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

 

Living in Light of Two Ages

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Wednesday
Nov072018

"The Truth of the Gospel" -- Galatians 1:10-2:14

The Second in A Series of Sermons on the Book of Galatians

Paul’s personal calling from the Risen and Ascended Jesus was to preach the same gospel which Jesus revealed to him.  As Paul now understands, he was set apart by Jesus and called by God’s grace for this very task.  In fulfilling that call the Apostle founded a number of churches in Galatia, preaching the gospel of Christ crucified throughout the region.  But soon after his departure from the area, the gospel was under full assault, prompting Paul to write his epistle to the Galatians, one of the most direct and confrontational letters in the New Testament.

Last time, we worked our way through the opening verses of the Book of Galatians (vv. 1-9) which is, as we saw, Paul’s response to a serious situation developing in Galatia.  Paul will describe how he had preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Galatians previously, publicly placarding Jesus Christ before their very eyes (3:1).  But shortly after he departed the area, a group of false teachers, known as Judaizers, gained a foothold in these same churches.  Teaching that in order to be justified (regarded as “right” before God), that in addition to placing one’s faith in Jesus, Gentile converts also must submit to circumcision and keep certain elements of the ceremonial law just as the Judaizers were doing.  In other words, Gentile believers must believe in Jesus, but live as Jews.  Paul’s gospel of Christ crucified was very disconcerting to these false teachers since it removes all place for human merit and good works as a ground of being declared “righteous” before God (“justified”).  This “different gospel” which the Judaizers were teaching was in reality “no gospel.”  Paul opposed them with everything in him.

In responding to the false teaching and accusations of the Judaizers, Paul sets out four points for the Galatians to consider in Galatians 1:10-2:14.  First, Paul speaks of the origin of the Gospel he preaches.  Second, he describes the nature of his call as apostle to the Gentiles.  Third, Paul recounts his life as a Jew and explains his zeal for the religion of his fathers.  Finally, he describes his two prior visits to Jerusalem and his dealings with the apostles, Peter, James and John, along with the rise of the Judaizing heresy, culminating in Paul confronting Peter about the latter’s apparent acceptance of this heresy.  

We begin with verses 10-12, and Paul’s first point of defense.  The gospel of Christ crucified is not a figment of his imagination.  The gospel which Paul preached was personally revealed to him by Jesus.  Amazed at the speed at which the Galatians had been taken in by these false teachers, Paul offers a lament of sorts, asking “am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man?  If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.  For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel.  For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.”

The gospel is centered in the objective and historical work of Jesus Christ for us; his life, death, burial, and resurrection according to the Scriptures as in 1 Corinthians 15:1-9.  In Romans 1:16-17, the gospel is defined in terms of the revelation of the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ.  If preaching the gospel is recounting the facts of redemption, the charge of novelty made against Paul collapses since the facts surrounding Christ’s death and resurrection were common knowledge.  Given the offence of the gospel and its character as a stumbling block to the Jew and foolishness to the Gentile (cf. I Corinthians 1:23), Paul could hardly be preaching this message in order to gain favor with men.  He himself at one time had opposed the new sect of “Christians” with great zeal.

To read the rest of this sermon:   Click Here

Monday
Nov052018

This Week at Christ Reformed Church (November 5-11)

Sunday Morning, November 11:  We continue our series on the Minor Prophets.  Our text this week is Zechariah 4:1-14--the fifth night vision of a Menorah and two Olive trees.  What do these mean?  Our worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Note:  Our New Members Class concludes this week in room 601 @ 9:00 a.m.  Our topic is the responsibilities and privileges of church membership.

Sunday Afternoon:  We are currently studying the Belgic Confession.  Why do we as Protestants confess a "Holy and Catholic Church?"  We will answer that question when we take up article 27.  Our afternoon service begins at 1:15 p.m.   

Wednesday Night Bible Study (November 7) @ 7:30 p.m.  We continue our series Apologetics in a Post-Christian Age.  We will continue to address the work of the Holy Spirit in relation to Christian evidences and coming to faith. 

The Academy (November 9):  We are working our way through the concluding lectures in our lecture/discussion series based upon Allen Guelzo's Teaching Company Course, The American Mind.  This week's lecture is "The Rise of the Neo-Conservatives," which deals with the Reagan Revolution.

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

Sunday
Nov042018

"Remove the Filthy Garments" -- Zechariah 3:1-10

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon on the Minor Prophets from the Book of Zechariah

Click Here

Thursday
Nov012018

Apologetics in a Post Christian Age (Audio) -- "The Witness of the Holy Spirit"

Here's the audio from the Wednesday night Bible Study: The Witness of the Holy Spirit

Wednesday
Oct312018

Mike Horton's New Book on Justification (Two Volumes)

Mike Horton's two volume work on justification is soon to be released.

Here's the publisher's blurb and endorsements:

The doctrine of justification stands at the center of our systematic reflection on the meaning of salvation as well as our piety, mission, and life together. In his two-volume work on the doctrine of justification, Michael Horton seeks not simply to repeat noble doctrinal formulas and traditional proof texts, but to encounter the remarkable biblical justification texts in conversation with the provocative proposals that, despite a wide range of differences, have reignited the contemporary debates around justification.

Volume 1 engages in a descriptive task - an exercise in historical theology exploring the doctrine of justification from the patristic era to the Reformation. Broadening the scope, Horton explores patristic discussions of justification under the rubric of the "great exchange." He provides a map for contemporary discussions of justification, identifying and engaging his principal interlocutors: Origen, Chrysostom, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, William of Ockham, Gabriel Biel, and the magisterial reformers. Observing the assimilation of justification to the doctrine of penance in medieval theology, especially via Peter Lombard, the work studies the transformations of the doctrine through Aquinas, Scotus and the nominalists leading up to the era of the Reformation and the Council of Trent. He concludes his first study by examining the hermeneutical and theological significance of the Reformers’ understanding of the law and the gospel and the resultant covenantal scheme that became formative in Reformed theology. This then opens the door to the constructive task of volume 2 - to investigate the biblical doctrine of justification in light of contemporary exegesis.

“This thorough, systematic, and far-ranging work advances a reading both distinctive and yet more traditional than many of today’s dominant paradigms.”—CRAIG KEENER, Asbury Theological Seminary

“Protestant and Catholic readers . . . will profit by wrestling with this learned historical study.”—GERALD R. MCDERMOTT, Beeson Divinity School

“This is a volume bristling with theological insight and intellectual energy.”—SIMON GATHERCOLE, University of Cambridge

“Very impressive and a major contribution to the clarification of the significant issues.”—ROBERT KOLB, Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis

“A superb and engaging book, marked by a careful and generous listening to other theological traditions. It will not only reenergize the reader with a passion for understanding this long-running doctrinal conversation, but also challenge one to engage critically.”—EDUARDO J. ECHEVERRIA, Sacred Heart Major Seminary

You can order both volumes here:  Horton on Justification

Wednesday
Oct312018

"The Gospel of Christ" -- Galatians 1:1-9

The First in a Series of Sermons on Paul's Letter to the Galatians

With good reason, the Book of Galatians has been called the magna carte of Christian liberty.  There is perhaps no portion of Holy Scripture which packs the punch of Paul’s letter to the churches in Galatia.  In this letter Paul sets out what is perhaps the most passionate defense of the gospel found in all the New Testament.  The apostle is angry when he writes this letter–he calls the Galatians “foolish” (3:1) and even tells them if they want to begin with circumcision, they might as well to go the whole way and emasculate themselves (5:12).  Strong words from the apostle, but much is at stake.  

The church to which Paul is writing is one which he himself helped to found not long before.  This same church was now tolerating, if not openly embracing, a form of teaching which directly contradicts what the apostle previously taught them about the saving work of Jesus Christ.  For Paul, this is a spiritual battle to be fought over the meaning of the gospel.  He is fighting for the very soul of these churches.  He minces no words with those whom he regards as enemies of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  

Before we work our way through this letter, it is necessary take a look at the historical background which led to its composition.  Paul’s circular letter to the churches in Galatia (a region located in what is now south-central Turkey) and was written in AD 48, just prior to the Jerusalem Council described in Acts 15:1-21.  By looking at Paul’s comments here in light of events recounted in the Book of Acts, we know that Paul visited the southern part of Galatia at least twice during the missionary journey described in Acts 14:21.  In Galatians 2, Paul describes his visit to Jerusalem on the occasion of a great famine which hit the city as described in Acts 11:27-30.  In Galatians 4:13, Paul refers to having preached the gospel to the Galatians previously.  
 
This indicates that Galatians was written in the days preceding the Jerusalem Council, when the pressing question of Gentile conformity to the Law of Moses was hotly debated before being definitively settled by the leaders of the church.  The pressing question was “must Gentile believers in Jesus live like Jews in order to be faithful Christians?”  These circumstances provide compelling evidence that Galatians is Paul’s earliest letter included in the canon of the New Testament, and the doctrine of justification is the basic gospel message Paul proclaimed from the very beginning of his ministry as apostle to the Gentiles.

As a result of Jewish opposition to Paul’s proclamation of Christ crucified in the synagogues of the region, Paul and Barnabas turned to preaching to the Gentiles.  Many were converted.  Soon after Paul and Barnabas left Galatia, Jewish converts to Christianity began teaching in the churches that Gentile converts must submit to the Law of Moses and undergo circumcision in order to be regarded as “right before God” (justified).  In Galatians 1:7, Paul refers to unnamed individuals who he says were throwing the Galatians into confusion soon after he had departed the area.  

Known to us as the Judaizers, these false teachers were undermining Paul’s gospel by claiming that his preaching was actually dangerous since it did not require obedience to the law of God as a condition of deliverance from the wrath of God.  Furthermore, they claimed, Paul’s authority was inferior to that of other apostles such as Peter and James, who were more closely associated with Jesus, the Jerusalem church, and with Judaism (1:1; 6:17).

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here

Monday
Oct292018

This Week at Christ Reformed Church (October 29-November 4)

Sunday Morning, November 4:  We return to our series on the Minor Prophets.  We will take up Zechariah 3:1-10 and the account of Joshua, the High Priest, being given new and spotless priestly garments.  Our worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Note:  Our New Members Class continues this week in room 601 @ 9:00 a.m.  Our topic this week is, "The Sacraments"

Sunday AfternoonAs we work our way through the Belgic Confession, we come to article 26, which deals with Christ's intercession on our behalf.  Our afternoon service begins at 1:15 p.m.   

Wednesday Night Bible Study (October 31) @ 7:30 p.m.  We continue our series Apologetics in a Post-Christian Age.  We will address the work of the Holy Spirit in relation to Christian evidences and coming to faith. 

The Academy (November 2):  We are working our way through the concluding lectures in our lecture/discussion series based upon Allen Guelzo's Teaching Company Course, The American Mind.  This week's lecture is "The Revolt of the Privileged," on the Vietnam era protests.

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

Sunday
Oct282018

"Solus Christus" -- A Sermon for Reformation Sunday

 

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon on Solus Christus based on Isaiah 52:13-53:12 and Romans 3:21-26:  Solus Christus

 

Thursday
Oct252018

Apologetics in a Post Christian Age (Audio) -- Faith and Reason (Part Three)

Here's the audio from the Wednesday night Bible Study: Faith and Reason -- Part Three

Tuesday
Oct232018

"Continue Steadfastly In Prayer" -- Colossians 4:2-18

The Tenth and Final in a Series of Sermons on Colossians

Whenever we preach through a letter such as Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae, we can become so preoccupied with its message and application to our own situation, it is easy to forget that these letters were intended to be read aloud to a congregation composed of first century Christian believers–our brothers and sisters in Christ–with whom we will spend an eternity.  When we come to the end of a New Testament letter such as this, if we take the time to consider this material, we can gain a fascinating glimpse into the lives of those people who served this church, who worshiped in this church, as well as learning of their comings and goings while at the same time witness our Lord’s faithfulness to his people two thousand years ago in the midst of a very pagan first century Greco-Roman world.

Paul was imprisoned in Rome when his letter to Colossians was written.  Not sure of the outcome of his appeal to Caesar, Paul he makes no comment on whether or not he plans to visit the cities of the Lycus Valley (Colossae, Laodicea, and Hieropolis).  Paul had never been to Colossae (2:1) and did not know personally many of the Christians there–in contrast to his letters to Philippi or Ephesus, cities in which he had stayed and therefore knew well many of the members of the church to which he was writing.  In light of the present uncertainties, Paul’s messengers Tychicus and Onesimus will come to Colossae in person and fill them in the details which Paul is not able to include in his letter.  But it becomes obvious that as we read Paul’s closing words to the Colossians, we are indeed reading someone else’s mail.
 
We now wrap-up our ten part series on Paul’s letter to the Colossians.  Next time we’ll begin a new series on Galatians, likely the first canonical letter written by Paul, as early as 47-48 AD.  As we wrap up our time in Colossians this week, we will do something a bit differently.  Given the personal nature of this closing section, we will begin by looking at Paul’s closing comments (vv. 7-18) before we turn to Paul’s exhortation to the Colossians to continue in prayer and to be faithful in their Christian witness, found in vv. 2-6.  The application in this section speaks directly to us and our situation, so verses 2-6 are a more suitable place to end our time in this epistle.

The closing material (vv. 7-18) contains a number of directives to the Christians in Colossae as Paul has much to say, but little space and time to do so.  He commissions two messengers to take this letter to Colossae (vv. 7-9).  He also sends a series of greetings (in vv. 10-15).  Next, Paul directs that this letter is to be forwarded to the church in Laodicea (v. 16) because, presumably, as a neighboring church to Colossae, the Laodiceans faced the same false teaching as the Colossians.  Finally, Paul exhorts a man named Archippus about his ministry (v. 17), before sending his blessing to the Colossians (v. 18).

Paul wraps up by endorsing the messengers he is sending back to Colossae, two men named Tychicus and Onesimus.  In verses 7-9, Paul details that “Tychicus will tell you all about my activities.  He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord.  I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here.”  Tychicus plays a prominent role in Paul’s later ministry.  According to Acts 20:4, Tychicus was from “Asia” (Asia Minor–Turkey) and accompanied Paul on his final visit to Jerusalem (to bring famine relief to the Jewish Christians from their Gentile brothers and sisters in Greece).  Paul speaks quite highly of Tychicus, calling him a beloved brother and faithful minister.  He too is a fellow servant of the Lord–recalling Paul’s previous discussion about how all Christians are servants of Jesus, their true and heavenly master

To read the rest of this sermon:  Click Here

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