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

 

Living in Light of Two Ages

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Thursday
Jun042015

So Long Overdue and Well Deserved

A great injustice has been corrected.  Japan has officially granted Godzilla Japanese citizenship.  Godzilla Now a Citizen

Although the creature entered the country illegally, and has destroyed Tokyo several times, this poor misunderstood animal's rights finally have finally recognized.

One injustice remains, however.  Godzilla must be given free veterinary care under Japan's national health care system--provided he/she/it, as the case may be, is spayed and/or neutered.

If Godzilla is trans or multi-gendered, then, of course, gender reassignment will be provided at tax-payer expense.

Godzilla has rights!

Tuesday
Jun022015

"Lazarus has Died" -- John 11:1-16

The Thirty-Fifth in a Series of Sermons on the Gospel of John

Even Jesus could not keep his friend Lazarus from dying–or so it seemed.  All of Jesus’ disciples eventually died, as have all Christians since the time of Jesus down to the present day (including Lazarus, a second time).  This raises the question as to whether or not the curse has the final word and whether death ultimately wins in the end.  At times it sure looks that way.  If Jesus truly is the resurrection and the life, as he claims, then he must decisively defeat death and the grave.  When Jesus raises his friend Lazarus from the dead, we see the unmistakable proof that death does not win in the end.   Although his body has been in the tomb four days, when Jesus steps up to Lazarus’ tomb and commands “Lazarus, come out!” (and the dead man does) we get a brief glimpse of what will happen on the last day, when Jesus returns to judge the world, raise the dead, and make all things new.  The story of Lazarus is not only a critical turning point in the Gospel of John, this is proof that Jesus is who he claims to be, and the events surrounding the raising of Lazarus set the stage for Jesus’ own death and resurrection, soon to come.

We return to our series on the Gospel of John, and we come to the next section of John’s Gospel–the literary bridge between Jesus’ messianic mission to Israel, and the events which occurred during the Passover and Jesus’ final trip to Jerusalem.  This literary bridge includes the materials in John 11 (the account of Jesus raising his friend Lazarus from the dead) and chapter 12 (Mary anointing Jesus at Bethany, before Jesus speaks of the necessity of his being “lifted up”–a reference to his suffering upon the cross).  This two-chapter bridge prepares the way for the extended Upper Room Discourse in chapters 13-17, in which Jesus instructs his disciples about his soon-coming death, resurrection, and ascension, and when he promises to send the blessed comforter, the Holy Spirit.  

Then, in chapters 18-20, we come to John’s Passion narrative, in which we read of Jesus’ death for our sins, and his bodily resurrection from the dead.  Unlike the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) the first half of John’s Gospel is devoted to his messianic mission, while the entire second half is devoted to the Passover and the final week of our Lord’s earthly ministry.  We are entering that last half of John’s account of the word made flesh, and we will spend much of our time covering events which occurred during the last week of Jesus’ messianic mission, shortly before his death as the true Passover Lamb and his resurrection from the dead–the guarantee of our final victory over death.

Every preacher faces the same dilemma when preaching through John’s Gospel.  Throughout this gospel, there are long teaching discourses, like the 44 verses in John 11 dealing with the resurrection of Lazarus.  These discourses are best covered in one sitting because one event is being recounted.  Yet, these discourses (like that the “Bread of Life” discourse of John 6, and the “Good Shepherd” discourse of John 10) are so rich in content, that if we are to do John justice, we would spend about two hours covering chapter 11.  Given the shortness of the human attention span, the rhetorical skills of your preacher, the weakness of the human gluteus maximus, and the nature of our pews, unfortunately, we must divide John 11 into a number of sub-sections which we will treat over a four week period.  You will help me out, and you will get far more out of these next few sermons on John 11, if you read through this entire chapter several times in the coming weeks so as not to lose the forest for the trees.

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here

Monday
Jun012015

This Week at Christ Reformed Church (June 1-7)

Sunday Morning (June 7):  We are continuing our series on the books of Ezra-Nehemiah.  We have come to Ezra 9 and his call for the separation of Israel from her Canaanite neighbors.  Our Lord's Day worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  We return to our study of the Heidelberg Catechism.  This week are discussing the importance and practice of catechism.  Our catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study (June 3)We are continuing our series, "Run Through the Letters of Paul," and we have come to Galatians 5 and Paul's discussion of our freedom in Christ.

The Academy:  On Hiatus until Fall.

For more information and directions, check out the Christ Reformed website:  Christ Reformed Church

Sunday
May312015

“That We Might Humble Ourselves Before Our God” -- Ezra 8:1-36

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

Click Here

Sunday
May312015

This Week's White Horse Inn

Consumerism, Pragmatism, & the Triumph of the Therapeutic

This week on the White Horse Inn we had the opportunity to talk with Notre Dame sociologist Christian Smith. He is the author of several books including Soul Searching and Souls in Transition. In his research Smith coined the phrase "Moralistic Therapeutic Deism" to describe the faith of most religious teens, and the religion he fears of their parents as well due to the failings of church leaders and parents to catechize and teach the doctrine of life in Christ.

Many churches in our day attempt to make their services relevant and entertaining in order to attract people in the marketplace of competing options. The focus often centers on practical lessons designed to help us cope with life’s problems. But what are the social and historic roots of this particular approach to ministry? Join us this week on the White Horse Inn as we discuss consumerism, pragmatism, and the therapeutic within the church.

Click Here

Friday
May292015

Machen's "Christianity and Liberalism" -- Free eBook

John Hendryx at Monergism.com is making available a free eBook edition of J. Gresham Machen's classic text Christianity and Liberalism.

This is one of those texts all Reformed Christians should read at least once.  Here it is, for free.  No excuses!

Christianity and Liberalism Free eBook

John also has a nice link to my Amillennialism 101 series (which is also found here on the Riddleblog's sidebar)

Amillennialism 101

Tuesday
May262015

"I and the Father Are One" -- John 10:22-42

The Thirty-Fourth in a Series of Sermons on the Gospel of John

When Jesus entered Jerusalem during the Feast of Booths, he began teaching regularly in the temple.  Although his hour has not yet come, it is drawing near.  Jesus’ messianic mission is reaching its conclusion.  Through a series of discourses and debates with the Jews, Jesus is preparing his disciples for that day just months away when he will depart from them.  There is much for them to learn and not much time remaining for Jesus to teach them.  But through these discourses and debates, Jesus is also bringing God’s covenant judgment upon unbelieving Israel.  His words do two things–they give life to his sheep, who hear his voice in his word, and his words serve to harden the hearts of the Pharisees who have opposed Jesus’ messianic mission from the moment he first set foot in the city.  During the Feast of Dedication, once again, Jesus demonstrates that he is Israel’s Messiah and one with YHWH.  And once again the Pharisees seek to arrest him.

In John 10:1-21 Jesus gives the “Good Shepherd” discourse in which our Lord affirms that he is the faithful shepherd over God’s messianic flock, that one who was foretold by Moses and Israel’s prophets (especially Ezekiel and Jeremiah).  Throughout the books of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and Zechariah, Israel’s unbelieving kings and rulers are described as false shepherds who seek to exploit the people of God.  Many are singled out for God’s judgment in the form of covenant curse.  When Jesus gives the “Good Shepherd” discourse in John 10, it is clear to all listening to him that Jesus sees the Pharisees as false shepherds (strangers, thieves, and robbers).  These are men who, barring repentance, can expect to face the same covenant curses meted out upon Israel’s unbelieving kings as in the days of the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel, and the southern kingdom of Judah.  The Pharisees’ mistreatment of the people of God is exemplified in John 9 by the cruel and callous way they treated the man who had been blind from birth, and who had been healed by Jesus.  These men are nothing but hirelings who care nothing for God’s sheep.

The “Good Shepherd” discourse takes up the first half of John 10, while the second half (vv. 22-41) serves as an elaboration and an extension of the themes set forth by Jesus in vv. 1-21, who has identified himself as the “Good Shepherd” of Israel, who has come to tend to God’s scattered flock, and who, unlike the false shepherds and hirelings, will lay down his life for the sheep.  Jesus will not abandon God’s people when savage wolves approach.  He will do whatever is necessary to protect God’s flock, and lead God’s people into those green pastures spoken of by the Psalmist in the 23rd Psalm.

As we have seen throughout the last several discourses in John, whenever Jesus speaks, those listening to him are divided among themselves as to whether or not Jesus is a dangerous false teacher, or the coming of God’s prophet as predicted by Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15).  There are messianic implications to virtually everything Jesus says and does.  As we saw last time, when Jesus finished his “Good Shepherd” discourse, we read in verses 19-21, “there was again a division among the Jews because of [Jesus’] words.  Many of them said, `He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?’  Others said, `These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon.  Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?’”

To read the rest of this sermon,  Click Here

Monday
May252015

This Week at Christ Reformed Church (May 25-31)

Sunday Morning (May 31):  We are moving forward with our sermon series on the books of Ezra-Nehemiah.  This Lord's day we will be working our way through Ezra 8:1-36, and considering Ezra's exodus from Babylon.  Our Lord's Day worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  Rev. Chris Coleman will be leading our catechism service, which begins @ 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study (May 27)We are continuing our series, "Run Through the Letters of Paul," and we are considering Galatians 4:21-31, and Paul's discussion of the two mountains and the two women.

The Academy:  Friday, May 29 @ 7:30 p.m.  

Our current Academy series "The Great and Holy War" has focused upon the legacy of World War One, including the establishment of a Jewish State in Palestine (Israel), the roots of ISIS (the end of the Caliphate/Ottoman Empire), the Bolshevik Revolution and the rise of Marxist-Leninism.

This week, we conclude our discussion of the text for this series is Philip Jenkin's book,  The Great and Holy War.  You are welcome to join us for our discussion, if you have not read, nor finished reading the book.

For more information and directions, check out the Christ Reformed website:  Christ Reformed Church

 

Sunday
May242015

“The Hand of the Lord My God Was on Me” -- Ezra 7:1-28

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

Sunday
May242015

This Week's White Horse Inn

Members of the Body of Christ

This week on the White Horse Inn we discuss what it means to be a member of the body of Christ. We are joined by Thabiti Anyabwile who is the assistant pastor for church planting at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC. He has written numerous books, including most recently The Life of God in the Soul of the Church.

Should the church attempt to engage the culture in relevant ways, or does this strategy end up continuing to divide us by worldly preferences and priorities that are opposed to the gospel? What does it mean to be a member of a healthy church and, additionally, what does it mean to be a healthy church member? Join us as we seek discuss the body of Christ, the church, this week on the White Horse Inn.

Click Here