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Archive for December, 2011

Today I had the privilege to preach on Matthew 1:1-17, a neglected Christmas passage. The following is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: God, in His grace, always keeps His promises, uses sinful people to accomplish His purpose and plan, and has provided a Savior and King for us.

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Sermon in a Sentence

This morning, I had the privilege of preaching a sermon called “Waiting” on Psalm 27. Here is a summary in one sentence: Waiting for the Lord requires an intimate knowledge of God, the public worship of God, seeking God in prayer, and the desire to encourage others to do the same.

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Tebow Time

Syndicated columnist Rich Lowry doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with Tim Tebow, quarterback of the Denver Broncos and a man not ashamed or embarrassed to say he’s a Christian. Lowry echoes my own thoughts on Tebow. Read the article here. Here are two good quotes:

Nonetheless, Tim Tebow is considered “controversial.” It’s now cutting edge to be a straight arrow. It’s countercultural to be an outspoken Christian. A player who embodies everything meant by the cliché “role model” is for his critics a figure of fun, or even hatred.

Here is a prominent player who will almost certainly never require fathers to make awkward explanations to their kids about some spectacular scandal. Rejoice, America, rejoice.

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After hearing an opposing player drop the “f-bomb” at his daughter’s soccer game, R.C. Sproul, Jr. offered some thoughts on the origin and motivation of this kind of appalling speech. Here’s part of what he said:

I suspect the little girl is actually being raised by popular culture. Movies, music, television, video games have all shaped the discourse of those who consume them. We speak what we hear. When what goes in our ears is a sneering, cynical, angry stew, what comes out of our mouths is sneering, cynical, angry words.

Someone once noted the hypocrisy of television executives who trudge down to Washington and appear before Congressional hearings, promising that all the sex and violence doesn’t impact people’s behavior. These same men then meet with advertisers and promise that commercials can change people’s behavior. The forty minutes of programming won’t change a thing, The twenty minutes of advertising will change everything. They can’t have it both ways.

The truth is we are responsible for what we do. No one can stand before God and declare, “NBC made me do it.” The truth is, however, that media matter, and even our most sophisticated worldview grids do not make sludge safe to drink. Our discourse has grown coarse because we drink from the sewers of pop culture.

We spiritualize our self-poisoning, because we are poisoned. We think we have to be hip to this new band, or play that video game so that we can be relevant, so we can reach the lost. The truth is, the lost are reaching us. As Charles Swindoll once said, “If you drop a white glove in the mud, the mud doesn’t get all ‘glovey.'” The world doesn’t need us to become more like them. “Gritty, edgy, real” is just Christian for “geek who wants to fit in.”

We don’t need salty language to be salt, nor dark language in order to bring light. We need instead to speak the language of heaven. To learn to speak that language, we need to learn to hear it – to read God’s Word, to sing His psalms, to meditate on His promises. Then grace will flow from our lips.

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Pluralism – the spirit of our age – teaches that all religions ultimately lead to God. Biblical Christianity teaches that, ultimately, the only way to God is through Jesus Christ (called exclusivism). The two questions that get to the core of pluralism are:

  1. Is Jesus Christ the only Savior?
  2. Is faith in Jesus Christ necessary to be saved?

For the last two Sundays, I preached a series on the biblical answer to pluralism and its half-measure cousin inclusivism. In my preparation, I came across five good books on the subject:

  1. The Gagging of God:  Christianity Confronts Pluralism by D.A. Carson.
  2. Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Claims of the Christian Message by Ravi Zacharias.
  3. Why One Way? by John MacArthur.
  4. Is Jesus the Only Savior? by Ronald H. Nash.
  5. Is Jesus the Only One Way? by Philip Graham Ryken.

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This morning, I had the privilege of preaching the second sermon of two on the subject of pluralism. Here is a summary of my sermon in the space of one sentence: Contrary to pluralism – the spirit of our age – faith in Jesus Christ is necessary for salvation.

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