Here are a couple of very convicting sermons by Pastor Trevor Hammack.These are well worth taking the time to listen:
Monday, May 6, 2013
Saturday, March 2, 2013
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Continuing in my reading of Matt Chandler's book The Explicit Gospel I came across this section on the kindness and severity of God,
Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.
Pastor Chandler rightly points out that we do not talk nearly enough about the severity of God, he writes:
God's responses of kindness and severity both come from His perfect and holy self-sufficiency, they are both extended justly to His creation, but the chief difference between them - and the reason we don't talk about it as much - is that only severity is deserved.
He also notes that the severity of God is not taught today because it does not present God as warm and fuzzy, he says:
Paul says to note God's severity. Mark it down. Remember it. Consider it. But we are disobedient. Because God's severity is not as warm and fuzzy as God's kindness, we not only don't study or contemplate it, but we don't even note it. We live in a day and age when, from pre-seminary all the way through seminary, prospective pastors are fed pablum about church growth. Then once the hit the playing field of ministry they are fed it more and more. From books to classes to seminars to conferences, the church is absolutely consumed with growing at all costs.Forget whether the members of our churches have any real depth or substance to them; we just want to be able to measure and count the three Bs: buildings, budgets, and butts in the seat. The Bible does say a few things about churches growing in those ways, but today this has become the prevailing mind-set of ministry in evangelicalism, and it is a bibically perverted, missionally distorted mind-set.
He then goes on to say:
The avoidance of the difficult thins of Scripture - of sinfulness and hell and God's severity - is idolatrous and cowardly. If a man or woman who teaches the Scripture is afraid to explain to you the severity of God, they have betrayed you. In the same way that it is not loving or kind not to coach your children on the dangers of the street and the dangers of the swimming pool, so it is not loving not to warn men and women about the severity of God.
He then goes on the illustrate how we can address this topic by quoting Matthew 3:11-12 and showing how John the Baptist addressed it:
“I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
Then Pastor Chandler writes this:
We get the impression from the Old Testament that the universe is God's threshing floor. John is warning his hearers that Jesus is going to get to work on the universe, and He's going to gather His wheat into the barn. But the chaff He will He will burn in unquenchable fire. This is the purpose of Jesus's arrival. (Note in this passage both the kindness and the severity of God.)
Pastor Chandler goes on to give a description of Jesus' use of the word Gehenna, which is translated hell in our English Bibles; he talks about how Gehenna was a refuse dump on the south side of Jerusalem and how Jesus used this to illustrate the severity of God toward those who reject Him (the chaff in the verses above). He writes:
When Jesus used the word Gehenna, He's saying, "It's like this ravine, the valley of Haman; this is what I am talking to you about." The image to hold in our mind is putrid and repulsive, it is dead and deadly; it is smoldering when not blazing. It is utterly desolate, spiritually dark, and endlessly oppressive, and it is the established picture even in these extremes of the slightest falling short of God's glory.
So I want to leave you today with two verses:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,Romans 3:23For our God is a consuming fire.Hebrews 12:29
Spend some time today meditating on these two verses and think about the kindness and severity of God, and how both are related to the Gospel.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
I just started reading Matt Chandler's book The Explicit Gospel; here is the description from the flyleaf:
Even if you go to church, it doesn’t mean that you are being exposed (or exposing others) to the gospel explicitly. Sure, most people talk about Jesus, and about being good and avoiding bad, but the gospel message simply isn’t there—at least not in its specificity and its fullness.Inspired by the needs of both the overchurched and the unchurched, and bolstered by the common neglect of the explicit gospel within Christianity, popular pastor Matt Chandler writes this punchy treatise to remind us what is of first and utmost importance—the gospel.Here is a call to true Christianity, to know the gospel explicitly, and to unite the church on the amazing grounds of the good news of Jesus!
As I read through this book I hope to do a series of posts based on what I am learning and on what God is teaching me through what Matt has written. Let me begin today with a brief quote from the introduction:
Christ has set us free from the law of sin and death.My sin in the past: forgiven. My current struggles: covered. My future failures: paid in full all by the marvelous, infinite, matchless grace found in the atoning work of the cross of Jesus Christ.
Now that is good news! Because of the gospel I don't have to worry about my past sin, my current struggles, or my future failures - they are all covered by the blood of Jesus, and I am forgiven not because of anything I have done or will do, but because of what He did for me.
I have been looking forward to reading this book for a while, and I hope that you will pick up a copy and join me. Let's be amazed again by the grace and mercy of our God expressed in the gospel of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Monday, November 12, 2012
Here is another quote from Michael Horton's book Putting Amazing Back Into Grace:
"Those whose hearts and minds have been (and are being) renewed by God's grace should not be obsessed with worry about falling away because, although we will always have periods of wondering around in the wilderness and falling into various temptations and sins, we really are becoming new persons, The ugly duckling is turning into the beautiful swan, to our surprise!"God never plants trees that do not bear fruit: [Jesus said] 'You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will last' (John 15:16)..."Since God initially gives us the grace to believe in him and to turn from self, why would he not give us the grace to keep on trusting him? One simply cannot believe in the possibility of loosing through moral failure and salvation by grace at that same time."If we expect ourselves to maintain our faith and keep everything going, we fall under the reprimand of the apostle Paul, as he confronted the Galatian church: 'You foolish Galatian's! Who has bewitched you?... I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?' (Galatians 3:1-3)."We always approach God on his terms. Admittedly this fact does serious injury to our pride because it tells us that we are saved in spite of rather than because of ourselves."Michael Horton
I am thoroughly enjoying this book and highly recommend it for anyone who wants to understand the grace and mercy of our Heavenly Father.
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
"We are justified solely by knowledge of, ascent to, and trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ. And yet, anyone who is justified has been regenerated, grafted into the life of Christ, and fruits of gratitude will inevitably follow. Without an interest in the Savior and his Word and sacraments and the fellowship of his people there is no life. Christ's lordship is not an option for the first-class Christians but an inevitability for all who share his life. At the same time, we will always be perfectly righteous before God's judgment even though we struggle with indwelling sin throughout our life."