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Archive for the ‘Ligonier Ministries’ Category

gospel

Burk Parsons, Senior Pastor of St. Andrews Chapel and a Teaching Fellow at Ligonier Ministries, wrote this about the gospel:

The nineteenth-century Princeton theologian Charles Hodge said, “The gospel is so simple that small children can understand it, and it is so profound that studies by the wisest theologians will never exhaust its riches.” The gospel is absolutely fundamental to everything we believe, and it is at the very core of who we are as Christians. However, many professing Christians struggle to answer the simple question: What is the gospel? When I teach, I am astounded by how many of my students are unable to provide a biblically accurate explanation of what the gospel is, and, what’s more, what the gospel is not. If we don’t know what the gospel is, we are of all people the most to be pitied. For, if we can’t explain the gospel, then we can’t proclaim the gospel in evangelism so that sinners might be saved, and we in fact may not be saved ourselves. In our day, there are countless counterfeit gospels, both inside and outside the church. Much of what is on Christian television and on the shelves of Christian bookstores completely obscures the gospel, thereby making it another gospel, which is no gospel at all. Since Satan cannot destroy the gospel, as J.C. Ryle wrote, “he has too often neutralized its usefulness by addition, subtraction, or substitution.” It is vital we understand that just because a preacher talks about Jesus, the cross, and heaven, that does not mean he is preaching the gospel. And just because there is a church building on every corner does not mean the gospel is preached on every corner.

Fundamentally, the gospel is news. It’s good news—the good news about what our triune God has graciously accomplished for His people: The Father’s sending the Son, Jesus Christ, God incarnate, to live perfectly, fulfill the law, and die sacrificially, atoning for our sins, satisfying God’s wrath against us that we might not face an eternal hell, and raising Him from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the victorious announcement that God saves sinners. And even though the call of Jesus to “take up your cross and follow me,” “repent and believe,” “deny yourself,” and “keep my commandments” are necessary commands that directly follow the proclamation of the gospel, they are not in themselves the good news of what Jesus has accomplished. The gospel is not a summons to work harder to reach God— it’s the grand message of how God worked all things together for good to reach us. The gospel is good news, not good advice, just as J. Gresham Machen wrote: “What I need first of all is not exhortation, but a gospel, not directions for saving myself but knowledge of how God has saved me. Have you any good news? That is the question that I ask of you.”

(Table talk, January 1, 1989)

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This is an excellent video from Ligonier Ministries briefly explaining the Reformation. October 31st is the 500th anniversary of the official beginning of the Reformation, and we would do well to remember our family history. By the way, a transcript is provided.

 

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After reading through the Bible in a year, Bear Grylls made this statement – “What did I learn? I am a great sinner, Christ is a great redeemer.” Amen!

Reading through the Bible from cover-to-cover is something every Christian, and every person who wants to consider themselves educated, should do. It doesn’t matter if you do it in a year or not, just do it.

This year, I’ll be using the “5 Day Bible Reading Plan” from http://www.bibleclassmaterial.com. It’s “basically chronological” with readings from both the Old and New Testaments. It’s different in that there are only five days of reading per week, giving time to catch up if you need it. You can print out a copy of the reading plan here.

There are a number of other good plans, too. Ligonier has several here. All of the ESV’s reading plans are here. Whichever you choose, stick with it, and you’ll learn what bear Grylls did.

“Am I a Christian, Pastor Timothy Keller?” is a very interesting op-ed written by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. He asks Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York, a series of questions. Keller answers his questions in what sounds like a conversation between the two. You should read it. Most of us have been asked questions like this before, and it’ll help us prepare and think through our answers. You can read it here.

We saw Rogue One last week, and thought it was very good.

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In this video, R.C. Sproul explains and illustrates the difference between our sanctification and glorification as believers in Jesus Christ. Follow the link below.

http://www.ligonier.org/blog/difference-between-our-sanctification-and-our-glorification/

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R.C. Sproul’s little book Who is the Holy Spirit? is an excellent introduction to pneumatology (the doctrine of the Holy Spirit). Who is the Spirit? What does He do? Why is called holy? These questions, and others, are briefly answered by Sproul, the founder of Ligonier Ministries.

Reformation Trust, the publishing arm of Ligonier, has released over twenty small books in the “Crucial Questions” series. These books, all by Dr. Sproul, are easy to read and solid in doctrine. I’d recommend them for any believer in the Lord Jesus who wants to grow spiritually, as well as any non-believer asking questions.

There is still a lot of confusion out there about the Holy Spirit, and Sproul does his part to clear it up. Tolle lege!

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For the last several years, I’ve been making a simple plea: make a commitment to read through the Bible this coming year. All of it, from cover to cover, even the book of Leviticus.

Here are two links that will be helpful in reaching that goal, as well as providing reasons for doing it.

  1. Justin Taylor at The Gospel Coalition
  2. Nathan Bingham at Ligonier Ministries

I prefer the chronological plan, which orders all of the readings in the order in which they took place historically. For example, at one point during your reading of Genesis, you’ll read the book of Job (because the best evidence available points to Job existing during the time of the patriarchs – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). My wife and I used this plan as we read through the Scriptures together this year. e,m

A number of Bible apps have reading plans built into them. If you have one of them, make use of it!

 

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One of God’s attributes is wrath. He is absolutely, perfectly, and righteously angry at sin. It isn’t just an Old Testament doctrine, either; it’s found in the New Testament, too. So, why don’t we hear much about it from our pulpits? Probably because it’s thought that people won’t like it or they might be offended and stop coming to church (which would violate the “mission” of many churches – to do or say anything needed to keep the largest number of people coming). It’s not a “warm and fuzzy” doctrine, but it has to be preached if we’re going to be faithful to God. Steven Lawson has some excellent thoughts in this article. I highly recommend it.

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