Ocean City Bible Conference

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2018 OCEAN CITY BIBLE CONFERENCE

Conference Schedule

Sunday, September 9

10:45 a.m.          Worship service – Ed Moore

4:00 p.m.          Registration opens

7:00 p.m.          Session 1 – D. A. Carson [open to the public]

Monday, September 10

7:45 a.m.          Registration open; continental breakfast at the church

9:00 a.m.          Session 2 – Brian Davis

10:30 a.m.         Break

11:00 a.m.         Session 3 – D. A. Carson

7:00 p.m.         Session 4 – Ed Moore [open to the public]

Tuesday, September 11

7:45 a.m.         Continental breakfast at the church

9:00 a.m.         Session 5 – D. A. Carson

10:30 a.m.        Break

11:00 a.m.        Session 6 – Breakout Seminars

7:00 p.m.        Session 7 – Mark Dever [open to the public]

9:00 p.m.        Coffeehouse Q & A with the Speakers

Wednesday, September 12

7:45 a.m.         Continental breakfast at the church

9:00 a.m.         Session 8 – Mark Dever

10:30 a.m.        Break

11:00 a.m.         Session 9 – Brian Davis

The Minister’s Sabbatical

 

How to make enemies in the ministry.

From 1988 to my retirement from the factory in 2008 I labored as a bi-vocational pastor. I continue to serve in the ministry of the gospel. (I’ll be 72 later this month.)  For a number of years I preached two messages every Lord’s Day and taught a mid-week bible study. It was five years before I could enjoy two weeks vacation. After 15 years I had earned three weeks of vacation and that number remained the same until my retirement. Most months of any given year I was scheduled to work between 44-48 hours a week so a little vacation was much appreciated. It was also during those years I gave much of the free time I had to doing digital ministry. The wife and I had five children. It wasn’t easy but we survived.

I’m sure you know that this is leading up to something that I want to spit out.

Sabbaticals

Of late I have heard of a number of men in the ministry taking extended leaves. They describe these leaves as sabbaticals. A good bi-vocational friend of mine is taking a two month sabbatical. Another who is not bi-vocational is taking an extended sabbatical to write. Taking a sabbatical seems to be a growing trend.

There are legitimate reasons for taking an extended leave due to health reasons. At the factory we would request a “sick leave” provided it was required by the family doctor. If we were injured on the job we applied for workmen’s compensation to meet our needs while we healed. There are few or no other options for the working poor.  For them a sabbatical is a pipe dream.

Some years ago I knew a brother/pastor who confided to me that he received a brand new automobile from a generous member of his congregation.  He did not want to share the news of this blessing with others. He was afraid that other men in the ministry would be envious if the word of this generous gift got out. He was right. Like other men, pastors can become envious of one another. The same may also be true of any person.

Blue collar working folk know and hear of preachers who seem to have it all while they struggle to spend a few extra days at the beach with the wife and kids. To be fair not all pastors and academics enjoy the luxury of taking a sabbatical or having the keys to a brand spanking new automobile handed to them.

Listen to Paul as he speaks to the pastors of Ephesus. Acts 20:32-35 CSB

“And now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among all who are sanctified. I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing.  You yourselves know that I worked with my own hands to support myself and those who are with me. In every way I’ve shown you that it is necessary to help the weak by laboring like this and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, because he said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

What would your response be if several families informed you and your church that they were going to be away on sabbatical for several weeks?

Brothers, we have heard it said that we who minister the word of God are not professionals. Do you agree with that statement? There are those times in life when it is better to deny ourselves the privileges that come our way for the sake of the Gospel. As Paul has said, we ought to be examples to the flock.

In love,
Moe

 

A Glorious New Passover Exodus (Free Digital Copy)

A Glorious New Passover Exodus

Download your free copy, courtesy John Dunn
A Glorious New Passover Exodus

Endorsements for
A Glorious New Passover Exodus
by John Dunn

As a pastor convinced that Christ is the apex of God’s revelation, the “be all end all” of redemptive history, I crave to lead my people to reading material in keeping with this exalted view of Christ. In this penetrating work, John Dunn displays a robust Christology, and supplies a nourishing, green pasture upon which my people can graze. I will joyfully commend this work to my church. And I whole heartedly commend it to you as well. As you read to your profit, your heart will leap in praise as John expounds Jesus as the New Covenant Exodus!
Pastor Todd Braye
Sovereign Grace Baptist Church, Blackie, Alberta, Canada

In the tradition of Gentry, Wellum, Goldsworthy, Hamilton, the Dennisons, Beale and Heather Kendall, John Dunn has provided us with a thorough understanding of the big story of the Bible via the theme of New Covenant/ New Exodus and the result is a study in the centrality of Christ throughout the Scriptures culminating in the glories of the New Covenant. It is definitely a worthy addition to the corpus of texts concerning Biblical Theology, a discipline of study that in recent years is gaining a more prominent place in understanding the Scriptures.
Pastor Joseph Krygier
New Covenant Baptist Fellowship Evans NY

For those who have yet to become familiar with a more fully developed Christocentric reading of all Scripture, John Dunn succinctly captures such here. He handily demonstrates why a New Covenant/New Exodus perspective on the whole of Scripture is critical to our seeing all things biblical in the light ofChrist’s countenance. In setting forth this New Exodus framework, John’s exegetical labors provide us a puzzle-box-top, whereby the pieces readily fit into place, and without extra-biblical manipulation. What we have here in New Exodus is an unpacking of John 1:14,17; wherein the Word, full of grace and truth, becomes flesh. A Word that was revealed in Mosaic shadows has now come forth in the Glory of the Son!
Matthew Morizio
Bible Teacher, NY

The original exodus painted a picture of the exodus Christ leads us on from sin and death. Dunn provides a poetic and deeply Christ-centered view of the more glorious exodus which we longingly look foward to.
Pastor/Elder Edwin W. Trefzger III
Evangelical Church of Fairport, NY

Warning! This study is for heavy lifters only. But if you love to search through God’s Word to see more of Jesus our Covenant King then prepare your heart and mind to do some serious Bible Study. From beginning to end this study is Christ centered and Christ exalting. Be refreshed in Christ!
Pastor Moe Bergeron
Sovereign Grace Fellowship, Boscawen NH

No One Steals from God

Audio Transcript

“You were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9–10). That’s what he bought. What he buys, he has. Nobody can keep his purchase from him. He bought a people from all the peoples. “I have many in this city who are my people” — go find them (Acts 18:10). And now he is gathering them through the worldwide preaching of the gospel.

“What Jesus bought, he has. Nobody can keep his people from him.”

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“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I have other sheep” — I have other sheep in all the people groups of the world — “I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.”

Jesus is sovereign. He gets his work done. He said so. That’s John 10:27, 16. What an authority he has. “I call my people. They know my voice. I bring them. They follow me. There will be a flock. Don’t worry about it. We will get this done.”


Read, watch, or listen to the full message:

Conference Message

The Glory of Christ and Racial Unity: On the 50th Anniversary of MLK’s Death

The Glory of Christ and Racial Unity

On the 50th Anniversary of MLK’s Death

Apr 4, 2018

The New Way Of The Spirit

Moe Bergeron, Publisher CMC
Or do you not know, brothers —for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? 2 For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. 3 Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.
4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code. (Romans 7:1-6 ESV)

Paul’s Analogy

In Romans 7:1-6 the apostle Paul uses the analogy of a Jew who was covenanted through marriage to the Law of Moses. Once the Jew’s spouse (the Law) has died the marriage covenant has come to an end. The widowed Jew is then free to enter into a new marriage covenant.
Paul goes on to explain that we have also died, through the body of Christ to the Law, so that “you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.”
Mark this well. The departed spouse was specifically, “that Law,” and the new spouse is specifically, “Him who was raised from the dead.”
Paul takes great care to not say the second marriage is to “the Law of Christ.” He could have said that but he did not say that. Why didn’t he? I believe it is simply because the union we have with the risen Christ cannot be reduced to the language of “law.” 
The union the saints of God enjoy is one of a wife to her beloved. It is a union rooted in the “newness of the Spirit and not the oldness of the letter.”

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Corinthians 3:17 ESV)

The Christian’s union to Jesus Christ cannot be compared to mere law keeping. That would not do justice. Jesus Christ is the Word of God who was made flesh thus He transcends words printed on paper or etched in stone. As important are the words on the printed page they are limited. The can only draw a word picture. There is a day coming when God’s saints will see their Husband face to face.

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. (1 John 3:2-3 ESV)

This new relationship, is truly a wedded union, of two hearts forever joined in marriage. Their hearts are bound together in love. The Bride’s desire is to please her husband. Within this blessed union the indicative and the imperative are joined together and given expression.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. (John 15:4 ESV)

Partakers of Christ

Charles Haddon Spurgeon put it so sweetly.

Every true child of God is one with Christ. This union is set forth in Scripture by several images, to which we will just refer, but upon none of which can we just now enlarge.
We are one with Christ and partakers of him as the stone is cemented to the foundation. It is built upon it, rests upon it, and, together with the foundation, goes to make up the structure. So we are built into Christ by coherence and adhesion, joined to him, and made a spiritual house for the habitation of God by the Holy Ghost.
We are made partakers with Christ by a union in which we lean and depend upon him. This union is further set forth by the vine and the branches. The branches are participators with the stem, the sap of the stem is for the branches. It treasures it up only to distribute it to them. It has no sap for itself alone, all its store of sap is for the branch. In like manner we are vitally one with Christ, and the grace that is in him is for us. It was given to him that he might distribute it to all his people.
Furthermore, it is as the union of the husband with the wife, they are participators the one with the other. All that belongs to the husband the wife enjoys and shares with him. Meanwhile she shares himself, nay, he is all her own. Thus it is with Christ. We are married unto him—betrothed unto him for ever in righteousness and in judgment, and all that he has is ours, and he himself is ours.
All his heart belongs to each one of us. And then, too, as the members of the body are one with the head, as they derive their guidance, their happiness, their existence from the head, so are we made partakers of Christ. Oh, matchless participation! It is “a great mystery” saith the apostle; and, indeed, such a mystery it is as they only know who experience it. Even they cannot understand it fully; far less can they hope to set it forth so that carnal minds shall comprehend its spiritual meaning.
The day cometh when we shall be partakers of Christ to the highest and uttermost degree that symbols can suggest, prophecy forestal, faith anticipate, or actual accomplishment bring to pass; for, albeit, though of all that our Lord Jesus Christ is in heaven we have a reversionary interest to-day by faith, we shall have a share in it by actual participation ere long.[1]

Passages to Consider

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. (Ephesians 5:22-24 ESV)

His appearance is like Lebanon,
choice as the cedars.
His mouth is most sweet,
and he is altogether desirable.
This is my beloved and this is my friend,
O daughters of Jerusalem.
(Song of Songs 5:15-16 ESV)

“My beloved is mine, and I am his…”
(Song of Songs 2:16 ESV)

 [1] “A Persuasive to Steadfastness”: Delivered on Thursday Evening, February 29th, 1872

Books at a Glance August 14, 2015

Learn More About Books at a Glance ♦
Hi, I’m Fred Zaspel, editor at Books at a Glance. If you are anything at all like me, books are a huge part of your life. King Solomon famously said that of the making of many books there is no end – but somehow we are okay with that. What a wonderful medium of communication and learning books are! But there is the frustration of keeping up. And there is the frustration of selection – knowing which books to buy next. Books at a Glance was created to help with just these frustrations. Our staff keeps up with all the newest and best in Christian publishing in order to keep our members informed and up to date. Much more than a book review service, we summarize the contents and thought of each book, so that you can digest a book in minutes. Each summary is an accurate and comprehensive yet brief and concise presentation of the entire book, chapter by chapter, delivered directly to your computer, iPad, or cell phone every week. And in just minutes you will become acquainted with the contents and arguments of each new book. Books at a Glance distinguishes itself as a book summary service that focuses on the newest and the best of Christian publications. Along with these summaries we also provide: book reviews, author interviews, author blogs, etc. In all, we trust this will be a site of real value for you. Check us out. We are excited about our work, and I think you will be too. Blessings, Fred Zaspel

Greetings from Books At a Glance!

If you haven’t seen this new series from Crossway yet with Goldsworthy’s volume on the Son of God and the New Creation, make sure you check it out, or read our summary! There are too many resources to name from this week, so take a glance below.

Book Summary
Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life SATURATE: BEING DISCIPLES OF JESUS IN THE EVERYDAY STUFF OF LIFE, by Jeff Vanderstelt
Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life Jeff Vanderstelt Crossway, 2015 233 pages (Paperback) (Kindle) A Book Summary from Books At a Glance. About the Au […] Continue Reading
Book Reviews
Genesis: History, Fiction, or Neither? GENESIS: HISTORY, FICTION, OR NEITHER? THREE VIEWS ON THE BIBLE’S EARLIEST CHAPTERS, by James Hoffmeier, Gordon Wenham, and Kenton Sparks
The Zondervan Counterpoints series offers readers a valuable resource for evaluating difficult passages and subjects. The strength of the series is that each position is argued by a scholar who is committed to it. This avoids straw-man arguments or one author attempting to fairly represent various positions. In Genesis: History, Fi […] Continue Reading
Dignity and Destiny DIGNITY AND DESTINY: HUMANITY IN THE IMAGE OF GOD, by John Kilner
Misconceptions about what it truly means to be created in the imago Dei, or image of God, abound. Though this doctrine is a central tenet of Judeo-Christian theology, it is pierced with gross misinterpretations and misapplications. The doctrine has been applied callously throughout history to wreak havoc on individuals. In his book […] Continue Reading
Author Interview
Carl Biehl Interview with Craig Biehl, author of THE INFINITE MERIT OF CHRIST: THE GLORY OF CHRIST’S OBEDIENCE IN THE THEOLOGY OF JONATHAN EDWARDS
Jonathan Edwards (1703-58) has remained a figure of towering significance in historical theology, but his influence has surged again in recent years – and for good reason. Our friend Dr. Craig Biehl is an avid student of Edwards, and he’s with us today to talk about his very timely work, The Infinite Merit of Chris […] Continue Reading
Blog
Chance and the Sovereignty of God Concluding Excerpt from CHANCE AND THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD: A GOD-CENTERED APPROACH TO PROBABILITY AND RANDOM EVENTS, by Vern Poythress
Every day in our lives, we live in the midst of regularities on which we depend. The sun rises. Our hearts beat. We breathe air. The cells in our body maintain defenses against infection. Our stomachs and intestines digest food. Our phones function. We are relying on God, who governs the world by his faithfulness, in accordance with his […] Continue Reading
Gospel of Glory GOSPEL OF GLORY: MAJOR THEMES IN JOHANNINE THEOLOGY, by Richard Bauckham
The distinctiveness of John’s Gospel has been recognized by Christians since the beginning, and its various emphases and theological themes have been eagerly explored. In his new Gospel of Glory noted New Testament scholar Richard Bauckham (senior scholar at Ridley Hall, Cambridge) explores some neglected and some d […] Continue Reading
Visit Books at a Glance for important promotions and sales information.

 
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.[Courtesy ChristMyCovenant.com. CMC does not take paid advertisements.]

Foundations

About Foundations

Foundations CoverWhich god is God?  
What is a human?  
What is sin?  
What is salvation?
You may never have thought much about these questions. But the fact is we all have a working version of the answers. Our answers to these questions shape our lives. So it makes sense to give some time to thinking about these issues more explicitly. Nothing matters more than getting them right. But where to start?
Instead of speculating about who God is, Peter Mead invites us to begin with the claim that God has revealed himself in Jesus.
You may not be a Christian. And you may not like the answers proposed in this book. You may not be convinced. But it’s worth exploring. It’s worth giving it a go. You’ve got nothing to lose – except an hour or so of your time – and possibly everything to gain.
Or you may be a Christian. Perhaps you take the answers for granted. But Mead invites us to push beyond our assumptions and discover a deeper, richer reality. He suggests we start with the triune God. And if the answer to the god-question is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, then everything else changes.  (Taken from the Foreword by Tim Chester.)
[ Learn more at fourbigquestions.com ]

Endorsements

Having the right answers is one thing but Peter Mead goes deeper – he explores the right questions – questions of God, humanity, sin and salvation. By turning to Scripture this book gives us a surprising, satisfying and compelling foundation for life. – Glen Scrivener, Evangelist, Speak Life
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A great little primer about the world, ourselves and – most importantly – God. This short, easy to read, helpful book will help you get to know Him better. – Marcus Honeysett, Director of Living Leadership
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Peter’s love of scripture, and his desire to see lives transformed bleed through the pages of this book. Explore the foundations of Christianity and engage anew the true story of a relationship between a human race whose sin is greater than we think, and a God whose grace is more amazing than we could imagine! – Rick McKinley, Lead Pastor of Imago Dei Community, Portland OR.
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Many people build their lives on a weak foundation of sand.  In Foundations, Peter Mead introduces you to the one concrete foundation poured deep enough to hold your life steady! – Tony Reinke, Writer for Desiring God and Author of Lit!
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The book of Acts tells of God’s plan for us to have relationship in the context of his grace.  Foundations fills out this picture beautifully. Read and enjoy! – Darrell Bock, Senior Research Professor of New Testament, Dallas Theological Seminary
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Peter Mead points to the preaching in Acts to provide the important foundational questions—and answers—that we want people to be asking when it comes to faith in Christ.  This concise book is just what is needed to build belief and believers! – Scott M.Gibson, Haddon W. Robinson Chair of Preaching, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

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Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 96
Vendor: Christian Focus Publications
Publication Date: 2015
ISBN: 1781916411
ISBN-13: 9781781916414
About Peter Mead
Pleased to Dwell and Foundations were written by Peter Mead.  Peter is a mentor with Cor Deo, a small ministry that exists to multiply ministry that shares God’s heart.  He is also on the leadership team of Trinity Chippenham, a new church launched in 2014. Peter leads the Bible Teachers & Preachers Networks at the European Leadership Forum.  He studied at Multnomah Biblical Seminary and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.  Pleased to Dwell was his first book, although he contributed to the Ministry Essentials Study Bible (Hendrickson, July 2014), and blogs regularly at BiblicalPreaching.net and CorDeo.  Peter is married to Melanie and they have five children – this is their family ministry website.

~ Peter

Serving You

1 Peter 1:10-12

Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. ESV

Message

by Andy Murray

Introduction: On God’s Heart

First Peter 1:10-12 shows us the breathtaking character of God Almighty who cares for His people. He has been actively working to bring us to everlasting joy and peace in His presence – since before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4; Revelation 13:8). This passage reveals that the God who called the universe into existence has had you in His thoughts and plans even from the earliest pages of the Bible. He has been preparing for your faith for ages so that what has now been announced to you about Jesus the Messiah might be received with joy.

Peter’s Argument:

In 1 Peter 1:3-12 Peter is building a case for why you and I should join him in rejoicing and praising God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ even as we are now grieved by various trials.

In verses 3-5 we were told that God, according to His great mercy, has acted; He has caused us to be born of again to a living hope. God has had mercy on us and has rescued us from spiritual death and so we have a living hope because of what Jesus Christ accomplished in his death and resurrection. We have become heirs of God. The Spirit of God has been given to us as the down payment of our imperishable, undefiled, and unfading inheritance, which is kept in heaven for us. Our eternal inheritance is safe and secure. And we were shown that we ourselves are safe and secure, guarded by God Himself for that eternal inheritance. What is crucial to see is that the means God is using to guard us and bring us safely to glory is faith.

In verses 6-9 we were told that as we wait for this salvation, ready to be revealed, Christians will experience real and diverse suffering during this short time before Christ appears. But even this suffering and grief is intended by God for a good purpose. God is in the business of keeping His children in the faith – clinging to Christ – and getting them to glory. So, He is lovingly getting our hearts off the treasures of this world and unto The Treasure, Jesus the Messiah. Tested genuine faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the most valuable thing we can posses in this world. God cares about us and is even at work in your pain for your everlasting good.

In verses 10-12, Peter adds to his case for why you and I should be rejoicing and praising God even as you may suffer for a short time. Peter wants us to consider how incredibly privileged we are to live when we live and to posses what we possess in this hour of history. God has not abandoned you in your hour of pain. Rather He has made provision for your faith.

As we come to this third section of Peter’s argument about why we should be rejoicing in God our Savior, Peter is speaking about the very great salvation, which has been announced to us in the gospel. One of the things he is doing is drawing our attention up to the very great value of this salvation, but more than that he is drawing our attention up to the very gracious God who has loved us across the ages. Let’s see if we see that in our text.

Unpacking Our Privilege:

Salvation Has Come

First of all, we should note in verse 10 that Peter is not changing subjects. He says, “Concerning this salvation…” This is what Peter has been focused on since verse 3. And even as he is, indeed, thinking about the final salvation of our souls ready to be revealed in the last times (vs 5 and 9), he has and continues now in 10-12 to connect that future day when Christ appears to the means by which that final salvation comes to us.

So notice in verse 10 he says, “Concerning this salvation, the prophets prophesied about the grace that was to be yours…” Note that Peter does not say, “they prophesied about the grace that will be yours, still yet in the future.” He says, “[they] prophesied about the grace that was to be yours.” There is implied here a now present reality to this grace. It has come to us. It is now ours. And this implication is made explicit in verse 11 as we find that this grace, about which the prophets of old prophesied, came in the sufferings and subsequent glories of Christ.

So the salvation of our souls is not something wholly in the future anymore. Yes, we are waiting for its completion at the appearing of Christ, but the grace about which the prophets foretold has already arrived in Jesus. The Old Testament prophesies about the sufferings and subsequent glories of the Messiah were pointing to Jesus of Nazareth. As Peter says in verse 12 these things have now been announced to you in the preaching of the gospel. The gracious salvation of our souls has been accomplished in the life, death, and resurrection of the promised Messiah, Jesus, even as we still await His return and the final and full glory of that salvation.

The Holy Spirit Predicted

So Peter is calling us to get our attention up on the very great salvation that has come to us in Jesus Christ. But, Peter is also concerned here to show us the incredible preparation of God for us in ages past. So look at verse 10 again. Beginning there, Peter tells us that,

Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from Heaven, things into which angels long to look.

Peter is alerting us to the fact that what has happened in the sufferings and afterward glories of Christ – is the very thing the prophets of the Old Testament were eager to search out and understand.

Now, Peter gives us a chance here to better understand how the Old Testament Scriptures came to be written. It is crucial to notice who the Initiator was in the prophecies of the Old Testament. In verse 10, you have the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours but in verse 11 it says the Spirit of Christ, that is the Holy Spirit, who was in the prophets was the One predicting the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. So let’s make sure we understand what was going on. The Holy Spirit was the One at work in the prophets and He was the One predicting the then future gospel.

And so as Peter says in 2 Peter 1:19-21,

And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Men spoke, yes. Men prophesied, but it was the Holy Spirit who carried them along. No prophecy was ever produced by the will of man. Every prophecy was produced by the will of God as He carried the prophets along, revealing just exactly what He wanted to reveal.

Indeed, the prophets themselves did not know everything there was to know about what the Spirit of God was predicting. So, verse 10 of our passage says that the prophets searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person (it may better be translated “circumstance”) or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating. Even the prophets who spoke from God were not given every detail about the time and circumstances of the Messiah’s work. God is the one with the definite plan and with perfect knowledge of what He would accomplish and how. The prophets of the Old Testament spoke what God had given them.

Not For Them; For Us!

But here we come to an amazing thought. Peter says in verse 12, that it was revealed to the Old Testament prophets that they were not serving themselves with their prophecies. The text says that it was revealed to the prophets that the prophecies given to them were intended to minister to people yet in the future. And here is the really amazing thing: Peter says that the Old Testament prophets were told they were serving you! We are the benefactors of their prophetic ministry.

Don’t miss this. Who was God serving through the Old Testament prophets? You! God had you in mind when He carried the prophets along. The things revealed in the OT are there so that when the Christ came we would recognize Him. They were written down so that when the glorious gospel was accomplished and then preached to us, we might believe that Jesus is indeed the promised and predicted Messiah.

The coming of Christ in the gospel is not Plan B. The coming of the Messiah Jesus is the grand fulfillment of God’s foreordained purpose to ransom people out of every tribe, tongue, people, and nation. And the Scriptures of the Old Testament, as they point us to Christ, were written with you in mind. They were written for your faith.

Even as God promised all the way back in Genesis 3 that the seed of the woman would have his heel bruised by the serpent but that He would bruise the head of the serpent that was for us who now know that the Seed is Jesus of Nazareth who defeated Satan at the cross and rose victorious over death. The entirety of the Old Testament as it reveals and unfolds and foretells the redemption accomplished by the Messiah was written for our faith. The Holy Spirit had you in mind. God has been making preparations to strengthen you faith in Christ for millennia. And it is the same Holy Spirit by which the gospel announcement has come to you.

I want you to listen to how Peter addresses the men of Israel in Acts 3. They are astounded that in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth a man lame from birth has been made well. I bring this up because of how Peter understands God’s gracious preparation. Peter uses the Old Testament Scriptures to show that Jesus is the One God had promised and it is through Him that restoration with God comes. Peter says to them,

Acts 3:12-26

Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.

“And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things – about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people. ’ And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. ’ God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.

This is addressed to the men of Israel, but as Acts 10 and following records, this salvation – consisting of the blotting out of sins and times of refreshing in the presence of the Lord and restoration – this salvation has broken over the banks of Israel and has come even to the Gentiles. This salvation in Jesus the Messiah has come to us.

But what we need to see in this passage is that God used the prophets to proclaim the gospel before hand so that when it came to pass we would see and understand and love the Redeemer when He came. God has prepared the former words for your present faith.

Blessed in this Age:

In our passage this morning, Peter is saying, “Set your mind upon the depths of God’s love for you. His provision for you in Christ Jesus was foretold and that prediction was His preparation for your faith. This very great salvation all the prophets of old longed to understand and longed to see come to pass but it was revealed to them that their prophetic ministry, given to them by the Spirit of God, was intended to serve you, a generation when the prophetic word would be confirmed. And it is indeed this longed for salvation that has now taken place in the sufferings and subsequent glories of Jesus the Messiah. And this has been announced to you by the Holy Spirit. Consider the quality and depths of God’s love and wisdom and mercy toward you!”

You and I are incredibly privileged to live in the days of the fulfillment of the predictions of the Messiah and in the days when the good news is going to the nations in the power of the Spirit, in the days when the announcement of salvation in Jesus the Messiah has overflowed the banks of Israel and come to us.

God planned, God predicted, God prepared, and then God sent His Son and God accomplished His very great salvation in Jesus Christ, and now God has sought you out and announced the good news to you – if He has done all this, you can trust Him to finish what He started. He will return for you.

Closing Questions:

These things lead me to ask two questions. The first question is this: do you love and study the Scriptures that were written for you? They were written for your faith. Do you know what the prophets wrote?

Consider the last phrase in verse 12,

It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

Angels long to look into this gospel. Angels are interested in what God promised and revealed before, and, what God has done and is doing for your salvation. They are interested to know the glory and richness of salvation in Jesus Christ – Are you?

Do you long to look into these things? Angels understand that this is were the glory is – and its not even for them – God did not take on an angelic nature to redeem the angels that fell, but He has joined Himself to the human race to bring us to glory! Are these things, the things you long to look into?

Let us be people of the Scriptures. The prophets were serving us. The Holy Spirit wrote the Old and New Testament for our benefit, for our faith and salvation.

The second question is this: does 1 Peter 1:8-9 describe you?

1 Peter 1:8-9

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Peter is writing to stir the affections of believes, reminding us of the wealth of God’s grace toward us in Christ Jesus. Peter’s intention is to strengthen us, encourage us, and draw our hearts again to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The question we need to ask ourselves is this: as we live awaiting the appearing of our great Savior and the inheritance He has purchased for us, as you live in this time when we don’t yet see Him, do you love Him? Thought you do not now see Him, do you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory?

Here is a truth we need to come to grips with: without genuine faith in Jesus of Nazareth there is no salvation, no refreshing, no restoration with God. He is the Man who God has appointed, the Lamb slain and the Lion triumphant.

If we do not love Him, if we do not believe in Him, if we do not rejoice in Him with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, than we will not obtain the outcome of faith, the salvation of our souls, because we do not have faith. It is faith in Christ that will result in praise, honor and glory at the appearing of Christ. It is love and affection for Christ; it is joy in our inner person as we consider His Person and work for us that will result in the salvation of our souls. The question is does 1 Peter 1:8-9 describe us?

Now, if you are hearing this and you don’t know if 1 Peter 1:8-9 describes you. You fear that it does not. Or perhaps you know that you love Christ but you feel that your faith is weak and your love is not what it should be. What should you do?

I’ll tell you what you do: pick up the Scriptures which have been written for those loved by God to strengthen our faith – and you pray that the Spirit who wrote these words would convict and convince and strengthen your faith in Jesus the Christ. Pray that the Spirit would give you eyes to see the glory of Christ Jesus in the Scriptures. And you get around people who love and know the Scriptures and who love and know Christ. Do not let this provision of God lie unknown and unstudied and uncherished.

Conclusion:

The salvation that has been accomplished by Jesus Christ is the very salvation which the prophets of old foretold and longed to see take place. These Old Testament predictions were given by the Spirit of God for our faith. The Spirit revealed what would take place so that we, now, would love and rest upon the Messiah Jesus. The grace shown to you in Christ Jesus is not some whim or fickle decision of God. It has been long planned and long foretold and long hoped for.

Are you experiencing trials and grief? God has not abandoned you in your hour of pain. He has made provision for your faith in His wonderful Word. The God who planned and foretold and sent and accomplished and announced grace to you in Christ Jesus will bring that grace to completion – no matter what trial you may be facing.

Brothers and sisters, the end of the ages is upon us. The salvation long promised and predicted has come in Jesus Christ our Lord. The promised Holy Spirit has been poured out on all flesh and everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved (Joel 2:28-32).

~ Andy

About Andrew Murray
Andrew “Andy” Murray was born and raised in New Hampshire. His father, pastor Loren Murray, served Fellowship Bible Church in Chester, NH. At six years of age Andy trusted in Jesus Christ and was baptized. He was brought up “acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” At the age of 12 his father was in a fatal car accident. Reflecting on the loss of his dad Andy writes; “I see now the wise and loving hand of Christ in my life, as He used this event to, shape, mold and press me toward Himself. It was this event that sparked in me an earnest desire to know God from His Word. By His grace, this desire has continued to grow.” Andy met his wife, Elizabeth, at Philadelphia Biblical University (now Cairn University). They have four wonderful boys. Visit Windham Bible Chapel.

Books at a Glance August 8, 2015

Learn More About Books at a Glance ♦
Hi, I’m Fred Zaspel, editor at Books at a Glance. If you are anything at all like me, books are a huge part of your life. King Solomon famously said that of the making of many books there is no end – but somehow we are okay with that. What a wonderful medium of communication and learning books are! But there is the frustration of keeping up. And there is the frustration of selection – knowing which books to buy next. Books at a Glance was created to help with just these frustrations. Our staff keeps up with all the newest and best in Christian publishing in order to keep our members informed and up to date. Much more than a book review service, we summarize the contents and thought of each book, so that you can digest a book in minutes. Each summary is an accurate and comprehensive yet brief and concise presentation of the entire book, chapter by chapter, delivered directly to your computer, iPad, or cell phone every week. And in just minutes you will become acquainted with the contents and arguments of each new book. Books at a Glance distinguishes itself as a book summary service that focuses on the newest and the best of Christian publications. Along with these summaries we also provide: book reviews, author interviews, author blogs, etc. In all, we trust this will be a site of real value for you. Check us out. We are excited about our work, and I think you will be too. Blessings, Fred Zaspel

Greetings from Books At a Glance!

If you haven’t seen this new series from Crossway yet with Goldsworthy’s volume on the Son of God and the New Creation, make sure you check it out, or read our summary! There are too many resources to name from this week, so take a glance below.

Book Summary
The Son of God and the New Creation Summary of THE SON OF GOD AND THE NEW CREATION by Graeme Goldsworthy
The Son of God and the New Creation (Short Studies in Biblical Theology series) Graeme Goldsworthy Crossway, 2015 144 pages (Paperback) (Kindle) A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance. About the Author Graeme Goldsworthy (PhD, Union Presb […] Continue Reading
Author Interview
The German Roots of 19th Century American Theology Interview with Annette G. Aubert, author of THE GERMAN ROOTS OF NINETEENTH-CENTURY AMERICAN THEOLOGY, Part 1
It would be difficult to overstate the significance of Germany on 19th century American theology, and Annette Aubert (PhD in Historical Theology from Westminster Theological Seminary) has given us a wonderful accounting of it in her The German Roots of Nineteenth-Century American Theology. She begins broad and then focuses on […] Continue Reading
Interview with Annette G. Aubert, author of THE GERMAN ROOTS OF NINETEENTH-CENTURY AMERICAN THEOLOGY, Part 2
Today we continue our discussion with Dr. Annette Aubert concerning her important work, The German Roots of Nineteenth-Century American Theology. If you missed part 1 of this interview you can catch up with it here. Books At a Glance: Most of our readers will be at least somewhat acquainted with Charles […] Continue Reading
Book Review
Power and Purpose POWER AND PURPOSE: PAUL RAMSEY AND CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN POLITICAL THEOLOGY, by Adam Hollowell
Adam Edward Hollowell serves as adjunct professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University and director of student ministry at Duke University Chapel. This book is a revision of Hollowell’s doctoral dissertation, completed under Oliver O’Donovan at the University of Edinburgh. At the start he observes that & […] Continue Reading
The Text of the Old Testament THE TEXT OF THE OLD TESTAMENT: AN INTRODUCTION TO BIBLIA HEBRAICA, THIRD EDITION, by Ernst Wurthwein and A. A. Fischer
Sound biblical exegesis requires that we know something about many different things: the historical and literary contexts of the passage, the genre, the structure, and the significance of certain details. Before we consider those issues, however, there is the question of the text itself. The more we understand where our Bible came […] Continue Reading
Blog
In Christ: In Him together for the World IN CHRIST: IN HIM TOGETHER FOR THE WORLD, by Steve Timmis and Christopher de la Hoyde
Our generation is learning afresh the rich significance of the doctrine of union with Christ. Our union with Christ through faith by the Spirit is the hub of every saving blessing. Our regeneration, adoption, justification, sanctification, preservation, perseverance, resurrection, glorification – all these come to us only bec […] Continue Reading
God's Love Compels Us GOD’S LOVE COMPELS US: TAKING THE GOSPEL TO THE WORLD, eds. D. A. Carson and Kathleen Nielson
One of the most encouraging signs in recent years of God’s hand of blessing has been the surprising number of serious students who are coming forward for theological training. Students often come through seminaries in distinguishable waves, and many of us who have been teachers for a few decades gladly testify that the cur­ren […] Continue Reading
How Should We Develop Biblical Friendship HOW SHOULD WE DEVELOP BIBLICAL FRIENDSHIP? By Joel Beeke and Michael Haykin
Contemporary life is crowded, and we probably do not consider friendship as seriously as we ought or value it as highly as it deserves. It was important enough for men such as Plato and Aristotle to address it in depth, and it was treasured by giants in the church also – perhaps most famously, Augustine. And you just may be […] Continue Reading
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Review: Newton on the Christian Life

The following editorial reviews were gleaned from Amazon.com

Newton on the Christian Life: To Live is Christ by Tony Reinke

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Through Newton’s words and Tony’s words—one voice—God does eye surgery on the heart, so that we see Christ more fully. And more fully means seeing him as more precious. And more precious means more powerful to heal us and change us. Relentlessly focused on the sweetness and the greatness of Christ as the Savior and Satisfier of our souls, over this book flies the banner of John Newton: ‘None but Jesus.’”
John Piper, Founder, desiringGod.org; Chancellor, Bethlehem College and Seminary

“Here is mastery! As the Lord Jesus Christ, crucified and reigning, was the life-giving focus of the Evangelical Revival, and as George Whitefield was its supreme awakener, and John Wesley its brilliant discipler, so ex–slave trader John Newton was its peerless pastoral counselor and perhaps the greatest Christian letter writer of all time. In his 768- footnote digest of the spiritual wisdom in Newton’s thousand-plus published letters, along with his published sermons and hymns, Reinke distills a vast flow of pure honey for the Christian heart. This is a book to read over and over again.”
J. I. Packer, Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology, Regent College

“Linger long here. The depths and riches within these pages are truly rare and answer what your soul most hungers for: life in Christ. I will be returning to this book many, many times over.”
Ann Voskamp, author, New York Times bestseller, One Thousand Gifts

Newton on the Christian Life is a magnum opus (though Tony still has plenty of time to surpass it). A bold project, beautifully done. You know about John Newton; now you can be pastored by him. You will feel known by him. You will be encouraged that your struggles are like his and his congregants. And you will discover again that huge helpings of the beauty and love of Jesus are the perfect antidote for our self-consumed lives.”
Ed Welch, counselor and faculty, The Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation

“The Christian life is Christ, as John Newton clarified so helpfully. If you are still treating Christianity as a strategy for your own self-improvement, this book will not satisfy you. But if you have despaired of yourself and are now clinging only to Christ, this book will refresh you. Newton’s practical counsel, brought vividly to life again by Tony Reinke, will lead you into the green pastures and beside the still waters that are, at this moment, awaiting you in your all-sufficient Savior. For some readers, this book may just become the most important book, outside the Bible, they will ever read.”
Raymond C. Ortlund Jr., Lead Pastor, Immanuel Church, Nashville, Tennessee

“Best known for the iconic hymn ‘Amazing Grace,’ John Newton deserves to be equally known for his tremendous corpus of spiritual letters. In them, Newton’s gifting as a pastoral cardiologist with few peers is on full display. Many of the main struggles and joys of the human heart have not changed. And, as Reinke ably shows, Newton’s advice, given in a world somewhat different from ours, is still potent and relevant. Very highly recommended.”
Michael A. G. Haykin, Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Newton’s pastoral letters are a unique and rich resource for Christians today, and both of us owe them a debt too great to describe. However, they constitute a notoriously difficult body of work in which to navigate. Many a time you can remember some gem you have read in these letters but now can’t locate. Here we have a guide to Newton’s main themes and topics, as well as considered treatments of many of his most valuable letters. This is a welcome tool for Christian growth and discipleship.”
Tim and Kathy Keller, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City

“This book is worth every minute of your time, whether or not you have any interest in John Newton. Reinke brings out Newton in all his cheer to minister to readers. The result is a Christ-exalting manual for growth into Christian joy, freedom, and fruitfulness. No, more than a manual, this is a work of beauty to be read again and again.”
Michael Reeves, Director of Union and Senior Lecturer, Wales Evangelical School of Theology; author, Delighting in the Trinity, The Unquenchable Flame and Rejoicing in Christ

“John Newton mentored his young friend William Wilberforce into politics, which eventually led to the abolition of the British slave trade. To this day, Newton’s letters continue to disciple generations of Christians. This book draws together Newton’s key life lessons in a way every Christian can apply. As a state governor, a former member of Congress, and a Christian in public service, I am reminded by Newton that we are never more valuable to our society than after we have been humbled by the amazing grace of God.”
Mike Pence

“Reinke takes us well beyond the hymn ‘Amazing Grace’ to explore John Newton’s stirring pastoral ministry and soaring vision of the believer’s life in Christ. I am delighted to recommend this book.”
Thomas S. Kidd, Professor of History, Baylor University; author, The Great Awakening: The Roots of Evangelical Christianity in Colonial America

“This book, by one of the brightest writers in contemporary evangelicalism, examines the life lessons of a hymn writer, a freedom fighter, and a gospel preacher. Even if you don’t think you like church history, you will love this book. Reinke ties Newton’s life and thought to practical applications for every believer. I encourage you to read and savor anew the grace that saved wretches like us.”
Russell D. Moore, President, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; author, Tempted and Tried

“You may think you are acquainted with John Newton: converted slave trader, pastor, writer of the hymn ‘Amazing Grace.’ Get ready to meet the man you only think you know. Reinke guides us on a tour of Newton’s theology through his life and letters. This book is pastoral theology at its finest. Newton was a man captured by Christ, exalting Christ, and caring for God’s people by pointing them to Christ and him crucified.”
C. J. Mahaney, Senior Pastor, Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky

“Although he authored what would become America’s best-loved hymn, John Newton’s contemporaries thought his best gift was letter writing. Rarely, if ever, has so much wisdom, love, sanity, balance, genuine affection, and wonderfully down-to-earth-because-full-of-heaven practical counsel been expressed in letters written in the English language. Underneath them all runs knowledge of the Word of God, a devotion to the Son of God, and a love for the people of God. Newton makes us feel, even two centuries later, that he was writing for us, and that he knew us well. Reinke has done the whole church a service by recovering Newton’s letters from obscurity. Newton on the Christian Life is a taste of spiritual manna that will make us want to read the letters of Newton for ourselves.”
Sinclair B. Ferguson, Professor of Systematic Theology, Redeemer Seminary, Dallas, Texas

“This book presents valuable lessons from the ministry of John Newton. His perception of grace permeated his theology, his thinking, his experience, his hopes, his ministry, and even his dying. As Reinke writes, grace was ‘the air he breathed.’ Here we catch glimpses into the workings of Newton’s heart as he focused unreservedly on living for and through the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Marylynn Rouse, Director, The John Newton Project

About the Author

Tony Reinke is a staff writer and researcher for desiringGod.org. He is the author of Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books and Newton on the Christian Life.

Stephen J. Nichols (PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary) is president of Reformation Bible College and chief academic officer of Ligonier Ministries. Previously, he served as research professor of Christianity and culture at Lancaster Bible College. He is an editor (with Justin Taylor) of the Theologians on the Christian Life series and is the author of several books, including The Reformation, For Us and for Our Salvation, The Church History ABCs, and Bonhoeffer on the Christian Life.

Justin Taylor (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is senior vice president and publisher for books at Crossway. He has edited and contributed to several books including A God-Entranced Vision of All Things and Reclaiming the Center, and he blogs at Between Two Worlds—hosted by the Gospel Coalition.

John Piper (DTheol, University of Munich) is teacher and founder of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary. He served for 33 years as pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis and is author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God, Don’t Waste Your Life, This Momentary Marriage, Bloodlines, and Does God Desire All to Be Saved?

  • Series: Theologians on the Christian Life
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (May 31, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433539713
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433539718

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free as a gift from a dear friend. – Moe

The Identifying Marks of Those in the True Vine

Study Series: The Gospel of John

Larger Context: The Identifying Marks of Those in the True Vine

This Study: The Marks of True Believers (John 15:1-8)

The Revelation of His Promise (John 15:1-8

1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. (John 15:1-8 ESV) [/su_expand]

The Concept of the Vine

 Old Covenant Vine = Israel

In the Old Testament, the vine is a common symbol for Israel, the covenant people of God. Psalm 80:8-16; Isa. 5:1-7 (see also Isa. 27:2-6; Jer. 2:21; 12:10; Ezek. 15:1-8; 17:1-10; 19:10- 14; Hosea 10:1-2). In all these images Israel’s failure to produce good fruit is emphasized.

Psalms 80:8-16 ESV
Restore us, O God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved!
8 You brought a vine out of Egypt;
you drove out the nations and planted it.
9 You cleared the ground for it;
it took deep root and filled the land.
10 The mountains were covered with its shade,
the mighty cedars with its branches.
11 It sent out its branches to the sea
and its shoots to the River.
12 Why then have you broken down its walls,
so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?
13 The boar from the forest ravages it,
and all that move in the field feed on it.
14 Turn again, O God of hosts!
Look down from heaven, and see;
have regard for this vine,
15 the stock that your right hand planted,
and for the son whom you made strong for yourself.
16 They have burned it with fire; they have cut it down;
may they perish at the rebuke of your face.

 New Covenant Vine = Jesus Christ

Jesus is the true vine. Israel was only a temporary picture or type. Jesus is the true vine or true Israel in the same way as He is the true temple (2:19-22), the true manna (6:30-66), the true shepherd (10:1-18) etc. Jesus is the better!

The Vinedresser’s Two Actions

1. Cutting off fruitless branches to be burned

Israel is cut off, for they are not the true people of God. Rom. 9:6-7 (see also Matt. 21:33-45).

Illustrated in Judas Iscariot, who is not a true Israelite. He is not clean. Jn. 15:3; 13:10-11.

This is not illustrating “higher-life” teaching. The fruitless branches are unbelievers who go to hell. To abide in Christ means simply to be a believer. On your worst day, if you are a believer you are abiding.

2. Pruning fruit-bearing branches to produce more fruit

The Church of Jesus Christ is the true people of God who have received life in Christ. Gal. 3:29 The essence of Christianity is the believer’s union with Christ, apart from whom they can do nothing.

The Father prunes every fruit-bearing branch so it will be even more fruitful. God uses all sorts of things to cause us to grow. James 1:2-4, Heb. 12:10

How wonderful to realize that every trial, problem, and suffering is purposeful and lovingly designed by God for good! He knows what he is doing as the gardener and this provides us with much comfort.

The Marks of True Believers

1. Bearing fruit

Salvation is by grace through faith. We cannot earn a right standing before a holy God by any number of good works. Ephesians 2:8-10, Romans 3:28

But, we do show that God has saved us when we do good works. If there is no fruit in your life, then Jesus didn’t die for you. Philippians 2:12-13, James 2:24

2. Perseverance

Warning passages are very helpful to the church because they force a response. The response demonstrates if the person desires to obey Jesus Christ no matter what the cost. A true believer will respond in obedience. Hebrews 10:36-39, 1 John 2:4-6

Believers will take to heart the warnings that are given and will respond in godly repentance if necessary. Matthew 18:15-20, (see also 2 Corinthians 7:8-13)

A true believer’s fruit-bearing and perseverance is guaranteed, for the fruitfulness of believers is one of the ways the Son glorifies His Father. Let us press on for His glory!

~ Murray

About Murray McLellan
Murray is the lead church planter and Bible teacher at Grace Fellowship Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. He and his wife Cheryl have labored in the Gospel for many years despite the many discouragements along the way. Our brother is associated with “InDepth Studies”, the Acts 29 network of church planters, and more recently the uniquely Canadian C2C church planting network. In new covenant circles Murray is a long time contributor to new covenant thought and discussion.

Cross to Crown Conference 2015 – Free Audio

Proclaiming Christ (Cross to Crown Conference 2015)

Open to Cross to Crown free audio
Cross to Crown Resources
1. “Session 1 – Christ Is Exalted by Life or by Death (Phil. 1:1-26) – Douglas Goodin” 1:07:02
2. “Session 2 – A Life Worthy of the Gospel (Phil. 1:27-30) – A. Blake White” 47:21
3. “Session 3 – Cruciform Love (Phil. 2:1-8) – A. Blake White” 51:29
4. “Session 4 – The Name Above All Names (Phil. 2:9-29) – Douglas Goodin” 50:17
5. “Session 5 – Looking Forward, Not Backward (Phil. 3:1-16) – Joshua Waltz” 1:02:50
6. “Session 6 – Citizens of Heaven (Phil. 3:17-21) – Joshua Waltz” 53:26
7. “Session 7 – Do All Things Through Christ (Phil. 4:1-23) – Douglas Goodin” 58:58
8. “First Q&A – A. Blake White, Douglas Goodin” 36:56
9. “Second Q&A – Joshua Waltz, Douglas Goodin” 17:09
10. “Third Q&A – A. Blake White, Joshua Waltz, Douglas Goodin” 1:18:46

Joshua Waltz A. Blake White Doug Goodin
Joshua Waltz A. Blake White Doug Goodin