Sunday, May 11, 2008

Hell-deserving sinners are saved for God's glory

Last night I was struck again the truth of this message. I read through the transcript of a sermon by Paris Reidhead on Judges 17 called "Ten shekels and a shirt". He delivered it in 1980, nearly thirty years ago, but it is one of the most prophetic sermons that I have ever heard. It is possibly more relevant now than it was then.

Humanism is such a disgusting sickness in our churches today. I think most evangelists are motivated by a concern for poor humans ending up in hell. But isn't it our just and glorious and holy and righteous and loving God who will put them there?

In our flesh we are monsters of iniquity. We deserve hell, we deserve the eternal torment of an omnipotent angry and righteous God. A concern for horrible sinners ending up in hell? Isn't that totally against God's character? If God didn't want anyone to go to hell, He would certainly make sure that everyone was saved. But this is not what the Bible tells us. The Bible tells us that God did not spare the angels when they fell, but threw them into hell.

Our evangelism should certainly be motivated by a concern, but it is not a concern for the happiness of hell-deserving sinners, it is a concern for the glory of God. It is a desire that God would be glorified through hell-deserving sinners hearing the Gospel and being regenerated and humbling themselves and coming to the cross and dying to self and living for God, by the blood of Jesus Christ.

It is a desire for God to be glorified through the salvation of sinners for the praise of the glory of His grace. As the Lord revealed to Paris Reidhead, "It wasn't for their sake that I sent you to Africa! It was for my sake! I paid the price to redeem them and my people belong to Me! I poured out my blood for them! Do I not deserve the reward of my suffering?"

"I, I am he
who blots out your transgressions for my own sake,
and I will not remember your sins." - Isaiah 43:25

And even clearer in Ezekiel 36.

22"Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came.
And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord GOD, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.
24 I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land.
25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. And I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you.
I will make the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field abundant, that you may never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations.
Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations.
It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord GOD; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel.

It is so clear that evangelism is for the sake of the glory of God. For His name's sake. May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering. Humanism says that it is for the happiness of man. That same man who is an enemy of God, whose depravity and rebellion is so offensive in the eyes of the Lord that he deserves eternal condemnation, damnation and torment. The only reason for God to save such a person is for the praise of the glory of His grace.

May we have the same motivation and have done with humanism and utilitarianism which makes God a means instead of an end. As Paris Reidhead said, let's tell Micah we're through, let's tell the tribe of Dan that we won't go along with them anymore. Let's serve the living God instead of serving Micah and the tribe of Dan for ten shekels and shirt.

May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering!

"Ten shekels and a shirt" by Paris Reidhead. You might be able to find it on as well, and I highly recommend listening to it. Sadly these heresies of humanism and utilitarianism are rampant throughout the church, but may we stand for the truth.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

J. I. Packer stands for the Gospel

The Lord builds His church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I recently read a biography of J. I. Packer, along with a biography of Martyn Lloyd Jones and I saw all the terrible things that J. I. Packer put up with within the Anglican denomination. I finished reading about him and I was longing for him to follow the Bible's clear command not to associate with those teach a different doctrine and those who preach a different Gospel and those who are unbelievers.

Come out from them! Purify yourselves and be separate, you who bear the vessels of the Lord!

And then I read this story recently of how the Lord has finally brought J. I. Packer out of the midst of those who are compromising and perverting the glorious Gospel of our Lord. Read it and be glad, the Lord does not forsake His servants.


Famed Theologian Quits Anglican Church of Canada

J.I. Packer, one of the world's most renowned evangelical theologians, left the Anglican Church of Canada, citing 'poisonous liberalism' in the church body.

Mon, Apr. 28, 2008 Posted: 11:38:02 AM EST

J.I. Packer, one of the world's most renowned evangelical theologians, left the Anglican Church of Canada, citing "poisonous liberalism" in the church body.

Packer, 81, who was named one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in the world by Time magazine in 2005, quit the Canadian arm of the global Anglican Communion with 10 other B.C. Anglican clergy last week, he said, according to The Vancouver Sun. They joined the more conservative and orthodox Province of the Southern Cone in South America.

The Oxford-trained theologian said he can no longer serve under Vancouver-area Bishop Michael Ingham, arguing that he "appears heretical." Ingham had sanctioned in 2002 same-sex blessings in the British Columbia diocese of New Westminster, sparking international uproar.

In recent years, 28 parishes have voted to split from the Anglican Church of Canada, citing the denomination's departure from Christian orthodox values and Anglican tradition. They have realigned with overseas Anglican provinces.

St. John's Shaughnessy Anglican Church in Vancouver, which Packer is a long-time member of, left the denomination in February, placing itself under the authority of the Southern Cone province.

John Stackhouse, a professor of theology and culture at Regent College in Vancouver, sees two different bodes forming in Canada with the continual departure of parishes.

"Frankly, we have not seen this sort of thing in Canadian history, and I'm not sure we've seen it in Anglican history," he said, according to The Canadian Press.

"With the significant size of these dissenting groups, and the international support for them ... we may see two different bodies in one geographical territory," he said, noting that Anglican churches traditionally have been determined through geographic, and not ideological, boundaries.

While the controversy has focused on homosexuality, Stackhouse says the issue is about more than sex.

"This is about the fundamental question of how we derive any kind of Christian truth," he said, according to The Canadian Press.

Packer, who has outlined a conservative Christian theology in his 1973 bestseller Knowing God, described the Bible as "absolute" authority on divine truth and that it clearly describes homosexuality as a grave sin, as reported by The Vancouver Sun.

The Rev. Kevin Dixon, priest at St. Mary's Anglican Church in Kerrisdale, meanwhile believes Packer is adopting a "literalistic" reading of the Bible.

"It's important for people to understand that the holy scriptures is a very nuanced document. I think we need to allow people room to come to a new understanding," said Dixon, the local newspaper reported.

"I have not always held the view that same-sex relationships are consistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ, but now I do."

Packer argued that top leaders of the Anglican Church of Canada have changed their interpretation of Christianity while he and other conservative Anglicans have remained committed to traditional Anglicanism.

"I'm simply being an old-fashioned mainstream Anglican," Packer said.

As conservative Anglicans believe the core beliefs of Christianity are being called into question by the Anglican Church of Canada, the small group of parishes that have left may just the first wave, some predict.

"Every diocese in which this (approval of same-sex blessings) has happened – or something like it has happened – churches have split off," said Stackhouse. "This [issue] is very much in play now; this is not the end game at all."

Over the weekend the Anglican Network in Canada, a splinter group comprised of parishes now under the authority of the Province of the Southern Cone in South America, held a conference where they welcomed Archbishop Gregory Venables, leader of that southern province. His arrival at the conference stirred controversy as the Anglican Church of Canada told him not to intervene in the country's affairs. He refused, however, saying the conservative group of Anglicans wanted him there.

Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter


I am glad that Packer made it clear that the "same-sex issue" is not the main issue here. The main issue is where that comes from and how that could ever possibly be allowed with the bride of Christ. Christ will not allow it because is washing His bride clean and will cleanse her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:26-27)

Notice that the washing is by the word. And this is possibly one of the biggest attacks on the church. Many Evangelical denomations now firmly take a stand on the inerrancy of the Scripture, and without that, liberalism and poison and apostasy and idolatry can certainly take root. But even further, what is necessary now is holding firmly to the sufficiency of the Scripture. Without this, it matters little whether a church holds to the inerrancy of Scripture.

Further, without this stand for the sufficiency of a grammatical-historical interpretation of the Scripture, whereby it is sufficient in itself to interpret itself, everyone when confronted with the word of God will simply cry "Interpretation!" instead of trembling at His word. God only looks to those who tremble at His word (Isaiah 66:2).

The clearest illustration of the inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture is in 2 Timothy 3:16-17. Here the sufficiency of the word of God is repeated in various comprehensive words to remove any doubt from the humble and to remove any excuse from the proud.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

And the clearest passage I can think of that teaches the importance of the recognising the sufficiency of Scripture in interpreting itself is the temptation of Jesus (Matthew 4, Mark 1, Luke 4). Satan twisted the Scripture to tempt Jesus, but Jesus resisted the temptation with Scripture. Peter says that there are those who interpret scripture wrongly, but he also explains why they do. It is a result of not humbly trembling at the word of God, and not accepting that Scripture interprets Scripture.

There are some things in them [the letters of Paul] that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do in the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen (2 Peter 3:16-18).

Don't fall into their error. Tremble at God's word. Trust in the inerrancy and sufficiency of the Scripture, and trust that it is sufficient to interpret itself, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells within you. The word of God is the sword of the Spirit, it is living and active, sharper than any double edged sword. Our sanctification and cleansing is by the word of God. How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent word. Hold it fast.

Scripture interprets Scripture. Praise God that J. I. Packer is holding firm to the word. Liberalism is a poison, a bitter root, which defiles those around it. Be wary then to make sure that root of bitterness does not grow up among you (Hebrews 12:15).

May God be glorified in His church. Amen.

Working as unto the Lord in a cement factory.

It's nearly half a year now since my last post. Life goes by at a fierce rate, and our glorious Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is our rest. Since my last post, I couldn't begin to describe all the trials and tests that the Lord has brought me through. I continue to be overwhelmed by God's grace to such a wretched sinner as myself.

So many things that the Lord has been teaching me are coming together and I am being refined and transformed by them. The Lord Jesus is precious and supreme. Whatever the Lord pleases, He does. Eternal life is knowing Jesus Christ. Nothing compares with the greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

I continue to ask myself questions and try to keep the beautiful law of liberty in front of my face as a mirror to examine myself and be a doer not just a hearer. I was thinking the other day of writing on another t-shirt. On the front, I would ask the question, "Are you crucified to the world?" and on the back I would ask, "Am I crucified to the world?"

We are here as ambassadors of Christ, as if God were making His appeal through us. We are the agents of God's overwhelming and arresting grace in this world. We have been given the ministry of reconciliation. I am reminding myself of some of those great truths that I learnt when the Lord first called me. The Gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved, it is the power of God. For God in His wisdom made it impossible for people to know Him by means of their own wisdom. Instead by means of the 'foolish' message we preach, God decided to save those who believe. For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes.

The Lord's way is narrow and on it there is no room for any other saviour, but there is room for everyone who believes and repents. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of his glorious grace.

In January I started working as an Environmental Engineer at a Cement Factory. It's been an amazing experience to be learning how to live and work for Christ in the workplace. How can I proclaim Him as Lord in all that I do? How can I live and work as a witness of Him among my work colleagues? How should I treasure Him supremely and be an ambassador everywhere I go? Needless to say, it has been a learning experience and God has done all the work.

I am convinced that there is in me no good thing, that is, in my flesh. But praise the Lord for the glories of the riches of His grace, by which and for which, I have been raised to life in Christ Jesus my Lord. It's been tough going, as we should expect, since God desires that we die to self and that our flesh is crucified and that we are dead to the world. If anyone loves the world or anything in the world, the love of Christ is not in him. You adulterous people, do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity towards God?

God has been teaching me to work as if working unto the Lord. I must offer myself up as a living sacrifice, this is my spiritual act of worship. Reading Leviticus, it is gruesome to think about the preparation of a sacrifice. A burnt offering must be flayed to remove the skin, then chopped into pieces and the various inward parts removed. And finally burnt on the altar with its blood poured out to God. This is a Christian life. If anyone desires to live a godly life in Christ Jesus, they will be persecuted.

But my life does not belong to me. I was born in sin, I was dead in my trespasses and sins, I was an enemy of God, I was storing up the wrath of a holy, righteous, jealous, loving and omnipotent God against myself, my mind was enmity against God, my heart was deceitfully wicked beyond comprehension, my throat was a open grave, I was a white-washed tomb, I was a putrid stench in the nostrils of the holy God and for this reason the judgement is coming, the light came into the world, but we loved the darkness rather than the light because our deeds were evil.

Yet God had concern for His great name and He redeemed a people for Himself, to the praise of the glory of His grace. For this reason, God has redeemed me and called me by name, and I am His. I am not my own, I was bought with a price - the blood of the spotless Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus, whose name is above all other names and who is forever to be praised. I am a bondservant of Christ Jesus, and it is Christ who works in me, to will and to do according to His purpose.

When the angels fell, God did not spare them, but threw them into hell to suffer eternal torment, but for the praise of His glorious grace, God has redeemed a people for Himself and as He justified us, He will also sanctify us. As we are redeemed and saved, we are also adopted as His children and appointed as heirs, because He made Him who had no sin, to become sin for us that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

I was born a sinner, and I will die a saint, and be brought to life again. Did the cross happen because of the Fall, or did the Fall happen so that the cross could happen? I know it is the latter, because does not the Creator of the world have the right over the clay to make from one lump a vessel for dishonourable use, prepared for destruction by wrath, and from another lump, a vessel for honored use, prepared for glory by mercy.

To Him be the glory forever and ever, in all ages now and forevermore. For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive all glory and honour and praise. For He was slain, and by His blood, He ransomed people from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. Yes, Lord God the Almighty, true and just are your judgements. Glory to God in the highest. Amen.