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Archive for May, 2016

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I had the privilege this morning of preaching on John 14:25-31. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: The Lord Jesus Christ promises His disciples the Holy Spirit, peace, and a reason to rejoice.

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“May you live in interesting times.” That Chinese proverb could be seen as a blessing or a curse depending on how we perceive it. As Christians in the United States in 2016, we live in interesting times. It doesn’t matter if we asked for it or not (or want it or not), it’s the truth. Erick Erickson make this statement in You Will Be Made to Care:

Each of us is going to have to choose – believe in Christ’s teachings or the world’s teachings, but either way you will be made to care. Jesus himself said it: “No one can serve two masters…” (Matt. 6:24). For far too long, Christians in America have been able to coast in peace on the faith fumes of yesterdays believers. But a peaceful people is seldom a religious people. And coasting can only take you one direction – downhill. It has been said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” We tend to change direction in life for one of two reasons. Either a crisis forces us to make a move, or our own vision for a better life pulls us in a new direction. Christians in America have lost our internal drive to grow our faith – because we haven’t had to. Because everything still looked okay on the outside, we thought we could afford to drift. We were wrong. The culture that we live in will no longer permit Christians to remain invisible, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing for the Kingdom of Heaven, even thought it may be briefly painful for believers in America.

Believers need to remember that our faith and loyalty to God are distinct from our love for our country. Not always incompatible, but different. And Christians may soon need to choose between the two as they are accused of being freaks and enemies of the state, of upending the social order of the secular elite. There’s going to have to be a resurgence in orthodox belief and boldness among believers so we can say we are Christians first and Americans second. The Judeo-Christian foundation we once shared with most people in our culture is no longer there. Russell Moore correctly notes that we can no longer make the assumption that people share what we believe. “There was a time when Christians could assume that most people in American culture agreed with us on values, if not on gospel. Even the way that some Christians engaged [culture] was to say, ‘This is not the real America. These are just some elites in Hollywood or somewhere else.’ Well, looking around now, those issues that were once wedge issues for the Right are now wedge issues for the Left in almost every category – on marriage, on sexuality, on marijuana, on drug use, on all of these sorts of things.”

Yes, the winds of change are blowing, and the changes do not necessarily favor the comfort of individual believers. Like countless Christians who’ve gone before us, we might wish we could avoid the war on our freedom to believe, but that choice is not ours to make. As Gandalf noted in The Lord of the Rings, we do not get to choose the battles of our time: “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

(pp. 206-207, italics in original)

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This morning I had the privilege of preaching on John 14:18-24. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: The Lord Jesus Christ will never leave us, and as a result we will know and love Him.

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I had the privilege this morning to preach on John 14:12-17. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Disciples of Jesus will do greater works than Him through God-glorifying prayer, and will obey Him through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit.

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Kevin DeYoung provides 15 helpful tips for discerning truth from error when it comes to Bible teaching in this post. False teaching is rampant in today’s church and the first thing we need to be able to do is know it when we hear and see it. As Paul told Titus, “But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine” (2:1).

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A.W. Pink’s thoughts on Jesus’ statement, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Before sin entered the world Adam enjoyed a threefold privilege in relation to God; he was in communion with his Maker; he knew Him, and he possessed spiritual life. But when he disobeyed and fell, this threefold relationship was severed. He became alienated from God, as the hiding of himself painfully demonstrated; having believed the Devil’s lie, he was no longer capable of perceiving the truth, as the making of fig-leaf aprons clearly evidenced; and he no longer had spiritual life, for God’s threat “In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” was strictly enforced. In this same awful condition has each of Adam’s descendants entered this world, for “that which is born of the flesh is flesh”—a fallen parent can beget nought but a fallen child. Every sinner, therefore, has a three-fold need—reconciliation, illumination, regeneration. This threefold need is perfectly met by the Savior. He is the Way to the Father; He is the Truth incarnate; He is the Life to all who believe in Him. Let us briefly consider each of these separately.

“I am the way.” Christ spans the distance between God and the sinner. Man would fain manufacture a ladder of his own, and by means of his resolutions and reformations, his prayers and his tears, climb up to God. But that is impossible. That is the way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death (Prov. 14:12). It is Satan who would keep the exercised sinner on his self-imposed journey to God. What faith needs to lay hold of is the glorious truth that Christ has come all the way down to sinners. The sinner could not come in to God, but God in the person of His Son has come out to sinners. He is the Way, the Way to the Father, the Way to Heaven, the Way to eternal blessedness.

“I am the truth.” Christ is the full and final revelation of God. Adam believed the Devil’s lie, and ever since then man has been groping amid ignorance and error. “The way of the wicked is as darkness; they know not at what they stumble” (Prov. 4:19). “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Eph. 4:18). A thousand systems has the mind devised. “God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions” (Ecclesiastes 7:29). “There is none that understandeth” (Rom. 3:11). Pilate voiced the perplexity of multitudes when he asked, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). Truth is not to be found in a system of philosophy, but in a Person-Christ is “the truth”: He reveals God and exposes man. In Him are hid “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3). What tremendous folly to ignore Him! What will it avail you in Hell, dear reader, even though you have mastered all the sciences of men, were acquainted with all the events of history, were versed in all the languages of mankind, were thoroughly acquainted with the politics of your day? O, how you will wish then that you had read your newspapers less and your Bible more; that with all your getting you had got understanding; that with all your learning you had bowed before Him who is the Truth!

“I am the life.” Christ is the Emancipator from death. The whole Bible bears solemn witness to the fact that the natural man is spiritually lifeless. He walks according to the course of this world; he has no love for the things of God. The fear of God is not upon him, nor has he any concern for His glory. Self is the center and circumference of his existence. He is alive to the things of the world, but is dead to heavenly things. The one who is out of Christ exists, but he has no spiritual life. When the prodigal son returned from the far country the father said, “This, my son, was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found” (Luke 15:24). The one who believes in Christ has passed out of death into life (John 5:24). “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life” (John 3:36). Then turn to Him who is the Life.

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I-Am-the-Way

I had the privilege of preaching on John 14:4-11 this morning. Here is a summary of my sermon in the space of one sentence: We can trust Jesus because He is the exclusive way to the Father, the unique revelation of the Father, and in an inseparable union with the Father.

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