Heidelberg Catechism

I thought Friday’s would be a good time to go through the Heidelberg Catechism.  It is a great way to become more versed in the truths of the Word of God.  The Catechism is a series of questions and then the Biblical answers.  Read, THINK, and meditate over the weekend on each one.

Q1: What is your only comfort in life and in death?

A. That I, with body and soul, both in life and in death,[1] am not my own,[2] but belong to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ,[3] who with His precious blood [4] has fully satisfied for all my sins,[5] and delivered me from all the power of the devil;[6] and so preserves me[7] that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head;[8] indeed, that all things must work together for my salvation,[9] and, therefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life,[10] and makes me sincerely willing and ready from now on to live unto Him.[11]

[1] Rom 14:7-9; [2] 1 Cor 6:19-20; [3] 1 Cor 3:23Tit 2:14; [4] 1 Pt 1:18-19; [5] 1 Jn 1:72:2;[6] Jn 8:34-36Heb 2:14-151 Jn 3:8; [7] Jn 6:39-4010:27-302 Thes 3:31 Pt 1:5; [8] Mt 10:29-31Lk 21:16-18; [9] Rom 8:28; [10] Rom 8:15-162 Cor 1:21-225:5Eph 1:13-14; [11] Rom 8:14

Have a great weekend!

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Outside Thoughts On The Will Of God!

I stumbled onto an interesting article this morning. It was interesting because it substitutes what I have taught past the two services at Lakeview concerning the will of God.

Francis Chan is someone who I greatly admire and enjoy listening to his preaching.  He is solid theologically. He has recently resigned his church and is going to do something else but that is unknown right now.  The problem is with how he expressed it.  And how many in the church seem to express things the same way.

Here is what he said. “Lisa and I believe God is calling us to take a step of faithWe believe we are supposed to move into a major city such as LA, San Francisco, or New York. …I’m still not completely sure of everything, but it feels great to be living by faith.”

It is the old common “I feel the Lord is leading me” or “we believe the Lord’s will for our lives is” or “the Lord spoke to me and ….”

Dan Phillips, who I enjoy as well, has several comments on the subject that I wanted to share with you.

“This is what a Biblically-minded interviewer would ask Chan. “Are you likening this move to Abram’s move from Ur?”, I would ask. To anything like an affirmative response, I would follow up with this: “So are you saying that you received an inerrant, verbal, prophetic, morally-binding revelation directly from God, apart from Scripture, telling you that you needed to walk away from your pastoral commitment abruptly and go off doing other unspecified things?”

If he means anything else, Chan is drawing from some spiritual authority other than Scripture. That is what a Biblical writer would mean, unless it were Paul speaking of the effectual call to salvation (which clearly does not fit). “God is calling us” must mean that, to a Biblically-oriented Christian.

If Chan is saying he receives direct, prophetic, inerrant revelation, he should be made to say so up-front, so that all Christians can see his orientation and respond accordingly. If he is not, he should be held accountable, encouraged to drop the spiritualized lingo, and made to say whatever the truth is. “I was bored”; “I was curious”; “My kids hate it here”; whatever. Say it, and take responsibility for the decision. Don’t try to put it off on God.”

He further adds, “There are scads of impulsive, glandular, irresponsible Christianoids trying to blame God for their immaturity, impulsiveness, and irresponsibility. These are precisely the terms they use as a pretext. It makes them look holy and spiritual, but in Biblical terms, they are not.

As I do the math, I just am not seeing the numbers indicating that God benefits by being shamed by more irresponsible, immature Christians blaming Him for their lame behavior. Just do not see it.”

I concur totally and encourage all of us to be careful that we take responsibility for our own actions and stop trying to make God responsible for them.

You can read the entire post here: http://bibchr.blogspot.com/2010/04/taking-step-of-faith-few-thoughts.html

Church Weakness!

From Sinclair Ferguson’s latest By Grace Alone: How the Grace of God Amazes Me (Reformation Trust, 2010), page xiv:

“A chief reason for the weakness of the Christian church in the West, for the poverty of our witness and any lack of vitality in our worship, probably lies here: we sing about ‘amazing grace’ and speak of ‘amazing grace,’ but far too often it has ceased to amaze us. Sadly, we might more truthfully sing of ‘accustomed grace.’ We have lost the joy and energy that are experienced when grace seems truly amazing.”

By lakeviewbc Posted in Church

We Can’t Trust Ourselves! (The Will of God–Part 2)

Yesterday, I pinpointed what about the will of God I am addressing.  It is our pleasing God, his commands, or his desirous will that we are focusing on.  It is this will that we so often abuse.  We often do what we want to do and to escape questions about it we attribute it to God.  We say things like “God is leading me, “  “I feel God’s will is for me to,” or “I think God wants me to….”

And what I want to remind you of today is the impossibility that you can trust yourself.  Your feelings and your desires cannot be trusted.  The Bible says that our hearts are “desperately wicked, who can know them?”  Our desires and flesh are manipulative and deceptive.  The flesh desires to have its way and if it can have its way and avoid examination by blaming it on God, then so be it.  We are so selfish and so self-driven that almost every decision we make is influenced by our own selfish desires and wants.

The reason you can’t trust your feelings is that your desires change according to your circumstances.  Here is how it works for me. When attendance is low, the Lord is leading me to serve somewhere else.  When attendance is high, this is the exact place that God wants me. When there are problems to confront, I feel God wants me to get out of the ministry altogether. Situations dictate our feelings so that they cannot be trusted.

The only source of trust is the Word of God.  It is the only thing on earth you can fully and finally trust.  Not my feelings and not my desires and not my peace but the Word of God.  So when it comes to pleasing God we must find that path in the word of God.  It is not what I feel but what the Word of God says.

So if you want to buy that new item or you want to go to another place just be honest and take credit for your own decisions and stop blaming God.  And what you do, do it hoping and praying that God is pleased with it and that he gets glory from it. Do everything you can to please God in that decision while admitting that we cannot know for sure unless the Word says it.

What Biblically do we know is God’s will?  That is what we will examine next.

The Two Wills of God!

I shared with the church this past Sunday evening what I consider a misuse of “the will of God.” The misuse comes when we actually do what WE WILL and then attribute it to God.  We say things like, “I feel God is leading me to….., I feel God’s will is for me to….., or I nave peace about it.  While being in the will of God is an important desire to pursue, many times it’s just an excuse to do what we want to do and blame God.  It leaves no room for discussion.  What argument do you have for someone who says, “I feel it is God’s will to leave the church?”  It may certainly be God’s will but it may be that they are upset with someone in the church and instead of dealing with the problem and forgiving the person it suddenly involves “God’s leading” someplace else.

To begin to understand this we need to grasp that there are two different Biblical meanings for the term “will of God.”  In one instance, the will of God means the Decree of God. It speaks of God’s sovereign control of all that takes place.  Whatever happens is deemed to be in God’s decreed will.  It must come to pass and no one can prevent it from coming to pass.  This is not the will we are dealing with.

The other meaning has to do with God’s Desired Will.  It is what he commands us to do.  It is what is pleasing to Him. It is this will that we can fail to do and disobey.   When we say that we feel God is leading me to do this or that, this is the will we are speaking of.  We could very easily say “I feel that it is pleasing to God that I so this or that.”  Or  “I feel God wants me to go here or there.”  It is very important that we understand the differences of the “will of God.”

So here is the deal.  Given these two ideas of the will of God, a person can do something and be IN the will of God and be OUT of the will of God.  Because everything that happens is in the Decreed Will of God it is In His Will. But because it may not be pleasing to Him or according to His command it can, at the same time, be out of the Desired Will of God.

Maybe an illustration would help here.  Take a man who in the course of robbing a convince store, shoots and kills the store’s attendant.  That event did not happen outside of God’s decreed will.  God allowed it and ordained it to be that way.  But certainly, robbery and murder is out of the desired will of God.  It was not pleasing to Him. It is contrary to His commands.

So our discussion on the will of God is confined to what God desires, what he commands, and what pleases Him.  And it is this will of God that is I consider so misused today.

More on this tomorrow!  Lord Willing!