After returning from the mailbox, you open the two pieces of mail you received. One says, “Mr. and Mrs. Proud Parents request the honor of your presence at the wedding of their daughter, Beautiful Bride, to Happy Groom. Please respond using the enclosed card.” The second piece of mail says, “Within 21 days after service of this summons on you…you must provide the court reply with an answer.”
What’s the difference? The first is an invitation; the second is a summons. You can respond to an invitation if you want, or you can ignore it. You ignore a summons at your peril – it’s a command. Both are pieces of paper filled with words, but our response to them is very different.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is most often presented as an invitation: God requests the honor of your presence in heaven; He awaits your response. Acts 17:30-31 tells a different story, however. Speaking on Mars Hill, the apostle Paul said, “Therefore having looked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” The good news of Jesus Christ is a summons: Repent and believe in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation; there is coming a day when God will judge all people.
All men, women, boys, and girls are commanded -summoned, if you will – to repent and believe the gospel. If we don’t repent and believe, we’re guilty of disobedience and rebellion (sin) against God, not of simply turning down an invitation. That should have an influence on the way we present it, shouldn’t it?
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I had the privilege this morning of preaching on John 17:6-10. The following is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: When we answer the question of who Jesus is praying for, we discover a good description of what a Christian – a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ – really is.
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At some point this morning, my phone froze (not in terms of temperature, but in terms of activity). It wouldn’t do anything. No amount of pushing buttons or holding down buttons did anything to fix the problem – neither did plugging it in to to recharge it.
I realized that a solution was beyond my skill level, so I went to the phone store. The salesman explained what had happened and restarted the phone. After that, he taught me how to turn off programs and apps that were running (and using a lot of battery power) that I didn’t know were running. I texted Karen, my wife, and told her I learned something about our phones that I’d have to teach her.
The whole sequence of events got me thinking: isn’t that what we should be be doing with God’s Word? Yes, it is! 2nd Timothy 2:2 says, “The things you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” You and I have the responsibility of passing on what we’ve been taught to others, who will do the same thing. Notice that there are four generations mentioned in that verse by the apostle Paul.
If I’m excited about sharing what I’ve learned about my phone, shouldn’t I be infinitely more excited about sharing what I’ve learned from the Word of God? Of course I should! Discipleship is all about entrusting what we’ve learned to faithful men and women who will do the same thing. That’s how the church grows and spreads like leaven throughout the entire world. A frozen phone was a good reminder of that.
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I had the privilege of preaching on John 17:3 this morning. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: The only true God is the God who is really there, rational, reliable, and faithful to His covenant, unlike the many false gods of the world.
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“Faith is the refusal to panic” according to D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones…For my money, minor league baseball may be the best value going in terms of watching sports in person. You’re close to the action and may get to see a future major-leaguer. Ron Tonkin Field is a beautiful ballpark to boot. If you want to take that as an advertisement for the Hillsboro Hops, fell free…”Worldliness is whatever makes sin look normal and righteousness look strange” (Kevin DeYoung)…If you’re not listening to James White’s podcast “The Dividing Line,” you need to start. He demonstrates critical thinking and doctrinal clarity on every single episode…Will any of you be watching the Olympics? What sports or athletes?
So the United States government paid $400 million ransom to Iran for the return of hostages? No matter what the President or his mouthpieces (in both his administration and in the media) say, this was a ransom, not a “coincidence.” When I go to the coffee shop and give them a certain amount of money, they give me a sugar-free hazelnut latte – it’s not a coincidence. Sending the money, made up of Swiss Francs and Euros (cash in other words), on an unmarked plane to Tehran, at which point a plane carrying the hostages took off for the United States, certainly makes it look like a ransom. Paying ransom for hostages is unethical, immoral, and foolish. Does anyone think the Iranians won’t take more hostages now that they know they can demand, and receive, a hefty ransom? I don’t. I’m not that naive and I believe in the total depravity of man.
The incomparable Al Mohler os studies: “Remember that very clearly: ‘studies show.’ Studies show what studies show studying other studies that will be studied in the future in order to study what the studies mean. But it’s interesting: the studies always turn out to mean what the latest studier of the studies wants it to mean.” (From The Briefing)…In my opinion, if a study comes to a conclusion that goes against common sense, it’s wrong.
When taxes are raised on corporations, who ultimately pays the bill? The CEO doesn’t – they don’t take the money out of his or her salary. There’s no shoebox full of cash in the safe labeled “Money for Corporate Taxes.” Increased taxes are passed on to the consumer – you and me – in the form of higher prices for goods and services. If a 35 percent tax was placed on bananas, the price of bananas would rise at least 35 percent – simple economics. Some on the left of the political spectrum seem to think corporations have trees growing money or are ATM’s they can make withdrawals from whenever they feel like it.
Remember those who are being persecuted for their faith in Christ (Heb. 13:5). Pray for them and for their persecutors (Luke 6:27-28).
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This morning I had the privilege of preaching on John 17:1-5. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Jesus’ request that God would be glorified teaches us how to pray and how to live.
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This morning I had the privilege of preaching on John 16:33. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Jesus can rightfully promise and provide His disciples with peace because He has earned it through His perfect obedience to His Father as our substitute.
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