Social Network Links
Powered by Squarespace
Search the Riddleblog
"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources

 

Living in Light of Two Ages

____________________________

Sunday
May052019

"But I Received Mercy" -- 1 Timothy 1:12-20

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon on 1 Timothy 1:12-20, "But I Received Mercy 

Thursday
May022019

Apologetics in a Post Christian Age (Audio) -- Making the Case for Christianity (The Resurrection of Jesus -- Part Three)

Here's the audio from the Wednesday night Bible Study: 

 

Tuesday
Apr302019

A Sheologian?

Tuesday
Apr302019

"Go to Nineveh" -- Jonah 1:1-3

Sermons on the Minor Prophets:  The Book of Jonah (1)

Most everyone knows the story of Jonah – a reluctant Hebrew prophet who was thrown overboard by his terrified shipmates, only to be swallowed by a big fish (usually assumed to be a whale) and then spend three days and nights in the fish’s belly, before being vomited up by the fish on a foreign shore, forcing Jonah to go and preach to the Ninevites, who repented en masse when Jonah–however reluctantly–finally fulfilled his evangelistic mission.  The story is simple enough it can be understood by a child, but complex enough that theologians and biblical scholars still debate its meaning.  The Book of Jonah is next up in our series on the Minor Prophets.  Lord willing, we’ll spend four weeks in this book before we tackle the next of the Minor Prophets, Hosea.

Whenever we begin a study of any new book of the Bible it is important to ask and answer several questions to make sure we interpret the book and its message correctly.  Who was Jonah, when did he live, why did he write this book, and what is in it?  How does this particular prophecy compare with the other Minor Prophets (the Twelve)?  These questions are especially important with a book like Jonah, which many think to be an allegory or a moral fable, seeing the story as so implausible that it cannot possibly be speaking of historical events.  How can someone be swallowed alive by a whale and live for three days?  No, the critics say, this cannot be history, so it must be an allegory, a teaching parable, or a work of fiction, designed to teach us some important spiritual or moral truth.  

When we interpret Jonah’s prophecy through this fictional lens, the reader’s focus usually falls upon Jonah himself, the prime example of a reluctant prophet who refuses to obey God’s will.  By not obeying God, Jonah finds himself in the belly of a whale, until God relents and the whale then spits Jonah out safe and sound–if a bit shook up.  The moral to the story is that should God call you to do something you do not want to do, learn the lesson of the story of Jonah.  Obey the Lord and avoid the kind of calamity which comes upon those who, like Jonah, will not do what they know God wants them to do.

But when we ask and then answer the “Who?” “When?” “Why?” and “What?” questions, it becomes clear that Jonah’s prophecy is not an allegory, nor does it offer such a trivial and moralistic message.  This is not a “once upon a time in a land far away” kind of book.  The prophecy opens with Jonah’s personal ancestry–revealing the name of his father enabling us to compare other biblical references to this family, thereby tying Jonah’s ministry directly to the reign of Jeroboam II, one of the last rulers of Israel (the Northern Kingdom)–as we saw in our just concluded series on Amos, and in our introductory sermons on the Minor Prophets.

Jonah’s prophecy comes in the form of a prophetic narrative (much like 1 and 2 Kings) with a song/Psalm included within the narrative (chapter 2).  It is clearly set in a particular period of time–the final days of Israel (the Northern Kingdom).  Yet unlike the books of the Kings, the Book of Jonah does not emphasize God’s prophet’s obedience to undertake a difficult prophetic call.  On the contrary, the Book of Jonah focuses upon the prophet’s determined reluctance to fulfill his mission.  But what is that mission?  That is the critical question not often properly considered.

When the reader steps back from the sensational particulars of the story–the sailors and the storm, the big fish, the three days–what becomes clear is that God’s ultimate purpose (whether Jonah responds appropriately to that purpose or not) is to extend salvation into the heart of the same nation (Assyria) which is about to invade Israel (the Northern Kingdom), wiping Israel out and killing, capturing, or exiling its inhabitants.  Jonah’s reluctance to preach YHWH’s message to Israel’s enemy highlights the importance of that message–even in the days of Israel and Judah (mid 700's B.C.), YHWH’s gracious purpose is to save sinners, and that purpose is not limited just to Israel.

To read the rest of this sermon:  Click Here

Monday
Apr292019

This Week at Christ Reformed Church (April 29-May 5)

Sunday Morning, May 5:  We return to our series on Paul's letters to Timothy and Titus.  We take up Paul's "faithful sayings," the first of which--"Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners"--is found in our text (1 Timothy 1:12-20),  Our worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  We are now considering Lord's Day 5 in our study of the Heidelberg Catechism (Q & A 9-11).  We open the second main section of the catechism (Grace) with a discussion of the payment for sin in questions 12-15.  Our afternoon service begins at 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study: (May 1 @ 7:30 p.m.).  As we make the case for Christianity, we continue to discuss the nature of and evidence for Jesus' bodily resurrection.

Friday Night Academy: (Friday, May 3 @ 7:30 p.m.).  We are discussing Michael Horton's theology text, The Christian Faith.  We are now in chapter twelve, "Being Human," and talking about the Imago Dei (p. 403).

For more information on Christ Reformed Church you can always find us here Christ Reformed Church, or Christ Reformed on Facebook.

Sunday
Apr282019

Dave and Nancy -- Congratulations!

Our oldest son David, and his new bride Nancy (nee Robles), were married in Simi Valley CA, on Friday, April 26th. 

The new bride and groom will live in Marina Del Rey and attend Valley Presbyterian Church (PCA).

What a day of great joy and thanksgiving for God's wonderful blessings!  The Lord has given Micki and me two wonderful sons, and now two wonderful daughters-in-law (Mark and Brianna).

We are thrilled.  We are thankful.  We are truly blessed.

Thursday
Apr252019

Apologetics in a Post Christian Age (Audio) -- Making the Case for Christianity (The Resurrection of Jesus -- Part Two)

Here's the audio from the Wednesday night Bible Study:  Making the Case for Christianity: The Resurrection of Jesus Christ--Part Two

Tuesday
Apr232019

"I Shall Restore the Fortunes of My People Israel" -- Amos 7:1-9:15

Sermons on the Minor Prophet:  The Book of Amos (5)

About the year 760 B.C., YHWH sent the Prophet Amos to Israel (the Northern Kingdom).  Amos’ mission was to announce that YHWH’s covenant lawsuit was being served upon his disobedient and unfaithful covenant-breaking people who had separated from Judah (the Southern Kingdom) in a bloody civil war about two hundred years previously.  In the first six chapters of the Book of Amos, the prophet proclaimed YHWH’s solemn words to Israel in series of oracles of lament and warnings of impending judgment.  Amos’ message–God’s judgment was coming upon Israel, soon, within a generation.  Amos’ message is stark and jolting.  But as we will discover in our text (vv. 11-15 of chapter 9), Amos’ prophecy does not conclude with an announcement of a final covenant curse.  Instead, despite the immediate judgment to come upon Israel, Amos’ prophecy ends with YHWH’s gracious promise of future restoration of Israel, a restoration tied to a coming messianic age when God’s promise to renew his people extends beyond the borders of Israel to the ends of the earth.
 
We will wrap up our time in the Book of Amos–next time we will take up the Book of Jonah.  After a bit of brief review, we will survey the five visions recorded by Amos (in chapters 7-9), before turning to the concluding words of covenant blessing (vv. 9-15 of chapter 9)–a somewhat remarkable and hopeful ending to a book which is characterized by oracles of judgment, woe, lament, warning, and threats of covenant curse.

Recall, that in the first two oracles recorded in his prophecy (chapters 1-2), Amos’ words are intended to shock Israel to attention–like a bucket of cold water to the face.  Although the kings and priests of Israel foolishly expected God’s judgment be unleashed upon Israel’s pagan neighbors–thereby vindicating Israel as a break-away kingdom from Judah even in the midst of the nation’s current apostasy from YHWH’s covenant–the opposite was in fact the case.  Yes, God’s judgment was coming upon the Gentile nations because of their persecution of God’s people.  But God’s judgment was to fall on Israel first because, as Amos reminds Israel, judgment begins in the house of the Lord.  For six hundred years, Israel continuously and willfully broke the terms of their covenant with YHWH.  The warning that YHWH’s patience had run out should not come a surprise.  That it did, demonstrates how far Israel has fallen.

In chapters 3-4, we saw that Amos was sent to Israel at a time of relative peace, economic prosperity, and what seemed to be religious devotion.  But the reality was that the apparent peace, prosperity, and piety hid Israel’ self-righteous indifference to the things of the Lord.  Within a generation (in 722 B.C.), Israel’s peace would come to a crashing halt–as the nation was soon to fall to the Assyrian empire from the North.  Whatever economic prosperity the nation was experiencing in the days of Amos, came about because the rich (both the royal house and the land-owners) exploited the poor.  YHWH sent material blessing upon this people–but it never “trickled down” to those in deepest need.  During this time of prosperity, the royal house and estate owners acquired much property and fine luxury goods, but the people whose labor brought about such wealth were struggling to survive.  Even worse, Amos reports, those exploited were enslaved (through debt) and even mocked by those whom they served.  

As for the nation’s spiritual heath–things were no better, perhaps much worse.  Sacrifices were being offered at the various religious shrines (Bethel, Gilgal), but by priests appointed by the king, not those who were Levites.  As we saw in the oracle of woe in Amos 5:18-6:14, YHWH would not accept these sacrifices.  He hated them.  They did not turn aside YHWH’s righteous anger toward the people’s sin.  In offering sacrifices in such an illegitimate way and for all the wrong reasons, the sacrifices only increased the people’s guilt.  The worship of YHWH was conducted, but worship of Baal was not forbidden.  The people were going through the rituals commanded of them with their hearts far from YHWH–perhaps even inclined to the Canaanite gods.  Such religious hypocrisy increased the people’s guilt.  YHWH ceased listening to their songs and ceremonies.

To read the rest of this sermon:  Click Here

Monday
Apr222019

This Week at Christ Reformed Church (April 22-28)

Sunday Morning, April 28:  Rev. Brad Lenzner will be preaching.  Our worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  Mr. Yi Wang, our pastoral intern will be conducting the catechism service.  Our afternoon service begins at 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study: (April 24 @ 7:30 p.m.).  As we make the case for Christianity, we continue to discuss the nature of Jesus' bodily resurrection.

Friday Night Academy:  No Academy this week

For more information on Christ Reformed Church you can always find us here Christ Reformed Church, or Christ Reformed on Facebook.

Monday
Apr152019

Easter Week Services at Christ Reformed Church -- Updated With Audio

Easter Week Services:

Audio from Maundy Thursday, April 18

 

Audio from Good Friday, April 19

I Will Remember No More


Audio from Easter Sunday, April 21