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Archive for March, 2008|Monthly archive page
Click here to view. Approx. 27 minutes in length.
A really good interview of Tim Keller by Monergism.com.
In reading “Outgrowing the Ingrown Church” by C. John Miller, I came across a quote that just struck me. In the book, Miller notes that many churches have neglected God’s clear will of “going and making disciples” as outlined by Christ’s Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). But many of our churches have grown inward for fear of extinction. It was at this point, I came across this quote on pp. 19-20:
“We have surrendered our hearts to the familiar forms of our religious life and found comfort of soul, not in knowing God, but in knowing that our worship practices are firmly settled and nothing unpredictable will happen Sunday morning. Thus, we have lost contact with the risen Lord as the source of our spiritual life, and what is worse we are often so enfeebled that we hardly know that we are out of touch with the King.”
Would we rather have comfort of soul, or know God? One thing about going through the Gospel of Luke is that Jesus is not comfortable nor safe. In fact, Jesus said in Matthew 5:11-12:
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
But how sad it would be for us to be out of touch with the risen Lord, and not know it — but think we are because we are maintaining worship practices that may be taking precedence over the leadership of the Holy Spirit of Christ?!?
Joe Thorn commented on another aspect of Miller’s book dealing with seven characteristics of an ingrown churches. May we read and head as we evaluate exactly what God would have us to be as a New Testament church.
A number of college students are now facing arguments from the “New Atheism” trying (unsuccessfully so)to undermine the rationality and validity of a Supreme Being of any guide, and a God as described in the Bible. Tim Keller in this and through his book “The Reason for God” is an introduction to engaging those struggling with God’s work in the world. This took place at the Veritas Forum at the University of California at Berkeley.
Sadly, I am finding more and more college students and young adults influenced by secularism and humanitarian efforts who reject the God of the Bible because they cannot reconcile a loving God who allows suffering in the world. I did address this in a previous sermon which brought a great deal of help to many people who were struggling with various issues but could seemingly find no answers.
I always encourage people to look to the cross. While we do understand that the preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, to those who are being saved it is the power of God unto salvation (1 Corinthians 1:18). The majority of people in the world will see the cross as scandalous and a stumbling block on many levels:
- Why couldn’t God just forgive? Why did He need to sacrifice His Son?
- Some say, as Steven Chalke and Alan Mann did in a recent book, that the cross is simply “cosmic child abuse” of a Father to His Son;
- How could one man take on the sin of everyone? Isn’t there something more that could be done?
- How could the King of Kings and creator of the universe ever truly subject himself to death? That is beneath the dignity of a King.
It comes down to the penal substitution of Christ in placating the divine wrath of a holy God. This is not a “fly off the handle” type of wrath, but a wrath in which God is decidedly against the very thing that separates His beloved image-bearers from Himself — sin.
As God, Christ came to fulfill God’s Law (something we could not accomplish). As a man, He stood in our place as a substitute for our sin.
But to answer the question, I would like to echo Tim Keller’s comments from his most recent book, The Reason for God: to the human perspective, the cross seemed like the greatest injustice in history (which it was) but there was a tremendous cosmic purpose behind it. So when we look to the cross, we see that behind all the suffering (which came in due to the curse of sin) God is orchestrating a glorious plan to reconcile all things to Himself.
I have been reading through some really good books on the subject over the past few weeks:
- The Truth of the Cross by R.C. Sproul
- The Cross of Christ by John R.W. Stott
- Pierced for our Transgressions by Steve Jeffery, Michael Ovey, and Andrew Sach
- Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
- The Cross He Bore by Frederick Leahy
Also, some good articles are posted on the subject of Good Friday:
O Grace Abounding, Full and Free
Based on Romans 5:12-21
O grace abounding, full and free;
The gift secured by Christ for me.
Through Adam’s sin our world was cursed,
Through Christ that curse is now reversed.
O grace abounding, right and true;
Christ offers righteousness to you!
Removing judgment, death, and strife
He justifies, and grants new life.
O grace abounding — reigning strong;
Atonement paid, the vict’ry won.
Where sin increased, grace all the more
Through Christ, abundant life’s in store.
O grace abounding, all is right
His Word brought all my sin to light;
His Spirit cleansed me, made me whole,
In heart, in strength, in mind, in soul.
Copyright (c) 2009, Matthew R. Perry. All rights reserved.