Archive for the ‘Gospel’ Category

Book Review: Bible Studies on Mark

Posted: Tuesday, January 31, 2017 in Book review, Gospel, Scripture

51tefsmeil-_ac_us160_What a delightful read! It is not often one can say such a thing about a Bible commentary. Commentaries vary in purpose – exegetical, homiletical, devotional, theological and/or doctrinal tradition. While all of these are necessary in a thorough biblical study with depth of meaning and application, not all can be called delightful. William Bernstein has provided a commentary that is both homiletical and devotional – and delightful!

Bible Studies on Mark will prove a great help to both shepherd and sheep, pulpit and pew. For the pastor, Boekestein provides a brief (each chapter is 8 pages) homiletical (each chapter appears to be a sermon) commentary for sermon preparation. It is brief, so the pastor will need to expand a bit on key theological and doctrinal themes. But this is a positive for the pastor – give to whet the appetite and spur meditation.

This will also prove beneficial to the Sunday School teacher or leader of a small group Bible study. In fact, with the questions provided at the end of each chapter, you already have 21 lessons (that is what Boekestein calls them). The easy-to-read format will be a great help, like for the pastor, for the teacher or leader in initial thoughts on Mark. It is brief enough that the student can read in one sitting and come to class ready for discussion.

And as mentioned, Bible Studies on Mark can be used as a devotional commentary. Brevity does not mean vacuous! Each reading will prove helpful in starting a day with thoughts tuned on Christ and His Word. It is simple to read for believers young and old. It is a delightful read!

I received a copy of this book free of charge from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

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Luther on Christ as Bridegroom

Posted: Wednesday, January 18, 2017 in Books, Gospel, Marriage, Reformation

51jhmpyz8ql-_ac_us200_The following is quoted by Sinclair Ferguson in The Legacy of Luther, chapter 7:

“Faith unites the soul with Christ as a bride is united with her bridegroom… it follows that everything they have they hold in common, the good as well as the evil. Accordingly the believing soul can boast and glory in whatever Christ has as though it were its own, and whatever the soul has Christ claims as his own. Let us compare these and we shall see inestimable benefits. Christ is full of grace, life, and salvation. The soul is full of sins, death, and damnation. Now let faith come between them and sins, death, and damnation will be Christ’s, while grace, life, and salvation will be the soul’s; for if Christ is a bridegroom, he must take upon himself the things that are his bride’s and bestow upon her the things that are his. If he gives her his body and very self, how shall he not give her all that is his? And if he takes the body of the bride, how shall he not take all that is hers?… Who can understand the riches of the glory of this grace?” (R. C. Sproul, Stephen J. Nichols. The Legacy of Luther (Kindle Locations 3570-3576). Ligonier Ministries, Inc. – USA.)

The bride got the better deal… Glory be to God!

Morris on Atonement

Posted: Friday, April 18, 2014 in Gospel, Theology

Leon Morris in his excellent book “The Atonement” states the following in the Epilogue. May it provide us who are in union with Christ encouragement and hope this Good Friday.

There are many facets to the atonement. It may be viewed from any one of a number of angles, each which brings to us an individual insight into the way of salvation. Some of them emphasize that Christ took our place. We are the sinners. We deserve the punishment. But we do not undergo it. Christ stood in our place and we are free. The New Testament witnesses to a multi-faceted salvation, one which may be regarded in many ways and which is infinitely satisfying. In whatever way our need be viewed, Christ met it fully.

The great thing about the cross is that God saves us by his grace. We do not merit salvatuon, but receive it as a free gift… The cross is the making of a new covenant, but this means that we are to live as the people of God. It is the perfect sacrifice, but we are to present our bodies as living sacrifices. If Christ died for us, we are to live for him. He has carried our sins away, as the Day of Atonement reminds us, and won for us access into the presence of God. And this means we have a great privilege. We must neither neglect it nor use it carelessly. Christ our Passover has been offered for us so that we, the church, constitute the people of God, and so that we should cleanse out every evil thing. Passover warns against complacency. The Lamb of God brings us back to the thought of the perfect sacrifice with all that that means.

Christianity Explored

Posted: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 in Evangelism, Gospel, Missions

On Sunday I closed with the following point of application from John 15:26-27:

The believer has all he needs in the person of the Spirit to empower, embolden, and enlighten their gospel witness. The Helper, Comforter, Advocate (Greek: paracletos, “one called alongside to help”); Spirit of truth (Spirit gives us just the right word at just the right time). Potential problem with methods: Not against methods, but the methods themselves can become a hindrance apart from the Spirit. (Ex.: MORMONS; JW’s are trained – but knock them off kilter…)

We lack confidence because we look for confidence in the wrong place (results/response; trust in method alone and when method doesn’t work, we think we’ve failed.)  We lack courage because we don’t see results – but remember, the results are God’s! We sow (live/tell the gospel); We water (pray); and We believe the promise (God will give the increase).

That being said, I would like to introduce you to a study called Christianity Explored. It is an excellent study in the gospel of Mark and answers the What? Why? Who? How? questions that are important in our evangelism. What is sin? Why do we need the gospel? Who is Jesus? How can one be made right with God? How can one follow Jesus? What is required to follow Jesus? There are seven sessions structured to both train leaders and then to present the study:

Session One: What Are We Doing Here? GOOD NEWS
Session Two: Who Is Jesus? IDENTITY
Session Three: Why Did Jesus Come? SIN
Session Four: Why Did Jesus Die? THE CROSS
Session Five: Why Did Jesus Rise? THE RESURRECTION
Session Six: How Can God Accept Us? GRACE
Session Seven: What Does It Mean to Follow Jesus? COME AND DIE

I am starting a study with some of my people and plan to follow up with a neighborhood meeting at a later time. If you are in the West Hoover/Bessemer/McCalla area and are interested, please let me know.

Thoughts on Winston Outcome

Posted: Friday, December 6, 2013 in Culture, Gospel

Florida State Attorney Willie Meggs declared that no charges would be brought against Florida State standout quarterback Jameis Winston in the year-old sexual assault case — case closed. It appears that justice was served in the decision given the lack of evidence to either prosecute or defend in criminal court. We will likely never know the full story of what happened, and if the act itself (which is not debated given DNA evidence) was not consensual, then I am sorrowful for the young lady involved. Her response is correct – it is and will continue to be difficult for woman to speak out in sexual assault/abuse cases. But again, given the evidence, in my estimation Meggs’ made the right call.

That given, I have a couple of concerns. First, I found that there were some football fans in the states of Florida and Alabama that lost all sense of proper perspective in the midst of this – especially over the past week Some in Florida were hoping, pleading, and even praying that Winston would be cleared of charges in order to play in the ACC Championship and presumed BCS National Championship and pave the way for the Heisman – regardless of the merits of the case. And there were some in my state of Alabama that were hoping for a different outcome – whether they be of Bama or Auburn stripe – so that Winston could not play in the ACC Championship. While I think these were few, the fact that there were any that would put sports passions over justice is discouraging.

Another concern is that the entire incident reveals the moral climate of our nation, and this too is discouraging. Winston showed no remorse whatsoever that there was a sexual act that took place. Whether or not it was a consensual is inconsequential in the sexually immoral act itself that Winston sought and participated in. Meggs’ decision, the defense attorney’s presser, Winston’s response, and the thoughts of many included a similar refrain, “There was a sexual act that took place, BUT…” And the moral decline is demonstrated with the “BUT.” There are only a handful of people who have drawn any attention to the truth that there was an act of sin. Not even an ounce of remorse from Winston, just jubilation that he was found innocent. You see — the fact that there was a sexual act no longer matters — after all, all college students are sexually active, at least that’s how the story goes.

Given this entire situation, I could not help but think of another Heisman winner who was the first sophomore to win the trophy. That player was also quarterback on  a BCS National Championship football team in the state of Florida, only not Florida State, but the University of Florida. And that player was decried for taking a moral stand on sex, marriage, and abstinence – even called “out of touch” and “a freak” for his views. That player was Tim Tebow.

Tebow was not and is not a perfect man. Tebow was not and is not a sinless man. But Tebow was and continues to be above reproach morally. He stands forgiven for his sins because of his belief in what Christ accomplished for his sins at Calvary — full forgiveness. And this forgiveness, Mr. Winston, is what you need and can have today if you repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. You must have faith in Him, not in yourself, which your statement declared yesterday.

And folks – the same is true for all in our moral morass. And it is this gospel that keeps me from despair in my discouragement and gives hope in times that seem hopeless. We are called to take the good news of Christ into the darkness of our culture — by His grace and for His glory.