Wednesday, September 30, 2009


One of my favorite passages of Scripture is Ephesians 3:20-21, "Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen."

This great text is the text for this Sunday's morning service. What is God able to do in you? More than you think. Certainly the Apostle Paul's experience speaks to the truth of this passage. That God could transform "a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor" (1 Tim. 1:13) and make him into that great theologian and missionary--that was, by God's ability, exceeding abundantly beyond what anyone would have asked or thought.

I love the story of the prodigal son. He had taken his share of his inheritance and "squandered his estate on loose living" (Luke 15:13). He was destitute to the extent that he was "longing to fill his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating" (Luke 15:16). But he came to his senses and returned to his father, thinking that perhaps his father would make him as one of his hired men (Luke 15:19). But his father did more than that. When he returned he "embraced him and kissed him" (Luke 15:20). He put his best robe on him and put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. He killed the fattened calf and arranged for a feast to celebrate his son's return (Luke 15:23-25). Certainly this was all exceeding abundantly beyond all that he thought!

What about you? You've trusted in Christ. God has begun a good work in you. What does He have planned for you? What is God able to do in your life? God's plans for us are exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think. Say a prayer. Think a thought. God's plans for you are greater. "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 Cor. 2:9).

How is all of this possible? Because HE IS ABLE. God is glorified in the transformation of His children. It is a work that God alone can do. It happens by His grace and is to the praise of the glory of His grace. So Paul declared, inspired as he was, "to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen (Eph. 3:21)."

Pastor Jerry

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


J. C. Ryle

  1. Read 2 Tim. 4:6-8. In what three ways did the Apostle Paul look as he expressed his assurance in God? What attitude characterized each of these three (p.1-2)?
  2. Where does assurance of salvation come from (p.2)?
  3. What do the Scriptures teach with regards to a man’s ability to have assurance with regards to his salvation (p.3; Job 19:25-26; Psa. 23:4; Isa. 26:3, 32:17; Rom. 8:38-39; 2 Cor. 5:1; 2 Cor. 5:6; 2 Tim. 1:12; Col. 2:2; Heb. 10:22, 6:11; 2 Pet. 1:10; 1 John 3:14, 5:13, 5:19)?
  4. For what reasons do people argue against the doctrine of the assurance of the believer (p.3)?
  5. What was the basis for the Apostle Paul’s assurance (p.5; 1 Tim. 1:15; Rom. 7:24; Eph. 3:8; John 10:28; Heb. 6:19)?
  6. Is it possible for a person to be saved and to still lack assurance (p.5-6)?
  7. What analogy does the author use to distinguish between saving faith and assurance (p.6)?
  8. What scriptural examples does the author use to distinguish between saving faith and assurance (p.7; Mark 5:25 vs. Acts 7:56; Luke 23:42 vs. Job 19:25 & 13:15; Mark 14:30 vs. Acts 4:11; Mark 9:24 vs. Rom. 8:33-34; Acts 9:11 vs. 2 Tim. 1:12 & 4:8)?
  9. Why is assurance of salvation to be much desired? Four reasons (p.7-10).
  10. How does assurance afford comfort and peace to us (p.8-9)? In what respects (Hab. 3:17-18; Heb. 13:8; 2 Cor. 4:17; Phil. 1:23)?
  11. How does assurance work to make a believer active in service (p.9-10)? How analogy does the author use to illustrate this truth (p.9-10)? What does he mean by the statement "undivided attention will always attain the greatest success"?
  12. How does assurance work to make a believer a "decided" believer (p.10-11)?
  13. How does assurance work to increase a believer’s holiness (p.11; 1 John 3:3)?
  14. Why do so many believers lack assurance? Three reasons (p.12-13)?
  15. What counsel does the author give to those who lack assurance because they have never trusted in Christ for salvation (p.14-15)? What counsel does the author give to believers who lack assurance (p.15-16)?

Pastor Jerry


Here is a link to the chapter in J.C. Ryle's book on Holiness we are currently studying in Men's Bible Study:

Pastor Jerry

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Sept. 8, 2009

I had some mail to get into the mailbox this morning, but I didn't notice the substitute mail lady until she drove past the mailbox. I jumped into the truck to chase her down and caught up to her down the road. I handed my mail to her and she smiled and said she'd take care of it. As I was walking a way she hollered out, "The church looks great!" I thanked her for her comments and explained to her how God had so blessed us by His provision of a newly remodeled Sanctuary as a result of the storm repairs.

I thought about what she said on the way back to the church. "The church looks great!" Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for her praise for our building, but how we should yearn for those same words to be applied to "the church." We all remember the little finger game: "Here's the church, here's the steeple, open the door and see all the people." The church is the people, and God's purpose is not so much about physical buildings, but living temples. How we should yearn for God to say and for people to say "the church looks great!" in reference to us.

God's purpose is for the church to look great: to be "holy and blameless before Him" (Eph. 1:4); to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29); to be presented "complete in Him" (Col. 1:29). The church looking great is central to God's eternal purpose to display the surpassing riches of His grace and His manifold wisdom through the church "in the ages to come" "to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places" (Eph. 2:7 and 3:10).

The church looks great to the extent that it looks like Christ. When it is adorned with His virtues--love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control; filled with His sacrificial love (1 John 3:16); and empowered by His grace (2 Cor. 4:7-10). The church looks great when it looks like Christ!

The church can look great only as the Spirit of God applies the Word of God to the hearts of its members. The Spirit of God is the ultimate beautician. He alone can bring beauty from ashes as He patiently works within us to do that which "is exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think" (Eph. 3:19-21). The Word of God is central to His work.

"The church looks great!" Is that what people say when they look at me, at you? It will never be--in the highest sense--if it is only us they see. But when they see Jesus in us--now that is something beautiful! When His abiding presence is clearly evident in our attitudes, actions, and words--then the church truly looks great!

Pastor Jerry