Thursday, August 31, 2006

Reconnect Fellowship Letter from Scott

I’m writing to personally invite you to a “Reconnect Fellowship” for our Young Married Adult 4 class Saturday, September 9 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at our home. We’re asking that you bring the “fix’ins” for fajitas,we’ll supply the fajita meat and a sign up sheet for the “fix’ins” will be circulated Sunday. Child care will be provided at the church at no cost from 6:00 p.m to 10:00 pm. Please contact the church office or sign the sign up sheet this Sunday in class.

As we embark of this new school year and vacations subside, let’s reconnect by faithfully studying God’s word on Sunday mornings. We must agree that much has happened over the past year as we’ve served the Lord at Calvary Baptist Church.

First, I want to thank Kevin and Tammy Rhyne for stepping up and being great leaders especially over the last year. Their commitment to teach when Jill and I had to be out was a blessing to us. Be praying for the Rhyne family as the arrival of their son is close at hand. For now, I’ll reassume the teaching duties fulltime and we’ll continue our study through Job well into the Fall. Kevin will continue to lead our opening time together with announcements and prayer requests.

Personally, many things changed in the Rose household last year. Our sons began attending Brook Hill after being home schooled for over five years. Jill returned to the workforce for the first time in 12 years, and her father fell ill and continues to struggle with mobility that poses huge challenges physically and financially on our family. Thank you for your prayers and support. It’s not over yet, so please keep praying for us.

For some time, we have sensed the Lord’s leading to participate in Youth ministry. Our sons are in the Youth group now and a void emerged there in leadership. As often with God, the way we see things is not the way He would have us go. We were contemplating leaving our class to teach in the Youth on Sunday mornings. However, God supplied that need with another set of capable Saints. There remains a need for Wednesday evening teachers for the Youth and we sense God leading us to teach there as well. Obviously, this will require that I prepare two lessons during the week which means I must be a better steward of my time, a weakness of mine. So, please pray for Jill and me; for strength, grace and mercy AND that the Lord will expand our time effectively for Him.

As our Pastor said, it’s a new day at Calvary. Let’s reconnect together so that we might be Salt and Light for Him in this dark and dying world! We’ll be in the 7th chapter of Job Sunday.

In His Service,
Scott and Jill Rose
Matthew 5:13

Baptist Faith and Message (5)

The next section is concerning the humbling doctrine of God's electing grace and His preservation of the saints in faith. The corresponding sections of the Abstract of Principles follow.

Baptist Faith and Message 2000

V. God's Purpose of Grace

Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is the glorious display of God's sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility.

All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves; yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-8; 1 Samuel 8:4-7,19-22; Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 31:31ff.; Matthew 16:18-19; 21:28-45; 24:22,31; 25:34; Luke 1:68-79; 2:29-32; 19:41-44; 24:44-48; John 1:12-14; 3:16; 5:24; 6:44-45,65; 10:27-29; 15:16; 17:6,12,17-18; Acts 20:32; Romans 5:9-10; 8:28-39; 10:12-15; 11:5-7,26-36; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2; 15:24-28; Ephesians 1:4-23; 2:1-10; 3:1-11; Colossians 1:12-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2:10,19; Hebrews 11:39–12:2; James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:2-5,13; 2:4-10; 1 John 1:7-9; 2:19; 3:2.

Abstract of Principles


God from eternity, decrees or permits all things that come to pass, and perpetually upholds, directs and governs all creatures and all events; yet so as not in any wise to be the author or approver of sin nor to destroy the free will and responsibility of intelligent creatures.


Election is God's eternal choice of some persons unto everlasting life-not because of foreseen merit in them, but of His mere mercy in Christ-in consequence of which choice they are called, justified and glorified.

Perseverance of the Saints

Those whom God hath accepted in the Beloved, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere to the end; and though they may fall through neglect and temptation, into sin, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, bring reproach on the Church, and temporal judgments on themselves, yet they shall be renewed again unto repentance, and be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Baptist Faith and Message (4)

This section concerns the nature of salvation. The Abstract of Principles follows.

Baptist Faith and Message 2000

IV. Salvation

Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.

A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace.
Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour.

B. Justification is God's gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and favor with God.

C. Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God's purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person's life.

D. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.

Genesis 3:15; Exodus 3:14-17; 6:2-8; Matthew 1:21; 4:17; 16:21-26; 27:22-28:6; Luke 1:68-69; 2:28-32; John 1:11-14,29; 3:3-21,36; 5:24; 10:9,28-29; 15:1-16; 17:17; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30-31; 17:30-31; 20:32; Romans 1:16-18; 2:4; 3:23-25; 4:3ff.; 5:8-10; 6:1-23; 8:1-18,29-39; 10:9-10,13; 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18,30; 6:19-20; 15:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Galatians 2:20; 3:13; 5:22-25; 6:15; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-22; 4:11-16; Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 1:9-22; 3:1ff.; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 2 Timothy 1:12; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 2:1-3; 5:8-9; 9:24-28; 11:1-12:8,14; James 2:14-26; 1 Peter 1:2-23; 1 John 1:6-2:11; Revelation 3:20; 21:1-22:5.

Abstract of Principles


Regeneration is a change of heart, wrought by the Holy Spirit, who quickeneth the dead in trespasses and sins enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the Word of God, and renewing their whole nature, so that they love and practice holiness. It is a work of God's free and special grace alone.


Repentance is an evangelical grace, wherein a person being by the Holy Spirit, made sensible of the manifold evil of his sin, humbleth himself for it, with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self-abhorrence, with a purpose and endeavor to walk before God so as to please Him in all things.


Saving faith is the belief, on God's authority, of whatsoever is revealed in His Word concerning Christ; accepting and resting upon Him alone for justification and eternal life. It is wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit, and is accompanied by all other saving graces, and leads to a life of holiness.


Justification is God's gracious and full acquittal of sinners, who believe in Christ, from all sin, through the satisfaction that Christ has made; not for anything wrought in them or done by them; but on account of the obedience and satisfaction of Christ, they receiving and resting on Him and His righteousness by faith.


Those who have been regenerated are also sanctified by God's word and Spirit dwelling in them. This sanctification is progressive through the supply of Divine strength, which all saints seek to obtain, pressing after a heavenly life in cordial obedience to all Christ's commands.

Baptist Faith and Message (3)

This section concerns the nature of man, the Fall, and our desparate need for God's grace for redemption. The corresponding section in the Abstract of Principles follows.

Baptist Faith and Message 2000

III. Man

Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God's creation. In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation. Only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore, every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.

Genesis 1:26-30; 2:5,7,18-22; 3; 9:6; Psalms 1; 8:3-6; 32:1-5; 51:5; Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah 17:5; Matthew 16:26; Acts 17:26-31; Romans 1:19-32; 3:10-18,23; 5:6,12,19; 6:6; 7:14-25; 8:14-18,29; 1 Corinthians 1:21-31; 15:19,21-22; Ephesians 2:1-22; Colossians 1:21-22; 3:9-11.

Abstract of Principles

The Fall of Man

God originally created Man in His own image, and free from sin; but, through the temptation of Satan, he transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original holiness and righteousness; whereby his posterity inherit a nature corrupt and wholly opposed to God and His law, are under condemnation, and as soon as they are capable of moral action, become actual transgressors.

The Mediator

Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is the divinely appointed mediator between God and man. Having taken upon Himself human nature, yet without sin, He perfectly fulfilled the law; suffered and died upon the cross for the salvation of sinners. He was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended to His Father, at whose right hand He ever liveth to make intercession for His people. He is the only Mediator, the Prophet, Priest and King of the Church, and Sovereign of the Universe.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Baptist Faith and Message (2)

The second section of the BF&M 2000 concerns the attributes of God as revealed in Scripture. The corresponding sections of the Abstract of Principles follow.

Baptist Faith & Message 2000

II. God

There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.

A. God the Father

God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all wise. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His attitude toward all men.

Genesis 1:1; 2:7; Exodus 3:14; 6:2-3; 15:11ff.; 20:1ff.; Leviticus 22:2; Deuteronomy 6:4; 32:6; 1 Chronicles 29:10; Psalm 19:1-3; Isaiah 43:3,15; 64:8; Jeremiah 10:10; 17:13; Matthew 6:9ff.; 7:11; 23:9; 28:19; Mark 1:9-11; John 4:24; 5:26; 14:6-13; 17:1-8; Acts 1:7; Romans 8:14-15; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:6; Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 11:6; 12:9; 1 Peter 1:17; 1 John 5:7.

B. God the Son

Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, fully God, fully man, in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord.

Genesis 18:1ff.; Psalms 2:7ff.; 110:1ff.; Isaiah 7:14; 53; Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29; 11:27; 14:33; 16:16,27; 17:5; 27; 28:1-6,19; Mark 1:1; 3:11; Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70; 24:46; John 1:1-18,29; 10:30,38; 11:25-27; 12:44-50; 14:7-11; 16:15-16,28; 17:1-5, 21-22; 20:1-20,28; Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; 9:4-5,20; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 5:6-21; 8:1-3,34; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1-8,24-28; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; 8:9; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-15; 7:14-28; 9:12-15,24-28; 12:2; 13:8; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 3:22; 1 John 1:7-9; 3:2; 4:14-15; 5:9; 2 John 7-9; Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16.

C. God the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Saviour, and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.

Genesis 1:2; Judges 14:6; Job 26:13; Psalms 51:11; 139:7ff.; Isaiah 61:1-3; Joel 2:28-32; Matthew 1:18; 3:16; 4:1; 12:28-32; 28:19; Mark 1:10,12; Luke 1:35; 4:1,18-19; 11:13; 12:12; 24:49; John 4:24; 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 16:7-14; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4,38; 4:31; 5:3; 6:3; 7:55; 8:17,39; 10:44; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 19:1-6; Romans 8:9-11,14-16,26-27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 3:16; 12:3-11,13; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; 1 Timothy 3:16; 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:14; 3:16; Hebrews 9:8,14; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 John 4:13; 5:6-7; Revelation 1:10; 22:17.

Abstract of Principles


There is but one God, the Maker, Preserver and Ruler of all things, having in and of Himself, all perfections, and being infinite in them all; and to Him all creatures owe the highest love, reverence and obedience.

The Trinity

God is revealed to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit each with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence or being.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Baptist Faith and Message (1)

The most recent revision to the Baptist Faith and Message was completed in 2000. Over the next few weeks, I'm going to post each section of the BF&M 2000 with the Biblical annotations. Just click the cite to read the verse.

Also, when the original charter of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the SBC's flagship seminary, was adopted in 1858 it contained the following statement which continues as a part of the fundamental laws of the seminary to this day:

"Every professor of the institution shall be a member of a regular Baptist church; and all persons accepting professorships in this seminary shall be considered, by such acceptance, as engaging to teach in accordance with, and not contrary to, the Abstract of Principles hereinafter laid down, a departure from which principles on his part shall be considered grounds for his resignation or removal by the Trustees."
Following the section from the BF&M 2000, I will post the corresponding section of the Abstract of Principles. The BF&M 2000 you can probably pick up as a little booklet at the front of the church. You can download a PDF version of the Abstract of Principles here.

Baptist Faith & Message 2000

I. The Scriptures

The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God's revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.

Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Joshua 8:34; Psalms 19:7-10; 119:11,89,105,140; Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; 36:1-32; Matthew 5:17-18; 22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:44-46; John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 2:16ff; 17:11; Romans 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21.

The Abstract of Principles - Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

The Scriptures

The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God, and are the only sufficient, certain and authoritative rule of all saving knowledge, faith and obedience.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Job - Dialogue with Three Friends (1)

I. Sometimes it's Best Just to not Say Anything

We are exploring why God allowed Job's suffering to continue even after He had already defeated Satan's challenges concerning Job in chapters 1 and 2. Let's look together at these months of Job's misery and the comfort offered by his friends, starting with 2:11-13.

Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him. And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven. And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great. (Job 2:11-13)
If it had stopped there, we might have admired them as friends with great compassion for their suffering friend. But, unfortunately, like many of us, it did not stop with them quietly comforting Job. For the next 29 chapters (through 31) Job will be responding to what these three friends have to say about his suffering. There are three cycles in the conversation.

Cycle 1

Eliphaz – 4&5

Job – 6&7

Bildad – 8

Job – 9&10

Zophar – 11

Job – 12 –14

Cycle 2

Eliphaz – 15

Job – 16 &17

Bildad – 18

Job – 19

Zophar – 20

Job – 21

Cycle 3

Eliphaz – 22

Job – 23 & 24

Bildad – 25

Job – 26 – 31

Zophar (silence)

After this long conversation, comes a six chapter speech by a young man named Elihu (32-37). Then God Himself speaks to Job (38-41), as well as the last chapter of reversal and restoration.

The question is: what does the author of this book want us to learn from the speeches of Job's three friends and Job's responses to them as he endures month after month of this misery? First, we will consider the practical lessons involved in being a friend to someone who is going through a trial. Then we will consider the theology of the three friends and the implications for us. We will finally consider Job's response and his progressive movement from despair to confidence in the justness and goodness of God.

Job - Dialogue with Three Friends (0)

I. The Three Friends - Job 2:11 – 31:40

Would you agree with me that it is one thing to have a sudden tragedy, like the loss of a child or the discovery of a dreaded sickness and quite another to experience the relentless misery of that loss for months or even years afterward? I have heard of mothers lifting cars off of their children only later to collapse later under the shock of the event. There is a spiritual counterpart for Christians. Initially, the earnest Christian may exclaim with Job, "The Lord gives, the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord." But, then under the relentless sequence of empty rooms or chemo treatments, many Christians collapse in dismay at what they are going through.

In one afternoon, Job lost ten children and all of his wealth. Shortly afterward he was afflicted with a serious and horrible skin disease. In both of these tragedies, he kept his faith and revered the sovereign hand of God. In 1:21, he said, "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." In 2:10, after being afflicted with the skin disease, he said, "Shall we receive good at the hand of God and shall we not receive evil?" He affirmed the absoluteness of God's control over all things and he humbled himself in submission to these devestating blows.

But God did not reward Job by a quick healing of his disease. Job says in 7:2-3, "Like a slave who longs for the shadow, and like a hired hand who looks for his wages, so I am allotted months of emptiness, and nights of misery are apportioned to me."

The question now is why? Hasn't God made His point to Satan? Job had shown that God was more precious to him than even his own health. Why don't we now skip to chapter 42 where he gets all his stuff back and more?

The answer is that Job has much yet to learn about suffering and about God. Those among us who have had to endure month after month of misery would feel that the story is naïve and inauthentic if it ended at chapter two. And so, Job sits silent as probably weeks go by and his "comforters" come and sit with him quietly. We will begin our overview of their conversations with Job in the next post.

Job - Elihu's Speech (4)

E. How does What We Learn in Job Apply to the Christian After the Cross?

We know by the testimony of Scripture that God freely chose those who are in Christ from before the foundation of the world; He regenerated us freely by the work of His Spirit; and, He justified us freely through the gift of saving faith. Now, He is sanctifying us freely by His grace through suffering according to His infinite wisdom.

Suffering is not given out by God in a whimsical fashion. It is individually designed by God for the Christian's good. It comes in many forms. But all of the suffering of the righteous is expert therapy by the loving hand of the Great Surgeon. Even the suffering we endure as a result of our own sin is not punishment. Punishment for all sin was paid for by Christ on the cross for all of those who are in Christ. There are consequences for our sin, to be sure, but even the consequences work for our ultimate good because through the Spirit those truly in Christ are ultimately humbled by the sinfulness of their flesh, repent, and are again thankful for His undeserved grace in their lives. Discipline is a grace of God preserving the saint.

John Piper points out four reasons for God's purpose in suffering for the Christian.

1. That faith might be refined;

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith - more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire - may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Pe 1:6-7)

2. Holiness might be enlarged;

For they [our earthly fathers] disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he [God] disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained [sanctification] by it. (Heb 12:10-11)
3. The soul might be saved; and,
For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. (2 Co 1:8-9)
4. God might be glorified.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (Jas 1:2-4)

We, of course, do not seek suffering. However, if it is upon us, our goal should not be the avoidance of pain and trials, but endurance of them to let suffering have the effect that God has purposed - conformity to the image of His Son.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Job - Elihu's Speech (3)

II. The Argument of Elihu - There is Purpose in the Suffering of the Righteous

Although Job was correct to challenge the accusations of the three friends concerning their belief that he was beingjudged byy God for some great hidden sin, Elihu thinks Job is wrong in some of what he said. (33:17; 35:12; 36:9)

A. Residue of Pride In the Righteous

The core of Elihu's argument is found in 33:8-12.

"Surely you have spoken in my ears, and I have heard the sound of your words. You say, 'I am pure, without transgression; I am clean, and there is no iniquity in me. Behold, he finds occasions against me, he counts me as his enemy, he puts my feet in the stocks and watches all my paths.' Behold, in this you are notrightt. I will answer you, for God is greater than man." (Job 33:8-12)
Job is wrong to declare his innocence at the expense of God's grace, and in fact repents in 42:6. His suffering drove him to say things that were overly optimistic about himself and disrespectful about God. Even though Job was righteous, he was not sinlessly perfect. There was a sediment of pride that began to cloud Job's purity as it was stirred up by his suffering.

B. God's Purpose in Pain for the Righteous is not to Punish, but to Save

Elihu argues that God's purpose in pain for the righteous is salvation for their souls - to conform them to the image of Christ, by New Testament language.

For God speaks in one way, and in two, though man does not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men, while they slumber on their beds, then he opens the ears of men and terrifies them with warnings, that he may turn man aside from his deed and conceal pride from a man; he keeps back his soul from the pit, his life from perishing by the sword. Man is also rebuked with pain on his bed and with continual strife in his bones, (Job 33:14-19)
What does this tell us about God?

Elihu puts sickness and visions of the night side by side as two ways God speaks to man for his good. The purpose is described in v. 17 : The purpose of suffering for the righteous is not to punish, but to save. There is a difference between a stranger who plunges a knife into a child and a surgeon who performs an appendectomy on a child. To call someone righteous does not mean sinless. (36:6-15)

C. Distinguish Between the Righteous and Wicked

Elihu identifies two groups of people: the righteous and wicked. If he had stopped at v. 6, he'd be like Eliphaz touting the karma principle. To some extent, ultimately that's true. Those who are in Christ, the righteous, will be rewarded with an eternity in Heaven. The unrighteous, those who are not in Christ, will be condemned to an eternity in Hell. But, the question we wrestle with in the book of Job is why do the righteous suffer in the short run? (v. 8)

Elihu admits that righteous suffer in fetters and cords of affliction. The righteous are far from perfect because there is much of old nature left. We by nature follow the dictates of our fallen hearts and corrupt minds. Elihu recognizes that suffering in Job's case is to open the ear of the righteous to the sediment of evil that remains in his heart (v. 10)
It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. (Ps 119:71)
D. Elihu Advances the Understanding Beyond Karma

Elihu was angry at Job because he justified himself rather than God. Job argued that the wicked suffer, the righteous do not; therefore, God must have made some mistake! Elihu was also angry at the three friends because they found no answer, even though they had declared Job to be wrong. Their argument was that the wicked suffer, the righteous do not; Job must have really sinned and just isn't telling us.

Elihu's anger was justified in both cases. The righteous do suffer, but the purpose is different - it is a refinement of the righteous. Suffering is for the purpose of deepening righteousness. Sometimes, it takes affliction to point out that we are not as holy as we think we are. Job had no better explanation than his friends. His concept of God's justice was same as theirs. Only Job insisted he was righteous and could not make his suffering fit with God's justice. He became so frustrated that he began to see God as his enemy. (13:23-24)

But, Elihu argued that God was not Job's enemy. (36:8-12) Job was not as pure as he thought he was. God was in fact, Job's loving Father. God gets the glory over Satan in chapters 1 and 2. That victory was quick. Through Job's prolonged suffering, God deepens Job's understanding, trust, and his godliness. This was God's sovereign grace, not punishment.

Job - Elihu's Speech (2)

II. The Spirit of God Brings Wisdom, Not Someone's Age

I said, 'Let days speak, and many years teach wisdom.' But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand. It is not the old who are wise, nor the aged who understand what is right. Therefore I say, 'Listen to me; let me also declare my opinion.' "Behold, I waited for your words, I listened for your wise sayings, while you searched out what to say." (Job 32:7-11)

What do these verses tell us about respecting the wisdom of elders? It is important to note that Elihu did give his elders the respect of waiting for them to finish their speeches. Also note that it is not necessarily true that youth brings wisdom either.

There is both a warning and an encouragement here. As grow older, must not assume that ideas we hold the longest are the truest. We must test all things by the standard God has given us – His Word. In 32:8, Elihu credits the "breath of the Almighty" as the source of understanding. We have seen something similar to this verse in the New Testament.
All [pasa = all, every, each] Scripture [graphe] is breathed out by God [theo-pneustos] and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (2 Ti 3:16-17)
Notice that it does not say that what we feel is right is breathed out by God. If you live by your feelings and your own heart, it's paganism. What is the testimony of Scripture concerning our hearts?
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jer 17:9)
This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that the same event happens to all. Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. (Eccl 9:3)
For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Ro 8:7-8)
Remember, there was warning and encouragement. If the spirit of God has filled you with words – don't let youth hinder you. But again, you better make sure that it is the Spirit of God and not your fallen, clouded, corrupt feelings. Test it by Scripture. If there is not a biblical mandate for what we want to say, we should put our hand over our mouth.

Seek counsel from those who give evidence of God's Spirit working in their lives – young or old. Conversely, don't seek counsel from those who have given evidence of trusting in their own hearts and own understanding. There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end will bring him death. Without the anchor of the revealed Word of God, we are adrift with an unreliable guide. In fact, it is a guide bent on guaranteed failure. Let us not lean on our own understanding, but trust the Lord and His Word. Let's next consider what Elihu adds to our understanding of why the righteous suffer.

Job - Elihu's Speech (1)

I. The young man waits to speak

The three friends progressively arrive at harsher and harsher accusations. They are convinced that Job must have some sin he has committed to suffer so much. Eliphaz ultimately gets delusional, accusing Job of outlandish sins. Bildad makes his final argument with only six verses that people are generally sinful. Zophar does not even respond on the third round of speeches.

But, Job finishes his speeches by defending himself and his righteousness before God. (Job 27:1-6; 31:35-37) The friends are silent. Job won the argument, but has not answered the question. Job has established that suffering is not based simply on karma/justice principle. However, the answer we are left with at this point is that God is capricious and arbitrary in how He doles out suffering.

For 29 chapters, a younger man, Elihu, has been sitting quietly by listening to Job and his three aged comforters. When Job finishes defending himself, and the three friends finish defending their karma principle, Elihu explodes like a champagne bottle.

So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. Then Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, burned with anger. He burned with anger at Job because he justified himself rather than God. He burned with anger also at Job’s three friends because they had found no answer, although they had declared Job to be in the wrong. Now Elihu had waited to speak to Job because they were older than he. And when Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, he burned with anger. (Job 32:1-5)
What follows is not just another misguided effort at solving the problem with bad theology. Many commentators say that Elihu is just more of the same stuff as Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar. However, there is clear evidence from the text that he is God’s messenger, preparing the way for Chapters 38 on to 41 where God speaks.

Here are four reasons why that is the case:

  1. Job is silent at the end of Elihu’s speech. "If you have any words, answer me; speak, for I desire to justify you." (Job 33:32); but God picks up right where Elihu leaves off;
  2. God expresses anger at the three friends, but not Elihu. After the Lord had spoken these words to Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite: "My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has." (Job 42:7)
  3. Elihu says he’s going to say something different. He disagrees with both sides. "He has not directed his words against me, and I will not answer him with your speeches." (Job 32:14)
  4. If he is simply going to repeat the other arguments, why would the writer go on with Elihu for another six chapters after we’ve just gone through 29 chapters of half-truths?
We need to pay attention to Elihu’s speech. He’s not just repeating the same arguments. He says some of the same things the friends have said. Not everything the friends said was error. Sometimes Elihu may be too harsh in his criticism of Job, but he does provide an answer to the problem of why the righteous suffer in the short term. But before we get to that, let's examine why Elihu was confident that he had something to offer to the conversation.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Job - Elihu's speech (0)

Over the past several weeks we have been studying the book of Job. Before we go through last Sunday's lesson on the speech of Elihu, let's first have a quick recap of what we've seen so far.

You recall that the book begins with how good, prosperous and religious Job was. The writer tells us that Job had seven sons, three daughters, millions of dollars worth of livestock, lots of servants. He was righteous and he was rich. Then we are shown a meeting between Satan and God during which God brings the righteousness of Job to Satan's attention. At this meeting in chapter 1, we are told of Satan’s first challenge to God: Job only worships you because you prosper him. So, God gave all that Job had into Satan's hand.

God lengthened Satan's leash to destroy Job's prosperity. In one day, his live stock are stolen or destroyed and a house collapses on all ten kids. All but 3-4 of his servants were killed and they were the ones to bring him the news of the destruction of all of his security.

Nevertheless, Job retains his trust in the Lord in his response to this first day of calamity. "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." Job glorified God and Satan’s first challenge was defeated. "In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong." It is not wrong to see God's power and will behind our calamities. In fact, the best place to start is a humble recognition of His sovereign hand operating in all things. What is wrong is to accuse Him of wrong and challenge His right to do what He sees fit.

In chapter 2, Satan again challenges God: Job only praises you because he has his health. Once again, God lengthens Satan’s leash and Satan strikes Job with wickedly painful sores from his head to his feet. And again, Job’s response is righteous: “Shall we receive good at the hand of the Lord and not receive evil?” The writer again adds, “In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”

But the suffering did not end. It hung on. Job had already held fast in the first two challenges. God had defeated Satan's challenge. So why don't we skip to the end of the book where Job gets all his stuff back and is blessed even more than he was at the beginning?

As the weeks wear on , Job's clear testimony to God's sovereign rights wavered. He questions the wisdom of God for even allowing Job to be born. For the next 29 chapters, Job wrangles with three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar about the problem of his suffering in view of God's justice and Job's own integrity.

The three friends were arguing the Justice Principle, some call it the Retribution Principle. The righteous are rewarded for their good deeds. The wicked are punished for their bad deeds. It's karma, right? Isn’t that the foundation of every major world religion? Do good and prosper? Do bad and you'll get it in the end?

BUT, God Himself in 1:8 and 2:3 had said that Job was a God-fearing man of integrity, who turned away from evil. How then could a just God unleash such suffering on Job? There must be some mistake! Job is persuaded that he is innocent before God and that God is not treating him justly. He can only conclude that God is acting like his enemy, at least for now.

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me! (Job 19:25-27)
Job's argument toward God moves from God was unjust to give him life to God will be just to Job in the afterlife, but is Job's enemy while he is on earth. Ultimately, we will see that Job's three friends have no answer for Job's reply. They are convinced that there is some horrible secret sin that Job has committed to justify such incredible suffering inflicted upon him by God...

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Welcome to the Married Adult IV class blog at Calvary Baptist Church. Our hope is that this will be a location for our class to have further discussions on Bible study lessons, keep up to date with prayer requests and what the Lord is doing in the lives of our various families, calendaring of events that are taking place at the Church, and reminding us who's turn it is to bring snacks...very important.

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