Precious in the Sight of the Lord is the Death of His Saints

In light of my wife’s faithful and loving grandmother’s crossing the threshold of heaven this week, I am reminded of the verse:

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” Psalm 116:15

These words remind us of God’s immense love for His sons and daughters. At no point in their lives is he a distant observer. Rather, He is an ever present, sovereign, involved Father- every step of the way. Including the final step of their earthy lives.

Their death, says the psalmist, is precious in His sight. Why is it precious? Because for them, it is the last trial they will go through. It is the last time they will ever feel pain. It is the last effect of a sinful and fallen world that they will experience. Endless joy, peace, comfort, and fulfillment lay ahead.

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Four Reasons the Sermon on the Mount is Relevant Today

In January, I started studying and writing on the Sermon on the Mount. A family wide bout of Covid-19 delayed my study for a little bit. But alas, God has allowed me to return to it! This week I want to share something I read from Martyn Lloyd-Jones on the Sermon. I am summarizing his comments under the title, “Four Reasons the Sermon on the Mount is Relevant Today.” Here they are:

1. Jesus died to enable us to live the Sermon on the Mount.

As I argued in my previous blog, the Sermon on the Mount is a description of the Christian life. Thus, Jesus died for us to be able to live out the principles of the Sermon. He died to “purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14). The principles contained in the Sermon are a part of these “good works.” In fact, God has planned from eternity past for us to walk in them (Eph 2:10). Because of Jesus’ death and the new life it has brought us, we can be zealous for doing the good works He expounds in the Sermon

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5 Things to Remember in Suffering

1. God promises to comfort us in our affliction (2 Cor. 1:3-4). We can ask him on the basis of his Word to comfort us. Then we should pursue channels of that comfort! Psalm reading, praying (honestly), listening to worship music, asking brothers and sisters to pray for us, etc. God can and will use all these things (and more) to comfort us in our pain.

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J. Gresham Machen, A Biographical Essay

Introduction

Throughout the history of Christianity, certain theologies, ideologies, and philosophies have arisen and threatened the church’s understanding of the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. One such theology is the modern liberalism that arose in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which the main character of this essay describes as “an attempt to solve the problem of historic Christianity’s relation to modern culture.”[1] In an attempt to solve this “problem,” modern liberalism became rooted in naturalism and discarded the supernatural particulars of the Christian message such as the virgin birth, substitutionary atonement, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ as mere symbols of the more general aspects of religion.[2]

Modern liberalism taught that the essence of Christianity is to be found in its general ethical principles rather than in the event of the Son of God dying for the sins of His people. Liberalism made its way into many churches, denominations, and seminaries by the dawn of the twentieth century and was threatening to overpower historic Protestantism in its popularity and acceptance. However, church history often demonstrates that when a harmful theology arises, God raises up a voice to expose, correct, and provide clarity for the church. In the early decades of the twentieth century in the United States, that voice was J. Gresham Machen’s.

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The Center and Core of the Whole Bible

I’ve been reading through Ned Stonehouse’s biography of J. Gresham Machen, the conservative New Testament professor at Princeton Seminary who stood against the liberal theology that was making inroads in the Presbyterian Church of America in the 1920s and 1930s.

Throughout the Book, Stonehouse highlights key sections from Machen’s works. In one of them, titled What is Faith?, Stonehouse recounts where Machen clearly sets forth what he believes to be the “center and core” of the whole Bible: the grace of God. And I couldn’t agree more. He writes,

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Confidence in the Text

We have been working through the book of Jonah in my Hebrew class, and this week we discussed several nuances in Hebrew that are tough to see in our English translations. The question was asked, “how do we show these differences when we teach or preach?” Our professor gave a response that caused me to reflect on one of the greatest privileges of seminary: gaining confidence in the text of the Bible.

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God Walks on Water, Jesus Walks on Water

Image result for walking on water

Jesus walked on water. Most people are familiar with this story. It may even be one of Jesus’ most remembered miracles, aside from rising from the dead or turning water into wine. But too often I read over it quickly and take it for granted. But this week I noticed a connection I haven’t seen before and I was able to see the profound message of the miracle in a new light.

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One of the Hardest Parts of Seminary

When I came to seminary, I assumed the most difficult aspects would be leading a balanced life, memorizing Greek and Hebrew vocabulary, or reading a large quantity of material well. But tonight I experienced what I’ve consistently found to be one of the most challenging aspects of seminary: relationships. It’s not difficult to find people to have a relationship with. In fact, it’s just the opposite, and that is the challenging part. There is an overwhelming amount of opportunities for good relationships with people who love Jesus.

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A Review of Richard Bauckham’s “Bible and Mission”

Summary

BibleandMissionIn Bible and Mission, Richard Bauckham seeks to respond to postmodernism’s rejection of universal metanarratives in favor of particulars by demonstrating that the Bible consistently moves from the particular to the universal, and thus, particulars are the means by which God achieves the universal. In other words, Bauckham wants to show the reader that the Christian faith is not just another universal truth claim that can be dispensed with in favor of particular or diverse expressions of religion, but that the Bible contains a series of God-ordained particulars that open the door to His universal kingdom. By establishing this movement from the particular to the universal in the Bible, Bauckham hopes to provide the reader with the ability to read the Bible in a way that takes seriously its missionary direction by taking both the particular and universal seriously, and achieving the latter via the former (11).

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Five Takeaways from Ernest Reisinger’s Biography

ErnestReisingerBookPhoto

Ernest Reisinger has been called an “unsung hero” in the resurgence of reformed theology in the late 20th century.  Though Ernie would likely reject the title and want to remain unsung, Geoffrey Thomas presents the essence of his contribution to the church by recounting Ernie’s life – a life that was a model of humble faith, faithful evangelism, and diligent service for God in whatever season of life he was in. A life that, as Ernie would say, was completely indebted to the sovereign grace of God. Ernie was instrumental in running profitable businesses, planting churches, pastoring churches, helping Banner of Truth books expand throughout U.S., promoting seminaries, training pastors, and providing thousands of theologically rich books to people around the world. Here are my five primary takeaways from his biography:

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