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...
Continue reading
  27 Hits
27 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...
Continue reading
  20 Hits
20 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 ...
Continue reading
  18 Hits
18 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...
Continue reading
  52 Hits
52 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...
Continue reading
  69 Hits
69 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...
Continue reading
  74 Hits
74 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 ...
Continue reading
  288 Hits
288 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...
Continue reading
  351 Hits
351 Hits

The Temple of Doom: Reading Matthew 24-25 in Context

​Many well-meaning Christians have misinterpreted and misunderstood Jesus' prophecies of impending judgment in the Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24 & 25. One of the most important factors in rightly understanding Jesus' prophetic warnings is to read them in the larger context of Jesus' activity in the Temple the week leading up to His death. Foll...
Continue reading
  446 Hits
446 Hits

"And the Word was a god"? (John 1:1)

The end of John 1:1 famously says, "...and the Word was God." The New World Translation of the Watchtower Society of the Jehovah's Witnesses translates this clause, "...and the Word was a god." They assert that this is the correct translation of the Greek because there is no Greek article before the word "God" (theos). In their view, John 1:1 ...
Continue reading
  515 Hits
515 Hits

The Centrality of the Church in the Mission of God

The church is the tip of the spear in God's work in the world. The church is where God speaks to us, meets with us, and blesses us. It is the church and her officers that possess the keys of the kingdom. It is to the advancing church that Jesus promised victory over the gates of hell. The church is where disciples are made and strengthened, where m...
Continue reading
  463 Hits
463 Hits

Baptismal Homily (Oct. 27, 2019)

Infant baptism provides us with a beautiful picture of God's free grace toward us in Christ. This little baby is completely helpless, utterly dependent, totally vulnerable, unable to earn anything from anyone. But God, in His unfathomable grace and incomprehensible love, has provided a way of salvation in Christ and has promised to bless this coven...
Continue reading
  494 Hits
494 Hits

The Meaning of Selah

If you spend any time at all reading the Psalms, you will inevitably run across the Hebrew word "selah" scattered throughout the text. Here is a breakdown of how this word is used. Occurrences of "Selah" The Hebrew word "selah" occurs 71 times in 39 Psalms. 3, 4, 7, 9, 20, 21, 24, 32, 39, 44, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 52, 54, 55, 57, 59, 60, 61, 62, 66, ...
Continue reading
  750 Hits
750 Hits

Notations in the Psalms

​Many psalms are annotated with information about the author, the historical setting, the recipient, the liturgical use, the musical arrangement, etc., but it has become common to ignore these notes. Some may overlook them because they don't understand them, while others may dismiss them because they don't seem to have much "spiritual" benefit. Wha...
Continue reading
  575 Hits
575 Hits

Israel & the Rich Fool (Lk. 12:13-21)

It recently occurred to me that Jesus' parable about the Rich Fool in Luke 12 is very much related to Israel and the 1st century Jewish leaders. Luke is very explicit that the Pharisees were lovers of money (Lk. 16:14). Jesus Himself accused the Pharisees of being filled with greed and wickedness (Lk. 11:39). They were the ...
Continue reading
  731 Hits
731 Hits

The Egalitarian Impulse of Atheism

As I mentioned in my sermon on the parable of the rich fool (Lk. 12), here are five biblical principles of wealth that must be recovered. Everything we have is a gift from God.We are accountable to God for how we steward His gifts.God blesses everyone immeasurably, but God distributes His blessings unequally.God ordinarily blesses faithfulness with...
Continue reading
  666 Hits
666 Hits

Faith & Infant Baptism

​Jesus healed the paralyzed man in Luke 5 because He saw "their faith". We don't know if the paralyzed man had faith in Jesus' ability to heal him, but we do know that his friends did. Their faith in Jesus was very evidently manifested in their dogged determination to get their friend to Jesus. In my sermon, I talked about intercessory prayer as an...
Continue reading
  717 Hits
717 Hits

Adam, David, and King Jesus (Luke 4)

 Jesus as the New Adam The events surrounding Jesus' baptism remind us of the creation of the world described in Genesis: the Father speaking and the Spirit hovering over the waters. These connections show us that Jesus came to inaugurate a new creation even in the midst of this fallen world. Instead of abandoning the whole project and startin...
Continue reading
  714 Hits
714 Hits

Jesus and the Psalms

​For thousands of years, God's people have almost always recognized that the Book of Psalms (a.k.a. "the Psalter") is a very special part of God's word. We know this from all the sermons and writings about the Psalms throughout church history, but we also see evidence of this in the fact that Jesus and the Apostles quote the Psalms more than any ot...
Continue reading
  811 Hits
811 Hits

The Fact of the Gospel

As I explained in my sermon on Col. 4:5-6, the New Testament, for the most part, treats evangelism as a natural byproduct of the church's faithful witness to the gospel in its manner of life together. Paul's assumption is that people will notice the way we live in community together and demand to know why. So when it comes time to give an answer an...
Continue reading
  735 Hits
735 Hits

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://crpcliveoak.org/