Archives for June 2010

catching up on gbcvic sermons


Grace Abounding (Rm 5:20-21)

The Law not only magnifies the effect of sin, it brings about a magnification of the immense treasure of grace that is available to sinners in and through Jesus Christ.

The Christian in the World (1)

Having defined the terms ‘godliness’, ‘worldly’, and ‘worldliness’, we now go on a survey that looks at what the Bible says about the Christian’s relationship to the world.

A Bishop Then Must Be … (2) (1 Tim 3:2-7)

We continue looking at the qualifications for a bishop or pastor. He must be hospitable, apt to teach, not a fighter, gentle and not a lover of money.


Are You Dead to Sin? (Rm 6:1-2)

Paul is now transitioning from the doctrine of justification to a salvation-by-faith oriented understanding of the doctrine of sanctification. He begins by posing a question which exemplifies a misunderstanding (deliberate or by ignorance) of the doctine of justification: should we sin that grace might abound?

The Christian in the World (2)

Having defined the terms ‘godliness’, ‘worldly’, and ‘worldliness’, we now go on a survey that looks at what the Bible says about the Christian’s relationship to the world.

A Bishop’s Household (1 Tim 3:4-5)

We focus on just one qualification for a bishop in this message, the qualification that his household must be in order. The Bible ties the pastor’s management of the church with his management of his household. As such, God puts the children of the pastor in the "fishbowl" and makes their response to their father’s leadership a test of his church management ability.



keeping our distance

There is some discussion of the differences between conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists and whether we should maintain those differences and, if so, how rigidly we should maintain them.

At least, their purports to be a discussion, but after four weeks nothing of substance has really been discussed.

In some discussions of the topic over the last few years at various online locations, some have alleged that my opposition to closer ties with conservative evangelicals is theological. In other words, since many prominent conservative evangelicals are Together for Calvinism, my opposition is rooted in my non-Calvinistic theology.


I ran across something this week that puts the lie to that theory. I thought it would enlighten some for me to share it with you.

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what we should ask of the Spirit

On Sundays we have condensed our service times so that we are finished with all three services by about 2:15 pm. Occasionally we take the opportunity to drive up-island to Courtenay BC where my brother pastors Grace Baptist Church of the Comox Valley and take in his service at 6:30 pm. It makes it a long day, but that way my wife and kids (and me) get to hear some good preaching for a change!

This last Sunday night was one of those occasions. (I was also heading up to pick up my beloved pickup truck which had been repaired by a man up there. A perfect Father’s Day, getting one’s truck back!) My brother preached a fine sermon from Daniel 9 (but ran out of time to finish everything – rats!)

The service included a number of favorites requested by the people. One of them especially ministered to my heart, a hymn we don’t have in our hymnal, but one well worth our consideration. To me, it encapsulates everything a believer should ask of the Holy Spirit, and one people so often miss in this age.

Note especially the second stanza: we aren’t asking for an experience, a vision, a sign, but rather that we might see and know our God better. And also note the line about unanswered prayer. Even in that there is a spiritual blessing we need from the Holy Spirit.

Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;
Wean it from earth; through all its pulses move;
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art;
And make me love Thee as I ought to love.

I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasies,
No sudden rending of the veil of clay,
No angel visitant, no opening skies;
But take the dimness of my soul away.

Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh;
Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear.
To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh,
Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.

Hast Thou not bid me love Thee, God and King?
All, all Thine own, soul, heart and strength and mind.
I see Thy cross; there teach my heart to cling:
O let me seek Thee, and O let me find!

Teach me to love Thee as Thine angels love,
One holy passion filling all my frame;
The kindling of the heaven descended Dove,
My heart an altar, and Thy love the flame.

As you think on this hymn, I hope it might minister to your heart as well. You can hear the tune here at the cyberhymnal.


toward an understanding of worldliness – part 3

If you would like to catch up, here are the previous posts in this series:

the meaning of godliness

toward an understanding of worldliness – part 1, part 2

To continue…

In reading my material over again, I find that my understanding has grown and I will need to correct something I said in part 2. I’ll do that in context below and let you know when I do it.

Our study of this topic brought us to Titus 2.11-12 one of the most useful passages in the NT for the purpose:

NAU  Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,

The grace of God instructs us:

  1. To deny ungodliness and worldly desires
  2. To live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age

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the power of preaching

Some good thoughts on preaching by Dave over here. It reminds me of a book I am reading.

It is called The Scotch-Irish: A Social History, by James G. Leyburn. I picked up during a recent vacation in Tennessee at one of the state’s excellent historical sites. (To my chagrin, I see I could have gotten it on Amazon for $6 less.)

I am a sucker for historical sites and for historical books that you find there. My kids make fun of me… (this time, one of my sons said, “Oh boy, get ready for more Civil War illustrations!”)

This particular book traces the American immigrants who became known in America as the Scotch-Irish from their time in Scotland to their first emigration to Ireland (Ulster) and from there to America. I am just finishing the description of life in Scotland prior to the great exodus.

The story is fascinating (OK, so I’m a nerd). Leyburn was a prominent sociology professor at Washington & Lee University. Their library is named after him. I don’t know if he professed to be a Christian or not, but the book seems to be written from a secular perspective. That’s what makes it’s comments on preaching and the Scottish Reformation so interesting.

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internet imponderables

If someone puts up a post in the blogosphere and no one responds for days, does it make a sound?