Saturday, September 23, 2006
I have heard that D.R., Carla, Challies will all be there - and more!
Friday, September 22, 2006
I have always written out my sermons with a pen and paper. There is something about the whole experience of ink on page that I love and helps me to transfer the fruit of my study to the pulpit. I cannot explain it. But there have been requests over the years for manuscripts, so I decided to switch to typing out sermons and preaching from - ichabod - a printed page.
It has been a bit of a transition for me, but I am determined to stay at it for a time and see if I can swing over all that I love about the handwritten page into the other format.
Anyway, the reason for this has been to make available to you, the reading public(!), more stuff to read! So, if you click on the link above it will take you to our first few samples. I would be most interested in knowing what you think. A loud silence would be wonderful, since then I could go back to my old ways of writing things out and sticking them in a drawer! But if this aids in helping to understand the Word, I am willing to keep at it.
There is a great sermon there by Tom Gee, too. You should listen to it, as well, but I also recommend giving it a read.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
This is a rough preaching outline - so it may look weird. Sorry for that. But, you don't have to read it!
Why are you here?
· To learn Hebrew
· A wife
· To lengthen your name with a few letters m.d.i.v.?
· Because you cannot do anything else?
“One brother I have encountered--one did I say? I have met ten, twenty, a hundred brethren, who have pleaded that they were sure, quite sure that they were called to the ministry--they were quite certain of it, because they had failed in everything else. This is a sort of model story: "Sir, I was put into a lawyer's office, but I never could bear the confinement, and I could not feel at home in studying law; Providence clearly stopped up my road, for I lost my situation." "And what did you do then?" "Why sir, I was induced to open a grocer's shop." "And did you prosper?" "Well, I do not think, Sir, I was ever meant for trade, and the Lord seemed quite to shut my way up there, for I failed and was in great difficulties. Since then I have done a little in life-assurance agency, and tried to get up a school, besides selling tea; but my path is hedged up, and something within me makes me feel that I ought to be a minister." My answer generally is, "Yes, I see; you have failed in everything else, and therefore you think the Lord has especially endowed you for his service; but I fear you have forgotten that the ministry needs the very best of men, and not those who cannot do anything else." (Lectures, 37)
Perhaps you have more altruistic reasons?
I trust that one of those is that you are in awe of our Almighty God. He is your chief delight in life. And for some reason, entirely unknown to you, He has called you to be a minister of His Gospel.
So, you have come to seminary as a kind of spiritual bootcamp before entering the war-torn
of the world. You know quite well the foul plans of that Taleban Devil and are intent on fighting back – hazarding your own life for the Gospel’s sake. Afghanistan
But may I suggest that our mutual enemy is not waiting for you on the battlefield. He is mustering all his strength, infiltrating his spies, corrupting all good communications, launching his spiritual RPG’s in order to ruin you now.
· Promoting secret sins (to get you by)
· Whispering cotton-candy flatteries in your ears to swell your pride
· Letting you alone so you are lulled to sleep and have your attention drawn away from the need.
· He might seek to make you feel you are in a ivory tower in your gilded cage - free to nit-pick the idiosyncrasies of the Hebrew weak radicals or acceptable worship positions.
Thus giving meaning to the old saying, “While the world goes to hell in a handbasket.”
There are many reasons to be here. Each of us has our own, I am sure. But there are some that apply to every one of us, and one of the chief of these needs surrounds us!
I am not talking about
· Repression of women
· Eroding theology of evangelicalism
The great need I suggest to you is: The Wrath of God.
Of all the reasons to come and prepare for a life of ministry, might I remind you of this one.... mankind is under the wrath of Almighty God. And that is not good.
Consider this under the illustration of our legal system.
I. Verdict: Mankind is already condemned.
WE begin with the verdict since this is where Paul begins. The wrath of God IS REVEALED. Current. Now. As I write.
Wrath is “God’s anger in action.”
Of course it is a sinless anger – it is the reply of His holiness to sin.
This wrath is His and is from heaven.
Who receives it? All people (18)
Ungodliness – all that is opposed to God
Unrighteousness – all that makes them guilty in sight of God
Whoever is UNDER heaven,
And NOT UNDER the Gospel,
Is UNDER wrath.
Judgment passed. Trial is over. Verdict is in. No exceptions.
II. What is the crime?
A) They know God is real, but live like He is fake
1) They muffle the Truth
“by their unrighteousness suppress truth”
- a sinner sins because he is attempting to deny the reality of God that he knows
2) The Truth? God is!
“invisible attributes” - eternal power and divine nature (General Revelation)
: He left His fingerprints all over everything ILL
No denying this! (:19)
Result: THEY ARE WITHOUT EXCUSE!
B) They know God is real, but worship fake Gods
1) They willfully refuse to worship the real God (:21)
- they are “knowing God” – not in saving way, but in way just described
- Why so many false religions? – men must worship!
2) They stupidly make fake Gods to worship out of the Real God’s creation (21-23)
a) became futile – vain in inward thinking and reasoning
b) foolish hearts darkened – lights out on sanity!
c) they became fools – moronic in spiritual matters
Reasoning grows vain
Thinking grows dark
Life becomes moronic
à Whole time assert: “I am wise!”
III: The Punishment: Wrath... now and later...
Three times “God gave them over”
: Mankind in a boat. In river rushing to a great falls. ILL
Holding to rope on shoreline is God.
Everyone in boat is shouting.
What are they saying? What cries reach our ears on the shoreline?
“Let us go!”
· Let us be idolaters.
· Let us commit shameless acts.
· Let us envy, murder and slander.
· Let us gossip, invent evil, disobey parents and hate God.
· Let us alone. For we are foolish. Faithless. Heartless. And ruthless!
And every so often, that restraining common grace of God releases the grip.
A little of the rope runs out. And everyone in the boat... CHEERS!
It is wrath! And they welcome it!
Brothers you have come to the seminary...
· not to get pretty letters after your name...
· not to swell your head with pride...
· not to get yourself a nice Baptist wife...
you have come to be outfitted and equipped to run to the shoreline and shout over the roar of waters: Life! Life! Here is life!
Mankind’s great need is not a young man full of himself with a fat-cat salary in some social club church. Mankind needs men who are willing to lose all to preach Christ and Him crucified. Foolishness to Gentiles and to the Jew a rock of offense!
You are called to be liaisons in the real-life courtroom of God.
: There stands a sinner. ILL
· Condemned before the trial begins.
· Putting all his hope in the nice things he did to the other people in the boat as they cheered their sin. He is a fool. He is lost. He stands no chance of winning.
· But you are there, whispering in his ear of the Great Defense Lawyer, Jesus Christ. Who stands before the all-knowing Judge of the Universe and declares: my righteousness, for his sin.
Brothers, remember what brought you here. Remember the need. Remember God’s wrath and tremble.
You are called to a breathtaking task – to point men to Jesus, their only hope.
No time can be wasted.
No room for slacking.
No excuses to professors.
Give yourself to your studies. Give yourself daily to Christ. Give up your life as a sacrifice to God – living, holy and acceptable to Him.
Remembering – that lives hang by a thread.
1 Samuel 26:6 à Today the Lord asks, just like David asked his men, “Who will go down with me into the camp?” Where are the men who can with Abishai said, “I will go down with you.”
Isaiah 6:8 à Today the Lord asks, just as He asked the court of heaven: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Who will answer with Isaiah, “Here am I! Send me.”
If that is your heart, brother, then I say give yourself to God anew at the start of this semester. Remember His wrath. And remember your great and glorious calling to be a messenger of Good News to a world who is only now tasting, what they will eat forever in hell.
Where, “because of their hard and impenitent hearts they are storing up wrath for themselves on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed.”
To this darkness – we preach light!
To this foolishness – we preach the wisdom of God!
Into this vanity – we inject sanity!
In all this death – we bring life!
IN JESUS CHRIST. AMEN.
D.R. has done some very interesting investigation into the incomes of high-profile religious leaders.
The first thing I noticed was, I need to get me a ministry!
It is an interesting study... I wonder how these numbers are determined?
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Recent response to a few papal comments made me think... you never read anything like this:
Christians around the world were deeply offended today by the insensitive remarks of Sheik Abu Hamza al-Bazri made at a meeting of top clerics in
. “Christians are infidels and dogs. They are not to be tolerated. Their goal is to pollute our countries with their filth. We must speak boldly against Jesus – for although a prophet, the words attributed to him in the Bible cannot be trusted! Cursed be the Christians!” Iran
Such a powerful statement was met with outcries across the globe.
chanted, “Down with Muslims!” as they paraded through the streets. Norway
, Christian fundamentalists set the local mosque on fire after battering it with stones and debris. Mexico City
In a shocking development, Canadian Christians organized a massive rally that included armed vigilantes that took the local Muslim Centre by storm. Authorities there are still trying to negotiate a settlement.
American Christians have been threatening to hijack some of their own military aircraft in order to take vengeance on al-Bazri and his protective compound, prompting United Nations Head Kofi Annan, to urge Christians to back down. Anan called their current reactions, “an unfortunate, but not surprising development.”
Rev. Billy Graham, speaking from his
home, said, “The time has come, really, for all Christians around the world to unite and fight against these Muslims and the rotten things they say about us. We can only take so much.” North Carolina
I hope the point is obvious. Christianity and Islam are very different religions. Imagine if we paraded through Toronto with signs that read, "Butcher those who mock Christianity" or "Behead those who insult the Christian faith" or "Iran is the cancer, Islam is the answer" or "Tehran, prepare for your 9/11." These are direct quotes of signs paraded through a recent "Religion of Peace Demonstration" in London, England (only replace "Christian" with "Islam"). Others have noted the irony, but I think it bears repeating. This is peace?
No doubt there have been abberations in Christian history when men have trusted the sword to do the work of the Spirit. But I would argue they have been few and far between. And if they occured today, Christians would be the first to condemn it. Such as the Christian outcry against the nut cases who started shooting abortionists. That don't jive with Romans 13!
Regardless of history, right is right. And I await the Muslim cleric who will finally say that forced conversions (like of those poor Fox News reporters) and vengeance are the tools of evil. Until then, Islam continues to demonstrate by its fruit that it is a false religion. For it is nothing like the God of the Bible.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
As summer turns to fall, many of us are getting a little more deliberate in our actions. One of the goals we hold as a small local church is to raise $35,000.00 this year in order to purchase a permanent location for the FIEL Bookstore in Mozambique.
Dr. Charles Woodrow has been used mightily of the Lord in that land as a medical missionary, but one of his other goals is to get excellent Christian literature (of a mostly Reformed persuasion) into the hands of national pastors. This is crucial. Rich Denham of FIEL Ministries came along one day and offered to help. They have been translating into Portuguese and printing books for years now. This is a primary language in the African country of Mozambique, so they offered to supply materials at less than cost. Mozambique is the thrid poorest county in the world.
We want to buy the building this ministry operates from in order to give them a permanent home in Nampula. Currently they are forced to rent. I would urge you to download this sermon to hear more of the work in Mozambique. And if you would like to contribute to the work, you could mail a cheque to: Grace Fellowship Church, c/o 28 Elmhurst Dr. / Toronto, ON / M9W 2J5. Make a cheque payable to Grace Fellowship Church and note in the comment section that it is for the Woodrow Book Ministry. Every penny will go there and we will be glad to mail you a tax receipt.
Praise the Lord!
After their first Sunday visiting this pastor’s church, they waited at the back to speak with him. “We had forgotten what it was like to hear the Word,” they said. “We didn’t know how starved we were for it!”
They have transferred their membership.
People speak of cold-blooded frogs getting boiled to death in a pot since they cannot “feel” the temperature increasing. I tend to think a lot of poor sheep are getting frozen to death in spiritually dead churches.
They do not feel the slow decline from a God-ward focus in worship to man-centered experiences. They seem to only slightly notice more anecdotal sermons and less of the Word. They become numb to the silliness going on in people’s lives since so much sin is not dealt with by the leaders. And as all this progresses, their souls become cooler and deader to the things of God.
I have written other places on what I think you should do if that is you, but the experience of this couple made me want to ask every person in my church and every person that attends another church this question – is God there? Can you sense something of the weight of His glory? Do these people pray like it matters?
O, for more of Him! Don’t get frozen...