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

 

Living in Light of Two Ages

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Tuesday
Dec302014

"I Who Speak to You Am He" -- John 4:1-26

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

Jesus’ encounter at Jacob’s well with a woman from Samaria is the first indication in John’s gospel that Jesus’ messianic mission will extend beyond the Jewish people to the ends of the earth.  Our Lord’s mission will include people from every race, tribe, and tongue under heaven.  Without any apparent regard for the long-standing cultural, political, and religious differences between Jews and Samaritans, Jesus speaks to this woman of the gift of eternal life, he informs her of a “living water” which takes away all human thirst, before explaining to her that the centuries old rift between Jews and Samaritans over the location of God’s temple is about to rendered moot, because in his very person a new age in redemptive history was dawning before her eyes.

When we left off last time (we wrapped-up our study of John chapter 3), Jesus and his disciples had left Jerusalem and were heading north back to Capernaum.  On the way, they entered the hill country where John the Baptist was now baptizing.  We saw that the Baptist once again affirmed to his followers that he is not the Messiah, but that he is the one whom God had sent to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah.  When a debate arose between an unnamed Jew and the followers of John the Baptist over the nature of purification and the baptism of John, as reported in John 3:25, it is certainly not an accident that John (the disciple and author of the Gospel) continues his account of Jesus’ messianic mission with another incident involving water symbolism–this time with another unnamed person, a woman from Samaria.

The account of Jesus’ encounter with this woman (running from verses 1-42 of John 4) ideally should be covered in one sermon because the account (like many of the discourses in John) is seamless and does not really lend itself to division.  But the reality is that to do the passage justice we would need to spend an hour or more to do so, so out of necessity we will tackle this section of John in two sermons.  We will cover Jesus’ encounter and dialogue with this woman (the first 26 verses), and then next time we will take up the reaction of the disciples and the Samaritans to Jesus’ words (vv. 27-42).  

According the opening verses of chapter 4, “now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), he left Judea and departed again for Galilee.”  The one thing that should jump out at us from this brief report is that at some point between the wedding in Cana (John 2) and Jesus leaving Jerusalem as recounted in the previous section of John 3, John the Baptist’s ministry has already begun to diminish while Jesus’ is increasing.  This is exactly what John the Baptist said would happen (John 3:30).

No doubt, the Jewish religious leaders were increasingly worried about the popularity of John the Baptist as multitudes were flocking to him, first out in the wilderness east of the Jordan River, and now in the hill country just to the north of Jerusalem.  But once Jesus made his first appearance in Jerusalem, cast the merchants and the money-changers from the Jerusalem Temple, all the while performing a number of unspecified miracles (signs which confirmed that the messianic age had dawned), Jesus was now on the Pharisees’ radar as yet another possible threat to their sect’s influence over the Jewish people.

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here

Monday
Dec292014

This Week at Christ Reformed Church (December 19-January 4, 2015)

Sunday Morning (January 4):  We are beginning a new sermon series on 2 Peter and Jude.  Our focus this Lord's Day is upon Peter's reference to "the Righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:2).  Our Lord's Day worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  I am continuing my series on the Canons of Dort, and this Lord's Day we turn to the Fifth Head of Doctrine and a discussion of indwelling sin.  Our catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study:  Bible Study will resume January 14, 2015

The Academy:  The Academy will resume in 2015

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

Sunday
Dec282014

"Behold! This Child Is Appointed" -- Luke 2:21-40

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


Sunday
Dec282014

This Week's White Horse Inn

The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit

This week on the White Horse Inn,  we’re continuing our series on the Holy Trinity. Now, many of us still remember the Holy Ghost from the old King James Version. For most modern people a “ghost” is associated more with All Hallows Eve, Halloween, rather than Pentecost Sunday. Especially, in our age, the Holy Spirit, when he is taken seriously at all, is the spooky member of the Trinity. If you are in to that thing, the paranormal, the sensational, then the Holy Spirit is for you. Now, I want to challenge this association of the Spirit merely with the spectacular. First, it distinguishes his work too sharply from the Father and the Son. After all, the Father is the origin of every work [of the Trinity] and the Spirit brings that work to completion. [The Father’s] work is no less supernatural. The Son purchased, by his active and passive obedience, every scrap of precious material that the Holy Spirit uses to build Christ’s kingdom.

Second, reducing the Spirit’s work to the exceptions distracts us from the vast range of his activity in our world and in our daily lives. On both sides of the Pentecostal divide, we too easily treat the Holy Spirit as a placeholder for the extra things in Christianity. Sure, we have the Father and the Son but we also need the Holy Spirit. The Word is vital but we can’t forget the Spirit. Doctrine is important but there is also experience.

Consequently, the Spirit becomes type-casted into predictable roles. He makes cameo appearances, especially in the Book of Acts. We think of him when we are talking about the application of redemption, especially regeneration and sanctification, and when we’re arguing about his more controversial gifts, like tongues and healing. Who is the Holy Spirit? Does he really matter today?

Join us this week on the White Horse Inn as we look at the person and work of the Holy Spirit and why we need to recover a vital vision of his activity in the word and in us.  This week's White Horse Inn

Wednesday
Dec242014

Merry Christmas from the Riddleblog!

It's off to Lessons and Carols!

Micki and I wish you and yours a very merry Christmas, and a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!

Tuesday
Dec232014

"Whoever Believes" -- John 3:22-36

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

It is a remarkable thing when someone willingly places the purposes of God above self-interest.  Such an act is truly noteworthy and is one of the supreme examples of Christian maturity and sanctification.  When John the Baptist tells his over-zealous followers that Jesus must increase, while John must decrease, John is telling us that a new age in redemptive history has arrived because the Messiah has come.  We see also one reason why Jesus can speak of John the Baptist as the greatest of Old Testament saints.  That Jesus has indeed come just as John the Baptist had expected and revealed that he will give the new birth, enable us to see the kingdom of God, understand heavenly things, believe on him, and then receive eternal life, becomes the great climax of John chapter 3, when John concludes that “whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

As we continue our series on John’s Gospel, we have made our way as far as John 3:21, and John’s account of Jesus’ discourse with Nicodemus, a well-known and learned Jewish Rabbi.  We now take up the final section of John 3, verses 22-36, in which John returns to the closing days of the ministry of John the Baptist before offering some observations about the ministry of Jesus thus far.  This is the fourth consecutive section in John’s Gospel which makes the point of detailing how Jesus’ messianic mission fulfills significant Old Testament prophecies.  No doubt, John does this to illustrate to his readers that with the beginning of Jesus’s public ministry, the old order of things is now passing away.  The old covenant era must give way to the new.  

There are four ways in which this shift from old to new is apparent.  First, in John 2:1-11, John recounts how Jesus miraculously turned water into wine at a wedding in Cana (the first of his miraculous signs) demonstrating that the messianic age was now at hand.  The messianic age had been characterized by a number of Israel’s prophets as an age of salvation which would dawn with feasting and celebration (rich foods and fine wine).  When Jesus turns 150 gallons of water into wine the messianic symbolism should have been obvious to John’s reader–the messianic age has dawned because Jesus has come.    

Second, in John 2:12-25, we read that Jesus went up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover and there he performed his second miraculous sign–cleansing the temple.  When Jesus saw that the outer court of the temple (the court of the Gentiles) was filled with merchants and money changers, Jesus drove them out in righteous anger, even daring to call the Jerusalem temple his father’s house.  In doing so, Jesus demonstrated that he is the true temple, superceding the Jerusalem temple which had become a stumbling block to Israel.  The grandeur of the temple building had become a source of national pride, obscuring the temple’s role as that place where God was present with his chosen people, and where the repeated sacrifices and Israel’s priesthood pointed ahead to the coming Messiah.

To read the rest of this sermon: Click Here

Monday
Dec222014

Christmas Week at Christ Reformed Church

Christmas Eve Lessons and Carols (Wednesday, December 24):  You are cordially invited to join us for our annual service of Lessons and Carols on Christmas Eve at 7:00 p.m.

Sunday Morning (December 28):  We will be considering Luke 2:21-40 and infancy of Jesus.  Our Lord's Day worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  Ken Samples will be leading our  catechism service, which begins @ 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study:  Bible Study will resume January 14, 2015

The Academy:  The Academy will resume in 2015.

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

 

Sunday
Dec212014

"The Form of a Servant" -- Isaiah 52:13-53:12

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

Sunday
Dec212014

This Week's White Horse Inn

Creeds, Councils & Heretics

This week on the White Horse Inn, our hosts are joined by Justin Holcomb. Justin is an Episcopal minister and adjunct professor of theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. He has written and edited a number of books, including On the Grace of God and Rid of My Disgrace. His most recent works include Know the Creeds and Councils and Know the Heretics (both Zondervan, 2014) which will be the topic of today’s discussion.

Why should we care about the early church’s creeds? Why should Christians use catechisms today? What possible relevance do they have to our worship and life? What is heresy and how can we differentiate it from the truth?

Join us this week on the White Horse Inn as we look at the rich heritage of proclaiming Christ in the tradition of the church fathers and councils.

Click Here

Friday
Dec192014

Merry Christmas from The White Horse Inn

 

The White Horse Inn crew (Rod, Shane, KR, and Mike) spent the day taping a new series on the Holy Spirit (Justin Holcomb was also with us).

I thought I'd take the opportunity to get a group photo, and a picture of us in studio.

The guys asked me to extend their sincere Christmas greetings, so "Merry Christmas" from the guys at the White Horse Inn!

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