Rick Gamache is Senior Pastor of Sovereign Grace Fellowship and one of my favorite preachers. He and the other members of the pastoral team have been preaching through the book of Hebrews for the past several months and I have benefited greatly from their messages. The following audio excerpt is from a sermon delivered yesterday on Hebrews 12:1-2 entitled “Let Us Run.” Please do yourself a favor and take a few moments to listen to Pastor Rick.
To use time wisely “because the days are evil” is a curious phrase embedded in the inspired language of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:15-16: “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (NASB). Paul may have exhorted the Christians at Ephesus to make the most of their time because he and/or the Ephesians were experiencing persecution or opposition (such as in Acts 19:23-20:1). In any event, we need to use every moment with wisdom “because the days are evil” still.
Even without the kind of persecution or opposition known by the Christians of Paul’s day, the world we live in is not conducive to using time wisely, especially for purposes of spirituality and Godliness. In fact, our days are days of active evil. There are great thieves of time that are minions of the world, the flesh, and the Devil. They may range in form from high-tech, socially acceptable preoccupations to simple, idle talk or ungoverned thoughts. But the natural course of our minds, our bodies, our world, and our days leads us toward evil, not toward Christlikeness.
“Thoughts must be disciplined, otherwise, like water, they tend to flow downhill or stand stagnant. That’s why in Colossians 3:2 we’re commanded, “Set your mind on the things above.” Without this conscious, active, disciplined setting of the direction of our thoughts, they will be unproductive at best, evil at worst. Our bodies are inclined to ease, pleasure, gluttony, and sloth. Unless we practice self-control, our bodies will tend to serve evil more than God. We must carefully discipline ourselves in how we “walk” in this world, else we will conform more to its ways rather than to the ways of Christ. Finally, our days are days of active evil because every temptation and evil force are active in them. The use of time is important because time is the stuff of which days are made. If we do not discipline our use of time for the purpose of Godliness in these evil days, these evil days will keep us from becoming Godly.”
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life
Via: Thabiti Anyabwile at Pure Church
Worship is the submission of all of our nature to God. It is the quickening of the conscience by his holiness; the nourishment of mind with his truth; the purifying of imagination by his beauty; the opening of the heart to his love; the surrender of will to his purpose–all this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable.
Via: A Slice of Infinity
Upon a Life I have not lived,
Upon a Death I did not die,
Another’s Life; Another’s Death:
I stake my whole eternity.
Not on the tears which I have shed;
Not on the sorrows I have known:
Another’s tears; Another’s griefs;
On them I rest, on them alone.
Christ For Us
In this, we discover that faith itself, like the accomplishment of Christ on the Cross, is a gift given not out of our own merit, but out of the heart of God. We are brought to belief by the power of the Spirit and the God who opens our eyes to the work of Christ in the first place. Thus, even in my struggle to live as I believed a faithful Christian should live was, in fact, the promise of God’s presence to my troubled teenage mind. In these feelings of regret that I had wandered, in my deep despair that I had fallen away from God, was the sign of God Himself, who never left. The Holy Spirit was perhaps convicting me to repent of whatever had caused me to notice a separation, but in this, God Himself was the one convicting–not my list of rules or the expectations of the church–and my conviction only served as a sign that God had followed where I wandered.
The recognition that we stray from the God we love in and of itself is a sign of faith and the assurance that God is near. For faith is a gift, and even doubt, as Lord Tennyson notes, has a “sunnier side.” Whether the Spirit is calling our attention to a faith that is based on weak foundations or calling us to remove an obstacle we have placed before the Cross, God is near. Though we wander and doubt, though we attempt to flee from God’s presence or settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even here, God’s hand upholds the wanderer. There is good reason Paul admonishes the Philippians to work out their own salvation “with fear and trembling” even as he reminds them powerfully to trust that “it is God who is at work” (Philippians 2:12-13).
Via: A Slice of Infinity
Apologetics is the field of theological study that deals with the reasoned and systematic defense of the truth of Christianity. The term “apologetics” comes from the greek word apologia (απολογία), which is translated “to give a reply” or “to make a defense.”
but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
—1 Peter 3:15, ESV
κυριον δε τον θεον αγιασατε εν ταις καρδιαις υμων ετοιμοι δε αει προς απολογιαν παντι τω αιτουντι υμας λογον περι της εν υμιν ελπιδος μετα πραυτητος και φοβου
—1 Peter 3:15, 1894 Scrivener Greek New Testament
As believers and followers of Christ, we are always to be prepared to give a defense for the reason for the hope that is in us.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
—Romans 8:28-30, ESV