Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
Yesterday morning I preached the second in a series of 8 messages on the 'one another's of the New Testament. "Encourage one another " was the focal command for yesterday. One of the four reasons I gave for obeying this command was this:
"3. Biblical encouragement is a primary means God uses to keep us saved."
I based this statement from what the author of Hebrews says in Hebrews 3:12-14 - "Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelievingly heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort/encourage one another every day, as long as it is called 'today,' that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end."
Let me assure everyone reading this blog: Matt Pearson believes in the doctrine of eternal security!!! The Bible is loud and clear about that from the beginning to the end. Denying that denies much of the Bible and the beautiful grace of God in salvation. My hope is that God will keep me saved today and tomorrow and forever; not in Matt Pearson's works.
But I also MUST let the Bible speak and let the Bible drive my convictions and theology and doctrine, not my preconceived ideas and notions. I believe in the doctrine of eternal security AND I believe Hebrews 3:12-14.
Now, according to Hebrews 3:12-14, if some things don't happen, believers might fall away from God. They are commanded to : (1) take care; (2) encourage one another; and (3) hold firm their original confidence to the end. If they don't, they might develop an evil, unbelievingly. heart and become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin - leading them to fall away from God and not share in Christ in the end.
Since I believe that I cannot lose my salvation, then when I read that text, I have a choice to make. I can:
(a). Ignore it because even if I do drift a bit, I am okay; or...
(b). Diligently heed the command/warning, seeing it as a gift of God's grace for me and the church to stay saved.
Which do you think is more biblical? Which defines a child of God more concretely? Of course, (b) is the correct response.
Now. If I do not obey, am I still a Christian? Maybe. If I ignore this/these command(s) I either demonstrate either (1) I never was saved in the first place; or, (2) miss God's best for me, get convicted by the Spirit of God, and by His grace press on to heed this grace for me in the
Jesus said in Matthew 24 that the one who endures to the end (by following Him in obedience) will be saved. Likewise, Paul said to work out your salvation with fear and trembling in Philippians 2.
So, do I believe that once a believer is authentically saved by the grace of Christ and the Spirit of God that he/she will ALWAYS be saved? You betcha. But I also believe (because of texts like Hebrews 3:12-14) that this includes the fact that God graciously uses means to keep us saved, one of them being that the church heed the command to encourage one another to the end.
Why else is the Bible here? Was not the majority of the NT written for churches??? Why is it all there unless it is to be used as a means to keep the church graciously and gloriously saved?
Why would we need each other if we could get by as believers all by ourselves? We can't!!! This is why God graciously gave us each other.
God graciously uses means to keep us saved, so diligently and intentionally encourage one another TODAY. By doing so, you reveal the Spirit's work in your own heart (bringing confirmation to your soul of God working in and through you); AND you just might be a means God has ordained to keep a brother or sister from falling away from the living God.
Posted by Bro. Matt at 10:26 AM
Posted by Bro. Matt at 10:26 AM
Monday, June 6, 2011
1. WBC, Consider Our Ways: A Superior Temple, and the Display of God’s Glory Remains Incomplete…What are We Doing about It?
2. WBC, Consider Our Ways: The Amount of God’s Spirit You Experience and Your Practice of Obedience…Is there a Connection?
3. WBC, Consider Our Ways: God Keeps His Promises…Do You Believe It?
Posted by Bro. Matt at 3:14 PM
Posted by Bro. Matt at 3:05 PM
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Earlier this week, I came across this Bible reading plan by Jason DeRouchie.
Click here to link to where I found it (Desiring God) and to a link where you can download the plan in a PDF format.
Here are its unique features:
1. Proportionate weight is given to the Old and New Testaments in view of their relative length, the Old receiving three readings per day and the New getting one reading per day.
2. The Old Testament readings follow the arrangement of Jesus’ Bible (Luke 24:44––Law, Prophets, Writings), with one reading coming from each portion per day.
3. In a single year, one reads through Psalms twice and all other biblical books once; the second reading of Psalms (highlighted in gray) supplements the readings through the Law (Genesis–Deuteronomy).
4. Only 25 readings are slated per month in order to provide more flexibility in daily devotions.
5. The plan can be started at any time of the year, and if four readings per day are too much, the plan can simply be stretched to two or more years (reading from one, two, or three columns per day).
Posted by Bro. Matt at 3:29 AM
Monday, May 9, 2011
"I do believe that something is seriously wrong if people take more time to contemplate and discuss Colton Burpo’s account of petting Jesus' rainbow-colored horse, or of Jesus wearing a crown with a pink diamond, than they do studying what the Bible actually says about Heaven. The back cover of the book says 'Heaven Is for Real will forever change the way you think of eternity.' I would say, 'Seek to let the Bible alone change the way you think of eternity.'"
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You can watch, listen, and/or download the message here later today.
Here are some questions to enhance your understanding of the text:
1. Why was the couple on the road to Emmaus so sad and hopeless? How can you relate to their hopelessness? Have you ever said to yourself, "I had hoped..."? What about?
2. How did Jesus' resurrection change all of that? Why is His resurrection from the dead such a big deal and what are some of the implications of it?
3. What did Jesus do differently with the Old Testament (from what they were used to doing) that caused their hearts to burn? What does this say about how Jesus expects the Old Testament to be read and interpreted? (See Post - "FYI: Helpful Resources for Seeing Christ in the Old Testament" Later Today)
4. According to this text, what causes hearts to burn for the things of God? What does this mean for your own heart? What does this mean for the hearts you have influence over?
5. What do you think happened that caused the couple from Emmaus to (finally!) recognize Jesus? How is this similar to what happened to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (See Genesis 3:1-11)?
For further treatment on this thought, click here for a very helpful and detailed article by Dane Ortlund.
6. What did the couple from Emmaus do the moment they 'recognized' Jesus as the resurrected Messiah? What does this say about what 'grasping' the resurrection should effect in us?
Last night I continued the 'Overview' series through the Minor Prophets ("The 'Not So' Minor Minors"). Last night's message was on Habakkuk. The title was "Habakkuk: From Hacked Off to Hallelujah." Click here (later today) to watch, listen and/or download.
Below are some questions to add to your digestion of the book:
1. Why was Habakkuk so angry the first time? (See Habakkuk 1:1-4) Why was he so angry the second time? (See Habakkuk 1:12-17) Have you ever complained at God for doing/allowing something to happen in your life that you didn't have categories for? What were/are they?
2. How did you handle it when these circumstances entered your life?
3. What were the 4 actions Habakkuk took to move from being 'Hacked Off' at God to saying 'Hallelujah' to God?
Which of these actions seem the easiest? Why?
Which of these actions seem to be the hardest? Why?
4. According to Habakkuk 3:17-19, what happened to Habakkuk through this deal?
5. How does the book of Habakkuk mirror the story of the Gospel?
6. According to Habakkuk 2:14, where is everything headed and why does God do everything He does? How does knowing this change the way we (believers) should look at the world?
7. Habakkuk 2:4 is quoted 3 times in the New Testament. Where are they and what is the thrust of meaning behind each quote?
Posted by Bro. Matt at 9:16 AM
Monday, May 2, 2011
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Posted by Bro. Matt at 3:12 PM
I have had several request my thoughts on the death of Osama Bin Laden.
I found myself having some very mixed emotions last night, to be real honest.
On one hand, I was thrilled! I mean, a mastermind who was dead set on killing as many as possible was gone?!?! That, to me, was a really good thing.
On the other hand, I was grieved. How could I be happy that someone is dead? Especially someone who is (more than likely) in hell and will stay there being tortured throughout eternity?
Then I checked Twitter. Oh my.
First I read people rejoicing. Then I read others who were rebuking those for rejoicing. Then I read where people were sharing the same mixture of feelings that I had. Then I read Bible verses that countered others who had posted Bible verses. Yikes....made me glad I don't have a Facebook account!!!!
So how should Christians think about this deal?
I read a tweet by J.D. Greear this morning that really helped me balance this thing out some. He, more or less stacked two verses on top of one another and stated (in essence) that we need to wrestle with both truths.
The first verse he referenced was Proverbs 24:17-18 - "Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the LORD see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him."
He also referenced Ezekiel 33:11 which says the LORD takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.
Amen and Amen.
But he also (this is the part that was helpful) referenced our need to rejoice in the fact that justice was shown AND weep for the loss of life (especially one doomed to hell).
God is just and demands justice. He is a LOVER of justice. Justice was served. One who was responsible for thousands of people dying (and who knows if others were being planned?) was now dead. Rejoice.
But God does not rejoice in the death of wicked. Weep.
I think the biblical response is to balance both: rejoice and weep. Rejoice on the biblical one hand and weep on the biblical other. Both are biblical, thus, both are right.
Does Paul not himself say that we believers live in that world? "Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing"??? (see 2 Corinthians 6:10). It is okay to live in that tension. We need to wrestle with it and, at the end of the day, be totally biblical at all costs.
It is a reminder, seeing the people rejoice and the Americans dancing in the streets and such, of all of humanity's struggle with justice. We all want it. We all need it. We all know that if it were practiced on us from the God of the universe then we ourselves would be destroyed. In fact, we cannot understand the Gospel fully until we understand justice. We deserve far worse than Osama Bin Laden got last week from American soldiers (who, by the way, are incredible heroes!!!! Thank you troops!). We deserve to be destroyed by God Himself due to our sin against Him and cast into an eternal hell. Another man, Jesus, was killed in our place. Justice has been served! Our penalty has been paid...by another! Hallelujah.
So, at the moment, my counsel would be to wrestle with the tensions of rejoicing in justice and weeping in death.
AND, please Christians, take every opportunity to go to the justice and grace of God found at the cross of Jesus. The death of Osama Bin Laden can be a remarkable way to evangelize! May it be.
Click here to a couple of other posts (notice: I HAVEN'T READ THESE - they just seem to be very interesting and helpful - from a place I trust).
Posted by Bro. Matt at 9:07 AM
Friday, April 29, 2011
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Thursday, April 28, 2011
Posted by Bro. Matt at 6:36 AM
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011
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Monday, April 25, 2011
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For those interested in thinking through/discussing the sermon truths further, here are some questions to help prompt some further thinking:
1. In his introduction, Bro. Matt said that Jesus could not be one god among many. Is this true? Why or why not?
2. Why do you think the historical validity of Jesus' resurrection has been attacked so hard for the last 2,000+ years?
3. Of the 10 details mentioned in Luke's account of the first Easter Sunday, which one gripped you the most? Why?
4. Do you see any other details Luke provides to help us believe in the reality of Jesus' resurrection?
5. Why do you think Luke is so careful to provide as many details as possible? (see Luke 1:1-4).
6. If Jesus did indeed rise from the dead, what does that mean for your life?
7. If you are a follower of Jesus and have submitted to His Lordship, what does this mean for your life? (See Luke 24:46-47)
Posted by Bro. Matt at 9:05 AM
Monday, April 11, 2011
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Monday, April 4, 2011
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Monday, March 21, 2011
Posted by Bro. Matt at 2:19 PM
Very good and intriguing article by Moore here.
"Second, and more important, is the nature of the punishment itself. The sinner in hell does not become morally neutral upon his sentence to hell. We must not imagine the damned displaying gospel repentance and longing for the presence of Christ. They do indeed, as in the story of the rich man and Lazarus, seek for an escape from punishment, but they are not new creations. They do not in hell love the Lord their God with heart, mind, soul, and strength.
"Instead, in hell, one is now handed over to the full display of his nature apart from grace. And this nature is seen to be satanic (Jn. 8:44). The condemnation continues forever and ever, because the sin does too. Hell is the final “handing over” (Rom. 1) of the rebel to who he wants to be, and it’s awful."
Posted by Bro. Matt at 10:22 AM
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Friday, March 18, 2011
Posted by Bro. Matt at 4:58 AM
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
"I'm very excited to be celebrating 40 years with this amazing man. There are some particularly remarkable attributes of his that I'd like to share with you.
1) Steve is a committed follower of Christ and spends time daily in prayer and Bible reading. The children and I have reaped blessings untold as a result.
2) Steve has always given me security and stability because I knew he would do whatever it took to provide what the children and I needed. In the early days of starting his vet practice in Hartselle, I knew in my heart that he would take a second job sacking groceries if there wasn't enough business through the clinic.
3) Not for a single minute in these 40 years have I ever had to doubt his love for me, or his faithfulness to me and to our marriage. What a precious gift that has been and continues to be. I have no doubt that he has read the Book of Proverbs at least 100 times in his life, and I have personally benefited from his commitment to the principles in Proverb 5:15-18:
Drink water from your own cistern, and fresh water from your own well.
Should your springs be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets?
Let them be yours alone, and not for strangers with you.
Let your fountain be blessed and rejoice in the wife of your youth.
4) Steve Pearson is a model husband, father, and grandfather. I love him with all my heart. I am blessed beyond measure to be his wife, and I would be so happy to spend 40 MORE years with him. Happy Anniversary, hon."
Posted by Bro. Matt at 5:13 AM
Monday, March 14, 2011
"If 'Love Wins' is wrong—if the theology departs from the apostolic good deposit, if the biblical reasoning falls short in a hundred places, if the god of 'Love Wins' and the gospel of 'Love Wins' are profoundly mistaken—if all this is true, then what damage has been done to the souls of men and women?
"Bad theology hurts real people. So of all the questions raised in the book, the most important question every reader must answer is this: is it true? Whatever you think of all the personalities involved on whatever side of the debate, that’s the one question that cannot be ignored. Is Love Wins true to the word of God? That’s the issue. Open a Bible, pray to God, listen to the faithful Christians of the past 2000 years, and answer the question for yourself."
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Sunday, March 13, 2011
Posted by Bro. Matt at 2:44 PM
Instead of fleeing from God’s call in rebellion and running away from his enemies, this new messenger ran toward his enemies, in full submission to his Father’s will, despite what it would cost him. For 'we were enemies' of God (Rom. 5:10)—all of us—so much so that we rejected and crucified his Son.
"Fully knowing that this death was his destiny, this new messenger nevertheless pursued God’s rescue mission with a totally engaged heart. 'For the joy that was set before him,' the Bible tells us, he 'endured the cross' (Heb. 12:2) so that God’s enemies, you and I, could become God’s friends.
"This new messenger, like Jonah, would spend three days in utter darkness. But unlike Jonah, he would emerge with wholehearted determination to pursue his enemies with life-giving love. He went on this mission because he wanted to—not because he had to.
"When God’s mercy was shown to Jonah and to his enemies, Jonah was intensely angered. But this new messenger was the happy extension of God’s grace toward his enemies—not angry and embittered, but 'anointed . . . with the oil of gladness' (Heb. 1:9). Jonah is all about self-protection; this new messenger is all about joyful self-sacrifice. So Jesus and his Good News, rescue of sinners, is all over this story of Jonah."
Posted by Bro. Matt at 5:40 AM
Monday, March 7, 2011
Posted by Bro. Matt at 7:25 PM