Monday, 22 February 2016

Next book, Tedd Tripp's "Shepherdng a Child's Heart."

*Just a reminder that this study of Shepherding a Child’s Heart, is not by any means me teaching, but rather a simple summary chapter by chapter of his book for my own enrichment.*

Preface....

We can tend to focus on the external behavior instead of the internal overflow of the heart…. We tend to worry more about the what of behavior instead of the why.

Ultimately, when we miss the heart, we miss the gospel.   Demanding appropriate behavior will not help children understand heart issues, and ultimately how a sinful heart is in need for grace.   When we miss the heart, we miss the glory of God.

“One of the most important callings God has given parents is to display the greatness, goodness, and glory of the God for whom they are made.”

Introduction.

Many kids do not look to their parents as an authority and by age 10-12 they are totally respectless.  Culture does not want Dad to be the boss and home or Mom to be submissive to dad.  Children are no longer submissive.  If the old authoritarian ways are no longer valid, what method should we use?

Experience might fail us, but the only safe guide is the Bible, absolute truth from an infinitely knowledgeable God.

We should be a kind authority, a shepherd to our children so they can understand themselves in God’s world, and keep the gospel in clear view.

1.    Authority. God is our authority and has put people in authority around us.  It is not something embarrassing to be in a place of authority for the kids, as we exercise authority as God’s agent….to lay down our own lives and selflessly raise the kids.
a.     Of course Jesus is the perfect example of this. He has all authority yet is a servant.  He allows people in their submission to live freely in the freedom of the gospel.
b.    Parents must exercise authority and expect obedience as they are called by God to obey and honor their parents.
2.    Shepherding. We are to guide the children to understand themselves, others, and God .
3.    Gospel.  God’s gospel is powerful, and meets the needs of fallen humanity.  Tripp expects God’s word to be the power of God to salvation for his children.  His desire for his children to be believers is not based on a formula but on the gospel.  If children see the what/why of their sins they will understand their need of savior.

“The gospel enables you and your children to face the worst in yourselves; your sin, your badness, and your weakness, and still find hope, because grace is powerful.”

Chapter 1.
Getting to the heart of behavior.

The heart determines behavior.  Either evil actions and speech well up from the heart, or good things that are stored up in the heart.

Behavior is not the basic issue, but rather what is going on in the heart.

Wow, Tripp says that a change in behavior that does not stem from a change of heart is NOT commendable, it is condemnable!  It is hypocrisy!

As we shepherd our children, we must always draw them back to a view of their hearts, the root of their behavior, and their need for God’s law and his salvation.



Monday, 8 February 2016

Final chapter (57) of Wayne Grudems systematic theology!

The New Heavens and the New Earth
*Just a reminder that this study of Wayne Grudem's book, Systematic Theology, is not by any means me teaching, but rather a simple summary chapter by chapter of his book for my own enrichment.*

After the final judgement, we will enter a kingdom where we will be together with God and the lamb, a new heavesn and new earth.

Some aspects of this kingdom:
·        The former things shall not be remembered (Isaiah 65)
·        A place in which righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3)
·        God will dwell with men. (Rev 21)
·        We shall eat and drink, there is a street of the city and a river, and a tree of life.  (symbolic or literal?) 
·        God’s infite greatness means we have a lot to find out! (So learning, discovering things, doing things are probably an amazing aspect if it all!)
·        Although the thought of time might be different, scripture speaks of an unending succession of moments.

Heaven is a place, not just a state of mind.  “I will go and prepare a place for you and will return and take you to myself, that where I am you may also be.” (John 14)
The day of the Lord will come like a thief and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise and the elements will be dissolved with fire and the earth and all the works that are upon it will be burned up. (1 Peter 3)
Protestants disagree whether the earth will be destroyed completely and replaced or just changed and renewed.
Our resurrection bodies will be part of the renewed creation.
Imagine, a place and activities for our resurerection bodies which will never grow old or become weak or ill.
When we think about the eternal aspect of heaven and compare it to our short life on earth, we should be motivated as Christians to store up treasures in heaven!
Scripture consistently portrays this new creation as a place of great beauty and joy.
More important than all these descriptions, it’s beauty, fellowship with believers, etc., we will be in the presence of God and enjoying unhindered fellowship with him!
Psalm 16:11, In your presence there is fullness of joy, at your right hand are pleasures for evermore.

One thing I have asked of the Lord, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. Psalm 27. 

Monday, 1 February 2016

Wayne Grudems Systematic Theology, chapter 56

The final judgement and eternal punishment

*Just a reminder that this study of Wayne Grudem's book, Systematic Theology, is not by any means me teaching, but rather a simple summary chapter by chapter of his book for my own enrichment.*

Scripture is clear in many places on the fact that the Lord will bring all men before him and have a final judgement based on their lives.

Dispensational views say that there will be more than one period of judgement, before and after the tribulation.  Grudem takes a view that there will be just one time of judgement.

Jesus Christ will be the judge, over the living and the dead.
Unbelievers and believers will be judged, as the judgement includes the dead, great and small.

The Bible speaks of some sort of eternal reward for the work of eternal perspective we have done on earth, and how we will lay our crowns before the Lord, so it is not some kind of competition and comparison game.

Even angels will be judged (i.e. rebellious angels).

God has this final judgement in order to show his perfect justice before all men.

Morally speaking,
The doctrine of justice fulfills our need for justice in the world, knowing that God will have the final say in wrongdoers who seem to "get off the hook."

Also we may forgive others freely, as we know that the final vengeance is the Lord's .
Final judgement gives us a motive for righteous living, and gives us a great motivation for evangelism.   "Turn back from your evil ways, why will you die, o house of Israel?" Ezekiel 33.11.

The judgement can lead to one going to hell, a place of eternal conscious punishment for the wicked.

As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live;" Ezekiel 33.11.

The doctrine of hell is hard to understand because God has put a portion of his love in our hearts, even his love for sinners who rebel against him. j

We must rejoice in God who is perfectly righteous in this matter.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Wayne Grudems Systematic Theology, Chapter 55.

The Millennium

*Just a reminder that this study of Wayne Grudem's book, Systematic Theology, is not by any means me teaching, but rather a simple summary chapter by chapter of his book for my own enrichment.*

Just two chapters left, and this book is finished!  Wow. 

Historically there are three major views on the millennium:

Amillennialism.  This means that the future events spoken of in revelations are already in process here amongst us. 

Postmillennialism. The gospel and growth of the church will increase until society will function more according to Gods standards and a millenial age of peace and righteousness will occur.  At the end of this period, Christ will return and judge all. 

Premillennialism. Christ will come back before the millenium.  A time of tribulation will come, then Christ will return to establish a millenial kingdom. 

dispensational premillennialism. Christ will come to draw the believers up to heaven, then a tribulation, then the new heaven and new earth, and then the eternal state. 

The interpretation is complex in this discussion, and we should recognize a large amount of grace with others who hold differing views. 

http://www.brianauten.com/Apologetics/wayne-grudem/115-the-millennium-amillennial-and-postmillennial-views.mp3

http://www.brianauten.com/Apologetics/wayne-grudem/116-the-millennium-premillennial-view.mp3

Here are a few links to listen more in depth on this topic. 

Monday, 18 January 2016

Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology, Chapter 54

The Doctrine of the future

*Just a reminder that this study of Wayne Grudem's book, Systematic Theology, is not by any means me teaching, but rather a simple summary chapter by chapter of his book for my own enrichment.*

Grudem brings up eschatology, or future major events, such as the second coming of Christ, the millennium, the final judgement, eternal punishment for unbelievers and reward for believers, and live with God in the new heaven and new earth.

This chapter focuses on Christ’s second coming.   This has and is controversial in the church, especially the question of “can Christ return at any time.”

Many verses speak of how Christ will bodily and suddenly appear coming in the clouds.   John’s response in the end of Revelation should characterize our own attitude and hearts as he says, “Amen, come Lord Jesus!”
We should live upright and Godly lives, awaiting our king to return.   But, as Grudem says, “the more Christians are caught up enjoying the good things of this life, and the more they neglect genuine Christian fellowship and their personal relationship with Christ, the less they will long for his return.”

If Christ could come at any time, should we stop planning for the long term?  Because we don’t know the time or hour when Christ will return, we should faithfully be obeying him in the present.
Grudem says it well as he says, “There will no doubt be missionaries just departing for their mission field and men in their last days of seminary education.  They may feel that they had little influence on the world.  But to all of those people who are Christians, Jesus will say, “well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful  over a little, I will set you over much;  enter into the joy of your master.”

Nobody can know the time Christ will return, and anyone who claims to have some kind of revelation should be rejected as incorrect.  (For example, the Jehovah’s witnesses have made several such claims.)

Evangelicals all agree that the final result of Christ’s return will be judgement of unbelievers and a final reward of believers, and that believers will live with Christ in a new heaven and a new earth for all eternity.

There is various disagreement about the timeline of Christ’s return and the nature/time of the millennium.  (This is a secondary issue).
There are several Biblical signs that should precede Christ’s return, as listed here:
1.       Preaching of the gospel to all nations. 
a.       This has probably not been fully achieved, due to many language groups and tribes who have never heard.
2.       The great tribulation.
a.       Much persecution of Christians has and is happening.
3.       False prophets working signs and wonders.
a.       Many work with demonic power in opposition to the gospel.
4.       Signs in the heavens.
a.       Eclipses and comets have occurred, but not much more than that…
5.       Coming of the man of sin and the rebellion.  (the beast/antichrist of Revelation)
a.       Ancient roman emporers, Hitler, Popes, have all been accused to be the antichrist, but they have been false, and it is likely that a worse yet man of lawlnessness has not yet appeared.
6.       The salvation of Israel.
a.       It is unlikely that this great ingathering of Jews to Christ has yet occurred.  


We know not in which sense these have been fulfilled or have not yet been fulfilled, and should always be ready for Christ’s return. 

 We should always be ready, as we do not know when these things might occur. With each wave of horrible events (World war one, two, persecution of the church), we do not know if that is the final time or if another worse wave will come.  God wants us to long for Christ’s return and expect that it could happen at any moment.   We should remember Jesus’ words, “when these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” 

Monday, 11 January 2016

Wayne Grudems Systematic Theology, chapter 53

Gifts of the Holy Spirit, part 2

*Just a reminder that this study of Wayne Grudem's book, Systematic Theology, is not by any means me teaching, but rather a simple summary chapter by chapter of his book for my own enrichment.*


This chapter focuses more on the gifts that are not so well understood or controversial. 


1.  Prophecy:  not "predicting the future," or "proclaiming a word from the Lord," or "powerful preaching," but rather  as "telling something that God has spontaneously brought to mind." 


The New Testament Apostles and the Old Testament prophets spoke with absolute divine authority. 

We see places in the New Testament where believers prophecied (Acts 21) and Paul disobeyed.  If it was God's divine word, then he should not have disobeyed.  Also when Agabus prophecied Pauls death, the details were off.  This is distinctly different from the words of the canon of the Bible.   

Why would Paul encourage people to "not despise prophecy but test everything and hold to what is good," if all prophecy was perfect, OR God would cease to speak through prophecy to his people? (1 Thess 5)

Paul also says, "let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said," (1 Cor 14).  Never would we dare to "weigh what is said," to the words of the Bible, so this shows a difference between those who spoke with absolute divine authority and the later view of prophecy among believers. 

HOWEVER,  Paul focuses firstly and mainly on the power of the scripture, and to prophecy as secondary and that it must be in submission to God's word. 

Prophecy today should be considered mere human words, and not equal to God's words in authority.   (This is where Charismatic practices are sometimes out of sync with the Bible). 

Prophecy can serve as a sign for believers (1 Cor 14.22), a clear demonstration that God is definitely at work in their midst.  This gift is even to be used when unbelievers or outsiders enter. 

Grudem points out that many who see prophecy as too "subjective," are often those who are quite Biblically focused and often in need of a subjective process in their own Christian lives!   To wait on the Lord, listening for him, hearing his promptings in our hearts, that is a gift.   Could this balance out a dangerous inbalance in church life, when we are too exclusively intellectual, objective, and narrowly doctrinal?

Paul says that he who prophesies speaks to men for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.  That is quite valuable. 

Paul encouraged in 1 Cor 14, to, "Make love your aim, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophecy." 

The early church was troubled by immaturity, selfishness, division and other problems and yet in spite of that they were encouraged to seek prophetic gifting.  

1.       Teaching: Explaining scripture and applying it to people’s lives.  Repeating, explaining and applying Scripture.
2.       Miracles: This may include deliverance from danger/injury, God’s judgement on enemies of the gospel, etc.   Essentially God’s power at work and visible.
3.       Healing: We must realize that sickness and disease are a result of the fall, and yet Christ “took our infirmities, and by his wounds we are healed.  Healing has many purposes, such as authenticate the gospel message, comfort those who are ill, equip people for ministry, and finally for GOD to be glorified.
a.       Often in the New Testament, there was a laying on of hands, anointing with oil, and faith in prayer for the sick.
b.       Jesus did not turn the sick away.  He healed them out of love and compassion.  He even said, “You do not have because you do not ask.”  We should do likewise and at the same time pray that God will be glorified whether or not someone is healed.   At the same time, when we say that healing WILL occur, and then nothing happens, it can bring much disappointment with the church and even anger at God may result.
4.       Tongues and interpretation:  this means prayer or praise in syllables not understood by the speaker.  The New Testament speaks of this both as speaking another language, and speaking a mysterious spiritual language.  The New Testament is clear about orderliness, self control, and translation in this area.
5.       Word of wisdom, word of knowledge

6.       Distinguishing between spirits




Sunday, 13 December 2015

           

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Wayne Grudems Systematic Theology, Chapter 52

Gifts of the Holy Spirit

*Just a reminder that this study of Wayne Grudem's book, Systematic Theology, is not by any means me teaching, but rather a simple summary chapter by chapter of his book for my own enrichment.*

A spritual gift is any ability that is empowered by the Holy Spirit and used in any ministry of the church.
This can include: teaching, mercy, administration, prophecy, healing, distinguishing between spirits.

Many such gifts were rare in the Old Testament, although they longed for an outpouring of God’s spirit as seen in Joel 2 and Numbers 11, “would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!”

Many times it is written that Jesus came in the power of the Spirit, and this outpouring of the Holy Spirit was clearly upon the early believers.

The purpose of the spiritual gifts is to equip the church to carry out its ministry until Christ returns, and to build up the church.   They are also a foretaste of the life to come.

God has given the church an amazing variety of spiritual gifts, and they are all tokens of his varied grace.   These differences are useful, and we should depend on one another to be a whole body of Christ.

We might not feel specially gifted in some things, but all are called to practice those things anyway, such as teaching (certainly teaching your children about God), evangelism, and prayer for God to heal others, for example.

We should seek to use our gifts for the building up of the church, to glorify God, and a love for others, and to that end even seek out what is needed in our local church and try to help fill that need (and thus find out if that is our gifting).

Grudem argues that the New Testament points out that “when the pefect comes, the imperfect will pass away,” and this ultimately means that when Christ returns, the gifts will pass away, so we should be wary to claim that gifts have ceased.

Any prophecy such as was done in the Old Testament, where we thus should add it to the canon of scripture, is not at all the same as the prophecy mentioned in the New Testament, but rather should be in submission and agreement with the word of God.   The abuse of a gift does not mean that we should prohibit the proper use of that gift.

Grudem says, “we appreciate the desire of cessationists to protect the uniqueness of scripture and not to allow anything to compete with the authority of scripture in our lives.  But if cessationists are wrong on this point, there is a danger that they are opposing something that God is doing in the church today, and failing to give him glory for it.”

Finally, cessationists and charismatics need each other….the first has more strength in doctrine and deep understanding of the teachings of scripture, and the other has more practical experience  in the use of spiritual gifts and vitality in worship.



Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Wayne Grudem Systematic Theology, Chapter 51

Worship.

Everything both WE and the CHURCH should be a form of worship, to glorify God, but today Grudem will focus on the music and words used in praise to God when we assemble together.

Worship is the activity of glorifying God in his presence with our voices and hearts. 

Colossians 3:16 encourages this specifically.   The gospel call is a call to worship; to turn from sin and call upon the name of the Lord.

Reverent, corporate worship, is not optional for the church of God...rather, it brings expression to the very being of the church.

We are in our essence created to glorify God.  It is right for God to seek his own honor, as he is infinitely worthy of honor.   We should tremble with fear lest we rob God's glory from him.

Everything in our worship services should be designe and carried out not to call attention to ourselves, or bring glory to ourselves, but to call attention to God and to cause people to think about him. 

When we worship God properly as he asks us, it results in:
1. We delight in God.  "In your presence is fullness of joy."
2. God delights in us.
3.  We draw near to God.  "We have confidence to enter the most Holy place by the blood of Jesus." Heb 10:19
4. God draws near to us.
5. God ministers to us.  God builds us up through a time of worship with him, 1 Peter 2:5
6.  The Lord's enemies flee.
7.  Unbelievers know they are in God's presence. 1 Cor 14:25 speaks of how visitors sometimes will get an insight on this amazing God, and "worship God and declare that God is really among you."

Singing the songs is not the focus, but rather an outpouring of worship as we realize truths about God through the songs and words. 

Friday, 27 November 2015

It's starting to get cold...last week this was water, this week it was ice.  
(and now back above freezing...)