Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In All Areas

"When people become Christians, they not only experience repentance, salvation and transformation on a personal level. They experience repentance, salvation and transformation in all areas of their worldview, their cultural values, their social affiliations and so on."
--Eckhard Schnabel, "Paul The Missionary", 412.

Paul, in his letter to the church at Rome writes that the gospel is "the power of God" (Romans 1:16). In other words, the gospel is explosive. It is explosive beyond anything we can fully comprehend. It is explosive in the kind of way that Schnabel describes here. The gospel isn't a ticket out of hell. It is the explosive power of God that resurrects poor helpless sinners from spiritual death unto life. It is a worldview shattering event. That is why Schnabel is right in saying that if you are a Christian, the gospel has penetrated all areas of life.

Beyond Description!

"What Christ acquired by this sacrifice is beyond description. For himself he acquired by it his entire exaltation, his resurrection, his ascension to heaven, his seating at the right hand of God, his elevation as head of the church, the name that is above every name, the glory of the mediator, power over all things in heaven and on earth, the final judgement. In addition he acquired for his own, for humanity, for the world, an interminable series of blessings. In his person he is himself the sum of all those blessings: the light of the world (John 8:12), the true bread (6:35), the true vine (15:1), the way, the truth, the resurrection, and the life (11:25; 14:6), our wisdom, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption (1 Cor. 1:30), our peace (Ephesians 2:14), the firstborn and the firstfruits who is followed by many others (Romans 8:29; 1 Cor. 15:23), the second and last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45), the head of the church (Eph. 1:22), the cornerstone of the temple of God (Eph. 2:20); and for that reason there is no participation in his benefits except by communion with his person."

Herman Bavinck, "Reformed Dogmatics: Sin and Salvation in Christ", 339. 

Great point by Bavinck at the end of the paragraph. None of the benefits of these glorious blessings are possible apart from a living union with the Son of God, by grace, through faith. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Why Do We Need the Old Testament?

"And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets,
he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself."
Luke 24:27

Why do we need the Old Testament? Because it is how we are to understand and interpret Jesus. Jesus himself states that all the OT is about him. The OT tells us of our need for a Savior and God's covenant promise to provide a savior. Therefore, we can't understand who Jesus is without understanding who he claimed to be. He claimed to be God's promised Messiah. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

The New Reality

"And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of of your flesh, 
God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,
by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. 
This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 
He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him."

Colossians 2:13-15

In verse 13, Paul identifies two problems for the unsaved person. They are spiritually dead and they are spiritually unclean. In other words, since birth,  our hearts are spiritually dead, and we are stained by our own sin. This is a hard pill that most people will not swallow. In fact, most of people spend their entire lives trying to cover the fact that their hearts are dead to the things of God, and to ignore the stain which sin has left upon their lives. As people, we go to great lengths to bury these realities. We want to believe that we are spiritually good, and that our sin is not that bad. But the Bible's testimony against man cannot be ignored. The Bible is forthright in its assessment of man. The reality is that since birth, we are spiritually dead, sinful people deserving nothing but God's wrath. 

Yet, Paul goes on to describe the glorious remedy which God has provided for those who are dying. God gives us new life and he forgives our sin. He gives us a new reality. He does this through his substitutionary work on the cross. This is something received, not earned. Being made alive, or having our sin forgiven is not something we can earn, or something we do, but rather it is something God did. God made us alive. God cancelled the record of debt that stood against us. He disarmed and defeated the power of evil in our lives. We are the recipients of God's marvelous work on the cross. 

God calls each one of us to live in this wonderful new reality; from dead, guilty, enslaved, hopeless sinners to born again, forgiven, redeemed saints. Today, I am thankful as I am reminded of this amazing new reality. I am thankful that some 6.5 years ago God called me out of the dark reality and made me spiritually alive, awakening me to the forgiveness that's in Christ. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Oh To Behold the Glory of Christ!

"Oh to behold the glory of Christ!
Here in would I live.
Here in would I die.
Here on would I dwell
in my thoughts and my affections,
until all things here below 
become as dead and deformed things,
and in no longer,
any way,
calling out for my affections."

John Owen

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Lord Wins

Came across this verse in the story of Israel crossing the Red Sea.

Exodus 14:14

"The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent."

Preceding it, Moses says to Israel in verse 13, "Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today..."

Proceeding it, the Lord says to Moses in verse 17b-18, "And I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen."

We know the plot.

The chapter ends in verse 31, "Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord..."


What jumps off the page is the Lord's perfect nature to make a promise, and get it done. No questions, no plan B's. He chooses to rescue Israel. He declares his will to do so. And accomplishes the task.

Also, what we see in this story like so many others in scripture, is the Lord's characteristic purpose in PROCLAIMING HIS NAME and REDEEMING HIS PEOPLE.

What a mighty God we serve. What an incredible confidence we have in His power not only to act for us, but then bring us to Himself.

How He Loves Sermon Jam

David Crowder Band with some Matt Chandler and John Piper mixed in.......doesn't get much better than that!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Article About East St. Louis

As most of you know, I've started working with an inner-city ministry called Rebirth East St. Louis. I just wanted to share a link to the most recent blog post on Rebirth's website which contains a story from the Riverfront Times about the East St. Louis football program (which I coach for) and what life looks like for many of the kids I work with. Enjoy!

Here is the link to the Rebirth blog

Here is a direct link to the article

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Who Delivered Up Jesus?

From Chris Kristas:

"Who delivered up Jesus to die? Not Judas, for money; not Pilate, for fear; not the Jews, for envy; — but the Father, for love."

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Lord of Patience

In my opinion, this is the best song on Shai Linne's new album. I Highly recommend listening to this and soaking in the lyrics. What a great depiction of God's marvelous grace for poor and needy sinners!

Heavenly Father, we come to You in the name of Jesus
It's because of His righteousness that we pray You receive this
Lord, you're holy, we shouldn't even be in Your presence
Due to our sin, we don't deserve the least of Your blessings
But through the cross and believing that Jesus is risen
Even the worst of sinners can be redeemed and forgiven
I'm living proof when I say this and these are truthful statements
You're beautiful when displaying Your unusual patience
You take the blasphemous- pridefully stuck in our blindness
Instead of smashing us, decided to love us with kindness
Even with unbelievers facing Your terror, You slow up
Like when You waited patiently in the era of Noah
We know that with You, a day is just like a thousand years
So does that mean for every sin, You cry a thousand tears?
Who can record Your graces? Adored through scores of ages
Your reward is the nations, for You are the Lord of patience

Our Sovereign God, You are
The Lord of Patience, yeah
Your wrath, Oh God, we deserve
Christ has taken, yeah

Gracious God, You are
Slow to anger, yeah
You're Lord of patience and
You love us patiently

Lord, we worship You, we know that everything we owe You
And when we reflect on the time before we came to know You
How we were unbelievers committing tons of treason
We had a hundred reasons why we wouldn't come to Jesus
But they were all excuses because our thoughts were useless
That's what the dark produces, Father, You already knew this
We were foolish and clueless, just as ruthless as Judas
Who knew that You would choose to pursue us and move to woo us
So after waiting with patience as we would run from You
You activated our faith so that we would come to You
Your law exposed our sin so that we would know the danger
And take refuge in the Holy Savior who's slow to anger
And as our teary eyes beheld the cross of our King
We understood the true meaning of long-suffering
Who can record Your graces? Adored through scores of ages
Your reward is the nations, for You are the Lord of patience

And now that we're in Christ, the thing that is amazing to us
Is that You still continue to display Your patience to us
Through all our stumbles and falls and our idolatry
Through all our grumbling and all of our hypocrisy
Our self-righteousness, with brothers and sisters we're hostile
Our unforgiveness- all because we're just missing the gospel
We should be slow to anger, but Your Word- we're slow to hear it
Oh Father, help us please! We truly need Your Holy Spirit!
He is the only Person who can shape this fruit within us
We praise the risen Savior who is able to present us
Without an ounce of blame, with zero doubt or shame
Lord Jesus, down You came from heaven to announce Your reign
In the hearts of Your people, and now we have the truth
And gladly choose to praise You for all of Your attributes
Who can record Your graces? Adored through scores of ages
Your reward is the nations, for You are the Lord of patience

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Gift of Peace to God's People

"Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints"
Psalm 85:8

"The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace"
Psalm 29:11

"And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His government and its peace will never end."
Isaiah 9:6-7

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ"
Romans 5:1

"I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation. but take heart; I have overcome the world."
John 16:33

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Result of Our Adoption

"For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God"
Romans 8:14

Adoption is one of most glorious doctrines in the Christian faith. It is also one that makes Christianity unique from other religions. Most religions in a general sense teach that if we follow some code of rules or perform certain rituals, then we are good with God. He is then beholden to bless or favor us. However, Christianity teaches that there is nothing we could ever do to earn God's favor and that we are enslaved to sin, unable to free ourselves. We are too far gone, lost, and without hope. Yet, from eternities past, God had a marvelous plan to bring lost humanity back to him. He had a plan for cosmic redemption, in which lost, hopeless, broken sinners would be supernaturally adopted into God's family. The gospel is essentially how God has redeemed His people from the bondage and penalty of sin, and has then brought them into His family. He has done this through his Son Jesus. We are adopted by being inseparably united to Jesus. This adoption is not temporary, but eternal. It is not conditional, but unconditional. It is not breakable, but unbreakable. We don't maintain our status as adopted children by good works, or performance, rather we are fully considered sons or daughters of Christ because of Christ's finished work. This is our assurance. 

And what is the result of our adoption in Christ.....
  • Every spiritual blessing in Him (Ephesians 1:3)
  • Forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7)
  • United to Christ and indwelled with God's Holy Spirit (Romans 8:15)
  • God is now our Father to whom we have intimate access (Romans 8:15)
  • God assures of our salvation (Romans 8:16)
  • We have a family inheritance (Romans 8:17)
  • We have a family resemblance (Romans 8:14,17)
  • We receive fatherly discipline (Hebrews 12:5-11)
  • We have a sure hope in our final redemption (Romans 8:19-24)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Perfection of Beauty

Shai Linne's new CD entitled The Attributes of God just dropped a few days ago. I think it's his best work yet and highly recommend it. I am amazed at how Shai is able to portray God's magnificence and exalt his glory. I am thankful for how God has gifted certain people in the arts, in order that we may more clearly see Jesus and behold His Beauty. I'll probably be posting a few songs here in the next couple days. Here's the opening track of the CD, Perfection of Beauty. It is written and performed by his wife Blair Linne. Hope you enjoy.

Perfection of Beauty
Written by Blair Linne

Beauty is sold in exchange for a "dime"
Nothing to attract us to You, yet we worship Your creation as fine
Captivated by its forbidden fruit
Pleasing our senses, so we suppress the truth
And eat the lie
Media's fig leaf deadening our soul and mind
Sin blinding us to You
The only objective Beauty that's truly absolute
Hidden in the symmetry of Your goodness, glory and truth
Each attribute working harmoniously
Justice with patience, wrath with graciousness
Omnipotence with humility, long-suffering with faithfulness
Each a note to a sweet melody
The ultimate hymn entitled "God's Beauty"
Immutable, no change
Because "dimes" get lost daydreaming in dark gutters
Unable to hear the call to wake up
They, the noose, dripping honeysuckle
Lips pasted on with Mac makeup
If they truly beheld Your beauty
You'd make magazines and Mattell go bankrupt
You sent Your Beloved to be lifted up
On a beautiful, seemingly ugly cross
The visible image of Your hiddenness
Only You are beautiful and yet invisible
True beauty is spiritual

Therefore, sanctify our worldly minds
Your complexion is unappealing to lustful eyes
Besides, apart from new birth in Christ
Sinners beholding Your Holy beauty would die
Therefore, beauty residing in the eye of the beholder is a lie
It is found in the Beautiful One- The Most High

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Short Spill on Grace

A video from the Passion4ChristMovement....... well worth the 6 minutes.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Magnificence of Grace

"The insanity of sin was seen as the 1st Adam hid behind a tree, the magnificence of grace was seen as the 2nd Adam hung upon a tree"

Scotty Smith, yesterday during chapel @ Covenant Theological Seminary

Friday, November 4, 2011

His Dying Breath

"then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and them an became a living creature." Genesis 2:7

"And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last." Mark 15:37

The very same breath that God breathed into us, God then gave up for us, in order to redeem us. His dying breath has brought us back to life.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Characteristics of our Lord

Mark 12: 14a

"And they (Pharisees) came and said to him, "Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone's opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God."


The apostle Mark recorded some neat information regarding the person of Jesus. What I think is most interesting about these words is that they are from the mouths of Pharisees. Now, I don't know whether they were said in pretense or sincerity, but at the end of the day, they pin-point the character of this man, Jesus, dead on!

1. Do not care about anyone's opinion
2. Not swayed by appearances

How practical are these descriptions. I think about both of these things, other people's opinions and appearances, way too often. How subtly they can creep into my mind and rob me of peace and joy during the day. They are symptomatic of a chronic disbelief in where my identity lies. Throughout the book of Mark, Jesus knows his identity as the Christ, the Son of God, the Messiah, and everyone else refuses to see it and believe. As each chapter progresses, it seems bits and pieces of his identity are revealed to us, when in chapter 8, Peter declares He is Christ, and chapter 15, when the centurion declared He is the Son of God. Amidst all the animosity and hostility, Jesus perfectly remains true to his identity in every conversation and every teaching. Even the Pharisees saw it!

The two things listed above finely depict the culture we live in today: one that upholds truth as relative and appearance as something to be sought after. It actually might not be too different from the Pharisaic culture Jesus was surrounded by each day. Anyway, the story of the gospel is that we are handed, guaranteed, and already have been given the identity of Christ as our absolute truth and our real appearance, through faith in Jesus's life, death and resurrection, which we read about in Mark. Jesus walked through life for us already, so that when we do encounter similar situations that threaten our identity, we may have hope that the hostility we are sure to receive has already been defeated on the cross!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Love of Christ is Rich and Free

1. The love of Christ is rich and free;
Fixed on His own eternally;
Nor earth, nor hell, can it remove;
Long as He lives, His own He’ll love.

2. His loving heart engaged to be
Their everlasting Surety;
’Twas love that took their cause in hand,
And love maintains it to the end.
Chorus: Love cannot from its post withdraw;
Nor death, nor hell, nor sin, nor law,
Can turn the Surety’s heart away;
He’ll love His own to endless day.

3. Love has redeemed His sheep with blood;
And love will bring them safe to God;
Love calls them all from death to life;
And love will finish all their strife.

4. He loves through every changing scene,
Nor aught from Him can Zion wean;
Not all the wanderings of her heart
Can make His love for her depart.
(Repeat chorus)

5. At death, beyond the grave, He’ll love;
In endless bliss, His own shall prove
The blazing glory of that love
Which never could from them remove.

Listen to this song here. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011