Archive for February, 2008
I wanted to share the view from where I will be reading this afternoon at Jeanine’s parents’ house. It’s a beautiful day (a little cool), and this afternoon I will be sitting on this deck to read. You can just see the Azaleas in bloom to the right-our God is an awesome and creative God. Praise be to God!
Grace and peace,
I’ve just finished my last dental appointment today! Jeanine’s dad did a great job!!! I’ve been able to eat after about a week of a liquid diet. Right now I’m at a Panera Bread in Gainesville, Florida sipping on a vanilla latte and taking advantage of their free wi-fi. Lord willing, I will be back in Austin by Friday afternoon.
I’ve had a very good week. It’s been nice to read and study and research in the quietness of Jeanine’s parent’s home. I only turned on the tv for a couple of hours at night to catch up on the news cycle.
I look forward to being back with my High Pointe family this Lord’s day!
Grace and peace,
So far in our study of Genesis titled, “Origins” we have noted that God Has no origin; He is eternal. However, the universe does have an origin; it originated, not by cosmic chance, but by the deliberate plan of God through His Word. Further, we saw that this cosmos is God’s temple (heaven is His throne and the earth is His footstool – Isaiah 66:1) and that God prepared this earth for the habitation of man: the crown of His creation (Psalm 8).
This wonderful picture becomes distorted by the deception of Satan and the sin of man in Genesis 3. In this most sad chapter of Scripture, Adam is forced to choose between the true, trustworthy and treasurable Word of God and the false, seductive and destructive word of Satan. Unfortunately, for us, Adam chose the latter.
God’s Word is precious and true, and those who treasure it and trust it will find ultimate joy (Genesis 2:15-25).
God provided absolutely everything for Adam. He planted a garden-sanctuary where He would meet with man and where man could find his sustenance. God also provided a companion-helper for the man in the woman. Thus, Adam had everything he could ever need or want. God did prohibit Adam from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but that was for Adam’s own good; God would be Adam’s source for all knowledge and wisdom, and Adam would have to trust God for it.
Satan’s word is seductive and false, for he is the father of lies and lying is his nature (Genesis 3:1).
Jesus said that Satan has been a liar from the beginning, for that is his nature (John 8:44). The Bible says that Satan is the “accuser of the brethren” (Zechariah 3:1-2; Revelation 12:10); he disguises himself as “an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:4); and “he prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Sin is the failure to treasure and trust God’s Word and instead, trusting and treasuring the promises of Satan and sin to satisfy and bring us joy (Genesis 3:1-7).
James reminds us that the source of our sin is frustrated, unmet, selfish desires (James 1:14-15; 4:1-3). This is precisely how Satan operates; he seeks to make happy people discontent with God’s provision. Adam and Eve were content; they had everything, but Satan deceived Eve into thinking that God was withholding something – that they were missing something.
This too is how Satan works on us: “If you only had a wife/husband like . . .”; “if you only had that persons’ job . . “; if you only had a husband/wife . . .” Satan seeks to breed discontent in our lives and tempts us with selfish, unmet, frustrated desires.
Contrary to Satan’s promises, however, sin only brings grief and the judgment of a holy God (Genesis 3:8-25).
Though Satan promised fulfillment, sin brought guilt and shame and fear (Genesis 3:8-10). Sin brought holy God’s judgment (3:14-25). This is also what we will find. That adulterous affair, the cheating on your taxes, embezzling from the company, whatever it may be, it does not bring the joy promised; instead it brings grief, fear, shame and ultimately judgment.
The Lord our God is gracious and merciful and promises to provide a way of escape from sin and judgment and death through Jesus Christ (Genesis 3:15).
Satan’s deception brought sin and death to all humanity (Romans 5:12-21); however, God promised that the seed of the woman would ultimately defeat the seed of the serpent and bring about victory for those who believe. This seed/offspring/child is none other than Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:16).
Sin can only be overcome through Christ, by faith in Christ’s life and work (see Hebrews 2).
So then, how do Christians fight sin on a daily basis?
We must treasure and trust God’s Word above any promises of the devil and any schemes and philosophies of man!
This means that we must:
1. Know God’s Word – we can not treasure and trust God’s Word if we do not know it. Therefore, I would urge each of us to plan on reading God’s Word on a regular basis. Bible reading plans abound, but you must discipline yourself to choose a plan and choose a place and choose a time.
2. Treasure God’s Word – We must not only read God’s Word; we must study it, meditate on it, memorize it. We must plead with God that His Word would be like honey to our lips.
3. Trust God’s Word – the fight we fight is a fight of faith (Ephesians 6:10-20). We must believe God’s Word over the promises of Satan and the schemes of man. This will bring us ultimate joy!
One helpful and important resource:
John Piper, When I Don’t Desire God
May God grant us victory over Satan and sin!
Grace and peace,
A few weeks ago I argued that the point of the cultural/creation mandate to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it (Genesis 1:28), was not simply about having a bunch of children.
Following G. K. Beale’s exegesis, in his The Temple and the Church’s Mission, I argued that Adam was to extend the boundaries of the garden-sanctuary over all the earth and fill this earth with “godly” offspring. We fulfill the mandate now through the lens of the Great Commission and subduing the earth with a Christian witness and worldview as we display God’s glory in all of life throughout all the earth.
One way we fulfill the mandate is by Christians having children and raising them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. The issue is not just having children, but having godly children by the grace of God. This means that Christians have to be careful to not fall for the worldly mindset that children are a burden to us and to our eco systems. Birth rates are declining throughout the world because of the mindset of the world. As Christians we have to war against this worldly mentality: putting off having children because _____________ (you fill in the blank).
As I mentioned, the heart attitude of Christians should be that children are a blessing from the Lord. That doesn’t mean you have to have twenty children; it means that whether you have one or a dozen, you should see them as a blessing. Further, children are not a novelty in that once you have a boy or a girl, your “set” is complete and you’ve done your job to fulfill the mandate. When our attitude is one of children as a blessing, we will be open minded to what the Lord does in our family planning.
This brings me to the question of the birth control pill. I mentioned a few weeks ago that some birth control pills may function as abortifacients. In other words, they may abort a human child that has already been conceived. Randy Alcorn has written a booklet on this subject and you can go to the link here. I have some physician friends that I hope to interview in the future about this subject. If you have any questions you would like me to ask them, please send them through the comments section on this blog.
Grace and peace,
I will be traveling to Florida this week, so I will blog when I can. I promised you last week that I would post some helpful materials to read with your children. I had posted on that previously, so you can look there.
I am taking this next week as a personal retreat where I will be doing some research and study. Please pray for my fruitfulness. Lord willing, I will be back in the pulpit this coming Lord’s Day.
Grace and peace,
This Sunday morning we will address the question of the origin of sin. As you prepare read Genesis 3, out loud in several translations. You may also find it helpful to read Romans chapter 5, from verse 18, until the end.
Ask yourself who is the serpent and how does the rest of Scripture identify him?
Ask yourself what led Adam and Eve to sin? How does this differ, how is it similar to how you are tempted to sin?
How must a holy God respond to sin? How did God respond to Adam and Eve?
Finally, who/what did Adam’s sin affect and to what extend did it affect himself/others/creation?
May God richly bless you as you meditate on His word and prepare your hearts for Lord’s day worship.
Grace and peace,
I promised you that I would post some helpful resources for parents this week. I apologize for taking so long. I was set back early in the week by a tooth infection. Nevertheless, I am finally feeling better so after some reflections, I will offer a list of resources on upcoming posts.
, by His death and resurrection, is redeeming all things (Colossians 1:20). This means that in reality there is no such separation as secular and religious, only sacred and profane. This means that all work and all vocation is to be done to the glory of God. This means that we are to be God’s image in a lost world, pointing to the truth of the Father of lights. This means that we cannot take our families and isolate ourselves in the woods in order to remove ourselves from society. This means that we are to go into all the world and be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth with godly offspring by proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ that all who hear may become children of God!
The 81 year old Fidel Castro has just announced his resignation as Cuba’s long-time president. In 2006, he passed his authority to his brother Raul, who is himself 76 years old. There is much speculation about what will happen next, but be assured that Fidel Castro is a very smart man and that this transition has been thought through very well. You can read a news account here.
A team from High Pointe was scheduled to go to Cuba next week; however, the immigration laws will change as of February 23, and our entire team will be required to obtain religious visas from the Cuban government to do work with the Cuban Christians. This is a new development and no doubt corresponds with the changes in leadership just announced. By requiring religious visas assigned by the government, they will be able to keep better track of us on the ground. We have made the necessary requests and hope to return to Cuba in June, if the Lord wills.
Please pray for the Cuban people that this change will actually be for their good and that it will open even more doors for the gospel.
Grace and peace,
As we continue our study of origins in Genesis 1-11, we will look at the origins of godly offspring. God commanded Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. Is this mandate no longer in operation? Is human reproduction overpopulating the planet to such a degree that we need to curb child-bearing or even have a moratorium on having children?
How are Christians to view the cultural mandate? Does it deal only with having children, or is there something more to be said and done in obedience to God’s command?
Lord willing, this Sunday we will tackle these and other questions that arise from the creation/cultural mandate (Genesis 1:28) as we seek to understand God’s desire and our purpose to glorify God.
As you prepare, consider the following Scriptures:
1. Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:15
2. Malachi 2:13-16
3. Galatians 3
4. 1 John 3:1-15
5. Revelation 21
Grace and peace,