Rockport Sermon

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Reformation Day!

So many, today, are unaware of the great significance of October 31st. Greater than Halloween (or Pumpkin Day), for it was on October 31st, 1517 that God used a timid young monk to begin one of the greatest revivals in history: The Reformation. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The Apostle Paul wrote, in Romans 1:16-17,

16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed,
a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written:
"The righteous will live by faith."

When he read these words, nearly 500 years ago, they stunned the young monk who's name happened to be Martin. Up to that point, he’d been taught by his Church that salvation came as a result of his own efforts to be righteous by doing good and trying his hardest to keep the commands of the Law laid down by the priests and bishops. And try, he did – as hard as any man could. He fasted. He prayed. He wept. He confessed his sins. Yet still he was plagued by doubts and tormented by the guilt of his sins. It nearly drove him mad!

How could he, sinner that he knew he was, ever hope to be righteous in the eyes of God! That was his problem. He knew his sin. He knew God was holy. He understood that even if he did manage to purge the sin from his life (as impossible as that was!) and even if he did come to the place where he could believe he was righteous 98% of the time, with only 2% sin remaining, still he knew he would fall short of God’s perfect standards. What could he do? When told by his superiors that he must simply “Love God”, in the agony of his soul he cried out,”Love God? Sometimes I think I hate Him!”

But God had mercy upon young Martin. He was assigned the task, by one of his superiors, of teaching the New Testament. And there, in the book of Romans, God opened his eyes and let him see the simple, life-giving truth of the Gospel – that God gives the righteousness He requires freely, as a gift, to all who put their faith in Christ alone to save them. Not by works! Not by religion! Not by morality! Not by ritual! But by grace alone through faith in Christ, sinners may be saved!

That realization changed everything for Martin, who’s last name was Luther. He began to share the good news with others, thinking it would find as welcome a home in their hearts as it did in his. It was that drive to let others know what he had found that drove Luther, on that cool October day, to post his 95 Theses (95 points of debate he wished to raise about the religious system of his day). He thought his publication would lead to a lively debate among scholars and perhaps even a return to the truths of Scripture for some. Instead, it touched off a firestorm that would erupt into the Protestant Reformation. Europe would never be the same. Millions who came to faith through his preaching and the preaching of those who followed him would never be the same. And now 500 years later I, as an heir of the Reformation, can never be the same.

The message that God used to open the eyes of a terrified monk, has come home to me as well. By faith in Christ I know that my sins are forgiven, and I have been accepted by God as righteous, not because of any good thing I have done, but because of the finished work of Christ received by faith! It is my hope that this same message will come home to you as well. There is hope for every sinner, who by faith will repent of his sin and trust in Jesus, God's Son, by Grace, through faith alone.

Oh! What a rich mercy!

Pastor Scott Lee

Monday, October 18, 2010

Psalm 32:6

The following few bits is taken from Thomas Watson's "Godly Man's Picture."  I pray that it might be a blessing to you as well!


For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee. Psalm 32:6

David at the beginning of this psalm shows us wherein true happiness consists; not in  beauty, honour, riches (the world's trinity), but in the forgiveness of sin. "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven" (Psalm 32:1)

Here are the basic points made by Watson:

1.  Forgiveness of sin is an act of God's free Grace (Isaiah 43:25)
2.  God, in forgiving sin, remits the guilt and penalty (Genesis 3)
3.  Forgiveness of sin is through the blood of Christ (Hebrews 9:22)
4.  Before sin is forgiven, it must be repented of (Luke 24:47)
5.  God having forgiven sin, he will no longer call it to remembrance (Jeremiah 31:34)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Private Prayer

"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." Colossians 4:2

In all the ages of the world, the saints have kept up secret prayer. In spite of all opposers and persecutors, in prisons, in dungeons, in caves, in chains, on racks, in banishments, and in the very flames--the saints have still kept up secret, private prayer.

A Christian can as well
hear without ears, live without food, fight without hands, and walk without feet as he is able to live without private prayer! Private prayer is the life of our lives--the soul, the sweet, the heaven of all our earthly enjoyments. Of all the duties of piety, prayer alone is the most soul-sweetening, strengthening, enriching, spiritually fattening, refreshing, satisfying, and encouraging duty.

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace--that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16

- Thomas Brooks

Monday, October 11, 2010

Rick Warren at the Desiring God Conference

So, some have asked me to comment on my thoughts regarding Rick Warren's talk at the Desiring God National Conference.  Here we go with a humble attempt to offer some (not exhaustive) thoughts concerning this.

First, I was grieved at the amount of energy, time, bandwidth, and emotion was given to using personal attacks and assumptions prior to the conference.  I remember standing in line at the conference to register and they announced that Rick Warren would not be able to appear personally because of family emergencies.  There were some in the crowd that were filled with bitter anger and were expressing this verbally because they were looking forward to the opportunity to publicly take a stand against him.  After one of the sessions there was a man with a public address system holding signs outside of the convention center condemning Rick Warren and publicly mocking him and associating him with the promotion of sin which the scripture condemns. I heard people claim that John Piper should apologize for asking him to speak. All that filled my mind at this point was "what is the watching world thinking of us biting and devouring each other?"  So many people in the conference hall next to us could see what was going on, could feel the tension of some (though not many).

With those things in mind, I attending the session that would be presented by Rick Warren via video.  He was up until midnight the night before recording this video.  Then I heard him give a talk on some practical applications based on the theme of "Think."  What I heard Rick say during this talk could not be considered heretical.  There were many things (especially close to the end of his talk) that many of us would have "rephrased" to "tickle the ears" of some of the "reformed and angry" listeners.  However, Rick Warren either did not know how to say those biblical words for which "reformed people" look for or he was not interested in using them.

Rick's talk contained a different "meter" or design then you would find from RC Sproul, John Piper, or others.  Then again, it is not proper to judge one's work on the standard of another man.  There could be a reasonable objection to the use of some of his statistics and what others perceived as "self exalting" numbers that described the amount of missionaries sent by his church. For all we know He could have been making a statement with no hint of selfish pride.  If we were a close friend of his or a mentor we might ask him about his intentions behind these statements, but the statements in and of themselves were not cause for rebuke.

In summary, I found several points very convicting and enlightening to those who are more content with our books, studies, discussion over coffee, and less familiar with being on the "front line."  Should John Piper apologize?  Well, if John Piper or the Elders with whom he serves are convicting that what has been done is wrong in the sight of the Lord, then yes.  Do I believe anything was said that is going to "shipwreck" the faith of God's elect?  Certainly not!  Would you and I say things in the same way, lead a congregation in the same way?  Probably not.  However, my dear friends, on the day of our Lord's returning we will see the results of labor.

There is more to say...but I hope that this is a gracious start.

Beloved, let us love one another

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7 ESV

A group called The Rizers have recently put together some scripture memory songs and this verse is included in one of the tracks.  On a side note I would highly recommend taking time to download these songs for free and use them with your family. 

The other morning I woke up around 3:00am and could not fall back asleep.  It turned out to be a blessing because I was able to do some reading and some praying (and a few facebook posts - I must confess).  As I was praying I was also meditating on the passage from 1 John 4:7 "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God."

Love (in this verse) - agapao (greek).  The New American Standard Greek Lexicon defines this as: to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of.  John Piper gives great insight to the work of such love.  He says, "Love labors to enthrall us with what is eternally satisfying, namely, God."

Beloved, may we love one another!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

From the 2010 Desiring God National Conference

We just finished our last session at the 2010 Desiring God National Conference. There are several things for which I would like to comment. I would like to encourage you to subscribe to the podcast, or listen/watch the conference online by visiting the Desiring God website.

First, I would like to encourage you to specifically listen to to the sermon by Francis Chan, on humility. This session I would have to say was the most "emotional" for me as I listened to the truth and observed the passion with which this dear brother shared the Word of Christ.

Second, and probably the main point of this post is the fact that I am grateful for the time of fellowship the Lord gives at these types of events. The Lord providentially put me in touch with Herb and John, men from different parts of the country who share of love of the Gospel and were great encouragements. Second, I am grateful for the time that I was able to spend with John and Shannon Jordan (from Tennessee), share some laughs, and encouragement in the Lord.

It is possible for us to "listen to the sermons from home" in the privacy of our own home, study, time at the gym, commute, or wherever else you listen to your mp3 player. I submit to you that there is great value in gathering together with other believers, listening to the Word being taught, rejoicing together over the truth, challenging and exhorting each other, singing together, praying together, and doing so in a context that it outside the norm of your everyday experience. We do this every Sunday when we meet together.

This leads to another point. This point concerns community groups that meet throughout the week. It is healthy for us as believers, to meet together in homes, to "wrestle through" the Word together, and to seek God's face more than just at a cooperate gathering in large numbers. Perhaps the Lord might use the written text, video, or audio (all available online) as discussion starters for your family and for your small group gatherings.

It is my hope to post a few more thoughts on here concerning missions as well as some comments on the talk given by Rick Warren.