Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Remember the days of black and white TVs and rabbit ears? At its best that TV could only display a fuzzy representation of what was really being broadcast. Now we have high definition TVs that display things in a much higher resolution. Apparently some Hollywood stars are not too excited about these developments, realizing that the new technology reveals them to us--"warts and all."

As someone pointed out in a recent Men's Bible Study, God sees us in high definition. That's bad news for the unbeliever. Hebrews 4:13, "And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do." God is both omniscient and omnipresent--He knows all about us and all about our sins (Cf. Psalm 139:1-12). He will righteously condemn every unrepentent sinner (John 5:28-29).

What is bad news for some is good news for others. God's omniscience should not frighten or disturb the believer in Christ. The God who knows me, loves me. Having trusted in Christ, the believer has been "washed...sanctified...and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 6:11). God lovingly and patiently reveals our sins to us, by the Spirit (John 16:8), through the Word (Heb. 4:12), so that sin might be put off and Christlikeness might take its place (Eph. 4:22-24). When it comes to our Lord Jesus Christ, the greater the resolution, the more we behold HIs glory.

God help us to see ourselves as we are and Christ as He is, that we, by your grace, might be more perfectly conformed to His image (Psa. 139:23-24; 1 John 3:2).

Pastor Jerry

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


J. C. Ryle

1. What are some of the ways in which the doctrine of sanctification is distorted (p.1)? What is the result?

2. What is the nature of sanctification (p.1)? What instruments does God use to accomplish this work (p.1)?

3. Read John 17:19; Eph. 5:25, 26; Tit. 2:14; 1 Pet. 2:24; Col. 1:22. What do these verses teach with regards to the need for both justification and sanctification (p.2)?

4. What is the relationship between sanctification and "vital union" with Christ (p.2; John 15:5)?

5. What is the relationship between sanctification and regeneration (p.2-3)? What is a lack of sanctification a sign of (p.3)?

6. What is the "only certain evidence" of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (p.3; Gal. 5:22; Rom. 8:14)?

7. What is the "only sure mark" of God’s election (p.3; 1 Pet. 1:2; 2 Thess. 2:13; Rom. 8:29; Eph. 1:4; 1 Thess. 1:3-4)?

8. Who is to blame if a man does not make progress towards sanctification (p.4)?

9. What is meant by the term "progressive" as applied to the doctrine of sanctification (p.4; John 17:17; 1 Thess. 5:23)?

10. What are the means of grace whereby a person is to progress in sanctification (p.4-5)? What happens if these "means of grace" are neglected?

11. Does sanctification, or progress in it, prevent a man from experiencing internal spiritual conflict? Why or why not (p.5; Gal. 5:17)?

12. Sanctification is a thing which cannot justify a man, and yet it __________ God (p. 5).

13. What is the relationship between our sanctification and our condition at the judgment seat of Christ (p.6; 2 Cor. 5:10)?

14. What false evidences are offered as marks of true sanctification (p.6-7)? Why are these lesser and false works pursued (p.6-7)?

15. How does genuine sanctification show itself (p.8-9)?

16. In what ways are justification and sanctification alike (p.10)?

17. How do justification and sanctification differ (P.10-11)?

18. What practical considerations ought the matter of the visible marks of sanctification raise in our minds (p.11-12)?


J. C. Ryle

1. Why is a right understanding of sin crucial to a correct view of holiness and other doctrines such as justification, conversion, and sanctification (p.1)?

2. Define sin. Describe the cause and effect and extent of the sin problem in man (p. 1-2). Distinguish between the following: sins of the heart vs. overt sins; sins of omission and sins of commission; sins done in ignorance vs. those done consciously.

3. Does man’s sin problem originate from "without" or "within?" Explain (p.2).

4. To what extent does sin pervade man’s being (Cf. Gen. 6:5; Jer. 17:9; Col. 1:21; p.3)? How do we explain the seemingly "noble" things done by the lost (Cf. Rom. 3:12; p.3)?

5. What is the greatest proof of the extent and power of sin (p.4)?

6. What prevents us from realizing the full extent of the exceeding sinfulness of sin (p.4)? What is the "overwhelming and unanswerable" proof of the fulness of sin (p.5)?

7. How is sin deceptive? What kinds of rationale do we use to excuse and minimize sin? What must we be careful to do regarding the deceitfulness of sin (Cf. Heb. 3:13; p.5-6)?

8. What deep reasons do we all have for humiliation and self-abasement (p.6)? For what should we be extremely thankful (p.6)?

9. How does a scriptural view of sin serve as an antidote to: 1) shallow Christianity; 2) liberal theology; 3) sacramental religion; 4) perfectionism; and 5) low views of personal holiness (p.7-9)?

10. What does the author suggest as the best remedy for the poor spiritual condition of the church (p.9-10)? What will be the result of clearer apprehension of the nature and sinfulness of sin (p.10)?


We are presently studying through J.C. Ryle's book "Holiness" in our Men's Bible Study. It has been a tremendous blessing thus far. Here is a link to the book: Http://

I've been creating study guides for the chapters. I will post the one's I have created thus far.

Pastor Jerry

Sunday, January 25, 2009


We are prone to worship men. We set before us some athlete, politician, or religious leader and suppose him to be something special. We pledge our allegiance to him or her and suppose that he or she has the power to do great things. It is true that there have been great men and women through the ages. There have been individuals who have stood out above the crowd of humanity for some particular reason. Their intellect, their skills, their inventions, or good deeds have garnered humanity’s admiration. That’s not a bad thing. But when that admiration turns to worship, that’s an entirely different matter.

In the book of Acts we have two accounts of men who were worshipped, both cases are instructive. The first involved King Herod. According to Acts 12:21-22, "He put on his royal apparel, took his seat at the rostrum and began delivering an address" to the people. Apparently his dress and his speech greatly impressed the crowd, for they cried out, "The voice of a god and not a man!" (Acts 12:22). The end result in that case was pretty gruesome. "Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and HE WAS EATEN BY WORMS AND DIED" (Acts 12:23).

The second account involved Paul and Barnabas. Paul healed a man who had been "lame from his mother’s womb" (Acts 14:8). When the multitudes saw what Paul had done, they raised their voice, saying..."the gods have become like men and have come down to us" (Acts 14:11). "And they began calling Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds" (Acts 14:13)." The response of Barnabas and Paul could not have been stronger. "But when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of it, they tore their robes and rushed out in the crowd, crying out and saying, "Men, why are you doing these things? WE ARE ALSO MEN OF THE SAME NATURE AS YOU" (Acts 14:15).

No matter how great the man, the truth is he is of the same nature as every other man. We are all sinners by birth. No matter how great our intellect, charisma, or deeds--we are all sinners by nature and practice. None of us is deserving of worship. History has proven that it is never a good thing when men worship a man. We should never set any man on a pedestal. We are commanded to respect men--civil and religious leaders and even each other (1 Peter 2:17), but we are never commanded to worship them, indeed we are commanded not to worship anybody or anything except God Himself (Exod. 20:4-5).

THERE IS BUT ONE DESERVING OF WORSHIP--Jesus Christ. Though we "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23), "he knew no sin (2 Cor. 5:21)." Though we are prone to selfishness and pride, he lived a humble and selfless life, putting the needs of others first. He consistently and relentlessly gave of Himself for the betterment of those around Him. The extent of His love was proven in His willingness to die for our sins (1 John 3:16). God raised Him from the dead and He has been exalted "far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come" (Eph. 1:21). There will come a day when "every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:10-11).

Respect our leaders and express thanks to those who do good, by all means. Worship them, never. There is but one who is worthy of our worship--Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Pastor Jerry

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


How exciting to have the Bogle family give a report to our congregation about their ministry this past Sunday! "I didn't know they were back from Indonesia," you say. They weren't. We had them report to us via Skype, a program that you can download from the internet. After making the connection we were able to put the video of Ben and family on the video projector for all to see. Ben gave a report on their ministry, Jennifer and the children said hello, and we were all able to say hi to the family. What a blessing to be mutually encouraged in the Lord via this technology! It was good to see them and to hear from them what the Lord is doing. They all looked to be doing quite well.

Pastor Jerry


As previously promised here is an excerpt from Chapter one of J.C Ryle's book on holiness:

Concerning the origin and source of this vast moral disease called "sin," I am afraid that the views of many professing Christians on this point are sadly defective and unsound. I dare not pass it by. Let us, then, have it fixed down in our minds that the sinfulness of man does not begin from without, but from within. It is not the result of bad training in early years. It is not picked up from bad companions and bad examples, as some weak Christians are too fond of saying. No! It is a family disease, which we all inherit from our first parents, Adam and Eve, and with which we are born. Created "in the image of God," innocent and righteous at first, our parents fell from original righteousness and became sinful and corrupt. And from that day to this all men and women are born in the image of fallen Adam and Eve and inherit a heart and nature inclined to evil. "By one man sin entered into the world." "That which is born of the flesh is flesh." "We are by nature children of wrath." "The carnal mind is enmity against God." "Out of the heart [naturally, as out of a fountain] proceed evil thoughts, adulteries" and the like (Rom. 5:12; John 3:6; Eph. 2:3; Rom. 8:7; Mark 7:21).

The fairest child, who has entered life this year and become the sunbeam of a family, is not, as his mother perhaps fondly calls him, a little "angel" or a little "innocent," but a little "sinner." Alas! As that infant boy or girl lies smiling and crowing in its cradle, that little creature carries in its heart the seeds of every kind of wickedness! Only watch it carefully, as it grows in stature and its mind develops, and you will soon detect in it an incessant tendency to that which is bad, and a backwardness to that which is good. You will see in it the buds and germs of deceit, evil temper, selfishness, self–will, obstinacy, greediness, envy, jealousy, passion, which, if indulged and let alone, will shoot up with painful rapidity. Who taught the child these things? Where did he learn them? The Bible alone can answer these questions!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


"Imagine No Religion." Ten billboards having this message, at a cost of $3500.00 each, went up around the city of Portland recently. According to an article in the Oregonian there has been "next to no public reaction." As the article rightly points out, that should not surprise us inasmuch as Oregon is one of the country's most unchurched states. But it should concern us.

It isn't difficult to "imagine no religion" in a society that is becoming increasingly secular, we see the effects of such thinking all around us. And while I'm not a proponent of all religions, this "anti-religion" message is at the core of much of what ails our society.

We are witnessing the effects of "no religion" movement all around us. Our society has forgotten that it owes much to those who believed in God and acted upon their faith. Most of our prestigious universities were founded by Christians. Our judicial system was established on Christian principles. Hospitals, rescue missions, and orphanages can into existence because Christians cared. Slavery came to end in modern times in our part of the world because of the efforts of Christians, though slavery still exists in those parts of the world where Christianity has less influence.

The moral code that is taught in the Bible is the only hope for order in this chaotic world. When everyone does what is right in their own eyes then chaos is the rule. According to Romans chapter one lost humanity ongoingly rejects the clear evidence that there is a creator (Romans 1:18-21). God's wrath is revealed against them inasmuch as He gives them over "to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper" (Romans 1:28).

We don't have to imagine a world with no true religion, that world is happening now--ready or not. 2 Timothy 3:1-4 describes the nature of it for us: "But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God."

This world has no answer for the problems of sin and evil. It is believed that we can somehow find answers for the world's problems apart from God. That experiment has been going on for thousands of years and we are no better off in our efforts than those who have gone before us. Atheistic communism has given us a supreme example of what a "no religion" society looks like. In such a world human life is cheap, hope is lost, and answers are no where to be found. Man has a sin problem that cannot be resolved by his own efforts. It is deep-rooted in man. It cannot be cured or rooted out no matter how much we try. Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and fall short of God." Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death." The existence of sin and evil in this world cannot be denied. No right-minded person can dismiss it.

The answer for the sin problem, is not, of course, religion. But it is not in us, and to the extent that most people equate religion with God, religion is a good starting point in which to seek for a solution. God has provided a solution for sin. His Son, Jesus Christ, "came into the world to save sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15). For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son. He died on the cross for our sins. He offers forgiveness, victory over sin, and a future home in heaven to those who place their trust in Him (Acts 16:31, Romans 10:9).

For those of the "no religion" persuasion there is no hope. The burden of sin cannot be lifted. There will be no power to overcome the sinful, selfish lusts that control their lives. When judgment comes they will suffer eternal loss (Hebrews 9:27; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9). What ails them now will pale in comparison to the eternal suffering that awaits.

Instead of "Imagine No Religion" billboards, maybe we should erect some that say "Imagine No Sin." Now that is something that is truly hard to imagine! The world had a glimpse of it when Christ came to dwell amongst us. "He knew no sin" (2 Corinthians 5:21). Those who believe in Christ experience a taste of it when they are forgiven, and as they are changed. They are destined to a place where there will be no more sin: "Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Corinthians 2:9).

"Imagine No Religion," "its easy if you try" and you don't have to try very hard. Imagining a true religion that offers forgiveness, true and lasting change, and a certain hope--that's a little tougher. Fortunately we don't have to imagine. All we have to do is avail ourselves of the truth, found in the Scriptures, and believe.

Pastor Jerry

Sunday, January 11, 2009


We've begun a study in our Men's Bible study through J.C Ryle's classic book entitled, "Holiness." In the weeks to come I plan to share some excerpts from the book. This is from the introduction and has to do with the readiness of people to accept newfangled religious ideas. Though written decades ago, it remains incredibly relevant to today...

"There is an amazing ignorance of Scriptures among many, and a consequent want of established, solid religion. In no other way can I account for the ease with which people are, like children, "tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine." ( Ephesians 4:14.) There is an Athenian love of novelty abroad, and a morbid distaste for anything old and regular, and in the beaten path of our forefathers. Thousands will crowd to hear a new voice and a new doctrine, without considering for a moment whether what they hear is true.--There is an incessant craving after any teaching which is sensational, and exciting, and rousing to the feelings.--There is an unhealthy appetite for a sort of spasmodic and hysterical Christianity. The religious life of many is little better then spiritual dram-drinking, and the "meek and quiet spirit" which St. Peter commends is clean forgotten. ( 1 Peter 3:4.) Crowds, and crying, and hot rooms, and high-flown singing, and an incessant rousing of the emotions, are the only things which many care for.--Inability to distinguish differences in doctrine is spreading far and wide, and so long as the preacher is "clever" and "earnest," hundreds seem to think it must be all right, and call you dreadfully "narrow and uncharitable" if you hint that he is unsound!"

Pastor Jerry

Friday, January 9, 2009


We’ve seen it all this winter: wind storms, snow storms, floods. Sadly, many people across the northwest have lost their homes, and some have died, in the recent floods. I am thankful for the blue skies this morning, a little respite between winter storms, allowing the water to subside that things might get back to normal.

As bad as these storms have been, there are other storms that are constantly brewing and have the power to do even greater damage. Our Lord spoke of them in Matthew chapter seven: "and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew" (Matt. 7:25,27).

These spiritual storms confront all men, no one is exempt. Apparently there is no where on earth to avoid them. They come sometimes with great intensity. They have the power to overwhelm us--"to burst against (our) house."

The wise builder built his house upon the rock--and that’s what protected him through the storm. He still faced the storm. Believers still face trials. In fact, the believer in Christ is subjected to a whole new variety of trials (2 Tim. 3:12). But when the storm was directed towards his house, "it did not fall" (Matt. 7:25).

To build one’s house upon the rock is to hear the words of Jesus and act upon them (Matt. 7:24). The first step in that building process is to respond to the gospel, placing one’s faith and trust in Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31). "For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 3:11).

Having established that foundation we are exhorted to "be careful how (we) build" (1 Cor. 3:10). We are careful how we build when we build according to God’s Word, hearing God’s word and acting upon it (James 1:25; Rev. 1:3).

How many spiritual homes have been wrecked by the spiritual trials of life? False teachers have infiltrated the church and have misguided the builders. The flood waters of sin and temptation have brought down many a house. Troubles and trials have brought discouragement and loss. The scattered ruins of flooded homes dot the countryside. How will we be made strong? The text gives the sole answer--to hear and do God's Word!

God has not promised us a life without trials, but in Christ and in His Word, we find sufficiency by His grace to respond to life’s trials victoriously, in a way which honors and glorifies Him.

God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
Many a burden, many a care.

God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain, rocky and steep,
Never a river, turbid and deep.

But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.

Pastor Jerry

Thursday, January 1, 2009


For many New Year’s is a time for making resolutions. Typically people resolve to either quit a bad habit or start a good one. Usually such resolutions are detached from any spiritual or eternal matter of concern. For the believer New Year’s Day can be an appropriate time to reflect on his or her relationship with Christ. Matters of spiritual importance should guide us. Did I grow in my walk with Christ in 2008? Did I use my spiritual gifts for the building up of the body of Christ? Did I take advantage of opportunities to share the gospel? With regards to the upcoming year, resolutions can be helpful as long as we are careful to remember that our own resolve is not enough. Did not our Lord warn us, “Apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Peter resolved to not deny the Lord, but failed miserably. Some months later, having been filled with the Spirit, he boldly proclaimed Christ in the face of ongoing and serious threats. Inasmuch as the Christian life is a walk by the Spirit, our resolutions ought to relate to His Work in our lives. The Word of God, prayer, and the fellowship of believers are the spiritual disciplines that the Spirit uses to change us. To the extent that we abide in His Word, devote ourselves to prayer, and are faithful to fellowship with His people—the Spirit has more freedom to accomplish His work in and through us. Resolutions that relate to the frequency and quality of our involvement in these spiritual disciplines are resolutions that are consistent with God’s will and thus matter for eternity. If we are to make New Year’s resolutions, let us make them: 1) in dependence upon the grace of God; 2) consistent with the will of God; and 3) for the glory of God.

Pastor Jerry