All posts by dave

God’s Glory

What does it mean to see the glory of something?  It means to realize in the heart the significance and beauty of what you see and how it relates to and affects you. To behold the glory of the Lord means that what we are seeing of the person and work of Christ is affecting us in heart and life. The way the Spirit produces His fruit within us is by “shining the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Continue reading God’s Glory

The Gospel Produces Fruit

Once a month, we meet in small groups and have been discussing the Fruit of the Spirit (See Galatians 5). Last night’s discussion revolved around patience.

I have no patience. I don’t know that I can pull myself up by my bootstraps and make myself be patient. It’s not in me. At best, I can possibly be tolerant; not patient.

But isn’t that the point of Galatians 5? I mean, the Fruit of the Spirit is, well, fruit. Fruit cannot grow except it grow on a tree. If we are truly connected to the Tree of Life (Jesus) by the Spirit in the Gospel, the natural outflow is the Fruit the Spirit produces.

Although, we cannot tell in English so much, the word fruit in Galatians 5:22 is singular. What this means, at least in part, is we will either show all of the Fruits of the Spirit in a strong way or all in a weak way. This also means if I am demonstrating a couple of the “fruits” I am most likely picking myself up by my bootstraps and trying to demonstrate them in my own strength; hence, I’m not demonstrating all of them.

This is why the Gospel is so vital. We need to reflect on Jesus, His birth, life, death, and resurrection, by all of which He fulfilled everything God required of us but couldn’t or didn’t want to fulfill. Jesus was patient, kind, full of peace, love, joy, and the rest.

Jesus was patient even until the cross. He was patient towards everyone. He was patient for us and in our place.

What Jesus did frees us to be patient. We can’t do it, but Jesus did and His finished work becomes the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives as we continually trust Him and the Good News that He is and has done.

Don’t fret. Trust Jesus. He’s done it all. You reap the fruit.

Gospel Pursuit of Purity – The Fight Against Lust and Porn

Sadly, many people (not just men any more) have become enslaved to their lust.  The fact that many articles and books are being written about the issue is testament to this sad reality. Many lives and families have been destroyed because of this stranglehold of sin.

Here are some good resources for anyone who struggles in this area of lust and purity.

But the best advice I can provide you is to take the first step and talk to your Pastor.  He is there to help you.  It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.  It’s the hard things of life that truly make a difference.

Michael Spencer, aka Internet Monk (iMonk) wrote a Gospel-Centered article called The Man in the Shadow of Adultery.

Joshua Harris also has a few articles relating to love and lust taken from his book Sex is not the Problem (Lust is).

David Powlison from Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation has provided a free resource for pornography addiction – Breaking Pornography Addiction.

Mark Driscoll released a PDF book called Porn Again Christian.  You can download it here. Be warned, Mark takes no hostages as he addresses the topic.  It is a frank discussion.

Tim Challies wrote a book called Sexual Detox.  You can find out more here: http://www.cruciformpress.com/our-books/sexual-detox/

Closing the Window: Steps to Living Porn Free by Tim Chester

Eyes of Integrity: The Porn Pandemic and How It Affects You by Craig Gross

Captured by a better vision: Living porn-free by Tim Chester

You can read more here on escaping pornography.

If you know of other resources, please provide them.

There is Grace in God’s Hatred of People

Did you know, there are Scriptures which state that God hates the wicked? Not just their wicked thoughts and actions (which is true), but the wicked themselves (see Psalm 5:5, 11:5; Leviticus 20:23; Proverbs 6:16-19Hosea 9:15) and God’s wrath is, even now, being poured out upon sinners (who are without Christ) (Rom 1; Eph 2:3).

God hates sin. He hates it! But sin cannot be punished outside of the person responsible for it. Can you put sin in Hell?

Sin is rebellion. It is rebellion in the heart. Sin occurs inside the heart and mind of people. Therefore, God must punish the sinner. Why? Because He is both Holy and Just and the person who sins offends God. God’s Holy and Just character will not allow Him to ignore this offense.

God has not ignored our offense.

How? Two words: The Cross.

While we were yet sinners, Jesus died for us (Romans 5:6). There is no way we can appease God. That is why God became one of us (John 1:1,14; Hebrews 2:17), to take our place and become sin on our behalf (2 Corinthians 5:21).

It is the cross where God’s Love (1 John 4:8), Hatred for sin and the sinner, Wrath against sin and the sinner (Psalm 5:5, 11:5; Leviticus 20:23; Proverbs 6:16-19Hosea 9:15) meet.

“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).

This is good news! This is why Christians believe in Jesus. Jesus, the Righteous One, absorbed the full cup of God’s wrath so that we, the sinners, may receive grace.

And it is the cross that makes this possible.

Loving God and Loving Others

I just read a statement that simply irks me: “Love is a decision – decide to love today.”

Really? And we know this for sure?

What drives me nuts about statements such as this is they are commands. If love is simply a decision, then I can love anybody at any time. Right? Right?

But can I truly love on demand? You are certainly a better person than I if you can love on demand. I can’t do it.

And this is where the Gospel steps in. John tells us “We love because he [God] first loved us” (John 4:19). And John couples this great truth with “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannott love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

And this is good news. I can only love when I see that I am as unloving as they come, yet God in Christ first loved me! And this is my motivation to love others. When I see that God has loved me and demonstrated this great love for me in Jesus on the cross, I can love others because the Spirit of love indwells me and loving others becomes a fruit of the Spirits Gospel-applying work in my life. (See Galatians 5).

And then I can love God and love others upon which all the commands hang.