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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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...

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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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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...

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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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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...

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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 ...

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