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

 

Living in Light of Two Ages

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Tuesday
Dec292015

"The Scripture Might Be Fulfilled" -- John 19:31-42

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

Jesus was dead. If there were any doubts, the spear thrust into his side confirmed the obvious. The end of the day was drawing near, and according to Jewish law, Jesus’ body must be buried before sundown. The women devoted to Jesus, along with his mother Mary, have watched the entire gory spectacle and now must bury their beloved. Two surprising figures step forward and ensure that Jesus receive a proper burial. They secure a tomb and the spices necessary for embalming. But even as Jesus’ body is removed from the cross and prepared for burial two things are clear to the readers of John’s Gospel. The first is that the way in which Jesus died fulfilled a number of Old Testament prophecies which pointed ahead to the coming of the Messiah. The second is that even though Jesus’ last words were “it is finished,” Jesus spoke about “rising again from the dead” three days later–it was finished, but yet it wasn’t. But on this terrible Friday afternoon, no one was thinking about such a possibility. Those who loved Jesus and who had believed in him were in shock and grieving deeply. They could not see, nor yet understand that Jesus’ final words meant that the guilt of their sins had been removed and their debt to God was now paid in full. Because Jesus had conquered sin and Satan, he will be raised from the dead, and conquer even death and the grave.

Because of the horrors associated with crucifixion, we are almost relieved when we read in John 19:30 that Jesus cried out “it is finished” and then “bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” John recounts that Jesus endured unspeakable anguish, pain, and suffering from the moment he was arrested until the moment he died. Our Lord has been hit in the face by the high priest’s servant, beaten repeatedly, flogged twice by Pilate (the second in preparation for his crucifixion), before being crucified–one of the cruelest and most painful forms of execution known to man. While the physical pain must have been absolutely unbearable, we must not forget the humiliation to which Jesus was also subjected. Jesus was rejected by his people (Israel), he was betrayed by one of his own disciples, denied by another, before being abandoned by the rest. Only John remained to watch as Jesus died. Jesus was found guilty by a kangaroo court which could produce no evidence against him, and even the man who ultimately put him to death (Pilate, the Roman governor), repeatedly proclaimed Jesus’ innocence.

Death is ugly. There can be no doubt that Jesus’ bruised, beaten, and bloodied body was a horrible sight to those who loved him and who remained with Jesus to the bitter end, when Jesus’ physical agony finally ended and he gave up his spirit (a euphemism for death). What those witnessing this awful spectacle could not have known is that Jesus’ physical pain and humiliation paled in comparison to that terrible and yet mysterious moment when the Father poured out his wrath upon his son–when Jesus drank the cup of wrath down to the last drop. Lost in the terrible scene before those watching was the fact that Jesus had completed his mission of accomplishing our redemption. The debt of all those for whom Jesus died, is paid in full. Jesus laid down his life for his sheep.

We can but imagine the chaos throughout Jerusalem that day–on the part of the Romans, the Jewish religious leaders who finally were rid of their chief nemesis, the people of Israel who knew not what to make of what just happened, the disciples who were now in hiding, as well as the women who loved Jesus, and who will prepare his body for burial. It was the longest and strangest day any of them had ever experienced. When Jesus died, the sky turned black as night. There was a frightening earthquake which shook the city. Most likely no one yet noticed that the veil in the temple, separating the Holy of Holies from the Most Holy Place was torn from top to bottom–the sure sign that the Jerusalem temple was now ichabod, the glory of God having departed.

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here

Monday
Dec282015

This Week at Christ Reformed Church (December 28-January 3, 2016)

A healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year to you and yours from the Riddlebargers!

Sunday Morning, January 3:  We are beginning a new series on the Book of Daniel.  We'll begin with some background for our series with Jesus' appeals to the prophecy of Daniel in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24).  Our worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  I am continuing with my series on the Heidelberg Catechism.  This Lord's Day we are considering Christ's role as mediator from Lord's Day 6 (Q & A 16-19).  Our catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study:  Resumes in January 2016, Lord willing, as we take up Paul's two Thessalonian letters

The Academy:  On Hiatus (TBA)

For More Information on Christ Reformed Church you can always find us here (Christ Reformed Info), or on Facebook (Christ Reformed on Facebook).

Sunday
Dec272015

"The Tender Mercy of Our God" -- Luke 1:57-80

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon for the Sunday after Christmas

Click Here

 

Sunday
Dec272015

This Week's White Horse Inn

Good News:  You're Not Jesus

At the heart of the good news is the fact that Jesus lived and died in our place, and that our right standing before God is based on his finished work, rather than on our own poor attempts to fulfill God's just requirements. On this program we're concluding our series on the person and work of Christ with a special conference address by Michael Horton. He explains what it means to rescript our lives in the light of God's story of redemption as he walks through the logic of the book of Romans.

Click Here

Wednesday
Dec232015

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You All!

Micki and I stand on the top of the Rothlisberg (in the Canton of Bern, Switzerland)-- the ancestral home of the Riddlebargers (who, actually are Rotlispergers).  This was easily the highlight of the year, and certainly one of the great moments in my life--the culmination of over twenty years of painstaking genealogical research.  I know who I am and where I am from, and have the DNA matches to prove it!  Rotlispergers have lived here from the 1200's or so until the 19th century.  Either the family is named for the hill or the hill for the family, which is now widely dispersed throughout Switzerland.

It was a bittersweet year for the Riddlebargers.  My dear mother-in-law, Gerry Nutter, died in November, and so there's a gaping hole in our family Christmas celebration this year.  But we press on, thankful for the sure and certain hope of the resurrection.

Blogging has been tough of late as I've been plagued since September by two massive computer hardware failures--including part of a rather new Seagate hard drive melting in my desktop.  I lost everything twice (programs and data), but do back-up regularly so I recovered everything I wanted and needed.  It takes a Herculean effort (in my case repeated twice) to get everything restored and set-up as I like it, but I am finally good to go.  If you happen to have a hardware/computer failure, pray it is on Black Friday, when you can get a new system cheap.  If you don't back-up, start!  I've never had a hardware failure before (with a host of different computers), much less two failures in the span of three months.

The New Year will be interesting.  We will say "goodbye" to the Comptons (Andrew, Pam, and their delightful children), as Andrew takes up his duties as a professor of Old Testament at Mid-America Reformed Seminary in June.  We also will say "hello" to a new associate pastor and his family.  Change is never easy, but it is always interesting.

We will also watch with disgust and dismay our presidential election process with the spate of boisterous and largely unqualified candidates from both parties seeking the highest office in the land.  America chooses its president like the Westminster Kennel Club chooses its annual "Best in Show."  Nobody knows why that particular dog was chosen except the spinsterly high-society lady in a way too-tight sequin dress who makes the final pick for reasons known only to herself.  I'm thankful my views of God's providence and the distinction between Christ's kingdom and the civil kingdom keep me sane during election season.  Although we've seen some of this before, I've never seen presidential politics fall to such a destructive level of ridiculous partisanship.  Pox on both their houses as well as on the media who lap this up!

Despite the ups and downs of life, the Riddlebargers wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and prosperous new year!  May our gracious God bless you richly with all spiritual blessings found in Christ Jesus.

Monday
Dec212015

This Week at Christ Reformed Church (December 21-27)

Sunday Morning, December 27:  We wrap up our Advent/Christmas series from the opening chapter of Luke's Gospel.  On this Sunday after Christmas, we turn to "Zechariah's Song" in Luke 1:57-80.  Our worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  Rev. Chris Coleman will be covering Heidelberg Catechism Lord's Day 11 (Q & A 29-30).  Chris will be discussing, "Jesus, the Savior."  Our catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m.

Thursday December 24:  You are cordially invited to join us for our annual Christmas Eve service of Lessons and Carols.  Lessons and Carols begins at 7:00 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study:  Resumes in January 2016, Lord willing, as we take up Paul's two Thessalonian letters

The Academy:  On Hiatus (TBA)

For More Information on Christ Reformed Church you can always find us here (Christ Reformed Info), or on Facebook (Christ Reformed on Facebook).

Sunday
Dec202015

"God, My Savior" -- Luke 1:39-56

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon on "Mary's Song."  Click Here

Sunday
Dec202015

This Week's White Horse Inn

The Incarnation: God With Us

On this program we are continuing our discussion concerning the person and work of Jesus. Our topic is the doctrine of the incarnation. Nancy Guthrie joins our roundtable discussion to parse this central doctrine out. Nancy is a teacher and the author of several books including Holding On to Hope: A Pathway through Suffering to the Heart of God; Be Still, My Soul: Embracing God's Purpose and Provision in Suffering; and a five-volume series entitled Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament.

What is the significance of Jesus’ incarnation? To answer this question we will examine key New Testament texts that announce the birth of Christ and walk through numerous Old Testament prophecies in which these promises are rooted. Join us for this edition of the White Horse Inn.

Click Here

Thursday
Dec172015

Portlandia Nails It! "Ban the Bag!"

A rather cynical commentary on over-coddled American youth!

Tuesday
Dec152015

"It Is Finished" -- John 19:16b-30

The Fifty-Ninth in a Series of Sermons on the Gospel of John

It is easy for Christians to talk about the death of Jesus in the abstract.  We study and debate the nature and the extent of the atonement.  We speak of the cross as the basis for our salvation because through Christ’s suffering we find the forgiveness of sin–Jesus was punished for us and in our place.  But it is much harder for us to consider the horrible suffering which Jesus actually endured to save us from our sins–the agonizing physical pain Jesus felt, the shame of the humiliation and mocking he received from his enemies, being rejected by his people (Israel), and then, finally, being abandoned by his own disciples during his hour of need.  We cannot begin to comprehend that moment when Jesus became the object of the Father’s wrath.  We should not be morbid or unduly curious about the details of the death of Jesus, but at times (on Good Friday or when we read the Passion Narratives of the gospels) it is important to consider the details and agony of the death of our Savior so that we never forget that it was the person who saves us, who endured so much for us and in our place.

With the drama building verse by verse, we have come to the central moment in John’s Passion narrative, the death of Jesus by crucifixion at the hands of the Roman occupiers of Israel (John 19:16b-30).  There has been a certain inevitability about this moment from the time we first began our series–we were prepared for it early-on in the Gospel when John the Baptist “saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, `Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’” It is only as John’s Gospel unfolds that we learn that Jesus must suffer and die to “take away the sin of the world.”  Jesus himself has repeatedly spoken of an hour yet to come when God will be glorified, when Jesus saves his people from their sins.  

Once this hour arrives and we learn what it is that Jesus must endure to save us from our sin, it still strikes the reader of John’s Gospel that everything which Jesus says, does, and then endures as recounted by John, is done in order to accomplish the salvation of all those given by the Father to the Son, and to whom the merits of Jesus will be applied through the work of the Holy Spirit (the blessed Comforter whom Jesus will ask the Father to send).  The death of Jesus on a Roman cross is not a random event, or an accident of history.  The cross was foreordained by God.  There is no salvation of sinners without it.  
As R. C. Sproul often puts it, through the cross of Christ, we are saved by God from God.  

But the death of Jesus is also the culmination of a whole series of improbable historical events recounted by John, in which after entering Jerusalem in triumph, Jesus is soon rejected by his people (Israel), betrayed by one of his own (Judas), denied by one of his closest disciples (Peter), arrested, tried, and found guilty before the high priest, then abandoned by the other disciples, before ending up in the Roman military headquarters in Jerusalem before the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, with a crowd outside Pilate’s headquarters demanding Jesus’ death.  

Although it is clear to everyone–including Pilate–that Jesus was completely innocent, Jesus had been found guilty on trumped-up charges, and through false testimony from “witnesses.” This verdict was then ratified by the Sanhedrin.  Throughout the time Jesus was before him, Pilate repeatedly looked for ways to release Jesus–even flogging and mocking him in an attempt to satisfy the Jews.  Nevertheless, Pilate finally gave into pressure from the Jews when they threatened to report to King Herod and Emperor Tiberias that Pilate refused to execute a man found guilty of sedition.  Furthermore, it was clear to Pilate that a riot was a real possibility.  After declaring Jesus’ innocence and then washing his hands of the matter, Pilate ordered Jesus’ execution at the hands of one of his crucifixion teams. 

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here

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