Posts tagged #application

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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Numbers 23:19: The Truth and Nothing But the Truth

Numbers 23:19:

God is not man, that he should lie,

or a son of man, that he should change his mind.

Has he said, and will he not do it?

Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? [1]

If you have been following the past couple blogs you may have noticed a theme: God’s dependability. We are focusing on the Trinity’s trustworthiness because that truth has profound implications for life. If the Lord speaks the truth and sticks to that trust (as Numbers 23:19 teaches) then His children will receive His blessings, can trust His help, will dwell in eternal paradise with Him, and nothing can ever change that. [2]

How can we be sure about these promises? Because God has secured them with “his blood.” [3] Jesus was crucified so Hell-bound sinners (like me and you) can receive forgiveness for the sins we committed against the Holy God. [4] Romans 8:31-39 summaries the hope the Trinity’s trustworthiness gives us. May these truths lead us into praise and submission to our Savior: [5]

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,

            “For your sake we are being killed all the day long;

we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

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

[2] Iain Duguid. Preaching the Word: Numbers: God’s Presences in the Wilderness. General Editor R. Kent Hughes. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2006), 279-280.

[3] Duguid, Numbers, 279.

[4] Romans 5:8.

[5] Duguid, Numbers, 280.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

Isaiah 41:10: Why Should I Trust God?

Isaiah 41:10:

Fear not, for I am with you;

be not dismayed, for I am your God;

I will strengthen you, I will help you,

I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.[1]

Trusting God can be difficult. We do not physically see Him. When we pray we do not get audible responses. Why should we trust the Trinity? Isaiah 41:10 explains why. [2] The promise “I am with you” is the foundation we need to endure all of life and battle every temptation. [3] This foundation is trustworthy because the Lord Who spoke the world into being [4] promises “I will help you” in trials and tests. The reminder that the Triune God’s righteous right hand upholds us is a reminder of His “equity” and “fidelity . . . in persevering his people.” [5] Believers in Christ are to trust God because He is the faithful, true, and sure foundation for every situation.

But there is more: God is with us in the person of Christ. [6] When we embrace Jesus by faith as He is presented in the Gospel, we are promised that the Trinity “will never leave [us] nor forsake [us.]” [7] Why should we trust God? Because He is the just and faithful foundation Who has paved the way of salvation for us in Christ. [8]

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

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

[2] John Calvin. Commentary on the Prophet Isaiah, Vol. 3. Trans. William Pringle. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Co, 1981), 258.

[3] Calvin, Commentary on the Prophet Isaiah, Vol. 3, 258.

[4] Genesis 1-2.

[5] Calvin, Commentary on the Prophet Isaiah, Vol. 3, 259.

[6] Matthew 1:21-21.

[7] Joshua 1:5-9; Romans 8:28-39; Hebrews 13:5-6.

[8] John 3:16, 14:6; Acts 4:12; Ephesians 1:3-2:14.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

Psalm 13:5-6: Faith’s Focus

Psalm 13:5-6:

But I have trusted in your steadfast love;

my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.

I will sing to the Lord,

because he has dealt bountifully with me. [1]

When you are troubled, where do your thoughts go? Does your mind focus on the situation? In the first four verses, King David repeatedly questions and cries out for God’s help. He sees his situation and asks how long the LORD “will hide [his] face from [him]” while his enemies overpower him. [2]

But David chooses to take his thoughts off his situation. [3] Bible scholar Derek Kidner teaches, “So the psalmist entrusts himself to this pledged love, and turns his attention not to the quality of his faith but to its object and its outcome, which he has every intention of enjoying.” [4] Christians do not hope in their ability to endure suffering, but in the One has been forsaken that His children may never be completely. [5]

Let’s go back the opening question: where do your thoughts go when you are in pain? Without the Triune God of the Bible, our best attempts to swallow pain are optimistic hopes for improvement. [6] Only in trusting in Christ’s perfect work for our salvation and forgiveness can we begin to have real hope in trouble. [7]

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

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

[2] Psalm 13:1-4.

[3] Derek Kidner. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries: Psalms 1-72, An Introduction and Commentary on Books I and II of the Psalms. General Ed: D.J. Wiseman. (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1973), 78.

[4] Kidner, Psalms 1-72, Vol. 1, 78.

[5] Mark 15:34; Matthew 27:46; Romans 8.

[6] Psalm 16:4; Proverbs 1:8-19; Ephesians 2:11-14.

[7] Hebrews 11:1; Romans 8:18-39, 15:13; 1 Peter 1:3

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Hearts

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Lamentations 3:24-26: Stability

Lamentations 3:24-26

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,

“therefore I will hope in him.”

            The Lord is good to those who wait for him,

to the soul who seeks him.

            It is good that one should wait quietly

for the salvation of the Lord. [1]

As we continue studying Lamentations, we continue seeing how to have true stability. Lamentations 3:24-26 teaches that when God is the object of our hope, we have a sure foundation for life. [2] When the Lord remains the focus and security for our lives, we have abiding hope. [3]

But setting our hope on God is an incredibly difficult thing. [4] I do not know about you, but red lights can be frustrating for me: I do not like waiting for something I did not plan on. How can I, or you, expect to put my hope in God when something so small can so easily derail our focus?

Sincerely thank God that in Christ we have the perfect sacrificial Lamb. [5] Jesus never misplaced His hope, even when facing the cross. [6] Because Jesus endured, we also have hope for enduring trials and growing to make God our hope. [7] As we mature in faithfulness to God, we will see more of how He gives us stability. [8] Refusing Christianity is to refuse the Almighty’s stability that produces endurance in all kinds of trials. [9] Christians: in your pursuit of faithfulness to grow in hope, do not take the world’s counterfeit hopes that lead away from true hope. [10] Non-Christians: please consider what you hold on to for stability—if it does not have the backing of the Triune God Who created you, how long will it keep you stable?

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Logos Bible Software 7. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] John Calvin. Commentaries on the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah and the Lamentations, Vol. 5. Trans. John Owen. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Company, 1981), 408-409.

[3] Calvin, Commentaries on the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah and the Lamentations, Vol. 5, 409.

[4] Calvin, Commentaries on the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah and the Lamentations, Vol. 5, 409.

[5] Hebrews 8-10.

[6] Luke 22:42.

[7] Hebrews 4:14-17.

[8] Calvin, Commentaries on the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah and the Lamentations, Vol. 5, 410.

[9] James 1:2-5.

[10] Ephesians 2:11-13.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Hearts

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Lamentations 3:21-23: When Grief Strikes

Lamentations 3:21-23:

But this I call to mind,

and therefore I have hope:

            The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;

his mercies never come to an end;

            they are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness. [1]

You may know, or even be, someone who strikes at God when grief strikes. After all, God could have prevented your pain, right? Lamentations gives us a window into the Lord’s view of suffering. This poem is written with the destruction of Jerusalem in mind. [2] If you have ever lost everything you could empathize with Lamentation’s author. But when grief strikes the author, he healthily acknowledges it while bringing to memory the hope he has in God. [3] If the lamenter focuses on his situation, he will slip into despair and rage against his only hope: the Triune Lord. [4] The Father’s “incomprehensible and wonderful kindness” in ordaining our weaknesses and circumstances to develop love for Him is our hope in “despair.” [5]

 But there is more. Do you know that God laments over the world’s brokenness? [6] He lamented enough that He went to the cross to deal with it. Christ’s sufferings ensure that His children will not eternally suffer. [7] The Son’s sufferings rescue us from despair so that we can grieve realistically and healthily. Embracing the Trinity found in the Bible is embracing hope for all circumstances.

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Logos Bible Software 7. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] The Reformation Study Bible. General Editor R.C. Sproul. (Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries, 2005), 1131-1132.

[3] John Calvin. Commentaries on the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah and the Lamentations, Vol. 5. Trans. John Owen. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Company, 1981),

[4] Calvin, The Book of the Prophet Jeremiah and the Lamentations, Vol. 5., 406.

[5] Calvin, The Book of the Prophet Jeremiah and the Lamentations, Vol. 5., 407.

[6] Ezekiel 18; 23 and 32; Psalm 34:18; John 11:35.

[7] Romans 8.

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Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

1 Thessalonians 2:13: Self Help Recovery

1 Thessalonians 2:13

And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. 

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If you prowl the aisles at Barnes and Noble, or, if you prefer virtual shopping, the pages of Amazon, or even if you watch day-time talk shows, you will be repeatedly confronted with our culture’s passion for “self-help” books and programs. The fact that everyone is sooooo aware they need help at all is indicative of the reality of sin in both individual lives and our culture. The cultural message, in contrast, is one of petulant independence and self-sufficiency, which we know is just wishful thinking. Self help appeals to us, we like it, it serves our pride. We want to do it all ourselves, because, as another blind cultural assertion asserts, rearing its ugly head, we want to believe that everything we need comes from within, and we can trust our own personal strength and moral compass. Human culture is committed (call it enslaved) to self-help, which is a story whose real title is, “Humanity Serves up its Own Demise.”

The fact is that “The <<human>> heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9.) If we select some “inner voice” as our authority, we will produce a life of utter selfishness and deceit. The best we can hope for is that somehow, if we’re lucky, we won’t hurt others in our pursuit of helping ourselves.

In contrast, however, Paul commends the believers at Thessalonica, thanking God, because of the voice they choose to follow. Paul is rightfully exultant because these faithful hearers of his message (the gospel) received the Truth “as it really is, the word of God.”

So, let’s go back to Barnes and Noble. We turn the corner into the Self-Help aisle, and the Bible is sitting on the shelf. We open it, and we realize that this isn’t just “Truth” as an abstraction. The words in this book are direct from the manufacturer, the Living Person who made you, and created the entire cosmos; the One who understands your real needs and failings. These words are not mere opinion, but God himself is speaking the words you need to hear because they are the words God wants you to hear. His words are deliberate, specific, personal and powerful. Paul makes it clear that this powerful word is “at work” in you. The help that comes from God is not from within you, but it is help from God himself. Instead of promoting change from somewhere within the heart of a sinner, God’s words transform us with a purpose. With his word, God himself uses his might and wisdom to transform us into the likeness of Jesus Christ.

This blog was written by Charles Fox

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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Psalm 1:5-6: Consequences

Psalm 1:5-6:

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,

but the way of the wicked will perish. [1]

The previous blogs on Psalm 1 have been aimed mostly at Christians—calling them to guard their minds and live consistently with their calling from Christ. Let’s play Devil’s advocate: what happens if people do not to train their minds to follow God’s Word and live fruitful lives? John Calvin argues that those who disregard Psalm 1’s instructions will lack happy lives and face destruction. [2] Calvin teaches clean consciences from Christ are the key to true and enduring happiness, despite life’s promised troubles. [3] Further, while the wicked may seem to escape God’s wrath, and succeed in subduing their consciences, they will face the Triune God’s judgment. [4]

Why would you not want true happiness and justification? If you are an unbeliever you can cry out to Christ as your only Savior and way to God. [5] By trusting Christ as your sole means of forgiveness you will grow in holiness, develop in seeing every trial as a joy, and have access to heaven. [6] Christians: when we fail to abide by Psalm 1 we are living as if we do not want the gifts Jesus bought us with His blood. Holy Trinity, in your mercy please help all of us grow in love for you.

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Logos Bible Software 7. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] John Calvin. Commentary on the Book of Psalms: Translated from the Original Latin, and Collated with the Author’s French Version, Vol. 1. Trans. James Anderson. (Grand Rapids, MI: 1981), 7.

[3] Calvin, Psalms, Vol. 1, 7.

[4] Calvin, Psalms, Vol. 1, 8.

[5] 1 John 1:9.

[6] James 1:1-5; Revelation 21:1-8.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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Psalm 1:3-4: Faithfulness

Psalm 1:3-4: He is like a tree

planted by streams of water

       that yields its fruit in its season,

and its leaf does not wither.

       In all that he does, he prospers.

       The wicked are not so,

but are like chaff that the wind drives away. [1]

Psalm 1 serves as a guardian Psalm, with verses 1-2 calling people to walk on God’s path and guard their minds. [2] Verses 3-4 picture people on Christ’s path as “a luxuriant tree, ever blooming.” [3] The fact that this tree is “planted” shows God’s intentionallity and care of the tree. [4]

But the defining character and difference between the tree and the chaff is fruit. Charles Spurgeon teaches, “fruitfulness is an essential quality of a gracious man.” [5] If we claim to follow Christ, we must persevere in His way, not merely assent to His teaching. [6] May we who serve Jesus drink from His streams of grace, and be faithful where we are planted.

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

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

[2] Derek Kidner. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries: Psalms 1-72, An Introduction and Commentary on Books I and II of the Psalms. General Ed: D.J. Wiseman. (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1973), 47 and 48.

[3] The Reformation Study Bible. General Editor R.C. Sproul. (Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries, 2005), 739.

[4] C.H. Spurgeon. The Treasury of David, Containing An Original Exposition Of The Book Of Psalms; A Collection Of Illustrative Extracts From the Whole Ranger Of Literature; A Series Of Homiletical Hints Upon Almost every Verse; And Lists Of Writers Upon Each Psalm In Three Volumes, Vol., 1: Psalm I To LVII. (Peabody, Mass: Hendrickson Pub, 1876), 7.

[5] Spurgeon, The Treasure of David, 7.

[6] Bruce K. Waltke. The Book of Proverbs: Chapters 1-15. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004), 286-287. See also James 2:14-26.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Psalm 1:1-2: Guard Your Mind

Psalm 1:1-2: Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. [1]

If you wanted to protect your house, one measure you might take is to hire a guard to stand outside your door. Psalm 1 functions as a guard at the front door of the Psalms, warning that we must embrace God’s truth or face “ultimate judgement.” [2] The three negatives in verse one warn against departing God’s ways, and verse two reflects the importance of absorbing “Scripture as a whole” to stay on the LORD’s path, off the way to destruction. [3]

Because Psalm 1 is God’s truth, ignoring its instructions leads to condemnation. [4] Minds that reject Scripture are doomed. [5] The “law” in verse two is the whole system of God’s teaching and faithful living. [6] The consequences for disregarding the Bible’s covenantal law by the power of the Holy Spirit are catastrophic for believer and unbeliever alike, though true Christians are spared from eternal damnation. [7] Therein is the issue: we all fail! Our only hope is to cling to the one who faithfully lived out Psalm 1: Jesus Christ. If we trust in Him as our only means of forgiveness from the Father’s just wrath, then we can grow in His counsel, maturing in His way, as we await the day when we will sit with Him in glory. [8]

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

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

[2] Derek Kidner. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries: Psalms 1-72, An Introduction and Commentary on Books I and II of the Psalms. General Ed: D.J. Wiseman. (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1973), 47.

[3] Kidner, Psalms 1-72, 48.

[4] Luke 16:19-31; Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 21:8, etc.

[5] Proverbs 1:1-7; John 14:6.

[6] J.E. Hartley. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament Vol. 2. Eds: R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer Jr., & B. K. Waltke (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1999), Logos Bible Software, 403-405.

[7] Matthew 7:21-23; Proverbs 3:12 and Hebrews 12:5-8; Matthew 12:33-37; Hebrews 3:12-19, etc.

[8] Philippians 1:6; Revelation 22:1-5.

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.

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[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.

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]

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[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

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Hear

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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]

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[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.

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]

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[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.

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]

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[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.

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.

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[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.

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]

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[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.

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]

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[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.

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]

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[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.

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]

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[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.

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]

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[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.