El estudio más excelente para ensanchar el alma

El 17 de Enero de 1855 el pastor de la capilla de New Park Street, Southwark, Inglaterra [Charles H. Spurgeon], inicio su sermón matutino con las siguientes palabras:

Alguien ha dicho que “el estudio apropiado de la humanidad es el hombre”. No voy a negar este concepto, pero pienso que es igualmente cierto que el estudio apropiado para los elegidos de Dios es Dios mismo; el estudio apropiado para el cristiano es la Deidad. La ciencia más elevada, la especulación más escumbrada, la filosofía más vigorosa que puedan jamás ocupar la atención de un hijo de Dios, es el nombre, la naturaleza, la persona, la obra, los hechos y la existencia de ese gran Dios a quien llama Padre.

En la contemplación de la Divinidad hay algo extraordinariamente beneficioso para la mente. Es un tema tan vasto que todos nuestros pensamientos se pierden en su inmensidad; tan profundo, que nuestro orgullo se hunde en su infinitud. Cuando se trata de otros temas podemos abarcarlos y enfrentarlos; sentimos una especie de autosatisfacción al encararlos, y podemos seguir nuestro camino con el pensamiento de que “he aquí que soy sabio”. Pero cuando damos con esta ciencia por excelencia y descubrimos que nuestra plomada no puede sondear su profundidad, que nuestro ojo de águila no puede percibir su altura, nos alejamos con el pensamiento de que el hombre vano quisiera ser sabio, pero es como el pollino salvaje; y con la solemne exclamación de que “soy de ayer, y nada sé”. Ningún tema de contemplación tenderá a humillar a la mente en mayor medida que los pensamientos de Dios…

Más, si bien el tema humilla la mente, al propio tiempo la expande. El que con frecuencia piensa en Dios, tendrá una mente más amplia que el hombre que se afana simplemente por lo que le ofrece este mundo estrecho… El estudio más excelente para ensanchar el alma es la ciencia de Cristo, y este crucificado, y el conocimiento de la deidad en la gloriosa Trinidad. Nada hay que desarrolle tanto el intelecto, que magnifique tanto el alma del hombre, como la investigación devota, sincera y continua del gran tema de la Deidad.

Además, a la vez que humilla y ensancha, este tema tiene un efecto eminentemente consolador. La contemplación de Cristo proporciona un bálsamo para toda herida; la meditación sobre el Padre proporciona descanso de toda aflicción; y en la influencia del Espíritu Santo hay bálsamo para todo mal. ¿Quieres liberarte de tu dolor? ¿Quieres ahogar tus preocupaciones? Entonces ve y zambúllete en lo más profundo del mar de la Deidad; piérdete en su inmensidad; y saldrás de allí como si te levantarás de un lecho de descanso, renovado y fortalecido. No conozco nada que sea tan consolador para el alma, que apacigüe las crecientes olas del dolor y la aflicción, que proporcione paz ante los vientos de las pruebas, como la ferviente reflexión sobre el tema de la Deidad. Invito a los presentes a considerar dicho tema esta mañana…

J.I. Packer, El Conocimiento del Dios Santo, Editorial Vida (2006), p.19,20

El verdadero propósito de la religión

El hecho de que muchas personas realmente utilicen la religión como una droga no significa que la religión en si tenga esa naturaleza. Jamás se puede afirmar lo suficientemente a menudo o lo suficientemente claro que el propósito de la religión no es dar a las personas una sensación agradable y cómoda y hacerlas felices durante unas pocas horas una vez por semana. Hay una tendencia en muchos lugares en la actualidad a recalcar este aspecto de la religión y a hacer que los oficios religiosos sean tranquilos y relajantes porque sabemos que las personas se dirigen instintivamente a la iglesia al afrontar la muerte, ya sea la propia o la de un familiar.

Ahora bien, no es asunto mío ni de nadie sentar una cátedra en estas cuestiones, pero de esto estoy seguro: las personas que solo se dirigen a Dios cuando las cosas van mal son personas que nunca le han conocido y que probablemente no le conozcan nunca hasta haber sido transformadas.

El objetivo y el propósito de la religión y la predicación del Evangelio no es hacernos olvidar nuestros problemas transitoriamente, sino eliminarlos de una vez por todas, ayudarnos a superarlos. Si tan solo olvidamos nuestros problemas mientras estamos aquí cada domingo, cantando himnos y escuchando el sermón, aún no hemos conocido la verdadera religión, porque su función es resolver nuestros problemas. Si hasta la fecha nuestra historia ha sido que semana tras semana hemos hecho promesas en esta sala de que de ahora en adelante seremos diferentes y mejores personas pero luego hemos seguido igual, te digo que hasta ahora no has sentido el poder del Evangelio, porque el objetivo y la función del Evangelio no son tanto producir decisiones sino reformas.

La verdadera tragedia de la religión en estos tiempos no es tanto que las masas no crean en ella. Es que aquellos que profesan creer en ella no sean cambiados por ella, sino que más bien la utilicen para su conveniencia. Demasiado a menudo la religión actual tranquiliza la conciencia en lugar de despertarla, y produce una sensación de satisfacción propia y de seguridad eterna en lugar de una conciencia de nuestra indignidad y pecaminosidad y de lo probable que es nuestra condenación eterna.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Sermones Evangelísticos, Editorial Peregrino (2003), p.170

Mi conversión

Aún recuerdo ese sábado lluvioso del año 1987. Tenía ya un tiempo asistiendo al grupo de jóvenes de la Iglesia Cristiana, pastoreada por el pastor Rafael Montalvo, y aunque tenía solo 12 años de edad, por la solicitud de mis primas, el líder de jóvenes había permitido que yo participara en las reuniones de jóvenes de la iglesia.

Mi madre, hermanos y yo habíamos llegado a esta iglesia por la invitación de Clara Félix, a quien cariñosamente llamábamos Tía Clara, por la relación de amistad que mi madre tenía con ella. Tía Clara y sus hijas Clarisa, Rosaura y Ángeles, habían sido vecinas de nosotros cuando yo era bien pequeño.

Cuando entramos por primera vez a esta iglesia, para mí fue toda una sorpresa. Esta era diferente a todas las iglesias que había conocido hasta ese momento. Esta iglesia me hablaba de un Dios distinto al cual había escuchado desde mi niñez. Este Dios no era un viejo aburrido con una larga barba blanca, sentado en una gran mecedora gigante esperando a que cometiera un pecado para enviarme un latigazo por mi maldad. Este Dios que predicaba el pastor Montalvo era distinto. Estaba interesado en mí, quería sanarme de mi maldad, liberarme de la esclavitud de mis pecados, sanar las heridas que existían desde mi niñez, llenar los vacios de mi alma y dar un propósito a mi vida.

Las alabanzas que se cantaban a Dios en esta iglesia también eran diferentes. Entonaban canciones donde los miembros de la iglesia le expresaban a Dios a todas voces y con sus manos levantadas su devoción a EL, mientras a su vez exaltaban sus maravillosos atributos.

Está iglesia era totalmente diferente a las iglesias católicas romanas que conocía y a las cuales había asistido desde mi niñez.

Ese sábado lluvioso del año 1987, recuerdo que había invitado a una amiga para la iglesia. Debido a las lluvias de ese día, solo 4 personas asistimos a la reunión de jóvenes. Isaias (Kleber Lora), quien era el líder de jóvenes, Stephanie, una misionera norteamericana que era parte de la iglesia en ese momento, mi amiga invitada y yo.

Isaías había decidido que ese sábado iríamos de casa en casa por el sector donde estaba ubicado la iglesia, para predicar el evangelio de Jesús a los residentes de esa zona, por lo que nos dividió en parejas, El y yo iríamos juntos a una parte del sector, y mi amiga y Stephanie irían juntas a otra parte del sector.

Mi recuerdo es que luego de terminada la labor de evangelización, de ir casa por casa tocando las puertas y predicándoles el evangelio de Jesucristo, ninguna persona se convirtió a la predicación de Isaías. Llegamos de regreso a la iglesia y nos sentamos en las sillas del templo para esperar a las chicas que aún no habían llegado, y al sentarnos le dije a Isaías:

- Isaías, yo quiero aceptar a Jesús en mi corazón.

Para el fue toda una sorpresa. Todo ese tiempo a quien realmente el estuvo predicándole sin saberlo era a mi propia vida, y el no se había dado cuenta de eso. Dios había orquestado a que en esa tarde yo entregara mi vida a EL.

A partir de ese día mi vida nunca sería la misma y Dios pasaría a ser el centro de mi vida. 22 años han pasado y mi vida sigue girando en torno a EL.

Como dice la famosa canción titulada “Eres todo poderoso”:

“La única razón de mi adoración eres tu mi Jesús,

Mi único motivo para vivir eres tu mi señor,

Mi única verdad está en ti eres mi luz y mi salvación,

Mi único amor eres tu Señor y por siempre te alabaré.”

En un próximo post estaré publicando como debido a las tradiciones católica romanas de mi familia materna terminé alejándome de esta iglesia y como volvería nuevamente a rendirme a los pies del maestro y comenzaría a crecer en la fe.

Continuara…

Cinco principios fundamentales acerca de Dios

  1. Dios ha hablado al hombre, y la Biblia es su palabra, la que nos ha sido dada para abrir nuestros entendimientos a la salvación.
  2. Dios es Señor y Rey sobre su mundo; gobierna por sobre todas las cosas para su propia gloria, demostrando sus perfecciones en todo lo que hace, a fin de que tanto hombres como ángeles le rindan adoración y alabanza.
  3. Dios es Salvador, activo en su amor soberano mediante el Señor Jesucristo, con el propósito de rescatar a los creyentes de la culpa y del poder del pecado, para adoptarlos como hijos y bendecirlos como tales.
  4. Dios es trino y uno; en la Deidad hay tres personas: Padre, Hijo y Espíritu Santo; y en la obra de salvación las tres personas actúan unidas, el Padre proyectando salvación, el Hijo realizándola, y el Espíritu aplicándola.
  5. La santidad consiste en responder a la revelación de Dios con confianza y obediencia, fe y adoración, oración y alabanza, sujeción y servicio. La vida debe verse y vivirse a la luz de la Palabra de Dios. Esto y nada menos que esto, constituye la verdadera religión.
  6. J.I. Packer, El Conocimiento del Dios Santo, Editorial Vida (2006), p.22,23

José Mendoza: Viviendo conforme a lo que Dios demanda

Sermón predicado por el pastor José (Pepe) Mendoza de la Iglesia Bautista Internacional el pasado domingo 11 de Octubre del año 2009.

El texto base es 2 Corintios 5:11-21 y el sermón puede ser descargado aquí.

A continuación un extracto del mensaje:

¿Cómo es que nosotros descubrimos el amor de Cristo?

¿Cómo es que nosotros descubrimos que el Señor nos ama?

¿Cómo es que nosotros descubrimos que Dios tiene un profundo amor hacia nuestras vidas?

El profundo amor de Dios para con nosotros no se manifiesta principalmente con que se resuelvan nuestros problemas, o que tengamos una situación laboral y financiera holgada. No se resuelve con que nosotros gocemos de buena salud y con una vida prospera. No se resuelve con el hecho de que Dios nos libra de peligros, de malas influencias y de malas personas. Todo eso es el segundo resultado del amor de Dios.

Pero básicamente el amor de Dios se manifiesta en una sola realidad, en la realidad de la cruz de Jesucristo. La cruz de Jesucristo es el símbolo más profundo del amor de Dios.

Mas Dios muestra su amor para con nosotros, en que siendo aún pecadores, Cristo murió por nosotros” (Romanos 5:8)

...la razón del amor de Dios para mi propia vida es que yo estaba muerto en mis delitos y en mis pecados. No tenía que ver con mi situación financiera. No tenía que ver con mi salud física. No tenía que ver con mi relación matrimonial en primer lugar. Todo aquello que estaba dañado era el resultado de que yo estaba podrido por dentro, comido por gusanos espirituales, porque ya estaba muerto delante de Dios por causa de mis delitos y de mis pecados.

Esa es la realidad fundamental del amor de Cristo que el Señor me lo hace ver a través de la cruz.

La causa de todos nuestros males

Queremos consuelo, anhelamos la salvación, pero preferimos seguir sufriendo antes que reconocer nuestro verdadero problema. Nos gustan ofrecimientos de salvación que nos dicen que más que pecar se peca contra nosotros, que se compadecen de nosotros y nos dicen que hemos sufrido durante mucho tiempo sin merecerlo en modo alguno, y que nos ofrecen alguna clase de palabra mágica que nos lo cambia todo.

El camino de salvación que se odia y rechaza es el que nos dice que hemos pecado, que estamos donde estamos porque somos lo que somos y que nos dice que el paso más importante y primordial en nuestra liberación no es cambiar todo lo que nos rodea sino a nosotros mismos. Por ese motivo, el Evangelio de Dios es siempre la última vía de escape que se prueba. Insiste en la confesión de nuestra pecaminosidad y en reconocer que nuestro pecado es la causa de todos nuestros males. ¡Estamos dispuestos a admitir que podríamos ser mejores y puede que hasta deseemos ser mejores, pero odiamos tener que admitir lo malos y viles que somos! Pero ese es el problema, y reconocerlo y admitirlo es el primer paso hacia la salvación.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Sermones Evangelísticos, Editorial Peregrino (2003), p.161

¿Podía Jesús pecar?

En estos días he estado en una discusión sobre este tema con un hermano y amigo, tratando de contestar a la pregunta de si Jesús podía pecar. La Palabra de Dios es clara en el hecho de que Jesús nunca pecó, pero, ¿tenía el la capacidad de hacerlo?

John Piper nos da una excelente respuesta a esta pregunta: “SI, era posible, y NO, no era posible.”

 

Disciplining the Church

Excelente artículo sobre la disciplina en la iglesia escrito por Luis Palau. El mismo ha sido tomado de la Asociación Evangelística Luis Palau.

Disciplining the Church

By Luis Palau

What should the church do when a member turns to strong drink to avoid a personal problem—turn the other way and hope nobody smells his breath?

What should the church do when a member is an incessant gossip, continually sowing discord? Do we retaliate and start gossiping about that person?

What should the church do when a member commits sexual immorality? Do we say, "It’s complicated and it’s none of our business. Besides, everyone is doing it these days—and we didn’t discipline so-and-so for doing it last year"?

The church must never forget that the Bible is our management manual, and that the Bible makes the church responsible for disciplining its members.

Church discipline is not a pleasant subject. It is one of the least talked about subjects within the church. Many are afraid to discuss it. We would much rather talk about the "victorious Christian life."

But we cannot lead victorious Christian lives until we understand Christian discipline. The more we learn about what God teaches on this subject, the better equipped we will be to handle crises in our personal lives, our families, and our churches.

A Problem at Corinth

The New Testament church in Corinth lacked discipline. Paul discovered that the church hadn’t properly dealt with sin in its midst. Specifically, we read in 1 Corinthians 5:1 that "there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife."

Here was a clear case of disobedience within the church, explicitly forbidden by Old Testament law (Leviticus 18:8), and a case that Paul says would disturb even the heathen. As shocking as this act of immorality was, Paul was even more shocked by the church’s complacent attitude toward the sinner. Rather than being grieved by the sin, they were proud and arrogant (1 Corinthians 5:2, 4:18).

Paul was angry! These people were his converts and disciples, and therefore he proceeded to rebuke them. "Now gather the entire church and put this man out of your fellowship," he told them. "Send this man back to Satan’s world. Don’t allow him to pervert the purity of the church."

"But that’s cruel," you say.

No, it was not cruel. It was done to humiliate the man and to point out his immorality, so that he could repent and be restored to the fellowship. Discipline is not carried out merely to punish, but to awaken people to their sin. It is not carried out in cruelty to destroy, but rather in love to produce conviction, sorrow, repentance, and restoration.

God does not enjoy having to exercise discipline any more than you or I do. We worship a God who wants us to live in victory, and who desires that we be content even in the midst of mounting pressures and problems. Love, joy, and peace are the fruit of his Spirit.

Why, then, aren’t his people filled with love, joy, and peace? Because of sin! Sin kills joy. Satan is the murderer of love, joy, and peace (John 8:44). And we are his slaves as long as we persist in making excuses for our sin, and in refusing to seek cleansing and restoration.

Disobedience leads to unhappiness! When a church steps away from the truth, when it compromises God’s holy Scriptures, a wall of darkness surrounds the congregation. But when a church is obedient, there is love among the members, praises to God our Father, and a sense of happiness in the worship.

Discipline Leads to Brokenness

How would your church have handled the situation in 1 Corinthians 5? It’s a difficult question, because few congregations know quite how to deal in a biblical way with public or known sin. As a result, usually no action is taken by the church against the sinner, and the outside observer labels the members of the church as "hypocrites."

Some churches, on the other hand, confuse threatening the sinner behind closed doors with lovingly disciplining him. This just further infuriates the person who needs to repent and seek restoration. He then changes his church membership (think of all the people you know who have played "musical chairs" with their church membership because of a problem that wasn’t handled biblically), and everyone assumes the problem is settled. But it is not!

Discipline is a tough issue for a church to deal with correctly. It’s unpleasant. Nonetheless, the Bible clearly teaches that the church is to discipline.

What is the purpose of such discipline?

Discipline for sin should be done to restore a person’s joy. One who commits sin and dishonors the name of the Lord loses his joy and his fullness in Christ, and this cannot be restored to the sinner until there is a period of discipline, brokenness, and repentance.

Again you say, "But that’s cruel!"

Is it really cruel for the church to discipline a member who has, for example, committed sexual immorality? Perhaps you know of a woman who now sits alone every Sunday in church with her hurt and embarrassed children. Their father—who claims to be a Christian—is running around with another woman. No action is being taken by the church. Instead, people begin to gossip, and rumors fly.

Which is more cruel: to permit the situation to deteriorate to gossip, allowing the wife and children to suffer; or to take action and attempt to restore the man to the fellowship through biblical discipline, leading to brokenness, repentance, and forgiveness—forgiveness from God, the wife, the children, and the congregation of Jesus Christ?

Forgiveness Follows Brokenness

Biblical discipline not only leads to brokenness, but must also bring forgiveness. Otherwise the church limits the grace of God—which would never be the church’s intention. Rather, as the church disciplines the sinner, it reminds him that he has an Advocate with the Father (1 John 2:1).

How would you like your discipline handled by the church if you were to give in to temptation? Most of us would agree with 2 Corinthians 2:7. After being disciplined we would hope to be forgiven and comforted so as not to be "overwhelmed by excessive sorrow."

In Galatians 6:1 we are told to restore our fallen brother in a spirit of gentleness, because we also could be tempted and fall. Just remind yourself that it could happen to you. We are all vulnerable.

If the sinner is prideful and resists the discipline, then obviously there is no forgiveness. As Corrie ten Boom said, "The blood of Jesus never cleansed an excuse." But it does cleanse a confessed sin (1 John 1:7-9). Therefore, a person who is broken and confesses his sin must be forgiven by the church, and the church must reaffirm its love for him.

Love is difficult sometimes, isn’t it? It’s especially difficult when we let our minds dwell on the sin that a brother has been guilty of, and on how he may have disgraced the name of Jesus. But the Lord forgives him, and tells us not to bring up the man’s sin again, because it belongs in the past. If the Lord forgives the man, then who are we to continue holding it against him?

Paul sets the example for the church in Corinth by saying, "If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him" (2 Corinthians 2:10).

Forgiveness brings a tremendous sense of cleansing and purity to the church. If Christians practiced the principles outlined in 1 and 2 Corinthians more often, think how much healthier the church would be! Knowing the church would biblically discipline them, members would be more hesitant to give in to temptation. The fear of God would fall upon the congregation—the fear of God that is the beginning of wisdom, and the lack of which is the beginning of immorality and corruption.

"Nothing is ever settled until it is settled right," Rudyard Kipling wrote. And the Bible tells the Christian and the church how to settle things right.

Satanic Despair

Paul goes on in 2 Corinthians to say that forgiveness keeps Satan from gaining an advantage over us (2:10-11). Forgiveness delivers us from what I call "satanic despair." Precisely when someone is repentant and broken, Satan schemes to completely destroy that person, should the church fail to forgive him and quickly restore him to fellowship. Years ago in Guatemala a man came to me who had dishonored our Lord’s name. He was truly broken and had repented. Yet he was still without joy. It was obvious that he needed to be assured that he was forgiven—otherwise Satan would have gained an advantage over him.

I did something then which until that day I had never done. I put my arm around him and said, "Brother, you’ve repented; your sins are forgiven. Let me pray with you." And this broken, humble Guatemalan said, "Oh, thank you, thank you. Now I’m free!"

With tears running down our faces, we hugged each other. He was so excited because he had been reassured by a fellow brother in Christ.

But this man should have been reassured earlier by his local church. When someone is obviously broken and repentant, the church must stand up and say, "In the name of the Lord Jesus, rejoice! He has forgiven you and we forgive you too." The assurance from such corporate forgiveness brings healing and joy to the entire congregation.

Without this forgiveness, Satan whispers to the repentant person, "You’re nothing to that church. They don’t love you. Look how broken and miserable you are because of their discipline. You’ve confessed and asked to be forgiven, but they just want to crush you." Believe me, Satan does a fantastic job of coloring the story, for he is "the father of lies" (John 8:44).

Paul spoke of sorrow that is "godly" (2 Corinthians 7:10), but excessive despair is an opportunity for Satan to bury a person in guilt. Rather than see a man or woman destroyed by Satan, the body of Christ should realize its unique opportunity to build the person up and restore him! Love demands that we allow this person to be free from his haunting past. A free, disciplined and forgiven person can raise his head and confidently move on knowing that God does not remember a sin confessed: "Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more" (Hebrews 10:17). This is the most exciting element of church discipline.

Disobedience Hurts All

In 2 Corinthians 1:23-2:11, Paul referred to an incident of disobedience in the Corinthian church that forced him to write a severe letter of criticism, instructing them to quickly settle this problem. Paul came on strong with them, exercising his full authority as an apostle.

Paul was uncertain how the Corinthians would respond to his letter of criticism. He realized that his authority and integrity were under fire in Corinth. And until he found out how they responded, his ministry was stalled.

According to 2 Corinthians 2:12-13, Paul went during this time to Troas to preach the gospel, and found excellent opportunities there. We can imagine his excitement and enthusiasm because of the great potential to further the Lord’s work in Troas. Meanwhile, Titus was to meet Paul with a report from Corinth.

But Titus never showed up in Troas. So Paul, restless for news from Corinth, left Troas and moved on to Macedonia. He was therefore unable to take full advantage of the open door to spread the gospel in Troas.

Because of the unsettled matter in Corinth, the ministry suffered in another city hundreds of miles away. Troas is mentioned briefly in Acts 16 and 20, but there is no indication that the church flourished there. Likewise, we never learn how long the door for the gospel in Troas remained open. We do know that Paul was unable to make the most of that opportunity.

Our lives are all interwoven, and our disobedience hurts not only us, but the entire body of Christ.

So What?

Is there anything you need to confess to the Lord Jesus? Do you need to seek His forgiveness? Is there anything you need to confess to someone else (James 5:16)? Finally, is there anything you need to confess publicly to the elders of your church, to seek their forgiveness for? Our confession of sin should be as public and well-known as the sin we committed. Elders, is there public sin you are aware of within the church that you have not dealt with biblically? Don’t try to justify anyone’s disobedience. Don’t cover it up. Apply the principles of Matthew 18:15-20:

“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”

If the person doesn’t repent once these principles are applied, public discipline by the church is in order.

As Jesus said in this passage, "Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." There is authority in the body of Christ, and when we obey the Scriptures concerning church discipline, we are acting with and under authority. We have the sanction of heaven, according to Scripture, and we, through our obedience, allow the Holy Spirit to work with great power.

Pastors, begin to teach your elders about the importance of discipline within the church; preach about it to your congregation, and help your church begin applying biblical discipline the next time there is a case of public disobedience.

Discipline is a grim subject, isn’t it? But the Lord loves each of us and wants to cleanse and restore us to complete fellowship with others in the body of Christ whenever we disobey Him. And because He desires that the church be pure and filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, He has given us instructions on how to remain pure. May the prayer of all of us be that our congregations cling to that purity.

 

El hombre… hecho para Dios

Si el hombre no está hecho para Dios

¿Por qué solo en Dios es feliz?

Si el hombre es hecho para Dios

¿Por qué es tan opuesto a Dios?

BLAISE PASCAL

R.C. Sproul, La Santidad de Dios, Publicaciones Faro de Gracia (2002), p.103

Facing Sexual Temptation

Aunque está en inglés este artículo, no quise dejar de compartirlo con ustedes porque lo encontré bastante bueno. El mismo ha sido tomado de la Asociación Evangelística Luis Palau.

Facing Sexual Temptation

By Luis Palau

Adultery. It’s a common word and a common occurrence in our society.

Lt. Kelly Flinn narrowly avoided court-martial for adultery and insubordination. Gen. Joseph Ralston left the candidacy for the top military position when a previous affair spawned an uproar. Everyone—from presidents to preachers—is subject to the temptation.

But adultery’s stain goes deeper than the individual. More dishonor has come to the name of Jesus Christ by sexual sin than any other sin.

You will be tempted.

C.S. Lewis, in The Screwtape Letters, said, "No man knows how bad he is until he has tried to be good. There is a silly idea that good people don’t know what temptation means."

We must learn from the Lord to enjoy full mastery over sex, His marvelous gift. "For God did not give us the spirit of timidity," Paul reminds us, "but the spirit of power and love and self-control."

Proverbs 4:23 exhorts, "Above all else, guard your heart, for out of it flow the springs of life." How can we do that?

Monitor your fantasizing and daydreaming when your mind is idle. Refuse pornography, whether written or in movies or videos.

You can talk yourself into sexual sin. It happened to a friend of mine. He had won thousands to Christ during 25 years. Suddenly he left his wife and became hard and rebellious, even pretending to return to evangelism. I found out that for years he had secretly watched pornographic films, yet preached heavily against immorality. Eventually, like a serpent, it bit him. It has happened to better people than you and me.

Firmly implant in your soul God’s principles established for our protection. Believe them, accept them, reaffirm them. Study Malachi 2:13-16 and 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8, and make Joseph in Genesis 39 a model. He faced, resisted and triumphantly ran from temptation. But be ready! As my mentor, Ray Stedman, said, "Woe to the man who has to learn principles at a time of crisis!"

The Word of God, as our meat and drink, keeps the inner man and woman strong and sensitive on a continuing basis. "Your Word I have hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you" (Psalm 119:11).

Resisting temptation by quoting scripture still is a mighty tool.

One preacher I know allowed himself to become enchanted by an attractive, sensuous convert who had made advances shortly before he led her to Christ. He resisted and she had converted.

Three years later, he saw her again. He drew close to offer an "innocent" kiss nothing more, he tells us when the young woman started quoting, "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it" (1 Corinthians 10:13). He left in a hurry!

God will remove His hand from your service to Him if you allow lust to lead you to actual sexual immorality. Samson lost his power. "He did not know that the Lord had left him" (Judges 16:20). So many friends started out well—winsome, friendly, authoritative. Where are they now? I can think of half a dozen on the sidelines because of money, sex, or pride. Useless, lonely, fruitless, bitter.

Beware: Failure does not occur suddenly, overnight, in one blast of a careless moment or the explosion of uncontrolled passion. Dr. George Sweeting of Moody Bible Institute said, "Collapse in Christian life is rarely a blowout. It’s usually a slow leak." When a man takes that fatal step, it has been gestating in his soul for months, perhaps years. Toying, daydreaming. One step at a time, the sensitivity level lowers. Then, the unthinkable occurs.

Have you stumbled in this sensitive area of your life? Confess, make amends, clear yourself with the proper people. Where are you in your walk with God? If you must get reconciled to Him, do it now! "He who comes to me, I will in no way cast out," the Lord has said.

Sexual holiness demands we not play games in flirting, body language, and clothing. In the cases of fallen men I know, they first failed in precisely those areas. Keep friends accountable before drastic failure, discipline, and sadness happen.

La mejor forma de expulsar al diablo

“La mejor forma de expulsar al diablo, si no se rinde ante el texto de las Escrituras, es mofarse y no hacerle caso, porque no puede soportar el desprecio.”

LUTERO

 

“El diablo… el espíritu orgulloso… no puede aguantar que se mofen de el.”

TOMAS MORO