And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:3-6)

Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:6)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Short Theology on Satan and Christians from Job and Points beyond

Sunday Feb 28

Here in again I am submitting to you some rough notes from the Sunday sermon. These here have been pared down considerably. As a matter of fact, I hesitate to publish them. I am sure they are filled with formatting errors and need improved grammar. But, as I have stated previously, these are for your further study during the week.

We are covering Satan as we exegetically follow through the book of Job. Many have been given misguided information. The Bible is quite limited on its discussions of Satan, although he plays a major role. Often we have questions where the Bible is silent. I still ponder, “How can Satan approach God in Heaven?”. We wonder about his fall and his limits of powers. In a nutshell, the unseen realms remain unseen.

There is a bottom line. Resist the devil and he will flee. Submit yourselves to God. Walk by the spirit and you will not carry out the lust of the flesh. God will cast the dragon into the lake of fire. The focus is on God.

Notes on the notes: Much of the work here comes directly from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, E-Sword edition.

Leader of fallen angels
Known as
• the accuser,
• adversary ( 1 chr 21:1, Zech 3:1-2),
• destroyer,
• tempter, and
• wicked one (1 John 5:18-19)
• Murderer,
• ruler of This world, (Eph 2:2)
• Liar &
• father of lies (John 8:44)

He can not harm God so he goes after God’s children.
Paul notes he appears as an angel of light 2 Cor 11:14)
He seeks to destroy, as a lion 1 Peter 5:8
Dragon Rev 12:9
The foe of Christ Matt 4, 16:23, Luke 4:13 22:3
Undermining faith, hope, and love Luke 22:23, 2 Cor 2:11, 11:3-15, Eph 6:16)
Christ supplies strength to resist Satan 1 cor 10:12-14Eph 6:10-18, James 4:7, 1 Peter 5:9 1 John 4:4

Practice Discernment Always: Know he appears as light, but is false.

Sunday Text Job 1: 6-12, 2: 1-8

How does Satan get access to God in Heaven?

Satan working in temptation

As an accuser to God
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, "The LORD rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?" Zechariah 3:1-2

As tempter to us
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." But He answered and said, "It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'" Then the devil *took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and *said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, 'HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU'; and 'ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.'" Jesus said to him, "On the other hand, it is written, 'YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.'" Again, the devil *took Him to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, "All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me." Then Jesus *said to him, "Go, Satan! For it is written, 'YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'" Then the devil *left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him. Matthew 4:1-11

Other notes and sidebar
"The sower sows the word. "These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them. "In a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; Mark 4:14-16

The seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name." And He said to them, "I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. "Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. "Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven." At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, "I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. Luke 10:17-21

Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:7

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment;
2 Peter 2:4

Works of Satan: As evidenced against in the Temptation of Christ.
Not Hollywood or Greek Mythology
Material from ISBE, and to be used in commenting alongside Matthew 4 the temptation of Jesus. (ISBE greatly edited for this page)

The world-wide and age-long works of Satan are to be traced to one predominant motive. He hates both God and man and does all that in him lies to defeat God's plan of grace and to establish and maintain a kingdom of evil, in the seduction and ruin of mankind. The balance and sanity of the Bible is nowhere more strikingly exhibited than in its treatment of the work of Satan. Not only is the Bible entirely free from the extravagances of popular Satanology, which is full of absurd stories concerning the appearances, tricks, and transformations of Satan among men, but it exhibits a dependable accuracy and consistency, of statement which is most reassuring. Almost nothing is said concerning Satanic agency other than wicked men who mislead other men. In the controversy with His opponents concerning exorcism (Mar_3:22 f and parallel's) our Lord rebuts their slanderous assertion that He is in league with Satan by the simple proposition that Satan does not work against himself. But in so saying He does far more than refute this slander. He definitely aligns the Bible against the popular idea that a man may make a definite and conscious personal alliance with Satan for any purpose whatever. The agent of Satan is always a victim. Also the hint contained in this discussion that Satan has a kingdom, together with a few other not very definite allusions, are all that we have to go upon in this direction. Nor are we taught anywhere that Satan is able to any extent to introduce disorder into the physical universe or directly operate in the lives of men. It is true that in Luk_13:16 our Lord speaks of the woman who was bowed over as one “whom Satan has bound, lo, these eighteen years,” and that in 2Co_12:7 Paul speaks of his infirmity as a “messenger of Satan sent to buffet him.” Paul also speaks (1Th_2:18) of Satan's hindering him from visiting the church at Thessalonica. A careful study of these related passages (together with the prologue of Job) will reveal the fact that Satan's direct agency in the physical world is very limited. Satan may be said to be implicated in all the disasters and woes of human life, in so far as they are more or less directly contingent upon sin (see particularly Heb_2:14) On the contrary, it is perfectly evident that Satan's power consists principally in his ability to deceive. It is interesting and characteristic that according to the Bible Satan is fundamentally a liar and his kingdom is a kingdom founded upon lies and deceit. The doctrine of Satan therefore corresponds in every important particular to the general Biblical emphasis upon truth. “The truth shall make you free” (Joh_8:32) - this is the way of deliverance from the power of Satan.

Now it would seem that to make Satan pre-eminently the deceiver would make man an innocent victim and thus relax the moral issue. But according to the Bible man is particeps criminis in the process of his own deception. He is deceived only because he ceases to love the truth and comes first to love and then to believe a lie (2Co_1:10). This really goes to the very bottom of the problem of temptation. Men are not tempted by evil, per se, but by a good which can be obtained only at the cost of doing wrong. The whole power of sin, at least in its beginnings, consists in the sway of the fundamental falsehood that any good is really attainable by wrongdoing. Since temptation consists in this attack upon the moral sense, man is constitutionally guarded against deceit, and is morally culpable in allowing himself to be deceived. The temptation of our Lord Himself throws the clearest possible light upon the methods ascribed to Satan and The temptation was addressed to Christ's consciousness of divine sonship; it was a deceitful attack emphasizing the good, minimizing or covering up the evil; indeed, twisting evil into good. It was a deliberate, malignant attempt to obscure the truth and induce to evil through the acceptance of falsehood.. He also makes himself an angel of light by presenting advocates of falsehood in the guise of apostles of truth (2Co_11:13, 2Co_11:15; 1Jo_4:1; 2Th_2:9; Rev_12:9; Rev_19:20). In the combination of passages here brought together, it is clearly indicated that Satan is the instigator and fomenter of that spirit of lawlessness which exhibits itself as hatred both of truth and right, and which has operated so widely and so disastrously in human life.

4. History of Satan:
The history of Satan, including that phase of it which remains to be realized, can be set forth only along the most general lines. He belongs to the angelic order of beings. He is by nature one of the sons of Elohı̄m (Job_1:6). He has fallen, and by virtue of his personal forcefulness has become the leader of the anarchic forces of wickedness. As a free being he has merged his life in evil and has become altogether and hopelessly evil. As a being of high intelligence he has gained great power and has exercised a wide sway over other beings. As a created being the utmost range of his power lies within the compass of that which is permitted. It is, therefore, hedged in by the providential government of God and essentially limited. The Biblical emphasis upon the element of falsehood in the career of Satan might be taken to imply that his kingdom may be less in extent than appears. At any rate, it is confined to the cosmic sphere and to a limited portion of time. It is also doomed. In the closely related passages 2Pe_2:4 and Jud_1:6 it is affirmed that God cast the angels, when they sinned, down to Tartarus and committed them to pits of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment. This both refers to the constant divine control of these insurgent forces and also points to their final and utter destruction. The putting of Satan in bonds is evidently both constant and progressive. The essential limitation of the empire of evil and its ultimate overthrow are foreshadowed in the Book of Job (chapters 38 through 41), where Yahweh's power extends even to the symbolized spirit of evil.
A comparison of these passages will convince the careful student that while we cannot construct a definite chronological program for the career of Satan, we are clear in the chief points. He is limited, judged, condemned, imprisoned, reserved for judgment from the beginning. The outcome is certain though the process may be tedious and slow. The victory of Christ is the defeat of Satan; first, for Himself as Leader and Saviour of men (Joh_14:30); then, for believers (Luk_22:31; Act_26:18; Rom_16:20; Jam_4:7; 1Jo_2:13; 1Jo_5:4, 1Jo_5:18); and, finally, for the whole world (Rev_20:10). The work of Christ has already destroyed the empire of Satan.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Books I am Using for the Study of Job

The Bruised Reed, Richard Sibbes
The Book of Job, Norman Habel
Surprised by Suffering, R C Sproul
Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, Beale & Carson
Living for God’s Glory, Joel Beke
Barnes Notes, Job, Albert Barnes
The Expositors Bible Commentary, Job
NICOT commentary, The Book of Job, Hartley
The Book of Job Norman Hable, The Cambridge Bible Commentary
Job, Tyndale Ole Testament Commentaries, Francis Anderson
The Remarkable Record of Job, Henry Morris
How Long O Lord?, D A Carson
Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cures, Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Suffering and the Sovereignty of God, Piper and Taylor

10 Things to Preach in the Book of Job

The revelation of God
God's sovereignty and purpose.
Suffering will come in ways we do not fully appreciate.
Hope is always in God.
Things may not be as we perceive them.
God's ways are not man's ways.
Grace is greater than the circumstances of the moment.
We must obey God's revealed will.
We must wait when God's will is unknown.
Remain fixed upon the awesomeness of God and you will find strength for the trial.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Job series part 1

Yesterday we began a study through Job. Due to time constraints, some postings will be somewhat rough draft or simply my notes from the sermon. That being said, here are the notes from yesterday.

JOB Introduction

Things we need to know while studying Job

The book of Job, like the rest of the Bible is not about the characters, but about God Himself. God would reveal through Job his sovereignty. This sovereignty is seen over
Suffering God can restore beyond measure
Satan Satan must still get permission from God
Situations The life of Job became worse, even to the desire of death, but Job knew to hold on.
Sanctification Though the “friends” tried to give theological lessons, God ultimately leads us to truth when we seek him.

Soli Deo Gloria- To God alone the glory. The final chapters of Job are some of the most humbling in the Bible. We benefit from meditation here on God’s power in creation and the simple complexity that we can grasp will help us to see with better worshipful perspective.

Scripturally We need to know some verses of the bible that will bring us to a God perspective on suffering and trials. The entire chapter of James 1 is appropriate, as well as Romans 8. For memory verses this week, let us grasp 1 Corinthians 10:12-14.

Job is a book that’s basis shows us not only a background to suffering, it shows how people often handle suffering with bad theology.

Think of Job as a companion to our suffering. The pains he endured are to serve the purpose of a mentorship to us for when we face trials.

It is true that the upright will not be forsaken. But that does not mean that they will not undergo trials. This world is not about comfort.

See how Job was described
Blameless No Fault
Upright Did good when he could
Feared God Motivational goal, to never lose relationship with God
Turned from evil Wise to flee evil

Job was quite wealthy. If we do the math on just his livestock, and not the barns, implements, servants, and accessories we find values of.....
7000 sheep x $ 275 = 1,925.000
3000 camels x $4250 =12,750,000
500 yoke of oxen x $3,500 =1,750,000
500 female donkeys x $225 =112,500
Total $16,537,500

He was the greatest of the east. What is amazing, is though we can not relate financially, he was the perfect person for us to learn from. For his uprightness and wealth were no security for comfort. There is a great lesson to be learned here. Comfort can only be found in God. God gives His peace in the midst of circumstances.

Job was also greatly affected by the unknown. We can not know everything, yet peace will always be in what we know of God, rather than the unknown.

So as we head into our mission field, let us remember 1 Corinthians 10:12-14 and keep looking to God in every trial.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

How Should We Read a "Christian" Book?

I am writing today in response to my ongoing dialog with several people about reading “Christian books”. Over and over I am asked to review books that others read. Rarely do I have time for all of this. So often I will check a reputable book review site. One of the best is done by Tim Challis at Because of these requests, I thought it best if we first start with parameters of what makes a worthy Christian book. But before I blog on that, I feel I must say a few words about the request I keep hearing, to be “Open minded"

We should not read “Open minded”, this is to let anything pass through or into the filters of the mind that should ward off sin. Eve became open minded to the serpent.

However, we should read with discernment, starting with truth and evaluating everything against it.

The question should not be “What is wrong with it”, but does it honor God.

The purpose of studying to show yourself approved in not just to argue apologetics. It is also to gain wisdom that you not be a reed swayed by the wind. Unfortunately, the local Christian bookstore is rife with books that are contrary to scripture. Unwitting folks go into the store, believe that the store has their best interest in mind, and then purchase that which is of man and not of God.

We should not just settle for what is good, but the best unto God.

For those of the “open minded school”, I ask that they, with open minds, read through J. Greshem Machen’s Christianity and Liberalism. This great book clearly makes the case in point that I wish to make, and with much more clarity.

It seems every year there are “Christian” books that come out that are quite popular. Many become mass sellers to the masses. In this mix there are good and bad. Some are more detectable in their categories than others. Dan’ Brown’s The Da Vinchi Code was such a book. Though not Christian, thousands bought it for the intrigue. Others may buy A Purpose Driven Life and never question its contents. We must take our clues from the Bible. Here are two.

The Berean Brethern

These people though ordinary, would not even allow the apostle Paul to continue preaching until they check his message against a careful study of scripture. Think of this, we know his teaching is sound, but these folks even though is sounded good so far to them, put Paul on hold. They checked his message, and then and only then gave approval.

Paul and the Galatians

Paul, always the tantamount teacher, often found praises for his letter recipients. Even the Corinthian church in all it’s sin found some praises for it. However, the “Foolish Galatians” find no line of praise. They had fallen into some “other gospel” that was instructed to be done away with. Whatever it was they were listening to was to be rejected even if they heard it from angels.

Folks, what this means is there is no compromise with scripture or the name of God. We must not ever entertain heresy. The Berean brethren had it right. Read with discernment, not an open mind.

As is implied above, today we still fight this battle. Yet it seems in this rush for Entertainment, the price is often heresy. And here I stand, never compromise the name of God for heretical entertainment. This is not simply about a book, it is always about God.