Answer These 14 Questions before You Preach

This comes from The Gospel Coalition (TGC) website. An invaluable resource. Based on the talk given by Australian pastor and preacher Peter Adam. Here’s the link.

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Living in a land of death (Citizens & Saints)

I’m living in a land of death
The trees are burning grey
There’s a smoldering smoke overhead
And the night looks the same as the day
It seems a miracle that I can stand
When everyone i’ve known
Drifts up in the air with the ash
Every time that the wind starts to blow
But i feel alive with a life that’s not mine
Your law is a stream in this wasteland – my lifeline

landofdeath

(Chorus)
So much more than precious gold
Are your promises my lord
By them is your servant warned
In keeping them great reward

Your direction is marked in light
Your law secures my wounds
I will meditate day and night
And in season will harvest the fruit
Though a poison should threaten to kill
I know my Savior reigns
And when the breezes of death leave a chill
I’ve got Jesus’ blood in my veins
So I feel alive with a life that’s not mine
And I’m believing that that is your intended design

So much more than precious gold
Are your promises my lord
By them is your servant warned
In keeping them great reward

The kingdoms of man have all decayed
The ruins of progress turn to waste
The gods of greed lay in their graves
Darkness is everywhere
But there’s a path in the dark that has emerged
I can see a great light beyond this curse
A brilliant blaze that is your word
A beacon of hope that burns
And I focus my captivated gaze
On the radiant light from Jesus’ face
The water of life is all I crave
Only your word remains

So much more than precious gold
Is the beauty I behold
Give me the glorious reward
Of knowing you my king, my lord

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Highlights from 1 Timothy

As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience.

 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God [family of God], which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:

He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit,seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,taken up in glory.

 

But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

1-timothy.jpg

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It takes a real man to live for God

“It takes a real man to live for God-a lot more man than to live for the devil, you know? If you really want to live right these days, you gotta be tough.”— Johnny Cash

This has echoes of 1 Corinthians 15:58

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

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Freedom that makes you sing

An evil man is ensnared in his transgression, but a righteous man sings and rejoices.

Proverbs 29:6

This is a beautiful and glorious saying! True freedom, gospel freedom, makes you sing and rejoice! I have seen firsthand that when I am walking in freedom (à la Galatians 5:1, 13-26) that’s when spontaneous, genuine joy bubbled up and singing, regardless of the circumstances. The freedom that Christ gives: repentance, forgiveness, obedience, and friendship with the Lord—now that’s true freedom. 

This freedom is costly. It cost God his own dear Son, not because He had to, but because of sheer love. This gospel freedom must be guarded and even fought for everyday. “Walk by the Spirit,” says the apostle, “and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16).

Trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey.

John H Sammis 

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At The Table | Josh Garrels

https://joshgarrels.bandcamp.com/track/at-the-table

I went the ways of wayward winds
In a world of trouble and sin
Walked a long and crooked mile
Behind a million rank and file
Forgot where I came from
Somewhere back when I was young
I was a good man’s child

‘Cause I lost some nameless things
My innocence flew away from me
She had to hide her face from my desire
To embrace forbidden fire
But at night I dream
She’s singing over me
Oh, oh, my child

Come on home, home to me
And I will hold you in my arms
And joyful be

There will always, always be
A place for you at my table
Return to me

Wondering where I might begin
Hear a voice upon the wind
She’s singing faint but singing true
Son, there ain’t nothing you can do
But listen close and follow me
I’ll take you where you’re meant to be
Just don’t lose faith

So I put my hand upon the plow
Wipe the sweat up from my brow
Plant the good seed along the way
As I look forward to the day
When at last I see
My Father run to me
Singing oh, my child

Come on home, home to me
And I will hold you in my arms
And joyful be

There will always, always be
A place for you at my table
Return to me
My child

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Martin Luther on “how to deal properly with the question of predestination”

LutherWritingTO BARBARA LISSKIRCHEN. April 30, 1531.

Grace and peace in Christ.

Dear and virtuous Lady:

Your dear brother Jerome Weller has informed me that you are sorely troubled about eternal election. I am very sorry to hear this. May Christ our Lord deliver you from this temptation. Amen.

I know all about this affliction. I was myself brought to the brink of eternal death by it. In addition to my prayer in your behalf, I should gladly counsel and comfort you, but it is difficult to discuss such matters in writing. Nevertheless, if God will grant me the necessary grace, I shall do what I can. I shall show you how God helped me out of this trouble and by what means I now protect myself against it every day.

First, you must firmly fix in your mind the conviction that such thoughts as yours are assuredly the suggestions and fiery darts of the wretched devil. The Scriptures declare in Prov., ch. 7, “He who searches out the lofty things of majesty will be cast down.” Now, such thoughts as yours are a vain searching into the majesty of God and a prying into his secret providence. Jesus the son of Sirach declares in the third chapter: “Search not out things that are above thy strength. The things that have been commanded thee, think thereupon.” It is of no profit to you to gape at that which you are not commanded. David also complained in Ps. 131 that he did not fare well when he inquired into matters that were too high for him. Accordingly, it is certain that these notions of yours come, not from God, but from the devil, who torments us with them to make us hate God and despair. God has strictly forbidden this in the First Commandment. He desires that we love, trust, and praise him by whom we live.

Secondly, when such thoughts assail you, you should learn to ask yourself, “If you please, in which Commandment is it written that I should think about and deal with this matter?” When it appears that there is no such Commandment, learn to say: “Begone, wretched devil! You are trying to make me worry about myself. But God declares everywhere that I should let him care for me. He says, ‘I am thy God.’ This means, ‘I care for you; depend upon me, await my bidding, and let me take care of you.’” This is what Saint Peter taught, “Cast all thy care upon him, for he careth for you.” And David taught, “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee.”

Thirdly, if these thoughts nevertheless continue (for the devil is reluctant to give up), you too must refuse to give up. You must always turn your mind away from them and say: “Don’t you hear, devil? I will have nothing to do with such thoughts. Moreover, God has forbidden me to. Begone! I must now think of God’s commandments. Meanwhile I shall let him care for me. If you are so clever in these matters, go up to heaven and dispute with God himself; he can give you an adequate answer.” In this way you must always put these thoughts away from you and turn your attention to God’s Commandments.

Fourthly, the highest of all God’s commands is this, that we hold up before our eyes the image of his dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Everyday he should be our excellent mirror within we behold how much God loves us and how well, in his infinite goodness, he has cared for us in that he gave his dear Son for us.

In this way, I say, and in no other, does one learn how to deal properly with the question of predestination. It will be manifest that you believe in Christ. If you believe, then you are called. And if you are called, then you are most certainly predestinated. Do not let this mirror and throne of grace be torn away from before your eyes. If such thoughts still come and bite like fiery serpents, pay no attention to the thoughts or serpents. Turn away from these notions and contemplate the brazen serpent, that is, Christ given for us. Then, God willing, you will feel better.

But, as I have said, it requires a struggle to shun such thoughts. If they enter your mind, cast them out again, just as you would immediately spit out any filth that fell into your mouth. God has helped me to do this in my own case. It is his urgent command that we keep before us the image of His Son, in whom he has abundantly revealed himself to be our God (as the First Commandment teaches) who helps and cares for us. Therefore, he will not suffer us to help or take care of ourselves. That would be to deny God, and to deny the First Commandment and Christ as well.

The wretched devil, who is the enemy of God and Christ, tries by such thoughts (which are contrary to the First Commandment) to tear us away from Christ and God and to make us think about ourselves and our own cares. If we do this, we take upon ourselves the function of God, which is to care for us and be our God. In paradise the devil desired to make Adam equal with God so that Adam might be his own god and care for himself, thus robbing God of his divine work of caring for him. The result was the terrible Fall of Adam.

For the present this is advice enough. I have also written to your brother Jerome Weller that he warn and admonish you with all diligence until you learn to put away such thoughts and let the devil, from whom they come, plumb their depth. He knows very well what happened to him before in a similar situation: he fell from heaven into the abyss of hell. In short, what we are not commanded should not disturb or trouble us. The devil, and not God, is the instigator of such perplexity.

May our dear Lord Jesus Christ show you his hands and his side and gladden your heart with his love, and may you behold and hear only him until you find your joy in him. Amen.

The last day of April, 1531.                                                            Martin Luther

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