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


Living in Light of Two Ages



"The Lion of the Tribe of Judah" -- Revelation 5:1-14

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon for the second Sunday in Advent: 


Apologetics in a Post Christian Age (Audio) -- The Witness of the Holy Spirit (Part Five)

Here's the audio from the Wednesday Night Bible Study:  B. B. Warfield on Faith, Evidence, and the Holy Spirit


"Why Then the Law?" -- Galatians 3:15-25

The Fifth in a Series of Sermons on Galatians

One of best ways to refute error is to proclaim the truth.  This is what Paul does throughout the Book of Galatians.  The error Paul must refute is doctrinal and public.  A group of false teachers, the Judaizers, had come to the Galatians shortly after Paul had left the region.  They challenged Paul’s authority and began undermining the gospel which the Apostle had preached previously.  The Judaizers were zealous for the law and the tradition of their fathers.  When Gentiles responded to the gospel after Paul preached it to them, and then came to faith in Jesus Christ, the Judaizers became insistent that these Gentiles believe that Jesus was the Messiah, but, they added, Gentile converts must also submit to ritual circumcision, keep certain dietary laws, and obey the law of Moses.  If they failed to do so, they would forfeit their right standing before God.  This was the great error of the Judaizers; faith in Christ, plus . . .

Publically placarding Jesus Christ crucified before his hearer’s eyes through his preaching (Gal. 3:1), the truth is also out in the open.  Justification comes through faith in Jesus Christ (“hearing with faith” as Paul calls it), not through obedience to the law of Moses, not through submission to ritual circumcision, or through keeping dietary laws.  The blessings of the promise that God made to Abraham comes to all of Abraham’s children–whether Jew or Gentile–through faith and not by by works.  This is Paul’s gospel.

Paul was angry about the errors of the Judaizers.  He was also angry at their deceptive methods.  Apparently, the Judaizers were infiltrating the Galatian churches and spying on Gentiles exercising their freedom in Christ.  Any possible instance of the abuse of Christian liberty was turned into an argument against Paul’s gospel.  As Paul saw it, since we are justified (given a right standing before God) by grace alone, through faith alone, on account of Christ alone, any departure from this gospel was a different gospel, which is no gospel.  Paul’s gospel had been revealed to him personally by Jesus Christ, and it was through this same gospel the Galatians had trusted in Christ alone through the “hearing with faith,” the means by which the Galatians received the Holy Spirit and witnessed God work miracles in their midst.
Making his case that justification and God’s promise to Abraham (the gift of the Holy Spirit) both come to Abraham’s children through faith alone, in verses 15-18 of Galatians 3, Paul points out that even though the promise to Abraham was given chronologically prior to giving of law to Moses, this does not mean that the law nullifies the prior Abrahamic promise.  After discussing the death of Christ in verses 12-13–Jesus Christ become a curse for us to redeem us from the curse of the law, bearing that curse for us in his own body hanging upon the cross (tree), so that Jew and Gentile alike can receive the gift of the Holy Spirit–Paul moves on in verses 15-18 to discuss the nature of the promise and its connection to the different covenants made with Abraham and Moses.  Paul will give a lesson in redemptive history.

Using Abraham as his example, Paul is able to prove that his understanding of the gospel which is centered in the public placarding of Christ crucified for sinners, is the very same gospel that God preached in advance to Abraham as recorded in Genesis 15:6.  Paul is no innovator.  The promise God gave to Abraham that he would justify Abraham and all of his spiritual children, Jew and Gentile, through faith alone, is the same gospel taught throughout the Old Testament.  The substance of the promise was that through the means of faith, God would give the children of Abraham the gift of the Holy Spirit and so having received the Holy Spirit, they were now heirs to the promise.

Paul’s main point in this section is really a simple one.  The promise given to Abraham as recounted in Genesis 17, preceded in time God’s giving of the law to Moses at Mt. Sinai.  The law cannot nullify the promise.  In Galatians 3:15, Paul puts it this way.  “To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified.”  Paul’s example points to the covenant (diatheke) which God had previously established with Abraham as recounted in Genesis 15-17.  This first covenant cannot be set aside by a later covenant, because the covenant God made with Abraham is unconditional in the sense that it is God himself who swears the oath to Abraham to bring to pass what is promised–“I will be your God and you and your descendants after you will be my people.”

To read the rest of this sermon:  Click Here


Luther and Calvin on the End Times (Part Two)

Here's the audio from my concluding Friday night Academy Lecture, "Luther and Calvin on the End Times" (Part Two)

My lectures are based upon my chapter "The Eschatology of the Reformers" from Reformation Theology:  A Systematic SummaryYou Can Purchase Reformation Theology here


This Week at Christ Reformed Church (December 3-9)

Sunday Morning, December 9:  On the second Sunday in Advent we will look at Christ's incarnation from a heavenly perspective (our text:  Revelation 4-5).  How can the lamb also be a lion?  Our worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  What do ministers, elders, and deacons do?  What does their biblical job descriptions include?  This Lord's Day, we'll address article 31 of the Belgic Confession.  Our afternoon service begins at 1:15 p.m.   

Wednesday Night Bible Study (December 5) @ 7:30 p.m.  As we continue our series Apologetics in a Post-Christian Age, we will be wrapping up our look at B. B. Warfield's view of faith, reason, and the Holy Spirit. 

Friday Night, December 7 (@ 7:30 p.m.)  The annual Christ Reformed Christmas party--join us for an evening of carols, dessert, music, and fellowship! 

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


"Her Offspring" -- Genesis 3:1-19 (The First Sunday in Advent)

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon on Genesis 3:1-19, for the First Sunday in Advent:  "Her Offspring" -- Genesis 3:1-19


The Past Comes Back to Life

If you are a Southern Californian who has taken that magnificent drive up US 395 into the Owens Valley, you have no doubt passed Dehy Park in Independence, CA.  You also probably noticed the narrow gauge locomotive (Southern Pacific 4-6-0 # 18) which has been on on display at the entrance to the small park since about 1960.  You may even have toured the narrow gauge museum at Laws, CA, just north of Bishop, where #18's sister locomotive, #9, resides in the midst of rusting narrow gauge passenger coaches and assorted and odd freight cars.  I've posted on US 395 and the SP Narrow Gauge before (SP Narrow Gauge and US 395).

Several years ago the Carson & Colorado Railway, Inc. (a group of folks interested in fully restoring #18), began the task of removing the locomotive from the Dehy Park to a new engine house and then completely restoring the nearly century-old locomotive to pristine running condition.  That project was completed over a year ago.  The locomotive has run under live steam power several times.  Since #18 has little track to run on in its new home (the Eastern Sierra Museum), it was trucked over to Laws for a full-steam exhibition on much longer track (nearly a mile).

But the full-steam run at Laws (while better than than 1500 feet of track in Independence) did not allow for a full display of what a completely restored #18 could do on a longer run at operating speed. 

The Carson & Colorado folks recently loaned #18 to the Durango and Silverton Railroad in Durango, Co.  The folks who run the famed tourist train helped restore #18 and are quite interested in duplicating #18's oil-fired boiler system in their own coal-burning locomotives. 

Jerry Day's recent video (above) captures #18 in all is steam-era glory.  There is nothing like a steam-powered locomotive.  It sounds like it is alive and its driving mechanism is not hidden under an aluminum shell as with a modern diesel-electric.  You see how a steam locomotive works as it runs, even as you feel the raw power of super-heated steam, the pop-valves, and the steam whistle.  Nothing like it.

Thanks to all the folks at the Carson & Colorado for bring to life a great locomotive which had become a mere roadside curiosity.


Apologetics in a Post Christian Age (Audio) -- The Witness of the Holy Spirit (Part Four)

Here's the audio from the Wednesday Night Bible Study:  The Witness of the Holy Spirit -- B. B. Warfield and Kuyper


"By Works of the Law, or by Hearing with Faith?"

The Fourth in a Series of Sermons on Galatians

Galatians is a letter of sharp contrasts.  Paul is writing to Gentile Christians throughout Galatia, who have been told (erroneously) they must now live as Jews.  Their confusion arises from the efforts of false teachers (Judaizers), who secretly infiltrated the churches in Galatia to spy out the freedom enjoyed by these new Christians.  In response, Paul exposes the false gospel taught by these men for what it really is, no gospel.  He reminds them that the gospel which he preaches (the public placarding of Christ) was revealed to him by Jesus, who’s saving merits are received through faith alone, and cannot earned by works.  In Galatians 3:1-14 (our text), Paul contrasts the true gospel which he has preached (requiring the “hearing of faith”), and the false gospel (“works of law”) proclaimed by Judaizers.

Paul is writing to churches which he helped to found not long before through the preaching of that gospel which had been revealed to him by Jesus.  Paul was gone from Galatia for a brief period of time, but already a group of Jewish converts to Christianity (Judaizers) were denying the gospel which he just preached to them.  Telling Gentile believers, “yes, Jesus was Israel’s Messiah and the Son of God,” the Judaizers added the condition that membership in the church was maintained through continuing obedience to the law of Moses, submission to ritual circumcision, the keeping of certain dietary laws, all of which functioned as badges, or emblems of membership in the people of God (true Israel).  When pagan Gentiles came to faith in Jesus Christ, Judaizers insisted that Gentiles adopt these ethnic badges of Judaism, or else forfeit their right standing before God.  Gentiles must believe in Jesus, but live as Jews.

Discovering what had happened in his absence, Paul composed this letter.  In the opening chapter, Paul expresses his concern.  “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel” (Gal. 1:7).  Paul contends this false gospel was taught by deceitful men “who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery” (2:4).  Things got so bad that Paul was forced to confront Peter to his face, since Peter was living as a Gentile, but hypocritically telling Gentiles to live as Jews.  Peter was not acting in line with the truth of the gospel which is grounded in the work of Jesus Christ, his sinless life, sacrificial death, and resurrection from the dead.  Justification (our right standing before God) comes through faith, and not through one’s obedience to dietary laws, submitting to circumcision, or through obedience to any other elements of the Mosaic law.  In Galatians 2:16, Paul has made this point clear.  “A person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ.”

In Galatians 3:1-6, Paul exhorts the Galatians to consider how it was that they came to faith in the first place.  Exasperated by the state of things in Galatia, Paul warns his readers/hearers not to tolerate the error of the Judaizers.  The harsh label he ascribes to them “foolish Galatians” comes from a term which conveys the idea of an insufficient use of mental powers or a deficiency in understanding.  But a paraphrase like “you numskulls,” is not inappropriate!  Paul is angry, if not furious, with the Galatians.  He minces no words with them.  Many readers of this epistle notice the rather striking fact that Paul calls his readers “Galatians,” and not “Brethren,” nor does he use any terms of endearment to people he knows well and from whom he has recently departed.  

When Paul asks the Galatians the question, “who has bewitched you?” he uses a term which means to cast a spell upon someone using the “evil eye.”  The Galatians are acting like they are under a hypnotic spell cast upon them by the Judaizers, rendering them incapable of sound judgment.  Paul will warn them in Galatians 5:4, that those who have been taken in by the evil eye (spell) risk being severed from Christ.

To read the rest of this sermon:  Click Here


This Week at Christ Reformed Church (November 26 - December 2)

Sunday Morning, December 2:  For the first Sunday in Advent, we will address the "reason for the Advent season"--Adam's Fall and the promised Messiah.  Our text is Genesis 3:1-18.  Our worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  Why "Reformed" or Presbyterian church government?  We will tackle this question in our discussion of article 30 of the Belgic Confession.  Our afternoon service begins at 1:15 p.m.   

Wednesday Night Bible Study (November 28) @ 7:30 p.m.  We continue our series Apologetics in a Post-Christian Age.  We'll be continuing to look at B. B. Warfield's view of faith, reason, and the Holy Spirit. 

The Academy (November 30):  We continue our series on the Eschatology of the Reformers.  What did Luther and Calvin believe about the end times?

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