F.M. Sciutto III

By His Free Grace Alone, To Be Treasured Alone, & For His Glory Alone

Confession and Mercy in Psalm 25

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[1] To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
[2] O my God, in you I trust;
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
[3] Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;
they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

[4] Make me to know your ways, O LORD;
teach me your paths.
[5] Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long.

[6] Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
[7] Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!

[8] Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
[9] He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
[10] All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

[11] For your name’s sake, O LORD,
pardon my guilt, for it is great.
[12] Who is the man who fears the LORD?
Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.
[13] His soul shall abide in well-being,
and his offspring shall inherit the land.
[14] The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him,
and he makes known to them his covenant.
[15] My eyes are ever toward the LORD,
for he will pluck my feet out of the net.
[16] Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
[17] The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
bring me out of my distresses.
[18] Consider my affliction and my trouble,
and forgive all my sins.

[19] Consider how many are my foes,
and with what violent hatred they hate me.
[20] Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me!
Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
[21] May integrity and uprightness preserve me,
for I wait for you.

[22] Redeem Israel, O God,
out of all his troubles.
(Psalm 25 ESV, emphasis mine)
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Written by sciuttfm

April 10, 2011 at 1:54 AM

Psalm 19:12-14

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[12] Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.

[13] Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.

[14] Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

Written by sciuttfm

March 15, 2011 at 2:31 PM

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God in Man’s Image?

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Here is an excerpt from an article by Gregory Koukl of Stand to Reason:

Maybe we made a trade-off, some might suggest.  By creating a god who makes demands we surrendered a little autonomy, but we received meaning, significance, and security (or at least the illusion of it) in the swap.  But then there’s a different problem.

If we were to invent a god, what would he be like?  If we fashioned a god of our choosing, would we create a god like the one in the Bible?  A god formed by human hands would mirror human sensibilities and human proclivities.  He would think and act, more or less, like we do.  As our invention, his morality would reflect our desires.  When we erred, he’d cluck his disapproval and then dismiss our frailties with an affectionate kids-will-be-kids shrug.  After all, nobody’s perfect.  And this is the kind of god many religions seem to produce.  Not Christianity, though.

The curious thing about the God of the Bible is how unlike us He is.  His wisdom confuses us; His purity frightens us.  He makes moral demands we can’t live up to, then threatens retribution if we don’t obey.  Instead of being at our beck and call, He defies manipulation.  In His economy, the weak and humble prevail and the last become first.

Is the Christian God just an idea?  Did we invent Him?  Could we invent Him?  Is He the kind of god we would create if left to our own devices?  Or have we seen the true God and trembled–closed our eyes, hid our faces, and turned our backs?

There is no reason to believe that mankind has the capacity or desire to create a god beyond measure and comprehension, yet is personable and sovereign over all things, that demands perfect obedience and is holy, that is love and perfectly just, and then write a book that is so diverse in content and genres, yet so singular in its purpose and theme. The Bible, in of itself, gives us reason to trust that is indeed the Word of God and not some invention of man.

The Bible contains 66 books, written by approximately 40 different writers, over 1600 years, on 3 different continents, in 3 different languages, on thousands of different subjects, yet with one central theme—God’s redemption of mankind from sin won for the whole world by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Faith Facts).

In the Bible, God is the One who desires and receives the glory in all things, which is the opposite of what our flesh desires, namely, our own glory and satisfaction. The entire Bible points to Jesus Christ (He even acknowledged that Himself) as being the crucified, yet resurrected, Messiah that has redeemed mankind and will return to rescue us from this fallen world of which God will eventually restore and bring about the New Heavens and New Earth where all who are His will dwell with the Son for eternity.

Written by sciuttfm

February 9, 2011 at 3:54 PM

“Remind yourself everyday”

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Here is a great reminder for this upcoming year from Ray Ortlund:

Serving Christ gets hard.  Harder than we expected.  Harder than we can endure.  We are tempted to think, “No way can this turn out well.  My life – the only one I have – is going to end up on the junk pile.  I must be crazy to be out here doing this, taking these risks, getting hammered with this criticism, paying this price.”

But the truth is, your life is retelling the story of Jesus in his death and resurrection.  “If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him” (2 Timothy 2:11-12).  He died, and now he lives.  He endured, and now he reigns.  He wasn’t crazy.  And however this turns out short term for you, God will take care of you.

Remind yourself every day: You’re not crazy.

Have a great New Year!

May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord (2 Peter 1:2).

Written by sciuttfm

December 30, 2010 at 11:50 PM

More Than Just a Birthday Celebration

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While on break, an older woman with whom I work was talking to me about a Christmas tradition that her and her family do each year. She explained how she has a nativity scene, which was described as a nativity scene you could find in the majority of American homes around this time of year. However, the only piece missing in the scene is Jesus in the manger. He is left out until Christmas Eve, which then one her grandchildren carries Him out and places Him between Mary and Joseph.

So far, none of this sounds strange or out of the ordinary, does it? That is because it is not strange or out of the ordinary. Well, not yet anyway.

After Jesus is placed into the scene, she proceeded to tell me that her and her family then begin to sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus. That is what struck me as very odd. A song that is usually song during a child’s birthday celebration is sung at the time the celebration of the birth of Jesus takes place. After that, I just nodded my head and smiled. I had nothing to say to that. I was perplexed just as much as I was shocked.

Now, this is not a rant against the traditions that one may preform during Christmastime. My hope is to have people reflect on what they are celebrating during this time of the year and why. Christmas with no attention to the God who sent His Son into this fallen world to be an atoning sacrifice is shallow and, frankly, meaningless.

Christmas is more than just a birthday celebration for Jesus (considering He probably was not even born around this time of the year). A lot more. Yes, Christmas is a time in which family and friends are brought closer together, and those things are great, but that is not the reason and purpose of Christmas.

We should not forget the reason why we even celebrate Christmas in the first place. It is because God the Father, in eternity past, made a plan with God the Son to redeem His fallen creation by taking on flesh because of His immense grace and love toward His creation. The Son then took on flesh by being conceived by God the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin. Being born of a virgin, a sin-nature was never passed to Jesus, and being conceived by the Holy Spirit, God the Son took on flesh. Jesus had to remain sinless in order to accomplish full atonement for His people’s sin by sacrificing Himself on the cross for His people’ sin; raising from the dead, thereby defeating sin and death; delivering His people from the bondage of sin, death, and hell; and presenting them as righteous before the Father. We must remember how the glory of the incarnation of the Son leads to the glorious cross where our innocent Savior was crucified for our crimes against God’s holiness, and then praise God for it!

We should not forget the purpose of Christmas, which is to look forward to Christ’s second-coming to Earth, His judgment and redemption of this fallen world, and when we, who are His, dwell with Him in the New Heavens and New Earth for an infinitely joyful eternity.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

(2 Peter 3:8-13 ESV)

It can be so easy to get swallowed up in the consumerism of the holiday and forget about the God who sent His Son to save us. We need to be deliberate in how we celebrate during Christmastime.

Praise God for sending His Son to satisfy God’s just wrath against our sin! Praise God for promising to send Christ again to finally bring His sons and daughters to glory and have them dwell with Him forever!

This Christmas, we need to share the wonderful Truth of the Gospel by presenting it with our words and deeds to our family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.

Written by sciuttfm

December 24, 2010 at 2:12 AM

“He is coming for His bride, washed and cleansed by the Word, without spot or wrinkle, holy and without blemish”

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From Rollin Grams of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary:

In 2 Th. 1:11-12, we find the prayer of Paul, Silvanus and Timothy for believers living between Christ’s first and second advent: that God would work powerfully in their lives so that he might (1) count them worthy of his calling and (2) bring to completion their every good purpose and work of faith (vs. 11):

Note, first, that God’s calling is all about what we are called to be: worthy. God chose us to be holy and blameless before him in love (Eph. 1:4).

Second, faith is more than belief: it produces its own work. Faith works itself out in love (Gal. 5:6).

Third, this is God’s work in us. Given the task of working out our salvation in fear and trembling, we discover God at work in us to will and to do his good purpose (Phil. 2:12- 13). The marks of being God’s chosen people are belief in the truth and sanctification by the Spirit (2 Th. 2:13).

When Jesus returns, he is not coming simply for an elect people with faith in him (cf. Mt. 25:14ff). He is coming for his bride, washed and cleansed by the Word, without spot or wrinkle, holy and without blemish (Eph. 5:26-27). The gospel is to be obeyed (2 Th. 1:8) so that the name of our Lord Jesus might be glorified in us (vs. 10, 12).

“Boasting Only in the Cross”

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A great man in my life has recently moved him and his family across the country to plant a church. He and his family have many difficulties ahead of them with hoping their house sells, working full-time, and planting a church. However, what is most inspiring and encouraging is his Gospel-saturated view on everything. He is fully aware of the goodness of God and His unfailing mercy towards him. With difficult trials ahead of them, his boast is only in Christ crucified!

With seemingly insurmountable difficulties, he sees that God will work good for those who trust in Him and will make much of Christ even in the midst of suffering .

John Piper explains well how every good and bad thing shows God’s ultimate goodness, and without it, we would have nothing but condemnation:

For redeemed sinners, every good thing -indeed every bad thing that God turns for good – was obtained for us by the cross of Christ. Apart from the death of Christ, sinners get nothing but judgment. Apart from the cross of Christ, there is only condemnation. Therefore, everything that you enjoy in Christ – everything you boast in, everything you exult in – is owing to the death of Christ. And all your exultation in other things is to be an exultation in the cross where all your blessings were purchased for you at the cost of Christ’s life.

Christ died for our sins on the cross and took away the wrath of God from us and secured for us, even though we don’t deserve it, God’s omnipotent grace that works everything together for our good (“Boasting Only in the Cross“, 20 May 2000).

My prayer is that they (and myself) continue to magnify the cross of Christ and that “His death becomes your death and His life becomes your life.” Only by faith in what Christ has done for us can we be crucified to the desires of the world and the desires of the world be crucified to us.

“But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14)

Written by sciuttfm

November 14, 2010 at 4:17 PM