Why Sin Is Not Equal With “Seeking Your Own”

Last Sunday, in Bible Study, as we started our look into the doctrine of sin, I pointed out that the root or essence of sin is NOT “seeking one’s own”.  In other words, I argued, that selfishness is not sinful unless it seeks its own good at the expense of another.  If we pursue our good or joy in God, then that type of “selfishness” is not only not sinful but is specifically commanded in Scripture.  In the following video,  John Piper explains how “seeking your own joy” in loving another is not sinful but fits within Biblical categories of love, specifically 1 Corinthians 13:1-5.  Take a look  for yourself.

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Worth Reading

Kevin DeYoung, over at the Gospel Coalition blog has a rather insightful post that is written from the perspective of Wormwood’s uncle, the character from C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters.  For those of you unfamiliar with Screwtape, C.S. Lewis writes from the perspective of one of the Devil’s demons corresponding with his nephew, also a demon, on how best to deceive their Christian enemies.  DeYoung’s post addresses the issue of church involvement, particularly regarding the college student…There are actually two posts, an original and a follow-up.  Check them out…

The Mystery of Contentment

“Grace does not only subject the will to God, but it melts the will into God’s will, so that they are now but one will.  What a sweet satisfaction the soul must have in this condition, when all is made over to God.”  Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment.

So, for the Christian, there is one level higher than submitting to the will of God:  he can make God’s will and his own the same.  Join me in asking God for this measure of grace.

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Pray For Your Body

I just finished reading a book which was written as a “member’s guide to the local church”.  While I have benefited from much of the truth found within its pages, I particularly enjoyed the last chapter, “Praying for One Another.”  Included in this chapter were the prayers that the Apostle Paul prayed for the local church and recorded for our edification.  Over the last two days, I have found much joy in praying these passages of Scripture on behalf of you, my church family at UFC.  And as I set out to continue this discipline of delight, I invite you to join me in petitioning our Heavenly Father on behalf of one another.  I intend to post a passage each day for the next few days with some specific requests highlighted from the text.  If you feel so inclined, here’s the first one:

Read Romans 1:8-12

  • Pray that UFC will have a ministry beyond the community of Norman.  Remember some specific missionaries (i.e. the Thomas family) serving in other areas.
  • Pray that you personally will be able to build relationships in the body in which you can help others to grow in Christ and serve Him better.  Mention some believers with whom you already have relationships, and pray about some specific ways you can build them up spiritually.
  • Pray that you and the other members of the church will find encouragement in Christ by sharing with one another the good things God is doing in your lives.  Ask God to help you and others not to focus primarily on the weaknesses of the body and its members, but rather on the common faith that we all share.

P.S.  I have found that praying God’s Word back to Him is one of the greatest ways to bolster my prayer life (which often needs bolstering).  What better way to pray than to repeat God’s own thoughts back to Him?  Try it with any passage of Scripture.  It doesn’t have to be one that is written in prayer form.

(Prayer guide taken and modified from Life in the Father’s House:  A Member’s Guide to the Local Church; Mack, W. and Swavely, D. 1996)

Thirsty?

“We are all men dying of thirst, begging for salt.”  I came across this little nugget of truth yesterday and immediately texted a friend of mine who agreed with its rich insight into the human condition.  Of course, this idea was not original to whomever penned these words, although the description is poignant and unique.  When God the Maker of all things spoke to Jeremiah, the prophet of ancient Israel, he assessed the human condition in related terms:  “for my people have commited two evils:  they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13).

Question of application:  what cistern are you drinking from?  If it is not the Eternal Fount of life-giving waters, then you might as well be begging for salt.

Ahh, The World: How I Love it and How I Hate it.

The great Puritan Thomas Watson said, “God takes away the world, that the heart may cleave more to Him in sincerity.”  There are countless quotes and thoughts that I whole-heartedly agree with and at the same time want to be true of someone else and not me.  This is one such quote.

I believe the Kingdom of God is like a treasure hidden in a field that is worth selling all I have to obtain.  But far to often, I want the treasure hidden in the field and some of my stuff too.  I want God but I also want money, comfort, ease, and constant amusement.   I want to be godly, but at times, I want godliness to be absorbed and not gained through diligences and discipline.  Can I have both?

Thomas Watson said what the Bible is pretty clear on: NO, YOU CANNOT HAVE BOTH!  Jesus said, “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”  (Lk 14:33) Not very seeker sensitive of Jesus, those are strong words.  His brother James said, “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?”  (Jam 4:4a) The Apostle John says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”  (1 Jn 2:15)  But, I still tend to want my stuff.  Is there any hope for me?

Yes, my hope comes from the gospel.  The gospel tells me that I’m a sinful loser that is helpless on my own and Christ alone is my only hope.  The gospel is not just something I need pre-conversion, the gospel is something I need daily.  The gospel tells me that because God has loved me in Christ and sustains me by the Holy Spirit, He will not let me go.  The gospel tells me God has loved me apart from my good deeds, my moralism, my religion and in spite of my longing for the world.  The gospel (good news) tells me that because I have the tendency to want to hold onto the world, God will take the world from me.  I am so thankful that He does, so my hands are now free to hold on to Him.  When I won’t let go of this world, God just takes it from me and replaces it with something infinitely better, Himself.

Ahh, the gospel how I love and how I love it!