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"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources

 

Living in Light of Two Ages

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Tuesday
May122015

"Do You Believe in the Son of Man?" -- John 9:24-41

The Thirty-Second in a Series of Sermons on the Gospel of John

The people of Israel are deeply divided.  Who is this man Jesus?  Is he is a prophet? Should he be made king of Israel?  Or, is he a false teacher and a danger to the nation?  The Pharisees too are divided by the same question.  Some of their number have accused Jesus of being a law-breaker and are plotting to kill him.  Others have called him all sorts of horrible names.  Still others have witnessed the miracles which Jesus has performed, and although they are not yet ready to become his disciples, they realize that only God can do such things.  As for Jesus, he has declared that he is the Messiah and one with YHWH.  When Jesus heals a man blind from birth on the Sabbath, the debate among the Jews heats up yet again.  But in John chapter 9, a new and remarkable irony emerges.  The man born blind can now see.  But the religious leaders of Israel demonstrate that they are blind to the truth.

We are continuing our series on John’s Gospel, and we have come to John chapter 9, and the account of Jesus’ miraculous healing of a man who was born blind.  This particular chapter of John (all 41 verses) is devoted to one miracle and the events which follow, but because we cannot do the passage justice by covering it in one week, I have broken the passage into two parts.  Last time, we covered the first 23 verses of the chapter, today we will work our way through the balance of this remarkable, ironic, and tragic account of Jesus’ sixth miraculous sign, and the almost unbelievable events which transpire as a result.

Jesus’ healing of the man born blind very likely occurs shortly after the Feast of Booths (as we saw in John 7-8), when Jesus proclaimed that he was the light of the world–an assertion he repeats in verse 5 of John 9.  As we have seen, John is very fond of irony, and we saw a fair bit of it last time when Jesus proclaims himself “light of the world” before instantly restoring sight (giving light) to a blind man.  We also saw such irony appear again when Jesus (the one “sent” from God) “sends” the blind man to the Pool of Siloam to wash.  The name Siloam is derived from the Hebrew verb “to send,” and Siloam was the same pool from which the Jews of Isaiah’s day refused to drink.  The irony is that the Jews once again reject the blessings of God, which are evident when Jesus (the “sent one”) “sends” the blind man to the pool “of those sent.”

This particular miracle (the sixth of seven miraculous signs which are recorded in John’s Gospel) serves several very important purposes.  The first purpose is that a number of well-known messianic prophecies in Isaiah’s prophecy, foretell that the coming of the Messiah will usher in an age in which sight will be restored to the blind (among other blessings).  We saw this last time when we read a portion of Isaiah 35 for our Old Testament lesson.  We read another of these remarkable prophecies in Isaiah 42.  When Jesus restores sight (as he does throughout the synoptic gospels, and here in John) he is offering unmistakable proof that the messianic age has dawned in his person and work.

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here

Monday
May112015

This Week at Christ Reformed Church (May 11-17)

Sunday Morning (May 17):  We come now to Ezra 6 and the account of the completion of the Second Temple (Ezra 6:1-22).  Our Lord's Day worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  We are back in the Heidelberg Catechism!  We will spend this Sunday on background to the catechism, and give a brief overview of the catechism's structure. Our catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study (May 13)We are continuing our series, "Run Through the Letters of Paul," and we are working our way through Galatians 4:1-7, and Paul's understanding of redemptive history.

The Academy:  Friday, May 15 @ 7:30 p.m.  

Our current Academy series is entitled "The Great and Holy War" and will be a lecture and discussion of the legacy of World War One, including the establishment of a Jewish State in Palestine (Israel), the roots of ISIS (the end of the Caliphate/Ottoman Empire), the Bolshevik Revolution and the rise of Marxist-Leninism.

This week's Lecture/Discussion is entitled: "One Hundred Years Later"  How the consequences of the `Great War' still impact the world in which we live.  We will focus upon the scars from the Great War, including the secularization of Europe, the rise of America as a superpower, and the origins of ISIS. 

Our text for this series is Philip Jenkin's book,  The Great and Holy War

For more information and directions, check out the Christ Reformed website:  Christ Reformed Church

Sunday
May102015

“They Began to Rebuild the House of the Lord” -- Ezra 5:1-17

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon:  Click Here

Sunday
May102015

This Week's White Horse Inn

The Family of God

In the last program we focused on the message, ministry, and marks of the church. Instead of branding themselves according to specialties, every church was and is expected to be committed to preaching and teaching, fellowship, the sacraments, the prayers, and evangelism. We can’t say “Well, other churches are great at evangelism and fellowship but we focus on doctrine and the sacraments.” Or “Our church isn’t that big on doctrine but we’re really committed to outreach.”

In his Great Commission Jesus gave us his marching orders. “Go into all the world and make disciples.” How? “By preaching the gospel, baptizing them in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe everything I have commanded.”

In this program we want to focus on the emphasis in the new covenant on the family of God. It’s hard to imagine our local church as our first family. We usually start with the nuclear family, then our extended family, and only then do we think of our church family as a “family” in a metaphorical sense. It’s not metaphorical. In Ephesians 5 Paul says that marriage is an analogy of our relationship to Christ and his body, not the other way around. Our next of kin are actually our brothers and sisters with whom we are baptized, hear the Word, pray, receive the Supper, and serve.

Jesus provoked blank stares when he redefined family and even neighbors. In Matthew 10 he says, “Do not think I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and daughter against her mother, and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. He who has found his life will lose it and he who has lost his life for my sake will find it.”

Joining us once again to discuss this topic are the same panelists from the last program Sam Allberry and Jeff Mallinson. Join us this week on the White Horse Inn as we look at the church as the family of God.

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here

Thursday
May072015

The National Day of Prayer to the Unknown God

From the website of the National Day of Prayer . . .

The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. Our Task Force is a privately funded organization whose purpose is to encourage participation on the National Day of Prayer. It exists to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, to create appropriate materials, and to mobilize the Christian community to intercede for America’s leaders and its families. The Task Force represents a Judeo Christian expression of the national observance, based on our understanding that this country was birthed in prayer and in reverence for the God of the Bible.

The National Day of Prayer has great significance for us as a nation as it enables us to recall and to teach the way in which our founding fathers sought the wisdom of God when faced with critical decisions. It stands as a call for us to humbly come before God, seeking His guidance for our leaders and His grace upon us as a people. The unanimous passage of the bill establishing the National Day of Prayer as an annual event, signifies that prayer is as important to our nation today as it was in the beginning.

All true Christian prayer is offered to the Father, in the name and through the intercession of the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Failing to recognize this, an event such as the National Day of Prayer is nothing more than civil religion on parade.  It strikes me that the exhortation from Thomas Jefferson exhorting people to pray is featured prominently on the website, while one person is strangely absent from all of this discussion--Jesus, the only mediator between sinners and the holy God (1 Timothy 2:4).

Of course, all Christians should pray for their nation (1 Timothy 2:1 ff).  At Christ Reformed Church, for example, we pray every week during our Lord's Day worship, "for those who serve our common welfare in temporal affairs, especially those who govern us, that they may do so with wisdom, integrity, and the knowledge that their councils stand under your final judgment. Dear Father, who sends rain upon the just and the unjust alike, give to us also, we pray, such humility of conduct and faithfulness in our worldly callings, that we may contribute to the good of our neighbors. We ask that you would restrain wickedness and vice in society, promote justice and the common good, and cause us to be salt and light in this evil age."  We then pray for our president, the congress and our courts, our governor, and all local officials (mayors and city councils).  We give thanks that we live in a land of freedom and liberty, we seek God's protection from acts of terror, and we ask that God protect all those who work so diligently to keep us safe.

But we do this as the assembled people of God, confessing the same faith and in submission to the word of God.  It is our duty to pray for our nation by praying to the Father, in the name of Christ, and through the power of the Holy Spirit.  But we cannot do as the ancient Athenians did (and as many of America's deistic founding fathers insisted)--seek the blessing of the unknown God because getting the people of "all faiths" to pray together, supposedly, is far more important than praying as Jesus and the apostles commanded us to pray.

Wednesday
May062015

Dr. Rod Rosenbladt on "Pietism" and "Christ Alone"

My White Horse Inn compatriot and dear friend, Dr. Rod Rosenbladt, was recently on "Issues, Etc."

Dr. Rosenbladt on Pietism

Dr. Rosenbladt on Christ alone

Tuesday
May052015

"He Is a Prophet" -- John 9:1-23

The Thirty-First in a Series of Sermons on the Gospel of John

The Feast of Booths is over.  The feast of Dedication is still several months off in the future, and the Passover is now less than six months away.  Although Jesus’ hour has not yet come, it is drawing near.  This is why we also see a new sense of urgency in Jesus’ teaching.  When Jesus performs his sixth miraculous sign–the healing of a man who has been blind from birth–Jesus uses the occasion to continue to instruct his disciples about the meaning and nature of his messianic mission as he prepares them for that hour of which he has been speaking–when he must depart and go to that place where no one else (including his disciples) may follow.

We resume our series on the Gospel of John, and we now move into John chapter 9–although we are still in the so-called “conflict phase” of Jesus’ ministry.  John does not tell us where or when the events recorded in chapter 9 take place, but it is reasonable to assume that when Jesus speaks again of being the light of the world, the events recorded here occur at some point shortly after the events in John 8, yet before the Feast of the Dedication, which is mentioned in John 10 (and which occurs about three months after the Feast of Booths).  However, an important change becomes noticeable in chapter 9.  The pace of John’s account of Jesus’ messianic mission quickens, and the events John recounts are bringing us ever closer to the coming Passover, and to Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension.   

The account of the healing of the man blind from birth, as well as Jesus’ proclamation that he is the good (and true) shepherd of Israel (in John 10), takes up the entirety of each of the next two chapters.  Since these are seamless episodes it is best to preach through John 9 and 10 in one sermon.  Unfortunately, time does not permit us to do justice to either passage if we go through them in one week (we could but survey them), so I have divided each of the next two chapters into two parts–that will bring us to my sabbatical.

So far in John’s Gospel, there have been five miraculous signs which Jesus performed to confirm the truth of his preaching, and which serve as his messianic credentials.  If Jesus merely claimed to be the “I AM” who spoke to Moses through the burning bush (as he did in John 8:58) without anything to back up that claim, then the Jews would have every reason to doubt Jesus’ assertion.  As we have seen, Jesus’ words are backed-up by a number of miraculous signs–many more than the five John has emphasized.  So far Jesus has turned water into wine at Cana (John 2:1-11).  He cleansed the temple (John 2:13-22), and declared it his Father’s house.  He healed a nobleman’s son in John 4:46-54.  In John 5, Jesus healed a man who had been lame for thirty-eight years.  In John 6, Jesus fed over 5000 people from two dried fish and five barley loaves.  Here, in John 9, the sixth of these miraculous signs, Jesus will heal a man who had been blind from birth.  The seventh of these signs will come in John 11, when Jesus raises his friend Lazarus from the dead.  As difficult as Jesus’ words have been for the people to understand and accept, his words are proven to have come from God because of the nature of his miracles.

There are several other instances recorded in the synoptic gospels in which Jesus heals the blind.  In Mark 8:22-26, Jesus healed a blind man in Bethsaida.  According to Matthew 9:27-31, Jesus healed two blind men in the Galilee, and in Matthew 12:22-23 he healed a demon-possessed man who was also blind and deaf.  And, as recorded in all three synoptic gospels, Jesus healed two blind men near Jericho, one of them being named–Bartimaeus.  Why such emphasis in Jesus’ messianic mission upon healing blindness, lameness, deafness, or diseases like leprosy and others which rendered people ceremonially unclean?

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here

Monday
May042015

This Week at Christ Reformed Church (May 4-10)

Sunday Morning (May 10):  We will be considering Ezra 5, and how God sent the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to encourage his people after work on the temple had ceased.  Our Lord's Day worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  We are wrapping up our series on the Canons of Dort.  We will be considering the "conclusion" to the Canons of Dort, a portion of the Canons which are often overlooked.  Our catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study (May 6)We are continuing our "Run Through the Letters of Paul," and we are working our way through Galatians 3:15-29.

The Academy:  No Academy Friday, May 8  

Our new Academy series, "The Great and Holy War" will resume on May 15, with a lecture entitled, "One Hundred Years Later"  How the consequences of the "Great War" still impact the world in which we live."

Throughout this series, we have been considering the legacy of World War One, including the establishment of a Jewish State in Palestine (Israel), the roots of ISIS (the end of the Caliphate/Ottoman Empire), the Bolshevik Revolution and the rise of Marxist-Leninism.  Our text for this series is Philip Jenkin's book,  The Great and Holy War

For more information and directions, check out the Christ Reformed website:  Christ Reformed Church

Sunday
May032015

"We Alone Will Build to the Lord" -- Ezra 4:1-24

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon,

Click Here

Sunday
May032015

Audio Posted -- "The Great War: The Cessation of Hostilities"

Here's the audio from Friday's Academy lecture:

1).  The Treaty of Versailles (1919)

2).  The Balfour Declaration (1917)

The Great War: Lecture Three