Go to http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/news/top-10-biblical-archaeology-discoveries-in-2015/
Jonathan Edwards spoke of the "rules of the gospel." This is a very interesting concept. What he is saying is that because we have a humble attitude overwhelmed by the extravagant grace and selfless love of God, the gospel has a profound effect on our lives in all our work and play. Where it was once all about others serving us, we now imitate Christ who came not to be served, but to serve others.Where it was once all about others forgiving us, we are the first to forgive others. Where it was once all about climbing the ladder, it now becomes all about working with excellence for those who have climbed the ladder before us.
Law and love were equally honored on the cross. When Jesus died for our sins he paid in full the penalty for each of our heinous acts and he lived a perfect life fulfilling every aspect of the law. But on the cross we see the greatest demonstration of God's love in that he extends extravagant grace to each and every sinner that will come to him trusting in Christ's work alone to get them to heaven and welcoming him as their new master or boss.
Martin Luther has given us a very poignant thought when it comes to engaging our culture. He points out that when we pray "give us this day our daily bread" God answers that prayer by working through different people in the culture around us. Some of these people are Christians and some are not. When God provides you a car, there were a lot of people that went into the final product that you drive away in. Martin Luther says, "these are the masks of God behind which he wants to do all things." What this means is that God is providing the beauty and majesty of his common grace all throughout all people in society. So instead of having an arrogant prideful attitude that you are much better than those sinful people in the culture, you must address the needs of the culture with deep humility.Your attitude when it comes to spreading the gospel must not be one of triumphalism. You must understand that God is at work through his common grace (not his efficacious grace) in everyone around you. This humility is the beginning of a successful work of God when engaging the culture.
Plans and Purposes
And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, [Job] is in your hand, but spare his life.”
1 John 5:19
For purposes of illustration it is helpful to compare Job and Jesus. Both were “blameless and upright” and both “feared God and shunned evil” (Job 1:1; Hebrews 4:15). And both were attacked by Satan (Job 1-2; Matthew 4:1-11). But there was one stark difference between the two: Job’s life was spared by God while Jesus was killed “by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23).
What does that say? First, it says that God is in control. God allowed Satan to attack Job without taking his life while He allowed Satan’s attack on Jesus to culminate in His death. Second, it says that God’s purposes are different for different people at different times and in different circumstances. Obviously, it was God’s purpose for Jesus to die as a sacrifice for sin with the clear intent to raise Him from the dead as a sign of victory over Satan, sin, and death (Acts2:24). Applying those two lessons to our lives, we have every good reason to trust in God when in the midst of trials in our life. He is in control; He has a purpose for our life.
Whether now or in the future, let trials strengthen your faith in God, not weaken it.
God has the sovereign right to do what He wishes, and no other explanation is necessary.
John M. Frame
Isaiah 50 – 52
But stretch out Your hand now, and touch [Job’s] bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!
What is best known about Job is that Satan attacked the man, his children, and his livelihood. Job and his wife survived; everything else was gone. What is less well known is why Job was the target of Satan’s attack. And therein lies the key to understanding spiritual warfare.
Job was a righteous man who “feared God and shunned evil” (Job 1:1). Satan targeted Job because he wanted to prove to God that righteous people will curse God when they are in difficulty. Satan wanted to get Job to change his attitude about God. He wanted Job to take his wife’s advice and “curse God” (Job 2:9) because of what God allowed to happen. God had confidence in Job, however, and it was well founded. Job didn’t curse God. Instead, he set out on a quest to understand what God was doing in his life. Satan’s goal in spiritual warfare is not just to hurt us. His goal is to get us, because of our pain, to “curse God”—to stop believing in the goodness of God.
If you are hurting today, remember Job’s story. Don’t let your circumstances change your faith in God. Instead, resist the devil and submit to God’s plan (James 4:7).
Scars are the price which every believer pays for his loyalty to Christ.
Isaiah 47 – 49
Abraham’s Great Act of FaithFROM R.C. Sproul Jul 23, 2016 Category: Articles
Apart from Christ’s obedient sacrifice, probably the greatest act of faith in fear and trembling recorded in all of Scripture is the obedient response of Abraham when God commanded him to sacrifice his son Isaac.
“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, ‘Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.’ He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back” (Heb. 11:17–19).
This occurred after God had given Abraham a promise of future generations through Isaac and after God had made him wait many years for the birth of Isaac. In the interim, Abraham had taken steps to make sure that this promise was fulfilled with the aid of his wife Sarah, who, regarding herself as barren, offered her handmaid Hagar as a surrogate mother so that Abraham could have a son in order to fulfill the promise. Hagar had a son named Ishmael—but he was not the son of promise. Finally, after more years of waiting, God opened the womb of Sarah, and in her old age and in her barrenness, she brought forth a son who was given the name Isaac (when told she would have a son, Sarah had laughed, and the name Isaac means “laughter” in the Hebrew language). All of Abraham’s hopes, his entire destiny, was wrapped up in this child.
Then God came to him and said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you” (Gen. 22:2). Abraham, in fear and trembling, set out on that three-day journey with Isaac. On the way, Isaac asked Abraham, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” (v. 7). Abraham responded, “God will provide for himself the lamb” (v. 8).
I think we can read this story and make Abraham a paper saint with a glib kind of piety, as if he were saying to Isaac, “Hey, don’t worry about it, son, God’s going to provide us with a lamb when we get to the mountain.” Not at all. Abraham was shaking in his boots. He was wondering: “How could God ask me to do this? How could God call me to such a place at such a time to do such a thing?” But he trusted God, clearly assuming that after he killed Isaac, God would raise him up from the dead (Heb. 11:19).
So Abraham went to the mountain designated by God, built the altar, spread the wood, and bound his son. But when he raised the knife, at the last possible second, God intervened and said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God” (Gen. 22:12). This is a story of faith to the absolute degree. The only thing that ever exceeds it in Scripture is the faith of Christ Himself.
This excerpt is taken from What is Faith? by R.C. Sproul. Download more free ebooks in the Crucial Questions series here.
Judson and Jesus
For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
Today’s Christians are in danger of losing their history. How few children now are taught the stories of our great pioneer missionaries—like Adoniram Judson, who became the first Protestant missionary sent out from North America. His life is stranger than fiction, and reading his biography makes us shudder one moment and praise God the next. Few have suffered as he did, and those who read his story wonder how he maintained sanity. Prison. Illness. Torture. Grief. The death of loved ones. The resistance of those in Burma whom he had come to reach. Yet for 37 years he persevered, and by the end of his ministry there were 63 churches in Burma, 163 other missionaries and helpers, and more than 7,000 baptized converts.
Judson once said, “In spite of sorrow, loss, and pain, our course by onward still; we sow on Burma’s barren plain, we reap on Zion’s hill.”
Let’s not shrink from the weariness, suffering, or toil of whatever life God has ordained for us. Let’s consider the heroes of our faith, count it all joy, and press on toward the prize.
Our prayers run along one road and God’s answers by another, and by and by they meet.
Isaiah 41 – 43
And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
In the beginning stages of the Tribulation, multitudes of martyrs will be slain and arrive in heaven. They will have a question for the Lord. According to Revelation 6:10, they’ll want to know how long before He returns to judge the world, judge the evildoers, and put things right.
We have the same question now. As we scan the headlines, watch the news, and battle the anxieties of our age, we feel like asking, “How long, Lord, until You return and clean up this mess called planet earth?”
The answer is in verse 11: “Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.”
As we wait for Christ’s return we should do it with patience. His coming is sure, certain, and closer than ever before—but we don’t know the year, day, or hour. That’s why the Bible says, “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord” (James 5:7).
The promise of the Redeemer’s return is calculated to develop the grace of patience.
Isaiah 38 – 40