Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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James 1:22: Please Verify

James 1:22: But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. [1]

 Good security guards require people to verify that they are who they claim to be. A major way to know that someone is a Christian is that he or she lives according to Scripture. [2] If we identify with Christianity but fail to obey God’s Word, we lie to ourselves and deny ourselves the opportunity to grow in Christ. [3]

 While works do not save,[4] their enduring absence in people’s lives is condemning. [5] James 1:22 specifically warns that “[t]heology must lead to practice; faith must lead to deeds (2:24).” [6] You cannot claim to follow Jesus or truly know Him if your life is not submitted to His Scripture. [7] All of us struggle and fall. [8] The Trinity helps us repent and grow in His likeness. [9] Do not hesitate to come to Christ, as a struggling but growing saint, or for the first time in conversion.

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] Daniel M. Doriani. Reformed Expository Commentary: James Series Eds: Richard D. Philips and Philip Graham Ryken. Testament Eds: Iain M. Duguid and Daniel M. Doriani. (Philipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 2007), 51.

[3] Doriani, James, 51. See also 1 John 1:5-10

[4] Romans Galatians 2:11-21, Ephesians 2:8-10.

[5] Luke 6:46-49; Romans 2:13, 3:21-28; and James 2:14-20. For some individuals that may qualify as exceptions please see Luke 23:39-43 and The Westminster Standards: The Westminster Confession of Faith, the Larger Catechism, and the Shorter Catechism. (Philadelphia, PA: Great Commission Publications, 2011), The Confession, Chapter X, section 1.

[6] Doriani, James, 51.

[7] 1 John 2:1-17.

[8] Romans 3:9-23; 7:21-25.

[9] The Westminster Standards: The Westminster Confession of Faith, the Larger Catechism, and the Shorter Catechism, chapter XIII.

Posted on October 4, 2018 .

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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Romans 13:14: Transformed

Romans 13:14: But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.[1]

John Murray teaches that to properly understand Romans 13:13-14, we must understand Romans 6:1-10, because Christian conversion leads to change. [2] When people become believers, they are transformed by God’s glory. [3] The Trinity’s transformational work equips Christians to move from evil and become more like Christ. [4]

Further, Romans 13:13-14 “is what the Bible urges upon everyone.” [5] These verses call Christians to continually grow to be like Christ. [6] They also plead with those who do not believe to be dressed in Christ’s righteousness by trusting that His life, work, and resurrection purchased forgiveness for His children. [7]

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software 6. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] John Murray. The Epistle to the Romans: The English Text With Introduction, Exposition And Notes Vol. II. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Co. 1965), 170.

[3] Romans 6:4.

[4] James Montgomery Boice. Romans: The New Humanity, Romans 12-16, Vol. 4. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books a division of Baker Book House Co, 1995), 1719.

[5] Boice, Romans, Vol. 4, 1719.

[6] Murray, Romans, Vol. II, 170.

[7] Isaiah 61:10, 2 Corinthians 5:21

Posted on October 4, 2018 .

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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Ephesians 4:29: Well Worded

Ephesians 4:29: Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. [1]

 We easily see the “do not” in this verse, but there is much more than a negative. Paul commands believers to “edify” each other, which is “to carry [each other] forward” using words of “grace, comfort, advice, and everything that aids the salvation of the soul.” [2]

 Imagine how different life would be if words were aimed at benefitting souls. No generic well-wishing or simplistic sympathies, but genuine, timely communication pointing people to Christ. How do we know Paul wants people to see Christ? The best way to give grace and build someone up is to be used by God to help make Christ the centerpiece of their life. [3] Further, Christ alone had perfect speech, [4] the speech we should emulate. [5] Accordingly, if we want eternally meaningful interactions, we must speak in ways that highlight and “imitate” Christ. [6] Christians: are our words life giving or life taking? Christ-less hearts (in people who have not trusted Christ to forgive their sins) communicate corruption rather than grace. [7]

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016). Logos Bible Software. All Scripture References will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] John Calvin. Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul to the Galatians and Ephesians. Trans. William Pringle. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Co, 1981), 300.

[3] John 3:16-17; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 1:3-6, 2:1-10; 1 John 4:7-21.

[4] 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 John 3:5, 3:8.

[5] Ephesians 5:4; Colossians 3:8; 3:16; 4:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:11.

[6] 1 Corinthians 11:1.

[7] Matthew 12:34.

Posted on September 20, 2018 .

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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Ephesians 4:26-27: Now I’m Mad!

Ephesians 4:26-27: Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. [1]

Are these verses forbidding road rage? Perhaps: Paul’s main concern is not allowing expressions of anger to give Satan advantage over us. [2] Anger can be good and righteous when expressed in godly ways and aimed at evil. [3] Anger that festers, consumes, and/or unnecessarily explodes exposes immaturity and gives the devil a pressure point. [4] In order that Christ may keep us out of the evil one’s clutches, Paul lovingly shows us that the adversary rules when anger reigns. [5] Paul is not calling for immediate resolutions in every situation, but he is warning against rage. [6]

Why care? Do you drink poison? No, that would be foolish! Then why continue allowing anger and the devil to poison your soul? Turning to Jesus is the only means to escape the “corrosive” effects from fury and Satan. [7]

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] Bryan Chapell. Reformed Expository Commentary: Ephesians. Series Eds. Richard D. Phillips and Philip Graham Ryken. Testament Eds. Iain M. Duguid and Daniel M. Doriani. (Philipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 2009), 224.

[3] Chapell, Ephesians, 222.

[4] Chapell, Ephesians, 223-24.

[5] Chapell, Ephesians, 224.

[6] Chapell, Ephesians, 223.

[7] Chapell, Ephesians, 224. See also

Posted on September 14, 2018 .

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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2 Timothy 2:22: Running From and To

2 Timothy 2:22: So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. [1]

As Paul continues mentoring Timothy on being a minister, he warns Timothy what to run from and what to run to in order to be a worthy servant for Christ. [2] As a pastor, Timothy must escape the “youthful passions” of “impatience,” “contentiousness,” and “harshness”—all things that shipwreck churches. [3] Yet, good ministers also live positive commands. Part of Timothy glorifying God and serving his church includes living righteously, faithfully, lovingly, peacefully, and purely. [4]

Unfortunately, we are more familiar with ministers who run to sin and from righteousness. Even those claiming to be Christians hurt anyone. These truly painful failures are not grounds for sin or rejecting Christianity. Believers: we must all strive to escape sin and imitate Christ. Others’ failures do not excuse ours. Sinful people should not keep us out of church. Unbelievers: you are right to call sin sin. But throwing out Christianity because of others keeps you from experiencing the love and peace this passage encourages in Christ. Please, do not let broken people keep you from “your only hope in life and in death.” [5]

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016). Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] R. Kent Hughes and Bryan Chapell. Preaching the Word: 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus: To Guard the Deposit. General Editor R. Kent Hughes. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, a division of Good News Publishers, 2000), 218 and 216.

[3] Hughes, 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus, 218.

[4] Hughes, 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus, 218-219.

[5] The Heidelberg Catechism – Christian Reformed Church. Bing Search Engine. Accessed June 15, 2018. https://www.crcna.org/sites/default/files/HeidelbergCatechism.pdf.

Posted on August 31, 2018 .

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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1 Corinthians 10:13: Comfort in God

1 Corinthians 10:13: No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. [1]

Fewer words are more realistic and comforting. [2] These words are realistic because they affirm the existence of temptation and evil and prepare us for them. They are comforting because Christians are assured of help in temptation because God is faithful. [3]

These realistic and comforting words are also humbling. 1 Corinthians 10:12 reminds us to not trust ourselves, but honestly see our need for the whole Trinity. [4] If we cannot trust ourselves, [5] and God is our only hope to escape sin, then all of us must submit to Him for rescue. [6] If you are not a Christian, then the power you need to stop disobeying God’s law is not in you. When you acknowledge your sin and trust in Jesus’ righteousness as your exclusive means of salvation, you will be delivered from destruction [7] and have the power needed to live righteously. [8] If you are a Christian, God helps you in weakness. [9] Cry out to Him when you are tempted, and He will do as 1 Corinthians 10:13 promises.

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2016). Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] John Calvin. Commentary on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians, Vol. 1. Trans. John Pringle. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1981), 331.

[3] Calvin, I Corinthians, 332.

[4] Please see previous blog for more details: http://proclamationpca.com/blog/.

[5] Jeremiah 17:9; Psalm 14:1-3, 53:1-3; Romans 3:9-24.

[6] John 14:6; Acts 4:12.

[7] John 3:16-17.

[8] Romans 8.

[9] Romans 8:25-27.

Posted on August 29, 2018 .

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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1 Corinthians 10:12: Self-Confidence Kills

1 Corinthians 10:12: Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. [1]

1 Corinthians 10:12 connects with James 1:13-15 (previous blog series) because both show our need for the whole Trinity. [2] Particularly in this passage, Paul warns Christians to not trust their spiritual “progress.” [3] If the Corinthians remember their weakness they will see their need, trust Christ, and have assurance in Him, rather than relying on their inconsistent selves. [4]

Paul’s divinely inspired truth [5] opposes any notion that we can fix ourselves. This text reminds Christians that as their salvation began depending on the Trinity, [6] they continue depending on the Trinity. [7] Christians who rely on their efforts behave like non-Christians. Unbelievers are relying on themselves and Scripture is clear that personal effort cannot save. [8] Trusting that Christ’s life, death, and resurrection are sin’s solution saves and assures help for all of life. [9]

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] For details, please see blogs “Tested Not Tempted” and “Desire’s Deadliness” at http://proclamationpca.com/blog/.

[3] John Calvin. Commentary on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians, Vol. 1. Trans. John Pringle. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1981), 330.

[4] Calvin, Corinthians, 330.

[5] See 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 3:3, 3:15-16. See also James Montgomery Boice. Foundations of the Christians Faith: A comprehensive & Readable Theology, Revised in Volume One. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1981), 47.

[6] Ephesians 1:3-10; 2:1-10.

[7] Philippians 1:6. See also The Westminster Standards: The Westminster Confession of Faith, the Larger Catechism, and the Shorter Catechism. (Philadelphia, PA: Great Commission Publications, 2011), Confession of Faith chapters 25-27.

[8] John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Romans 3:28; Galatians 2:16.

[9] Romans 8; 10:9.

Posted on August 22, 2018 .

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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James 1:15: Desire's Deadliness

James 1:15: Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. [1]

After explaining that God tests rather than tempts people and that sin is rooted in the heart, [2] James helps us see where sin leads: “our own destruction.” [3] James is saying that sin begins in the heart and that it is destructive from the moment it starts. [4] When sin buds, death is harvested. [5]

Total depravity puts us all in the same place. [6] All of us have hated someone or longed for something that has hurt us or someone else. [7] Total depravity would be distressing if the story ended there. Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” People find salvation in Christ alone when they confess their sins and trust in His life, death, and resurrection. Christians need to continue trusting in Jesus in repentance. If you do not believe, your sins are still leading you to destruction, but God’s grace still rescues if you will admit your need of Him.

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] James 1:13-14. See also the blog on this passage: Seth Dunn “Tested Not Tempted.” www.proclamationpca.com. Posted 10 August 2018, http://proclamationpca.com/blog/.

[3] John Calvin. Commentaries on the Epistle of James. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1981), 290.

[4] Calvin, James, 290.

[5] Romans 6:23; Galatians 6:6-11.

[6] Romans 3:23.

[7] Matthew 5:21-30, 7:7-12; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20.

Posted on August 14, 2018 .

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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James 1:13-14: Tested Not Tempted

James 1:13-14: Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. [1]

Some falsely assume God’s control leads people into sin. James’ words here place sin on the person who falls into temptation. Undeniably, the LORD tests His people’s faith. [2] However, “If a test becomes a temptation, it is sinful human nature that makes it so.” [3] Our broken hearts turn things that are good in themselves into occasions for sin. [4]

Everyone is in need because we all turn circumstances into sin. We make beautiful things and people into objects of worship, and/or long to take good things from others. [5] These failures bring God’s just wrath on us. [6] We need Jesus Christ, our perfect representative, Whose sinless life redeems all who confess their sins and trust Him solely. [7] All who believe in Him receive God’s Spirit Who helps in weakness, [8] and makes occasions for falling occasions for growth. [9]

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] Daniel M. Doriani. Reformed Expository Commentary: James Series Eds: Richard D. Philips and Philip Graham Ryken. Testament Eds: Iain M. Duguid and Daniel M. Doriani. (Philipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 2007), 34.

[3] Doriani, James, 35.

[4] John Calvin. Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists, Mathew, Mark, and Luke, Vol. 1. Trans. William Pringle. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1981), 212.

[5] Doriani, James, 35-36. See also Deuteronomy 5:6-21; Matthew5:27-30; Romans 3:10-24, 7:7; 2 Peter 2:14-18.

[6] Romans 6:23; James 2:10.

[7] Isaiah 53:5; Matthew 4:1-11; John 14:6; 1John 1:7, 3:5-8, etc.

[8] Romans 8:5-27.

[9] Romans 5:1-5; James 1:2-8.

Posted on August 10, 2018 .

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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Proverbs 1:10: Taking No Chances

Proverbs 1:10: “My son, if sinners entice you,
do not consent.” [1]

Proverbs is a book of God’s guidance for His people, [2] which provides general rules on how to navigate life. [3] In Proverbs 1:10-19, Solomon encourages believers to avoid engaging in sinners’ destructive actions. [4] “Sinners” refers to people who live outside Scripture’s standards. [5]

Here is the problem: none of us have kept the Bible’s requirements. [6] Our only solution: Jesus Christ. [7] If you do not follow Christ, do not trust your efforts to live well because your efforts have no chance. [8] Give yourself to Christ by admitting your sin, and trust Him solely. Only then will you be saved. [9] If you claim to follow Christ, live in His ways- not the world’s. [10] Proverbs 1:10 instructs us to not even give approval to sinners’ destructive plans. [11] We are called to take no chances with sin, because sin destroys. [12] In avoiding sin, we will face the world’s ridicule. [13] But remaining in Christ by His Holy Spirit is to remain in truth and salvation. [14] Salvation is in Christ because He has lived the perfect life we cannot. [15] At the same time, His Holy Spirit does enable our righteous living. [16]

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software 6. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] Bruce K. Waltke. The Book of Proverbs: Chapters 1-15. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004), 174.

[3] Iain Duguid. “Wisdom Literature” (Lecture: Westminster Theological Seminar, Glenside, PA, March 28, 2017). See also Proverbs 1:7, and Waltke, Proverbs, 174.

[4] Waltke, Proverbs, 188. Also, Proverbs 1:8-19 and Andrew Styer “The Violence of Foolishness.” ProclamationPca.com. Accessed July 3, 2018. http://proclamationpca.com/proverbs-the-wisdom-of-god/.

[5] Waltke, Proverbs, 189.

[6] Romans 3:10-23, 6:23; Ephesians 2:1-10.

[7] Matthew 5:17-20; John 14:6, Galatians 2:11-5:7; 1 John 3:5-8.

[8] Romans 3:28, 11:6; Ephesians 2:8-10.

[9] Acts 4:12.

[10] Romans 12:2, 1 John 2:1-3:24.

[11] Waltke, Proverbs, 190.

[12] Genesis 3; Psalm 141:10; Proverbs 3:35, 5:22, 12:12-13, 13:5-6, 29:6; Isaiah 57:21; Romans 5:12-21, 6:23; 1 Corinthians 3:3; Ephesians 4:17-19.

[13] John 15:18; 1 John 3:15.

[14] Matthew 10:22; John 8:31-32, 14:6.

[15] Luke 24:44-49; Galatians 5:16-25.

[16] Romans 8:11-13.

Posted on August 3, 2018 .

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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Colossians 1:13-14: Salvation Snapshot

Colossians 1:13-14: He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. [1]

As Paul brings his prayer to a close, he focuses on Christ’s redemptive work. Notice that what God’s people are saved from is darkness. [2] The darkness here is in us, in the world, and from Satan. [3] This darkness leaves God eternally displeased apart from Jesus’ saving intervention through the Holy Spirit. [4]

In these verses, Paul communicates our deepest need: having our sin removed—and sin is only removed by Christ. [5] If you are not in Christ, you are in displeasing darkness. If you face the fact that you are a sinner who needs Jesus, you will be redeemed when you confess and accept Him as your only Savior. [6] If you are in Christ, what are the ways you live like you are still in darkness? Which of Christ’s commandments do you struggle to keep? [7] How are you loving your family in Christ? [8] Are you learning your Christian beliefs so that you can live and share them? [9] Rest in knowing that God continues working in us, [10] that we are accepted because of Jesus, and that He empowers our kingdom work. [11]

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software 6. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] John Calvin. Commentary on the Epistle to the Colossians. Trans. William Pringle. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Co., 1981), 147.

[3] Matthew 3:2-17; John 1:1-5, 3:16; Acts 26:18; Romans 3:9-24; Ephesians 1:6-7, 2:1-10; 1 John 2:1-14, 3:4-10.

[4] Calvin, Colossians, 147-148.

[5] Mark 1:15; John 3:16, 14:6; Romans 6:20, 10:9-10; Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 3:4-11; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 1 John 3.

[6] Matthew 10:32-34; Romans 10:9-10.

[7] Matthew 5-7; John 15:10; 1 John 2:1-6.

[8] 1 John 3:14-24.

[9] Acts 20:25, 20:28, 1 Thessalonians 2:12.

[10] Philippians 1:6.

[11] Calvin, Colossians, 148.

Posted on July 24, 2018 .

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Colossians 1:11-12: Inheritance in the Light

Colossians 1:11-12: Being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. [1]

Paul’s ceaseless prayer for the Colossians includes praying that they would have God’s knowledge and power, the same power that raised Christ from the dead. [2] Paul also asks the Almighty to give them joy and patience in suffering. [3] If anyone had reason to be joyless, it was the imprisoned, beaten, flogged, shipwrecked, and sick Paul. [4] Yet, Paul overflowed with joy and had learned contentment “in any and every circumstance” because of his identity in Christ. [5]

If Jesus Christ is your exclusive Savior, part of the riches and inheritance of being in Him is that the Holy Spirit grows you and enables you to have Paul’s joyful patience. [6] Your suffering is purposeful, and you can set your hope on the eternal inheritance Christ purchased for you. [7] Pray that you might live in accordance with your inheritance, because Christ’s work enables your works. [8] If you do not believe, would you like to have joy in your suffering and dwell in paradise forever? These blessings are yours when you confess the ways that your sin has angered God, embrace Jesus Christ as your only Savior, and follow Him by His Holy Spirit. [9]

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software 6. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] F.F. Bruce. Commentary on the Epistle to the Colossians, The English Text with Introduction, Exposition, and Notes. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1982), 186-87. See also Romans 8:11.

[3] Bruce, Colossians, 187.

[4] Acts 13:44-14:23, 16:16-24, 27:39-44; 1 Corinthians 1:10-31; 2 Corinthians 1:3; Col. 4:18.

[5] Philippians 4:11-13. See also Bruce, Colossians, 188.

[6] Psalm 36:9; John 12:46, Acts 20:32, 26:18; 2 Corinthians 3:6, 3:8, Ephesians 1:11, 2:18, 3:16, 4:2, 5:20.

[7] Matthew 5:12, 25:34; John 17:24; Acts 5:41, 20:32; 2 Corinthians 8:2, 13:4; Hebrews 10:34.

[8] 1 Corinthians 16:13; Colossians 3:1-23; 2 Peter 3:18.

[9] The Westminster Standards: The Westminster Confession of Faith, the Larger Catechism, and the Shorter Catechism. (Philadelphia, PA: Great Commission Publications, 2011), Shorter Catechism Q&A 86-87.

Posted on July 19, 2018 .

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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Colossians 1:9-10: Prayer for Growth

Colossians 1:9-10: And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. [1]

What are things you pray for? If you do not pray, what would you pray for if you were to start? Paul prays that the Colossian saints would love God and walk in a manner worthy of Him. Paul’s earnest prayer is a sign that the Colossians still need to grow in their faith. [2] In order to grow in Christ and “the knowledge of his will,” the Colossians must study Scripture, which is “the only rule of right knowledge.” [3]

What are the implications of this passage for daily life? If you are a non-Christian, you are living without God’s Word, which is the only true knowledge. [4] While you are able to do beneficial things, [5] the Bible is clear that you are not living in true wisdom. This leads to your destruction. [6] Confessing your sins to God and trusting in Christ exclusively as Savior gives you true wisdom and salvation. Why wait? If you are a Christian, ceaselessly search the Scriptures to grow in godliness. [7] The Bible will lead you to God-glorifying works which are your calling. [8]

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software 6. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] John Calvin. Commentaries on the Epistles to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1981), 142.

[3] Calvin, Colossians, 143.

[4] Proverbs 1:7; 2:6, 1 John 4:8.

[5] Exodus 18:1-27, Ezra 1.

[6] Proverbs 1:8-33. See also Bruce K. Waltke The Book of Proverbs: Chapters 1-15. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004), 200-213.

[7] 1 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:3-15.

[8] Calvin, Colossians, 144. See also Ephesians 2:10 and James 2:14-26.

Posted on July 10, 2018 .

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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Colossians 1:7-8: Epaphras: An Example of the Gospel

Colossians 1:7-8: Just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit. [1]

As Paul opens his epistle, he begins describing the Trinity’s regenerating work which leads to true love. [2] Paul also discusses how the Holy Spirit enables faith, love, and hope which produce Christian fruit(s). [3] Now, Paul points to someone who lives the Gospel: Epaphras. Interestingly, we know very little about Epaphras. [4] What little we know indicates that Epaphras was likely the first person who shared the Gospel with the Colossians and was “a faithful minister.” [5]

While we know a tiny bit about Epaphras, what we know about him has real value. Epaphras was marked by sharing and living the Gospel. Christians: our life goal should be to be like Epaphras, to know Christ and make His name great. [6] Surround yourselves with believers like Epaphras that they may help you grow in godliness and spread the good news. [7] If you are an unbeliever, two thousand years from now, who will the legacy of your life point to? The good things that last forever are God’s. [8] When you confess your sin and come to Jesus as your only Savior, you will start a journey in what is eternally good and true. [9]

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless stated otherwise.

[2] Colossians 1:3-4. See also the blog titled “God’s Work: Reason for Rejoicing” which is on these verses.

[3] Colossians 1:5-6. See also the blog titled “Faith, Love, Hope, and their Fruits” which is on these verses.

[4] F.F. Bruce. Commentary on the Epistle to the Colossians, The English Text with Introduction, Exposition, and Notes. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1982), 182.

[5] Bruce, Colossians, 181-82. See also Colossians 1:7-8.

[6] 1 Corinthians 2:1-2; Philippians 2:9-11; Matthew 28:18-19; Acts 1:8.

[7] Proverbs 27:17; 1 Corinthians 15:33; Hebrews 10:25; 2 Corinthians 8:23, etc.

[8] Isaiah 40:8; 2 Timothy 3:16; 1 Peter 1:25.

[9] Proverbs 1:1-33; 1 Corinthians 2:6-16.

Posted on July 6, 2018 .

Treasuring God's in Your Heart

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Colossians 1:5-6: Faith, Love, Hope, and Their Fruits

Colossians 1:5-6: Because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth. [1]

In the blog on Colossians 1:3-4 we saw that faith, which is a result of God’s regenerating work, creates and feeds true love. [2] In verses 5-6 Paul connects Gospel centered hope to faith and love and shows their relation to each other. [3] Pastor William Hendriksen explains, “Christian mental and moral attitudes and activity such as believing, hoping, and loving, always react to each other. This holds too with respect to hope. It reacts mightily and beneficially on faith and love. Christian hope is not mere wishing. It is a fervent yearning, confidence, expectation, and patient waiting for the fulfilment of God’s promises, a full Christ-centered (cf. Col. 1:27) assurance that these promises will indeed be realized.” [4] Faith in and love for Christ gives believers assured hope which enables their daily living and outreach. [5]

Because faith, love, and hope founded on Christ lead to life and assurance amidst trials, the reverse is also true: non-Christians lack these God-given gifts necessary for handling trials. Everyone believes something, the question is if that something is worth believing in? [6] If the Trinity’s radically transforming grace is worth rejoicing (v. 3-4), why settle for less? If you do believe, you have a call to continue in and proclaim your faith. [7] Since the rest of the world lacks hope, you must not abandon yours, but try to bring others to it so that they may know the faith, love, and hope God has given you.

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software 6. All Scripture References will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] Seth Dunn, “God’s Work: Reason For Rejoicing,” Proclamation Presbyterian Church (Mount Joy), accesses 6/29/18, http://proclamationpca.com/blog/2018/6/29/treasuring-gods-truth-in-your-heart-1.

[3] William Hendriksen. New Testament Commentary: Exposition of Colossians and Philemon. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1987), 49.

[4] Hendriksen, Colossians and Philemon, 49.

[5] Hendriksen, Colossians and Philemon, 49.

[6] Timothy Keller. The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. (New York, NY: Dutton, published by Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2008), 3-21.

[7] Hendriksen, Colossians and Philemon, 50-51.

Posted on June 29, 2018 .

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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Colossians 1:3-4: God's Work: Reason for Rejoicing

Colossians 1:3-4: We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints. [1]

Perhaps Paul’s thanking God for the Colossians’ faith and love seems odd initially. Paul begins with God because without the Trinity’s work, no one would be saved, have faith, and/or love. [2] In verse four, faith operates solely in Christ and His teaching. [3] Faith cannot come to people apart from the Holy Spirit’s regenerating work. [4] “Love is the fruit of faith and the proof of its genuineness.” [5] True love is rooted in Christ, and leads to loving others as He did. [6]

If you are not a Christian, should God call you to Himself, you will have great reason for thanksgiving. Faith in Christ equips people for facing challenges, doing good works, and persevering through hardest times. [7] The Lord’s heavenly resources are yours when you confess Him as your exclusive salvation from your sins. [8] If you are already Christ’s pray for continued growth and strength, so that by your faith and love, others will see God’s work and have true reason for rejoicing. [9]

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 20016). All Scripture References from here forward will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] Romans 3:9-23, 5:6-11, and Curtis Vaughan. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary with the New International Version of the Holy Bible, Vol. 11: Ephesians-Philemon. General Ed: Frank E. Gaebelein. Assoc. Ed. J. D. Douglas. Consulting New Testament Eds.: James Montgomery Boice and Merrill C. Tenney. Manuscript Ed: Richard P. Polcyn. (Grand Rapids, MI: Regency Reference Library, an imprint of Zondervan Publishing House, 1978), 174. See also Leon Morris. The Gospel According to Matthew. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1992), 68 and Daniel B. Wallace. Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament with Scripture, Subject, and Greek Word Indexes. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 98.

[3] Vaughan, Colossians, 174.

[4] Louis Berkhof. Systematic Theology: With a Complete Textual Index. Fourth Revised and Enlarged Ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1977), 465.

[5] Vaughan, Colossians, 174.

[6] 1 John 4:7-11.

[7] Romans 8; Ephesians 2:8-10; 2 Corinthians 1:3-11, etc.

[8] Matthew 7:7-11; 2 Corinthians 9:10-15.

[9] Luke 15:10; 1 Corinthians 11:1; 1 Timothy 4:12; 1 Peter 2:21.

Posted on June 29, 2018 .

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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John 14:26: The Christian's Helper

John 14:26: But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. [1]

If your death was near, how would you comfort those in your care? Jesus comforts His disciples by assuring them God the Holy Spirit will be with them. Christ can promise the Holy Spirit only because Jesus is God, and is equal with God. [2] The Spirit will teach everything believers need for salvation, and remind us of Christ’s Words. [3] Remembering Christ’s Word is significant because when God the Father removes the Bible from memory, or prevents Scripture from being known He is leveling punishment against unbelievers. [4] Further, if remembering Christ’s Word is emphasized, logically there would be no new revelation(s) after Christ and His apostles. [5]

The Holy Spirit’s presence is crucially important for Christians. The Holy Spirit’s abiding in believer evidences God the Father’s forgiveness, on Christ’s account, in His elect. [6] The Spirit further proves that Christians will be sanctified, meaning that they will grow in Christ-likeness. [7] The Holy Spirit also makes preaching and evangelism effective, regardless of how much time they take. [8] The Holy Spirit also unites unbelievers to Christ. [9] If the Spirit is convicting you of your sin and inability to be saved apart from Christ, know that if you own your sin and need for salvation and trust in Christ, you will be delivered, and receive a Helper for the rest of your days. [10]

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software 6. All Scripture references from here on out will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] William Hendriksen. New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Gospel According to John, Two Volumes Complete in One. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1953), 275. See also The Westminster Standards: The Westminster Confession of Faith, the Larger Catechism, and the Shorter Catechism. (Philadelphia, PA: Great Commission Publications, 2011), Short Catechism Questions and Answers 4-6.

[3] Hendriksen, John, 286.

[4] John Calvin. Commentary on the Gospel According to John Vol. 2. Trans. William Pringle. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1981), 100.

[5] Calvin, John, 101, and Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 4, 338, and 363. See also O. Palmer Robertson The Final Word: A Biblical Response to the Case for Tongues and Prophecy Today. (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2004), 1-21.

[6] Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 4, 205.

[7] Hendriksen, John, 286.

[8] Calvin, John, 100-101.

[9] Titus 3:5; 1 Corinthians 2:10, 13; Ephesians 1:13-14, and Lane Tipton, “Fundamental Character of Union with Christ, and Nature of Union with Christ.” (Lecture: Westminster Theological Seminary, Glenside, PA, March 29, 2017).

[10] 1 John 1:5-10; John 14:16, 16:7, 16:13-15; Romans 8:9-11; 1 John 2:20, 2:27; Revelation 3:22.

Posted on June 29, 2018 .

Treasuring God's Truth in YourHeart

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John 6:63: No Other Help

John 6:63: It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. [1]

Jesus shows human inability apart from the Spirit’s work. [2] In John 6:44, Jesus teaches that no one comes to God unless the Father draws her/him, and in verse 37 those God has chosen will come and “will never [be] cast out.” [3] Verse 63 beautifully captures the Holy Spirit’s life-giving work that has been true throughout biblical history. [4] The relation between the Spirit’s and Christ’s work shows the power and importance of Jesus’ words as the only means to salvation. [5] Also, Christ’s words here are attached to the “full and abundant” life from the Spirit. [6] Because of Jesus’s work, the Spirit’s presence is more abiding than in the Old Testament. [7]

The application here is huge: while God elects and moves, human responsibility is not void, as evidenced by the words “to you.” [8] If you are an unbeliever, because Christ’s words are life, you must read them so that you may have life and have it abundantly. [9] If you are a Christian, you have life and should live in step with it, [10] which includes sharing Jesus’ life-giving Word with the lost and those who are hurting. [11] We do this, not to earn favor, but from love and gratitude for the life given to us. [12]

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software 6. All Scripture References from here on out will by ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] Andreas J. Kostenberger. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: John. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2004), 219.

[3] James Montgomery Boice. The Gospel of John, Vol. 2: Christ and Judaism John 5-8. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, a division of Baker Book House Co., 1999), 531.

[4] See Kostenberger, John, 219-220 for a good summary of the Holy Ghost’s creative and redemptive work.

[5] John 6:53, 68; 14:6, 24, 1 Corinthians 15:45; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Titus 3:5.

[6] George Smeaton. The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit. (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1997), 63

[7] Smeaton, Holy Spirit, 63.

[8] Boice, The Gospel of John, 534.

[9] Boice, The Gospel of John, 534, and John 10:10.

[10] Matthew 3:8; Luke 3:8; Act 26:20.

[11] Boice, The Gospel of John, 534.

[12] Romans 8:9; Galatians 5:25; Hebrews 10:24; James 2:14-26; Revelation 3:22.

Posted on June 20, 2018 .

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Hearts

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Philippians 2:12-13: True Humility's Fruit

Philippians 2:12-13: Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. [1]

This passage follows the beautiful description of Christ’s humble sacrifice, [2] which is the ground and example for Christian obedience. [3] Humility should be the chief characteristic of believers who “work out their salvation,” because looking to the Trinity brings humility. [4] Humility is the aim when Paul references “fear and trembling.” [5] Justification, humility, and Christian living come from God’s salvific work because even after salvation believers still need the Holy Spirit. [6] One glorious truth from Philippians is that because the LORD has begun a work in His elect, He will bring it to completion. [7]

When Paul encourages the Philippians to follow Christ in His absence, he does so because he knows how people can lose zeal. [8] The same encouragement applies to believers today: our passion for the Gospel should extend beyond weekend retreats, emotional highs, etc. We should humbly grow in sanctification in private and public. [9] If you are reading this as a non-Christian, you may wonder: where are the “humble” Christians? Truly, some believers poorly represent their beliefs. But, whose definition of “humble” are you working with? If you disagree with Christianity, you will disagree with our definition of humility, because Christian humility is founded on the One Who became a servant of all. Should you become His servant, you will grow in true humility and experience a love that inspires the rest of your life. [10]

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software 6. All Scripture references from here on out will be ESV, unless noted otherwise.

[2] Philippians 2:6-11.

[3] Dennis E. Johnson. Philippians. Series Ed. Richard D. Phillips and Philip Graham Ryken. Testament Ed. Iain M. Duguid and Daniel M. Doriani. (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co, 2013), 153.

[4] John Calvin. Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians. Ed and Trans. John Pringle. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1981), 64.

[5] Calvin, Commentaries, 64. See also 1 Corinthians 15:10.

[6] Johnson, Philippians, 154-155 and Calvin, Commentaries, 67.

[7] Philippians 1:6.

[8] Johnson, Philippians, 154-155.

[9] 2 Peter 1:10.

[10] 1 John 4:10.

Posted on June 19, 2018 .

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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Romans 12:1-2: Yeah I'm A Christian . . . So What?

Romans 12:1-2: I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. [1]

You can probably name people who claim Christianity, but their lifestyles fail to reflect their values. In Romans 12-16, Paul explains how the truths of Romans 1-11 transform daily life. [2] We need to understand that the realities in the first eleven chapters of Romans lead into the last four because “union with Christ” enables our new obedience. [3] Just as the Trinity converts people, [4] God also enables Christ-like living. [5] This Christ-like living is, “by the mercies of God,” a joyful worship that holistically engages the body, mind, and soul in rational, actual, and emotional opposition to sins in pursuit of the LORD. [6]

Why would you not want to live this way? Yes, Christ-likeness requires the humbling process of confession, and living in a manner contrary to our pre-converted nature, but those things are God’s grace. [7] Imagine the joy of not living for this corrupt, [8] transient, [9] fading [10] world, but something eternal, true, and worthwhile. Embracing Christ exclusively, whether for the first time in conversion, or in repentance, brings that joy. [11] Freedom from enchaining human and personal expectations rests in converting to and living by God’s covenant expectations. [12]

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Bible references will be ESV from here on out, unless noted otherwise.

[2] James Montgomery Boice. Romans: Volume 4, The New Humanity Romans 12-16. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books a division of Baker Book House Company, 1995), 1484.

[3] John Murray. The Epistle to the Romans: The English Text With Introduction, Exposition And Notes Vol. II. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Co. 1965), 109. See also The Westminster Standards: The Westminster Confession of Faith, the Larger Catechism, and the Shorter Catechism. (Philadelphia, PA: Great Commission Publications, 2011), Shorter Catechism Questions and Answers 86-87.

[4] Romans 3, 5:1-2, 8:12-39, 9, 11, Galatians 4:4-6; Ephesians 2:1-10; Philippians 2:6-11; Colossians 2:6-15, etc.

[5] Psalm 57:2; Philippians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 1:3, 5:24.

[6] Murray, Romans, 111-114.

[7] Paul David Tripp. What Did You Expect? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010), 73-80.

[8] Romans 1:18-32; 3:9-23, 8:7-8, 8:18-23.

[9] Murray, Romans, 113-114.

[10] 1 John 2:18.

[11] 1 Peter 1.

[12] Galatians 2:4, 5:1, 5;13; Romans 6:15-23, etc.

Posted on May 25, 2018 .