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Archive for January, 2013

I had the privilege this morning of preaching on Genesis 21:1-34 (the birth of Isaac, Hagar and Ishmael are sent away, and Abimelech and Abraham make a treaty). Here’s a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Living faithfully to God in all of life means rejoicing on the peaks, trusting God in the valleys, and to keep going in the routines of life.

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Here are some links I found interesting (you might as well).

How to Mortify Sin is a piece written by Sinclair Ferguson which is excellent. Read it here.

Les Miserables: Law, Grace and Redemption is written by L. Michael Morales and is a good introduction to the book and movie for those who aren’t familiar with it (and those who might be, too). Read it here.

A Wretched Critique of Restoring America is an article written by Joel McDurmon. It’s a good reminder to actually quote and try to understand those you disagree with. Regardless of your millennial position, this applies. Read it here. Here’s part two.

Enjoy!

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This morning, I had the privilege of preaching on Genesis 20:1-18 (Abraham lies to Abimelech about Sarah). Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: When Christians sin, suffering inevitably follows, but so does forgiveness and restoration!

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It’s not hard to tune out when we’re listening to a sermon, taking part in a Sunday School class or a Bible study. It could be that the presentation isn’t very good, or our attention isn’t held, but another reason we might tune out is that we’ve heard it before. Because we’ve heard it, we assume that we understand it and know it. Therefore, we don’t need to hear it again.

We couldn’t be more wrong! As the saying goes, “repetition aids learning.” Hearing something once, or even more than once, is no guarantee that we know it or understand it at all. Paul told the Christians in Philippi, “Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe (or a safeguard) for you” (3:1). Peter wrote something very similar in 2 Peter 1:12-13, and 15: “Therefore I intended always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder…And i will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.” 

It’s for our good that we hear things repeated that we already know. We’re guarded from error, established in the truth, reminded of what’s true, and we become able to call them to mind (especially when we need them the most).

So, the command to pray without ceasing has come up four times in the last week – we’ve heard it before, but we need to hear it again and again and again. Why? Because we forget. And it should be no trouble for us as pastors to remind our congregation, even if we sound repetitious.

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“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 1:6)

Surely this is one of the great and precious promises mentioned in 2 Peter 1:4. God, the One who has begun a good work in us (through His election, calling, regeneration, conversion, and justification of His people), will continue that work (the work of sanctification) until the day the Lord Jesus Christ returns (which is called glorification). We can count on it!

The “tenses” of salvation – God’s work in us and for us – are included in this one statement. We have been saved from the penalty of sin (justification). We are being saved from the power of sin (sanctification). Last, but not least, we will be saved from the presence of sin (glorification). What God begins, He continues and completes!

For believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, God will keep on working until we are with Him for all of eternity. After time passes into eternity, God will still be at work, but in a much different way. We can draw comfort from the promise that God will bring His work in us to completion, and perfect it, because it assures us that He’s working even when we aren’t aware of it, and that someday He’ll be finished (meaning that none of us are finished products yet). The promise should motivate us, too, because since God is at work, we should be, too (that’s Philippians 2:12, but I’m getting ahead of myself!).

If you believe in Jesus Christ and He hasn’t returned yet, you can know that He’s at work in you and H won’t stop until He’s done!

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