Fear of God Devotional: Legalism and Her Children



What is the balance between faith and works?

Kevin Swanson explains in this video that legalism always seems to break down into antinomianism. Both are incorrect. Legalism is salvation by works or our own fake application of God’s laws. Antinomianism involves abandoning of all God’s laws.

What we need theologically is to bring these together – faith and works. We need to see them as distinct but not separate. We need to pull together a proper biblical theology, express God’s law for the purposes for which it is intended, and then live by God’s law because we have been saved by grace and love Him. This is the basic theological concept that must permeate through every worship service. The world negatively affects us in so many ways and can easily distort our thinking. Accordingly, we must purge unbiblical worldviews by the faithful preaching of God’s Word.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (NKJV) – “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

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Fear of God Devotional: How Sanctification Works



How is sanctification described in Scripture?

Jason Dohm explains in this video that Peter gives a good description of sanctification in 2nd Peter. Sanctification begins inwardly and works its way outward – “Growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Fundamentally then, we see that sanctification is growth, a growth in the knowledge of Christ.

Sanctification does involve certain external changes. These are defined in Scripture, by the commandments of God in both the Old and New Testament. When we do things that God prohibits in Scripture, we are kept from the better things. In contrast, the things that we are commanded to do are acts of love. The laws of God do tell us what the externals should look like, but we shouldn’t attempt to mechanically follow them. Rather, they ought to stem from a love for God and His ways.

2 Peter 3:17-18 (NKJV) – “You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Self Sacrificing Headship



How do fathers raise their children in a Christ-centered environment?

Jeff Pollard explains in this video that when God appoints a man to be the husband of his wife and instructs him to love her as Christ loves the church, it is an astonishing requirement. To try to get the modern American man to understand what it means to live as a self-sacrificing husband is still a great challenge.

We have been so brainwashed and enculturated by today’s culture that many men, husbands, and fathers don’t know how to create a Christ-centered environment to raise their children in. They don’t understand the value of family worship. Christian fathers must desire to bring their children up in a home where Christ is honored. Fathers must read Scripture to their children and both parents ought to pray for their children.

Colossians 3:17 (NKJV) – “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Faithfulness in Small Things



Are you faithful in both the “big” and “small” things?

Craig Houston explains in this video that one of the concerns that he has with Christians is the idea of faithfulness. The Bible says that it is required in stewards, that a man be faithful.

Faithfulness to the things of God is something that is waning amongst God’s people. Young men need to be challenged with the supreme importance of being found faithful even in the small things, not just the big tasks. We all need to be faithful in all areas of life and be people that can be counted on. This is something that we all us to continually go to the Lord and seek to walk in faithfulness to Him.

1 Samuel 12:24 (NKJV) – “Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Training Your Children in Family Worship



How do you train your sons to lead family worship?

Joel Beeke explains in this video that the best way to train your older children is for them to see you training your younger children. In the area of family worship, they learn from your example of faithful, regular times of family worship. One day, they will lead family worship for their own family.

He suggests that once your sons grow older, it would be wise to suggest that your sons help with part of family worship or all of it. Eventually, your sons will be leaving the home to start their new families and it is important that they start learning how they should teach and lead during times of family worship.

Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV) – “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Is There A Breakdown of Authenticity?



How do we battle insincerity and hypocrisy in our lives?

Kevin Swanson explains in this video that in many Christian families, there is often a lack of authenticity. We see insincerity in worship and hypocrisy within the home. Fathers and mothers model this to their children and their children pattern themselves after their parents.

The solution to insincerity is to confess sin, strive for transparency before God and others, and use Scripture to determine areas of insincerity. God demands that all insincerity be wiped out. The faithful preaching of the Word of God convicts us of hypocrisy, a lack of love for God, and a lack of true faith. Families need more faith and true love that manifests itself in proper obedience.

Matthew 7:3-5 (NKJV) – “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Without Holiness No One Will See the Lord



Can an unbeliever make progress in holiness?

Jason Dohm explains in this video that in Hebrews, we learn that holiness does not “buy” salvation. Rather, holiness always flows from salvation because the Holy Spirit indwells, works on, and transforms a believer’s life so that the person will become holy.

People who profess Christ that never make progress in holiness are those Jesus refers to when He says: “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23, NKJV).

If your life is characterized by practicing lawlessness, it means that the Holy Spirit has not indwelled in you and you are not transformed because you have not been born again.

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Fear of God Devotional: Hunger for Holiness and a False Gospel



Do you hunger and thirst for righteousness?

Jeff Pollard explains in this video that among Christians today, there is often a lack of those who hunger for holiness. This stems from a false gospel that is preached. Holiness arises from a heart made new by the power of the Holy Spirit. When we have a repentant heart, we hunger and thirst for righteousness. There is a desire for holiness.

All too often, people become “saved” after they accept a promise of a “quick fix” that will prevent them from going to Hell. Yet, there is no understanding of their desperate need of Christ and no brokenness. Modern Christianity is largely self-content. There is little hunger and thirsting for righteousness. The Gospel is not preached and approached this way throughout Scripture. Rather, a true believer realizes that he is not how God desires for him to be. He longs and desires to obey and be like Christ.

Matthew 5:6 (NKJV) – “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”

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Join me at the Shepherds Conference in California



I will be attending John MacArthur’s Shepherds conference 2017 Feb. 28-Mar. 3, in the LA area at Grace Community Church. I grew up in Southern California, so it’s always a joy to go and connect with people from my earlier days there, including my sister, and to meet with pastors at the Shepherds Conference. If you would like to connect at the Shepherds conference send me a note and we will try to meet.

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Fear of God Devotional: Spending Quality Time With Your Family



Should families skip gatherings of the church to “spend more family time?”

Craig Houston explains in this video that as a pastor, his primary concern for Christian families is that they learn to love Christ’s church. Christ loves the Church and died for the Church. This refers to the visible, assembled body of believers. Christians are called to worship with, care for, and be accountable to the Church.

And yet, families excuse their frequent absences from gatherings of the church because they want to spend more time with their family. However, when you spend time in church, gathering together as a family with other families, you are not wasting time. Rather, you are spending time as a family in the best way that you possibly can. It is vitally important to have the right perspective of Christ, the Church, and to love what Jesus loves.

Hebrews 10:24-25 (NKJV) – “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

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Marriage Conference in California

Marriages which are pictures of Christ’s love for His church, and the church’s respectful obedience are representations of the Gospel to local churches and communities… for this we pray and work. This is why Deborah and I are traveling to California to speak at a Marriage Conference near Fresno Feb 24-25.

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A New (Free) Book on the Sabbath by Sam Waldron at Chapel Library

Now available at Chapel Library is a new (FREE) book titled The Lord’s Day: Its Presuppositions, Proofs, Precendents, and Practice by Sam Waldron: The Lord’s Day

The Lord’s Day is a thoroughly up-to-date consideration of the Fourth Commandment and its ramifications for modern Christianity. Its four sections include the Presuppositions that influence our thinking; Proofs at creation, by Moses, and in the New Testament; Precedents in the Apostolic Fathers and John Calvin; and finally its Practice. While precise and careful, the author avoids extremes and makes the nuances and complexities of the theological issues clear for most Christians.

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The Power of the New Birth



This is one of the clearest explanations of what it means to be a Christian in the entire Bible. John is preaching Christ as he continues to explain the miracle of the new birth. He describes what happens to you when you are born again. John is writing about what is the foundation of Christianity – the supernatural regeneration of the soul. The new birth is so powerful that it gives you:

1. Faith. 
2. Love for the children of God. 
3. Delight to keep His commandments. 
4. Power to overcome the world.

These words in 1 John make it clear that the heart of Christianity is not about “doing the right thing,” good behavior or knowing right doctrine. The center of Christianity is the power of a new birth, where Christ is causes you to become a new creature. In this way, the church is the place of the prominence of Christ and the demonstration of the power of the love of Christ.

In this way, the church ceases to be a work of man, and becomes a work of the life of God in the soul of man.

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Fear of God Devotional: Godward Focus – The Puritans Got it Right



What can we learn from the Puritans?

Joel Beeke explains in this video that we can learn much from observing the daily life of the Puritans. He explains how the Puritans would set aside a period each day to first read Scripture, memorize a passage, meditate on everything they knew about that passage, spend time in prayer, make holy resolutions regarding changing certain things in their life, record things in their diary, sing a psalm, finish meditating, and conclude by praying and giving thanks. It is essentially a prolonged and more focused personal devotion period.

They also meditated throughout the day. Notably, the four most common subjects that the Puritans would meditate on involve: Heaven, hell, death, and the judgment day. In short, they were eternally focused. Today, we have so much technology that constantly occupies us that it is rare for someone to even meditate for even five minutes about Heaven. Instead, we occupy much of day thinking about anything but eternity. Like the Puritans, we ought to meditate on our eternal destiny – its joys and potential sorrows if we do not live a life of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Joshua 1:8 (NKJV) – “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Men Who Do Not Worship God



What happens when men do not worship God?

Kevin Swanson explains in this video that it is vitally important that men are examples of worshipping God. God wants both men and women to be fully engaged in worship. Without men leading their families in worship, reformation, family life, and even the continuity of faith suffer as a result. In short, we need men who worship God.

As husbands and fathers, men need to be faithful in attending church, instructing their children how to worship God, and being an example they can look up to. But not only is a man to corporately worship God along with fellow believers, but he should also be faithful in leading his family in worshipping God as a family. Finally, he must not neglect personal worship.

Colossians 3:16 (NKJV) – “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

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