Prayer Meetings, Sunday @ 1:15PM

We are beginning our new prayer meeting this Sunday [June 10, 2012] at 1:15-1:55pm for those who want to pray. I feel very impelled to invite out every one to pray that we my know God better and more intimately and be more aquainted with the spiritual blessings that we already have in Christ.  God bless. (Ephesians 1:15-23)

– Pastor Jay

Our meeting will now be held in the same room we have Sunday Seminary.

 

The 4th Commandment [Sermons & Article by Pastor Jay]

 

Here is a collection of the sermons and an article by Pastor Jay on the fourth commandment that he mentioned yesterday [April 29, 2012]:

Dead to Sin, Alive to God… & Struggling

In conjunction with the sermon he preached Sunday, “How the Resurrection Effects Us Now” [Romans 6:1-7, 11] Pastor Jay writes:

The doctrine of union with Christ from Romans 6:1-14 is a glorious truth no doubt. Our union with Christ has liberated us from the enslaving power of sin in our lives. This was just one of the many benefits that Christ has merited for us in his atoning work. But even though we have this wonderful blessing, remaining sin continues to be present in the members of our body. Remember what Paul says even as a mature Christian man.

 

For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.

For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.

But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good.

So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.

For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.

But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.

For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man,

but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.

Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?

– Romans 7:14–24

 

Here Paul is sharing his struggle with indwelling sin as a mature Christian. He wants to do good but he engaged in an ongoing struggling with his sin (Rom. 7:21). But how does this fit with the glorious truth of Romans 6 that we are dead to sin and alive to God? The answer is found in the fact that both of these things are true and a present reality for the Christian.

 

Although we are dead to the mastery of sin, we still will find the presence of sin in our lives. We will never arrive at a state of sinless perfection and as long as we are in these mortal bodies we will never keep God’s word perfectly. But thanks be to God that we are trusting in one who did keep the Law perfectly on our behalf and who did die as a propitiation for all of our sins. We are saved by grace and not by works of the law. But although we are resting in the finished work of Christ for our salvation it is time for us to get to the hard work of mortification of our sin. We will always have to fight off our remaining sin until the day of our death.

 

Paul says,

for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

– Romans 8:13–14

 

Paul says again,

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

– 2 Corinthians 7:1

 

So this is the tension for the Christian who has union with Christ but is not glorified yet. We wait for the glorious day when we will be given glorified redeemed bodies, but until then the war goes on. So take heed Christian friend, if you find yourself in a struggle and a battle with indwelling sin, be of good courage, it is the normal Christian life.

Pastor Jay

 

Past resources on this subject:

Pastor’s New Year Letters

2011 has been a tremendous year for our church. We have seen several people added to our number, we have seen others move on. Through both trial and heartache I believe we have grown. There is something about the lessons of time and experience in life that cannot be produced or manufactured. Only through God’s refining process of sanctifying us as a church both as individuals and as a congregation have we come to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Looking back at the year in review we have remained faithful to the exposition of God’s word, we have not veered off the narrow way, God has kept us. As elders we have seen incredible growth in the life of the church as it pertains to the unity of our church and personal growth in marriages, families, and ministries. God has also taken us abroad this year with trips to Joplin, Mexico, and Romania. We continue supporting missions in Chile, some of us prayerfully support David Johnson in China, and Jon Speed in Syracuse. Our evangelism remains steady, our prayer meeting has been maintained by a faithful few who come together every Sunday morning to lift up the people, preaching, and purity of SJCC.

God has been the ever-constant Provider for our church’s needs so that we have never gone without. The Lord has placed us in Haltom City for His own good and sovereign pleasure. God has also blessed us with closing out our study through Systematic Theology in Sunday Seminary. The women of our church continue to gather and encourage, pray, and challenge one another for the good of our church and the glory of God. We have had several baptisms which had coincided with membership.

The reality of a new year presents many wonderful opportunities to avoid the sins and mistakes of the last year. It also presents many obstacles, hindrances, and weights which can keep us from running the race with endurance. The vision for a new year as a church should involved great zeal to illustrate God’s glory through evangelism, one another ministry, preaching, teaching, and making disciples. Fathers have a great opportunity this year to develop new and fresh vision for their children. Mothers have a great opportunity to go deep with Christ in the home as they love their children, serve their husbands, and build up their households. Singles have the great challenges of purity, perseverance, and passion for their vocations. Every member of SJCC can do more for the glory of Chris than they did last year, take time, review the year, ask yourself the hard questions of how you can be more effective for Christ, serve his people more selflessly, and glorify God in this dark world. Our prayer for SJCC is for faithfulness in God’s work, peace in God’s church, and love for God’s people. Happy New Year,

Soli Deo Gloria,

Pastor Emilio Ramos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I wanted to start by thanking everybody for their sacrificial giving without which we could not continue this work. I know that times are tough but we do appreciate your sacrifice in giving. God says your labor in the Lord is not in vain and God will honor those who honor him (1 Sam 2:30). For those who gave to this work with their time, spiritual gifts and contributed financially, I am particularly grateful and I want to sincerely thank you. Without God using you in this way, we would not have a church nor any kind of ministry because of the simple reason that you all are the church of God.

Paul says,

“For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.” – 1 Corinthians 3:9 (NKJV)

One of the things about being a pastor is that we are dependent on the giving of God’s people. This is a blessing for the church to be able to support their pastors, but it can also be tremendously humbling at times and I do want to thank you for supporting both my family and Emilio’s family.

I also want to thank you all for attending the church and committing with us in church membership. I know that there are a host of other churches that you could choose from and we live in the age of the consumer. So often churches will give people what they want rather then what they need. But we desire to be faithful to the Word of God. I know that some of the things that we do here and preach here would not be popular in the popular evangelical movement but we want to obey scripture and not people’s fancies. So thank you for supporting a work that is biblical and seeks to obey all of the Bible (Acts 20:27).

I want to thank you for standing with our church in the hard times and in the good times. As one writer said, “It was the best of times and it was the worst of times.” So thank you for you for supporting your elders through the tough times as well as the good times. I look forward to what the Lord will do in this coming year.

Lastly, we have a slogan at our church that says, “Reformed and always reforming.” We must press on to see what the Lord has for us and we must always become more and more willing to conform to his Word as he teaches and leads our church. We do not want to become too comfortable in our Christianity but always seek a relentless persuit of our Triune God and the truth of His Word.

God bless you for laboring with us in the faith that was once and for all given to the saints. “Be steadfast, immovable always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor 15:58).

Pastor Jay Jesuroga

The Law of God & the Believer [A Reformed Perspective]

Pastor Jay post:

Typically Reformed Christians have always believed in the third use of the law. The third use of the law is that the moral laws of God or the Ten Commandments are morally binding on the Christian and a normative pattern for the Christian life.
The third use of the law teaches that the moral law becomes a rule of life for the believer. In the Geneva Catechism Calvin asks, “What is the rule of life which God has given us?” The answer, “His law.” Calvin says, “The law shows the mark at which we ought to aim, the goal to which we ought to press, that each of us, according to the measure of grace bestowed upon him, may endeavor to frame his life according to the highest rectitude, and by constant study, continually advance more and more.” [1]

 

One must guard the fact that this does not mean that one must keep the moral law of God in order to be justified as this would be salvation by works of the law, the very thing that Paul denounces so often in his writings (cf. Gal 2:16 | Rom 3:20-21). But although no one can be justified by keeping the moral law of God, this is not to say that the standard of the law has been abolished. The Christian ought to continue to aim at the moral law of God as his standard for sanctification (cf. Rom 3:31 | Rom 8:1-4). Consider what Thomas Schreiner in his commentary concerning Romans 3:31,which says, “Therefore do we abolish the law by faith God forbid we establish the law.” Schreiner says,

“The moral norms of the law still function as the authoritative will of God for the believers (Murray).  The idea is not precisely that the law is fulfilled by faith in Christ (contra moo) but rather that those who have faith in Christ will keep the law. Paul does not expand on this point here, but as in 3:8 he touches upon a point that will receive more extended discussion later. He wants to guard against a common misunderstanding here: some have objected that if righteousness is not through the law then the law is abolished… Righteousness apart from the law’s commands does not mean that believers can dispense with the moral norms of the law.” [2]

Schreiner brings up a very important point. Just because we are not justified by the works of the law but we are justified by faith then we do not dispense with the moral law of God. But many in evangelicalism think exactly this. They reason that since one is not justified by works of the law but only through faith then the New Testament Christian does not have anything to do now with the moral law of God. This is an error in understanding not only what the Bible teaches as a whole but also an error in the proper understanding of the nature of saving faith and of the effects of regeneration.

 

Jeremiah 31:31-34 shows that when we are regenerated then God writes his laws upon our hearts and puts them in our minds. But what law is he speaking of here in Jeremiah? The law that he is speaking of is the moral law of God or what is known as the Decalogue (the Ten Commandments). These are the moral laws of God that show us what God requires of his creatures in every age. The difference of the Old Covenant from the New Covenant is that God takes those commands that were written by the finger of God on tablets of stone and now writes them on the fleshly tablets of our heart (2 cor 3:3). The Christian now has an internal work of God in his soul and he intuitively knows what pleases and displeases God. He delights in the holiness of God as it is manifested in his law. The Law flows from the nature of God through the finger of God and becomes engraved on stones (Exod 31:18) but in the New Covenant God’s moral precepts are  placed in human hearts via regeneration of the Spirit. What an awesome idea that the moral law of God which flows from God’s very nature revealed to us through tablets of stone written by the finger of God (Exod 31:18),  and now these same moral precepts flow directly into the human hearts engraved on the fleshly  tablets of our hearts by the Spirit of God (Jer. 31:31-34). God wrote his moral law on tablets of hard stone by his finger in the Old Covenant but in the New Covenant he writes his laws on fleshly soft hearts with the Holy Spirit.

 

Therefore true salvation is anything but anti-nomian. Those who are truly saved will do as Paul did and delight in the law of God in his inner man (Rom 7:22). They will have been transformed from law haters (Romans 8:7-8)  into law lovers ( Psalm 119:113). They will go on to do good works that are in keeping in conformity to the moral law of God (James 2:14-21), and will be guided by the Holy Spirit to do the things which please him (Ezek 36:26-28).

 

Therefore we do not want to give up this doctrine of the third use of the law. It is vital for protection against anti- nomianism which is a problem in every age. If we give up this doctrine we will bring carnality into the church, give false assurance of salvation to carnal professing  believers and weaken the power of the gospel. Some may falsely suppose that they are protecting the gospel by denouncing this doctrine of the third use of the law but they are in essence compromising the gospel by cheating it of its power. The gospel has the power to save and to transform from within.  God’s people will progress in holiness until they are called home to their Lord. We must be confident in God’s ability to do these things and learn to wait upon him and his grace (Phil 1:3-4).
Pastor Jay


[1] Article by Joel Beeke found on the website www..monergism.com.
 
[2] Thomas R.  Schreiner, Romans, in Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1998), 208.

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