Thursday, October 26, 2006

Redeeming or Dreaming?

…to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy…
(1 Corinthians 1:2 – NIV)

We are called to holiness, or wholly otherness, so that our lives will match our testimony. We are called out individually, but also corporately. Individually, when the chips are down, our lives will be different than others, and our testimony will bear weight. We are saints in position, but we need to act like saints in condition.

Corporately, we will see the power of God demonstrated when we lean on Him instead of the arm of the flesh through partnering with the world. We are not only to proclaim, but also to live out the truth of the gospel, not complain, and live out our pitiful use of the gospel. The gospel has the power we need individually, and corporately. We need holy gladness and holy boldness. We need courage and conviction that God is enough.

We are to bring the message, to speak and to live the message out (Philippians 2:15), not have unbelievers come in with their message so that we can then give them ours. Our credibility is in godly living, not worldly appeal. We seem to have this feeling in the Church today that we need to beg them to come and do everything like the world, we have to entertain them to get them to come in, and now the church looks just like the world, only with baptized “Christian” terminology, like so-called “Christian yoga”.

The truth is that so-called Christians today will do anything and just put the tag of “for God”, or “for Jesus”, on it and somehow this is supposed to baptize it into sanctity. The problem is that we are alienated from the life of God by the hardness of our hearts (Ephesians 4:17-18). We are not broken by our sin, and we feel like it is our right and amazingly we call darkness light and say it is our responsibility to redeem the culture by becoming like it. Blasphemy! Titus 1:16 and 2:11-12 apply here.

This is exactly what we are seeing these days. The truth is that the worldly fascination proves that they have not been BROKEN by their sin, they are self-ish, and what they want is a Jesus who will let them cling to Him while still clinging to their old man and his ways. "Christian homosexuals", "Christian Goth", “Christian nudist camps”, “Christian raves” etc; it is all about "redeeming it for Christ", they say. If the tree is bad, so will the fruit be.

What we need is new life, not our best life now, including all those goodies we won't leave behind. They defiantly will not listen, and claim that they belong to Christ because they are not broken, again I say. The true gospel offends people, and makes them count the cost. This reminds me of what goes on in Hindu countries, where you evangelize; they say that they want Jesus, but only to add Him to their pantheon of gods. Here in Laodicea, we want Jesus plus our entertainment...The gospel cannot be partnered with the world (2 Corinthians 2:15-16).

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

For Whom The Bell Tolls

Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ
(Romans 1:6)

If we are also the called, then what are we called to? We are called, as it says in the next verse (Romans 1:7), to be saints (1 Corinthians 1:2). What does this mean?

We are called to fellowship with Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:9).
We are called out of darkness and into light (1 Peter 2:9).
We are called to peace (1 Corinthians 7:15).
We are called to liberty (Galatians 5:13).
We are called to the one body of Christ (Colossians 3:15).
We are called to holiness (1 Thessalonians 4:7).
We are called to suffer for righteousness sake (1 Peter 2:21 / Philippians 1:29 / 2 Timothy 3:12).
We are called to virtue (2 Peter 1:3).
We are called to inherit a blessing (1 Peter 3:9).
We are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9).
We are called to His kingdom and glory (1 Thessalonians 2:12 / 2 Thessalonians 2:14 / 1 Peter 5:10)!

Those wonderful truths we have been sharing are what our missionary friends are telling those in the rest of the world. It is also what we need to be sharing with our world. We don’t need to change the message. If those you share the Gospel with don’t believe it, then they won’t receive it. If they won’t receive it, you will have done your part; if they don’t get it, then don’t sweat it (John 3:27 / John 6:44). Your job is to walk worthy of the call. I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called (Ephesians 4:1 – ESV).

The phone is ringing and it is God on the other end. Will you answer the call?

Monday, October 23, 2006

An Empowering Realization

…having the eyes of your hearts enlightened…
(Ephesians 1:18 – ESV)

Our spiritual power and our practical sanctification depend on a moment-by-moment bond with God. The dynamic of that relationship that helps build that bond is to be thanking Him in all things.

God initiates and establishes our relationship with Him. We don’t seek Him; He seeks us. Like everyone else, we were rebels under the spell and the power of the enemy; Christ rescues us and brings us home. We have nothing to do with it. We only respond to Life because we have been made alive. Because of His great love for us, God makes us alive when we were dead. It’s an empowering realization.

You may say, well we received eternal life, we responded. True, we opened the door and it was our choice. Jesus was knocking on the door, and the door only has a handle on our side so it is of our own volition, our own “free will” that we open to Christ, but the truth is that we can only hear Him knock if He grants us the ability to hear. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

When we study the book of Romans we see the righteousness of God and the redemption of man. As we become more and more aware of how desperately sinful we really are, we also become more and more astounded by how righteous God really is. We begin to more fully realize, to make it real in our lives, the fact that God didn’t owe us His grace and mercy. We were dead in our sins, but God has made us alive. How often we forget that.

This “empowering realization” is the fountainhead of our giving thanks for His grace. Now then, once we’re spiritually alive by God’s power, we can act to remain plugged into His current of grace. We are getting that moment-by-moment thing going. As we thank God for His presents, we remain in His presence.

However, it needs to be said that it is easy to give thanks when things are good, according to our standards. We have also talked about adoration, and it is tied to thankfulness. It gives thanks for His character regardless of any favors received. It is the real evidence of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life. Gracious gratitude, as Jonathan Edwards called it, can grow in the midst of pain. We need to give thanks to God through Jesus Christ by our suffering, and indeed it is Jesus Christ alone who gives value to suffering, so through Him is the only way to give thanks in it. Even if you physically die, you cannot spiritually die, for Christ has made you alive.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Session 8 –Todd Murray


Todd has been pastor for music and worship at the Bible Church of Little Rock, AK, since 1983. He is a theologian in his own right. Music is in his tool bag, but it is just that, a tool, a means, not an end. He led each session with songs of praise and wonder. He used John Newton hymns with new arrangements to deliver a powerful time of adoration of our Triune God. It was more than I can blog here, but I have one suggestion: GET HIS STUFF! I will be, for sure.

In this final session he talked and performed in song the idea that we can give worship angels cannot, that is to say, we can speak of Jesus Christ dying for our personal sin. He used Habakkuk 3 to explain that even when faced with calamity, we should still worship, as we see the character of God, not the circumstance of man.

As a quick aside, he addressed the worship wars by saying that it is usually about peoples’ problems and preferences, not substance. The real question should be, “what kind of worship does God like?”

Hebrews 13:10-16

2 sacrifices every believer must bring if they want to worship acceptably to God

Hebrews theme – Christ is superior – don’t back away from this

The believers this was originally written to were being tempted to compromise, and the writer is pressing the point of Jesus’ singular superiority.

Vs.10-14 – motivation for sacrifice – Christ sanctifying work
15a – manner of bringing sacrifices
15b-16a – sacrifices themselves
16b – result

Not how but who to worship – we value things instinctively


Motive #1 – Christ’s Work

Vs.10 – we can eat what they in the Tabernacle could not; we participate
11-12 – Jesus prefigured in the types

Psalm 103 – forgiveness is #1 motivation

Worship should be triggered by truth not by feelings
Music is a dangerous tool, we are often keyed by it instead of Christ’s sacrifice, and we need to be triggered by gratitude

Motive #2 – Christ’s Worth

Vs.13-14 –
Hebrews 11:24-27 – leave all else behind for the eternal
Acts 5:40-41 – more compromise = less joy in worship / More reproach = more joy in worship

(JD – Think about this carefully, the more you stand up for Christ, the more persecution you will suffer, and the more you will need to lean on God, and look for deliverance, and appreciate the release of worship, and you are valuing God above that which you are losing, respect, prestige, position, wealth, power, health, friends, jobs, and whatever else – Christ is superior)

Todd Murray – “If you are happy here (on earth), your worship will be lame.”

Joy in worship – sharing reproach of Christ means you consider Him better than other things

(JD – BTW – this section was the highlight of the conference for me – my wife was with me, and she was in agreement about what Todd was saying, my blogging words do not do this justice as to how he illustrated these things.)


15a – through Christ

Not through the rituals of the OT, on the merits of Christ alone

Look for the attitude of casualness – “I have something good to offer” – NO.

Come with the idea of bankruptcy to bring

Continually – without interruption – convicts us immediately
We talk about what we admire, or worship


15b-16a –
So broad it covers all of life

Thankful words
In OT they brought first fruits, now we take the sickle and give a harvest of thanks
Treasure Christ
Do you have to work up a “happy face”?

Thankful deeds
Broadens and elevates this to more than thank yous, to doing deeds and sharing (faithful service)

Titus 2 / Ephesians 2:10

It is all worship – don’t compartmentalize

Romans 1:9 – preaching
Serve in spirit; the word for serve is the same Greek word for worship
John MacArthur – expository exaltation – preaching as worship

Romans 12:1-2 – service = worship

Romans 14:13 – issues dealt with in love is worship – loving those whom disagree with us on secondary issues is worship

Romans 15:16 – evangelism is worship

2 Timothy 4:6 – dying is worship

Philippians 2:17 / 4:18 – giving is worship


16b – God is pleased, if you bring both

Yes, singing is worship, but elevate the other things, they have just as much value, not more value, but also not less value than the most beautiful music ever

Erase the lines

Both words and deeds

“Don’t neglect to do good and share” means “do not fear man”

Live full tilt for Christ – the fellowship of sufferings brings the most intense joy in worship

Finally, I truly enjoyed this session, and this entire conference. Thank you to Phil Johnson(our friendly Pyromaniac), Pastor Chris Pixley, and Dr. Robert Reymond, the wonderful church volunteers whom made us feel right at home, and to the new friends I met, as well as those whom I only knew through the blogging world. May God be glorified as we continue on in our worship of the Triune One.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Session 7 – Johnson III

This was Phil Johnson’s last address to the conference, and it was a good one….

Phil was to talk of the Trinity in glorification. He mentioned that the same factors of the Trinity involved in salvation and sanctification applied to glorification.

Glorification is the instantaneous completion of sanctification, the culmination of eternal security / perseverance of the saints.

Philippians 1:6 – sums up all of salvation, it settles definitively the guarantee of salvation.

Phil intimated that his first theological struggle was with the doctrine of eternal security. His friends said it was dangerous to even think of such a thing as ES. He grew up in Tulsa, Ok, home of charismania and an Arminian stronghold. He saw John 5:24 and thought, “if you can lose it, how is it eternal?”

The pastor that baptized him prayed with him and quoted Romans 11:29. Phil then asked his pastor if one could lose their salvation. The pastor said “no”. He spent his first year as a Christian pondering ES, going through texts such as Romans 8:1 / Jude 24 / Philippians 1:6. Phil began to see the truth about ES, and that is how he was drawn to the other doctrines of grace. At the time he was Arminian (or Armenian as he used to call it) on the other 4 points. He realized texts like John 10:27-28 / 1 Timothy 1:12 / Hebrews 7:25 / Ephesians 2:10 were pointing to this being truth. He is convinced that Romans 8:30 teaches that salvation is all of God, and it is what separates us from all other religions. In Philippians 1:6 we see that God finishes what He starts.

3 Reasons We Can Know We Are Secure

1. God began the work in you

He initiates – John 6:44, 65 / Romans 8:7 / Ephesians 1:4
God looked for Adam after he sinned
John 15:16 / 1 John 4:19 – He chooses first

The context of Philippians 1:6
In vs.5, it is about salvation, not giving to Paul or building the church – Acts 14:27
Acts 16:7-12ff. – Philippi – vs.14, God opened her heart, God orchestrated it all, our faith is the result of His work

Philippians 1:29 – saving faith itself is supernatural, real faith endures because it comes from God – Hebrews 11 / Mark 9:24 / Luke 17:5 – pray to God

2. God is still at work in you

Philippians 2:13 / 1 John 2:19 / 1 Peter 1:5 – true believers do not completely or finally fall away from Christ, yet we still sin – David, Peter, Lot (2 Peter 2:7-8) – preservation is God’s work – Jeremiah 32:40 / Psalm 125:1-2 / 2 Corinthians 3:5

3. God will complete the work in you

Romans 8:29-30 – glorified is in the past tense – Numbers 23:19 / Philippians 3:20-21 / 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 /1 John 3:2

Practical application

Comfort and encouragement

Some feel it might lead to carelessness, but it ought to do the exact opposite

Spurgeon – No rickety gospel, God is in control, not waiting to see if we will choose Him

For unbelievers

Salvation is all God’s work
You cannot atone for your own sin
You cannot will to reform,
Even if you could it isn’t enough, your inside is corrupt
Hebrews 7:25– Christ can / John 7:37 / Revelation 22:17

Friday, October 20, 2006

Session 6 – Dr. Reymond II

Dr. Reymond’s topic was the Trinity in sanctification, but he wanted to give some background first.

What is the Doctrine of the Trinity?

Calvin – God’s special mark of distinction

Christians of first five centuries creedalized from its conviction that Jesus is very God and the Holy Spirit is a distinct person.

Heresy brought us to crystallize in Nicea 325, 381, Ephesus 431 (anti-Nestorian), Chalcedon 451

1. One God eternally immutably indivisible – monotheism – to reject this = tritheism

2. Father, Son and Spirit each distinct (not separate) persons – all share all attributes, yet each has distinct properties the other two don’t have – to reject this = modalism
Father – Paternity – ungenerated
Son – eternally generated
Spirit – proceeds from Father and Son
Internal order
PCUSA – blasphemy

3. Father, Son, Spirit each fully and equally God – to reject this = subordinationism

Why do we believe it?

The Bible teaches it – 20 texts (and bonus material)

Isaiah 48:16 / Isaiah 61:1 / Isaiah 63:9-10 / Zechariah 2:1-10 / Matthew 28:19 / Mark 1:10-11 (synoptic parallels, synoptic = look alike gospels) / John 14:16-26 / John 15:26 / John 16:7-15 / Romans 8:1-11 (abba = father, abba is not “daddy”) / 1 Corinthians 12:3-6 / 2 Corinthians 13:14 / Galatians 4:4-6 / Ephesians 1:3-14 / Ephesians 2:18 / Ephesians 4:4-6 / 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 / Titus 3:4-6 / 1 Peter 1:2 / Jude 20-21

We are not restricted to “all in one verse” texts; other texts show evidence of the Trinity by showing the deity of Jesus and/or the distinct personhood of the Holy Spirit.


Jesus called Theos (God) – John 20:28 / Acts 20:28 / Romans 9:5 / Titus 2:13 / Hebrews 1:8 / 2 Peter 2:1 / 1 John 5:20 – others

Calvin – unless we grasp these we exclude the true God in our minds

Robert Reymond – Trinity is what separates God from idols

Value of Trinity

Vital tenet – it keeps us from idolatry, if we have no Trinity we worship an idol, if you don’t worship God as Triune you worship a false God

Brings biblical doctrine of Soteriology into clear focus


You do not sanctify yourself, Jesus still working to accomplish redemption, but also applies redemption through Word and Spirit – Romans 8:5-6, 13 / John 17:17 / Ephesians 1:3

Definitive sanctification

John Murray quote

Sanctification is a process but it is also once for all

Acts 20:32 – sanctified is in the perfect tense, passive participle, action in past effects continue on – Acts 26:18 / 1 Corinthians 1:2
1 Corinthians 6:11 – aorist indicative, action is punctilliar, at a point
Ephesians 5:25-26 – having cleansed – Galatians 2:19-20
Romans 6:2,17-18,20-22 – have been freed

Romans 7:4-6 – we were in the flesh
Romans 7:1-6 – died ending the process of penalty (Enron executive died no longer can be tried)

The law is like a husband that cannot love, only convict, but it makes us desire more
Second husband, grace, can plant seed, bring forth harvest
When Christ died, you died

Decisive breach in the Christian – What is the ground of this?
Just as justification is Christ’s righteousness to us, it is spiritual union with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection – union with Christ is the fountain of all spiritual blessing
All Christians are in union with Christ. To the degree that we reckon this to be true (take it seriously), we will experience practical sanctification
Union with Christ: the breach is not just positional but real, existential reality, death to sin in an actual experience – see the “in Christ” statements – as real as an umbilical cord

The Father’s will is your sanctification – definitive and also progressive
Romans 8:13 – continually
Colossians 3:5 – union with Christ means you must

3 fold pattern of the sanctified life
Holy character
His holy will
Christ’s holy life

Agents and Instruments

Progress not dependent on our own efforts

Father – Word
Spirit – death to the flesh
Christ – one thing to next growth

Not passive though, consciously engaged
Philippians 2:12-13
Not doing to the exclusion of willing
Not willing to the exclusion of doing
2 Peter 1 – be diligent

Means of growth

Studying the Word

Robert Reymond – “death is the greatest means of grace” – to die is gain (Philippians 1:21)

Pastors, people need to see you walking in holiness

Robert Murray McCheyne – holiness walk the most important thing we can teach

It comes from God, so train yourself to be godly

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Session 5 – Q & A

Q: Is there a satisfactory analogy for the Trinity?

Phil Johnson (PJ) – all fall short
Chris Pixley (CP) – look at John Frame’s “triads” as hints, but incomplete
Robert Reymond (RR) – concurs with other two

Q: Trinity and the New Perspective on Paul (NPP)?

PJ – eats at sola fide, close tie to Judaizers doctrine
RR – see his Defending the Faith book

Q: Trinity and trichotomy?

RR – not a trichotomist
PJ – not a trichotomist, like question #1, the image of God in man is moral, not tripartite

Q: Whom do we pray to?

RR – we may pray to any, but bear in mind that we would normally pray to the Father

Q: Does Arminianism lessen Adoption doctrine?

PJ – no covenant in eternity past, so in a sense yes
RR – Charles Finney is not a heretic, he is an arch-heretic (said with strong passion)
CP – neglects Christ’s work in obedience to the Father

Q: What is some of the subtle language of anti-Trinitarians?

CP – Jakes = manifestations
PJ – craftily avoids, look at doctrinal statement for ambiguity

Q: Millennium workings?

RR – Romans 4:13 – heirs of Holy Land, which is the whole world (I may have this wrong - JD)

Q: Spirit’s workings in heaven?

All agreed it will be about union and worship

Q: How to make Trinity understandable for kids?

RR – basics, one God, eternally indivisible and immutable, 3 distinct persons, each fully God
PJ – circle diagram
CP – Conference poster has a sovereign (a coin) design on it representing Trinity

Q: In heaven will we see all three?

CP – “see” is not how we think it is, only Jesus is physical, so only Him perhaps, but a mystery

Q: Patripassianism (Father suffer on the Cross also?) / Sense of “why hast thou forsaken me”?

PJ – refer to his article on impassibility (no, because the Father cannot suffer)
RR – not ontologically forsaken, it is as to role

Q: Do both Son and Spirit indwell?

RR – yes, both

Q: Holy Spirit in judgment (John 16)?

PJ – this passage is talking abut the Spirit’s convicting ministry

Q: Was HS there or not before Jesus went away?

PJ – something new happened, OT saints were regenerate though
RR – about language, HS doesn’t come and go, this is about uniquely manifesting Himself
OT saints saved exactly same way, but with not as much info
Romans 8:9 – he is not a dispensationalist, not new, but always
CP – spatial relation, not in a place, this is about Jesus telling them they were not left alone

Q: Any OT knowledge or clue about Trinity?

RR – always among all people there exists broad knowledge differences, from the hillbilly to John Calvin, during any time this has been so, some know something, and some know more. Men like David and Isaiah had advanced knowledge.
PJ – we understand what they knew in part, John 8 (Abraham), Job (spoke of redeemer and resurrection), Micah 5:2, Isaiah 9, they lacked clarity

Q: Trinity and morality; morality can only be shown in relationships, so is morality a defense of the Trinity?

PJ – yes, as in love

Q: HS guidance in evangelism?

PJ – no personal revelation though scriptural enlightenment, one message for evangelism, not different for each one
George Whitfield, Cotton Mather, announced prophecies that didn’t come to pass
CP – more in corporate terms
RR – the issue is “HOW”, study of scripture, impulses, urges to pray for particular people

Q: How to begin with those who deny Trinity, or say it was invented?

CP – Beisner book given at conference
RR – The fact that the councils were to confront error, not invent doctrine, denial is started by denial of Jesus’ deity
PJ – Study original sources, these heretics caused us to clarify

Q: See Him as He is?

PJ – see my 2 Corinthians 3:18 sermon

Q: Witnessing? Pentecostal Manifestations?

CP – some Charismatics have said that we have neglected the Holy Spirit, but when the Holy Spirit is properly understood the focus is on Christ, of course we don’t want cold formalism, but some have swung the pendulum too far
RR – J.I. Packer has said the HS is the shy person of the Godhead

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Session 4 - Phil Johnson Part Deux

This session was to be about the Trinity in salvation. Phil chose as his text Galatians 4:1-7. He stated that redemption is all about the Trinity. It was not invented as a doctrine in the fourth century; what was already understood among the orthodox community was codified so as to combat errors. This passage affirms the eternal existence, deity and distinction of each member.

A right understanding of this passage of scripture hinges on a correct understanding of the Trinity. The Incarnation ripped the veil off the mystery of the Godhead.

Phil decided that it was proper to give some background of the letter to the Galatian churches so as to set this up. The Judaizers had come and posited that keeping the law was an advanced form of Christianity. What they were doing, however, was to lead away from Christ and to what sinners must do to make themselves acceptable to God. Galatians 2 / Acts 15 – the Judaizers were perhaps even representing the Jerusalem church, but they were teaching the Gentiles Pharisaical ideas.

Phil gave a brief summary of Galatians. In chapters one and two Paul defended his apostolic credentials. He states that all the other disciples recognized his authority. In 2:16 he starts his doctrinal defense of justification by faith. In chapter three, Paul points out that even in the OT it was justification by faith alone, in verses 6 and 17, even before the law. This is parallel to Romans 4. In fact, in verses 22-23, we see God putting us under a guardian, in a sense, to make sure his elect would get to where He had them going, to faith.

In verse 24 of chapter three, we see the purpose of the law, to set the moral standard too high to meet. This keeps Jesus in His role as redeemer, and points to the exceeding sinfulness of sin. In verse 28, Phil said that Paul was pointing us to the fact that we are all now spiritually equal with Abraham as being an heir. This verse is not talking about our roes being changed, however.

This leads us to chapter 4, Paul’s whole culmination and defense against the Judaizers. Paul’s approach in his letters is always doctrine, then practice. Paul was summing up and saying the doctrine of the Judaizers was anti Christian. They affirmed a bunch of good things, but the addition of circumcision ruined it all. They were saying that, “Christians must live in accordance with the law”. It was not that circumcision was sinful in itself, but that it was taught to be a must.

J. Gresham Machen said the modern view sees the Judaizers error as slight, but it is not slight at all. The liberals of his day were doing the same things.

The process according to Paul was
1. Belief
2. Justification
3. Keeping the law

The Judaizers, modern and ancient, said this, in effect
1. Belief
2. Keeping the law
3. Justification

It seems as if Paul was the only one to understand and articulate this clearly. Paul says that Christ is greater than Judaism, and that going back to Judaism is going back under the guardian, going back to elementary school.

Being an heir we stand on equal ground with Abraham, but there is much more; we are heirs with Christ! The full enjoyment of our inheritance is not for children. Children are under authority; they are told what to do. The advent of Christ was our appointed time for adulthood. Christianity is advanced Judaism, nor vice versa. We have a more exalted privilege, and adult privilege. The law was elementary, but faith in Christ brings adulthood.

Paul was writing to Gentiles about the Hebrews and the law, but he includes them in the discussion. In chapter four, verse three, the “elements” Paul refers to are religions in general, he is telling the Gentiles that they are also adopted. The law is the same as paganism in the sense of following it without faith in Christ is futile.

What does this have to do with the Trinity? The Trinity revealed is the biggest difference between the OPT and the NT, it is the most prominent, distinct difference. Ask a Jew; their biggest problem with Christianity is the Trinity specifically, or the deity of Christ, which brings the same idea.

This passage shows the three persons of the Trinity working together since eternity to affect our salvation. Phil gives three points here.

Redeemed by Christ

Christ is our substitute in every conceivable sense (Galatians 3:13 / 2 Corinthians 5:21). We benefit from His action as of we did it.

Adopted by the Father

Vs.5 – We have a share in Christ’s inheritance. We are elevated to full adult privilege, we are truly coming into it, and to go back is unbelief.

Indwelt by the Spirit

Vs.6 – We take this too lightly – not only are we united with Christ, but we become the temple of God (1 Corinthians 6:17,19).

We cannot begin to fathom this…

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Session 3 – Robert Reymond

I must start by making a confession and observation. I had not heard Dr. Reymond speak before, but as this large man grasped the top of the pulpit, pulling himself up the steps to the platform, he turned and looked out at the people, and I understood in that moment what the word gravitas means in a more full way. He looked soberly at the audience and stretched his arms to either side of the podium. He then prayed that he would say only those things God meant to be heard, and that we would be granted those special ears that Jesus talked about, ears to hear, and that we would apply what was said, and consider the consequence of what was to be said.

Dr. Reymond began by saying that this, the Trinity, is the most neglected doctrine as far as the pulpit is concerned. During his entire ministry, he has never heard of even one sermon devoted entirely or specifically to the Trinity (JD – I was shocked to hear that). He then gave an outline:

1. Triune God creates material universe
2. Triune God creates man
3. Why a Triune God creating all this is important

1 – In Six Literal Days

Genesis 1:1 – well ordered
Psalm 19:1 – continually and intensely
Hebrews 11:3 – out of nothing
Psalm 33:6,9
Psalm 8
1 Corinthians 8:6

Son and Spirit co-agents
Son – John 1:1-3 / 1 Corinthians 8:6 / Colossians 1:16-17 / Hebrews 1:2-3
Spirit – Genesis 1:2 / Job 26:13, 33:4 / Psalm 104:30

Even though He spoke the world into existence, even this is not a display of His infinite power; in other words, nothing shows the full display of His power, creation was more than easy. God was not exhausted in the least. Job speaks of this being the outer fringe of His power, a faint whisper of His might. Habakkuk says His power is hidden, even in creation. Creation actually conceals more than it reveals. Dr. Reymond gave quotes by O. Palmer Robertson and Steven Charnock to corroborate this.

As a matter of gaining perspective on the vastness of the universe, imagine if our sun was a ping-pong ball. In this scale the earth would be 1/100th of an inch across, and the sun 10 ft. away. Pluto would be 120 yards away, Alpha Centauri would be 500 miles away, and the Andromeda galaxy would be 350 million miles away from the sun. From our perspective the universe is huge but still only a display, a tiny display of His power. This universe, to us immense, is actually concealing more than revealing His power; it is a dim shadow of His infinitude.

The universe had a beginning, creation was not one fiat but a progression of decrees, “and God said”. We place creation of man in day six of this framework. The idea of creation “ex nihilo”, or out of nothing, is unique in ancient culture. Gordon Clark – it was a Hebraic concept spread by Christianity, which had never been considered before.

2 – 7 Ways Creation Of Man Is Unique

1. Last major event of creation, the climax of creation activity
2. Unique engagement, God’s counsel in man’s creation. Instead of “and God said”, the distinctive was “let us make
3. Nature of man’s endowment, “after our likeness”.
4. Invested with dominion – not on parity, but vice regent of the world
5. Breath of Life (Genesis 2:7) – more than physical life
· Job 32:8 – spiritual comprehension
· Proverbs 20:27 – conscience
6. Capacity of rational speech and scientific investigation
7. God’s covenant with man (Hosea 6) / Romans 5 – Adam as Federal Head

3 – Importance Of Creation

Denial of creation events leads to moral chaos, we are losing our children

When Dr. Reymond was a professor at Covenant Seminary, he was having dinner with Frances Schaffer and other colleagues, ironically, at a place called “the flaming pit” (this was one of several times we laughed during the sessions with Dr Reymond). Schaffer was going to speak at Yale for the Intervarsity Fellowship there. He was asked and asked others about what to teach and preach. Considering the apostasy of the university, someone suggested John 3:16. That wouldn’t do, said Schaffer, he decided on Genesis 1. He said they need to know who they are and whom they are responsible to, and that then John 3:16 would mean something to them.

D.A. Carson – Athens Revisited – 25 years ago (more now, of course – JD) people in America knew more about God, now atheists go strictly after the Christian God, not others. We used to evangelize with talk of sin and grace, but the New American Christian cannot do this, we have lost a generation.

5 reasons we now need to give more info and effort today in evangelism (in America)

1. Immigration, people with no Christian background, religious diversity in world
2. Naturalism, existentialism, mysticism, humanism taught in public schools
3. Internet, average person now his own authority in everything
4. Courts stop religious instruction
5. Evangelical church blindness and lack of counter measures and Christian warriors

Homogenization with the world – Dr. Reymond mentioned a novel by Tom Wolfe, where a woman with a godly upbringing lost her way, which he used to illustrate that the universities are completely corrupt.

Dr. Reymond then went on to discuss the intelligent design movement, mentioning Michael Behe and his book “Darwin’s Black Box”, and the conversion to Deism of Anthony Flew, famous former atheist, who said ID made him a believer in something, a designer, not chance.

Most children and adults today, however, believe in atheism, at least practically. They believe in an impersonal beginning of time and chance. Even then, what Calvin called the ‘sense of deity”, the seed of religion in man cannot be totally suppressed.

Dr. Reymond spoke of Carl Sagan and other scientists who go against their own first law, making a leap of absurdity by asserting that something can come out of nothing. The maxim, “out of nothing, nothing comes” is denied in their practice, showing the futility of evolution and atheism. Everything, at bottom in this system, leads to the conclusion that nothing produced everything. Absolutely preposterous, says Dr. Reymond. Chance is only a concept, and a concept cannot create a material world.

The Triune God created by giving us the universe, the Scriptures, the Incarnation, and saving faith by the agency of the Holy Spirit.

If everything is just energy then we have no moral basis and no meaning. The Triune God gives us rational answers, personal significance, and morals.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Session 2 - Phil Johnson

Phil began by discussing the situation in the PCUSA, which points out the necessity for a right understanding of this doctrine of the Trinity.

He then went to discuss the fact that Muslims, Jews and Christians do not worship the same God, that as Christians, we worship a Triune God, the One true God.

The OT was not explicitly Trinitarian, so how do we bridge the gap between the OT and NT economy? We must understand that Moses had a veil on his face, and was also veiled himself; he had to hide in the cleft of the rock, as it were. Even Moses did not have the more full revelation that we in NT economy have today. It is a major aspect that we have a more clear revelation, however, even in the OT much points to the Trinity, with types and mysteries. Jesus was there in the OT, He said as much Himself in John 5:39,46, John 8:56, and Luke 24:27.

Psalm 2 – A Hymn of the Trinity

This psalm reveals the focus of the OT and the entire Bible –
John 5:39, 46 / John 8:56 / Luke 24:27

Quoted several times in NT in reference to Christ – Acts 4:25 / Revelation 2:27

This psalm in its immediate sense was celebrating the establishment of David’s throne in Jerusalem, but the language goes well beyond and before David’s day

19 Psalms that are called “messianic” that is, they allude to Jesus, this is the first one

Vs. 2 of this Psalm – “anointed” in Hebrew (Messiah), Greek (Christ)

4 stanzas – 3 verses each
Vs. 1-3 – voice of the World
Vs. 4-6 – voice of the Father
Vs. 7-9 – voice of the Son
Vs. 10-12 – voice of the Spirit

Battle of the Ages from God’s perspective
In this psalm we see the entire gospel message encapsulated
We see God’s sovereignty, man’s depravity, and the enemy’s futility
The message is that He will triumph and set Christ on the throne

Vs. 1-3 – Voice of Defiance – the World
Contempt for God’s authority

Vain thing – irrationality recalls Romans 1:21

Why should someone who doesn’t believe in God spend so much time arguing against Him?

The whole world of unbelief is in every sinner’s heart – Romans 3:10-19

Unbelief often masks itself as piety but it will always show itself in rage against the Truth of God

Acts 4:25 quotes vs. 1-2 – primary fulfillment is in the crucifixion of Christ

Luke 23:12 – unlikely allies – Romans governors and Herods were not friends at all, but they all conspired against Christ, not for political reasons, but spiritual ones.

Same today, we would try and cast off God’s rule, and the result is fornication, adultery, abortion, euthanasia, etc., and this again parallels Romans – 1:24-32.

If we think of the world too much we think we are losing, but we must remember, it isn’t WE who need’s to establish Christ and God’s kingdom, God has had this planned out all along.

Vs. 4-6 – Voice of Derision – the Father
God laughs, mocks / world is raging, but God is laughing, all attempts to overthrow Him are ridiculous Psalm 115:3

They try and intimidate (God’s people), but God is not intimidated, he doesn’t try and intimidate back, He is confident, a laugh of scorn, temple of Dagon (1 Samuel 5), Daniel 4:33 (Nebuchadnezzar), Moses and plagues representing and mocking the Egyptian gods

He is displeased but not vexed, He will vex them

Thomas Allen – how must His frowns be if His smiles are so terrible?

Spurgeon – God’s anointed is appointed and will not be disappointed

He will use their own rebellion to serve His own purposes

Vs. 7-9 – Voice of Devotion – the Son
Son is devoted to the Father’s word, will, and work

7 – Not suggesting a beginning but a clue as to eternal relationship
The decree was in eternity past – Hebrews 1:8-12 / John 5:18
John 3:16 – always begotten
John 15:26 – always proceeding
Anthropomorphic – language picture we can understand

8 – the same heathen become the inheritance – Acts 15:14
To do this it will cost His life – John 15:10 – God’s will, His command was that the Son die

9 – Christ’s work is to enforce God’s authority – Revelation 2:26-27
Divine decree in eternity past that Son would sit on the throne
Believers will reign on the throne they opposed

Vs. 10-12 – Voice of Decision – the Spirit
Not clearly identified, but indicative of the Holy Spirit’s wooing and pointing to Christ

Closes with special invitation
10 – intellect
11 – will
12 – heart
Appeal to full surrender

We know this is the Holy Spirit because while the call is to all, not all will hear.

Grace – blessed are they that trust
Kiss – significant – among equals

This is the condescension of God to us, heathen, to elevate us to the throne, and God’s plan is being performed to perfection.

This was an outstanding presentation, and in all candor, very much in line with our church, as I have been teaching through Romans 1, and we are at the end of the chapter, so when Phil linked Psalm 2 to Romans 1, I decided to tell him that I would be using this outline for my message on Sunday. He graciously consented to let me “use” it, and, when coupled with my unique understanding of our congregation, and with much prayer and some careful addition, it brought a fuller understanding of the Trinity, our Romans texts, and application for today to our church. Thank you Phil for this timely and timeless message. Well done, indeed.

Next up, Dr. Robert Reymond…. don’t miss it!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Come Monday (well, late Sunday night)

I'm back, and I'm sure you are as eager to see the sessions as I am to blog them, but I have to finish my preparations for tomorrow (I am a pastor, after all). I will be posting them starting Monday morning (Sunday night, late for you night owls), over the course of the next week. Be sure to see the Q&A session, which Phil Johnson said was the best he had ever been involved in at any conference...

Friday, October 13, 2006

Session 1 - Chris Pixley

First off, I want to say that I appreciate the wonderful conference that Grace Bible Church is putting on. First class all the way. Second, I am tired as all get out and as I said yesterday, I am no Tim Challies, although I have an even greater respect for him now.

I will be posting these one session at a time, perhaps one day at a time, so seven or eight sessions, seven or eight days, perhaps.

Oh BTW, I got mistaken for Phil Johnson today, LOL! Of course when I told Phil this he countered by saying I looked like a chef in my avatar picture....Darlene was nicer than I can put words to...Everyone was helpful, friendly, and ready to worship our Triune God. Overall, the first day was inspiring, informative, and well, fun! These outlines are not enough to capture it all, but I hope they help a little...

Here is the essence of Chris' message:

1) Why a Biblical Theology Conference? A desire to have a biblically based theology, rekindle interest, remind us of the practicality of doctrine. Chris gave quotes by Al Mohler and David Wells to back up the idea that we are losing our biblical fidelity and theological rigor, with disastrous results. He used 1 Timothy 4:1+ / Titus 1:9, Titus 2 to drive the point home: Nothing has a more practical benefit than learning to apply doctrine to life.

2) Why do a conference on the Trinity? Nothing more foundational - The Trinity gives Christianity its uniqueness. Herman Bavnick - it is the throbbing heart of our study; all error is rooted in a wrong understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. VanTil - everything depends on this sort of God, a Triune God.

5 reasons to study the Doctrine of the Trinity

1) It helps us to understand the nature of knowledge itself
To "know" in the Bible is more than grasping bare facts, but it is not less
Faith, obedience, and submission is knowledge in its fullest sense

Trinity involved in self-revelation
Father - Hebrews 1
Son - Hebrews 1:3 / John 1:18
Spirit - 1 Corinthians 2 / 2 Peter 1:21

A robust understanding of the Trinity helps us to harmonize the truth mankind has suppressed (Romans 1:18+)

2) It is essential to frame up a proper understanding of the world in which we live

Worldview - through the doctrine of the Trinity we begin to make sense of the world

- Genesis 1 / 1 Corinthians 8 / Colossians 1
History - Joshua 24:12 all the way to Philippians 2
Relationships - ontological - same essence / economical - submission in role
John shows Jesus always doing the Father's will, the Spirit always pointing to Jesus

3) Gives us a more fully orbed appreciation of our salvation

Here we see, and ought to see, the doctrine of the Trinity most clearly

Ephesians 1:1-5 - Father's role
Ephesians 1:7+ - Son's role
Ephesians 1:13 - Spirit's role

Titus 3:5-6

Not only in justification but also sanctification

Father - Ephesians 2:10
Son - Colossians 2:6
Spirit - John 17:17 - Chris says we see the Spirit here implicitly because Christ just spent the last three chapters talking of Him, and of Him as the Spirit of Truth, and now He asks the Father to sanctify them through said Truth, being the Spirit Himself. Excellent point, Chris!

Not only sanctification, but preservation

Father - Jude 24
Son - Colossians 1:22
Spirit - Ephesians 1:13-14

4) Apologetics and Evangelism are built upon the doctrine of Trinity

Defending and propagating the faith

Uniqueness of Trinity
Early church councils, errors
JW, Mormon, Modalist, Muslim
True, false religion identified
Isaiah 53 - Father crushes Son
Romans 3:26

5) The heart and soul of Biblical worship

John 4: Samaritans ignored rest of OT, used only Pentateuch (1st five books)
Jews - more info but cold orthodoxy
We need right info right affections to worship correctly.

Chris did not want to steal the other men's thunder, but provide an outline of where we are going in this conference, and I believe it was well done. Thank you Chris...

These outlines I give are admittedly going to be too rough for most, but the good news is that the CD's of each session are going to be available, more info on that later...

God bless you all...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I Need This, and So Do You

Forgive someone today, and ask someone for forgiveness...

Four-fold forgiveness: C-R-I-S acronym

Confession - I ask God to be forgiven
Repentance - I forgive you
Intercession - I ask God to forgive you
Supplication - I ask God that you would forgive me

If this seems different to you, and not right, tell me, and forgive me...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I am not Tim Challies, but...

I do not resemble in any way that king of Christian bloggers, Tim Challies, what, with his liveblogging prowess demonstated at all the last few major conferences. I don't have 200 wpm capability, but I am attending the Brandon Biblical Theology Conference, and I will endeavor to let our dear readers know of each session's highlights as I come home and put the notes up.

Speaking will be Phil Johnson(our friendly Pyromaniac), Pastor Chris Pixley, and Dr. Robert Reymond, so it should be a real blessing.

Pray that I can keep up, that God would be glorified, and that we all may be edified.

Receiving His Grace, Reflecting His Glory

Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ…
(2 Peter 1:1)

We should never tire of hearing the basics; if we do it means something is wrong. Notice that Peter considers himself first a servant, then an apostle. Peter writes to those who have the same salvation he has experienced, a like precious faith; this faith was obtained, and not by the efforts of man, but by the righteousness of God.

Peter indicates that grace and peace are ours in the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord; it is in the knowing of God that we gain these essentials for living. However, not only grace and peace, but also all things that pertain to life and godliness are ours through the knowledge of Him. Those who are constantly looking for the answers in man's wisdom, programs, technology, progress or potential will ultimately be frustrated.

This knowledge of God comes as we learn of Him through His Word, through prayer, and through fellowship with God's people. Though it is true that we need God alone, God does not meet us only in our "aloneness" but in the context of Christian community. It is knowledge, but it is not mere intellectual understanding or intuition; it is the knowledge that comes by experience – the experience God's people have of Him. As well, knowledge doesn't refer to a casual knowing; it means a precise and thorough knowledge.

What good are these great and precious promises? Through these, we are partakers of the divine nature; Peter's idea is much the same as Paul's idea of our glorious status as adopted sons and daughters of God (Galatians 4:5-7). God is above and beyond the corruption of this world; so are the ones who are the partakers of His nature; and the corruption of this world expresses itself in its lust – the ungodly desires of this world.

Being an adopted son or daughter of God isn't merely a spiritual state, it makes a real difference in the way we live and order our lives. The scope of the list here in 2 Peter chapter 1 demonstrates that God is interested in our having a well-rounded Christian life, one that is complete in every fashion – we have no right to be content with an incomplete Christian life. We note that these are not things that the Lord simply pours into us as we passively receive; instead, we are called to give all diligence to these things, working in partnership with God to add them in our lives. We also note that these things reflect the character of God Himself; it is by knowing Him that we grow into these qualities. Some try after a knowledge of God without living the life; others try to live the life without a knowledge of God.

If we both have and abound in these things, it is evident to all that we are neither barren nor unfruitful in our knowledge of Jesus. Sadly, the words barren and unfruitful characterize the lives of many Christians, who lack these qualities because they lack in their knowledge of God (knowing Him in the fullest sense). Some of us may feel good that these qualities are seen in us from time to time; but Peter says they should abound in us. If we do lack these things, it shows we have "eye trouble" (or perhaps "I trouble") – we are shortsighted (unable to see God, only ourselves), making us virtually blind – and we have forgotten the great work that God has done in our lives, including our cleansing.

It is the pursuit of these things that helps keep us from stumbling. Like Peter walking on the water, we keep afloat as long as we keep our eyes on Jesus. It is in the observance of all the little things that we prevent a disastrous fall; no one falls away overnight. Those who do not have such hearts and lives should not claim such assurance. The idea of our being called and elect by God was never intended to comfort the carnal, rebellious churchgoer that thinks all is right with God regardless of their lifestyle. Peter insists that the Christian will have both the knowledge of God, and a life that glorifies Him, and that the two are connected.

If we truly have received His grace, we will truly reflect His glory.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Didactic Dichotomy

Train up a child in the way he should go;
(Proverbs 22:6 – ESV)

In Florida, we have a situation that I am not sure many people are thinking clearly enough about, considering the effects it has on children. You see, children have to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle, but adults do not when they ride motorcycles. It is much more dangerous to ride a motorcycle than a bicycle, but adults are mature enough to handle it, the reasoning goes. This sort of practice, when applied as it is to other areas of our family and community lives, creates an unforeseen split in our teaching and their practice, a didactic dichotomy.

Often we teach our children to do things we would consider wrong in ways we never even thought of. It is not that they do not respect you it is that they do; they want to be like you, an adult, so one way is to do what adults are allowed to do but children aren’t. Think about it. If the only perceived difference between you and them is that you are mature enough to handle cigarettes or alcohol or not wearing a helmet, then this must be what it means to be mature, to have alcohol, to have cigarettes, and to not wear a helmet.

We think training is how we teach but it is more about how we live and the rules we make for ourselves. Our rules for ourselves are more important than the rules we make for our children sometimes, because that is what they see themselves getting toward, your rules. They reason, if it is okay for you, and eventually okay for them, why not now? Training is not just telling. It is showing. The word in Hebrew means dedicate. Bring them up – train them don’t just tell them. Your children will learn what you live. Pastor, your flock will pasture where you graze.

When discipling believers, we want to show them how to be like Jesus, not show them how Jesus is like them. When training children, we don’t talk like children we get them to talk like us; we don’t act like children we get them to act like us. However, when the only thing we do different than our children is smoke and drink and cuss, well then no wonder that is what our children do when they want to sound and act grown up. And then we want to punish them for imitating us, for doing what we taught them to do. Ironic. Do as I say, not as I do, it does not work unless we can articulate why we can do it and they can’t handle it yet, and it has to be a legitimate reason.

When youth see different behavior in adults they often perceive it as what it means to be grown up, and when they want to act grown up they do this very thing. We are teaching them to do it when we define adulthood as being able to do these things, instead of modeling and defining maturity as Christ does, not as what you are allowed to do, but as what it is best to do. Maturity is not learning to develop our self-indulgence but learning to deny it. When you include yourself, you realize that you are always teaching somebody.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Doors of Desire

…I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now)…
(Romans 1:13 – NKJV)

Paul was letting the Romans Christians know of his desire, but circumstances had prevented him from coming to see them. This was not going to stop him, though. Paul’s will was to come to them, but was it God’s will that he should not?

Too many are operating from the Open Door Policy alone, as if it is some definitive way to know God’s will, like the Urim and Thummim of Old Testament times. Today, the way some rely on it, it becomes little more than divination. Of course, if the Lord opens a door, or closes one (something mentioned in the Bible in Matthew 25:10 / Luke 13:25 / Acts 16:6-7 but not applicable in the way the modern church uses it), we need to take a good look. But open doors are not authoritative. Paul prayed for open doors for the gospel, asking for opportunity to spread the good news, yet in 2 Corinthians 2:12-13 God had given him an open door which he chose to ignore. Acts 14:27 / Acts 16:9-11 / 1 Corinthians 16:8-9 / Colossians 4:3 – the doors are for preaching the gospel, primarily, not for life choices.

Some want to know the will of God, not to know Him, not to give Him glory, but so as to secure comfort for themselves, and often irrespective of God, divorced from an ongoing relationship. It’s as if we say, yeah sure, God, just give me the bottom-line. Would we want God’s will for us if it meant to go straightforward into a certain death? When Paul knew of God’s will, he didn’t let anything deter him (Acts 20:22-24 / 21:4, 10-14). The will of God isn’t always about avoiding trouble, but that is what we see taught these days, or at least what we believe.

Why are we looking for an open door, and what exactly are we hoping to find? There is little point in pursuing God's will if we are not willing to comply, especially with obedience in the things He has already made known to us. How can we expect to receive more light if we have not responded to the light we have been given? God's guidance subsides when it is unaccompanied by our acceptance (Philippians 3:15-16). We should examine our lives to see if we are disobeying in areas He has already made clear.

God can lead us by bringing us into direct contact with certain needs, but not every cry for help is a call from God. We can assume more burdens than we can carry and spread ourselves so thin that we become ineffective. We must be careful not to let the good become the enemy of the best. Otherwise, we may become victims of desires and inclinations that are not from God. It is better to do a few things well than to multiply mediocrity.

Paul wanted to give and receive fruit from these Roman Christians like he did all others, but he wasn’t going to go until it was the right time, in the right way, and for the right reasons (Philippians 4:17), if ever. Sometimes it doesn’t turn out like we think it will or should.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Prideful Patience

…the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
(Ecclesiastes 7:8b)

Here is a little piece of profound wisdom; lack of patience is a clear sign of pride. It is manifest in our thoughts like “I shouldn’t have to wait”, or “this isn’t just”, etc. Christians are not immune from this. Some people get proud that they are God’s children instead of getting humble. If we believe in our hearts that we are entitled to special treatment as children of God, we are not only presumptuous but we are setting ourselves up for some serious trials.

However, even when we think we are exercising patience, we can be fooled, and it can be such a subtle perversion. Have you ever thought about the idea that you can be patient and proud at the same time? We are waiting because we think we know better than the other guy. We are proud of our patience, and we know that the other guy is going to get his just desserts, and we are going to get ours. This is not real, godly patience we are exercising, but that fleshly, worldly patience that says, “I can wait, they always save the best for last, and I’m it”. Some never act because they are waiting for what they feel is “God’s best” as if they deserve it. They expect a limousine when God is offering movement in the form of a horse and buggy.

Some people never mature into a patient attitude and long ranged thinking, but the Holy Spirit will conform us into the image of Christ, if and when we are patient. Think about the irony there.

So often we think we are bearing the fruit of the Spirit because of the outer manifestation, but in truth, we are the same on the inside, only subtler in our deceit. This proud patience, in a way, helps the world, but we are not helped at all, not in our transformation. We think we are being transformed, and we are, into a more sinister sinner. This is what happens when we try to transform on our own power, when we lose patience with God’s process.