Archive for October, 2008
This Sunday morning we return to John’s gospel. We continue our study in John 18, as we consider the passion of Jesus Christ. In particular, this Sunday morning we will look at the first fourteen verses and consider Jesus’ death as a voluntary, propitiatory, substitutionary sacrifice for our sins.
Several books have recently been published defending penal substitution. I want to highlight some of those for your edification:
The Cross of Christ
by John Stott
*This is a classic work on Christ’s work on the cross. It is a must read for every Christian.
In My Place Condemned He Stood: Celebrating the Glory of the Atonement
by J. I. Packer and Mark Dever
*This little book contains some of Packer’s classic essays on penal substitution. It gives a very helpful overview of the main issues and implications of the doctrine. It also contains an essay by Mark Dever and a very useful annotated bibliography by Ligon Duncan on books related to the atonement.
Pierced for Our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution
by Michael Ovey, Andrew Sach, and Steve Jeffrey
*This book is a response to the recent challenges to the doctrine of penal substitution in the United Kingdom. It is weightier that the above mentioned works, but it is still accessible to lay persons.
Living the Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing
by C. J. Mahaney
*This is as practical as it gets. C. J. applies the cross to the Christian life and helps us to overcome legalism, license and emotionalism.
The Cross and Christian Ministry: Leadership Lessons from 1 Corinthians
by D. A. Carson
*This is a helpful book for all who are in ministry or are contemplating going into ministry or church leadership. It is based on 1 Corinthians and unpacks the implications of the cross for the church’s leaders.
My hope would be that you could read all of them. However, I recommend beginning with Packer and Dever’s book in order to gain an understanding of the landscape. Next read Mahaney’s book to begin applying the gospel immediately. To gain a broader understanding, read Stott next, then Ovey, Sach and Jeffrey. If you are a Christian leader/minister, read Carson quickly!
Grace and peace,
Over the last couple of weeks I have had much opportunity to think about death, dying and living well to the glory of God. As I mentioned in a previous post, we recently drove to Florida for Jeanine’s great aunt “T’s” funeral; she was 93 years old.
As we drove down, we got word that a friend of ours from a previous ministry was on his morning bike ride, only to be struck and killed by an oncoming vehicle; he was about 72 years old.
Last Saturday, I had the privilege of taking part in the memorial service for one of our saints, Mary (Molly) Collison. Molly was a precious believer; she was 84 years old. I was overwhelmed by God’s grace in officiating this service because as I began to look through some of Molly’s papers that were gathered for me, I began to gain a better look into the private Christian life of a gentle and quiet lady who came to faith in Christ in her native India.
After going through some of her papers, I was then able to look through her Bible, and I was left speechless. There was not a white space on any page of her Bible, for throughout her Bible she had written comments on particular Scriptures and prayers she had offered to the Lord. As if I had not known it already, I knew even more clearly that all this time I had been in the presence of a woman who walked closely with God.
I would like to share some of her writings in future blogs, but what this past week has reminded me was the joy of death and dying when you know you have lived a long life, well-lived to the glory of God. That is what my three friends had in common; this is what my three friends reminded me.
Here is Molly’s commentary from Psalm 71:9: “Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth.”
“Old people serve the Lord all their lives and are still bearing fruit in old age. Behind the aged face of a long time Christian are memories of family and friends. Wrinkles stand for earnest times of prayer, loving care and decades of useful work. The beauty is no longer the skin deep charm of youth but the time honored loveliness of a life well-lived. But the elderly are not always appreciated (v. 16). Our bodies are houses of clay that will return to dust; yet it is blessed to know that as God works on the pity of our human frailty, He enables our inward man to be renewed day by day so that our affliction “which is but for a moment, is working for us, a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17). The pressure of His hand may hurt, but remember He is getting you in shape down here so you will fit in up there.”
May God grant us the grace to learn from wise saints how to live a life well-lived to the glory of God so that as we die we will be able to rejoice and leave a glorious testimony.
Grace and peace,
On Wednesday morning I had the privilege of doing the funeral for my wife Jeanine’s great aunt Lucille Crown. I don’t ever remember anyone calling her by that name; we all knew her as aunt “T.”
After I had met Jeanine, I had the joy of serving a small congregation in Newberry, Florida at the First Baptist Church. “T” was a member of that congregation, and at that time 19 years ago she made me promise to do her funeral. Nineteen years later, it was humbling to gather with family and friends and remember “T’s” life and Christian testimony.
The greatest memory was that of a life long-lived to the glory of God by not only sharing of Christ with her lips (which is essential) but also the sharing of her life (which is also essential) with those whom she came in contact.
“T” had wanted to be a nurse when she was young, but her father forbade it because nursing was not a reputable profession at that time. Nevertheless, she nursed many people throughout her life, including two husbands who both eventually died of cancer.
“T” also wanted to have children, but she never did – that is, she never had any biological children. Instead, she took in several children after difficult home situations demanded it. One of those children she took in and raised was Rollene, Jeanine’s mom. At the funeral, four children, three men and one woman, shared how “T” had raised them and loved them and taught them how to love.
I thank God for the privilege of having known aunt “T” and having experienced that perpetual smile and Christian love. We do grieve during this time of loss in our family, yet we do not grieve as those who have no hope. We grieve with hope because “T” knew Christ and loved Christ and shared Christ with all who would listen. I pray that the Lord would grant me the grace to live a long life to His glory, sharing not only the gospel but also myself with those with whom I come in contact.
Grace and peace,
The Purpose Driven Death missions conference is now over. As I reflect upon the weekend, I am greatly humbled by High Pointe Baptist Church and am moved to thanksgiving and joy.
Our faithfulness in hosting this conference was a cooperative effort on behalf of the entire congregation. Thank you for your hospitality High Pointe! May God richly bless your faithfulness.
As soon as the audio/video is up, I will link to it.
Grace and peace,
The Desiring God regional conference was a tremendous blessing. Session 2 is now available here.
I missed the Q & A due to preparations for our own conference on Saturday night, but I was told it was the highlight of the conference. You can read the questions and get the audio/video here.
DG has also made available Dr. Piper’s arguments for his positive interpretation of Elihu’s speech here.
Again, if you missed it, please download the audio/video of the entire conference. I pray that Austin would be able to host future events like this one.
Grace and peace,
Desiring God has already posted the first session of the DG Regional Conference in Austin, Texas. For those who were there it was a tremendous blessing.
If you would like to read the manuscript or download the message, go here.
To Every Tribe Ministries will host their first ever missions conference at High Pointe Baptist Church this Saturday and Sunday. John Piper will be the featured speaker on Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m.
For details and registration go here.