Archive for March, 2011

This morning, I had the honor of preaching on Ephesians 1:15-19. Here is the summary of my sermon in a sentence: Paul thanks God for the Ephesian Christians and prays that they would increase in their knowledge of God, their inheritance from God, and the surpassing greatness of the power of God that was at work in them.


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Jerry Bridges told this story when he spoke at the Spurgeon Fellowship.  The point of it is excellent.

His parents gave him a wristwatch as a gift after he graduated from high school. It looked good and told the time well the first day, but when he got out of bed on the second day and put the watch on, he found that it had lost quite a bit of time. Jerry remembered that he had forgotten to wind it before he went to bed! The watch had a mainspring that needed to be wound every day if it was going to be able to tell the time properly.

The gospel is the mainspring of the Christian life. The fact that “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21) is what powers us and keeps us going. Just like Jerry’s wristwatch, we need to “wind the watch” by reminding ourselves that if we have put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ for our salvation, He took our sins upon Himself and paid for them and He gives us His perfect righteousness as a gift.

We need to wind that mainspring every day, which is what Bridges means when he says that we should preach the gospel to ourselves every day. Have you wound your watch today?

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Yesterday, I was blessed and privileged to see and hear Jerry Bridges speak at the Spurgeon Fellowship at Western Seminary. Bridges is the author of a number of books on the Christian life and the gospel – each of them excellent. (For examples, you could read my earlier post “5 Good Books by Jerry Bridges”).

Bridges spoke on the two bookends of the Christian life. One bookend is the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ which is imputed to us through faith in Him, which guarantees our standing before God. The other bookend is the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian who provides us with the power and ability needed to pursue holiness and practice godliness.

Both talks were simple, straightforward, humble, full of biblical content and the wisdom of a godly 80 year-old Christian. May the Lord give Bridges many more years of faithful and fruitful service. You can check out his books and buy them here.

By the way, you might also want to get more information on the Spurgeon Fellowship. It’s a ministry to pastors and church leaders that meets quarterly at Western. I’ve been encouraged and strengthened many times over by their efforts. May the Lord continue to bless them, too!

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I first read Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist in 1989, three years after it was first published, in my first year of seminary. John Piper’s book caused in me what some call a “paradigm shift.” The idea that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him was, and remains, a life-changing thought.

The revised edition, which was published this year, is even better than the original. It contains a new preface, a study guide, and a new chapter entitled, “Suffering: The Sacrifice of Christian Hedonism” which is excellent. Piper has also made some changes and revisions throughout the book.

Even after twenty-five years, the truths Piper presents hold up under the scrutiny of Scripture. I have to admit it took me awhile to accept Piper’s “Christian Hedonism” because I didn’t like the name or the association with a non-Christian philosophy. Over time, I became convinced that the chief end of man is to glorify by enjoying Him forever is indeed the teaching of God’s Word.

I was intrigued by the idea presented in the added chapter that gluttony may be the sinful alternative to the truth of the resurrection of the body and the afterlife. It’s a good point worth thinking about.

The Revised Edition of Desiring God will stand the test of time, thereby making it a classic just like the original.

Check it out here.

Multnomah Waterbrook sent me a free copy of this book to review.

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This morning I had the privilege of preaching on Ephesians 1:13-14. Here is my sermon in the space of one sentence: In Christ and through the work of the Holy Spirit, believers in Jesus Christ are saved, sealed, secured. Praise God!

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The prophet Isaiah said, “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word” (Isaiah 66:1-2, emphasis not in the original).

Even though God is the creator of all things visible and invisible, He pays special attention and gives special care to those who possess certain qualities. They are humble – they understand who God is and who they are in relation to Him. In other words, the humble person knows not only that they aren’t equivalent to GOd, but are also totally dependent upon Him for everything. They are contrite in spirit – they’re ready to confess their sins and sinfulness. Their sin is ever before them, as the Scripture says. They are tremble at God’s Word – they realize that God has spoken and made Himself known to us through the Bible, and that His Word is the final authority to which we must submit.

The bottom line is that God “will look” to those who take Him and His Word seriously. Treating God and HIs Word casually or flippantly is displeasing to Him, so we have to consider our ways and words. May it be our aim to take God and His Word seriously in our lives, families, churches, and ministry. That will glorify Him as we live Coram Deo.

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