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Dealing with DOUBT . . . and DOUBTERS! (A Study of Jude 22-23)

I. Show them mercy!

We don’t always treat doubters with kindness. We seem to resent their questions and can become angry at their unbelief. Os Guinness wrote a great book a few years ago entitled Doubt. It has been re-issued as In Two Minds. He’s also written an excellent article entitled “I Believe in Doubt” which may be found here.

We must give room for seekers to express their doubts and ask their questions. And that calls for MERCY!

II. Don’t lose the urgency of the gospel — “snatching them from the fire”

How close is your unsaved friend to eternity? One breath. One heartbeat. It’s not surprising that we Jesus-followers are sometimes over-zealous in presenting the gospel. Eternity is at stake! If I truly believe the gospel, sometimes I will feel compelled by the Holy Spirit to speak about eternal lostness. And so should you.

III. Have a godly fear yourself!

“mixed with fear”  — of what? Perhaps that doubt might begin to erode your own confidence in God. We are to show mercy mixed with fear. If this is a reference to the fear of the evangelist, then it might be a holy terror of what will happen to those who reject God’s mercy.

[I’m reminded of Galatians 6:1 which says, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” There is risk involved in ministry . . . and in evangelism.]

IV. Don’t lose your hatred of sin!

‘“hating even their clothing stained by corrupted flesh”! What an expression! There is such a thing as godly hatred. And here that godly hatred is expressed hyperbolically as directed at the lost person’s clothing! That’s how much we should HATE SIN!

Today’s Challenge: Do you really care about lost people? Do their questions irritate you — or cause you to respond in mercy and love? Does their continual refusal to believe the gospel discourage you (me, too!)? May God renew you and me in a passion for the gospel, a love for the lost, and a clarity about the truth!

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2020 in Jude

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Apathy)

Apathy — Even Bible-believing, church-going, Jesus-following people can become apathetic. I’m reminded of a portrait of Jesus with the caption “Lord, do you care?” The picture then has Jesus on the cross saying, “I care this much.”

My good friend Dr. Allan McKechnie and I used to teach a course called “The Integration of Psychology and Theology.” My job was to review the theological basics of the Christian faith. His job was to stand up and say, “SO WHAT?” In other words, what are the practical ramifications of the doctrines we hold dear?

Today’s Challenge: Ask “SO WHAT?” as you think about living today with passion and love and courage. And don’t give an inch to apathy!

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2020 in apathy

 

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FOCUS! Keeping Our Eyes on Jesus in a Near-Sighted World (Part 6)

THREE DISTRACTIONS: As we saw in our last post on FOCUS, there are distractions that get our eyes off Jesus. One distraction of THE WORLD is entertainment.

Let’s think about the second of three distractions this morning. We know from Scripture that our three enemies are the world, the flesh, and the devil. How does our flesh distract us from focusing on the Lord Jesus?

The second distraction is . . . ourselves! Sometimes the expression “the flesh” refers to our physical bodies. But often Scripture uses that expression to refer to our sinful nature, our desires that run counter to the Word of God.

After conversion, we learn that our own internal desires often distract us from focusing on the Lord Jesus. So, are we to become passionless, desire-free, Zen-like monks who have no desires? Absolutely not! We read the following about our desires:

BEFORE CONVERSION:

Prior to conversion, we are described as —
>> “the unfaithful who are trapped by evil desires” (Prov. 11:6).
>> those who allow “the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things [to] come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful” (Mk. 4:19).
>> the natural man is described as those whom “God gave over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another” (Rom. 1:24).
>> We as believers are charged by Paul — “therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires” (Rom. 6:12).
>> We learn that we live by choice. We read, “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” (Rom. 8:5).
>> We read in 1 Peter 2:11 we are to “abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.”
>> We also learn in 2 Peter 1:4 that there is a “corruption in the world [that is] caused by evil desires.”

How do we choose not to follow our sinful desires? Romans 13:14 says, “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” Similarly we are told in Galatians 5:16-17 that we are to “walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”

>> Prior to our conversion we are described as follows: “All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.” (Ephesians 2:3)

Ephesians 4:22 says, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires . . .”

The believer is to be engaged in the execution business, for we read in Galatians 5:24 – “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Colossians 3:5 commands the believer: “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.”

But what about AFTER CONVERSION?

We read in Psalm 37:4 “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” In Psalm 103:5 we learn of the Lord “who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” And we are reminded in Psalm 145:19 that “He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.” 1 John 2:17 tells us that “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

Here are several specific steps we can take to develop and pursue godly desires:

1. We can run! We read in 2 Timothy 2:22 that we are to “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

2. We can choose not to conform: 1 Peter 1:14 tells us, “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.”

3. We can decide to live for the will of God: 1 Peter 4:2 says, “As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.”

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2020 in desires

 

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Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord (Psalm 119): Part 22

ת Taw

169 May my cry come before you, Lord;screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-6-12-08-am
    give me understanding according to your word.
170 May my supplication come before you;
    deliver me according to your promise.
171 May my lips overflow with praise,
    for you teach me your decrees.
172 May my tongue sing of your word,
    for all your commands are righteous.
173 May your hand be ready to help me,
    for I have chosen your precepts.
174 I long for your salvation, Lord,
    and your law gives me delight.
175 Let me live that I may praise you,
    and may your laws sustain me.
176 I have strayed like a lost sheep.
    Seek your servant,
    for I have not forgotten your commands.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2017 in desires

 

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Time for a Great Quote! (Piper on making your life count)

“Desire that your life count for something great! Long for your life to Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 7.22.01 AMhave eternal significance. Want this! Don’t coast through life without a passion.”
John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2015 in passion

 

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