Monday, January 21, 2013

Colossians-Products of the Gospel in the Believer's Life

Here is the link for the audio from the 3rd session of the Sunday School class at church where we are studying Colossians.  The notes can be found here.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Colossians--The Transforming Power of the Gospel part 2

Here is the link to the audio from the second class in our study of Colossians.  You can click to listen or right click and download to your computer.  This is the new Sunday School class at church that a friend of mine and I are teaching.  The notes can be found here.  I pray that you are encouraged.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Habakkuk 2:18-20 The Foolishness of Idolatry Part II

When I was studying music in college, there were a couple of freshmen that came in my junior year who acted like they looked up to me.  We made idol conversation and they would ask me questions about various things in the music department.  One day, for recital class, I was playing a transcription of a Bach violin partita.  This was the first time they heard me play alone and they realized I wasn’t very good.  Oh, I was alright.  I could probably have walked into any 7th grade band room and made first chair, or at least had a lock on 2nd chair.  In all seriousness, they realized that I wasn’t as good as they’d made me out to be and it was foolish to look up to me.  In a similar manner, God, through the prophet Habakkuk, shows the foolishness of idolatry.
Now, of course, this portion of scripture is part of a song with 6 woes pronounced against the Babylonian empire.  The Babylonians like all ancient nations and most people today, did not worship the God Who created the universe.  They engaged in the worship of idols.  Now, just like Mike and Matt in my story above, in order to worship an idol, you have to engage in a bit of self-delusion.  Every idol, be it a gold statue, a job, a person, or anything else, is created by a human.  Not only is it created by a human, but you know, or you can know, who it is that created it.  Many times in scripture, the people saw the idol being made (Aaron and the golden calf, Jeroboam’s idol in I Kings 12) right before their eyes.  Therefore, as God observes in Habakkuk 2:18, what sense does it make for someone to trust something they created, especially an inanimate object made of cold, unfeeling, unliving metal.  Even though this creation is a “teacher of lies”, its creator trusts in it. 
It stands to reason if you create something, you are greater than what you created.  I mean, this object of gold, stone, or wood that the Babylonians created owed its existence to them. So, its shape, height, weight, and any other attributes it has exist because of the will of the person that carved it.  So, the lie that it teaches is that “You can be in control” or “You can depend on me”.  Now, it’s easy for you and I to sit here in the 21st century and shake our head at these foolish people who “say to a wooden thing, Arise, to a silent stone, Awake” as if we’re better than they are.  As Habakkuk 2:19 says, “there is no breath in it” (i.e. it isn’t alive).  We can comfort ourselves as if we’re superior because we don’t bow down and worship wood or gold.
But are we really that much better?  If you place something as a higher priority than God, then we can call it whatever we want to, but that, my friends, is worship.  That job that you put more time and energy into than you do into sharing the gospel?  You’re worshipping that job.  Your leisure time that you don’t want to sacrifice to go on a mission trip?  That’s an idol.  These things have no more breath or life in them than any stone statue.  You and I are just as foolish to chase after those idols as the Babylonians and other ancient nations were to worship statues instead of turning to worship the true, living, loving God who created the heavens and the earth.
In fact, we know that God will one day triumph over evil and all those who hate Him.  He will put  an end to sin and punish unrepentant sinners forever in hell.  The fact that God is so holy and righteous should fill us with awe.  I’m not saying we should fear God as if we’re in danger, but we should fear God in the sense that we should respect Him.  The last verse of this passage sums this up as well as any other scripture I can think of—But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Book Review: The Hole in Our Holiness by Kevin DeYoung

If you’re like me, you struggle with sin daily.  You know that you’re supposed to grow in Christlikeness, but somehow in the back of your mind you really don’t believe it’s possible to really be holy and you expect to rarely have anything other than intermittent victories over sin.  So, you plod along, putting on something of a spiritual mask around people hoping they can’t see that you really don’t make the kind of progress as a Christian that you think you’re supposed to even though you suspect they’re in the exact same boat as you are. Friend, if that’s you, and I know it’s me, then you need to get this book by Kevin DeYoung, The Hole in Our Holiness.

The book isn’t very long.  You could probably finish the book in less than a week without really breaking a sweat but the ideas DeYoung raises in the book with cause you to reexamine your faith and passion for the gospel.  In short, not only does DeYoung show from scripture that holiness is possible for the Christian, but that it should be the norm.  The reasons according to DeYoung that many of us don’t make much progress in our sanctification are that we either try to do it in our own power (legalism) or we’ve resigned ourselves to the fact that we’re doing as good as we can and so we have to settle for what little progress we’ve made rather than actually making holiness something that we pursue.
DeYoung makes the case that we don’t have to settle and that not only is practical holiness possible, but he gives sound, real life advice on how we can and should grow in holiness.  For my part, the most eye opening concept in this book was that striving for holiness is so much more than a legalistic “To-Do” checklist (“Don’t smoke, don’t chew, don’t go with the girls who do.”)  Another concept that the author pointed out that was quite revolutionary for me was that although our obedience will never be perfect that doesn’t mean that our imperfect obedience isn’t pleasing to God and doesn’t bring Him glory.  In fact, quite the opposite is true.  God delights in our obedience even if it isn’t perfect.  I commend this title to anyone regardless of their level of spiritual maturity because I believe you will be encouraged to be a more committed, gospel loving, disciple of Jesus Christ as a result of the truths Kevin DeYoung discusses in this book. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Colossians--The Transforming Power of the Gospel part 1

Here is the link for the audio from my new Sunday School class.  We are studying the book of Colossians.  You can get the study notes for the class here.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Acts 17:16-34 The Gospel In A Society Full of Idolatry

Here is the link for the audio of a Sunday School class I taught a few weeks ago in my church.  I was asked to be the substitute which was a real honor since I have so much respect for my teacher.  I'm so humbled that after teaching this class I was recommended to help start a new Sunday School class with a good friend.  Praise God for opportunities to serve!!!  I pray that you are encouraged.