Posts Tagged ‘Bible’

Rewards for suffering persecution:

  • Glory in heaven. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18; 1 Peter 5:1,10,11)
  • Eternal consolation. (2 Corinthians 1:7; Romans 8:17)
  • Christ is made known. (2 Corinthians 4:11)
  • Life is being given to others. (2 Corinthians 4:12)
  • Grace of God is being made manifest. (2 Corinthians 4:15)
  • A guarantee that God will judge righteously. (2 Thessalonians 1:4-5)
  • Will reign with him. (2 Timothy 2:12a)
  • Spirit of glory rests upon. (1 Peter 4:14)
  • Glory is brought to God. (1 Peter 4:16)
  • Reason for joy. (1 Peter 4:13-14)

Pray for the persecuted church at Voice of the Martyrs.

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By Andy Constable

One of the words that is dirty among the newer generation of Christians is the word ‘doctrine’. Christians of my generation think that doctrine hinders our ‘worship’ of God rather than helps. Doctrine is something that we don’t have to think about because worship is more about our experience of God with our emotions than what we think about with our minds. However, the Bible is very clear that doctrine is very important. Here are some reasons why.

Firstly, God cares about the truth. God calls us to love the truth about him in 2 Thessalonians 2:10. Jesus says that the truth will set us free in John 14:6.  God wants everyone to come to a knowledge of the truth in 1 Timothy 2:4. God reveals his wrath against those who suppress the truth in Romans 1:18. And Jesus says that he will send the spirit of truth to us in John 16:13. Therefore, God deeply cares how we view him and how we worship him. This is where doctrine helps us out. It helps us get a grasp on biblical truth and how God wants us to see him. Without doctrine we would simply create a God that matches the idols of our hearts and not the truth about him.

Further, everyone has a doctrine whether they consciously think about it or not. The word doctrine literally means ‘what is taught’. It is the set of beliefs that a person (or a church) holds on who God is and what he is like. Every person is forming a view of God as they understand it and by necessity teach others because people are constantly sharing their views about God with people around them. Everyone has a doctrine and so it’s deeply important that we think about how we are portraying God to those around us.

Secondly, if everyone has a doctrine then surely it’s important to have good doctrine. Paul writes to Titus: “He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.” Paul encourages Timothy to be very careful what he teaches others about God. He says refute false teachers and encourage others by sound doctrine. How can we have good doctrine? We need to study God’s perfect and infallible Word. This brings in another word that is dirty these days and that is ‘study’. It takes disciplined and patient study to grasp the truths about God. The problem is that we live in the ‘McDonalds generation’. We want a life changing devotion in 15 minutes everyday. We open our Bibles and get bored when nothing grips us after 2 paragraphs. But, disciplined study is good and helps us build good doctrine that honours the Lord.

Thirdly, our emotional experiences are wasted unless they are based on biblical truth. Regardless of what we think or feel, there is not authentic worship of God without a right knowledge of God. As John Piper writes: “The apex of glorifying God is enjoying him with the heart. But this is an empty emotionalism where that joy is not awakened and sustained by true views of God for who he really is.” God is to be honoured as he is revealed to us in scripture. If the truth of God from his word isn’t driving your worship then you are worshipping another god with your emotions. It is wasted energy and doesn’t bring glory to the Lord.

Then there are those who love doctrine more than God. They use it to boost their intellect and don’t allow it to impact their hearts. What I mean by that is that the knowledge of God doesn’t move their souls towards a greater love of Christ. This is very dangerous because those who love doctrine as an end in itself become self-righteous and disconnected from God emotionally. We are to worship God with our hearts and minds. Anything that we learn about God should fuel us to love God more and glorify him with our lives. When you look at the Apostles in Acts they were men who knew God’s Word very well. They taught the people the Old Testament and the truth that it points people to Christ. They knew their theology and doctrine and that set them on fire to share the gospel and glorify God with their lives.

The goal of revelation from God’s word is to change our lives. Religion through doctrine won’t change your life. It can command us to love God but only the truth of the gospel of grace set on fire by the spirit of God can change our hearts to love righteousness. We are to have doctrinal depth but revival happens as people are set on fire by these truths. We need to feel them in the very core of our souls and this causes us to love Christ more than anything else in our worship. Don’t reduce doctrine to just your minds but allow it to affect your hearts! Tim Keller writes this:

If we don’t find that our affections have been moved away from earthly idols toward God, we haven’t worshipped….if I leave Sunday mornings having had no emotional connection whatsoever, I haven’t worshipped. I must allow my heart to be touched to worship.”

In conclusion, doctrine is very important to God because he cares about the truth, and commands us to care about it also. Every person has a belief about God and the Bible is clear that we need to have good doctrine in order to worship God with mind, heart and soul. Our emotional experiences will be empty unless they are sustained by true views of God. Therefore, let doctrine fuel your worship AND let the truth about God set you on fire to treasure God more than anything else!

By Andy Constable

Like most men, I love sport. It is something that has always been part of my life from an early age. I especially enjoy playing or watching football! Sport is a great creation by God and is something we should enjoy. However, many men, including myself, need to watch that sport doesn’t become an idol. When we think of idols we usually think of Hindu or Buddhist Temples. But in the Bible an idol is anything that we place higher than God. It is anything that we love more than him. At the end of 1 John 4:21: “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” As men we need to watch that sport hasn’t become an idol that has replaced God. How can we tell if sport has become an idol? Here are three tests.

Firstly, is sport your future hope? What do I mean by that? What we hope for in the future, always directs our current actions. This can be in a big area like getting a job. For example, if you want to become a doctor then you have to work hard at science in school and then do 7 years in medicine at university. Your future hope of becoming a doctor becomes the focus and drives your life choices. The same happens in the small-scale, day-to-day decisions as well. If my future hope is to be respected and liked, then the way I interact with people will reflect that hope. I will be polite to people, I will try to look good in front of them and I will seek to please them. These future hopes become idols when we direct our whole lives around them and cut out God. Do you organise your week and, in particular, your weekends around the football fixtures? Do you cut out relationships to make time to watch or play sport? Do you spend more time thinking about what your football team is doing then reading and talking about God’s Word? This is a question we all need to ask ourselves: what hopes and goals give direction to your life? If sport is the driving force then it has replaced God and we need to readdress the balance. I’m not saying don’t enjoy sport, but watch that it hasn’t become ultimate. In Philippians 1:6 Paul writes: “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” When Paul looked at the future he thought of the day of Jesus Christ. He thought of the day when he returns to be united with his people. And his focus was on running the race to this end. At the end of the day (to use a sporting pun), the Lord is not looking for men who can recite every fact about Premier League football, but men who serve his kingdom.

Secondly, does sport direct your mood? Sport is an emotional event! Watching England play rugby can be very emotionally draining. The next way to tell if sport has become an idol is if it directs your emotions. Let’s go back to the example of respect or being liked being our hope. If that is what drives your life decisions then when people don’t affirm you or respect you, you will get very depressed, angry, despondent and frustrated. The same can happen when sport becomes our main priority. Do you get angry when your team lose and huff for hours after? Do you get despondent when you don’t get to play or watch all the sport you planned to? Do you get frustrated with your kids and family when Match of the Day is on and they are making a noise? We can tell that we love something by the way we react when it is taken away from us. When Jesus asks the rich young ruler in Mark 10 to give up all his riches and follow him, he walks away, down heartened and sorrowful. Why? Because the greatest love in his life was money and he didn’t want to give it up. If you get upset when you lose your sport time then you know you have a problem. It has become an idol.

Thirdly, does sport direct all your conversations? What comes out of our mouths reflects what’s in our hearts. We talk about the things that we love most. Jesus said this clearly in Matthew 12:34: “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” When you meet up with your mates, is sport the main thing you talk about? I know many Christian men who spend more time talking about sport then they do discussing their spiritual life. Isn’t this a shame? If the most important person in our life is God then shouldn’t we be spending time talking about our walk with him. We should be asking questions like: What are we learning? What are we struggling with? What has God been challenging us about? How are we sharing the gospel with our non-Christian friends? This should take up the majority of our conversation time and not how your favourite football team is doing!  If your heart is loving God then naturally you will talk about him first and foremost and sport will fade into the background.

In Matthew 28:19 Jesus gives his disciples one last and very important command: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Our time as Christian men should be spent spreading the fame of our glorious God. This should direct our prayers, thoughts, emotions and wills. Lets spend time enjoying sport but using it as a means to share the gospel and love our Lord and Saviour more than anything else!

Watch with Joy!

Posted: May 11, 2011 by mezmcconnell in Random Stuff, Video
Tags: , , ,

I came across this via a missionary friend and I found it extremely moving. The part where the tribal pastor receives the Bible for the first time and the power of his prayer to God is very emotional. The simplicity of their faith and the gratitude for the word made me feel a little ashamed of how I take my library of Christian books for granted.