Jesus Christ Has Authority Over Death

The great hope of every Christian is that the grave will not be the end for them when they die. Jesus Christ will one day raise them up to everlasting life. Jesus has authority over death, and He proved this during His earthly life as He raised the dead back to life.

Mind Battles: Victory Over Wrong Thoughts

There are many wars that have taken place and are taking place in this world. But one of the greatest wars constantly taking place is in the mind of Christians. Evil and wicked thoughts can bombard our minds incessantly and greatly grieve us. What are some things that can help us in this hellish warfare?

The Secret Things and the Revealed Things

We’ve been given a Book that contains the revelation of God and who He is. Because this Book is given to us, we should expect to be able to understand most parts of it. But because this Book is about the eternal God, we should also expect that there will be some parts that exceed our human limitations of understanding. The secret things belong to God, but the revealed things belong to us.

Deuteronomy 29:29 – The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Our Suffering is Over at Death

The moment a Christian dies, all of their sufferings will be forgotten. All their sufferings will be swallowed up by eternal glory.


Excerpt taken from the full sermon, “Suffering and the Eternal Weight of Glory“.


Every now and then, it’s very seldom that it’s ever happened, but every great once in a while, just bam! It hits you: I’m going to die. It’s going to happen very, very quickly. We’re rapidly approaching. If you’re not a Christian here tonight, the time is going to be there before you know it. You know how sometimes like as a student I remember I’d study for a test. You’ve got that big test coming up you know in two months – it’s far away, but you’re studying maybe. And it gets a little closer. All of a sudden there you are. The hour has come. And you know, like I said, I can only believe it every once in a while. You know what I’m talking about right here. Every now and then a little glimpse: I’m going to die. I’m going to be there. You’re going to be there. And if you’re not right with God you’re in a desperate situation. And if you are right with God, what in the world are you so worried about this thing you’re going through right now? It’s temporary. It’s just nothing. It’s light compared to this glory that’s coming. Difficulties are temporary. Trials are temporary. Setbacks are temporary. Sufferings are temporary. Soon, very soon, whatever I’m facing right now – you may be weary. You may be weary in the battle. It’s going to be over so fast. Soon shall the cup of glory wash down earth’s bitterest woes. I don’t think we had that verse in “The Sands of Time.” Soon shall the cup of glory wash down our bitterest woes. Soon shall the desert brier break into Eden’s rose. Soon. Wash down earth’s bitterest woes. People that are being tortured – some people are being tortured to death. The instant they wake up, it’s all washed down. Everything’s forgotten. Washed away in a moment. There’s a card that we’ve shared a lot with people who have lost a loved one. It’s entitled, “Absent From the Body, Present with the Lord.” It goes like this: “Oh think… Oh think, to step on shore and that shore Heaven, to take hold of a hand, and that God’s hand. To breathe a new air.” You know, you just breathe it in. You find it celestial air. “To feel invigorated and know it immortality. Oh think, to pass from a storm and a tempest into one unbroken calm. To wake up and find it glory. Oh think…” To step on a shore. All that will happen in a moment. The tempest of life will be gone and they’ll seem like nothing. To step on a shore and that shore Heaven. Well, what’s the shore of Heaven going to be like? Well, it’s one unbroken calm. Celestial air. Feeling invigorated. I can almost imagine that, you know. Instantly, you’re alive and you’re invigorated.

The Importance of Encouraging One Another

An often overlooked ministry in the church is the ministry of encouragement. We need to be encouraged by other Christians, and other Christians also need to be encouraged by us. Our attempts of encouragement may not seem that influential, but we would be surprised at how greatly God can use them to help our fellow believers.

The Power of the Cross: Reconciliation (Part Two)

Ephesians 2:11-18

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility (2:14-16 NIV).

The message of the Bible is the story of God’s glory in Jesus Christ. Knowing how hopeless our situation was because of our sin and resultant alienation from God, out of pure love and overflowing grace and holy zeal for his glory, God had a purpose of rescue for the hopeless.

The main character in the story is Jesus Christ, who is both Son of God and Son of Man. Notice what the apostle writes by the Holy Spirit. But now in Christ Jesus… (2:13 NIV). Christ is God’s message or word. God’s message is not the future of Israel or a ten-step process for recovering from addiction or learning how to be a covenant keeper or how to have your best life now. God’s message is concentrated on Jesus Christ. When we meet as a church, we need to hear about Jesus. When we go out on our mission into the world, we need to talk about Jesus our Lord.

The main theme of the story is that Jesus Christ brings us near to God through his blood shed on the cross. The great way of access to God is established by his blood. We have peace with God (Romans 5:1); we can draw near to God with confidence (Hebrews 10:19-22).

For this reason, I think it is a serious mistake to try to create an “atmosphere of worship” in a church service. In the Lord Jesus, we have all the “atmosphere” we need. Some might say that we’re rather blunt and ruthless in not creating any such atmosphere. To dim the lights and illuminate a backdrop with an image of a cross is contrary to true spirituality (John 4). The same holds true for lighting a bunch of candles and burning incense. Nor do we need to try to manipulate people’s “spiritual juices” by endlessly repeating some praise song or favorite hymn. No, we ought to seek that people know Jesus Christ and him crucified… not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power (1 Corinthians 2:2-5 NIV).

Our situation after the cross is that we are reconciled to God. Here is the idea of reconciliation in the Bible. God reaches out to restore to friendship those whom he formerly was against as his enemies. An event from the life of David presents the concept.  In 1 Samuel 29:4 the Philistines did not want David to be part of their army, because they feared he might be reconciled to his father-in-law Saul, who hated him. The problem in the relationship was not that David was opposed to Saul, since he honored Saul as king. But they feared that David might seek reconciliation by turning against the Philistines and so turn Saul’s hatred back to friendship.

Because Christ’s death through the shedding of his blood was the sacrifice that guaranteed the forgiveness of sins in the new covenant, and because Christ’s death satisfied God’s wrath against us, God reconciles us to himself through the cross (Eph 2:16). For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life (Romans 5:10 ESV). Everything is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and he has committed the message of reconciliation to us (2 Corinthians 5:18-19 CSB). Once you were alienated and hostile in your minds expressed in your evil actions. But now he has reconciled you by his physical body through his death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before him (Colossians 1:21-22 CSB). Christ secured our position before God by his blood. God is no longer alienated from us, but is at peace with us, because Christ himself is our Peace. “This is a beautiful title of Christ: the Peace between God and men” (Calvin). Today, rejoice before God because the Lord Jesus Christ is your reconciliation with God; he is your peace; it is not your performance, which varies like the wind.

Grace and peace, David

The Power of the Cross: Reconciliation (Part One)

Ephesians 2:11-18

Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)—remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ (2:11-13 NIV).

We can all tell stories about people alienated from one another. Since we or friends would be the subjects, we would tell them with a sense of the pain of alienation.

However, our topic in this post is not primarily about fractured human relationships, though what we’ll think about provides the only reliable basis for rebuilding or renewing them. Our concern is with our alienation from God. As we have seen in this series on the power of the cross, our basic problem is that because of our sin or rebellion against God, he must act in holy justice against us. In this situation we need our sins forgiven and his wrath removed. God did this through the power of the cross of Christ. He died as a sacrifice that would secure forgiveness and remove wrath. But what of the practical situation of God’s alienation from us? In holy justice he was against us, but can he bring us back in peace and as his friends?

In order to grasp the importance of what the Lord accomplished, we must understand our situation before the cross. We were far away. All people have had a two-part legal problem. All people everywhere are by nature people who step over (transgress) the limits God established for human behavior and who fail to properly represent his worth or glory. This last makes us like a TV that cannot show clear pictures but only warps and blurs them. Not only that, we don’t even want to show the picture of God’s glory. We wrongly choose to show the pictures of God’s enemies in order to project ourselves. This made us practically worthless as God’s image bearers and objects of God’s wrath, because we have desired to live this way (Ephesians 2:1-3).

In his love, God called Israel out of slavery to be his nation, and he gave them many blessings and privileges (Romans 3:1-2; 9:4-5; Ephesians 2:12). He brought them into a relationship with him based on the law (or old covenant). God promised them life, if they would obey. Israel’s problem was simply that they were sinners, and the law could not deal with the problem of sin. In fact, sin took advantage of the law situation and by the commandments of the law put Israel to death (Romans 7:7-13). Israel was in a hopeless situation.

The rest of the nations (the Gentiles) did not receive the blessings that Israel had received. Instead, God had handed them over to sin (Romans 1:24, 26, 28) and let them go their own way (Acts 14:16). They had no way to become his nation or people, and the nations were in a hopeless and godless situation.

Please take a few minutes to slow down and to think about the condition humanity was in before the cross. Israel had a good law covenant from God that they could not keep. The nations were largely abandoned by God, since they willfully pursued a way of life that refused the true and living God and place in their lives. (This still holds true in our time.) How could people return to a relationship with the Holy God over all? A Mediator was necessary who could bridge the gap between God and sinful people. This is what God did in Christ at the cross. Are you reconciled to God through Jesus Christ?

Grace and peace, David

Doing Greater Works Than Christ

Jesus said that we would do the same works that He did and even greater works. This is a glorious promise and it’s given to every believer. But we must ask the question: what does this promise mean?

John 14:12 – Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

The Power of the Cross: Wrath Removed (Part Two)

Romans 3:21-26

God presented him as an atoning sacrifice in his blood, received through faith, to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his restraint God passed over the sins previously committed. God presented him to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so that he would be righteous and declare righteous the one who has faith in Jesus (3:25-26 CSB).

Next, we see God’s solution for both judicial situations. God the Father acted in both of them. It is important to remember the importance of God the Father in regard to the cross. We have a Trinitarian salvation. At the same time, we must have God’s perspective about the cross. It is the story of his glory. Salvation does not originate in human scheming to bribe God to obtain some kind of blessing. The Father is the author of the plan of salvation. God the Father himself provided the sacrifice of atonement or propitiation, which is at the heart of the message of the cross. We’ll talk about the meaning of “propitiation” shortly. But first we want to realize that God the Father presented Christ as a propitiation (atoning sacrifice, CSB).

Some have wrongly thought that the message of the cross is some sort of heavenly bribery, as if Jesus the Son of God died on the cross to persuade or make the Father to love us. But no, Christ died because the Father loved us (John 3:16; Romans 8:32).

The meaning of what the Father sent his one and only Son to do: God presented Christ as the propitiation for our sins.  To propitiate means to satisfy or pacify wrath, and so to turn it away from those who deserve it. There are four elements in propitiation (John Owen):

  • An offence to be taken away – our sin
  • A person offended whose wrath needs to be satisfied or pacified – God
  • An offending party who is guilty of the offense – us
  • A sacrifice or some means of making satisfaction for the offense – Christ’s death on the cross

The propitiation occurred through the shedding of Christ’s blood on the cross. The significance of the blood is that Christ’s life was poured out in death. This answers the great problem of Romans 6:23. He received the wages that were due us. As we saw previously in this series, the blood emphasizes the need of a sacrifice to take away sin and establish a covenant with God. Christ’s better and final sacrifice of himself is the fulfillment of all the types and shadows of the law. He did what they were unable to do.

So then, we come to the result of the propitiation, and here we see the power of the cross. God’s justice is vindicated. He is proved to be righteous: that he might be just. Before God could forgive us, his justice and holiness had to be satisfied and honored. Therefore, God the Father presented or displayed his Son publicly as the propitiation through faith in his blood.

  • This was the deliberate action of God (Acts 2:23). The cross of Christ was not an accident; Jesus was not a martyr. God displayed his Son as the propitiation to carry out and accomplish his plan of salvation for his people.
  • The cross happened in history. On a real day on a hill called Golgotha outside Jerusalem, Jesus was crucified and died the cursed death of the cross. There were real nails, real wood, real thorns and real blood. But the worst of Christ’s suffering and agony was the real and full stroke of justice that he received, God’s infinite wrath received and satisfied by a perfect and infinite sacrifice, Christ himself. This is the power of the cross.
  • This act of justice was observed by people. God demonstrated his justice. All history can see that God honors his justice.
  • God did this to demonstrate his justice “at the present time”. Now God’s justice is vindicated; now we have forgiveness and righteousness. The believers before the cross looked forward to this time, but we look back and can say, “Praise the Lord! God’s justice is satisfied! Our bill is paid in full!”

God declares righteous those who believe in Jesus. This happens through faith in his blood. God is both just and the justifier. God sent his Son into the world to save sinners (John 3:17). However, this propitiation is only for those who have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 3:22, 26). Those who do not believe in Christ are still under God’s wrath (John 3:36). Those who try to be right with God by their own good works or by observing the law are also still condemned (Romans 3:28; Galatians 1:6-9; 2:16).

Do you understand the power of the cross of Christ? We can be right with God because of what the Lord Jesus did on the cross, if we change our minds and trust in him. Too many people won’t change their minds. They’re still in love with their rebellion against God, or still trying to earn their righteousness by being spiritual or religious. But the only way of salvation is through faith in the finished work of Christ. Are you trusting in Christ alone?

Grace and peace, David

The Commonplace Christian is the Glory of the Church

Most of us will be not be remembered after we die. We’ll be forgotten by the world and only a fading memory to those who knew us. But we can’t let this cause us to think that we’re not needed in Christ’s Church. Almost all of the advancement of His kingdom has been done by little, unknown Christians.

Don’t Go Away From Christ!

Sometimes Christians feel that they can’t come to Christ for help. Sometimes they feel that Christ won’t help them because of their sin. But these feelings are all lies. Christ tells them to come to the throne of grace, not the throne of worthiness.


But Jesus said, v. 16, “They need not go away…” You give them something to eat. And of course, He does this miracle here in the feeding of the 5,000. But what I want to focus on: “They need not go away.” You see, the people were hungry. The hour was late. They were in a secluded place, a desolate place. So it seemed obvious that the people needed to go away to the surrounding towns and the villages in order to buy something to eat. They were convinced they needed to go away from Jesus. That’s what they had to do they thought. But Jesus is sufficient for them as He is for you. He can meet their needs. He had great compassion on them and He said, “You need not go away.” Well, maybe there are some Christians here going through trials or going through much suffering. Well, certainly don’t go away from the Lord when you’re going through trials. You need not bear your burdens alone. Go to Jesus. Cast all your cares upon Him because He cares for you. Maybe there are some here who feel tempted. Maybe in times of temptation, you come under great temptation and so you feel dirty. You feel guilty. So you feel you must go away from Jesus. But Jesus says here you need not go away. He is the great High Priest who sympathizes with your weaknesses. He tells you in His Word in times of temptation go boldly to His throne of grace. But you might say how can I go boldly in such times where my thoughts are polluted by sin? The answer is it’s a throne of grace, not a throne of worthiness. You see, sometimes when Christians, they think they can’t go because they’re too guilty. But no, it’s a throne of grace. Grace is unmerited favor. So you don’t have to be worthy enough to go there. You need not go away in such times of temptation. Go boldly to Christ and find your help. Hideaway in Him.