Thursday, June 30, 2011

Reasons for the KJV's Durability

The following excerpts are taken from Barton Swain's article, "God's English: The Making and Endurance of the King James Bible, 1611-2011," in the May/June issue of Touchstone:
First, they [the translators of the KJV] understood, far better than modern translators have, the importance of rhythm in language. This is partly because learned men of the seventeenth century were steeped in written languages - English and Latin, but also Greek, Hebrew, French, Italian, and Spanish - to a degree that even the best educated cannot match now. They understood the dynamics of poetry: Andrewes was himself a brilliant poet, but the others, too, would have been deeply familiar with ancient and modern meters.

Equally important is the fact that the King James translators knew that their renderings would be heard even more than they would be read. The great preponderance of parishioners in early seventeenth-century England were partly or wholly illiterate, and for that reason the translators were careful to make their sentences easy to read aloud. Time and again the KJV's language falls into a snappy iambic cadence that rolls off the tongue....

One of the principal reasons the King James Bible has achieved such astonishing durability is that its diction captures the gravity and splendor one feels God's words deserve....

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Can the Humble Be Confident?

Yes, humility can be coupled with confidence if the confidence is in the Lord. Consider the contrast between the first line in Psalm 40:17 and the second. The first is a confession of such humility that it sounds as if the psalmist is defeated, but the second line is an expression of such comfort and hope that it grants him complete confidence in the Lord.
As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
(Psalm 40:17)
Poor and needy we may be, but it should be enough for us to know that the Lord takes thought for us. What could give us greater confidence and assurance than that?

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Church Is the Gospel Made Visible

"Christian proclamation might make the gospel audible, but Christians living together in local congregations make the gospel visible (see John 13:34-35). The church is the gospel made visible."

--Mark Dever, "The Church," in A Theology for the Church, Daniel Akin, ed.

Friday, June 24, 2011

I Need the Influence of Thy Grace

My Soul Lies Cleaving to the Dust
Isaac Watts,1674-1748

My soul lies cleaving to the dust;
Lord, give me life divine;
From vain desires and every lust
Turn off these eyes of mine.

I need the influence of Thy grace
To speed me in Thy way,
Lest I should loiter in my race,
Or turn my feet astray.

When sore afflictions press me down,
I need Thy quick'ning powers;
Thy word that I have rested on
Shall help my heaviest hours.

Are not Thy mercies sovereign still,
And Thou a faithful God?
Wilt Thou not grant me warmer zeal
To run the heav'nly road?

Does not my heart Thy precepts love,
And long to see Thy face?
And yet how slow my spirits move
Without enliv'ning grace!

Then shall I love Thy gospel more,
And ne'er forget Thy word,
When I have felt its quick'ning power,
To draw me near the Lord.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Great Resource for Evangelism, Discipleship, and Training Leaders

David Helm's new book, One-to-One Bible Reading: A Simple Guide for Every Christian, is an excellent resource for churches to have on hand and to make use of in a variety of different contexts. It can serve as a tool for evangelism, discipleship, or training leaders.

Like all of Matthias Media's resources, it is both informative and practical. So if you're looking for a useful guide to help get people into the Word of God, you need to get this book.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Warning about Departing from the Truth

"The beginning of departure from the pure truth is like the letting out of waters - first a drop, and at last a torrent."

--J.C. Ryle

Monday, June 20, 2011

Summary of 2011 SBC

Here is a summary and recap of last week's Southern Baptist Convention in Phoenix.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sufficient and Alone

O God of Mercy, Hear My Call
Isaac Watts, 1674-1748

O God of mercy, hear my call;
My load of guilt remove;
Break down this separating wall
That bars me from Thy love.

Give me the presence of Thy grace,
Then my rejoicing tongue
Shall speak aloud Thy righteousness,
And make Thy praise my song.

No blood of goats, nor heifers slain
For sin could e'er atone;
The death of Christ shall still remain
Sufficient and alone.

A soul oppressed with sin's desert,
The Lord will ne'er despise;
A humble groan, a broken heart
Is our best sacrifice.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cling to the Cross

"Cling to the cross, sinner. If the earth sink beneath thee, cling on; if storms should rage, and all the floods be out, and even God himself seem to be against thee, cling to the cross. There is thy hope. Thou canst not perish there."

--Charles Spurgeon

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Religious Hubris vs. Gospel Humility

Theological Antonyms
© 2011, Justin Wainscott

The opposite of
religious hubris
is gospel humility.

Religious hubris breeds superiority
on the grounds of moral performance.
But it's a misplaced superiority,
because it's built on a lie.
All who gather on those grounds
will surely fall.

Gospel humility yields unity
at the foot of the cross.
And it's an appropriate unity,
because it's built on the truth.
All who gather there
stand on a sure and firm foundation.

Religious hubris
sees no need for a Savior.
Gospel humility
sees not only the need for a Savior,
but the Savior himself
meeting that very need.

Religious hubris stands tall,
but will one day be brought low.
Gospel humility bows low,
but will one day be exalted.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Reminder to Pastors

"A good shepherd is one who sees what the Owner sees and does what the Owner does. He is a follower before he is a leader. He is a leader because he is a follower. The shepherds whom God judges in the Bible are those who forget that the people in their care are not their own."

--Timothy Laniak, Shepherds After My Own Heart

Friday, June 10, 2011

Close To the Ignominious Tree

Redeemer! Whither Should I Flee
Augustus Toplady, 1740-1778

Redeemer! whither should I flee,
Or how escape the wrath to come?
The weary sinner flies to Thee
For shelter from impending doom;
Smile on me, gracious Lord, and show
Thyself the Friend of sinners now.

Beneath the shadow of Thy cross
The heavy-laden soul finds rest;
I would esteem the world but dross,
So I might be of Christ possessed.
I'd seek my every joy in Thee,
Be Thou both life and light to me.

Close to the ignominious tree,
Jesus, my humbled soul would cleave;
Despised and crucified with Thee,
With Thee resolved to die and live;
This prayer and this ambition mine,
Living and dying to be Thine.

There, fastened to the rugged wood
By holy love's resistless chain,
And life deriving from Thy blood,
Never to wander wide again,
There may I bow my suppliant knee,
And own no other Lord but thee.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Glorying in the Gospel, Knowing the Plague Within

"The man that does not glory in the gospel can surely know little of the plague that is within him."

--J.C. Ryle

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Gospel and Giving

We should not give out of a misguided legalism, thinking that this action somehow earns us God’s favor. Nor should we give out of a Pharisaic self-righteousness, assuming that this practice of piety puts God in our debt. And neither should we treat giving as a means to manipulate God to bless us with more material wealth, as prosperity theology encourages. No, the reasons and motivations for our giving should be shaped by the gospel that we profess to have shaped us.

So, here are five ways that giving is shaped by the gospel. These are by no means exhaustive, but I would encourage you to think over these ways and reflect on them as you give.
  1. We give gladly because we are grateful for what God has graciously given to us in and through the gospel.

  2. We give faithfully because we trust God to meet our needs, which the gospel assures He will do.

  3. We give sacrificially because in doing so we reflect the sacrificial giving of God in the gospel.

  4. We give generously because the gospel has changed us from lovers of self and lovers of money into lovers of God and lovers of people.

  5. We give intentionally because we desire to see the gospel made known to all peoples.
Brothers and sisters, let us never forget that we are receivers long before we are givers. And reflecting on how much God has given to us through Christ should cause gratitude in our hearts, which should overflow into cheerful, faithful, sacrificial, generous, and intentional giving.

A giving heart is a grateful heart – it really is as simple as that. If you’re glad in Christ, you’ll give to Christ and for Christ. And if you rightly understand the gospel, how could you not be glad in Christ?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Two Ways to Be Your Own Savior and Lord

"There are two ways to be your own Savior and Lord. One is by breaking all the moral laws and setting your own course, and one is by keeping all the moral laws and being very, very good.

...[T]he prerequisite for receiving the grace of God is to know you need it."

--Tim Keller, The Prodigal God

Monday, June 6, 2011

You Can't Trust the Bible, Can You?

See Vaughan Roberts' answer to that question in this brief video.

While you're there, check out the entire Christianity Explored site and consider making use of CE at your church.

And for a helpful overview of the storyline of the Bible, check out Vaughan Robert's book, God's Big Picture.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Praise Our Pardoning God

Redeemed, Restored, Forgiven
Henry Baker, 1821-1877

Redeemed, restored, forgiven,
Through Jesus’ precious blood,
Heirs of His home in heaven,
Oh, praise our pardoning God!
Praise Him in tuneful measures
Who gave His Son to die;
Praise Him Whose sev’nfold treasures
Enrich and sanctify.

Once on the dreary mountain
We wandered far and wide,
Far from the cleansing fountain,
Far from the pierc├Ęd side;
But Jesus sought and found us
And washed our guilt away;
With cords of love He bound us
To be His own for aye.

Dear Master, Thine the glory
Of each recovered soul,
Ah! who can tell the story
Of love that made us whole?
Not ours, not ours, the merit;
Be Thine alone the praise,
And ours a thankful spirit
To serve Thee all our days.

Now keep us, holy Savior,
In Thy true love and fear,
And grant us of Thy favor
The grace to persevere;
Till, in Thy new creation,
Earth’s time-long travail o’er,
We find our full salvation
And praise Thee evermore.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

New Church Website

First Baptist Church of Jackson has a new website. It was designed by our very gifted Director of Media, Ryan Oetting.

Check it out here.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

7 Reasons to Love Telling and Hearing the Gospel

Here are seven reasons every Christian should love to tell and hear the gospel - each of them inspired by the hymn, "I Love to Tell the Story," by Katherine Hankey.

1) Because of the certainty of its truthfulness and 2) Because it satisfies the sinner's longings
I love to tell the story, because I know ’tis true;
It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.
3) Because of personal gratitude and experience
I love to tell the story, it did so much for me;
And that is just the reason I tell it now to thee.
4) Because it gets sweeter and sweeter the more it's understood
I love to tell the story; ’tis pleasant to repeat
What seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet.
5) Because others need to know God's grace for themselves
I love to tell the story, for some have never heard
The message of salvation from God’s own holy Word.
6) Because redeemed sinners still need to be reminded of it
I love to tell the story, for those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.
7) Because it will be the reason for and content of our eternal praise
And when, in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new song,
’Twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long.