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

 

Living in Light of Two Ages

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Tuesday
Jul282015

"Whoever Receives Me" -- John 13:1-20

The Forty-Third in a Series of Sermons on the Gospel of John

With less than twenty-four hours remaining before his agonizing death upon the cross, Jesus celebrates his third and final Passover with his disciples.  Although Jesus knows what lies ahead, the disciples are blissfully ignorant about the events which will take place later that evening, and the next day (Friday).  Jesus will use his last evening with his disciples to prepare them for what is soon to come.  But before they share their last meal together–hence the “last supper”–Jesus will wash their feet, exhort them to live and act in humility (just as he has done) and then reveal that one of the twelve is a traitor, who is about to commit one of the most diabolical acts in human history.  Jesus must prepare his disciples for the momentous events he knows are coming.

We have made our way as far as chapter 13, which marks the beginning of a lengthy section of John’s Gospel (which runs from 13:1-17:26) in which, having ended his public ministry, Jesus must prepare his disciples for his imminent departure from them.  As we read in the closing section of John 12, “when Jesus had said these things [the discourse at the end of John 12], he departed and hid himself from [the crowds].  Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him.”  Jesus has said and done all that he was going to do in terms of his public ministry.  Although God had called many people to faith in Jesus, the sad fact is that the people of Israel, by and large, have rejected Jesus’ messianic mission (as Savior from sin).  Our Lord’s hour is at hand because the Passover has come.  It is time for Jesus to say his final public words to the people of Israel (which John recounts at the end of chapter 12), before our Lord withdraws from the public eye to begin instructing his disciples in the privacy of a rented “upper room.”

The events recounted in chapters 13-18:11, likely take place during the early evening of Thursday of the Passion week, which is the beginning of the Passover which ends at sundown on Friday.  If you know anything about the Gospel of John, and its relationship to the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), then you know there seems to be a difference (if not a contradiction) between John’s chronology of the events surrounding the timing of the death of Jesus, and the chronology found in the synoptics.  There are volumes written on this topic, and virtually every commentary on John devotes a number of pages to this debate, along with the various solutions which have been proposed to resolve it.  A sermon series such as this is not the place to resolve such complicated issues, so let me give you a brief summary of the matter, and explain my take on how best to resolve it as we proceed.

We start with critical scholars, who contend that John’s overriding purpose in composing his gospel is theological–that is, John wants to prove that Jesus is Israel’s Passover Lamb, so it does not really matter if John describes Jesus dying on Thursday afternoon when the Passover lambs are being slaughtered, while the synoptics place the death of Jesus on Friday afternoon.  Critical scholars do not believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, so any apparent discrepancies between John and the synoptics are not a problem to them, so long as we consider John’s reason for composing his gospel–which is to convince people that Jesus is a messianic prophet.

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here

Monday
Jul272015

"Why Is It That You Have Contrived This Deed in Your Heart?" -- Acts 4:32-5:16.

Here's the audio from Rev. Compton's Sermon

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Monday
Jul272015

This Week's White Horse Inn

Celebrity Pastors

On this edition of the White Horse Inn we're continuing our series on sustainable churches, and in this program we're looking at the challenge of super apostles, what kind of pressure is being put on pastors to not be ordinary, to be something extraordinary and what is that doing not only to them but to us, those of us who were expecting them to be spectacles.

Clustering around favorite teachers was a big danger even in the era of the apostles. Disagreement and division over basic doctrine is always tragic but often necessary. Most divisions, then and ever since, are provoked by ambitious people who sow discord in order to draw disciples after themselves.

Well, Paul was wrestling with this even in the churches that he planted. Some of those who at first embraced his gospel with joy became bored by its simplicity. Surely there's got to be more to it than that, and that's exactly where the super apostles came into the picture. These persuasive speakers claim to know secrets far greater than the apostles, especially Paul. Just look at him, Paul is weak and unappealing, without flowery oratory. Paul hardly looked the part of a divine ambassador and how easy it is for us still today to draw people away from the simplicity of the gospel with smooth talk.

Paul said about these super apostles, “for if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus, then the one we proclaimed or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super apostles, even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge. Indeed in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.”

And yet, Paul isn't deterred from his message or his mission, he says, "What I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission, they work on the same terms as we do, for such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles for Christ." Join us this week on the White Horse Inn as we look at what an ordinary shepherd is, as someone who knows and cares for the sheep, who faithfully leads them to the waters of life.

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Tuesday
Jul212015

"Whoever Believes in Me" -- John 12:37-50

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

Jesus entered Jerusalem to the great fanfare of the people.  In their minds, God’s promised messianic blessing is playing out before their very eyes.  Jesus, the Davidic king and miracle worker has entered the royal city, no doubt, to claim the throne of David and to lead the people of Israel to victory over Rome.  Jesus proclaimed that his hour had come.  Surely, Jesus was referring to his entrance into the city and the beginning of his reign.  But those who watched and listened carefully to Jesus after he entered the city knew that Jesus was not about to meet the crowd’s expectations.   In fact, Jesus said his hour referred to something soon to come, that he would be glorified, that a time of judgment would come when he is “lifted up” and draws all people unto himself.  At the end of John 12, we learn that time of judgment mentioned by Jesus begins when his public ministry comes to a close, and Jesus withdraws from the public eye.  Having ended his public ministry, Jesus begins to prepare his disciples for his departure from them.  What the people of Israel thought to be a time of God’s blessing was, in reality, the beginning of God’s judgment upon Israel, when the messianic light departs, and the darkness of spiritual judgment falls upon the people who cheer for a Messiah in whom they do not believe, and who’s mission they do not understand.   

As we continue our series on the Gospel of John, we have spent the last several weeks working our way through the twelfth chapter of John.  We have considered Mary’s anointing of Jesus with expensive perfume in preparation for his death and burial.  We have read of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, and then we have considered our Lord’s remarkable words to a group of Greeks (Gentile God-fearers) who were in Jerusalem to witness the coming Passover.

Previously in John’s account, Jesus had only spoken of his hour–when he will be glorified–as a future event.  Remarkably, he tells a group of Gentiles that his hour has come, meaning his messianic mission is coming to its end.  When Jesus spoke these words about his hour having arrived, people assumed that he was referring to his triumphal entrance into the city.  But he was not speaking of Palm Sunday.  Instead, Jesus was speaking of events soon to come–his death and resurrection.  Using the analogy of a grain of wheat which falls into the ground and then germinates, Jesus is speaking of how he must die, and then be raised from the dead.  He speaks of how those who follow him must lose their lives in order to receive his (eternal life).  Jesus did not sound like a man about to lead Israel to victory over Rome    

As he was speaking to the Greeks (and probably to the disciples as well) a crowd gathered, listening to Jesus’ teaching about the significance of the events they had just witnessed.  Jesus describes the great anguish of his soul because his hour has come, implying that he must suffer and die for our sins.  Jesus then calls upon YHWH to be glorified through the events about to unfold.  The Father speaks from heaven, confirming that Jesus’ is indeed fulfilling the will of God.  The crowd heard the noise, knew it to be extraordinary (if not supernatural), but did not understand the words spoken.  But Jesus knew that his heavenly Father was speaking, and Jesus reveals to those listening what the Father had said.

Upon hearing the Father’s voice, in verse 31, Jesus announces “now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.”  Two times in this verse Jesus speaks of what his impending death and resurrection will accomplish now.  When Jesus suffers and dies upon the cross, God will save his people from the guilt and power of sin.  At the same time, his death upon the cross is a graphic picture to the world of how seriously God takes human sin.  As a sign of judgment, the cross tells all people that either Jesus Christ suffers and dies for the sinner, and in the sinner’s place, or else the sinner must be punished by God for their guilt of their own sins.  While the cross is the visible sign of God’s love and grace toward his people, it is also the guarantee to those who reject Jesus’ person and work that God will judge the world on the last day–yet as we will see in our text, that judgment (at least upon Israel), is about to begin.

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here

Monday
Jul202015

"No Other Name" -- Acts 4:1-31

Here's the audio from Rev. Compton's sermon on Sunday.

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Monday
Jul202015

This Week's White Horse Inn

Honest Evangelism

This week on the White Horse Inn we are continuing our series on sustainable church growth. In this program, we will be looking at evangelism with Rico Tice. Rico is the associate minister of All Souls, Langham Place in London and founder of Christianity Explored Ministries. He is the author of several books dealing with evangelism and understanding the nature of Christian witness in this world. His popular Christianity Explored and Christianity Explained DVD series has taken off around the world. He has recently written a book titled Honest Evangelism: How to Talk about Jesus Even When It's Tough.

In addition to making life-long Christian disciples, churches in our day need to equip the saints so that they can faithfully share the gospel with outsiders. As we take the gospel out to the world, we need to resist the temptation to change or dilute the message in order to remove the offense of the cross. But how do we actually do that? What should we expect from those we witness to? Will it be difficult or easy? How should we prepare? Is evangelism necessary for every Christian? Join us this week on the White Horse Inn as we discuss the necessity and purpose of evangelism within our context.

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Tuesday
Jul142015

"When I Am Lifted Up" -- John 12:27-36

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

Jesus has entered Jerusalem in apparent triumph.  As he heads along the road from Bethany to Jerusalem a huge crowd spontaneously assembles and begins the messianic chant, “Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”  The people expect Jesus to enter the city, to his take his place on David’s royal throne, and then free the nation from their Roman oppressors.  But Jesus is entering his city only to be rejected by Israel, to suffer and die for the sins of his people, to bear the wrath of his Father in his own flesh, and to rise again from the dead.  When Jesus does take his rightful place on David’s throne, it will be a heavenly throne when Jesus ascends into heaven.  In John’s Gospel, Jesus reveals what he is about to do to a group of Greeks (Gentile God-fearers), who have come to Jerusalem to witness Israel’s Passover celebration.  In revealing what is about to transpire, Jesus tells these Gentiles that his hour is now at hand.  Jesus speaks openly of his own great anguish, and his mission is audibly confirmed by his heavenly Father.  Jesus tells the crowds which assembled as he began speaking, that he must be lifted up in order to draw all people unto himself.  Jesus is, of course, speaking of his cross.  And those listening to him are struggling to make sense of it all.

We continue to work our way through the Gospel of John.  We have come to John chapter 12, and we are considering a remarkable teaching discourse which takes place soon after Jesus entered Jerusalem in triumph on Palm Sunday.  The remarkable thing about the content of John 12:20-36, is that Jesus begins to speak about his coming death and resurrection soon after he had entered Jerusalem to the messianic chants of the people.  On the face of it, Palm Sunday looked as though this was the long-expected day when Jesus enters Jerusalem to the accolades of the people of Israel to claim David’s royal throne.  While the people correctly sense the messianic implications of Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem, they cannot yet know that events are about to take a very dramatic and unexpected turn.

The sad reality is that Palm Sunday is every bit as much a tragedy as it is a triumph.  Although the people of Israel cheer and shout messianic anthems, the reality is that Jesus is not the king they want or expect, and so the very moment when Jesus is arrested and stands helpless before Caiaphas (the Jewish high priest) and then Pilate (the Roman governor), the people turn on him and began calling for his death at the hands of a hated Roman bureaucrat–Pilate.  On Palm Sunday, the people see Jesus as the successor to king David and they are thrilled.  By Friday (the Passover), they see Jesus as a mere messianic pretender who should be put to death for causing so much trouble.

The events recorded at the end of John 12 serve to set the stage for the lengthy teaching discourse (the so-called Upper Room Discourse) of John 13-17, when Jesus prepares his disciples for his unexpected departure from them.  In light of Jesus’ dramatic entrance into Jerusalem, the disciples cannot understand how the whole course of Jesus’ messianic ministry will change so drastically in the next few days.  Jesus had raised his friend Lazarus from the dead, just the week before.  This was his seventh and most dramatic sign yet, confirming that he is both the Son of God and Israel’s Messiah.  On Sunday he entered Jerusalem in triumph, but as we read in the synoptic gospels, immediately after entering the city, Jesus went to the temple to pray and saw that the outer court (the so-called court of the Gentiles), was filled with merchants and money-changers selling their wares.  According to Jesus, these men had turned the temple from a place of prayer into a den of thieves and robbers.  Acting in righteous anger, Jesus drove them out.  The conflict between Jesus and the Sanhedrin will rapidly escalate in the days ahead.

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here

Monday
Jul132015

"Times of Refreshing" -- Acts 3:1-26

Here's the audio from Rev. Compton's sermon

Click Here

Monday
Jul132015

This Week's White Horse Inn

The Nature of Spiritual Growth

This week on the White Horse Inn we are continuing our series on sustainable church growth. In this program, we will be looking at the nature of spiritual growth itself. How do faithful disciples and faithful churches grow? What sustains this faith across the decades? The horticultural metaphors in Scripture are definitive for understanding the nature of the church’s health and growth. Although a church may grow in attendance, does that mean it is necessarily fruitful or faithful? Can Christians grow spiritually in these church environments over the long haul?

While it’s true that megachurches continue to see growth in numbers, it is not being mean spirited to ask whether there is real viability or sustainability in their methods. True spiritual growth is the topic on this episode. This topic is something we need to desperately understand in today’s environment. So how do faithful churches grow? What does it mean to be a lifelong disciple who is maturing in Christ (Eph 4:15)? We will trace these horticultural metaphors in Scripture to help us understand this process. Join us this week on the White Horse Inn as we discuss the means and method the Spirit of Christ has promised to bless and use according to his Word.

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Tuesday
Jul072015

"The King of Israel" -- John 12:12-26

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

There are times when things are not what they seem.  What appears to be a spontaneous moment of triumph and joy when Jesus enters Jerusalem to return the nation to greatness, is actually a sign of Israel’s unbelief and hardness of heart.  The people sense the obvious messianic significance of David’s son entering his royal city.  But for the citizens of Israel, this was a political event with religious implications, not the moment when Jesus enters Jerusalem as the prince of peace, and suffering servant who will lay down his life for his sheep.  What looks like the culmination of his three year public ministry–the messiah has come to his royal city in a triumphal procession–is but a step on the way to Jesus’ cross and empty tomb.  This is a day of joy because Scripture is being fulfilled and Jesus must obey his Father’s will to secure our salvation.  But on this day, the crowds do not understood the true meaning of what they were seeing.  Israel’s moment has come, but the people do not understand the significance of what is happening.

We are continuing our series on the Gospel of John, and we have come to Jesus’ triumphal entrance into Jerusalem–commonly celebrated in Christian churches on Palm Sunday.  There are few events recorded in all four gospels–Jesus’ triumphal entrance into Jerusalem is one of them.   As we have seen during our time in John 11-12–which is the literary hinge of John’s Gospel uniting our Lord’s messianic mission (the first ten chapters) and our Lord’s Upper Room Discourse and Passion (chapters 13-21)–Jesus’ messianic mission is rapidly coming to its conclusion.  Jesus has raised his close friend Lazarus from the dead, proving that he is the Son of God and Israel’s Messiah.  Sadly, the Sanhedrin’s response to Jesus’ seventh miracle is to issue a warrant for Jesus’ arrest–which provides a pretext to put Jesus to death.  The Sanhedrin takes this action against Jesus because of their collective fear that Jesus is attracting large numbers of followers and this might provoke the Romans to remove the Sanhedrin from power.

As we saw at the end of John 11, when people became aware of the Pharisees’ order that anyone who saw Jesus or who knew where he was, was to immediately report that information to the Sanhedrin, a buzz began to spread throughout Jerusalem.  Would Jesus dare come to the city to celebrate the Passover, knowing that if he did so he would be arrested and put to death?  That question is definitively answered “yes” when Jesus enters Jerusalem in triumph the Sunday before the Passover.  Jesus will defy the Sanhedrin because his chief concern is obedience to his Father’s will and that he accomplish all that the Father has sent him to accomplish.  And this he will do.

In fact, the best indication we have regarding the true meaning of Jesus’ entrance into the city on Palm Sunday actually came the evening before, during a dinner given by Mary, Martha, and Lazarus in the home of Simon the leper.  After the dinner concluded, Mary took a large amount of nard (a year’s wages worth) and anointed Jesus’ head, body, and feet, wiping them with her hair.  When Judas complained that the perfume could have been sold and the proceeds given the to poor, Jesus rebuked him.  Jesus tells Judas and the assembled group, “leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial.  For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”  Although the folks in Simon’s home were probably taken aback by Jesus’ rebuke of Judas, and certainly did not yet grasp the full meaning of all that Jesus said, his statement that Mary was going to anoint him for the day of his burial reveals what lay ahead in the coming days.  Jesus will enter Jerusalem in great triumph the next day, but by Friday afternoon of the Passover, Jesus will be dead, and once again, Mary will anoint her Lord’s body in preparation for his burial, exactly as Jesus had foretold.

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here