Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Something Died Inside

Dear Pastor Lawyer,

I found out last night that my Dad left my mother for another woman. He says he is the happiest he’s ever been in his life. I’ve been sick and have been missing school anyway, so I’m going to go home. What can I do?


Dear Susie,

Wow. I know how hard it is to see your parents go through these kinds of things. I'll be praying for you and them.

I don't know your Dad. Sometimes going right at a guy about his sin is the best way to approach things. You just say something like, “You're in sin. You're not really happy. You're lying to yourself, to me, and to everyone else. You're an adulterer and you need to repent, suck it up, beg your wife for forgiveness and choose to follow Christ and love your wife more than you love yourself.” Because you are his daughter, this is probably not the best tack to take.

The other way to do it is to be sweet, loving, kind, and chatty. Talk about the things you're learning about God, and simply aggressively love your Dad. Pile on the love and respect. Find things about his fatherness that you are proud of and tell him how glad you are that he's your father. Tell him how those things are like how God is a great father and how much you appreciate his modeling Christ's life to you over the years.

Your whole family will be going through what appears to be and is—grief. Grief comes when someone or something we love dies. It is just as much a source of grief when someone leaves as when someone dies. What your father has done to your mother and to your family is a kind of death. The relationships—Husband/wife, family—have died. So, emotionally you will all respond emotionally like someone died. Things will never be the same. Scars will remain for the rest of your lives. Emotions are already and will continue to be nuts. Anger will rise, pain and suffering will present itself. This is normal in these kinds of things just as when someone we love dies.

Cling to the cross. Run to God. Pour out your heart and your emotions to the Lord who died for you and loves you. Let him lift you up and give you comfort. When the waves of emotion splat you against the wall, turn to Christ for solace. Cry on his shoulder. He cares for you. This will take a long time to get over. And you will never completely get over it, but the grace of God can and will heal the wound so that it will leave only a small scar on your heart. So, take your time. Know that the feelings are unrelated to your brain. This is a heart issue and only God can deal with the heart. But he loves you and can heal your heart.

I know this might sound trite and simplistic, but it really isn't. There is nothing else you can do. Love God, Love your mom, respect your father, and let God do the convicting and chastening, and the squashing. Respecting, btw, doesn't mean you can't pray that God would do whatever he needs to do to get your Dad to repent. You should pray this way.

I hope this helps.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What It's All About

Praise the LORD! Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD!
Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to be praised!
Psalm 113:1-3

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Distinction Is Huge

Grown men often don't think of themselves as men. They think of themselves as old boys. The distinction is huge. Boys do certain things and everyone expects them to do them and to think in certain ways in concert with this behavior. Men do certain different things and think in ways that are appropriate to those behaviors. Which comes first, thinking or acting, I don't want to argue right now. I think thinking really comes first, but acting is what we actually see.

Boys flit around from job to job, school to school, never quite getting a career other than one they are trapped into because of necessity. They often don't purchase a home because they aren't sure where they want to live. They go from woman to woman because they can't make up their mind and "what if a better one comes along just after I've picked Miss Perfect?" They go from one hobby to another, just learning enough to know about it, but never enough to really be committed to anything. Who knows if life will change and things will be different? or what if the world caves in? They drive old cars, telling themselves they are being thrifty, but in reality is because they can't make up their minds about it or because they are afraid to do things with real adu lts.

Old boys may be involved with church, but they aren't really involved with the lives of the saints, they are more into theology and Biblical discussions and wrangles. But they are committed to the Lord and may even look down their noses on those who aren't as enlightened as they in terms of Biblical wisdom and knowledge. The truth is they have lots of time to study these issues because they don't have the cumbersome duties of a family and real job.

Men lead. They make up their minds about things and stick to what they decide. Of course they do all the due dilligence to make a wise decision, but if they make a bad choice they do the right thing and see the thing through to the end. Or they "man up" and fix as much as they can while leaving with grace and humility. Men say what they think and do what they say. Men stand for things and give their lives to things. When a man wants something he works hard for it and doesn't take no for an answer, if he thinks it is a worth while goal.

Godly men stand for Christ no matter what the situation. They believe in strategic withdrawals, but they are not scampering away in fright, they are preparing another assault from another position even while moving away. When a man seeks a woman he knows enough about her to know that he will not hurt her heart, just to have the feelings she might give him. He will not single her out to her hurt. When he marries her he will do whatever it takes to make her beautiful for the rest of her life. He will lay down his life for her no matter how much it brings discomfort to his own desires. When they have children together, he will be just as diligent to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord as he is in making his wife more beautiful. But he will never let his children come between his wife and himself. Loving his children well always means loving their mother first and best. There will never be an doubt who comes first.

Monday, September 28, 2009

God's Response to HIs Anger

You cannot be like God and be free of anger as long as you live in a sin-broken world...

You see, anger is one of God's most beautiful characteristics. For God's children, his anger is a place of bright hope. Because he is righteously angry with sin every day, we can rest assured that everything sin has broken will be restored. Everything sin has twisted will be straitened. Everything that has gone wrong will be made right again. God's anger assures us that all things will be made new.
Broken-Down House, Paul David Tripp, p. 130, 132.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Before You Sin, Overcoming Temptation

James tells us that we sin when, after our passions are aroused, we indulge ourselves in unauthorized fruit (Jas. 1:15). The arousal of our desires is called temptation (v. 14). The Greek doesn’t have the word ‘evil’ but since the desire becomes evil because of the direction it is being led many translations insert that word. But the point James is making is that any desire or passion or , directed toward something that God has becomes evil when we indulge it in that direction. That indulged behavior is sin. And sin produces death (1:15).

What this means is that any desire we have can be twisted and spun toward sinfulness if we allow it to. The good desire to be warm can be made sinful if it someone else’s warmth we covet. The good desire for wealth can be made sinful if we steal the wealth from someone else. The good desire for ual pleasure will become sin if we indulge ourselves with someone other than our spouse. Any and every desire man has can be perverted by indulgence in the proper temptation.

Does this mean that every time we are tempted we are doomed to sin? By no means. Hebrews 4:15 tells us that Jesus was tempted in every way, just like we are and yet he did not sin. This tells us two important things: first, temptation is not sin. If you are tempted, you have not sinned yet. This means also that your desires that have been ed and aroused are not necessarily sinful either. We don’t sin until our desire “conceives” and we do whatever the temptation is enticing us to do.

Second, temptation does not automatically lead to sin. Jesus was tempted, but he did not sin. He was tempted in every way a person can be tempted and he did not succumb to sin. He had all the same desires everyone has and to the same degree. He was fully man. But he did not give in to sin. The point of the text is that because Jesus knows our weaknesses he is more fully qualified to represent us to his Father in Heaven. This is a wonderful truth and one we should remember in our battle with sin.

For our purposes, however, we want to know, “How did he do it?” Did he not sin because he was God? Well, how would that help us or give us confidence in his ability to represent us? Did he do some magic sort of thing? Did he just resist strongly and by steely will power refuse to sin? I don’t think so.

Look at the accounts of his temptations in Matthew 4:1-11. Notice that whenever Satan tempted Jesus with some heinous sin, Jesus always quotes Scripture. What most people don’t notice is that Jesus was not quoting the scripture to Satan, he was quoting it to himself. Satan didn’t need the Word at that moment Jesus did. Jesus, for example, when tempted to change the stone into bread (v. 3) quoted Deuteronomy 8:3, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Who needed this verse? Jesus did. The temptation was to rebel against faith in God’s provision for Jesus and turn the stones into food. But Jesus trusted God and waited for him. The mechanism he used was to obey God’s word and wait for him. Jesus follows this same pattern in the other temptations as well (see vss. 7, 10).

This illustrates the value of athletics (there are many other ways a person can gain these skills). Paul said he trained his body like an athlete so that he would win the prize (1 Cor. 9:24-27; Phil. 3:14). The author of Hebrews tells us to run the race set before us with endurance. Both of these ideas have the same attribute that is helpful for our battle against sin. They both require intense fitness for the task and they both involve great degrees of prior planning.

In order for the Christian to win the battle of avoiding sin he must be in shape to encounter the temptations and succeed in not falling to them. This means he must fervently draw near to God and allow him to draw near to the Christian (Jas. 4:8). The changes that come to the hearts of Christians are not due to the knowledge about God, but the nearness of God. It is when we spend time in the presence of God that our hearts are changed. We can’t jump through hoops, praying, studying, fellowshipping, fasting, etc. along and expect to be changed into the likeness of Christ. These things are good and necessary, but it is when we do them in the presence of Christ that we are changed into the likeness of Christ. Without Christ’s presence in these things we are simply pietists going through the motions. We have the appearance of godliness, but lack the power. And when we lack the power we fall easily when confronted by various temptations. So, getting in the kind of shape that makes us able to stand before the onslaught of the devils schemes requires that we spend a lot of time in the presences of God becoming like him.

The second thing we need to do to win war for our souls is to know the enemies moves in our lives and to develop natural responses to those moves. Suppose every time you talk to your sister-in-law you are overwhelmed by a sense of rage and anger.

You should notice a pattern and study it. Rethink the events from before the time you are invited to her house to the time you burst out in your sinful anger. Go back to the time when you are walking along with the Lord and not in any sin that you know of. In the order of events, when is it that you are first tempted to sin? Is it when you hear her voice asking you to come to dinner? Is it when you drive down her street? Is it when she begins to lecture you on how your raise your kids (which she does every time)? Go through and list the buttons she pushes and the order in which they occur. Suppose you successfully navigate through the first several temptations and don’t lose your cool. Have you sinned in your heart already? Go back before all the sin and see if you can figure out when you start sinning against your sister-in-law.

Notice the things that happen that cause you to sin. It might be feelings of angst, anger, frustration, tension, whatever. Notice these things.

Think about each one of them in turn and go to the Lord in prayer and ask him to reveal to you the answer to this question, What about this incident causes me so much trouble? Is it because she is saying something that hurts my feelings? Is it something that hurts my pride? Is she causing trouble for others in my family? Is it her condescending attitude? Do you simply not like the way she breaths through her nose like that?

Once you’ve figured out what it is that causes you to be tempted ask this question, Why is this causing me so much trouble? Is it my pride that is being hurt? If it is confess the sin of pride. Is it something else? It may be that your anger is legitimately godly anger.

You have identified Satan’s foothold in your life. You are tempted to sin because your pride is hurt. Now you need to go through a Bible study to ask God to change your heart with regard to your pride and true Biblical humility. Ask yourself this question, Do I have the right to be angry in these situations? Does my anger bring God glory in this situation? Does my expression of anger bring God glory? If the answer to these is no, you need to repent and change your mind about how important your opinion of yourself is in the light of the Kingdom of God.

Now that you’ve identified your areas of weakness, you need to develop a two fold plan. First, you need to learn to anticipate when you will be getting into the situations where your anger is enticed. And second, you need to develop a plan for when you do get into that situation again. What will you do that will bring glory and honor to God instead of what has been happening in the past? Suppose you are invited to a wedding at which your sister-in-law will also be in attendance. You know weeks in advance that she will be there and that you will be tempted to get angry. Since this is true you need to develop a game plan. What will you do to not succumb to the temptation? You should spend the next three weeks developing ways to love her before and above her irritating breathing. You should also keep in mind that fleeing, not putting yourself in that situation, is always a Biblical option (2 Tim. 2:22). But the triumphant option is to train yourself to act in a Biblically loving way toward your sister-in-law and thus win her to Christ and to yourself.

Finally, practice, practice, practice. The reason professional athletes look so fluid and natural when they do what they do is because they practice until the behavior is natural and normal. This is the result you want in your Christian walk with God. Practice loving unlovely people. Practice laying yourself aside and thinking God’s thoughts about others instead of thinking of yourself first. Know that as with everything new it will be difficult at first. It won’t feel normal, it will feel awkward. But everything is like this at first. The fluid sports star had just as much trouble with new things as you are having, but he spent a long hard time developing his skills so that he could win the prize. You want to win the prize? Get aggressive with temptation before it gets to the point of sin.

Remember Jesus and his temptations? Didn’t he look natural and at ease in the midst of his terrible temptations? How did he overcome and keep from sinning? He remembered who he was and who God was. He aggressively obeyed God and didn’t give in to his desires. He drew near to God and allowed God to draw near to him. And as he did Satan fled the scene. It will work for you too. Imitate Jesus, become like Jesus.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Be Angry, And Do Not Sin

But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him. Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.
Psalm 4:3-4 ESV

Anger Is A Good Thing

In a fallen world, anger is a good thing. In a fallen world, anger is a constructive thing. In a fallen world, anger is an essential thing... That is, if the anger is about something bigger than you...

You cannot be like God and be free of anger as long as you live in a sin-broken world.
Broken-Down House, Paul David Tripp, p. 129, 130.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

His Beloved Son, Our Redeemer

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:13-14 ESV

A Dissatisfied Redeemer

When it comes to the ongoing work of grace, he is a dissatisfied Redeemer. He will not forsake the work of his hands until all has been fully restored. He will exercise his power in whatever way is necessary so that we can finally be fully redeemed from this broken world and delivered from the sin that has held us fast. Celebrate the fact that God will not forsake that process of grace in your life in order to deliver to you the momentary comfort, pleasure, and ease that you would rather have in your time of exhaustion, discouragement, and weakness. He simply loves you too much to exchange temporary gratification for eternal glory.
Broken-Down House, Paul David Tripp, p. 120.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Armor Up, Then Pray

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
Ephesians 6:16-20 ESV

Waiting is Action

I think that usually our view of waiting is the doctors’ office. We see it as a meaningless wasted of time, like a man stuck in the reception areas until he has nothing left to do but scan recipes in a two-year-old copy of Ladies’ Home Journal…We must rethink waiting, and remind ourselves that waiting is itself a call to action.
Broken-Down House, Paul David Tripp, p. 119

Friday, September 11, 2009

Making My Steps Secure

I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.
Psalm 40:1-3 ESV

Waiting: A Gracious Gift

Waiting is one of God's most powerful tools of grace. God doesn't just give us grace of for the wait. The wait itself is a gift of grace. You see, waiting is not only about what you will receive at the end of the wait. Waiting is about what you will become as you wait.
Broken-Down House, Paul David Tripp, p. 117.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Wait For The Lord

…but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31 ESV


Waiting will always reveal where you have placed your hope. Your heart is always exposed by the way that you wait.
Broken-Down House, Paul David Tripp, p. 115.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Listen Diligently To Me

Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.
Isaiah 55:1-3 ESV

Too Easily Satisfied

…I am persuaded that the problem with the body of Christ is not that we are dissatisfied with what we do not have, but that we are all too satisfied with what we do have. We are comfortable with a little bit of holiness, a little bit of ministry, a little bit of sacrifice, a little bit of wisdom, a little bit of the satisfying glory that only the grace of Christ is able to give us. I am deeply persuaded that we must resist with all of our might the kind of self-satisfied spirituality that marks the life of so many believers. And I am further persuaded that this pseudo-spirituality is one of the cruel deceptions of a wily enemy.
Broken-Down House, Paul David Tripp, p. 95.

Friday, September 04, 2009

I Long For Your Salvation

Let my cry come before you, O LORD; give me understanding according to your word!
Let my plea come before you; deliver me according to your word.
My lips will pour forth praise, for you teach me your statutes.
My tongue will sing of your word, for all your commandments are right.
Let your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts.
I long for your salvation, O LORD, and your law is my delight.
Let my soul live and praise you, and let your rules help me.
I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.
Psalm 119:169-176 ESV

Characteristics of a Counterfeit

It Mistakes Commitment to Christianity for Commitment to Christ
It Mistakes Bible Knowledge for Biblical Wisdom
It Mistakes Commitment to a System of Theology and Rules for Christian Maturity
It Mistakes Doing New “Religious” Things for Heart of Obedience to Christ
It Mistakes Participation in Ministry Opportunities for a Christlike Lifestyle
Broken-Down House, Paul David Tripp, p. 91-94

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Christianity or Christ

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, erers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.' But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."
Luke 18:9-14 ESV

Counterfeit Spirituality

It is possible to mistake identity in Christianity for identity in Christ. I can serve and enjoy the externals of Christianity more than I serve and enjoy Christ. I can and should take pleasure in my inclusion in the culture of Christianity. But that must ever and always take a back seat to the daily rescue and help I receive because of my inclusion in the grace of Christ.
Broken-Down House, Paul David Tripp, p. 91.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Still of the Flesh

But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh.
1 Corinthians 3:1-3 ESV

True Spirituality

This side of heaven, we must resist defining spirituality as anything other than a deep devotion to Christ, the fruit of which is a lifestyle of daily worship of him and active service in his kingdom…We cannot be satisfied with a Christianity that allows us to live at the center of our world.
Broken-Down House, Paul David Tripp, p. 89.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Trust God's Interpretation

Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
Proverbs 3:7-8 ESV

Interpreting Experiences

…as a person made in the image of God you do not live life based on the cold, objective facts of your experience, but on your interpretation of your experience…your interpretations will begin to form into a worldview that will function as an organizing structure not only for what you think, but also for how you live.
Broken-Down House, Paul David Tripp, p. 80.

Friday, August 28, 2009

On High Forever

The stupid man cannot know; the fool cannot understand this: that though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they are doomed to destruction forever; but you, O LORD, are on high forever.
Psalm 92:6-8 ESV

The Fool Thinks

No matter how much we know, no matter how wise we are, sin can reduce us all to fools. It is one of sin’s most destructive fruits. What is a fool? A fool is one who sees the world upside down and inside out. A fool looks at what is right and sees wrong, and at what is wrong and sees right. A fool looks at what is good and sees bad, and at what is bad and sees good. A fool looks at what is true and thinks it false, and looks at what is false and thinks it true. A fool looks at wisdom and sees foolishness, and looks at foolishness and sees wisdom. Sin does this to all of us. We think our way is better than God’s way, that our rules are better than God’s rules, and that what we desire is better than what God has promised.
Broken-Down House, Paul David Tripp, p. 70.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Source of the Problem

For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Luke 6:43-45 ESV

Real Change

In fact, you and I change no one. Ultimately, personal change comes from only one source: the gracious act of a powerful God. When people try to change one another, typically the focus is on behavior. Yet behavior is not really the issue. If a person’s words, actions, choices, decisions, reactions, or responses are other than what God would want them to be, then the root problem is not behavior, but the heart…The heart is the core of our personhood, and the source of behavioral causality. What a person says or does is shaped by the thoughts and desire of the heart (see Luke (6:43-45).
Broken-Down House, Paul David Tripp, p. 65.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Found Faithful

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
2 Tim. 4:7-8 ESV

Find Us Faithful

We're pilgrims on the journey
Of the narrow road
And those who've gone before us line the way
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God's sustaining grace

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who've gone before us
Let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone
And our children sift though all we've left behind
May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find

Find Us Faithful, by Jon Mohr

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Is Anyone In Control?

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Job 38:4-7 ESV

Is Anything Out of Control?

Another mark of our delusional self-centeredness is that, when we encounter an area that we cannot control, we tend to see it as out of control!...So in each of our lives there are moments when we feel like screaming, “Is anyone in charge here?” Actually, yes. God is.
Broken-Down House, Paul David Tripp, p. 55, 56.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Working In Us

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Hebrews 13:20-21 ESV

Secret Wish

it’s the secret wish
of every soul struggling in the middle
of what he did not plan
and did not choose.

it is the silent cry
of each of us
as we are forced to deal
with someone
who is difficult to love.

we all think that
we’re wiser thane we really are
and more benevolent
than we would actually be.

we all forget that
sin has reduced us to fools
and shrunk our field of interest
to the size of our own needs.

that’s why all of us
secretly wish to be

Broken-Down House, Paul David Tripp, p. 48.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Forgiveness Produces Overwhelming Love

Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little." And he said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, "Who is this, who even forgives sins?" And he said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
Luke 7:44-50 ESV

Changed Forever

Why did this woman do this expensive and humbling thing? Why the ointment of her tears? Why her many kisses? There is only one plausible answer, the answer set forth in the passage: forgiveness. When you grasp how much you need it, and when, by God’s grace, you reach out and receive it, it changes you forever.
Broken-Down House, Paul David Tripp, p. 44.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Gladden the Soul

Incline your ear, O LORD,
and answer me, for I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am godly;
save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all the day.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer;
listen to my plea for grace.

Psalm 86:1-6 ESV

Without Putting You Down

Grace will make you acknowledge that you cannot earn God’s favor, and it will remove your fear of not measuring up to his standards. Grace will confront you with the fact that you are much less than you thought you were, even as it assures you that you can be far more than you had ever imagined. Grace will put you in your place without ever putting you down.
Broken-Down House, Paul David Tripp, p. 42.

Monday, August 17, 2009

God Is Working

The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool."
Psalm 110:1 ESV

All Are Flawed

The history of your Bible drips with the blood of violence. It smells of the stench of human greed, betrayal, and perversion. It is stained with instance after instance of people doing their best to take his place. Apart from Christ, none of the people in these stories are moral heroes who always get it right. No, to a person they are flawed.
Broken-Down House, Paul David Tripp, p. 29.

Friday, August 14, 2009

If There Is No Change, You're Still In Your Sins

Dear Pastor Lawyer,

What is the difference between Reformed Evangelism and non-Reformed evangelism?

Thanks, Betty

Dear Betty,

I guess I don't really know the difference between Reformed and non-Reformed evangelism. My views on it haven't changed much since becoming Reformed, but maybe I'm just ignorant too.
I do think most of the Church, especially American church, has it wrong when they talk about evangelism.

When I was in seminary, the goal in my evangelism class was to share the gospel with someone to the point where they were asked to make a choice between Jesus and Hell. If we got them to that point, we were free and could say, “Well at least they don’t have an excuse and I'm off the hook for having talked with them.” I didn't do very well in that class because I didn't believe that was what evangelism is about.

I believe there are very few Christians who are gifted in “cold turkey” evangelism. I’ve seen very little fruit from beach, door to door, or any other kind of contact evangelism, at least in terms of people coming to the Lord. I’m pretty skeptical about evangelistic crusades and revivals because they seldom produce any lasting fruit. A lot of people make commitments, but a year later these same people are very difficult to find.

There have been a lot of studies on the lack of fruit given this kind if evangelism and it is pretty consistent that the fruit is not only not good, it is actually bad. It is one thing if a person isn’t actually saved at a revival, but it is another thing that he thinks he was saved and wasn’t really. It inoculates him against the real Gospel and can be very difficult to help him see his real need for Christ after that sort of experience.

I think the reasons for this false salvation are pretty clear. It is because of a false Gospel and a false motivation for sharing the Gospel. For example, most presentations of the Gospel do not have the Gospel in them. Again, I thought this before I became Reformed so that has nothing to do with it. The Gospel is only good news to someone who is in desperate trouble with God. But a person who believes that God loves them and offers a wonderful plan for his life is not a person who is feeling terrible for having offended the Lord of Glory (most start this way). So what is he going to be saved from? In the end it is a very man centered message. Men are saved because they are wonderful and special.

Also, in my experience and observations over the years has led me to the conclusion that most people come to the Lord over a long period of time with close contact with a Christian or group of Christians. Christianity seems to be more caught than taught. It is a relational thing. Of course God’s Spirit convicting of sin is always necessary, but coupled with loving saints who Christ’s life in front of them is normally necessary as well. Don’t forget the proclamation of the Gospel. Men are in rebellion against God, are in deep trouble, and desperately need salvation. The Spirit confirms that this is true because the person feels terrible for his sin. God provided a substitute for us, by killing his Son in our place. Someone died for me and my sin. When the terror of a sinful life comes together with the offer of help from God the person lays aside his old life, dies in Christ, grabs a hold of God’s gracious offering, and God gives him a new life. When this happens to a person, he has been saved, and we know that he has been saved because his life will change. His life will change because he is not only saved from sin, but he is also saved to a right relationship with God. Jesus rose from the dead to give life to those who die with him. If a person has died because of his sin, God will give him new life because of Jesus’ resurrection. If there is no change, no matter what else has gone on, he is not saved yet. He is still in his sins. And we need to be very careful about proclaiming to the person that he has been saved just because he prayed the prayer, or signed the card or whatever.

I hope this helps.

Rebellion Causes Shame To The Rebel

The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven. And they pour out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger. Is it I whom they provoke? declares the LORD. Is it not themselves, to their own shame? Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: behold, my anger and my wrath will be poured out on this place, upon man and beast, upon the trees of the field and the fruit of the ground; it will burn and not be quenched."
Jeremiah 7:18-20 ESV

Living in a World Gone Bad

I think many of us live in a permanent state of location amnesia. We have forgotten where we live. Lose sight of the fact that this is a broken-down house where nothing works quite right, and it sets you up for all kinds of trouble.
Broken-Down House, Paul David Tripp, p. 25.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pray With All Prayers

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.
Ephesians 6:16-18 ESV

Monday, August 10, 2009

Readiness Given By The Gospel

Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
Ephesians 6:14-15 ESV

Friday, August 07, 2009

Stand Firm

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
Ephesians 6:13 ESV

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Big, But Important Words

For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. Romans 3:22-25 ESV

Body Art and Arn't

This has become a pretty hot topic of late and I thought I'd list a few links that discuss it in a really good way:

These first couple were wrtitten by Nancy Wilson:

This one was written by Rachel Jankovic:

The comment to this one, added by Heather Torosjan, was very good as well.

Finally, this final one was written by Douglas Wilson:

The point Doug makes about not what not loving your children well looks like was very telling and insightful.

Monday, August 03, 2009

The Sins of the Whole World

He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.
1 John 2:2-3 ESV

Friday, July 31, 2009

They Abandoned the Lord their God

But if you turn aside from following me, you or your children, and do not keep my commandments and my statutes that I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land that I have given them, and the house that I have consecrated for my name I will cast out of my sight, and Israel will become a proverb and a byword among all peoples. And this house will become a heap of ruins. Everyone passing by it will be astonished and will hiss, and they will say, 'Why has the LORD done thus to this land and to this house?' Then they will say, 'Because they abandoned the LORD their God who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt and laid hold on other gods and worshiped them and served them. Therefore the LORD has brought all this disaster on them.'
1 Kings 9:6-9 ESV

Thursday, July 30, 2009

They Shall Hear of Your Great Name

Likewise, when a foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, comes from a far country for your name's sake (for they shall hear of your great name and your mighty hand, and of your outstretched arm), when he comes and prays toward this house, hear in heaven your dwelling place and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to you, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and that they may know that this house that I have built is called by your name.
1 King 8:41-43 ESV

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What Shall I Do...?

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How do you read it?" And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself."
Luke 10:25-27 ESV

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Knowing the Affliction of His Own Heart

"If there is famine in the land, if there is pestilence or blight or mildew or locust or caterpillar, if their enemy besieges them in the land at their gates, whatever plague, whatever sickness there is, whatever prayer, whatever plea is made by any man or by all your people Israel, each knowing the affliction of his own heart and stretching out his hands toward this house, then hear in heaven your dwelling place and forgive and act and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways (for you, you only, know the hearts of all the children of mankind), that they may fear you all the days that they live in the land that you gave to our fathers.
1 Kings 8:37-40 ESV

Friday, July 24, 2009

Acknowledge, Turn, Learn

"When heaven is shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against you, if they pray toward this place and acknowledge your name and turn from their sin, when you afflict them, then hear in heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel, when you teach them the good way in which they should walk, and grant rain upon your land, which you have given to your people as an inheritance.
1 Kings 8:35-36 ESV

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lord Be Merciful and Remember

"When your people Israel are defeated before the enemy because they have sinned against you, and if they turn again to you and acknowledge your name and pray and plead with you in this house, then hear in heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel and bring them again to the land that you gave to their fathers.
1 Kings 8:33-34 ESV

Me n' Rachel

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Give No Opportunity

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.
Ephesians 4:26-27 ESV

Monday, July 20, 2009

Change Your Focus!

The discerning sets his face toward wisdom, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.
Proverbs 17:24 ESV

Saturday, July 18, 2009

480 Years After Salvation God's House Begins

In the four hundred and eightieth year after the people of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, which is the second month, he began to build the house of the LORD. The house that King Solomon built for the LORD was sixty cubits long, twenty cubits wide, and thirty cubits high.
1 Kings 6:1-2 ESV

Friday, July 17, 2009

Dwell Securely In Your Land

"You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the LORD your God. You shall keep my Sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD. "If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them, then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall last to the time of the grape harvest, and the grape harvest shall last to the time for sowing. And you shall eat your bread to the full and dwell in your land securely.
Leviticus 26:1-5 ESV

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Global Warming, Go Green, Carbon Footprint, Etc.

While Israel lived in tim, the people began to with the daughters of Moab. These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.

And the LORD said to Moses, "Take all the chiefs of the people and hang them in the sun before the LORD, that the fierce anger of the LORD may turn away from Israel." And Moses said to the judges of Israel, "Each of you kill those of his men who have yoked themselves to Baal of Peor."

And behold, one of the people of Israel came and brought a Midianite woman to his family, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of the whole congregation of the people of Israel, while they were weeping in the entrance of the tent of meeting.

When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose and left the congregation and took a spear in his hand and went after the man of Israel into the chamber and pierced both of them, the man of Israel and the woman through her belly. Thus the plague on the people of Israel was stopped.

Numbers 25:1-8 ESV

Friday, July 10, 2009

When One Rules Justly Over Men

The God of Israel has spoken; the Rock of Israel has said to me: When one rules justly over men, ruling in the fear of God, he dawns on them like the morning light, like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning, like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth.
2 Samuel 23:3-4 ESV

Who is God?

For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?
This God is my strong refuge and has made my way blameless.
He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights.
2 Samuel 22:32-34 ESV

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

So Walk In Him

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
Colossians 2:6-7 ESV

All We Like Sheep

It requires genius and statesmanship to instate it [good leadership], but once instated, no degree of stupidity, folly, or crime in those who wield it, seems sufficient to exhaust the spirit of submission with which man always bows to established power.
Nero, Jacob Abbott, p. 20.

Monday, July 06, 2009

A Great Fund Raising Letter

Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:16-19 ESV

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Carefully Guard Your Heart

My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings.
Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart.
For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
Proverbs 4:20-23 ESV

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Christ Strengthens Whatever the Situation

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:11-13 ESV

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Flee/Pursue: Be Honorable

Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
2 Timothy 2:20-22 ESV

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

They Will Have To Give An Accounting For You

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. Hebrews 13:17 ESV

Monday, June 29, 2009

Your Love for All the Saints

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Colossians 1:3-5 ESV

Friday, June 26, 2009

Don't Think About Pink Elephants

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippian 4:8 ESV

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Just Calm Down -- Give It To God -- Let It Go

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Pastor's Affection For His People

Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved. Philippians 4:1 ESV

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Need For Qualified Leaders

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. Philippians 3:17

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Deny Yourself

Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. (Mat 16:24)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Baptism: Every Which Way

We had a very cool thing happen at our church today. We baptized six people: One was sprinkled, one was poured, four were dunked. But wait, there's more. Four people were baptized in covenant baptism (paedo) and 2 were by statement of faith (credo). Who says there isn't a greater right than being right?

Monday, May 11, 2009

His Name is Bill

I was looking through my computer for something else and stumbled across this. I know it is a bit goofy, but sometimes we need to be reminded about simple things. I don't remember where I got it, but I'm pretty sure I didn't write it.

His name is Bill.  He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans and no shoes.  This was literally his wardrobe for his entire four years of college.  He is brilliant.  Kind of esoteric and very, very bright.

He became a Christian while attending college.

Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed, very conservative church.  They want to develop a ministry to the students, but are not sure how to go about it.

One day Bill decides to go there.  He walks in with no shoes, jeans, his T-shirt, and wild hair.  The service has already started and so Bill starts down the aisle looking for a seat.  The church is completely packed and he can't find a seat.  By now people are really looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything.  Bill gets closer and closer and closer to the pulpit and, when he realizes there are no seats, he just squats down right on the carpet.  (Although perfectly acceptable behavior at a college fellowship, trust me, this had never happened in this church before!)

By now the people are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick.

About this time, the minister realizes that from way at the back of the church, a deacon is slowly making his way toward Bill.  Now the deacon is in his eighties, has silver-gray hair, and a three-piece suit.  A godly man, very elegant, very dignified, very courtly.  He walks with a cane and, as he starts walking toward this boy, everyone is saying to themselves that you can't blame him for what he's going to do.  How can you expect a man of his age and of his background to understand some college kid on the floor?


It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy.  The church is utterly silent except for the clicking of the man's cane.  All eyes are focused on him.  You can't even hear anyone breathing.  The minister can't even preach the sermon until the deacon does what he has to do.

And now they see this elderly man drop his cane on the floor.  With great difficulty he lowers himself and sits down next to Bill and worships with him so he won't be alone.  Everyone chokes up with emotion.  When the minister gains control, he says, "What I'm about to preach, you will never remember.  What you have just seen, you will never forget.  Be careful how you live.  You may be the only Bible some people will ever read."

LORD help me to be as accepting of others as you are of me.  You accept me no matter how I am dressed or what I have done.  Open my heart to accept others as quickly and fully in Love!  Lord forgive my sins like I forgive other's sins against me.  Help me to become more like Christ.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Lord Comes Through...Again

And the LORD gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the LORD had given all their enemies into their hands. Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.
Joshua 21:44-45

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Giving and Receiving

Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD!
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways!
You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently.
Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules.
I will keep your statutes; do not utterly forsake me!
Psa 119:1-8 ESV

A Change of Heart

The be a Christian is to live one's life not merely in obedience to God, nor merely in dependence on God, nor even merely for the sake of God; it is to stand in conscious, reciprocal fellowship with God, to be identified with Him in though and purpose and work, to receive from Him and give back to Him in the ceaseless interplay of spiritual forces...According to this the covenant means that God gives himself to man and man gives himself to God for that full measure of mutual acquaintance and enjoyment of which each side to the relation is capable.
William Edgar quoting Geerhardus Vos in Without Apology: Why I Am A Presuppositionalist.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

How To Know When You Are Living For Christ

And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."
Matthew 22:37-40

Friday, April 03, 2009

Why Wait for the Curse?

"And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the LORD your God has driven you, and return to the LORD your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you.
Deuteronomy 30:1-3

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Trust in Christ

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 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.
Philippians 1:3-6

Bible Study Questions on Philippians 1

Philippians 1

1. Who wrote the book?
2. Why do you suppose he included Timothy’s name here?
3. Whom do they serve?
4. What does servant mean here?
5. What is a Christ?
6. Why does he have Christ before Jesus?
7. Who is the letter written to?
8. What is a saint?
9. What does it mean to be “in Christ Jesus”?
10. To which church in Philippi was it written?
11. Besides the saints, who was the book written to?
12. What is an overseer?
13. Why does he call them overseers?
14. What is a deacon?
15. Why does Paul list these folks out separately?

Compare the other “Greetings” of the other letters Paul wrote.
What differences do you note?

1. What does ‘Grace’ mean here?
2. What does ‘peace’ mean?
3. Who is this ‘grace and peace’ going to?
4. Who is it coming from?
5. How is it going to get there?
6. What is it used for?
7. What is the relationship between Father and Lord?

1:3–6 – Thanksgiving from a full heart
Notice the different translations of verse 3-6.
1. What does Paul do when he prays?
He remembers (Mentions) them Cf. Rom 1:9; Eph 1:16; 1 Thess. 1:2
2. Who’s God does he thank?
3. How often does Paul thank his God?
4. What is Paul thanking God for?
5. What attitude does Paul have when he prays for the Philippians?
6. How often does he pray?
In the Bible many people had specific time of the day set aside to pray:
Ps 5:3; Ex 9:5; Dan 6:13; 1 Chron 23:30

7. How often does he remember them?
Notice his intensity. My prayers, for you, all the time, with joy. Praying for them is not a chore for Paul.
8. Why does he pray with joy for them?
They remembered him and helped him.
They joinged with him in ministry.
God is the only one who could actually help them (thinking of you)
They have needs that only God can meet. (Them praying for him 1:19)

9. What have they joined with him to do?
Koinonia – Rom 15:26; 2 Cor 8:1-4, 9:13; Heb 13:16
10. How have they shared in the spread of the Gospel?
1:19, 27-28, 29; 4:14-15, 18
11. What is the Gospel?
12. How long have they been working with Paul?
13. What is Paul confident of? Why?
14. What good work did he begin in them?
15. What does it mean that they are going to have it completed in them some day?
Is 41:4; 44:6; 48:12 What God starts, he will finish, he is first and last.
16. What will the completion look like?
17. When will they be completed?
18. What does he mean by the ‘day of Christ Jesus’?
Phil 1:10; 1 Cor 1:8; 1 Thess 5:2, 4; 1 Jn 4:17; 2 Tim 1:12

In what ways can we immitate Paul, from these first 6 verses?
1. Joyful Prayer
2. Consistent Prayer
3. Intercessory Prayer
4. Confidence in the one to whom we pray
5. Participation in the Gospel
6. Confidence in the continuation of God’s work

How does faith work in all of this?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Repentance Is Hard

The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.
Revelation 9:20-21

Sunday, March 29, 2009

To Us Who Believe In Him

But the words "it was counted to him" were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
Romans 4:23-25

Saturday, March 28, 2009

What would you give to hear this today?

'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.'
Matthew 25:21

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Be Strong and Courageous

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

Monday, March 23, 2009

Some Trust In Things

May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the LORD fulfill all your petitions! Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright.
Psalm 20:5-8

Friday, March 20, 2009

Trust In The Lord

Consider the work of God: who can make straight what he has made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.
Ecclesiastes 7:13-14

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

You Become Like Those You Hang With

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
Proverbs 13:20

People, TV, Internet, Literature, Time, etc.

Monday, March 16, 2009

In You Do I Take Refuge

In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me! For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name's sake you lead me and guide me; you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God. I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols, but I trust in the LORD.
Psalm 31:1-6

Saturday, March 14, 2009

As He Is In The Light

If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:7

Law vs. Grace

Jim had been coming to the pastor for counseling for several months. Though he had been doing all the home work the Pastor asked him to do, nothing seemed to help. Finally, Jim became frustrated with his situation. “I read my Bible every day for one solid hour, and nothing has changed.” Jim said. “You told me that if I read my Bible every day for an hour, my life would change and I would stop doing all these sinful things. You said that I would love my wife, my job, and my children and they would love and respect me in return.”

“That’s close to what I said, but not exactly,” said the pastor, “You’re still missing the most important point.” "You’re still doing what you do in order to get something for yourself. You are still at the center of all your dreams and aspirations. You are still the focus of your life and the idol of your heart."

What you have done is set up a series of hoops that you think you need to jump through so God will bless you. But it isn’t God’s blessing that you are after, it is you being blessed. You are trying to manipulate God, trying to get him to do what you want by doing what you think will make him happy, to placate him.

"What you still don’t understand is that this is exactly what every religious group and philosophical system in the world does. They avoid submitting to God by setting up a system of works through which they try to manipulate the god they serve. When Christians to this we call it pietism, and legalism."

"The Gospel shines on us when we realize there isn’t anything we can to do make God happy. We are abject failures. There isn’t anything, zilch, nadda, nothing we can to do manipulate God into liking us or blessing us. God made provision for this in the death of his dear Son, Jesus. Nothing we could ever do could out placate God’s wrath against us than Jesus' death on the cross."

"The Gospel shines in us when we stop trying to impress God and simply live with him, in his presence every day, all day. The Apostle said bad company corrupts good morals, and Jesus said we become like our teachers. What this, among a million other verses, says to us is that we naturally become like those we hang around with. So, if you want to treat others like God tells you to treat them, watch how God treats other people. If you want to be treated like God, act like God. If you want to watch and act like God, spend time with God. It’s pretty simple really."

“That all sounds pretty good,” Jim responded, “But what can I do to change my life?” “Well, for starters, read your Bible for an hour every day.” This reminds us to confess our sins.

Friday, March 13, 2009

He Rejoices Over You With Joy

The LORD has taken away the judgments against you; he has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil. On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: "Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
Zephaniah 3:15-17

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Enjoy God's Gift

I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God's gift to man.
Ecclesiastes 3:12-13

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Sea Does Not Fill Up

All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again. All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:7-9

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Deny Himself

And he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?”
Luke 9:23

Monday, March 09, 2009

Should Be Proclaimed

“Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”
Luke 24:46-47

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Context, Context, Context

“For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?"
Luke 23:31 ESV (Eze. 20:47)

Friday, March 06, 2009

The Greatest is Servant of All

But I am among you as the one who serves.
Luke 22:27

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Like a Man

“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.
Job 38:2-4

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Impossible with Men

Those who heard it said, "Then who can be saved?" But he said, "What is impossible with men is possible with God." And Peter said, "See, we have left our homes and followed you." And he said to them, "Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life." Luke 18:26-30

Monday, March 02, 2009

Revelation 8

Context? What’s going on?
How many seals have been opened?
How many seals were there on the scroll?
What happened each time a seal was opened?

Vss. 1-5
v. 1—What/who opened the next seal?
Which seal was it?
How many seals were there?
What does it mean that this is the last one?
What happened when the seventh seal was opened?
How long did the silence last?
What significance is there in the silence? Hab. 2:20; Zeph. 1:7; Zech. 2:13

v. 2—What did John see next?
Where have we seen these angels before? Rev. 2-3;
Things on earth are often related to things in heaven:
1. Kingdom on earth come as it is in heaven—Mt. 6:10
2. Pattern of worship—Heb 8:5; 9:23-24
3. Government of the church—Matt. 16:19; 18:18
4. Worship and demons—1 Cor. 10:20
5. Angels are present in worship services—1 Cor. 11:10; Eph. 3:10
Therefore the angels in heaven before the throne of God may correspond to the angels of the seven churches. This would mean that thing that happen on earth happen in heaven and vise versa.
How many were there?
What was given to them?
What is the significance of trumpets?
A. Trumpets in the Scriptures are used for a number of purposes: 1) to call the congregation together for an assembly, 2) in ceremonial procession (as an escort for the Ark of the covenant), 3) to announce the rule of a new king (1 Kings 1:34), 4) to call Israel to covenant meetings and worship, 5) the Temple liturgy involved the use of seven trumpets (1 Chronicles 15:24; Neh. 12:21), 6) to announce the coming of judgment and to call to repentance.
B. The trumpets here announce the coming of God’s judgment upon the land and herald’s the ascension of the new King. This is the way the Day of the Lord is described in the O.T. (Zeph. 1:14-18; Josh. 6:2-5). Jerusalem, once the holy city has now become like the pagan Canaanite city of Jericho.

v. 3—Then what happened?
Where did the next angel stand?
Which altar was it?
How many altars were there?
What was this eighth angel given?
What did the incense signify? Rev. 5:8
Now the prayers and the incense are separated from 5:8?
What was he to do with the incense?
What prayers are they talking about?
Where was he to use the incense?
So there are at least 2 altars?
Where was this golden altar?

v. 4—What did the incense produce?
What happened to all the smoke?
What was the relationship between the smoke and the prayers?
What prayers are we talking about?
Where did the smoke and prayers go?
What did he mean by “from the hand of the angel”?
It gives us some new things to think about when the minister offers up the prayers of the saints to heavenly throne.

v. 5—What happened after the prayer meeting?
What is a censor?
What did he do with the censor?
What did he fill it with?
Where did he get the fire?
Which altar are we talking about now?
What did he do with the fire in the censor?
What happened when he threw the fire on the earth? Ex. 19:16, 18
What does all this mean?
It is interesting that originally the fire came from heaven to the tabernacle of God from God (Lev. 9:24; 2 Chron. 7:1) and was kept perpetually burning by the priests of God (Lev. 16:12-13). Then the fire went out when the temple was taken and God’s glory left the building. Now the fire is coming back in judgment against the same people he originally blessed with the fire.

A very interesting event occurred at the end of Leviticus 9 and the beginning of Leviticus 10. God sent fire to burn up the sacrifices in 9 and sent the same fire to burn up Nadab and Abihu for using “strange fire.” Not doing what God had commanded. Now in Revelation 8 God is sending fire to the earth to burn up Israel for offering strange fire on the earth, by breaking covenant with God.

When God told Israel to destroy cities they were told to do it in a certain way (Deut. 13:16). They were to burn it as a sacrifice to God so that God’s wrath would cease and blessing would come on the land again. This is part of God’s judgment against a nation and a land. This same judgment was about to come on the nation of Israel for the same sins that caused God to cast out the people from before them after they came out of Egypt. And according to Revelation 8 it is all part of worship, just as it was in Deuteronomy.

How should we then live in front of God? What should we spend our time doing? What should we love, serve, revere, pay homage to? Kind of makes you think doesn’t it?

Summary: From Chilton quoting from J. Massyngberde Ford
1. From the throne and altar, the “mercy seat,” comes wrath;
2. Incense, the “soothing aroma to the Lord” (Lev. 1:13), becomes an agent of death (cf. 2 Cor. 2:14-16);
3. The trumpets, which called Israel to worship, now become heralds of her destruction;
4. The heavenly liturgy itself, appointed for Israel’s sanctification, becomes the means of her overthrow and dissolution.


Vss. 6-12

v. 6—What is about to happen now?
What seven angels is he talking about? (if you weren’t here last week this is a context sort of question.) What did the 7 trumpets remind us of last week? Jericho

v. 7—What happened when the first angel blew his trumpet?
What does the green grass refer to? 7:3; 9:4

v. 8, 9—What happened when the second angel blew his trumpet? Ex. 7:17-21
Israel is God’s Holy Mountain, the mountain of God’s inheritance Ex. 15:17
By falling away from the Lord Israel had become apostate and thus they were a mountain that devoured those around them instead of feeding them. Jer. 51:25, 42; Mt. 21:21-22 (see the context) Rev. 6:9-11; 1:3 heed these things. What does heed mean?.

v. 10, 11—What happened when the third angel blew his trumpet?
What was the star’s name?
How can a star have a name?
Wormwood is the term used to describe bitterness and apostasy (Deut. 29:18; Jer. 9:15; 23:15; Lam. 3:15, 19; Amos 5:7; Prov. 5:4).
This event parallels Isa 14:12-15
What happened as a result of Wormwood falling into the waters? Ex. 7:21

v. 12—What happened when the fourth angel blew his trumpet?
The results of this angel’s blowing is thick darkness Ex. 10:21-23
This imagery describes the destruction of nations and ruler of nations Isa 13:9-11;, 19; 24:19-23; 34:4-5; Ez. 32:7-8, 11-12; Joel 2:10, 28-32; Acts 2:16-21

What things are in common in the first 4 trumpet blasts?
1. Some form of fire comes from heaven (7) fire in the hail, (8) Mountain burning, (10) blazing star fell, (12) 1/3 sun put out. God’s wrath being poured out against the ungodly.
2. They remind us of God’s judgment on Egypt: Ex. 9:22-24; Ex. 7:17-21; Ex. 10:21-23. Israel will be judged like God’s enemies who have gone before: Matt. 23:29-36.

Note all the parts of creation that will be struck.
Note the use of the word “Mountain” in the Bible—Dan. 2:35; 44-45; Jer. 51:25, 42; Ex. 15:17; Mat. 21:21-22.

Notice that this destruction was not total, but it is significant and pervasive.

v. 13—What happened before the fifth angel blew his trumpet?
Where have we seen this eagle character before? Hos. 8:1
Sometimes the eagle (4:7) in scripture is good (Deut. 32:9-11) and sometimes it isn’t (Deut. 28:49; Lam. 4:19; Job 39:30).
Warnings of Israel’s destruction are often associated with eagles and birds of prey: Deut 28:49; Jer. 4:13; Lam. 4:19; Hos 8:1; Hab. 1:8; Matt 24:28.
An aspect of covenantal cursing is that birds will eat the covenant breakers: Gen. 15:9-12; Deut. 28:26, 49; Prov. 30:17; Jer. 7:33-34; 16:3-4; 19:7; 34:18-20; Ez. 39:17-20; Rev. 19:17-18

Who is the eagle addressing his comments to? Those who dwell on the land: 14:6
Note that the woes are not simple words. They represent future events (see 9:12).

Notice too that the curses are becoming more and more terrible, just like in Egypt. The woes correspond to the 5th, 6th, and 7th trumpet blasts.

Revelation 7

Context? 6:18 Who can stand? 1 Thess. 5:9.
Still part of the events of the sixth seal.

Vss. 1-8
v. 1—Then what happened?
What is the “this” that happened after?
What did John see?
Who were the four angels?
What angels were they?
What were they doing?
Where were they standing?

What does the “four corners of the earth” represent? Job 1:19; Isa. 11:12; Ezek. 7:2; Acts 10:11; Acts 11:5; Rev. 20:8
Where have we seen that term before?
What were they doing while they stood there?
What were they holding back?
What does the four winds represent? Jer. 49:36; Ezek. 37:9; Dan. 7:2; 8:8; 11:4; Matt. 24:31; Mk. 13:27 – Jer. 49:35-38
How does one hold the wind back?
What does the wind represent in Scripture? Gen. 8:1; 41:27; Ex. 10:13, 19; 14:21; 15:10; Num. 11:31; Ps. 18:10; 104:3-4; 107:25; 135:7; 147:18; Jn. 3:8; Acts 2:2
Where was the wind kept from blowing? Hos. 13:15-16
Notice that the events in nature are not without God’s hand and intervention. God did not just wind it up and let it go. He is in it and his angels control the weather.

Also, representation does not mean “not there.” Nor does spiritual mean “not there.” In both cases though it is not exactly what we expect when we look at nature, it is actually larger than nature because it is nature and then some. Not to sound Greek but it is the reality behind what we see. But it is not independent of what we see, it is that and then some.

v. 2—What did he see next?
Where was this angel?
Where was he ascending from? Blessing often comes from the east Gen. 2:8; Eze. 43:1-5; Mal. 4:1-2
How do you go up from the sun? Isa 41:1-4, 25; 46:11; Ezek. 43:1-3
What did he have with him? Luke 1:78; Mal. 4:2
What is the seal of God? A symbol of authority and power.
What was he saying?
How was he saying it?
Who was he talking to?
What had they been given power to do?
Is this the same set of angels we saw in verse 1?
What affect did holding back the wind have on the earth?

v. 3—What was he saying to the four angels?
What was the condition?
What were they to wait for before they harmed the earth?
Who were they waiting to seal? Doulas- slave.
Where were they going seal them? Eph. 1:13; 4:30
What would this look like? 2 Cor. 1:21; 2 Tim. 2:19
On the forehead? Ex. 28:36-28; Deut. 6:6-8
This appears to be reflective of Eze. 9:1-7

The early church thought that the mark was the sign of the put on the forehead of folks who were baptized. The word for “mark” in Ez. 9 was one letter in Hebrew and it was shaped like an X or like a + and was a symbol for the way people would sign their name, or make their mark, in a business deal. As you notice it also looked very much like a Cross and the early church thought it was a sign of the mark that every Christian took on himself when he was baptized. Thus was a fulfillment of both Ez. 9 and Revelation 7.

No matter what is going on in the earth, God is in control and will care for his people (2 Pet. 2:9; Isa. 12:2)
Those who walk with God are those who will walk with God. The seal is the gift of the Holy Spirit, given to those who God has chosen to live and walk with him. God has changed their hearts and thus they should live like their hearts have been changed (Ez. 36:26-27; 2 Tim. 2:19).

v. 4-8—What did John hear?
How do you hear a number?
Who was sealed? 1,000 means a whole lot, many, mucho, bunches (Deut 1:11; 7:9; Psa 50:10; 68:17; 84:10; 90:4) Mic. 5:1-15
The 144,000 represent the 12 tribes of Israel. Two tribes are not listed; Dan and Ephraim. And two tribes that aren’t supposed to receive rewards are listed; Levi and Joseph. I don’t know why.
Throughout the N.T. the Church is described as the true Israel of God (Romans 2:28-29; Galatians 3:7,29; 6:15-16; Philippians 3:3; James 1:1; 1 Peter 2:9).

Who are these folks? Rev. 14:1ff the redeemed of the Lord. We’ve already seen in Revelation that not all Jews are Jews (2:9; 3:9), so the only ones left are either all the saved Jews or those who are true Jews (Rom. 2:28-29; Gal. 3:7,29; 6:15-16; Phil 3:3; James 1:1; 1 Peter 2:9), or both.

So put it all together you have a vast host, or army of the redeemed, created to fill the earth and subdue it, disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, poured out to serve him and to give him allegiance and to worship him forever.

Even though the center of worshipping the true God is going to be destroyed, God will not abandon his people to destruction. He will save them and not just a few. He will save the world (John 2:16).

Vss. 9-12
v. 9—What did John do after hearing the 144,000 (v. 4)? 1:10-13; 5:5-6; 6:1-8, hears and sees
What did he see when he turned?
What does his turning and his hearing in the previous verse have to do with one another?
How many people did he see?
Who does this mean the 144,000 were?
Which nations did these folks come from? Who were all these people?
What were all these people doing?
Standing is something only people who have been cleansed of their sin are privileged to do in the throne room. Which is why Isaiah fell on his face and why everyone else falls on their face before God, unless they are cleansed (Is. 6; Heb. 10:14ff).
What were they wearing?
Have we seen white robes anywhere before? 19:8
What did they have in their hands?
Where in the Bible do palm branches appear? Lev. 23:39-43; Neh. 8:15; John 12:13—Mt. 21:8, 19 Leaves with no fruit

v. 10—what were they doing besides standing and holding palm branches?
What kind of volume were they using?
What were they saying?
What does salvation mean?
Where does salvation come from?
Who does it belong to? And who?
Who benefits from it?

v. 11—Who was standing around the throne?
What were they doing?
Do you think physical positioning has anything to do with worship? Or is it all about, or only about, attitude?

v. 12—What were they saying when they were worshipping?
What does Amen! Mean?
What belongs to God?
Whose God is he?
For how long do all these things belong to God?

Vss. 13-17
v. 13—Who talked to John next?
What did he say?
Why should John know who all these people are?

v. 14—What did John say in response?
How did John address the fellow? Gk. “My Lord”
What did the elder say in response?
Who are these folks?
What great tribulation? Matt. 24:21; Mark 13:19—Matt. 24:34; Mark 13:30; Lk. 21:32
What did they wash their robes in?
How did washing the cloths in blood make them white? Heb. 9:22, 14
What does this mean about persecution for the Christians of the first century? What about subsequent Christians in history? Should Christians today expect to not suffer for their faith?

v. 15—What does therefore mean?
Where are they?
What are they doing there?
How long or often do they worship? Psa 134:1
What is the one on the throne doing for them?
The one sitting on the throne shall spread a tent (dwell) on among them. Deut 32:10-11; Lev. 23:33-43; 25:4; 2 Sam. 22:12; Hag. 2:4-9; Jn. 7:37-39

v. 16—How much hunger will they experience? Is. 49:10
How much thirst?
Will they get sunburned any more?
Will they overheat? Rev. 16:8-9; Isa. 4:4-5
Isa. 48:21

v. 17—Why won’t they suffer anymore?
Who is the lamb?
Is it strange that the lamb will be a shepherd?
What will he do for them as their shepherd? The shepherd does not necessarily take away the problems, he simply protects his sheep in the midst of their problems.
Where will he lead them? Isa 55:1; Jer. 2:13; 17:13; Eze 47:1-9; Zech 13:1; Jn. 4:10-11; 7:38 (the feast of booths, Lev. 23:36; Num. 29:35)
What will God do for them?
What tears are in need of wiping away? Isa. 25:8; 49:8-13
See Carson’s commentary on John 7:37-44, pp. 321-323

Revelation 6

Context: What is going on in the text?
Who was writing the book? Where is John? What is he doing there? What is the story about? What is the goal of the book?

This is reminiscent of Habakkuk’s description of the coming destruction of unfaithful Israel by the Chaldeans which God is going to bring about (Hab. 3:3-12).

Vss. 1-2
v. 1—What is John watching?
Who was the lamb?
What was he opening?
What is a seal?
What happened when the Lamb opened the seal?
Who was speaking?
What was his voice like?
What did he say?
Who did he say it to? 1 Cor. 16:22

v. 2—What did John do in response to the Angel’s command?
Why if the angel said come, did John look? The angel was talking to the horse and rider.
What did John see?
What kind of horse was it?
What was on the horse? Zech. 1:8; 6:1-7
What was riding on the horse?
What did he have?
What is the significance of the bow and crown? Rev. 14:14; 19:11-13
What was he doing on the horse?
What does it mean that came out conquering and to conquer? Revelation 3:21; 5:5; 19:11; Psalm 45:1-5
Who is this rider?

Vss. 3-4
v. 3—What did he do next?
Who was he?
Which living creature spoke next?
What did the living creature say when the second seal was opened?

v. 4—What came out next?
Came out of what?
What color was this horse?
What did its rider do?
What does it mean to take peace from the earth? God removes his hand of peace.
What happened when peace came from the earth?
What was this rider given?
What was he given the sword to do? The fiery red horse is the symbol of war and bloodshed. Those who refuse to submit to the sword of the Spirit are forced to submit to the sword of warfare. God often warned that if His people rebelled against His rule, He would give them over to war (Leviticus 26:25,33; Isaiah 1:19-20). Apart from God’s active restraint upon the sinful natures of men, there would be constant warfare. When God removes the restraints on man’s degeneracy war is inevitable.

Vss. 5-6
v. 5—What happened when the third seal was opened?
Which living creature spoke now?
What did he say?
What did John do?
What came out of that seal?
What color was the horse? the color of mourning and sorrow
What did that rider have in his hands?
What did what he had in his hands signify? Ez. 4:10 scales to weigh out their food when trading, buying and selling.
What explanation did John hear with regards to this rider?
Whose voice was it that spoke?
What is in the midst of the four creatures? The throne.
What did he say?
What does it mean? signifies economic hardships and scarcity which would befall the enemies of God (Ezekiel 4:16-17). God had promised this would be the case if the people rebelled (Leviticus 26:23-26). Grain will sell at 10 times its normal price and consume an entire day’s wages to pay for it. Scarcity is among the chastisements God sends (Deuteronomy 28:17-18,23-24,48).
How can you harm oil and wine? Oil and wine are used in celebration and healing Psa. 104:15; James 5:14-15; 1 Cor. 11:25.

Vss. 7-8
v. 7—What happened when the fourth seal was broken?
Which creature spoke this time?
What did he say?

v. 8—What did John see after the fourth seal was broken?
What color was this horse? Rev. 8:7; 9:4; Mk. 6:39 Green is the color of a corpse
What was the rider’s name?
Why don’t we know what the other riders’ names were?
What followed this rider?
What is Hades?
What does it mean that Hades followed him?
Where did they come from? Rev. 1:18
What were they given?
How were they able to kill?
How were they to kill? Lev. 26: Deut. 28; Ez. 14:21; Ez. 5:17
How might this come about?

Psalm 46:8-11—calamity and disaster also serve to glorify God; Psalm 90:3-12—unbelievers have nothing to rejoice in; Matthew 12:20, 21—Christians have nothing to despair of.

Vss. 9-11
v. 9—What happened after the fifth seal was opened?
Did an angel say anything?
Where did John look to see his next sight?
What was under the altar?
Why under there? They have been "slain." The imagery here is taken from the O.T. sacrificial system. There were two altars in the temple and tabernacle: Inside the holy place there was the "golden altar" or the "altar of incense" which represented the prayers of God’s people ascending up to God. In the outer court of the temple and the tabernacle, there was the altar of burnt offering. When sacrifices were made, the blood of the animal was sprinkled or poured around the base of the altar (Ex. 29:12; Lev. 1:5; 4:7).
Who were these people?
How had they died?
Was that a good way to die? The Christian is one who willingly gives up his life in the service of Christ (2 Timothy 4:6-7; Philippians 2:17). Mt. 10:38; 16:24; Lu. 9:23—Take up cross and follow Christ 1 Pet. 4:12-17
How could someone be slain for the word of God?
What witness had they borne? Notice translations.

v. 10—What were these folks doing?
How loudly were they crying out?
What were they saying? How long-- Zechariah 1:12;
What are they asking God to do? This may be an allusion of the blood of the innocent "crying out" from the ground for vindication (Genesis 4:10; Numbers 35:33; Deuteronomy 21:9; Hebrews 12:24). Blood has a voice and cries out for vengeance.
What titles are they using of God? Sovereign Lord here is not the normal word used for God it is despotes the normal word for an owner who owns slaves. Acts 4:24; 29-30
What do they mean? God vindicates is people by destroying his enemies
Who were “those who dwell on the earth”? Where have we seen this title before? Rev. 3:10
Who dwell on the earth? 3:10; 6:10; 8:13; 11:10; 13:8, 12, 14, 14:6; 17:2, 8
Idolatrous Israel to be driven from the land Jer. 1:14; 10:18; Ezek. 7:7; 36:17; Hos. 4:1, 3; Joel 1:2, 14; 2:1; Zeph. 1:18
Idolatrous nations being driven out of the land Num. 32:17; 33:52, 55; Josh. 7:9; 9:24; Judg. 1:32; 2 Sam. 5:6; 1 Chron. 11:4; 22:18; Neh. 9:24
Israel has joined the nations of pagans and will be driven from the land in the same way those pagan nations were way back when. Remember that God told Abraham that the pagans’ sin hadn’t reached its point of no return (Gen. 15:16), but when it did they would be driven from the land. Israel went over the Jordan and began driving those nations out. Now God is chasing 1st century Israel out for the same reasons.
What does it mean to avenge blood?
Whose blood were they asking him to avenge?
Who were they asking God to kill? Psalm 79:5-6,9-10; 9:8-10,16,19-20
What do you think about men asking God to kill other men? Deut. 32:43; Ps. 47:3, 8-9; Lk. 18:7-8
What about judging men? Matthew 23:34-38; Acts 7:51-52; Luke 21:22; John 15:18-25
If the Bible models it, what should your attitude be?
Was what they prayed in or out of the Will of God? Mat. 23:34-38; Acts 7:51-52; Lu. 21:22; Jn. 15:18-25
What was their desire in this prayer? For personal revenge? God’s glory? Psa. 79:5-10; 9:8-20

v. 11—What were they given?
Why were they given these robes?
Where have we seen this white robe thing before?
What were they told to do?
For how long?
What does complete or fulfilled mean? The Jews had not yet filled up their cup of wrath Matt. 23:32; 1 Thess. 2:14-16.

Vss. 12-17
v.12-14—What happened when he opened the sixth seal?
Where in the Bible is this imagery used?
Earthquake—Ez. 38:19; Joel 3:16; Hag. 2:6-7; Heb. 12:26-29
Sun became black—Ecc. 12:1-2
Moon becomes like blood—Joel 2:31
Stars fell from the sky—Dan. 8:10; Eze. 32:7
Like a Fig tree—
Sky rolled up—Is. 13:10; 14:12; 34:4
Mountain and Island will be moved—Jeremiah 4:20-24; Isaiah 49:1; Daniel 2:35
What did it mean there? de-creation
What does it mean here? Mt 24:29-31
How can we say that?
Judgment prophesied against a rebellious nation is couched in the terms of de-creation. Just as the salvation of the Lord is described in terms of creation (2 Cor. 5:17) so the covenant judgments of God are described in terms of the destruction of all things (Joel 2:10,28-32; Acts 2:16-21)
1. The destruction of Israel stands as a warning to all nations (Prov. 14:34).
2. What is true of nations is also true of individuals. If you reject the Savior, you too shall perish.

v. 15—What happened when the sixth seal was broken?
Where did all the leaders go?
Where did all the normal people go? Isaiah 13:7-8
Where did all the slaves go? Seven classes of men are mentioned. The whole land is being excommunicated. Everyone who opposes the kingdom of Christ, will be utterly confounded when His day and the judgment arrives (Isa. 2:10-21). As they had forced God’s people to hide in caves from their wrath (Heb. 11:38), so now God causes them to hide in caves from His wrath (Wilkins).
What hills and caves and mountains did they hide themselves in?

v. 16—What were they saying to the rocks as they hid in them?
Why did they want the mountains to fall on them?
What didn’t they want to see?
What did they not want to experience?
What other way could they have avoided this fate?

v. 17—What did they think was happening?
What do they mean by the great day of his wrath? Isaiah 13:9-13; 34:2-4; Ezekiel 32:7-8; Amos 8:7-9; Ezekiel 30:3-4; Joel 2:1-2; Zephaniah 1:12-15; Matthew 24:21
Where would they have heard about this day?
Who can stand? Luke 21:34-36; Isaiah 54:10; 63:4

The four horsemen should not be taken individually; rather as a group. They are God’s agents for controlling the kingdoms of the earth. They raise up nations and they bring down nations. They represent the same four sorrows that Jesus mentions in Mt. 24:6-7; Lk. 21:10-11, 20. The point is to impress on the reader how terrible and awful the day of the Lord is and how important God’s people are to God (Mt. 23:35-37; 24:21). They are like the events in Joel 1:4; Zech. 1:8, 18; 6:1-8; and Mt. 23:33, 36.

Notice the similarity between the events in this chapter as those in Matthew 24:
International strife (vv. 3-4; Matthew 24:7).
Famine and pestilence (vv. 5-8; Matthew 24:7).
Persecution (vv. 9-11; Matthew 24:9-14).
Earthquakes and de-creation (vv. 12-17; Matthew 24:7,15-31).
This is reminiscent of Habakkuk’s description of the coming destruction of unfaithful Israel by the Chaldeans which God is going to bring about (Hab. 3:3-12).