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

 

Living in Light of Two Ages

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Tuesday
Jul122016

"Now to Him Who Is Able" -- Jude 17-25

The Third and Final in a Series of Sermons on the Book of Jude

The epistle of Jude may be short, but it is packed.  In the span of just 25 verses, Jude manages to remind those reading/hearing this letter of a received body of doctrine (“the faith once for all delivered”) which came to them directly from the apostles themselves.  Jude warns churches to be on guard for false teachers, and reminds us of the inevitability of God’s judgment upon those who seek to exploit God’s people, or lead them astray.  Jude then gives the church specific instructions as how to remain in the love of God, until Jesus returns, as promised, at the end of the age.  Christians are to build themselves up in the faith, pray in the Holy Spirit, and eagerly await the Lord’s return.  Not bad for a twenty-five verse epistle!

The epistle of Jude has three parts–the opening greeting and declaration of Jude’s purpose in writing (verses 1-5), which is followed by a mini-sermon in verses 5-16, in which Jude alludes to a number of key Old Testament events and people (the Passover and Exodus, God’s destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and infamous figures such as Cain, Balaam, Korah).  Jude also utilizes themes addressed in two Jewish apocryphal books, which were well-known, apparently, to many in Jude’s original audience.  These two works include the Assumption (Testament) of Moses, and the Book of Enoch.  The authors of both of these books include well-known legends which attempt to explain certain events in the Old Testament which are not explained within the biblical text itself–such as the fate of Moses’ body, or the crimes of the Nephilim (Genesis 6:1-4), which, according to the Book of Enoch, resulted in fallen angels being bound in chains until the day of judgment.  

In addition to a number of Old Testament events and people, Jude cites from these two apocryphal texts so as to make the point that God’s judgment upon those false teachers then troubling the churches was a certainty.  Jude quotes from the Book of Enoch in verses 14-15 to make the point that the countless number of holy ones about whom Enoch prophesies, will actually accompany Jesus Christ on the day of his return.  In verse 14, Jude writes, “it was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, `Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.’” Jude appeals to specific Old Testament events, and even some of the legendary interpretations of them, to show that all of these open-ended Old Testament events are fulfilled in and through the person and work of Jesus.  Even these two apocryphal books make predictions and offer interpretations of certain events which can only properly be understood in the light of the coming of Jesus.  Jude’s point is that as God judged false teachers and false prophets throughout the course of redemptive history, so too, Jesus Christ will return at the end of the age to bring certain judgment upon all those who seek to lead the people of God astray with the intention of exploiting them for personal gain motivated by pure self-indulgence.

In the third and final portion of Jude (vv. 17-25), our text, Jude makes three points of application.  The first is an exhortation to all those reading and hearing this letter to remember the predictions made by the apostles–the situation in which the Christians of Jude’s day now find themselves (dealing with false teachers) is something of which the Apostles had specifically warned.  The second point Jude makes is that until the day of judgment, God’s people should devote themselves to dwelling in God’s love, so that the acrimony and doctrinal debate which is taking place in the churches (as necessary as it is) does not cause God’s people to become cold or hard-hearted  toward one another.  Allowing the church to become a place of bitterness and contention would be as bad as allowing the false teachers to go unchecked.  To ensure that this is not the case, Christians are to build themselves up in the faith, they are to pray in the Spirit, and they are to wait eagerly for the Lord’s return.  Third, Jude explains how Christians are to treat those who have been deceived by false prophets and false preachers.  Christians are to exercise great mercy toward them, while at the same time exercising great caution that they themselves do not fall into the same kind of errors as those who have been deceived.

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here

Monday
Jul112016

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

Sunday Morning, July 17:  We are considering the vision given Daniel of the two great empires in Judah's future--Persia and Greece (Daniel 11:2-45).  But this vision also points ahead to an end-times Antichrist.  Our worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  As we continue our study of the Heidelberg Catechism, we will discuss Lord's Day 13, and what it means to confess Jesus as Lord (Lord's Day 13 Q & A 33-24).  Our catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study:  Our Bible study will resume in September with a study of 2 Thessalonians.

Academy:  Will resume in the Fall

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

Sunday
Jul102016

"Fear Not" -- Daniel 10:1-21

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon.  Click here

Sunday
Jul102016

This Week's White Horse Inn

Karma Versus Grace

What’s your view of ultimate justice? If you do a lot of bad things throughout the course of your life, will you have to pay for it somehow in the next? We recently asked college students questions like these, and throughout this program the hosts interact with their answers as they discuss the increasing popularity of karma in our time, and contrast it with the Christian concept of grace.

Click Here

Tuesday
Jul052016

"Jesus, Who Saved a People" -- Jude 5-16

The Second in a Series on the Book of Jude

What was a typical sermon like in the apostolic age?  How did those men identified with the apostolic circle preach?  In verses 5-16 of the Epistle of Jude we find such a sermon (or at least a portion of such a sermon) which serves as the main body of Jude’s short epistle.  Citing from the Old Testament as well as two apocryphal Jewish writings (the Assumption of Moses and the Book of Enoch), Jude reminds his readers that God has a long and consistent history of dealing with false teachers and apostates.  The Old Testament incidents which Jude recounts, serve as graphic illustrations and a reminder of the certain fate of those who attempt to deceive the people of God.  Even as Jude exhorts his readers to “contend for that faith once for all delivered to the saints,” they are to also build themselves up in the most Holy faith, and to pray in the Holy Spirit, knowing that unrepentant false teachers who have infiltrated the church and deceived God’s people will face God’s full fury and wrath on the last day.

We return to our brief series (three sermons) on the Epistle of Jude.  Last time, we covered introductory matters and the first four verses of this short but packed epistle.  This epistle was written by Jude–the brother of James and half-brother of Jesus–as early as the mid-fifties of the first century.  While Jude doesn’t give us any of the specifics about the church to which he is writing, there is enough information in the epistle’s twenty-five verses to ascertain that Jude is writing to a congregation which was composed largely of Jewish converts to Christianity.  The members of this church were steeped in Jewish mysticism and end-times speculation–we will see why that is important momentarily.  Jude has learned that the churches were facing a very serious internal crisis, prompting Jude to write this epistle, which is essentially an urgent warning to the churches to deal with these false teachers before they do any more damage to the people of God.
 
We learn in verse 3, that Jude was planning to write a letter about “our common salvation,” when word reached him that a group of traveling prophets and teachers had crept into at least one of the churches, introducing a dangerous form of antinomianism.  Antinomians teach that since Jesus fulfilled the law, and we are saved by God’s grace through faith and not by our works, Christians are not in any sense bound to obey the commandments of God.  Such antinomians remain with us to this day.  The particular group of false teachers of which Jude has become aware were claiming that God was revealing himself to them through dreams and visions, which gave great credibility to their deceptive message.  Upon learning that this was going on, Jude ceases work on his other more comprehensive letter and sends this short epistle to the church exhorting them to deal with these men quickly before they can do any more damage.

In the first four verses (the opening section), Jude exhorts his readers/hearers to contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints.  In verses 5-16 (our text this time), Jude makes his case that the actions of these false teachers were foretold throughout the Old Testament.  In these verses we find an apostolic sermon (or an excerpt from one) based upon a number of Old Testament texts, and which also include references to two apocryphal books:  The Book of Enoch (alluded to in verse 6 and quoted by Jude in verses 14-15), and the Assumption of Moses (quoted in verses 9 and 16 of our text).  Citing numerous Old Testament examples, Jude demonstrates that the history of redemption teaches us that God’s judgment will fall upon these men now plaguing the church.
 
Then, In verses 17-25 (which we will cover on Palm Sunday, the 29th), Jude concludes by reminding his beloved brethren that the appearance of false teachers was the very thing the apostles (whom many in the congregation had heard preach with their own ears) warned would happen.  Even as they are contending for the faith once for all delivered, these Christians are to use this time to build themselves up in the most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit, while they wait patiently for the coming of the Lord. 

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here

Monday
Jul042016

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

Sunday Morning, July 10:  We now come to the third and final vision in the Book of Daniel.  Our focus this coming Lord's Day will be Daniel's divine visitor (Daniel 10:1-11:1).  Our worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  As we continue our study of the Heidelberg Catechism, we have come to Lord's Day 13, and the subject of Jesus' eternal sonship (Lord's Day 13 Q & A 33-24).  Our catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study:  Our Bible study will resume in September with a study of 2 Thessalonians.

Academy:  Will resume in the Fall

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

 

Sunday
Jul032016

"A Strong Covenant" (The Seventieth Week of Daniel) -- Daniel 9:24-27

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon on Daniel's seventieth week:  Click Here

Sunday
Jul032016

This Week's White Horse Inn (Updated Website)

The Great Exchange

On this program our hosts begin a new series on “The Great Exchange.” What does the Bible mean when it describes Christ’s person and work? How does his work apply to us if it happened so many years ago? Why does it really matter?

What’s at stake is nothing less than the core of the Christian faith. At the heart of the Christian faith is the conviction that Christ not only died for us on the cross, but also that through his death we are given eternal life. Not only did he bear the curse of our sins, but he also grants us his perfect righteousness. On this program the hosts will discuss these issues and more as they introduce their new series on “The Great Exchange.” Join us as we delve into the central truths of Christianity on the White Horse Inn.

Click Here

Thursday
Jun302016

Horton and Keller on Center Church (and Law and Gospel)

A bit long, but well worth watching.  A great discussion of preaching law/gospel in a culture which knows no guilt or shame.

Tuesday
Jun282016

"Once for All Delivered to the Saints" -- Jude 1-4

The First in a Series of Sermons on the Epistle of Jude

It should get our attention when we are reminded of the number and gravity of the warnings to the churches found in the New Testament concerning the threat of false doctrine and false teachers.  In the Epistle of Jude, we learn of churches which have been secretly infiltrated by self-appointed spokesmen for God, who were advocating the quite erroneous notion that because we are saved by God’s grace, we are no longer bound to follow God’s commandments.  Such false teachers claimed to be followers of Jesus, while at the same time were themselves engaging in all kinds of sexual immorality closely tied to the paganism of the age.  By indulging in sins of the flesh, under the guise of God’s grace, Jude says, these teachers were actually denying the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Aware that this was going on in the churches, Jude writes a short but very powerful exhortation to Christians in these churches to oppose these false teachers with everything in them.  Jude exhorts them to “contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints.”

We begin a three-part series on the Epistle of Jude–one of the shortest epistles in the New Testament.  Jude is the brother of James and half-brother of Jesus.  In fact, based upon the list of Jesus’ brothers in Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55, Jude is probably James’ younger brother.  Having completed a series on both epistles of Peter, and now aware of the literary connection between Peter’s second epistle and Jude, we are in a good position to consider the short epistle of Jude, who leaves us one of the most often-quoted but least practiced exhortations of the New Testament:  “Contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.”  In a perilous age such as ours, when far too many Christians are ignorant of the most basic of Christian doctrines, and therefore all too prone to compromise with the paganism all around us, Jude’s exhortation to contend for the faith ought to ring in our ears.

Although the author of this book is the brother of James–who wrote his epistle in the mid-forties of the first century–many argue that Jude was written as much as twenty years after the Epistle of James.  This would give us a date of composition somewhere in the mid-sixties, although I think a good case can be made for a much earlier date (the early 50's).  If the exact date of this epistle is somewhat up in the air, it is very clear that Jude is writing under a completely different set of circumstances than those facing his brother James.  For Jude, the issue which prompts the writing of this epistle is that Christians are under the assault of deceptive false teachers.  Christians receiving this letter from Jude are exhorted to wake up and resist those deceivers who had secretly infiltrated their churches.  At the same time, Jude’s readers need to make every effort to build themselves up in the most holy faith–perhaps the best defense against false teachers seeking to exploit doctrinally ignorant Christians.  

The internal evidence points us in the direction that Jude is writing in opposition to a group of schwarmerai (charismatics), men, who under the pretense of receiving new revelations from God, were defiling their flesh (a reference to sexual immorality), and speaking blasphemously about matters which they claimed to understand, yet knew nothing about.  This is very much like the second chapter of 2 Peter.  It is clear from Jude’s comments that he is concerned about false teachers already in the churches, men whose conduct in many ways mirrors the false teaching plaguing the church in Corinth (2 Cor. 10-12), as well as two of the churches mentioned in Revelation (Thyatira and Pergamum) which, according to the Apostle John, were facing a similar kind of false teaching associated with a certain “Jezebel.”  Based upon comments made by Jude, a good case can be made that the congregation(s) to which Jude is writing were steeped in Jewish mysticism, and plagued by end-times speculation (Jewish apocalypticism).  It may be the case that the false teachers were able to appeal to the congregation’s interest in mysticism and end-times as a cover so as to make rapid progress in infiltrating the churches. 

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here

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