Happy Reformation Day!

It has been said that justification by faith alone is the doctrine on which the church stands or falls; on reformation day we discover the “rediscovery” (in a Christopher Columbus sense) of this doctrine. So on this Reformation I give you an awesome quote from the reformer Zacharias Ursinus:

“The righteousness with which we are here justified before God, is not our conformity with the law, not our good works, nor our faith; but it is the satisfaction which Christ rendered to the law in our stead; or the punishment which he endured on our behalf; and therefore the entire humiliation of Christ…whatever he did…is all included in the satisfaction which he made for us, and in the righteousness which God graciously imputes to us, and all believers.”

Zacharias Ursinus

“How can man, being a sinner, be just before God?…Man as a sinner can be regarded as righteous only on the ground of the imputation of Christ’s merits; and this is the question of which we speak when treating the subject of justification.”

Zacharias Ursinus would like to say:

Happy Reformation Day!

5 Great Deals for Your Kindle

What I love about the Kindle is that every once in a while you will find awesome deals – often at $0.99 or $1.99. Today I discovered four great books, and I got them all! Here they are in their categories:

Church History

Rediscovering the Church Fathers: Who They Were and How They Shaped the Church – $0.99 – Michael Haykin

Commentary

Galatians: Gospel-rooted Living – $0.99

Ministry

A Meal with Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community, and Mission around the Table – $0.99 – Tim Chester

Jonathan Edwards

A God Entranced Vision of All Things: The Legacy of Jonathan Edwards$1.99 – John Piper & Justin Taylor

Church and Society

Recovering Classic Evangelicalism: Applying the Wisdom and Vision of Carl F. H. Henry - $0.99 – Gregory Thornbury

Exposed – Remember the Cross

Yesterday in our Masks mini-series we talked about “Masks” and how we put them on to hide from ourselves, from God, and especially from other people.  I offered you the second step to taking off your mask – today I offer you last and most important step…

Remember the Cross

Chances are that when you take of your mask people won’t actually reject you. Because everybody deals with crap, and they probably assume that you do to. But even if they do reject you – who cares! Who cares if they reject you. Who cares if they are disappointed. Who cares if they don’t want to be in community with you!

You are probably thinking:

What do you mean who cares?!?!? I care!!!

Well Jesus doesn’t care. Jesus paid for those sins that you are afraid to expose and his opinion is the only opinion in the entire universe that matters. At the end of the day – everybody might reject you, abandon you, hate you, ridicule you, but Jesus won’t. You might disappoint others but Jesus won’t be disappointed. There is something very freeing about living in that truth – of knowing that you are secure in Jesus because of the cross… of knowing that there is nothing you can do or be that will separate you from the love of God. If you really believe that – if you really believe the cross – if you really believe the gospel, then you can be free to walk around and think – I don’t care what you think about me! I know how the king and creator of the universe feels about me – And that is good enough for me!

Exposed – Fear of Man

Yesterday in our Masks mini-series we talked about “Masks” and how we put them on to hide from ourselves, from God, and especially from other people.  I offered you the first step to taking off your mask – today I offer you the second step:

Recognize Fear of Man

Masks

We protect ourselves from rejection because we are sure we will be rejected if others really see what’s inside.

So we fake it.

Think about it this way do you have a room that is an absolute mess? If you do, you would not want people to walk into your room unannounced right?

When you hear somebody is coming over unexpectedly, you probably start hiding things – you throw all of your junk into drawers, you hide the dirty socks on the floor, you put all of your junk into a pile in the closet or hide it under the bed. By doing that you make sure that nobody thinks “EWW! This person is an absolute pig.” And you have kept your dignity, but really the mess is still there – its just that nobody can see it.

By keeping up the appearance of being clean – you save yourself from judgment and rejection. By doing this you avoid the fear of being rejected, which make sense – because being rejected sucks.

However I’m talking about an all consuming fear that keeps us from being real. We tend to fake it because we see people as bigger than God and we fear the consequences of people knowing what we are really like. We are afraid that we will be humiliated, laughted at, rejected, ridiculed, or even despised. We are afraid that we will lose those friendships or relationships.

So in that moment when you are about to be real you stop and consider the consequences – and you decide that instead of risking rejection you are going to play it safe and keep it hidden…

We need to realize that the biggest reason we hide is because we fear people more than we fear God….

So if you are going to take off your Mask you need to realize that the reason you even put on a mask in the first place is your fear of man…

Next time we will look at the last and most important thing you need to do before you can take off your mask.

Exposed – We Are All Messed Up!

Yesterday we talked about “Masks” and how we put them on to hide from ourselves, from God, and especially from other people. In a sense Everyday is Halloween. So over the next few days I am going to offer you three things you need to do to get past the fear of taking off your mask. Today I offer you the first step to taking off your mask…

Realize Everyone Else is a Mess Too!

Put on that Happy Mask and pretend its all OK!
Put on that Happy Mask and pretend its all OK! You are guaranteed to feel happy or your money back guaranteed!

 

I’m a mess – you are a mess – we are all messes okay? We all struggle with stuff – we all battle sin. That is why Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:13:

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.

If you are struggling with something – chances are somebody else you know is struggling too. Here is a silly example: The other day somebody came to me and said that they always feel bad during worship and I asked them why?

“It really looks like you are into worship everytime… It seems like you are really enjoying yourself.”

 And they replied –

Yeah sometimes…. When I worship I don’t feel as mature as everyone else.

I feel like everyone is so spiritual and focused on God during worship.

But every time we worship I can’t stop thinking about things I really shouldn’t be thinking about.

 And I ask – “So what are you thinking about…”

Cheesburgers – they reply

And I’m like NO WAY – Me too!

That’s silly – but its real – chances are somebody is struggling with the same thing you are; whether that is some addiction or thoughts of burgers – there is somebody out there, probably somebody you know that is trying to hide the same exact things you are trying to hide.

So you need to realize that everyone has something they are hiding – everyone is a mess.

Exposed – What’s Under Your Mask?

“Do you not know that there comes a midnight hour when everyone has thrown off his mask? Do you believe that life will always let itself be mocked? Do you think you can slip away a little before midnight to avoid this? Or are you not terrified by it? – Soren Kierkegaard

What’s Under Your Mask?

Masks - Famous Movies

Today I’m kicking off a mini-series called “Masks” – The Things We Hide Behind. With Halloween coming many of us will be wearing masks or costumes – and for most people it’s a ton of fun. For one night – you get to pretend to be something your really aren’t.

However – for many people Halloween isn’t the only day we put on masks. For many people putting on a mask is a regular part of your morning ritual…

Eat breakfast – Brush your teeth

Do your hair – Grab your backpack

But before you walk out that door…

You put on that mask and head to school or work or wherever you go.

And all day long – you will wear a mask to cover up certain parts of you that you don’t want anybody to see. We do that to hide from ourselves, from God, and especially from other people. In a sense Everyday is Halloween. So over the next few days I am going to offer you three things you need to do to get past the fear of taking off your mask.

Context Context Context!

I’m in the middle of studying for our next sermon series at Soma which is a series on Philippians. Philippians is certainly one of the most beloved books of the NT. In fact, I have several friends who have even memorized it! One of the reasons why its so beloved is because it contains a plethora of memorable verses, probably more than any other Pauline letter. Take for example the following short list:

  • For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.
  • You attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.
  • Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
  • And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
  • I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
  • And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

How many times have you heard somebody say one of these phrases when times got tough? I certainly have – however from personal experience, I have certainly see how these famous verses take on a life of there own apart from anything that Paul is actually saying in the book. Without proper context these verses, especially the ones about rejoicing always and God providing everything  become at worst proof texts for a full blow prosperity gospel or at best a pseudo-prosperity gospel.

Without proper context, these verses get watered down into a full blown or pseudo-prosperity gospel.

Careful study of Philippians shows that these verses are the furthest thing from a form of the prosperity gospel, or name-it-claim-it, or wishful, positive Christian thinking. Paul can say these things, not because he can find the positive in every situation and not because he hopes that God will bail him out, no, Paul can say these things because he knows that he has the ultimate treasure and comfort, i.e. knowing Christ and being in Christ.

Scattered Thoughts on Theology and Culture…

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