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

 

Living in Light of Two Ages

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Saturday
Sep292007

On Subscription Sermon Series (Part 2)

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Picking up where we left off last time . . .

(If you haven't done so yet, please read part 1--posted below.  I'm posting sections from a "free" sermon I was sent, advertising a subscription sermon series).

The sample sermon--supposedly based on Mark 5:1-19--now discusses what both Satan and the Savior can do.  And no, as you'll soon see, this is not a proper distinction between law and gospel!

Here are the three main points in the sermon--although you can probably guess where this is going.  In fact, this sermon was emailed to so many preachers, you may have already heard it! 

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 l. WHAT SATAN CAN DO.

It is the mistake of believing that we can play around with Satan.  But what they fail to understand is when you play around with Satan, he is not playing.

* Do you know how people become ALCOHOLICS?  They become alcoholics by letting the devil tell them they can take a drink and quit drinking any time they desire -- nothing will come of it!

* Do you know how people become DRUG ADDICTS?  They become drug addicts by listening to the devil saying that they can experiment with drugs and quit any time they want to -- nothing will come of it!

* Do you know how people become HOMOSEXUALS? They start to play around with SATAN, but Satan is not playing.

* You know how Christians who used to attend church every time the church doors were open started playing around with Satan and he told them they could miss some of the church services and everything would be fine?  They start missing and missing and the more they missed, the easier it became.
People's lives are messed up because they think they can play around with Satan.

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So, the devil made me do it!  I knew it!  Now let me get this straight . . .  In a sermon based on Mark 5:1-19--where Jesus encounters a demon-possessed man in the Garasenes--the application that I am supposed to draw is that it is Satan who makes people into alcoholics, drug addicts and homosexuals. 

Foolish me, I thought the passage had something to do with the dawn of the kingdom of God and that Christ's power over the demonic is one of the principle signs that the new age of salvation has come.  I thought that human sin originated in Adam's fall and is then manifest in the human heart so that it constantly springs into action.  I guess I missed the biblical passage that speaks about sin coming from Satan . . .

Next, comes the suggested illustration as to why we shouldn't "mess around with Satan". 

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Illus:  Someone said, "Sin would have very few takers if its consequences occurred immediately!"

When people start to play around with Satan they do not know where that participation may take them.

*    There are DOPE ADDICTS who will tell you they would have never messed with dope if they knew it was going to take control of their lives.

*    There are ALCOHOLICS who will tell you they would have never messed with alcoholic beverages if they knew it was going to ruin their lives.

*    HOMOSEXUALS who will tell you they never would have played with sex sins if they knew it was going to wreck their lives.

*    There are BACKSLIDERS who will tell you they did not intend to get that far from God.

If people only knew how far sin was going to take them, they would never participate in sin. You!

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I don't know about you, but the first thing I thought about when I read Mark 5:1-19, was drugs, alcohol, homosexuality and backsliding (???).  You gotta be kidding me!
 
Now comes the second part of the sermon . . .  I know, you just can't wait.
 
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II. WHAT OUR SAVIOR CAN DO.

The Bible tells us that Satan has come for the purpose of destroying us PHYSICALLY and SPIRITUALLY. 

Look at John 10:10. We read, "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy."   

Look at verses 7-13, [the passage is cited--reminding the reader that the points made in the sermon have nothing whatsoever with the passage cited]

HOW DID HE GET IN THIS KIND OF SITUATION?

He just kept opening the door to the Devil playing around with him, and one devil at a time just kept entering him.

We have looked at :

WHAT CAN SATAN DO? He can destroy a man's life with sin so that he is beyond recognition. 

WHAT CAN CHRIST DO?   He can take the man that Satan has destroyed and RESTORE him so no one recognizes him!

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Since the sermon never mentions sin, but is concerned only with fact that the demon-possessed man is proof that drug and alcohol addiction, backsliding and sexual sin come from Satan (???), we should not be surprised that the application would be framed along the lines that Jesus came to restore what Satan came to destroy.  If there is no mention of sin, of course, there will be no mention of the saving work of Christ!
 
That (thankfully) brings us to the conclusion.  "What we can do?"
 
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III. WHAT WE CAN DO.

Notice, Mark 5:18-20, "And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him.  Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.  And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel."     Jesus told the man that he should not go with Him, but rather that he should... (V. 19), "Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee." That was what the man did.  The Bible says, verse 20, "And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel."

DO NOT CLOSE THE BLINDS...we are at WAR WITH SATAN.

* If you are not saved, God wants to take you from RUINS TO REDEMPTION.

* If you are saved, He wants you to share with others what He has done for you.

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Ministers really buy this stuff?  Finally, we discover the real point of the sermon--the call to do something (with no mention whatsoever of Christ). 

This is immediately followed by the sales pitch to the minister who would like to pass this kind of drivel off as his own work.

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"Thanks for taking the time to read this condensed outline. As you look at the full outline you can see this sermon has so much more!  If you subscribe today we will send you Sept/Oct package of sermons that contains this sermon and fifteen (15) more great sermons.  When you subscribe you will receive sixteen of these full-length, useable sermons for only $5.75 a month."

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Talk about nerve!  It is one thing for a minister to buy someone else's material and then pass it off as his own.  Its another thing to subscribe to a series of sermons like this one, which have virtually nothing to do with the biblical text upon which they are supposedly based.

OK, I'm done.  I can just hear you saying, "please make it stop."  I thought it might help for you to know that this kind of thing actually goes on.  I also thought you might be interested to see the quality of the stuff which passes for a "biblical" sermon these days.

While I could say a lot more, one good solution is for everyone who preaches and who listens to preaching to get and read Dennis Johnson's wonderful book, Him We Proclaim (Click here: Amazon.com: Him We Proclaim: Preaching Christ from All the Scriptures: Books: Dennis E. Johnson).  Johnson's book shows ministers what it truly means to preach Christ from all of Scripture, but it also gives those in the pews a good idea of what they should be looking and listening for from their ministers.

If your pastor buys sermons like this and preaches this way, find another church! 

Oh, and don't close your blinds!
 

Enclosure

Thursday
Sep272007

On Subscription Sermon Series (Part 1)

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Ever wonder why so much of "evangelical" preaching is so awful these days--in the sense of being devoid of biblical content and lacking the power of God?  Sermon subscription series might be a big part of the problem.

Although I never signed up for it, I am now the recipient of a weekly e-mail sales pitch for one of these subscription series.  Little did these guys know . . .

In an attempt to entice me to purchase their weekly sermon (a subscription will cost you $5.75 a month), I was sent the following "sample" sermon.  It is fair to assume that outfits like this send you their best stuff, since, after all, they are trying to get you to subscribe to their series.

I realize that the company which sent me this sermon might get a bit miffed if I quote extensively from their product on my blog.  Too bad.  Since they sent it to me unsolicited, and since it is so indicative of the sorry state of preaching these days, I thought you might be interested to see what passes for a "sermon", as well as shine some light on what some ministers are doing with their hard-earned $5.75. 

First and foremost, any minister who subscribes to this sermon series (or any other) ought to be defrocked!  Ministers must do their own exegesis and study, they must craft their own outlines (or manuscripts) and they must do so prayerfully and diligently.  This is our calling!  To buy someone else's work and then pass it off as your own, is sin, pure and simple.  How about sloth and theft for starters. 

When I looked through this particular sermon, I was dumbfounded at how bad it was.  The sermon is supposedly based on Mark 5:1-19 (the story of the demon-possessed man), and is entitled "Do Not Close the Blinds." 

It will come as no surprise that the sermon has virtually nothing to do with the passage in Mark's Gospel.  Having spent the better part of a year preaching through Mark, I was especially interested to see what these guys would do with that particular text.

The sample "sermon" includes both an introduction and an illustration (which is actually a tacky and completely inappropriate joke).  So let's start there.  I'll simply quote it.

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The intro:  "Some things in life are difficult to explain"

The suggested illustration is as follows:

"Roger is a hard worker, and he spends most of his nights bowling or playing volleyball, or so he claims.  His loving wife decided he needed to relax from work and take a break from sports.  So she takes him to a night club.

The doorman at the club spots them and says, `Hey Roger! How are you tonight?' His wife, surprised, asks her husband if he has been here before. `No, no. He's just one of the guys I bowl with.'

They are seated, and the waitress approaches, sees Roger, and says, `Nice to see you. You want your usual?' His wife's eyes widen. `You must come here a lot!' `No, no' says Roger. `I just know her from volleyball.'

Then this gorgeous blonde comes by and says, `Don't forget you promised me a dance the last time you were here!'  

His wife, fuming, collects her things and storms out of the bar. Roger follows her and spots her getting into a cab, so he jumps into the passenger seat. His wife looks at him, seething with fury and lets Roger have it with both barrels. At this, the cabby leans over and says, `Sure looks like you picked up a mean one tonight, Roger!'"

 

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Such a tasteless joke might get a nervous laugh from some guilty husband who cheated on his wife in the past, but my question is "what on earth does this tacky joke have to do with Mark 5:1-19?" 

And how dare a minister of the gospel waste God's time during worship to tell an inappropriate joke, when he should be using all his time preaching God's word.

Next up, comes the recommended examples, intended to reinforce the main point that certain things are hard to understand:

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"(1) It is difficult to get people today to understand we are war with the terrorist.

(2) It is difficult to get Christians to understand we are at war with Satan.

No matter how hard you try, some folks can not get this message. They just want to CLOSE THE BLINDS and pretend this does not exist.  When it comes to the terrorist and Satan we had better learn how to STOP them before they destroys us.  Satan is after us and we had better learn how to stop him.  To stop him we need to look at several things."

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So, based on Mark 5:1-19, we learn the following:  1).  Some things are hard to understand,  2).  People don't want to understand, 3). Satan (and terrorists) are after us,  4). We are at war with him (Satan), and  5).  We need to keep our blinds open.

What????  (Part 2 to follow)
 

Thursday
Sep272007

Whew!!!!

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Indulge me for a minute . . .

I knew we were in for one of those years.  The Yankees' opening day pitcher was Carl Pavano, whose only claim to fame was leading the league in injuries despite a ten million dollar per-year contract.  He hadn't pitched in a major league game in over a year and a half.  He lasted less than a month before he was injured yet again and out for the season.

By May 29, the Yankees were 8 games under .500 and some 14 games behind the streaking Boston Red Sox.  Pundits and beat-writers blew the Yanks off.  No way they'd even make the play-offs.

Injuries mounted.  There was an air of desperation.  Things got just plain weird.  Two starting pitchers were hit by batted balls and suffered broken bones--both in the first inning!  Another pitcher was in the seventh inning of a no-hitter when he tore a hamstring.  Unbelievable.

The Yankees used some twenty-five pitchers, nine of whom made their major league debut.  Unheard of for a mega-bucks payroll team like the Yanks.  Unheard of for even a crummy team.

But after the All-Star break something truly remarkable happened.  Roger Clemens (who is 45 going on 30) had signed for the year--certainly his last.  The veteran pitchers stepped up--especially Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina and Mariano Rivera.  The influx of rookies brought new energy (especially Hughes, Joba and Duncan).  And the perennial all-stars of the team (Jeter, Damon, Posada, Cano and Matsui) played like it.  Even journeyman-type players made big plays, got big hits and won critical games.

And then there was A-Rod (pictured getting doused in champagne by a bunch of rookies) who had an absolute monster of a year.  He put up numbers like those of Ruth, Mantle and Dimaggio.  He's not going anywhere . . .

After going an amazing 48-24 in the second half (far and away the best record in baseball over that time), the Yankees are in the play-offs for the thirteenth straight year, twelve of those under Joe Torre.  I wanted Torre sacked after the Yankees lost to the Tigers last year with an inexcusably lethargic performance.  But nobody but Joe Torre could have handled this year's mess and then turn this team around like he did.

How will the Yanks do from here on out?  With this team it is impossible to tell.  The fact that they'll play Cleveland in the first round is good (the Angels seem to have the Yank's number).  My guess is that the Yankees will eventually play the Red Sox in yet another epic battle between the evil empire and the Sox nation for the American league pennant.

Whew . . .  There was time there I didn't think they'd make it.  Now that was a roller-coaster of a season!  Lets go Yankees!!!!

Wednesday
Sep262007

Can't Live This One Down

dougherty.jpgThe man in the picture is Bob Dougherty.  No doubt, you don't know him--at least by his given name.  But this is the poor fellow who was the victim of a prankster at a Home Depot in Louisville.  He found himself super-glued to a toilet seat in the men's room--surely his most embarrassing moment.  He's now suing Home Depot.

Sadly, Bob Dougherty falls into a diabetic coma.  And what's the headline?  You can read it here:  Click here: Rocky Mountain News - Denver and Colorado's reliable source for breaking news, sports and entertainment: Local.  The good news is that Bob has recovered.

There are some things, I guess, you can just never live down.  Being super-glued to a toilet seat in a Home Depot is one of them. 

"Oh, you're the guy who was . . . "  

Tuesday
Sep252007

The Academy Is Back In Session!

man%20of%20sin%20full%20cover.jpgThis coming Friday, September 28 (7:30 p.m.), we resume our Academy Lecture Series and Authors Forum @ Christ Reformed Church in Anaheim.  I'll kick off with a four part lecture series entitled "Eschatology and the Antichrist."  I'll be using my book, The Man of Sin as a text.

As always, the Academy is free of charge, there will be a time for questions and answers, as well as refreshments and time for chatting with others of like mind.

So, if you live in Southern California, come on out!   It would be great to meet you.

For more information, Click here: Christ Reformed Info - Schedule of Academy Classes and Author's Forums

Monday
Sep242007

Join 99,999 Others and Purchase Your Very Own Relic!

Popes%20Robe.jpgIf you've ever wanted your own relic, now is your chance!  A cassock worn by John Paul II has been cut into 100,000 pieces which are being sold to the faithful.

"Devotees of John Paul can apply via e-mail, fax or post for fragments of a white cassock to augment their prayers. A cassock worn by John Paul has reportedly been cut into 100,000 pieces to satisfy demand.

The scheme is run by the Vicariate of Rome, which is promoting sainthood for John Paul. The faithful also receive a `holy card' with a prayer to `obtain graces through the intercession of John Paul II'.

The Vicariate said that it has been overwhelmed by requests for the relics, with priority now being given to those who were praying for the sick or were themselves seriously ill" (Click here: Pope's robe cut up for 100,000 'holy relics' -Times Online).

Shop now to avoid the Christmas rush! 

Monday
Sep242007

Who Said That?

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Who said that?

"The wave of the Islamic revolution will soon reach the entire world."

Leave your guesses in the comments section below.  Please no cheating (looking up the answer by doing a google search).  The fun is in the guessing and comparing your guess with others! 

Monday
Sep242007

Good Things in Louisiana

D-D%20Museum.JPGJust returned from my weekend eschatology conference in Slidell, Louisiana.  It was a wonderful trip.

A couple of things of note.

If any of you live in the Slidell area (or know someone who does), I would heartily recommend Trinity Presbyterian Church (PCA) to you.  The pastor (Todd Smith) is a solid guy, the church is vibrant, healthy and loves God's word.  They have a great liturgy, they sing Psalms and they study the Westminster Standards!  They are exceptionally friendly as well!  Imagine that, friendly Calvinists!

For those of you still wondering, CD's from the conference can be ordered by calling Trinity Presbyterian (985-641-1507) or emailing them (trinity@datastar.net).  If you email them, please put "eschatology conference" in the subject line.  The price is very reasonable--$5.00 for the CD of the entire conference, plus whatever postage is required.

One of the highlights of the trip was that I finally got to meet a White Horse Inn pen pal (Brian Davilla) with whom I've corresponded off and on for some fifteen years.  Brian is now a member of Trinity Presbyterian in Slidell and is another great reminder of how Mike Horton's vision to take the Reformation to the radio has borne so much wonderful fruit.  The White Horse Inn has not only been a blessing to those of us who host it, when you meet people like Brian, you realize that it has been a blessing to so many of you.   Its easy to forget that when you sit behind a mic in a studio.

If you ever get to Louisiana (and New Orleans) you must see the World War Two Museum (formerly the D-Day Museum).  It is a wonderful tribute to the greatest generation.  The D-Day portion of the Museum movingly depicts the cost paid on a personal level by so many to defeat Nazi totalitarianism.  There is now a Pacific campaign section as well.  The exhibits are wonderful and there is a good collection of original weapons and equipment.  I even saw "Ruppert" (you D-Day affectionados will know what I mean).

Finally, we also saw some of the damage from Katrina (especially visible in the East New Orleans area and along Lake Ponchatrain).  Trinity PCA was hard hit, with 42 inches of water in their sanctuary (it is now rebuilt and repaired).  Several members of that church lost their homes and some are still in FEMA housing.  As you leave New Orleans for Slidell driving along Interstate 10, there were literally miles of trees--broken in half, bent over, dead.  In East New Orleans, you can see block, after block, after block, of relatively-new apartments, homes, condos, strip malls and shopping centers abandoned and in complete decay.  What was especially striking were the giant piles of appliances and damaged building material heaped everywhere. It will take a long time for this area to recover.  The more the federal and state government "helps", I am certain the longer the recovery will take.

But there is good news as well.  When we arrived at Trinity, the pastor pointed out a number of trailers and RVs parked behind the church.  They were Christian Reformed world-relief teams.  People everywhere commented that the churches saved the day and have done yeoman work for many in distress (demolition, tree-trimming, housing) without charging a dime.  That was very encouraging to hear!  In an age of scandal and apathy in the church, Christian mercy is still very much alive and visible and is a great witness to that entire region.

BTW, since I know you will ask, we did see a "gator" -- but it was dead on the highway.

Wednesday
Sep192007

Off to Slidell!

eschatology%20q%20and%20a.jpgJust a reminder, for those of you who live near Slidell, Louisiana, I'll be speaking @ Trinity Presbyterian Church (PCA) this coming Friday (September 21), Saturday (September 22) and Sunday (September 23).

The subject?  Eschatology, of course.

Here's the schedule:

Friday September 21st at 7 PM: Session #1: The Millennial Positions

Saturday September 22nd: Session #2: 4-5:30 PM:  The Covenantal Context of Old Testament and New Testament Eschatology

Supper: 5:30 PM-6:45 PM

Session #3: 7-8:30 PM:  The New Creation, the Israel of God and the Suffering Church

Sunday September 23rd: Session #4: 10:50 AM:  The Blessed Hope: The Second Coming Of Christ

For more information, call Trinity Presbyterian Church @ 985-641-1507

Tuesday
Sep182007

Some Useful Links . . . Some Not So . . .

Links.jpgSome helpful, interesting and ridiculous stuff out there in the blogosphere of late . . .

Some public official in Nebraska (I need to be careful here, both my wife and Dr. Clark are native Nebraskans) is suing God.  The guy is a state senator and wants to make a point about frivolous lawsuits.  So, he's suing God.  Only in Nebraska . . . Click here: State Sen. Ernie Chambers Sues God - News Story - KETV Omaha.

Did you know there was a "biblical" cure for irritable bowel syndrome?  I'll bet you didn't . . .  Click here: A Little Leaven: Biblical Cure For Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

The federal government in its infinite wisdom decided to limit religious books in prison libraries to 150 "approved" titles.  This is in response to some inflammatory stuff from Jihadists making its way through the federal prisons.  I'll bet the "approved" list of religious books doesn't include anything from Calvin or Spurgeon, but does include Gibran, Osteen and Warren, who have never written anything substantial enough to offend anyone. Click here: Federal prison chaplains told to remove 'non-approved' faith books from chapel libraries (OneNewsNow.com)

Lee Irons is blogging his way through Meredith Kline's magisterial book By Oath ConsignedClick here: The Upper Register Blog.  For all you Kline fans, this is good stuff.  Thanks Lee for doing this!

The folks in Boston are getting a tad nervous these days.  Relax, the Yankees won't win the pennant, although they'll win the wild-card.  If the Yanks get the Indians in the first round of the play-offs (not the Angels) and if Boston draws the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, then the Yanks and Red Sox will meet again in the  A. L. Championship series.  That should be epic!  Meanwhile the Red Sox nation is sweating bullets as the evil empire marches on, Click here: Boston Red Sox - Extra Bases - Red Sox blog Boston.com