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Archive for April, 2016

John-13_38

I had the privilege this morning of preaching on John 13:36-38. Here is a one-sentence summary of my sermon: The denial of Jesus by Peter (and ours) is contrasted with the devotion of Jesus to Peter (and to us).

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28. Psalm 121 framed with watermarkPsalm 121 says:

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun will not smite you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The Lord will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul.
The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.

Let’s face it, we need help in a variety of ways every day. When we need it, where do we go?

As Christians, there is only one answer: the Lord. The psalmist asks and answers the question by saying, “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where does my help come?” My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”

Our temptation is to look for help wherever we think we might find it – “the mountains” (and possibly the false gods some thought inhabited them), our friends, money, the “wisdom” of the world, work, family, popular culture, politics, the government, education, and yes, even social media.

The Scriptures, however, are clear. When we need help (whether it be wisdom, peace, strength, relief, comfort, courage, love, or anything else), we must go to the Lord God, who created the heavens and earth, first. Our help doesn’t come from “the mountains,” it comes from the One who created and sustains the mountains! He is our helper, keeper, and protector – the One who will guard us from this time forth and forever!

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I had the privilege this morning of preaching on John 13:31-35. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Both Jesus and the Father are glorified by the Son’s death, and we glorify God when we love other believers as He has loved us.

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David Murray, professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has written a good small book about depression. His position is that it’s possible for believers in Jesus Christ to become depressed (which some would deny). He explains what depression is, how complex it can be, what it’s causes may be, and how it can be cared for.

Murray’s chapter on the possible causes of depression is excellent – life events, lifestyle, the way we think, sin, sickness, and the sovereignty of God. The chapter on depression’s complexity isn’t as even-handed as I would like. In my view, Murray is too dismissive of Biblical Counseling (the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, for example) and their contributions. I would like to see Murray go into more depth on that point, but this book is a small one (maybe he’ll write a longer treatment at some point). I recommend the book, but with a caution as it relates to Biblical Counseling.

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JC-Ryle

Several weeks ago, I preached a sermon on John 13:1-5 (part of a verse-by-verse study of the Gospel of John).Verse 1 reads, Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. This comment by J.C. Ryle didn’t make it into the sermon.

The love of Christ to sinners is the very essence and marrow of the Gospel. That He should love us at all, and care for our souls – that He should love us before we love Him, or even know anything about Him, that He should love us so much as to come into the world to save us, take our nature on Him, bear our sins, and die for us on the cross – all this is wonderful indeed! It is a kind of love to which there is nothing like it, among men. The narrow selfishness of human nature cannot fully comprehend it. It is one of those things which even the angels of God “desire to look into.” It is a truth which Christian preachers and teachers should proclaim incessantly, and never be weary of proclaiming.

But the love of Christ to saints is no less wonderful, in its way, than His love to sinners, though far less considered. That He should bear with all their countless infirmities from grace to glory – that He should never be tired of their endless inconsistencies and petty provocations – that He should go on forgiving and forgetting incessantly, and never be provoked to cast them off and give them up – all this is marvelous indeed! No mother watching over the waywardness of her feeble babe, in the days of its infancy, has her patience so thoroughly tried, as the patience of Christ is tried by Christians. Yet His patience is infinite. His compassions are a well that is never exhausted. His love is “a love that passes knowledge.”

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I had the privilege this morning of preaching on John 13:18-30. The following is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Despite the awfulness of Judas’ sin, Jesus reached out to Him with true compassion and genuine kindness – He gave nothing but love and received nothing but betrayal.

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Month in Review

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In March…

officiated my Dad’s memorial service. It was a great honor and privilege. We’re thankful for all who came and extended their sympathy and support in so many different ways.

Stacey, Karen, Carla, and I have continued to deal with all of the details surrounding Dad’s death. A big “thank you,” too, to Uncle Jerry and Aunt Janet!

I was greatly blessed by the ministry of Zach Eswine at the Spurgeon Fellowship, which is sponsored by Western Seminary.

read Parables by John MacArthur, a book that explains why Jesus taught in parables and gives an explanation of a number of them. This is what we’ve come to expect from MacArthur: solid exegesis and theological soundness. Get it and read it.

We saw the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Dallas Mavericks at Moda Center. Thank you John and Stacey for the great seats!

We reflected on the death of Jesus Christ in an excellent Good Friday Service at Cross Creek Bible Church.

We celebrated the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ at Cross Creek Bible Church on Easter Sunday. He is risen. He is risen indeed!

We continued to study A.W. Pink’s book The Attributes of God on Tuesday nights.

continued to preach through the Gospel of John during the morning worship service at Cross Creek Bible Church – a privilege and an honor.

 

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