Posts by gcbcmn (Page 6)

Posts by gcbcmn (Page 6)

What Is Forgiveness?

Because we live in a fallen world, sinning against others and being sinned against, we are in constant need of forgiveness. Yet, we often misunderstand what forgiveness truly is. We think that forgiveness is a feeling, so we don’t forgive because we don’t “feel” very forgiving. We think that forgiveness involves excusing someone’s sin, so we say things like, “What you did wasn’t that bad; I’ve done it before, too”. We think that forgiveness means forgetting, so we don’t forgive…

Three Common Misconceptions about Forgiveness

Because we are sinners, both sinning and being sinned against, we cannot live life without forgiveness. Forgiveness is part and parcel of life. Yet as much as forgiveness should be a part of everyday life, forgiveness often seems nebulous. We often misunderstand what forgiveness truly is. We have three common misconceptions about forgiveness. 1. Forgiveness is a feeling We often confuse forgiveness with feelings. “I don’t feel very forgiving.” Have you ever felt like you didn’t want to forgive someone…

Am I Growing in My Christian Faith?

A common question people ponder is how they know if they are growing in their Christian faith? Sometimes this question arises in those that are struggling with whether or not they are true believers. In Colossians 1:9-14, Paul gives a model for spiritual growth. He tells us what spiritual growth looks like, thereby showing us how we know if we are growing in our Christian faith. Paul prays for a filling of the knowledge of God “so that you will…

Why is the Virgin Conception Important?

All day today, the miracle of the virgin conception and subsequent virgin birth of our Lord Jesus Christ has been on our minds. But why is the virgin conception and subsequent birth so important? The virgin conception/birth is important because it allows for the full humanity and full deity of Jesus Christ. I am not saying that Christ had to be conceived by a virgin. God could have chosen another method for his Son to come to the earth. For…

Why the Five Solas of the Reformation Still Matter

Today we celebrate Reformation Day.  This year marks the 500th anniversary. One reason we celebrate the Reformation is because the Reformation heralded “five solas:” sola scriptura (Scripture alone), sola gratia (grace alone), sola fide (faith alone), solus Christus (Christ alone), soli Deo Gloria (glory to God alone). These Latin words sound cool, but why are they so important? Essentially, we celebrate the five solas of the Reformation because each sola sums up one of the main doctrines involved in the…

Why Participate in the Lord’s Supper?

This coming Sunday we will participate together in the Lord’s Supper.  This is no small privilege.  Christians of previous generations employed much ink and spilled much blood over this ordinance. However, to a world not familiar with Christianity—a Muslim from Iran or Hindu from India—the Lord’s Supper seems strange.  It does.  Always has.  After all, in the first century, Christians were accused of cannibalism because they said they consumed the body and blood of Christ. In light, then, of this…

Grace Group Is Dynamic, Not Static

Several years ago I learned a valuable lesson about small group ministry (Grace Groups).  I learned that Grace Groups are dynamic not static.  Here is what I mean. Every small group meeting I attended, I learned that at least one person present was hurting.  Always, at least one person in the group shared in some way how they were in a difficult marriage, experiencing a physical set back, or battling a besetting sin to name a few struggles.  And so…

The Anti-Prayer of Grumbling

Paul commands the Philippian church in chapter 2:14, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing.” Stated positively this is doing all things with an attitude of thanksgiving and gratitude. Paul lived this out. In fact, the first thing out of Paul’s mouth beginning his Philippian letter is a prayer of thanksgiving. The Holy Spirit prompts Paul to gush with gratitude and gratefulness to God even while he is put away in prison! He writes in 1:3, “I thank my God…

How Do You Handle Your Past?

Everyone has regrets. You regret sinful choices and stupid choices. Choices as small as hitting the snooze, and choices as large as the person you married, the career you chose, and the house you purchased. How are you to handle and think about those past decisions? You are to forget the past and remember the past. Paul tells us in Phil 3:13 that we are to “forget what lies behind and reach forward to what lies ahead.” The word “forgetting,”…

Love Leads to Submission

A marriage works as God intended when a husband loves and a wife submits. Now before you stop reading this post, I want you to know that I recognize the word “loves” and the word “submits” require much defining and unpacking. Unfortunately, it would require several articles to fully develop what these words mean. And unpacking these words in detail is not the point of this article. The point is that one reason why your wife might not submit to…

How Can I Grow In Faith?

We tend to read the Bible primarily individualistically.  Here is an example of what I mean. Paul writes in Rom 10:17: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”  By default, we are apt to read this passage and think: faith comes when I read the word of God.  Or, more generally: faith comes through the Bible. The problem with thinking this is that Paul says something much more specific: faith comes by hearing preaching.  How do I know?  The…

Living by Grace in the Here and Now

Many parents often talk about the challenges of the “terrible 2’s.” Angry and inconsolable children who can only be left to cry in their cribs are definite examples of why it seems at times that you may be going crazy! For parents in that time of life, it may seem that these behaviors of their child aren’t normal or perhaps think that they are doing something wrong because otherwise this behavior wouldn’t be happening. Why do we tend to think…

Why Preach a Crucified Christ?

As we observe Good Friday, a good question to ask is why we preach and listen to sermons about a crucified Christ? For starters, we preach Christ crucified because this was the Apostle Paul’s model (1 Cor 1:23).  But why did Paul preach a crucified Christ? Surely Paul does not preach a crucified Christ solely because Christ was crucified.  Christ was crucified.  But why not preach a resurrected Christ?  The resurrection is absolutely essential for the gospel just as much as the crucifixion. Thankfully, we don’t have to speculate.  Paul tells us why he…

The Debt of the Image-Bearer

Remember the passage where the rulers try to trap Jesus by asking Him whether you should pay taxes to Caesar or not (Mark 12:13-17)? The well-known passage is a great example of the profound wisdom displayed by Wisdom Himself. He prompts us, “Have you thought about the debt of the image-bearer?” Jesus asks the Pharisees and the Herodians whose image was stamped on the coin. To the response of “Caesar,” Jesus posits that whatever has the image stamped on it…

Why Did Christ Have to Die on a Cross?

I am not asking why Christ had to die.  I am asking why he had to die on a cross.  To ask the question another way: could Christ have atoned for our sins through stoning or hanging or some other means of execution? The answer is that an execution of any other means would give us no assurance that Christ has taken our curse for us.  Allow me to explain. The law brings a curse, because cursed is anyone who…

Fighting Bitterness

Hebrews 12:15 “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble…” Chris Brauns has written a helpful book on forgiveness: Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical Answers for Complex Questions and Deep Wounds. In the book, he deals with bitterness and how it can consume you when you’ve been hurt deeply. Hear his wise counsel on fighting bitterness: “If you feel yourself wrestling with bitterness, then focus more intently on…

I Got Saved Every Sunday

More than once I have heard a conversion story that basically stated, “I got saved every Sunday.” We sometimes dismiss this kind of story as stemming from bad theology or manipulative practices.  And while that may be true, in dismissing it, we swing to the other extreme, which is, “I am already a Christian; this sermon doesn’t apply to me.” But let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water.  In reality there is truth to “I got saved…

Killing Sin

Do you feel like you just aren’t gaining ground? Do you feel stuck on the merry-go-round of failure? Christ, the Holy Spirit, and His Word are what we need most to gain victory in killing sin habits in our lives. And like our recent post on Pride, there is a plethora of helpful authors who speak on killing sin in our lives (mortification). We’d like to give you a sampling quotes from these sources, compiled by our friend, Dr Stuart…

Powerful Proclamations on Pride

In light of a CE Hour lesson given on pride, we think it would be beneficial to reflect on these quotes from (mostly) people of the past. “I am more afraid of pope ‘self’ than of the pope in Rome and all his cardinals.” – Martin Luther  “Pride seeks to un-god God.” – Thomas Watson “[Pride is] so undiscerned by the most, that it is commonly cherished while it is commonly spoke against.” – Richard Baxter “Pride takes many forms…

Is Prayer Caught or Taught?

The answer is, “Yes!” However, I think prayer is more caught than taught. Here’s why. When the disciples ask Jesus to teach them to pray, do you remember what Jesus does? He doesn’t lecture for forty five minutes. He doesn’t require them to read a book and write a book report. Jesus teaches them how to pray by giving them a model prayer (Luke 11:1-4). Granted, Jesus did not pray the “Lord’s Prayer,” because Jesus could not have prayed “forgive…