Posts tagged #devotion

Why it is Best to Consider Yourself a Murderer

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Why it is best to consider yourself a murderer.

 

In the end, knowing that you are a murderer at heart opens the door to salvation.

 

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.[1]

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.[2]

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.[3] (RSV)

 

 What do you do when someone hits you, bumps you, insults you, or hurts you in any way? Or, make it simple, what do you think of the person who cuts you off in traffic?

When Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount he ushered in a new kingdom that turned the whole world upside down and inside out.[4] In his message he raises the standard of inter-relational ethics to impossible standards; well, at least impossible without God, but that is his point. He exposes the natural tendencies of the human heart and critiques the best that man can do with the help of laws to contain those natural impulses. Finally, he requires new attitudes that can only be found in the heart of a person who knows the love and grace of God and who has been transformed and equipped to live and love as a new creation.

Our normal human tendency, when we are slapped, is to escalate the violence. An accidental bump in the marketplace or an inadvertent word becomes an offense which leads to a grudge and becomes a feud which is passed on to the generations. The response to a slap is to find a baseball bat which leads to a bigger stick, and then a gun and finally, in the end, to murder. Murder leads to murder, family hates family, clan hates clan, and nations go to war long past the point where the original bump in the marketplace has passed into legend.

Understanding this natural tendency, God gave the ancient Israelites a higher standard of justice. In Exodus 21, the chapter right after the presentation of the Ten Commandments, God lays out a system of justice that was often summarized with verses 23 and 24, “But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” (ESV) Although the imagery is slightly gory, this simple statement is the starting point for any contemplation of justice. Rather than having an offense escalate, any system of justice should maintain a balanced system where the recompense for an offense is proportional and also satisfies the circumstance so there is no ongoing escalation of uncontrolled “repayments.”[5]
Jesus points to this view of the law as a useful starting point to overturn the self-righteousness of man. If someone hurts us, under the law, we want to pat ourselves on the back and say that we only took back what we deserved. “He slapped me, I slapped him. We’re even.”[6] At one level this is just; but Jesus has something so much greater in mind. In our normal, law-less mode we are slapped and we want to destroy our neighbor. Under the law we are slapped and after a slap back, we walk away hating each other. In the upside-down kingdom, Jesus wants us, when we are slapped, to return utter vulnerability in the hope that our response of grace will lead to a restored and improved relationship.

Jesus wants to set a new standard and a new goal. He wants the standard to be love matching God’s love and the goal to be new-found and restored relationship. In our natural state the goal is destruction and there is no hope of restoration or relationship, in fact, we don’t even seek it. Under the law we are slapped and we want to terminate the relationship on equal terms. The goal is to walk away hating each other but at least not making things worse. The best we can hope for is, “He slapped me, I slapped him, we’re even… the jerk.”

But in the upside-down kingdom Jesus wants us, in the face of an offense, to respond with love and get as compensation … nothing. Moreover, he wants us to offer more than what is expected or required. Instead of justice that is even[7], when someone hits us, he wants us to offer the other cheek also.

Let’s ponder why Jesus uses the image of a slap. Being slapped in the face is more than just painful, it is a challenge or an insult. It is an intimate gesture and a personal affront. Jesus raises the bar, using an image of a destruction of fellowship that is face to face, deliberate and coldly unavoidable. We know who struck us and we know the slap was delivered with a purpose. In return, the Godly response is not only that we don’t return the slap, which would be “just” under the law, but we don’t even try to defend ourselves against the indignity. We don’t seek to defend ourselves, because we have a new goal – restoration.

When someone strikes us, or insults us, or shuns us, or hurts us in any way, we are immediately placed at a relational crossroads. Our response will either end the relationship (or start down that road) or restore the relationship. Instead of being satisfied with the end of relationship, turning the other cheek means that we chase down the person who struck us and offer them a chance to try again and to not strike the other cheek. Our driving passion is to restore the relationship through the love of God with no immediate consideration given to what has been done to us or whether we have been hurt. There may be consequences or reparations or issues to resolve, but that is a later part of the process to be worked out later.

Even the most superficial evaluation of this upside-down way of living should stun us. Not only would this attitude transform all human relationships, but through careful assessment of our own selfish hearts, we immediately realize that this attitude is impossible to cultivate without a profound transformation, first, of our whole lives. We need a new understanding, a new perspective, one that overturns our natural way of thinking. We need our hearts totally transformed from self-centeredness to utter selflessness. Even our best actions and habits need to be re-directed as new fruit of a transformed concept of the goal of restoration. The action of turning the other cheek can only be the result of a revolutionized way of thinking and a heart that has been transformed by God.

Jesus knew this and made it clear as he ushered in the upside-down kingdom. He discusses murder as a way to reveal our hearts in a penetrating and inescapable way. We all know that murder is at the extreme end of relational destruction. Jesus uses murder because it is such an absolute that we all understand. He traps us because He he doesn’t want us to be able to somehow claim self-righteously, “I’m okay because I haven’t murdered anyone.” His new kingdom trap works like this; “If you even call someone a fool, that is the same a murder.”[8] This challenge does three things. First of all, we must realize that we are all guilty of murder – nobody can make the claim, “I’m okay.” To identify a murderer, we no longer need a dead body, the proof starts in our innermost thoughts.

Secondly, he pushes the ethical requirement off the scales (just like turning the other cheek). It isn’t good enough to not murder someone, you can’t even think ill of a person. This forces upon us a crushing implication – if we are not to think ill of a person, that means that we must think well of everyone. Jesus makes this clear when he talks about how to treat our enemies. Imagine someone who is deliberately pursuing your destruction. Not just careless, not merely thoughtless, not simply inconsiderate; the person wants to hurt you, destroy your reputation, take away your wealth and he is doing everything possible to carry out his harmful intentions against you. Jesus says, “Love that person.” <<Insert animated GIF of a jaw dropping here.>> And here is the shocker, to your enemy, to love your enemy, you can’t be careless, or thoughtless, or inconsiderate. It isn’t enough to merely not be offended – you can’t be indifferent. Your love needs to be thoughtful, purposeful, and deliberate. You need to do everything possible to carry out your loving plans to that enemy as he seeks to destroy you. Jesus wants you to pray for that person, give him your things, and invite him into your home. You don’t merely avoid your enemy, you chase after him to present your other cheek for slapping.

Thirdly, and this is true any time we see the standard of God, we are faced with our absolute helplessness and our desperate need for God’s grace to be in us and filling us. On our own we are the murderers, we are the enemy to those around us. Under the Law, the best that we can hope for is to produce a legalistic response where we restrain physical murder. But mere restraint will never free us from being murderers in our hearts nor will it free us to love anyone else no matter who they are. C.S. Lewis wrote a poem that brings this to life, As the Ruin Falls. In it he says,

 

“All this is flashy rhetoric about loving you.
I never had a selfless thought since I was born.
I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through:
I want God, you, all friends, merely to serve my turn.[9]

 

This is why Jesus tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves. The only love that we can produce on our own is a self-centered, self-seeking, greedy love of Me. That is our natural state. Under the law we can (maybe) rise high enough to keep our external actions from revealing the inner selfishness. To love our neighbors and enemies, to turn the other cheek, to free ourselves from murder, we need to be transformed into people who are filled with the grace of God and live by it.

What Jesus said in these verses is hard to take. Most of us see ourselves as “really a pretty good person.” Human culture shoves this concept down our throats. We are endlessly pummeled with the message that we are “basically good” from psychologists, politicians and celebrities.[10]  It is pleasant and comforting and nice when people say this to us, because it is what we want to believe anyway. However, in our more private and introspective moments we sometimes admit that we have “made mistakes.” This statement is normally linked most logically to some kind of statement like, “but everybody makes mistakes,” which is supposed to justify our littler less significant mistakes. Or if someone presses us into a corner, we admit that we “might have done something wrong,” but in the perfect extreme defense we add, “well, maybe, but I haven’t killed anyone.” And at long last, we are finally trapped by the words of Jesus.

Physical murder is not the standard anymore. It is easy for most of us to keep from actual murder. But, if you murder someone in your heart, if you look down on someone, if you dismiss or disregard someone, ignore or show indifference, you are a murderer. And ironically our primary defense reveals that this is what we do all the time. We explain away our sins by comparing ourselves to someone else. In the end, we exalt ourselves in the condemnation of others. We see that we are a little bit wrong, but that other person is the real fool. Raca! If only those people were like me! Raca! That jerk cut me off! Raca! We condemn everyone as a fool every time they don’t meet up to our standards. And when we do that, we become murderers.

Jesus wants us to see ourselves as murderers because that strips away all of our self-confidence and self-sufficiency. If you see yourself as a murderer, you realize that you are worse off than your worst fears.[11] This gives us a desperate humility. We gain a new perspective of ourselves, a new perspective of others, a new perspective on our situation, and a new appreciation of our need for the grace of God.

Your new self-perspective, crushing as it is, puts you at the utter bottom of the moral stack, where you can finally be free and stop thinking so highly of yourself. You certainly can’t look at anyone else and claim that you are somehow better. From this point of view, when someone slaps you, the indignation is gone, because you know that you are a slapper, too. Still though, it is hard being slapped. How do we overcome?

The only deliverance from our state of desperate humility is through faith in Jesus Christ. He received the Ultimate Slap, the rejection of his own heavenly Father and the punishment of all the sins of mankind. He bore every insult, bump, anger, murder, hatred, and indignation, so that we don’t have to. When we look at Jesus and seize desperately upon his nail-scarred hand, we can finally find what we need to overlook the bump, terminate the feud, and chase down our enemies to offer them another swing at our cheek.

This blog was written by Charles Fox

[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version. 1984 (Mt 5:21–22). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Blomberg, C. (1992). Vol. 22: Matthew. The New American Commentary (113). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[3] The Holy Bible: New International Version. 1984 (Mt 5:43–45). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] It is important to note that all of these principles were already revealed in the Old Testament, the difference is that the nature of the kingdom changes when the King arrives.

[5] Please note that there is NO sense of punishment in this system. Compensation and restoration is the assumed purpose of justice. The goal is never to “make him pay for what he did.” Jesus, of course, pushes that to the limit in the Sermon on the Mount. It is valuable to note that as a culture moves further and further from God, this sense of proportion is increasingly lost.

[6] Which misses the point anyway. Even this view of law should awaken us to an “Aha!” moment. How does hitting someone back accomplish anything of value? Any opportunity for reconciliation, or to show the other person their fault through our grace and forgiveness is lost.

[7] At home, the natural tendency is that everyone gets the exact same amount of cake. The proper response is that if someone takes ALL of the cake and I don’t get ANY, that is ok. As Christians, our goal is not “what is fair in my eyes,” but sacrifice for the delight of others.

[8] A spoken word is more than just noise that comes out of our mouths. What we say reflects the profoundest beliefs and commitments of our hearts. When we call a person “Fool!” we are making a pronouncement of purpose and commitment. When we denigrate another, we are saying what we think they are worth, and what they deserve, and what we would do to them if we had the means. In the context of our discussion, it makes us the enemy who wants to destroy the person, that is, we are the murderer. Jesus nails us and our narcissistic world further when he uses the word “Raca.” Raca means empty, that is, you are “Raca,” you are nothing. This passive indifference that treats someone as if they are nothing is perhaps even worse than murder. Every human is of infinite consequence, and for us to dismiss anyone as meaningless is as far from love as you can get.

[9] C.S.Lewis, Poems, “As the Ruin Falls” (1st pub. 1964), pp. 109-110.

[10] The irony is that what they are really saying is, “I am a good person,” with no basis for such a preposterous claim. Since there is no way to prove this, the only remaining logic left is to make a claim that all people are good, and it is just the rare other person who has somehow gone wrong. Five minutes in the real world dispels the fantasy that bad people are “rare.”

[11] Jack Miller would tell us in church over and over – “Cheer up! You’re a worse sinner than you dared imagine, and you’re more loved than you ever dared hope.”

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Hearts

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

1 John 1:3-4: Real Fellowship

1 John 1:3-4: That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. [1]

 

The last blog discussed how John is trying to keep believers from leaving the church by defending his apostleship. [2] In verses 3-4, John continues to counter false beliefs about Christianity by explaining that true fellowship with God and Christians, and true joy only come through the apostles’ teaching—teaching that is affirmed by the whole Bible. [3] The crucial key to biblical fellowship hinges on knowing the Triune God in Christ: that His blood pays for the forgiveness of sins, and His continued work in our lives. [4] Any fellowship claiming to be Christian that lacks these elements is not true biblical fellowship.

 

This is why doctrine is so important! If we do not rightly understand Scripture, how can we claim to fellowship with God and His people and have His joy? [5] Whether or not you would call yourself a Christian, you need to study the apostles’ teaching. What Christ’s apostles taught is in harmony with the whole Bible, which reveals our sin and our need for a Savior. [6] What Christ’s apostles taught is that that Savior is exclusively Jesus, Who alone brings us into fellowship with God and man. [7] What Christ’s apostles taught leads to lasting joy even in suffering. [8] These things are yours only in Christ, as the apostles taught.

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] Colin G. Kruse. The Letters of John. General Editor: D.A. Carson. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2000), 52-53.

[3] Joel Beeke. The Epistles of John. (Webster, NY: Evangelical Press, 2006), 25-26.

[4] Beeke, The Epistles of John, 26.

[5] Beeke, The Epistles of John, 27. See also John 15:11, 16:24, 17:21; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 John 1:1, 2:24.

[6] Luke 24:39-50; Acts 2-3; Galatians 3; 1 Peter 2, etc.

[7] John 14:6; Acts 2:42, 4:12; 2 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 1:3-10, 2:1-10, 1 John 1:5-10.

[8] 2 Corinthians 1:3-10; Philippians 4:11-13; James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:3-12.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

Suffering in Hope

Psalm 63:5-6: My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,

and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,

when I remember you upon my bed,

and meditate on you in the watches of the night. [1]

When we are anxious, two desires we may have are food and sleep. Both of these are desires David may have had, and both could be denied him because he was fleeing his conniving son. [2] Food can be hard to find when fleeing in the desert. Sleep can be illusive when life is in danger. Yet, David does not feast on worry but on God’s soul-satisfying favor that sustained him each moment. [3] When David knew he might struggle to sleep, he committed himself to thinking on Who the Triune LORD is rather than his circumstance. [4]

Please understand: David’s behavior is not escapism, and ours should not be either. David understood that “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” [5] The God Who created David sustained and suffered with David. This is especially true for the elect because of Christ’s earthly sufferings and crucifixion. [6] We as believers suffer with hope because Jesus has endured the greatest trials and has given us the Holy Spirit to comfort and sustain us. [7] If you suffer apart from Christ, there is every reason to fear because your hopes lack eternal benefit. [8] Turning to Christ as your only Savior from sin will not end suffering.[9] However Jesus gives you the hope of maturing and guarantees eternity without suffering. [10] Why suffer without hope?

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016). Logos Bible Software &. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] John Calvin & J. Anderson. Commentary on the Book of Psalms, Vol. 2. (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software 7, 2010), 438-440.

[3] Calvin, Psalms, Vol. 2, Logos Bible Software 7, 438-440.

[4] Calvin, Psalms, Vol. 2, Logos Bible Software 7, 438-440.

[5] Psalm 34:18.

[6] Isaiah 53; Matthew 8:17; Romans 4:13-25; 1 Peter 2:18-25.

[7] John 14-17; Romans 8; Hebrews 4:14-16.

[8] Psalm 16:4, 118:8-9, 146:3; Jeremiah 17:5-6; Jonah 2:8; Micah 7:5; John 14:6; Acts 4:12, etc.

[9] Genesis 39-40; 2 Timothy 3:12-17.

[10] Romans 5:1-5, 15:1-7; Colossians 1:3-14; James 1:2-4; etc.

Treasuring God's in Your Heart

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Colossians 1:5-6: Faith, Love, Hope, and Their Fruits

Colossians 1:5-6: Because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth. [1]

In the blog on Colossians 1:3-4 we saw that faith, which is a result of God’s regenerating work, creates and feeds true love. [2] In verses 5-6 Paul connects Gospel centered hope to faith and love and shows their relation to each other. [3] Pastor William Hendriksen explains, “Christian mental and moral attitudes and activity such as believing, hoping, and loving, always react to each other. This holds too with respect to hope. It reacts mightily and beneficially on faith and love. Christian hope is not mere wishing. It is a fervent yearning, confidence, expectation, and patient waiting for the fulfilment of God’s promises, a full Christ-centered (cf. Col. 1:27) assurance that these promises will indeed be realized.” [4] Faith in and love for Christ gives believers assured hope which enables their daily living and outreach. [5]

Because faith, love, and hope founded on Christ lead to life and assurance amidst trials, the reverse is also true: non-Christians lack these God-given gifts necessary for handling trials. Everyone believes something, the question is if that something is worth believing in? [6] If the Trinity’s radically transforming grace is worth rejoicing (v. 3-4), why settle for less? If you do believe, you have a call to continue in and proclaim your faith. [7] Since the rest of the world lacks hope, you must not abandon yours, but try to bring others to it so that they may know the faith, love, and hope God has given you.

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software 6. All Scripture References will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] Seth Dunn, “God’s Work: Reason For Rejoicing,” Proclamation Presbyterian Church (Mount Joy), accesses 6/29/18, http://proclamationpca.com/blog/2018/6/29/treasuring-gods-truth-in-your-heart-1.

[3] William Hendriksen. New Testament Commentary: Exposition of Colossians and Philemon. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1987), 49.

[4] Hendriksen, Colossians and Philemon, 49.

[5] Hendriksen, Colossians and Philemon, 49.

[6] Timothy Keller. The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. (New York, NY: Dutton, published by Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2008), 3-21.

[7] Hendriksen, Colossians and Philemon, 50-51.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

Romans 12:1-2: Yeah I'm A Christian . . . So What?

Romans 12:1-2: I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. [1]

You can probably name people who claim Christianity, but their lifestyles fail to reflect their values. In Romans 12-16, Paul explains how the truths of Romans 1-11 transform daily life. [2] We need to understand that the realities in the first eleven chapters of Romans lead into the last four because “union with Christ” enables our new obedience. [3] Just as the Trinity converts people, [4] God also enables Christ-like living. [5] This Christ-like living is, “by the mercies of God,” a joyful worship that holistically engages the body, mind, and soul in rational, actual, and emotional opposition to sins in pursuit of the LORD. [6]

Why would you not want to live this way? Yes, Christ-likeness requires the humbling process of confession, and living in a manner contrary to our pre-converted nature, but those things are God’s grace. [7] Imagine the joy of not living for this corrupt, [8] transient, [9] fading [10] world, but something eternal, true, and worthwhile. Embracing Christ exclusively, whether for the first time in conversion, or in repentance, brings that joy. [11] Freedom from enchaining human and personal expectations rests in converting to and living by God’s covenant expectations. [12]

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Bible references will be ESV from here on out, unless noted otherwise.

[2] James Montgomery Boice. Romans: Volume 4, The New Humanity Romans 12-16. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books a division of Baker Book House Company, 1995), 1484.

[3] John Murray. The Epistle to the Romans: The English Text With Introduction, Exposition And Notes Vol. II. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Co. 1965), 109. See also The Westminster Standards: The Westminster Confession of Faith, the Larger Catechism, and the Shorter Catechism. (Philadelphia, PA: Great Commission Publications, 2011), Shorter Catechism Questions and Answers 86-87.

[4] Romans 3, 5:1-2, 8:12-39, 9, 11, Galatians 4:4-6; Ephesians 2:1-10; Philippians 2:6-11; Colossians 2:6-15, etc.

[5] Psalm 57:2; Philippians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 1:3, 5:24.

[6] Murray, Romans, 111-114.

[7] Paul David Tripp. What Did You Expect? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010), 73-80.

[8] Romans 1:18-32; 3:9-23, 8:7-8, 8:18-23.

[9] Murray, Romans, 113-114.

[10] 1 John 2:18.

[11] 1 Peter 1.

[12] Galatians 2:4, 5:1, 5;13; Romans 6:15-23, etc.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Hearts

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

Psalm 84:11-12: Two Sides to Shield and Light

Psalm 84:11-12: For the Lord God is a sun and shield;

the Lord bestows favor and honor.

No good thing does he withhold

from those who walk uprightly.

12 O Lord of hosts,

blessed is the one who trusts in you! [1]

These sweet verses, [2] resemble the glorious truth of Romans 8:28. [3] Both verses “picture vividly all that is outgoing and positive (light, joy, heat, energy . . .) and all that is protective; the answer to fear and defeat – but a soldier’s answer.” [4] When God shields believers, He is also their “reward,” “refuge,” “glory,” “strength,” “help,” “blessing” and more in life’s trying, confused, and terrifying moments. [5] This Psalm points to what is fulfilled in Christ, [6] Who will be the eternal light to His followers in a land free from evil. [7]

But verses 11 and 12 also teach these good things are only for those who believe in Jesus Christ as their exclusive means of salvation. [8] Know that if you lock shields with the Trinity, either in opposition to Him, His people, or His Word, you will be destroyed and eternally punished. [9] You may think there is no God, no help for Christians, and no life after death, but that is because sin has blinded you. [10] If you currently oppose the Light, may God in His mercy open your eyes to your need of Him, and cause you to repent of your sins. Then Christ will shower His benefits on you, as He has done to me and all who are saved from their wickedness too. [11]

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture passages from here forward will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] Derek Kidner. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, Vol. 16: Psalms 73-150 An Introduction and Commentary. General Ed. Donald J. Wiseman. (London, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1975), 338.

[3] James Montgomery Boice. Psalms, Vol. 2: Psalms 42-106. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books a division of Baker Book House Company, 2000), 693.

[4] Kidner, TOTC: Psalms, 338.

[5] Genesis 15:1; Psalm 2:12, 3:3, 5:12, 18:2, 27:1, 28:7, 59:11, 84:9, 115:9-11, 119:114, Proverbs 2:7, and 30:5.

[6] Kidner, TOTC: Psalms, 337 (footnote 74), and 338.

[7] Isaiah 60:19-20, Malachi 4:2, Revelation 21:23, and Revelation 22.

[8] Genesis 12:1-3; Numbers 9:24; Galatians 3:4, 3:14, 3:16, see also John 14:6, and G.K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2011), 723.

[9] Psalm 68:21, 143:12; Isaiah 63:1-6; Matthew 25:41-46; Revelation 19:11-21, 20:7-21:8. See also The Westminster Standards: The Westminster Confession of Faith, the Larger Catechism, and the Shorter Catechism. (Philadelphia, PA: Great Commission Publications, 2011), Shorter Catechism question and answer 26.

[10] John 1:1-13; Romans 1:18-32; 8:7-8; Ephesians 2:1; 1 John 2:11, etc.

[11] Colossians 1:15-23, Romans 5:6-11.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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John 10:27-28: The Shepherd's Sheep

John 10:27-28: My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. [1]

Some claim: “In Calvinism everything just turns out alright in the end!” Such protests misunderstand Calvin and Scripture. Jesus came because everything is not alright. [2] Sin deafens humanity to Christ apart from God’s effectual call. [3] The Holy Spirit’s work is required for righteous living, [4] which causes humble, [5] lifelong, urgent pursuit of Christ. [6] The Trinity’s necessity for salvation and godliness makes relying on personal efforts and fruitlessness ludicrous because the spiritually dead sheep are made alive to follow the Good Shepherd. [7] We err when we assume we are Christ’s if we trust our works or lack them. [8]

Further, Jesus’ promise “no one will snatch them” brings realistic rejoicing because it implies snatches will be tried. [9] Worldly people, some posing as Christians, [10] employ philosophies and persecutions hoping to lead believers from the fold.[11] These attempts will fail because salvation begins and ends with the God Who keeps His sheep. [12] Believers: we have hope when everything is not right that Christ empowers us for the fight, and is victorious over evil. [13] Unbelievers: this same hope is yours if you surrender to the Shepherd. [14]

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software 6. All Bible verses will be ESV from here on out unless noted otherwise.

[2] Boice, James Montgomery. The Gospel of John, Volume 3: Those Who Received Him John 9-12. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Company, 1999), 778. See also 1 John 3:5 and 8.

[3] Genesis 3, 6:5; Psalm 51:5; John 6:44; Romans 3:9-23, 5:12-21, 8:7-8, 1 Corinthians 15:22; Ephesians 2:1-10, Colossians 2:13, etc.

[4] Ephesians 2:1-10, Calvin, John. Commentary on the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ According to John. Trans. William Pringle. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1981), 415.

[5] Boice, The Gospel of John, 780.

[6] Matthew 5-7; John 6:27; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Philippians 3:12-21; Hebrews 10:19-25, 12:1-3; James; 1 John 2:3-5, 2:29, 3:4-15; 2 John 8, etc.

[7] Galatians 3:1-14, Calvin, Commentary, 416, and John 10:27, Luke 13:1-9, James 2:14-26, Boice, The Gospel of John, 781.

[8] Boice, The Gospel of John, 781.

[9] Boice, The Gospel of John, 781.

[10] Matthew 7:15.

[11] Ephesians 6:10-19.

[12] Isaiah 66:22; Luke 21:18; John 6:37, 6:38, 10:16, 17:12, 18:9; Acts 13:48; Romans 8:26-39; 2 Corinthians 4:9.

[13] Psalm 34:18, Hebrews 13:5-6, and Ephesians 1.

[14] Hebrews 4:1-15.

Trasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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John 6:68-69: To Whom Shall We Go?

John 6:68-69: Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”[1]

After the compassionate Christ graciously offends the crowd, [2] He asks His disciples if they also want to leave. Peter’s response is a rhetorical question that expresses how the twelve ought to act. [3] By saying Jesus has “the words of life” (i.e. Christ’s teaching [4] leads to eternal life [5]), Peter demands the disciples follow Jesus alone or face spiritual death. [6] When Peter says, “believed” he means a faith that is convinced and trusts in Jesus’ existence, “power,” “nearness to help” and truthfulness. [7] “Know” implies that “the Spirit [has] seal[ed]” on Peter’s heart God’s truth in a way unlike human knowledge. [8]

What about you? Do you follow Christ’s life-giving words, or are you drowning in human inventions? Are you certain of Jesus’ might and ability to help in your life? Do you know the Trinity on His own terms and by His sealing, or do you have a list of demands you want God to meet? Certainly we all struggle with these in some ways. But we all must pray for spiritual growth and/or repentance. For there is no one else to whom we should go.

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV from here on unless stated otherwise.

[2] Please see blog on John 6:66-67.

[3] Wallace, Daniel B. Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament with Scripture, Subject, and Greek Word Indexes. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 467-68.

[4] Tenney, Expositor’s, 80.

[5] Calvin, Commentary, 278.

[6] Calvin, Commentary, 279.

[7] Walter Bauer, William F. Arndt, F. Wilbur Gingrich, and Frederick W. Danker. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature: A translation and adaptation of the fourth revised and augmented edition of Walter Bauer’s Griechish-Deutsches Worterbuch zu den Schriften des Neuen Testaments und der ubrigen urchristlichen Literatur, Second Ed. Revised and Augmented by F. Wilbur Gingrich and Frederick W. Danker. (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 1979), 661.

[8] Calvin, Commentary, 279.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Hearts

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1 Peter 2:9-10: Christian Identity:

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you have not received mercy, but now you have received mercy."

Peter tells Christians who they are in this passage. In fact there are five elements Peter highlights about Christians which are: “(1) a chosen race, (2) a royal priesthood, (3) a holy nation, (4) God’s special possession, (5) those who have been constituted the people of God by God’s remarkable mercy.” [1]

Because blogs are supposed to be short, we will focus on being “chosen.” Some people do not like the idea of being chosen because they feel God’s choosing implies a loveless forcing on everyone’s will. [2] Nothing could be further from the truth. The Father’s love and grace rescues His elect who were dead in their sin. [3] The LORD’s choosing is the only way to salvation because our wills lead us away from God. [4] Further, the Trinity’s choosing promises an abiding with us for all life’s struggles, [5] help in combating our sins and growing in holiness, [6] and will be with us always, no matter what. [7] Being chosen is an eternal gift for all those called by the Holy Spirit.

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] Carson, D.A. Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. Edited by G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007), 1030.

[2] [The following author does not hold this view, but summarizes it] Bavinck, Herman. Reformed Dogmatics: God and Creation, Vol. 2. General Ed. John Bolt, Trans. John Vriend. Grand Rapids, MI: the Dutch Reformed Translation Society/Baker Academic, 2004), 339.

[3] Psalm 130:7-8, John 3:16; 6:32-40; 10:7-18, 17:1-23, Ephesians 1:3-6, 2:1-10, etc. Also, see blog on Matthew 22:36-40 for discussions on what love is.

[4] Psalm 51:5, Romans 3:9-20; 5:12-14; 8:7-8.

[5] Psalm 34:18; Joshua 1: 5 & 9, Hebrews 13:5-6.

[6] Romans 8:12-14, 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:11; 15:45; Galatians 5:16-17.

[7] Jeremiah 31 (especially vv33), Romans 8:31-39.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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Matthew 22:36-40: Love In Action:

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Christ’s commands in this passage are more than “situation ethics” and “mere legalism” because they demand “internalized love.” [1] Jesus requires love for God and neighbor because true obedience only happens when true love accompanies action. [2] Christianity is a religion that demands the whole person, affections and action included.

Why is it so hard to have love infused works? Many unbelievers have stories about Christians being heartless in their care, or polite believers without delivery on their promises. There are many reasons for this, but we will focus on two. First, Christians still sin and need grace as they grow in godliness. [3] This does not excuse sin in believers, but reminders us to look to Jesus Whose perfection shines in weakness. Just as you would not let car salesmen keep you from buying a vehicle, do not let growing believers divert you from Christ. Secondarily, displeasure with Christian ministry can be founded in misunderstanding “love.” Love is not blind acceptance, as some teach, but showing the love of God in Christ to someone. [4] God’s love is unlike our love, but is the love we need to begin living the commandments.

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] Beale, G.K. and Carson, D.A. Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. Edited by G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007), 81-82.

[2] Calvin, John. Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke Vol. 2. Trams. William Pringle. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1984), 59.

[3] Philippians 1:6, 1 Corinthians 6:11, Romans 7:7-25; 8:13

[4] 1 John 4:7-11, 19-21. Dunn, “That’s What I Like,” (Sermon: Emmanuel Baptist Church, Fort Lauderdale, FL, October 7, 2017).

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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Psalm 96:7-9: Given His Due:

Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
    bring an offering, and come into his courts!
Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;
    tremble before him, all the earth!

In previous blogs on Psalm 96 we saw that God’s works and underserved grace is cause for singing (verses 1-3), and He is infinitely greater than any manmade religion (verses 4-6). Now Psalm 96:7-9 teaches the proper response to the Triune God is total and lifelong devotion to Him. We understand the need for this full hearted service from the word “ascribe.” “Ascribe” in “the passage . . .  would demand everyone to acknowledge the Lord Yahweh as the great king and offer such ascription of glory and greatness as is [equal] with his majesty.” [1] Accordingly, all people are expected to acknowledge God as their superior and give Him the praise He deserves.

But if God is so incredible, as verses 4-6 teach, how can we His creation give Him His due? Sadly, we cannot. [2] Is there any hope? If God is so great He justly deserves His due, and if He is not glorified He will rightly judge us. Yet, for those who believe in Jesus Christ judgment is already settled. [3] Christ perfectly ascribed to God His glory for us. [4] When we believe in Jesus His righteous works are placed on us and God sees His perfect attribution, not our poor praise. [5] Christians can be encouraged that the Holy Spirit helps us improve our ascribing to God. [6] Non-Christians can know that if they call on Jesus’ name God will see Christ’s work, and they are saved from the coming judgment.

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] Gilchrist, P.R. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament Eds. R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer Jr., & B. K. Waltke, Chicago: Moody Press. 1999), Logos Bible Software 6, 368.

[2] Isaiah 64:6.

[3] Luke 23:34, Romans 4:25, 5:8.

[4] Matthew 5:17-20, Luke 24:36-49, John 10:15.

[5] Titus 3:3-8.

[6] 1 Peter 1:2, Romans 8:13.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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Psalm 96:4-6: Second To None:

For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
    he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
    but the Lord made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
    strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

A modern teaching tells us, “You believe what you believe, and I believe what I believe.” This sentiment is not found in the Bible. In fact, Scripture is unapologetically clear that salvation is exclusively found in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. [1] God’s Word is also explicit that following any god, religion, and/or system besides orthodox Christianity increases “sorrows.” [2]

The reason why unbiblical beliefs do not work is because they all are empty and worthless. [3] In contrast, God is more powerful, capable, holy, righteous, loving, wise, and just than anything people may create. [4] The mystery of the Gospel is that this Holy God has made the only way for us to behold his “splendor and majesty . . . in his sanctuary.” [5] By His death and resurrection, Jesus Christ has absorbed God’s wrath on our behalf that we might worship Him. [6] Whether you are a Christian or non-Christian today you can repent of worship that is worthless, and embrace a holy, redeeming God Who is second to none.

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] Psalm 62:1-2; 37:39; 130:7-8, Matthew 19:25-26, John 14:6, Acts 4:12, Ephesians 2:8-9, Revelation 7:10, etc.

[2] Psalm 16:4.

[3] Psalm 96:5, Isaiah 44:6-20, Jeremiah 10:11-12.

[4] Genesis 1:1, Leviticus 19:4, 1 Chronicles 16:25-27, Psalm 18:3; 29:1-2; 89:6-7; 95:3, Isaiah 42:5, Revelation 4-5.

[5] Psalm 96:6, Ephesians 3:1-6.

[6] Luke 23:34, John 17:19-21.

Tresuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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Psalm 40:5: Proper Worship

You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
yet they are more than can be told.

Disappointment is easy to find. Disappointment lurks when keys are missing, and thrives in the chasms of a broken heart. Is disappointment easily found because life does not go as planned or because our hearts worship lesser things? Counselor and pastor, Paul David Tripp, defines worship as “[our] identity as . . . human being[s]. [We] were designed to worship. This means that [we are] always attaching the hopes, dreams, peace, motivations, joy, and security of [our] heart[s] to something. So you don’t just worship on Sunday; you worship your way through every day of your life” (Tripp, Sex and Money, 35). If Tripp is right, then God created us to be worshipers. Because the Fall into sin (Genesis 3), we regularly place our hopes, dreams, and peace on people, possessions, and perspectives that only God can fill (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

How does worship relate to Psalm 40:5? Psalm 40:5 depicts a heart in proper worship of the Triune God of Scripture. Because of proper worship and trust the Psalmist, King David, has hope in the face of pain and suffering (Psalm 40:1, 12, 14, and 17). Because of proper worship, David could proclaim and wait for God’s most wondrous deed: redemption through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:7-10). What about you? Where are your hopes, dreams, peace, motivations, joys, and securities resting today? The truth is Christians and non-Christians struggle with worshiping the right thing. The only way to escape improper worship and have lifelong hope is to rest in the redeeming work of Jesus Christ Who through His Spirit gives us all hearts like David (2 Corinthians 5:16-21).

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

Posted on January 11, 2018 and filed under Devotions.

Worth Reading

Ephesians 2:1-10
 

Do you come to our gathered worship service expecting God to speak to you through his Word? We encourage you to prayerfully read through the passage that will be preached prior to the service to help you prepare.


Tom Martin Testimony


You’ll want to take six minutes to watch this God glorifying testimony. We watched this in our Glad News of Deliverance Sunday school class and Tom does an excellent job of sharing the story of God’s work in his life in a way that magnifies Christ and makes the gospel clear.


Satan Wants to Blackmail You


Satan is your accuser. He has all the dirt on you. He knows what you did. And what if he told your church or your friends what you’ve done? That little secret you try to keep hidden from everyone, even from God. Satan knows about it. Satan has a dirt-file on you, and he will not let you forget the fact.


We Can’t Handle It


God does not allow the suffering and trials that come our way based on what he thinks we can handle. Who among us can “handle” the death of a child? Who among us can “handle” an unfaithful spouse? Who among us can “handle” much of the suffering that permeates our broken world? None of us!

This blog was written by Andy Styer

Worth Reading

James 5:13-20

Do you come to our gathered worship service expecting God to speak to you through his Word? We encourage you to prayerfully read through the passage that will be preached prior to the service to help you prepare.

 

Prayer and Predestination: A Conversation Between Prayerful and Prayerless

Prayerless: I understand that you believe in the providence of God. Is that right?

Prayerful: Yes.

Prayerless: Does that mean you believe, like the Heidelberg Catechism says, that nothing comes about by chance but only by God's design and plan?

Prayerful: Yes, I believe that’s what the Bible teaches.

Prayerless: Then why do you pray?

 

10 Ways to be Christian This Christmas

But whether you love every nook and cranny about the holidays–or consider most of it “noise, noise, noise!”–there is no excuse to be grinchy and scroogeish. Here are ten ways we can remember to be Christians this Christmas.

 

Christmas Through the Tears

Tears are not absent during the holidays. In fact, I’ve talked with enough friends and family to know that tears are likely prevalent during Christmas. There’s no doubt a lot of joy and happiness during this time— praise the Lord for the smiles and laughter— but there may also be sadness. And praise the Lord for tears.

This blog was written by Andy Styer

Worth Reading

James 5:1-12

Do you come to our gathered worship service expecting God to speak to you through his Word? We encourage you to prayerfully read through the passage that will be preached prior to the service to help you prepare.

Reading the Hymns: Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending

May this aid our adoring of Jesus this advent season and also prepare those who will join us for gathered worship this Sunday at Proclamation, as, Lord willing, we will sing this song.

A Woman of Whom the World Was Not Worthy: Helen Roseveare (1925-2016)

“God never uses a person greatly until He has wounded him deeply. The privilege He offers you is greater than the price you have to pay. The privilege is greater than the price.” -Helen Roseveare

 

Jesus, a Broken Car Window and a Girl from Oman

I love stories like this….Sometimes the sparks of the Incarnation flicker and spatter so hard around this planet some two thousand years after the event that you can almost feel it.

This blog was written by Andy Styer

Worth Reading

James 4:13-17

Do you come to our gathered worship service expecting God to speak to you through his Word? We encourage you to prayerfully read through the passage that will be preached prior to the service to help you prepare.

 

Ingratitude, Ethics, and Porn?

Gratitude is more important than we think and ingratitude is more serious than we think. “The contrast Paul draws between the one who offers thanksgiving and one who worships idols is striking. A failure to be thankful is one of the distinguishing marks of unbelief.”

 

Yes, Go to Church on Christmas Day

So, Christians, we have a special opportunity this year to point our family and friends to the Gospel of Jesus Christ by not neglecting to meet together with the saints on Christmas Day. If we desire for the world to stop taking Christ out of Christmas, then we need not do the same through our actions on Christmas Day.

And this one too: A Plea to Pastors: Don’t Cancel Church on Christmas

 

The Best Day of the Week...For Your Kids

Several years ago, I was leading a seminar on family worship at a conference and a man told me, “As a child, I always dreaded Sundays. My parents made it miserable.” I was sad to hear about his experience and the only thing I could think to say was, “Well, then they were obviously doing something wrong!” By way of contrast, Joel Beeke once explained that he woke his children up every Sunday and say, "It's time to get up. Today is the best day of the week!" …

Here are eight ways we can help our children view Sunday as being the best day of the week:

This blog was written by Andy Styer

Worth Reading

James 1:26-27

Do you come to our gathered worship service expecting God to speak to you through his Word? We encourage you to prayerfully read through the passage that will be preached prior to the service to help you prepare.

 

Live Like Sons and Daughters of the King

Galatians as a whole suggests that we will be tempted to compromise and deny the gospel by treating God as an impersonal Master, and not a father. We’ll try to prove ourselves to him and earn his love when he has already loved us, and sent his Son for us…

Three unusually sweet promises lie in these four verses for precious sons and daughters of God.

 

Commentary: Our tragedy and God's love for orphans

Caring for these children is not the job of governments or institutions; instead, it is the job of families, people and communities. As Christians, our compassion is simply a response to the love that God has already shown us.

The Election is Over. Let’s Get Political.

More than anybody, then, it’s high time for Christians and churches to turn our heads from the national news and focus our attention back to where the real political action occurs. It’s not in Washington, and it’s not through a quadrennial affair. No, no. It’s a weekly affair—and it occurs in and through our churches. Every week, our congregations gather as embassies of heaven. Every week, our pastors make a political speech, and we go out as ambassadors with a political message. “The King offers pardon for every rebel who would repent!” Every week—and all week—our churches should exemplify for the nations divine righteousness, justice, and love.

This blog was written by Andy Styer

Worth Reading

John 9

Do you come to our gathered worship service expecting God to speak to you through his Word? We encourage you to prayerfully read through the passage that will be preached prior to the service to help you prepare.

 

Love Your Neighbor Enough to Speak Truth: Rosaria Butterfield Responds to Jen Hatmaker

“Today, I hear Jen’s words—words meant to encourage, not discourage, to build up, not tear down, to defend the marginalized, not broker unearned power—and a thin trickle of sweat creeps down my back. If I were still in the thick of the battle over the indwelling sin of lesbian desire, Jen’s words would have put a millstone around my neck.”

[Rosaria’s response is one of four mentioned by Justin Taylor in The Only Four Things You Need to Read in Response to the Hatmakers. All four are worth reading]

 

It Happened to George Washington’s Church

Stories about losing rarely reach the front page, but our countercultural faith is different. We believe to live is Christ and to die is gain. Daily news of victories—in sports, in politics—obscures this truth. That’s why we need more stories of gaining through loss. Such stories are bound to continue for the faithful in today’s America.

The Falls Church Anglican has lived through such a story.

 

3 Truths You Should Remember, No Matter What You Do in the Voting Booth

Here are three truths about Christians and politics that are true today and will still be true after next week’s election—truths you should remember no matter what you do in the voting booth.

This blog was written by Andy Styer

 

Worth Reading

James 3:1-12

Do you come to our gathered worship service expecting God to speak to you through his Word? We encourage you to prayerfully read through the passage that will be preached prior to the service to help you prepare.

 

James 3: A Story

This short film fits well with our passage for this week, reminding us that “My brothers, these things ought not to be so”. (from the Desiring God 2008 National Conference: The Power of Words and the Wonder of God)

 

Befriend Those with Disabilities and Special Needs

This one fits very well with our current Sunday school class for adults and youth (grades 6-12)

I firmly believe the greatest beneficiaries of this relationship aren’t the people among us who have special needs, but those of us who get to be in their company. . .

Sometimes God shows up in the most unexpected ways.

If not for William, people in our church would know Jesus less. . .

Oh, how we need the William’s and Cade’s and Katie’s of the world to help us see the world, help us see God, and help us see reality, through their eyes.

It may be that these beautifully broken friends represent the very perspective that we need in the sometimes-difficult journey of making our peace with God.

Because we are all disabled.

And we all have special needs.

10 Things You Should Know about the Reformation

This is what’s meant by soli Deo gloria, "to the glory of God alone." There’s no room in Reformation theology for human boasting. No one can claim their salvation or their knowledge of God is down to their intellect, morality, or religion. It’s all of God from start and finish. That’s our great hope and confidence. Our salvation is founded on the certain promises of God and the finished work of Christ. And if it’s all of God from start to finish, then the glory goes to him alone.

This blog was written by Andy Styer