One of my messages at our church father/daughter retreat this last weekend was on the subject of "Modesty." I gave six texts on modesty that every father and daughter need to understand. One of the men in our church sent me these helpful and powerful video clips on the subject. Part One and Part Two.
We are now offering the entire collection of messages from the Sufficiency of Scripture 2009 NCFIC National Conference for FREE! This conference, which took place December 10-12, 2009, in Covington, KY, called Christians back to their foundation, affirming that the Scripture alone is sufficient to direct their lives and the life of their families, their churches, and their country in the 21st Century. 35 messages cover everything from the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture to Youth Ministry to personal evangelism.
‘A man’s nature runs either to herbs or weeds, therefore let him seasonably water the one and destroy the other.’
- Sir Francis Bacon
Here is an excerpt from one section:
"So we must define repentance accurately. Repentance is a radical seismic transformation just like Isaiah said, “Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight.”
True repentance is like an earthquake of the soul that changes the configuration of your life. And it is like the restructuring of the earth happens when the hills are brought down and the valleys are raised up. This is the radical restructuring of life that is true Christianity.
We recently were horrified by the news about that gigantic earthquake in Japan. The coastline of Japan moved 13 feet and it tilted the earth’s axis by 10 inches. The earth changed in the same way that Isaiah 40 explains – the hills were brought low and the valleys raised. Several years ago there was another gigantic earthquake in Chile. The entire city of Concepcion moved 10 feet to the west and the capital city, Santiago moved as well. So this kind of geographical revolution is part of the picture of repentance.
How do earthquakes happen. They happen because the tectonic plates are pressing up against one another, creating tension. They are pressing against each other, and the tension builds. They press and they grind against one another and then they slip and the earth changes. What happened in Japan is out in the ocean tectonic plates were pressing against each other and they started to slip and then finally, wham, they slipped creating the gigantic tsunami that washed 28,000 lives away into eternity.
Well, that is the kind of imagery that Isaiah is presenting in Isahah 40:4. This was the kind of repentance that was happening in the wilderness.
And so I am praying for us that we are not yawning our way to heaven, but that we are a repenting people who cry out to God that He would show us how we ought to repent.
What you do with your eyes, what you do with your time, what you do with the meditations of your heart, what you do with your relationships, what you do with your clothing, what you do with your car, what you do wit your house, what you do with your money. That is what John is talking about here. This is the stuff of the Christian life. This is true Christianity.
And in this room here today there are those who aren’t converted. I pray that you would feel the tension. Maybe this would be the day when the tension in your sould will rise to such a degree that you make a dramatic shift and you change and it is like an earthquake of the soul where the whole landscape of your life is transformed."
Writing in the 19th century, the Rev. Legh Richmond, composed a letter to his daughters that contained exactly the same kind of counsel I gave my own daughters regarding amusements, books music and dress.
With a heart full of affection, I sit down to express a few sentiments and intimations of my wishes, as connected with your conduct. Keep them constantly with you, and let them be read over, at least once a week. May God render them useful to you!
AMUSEMENTS. (Plays, balls, concerts, cards, dances, etc., etc.)
Serious, consistent Christians, must resist these things, because the dangerous spirit of the world and the flesh is in them all. They are the ‘pomps and vanities of this wicked world,’ so solemnly renounced by God. To be conformed to these seductive and more than frivolous scenes–is to be conformed to this world, and opposed to the character and precepts of Christ. Those who see no harm in these things–are spiritually blind; and those who will not hear admonition against them–are spiritually deaf. Shun, my dear girls, the pleasures of sin–and seek those pleasures which are at God’s right hand for evermore. You cannot love both! (more…)
This Spring, I have been taking my daughter Claudia to Andy Davis’ seminary class, at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, on John Calvin, where he has been working his way through, Calvin’s Institutes, which is on her reading list this year.
Here are a few notes from the last class:
Andy started by stating that the reformation was mainly about the doctrine of worship – how will God be worshiped in the church. At the beginning of the lecture he quoted Matthew 15:8-9, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men."
Then he quotes Calvin on "will worship,"
"By these words, all kinds of will-worship, as Paul calls it, (Colossians 2:23,) are plainly condemned. For, as we have said, since God chooses to be worshipped in no other way than according to his own appointment, he cannot endure new modes of worship to be devised. As soon as men allow themselves to wander beyond the limits of the Word of God, the more labor and anxiety they display in worshipping him, the heavier is the condemnation which they draw down upon themselves; for by such inventions religion is dishonored." [Comm. on Matthew 15:9]
"From this we may gather that man’s nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols." (1.11.8)
"Man’s mind, full as it is of pride and boldness, dares to imagine a god according to its own capacity; as it sluggishly plods, indeed is overwhelmed with the crassest."
"There is no doubt that the perfect teaching of righteousness that the Lord claims for the law has a perpetual validity. Not content with it, however, we labor mightily to contrive and forge good works upon good works. The best remedy to cure that fault will be to fix this thought firmly in mind: the law has been divinely handed down to us to teach us perfect righteousness; there no other righteousness is taught than that which conforms to the requirements of God’s will; in vain therefore do we attempt new forms of works to win the favor of God, whose lawful worship consists in obedience alone. (2.8.5)
i) The God who is spirit is fully able to reveal his will for his own worship… and to oppose ALL HUMAN INVENTIONS.
ii) Christians are thus forbidden not only images but all forms of worship invented by the mind of man.
"The purpose of this commandment, then, is that he does not will that his lawful worship be profaned by superstitious rites. To sum up, he wholly calls us back and withdraws us from petty carnal observances, which our stupid minds, crassly conceiving of God, are wont to devise. And then he makes us conform to his lawful worship, that is, a spiritual worship established by himself." (2.8.17)
iii) God alone regulates his worship; he has not given to the church the authority to introduce new forms of worship.
"…he alone (when we seek the way to worship him aright and fitly) has authority over our souls, him we ought to obey, and upon his will we ought to wait." (4.10.8)
iv) The church must resist the temptation to add to or to take away from revealed worship.
v) The church had no power to bind the consciences of members with worship invented by the church which had no foundation in the Word of God.
"…in these observances one thing must be guarded against. They are not to be considered necessary for salvation and thus bind consciences by scruples; nor are they to be associated with the worship of God, and piety thus be lodged in them." (4.10.27)
vi) Unbiblical ceremonies are very attractive to fallen human nature; the simple forms of worship instituted by God are very different and are designed to lead us straight to Christ.
Here is Charles Spurgeon, the prince of preachers, on the Second London Baptist Confession:
This ancient document is a most excellent epitome of the things most surely believed among us. By the preserving hand of the Triune Jehovah, we have been kept faithful to the great points of our glorious gospel, and we feel more resolved perpetually to abide by them.
This little volume is not issued as an authoritative rule, or code of faith, whereby you are to be lettered, but as an assistance to you in controversy, a confirmation in faith, and a means of edification in righteousness. Here, the younger members of our church will have a Body of Divinity in small compass, and by means of the Scriptural proofs, will be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in them. “Be not ashamed of your faith; remember it is the ancient gospel of martyrs, confessors, Reformers, and saints. Above all, it is the truth of God, against which the gates of hell cannot prevail.
Let your lives adorn your faith, let your example recommend your creed. Above all, live in Christ Jesus, and walk in Him, giving credence to no teaching but that which is manifestly approved of Him, and owned by the Holy Spirit. Cleave fast to the Word of God, which is here mapped out to you. May our Father, who is in Heaven, smile on us as ever!
Brethren, pray for —
Your affectionate Minister,
Charles H. Spurgeon
While the central message of the NCFIC is the doctrine of the sufficiency of scripture, we find ourselves speaking of the many areas that this doctrine speaks to. So, if you want to know what pleases God in church life, family life, work life or any other kind of life, go to scripture. The answer is there.
Last Tuesday night, during our Family Foundations in Sound Doctrine Webinar, we covered Chapter 16 of the Second London Baptist Confession on the doctrine of good works. In this section, the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture for good works is stated. In paragraph 1, the confession reads,
“Good works are only such as God hath commanded in His Holy Word, and not such as without the warrant thereof are devised by men out of blind zeal, or upon any pretense of good intentions.”
This is the sufficiency of scripture for good works. It is based on the idea that God shows us what is good. Micah stated it this way, “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8.
We often think we can make up any kind of work and call it good. What the confession is reminding us of is that God defines what is good and makes gives commands and principles that define it. For example God has much to say about the eduction of children, the care for the poor, the life and work of a woman and a man… The problem is, we concoct works that sound good to us, but they may contradict what God has commanded, or keep us from doing what God has already commanded.
God has given us commands for what is good to do in the church and in the family, but we are often dissatisfied with it – we have a better idea.
Our objective during our Family Foundations in Sound Doctrine is to help families learn how to apply a historic confession of faith. The example we are using is the Baptist Confession of 1689. Here is Richard Barcellos with some insightful thoughts on interpreting the Confession. He writes,
- Like the Bible, the Confession is often self-interpreting, latter statements shedding interpretive light on former statements and former statements upon latter.
- Unlike the Bible, however, the self-interpreting phenomena of the Confession are not infallible.
- Like the Bible, the Confession is progressive in its formulation, latter statements assuming the former and building upon them.
- Like the Bible, inner-biblical (inner-confessional) exegesis/intertexuality is present in the Confession and often the key to its proper interpretation.
- Like the Bible, the Confession possesses authorial intent.
- Unlike the Bible, there is no divine author.
- Like the Bible, seeking to understand human authorial intent requires understanding background information, such as symbolic sources, historical-theological context, the theological nomenclature of the era, and the writings of the editor(s) of the Confession.
John MacArthur in his book, "The Truth War" puts his finger on what we believe is the systemic virus that is afflicting evangelicalism – catering to preferences instead of boldly preaching the Word of God.
"Notice: he deliberately refused to customize his message or adjust his delivery to suit the Corinthians’ philosophical bent or their cultural tastes. He had no thought of catering to a particular generation’s preferences, and he used no gimmicks as attention-getters. Whatever antonym you can think of for the word showmanship would probably be a good description of Paul’s style of public ministry. He wanted to make it clear to everyone (including the Corinthian converts themselves) that lives and hearts are renewed by means of the Word of God, and by nothing else. That way they would begin to understand and appreciate the power of the gospel message.
"By contrast, today’s church-growth experts seem to have no confidence in Scripture’s power. They are convinced the gospel needs to be "contextualized," streamlined, and revamped anew for every generation. Forty years of that approach has left evangelicals grossly untaught, wholly unprepared to defend the truth, and almost entirely unaware of how much is at stake. The evangelical movement itself has become a monstrosity, its vast size and visibility belying its almost total spiritual failure. One thing is certain: the cumbersome movement that most people today would label "evangelical" is populated with large numbers of people who are on the wrong side in the Truth War."
The Truth War (Nelson, 2007, pp. 165-68)
Tuesday night was our final broadcast till we resume on October 4th to finish our study of the Second London Baptist Confession. We have now completed the first half – chapters 1-16 – and we will complete the final 16 chapters in the fall. If you sign up for the entire year, you get all the past and future sessions. Our prayer is for mighty families founded on sound doctrine who will give their lives for a mighty church.
Last Sunday, Sovereign Redeemer Community Church, the church we just planted in the nearby town of Youngsville, NC, held their first service. There were approximately 110 people there.