Category Archives: The Gospel

Is God Less Glorious Because of the Newtown Shooting?

The following is an excerpt from a sermon I preached on Sunday, December 16, 2012 two days after the school shooting in Newtown, CT.

I wonder if Jesus Christ looks glorious to you today. I wonder if recent tragedies in our country have caused you to doubt his goodness, to question whether he might be less glorious than he really is.

If that is you today I want you to know that this recent tragedy has personally hit me unlike another one that I can remember. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I have a 5 year old daughter who is in kindergarden and for the last two weeks I have been doing a lot of work in several of the elementary schools around Chicago.

So I by no means would EVER EVER want to minimize the terrible tragedy and pain that these families are going through by my comments, but yesterday as I was looking at this sermon I couldn’t help but ask:

Can I still go up on that stage and tell all those people that they should give praise to the superiority and the humility and the glory of Jesus Christ?

How can I come up here and tell you that this baby, this prince of peace, has come to bring peace on this earth when every day we see and hear about anything but peace on this earth?

Then as I was praying to God and asking him for wisdom on what to say and what to do I had this overwhelming feeling that God wanted me to remind you that the message of Christmas is a message that brings great hope to a lost and dying and hurting world.

You see there were some Fathers on Friday that sent their sons and daughters off to school not knowing what would happen to them on that day and we all know that if they would have had any idea what was going to happen they would have never let their kids go into that school building that day.

Yet, the message of Christmas tells us of another Father who sent his one and only son to this earth knowing full well what was going to happen….And he still did it!

He came into the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. We rejected him, we despised him, he was a man of many sorrows, and he was eventually brutally murdered.

Our God is not some distant monster who does not know how to sympathize with our sufferings. He became a man of suffering. He KNOWS!!! He knows what it is like to lose a son and we should know that because he lost his son, murders and tragedies do not have the final word.

Oh, how we should turn to a God like this and all the more so in the midst of such terrible tragedies!!!

Don’t you see that there is no other gathering of worshippers this morning who can tell you that their God knows what it is like to lose his son. What other religion? … What other god? … What other faith has a God like our God who knows our pains and sufferings? … There is NONE! For there is only one God, one faith and one Lord who comes down from his mighty throne and takes on the pain and suffering and evil in this world.

That is the amazing glory of Christ’s incarnation. That is the amazing glory of his humility that he would not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped but he humbled himself and took on the form of a servant. He became obedient to the point of death and even death on a cross.

He went through strife so that we could know peace!

He was crushed so that we could be lifted up!

He experienced the displeasure of God so that we could experience His pleasure!

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Filed under Chicago, Phill's Sermons, Preaching, Sermons, Suffering, The Gospel

Tell The Truth Review

Summary

Will Metzger’s Tell the Truth is a book about the gospel. He is seriously concerned with the evangelistic practices and methods that have been happening in the modern church. All throughout the book Metzger compares the differences between sharing a “God-Centered” gospel message and a “me-centered” gospel message. It is clear by the many examples that Metzger provided of “me-centered” gospel presentations that he wants this book to help clarify both the gospel we share and the methods we use when we share it. Continue reading

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Filed under Book Reviews, Book Summaries, Christian Living, Discipleship, Evangelism, The Gospel

Tolerance Is Exclusive Too!

The following is an excerpt by Tim Keller in Christianity Today. The rest of the article can be found HERE.

Tolerance Is Exclusive Too!

Nothing is more characteristic of the modern mindset than the statement “I think Christ is fine, but I believe a devout Muslim or Buddhist or even a good atheist will certainly find God.” This approach is seen as more inclusive.

I point out that the universal religion of humankind is: We develop a good record and give it to God, and then he owes us. The gospel is: God develops a good record and gives it to us, then we owe him (Rom. 1:17). In short, to say a good person, not just Christians, can find God is to say good works are enough to find God. But this apparently inclusive approach is really quite exclusive. It says, “The good people can find God, and the bad people do not.” What does this mean for those of us with moral failures? We are excluded.

So both approaches are exclusive, but the gospel’s is the more inclusive exclusivity. It says joyfully, “It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been at the gates of hell. You can be welcomed and embraced fully and instantly through Christ.”

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Filed under Apologetics, Articles, Evangelism, The Gospel

Health, Wealth & Happiness Review

Health, Wealth & Happiness.  By David W. Jones and Russell S. Woodbridge. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2011. 201 pages.

If you go around and ask people if they know what the prosperity gospel is they might know what you are talking about, but if you simply describe the basic message of their teaching almost everyone will know what you are talking about. In this book, Jones and Woodbridge not only explain how pervasive the teachings of the prosperity gospel are, but they also provide the history of this movement and critique it biblically.

Stricter Judgment

After years of experience in studying the scriptures and observing the growth of the prosperity gospel movement they have concluded that these teachings are no gospel at all. For it is not good news for anyone especially those who are doing the teaching. As James 3:1 says, “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” Jones and Woodbridge wrote this book to reveal these realities and help readers grow in their discernment of this movement.

Are They Really Heretics?

Calling these teachers heretics may seem harsh or judgmental to some people, Continue reading

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Filed under Book Reviews, Christian Living, Finances, Money, The Church, The Gospel

The Sufficiency of the Sign of Jonah

The following is my notes from a sermon I preached at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C on June 5, 2011.  Click HERE for the sermon audio.

What If Satan Took Control?

Have you ever thought about what it would look like if Satan really took control of an entire city? Maybe it would look like Sodom and Gomorrah? Or what about the city of Nineveh that we heard about in the sermon this morning? But are these heinous crimes really the only signs that Satan is at work?

 Over a half-century ago, Donald Grey Barnhouse speculated that if Satan took an entire city then…

“All the bars would be closed, pornography banished, and pristine streets would be filled with tidy and polite pedestrians who always smiled at each other. There would be no swearing. All the children would say “Yes, sir” and “No, ma’am,” and the churches…. Well they would be full every Sunday…and Christ would not be preached.”

What do you think about Barnhouse’s speculation?

Before you conclude that he was just trying to be provocative open your Bibles to Luke chapter 11:29-30 and we will see who Jesus called a wicked generation.

Luke 11:29-30

As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation.”

What do you think Jesus is teaching us in this passage? I have three questions I want to answer. Continue reading

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Filed under Jonah, Luke, Preaching, Sermons, The Gospel

Preaching Like Paul

I hope it is safe to assume that we would all aspire to preach like Paul. In other words, I think we would aspire to communicate the gospel with the clarity that Paul did. So how do you know if you are preaching the same gospel that Paul preached?

Here is a little test to see if you preach like Paul did:

Do you ever have people respond to your presentation of the gospel by asking you “that is it?…It’s that simple? What about my works?…Are you saying it does not matter what I do?”

I was recently sharing the gospel with a non-Christian and he said almost all those things. I apparently was making salvation sound TOO easy and grace was TOO free. It was shocking to him.

Apparently Paul got those questions and responses too. As he is writing the letter to the Romans he knows what objections they are going to bring up when he says things like “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:19-21)

Paul’s logic here is that if we are first and foremost guilty before God because of our union with Adam how much more are we righteous and perfect in God’s eyes because of our union with Christ.

Perfectly righteous? YES!!!!

But won’t that teaching just lead to more sinning?

Paul knows that is exactly what some people will be thinking which is why Paul wrote what he did in chapter 6.

“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?…What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!” (Romans 6:1, 2, 15)

So is that how you preach and communicate the gospel? Are you hearing the objections Paul heard? Do you have to talk about how grace leads to more holiness in your gospel conversations?

If not, then it may be because you are not preaching with the clarity that Paul did. It may be that your not preaching the gospel at all.

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Filed under Evangelism, Preaching, Romans, The Gospel

Matt Chandler’s T4G 2012 Message

(Audio of this message can be found HERE. Video of this message can be found HERE.)

The Fulfillment of the Gospel

Revelation 21 & 22

Two years ago I was told I would probably be dead from cancer and should not be here today. He has been good that I’m here today but he is good whether I live or die. He is good because he is God.

Some are here today undone and not sure how you are going to make it and you have had a list of people you want God to kill.

But has not God been good to you in this conference to remind you about how good God is. Don’t be too much of a shepherd that you do not get shepherded.

As pastors we have a front row seat of watching God bring people out of darkness and into the light. We get to see the spectacular work of regeneration.

And at the exact same time we get to see the tragedies of a fallen world. We walk into hospital rooms and do funerals and weep with our people. We have tragedies and weighty weeks.

We have front row seats to the brokenness of a fallen world.

It is unbelievably important to have an anchor of hope for your soul. Continue reading

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Filed under 9 Marks, Revelation, Sermons, T4G 2012, The Gospel