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....
Continue reading
  43 Hits
43 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...
Continue reading
  22 Hits
22 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...
Continue reading
  84 Hits
84 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...
Continue reading
  98 Hits
98 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...
Continue reading
  129 Hits
129 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...
Continue reading
  152 Hits
152 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
  176 Hits
176 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
  175 Hits
175 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
  202 Hits
202 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
  524 Hits
524 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
  719 Hits
719 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
  624 Hits
624 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
  937 Hits
937 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
  734 Hits
734 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
  872 Hits
872 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
  821 Hits
821 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
  910 Hits
910 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
  860 Hits
860 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
  868 Hits
868 Hits

No Time for Cowards

There are many points of biblical truth under attack in our culture today, but I think it's safe to say that God's design for human sexuality, marriage, and family are at the center of the conflict. This might be new in our culture in our lifetimes, but it is certainly not new for Christian families to be completely out of step with society. The ea...
Continue reading
  912 Hits
912 Hits