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Tag Archives: christian life

Getting Ready for My Next NJ Trip! (Part 3)

My next preaching trip to Cedarcroft Bible Chapel in New Jersey is coming up quickly and will be from March 31st to April 7th. I will also be teaching Sunday School on both Sundays (which we’ll talk about in a later post). When I was there last (Feb. 26-March 4), we looked at the topic “Why Should We Believe Anything at All?” For these two Sundays we will look at the subject “Why Should We Behave as Believers?” My first message will be on Titus 2:11-15 and my second on 2 Peter 1:3-11 (for April 7th).

Let’s look at the 2 Peter 1 passage one more time:

There is so much here about ADDING to our FAITH. The Christian FAITH (the foundation of the Christian truths) forms the bedrock upon which we BUILD OUR LIVES!

There have been some in the so-called Victorious Christian Life movement who have said things like ‘Let God — and Let God!” or “Trust God for your sanctification just as you trusted Him for your salvation.” There is truth in these slogans — but they can also mislead one to think that the Christian life requires no effort on our part. Note the language Peter uses in this passage: “MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO ADD TO” (v. 5) and “MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO CONFIRM YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION” (v. 10).

How much EFFORT are you and I expending to develop these virtues (GOODNESS, KNOWLEDGE, SELF-CONTROL, PERSEVERVANCE, GODLINESS, MUTUAL AFFECTION, LOVE)?

Here’s a challenge: Ask someone who loves you which of those VIRTUES you need to work on! And don’t get angry at them if they say, “Well, you could use a bit more SELF-CONTROL!” Or, “I think you can grow in your KNOWLEDGE of the Word, don’t you?” [Such loving feedback, by the way, doesn’t have to take the form of NAGGING!]

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2019 in christian life

 

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Getting to Know . . . Ephesians Chapter 2! (Part 4: WHAT DIFFERENCE THAT OUGHT TO MAKE!)

There seems to be one more area of emphasis here in Ephesians 2:1-10 that we need to think about.  We have already seen —

1. That in our B.C. (before Christ) condition, we were DEAD in our transgressions and sins.

2. But we lived AS ZOMBIES! Even though we were dead, we used to live in our sins, following the ways of this world (v. 2).

3. We not only followed the world’s ways, we followed the DEVIL, “the ruler of kingdom of the air” (v. 2).

4. We lived among those “who are disobedient.” But we didn’t just live among them. We sought to “gratify the cravings of our flesh and to follow its desires and thoughts” (v. 3).

5. And we were, “like the rest, by nature deserving of wrath” (v. 3). We get a repeating of our B.C. condition in verse 5 that God made us alive with Christ “even when we were dead in transgressions” (v. 5).

Wow! Talk about bad news! But we then noticed what God did about our B.C. condition. He acted out of His character (the words in red) which involved “his great love” (v. 4). He is also “rich in mercy” (v. 4) and and rescued us out of “his kindness” (v. 7). That’s the character of our God!

What did God do for us?  He “made us alive with Christ” (v. 5); He “raised us up with Christ” (v. 6); He “seated us with Christ in the heavenly realms” (v. 6); and He saved us — an action described as “the gift of God” (v. 8).

NOW — what difference ought God’s actions in our lives make?
1. He saves us to “show the incomparable riches of his grace” (v. 7).  We are now display cases set before the world of God’s saving work!
2.  We are to testify that it is NOT by our works that we have been saved.  We are not to boast in ourselves or our efforts, but in Him who saved us! (v. 9).
3. We’ve got WORK to do!  Even though our works contribute ZERO to our salvation, God has “prepared in advance” works for us to do (v. 10). 

Here’s a brief chart which might help us understand how we relate to our works — and to His!

In our next post we will begin to look at Ephesians 2:11-17 (our Sunday School lesson for Feb. 3).

Today’s Prayer:  “Lord, I get so confused about the place of my works in my life.  Please help me see that they play no part in my salvation, but are very important in my sanctification!  Please give me opportunities to do good today.  In Your name.  Amen.”

 

 

 

 


 
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Posted by on January 10, 2019 in ephesians 2

 

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All Our Leaders Are Flawed!

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2018 in leadership

 

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Are You Wobblin’? (A Story about the Christian Life)

A man named Dennis Custer tells the following story about getting some new tires for his car.

“The man mounting new tires for me,” he says, “had no way of knowing that I am a mechanical engineer. As he worked, he asked, `Do you know why I put half of the weights on the inside rim and half on the outside?’ `As a matter of fact, I do,’ I replied. `The imbalance can be resolved to a point mass located in the plane of imbalance. If an equal mass is placed at 180 degrees opposite and at an equivalent radius, then perfect balance will result. However,’ I continued, `the plane of imbalance is located somewhere between the planes of the rims. By dividing the weights between the rims, you can approximate the ideal balance.’ The fellow stared at me for a moment and then said, `Yeah, ‘cause if you don’t, it’ll wobble.’”

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2018 in christian life

 

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What’s So Amazing about Grace? — A Free Sermon Outline! (Part 2)

I wrote the little booklet Ten Specific Steps You Can Take to Make Your Sermons and Preaching Better a while back to help preachers (like me) not continue to make the same mistakes we often make. This is available on Amazon and is guaranteed to improve your preaching or I will preach your next sermon for you (just kidding).

In these posts I want to give away some of my favorite sermon outlines — with just a dose of explanation along the way. So, let’s continue with a sermon I wrote on God’s amazing grace.

What’s So Amazing about Grace?
(a study of Titus 2:11-15).

We’ve seen that —

I. God’s Grace Is a Salvation-Bringing Grace (v. 11)

Let’s notice secondly that —

II.  God’s Grace is a Teaching Grace (v. 12)

I never thought I’d be a teacher, but the Lord had other plans.  I could have been a much better student in high school than I was, but, by His grace, I’ve served for a bunch of years teaching undergrad and seminary students the Word of God.

We all need to be taught.  And, thank God, His grace is a teaching grace!   Verse 12 tells us that this grace “teaches us to say ‘no’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.”  Please notice that there is both a negative as well as a positive side to God’s teaching grace.  We need to deny ungodliness and worldly passions.  The world sees Christians as being primarily negative, don’t you think?

But we also need to be taught the positives of living a yes-kind of life!  That affirmation lifestyle focuses on self-control, uprightness, and godliness, which the world desperately needs to see lived out!

Notice also that this kind of affirmative living is to take place, not in heaven, but “in this present age.”  The expression is really “in the now world.”  Right now.  Where you live.   Right now you and I are to be living out the grace of God in positive, attractive ways.

Are you letting the grace of God teach you?

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2018 in Titus 2

 

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Living on Leftovers? (Time for a great cartoon)

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2018 in christian life

 

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When Your House Is at the Top of the Hill (a Metaphor of the Christian Life?)

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Posted by on April 7, 2018 in christian life

 

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The Christian Life — Are Your Tastes Being Formed?

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2018 in christian life

 

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What’s in Your Cup?

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2018 in christian life

 

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8 Signs Your Christianity Is Too Comfortable

Please click on the link below for a challenging article!

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/8-signs-your-christianity-is-too-comfortable/

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2018 in comfort

 

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