RSS

Category Archives: gospel

Monergism Launches eBooks

If you are like me in searching for some great theology, church history, and Christian living books for your new text device like Kindle or iBooks? Then look no further. Monergism Books has just launched their eBooks eCommerce site.

Monergism Books has been providing great reformation resources for many years. They began as a website providing resources as a directory of theology including sermon text and audio. The have since expanded to an eCommerce site providing books, DVD’s, CD,s and software. Last year Monergism took the risky step of opening a brick and mortar business in Portland, Oregon. Monergism has been a wealth of resources over the years for folks like myself who are interested in learning about the reformed doctrine, church history, and gospel-centered theology. In closing I will post the about statement found on the web site.

Monergism Books is a Reformed Christian Internet bookseller with the goal of equipping Christians in the truth by making available the finest classic resources of historical orthodoxy. This is done in the hope that the church will embrace, and recover a Christ-centered gospel and the true Biblical doctrines of the historic faith.

 
 

Sermon Builder

11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. (Eph. 4:11-14 ESV)

Building from my last post I wanted to just bring to attention a ministry that is focused on the equipping of the saints and doing what the apostle Paul is exhorting the Ephesian church to do. Specifically in church leadership.

Shepherd’s Fellowship is a ministry of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, Ca. You may have heard of this church. If not you’ve no doubt heard of their senior pastor John MacArthur. Grace Community Church (GCC) and John MacArthur have been focused on equipping the saints for over 40 years. One of the tools they have been using, to the glory of God, is Shepherd’s Fellowship. Through this ministry you also have Shepherd’s Conference which is a church leadership conference GCC hosts every spring, and Resolved Conference, a cutting edge conference for college students and career singles. I can speak from experience for the Shepherd’s Conference. I’ve been twice. A few years ago Shepherd’s Fellowship began publishing a website designed for church pastors and leaders. The website is dedicated to providing resources for those who are called to this leadership responsibility. On the website you find the ministry tag-line:

The Shepherds’ Fellowship is an association of churches rallying around the authority and sufficiency of Scripture, the importance of expository preaching, and the centrality of a biblical philosophy of ministry.

The fellowship serves as both a resource and an encouragement for pastors and Christian leaders around the globe.

Just recently I noticed on the website under “Resources” a nice tool that provides preachers and teachers a step-by-step guide for putting together expository sermons1 . The tool is called “Sermon Builder“. It walks you through the five phases of sermon development. These phases are Introduction, Preparation, Precision, Production, and Presentation. If you are new to preparing sermons or would just like some guidance in doing so you can’t go wrong here. This ministry is dedicated and focused on encouraging church leaders to be Christ-centered and gospel-centered. To be the best God-ordained preachers and teachers you were called out for. The sermon builder would be a great resource for you.

1Expository sermons are sermons that expound on the particular meaning of a text or passage of scripture.

 

The Church’s Two Gospels

Now before I get some flack from my few readers let me explain the title. The title stems from the two major points in a recent sermon from Omaha Bible Church senior pastor Patrick Abendroth. The points made should also be the two main priorities of the church. The two points are related and sequential. You cannot have the one without the two. These two gospels are found in the book of Ephesians chapters 2 and 4, and these are the texts where the sermon was anchored. Let me try to explain further.

The Gospel of Salvation

The book of Ephesians addresses two gospels. The gospel of salvation and the gospel of sanctification. The gospel of salvation most assuredly comes first so it is handled first. This is the gospel many of us know about. This gospel tells us who we are or were before a holy and righteous God. As the apostle Paul explains in his letter to the Ephesians:

Ephesians 2:1-3 ESV

Paul is addressing believers here. He is reminding them of who they once were. We were once condemned before a holy God for our rebellion towards him. Basically the walking dead. But then comes the gospel part or good news. Again, as mentioned in an earlier post, I love the “But God”.

Ephesians 2:4-10 ESV

This is the Gospel of Salvation. God did it all. Even though we were dead in our trespasses, and rebellious to God (Romans 1) He had mercy on us and raised us up through his son. God makes us alive. We are no longer the walking dead. We are walking alive in Christ. This salvation is all of God’s grace. Without it we remain the walking dead in our sins.

The Gospel of Sanctification

This gospel is also written about in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Our chapter 4. These verses encourage the believer to get out of their spiritual “pampers” and grow up. Paul encourage us to grow in Christian maturity. We are to walk in a manner worthy of our calling writes Paul:

Ephesians 4:1-16 ESV

We are urged to get out of our spiritual diapers. We used to walk being led around by our noses, following the course of the this world. Now, believers are to walk in our freedom found in Christ. Part of growing up is using humility, gentleness, and patience toward one another. Paul is teaching us how to walk and behave as one body in Christ. We are held together into one body with Christ as the head. We were all given gifts in order to build up the body of Christ. We are to be equipped, get along, get out of our spiritual diapers,  for when each part of the body is working properly it makes the whole body grow. Church growth means maturity, not numbers.

Lest we forget the primary focus of the church. We as believers are members of this church. We should never forget the condition we were in prior to God’s grace and merciful intervention. We should be striving daily to grow as into mature believers. These passages in Ephesians 2 and 4 emphasize this quite well.

What’s the Point Anyway?

 

What Women Really Want? A biblical perspective.

In the process of trying to catch up on the audio from one of my favorite call in talk shows, The Albert Mohler Program, business-woman-thinkingI came across a very interesting program from Friday September 25th this past week. In the program he commented and took calls about a recent article by columnist Maureen Dowd, a self-described feminist, in the New York Times. The title of the article was “Blue Is the New Black“. In the article Dowd points to some interesting data. She points to a survey by the General Social Survey, which has been tracking the mood of Americans since 1972, that indicates women have progressively been getting gloomier while men are getting happier. While the article doesn’t really come to any resolution for the funk women seem to be in, it does bring up some great observations. According to Dr. Mohler the article raises some questions that we should have an intellegent Christian conversation about. I agree.

One of Dowd’s observations is this:

When women stepped into male- dominated realms, they put more demands — and stress — on themselves. If they once judged themselves on looks, kids, hubbies, gardens and dinner parties, now they judge themselves on looks, kids, hubbies, gardens, dinner parties — and grad school, work, office deadlines and meshing a two-career marriage.

What this observation does is walk around a self-centeredness that is very common in our society today. Of course we know from a biblical world view the bottom factor is sinful pride, which has it’s affect on all of mankind. Aside from that, after three decades beyond the feminist revolution that promised women fulfillment, what have we really learned? What do women want, and why? What should make a woman happy or satisfied?

Dr. Mohler’s radio show is a call in show and many of his callers on this subject were women. Most of them commented about working towards a career early in their life and not finding real fulfillment until they quit the professional workplace and stayed at home to focus on the family and the home. One caller expressed when women are more driven toward a professional career they are going against what they were created for. I’m far from being an expert on women, but I have spoken with many who are godly and they all mention Proverbs 31 as a great biblical example of what a woman should want. Ultimately, as Dr. Mohler points out, the best response to the question is the gospel.

This is a great discussion that is of great importance and significance. I would encourage you to listen to the program, found at the link above and referenced at the link below.

What Women Want: A Response to Feminism

 

Commuting with Dr. S. Lewis Johnson

I have heard much admiration of Dr. S. Lewis Johnson from speakers at Shepherd’s Conference, including John SLEWISJOHNSONMacArthur, and Steve Lawson. So when I made the decision to listen to some sermons instead of listening to a book during my commute back and forth to work, I chose to check out some sermons by Dr. Johnson. I went to my primary resource of sermons (aside from my local pastors) at Monergism.com. There I found a series of sermons in the book of Isaiah. The series is an exposition of the whole book. I listened to the first one on Isaiah chapter one and then decided to download the whole series. After listening to the first sermon I found out that this series was done at Believer’s Chapel in Dallas, on a Monday evening in the fall of 1968. Lyndon Johnson was president of the United States. The audio was done as a special courtesy to those who wanted to follow along and not get left behind if they had to miss a sermon of two. There are 45 seperate audio files for this series. One for each sermon. So I now have an iPhone loaded with some great sermons to listen to for quite some time. For those who are not aquainted with this great preacher and teacher, I have provided some bio info below.

Dr. S. Lewis Johnson is considered by many to be one of the best expositors of the 20th Century. His impact continues today in the preaching ministries of many, including John MacArthur and Steve Lawson (just to name a couple). The depth of Johnson’s sermons and writings reflect his diligence in the study. Johnson was another preacher in the Reformed Dispensationalist camp (he was a Calvinist who maintained a distinction between the church and Israel and believed in a literal future kingdom where Christ will reign). ht – Shane Trammel

There is more bio info available at Theopedia.

Through the years I have listened to the preaching of S. Lewis Johnson far more than any other preacher.  ~ Dr. John MacArthur

Other S. Lewis Johnson resources can be found at the following links:

The SLJ Institute

Faith By Hearing

Soli Deo Gloria

 
11 Comments

Posted by on August 19, 2009 in gospel, Isaiah, S. Lewis Johnson, Sermon Audio

 

Am I a Calvinist? You tell me.

First of all I need to take care of a hat tip (ht) to my buddy Seth at Contending Earnestly. This posting is being created 42-18021428out of my thoughts triggered by this fellow blogger’s posting and comments. The posting is about being labeled a Calvinist, and the label or term being used as a dirty word.

I really didn’t know what I was until I started reading books on theology.  Speaking of theology; The word is much like the word doctrine, and Calvinism.  Theology has also been reduced to a dirty word. At least a drastically minimized word in terms of evangelical importance.

Theology – the study of God. Come on, what’s more important?

I didn’t think theology was important until I ran into some blatantly bad theology. For years I had been indoctrinated in meeting peoples needs above doctrine. Now, I believe, if you don’t have sound biblical doctrine and theology, how can you truly meet the peoples ultimate need? Their need is to hear the true gospel of Jesus Christ. What do I mean by the true gospel? Funny I should ask, because it brings up the point of this post.

When I heard about the Five Points of Calvinism I will admit I had heard the term or label Calvinism and immediately thought “one of them”,  and “I heard they don’t believe we have a free will.” But after reading these five points I basically recognized and interpreted it as the gospel. The gospel spoken of in scripture. These five points are also known as TULIP. This is an acronym which is defined below.

T otal Depravity – We suck. (a verb meaning we are sinners and do not seek God) (Ref. Romans 6:20, Romans 3:10-12)

U nconditional Election – God does the choosing. No matter who you are and what you’ve done. (Ref. Eph. 1:4-8)

L imited Atonement – Christ died and His blood covers those who the Father chose. (Ref. Eph. 5:25-27)

I rresistable Grace – God’s elect hear the gospel and the Holy Spirit works in the hearts and minds of the those elect and they willing come to God. (Ref. Romans 9:16, Phil. 2:12-13)

P erseverance of the Saints – The elect of God cannot lose their salvation. For heaven’s sake the elect didn’t do anything to earn salvation. God did the choosing. They are eternally secure. (Ref. Romans 8:26-39)

I think that pretty much sums up the gospel as it is told in scripture.

So, am I a Calvinsit? If you prefer a label or a badge, I will gladly wear it. I have one on my sidebar as a matter of fact. It looks like this:

Calvinist Cadet

Calvinist Cadet

A few months ago I found an article from a blogger that did a real good job of describing why he was a Calvinist. I give a high hat tip to Kevin DeYoung and his article.

 

The gospel for goodness sake

In Dr. Albert Mohler’s first blog posting for the new year he brings to light a buddha18subject of vast importance. The subject is the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the posting Dr. Mohler points to a report by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life and a newspaper column by “the visual Op-Ed columnist” Charles M. Blow in The New York Times. The report indicates that many American evangelicals reject the biblical claim that Jesus is the only way of salvation. According to the report, 52% of American Christians believe that “at least some non-Christian faiths can lead to eternal life.”

I would encourage anyone who desires to stand on the one true gospel of Jesus Christ to read this posting by Dr. Mohler and pass it on to others as well. Please follow the links in Dr. Mohler’s posting, they are very informative. The “new gospel” in many evangelical cirlces in one of a “goodness” theology. God surely won’t send “good” people to hell. I would expect this from Catholicism or Mormonism, but the study is from Christian evangelicals. As Dr. Mohler points out that this is:

precisely the kind of false gospel that the church is warned in the New Testament to detect and reject with clarity and courage.

Amen to that. We should indeed be courageous in holding fast to the gospel given to us by Jesus Christ, and preached to us by His disciples. (1 Cor. 15:1-11) A time is coming and is in fact here where a false gospel is being preached. Be faithful and love the true gospel. Hold it dear as a valuable treasure. 

For goodness sake?

Soli Deo Gloria!

 

Spurgeon in Wordle

Above is a Wordle I created with the text from Charles H. Spurgeon’s sermon “Secret Sins” Please click on the image to view the larger more detailed version. The word cloud or wordle is designed to make the words larger the more frequent they are used in the text. You will notice an anomaly with one word as it relates to the modern church and it’s use of the word today. That is the use of the word sin. In this word cloud it is one of the largest words in the abstract image. In the contemporary church you would be hard pressed to find more than a handful of churches in a metropolitan area that use the word sin on a regular basis. That needs to change. Believers of Jesus Christ are called to make disciples of Christ by using His gospel. If we don’t use the word sin then how do we fully explain the reason for salvation?

ht: Really Robin for finding the Wordle tool.

 
 

Which path are you on?

A new report published yesterday (June 23rd) by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life indicates that people from all major religious categories believe that their religion is not the only path to eternal life, and that there’s not just one correct version of their faith. The report is based on a massive national poll commissioned by the organization last year. According to Rev. Tom Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University, “What most people are saying is, ‘Hey, we don’t have a hammerlock on God or salvation, and God’s bigger than us and we should respect other people.'” Rev. Reese is partly correct. God is definitely bigger than us. But we should respect Him and His word given to us.

This report is nothing new. Anyone who cares about the direction our culture and nation are going in relation to religion or more importantly the gospel of Jesus Christ has seen this coming for a long time. This direction is right out of the post-modern textbook. The church of today continues to water down the message Jesus Christ commissioned us to give to the nations. And as we cowardly buckle under the pressure to not just tolerate other religious views but accept them as well, we will continue to see this tolerance of an anti-gospel grow and grow. We will also see more intolerance for those of us who will not, by the grace of God, allow our spine to become like rubber and accept this notion. This accommodation that flies in the face of John 14:6, as Jesus emphatically states:

I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

This is the essence of the gospel. Jesus came to this earth and lived a sinless life. He came to die for the sinners. He died on the cross and took on the wrath of God that was due to the sinner. He was raised again on the third day and before he ascended back to heaven He gave us a commission to take what we know about Him to all the nations. We cannot compromise that. So which path are you on? The narrow one that leads to truth and Christ or the supposed many other paths to heaven and eternal life?

 

Preaching happens

Where does good solid preaching come from? The kind of preaching where the complete gospel is proclaimed? I would contend that kind of preaching comes from the Holy Spirit of God. This is obviously not something that I, a mere lay person, have thought seriously about until now. In a message delivered to those attending this year’s Resurgeance National Conference, Mark Driscoll (pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA) addresses how gospel-centered, Christ-centered preaching happens.

Driscol points out that one of most significant evidences of the working of the Holy Spirit is preaching. In the New Testament we read in Matthew 4 that right after the Holy Spirit descending upon Him, Jesus began His ministry. After being tempted in the wilderness He began to preach (Matt. 4:17) , saying:

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

At the beginning of the book of Acts Jesus tells the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father. This promise we learn is the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit comes in Acts 2, the disciples immediately began preaching about Jesus Christ. The same Spirit or Helper that Jesus told them about in John 15:35. 

But when the Helper comes, who I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness about me.

There are many more evidences of the working of the Holy Spirit, but I want to point out one more. This is found in Acts 9:17-20. Saul, who later called Paul, is wating on the Lord in Damascus, and the Lord sends Ananias to lay hands on him filling him with the Holy Spirit. In verse 20 it that immediately he (Saul) began proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues.

I am not a genius, but my lovely wife is. She is a few points higher on the IQ scale than I. But I can think logically. When the The Holy Spirit fills men = preaching happens. Praise God!!  

For a listen of the inspired sermon by Mark Driscoll click one of the links below.

Putting Preachers in Their Place to download the mp3,

or stream it here.

Soli Deo Gloria