Pentecost Sunday: Fire From Heaven

Luke XXXVI: Lk. 9:49-62 Introduction Today is Pentecost, the fiftieth day after Easter, the day we celebrate the pouring out of the Spirit and the birth of the Christian Church. The Text: The theme that ties these three scenes in Luke 9 together is the call to follow Jesus and the way other people and…

Why We Baptize Our Children

At the end of Peter’s Pentecost sermon when the people were cut to the heart by the gospel and asked what they should do, Peter said, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit….

Far Better

Ascension Day 2016 Jesus said, “It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you.” (Jn. 16:7) The ascension of Jesus is one of the harder things to understand as Christians. From our perspective, it seems like Jesus leaving made everything a…

Why Did Jesus Need to Ascend?

Ascension Eve 2015 Most Christians understand that the resurrection of Jesus is of crucial importance to their salvation and the validity of the Christian Faith. Paul states explicitly that if Jesus is not risen from the dead, we are still in our sins, and we of all people are to be most pitied (1 Cor….

Beginning After the End

Minor Prophets II: Pentecost Introduction Today we continue our study of the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets. Last week we asked, “What is a Prophet?” And we said that a prophet is fundamentally a “friend of God.” The friends of God know God, speak to God, and God speaks to them. God wants to…

You are the Bread

“And you shall bring from your dwellings two wave loaves of two-tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven. They are the firstfruits to the Lord.” (Lev. 23:17) You may know that just before Passover, the Israelites kept the Feast of Unleavened bread, and they spent a…

Pentecost for Kids

In Deuteronomy 16, God commanded His people to keep the feast of Pentecost like this: “You shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and female servant, the Levite who is within your gates, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are among you…”…

In Defense of the Protestant Reformation or How the New Eve Got More Lovely

Anyone who’s read this blog for any length of time knows that I can wax polemical from time to time. Given my story and the little tree stump I’ve been given, some of my more polemical writing has centered on the goodness of Protestantism, the necessity of the Reformation, and various angles on why I…

Pentecost: Ps. 50-51: The Holy Spirit & Covenant Mercy

Introduction God is love, and this is because He is Trinity. The love that binds the Father and the Son is the Spirit (Rom. 5:5, 15:30, 2 Cor. 13:14, Col. 1:8). God’s love is not just a feeling, an emotion, it’s a fierce, personal, saving loyalty. This is what the Bible calls God’s hesed, His…

Two Measuring Tapes for the 4th of July

OK, since it’s the 4th of July, and everyone is hovering over their phones and computer screens hunting for something else to read, I’ll toss out one more thought and send you back out to your patriotic shenanigans. I’m fully convinced that lots of the “regeneration,” “rebirth” language in the Bible is way cosmic, political,…