30 April 2012

All Were Satisfied -- Mark 6:30-44

    The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men. (Mark 6:30-44 ESV)

27 April 2012

The Nature of Heaven - 2 Corinthians 12:2-4

    I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.
(2 Corinthians 12:2-4 ESV)

22 April 2012

The Fulfillment of the Gospel

Another gem from T4G this year...

Spend sometime this Lord's Day meditating on the truths of the Gospel.

21 April 2012

Why the Reformation isn't Over

Dr. Carl Trueman
Carl Trueman delivered a great address at his T4G breakout session this year. You can listen or download here and below is a brief outline. Be blessed.

Why the Reformation Makes a Difference
1.  The theological and ecclesiastical centrality of the cross
2.  The centrality of the Word
3.  The centrality of assurance
4.  The centrality of the pastor
5.  The centrality of more than just the Gospel

Weekly Communion? Why Ever Not?

Ray Van Neste offers three practical reasons for weekly communion:

1.There is strong evidence of a pattern of weekly observance in the New Testament.
2. In our man-centered age where so many services are shamefully devoid of any meaningful reference to the cross, could we not benefit from a move to a regular use of the Christ-ordained means for reminding us of the cross?
3. Communion at the close of each service has a way of tying the service to the gospel.

Read the whole article here and maybe give it some thought.

20 April 2012

How Are We to Understand 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18?

       Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV)

There is no doubt that these commands are difficult to understand and live up to. Nevertheless it is also a comfort that these three commands are God's will for us. We've all said it or thought it or heard someone else say, "What is God's will for me?" We struggle with this for more than we ought. Allow me to share a few thoughts on these beloved verses from G.K. Beale that shed light in this difficult area.

The attitude of joy is to be continual, which means that even when tribulation occurs, believers are always to respond with joy. ...

Such joy is not primarily an "emotional high" consisting only of "feelings. " Rather, the focus is on an inner, abiding attitude or disposition of taking pleasure in recognizing that whatever one encounters, including trials, is God's will. Therefore, to respond with joy in the midst of sufferings is to take pleasure in knowing that faithfully enduring such things pleases God. For example, the Thessalonians are not to grieve emotionally over the death of loved ones as the world does but are to express sorrow mixed with hope and are to take pleasure in the object of that hope, the future resurrection of all of God's people and their eternal reunification in Jesus' presence. Indeed, they are to receive emotional "comfort" from such hope and pleasure about the future. ...

Rejoicing is not the only activity that is to be conducted always, since Paul commands the Thessalonians also to pray continually (literally "unceasingly"). Paul links prayer with rejoicing elsewhere (Phil 4: 4-6) and adds that "the peace of God" is the result of rejoicing and praying about everything (4: 7; see also Rom 12: 12-18; 1 Pet 3: 11-12). This points further to the contention that Paul still has the grand goal of peace in mind in 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-17. ...

Paul thanks God because of the things he recalls about his readers in prayer, and the same dynamic probably exists between the two activities here in 5: 17-18. In particular, three facets of prayer give rise to thankfulness: (1) consideration of how God has answered our prayers in the past; (2) contemplation of God himself (his various attributes) and the many different ways in which he has manifested his grace to us by providing for us; and (3) continual confession of sin, as we remind ourselves that Jesus suffered the end-time wrath for our sin and overcame death by his resurrection, so that we might also overcome death. To the extent that we have a prayerful attitude we will have a thankful one. ...

God has placed upon his people the duty to be thankful, and he desires that they take pleasure in fulfilling that duty. This is not mere gratefulness to God for bestowing blessings on us but a gratitude that comes from being identified with our Messiah (in Christ Jesus) and receiving blessings because of our union with him. The fact that we are to thank God reveals that only he is the source of all blessings for which we thank him. ...

The parallelism of these three activities all being continual suggests that the phrase this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus is the ground not merely for thanksgiving but also for rejoicing and praying. During our daily activities, we must focus on the task at hand, but we should never lose sight of God in our spiritual peripheral vision. He should always be "in the background of [our] consciousness."...

And finally

As Paul notes in 5: 18, thanksgiving has its ultimate source of being in Christ Jesus. Paul's statement that God's people are in Christ Jesus should remind them that they are to see all things through the lens of Christ and not from their own vantage point. As a consequence, they will experience peace. Beale, G. K. (2010-02-17). 1-2 Thessalonians (Kindle Locations 2433-2435). Intervarsity Press - A. Kindle Edition. Emphasis added.

Oh, fellow believer, that we should experience that peace. What a blessing!

17 April 2012

C'mon, Just Start Reading

Joel Beeke

Joel Beeke offers nine reasons why we should read the Puritans:

1. Puritan writings help shape life by Scripture.

2. Puritan writings show how to integrate biblical doctrine into daily life.

3. Puritan writings show how to exalt Christ and see His beauty.

4. Puritan writings reveal the Trinitarian character of theology.

5. Puritan writings show you how to handle trials.

OK, that's only five but those are five of the best nine reasons I've come across to read the Puritans. Read the rest of the post here and start reading for crying out loud!

16 April 2012

Sending Out the Twelve - Mark 6:7-13

    And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts—but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.
(Mark 6:7-13 ESV)

15 April 2012

Confession of Sin

Our Father, we confess that the corruptions of our hearts have routinely ensnared us.  We admit that our greatest temptation is most often within our own souls.  We are grieved that our feelings are so dull, our thoughts so lowly, our affections so foolish, our expressions of gratitude so scarce, our lives so inconsistent, and our hearts so hard.  We are but sinful dust.  Yet too often we act as if we are worthy of praise and better than others.  Pierce our pride and keep us mindful of our sinful state and fallen condition as you stir up the hope of our heavenly home.  Forgive our sins through the blood of Jesus.  Amen.

14 April 2012

A Girlyman? I Don't Believe It.

Dr. Carl Trueman
A few humorous and insightful thoughts on T4G this year from Carl Trueman.

When invited to do a breakout at T4G, I had initially said no, not being a big conference person.  I was ultimately persuaded by the fact that the preponderance of attendees are officebearers in the church; and by the fact they put the guy who cries on my case (yes, that bit is truly pathetic, I know).  Last Sunday, as I packed my bag to leave, my wife asked me if I was looking forward to going.  No, I replied, but it will give me something to write about.

Indeed it did.  And not quite as I expected.  I went a sceptic; I returned encouraged.    For what it is worth, here is my take:

I was reassured by what I saw that T4G is in the game of putting on a good conference every two years and not in becoming a movement or setting the agenda for any church or churches.  It is just that: not a movement but a conference.  Just look at the webpage: it looks great but it is hopeless, magnificently hopeless.   It hardly changes from month to month and it did not even have the schedule up by the time of the conference.  That is indicative of an appropriate modesty of ambition.  It is just a biennial conference, not a movement or a source of primary identity.

Yes, the men at the plenary sessions are 'celebrities' in our small world; but they were not on the platform simply because of that fact.  There was no swagger in evidence; all, in their different ways, spoke powerfully about the gospel; nobody indulged in magnifying their own name; and my guess is that none of these men will do anything which embarrasses T4G in the next twelve months. ...

My general conclusion on this point is that celebrity is clearly here to stay; the key point is that those who have such celebrity cachet acknowledge it and leverage it for good.  By 'good', I mean direct people back to their own churches and set examples themselves as those who are committed first and foremost to their own people, congregations and denominations.

Read the entire article here to find out why Trueman thought T4G made him look like a girlyman. By the way, his lecture at the breakout session was informative, interesting and just plain fun.

More on T4G 2012

Allow me to share more of the session videos with you. Take the time to watch and absorb the content. You'll be blessed and encouraged to share the Gospel.

13 April 2012

Together for the Gospel 2012

Back home from Together for the Gospel. Had a great time with everyone. You can find all the audio for each session here and let me commend Lig Duncan's address which can be heard or downloaded here. Be blessed and enjoy.
The Massive Bookstore

Mark Dever

Name Above Every name

    Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:9-11 ESV)

Elder Ray Gilliland

12 April 2012

What is "The Fear of the Lord"?

Just what is "The fear of the Lord"? A.W. Pink explains

A.W. P
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 1:7). Happy the soul that has been awed by a view of God's majesty, that has had a vision of God's awful greatness, His ineffable holiness, His perfect righteousness, His irresistible power, His sovereign grace. Does someone say, “But it is only the unsaved, those outside of Christ, who need to fear God”? Then the sufficient answer is that the saved, those who are in Christ, are admonished to work out their own salvation with “fear and trembling.” Time was when it was the general custom to speak of a believer as a “God-fearing man.” That such an appellation has become nearly extinct only serves to show whither we have drifted. Nevertheless, it still stands written, “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him” (Psalm 103:13).
When we speak of godly fear, of course we do not mean a servile fear, such as prevails among the heathen in connection with their gods. No, we mean that spirit which Jehovah is pledged to bless, that spirit to which the prophet referred when he said, “To this man will I (the Lord) look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word” (Isa. 66:2). It was this the apostle had in view when he wrote, “Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king” (1 Pet. 2:17). And nothing will foster this godly fear like a recognition of the Sovereign Majesty of God. (Taken from The Arthur Pink Anthology, Baptist Trumpeter Publications.)

11 April 2012

Do you know the difference?

R.C. Sproul
Do you know the difference between expiation and propitiation?

The same Greek word is translated by both the words expiation and propitiation from time to time. But there is a slight difference in the terms. Expiation is the act that results in the change of God’s disposition toward us. It is what Christ did on the cross, and the result of Christ’s work of expiation is propitiation—God’s anger is turned away. The distinction is the same as that between the ransom that is paid and the attitude of the one who receives the ransom. - R.C. Sproul

The difference is crucial at certain points in Scripture. Be sure you know the difference as not all theologians and not all Bible translations have it right. As Sproul notes...

Together, expiation and propitiation constitute an act of placation. Christ did His work on the cross to placate the wrath of God. This idea of placating the wrath of God has done little to placate the wrath of modern theologians. In fact, they become very wrathful about the whole idea of placating God’s wrath. They think it is beneath the dignity of God to have to be placated, that we should have to do something to soothe Him or appease Him. We need to be very careful in how we understand the wrath of God, but let me remind you that the concept of placating the wrath of God has to do here not with a peripheral, tangential point of theology, but with the essence of salvation.

Read the whole article from Ligonier Ministries here.

10 April 2012

Four Gospels? Why?

Why four Gospels? I've heard this question so many times. Few can answer this question better than A.W. Pink. From his introduction to Why Four Gospels we read

In Matthew, Christ is presented as the Son of David, the King of the Jews, and everything in his narrative centers around this truth. This explains why the first Gospel opens with a setting forth of Christ's royal genealogy, and why in the second chapter mention is made of the journey of the wise men from the East, who came to Jerusalem inquiring "Where is He that is born King of the Jews?", and why in chapters five to seven we have what is known as "The Sermon on the Mount" but which, in reality, is the Manifesto of the King, containing an enunciation of the Laws of His Kingdom.
In Mark, Christ is depicted as the Servant of Jehovah, as the One who through equal with God made Himself of no reputation and "took upon Him the form of a servant." Everything in this second Gospel contributes to this central theme, and everything foreign to it is rigidly excluded. This explains why there is no genealogy recorded in Mark, why Christ is introduced at the beginning of His public ministry (nothing whatever being told us here of His earlier life), and why there are more miracles (deeds of service) detailed here than in any of the other Gospels.
In Luke, Christ is set forth as the Son of Man, as connected with but contrasted from the sons of men, and everything in the narrative serves to bring this out. This explains why the third Gospel traces His genealogy back to Adam, the first man, (instead of to Abraham only, as in Matthew), why as the perfect Man He is seen here so frequently in prayer, and why the angels are seen ministering to Him, instead of commanded by Him as they are in Matthew.
In John, Christ is revealed as the Son of God, and everything in this fourth Gospel is made to illustrate and demonstrate this Divine relationship. This explains why in the opening verse we are carried back to a point before time began, and we are shown Christ as the Word "in the beginning," with God, and Himself expressly declared to be God; why we get here so many of His Divine titles, as "The only begotten of the Father," the "Lamb of God," the "Light of the world" etc.; why we are told here that prayer should be made in His Name, and why the Holy Spirit is here said to be sent from the Son as well as from the Father.

Pink, A. W. (2010-04-28). Why Four Gospels? - New Century Edition with DirectLink Technology (Kindle Locations 129-136). 99 Cent Books & New Century Books. Kindle Edition.

Thus we see here in brief the necessity of four Gospels. Download free or read online more from Pink here and enjoy your studying.

09 April 2012

T4G 2010 & 2012

The Together for the Gospel conference is this week which got me reminiscing about  the conference two years ago. The speakers were all very inspiring, encouraging and motivating but the one that still rises above all others for me was John MacArthur's address. Here it is..

T4G 2010 -- Session 5 -- John MacArthur from Together for the Gospel (T4G) on Vimeo.

If you are attending this year, here are some updates from Trevin Wax on some further talks that will be given.


How do we underestimate the gospel today? - David Platt & Ligon Duncan from Together for the Gospel (T4G) on Vimeo.

Matthew to Acts Survey Week 4

We forge ahead in our survey as we study the Gospel of Mark this week.

08 April 2012

The Great Shepherd of the Sheep - Easter Sermon

Redeemer Church (PCA), Hudson, Ohio

    Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
(Hebrews 13:20-21 ESV)

The Empty Tomb

 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.
(Luke 24:1-12 ESV)

            We see, in the verses before us, the reality of Christ's resurrection. We read, that upon "the first day of the week" certain women came to the tomb in which the body of Jesus had been laid, in order to anoint Him. But when they came to the place, "they found the stone rolled away. And they entered in and found not the body of the Lord Jesus." This simple fact is the starting-point in the history of the resurrection of Christ. ...
            Let us cling firmly to the resurrection of Christ, as one of the pillars of the Gospel. It ought to produce in our minds a settled conviction of the truth of Christianity. Our faith does not depend merely on a set of texts and doctrines. It is founded on a mighty historical fact which the skeptic has never been able to overturn. It ought to assure us of the certainty of the resurrection of our own bodies after death. If our Master has risen from the grave, we need not doubt that His disciples shall rise again at the last day. Above all it ought to fill our hearts with a joyful sense of the fullness of Gospel salvation. Who is he that shall condemn us? Our Great Surety has not only died for us but risen again. (Rom. 8:34.) He has gone to prison for us, and come forth triumphantly after atoning for our sins. The payment He made for us has been accepted. The work of satisfaction has been perfectly accomplished.

Ryle, J.C. (2011-07-12). Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: The Four Volume Set [Fully Linked and Optimized] (Kindle Locations 18710-18717). Primediaelaunch eLaunch. Kindle Edition.

06 April 2012

A Good Friday Meditation

O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;
O sacred Head, what glory, what bliss till now was Thine!
Yet, though despised and gory, I joy to call Thee mine.


There is nothing in our lives that our precious Lord has not already suffered and suffered for His elect. Whether grief, family struggles, financial crisis, betrayal, bodily pain or temptation, He endured it all for His chosen. Let's take a few moments today to meditate on this and prepare our hearts for corporate worship this coming Lord's Day.

    It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun's light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts.  (Luke 23:44-48 ESV)

05 April 2012

Tartan Day 2012

Get ready, tomorrow is Tartan Day. Tartan Day commemorates the Signing of the Declaration of Arbroath on April 6, 1320 and there are events the world over to celebrate. So get your bagpipes and yer kilt and celebrate.

04 April 2012

The Purpose of Hell - Romans 9:21-24

    Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?
(Romans 9:21-24 ESV)

03 April 2012

The new issue of Themelios is out! Don't waste anytime downloading this issue. Full of juicy stuff for the hungry Christian. Download or read it here.

Set Free - John 8:31-36

     So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”
    Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
(John 8:31-36 ESV)


02 April 2012

Derek Thomas Interview

Derek Thomas

Great interview on Reformed Forum with Derek Thomas. As always, the Reformed Forum offers the best in Reformed conversation on a variety of topics. Check out the interview here and bookmark their website while you're there.

01 April 2012

Heading Off to Worship

    O LORD, I love the habitation of your house
        and the place where your glory dwells.
(Psalm 26:8 ESV)

Hope to see you there.