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Monthly Archives: April 2014

Morning Coffee – 04/11/14

Here are the stories I put in my coffee this morning.

  • The Neutrality of Bigness
  • Bigness is not a necessary sign of sell-out, smallness not a necessary mark of purity, any more than bigness is a necessary indicator of excellence or smallness a necessary indicator of faithlessness.

  • What is Legalism?
  • A Christian is not only one who has repented of his immorality, but, even more importantly, has repented of his morality. The more self-righteous one is, the worse it is for him.

  • The New Jerusalem
  • According to Revelation 21:15–17, the measurements of the New Jerusalem are immense, approximately 1,500 miles long on each side. By way of illustration, if one corner of the city were placed on Los Angeles, a second corner would sit on Mexico City, a third corner on St. Louis, Missouri, and the final corner on Edmonton, Alberta.

  • Predestination: Don’t Say a Word About It Until…
  • Before you speak a word about predestination, you need to emphasize the biblical teachings of humanity’s sin before God, God’s just punishment upon that sin, and the deep and high love of God. Then, and only then, does the biblical doctrine of predestination make any sense.

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Posted by on April 11, 2014 in Links

 

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Glad Tragedy

Glad Tragedy

The greatest tragedy of human history is the cross of Christ. And yet, as Charles Spurgeon puts it in today’s Morning and Evening

No scene in sacred history ever gladdens the soul like Calvary’s tragedy.

How can one act both sadden and gladden the soul? I am so thankful for Romans 5:6-9. It says:

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God.

God’s love and wrath are found in the cross. As agonizing as it would be to see my Savior crucified, I could never “take the nails from His hands…” (sorry, Jeremy Camp). In anguish, He took the cup and bore my sin as it pleased the Father to crush Him. He was obedient unto death. The cross is the greatest tragedy of human history, but also the greatest act of love that mankind has ever known.

Here is Alistair Begg’s modern phrasing of the Spurgeon classic.

* * * * *

And when they came to the place that is called The Skull,
there they crucified Him… — Luke 23:33

The hill of comfort is the hill that is called The Skull or Calvary; the house of consolation is built with the wood of the cross; the temple of heavenly blessing is based upon the riven rock—riven by the spear that pierced His side. No scene in sacred history ever gladdens the soul like Calvary’s tragedy.

Is it not strange, the darkest hour
That ever dawned on sinful earth,
Should touch the heart with softer power,
For comfort, than an angel’s mirth?
That to the Cross the mourner’s eye should turn,
Sooner than where the stars of Bethlehem burn?

Light springs from the midday-midnight of Golgotha, and every herb of the field blooms sweetly beneath the shadow of the once accursed tree. In that place of thirst, grace has dug a fountain that runs continually with water pure as crystal, each drop capable of alleviating the woes of mankind. You who have had your seasons of conflict will confess that it was not at Olivet that you ever found comfort, not on the hill of Sinai, nor on Tabor; but Gethsemane and Golgotha have been a means of comfort to you. The bitter herbs of Gethsemane have often taken away the pains in your life; and the groans of Calvary yield rare and rich comfort.

We never would have known Christ’s love in all its heights and depths if He had not died; nor could we guess the Father’s deep affection if He had not given His Son to die. The common mercies we enjoy all sing of love, just as the seashell, when we put it to our ears, whispers the sounds of the deep sea from which it came; but if we desire to hear the ocean itself, we must not look at everyday blessings, but at the transactions of the crucifixion. If you want to know love, then go afresh to Calvary and see the Man of Sorrows die.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2014 in Devotional

 

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Happy Monday: Soap Opera Praise

Good, less good, and bad Christian music…

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2014 in Video

 

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The Great Exchange

The Great Exchange

All Scripture is breathed by God and profitable (2 Tim 3:16). (Yes, even the genealogies.) But some verses tower above the rest. For them, a great density of truth is tightly packed into a compact economy of words. This morning’s Morning and Evening stems from such a mountain of a verse.

For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. — 2 Corinthians 5:21

This truth has often been referred to as The Great Exchange: Our sin for Christ’s righteousness, and Christ’s righteousness for our sin. It is the greatest truth of all.

An understanding of this verity does not nullify all other truths we have in Jesus. We are new creations in Christ and temples of the Holy Spirit who continually wrestle with the flesh. We run to win and receive the prize before us. But what a comfort it is… to know that sin is paid for! Jesus did not begin a work for others to come along afterwards, complete it, and find salvation in the process. He finished the job by becoming sin—two thousand years ago—on the cross and conquering the grave through His resurrection.

We all need this reminder from time to time. After candidly sharing his personal struggle with sin in Romans 7, Paul’s conclusion stands as a comfort for every believer. Romans 8:1 declares,

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

May we never forget the full measure of Christ’s atonement; His endless love and obedient sacrifice. For our sake, it pleased the Father to crush Him. He became sin, though He was sinless. As a result, we might become the righteousness of God in Him. That’s good news! No wonder it’s called the Gospel.

Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.

Here is Alistair Begg’s modern phrasing of the Spurgeon classic.

* * * * *

For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin,
so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. — 2 Corinthians 5:21

Mourning Christian, why are you weeping? Are you mourning over your own sins and failings? Look to your perfect Lord, and remember, you are complete in Him. You are in God’s sight as perfect as if you had never sinned; more than that, the Lord our Righteousness has clothed you with a royal robe of righteousness, which is wholly undeserved—you have the righteousness of God.

You who are mourning by reason of inbred sin and depravity, remember, none of your sins can condemn you. You have learned to hate sin; but you have also learned how that sin is not yours—it was laid upon Christ’s head. Your standing is not in yourself—it is in Christ. Your acceptance is not in yourself, but in your Lord; you are just as accepted by God today, with all your sinfulness, as you will be when you stand before His throne, free from all corruption.

So I urge you, take hold of this precious thought—perfection in Christ! For you are “complete in Him.”1 With your Savior’s garment on, you are as holy as the Holy One. “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”2

Christian, let your heart rejoice, for you are “accepted in the beloved”3—what do you have to fear? Keep a smile on your face! Live near your Master; live in the suburbs of the Heavenly City; for soon, when your time has come, you will rise up to where Jesus sits and reign at His right hand; and all because the Lord Jesus was made “to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

1Colossians 2:10, KJV 2Romans 8:34 3Ephesians 1:6

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2014 in Devotional

 

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Morning Coffee – 04/03/14

Here are the stories I put in my coffee this morning.

  • Pastors and Blogs
  • I’m sure that a mere twenty years ago, aspiring pastors never thought that reading or writing blogs would be a valuable resource to their ministry.

  • Are You Obeying the Third Commandment?
  • This is not a point that good Christians can and do disagree on, like the use of alcohol, or celebrating Halloween, or using off-color words like crap. This one is more black and white than whether you should designate that receipt as a tax deduction or not.

  • Drowning in Distortion — Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah”
  • We are given all that we need to know about Noah in the Bible – and we need every word of the Bible. We cannot expect Hollywood to tell that story for us, or even to tell the story well. Our response to Noah should not be castigation and cultural outrage, but rather a sober realization that the story is ours to tell, and to tell faithfully.

  • Do You Like Snow?
  • Remember, it doesn’t matter if how badly someone may want to be in the ministry. No doubt there are a lot of privates that want to be generals, but it would be disastrous to appoint them as such if they don’t meet the necessary qualifications.

  • Six Lessons in Good Listening
  • According to Bonhoeffer, there are many times when “listening can be a greater service than speaking.” God wants more of the Christian than just our good listening, but not less.

Resource Bonus:

  • Top Commentaries on Every Book of the Bible
  • To help as you select biblical commentaries for your study, Reformation Bible College’s Dr. Keith Mathison has put together a list of his “Top 5” commentaries for each book of the Bible.

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2014 in Links

 

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Understanding the Doctor

Dr. Iain Murray visited our campus last week and left us with two biographical chapel messages. The first introduced many of us to Archibald Brown. The second concerned his former boss and mentor, Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones. Here is that message.

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2014 in Video

 

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