The heart is deceitful and not worth following. Let’s replace a foolish heart-following with a bold and Biblical heart-leading. God gives us new hearts in Christ, and we are no longer bound to obey sin, so we can actually lead our hearts in a way that pleases God.
It is popular to say (and mock) the cliché, “Follow your heart.” And while I’d love to mock the idea with all of you, I thought it might be better to provide an alternative. Honestly, it’s pretty easy to give the alternative, because the Bible gives the alternative. But before I do that, the Bible makes it plain that the heart is not to be followed. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick” (Jer 17:9). That deceitful heart is not to be trusted. So if we aren’t to follow our hearts, then what should we do?
Get a New Heart
The first thing that needs to happen is that you need to get a new heart. That old heart is deceitful and crooked. It doesn’t need to be reformed, it needs to be replaced. And by God’s grace, when someone turns to Christ for salvation, a spiritual heart transplant happens. “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Eze 36:26). God has promised to remove that old, stony heart and replace it with a real, living heart. This new heart has new affections and new desires, and now has the capacity to respond to God in His word. If you don’t have this new heart, nothing else I say in this post will matter. So if you are not a Christian, stop here. The next bit of information is impossible without a new heart. Repent and believe the gospel. God always gives that new heart to those who turn from their sins and trust in the finished work of Christ.
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By Kevin Carson — 2 years ago
We need to remember, God is on the throne. Although individuals make decisions to sin and create times of suffering in others’ lives, we can know that God’s plan includes these things. Friends, that means it will be ok. These events fit in God’s overall plan that ends with the return of Christ, His eternal kingdom, and living with Him forever.
Over the past few weeks, headlines from home and around the world weigh heavily on all of us. Last weekend I read an article shared by a friend that encouraged pastors to help with fear and anxiety over the pandemic. Just yesterday, a man asked me to please help remind everyone about God’s place in the world. I agree. You may need to hear this as much as your neighbor: Great News! God is on the Throne!
The Royal Standard
One of the most famous signs to look for over Buckingham Palace or any of the Royal Residences of the Queen of England is the Royal Standard of the United Kingdom, also known as the banners of arms. The centuries-old tradition exists that when the King or Queen is in residence, the Royal Standard flag flies over the residence, which also extends to official vehicles, airplanes, and watercraft.
Why? The presence of the Royal Standard lets everyone know the King or Queen is present. Here. Right now. Especially important centuries ago, the sight of the Royal Standard brought joy into the hearts of their fellow countrymen. If there were hard trials or struggles, the sight of the Royal Standard helped ease hearts and brought calm.
Great News! God is on the Throne!
Friends, in these troubling times, there is much greater news than that signified by the Royal Standard! God is on the throne!
By referring to God being on the throne, please realize it is much bigger than simply that. God is the Sovereign of the universe. God’s sovereignty includes His complete and total independent control over every creature, event, and circumstance at every moment in history. God is in complete control of every molecule in the universe at every moment, and everything that happens is either caused or allowed by Him for His own perfect purposes.
The prophet Isaiah describes this control. He writes:
Declaring the end from the beginning,And from ancient times things that are not yet done,Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,And I will do all My pleasure,’ (Isaiah 46:10)
The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying,“Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass,And as I have purposed, so it shall stand: (Isaiah 14:24)
By Simonetta Carr — 7 months ago
His discussion with Lanfranc started in 1047. It had many similarities with the discussion between Radbertus and Ratramnus. But the times had changed, and his opponents reported to Rome that Berengarius was denying the true presence of Christ in the sacrament. Actually, like Ratramnus before him, Berengarius didn’t deny the mystery of that presence. But he firmly stated that the elements don’t change in their substance.
When Berengarius of Tours expressed his disagreement with the teachings of Lanfranc of Bec regarding the Lord’s Supper, he might have meant to continue the peaceful discussion that had begun in the ninth century between Paschasius Radbertus and Ratramnus of Corbie.
Like Radbertus, Lanfranc defended the belief that, when the priest consecrates the host and the wine, those elements miraculously turn into the actual body and blood of Christ. Berengarius, lke Ratramnus, affirmed that the bread and wine are a sign, or similitude, of the body and blood of Christ.
A Daring Declaration
Berengarius was born to a wealthy family in Tours, in today’s France, at the start of the 11th century. After completing his basic education, he went on to study under the famous Fulbert, bishop of Chartres. He was later ordained archdeacon of Angers, although he continued to live and teach in Tours.
His discussion with Lanfranc started in 1047. It had many similarities with the discussion between Radbertus and Ratramnus. But the times had changed, and his opponents reported to Rome that Berengarius was denying the true presence of Christ in the sacrament. Actually, like Ratramnus before him, Berengarius didn’t deny the mystery of that presence. But he firmly stated that the elements don’t change in their substance,
In 1050, pope Leo IX condemned Berengarius and summoned him to attend a council in Vercelli, in northwest Italy, where his sentence was to be pronounced. But Berengarius could not attend because King Henry I of France, for unclear reasons, had locked him in prison.
With the help of friends, Berengarius paid his way out of prison and found refuge at the court of Geoffrey Martel, Count of Anjou. He was then condemned by default in Vercelli. This was just the first of many condemnations.
The following year, King Henry called a council in Paris to express a similar sentence against Berengarius and one of his disciples, Eusebius Bruno, bishop of Angiers. The two men didn’t attend the council, and were again condemned by default.
In 1059, Berengarius was summoned before another council, this time in Rome.
By Joe Gibbons — 1 year ago
We know that the sacraments have a teaching function. They exist to encourage and edify the body of the faithful. By maintaining a standard of the appropriate mode (and therefore appropriate symbolism) for baptizing, we are shepherding our people. We are teaching them about the Lord’s nature of interacting with His people and the way He saves and revives us.
The sacrament of baptism is perhaps the most widely debated topic in the Protestant church world. There is no shortage of fraternal disagreements on this topic, especially within the Reformed evangelical setting. However, debates around baptism often focus around who should be baptized. Is baptism reserved for believers alone? Or are the children of Christians to be baptized as well? Comparatively less ink is spilled debating about the mode of baptism, or how people are to be baptized. The nature of the debate over whether biblical baptism should be administered to families of believers can often distract from this all too important topic. This can lead to misunderstandings about why certain traditions hold the practices they do, or assumptions that one’s own practice is right, without prompting any further investigation into the matter. It has even led to some considering this issue of no consequence at all.
What do the scriptures teach about the mode of baptism? How are believers to be baptized? Unfortunately, there is no “gotcha” passage in the New Testament that points us to a quick resolution of this, but as we tread beyond the usual stomping ground of whether baptizo means to immerse (and only to immerse), we should find a deeper meaning for baptism. Just as what we do with the bread and wine matters for observing communion, what we do with the waters of baptism matters as well.
Signs and Wonders
The Westminster Confession of faith opens its 28th chapter by defining baptism as a sacrament, and listing its many benefits:
Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible church, but also to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God through Jesus Christ, to walk in the newness of life: which sacrament is, by Christ’s own appointment, to be continued in his church until the end of the world.—WCF 28.1
So what is baptism all about? Well, it is a sign (or a symbol) of the Christian’s regeneration and the remission of their sins. Baptism displays, in symbolic visual form, the new birth that is experienced by the believer and wrought by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13). For once we were dead in our tresspasses and sins, but God “made us alive, together with Christ–” (Eph. 2:5) God has given His church baptism to show us that in Christ we are made alive.
This baptism verifies the promises of the Gospel in scripture. God promised to revive, and so he showers us with the water of life through His Spirit. God promised to cleanse, and so he washes us of our sin & iniquity. It is the Gospel in picture, for the person being baptized and for all who witness the event and consider the sign. More than an empty ceremony, it gives testimony to the promise of redemption; it shows God as he holds out a righteousness that can be had by faith. In this way, baptism is similar to circumcision in that it preaches to those who receive it, although baptism does this more than circumcision ever could. Circumcision as a sign showed Christians in the Old Testament that they, by their sin, were fundamentally broken as creatures and needed their wickedness removed in order to stand in the light of a holy God. Baptism shows us more, as the washing with water pictures our Savior who was covered by our sin and cleansed as he rose again on the third day.
And yet, baptism does even more. It shows us, as Chad van Dixhoorn writes, not only redemption promised and redemption accomplished, but redemption applied.1 Baptism points us to something real, something that happened. This sign represents to us the way in which we were brought into the house of God, and the relationship between our spiritual baptism and our righteous standing with Christ before God. Paul says as much in Galatians: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Gal. 3:27) Just as Christians are joined to the visible church at their baptism, so they are ushered into Christ’s arms when they are resurrected through spiritual baptism.
Problems With Immersion
The question then becomes, what does this symbolism have to do with the mode of baptism? This particular moment is where many well-meaning Baptists ride down the hill as the cavalry coming to the rescue, declaring with every fiber of their being that immersion (or dipping) is the appropriate mode, and in fact, the only biblical mode. They are not without reason to have such confidence in immersion, as it conveys much through its symbolism. They derive their meaning from the language of being buried with Christ from places in scripture like Romans 6:4 and Colossians 2:12. The Baptist connects these passages with what he sees as the “burial” in water during an immersion baptism, or the “watery grave” as the prominent preacher Adrian Rogers called it, and there consider the matter to be ended.