John Calvin – Standing on the Word of God

The Old Guys

Let us know, as faith can be grounded nowhere else than in the Word of the Lord, so we must only stand to the testimony thereof in all controversies.

~John Calvin~







Calvin’s Commentaries – Acts (Spokane, WA; Olive Tree Bible Software; http://www.olivetree.com) Commentary on Acts 17:1-4

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Biography of John Calvin

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Other Calvin Quotes at the Old Guys

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Holiness Has an Edge

“Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.” Leviticus 19:2

All of us who have kids have been guilty of ending an argument about why they should or shouldn’t do something with the conversation stopper: “Because I said so.” The reply is powerful because it has an edge to it. There are times when God is edgy with us. We’d like to stand there and argue with Him, but He keeps saying things like, “Because I said so” or “You be holy, because I am holy.” His call to holiness in our lives has that edgy sound.

In the Old Testament, when God wanted to bring that kind of holy edge to His people, He showed up in a place called the temple. God’s holiness came from another world and engaged with yours and mine. Jesus’ birth was a holy invasion—it came with an edge—from another place, another world, another reality. It cut through pretense by coming as a peasant baby born in a stable surrounded by sheep and goats. It cut into religious and political agendas by displaying genuine humility as a way to power. It sliced through the stuffy, hot air of classicism by first announcing His arrival to lowly shepherds working the third shift outside the city limits. It carved away centuries of religious oppression and hypocrisy by showing the power of quiet innocence. Holiness in God’s terms has an edge.

And it’s not only edgy in its essence; it’s also edgy in its demands. Because we represent Him, we are called to live with a holy edge. To live with a holy edge means to live differently—to make daily choices that square with God’s holiness; to stand for right in a wrong-headed culture; to preserve honesty, justice, and integrity no matter what. It means to replace greed with generosity and to forgive the cruelest offense. To serve others instead of ourselves, and to use our power to bless others instead of using it to advance our own agendas. It’s that kind of edgy living that makes a huge statement about the distinct difference that a holy God makes in our world.

When God first spoke to His people through Moses, He told them to live in and enjoy the land He had promised to them. But they were to live with a holy edge. They were to live differently than their pagan counterparts, uniquely reflecting the Holy difference of the true and living God.

Don’t lose your edge! Holiness sets you wonderfully apart in an increasingly unholy world. It’s no wonder that He said we should be holy because He is holy!

YOUR JOURNEY…

  • In what ways do the people around you see you as different because of your walk with Christ?
  • In what areas of your life do you feel you’ve lost your edge? What can you do to reclaim it?
  • Take some time to read through Isaiah 1:1–31; 2:1-22; 3:1-26; 4:1-6; 5:1-30; 6:1-13. Isaiah addressed his words to a people who had lost their holy edge. Write down some of the insights you gain from reading these passages.
  • Write down a prayer you can use daily, asking the Lord to sharpen any dull edges in your relationship to Him—your words, thoughts, attitudes toward others, and so on.

http://getmorestrength.org/daily/holiness-has-an-edge/

Put God First

Jesus did not commit Himself to them . . .for He knew what was in man —John 2:24-25

Put Trust in God First. Our Lord never put His trust in any person. Yet He was never suspicious, never bitter, and never lost hope for anyone, because He put His trust in God first. He trusted absolutely in what God’s grace could do for others. If I put my trust in human beings first, the end result will be my despair and hopelessness toward everyone. I will become bitter because I have insisted that people be what no person can ever be— absolutely perfect and right. Never trust anything in yourself or in anyone else, except the grace of God.

Put God’s Will First. “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God” (Hebrews 10:9).

A person’s obedience is to what he sees to be a need— our Lord’s obedience was to the will of His Father. The rallying cry today is, “We must get to work! The heathen are dying without God. We must go and tell them about Him.” But we must first make sure that God’s “needs” and His will in us personally are being met. Jesus said, “. . . tarry . . . until you are endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). The purpose of our Christian training is to get us into the right relationship to the “needs” of God and His will. Once God’s “needs” in us have been met, He will open the way for us to accomplish His will, meeting His “needs” elsewhere.

Put God’s Son First. “Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me” (Matthew 18:5).

God came as a baby, giving and entrusting Himself to me. He expects my personal life to be a “Bethlehem.” Am I allowing my natural life to be slowly transformed by the indwelling life of the Son of God? God’s ultimate purpose is that His Son might be exhibited in me.

http://utmost.org/put-god-first/

Fickle Followers

How quickly public opinion can change! When Jesus entered Jerusalem for the Passover feast, He was welcomed by crowds cheering to have Him made king (John 12:13). But by the end of the week, the crowds were demanding that He be crucified (19:15).

I recognize myself in those fickle crowds. I love cheering for a team that’s winning, but my interest wanes when they start losing. I love being part of a movement that is new and exciting, but when the energy moves to a new part of town, I’m ready to move on. I love following Jesus when He is doing the impossible, but I slink away when He expects me to do something difficult. It’s exciting to follow Jesus when I can do it as part of the “in” crowd. It’s easy to trust Him when He outsmarts the smart people and outmaneuvers the people in power (see Matt. 12:10; 22:15-46). But when He begins to talk about suffering and sacrifice and death, I hesitate.

I like to think that I would have followed Jesus all the way to the cross—but I have my doubts. After all, if I don’t speak up for Him in places where it’s safe, what makes me think I would do so in a crowd of His opponents?

How thankful I am that Jesus died for fickle followers so that we can become devoted followers.

For Further Thought Read these Bible verses and ponder Jesus’ love for you (Rom. 5:8; Rom. 8:37-39; Heb. 13:5-6,8; 1 John 3:1). Allow your devotion to Him to grow.
Christ deserves full-time followers.

Building for God by Mark D. Roberts

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

As you may know, I was Senior Pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church in Southern California from 1991 through 2007. In my first years as pastor of this fine church, I had the privilege of being deeply involved in the building of a sanctuary. When I started as pastor, we were worshiping in what was supposed to be the fellowship hall. Plans had been afoot for several years to build a structure dedicated to worship.

In 1996, we completed the building of our Sanctuary and Activity Center. Yet, even though we had done two capital campaigns to get us to this point, we still had a considerable debt to retire. So, we commenced another effort to encourage our members to contribute above and beyond their regular giving. The theme of our third capital campaign was “Building for God.”

That theme had an obvious sense: we had been building for God, constructing a sanctuary, a physical building for God. Yet, we chose this theme to underscore a deeper theological truth: We are a building for God. We exist as a church by God’s grace and for God’s glory.

The theological foundation for “Building for God” came from Ephesians 2:21-22, among other biblical passages. In verse 21, the collection of all Christians in the cosmos is described as a “whole building … a holy temple in the Lord.” Verse 22 applies this to the specific Christians who read Paul’s letter, “And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”

Wherever there are people who have received God’s grace through faith, they are meant to be connected deeply to each other, like bricks in a building. So that this will happen, not just in principle, but in real life, God is at work among us, building us into his own dwelling.

This stirring truth leads me to ask several questions of myself. Let me encourage you to join me as we reflect on this passage of God’s Word and its implications for our lives.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Do I think of my Christian community as a “building for God”? Why or why not? Am I allowing God to build his church with me as a vital part? How do I experience the Spirit of God in the fellowship of my church?

PRAYER: Thank you, gracious God, for the privilege of being part of your building, your dwelling, your temple. Today, I offer myself to you, so that you might put me exactly where you want me to be, so that I might contribute to the building of your home on earth. I pray for my home church, that we might truly live as your dwelling in the world. Amen.

http://www.thehighcalling.org/reflection/building-god

Tozer Devotional-Spiritual Burdens and Worry Weights

Spiritual Burdens and Worry Weights

It was not to the unregenerate that the words “Do not fret” were spoken, but to God-fearing persons capable of understanding spiritual things. We Christians need to watch and pray lest we fall into this temptation and spoil our Christian testimony by an irritable spirit under the stress and strain of life.

It requires great care and a true knowledge of ourselves to distinguish a spiritual burden from religious irritation. We cannot close our minds to everything that is happening around us. We dare not rest at ease in Zion when the church is so desperately in need of spiritually sensitive men and women who can see her faults and try to call her back to the path of righteousness. The prophets and apostles of Bible times carried in their hearts such crushing burdens for God’s wayward people that they could say, “My tears have been my food day and night” (Psalm 42:3), and “Oh that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears! I would weep day and night for the slain of my people” (Jeremiah 9:1). These men were heavy with a true burden. What they felt was not vexation but acute concern for the honor of God and the souls of men.

By nature some persons fret easily. They have difficulty separating their personal antipathies from the burden of the Spirit. When they are grieved they can hardly say whether it is a pure and charitable thing or merely irritation set up by other Christians having opinions different from their own.

http://www.cmalliance.org/devotions/tozer?id=931