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Archive for August, 2007

9 Marks is tracking an ongoing on-line converstation regarding issues of race and ethnicity. I would encourage you to follow along here.

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Aug
28

On Race, Ethnicity and the Gospel

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9 Marks has just put up their 9Marks eJournal for September/October 2007. In light of the fact that we at High Pointe will be dealing with the issue of partiality from James 2:1-13, this coming Sunday, I would encourage everyone to read through it. I hope it provides a better context for our teaching and preaching this Sunday.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Juan
Acts 20:24

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Aug
27

Monday's Reflections on Sunday

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Sunday Morning – James 1:19-27
For many people the idea of obedience amounts to legalism. Not so for James. As a matter of fact James is able to put the words “law” and “liberty” together in calling the law as defined by Christ, the law of liberty (also the perfect law and the royal law).

However, we must be careful to understand the obedience which James demands – an obedience of faith, genuine faith! For James, true Christianity is marked by an obedience of faith in Christ and His Word which flows from a new heart and expresses itself in love. In other words, those who have truly been born again by the word of truth (James 1:18) will not only hear the word but also be doers of the word (James 1:22). By this we can test our faith. Does our faith produce the fruit of works of righteousness which glorify God in Christ?

James forces us to ask the following difficult questions:
1. How can you say you’re a Christian when you don’t love God’s word: i.e., you refuse to hear it (1:19-21)?

2. How can you say you’re a Christian when you can’t control what you say about people who are created in the image of God (1:19-20, 26; 3:8-9)?

3. How can you say you’re a Christian when you refuse to obey God’s word (1:22)?

4. How can you say you’re a Christian when you love sin (1:21, 26)?

5. How can you say you’re a Christian when you don’t have compassion for those in affliction (1:27).

Sunday Evening – Route 66: Proverbs
On Sunday evening we were able to get a glimpse of the purpose of proverbs – to get wisdom (and pass it on). In our study of James we have defined wisdom as follows: Wisdom is a divine grace that “involves biblical insight into God’s purposes and ways” (Moo), which provides the basis for a biblical outlook on life that leads to righteous living. In our study we learned (among other things):

1. We must seek wisdom (Proverbs 2:1-5; 4:5-7).

2. Wisdom is a gift from God (Proverbs 2:6-8; see also James 1:5).

3. The fruit of wisdom is righteous living (Proverbs 2:9-20).

4. The wise (those who obtain wisdom) will be blessed (Proverbs 2:21-22; 3:13-18).

5. The wise must pass on wisdom (Proverbs 1:2; 4:10-11).

This Coming Sunday – James 2:1-13
This coming Sunday we will begin chapter 2 of James. Having set out what true religion is in chapter 1, and having summarized true religion/Christianity in 1:26-27, James begins to expound on the nature of true religion/Christianity as a living faith (obedient faith) which flows from a new heart and expresses itself in love. In particular, we will see how true Christianity expresses itself in love for all who are created in the image and likeness of God, thereby ruling out discrimination of any kind.

Be sure to reflect on the following passages in preparation for Sunday:
1. Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 9:6

2. Exodus 20:12-17

3. Matthew 5:17-20; 5:21-26

4. Galatians 3:21-29

May each of you have a blessed week as you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ in all spiritual wisdom and discernment.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Juan
Acts 20:24

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Although I enjoy reading immensely, I don’t always have time to read everything that I want. Therefore, when Dr. Steve Wellum, one of my former professors, told me several years ago about the benefits of listening to audio recordings, a whole new world of learning was opened up to me. As a result, whenever I am alone in my car or mowing my grass or exercising, you will likely find that I am wearing a set of headphones and listening to a sermon or a lecture. Consequently, I am always on the lookout for free MP3 downloads. Justin Taylor has noted that Sovereign Grace is now providing some free audio. Check out the link at Justin’s site here. I hope you’ll find much that is helpful.

By the way, Desiring God already offers all their audio for free, so check them out as well.

May we all continue to pursue growing in grace with great vigor.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Juan
Acts 20:24

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Justin Taylor has provided a helpful overview of the baptism/membership/Lord’s Supper debate that has been taking place in the blogosphere over the last several weeks. For this helpful overview click here.

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Aug
20

Monday's Reflections on Sunday

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Sunday Morning – James 1:18-21
I have truly enjoyed studying the book of James, and it’s been a great privilege sharing with High Pointe the fruits of my study. This Sunday morning we reflected on James 1:18-21, in particular verse 18, on the doctrine of regeneration.

Though some people are frightened by the Bible’s declaration of God’s sovereign grace in salvation, I hope that we were able to see that a biblical understanding of God’s work of giving birth to us through the word of truth/gospel is glorious for a variety of reasons. Not only is it humbling to consider the fact that while we were dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1) and unable to respond to God (Romans 3:10-11) God caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3), it is also assuring to consider that this sovereign work of God’s amazing grace is the foundation for our eternal security (Romans 8:29-39).

Sunday Evening – Psalms
On Sunday night, we got a birds eye view of the psalms. I mentioned that I would provide a link to Sam Storms helpful information on understanding and interpreting the Psalms. You can find those links here: part 1, part 2.

This Coming Sunday – James 1:19-27
This coming Sunday, August 26, Lord willing, we will be looking to finish up chapter 1 of James. The basic idea we will consider is the fact that the faith by which we are justified is the very faith by which we are sanctified. In other words, we continue in the Christian life by hearing the word (1:19-21) and doing the word (1:22-27) by faith.

Consider the following questions:
1. What does it mean to continue living by faith in Christ?

2. What does it mean to “hear” the word?

3. What are some obstacles in my life to hearing the word of God?

4. Why is hearing the word not sufficient (see James 2:19)?

5. What does it mean to “do” the word?

6. Am I doing the word?

This Coming Sunday Evening – Proverbs
This coming Sunday evening we will take a birds eye view of the Proverbs. In preparation, read through some of the proverbs this week, paying particular attention to Proverbs 1.

May you have a wonderful and blessed week!

Grace and peace,

Pastor Juan
Acts 20:24

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Brandon Rawlings, one of our small group members, made me aware of the “virtual pastor.” Though this is a satirical piece, the issue couldnt be more serious.

See the story here: “Virtual Pastors Please Picky Congregations”

Now, read what the apostle Paul had to say about this:

2 Timothy 4:1-5 (ESV) 1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

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Aug
16

Baptism in Historical Context

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My friend Aaron Menikoff over at 9 Marks is reminding us that the Piper/Grudem discussion regarding baptism is not something that has just occured. By giving us some historical context, he points out how this discussion has been taking place for sometime now.

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Aug
16

Let Us Consider Baptism

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As Baptists, the doctrine of baptism is central to our identity. Lately, there has been much discussion about it, so I thought I would point us to several important conversations in order to consider baptism.

Wayne Grudem on baptism
(HT: Justin Taylor)

John Piper responds to Wayne Grudem.

Mark Dever joins the discussion.

Update: Bob Kauflin on baptism and worship.

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Aug
13

Monday's Reflections on Sunday

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It was wonderful to be back in the pulpit at High Pointe this Sunday. I greatly missed our church family. Thank you again, High Pointe, for the opportunity to get away with my family and spend some time meditating in the Scriptures. My time in the book of Hebrews was very beneficial as I pondered and prepared for our study of James 1:14-15.

As I mentioned on Sunday, we must take sin seriously and attack it, kill it or, as John Owen said, “it will be killing you.” I pray that God would allow us to endure temptation and overcome sin by His sanctifying grace and the fellowship and assembly of the High Pointe family. I would encourage us all to continue thinking about the mortification of sin by reading the new compilation of Owen’s treatises on sin and temptation. You may order it here.

Preparing for Next Sunday

As you prepare your hearts for next Sunday, I would urge you to read Romans 10:1-17. Our text will be James 1:18-21, and we will be dealing with God’s sovereignty in salvation and our response.

Questions for Reflection During the Week:

  • What or who is the source of our salvation?
  • What are some things (instruments) God uses to bring about salvation?
  • What is the primary instrument God uses to bring about salvation (see James 1:18)?
  • What is our role/responsibility in salvation?

Passages for Reflection During the Week:

  • John 1:12-13
  • John 3, 6
  • Romans 9:14-24
  • Romans 10:9-17
  • Ephesians 2:4-9

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