Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Beholding God's Word- Chris Pixley

This week's podcast is, "Beholding God's Word." This is a sermon preached by Chris Pixley here at GBCB. This audio sermon can also be accessed on the web by following the provided link above.

This sermon, along with various other audio resources, will be made available in their entirety without editing. The address for the podcast is:

For those of you who are not in the podcast world it is very simple and I would highly suggest it. First, go online and download a podcasting program. I would highly recommend downloading I-tunes. It is free, and you do not need a mp3 player, only your pc. Once you have downloaded the program of your choice find the "podcast" heading and go from there. Eventually all you will have to do is cut and paste the above address into the appropriate field.

For a more detailed description go here.


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Wisdom From Above

James 3:13-18

Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Over the next week or so I would like to look at this passage and the implications that it has on wisdom. Let me set the stage with this.


Wisdom is something that human beings have put a premium on through out all of history. This is a particularly useful topic for students. They have not lived long, and have not had many opportunities to gain wisdom through experience. Thus, as we talk about wisdom with our students it gives them the opportunity to be ahead of the curve latter in life. Even beyond students it is important to study the topic of wisdom. Solomon, in Proverbs 4:7 wrote, “Acquire wisdom; and with all your acquiring, get understanding.” It is this very topic of wisdom that James focuses on in 3:13-18.

Part of the challenge of talking a lot about wisdom is that you have to define what wisdom is. If we were to go back to the great Greek philosophers we would see that to them wisdom was the possession of knowledge. “But it was the Hebrews who clearly understood that true wisdom was not intellectual, but behavioral. Thus, the biggest fool was one who knew truth and failed to apply it. To the Jews, wisdom was skill in living righteously.1”

As we know from the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon made the subject of wisdom his focus in writing that book. As I have been studying through the book it has become increasingly clear to me that Solomon is trying to point out the futility of man’s wisdom without God. Solomon said to himself,
“ ‘Behold, I have magnified and increased wisdom more than all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has observed a wealth of wisdom and knowledge.’ And I set my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly; I realized that this also is striving after wind. Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain.”
King Solomon indulged himself in all kinds of experiences and in the end- while acknowledging the benefits of wisdom over folly- his conclusion was that both the wise man and the fool will eventually die.

In 2:24-26 we see that the only source of true, satisfying, enjoyment comes from God.
There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen that it is from the hand of God. For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without Him? For to a person who is good in His sight He has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, while to the sinner He has given the task of gathering and collecting so that he may give to one who is good in God's sight. This too is vanity and striving after wind.

Solomon knew, from experience, that all the human accomplishments in the world were nothing in comparison with the joy that comes from knowing God. James uses very similar language in his letter. In 1:17 James says that “every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above…” In our passage, James 3:13-18, we see that James carries this same principle into the realm of wisdom. Ultimately James’ conclusion is that the only true wisdom one can have is from God, and it is demonstrated in the way that you live.

1. MacArthur, J. (1998). James. Chicago, Ill.: Moody Press.

Friday, May 26, 2006

James 3:9-12

The chief end of man, to borrow from the Westminster divines, is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. One of the easiest ways that we can do that is through our speech. In verse 9 we see that James’ readers “blessed their Lord and Father.” This would have been very typical for the Jew to whom James was writing. They would have been accustomed to pronouncing a blessing on God at the end of every prayer, saying “Blessed be Thou, O God.” The problem that James had is that with the very same tongue that they blessed God they cursed men. If this is not bad enough we must remember that God has created man in His own Image. We see this back, again, in Genesis 1:26 (It is almost as if James had his Bible open to Genesis 1 when he was writing.) In a round about way James is calling this blasphemy. This should be convicting for all of us, because we are all guilty of this hypocrisy. Even the apostle Peter was guilty of this double-minded type of speech. It Matthew 16:16 we read a wonderful pronouncement of Jesus as “the Christ the Son of the Living God” come from the mouth of Peter. We only have to go as far as Matthew 26:69ff to see Peter denying any association with Christ. This should not be this way! We should not be inconsistent in what we say.

James makes one final observation from nature concerning the tongue. The observation is that like produces like. A fresh water spring will not produce salt water; fig tree will not produce olives; nor will a vine produce figs. What is James’ point is saying all of this? When we apply this same principle to the tongue we realize that what comes out of our mouth is what is in our hearts. To use James’ example from verse 9, when we speak hatefully to the people around us it reveals a lack of love for God. In 1 John 4:7-8 we see this same principle at work.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has
been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God,
because God is love.

If we love one another it reveals a heart filled with love for God.

In this final thought James, in a very simple fashion, profoundly sums up this entire section on the tongue. This point is this, from a godly (or to use the words from 1:17 “pure religious”) heart will come godly speech. This is a fitting theme for James to have covered here; particularly in light of the them of 2:14ff.

Isn’t it amazing to think that most of our hateful speech is directed at those with whom we have the closest relationship? We are often hateful, rather than loving, to those who we feel the most comfortable around. This should tell us something! It should tell us that when we are so nice to others it is an act and that our true heart is being revealed when we speak hatefully to those closest to us.
If after studying these verses you think that your speech is ok, you may want to think again. I hope that you realize that God is infinitely good, and deserves our infinite adoration. The funny thing about that is that we cannot do anything that is infinitely good. That means that no matter what we do it is not good enough for God, He deserves better. Even when we do what is right with good motives, God still deserves better. This is what makes the Gospel so great. God made an infinitely good sacrifice available through the death of His Son, Christ Jesus.
Sinful speech can set your life on fire, and wreak havoc that could take years to resolve. If you want to protect yourself from the dangers of evil speech then you must fill your heart with God’s word. When you do this God’s word will overflow from your heart out of your mouth.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

It is a Girl

You will have to excuse me for my absence yesterday. I had a very important appointment to keep. Yesterday I went with my wife for her 20 week sonogram (if you did not know, she is pregnant). The verdict is in, and yes we are smart enough to actually find out the sex of the baby, it is a Girl.

Apparently this picture to the right proves that it is a girl (notice the arrow).

My wife and I are so very pleased and thankful for what God has given us. It is our eager prayer that God would call our daughter into His Kingdom and make her one of His children.

It is far more important that our daughter has a heavenly Father, than her earthly father.

Galatians 4:4-6
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

I am very thankful at this point in my life to have the doctrinal convictions that I do. I am very thankful that my child's salvation is dependent 100% on God Himself. If my daughter is to become a child a God it will not depend upon myself, or my wife to "win her to the Lord." If my daughter is to become a child of God then it will take the renewing ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Even now as we are consumed with the thought of her natural birth, we know that it will take a supernatural re-birth before she can accept Christ.

John 3:5-8
Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?"Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."

This is what is important to me.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Towards Living by Faith- Steve Jaeb

This week's podcast is, "Towards Living By Faith." This is a sermon preached by Steve Jaeb here at GBCB. This audio sermon can also be accessed on the web by following the provided link above.

This sermon, along with various other audio resources, will be made available in their entirety without editing. The address for the podcast is:

For those of you who are not in the podcast world it is very simple and I would highly suggest it. First, go online and download a podcasting program. I would highly recommend downloading I-tunes. It is free, and you do not need a mp3 player, only your pc. Once you have downloaded the program of your choice find the "podcast" heading and go from there. Eventually all you will have to do is cut and paste the above address into the appropriate field.

For a more detailed description go here.


Monday, May 22, 2006

James 3:7-12

For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

Here we see the previous verse illustrated. In other words this is the evidence of how evil the tongue can be when it is unaffected by God’s grace. The point that these verse make is simply that the tongue is uncontrollable. The tongue is wild, even wilder than the animals that we have dominion over. In verses 9-12 we see the manifestation of this uncontrollable nature of the tongue. We cannot tame the tongue and use it for its highest purpose; which is to glorify God with our speech. Rather, as James points out, we use the same tongue to glorify God and blaspheme Him. This is what we all do with our tongues every day. As I read what James has to say here in these verses I cannot help but think about how ridiculous it is that we cannot control what comes out of our own mouths. God created us in His own image and gave us dominion over His creation, yet because of sin we are unable to control our own tongues. At the though of this we should, to use the words of Ezekiel in Ezekiel 36:32, be ashamed and confounded by our ways.

The first thing that James notes is that all types of creatures are being and have been tamed by the human race. When we read this we should not think that James is saying that all creatures have been tamed and turned into pets. We, from our experience, know that a poodle has not been tamed in the same way that a tiger has. The domestication of every animal on earth is not what James is talking about. If we go back in our Bibles to Genesis 1:29 I think that we will see just what James is talking about.

And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to
everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I
have given every green plant for food." And it was so.

There in Genesis we find a list that is very similar to James’ list; and we see that God has given human beings dominion over His creation. This is what James is talking about here in James 3.
James also does something very interesting in verse 7 when he describes the dominion that man has over animals. He says that the animals are tamed and have been tamed. By choosing to write it in such a way James is emphasizing that not only are people subduing animals, but this is the natural order (state) of how things work.

What is so ironic, and proves the evil nature of the tongue, is that despite the dominion that humans have over creation we can’t even control our own tongues. Because of sin we can control a gigantic elephant, but we cannot control the small tongue. It was in the fall that man lost dominion over the tongue.
Some English translations do not pick up exactly on what James is saying here, but literally he says that no one among men can tame the tongue. It is not so much that the tongue is so powerful that it is intrinsically impossible to tame it. The reality is that we, by our sinful nature, are so weak that we cannot control our tongues. In Ephesians 4:29 we see what the proper, controlled us of the tongue is. If we look back to Ephesians 4:23 we see that the source of this self-control is not self, but the Spirit. Through the Spirit our words can be edifying. Otherwise our words will be a restless evil full of deadly poison.
The word here that is translated as restless in this verse is translated as double-minded in 1:8. In verses 9-12 we see exactly why James would characterize the tongue as restless or double-minded. Some who is unable to control their tongue (with the help of the Spirit) is inconsistent and untrustworthy. On top of this, James says that their speech is full of deadly poison. Literally James says that the poison of the tongue, or evil words, is death-bearing. Whereas we saw in verse 6 that the source of the evil from the tongue was hell; here we see that its result is death. Our evil words carry death into our lives. In Romans 3:13 we see a similar reference to the speech of people. Later in that same chapter (vv. 23ff) we see that the only anti-venom for the poison of our tongues is Christ.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Do I need a doctor's note?

You will have to be patient with me. This week the Lord has blessed me with a violent stomach bug to help be better understand what my wife is going through during her pregnancy. I should be back in full force next week, maybe weighing a few pounds less.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Chris Pixley - "Living in View of the Pre-eminence of Jesus Christ" Part 1

This week's podcast is, "Living in View of the Pre-eminence of Jesus Christ Pt. 1." This is a sermon preached by Chris Pixley here at GBCB. This audio sermon can also be accessed on the web by following the provided link above.

This sermon, along with various other audio resources, will be made available in their entirety without editing. The address for the podcast is:

For those of you who are not in the podcast world it is very simple and I would highly suggest it. First, go online and download a podcasting program. I would highly recommend downloading I-tunes. It is free, and you do not need a mp3 player, only your pc. Once you have downloaded the program of your choice find the "podcast" heading and go from there. Eventually all you will have to do is cut and paste the above address into the appropriate field.

For a more detailed description go here.


Friday, May 12, 2006

For Moma

Today I would like to dedicate my space to honoring my mom.

(My Mom & my little sister Grace)

I would like to provide to concrete examples of the honoring of mothers from the NT. The first example that I would like to highlight is found in 2 Timothy 3:14-15.

You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you wisdom that leads to salvation through fait which is in Christ Jesus.

Here we see Paul's encouragement to his spiritual son. In short, Paul exhorts Timothy to continue what he has already excelled abundantly in doing. Timothy is to stay on the narrow path, and keep the gospel as the center of his ministry.

What is interesting, and pertains to motherhood, is from whom did Timothy learned the sacred writings? The answer is, his mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois. Here is why I say that. First, Paul says that Timothy learned these things from childhood. Second, chapter 1 and verse 5 sheds light on our question as well:

For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.

Third, in Acts 16:1 we see that Timothy's father was not a believer and thus it was his mother and grandmother who taught him the Scriptures. From these three observations I think that we can easily deduce that Paul, in 2 Tim 3:14-15, is honoring Eunice and encouraging Timothy to remain in the faith that his mother introduced him to.

The second example I would like to point out from the NT is found in John 19:25-28:

But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus then saw his mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold your son!" The he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!"

In these, some of the very last words of Christ, He honored His mother by ensuring that she would be cared for. The very son of God, honoring His earthly mother. He understood that she was not any sort of co-redemptrix to be glorified with Him, and that she would need to be cared for when he left. This should be a wonderful example for us as we look to honor our mothers on Mother's Day.

(Moma, Dad, & Grace)

The Mom in My Life
As I said at the top this is for my mother.

You, like Eunice, have passed on your faith to me. You have taught me the Scriptures and always been there. I can only remember one baseball game that you missed, and that was because you were in the hospital. Even then you insisted that I played. That means a lot to me. From you I have observed how a house is to be run, and how children are to be raised. Through the years you have "fixed" enough food and sweet tea to fill an ocean, and you never complained about it. You are the very
definition of hospitality. Our home was, and is, always open to anyone who want a meal. Our friends, and at times entire teams, where always at our house. In many ways you were a mom to most of the Clearwater Christian Baseball team. Moma, you hospitality has extended all the way to China. Now, little Grace will have the opportunity of having you pour your life into her as you did with Steve and I. I know that I speak from Elyse when I tell you that we are so excited about the prospect of raising a small child at the same time as you. Not only will we get the hand-me-downs, but we will also have the opportunity to see you doing what we will have to do soon. I love you.

I have several things to say to honor my Wife, the future mom of our family, but they became to personal for this format.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Luckiest Man at First

While I was over here talking about humility and setting up podcasts of sermons Tim Ellsworth was doing something profitable with his time. At Tim's site they have been constructing the greatest baseball team ever one position at a time. This must be what Scripture means by a conversation seasoned with salt (joke). It has been very interesting, and they have only made it to second base at this point (still time to join in). Lou Gehrig took the starting spot at first (and as we all know when Gehrig gets a start he could be there a while). At this point it looks as though Rogers Hornsby is going take Second (as he should). Head over there it is a lot of fun.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


This week has been filled with tech work for the blog, and I feel as though I have neglected the spiritual side of this blog. It is my hope, however, that the podcast that I have set up through this blog will prove to be an encouragement to you all (if you are having trouble following the directions let me know via a comment).

I would like to comment on two unrelated topics today.

It has been brought to my attention by a catholic observer of this blog (and self-proclaimed friend) that I need to be absolved so that I can go to heaven. In fact, "my friend" has gone so far as to ask "Why don't you want to be alive?" There are several difficulties with this dialogue that have forced me to address it in a public forum. First, "my friend" will not reveal his name (or even a blogger name), he insists on posting as anonymous. Second, "my friend" will not interact with me at all. It has been his "MO" to post incredibly long comments (usually articles that he has not written), and never respond to any criticism. Unfortunately this has forced me to screen all comments on this blog.

Before I respond to “my friends” latest attempt to comment on this blog I would like to say two things. 1) I am sure that “my friend” has the best of intentions. He earnestly believes something and thinks that unless I accept his RCC faith I will be damned. I appreciate his love for me, but I do not appreciate the immature manner in which he is demonstrating it. Because he has refused to identify himself I am only left to wonder who this person is. I have a few good ideas of who this is, and I wish that we could just get together over a real cup of coffee and discuss this matter. The manner in which “my friend” is trying to have this conversation leads me to think that he is afraid to dialogue with me (I a not sure why). Even if “my friend” is no more than a high-school student I would hope that we could just have an honest assessment of Scripture and go from there. 2) Due to the nature of his comment I will not devote anymore time to responding to him until he, at the very least, reveals his identity to me. I will briefly respond to a comment he sent me with only with a question for him to think about.

The text is John 6:53. Anonymous has used this text to show that only through the RCC Eucharist can I be saved. Before I deal with this matter I, again, would like to ask Anonymous how he would handle the rest of this chapter. To be specific I would like to know what he thinks (or the RCC thinks) about John 6:63.

“For this reason I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”

For now I will leave the ball in his court.


I am still doing a lot of reading on humility and I found this very convicting quote from Jonathan Edwards:

“The degree of humility is to be judged by the degree of abasement, and the degree of the cause for abasement: but he that is truly and eminently humble never thinks his humility great. The cause why he should be abased appears so great, and the abasement of the frame of his heart so greatly short of it, that he takes much more notice of
his pride than his humility.”

(the grand prize goes to the first person to identify the source of this JE quote)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Podcasting: Finding Freedom in Forgiveness

For those of you who are interested I am now podcasting the Sunday morning Sermons from Grace Bible Church of Brandon. These sermons, along with various other audio resources, will be made available in their entirety without editing. The address for the podcast is:

For those of you who are not in the podcast world it is very simple and I would highly suggest it. First, go online and download a podcasting program. I would highly recommend downloading I-tunes. It is free, and you do not need a mp3 player, only your pc. Once you have downloaded the program of your choice find the "podcast" heading and go from there. Eventually all you will have to do is cut and paste the above address into the appropriate field.

For a more detailed description go here.

The title of today's podcast is, "Finding Freedom in Forgiveness." This is a sermon preached by Chris Pixley here at GBCB.


Monday, May 08, 2006

Site Feed Subscription

In my never ending pursuit to eat up even more time with this blog I have set up and RSS feed for the blog. You will notice the link on the lefthand sidebar. There is also the option to subscribe to this site feed. For those of you who are not so savvy when it come to the internet here is how it works: You type in your e-mail address and then every time I post you will receive the content of that post in e-mail form. It really isn't hard. I am currently working on the feasibility of doing a podcast of the messages from our youth group. This, however, is proving to be more difficult than I had originally planned.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Humility: Day Five

Continuing on this theme of humility I would like to look at Ezekiel 36:26-32.

"Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord GOD, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. I will take you from the nations and gather you
from all the countries and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle
clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. And I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you. I will make the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field abundant, that you may never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations. Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations. It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord GOD; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel.

At the thought of our salvation we should not say to ourselves “I must be something because Jesus died for me.” Ezekiel makes it very clear that the thought of God’s grace in light of our sin should leave us confounded and ashamed.

This leaves us with an interesting tension that is particularly highlighted in the NT. We are to remember our sins yet forget them.

Ephesians 2:12-13: Remember
Philippians 3:12-13: Forget

We need to remember enough to be ashamed by our sin and satisfied with God’s grace; but don’t remember (or dwell on) your sin to the point that you are paralyzed by it.

My Conclusion:
The Gospel should humble us, not make us proud. We should be ashamed and confounded by our sin so that we will be happy and satisfied with God’s grace. Humility, that is remembering our humble state, can be a great source of joy because it will cause God-glorifying gratitude.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Humility: Day Four

The humiliation of the Gospel

To emphasize our humility in light of the Gospel let me point you to two passages that speak to this issue. First off , for today, Isaiah 48:1-11.

Isaiah 48:1

Hear this, O house of Jacob,who are called by the name of Israel,
and who came from the waters of Judah, who swear by the name of the LORD and confess the God of Israel, but not in truth or right. For they call themselves after the holy city, and stay themselves on the God of Israel; the LORD of hosts is his name. "The former things I declared of old; they went out from my mouth and I announced them; then suddenly I did them and they came to pass. Because I know that you are obstinate, and your neck is an iron sinew and your forehead brass, I declared them to you from of old, before they came to pass I announced them to you, lest you should say, 'My idol did them, my carved image and my metal image commanded them.' "You have heard; now see all this; and will you not declare it? From this time forth I announce to you new things, hidden things that you have not known.
They are created now, not long ago; before today you have never heard of them, lest you should say, 'Behold, I knew them.' You have never heard, you have never known, from of old your ear has not been
opened. For I knew that you would surely deal treacherously, and that from before birth you were called a rebel. "For my name's sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.

Six times in the final six lines God, through the prophet Isaiah, makes it clear that it is for His name's sake that he defers His andger. It is very clear that
we are the beneficiaries, but ultimately God saves us for His name’s sake.
John MacArthur put it this way,

“The primary reason we are redeemed is not so that we may escape hell- that is a blessed benefit, but not the major purpose. The central objective for which we are redeemed is not even so that we might enjoy the manifold eternal blessings of God. In fact, the supreme motive in our redemption is not for us to receive anything. Rather, we have been redeemed so that God may receive worship- so that our lives might glorify Him.”

We must be ashamed by the sin in our lives thar profanes the name of Christ. When we have this frame of mind then we will have a proper "Gospel Humiliation."

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Humility: Day Three

In order to be humble, and give God all the glory that He deserves we must do good deeds in such a way that we will not get the credit. We must live our lives for “His name sake.” If you are a believer, then this is what you have been called to do. In fact His name (and by that I mean His Glory) should be our number one priority. The WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM puts it this way,
"Q. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify
God,and to enjoy him forever."
This confessional document is not Scripture, however it does a wonderful job of capturing the teaching of Scripture in this matter. I can say this easily because Scripture makes it clear that God’s name (His glory) is His number one priority.

1 Samuel 12:19-25 (ESV)
And all the people said to Samuel, "Pray for your servants
to the LORD your God, that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil, to ask for ourselves a king." And Samuel said to the people, "Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart.
And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. For the LORD will not forsake his people, for his great name's sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make you a people for himself. Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way. Only fear the LORD and serve him
faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king."

Samuel should not have said “do not be afraid,” he should have said be afraid! The basis for Samuel’s exhortation was God’s name. Here we see that God’s radical commitment to His glory is good news for sinners. He blessed the people with grace so that He would receive the glory. This is the Gospel. God has set apart for Himself a people, through the atoning work of Christ, so that they can glorify His name forever. Very rarely do we hear it put this way, but God blesses us for His sake. God does not save someone because of who they are. God saves people because of who He is. Do you love the gospel because God has made much of you? Or, do you love the Gospel because it has freed you to make much of God forever?

Our joy should be rooted in the infinite value of God.

If you have great guilt in your life from sin your hope should not be in you, but rather your hope should be in the name of Christ. Then you can take the words of Samuel (do not be afraid) and make them your own. Do not get wrapped into esteeming yourself highly and think that it is the Gospel. The whole point of the Gospel is not that we are so good that God saved us, but rather that we are so bad yet because God is so good He has saved us.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Humility: Day Two

Because humility stems from a proper knowledge of God, conversely pride is a distortion of God. This makes pride one of the most serious sins. When we struggle with pride we are contending with God for supremacy. In our pride we have decided that our way is better than God’s way, and thus we sin. We are trying to usurp God’s position as King of the Universe, and place ourselves on His throne. God takes pride very serious because it is an abomination to Him.

Proverbs 16:5
Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured he will not go unpunished.

Not only are we seeking to steal God’s supremacy in our pride, but we are also seeking to glorify ourselves rather than God in our pride. In the end the proud person seeks to glorify himself and not God. Whether it is intentional or not in our pride we are attempting to deprive God of the glory that only He is worthy to receive.

As you go through your day today make it a point to stop and figure out if what you are doing is for your own glory, or for God's glory.

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of
glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my

Forbid it Lord, that I should boast
Save in the death of
Christ my God
All the vain things that charm me most
I sacrifice them to
His blood

See, from His head, His hands, His feet
Sorrow and love
flow mingled down
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose
so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were a
present far too small
Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul, my
life, my all