The gospel is…the word about Jesus Christ and what he did for us in order to restore us to a right relationship with God. – Graeme Goldsworthy

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Rosaria Butterfield has much to teach us...

At the end of my sermon Sunday, I read extensively from a book by Rosaria Butterfield entitled The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor's Journey into Christian Faith. My purpose was to illustrate what Paul does in Acts 22.1-5. He does not condescendingly address the murderously hostile Jewish audience; rather, he lovingly refutes their erroneous accusation that he’s an enemy of Judaism (cf. Acts 21.28). He does this not only by explaining his loyalty to Judaism (ultimately due to his saving encounter with Judaism’s Savior: Acts 22.6-16) – but also by relating that he also once walked in their shoes.

Rosaria was once a liberal, feminist, lesbian professor in the English Department of Syracuse University. In the early 90s she set out study the rise of the Religious Right in America and its “hermeneutic of hatred” against individuals like her. Ironically and providentially, that became the catalyst of a "train wreck conversion," as she puts it, resulting in her placing trust in the gospel of Jesus Christ and repenting of her life of sin. She has much to teach us if we will listen.

The following is an interview conducted by one of my theological mentors, Russell Moore – the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (or ERLC) – at ERLC’s 2014 National Conference, which addressed “The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage.” Over the next forty minutes, you will hear Dr. Moore and Rosaria converse about the following topics:

Øthe importance of creating a church community that values repentance
Øbuilding gospel bridges with your lost neighbors (whom God has providentially given to you as a “mission field”)
Øthe necessity of brokenness in our walk with God (and why it’s vital to our Christian witness/evangelism)
Øthe individual God used to bring her to Christ
Øher passion for small church ministry
Øher “church stalking” habit (before becoming a Christian)
Øwhy church membership is vital to our Christianity in a “Jesus & me” culture
Øthe gospel and sexuality (about which she says, “The gospel’s understanding of sexuality is the best-kept secret on the planet.”)

I would encourage you to watch this when you have a free evening. It will edify your soul, challenge your heart, and equip you to be a better minister of Jesus Christ in the 21st century.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Atheist Kid's Songs

For all of you with children, this will make you laugh. For those who teach children about God and His gospel on Sunday mornings, you might even laugh harder. Without further ado, the always creative and hilarious Tim Hawkins…

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Gospel Truth for the Satanically Condemned Believer

Saint, do you feel condemned with oppression today for your sin and shortcomings by voices of demonic condemnation? The only cure is gospel truth! Read the fantastic quote below, look up the verses, and sing this song – drowning out the serpent’s words with that final and authoritative Word from God to you: "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8.1).

On the basis of the description of in Rev. 12:9-21 and the description of Satan in Job 1:6-11; 2:1-6; Zech. 3:1-2, it can be concluded that the devil was permitted by God to have a place in the heavenly court as a [lawyer] to “accuse” God’s people of sin. The OT texts portray Satan accusing saints of unfaithfulness, with the implication that they did not deserve God’s salvation and gracious blessings (Zech. 3:1-5, 9). Implicit also in the accusations was the charge that God’s own character was corrupt.

In light of Rev. 12:11 (“they overcame him [the devil] because of the blood of the Lamb”), the accusations mentioned in verse 10 appear to be directed against the illegitimacy of the saints’ participation in salvation. The devil’s accusation is based on the correct presupposition that the penalty of sin necessitates a judgment of spiritual death and not salvific reward. The charges are aimed against all saints who do not receive the deserved punishment. Until the death of Christ, it could appear that the devil had a good case, since God ushered all deceased OT saints into his saving presence without exacting the penalty of their sin. Satan was allowed to lodge these complaints because there was some degree of truth in the accusations. However, the devil’s case was unjust even before the death of Christ, since in part the sins about which he was accusing and for which he wanted to punish people were instigated by his deceptions.

The death and resurrection of Christ have banished the devil from this privileged place and prosecutorial role formerly granted him by God. This is because Christ’s death was the penalty that God exacted for the sins of all those who were saved by faith. The sinless Christ vicariously took on himself the wrath that was threatening saints so that they might be delivered from the final wrath to come. This meant that the devil no longer had any basis for his accusations against the saints, since the penalty that they deserved and for which he pleaded had at last been exacted in Christ’s death (see also Rom. 3:21-26). G.K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New (217)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Your Busy Life and The Mission of the Church

I’m endeavoring to do a series on membership right now. It’s challenging. While one of the challenges for me as pastor is in the formation of the series, a greater challenge is what this series confronts in the heart of every evangelical Christian living in Western culture. One of those challenges I addressed at the beginning of my sermon last week. I quoted Paul David Tripp to highlight this concern. Take a few minutes to listen to this quote in Tripp's own words, and ask God to search your heart. I would also encourage you to listen to last week’s sermon if you were absent. It’s vital we at new3c are all on the same page during this series.