Monday, June 29, 2009

The Panacea for the World's Evils

"The secret of the world's moral renovation, and the panacea for the world's evils, lies compressed in that one expression of the apostle Paul, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners!"'

John Angell James - 1828

HT - Grace Gems

Mark Sanford and the Struggle of Every Politician

From Brent Alderman at the Paphos Paradigm:

"Let’s just get this first one out of the way. All of us are sinners and need the gospel of Jesus Christ for forgiveness and the power to obey Him. We all won’t struggle with the same sins, but we all will struggle. Governor Sanford claims to follow Christ which is another reminder that Christians can give in to their flesh and fall as well. This doesn’t address the issue of intelligence, but is just a statement of fact: “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)."

Read the rest of Brent's post here.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

How Should Believers Balance National and Eternal Interests?

A thought provoking article by David Brown entitled "Heart of the Collective King" was posted over at Sharper Iron. In it Brown deals with how the unique form of American government affects how the church and believers relate to their government leaders and get involved in politics.

From David Brown's conclusion:

"So what must Christians do? While the latest flavor of man’s sin has changed, the answer to it has not.

"First we pray. Then we need to lovingly and enthusiastically bring the Gospel to people one by one. The heart of the Collective King in America must be changed one cell at a time, one miracle of God’s grace at a time. Christian political action would work if the populous was by majority Christian and distinctively Christian. But it is not. There is, in fact, no moral majority. As we have refused to share the Gospel meaningfully, our society has drifted away with Oprah the Prophetess, and we have found ourselves fatuously content as long as there is a patriotic conservative in the White House.

"We need to repent. The answer lies in winning people to Christ, not in winning elections."
Brown wraps up his article with this challenge:

"Personally sharing the Gospel is the most patriotic thing you can do for America. Representative democracy and free enterprise capitalism only function well, avoid oppression, and endure when there is a Christian populace. John Adams wrote: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other."Adams similarly explained: "Statesmen, my dear sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue." If you want better government, if you want to guard your liberties, share the Gospel and gradually bring the heart of the Collective King back to his Creator." (See article for footnotes)
David Brown's article: "Heart of the Collective King"

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Praying for Our Leaders on Father's Day

1 Timothy 2:1-2 exhorts us to make it a priority to offer prayers, intercessions, supplications, and thanksgivings for our leaders. This means we are to pray specifically for the needs of those who serve in positions of authority.

Father’s Day should remind us to pray for the families of our leaders. Those who serve in local, state, and national government sacrifice a great deal of time with their families.

As we seek to pray faithfully for our leaders, let this special day remind us how might pray more specifically and effectively for them.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

On the Moral Sin of a Pro-Marriage Politician

Ray Pritchard of Keep Believing Ministries has a good take on the moral sin of Senator John Ensign. You can read his article, Pro-Marriage Senator has Affairhere.

Pastor Ray writes of how many pounce on Senator Ensign’s confession as proof of the hypocrisy of the pro-family movement. However, he concludes:

“Sin happens. It would be a bigger deal if it didn’t happen. But where sin abounded, grace super-abounded, and that’s why we call the gospel Good News.”

I believe it is when we argue family and moral issues apart from the message of the gospel that we indeed promote the appearance that we are self-righteous and hypocritical in these areas.

We cannot argue for marriage, life, or any other moral issue without making it clear that each and every one of us are sinners before God and in need of a Savior. We must share that it is the message of the gospel that changes our hearts and enables us to live out the righteousness of Christ which has been given to us.

Sure, the sin of Senator Ensign gives believers and conservatives a black eye. However it also gives us an opportunity to present the message of forgiveness of sin through repentance and faith in Christ.

Read Ray Pritchard's article.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Interim Bible Study: "Beware False Prophets"

From next week's interim Bible study for legislators and elected officials entitled "Beware False Prophets":

"Jesus describes false teachers as those who come in “sheep’s clothing” but are actually “ravenous wolves”. In New Testament times a shepherd would commonly wear a wool cloak, something which immediately identified him as a shepherd. Christian leaders, preachers, and teachers are commonly referred to as “pastors”, a word meaning “shepherd”. False prophets are those who would identify themselves as Christian leaders. They appear to be spiritual and their words sound good and perhaps even biblical. Yet they distort the message of the gospel and point people away from the true way of salvation. Though appearing positive and helpful, they are deadly dangerous, like “wolves”. Paul describes them like this: “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds”. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)"

Read the complete study.

Friday, June 5, 2009

"God Forbid That I Should Glory Save in the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ"

From C.H. Spurgeon’s Sermon, "The Story of a Runaway Slave":
"Look at the difference between the man who robbed and the man who now comes back to be profitable to his master. What wonders the Grace of God has done! Brethren, let me add—what wonders the Grace of God can do! Many plans are employed in the world for the reformation of the wicked and the reclaiming of the fallen—and to every one of these, as far as they are rightly bottomed, we wish good success—for whatever things are lovely and pure, and of good report, we wish them God speed.

"But mark this word—the true reforming of the drunk lies in giving him a new heart! The true reclaiming of the harlot is to be found in a renewed nature! Purity will never come to fallen women by those hideous Contagious Diseases Acts, which, to my mind, wear, like Cain, a curse upon their forehead! Womanhood will but sink lower under such laws. The harlot must be washed in the Savior’s blood or she will never be clean! The lowest strata of society will never be brought into the light of virtue, sobriety and purity except by Jesus Christ and His Gospel—and we must stick to that. Let all others do what they like, but God forbid that I should glory save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

"I see certain of my Brethren fiddling away at the branches of the tree of vice with their wooden saws, but, as for the Gospel, it lays the axe at the roots of the whole forest of evil! And if it is fairly received into the heart it fells all the Upas trees at once—and instead of them, there spring up the fir tree, the pine tree and the box tree together—to beautify the house of our Master’s Glory! Let us, when we see what the Spirit of God can do for men, publish the Grace of God and extol it with all our might!"
Read Spurgeon's complete sermon here.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Devil Votes Christian Values

Dr. Russell Moore preached a powerful message entitled "The Devil Votes Christian Values: Why We're Tempted to Be Glorified Satanists Rather Than Crucified Followers". This sermon deals with our temptation to be taken with the kingdoms of this world rather than the cross of Christ.

From Dr. Moore's message:

"Satan ultimately has a power that is not found most importantly in moral decay or in cultural chaos. His power is in the authority to accuse.

"The power of accusation. The power of holding humanity captive through the fear of death and the certainty of judgment.Satan is not fearful of external conformity to rule. Not even to the external conformity of the rule of Christ--provided there is no cross.

"Satan does not mind family values--as long as what you ultimately value is the family.

"Satan does not mind social justice--as long as you see justice as most importantly social.

"Satan does not tremble at a Christian worldview. He will let you have a Christian worldview as long as your ultimate goal is viewing the world.

"If Jesus will receive the kingdoms of the world, this crafty serpent thinks, then he can hand them to him apart from the shedding of blood at the cross. Apart from the overthrow of the demonic powers through the empty tomb. Apart from a reconciliation between a holy God and a renegade humanity.If he can just bypass the cross--and get to the kingdom apart from the cross--then he will have everything that he wants."

From his conclusion:

"We're tempted for now to remain content with a flurry of influential, self-referential, and irrelevant power and glory. But they (the world) still don't listen to us. The day they listen to us is when the Spirit of God comes through what we are saying to point to the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ."
This is a MUST HEAR message. Download or listen to the sermon here.