T4G Gems: Matt Chandler (w/ C.J. Mahaney)

Friday, April 30, 2010

Preparing Your Church for Suffering

(Pastor Matt Chandler was recently diagnosed with stage 3 brain cancer)

"Just because you build your life on the rock of Jesus doesn't mean the storm won't hit."

It's better to go home to glory, but while we're here there's work to be done."

*C.J. Mahaney:

"Preparing your congregation for suffering should inform your preaching plan."

"The most effective way to prepare your church for suffering is to preach the gospel."

"The great mystery is not 'Why do I suffer?' but 'Why would the sinless Son of God suffer for me?'"

Mark Dever - R. C. Sproul - Al Mohler - Thabiti Anyabwile - John MacArthur - David Platt - John Piper - Ligon Duncan - Matt Chandler - C.J Mahaney


T4G Gems: Ligon Duncan

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Did the Early Church Fathers Know the Gospel?

"We should read the church fathers respectfully, but carefully - keeping in mind the ultimate authority of the Scriptures."

"Paul taught that 'wolves' would rise up from within the church. So it would naturally follow that some of the church fathers would be completely wrong."

"When you read the church fathers on doctrines which were under assault in their time, they almost always get it right. However, regarding doctrines which were not being disputed at the time, they were often wrong. In this way, ironically, heresy served the church."

"Often the fathers erred by reacting too strongly against the culture of their day. This should be a lesson for us."

"Scripture shows that the Word of God always creates the people of God; the people of God never create the Word of God."

"A study of the early church fathers proves the early dating of the NT canon, since these early fathers quote all the NT books."

"Contra Dan Brown, the early church did not struggle with the deity of Christ, but with the humanity of Christ."

"Only the affections of the Spirit, through the gospel, are a match for the affections of the flesh."

"The church fathers did not articulate gospel truths clearly enough so that doctrines like imputation would be sustained through the next several centuries. But the gospel was not lost. Fathers such as Diagnatus, Irenaeus, and Hilary of Partian clearly taught imputation and justification by faith alone."

"Reading the early church fathers is a great evidence of the inspiration of the NT documents, written just before. When you compare them, the difference in quality and glory is remarkable."

Mark Dever - R. C. Sproul - Al Mohler - Thabiti Anyabwile - John MacArthur - David Platt - John Piper - Ligon Duncan - Matt Chandler - C.J Mahaney


T4G Gems: John Piper

Monday, April 26, 2010

Did Jesus Preach Paul's Gospel? (Luke 18)

"For some—perhaps many—there is the suspicion (or even conviction) that justification by faith alone is part of Paul’s gospel, but not part of Jesus’ gospel. And in feeling that way, our commitment to the doctrine is weakened, and we are thus less passionate to preach it and defend it as essential to the gospel. And we may even think that Jesus’ call to sacrificial kingdom obedience is more radical and more transforming than the gospel of justification by faith alone."

"I really believe that the ultimate reason God gave us four portraits of Jesus in the four Gospels is so that we would more fully and accurately see and savor the glories of the Savior that we meet personally in the gospel, and that we would enjoy fellowship with him in this life, as we know him personally from what he did and said in his days on earth."

"When it came to justification, this Pharisee was trusting in the wrong thing. He was looking at the wrong basis for his righteousness before God. He was looking at the wrong person and the wrong righteousness. He was looking to his own righteousness—and it was his, not because he created it, but because he acted it. It was not an alien righteousness. It was inherent in him. It was in his will and in his heart and in his actions. It was his, and it was put there, he believed, by God. That is what he was trusting in. And what about the tax collector? He looked away from himself to God. He trusted in nothing in himself. He trusted in God’s mercy. And Jesus said, 'God declared him righteous and acceptable.'"

"Jesus said to the rich young ruler: You lack one thing. You lack me. Stop treasuring money and start treasuring me. You want to inherit eternal life. You want to enter the kingdom of heaven. You want to be justified. Only by your attachment to me will you inherit eternal life, enter the kingdom, be justified. If you would be perfect—which is the only way into God’s kingdom—follow me. Be connected to me. Depend on all that I am for you."

"People in our day, in order to create greater moral seriousness (especially with the radical commands of Jesus) are making morality part of the ground of justification. This backfires, because it destroys the joyful confidence which alone can bear the fruit of Christ-exalting love. It takes away the one and only ground and source of the very transformation they long for."

"Settle it once and for all that the dozens of places in the Bible that make your good behavior the condition of your final salvation are a condition only as the fruit and confirmation of justification, not the ground of it. All the good that God requires of the justified is the fruit of justification by faith alone, never the ground of justification. Let the battle of your life be there. The battle to believe. Not the battle to perform."

"Give Christ all his glory in the work of salvation, not just half of it. Half is the work of pardoning sin by becoming our wrath-absorbing punishment. But the other half is the work of providing our perfection by fulfilling everything that God required of us, and then imputing it to us. Don’t rob the Lord of half his glory in bringing you to God. Christ is our pardon. Christ is our perfection."

Mark Dever - R. C. Sproul - Al Mohler - Thabiti Anyabwile - John MacArthur - David Platt - John Piper - Ligon Duncan - Matt Chandler - C.J Mahaney


T4G Gems: David Platt

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Gospel Theology Necessitates Urgent Missiology (Romans 1-11)

"We have a Master who demands radical sacrifice and a mission that demands radical urgency."

"All people stand infinitely guilty before a holy God. You ask, 'What about all the innocent people in Africa who have never heard?' They don't exist! There's no such thing as an innocent person. That's why everyone needs the gospel - because everyone's guilty."

"Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane is not a coward about to face Roman soldiers, he is a Savior about to face divine wrath."

"We don't go to the nations with a list of things to do. They already have their religious lists. When we take a checklist to the nations, we undercut the uniqueness of the Christian gospel."

Romans 10: "Christ sends his servants, who preach the gospel which people hear and believe. Not all who hear will believe, but at least some from each people group will believe" (Rev. 5).

"We can talk all day about the destiny of the unevangelized, but the goal is not to answer that question. The goal is to eliminate that question."

"May God raise up people who are not content to wait for a tingly feeling to go down their spine before getting up and doing what God has already commanded us to do."

Mark Dever - R. C. Sproul - Al Mohler - Thabiti Anyabwile - John MacArthur - David Platt - John Piper - Ligon Duncan - Matt Chandler - C.J Mahaney


T4G Gems: John MacArthur

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Theology of Sleep! (Mark 4)

"If I believed that the salvation of sinners was ultimately up to me, I wouldn't sleep well. I understand what's at stake. I understand the reality of the wrath of God and eternal judgment. However, I have confidence in God to do the work that I can't do."

"Sow the seed and then go to sleep, because you're not in charge of the results (v. 26-27). We may be the means, but we are not the power (v. 28). We can sow the seed, but we can't change the heart."

"There are no adjectives in these verses that describe the sower. It doesn't matter if you have a tattered burlap seed bag or a designer seed bag."

"The message is not healing. The message is not free food. The message is the cross & resurrection of Jesus" (Luke 9:21-22 / 24:47-48).

"The prosperity gospel is like a Ponzi scheme - the guys at the top get rich, and the guys at the bottom are left in rags."

"You don't want to sow a synthetic seed and get a mutation."

"Where there is a genuine working of the Spirit, you don't find smug satisfaction. You find humility and brokenness."

"We are humble because we know only God can change the heart. But we are obedient because we know we are the means by which people will see the light" (v. 21-22).

"Your usefulness is in proportion to your sowing, and that leads to divine blessing (v. 24-25). I sleep well, but I don't sleep a lot!"

Mark Dever - R. C. Sproul - Al Mohler - Thabiti Anyabwile - John MacArthur - David Platt - John Piper - Ligon Duncan - Matt Chandler - C.J Mahaney


T4G Gems: Thabiti Anyabwile

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"Fine-Sounding Arguments" - How Wrongly "Engaging the Culture" Adjusts the Gospel (Colossians 1-3)

"Paul's passion was to present to Christ a pure bride. That's what got him up every morning. This is your goal as a pastor: to push people up into Christ" (1:28-29).

"We are gospel men. That is our purpose."

"Paul engaged culture by engaging the church, because God's people are the only ones who can think in the categories of 'consistent with the gospel' and 'inconsistent with the gospel.'"

"Jesus is the sovereign Lord of all creation. We need no new philosophy. Christ is all and in all" (2:9-10).

"The church is multi-ethnic, but mono-cultural."

"Engaging the culture with an earthly mind will lead to earthly living; the only way to be any earthly good is to be increasingly heavenly-minded" (3:1-11).

Mark Dever - R. C. Sproul - Al Mohler - Thabiti Anyabwile - John MacArthur - David Platt - John Piper - Ligon Duncan - Matt Chandler - C.J Mahaney


T4G Gems: Al Mohler

How Does it Happen? Trajectories Toward an Adjusted Gospel

“False gospels are all around us, ranging from the blatantly false to the seductively revised.”

1. The Modern Trajectory
“The moment you begin to make a distinction between the 'historical Jesus' and the Christ of faith, you have already compromised Biblical Christianity.”

2. The Postmodern Trajectory
“When you come to understand liberal theology, you don’t know anything more about theology but you do know a lot more about liberals.”

3. The Moral Trajectory
“We need to avoid presenting God as fair. Perfect is better than fair. Perfect is above being interrogated by fair. With fair, nobody goes to heaven.”

4. The Aesthetic Trajectory
“We are too easily drawn toward what is merely pretty…superficial…gaudy. The cross is an example of true beauty, but is horribly ugly to the human eye.”

5. The Therapeutic Trajectory
“The gospel saves and makes well, but it is not therapy.”

6. The Pragmatic Trajectory
“Pragmatism is one of the most powerful backdrops of modern ministry. With pragmatism there is an immediate payoff, but it leads to crowds that are not churches and results that are not regenerations.”

7. The Emotional Trajectory
“How you feel about certain doctrines has nothing to do with whether or not they are true. And it has nothing to do with whether or not you should faithfully preach them.

8. The Materialist Trajectory
“We are all tempted to immanentize the eschaton: ‘Your Best Life Now.” But for the believer, our best life is future. The only people whose best life is now are those who will end up in hell.”

“The Christ who saved us is Lord of His truth. He will vindicate his truth.”

Mark Dever - R. C. Sproul - Al Mohler - Thabiti Anyabwile - John MacArthur - David Platt - John Piper - Ligon Duncan - Matt Chandler - C.J Mahaney


T4G Gems: R.C. Sproul

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Defense and Confirmation of the Gospel - What I Have Learned in 50 Years

"What is the gospel? The Gospel is Jesus - who he is and what he did - received by faith."

"If you don't have imputation, you don't have sola fide, and if you don't have sola fide, you don't have the gospel."

"It's not your gospel. It's God's gospel. Don't try to improve it - you can't!"

Mark Dever - R. C. Sproul - Al Mohler - Thabiti Anyabwile - John MacArthur - David Platt - John Piper - Ligon Duncan - Matt Chandler - C.J Mahaney


T4G Gems: Mark Dever

Friday, April 16, 2010

This post begins a series of notable quotes from the speakers at the 2010 Together for the Gospel conference, which Joe and I had the privilege of attending.

The Church is the Gospel Made Visible

"The church is created by the gospel, then it reflects and displays the gospel to the world looking on. What kind of gospel is your local church making visible?"

"You say your church is for sinners? Good - all churches are. But Biblical churches are for a particular subset of sinners: repenting sinners."

"Church leaders must undermine Satan's lie: that love and authority can't co-exist. Leaders must reflect God's loving authority over their lives."

"When we tell unbelievers the truth about sin, they are finally given a diagnosis of their condition that makes sense."

"When believers love others in their church who have nothing in common with them, it produces a good confusion in the world looking on."

"A local church is a weird thing. It is a community that bases everything they do on things they can't see: the promises of God in Christ. Our sacrifices for God and for each other only make sense in light of eternity" (Heb. 10:34).

Mark Dever - R. C. Sproul - Al Mohler - Thabiti Anyabwile - John MacArthur - David Platt - John Piper - Ligon Duncan - Matt Chandler - C.J Mahaney


Religion and the Gospel

Monday, April 12, 2010

I obey; therefore I'm accepted.
I'm accepted; therefore I obey.

Motivation is based on fear and insecurity.
Motivation is based on grateful joy.

I obey God in order to get things from God.
I obey to get God - to delight in and resemble Him.

When circumstances in my life go wrong, I am angry at God or myself, since I believe that anyone who is good deserves a comfortable life.
When circumstances in my life go wrong, I struggle, but I know all my punishment fell on Jesus and that while God may allow this for my training, he will exercise his Fatherly love within my trial.

My prayer life consists largely of petition, and it only heats up when I am in time of need. My main purpose in prayer is control of the environment.
My prayer life consists of generous stretches of praise and adoration. My main purpose is fellowship with God.

My self-view swings between two poles. If and when I am living up to my standards, I feel confident, but then I am prone to be proud and unsympathetic to failing people. If and when I am not living up to standards, I feel humble but not confident--I feel like a failure.
My self-view is not based on my moral achievement. In Christ I am simul lustus et peccator - simultaneously sinful and lost, yet accepted in Christ. I am so bad that he had to die for me, and I am so loved that he was glad to die for me. This leads me to deep humility and confidence at the same time.

My identity and self-worth are based mainly on how hard I work, or how moral I am--and so I must look down on those I perceive as lazy or immoral.
My identity and self-worth are centered on the one who died for me. I am saved by sheer grace, so I can't look down on those who believe or practice something different from me. Only by grace am I what I am.

(From Timothy J. Keller's Gospel in Life: Grace Changes Everything, p. 16)

HT: Tim A. Keller


The Fellowship of the Unashamed

Friday, April 9, 2010

Consider this statement by a young African pastor, found among his papers in Zimbabwe after he was martyred:

I'm a part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I'm a disciple of His and I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.

My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure. I'm done and finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be right, or first, or tops, or recognized, or praised, or rewarded. I live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by Holy Spirit power.

My face is set. My gait is fast. My goal is heaven. My road may be narrow, my way rough, my companions few, but my guide is reliable and my mission is clear.

I will not be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed.

I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice or hesitate in the presence of the adversary. I will not negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won't give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus. I must give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes. And when He does come for His own, He'll have no problems recognizing me - my colors will be clear!
"I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God." (Acts 20:24)


Harvest Loves...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Check out this video and be encouraged by the opportunities God is opening up for our "Harvest Loves" food pantry. Soli Deo Gloria.

"Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
"If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount.
"But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful." (Luke 6:30-36)

"As we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith." (Gal 6:10)

Please pray for this effort! Our desire is that the saving grace of Jesus Christ will be well-adorned by our kindness, and that we would have opportunity to give the gospel to many who come to receive food.


Good Friday

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Yesterday we had two Good Friday services at Harvest Bible Chapel of Canton. At times I was overwhelmed as we sang songs that reminded me of Christ's great sacrifice on the cross for me. For those of you who missed being with us, here is a video of one portion of the service that I hope will be a particular blessing to you.


The Love and Wrath of God

Friday, April 2, 2010

This is an excellent post by Mike D. of Tenth Avenue North explaining the truth behind their song Hallelujah. A great reminder of the eternal significance of Good Friday.

"Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!" (Revelation 5:12)


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