The Connection Between Halloween and Reformation Day

During the first few centuries of the church, it became a custom to honor the legacy of Christians who were martyred or who were significant leaders in the church. You probably know a few of the big ones. The most famous feast day of a saint in America is March 17, which is the day that St. Patrick of Ireland was martyred. Christians have been cele...
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65 Hits

Should Our Good Works Be Visible?

As a follow-up thought to my sermon on Ecclesiastes 5, it's worth thinking about an apparent contradiction in the Sermon on the Mount. In Matt. 5:14-16, Jesus says, "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house...
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108 Hits

Conservatism vs. Progressivism

Ecclesiastes 1 confronts us with the sobering reality that all of our toil cannot provide us with leverage or control over the basic realities of life under the sun. We are finite, mortal creatures. And as a result of the Fall, we are broken and live in a crooked world that God has subjected to futility. We should thank God for all the inventions a...
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146 Hits

Is Covenant Theology Anti-Semitic?

Protestant Reformed covenant theology is not replacement theology. God hasn't broken a single promise to Israel, because they are all fulfilled in Jesus (2 Cor. 1:20). Ethnic Jews who believe in Christ are no longer Jewish in any meaningful sense (Gal. 6:15), because in the body of Christ—the church—there is no such distinction as Jew vs....
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279 Hits

Servant Leadership and False Humility

Here are some follow-up thoughts about humility and a particularly dangerous form of false humility that is wreaking havoc among Evangelical Christians. It often goes under the name of "servant leadership". We must be on guard against a sort of false humility that is actually self-centered and self-seeking. What I'm talking about is a spiritualized...
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220 Hits

Victim Mentality and Blame-Shifting

C.S. Lewis's fictitious demon Screwtape advises his nephew and demon-in-training: "The Enemy [God] wants people to focus on what they must do. We want them to focus on what might happen to them." In other words, the Devil wants to cultivate in us a victim mentality so that we will be distracted from doing that which God calls us to do. Victimhood i...
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286 Hits

Resurrection and Cultural Transformation

Have you ever wondered why, over the past fifty years, America has had so many professing Christians while our culture has been circling the drain with increasing velocity? How is it possible to have churches on every corner but for those churches to have so little impact in the public square? At the risk of oversimplification, I believe the c...
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233 Hits

Women in Combat

There has been much in the media lately about women in the armed forces as President Biden pushes the military to become as woke as possible. While some conservatives are pushing back, the vast majority of social/cultural conservatives are overlooking or ignoring the teaching of Scripture on the matter. Our denomination, the Communion of Reformed a...
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329 Hits

Ask, Seek, Knock: Lessons on Prayer from Matthew 8-9

My recent sermon was an attempt to survey Matthew 8-9, which, naturally, prohibited me from giving adequate attention to the details of the text. It is a difficult trade-off for me to make, but that's the benefit of preaching through a Gospel every year: we'll get another chance before too long. When reading any of the Gospels, it is an interesting...
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249 Hits

The History and Significance of Valentine's Day

 February 14 give us the opportunity to reflect upon the life and death of the early church pastor Valentine (Valentinus in Latin). According to church tradition, Valentine was imprisoned for performing marriages, which the emperor had outlawed in order to strengthen his military forces. While in prison, Valentine famously wrote a letter ...
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302 Hits

Stay the Course

As you have watched/read the news the past few weeks, have you felt outrage? Despair? Resignation? That's exactly what our godless elites want you to feel. With the legislature, the executive branch, Big Tech, and the mainstream media, they think they have a free rein to "save" our country by imposing their compassionate policies upon us (pay atten...
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290 Hits

Sensible Signs and the Efficacy of God's Word

The Efficacy of God's Word The Bible has a great deal to say about the efficacy and power of the word of God. Take a few of clearest promises from Scripture: Ps. 19:7-9 -- "The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.8 The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;The c...
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282 Hits

The Myth of Generic Religious Liberty

Last Sunday, I committed the cardinal social sin of "mixing politics and religion". But the truth is, it is logically impossible to mix politics and religion. Politics and religion can't be mixed because they can't be separated. Religion is always political, because every belief system has a particular vision of morality (what is considered good vs...
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315 Hits

Peace with God

In the midst of all the political and societal turmoil around us, Epiphany reminds us that Jesus and his life-giving word are the only source of salvation. In the midst of all the personal and relational struggles we face, Epiphany reminds us that Jesus alone can bring us peace with God, with one another, and with our own hearts. Excessive fear and...
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273 Hits

2020 Final Exam

As the year of our Lord 2020 draws to a close, many people are glad to see it passing into the rear-view mirror. "Good riddance. What a miserable year. Next year couldn't possibly be as bad as this one has been." Or could it? We have no guarantee that 2021 will be any better than 2020, especially if we have failed to learn the lessons God has been ...
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296 Hits

How to Wage a Culture War

My sermon on Sunday focused on the centrality of the church's worship to the mission of God in the world. The Bible is filled with examples that show the effectiveness of worship, prayer, and singing in overcoming evil spirits, initiating widespread revival, toppling city walls, and routing foreign armies. But this is not simply a phenomenon restri...
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332 Hits

Justification of Works

The unanimous teaching of the entire Bible is that we are saved by grace through faith in God's promises. There was never a time when anybody was expected to merit God's favor. We are not saved by good works, but we are saved to good works (Eph. 2:1-10), and it the Holy Spirit who works in us the "obedience of faith" (Rom. 1:5 & 16:25-27). It i...
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310 Hits

How much fruit is enough?

One question that has been raised by recent sermons is this: Because living faith will necessarily produce faithfulness (good works) in those who are united to Christ, how much "fruit" is necessary to prove the presence of living faith? John 15 seems to suggest that this is the wrong sort of question to ask, because Jesus doesn't give us a quota fo...
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349 Hits

The Threefold Fall of Saul (1 Samuel)

The Threefold Fall of Man Fall #1: Adam's rebellion in the garden (Gen. 3) Sanctuary setting (Garden)Sin related to worship (sacramental trees)Rebellion of son against FatherSin is driven by impatience and refusal to submit to authority Fall #2: Cain's murder of Abel (Gen. 4) Takes place in the landSin related to work (fruit of one's labor)Brother ...
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605 Hits

Do Numbers Matter? Is Biblical Numerology Legit?

The Bible contains a staggering amount of "unnecessary" detail: names, dates, places, genealogies, censuses, inventories, catalogs, building plans, procedural instructions, etc. Interestingly, most of these details involve numerical information. At some point, every serious reader of Scripture wrestles with questi...
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793 Hits

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