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Hope

Feature Friday (12/29/17)

It’s Friday afternoon. I sit in my office contemplating the meaning of hope. What is it? How does it impact my life? And what do I put my hope in? It seems like every end of the year I go through this. I contemplate the last year. Look forward to the next and ask some important and intentional questions.

Questions like: what do I want to accomplish next year? Or what could I improve upon personally, spiritually, vocationally in the coming year? I realize all of these questions have to do with hope. And even as a follower of Jesus, finding and maintaining hope can be difficult in our day and age. But thankfully Joe Henegan offers some help.

In his article, “What 2018 Holds For Us: The Upside”, Joe offers 4 important positives 2018 will give us. As Joe says it, “There’s a lot to be excited about as we face a new year of Gospel growth worldwide.” I need to hear that and I agree.

I hope you will enjoy the article and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

*Photo from featured article.*

Feature Friday (5/23/14)

MiltonGlaser_Old-New_100A conversation with a coworker this week led to a discussion on the gospel and the importance of the good news of Jesus Christ in all aspects of the Christian life: from spiritual rebirth to physical death. However, the discussion led us to believe that even the term “gospel” no longer means or is understood as it once was. In light of that discussion I was pointed to a youtube recording of well known pastor and within his lecture a quote by J.I. Packer was read. As this quote was read I was floored by the distinctions Packer observes between what he calls this “new gospel” and the “old gospel”. I think he is spot on. The irony of the whole thing is that Packer wrote this quote in 1959. 

Be challenged, be thoughtful, be encouraged, and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

“There is no doubt that evangelicalism today is in a state of perplexity and unsettlement…if we go to the root of the matter, we shall find that these perplexities are all ultimately due to our having lost our grip on the biblical gospel. Without realizing it, we have during the past century bartered that gospel for a substitute product which, though it looks similar enough in points of detail, is as a whole a decidedly different thing. Hence our troubles; for the substitute product does not answer the ends for which the authentic gospel has in past days proved itself so mighty. Why?

We would suggest that the reason lies in its own character and content. It fails to make men God-centered in their thoughts and God-fearing in their hearts because this is not primarily what it is trying to do. One way of stating the difference between it and the old gospel is to say that it is too exclusively concerned to be ‘helpful’ to man – to bring peace, comfort, happiness, satisfaction – and too little concerned to glorify God. The old gospel was ‘helpful’, too – more so, indeed, than is the new – but (so to speak) incidentally, for its first concern was always to give glory to God. It was always and essentially a proclamation of divine sovereignty in mercy and judgment, a summons to bow down and worship the mighty Lord on whom man depends for all good, both in nature and in grace. Its center of reference was unambiguously God. But in the new gospel the center of reference is man. This is just to say that the old gospel was religious in a way that the new gospel is not. Whereas the chief aim of the old was to teach people to worship God, the concern of the new seems limited to making them feel better. The subject of the old gospel was God and his ways with men; the subject of the new is man and the help God gives him. There is a world of difference. The whole perspective and emphasis of gospel preaching has changed.

manvsgod24

 

From this change of interest has sprung a change of content, for the new gospel has in effect reformulated the biblical message in the supposed interests of ‘helpfulness’. Accordingly, the themes of man’s natural inability to believe, of God’s free election being the ultimate cause of salvation, and of Christ dying specifically for his sheep are not preached. These doctrines, it would be said, are not ‘helpful’; they would drive sinners to despair, by suggesting to them that it is not in their own power to be saved through Christ.

The result of these omissions is that part of the biblical gospel is now preached as if it were the whole of that gospel; and a half-truth masquerading as the whole truth becomes a complete untruth. Thus, we appeal to men as if they all had the ability to receive Christ at any time; we speak of his redeeming work as if he had make it possible for us to save ourselves by believing; we speak of God’s love as if it were no more than a general willingness to receive any who will turn and trust; and we depict the Father and the Son, not as sovereignly active in drawing sinners to themselves, but as waiting in quiet impotence ‘at the door of our hearts’ for us to let them in.

It is undeniable that this is how we preach; perhaps this is what we really believe. But it needs to be said with emphasis that this set of twisted half-truths is something other than the biblical gospel. The Bible is against us when we preach in this way; and the fact that such preaching has become almost standard practice among us only shows how urgent it is that we should review this matter. To recover the old, authentic, biblical gospel, and to bring our preaching and practice back into line with it, is perhaps our most pressing present need.”

http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/packer_intro.html

 

Rediscovering Christmas

christmas_wallpaper_prettyblueThe Christmas season is upon us again. Lights are up, trees are being cut down, and gifts are being bought. But in all the hustle and bustle of Christmas, the real reason for the season is often lost. Now, I don’t mean lost in the sense of “No one ever talks about Jesus”, like a Christian Grinch may verbalize. No, what I mean is that we can quickly and easily lose sight of the awesome event that happened over 2,000 years ago in a little town called Bethlehem. While newly discovered objects and truths are great, it is quite often the rediscovered objects and truths that can bring the greatest joy. So what I would like to do is simply post our church’s most recent outline from our senior pastor’s messages the next three weeks.*** These messages are entitled: Rediscovering Christmas. And the first installment is: Lay Hold of Hope.

Lay Hold of Hope – The Story of Joseph and Mary – Luke 2:1-7; Matthew 1:18-25

The Miracle in BethlehemLuke 2:1-7

  • The Time of Jesus’ birth – Caesar Augustus reigning, Quirinius governing, Herod the Great as ruler
  • The Circumstances of Jesus’ birth – Ancestral homes, Taxes, Swaddling clothes (Jesus cared for), A Common Name for an Uncommon Person

God’s Word to Joseph Matthew 1:18-25 (4 Ways Hope conquers Fear)

  1. Hope conquers fear when we face disappointment.
    • Like Joseph we often come to the wrong conclusions about things.
    • While Joseph was worrying, God was working. – Isaiah 7:14
    • Our fears are unfounded because we forget that God is in control.
  2. Hope conquers fear when we worry about public opinion.
    • Joseph sought to graciously protect Mary from ridicule or worse. – Deuteronomy 22:13-24
    • We must not allow public opinion to shape our future, but must simply obey God. – Proverbs 29:25
    • The angel of the Lord told Joseph not to fear public opinion, for God was at work.
    • Those who are in the center of God’s will need not fear public opinion.
  3. Hope conquers fear when God’s Word is fulfilled.
    • Jesus came to save His people from their sin.
    • Jesus came to fulfill the New Covenant – Jeremiah 31:31-37
  4. Hope conquers fear when we move ahead in obedience.
    • Joseph trusted God and obeyed.
    • Hope is found not in religion or philosophy, but in a Person – Jesus Christ.

So what should we take away from our effort to Lay Hold of Hope?

  1. Identify areas in your life in which you feel hopeless.
  2. Commit to be obedient despite the hopelessness.
  3. Surrender those areas to the One who gives hope.

Rediscovering Christmas series will be continued next week.

Until then…

***Sermon preached by Pastor Rick Wilson at Denbigh Baptist Church December 1st, 2013.***

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