Posts tagged #devotion

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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Remain in Christ by the Holy Spirit [1]

1 John 2:26-27: I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him. [2]

 Regrettably, some Christian can act as if they do not need instruction or guidance. 1 John 2:26-27 states the opposite. Contextually, John tells true believers to ignore heresy because the Holy Spirit grows true believers (not new and unbiblical teaching). [3] John’s instruction helps us see that the Christ—given gift of the Holy Spirit makes all Christians, congregants and pastors alike, stand on equal footing because they all learn with the Holy Spirit’s aid. [4] The central message is “in the last three words,” calling us to “abide in [Christ].” [5] When we “remain” in Christ’s teaching, found in Scripture, by the Holy Spirit’s power we persevere in the Trinity’s providence, growing in knowledge and godliness. [6]

 Saying one prayer is not enough. Occasional church attendance is insufficient. Rarely reading the Bible is inadequate. Christians need to hear Christ-centered, biblically faithful preaching and teaching. [7] Certainly, life circumstances affect church participation and devotional life. But believers miss opportunities to mature in Christ-likeness and make themselves easy prey for deception when devoutness is absent. [8] Yes, salvation is by faith alone, through grace alone, in Christ alone, according to Scripture alone. [9] But how healthy can faith be when we minimize growth? May the Holy Spirit empower His elect to grow in the Triune God’s ways, as He has promised. [10]


This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] Simon J. Kistemaker. New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1986), 286. Kistemaker uses “remain,” rather than the ESV’s “abide,” hence my citing of him here.

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

[3] Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 285.

[4] Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 285-286.

[5] Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 286.

[6] Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 286.

[7] Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 285.-286.

[8] 1 Peter 5:8-9.

[9] Galatians 2:11-21.

[10] Philippians 1:6.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

1 John 2:25-25: Abide in Truth and Happiness

1 John 2:24-25: Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life. [1]

 Based on the title, you might be cringing in fear that this is about to be a health and wealth devotional. But John’s message does not allow us to go that route. In fact, John’s message is much better than self-confidence, self-approval, and self-sufficiency. These verses remind Christians of the joys they will have from remaining faithful to the Gospel John taught them by the power of the Holy Spirit. [2] By continuing in a biblical understanding of the Gospel, believers have fellowship with the Triune God and enjoy “real happiness.” [3] This “real happiness” is not infatuation with whimsical desires, but rests on the tested, true, and tried Word of God that can weather any storm. [4]

 This is why good doctrine is so important. [5] When we are careless in understanding Scripture and get quickly attached to truths that seem biblical without examining them we rob ourselves of real happiness. [6] Are you struggling to understand the difficulties in your life? Are you itching for doctrines that promote yourself rather than the Gospel? Examine what you believe against the Bible so that lasting happiness can be yours. This happiness may not make you feel the way you think you should feel, but will free you from deception. Will you abide in truth and happiness that comes from God’s Word, pointing to Christ’s redemptive work on every page, or will lies consume you?


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. Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles. (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2018), Logos Bible Software, 198-199.

[3] Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 199.

[4] Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 198-199. See also Timothy Keller’s “Our Identity: The Christian Alternative to Late Modernity's Story” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ehw87PqTwKw.

[5] Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 198.

[6] Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 198.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

1 John 2:22-23: “Truly God and Truly Man” [1]

1 John 2:22-23: Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. [2]

 Throughout church history many people have denied Christ’s deity and/or humanity. [3] Even today, Mormonism claims that Jesus was once a man who became a god and we can become gods ourselves. [4] Other modern examples abound. What happens if we waver on the incarnate Christ’s being truly God and truly man? We worship a god who cannot save because he is powerless and cannot represent us. [5] John also teaches that we cannot know God the Father if we do not understand His revelation to us in His Son. [6] Loose/misguided Christology leads to eternal damnation, misunderstanding God, and creates lies. [7]

 Do you grasp how serious this is? These are not arbitrary opinions founded on subjective desires. This is eternal life or death. [8] This is the Gospel: how the eternal Son of God became man so His elect could be saved, sanctified, restored. [9] If you are a Christian, are you careful in articulating Christ so that you are presenting Him faithfully as much as possible? [10] If you are a non-Christian: do not be deceived by the many antichrists and lies about Jesus. [11] The LORD Jesus is the risen, incarnate, exalted Son of God Who saves sinners. Put your faith in Him, and you will be saved. [12]


This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] Stephen Nichols. “The Humanity of Jesus: The Ligoner Statement on Christology.” www.Ligoner.org. Accessed 1 August 2019. https://www.ligonier.org/blog/the-humanity-of-jesus-the-ligonier-statement-on-christology/.

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

[3] John Calvin. Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles. Trans. and ed.: John Owen. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1979), 195.

[4] Jeff Durbin. “The Gospel for Mormons.” Youtube.com. Accessed 1 August 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQNObk2qAwo.

[5] Carl Trueman. “Tertullian.” (Lecture: Westminster Theological Seminary, Glenside, PA, October 8, 2015).

[6] Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 197.

[7] Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 198.

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

[9] John 1:1, 3:16; Ephesians 1:3-14; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:15-20; Hebrews 1:1-4, 1 John 3:1-10; etc.

[10] Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 195.

[11] Matthew 7:15-20; Romans 16:17-18; Ephesians 5:6-13; Galatians 6:1-10; 1 John 4:1-6.

[12] Ephesians 2:1-10.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

1 John 2:20-21: Christ’s Anointing

1 John 2: 20-21: But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. [1]

 After mentioning the antichrists who have left Christianity by denying Christ’s identity as God and Savior, John reminds believers of their God-given ability to detect deception. [2] Christians are able to tell truth from lies about the Gospel because God the Father through God the Son has anointed His elect. [3] This anointing is God the Holy Spirit abiding with God’s children because of “the Holy One[’s],” Jesus’, perfect work. [4] Because of the Holy Spirit’s presence with believers, John reminds Christians of the Gospel as they battle heresy. [5]

 As we apply this text to ourselves, believers must remember that the Holy Spirit’s presence does not mean they know everything about the Gospel. Christians should spend their lives learning and living the Gospel. [6] John means that the Holy Spirit directs us when someone lies about the Gospel, and helps us properly proclaim Christ’s death and resurrection as we are sanctified. [7] For those who deny Christ and His Word: you do not have His Holy Spirit to guide you in the truth and are lost in your sin. [8] If you confess your sin and need that only Jesus satisfies, you will receive God’s forgiveness, and have the Holy Spirit’s help for life. [9]


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] Simon J. Kistemaker. New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1986), 280.

[3] Kistemaker, Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 278.

[4] Kistemaker, Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 279.

[5] Kistemaker, Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 279-280.

[6] Philippians 3:12-15; Hebrews 12:1-2.

[7] Kistemaker, Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 278.

[8] Romans 8:7-8; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 2 Timothy 3:10-17.

[9] John 14:6; Acts 2:14; Romans 5:1-12; 8; 1 Corinthians 2:10-11, Galatians 5:16-26; etc.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

1 John 2:18-19: God’s Good Purging

1 John 2:18-19: Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. [1]

 Some words can only be described as “theological grenades”: words that spark a series of often conflicting opinions. One of those words is “antichrist” and it is in verse 18. Why does John mention one antichrist then several in the same verse? John is helping us see that the antichrist is someone who denies Jesus Christ’s deity and work. [2] Verse 19 reveals these antichrists have come from the church. [3] This does not mean that the church is erroneous, but that there are people who are not saved in church. [4] The reality that unbelievers are in church, and they will leave and spread their sin should not alarm true Christians. [5] Rather, God’s purging His church calls real believers to thank God for His work in giving them salvation and perseverance, and to guard the church. [6]

 If John called his readers to rejoice in Christ’s salvation and to vigilance over doctrine years ago, how much more so should we? [7] We fail to love when we let someone live in improper doctrine. [8] While this is not ground for theological bullying, we cannot be cowards either. [9] One of the most loving things we can do is joyfully tell others about their need for Christ, as someone else lovingly told us.


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] 1 John 2:22. See also John Calvin. Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles. Trans. and ed.: John Owen. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1979), 190-191.

[3] Calvin. Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 191.

[4] Calvin. Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 191-192.

[5] Calvin. Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 192.

[6] Calvin. Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 192.

[7] Calvin. Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 191.

[8] Bruce K. Waltke. The Book of Proverbs: Chapters 1-15. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004), 440-441.

[9] Charles Bridges. A Commentary on Proverbs. (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2008). 87.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

1 John 2:16-17: Murderous and Momentary Desires

1 John 2:16-17: For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. [1]

 In verse 15 John forbade loving what God hates. [2] John uses verses 16-17 to explain why loving worldly things is lethal to the soul. [3] (For clarity’s sake: when John says, “the world” he is not condemning God’s good creation, but desires, tendencies, and behaviors that come from Satan.) [4] Verse 16 shows us that inward desires that delight in sinful nature and adulterous lust lead to lives obsessed with status. [5] Verse 17a teaches the murderous and momentary nature of giving into ungodly desires. One scholar explains, “If [someone] places his interest in that which is here today and gone tomorrow, he reaps a harvest of instability, stumbles in the darkness of sin and, because he has cast his lot with the world, faces a similar end.” [6] In contrast, verse 17b shows the everlasting security Christians have when they keep Christ’s commandments of believing Jesus is the eternal Son of God Who Redeems sinners and to love other believers. [7] This security is for all who believe exclusively in Christ, and is their hope in all seasons. [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. Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles. Trans. and ed.: John Owen. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1979), 187.

[3] Simon J. Kistemaker. New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1986), 271.

[4] Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 272.

[5] Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 271-272. For the adulterous nature of lust, Kistemaker (on page 272), reminds us of Matthew 5:28.

[6] Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 272-273.

[7] Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 273.

[8] Romans 8.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

1 John 2:14-15: Undivided Love

1     John 2:14-15: I write to you, fathers,

because you know him who is from the beginning.

       I write to you, young men,

because you are strong,

and the word of God abides in you,

and you have overcome the evil one.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. [1]

 If a husband told his wife, “I love you and this person I met online” would you believe him? No! Similarly, you would not believe a Christian who said they loved the Trinity but lived like the world. That is John’s message in verses 14-15. [2] John’s repetition in verse 14 reinforces the importance for spiritual fathers to continuing growing in Christ, and that young Christians only conquer through devotion to God and His Word. [3] Verse 15 clarifies that if we live in the things the LORD hates we cannot please Him. [4]

 Do you view Jesus as so holy and worthy that you want to be more like Him? Everyone could grow in this area, but if it is not a concern to you then you should be worried about your soul. Claiming to love God while walking in darkness is a dangerous lie for your soul. [5] If you are a Christian struggling to love God, pray that He would renew your love and He will gladly send His Holy Spirit to help you. Speaking to your pastor can also help, especially if there are worldly loves pulling you from Christ. If you are not a Christian, know that your love for what God hates results in death. [6] You can have life by confessing your sinful loves and need for Christ’s perfect work. When you embrace Christ, your affections for the things that are killing you will decrease, and your love for the Triune God will increase.


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. Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles. Trans. and ed.: John Owen. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1979), 187.

[3] Simon J. Kistemaker. New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1986), 268.

[4] Calvin, Catholic Epistles, 187.

[5] 1 John 1:5-10.

[6] Romans 6:23.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

1 John 2:5-6: A True Relationship

1 John 2:5-6: But whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. [1]

 Verse five reminds us that Christianity is not a list of rules to white knuckle through: to truly keep God’s Word requires loving God. [2] If we want to know we have a relationship with the Trinity we must have love, otherwise we do not have true fellowship with the Triune LORD. [3] Verse six also helps prepare us for a discussion on how loving Christian siblings is a necessary evidence of real faith. [4] True believers love God and other Christians.

 But Scripture and experience tell us that no one can live these two loves flawlessly. Pastor John Calvin reminds us that when we strive to keep these laws “according to the measure of grace given unto [us]” we are living faithfully. [5] If perfection were left for us to reach, we would not need Christ’s perfect work. Christians: our calling is to keep loving God and other believers with the Holy Spirit’s help.

 If you are reading this blog and are convicted that you are trying to obey God’s laws without loving Him you need to pray for love. Certainly, past trials and present circumstances may make loving God hard. But if you are just obeying Christ’s laws because you have to and not because you love Him, please confess your need for love. Love for the Triune God is needed for true obedience, whereas loveless obedience is self-focused self-righteousness. Prayerfully, you will grow in a relationship with the Trinity that results in life-long love rather than relation-less servitude.


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. Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles. Trans. & ed.: John Owen. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1979), 175.

[3] Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 176.

[4] Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 176.

[5] Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 176.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

1 John 2:1-2: Am I a Christian?

1 John 2:1-2: My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. [1]

 Sin affects believer and unbeliever alike. [2] But when sin manifests itself in the believer’s life, it can be distressing. Thoughts like, “If I were truly saved, would I be dealing with this right now?” creep in and torment us in doubt. [3]

 What assurance is there for those tortured by doubt and scrupulosity? John helps us understand that Jesus Christ, the only perfect person on earth, defends us as the perfect lawyer before a just God. [4] 1 John 4:10 reminds us that the Father, in love, sent the Son to redeem His people. [5] Because Jesus has perfectly appeased God’s wrath, removed the “guilt of our sin” and “suppl[ied] satisfaction for sin” we need not doubt our standing as children before God. [6]

 This good news is not license to sin, [7] but freedom for obedience. The Triune God’s grace is so good we should all be motivated to flee sin and live biblical principles through the power of the Holy Spirt. [8] And when we find ourselves wrestling with sin again, we look to Him Who represents us and faithfully forgives. May the Trinity be pleased to help you trust, confess, and rest in Christ today.


This blog was written by Seth Dunn

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

[2] Romans 3:10-23; 6; 7.

[3] Simon J. Kistemaker. New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James & the Epistles of John. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1986), 241. For identity, see also John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion. Trans. Henry Beveridge. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 2008), 253-254.

[4] Kistemaker, Exposition of the Epistle of James & the Epistles of John, 254.

[5] Kistemaker, Exposition of the Epistle of James & the Epistles of John, 253.

[6] Kistemaker, Exposition of the Epistle of James & the Epistles of John, 252-253.

[7] Romans 6:1; James 2.

[8] Ephesians 2:8-100

Treasuring God's Truth In Your Hearts

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

Psalm 27:10-11: God’s Shield

Psalm 27:11-12: Teach me your way, O Lord,

and lead me on a level path

because of my enemies.

Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;

for false witnesses have risen against me,

and they breathe out violence. [1]

 

Often in life we do not always understand why the LORD tests us. Job was not explicitly told why He suffered. [2] On occasion, Scripture gives us some explanations for trials. James 1:2-4; Romans 8:18-39; 2 Corinthians 1:3-10; etc. help us see some ways the Triune God is greater than suffering and can use it in believers’ lives. Arguably, Psalm 27:11-12 is one of those passages. [3] David does not get an outright answer, [4] but John Calvin explains this passage is a comfort for modern Christians. [5] Calvin teaches, “. . . this prayer was dictated for our comfort, to intimate that God can maintain our innocence, and oppose the shield of his protection to the cruelty of our enemies.” David’s suffering and prayer are recorded so Christians can see and believe that the Trinity is able to save His children.

 

Calvin also reminds us that Jesus Christ faced the ultimate suffering from lying and violent people. [6] Because of Immanuel’s murder, we are able to walk in the LORD’s ways, even when we suffer. [7] When our faith is founded on Christ’s redemptive work alone, we will face suffering, [8] and see the ways God uses suffering to refine us, and show us His power. [9] Believer in Jesus Christ, no matter what you are suffering, the Trinity’s shield is sufficient to guard you. Pray that you would believe it more.

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] Job 38-42.

[3] John Calvin. Commentary on the Book of Psalms, Vol. I. Trans. James Anderson. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1979), 461-462.

[4] 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), 122.

[5] Calvin, Psalms, Vol. I, 462.

[6] Calvin, Psalm, Vol. I, 461-462. See also Acts 2:14-42 (esp. v. 23), 3:11-26 (esp. vv. 13-16).

[7] 1 Peter 2:21-25, 4:12-19; 5:9-10.

[8] 2 Timothy 3:12.

[9] Calvin, Psalms, Vol. I, 461.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

Psalm 27:7-8: True Prayer

Psalm 27:7-8: Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;

be gracious to me and answer me!

            You have said, “Seek my face.”

                        My heart says to you,

“Your face, Lord, do I seek.”  [1]

 

After seeing the confidence in verses 1-6 you might read this passage and think: “David, what happened?” David prays so passionately because he knows prayer communicates with the Triune God Who hears. [2] Verse 8 teaches us to listen to God’s call to seek Him, and shows David’s heart in his quick response to seek the LORD. [3]

 

When we pray we can have the same assurance that we will be heard, and should expect to be heard. [4] Do we pray that way? When pain strikes, and the way we understand the world is rocked, do we pray expecting God to answer? If this is an area where you struggle, or if you are in a hard season where you need wisdom, please pray this whole Psalm regularly. Lord willing, Psalm 27 will teach you David’s confidence, earnestness, and seeking the Trinity as you pray to the God Who hears because of His Son Jesus Christ. [5] Notice: David does not appeal to His righteousness but looks to what God has said. Pray confidently because Jesus has reconciled us who were God’s enemies. [6] Your life does not need to be in order. You do not need to be perfect. Come to Christ, and you have everything you need to pray.

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] 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 Part 2: Psalm XXVII to LVII. (Peabody, Mass: Hendrickson Pub, 1876), 4.

[3] Spurgeon, Treasury, 4.

[4] Spurgeon, Treasury, 4. See also 2 Kings 19:14-37; 2 Chronicles 20.

[5] Hebrews 4:14-16.

[6] Romans 5:10-11.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

Psalm 27:5-6: More Than Human Victory

Psalm 27:5-6: For he will hide me in his shelter

in the day of trouble;

       he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;

he will lift me high upon a rock.

And now my head shall be lifted up

above my enemies all around me,

       and I will offer in his tent

sacrifices with shouts of joy;

       I will sing and make melody to the Lord. [1]

 Those who do not believe in the Triune God of the Bible may look at these verses and think that David is deceiving himself—that the King of Israel was grasping at straws to endure suffering. Are these the words of someone pretending away pain, or looking to a greater strength than his own? The world cannot understand David’s joy because it is lost in darkness. [2] David’s hope comes from being in Christ, which allows him to “fearlessly disregard the darts of his enemies, which might have otherwise pierced him.” [3]

  Christian hope, like David’s, is insanity to unbelievers. [4] Those who are dead in their sins [5] cannot be expected to have the perseverance believers have in trials. [6] But disbelief is never a reason to lose delight in God. [7] When believers treasure their union with Christ, they have hope in suffering that goes beyond the grave. [8] Truly, when Jesus Christ is the exclusive rock of our salvation we have a more than human victory. [9]

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

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

[2] Romans 3:9-23. See also John Calvin. Commentary on the Book of Psalms, Vol. I. Trans. James Anderson. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1979), 456.

[3] Calvin, Psalms, Vol. 1, 455-456.

[4] 1 Corinthians 1:18-31.

[5] Ephesians 2:1-10.

[6] Romans 8; Hebrews 12:1-3; 1 Peter 1:3-5.

[7] Psalm 14.

[8] Calvin, Psalms, Vol. 1, 455. See also John 3:16, 36;

[9] Deuteronomy 32:4; 1 Samuel 2:2; 2 Samuel 22:2, 32; Psalm 18; 28:1; 62:7, 118:22; Isaiah 28:16; Acts 4:10-12; Romans 9:33; Ephesians 2:20-22; 1 Peter 2:4-8; Revelation 19-22.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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Psalm 27:3-4: God’s Presence

Psalm 27:3-4: Though an army encamp against me,

my heart shall not fear;

       though war arise against me,

yet I will be confident.

One thing have I asked of the Lord,

that will I seek after:

       that I may dwell in the house of the Lord

all the days of my life,

       to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord

and to inquire in his temple. [1]

 How should God’s presence affect us? David shows us that the Lord’s presence affects fortitude, enjoyment, and desire. [2] David’s fortitude was affected because his assurance is founded on the Triune God’s steadfast love, which enables him to face his enemies fearlessly. [3] David’s “enjoyment of God’s presence assures the evident goodness and love of God.” [4] Lastly, David’s desire, in the face of danger, is to be in God’s house and know Him. [5] In his fortitude, enjoyment, and desire, David is not just imagining away his struggles. [6] The Trinity’s presence enables David and Christians to face dark adversity with hope.

 How has God’s presence affected your dark adversity? What is your source of fortitude, joy, and desire? Do you take solace in your capabilities? Is your joy found in materials and people? Is your desire for the struggle to just end? We can only have David’s confidence through faith in Jesus Christ. [7]

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

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

[2] Willem A. VanGemeren. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary with the New International Version of the Holy Bible in Twelve Volumes: Vol. 5 (Psalms-Song of Songs). General Ed. Frank E. Gaebelein. (Grand Rapids, MI: The Zondervan Corporation, 1991), 243-245.

[3] VanGemeren, Psalms, 244.

[4] VanGemeren, Psalms, 244.

[5] VanGemeren, Psalms, 245.

[6] VanGemeren, Psalms, 244, 245.

[7] 1 Peter 1:3.

Why it is Best to Consider Yourself a Murderer

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Why it is best to consider yourself a murderer.

 

In the end, knowing that you are a murderer at heart opens the door to salvation.

 

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.[1]

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.[2]

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.[3] (RSV)

 

 What do you do when someone hits you, bumps you, insults you, or hurts you in any way? Or, make it simple, what do you think of the person who cuts you off in traffic?

When Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount he ushered in a new kingdom that turned the whole world upside down and inside out.[4] In his message he raises the standard of inter-relational ethics to impossible standards; well, at least impossible without God, but that is his point. He exposes the natural tendencies of the human heart and critiques the best that man can do with the help of laws to contain those natural impulses. Finally, he requires new attitudes that can only be found in the heart of a person who knows the love and grace of God and who has been transformed and equipped to live and love as a new creation.

Our normal human tendency, when we are slapped, is to escalate the violence. An accidental bump in the marketplace or an inadvertent word becomes an offense which leads to a grudge and becomes a feud which is passed on to the generations. The response to a slap is to find a baseball bat which leads to a bigger stick, and then a gun and finally, in the end, to murder. Murder leads to murder, family hates family, clan hates clan, and nations go to war long past the point where the original bump in the marketplace has passed into legend.

Understanding this natural tendency, God gave the ancient Israelites a higher standard of justice. In Exodus 21, the chapter right after the presentation of the Ten Commandments, God lays out a system of justice that was often summarized with verses 23 and 24, “But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” (ESV) Although the imagery is slightly gory, this simple statement is the starting point for any contemplation of justice. Rather than having an offense escalate, any system of justice should maintain a balanced system where the recompense for an offense is proportional and also satisfies the circumstance so there is no ongoing escalation of uncontrolled “repayments.”[5]
Jesus points to this view of the law as a useful starting point to overturn the self-righteousness of man. If someone hurts us, under the law, we want to pat ourselves on the back and say that we only took back what we deserved. “He slapped me, I slapped him. We’re even.”[6] At one level this is just; but Jesus has something so much greater in mind. In our normal, law-less mode we are slapped and we want to destroy our neighbor. Under the law we are slapped and after a slap back, we walk away hating each other. In the upside-down kingdom, Jesus wants us, when we are slapped, to return utter vulnerability in the hope that our response of grace will lead to a restored and improved relationship.

Jesus wants to set a new standard and a new goal. He wants the standard to be love matching God’s love and the goal to be new-found and restored relationship. In our natural state the goal is destruction and there is no hope of restoration or relationship, in fact, we don’t even seek it. Under the law we are slapped and we want to terminate the relationship on equal terms. The goal is to walk away hating each other but at least not making things worse. The best we can hope for is, “He slapped me, I slapped him, we’re even… the jerk.”

But in the upside-down kingdom Jesus wants us, in the face of an offense, to respond with love and get as compensation … nothing. Moreover, he wants us to offer more than what is expected or required. Instead of justice that is even[7], when someone hits us, he wants us to offer the other cheek also.

Let’s ponder why Jesus uses the image of a slap. Being slapped in the face is more than just painful, it is a challenge or an insult. It is an intimate gesture and a personal affront. Jesus raises the bar, using an image of a destruction of fellowship that is face to face, deliberate and coldly unavoidable. We know who struck us and we know the slap was delivered with a purpose. In return, the Godly response is not only that we don’t return the slap, which would be “just” under the law, but we don’t even try to defend ourselves against the indignity. We don’t seek to defend ourselves, because we have a new goal – restoration.

When someone strikes us, or insults us, or shuns us, or hurts us in any way, we are immediately placed at a relational crossroads. Our response will either end the relationship (or start down that road) or restore the relationship. Instead of being satisfied with the end of relationship, turning the other cheek means that we chase down the person who struck us and offer them a chance to try again and to not strike the other cheek. Our driving passion is to restore the relationship through the love of God with no immediate consideration given to what has been done to us or whether we have been hurt. There may be consequences or reparations or issues to resolve, but that is a later part of the process to be worked out later.

Even the most superficial evaluation of this upside-down way of living should stun us. Not only would this attitude transform all human relationships, but through careful assessment of our own selfish hearts, we immediately realize that this attitude is impossible to cultivate without a profound transformation, first, of our whole lives. We need a new understanding, a new perspective, one that overturns our natural way of thinking. We need our hearts totally transformed from self-centeredness to utter selflessness. Even our best actions and habits need to be re-directed as new fruit of a transformed concept of the goal of restoration. The action of turning the other cheek can only be the result of a revolutionized way of thinking and a heart that has been transformed by God.

Jesus knew this and made it clear as he ushered in the upside-down kingdom. He discusses murder as a way to reveal our hearts in a penetrating and inescapable way. We all know that murder is at the extreme end of relational destruction. Jesus uses murder because it is such an absolute that we all understand. He traps us because He he doesn’t want us to be able to somehow claim self-righteously, “I’m okay because I haven’t murdered anyone.” His new kingdom trap works like this; “If you even call someone a fool, that is the same a murder.”[8] This challenge does three things. First of all, we must realize that we are all guilty of murder – nobody can make the claim, “I’m okay.” To identify a murderer, we no longer need a dead body, the proof starts in our innermost thoughts.

Secondly, he pushes the ethical requirement off the scales (just like turning the other cheek). It isn’t good enough to not murder someone, you can’t even think ill of a person. This forces upon us a crushing implication – if we are not to think ill of a person, that means that we must think well of everyone. Jesus makes this clear when he talks about how to treat our enemies. Imagine someone who is deliberately pursuing your destruction. Not just careless, not merely thoughtless, not simply inconsiderate; the person wants to hurt you, destroy your reputation, take away your wealth and he is doing everything possible to carry out his harmful intentions against you. Jesus says, “Love that person.” <<Insert animated GIF of a jaw dropping here.>> And here is the shocker, to your enemy, to love your enemy, you can’t be careless, or thoughtless, or inconsiderate. It isn’t enough to merely not be offended – you can’t be indifferent. Your love needs to be thoughtful, purposeful, and deliberate. You need to do everything possible to carry out your loving plans to that enemy as he seeks to destroy you. Jesus wants you to pray for that person, give him your things, and invite him into your home. You don’t merely avoid your enemy, you chase after him to present your other cheek for slapping.

Thirdly, and this is true any time we see the standard of God, we are faced with our absolute helplessness and our desperate need for God’s grace to be in us and filling us. On our own we are the murderers, we are the enemy to those around us. Under the Law, the best that we can hope for is to produce a legalistic response where we restrain physical murder. But mere restraint will never free us from being murderers in our hearts nor will it free us to love anyone else no matter who they are. C.S. Lewis wrote a poem that brings this to life, As the Ruin Falls. In it he says,

 

“All this is flashy rhetoric about loving you.
I never had a selfless thought since I was born.
I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through:
I want God, you, all friends, merely to serve my turn.[9]

 

This is why Jesus tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves. The only love that we can produce on our own is a self-centered, self-seeking, greedy love of Me. That is our natural state. Under the law we can (maybe) rise high enough to keep our external actions from revealing the inner selfishness. To love our neighbors and enemies, to turn the other cheek, to free ourselves from murder, we need to be transformed into people who are filled with the grace of God and live by it.

What Jesus said in these verses is hard to take. Most of us see ourselves as “really a pretty good person.” Human culture shoves this concept down our throats. We are endlessly pummeled with the message that we are “basically good” from psychologists, politicians and celebrities.[10]  It is pleasant and comforting and nice when people say this to us, because it is what we want to believe anyway. However, in our more private and introspective moments we sometimes admit that we have “made mistakes.” This statement is normally linked most logically to some kind of statement like, “but everybody makes mistakes,” which is supposed to justify our littler less significant mistakes. Or if someone presses us into a corner, we admit that we “might have done something wrong,” but in the perfect extreme defense we add, “well, maybe, but I haven’t killed anyone.” And at long last, we are finally trapped by the words of Jesus.

Physical murder is not the standard anymore. It is easy for most of us to keep from actual murder. But, if you murder someone in your heart, if you look down on someone, if you dismiss or disregard someone, ignore or show indifference, you are a murderer. And ironically our primary defense reveals that this is what we do all the time. We explain away our sins by comparing ourselves to someone else. In the end, we exalt ourselves in the condemnation of others. We see that we are a little bit wrong, but that other person is the real fool. Raca! If only those people were like me! Raca! That jerk cut me off! Raca! We condemn everyone as a fool every time they don’t meet up to our standards. And when we do that, we become murderers.

Jesus wants us to see ourselves as murderers because that strips away all of our self-confidence and self-sufficiency. If you see yourself as a murderer, you realize that you are worse off than your worst fears.[11] This gives us a desperate humility. We gain a new perspective of ourselves, a new perspective of others, a new perspective on our situation, and a new appreciation of our need for the grace of God.

Your new self-perspective, crushing as it is, puts you at the utter bottom of the moral stack, where you can finally be free and stop thinking so highly of yourself. You certainly can’t look at anyone else and claim that you are somehow better. From this point of view, when someone slaps you, the indignation is gone, because you know that you are a slapper, too. Still though, it is hard being slapped. How do we overcome?

The only deliverance from our state of desperate humility is through faith in Jesus Christ. He received the Ultimate Slap, the rejection of his own heavenly Father and the punishment of all the sins of mankind. He bore every insult, bump, anger, murder, hatred, and indignation, so that we don’t have to. When we look at Jesus and seize desperately upon his nail-scarred hand, we can finally find what we need to overlook the bump, terminate the feud, and chase down our enemies to offer them another swing at our cheek.

This blog was written by Charles Fox

[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version. 1984 (Mt 5:21–22). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Blomberg, C. (1992). Vol. 22: Matthew. The New American Commentary (113). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[3] The Holy Bible: New International Version. 1984 (Mt 5:43–45). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] It is important to note that all of these principles were already revealed in the Old Testament, the difference is that the nature of the kingdom changes when the King arrives.

[5] Please note that there is NO sense of punishment in this system. Compensation and restoration is the assumed purpose of justice. The goal is never to “make him pay for what he did.” Jesus, of course, pushes that to the limit in the Sermon on the Mount. It is valuable to note that as a culture moves further and further from God, this sense of proportion is increasingly lost.

[6] Which misses the point anyway. Even this view of law should awaken us to an “Aha!” moment. How does hitting someone back accomplish anything of value? Any opportunity for reconciliation, or to show the other person their fault through our grace and forgiveness is lost.

[7] At home, the natural tendency is that everyone gets the exact same amount of cake. The proper response is that if someone takes ALL of the cake and I don’t get ANY, that is ok. As Christians, our goal is not “what is fair in my eyes,” but sacrifice for the delight of others.

[8] A spoken word is more than just noise that comes out of our mouths. What we say reflects the profoundest beliefs and commitments of our hearts. When we call a person “Fool!” we are making a pronouncement of purpose and commitment. When we denigrate another, we are saying what we think they are worth, and what they deserve, and what we would do to them if we had the means. In the context of our discussion, it makes us the enemy who wants to destroy the person, that is, we are the murderer. Jesus nails us and our narcissistic world further when he uses the word “Raca.” Raca means empty, that is, you are “Raca,” you are nothing. This passive indifference that treats someone as if they are nothing is perhaps even worse than murder. Every human is of infinite consequence, and for us to dismiss anyone as meaningless is as far from love as you can get.

[9] C.S.Lewis, Poems, “As the Ruin Falls” (1st pub. 1964), pp. 109-110.

[10] The irony is that what they are really saying is, “I am a good person,” with no basis for such a preposterous claim. Since there is no way to prove this, the only remaining logic left is to make a claim that all people are good, and it is just the rare other person who has somehow gone wrong. Five minutes in the real world dispels the fantasy that bad people are “rare.”

[11] Jack Miller would tell us in church over and over – “Cheer up! You’re a worse sinner than you dared imagine, and you’re more loved than you ever dared hope.”

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Hearts

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1 John 1:3-4: Real Fellowship

1 John 1:3-4: That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. [1]

 

The last blog discussed how John is trying to keep believers from leaving the church by defending his apostleship. [2] In verses 3-4, John continues to counter false beliefs about Christianity by explaining that true fellowship with God and Christians, and true joy only come through the apostles’ teaching—teaching that is affirmed by the whole Bible. [3] The crucial key to biblical fellowship hinges on knowing the Triune God in Christ: that His blood pays for the forgiveness of sins, and His continued work in our lives. [4] Any fellowship claiming to be Christian that lacks these elements is not true biblical fellowship.

 

This is why doctrine is so important! If we do not rightly understand Scripture, how can we claim to fellowship with God and His people and have His joy? [5] Whether or not you would call yourself a Christian, you need to study the apostles’ teaching. What Christ’s apostles taught is in harmony with the whole Bible, which reveals our sin and our need for a Savior. [6] What Christ’s apostles taught is that that Savior is exclusively Jesus, Who alone brings us into fellowship with God and man. [7] What Christ’s apostles taught leads to lasting joy even in suffering. [8] These things are yours only in Christ, as the apostles taught.

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] Colin G. Kruse. The Letters of John. General Editor: D.A. Carson. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2000), 52-53.

[3] Joel Beeke. The Epistles of John. (Webster, NY: Evangelical Press, 2006), 25-26.

[4] Beeke, The Epistles of John, 26.

[5] Beeke, The Epistles of John, 27. See also John 15:11, 16:24, 17:21; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 John 1:1, 2:24.

[6] Luke 24:39-50; Acts 2-3; Galatians 3; 1 Peter 2, etc.

[7] John 14:6; Acts 2:42, 4:12; 2 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 1:3-10, 2:1-10, 1 John 1:5-10.

[8] 2 Corinthians 1:3-10; Philippians 4:11-13; James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:3-12.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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Suffering in Hope

Psalm 63:5-6: My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,

and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,

when I remember you upon my bed,

and meditate on you in the watches of the night. [1]

When we are anxious, two desires we may have are food and sleep. Both of these are desires David may have had, and both could be denied him because he was fleeing his conniving son. [2] Food can be hard to find when fleeing in the desert. Sleep can be illusive when life is in danger. Yet, David does not feast on worry but on God’s soul-satisfying favor that sustained him each moment. [3] When David knew he might struggle to sleep, he committed himself to thinking on Who the Triune LORD is rather than his circumstance. [4]

Please understand: David’s behavior is not escapism, and ours should not be either. David understood that “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” [5] The God Who created David sustained and suffered with David. This is especially true for the elect because of Christ’s earthly sufferings and crucifixion. [6] We as believers suffer with hope because Jesus has endured the greatest trials and has given us the Holy Spirit to comfort and sustain us. [7] If you suffer apart from Christ, there is every reason to fear because your hopes lack eternal benefit. [8] Turning to Christ as your only Savior from sin will not end suffering.[9] However Jesus gives you the hope of maturing and guarantees eternity without suffering. [10] Why suffer without hope?

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 & J. Anderson. Commentary on the Book of Psalms, Vol. 2. (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software 7, 2010), 438-440.

[3] Calvin, Psalms, Vol. 2, Logos Bible Software 7, 438-440.

[4] Calvin, Psalms, Vol. 2, Logos Bible Software 7, 438-440.

[5] Psalm 34:18.

[6] Isaiah 53; Matthew 8:17; Romans 4:13-25; 1 Peter 2:18-25.

[7] John 14-17; Romans 8; Hebrews 4:14-16.

[8] Psalm 16:4, 118:8-9, 146:3; Jeremiah 17:5-6; Jonah 2:8; Micah 7:5; John 14:6; Acts 4:12, etc.

[9] Genesis 39-40; 2 Timothy 3:12-17.

[10] Romans 5:1-5, 15:1-7; Colossians 1:3-14; James 1:2-4; etc.

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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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.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Hearts

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Psalm 84:11-12: Two Sides to Shield and Light

Psalm 84:11-12: For the Lord God is a sun and shield;

the Lord bestows favor and honor.

No good thing does he withhold

from those who walk uprightly.

12 O Lord of hosts,

blessed is the one who trusts in you! [1]

These sweet verses, [2] resemble the glorious truth of Romans 8:28. [3] Both verses “picture vividly all that is outgoing and positive (light, joy, heat, energy . . .) and all that is protective; the answer to fear and defeat – but a soldier’s answer.” [4] When God shields believers, He is also their “reward,” “refuge,” “glory,” “strength,” “help,” “blessing” and more in life’s trying, confused, and terrifying moments. [5] This Psalm points to what is fulfilled in Christ, [6] Who will be the eternal light to His followers in a land free from evil. [7]

But verses 11 and 12 also teach these good things are only for those who believe in Jesus Christ as their exclusive means of salvation. [8] Know that if you lock shields with the Trinity, either in opposition to Him, His people, or His Word, you will be destroyed and eternally punished. [9] You may think there is no God, no help for Christians, and no life after death, but that is because sin has blinded you. [10] If you currently oppose the Light, may God in His mercy open your eyes to your need of Him, and cause you to repent of your sins. Then Christ will shower His benefits on you, as He has done to me and all who are saved from their wickedness too. [11]

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 passages from here forward will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] Derek Kidner. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, Vol. 16: Psalms 73-150 An Introduction and Commentary. General Ed. Donald J. Wiseman. (London, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1975), 338.

[3] James Montgomery Boice. Psalms, Vol. 2: Psalms 42-106. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books a division of Baker Book House Company, 2000), 693.

[4] Kidner, TOTC: Psalms, 338.

[5] Genesis 15:1; Psalm 2:12, 3:3, 5:12, 18:2, 27:1, 28:7, 59:11, 84:9, 115:9-11, 119:114, Proverbs 2:7, and 30:5.

[6] Kidner, TOTC: Psalms, 337 (footnote 74), and 338.

[7] Isaiah 60:19-20, Malachi 4:2, Revelation 21:23, and Revelation 22.

[8] Genesis 12:1-3; Numbers 9:24; Galatians 3:4, 3:14, 3:16, see also John 14:6, and G.K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2011), 723.

[9] Psalm 68:21, 143:12; Isaiah 63:1-6; Matthew 25:41-46; Revelation 19:11-21, 20:7-21:8. 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 question and answer 26.

[10] John 1:1-13; Romans 1:18-32; 8:7-8; Ephesians 2:1; 1 John 2:11, etc.

[11] Colossians 1:15-23, Romans 5:6-11.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

John 10:27-28: The Shepherd's Sheep

John 10:27-28: My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. [1]

Some claim: “In Calvinism everything just turns out alright in the end!” Such protests misunderstand Calvin and Scripture. Jesus came because everything is not alright. [2] Sin deafens humanity to Christ apart from God’s effectual call. [3] The Holy Spirit’s work is required for righteous living, [4] which causes humble, [5] lifelong, urgent pursuit of Christ. [6] The Trinity’s necessity for salvation and godliness makes relying on personal efforts and fruitlessness ludicrous because the spiritually dead sheep are made alive to follow the Good Shepherd. [7] We err when we assume we are Christ’s if we trust our works or lack them. [8]

Further, Jesus’ promise “no one will snatch them” brings realistic rejoicing because it implies snatches will be tried. [9] Worldly people, some posing as Christians, [10] employ philosophies and persecutions hoping to lead believers from the fold.[11] These attempts will fail because salvation begins and ends with the God Who keeps His sheep. [12] Believers: we have hope when everything is not right that Christ empowers us for the fight, and is victorious over evil. [13] Unbelievers: this same hope is yours if you surrender to the Shepherd. [14]

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 Bible verses will be ESV from here on out unless noted otherwise.

[2] Boice, James Montgomery. The Gospel of John, Volume 3: Those Who Received Him John 9-12. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Company, 1999), 778. See also 1 John 3:5 and 8.

[3] Genesis 3, 6:5; Psalm 51:5; John 6:44; Romans 3:9-23, 5:12-21, 8:7-8, 1 Corinthians 15:22; Ephesians 2:1-10, Colossians 2:13, etc.

[4] Ephesians 2:1-10, Calvin, John. Commentary on the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ According to John. Trans. William Pringle. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1981), 415.

[5] Boice, The Gospel of John, 780.

[6] Matthew 5-7; John 6:27; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Philippians 3:12-21; Hebrews 10:19-25, 12:1-3; James; 1 John 2:3-5, 2:29, 3:4-15; 2 John 8, etc.

[7] Galatians 3:1-14, Calvin, Commentary, 416, and John 10:27, Luke 13:1-9, James 2:14-26, Boice, The Gospel of John, 781.

[8] Boice, The Gospel of John, 781.

[9] Boice, The Gospel of John, 781.

[10] Matthew 7:15.

[11] Ephesians 6:10-19.

[12] Isaiah 66:22; Luke 21:18; John 6:37, 6:38, 10:16, 17:12, 18:9; Acts 13:48; Romans 8:26-39; 2 Corinthians 4:9.

[13] Psalm 34:18, Hebrews 13:5-6, and Ephesians 1.

[14] Hebrews 4:1-15.