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

 

Living in Light of Two Ages

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Tuesday
Jan122016

"Peace Be With You" -- John 20:11-29

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

After studying Jesus’ messianic mission for many weeks, we now come to an entirely new phase of Jesus’ ministry–his post-resurrection appearances.  In the remaining verses in John’s Gospel, it becomes clear that the fundamental nature of redemptive history has been completely transformed.  Now that Jesus is risen bodily from the dead, and begins appearing to his disciples, we are given our first glimpse of the extent of Jesus’ victory over sin, death, and the grave.  His victory over our greatest foe is complete and total–even if not finally consummated until the end of the age when Jesus returns to judge the world, raised the dead, and make all things new.  Jesus’ bodily resurrection changes everything.

In this new phase of Jesus’ ministry, the humiliation of Jesus–extending from his incarnation until the moment of his death–gives way to his exaltation.  When the eternal Word took to himself a true human nature, Jesus gave up the glory which he possessed with the Father and the Holy Spirit before the creation of all things.  Jesus was rejected by his people (Israel) and abandoned by his disciples.  After his resurrection from the dead, the number of those following him (exercising true faith in Jesus) grows exponentially.  Jesus’ role as the suffering servant foretold by Isaiah gives way to his identity as Risen Lord.  Although he veiled his glory with human flesh in his incarnation, after the resurrection, Jesus’ human nature has been glorified.  The body he now possesses reveals to us the kind of body we will possess after the resurrection on the last day.  So, although John’s Gospel is quickly coming to an end (as is our time in John–two more sermons after this one), there is obviously much of interest to us.

When John’s account of Jesus’ passion began in chapter 18, with Jesus’ arrest, it became clear that although Jesus is without sin, he is truly human, and therefore subject to all manner of human weakness–including death.  His flesh tears when whipped, nails can be driven through his feet and wrists, he suffers terrible thirst and struggles to breathe, and then dies.  Recall that in the Upper Room Discourse (John 13-17), Jesus told his disciples that he was leaving them, and that it was actually to their advantage that he go away because he will then be able send to them the Holy Spirit (the comforter) and that he would go to prepare a place for them.  These promises were difficult for the disciples to accept because they did not yet have the categories they will need to make sense of Jesus’ instructions to them.  After Jesus rises from the dead, all that changes, as the weaknesses of human nature gives way to the transformation of human nature in the resurrection.  
    
When we left off last time (the first ten verses of John 20) with Mary Magdalene discovering that the stone sealing Jesus’ tomb was rolled away, and that Jesus’ tomb was empty, she then ran back to tell Peter and John that someone had taken the Lord’s body.  The two disciples hurried to the tomb to see for themselves what had happened.  It was just as Mary had said.  Jesus’ grave cloths were left behind, the head cloth had been neatly folded, but Jesus’ body was nowhere to be found.  John tells us that when he saw the tomb empty and the grave cloths, at that moment he believed that Jesus had risen from the dead.  Peter, we are told by Luke, marveled at what he saw, and he and John returned their homes not knowing what to expect, or what would come next.  

All of this indicates to the reader of John’s Gospel that it is not until Easter and the discovery of the empty tomb, that the things Jesus told them during the Upper Room Discourse make sense, specifically his departure so as to go and prepare a place for them, and the promise that he will send the Holy Spirit.  What follows, then, with the post-resurrection appearances by Jesus, is the realization of the promises he made earlier in his ministry–as when he first cleansed the temple three years earlier, and again in the Upper Room Discourse just days before.  Now that Jesus has risen from the dead, his earlier statements start to make sense as Jesus appears to several of his disciples.

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here

Monday
Jan112016

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

Sunday Morning, January 17:  We begin our series on the Book of Daniel by looking at who Daniel was and then consider why his prophecy is so remarkable.  Our worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  We are continuing to work through the Heidelberg Catechism.  This Lord's Day (7) we are discussing the nature of faith (Q & A 20-21).  Our catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study, January 13:  We take up Paul's two Thessalonian letters--very important and sadly often overlooked.

The Academy:  Resumes on Friday, January 22, 7:30 p.m. as we return to our series on the two kingdoms.  This lecture will discuss the Church's prophetic role in the midst of the civil kingdom.

For More Information on Christ Reformed Church you can always find us here (Christ Reformed Info), or on Facebook (Christ Reformed on Facebook).

Sunday
Jan102016

"The Sign of the Son of Man" -- Matthew 24:29-44

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon on the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24) in preparation for our series on Daniel

Click Here

Sunday
Jan102016

This Week's White Horse Inn

Creation, Fall, & Redemption

On this program the hosts begin a new series titled, The Story of God’s People. We will be taking a look at the great characters and moments of redemptive history. What do they mean for us today? How are we to make sense of the overarching themes and characters presented to us? Do they have any relationship to the church today?

As we look at the major strands and figures throughout the Scriptures, we will seek to show how these themes develop and how they are ultimately resolved in Christ. In this first program, we will explore the themes of creation, fall, and redemption as they appear in the opening chapters of the book of Genesis. Join us for this exciting new series from the White Horse Inn.

Click Here

Tuesday
Jan052016

"He Must Rise from the Dead" -- John 20:1-10

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

Easter Sunday is a day of joy and celebration for Christians because it is on this day we celebrate Jesus’ victory over death and the grave.  The very fact that God raised Jesus bodily from the dead means that Jesus’ has accomplished our salvation by satisfying the holy justice of God, paying the debt which we owe to God, and washing away the guilt of our sins.  The fact of the empty tomb also means that Jesus has overturned the curse, and Easter marks the birthday of a new creation.  The empty tomb, the eyewitnesses, and the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy provide the content of Christian preaching and serve as the foundation of Christian truth claim.  No resurrection, no Christianity.  In his Gospel, John has told of Jesus’ arrest, trial, and crucifixion.  When we left off last time, John described how Jesus was hurriedly buried before sundown on Friday (Passover).  John now tells us that when he entered Jesus’ empty tomb and saw the grave clothes left behind, it was at that moment he believed that his Lord had risen from the dead.

We have spent sixty Sundays so far in the Gospel of John, and in the providence of God, it just so happens that the Sunday on which we come to John 20 (and John’s account of the resurrection) is also Easter Sunday.  The bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the great climax of John’s Gospel, as well as the foundation of the Christian faith, which stands or falls with the resurrection.  To put the matter as simply as possible, if Jesus bodily rose again from the dead that first Easter as recounted by John (and the other gospel writers), then Christianity is true even if no one believes it.  And if Jesus did not rise again from the dead on Easter then Christianity cannot be true, even if the entire population of the world believes it.  If Christianity ends with the events of Good Friday and a dead Messiah, then we are still in our sins, and we have believed a lie.  That is how important the resurrection is to Christianity.

Thankfully, God has given us good reason to believe in the resurrection of Jesus.  First, there is the fact of the empty tomb.  Second, there are the reports of numerous eyewitnesses who saw Jesus quite alive three days after he died on a Roman cross.  Third, the resurrection is the fulfillment of a number of Old Testament prophecies which predicted this very thing hundreds of years in advance, in addition to the prediction of Jesus.  We have good and solid reasons to believe that Jesus rose bodily from the dead.  

As recounted in the second chapter of John’s Gospel, shortly after he began his public ministry, and when he cleansed the Jerusalem temple the first time, Jesus told his disciples as well as the angry Jewish religious leaders that he would indeed rise again from the dead.  When the Jews demanded that Jesus perform a miraculous sign to prove that he was who he claimed to be, John recounts that “the Jews said to him, `What sign do you show us for doing these things?’  Jesus answered them, `Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’  The Jews then said, `It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?’  But he was speaking about the temple of his body.  When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.’”  Jesus made this prediction three years earlier, and now with his crucified body buried and sealed in a tomb just outside the city of Jerusalem, the time has come when the disciples will remember what Jesus said to them in the opening days of his messianic mission.  Jesus has kept his promise.

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here

Monday
Jan042016

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

Sunday Morning, January 10:  Before we begin a new series on the Book of Daniel, we continue with background.  This Lord's Day we will continue our look at Jesus' appeals to the prophecy of Daniel in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24).  Our worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  I am continuing with my series on the Heidelberg Catechism.  This Lord's Day we are considering the promise of the gospel as it unfolds in Scripture (Q & A 16-19).  Our catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study:  Resumes on January 13, 2016, Lord willing, as we take up Paul's two Thessalonian letters

The Academy:  Resumes on Friday, January 22, 7:30 p.m. as we return to our series on the two kingdoms.  This lecture will discuss the Church's prophetic role in the midst of the civil kingdom.

For More Information on Christ Reformed Church you can always find us here (Christ Reformed Info), or on Facebook (Christ Reformed on Facebook).

Sunday
Jan032016

"Spoken of by the Prophet Daniel" -- Matthew 24:15-28

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon on the Olivet Discourse (Part One) as background for our upcoming series on the Book of Daniel:  Click Here

Sunday
Jan032016

This Week's White Horse Inn

What Is Worship?

In a Los Angeles Times magazine article, titled “God for Sale,” Kathleen Neumeyer wrote, “It is no surprise that when today’s affluent young professionals return to church, they want to do it only on their own terms – what’s amazing is how far the churches are going to oblige.” In fact, George Barna, an advocate of market-driven approaches to church growth, writes, “This is what marketing the church is all about, providing our product as a solution to people’s felt need. It is critical,” he says, “that we keep in mind a fundamental principle of Christian communication – the audience, not the message, is sovereign.” The Apostle Paul found himself in a similar situation in 1st century Greek culture, where personal taste reigned and religion was seen as both a private quest and a ground for public morality. It was into this context that the Apostle to the Gentiles preached Christ. And yet, even after establishing churches among the Greeks, soon a group of super-apostles, as Paul sarcastically calls the enthusiasts, swept many of his emerging churches from their firm foundation. These super-apostles sought to make the gospel more relevant, the worship more exciting, the preaching more practical by blending the pagan craving for novelty and mysticism with Christ. And what was the Apostle’s response? Well, if people are stumbling over the offense of Christ’s cross, it’s because this message is foolishness to those who are perishing. To make the message more acceptable is to fashion the gospel into something other than the saving message of Jesus Christ. See, for those who know that the problem isn’t some invention of some Greek moral or speculative wisdom, but that they are sinners before a holy God, Paul says that this message, foolishness to Greeks and a stumbling block to Jews, is nevertheless embraced by believers as true wisdom – the most practical and relevant news as we learn that for us sinners. Christ has been made for us our righteousness, holiness, and redemption. What is the purpose of worship? Do we participate in order to serve God, or to be served? What are the implications of the shift from a “worship service” to “worship experience”? That’s the focus of this edition as the hosts talk with special guest Harold Senkbeil, author of Dying to Live and Sanctification: Christ in Action. Join us for this classic edition of the White Horse Inn.

Click Here

Tuesday
Dec292015

Bible and Reformed Confessions Reading Plans for 2016

Church members and readers of this blog often ask me about annual Bible reading plans--especially at the New Year when folks endeavor (dare I say it, make a resolution) to be more faithful about Bible reading.

Here are a couple of suggestions:

Ligonier has a great list of plans:  Ligonier Bible Reading Plans

ESV.org has a good list as well:  ESV Bible Reading Plans  

If you read Koine Greek and want to keep your skills sharp, I recommend Lee Irons' plan to read through the Greek text in one year:  Annual Greek NT Reading Plan

If you want to read the Reformed Confessions on a daily basis (and even have a reading from them delivered to you in a daily email) you can go here:  Daily Confession

If you want to do the same with the Westminster Confession, try this:  Daily Westminster

Tuesday
Dec292015

"The Scripture Might Be Fulfilled" -- John 19:31-42

The Sixtieth in a Series of Sermons on the Gospel of John

Jesus was dead. If there were any doubts, the spear thrust into his side confirmed the obvious. The end of the day was drawing near, and according to Jewish law, Jesus’ body must be buried before sundown. The women devoted to Jesus, along with his mother Mary, have watched the entire gory spectacle and now must bury their beloved. Two surprising figures step forward and ensure that Jesus receive a proper burial. They secure a tomb and the spices necessary for embalming. But even as Jesus’ body is removed from the cross and prepared for burial two things are clear to the readers of John’s Gospel. The first is that the way in which Jesus died fulfilled a number of Old Testament prophecies which pointed ahead to the coming of the Messiah. The second is that even though Jesus’ last words were “it is finished,” Jesus spoke about “rising again from the dead” three days later–it was finished, but yet it wasn’t. But on this terrible Friday afternoon, no one was thinking about such a possibility. Those who loved Jesus and who had believed in him were in shock and grieving deeply. They could not see, nor yet understand that Jesus’ final words meant that the guilt of their sins had been removed and their debt to God was now paid in full. Because Jesus had conquered sin and Satan, he will be raised from the dead, and conquer even death and the grave.

Because of the horrors associated with crucifixion, we are almost relieved when we read in John 19:30 that Jesus cried out “it is finished” and then “bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” John recounts that Jesus endured unspeakable anguish, pain, and suffering from the moment he was arrested until the moment he died. Our Lord has been hit in the face by the high priest’s servant, beaten repeatedly, flogged twice by Pilate (the second in preparation for his crucifixion), before being crucified–one of the cruelest and most painful forms of execution known to man. While the physical pain must have been absolutely unbearable, we must not forget the humiliation to which Jesus was also subjected. Jesus was rejected by his people (Israel), he was betrayed by one of his own disciples, denied by another, before being abandoned by the rest. Only John remained to watch as Jesus died. Jesus was found guilty by a kangaroo court which could produce no evidence against him, and even the man who ultimately put him to death (Pilate, the Roman governor), repeatedly proclaimed Jesus’ innocence.

Death is ugly. There can be no doubt that Jesus’ bruised, beaten, and bloodied body was a horrible sight to those who loved him and who remained with Jesus to the bitter end, when Jesus’ physical agony finally ended and he gave up his spirit (a euphemism for death). What those witnessing this awful spectacle could not have known is that Jesus’ physical pain and humiliation paled in comparison to that terrible and yet mysterious moment when the Father poured out his wrath upon his son–when Jesus drank the cup of wrath down to the last drop. Lost in the terrible scene before those watching was the fact that Jesus had completed his mission of accomplishing our redemption. The debt of all those for whom Jesus died, is paid in full. Jesus laid down his life for his sheep.

We can but imagine the chaos throughout Jerusalem that day–on the part of the Romans, the Jewish religious leaders who finally were rid of their chief nemesis, the people of Israel who knew not what to make of what just happened, the disciples who were now in hiding, as well as the women who loved Jesus, and who will prepare his body for burial. It was the longest and strangest day any of them had ever experienced. When Jesus died, the sky turned black as night. There was a frightening earthquake which shook the city. Most likely no one yet noticed that the veil in the temple, separating the Holy of Holies from the Most Holy Place was torn from top to bottom–the sure sign that the Jerusalem temple was now ichabod, the glory of God having departed.

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here