How to Know You are a Sinner

10 Jul

“You will never make yourself feel that you are a sinner, because there is a mechanism in you as a result of sin that will always be defending you against every accusation. We are all on very good terms with ourselves, and we can always put up a good case for ourselves. Even if we try to make ourselves feel that we are sinners, we will never do it. There is only one way to know that we are sinners, and that is to have some dim, glimmering conception of God.” Martyn Lloyd Jones

But now…

2 Jul

Commenting on Romans 3:21 where Paul writes, ‘But now the righteousness of God has been manifested…’ Martyn Lloyd Jones says,

“There is an aspect of faith of which it is true to say this, that faith is a kind of protest. All things seem to be against us. Very well, are you a man of faith, or not? That is the vital question, and your answer to it proclaims what you are. Having listened to all that can be said against you, and in the most grievous circumstances, do you then say, ‘But now’? That is a part of the fight of faith. Do not imagine that as a Christian you are going to be immune to the assaults of Satan or to the attacks of doubt. They will certainly come. But the whole secret of faith is the ability to stand up with these two words against it all – ‘we walk by faith and not by sight.’ There is a sense in which what Browning said about faith is true. It is not the whole statement about faith, but there is this aspect to it. ‘With me,’ he said, ‘faith means perpetual unbelief kept quite, like the snake ‘neath Michael’s foot.’ He paints the picture of Michael standing there with his foot on the head of the snake. The snake is wriggling and is trying to get at him in order to bite him; but as long as Michael keeps his pressure firm upon the neck of the snake it cannot harm him. On top of all the wriggling doubt and unbelief and denial, and all these accusations, faith keeps its foot firmly down and says, ‘But now.'”

A means of finding all one’s hope

29 Jun

“The faith of the individual must be seen as having no value in itself, but as discovering value wholly and solely through movement towards and committal to Christ. It must be seen as simply a means of finding all one’s hope outside oneself in the person and work of another; and not in any sense an originating cause or objective ground of justification. For true faith is active only in the man who is wholly occupied with Christ; its practice means that every blessing is received from another. For this reason faith is exclusive and intolerant of company; it is only truly present when any and every contribution towards his salvation on the part of the believer or on the part of the Church is absolutely and unequivocally shut out. Justification must be seen and received as a blessing dependent wholly and exclusively on Christ alone, on what he is and what he has done—a blessing enjoyed simply through being joined directly to him, through finding one’s all in him, through drawing one’s all from him, without the interposition of any other mediator or mediating channel whatever.”

A.M. Stubbs, Excerpt From: J. I. Packer. “Sola Fide: The Reformed Doctrine of Justification.”

Identifying False Teaching

20 Jun

One of the important aspects of growing spiritually is not only knowing who to listen to, but also who not to. In our day, this can be difficult as we have access to so many different voices from all over the world. In fact, someone asked me recently, how they can identify false teaching when it comes from an international source and when their doctrinal statement appears on the surface to look fairly good.

Obviously, this is a very good and important question!

It is also part of why it is important to be part of a biblical local church because one way to identify false teachers is to ask the leaders God’s given you whether or not someone is a false teacher. This is part of their job. (Titus 1:9,10) But, of course beyond that, we all have a responsibility to be discerning. And with so much coming at us all the time on the internet, it can be challenging.

Here are a couple suggestions:

First, doctrine. What do they teach? Specifically, about the person of Christ, the nature of salvation, the authority and sufficiency of Scripture. You might also listen to see if their message seems to center on man or on the glory of God? (Colossians 2:6-8)

Second, authority. Where do they get their message from? Is it from themselves and experiences they had or is it clearly from the Word of God. It’s not enough to ask, do they quote Bible verses. But do they accurately explain the meaning of the Scriptures? (Colossians 2:18ff)

Third, focus. What do they talk most about? Do they seem to talk most about you and how you can have a great life or do they talk most about Jesus and what He has done? Also, do they major on the major things of Scripture? Or do they shout where God whispers? (Colossians 2:16,20)

Fourth, character. Are they known for godliness? This is obviously hard when you are listening to someone internationally. But it seems in Scripture like false teaching is often connected to the love of money and pride, so I would be especially wary of those kinds of things. In terms of pride, it sometimes help to look at what they are promoting in terms of themselves. For example, does it seem like they think you should listen to them because they have a big church? Or because they are accurately teaching the Scripture? Who do you walk away impressed by, them or Jesus? (1 Timothy 6:4,5; Titus 1:11)

Fifth, associations. Who recommends them and who do they recommend? There are men who are known to be godly and trustworthy when it comes to teaching the Scripture and then there are men who are known for the opposite. If someone is highly recommended by people that are known for being ungodly or false teachers, then I would especially be cautious when listening to them.

Sixth, results. What kind of people is their preaching producing? Obviously, there are people who are not listening or are stubbornly holding on to their sin in every church, but in general, is God using their preaching over time to help people become more serious about godliness or the opposite?

I am sure, there’s more to be said, but at least this is a start. Besides looking at the person teaching however, we should also make sure we look at ourselves. Itching ears look for people to itch them. In other words, if my ears aren’t itching, I am more likely not to fall for false teaching. One way to guard against false teaching is to pursue a humble, deep, daily walk with Jesus that is focused on glorifying and enjoying Him above everything else alongside of other believers doing the same who will give input into your life and who will speak up when you are beginning to wander away from the truth.

Four things you must know

14 Jun

Here are four things you must know and you must help the people you are discipling know:

“1. Know the Gospel itself (stay focused on Jesus)

2. Know how you came to believe the Gospel

3. Know the benefits of believing the Gospel (gospel doctrines)

4. Live a life that flows from the Gospel (gospel obedience.)”

Stephen Smallman

Judgment on the Son

12 Jun

Quote 22 May

They that know God will be humble, they that know themselves cannot be proud.

John Flavel