Book Review – Get Outta My Face!

February 25, 2010

Rick Horne, Get Outta My Face! How to Reach Angry Unmotivated Teens with Biblical Counsel (Wapwallopen, PA: Shepherd’s Press, 2009).

Want to reach angry and unmotivated teens? This is a great resource for anyone who has a desire to make an impact in a teenager’s life whether it be a teacher, parent, or youth worker. If you have worked with teens or young adults surely you have experienced the Get Outta My Face attitude. Rick Horne has developed a tool that will help you disciple teens in the midst of chaos and turmoil. This book will show you the importance  of seeing people the way that God sees them. Inside every individual there is a soul with real problems, fears, and worry’s and Horne help his readers develop a strategy that will not only help you resolve conflict with teens, but also every individual that comes into your world. As you venture into youth ministry either as a youth worker or a parent this book will be an encouragement to you as you will find that you are not alone in this battle. If you have any role in a teenager’s life this book will help you reach their hearts while learning what is driving their motivations to act they way they do.

Timothy J. Sullivan IV earned his M.Div. with a Youth Ministry focus from Baptist Bible College, Clarks Summit, PA.

The Baptist Catechism – Exposition of Question #3

February 18, 2010

Question: How may we know there is a God? Answer: The light of nature in man and the works of God plainly declare there is a God; but his word and Spirit only do it fully and effectively for the salvation of sinners.

The first questions we have addressed in The Baptist Catechism have to do with the question of the existence of God. These are questions to answer atheists who deny God exists. Question #3 is an answer to agnostics, those who believe we cannot know God exists. How can we know there is a God? From both a general and a special way.

By general, I mean, general revelation. By this we mean that in the heart of man and in nature there is truth about the existence and nature of God sufficient enough to condemn man for that knowledge. We saw last week in Romans 1:18–23, that Paul says that all men have the knowledge of God in their hearts but suppress the truth. Specifically v. 20 reads, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” Psalm 19:1 also reads, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Man is without excuse as to knowledge of the existence of God because inherently they possess this truth and suppress it and the creation itself reverberates with the beauty and majesty of the glory of God!

So, in the light of nature in man, and the works of God plainly declare there is a God. But, this general revelation is not sufficient to save people. This knowledge is general in nature. It simply communicates enough about God and His nature to know that He exists, He is sovereign, and He is the creator-judge. Thus, it is enough to condemn man to sin. That is why when the question is asked, “What about those who have never heard the Gospel,” they are without excuse because the knowledge in them and in creation is enough to condemn. But to save, we require special revelation.

By special revelation we mean that there is a special knowledge about God, sin, salvation, Jesus Christ, necessary to be saved that is available only in the Bible. Without the Word of God men are doomed to remain in darkness. For while they have knowledge sufficient to condemn, only in the Bible do they have knowledge to be saved. Peter writes in 1 Peter 1:19, “And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” The Word of God is a lamp shining in a dark place. Apart from the Word there is death and doom and Hell. The Word provides the light to shine into the darkness and bring men to faith!

God takes the Word of God preached and by the ministry of the Holy Spirit brings people into knowledge of sin and the understanding of the existence of God and the provision of salvation in Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 2: 12 reads, “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.”

Apart from the Spirit of God, the Word does not effect the change in man necessary to accept the existence of God. The natural man might be able to understand the “meaning” of God’s Word but the Spirit of God helps to understand the “significance” of God’s Word. So apart from the Word of God and the Spirit of God there is no knowledge to save. Thus we echo then with Paul, “For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?  And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’” Let us preach the Word to bring men to faith!

The Baptist Catechism – Exposition of Question #2

February 10, 2010

Question: Ought everyone to believe there is a God? Answer: Everyone ought to believe there is a God; and it is their great sin and folly who do not.

This second question of the Baptist Catechism works from the first. Now that we know God exists and that He is the first and chiefest being, should all people everywhere believe that God exists? The answer is yes, all people everywhere should believe God exists.

There are many who claim that there is no God. Psalm 14:1a reads, “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” Yet, we must counter that by knowing that truly all men everywhere are responsible for their sin because inherently they know God exists.

Romans 1:18–23 reads, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” While the fool says in his heart “there is no God,” in reality, he knows God exists, suppresses that truth, and is condemned! This is why the answer is not simply “Everyone ought to believe there is a God.” The reality is to those who deny the existence of God it is to “their great sin and folly.”

The existence of God is a requirement for all to believe. It is the foundation of our Christian faith. One cannot be a Christian by definition without believing in the existence of God. Hebrews 11:6 reads, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” And Romans 10:14 reminds us that, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed?” One must believe in the existence of God! To not, is folly and sin.

The reality is, it is complete foolishness to argue that there is no God. James 2:19 reminds us that even the demons believe in God and shudder at the fact! Their knowledge of God does not save but at least they acknowledge God exists! The recent increase of the so-called “New Atheists,” men like Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens have really offered nothing new to disbelief in God. In reality, they repackage all the old arguments but with a tenacity like never before and try to tell the world it is impossible for God to exist. Instead, God does exist, and to all those who claim otherwise, they are destined to eternity in Hell!

Job 18:18–21 reads, “He is thrust from light into darkness, and driven out of the world. He has no posterity or progeny among his people,
and no survivor where he used to live. They of the west are appalled at his day, and horror seizes them of the east. Surely such are the dwellings of the unrighteous, such is the place of him who knows not God.”

Do you believe in God? Unless you believe in the God of the Bible, your are doomed in sin for all time. Repent and believe in God today!

The Baptist Catechism – Exposition of Question #1

February 3, 2010

Question: Who is the first and chiefest being? Answer: God is the first and chiefest being.

This first question of the Baptist Catechism starts at the very beginning. Who is the first and chiefest being? Who was here first and who is chief among beings? The obvious answer is God Himself.

Isaiah 44:6 reads, “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: “’I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.’” God Himself is the only one who has existed for all time. He is the first, and Isaiah reminds us, also the last. The phrase “first and last” implies eternity. God has existed for all time and will exist for all time.

Not only is He the first being but He is the first cause of all beings. 1 Corinthians 8:6 reads, “Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” Through God came everything else. The universe, animals, and man did not come into existence from random fate, but from the sovereign, loving hand of God!

It is not only that He is first in existence but first in so many functions. Benjamin Bedomme (1717–1795), famous hymn writer, and the great Baptist pastor of the church at Burton-on-the-Water in England, who wrote an exposition of this catechism lists a number of ways that God is first. He is first in creation (Ps 33:9), providence (Acts 17:28), government (Ps 93:2), grace (2 Cor 5:18), and love (1 John 4:19).

As a result of God being first, he should be first in our minds, hearts, and spirits. If God is the first being, that naturally leads to the second point that He is the chiefest being. If He is the chiefest being, God desires our complete submission and allegiance to Him.

God is indeed the chiefest being as the Scriptures reveal.

Exodus 15:11 reads, ““Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?” The Psalms in particular illustrate how God is above all other beings in life.

Psalm 89:6 reads, “For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord? Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord.”

Psalm 97:9 reads, “For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.”

Psalm 92:8 reads, “but you, O Lord, are on high forever.”

If God is the chiefest being, what does that mean for us? It means He should be chiefly loved (Luke 10:27) and chiefly feared (Matthew 10:28).

For those who understand and truly make God the chiefest being in life, they are the truly blessed ones! Psalm 144:15 reads, “Blessed are the people to whom such blessings fall! Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord!”

Do you recognize God as both first and chiefest being? Does your life evidence that reality? Do you love the Lord your God with all you are? Do you submit yourself fully to Him in everything? Do you obey Him completely in your life? We worship not just any god, but we worship the true and real and living God. The only God of the universe! The first and chiefest being!