Love Is Volitional


  • Love  is  vo li tion al  it  comes  from  the  Lord
  • He  gives  it  to  all  of  us  all  we  will  afford
  • We  can  spread  it  around  to  all  we  see
  • Friends  bothers  Hus bands  wifes  even en(o)mies
  • Love  is  vo li tion al  it  comes  from  the  Lord
  • He  makes  it available  it’s  all He  will  do
  • From  then  on  your  will  is  free  it’s  all  up  to  you
  • When  somethings  there  you  should  love  make it  be
  • When evil rears  a  tempting  head  hate it and  flee
  • Husbands  wifes  parents  child  you  say  your  love  is  gone
  • God’s  love  never  wanes  try  it  on
  • Take  it  use  it  then  you’ll  find  your  love  re stored
  • That’s the way  it  is  when ever  Jesus  is  Lord
  • Love isn’t chemistry or sex  or  need
  • Love  is  your  free  choice  God’s  word  you  should  heed
  • You  love  who  you  want  to  love  don’t  blame  it  on  circumstance
  • Follow  God’s  lead  use  His  love  for  permanent  romance
  • Choose very  carefully  not  just  for  fun  and  looks
  • Take  the  one  God  would  pick it  teaches  in  the  Book
  • Now  you  get  the  hang  of  it  its  up  to  you  all
  • Love  is  obedience  it’s  volitional
  • Love  your  brother  honor  your  parents  love  your  enemy
  • Love  the  Lord  your  faithful  God  He’s  the  Victory
  • Love  is  obedience from  you  and  me.

Jim Suttle  (c. 1992)

Priesthood of the Believer and the Church Dynamic

Priesthood of the Believer and the Church Dynamic (a cautionary note to leaders)

The Short Take

Every time you step into Sunday School Class, meet another believer for lunch, attend a committee meeting or have other interaction with believers you are hanging out among the Priesthood.  Each of you are saved by grace with Christ dwelling in you (Gal 2:20).  Each is indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Jn 14:16f). Each is adopted by God and are part of the family of God (Ep 1:5).  Each is gifted by God so that you can help to build the Kingdom (1 Cor 12).  Each has a personal intercessor in Jesus Christ sitting at the right hand of God.  the believer’s destiny is in Heaven where a place is prepared. (1 Pt 1:3f).  This Priesthood establishes a basic fundamental dynamic of equality and belonging among Christians.  To be sure, gifts vary, commitment varies, but spiritual growth and insights are available to all.  Therefore, leaders must be careful to listen intently, to beware of prideful superiority, to avoid condescension, and be prepared to learn from the old and the young, from the cantankerous and the sweet, from the educated and the ill-spoken.  All are saints in the Priesthood of Believers.   Each reborn into unity with one another, not by earthly invitation, but rather by an Act of God.

Who is that “Double Minded Man” James is talking about?

Who is that “double-minded” man James is talking about? (Js 1:6)

(The one who “will not receive anything from the Lord (v7).”  (Wow, nobody wants to be him!)

He’s a believer, one of the brethren (v2),  part of the fellowship. God still offers him growth opportunities (v3) but pride is a problem (v9-10). He is unstable having his mind on God but also on his own will (v6-7).  How can you tell who is “leaning on his own understanding”?  Well, YOU may be a double minded man…

  • If your prayers are basically “God, here’s what I need you to do”.
  • If you read between the lines of scripture to add a little of yourself into the text.
  • If you think you are starting to get it all figured out.
  • If you think “God is good, All the time”,  (so long as you like the outcomes).
  • If your impatience causes you to say “let’s just do it, I know the way”.
  • If your heart’s desire is anything more than finding God’s will.
  • If your faith is limited to what you yourself can imagine.
  • If you want to do God’s will and think you already know what it is.
  • If you sometimes act like God belongs to you rather than you belonging to God.

At all of these times you are receiving none of God’s wisdom (v6) but rather leaning “unto thine own understanding.”



Three Pillars and a Pile of Stones

The Bible does not present a “doctrine of Church Governance”. Readers are often unhappy that God did not give a step-by-step guide to “running the church” and respond by reading “into” the scripture what cannot be found by reading “from” the scripture.

Three Pillars and a Pile of Stones

The Short Take

The Bible’s content is determined by our Sovereign God and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16-17)  All too often His people nefariously determine that the content is inadequate.   One such area of discontent is about church governance.  Lacking a clear prescriptive instruction on church governance some would read a little of their own thoughts into the scripture in order to assemble a “pile of stones” and tout the result as if it were a Pillar of Scripture.

The Whole Nine Yards

                 I recently attended services at a rapidly growing Baptist church in Edmond, OK, with several other guys. The young associate pastor gave a good account of himself teaching from Mark 12 and 13. As you might expect there was a bit of rabbit chasing as the text was examined. One such diversion was when the young man spoke about church leadership. Clearly Mark 12:6f proclaims one of the pillars of the faith, namely that Jesus Christ is the head of the church, the cornerstone upon which all else stands. Chasing the “rabbit” of proper church leadership the young man moved on to the foundational and historic role of the apostles which, having known Jesus on earth, were selected and inspired to write the scriptures of the New Testament and were the great missionaries of the early church, the role of scripture and the primacy of the apostles being another pillar of the faith. The young pastor’s final “pillar of the faith” addressing church governance was the individual accountability of the believer. The young pastor rightly challenged the church to accept the responsibility of having a personal doctrine, a personal intimacy with the scriptures so they can fill the role of protector of the faith whenever leadership might go astray. Clearly any church denying the role of Christ as the Head, the primacy of Scripture or the individual accountability of the saints would be deemed heretical.
However, inserted among these foundational principles the young man added a “pile of stones”, the necessity of the office of Elders in the church. I call this a pile of stones not out of derision but rather comparatively. There is clear evidence of the office of elders being used in the early church. There also are references to churches operating with one Pastor, with one pastor and deacons, etc . Even strong proponents of the Elder Model of church leadership would hardly call a church using a Pastor-deacon model heretical. In fact the staunchest proponents seem to agree that the primary reason for the elder model is pragmatic. Statistically it is claimed churches using the elder model have fewer church division than other models such as pastor-deacon with the pastor being the CEO or benevolent king. Nevertheless many churches across the land use the strong pastor-deacon model very successfully in expanding the Kingdom.
My Take: Any effort to transition a church from one leadership model to another should first recognize that there is no definitive scriptural basis for one leadership model or another.  Lacking such, one must not rely on issues of right and wrong, (e.g. scriptural and non-scriptural) and focus on the pragmatic side. It all starts with what kind of pastor do you want. If you want or have a CEO then the introduction of elders will defeat the purpose and likely cause conflict and factionalism. On the other hand if you want a pastor-teacher-shepherd style of lead pastor then the lack of elders (or some other administrative hierarchy) will likely lead to a degree of administrative stagnation thus causing conflict and factionalism.  Whatever course is chosen should be suitable to the particular church and discovered through prayer, patience and peacemaking.

100% human, how can it be?

100% Human, How Can It Be?  (Originally published May 2009)

The Short Take

Jesus’ humanity was no act.  He laid aside all his Godly attributes (Php 2:5) in order to live as a man.  He did not routinely read minds, or see the future by His own choice.  Even His works and teaching were not from His own power but were from the Father (Jn 14:10 )  He was able to lead a perfect life, to discern what others were thinking and perform miracles because even in His humanity, He always remained in the Father empowered by the Father.  Joseph and Daniel give us a glimpse of what a man can discern and achieve in the Father.  How much more so Jesus!  He maintained a perfect relationship with the Father through prayer, meditation and obedience.  By reaching His full potential while staying within His humanity Jesus showed each of us our own potential.  His example  is clear.  Live, as Christ did, in the grace of God and the power of the Spirit, with a passion for obedience to God’s will.


The Whole Nine Yards

Baptists, knowing Jesus to be the pre-existent Creator of all, have little difficulty understanding that Jesus is 100% divine, born with no sin nature.  However the idea that Jesus is 100% human is fraught with difficulty.  The general (and false) application of our understanding is that Jesus was God “acting” as an example to men.  So we still ascribe to Jesus’ certain divine attributes such as omniscience.  We say He was God so He knew what the Pharisees were thinking. He was God so He knew when the time was right. He was God so He really couldn’t sin, and so forth, all as a way to say “we can’t really follow His example because He was God”. True, Jesus was not born into sin but was the Son of God and therefore had an opportunity to live sinlessly.  Nevertheless, it is important we understand that Jesus’ humanity was no “act”.  It was so real that He experienced every temptation known to us and also that He was free to choose sin if He wished.  It is important for man to understand that Jesus did indeed walk where we walk, faced the temptations we face, and had the same free will to sin that we have.  Indeed, He could have fled back to Galilee and avoided the pain and suffering of the cross if he wished.  It is important to understand that Jesus did not exhibit perfect obedience because He was God but rather because He remained perfectly in the will of the Father.  Hebrews 2 speaks to the importance of truly understanding the humanity of Jesus and Philippians 2 gives us the key to understanding how His humanity works.

Is Philippians 2 literal?  What does it mean saying  “Who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form He humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.”  There is nothing in the context or content of Philippians 2 to indicate we should read the passage as a simile, parable or allegory, rather the account is a paradoxical historical event, a literal action taken by the Lord Jesus.  Jesus decided to lay aside the attributes of God and to become 100% human (in obedience to God); meanwhile He retained His divinity and at the ascension reassumed His Godly attributes.  A fact of history.

So what does it mean?  Our limited knowledge tells us God is omnipotent, pre-existent, omniscient, holy, immutable, love, omnipresent and so forth.   Man on the other hand is limited by his experience, created at conception, tempted, wavering, has free will, limited in time and space, selfish, and so forth.  So Philippians 2 tells us the Lord Jesus gave up the former in favor of the later.  At the age of 12 Jesus already had a sense of His role on earth.  At the beginning of His ministry He was able to withstand direct confrontation and temptation with the devil.  Are these events not evidence that Jesus retained Godly attributes?  If so, what do we do with the facts of Philippians 2:5-8?

The Greek verb described this historical activity of Jesus God as kenosis, best translated as “emptying” or “to be emptied”.  If true, then how did Jesus overcome the devil?  Know what the Pharisees were thinking?  Perform miracles?  Teach so profoundly?  He was able to do these things because His attitude toward God was perfect, leading to a perfect relationship with the Father, which led to possession of the strength of the Father. (Ph 2:5) When Jesus acted supernaturally He was able to do so not because He momentarily reclaimed one Godly attribute or another – that would have been inconsistent with His claim of “kenosis” – rather He had supernatural power through God the Father.  Just like Daniel or Joseph were able to make supernatural interpretations of dreams through the power of the Father, not out of any divinity of their own.  Jesus, ever so much more the perfect follower of the Father, was the ever so much more endowed in His humanity with the power of the Father even to the point of raising Lazarus from the dead.

One of His primary purposes on earth, the absolute primary purpose being to provide the sacrifice for man’s salvation, was to teach man how to have a continuously growing relationship with the Father through quiet time, meditation, obedience, love, worship, service and declaration .  Jesus experienced 100% humanity and remained sinless not because He was divine (although He was) but because He always placed His trust in the Father.  Christ “tasted death for everyone” (Heb 2:9) but He also demonstrated how we all have the potential to be “[more] perfect through suffering.” (Heb 2:10).   Why is this concept of Jesus’ complete humanity so important?  Because we can only understand our own human potential for good works when we understand that what Jesus accomplished on earth was accomplished in His humanity through the Grace of God.  Grow in Christ and you grow in your strength to do good works.

Caution: This does not mean that Jesus set aside being God and then re-ascended to Godhood through righteousness.   Jesus died on the cross as a man in the perfect will of God and subsequently ascended to heaven to reclaim the divine attributes of the triune God which He had willingly laid aside temporarily for the sake of men.  Even if you believe the kenosis was “partial”, don’t let this lead you to the belief that Jesus was merely “acting” like a man.

Jim Suttle



This is the post excerpt.

The lines between Religion and Politics have always been blurred.  The more religion is allowed to migrate from individual accountability to social mores, the more obscure the distinction becomes. Followers of Christ struggle with this issue in unique ways.  My hope is this blog may clarify the attendant questions and encourage all to  hear “the Lord [as He] roars”.  We in America must learn from the consequence suffered by the stubborn Hebrews or see history repeated.

Reformation and Revival: The Hope and Fear of Islam

The Short Take

Christianity’s reformation, beginning back in 1517, coincided with a Christian revival characterized by a “going back to the Bible” seeking truth and guidance.  Revival has always been about going back to the Bible from Nehemiah and Josiah to the awakenings of Edwards, Wesley and Havner.  Now in the 21st century a new call for reformation is building, not in Christianity, rather in Islam.  Notably this is reformation without revival.  It is reformation based on rational cultural norms (i.e. relativism).

This sounds good for world peace and prosperity.  However, what will happen when the inevitable comes?  An Islamic revival.  Maybe in a particular mosque or in the person of a few 2nd, 3rd, or 4th generation Muslims.  Just as in Christianity such a revival will be marked by a turning back to the source, for Islam “back to the Quran” to seek truth and guidance.  However, for Islam this does not mean a turn to peace, hope and charity as it would in Christianity.  Unfortunately under Islamic theology revival is a call back to Jihad, Sharia law and destruction of the infidel.