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

 

Living in Light of Two Ages

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Wednesday
Jun102009

"Everyone Did What Was Right in His Own Eyes" -- Judges 17:1-18:31

The Seventeenth in a Series of Sermons on the Book of Judges

Several hundred years have passed since Israel entered Canaan and their leader Joshua had died. Generations of Israelites have come and gone, with each succeeding generation more Canaanized than their parent’s generation. Six times, we have read how the people of Israel forgot all about YHWH, how they found themselves threatened by their pagan neighbors, only to cry out to YHWH for deliverance. Six times, YHWH took pity on his people and raised up a “judge” or a deliverer who rescued the Israelites from those nations who sought to conquer or drive them from the land which YHWH had given to them. But now as we turn to the closing chapters of the Book of Judges, it becomes crystal clear that the true enemy facing Israel has little to do with the armies of Israel’s godless neighbors. Israel’s true enemy is Israel. We can see how far Israel has fallen when we consider that in the final five chapters of Judges, YHWH is hardly mentioned. In fact, what characterizes this closing section of Judges is the repeated declaration that “there was no king in Israel, so everyone did what is right in their own eyes.” These chapters of Judges depict a people whose religion is reduced to mere tradition, and who profess one thing but then do another. Having forgotten all about YHWH, the Israelites have become a law unto themselves.

As we resume our series on the Book of Judges, we will quickly finish up the final chapters of this troubling book. I say troubling because as the book unfolds, the people of God fall to ever deeper levels of depravity. By the time we reach the final chapters, Israel’s behavior is indistinguishable from that of their Canaanite neighbors. Long ago, the Israelites stopped determining whether something was right or wrong based upon YHWH’s law. Long ago, the people of Israel forgot all about those miraculous things which YHWH had done to deliver them from their bondage in Egypt. Long ago, the Israelites forgot God’s covenant promises, as well as YHWH’s command to drive the Canaanites from the land which he had given them. Long ago, the Israelites became so comfortable living along side their pagan neighbors, that they openly welcomed Canaanite sons and daughters into their families. In fact, things were so bad that the Israelites actually enjoyed attending religious services in which Canaanite practices were the norm. In other words, long ago, the people of God, forgot about God. The deplorable spiritual condition of Israel depicted in these final chapters (chapters 17-21) is nothing less than a national apostasy.

The Book of Judges opens with the declaration that Joshua has died with Israel settled in the land of promise. Judges ends with the declaration that “in those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” This tells us that Israel’s struggle throughout this period of redemptive history was to remain faithful after God had given them their inheritance, after the people were living well in the promised land, and during a time when Israel did not have a covenant mediator (such as Moses and Joshua). Soon, the bond between the twelve tribes was fractured, the nation was unable to defend itself from external threats from those nations they had previously defeated, and who were now seeking revenge. YHWH’s people had become as pagan (if not more so) as the Canaanites around them. At the heart of the problem was the complete failure of the Levitic priests to instruct the people of Israel in the ways of the Lord. Instead of catechizing Israel, the Levites merely emulated the Canaanites.

To read the rest of this sermon, click here

Monday
Jun082009

Old and Happy

According to a recent study, old male Republicans (65 +) are happier than everyone else.  So, this is what I have to look forward to down the road.  Not too sure about the "Republican" part, however.  But if I keep going like I am, I will fit the rest of the "happiness" profile.  Click here: Happiness Is ... Being Old, Male and Republican - Yahoo! News

Seems like a certain Copperhead in Maryland wants to come back in the next life as something even more lowly than a Copperhead! The young serpent doesn't have very much respect for the whole Kharma thing--although the Buddhist he bit did pray for the snake to have a "higher rebirth."  If that thing bit me, it would be deader than a doornail.  But at least this Copperhead was smart enough to bite a guy who buys crickets and worms from bait stores and sets them free.  Good grief, its a poisonous snake!  Kill it for Pete's sake!  Click here: Sam Pettengill of Montgomery County Survives Copperhead Snakebite - washingtonpost.com

Here's yet another copy editor asleep at the switch. Check out this headline. Click here: Missing baby found in Sandwich

Oh goodie! Its national accordion month.  If the accordion is good enough for Barry Manilow, its good enough . . . Better leave it at that.  Remember the old bumper sticker?  "Use an Accordion?  Go to Jail, its the Law!"  Click here: All Things Accordion

 

Sunday
Jun072009

Who Said That?

"I think I am becoming a god"

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

Sunday
Jun072009

"The Household of God" -- Ephesians 2:11-22

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon (the fifth in a series).

http://links.christreformed.org/realaudio/KR20090607-Ephesians.mp3

Friday
Jun052009

Remember D-Day (the 6th of June), but Don't Forget the Battle of Midway

The popular films Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers keep the D-Day invasion on the annual calendar.  Politicians mark the anniversary and old films of the event are quite familiar to us.  No doubt, the Normandy invasion was the turning point in the war in Europe.

Although often relegated to obscurity by events in the European Theater, let us not forget that the Battle of Midway was fought on June 4-7, 1942, sixty-seven years ago.  While Richard Frank (in his book Guadalcanal) has convinced me that the land, air, and sea battles on and around the island of Guadalcanal (running from August-November 1942) mark the real turning point in the War of the Pacific, nevertheless, at the very least the Battle of Midway ended the Japanese threat to Hawaii and the Western United States.

And while D-Day was long-planned and inevitable, the Battle of Midway was very much a moment by moment affair.  If SBD pilot Wade McClusky had given up his search for the Japanese fleet when he should have, and failed to see that Japanese destroyer headed back toward the four Japanese carriers (Akagi, Kaga, Soryu and Hiryu), well then, the outcome could have been much different and all American tactical advantage lost. The actions of any one man (Eisenhower excepted), could not have changed the events of June 6.  But at Midway, that was not the case.  One sharped-eyed and determined Navy pilot did.

BTW--I can't wait for the Pacific Theater version of Band of Brothers (Click here: The Pacific (miniseries) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).  Marine Corp legends "Chesty" Puller and John Basilone will be featured along with the operations of the First Marine Division.

Thursday
Jun042009

Obama's Cairo Speech and the Resurgence of Popular Dispensationalism

It will be very interesting to see what the prophecy pundits do with Obama's recent comments about Israel and Islam in his Cairo speech.  Click here: Obama does not recognize Israel land claims, security needs

Hal Lindsey, for one, is watching Obama's every word very closely . . . Click here: The Hal Lindsey Report.  No doubt, others will be doing the same.

Just when I start to think the end-times punditry is about finished, something happens on the world stage which reinvigorates the pundits all over again.  This will surely do the trick.  

Thursday
Jun042009

What If Calvinists Became the Majority . . . Not Gonna Happen . . . But What If . . .

Attendance at Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church in Houston would decline rapidly to the point that the property would be sold back to the city of Houston to pay off ministry debts.  It would then be re-converted into a basketball arena. 

 

Cigar smoking would once again be permitted in coffee houses, libraries, and sports venues.  It would become commonplace for people to gather in such places (without being treated like a criminal) to talk about theology, politics, literature, fine arts, and music and enjoy a good cigar along with an adult beverage, tea, or coffee. 


Reading habits would change.  Grand theological libraries would be all the rage.  World Magazine's top-ten best-seller list (the New York Times will quickly go belly-up because nothing in it is fit to print) will be dominated by theology, literature, and history titles.  Poorly written legal thrillers, Rapture novels, and self-help books will be a thing of the past.  The ESV Study Bible would sit near the top the best-seller list, followed by various theological reprints (mostly Puritan and continental Reformed writers) and biblical commentaries.


Fine beers and microbrews would no longer be taxed.  Taxes would be tripled on cheap domestic beer however.


Single malt scotch wouldn't be taxed either, and all tariffs on such imports would be revoked.  At the same time, alcoholism declines rapidly.

 

Businesses would voluntarily close on Sunday so people could both worship and rest on the Lord's Day.


Most TV networks will disappear--since very few people are still watching TV.  The History Channel will finally produce a documentary on the Book of Revelation which does not mention Nostradamus and in which Greg Beale is the featured expert.  Rod Rosenbladt takes Larry King's place and ratings skyrocket!

 

Voter registration would skyrocket for virtually all political parties and there would be spirited political debate before elections.  Election turnout would be very high and people would gladly accept the outcome of these election as the will of God.  No current US Senators will ever be elected to office again, and the seventeenth amendment will be quickly repealed.


The "National Cathedral" would be returned to the Episcopal Church for use in the ordination of gay, Arian, and Pelagian bishops.  But no more state-sponsored religious services will ever be held there, or anywhere else for that matter.

All cats would be licensed and spayed and neutered before reproducing.  Tax breaks (equivalent to that of a dependant child) will be given to dog owners.

No, I haven't become postmillennial!  Just having fun!

Wednesday
Jun032009

The Audio Demon Has Been Cast Out!

We are back in business and all Christ Reformed related audio should be working.  My only worry about this kind of audio demon is that often times it returns with seven more . . .

We will have some periodic audio interruptions because the current host company was purchased by someone else and are moving to new servers.  Thanks for your patience!

Wednesday
Jun032009

"Faith Apart from Works Is Dead" -- James 2:14-24

The Fifth in a Series of Sermons on the Epistle of James

It would be hard to find a passage of Scripture which is more controversial than James 2:14-26. The reason for the controversy is James’ assertion in verse 24 that “a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” On its face, this seems to fly in the face of a number of passages in Paul’s letters where Paul appears to be saying the exact opposite thing. Take, for example, Galatians 2:16. “Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.” Those who believe that the justification of sinners is a process which is not complete until death (Rome), view James’ assertion here as a classic proof-text which supports this view. But those who see justification as an instantaneous declaration made about the sinner because the merits of Christ are imputed to them through the means of faith, seem to stumble all over James’ declaration that works are somehow tied to justification, and that we are not justified by faith alone. But as we will see, James and Paul do not contradict each other. In fact, when James’ assertion is put in its proper context, there is nothing whatsoever in James 2 which conflicts with the doctrine of justification sola fide.

As we have been making our way through the Epistle of James, we come the second half of James chapter 2. I have mentioned throughout our series that this section of James is somewhat of a sore spot to confessional Protestants who champion Paul’s doctrine of justification. One reason for this is because when addressing justification, the Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent (Canon X)–Rome’s official response to the Protestant Reformation–teach that justification is a day to day process, depending upon how effectively people submit themselves to God’s grace, so that they increase their justification over time, and hopefully, attain final justification. James 2:24 is cited by the Council of Trent as a proof-text supporting Rome’s view that justification is a process connected to the merit of our good works.

Granted, James seems to be saying something quite different than Paul. And those who oppose the Reformation doctrine of justification often seize upon comments made by James in this chapter to prove that we are not justified by faith alone, but that we are justified by faith plus continual inward transformation, and the performance of good works which merit (earn) a reward from God.

Let me be clear here. Yes, James is saying something quite different from Paul is saying. But James is not contradicting Paul. The two men are addressing two completely different issues. And this is the critical point we need to keep in mind as we proceed. Recall that in our first sermon on James, I labored to establish the fact that James wrote this epistle sometime in the mid 40's of the first century. If you’ve not heard that first sermon, I would encourage you to get a copy because the date of writing of this epistle, understanding the context in which it was written, and then keeping in mind the specific issue which James is addressing, is the key to understanding James’ teaching on justification. When these factors are in place, the supposed controversy between James and Paul, and the apparent contradiction between James 2:24 and passages like Galatians 2:16 and Romans 3:28, is easily resolved. In fact, there is no contradiction, since James is addressing a completely different matter than Paul is addressing.

To read the rest of this sermon, click here

Tuesday
Jun022009

Never Thought I'd Post Something from Pravda . . .

Pravda often publishes essays on the decline of America.  But this one is really amazing.  I'll leave the comments about the decline of capitalism "without a whimper" to you to read if you wish (Click here: American capitalism gone with a whimper - Pravda.Ru)

But this point about American Christianity really caught my attention:

"Then their faith in God was destroyed, until their churches, all tens of thousands of different `branches and denominations' were for the most part little more then Sunday circuses and their televangelists and top protestant mega preachers were more then happy to sell out their souls and flocks to be on the `winning' side of one pseudo Marxist politician or another.  Their flocks may complain, but when explained that they would be on the `winning' side, their flocks were ever so quick to reject Christ in hopes for earthly power."

Wow . . .