"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
  3991 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
  2090 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
  1129 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
  1464 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
  1520 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
  1412 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
  1433 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
  1452 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
  1493 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
  1517 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
  1357 Hits

Election Day Exhortation

In light of today's mid-term elections, I wanted to remind you of some very important truths to keep things in perspective. It is a long standing tradition in this country for pastors to preach election-day sermons, but an email exhortation will have to suffice this time.I know I sound like a broken record, but this is one foundational truth t...

Continue reading
  1578 Hits

The Way Things Really Are

One very important benefit of a robust, traditional liturgy is that it recalibrates our perspective of the world and reorients our priorities. Just like Asaph in Ps. 73, we often get discouraged when we observe the apparent triumph of evil in the world around us. We can easily fall into despair and bitterness when we see how the wicked seem to get ...

Continue reading
  1479 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
  1431 Hits

Stop Being Nice

To many in our society, especially in the church, it seems that being "nice" is the ultimate virtue and being "rude" is the ultimate vice. This is especially true for men and, most especially, for pastors. Pastors who are nice, sweet, empathetic, apologetic, and polite are often praised by the people in their congregations for being very "pastoral"...

Continue reading
  1529 Hits

Rulers, Authorities, and the Elements of the World

Made a Little While Lower than the Angels From the very beginning, man was created as God's steward and vice-regent to exercise dominion under God's authority. Although Adam and his wife were created in God's image and "very good", they needed to grow in faith, maturity, and wisdom until God granted access to the tree of the knowledge of good and e...

Continue reading
  4003 Hits

The Cross of Victory

 What is the cross of Jesus all about? Depends on who you ask. Many evangelical churches in America these days speak of the cross of Jesus primarily, if not exclusively, in terms of His suffering, agony, and death. In popular piety the cross has been turned into a tool to make you feel guilty for how rotten and wretched you. It was your sins, ...

Continue reading
  1538 Hits

Further Thoughts on the Glory and Scandal of the Gospel

Here's a little thought experiment: could your version of the gospel get you thrown in jail, beaten, accused of treason, or killed? Could you start a riot by publicly proclaiming the gospel? Could any pastors today be accused of turning the world upside-down like Paul was in Thessalonica (Acts 17:1-9)? What's so scandalous about the ...

Continue reading
  1394 Hits