From The Archives: Warnock Interviews Grudem

Here is an interesting video, where Adrian Warnock interviews Wayne Grudem. While it is relatively brief and they do not explore any single question in depth, there is a lesson to be had. We are able here to peek through a small window into a mature theological world-view. Grudem does not display foolish middle-of-the-road muddle-ism as he considers and answers Adrian’s questions. Instead, he externalizes his internal dialog so we might see the path he walks from the question to living out the answer.

Young brothers and sisters, take note. Life is richly textured. Your walk in this life need not be reduced to a pallete of black and white. There is room for nuance and vibrance in your daily walk.

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Originally posted May 2010

 

You Are Not Your Own

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“We understand the nature of possessions. When we purchase something, we expect to take possession of it. We own it. No longer does it belong to the seller. Even when we buy things with credit, such as houses and cars, although we do not really own them and are making payments on them, we treat them as if they are ours. We think, “These are my possessions because I bought them.” The Bible says that Christ has paid the price for us. He bought us; therefore, He owns us. Furthermore, He did not purchase His people on credit; He paid in full. We are His.

“The fact that the church is Jesus’ personal possession is a powerful motivation for individual hopeful and holy living. Collectively, the church belongs to Jesus. Yet, the collective community is made up of individuals, each of whom has been purchased and redeemed by the blood of Christ. Knowing that we are the possession of Jesus and the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit should provide motivation for our pursuit of holy living in this body. As 1 Corinthians 6:19–20 puts it: ‘Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.’

“Being the possession of Christ is the hope of the Christian. To be a Christian is to belong to Him. To belong to Christ is the foundation for comfort and security in this life and in the life to come. This is the point poignantly made by Question One, Lord’s Day One, of the Heidelberg Catechism. The catechism asks, “What is your only comfort in life and in death?” The answer rings with the truth of the purchasing power of the blood of Christ and our security in His possession:

“That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my father in heaven: in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.”

Anthony Carter; Blood Work – Kindle Edition (pg 18-19)

The Christian Battles To Be Like Christ

“He that would be holy must fight. He must war a good warfare (1 Tim 1:18); fight the good fight of faith (1 Tim 6:12), though not with carnal weapons (2 Cor 10:4). He must fight upon his knees, being sober, and watching unto prayer (1 Pet 4:7). He must wrestle with principalities and powers, being strong in the Lord and the power of His might, having put on the whole armor of God, girdle, breastplate, shield, helmet and sword (Eph 6:13-17). This battle is not to the strong (Eccl 9:11), but to the weak; it is fought in weakness, and the victory is to them that have no might; for in this conflict time and chance do not happen to all; but we count upon victory from the first onset, being made more than conquerors through Him that loved us, and are cheered with the anticipation of the sevenfold reward “to him that overcometh” (Rev 2:7). Though, in this our earthly course and combat, we have the hostility of devils, we have the ministry of angels in aid (Heb 1:14), as well as the power of the Holy Ghost (Eph 1:13). “
  — Horatius Bonar, God’s Way of Holiness

A Plea To My Brothers In Danger

My dear brother,
I know. I know. You’ve thought it through. Your situation is unique and the only relief you have in your loneliness comes from the plans you are making. Plans… with someone else. Someone… who is not your wife. Maybe she has a name at this point, maybe still a faceless, anonymous fantasy. After all, you reason, intimacy at home is non-existent. The woman you share a roof with has become, perhaps not the enemy, but like a piece of furniture you pass by without care, or a stranger on television who could care less about you…  about “us”.

BROTHER! STOP!

PASTOR! HOLD YOUR GROUND!

Sin is strangling you, choking out your sight until you tunnel vision in on what will ultimately burn down your entire life. Pause before your blind burning desire strikes the match and immolates your entire life and every treasured, hard-fought relationship you have: your wife, your children,  your loved ones, your friends, your church, your Lord and Savior.

Brother, can you not see that your heart is becoming hard as diamonds? Humble yourself before God, and repent before the insanity of sin drags you under the surface. Seek His face, which shines brighter than the sun, to dispel the darkness you’ve lost yourself in.

You retort, “Oh, but when her hand touched mine, such depth of feeling shook me, our connection was immediate and without words! The fog of my loneliness lifted and I feel hopeful that someone, anyone, would care again for me.” Brother, it was simply a touch. The old nature, agitated by that spark, has clambered out of the grave and filled your mind with visions, visions of unreality, visions of fantasy, visions which the light of day will prove to be worthless, less than worthless, truly tragic in their destructive power; deadly and bringing death with them, riding on the night, where darkness conceals the danger and lying to yourself seems like hope.

The surge of excitement you feel in anticipation is actually your soul imploding upon itself before unleashing explosive fury in every direction. Nothing will remain, including your ‘happiness’. Your flock which you have shepherded faithfully will be scattered, beaten down, some devoured in the aftermath of your sin. Your precious wife, who has loved and supported you for so many years will be left scarred of soul, burned to the bone, trying to reassamble her life with the children, no comfort or guidance from your ‘loved-for-so-long’ hand. Instead, the shadow of betrayal lurking in every corner.

Again, you push back. “When I look into her eyes, the tenderness and desire I see takes my breath away.” A man drowning in the depths of the ocean has his breath taken away as well. It is a soul-drowning, conscience-killing undertow of rebellion that drags more and more the longer you toy with it.

BROTHER!  STOP!

 Before you scatter spiritual napalm everywhere and on everyone around you, before you strike the match of ‘burning desire’, before your life landscape becomes ground zero of your ‘scorched earth’ lusts, stop. Stop the fantasizing, planning, lusting, and hardening of your affections.

Do not take that step. Pull your foot back from the brink. Seek the Lord in humility and repentance, that you may not be lost in the furious tempest.

For the glory of our God, the good of your soul, the joy of you and your wife and family, and all the rest; seek the Lord and wise counsel to help you regain your footing and strengthen your commitment of love for your wife.

Brother, I plead with you. It is my prayer that God will help you embrace again the hope-filled reality of the gospel of Jesus Christ and turn from the minefield of death-dealing sin.

For specific suggestions on how to deal with these temptations, this article by Jason Helopoulos will prove very helpful.

Praying… With All Prayer

In the following video, I get to share the second of a two-part sermon from Ephesians 6:10-20. This sermon covers the final three verses in that passage. Prayer is critical for the battle of the Christian life. We are to be occupied in prayer at all times. How is that practical when we have other important necessities to attend to, such as work, caring for the family, and driving?

Philip’s Successful Ministry?

Continuing in Acts chapter 8, we come to a series of events that directly challenge the modern idea of ‘successful ministry’. Philip the Evangelist has been preaching and performing miracles in the city of Samaria. The people of the city are listening intently to the gospel and believing in Jesus the Messiah. News gets back to the apostles at Jerusalem that Samaria is receiving the word of God, so they send Peter and John to Samaria. This results in the apostles praying for the Samaritan believers to receive the Holy Spirit, and their prayers are answered.  If ever Philip could have prayed for ‘successful ministry’, he is right smack dab in the middle of it. Philip’s faithful preaching has been used by the Lord to bring a significant harvest of lost souls into the kingdom of God in Christ.  (Acts 8:5-25)

People are being saved. The message is being preached. Philip is told by an angel… to leave, to go somewhere else (Acts 8:26). What does Philip do? He is in an amazing series of events in Samaria, with the gospel bringing the blessings of life and joy to the people. What does he do? Without hesitation, he immediately rises and goes where the angel of the Lord directs him. (8:27) In the middle of what gives every appearance of ‘being in the will of the Lord’, the picture changes. Can the Lord be trusted to know what is best?

Oh, dear reader, eager obedience to your Master is successful ministry no matter the outward circumstances. (Sidebar: this is not an endorsement of Francis Chan bailing on his church.) Philip lives out his love for Christ through active obedience. How active? As the scene continues, the Spirit tells Philip to go up to the chariot waiting on the road. Philip runs to the chariot. I love that picture. Obedience. Eager obedience. Philip has traveled from the city of Samaria, to the south of Jerusalem and sprints the final stretch. He has moved from ministering to a city to preaching to a single person. Without hesitation. 

We are tempted, even counseled these days, to think ‘successful ministry’ is about numbers, new buildings, larger programs. Philip’s ministry was successful in the truest sense of the word, whether he was ministering to a city or a single person, whether there were disciples made or only seed sown. Success was not the number of converts, or the harvesting, but rather his eager obedience to the Lord.


“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15, ESV)

Persecution Brings… Joy?

Reading through Acts, the motion is always forward. The story presses on with little pause. Immediately following the martyrdom of Stephen in Acts 7, persecution breaks out broadly against the church. Men and women are being dragged out of their houses and off to prison by the blindly zealous Pharisee named Saul. This scatters everyone except the apostles. Philip, one of the deacons appointed alongside Stephen earlier in Acts, goes to the city of Samaria.


Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ. And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip when they heard him and saw the signs that he did. For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was much joy in that city.  (Acts 8:5-8, ESV)

The gospel of Christ comes to the Samaritans in word and power, gaining a hearing with the people. God has a purpose in Philip’s presence and preaching. Philip bears witness from Scripture and history –  Messiah has come!  It is said that ‘the crowds with one accord paid attention’ to what Philip was saying. You can almost see in your mind’s eye the entire city, to a man, turning to face Philip and giving heed to his words. What a blessing God is pouring out on Samaria. Grace, mercy, and demonstrations of His mighty power to save. Philip calls them to faith in the risen Christ; calls them to repentance from dead works that they may serve the living and true God; calls them as Lazarus from the hopeless tomb of sin to the eternal-life-giving cross of Christ.

As the message of peace with God through Messiah sinks in, and the physical blessings of healing and deliverance are accomplished, the people respond in faith. A river of joy streams from the fountain of faith. Joy in their salvation. Joy in their deliverance. Joy in Messiah, the resurrected Son of God. Great joy in God!


Seeking to stamp out the church, Saul in his persecution of the church in Jerusalem, by God’s providence, has become the sower of seeds of joy throughout the region. His every intent is evil towards Christians. His every desire is to destroy the works of Jesus Christ. And his every act furthers the glory of God in Christ.

What a fantastically challenging and encouraging word. Here in America many evangelicals are supremely comfortable, untroubled as we seek out ‘the good things in life’, and entirely ignorant of the great purposes God has in seasons of trouble and persecution. We pursue every opportunity to minimize risk, to cover all the bases, to always have a backup plan for our backup plan. And most of all, to keep our mouths shut. (I say this to my own personal shame.)

No matter… trouble will come. Persecution will arise. With it, opportunity. Can God be trusted to lead you through trouble, through perfect storms, through persecution? Can He be trusted when trouble begins, continues, and lands squarely on your life and those around you? Can He be trusted when stress bends you, twists you, turns you inside out? Can He be trusted when illness and disease ravage body, mind, and spirit? Can He be trusted when you are pulled out by the roots and forced by providential circumstance to resettle in another area, another job, another church, another family? Is He trustworthy when there is no immediate or obvious deliverance?

Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes. He can be trusted. He is trustworthy. You and I, dear brothers and sisters, are called to live by faith in the Triune God. He will lead us through trouble, not from trouble. He goes before us, follows behind us, and upholds us in every way needed.


His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (2 Peter 1:3-4, ESV)