The Kingdom of God in 8 Words

Jeremy Treat: The number-one thing Jesus talked about is the kingdom of God. It’s everywhere in the Gospels and impossible to miss. But if the theme of the kingdom is so significant, then we need to make sure we know what it means. A good starting place is to have a solid working definition. Here’s one: The kingdom is God’s reign through God’s people over God’s place. That’s the message of the kingdom in eight words. Now let’s break down each aspect to begin plumbing the depths. God’s Reign The kingdom is first and foremost a statement about God. God is king, and he is coming asking to set right what our sin made wrong. The phrase “kingdom of God” could just as easily be translated “reign of God” or “kingship of God.” The message of the kingdom is about God’s royal power directed by his self-giving love. Claiming that the kingdom of God is primarily about God may seem obvious, but many today use “kingdom”

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The Gospel in Three Words

Russell Moore: Could you explain the gospel to an unbeliever using only three words? That was the challenge someone posted a couple of weeks ago on social media. “One can’t explain the whole gospel in only three words,” I mumbled to myself. “That’s why we have a canon of 66 books.” The more I thought about it, though, the more my mind changed, and I became open to taking up the challenge. I think I could explain the gospel in three words, so long as I would have follow-up time to explain all three words. And those words would be “Lord Jesus Christ.” 1. Lord The word “Lord” would mean pointing to the Godness of God, what it means to speak of God as sovereign king and as loving Father. This would entail a discussion of God as Creator, what it means for us to be his creatures. This would involve a discussion of what God has revealed to us

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The Second Coming of Christ is not a peripheral doctrine

  Christ did truly rise again from death, and took again his body, with flesh, bones and all things appertaining to the perfection of man’s nature; wherewith he ascended into heaven, and there sitteth until he return to judge all men at the last day.  Article IV, The Thirty-Nine Articles “The return of our Lord Jesus Christ is not a mere doctrine to be discussed, nor a matter for intellectual study alone.  Its prominence in the New Testament shows the great importance of the truth, for it is referred to over three hundred times, and it may almost be said that no other doctrine is mentioned so frequently or emphasized so strongly. Baptism is mentioned nineteen times in seven Epistles, and in fourteen out of twenty-one is not alluded to.  The Lord’s Supper is only referred to three or four times in the entire New Testament, and in twenty out of twenty-one Epistles there is no mention of it.  The

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Christ, not feelings

  Do you want to know supreme joy, do you want to experience a happiness that eludes description? There is only one thing to do, really seek Him, seek Him Himself, turn to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. If you find that your feelings are depressed do not sit down and commiserate with yourself, do not try to work something up but go directly to Him and seek His face, as the little child who is miserable and unhappy because somebody else has taken or broken his toy, runs to its father or its mother. So if you and I find ourselves afflicted by this condition, there is only one thing to do, it is to go to Him. If you seek the Lord Jesus Christ and find him there is no need to worry about your happiness and your joy. He is our joy and our happiness, even as He is our peace. He is life, He is everything.

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Sanctifying Success is the Lord’s

Jared Wison: Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Thessalonians 5:23 Not a single one of us is a perfect repenter. And not a single one of us ever will be. I do believe we cooperate in the work of our sanctification, working out what God has worked in (Phil. 2:12-13), striving to lay hold of the holiness with which God has already laid hold of us (Phil. 3:12), holding true to what we’ve already attained (Phil. 3:16), but the power and the success of sanctification must be the Lord’s alone, if only because only he sees all we need cleansing from. It is a mistake to think that as we progress in sanctification we have less sin to address. We walk through victories, successions of freedoms, but my experience has been that the further

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How the gospel changes everything

Sam Storms: In a recent editorial for the on-line theological journal, Themelios, (“Do the Work of an Evangelist,” 39, 1, April 2014), D. A. Carson had some interesting remarks on the nature of the Christian gospel. “For some Christians, ‘the gospel’ . . . is something you preach only to unconverted people. The gospel merely tips people into the kingdom; transformation and sanctification are sustained by discipleship. Once people become Christians, then the work of life transformation begins, often buttressed by various discipleship seminars: ‘Biblical Leadership,’ ‘Learning to Pray,’ ‘What to Do with Your Money,’ ‘Christian Marriage,’ and so forth—none of which falls under ‘gospel,’ but only under post-gospel discipleship. In recent years, however, many preachers and theologians have convincingly argued that ‘gospel’/’evangel’ is the larger category under which both evangelism and discipleship fall. In the NT, gospel is not everything—it is not law, for instance—but it is a very big thing, precisely because it is the unimaginably great news

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In the resurrection we see the real meaning of the virgin birth

The virgin birth cannot be considered in abstraction from the triumphant consummation of Christ’s life in his resurrection, for it is there that the mystery of his person is revealed. In fact the birth of Jesus of the virgin Mary and the resurrection of Jesus from the virgin tomb (‘where no one had ever yet been laid’) are the twin signs which mark out the mystery of Christ, testifying to the continuity and the discontinuity between Jesus Christ and our fallen humanity. The incarnation is not only a once and for all act of assumption of our flesh, but the continuous personal union of divine and human nature in the one person of the incarnate Son, a personal union which he carried all the way through our estranged estate under bondage into the freedom and triumph of the resurrection. Thus it is in the resurrection that we see the real meaning of the virgin birth, while the virgin birth has much to tell us about

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The Hidden Floodlight Ministry of the Holy Spirit

J.I. Packer: The Holy Spirit’s distinctive new covenant role, then, is to fulfill what we may call a floodlight ministry in relation to the Lord Jesus Christ. So far as this role was concerned, the Spirit “was not yet” (John 7:39, literal Greek) while Jesus was on earth; only when the Father had glorified him (see John 17:1,5) could the Spirit’s work of making men aware of Jesus’ glory begin. I remember walking to a church one winter evening to preach on the words “he shall glorify me,” seeing the building floodlit as I turned a corner, and realizing that this was exactly the illustration my message needed. When floodlighting is well done, the floodlights are so placed that you do not see them; you are not in fact supposed to see where the light is coming from; what you are meant to see is just the building on which the floodlights are trained. The intended effect is to make it

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The Lord Jesus Christ is the Only Head of the Church

James Bannerman: The Church, as a society, owes its origin to Christ: it derives from Him its government and office-bearers; it receives from Him its laws and constitution; it draws from Him its spiritual influence and grace; it accepts at His hand its ordinances and institutions; it acts in His name, and is guided in its proceeding by His authority. In the expression that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, and in the fact that He is the only source of Church, power, there is much more implied that that He is the founder of the Christian society. He is both its founder and its administrator,–being the ever present source of life and influence, of ordinance and blessing, or law and authority, of word and doctrine within the community. Through His Spirit, and His word, and His ordinances, alike of government and grace, Christ both originates and administers His Church upon earth. Is it the spiritual

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Everything Lovely Is in Him

In 1740 Edwards preached a sermon devoted exclusively to the children in the congregation, those up to age 14. He simplified his language but it is the same theologically rich vision of the loveliness of God. The bulk of the sermon lists reasons why children should love Jesus. Here is the first. There is no love so great and so wonderful as that which is in the heart of Christ. He is one that delights in mercy; he is ready to pity those that are in suffering and sorrowful circumstances; one that delights in the happiness of his creatures. The love and grace that Christ has manifested does as much exceed all that which is in this world as the sun is brighter than a candle. Parents are often full of kindness towards their children, but that is no kindness like Jesus Christ’s. . . . Everything that is lovely in God is in him, and everything that is or

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Beholding the glory of Christ – its effect and substance

John Owen: The constant contemplation of the glory of Christ will give rest, satisfaction, and complacency unto the souls of them who are exercised therein. Our minds are apt to be filled with a multitude of perplexed thoughts; – fears, cares, dangers, distresses, passions, and lusts, do make various impressions on the minds of men, filling them with disorder, darkness, and confusion. But where the soul is fixed in its thoughts and contemplations on this glorious object, it will be brought into and kept in a holy, serene, spiritual frame. For “to be spiritually-minded is life and peace.” And this it does by taking off our hearts from all undue regard unto all things below, in comparison of the great worth, beauty, and glory of what we are conversant withal. See Phil. 3.7-11. A defect herein makes many of us strangers unto a heavenly life, and to live beneath the spiritual refreshments and satisfactions that the Gospel does tender unto us.

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