The Joy Command

This is a slightly edited outline of an exhortation I gave at our Elder/Deacon Retreat this last weekend:  Introduction As we consider the year before us and all the real challenges we face, it can be easy to feel tired, exhausted, and overwhelmed. And it’s pretty striking that there really aren’t that many passages in…

As Sara Obeyed Abraham

There may be any number of startling moments in a Christian wedding, but perhaps the bride’s vow of obedience to her husband ranks among the most startling. So we should take care to explain what we mean by it and why we believe it is an important part of a Christian wedding ceremony. The origin…

The Objectivity of the Word

In recent years, many of my teachers and elders and friends have helpfully reminded the Church that God’s grace, His covenant and loyalty to His people is objective, historic, outside of the feelings of wavering, doubting, sin-ridden people. The Church is the center of this objective reality. Here, in the historic, concrete, gathering of believers…

Apocalyptic Eyes

Minor Prophets XVI: Zechariah 1-6 Introduction Zechariah is one of the most difficult books of the Bible to understand because it is full of apocalyptic imagery. Even though “apocalypse” means “revelation,” we often finish reading these portions of the Bible feeling like we know less than when we started. But these parts of the Bible challenge…

Scandalous Grace

One of the greatest scandals of the gospel is the free grace of forgiveness. But we say this, and I do not think we often let it sink in. The scandal of free grace is God’s love of sinners, God’s love of His enemies, His love of the worst kinds of evil people. We like…

Friends of God

Minor Prophets I: Ascension Sunday Introduction Today we begin a series of sermons on the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets. This coincides with our celebration of the Ascension of Jesus and the pouring out of the Spirit at Pentecost (Joel 2:28-29, Acts 2). What are the Twelve Minor Prophets? Hosea through Malachi. They are…

The Spirit of Forgiveness

Fourth Sunday in Easter: Jn. 21:15-25 Introduction Here, as the close to the breakfast episode, John zooms in on the restoration and forgiveness of Peter. This is not the first time John has highlighted forgiveness as proof of the resurrection (Jn. 20:23), and this comes immediately to the fore in his epistle (1 Jn. 1:5-10)….

What is Sex For? (Part 2)

Introduction One of the points we have been seeking to drive home is a biblical celebration of different kinds of glories, particularly the God-given differences between men and women. The great temptation is to despise difference, to resent that others are not like us. This is sometimes because we believe we are better, a fear…

What Are Women For?

Introduction The good news of the gospel is that Jesus came to save women. This of course implies that women need saving. But this also implies that God loves women. There is something gloriously unique and precious to God about a woman. Building a Woman Whereas the first man was made from the dust of…

With Christ in the Dark: Ps. 88

Sixth Sunday in Trinity Season: Psalm 88, 1 Pet. 4:12-19, Mk. 15:25-39 Introduction The Hebrew title of the book of Psalms means “praises,” but it may come as a surprise that that the most common kind of psalm is a lament. These are psalms that describe enemies or threats and cry out to God for…