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Archive for December, 2016

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I had the privilege of preaching on Luke 1:26-38 this morning. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: The foretelling of Jesus’ conception and birth by Gabriel to Mary demonstrates the power of God, the majesty of Jesus, and the submission of Mary.

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Merry Christmas!

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The birth of Jesus Christ – the incarnation of God Himself – is the turning point of history. He’s what Christmas is all about. Karen and I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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I love Christmas. I love the music, the decorations, the food, the celebrations, the gatherings, the gift-giving, the trees, the movies and television programs, and just about everything else involved with Christmas.

But there’s a danger in all of it, and if we’re not careful we’ll succumb to it. The danger is that we forget what (and Who) the season and the holiday is all about – the Lord Jesus Christ.

A story is told (and I have no idea if it’s true or not, but it makes a good point) of the christening of a baby by a wealthy European family. A large number of guests was invited to the family’s home. As the guests arrived, their coats and wraps were taken to a bedroom and placed on one of the beds. After the usual amount of visiting and catching-up, they were ready for the christening ceremony, and someone asked, “Where’s the baby?” The nurse went upstairs, found nothing, and returned in a panic. She couldn’t find the baby! After several more minutes of searching, someone remembered that the baby was put on one of the beds before anyone arrived, and there they found it – smothered under the coats and wraps. The entire reason they had come – the baby – had been neglected, forgotten, and now destroyed.

In our involvement in all of the trappings of Christmas, let’s not neglect, forget, or even destroy the reason we celebrate Christmas at all – Jesus Christ, the baby born in a manger who would save His people from their sins and is the King of kings and Lord of lords. Don’t forget the Baby!

As Isaiah the prophet said,  

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This morning, I had the privilege of preaching on John 20:11-18. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: The resurrected Lord Jesus Christ gives hope to His despairing disciples.

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D.A. Carson answers the question of why the resurrection of Jesus Christ is so important, and not simply a matter of speculation or opinion. In his commentary on the Gospel of John (which has been invaluable to me as I preach through John), he writes,

For John, as for all the early Christians, the resurrection of Jesus was the immutable fact upon which their faith was based; and their faith in large part depended on the testimony and transformed behaviour of those who had actually seen the resurrected Jesus. Their Master was not in God’s eyes a condemned criminal; the resurrection proved that he was vindicated by God, and therefore none less than the Messiah, the Son of God he claimed to be. The culminating faith that brings the disciples out of the era of the Mosaic covenant and into the era of the saving sovereignty of God mediated through the Son is based on the sheer facticity of the resurrection (20:8, 24-29) – or, better put, such faith trusts Jesus as resurrected Lord. Nor is John alone on the non-negotiability of the resurrection, for Paul writes, “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God that He raised Christ from the dead…And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:14-17).

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This morning I had the privilege of preaching on John 20:1-10 (Jesus’ tomb is found empty by Peter and John). Here is a summary of my sermon in the space of one sentence: The empty tomb and empty grave-clothes of Jesus provide strong evidence that He physically rose from the dead – a fact that changes everything!

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I was reminded of an important truth today as I listened to a sermon on Luke 1:5-25 delivered by R.C. Sproul: there’s a big difference between believing in God and believing God.

I believe in God as a result of His sovereign grace. He opened my eyes to see Him, my ears to hear Him, and my heart to believe. But what’s more significant and important is to believe God. In other words, to trust Him, to take Him at His Word, and to act on what He says.

You can believe in God without believing Him, but you can’t believe God without believing in Him. It’s the difference between being convinced that God really does exist and trusting that He’s good and knows what He’s doing when you’re going through a difficult time. It’s the difference between believing God has spoken and knowing that what God says about you is true (that you’re dead in sin and deserving of God’s wrath) and, as a result, you repent of your sin and trust Christ alone for your salvation.

Our walk with the Lord consists of believing God one day at a time for as long as He gives us on this earth. Believe in God – yes. Believe God – far better.

A little two-letter word – “in” – makes a gigantic difference.

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