Archives For Joey Newton

August 29, 2013

A Sober Warning

by Joey Newton

Jesus teaching crowdJesus was an amazing teacher: “Never has a man spoken the way this Man speaks” (John 7:46). His words always came with power and conviction and the mesmerizing ability to say so much, so clearly, and with such an economy of words (I have a lot to learn from this)! With a small child in arms, He has just taught a room of 12 proud disciples (1 an unbeliever) the sine qua non of Kingdom life: Humility (Matt. 18:1-4). Not simply humility as a virtue, but kingdom humility that marks spiritual life. Humility that has a conscious sense of the glory of God and seeks all grace, all life, all mercy, all joy, and all things from Him in Christ. The humility that trusts, the humility that obeys, and the humility that serves. You would think that’d be enough for one day. It wasn’t. Jesus has more to say. The lesson needs to go deeper, so He adds a gracious, yet sober, warning. Namely, that fellowship in the kingdom should reflect God’s own love for His children and His jealousy for our holiness. Yes, God has a jealous love for His “little ones” (Matt. 18:6) and so should we. Continue Reading…

August 20, 2013

Becoming Like Children

by Joey Newton

smiling baby w momChristians think, feel, and act different from the world. Now, by the world, I mean – of course – the world system. The parts of this world that are what they are because they are not submitted to God and in love with all He is for us in Christ. The world that John describes in 1 John 2:15-17. This should not surprise us, for this world “lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19) and this “evil one” has “blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who its the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4). Christians, by contrast, are those who have seen the “glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6), who “have been rescued from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Col. 1:13), who have been made “new creatures” (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15), and are different from the world. Thus, to be in the kingdom requires nothing less conversion – to become as a child.   Continue Reading…

August 13, 2013

The Suffering Son

by Joey Newton

Crown of ThornsHave you ever wondered why Jesus had to go through all that He did? I don’t mean just the suffering on the cross, where He bore the curse of the Law for us (Gal. 3:13) and drank the full cup of divine wrath for the sin of His people (Matt. 26:42). We understand that He was and had to be the propitiation – full satisfaction – for our sin (Rom. 3:25; 1 John 2:2). However, what I’m talking about is all the other stuff He suffered. Wasn’t the suffering of the cross enough? In one sense, yes, He paid the price in full and no greater sacrifice could be made. But in another sense, no, it wasn’t enough for Him to be our perfect Mediator. Now, that may be a shocking statement to some, but how about what the writer of Hebrews said: “He learned obedience through what He suffered … having be made perfect” (5:8-9). Yes, He “learned obedience,” and He was “made perfect” as our Mediator and High Priest. Continue Reading…

images copy 2Fellowship, in the Bible, has the basic idea of sharing, or participation. In terms of God and our relationship with Him it involves our participation in the life of the Trinity, granted by the Father, purchased by the Son, made alive by the Spirit. It is fellowship with God and therefore it is fellowship that is marked by truth and holiness. This is John’s point when he says: “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). “Light” in Scripture and when used by John has the two basic ideas of truth and holiness. In others words, to say that God is light is to say that there is no error, or deceit in Him and He is utterly separate from sin: He is holy.

John mentions this upfront because fellowship with God and glorifying God is not simply a matter of feelings or actions – like energetic music, weeping at certain songs, doing a lot of religiously good things, and so on. Fellowship with God that produces a life to His glory is a matter of enjoying and reflecting His character; it is a life that is lived in union with the incarnate, crucified, risen, and ascended Lord whose Spirit is within us. Its a matter of walking in the truth and in holiness. This is the heart of glorifying God. Without this John adds, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:6). Continue Reading…

hands raised 2What does it mean to glorify God with your life? How do you do that? Really, take at least 60 seconds to think about your answer…

Ok, what did you come up with? Maybe your response was something like: “I glorify God by praising Him with my words, both in conversation and sincerely singing at church (especially last Sunday).” Or, “I glorify God because I believe in, speak, and defend sound doctrine.” Or even, “I glorify God by the actions of my life, so by serving others and serving in my church.”

All of these are good things and things that anyone who is glorifying God must be doing, but there’s a problem: all of these things–as essential as they are–can be done by an unregenerate professing believer (Lk. 18:11, 18-27; Ps. 106:12-13), a true believer with a wrong heart (1 Cor. 3:13-15; 4:6), or a true believer with a right heart. Notice a theme? Its a matter of the heart.   Continue Reading…

A question that has troubled people throughout the centuries is how can a good and sovereign God allow such evil in the world? If He were sovereign (in control) and good wouldn’t He simply keep evil from happening? The answer seems obvious, “Yes.” However, evil exists. Therefore, the only conclusion must be that He is either not sovereign, or not good. Both of these are horrible thoughts and, thankfully, light years away from the God who is and who is revealed in Scripture.

Preliminary matters. Before answering the why question, it is important to address a couple of items up front. First, we must come to grips with the fact that God is God and we are not. He doesn’t fit into our boxes. Simply put, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Is. 55:8-9). The fact is, we just can’t see everything from God’s perfect and eternal perspective. He alone “declares the end from the beginning,” and knows the best way to get to there. It took Job a lot of pain to reach the point he could rest there (Job 42:1-6). We would do well to learn from him and start there at the beginning.

Continue Reading…

GriefThe church I pastor is three miles from the site of Friday’s slaughter, where 26 people were murdered. Certainly this event will in some way define and shape the spiritual life of the community for decades to come. I know it will profoundly affect my family; many of those killed were the same age as one of my three daughters.

I spent last Friday in the counseling center the town set up, where families had gathered waiting to hear the names of their child, or to see if any new information came out. At one point an official came in and let everyone know —as best he could—that if their children were still unaccounted for, than certainly they were among those who had been slain. All afternoon there was, understandably, weeping. All I could do was take any opportunity I had to minister grace to them.   Continue Reading…