Friday, July 29, 2011

July 24, 2011 | 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 - I Pray, Therefore I Am: The Emptiness of a Privatized Faith & Why Comfort Is Meant to Be Shared

Here is the sermon from last Sunday which concludes our sermon series on suffering which began as a verse-by-verse exposition of the book of Habakkuk and then we began to highlight a number of important passages on the subject of suffering.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. 6 But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; 7 and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort. 

 8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; 9 indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; 10 who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us, 11 you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many.


For more:
Sermon - July 17, 2011 | Romans 8:31-39 - Sorrow Like Sea Billows:  Immanent Love in Suffering
Sermon - July 10, 2011 - Hebrews 12:1-3 - His and Our Suffering: The Cross of Christ and A Faith That Endures
Sermon - June 12, 2011 | Job - Saving Faith is Persevering Faith: Job and the Suffering of the Righteous
Sermon - May 22, 2011 | Habakkuk 1:1-2:1 - Praying From the Watchtower:  When God's Answer Leaves Us Unsatisfied
Sermon - May 29, 2011 | Habakkuk 2:2-20
Sermon - June 5, 2011 | Habakkuk 3:1-19

July 10, 2011 | Hebrews 12:1-3 - His and Our Suffering: The Cross of Christ and A Faith That Endures

I just realized that I failed to post the sermon from July 10, even though I had posted it on the podcast.  My apologies.

 1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart


For more:
Sermon - July 17, 2011 | Romans 8:31-39 - Sorrow Like Sea Billows:  Immanent Love in Suffering 
Sermon - June 12, 2011 | Job - Saving Faith is Persevering Faith: Job and the Suffering of the Righteous
Sermon - May 22, 2011 | Habakkuk 1:1-2:1 - Praying From the Watchtower:  When God's Answer Leaves Us Unsatisfied
Sermon - May 29, 2011 | Habakkuk 2:2-20
Sermon - June 5, 2011 | Habakkuk 3:1-19

July 17, 2011 | Romans 8:31-39 - Sorrow Like Sea Billows: Immanent Love in Suffering

I'm almost 2 weeks late, but here is the sermon from Romans 8:31-39.  It is part of our series on suffering by which we are highlighting a number of important passages in Scripture on the subject of suffering.  Romans 8 is a great passage and I wish we had more time to walk through the entire chapter.

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

 26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written,


 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord


For more:
It is Well With My Soul: The Story of Horatio Spafford
Sermon - June 12, 2011 | Job - Saving Faith is Persevering Faith: Job and the Suffering of the Righteous
Sermon - May 22, 2011 | Habakkuk 1:1-2:1 - Praying From the Watchtower:  When God's Answer Leaves Us Unsatisfied
Sermon - May 29, 2011 | Habakkuk 2:2-20  
Sermon - June 5, 2011 | Habakkuk 3:1-19

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Jesus Chrsit is Divine: The Biblical Evidence

Tonight we'll be discussing the doctrine of Christ as we continue our Wednesday night series on some basic beliefs of Christianity loosely based on Wayne Grudem's great book Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know.  Here are some of the reasons to believe that Jesus was fully and completely God.

(Much of what follows is taken from Mark Driscoll, Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe (RE: Lit), beginning on page 221.)

God the Father said He was God
  • Hebrews 1:8 -  “But of the Son [the Father] says, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever & ever.’”
Jesus Said He Was God
  • Matthew 26:63-65 – his enemies declare JC spoke blasphemy
  •  John 6:38, 41-46 – JC clams He was eternally God in heaven before coming to earth
  •  John 5:18; 10:30-33 – JC enemies said He made “himself equal with God.”
Demons Said He Was God
  • Mark 1:24; Luke 4:3-34 - "the Holy One of God."
  • Luke 4:40-41 – “the Son of God.”
The Bible Says He Was God
  • John 20:28 – Thomas’ confession: “My Lord and my God!”
  • Romans 9:5 – “the Christ who is God over all.”
  • Titus 2:13 – “our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”
  • Titus 3:4 – Jesus is “God our Savior.”
  • 1 John 5:20 – Jesus “is the true God.”
Jesus has the names of God
  • Son of Man
  • Son of God
  • Lord
  • Alpha and Omega 
Jesus Posesses the Attributes of God
  • He is Omnipotent
    • Matthew 28:18 - "All authority has been given to me."
    • Matthew 8:26-27 – quieted the storm
    • Matthew 14:19 – fed thousands with little boys lunch
    • John 2:1-11 – turned water into wine
  • He is Omnipresent - Psalm 139:7-12
    • Matthew 28:20 - "I'm with you always, even to the end of the age."
  •  He is Omniscient - Matthew 11:27; John 2:25; 4:18
    • John 16:30 – (Disciples) “Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.”
  • He is Immutable/Unchanging - James 1:17
    • Hebrews 13:8 - "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."
  • He is Sovereign Over the Future - Matthew 16:21; 17:22; 20:18-19; 26:1-2
    • Predicted the certainty of His own death.
    • Predicted the certainty of His own return.
  • He is Eternal - John 1:1; Phil. 2:6; Heb. 1:11-12
    • John 17:5 - "And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.”
  • He is Creator -  Isa. 37:16; 44:24; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2
    • John 1:2-3 – “He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through im, and w/o him was not anything made that was made.”
  •  He is Soverign
    • 1 Cor. 15:27 – “For God has put all things in subjection under his feet.”
  •  He is Sustainer – Heb. 1:3
    • Colossians 1:17 - “And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
  • He is Savior - Joel 2:32
    • Rom. 10:13 - “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Jesus Did the Works of God
  • Performed Miracles
    • John 20:30-31 - “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
  • Remained Holy and Sinless
    • John 8:46 – “Which one of you convicts me of sin?”
    • Peter – Acts 3:14; 1 Pet. 1:10; 2:22; 3:18
    • John – 1 John 3:5 
    • James - James 5:6
    • Paul - 2 Cor. 5:21
    • Judas - Matthew 27:3-4
    • Pilate - Luke 23:22
    • Executing Soldier - Luke 23:47
    • Robber on the Cross - Luke 23:41
  • Forgave Sins
    • Mark 12:1-12– JC forgave paralytics sins.  Pharisees replied, “who can forgive sins but God?
  • Judges Eternal Destinies
    • John 5:21-22 - "“For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.  The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son.”
  • Grants Eternal Life
    • John 10:28 - “I give them [my sheep] eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
  • Accepted and Demanded Worship
    • Jesus said to pray to Him – John 14:13-14; 15:7
    • Stephen prayed to Jesus – Acts 7:59-60
    • Canaanite woman prayed to Jesus 
    • Matthew 15:25 – Bu she came and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, help me.’”
    • Jesus is worshiped by a man He healed 
      • John 9:38 – “He said, ‘Lord, I believe,’ and he worshiped him.”
    •  John 5:23 – “All may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father.  Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.”
    •  Colossians 2:9 – “in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.”

How one can look at this evidence (and this barely scratches the surface of the wealth of biblical evidence of the deity of Christ) and deny that Jesus Christ is God.  Liberals, Jehovah Witnesses (who are in the tradition of Arius and the Arian heresy), when they deny Christ deity are at the same time questioning the authority and clarity of Scripture. 

Consider following what James Boyce had to say on the importance of this doctrine:

The importance of this fact of the Scripture teaching cannot be over-estimated. In its appropriate relations to the other truths taught it becomes the foundation of every hope. It is not a mere speculation. It enters into the very life of the Christian, enabling him to say: “I know him whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have committed unto him against that day.” 2 Tim. 1:12. It is not sufficient for us to know that the person who died for us was divine before he came into the world. The Scriptures assure us, and we need to comfort ourselves with the assurance, that he was equally divine when a babe in Bethlehem, when suffering upon the cross, when ascending from Olivet, and even now, while in human nature, he rules as Mediatorial King, or makes intercession with the Father as our great high Priest. We must even go beyond the idea of some kind of divinity, and recognize him as the unchangeable God, who was, and is, and ever shall be, the Almighty, the well-beloved Son of the Father, whom that Father always hears, and to whom all things have been entrusted, in order that the consummation of his glorious kingdom may be fully attained. The incarnation has been indeed, of only one person of the Godhead, but of a person truly and essentially divine, whose relations to the divine nature have remained unaltered during his incarnation on earth and in heaven. -James Boyce, Abstract of Systematic Theology, 275-276

For more:
Sermon - December 19, 2010 - Jesus is God
Grudem on the Deity of Christ 
The Gospel Coalition on the Deity of Christ   
December 5, 2010 - Jesus is Lord 
The Nicene Creed  

Friday, July 15, 2011

It is Well With My Soul: The Story of Horatio Spafford

Here is the true story of Horatio Spafford, the author of the great hymn "It Is Well With My Soul."

Here is Chris Rice's version of the famous song taken from his album Peace Like a River: The Hymns Project:

Here are the lyrics (read them in light of the story behind the hymn):

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But Lord, 'tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul

For more:
GBC - Nothing But the Blood 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Frozen Embryos & the Gospel: Is It Time to Consider Embryo Adoption?

Yesterday we talked about adoption and I mentioned the challenge and the need to start thinking about adopting embryos. Here is the article I referenced.

The question of bioethics continues to be a challenge in our culture.  Everyday, new issues arise that force us to think seriously about the implications of our worldview and what ethical conclusions are best guidelines for our culture.  Ongoing medical and technological advances force us to go beyond abortion and euthanasia but also to consider issues like cloning, infertility treatments like in-vitro fertilization, embryonic and adult stem-cell research, genetic testing, chimeras, and many other countless ethical and moral issues.

A few months ago, the world of biotechnology forced the world to heighten its ongoing debate regarding frozen embryos.  An unnamed 42-year old woman recently gave birth to an embryo that had been frozen for 20 years setting a new record for the oldest baby born.  The mother adopted the embryo that had been created by another couple that created multiple embryo's as they went through in-vitro fertilization treatments.  When that couple had successful with other embryos and unwilling to birth their other frozen embryonic-children, they simply allowed the clinic to put the remaining embryos up for adoption for similar couples struggling with infertility (or we might add feminists and lesbians unwilling to conceive the more traditional way).

This all means that the boy born in May of this year has a full-blooded sibling conceived at about the same time as he was, but technically, 20 years older than him.

The issue of frozen embryos is a serious issues that needs to be taken more seriously.  In a culture that considers the embryo a commodity or as "potential" life, such barracks of unplanted embryos is not that big of a deal.  But to those who consider an embryo to be human life ought to be shocked to think that humans are literally being frozen in time.  How Western nations have legally responded to this issue makes it only more frightening.  According to new British Laws, a frozen embryo cannot be stored for more than 55 years.  Thus, the far majority of embryo's (read:  human life) is either destroyed (I'm guessing to make more room for other frozen embryos) or donated for research (in which the embryo will be destroyed).  Either way, human life becomes an experiment or a second-thought.  The world in which we live in is a frightening thought.

At this point perhaps we should begin discussing how Christians ought to respond.  With anger?  Rightly so.  With concern?  How could we not?  With a call to action in defense of innocent human life being stored and oftentimes destroyed?  No doubt.  But is it not time for us to consider, especially as Christians, another option in addition to each of these?  If we are truly pro-life and want to defend the lives of those not given the chance of life and oftentimes encourage scared mothers to give their children up for adoption at birth, perhaps it is time for Christians to more seriously consider embryo adoption.

Unfortunately most Christians have not given this any thought.  With millions of experimental frozen lives sitting on shelves soon to be destroyed, how can we not intervene?  And while we continue to fight for their life through cultural debate and legislative action, why don't we also focus on something more powerful:  the gospel and adoption.  Christians are grounded in the gospel.  We are redeemed and have our faith, hope, and identity in the gospel.  The gospel ought to be everything in our lives.  All that we say, do, believe, and fight for ought to be driven by that fundamental doctrine of the gospel  So why not apply the gospel to a world that considers human life to be nothing more than an experiment or a commodity?

So what does the gospel have to do with frozen embryos and embryo adoption?  Everything.  The gospel begins with God's holiness and our depravity.  The gospel humbles us and exalts our Father.  Our God is bigger than the pockets we try to fit Him in.  At the same time, we are rebels.  We have spit in God's eye (so to speak).  However, in spite of such angry vitriol against our Creator, God has not only loved us, but has offered His love through the sacrificial gift of His Son.  And through the cross and resurrection, we are not just given a clean slate, but declared and made righteous and adopted as sons of God - heirs with Christ.

Adoption is central to the gospel.

How can we who have been adopted by God not give serious consideration to the adoption of others?  Certainly there are serious issues and questions to raise and consider prior to making a decision to adopt either an already born child, a soon-to-be born child, or a frozen embryo, but I believe it is time for Christians to take this more seriously.  At the same time, it is necessary for Christians to see that the gospel goes beyond walking the aisle but has real-life implications.  Do we see the gospel in the lives of the unwanted and the frozen?  In our confused world, Christians must respond with more than just legislative action, but with gospel evangelism and gospel-saturated action.  Until we go beyond the voting booth, the many ethical and moral issues we face today will not go away.  It is time for Christians to do more than just vote and debate.  It is time we act.  It is time we do what God has done for us:  show mercy, love the stranger, liberate, redeem, and yes, adopt.

Telegraph - Baby born from embryo frozen 20 years ago 
My Fox NY - Baby Born From Embryo Frozen For 20 Years 

For more:
Blogizomai - The Challenge of Frozen Embryos:  South Korea Undefines Human Life  
Blogizomai - Whose the Daddy?:  Biological Truth and Moral Ideology 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Driscoll on Neither Feminism or Chauvinism

I'm studying for tonight's Bible study on the doctrine of man and I came across the following quote from Mark Driscoll on the creation of Eve from Genesis 2.

“So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up that place with flesh.” This is beautiful. Everything is created by God’s word. The man is created from the dust of the earth by God’s metaphorical hands. And the woman is created from the rib, the side of the man. This shows that the woman is not to be out ahead of him, as feminism would teach, or behind him, as chauvinism would teach, but alongside of him as an equal image-bearer of God, as the Scriptures teach.

I like the language here.  Feminism and chauvinism is nothing more than an extreme reaction to the other that fails to solve the real problem.  Complementarianism balances these two.  Men and women aren't better than each other, but different and unique.  Furthermore, biblical marriage is a picture of the Trinity where there is a unified diversity.  Men and women are different, though unified.  This is why intimacy (not just sexual, though certainly including it) is critical.  It one out of two. 

It is critical to remember that every time fallen man tries to fix a certain extreme, it inevitably goes to the other all the while missing the point.  The turn from chauvinism to feminism perfectly illustrates this tendency. 

To watch the sermon the above quote is taken from, view below.

Here's the audio:

For more:
Driscoll on Trinitarian Heresies and Living the Trinitarian Life  
What Creation Reveals About God  
Driscoll Sermon:  God is Creator 
How Much Do We Owe?:  Discoll on our Need for Redemption 
The Church as Family