John Bradford – A Fruitful Sermon of Repentance

bradford_0 The life we have at this present is the gift of God, in whom we live, move, and are, and therefore he is called Jehovah. For this life we should be thankful, and we may not in any wise use it after our own fancy, but only to the end for which it is given and lent us; that is, to the setting forth of God’s praise and glory, by repentance, conversion, and obedience to his good will and holy laws whereunto his longsuffering, as it were, even draws us if our hearts were not hardened by impenitence. And therefore our life in the scripture is called a walking; for as the body daily draws more and more near its end, that is, the earth, even so our soul draws daily more and more near unto death, that is, to salvation or damnation, to heaven or hell!

Since we are most careless of this, and very fools, (for we, alas! are the same today we were yesterday, and not better or nearer to God, but rather nearer to hell, Satan, and perdition; being covetous, idle, carnal, secure, negligent, proud, &c.) I think my labour cannot be better bestowed, than with the Baptist, Christ Jesus, and his apostles, to harp on this string, which of all other is most necessary, and most especially in these days. What string is that? says one. Truly, brother, it is the string of repentance, which Christ our Saviour used first in his ministry; and as his minister at this present time, I will use it to you all, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matt. iv.

This sentence, thus pronounced and preached by our Saviour Jesus Christ, as it commands us to repent, so to the doing of the same, it shows us a sufficient cause to stir us up thereunto, namely, because the kingdom of heaven, which is a kingdom of all joy, peace, riches, power and pleasure, is at hand, to all such as do repent. So that the meaning hereof is, as though our Saviour should thus speak at present: “Sirs, since I see you all walking the wrong way, even to Satan and unto hell-fire, by following the kingdom of Satan, which now is coloured under the vain pleasures of this life, and foolishness of the flesh most subtle, to your utter undoing and destruction to behold and mark well what I say unto you, The kingdom of heaven, that is, another manner of joy and felicity, honour and riches, power and pleasure, than you now perceive or enjoy, is even at hand, and at your backs; as, if you will turn again, that is, repent you, you shall most truly and pleasantly feel, see, and inherit. Turn again therefore, I say, that is, repent; for this joy I speak of, even the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Here we may note, first, the corruption of our nature since to this commandment, Repent you, he adds a clause, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand; for by reason of the corruption and sturdiness of our nature, God unto all his commandments commonly either adds some promise to provoke us to obedience, or else some sufficient cause which cannot but excite as to hearty labouring for doing the same; as here, to the commandment of doing penance, he adds this cause, saying, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Again, since he joins the cause to the commandment, saying, “For the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” we may learn, that of the kingdom of heaven, none, to whom the ministry of preaching does appertain, can be a partaker, but such as repent, and do penance. Therefore, dearly beloved, if you regard the kingdom of heaven, as you cannot enter therein, except you repent, I beseech you all; of every estate, as you desire your own weal, to repent and do penance: the which that you may do, I will do my best how to help you by God’s grace.

But first, because we cannot well tell what repentance is, through ignorance and for lack of knowledge and false teaching, I will show you what repentance is. Repentance, or penance, is no English word, but we borrow it of the Latinists, to whom penance is ‘forethinking’ in English; in Greek, it means ‘being wise afterwards;’ in Hebrew, ‘conversion or turning;’ which conversion or turnings, cannot be true and hearty, unto God especially, without some good hope or trust of pardon for that which is already done and past. I may well in this sort define it, namely; that penance is a sorrowing or thinking upon our sins past, an earnest purpose to amend, or turning to God, with a trust of pardon.

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Dave Jenkins – Adam, Eve, the Gospel and the Truthfulness of Scripture

The historicity of Adam is one of the most debated issues in modern Christianity. There are many who simply do not believe Adam and Eve existed, even within the Church. Some scholars do not believe that the existence of a literal Adam and Eve is crucial to Christian doctrines of the Fall, and Redemption. William Dembski, college professor and senior Fellow with Discovery Institute Center for Science and culture, writes:

“The theodicy the defense of God’s goodness in view of the existence of evil developed in this book is certainly compatible with a literal Adam and Eve. But it does not require a literal Adam and Eve. What it does require is that a group of hominids, however many, had their loyalty to God fairly tested; moreover, on taking the test, they all failed.”

Others believe that the Genesis account of the creation of man and the fall may be allegorical. Francis Collins states, “The real problem for the believer comes down to whether Genesis 2 is describing a special act of miraculous creation hat applied to a historic couple or whether this is a poetic and powerful allegory of God’s plan for the entrance of the spiritual nature (the soul and the Moral law into humanity.”

Peter Enns, author, former professor, and Senior Fellow of Biblical Studies for Biologos, in an interview for Christianity Today reveals:

“To Peter Enns, a literal Adam as a special creation without evolutionary forebears is “at odds with everything else we know about the past from the natural sciences and cultural remains.” As he reads the early chapters of Genesis, he says, “The Bible itself invites a symbolic reading by using cosmic battle imagery and by drawing parallels between Adam and Israel.”

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Tim Challies – The History of Christianity in 25 Objects: Augustus of Prima Porta

On the outskirts of ancient Rome stands what remains of the villa owned by Livia Drusilla, wife to Caesar Augustus, Rome’s first and greatest Emperor. Though the villa was discovered and explored as far back as the 16th century, serious excavations did not begin until the 1860’s. In 1863 these excavations uncovered a remarkable work of art, the statue that would come to be known as Augustus of Prima Porta. Livia kept this marble statue of her husband, itself a copy of a bronze commissioned in 20 B.C. to celebrate Augustus’ great triumph over the Parthians. This statue is the first of the twenty-five objects through which we will explore the history of Christianity.

Augustus of Prima PortaBorn Gaius Octavius, Augustus was the great-nephew and eventual heir of Julius Caesar. Following his uncle’s murder, Augustus successfully defeated the assassins and overcame all challenges to power. In 27 B.C. the Senate crowned him Imperator Caesar Divi Filius Augustus—Emperor Caesar Exalted One Son of God. He would rule for over forty years. The great poet Virgil would write of him:

“Behold the man—the promised one, of whom you know—
Caesar Augustus, son of a god, predestined to rule
And to restore the Golden Age to Latium,
Where Saturn used to rule. His empire will extend
Beyond the Garamants and Indians, over lands
In the far north and south of the stars of the zodiac
And the yearly path of the sun…”

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Dr. Albert Mohler – Learning from Christopher Hitchens: Lessons Evangelicals Must Not Miss

The death of Christopher Hitchens on December 15 was not unexpected, and that seemed only to add to the tragedy. His fight against cancer had been lived, like almost every other aspect of his colorful life, in full public view. He had told numerous interviewers that he wanted to die in an active, not a passive sense. Then again, there may never have been a truly passive moment in Christopher Hitchens’ life.

Long before he was known as one of the world’s most ardent atheists, he was known as a world-class essayist and a hard-driving public intellectual. Born in England, he had made his home in Washington, D.C. for three decades. His range of interests was almost unprecedented. He wrote books on subjects as varied as Thomas Paine and the Elgin Marbles. He was a predictable man of the Left when he began his journalistic career in Britain, and he remained a staunch defender of civil liberties throughout his life. Nevertheless, he broke with liberals in the United States and Britain when he affirmed the Bush Administration’s decision to wage war against terrorism in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

He could write eloquent prose, but he could also write savagely. He was a self-described contrarian, even writing a book entitled, Letter to a Young Contrarian. In that book he described this contrarian stance as “a disposition against arbitrary authority or witless mass opinion.” In practice, for Hitchens it seemed to mean the right to attack any idea, any place, any time, no matter who might hold it.

In 2007 he launched a full assault upon theism and belief in God. In God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, Hitchens declared himself to be the implacable and determined foe of all religious belief. Along with Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris, he became part of the Four Horsemen of the New Atheism.

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David Steele – Book Review: What We Talk About When We Talk About God by Rob Bell

I am a disturbed man. I am disturbed because people compromise the truth. I am disturbed because people marginalize the truth and swerve away from biblical reality. I am disturbed because a great communicator with a bright mind and a love for people continues down a rocky path. On Tuesday, March 12, Rob Bell unveiled his newest book, What We Talk About When We Talk About God. I am disturbed because one group of people uncritically accepts anything that comes off the end of Bell’s pen. On the other hand, I am disturbed by Christians who refuse to debate civilly with the likes of Bell. Instead, they cast stones and call names. They protest outside at his speaking events and drop nasty one liners on Facebook. Surely, there must be a better way!

In Bell’s previous offering, Love Wins, several fundamental doctrines were undermined, most notably the doctrine of hell. Bell argued then, ”If we want hell, if we want heaven, they are ours. That’s how love works. It can’t be forced, manipulated, or coerced. It always leaves room for the other to decide. God says yes, we can have what we want, because love wins.” The author continues, “Restoration brings God glory; eternal torment doesn’t. Reconciliation brings God glory; endless anguish doesn’t. Renewal and return cause God’s greatness to shine through the universe; never-ending punishment doesn’t.”

The author continues the dialogue (according to emergent standards) in What We Talk About When We Talk About God. The writing is witty and inquisitive. Bell has mastered the art of asking questions and has adjusted his eyes and tuned his ears in order to understand postmodern culture.

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Trent Hunter – F.L.E.E. – A Strategy for Pursuing Sexual Purity

We’re supposed to flee from things that can kill us.

Active volcanoes, oncoming traffic, and snakes come to mind. So should sexual immorality. To Christians in a sexually confused culture, Paul issued this clear order: “Flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18). That is, flee from the dangerous enjoyment of sexual pleasure outside of God’s wise design for its enjoyment in marriage.

So how are you doing at fleeing?

Maybe you are fleeing into sexual immorality. Or maybe you’re just thinking about it . . . all the time. You’re already there, of course. Maybe you’re running, but in circles. Images are glued to the walls of your brain. Or maybe this whole subject just adds to the feeling of shame.

Thankfully, God is committed to our sexual purity. Scripture says, “You were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20). Christ died to purify our consciences and our very lives. What grace! When we see him we will be like him, but until then we flee sexual immorality.

What’s your plan for the next encounter with temptation? Or for the next conversation with a friend, child, or spouse who needs your counsel?

Here’s a strategy: F.L.E.E.

It’s biblical, it’s hard to forget, and it fits on a napkin.

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Dr. Albert Mohler – What Breathes Fire into the Equations? Professor Stephen Hawking at 70

Stephen Hawking celebrated his 70th birthday yesterday, though he was not able to attend the symposium held in Cambridge in his honor. Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, vice-chancellor of Cambridge University, made the announcement that Hawking, the guest of honor, would not be present.

The very fact that Stephen Hawking has reached his 70th birthday is an astounding fact in itself. Hawking, perhaps the world’s most famous scientist, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis [ALS], more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, at age 21. That disease usually leads to death within three years of diagnosis, making Hawking’s almost half-century experience with ALS all the more amazing.

Add to this the remarkable productivity of Hawking’s work as a scientist and public intellectual. Confined to a wheelchair most of those years, he has been dependent upon a breathing tube for years now. No longer able to speak, he has communicated for several years through a special computer device that allows him to choose words as the machine follows his cues. Most recently, those cues are communicated only through voluntary twitches of his cheek. It can take him up to ten minutes to compose a single sentence.

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Intelmin Week in Review – Week of 30 Mar-5 Apr 2015

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Here is what made it on Intelmin last week:

Michael Boling – Reflections on Judges 16-18 http://intelmin.org/2015/04/michael-boling-reflections-on-judges-16-18/

Michael Boling – Jesus as the Fulfillment of the Feast of Pesach (Passover) http://intelmin.org/2015/04/michael-boling-jesus-as-the-fulfillment-of-the-feast-of-pesach-passover/

Lyndon Unger – Always Being Prepared To…What? http://intelmin.org/2015/04/lyndon-unger-always-being-prepared-towhat/

Martin Luther – The Eighth Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness http://intelmin.org/2015/04/martin-luther-the-eighth-commandment-thou-shalt-not-bear-false-witness/

Michael Boling – Judges 13-15 http://intelmin.org/2015/04/michael-boling-judges-13-15/

Book Review – Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary: Ruth http://intelmin.org/2015/04/book-review-two-horizons-old-testament-commentary-ruth/

Michael Boling – Feasts of the Lord: The Feast of Pesach (Passover) http://intelmin.org/2015/04/michael-boling-feasts-of-the-lord-the-feast-of-pesach-passover-2/

Matthew Poole – Gossip http://intelmin.org/2015/04/matthew-poole-gossip/

Scott Redd – Avoiding a Spirit of Lethargy (Part 2) http://intelmin.org/2015/04/scott-redd-avoiding-a-spirit-of-lethargy-part-2/

Michael Boling – Reflections on Judges 10-12 http://intelmin.org/2015/04/michael-boling-reflections-on-judges-10-12/

Michael Boling – Isaiah 58 and the Observance of the Sabbath http://intelmin.org/2015/04/michael-boling-isaiah-58-and-the-observance-of-the-sabbath/

Book Review – EP Study Commentary: Acts http://intelmin.org/2015/04/book-review-ep-study-commentary-acts/

Albert Mohler – The Integrity of Words and Our Confession of Faith http://intelmin.org/2015/04/albert-mohler-the-integrity-of-words-and-our-confession-of-faith/

Martyn Lloyd-Jones – Contrast Between the Christian and the Non-Christian: Exposition of Romans 8:5-17 http://intelmin.org/2015/04/martyn-lloyd-jones-contrast-between-the-christian-and-the-non-christian-exposition-of-romans-85-17//

Michael Boling – Reflections on Judges 8-9 http://intelmin.org/2015/04/michael-boling-reflections-on-judges-8-9/

Book Review – Glory Hunger: God, the Gospel, and Our Quest for Something More http://intelmin.org/2015/04/book-review-glory-hunger-god-the-gospel-and-our-quest-for-something-more/

Scott Oliphant – Around and Around We Go http://intelmin.org/2015/04/scott-oliphant-around-and-around-we-go/

Andy Horvath – What You Probably Don’t Know about ‘The Least of These’ http://intelmin.org/2015/04/andy-horvath-what-you-probably-dont-know-about-the-least-of-these/

Michael Boling – Reflections on Judges 6-7 http://intelmin.org/2015/04/michael-boling-reflections-on-judges-6-7/

Nick Batzig – The Curse Reversed http://intelmin.org/2015/04/nick-batzig-the-curse-reversed/

Book Review – Continuity and Discontinuity: Perspectives on the Relationship Between the Old and New Testaments http://intelmin.org/2015/04/book-review-continuity-and-discontinuity-perspectives-on-the-relationship-between-the-old-and-new-testaments/

Micah Fries – Why You Should Care for Creation Now http://intelmin.org/2015/04/micah-fries-why-you-should-care-for-creation-now/

Michael Boling – Reflections on Judges 3-5 http://intelmin.org/2015/03/michael-boling-reflections-on-judges-3-5/

Book Review – Roman Catholic Theology & Practice: An Evangelical Assessment http://intelmin.org/2015/03/book-review-roman-catholic-theology-practice-an-evangelical-assessment/

John MacArthur – The Cost of Compromise http://intelmin.org/2015/03/john-macarthur-the-cost-of-compromise/

Austin Brown – Reflections in Genesis 3:15 http://intelmin.org/2015/03/austin-brown-reflections-in-genesis-315/

Michael Boling – Reflections on Judges 1-2 http://intelmin.org/2015/03/michael-boling-reflections-on-judges-1-2/

Book Review – Behold the King of Glory http://intelmin.org/2015/03/book-review-behold-the-king-of-glory/

J. C. Ryle – 10 Marks of the Holy Spirit in a Believer http://intelmin.org/2015/03/j-c-ryle-10-marks-of-the-holy-spirit-in-a-believer/

John Piper – Charles Spurgeon: Preaching Through Adversity http://intelmin.org/2015/03/john-piper-charles-spurgeon-preaching-through-adversity/

Dr. John MacArthur – The Deadly Dangers of Moralism

One of the responsibilities that a preacher has is to bring the Word of God to bear upon the church and the world and to give God a voice to clarify and discern issues. So on the one hand we are called to the exposition of Scripture, explaining the Bible verse by verse, book by book. But the other hand, as well, we are called to address the issues of our time that affect us and to bring the truth of God to bear upon our understanding.

It falls to me tonight, as it has for a number of weeks, to do the latter, to address an issue. And to begin with, I want to read a portion of Scripture, open your Bible to 2 Corinthians chapter 5, I’m not going to do an exposition of this Scripture but I want to read it because I want it to be set in your mind. Second Corinthians chapter 5 verses 17 to 20. One of the great passages in all the Bible, definitive as to our priorities and responsibilities, duties and mandate as believers, this passage lays out for us the responsibility that Christians have in the world.

Beginning in verse 17, “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” Just a comment, old things pass away and new things come when a person is a new creature in Christ. That is what makes the difference in people’s lives. “Now all these things are from God who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

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