Five Points Blog

Jesus Strong Words of Love

Jesus so cares that we are saved by child-like trust that he will go to great lenghts to give us striking examples of the opposite. That’s what he does in the story of the rich young man. You remember the man had plenty of money, many possessions and was reasonably confident in his record at keeping the law. On these he trusted for eternal favor with God.

But Jesus saw how very adult-like this man was. He was no where near the Kingdom of God, because he had no child-like faith in God. He trusted in himself.  In mercy Jesus exposes the rich man’s need. He spoke firmly to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”  The man was crushed; he went away sorrowful because he cherished his many possessions.

Was it really mercy for Jesus to set such a high standard for this man? Mark realizes that some might wonder this, so he clearly tells us what was in Jesus’ heart as he spoke to this man: “And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him…” (Mark 10:21). Jesus loved him. It was the apex of love for Christ to tell this man to forsake his worthless possessions and come follow the Lord of glory. Love seeks the well-being of others, and the greatest good anyone could pursue is following Christ alone!

How deeply Jesus loved him. But he refused Christ’s love. Paul said, “Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” (1 Timothy 6:9). It is always loving for our Lord to jar us out of such a ruinous stupor.

I trust you are very much unlike the rich young man. Has the love of riches ensnared you? Confess it swiftly. Flee it just as quickly. Follow Christ vigorously. Be saved.

The God of the Ages

The following is the closing of Pastor Dan's first sermon in his first preaching series at Five Points entitled, The Ten Words on Religious Affection. This sermon, The First Word on Religious Affection: No God But God, was preached on December 14, 1997. You can find the sermons here:

The Christian, when he comes to die, even the bad [frowning providences in life] is good. Does that mean that when you go to the doctor and the biopsy comes back and it’s not a favorable thing that you go running around cheering, “Yay! Yay! I have cancer!”? No. When that biopsy doesn’t come back well and you’re laying in that hospital room, in the depths of it, what God do you believe in? This will be good in the end… What do we really believe? Where is our trust? Where do we run for our security, our help, our satisfaction, and our pleasure and our joy? Dan runs too often to the gods of this age and my guess is that you might not be a whole lot different than I am. No, we find our satisfaction and joy and pleasure in Christ and in Christ alone, the only True and Sovereign One… What God do we really believe in? We’re commanded to have no other god but God. So the questions stands: Where’s my trust and what do I believe? The gods of this age or the God of the ages?

Feminine Appeal - A Review

Carolyn Mahaney has been married to CJ Mahaney, a pastor and ministry leader, for more than 25 years. She has spoken to women in many churches and conferences, including Sovereign Grace Ministries, the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and Family Life. She and her three daughters also write the blog Girl Talk containing gospel-centered conversations on biblical womanhood. She has also written Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother.

Feminine Appeal goes through seven virtues of a godly wife and mother, namely loving my husband, loving my children, self-control, purity, working at home, kindness and submission. Carolyn’s passion for who God is and how he has designed womanhood is evident throughout the book. As she continually points back to the amazing truths of the gospel she never loses sight of how practical those very truths are.

I first read Feminine Appeal the first year JJ was in seminary. My women’s small group went through it together and I loved it! It was so convicting and well written that it felt like you were just having a conversation over a cup of coffee with Carolyn. She is a great example of a Titus 2 woman who shares great biblical and practical wisdom throughout the book. It had such a significant impact on my life and marriage that I have given away dozens of copies of this book at wedding showers and to many friends and family.

This book also includes one of my favorite quotes when talking about the attitude of humility and mercy. She quotes Charles Spurgeon, who says, “He who grows in grace remembers that he is but dust, and he therefore does not expect his fellow Christians to be anything more. He overlooks ten thousands of their faults, because he knows his God overlooks twenty thousand in his own case. He does not expect perfection in the creature, and, therefore, he is not disappointed when he does not find it.” What a great reminder that I try to apply daily in my marriage and in all my other relationships!

This book is great to read on your own or with a small group, as it has helpful study and discussion questions in the back of the book. The chapters on marriage and children have had the most impact on my life for there she reminds us that wives and mothers need to die to self every day and we need to preach the gospel to ourselves constantly. She says, “As mothers, we have a choice. We can either resent the challenges and demands that accompany motherhood and persist in our selfishness, or we can draw from God’s grace and receive His help to cheerfully lay down our lives for our children.”

Finally, I love how she encourages women to passionately and joyfully love their husbands and children. This is a wonderful book for a younger woman who is thinking about marriage and children because it can prepare her for these endeavors, as well as for those women who have been married for many years and already have children because it can encourage them to be the wife and mother they were designed by God to be. 

Nancy Leigh DeMoss summarizes it best in the foreword when she says, “Carolyn is not just a theoretician. Through nearly thirty years of marriage, and as a mother of four, she has lived out the priorities and virtues of Titus 2 in the laboratory of life. And, as the Scripture directs, she is a discipler and has poured out her life to teach the ways of God to others - first to her three daughters and then to women in the church.”

Feminine Appeal is a great book for women in the church and I pray that the Lord will use it in your life as much as He has in mine.

What Touches Our Lord’s Heart?

How fitting, on the heals of a high statement of marriage, that Jesus would immediately welcome children into His kingdom with the blessing of his touch. So zealous is our Lord to receive children that he grows indignant when anyone hinders children from coming to him.

When the disciples rebuked parents from bringing their children to Jesus, Jesus saw it and “he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14). Can you imagine the tone of displeasure in our Lord’s voice as he uttered these words? We have touched something close to his divine heart when we minister to children.

It isn’t that he simply loves the young. We’re not talking about a special fondness for those who have not grown up yet. The reason Christ is so eager to welcome children is given in the last phrase of verse 14, “for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”  His passions are kingdom aimed. He loves children because they represent the God-dependent helplessness we all must confess to enter the Kingdom. God has no self-sufficient ‘adult’ citizens in His Kingdom. He admits only children.

What would our Lord have children do? Jesus answers: “Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”  Receive the kingdom like a child. Confess your helplessness to save yourself. Agree with Christ that we must come to him, humbly, truthfully and in all weakness. He will full and sweetly catch you up in His arms and bless you with His love.  “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1 ESV).

Marriage Comes from God

Since marriage comes from God, it gets its meaning from God. And God means for all human marriage to portray His Son’s eternal marriage with His Bride, the Church of Jesus Christ. Marriage is not a human institution available for our use, but a divine one designed to make much of Christ.

That’s why Jesus said to the Pharisees that the permission to divorce in the Law of Moses was owing to their hardness of heart. Can you imagine a more devastating statement from our Lord? They were trying to trap him with the law, but he simply turned the question back to them and exposed their unbelief.

On what does Jesus rest his understanding of marriage and divorce? He rests his teaching not in convention, but in creation. We see that as he quotes Genesis 1 and 2 then draws divine truth from it: “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Mark 10:6-9 ESV) 

So God creating us male and female to be fulfilled in the marriage union, meant to portray the permanence and beauty of Christ’s marriage to the Church. God designed it, described it and accomplishes it. “What God has joined together, let no man separate.”

Why does Jesus utter the ocean-deep oracle that what God has joined together no one should separate? He speaks so solemnly because marriage is far more glorious and grave than anyone realizes. It is the display of God’s eternal, unfailing, love for His own Bride. He will never put her away; because God never has a hard heart. His heart is always brimming with tender love. The rock-solid hope we have for our future salvation hangs on God remaining true to His character: an ever-tender, always-loving, forever-gracious Husband to his guilty Bride. 

No matter how you have lived in the past, know that grace sufficiently covers my sin and yours. Only let not grace be twisted into license for marital sin. Rather let grace draw you closer, higher, nearer to God’s clear and precious design for marriage.

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