Messages on Assurance of Salvation

Every pastor has had to answer earnest questions by those who are struggling with doubt of their salvation. It is all too easy to “heal the wound lightly,” or lead someone to be deceived about the wound. We have a responsibility to “comfort those in Zion,” as well as to disturb those who ought to be disturbed. Below are some resources on the assurance of salvation as well as the fear of God:

 

Scott Brown on Assurance: http://goo.gl/UhH5Bc
Paul Washer on Assurance: http://goo.gl/4yPgZx
John Piper on Assurance: http://goo.gl/b0pBgb
John MacArthur on the Fear of God: http://goo.gl/335qAl
John MacArthur on Assurance: http://goo.gl/M6LXrw
http://goo.gl/rKASY1

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How is God Hurting You – Exposition of Isaiah 19:1-25

How is God hurting you? Isaiah 19:1-25 shows us that when God wants to heal people in a nation, He must strike them first. In this sense, the road to blessing can be a hard road. It often begins with direct strikings of the judgment of God and the fear that results. These are often the things the Lord uses to secure our salvation and our sanctification.

Isaiah 19:1-24, illustrates how God strikes the people of a nation in order to heal them. God stretches out His hand in judgment, in order to soften hard idolatrous hearts. Specifically, we learn that God strikes Egypt in order to bring her to repentance. God uses Egypt to tell the story of salvation.

He uses the greatest oppressor of God’s people to serve as an illustration of His love toward sinners. He can soften even the hardest idolaters and sorcerers of Egypt, teach them a new “language,” send them a “Savior,” and a “Mighty One, and He will deliver them,” and draw them into His “altar” to worship Him and be healed. Their lives will change and “They will make a vow to the Lord and perform it.” And, there will be “blessing in the midst of the land.” The question is, Is He striking us? Is He coming out against us? Is He chastening us? Is He humbling us? If so, it may be that He is desiring our healing.

This passage is also a dramatic illustration of the sovereignty of God. Isaiah teaches us that God sways the wills of men. He controls the economy and the counsels of men.

Whatever are your defeats; Whatever burden you are suffering under; Whatever persecutions; Whatever sorrows; Whatever impossibilities; These things God has appointed to you to glorify Himself.

God does not afflict His people needlessly. Calvin explains, “Whatever poison Satan produces, God turns it into medicine for his elect.” John Calvin, Commentary on Genesis

He causes all things to work together for good – in the right sequence; in the right season; at the exact right time; with the right intensity; by the right people; for the right length of time and not a second longer.

All of this in order to strike us to heal us; to wean us from this world; to demonstrate that this world is not our home;  to exalt Him in our hearts, in our families in our churches in our nation, and in the world.

God humbles nations in order to heal them. He strikes before He saves. He burdens before He blesses. He hurts before he heals.

Imagine what it would be like if God healed our nation. What would it take? What conditions would we experience if He healed our nation?

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A Marriage Testimony and Message by Jeff Pollard

  

As we are gearing up for the “Husbands Love Your Wives,” video webinar, I thought I would share with you a message recently delivered by Jeff Pollard on the subject of marriage. You can listen to the message below and follow along with the transcription. You can hear more from Jeff Pollard, and many others on the subject of marriage by signing up for our live video webinar: Husbands Love Your Wives. The cake pictured here was given to Jeff and his wife Myra on their 40th wedding anniversary last week. Happy Anniversary Jeff and Myra! The manuscript of Jeff’s message is here:

Marriage: A Mystery Revealed

Introduction: The eternal purpose of God the Father through Jesus His Christ His Son often works its ways out in unusual and unforeseen ways. Before the foundation of the world, the Father purposed to save His people from their sins through the Person and work of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. The mystery of God’s eternal plan of redemption unfolds in history through the lives of His people. God’s purpose in Christ is a profound mystery that they do not and cannot know until He reveals it to them through His gospel of grace. Consider the following true story:

(more…)

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You Were Terrible

In Isaiah 18:1-7, the prophet exposes Ethiopia’s lack of trust on God as evidenced by their turning to alliances to secure their safety. He also shows the salvation He brings to people who live in pagan nations. He takes the terrible of the terrible and humbles and converts them giving them rest. What is clear is that God judges all the nations in reference to their embracing the gospel given to Israel. This is another disclosure of the exclusivity of the gospel. This is why throughout these oracles against the nations, the prophet continues to proclaim the centrality of Judah – the line of Judah – the kingdom of David. This is the center around which all people and nations will be judged.

But the immediate issue before Isaiah is the frantic buzzing of those who are desperate to enter into alliances. In times of trouble, the easiest thing for us to do is to turn to some mechanism, some solution, some way out of a problem. These are worry driven solutions. It may be drugs, attorneys, food, music, entertainment or various kinds of alliances… It could be almost anything. One of the most prominent features of our own culture is that we turn to chemicals, food and medical treatments to soothe our troubled brows. When the problems roll, so does the Excedrin, Tums, Prozac, Lexapro, Zoloft, Zanax, Klonopin. Gotta feel better. Gotta get relief. Gotta feel protected. Gotta get your serotonin up. We live in the age of antidepressants, and chemical helps – alliances. Their use often points to the unresolved turmoil, turbulence, fear and disappointment that presses upon us. This is where Isaiah 18 comes in. While the economies are in turmoil, the nations are in a rage, and there are threats on every side, Isaiah brings a message of hope. However, it is not a hope in nations or economies or mechanisms or crutches. Rather it is a hope in God who says, “I will take my rest,” and everything is under control. This chapter declares  that all things are working according to His plan. God is untroubled, undisturbed and immoveable. Chapter 18 also brings us to a picture of a people who are frantically scurrying to and fro. They are fitful and fearful about the threats all around. In contrast, God is still. His is unflappable as the commentator, E.J. Young explains, “God rests serene and calm, not agitated as is man.”

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Why Trials?

We often wonder why calamities come, why reversals happen, why friends betray. Scripture makes it plain that sometimes God is using these things to chastise us to turn us to Himself. But that is not the only reason for trials. Here is Richard Baxter on the matter, in his classic work, Saints Everlasting Rest, “Written for himself in his time of languishing.”

“And for you that fear God and have made him your portion, your end and rest, and are the heirs of this kingdom: let me entreat you more frequently to look homeward and mind your inheritance. Should we not oft think of the state that we must be in forever? Do you not perceive that God tumbles you up and down the world and crosseth your desires to weary you out of it? That He setteth loose the winds to raise those storms that may make you long for the harbor and may toss you to His breast. That he makes your dearest friends afflict you, and those that you took sweet counsel with and went up with to the house of God as companions, to be scorpions to you, that so you might not have here a resting place for the soul of your foot? O learn God’s gracious meaning and look upward.”

Saints Everlasting Rest, Richard Baxter, 1653, Fourth Edition

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Pagan Church

In Isaiah 17, we have before us a testimony of how one part of the church became pagan. In this chapter, Isaiah shows that it happens, how it happens, what happens as a result, how to avoid it. When this happens, it is very destructive because the pagan part wages war against the more holy part.  How does it happen? Alliances: Whom you are allied with you will become like. In this chapter Israel and Damascus are treated almost as  one and the same. It is a picture of how the people of God identify with those who can give them what they crave, and yet, how many blessings flow when they look to their Maker and are ”mindful of the Rock of our stronghold.”

The first part of our text has its focus on Damascus, v1-3, and then Israel… but then from there on, Israel and Damascus seem to be treated as one and the same.

Alliances and covenants are at the heart of relationship with God and man, as there is a joining – a covenant relationship. We see this negatively in Psalm 106:28 where we learn that the children of Israel joined themselves with Baal, “They joined themselves also to Baal of Peor, And ate sacrifices made to the dead.”

Who you ally yourself with shows who you have faith in. Tragically, Israel has left her covenant husband and found a new husband. Using this example, God gives us insight into judgment in order to warn us in order to turn us to Him. Unless we turn our eyes to our maker and repent, we will all likewise perish…

The solution?  Flee to Christ, renounce idols and embrace the gospel as Isaiah explains, “In that day a man will look to his Maker, And his eyes will have respect for the Holy One of Israel. He will not look to the altars, The work of his hands; He will not respect what his fingers have made, Nor the wooden images nor the incense altars.” - Isaiah 17:7-8

Many blessings flow when we look to our “Maker” and are been “mindful of the Rock of our stronghold.” But remember the flip side: your worldly alliances will rob you, and they will also be destroyed, “This is the portion of those who plunder us, And the lot of those who rob us.” – Isaiah 17:14

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Husbands Love Your Wives – Online Webinar

Husbands, This is for you! Would you like to sit under the instruction of the foremost voice on family life during the Puritan era?

This six part online webinar series is based on William Gouge’s classic work, “Domestical Duties,” using the edited and modernized version by Joel Beeke and Scott Brown. This series is designed to help husbands love their wives like Christ loved the church. We will be taking critical chapters in the book that are specifically directed to husbands. 

Building a Godly Home Volume 2:

This webinar series is highly focused on Building a Godly Home Vol. 2 by William Gouge. Each session will focus on a particular chapter of the book. Though the book isn’t required to enjoy this webinar, we strongly recommend that you purchase a copy to follow along if you don’t already own one.

 

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Eli – The Father Who Would Not Restrain His Sons

I encourage you to listen to Tom Ford’s message he delivered last year during The Masters Plan for Fatherhood conference in Birmingham.  He begins his message highlighting the gravity of the text before him. He said,

“I wish I had a warm cup of coffee to share with you and we could have a little warm fuzzy time together and encourage one another and give you a cheerful message like Deuteronomy 6 or Psalm 127 or Psalm 128 and just gather around the table with our wives and enjoy our time. But the task this morning is not quite like a warm cup of coffee. It’s more like a trumpet in your ear while you’re trying to sleep. It’s a call of God to wake up and take notice. It’s a time to fear God and tremble before him, that we will not make the mistake of the father that we’re going to look at this morning. God help us not to make this mistake. Could it be that there’s one sin, one mistake, one problem in parenting that we could make that could bring disaster on our family? Disaster on our church? And disaster on our nation? Could it be there is one problem? We could narrow it down to one problem? This is what we’re going to look at this morning. This is what we’re going to look at this morning and may God help us.”

You can listen to this message and read the manuscript on SermonAudio

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Pride Will Take You Here

Where does pride take you? Isaiah gives the answer. Isaiah 16 continues the burden of God against Moab for her culture of pride, her lies, her cursing the people of God and for her inviting others to join with her in evil. Pride will take you somewhere. Moab has had an 1190 year long run of pride since they began in a cave in Zoar as a result of the incestuous encounter between Lot and his two daughters. Now God announces that He will destroy Moab. In the midst of this disclosure of God’s judgment against Moab, God delivers an offer of grace – a call for reconciliation. God calls His enemies to be reconciled with Him. But the salvation does not come without a price. It is the price of a lamb. This very moving passage also illustrates the love of God for sinners, and how He weeps with them for their calamities. However, the culture that was launched in that cave in Zoar will end in mass graves in the land of Moab. Beware, pride will take you there.

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A Family Mission Statement

Here is a great family mission statement someone sent to me:

FAMILY STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

Our family exists to glorify God and enjoy him forever. (Westminster Catechism)   We acknowledge that full and eternal joy only exists in God. (Psalms 16:11)  We will passionately pursue God’s glory and our joy by loving God (Matthew 22:37) and loving others. (Matthew 22:39)<

We will love God by obeying what he commands. (John 14:15)  We will not be confirmed to this world, but we will be transformed by the renewal of our mind. (Romans 12:2)  We will serve one master.  (Luke 16:13)  We will lose our life for Christ’s and the gospel’s sake. (Mark 8:35, Galatians 2:20). As ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20-21) we will finish the course Christ has given us to testify to the gospel of grace. (Acts 20:24)  We consider ourselves slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:19) and will be willing to lay aside not only sins but also any weights that keep us from runningthe race before us (Hebrews 12:1).  We will not lose heart (2 Corinthians 4:16-18) and we will rejoice in our sufferings (Romans 5:3-5) because we will look to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith, (Hebrews 12:2) as we seek the city that is to come. (Hebrews 13:14)

We will love others by preaching the gospel (Romans 10:14) in deed and in word.  We will study, meditate on and memorize God’s word in order to know him more and toteach sound doctrine.  (Titus 2)  We will be actively involved in spreading the gospel to all people (Matthew 28:19) through going, through giving and through prayer.  We will be willing to go outside the camp and bear the reproach Jesus endured.  (Hebrews 13:13).  We will actively and thankfully seek to meet the needs of the least of these. (Matthew 25:35-36)  We will care for orphans and widows. (James 1:27)

We will show ourselves to be true Christians by our genuine love and our hate of sin.  (Romans 12:9-21)  We will walk and live by the Spirit so the gospel will be on display through our love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

To God be the glory forever and ever.  Amen

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Together on Purpose at Basswood

Here is how Basswood Church in Knoxville explains what they think about how age integration fits in to the life of their church. I love the way they understand and explain this. Also, see the FAQ section of their web site for more explanation.

Together On Purpose

Clarifying Our Terms

The phrase “age integrated” or “family integrated” has been attached to many things. Some of them are beautiful models of a Biblically functioning church. Unfortunately, others might seem little more than a homeschool club who get together on Sundays. Because there can be such a wide range of connotations when someone hears the phrase, we feel it is very important to be clear with what we mean if we describe ourselves this way. There are a few things that we are not saying, when we describe ourselves as age- or family-integrated.

Age integration is not a movement. Our desires spring from a Scriptural conviction, not a desire to join a separatist movement. (more…)

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A Family Destroyed

In Isaiah 15, the prophet takes us to the end of the story of the Moabites. The Moabites had their beginning just after the destruction of Sodom, as a result of a drunken incestuous act of Lots daughters in a cave near Zoar. Now, hundreds of years later, Isaiah 15, records how the story ends. The corrupt family of Lot that begot a corrupt nation ends in displacement and destruction. Isaiah prophesies that they will be thrown out of their land as refugees; to lose everything; to run for their lives; to wail; to be a displaced people with all their earthly belongings in their arms; crying with nothing left. This is the scene we encounter in Isaiah 15-16, in God’s judgment against Moab.

Moab stands as a warning to all those who are in rebellion against God, as Isaiah shows the outcome of that rebellion. Here is the reality: someone may rebel for many years as the Moabites did. A family may have been in rebellion for hundreds of years and thought they would get away with it. Not so. We should remember that Moab came from a family. There was a distinct identity that grew out of that family. They represented particular things and a culture grew out of that family – they invited one another to wickedness, they cursed the people of God, they tempted the people of God with lust and they stole Reuben’s land of inheritance. Have you ever known a family that had such a distinctive culture that was passed down from one generation to the next? Lot’s family was like that. What a family is and does will have implications that live on for generations.

However, Lot’s demise is not the only important theme in this story. The power of the gospel shines forth from the judgment against Moab as we see Ruth rescued from the wickedness of Moab. For this we can rejoice in God’s mercy. Ruth was David’s great grandmother and Christ was born from the line of David. In the line of Christ is a Moabitess. Christ is a Savior born from wickedness and for wickedness. This is the essence of the story of Ruth and the bright light of the Moabites. God reaches down into a wicked culture and saves some. He takes the lowly and blesses them with bread from heaven.

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It’s St. Patrick’s Day – Remember a True Hero of the Faith

Often a holiday gets disconnected from its meaning and roots… this is the case with St Patrick’s Day. Here is an article that summarized some of the interesting aspects of St. Patrick’s life and legacy. Author, Jerry Newcombe explains, ”Unfortunately, many people only observe his holiday, March 17, by drinking themselves silly, which is totally contrary to the spirit of the man who Christianized Ireland. In fact, Patrick shows what God can do through someone who is committed fully to Him.” His famous prayer reveals what was the heartbeat of his life,

“I arise today through God’s strength to pilot me: God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me…Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me…”

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New Version of A Weed in the Church

Here is a new trimmed down version of A Weed in the Church. I have re-organized it for better readability and tried to refine some of the arguments since I originally wrote it.  And it is SHORTER – from 300 pages to 192.

Click Here to Purchase

 

 

 

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Husbands Love Your Wives – Online Webinar

Have you ever needed some detailed, practical counsel for your marriage? Have you ever wished someone would speak to the everyday matters that pop up in your marriage and family life? Have you ever heard sound teaching, but wished for more than broad theological principles? You needed someone to speak frankly. You wanted someone to show you exactly how the biblical principles applied in the real situations you are experiencing.

Come join Scott Brown, Joel Beeke, Sam Waldron, Jeff Pollard and Derek Thomas for an online book discussion on husbands loving their wives.

This six part online webinar series is based on William Gouge’s classic work, “Domestical Duties,” using the edited and modernized version by Joel Beeke and Scott Brown. This series is designed to help husbands love their wives like Christ loved the church. We will be taking critical chapters in the book that are specifically directed to husbands. 

In this second volume of the series, Building a Godly Home, William Gouge (1575–1653) does just that. His marriage counsel is focused on the everyday matters that husbands and wives experience while living together. The basis for his counsel to married couples, is his exposition of Ephesians 5:21–33, already presented in volume 1.

Gouge delivers very detailed explanations of the various parts of the husband-wife relationship. He analyzes nearly every possible aspect of married life. You will be amazed at the probing detail with which he examines these matters. He exposes the minutest parts of marriage. Yet he does not lose sight of the big picture. He goes to the heart of the matter.

Each session will focus on a particular chapter of the book. These six webinar episodes will air once a week from April 22nd through May 27 at 9-10pm Eastern time.


Session Date Topic Guest Speaker
Session #1 Tuesday April 22 Authority, pp180-195 Joel Beeke, Scott Brown
Session #2 Tuesday April 29 Gentleness, pp196-214 Joel Beeke, Scott Brown
Session #3 Tuesday May 6 Correcting, pp215-224 Jeff Pollard, Scott Brown
Session #4 Thursday, May 15 Kindness, pp225-236 Sam Waldron, Scott Brown
Session #5 Tuesday May 20 Provision, pp237-256 Derek Thomas, Scott Brown
Session #6 Tuesday May 27 Love, pp257-273 Jeff Pollard, Scott Brown

The cost of the webinar is $15.00.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.

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