Worship That Is Holy and Heavy
“Before all the people I will be glorified;” that is, “to be regarded as heavy, substantial.” Thus, God will not be taken lightly by his people.
God saved us to make worshippers of us. Thus, the obsession of a regenerated heart should be to bring God a pleasing offering in view of his mercy. But how do we know what will please him? We search the Scriptures. When we do, we find that the Lord loves His own Word. Throughout the... Continue Reading
How to be Courageous
A Time for Courage
You cannot stand firm on toothpick stilts of self-determination, or self-righteousness. The only solid ground is that God, in Christ, has forgiven all your sins and given you His Spirit in order that you might walk in all righteousness. Paul exhorts the Corinthian church this way, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you... Continue Reading
Promise: God Will Give You Strength
God is Your Strength
We all are already in the process of making our deathbeds and soon we will lie in them. Thankfully, God will always carry Christians through the valley of the shadow of death. For Proverbs 18:10 promises, The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe. And Psalm 18:2 emboldens us, The LORD is my... Continue Reading
The Ministry of Salt
A World-Preserving Ministry
The ministry of salt requires folding ourselves into the lives or the institutions we want to see changed. Like Daniel, Nehemiah, or Esther, we redeem from the inside by in a sense “belonging” to the world. We maintain relationships with friends and family members; we participate in our neighborhoods, work culture, and social institutions. And... Continue Reading
A Holy Defense
In the midst of threat we are not only to stand firm, we are to speak up.
How do we prepare ourselves to stand firm and to speak out? It begins with what Peter describes as “sanctify[ing] the Lord God in your hearts” (1 Pet. 3:15). When Christ reigns supreme in our lives, our perspective, our priorities, and our practices will follow His Kingdom cause. Sanctify the Lord God in your... Continue Reading
The Preservation of the Church, Pt. 2
Thanks be to God that the church is the object of God’s special care.
God is a shield to those who walk uprightly. He preserves the way of His saints (Prov. 2:7, 8). This is our great hope. Christ has accomplished a sure salvation for His people. We have been, are being, and shall be rescued from sin. Sin will not destroy the church because the church is the special... Continue Reading
Resting in God’s Sovereignty
How should we respond to our Creator’s remarkable sovereignty?
The more we focus on the temporal things of this world, the more troubled our hearts will be. But the more we pursue God, saturate ourselves in Scripture, and truly comprehend the magnitude of our Creator’s sovereignty, the more we will be ushered into unbridled worship and a supernatural rest that flows directly from God’s... Continue Reading
Don’t Follow Your Heart
There is a level of self-deception at work in our hearts.
Following our heart may mean that we hear the voice that steers us toward the easier path and not the ethical high road. It is true that the Spirit of God and the grace of God are at work in us “to will and to work” for our salvation (Phil. 2:13). But it is also... Continue Reading
I Always Feel the Worst Sunday Night, or How to Pray for Your Pastor
Preaching is exhausting on a spiritual level, not just physical and emotional.
The fruit: your pastor, along with his congregation, will fail. He will say stupid things at times, and be wrong. (Just so you know, you pastor probably gets far more complaint emails than letters of gratitude.) However, undoubtedly his ministry is not only characterized by failure. God uses His Word, almost exclusively when preached by... Continue Reading
The Essentials – Part 2
So, what are the fundamental characteristics of the biblical God?
Any position that attempts to add or subtract from this Gospel is a false gospel that cannot save. Many heresies are such because they claim that something additional is required. For example, there are some that say that, in addition to faith in Christ, one must be baptized in water in order to be saved. But water... Continue Reading
Judgment for Pastors
How Shepherds Prepare to Meet Jesus
Faithful pastors submit to God’s word and herald it boldly. And they don’t pit the Jesus-breathed red letters against the God-breathed whole (2 Timothy 3:16). They don’t pervert biblical justice or condone immorality. Brothers, labor to teach God’s word to God’s people for the good of God’s church. And as you labor to work out your... Continue Reading
After Tragedy Strikes
Four strategies or steps to maintain the strongest position to respond well in and through suffering.
Not only should we lay aside or put off sin, but we also should read our Bibles carefully in order to hear from God. Once we hear from God, we want to obey what the Bible teaches us in the midst of or after our suffering. In this way, we position ourselves to become Christlike... Continue Reading
Why We Need the Worship Wars
The Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian creeds represent early responses to heresies, and defining points for orthodoxy.
We should not be surprised that there exists in our era contention over proper sensibilities toward God. The truly alarming thing would be if there were none. What is somewhat different in our era is the post-modern mood that despises debate and clear definition. This pseudo-tolerance has long ago compromised the doctrinal integrity of professing Evangelicals. The... Continue Reading
JC Ryle on Prayer
A Call To Prayer
I dare not say that anyone believes until they pray. I cannot understand a dumb faith. The first act of faith will be to speak to God. Faith is to the soul what life is to the body. Prayer is to faith what breath is to the body. How a person can live and not breathe... Continue Reading
The Wisdom of Avoiding Strife
What are some potential causes of strife we ought to avoid?
So in the end, the way of wisdom is to avoid strife whenever possible. Beware of hot tempers, quarrelsome behaviors, insolent attitudes, and backbiting tongues. This really feels like death, doesn’t it, to avoid strife, when the world shouts that we’re cowards unless we defend our own honor? Yet to fight like a Christian means avoiding... Continue Reading
Anxiety can lead to severe health issues, and fear can lead to severe relational issues.
A very simple strategy for beginning to deal with anxiety is simply to take a page and begin to list things for which to be grateful, followed by ways in which God has provided and protected in times past. The simple exercise of “looking back” at God’s prior faithfulness emboldens us to face todays trials... Continue Reading
Light to Dispel Darkness: The Gospel’s Hope Arising From A Senseless Act
Pastor Scruggs said of his beloved daughter Hallie: “Through tears we trust that she is in the arms of Jesus who will raise her to life once again.”
Grief gripped the entire Nashville community. In shock, as pundits and politicians attempted to make sense of the senseless, across our presbytery men and women gathered in their homes, schools, and churches to pray. We did not need to ask, “Why did this have to happen? Why did this have to happen to us?” We... Continue Reading
Singing in the Face of Suffering
In the midst of grief, God's people have historically cried out to Him in song.
Although the best comfort comes from God’s word, Christians have for centuries reflected on the hardships of life in light of the truth of God’s word in those seasons and written beautiful poetry shaped by the ideas and principles of the Scripture to find perspective and hope in God. God’s people have never been strangers... Continue Reading
8 Ways God Works Suffering for Our Good
When God brings a flood of suffering upon us, it is then that we fly to the ark, Christ.
In all these ways we see that suffering is not harmful to believers but beneficial. Thus we should train ourselves to look less at the evil of suffering and more at the good, to look less at the dark side of the cloud and more at the light. The worst that God ever does to... Continue Reading
Knowing the Unknowable God
God's Self-Sufficient Perfection is Absolute
How profound a mystery of God’s absolute self-sufficient perfection is infolded in these three letters, “I AM,” or in these four, “JEHOVAH.” If you ask what God is, nothing occurs better than this, “I AM,” or “HE THAT IS.” If I should say He is the all-mighty, the only wise, the most perfect, the most... Continue Reading
Everyone I Don’t Like is Literally Gothard
What does Gothard specifically mean by “authority is like an ‘umbrella of protection’” that makes it so bad?
Gothard says we can transfer ourselves back into Satan’s realm at any time, not by, say, apostatizing from the Christian faith, but simply by getting “out from under” our “umbrella of protection,”8 by which he means things like disobeying our bosses or our parents. While Paul says, “But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you... Continue Reading
Jesus Christ: Truly God, Truly Man
The Nicene Creed
The Nicene Creed and the Definition of Chalcedon are vitally important subordinate theological standards in the Church. Both have been received and confessed by the historic Reformed churches. Their doctrinal content was affirmed by the early Reformed theologians and embedded in our confessions of faith because they express the teaching of Scripture. When we... Continue Reading
Christ’s Kingdom Advances With the Sword, but Not That Sword
Christ established his Kingdom, not by spilling the blood of his opponents, but by shedding his own blood for them.
There are to be certain characteristics of those within Christ’s Kingdom, and those characteristics stand in stark contrast to the way the world operates in its rebellion against God. Unlike the kingdoms of this world, Christ’s Kingdom does not advance through top-down enforcement, but bottom-up servitude. Christians, the subjects of Christ’s Kingdom, don’t lord over... Continue Reading
Contending for the Faith: Jude 3–4
Engaging the Enemy
Not only does Jude instruct our action toward the enemy (“contend”), but he also instructs us how to take care of ourselves and others in this fight. We cannot lose any of our soldiers. We ourselves must grow in the faith, pray, persevere, and look to the return of Jesus Christ (Jude 20–21). Concerning the... Continue Reading
Jesus Revolution Presents a Relevant Revival
The “Jesus Revolution”: a film exploring the genesis of the Jesus Movement that began among drugged-out hippies in the late 1960s in California and rapidly spread nationally and even internationally.
What we see is the genesis of an unplanned spiritual juggernaut that ultimately swept the country and led to the evangelical conversion of millions, including many outside the hippy subculture from which it sprang. This movement was rooted in the plain, unadorned teachings of the Bible and emphasized turning away from sin to uncompromising faith... Continue Reading
Still on the Throne
The Glories of a Seated Christ
Seated in heaven, Jesus is not anxious or uncertain. He is not scurrying feverishly around heaven’s throne room, making last-minute rescues. He lives. He sits on heaven’s throne, secure and utterly stable, in perfect heavenly equanimity and composure, interceding for his people with, and as, God almighty by his very life and breath. He’s still on the... Continue Reading
The Case for the Law’s First Table
George Gillespie viewed the magistrate possesses and ought to exercise coercive power in suppressing heresy and schismatics with a level of discrepancy, discrimination, and prudence.
The grave duty of the magistrate was not to be taken lightly nor administered flippantly, nor was executed with exaggerated eschatological expectancy. Prudence and patience should guide the magistrate here, for the good of the church and commonwealth, not personal prejudice or private gain. Taking “care of God’s glory” and the preservation of religion and... Continue Reading
Poking Holes in the Egalitarian Beachball: Seven Arguments against Female Pastors
When we live within the limits and lanes that God has set for us, we find beauty and flourishing there.
We don’t argue that preaching and pastoring is for qualified men in order throw water on the zealous young woman who has a knack for understanding the Bible. If our young daughters ask, ‘Can I be a pastor?’ Our answer doesn’t stop at “no,” as if we’ve just clipped some wings. Rather, our answer is... Continue Reading
Christ’s Glory and the Prophetic Word
Bishop John Shelby Spong of the Episcopalian Church in America, is the epitome of a liberal theologian. He is calling for a new Reformation of the Church based upon the following 12 Theses.
What is very disturbing to me is that there are people out there who actually believe this is a man of God. Of course these theses are simply the words of our enemy put in religious form for people to say, “Yeah! Now I can live any way I want!” Do you see the human... Continue Reading
On Theologian Thunberg
Greta Thunberg is now a top theologian?
She is up to her gills in religion. And her religion is of course radical environmentalism. She worships at that altar, and wants all of us to do the same. For many people today who have thrown out the one true God, the vacuum is replaced by various substitutes. Hardcore green religion is one of them.... Continue Reading