Monday, February 29, 2016

Grace Upon Grace

In John 1: 16-18, John is declaring the result of the incarnation. John now declares that the fullness of grace contained in the divine logos has provided an infinite supply of blessing [grace] for believers. The word fullness suggests the abundance of the supply that Christ has. The idea is that of an unending supply of divine grace.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

How to be Right With God (Part 6)

SERMON               GM16-075

SERIES:              Renewal Through Romans: The Gospel Defined, Explained, and Applied

SETTING:          North Kelso Baptist Church

SERVICE:          Sunday AM (February 28th, 2016)

SUBTITLE:        How to Be Right with God – Part 6

SCRIPTURE:     Romans 3:27-31

SUBJECT:          Justification through faith

SUMMARY:       Justification is granted by faith fulfilling the law which excludes boasting

SCHEME:           To prove that God justifies sinners through faith effectively shutting out any boasting

Our theme is:  God justifies sinners through faith

Proposition:  God grants justification to sinners through faith which shuts out boasting

Interrogatory Sentence:  How does the granting of justification by faith shut out boasting?

Transitional Sentence:  The passage provides us with three (3) reasons that why boasting has been shut out. Boasting is shut out in order to establish a principle; in order to eliminate a problem, and in order to exonerate a proposition 

Thursday, February 25, 2016


Word Study:                  The English word “temptation” in Matthew 6:13

“…lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matt. 6:13, ESV)

King James Version translates the Greek word as “temptation”
New King James translates the Greek word as “temptation”
New American Standard Bible translates the Greek word as “temptation”
Revised Standard Version translates the Greek word as “temptation”
New International Version translates the Greek word as “temptation”
Young’s Literal Translation translates the Greek word as “temptation”
Bible in Basic English translates the Greek word as “temptation”
Holman Christian Standard translates the Greek word as “temptation”
The New Living Translation translates the Greek word as “temptation”

In all of these translations the translators decided to stay with the English word “temptation” rather than seek a suitable synonym or different meaning.

If we accept the integrity of these translators and translations, we can initially conclude that included in a model prayer for believes is the petition that God would not lead a believer into temptation, or into an opportunity which would lead to or result in sin.

Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary (1969) defines temptation as: 1:  the act of tempting or the state of being tempted esp. to evil:  ENTICEMENT 2:  something tempting: a cause or occasion of enticement.

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (p. 1003) shows that temptation appears again (in the KJV text) in:

Matthew 26:41 – “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”(KVV)

Zondervan New American Standard Bible Exhaustive Concordance (p. 1094) shows that temptation appears again (in the NAS text) in:

Matthew 26:41 – “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (NASB)

The Crossway Comprehensive Concordance of the Holy Bible, English Standard Version (A Comprehensive Concordance of Biblical Words Providing Easy Access to Every Verse in the Bible) shows that temptation appears again in:

Matthew 26:41 – Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (ESV)

Please note that the word for temptation is used in other writings by New Testament writers. However, we are looking at how Matthew used this word. The other writers may have used it in a way that has no direct bearing on Matthew 6:13. Normally a writer will use the same word in the same way in the same writing.

New Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (p.499) tells us that temptation in Matthew 6:13 translates the Greek word πειρασμος (peirasmos - pi-ras-mos’). Thayer’s defines this word as an experiment, attempt, trial, proving. A. a universal trial or proving. B. specifically the trial of man’s fidelity, integrity, virtue, constancy.

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (p.56) tells that temptation comes from the word peirazo, a putting to proof by experiment or experience by adversity.

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (p. 622) gives us some additional insight into our word. Vine’s states it is used of 1) “trials” with a beneficial purpose and effect and 2) of “trial” definitely designed to lead to wrong doing, “temptation.”

It seems that our word πειρασμος (peirasmos - pi-ras-mos’) can mean either “a proving by an experience of trial or adversity and a solicitation to do evil, or sin. Our context must govern our choice and selection of how we translate it.

Word Studies in the New Testament (Vincent, p. 43) tells us “It is a mistake to define this word as only solicitation to evil. It means trial of any kind without reference to its moral quality. We cannot pray God not to tempt us to sin, “for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.” (James 1:13, KJV)

A. T. Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament says (p. 54) “bring or lead” bothers many people. It seems to present God as an active agent in subjecting us to temptation, a thing specifically denied in James 1:13. The word here translated temptation means originally “trial” or “test” as in James 1:2 and Vincent so takes it here.

Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament (p.18) defines πειρασμος (peirasmos - pi-ras-mos’) as either “test” or “temptation.”

Barnes on the New Testament writes (p.68) the word temptation sometimes means “trial, affliction”, or anything that “tests” our virtue. If this be the meaning, as it may be, then the import of the prayer is, “Do not afflict or try us.” It is not wrong to pray that we may be saved from suffering if it be the will of God.

The Gospel of Matthew, Vol 1 (Barclay, p. 224-225) states, “To modern ears the word tempt is always a bad word; it always means to seek to seduce into evil. But in the bible the verb πειρασμος (peirasmos - pi-ras-mos’) is often better translated by the word test than by the word tempt. In the New Testament usage to tempt a person is not so much to seek to seduce him into sin, as it is to test his strength and his loyalty and his ability for service.”

The lexical sense or usage of our word πειρασμος (peirasmos - pi-ras-mos’) is that of “test” or “try.” It is not in this case used to infer a solicitation to do evil. This would be inconsistent with the context.
It seems that Jesus when he gave this model prayer or example of a prayer for his disciples told his disciples it was permitted to ask God, their Father, to not lead them into trials, tests, adversities designed to prove their faith, loyalty, or sincerity because frail as they were, they feared falling into the power of the Satan, the evil one.

The disciples knew their weakness and propensity to succumb to the pressure of the adversity of the evil one. Peter knew only too well. Although God tested or proved them in many adversarial occasions, they were permitted to pray that he might not prove them in such a way.

Ultimately, Jesus gave permission for the disciples to pray that God might not lead them into adversity in order to try their loyalty or test their sincerity since they knew how weak they really were and how powerful Satan was so that they might not fail and enter into sin. They were not instructed to pray that God would not lead them into any temptation that would cause them to sin.

Therefore, you and I today, even though we know that God will test and try us through trials and circumstances, it is permitted to ask God not to do so if at that moment it would be pleasing to him and in accordance with his will for our lives.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

How to be Right With God (Part 5)

SERMON               GM16-074

SERIES:              Renewal Through Romans: The Gospel Defined, Explained, and Applied

SETTING:          North Kelso Baptist Church

SERVICE:          Sunday AM (February 21st, 2016)

SUBTITLE:        How to Be Right with God – Part 5

SCRIPTURE:     Romans 3:25b-26

SUBJECT:          The Righteousness of God

SUMMARY:       The righteousness of God which cannot be obtained by merit comes to all men through faith in the atoning work of Jesus on the cross which fulfills the law of God.

SCHEME:           To enable my people to transcend present ecclesiastical understanding of righteousness by appreciating God’s benefits of the atoning work of Christ on the cross 

Friday, February 19, 2016

What is the Greatest Need Today?

True, Biblical, HS empowered preaching is still the greatest need today. God has revealed His wrath against all ungodliness and has revealed His righteousness in the gospel, the lost need to repent and the redeemed need to walk worthy of the God who called them unto Himself.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Happy Birthday Sonja!

Happy 40th Birthday!

to our second oldest daughter, 

Sonja A. Abramson,
 of Portland, OR.

  • Born in San Jose, CA
  • Lives in Portland, OR
  • Daughter of Gregory D. and Irene H. Metcalf
  • Graduate of Federal Way High School, Federal Way, WA
  • Mother to Gregory D. and Bryttany L. Abramson
  • Director of Operations for Onyx Management Group
  • Avid adventurer and traveller 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Reality Check

If you've been a Christian for several years and

1. You only occasionally attend church

2. You barely read your bible

3. You only occasionally pray

4. You have no passion for the things God cares about

Your lying to yourself if you really think you're a Christian.

The man who is born-again, is a new creation, the old has passed away and all things have become new. God is at work in such a one renewing him in the likeness of the Son, in true righteousness and holiness.

If you are not passionate in loving the righteousness which God loves and hating the wickedness which God hates, then your claim to be a Christian is flat out fraudulent. You are insulting God by claiming that He did a work of grace in you and then left you to live for the world and wallow carnality.

The born-again man is one whose life is a constant war as the spirit and the flesh stand in continual enmity to one another.

The one at work in the born-again man causes him to walk according to the spirit and not according to the flesh. Yes, we will never have, this side of heaven, a righteousness of our own by which to stand before God, but we who wear the righteousness of Christ are granted daily greater and greater victory, even as God reveals to us in greater measure our wretchedness.

There is no such thing as born-again person who is indifferent to the things of God.

 --Justin Hoeke, Pastor,
 Lake Shastina Community Bible Church,
Weed, CA

Sunday, February 14, 2016

How To Be Right With God (Part 4)

SERMON               GM16-073

SERIES:              Renewal Through Romans: The Gospel Defined, Explained, and Applied

SETTING:          North Kelso Baptist Church

SERVICE:          Sunday AM (February 14th, 2016)

SUBTITLE:        How to Be Right with God – Part 4

SCRIPTURE:     Romans 3:24-25b

SUBJECT:          The Righteousness of God

SUMMARY:       The righteousness of God which cannot be obtained by merit comes to all men through faith in the atoning work of Jesus on the cross which fulfills the law of God.

SCHEME:           To enable my people to transcend present ecclesiastical understanding of righteousness by appreciating God’s benefits of the atoning work of Christ on the cross

Friday, February 12, 2016

Who's the Fool?

 Jim Elliott once said, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." We don’t own a home or a new car or fancy furniture. And if need be I would give up everything that we have here on earth in order to serve God and follow Christ. I know that one day in eternity it would be worth it all. I wrote this little verse during my devotion today to try and express my commitment to this principle.

No home, no car, no earthly treasure,
Could ever give to me the pleasure;
That comes from what God may give.
There is no reason to be on this earth,
Nothing can be compared to this great worth;
Than giving all for God while here I live.

(Gregg Metcalf)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Free or Dead?

To live for anything else but God leads to breakdown and decay. When a fish leaves the water, which he was built for, he is not free, but dead. Worshiping other things...cannot offer satisfaction, because they were never meant to be 'gods.' They were never meant to replace God. (Tim Keller)

Happiness, Randy Alcorn, Tyndale House Publishers, 2015. p. 67

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

How do you know if you need more grace?

·        When God temporarily steps back into the shadows

·        When God sends the most unlovable person into your life

·        When temptation seems to have gotten the upper hand

·        When the Scriptures are no longer enjoyable

·        When the burden you are caring is heavier than

Everyone you know and everyone they know is in this situation. People need grace. People need more grace than they realize.

Martin Luther once said, “Grace is given to heal the spiritually sick, not to decorate spiritual heroes.”

In the spiritual world, just like the physical world we are completely dependent upon the Lord Jesus Christ. We need to recognize when these scenarios come upon us and without ceasing ask God to give us the grace that is needed to know that we need more grace.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of Grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need.” (Hebrews 12:16, ESV)

Now listen carefully…because this is incredibly important. Every one of us needs help. We are not God. We have needs. We have weaknesses. We have confusion. We have limitations of all kinds. We need help. (John Piper)

Most of us never realize at the time we most need extraordinary grace to go to God and ask God to make us aware of how much more grace we need to face our current situation.

Grace is available 24/7 – God’s grace is never disrupted!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Thoughts on Counterfeit Religion

Contemplate on these thoughts on “counterfeit religion” on page 17 of Jonathan Edward’s preface to The Religious Affections:
It is by the mixture of counterfeit religion with true, not discerned and distinguished, that the devil has had his greatest advantage against the cause and kingdom of Christ, all along hitherto. It is by this means, principally, that he has prevailed against all revivings of religion that ever have been since the first founding of the Christian church.
By this, he hurt the cause of Christianity, in and after the apostolic age, much more than by all the persecutions of both Jews and Heathens. The apostles, in all their epistles, show themselves much more concerned at the former mischief, than the latter.
By this, Satan   prevailed against the reformation, began by Luther, Zwinglius, &c., to   put a stop to its progress, and bring it into disgrace; ten times more,  than by all those bloody, cruel, and before unheard of persecutions of   the Church of Rome.
By this, principally, has he prevailed against revivals of religion that have been in our nation since the reformation?
 By this he prevailed against New England, to quench the love and spoil the joy of her espousals, about a hundred years ago. And   I think, I have had opportunity enough to see plainly that by this the devil has prevailed against the late great revival of religion in New England, so happy and promising in its beginning.” [1]

[1] Jonathan Edwards, The Religious Affections, (Carlisle: The Banner  of Truth Trust, 2001), P. 17

Monday, February 8, 2016

Christians and Cremation

I was asked recently what I thought about cremation. I don’t get asked this question very much as of late. I took a few minutes to jot down my thoughts and sent them off in an email (humbled by the opportunity to weigh in on a very sensitive subject.) Without extensive study here are my thoughts. I hope they might be of interest and/or help to someone who might have or is currently thinking about this particular issue.

First, I don’t have a problem with cremation. I have yet to see any specific prohibitions in Scripture concerning this subject. I haven’t seen any veiled or implicit principles that might govern it. I think this issues falls under the “conscience” of a Spirit-filled and led believer.

Second, I am well aware that many “believers” in the past have associated the practice of cremation with demonic, tribal, heathen, or ritualistic practices that would be considered “ungodly.” Certainly unbelieving people and people groups have utilized cremation in relationship to one of these areas. This certainly is neither the motive nor reason for God-fearing born-again believers who have chosen this method of “handling the remains of a loved one.”

Thirdly, I truly think that cremation serves as a means of the decomposition process. After all, if left alone, our bodies return to “ashes” and all but “disappear.” When one is cremated the body is rendered to “ashes.”

Fourth, I do not think that our sovereign Lord in all of his majestic power and glory will have any problem “reassembling” those who have been cremated. After all, I don’t think God will have any more trouble resurrecting someone who has been cremated than someone who has been dismembered, run through a wood chipper, has been burned to a crisp, decomposed in the oceans or deserts. When it comes time for the immortal soul to be united with an eternal resurrected body, God will be able to handle it.

Fifth, I believe that the conscience and motives must be the guide. If the motives are clear and they do not violate biblical principles and one’s conscience is clear, and the act is done in faith, then I don’t have any biblical evidence that the Lord is more or less pleased with the practice. Remember you must be convinced in your own mind and be operating in faith or any act can be “sinful.” Take this issue before the Lord in fervent, honest, and intimate prayer. If God does not cause you to have unrest or a lack of peace then be settled in your conscience as you seek to honor God in all things including the question of cremation.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

How to be Right With God (Part 3)

SERMON               GM16-072

SERIES:              Renewal Through Romans: The Gospel Defined, Explained, and Applied

SETTING:          North Kelso Baptist Church

SERVICE:          Sunday AM (February 7th, 2016)

SUBTITLE:        How to Be Right with God – Part 3

SCRIPTURE:     Romans 3:22c-23

SUBJECT:          The Righteousness of God

SUMMARY:       The righteousness of God which cannot be obtained by merit comes to all men through faith in the atoning work of Jesus on the cross which fulfills the law of God.

SCHEME:           To enable my people to transcend present ecclesiastical understanding of righteousness by appreciating God’s benefits of the atoning work of Christ on the cross

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Freedom From the Law

Scripture:  Galatians 4:12

"Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to live as I do in freedom from these things, for I have become like you Gentiles were -- free from the law." (Galatians 4:12, NLT)


My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I am begging you to live your life like I live mine, free from the requirements of the law. Listen, I have become like you Gentiles used to be, free from the law. (Galatians 4:12, GDM)

Free from the law. Reading these words brings several feelings to my mind and to my heart. Feelings like:

  • Relief - I do not have to worry about keeping the law in order to please God, especially the smallest details
  • Freedom - I am not bound or chained to, "do this and do that" in order to please God
  • Joy - I know I am free from the law because Christ perfectly fulfilled the law for me
  • Refreshment - I am no long tired or weary or worn out from working, but I feel refreshed as I am free in Christ
  • Courage - I can face God and even enjoy God and His presence because I am free from fearing I didn't keep the law

As I live my life each day I am to live it in remembrance that I am free from the requirements of the law. I do not have to go "backwards" and attempt to keep all the points of the legal, ceremonial, and ritual portions of the law to please God. As a Gentile I was free from the law, or it had no binding on me, therefore I need to continue to live free of the law.


Sin to Confess:  becoming a slave to weak and useless spiritual powers
Promise to Claim:  No
Example to Copy:  Paul - lives in freedom from the requirements of the law
Error to Consider:  trying to find favor with God by what I do or don't do
Command to Complete:  Be like Paul - live in freedom, free from the law
Hypothesis to Construe:  Jesus provides freedom from the requirements of the law


Father, since you have provided Jesus Christ as a sacrifice for my sins and since he has fulfilled the law perfectly, I am free from the burden of keeping the law perfectly in order to please you. Thank you for freeing me and releasing me from something that I could never do apart from Jesus Christ. Father, help me to imitate and practice Paul's freedom and from trying to find favor with you by what I do or don't do. Enable me to be like Paul, to always live in freedom and to remain free from the law. Thank you Father, that you provide this freedom through your dear Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Jesus Our High Priest

This passage certainly would have had more meaning to the first century Jews who had become Christians than to most of us today. We who are 21st century Gentiles don’t really comprehend in it fullness the role of the Old Testament Jewish priest. We don’t recognize or utilize priests in the Christian Church today.

The high priest, among many other duties, would once a year go behind that curtain that separated mankind from the presence of God. On Yom Kippur he alone entered the Holy of Holies, to make atonement for his house and for the people (Lev. 16). He alone could offer the sacrifices for the sins of the priests, or of the people, or of himself.

He would enter the holy of holies to burn incense and sprinkle sacrificial animal blood to expiate his own sins and those of the people of Israel. Of course, if God chose accept this offering and sacrifice then the judgment of God’s people would be rolled back another year.

Jesus Christ was appointed as our high priest. He went behind the curtain into the very presence of God and offered a blood sacrifice to God on our behalf. What made this different was the fact that the blood that was offered to appease God was His very own blood which testified to his sacrificial death.

Thanks be unto God for accepting this blood, this sacrifice! Not only did God accept it then, he continues to accept this sacrifice, and he will forever. This becomes our rock-solid hope the writer of Hebrews tell us (Chapter 6) – it is an anchor for our soul! The contrast between Aaron and Melchizedek is that Christ is a priest forever, never loosing his viability as my high priest before God!

I need to constantly be reminded of this truth in order not to grow dull in my patient waiting upon the return of Christ to fully redeem us. What great sin of mine to take this for granted.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

What Has Happened to Preaching?

It does not take a rocket scientist to see that preaching has fallen on hard times. Of course this should be of no surprise to anyone who reads their bible. Paul warned Timothy with the following:

" For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths." (2 Timothy 4:3, ESV)

Paul was not writing about the unsaved or unconverted,  or the Non-Christan. He was writing about Christians in local churches. We sure see this today. I was thinking about this recently and I wrote down some reasons:

  • There has been an increasing loss of belief and commitment to the authority of Scripture. People are no longer convinced that Scripture is sufficient for every aspect of their life
  • The misunderstanding of what is called or termed as "worship" Preaching is limited at best and eliminated at worst for the so called "worship" portion of the service.
  • A growing attention, involvement, and commitment to that which is mystical, ceremonial, or ritual. The emergent church has been a prime instigator of these things.
  • The introduction of "entertainment" into the services of the local church. The gathering of the body is no place for motorcycle tricks, zip-lines, rodeos, and or anything else that usurps the preaching, praying, and participation in the worship of our Holy and majestic God.
  • A growing fascination and integration with psychology and the philosophies of this wicked and evil world
  • A lack of mortification of sin and a growing love for sin
  • The growing propensity to fear man more than we fear God

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Thoughts for Your Devotional Life

All believers should have a regular, routine, and robust devotional life or quiet time. Look through these following four thoughts and the four important questions and grab hold of one or all of them to enhance your own personal devotional life.

  • Always get quiet and become still in God's presence
  • The goal of your quiet time is not to read through the bible in a yearly reading plan, nor is to exegete (study) the text at hand
  • The goal of your quiet time is quality time not merely quanity
  • This is not the time for devotional books or reading plans unless the are additions to the devotional reading of scripture

Here are four minimal but important questions to ask the text that you are reading:

  1. What does the passage say? (What is the main idea)
  2. What does the passage mean by what it says?
  3. What are the principles in the passage?
  4. What is the application, or what do I do now?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Happy Birthday Craig

Although my only brother is not on Facebook, and doesn’t read my blog, today is his 57th birthday. I would like to wish him well and a very happy birthday! Happy Birthday Craig Metcalf of League City, Texas. Go Texans! (Unless they ever play the Seahawks, then Go Hawks!)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Calvin Commenting on the Incarnation

John Calvin’s Institutes, Book II, chapter 12, section 1: 
It deeply concerned us, that he who was to be our Mediator should be very God and very man. If the necessity be inquired into, it was not what is commonly termed simple or absolute, but flowed from the divine decree on which the salvation of man depended. What was best for us, our most merciful Father determined? Our iniquities, like a cloud intervening between Him and us, having utterly alienated us from the kingdom of heaven, none but a person reaching to him could be the medium of restoring peace. But who could thus reach to him? Could any of the sons of Adam? All of them, with their parents, shuddered at the sight of God. Could any of the angels? They had need of a head, by connection with which they might adhere to their God entirely and inseparably.

What then? The case was certainly desperate, if the Godhead itself did not descend to us, it being impossible for us to ascend. Thus the Son of God behooved to become our Emmanuel, the God with us; and in such a way, that by mutual union his divinity and our nature might be combined; otherwise, neither was the proximity near enough, nor the affinity strong enough, to give us hope that God would dwell with us; so great was the repugnance between our pollution and the spotless purity of God. Had man remained free from all taint, he was of too humble a condition to penetrate to God without a Mediator. What, then, must it have been, when by fatal ruin he was plunged into death and hell, defiled by so many stains, made loathsome by corruption; in fine, overwhelmed with every curse? It is not without cause, therefore, that Paul, when he would set forth Christ as the Mediator, distinctly declares him to be man. There is, says he, “one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus,” (1 Tim. 2: 5). He might have called him God, or at least, omitting to call him God he might also have omitted to call him man; but because the Spirit, speaking by his mouth, knew our infirmity, he opportunely provides for it by the most appropriate remedy, setting the Son of God familiarly before us as one of ourselves. That no one, therefore, may feel perplexed where to seek the Mediator, or by what means to reach him, the Spirit, by calling him man, reminds us that he is near, nay, contiguous to us, inasmuch as he is our flesh. And, indeed, he intimates the same thing in another place, where he explains at greater length that he is not a high priest who “cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin,” 
(Heb. 4: 15)