A Signal for All Nations: The Politics of Advent

Second Sunday in Advent Is. 11:1-10, Rom. 15:4-13, Mt. 3:1-12 Introduction The gospel of Advent, which is to say the gospel of Jesus, is irreducibly political: it aims at nothing less than the greatest common good and harmony of all men. The question is not whether people will have a Lord, the question is only…

A Note on the Election

I wrote the following to my congregation today, and I share it here with the hope and prayer that it is an encouragement to all the saints to think, pray, and act faithfully in these days. Dear Trinity Saints, I’ve been enjoying a vacation at home this week with my family, and it’s been particularly…

Six Woes for Leaders

Luke XLIII: 11-37-54 Introduction Theodore Dalrymple points out in Life at the Bottom that leaders have a tendency to construct theories that do not actually match reality. Frequently, commitment to a particular vision or ideology works as a filter that strains out inconvenient facts that would call our vision into question. The “rightness” of a…

Foundations of Mercy & Mission #5: Sin, Slavery, and the Gospel

Gen. 4:1-16, Rom. 7:1-6, Mk. 15:16-39 Introduction As we continue to lay a biblical foundation for carrying out the mission of Jesus in this world, the world around us continues to give us reason to ask the question: How should we carry out this mission? What are we to think and believe? And what are…

Foundations of Mercy & Mission #1: Abundance & Scarcity

Gen. 3:14-24, 1 Jn. 4:7-21, Lk. 9:12-17 Introduction The Bible opens in mission (Gen. 1:27-28), and the mission is predicated on abundance not scarcity (Gen. 1:29, 2:8-15). The mission of the Church rests on an even greater abundance in the inheritance and authority of Jesus (Mt. 28:18-20, Rom. 8:32). Sin is the assumption of scarcity…

Knowing Christ

Luke XXXIV: Lk. 9:18-27 Introduction In our text today, Jesus asks His disciples the most important question of all time: Who am I? Who is Jesus? The answer to this question is the center of the Christian faith. Prayer Avails Much One of the lessons of the book of Luke is that prayer matters. The…

A Little Bit of the Sea

“Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned” (LK. 8:33) In the old baptismal liturgies, there was often an exorcism; a person being baptized would renounce Satan and all his works. The idea was that when someone was…

The Dignity of Guilt

One of the very unique aspects of Christianity is the dignity ascribed to human beings. Man and woman were created in the image of God and were created to be actors on the great stage of the world, to impact history, to be changers and inventors. People were created with wills, desires, and the power…

Unexpected Grace

Luke XXVIII: Luke 7:18-35 Introduction This story is all about expectations. John needs reassurance that his expectations about Jesus are correct. Jesus asks the people about their expectations concerning John. And finally, Jesus explains why the expectations of the Pharisees are wrong. And the questions looming behind these expectations are about who Jesus is and…

Tactics of Grace

Luke XXV: Lk. 6:27-38 Introduction When you follow Jesus, you are committing your life to the One who became impoverished for us, hungry for us, sorrowful for us, rejected and excluded for us. This is why when we experience those same things, we can rejoice and be glad. The reason we receive those situations in…