Blog (Page 3)

Blog (Page 3)

Doctrines of Power

At Grace Community Bible Church, we believe the Canons of Dordt are an accurate summary of what the Bible teaches about key doctrines regarding salvation. Sometimes the Canons of Dordt are referred to as the “Doctrines of Grace.” But I have always wondered how my Arminian friends feel about this title. Is their system not “doctrines of grace”? It wasn’t until a recent study of the Canons of Dordt, I found that it might be better to refer to the…

Keep Hoisting the Sails

For many of us, right about now, we are stuck in a rut with our daily Bible reading. We started the year well, with great intentions and ambitions to read the Bible in a year. But somehow, Leviticus is boring us to death! So, with that said, I want to remind you that the means of grace God has orchestrated, like Bible reading, is like sailing. A sailor cannot control the wind one iota. All the sailor can do is…

Human Love Versus God’s Love

How is God’s love different than our love? There are at least four ways God’s love is different than human love. I’m borrowing these four ways from a sermon by William Cooper, author of many well-known hymns including “There is a Fountain.” God’s love is eternal; ours is not. It is hard to fathom in our finite minds, but, if you are a Christian, from before time began, God loved you. This means his choice of you is an effect…

Life Is Fragile

Three years ago on Easter Sunday 2017, I was so sick that I could not get out of bed. The day before I was in full health; on Easter Sunday morning, I was hardly able to move. I can only recall two other times in my entire life being so sick. More recently, due to a herniated disc, I have been on my back more in the last few weeks than I have ever been. Both sickness and injury have…

Why Is Prayer Hard?

Prayer is hard. Not technically hard, for a young child can pray. Prayer is practically hard. Why? Here are four reasons why: 1. We are self-sufficient. When Jesus teaches his disciples to pray: “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt 6:11), the disciples needed that day’s bread. They did not have weeks and weeks of food stored up in a refrigerator or pantry. It’s not only economic self-sufficiency that makes it hard to pray. It is spiritual self-sufficiency. We…

What Does Chalcedon Have To Do With Christmas?

Chalcedon is a city in Turkey that was the sight of the ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451. The Council of Chalcedon produced the Chalcedonian Definition which explains the incarnation of Christ. The Chalcedonian Definition says that Jesus Christ was one person in two natures—fully human and fully divine. This means that . . . At the moment of incarnation, Christ was fully man and fully God, being fully God from eternity. In the incarnation, Christ not only assumed flesh,…

What Is Christmas About?

What is Christmas about? Christmas is about the incarnation of the glory of God. Allow me to unpack this. What is the glory of God? The glory of God is the display of all that he is. Each of God’s attributes (e.g., holiness, goodness, justice, etc.) tell us what God is like; they tell us about who he is. The glory of God is the display of his attributes, of all that he is. To use an imperfect analogy, on…

Your Work Is Service to Christ

The Scripture teaches us that as we work, we are to work for God, doing the best at what he has called us to do (Colossians 3:23). If we can do our work—whether outside the home or inside the home, paid or unpaid—“as for the Lord,” then it follows that our work is in some sense service to God. And this is exactly what the Bible teaches: “It is the Lord Christ whom your serve” in your work (Colossians 3:24).…

The One Principle that Will Save Your Marriage

One principle, if consistently followed, will save your marriage. The principle is easy to understand but hard to practice. The principle is this: See yourself as the problem not your spouse. I get this from Jesus’ wise instructions in Matthew 7:3-5: “Why do you look at the s peck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck…

Should We Use the Term “Born Again?”

Many people use the term “born again.” The term is heavily utilized both by evangelicals and the news. When Christians use the term “born again,” it is often shorthand for an evangelical Christian, as opposed to a Roman Catholic. However, many Christians use the term with little thought of their context and audience. Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus is illustrative and instructive for us. When Jesus meets Nicodemus, he says to him that “unless one is born again he cannot see…

Advice on Killing Sin

The definitive treatment on killing sin is a series of sermons John Owen preached on Romans 8:13 that eventually became Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers (1656). In the book, Owen has several pithy statements of advice on killing sin. “Be killing sin or it will be killing you” According to Romans 8:13, Christians are to actively kill sin in their lives. The reason is simple: sin is serious. If we do not kill sin, it will kill us!…

Are Your Prayers Powerful and Effective?

We hear about amazing answers to prayer in history and in our lifetime. These answers to prayer encourage us to pray with new resolve. But when we ourselves pray, nothing happens. It seems God is silent. Over time, we grow cynical about prayer until we are reminded again of a great answer to prayer, which fuels our prayers once again. And the cycle continues. Though answers to prayer are a great encouragement to pray, God has given us a “more…

When Desires Aren’t Fulfilled

What do you do when God implants a desire to do something or have something and that desire is not fulfilled? For example, God gives you the desire to serve him as a pastor or missionary or engineer or military officer, and the desire isn’t fulfilled? Or, God gives you the desire to be married or to have children, and the desire isn’t fulfilled? How do you process these disappointments, especially considering Psalm 145:19, which states: “He will fulfill the…

The Great Ejection: Praying for the Persecuted Church

In the United States of America, we have freedom of religion and worship. We often take these freedoms for granted and complain about government intervention in religious matters. Nevertheless, we have a measure of freedom. Compared to our brothers and sisters in persecuted countries, we have much to be thankful for. We also have much to be thankful for compared to our brothers and sisters in the persecuted past. On August 24, 1662, 357 years ago today, more than 2,000…

Should We Follow Our Heart?

There is a modern-day way of life that says: “Follow your heart.” According to this philosophy, the way to happiness and freedom is to follow what your heart tells you to do. In a nutshell: if it feels good, do it. The problem is that this concept is fundamentally flawed for two important reasons. First, the philosophy of “follow your heart” is inherently inconsistent. No loving person would let a five-year-old eat an entire 64-ounce bag of tootsie rolls in…

Why Is God Enough?

In a recent sermon, I made the case that no matter what we experience in this world (good or bad), being in a close relationship with God through Jesus Christ brings lasting satisfaction and goodness, for God is good and enough. Of course, the key part of this sentence is the foundation upon which it is built: God is good and He is enough. God’s benevolence and sufficiency brings lasting satisfaction and goodness. But why? Puritan, Thomas Watson, helped me…

Encouragement During Temptation

We all need encouragement, especially when temptation to sin is weighing heavily upon us. Thankfully, the Scripture gives us two encouragements to help us fight temptation: Temptation is common to man. In temptation, God is faithful. If you’re familiar with Scripture, you will recognize that these two encouragements come from 1 Cor 10:13: “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able,…

The Reformation of Marriage

In the grand scheme of things, we view the institution of marriage as a normal part of society. But this wasn’t always the case – especially if you were a monk. The fact is that in the sixteenth century, if you were a religious worker (e.g., pastor, monk, nun), you didn’t marry. Given that marriage was not proper for religious workers, when Martin Luther (a monk) married Katharina von Bora (a nun), he was ferociously ridiculed. In fact, Luther’s opponents…

Hope for the Darkness of Depression

Of all the words to describe depression, one word stands out: darkness. If you have ever felt depressed, your world is dark. Darkness permeates every aspect of your life. Everything is dark. One author calls depression a “stubborn darkness.” The Psalmist, in a time of depression, said: “Darkness is my closest friend” (Ps 88:18). Turning to another Psalm, we encounter a man in deep darkness. He laments, “Why are you in despair, Oh my soul? Why are you distressed within…