Archive for March, 2015

March 30, 2015

I Am the Bread of Life (John 6:30-35)

Sermons JohnOn Sunday, March 29, 2015 Pastor Joe Troutman preached the sermon entitled “I Am the Bread of Life” from John 6:30-35. The Old Testament background for this New Testament passage is that of our Scripture Reading from Nehemiah 9:9-21.

So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. (John 6:30-35 ESV)

Those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ will never again spiritually hunger or thirst because he is I AM.

That We May See – Having exhorted the thousands of people following him because he fed them to believe in him, they assume he only wants them to believe his words. Challenging whether he is “The Prophet” foretold by Moses, they demand yet another sign from him, as if multiplying five loaves and two fish was insufficient. Jesus had said they need to believe in him and so do the work of God, but they want him to work more miracles. They want signs, just not the ones they get.

True Bread – Jesus proclaims Moses wasn’t the source of the manna, but that God the Father is the source of the true Bread from heaven of which the manna was only a type. Again they focus on bread that only temporarily satisfies bodily hunger and perishes, while Christ offers himself as the Bread from heaven that gives eternal life.

I Am – In proclaiming “I am the bread of life,” Jesus uses a familiar term which the crowd would have recognized, with which he identifies himself as not just a mere prophet or miracle worker, but as Yahweh himself, the covenant God of Israel who called Moses from the burning bush, lead the children of Israel as a cloud by day and pillar of fire by night and provided them with the manna which typifies himself who is the heaven-sent bread of eternal life. This is what must be believed about Jesus Christ in order to do the work of God.

Listen to “I Am the Bread of Life” at mcopc.org

March 29, 2015

Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God

Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God CoverRelated Media

Listen to 3 lectures by J. I. Packer from the 1988 Desiring God Conference entitled The Source of Saving Faith, The Nature of Saving Faith, and The Path of Saving Faith.

Source: Desiring God

Publisher’s Description

If God is in control of everything, can Christians sit back and not bother to evangelize? Or does active evangelism imply that God is not really sovereign at all?

J. I. Packer shows in this new edition to the popular IVP Classics how both of these attitudes are false. In a careful review of the biblical evidence, he shows how a right understanding of God’s sovereignty is not so much a barrier to evangelism as an incentive and powerful support for it.

With over 100,000 copies in print, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God is truly a classic that should be read by every Christian.

•New edition of a classic work on divine sovereignty and human responsibility

•Challenges extreme views on both sides of the issue

•Outlines a proper incentive and support for evangelism

Includes a Foreword by Mark Dever

JI PackerAbout the Author

J. I. Packer is Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. He also serves as contributing editor to Christianity Today. Packer’s writings include books such as Knowing God (IVP Books), A Quest for Godliness (Crossway), Growing in Christ (Crossway), Rediscovering Holiness (Servant), and numerous articles published in journals such as Churchman, Southwestern Journal, Christianity Today, Reformation & Revival Journal and Touchstone.

Book Details

122 Pages

Publisher: InterVarsity Press

Publication Date: January 2012

ISBN 10: 083083799X

ISBN 13: 9780830837991

HT: WTS Books

March 28, 2015

Essential Truths of the Christian Faith

Status: AvailableIMG_0172

Summary

For those who yearn for a deeper walk in faith, their journey can begin here. Dr. R.C. Sproul expounds in clear and simple terms over one hundred major Christian doctrines. He offers readers a basic understanding of the Christian faith that will kindle a lifelong love for truth, which is foundational to maturity in Christ.

Here are theologically sound explanations of the biblical concepts every Christian should know, written in a way that we can all understand. R.C.’s homespun analogies and illustrations from contemporary life make this book interesting, informative, and easy to read. (HT: Ligonier Ministries)

sproul_podium_actionAbout the Author

Dr. R.C. Sproul is founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries, an international Christian education ministry located near Orlando, Fla. He is copastor of Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Fla., chancellor of Reformation Bible College, and executive editor of Tabletalk magazine. Ligonier Ministries began in 1971 as the Ligonier Valley Study Center in Ligonier, Pa. In an effort to respond more effectively to the growing demand for Dr. Sproul’s teachings and the ministry’s other educational resources, the general offices were moved to Orlando in 1984, and the ministry was renamed.

Dr. Sproul’s teaching can be heard on the program Renewing Your Mind with Dr. R.C. Sproul, which is broadcast on hundreds of radio outlets in the United States and in more than forty countries worldwide. Dr. Sproul has produced more than three hundred lecture series and has recorded more than eighty video series on subjects such as the history of philosophy, theology, Bible study, apologetics, and Christian living.

He has contributed dozens of articles to national evangelical publications, has spoken at conferences, churches, and schools around the world, and has written more than ninety books, including The Holiness of God, Faith Alone, and Everyone’s a Theologian. He signed the 1978 Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy and wrote a commentary on that document titled Explaining Inerrancy (now published as Can I Trust the Bible?). He also serves as general editor of The Reformation Study Bible, previously known as The New Geneva Study Bible.

Dr. Sproul was born in 1939 in Pittsburgh. He holds degrees from Westminster College, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, the Free University of Amsterdam, and Whitefield Theological Seminary, and he has had a distinguished academic teaching career at various colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando and Jackson, Miss. He is ordained as a teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church in America. (HT: Ligonier Ministries)

March 28, 2015

Discovering God’s Will

Discovering God's Will Cover Crop

Status: Available

Publisher’s Description

How do we discover the will of God for our lives?

Sinclair Ferguson answers this question by showing how God’s will is shaped by his ultimate purposes for us. It is made known to us through his Word. At times discovering God’s will demands careful thought: it may require patience; it always demands a right attitude to God himself.

Discovering God’s Will draws out fundamental principles by which God guides us, applies them to practical situations like vocation and marriage, and underlines many important biblical counsels. It shows that the guidance God gives comes primarily through knowing, loving and obeying him.

Sinclair FergusonAbout the Author

Sinclair Buchanan Ferguson retired in 2013 as Senior Minister of First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina, and returned to his native Scotland. Prior to this he held the Charles Krahe chair for Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary and served Church of Scotland congregations in Unst (Shetland) and Glasgow (St George’s Tron). He received his Ph.D. from the University of Aberdeen (1971).

Dr. Ferguson has authored several books published by the Trust, of which he is a trustee, and a former editor. He retains his position as Professor of Systematic Theology at Redeemer Seminary, Dallas, Texas, and continues to preach God’s Word in churches and at conferences.

Sinclair and his wife Dorothy have three sons, a daughter, three grandsons, and three granddaughters.

Book Details

128 Pages

Publisher: Banner of Truth

Publication Date: February 1982

ISBN 10: 1848712634

ISBN 13: 9781848712638

Source: WTS Books

March 28, 2015

Dispensationalism: Rightly Dividing the People of God?

Dispensationalism Rightly Dividing the People of God CoverStatus: Available

Summary

For years, dispensational teachings have flooded evangelical airwaves and bookstores. Are they biblical? Dr. Keith A. Mathison provides a clear, scriptural critique of this popular movement.
Dispensationalism dispels much of the current confusion and answers questions such as:

Is the church age a mysterious “parenthesis?”

Will believers be raptured out of the world prior to a period of great tribulation?

What do dispensationalists believe concerning the kingdom of God, the Millennium, and the central doctrines of salvation?

How do those views compare with Scripture and the historic teachings of the church?

Dr. Mathison allows dispensational writers to speak for themselves. He contrasts dispensationalism’s views on the church, salvation, and end times with Reformed views. This insightful book can help you discover what Scripture actually teaches about the Tribulation, Rapture, and the Millennium. It includes sections on lordship salvation and the relationship between Israel and the church. (HT: Ligonier Ministries)

mathison_keithAbout the Author

Keith A. Mathison (MA, Reformed Theological Seminary; PhD, Whitefield Theological Seminary) is dean of the Ligonier Academy of Biblical and Theological Studies and an associate editor of Tabletalk magazine at Ligonier Ministries. He is the author of Dispensationalism: Rightly Dividing the People of God?; Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope; The Shape of Sola Scriptura; and Given for You: Reclaiming Calvin’s Doctrine of the Lord’s Supper. He is editor of When Shall These Things Be: A Reformed Response to Hyper-Preterism and associate editor of The Reformation Study Bible. He lives in Lake Mary, Florida, with his wife and children.

HT: PRPBooks

March 27, 2015

Daniel (Geneva Series of Commentaries)

Daniel_Calvin Status: Available

Publisher’s Description

In his Introduction Dr. Wilbur Smith writes: ‘In a day like this in which we are living, when the governments of the world are breaking up, in a day when a vast part of the earth is controlled by a merciless dictatorship, when multitudes of Christians have already known persecution, and many more will before this age ends, there is hardly any book in the Old Testament we could read with more profit than the book of Daniel and scarcely a commentary on any portion of the Old Testament quite so profitable as Calvin’s two volumes on Daniel.

I suppose nothing on the prayer of Daniel, occupying most of the ninth chapter of his prophecy, has ever been written so rich and deep and comprehensive as the 17,000 words which Calvin devotes to the sixteen verses of this marvellous outpouring of the heart of the ancient prophet.’

This volume has been reprinted from the Calvin Translation Society two volume edition of 1852-53, edited by Thomas Myers.

John_Calvin_by_HolbeinAbout the Author

John Calvin (1509-64), the French theologian and pastor of Geneva, was one of the principal 16th-century Reformers.

Calvin was born on 10 July 1509, in Noyon, about sixty miles north-east of Paris. His father – Gérard Cauvin – held legal office in the service of the bishops of Noyon, and wanted his son to enter the church. He used his influence to obtain a chaplaincy at Noyon Cathedral when Calvin was 11, the income helping to fund his education. The young man was privately tutored, before being sent to Paris at the age of 14 to study theology at the University. He first attended the Collège de la Marche, then the Collège de Montaigu, where he received the equivalent of his Master of Arts in 1528 at the unusually young age of 17. Some of Calvin’s instruction was given by the brilliant Latin scholar Mathurin Cordier, and he obtained a first-class education.

At about the same time as he received his M.A., Calvin’s father changed his mind about his son’s future, and directed him from theology to study law at the University of Orléans. It was here that Calvin learned Greek, and developed his powers of analysis and rhetoric – not unhelpful skills for a man whom God was making a minister of the gospel. Within a year, Calvin was sufficiently advanced to begin teaching incoming scholars.

He moved on to Bourges in about 1529, returning to Noyon for the burial of his father, who had died quite suddenly. Released from his father’s seemingly quite heavy governance, Calvin spread his wings as a humanist, publishing his first and only humanist work at the age of 23, a commentary on the younger Seneca’s De Clementia (On Mercy). In the same year, 1532, he received his doctor of laws degree. Calvin’s fierce dedication to study during these years was near-legendary, but almost certainly laid the foundation for his subsequent struggle with ill-health.

Calvin had been exposed during this time to some of Luther’s teachings, which were by then widely circulated. His own cousin, Jean Pierre Olivétan, had been attracted to Lutheran teaching, and Calvin had studied alongside Olivétan for a period. The only plain record of his conversion comes from Calvin himself in the ‘Preface’ to his Commentary on the Psalms (Robert Reymond’s translation):

I tried my best to work hard [in the study of law], yet God at last turned my course in another direction by the secret rein of his providence. What happened first, since I was too obstinately addicted to the superstitions of Popery to be easily extricated from so profound an abyss of mire, was that God by an unexpected [or ‘sudden’] conversion subdued and reduced my mind to a teachable frame. And so this taste of true godliness . . . set me on fire with such a desire to progress that I pursued the rest of my studies [in law] more coolly, although I did not give them up altogether. Once converted, there was no looking back for Calvin – he embraced the new teachings that accorded with the Word of the living God, and his life was never again the same. Forced to flee from Paris in 1533 – he was lowered by sheets from a window and escaped the city dressed as a manual labourer – Calvin sought rest where he could. He studied the Scriptures, and by May 1534 had resigned his holdings in the Roman Catholic church. By 1535 he was forced to leave France altogether, departing from Angoulême, and heading to Basel in Switzerland. There he wrote the preface for the French translation of the Bible made by his cousin Olivétan.

In France, some of Calvin’s dear friends were already dying in martyr’s fires at the hands of Francis I of France. By 1536 Calvin had completed and published the first edition of what has become known as Protestantism’s magnum opus, his Institutio Christianae Religionis, or The Institutes of the Christian Religion. Repeatedly revised and expanded to its final form, this was originally a fairly brief outline of the true Christian faith (published by the Trust as Truth for All Time, as a small paperback and a Gift Edition Pocket Puritan) designed to demonstrate to the persecuting French monarch the realities of the belief and lives of the Protestants of France. At the young age of 26, Calvin’s grasp on the fullness of God’s revelation, and his genius for precise statement and comprehensive organization and systematization of the truth, were becoming more publicly evident.

Calvin headed to Strasbourg in July of 1536, determined to live a life with his head among his beloved books. Avoiding a raging war between Francis I and Charles V of Spain, he took a long detour south, arriving in Geneva for an overnight stay. Here, William Farel heard of his arrival in the city and sought him out. The fiery Farel was a powerful advocate for the gospel cause, and he set out to persuade Calvin to give his gifts and energies to that cause in Geneva. Calvin, by no means weak-willed himself, insisted that his heart was set on private study. However, he was persuaded to stay, and in September 1536, all necessary business addressed, Calvin took up residence in Geneva as a ‘Reader in Holy Scripture’. He received no pay until the following February, and was generally referred to in official papers as ille Gallus – ‘that Frenchman’.

Calvin quickly rose to prominence. He and Farel sought to bring the whole city into conformity to Scripture, bringing them into conflict with the civil authorities both politically and personally. Among other things, Calvin and his fellow-workers attempted to fence the Lord’s table by withholding the elements from those living in open sin. This was not acceptable to the Councils, and in April 1538 – without a hearing – the Reformers were simply banished from the city at short notice.

Calvin made his way to Strasbourg, in Germany, where he found a friend and mentor in Martin Bucer. He spent three years in that city, preaching, pastoring, writing, teaching, and learning. He also found ‘a good thing’ – in 1540, at the age of 31, he married Idelette de Bure, a widow in his congregation. Though their married life was in many respects a great joy, it was tempered with profound griefs: Idelette miscarried once, lost a daughter at birth, and delivered a son who died after only two weeks. Idelette herself died on 29 March, 1549, at the age of 40, and Calvin never remarried.

Calvin was not in Strasbourg for long. By 1540, the Genevan situation was awful: there seems to have been a widespread collapse of public morals and civil order. In desperation, the authorities turned to the man whom they had banished, and the reluctant Reformer re-entered the city on 13 September, 1541, never again to relocate. When Calvin climbed back into the pulpit at the cathedral of St Pierre, he resumed his ministry at the precise point at which he had paused three years before, taking up the next verse of his systematic exposition of Scripture.

This second period in Geneva lasted until Calvin’s death on 6 February 1564. Most biographers and historians view it in terms of years of struggle (1541-1555) and years of triumph (1555-1564).

In November 1541, Calvin’s Ecclesiastical Ordinances – his constitution setting out proposed church order – were accepted with some emendations by the Genevan authorities. However, despite the political decree, there was no plain sailing. The party opposed to Calvin was known as the Libertines, and they openly confronted him. But God spared his servants, though further struggles and threats of violence followed for many months.

Slowly, Calvin and his associates pressed for the application of God’s Word to the life of the church and to society at large. By 1555 the political opposition of the Libertines was essentially ended. Calvin was primarily a preacher of God’s Word. On his return to Geneva from Strasbourg, he preached twice every Sunday, and then on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Later he preached only every second week (by which stage there were Tuesday and Thursday sermons also). The New Testament was his text on Sundays, the Old on weekdays, with the Psalms sometimes on a Sunday afternoon. This preaching effected a massive moral change in Geneva, as the church and then society found the Word of God brought to bear unflinchingly upon them. We have two thousand sermons still available, of perhaps more than four thousand preached.

Calvin’s international influence was vast, not only by means of correspondence, but also through visitors. Exiles came from France, England and Scotland; refugees fled to Geneva from Germany and Italy – they came seeking both safety and instruction. Among them was John Knox, who declared the church which Calvin was reforming in Geneva as ‘the most perfect school of Christ that ever was in the earth since the days of the Apostles.’ In 1559 Calvin founded the Geneva Academy. Calvin was its professor of theology, and more than a thousand students from across Europe sat to hear him and Theodore Beza declare God’s truth. The Academy was known as ‘Calvin’s school of death’ because so many of its alumni were put to death as a result of their witness for Christ.

From his early thirties Calvin had begun to suffer physically, and bore numerous afflictions. He had become a chronic sufferer from ague, catarrh, asthma, indigestion, and migraine headaches which sometimes kept him awake all night. In 1558 he suffered at length from quartan fever (an intermittent malarial fever) from which he never fully recovered. He also suffered from close-to-crippling arthritis, gout, kidney stones, ulcerated haemorrhoids, gum disease, chronic indigestion, and pleurisy that finally led to malignant pulmonary tuberculosis. For years, so afflicted, Calvin had often coughed up blood on account of his public speaking.

Calvin was naturally timid, even fearful, which makes his courage all the more amazing. He was an affectionate and faithful friend, an intense man of deep feeling and penetrating thought. Worn out by his labours, he preached his last sermon in Geneva on 6 February 1564. On Easter Sunday he went to church for the last time, singing with the rest of the congregation at the conclusion, ‘Lord, now let your servant depart in peace . . . for my eyes have seen your salvation.’ On 25 April he dictated his last will and testimony, and entered his rest and reward on 27 May, at the age of 54 years. His body was buried in a simple coffin at the common cemetery on Sunday 28 May, in accordance with his wishes. His grave was unmarked, and remains unknown.

[Adapted from Jeremy Walker’s outline of Calvin’s life in Banner Articles:

Book Details

808 Pages

Publisher: Banner of Truth

Publication Date: April 1965

ISBN 10: 0851510922

ISBN 13: 9780851510927

HT: WTS Books

March 27, 2015

The Coming of the Kingdom

Coming of the Kingdom CoverInterview with Richard Gaffin on the Legacy of Ridderbos

Publisher’s Description

A thorough study of the nature of the kingdom, its fulfillment in the world, and its consummation with the second advent. Includes a comprehensive analysis of the parables and the Sermon on the Mount.

Includes a Foreword by Raymond O. Zorn

Herman RidderbosAbout the Author

Herman Nicolaas Ridderbos (1909–2007) joined the faculty of his alma mater, the Theological School of the Reformed Churches (Kampen, The Netherlands) in 1943, where he taught New Testament studies for more than forty years. Among his books are Paul and Jesus, Galatians, and Paul: An Outline of His Theology. He earned his doctorate at the Free University of Amsterdam.

Book Details

556 Pages

Publisher: P&R Publishing Company

Publication Date: 1962

ISBN 10: 0875524087

ISBN 13: 9780875524085

(HT: WTS Books)

March 25, 2015

The Church (Contours of Christian Theology)

The Church Cover
Status
: Checked Out

Publisher’s Description

At a time in which the very word church sounds a tone of dull irrelevance, the doctrine of the church has suffered the studied neglect of many Christian leaders. The persistent demands to market, manage and grow the church and to meet the felt needs of churched and unchurched all threaten to quench theological reflection on the abiding nature and mission of the church. But few activities bear greater promise as a starting point for renewing and reshaping the Christian church than the work of theology.

In this book Edmund Clowney takes up that task, addressing along the way a variety of contemporary concerns: worship, mission, church and culture, church and state, church order and discipline, the ministry of women, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, tongues and prophecy, signs and wonders. He draws on decades of thinking and teaching about the church as well as from his committed leadership and ministry within the church. Biblical, historical, systematic and Reformed, The Church is a timely and provocative reflection on the life, order and purpose of the household of God.

About the Author

Edmund P. Clowney (1917-2005) was a professor of practical theology and former president of Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. He is the author of The Message of 1 Peter in The Bible Speaks today series.

Book Details

336 Pages

Publisher: InterVarsity Press

Publication Date: October 1995

ISBN 10: 0830815341

ISBN 13: 9780830815340

(HT: WTS Books)

March 24, 2015

Christianity and Liberalism

Christianity and Liberalism Cover

Status: Available

Listen to an episode of Christ the Center entitled Liberalism, the Different Religion. (Reformed Forum)

Publisher’s Description

J. Gresham Machen was a famed Christian scholar about whom Moody Monthly said this: “Machen’s lifelong plea for holding forth the Word of God and the Christ of the Bible must be the watchword for every pastor and layman who wants to climb the heights of spiritual power and pass on to succeeding generations a Christian faith that will stand.”

This book, written in response to the liberalism that arose in the early 1900s, is a classic defense of orthodox Christianity. To expose the fallacies of liberalism and strengthen the orthodox position, Machen establishes the importance of scriptural doctrine and contrasts the teachings of liberalism and orthodoxy on God, humanity, the Bible, Christ, salvation, and the church. these issues remain in conflict today, testifying to the continuing relevance of this important work.

Includes a Foreword by Carl R. Truman.

Christianity and Liberalism has received the following awards:

World Magazine, One of the top 100 books of the Millennium (1999)

Christianity Today, Top 100 Books of the 20th Century (2000)

About the Author

J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937) was professor of New Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His other books include Christian Faith in the Modern World, What is Faith?, and The Origin of Paul’s Religion.

Browse other titles by J. Gresham Machen.

Book Details

176 Pages

Publisher: Eerdmans Publishing Company

Publication Date: 1923; 2nd Edition June 2009

ISBN 10: 0802864996

ISBN 13: 9780802864994

(HT: WTS Books)

March 23, 2015

Amalekites Concluded (Exodus 17:8-16), Jethro Advises Moses (Exodus 18:1-27)

Chuck CainOn March 22, 2015, Chuck Cain taught the Adult Sunday School class on the Israelites’ battle with the Amalekites in Exodus 17:8-16. Joshua’s military success due to dependence on the Lord as Aaron and Hur assisted Moses in holding up the staff of God during the fight (Exodus 17:9-13), concluding with Yahweh’s stated intention to one day judge Amalekites for opposing Israel in the wilderness (Exodus 17:14-16). Later, King Saul’s line would lose the kingship of Israel for disobeying the Lord’s command to utterly destroy Amalek (1 Samuel 15:1-35).

Then, in Exodus 18, we learn of Jethro, Moses’ Midianite father-in-law who brings Moses’ wife and children to him (Exodus 18:1-7). Moses declares Yahweh’s deliverance of Israel from the Egyptians to Jethro, who rejoices and offers sacrifice in response, acknowledging Yahweh as greater than all gods, providing a good picture of evangelism (Exodus 18:8-12). Finally, Jethro advises Moses to delegate his judicial responsibilities to others who judge smaller matters among the people, reserving the more difficult issues for Moses, and together they advised the Israelites by the Law of God, and so they were able to endure such a tremendous task under the guidance of God (Exodus 18:13-27). Listen here.