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Archive for October, 2009

 

Why don’t we know when Jesus Christ will return to this earth?

Most likely for the same reason that when we hear that someone is coming to visit we vacuum, do the dishes, clean off the dining room table, and clean the litter box – we’re not paying that much attention and get lazy until we know we’ll actually have to do something. In other words, we procrastinate (why do today what I can put off until tomorrow?).

If we knew precisely when the Lord would return, it would be nearly impossible for us to resist the spiritual version of housecleaning before company arrives. If Jesus’ specific time of arrival was 9:29 a.m. February 19th, 2019 (that’s an arbitrary example – I’m not setting a date here!), most, if not all, of us would simply ignore Him and live in order to please ourselves until around 9:28 a.m on that day and then “get right with Him.” We’d know when He was coming, quickly do the housecleaning, and welcome Him with bright eyes and a bushy tail when we hear the doorbell ring.

Jesus said of His return,

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” (Matt. 24:36).

“Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour” (Matt. 25:13).

“Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come” (Mark 13:33).

“You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect” (Luke 12:40).

We don’t know when the Lord Jesus Christ will return to this earth as King and Judge. Therefore, we’re told to be ready and on the alert because it could be at any time. He may not return for a thousand years, but the possibility exists that it could be a lot sooner, too. The point is to be ready and “occupy” till He comes.

We need to get our house in order, so to speak, now. We can’t wait until right before we think Jesus might come back – it will come when we least expect it.

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Number 5-4Here are five good books on why Jesus Christ died and what His death accomplished.

  1. The Passion of Jesus Christ: Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die by John Piper. Packed with more truth per-square-inch than just about any other.
  2. The Cross of Christ by John R.W. Stott. A classic theological treatment of the subject.
  3. Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray. The first five chapters deal specifically with the death of Jesus.
  4. The Great Exchange by Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington. Comprehensive Biblical study of the atonement. Very well done.
  5. The Truth of the Cross by R.C. Sproul. A readable introduction.

Tolle lege! (which interpreted means, “Take up and read!”)

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Donald Whitney, in his excellent book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, explains the importance of “Bible intake” as he calls it.

No Spiritual Discipline is more important than the intake of God’s Word. Nothing can substitute for it. There is simply no healthy Christian life apart from a diet of the milk and meat of Scripture. The reasons for this are obvious. In the Bible God tells us about Himself, and especially about Jesus Christ, the incarnation of God. The Bible unfolds the Law of God to us and shows us how we’ve all broken it. There we learned how Christ died as a sinless, willing Substitute for breakers of God’s Law and how we must repent and believe in Him to be right with God. In the Bible we learn the ways and will of the Lord. We find in Scripture how to live in a way that is pleasing to God as well as best and most fulfilling for ourselves. None of this eternally essential information can be found anywhere else except the Bible. Therefore if we would know God and be Godly, we must know the Word of God – intimately. (p. 24)

If all of this is true, and it certainly is, how can we let our Bible sit on a shelf and gather dust? Tolle lege Coram Deo! (Take up and read before the face of God!)

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Here are five good books on God I would heartily recommend. None of them is exhaustive, of course, because God Himself is inexhaustible, but each of them has helped refine my view of the true and living Triune God. These five books are “good.” They may or may not be “the best,” but they are all good.

  1. Your God Is Too Small by J.B. Phillips. Phillips helps us identify some of the false notions about God we may still hold on to.
  2. Knowing God by J.I. Packer. A classic in the best sense of the word.
  3. Knowledge of the Holyby A.W. Tozer. Small, but powerful.
  4. The Attributes of God by A.W. Pink. Ditto.
  5. The Existence and Attributes of God, by Stephen Charnock. Two volumes written by a Puritan pastor. I dare you to read it. Honestly!

Another good book is Almighty Over All by R.C. Sproul, Jr. The only reason it was not included in the list above – other than the fact that there would be one too many books – is that Sproul deals with the attribute of sovereignty only. Nevertheless, it’s a good and thought-provoking read.

Good books about God are essential as we live our lives Coram Deo (before the face of God). Enjoy!

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