1ST COVENANT

FAITH COUNTED AS RIGHTEOUSNESS

“The exodus was a sign for Israel, just like the death and resurrection of Jesus are a sign for the church.  The meaning of the sign is that God is for you and will work for you and take care of you if you will only trust him” John Piper (ref#277).

“…Old Testament believers, were saved by looking forward to the work of the Messiah who was to come and putting faith in him” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p519).

“…the law did not call for meritorious works, but for the obedience which flows from faith.  If love is what the law aimed at, and only faith can love, then the law must teach faith…the law…taught us to trust the gracious God…and to live out the obedience of faith” John Piper (ref#277).

“Acceptable sacrifices are based on a right relationship brought about by faith in the God who delivers” The ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p1388, [Jer 7:22-23]).

“Paul teaches that we should not leave the law behind, not reject the law for something else, but fulfill the law in the power of the Holy Spirit through faith which works itself out in love” John Piper (ref#277).

“True religion consists of communion with God based on trust and issuing into obedience” The Reformation Study Bible (ref#56, p13, [Gen 3:6]).

1ST COVENANT

COVENANTS

“…God works in history to redeem His chosen ones through a series of covenants.  These covenants define His law, assess penalties for breaking His law, and provide for the imputation of Jesus’ vicarious fulfillment of God’s requirements…” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p148).

INTERVENING FATHER, Your loving will and compassion work to my advantage through the covenants You set in place.  Through them I have no question about my course with You.

“A covenant is an unchangeable, divinely imposed legal agreement between God and man that stipulates the conditions of their relationship” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p515).

In sovereign authority You reveal Your desire and my part is only to accept or reject it (ref#63, p 515).  You will be my GOD and I will be Your child if I keep Your decrees and ordinances (Lev 18:5).  Moses writes that the man who can practice the perfect conformity to Your will shall live (Rom 10:5).  “If you obey…by loving the LORD…by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments…then you shall live…” (Deut 30:16 ESV).

FATHER, how I long to keep Your covenant but, my contribution makes it impossible.  I may not murder, but I certainly can’t keep Your law that says I am a transgressor even if I am angry at someone (Matt 5:21-22).  And Your stipulation is that if I fail in one point of Your law, I become accountable for all of it (James 2:10).

So, because I can’t keep Your covenant I am liable to judgment—liable to the hell of fire (Matt 5:22).  The very ordinance which You designed and intended to bring me life actually means death to me (Rom 7:10).  On my own I cannot keep Your covenant of works.

“…the covenant of works is still in force for every human being apart from Christ, even though no sinful human being can fulfill its provisions and gain blessing by it….for Christians today to think of themselves as obligated to try to earn God’s favor by obedience would be to cut themselves off from the hope of salvation” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p518).

Thank You, FATHER, for CHRIST and Your covenant of grace.

SCRIPTURE

BIBLICAL WRITERS

FATHER, now is the time I sit before a large table full of paper slips placed into subject piles all containing quotes about Your Holy Scriptures.  Thank You for the honor to record what Your godly people have said about Your Book.  But, all these quotes are written by men and women who don’t possess the SPIRIT in order to write Your exact words.  Only men who have written the Bible fit that category.

“Sermons, and tracts, and theological writings of all kinds, may be sound and edifying, but they are only the handiwork of uninspired man.  The Bible alone is the Book of God” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p3).

“All the words in Scripture are God’s words” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p73).  “Its first line, its last line, all its teachings, understood or not understood, are by the same Author…Whoever may have been the writers—whatever their circumstances, their impressions, their comprehension of the book, and the measure of their individuality in this powerful and mysterious operation—they have all written faithfully and under superintendence…under the guidance of the same Master, for Whom a thousand years are as one day; and the result has been the Bible” Louis Gaussen (ref#246, p8-9, “God-breathed Scripture”).

“The apostles and prophets were the people to whom God revealed spiritual truth” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Nov 7th).

“…no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet 1:21 ESV).

“…when these…were written, it was not a case of a man in control of himself, using his natural powers and propensities and abilities, thinking things out and then writing as best he could.  Not at all!  The whole time, he was controlled by…the Spirit…this divine energy.  This divine [creative impulse] came upon him, it held him and carried him, and he was borne along by the Spirit.  And it was as a result of that process that…prophecies and…Scriptures came into being” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#250, p45).

“If the Bible is not inspired in the strictest sense of the word, then it is worthless; for it claims to be God’s Word” A.W. Pink (ref#250, p3, “The Impregnable Rock”).

SCRIPTURE

WHAT IS THE BIBLE?

“The Bible isn’t a series of stories.  It isn’t a catalog of interesting characters.  It isn’t a manual of theology.  It isn’t a book of interesting wisdom principles.  One story, with one hero, forms the cord that holds the whole Bible together.  The Bible is essentially the story of redemption. This grand redemptive story, with God’s essential explanatory notes, is the main content of the Word of God” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Dec 9th).

“The message of the Bible is not to urge us to try to find truth; it is to ask us to listen to the truth, to God’s truth.  For its whole point is to say that God, knowing Himself, knowing man, knowing everything, has devised and schemed a plan whereby men and women can be delivered out of their failure and sin and can be made citizens and worthy citizens of God’s kingdom.  This is God’s plan” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, July 2nd)!

“…God’s faithfulness to his people convinces us that there is nothing missing from Scripture that God thinks we need to know for obeying him and trusting him fully….Scripture today is exactly what God wanted it to be, and it will stay that way until Christ returns” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p68-69).  “…He holds everything together by what he says—powerful words” (Heb 1:1-3 MSG)!

“O Word of God Incarnate”

 

O Word of God incarnate, O wisdom from on high,

O truth unchanged, unchanging, O light of our dark sky;

We praise thee for the radiance that from the hallowed page,

A lantern to our footsteps, shines on from age to age.

 

The church from her dear Master received the gift divine,

And still that light she lifteth o’er all the earth to shine.

It is the golden casket, where gems of truth are stored;

It is the heave’n-drawn picture of Christ, the Living Word.

 

It floateth like a banner before God’s host unfurled;

It shineth like a beacon above the darkling world.

It is the chart and compass that o’er life’s surging sea,

‘Mid mists and rocks and quicksands, still guides, O Christ to thee.

 

O make thy church, dear Savior, a lamp of purest gold,

To bear before the nations thy true light, as of old.

O teach thy wand’ring pilgrims by this their path to trace,

Till, clouds and darkness ended, they see thee face to face.

 

Author: William Walsham How, 1867 Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p72)

CREATION

MANHOOD AND WOMANHOOD

“The fact that God first created Adam, then after a period of time created Eve (Gen 2:7, 18-23), suggests that God saw Adam as having a leadership role in his family.  No such two-stage procedure is mentioned for any of the animals God made, but here it seems to have a special purpose” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p461).

“…the curse brought a distortionof Adam’s humble, considerate leadership and Eve’s intelligent, willing submission to that leadership which existed before the fall” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p464).  “Differentiated roles were corrupted, not created, by the fall. They were created by God” John Piper, Wayne Grudem (ref#274, p35).

“God made Eve for Adam…I will make him a helper fit for him” (Gen 2:18)” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p461). Before the Fall, Eve’s role was to assist Adam in his endeavors.  But after the Fall GOD informed Eve of her now deprived nature:

“…Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you” (Gen 3:16 ESV).

“These words from the Lord indicate that there will be an ongoing struggle between the woman and the man for leadership in the marriage relationship…” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p56, [Gen 3:16]). “Eve will have the sinful ‘desire’ to oppose Adam and to assert leadership over him, reversing God’s plan for Adam’s leadership in marriage. But…Adam will also abandon his God-given, pre-fall role of leading, guarding, and caring for his wife, replacing this with his own sinful, distorted desire to ‘rule’ over Eve” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p56, [Gen 3:16]).  “…the word…has nuances of dictatorial or absolute, uncaring use of authority, rather than considerate, thoughtful rule” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p464).

“This is the way God meant it to be before there was any sin in the world: sinless man, full of love, in his tender, strong leadership in relation to woman; and sinless woman, full of love, in her joyful, responsive support for man’s leadership.  No belittling from the man, no groveling from the woman.  Two intelligent, humble, God-entranced beings living out, in beautiful harmony, their unique and different responsibilities…” John Piper, Wayne Grudem (ref#274, p52).

 “We are not sinless any more.  But we believe that recovery of mature manhood and womanhood is possible by the power of God’s Spirit through faith in his promises and in obedience to his Word” John Piper, Wayne Grudem (ref#274, p52).

The discerning HOLY SPIRIT within us proves the authenticity of His Word.  To discover the Truth we must ask ourselves: Is our viewpoint a rebellion against GOD or is our stance affirming Him?

CREATION

MAN IS IN THE IMAGE OF GOD

“The fact that man is in the image of God means that man is like God…”Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p442).  “The expression refers to every way in which man is like God” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p444).

“…when God originally created man, the reason, the emotions, and the will all worked in perfect harmony. Reason led the way in understanding the will of God, the will consented to God’s will, and the emotions delighted in doing it” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p125).

“…we are still in God’s image—we are still like God…but the image of God in us is distorted;…” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p444).

“…with the entrance of sin into man’s soul, these three faculties began to work at cross-purposes to one another and to God.  The will has become stubborn and rebellious and will not consent to that which reason knows to be the will of God.  Or, more commonly, the emotions get the upper hand and draw away both reason and will from obedience to God” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p125).

“These faculties were all implanted in man’s soul by God, but were all corrupted through man’s fall in the Garden of Eden.  Our reason (or understanding) was darkened (Ephesians 4:18), our desires were entangled (Ephesians 2:3), and our wills perverted” (John 5:40) Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p124).

“…the goal for which God has redeemed us is that we might be ‘conformed to the image of his Son’ (Rom 8:29)” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p445).  “…redemption in Christ means that we can…progressively grow into more and more likeness to God…(Col 3:10)…” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p445).

“With new birth our reason is again enlightened, our affections and desires redirected, and our wills subdued.  But though this is true, it is not true all at once.  In actual experience it is a growing process.  We are told to renew our minds (Romans 12:2), to set our affections on things above (Colossians 3:1), and to submit our wills to God (James 4:7)” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p124-225).

FATHER, thank You for the opportunity to work out all Your redemption has put in me. You give all I need, through CHRIST’s work, to gain back more and more of Your image.

“God’s highest aim in dealing with His people is in developing Christian character” E.M. Bounds (ref#64, p64).

CREATION

GOD’S PURPOSE IN CREATION

“…this original creation—the ‘wind-hovering-over-the-water’ creation, the invisible moving the visible,…” (John 3:5-6 MSG).

GOD created.  “God’s purpose for the earth is that it should become his dwelling place; it is not simply made to house his creatures….The concept of the earth as a divine sanctuary…runs throughout the whole Bible…” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p52, [Gen 2:1-3]).

Scripture exudes GOD’s passion to live with His creatures.  He chose a nation and poured His blessings upon them.  To announce to the whole world His love for His people He provided supernatural acts to save and keep them (Example: the plagues of Egypt.)

He sent another cluster of supernatural acts to the world when He sent His Son to earth.  He constantly keeps His chosen as a holy people to Himself (Deut 28:9) though we are obstinate and rebellious.

 “In all their affliction he was afflicted…in his love and in his pity he redeemed them;  he lifted them up and carried them…”(Isa 63:9 ESV)

We are in a special and in a peculiar relationship to GOD.  We are His people.  “…We have no being, we have no existence apart from our relationship to God” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#265, p 282-283).

“…They will call upon my name,   and I will answer them.  I will say, ‘They are my people’;  and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God’”(Zech 13:9 ESV).

“This blessing finds fulfillment in the church…but it finds its greatest fulfillment in the new heaven and new earth…” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p520).  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God’”(Rev 21:3 ESV).  “…we will be in the presence of God and enjoying unhindered fellowship with him” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p1164).

FATHER, For no other reason than Your love do You care for and desire to be close to the created creatures You have chosen. Such a fact elicits my praise to You.

CONFESSION

REFORMING MY FLESH OR KEEPING IT DEAD

…FATHER, I know that my natural disposition must be crucified with CHRIST (that is, my flesh must die). The word, “flesh” means my human nature which is “under the control of animal appetites” and is sensuous (ref#150, NT:4559). “Flesh” is defined as my earthly nature apart from divine influence (ref#150, NT:4561).

Flesh is the part of me I must inactivate—kill by neglect. But I am anchored so in it I naturally choose to reform it instead of kill it.

It is intuitive to me to want flesh tamed. Therefore I strive to educate my flesh—teach it to be righteous. I happily give myself over to rules and methods (ref#33, p92). Intensive church activity is a way of attempting to reform flesh. It is frightening to realize that my own flesh can produce acts that appear Christian (Matt 7:22-23) yet they are without the help or consent of You, FATHER (ref#63, p706).

While teaching my flesh to be righteous I concentrate on one sin or a file-folder of sins. I fall into using my flawed self to try to become more like CHRIST. By doing this, I am in the business of trying to conquer and refine my old-nature flesh. I try to get flesh and SPIRIT to cooperate!

But, I cannot, and You, FATHER, will not reform my flesh—even the priceless blood of JESUS can’t cleanse the flesh. The HOLY SPIRIT does nothing to improve flesh; in fact, He will not even dwell in the midst of sinful flesh. The SPIRIT will abide in me for only one reason and that is for warring against my flesh (ref#33, p94).

O LORD, continually bring me to understand the difference between operating by my flesh and working with the SPIRIT—the difference between reforming my flesh and killing it by neglect. It is only by faith and dependence on the SPIRIT that I can put to death the deeds of my flesh (Rom 8:13).

SUPPLICATION

NON CHRISTIAN Resisters

[We all have friends and family that do not want anything to do with Christianity so it is up to us to pray for their salvation. Here’s an opportunity to pray for them. Fill their name in the blanks.]

SAVING FAITH

…FATHER, though I did not know it, You sought me long before I sought You, enabling me to believe in You. You worked in my heart in a mysterious way, making possible my belief before I trusted You (ref#63, p 708).

Having chosen me, You called me to come to You, and when I came, You declared me ‘not guilty,’ filled me with CHRIST’s goodness, gave me a right standing with Yourself and promised me Your glory (Rom 8:30).

I have come, but I perceive ____ has not. But, if You have chosen (him/her), (he/she) will come. Not only will (he/she) come but come turning away from (his/her) former pattern of living, seeking to have (his/her) sin and guilt removed, and looking forward to entering into a genuine relationship with You that will last forever (ref#63, p710).

FATHER, I pray these three requests for ____:

  • That (he/she) obtain basic knowledge of the facts of the Gospel and approve of what (he/she) hears (ref#63, p712).
  • That (he/she) trust in CHRIST knowing that He is the only way to You (ref#63, p712).
  • And that all this leads to a decision of (his/her) will to depend on and put (his/her) trust in CHRIST as (his/her) Savior (ref#63, p712).

Thomas, the Apostle, did not make a personal decision to trust CHRIST wholeheartedly in the years he was CHRIST’s disciple or even immediately after CHRIST’s resurrection (John 20:24-28). I pray in hope that You will cause ____ to, in (his/her) time, reach the point of willfully choosing to enter into a relationship with CHRIST.

“…whoever did want him, who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves. These are the God-begotten,…not flesh-begotten…” (John 1:12-13 MSG).

ADORATION

Chord Progression: (C F Fm C) (Ebdim Dm G7 C)

I SOUGHT THE LORD, AND AFTERWARD I KNEW

“I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew

He moved my soul to seek him, seeking me;

It was not I that found, O Savior true,

No, I was found of thee.

 

“Thou didst reach forth thy hand and mine enfold;

I walked and sank not on the storm-vexed sea,

‘Twas not so much that I on thee took hold,

As thou, dear Lord, on me.

 

“I find, I walk, I love, but, O the whole

Of love is but my answer, Lord, to thee;

For thou wert long beforehand with my soul,

Always thou lovedst me [anonymous, 1904],” Systematic Theology (ref#63, p708).