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

 

Living in Light of Two Ages

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Tuesday
Oct072014

"So That You May Believe" -- John 20:30-31

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

It was Augustine who supposedly said of the Gospel of John, “John’s Gospel is deep enough for an elephant to swim and shallow enough for a child not to drown.”  Whether Augustine said this or not, the sentiment is certainly true.  John is a remarkable Gospel which can instruct a child and yet challenge the greatest of theologians.  It is to this gospel that we now turn our attention as we begin a new series on the Gospel of John.

In years past we have made our way through the gospels of Matthew and Mark, and we have covered John’s epistles (1, 2, 3 John) as well as the Book of Revelation, which I believe was also written by John.  But we’ve never covered John’s Gospel, which is different in style and structure from the so-called synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke).  The reason for these differences–which is expressed in the Gospel’s purpose statement (our New Testament lesson; John 20:30-31)–is that John’s gospel is written for the purpose of answering the question “who is Jesus?”  Or more specifically, John answers the question “who is the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God?”  

Christians would not ask these questions because they already knew the answer.  Since these were questions Jews and non-Christians would be asking, it is clear that the Gospel of John was written to equip Christians to evangelize those who were asking about Jesus, including Jews, Jewish proselytes, and God-fearing Gentiles.  In may ways, John’s gospel reflects a time of chaos.  After the events of AD 70, Jews were asking the question, “what would become of the people of God after the temple was destroyed and Jerusalem had been occupied by the Romans?”  Furthermore, after the loss of their homeland the Jews had been dispersed throughout the Mediterranean world, and were encountering Christians in virtually every city in which there was a synagogue.  In answering the question “who is Jesus” John is not only addressing one critical question many Jews were asking, but he also directs his readers to trust (believe) in that one whose own body is the greater temple (John 2:21).  The coming of Jesus Christ (the true temple), is God’s answer to all of these questions regarding the fate of the nation of Israel.
 
John’s gospel was not intended to replace the synoptic gospels, nor was it intended to serve as an evangelistic tract to give to unbelievers (and Jews).  But it was written to offer Christians instruction about how to answer the question Jews and God-fearers were asking about Jesus’ identity and about God’s purpose for his people.  Who is this Jesus in whom Christians were trusting?  What were Jews to do now that the temple was destroyed and they had been cast from the promised land.  How is Jesus their Messiah?  And how are Christians to relate to Jesus now that he has ascended into heaven?  This is why John’s gospel is structured as it is, and this is why this gospel is every bit as relevant to us now as it was to John’s original audience.  Living in an age of religious chaos and uncertainty as we now do, we too need to listen to John’s answer to the question many are still asking, “who is Jesus?”

To read the rest of this sermon:  Click Here

Monday
Oct062014

This Week at Christ Reformed Church (October 6-12)

Sunday Morning (October 12):  We are continuing our current sermon series on 1 Peter.  This coming Lord's Day we'll be covering 1 Peter 3:18-22, and discussing baptism.  Our Lord's Day worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

New Members Class (9:00 a.m.):  Our Fall new members class continues with a discussion of why we worship the way we do.  Inquirers welcome!

Sunday AfternoonWe are continuing our study of the Canons of Dort, and we are currently in the 3rd/4th Head of Doctrine.  We will be considering the effects of regeneration upon the human will (article 16).  Our catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study (October 8):  We begin our study of the Book of Romans.

Friday Night Academy (October 10):  Special Academy Guest Lecture:  Dr. Rod Rosenbladt will be our special guest, lecturing on the "Trinity and the Nicene Creed."

New Academy Series:  Beginning Friday, October 17, Prof. Ken Samples will begin a six week series entitled, "If I Had Lunch with St. Augustine."  Here's the synopsis for the course:

The last and greatest of the men revered as the “Church Fathers” was Augustine of Hippo or “St. Augustine” (A.D. 354-430). Though Christianity has produced many prominent thinkers during the past two millennia, Augustine may be the most influential Christian thinker of all time outside of the New Testament. His significant influence, especially on Western Christianity, is directly tied to his profound work as a theologian, philosopher, apologist, and church bishop.  If you had lunch with the bishop, what would you ask him? What would you want to know about a man who was a great sinner who became a great saint?

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

Sunday
Oct052014

“If You Should Suffer for Righteousness’ Sake” --1 Peter 3:8-17

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

Sunday
Oct052014

This Week's White Horse Inn

God So Loved, He Gave

The entire Christian story can be understood through the lens of gift-giving. The history of redemption is the story of God’s gracious and sacrificial giving of himself in order to rescue his fallen and rebellious creation. As he rescues us, he also invites us to live with hospitality and generosity so that, like him, we live to serve our neighbors in love. Michael Horton will be discussing this topic with Covenant College professor Kelly Kapic, author of God So Loved, He Gave: Entering the Movement of Divine Generosity.

Click Here

The entire Christian story can be understood through the lens of gift-giving. The history of redemption is the story of God’s gracious and sacrificial giving of himself in order to rescue his fallen and rebellious creation. As he rescues us, he also invites us to live with hospitality and generosity so that, like him, we live to serve our neighbors in love. Michael Horton will be discussing this topic with Covenant College professor Kelly Kapic, author of God So Loved, He Gave: Entering the Movement of Divine Generosity. - See more at: http://www.whitehorseinn.org/blog/2014/10/05/whi-1226-god-so-loved-he-gave/#sthash.YEcFoDJP.dpuf
Friday
Oct032014

Friday Feature -- The "Left Behind" Trailer 

Well, the old Kirk Cameron "Left Behind" movie has been re-done, this time with everyone's B-movie favorite, Nicolas Cage.

Three take-aways from the trailer.

1).  If you are taken in the Rapture, your clothes will be left behind.  This means grandma was right--make sure those skivvies are clean.

2).  There's no such thing as original sin, since all babies are raptured--presumably because the film-makers hold the Pelagian view that children are born innocent, and are not guilty before God until they reach the mythical age of accountability.

3).  I was very disappointed that Third Eagle's "Doom and Gloom" was not featured as the soundtrack (William Tapley's Doom and Gloom)

Thursday
Oct022014

I Just Got My Copy of Mike Horton's New Book, Ordinary (Updated Below)

Mike Horton's newest book is ready to ship!  You may recall the White Horse Inn series, "the Ordinary."  Michael's manuscript was the basis for those programs.

Here's the publisher's blurb (Zondervan):

Radical. Crazy. Transformative and restless. Every word we read these days seems to suggest there’s a “next-best-thing,” if only we would change our comfortable, compromising lives. In fact, the greatest fear most Christians have is boredom—the sense that they are missing out on the radical life Jesus promised. One thing is certain. No one wants to be “ordinary.”

Yet pastor and author Michael Horton believes that our attempts to measure our spiritual growth by our experiences, constantly seeking after the next big breakthrough, have left many Christians disillusioned and disappointed. There’s nothing wrong with an energetic faith; the danger is that we can burn ourselves out on restless anxieties and unrealistic expectations. What’s needed is not another program or a fresh approach to spiritual growth; it’s a renewed appreciation for the commonplace.

Far from a call to low expectations and passivity, Horton invites readers to recover their sense of joy in the ordinary. He provides a guide to a sustainable discipleship that happens over the long haul—not a quick fix that leaves readers empty with unfulfilled promises. Convicting and ultimately empowering, Ordinary is not a call to do less; it’s an invitation to experience the elusive joy of the ordinary Christian life.

 You can order the book here:  Mike Horton's new book Ordinary

Thursday
Oct022014

In Light of All the Hubbub About the Re-Release of "Left-Behind," It Is Time to Check the "Rapture Index"

It has been a while since we checked the "Rapture Index."  You'd think with the Ebola crisis, Isis, Putin's Mussolini-like antics, the "Rapture Index" would be at an all-time high.

But no, it stands at 185, down from an earlier high this year of 188.  Looks like improving economic numbers are driving down the likelihood of the Lord's return, despite an increase of plagues (Ebola) and Satanism in Oklahoma.

I am not making this up.  The Rapture Index

Wednesday
Oct012014

Our Deadliest Enemy?

Here's something to think about.

The fact that Ebola has made its inevitable way to America is hardly a surprise.  Thankfully, we have the medical infrastructure to deal with such things.  But the presence of such a frightening and terrible disease raises the real possibility of quarantines, travel bans, and additional infection of others with who came into contact with those in the early onset phases of the disease--especially health care workers and families of the sick.

But why the post about mosquitoes?  Recently, two healthy and vital members of our church family were struck down with West Nile virus.  Both were very ill with high fevers, hospitalized for significant periods of time, and now face long and difficult recoveries.  You read about the 100 or so people every year in our neck of the woods who contract this malady, but until now, these have been statics in the news and not people I know.

Both contracted West Nile in the same way--a seemingly innocuous bite from a mosquito.  It is easy to forget that this pest can be a killer.  Like you, I've been bitten hundreds of times with nothing worse than an itchy welt.  But that is not always the case.  The chart above was prepared by Bill Gates in April of 2014 as a warning to take mosquitoes seriously as a public health threat.

West Nile is a serious disease, but not a world health threat.  Malaria is--killing over 725,000 people every year, and sickening up to 200 million of the world's population.  Those numbers are hard to grasp.

Not to get all apocalyptic about it, it is important to realize that Ebola is not the only threat to public heath.  Mosquitoes kill far more humans annually than all other insects and animals combined.  I'm not sure the DDT ban was the best public health decision.

Tuesday
Sep302014

"Sit at My Right Hand" -- A Sermon on Psalm 110

A Sermon on the 110th Psalm

When the authors of the New Testament sought Old Testament passages to prove to Jews that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah), one of the passages to which they frequently turned was Psalm 110.  This particular Psalm is among the most commonly quoted Psalms in the New Testament.  What makes this particular Psalm so important to New Testament writers is that it unites two distinct offices which God gave to ancient Israel–that of king and priest–in a single person.  But David–to whom Jesus attributes authorship of this Psalm–was of the tribe of Judah, and not a Levite (and therefore not a priest).  As it turns out, the one to whom these offices both apply is David’s Lord, a mysterious messianic figure associated with yet another mysterious and shadowy figure from Israel’s ancient past, Melchizadek, who was the king of Salem, and a priest to whom Abram paid tithes.

As we continue our series on select Psalms, we now take up one of the so-called “royal Psalms” connected to Israel’s most famous king, David.  We will proceed by:  first, discussing the background and structure of the Psalm; second, we will then go through the Psalm; and finally, we will observe how this Psalm is utilized throughout the New Testament, where it is quoted from or alluded to by Jesus, Peter, Paul, Luke, and the author of the Book of Hebrews.  Since the authors of the New Testament saw in this Psalm clear Old Testament evidence that Jesus is the Son of God and Israel’s Messiah (and the figure about whom David is actually speaking), this is a Psalm with which we ought be well familiar.

We know virtually nothing about when this Psalm was written or why–although it is ascribed to David in the title of the Psalm, a point which Jesus acknowledges when he quotes the 110th Psalm and applies it to himself.  This Psalm might have been written for any number circumstances in Israel, such as a celebration of David’s authority over the twelve tribes of Israel, or even a celebration of David’s enthronement as Israel’s king.  Given the fact that chief authors of the New Testament saw this Psalm as predicting a great messiah yet to come–we too should understand this Psalm as messianic.  This simply means that although David composed the Psalm, and it was used for a particular occasion in Israel, the contents of the Psalm point to a kingly/priestly figure yet to come–a descendant of David who holds both the kingly and priestly offices mentioned in this Psalm.

The 110th Psalm is found in Book Five of the Psalter (which includes Psalms 107-150).  This particular Psalm has a very simple structure, taking the form of two oracles (vv.1-3; and vv. 4-7), each of which speak of God’s promise (v. 1, 4) followed by an explanation of the way in which God will give his people the promised victory.  Both this Psalm and the preceding (Psalm 109) are associated with David, and follow after the lament in Psalm 108:11, in which the Psalmist cries out, “have you not rejected us, O God? You do not go out, O God, with our armies.”  Psalms 109 and 110 answer the question as to whether or not God has rejected his people by reminding the Israelites that God has indeed given his people a divinely-appointed king who will lead and protect them (Israel).

To read the rest of this sermon:  Click Here

Monday
Sep292014

This Week at Christ Reformed Church (September 29-October 5)

Sunday Morning (October 5):  We are continuing our current sermon series on 1 Peter.  We will address the theme of suffering for righteousness' sake from 1 Peter 3:8-17.  Our Lord's Day worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

New Members Class (9:00 a.m.):  Our Fall new members class continues with a discussion of  Reformed church government.  Inquirers welcome!

Sunday AfternoonAs we continue our study of the Canons of Dort, we are currently in the 3rd/4th head of Doctrine, and will be considering the effects of regeneration (articles 15-16).  Our  catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study (October 1):  We will be concluding our study of the Book of Revelation.  Next week, we will begin a study of the Book of Romans.

Friday Night Academy (October 3):  The Academy wraps-up our four-week look at the life and times of John Calvin.  This week, we'll be discussing Mike Horton's book, Calvin on the Christian Life, (Crossway, 2014).

Special Academy Guest Lecture:  On Friday, October 10th, Dr. Rod Rosenbladt will be our special guest, lecturing on the "Trinity and the Nicene Creed."

New Academy Series:  Beginning Friday, October 17, Prof. Ken Samples will begin a six week series entitled, "If I Had Lunch with St. Augustine."  Here's the synopsis for the course:

The last and greatest of the men revered as the “Church Fathers” was Augustine of Hippo or “St. Augustine” (A.D. 354-430). Though Christianity has produced many prominent thinkers during the past two millennia, Augustine may be the most influential Christian thinker of all time outside of the New Testament. His significant influence, especially on Western Christianity, is directly tied to his profound work as a theologian, philosopher, apologist, and church bishop.  If you had lunch with the bishop, what would you ask him? What would you want to know about a man who was a great sinner who became a great saint?

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