Mar 27, 2014

R.C. Sproul, Jr.

How Should We Understand the Promise Jesus Makes in John 14:14, “If You Ask Anything in My Name I Will Do It?”

                 Mar 22, 2014 
"My book, Believing God, was written with a single goal in mind, to help believers enter more fully into the promises of God. Even we who affirm that God’s Word is always true still struggle to believe that if we ask for wisdom He will give it to us (James 1:5), that children are a blessing from the Lord (Psalm 127), that we will be like Him for we shall see Him as He is (I John 3:4). Having pushed for greater faith, greater confidence, what ought I to say about this promise, that honestly on its face looks to over-promise?

We have a number of caveats that at least seek to place limits on what Jesus must have meant. We affirm, for instance, that, “In My name” at least excludes our more crass requests. Janis Joplin was not standing on solid exegetical grounds when she prayed, “Lord won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz.”

But what about when we are asking for things we know God would approve of? In my home I and the children pray nightly that God would be pleased to help us to grow in grace and wisdom. What we are seeking is that we would be made fully into the image of Christ, that our sanctification would be complete. That sounds like a good thing to ask in Jesus name. Second, every night we pray that God would be pleased to magnify His name by rising up and protecting all the unborn in Orlando, Florida, these United States, and around the world. How could that not be a prayer in His name? And yet, thus far our prayers have not been answered.

The reason the prayers haven’t been answered is not too complex. God has determined to glorify His name in the battles, in my pursuit of godliness, in my repentance for my failure. He has determined to glorify His name in the battle over the little babies. He certainly could end all of history whenever He wishes, making all things right. But such is clearly not His will.

The more difficult question then, given His will is not to complete history now, is what did Jesus mean when He said that what we ask in His name He would grant. My answer is this- He will so grant. My hearts desire is that I would be like Him. And He is busy making that happen. My hearts desire is that all the babies would be safe in their mothers’ wombs. And He is busy making that happen. A day will come when both of these desires will come to pass, and Jesus is moving history forward to that day.

These two principles come together when we remember the fullness of what it means to pray in Christ’s name—it is to seek, ultimately, the one thing He is seeking, the glory of God. My sanctification, even the rescue of the unborn, these are proximate goals, subservient to the greatest goal, that God would be glorified. Which is why, in the end, every time we pray in His name we pray with His humble submission—Nevertheless not My will but Thine be done."

R.C. Sproul


Mar 16, 2014

The Lord's Day, March 16, 2014

Dances With Wolves

"Any literal shepherd tasked with feeding and leading a flock of lambs would be thought deranged if he regarded wolves as potential pets to be domesticated and amalgamated into the fold. Suppose he actively sought and tried to befriend young wolves, presuming he could teach them to mingle with his sheep—insisting against all wise counsel that his experiment might succeed, and if it does, that the wolves will acquire the sheep’s gentleness and the sheep will learn beneficial things from the wolves. Such a shepherd would be worse than useless; he himself would pose an extreme danger to the flock.
Nearly as bad would be a shepherd whose vision is myopic. He has never seen a wolf clearly with his own eyes. He therefore believes the threat of wolves is grossly exaggerated. Even though his sheep keep disappearing or getting torn to shreds by something, he refuses to believe that wolves are the ones harming his flock. He declares he is tired of hearing shrill wolf warnings from others. Finally concluding that people’s “negativity” toward wolves poses a greater danger to his flock than the wolves themselves, he takes out his reed and plays a gentle tune to lull the lambs to sleep.
Then, of course, there is the “hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep” (John 10:12). He “sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep” (John 10:12–13, NKJV).

Self-seeking hirelings, myopic shepherds, and wannabe wolf tamers are all too prevalent in the church today. So are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Frankly, some of the postmodern lamb’s-wool costumes aren’t even the least bit convincing. But some pastors seem to have no hesitancy about unleashing these eager, disguised wolves among their flocks. Many are like the near sighted shepherd in my parable—convinced that warnings about the threat of wolves are potentially more dangerous than actual wolves.

That attitude exposes a cavalier disregard for the repeated warnings of Christ (Matthew 7:15-20) and His apostles (Acts 20:29-31; 2 Timothy 3:1-9; 2 Peter 2:1-3:7; 1 John 2:18-19; 4:1-3). By ignoring Jude’s exhortation to “contend earnestly for the faith” (Jude 3), many negligent shepherds have opened wide the door of the church to the dangerous influence of false teachers.

In fact Jude’s entire letter is devoted to warning his readers about the presence of apostate false teachers and the severe spiritual danger they represent. He wanted his readers to stand strong against the spiritual deceptions that threatened to wreak havoc in their fellowship. And he also wanted all who propagated such errors in the church to be exposed and expelled.

Like any true shepherd, Jude had a deep love for his readers—meaning that he was dedicated to their spiritual well-being. His appeal stressed the need to defend the truth continually and vigorously.
“The faith” Jude urges his readers to defend is not some nebulous body of religious doctrines. Rather, it constitutes the Christian faith, the faith of the gospel, God’s objective truth—basically everything that relates to “our common salvation” (Jude 3). It is what Luke wrote about in Acts 2:42, noting that the early believers “were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching” (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). In the same way, Paul admonished Timothy to protect the faith.
Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you. (2 Timothy 1:13-14)
In life and in ministry, God’s truth is paramount (cf. Psalm 25:10; 119:160; John 8:32; 2 Corinthians 13:8; 2 Timothy 2:15). To manipulate and distort that truth, or to mix it with error, is to invite God’s eternal wrath. That’s why Paul told the Galatians, “If any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” (Galatians 1:9). And the apostle John told his readers:
Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds. (2 John 9-11)
Far from engaging or accommodating false teachers, the clear duty of every church leader is to guard the truth from the deadly, corrupting influence of heretics, liars, and charlatans. A godly shepherd faithfully protects the sheep; he doesn’t dance with the wolves."

(Adapted from The Jesus You Can’t Ignore and The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: 2 Peter & Jude.)

Mar 5, 2014

Amazing Grace Women's Breakfast

Amazing Grace Woman's Breakfast
Saturday, March 15 at 9:30 AM
Please note the time change!
It will be held at Little Daddy's on Eureka
22250 Eureka Rd, Taylor, MI 48180
(Next to Southland Mall)
You're all invited! Bring a friend!

Time Change! - March 9, 2014

Don't forget to move your clocks forward one hour this week-end!