Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Invisible Kingdom of God, Pt. 1 (John MacArthur)



Now just the topic of the Kingdom and King is foreign to us. There has never had a king in the United States of America. In fact, the US was born in a revolution against a king. They pride ourselves on never having been a monarchy. The fact of the matter is, most of the civilized world presently and for a long time does not exist under the rule of kings. There are still some royal families here and there in the world who are symbolic in terms of their royalty, rather than actual in terms of their sovereignty. The world has moved away from kings. People with absolute supremacy, absolute authority, absolute power, absolute will, we don't live under people who are what we would call majesties who can do whatever they like, whenever they like, with whomever they like without any recourse. In fact, when we find somebody who rules like that, we usually call him a dictator and he frightens us and the free world becomes outraged at such persons being outraged with the idea of autocratic domination, and we amass our powers, political powers and sometimes military powers, to try to liberate people from those who have absolute dominion over them. Our world is not a world of kings anymore.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Safe in the Arms of God - (Hopeful Words for Broken-Hearted Parents)



If you have ever faced the death of a child, or you have ever had to comfort a mom or dad whose little one died, you need to be able to answer some crucial questions: Where do babies go when they die? How can I know my baby is in heaven? Why did my child have to die?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Yom Kippur: The Day

The Resurgence has an interesting article on Yom Kippur:

Today Jews around the world are celebrating Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which is considered the holiest and most solemn day of the year in modern Jewish practice. What relevance does this Jewish celebration have for Christians? Biblically, quite a lot.

Yom Kippur is also known as the Day of Atonement, which is the climax of the Old Testament sacrificial system and is the most solemn day on the Jewish calendar. It was a day of great bloodshed and a day on which the gravity of humanity’s sin could be seen visibly. Because of its importance, it eventually became referred to simply as “the Day.”

The Center of the Pentateuch

  • Leviticus 16-17.

On this day, the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies to atone for the sins of Israel in order to avert the holy wrath of God for the sins of the past year and to remove their sin and its stain from them. Two healthy goats without defect were chosen. They were therefore fit to represent sinless perfection.

Two Images of the Atonement

The sacrifices of the Day were designed to pay for both sin’s penalty and sin’s presence in Israel. The shedding of blood and the sending off of the scapegoat were meant to appease God's wrath against sin and to cleanse the nation, the priesthood, and even the sanctuary itself from the taint of sin

  • Lev 16:30.

The Lamb of God

The Day of Atonement was a foreshadowing of Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, and our great High Priest who is able to sympathize with us in our weakness. These great images of the priest, slaughter, and scapegoat are all given by God to help us more fully comprehend Jesus’ bloody sacrifice for us on the cross.

Jesus Christ fulfills and accomplishes forever what the two goats symbolized. The Old Testament sacrifice of animals has been replaced by the perfect sacrifice of Christ (Heb 9:26, 10:5:10; 1 John 2:1-2 and 4:9-10). Christ paid sin’s penalty (Rom 3:25-26 and 6:23; Gal 3:13). He redeemed us (Eph 1:7), paying the price that sets us free (1 Cor 6:20; Gal 5:1). He turned away God’s wrath (Rom 3:25) and reconciled believers to God (Eph 2:16) so we can be forgiven for our sins and cleansed from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Review: ESV Study Bible (Hardcover) — Eds. Wayne Grudem and Lane T. Dennis

inthylight has a useful review of the ESV Study Bible.

Outline:

Summary: The ESV Study Bible (and accompanying web site) is a great tool for personal study and family worship; it leads the way in breadth, depth, and innovation for a new generation of study Bibles.

Book Info

ISBN: 9781433502415 (Worldcat; Google Books)
Publisher: Crossway (2008)
Genre: Biblical studies
Reading Level: middle–high school
Worthy read? Yes

Why this study Bible?

Achieves balance and expertise with multiple scholars.

Explains redemption history and literary features.

Presents all new notes.

R. C. Sproul’s 2005 study Bible

2003 Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible.

Avoids topical agendas; Lets God speak.

Includes useful web site.

ESV Study Bible Website. try the free preview.

Presents beautiful, full-color charts and maps.

Solomon's Temple Illustrated in the ESV Study Bible

View more examples at the ESV Study Bible web site.

Critiques

Related Elsewhere

For more information be sure to visit the official web site for the ESV Study Bible. Also, comparing a few more reviews may be helpful:

  1. Evangelical author and blogger Tim Challies offers a useful review.
  2. Nathan Stitt offers a thoughtful layman’s review, especially noting the balanced stance of the editors (i.e. it is not just a Calvinist or just an Arminian study Bible…).
  3. Andy Naselli links to the review he published in JETS (Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society).
  4. The “Scripture Zealot” blog has posted links to about 20 or so reviews of the ESV Study Bible.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sermon Outline: Matthew 5:43-48. “Loving your Bullies”

1) The Misinterpretation: Matthew 5:43

· Leviticus 19:18

A) Perversion by Omission

· John 7:48-49

B) Perversion by Addition

· Psalm 69:22-24

2) The Mandate: Matthew 5:44

A) Love Your Enemies

B) Pray for your Persecutors

3) The Motive: Matthew 5:45-48

· Hebrews 5:11-6:1

· 1 John 3:2-3

Friday, September 25, 2009

How Tolerant Is Islam?



US President Obama said this in June that " throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality."
But is that true?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

God vs. science? (Larry King Live)


Every year scientists come up with more evidence that seems to support evolution. Whats a
six-day, young-earth creationist to do? How can you support biblical claims that so obviously seem to contradict modern science?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Implanted with the Wrong Embryo

The news media is reporting of a story of a couple from Ohiowho had another couple’s embryo implanted in her uterus by mistake. Using the in vitro Fertilization technique (IVF), doctors somehow implanted the wrong embryo. Now the woman is pregnant with someone else’s baby. Though she could have aborted the baby, she decided to carry it to term—even though she won’t be able to keep it.

Denny Burke highlights the ethical difficulties associated with certain kinds of fertility treatments. What is amazing is her testimony about the nature of life and she has chosen to bring the child to term. It is worth it to read or watch her story.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Free Audio Download

Christian Audio is offering a great free audio download for participating in their survey:
Survey Banner

Here's how:

Mark of the Christian cover1. Click on the following link to be taken to their User Survey:
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=Isndm_2fj1A7rEWfmk0QUJ3g_3d_3d

2. Answer 12 simple, anonymous questions in under 90 seconds.

3. Receive a coupon code to be used in their online store for a free download of Francis Schaeffer's The Mark of the Christian!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sermon Outline: Matthew 5:38-42. “Experiments in Forgiving”

1) The Principle of Mosaic Law. Matthew 5:38
·  Deuteronomy 19:18-21

2) The Perspective of Divine Truth. Matthew 5:39-42

A) Dignity. Matthew 5:39b

· 1 Peter 2:20-23

B) Security. Matthew 5:40

· 1 Corinthians 6:1-8

C) Liberty. Matthew 5:41


D) Property. Matthew 5:42

The Theology of Creation, Pt. 2 (#3 of 3)



When the Bible speaks with regard to creation, or when it speaks with regard to origins, it speaks truly, it speaks factually. And Scripture begins in Genesis 1 and 2 with a very straightforward account of the origin of the universe and the earth and everything on the earth. Scripture opens with one very clear unmistakable statement, it is this, Genesis 1:1, In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. That is not an ambiguous statement. That is not an unclear statement. That is frankly not a statement that needs any explanation. Pre-Darwin, no one was confused by it. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. From there the first chapter of Genesis proceeds to tell us that in six twenty-four hour days God created everything that exists. It is so simple and so clear and so unmistakable that even a small child can understand Genesis 1

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Theology of Creation, Pt. 2 (#2 of 3)



When the Bible speaks with regard to creation, or when it speaks with regard to origins, it speaks truly, it speaks factually. And Scripture begins in Genesis 1 and 2 with a very straightforward account of the origin of the universe and the earth and everything on the earth. Scripture opens with one very clear unmistakable statement, it is this, Genesis 1:1, In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. That is not an ambiguous statement. That is not an unclear statement. That is frankly not a statement that needs any explanation. Pre-Darwin, no one was confused by it. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. From there the first chapter of Genesis proceeds to tell us that in six twenty-four hour days God created everything that exists. It is so simple and so clear and so unmistakable that even a small child can understand Genesis 1

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Theology of Creation, Pt. 2 (#1 of 3)



When the Bible speaks with regard to creation, or when it speaks with regard to origins, it speaks truly, it speaks factually. And Scripture begins in Genesis 1 and 2 with a very straightforward account of the origin of the universe and the earth and everything on the earth. Scripture opens with one very clear unmistakable statement, it is this, Genesis 1:1, In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. That is not an ambiguous statement. That is not an unclear statement. That is frankly not a statement that needs any explanation. Pre-Darwin, no one was confused by it. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. From there the first chapter of Genesis proceeds to tell us that in six twenty-four hour days God created everything that exists. It is so simple and so clear and so unmistakable that even a small child can understand Genesis 1

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Theology of Creation, Pt. 1 (#3 of 3)



Theology used to be called the queen of the sciences. It was called the queen of the sciences because in the final analysis the ultimate reigning truth is theology. Biblical theology, the revelation of God in Scripture, trumps all other sources of information and knowledge. And so, for centuries creation was a theological issue, not a scientific one. And then came Darwin and Darwin confiscated the subject of creation out of the realm of theology and tried to put into the realm of human knowledge and did no service to mankind.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Theology of Creation, Pt. 1 (#2 of 3)



Theology used to be called the queen of the sciences. It was called the queen of the sciences because in the final analysis the ultimate reigning truth is theology. Biblical theology, the revelation of God in Scripture, trumps all other sources of information and knowledge. And so, for centuries creation was a theological issue, not a scientific one. And then came Darwin and Darwin confiscated the subject of creation out of the realm of theology and tried to put into the realm of human knowledge and did no service to mankind.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Theology of Creation, Pt. 1 (#1 of 3)



Theology used to be called the queen of the sciences. It was called the queen of the sciences because in the final analysis the ultimate reigning truth is theology. Biblical theology, the revelation of God in Scripture, trumps all other sources of information and knowledge. And so, for centuries creation was a theological issue, not a scientific one. And then came Darwin and Darwin confiscated the subject of creation out of the realm of theology and tried to put into the realm of human knowledge and did no service to mankind.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sermon Outline: “Sincere Speech” Matthew 5:33-37

1) PROMISING SPEECH: Matthew 5:33a

Hebrews 6:16

Matthew 26:63-64, 69-74

Psalm 15:1-4

2) FALSE SPEECH: Matthew 5:33b

Leviticus 19:11-12

3) GODLY SPEECH: Matthew 5:34-37

Matthew 23:16-20, 21-22

Romans 2:24

Revelation 21:8

Matthew 12:36

Friday, September 11, 2009

Look for Evidences of God's Grace



This clip was taken from the final sermon in the Trial series, Perseverance Until God is Finished With You.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

How can a God who is loving and good send anyone to hell?

Albert Mohler was asked how can a God who is loving and good send anyone to hell? Here is the video of that message.


Monday, September 07, 2009

John Piper - The Protestant Work Ethic



"Greatness, Humility, Servanthood"
Mark 10:32-45

On Mission, Changing the World, and Not Being Able to Do It All

This Labour day, Kevin DeYoung has an interesting post on work. The titles of each section:

Busy, Busy, Dreadfully Busy

Doing More for God

Thing One and Thing Two (And Thing Three and Thing Four...)
Two Blessings Along the Way
Two resources were very helpful to me as I wrestled with all of this in seminary. The first was the senior sermon preached to my class by Gordon Hugenberger of Park Street Church. The sermon was based on John the Baptist’s words “I freely confess I am not the Christ.” Hugenberger’s point to a group of soon-to-be pastors was simple. “Look, you are just the best man, not the groom. You are not the Messiah. Don’t act like it. Don’t let people force you to be something you are not. Don’t let them expect too much from you. Confess to yourself and to your people: I am not the Christ.” I still have a copy of the sermon (thanks Joey) and listen to it from time to time. Many pastors would do well to remember this humble and freeing confession. And many churchgoers would be thankful to have their pastors let up on all the “go do the mission of Jesus” sermons. He was the Christ after all and we are not.

The second resource that helped me was a little book called Beyond Duty: A Passion for Christ, A Heart for Mission by Tim Dearborn, who, at the time of the book’s publication, worked for World Vision (and still may, I don’t know). Dearborn talks about all the urgent appeals in the church to “modify our lifestyles to enable a more just distribution of the world’s resources, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, build homes for the poor, tear down all barriers that unjustly divide humankind, enable the reduction of the world’s arsenals in pursuit of peace...” He argues that for too long the church has motivated people to mission by news of natural catastrophes, complex humanitarian disasters, unreached people groups, and oppressed and exploited minorities. We’ve been given statistics and we’ve been told all about the sad condition of the world. The take home from all this has been to give more, care more, serve more, love more, sacrifice more. The good news of Christ’s death and resurrection had been turned into bad news about all the problems in the world and how much more we have to do to make things right.

Again, I know what you are going to say: but we do need to love, serve, and sacrifice. Absolutely, we do. But here’s what else we need to realize:

1) We all have different callings. Every Christian must give an answer for the reason for the hope that we have, but not everyone will do beach evangelism. Every Christian should be generous, but not everyone will live in the inner city. Every Christian should oppose abortion, but not everyone who march in protests or volunteer at crisis pregnancy centers.

2) The church, not the individual Christian, is God’s body in the world. We all have different gifts and the body has many different members. Even if I never directly engage the issue of AIDS in Africa, the church (through individuals or corporately) can still be showing the compassion of Christ to these orphans.

3) Even Jesus left good work undone some days. Even Jesus got tired. Even Jesus couldn’t do it all (in a manner of speaking).

4) God is the one who does the work, builds his kingdom, renews his world. As Dearborn says, “It is not the church of God that has a mission in the world, but the God of mission who has a church in the world.”

5) Greater is he that is in me that he that is in the world. The most important work to be done in the world has already been accomplished.

On top of all this, we need to make sure our exhortations to do more rise to the level of God’s glory and sink deep into the gospel. If the exhortations don’t culminate in the glory of God then the youth people and the evangelism people and the poverty people are not really after the same thing. They are just competing interest groups in your church or in your mind. And if the exhortations don’t go deep into the gospel (and they often don’t), then we are just beating up others and ourselves with utopian dreams and masochistic oughts.

The gospel of Christ crucified for sinners is of first importance after all. So don’t forget: God loves you. God forgives you. God redeems you. God keeps you. God was here before you and will be here long after you. The truth, the world, the church, the lost, the poor, the children are not dependent upon you.

Light and Easy, No?
I’m not for a minute advocating a cheap grace or an easy-believeism. But the yoke still is easy, right? And the burden still is light, is it not? The danger–and it’s a danger I’ve fallen foul of in my own preaching–is that in all our efforts to be prophetic, radical, and missional, we end up getting the story of Pilgrim’s Progress exactly backwards. “Come to the cross, Pilgrim, see the sacrifice for your sins. Isn’t that wonderful? Now bend over and let me load this burden on your back. There’s a lot of work we have to do, me and you.” A cross, yes. Jesus said we would have to carry one of those. But a cross that kills our sins, smashes our idols, and teaches us the folly of self-reliance. Not a burden to do the impossible. Not a burden to always do more for Jesus. Not a burden of bad news that never lets up and obedience that is always out reach.

No doubt some Christians need to be shaken out of their lethargy. I try to do that every Sunday morning and evening. But there are also a whole bunch of Christians who need to be set free from their performance-minded, law-keeping, world-changing, participate-with-God-in-recreating-the-cosmos shackles. I promise you, some of the best people in your churches are getting tired. They don’t need another rah-rah pep talk. They don’t need to hear more statistics and more stories Sunday after Sunday about how bad everything is in the world. They need to hear about Christ’s death and resurrection. They need to hear how we are justified by faith apart from works of the law. They need to hear the old, old story once more. Because the secret of the gospel is that we actually do more when we hear less about all we need to do for God and hear more about all that God has already done for us.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Sermon Outline:Matthew 5:27-30. “Purity Exam”

1) The Deed. Matthew 5:27

· 1 Corinthians 6:9-19

· 1 Corinthians 7:3-5

2) The Desire. Matthew 5:28

· Psalm 119:37-38

· 2 Timothy 2:22

· Job 31:1-11

3) The Deliverance. Matthew 5:29-30

  • Philippians 4:8
  • Romans 8:12-13
  • James 1:15

A Little Humour: Calvinist Witnessing

Friday, September 04, 2009

A Little Humour: Arminian Witnessing

Getting John 1:12 Right: Should You Invite Jesus Into Your Heart?

Jim Elliff covers the much understood phrase of "inviting Jesus into your heart". He notes:

John 1:11-13. A Look at the Verse in Context

He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

What then is this verse, with its surrounding context, actually saying?

1. First, it declares that the world, and Jews in particular, were blind to Jesus.

2. Second, it teaches us that some people, regardless of the general blindness, do have the power (or actual right) to become children of God.

3. Third, it teaches that reception of Jesus must be qualified further.

4. Fourth, the child of God experiences something beyond (and I contend, before) his faith.

Where Does This Leave Us?

Here is what we should do:

1. We should forever bury the idea of “inviting Christ into the life.”

2. We should abandon the “praying the prayer” method for our appeal.

3. We should use the biblical terminology of “belief” in Christ.

4. We should also spend far more time talking about the awfulness of sin and the work of Christ for sinners.

If We Continue
Do not back down in your fervor, but use the right method. It stands to reason, even if numbers are smaller, that more true converts will come from good methodology. I know that God ultimately saves, and that He can use anything He wishes to do, but surely we are right to continually purify our evangelism for His glory.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Arminianism: It Robs the Gospel of its Personal Nature

End Times across the Spectrum

C Michael Patton @ http://www.reclaimingthemind.org has provided a helpful distinction summarizing that various eschatalogical positions. From his summary:

Category #1: Approach

  • Preterist: Belief that the event(s) happened in the past.
  • Historicist: Belief that the event(s) happen throughout history.
  • Idealist: Belief that the event(s) are symbolic or parabolic and are always present.
  • Futurist: Belief that the event(s) are yet future.

Category #2: Events

  • Event #1: Tribulation: This describes many apocalyptic happenings described primarily in Matt. 24 and Revelation 4-19. Included in this category is the anti-Christ, bowls of wrath, 144,000 witnesses, the Mark of the Beast, and the like.
  • Event #2: Millennium: This describes the reign of Christ on the present earth (e.g. before the new creation).
  • Event #3: The Second Coming and The New Creation: This describes the judgment and the creation of the new heaven and the new earth.

Historic Premillennialist

Event #1: Tribulation: historicist, preterist, futurist, or idealist

Event #2: Millennium: futurist

Event #3: The Second Coming and The New Creation: futurist

Dispensational Premillennialist

Event #1: Tribulation: futurist

Event #2: Millennium: futurist

Event #3: The Second Coming and The New Creation: futurist

Amillennialist

Event #1: Tribulation: historicist, preterist, or idealist

Event #2: Millennium: idealist (normally)

Event #3: The Second Coming and The New Creation: futurist

Postmillennialist

Event #1: Tribulation: historicist, preterist, futurist, or idealist

Event #2: Millennium: historicist (normally)

Event #3: The New Creation: futurist

Full-Preterism (considered heterodox by orthodox Christianity)

Event #1: Tribulation: preterist

Event #2: Millennium: preterist

Event #3: The Second Coming and The New Creation: preterist

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Theology of Creation, Pt. 2 (John MacArthur)



Have you ever wondered why the Bible begins with the account of creation? From a chronological perspective it makes sense why not begin with the beginning? The bible begins with creation because it sets the tone for all of scripture. In the same way how we view it colors how we view all of Gods word. So, how do you view creation? Is it literal or symbolic? Is it non-negotiable or is there room for evolution? Those are important answers to know and pastor John MacArthur is about to provide them. Open your bible to page one, and lets discover what they are.

Unpacking Forgiveness

In his article "Unpacking Forgiveness", takes the words of Kelsey Grammer on the topic of his sister's murder to deal with the issue of forgiveness. In one pity summary of scripture, he notes:
  • Christians are called to forgive others as God forgave them (Matthew, 6:12, Ephesians 4:32).
  • God forgives conditionally. God only forgives those who repent of their sins and turn in saving faith to Him (1 John 1:9, John 3:36).
  • Likewise, we also should offer forgiveness to all.
  • We forgive those who repent. Indeed, we are obliged to forgive (Luke 17:3-4), knowing that whatever someone has done to offend us pales in comparison to what we have done to offend God (Matthew 18:32-33).
He deals with the topic of justice:
Vengeance belongs to God. He will repay. Count on it. (Romans 12:17-21).
Finally, for those who forgive when the other party does not repent:
Automatic forgiveness packs unforgiveness. It redefines forgiveness as far less than what it means biblically. It hardens hearts with bitterness, isolation, and pessimism. In contrast, conditional forgiveness centers on the Cross. It offers the Gospel to all, recognizes that because of Christ any offender can be forgiven, believes that all relationships can be redeemed, and rests knowing that justice will be served.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Freshman Follies (How to Avoid Them)



Paul Spears @ http://www.scriptoriumdaily.com has some helpful tips for those off to school for the first time. The tips that he explains include:
  • Organize your life.
  • Study where it is quiet and there are no distractions.
  • Learn how to read. Go purchase Mortimer Adler’s “How to Read a Book.
  • Use a dictionary.
  • Don’t let embarrassment or shame keep you from asking questions.
  • Don’t hesitate to use professor office hours.
  • Go to class.
  • Don’t procrastinate.
  • Don’t cram.
  • Get 7-8 hours of sleep.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Exercise 3 to 4 times a week.
  • Spend time in prayer and reading the Bible.