Monthly Archives: March 2011

The Perfect Lamb of God (John 1:29)

Read John 1:29:

29 “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

The Lamb of God is a phrase so rarely thought about. We may hear it mentioned occasionally in church, we may sing it in some old hymns, and we may even say ourselves that Jesus is the Lamb of God. But what does the phrase mean? And what was John the Baptist meaning when he cried out in John 1:29.

To begin with, if we go back to the Old Testament we can see what a sacrifice was for and the significance of it being a lamb. Leviticus 4 and 5 speak of the sin offering that was prescribed to Israel. With the sin offering, the body of the lamb to be offered for sin was burned outside the camp and the blood was taken into the holy place. This practice is important and it ties into how Jesus acts as our Lamb of God as we will see shortly. The person who brought the offering was acknowledging that they had sinned in some way through weakness or negligence and were seeking forgiveness. Essentially the Sin Offering deals with the nature of man – namely that he is sinful.

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Grace and Sin

As I was reading something today, I saw a short, but wonderful quote from the great preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon:

Grace is the mother and nurse of holiness, and not the apologist of sin.”

When I think about the meaning of that statement, I fall back on the Word of God and think that Spurgeon had something there. I love the way he suggests that grace in the believer’s life is what will encourage holiness in life.

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The Unpardonable Sin (Mat 12) (from Closingstages)

Mike over at closing stages has done a very interesting post on the unpardonable sin. You can find the full post here.

He bases it around a piece of writing from Dr Alan Cairns which I will include below:

The Lord Jesus in Matthew 12 speaks of a sin that is unpardonable. It’s amazing to me that when people read that passage they always focus on that one little thing, the one sin that is unpardonable. I have very rarely ever seen people emphasis the context and yet the context is glorious. Why do we not emphasis the magnificence of God’s mercy and just focus on this one thing? It’s because I suppose of so many false theories that people, especially preachers tell others it looks like they have committed the unpardonable sin. Actually the Lord Jesus was very careful in defining this. In the context he was referring it to the Pharisees and the sin that they had committed. These particular Pharisees. They knew according to Nicodemus, they knew that God was with Christ. Nicodemus said, “We know you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him” John 3:2. And yet the Pharisees in Matthew chapter 12 deliberately attributed what they knew to be the work of the Holy Spirit, they attributed it to the Devil. And they did it for their own rotten prodigious and their own particular political or sectarian advantage. Now that’s a terrible thing, they knew this to be the work of the Holy Spirit and they attributed it to the Devil. And Jesus said, you do that, that’s blasphemy that will never be forgiven in this life or the next. Now when you stop to think of it, if what the Holy Ghost does is relegated to be a work of the Devil, what is there for you? The only word that can bring light to you is the word of the of Holy Ghost. The only work that can benefit you is the work of the Holy Ghost. If you have already handed it all over to the devil, there is nothing left. Jesus said, that’s the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Some people have gone so far as to say and they may well be right in this, that that was a sin which could be committed only with regard to the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ because these men had seen the Son of God through whom the Spirit of God had moved with such power. They had seen that, nobody else now a days can see that, so some people will limit that blasphemy, that particular sin to the days of Christ on earth. Be they right or wrong on that, certainly it is defined as a deliberate attribution to the devil of what they knew to be the work of the Holy Spirit, that is the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.”

Please go to the post at Closingstages and read the full discussion.

God bless.

Good Church, Bad Church

It is an unfortunate fact of life that there are controlling and manipulative entities in the world and it is even more unfortunate that some of them happen to be churches. While initially things happen based on good motives, over time they can morph into dangerous and destructive practices/doctrines which can leave the flock open to being abused, manipulated and “homeless”. The process is normally slow to begin with but inevitably gets out of hand over time.

What are warning signs of a dangerous church? What are the things to look out for? And what should we compare these “red flags” with? As we continue, we will see what sort of things we should keep an eye out for and possible questions to ask yourself. What sort of leader allows these things to occur? We can also look at the things to look out for in leadership too.

While there are many signs and signals which vary from church to church, there are some common flags which should have our attention drawn to them. So what are some of these?

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God is good to us (even when life is hard) (Psalm 73)

Read Psalm 73:

Truly God is good to Israel, To such as are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; My steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the boastful, When I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no pangs in their death, But their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men, Nor are they plagued like other men. Therefore pride serves as their necklace; Violence covers them like a garment. Their eyes bulge with abundance; They have more than heart could wish. They scoff and speak wickedly concerning oppression; They speak loftily. They set their mouth against the heavens, And their tongue walks through the earth. Therefore his people return here, And waters of a full cup are drained by them. And they say, “How does God know? And is there knowledge in the Most High?” Behold, these are the ungodly, Who are always at ease; They increase in riches. Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain, And washed my hands in innocence. For all day long I have been plagued, And chastened every morning. If I had said, “I will speak thus,” Behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children. When I thought how to understand this, It was too painful for me—Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end. Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction. Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awakes, So, Lord, when You awake, You shall despise their image. Thus my heart was grieved, And I was vexed in my mind. I was so foolish and ignorant; I was like a beast before You. Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel, And afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish; You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry. But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, That I may declare all Your works. (Psa 73:1-28)

Does this passage from Psalms ring any bells. I was reading it to my daughter tonight for no apparent reason except that is where I happened to open her kids bible to for our nightly Psalm reading.

As I read through it, I could not think of anything else apart from my family’s life in prior churches. I remember when I too used to be jealous of the things these people seemed to have: the wealth, the lack of problems etc. I watched while we suffered with health issues and other things. Even after we left, I still used to look back and ask God why they seemed to still be doing so well. When was He going to “sort them out”.

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