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Time for Another Great Quote from J.I. Packer: Today’s “Gospel”?

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2019 in gospel

 

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Colossal Truths from the Letter to the Colossians! GET BUSY GETTING GODLY! (Part 7)

We only have two posts remaining in our study of what we are calling GET BUSY GETTING GODLY. The next two challenges are found in verses 15-16 —

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Today the two challenges are:
(1) Be thankful (v. 15), and
(2) Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly (v. 16).

Have you known people who just seem to be naturally thankful? I have. But they are few and far between. Most people I know (including myself) find it far easier to complain about life and its many disappointments. BEING THANKFUL is a key virtue for the believer — and is one of the habits forsaken by the world (see Romans 1).

I don’t need to go into detail about the many blessings of life for which we should BE THANKFUL. One practice that is helping me is to occasionally (not every day) wake up and say out loud, “FOR WHAT 5 THINGS ARE YOU THANKFUL TO THE LORD TODAY?” Seriously. Even before my morning coffee, I’ve found that when I do that, my mind begins to get calibrated rightly. And my list isn’t always about huge blessings. A few days ago I even thanked the Lord that my dog Scrabble isn’t suffering anymore (we had to put him down). BE THANKFUL TODAY!

We are also to “let the message of Christ dwell among you richly.” There is much here, but the image that comes to my mind is that the Good News about Jesus shouldn’t be like a squatter who’s staying in an abandoned house uninvited. Christ’s message is the guest of honor who will be shown every courtesy and welcomed into our hearts with enthusiasm. To “dwell among you richly” means it becomes the central focus of our lives. It is the most honored guest. And it is not coming for a brief visit. It is going to DWELL in us now and forever!

Jesus is a gentleman who does not force His message on us, but awaits our invitation. Is His message dwelling among you richly today?

 

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2019 in christian life

 

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Some Thoughts on the Book “What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian?” (Post #8) JEWS WON’T MAKE IT TO HEAVEN!

We are continuing our review of the book by the United Methodist minister Martin Thielen entitled What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian? His next chapter is entitled “Jews Won’t Make It to Heaven” and he subtitles this chapter “The ultimate destiny of non-Christians is in God’s hands, and God can be trusted to do what is right.” [By the way, this expression “God can be expected to do what is right” is used by Thielen several times in his book. One suspects this is his go-to conviction when he faces some uncomfortable dogmatic statements of Scripture]

Thielen surveys three views of other religions: (1) “All religions are the same” [which they aren’t, of course], (2) “Other religions are false” [a view he strongly rejects], and (3) “Other religions are to be respected” [which he advocates].

MY RESPONSE:  Thielen rejects the view that only Christianity is true, that Christ is the only way, and that other religions are false and lead people away from God. He even quotes the liberal Jesus Seminar leader Marcus Borg who says that a text like “There is salvation in no one else” (Acts 4:12) is to be understood as poetic and devotional.  Borg writes: “To say, ‘Jesus is the only way’ is also the language of devotion.  It is the language of gratitude and love. It is like language used by lovers, as when we say to our beloved, ‘You’re the most beautiful person in the world.’ Literally? Most beautiful? Really? Such language is the poetry of devotion and the hyperbole of the heart. Poetry can express the truth of the heart, but it is not doctrine. . . . [He concludes,] We can sing our love songs to Jesus with wild abandon without needing to demean other religions.” (from Borg’s The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith, pp. 221-222).

This quote by Borg did not surprise me. He’s the one who said in a seminar at the University of South Carolina in 1998: “The notion that God’s only son came to this planet to offer his life as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, and that God could not forgive us without that having happened, and that we are saved by believing this story is simply incredible.  Taken metaphorically, this story can be very powerful.  But taken literally, it is a profound obstacle to accepting the Christian message.” He has also written: “I think the resurrection of Jesus really happened, but I have no idea if it involves anything happening to his corpse, and, therefore, I have no idea whether it involves an empty tomb, and for me, that doesn’t matter because the central meaning of the Easter experience or the resurrection of Jesus is that His followers continue to experience Him as a living reality, a living presence after His death. So I would have no problem whatsoever with archaeologists finding the corpse of Jesus. For me that would not be a discrediting of the Christian faith or the Christian tradition.”

There is a massive difference between respecting other religions and denying the exclusivity of the Christian gospel.  Fascinating that Thielen made no mention of Jesus’ statement “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me!” (Jn. 14:6). Perhaps he has a low view of the gospel of John (as do the “Jesus Seminar” scholars like Markus Borg).

Why bother with evangelism and missions if there is salvation in other religions other than biblical Christianity? Thielen has sadly abandoned the gospel in this chapter. Enough said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2019 in religions

 

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If Paul Had Preached Joel Osteen’s Message at Mars Hill . . .

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2018 in Joel Osteen

 

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Major Themes in the Book of Galatians (Ch. 2 Part 2)

Going to Korea!  (I wonder if they will use  me in their peace talks?!).  I get to teach the book of Galatians to undergrads at the Word of Life Bible Institute on Jeju Island (see red circle below)!

Working our way through this six-chapter letter, we have noticed the first theme in chapter two, Paul’s sense of accountability to leadership (vv. 1-10).

Let’s now see a second theme: We should oppose any compromise of the gospel!  We get Paul’s report of his confrontation with Cephas [why does Paul refer to Peter with that name?)].  Paul “opposed him to his face”!  What was Cephas’ sin?

The answer is that he was compromising the gospel by not eating with Gentile believers!  Cephas was unduly influenced by some in the “circumcision group” and other Jews (including Barnabas) were “led astray” (v. 13).

This compromise led to “not acting in line with the truth of the gospel” (v. 14).  The primary point is that of justification.  Is one justified by faith or by the works of the law (v. 16)?

The law brings DEATH (vv. 19-20), but Christ brings LIFE (v. 20).  Trying to be justified by keeping the law means that one “sets aside the grace of God” — and that is something no missionary should ever do!

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2018 in Galatians

 

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Some of My Favorite Quotes: J.I. Packer on the New Gospel

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2018 in gospel

 

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Time for a Great Cartoon! (choices)

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Calvin’s dad certainly has a point, doesn’t he? In his book, The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less, Barry Schwartz studies the many choices we have in America and says, “”Autonomy and Freedom of Choice are critical to our well being, and choice is critical to freedom and autonomy. Nonetheless, though modern Americans have more choice than any group of people ever has before, and thus, presumably, more freedom and autonomy, we don’t seem to be benefiting from it psychologically.”Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 7.03.22 AM

What do you think?  Are more choices always good?  Should we who follow Christ be surprised that a choice-flooded culture resents our claiming Jesus as the only Savior?  {by the way, I prefer Extra Chunky Peanut Butter!}

 

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2015 in choices

 

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