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

 

Living in Light of Two Ages

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Tuesday
Apr072015

"If Anyone Thirsts" -- John 7:37-52

The Twenty-Seventh in a Series of Sermons on the Gospel of John

We are well-familiar with the image of a parched individual struggling for survival in the desert–lips cracked, delirious, with the mirage of a blue oasis on the horizon.  For those living in Palestine at the time of Jesus, the lack of water was a real and potential danger.  In an arid climate the securing of water was a daily ordeal.  There were cisterns and catch basins, springs in certain areas, wells in others, Roman aqueducts in several large cities–but no one had plumbing.  If even you could find water, you had to carry it to where you were going to use it–a daily need.  Without water–if it didn’t rain, if the spring or well dried up–you would be forced to move a place to where water could be found.  Then there was the problem of brackish or contaminated water, which you needed to live, but which would make you sick.  In a world such as that of first century Palestine and under the circumstances just described, and given Israel’s own history with water in the desert wilderness, the messianic promise of pure water which is always replenished–a living water–was a powerful metaphor and a prominent expectation of the messianic age.

We are continuing our series on the Gospel of John and working our way through the so-called “conflict phase” of Jesus’ messianic mission as recounted in John chapters 7-10.  We have spent the last several Sundays looking at the first section of John 7 when Jesus entered Jerusalem during the Feast of Booths.  Although he entered the city quietly and without fanfare, Jesus immediately went into the temple and began teaching, drawing a large crowd, and generating great controversy among the Jews over his person and the nature of his messianic mission.  Is Jesus a prophet, or the Christ?  What about his authority, his insight into the Old Testament, and his miracles?

In our time in John 7, we have seen that the Jews (the “Jews” in John’s Gospel is not a reference to the Jewish people in general, but to the Jewish religious leadership and those allied with them) openly questioned Jesus’ credentials to teach, only to have Jesus declare that his words and authority come directly from YHWH.  Jesus tells the Jews that they do not keep the law of Moses, and to prove his point, Jesus exposes the plot to kill him then being hatched by the scribes and Pharisees.  Jesus reminds the crowds that a year or so earlier, when he had been in Jerusalem, he had healed a man on the Sabbath who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.  When the man got up and walked and moved his bedroll, the Jews accused Jesus of being a law-breaker for violating the Sabbath commandment.  Jesus points out that the Jews themselves made exceptions for the weightier matters of the law when it came to circumcision (as Jesus had done with the invalid), and despite the outward piety of the members of the Sanhedrin, it was they who were engaged in the grossest form of hypocrisy–plotting to kill their own Messiah for being a law-breaker, when he had kept the law perfectly (since he was the law’s author).

As we saw last time, the increasingly heated exchange between Jesus and the Jews quickly got to the heart of the matter.  Who is Jesus?  A prophet?  Is Jesus truly the Christ (the Messiah)?  According to one school of Jewish messianic expectation, popular at the time, Jesus could not be the Messiah.  It was thought that the Christ would be a great deliverer (no thought was given to an incarnation) who would remain completely hidden until he revealed himself at a time of great national crisis.  The problem with Jesus’ claim to be the Christ (at least from the perspective of those who held this view) is that the Jews knew too much about him.  Many knew where Jesus was born (Bethelem–the right place), they knew his parents (Joseph and Mary), they knew that he was raised in Nazareth, that he now lived in Capernaum, and that after the death of John the Baptist, his ministry became very popular (especially in Galilee).  None of this fit with the “hidden Messiah” view held by many.

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here

Monday
Apr062015

This Week at Christ Reformed Church (April 6-12)

Sunday Morning (April 12):  We begin a new series on the books of Ezra-Nehemiah.  In our first sermon we will look at the background to these two books and cover the first four verses of Ezra 1. Our Lord's Day worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  We return to our series on the Canons of Dort.  We are covering the fifth head of doctrine and are now in the "refutation of errors."  This week, we are covering refutations 3 and 4 (and the question of whether or not certain sins can sever believers from their union with Christ).  Our catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study (April 9)We are continuing our "Run Through the Letters of Paul" and we in are Galatians 3:10-14, and Paul's doctrine that the righteous will live by faith. 

 The Academy:  The Academy will resume on Friday, April 17   

Our next Academy series will be entitled "The Great and Holy War" and will be a lecture and discussion of the legacy of World War One, including the establishment of a Jewish State in Palestine (Israel), the roots of ISIS (the end of the Caliphate/Ottoman Empire), the Bolshevik Revolution and the rise of Marxist-Leninism, along with a host of other contemporary geopolitical conundrums--all of which are part of the legacy of the Great War. 

Here's a link to Philip Jenkin's book A Great and Holy War" which will serve as our primary text for this series.  The Great and Holy War

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

Sunday
Apr052015

"Jesus, Our Prophet," "Jesus, Our Priest," ''Jesus, Our King"

Here's the audio of our Maundy Thursday sermon, "Jesus our Prophet"

Luke 22:7-37

 Here's the audio of our Good Friday sermon, "Jesus, Our Priest"

Luke 23:13-47

Here's the audio of our Easter sermon, "Jesus, Our King"

Luke 24:1-36

 

Sunday
Apr052015

This Week's White Horse Inn

Objections to the Resurrection

This week on the White Horse Inn we are looking at the historical claims of the resurrection. Our panel of hosts is joined by Craig Parton as we specifically look at the objections raised against the resurrection of Christ. Craig is the United States Director of the International Academy of Apologetics, Evangelism and Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. He is an apologist, attorney, and author of several works including, The Defense Never Rests: A Lawyer's Quest for the Gospel as well as Religion on Trial.

Do other religions make historical claims? How does Christianity relate itself to the resurrection of Christ? When telling others about the resurrection of Christ, objections inevitably arise. How are we to answer someone who claims that Jesus didn’t actually die on the cross? Or if they argue that the gospel accounts contain myths and legends that were added over time? Join us as we discuss the nature of the resurrection on the White Horse Inn (Originally Aired June 5, 2011).

Click Here

Friday
Apr032015

Brian Lee on Why We Should Celebrate Good Friday

Our good friend and pastor of the other "Christ Reformed Church" (in Washington, DC), Dr. Brian Lee, has written an essay for the Federalist on why we should celebrate Good Friday.

Why Celebrate Good Friday?

 

Wednesday
Apr012015

Our Theme for Easter Week -- Jesus, Our Prophet, Priest, and King

Francis Turretin once said of our Lord's Three-Fold Office,

The threefold misery of men introduced by sin–ignorance, guilt and tyranny and bondage by sin–required this . . . threefold-office [of Jesus Christ].  Ignorance is healed by the prophetic [office of Christ]; guilt by the priestly [office of Christ]; the tyranny and corruption of sin by the kingly office [of Christ].  Prophetic light scatters the darkness of error; the merit of the Priest takes away guilt and procures a reconciliation for us; the Power of the King removes the bondage of sin and death.  The Prophet shows God to us; the Priest leads us to God; and the King joins us together and glorifies us with God.  The Prophet enlightens the mind by the Spirit of illumination; the Priest by the Spirit of consolation tranquilizes the heart and conscience; the King by the Spirit of sanctification subdues rebellious affections (Institutes of Elenctic Theology, 2.393).

Our sermon series this week will focus upon each of these offices.  On Maundy Thursday, we will focus upon Jesus, our prophet, who removes our ignorance.  On Good Friday, we will focus upon Jesus, our Priest, who removes our guilt.  On Easter Sunday, we will focus upon, Jesus, our King, who, having defeated death and the grave, delivers us from the tyranny and corruption of sin.

For more information about our Easter week services, Easter Week at Christ Reformed Church

 

Tuesday
Mar312015

"When the Christ Appears" -- John 7:25-36

The Twenty-Sixth in a Series of Sermons on the Gospel of John

While he was ministering in Galilee, people saw Jesus heal the sick and cast out demons.  They heard Jesus teach, and identified him as the great prophet foretold by Moses.  When Jesus fed over five thousand people in the wilderness east of the Sea of Galilee, messianic fervor grew so intense that people wanted to make Jesus king.  But six months later when Jesus went to Jerusalem during the Feast of Booths and began teaching in the temple, things were different.  Some thought Jesus to be a good man.  Others thought that Jesus was a dangerous false teacher.  When Jesus revealed to the crowds who gathered to hear him teach that the religious leaders of Israel were plotting to kill him, some of those present alleged that Jesus was demon-possessed.  As the events in John’s Gospel begin to point us toward the cross and the empty tomb, the critical question is now on everyone’s mind.  Who is this man?  Is he really the Christ?

As we work our way through the Gospel of John, we are in the seventh chapter and covering the initial exchanges between Jesus and the Jewish religious leaders of Israel during the so-called “conflict phase” of Jesus’ messianic mission.  The conflict between Jesus and the religious leaders of Israel–which is recounted in John chapters 7-10–takes place during the Feast of Booths.  According to Josephus (the famed Jewish historian), this was the most popular of the three principle Jewish feasts.  Coming close on the heals of the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Booths was established by God before Israel entered the promised land.  Pilgrims came to Jerusalem from outlying areas (Judea and the Galilee) and the city was packed with people during the eight days of the Feast.

By the time of Jesus, the Feast of Booths was a national harvest festival celebrated after the fall crop of olives and grapes had been harvested (late October, early November).  The Feast included a solemn water-pouring ritual and a lamp-lighting ceremony.  Jesus will refer to both rituals as the conflict between himself and the Jewish leaders continues to escalate.  The eight-day celebration of the Feast of Booths serves as the setting for the conflict which follows.  

As we saw last time, Jesus was still in the Galilee region when his brothers (the younger biological children of Mary and Joseph) encouraged him to go to Jerusalem for the Feast with the intention of performing miracles–perhaps to regain some of the followers he had lost months earlier as a result of the “hard sayings” found in the “bread of life” discourse which Jesus had given while in the Galilee.  In verses 3-4 of John 7, Jesus’ brothers told him, “leave here [the Galilee region] and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing.  For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.”  Jesus’ brothers were still unbelievers at this time, and they do not understand that it was not yet time for Jesus to go to Jerusalem.  Jesus will go when it is his Father’s will that he go.  His brothers went to the opening of the Feast without him.

To read the rest of this sermon:  Click Here

Monday
Mar302015

Easter Week at Christ Reformed Church--March 30-April 5

Our Easter Week schedule of Services:  You are cordially invited to join us!

Maundy Thursday, April 2 at 7:30 p.m.
The Old Testament Lesson:  Deuteronomy 8:1–16
The New Testament Lesson:  Luke 22:7–37
Sermon:  “Jesus, Our Prophet”

Good Friday, April 3 at 7:30 p.m.
The Old Testament Lesson:  Exodus 12:1–14
Psalter Lesson:  Psalm 22:1–26
The New Testament Lesson:  Luke 23:13–47
Sermon:  “Jesus, Our Priest”

Easter Sunday, April 5 at 10:25 a.m.
The Old Testament Lesson:  Job 19:23–29
The New Testament Lesson:  Luke 24:1–36
Sermon title:  “Jesus, Our King” 

Sunday Afternoon:  We will discuss Lord's Day 17 of the Heidelberg Catechism and the benefits of Christ's resurrectionOur catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m.

No Wednesday Bible Study this week!

The Academy:  The Academy will resume on Friday, April 17   

Our next Academy series will be entitled "The Great and Holy War" and will be a lecture and discussion of the legacy of World War One, including the establishment of a Jewish State in Palestine (Israel), the roots of ISIS (the end of the Caliphate/Ottoman Empire), the Bolshevik Revolution and the rise of Marxist-Leninism, along with a host of other contemporary geopolitical conundrums--all of which are part of the legacy of the Great War. 

Here's a link to Philip Jenkin's book A Great and Holy War" which will serve as our primary text for this series.  The Great and Holy War

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

 

Sunday
Mar292015

"He Is Able" -- Jude 17-25

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

Sunday
Mar292015

This Week's White Horse Inn

American Spirituality

The New World was a place of all kinds of new experiments, experiments in liberty, and experiments in religion. It was a place where people felt like they could go and not only have the political freedom to practice their religion, but they were also liberated from external forms and church structures. And so, it’s not surprising that the search for the sacred in America has often taken on a very radical kind of form.

Americans are very religious, very spiritual, very interested in spirituality. Of all American adults 92% say they believe in God. 63% say that the Bible is the Word of God. God, apple pie, and mom just go together when you say the word, “America.” But is that the way it really is once you scratch the surface of this phenomenon?

It gets a little murkier. Take belief in God for example. According to a Pew Study, 92% of American adults give a nod to belief in God, but only 60% say they believe in a personal God. I don’t know what the statistic would be if you narrowed it down to the Holy Trinity, and then a Holy Trinity identified by the attributes we find in the Scriptures. In fact, only 79% of those who’ve identified themselves as Evangelical, Born-Again Christians said that they believe in a personal God. So, despite the public nod to the Bible, most Americans rely on their own ‘Inner Light’ to determine what they believe, and why they believe it. They have their own spiritual playlist, according to the same Pew Study I referred to. Most Americans, including most American Evangelicals, say that there are many paths to salvation.

What does it even mean to say we believe in God? What does it even mean to say that we believe the Bible is the Word of God? What do these slogans, these phrases that roll off our lips, so easily even mean in our contemporary context? Join us this week on the White Horse Inn as we look at the spirituality of America.

Click Here

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