What Does the Church Most Need Today?
“O Israel, if you would but listen to me!”
The failure of Israel to hear the Word of God was rectified by God’s own Son. Jesus always heard and honored God’s Word. His Father delighted in Him for that reason: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 17:5). Jesus perfectly listened and followed so that His people would have... Continue Reading
Responses to Crumbling Foundations
The Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face. The destiny of the righteous is certain.
Three correct responses of God’s people when the foundations of righteousness around them are crumbling: In the Lord I take refuge. The Lord is in his holy temple. The Lord has determined the destiny of the wicked and the righteous. When the foundations of society appear to be crumbling around us, what should the... Continue Reading
Why We Work
Why it’s good, why it’s hard, why it’s still worth doing, and when it will be redeemed.
God makes humans and then he invites humans into the work of creating other humans. God calls us to himself as disciples and then invites us into the Great Commission work of making other disciples. The same is true of the other, more mundane work that fills our days. In one sense, it has inherent... Continue Reading
The Leaven of Patience
Patience belongs to the well-being of relationships, providing an elasticity instead of a brittleness that easily breaks.
It is interesting that the apostle reinforces patience with the phrase of bearing with one another. Patience suggests purposeful restraint. We find this illustrated in God, who in His divine forbearance did not impose His wrath prior to the incarnation of Christ (Rom. 3:25-26) and even now tarries in patience, “not wishing that any should... Continue Reading
Exemplary Prayers-Acts 4:23-30
The more Scripture gets into our prayer, the more we can be sure we are praying according to God's will.
I want my prayers to be more like this: diving more deeply into the beauty of God’s character, the power of His promises, and the perfection of His will. Surely prayers like this will be the ones most honoring to Him, most helpful for my own soul, and most rewarded with God’s blessing. When... Continue Reading
The Surpassing Worth of Knowing Christ
Paul gave up everything he had gained in the Jewish world for the Christ he sought to destroy.
How do you explain this? Only one explanation will work—he saw something that had more value. God revealed Christ to him in a vision. After that he was as gentle and submissive as a newborn. Meeting Christ was just that powerful. It was the surpassing value that turned everything upside down in a moment. ... Continue Reading
The Laborers Multiply
Who knows what the Lord will do as we serve Him in the variety of callings He gives.
Perhaps as we are laboring in uncommon ways, God may even make iron to float. May the Lord help us to labor diligently in His kingdom in whatever form that labor may take so that we may see many converted and entering the Kingdom. And the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “See... Continue Reading
Jesus Is the True and Faithful Gardener Who Cares for Your Soul
Consider the theological significance of the following two Garden settings in which Christ carried out the work of redemption.
Adam was called to guard and keep the Garden. This certainly included his need to protect his bride from the temptations of the evil one. When Jesus entered into his sufferings on the cross, he did so with His bride—the church—with him there in the Garden. As Adam should have warned Eve to “watch and... Continue Reading
Learning to Wait Well
Those who trust in God while they wait can be sure they are never out of his sight.
Because our joy and gladness come from our Lord more than from specific answers to our prayers. Because we love his salvation and experience his goodness again and again as a result of it. He is always writing new chapters, new stories, giving us fresh reasons to declare his steadfast love and faithfulness. And as... Continue Reading
A Friend in High Places
Christian prayer is about using our connection with Jesus to gain access to a space we would otherwise be unable to access on our own.
One of the most important things for us to understand about what it means for us to pray as Christians is this: of all the special places in creation to which we might have access because of our connection to someone, the most precious is the access we have to the heavenly throne room of... Continue Reading
The Foundations Are Not Destroyed
Man’s foundations may crumble, but the bedrock foundations that God laid are established forever.
In Psalm 11, David is reaffirming the foundations that God set out in Psalms 1 and 2. He’s readjusting his image of reality with God’s image of reality. The foundations look like they’re crumbling, and they may be in the societies of men, but those foundations are still there, because God laid those foundations, and... Continue Reading
Getting John 1:12 Right: Should You Invite Jesus Into Your Heart?
When we use the concept of “inviting Christ into the heart” we are robbing faith of its richness.
The wrong use of John 1:12 has to do with the use of the word “receive” which is taken to mean that an unconverted person is to “ask Jesus into his heart” as the invitation of the gospel. The wrong use of this word, in tandem with Revelation 3:20 (“Behold I stand at the door... Continue Reading
What is the Meaning of Life?
If you want to know why you are here, you have to start in the beginning. And in the beginning, there was God.
Think about that! The God whom we sinned against, paid the price to reconcile us to Himself! What an amazing act of love! What kind of God turns His wrath upon His own Son so that His people might not perish under it? A God worthy of your submission and worship, that’s what kind of God.... Continue Reading
Three Words to Remind You of the Goodness of God
How. Much. More.
Now there is a question, in the midst of all the questions of the day, to lift the soul of the Christian. Ask yourself today, then, when you encounter a shadow. A shadow of joy, a shadow of comfort, a shadow of friendship, a shadow of grace. Bask in the shadows that give relief from... Continue Reading
To the Pastor Who Feels Inadequate
If we felt sufficient for these days and this calling, then something would be terribly wrong.
And yet, as inadequate as we most certainly are—the Lord has made us more than adequate to fulfill our calling. Isn’t that what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:5–6? “Not that we are adequate in ourselves … but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant.” We... Continue Reading
We Cannot Domesticate Jesus
Beholding is becoming. Seeing Christ saves and sanctifies.
When we see Jesus for who he really is, we savor him. That is, we delight in him as true and beautiful and satisfying. That is my goal, because two things flow from such an experience of Jesus Christ: he is honored, and we are freed by joy to walk the narrow way of love.... Continue Reading
6 Reasons Why Adam and Eve’s Eating of the Forbidden Fruit Was a Terrible Transgression Against God
Making sense of why Jesus had to succeed where Adam failed.
The moment Adam and Eve ate the fruit, their eyes were opened—but not in the way Satan led them to believe. They painfully saw the shame of their sin and rebellion against God and attempted in vain to hide from him. The theologian Herman Bavinck writes: “Why did God create the world? the answer... Continue Reading
The Priority of Grace
Diving Further into Justification
God must work in us before we can move towards him. Our hope is founded upon the reality that God first moves graciously towards us and works within us before we come to him in faith. We thus are dependent upon God’s grace from the first to the last. According to the Bible, humanity... Continue Reading
Communicable Attributes: How Kind of You!
Called to emulate God’s character, we must go to the Teacher himself.
Those who are the best models of kindness are those who understand, model, and wisely teach others what the Teacher Himself has taught. As Paul reminded Timothy, “the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach,” etc. (2 Tim 2:24). Kindness is one of God’s communicable attributes, those He... Continue Reading
Guerrilla Cultural Warfare
The signs are there that churches are being riven by the culture wars.
Guerrilla warfare has reached the pews. What will our response be? Perhaps it’s less vociferous in the rest of the West, but as they say, when America sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold, or a virus more deadly perhaps. That’s totally possible. The Culture War threatening to tear the West apart... Continue Reading
How Creating a Context Vacuum Sucks Us into Overwriting God’s Word
Changing the context changes the meaning.
Reading a verse in isolation creates a context vacuum that is quickly filled with our own life context, which creates a new meaning. God’s intended meaning is overwritten by our own meaning. It’s easy to overwrite the meaning of God’s word. We can do it without trying because the process is almost automatic. That’s... Continue Reading
Teaching Kids Regular Rhythms of Worship
In worship, we hear Christ speak and then, by faith, respond.
During the Reformation, John Calvin saw a need to help the church rehearse gospel rhythms when it gathered for worship. His liturgy, or order of worship, followed three movements—a cycle of adoration, a cycle of renewal, and a cycle of commitment. When you think about explaining a worship service to kids, you might say... Continue Reading
What Is Your Area of Influence?
Each one of us has a particular and unique area of influence.
We all have our own gifts and callings that can be used, and if nothing else, we all live in a particular sphere of family and friends that no one else does. So the close relationships one person has with his own family members, his circles of friends, his workmates or classmates, etc, are largely... Continue Reading
The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self
Exploring the Western world’s evolving understanding of the self.
Trueman is convinced that the changes we have seen in sexual mores since the 1960s are symptomatic of the deeper changes “in how we think of the purpose of life, the meaning of happiness, and what actually constitutes people’s sense of who they are and what they are for.” “I am a woman trapped... Continue Reading
To Be or Not to Be—Thankful
If everything that exists, exists by chance, and thus has no purpose, how can anyone be grateful for anything if they believe that nothing has any purpose?
What is so wonderful is that this great and good God is our Lord, the one whom we serve. In our service to Him, we glorify and enjoy Him. We glorify Him because He is our true joy in life, and we enjoy Him because He is truly glorious. We have a profound and significant... Continue Reading
A New Video on the Pilgrims
Celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Voyage of Mayflower
One way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to rehearse the history of the Pilgrims and the Mayflower. You can recount this history by watching a new video on the Pilgrims recently released. The Pilgrims, 17th-Century English Emigrants is a 30-minute documentary in celebration of the 400th anniversary this year of the voyage of Mayflower. Among the... Continue Reading
What Is Thanksgiving Day?
Thanksgiving is an American holiday that stretches all the way back to a time long before America became a nation.
We should not be counted among those who see the fourth Thursday in November as nothing more than a day of football and over-indulgence. We should be thankful for one day set apart to consider all that we have and realize that all that we have has been given to us. Of course, such gratitude... Continue Reading
The Necessary Vigilance of Religious Freedom
Principles to guide believers as they practice their faith in relation to civil authority and within the church.
The principle is that the Christian must never submit to extra-biblical regulations upon religious observance as mandatory. To do so would be to lay down the freedoms which we have obtained in Christ as a matter of obedience to another authority. When we submit to the will of others in extra-biblical religious matters, we must... Continue Reading
Praying Thankfully: A Thanksgiving Meditation
If ever you find yourself at a loss for words, there is something you can do. Turn to the Lord's Prayer.
Martin Luther employed the Lord’s Prayer encouraging disciples to use each clause as a hook on which to hang thoughts of their own. From each clause of the Prayer, he recommended making “a garland of four twisted strands” by, (1) identifying the truth(s) taught, (2) expressing thankfulness for all the good gifts suggested, (3) confessing... Continue Reading
Man will do anything he can to suppress, hold down, and withhold God’s truth.
For those of us in Christ as we look at the sorry state of the vast multitudes of humanity who are lost in their rebellion against the knowledge of God, we should realize what a blessing it is that our God had mercy on us and drew us to Himself, justifying us by grace through... Continue Reading