I REALLY CAN CHANGE

January 16, 2018

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of spiritual growth? Some picture a solitary individual meditating or praying. While that concept accurately portrays one aspect of Christian spirituality, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

The issue of spiritual transformation is not new in the Christian faith. It has been a primary issue, though perhaps given different labels, throughout church history. From the time the Spirit of God descended upon the believers in Jerusalem, God has been transforming the souls of individual believers in the context of local Christian communities.

Preaching has never been and never will be the only element needed for the transformation of Christians into Christ’s image. Nor are small-group Bible studies, personal Bible study, Sunday school classes, or even one-on one discipleship sufficient for growing Christians when they focus solely on communicating biblical information. Transformation of the believer’s inner and outer life must take place as well transformation of the intellect.  “As a man thinketh.”

What do you think about the most each day?

That is the true measure of where you are in your Christian growth.

So think on that.

Let’s begin with some basic concepts of what brings change in our lives.

There is the fellowship model which focuses on corporate prayer for one another, growth of interpersonal intimacy, and support for each other in times of need. This approach effectively connects believers within a church body.

Spiritual disciplines include communal elements (worship, service, and fellowship). Folks need a venue of private, public and personal development.

Dealing with those internal obstacles (habitual sins, addictions, temperament issues, traumas, abuse) that prevent spiritual growth. Dealing with the issues is a key component in spiritual transformation, often done through spiritual counseling.

The fellowship model can fail to guide believers toward growth. The spiritual disciplines model can neglect to emphasize authentic and intimate Christian community, which is necessary for growth. The counseling model can fail to value the role that spiritual disciplines can have in growth. It also risks focusing on deficiencies so much that the person never benefits from the resources of God’s grace. It can focus too intently upon the person’s sin and failure and not enough on God’s enabling power toward growth in holiness.

Authentic community in which people come to trust each other. Though one-on-one relationships can be effective, we believe that multiple relationships are more effective. While one individual can spur another toward growth, that one individual has limited gifts and abilities. Also, though we value the spiritual disciplines, we see them as means toward the end of complete transformation of the believer’s inner and outer life. Disciplines aren’t ends in themselves. Finally, we think believers need to seek greater understanding of sin’s dynamic in their lives. They need to see potential blind spots or obstacles to their spiritual well-being and learn to deal with the root issues beneath their areas of struggle.

Next up; how to make real growth and changes in our lives.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

funny face

January 14, 2018

I have a good friend who because of a couple strokes he can’t smile. He’s a preacher. Now if you are wondering what one has to do with the other, here we go.

Because he looks so serious his congregation has developed into a serious crowd as well and a little legalistic. All this from not smiling. (possible?)

Then there’s Jerry, another preacher that is always laughing, playing practical jokes and his congregation is pretty much like him.

The non-funny thing is the serious preacher has a more mature congregation both in age and in the Lord. Jerry’s congregation is younger (he’s 75) and less mature in the Lord.

What ‘s my point, the goal of every preacher is to give a congregation a conscious in tune with the Love of God. They should have godly thinking that leads to a right heart. Can you be serious, sure, can you be funny sure. But in either case you must be thorough, all the Word of God, all the principles.

What come first, heart or mind. I’m going to say the best balance is the mind, then the heart will follow. A mind set on God makes a heart following God.

So a preacher that concentrates on emotions and feelings will have a congregation without maturity and principles. Their Christian walk will be a whirlwind of emotions, a roller coaster walk.

The sound biblical expositor will have a mature congregation and more sure of everything. The church will gravitate towards sound thinking and there will be less church problems. If the pastor is firm.

Aye, and there’s the rub, (been a while since I said that). To many Christian’s today want a socially acceptable church that doesn’t invade their privacy.

I’m going to stop right there and let you ponder that for a while.

God bless and peace in your life. From scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

SLOW AND STEADY

January 12, 2018

Slow and steady

  “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; fret not thyself” (Ps. 37:7).

  Our Father moves on the basis of His finished work, therefore hurry is not a factor with Him nor should it be with us. We are to ‘walk in the Spirit,’ and the blessed Holy Spirit will see to it that we obtain all that our Father has for us, step by step. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delighteth in His way” (Ps. 37:23). Don’t be discouraged—Enoch walked with God for three hundred years before he was translated!

We cannot become spiritual all at once; we must be content to begin as babes. Spiritual maturity and strength do not come by effort but by growth; and growth is the result of being nourished by proper food. But if we do not grow by effort it is important to remember that we do not grow without exercise.

  “God begins by giving our hearts a sense of the blessedness of the grace in which He has called us, that we may be awakened and enhungered to pursue the knowledge of all this with purpose of heart and prayerful study.

 Whatever we do accurately must take time and collectedness of mind, and there is no accuracy in all the world like keeping company with God, and yet nothing so free from bondage or tediousness. By going slow with the Lord we accomplish more than by going with a rush, because what we do is done so much better and does not have to be undone. It is done in a better spirit, with deeper motives, and bears fruit far out in the future, when all mushroom performances have been dissipated forever.

  “Delight thyself also in the Lord, and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (Ps. 37:4).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Men of God (part 2)

January 5, 2018

Godly Men (part 2)

Paul exhorts 1 Timothy 6:11 to “flee these things.” The verb “flee” conveys the sense of running continually to escape a dangerous enemy. “These things” refers to what Paul has just been talking about in verses 9 and 10: the evils attached to the love of money. These evils include “foolish and harmful lusts” and even the danger of straying “from the faith in. . . greediness.” Greed is the sin of false teachers who pretend to speak for God, but whose true goal is personal gain.

Other things a man of God must flee from include sexual sin (1 Cor. 6:18), idolatry_ (1 Cor. 10:14), and youthful lusts (2 Tim. 2:22). From anything which might distract his heart from God or detract from his ministry, the man of God must flee.

It’s not enough to just rebuke it or claim it. I saw a bible advertised online that is just for Pentecostals or the Joel Osteen ilk, that was supposedly filled with one sentence sayings that were spiritual defenses against dark forces. I mean that sounds more like an ad for Dungeons and Dragons than a bible.

But of course in this 1 minute world, what else could you expect.

Of course these are probably the same people that claim the devil made them do it or my personal favorite I hear all the time; “I just couldn’t help myself.” Really, what are you a zombie?

Ok, I’m done ranting, you see a temptation, flee, literally get away from it.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Anne, she went off her medication and is living in panic attack city.

Seriously if you were prescribed a medication, don’t quit taking it unless you talk to your doctor. Or the side affects are worse than the illness, but still talk to your doctor.

BABLE

December 22, 2017

Babylon, Babbel, Nutz,

In Dr. James Kennedy’s book; ‘Evangelism Explosion’ he wrote one thing that is often overlooked in talking to people about Christ, especially people in cults,(although now days I would apply this rule to everyone you talk to since we are so multicultural and pluralistic these days).

The rule was this; you have to agree what words mean. For example you just can’t start out a conversation and ask someone “is Jesus Lord of your life” and expect an answer that is mutually understandable to both parties. An agreement has to be reached that each word in that statement has the same meaning to each party.

This also important as we talk to other believers; we need to ask them what their theology allows them to believe, so we know that we are really talking about the same thing or even if both parties know what the other party is talking about.

Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about; my Bachelor of Science was in New Testament languages and theology (double major) from a Reformed Theological viewpoint, my masters was in theology was from a Brethren seminary, my M.Div., was in counseling psychology were I went for clinical work at a very Freudian institute but also continued at the Brethren seminary; my doctorate was in the Psychology of Counseling from an Evangelical college that was mostly Dutch Reformed.

But the whole time I am a preacher in a Pentecostal Church or working with Oral Roberts.

Sorry to make you wade through all that; the point is that I realize I speak in Pentecostalese. (that one does not make it through spell check).

So here’s the reason for this devotion, twice now for devotions we’ve talked about ‘secret sins’ and twice now in Christian dialogue with born again believers that have never had any association with Pentecost, they have never heard the term used before, and like the devotion pointed out they knew that there could not be such a thing as secret sin, as God knows all.

So I had to explain to both these mature in the Lord, brothers and sisters that the Pentecostal movement is filled with very poor theological constructs that are used to often make the church toxic, controlling and yes even cult like. Add to that Arminian Theology (you can lose your salvation).

And that is one of the things that I have fought against in trying to make the movement more scripturally based and less experientially based. (good luck with that, it’s not always gladly accepted, as feel good often out sells knowledge and soundness of doctrine). And since that has spread to all these independent non Pentecostal churches, where Jesus is like a warm blanket fresh out of the dryer, or God has to do what you say faith speaking nonsense.

So in our conversation between believers (Christians of other denominations) let’s make sure we are using the right words and agree to what our words mean, in order to express ourselves or it will be the Tower of Babel between the brethren.

God bless

Drop us note at scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Denise H. newly married (3 months) and she isn’t sure it wasn’t just about the sex. (where’s the love).

Pray for Abbey, 38 years old and a snow boarding freak, fell and fractured her hip and no one saw her go down. She was praying out loud and

A cross country skier heard her and found her, and it turns out he’s an EMT. Praise God for that.

Ok,, bible quiz and bible give away. What country has killed and eaten more missionaries than any other country? \\

Weird questions right, you can choose a large print KJV or a compact NIV study bible. Just email the answer to scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

One of our goals here at this devotional sight is to help you form a theology or simply put together a plan to help you understand God and His design. So here are some basic ideas to help with understanding the sovereignty of God. And hopefully a common ground all Christians can believe in. So…..

  1. It is admitted that God reigns; that his providence extends to all events great and small, so that nothing does or can occur contrary to his will, or which He does not either effect by his own power, or permit to be done by other agents. This is a truth of natural religion as well as of revelation. It is (practically) universally recognized. The prayers and thanksgivings which men by a law of their nature address to God, assume that He controls all events. War, pestilence, and famine, are deprecated as manifestations of his displeasure. To Him all men turn for deliverance from these evils. Peace, health, and plenty, are universally recognized as his gifts. This truth lies at the foundation of all religion, and cannot be questioned by any Theist, much less by any Christian.

  1. No less clear and universally admitted is the principle that God can control the free acts of rational creatures without destroying either their liberty or their responsibility. Men universally pray for deliverance from the wrath of their enemies, that their enmity may be turned aside, or that the state of their minds may be changed. All Christians pray that God would change the hearts of men, give them repentance and faith, and so control their acts that his glory and the good of others may be promoted. This again is one of those simple, profound, and far-reaching truths, which men take for granted, and on which they act and cannot avoid acting, whatever may be the doubts of philosophers, or the speculative difficulties with which such truths are attended.

  1. All Christians admit that God has a plan or purpose in the government of the world. There is an end to be accomplished. It is inconceivable that an infinitely wise Being should create, sustain, and control the universe, without contemplating any end to be attained by this wonderful manifestation of his power and resources. The Bible, therefore, teaches us that God works all things after the counsel of his own will. And this truth is incorporated in all the systems of faith adopted among Christians, and is assumed in all religious worship and experience.

  1. It is a necessary corollary from the foregoing principles that the facts of history are the interpretation of the eternal purposes of God. Whatever actually occurs entered into his purpose. We can, therefore, learn the design or intention of God from the evolution or development of his plan in the history of the world, and of every individual man. Whatever occurs, He for wise reasons permits to occur. He can prevent whatever He sees fit to prevent. If, therefore, sin occurs, it was God’s design that it should occur. If misery follows in the train of sin, such was God’s purpose. If some men only are saved, while others perish, such must have entered into the all comprehending purpose of God. It is not possible for any finite mind to comprehend the designs of God, or to see the reasons of his dispensations. But we cannot, on that account, deny that He governs all things, or that He rules according to the counsel of his own will.

I think this is a good starting point. As much as different theologies exist, believers have to have some common agreeable points to show some form of unity both to other believers and to the unsaved. This is especially true when sharing our faith with someone that wants to point out that Christians can’t agree on anything.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Ann says thanks for the prayers, Quintan is much better.

Remember Calvin? Who almost put out his eye while on his tractor. Doctor says his eye is in perfect condition.

Thanks for all those that pray for our folks here, and remember prayer requests, questions or comments just send to our email address.

Tomorrow if I remember we will do another bible give away.

THE RABBIT TRAIL

December 17, 2017

The main idea behind the Hebrew concept of wisdom is “skill.” The men who were able to construct the tabernacle according to God’s plan as revealed to Moses are called “wise,” meaning skillful (Exod. 31:3, 6; 36:1-2). Just as a skilled carpenter can take a piece of rough wood and shape it according to a plan into a beautiful and useful piece of furniture, so the wise person is able to take the rough elements of life and shape them according to God’s plan into something beautiful and useful to Him. Spiritual wisdom requires learning about God and how He wants us to live so that our lives will not be ruined by sin, but rather will become a finely crafted product that will cause others to be attracted to the Maker, who displays His glory in us.

So where does that bring us today?

God wants us to have knowledge and wisdom and skill to discern and comprehend His plan for our lives, our brothers and sisters in Christ, (the body) and to understand the spiritual warfare we are in.

We need to understand the pluralism that has taken deep roots in our culture.

Diversity and Inclusion are the battle cry of those who seek to pull down every standard and symbol of Christianity. Our core concepts of decency and morality no longer matter.

How rampant and successful are they?

Imagine this you’ve sent your precious child (I’m not being facetious here) to Wheaton College, a Christian college and there a tenured well known professor makes this statement in class; “The God of the Bible and the god of the muslim faith are the same god.”

Thankfully the majority of students walked out, this time.

So even our sacred halls of Christian education have succumbed to pluralism.

Fourth most disturbing word I hear in Christian dialogue, Christian consumerism in the place of worship.

“Our worship of God needs to be defined by Christian consumerism, if not we will lose a generation of young believers.” WHAT THE HECK DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?

If the snowflake generation can’t have wifi during the service we are going to lose them. If that’s the case we’ve lost the battle already. Encouraging ‘selfies’ during the sermon posted on the church website to show enthusiasm. That’s not worship but disrespect to God and others in service.

Ok I have to quit before I have stroke.

REVERENCE, HOLINESS ARE WORDS I UNDERSTAND.

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

 

LET JESUS DO IT

November 26, 2017

  “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will!” (Eph. 1:11).

  It is easy to just “let someone else do it,” but it is so unrewarding. There is a Christ-honoring ministry of being and sharing awaiting each believer, and the secret is to let Christ do it!

  “Our Father has a different line of things for everyone, and each of us has been sent into this world for some special mission. It is not a question whether it is great or small; it may be only a flower to shed fragrance, though this is really the greatest of all.

  “There is no higher service than moral influence, ‘thy whole body . . . full of light’; and this, of all the highest moral order, is within the compass of all. ‘Christ shall be magnified in my body whether by life or by death’ (Phil. 1:20).

  “A mark of the true servant is that he is consciously nothing. John could speak of himself as only a ‘voice,’ and a greater than John was consciously ‘less than the least of all saints.’ The moment we think ourselves to be anything, we are out of the servant’s true position and spirit. There is a beautiful contrast between John’s account of himself, and the Lord’s description of him (John 1:22–27; Luke 7:26–28). The more worthy we are of the Lord’s commendation, the less do we think of ourselves.

  “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10).

I was listening to Ravi Zacharias finish a sermon today that was very different than his usual fare. Not a quote but the gist of what he said. “Can you preach a powerful sermon? No, but there is someone inside me that can.” Are you a humble man, No but there is someone inside me that can be.”

You get the idea, he was a lot more eloquent than the example I give, it was very moving.

He opened his sermon with this quote which I mentioned very recently but it is so powerful it bears repeating. “Alexander Pope is the author of this quote, regarding Jesus turning the water in to wine, ‘the conscious water when it saw it’s master, Jesus, it blushed.”

You need to really let that sink down into your soul.

And this same Jesus, what will happen when you see Jesus? What transformation will take place? And I assure you it will happen every time, and that is the reason we lose the desire to gaze upon him, because of the selfishness of our heart, we don’t always want to change.

Which is why I ask you to remember this great old classic gospel tune.

O soul are you weary and troubled?

No light in the darkness you see?

There’s light for a look at the Savior,

And life more abundant and free:

Turn you eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face;

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Let Jesus do it.

oh yes you are

November 25, 2017

Bring back solid biblical thinking, stop apple picking, you know where you get to ignore the bible truths you want and pick the ones you do. Making all kinds of excuses. It’s either all the bible or none at all.

I argue that one of the most important truths that needs to be re-emphasized in our day is the doctrine of the total depravity of the human heart. If we do not properly understand the Bible on this matter, we cannot fully understand the gospel for ourselves, let alone make it plain to others. Nor will we understand what the Bible teaches about sanctification (growth in holiness) if we are not clear on the evil that lurks within our hearts, even as regenerate people.

That doctrine could hardly be stated more emphatically than it is in Genesis 6:5: “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” We are not basically good, decent folks who will do what is right if we’re only given the chance. The very core of our being–”every intent of the thoughts of our hearts” is “only evil continually.” It’s not just that people have a mean streak or that we occasionally sin. God’s declaration is that “every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” In case we missed it or are inclined to apply it only to the Hitler’s of the world, God repeats the assessment after the flood with reference to the most godly man on earth, Noah, and his descendents, “the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (8:21).

Because the doctrine of total depravity is often misunderstood, I first will define it. Because it is often disbelieved, minimized, or attacked, I then will defend it biblically. Finally, because we live in a day that often despises doctrine as boring and impractical, I will apply it.

Total depravity defined:

  1. WHAT TOTAL DEPRAVITY IS NOT:

Total depravity does not mean that people are as wicked and sinful as they could be. Nor does it mean that people are incapable of doing good deeds. Even those who have never heard of Jesus Christ are able to love their children and even sacrifice their own lives for the sake of family, friends, or sometimes even for strangers. Many people who do not know Christ are honest, even when it costs them.

  1. WHAT TOTAL DEPRAVITY MEANS:

Total depravity refers to the nature of fallen persons, not to their deeds. The word “total” refers to the total person–that every aspect of the person–mind, will, emotions, body–is corrupted by sin; and to the total human race, that every person since Adam and Eve, except for Jesus Christ, has been born with a nature that is alienated from God and in rebellion against God. Also, depravity must be viewed in relation to God, not by comparing men with men. With reference to God, total depravity means that no one is able in and of himself to do anything to choose God, to seek God, to please God, to love God, to glorify God, or to merit His salvation. Left to himself, every person will seek the things of self and sin. We are as unable to seek God as a corpse can choose to get up and walk (Eph. 2:1-3). The Westminster Confession states it clearly. Speaking of Adam and Eve it says (VI:II, III, IV),

By this sin they fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and so became dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the parts and faculties of soul and body. They being the root of all mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed; and the same death in sin, and corrupted nature, conveyed to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation. From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.

So total depravity refers to the extent of the damage, not necessarily to the degree. To illustrate, if you put a drop of deadly bacteria in a glass of water, it contaminates the entire glass. You may add a spoonful of bacteria, which makes it more potent, but the little drop is enough to pollute it all. Adam’s transgression was imputed to his posterity, so that all are polluted by sin.

Adam was the representative of the human race, so that his sin was charged to all who followed. Some will protest, “That’s not fair!” But several things must be said. First, there is nothing unfair about the concept of representation. Our entire government is built on it. The decisions our elected officials make affect us. But you may still protest, “I didn’t vote for Adam to represent me.” But, God did! God determined that Adam’s choice would represent the human race. We have no reason to believe that we would have acted any differently had we been there ourselves. When our representative fell into sin, the human race was linked to him, so that all are born in sin. We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because by nature we are sinners. This is what total depravity means.

Total depravity defended:

We can only look at a few of the many verses in both the Old and New Testaments which defend this doctrine:

In Psalm 51:5, David laments, “I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” We are born in sin.

Jeremiah 17:9: “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” The word “sick” is used of an incurable wound; here, the meaning is metaphorical of sin that is beyond human hope of fixing. We’re terminal!

The doctrine is also inherent in Ezekiel 36:25-27, when the Lord promises, “I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from al your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit 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 you will be careful to observe My ordinances.” The sinner cannot follow God unless God performs a heart transplant and gives him His Spirit.

Jesus taught the depravity of our hearts in Mark 7:20-23: “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”

In John 8:34, Jesus taught that “everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin,” and that only He could set us free.

Paul, quoting from the Old Testament, spells it out forcefully in Romans 3:10-18 (citing only 10-13 here): “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one.”

In Romans 8:7-8, he emphasizes the inability of the sinner to follow God: “… the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

In 1 Corinthians 2:14 Paul states that the natural man not only does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, but cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. In 2 Corinthians 4:4 he explains that Satan, “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, …”

In Ephesians 2:1-3, he says that we were all dead in our trespasses and sins and that by nature we are children of wrath. In Ephesians 4:18, he states that unbelievers are “darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their hearts.”

While believers are freed from sin’s penalty and from sin’s power, so that we can now live to please God, our sin nature (or, “the flesh”) is not eradicated until we are with the Lord. Romans 7 clearly teaches this, as do many other verses, such as 1 John 1:8, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

If you compile all these and many other verses, we see that fallen man is incurably wounded; blind; ignorant and unable and unwilling to know; born in sin and with a nature oriented to sin; hard-hearted; enslaved to sin; polluted at the very core of his being; and, dead. The Westminster Confession (IX:III) sums it up: “Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation: so as, a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.”

In spite of the overwhelming biblical evidence of man’s total inability to do anything about his state of alienation from God, man’s proud flesh keeps inventing ways around this doctrine. Many deny it outright and insist that people are basically good at heart. Others deny it by insisting that fallen men have the “free will” to choose God, and thus be saved. But this gives man a part in God’s work of salvation and a ground for boasting, which contradicts many Scriptures:

John 1:13: “Who were born [spiritually] not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

Romans 9:16: “So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.”

Philippians 2:13: “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”

1 Corinthians 1:27-31, where three times Paul stresses that salvation rests on the fact that “God has chosen,” so “that no man should boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus…”

Those who argue in favor of so-called “free will” say that it is pointless, absurd, and a sham for God to command men to believe in Christ if they are not able by their own free will to believe. This objection was soundly refuted by Martin Luther in his diatribe against the Roman Catholic scholar, Erasmus, The Bondage of the Will [Revell], where he argues, rather, that by commanding us to do what no fallen sinner can do, God brings us to something we proud sinners deny, namely, the knowledge of our utter impotence, pride, and independence from God. In his words, “by thus breaking him down, and confounding him in his self-knowledge, he may make him ready for grace, and send him to Christ to be saved” (p. 162). Or, in the words of Augustine (1,000 years before Luther), “God bids us do what we cannot, that we may know what we ought to seek from him” (cited by Calvin, Institutes [II:V:7]).

Of course, before Augustine the Apostle Paul dealt with this same objection. In Romans 9, after arguing that man cannot choose God by his free will, but that salvation depends on God’s choosing men according to His sovereign mercy, he states (9:19), “You will say to me then, ‘Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?’” Note carefully Paul’s inspired answer, because it strikes at the very root of human depravity: “On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God?” (9:20). In other words, our very question shows the arrogance of our sinful hearts! If the righteous God chooses to damn the entire race of rebellious sinners, that is His just prerogative. If He chooses to save some who otherwise would helplessly perish in their sin, that is His right. But no one can boast by saying, “I chose God by my own free will.” Scripture is clear that if God had not rescued us by His sovereign grace, we all would have perished in our willful, proud rebellion against Him.

In the same vein, the Lord Jesus Christ stated (Matt. 11:25-27) that God had hidden spiritual truth from the “wise and intelligent,” and that no one knows God except “anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” Then He proceeded to command men to do what He just stated they cannot do: “Come unto Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”

Total depravity applied:

The doctrine of total depravity is at the very heart of the gospel, and thus the applications are many. But I must limit myself to four:

  1. THE DOCTRINE OF TOTAL DEPRAVITY SHOULD CAUSE ME TO DESPAIR COMPLETELY OF MYSELF, MY ABILITY, MY MERIT, AND MY WILL, AND TO CAST MYSELF COMPLETELY UPON CHRIST ALONE FOR SALVATION.

If my salvation depends upon my choosing Christ, it is most shaky, because I may decide to walk away from Christ and go my own way. But, if it depends upon Christ’s choice of me, wretched in my sin, with absolutely no merit of my own, then it is as certain as the promise of God who cannot lie. Scripture is abundantly clear, you can do nothing to save yourself from God’s rightful judgment. Only Christ can save, and He has promised to save all who trust in Him. If you say, “But I cannot even trust in Him,” you are right! Call out to Him for mercy and faith, with the man who said to Jesus, “I do believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). Or again, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” (Luke 18:13).

  1. THE DOCTRINE OF TOTAL DEPRAVITY HUMBLES MY PRIDE.

Ever since Eve thought that she could be like God, the human race has been infected with pride. Even many who profess Christ dislike this doctrine, because it removes every ground for boasting. Luther said it well (Bondage of the Will, p. 100, 101),

God has surely promised His grace to the humbled: that is, to those who mourn over and despair of themselves. But a man cannot be thoroughly humbled till he realizes that his salvation is utterly beyond his own powers, counsels, efforts, will and works, and depends absolutely on the will, counsel, pleasure and work of Another–God alone. As long as he is persuaded that he can make even the smallest contribution to his salvation, he remains self-confident and does not utterly despair of himself, and so is not humbled before God; but plans out for himself (or at least hopes and longs for) a position, an occasion, a work, which shall bring him final salvation. But he who is out of doubt that his destiny depends entirely on the will of God despairs entirely of himself, chooses nothing for himself, but waits for God to work in him; and such a man is very near to grace for his salvation.

So these truths are published for the sake of the elect, that they may be humbled and brought down to nothing, and so saved. The rest of men resist this humiliation; indeed, they condemn the teaching of self-despair; they want a little something left that they can do for themselves. Secretly they continue proud, and enemies of the grace of God.

  1. THE DOCTRINE OF TOTAL DEPRAVITY CAUSES ME TO FEAR TRUSTING IN MYSELF.

As I grow to know my own heart, and the sin that still indwells me, I realize that if I am to know victory over sin, I must not trust in myself at all, but only in the Savior who said, “Apart from Me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5). The Apostle Paul warned, “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). He affirmed from his own experience, “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10), because when he was aware of his own weakness, he relied totally upon God’s grace and power, not at all on himself.

  1. THE DOCTRINE OF TOTAL DEPRAVITY MOVES ME TO GREATER LOVE AND DEVOTION TO GOD FOR HIS AMAZING GRACE.

One of the problems of the weak gospel being preached today, the gospel that does not wound and totally disable the proud sinner from thinking that he has anything he can bring to God, is that those who profess faith in Christ have no idea of the awful pit from which He rescued them, and of that fact that He did it in spite of their sin, not because they were “worthy.” The truth is, even the best of us were worthy a million times over of spending eternity in the lake of fire! Forgiven little, such “Christians” love little!

The Baptist preacher, Charles Spurgeon, said, “Too many think lightly of sin, and therefore think lightly of the Saviour. He who has stood before his God, convicted and condemned, with the rope about his neck, is the man to weep for joy when he is pardoned, to hate the evil which has been forgiven him, and to live to the honour of the Redeemer by whose blood he has been cleansed.” (C. H. Spurgeon Autobiography [Banner of Truth], 1:54). When we see the utter depravity of our sinful hearts, and then realize the abundant grace and mercy of our Lord and Savior, we will be caught up in wonder, love, and praise to Him for His glorious, sovereign grace! I pray that God will impress on each of us the biblical doctrine of total depravity.

Thanks for wading through this long devotional post.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Lydia, she fell and broke her hip, she’s 88

Pray for Robert C, 32, and told he has prostate cancer (and yes that is the correct spelling).

Praise from Jorge, he just finished his 100th bible correspondence class, that’s every single class, Congrats.

YOU WIENER

November 22, 2017

rainy-sleepy-snoopy-peanuts

ok, this is not deep theology, or even deep psychology.

We all face mountains, obstacles, setbacks, hardships, you get my point.

When that happens I have a number of bible verses memorized that help.

But there is something else that helps even more, singing.

Now I have good voice, but that doesn’t matter it’s the songs. I have a ‘set’ of songs that carry me out of the slough of despondency, the pit of despair, the blues of life, I could wax on but let’s stop.

So here’s my list,

  1. GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU

  2. JOYFUL JOYFUL WE ADORE THEE

  3. ZIPPY DO DAA

  4. AND ‘I WISH I WAS AN OSCAR MEYER WIENER’.

SERIOUSLY, SOMETIMES IT TAKES ALL OF THEM, BUT THAT’S THE USUAL ORDER.

  1. S. Bach said, “All music should have no other end and aim than the glory of God and the soul’s refreshment; where this is not remembered there is no real music but only a devilish hubbub.” He headed his compositions: “J. J.” “Jesus Juva” which means “Jesus help me.” He ended them “S.D.G.” “Soli Dei gloria” which means “To God alone the glory.”

 Martin Luther said, “The devil takes flight at the sound of music, just as he does at the words of theology, and for this reason the prophets always combined theology and music, the teaching of truth and the chanting of Psalms and hymns.” “After theology, I give the highest place and greatest honor to music.”

So there you have it, pack up all your troubles, a great world war one song that everybody was singing was;

Pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag,

And smile, smile, smile,

Smile, boys, that’s the style.

What’s the use of worrying?

It never was worth while, so

Pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag,

And smile, smile, smile.

Smile, smile, smile, sing, sing, sing.

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com