VIDEO A Life of Pure and Holy Sacrifice

A Life of Pure and Holy Sacrifice

Jesus did not say, “He who believes in Me will realize all the blessings of the fullness of God,” but, in essence, “He who believes in Me will have everything he receives escape out of him.” Our Lord’s teaching was always anti-self-realization. His purpose is not the development of a person— His purpose is to make a person exactly like Himself, and the Son of God is characterized by self-expenditure. If we believe in Jesus, it is not what we gain but what He pours through us that really counts. God’s purpose is not simply to make us beautiful, plump grapes, but to make us grapes so that He may squeeze the sweetness out of us. Our spiritual life cannot be measured by success as the world measures it, but only by what God pours through us— and we cannot measure that at all.

When Mary of Bethany “broke the flask…of very costly oil…and poured it on [Jesus’] head,” it was an act for which no one else saw any special occasion; in fact, “…there were some who…said, ‘Why was this fragrant oil wasted?’ ” (Mark 14:3-4). But Jesus commended Mary for her extravagant act of devotion, and said, “…wherever this gospel is preached…what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her” (Mark 14:9). Our Lord is filled with overflowing joy whenever He sees any of us doing what Mary did— not being bound by a particular set of rules, but being totally surrendered to Him. God poured out the life of His Son “that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17). Are we prepared to pour out our lives for Him?

“He who believes in Me…out of his heart will flow rivers of living water”— and hundreds of other lives will be continually refreshed. Now is the time for us to break “the flask” of our lives, to stop seeking our own satisfaction, and to pour out our lives before Him. Our Lord is asking who of us will do it for Him?


Seeing is never believing: we interpret what we see in the light of what we believe. Faith is confidence in God before you see God emerging; therefore the nature of faith is that it must be tried.  He Shall Glorify Me, 494 R

The truth about the Nashville Statement, and the culture’s insane freakout over it

Believing the Bible has itself become hate speech

Maybe you heard over the course of recent days that an uproar has developed over something called the Nashville Statement. The cultural/secular left is having an absolute cow over it, and left-wing politicians are jumping all over themselves to denounce it.

Yet the statement itself is entirely unremarkable. It’s a 10-article statement signed by over 100 prominent evangelical leaders that simply affirms biblical truths concerning human sexuality – covering marriage, chastity, fidelity, homosexuality and so-called transgenderism. It also makes clear that it’s wrong for Christians to tell people who are engaging in sexual immorality that it’s OK to do so. This represents a jarring but necessary rebuke to liberal Christians.

It’s worth your while to read the whole statement, which is here, but the best way to sum it up is simply this: We still believe every word the Bible says about human sexuality, and what we teach on it isn’t going to change regardless of where the culture goes.

So how will the culture react when Christians re-affirm that we still believe the Bible? Let’s start with the Democrat mayor of Nashville, Megan Barry:

The left-wing site Think Progress wants to pretend Christians never had a problem with homosexuality or gay marriage until recently, and found “experts” who would give credence to this absurdity:

Despite the slow national embrace of LGBTQ rights, dwindling support for conservative Christian admonitions of queer identities and relationships is often lifted up by right-wing leaders as evidence of orthodoxy. In addition to claims of “persecution” at the hands of “secular culture,” evangelicals and conservative Catholics often claim their “counter-cultural” position on sexuality and gender identity is deeply traditional.

But does that make the precepts of the Nashville Statement in line with ancient Christians?

“In a word, no,” Candida Moss, theology professor at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, told ThinkProgress in an email.

Karl Shuve, assistant professor of Christian History at the University of Virginia, was even more dismissive.

“[The Nashville Statement] is not a document that is seriously interested with the witnesses of the Christian past, nor is it interested in engaging seriously with the issues underlying marriage and gender identities of the present…[it’s] trying to give the air of deep and rich tradition to something that is very modern, very new, and in some ways very reactive.”

“This is not a document that is seriously interested with the witnesses of the Christian past, nor is it interested in engaging seriously with the issues underlying marriage and gender identities of the present,” Shuve, an expert in early and medieval Christianity, said. He added he had trouble “getting past” the first article of the statement, describing the entire document as “something that is trying to give the air of deep and rich tradition to something that is very modern, very new, and in some ways very reactive.”

Whoever wrote this for Think Progress is clearly not a Christian and doesn’t understand how Christians view the authority of Scripture, which trumps by far anything you can dredge up about the culture or practices of the early church. If the Bible says certain sexual practices are sinful – and it does – then it doesn’t matter in the slightest where Christians put their emphasis at a particular moment in time. It only matters what the Bible says, period, nothing else.

Perhaps the most mind-blowingly absurd reaction of all came from a woman named Jen Hatmaker, who was once thought to be a serious Christian author. She is now one of the media’s go-to “Christians” when they’re looking for someone to affirm gay marriage as acceptable to Jesus. Hatmaker is a perfect example of the phenomenon in which people settle first on a conclusion, then see everything that ever happens as affirmation of that conclusion. Check this astonishing tweet:

You follow this? Hatmaker is twisting Scripture like a pretzel to make it support her pre-determined position in favor of gay marriage. Jesus said in Matthew 7 to beware of false prophets, and that you could tell by people’s fruit if their hearts were with him. Hatmaker completely ignores every word in Scripture that declares homosexuality sinful, but trumpets this one reference to “the fruit,” claiming that if anyone is upset by a statement someone makes, that must mean it has yielded bad fruit and thus must be wrong.


So any statement that reaffirms God’s Word on a matter of sin must, by definition, be wrong because it will yield bad fruit in the form of “suffering, rejection, shame and despair” among those determined to continue committing this sin. Extraordinary. People once took this woman seriously, and some people still do.

Two years ago we published a detailed explanation of why a Bible-believing Christian cannot, under any circumstances, accept gay marriage. It’s not about hating anyone or rejecting anyone. It’s about the reality of sin and the desire to see everyone delivered from sin and reconciled to God.

But what’s happened in the culture in the past two years is not only dividing the secular left against the church. It’s also dividing the church against itself. We see a determined wing of the supposedly Christian church that has decided to ignore everything in the Bible about homosexuality, and declare in spite of it that gay marriage is merely another form of “love,” and that disagreeing with this amounts to hate.

This represents an attempt to do two very radical things that would shake the foundations of the Christian church if allowed:

1. It redefines both love and hate. In this reading, in order to love someone you must affirm whatever they want to do, give them whatever they want and agree with whatever they think. If it’s blatantly contrary to Scripture, then the person’s feelings win out over God’s Word. Failure to do all this means you hate that person. This is absurd, of course, and yet we see the culture embracing this thinking on a widespread basis. There was a time when it was understood that loving someone might mean telling them no, or making them understand that the desire of their flesh wasn’t right. This is reinforced throughout the Bible. The modern culture rejects this principle entirely, arguing instead for a new concept of “love” that makes the flesh king, and treats the satisfaction of every desire of the flesh as a moral imperative.

2. It completely invalidates moral authority of the Bible on matters of morality and sin. We don’t tend to like to talk about this very much in our modern culture, but the Bible very clearly identifies certain things as sin. Homosexual sex is one of them. So is sex outside of marriage (whether pre-marital or extramarital). These are just two examples and most of you know the list very well, but the point is this: While it’s true that redeemed Christians are no longer under law but under grace, the seriousness of sin is every bit what it was in Old Testament times. The consequences are just as horrible, and eternal.

The grace of Jesus Christ is not a license to sin and go to Heaven anyway, but an opportunity to repent of sin and receive His covering. It’s true that His grace covers us if we fall after being redeemed, but that’s a very different matter from the treating of sin as a non-issue, or of refusing to accept the authority of Scripture in defining what sin is.

Christians don’t regard homosexual sex as sin because it bothers us, or offends us, or seems icky. We regard it as sin because the Bible says it’s sin, and the Bible is the inspired and authoritative Word of God. This is not a new development. We have regarded it as such ever since Jesus walked the Earth, died, rose again and ascended into Heaven. God’s Word never changes, regardless of the culture’s willingness to accept it at any given moment.

Sexual morality has become the line of demarcation in a cultural war over the acceptance or rejection of God’s Word. Secularists and liberal “Christians” want there to be no moral limits on sexual behavior apart from, perhaps, that which might have an identifiable human victim – such as a cheated-upon spouse. Otherwise, this group’s sexual ethic is: “As long as everyone consents and no one gets hurt, do what you want.”

God placed limits on sexual behavior because sex is a blessing from Him that is part of His design for humanity, and the blessing is intended to be received and experience in a manner He proscribes. There are spiritual consequences for ignoring this and making your own rules, or simply observing no rules at all.

Even more so, the secular/cultural left insists that gay sex must not be immoral because homosexuals are “born that way.” Regardless of whether you are born with a desire to have homosexual sex or not, the fact remains that this makes a desire of the flesh pre-eminent over the Word of God. No one should be surprised that secularists embrace this thinking, but the fact that some who claim to be Christians are also doing so is stunning. When a desire of the flesh comes into conflict with the Word of God, that’s an easy call for the believer. If you really believe, that is.

Bible-believing Christians still understand this, and must stand with it as truth. Those who engage in sexual immorality are welcome in the church, of course, as anyone would be. But remember: The whole point of Christianity is that everyone needs to repent and receive the grace of Christ. The secular left and liberal Christians want to say that there is no need to repent of sexual immorality, because there is no such thing – or at the very least, it is not defined by the Bible but by modern culture. In other words, by them.

But they want to do more than that. They want to establish a new societal standard that says belief in morality as defined by the Bible is, itself, hate. They’ve always rejected God and His Word, but now they want to take it farther and marginalize Bible-believing Christians as little different from the neo-Nazis and white supremacists we’ve all spent the past few weeks jumping all over each other to condemn. Belief in the sexual morality of the Bible will become the equivalent of segregated lunch counters, or of George Wallace barring the door of the University of Alabama. Societal pressure to reject these beliefs and those who embrace them will become hard to resist in coming years, and those not truly committed to Jesus will quickly fall away like the Jen Hatmakers of the world – embracing logical and moral absurdities in order to appear open-minded and gain cultural approval.

All you have to see to understand this is the cultural freak-out that’s resulted from the Nashville Statement, which says nothing more than this: The Bible is as true as ever, and we still believe it, and we always will.

Much of humanity has always rejected this and hated it. Now this portion of humanity feeling its oats, and is out for blood.

Can you stand to the end in the truth?


Living in God’s Grace

Philippians 1:1-11

Since all of Paul’s letters begin with an expression of God’s grace to us, we may be tempted to think that it is simply a customary word of greeting. But in reality, God’s grace is our foundation, our covering, and the sphere in which we live as believers in Christ.

Grace is commonly defined as God’s unmerited and undeserved favor. According to Ephesians 2:8, it’s the means by which we are saved through faith. And Romans 5:2says that by our faith, we have “obtained our introduction … into this grace in which we stand.” In other words, we are continual recipients of an abundance of grace throughout life and into eternity.

Just as our salvation never ends, so God’s grace never ceases to do its work in our life. That’s why Paul could confidently say, “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). We never have to fear that we will lose our salvation, because God is the one who keeps us and promises to complete us when Christ returns. Furthermore, Paul says we have been “filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ [and glorifies] God” (v. 11).

Sometimes it’s difficult to see righteousness in ourselves, because we know how weak and flawed we are. But if we’ve been saved, then Christ lives in us and we in Him (John 15:4). He is our righteousness, and He’s actively producing His fruit in our life as we abide in Him. This process, known as sanctification, is God’s grace working to align our behavior with Christ’s righteousness. So let’s stand firm in His grace and trust Him to complete us.

How to Respond to Defamation

“Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.” (1 Corinthians 4:11-13)

Bible-believing Christians today, especially creationists, have become the object of intense vilification by the news media and by self-appointed spokesmen for the scientific and educational establishments. The natural reaction is to respond in kind.

But this is not the spiritual reaction. “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (1 Peter 2:21-23).

We not only have Christ’s example before us but also His direct commandment. “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. . . . Love your enemies, bless them that curse you” (Matthew 5:11, 44).

The apostles endured far more insults and opprobrium for Christ’s sake than any of us shall ever have to suffer. Yet Paul, speaking for them all, could say in effect “Being reviled, we bless; being defamed, we entreat, even though they call us the filth of the world!”

We can trust the Lord to take care of our reputations, for He is more concerned even than we, and His Word tells us: “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19). HMM

“I will sing and give praise.”

Psalm 57

David was ever ready to express his gratitude, and when he had escaped from Saul, he took care to praise the Lord with a new song. He then wrote—Psalm 57

which is entitled—

To the chief musician, Al-Taschith, Michtam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave

Al-taschith signifies “destroy not,” probably in allusion to his refusing to destroy Saul.

Psalm 57:1-7

One would have thought he would have said, “My heart is fluttered;” but no, he is calm, firm, happy, resolute, established. When the central axle is secure, the whole wheel is right. If our great bower anchor holds, the ship cannot drive “O God, my heart is fixed.” I am resolved to trust thee, to serve thee, and to praise thee. Twice does he declare this to the glory of God who thus comforts the souls of his servants. It is surely well with each one of us if our once roving heart is now firmly fixed upon God and the proclamation of his glory. “I will sing and give praise.” Vocally and instrumentally will I celebrate thy worship. With lip and with heart will I ascribe honour to thee. Satan shall not stop me, nor Saul, nor the Philistines. I will make Adullam ring with music, and all the caverns thereof echo with joyous song.

Psalm 57:8

It is as if he had said, “Let the noblest powers of my nature bestir themselves: the intellect which conceives thought, the tongue which expresses it, and the vivid imagination which beautifies it—let all be on the alert now that the hour for praise has come.

‘Awake, psaltery and harp.’ Let all the music with which I am familiar be well attuned for the hallowed service of praise. ‘I myself will awake early.’ I will gladden the dawn with my joyous music. No sleepy verses and weary notes shall be heard from me; I will thoroughly arouse myself for this high employ.”

When we are at our best we fall far short of the Lord’s deserts; let us, therefore, make sure that what we bring him is the noblest production of our powers. If it be marred with infirmity, let it not be deteriorated by indolence. Three times the psalmist calls upon himself to awake. Do we need so much arousing, and for such work? Then let us bestir ourselves, for the engagement is too honourable and too important to be left undone, or to be done in a slovenly manner.

Psalm 57:10

Right up from man’s low estate to heaven’s loftiness mercy reaches. Imagination fails to guess the height of heaven, and even thus the riches of God’s mercy exceed our highest thoughts. The psalmist as he sat at the cave’s mouth, and looked up to the firmament, rejoiced that God’s goodness is vaster, and more sublime than even the vaulted skies.

Psalm 57:10

A grand chorus: let us take it up with all our hearts, and lovingly adore the all glorious Lord.


My heart is fix’d, my song shall raise

Immortal honours to thy name;

Awake my tongue, to sound his praise,

My tongue, the glory of my frame.


Be thou exalted, O my God,

Above the heavens, where angels dwell;

Thy power on earth be known abroad,

And land to land thy wonders tell.


Thoroughly Furnished Unto All Good Works!

2 Timothy 3:17

When I was growing up, my father loved to go fishing. As the years passed and his love for fishing grew more intense, he purchased himself a boat so he could go to the lake and fish at any location he wished. I remember his first boat well. It was just a plain, simple, ordinary boat with nothing but a very small motor and two wooden oars for rowing just in case the motor stopped working.

Like most serious fishermen, my dad wasn’t content with that beginner’s boat very long! He had to have something better, nicer, and more seriously equipped. Soon he swapped his simple boat for a rig that was completely decked out with every imaginable device. It had a huge motor, a trolling motor, a depth-finder, a computerized temperature gauge, and a sophisticated fish locator. Even the anchor was operated by a special electric motor. He finally had the boat of his dreams, loaded with everything he ever could have imagined having on his fishing boat. What an improvement this was from that first very simple, basic boat he had started out with when he first took up fishing as a sport!

Well, believe it or not, when the apostle Paul describes what the Word of God does in our lives in Second Timothy 3:16 and 17, he uses a Greek word that describes a well-decked boat like Dad’s boat. These verses say, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

I want you to notice the phrase “thoroughly furnished” in verse 17. This phrase contains a “gem” that reveals what God’s Word can do if you give it top priority in your life. You’re about to discover that there is no replacement for what God’s Word can do in you and for you!

The phrase “thoroughly furnished” is from the Greek word exartidzo, which means to completely deck out or to fully supply. It was used to depict a ship that had previously been ill-equipped for traveling; but because its owner had decked it out with new equipment and gear, this ship had become thoroughly furnished to sail anywhere in the world. This boat was fully supplied, completely equipped, or thoroughly furnished.

Paul uses this word to tell us that we are not prepared to set sail in life until the Word of God has done its work in our hearts and souls. When we first come to Jesus, we are like the first boat—just beginners who hardly know enough to get by in life. Yes, we’re saved and on the way to Heaven, but we haven’t had enough of the Word placed into us to fully equip us for sailing through all kinds of weather.

You can be sure that you will encounter all kinds of weather in your journey through life—including strong storms. Therefore, if you’re going to make it all the way to your destination, you will need all the equipment and gear you can get!


Paul’s words in Second Timothy 3:17 could be interpreted to mean:

“That the man of God may be perfect—completely outfitted and fully supplied, decked out, furnished, and equipped unto all good works.”

You see, when a believer never reads the Word of God, never meditates on the truths of the Word, and doesn’t regularly renew his mind with the Word of God, he is like a simple boat that isn’t equipped for long-distance sailing. He might be able to make it across a little lake; however, in order to victoriously make it across the sea of life and through all the storms he will encounter along the way, he will need major equipment!

That equipment is imparted to a believer when the Word becomes an integral part of his life. God’s Word working inside his heart and mind actually outfits him, decks him out, equips him, or furnishes him with all the spiritual gear he needs to take the adventurous trip God has planned for his life. With God’s Word fitted tightly in place, that believer is ready to set sail and follow wherever the Holy Spirit leads!

So we have a choice. If we choose to not make God’s Word a priority in our lives, we are still headed to Heaven, but we’re like that first simple, plain, basic boat. In other words, we’re just believers who have only enough spiritual equipment to make it across the little lakes of life. On the other hand, if we choose to take God’s Word deeply into our minds and hearts and then apply it to our lives, that Word will release its supernatural power to transform us from simple, basic believers to super-believers—endowed with everything needed to successfully make the long-distance journey the Holy Spirit has planned for our lives!

So how far do you want to go in life? Your answer will determine how deeply you need to take God’s Word into your heart and mind. If you’re just in this for a little jaunt across a lake, you will be satisfied with a low level of God’s Word in your life. But if you’re planning to take a long, adventurous, exciting faith journey, you better dive into the Word of God. As you do, that anointed Word will deck you out with all the provisions you need to make it all the way to your destination!


Lord, I thank You for loving me so much that You would give Your Word to equip me for life. I realize that all the answers I need are found in Your Word. I have often complained that I needed more power and wisdom. But the truth is, everything I need is in Your Word. Help me to diligently read my Bible, take it deeply into my heart and soul, and apply it to my life. As I do so, I ask that it would supernaturally release its divine power to transform me from being a simple, basic believer to becoming one who is super-equipped for life!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!


I confess that God’s Word has a central place in my life. I regularly read God’s Word and meditate on its truths; therefore, my mind is being renewed with the Word day by day. As a result, that Word decks me outequipping, outfitting and furnishing me with all the spiritual gear I need to take the adventurous trip God has planned for my life. With God’s Word fitted tightly in place, I am ready to set sail and follow wherever the Holy Spirit leads!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!


  1. If you were to appraise your spiritual condition today, would you say you are a simple, basic, unequipped believer, or would you deem yourself well-furnished and excellently equipped in a spiritual sense?
  2. In order for you to become spiritually well-equipped, what do you need to start doing that you are not doing right now?
  3. If you continue to do exactly what you are doing right now in your spiritual life, how far do you think you are prepared to sail? Are you sufficiently supplied to do anything God asks you to do or to go anywhere He wants to send you?

You will encounter all kinds of weather in your journey through life, so if you’re going to make it to your ultimate destination, you will need all the equipment and gear you can get!


Are You A Gladiator Or A Spectator?

Tom Landry, the former coach of the Dallas Cowboys, once commented on the “walk-ons” who showed up each spring to try out for the team. Talent, he observed, was in abundance. Intense passion and desire were not. And passionate desire is what God longs for in us who would seek to know Him, “Devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God… ” (1 Chronicles 22:19a)


In our striving to grow spiritually, Peter tells us to, “make every effort… ” “[Apply] all diligence… ” “Work hard… ” (2 Peter 1:5a – niv, nasb, Living). That is, we are to make constant moral and spiritual progress similar to an army that is steadfastly marching toward its objective: Determined. Progressing. Undaunted.


Thus, “the Christian life must not be an animated spasm, followed by a chronic inertia.” (Moffat) Rather, we are to be resolute in our intention of reaching spiritual maturity.


In our quest, it would help us to keep in mind the fact that “faith is not only a commitment to the promises of God, but also to the demands of Christ.” (William Barclay)


A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of leading a 50 year old businessman to Christ. Talk about a man with a passionate desire to know God! The guy attacked the issue of spiritual growth with the ardor of a Roman “gladiator”!

  • Immediately he started studying and memorizing the Scriptures, devouring Christian books, downloading Christian material each morning off the Net, etc., etc.
  • Soon he initiated a Bible study with his old college drinking buddies, keen that they too would know the Savior.

By way of contrast, I recently attempted to help a man who had supposedly recommitted his life to Christ after squandering millions of dollars on women and gambling. Late for the appointment, he declined my offer for assistance, lamely explaining that he just could not get over his habit of chasing women. Sidelined for his lack of passion to follow Jesus, the Christian life for him will probably remain a “spectator” experience.


QUESTION: So tell me, do you have the heart of a gladiator or a spectator? Are you passionately pursuing God? Or are you like most of the guys showing up for the Cowboys’ tryouts: Talented, but mediocre in spirit. For talented, but dispassionate walk-ons, participating at the “gladiator” level will remain an unfulfilled dream as they join the ranks of faceless spectators.



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