Are You Like Judas or Peter?

When I can’t sleep at night, I often listen to my Bible app. Last night, I heard the account of Peter denying the Lord. After declaring three times that he did not know Jesus, Luke 22:61-62 tells us: “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.’ And he went out …”

If I had never heard the story before, I would have been holding my breath. What was he going to do?!

Back in Matthew 26 and 27, we read of Judas betraying Jesus. Matthew 27:3 says that, when Judas saw that Jesus was condemned, Judas changed his mind and returned the money to the chief priests and elders. They had what they wanted, though, so they weren’t going to give up the man they had been waiting for for so long.

willingpraise

Upon hearing this, verse 5 says about Judas, “throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went … and hanged himself.” How sad! He could not live with the guilt of knowing he had betrayed an innocent man so he ended his life prematurely.

Peter, on the other hand, had a different outcome. Instead of hanging himself, Peter “went out and wept bitterly.” He too felt the depths of his sin but, instead of giving in to despair, he chose to live.  Because of this, God was able to use him, and he became a bold witness of the One he had once claimed to not know.

I doubt there is a person alive who has not failed the Lord at some point or another. Some give up and decide there is no point in even trying, while others fall on their knees in repentance and then get up, wipe the dust off, and move on, growing stronger than ever before.

Who are you more like? Judas or Peter? When you make a mistake, do you crumble and give up, or do you ask God for forgiveness and then set out to fulfill your calling once again? Let me encourage you to learn from Peter. God is there and ready to forgive a repentant heart. Sometimes it is through failing that we learn our humanity and turn to Him like never before. He loves you. Don’t lose sight of just how much.

Teach Your Children Well

Little children parade to the front during worship service to toss money into an offering plate as quote-Anita-Baker-applause-felt-like-approval-and-it-became-94311music is played. As they march out to children’s church, people clap.

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:1-4)

What are these children being taught?

Robert Haldane on Mortifying Sin

Robert Haldane quoting William Romaine in his commentary on the book of Romans: Haldane

True spiritual mortification does not consist in sin not being in thee, nor in its being put on the cross daily, nor yet in its being kept upon it. There must be something more to establish perfect peace in thy conscience; and that is the testimony of God concerning the body of sin. He has provided for thy perfect deliverance from it in Christ. Everything needful for this purpose was finished by Him upon the cross. He was the Surety. He suffered for thee. Thy sins were crucified with Him, and nailed to His cross. They were put to death when He died: for He was thy covenant-head, and thou wast legally represented by Him, and art indeed dead to sin by His dying to sin once. The law has now no more right to condemn thee, a believer, than it has to condemn Him. Justice is bound to deal with thee, as it has with thy risen and ascended Savior. If thou dost not thus see thy complete mortification in Him, sin will reign in thee. No sin can be crucified either in heart or life, unless it be first pardoned in conscience; because there will be want of faith to receive the strength of Jesus, by whom alone it can be crucified. If it be not mortified in its guilt, it cannot be subdued in its power. If the believer does not see his perfect deadness to sin in Jesus, he will open a wide door to unbelief; and if he be not persuaded of his completeness in Christ, he gives room for the attacks of self-righteousness and legal tempers. If Christ be not all in all, self must still be looked upon as something great, and there will be food left for the pride of self-importance and self-sufficiency; so that he cannot grow into the death of Christ in sensible experience, further than he believes himself to be dead to sin in Christ. The more clearly and steadfastly he believes this, as the Apostle did–I am crucified with Christ–in proportion will he cleave to Christ, and receive from Him greater power to crucify sin. This believing view of his absolute mortification in Christ, is the true Gospel method of mortifying sin in our own persons. Read the sixth of Romans, and pray for the Spirit of revelation to open it to thee. There thou wilt discover the true way to mortify sin. It is by believing that thou art planted together with Christ in His death; from thence only thy pardon flows, from thence thy daily victory is received, and from thence thy eternal victory will be perfected. –

In Robert Haldane, An Exposition of The Epistle to the Romans, 253-254

Polka Worship?

Polka WorshipSaw this sign on a Lutheran church building in Austin a while back. It could have been on the
building of most any denomination. The questions that popped into my head are:

a.) Is polka being worshipped?

b.) Is polka worshipping a god?

c.) Is polka the means of worship?

Answers to any of these questions fail to satisfy. I cannot help but think of the sons of Aaron and Eli, four of which were killed by YHWH for approaching Him in worship in ways He had not approved of.

Do these people think before they do foolish things? It appears not.

 

Chick-Fil-Church?

Because if preaching Christ and Him crucified is not enough to get them in the door, simply offer a $10 gift certificate to Chick-Fil-A to all first time adult visitors. That should bring them in the droves. Do we wonder why the world mocks us in the evangelical world? There is no difference between this and offering a Christmas tree or promising to swallow a goldfish or fill-in-the-blank.

Gimmicks, toys, and emotionalism is the name of the game in many churches just trying to capture one more person to put in the pews. Could you imagine the early New Testament Church offering a gift certificate to the unbelievers in Rome or Jerusalem or Antioch?
Chik-Church

Biblical Covenants – Baptist Perspective

Covenant chart color 768x400

The diagram above is my attempt to show the relationship between the various covenants between God and man discussed below. The covenants with Adam and Noah were with mankind and all the created order. Adam fell and we all are dead in him, our federal head; so too all of creation was cursed because of Adam’s sin.

From the dust of men, YHWH called out a people for Himself, to be custodians of His Word, to shine forth His glories in the wicked world, and to preserve the promised seed as it was carried through the generations from Adam to Christ Jesus. National Israel inhabited what is shown as the Old Covenant. Gentiles are not in the Old Covenant.

If all men are not in Adam’s Covenant, then all men could not die in Adam. But since all men die in Adam, we must see those that God formed into the Hebrew nation were born dead in Adam. The covenant of circumcision and the Mosaic covenant applied to them as God’s temporal people, but in Adam they all died. Some of them were redeemed by faith in the promised Christ and were bought out of the Adamic covenant into the covenant of redemption, to be sealed in Christ in the fullness of time. While they lived in the flesh, they were in the Mosaic Covenant as God’s temporal people. So all national Israel was at all times members of two covenants – one determining their spiritual condition (in Adam or in Christ), the other identifying them as God’s temporal people.

The eternal covenant called out in Hebrews 13 was a prelapsarian agreement within the holy trinity. It was revealed progressively until it was fulfilled by Christ and the issuing of the New Covenant. What the eternal covenant does is provide redemption for sinners (Ephesians 1 and others). 2 Timothy 1 shows us that our redemption was effected before the foundation of the world. I consider this covenant to be the guardian for the elect through redemptive history, until the New Covenant was issued, as was the Old Covenant for national Israel. Hebrews tells us the Old Testament saints waited until Christ came to get their full reward – while saved looking forward to the promised seed, “they did not receive that which was promised (temporal rest), since God had provided something better for us, so that they would not be made perfect without us.”

Both the Hebrew people and Gentiles have Adam as their spiritual father; only by being given new life in the last Adam do we become children of Abraham according to the promise. This gives us standing with Creator God as His children through the adoption of sons.

The covenant with Noah is outside the redemptive chain, as it is an unconditional promise of God to provide for man and beast seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night until the end of the age. It is included to remind us of God’s kind provision even to those whose best life is now. It mitigates the wrath of God for those in Adam while this age winds down. The shaded oval is labeled “Old Covenant” and represents God’s relationship to national Israel. It includes the three major covenants contained therein, although the Abrahamic Covenant has only one side in this arena. This line of covenants began as YHWH called people from Adam’s line to form His temporal people, and began to close with the Davidic Covenant, coming to a final close when the son of David who was his Lord fulfilled all the requirements of Moses and the prophets and cut the New Covenant (Galatians 3:24). The Covenant of Promise was revealed to man as God cursed the serpent, recorded in Genesis 3:15 and fulfilled in the New Covenant, being revealed with increasing clarity as redemptive history unfolded.

The Adamic Covenant runs parallel to the Old Covenant, and does not expire until the end of the age. All people in history are ruled by this covenant, with God’s universal law at work in the nations; the works of which are written on the hearts of these people (Romans 2:12-16). Those who are in the First Adam remain in this covenant unless, in time, God redeems them. From God’s covenant with Abraham come children of the flesh (being held captive by the Law of Moses – Galatians 4:21 – 25) and children of promise (being set free by faith in the promised seed – Galatians 3:29 & 4:26 – 31). This ever-increasing family gathers members from all races, creeds, and covenants. Sons of Adam who are redeemed have Abraham as their spiritual father (Galatians 3:29) Jesus is the promised son of David (Acts 2:22 – 39), being born under the law and its curse (Galatians 3:10 – 14), and giving Himself as a ransom to buy the elect (John 6:37 – 40). His work of redemption fulfilled the demands of the Old Covenant and all the types that pointed to His coming. This work made the Old Covenant obsolete and introduced the New Covenant which displays the glories of Christ in the lives of the redeemed (Hebrews 8).

With Noah as our federal head, we have so-called common grace from our Creator, both man and creation. The curse of Adam remains throughout this age, conquered but not eliminated, as we wait for the age to come; so the blessings through Noah remain throughout this age, to be made all the more glorious in the age to come.

A Burden for the Churched

This morning, as I listened to Greater Vision sing “Just One More Soul,” I began to reflect once again on the message of that song. It was the perfect encouragement I needed, as I prepare for another year of conferences and ministry. For those who don’t know, I have the blessing of traveling with my brother as he ministers to people and challenges them to examine their worldview and make sure everything they do is from a Biblical perspective.

Although he has done some street witnessing, prison ministry, etc., most of our outreach is to professing Christians, and those are often the ones I have the greatest burden for. In our travels, we meet a lot of neat people, some of whom are on fire for the Lord and are striving to raise their children to have that same fervor. But many seem to be stressed and depressed, weighed down with the things of this world. Then there are those who are just biding their time, waiting for the service to be over so they can go get together with their friends or go home and watch TV.

gospelchurch

It seems like so many today don’t really care what the Bible teaches. “If it feels good, do it” still permeates our society. If you want to watch movies filled with sex and violence, that’s fine. It’s just a movie. If you’re tired of your wife and you find someone else who will make you “happy,” go for it. But let me interject here that nowhere in the Bible does it say that God wants us to be happy. It does say He wants us to be holy, and that is missing from the lives of so many who claim to be saved.

Hebrews 6:4-8 says, “For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.”

I believe this speaks to those who say, “Lord, Lord, did we not do all kinds of things in Your name?” And, yet, the end result is that they did not live for Him on earth, so He had to turn them away from the gates of Heaven.

As I write this, my spirit is heavy. I see a world lost and dying, and I feel helpless to do anything about it. The truth is, however, that I can pray. I can live a life that pleases God so that He can use me for His glory. I can be faithful in the little things He has entrusted me with so that He can eventually trust me with bigger things. I can draw nearer to Him every day so that His voice becomes ever clearer. The answer is not to give up, but to press on with more determination than before.

God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, and this repentance must begin in the house of God. You may have sung as a child, “Lord, send a revival and let it begin with me.” May that be our prayer today. If the church begins to see true revival, I believe it will spread to the rest of the nation. Lord, hasten that day!