Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Stance of Advance not Retreat

I was listening to a talk by Dr. Joe Morecraft from the Love the Church Conference where he mentioned Matt 16:18 where Peter is told that “the gates of hell shall not prevail” against God’s church. This is one of those verses that I think the defeatist mentality of many of the church today, often created by faulty eschatology, has influenced how it is interpreted. I say this as I have been there and seen this verse incorrectly for far too long.

What do gates speak of but a stationary edifice, an immovable object? So often this verse is seen from a defensive position in that it is interpreted that Satan’s attacks will not prevail. While that is true the picture this paints is of the church being holed up in the fortress and trying to hold back Satan at the gates. But gates do not attack they protect and in ancient times would be a line of defense in a fortress and often a weakness as they were a means of entry. The picture we should see is more rightly that the church which is to advance Christ’s Kingdom will not fail to do so no matter the attempt of Satan protecting its doomed fortress. In truth the fortress of Satan was already defeated at the cross and will come to final defeat at Christ’s return.

We are to gain confidence in our advance of Christ’s Kingdom in the here in now as the Apostles were to gain hope. We are to truly see the church as victorious and not as some blip on an historical timeline as many paint it. The church, the bride of Christ, is to be on the offensive and not simply sitting back waiting for His return. Let us be the one that storms the gates knowing they will not prevail, that they cannot hold up. Let us not cower in a corner waiting for help when it is here with us to empower us to advance and not retreat. Let us seek to live out Matt 6:10 and not only cry out that “His Kingdom come and His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” But let us be used by God’s as His means for doing so. Let us not only speak as if we have hope but live as if we have the hope Christ left in such verses as Matt 16:18.

We are called to be a set apart people of God, let us be so. The gates of hell will not prevail because God has already in effect torn them down. Let us not fear a defeated foe but advance to further Christ’s work in this world He has placed us in. A world that is His already. A world that we are to work to glorify Him in. Retreat does not speak well of our taking God’s word seriously so let us do so and ADVANCE His Kingdom.

Monday, January 17, 2011


As I have been studying the Book of Habakkuk it is clear that the message that Habakkuk offers is different than other prophets. His message is of an impending action by the Chaldeans due to Judah’s disobedience but unlike others there is no call for repentance so that the exile would not come. No, this siege by the Chaldeans is assured and will come in Habakkuk’s time regardless of the actions of Judah.

However we know from reading Habakkuk that he sought God’s working to bring repentance to His people of Judah. Thus, there is a call for change and a call for the people to follow God even with the impending gloom of being besieged ahead. There is not offered up a reward for repentance, not a tangible one that is, but instead simply a call to show that God disciplines His people and desires them to repent and follow His ways.

This made me think about how often we, and I have been guilty of this, speak of a reward type scenario when we speak of repentance. We say such things as “Turn or Burn”, or some such statement, implying that the true reward of repentance is not going to hell and thus an avoidance of eternal pain. This is indeed true but it may give a wrong impression and often may even lead to a false Gospel that is focused on man and not God. When we tie repentance to some tangible benefit as in a sales pitch we have played into the humanistic manipulative methods of the market place. We have said if you do this God will do this.

We should realize that if God has truly changed ones heart simply being shown their sin in light of God’s softening their heart will bring repentance. A repentance that flows from seeing ones gross and detestable sinful self in front of a holy and just God. Thus if trials and persecution continue repentance will not be hindered because it was not for the “good life” one repented . Instead, it was because God had changed ones heart to truly see their sin as God does such that repentance was all one could do no matter what follows.

This then makes heaven not about us but about God and being before Him to worship Him for eternity. Let us make sure our evangelism is grounded in glorifying God and not lifting up man. We need to trust God to be the one that changes hearts and not our evangelical sales techniques. God has promised to change hearts ( Jer 31:31-34) let us preach as if He truly does.

By the way here is a link to the sermon series on Habakkuk: Habakkuk Series

Monday, January 10, 2011

Around the Web and Blogosphere (1/10/11)

Public Schools: Tool of the Totalitarian, anti-Christian State: This is an excerpt from Steve Halbrook’s upcoming book (lord willing), God is Just: A Defense of the Old Testament Civil Laws: Biblical Theocracy, Justice, and Slavery versus Humanistic Theocracy, "Justice," and Slavery by Steve C. Halbrook. Copyright © 2010 by Steve C. Halbrook. Based on the master's thesis, God is Just: A Defense of the Old Testament Civil Laws.

Check out my wife and daughter’s blog, Practical Simplicity – For His Glory, as they are having a few “Giveaways” during the month of January to celebrate the 2nd year of business for their online store: Practical Simplicity.

A reminder to check out “What They Said” which is a daily (Monday –Friday) quote blog my daughter (Antoinette) and I maintain. The purpose of the blog is to share quotations of many Reformers and Revolutionaries of the past so that you may be convicted, inspired and uplifted as you read what others have said.

This in an article by Albert Mohler that deals with the issue of retirement, a concept as practiced today that is not found in scripture: For the Sake of the Kingdom: Redefining Retirement