Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Why Did Jesus Come?

For the Christmas season, I had the privilege of preaching four sermons on why Jesus came.
1. Jesus Came to Shepherd His Sheep
2. Jesus Came to Testify to the Truth
3. Jesus Came to Fulfill God's Word
4. Jesus Came to Glorify the Father
Click here to listen.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Read a Whole Bible Book at One Sitting?

Have you ever read an entire book of the Bible in one sitting?
Now obviously I'm thinking of something slightly longer than Haggai (48 verses) or 2 John (13 verses!). More like Mark (16 chapters) or 1 Corinthians (16 chapters).
I admit that there are several reservations one might have to doing this: I don’t have the time, there’s no way that can really be done or even that it doesn’t seem very devotional or reverential. I would like to suggest brief responses to each reservation, and then exhort you to just do it!
I don’t have time: this might be true. Many of us are terribly busy (maybe too busy?). But if it were only an hour of your life, wouldn’t this be a really profitable way to spend an hour?
There’s no way it can really be done: this also might be true. The whole book of Psalms might require a full workday of sitting to complete! But the gospel of John can be done in about an hour, if you read at a fairly steady clip.
It doesn’t seem very reverential or devotional: this, too, might be true. It seems to me, though, that if you set out to read with a heart of faith, with joyful dependence on the Holy Spirit to guide your reading, that even a fast-paced read through of Romans (maybe 45 minutes?) or a quick flight through Deuteronomy (1.5 to 2 hours?) can be done with genuine devotion.
I just read through the gospel of John in about 55 minutes, reading very quickly. I wanted to get a good feel for the overall flow as I prepare to preach, Lord willing, from chapter 12 on Christmas Day. I definitely saw things in a different light by reading the whole thing in one sitting.
How about giving it a try? And for the really adventurous person, you could accompany such a reading with Mark Dever’s two books overviewing each book of the Bible. Tolle lege! (Take up and read!)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Forbearance: a Neglected Act of Mercy

I thought this statement from Dave Harvey was insightful and helpful:
Maybe you didn’t know this, but the Bible gives you a special privilege in dealing with sin committed against you. It’s called forbearance. It means that you can bring love into play in such a way that you can cut someone free from their sin against you—without them even knowing or acknowledging what they’ve done! Forbearance is an expression of mercy that can cover both the big sins of marital strife and the small sins of marital tension. And let’s face it; small sins are the fuel for most marital blazes.
But he offers a word of caution, too:
Forbearance doesn’t mean we tuck sin away for another time…In forbearance, we know (or at least suspect) we have been sinned against, but we actually make a choice to overlook the offense and wipe the slate clean, extending a heart attitude of forgiveness and treating the (apparent) sin as if it never happened. Proverbs 19:11 tells us it is a “glory to overlook an offense.” Forbearance is preemptive forgiveness, freely and genuinely bestowed.
I highly recommend the book where this teaching resides, When Sinners Say “I Do” by Dave Harvey.