Tuesday, September 30, 2008

reading the old testament

I picked up the book The Message of the Old Testament by Mark Dever at the Desiring God conference this past weekend.

Today I opened it up and read the foreword and since I have been talking about this very thing for months and months at the church, I thought I'd share a little of what Graeme Goldsworthy had to say:

Why then is the first question we often ask about a passage in the Old Testament, "What does this tell us about ourselves?" Surely, the first and main question we should ask is, "How does this passage testify to Christ?"

We must always begin with the latter question because Jesus Christ, the fulfiller of the Old Testament, is the one who alone defines the life of the Christian. If the Old Testament does not point to Christ, it does not point to the Christian either. For a sermon to be authentically and Christianly people-centered it must first be Christ-centered. We can learn much from the lives and experiences of the men and women, both good and bad, who come before us in the pages of the Old Testament. But, in the final analysis, only Christ can define how those individuals are good or bad. Furthermore, our Christian growth comes from becoming more like Christ, not more like Abraham or David or Daniel. These heroes of the Old Testament are examples for us only insofar as they foreshadow and point to Christ.


Monday, September 29, 2008


Well, my brother and I made it back safely and in less than 18 hours (that was a crazy trip back last February).

It was a great weekend with hours of great teaching. I would highly recommend you reading, watching or listening to every one of the sessions (8 in all).

Specifically I believe you should listen to these: (well, i'll have to add the links later...because there seems to be an error on the site...stay tuned)

links are updated and the desiring God site seems to be up and running again

Mark Driscoll's talk on the use of tough language

Bob Kauflin's amazing talk on words and worship

John Piper's words of warning

Sinclair Ferugson's walk through James


Saturday, September 27, 2008

day one of the conference

Tonight was the first night of the Desiring God National Conference. My brother, Justin, and I are both attending.

Tonight we met a lady named Cheryl and a few members of her family. She's a good lady who goes to John Piper's church. She has a passion for hearing and making sure that the word of God is preached diligently from the Scriptures.

Also, tonight, was the first time I've heard Sinclair Ferguson live and it was a real treat. He spoke on James 3 and it was both encouraging and challenging. To live with a bridled tongue, under control, is a constant battle. But, thanks be to God, that Christ is our salvation.

I encourage you to give both the sermon and the Q&A with Piper, Driscoll and Ferguson afterward at desiringgod.org.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

the crucifixion

Sunday evening I took my youth group into the depths of the crucifixion of Jesus. It was a pretty eye-opening night for some of them, as was told by their shocked silence at the end of the night.

I encourage you to ponder not only the physical atrocity of the cross (which is immense) but the spiritual implications and what it means for you as a Christian.

The totality of Jesus purpose on this earth is finished at the cross where he bears the weight of the world's sin and gets the punishment we all deserve.

The cross is ugly and atrocious and, for Christians, that is also its beauty. The cross is the most prolific display of the love of God.

I encourage you to listen to a sermon, read a sermon or read a book on the subject. Some recommendations: this sermon by Mark Driscoll, this sermon by John Piper or this book by Martin Hengel.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

life and ministry of Jesus

Last week at Senior High I discussed the life and ministry of Jesus. We looked at several things including his parables, his healings, other miracles he performed and his sinlessness.

The main message of the evening (hopefully) was this: Jesus came to tell about himself and to die.

His purpose during his 33 years (and more specifically his last 3 1/2) was to tell the world the good news about himself and then die to fulfill what he had said. Here are a few of the "purpose" statements that Jesus said during his life.

Luke 4:43 "but he said to them, "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose."

John 10:10b "I came that they might have life and have it abundantly."

John 12:27 "Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? But for this purpose I have come to this hour."(in reference to his coming death)

John 18:37b "For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world--to bear witness to the truth."

Jesus didn't come to be a hip, trendsetting, peaceful dude. He came to seek and save that which was lost by dying on a cross. That was his purpose, his mission and his life.

Let us never lose sight of that as we read the Gospels.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Israel is our example; Christ is our Rock

Yesterday I had the great joy to preach on 1 Corinthians 10:1-22 in an ongoing series in our church in 1 Corinthians titled "The church that didn't have it all together."

The basics of the sermon are this: Israel screwed up, a lot, and God got mad, a lot. But, thankfully, God was also merciful because of His love, through Christ.

So, I work through several of the old testament stories mentioned in the text and then I sum it up with a warning against idolatry and an encouragement that Christ can be our victory.

The sermon
is about 35 minutes long.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

sunday school

My good friend, Andy, is teaching the Sunday School class that I attend. And I have to tell you, last Sunday was great.

The subject for the next, unknown, weeks is simply "The Gospel." What a great subject, I say.

Sunday we began a study on the Scriptures regarding the state of man, that is, his sinfulness and how it encompasses everything we are, everything we do, and, in the end, our ability to respond to the Gospel.

It was a refreshing Sunday and I look forward to many more where I am not the teacher, but the learner. I've never been so happy to be in a classroom.

I hope, for your sakes, that you have the same joy as I when you are taught of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Oh, and be on the lookout for another installment on my series on Christ...this week: The Life and Ministry of Jesus. (And, I'm preaching this Sunday out of 1 Corinthians 10...so I'll post a brief summary of that as well.)


Monday, September 8, 2008

the incarnation

The basic outline for my sermon last night at Senior High youth group was this:
The Incarnation: prophecy, its fulfillment and the purpose

I used several birth prophecies of Christ from the Old Testament.
The genealogies of Jesus:
Of Shem Genesis 9:26-27
Of Abraham Genesis 22:18
Of Isaac Genesis 17:21
Of Jacob Genesis 35:10-12
Of Judah Genesis 49:8-12
Of Jesse Isaiah 11:1-5
Of David 2 Samuel 7:12-16; Jeremiah 23:5; Psalm 89:3-4

All fulfilled in the genealogies of Jesus in Matthew 1 and Luke 3

Born of a virgin

Isaiah 7:14 "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign, “Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Emmanuel."

Fulfilled in Matthew 1:18

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way, when his mother, Mary, had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit…All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: (quote Isaiah 7:14)

Luke 1:34

And Mary said to the angel “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

I stayed for awhile on this point, which is under constant attack from many fronts, because if you toss out that Mary was a virgin you have to toss out Matthew, Mark, and Luke as reliable witnesses. That means that Acts is gone as well. It creates a snowball affect that destroys any attempts to validate the New Testament. Jesus was born of a virgin, a girl who'd never had sex, and conceived in the Holy Spirit.

I also talked about the complicatedness of the following prophecies all having to hit at the same time:
Born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)
Star to appear (Numbers 24:17)
Gifts from Kings (Psalm 72:10)
Slaughter of children (Jeremiah 31:15)
Flight to Egypt (Hosea 11:1)
Date of birth and death (Daniel 9)
Before Judah loses its right to rule (Genesis 49:10)

Then I talked of the significance of all these being true, that, indeed, Jesus was fully human, but that he also was the son of God (Psalm 2:7...fulfilled throughout the NT but especially Matthew 3:17; Luke 1:35; John 3:16; 1 John 5:20.)

Finally, the purpose of teaching the humanity of Jesus is found in Galatians 4:4 and a portion of Hebrews 2.

The basics of it are these:
To destroy the work of the devil
To deliver us from the fear of death
To be merciful to us when we are tempted
To receive adoption as sons
To become the propitiation of our sins.

Hebrews makes it very clear that it was necessary for Jesus to become like us, flesh and blood, so that his death would mean our guilt removed. If God were to have sacrificed his "eternal" nature (by somehow killing himself in the heavenly realms) then he would cease to exist and therefore our salvation and our world would be lost. Instead, he humbled himself to the point of death on the cross so that he could assume our punishment in bodily form without sacrificing his eternal nature to express his love in our salvation and joy.

It is in all of this that we rest. Jesus had to be human for all these reasons and with John we claim if you "deny that the Christ came in the flesh" then you have no part in salvation. Jesus was fully man. Let us never forget the love and humility it took to garner our salvation.

May our hearts burn within us just like the women in Luke 24.