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


Living in Light of Two Ages



"He Is the True God and Eternal Life" -- 1 John 5:13-21

The Eleventh in a Series of Sermons on John's Epistles

John has written a rather impassioned defense of our Lord’s incarnation–Jesus is eternal God manifest in human flesh.  Throughout his first epistle, the Apostle has reminded us that the reason why Jesus came to earth was to save us from our sins.  Our Lord’s incarnation is no mere curiosity.  Our salvation depends upon it.  But the sad fact is that through the efforts of false teachers, a number of people in and around Ephesus (where John was living as the last apostle) had become convinced that while Jesus was truly God, he only took the form of a man.  John calls this destructive false teaching the spirit of antichrist.  This is known as the docetic heresy and it completely undermines the Apostles’s testimony about Jesus.  This heresy also completely undermines John’s gospel.  If Jesus is not truly human, as well as fully God, then we are still in our sins.  For John’s reader, the truth of Christianity stands or falls based upon the truthfulness of John’s testimony about Jesus, whom John claims to have seen, heard, and touched.

As we wrap our study of 1 John, we will make our way through the closing verses of chapter 5 (vv. 13-21).  While John brings this letter to a close, he continues to emphasize the same theme which dominates this epistle’s final chapter–a believer’s assurance of God’s favor toward them in Christ.  In order to assure Christians of God’s favor toward them, John continues to flesh out his basic point about knowing–“how do we know that we know?”  This is an especially important question in light of the fact that the false teachers plaguing the churches to which John was writing, were claiming to “know” certain things about Jesus which previously were hidden or secret.  The false teachers were claiming (in light of this secret knowledge) that Jesus was not truly human.  This meant John’s readers faced a choice.  Do they believe the testimony of John?  Or do they accept this secret teaching which contends that since matter was intrinsically inferior to pure spirit, God could not take to himself a true human nature (a material body), and that Jesus, who was truly God, only appeared in the form of a man, much like someone puts on a costume.  This, supposedly, accounts for Jesus’ physical appearances in the gospels.  

This conflict explains why John opens this epistle with a truth claim grounded in his own experience and his testimony about Jesus.  Jesus is God manifest in the flesh.  John testifies to the truth because he saw Jesus, heard Jesus, and touched Jesus.  Indeed, this is what all the apostles taught (i.e., why we call it the “catholic” or universal faith), and this is that truth to which the Holy Spirit will bear witness just as Jesus had promised before he ascended into heaven.  Therefore, the question of how a Christian “knows that they know,” along with the assurance they have of God’s favor toward them in Christ, becomes a very important matter–especially in the presence of those who claim to have “knowledge” which contradicts the testimony of John.  How do we know the basic Christian claim that Jesus is God manifest in the flesh to be true?  And can we be assured of God’s favor toward us, without committing the sin of presumption?

To read the rest of this sermon, click here


Caspar Olevianus on the Apostles' Creed

Scott Clark announces the publication of the next volume in the Classic Reformed Theology series from Reformation Heritage Publishers.

Here's Scott's announcement:

Caspar Olevianus (1536-87) was a significant figure in the Reformation of Heidelberg in the 1560s and 1570s and one of the pioneers of Reformed covenant or federal theology. As a teacher he influenced several other significant pastors and teachers in the period and inspired others such as Johannes Cocceius. Olevianus published a number of biblical commentaries, including a massive 700 page commentary on Romans. He also published three explanations of covenant theology via an explanation of the Apostles’ Creed. Now, for the first time since the 16th century, Olevianus’ Exposition of the Apostles’ Creed is available in English in a new translation, by Lyle Bierma, as volume 2 in the series Classic Reformed Theology.

This is a brief, clear, account of the Reformed faith. In an age when there seems to be considerable ignorance of and even greater confusion about what the adjective “Reformed” means, volumes such as these provide a much needed beacon of light.

One of the more interesting features of this work is the way Olevianus tied together the themes of covenant and kingdom. According to Olevianus the Kingdom of God is fundamentally eschatological  (heavenly) but it breaks into history and manifests itself in the visible institution church. That place, the church, also the place where the covenant of grace is administered. Indeed, the administration of the covenant is also the administration of the kingdom.

This volume will be useful for pastors, elders, students, and anyone who wants to know more about how the Reformed faith reads the Scripture, what covenant theology is, and how it works out in Reformed piety and practice.

More information about current volumes in the Classic Reformed Theology series can be found here:


Live in the Gig Harbor Area? Know Anyone that Does?

Do you live near Tacoma or Gig Harbor, Washington? 

Are you interested in learning more about Reformed theology, the wonderful truth of the Gospel and understanding how Christ is proclaimed from all of Scriptures? 

Beginning on February 16, 2010 a new Bible Study will be starting in Gig Harbor, WA with the goal of planting a new URC church in that area. 

For more information, here's their website


Who Said That?

"The God of the Genevan reformer [Calvin] was a monster of iniquity. He was so bent on justice that he possessed no conscience. He was so concerned about being respected and glorified that He found in Himself neither glory nor respect for men. When men become servants of such a God, they may be expected to set flame to the faggots piled high about the body of a Servetus or preach the sermon of Jonathan Edwards, `Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.'”

You know the drill!  Leave your guess in the comments section below.  Please, no google searches or cheating.  Answer to follow next week.


This Week's White Horse Inn

The Book of Galatians (Pt 1)

What is the book of Galatians about, and what doctrines does it address? We recently put questions like these to students at an Evangelical Bible college, and their answers reveal once again that Christians themselves need to recover Scripture. On this edition of the program, the hosts interact with these on-the-street interviews and explain why Paul's letter to the Galatians is such a crucially important book to read and think through. The White Horse Inn: know what you believe, and why you believe it!


Israel and the Last Days

On Tuesday evening, January 26, I am speaking on the topic "Israel and the Last Days" from the text of Romans 9-11.  If you live near Temecula, or can make the drive, come on out!

Here's the info from the Providence OPC in Temecula's website.  They are hosting the event.


 Almost every evening on the news we are reminded that a battle still rages over one piece of real estate in the Middle East.  What is the significance of the land in Israel and what impact does that have on God’s plan for the world in the last days? Does He have a special agenda for the people of Israel? 

What does the one New Testament text that speaks directly to this issue, Romans chapters 9-11, have to say in answer to these questions? 

Come join us as Dr. Kim Riddlebarger of the White Horse Inn comes to Temecula to share with us on this exciting topic.  The event begins at 7 P.M. at Old Town Temecula Theater located at 42051 Main Street, Temecula CA, 92590.

For more information about “Israel and the Last Days” contact Providence Presbyterian Church at


"Whoever Has the Son Has Life" -- 1 John 5:1-12

The Tenth in a Series of Sermons on John's Epistles

The Apostle John teaches by repetition.  Throughout his first epistle, repeatedly, John has spoken of the way in which we can tell the differences between those who believe that Jesus is God manifest in the flesh, and those who do not.  John has told us that Christians do not foolishly think that we are without sin, while those who have left the faith do mistakenly think they are without sin.  Christians will strive to obey God’s commandments, while those taken in by false teachers are indifferent to the commandments of God.  Christians will love their brothers and sisters in Christ, while those outside the church are not interested in demonstrating such love.  Christians will strive to avoid worldliness (which is thinking and acting like a non-Christian), while those who have imbibed from the spirit of antichrist treat those who are faithful to the gospel just as Cain treated Abel.  And Christians will love the truth, and willingly defend the doctrine that Jesus is God manifest in human flesh in the face of the many antichrists who will inevitably arise and seek to undermine the truth of our Lord’s incarnation.  In the fifth chapter of 1 John, the apostle summarizes these familiar themes one final time, before concluding his epistle by returning to his testimony by which we know that Jesus is God manifest in the flesh.

As we continue our series on the epistles of John, we move into the fifth and closing chapter of 1 John–Lord willing, our topic in this sermon and the next.  John will once again summarize his main points, before concluding this letter with a powerful assertion of the truth of the gospel, before asking that question which all of us must ask and answer at some point in our Christian lives–“how do we know that we know?”  How do we know that Christianity is true?  How do we know that our doctrine is correct?  Why do we go to such great lengths and self-sacrifice and deny ourselves to live differently than those around us?  Why do we drag our weary bones out of bed each Sunday to come to this place, listen to yet another sermon, and stand in line to receive a tiny piece of bread and receive a very small cup of cheap (and way too sweet) wine?  How do we know that we know?

The answer to these questions is to be found in the nature of John’s own experience and life as an apostle.  In chapter 20 of his gospel, John tells his reader that his purpose in composing that gospel is as follows.  “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:30-31).  John has composed his gospel precisely because he wants us to believe in Jesus Christ so that we will have eternal life.  John is writing to convince us that Jesus is that one whom John (and the other apostles) claim that he is–God manifest in the flesh.  According to John, our Lord’s entire messianic ministry bears witness to his identity as the Son of God.  This is evident in Jesus’ teaching, through the fact that he is that one promised throughout the Old Testament, and through his miracles–done in the presence of those who means and motive to expose them if they these things were fake or nothing but magic.  But the capstone of John’s case for Jesus is the fact that once crucified, God raised Jesus from the dead.  And to all of this–that Jesus is God manifest in the flesh–John is witness.

To read the rest of this sermon, click here


Adopted Sons and Daughters

 Q. Why did Christ command us to address God thus: “Our Father?”

A. To awaken in us at the very beginning of our prayer that childlike reverence for and trust in God, which are to be the ground of our prayer, namely, that God has become our Father through Christ, and will much less deny us what we ask of Him in faith than our parents refuse us earthly things.

(Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A 120)

It is not uncommon to hear critics of Reformation theology complain that Martin Luther, John Calvin, and those who followed them, were so preoccupied with justification, that they depreciated the family relationship that sinners enjoy with their creator (adoption). This charge stems from the Reformation (and biblical) doctrine of justification, in which it is understood that the righteousness of Christ is reckoned (or imputed) to a sinner through the means of faith, so that the sinner is given a right-standing before God and therefore saved from His wrath.

To read the rest of this article, Click here


Who Said That?

"Let us take an example to test this little doctrine [of the resurrection], so innocently put forth [by the Christians]:  A certain man was shipwrecked.  The hungry fish had his body for a feast.  But the fish were caught and cooked and eaten by some fishermen, who had the misfortune to run afoul of some ravenous dogs, who killed and ate them.  When the dogs died, the vultures came and made a feast of them.  How will the body of the shipwrecked man be reassembled considering it has been absorbed by other bodies of various kinds? . . .  Ah!  You say:  `All things are possible with God.'  But this is not true.  Not all things are possible for him.  [God] . . . cannot make 2 x 2 = 100 rather than 4, even though he should prefer it to be so."

Leave your guess in the comments section below.  Please, no google searches or cheating.  Answer to follow next week.


"The Wisdom of God" -- 1 Corinthians 1:18-31

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

Click here