Search

Common Slaves

Common Men; Uncommon Master

Category

Uncategorized

Let us not glide through this world and then slip quietly into heaven, without having blown the trumpet loud and long for our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Let us see to it that the devil will hold a thanksgiving service in hell, when he gets the news of our departure from the field of battle.

by C.T. Studd

What a thing is sin!

What a thing is sin, what a devil and master of devils is it, that it should, where it takes hold, so hang that nothing can unclinch its hold but the mercy of God and the heart-blood of his dear Son! O the fretting, eating, infecting, defiling, and poisonous nature of sin, that it should so eat into our flesh and spirit, body and soul, and stain us with its vile and stinking nature: yea, it has almost turned man into the nature of itself… wherefore sin is a fearful thing, a thing to be lamented, a thing to be abhorred, a thing to be fled from with more astonishment and trembling than one would fly from any devil, because it is the worst of things… and because where it takes hold it so fasteneth that nothing, as I have said, can release whom it has made a captive, but the mercy of God and the heart-blood of his dear Son. O what a thing sin is!
-John Bunyan

many thanks to Dr. Ivan Fiske for the gift this evening of Bunyan’s works, from which this is taken. jr

Choosing Better, pt.7: It is Better to Attend a Funeral than a Party

It is better to go to a house of mourning
Than to go to a house of feasting,
Because that is the end of every man,
And the living takes it to heart.
Ecclesiastes 7:2 

Here is a seemingly morbid portion of Scripture, and hardly a common piece of advice: Better to go to a funeral than a party.

My Dad, who is far more gifted with acronyms and alliteration than I could ever be, summarizes the book of Ecclesiastes this way: ITIA –“I Tried It All.”

It’s good to read books, because in a matter of hours or a few days you can absorb material it took the author perhaps years to learn. It’s good to talk to elderly people, because if you’re willing to listen and learn, in a matter of a few conversations you can take graduate level courses from the school of their hard knocks and keep the bumps off your own head. Continue reading “Choosing Better, pt.7: It is Better to Attend a Funeral than a Party”

How does my theology affect my understanding of salvation?

Last summer while teaching through 1 John, I wrote the following chart to help understand how some of the most popular broad theological categories understand some of the various aspects of salvation, particularly in regards to Assurance of Salvation.

I wrote this assuming genuine believers by faith alone in Christ alone in each of the three representative categories, so my aim here was not to demonstrate how one type of theology cannot result in genuine conversion, but rather to demonstrate how each system of thought affects how believers understand and relate to their salvation. Continue reading “How does my theology affect my understanding of salvation?”

The Deceptive Allure of Predictable Parenting

We live in a cause-effect mechanical world. Insert coin, press button, can of pop falls into the tray. Turn key, press accelerator, car goes. Search, shop, click, and in two days a box shows up on your doorstep. This is the world we live in. It’s built on predictability. It is a mechanical age. Actually, it’s a mechanical world, but modern man has begun to figure out how to predictably manipulate the creation, which is governed by unbreakable natural laws, in order to set in motion a series of controlled events in order to produce a desired outcome.

If that sounds too complicated, here it is more simply: If one understands something about the properties of concrete, steel, and bedrock, he can engineer a mighty bridge and know before it’s built how far it can span and the weight it can carry.  The predictability of the elements of the bridge make the final product less-than-surprising to the one who engineered it, at least if done properly.

Imagine trying to build a house without some certainty that the lumber will behave fairly predictably – it won’t turn into linguini at a random moment for no reason, leaving a house looking like a beached jellyfish – all flesh and no bones. Or imagine if electricity was suddenly conducted by plastic, causing essentially all buildings to burst into an instant conflagration. Imagine the stress of flying in a jet without the certainty that the laws of physics that govern the burning of fuel and principles of thrust will remain operative throughout your flight. Continue reading “The Deceptive Allure of Predictable Parenting”

The Completing Joy Of Fellowship, pt.2

…these things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.
-1John 1:4

What sort of things must shape the mind and thinking of John to write things such as “if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another,” instead of the seemingly more “appropriate” way to say it, “if we walk in the Light… we have fellowship with Him”? Continue reading “The Completing Joy Of Fellowship, pt.2”

Reformed Bible Conference Messages

The Reformed Bible Conference hosted by First Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Hinckley, MN is under way, and is off to an excellent beginning. For information on service schedule and to hear/download the messages as they become available, click here.

The Completing Joy of Fellowship, pt.1

These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.
– 1 John 1:4

When we study the Bible, we become rather quickly aware that with the exception of the book of Romans and some other scattered portions of other books, the Bible is not strictly a theological treatise. The Bible is a collection of history, poetry, of communications from God to specific men or a specific people, (think Old Testament Prophets) and written correspondence between persons, rather ordinary save for the fact that it is inspired by the Holy Spirit. Examples of this are the writings of Paul or the letters of John.

So in that sense, the Bible is not written first-hand personally to you or me, nor is it written as an encyclopedia of theological positions or propositional doctrinal statements. It’s written by men of God inspired by the Spirit of God who are going about their business of helping their fellow countrymen or brothers in Christ, recording history for the sake of future generations, or in the case of the Psalms, expressing in a poetic way their thoughts and emotions in their given situation.

This means that when we study the Bible in order to construct a good and true understanding of God, self, and the world around us, in a sense we have to reverse engineer the mindset and worldview of those writing the Bible, and distill propositional, doctrinal truth out of the things they say. This tells us something of the genius of God who used this method to write a book whose meaning would be understandable in all languages and cultures over the past 3,500 years, so that all men could read, understand, and be delivered from Divine judgment. By making the Bible sound nothing like a systematic theology, we can look at inspired truth in a variety of situations and settings and systematize the truths explicitly or implicitly stated. Continue reading “The Completing Joy of Fellowship, pt.1”

Thanks from the Slaves!

Many thanks to all who attended the Common Slaves Combined Service this past Sunday afternoon at Bethany Bible Church in Big Lake, MN. Many of you traveled over 90 minutes to attend and encourage the body of Christ as well as be encouraged by it. Special thanks to Pastor Ken Carlton for preaching the Gospel with great passion and power. Thanks to the folks from Bethany who provided an such an opulent spread of sugar-based food sufficient for the great gathering of people from Crosslake, Crosby, Quamba, Hinckley, as well as locally.

Thanks to Pastor Eric for volunteering me to sing, and many more thanks to Pastor Mark for letting me serve everyone by not singing! The brotherhood in Jesus Christ is profoundly deep, joyful, playful, meaningful, and life-giving. What a glorious gift is the cross of Christ that makes such an evening of joy and gladness together with the children of God possible.

As Flavel says, “Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ!”

-jr

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑