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

 

Living in Light of Two Ages

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Wednesday
Feb202019

"A Prophet Like Me" -- Deuteronomy 18:9-22

An Introduction to the Minor Prophets (Part One)

When I announce that we are about to begin a series on the “Minor Prophets,” what is your first thought?  Ugh . . .  They have something to do with the Old Testament?  Right?  Short biblical books with weird names?  Books of the Bible I’ve never read, and are not quite sure why I should?  

As we begin a new series on the “Minor Prophets,” we need to know who these prophets were and why they are important to us.  The last twelve books found in the Old Testament, the Jews know the Minor Prophets simply as “The Twelve.”  Preachers shy away from these books because without spending time to establish a proper context and background, the Minor Prophets are just twelve difficult and obscure books who’s authors speak of events long since past, and of peoples and kings long since dead and gone.  Some of these prophets are familiar to us–Jonah, Hosea, Joel, and Zechariah, come to mind.  But others are much more obscure: Amos, Obadiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, and Malachi.  

Why cover them?  Nine of the Minor Prophets are directly quoted in the New Testament, with hundreds of echoes from all twelve of these prophets found throughout.  The Twelve are usually cited in reference to the coming of Jesus and a final judgment at the end of the age.  Their message tends to be overtly negative–a call to repentance and a warning of judgment.  But the minor prophets have much more to say than that to us even today, and as we will see, they are well worth our time and consideration.  

These prophets came on the scene at a time after the reigns of David and Solomon–from about 780 BC-450 BC–when the people God were divided into two kingdoms;  Israel–the northern kingdom, and Judah–the southern kingdom.  These prophets appear before Israel’s destruction by Assyria in 722 B.C. and Judah’s exile in Babylon 586 B.C.  The mission of these prophets; warn the divided people of God what was about to befall them, tell them unless God’s people repent of their sins against YHWH, especially their sin of idolatry, and return to YHWH seeking forgiveness, judgment is sure to come.

But the Minor Prophets speak to other matters as well–matters of national pride, tolerance and then embrace of evil-doing, and social injustice.  It is in the latter context they are occasionally quoted or alluded to by politicians–the most common of which comes to mind is the phrase from Amos 5:24, “let justice roll down like a river.”  Sadly perhaps, an interest in social justice–not redemptive history–is the only reason why people today are even remotely familiar with these writers and their prophecies.  Their importance to us is found in the fact that the Minor Prophets have several common themes warning God’s people of his impending judgment, especially in connection to the grave dangers associated with living among pagans and finding ourselves increasingly drawn to pagan ways, beliefs, and practices.

These twelve prophets are sent by God at a time when the people of Israel (the northern kingdom) and Judah (the southern kingdom) want to be more like their pagan neighbors than YHWH’s covenant with allows of them.  God’s people wish to be rid of his law–because keeping it is difficult.  They want worship the gods of their neighbors–because their worship is more mysterious and exciting.  They want to intermarry with the Canaanites–because they don’t like being isolated and mocked by other nations.

To read the rest of this sermon:  "A Prophet Like Me" -- Introduction to the Minor Prophets, Part One

Monday
Feb182019

This Week at Christ Reformed Church (February 18-24)

Sunday Morning, February 24:  We will wrap up our time in the Book of Zechariah.  We will consider chapter 14 and Zechariah's prophecy of the return of Jesus Christ.  Our worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  We are still working our way through the first question and answer of the Heidelberg Catechism.  Our afternoon service begins at 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study: (February 20 @ 7:30 p.m.).  We continue to "make the case for Christianity."  This week we'll continue our discussion of the apologetic methodology of B. B. Warfield. 

Friday Night Academy: (Friday, February 22).  We will be discussing Michael Horton's theology text, The Christian Faith.  We left off last time on page 362 and Chapter Eleven (on the doctrine of Providence).

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

Sunday
Feb172019

"A Noble Task" -- 1 Timothy 3:1-13

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon on the occasion of the ordination and installation of elders and deacons

A Noble Task

Friday
Feb152019

Apologetics in a Post Christian Age (Audio) -- Making the Case for Christianity (B. B. Warfield)

Here's the audio from the Wednesday night Bible Study:  Making the Case for Christianity -- the Apologetic Method of B. B. Warfield

Wednesday
Feb132019

"Saved Through the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ" -- Acts 15:6-29 (A Postscript to Our Sermons on Galatians)

A Postscript to Sermons on the Book of Galatians


What happened after Paul sent his letter to the churches in Galatia?  We don’t know what happened in the specific congregations receiving Paul’s Galatian letter, but we do know how the church at large reacted to Paul’s rebuke of the heretical movement we know as the “Judaizers.”  In Acts 15, Luke recounts what has come to be known as the “Jerusalem Council” when Paul, and the apostles Peter, and James, along with the elders of the church addressed the Judaizing heresy.  This is one the most important turning points in the Book of Acts and goes a long way to help us see how the early church governed itself and dealt with heresy.  The Jerusalem Council reached complete agreement about the gospel Paul preached to the Gentiles–all people (Jew or Gentile) are saved the same way, by grace alone through faith alone, on account of Christ alone.

We know from Paul’s Galatian letter, as well as the account we will discuss in this sermon, the Judaizers were dividing the church by misrepresenting the teaching of the Apostle James (in his epistle), and then pitting James against the preaching of Paul.  The Judaizers claimed that James and Paul disagreed about how sinners are “justified” (or given a right standing before God), and that James was right, and Paul was wrong.  What transpires during the Jerusalem Council goes along way toward reconciling James’ prior statement in James 2:14-17: “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?  Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?   So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead,” and Paul’s seemingly conflicting comments in Galatians 2:16: “yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.”

The Jerusalem Council was called by the apostolic church because Paul’s first missionary journey throughout Asia Minor (Eastern Turkey) had been a huge success.  Through the proclamation of the gospel, as well as through the demonstration of his miraculous power, God confirmed the still largely Jewish church’s mission to the Gentiles.  The result was a harvest of Gentile converts to Jesus Christ.  But it was not long after that the Judaizers and “the party of the circumcision” took issue with Paul, insisting that Gentile converts live as Jews–they submit to circumcision, keep the Jewish dietary laws, and observe Jewish feasts.  Gentiles must believe in Jesus but obey Moses, if they are to be justified.

The statements by James, the teaching of Paul, and the attack upon Paul’s gospel by the Judaziers must be addressed if Jew and Gentile were to coexist in Christ’s church.  If there was to be clarity about the gospel, this fundamental question must be settled; “what place does obedience to the law of Moses and ritual circumcision play in relationship to the gospel of free grace and justification?”  Are Gentiles to obey the law of Moses and submit to circumcision in order to be saved?  If not, how are Gentile Christians to relate to Jewish believers within in the New Israel, the new society, the mystical body of Jesus Christ, which is the church, created by God himself, through the proclamation of Christ crucified?

Most historians date the Jerusalem conference in the year A.D. 49, shortly after Paul had written Galatians.  But the tensions which led to the council had been present for some time.  By the time the Council of Jerusalem meets, the first missionary journey was completed with Paul and Barnabas staying on in Antioch (a city in southeastern Turkey).  The sheer number of converts proved God was calling Gentiles to faith in Jesus.  It also become clear that Israel’s own prophets foretold in the last days (still hundreds of years distant when they wrote) the Gentiles would share in the promises which God made to Israel.  In Genesis 22:18, God promised to bless all the nations of the earth through Abraham.  The prophet Isaiah (49:6) saw a coming age in which the Servant of the Lord–who is none other than Jesus of Nazareth–will be a light to the Gentiles and will bring salvation to the ends of the earth.  The prophet Zephaniah (3:9-10) revealed that in the messianic age, the Messiah himself would purify the lips of the assembled nations, and all of those gathered would call upon the name of the Lord.  Zechariah (8:22) spoke of an age when the nations would assemble at Jerusalem seeking the Lord almighty.  “Yes,” Israel’s God will bless the Gentile nations.  But he will bless those nations through Israel.  The question now being answered is how.

To read the rest of this sermon:  Click Here

Monday
Feb112019

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

Sunday Morning, February 17:  We are taking a one week break from our series on the Minor Prophets to ordain and install officers.  Our text is 1 Timothy 3:1-13, as we discuss the noble task undertaken by those who serve Christ's church in the offices of elder and deacon.  Our worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  Our pastoral intern, Mr. Yi Wang will be preaching.  Our afternoon service begins at 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study: (February 13 @ 7:30 p.m.).  We continue to "make the case for Christianity."  This week we'll discuss the apologetic method of B. B. Warfield. 

Friday Night Academy: (Friday, February 15).  We return to our study of Michael Horton's theology text, The Christian Faith.  We will pick up where we left off last time (on page 355 in Chapter Eleven on Providence).

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

Sunday
Feb102019

"There Shall Be a Fountain Opened" -- Zechariah 13:1-9

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon on Zechariah, part of our series on the Minor Prophets:  "There Shall be a Fountain Opened"

Thursday
Feb072019

Apologetics in a Post Christian Age (Audio) -- Making the Case for Christianity (Francis Schaeffer)

Here's the audio from the Wednesday night Bible Study: 

 

Tuesday
Feb052019

"The Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ" -- Galatians 6:11-18

The Thirteenth in a Series of Sermons on Galatians

We begin to wrap-up our series on the book of Galatians.  In this sermon, we will consider Paul’s closing words to the Galatians–expressing his desire to boast only in the cross of Jesus Christ.  But Paul’s boast stands in complete contrast to everything we have read so far about the Judaizers, men who were ashamed of Christ’s cross, since crucifixion was regarded by virtually all first century people as a symbol of shame and humiliation.  Instead, the Judaizers were boasting that their heretical movement had the blessing of God because of the large number of converts they quickly made.  Such a boast about numbers obscured the fact that to be a Judaizer, one must also boast about one’s own righteousness, supposedly attained through law-keeping and submission to ritual circumcision.  By boasting about their personal righteousness, sadly, the Judaizers become enemies of Jesus Christ.

In the first six chapters of Galatians (1:1-6:10), Paul address both the doctrinal and practical consequences of the Judaizing heresy.  As he completes this remarkable and powerful letter, the Apostle has several final comments to make.  In the first part of chapter 6, Paul discussed the principle of “sowing and reaping.”  Those who sow to the flesh–those who embrace the false gospel of the Judaizers and who seek to earn favor with God through circumcision and obedience to the ceremonial law–will reap a crop, a crop Paul calls the “fruit of the flesh,” which leads to a harvest of destruction.  But those who trust in Jesus Christ’s finished work through faith alone, and who, therefore, “walk in the Spirit,” sow seed to the Spirit.  They will manifest the fruit of the Spirit, a harvest which leads to eternal life.  Paul’s notion of “sowing and reaping” is tied to believing the true gospel and sowing to the finished work of Christ–not sowing to self-righteousness by trying to earn favor with God through obedience to the Law as the Judaizers were deceptively teaching.

Before we get to Paul’s concluding point–that the Judaizers were trying to avoid persecution by stressing circumcision instead of preaching the cross–Paul slips in a statement about his own health that we ought to briefly address.  In verse 11, Paul says “see with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand.”  That Paul is writing in “large letters,” likely means that the illness which originally landed Paul on a sickbed in Galatia some months earlier had to do with his vision.  Paul was likely still having trouble with his eyes, so he indicates why it is that he had written out this epistle in such large letters.

The final point Paul raises as he concludes this letter is his discussion of the motivation of the Judaizers in teaching their false gospel.  In verses 12-13, Paul charges, “it is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.  For even those who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh.”  Again, Paul deals with these hypocritical false teachers who were trying to make a good impression outwardly (verse 12), but who do not obey the very same law they tell their own converts they must obey (verse 13).  Warns Paul, they are trying to compel you to be circumcised–deceiving you into taking back upon yourselves the yoke of the law–when the Judaizers not only don’t keep the law themselves, their motivation in deceiving you has to do with escaping persecution because of the scandal attached to the cross.  

The cross of Jesus Christ is stumbling block to the Jew and foolishness to Greeks, the very mention of which was offensive to many.  Though the cross be an offense, if there is no cross, there is no gospel.  But for the Judaizers, who saw justification as the fruit of human effort (so the cross makes no sense to them) the gospel as taught by Paul must be modified so as to remove the offence.  But to remove the offence of the cross was to preach a gospel which was no gospel.

To read the rest of this sermon:  Click Here

Monday
Feb042019

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

Sunday Morning, February 10:  We continue our time in Zechariah.  We will work our way through chapter 13, and discuss the fountain of forgiveness which cleanses from sin (Christ's cross).  Our worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  We will cover the famous first question and answer of the Heidelberg Catechism.  Our afternoon service begins at 1:15 p.m.

Note:  Our annual congregational meeting is scheduled for Sunday, February 10, @ 9:00 a.m.  All Christ Reformed members are requested to attend.  Visitors are welcome.

Wednesday Night Bible Study: (February 6 @ 7:30 p.m.).  We continue to "make the case for Christianity."  This week we'll discuss the apologetic method of Francis Schaeffer. 

Friday Night Academy: (Friday, February 8).  We return to our study of Michael Horton's theology text, The Christian Faith.  We will pick up where we left off last time (on page 350 and Chapter Eleven on Providence).

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