Matthew R. Perry

Archive for July 8th, 2007|Daily archive page

Preaching Christ From All of Scripture: White Horse Inn Interview with Dennis Johnson

In Preaching on July 8, 2007 at 10:07 pm

The White Horse Inn presented an excellent program on July 1 — an interview with Dennis Johnson, author of “Him We Proclaim: Preaching Christ from All the Scriptures.”  Here’s the commentary by Michael Horton of White Horse Inn.

Hello and welcome to a special edition of the White Horse Inn. Jesus abraded the religious leaders of his day for their devotion to the Bible without evidently knowing the point. You search the Scriptures diligently, he told them, thinking that you have eternal life in them. Yet it is they that testify concerning me. But you will not come to me that you may have life. In other words, they were Bible centered without being Christ centered. But is that really possible? Can we be diligent searchers of Scripture and miss the point that from Genesis to Revelation the whole story is about God finding us? It’s an unfolding plot of redemption centering around the person and work of Jesus Christ. Jesus evidently thought that the Scriptures, which of course meant our Old Testament, proclaimed him throughout. In his ministry, Jesus and the gospel writers are constantly drawing our attention back to the promises of the Hebrew Scriptures that were being fulfilled in their presence. Ask a lot of Christians today what they think is the central theme or who is the central character and you’ll probably get a lot of very different answers. Some may say it’s the nation of Israel. Others say principles for living. Still others will say it’s a blueprint for revolution. Many read the Bible as a collection of timeless doctrines and moral rules. Even if we say that Christ is the center of Scripture, it’s easy to miss him in all the distractions that preoccupy us today. How then can we become better readers and hearers of the Word and not miss the main point? How can we better see Christ as the beginning, middle, and end of the biblical story? To help us with that important task we have the good services of Dr. Dennis Johnson, Professor of Practical Theology at Westminster Seminary California and the author of a very recent book, Him We Proclaim: Preaching Christ From All The Scriptures.

Click here to listen to the program.

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Do We Have a Reason to Celebrate? (Introduction)

In Church Life, Sermons on July 8, 2007 at 3:54 pm

Most everyone I know enjoys having a good time. Whether it be family reunions, 4th of July celebrations, special fellowships here at church, ball games, Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations, birthday parties. In fact, many go out of their way to look for a good time — sometimes looking for that good time in some rather suspect and, dare I say, all the wrong places!

It may be because of this that so many in certain denominations fail to see how our times of worship can be times of celebration. Many in these denominations stress certain aspects of worship. Some stress Psalm 29:2, which says, “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness” (ESV) which tells us to approach God with awe at his splendor and glory. Growing up, I remember our bulletins having at the top the verse from Habakkuk 2:20, “But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.” Now, if you grew up with this verse being used as a reason to keep silent prior to our times of worship, I believe that this is a good principle, but I respectfully submit that this verse is in a different context. You see, Habakkuk was preaching against idol makers who were screaming at their creations to “Awake” and “Arise” and “teach!” but it could not. But God is on his throne, and we need say nothing to get him to awake and arise and teach — he needs no prompting from us!

Some denominations take it too far. I have heard of denominations who jump pews, handle snakes, laugh, even bark, and are even “slain in the Spirit!” They go the other direction and are, I believe, in excess and are out of control. As a result, we see these excesses and react against them. Even though the Bible says, “Shout for joy unto the Lord all the earth” (Psalm 100:1); even though the Bible says, “Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody” (Psalm 98:5, ESV); even though the Bible says, “Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy” (Psalm 47:1, ESV) — we shy away from this for fear of being seen as un-Baptist and too Charismatic.

When in reality, we should only be concerned about being Christian and biblical!

When concerning this, we come to this portion in the book of Nehemiah, we see a celebration taking place: God’s vision has come to fruition — the wall is built, the enemies subdued, and a party is taking place. When you consider how impossible this task seemed just seven month prior when Nehemiah first heard the news about the condition of Jerusalem and how the wall to the city was destroyed. But God did it. He stirred the king’s heart to give him safe passage and all the materials he needed; he stirred the people’s heart to get to work; he strengthened the people’s hearts even when enemies from the outside and inside came up; and now he is rousing the people’s hearts to celebrate.

Do we have reason to celebrate? Yes!

(Tomorrow: Celebrate! Celebrate! Dance to the Music!)

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