The second part of the study “The Unveiling of Jesus Christ” – a look at Revelation is now available on podcast. Click on the podcast page or jump directly to https://taethne.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/revelation-part2.mp3
The podcast of Revelation, chapter 1, has now been posted on the podcast page. This series will continue to be posted on a weekly (more or less) timetable. Please, listen and enjoy this new teaching resource from Ta Ethne
A very good article written on adoption and theology. There is a link at the end of the article so you can go to the original posting. Ta Ethne supports the work of Together for Adoption in mobilizing the Christian world for global orphan adoption. Please take the time to read this well-written article and check out their website.
Occasionally, when people hear about Together for Adoption’s emphasis and stress upon theology, they sincerely ask, “Do we really have time to study the theology of adoption when there is so much to be done for orphans now?
Isn’t it enough that Scripture commands us to care for orphans? Shouldn’t we just do it?”
If we think of theology merely as information about God, as the mental collection of facts about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, then this question is legitimate. But if by theology we mean a real knowing of God, an ongoing and growing relational engagement with God, the question loses its teeth. Yes, theology necessarily involves information about God. Scripture is full of it. But theology is never merely information.
In Matthew 11:27 Jesus says, “All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (emphasis mine). Believe it or not, Jesus is talking about theology here. If you think about it, theology did not begin with the creation of man. It has always existed in the eternal mutual knowing of the Father and Son. For all of
eternity past the Father has known the Son and the Son the Father.
Understood like this, theology is a gracious gift to humanity. In reality, theology is actually a sharing in the mutual knowing of the Father and Son. It is a participation in the communion of love that the Holy Trinity is (“God is love”). There is no greater gift that can be given to man. So, do we really have time for theology when orphans need our help now? Yes, we do. If theology is ultimately about our participation in the love between the Father and the Son, then nothing can better mobilize and energize us to care for orphans now than theology. Nothing. Rightly understood and practiced, robust theology produces robust action. Just look at the life of Jesus. He enjoyed an inﬁnitely robust theology and no one did more for the poor and
marginalized than he did. If you think about it, what orphans need, then, is Christians who are deeply theological. This is why Together for
Adoption stresses theology when we talk about orphan care.Theology is much more than gathering facts about God and arranging them into a system of
thought and belief. Now granted, theology is not less than true statements about God, but it is certainly and inﬁnitely more than true statements about God. As James says, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” There’s much more to theology than a collection of biblically gathered facts about God. Theology is ultimately our real participation in the mutual knowing and loving of the Father and the Son in the communion of the Spirit. This is why I said that theology is inﬁnitely more than true statements about God. The study of theology and communion with the Triune God must go hand in hand. No one—absolutely no one—was and is more theological than the Son of God. He has forever known the Father through-and-through, even as he is and has been known. For all of eternity past the Son perfectly knew and communed with the Father. Remarkably, this is the Son
who became man, who became incarnate and lived among us! By becoming the incarnate Son Jesus brought his communion with the Father into the world of men—into the very heart of our broken and devastated world!
That’s the good news of the Gospel!
Suddenly, communion with the Father became a very tangible and possible reality for fallen humanity. Never before—not even with Adam and Eve—had mankind ever known God the Father like the man Christ Jesus knew him (and knows him!). Jesus was a one-of-a-kind man! He is the true man. Jesus was as deeply and profoundly theological as it is possible to be. No matter where in the inﬁnite corridors of eternity you search for someone like the incarnate Son, you will never ﬁnd anyone enjoying the same level and intensity of communion with the Father as he does. If ever there is someone who is without peer, it’s Jesus —well, except for the Father and the Spirit (both of whom, of course, share his same stratospheric, otherworldly level of communion in all its mind-blowing fullness)! In light of all of this, do you know what’s truly remarkable, though it really should not seem that remarkable to us? Nobody—and I mean absolutely nobody—cared more for the poor, orphaned, and marginalized than Jesus. Rather than his robust theology weakening his social engagement with and commitment to the outcast and neglected, his robust theology unceasingly fueled and sustained his social engagement. As such, Jesus is the truest of human beings! Through the Son’s incarnation, he became what we were and are supposed to be, and he became such for us and in our
What must we learn from this? As orphan care advocates, one of the worst things we can do is neglect or overlook theology. If we do neglect it, we, and the orphans of this world, will be the poorer for it. But if we embrace theology as ones who live in vital union with this amazing Jesus, we, and the orphans we serve, will be the richer for it. What orphans need most, then, is Christians who do not merely know a ton of true statements about God, but who by the power of the gospel daily participate in the mutual knowing and loving of the Father and the Son in the communion of the Spirit.
Article written by Dan Cruver. Email questions and comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Many times repentance is illustrated by having a person walk in one direction and then turn around and walk in the opposite direction. The Mirriam-Webster Dictionary defines “repent” as “to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life”. Repentance is a change of mind and attitude that involves a conscious turning away from wrong actions, attitudes, thoughts and habits that conflict with a Godly lifestyle and biblical commands, and an intentional turning toward doing that which the Bible says pleases God.
As I reflect upon this, I find that many people do not do a 180 degree turn-around so much as they stop at 90 degrees. By this I mean that they stop doing what is wrong but do not replace it with what is right. One only needs to read the words of John the Baptist or the Apostle Paul to see how incomplete that is. The one who steals is to steal no longer but also to work and earn what he needs. Even more, he is to earn enough so that he has excess in order that he can give to those without so that they no longer are tempted to steal. One is to stop talking with a filthy mouth and bless and edify people instead. We are commanded to not only forgive our enemies but to pray that God blesses them, while blessing them ourselves.
In order to tell is a person is truly repentant, John the Baptist gives the definitive proof – do good works (produce fruit) in keeping with that repentance. Talk is cheap. One can pray seeking forgiveness for one’s wrongdoing but never obtain it because they have no intention of repenting. Repentance is often the forgotten aspect of salvation, in that we are not forgiven by God unless we come to Him with a repentant heart.
I.C. Herendeen says is well, when he states, ” For salvation, “repentance unto life” is just as necessary as is faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. No sinner was ever pardoned while he remained impenitent, while he remained in rebellion against God and His authority, and without submitting himself whole-heartedly to His Lordship. This involves the realization in his heart, wrought therein by the Holy Spirit, of “the sinfulness of sin” (Rom 7:13), of the awfulness of ignoring the claims of God and of defying His authority. Repentance is a “holy horror and hatred of sin, a deep sorrow for it, a contrite acknowledgment of it before God, and a complete hear forsaking of it.To exhort sinners to be saved by “Accepting Christ as their Saviour” without pressing upon them the imperative necessity of repentance is dishonest, and is to falsify God’s terms of salvation, for “Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 17:3) is the Divine dictum. The sinner must either repent or perish, there is no other alternative. And since “All have sinned” (Rom. 3:23) all therefore need to “repent and believe the Gospel” (Mark 1:15) else they will be “punished with everlasting destruction” (2Thess. 1:9). To delay repentance then is most perilous.”
I end these thoughts with the words of Charles Hodge, a great man of God. He says, “The sure test of the quality of any supposed change of heart will be found in its permanent effects. Whatever, therefore, may have been our inward experience, whatever joy or sorrow we may have felt, unless we bring forth fruits meet for repentance, our experience will profit us nothing. Repentance is incomplete unless it leads to confession and restitution in cases of injury; unless it causes us to forsake not merely outward sins, which others notice, but those which lie concealed in the heart; unless it makes us choose the service of God and live not for ourselves but for Him. There is no duty, which is either more obvious in itself, or more frequently asserted in the Word of God, than that of repentance.”
Let us take heed of the words of John the Baptist and truly repent of sin in our life.
A prominent Christian author makes the statement, “Missions exists because worship doesn’t.” (Piper, 1993) Another Christian author rebuts with the assertation that, “Actually missions exists because true worship does.” (Blue, 2001) Both of these statements are true. The need for missions exists because there are people in the world who do not worship Jesus Christ as Lord and the response to reach these people with the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ comes from those who already worship Him.
As believers mature spiritually, the realization of Christ’s desire for all His children to be ambassadors for Him brings them into a crisis point. Will they remain inwardly focused on their growth as a follower of Jesus Christ or will they focus outward toward those who have yet to become children of God? The answer to this question has enormous consequences for both individual Christians and churches because churches, made up of individual Christians, reflect their constituents. Just as there is a level of spiritual maturity one cannot rise above until they have experienced leading a person to the saving grace of Jesus Christ, there is a level of spiritual growth in a church that will not be broached until the church is focused on reaching the world for their Master. A church made up of inward looking members will primarily exist for itself. A church made up of outwardly focused individuals will focus beyond their four walls.
Moving a church from being inwardly focused to being missions-minded and eventually missions-active should be the goal of her leaders. This book will explore how to move a church from being missions-minded (or missions-aware) to missions-active.
The Quest is available in print or Kindle from Amazon.com or http://www.discernmentministries.webs.com
Here is a great quote from the “Prince of Preachers”
If you have been truly born again you have a new and holy nature, and you are no longer moved towards sinful objects as you were before. The things that you once loved you now hate, and therefore you will not run after them. You can hardly understand it but so it is that your thoughts and tastes are radically changed. You long for that very holiness which once it was irksome to hear of; and you loathe those vain pursuits which were once your delights. The man who puts his trust in the Lord sees the pleasures of sin in a new light. For he sees the evil which follows them by noting the agonies which they brought upon our Lord when He bore our sins in His own body on the tree. Without faith a man says to himself, “This sin is a very pleasant thing, why should I not enjoy it? Surely I may eat this fruit, which looks so charming and is so much to be desired.” The flesh sees honey in the drink, but faith at once perceives that there is poison in the cup. Faith spies the snake in the grass and gives warning of it. Faith remembers death, judgment, the great reward, the just punishment and that dread word, eternity.
DAY 2 – ROCK OF AGES
One of the greatest hymns of all time, Rock of Ages packs deep spiritual truths in its short stanzas. The Rock of Ages is, of course, Jesus Christ, the One who was cleft for us on the cross. He was pierced for our transgressions and by His stripes we are healed. To Him alone we must go for salvation. The final part of verse one, though, is truly deep:
Be of sin the double cure
Save from wrath and make me pure
God’s wrath is poured out on the sinner. Even now they are under His condemnation (John 3:17). The precious blood of Jesus, poured out on the penitent crying for mercy and salvation, satisfies the wrath of God the Father. Not only that, but it cleanses us from all unrighteousness, hence “the double cure.” So much truth packed into so few words.
The rest of the song hammers home the inability of man to save himself, whether by works, (labor of hands) enthusiasm, (zeal) or by sorrow (tears). Only Jesus, alone, can save. This is the great truth about our Lord. Not only can He save, but He does save.
One early, alternate version of the first stanza ended like this: Be of sin the double cure, cleanse me from its guilt and power. While this version is not used as often, it also contains a great truth. Sin is a terrible power that makes all of us stand guilty before God. Truly, we need to fly to the fountain filled with the blood of Jesus to be washed clean.
As you spend time in prayer and contemplation, thank Jesus for His saving grace. Thank Him for substituting Himself for you on the cross, taking the wrath of God in your place and being willing to save.
Thank you Father, for sending Your Son as the means of salvation. Thank you Jesus for atoning for our sins by paying sin’s penalty. Be our Rock, we pray, where we can find shelter for all eternity.
Rock of Ages by Augustus Toplady
Rock of Ages, cleft for me
Let me find myself in Thee
Let the water and the blood
From Thy wounded side which flowed
Be of sin the double cure
Save from wrath and make me pure
Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy laws demands
Could my zeal no languor know
Could my tears forever flow
These for sin could not atone
Thou must save and Thou alone
In my hand no price I bring
Simply to Thy cross I’ll cling
Naked, come to Thee for dress
Helpless, look to Thee for grace
Foul, I to the fountain fly
Wash me Savior, lest I die
While I draw this fleeting breath
When my eyes shall close in death
When I rise to worlds unknown
And behold Thee on Thy throne
Rock of Ages, cleft for me
Let me hide myself in Thee