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Living in Light of Two Ages



This Week at Christ Reformed Church (March 24-30)

Sunday Morning (March 30, 2014):  As we work our way through John's Passion Narrative, this coming Lord's Day, we will consider Pilate's order that Jesus be crucified (John 19:1-16a).

Sunday Afternoon:  Prof.  Ken Samples is conducting the afternoon service.  The catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m. 

Wednesday Night Bible Study (March 26, 2014):  In our "Studies in the Book of Revelation," we are currently in chapter 15.  Bible Study begins at 7:30 p.m.

Friday Night Academy (March 28, 2014):  We are studying Michael Horton's theology text, The Christian Faith, and we'll continue in part two, chapter seven, (268 ff.) and a discussion of God's communicable attributes (holiness, righteousness, and justice).

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


"My Kingdom Is Not from the World" -- John 18:28-40 

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


This Week's White Horse Inn

Why Suffering?

After surveying the book of Job and especially its message on suffering, we’ll continue our series on Suffering & the Christian Life by tackling some of the tough questions that come up with this topic. Should we see suffering as a form of divine punishment? Is God trying to teach us something? If God really loves us, why does he allow us to experience so much pain and difficulty? Those are the crucial questions we’ll deal with on this edition of White Horse Inn.

Click Here


Friday Feature--Who's On First

If you have never seen this, it is a true comedy classic.


Just Got My Copy!

I have been waiting for this one for a while now.  Can't wait to read it! 

Mike has been talking about Calvin on the Christian Life since he started his final research for the manuscript.  Based on those conversations, and after quickly skimming through it, I am sure this volume will remind us that Calvin did indeed have much to say about the Christian life and true piety, and that what Calvin said is wise, practical, and more importantly, biblical.

Hopefully, Calvin on the Christian Life will get a wide reading and help clear away many of the all too common misconceptions about Calvin even in Christian circles.

I don't do this often, but this is one you need to read!

You can purchase it here:  Amazon: Calvin on the Christian Life


Asking Jesus into Your Heart

Baylor University History Professor Thomas Kidd discusses the origins of the phrase "ask Jesus into your heart," which is not found anywhere in the New Testament.

Kidd points out that,

The phrase “ask Jesus into your heart” is not in the Bible, although there are similar phrases there (“ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord,” Col. 2.6 KJV). So where did this prayer come from?

It turns out that Anglo-American Puritans and evangelicals in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries used the phrase “receive Christ into your heart,” or something like it, with some regularity. The great Puritan devotional writer John Flavel, for example, spoke of those who had heard the gospel but who would “receive not Christ into their hearts.”

But it was just as common for pastors of that era to use the phrase to describe a Christian act of devotion. Thomas Boston, a Scottish Calvinist pastor, encouraged Christians taking communion to receive “Christ into their hearts.” Benjamin Colman, the leading evangelical pastor in Boston in the early eighteenth century, wrote explicitly that Christians should “receive Christ into their hearts, and hold him forth in their lives.”

There was a time in my life when I was certain that both Jesus and Paul must have told people "to ask Jesus into their hearts" in their own attempts at personal evangelism.  I hadn't thought about how confusing it would have been had Jesus himself actually told people to do this. 

But I was surprised at first about Flavel and Boston using the phrase, but then realized that what they meant by "receive Christ in your heart" is not what most of our contemporaries mean when they use it as the key petition of the sinner's prayer.

To read Dr. Kidd's entire post go here, Asking Jesus into Your Heart


Radio Interview on "Always Ready" 

I was on "Always Ready" this afternoon (on KPDQ in Portland) with host David Lowman, who, as it turns out, knew me from my old Christian bookstore days.

Here's the interview, Amillennialism.

We talked about amillennialism (in contrast to other views).  David asked some very thoughtful questions, and played some "Rapture" tunes from early Christian rock (as bumper music).

I actually recognized most of them.  Ugh . . .


"God Is Able" -- Hebrews 11:17-22

The Eighteenth in a Series of Sermons on the Book of Hebrews

We’ve all heard people complain that the Bible is boring.  But when we take a look at the events of redemptive history, we find what has to be the most interesting and compelling story in all of human history.  In Genesis 12, God calls a man named Abraham and his wife Sarah to leave their home and move to a new country as yet unseen.  Abraham goes.  God then tells Abraham that he will become the father of a great nation, and will have so many descendants that only God can count them all.  What makes this promise so remarkable is the fact that Abraham and his wife were by now nearly one hundred years old, and it seemed virtually impossible that they would be able to conceive a child.  Yet, despite their physical limitations, Abraham and Sarah believed that God would make good on his promise.  And then when Sarah gives birth to a son (Isaac) through whom the promise would be fulfilled, and after the boy grew to manhood, God appears to Abraham yet again, and this time commands Abraham to take this only son and kill him . . .  How could God command such a thing?  How could God’s promise be fulfilled if the heir is killed?  And what would Abraham do in light of such a command?  This is not only a compelling story and a startling turn of events, it raises a number of questions about the mysterious redemptive purposes of God, one of several questions about the patriarchs addressed in the 11th chapter of Hebrews.

We are working our way through Hebrews 11, the so-called “hall of faith” – that list of Old Testament luminaries who are considered to be examples of people who had great faith under the most trying of times.  As we have seen in previous weeks while covering this chapter, the author of Hebrews’ focus in chapter 11 falls not so much upon the examples these people set for us (although this is certainly a part of what is in view), but on the fact that these people all placed their trust in the same thing–the unshakable and gracious promise of God to provide his people with a Messiah who will redeem them from their sin.

Because this chapter is quite long and refers to so many remarkable and important events in the Old Testament, I have decided to approach Hebrews 11 by dividing it into sections corresponding to the particular period in redemptive history in which the individuals who are mentioned lived.  We have already covered the first three sections.  In the first section (vv. 1-3, in which the author defines faith) we took note of the fact that in verse 1, the author defines of faith as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”  Faith (the noun, and the verb “to believe”) is a technical term in the New Testament, in which someone’s trust is directed toward a particular object–usually the person and work of Jesus Christ.  This means that faith–as it is biblically understood–cannot exist apart from the gospel. 

We also saw that in some cases (as here in Hebrews 11), “faith” can mean taking God at his word when God makes promises to his people.  Each of the people mentioned here make the catalogue of those who believed God’s promise, because they did exactly that–they trusted in God’s covenant promise to send a redeemer who would save his people from their sins.  Therefore, instead of seeing this chapter as a list of Old Testament heroes we are to emulate, it is better to see this chapter as a catalogue of those who believed God’s covenant promise throughout the various twists and turns of redemptive history.

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here


Who Said That?

What well known academic administrator said this?

"I should like to make the young gentlemen of the rising generation as unlike their fathers as possible."

Please leave your guess in the comment section below.  If you cannot help yourself and feel like you must cheat (by doing a google search), please do not ruin it for everyone else by then posting the answer!  The whole point is to make a guess.

Some have asked me to bring this Riddleblog feature back, but that will depend upon how the impatient among us behave themselves . . .  Answer to follow next week.



This Week at Christ Reformed Church (March 17-23)

Note:  This is the completely renovated sanctuary

Sunday Morning (March 23, 2014):  We are now in the "passion" section of the Gospel (chapters 18-19), as we work our way through this great book.  This coming Lord's Day we will consider Jesus' appearance before Pilate (John 18:28-40)

Sunday Afternoon I am continuing my series on the Canons of Dort.  We are covering the third/fourth head of doctrine, article 1 which deals with the effects of the fall.  The catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m. 

Wednesday Night Bible Study (March 19, 2014):  In our "Studies in the Book of Revelation," we take up the 15th chapter of this wonderful book. Bible study begins at 7:30 p.m.

Friday Night Academy (March 21, 2014):  We are studying Michael Horton's theology text, The Christian Faith, and we'll continue in part two, chapter seven, (264 ff.) and a discussion of God's communicable attributes (goodness, love, and mercy).

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

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