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Showing posts from December, 2007

Resolution from Dan Wallace -- To Know Christ. Period.

This is, perhaps, one of the best New Year's Resolutions that I've heard (or seen!) yet. It's by Dan Wallace of DTS. I think he's right on. I love his heart revealed here ... So, this year, I’m making one new year’s resolution—viz., not to make any new year’s resolutions. It’s not just that they don’t work; the focus is all wrong. Even if I had a 100% success rate in New Year’s resolutions, it would be all wrong because the goals would be short-sighted and the means would be self-glorifying. No more New Year’s resolutions for me. No, what I want is to know Christ, to love Christ, to obey Christ, to glorify Christ beyond what I had never dreamt of before. But this is not my new year’s resolution that will fail in a couple of weeks, not to be reviewed or reflected on till next December 31; this is my weekly confession, even daily and hourly confession, that though constantly tainted with failure will nevertheless be the objective that does not go away, that does not wait


It's always good to remember these seventy resolutions that Jonathan Edwards penned a few centuries ago: 55. Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to act as I can think I should do, if, I had already seen the happiness of heaven, and hell torments. July 8, 1723.

Doctrine of Christ

This is the most complete official deliverance on the Reformed position with respect to the doctrine of Christ found in the Second Helvetic Confession prepared in 1566. Here it is in part: Therefore the Son of God is co-equal and consubstantial with the Father, as touching His divinity; true God, and not by name only, or by adoption, or by special favour, but in substance and nature... We therefore do abhor the blasphemous doctrine of Arius, uttered against the Son of God... We also teach and believe that the eternal Son of the eternal God was made the Son of Man, of the seed of Abraham and David; not by means of any man, as Ebion affirmed, but that He was most purely conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the v irgin Mary... Moreover, our Lord Jesus Christ had not a soul without sense or reason, as Apollinaris thought; nor flesh without a soul, as Eunomius did teach; but a soul with its reason, and flesh with its senses... We acknowledge, therefore, that there be in one and t

Come all the way to Christ

I just got home from the rehab center where I go and preach fairly regularly. Tonight my text was Hebrews 10:19-31 entitled "Come all the way to Christ." The text is so clear and straightforward it almost needs no sermon. This is one of those texts in the Bible that we should read regularly to test ourselves and make certain we are in the faith . For those who are pastors, this would be a good sermon text to preach at least once a year so your people are reminded of the horrors of apostasy. Here is the text. Please read it with a reverence knowing that we are on holy ground: Hebrews 10:19-31 19 Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies

Our Christmas Festivities and Such

We love Christmas and we had a wonderful Christmas. Here is a review of our last few days. Earlier in the month, we celebrated Hanukkah. I taught Elizabeth some of the traditional Jewish blessings (in Hebrew too! -- she's a natural!). We didn't open any presents though. At any rate, we had a good time. Then a few weeks ago, we were in cold New York and here's a nice picture of me and Elizabeth, NOT in sunny and warm southern California, but in cold southeastern New York on a frigid morning outside the home where we were staying. On Sunday evening, we had youth group and instead of playing games before our Bible study, we walked a few blocks to a nearby grocery store and sang some Christmas carols and handed out tracts and pamphlets to our church. On Monday, Christmas Eve, Elizabeth and I went to the Whitney home for a Christmas eve party. Brent is the other associate pastor at Christ Community Church. He is the pastor of families and children. He is a great guy and we had a

Musings on a Friday Evening

Over the past few days I have been reminded of God’s goodness to me. This is such a simple concept yet with such profound innumerable implications. No doubt God has had his hand upon my wife and me as we have traveled cross country and been in cities which were unintentionally entered because of flight cancellations and reschedulings. I am delighted that I serve a God who has all things under control. I am overwhelmed that I can submit to a God who is ne’er surprised by any circumstance which takes me off guard. I am thankful to God who has given to me His Word. I have been preparing for a sermon this upcoming Sunday from one of the most Christological passages in the Bible, Colossians 1:15-20. I have been overwhelmed by the supremacy of my Savior. I have been enthralled at the all sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice for me. I have been ecstatic in yet another reminder of seeing my Savior face to face one day (soon, Lord willing!). I have been overjoyed by the sufficient and reconciliato

Why was Jesus born?

Mark 10:45 45 "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." Here’s a side to the Christmas story that isn’t often told: those soft little hands, fashioned by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb, were made so that nails might be driven through them. Those baby feet, pink and unable to walk, would one day walk up a dusty hill to be nailed to a cross. That sweet infant’s head with sparkling eyes and eager mouth was formed so that someday men might force a crown of thorns onto it. That tender body, warm and soft, wrapped in swaddling clothes, would one day be ripped open by a spear. Jesus was born to die. Don’t think I’m trying to put a damper on your Christmas spirit. Far from it—for Jesus’ death, though devised and carried out by men with evil intentions, was in no sense a tragedy. In fact, it represents the greatest victory over evil anyone has ever accomplished" ( John MacArthur).

Contend for the faith

Darrel Bock from Dallas Seminary has a good article in Christianity Today on When the Media Became a Nuisance: How to respond to the next blockbuster book/documentary/movie that questions traditional Christianity. I commend it for your reading. He makes some good notes and how we, as evangelicals, ought to respond to this fast-pace media presentation of quasi Christianity. Here is a paragraph from his article: We need to understand that public discussion of the Christian faith has changed—permanently. So the next time you hear an earth-shattering announcement about Jesus from the media, don't get angry. Rather, take three deep breaths, sit down with your Starbucks coffee, and watch how the announcement is treated on blogs and other media. Above all, prepare yourself for the opportunities it presents. Jude 1:3-4 3 Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the fa

No matter what your Christian leader tells you -- Christians and Muslims have NO common ground

Read the article here . It's discouraging that over 100 Christian leaders, including Rick Warren, Brian McLaren, and Robert Schuller, have expressed delight in this invitation offered by the Muslims. This is discouraging, yet not shocking, considering the state of evangelicalism today. Read the post here . I want to protect you and rattle the snake when there are Christian leaders (well-known) who are saying that Christians and Muslims are on common ground . Please do not fall into this trap. May we be faithful to God's Word and exhort others to do likewise. Soli Deo Gloria .

Are you bringing loyalty or merely a sacrifice?

My heart was challenged and convicted this morning as I read a portion from Hosea and I want to post it here for your encouragement as well. Hosea 6:6 6 For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. We find that this is in the section of the book where Yahweh is declaring that Israel is that faithless wife who has gone to other lovers rather than being faithful to her husband (i.e. Yahweh). And in this sobering section, Yahweh declares this verse that is quoted in the NT (Matt 9:13; 12:7) and it serves as a fitting test for us today as well. When you come to God, as the Israelites sure did in the 8th century BC, do you come to God bringing all of the sacrifices you can find? Do you come to all the church services that are available? Do you get up early and spend time in God’s Word and in fervent prayer and delightful meditation? Do you walk around the office with a Bible in hand so that others see that you are a Christian? Go

A "Hipper-Than-Thou Pastor" ... Mr. Rob Bell

Rob Bell is pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan and has now made TIME magazine headlines. He is, according to editor David Van Biema, the " Hipper-than-thou pastor ." Bell has a few well-known works, Velvet Elvis and Sex God that find the sacred in the profane. Van Biema noted this about Rob Bell: At 28, he founded a megachurch that threw out the conventional sermon-and-worship service and instantly drew thousands of attendees. Referring to the town of Grand Rapids: The town is notoriously well churched, but Bell saw an untapped audience: some were his music fans, others Christians left cold by traditional services. "A hundred people a day were calling and saying, 'Dude! Give us the real thing.' I was like, If someone could speak to these people in their mother tongue, they'd be here in droves." Fifteen hundred people, alerted by word of mouth, came that first Sunday. Nine years later, Mars Hill tallies 11,000 weekly. I am not sur

The Damning Peril of the Catholic Church – part 4

We have looked at seven of the most serious assaults of the Roman Catholic Church on biblical Christianity. To review, here they are: 1. The Supremacy of God’s Words in the Bible 2. The Sufficiency of God’s Son 3. The Singularity of God’s Gospel 4. The Sovereign Grace of God 5. The Security of God’s Children 6. The Sanctity of God’s Church 7. The Severity of God’s Judgment We have looked at each of these briefly giving the Catholic view and then the Scriptural rebuttal which, in every case, contradicts and trumps the RC doctrine. I am troubled when I read of a movement forming (which is actually one of many), Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT) which is signed by leaders of both the RC church as well as the Evangelical church (signed in 1994, 1997, 2002 and most recently in 2005). ECT says: We give thanks to God that in recent years many Evangelicals and Catholics, ourselves among them, have been able to express a common faith in Christ and so to acknowledge one another a

Good reads on questioning salvation, sexual purity and criticism

I'll come back and comment regarding the conclusion of my Roman Catholic posts soon. However, because I'm so busy and have not the time to blog at length, here are some excellent blogs that I've found and I commend them for your reading: Mike Patton has a great post here on "An encouragement for Christians to question their faith." It's a good read. I may not agree end on end with everything he says and concludes, but his point is well taken. Dave Trepanier has an extraordinary post on Song of Solomon here . When have you ever heard a sermon out of this marvelous book. And no, it is not allegorical for Christ and the Church. It is simply revealing God's view of love and marriage and the sanctity of sex, love and marriage. He comments on this text. Now, preacher (in all seriousness, now), how would you preach on this: Song of Solomon 8:8-10 8 "We have a little sister, And she has no breasts; What shall we do for our sister On the day when she is spo

The Damning Peril of the Catholic Church – part 3

We have seen already the first four attacks of the Roman Catholic (RC) church on the orthodox doctrines as found in Scripture. Here are all seven of the attacks: 1. The Supremacy of God’s Words in the Bible 2. The Sufficiency of God’s Son 3. The Singularity of God’s Gospel 4. The Sovereign Grace of God 5. The Security of God’s Children 6. The Sanctity of God’s Church 7. The Severity of God’s Judgment We will look at the next three attacks in brief. Fifth, the Roman Catholic church is attacking the security of God’s children. This is not only a clear assault on the clarity of Scripture’s teaching on the believer’s security, but it also incorporates the doctrine of soteriology. By this I simply mean that when the RC church says that your salvation is not absolutely secure, that means that you, therefore, have some part to play in keeping yourself saved. With that in mind, on the contrary, consider: Jude 1:24-25 24 Now to Him [Jesus Christ] who is able to keep you from stumbling,

The Damning Peril of the Catholic Church - part 2

We have made mention of seven crucial biblical truths that are under attack by the Roman Catholic (RC) church: 1. The Supremacy of God’s Words in the Bible 2. The Sufficiency of God’s Son 3. The Singularity of God’s Gospel 4. The Sovereign Grace of God 5. The Security of God’s Children 6. The Sanctity of God’s Church 7. The Severity of God’s Judgment We previously have touched upon how the RC church is attacking the supremacy of God’s Word as well as the sufficiency of God’s Son as the efficacious and sufficient sacrifice for sins. But today, I want to look at the next few: Third, The Roman Catholic Church is attacking the singularity of God’s gospel. Here’s what I mean. To say that believing in Jesus Christ alone or, to use more biblical phraseology, that Jesus is “ the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father but through [Him]” is not enough is to attack the singularity of the biblical gospel. The RC church adds to God’s “gospel” indulgences to remit pun