Mary Magdalene and You: Resurrection Day 2017

Jn. 20:1-18 Introduction It’s no accident that the very first eyewitness of the resurrection was Mary Magdalene. Her testimony has been remembered and celebrated since the earliest days of the Christian faith and remains a wonderful encouragement to us. Who Was Mary Magdalene? Tradition has suggested that Mary Magdalene may have been the unnamed sinful…

Peter Pan & Palm Sunday

Mt. 21:1-16 Introduction “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” cried the people as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on that first triumphal entry (Mt. 21:9). “Hosanna to the son of David!” cheered the children as Jesus drove out those who were buying and selling in the temple and healed the blind…

An Armory for Modern Christians #12

The Inescapability of Slavery Introduction We are coming up on one of America’s feast days: Tax Day. Some of you don’t celebrate it at all, as Uncle Sam requires you to give your “fair share,” but for many Americans they begin planning vacations, acquiring new cars or boats, and the like as they see the…

Hypocrisy, Ash Wednesday, and the Gospel

So I need to follow up on what I said in my recent Ash Wednesday homily. I received a few questions from friends, and I’m just assuming that there are likely more folks out there who didn’t understand me or had lingering questions. And let me just say at the outset that I really am…

An Armory for Modern Christians #10

The Glorious Strength of Fatherhood Introduction The Bible teaches that the glory of men is their strength (Prov. 20:29), and this glory is specifically given to every man to carry out their calling of fatherhood. This is not because every last man marries or begets biological children, rather this is because every man is created…

Why I Discourage Making the Sign of the Cross

So I need to say a few words to my congregation about making the sign of the cross, but it’s the kind encouragement and exhortation that I don’t mind others listening in to and applying to their own situations with wisdom, so I’m posting it here. Anyone who attends Trinity Reformed Church knows that we…

Ash Wednesday 2017

  One of the striking elements of our Ash Wednesday service is the recitation of the curses of the covenant found in Deuteronomy 27. This was included in Thomas Cranmer’s original Ash Wednesday service, and Martin Bucer – John Calvin’s mentor – said it was a “particularly wholesome ceremony” and went so far as to…

When You Must Not Pity: Loving Enemies & False Accusations

In the Old Testament law, everything was to be confirmed by the mouth of two or three witnesses (Dt. 17:6). Paul says in the New Covenant that we must not receive an accusation against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses (1 Tim. 5:19). The same standard applies to church discipline…

The Dignity of Guilt

One of the most loving and dignifying things God does for human beings is insist that they take responsibility for their sin. This is one of the fundamental meanings of the words of Christ: If anyone tries to save his life, he will lose it, but if he loses it for my sake, he will…

An Armory for Modern Christians #2

2 Cor. 10:4-5: Taking Every Thought Captive Introduction We have been given divine power to destroy strongholds, arguments, and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Cor. 10:4-5). This means that we must learn to examine our own thoughts, assumptions, and intentions as faithful…