Friday, December 2, 2011

Philippians 3

This is the outline of a Sunday School lesson I taught on March 3, 2011. I have no idea how closely I stuck to the outline. Sometimes I can‘t read my own typing.

Intro: A common expression

Have you ever heard the expression “so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good”? If that’s true of someone, then the one thing you can count on is that the thing that’s that person’s mind is not Heaven as it’s talked about in the Bible.

2 things inside the church that will rob your joy.

  • Not talking about the obvious things like drunkenness, violence, etc.
  • These are temptations for all of us.
  • These will keep our minds and our lives from moving where they should be moving. I.e., they will distract us from Christ, who is our life. (Colossians 3:4)

What are the monsters that will rob our joy?

I.e., what are the wrong ways to think about heaven?
Legalism is any notion that you can achieve a right standing with God by personal effort. It is to put “confidence in the flesh”.
“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” Everything else is less!
There are different forms of this:
  • Roman Catholics who believe that performing a ritual guarantees the results.
    • Church of Christ believes this about baptism.
  • People like the preacher in the movie Footloose, who believe that avoiding sins guarantees your acceptance by God.
What is Paul’s response?
“not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.”
What is Paul’s goal?
“that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”
This is similar to (but different from) Legalism. Some Methodists believe you can reach the place where you no longer sin or no longer have great sins.
What’s the problem? If perfectionism is true, then
  • Why does Paul say he, the guy writing over half the books in the New Testament, hasn’t got there yet?
  • Why is Romans 7 there at all?
  • Why, in I Corinthians, the book written against the most sins, does Paul end with the statement of the Gospel? Of all the things he could have built up to (more law, higher spiritual “levels”) does he end with: “This is of first importance &dots; Christ was crucified according to the scriptures, was buried, and was raised on the third day according to the scriptures”
The problem is not with faith, it’s with the object of our faith, with what we have our faith in.
  • We put our faith in our obedience.
  • We put our faith in our ability to not sin in some way.
  • We put our faith in our having overcome some particular sin.
  • We forget that God is infinite, and that the smallest sin against him is therefore infinite.

Pursuit of Christ

Paul’s attitude about his past:
  • Garbage
  • Rubbish
  • Dung
Paul’s attitude about his present:
  • I have no righteousness of my own.
  • Whatever righteousness I have is by faith.
  • The faith I have is in the Jesus who was really there, and not the Jesus I imagine.
  • I haven’t reached the end yet.
  • I press on to know Christ — the Christ who’s really there.
How can we pursue Christ?
  • Bible
    • Reading — just to know what it says
    • Study — to understand
      • the depth of the “easy” parts
      • the truth of the “hard” parts
    • To find Christ
  • Prayer
  • Worship
  • Fellowship
  • Serving our neighbor.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

You should be ashamed if this is true of you

“I just spent an evening about a month ago with very close friends of mine who are Mormons. We had a very interesting conversation as we always do when it comes back around to the Gospel, and my friend’s wife said, ‘You know, I just don’t know all the debates between these different churches and denominations … I know evangelicals in town; our kids play together … I’ve even been to their churches a few times … There’s nothing different … My kids wear the bracelet [WWJD] … Look up there on the wall: There’s a picture of Jesus. We teach our children every day who Jesus is and the teachings that Jesus gave us to follow. As long as our children are being taught to follow Jesus, what’s all this division over doctrine?’”
— Mike Horton

Monday, February 14, 2011

The many and the few

Tim Challies is a baseball fan (if you call what they play in Toronto “baseball”) but he manages to hit this one out of the park.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Two motions

At the risk of 2 Doug Wilson quotes in a row, I offer this:

The unregenerate heart has only two motions it can make -- that of trying to climb to God on its own, or trying to run away from God.

The unregenerate heart can understand the holiness of God and flee from Him, or misunderstand it, and try to attain to it on its own. Only the converted heart can see the holiness as gladness, and the gladness as righteousness, and the righteousness as glory, and love all of it. As John Piper has argued concerning 1 Tim. 1:11, we have to have our eyes opened so that we see the gospel of the glory of the gladness of God. Would this really resolve all these issues? Taste and see.

— Doug Wilson

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Far worse

As I periodically tell people in counseling, there is no problem you might have that you can't, by diligent effort, make far worse.

—Doug Wilson