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Here it is:
Who, like Me, can announce the future? . . . Let these gods declare the coming things, and what will take place. (Isaiah 44:7; HCSB).
God is declaring that prophecy proves.
“What do you mean by that?”
Simply this—the fact that the biblical God has predicted the future proves He is the true God. And, to boot, the fact that He alone can make the claim stick! Indeed, because of the latter fact, the former is true too.
Since there is no other challenger who can substantiate his claim, as He can, clearly, the former is true.
“But don’t other gods claim the same?”
Not too many of them even make the claim to predict coming events, but whenever they do they fail the test of giving the predicting facts beforehand—and, indeed, often long before—in writing that is publically received and tested as to its truth.
“What do you mean by that—and how is it tested?”
Simply in this way: hundreds of scriptural prophesies have been written, received, kept intact, etc., for hundreds (often thousands) of...
The occasion was the fall of Eutropius, the imperial minister in Constantinople who had attacked the church and had even forbidden her to offer refuge to political prisoners. Yesterday he broke his own law and fled to Chrysostom’s church for sanctuary. Chrysostom admitted him, and when the soldiers in hot pursuit reached the door of the church, they were met by Chrysostom, who declared, “You enter here over my body” (the origin of our expression ‘over my dead body’). Now one day later, the entire town has gathered to hear Chrysostom preach. What will he say?
Many standing in the tightly packed crowd are furious. They are convinced that Chrysostom missed a great opportunity to rid the community of one of the church’s vilest enemies. Why has he received Eutropius? What can he say in his defense? They have come to find out.
From the front of the church, those who are regular attendees...
Listen to Proverbs 14:23—
There is profit in all hard work; But endless talk leads only to poverty (HCSB).
You know the type that the writer of Proverbs is describing, don’t you? He’s full of plans, will spend hours (if you let him) telling you all about them, and will bend as many others’ ears as he can in order to do the same.
But you never see the results of those plans. It’s all talk!
If you get taken in by such a person, you may find yourself giving him your time, your money – or who knows what else?
The FYI statement is there in the Bible not merely for the interest it may arouse in those who read it; it is a strong warning not to be caught up in another’s schemes—which may turn out to be little more than talk. If you do, eventually you will discover you have leaned on a fragile reed—a person who is full of talk but with no results! And you too will have wasted your time (at the very least) listening to him.
Watch out for those who talk excessively about what they are going to do, but never show you any results. If they were to expend effort toiling rather than talking endlessly they might be able to achieve...
The Fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” (Psalm 13:1).
How do we know that he is a fool?
Simple. A fool speaks as if he has the answer to a question to which he cannot have an answer. No man knows enough to make that statement. You would have to be everywhere at the same time to reach that conclusion. Otherwise, God might be just one jump ahead of him.
But to be everywhere at once is to be God! And the strangest part of it is that he isn’t just boasting, showing off or something. He believes it—partially, at least—and is trying to fully convince himself that it is really true.
Say, fool—will you come to your senses? When you do, it is time to find out about the Salvation that is in Christ Jesus. If you need help, let us know.
In in my book on homiletics, Preaching with Purpose, I have pointed out in some detail that most supposed preaching outlines, like the conception and stance of the sermon itself, are actually lecture and not preaching outlines. We have been taught wrongly.
A lecture outline is the division of a subject, topic, idea, or theme that is discussed during the lecture. It is usually abstract, third person, and concerns facts and persons long ago and far away. Because of the use of this format, the Bible has become a book that seems irrelevant to the average churchgoer. A preaching outline is the divisions of a biblically based address to and about a congregation in relationship to God and to their neighbors. It is second person, here and now and concrete. The lecture form sounds like this: “God told the Amalekites that they …,” while the preaching form sounds like this: “God says that you …” In the lecture outline the speaker talks about the...
Have you picked up a copy of A Conservative Christian Declaration yet? Here’s a brief review of the book that may motivate you to read it for yourself. An excerpt:
I also expected to find some rather difficult to grasp and thereby to ascribe to statements which I would be critiquing. This I was delighted to find was not the case. In fact as I was reading through, I became more excited. You see the style of the piece is plain, even ordinary, but not flat. The language, though at times novel to my eyes, was edifying to my soul and lifted my spirit. It actually began to teach me. Let me clarify, because one can learn in many ways. What I mean to say is not that I was learning new prescribed doctrinal points (although that is one of the express goals and that did happen with me). Rather the very use of the language added to the declaration. It was sweet to my soul. It communicated eloquently, simply, and at times powerfully ideas which have at times been fleeting around my little brain so fast I never quite got them down out of the ether and into words! A wonderful statement. And all this to say that it was engaging to the core. ...
We are in the midst of a series on New Testament implications of the idea that culture is essentially behavior. Here are the previous two implications:
The third implication is that New Testament authors demand that the culture of Christians be holy, pure, and distinct from the culture of unbelievers. Rather than understanding culture to be neutral, New Testament authors judge unbelieving culture as worthy of condemnation. They expect Christians, therefore, to reject the culture shaped by the world’s systems and to form a new way of life impacted by biblical values. The culture produced from unbelief is not neutral; it is depraved. As Mark Snoeberger notes, “Cultural neutrality is a myth and culture is hostile toward God; just as man is individually depraved in microcosm, so also culture is corporately depraved in macrocosm.”...
Some thoughtful comments on what congregational singing should do for us.
Evidently, “the crucifixion didn’t happen in 1995,” or so the author asserts.
How does the indwelling of the Spirit make living in God’s presence an experiential reality?
The Spirit reveals God to our worshipping spirits. Since God the Spirit reveals God the Son, his presence within us becomes God’s immediate link of communion with us. Not that the Spirit works apart from his own chosen means of revealing Christ: the rightly-interpreted Word of God. Nevertheless, just as rightly-mixed chemicals can remain inert without a spark or an injection of energy, so rightly-interpreted Scriptures can remain lifeless to the believer unless the Spirit illuminates them. His ministry of granting believers spiritual insight, of making the truth as real as it is true, and of enlightening seeking believers is at the core of communion. He is able to do this at any time, and in any place, because he now interpenetrates our minds and hearts. As he knows God’s mind, as he is the result of the Father’s love for the Son and the Son’s for the Father, so he can reveal all this to the seeking heart.
The ceaseless flow of godly love,
The joy of God and Son:
Thy life is this, O Holy Dove,
Last week we looked at Deut 17:14–17 and discovered three prohibitions for Israel’s kings that Christian leaders can follow in principle today. This week, we’ll read through Deut 17:14–20 again and see the import of the positive commands for the king in Deut 17:18–20.
Deuteronomy 17:14–20 (ESV)
14 “When you come to the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’ 15 you may indeed set a king...
A few weeks ago there was an event here at Dodger Stadium with Joel Osteen, thirty-five thousand people at Dodger Stadium, something like that. He is now the largest, quote/unquote church…. I’m using the word loosely…in America down in Houston. You need to understand that he is a pagan religionist in every sense. He’s a quasi-pantheist. Jesus is a footnote that satisfies his critics and deceives his followers. The idea of this whole thing is that men have the power in themselves to change their lives. In his definitive book, Your Best Life Now, he says…and that ought to be a dead giveaway since the only way this could be your best life is if you’re going to hell. He says that anyone can create by faith and words the dreams he desires…health, wealth, happiness, success…the list is always the same.
Here’s some quotes from his book Your Best Life Now. “If you develop an image of success, health, abundance, joy, peace, happiness, nothing on earth will be able to hold those things from you,” end quote. See, that’s…that’s the law of attraction that’s a part of this kind of system.
Here’s another quote, “All of us are...
In August 1998, I ordered some of my first seminary textbooks as a student. That particular semester, one item stood out above the rest. Philip Schaff’s 8-volume History of the Christian Church stood out primarily due to its price. At the time Schaff retailed for about $249. Most of us discovered that you could purchase the set for a little under $100 through CBD (and if you could find a free shipping code so much the better), but it still wasn’t a particularly cheap item. For a single guy living on a grocery budget of $10/week (yes, I did), it was a major purchase.
Fast forward some sixteen years. I still refer to Schaff from time to time. In fact, someone gave me a second set a few years ago and so now I keep one in my office and one at home for ease of reference. But I recently noticed that something significant has changed about the set. In printed form, it still costs eighty-something dollars at...
For my whole life I’ve been broadly a part of an ecclesiastical culture/movement that has been disinclined to commit either to Calvinism or Arminianism. A steady stream of articles, essays, and blog posts have kept this delicate balancing act alive for decades (for a recent and more-than-usually scholarly example, see the ongoing series here—I was going to wait for the conclusion, but I ran out of patience). I don’t believe, however, that this position is ultimately sustainable. And so my thesis in this post is simply this: the principal question in the Calvinism/Arminianism debate is a fundamentally binary one: you have to choose one or the other.
Of course, I am not so naïve as to imagine that variations and nuances of the two basic positions do not exist. I am, after all, editor of a soon-to-be-released book detailing THREE perspectives on the extent of the atonement (and in my...
One of the issues that still needs clarification in Christianity is how to weigh doctrines. Christians have historically recognized that certain truths are fundamental or essential to Christianity, while others have less importance. But how do we know which doctrines are which?
In the last issue of Themelios, D. A. Carson writes an editorial offering some thoughts on what we mean when we talk about “gospel issues,” concluding that the category of “gospel issues” is helpful if it refers to “biblical and theological topics the denial of which clearly affect our understanding of the gospel adversely.” The point is that you cannot deny a certain truth or else you’ve seriously undermined the gospel. Other truths may be important, but they do not rise to the level of upmost importance like gospel issues.
I’ve heard a professor put it this way before: if you put a gun to my head and said “Deny the deity of Jesus or you’re dead,” by God’s grace I would hope to respond by saying “pull the trigger.” If you put a gun to my head and said “Deny the pre-...
Dear Fellow Servant of Jesus Christ:
It seems like every day brings more bad news in this crazy, sin-cursed world. And it seems, at least sometimes, like God’s people are dropping into defense-mode as the world becomes increasingly hostile toward Christianity. While all of this may be new to us, it is not different from the landscape that the churches in the New Testament faced. The Philippians, for example, were “granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake” (Phil 1:29).
The darkness of our day should make us more urgent about obedience to Christ’s commission, not less so. To that end, the theme for our fall conference this year, based on Philippians 1:27, is “Striving Together for the Faith of the Gospel.” By God’s grace, we’ll gather for two days, October 16-17, to focus our attention on biblical truth about building greater unity within and between our assemblies for the sake of the gospel. Incredible gospel opportunities are all around us. We need to sharpen our focus on biblical truths that...