Bitter at God

I mentioned two things in Sunday's sermon that I want to develop a bit further: 1) Many are people ultimately bitter against God, and 2) Bitterness is not usually related to the size of the offense but to the proximity of the person who committed it. Often, we become bitter toward those closest to us over the pettiest little things because we belie...

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Heaven Dissolved & Elements Melted (2 Peter 3:7-13)

In my sermon on Sunday, I disagreed with the popular idea that God is going to burn up this world, but I didn't have time to explain where that view comes from or why it's incorrect. To be fair, there is a biblical basis for that view in 2 Peter 3:7-13. On the surface, that passage really does seem to teach that this whole world--atomic "elements" ...

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You Don't Want to Know

All unbelief is ultimately rooted not in ignorance of the truth but in a resistance to the truth. Romans 1:18-19 clearly states this principle: "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because G...

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He Declared all Foods Clean

In Mark 7:14-23, Jesus has just finished condemning the Pharisees for the ways that they nullify God's Law with their own man-made traditions. Then, in the very next breath, Jesus makes a statement that seems to be nullifying God's Law: "'Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not enter his he...

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The Lie of Feminism

I think it's safe to say that most Christians are far more shaped by feminist ideology than they realize. The underlying assumption of the feminist movement is that men and women are not different in any meaningful way. As a result, society should treat men and women exactly the same. This is a manifestation of egalitarianism, which seeks to homoge...

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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"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 ...

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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...

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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, ...

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