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Posts Tagged ‘Christ’

L. Michael Morales writes:

“What do you think of the Christ?” In guiding the Jerusalem leaders to contemplate this question of eternal weight, Jesus turned to the authority of what is written “in the book of Psalms,” specifically Psalm 110 (Matt 22:41–46; Mark 12:35–37; Luke 20:40–44), and asked a question childlike in both simplicity and profundity, the answer to which plunges one into the unfathomable wonder of the incarnation of God: How could David refer to his son as Lord? This probing question was but the application of what Jesus would later declare, that he himself is the object of all the Scriptures of the Old Testament, summarizing their threefold division in Luke 24:44 as “the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms,” with the Psalms standing as the summary representative of the Writings.

Read the rest of the post here Jesus and the Psalms – The Gospel Coalition Blog.

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Tim Brister posted this quote recently from his reading of Octavius Winslow’s work “Morning Thoughts, or Daily Walking with God. I thought you might enjoy it.

But it is the office of the blessed and eternal Spirit to unfold, and so to glorify, Jesus in the Word. All that we spiritually and savingly learn of Him, through this revealed medium, is by the sole teaching of the Holy Spirit, opening up this word to the mind. He shows how all the luminous lines of Scripture truth emanate from, return to, and center in, Christ—how all the doctrines set forth the glory of His person, how all the promises are written in His heart’s blood, and how all the precepts are embodied in His life.

Follow the link below to get a copy of this book for your Kindle on Amazon.

via Amazon Kindle: Tim Brister shared from MORNING THOUGHTS, or DAILY WALKING WITH GOD.

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According to Erwin McManus your dreams are what will encourage you through hardships. This sounds very romantic and wonderful to think about, but the Bible nowhere uses such language and never does it have us turn inward to our dreams for strength in hard times. This is the kind of sentimental, self-help, motivational drivel that McManus continues to spew instead of turning the hearts and minds of people to the true nature of our strength in Jesus Christ and the hope that is found in Him.

In his first epistle, Peter deals with the difficulties of hardship, persecution, trials and tribulations and not once does he point us to our dreams as the means for dealing with our hardships. Peter points us to Christ and Christ alone.

Consider these words by Peter at the end of chapter 4:

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. By no means let any of you suffer as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not feel ashamed, but in that name let him glorify God. For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner? Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right. (I Peter 4:12-19)

John Piper in his sermon “Why We Can Rejoice in Suffering?” makes this wonderful comment on this passage:

The command is found in verse 13: “To the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing.” Keep on rejoicing. When you are thrown in the cellars of suffering, keep on rejoicing. When you dive in the sea of affliction, keep on rejoicing. In fact, keep on rejoicing not in spite of the affliction but even because of it. This is not a little piece of advice about the power of positive thinking. This is an utterly radical, abnormal, supernatural way to respond to suffering. It is not in our power. It is not for the sake of our honor. It is the way spiritual aliens and exiles live on the earth for the glory of the great King.

“Count it all joy when you meet various trials,” is foolish advice, except for one thing—God. Peter gives six reasons why we can “keep on rejoicing” when the suffering comes. They all relate to God.

He then goes on to give six reasons for rejoicing in suffering:

  1. Keep on rejoicing because the suffering is not a surprise but a plan.
  2. Keep on rejoicing because your suffering as a Christian is an evidence of your union with Christ.
  3. Keep on rejoicing because this joy will strengthen your assurance that when Christ comes in glory, you will rejoice forever with him.
  4. Keep on rejoicing in suffering because then the Spirit of glory and of God rest upon you.
  5. Keep on rejoicing in suffering because this glorifies God.
  6. Finally, keep on rejoicing because your Creator is faithful to care for your soul.

It’s interesting that Peter, nor any of the apostles, or Jesus Christ himself when dealing with the subject of hardship, suffering, persecution, pain, problems, trials, and tribulations never reference peoples dreams, but they all call us to look to our great, sovereign, glorious God for all our strength, courage and power to endure. I trust you will heed the truth of the Scriptures before you even consider the meaningless thoughts of Erwin McManus.

 

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Introduction

I had the opportunity a few years ago to read a book entitled The Death of Death in the Death of Christ by John Owen. What a beautiful title for a book, which is a polemic on the subject of Particular Redemption, or as some might call it, limited atonement. Most Reformed types, like myself, don’t really like the term “limited atonement,” primarily because it makes the atonement sound, well, limited! (Yea for simplicity!) There are generally two sides to the controversy. On one side are those who believe that Christ died for every person – past, present and future. One the other side are those who say that Christ only died for God’s elect. What you might find interesting is that both sides limit the atonement. Those who say Christ died for everyone highlight God’s inclusiveness and love, and is commendable, because they want to demonstrate the breadth of God’s love for everyone. In doing so, however, they limit the efficacious nature of the atonement, and the depth of God’s love for His own. Those who say Christ, by His death and resurrection, redeemed a particular people that God had chosen from before time began – highlight the efficacious nature of the atonement (that is accomplished a purchase by carrying out a definite transaction, but they limit the inclusiveness, the breadth of the atonement.

In the next several articles, I would like to present a defense of Particular Redemption. The source I will be using is John Owen’s masterpiece previously mentioned. The book was originally published in 1650, but the edition I will be using is the 2007 “The Banner of Truth Trust” edition (featuring J.I. Packer’s lengthy introduction). I pray that you will read these articles with a humble heart and an open Bible. I will be citing often-lengthy quotes from Owen’s book, then summarizing or commenting on them as the article progresses. I would like to encourage you to comment and dialogue with us here. I also pray that as you truly come to understand this doctrine, you might find just how God-exalting it is. Remember, we are saved by grace, and our salvation is all of grace. Those who see this doctrine as unfair might reexamine their understanding of God’s holiness, and just how merciful God is to save any of us at all. That God would send His own Son with the definite purpose of completing atoning any of us is glorious because it shows just how great God is to carry out His purposes from beginning to end, and how great His covenant love is for us. For if He died specifically for us, we have every reason to believe He will give us all we need.

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There is a type of Christianity that is being spread among our churches at a rampant pace that has been rightly titled “Christless Christianity.” You can find it among many of the seeker-sensative, purpose-driven, emergenat churches like Saddleback (Rick Warren), Mosaic (Erwin McManus), and Mars Hill (Rob Bell), just to name a few.

Now you may be saying to yourself, I’ve listened to these guys preach and they mention Christ all the time. The great deception about Christless Christianity is not that Christ is not being mentioned in sermons, but that Christ is not the central figure of the sermon, nor is the cross the central point of the sermon.

If you’d like to more about what Christless Christianity is all about I would like to make two suggestions for you.

1. Get Dr. Michael Horton’s book by that very title – Christless Christianity.

2. Visit the Ligonier website and watch or listen to the seminars given at the Christless Christianity conference they did earlier this year.

If you’re still unsure, make a comment and let’s have a discussion about the matter.

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The following comes from The Gospel Coalition blog posted February 15, 2010 by Chris Tomlinson. You can find the online source here.

Is it possible to talk too much about the cross?

I ask this question only because some preachers and writers and teachers seem to talk about the cross a lot.  Some do so almost continually.  We can understand why they might carry on in this way because we know the primacy and weight of Calvary.  But there are still times this thought crosses many of our minds:  “Great, so I understand the cross is important.  But can’t we move on to the next topic?”

We say this sort of thing when we feel our faith is about more than Jesus.  And in one sense, we can say this is true.  Our faith is about God’s glory, and our joy, and loving others, and meeting the needs of the oppressed, and being made holy, and sojourning through life, and laying up treasures in heaven, and all sorts of other things.  In this way, we are saying the expression of our faith is about many things.

But in another sense, the entirety of our faith is about Jesus. God’s grand, redemptive story begins with a foretelling of the coming Seed.  His chosen servants foreshadow His mission.  His prophets herald His arrival.  As history progresses onward, we begin to see the entirety of God’s revelation to humanity as pointing towards the advent of the Messiah.  This is perhaps why Paul says, “All the promises of God find their Yes in Him” (2 Cor 1:20).  In this second kind of way, we are saying the purpose of our faith is about one thing:  Jesus.

So when we find the purpose of our faith is about Jesus, we have to ask ourselves the question:  why is this so?  What is it about the person of Jesus, the mission of Jesus, the work of Jesus, which makes Him the reason for our faith?  And this is what leads us to the cross.

Here’s why the cross matters It is at the cross that we see God most clearly. If history were the vastness of space, the cross would be its brightest star.  We see the fullness of God’s being most clearly at the cross.  We see the fullness of His active purposes most clearly at the cross.

At the cross

…We see God’s sovereignty—reigning with absolute control over humanity’s greatest sin.

…We see God’s purpose—making known the mystery of His will prepared before time.

…We see God’s plan—to unite all things, on heaven and on earth, in Him.

…We see God’s judgment—requiring recompense for guilt.

…We see God’s holiness—demanding the perfect sacrifice.

…We see God’s power—crushing the Son of God according to the purpose of His will.

…We see God’s wrath—punishing the wretchedness of sin.

…We see God’s sorrow—wailing as only a forsaken son can.

…We see God’s mystery—the Son, as God, separated from the Father, committing His Spirit to God.

…We see God’s compassion—pleading to the Father to forgive the ignorant.

…We see God’s gift—His one and only Son, bruised and broken on our behalf.

…We see God’s mercy—making unrighteous sinners righteous.

…We see God’s love—Christ dying for sinners.

…We see God’s rescue operation—delivering us from the domain of darkness to the kingdom of His Son.

…We see God’s proposal—pledging Himself to His bride forever.

…We see God’s revelation—the Word of God speaking His last so He might speak on behalf of many.

…We see God’s victory—disarming His enemies, putting them to shame, and triumphing over them.

…We see God’s glory—the name of the Father being magnified for the sake of all peoples.

But seeing God most clearly is not an end to itself. If it were, then the point of all history would be our own clarity of sight.  But that is not history’s purpose.  Everything exists for Jesus, so that in everything He might be preeminent.  We study the Scriptures to know more of God.  We look forward with great hope to the day we will see Him face to face.  But in the here and now, we know God most fully when we look upon the person and work of Jesus on the cross.

It is only when we behold the Son of God most clearly that we can magnify Him most fully, acknowledging His preeminence in all things, which reflects more brightly the reality of His glory.  This is why one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, because on that day, all will see Him as He is, either toward our greatest joy or our greatest sorrow.

So if you preach and teach about the cross, remember that we, as your people, need the lens of your preaching to continually focus our hearts on the crucified Son of God.  And if we hear or read about the cross and wonder what is next, that we’re ready to move beyond it, let us remember that the cross matters for our yesterday, and our today, and our tomorrow.

And let us always hold the best of our hearts, the fullness of our hearts, for the One whose scars will testify for eternity to the glory and horror of that day that made possible the one day we will enjoy with Him forever.

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