On This Reformation Day…

Let us be grateful for such a moment in the history of the church in which we come to understand justification by faith. Although it was already established in the Bible, it was far from a reality during Martin Luther’s time. Many (even today) believe that by one’s works, justification is earned rather given graciously. But like Luther before realizing this truth, many are overburdened and weary of their works. They labor and toil without realizing that the perfect work of Christ completes it all, as He says “it is finished” as a sacrifice  “once and for all” (Hebrews 10:10). Jesus Christ not only gives justification, but He is our justification! Without a grasp of this truth, diminishes the gospel altogether for justification the doctrine by which ‘‘the church either stands or falls.” as stated by Luther

Secondly, let us be grateful for the spread of the Bible for the layperson. For too long, it was merely relegated to the clergy. But thanks to individuals such as John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, and Martin Luther, various translations of the Bible were being put out and then some. We need the Bible now more than ever, especially in an age where biblical truth is either questioned or neglected altogether. Many cry for revival, but the truth is that you can’t have a revival without a reformation. We must get back to the Word of God as the source God has given us to proclaim! It is absolute truth. Without it, we wouldn’t come to an understanding of justification by faith and the Gospel. We would not see God’s redemptive plan throughout both Testaments. We wouldn’t know of our sin and radical depravity.  Moreover, we wouldn’t know God as He truly is in the Word. The Word of God therefore, is indispensable to reformation. No other source comes close. I don’t care how creatively, or well researched it is, or how prophetic it sounds. God’s Word is final and it is sufficient! (2 Timothy 3:16)

Ecclesia reformata semper reformanda est secundum Verbum Dei”(The church Reformed and always reforming according to the Word of God)

 

Happy Reformation Day!

The Quintessential Freedom

“Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” – John 8:34-36

Oh what a travesty it is to be enslaved to sin! To be bound in darkness in all of one’s life. Worse of all, you’re comfortable in it without concern. But when the Morning Stars dawns, the darkness ceases. The emancipation from sin has arrived through Christ Jesus our Lord. Oh what a joy it is to taste freedom! From sinner to saint, from death to life, from darkness to light, from bondage to freedom! This is a new birth to a new life far beyond living under the sun. And this freedom was never sought after but initiated by Christ. Moreover, this freedom is guaranteed- evident in our justification, sanctification and inevitable glorification.

Shall we remain quiet about this freedom? Perish the thought! Sing praises unto His name! Make His name known to all the nations! Preach the good news to this dark and oppressed world. Many more captives like you Christ seeks to set free from sin! And how much more glorious is it when His church testifies to their freedom in Christ! Whom the Son sets free is free indeed! That is the quintessential freedom!

Discernment and Desire

“If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.” John 7:17

Hello brothers and sisters, this verse spoke volumes to me today so just wanted to share my thoughts! God’s will is discerned/desired by His people. True desire and true discernment go hand in hand. First, God’s will is to be discerned by His people. It is in His objective Word in which we refute falsehood. When preachers fail to discern true and false, they fail to warn God’s people as anything goes. Heresies and doctrines of demons are invited without caution. Such lack of discernment is poisonous and destructive. But when the Word is rightly handled, so the truth is outspoken against all falsehood. This is a must! No preacher should preach should they choose not to discern nor encourage discernment.

Second, God’s will is to be desired by His people. Those coming to know Christ are driven by a desire for His Word. In doing so ,they seek to know Him more, and desire to make Him known. Such desire God grants to His people in which they hold fast to without compromise. Therefore, through their desire for the Word, they likewise discern with the Word! For it is from God. May the saints cry, “I need Truth ”!

Famine in the Church Worldwide

““Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God,
“when I will send a famine on the land—
not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water,
but of hearing the words of the Lord.
They shall wander from sea to sea,
and from north to east;
they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord,
but they shall not find it.” Amos 8:11-12

The greatest famine of the day is beyond food or water but the famine of God’s Word. Spiritual famine leads to spiritual poverty that leads to spiritual destruction. Not that the Word of God is void in itself, but it is void in the sense that it is underutilized. Who bothers preaching the Bible anymore? Many view God’s Word, better yet, God’s eternal Word as outdated and obsolete.

I can’t help think of the parable of the seed/sower in which the seed is God’s Word. But here’s the thing, that seed isn’t being sown by today’s preachers. Let that sink in folks. If the Word of God isn’t being preached, then how can believers grow in their faith in Christ? Oftentimes, many discouraged people share how their pastor doesn’t share from the Word of God. Most sermons today can be lined up with self-help talks and be no different! Just put the name Jesus on to make it Christian. But there is no transformation, no conviction, and is no exposition of sound biblical truth. Moreover, how can anyone be saved without hearing the Gospel (Romans 10:17)? Think about that, no one will be able to be saved without hearing the Good News. Instead there is easy believism, and false converts. Let us therefore, return to Scripture for it is God’s means of grace to His church and it is sufficient (2 Timothy 3:16). And don’t fret, there is abundance of His Word to be consumed.

 

Through the Lens of Sola Scriptura

Scripture is no longer sufficient in the eyes of many professing Christians. It may be acknowledged and affirmed. It may be quoted and preached. But when it boils down to priority, Scripture is no longer at the top. It may be secondary or not even regarded at all. “We need more” the people cry out. But is that what it really boils down to nowadays, what the people want? Sadly, I’d have to say yes.

I believe that the greatest conflict from the church is from within not without. It’s blatantly obvious that we’ll be persecuted for our faith as the world hates Jesus first (John 15:18). But inward apostasy, that’s a whole another story. It may creep in subtlety and sincerely(Jude 4),  but it blows up overtime. It’s bad enough to see some believers who are deceived but when an entire congregation follows this along with the leaders who unapologetically preach nonsense each week?? That is when it becomes troubling.

Friends, since Scripture isn’t seen as sufficient, other influences are sought out. Imagine that! Churches being influenced by worldly means but also by heresies. Sounds preposterous I know, but we are guilty of incorporating it ourselves. For instance, the music is easily a first step. Most churches today sing songs from the most popular groups and artists of today (i.e Hillsong, Bethel, Elevation, etc). “Oh but the music is good”, they say. But just because it sounds good, doesn’t mean it is good, especially with the underlying false theology. It is a bait a switch to propagate heresy through playing the music. Moreover, it allows for the teaching to permeate the church. “If the music is good, so must the teaching” , is the justification for many people who rather go by the trend instead of the Word of God.Let us consider the following verse:

Matthew 6:22-23 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light within you is darkness—how deep is that darkness!

In other words, you’re influenced by what you intake spiritually. Basically, the intake changes from solid food (Scripture) to junk food (heresy). It may “feel good” in the moment, but there is no genuine growth nor discernment. That matters for us individually and corporately. And when a church is taking in darkness, then it will be consumed by it. But by God’s grace, He will separate the sheep from the goats, or the wheat from the tares. That also applies to teachers who will be judged more harshly (James 3:1). For judgment must begin in the house of God (1 Peter 4:17).

What we must get back to is the Word of God as our sufficient source (2 Timothy 3:16). Nothing else was ever needed nor will never be necessary. That is the lens that we need, one that takes in the light of God given Scripture. In doing so, we renew our minds (Rom 12:2), bear fruit (Psalm 1:3), having the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). Most importantly, it is necessary in Gospel proclamation, “for faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of Christ” (Romans. 10:17). Notice how this is all based from Scripture. It is never by some outside influence. And it is definitely nothing that portrays itself as another Gospel, lest one be accursed (Gal. 1:9). Let this be the lens in which the church sees. Let this be the perspective in which the church lives/dies by. Most importantly, let this be the resource in which the church proclaims the a dying world. Sola Scriptura! Scripture alone!

 

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Good News: The Gospel of Jesus Christ by John MacArthur (Book Review)

 

Understanding who Jesus is is essential in understanding the good news that is the Gospel. Without Him, there is no Gospel! So not only does it begin with Him but it ends with Him. Christ is the Gospel through and through in which the church must know. Pastor-teacher John MacArthur looks at several aspects of Christ that verify who He is. That being said, its Christological focus is the book’s greatest strength in which all other alternatives fall by the wayside. This is not an exhaustive book by any means for the scholarly but for the layperson. As a matter of fact, there is no chapters for introduction/conclusion. It is short but sweet.  Christians would consider picking up this book in understanding more about Christ. It would especially be good to read alongside new believers in the faith as it is a short book. “Who do you say that I am?” is what Jesus asks for all of us as His people and we must answer! It is crucial to our salvation in Him, our relationship to Him and our witness about Him. It is Good News after all.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Highlights

“The right understanding of Jesus Christ is essential to understanding many other vital truths, particularly the gospel and salvation. There’s no good news apart from Christ.”

“Clearly, how you answer the question “Who is Jesus?” has significant and ultimately permanent consequences. The right answer alone can lead to salvation. Yet one can be very close to the right answer and still miss it, resulting in eternal disaster.”

“The glorious realities of Christ are like the numberless stars of heaven. Each feature of His life shines with blazing brilliance, and there are so many they’re almost incalculable.”

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