Friday, December 21, 2007

I Passed

Well, if your wondering why there hasn't been much blogging going on lately, its because I have been preparing for the state exam to obtain my appraisal certification, which I passed this morning. There will be no excuses after the holidays, other than just laziness. I look forward to posting some more on my study in Matthew. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Jesus in the Wilderness

Matthew 4

An exilic motif has been overshadowing the book of Matthew since the very first verse. At a time in history when the Jews believed themselves to be in exile under Roman rule, they were awaiting Messiah to come and establish his rule. This is about to come to fruition - with the Son of Man now coming onto the scene being baptized by John in the River Jordan (chapter 3). His preaching ministry was about to begin after some intense days and nights of fasting, after which, he was tempted by none other than the master of deception and notorious scum bag, Satan. This was the same scum bag that deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden, thus resulting in sin entering into the world.

In Matthew 4, the first temptation was this; “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become bread”. Right off the bat, Satan questions Jesus’ divinity. Not only that, but I believe his intent was to cause Jesus to doubt it too. Jesus, being an astute observer of Satan’s intent as well as being a student of scripture, quoted Deut. 8:3. “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Then Satan tempts again, this time by leading him to the highest point of the temple and saying: “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down?” Then using scripture Satan quotes Psalm 91: 11-12. Again, Jesus combats Satan with scripture. Deut. 6:16. “You are not to put the Lord your God to the test.”

Lastly, Satan took him to a high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their grandeur. He promised Jesus that if he bowed down and worshiped him, he would give him all those things. Jesus once again withstood him with scripture. Deut. 6:13. “You are to worship the Lord your God and serve only him.”

It is noteworthy that Jesus quotes Deut. 8:3. A look at this passage will reveal that Israel had been in the wilderness for 40 years being tested to see if they would be able to keep God’s commandments. Guess what? They were unsuccessful to say the least. They were constantly being disobedient to God in spite of all God’s miraculous provision.

Here in Matthew 4, we see a glimpse of the same test. Despite Satan’s best attempt to thwart God’s plan of restoring mankind back to himself - Jesus, “the true Israelite”, would prevail.

Thank you Jesus!

Does doctrine really matter?

Does Doctrine Really Matter?

byJohn MacArthur

Is it enough to "believe in Jesus" in some amorphous sense that divorces "faith" from any particular doctrine about Him, or is doctrine--and the content of our faith--really important after all? Scripture plainly teaches that we must be sound in the faith--which is to say that doctrine does matter (1 Tim. 4:6; 2 Tim. 4:2-3; Tit. 1:9; 2:1). It matters a lot. "If anyone advocates a different doctrine, and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing" (1 Tim. 6:3-4, emphasis added).

Sound, biblical doctrine is a necessary aspect of true wisdom and authentic faith. The attitude that scorns doctrine while elevating feelings or blind trust cannot legitimately be called faith at all, even if it masquerades as Christianity. It is actually an irrational form of unbelief.
God holds us accountable for what we believe as well as how we think about the truth He has revealed. All Scripture testifies to the fact that God wants us to know and understand the truth. He wants us to be wise. His will is that we use our minds. We are supposed to think, meditate, and above all, to be discerning.

The content of our faith is crucial. Sincerity is not sufficient. Consider, for example, these well-known verses. Note the repeated use of words like truth, knowledge, discernment, wisdom, and understanding:

"Thou dost desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part Thou wilt make me know wisdom" (Psa. 51:6).

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments" (Psa. 111:10).

"Teach me good discernment and knowledge, For I believe in Thy commandments" (Psa. 119:66).

Make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding; for if you cry for discernment, lift your voice for understanding; if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will discern the fear of the Lord, and discover the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding" (Prov. 2:2-6).

"The beginning of wisdom is: acquire wisdom; and with all your acquiring, get understanding" (Prov. 4:7).

"We have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding" (Col. 1:9).

"In [Christ] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col. 2:3).

"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness" (2 Tim. 3:16).

God's Word makes it abundantly clear that He wants us to use our minds. And one of the most vital duties facing every Christian--especially in an era (such as ours) when the church is overrun with contradictory ideas and spiritual confusion--is the duty of discernment.

In the days and weeks to come, we are going to consider what Scripture has to say about discernment. We'll look at some common pitfalls that often ensnare the best of Christians, and we'll look at some popular ideas circulating in the church today that demand careful biblical analysis and discriminating wisdom.

This article and others available at

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

An interview with NT

Click me. Listen and leave comments if you have time.


I am reading a book written by N.T. Wright entitled For all God's Worth: The True Calling of the Church. It is a masterpiece. Another homerun by Tom Wright. I would recommend this book to anyone - especially if you've been in the faith for a while. It is a breath of fresh air for me. Anyway, I just wanted to share a few quotes from his book just to give you a teaser. If you've got an extra $10 click on this link and pick up a copy.

"Worship is nothing more nor less than love on its knees before the beloved."

"Worship is humble and glad; worship forgets itself in remembering God; worship celebrates the truth as God's truth, not its own. True worship doesn't put on a show or make a fuss; true worship isn't forced, isn't half-hearted, doesn't keep looking at its watch, doesn't worry what the person in the next pew may be doing. True worship is open to God, adoring God, waiting for God, trusting God even in the dark."

"Where is it written in scripture that we can expect the church to be free from financial problems, from doctrinal controversy, from difficulties about leadership, from deep personal and corporate anxieties? Where is it written in history that there ever was such a church? Where is it written in theology that God demands such perfection? Go back to Paul's second letter to Corinth and you will find that it concerns exactly these issues. And Paul addresses his readers in Corinth, not with carping criticism, but with the power of love; not with sneering put-downs about what a shabby lot they were in Corinth, but with the gospel of Jesus; not with cynicism, but with the cross."

"the cross speaks of the God who didn't send someone else to do the dirty work but came and did it himself; of the God who lived in our midst and died our death; of the God who now entrusts us with that same vocation. Because of the cross, being a Christian, or being a church, does not mean claiming that we've got it all together. It means claiming that God's got it all together; and that we are merely, as Paul says, those who are overwhelmed by his love."

"People have learned elsewhere today to expect rudeness and even violence as the norm. They are thirsty for gentleness, for kindness, for the sense that they matter. They need to be shown that there is a different way of being human, that the true God embraces them, as they are, with the healing power of the cross and the life-giving breath of the Spirit."

"The God I Want? Left to myself, the god I want is a god who will give me what I want. He - or more likely it - will be a projection of my desires."

"At the more sophisticated level, the god I want will be a god who lives up to my intellectual expectations: a god of whom I can approve rationally, judiciously, after due consideration and weighing up of theological probabilities. I want this god because he, or it, will underwrite my intellectual arrogance. He will boost my sense of being a refined modern thinker. The net result is that I become god; and this god I've made becomes my puppet."

I hope this was enough to get you to buy the book. If you do, it will probably become one of your favorites as it has become one of mine.