Ocean City Bible Conference

Ocean City Bible Conference

Register Now!

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2019 OCEAN CITY BIBLE CONFERENCE

Registrations for The Ocean City Bible Conference for 2019
opens at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, April 10th!
Conference Date: September 8-11, 2019
 
 
Theme: Salt & Light
 
You are the salt of the earth…
 
but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
 
You are the light of the world.
 
A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:13-16
 
Christians can only impact the world when we are different from the world. That is what being “salt” is all about. When we stop making a difference in the culture, the culture will start making a difference in us. As George Truett once said, “Either you are ‘salting’ the world, or the world is corrupting you.”
 
The same thing holds true for being “light.” We who once “walked in darkness” are now called to be a light in that darkness. We are called, in word and deed, to shine forth the truth of the gospel so that others might see and come to glorify God.??Join us this September as we’re challenged to live out this calling. We’re excited to hear this subject preached on by men like Andrew Davis, Ryan Fullerton, John Onwuchekwa, Jim Orrick, and more.
 
Pricing: Conference Only: $89 per person
 
3 breakfasts and conference registration
 
·     Standard Accommodations: $199 per person (price based on double occupancy)
 
3 breakfasts, conference registration and 3 nights of standard lodging
 
·     Deluxe Accommodations: $239 per person (price based on double occupancy)
 
3 breakfasts, conference registration and 3 nights of deluxe lodging
 
Tuesday night, September 10th at 9PM
 
Coffeehouse Q & A with
 
—-KEYNOTE SPEAKERS—-
 
Andrew Davis
Senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Durham, NC
and the founder of Two Journeys Ministry
 
Ryan Fullerton
Lead Pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Louisville, KY
 
John Onwuchekwa
Lead Pastor at Cornerstone Church in Atlanta, GA
 
Jim Orrick
Lead Pastor at Bullitt Lick Baptist Church
and Professor at Boyce College in Louisville, KY
 
Check out all the details at ocbibleconference.org!
 
Contact us at: info@ocbibleconference.org or call 609 399-2261 with any questions.

 

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

 

The New Way Of The Spirit

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

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

His Love Laid Hold Of Me

A great song composed and sung by the co-author  of “A Rage To Live”. Please give a listen to this great new hymn and then if you are willing go on to read the following.

 

 
Hello, My name is Moe Bergeron. I am the publisher of CMC and I want to introduce you to the labor of my good friend pastor Joseph G. Krygier. Pastor Joe has co-authored the above titled book. I’ve read it and have profited much by this personal account and I highly recommend it to you. As I read through its pages I couldn’t help but feel a deep sense of sadness knowing that Adam’s rejection of his Creator and God has had tragic consequences for all of his family. Thankfully, God’s people are not without hope. May the God of Israel speak to the hearts of Abraham’s descendants about His mercy and grace.
The following is in Joe’s own words.

This is the story of Victor Breitburg, 85,  who survived the Lódz Ghetto, Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Theresienstadt Concentration Camps. He was liberated by the Russians on May 8, 1945 on his 18th birthday and repatriated to England and eventually to the US, where he had family who left Poland before the war. It tells of his education and we get glimpses of the rest of his life up to the present. Our book has been accepted into the Yad Veshem, US Holocaust Museum, The Imperial War Museum and Center For Holocaust Studies – Atlantic University  research libraries. It has received endorsements from Jewish and non-Jewish readers including Alan Adelson :

My copy has arrived, Mr. Krygier.  What a superb job you did.  As a person who has worked on the contemporaneous as well as memoiristic writings from the Lódz Ghetto for many years, I certainly congratulate you for making this valuable contribution to the literature.
..
Thank you and all best wishes,
Alan Adelson
Executive Director
Jewish Heritage

Pastor Krygier is presently writing a play based on the written account so that the story of Victor Breitburg, who represents multitudes of others who suffered under the tyranny of Hitler, can be told to countless others.

You can find more information including pictures, video interviews and other comments at www.tolifeink.com
In addition you can obtain an ebook copy of this excellent work at a greatly reduced rate through Noisetrade.

A Rage to Live

Do Not Be Discouraged

Facing Discouraging Times

Christian, Do not be discouraged by worldly events, rather, encourage one another in Christ. Be those holy ones of God who bring God’s love to a fallen world. Have you so soon forgotten who you were before you were washed and cleansed by the blood of the Lamb? Stop looking down on those who remain slaves to their base appetites and look up to the only One who can do them any eternal good.

“And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11 ESV)

A most powerful and effective threat to a ruined world is for Christians to behave as Christians.

Foundations of God's CityTo this end a good and timely read for Christians who look at discouraging world events and despair so easily is “Foundations of God’s City: Christians in a Crumbling Culture” by James Montgomery Boice. ISB: 0-8308-2225-9
“Deeply biblical in its argument, thoroughly conversant with contemporary culture and practically informed by personal involvement in urban ministry, this is a book for the hour. It awakens Christians to their identity within society and to their eternal destiny, instructing them in the one right thing to do: “Be God’s people in the midst of this world’s culture.” – Amazon
The apostle Paul wrote of the apostolic calling and ministry; “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus ‘sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.” (2 Corinthians 4:7-12 ESV)

DG's LAB Project – January – March

There’s no book like the Bible. Learn to read it for yourself.

Dr. John PiperOver at Desiring God they have continued to grow their LAB studies. As we’ve mentioned previously “Look at the Book” is a new online method of teaching the Bible. It’s an ongoing series of 8–12 minute videos in which the camera is on the text, not the teacher. You will hear John Piper’s voice and watch his pen underline, circle, make connections, and scribble notes — all to help you learn to read God’s word for yourself. His goal is to help you not only see what he sees, but where he sees it and how he found it. Follow this link for our original list.

John Piper says:

“I have a new and focused passion to help people really see the riches of God’s word for themselves, and that has new and exciting implications for me and for the ministry of Desiring God. Our main aim will be to create habits of mind and ways of seeing the Bible that help you find the riches of Scripture for yourselves. We really believe that serious Christians can see more wonders in God’s word than they ever thought they could. Look at the Book is our effort to bring that belief to life for you.”

All of the following content opens to the pages of Desiring God where the LAB studies are hosted.

2 Timothy 2:24–26, Part 1: God May Grant Repentance
March 17, 2015
There is war happening for your soul. On one side, Satan is scheming to enslave you to sin and blind you to the beauty of God. But God, by his power, is able to lead you to faith, repentance, and freedom. How is the war won? John Piper looks at several key verses in this lab.

2 Corinthians 4:4–6: The Light of the Gospel of the Glory of Christ
March 12, 2015
What happened when you were saved? While Satan did everything he could to blind you to the beauty of Jesus Christ, God broke through in marvelous light, and you saw, and you believed. In this lab, John Piper highlights critical parallels between two key verses to explain the miracle of conversion.

Matthew 22:15–21: Render to Caesar
March 10, 2015 Principle for Bible Reading
Jesus does not always give us every answer explicitly. Sometimes he wants us to think and come to the right answer for ourselves, like when the Pharisees tried to trap him over taxes. In this lab,…

Hebrews 3:12–14, Part 2: Exhort One Another Every Day
March 5, 2015
God has appointed other believers as one of the primary means of our perseverance. In this lab, John Piper explains how sin wages war against our souls, and how God equips us with weapons for the battle. We will see that this fight is not one we should fight alone.

Hebrews 3:12–14, Part 1: Take Care, Brothers
March 3, 2015
When you come across an if/then statement, restate the condition and study the implications. For instance, can someone who has truly been saved fall away from the faith? John Piper answers in this lab.

Romans 8: The Big Picture
February 26, 2015
John Piper has completed thirty labs working verse-by-verse through Romans 8. In this last lab, he sums up all that we have learned and explains how the highest points relate to each other. We need to be regularly stepping back in our Bible reading to see the bigger picture.

Romans 8:38–39: Nothing Can Separate Us From God’s Love
February 24, 2015
Romans 8 lands on the note of God’s unstoppable, unshakeable love for us in Christ. Nothing — however dark or hard — can separate us from him. In this lab, John Piper reveals the love of God for us, and calls us all to love one another in response to this great love.

Romans 8:35–37: We Are More Than Conquerors
February 19, 2015
We learn a lot about the Bible when the Bible quotes itself. In this lab, John Piper looks at Paul’s use of Psalm 44 to see how we are more than conquerors in all our suffering. Understanding God’s love for us in Christ completely changes how we think about hard things in this life.

Romans 8:33–34 : It Is God Who Justifies
February 17, 2015
Satan is an accuser (Revelation 12:10), but Jesus disarmed him at the cross. In this lab, John Piper explains how the work of Christ wars against and defeats Satan’s schemes to accuse and condemn us. Are you able to wield the sword of Paul’s promises against the evil one?

Romans 8:31–32: Who Can Be Against Us?
February 12, 2015
God is for you, and therefore no one can defeat you. God gave his Son, so he will most definitely give you all things. This lab looks at a couple powerful rhetorical questions. John Piper searches the truths behind Paul’s questions to find massive rocks under the Christian’s life.

Romans 8:30: Predestined, Called, Justified, Glorified
February 10, 2015
A promise as mind-blowing as Romans 8:28 needs massive faith-sustaining truth underneath it. Romans 8:30 lays out a process in which God exalts Christ by bringing ungodly people to glory. In this lab, John Piper offers assurance in God’s invincible plan of salvation.

Romans 8:29: Conformed to the Image of Christ
February 5, 2015
God’s purpose in creation and redemption is to have a family of children conformed to the image of his Son. But how does that happen in me? In this lab, Pastor John explains the ways in which we are made like Jesus

Romans 8:29: Foreknown by God
February 3, 2015
The phrase “foreknown by God” has caused significant controversy and conflict within Christianity. Did God simply know ahead of time that we would believe, or did he choose who would believe? In this lab, John Piper explains as he tackles the next verse in Romans 8.

Romans 8:28, Part 3: Called According to God’s Purpose
January 29, 2015
When God calls a man or woman, what happens? In this lab, the third of three labs focused on Romans 8:28, John Piper draws in several other verses to try and understand the call of God. He explains why those who love God should rest secure in his sovereign care.

Romans 8:28, Part 2: Do You Love God?
January 27, 2015
The Bible makes promises to those who love God. But how do we know if we do? In this lab, John Piper digs into the relationship between saving faith and loving God. He goes on to show why and how God works all things for good for those who love him.

Romans 8:28, Part 1: All Things Work Together for Good
January 22, 2015
Romans 8:28 is one of the most important and most treasured verses and promises in the Bible. In this lab, John Piper begins a series of three labs pulling apart the critical pieces in these twenty-four words for understanding and embracing our sovereign and good God.

Romans 8:26–27 : The Spirit Helps Us in Our Weakness
January 20, 2015
These two verses are two of the hardest in Romans 8. John Piper asks two important questions to uncover how the Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. He shows how God — all three persons — is active in helping and keeping us through the hardest things in life.

 

DG's LAB Project – January

There’s no book like the Bible. Learn to read it for yourself.

Over at Desiring God they have continued to grow their LAB studies. As we’ve mentioned previously “Look at the Book” is a new online method of teaching the Bible. It’s an ongoing series of 8–12 minute videos in which the camera is on the text, not the teacher. You will hear John Piper’s voice and watch his pen underline, circle, make connections, and scribble notes — all to help you learn to read God’s word for yourself. His goal is to help you not only see what he sees, but where he sees it and how he found it. 
All of the following content opens to the pages of Desiring God where the LAB studies are hosted.
Romans 8:18–21: The Redemption of Our Bodies
y John Piper
Knowing that the whole creation, including us, is suffering because of the corruption of sin, what hope can we have that things will get better? In this lab, John Piper talks about the tensions we feel as we strive to believe God’s promises while sometimes suffering greatly.
Romans 8:18–21: The Freedom of the Glory of the Children of God
by John Piper
Suffering might be the hardest, most confusing reality in the Christian life. In this lab, John Piper uncovers deep and durable truths that will help you suffer well. God made and saves the world in the way he did in to make Christ the center of the universe.
Matthew 6:9–13, Part 3: Hallowed Be Your Name
by John Piper
There is no more familiar prayer in the Bible than the Lord’s Prayer. In the last lab of his three-part series, John Piper highlights two major new insights he’s seen over the years in the structure and relationships within this paradigm-creating prayer of Jesus.
Matthew 6:9–13, Part 2: Deliver Us from Evil
by John Piper
Jesus’s prayer for you is clear: Today, you need God to provide for you, forgive you, and deliver you. Every single day, you need God to move in these three ways. In this lab, John Piper unfolds these simple, but critical prayers.
Matthew 6:9–13, Part 1: Your Kingdom Come
by John Piper
In five short verses in Matthew, Jesus taught us to pray. There are prayer-life-changing glories to be seen in these most familiar words *if* we slow down enough to see them. In this lab, John Piper begins a three-part series on the Lord’s Prayer.
2 Thessalonians 1:11–12: New Year’s Resolutions
by John Piper
At the beginning of another year, people will make new resolutions. But should Christians make these New Years commitments? In this lab, John Piper shows that resolutions can be deeply Christian and grace-filled.
Hebrews 2:14–15: Why Christmas?
by John Piper
God wrote the Christmas story, and yet we don’t often stop to ask why he wrote it the way he did. In this lab, John Piper uncovers four reasons for Christmas from these two verses.
Philippians 1:20–23: To Die Is Gain
by John Piper
John Piper says this passage has been one of the most pivotal for him and his ministry. These four verses hold profound and precious truths about life and about death. In this lab, Piper shows why Christ is most magnified in us when we are most satisfied in him.
Luke 1:30–37: What Child Is This?
by John Piper
What child is this, the baby boy we celebrate every Christmas? Mary met the true identity of her son in the words of an angel, recorded in Luke 1. In this lab, John Piper prepares our hearts for Christmas by slowing down over these verses.
Romans 8:17: Heirs of God
by John Piper
Our adoption as sons and daughters of God is a deep and glorious blessing. In this lab, drawing on several other texts, John Piper asks what it means that we will be glorified with Christ and share in his inheritance.
Romans 8:16: The Witness of the Spirit
by John Piper
The Holy Spirit has a massive role in Romans 8, and in the rest of the Bible, but he is often overlooked. In this lab, John Piper highlights the work of the Holy Spirit, specifically three ways he testifies that we are the children of God.
Romans 8:15: Not Slavery, But Adoption
by John Piper
Adoption is not unique to Christianity, but it is a much more complex and glorious reality in the context of God’s love for us in the gospel. In this lab, John Piper presses in on several key words to show what it means for God to be a Father.
Romans 8:14 : The Children of God
by John Piper
The Bible often argues in “if/then” statements, and the context will help us clarify exactly what the conditions are. In this lab, John Piper shows us where to find assurance that we are the children of God.
Romans 8:12–13 : Put Sin to Death
by John Piper
Paul warns us about letting sin linger in our lives, so how do we kill sin? Beginning with Romans 8, John Piper walks through several passages to explain the weapons God has given us to defeat sin and its deception.
Romans 8:12–13 : Sin Will Kill You
by John Piper
Sin will kill you. God gives warnings in the Bible, and sometimes they seem to call into question our security in Christ. How should we read the Bible’s warnings? And what role do they play in our salvation? John Piper answers in this lab.
Matthew 10:25–31: Have No Fear of Them
by John Piper
“Do not fear.” Jesus’s command can be hard to obey, but it is filled with promise. In this lab, John Piper shows us how Jesus helps his disciples (and us) battle fear.
1 Corinthians 8:1–3: Love Builds Up
by John Piper
Is knowledge good or bad? 1 Corinthians 8:1–3 says that knowledge can lead to pride or to love, so how do we know which our knowledge is? Pastor John unfolds the life of the mind in this new lab.
Romans 8:10–11: The Spirit in You Is Life
by John Piper
Even though we’ve been saved by Jesus, we all still die. What does it mean for us that the Spirit lives in us? What does it mean for our fight against sin, our relationship to Jesus, and our death? Piper answers in this lab.
Romans 8:9: You Are Not Your Own
by John Piper
What does it mean to belong to Jesus? As we study a passage slowly verse by verse, sometimes we need to step back and look for help from other places in the Bible. There are other verses that will help us see more in the one before us.
Romans 8:9: The Spirit Lives in You
by John Piper
Jesus bought us with his death and then sealed us with his Spirit. In this lab, John Piper unfolds the glory of the Trinity in our salvation and the role of the Spirit in showing that we belong to Jesus.
Romans 8:7–8: The Mind Against God Is Dead
by John Piper
Romans 8:5–8 gets down to the bottom of our sin, untangling the reasons we rebel against God. Pastor John highlights the meaning of two “for” statements to show the relationship between sin, hostility to God, death, and worldliness.
Romans 8:5–6: Set Your Mind on the Spirit
by John Piper
The Bible often presents two ways for us to live. In Romans 8:5–6, Paul describes two different lives, two different mindsets, and two different conditions. This lab carefully traces the serious differences in order to cause us to look to Christ.
Romans 8:3–4: What the Law Could Not Do
by John Piper
Purpose clauses (“in order that”) tell us why God does what he does. In this lab, Pastor John looks at why God gave us the law and why he sent his Son to die on the cross. All along, he asks how the Christian should relate to the law after Christ has come.
Romans 8:3–4: Love Fulfills the Law
by John Piper
Romans 8:3–4 says Christ died so that the law would be fulfilled in us. What does it mean for the law to be fulfilled? And how is it fulfilled in us? In this lab, John Piper tackles these two critical questions.
Romans 8:3: God Sent His Own Son
by John Piper
Romans 8:3 holds some of the most precious truths of Christianity. Paul explains how God removes our guilt and ends our condemnation. Pastor John slows down to dig into the nitty-gritty details of our good news.
Romans 8:1–4: The Spirit Set You Free
by John Piper
The word “for” is one of the most common in the Bible. In this lab, Pastor John explains the relationship between our justification and sanctification by focusing on those three letters: f-o-r.
Romans 8:1–3: Free in Christ Jesus
by John Piper
Some phrases are used so often in the Bible that we need to stop and do the work of understanding what they mean. Paul uses the phrase “in Christ Jesus” 47 times in his letters. Pastor John looks at several other passages to better understand these important words in Romans 8:1–2.
Romans 7:22–8:2: No Condemnation
by John Piper
In your Bible reading, an author will often compare two things. It’s important to stop and study everything you learn about how those two things are similar and different. In this lab, Pastor John looks at our slavery to sin and freedom in Christ.
Romans 8: The Greatest Chapter
by John Piper
Pastor John introduces a new series focused on Romans 8. First, he spends a couple minutes helping you make the most of Look at the Book. Then, he gives you seven reasons why Romans 8 is the greatest chapter in all the Bible.
Exploring Key Words: The Book of Life
by John Piper
When you come across an important word or phrase in your reading, stop to search for other uses of that same word or phrase. In this lab, John Piper briefly looks at six different verses to better understand the Book of Life.
Isaiah 48:9–11: For My Name’s Sake
by John Piper
We should be constantly comparing lists of characteristics about God to determine if qualities are the same, different, or overlapping. This is especially important when statements seem contrary to each other. In this lab, John Piper models this and uncovers God’s love for us and his commitment to his own glory.
Luke 12:32: Fear Not, Little Flock
by John Piper
There are often riches and depths of meaning in the simplest verses. Luke 12:32 is one verse with two short propositions, but there are riches buried in its simplicity. In this lab, John Piper reveals several profound reasons not to fear.
Matthew 28:18–20: I Am with You Always
by John Piper
Some of God’s commands in the Bible are very difficult, if not impossible. Therefore, we need to pay close attention to the promises in Scripture that accompany God’s commands and equip us with God’s power to do the impossible.
1 John 5:1–4: The Victory That Overcomes the World
by John Piper
There are two major ground clauses (“for” or “because”) in 1 John 5:3–4. Pastor John focuses in on these two for’s to see the relationship between our love for God, our love for others, and our obedience to God’s commands. In doing so, he uncovers our victory in Christ.
2 Chronicles 16:8–9: The Eyes of the Lord
by John Piper
Look for promises in Scripture that rest in the never-changing character of God, and therefore are true for his people throughout all of history, even for us today. God gives us a broader, general principle about himself and his ways using a specific event in biblical history.


Romans 11:28–32: Our Disobedience and God’s Mercy
by John Piper
When you see personal pronouns (e.g. he, she, you, they, or his, hers, your, their), identify to whom they are referring. Is the writer speaking about his audience? If so, who is the audience? Is he speaking about Jews or Gentiles? Believers or nonbelievers? To understand the passage, we have to identify the relevant parties.

Lamentations 3:31–33: He Will Not Cast Off Forever
by John Piper
God is completely consistent in all he does, but he is also very complicated. You’ll never find a contradiction in his character, but you’ll often have to work hard to see how different aspects of who he is relate to one another. In this lab, Pastor John asks how God could cause his children grief and remain compassionate towards them.

2 Peter 1:3–4: Precious and Great Promises
by John Piper
When studying a paragraph of the Bible, break it down into individual propositions and ask questions about how each line relates to the one before it and after it. Focus in particular on connecting words (e.g. “for”, “so that”, “by”, etc.).

2 Timothy 3:14–17: Breathed Out By God
by John Piper
When we find lists in the Bible, we should ask how the items in the list relate to one another. In 2 Timothy 3:14–17, Paul says Scripture is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training. Pastor John tries to identify, explain, and differentiate each reason for continuing in the Word.

2 Corinthians 8:1–2: An Abundance of Joy
by John Piper
We take some words in the Christian vocabulary for granted. 2 Corinthians 8:1–2 and 2 Corinthians 8:8 offer a definition of love that you may not have considered. By paying close attention to Paul’s grammar, we find keys to loving people more truly and effectively. We also learn what’s behind the kind of generosity that pleases God.
 
 

Old Pictures of A Greater Reality, Christ

John 19:38-20:18 ESV

19:38-42 After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. 39 Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy- five pounds in weight. 40 So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. 41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close  at hand, they laid Jesus there.

mary with resurrected jesus20:1-18 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. 4 Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus ‘ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God. ’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

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Introduction

To the ordinary Christian the above passage is but a small portion of a much larger narrative about the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. No doubt some will see themselves in Mary Magdalene or they will be taken aback by the actions of Peter, John and the others. Others may reflect upon Jesus’ words concerning Jonah and his resurrection from the belly of the fish. Few though, will see within this narrative a most important event, that was in part, pictured in the Old Testament scriptures. They should have seen it pictured in the Old Testament but for whatever reason it was hidden from them. I too did not see it for many years. Why should you have to wait so long to see the work pictured in the Old Testament that pointed to the event that occurred in John 19? It’s glorious to behold. Allow me to take you to see the picture in the making. God is the genius. Moses is but His servant.

The following is but a poor outline.

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Old Testament Pictures (shadows, echoes, illusions, etc)

What follows are instructions God gave to Moses for the construction of the items that will compose a marvelous earthly copy of spiritual realities. It is for Moses to see that God’s instructions are followed to the smallest detail. It is for you and I to look beyond the picture. Let’s begin.

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The Ark of the Testimony

Exodus 25:10-16 ESV

“They shall make an ark of acacia wood. Two cubits and a half shall be its length, a cubit and a half its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height. 11 You shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and outside shall you overlay it, and you shall make on it a molding of gold around it. 12 You shall cast four rings of gold for it and put them on its four feet, two rings on the one side of it, and two rings on the other side of it. 13 You shall make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. mercy seat and ark of the covenant14 And you shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry the ark by them. 15 The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it. 16 And you shall put into the ark the testimony that I shall give you.”

In the original language the word used for “ark” in this instance is not one and the same with the word used for Noah’s ark or the small ark that the infant Moses was placed in to save his life. As used here the word for “ark” can mean “coffin”.

The Mercy Seat

It was upon the mercy seat that propitiation was offered for the sins of the people.

Exodus 25:17-22 ESV

“You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold. Two cubits and a half shall be its length, and a cubit and a half its breadth. 18 And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. 19 Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end. Of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. 20 The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be., and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. 22 There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.

Exodus 25:21a

And you shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark

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Additional Items

There were three specific things God said to place into the ark of the testimony.

Item #1. The “Testimony”

Exodus 31:18

“And he gave to Moses, when he had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.”;

the tablets of the testimony, the manna and Aaron's staffDeuteronomy 4:13

So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone.

Item #2. An omer (an ancient Hebrew measure) of manna.

Exodus 16:33-34

And Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar, and put an omer of manna in it, and place it before the Lord to be kept throughout your generations.” As the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron placed it before the testimony to be kept.

Item #3. Aaron’s staff that Budded

Exodus 17:10-11

And the Lord said to Moses, “Put back the staff of Aaron before the testimony, to be kept as a sign for the rebels, that you may make an end of their grumblings against me, lest they die.” Thus did Moses; as the Lord commanded him, so he did.

The Mercy Seat with its Ark of the Testimony and its contents were to be placed in the Holiest of Holies behind the Veil within the Tabernacle. Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies and that but once a year on the Day of Atonement.

.

The High Priest and his clothinghigh priest's linen garment

It was in the Holy of Holies that the High Priest went in but once a year with the blood of the Passover offering. This was to make propitiation for the sin of the people. [propitiation (hilasmosἱλασμός) atoning sacrifice, the means of forgiveness; traditionally propitiation]
Before the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies he had to remove the attire of the office and put on a simple garment made of linen. He was instructed to remove the simple garment upon his leaving and to leave them there.

Leviticus 16:15

“Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering that is for the people and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it over the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat.”

In addition, the High Priest’s plain linen garment equally served as a picture.

Leviticus 16:23

“Then Aaron shall come into the tent of meeting and shall take off the linen garments that he put on when he went into the Holy Place and shall leave them there.”

Let’s now move on to see how the above items composed a picture that is wonderfully fulfilled in the New Testament. There are additional items that should be considered but for the purpose of this article we have sufficient number.

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New Testament Fulfillment

What we have seen from the Old Testament served as pictures of New Testament realities. We are now going to see how these pictures were fulfilled. See what John makes careful mention of.

John 20:1-18

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God. ’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

The OT picture and the NT fulfillmentThe Old Testament Picture

Exodus 20:25

“The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another”

Its Fulfillment in the New

John 20:12

“And she (Mary Magdalene) saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet.”

The True and Living “Testimony”

John 1:14

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

The True Bread of Life

John 6:51

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

The Shepherd’s Staff

1 Peter 2:24-25

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”

these things picture Jesus

All three items pointed to a greater reality and that Reality is God’s Messiah, Jesus the Word of God made flesh.

The Linen Garment

We cannot forget to point out the significance of the the blood stained linen garmentlinen garment that the high priest wore when he sprinkled “it over the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat” in Leviticus 16. How was that fulfilled?

Mark 15:46a

And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock.

Luke 24:12

But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.”

Jesus, the babe born at Bethlehem, the perfect High Priest of God tabernacled among men, and is now in us.

John 1:14

And the Word became flesh and dwelt (tabernacled) among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Hebrews 9:11-12

“But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.”

It was the Holy Spirit speaking through the prophet Isaiah who foretold the content of God’s greater Testimony, even the Word of God. Isaiah 42:6-9; 49:6-9.

Isaiah 42:6-9 ESV

“I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness;
I will take you by the hand and keep you;
I will give you as a covenant for the people,
a light for the nations,
7 to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness.
8 I am the Lord; that is my name;
my glory I give to no other,
nor my praise to carved idols.
9 Behold, the former things have come to pass,
and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth
I tell you of them.

Isaiah 49:6-9 ESV

I will make you as a light for the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
7 Thus says the Lord,
the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One,
to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nation,
the servant of rulers:
“Kings shall see and arise;
princes, and they shall prostrate themselves;
because of the Lord, who is faithful,
the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”

8 Thus says the Lord:
“In a time of favor I have answered you;
in a day of salvation I have helped you;
I will keep you and give you
as a covenant to the people,
to establish the land,
to apportion the desolate heritages,
9 saying to the prisoners, ‘Come out,’
to those who are in darkness, ‘Appear’.

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The Superiority of the New Covenant

Thankfully the Risen Christ resides in His New Covenant people through His indwelling Holy Spirit.

John 14:18-20

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.”

But this should be of no surprise to God’s New Covenant people. The Ark of the Testimony of Israel pointed to the Word of God who tabernacled among us. Presently, He is in us!

The location of the new covenant was foretold by the prophets and confirmed by the author of Hebrews.

Jeremiah 31:33

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

As Moses placed the Tablets of the Testimony, the covenant into the Ark, Jesus Christ who is the true Testimony of God, has taken up residence in the hearts of His new covenant people. “In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.”

Hebrews 8:1-13

Now the point in what we are saying is this:we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man. 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. 4 Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. 5 They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” 6 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.

8 For he finds fault with them when he says:
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord,
when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah,
9 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers
on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt.
For they did not continue in my covenant,
and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws into their minds,
and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor
and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
for they shall all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,
and I will remember their sins no more.”
13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete.
And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

But there is much more that can be said.

2 Corinthians 3:3-6 ESV

And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Colossians 1:24-29 ESV

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

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Think #2: God's Part and Man's Part in Salvation

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This article clears up much confusion

and misunderstanding concerning the doctrines of grace

 
ONE: A man must repent and believe the gospel in order to be saved. No one was ever forgiven and made a child of God who did not willingly turn from sin to Christ.
Nowhere does the Bible even hint that men can be saved without repentance and faith, but to the contrary, the Word always states these things are essential before a person can be saved. The one and only Bible answer to the question, “What must I do to be saved?” is, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”
 
TWO: Every one who repents and believes the gospel will be saved. Every soul, without any exception, who answers the gospel command to come to Christ will be received and forgiven by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Philip Bliss put the truth to music when he said, “Who-so-ever will, forever must endure…” If we can be absolutely certain about anything, we can be sure that Christ will never void His promise to receive “all who come to Him.” As old John Bunyan said, “Come and welcome” is the Savior’s eternal word to all sinners.
Continue reading “Think #2: God's Part and Man's Part in Salvation”

Think #1: an·tin·o·my

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What is “antinomy”?

It’s simply a contradiction between two apparently equally valid principles or between inferences correctly drawn from such principles. (Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition)
The truth of God’s word is honored not in holding exclusively to one truth to the exclusion of another truth, but in believing the whole counsel of God, even though we may not be able to reconcile it in our finite minds. The Bible plainly teaches the sovereignty of God in salvation just as it plainly teaches that man is responsible to repent and believe the gospel.
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Antinomy Table 1Antinomy Table 2

 This chart is based on a similar chart originated by Lamar McKinney

 
 

Scott Anderson's Thanks & Praise

 

The following are the words of Scott Anderson

in praise of His God, and our God,  for His tender

mercies towards his wife Jennifer and family.

 
It was five years ago tonight that my dear wife, Jennifer, suffered catastrophic heart failure.
Occurring just three days after the birth of our youngest son, it was a night that I don’t really like to remember and yet a night that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget.
I remember driving down the interstate at 85 mph listening to Jenn’s belabored breathing—an unmistakable, unforgettable, unearthly crackling sound—as fluid filled her lungs with every breath. I remember stealing sidelong glances at her as I drove, the rhythm of the passing streetlights illuminating the face of a 38-year old mother of four boys. Her head against the window, eyes closed, skin clammy, and unbelievably pale.
I remember thinking, “This is not make-believe. This is really happening.” I thought my best friend in all the world was dying.
And she was.
All I knew to do in those moments was to drive. And to pray.
Little did we know what the Lord had planned for us as a result of that frantic drive to the hospital in the middle of the night on October 28, 2009.
Time would teach us the miracles of the ER and the ICU; of technology that can see inside a beating heart; of a skilled surgeon who swore at our bedside after an unsuccessful first surgery, such was his frustration at having failed; of the Echo and the EKG; of multiple medications and low-salt diets; of the bitter disappointment of another 8-hour failed procedure; of Ejection Fractions and PVCs and Holter monitors; of symptom-awareness and Sudden Cardiac Death.
Scott Anderson and sonsAnd all the while, time continues its slow plod forward. The older children become teens. The youngest child struggles with Autism. Kids need their mom. Husband needs his wife. Work. School. Church. Home. Bills. Life. Goes. On. And yet, in God’s mysterious providence, the heart condition remains.
Now it’s August 2013 and time for a third, “more invasive” surgery—this time a knife through the chest instead of a straw through a vein. The young rock star from India carefully maps the heart while the Doctor-Who-Swears ablates with high-energy RF waves. I sit in the waiting room alone. And, like that first night-drive to the ER, I sit there praying.
In a shorter time than I might have expected, the cardiologist emerges from the high-tech chamber, gown specked with the bright red blood of my wife:

“We shot the buck right between the eyes.”

Translation? After four years and three significant procedures, the underlying heart problem had finally been isolated and eliminated. Finally, sweet, surgical success. The flood of relief in that moment was nearly overwhelming.
Even so, it took another year—months of tinkering with medications and regular monitoring—before they would declare Jennifer whole again.
And yet here she is, five years since it all began: off her meds and currently holding steady with no degradation. She even enjoys a bit of salt on her food again. Yes, Mom is back. Wife is back. Better than ever, having brought with her the amazing capacity to suffer well, and the deep reservoirs of love and wisdom that only extended hardship can produce.
Thanks be to God.
Specifically, thanks be to God for the mercy of about 158 million heartbeats since that night five years ago. And thanks for a million other ways he has blessed my wife amidst a kind of suffering that is not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in her on That Day (Romans 8:18).
While we do not fully understand all of the Lord’s purposes over the course of these years, we do know—and we take great comfort in—the profound reality that my wife’s heart, whether weak or strong, will beat one more time if the Lord ordains it to be so. Hour by hour. Moment by moment. Each beat a gift of grace from the hand of the Most Kind Father.
To Him be the glory.
~ Scott Anderson

Sovereign Ruler of the skies,
Ever gracious, ever wise,
All my times are in thy hand,
All events at thy command.

Times of sickness, times of health,
Times of penury and wealth;
Times of trial and of grief,
Times of triumph and relief.

O Thou gracious, wise, and just,
In thy hands my life I trust.
Have I something dearer still?
I resign it to thy will.

May I always own thy hand;
Still to the surrender stand;
Know that Thou art God alone;
I and mine are all thy own.

Thee at all times will I bless;
Having Thee I all possess:
How can I bereaved be,
Since I cannot part with Thee?

(John Ryland, 1777)

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Scott Anderson (@anderson_scott) is the Executive Director of Desiring God.
 

Desiring God's New LAB Project

by Moe Bergeron
Over at Desiring God they are making available a new and interesting online method of teaching God’s Word, the Bible. My favorite Bible teacher, Dr John Piper, teaches these creative studies. The name of this new website feature is “Look at the Book” or “LAB”.  The following is from Desiring God.

Look at the Book is a new online method of teaching the Bible. It’s an ongoing series of 8–12 minute videos in which the camera is on the text, not the teacher. You will hear John Piper’s voice and watch his pen underline, circle, make connections, and scribble notes — all to help you learn to read God’s word for yourself. His goal is to help you not only see what he sees, but where he sees it and how he found it.

Example Screen

Look at the Book Example
Click on the above to follow Dr John Piper at work teaching the Bible.

 

New Covenant Sanctification – Exclusion & Restoration

The Mystery of “hagiasmos” – Part Three
Exclusion & Restoration

 
The following message is the third message of a three part series on New Covenant Sanctification and was presented by Moe Bergeron at the 2014 “All Things New”, a yearly New Covenant discussion group. This particular message addresses the difficult issue of excommunication.
http://christmycovenant.com/video/moebergeron-hagiasmos3.mpa.

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Download Video (MOV) Full Length

(Outline)

New Covenant Sanctification and a New Covenant Approach to Church Discipline

1 Corinthians 5:1-5 ESV

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

3 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. 4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

2 Corinthians 2:5-11 ESV

Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. 6 For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, 7 so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. 9 For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. 10 Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, 11 so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.

Intro

In the above passages we have a serious situation that confronted the fairly young church at Corinth. A certain man was sexually involved with his father’s wife. It is the man’s stepmother. There are so many questions that are left unanswered. Was the man’s father aware of this crime? Was his father’s wife having sexual relations with both father and son. Paul has spared us the details of the horrible situation.

We may rightly conclude the man in question heard the gospel because someone cared for his soul. An evangelist, perhaps a friend or a family member, shared the news of the risen Christ to him. In response he made a public profession of faith and was baptized. He was numbered with the church at Corinth.

In all probability he began right and prospered in the things of Christ. He enjoyed seasons of prayer and the blessedness of table fellowship with the church. In addition, he would have benefited much from his fellow saints both publicly and privately as they shared the Word of God.

Exposition

Corinth was a church that was called out of the darkness of a pagan world where sin and death reigned supreme until the gospel of Jesus broke forth and the new covenant ministry of the Spirit of God brought life to their souls. The power of God was evidenced in a most magnificent way.

We may rightly assume that the man in question was under the pastoral care of the overseers, and they in all probability, were appointed by the apostles themselves or by their representatives.

It was Paul who was used of God to open the Good News of Jesus Christ to the Elect at Corinth. His overseers and the church family had learned the word of God from the likes of Peter, Apollos and even Paul himself. It would appear to be the best of circumstances for the man in question and the saints of God at Corinth. Yet, despite the best of God’s providence the saints at Corinth tolerated his rebellion.

In fact, given Paul’s appraisal of the situation, the church did’t seem to care. It was as if they couldn’t care less. They were willfully passive, so much so, Paul described their response to the situation as arrogant. When they should have been mourning they were carrying on the affairs of the church without a trace of alarm or concern.

Mourning is an excellent choice of words. The absence of true godly sorrow among them was telling. Their tolerance of such great sin reveals their own callous relationship to their Lord God and Savior. Have they grown cold in their affections for Christ so soon? I believe as a community they had to some extent. Not only has the man in question committed great sin, the church itself is in great danger.

How was it possible for the Christ lovers of Corinth to be so tolerant of such a public sin? It certainly points to a contradiction. The apostle John writes:

“If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world— the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life —is not from the Father but is from the world.” (1 John 2:15-16 ESV)

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world— the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life —is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17 ESV)

At the heart of the Corinthian church’s failure to address the situation at hand was their own failure to rightly love God and one another. Their hearts had grown cool in both directions, thus their inability to look after the man’s welfare before God. God alone could do each and everyone of them some eternal good.

How is it possible to serve as God’s priests on behalf of one another if we allow ourselves the license to love less both our Savior and fellow saints?

“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:16-18 ESV)

Some did see their wayward brother’s need and the church’s failure to meet that need. With the exception of Chloe’s people (1 Cor. 1:11 ESV), and perhaps a few others, the majority was found to be sorely negligent. How could the church as a whole close their hearts to him? When God’s New Covenant saints sin, they sin against love, God’s love.

How is it that we do not carry our brothers and sisters in Christ before the throne of His grace when they are facing moral failure?

Perhaps we fail to do so because we posses something of a smug self-righteousness of our own. That too needs to be repented of.

“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5 ESV)

How then can we be strong for our fellow Christians? Notice in 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (ESV) how Paul connects the dots:

Be watchful,

stand firm in the faith,

act like men, be strong.

Let all that you do be done in love.

Paul underscores or highlights the necessity to all that we do “in love”.

Love, God’s love working in and through those who have faith, is what’s missing in the Corinthian’s response to a brother in rescue. How differently this picture could have been drawn if this man’s brothers and sisters in Christ had looked after his welfare at the first hint of sin.

Paul’s response to this extremely serious situation is law-less. That’s right and it is for good reason.

Under Moses’ Law Paul would not be instructing the Corinthian church to turn the man in question over to Satan. That wouldn’t even be an issue. Under the rule of Law there was no sacrifice for this particular sin. The truth of the matter is this: if the Law of Moses was the church’s rule of life, death and only death, was required of the man for his sin.

“If a man is found lying with the wife of another man, both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman. So you shall purge the evil from Israel. (Deuteronomy 22:22 ESV)

Paul does not command the church at Corinth to put to death this man. In fact he commands the Corinthians to do something that would be unforgivable under the rule of law. Paul’s instructions is: “Let him who has done this be removed from among you.”

Some would argue that excommunication is the equivalent to the death penalty. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sadly, some churches and their pastors use excommunication to rid their assemblies of problem members. That in itself is horrendous sin. It is contrary to the Law of Christ.

The apostle Paul speaks for King Jesus as he is led by the Spirit of God.

Paul is a minister of the New Covenant and not a minister of the Old Covenant and its law.

“Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Corinthians 3:5-6 ESV)

Many preachers do not understand the weight of Paul’s word, and being unable to discern the difference between the covenants and their respective ministries, they conflate the two to their own peril. The “Letter” kills, the “Spirit” gives life!

The Old Covenant was ratified by the blood of animals. The New Covenant was ratified by the blood of the Son of God, Jesus.

The New Covenant is much about the Cross of Christ and the reconciling of fallen man to the living God. It is the means through which God has satisfied his holy and righteous demand for sin’s payment and justice. Our Lord’s atoning death upon the Cross accomplished what was impossible for the law and its sacrifices to satisfy.

“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:21-26 ESV)

There are few who ask how Paul could have instructed the Corinthian church as he did.

What scrolls and commentary did he consult?

Who among his peers did counsel him?

Where did he find a clear word to guide him as he composed his instructions?

My friends, the answer is to be found here;

“…since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1-2 HCSB)

“We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. 12 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. 13 Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.” (Hebrews 13:10-13 ESV)