Monday, December 16, 2013

ONLINE CHILDREN'S BOOK: The Little Lamb and Lion: The Two Twins Gathered Beside Baby Jesus

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By MA Petillo

Once upon a dark day there was a light from heaven.  Yes, there was a holy child born of a Virgin Mother.  He came as a poor child of this world but He was the heavenly King.  There was no King like this King for He was the Master and Ruler of kings and lords.  He came through humble means that hid His glory in human flesh.  He was not like ordinary people but He was God.  He was sinlessly and wondrously conceived by God the Holy Spirit in His mother.  He had a Mother who raised Him with his step-father Joseph with a family of children.  Mary kept things in her heart about the wonderful ways of her Son who was really the Father’s only Son forever.  Joseph cared for Jesus and taught Him to be a carpenter of wood.  Jesus was able to handle wood like He handles people.  He shapes them by His Friend the Spirit of God into His friends by the Father’s plan.  Imagine the star over the place where the Holy Child was!  Imagine this little baby as the ultimate Creator of the all things.  God the Son became man and was born of the Virgin Mary.  The wise men came to worship Him because of past prophecy about this little baby Jesus.  The baby Jesus never did anything wrong but He loved all good things.  He grew up concerned about the plan of His Heavenly Father because His mission was to save all little children.  This little baby grew up to give His life by His own power to save little children who have done wrong and to show He laid down His life He rose again.  Imagine a beautiful garden of flowers dies but when little children think of Jesus we may remember that He lives like a rebirth of a garden of wonderful roses that teach us about His saving power for everyone who places their trust in Him.   He does not ask you to add to Him but He asks you to simply trust this little baby who was God and man that always did whatsoever is right.  Imagine if this little baby was in your heart.  Imagine if you did everything like this little baby.  There was once Shepherd who held in His care a baby sheep and a baby lion.  There was no place for the baby lamb and the baby lion.  There parents searched and searched and found no place to rest.  But the baby lamb and baby lion were born in a rough place to live, but the baby lamb would come to the little children and He would give Himself for them as the offering of peace to the greatest Shepherd of all, His Father.  And the little lion wore a majesty of purple as a great King where He is friends with the baby lamb who wears a majesty of red as a great Redeemer.  And a long time ago all the animals came together in the friends of Noah’s Ark but later on all the animals came together again of the little children’s Savior Jesus Christ because the animals gather around Jesus who really is this little lamb and lion in One.  The animals worship Jesus because all things were made by Him.  Maybe you have seen a little lamb and lion, but Jesus is the picture of these friends in His creation of all things.  The little lamb says to His children “My little child, you must love the Lamb of God who is Jesus, because He came to save little children.”  The little lion says also, “I was a little lion just like you and I am the King of all things so now come blessed of heaven by speaking to God about all things.”  Remember you always have a friend in the little Lamb and Lion who is Jesus Christ.  He says “Come to me” but he also says “I can bear all things and I love you.  Do not go away, my little lambs and lions, but remember, I am always here as the holy child who came to give life forever just for you, but remember my dear little ones, I am unseen but always present; I am unthought of but always thinking of you; I am unfelt but always feeling; I am caring when no one cares.”  The Father of the little Lamb and Lion says “My dear one, there is peace through My Son.”  And the Spirit comes with the gift of the Lamb and Lion “Here is my gift to you, my dear child—yes, it is the baby Jesus.”

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Spurgeon on Christian Depression

C.H. Spurgeon wrote,
"I find myself frequently depressed – perhaps more so than any other person here. And I find no better cure for that depression than to trust in the Lord with all my heart, and seek to realize afresh the power of the peace-speaking blood of Jesus, and His infinite love in dying upon the cross to put away all my transgressions."

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Hamartiology: The Doctrine of Sin (Disobedience), Pt 1

Sin is defined as a cosmic transgression (1 Jn 3:4), complete unrighteousness (1 Jn 5:17), omission of known duty (Js 4:17), not from Bible-based faith (Rom 14:23) and thoughts of abominable foolishness (Prov 24:9; Ps 53ff).

Some people are not aware of their sin.  Other people know that they have sinned but never seek the only way to be right with God.  If the way to be right with God is sought by mere men not of God, it will only led to further sinfulness of deceit.  That is, no one is saved by the world, the flesh, or the devil.  God must intervene through His outstretched Spirit and the power of His Word to open hearts in spiritual bestowal of the gift of new faith, new righteousness, new forgiveness, as a new creation (Acts 16:14; Jn 3ff; Tit 3:5; 2 Cor 5:17).  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

People That Leave the Reformed Faith

Luther wrote this many moons ago,
"If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at the moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved to be steady… (It) is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point (of attack)."
We see people leaving Reformed churches for a more "historic" church.  They have abandoned Jesus Christ and have left with the world.  It is those of Orthodoxy and Romanism that have shipwrecked their faith by outward testimony.  They add things to the simplicity of the gospel of God and there commonality is exalting Mary's intercession in their behalf from the anger of Jesus Christ.  Jesus clearly proclaimed that He would cast none out that come to Him.  We see that man's sinful nature of adding to the God-breathed Scriptures makes everything wrong.  God help them.

Friday, July 12, 2013

C.H. Spurgeon on Assurnace of Salvation

C.H. Spurgeon wrote on assurance,
If one dear saint of God had perished, so might all; if one of the covenant ones be lost, so may all be; and then there is no gospel promise true, but the Bible is a lie, and there is nothing in it worth my acceptance. I will be an infidel at once when I can believe that a saint of God can ever fall finally. If God hath loved me once, then He will love me forever.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The “Spiritual Goodness” Controversy, Section 1

Below is only Section 1 on the theological subject of spiritual goodness.   I am working on the second section on the biblical teaching on the nature of man. 

The “Spiritual Goodness” Controversy:  Discerning the Difference Between the Teachings of World Religions on the Nature of Man and the Doctrine of Man According to biblical Christianity, Section1


1.     The Absolute Authority of the Written Scriptures

2.     The Biblical Teaching on the Nature of Man

3.     The World’s Teachings on the Nature of Man

4.     What If You Are In Hell:  A Call to Faith and Repentance Now

 Section 1:

The Absolute Authority of the Written Scriptures

The written Scriptures are the Word of God.  It contains everything we need to know about what to believe about spiritual salvation and to live rightly before God.  It is a complete and divine document.  It is indeed infallible, inspired and inerrant!  The hermeneutical method of interpretation is Scripture in light of Scripture.  No teacher or organization or church is above Scripture.  We are called with the holy responsibility to search the Scriptures daily to investigate whether or not the matter is true or false (John 5:39 cf. Acts 17:11). 

The Bible is all-sufficient for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  The only way to do a “good work” is through the Holy Spirit.   No work is meritorious deeds.  Rather Christ alone accomplished the only good work possible for actual salvation and life everlasting in His unified righteousness of His perfect life and perfect death. Let us dwell on the divine and unified righteousness of Christ alone imputed to us by the instrument of faith alone:  Being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:24-26). 

This is the message of the divine Scriptures.  The answer of the written Scripture is not cooperation with God.  It is not a will subject to good works to earn heaven in anyway or through scaling the balances of good works and bad works.  It is not a will that has faith made by human hands through baptism and a participation in the sufferings of Christ.  No man is able to do a good work.  All works are thoroughly tainted with radical sinfulness (see Romans 3ff).  There is a civil goodness that men do but it is a far cry from meeting the divine standard of absolute perfection.  The Bible calls the works of men filthy rages (Isaiah 64:6).  The heart is desperately wicked and beyond natural cures.  That is, the heart is spiritual indiscernible and incompressible (Jeremiah 17:9-10). 

The Old Testament calls the written Scriptures the words of God (Numbers 24ff).  Divine revelation is God’s writing with His finger on the tablets of stone (Deuteronomy 9:10).  That is, this is a special revelation of God.  We are called to obey all the words of God:  Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the Lord thy God” (Deuteronomy 12:28).  We are also called not to listen to religions of men (Deuteronomy 13:3; 28:14) and to hearken upon the words of God to fear Him and obey Him alone (Deuteronomy 17:19). 

The written Scriptures in the OT and NT are powerful enough to radically change the hearts and minds of sinners through the outworking presence of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 16:14).  The primary importance of Scripture is seen in the London Confession of Faith of 1689 in Chapter 1: Of the Holy Scriptures.  For it read as follows:

1._____ The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience, although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and his will which is necessary unto salvation. Therefore it pleased the Lord at sundry times and in divers manners to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his church; and afterward for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan, and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which maketh the Holy Scriptures to be most necessary, those former ways of God's revealing his will unto his people being now ceased.
( 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Isaiah 8:20; Luke 16:29, 31; Ephesians 2:20; Romans 1:19-21; Romans 2:14,15; Psalms 19:1-3; Hebrews 1:1; Proverbs 22:19-21; Romans 15:4; 2 Peter 1:19,20 )
2._____Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testaments, which are these:
OF THE OLD TESTAMENT: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I Samuel, II Samuel, I Kings, II Kings, I Chronicles, II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Solomen, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations,Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
OF THE NEW TESTAMENT: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, The Acts of the Apostles, Paul's Epistle to the Romans, I Corinthians, II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I Thessalonians, II Thessalonians, I Timothy, II Timothy, To Titus, To Philemon, The Epistle to the Hebrews, Epistle of James, The first and second Epistles of Peter, The first, second, and third Epistles of John, The Epistle of Jude, The Revelation
All of which are given by the inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life.
( 2 Timothy 3:16)
3._____ The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon or rule of the Scripture, and, therefore, are of no authority to the church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved or made use of than other human writings.
( Luke 24:27, 44; Romans 3:2 )
4._____ The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the author thereof; therefore it is to be received because it is the Word of God.
( 2 Peter 1:19-21; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 John 5:9 )
5._____We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the church of God to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scriptures; and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, and the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, and many other incomparable excellencies, and entire perfections thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God; yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth, and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.
( John 16:13,14; 1 Corinthians 2:10-12; 1 John 2:20, 27)
6._____The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelation of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word, and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.
( 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Galatians 1:8,9; John 6:45; 1 Corinthians 2:9-12; 1 Corinthians 11:13, 14; 1 Corinthians 14:26,40)
7._____All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of ordinary means, may attain to a sufficient understanding of them.
( 2 Peter 3:16; Psalms 19:7; Psalms 119:130)
8._____The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentic; so as in all controversies of religion, the church is finally to appeal to them. But because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have a right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded in the fear of God to read and search them, therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come, that the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner, and through patience and comfort of the Scriptures may have hope.
( Romans 3:2; Isaiah 8:20; Acts 15:15; John 5:39; 1 Corinthians 14:6, 9, 11, 12, 24, 28; Colossians 3:16 )
9._____The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself; and therefore when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched by other places that speak more clearly.
( 2 Peter 1:20, 21; Acts 15:15, 16)
10.____The supreme judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Scripture delivered by the Spirit, into which Scripture so delivered, our faith is finally resolved.
( Matthew 22:29, 31, 32; Ephesians 2:20; Acts 28:23)
Let us read from the Westminster Larger Catechism on the Word of God:
Q. 155. How is the Word made effectual to salvation?
A. The Spirit of God maketh the reading, but especially the preaching of the Word, an effectual means of enlightening,[993] convincing, and humbling sinners;[994] of driving them out of themselves, and drawing them unto Christ;[995] of conforming them to his image,[996] and subduing them to his will;[997] of strengthening them against temptations and corruptions;[998] of building them up in grace,[999] and establishing their hearts in holiness and comfort through faith unto salvation.[1000]
Q. 156. Is the Word of God to be read by all?
A. Although all are not to be permitted to read the Word publicly to the congregation,[1001] yet all sorts of people are bound to read it apart by themselves,[1002] and with their families:[1003] to which end, the holy scriptures are to be translated out of the original into vulgar languages.[1004]
Q. 157. How is the Word of God to be read?
A. The holy Scriptures are to be read with an high and reverent esteem of them;[1005] with a firm persuasion that they are the very Word of God,[1006] and that he only can enable us to understand them;[1007] with desire to know, believe, and obey the will of God revealed in them;[1008] with diligence,[1009] and attention to the matter and scope of them;[1010] with meditation,[1011] application,[1012] self-denial,[1013] and prayer.[1014]
Q. 158. By whom is the Word of God to be preached?
A. The Word of God is to be preached only by such as are sufficiently gifted,[1015] and also duly approved and called to that office.[1016]
Q. 159. How is the Word of God to be preached by those that are called thereunto?
A. They that are called to labour in the ministry of the Word, are to preach sound doctrine,[1017] diligently,[1018] in season and out of season;[1019] plainly,[1020] not in the enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power;[1021] faithfully,[1022] making known the whole counsel of God;[1023] wisely,[1024] applying themselves to the necessities and capacities of the hearers;[1025] zealously,[1026] with fervent love to God[1027] and the souls of his people;[1028] sincerely,[1029] aiming at his glory,[1030] and their conversion,[1031] edification,[1032] and salvation.[1033]
Q. 160. What is required of those that hear the Word preached?
A. It is required of those that hear the Word preached, that they attend upon it with diligence,[1034] preparation,[1035] and prayer;[1036] examine what they hear by the Scriptures;[1037] receive the truth with faith,[1038] love,[1039] meekness,[1040] and readiness of mind,[1041] as the Word of God;[1042] meditate,[1043] and confer of it;[1044] hide it in their hearts,[1045] and bring forth the fruit of it in their lives[1046].
The written Scriptures are the sole ultimate authority.  John Calvin wrote,

Let this be a firm principle: No other word is to be held as the Word of God, and given place as such in the church, than what is contained first in the Law and the Prophets, than in the writings of the apostles; and the only authorized way of teaching in the church is by the prescription and standard of his Word. From this also we infer that the only thing granted to the apostles was that which the prophets had of old. They were to expound the ancient Scripture and to show that what is taught there has been fulfilled in Christ. Yet they were not to do this except from the Lord, that is, with Christ’s Spirit as precursor in a certain measure dictating the words...Yet this, as I have said, is the difference between the apostles and their successors: the former were sure and genuine scribes of the Holy Spirit, and their writings are therefore to be considered oracles of God; but the sole office of others is to teach what is provided and sealed in the Holy Scriptures. We therefore teach that faithful ministers are now not permitted to coin any new doctrine, but that they are simply to cleave to that doctrine to which God has subjected all men without exception. (Institutes of the Christian Religion (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1960), Vol. II, Means of Grace: Holy Catholic Church, Book IV, Chapter VIII.8–9, pp. 1155, 1157).

Sola Scriptura refers to the divine sufficiency of the written Word.   However, the doctrine also recognizes other subordinate authorities.  A subordinate authority would be the London Confession and the ruling eldership in the local church.  The Bible has the spiritual answer about the spiritual condition of man.  What is man’s spiritual condition?  What is the nature of man according to the Bible?  Let us search the Scriptures to investigate the nature of man. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Zwingli on the Nature of Justification

Zwingli wrote on justification by faith alone,
A second kind of freedom from the Law is that the Law cannot condemn any more, which yet before wrought the wrath and indignation and just vengeance of God, Rom. 4:15 and Gal. 3:10; and Deut. 27:26, where divine justice sternly thunders: ‘Cursed is everyone who continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law, to do them.’ Christ, therefore ‘redeemed us from this curse of the law, being made a curse for us,’ that is, being nailed to the cross for us, Gal. 3:13 and Rom. 6:10. We are no longer under the Law but under grace; and if under grace, the Law cannot condemn us, for if the Law still has the power to condemn, we are not under grace. It is, therefore, Christ who has broken the wrath of the Law (that is, who has appeased God’s justice, which would have caused Him deservedly to rage against us), and who by bearing the cruelty of the cross for us has so softened it that He has chosen to make us not only free instead of slaves, but even sons...We are freed from the vengeance of the Law; for Christ has paid by His suffering that penalty which we owed for our sins. Indeed, we have been so completely freed from sin, as far as it is a disease, that it is no longer able to harm us if we trust in Christ. For ‘there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh’ (Rom. 8:1) (Huldrych Zwingli, Commentary On True and False Religion (Durham: Labyrinth, 1981), pp. 141–142).