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Showing posts from October, 2019

to seek and to save the lost

And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today."  So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully.  And when they saw it, they all grumbled, "He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner."  And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold."  And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."  (Luke 19:5-10 ESV) "Open to him are a thousand ways to bring you and me to the very place and point where he desires to meet us. How many of us would have been saved, if the Lord had waited till we sought him out? Thanks be to God, he is a Savior who seeks the lost, who with eyes supernaturally farsighted discerns us a long way off,

legalism lacks

"Legalism lacks the supreme sense of worship.  It obeys but does not adore." (Geerhardus Vos, Grace and Glory )

history has a purpose and end

"Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory ."  (Matthew 24:30 ESV)  "But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells."  (2 Peter 3:13 ESV) History has a purpose.  History has a beginning and it has an end.  Christ, who is Alpha and Omega, shall come again.  His return shall be personal, visible, and glorious (underlined above in Matthew 24:30).  His coming, as Carl Henry notes below, is not primarily a catastrophic cosmic event, but rather it is the fulfillment of our deepest longings (and highest hopes) for a just and beautiful world.   "But, unlike current secular projections of the end, the final thrust of biblical eschatology is never catastrophe: what the Bible affirms is that the end of this age marks also the coming of a new world.  It doe

a restored self

"Creation was not so vast a work as redemption; for it is written of man and of all things that were made, 'He spake the word, and they were made.' (Psalm 148:5).  But to redeem that creation which sprang into being at His word, how much He spake, what wonders He wrought, what hardships He endured, what shames He suffered!  Therefore what reward shall I give unto the Lord for all the benefits which He hath done unto me?  In the first creation He gave me myself; but in His new creation He gave me Himself, and by that gift restored to me the self that I had lost.  Created first and then restored, I owe Him myself twice over in return for myself." ~ Bernard of Clairvaux (1090--1153), from On Loving God.

experiencing flannery

Our reading group is delving into the writings of Flannery O'Connor.  Here are a few short quotes from various sources... “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” “All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful.” “There is something in us, as storytellers and as listeners to stories, that demands the redemptive act, that demands that what falls at least be  offered the chance to be restored. The reader of today looks for this motion, and rightly so, but what he has forgotten is the cost of it. His  sense of evil is diluted or lacking altogether, and so he has forgotten the price of restoration."    “I think it is safe to say that while the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted.” “Whenever I’m asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks, I say it is because we are still able to  recognize one.” “Your criticism sounds to me as

bible study questions

Here are Ten Bible Study questions ,  taken  from Living by the Book ,  by Howard  and William  Hendricks  ( Moody, 1991) 1.   Is there an example to follow? 2.   Is there a sin to avoid? 3.   Is there a promise to claim? 4.   Is there a prayer to repeat? 5.   Is there a command to keep? 6.   Is there a condition to meet? 7.   Is there a verse to memorize? 8.   Is there an error to mark? 9.   Is there a challenge to face? 10. Is there an attribute to praise?

exclusive because universal

"He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.  For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to  dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross."  (Colossians  1:18-20 ESV)  Christianity is often seen and portrayed as being exclusive rather than inclusive, and culturally narrow rather than ethnically broad.  And yet, it  is precisely because Christianity is universal that it is therefore exclusive.  It is because Christ's work is so complete that all other ways are only  partial at best.  Herman Bavinck explains,    "Christianity is therefore the absolute religion, the only essential, true religion.  It does not grant that other religions are of almost equal worth  alongside of it.  It is, according to its nature, intolerant, even as the truth at all times is and must be opposed to falsehood.  It will not even be  satisfied by bei

a global movement

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"   (Revelation 7:9-10 ESV) Christianity is a global movement.  It is not confined to one language, one culture, or one ethnic group.  The Syrian Christians who are suffering are my family.  The North Korean Christians in prison are my brothers and sisters.  Many Iranians are even today coming to faith in Christ.  Men and women, boys and girls, from many nations are entering the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus!   I frequently have fellowship with Christians from Turkey, Kenya, and Brazil.  The Apostle Paul wrote of the church, "Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; b

how they started

I've always enjoyed these helpful drawings from Credo House.  So true.


Moses said, "Please show me your glory."  And he said, "I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name 'The LORD.' And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy."  But, he said, "you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live."  (Exodus 33:18-20 ESV) "Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!"  (Romans 11:33 ESV) "...he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen."  (1 Timothy 6:15-16 ESV) We know what we know about God because he chooses to reveal himself to us.  Though we may know him truly -- and we do -- we do not know him exhaustively .  We should always be aware

what gift is greater?

"I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians."  (Exodus 6:7 ESV) "What gift is greater than that of God himself?  What more can he give than himself--himself with all his virtues and perfections, with his grace and wisdom, with his righteousness and omnipotence, with his immutability and faithfulness?  For if God is for us then who will be against us [Rom. 8:31]?  Whatever we encounter, he is and remains ours, in distress and death, in living and dying, for time and eternity.  Indeed, he is not the God of the dead but of the living [Mark 12:27; Luke 20:38].  Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord [Ps. 33:12]!" ~ Herman Bavinck, The Sacrifice of Praise (Hendrickson, 2019) 

why you should read the sermons of Jonathan Edwards

I have read and profited immensely from reading Jonathan Edwards (1703--1758) over the past 20-some years.  Before you jump into some of his  longer works like A Treatise on Religious Affections (1746) or The End For Which God Created the World (1755), you may enjoy reading  some of his sermons first.   You may find reading these sermons a bit difficult at first, but keep at it.  Just remember, colonial New Englanders -- even shop-keepers and farmers in his church --  understood and followed him very well.  Your thinking and powers of concentration may be challenged, and they certainly will be enlarged! Here are five reasons you should read the sermons of Jonathan Edwards :    1)  His preaching is Biblical.   One thing I have learned from Jonathan Edwards is that no preacher has any authority apart from the Word  of God and the reasoned inferences and applications which come from it.  Edwards proclaimed, explained, and applied the Scriptures.  There is really no authori