driving all our actions.

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Why remember and focus on the Gospel?

The Gospel Saves Us

[1]…which you received… (1 Corinthians 15:1)

[12] But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12, ESV)

[21] For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21, ESV)

As we ponder the Gospel we are reminded that we are no longer under God’s wrath. The penalty for our sin has been paid in full. We don’t have to live with our guilt, condemnation, and self-pity. If God in Christ has forgiven us we can rest in His promises. This also helps us extend forgiveness to those who have sinned against us and offer God’s forgiveness to unbelievers.

The Gospel Keeps Us

[1]…in which you stand… (1 Corinthians 15:1)

The Greek verb (hē’-stā-mē) translated “stand” means “to cause or make stand.” The Gospel gives us the power to continue standing in the Gospel! If we are truly saved, we cannot get “unsaved.” He has promised Himself to us forever. He won’t withdraw His salvation from us because we still struggle with indwelling sin. This is the essence of covenant love.

Yes, we recognize that we were created in Christ to do good works (Ephesians 2:10), but our standing before God isn’t based on those works (Ephesians 2:8-9). The Christian life is one of simultaneous work and rest. We work in the strength Christ supplies as we rest in the salvation Christ supplies.

[27] My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. [28] I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. [29] My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. [30] I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30, ESV)

The Gospel Frees Us

[2]… by which you are being saved… (1 Corinthians 15:2)

[6] And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6, ESV)

It frees us from the power of sin and will ultimately one day free us from the presence of sin. There was a point in time when we were regenerated (born again) and sealed with the Holy Spirit. And one day we will have complete and total salvation from sin and its effects. Until then we live in the “Already but, not yet.” We are already saved, but the fullness of our salvation has not yet been realized.

We are no longer prisoners or slaves of sin, forced to do what it wants. We have been given power over sin by the Holy Spirit through faith in the Gospel. We are being conformed to the likeness of Christ through the Gospel.

It’s God’s Power to Save All Who Believe and Are Believing

[16] For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes… (Romans 1:16, ESV)

[9] because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9, ESV)

[17] So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.(Romans 10:17, ESV)

The Gospel is God’s power to save or give faith to unbelievers, but it is also His power to save believers. The word “believe” in Rom. 1:16 is in the present active tense, so the verse could read “for everyone who is believing. Believers need to hear and trust in the Gospel as much as unbelievers do!

We can have confidence that when we share the Gospel, some will believe. The Message is the power of God, not our polished presentation of it. We do want to understand and present the true Gospel well, but realize the Holy Spirit brings them to faith, not us.

I love how Donald Whitney said it: “Sharing the Gospel is like walking around during a thunderstorm handing out lightning rods. You never know when or where lightning will strike, but you do know what it will strike-the lightning rod of the Gospel. We don’t know who or when He will save, but we know He will use the Gospel to do it.”

We Get Distracted

[3] For I delivered to you as of first importance… (1 Corinthians 15:3)

It’s easy to get distracted from the Gospel. Unfortunately, the ministry that derives its power from the Gospel can so quickly veer from its centrality. The context of the verse above is set at the end of a long section of 1 Corinthians where Paul lays out a lot of doctrine (beliefs about specific topics) and ecclesiology (rules or guidelines for Christian worship). These things are very important otherwise Paul wouldn’t have spent a lot time giving us direction and instruction in them. We all too easily get caught up into thinking that the specifics are of first importance. We tend, at times, to major on the minors.

Not only do you and I get distracted with the “things of the church,” but we also get distracted in our daily lives. It’s easy for us to forget the bearing and impact the Gospel has on every decision we make. It’s easy to forget the Gospel when we have to discipline and correct crazy kids all day long. It’s easy to forget the Gospel when we have project deadlines at work that are stressing us out. It’s easy to forget the Gospel when we’re tempted to spend more than we should on that new trinket that we think will satisfy. We are forgetful creatures, prone to seek love and meaning in the things of this world.

Most things you and I think about throughout the day are common or unimportant. Some things are important. Few things are very important. But the Gospel is crucial-of first importance! We need to get it right and think about it often!

Gospel Importance Pt. 4: Centrality

the gospel of jesus christ

Gospel Importance Pt.2: Content

In the last post we talked about the importance of Gospel Clarity, or what the Gospel is and is not. Now I want to look at the content of the true Gospel. You could ask the same question: “What is the Gospel?” Or more clearly: “What is this news and what makes it so good?” What is it that makes this the best news anyone could ever hear? What is it about this news that has the power to create spiritual life from death?

It is important that we understand the Gospel rightly and communicate it clearly. I’m not implying that one must communicate the Gospel eloquently or that you have to be a skilled theologian in order to see someone saved. The message contains the power, not the messenger and his delivery of it.

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5, ESV)

The Text we’ve been looking at for Gospel Importance is 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

[1] Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, [2] and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. [3] For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, [4] that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, (1 Corinthians 15:1-4, ESV)

We see that Paul is reminding them of a very specific gospel-his gospel, or the one he preached. The one he received from Jesus Himself (Acts 9; Gal. 1:11-12).

[1]… of the gospel I preached to you… [2]… if you hold fast to the word I preached to you…

He tells us that if we leave the true Gospel, our faith is in vain. He gives us a reason for this in Galatians where he says that other “gospels” can’t save you because they have no power because they aren’t really gospels at all–they are not good news!

[6] I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—[7] not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. [8] But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. [9] As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-9, ESV)

There were many false gospels in Paul’s time in the early church. Some trying to add things to the gospel, some trying to take parts out of it. I believe this is one of the reasons Paul wrote about the Gospel so much–to clarify it.

This is very applicable to us, seeing as there are many false gospels and their prophets promulgating their lies in our culture today. We have everything from the gospel minimalists, (claiming that even if some parts of the Gospel aren’t true living the way of Jesus is still the best way to live), to the witchcraft of the prosperity gospel, to everything in between.  I believe it is vital that we spend some time rightly understanding the Gospel Paul preached, lest we believe in vain.

What is the gospel? What is this news we believe and preach?

[3]…that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, [4] that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

…that Christ…
God the Son–2nd member of the eternal God-head. Sinless. Perfect. God. The One through whom, by whom, and for whom the world was created. This was no mere man, though He was a man. Christ is the title given to Him, not part of His name. It means anointed One, Messiah. So much more time could be spent here (as on all the other points), but we’re just getting a brief overview.

…Christ died…
He literally, physically died. None of this swoon theory stuff. A trained Roman executioner made sure he was dead by thrusting a spear under His rib cage, bursting His pericardial sac. He was dead! He chose to die. He didn’t have to die. That’s one of the advantages of being God; you don’t have to die if you don’t want to.

…for our sins…
He didn’t die for our prosperity, health, self esteem, etc. He took care of our greatest need. He took the Father’s wrath that we earned and deserved. He gave his life for His enemies so that we could become His children.

…that He was raised on the third day…
All of our hope hinges on the resurrection! If Christ was not raised our hope in His atoning death on the cross is in vain. The resurrection proves He is God and that He has the power to do what He said He would–give eternal life to those who believe (John 3:16-17). It proves that His payment for our sins was sufficient. If Christ is raised, we have confidence that we too will be raised to be with Him forever!

…in accordance with the Scriptures.
God had a plan from the beginning that He alluded to throughout the Old Testament. The Old Testament is full of prophecies about the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Messiah that Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled completely. This also means that it is the Scriptures which define what the gospel is, not you, me, the church, or our culture.

This is the News that is the power of God. This is the Good News that brings life to its believers. This is the Message God has used to create and sustain disciples for centuries. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever… and so is His message.

Gospel Importance Pt. 3: Centrality

gospel_importance

Gospel Importance Pt.1: Clarity

The Gospel is for believers! It is not only the power of God to convert unbelievers, it is the power of God to save those who are believing. It is the door by which we enter the house and the house itself! Every room we explore is an exploration deeper into beautiful Gospel truths.

[1] Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, [2] and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. [3] For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, [4] that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, (1 Corinthians 15:1-4, ESV, emphasis mine)

If there is anything we need to get right, this is it. Over the next few posts we’ll look at three components of the Gospel that I pray will help Christians think rightly about the Gospel and live from the power God supplies through it. We’ll look at Gospel clarity (What is it?), Gospel content (Of what does it consist?), and Gospel centrality (How does remembering it give us strength day to day?).

Gospel Clarity

At times we can confuse the Gospel with the effects of the Gospel. Most of the time this is unintended, even well meaning, but tends to muddy the waters a bit when it comes to the true Gospel message. Here are a few things to think through as we grow in our understanding of the gospel impacting our lives and how we might share this news–the greatest news ever-with others in our culture.

The Gospel IS News

At it’s simplest it is a report of an event. It is the good news of what a loving God has done, in Christ, for sinners. It is news about something that happened at a specific point in history. It can be proved. It is NOT some esoteric system of beliefs that only the deep thinking or spiritually minded people can understand. The news is presented and either believed or not believed.

It MUST be Preached

Since the gospel is news it has to be proclaimed, preached, told. It can not be lived. We can’t live the gospel in front of others. We can’t live news. We live our lives as Christians who, by God’s grace, believe the Gospel–in front of others. But our lifestyle and even our love won’t save people. God may use our lives to draw people or to pique their interest, but He will use the Gospel to save them. “Preach the Gospel always and when necessary use words” may be well intentioned, but wrong. People can not believe news they haven’t heard. Read more

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A Godly Legacy

A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of birth. (Ecc. 7:1)

As we awoke this morning my wife and I received some sad news that we had actually been expecting for some time now. We found out that her 94 year old granddad had passed away in his sleep early this morning. There were/are the normal tears and pains of grief that occur when someone you love dearly is not here anymore. Accompanying those pains were also a peace, happiness, and comfort that only believers in Jesus Christ can have about the death of a brother or sister in Christ.

Times like this are a reminder to us that this is not how it was meant to be! We know something is broken and wrong. Death is wrong. God created this world perfect. Adam and Eve (and we as their children) were to live in perfect peace and harmony with God and His creation forever. But their rebellion brought sin into the world. Because of sin we live in a world of hardships, pain, and death (Rom. 5:12). So for now, the sting of death (sin) is with us. And death has (only) a temporary victory. But, there is coming a day when we WILL mock death! There is coming a day when God will restore all things, including our bodies, to their rightful glory through Christ! In the words of the Jesus Storybook Bible “He will make everything sad come untrue!” Read more

Practical Parenting Tips

Though my wife and I haven’t had the most (or as much as some) experience in parenting, we have been blessed to have other godly people speek into our lives. We have been helped through wonderful relationships and by reading many solid parenting books (and blog posts) from a Christian worldview.

Any time I run across resources I believe will be helpful to men raising godly families, I want to pass them on. In his post, Advice for Parenting Young Kids, Steve McCoy has provided a great list of practical advice. We have used many of these techniques and ideas for a long time and I can recommend this list to you without reservation. I have another series concerning practical advice for leading your children spiritually. But McCoy’s post is just solid, helpful, all around parenting advice.

Pam and I currently have three awesome kiddos, our oldest girl (9), middle boy (7), and youngest girl (3) are “my crew.” God has truly blessed us by placing them in our home to shepherd, steward, and lead. By His grace we pray that we will parent them (and any others He decides to sovereignly place in our family) well! May God bless you and give you grace and wisdom as you shepherd your “quiver of arrows!”

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If Everything is Awesome – Nothing Is

Having to put a pretty face on everything is exhausting, even if it is a digital face. Instead of enjoying other people’s success or blessings we feel as if we have to one up them or at least be as glamurous or funny as they are. Otherwise, we think, no one will “follow me” or be my “friend” or comment on my posts. As if acquiring comments, retweets, and likes was the point.

Think about how we broadcast ourselves and our lives on social media. Mike Cosper in his post at The Gospel Coalition says “Social media compels its users to project idealized versions of themselves. A photo of a meal can bear the caption, ‘UnbeLIEVable homemade ravioli!!!!!!!!’ Meanwhile the pasta is chewy, the sauce is tasteless, and the dining couple fights throughout the entire meal. The nature of social media, and its accompanying audience, leads us to glamorize the mundane, leaving no superlatives for truly great experiences.” Read more

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Biblical Masculinity in Fatherhood Pt.2

This is the fourth post in the Biblical Masculinity series. Post One: What is Biblical Masculinity?Post Two: Biblical Masculinity in Marriage, Post Three: Biblical Masculinity in Fatherhood Pt.1.

In part one of Masculine Fatherhood we discussed what God expects of us as Christian dads. We also covered a few key areas of development that you should be working into your child’s life. In this post we will talk about some practical ideas that may help you as you decide what it looks like in your home to raise your children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Keep in mind that these are suggestions, not an exhaustive list. Don’t feel that if you aren’t doing everything on this list that you’re not a good dad. These come and go in seasons at our house – except for worship, catechism, Bible, etc. If God does convict you in an area, don’t beat yourself up. Run to Him, repent, and start doing right.

So here are a few ideas, in no certain order. Read more

Holiness

Holiness? Are You Serious?

I’d like to start off by laying again the foundation that we keep coming back to and should never forget. We are saved by grace alone through faith in Christ’s work of redemption on our behalf alone. Once this salvation has occurred in our life and shown itself through repentance and a changed life by the power of God the Holy Spirit, it can never be taken away from us!

A lot of the material I cover in this article I owe to Kevin DeYoung, whose book, The Hole in our Holiness, really brought home to me the importance of seeking to live a holy life. It is a doctrinally sound book that encourages born again believers to seek to live in holiness without giving us a bunch of moralistic checklists. I’m thankful to him for writing it and I pray that God uses it in many lives to bring glory and honor to Himself as I pray He continues to mature and build me up in the faith.

The following is a combination of my study notes for the Men’s Group I lead and thoughts and notes from DeYoung’s book which again, is well worth your time in reading. Read more

biblical_masculinity_in_fatherhood

Biblical Masculinity in Fatherhood Pt.1

This is the third post in the Biblical Masculinity series. Post One: What is Biblical Masculinity?, Post Two: Biblical Masculinity in MarriagePost Four: Biblical Masculinity in Fatherhood Pt. 2

There is so much more to cover on this topic than I will be able to deal with in this post. At the end of the next article (Biblical Masculinity in Parenting Pt. 2) I have provided a list of books and resources that have helped me and will shed more light on the spiritual aspects of fatherhood. I just wanted to do a brief fly-over of some of the spiritual issues related to fatherhood and then focus in on some practical ideas that may help you lead your family and fulfill your God-given role as a dad.

The big idea I want you to take away from this post is discipleship. God has blessed you with a house full of little disciples. This is one way you are able to fulfill God’s call on your life to be a disciple maker. – Mt. 28:18-20

Teaching & Training

  • Fathers are required to raise their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord – Eph. 6:4. If we raise our children in any other way, we walk in disobedience to the Lord and harm our kids in the process.
  • This charge is given to fathers, not mothers. It’s not that mothers don’t play a huge role in this instruction (they most certainly do), this means that fathers as the family head are held responsible for seeing to it that this happens.
  • We need to lead by example. We should be able to say to our children “follow me as I follow Christ.” Read more
Masculinity in Marriage

Biblical Masculinity In Marriage

This is the second post in the Biblical Masculinity series. Post One: What is Biblical Masculinity?, Post Three: Biblical Masculinity in Fatherhood Pt. 1Post Four: Biblical Masculinity in Fatherhood Pt. 2

This will only be a brief overview of our roles as men in marriage. It won’t be super-spiritual or deeply theological, although I believe marriage is deeply spiritual and theological at its foundation because it is a picture of God’s love for us. There are many wonderful books that cover this topic in greater detail that would be worth your time in reading. I have recommended a few HERE and you can see the full list HERE.

I will try to be a bit more practical in this study since most of us know or have an idea of what God expects from us in marriage. A lot of times, I believe, we just don’t know what we are doing or how we should go about it.

Marriage – We Are to Cultivate Our Wives

  • God said it was not good for man to be alone.
  • He created woman to help him in his cultivation and they were to work together as one.
  • God created marriage, man did not. Therefore He defines its boundaries and purposes.
  • God made man the head of the family, man did not. He gives us a picture of male headship all throughout the Bible.
  • Some who argue for Egalitarianism say that male headship or patriarchy came as a result of the Fall. Others argue that when Paul made his claims of male headship in the home and church those roles and positions were only binding on that specific culture and time period.
  • Paul actually destroys both arguments by taking the basis for his claims all the way back to the Creation story and order before the Fall. He therefore says that the way God set things up are binding on all peoples of all cultures and all time periods. – 1Cor. 11:8-9; 1 Tim. 2:12-13; Gen. 2
  • Woman was made for the man.
  • Woman was made after and from the man.
  • She was not made from the dirt like the rest of the animals, but from Adam’s side showing her equality with Adam in value and worth.
  • Equality is not the same as egality (See my previous post for the difference between egalitarianism & complementarianism).
  • Woman was brought to the man – as a father would give his daughter away in marriage.
  • Woman was named by the man.
  • Probably the most overlooked sign God gave us that points to male headship in the home is that after the Fall God goes looking for Adam and holds him responsible for his and Eve’s sin. Accountability and responsibility show headship. Read more
  • Biblical Masculinity - Biblical Manhood

    What Is Biblical Masculinity?

    I’d like to take the next few posts and look at what the Bible calls us to be and do as Christian men. What do these Passages mean? What is meant by the terms biblical manhood or biblical masculinity? What does this look like in each of our lives since we are all different and have different wives and children? What does this look like in our specific time and culture?

    Some of what we will cover will be doctrinal or theological (what we should believe) in nature, but a lot of it will be very practical (what we should be doing).

    This series of posts will be a very brief fly-over of this topic. There is so much more that could be said and has been said elsewhere in many great books and sermons – most of which you can find in the “Recommended Reading” list or “Audio Messages”. I don’t ever want to give the impression that our responsibilities as men involve ONLY our homes. We are Christians. This means the gospel impacts our entire lives. We do not focus on our homes to the neglect of everything else God calls us to in light of the gospel. Our goal is not just to be a better husband or dad, but to grow in Christ-likeness. As we do this (by His grace and the power of the Spirit) our familes will most definitely benefit!

    Having said that, this series will cover four areas of life as a Christian man.

    • Post 1 – What is masculinity? – What it is, what it is not, and attacks on true masculinity.
    • Post 2 – Biblically masculine husbands. – Leading your wife, responsibilities of headship.
    • Posts 3 & 4 – Biblically masculine fathers. – Leading/teaching your kids about Christ, responsibilities of being a disciple maker in your home.

    WHAT IS MASCULINITY?

    Masculinity is not simply maleness. Just because you have male parts doesn’t make you masculine. Read more

    the-gospel-project

    The Gospel Project

    This is a good interview between Matt Chandler (Gospel Project Advisory Counsel) and Trevin Wax (Gospel Project Managing Editor). The Gospel Project is a new curriculum put out by LifeWay that is a three year discipleship cycle that is broken into age groups for children, students, and adults.

    This is very intriguing to me because it is designed to show the story of God’s redemption throughout the entire Bible. It shows that the Gospel includes and runs through all of Scripture, not just Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. It is our responsibility as parents and church members to be sure that our children are learning the Gospel. They should be learning that the stories are there to point to Christ and show God’s love, not just for moral character building or entertainment.

    Thanks to LifeWay and others for leading the way in this area.

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqucEO9Wcbg?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

    Gospel Centered Advent Guide

    Advent Guide 2012

    Just so you know right from the start, this is not a “traditional” Advent guide. This guide was created out of a desire to focus on the whole gospel at a time when we usually focus only on the birth of Christ. Celebrating His birth is a very good thing, but if we don’t understand why He came, then we are really just celebrating the birth of a cute little Jewish baby.

    My family and I have done an Advent wreath for years and I’ve never found a guide that I was 100% comfortable with. So, this guide is my attempt to produce something for my family that we could use year after year. I pray that you and your family will be able to benefit from it as well. May God bless you as you lead your family in the worship of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ!

    This guide has five weeks of material if you were to use it 3 – 5 nights a week. It incorporates the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones for the younger kids. It also has a list of suggested activities for your family through this season.

    There are two versions. The content is the exact same. One is very visual and graphic-heavy. This one looks better, but is a larger file. The other one still looks good, but is text only. You can get either below.

    [button link=”http://biblicalmen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/7/2012/11/Gospel_Centered_Advent_Guide_Text_Only.pdf” style=”download” color=”#850d19″ text=”grey” window=”yes”]Gospel Centered Advent Guide – Text Only PDF[/button]

    [button link=”http://biblicalmen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/7/2012/11/Gospel_Centered_Advent_Guide3.pdf” style=”download” color=”#850d19″ text=”grey” window=”yes”]Gospel Centered Advent Guide – Full PDF[/button]

    If anyone out there does decide to use this for your family this year I would love to hear your feedback on how you think it could improve for next year. I would also love to hear any suggestions on activities your family does for the Advent season that aren’t listed in the guide.