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Is the resurrection of the body! Too often we speak of waiting to go to heaven. True, upon death genuine believers will in their spirit be “with Christ” in paradise (as he told the thief on the cross). But as much as that is fine and wonderful, it isn’t our ultimate hope.
No, we “eagerly wait for a Savior the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of His glorious body . . .” (Philippians 3: 20, 21: HBSC). That is more than heaven—indeed, we will live in a new body in a new heavens and new earth (2 Peter 3:13) in which righteousness is at home. Think of it—believer, some day, you will have a new body like His!
It was a body that rose from the dead, walked through doors, ascended into heaven and sat on the right hand of God (where it is today).
On that resurrection day, your body will rise to meet Him in the air, in order to escort Him to earth. You will then enjoy all the privileges of living in a perfect body in a perfect world! That is heaven, all right: heaven on earth!
In speaking to a promising young man recently about his preaching, we both arrived at the conclusion that his difficulty was not in style, organization or delivery. What he was facing was simply a problem of communicating something substantive to his congregation each week. The problem is not uncommon, even among those who hold to the inerrancy of the Scriptures.
In order to preach effectively, you must have something to say, not merely have to say something! From reading and hearing sermons, all too frequently it seems as though that elemental truth has escaped many.
Are your sermons thin soup? Does your congregation get fed sawdust or the wholesome food of the Scriptures each week? Lean, scrawny Christians are indicative of lean victuals. Are your members healthy and robust? Or are they suffering from spiritual rickets?
It is not as though there is not enough “healthy teaching” (one of Paul’s favorite phrases in speaking to pastors like Titus and Timothy) to go around; the Word of the Lord is filled with all of the ingredients necessary to spread a balanced, nourishing meal before the congregation every time that you rise to preach. There is no end of...
Is it surprising that some preachers are hated? Well, it shouldn’t be. For people to hate them is nothing new. Listen to this passage:
Jehoshaphat asked, “Isn’t there a prophet of Yahweh here any more? Let’s ask him.” The king of Israel said . . . “There is one man . . . but I hate him because he never prophesies good about me, but only disaster” ( 1 Kings 22:8, HCSB).
The king of Judah was right in seeking God’s will through a prophet; the king pf Israel was wrong in hating the prophet. What a contrast!
Why did the latter hate the prophet? Because he did his job—he told the truth about the sins of the king and his people, and predicted God’s judgment upon them apart from repentance.
Today, we have no prophets (contrary to the views of a popular theological writer), but we have preachers who are as close to being prophets as anyone. When they do their job (fulfill their calling from God) they will frequently have to warn about the consequences of sin against God. When they do, they are often disliked (or possibly even hated) by those who listen. But they are as foolish for doing so as king Ahab, who lost his life as a result (v. 37).
One of the principal unrecognized problems in contemporary preaching is sleep-inducing rhythm patterns. These pulpit lullabies, which stroke and soothe already sleepy parishioners, are of much more frequent occurrence and contribute far more toward the ineffectiveness of preaching than most realize.
Pulpit sirens, who fall into such rhythmic patterns, bill and coo at congregations unwittingly. It is almost impossible to convince them that their Sunday lyrics may be responsible for the small results obtained, because of the difficulty of recognizing the problem in one’s own preaching. If you are guilty of orchestrating weekly performances of this nature, you will never know it unless you are willing to listen analytically to tapes of your preaching in a critical and businesslike manner. Because so few are, I predict that this article will go largely unheeded. Pastoral nightingales, perched in pulpits, chirruping and warbling away, often are too entranced with the sound of their own voices to do the critical evaluation necessary. But for the few rare birds who will listen, who discover that the problem is theirs and who wish to do something about it, I offer the following...
“It’s our being caught up into the air to meet Jesus at His coming, of course.”
“Wrong? Why I read about this in Titus 2:13. How can you say that?”
Easily: by reading the passage; and not reading anything into it.
I’ll let the passage do so:
We wait for the blessed hope and (better, “even”) the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.
Do you get it? What we wait for isn’t what happens to us—it’s what happens to Jesus: the important thing isn’t our going; it’s His coming.
And it’s not just His coming—but how He will come. He will appear in a glory that makes it clear to all who He is: God as well as Savior.
In that day we who know Him won’t focus on ourselves—we’ll focus on Him! It would seem wise to do so now, as the Great God and Savior, as well as then, wouldn’t it?
 He Greek word “KAI” can mean either and or even.
Gene Veith asks,
So what if the Church were to worship in a style that no culture of today follows? What if its music were utterly different from everyone’s popular tastes? What if people of all cultures and sub-cultures–every nation, tribe, people, and language, including teenagers and hipsters, factory workers and financiers, people of every ethnicity, farmers and suburbanites and urbanites, little children and the elderly–could worship together? Wouldn’t that be cool?
Read more: Should Christianity try to be “cool”?.
I am very pleased to announce the publication of a print edition of A Conservative Christian Declaration!
This book as been in the works for over a year now, beginning with a Google Hangout I arranged in July 2013 with Kevin Bauder, Michael Riley, Ryan Martin, David de Bruyn, Jason Parker, and Greg Stiekes. Among other things we discussed, we began making plans to work together on a document that would both articulate our core conservative values as well as dispel caricatures of our positions.
Through all of the fall we collaborated on the document. We started with a list of 25 or so affirmations and denials that David de Bruyn had composed earlier in the year. I reduced his list, added a few, and wrote a preamble; then we proceeded to discuss, adjust, and in many cases re-write progressively through the Declaration.
In January of 2014 we published the Declaration on this site, soliciting feedback from interested parties. We then began posting weekly explanations...
Darrell Bock addresses a difficult scriptural questions. Here is his conclusion:
So where does this leave us? Two approaches could work. The early sacrifice might explain what is taking place or reading John’s Preparation as referring to the Sabbath preparation in the shadow of the Passover. If the latter is the point, then John is saying that Jesus is crucified in the mix of the Passover season, not on the day of Passover. This can work in the sense that the entire period is associated with the Passover. A modern analogy would be that people celebrate Christmas office parties all the time and it is not Christmas. Such associations are popular in orientation and not technical. So Jesus is crucified in the midst of the Passover season with his death connected to a Passover meal and so he is seen as crucified with a Passover significance. It may be that rather than trying to work out all the details of how this works technically, we are better off to see the season being appealed to in a popular ancient manner and the association made that way. The point should give us pause in not over-literalizing as we read some of these texts. So one or a combination of the solutions...
You’ve very likely seen this now viral video clip of Victoria Osteen proudly proclaiming that when we worship God, we’re not doing it for him, we’re doing it for our own happiness:
I’m not going to comment on her statements per se; others have adequately criticized her perspective as grossly unbiblical.
But what has interested me is some of the confusion and disagreement among conservative evangelicals over this matter. On the one hand, many evangelical leaders and bloggers have (rightly) come out strongly against this blatant expression of prosperity gospel, accurately labeling it as a false gospel and worthy of condemnation.
But on the other hand, some evangelicals have found themselves pausing for a moment. “Wait,” they wonder, “isn’t what she said actually pretty close to the what we’ve been saying for years, maybe just worded a little bit strangely? Doesn’t God want us to be happy in him? Haven’t we been teaching that God is most glorified in us when we enjoy him? Maybe she wasn’t too far off after all.”
These Christian hedonists are having a difficult...
The unconditionality of God’s grace is what leads us to the belief that the same grace that chooses also secures. Here is a further motivation for communing with God: our relationship with him is secure and permanent.
To be in Christ is to be as secure in your relationship with God as Christ’s is with the Father. As certain as Christ’s position is before the Father, and as certain as Christ’s position in Heaven is, so is a Christian’s position, because he or she is in Christ.
Consider what this security means.
1) There is no possibility of our being condemned, if we are in Christ (Romans 8:1). Christ has already been condemned for us on the cross. Christ has already been made a curse for us on the cross. A sin will not be punished twice by a just God.
2) No accusation, persecution or tribulation can remove us from Christ. Christ has already taken care of the charge-sheet against us, and is now on our side (...
Hopefully, at this point in the summer you’ve made a pretty good dent in your summer reading list. We’re looking to add one more title to that list, and we’re going to give a free copy of Four Views on the Apostle Paul (Zondervan, 2012) to someone who comments on this post.
In order to enter the drawing, you need to leave a comment below telling us the author and title of the best book you’ve read this summer (outside the Bible). The book can be fiction or non-fiction, academic or popular, long or short. It doesn’t matter. To be entered, you only need to tell us the title and author, but if you really enjoyed the book and want to tell us why, that would be great too.
The deadline to be entered in the drawing is 11 pm (EST), Wednesday, August 13.
It’s no secret that I have an abiding interest in the place and function of sanctification in the life of believers. The journey that began for me as a doctoral dissertation answering the Keswick model of sanctification that has historically punished dispensational fundamentalism has taken a new twist in recent years as a new threat has emerged within conservative evangelicalism: the gospel-driven sanctification approach most vividly seen in the writings of Tullian Tchividjian, but certainly not restricted to his sphere of influence.
In ultimate terms, I am not opposed to the label “gospel-driven” as applied to sanctification. My tension with the contemporary use of this label by those in the “contemporary grace movement” (as it is now being labeled in some Reformed circles) is that it restricts the gospel, in varying degrees, to Christ’s accomplishment of justification for us while giving scant attention given to Christ’s accomplishment of regeneration in us. As such, “gospel-driven” sanctification becomes, to a greater or lesser degree, an exercise in recalling Christ’s righteousness imputed in justification (with an attendant abhorrence of all that...
Earlier this summer I had a chance to read and review a new and increasingly-influential book on Hebrews by David Moffitt, assistant professor of NT at Campbell University Divinity School. The review’s slotted to be published in the Fall edition of Trinity Journal. Here, however, I wanted to post a lightly revised, pre-publication version, principally because I think the book’s fundamental thesis is just plain wrong. I’ll explain why. But, first, a summary.
Summary. Moffitt tries to overturn two common assumptions in Hebrews’ scholarship. Against those who argue that (1) Jesus’ resurrection is unimportant for Hebrews and (2) Jesus’ resurrection has been conflated with his exaltation, he insists that Jesus’ resurrection should be distinguished from his exaltation and that Jesus’ resurrection stands at the center of Hebrews’ theology. He supports this intriguing thesis with three arguments.
First, he argues that Jesus’ human presence in heaven is what makes him greater than angels, which, therefore,...
Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 260–c. 340) is generally considered the church’s first real historian. Although he provides invaluable insight into the history and workings of the early church, Eusebius is often criticized for his selective record and especially for his rather generous depiction of Emperor Constantine (c. 272–337). Shortly after the emperor’s death, Eusebius wrote a panegyric in which he described Constantine in very positive terms while omitting some of the more negative details about his character and domestic life. In addition to his book on Constantine, Eusebius also wrote several other works including an account of the church’s first three centuries titled Church History. This too was not strictly speaking a critical work, but it is the earliest chronological description of the church in this period which is still extant. Without it, we would be much...