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Showing posts from November, 2016

abraham's faith

Sermon notes & quotes on Romans 4:13-25.  Download or stream "Abraham's Faith"   What is faith?  Is it...  -- a feeling of dependence or that everything is going to work out? -- sincerely believing in something but the something doesn’t really matter? -- believing in faith itself, as in “just have enough faith”?  -- believing a creed or set of doctrines? -- a leap in the dark, believing in something that is empirically unproven? -- wish fulfillment, or visualizing a future outcome that we desire? -- making a decision or "going forward" in a church service? Four key concepts from Romans 4:13-25, which are characteristics of Abraham's faith that apply also to believers today.  PROMISE / POWER / POSSESSION / PERSON 1) PROMISE. Faith looks to God’s gracious word of promise . (4:16-17, 20) It is not wishful thinking, projection, or a feeling, but is  based upon God's revelation, in words, focusing upon a promise given in grace. Unless sal

the God of the covenant

Among rational and moral creatures all higher life takes  the form of a covenant.  Generally, a covenant is an  agreement between persons who voluntarily obligate and  bind themselves to each other for the purpose of fending  off an evil or obtaining a good.  Such an agreement,  whether it is made tacitly or defined in explicit  detail, is the usual form in terms of which all humans  live and work together.  Love, friendship, marriage, as  well as all social cooperation in business, industry,  science, art, and so forth, is ultimately grounded in a  covenant, that is, in reciprocal fidelity and an  assortment of generally recognized moral obligations. It should not surprise us, therefore, that also the  highest and most richly textured life of human beings,  namely, religion bears this character.  In Scripture  "covenant" is the fixed form in which the relation of  God to his people is depicted and presented.  ..covenant is the essence of true religion. Why should this b

burdened or annoyed?

And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.  (Acts 2:46-47 ESV) "Are you burdened about the state of your country?  Are you merely annoyed at the increase in sin, or is your heart full of sorrow for poor men and women who are its victims?  Are you merely annoyed with young people, or do you feel sorry for them because they do know any better, because they have never heard about God and Christ and the possibility of being children of God?  Are you just irritated by them, or does your heart bleed for them?  Do you want to show them this 'marvelous light'?  Do you want to hold before them 'the word of life'?  People come together in fellowship in order that they might shine more brightly and show this evil generation to which they belong that there is

the quotable parsons

Burk & Amber Parsons Twitter is my main social media venue because I can receive short (140 characters short) insights from a variety of people.  I have enjoyed reading the tweets of Burk Parsons, who is editor of Tabletalk magazine and serves as co-pastor of Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Florida. He also has the distinction of being one of the founding members of the Backstreet Boys.  See Challies' interview with Parsons here .   Here are a few recent tweets from the quotable @BurkParsons...  "Theology is not simply the pursuit of knowledge about God, it's the pursuit of God himself."   "Beware of those who teach theology without using the Bible."   "W e can't do theology without doing careful exegesis."   "Pastors, if we focus on our sermon, our people get a sermon, but if we focus on Christ, our people get Christ."   "Seeking first God's kingdom is the antidote to worrying about tomorrow because i

articles by alistair roberts

Oxford (UK) city skyline I've recently enjoyed articles by Alistair Roberts in the U.K. and his insights into the state of evangelicalism in our country.  In the first article he describes the decline of the impact of evangelical scholarship, and in the second he describes the influence of what he calls " Manichaean social justice ideology." "Lessons From the Collapse of American Protestantism" "Currently we face another critical juncture in the development of the American public square and Christians’ place within it. An increasingly dominant secular liberalism antagonistic to orthodox Christian faith will only accelerate the process of squeezing evangelicals out of public life." "Further Thoughts on How Social Justice Ideology Fuels Racism and Sexism" "Rather than adopting a gentle approach to navigating the differences between groups, seeking for ways for people with different values and beliefs to live together i

we can know the incomprehensible God

"Mystery is the lifeblood of dogmatics. To be sure, the term 'mystery' in Scripture does not mean an abstract supernatural  truth in the Roman Catholic sense. Yet Scripture is equally far removed from the idea that believers can grasp the revealed  mysteries in a scientific sense. In truth, the knowledge that God has revealed of himself in nature and Scripture far  surpasses human imagination and understanding. In that sense it is all mystery with which the science of dogmatics is  concerned, for it does not deal with finite creatures, but from beginning to end looks past all creatures and focuses on the  eternal and infinite One himself. From the very start of its labors, it faces the Incomprehensible One. "All things are considered in the light of God, subsumed under him, traced back to him as the starting point.  Dogmatics is  always called upon to ponder and describe God and God alone, whose glory is in creation and re-creation, in nature and grace,  in the wo

double imputation

It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:26 ESV) "At the heart of the gospel is a double imputation. My sin is imputed to Jesus. His righteousness is imputed to me. And in this two-fold transaction we see that God -- who does not negotiate sin, who doesn't compromise his own integrity with our salvation, but rather punishes sin fully and really, after it has been imputed to Jesus -- retains his own righteousness, and so he is both just and the justifier, as the Apostle tells us here. So, my sin goes to Jesus; his righteousness comes to me, in the sight of God... This is the article upon which the church stands or falls." ~ R. C. Sproul, "The Protestant View of Justification" in the series, "Luther and the Reformation" 

the responsibility of the church toward society

The following paragraphs are taken from the conclusion of an article by J. Gresham Machen, originally published in 1933 in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science .  Machen is addressing the relevance of the Christian message to American education early in the 20th century.  He answers the question of what responsibility the church has in working for the betterment of society...  "The message will not be enforced by human authority or the pomp of numbers.  Yet some of you may hear it.  If you do hear it and heed it, you will possess riches greater than the riches of all the world. "Do you think that if you heed the message you will be less successful students of political and social science; do you think that by becoming citizens of another world you will be come less fitted to solve this world's problems; do you think that acceptance of the Christian message will hinder political or social advance?  No, my friends, I will present to you a s