James Williams – How Foster Care and Adoption Shine the Light of the Gospel

It was 2:30 a.m. when we received the call. After months of training, house inspections, CPR certifications, and background checks, we were finally approved to be foster parents. Half asleep, my wife answered the phone. A five-year-old girl had been rescued from the hospital and was in need of a home, so we agreed to take her.

About an hour later, a little girl with pink pajamas and a teddy bear was fast asleep in our living room. My wife and I gazed with a nervous excitement at this child who was now in our care. Had we made the right choice? Were we really qualified? All we knew was this little soul had been through a lot. She was exhausted. She missed her mom. She needed to be loved. She needed Jesus.

Oftentimes, the most meaningful things in life are also the most difficult, and caring for children in need is no exception. There are long and challenging days. Sometimes I’m tempted to quit and just go back to “normal.” Not having this child might make the day somewhat easier, but what a great opportunity to show the love of Christ to a family in need.

To continue reading James Williams’ article, click here.

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Michael Boling – John’s Description in His Gospel of Jesus as the “Word”

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The depiction of Jesus as the “Word” by John in his prologue has multifarious purposes. It can be argued that John’s chief purpose is to relate Jesus with the Old Testament theology surrounding the words from God as indicative of divine speech and ultimately to creation itself. Throughout his gospel, John consistently refers to Old Testament terminology so any discussion of the reasoning or sources for John’s usage of logos must begin there in order for this concept to be properly understood.

The Old Testament is replete with discussion of the Hebrew expression of word, dabar. Genesis equates this expression initially with the act of creation and later in a depiction of revelation and deliverance [1]. The immediate nature by which the word of the Lord is employed throughout the Old Testament is consistently annotated in the narrative. Additionally, verses such as Psalm 107:20 describe God “sending forth His word” and the resulting action that took place once God spoke. All of these elements are subsumed within the concept of Jesus as the “Word.”

Carson lucidly outlines the connection between the Old Testament usage of word and John’s purpose by stating:

“In short, God’s Word in the Old Testament is his powerful self-expression in creation, revelation and salvation, and the personification of that Word makes it suitable for John to apply it as a title to God’s ultimate self-disclosure, the person of his own Son” [2].

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Deb Welch – Difficult Passages Series: Judges 19 and The Gospel

Whenever speakers or expositors read the passage in Judges 19:1-30, they invariably take great care to caution their listeners about the horrific events contained therein. Such is the depth of the concubine’s suffering, degradation, and circumstances of depravity. At the end of the chapter, even the author declares:

All who saw it said, “Nothing like this has ever happened or been seen from the day when the sons of Israel came up from the land of Egypt to this day. Consider it, take counsel and speak up!” (Judges 19:30, New American Standard Bible).

Placing the Judges 19 account within the larger context of the book of Judges brings out the doctrine of the depravity of man and the wretched state of the culture in those days, whereby everyone did what was right in his or her own eyes, because there was no king to rule (Judges 17:6, 19-1, 21-25). 


To continue reading Deb Welch’s article, click here.

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Ralph Erskine – Gospel Humiliation

Introduction

After great convictions of sin, and great denunciations of judgments against Israel, in the preceding part of the chapter, the Lord here, in the close, remembers mercy in the midst of wrath, and ends all his sad and heavy words with a sweet nevertheless, (v 60). And, indeed, mercy must begin on God’s side: “Nevertheless, I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth; and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant.” And what will be the effect of this, we see in verse 61, “Then shalt thou remember thy ways and be ashamed.” It is worthy our observation, that when God says, “I will remember my covenant,” then he adds, “Thou shalt remember thy sins.” Hence it is evident, that never a good thought, never a penitent thought would have come into our hearts, had not some thoughts of peace and good-will come into God’s heart. When he remembers his covenant of mercy for us, so as not to remember our sins against us, then we remember our sins against ourselves with shame.

To continue reading Ralph Erskine’s article, click here.

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Donny Friederichsen – The Scent of the Gospel

I’ve often heard that the sense of smell is the sense most closely related to the memory. A particular smell has a powerful way of effecting our recollection of a vivid memory. Every now and then, I’ll smell something and in my mind I’m instantly sitting at the round table in my grandmother’s kitchen. I’m not a doctor — nor do I play one on TV–but, I have read that the olfactory bulb (i.e. the part of the brain that processes smells) is closely connected to the amygdala and the hippocampus (i.e. the parts of the brain that handle memories). So there is a physiological reason why our sense of smell is so powerful.

Perhaps there is something more than just physiology that makes our sense of smell so powerful. Perhaps our sense of smell is so powerful because it is something we see described frequently in God. There are scents that God finds to be pleasing. And there are scents that God finds to be displeasing. We who are made in the image of God then reflect that quality in our bodies. Put simply, a pleasing aroma has the ability to transport us back to a pleasant memory. It can delight our minds. It can make our mouths water. It can bring joy. The scent of my wife’s pillow brings comfort to me when she is traveling. A fragrant aroma is a delight.

To continue reading the rest of Donny Friederichsen’s article, click here

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Tom Ascol – Give Them Law and Gospel

If parents are going to bring their children up “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4), then they should understand the role of both the law and the gospel in that task. The former reveals to us God’s all-encompassing will and the latter reveals to us His all-sufficient provision for sinners who violate that will.

The Law Reveals God’s Will

The first verse that Donna and I taught each of our six children is Ephesians 6:1, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” By doing this we were teaching them God’s law—their and our Creator’s revealed will for their lives. He calls them to live in obedience to their parents. He calls us not to “provoke” them “to anger” but to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). We are both, together with all people, accountable to obey God.

That accountability stems from the most fundamental truth in the world—that “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). As the Creator of all things He has the right to rule over and require whatever He deems right of His creatures. He has summarized His requirements of us in the Ten Commandments. Jesus further summarized them in the greatest commandment and the second that is like it. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” and “you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37,39).

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Derek Rishmawy – Five Ways to Spoil the Gospel

J.C Ryle was a prominent Anglican Bishop of Liverpool in the 19th century. An advocate of the Evangelical cause in the Church of England, he penned an insightful article laying out what he took to be the essence of Evangelicalism, clarifying confusions and myths, and proposing a road forward for the Church.

Briefly, defined Evangelical religion as marked by five major commitments: (1) the supreme authority and truthfulness of Scripture, (2) the grave condition of humanity in sin, the centrality and absolute necessity of Christ’s redeeming work in life, (3) atoning death, and resurrection, (4) the necessity of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, (5) the necessarily transformative work of the Holy Spirit in leading to personal holiness and an active life of faith. (It’s interesting to see how much this overlaps with the Bebbington Quadrilateral.)

He also clarifies a number of things that Evangelical religion is not, but as interesting as that is, what I wanted to call our attention to today was a latter section in the work. Here, he tries to lay out why so much religion in the Church is un-Evangelical and confusing. He’s not even necessarily talking about outright heresy or false teaching, but the sort of thing that “spoils” the Gospel and robs people of it despite our best intentions.

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David McLemore – Sharing the Gospel at Work

The Dutch theologian, Abraham Kuyper, famously said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!” That means everything we do is under the watchful eye of God and we have a choice moment by moment to submit to him or rebel against him. The great news of the gospel is that Jesus has looked down upon us and cried, “Mine!” He has saved us and relocated us from the kingdom of darkness into his kingdom of light. Our lives matter now and forever.

Every area of our life matters, including our work. There is not a square inch in the whole domain of your work over which Christ does not cry “Mine!” What are the implications? Specifically, what are the implications in regard to how you speak the word of God in the workplace?

Apart from our family and church, the primary mission God has called mankind to do is work, and since Jesus owns everything, your work is his and he has placed you there for his glory. My aim is to convince us that we can effectively speak the word of God into the workplace through three guiding principles: prayer, productivity, and platform. We must be people of deep and pervasive prayer, we must be people committed to productivity, and we must do both things to build a platform from which to speak. Let’s look at each one, and then we will consider one more belief to close.

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Paul Tripp – 7 Gospel Promises To Embrace Today

You may have heard me say this before, but it’s worth repeating again: I’m deeply persuaded that many Christians, myself included, have a big gap in the middle of our gospel theology.

Let me break it down and then apply it in a fresh way:

I think we have a strong understanding of the theology of gospel past – meaning, we trust deeply in the historical sacrifice of Jesus which paid the penalty for our sins.

I also think that we have a strong understanding of the theology of gospel future – meaning, we trust eagerly in the eternal promise of heaven that’s coming.

But there’s something missing in the middle. We either don’t understand, or fail to embrace, the theology of the “now-ism” of the gospel. In other words, we don’t take full advantage of all the benefits of the work of Christ today.

In this post, I want to briefly outline 7 gospel promises that are offered to us right here, right now. It’s my hope that you would save this link or print off the post and come back to these promises regularly!

1. The Gospel Promises Forgiveness Today

Even though we believe in the sacrifice of Jesus, we don’t fully embrace his forgiveness today. Many of us carry around our sins in a metaphorical backpack of regret, bruising our spiritual shoulders and breaking the back of our faith.

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Jaquelle Crowe – How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years

A Life Transformed

The gospel changes everything. To live a life transformed by the gospel means that everything in life changes.

The first thing is our identity; who we are as people. We’re no longer teenagers defined by the world’s standards. We’re no longer defined by sin, by what we once wanted to do, but we are defined by the gospel, by God—our identity as children of God in Christ. That means the entire narrative of our lives is changed, so we are part now of the greatest, biggest story ever told. We’re actually a part of the story of the gospel, and of God’s people. We get to live in this story, which means everything in our lives and our circumstances changes.

It also changes our community, who we spend time with. It changes our love for God’s people, and makes us want to be a part of a local community of God’s people. It changes how we act, what we find funny, what we post on social media, what we read. Prior to the gospel, we thought a certain way, we acted a certain way, we had this ideology that directed us, and the gospel just flips it on its head and revolutionizes everything.

It means that our entire lives are now about the gospel and about Jesus — not about us, not about what we want to do, but about Jesus and what would honor and glorify him. How can I act today and tomorrow, and how can I plan my future, with the gospel in mind? How can I go to school, how can I read, how can I watch TV in a way that brings honor to Jesus, instead of me?

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