Monthly Archives: March 2011

Paul Washer: The Gospel to the Nations

Paul Washer: The following sermon on Luke 24 is a powerful sermon on gospel ministry in the lives of believers. It will prick your heart with a desire to bleed Jesus. May God crush our hearts for sin and increase our affections for knowing and serving Christ.

Thanks Val & Lois for recommending it to me! May the Spirit of Christ work powerfully within us… for His Name’s Sake.

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Driscoll: Ministry, Marriage, & Mistakes

Ministry, Marriage, & Mistakes

A powerful message by Mark Driscoll to pastors and ministry leaders in how to better serve their wives and guard themselves. It has some incredibly convicting insights and encouragements toward gospel-reflecting marriage, ministry, and repentance. It was worth watching–even for an unmarried man and ministry novice learning to embrace a lifestyle of repentance and faith.

 

Leaders & Managers


 

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Beholding and Becoming: Christ Formed in You

In 2 Corinthians 3:18, Paul speaks of beholding (worshiping) Christ and becoming like Him (being transformed) from one degree of glory to another–and this work of Christ being formed in us is by the Holy Spirit. Powerful. Amazing.

His work is relentless and brutal and beautiful. It radically transforms, ruining us for this world and wrecking our love for sin, as it restores us to what God intended us to be.

An unusually helpful book for helping us to understand and progress in our pursuit of “beholding and becoming” is Brian Hedges‘ new book, Christ Formed in You. Check it out at Westminster Books–and trust me–you’ll want to buy it.

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Sweet Video: Scripture’s Most Significant Words

Sixty-Six Clouds

Curious as to which words are most prominent in each book of the Bible?

Look no further… Sixty-Six-Clouds will show you.  Watch this video for a sampling of their posters:

Check out their website!!  (Thanks to Marc Goodwin for showing me Sixty Six Clouds.)

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Gospel Coalition Booklets

Westminster Books is currently running a one-week sale on some helpful gospel-oriented resources that are being sold as a package from The Gospel Coalition.  Check it out here for more details!!

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For the Love of the Gospel

In my home at any given time there are perhaps twenty copies of the Bible distributed among the seven members of my family. Each of us owns one or two with invaluable study notes, and three or four are written in the original languages. On top of this, at least half the books on my family’s floor-to-ceiling bookshelf are dedicated to helping believers interpret and apply Scripture – all this not to mention that two of our computers connect to the internet, which in itself is a source of truly inexhaustible information.

But how do I respond to the immediacy of the Gospel in my daily life? How do we, as 21st century American Christians, react to a privilege virtually unknown throughout the scope of human history and in many parts of the world even today?

During the weekend I watched this ten-minute video that captured the consummation of a lifelong dream for Indonesia’s remote Kimyal tribe: the translation of the complete New Testament into the Kimyal language. The video is a little long, but well worth the time.

This video shocked me because I am utterly unable to relate to the delight these people displayed at receiving the Word of God. The constant presence of Scripture in my life has hardened my heart to the wonder of a transcendent God condescending that we might share in His perfect joy, and to my shame I often find it difficult to regard studying these life-giving words as more than a tedious Christian obligation.  

I suspect that many of us regard the Bible as mundane simply because we’ve forgotten what it really is that’s written in these sixty-six familiar books. Because I was home sick on Sunday morning, I was able to spend some time rediscovering the unique and infinite value of God’s Word through what it testifies about itself. In the order that I first wrote them down, here are seven aspects of the Bible that most renew my love and appreciation for it.

1. Scripture sustains and directs spiritual life.   

  • Deuteronomy 8:3 – “Man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”
  • Colossians 3:16 – “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom…”
  • 2 Timothy 3:16 – “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”
  • Romans 15:4 – “For whatever was written in the former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

 2. Scripture reveals truth.

  • Psalm 12:6 – The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.
  • Psalm 33:4 – “For the Word of the Lord is upright…”
  • Proverbs 30:5 – “Every word of God proves true…”
  •  2 Peter 1:20-21 – …no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God.”

 3. Scripture is eternal.

  • Isaiah 40:8 – “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God will stand forever.”
  • Matthew 24:35 – “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
  • John 1:1-2 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.”

 4. Scripture is unified.

  • Luke 22:37 – “For I tell you Scripture must be fulfilled in me.”
  • John 5:46 – “For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.”
  • Romans 1:1-2 – “… the gospel of God which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures.”
  • Galatians 3:8 – And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham.”

5. Scripture effects the will of God.

  • Is. 55:11 – “…so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it will accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
  • Hebrews 4:12 – “For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword.”
  • Ephesians 6:17 – “…the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.”

6. Scripture effects salvation.

  • 1. Corinthians 15:2 – “…you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you.”
  • 1. Peter 1:23 – “…you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding Word of God.”
  • John 6:68 – “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
  • John 7:38 – “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘out of his heart will flow streams of living water.’”

For more information about the Kimyal tribe and the Bible translation effort, visit www.kimyaltribe.com

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Veering Off-Course

Course Corrections

Norman Geisler provides an illustration of our tendency toward wandering from the truth of the gospel:

According to aeronautic experts, when a propeller-driven airplane takes off it naturally veers left unless it is steered right. Based on my observations of evangelical institutions and leaders over the past half century, it appears to me that the same principle applies. The only way to keep on the straight orthodox path is to keep turning to the right. Churches, schools, and even evangelical scholarship will naturally go left, unless they are deliberately turned to the right. The prevailing winds of doctrine blow against us. And if we are to resist them we must have a firm grip on the wheel of [the church] and steer it to the right.[1]

Unless we hold fast to the doctrines of the gospel and the implications that it has for our lives, we will inevitably veer off-course and suffer the consequences.

[1] Norman Geisler, “Beware of Philosophy: A Warning to Biblical Scholars” Christian Apologetics Journal, Vol. 2 No. 1 (1999).


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Gospel Under Fire

Gospel Under Fire

In our time, there has been much confusion about the gospel. In fact, perspectives on its content and scope are nearly as diverse as the human race. As a result of the fall, every generation of human beings has inevitably wandered from the truth, and our contemporary culture is no different than those that have come before us. Unfortunately, the church is not immune from the same, devastating malady. When the church becomes intoxicated with contemporary culture, it renders itself ineffective and indistinguishable from the Christless world around it.

Regarding the relationship between the church and culture D.L Moody wrote, “The place for the ship is the sea, but God help the ship if the sea gets into it.”[1] In extending the analogy, the ship is carrying a priceless cargo—the gospel message—as it navigates its way through the tumultuous sea. The church, as a gospel-people, have been entrusted with “the faith once for all delivered to the saints.” Yet many churches, even some professing to be evangelical, that should be “the pillar and foundation of the truth” are instead compromising the very message that should define them.  They have abandoned their post of proclaiming and defending the pure message of God’s holy character and sacrificial love—the gospel of Jesus Christ–and have embraced a substitute which is no gospel at all.

Source

A Case-in-Point

Rob Bell, a Grand Rapids pastor well-known for his compelling NOOMA videos, recently published a controversial promo for his forthcoming book, Love Wins.  In the video, Bell questioned the traditional, orthodox understanding of the gospel and seems to indirectly affirm universalism (the idea that “God saves everyone regardless of their knowledge of or response to Christ”). Given the destructive combination of Bell’s wide-spread popularity and his dangerous theology, several evangelical leaders responded with words of caution and dismay: Justin Taylor and Kevin DeYoung. While engaging as a communicator, Bell’s teaching reveals that he is anything but faithful to Scripture.

As a pastor and theologian, Bell regularly compromises the very gospel message that is central to Christian faith. The reaction to Taylor’s honest-yet-loving critique was mixed, and it even came from some within the evangelical movement. While some gave resounding affirmations at Taylor’s stand for the purity and primacy of the gospel, others offered a firestorm of hatred and unjust criticism that Bell’s faithfulness would even be questioned. Biblically-speaking, any pastor (or Christian, for that matter) who claims the name of Christ while denying the truths of His saving work should be questioned, and probably avoided at all costs. In light of the controversy, Kevin DeYoung offered an insightful clarification on the issue at-hand; it’s worth reading.

 

Why It Matters…

So, why does this controversy even matter? And, why do Christians need to read a book entitled What is the Gospel?

The answer is simple. Our faith—our standing before God, our present life in the Spirit, and our future with Christ—is completely dependent on the accuracy of the gospel message and our faithful response to it. Not only do we need to understand it, but we must also be able to defend it in a day when attacks come from the world, as well as professing believers. Greg Gilbert’s book, What is the Gospel?, is a much-needed clarification on the truths most central to our faith. He summarizes the good news in the biblical storyline of God, man, Christ, and response, after which he elaborates on its transforming power in the life of the believer. Here’s a brief summary of the gospel and here’s a guide by which you can “preach it to yourself” everyday.

May we, as Christ’s bride, become a gospel community who joyfully embrace, thoroughly understand, and firmly-yet-humbly defend the message that defines our past, present, and future existence. Otherwise, we are little more than a sinking ship unwittingly welcoming the sea into our midst while remaining blissfully unaware of the tragic consequences. Let us anchor ourselves to Christ by faith as we cling to the message that He preached and the response that He commanded. And let us be prepared to articulate, apply, and defend the truths that define us.


[1] Tullian Tchividjian, Unfashionable: Making a Difference in the World by Being Different (Sisters: Multnomah Publishers, 2009).

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Helping Children Hide God’s Word in Their Hearts

Hide Thy Word in My Heart

Here are some great children’s cds where Scripture has been put to music in order to help children memorize Scripture. The best part is that adults will actually enjoy the songs, as well, because they are neither cheesy nor annoying. A few examples can be found below and more information can be found at Seeds Music. You can also listen to their music online.

Sovereign Grace Ministries has similar ones (“Hide the Word” series), though I don’t find them to be quite as enjoyable. You can find the SGM cds (including their Hide the Word and other children’s cds) here.

Philippians 4:6-7:

1 Timothy 4:12:

Psalm 55:22:

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