Archive for April, 2015

April 30, 2015

The Words of Eternal Life (John 6:60-71)

IMG_0017On Sunday, April 26, 2015, Pastor Joe Troutman preached “The Words of Eternal Life” from (John 6:60-71).

The Word who is God is the Bread of Life who has the words of eternal life. There is no one else to whom we may look for salvation.

1. Taking Offense–Jesus’s Bread of Life discourse and his claim that eternal life only comes by eating his flesh and drinking his blood offends his multitude of disciples. Perceiving their offense at his words regarding the purpose of his descent, he confronts them with how much more offense they will take at his ascent to the cross, in his resurrection, and to the Father’s right hand in heaven.

2. Unbelieveing Disciples–How could disciples of Jesus turn away from following him? Because they followed by the power of the flesh rather than by the power of the Spirit. They had not been truly drawn by the Father to come to Christ in faith. The falling away of the multitude evidences the distinction between the visible and invisible church. The visible church can only discern the credibility of one’s profession of faith. The election of members of the visible church is presumed until evidence to the contrary surfaces.

3. I Chose You–Jesus asks the Twelve whether they would also depart in order to test their commitment to him. Peter speaks for the group, reaffirming their confession of faith in him as the only source of eternal life. Peter’s inconsistency gives us hope in our own inconsistency.

The Twelve can take no credit for their resolve to follow Jesus, because he actually had actively chosen and personally called on them to follow him. Only Judas would prove to not be a member of the invisible church, if you will. He followed for three years, yet was unable to draw himself to Christ by faith. Judas traveled with Jesus, lodged with him, served him, saw his miracles and heard his teachings, yet never believed.

Why did Jesus choose Judas, then? Scripture is not explicit on the reason why. But part of his foreordained humiliation on earth was to be betrayed by one close to him. Christ sympathizes with the sorrow of betrayal and hatred by close associates. He has expreienced such betrayal before you, and for you.

Jesus’s hard and offensive words would only serve to add to his earthly humiliation. He is the Offensive Word calling us to turn to him, for there is no other way to be saved but by repentance and faith which you cannot muster, but are the Father’s means of drawing you to Christ.

Listen to “The Words of Eternal Life” (John 6:60-71) at mcopc.org.

April 29, 2015

Interpreting the Ten Commandments

Chuck CainOn Sunday April 26, 2015, seven principles for interpreting the Ten Commandments were reviewed: the biblical rule, the inside/outside rule, the two-sided rule, the rule of categories, the “Am I my brother’s keeper rule, the law of the tables, and the rule of love. Finally, each of the Commandments was read and briefly discussed. 

The Israelites response at Sinai is described in Exodus 20:18-21. They trembled at hearing the voice of God and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” Moses is sought to be their mediator, their lawyer, before God. Moses then ascends Mount Sinai a fourth time. (The three previous occasions are described in Chapter 19.) There Moses receives the Book of the Covenant recorded on Exodus 20:23 through 23:13. The Book of the Covenant will later be read to the people as stated in Exodus 24:7.

Listen to “Interpreting the Ten Commandments” at mcopc.org.

April 28, 2015

On Christian Liberty

On Christian Liberty CoverStatus: Available

Publisher’s Description

The subject of freedom is both timely and poignantly relevant today. For the Christian, this freedom is liberty from sin and death, and the opportunity to serve one’s neighbor. Written in a simple style, “Christian Liberty” conveys significant spiritual insight into the grace of God and liberating faith in Christ Jesus.

Martin Luther

Image by ReformationArt.com

About the Author

Martin Luther was the founder of the Protestant Reformation. He remains a pivotal figure in Western history.

Book Details

96 Pages
Publisher: Augsburg/Fortress Publishers
Publication Date: April 2003

Source: WTS Books

April 27, 2015

Lest We Forget: A Personal Reflection on the Formation of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church

Lest We Forget CoverStatus: Available

Description

Robert King Churchill was born in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada on September 11, 1903. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States during his first year as a student at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1936 he graduated from that institution and soon thereafter was one of a group of young men ordained to the gospel ministry by the First General Assembly of the newly formed Presbyterian Church of America (later named the Orthodox Presbyterian Church). He served in that church until the time of his sudden death on September 20, 1980.

Churchill labored as missionary pastor in Berkeley and Sonora, California; Roswell, New Mexico and Amarillo, Texas. He pastored Calvary Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Cedar Grove, Wisconsin from 1948 to 1959. He was always interested in young people and conducted off-campus classes with university students during his years in Berkeley and was also active in working with young people at various camps and conferences. He served on the board of trustees of Westminster Seminary for more than 30 years and represented the seminary for almost two years as field representative.

In heart and life Churchill echoed the cry of the apostle: “Woe is me if I preach not the gospel.” He delighted unceasingly in the “Marvelous grace of our loving Lord—grace that is greater than all our sin.” He was zealous for the whole cousel of God and had to proclaim it. But his awe before the majesty of our sovereign God did not stop at the wonders of redeeming grace: he heard the heavens declare the glory of God and reveled in the display of his handiwork in nature—in ocean, clouds, trees, hills, the green earth and its fruit. He heard the whole creation shouting “Glory!” But most of all he rejoiced in the songs of Zion and loved to lead the people of God in singing his praises.

All praise to God, who reigns above,
The God of all creation,
The God of wonders, power, and love,
The God of our salvation!
Trinity Hymnal

Robert K. ChurchillAbout the Author

Robert K. Churchill was ordained in 1936 at the First General Assembly of what was to become the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. His life spanned more than four decades in the new denomination. As a pastor, missionary, and youth-worker, he was vitally involved in the inner workings of the OPC and a passionate defender of its cause. Thus his reflections on the formation and history of the church are a treasure that we should not soon forget.

Book Details

135 Pages
Soft Cover
Publisher: Committee for the Historian of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church
Publication Date: 1986 (Third Edition, 1997)

Source: Orthodox Presbyterian Publications

April 25, 2015

Lectures on Calvinism

Lectures on Calvinism CoverStatus: Checked Out

Publisher’s Description

The word “Calvinism” has many different meanings. In its broadest sense, as reflected in these six classic lectures first delivered at Princeton in 1898, it refers to a system of life that brings theological reflection to bear on all aspects of human experience. Like all ways of looking at the world, Calvinism offers a set of option regarding three fundamental questions of life: How does one properly relate to God, to others, and to the wider world?

Kuyper’s lectures posit that the original vision of Calvinism has merit for both today and the future. He introduces Calvinism as a system of life, traces its relationship to religion, politics, science, and art, and finally inquires into its prospects for the future.

This work is the classic expression of a vigorous and culturally engaged stream of the Reformed faith. Far from out of date, Kuyper’s work gives needed historical perspective to many conflicts still being worked out more than a century later.

Abraham Kuyper

Image by ReformationArt.com

About the Author

Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) was an internationally esteemed pastor, educator, author, editor, and politician. Tireless in his efforts to apply the Christian faith to every area of life, he founded the Free University of Amsterdam in 1880 and served from 1901 to 1905 as Prime Minster of the Netherlands.

Book Details

208 Pages
Publisher: Eerdmans Publishing Company
Publication Date: 1943

Source: WTS Books

April 24, 2015

Kingdom Prologue: Genesis Foundations for a Covenantal Worldview

Kingdom Prologue CoverStatus: Available

Publisher’s Description

As intimated by the subtitle, ‘Genesis Foundations for a Covenantal Worldview‘, the immediate literary focus of this study is the book of Genesis and its account of the formative ages in the eschatological movement of the kingdom of God from creation to consummation. As also indicated by the subtitle, our biblical-theological commentary on Genesis is designed to uncover the foundations of God’s covenantally administered kingdom with its major historical developments and its institutional structures and functions. In this way ‘Kingdom Prologue’ seeks to provide an introductory sketch of the overall shape of the biblical worldview and the character of biblical religion.

Meredith KlineAbout the Author

Meredith G. Kline is Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He received his B.D. and Th.M. degrees from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia) and his Ph.D. degree in Assyriology and Egyptology from Dropsie College. Professor Kline maintains an active writing and teaching ministry, serving at present on the faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary in Escondido, California. He is also an ordained minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. The collection of essays in the recently-published Creator, Redeemer, Consummator, a festschrift written in honor of Dr. Kline, attests to the indelible influence his work has exerted on contemporary biblical and theological scholarship.

Book Details

418 Pages
Publisher: Wipf and Stock
Publication Date: February 2006
Source: WTS Books

April 23, 2015

November Spotlight! Keep in Step with the Spirit: Finding Fullness in Our Walk with God

Keep in Step with the Spirit CoverStatus: Available

Publisher’s Description

“If we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” -Galatians 5:25

The Holy Spirit empowers us, guides us, and enables us to grow and endure in our relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ. Often the most misunderstood member of the Trinity, the Spirit is someone of great focus and attention today amid church revivals and renewals.

In this new edition of his classic Keep in Step with the Spirit, J. I. Packer seeks to help Christians reaffirm the biblical call to holiness and the Spirit’s role in keeping our covenant with God. Packer discusses both the merits and shortcomings of the current charismatic movement and how Christ must always be at the center of true Spirit-led ministry.

Packer encourages believers to implement the Spirit’s directives and discusses how to map the Spirit’s path in your life. If you want to understand and experience more of life in the Spirit, you will cherish this latest offering from one of Christianity’s most respected scholars.

April 2005

JI PackerAbout the Author

J. I. Packer (PhD, Oxford University) serves as the Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology at Regent College. He is the author of numerous books, including the classic best-seller Knowing God. Packer served as general editor for the English Standard Version Bible and as theological editor for the ESV Study Bible.

Book Details

256 Pages
Publisher: Baker Book House

Source: WTS Books

April 23, 2015

Abiding in Christ, Christ Abiding in You (John 6:48-59)

On Sunday, April 19, 2015, Pastor Joe Troutman preached “Abiding in Christ, Christ Abiding in You,” from John 6:48-59.

Introduction–This passage lends itself to easy comparisons with the Lord’s Supper, and in fact, it is a proof text for the Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation.

Protestants disagree with the RC view, but how are we to understand what Jesus means when he says we are to feed on his flesh and drink his blood if he isn’t talking about the Lord’s Supper?

We feed on him by believing in him, and thereby are united to him.

Proposition–Everyone who believes in Jesus Christ feeds upon Jesus Christ, and so is eternally united to Jesus Christ

1. The Bread Is My Flesh
The context of this discussion is the Passover Feast, so when Jesus says in verse 51 that the bread he has been talking about is his flesh, he is making reference to himself as the Passover Lamb, “who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Just as the Israelites ate the flesh of the lamb after it was sacrificed, so we are to eat the flesh of Jesus Christ our Passover Lamb, who was sacrificed to atone for our sins. But how?

2. Believing Is Feeding
Comparing verse 40 to verse 54 helps us to understand what Jesus means when he says we need to feed on his flesh.

Verse 40: “…everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

Verse 54: “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

D.A. Carson: “The only substantial difference is that one speaks of eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking Jesus’ blood, while the other, in precisely the same conceptual location, speaks of looking to the Son and believing in him.” (The Gospel According to John, Pillar New Testament Commentary, p. 297.)

St. Augustine: “Believe, and you have eaten.” (In Johannis evangelium tractatus xxvi. 1)

3. In Christ/Christ in Us
Food that is eaten becomes a part of a person—“You are what you eat” has some truth to it. Eating food provides insight into what it means to have Christ in you and you in Christ.

Just as the death of plants and animals is necessary for humans’ physical life, so the death of Jesus Christ was necessary for humans’ spiritual life.

The only way to live forever is to eat of the Bread of Life, and the only way to eat that bread is to believe in the One whom God has sent, Jesus Christ.

Listen to “Abiding in Christ, Christ Abiding in You” (John 6:48-59) at mcopc.org.

April 22, 2015

Institutes of the Christian Religion (Battles Translation) (2 Volumes)

Institutes 02 CoverInstitutes 01 CoverStatus: Available

Publisher’s Description

This is the definitive English-language edition of one of the monumental works of the Christian church. Under Dr. McNeill’s personal supervision labored a whole corps of expert Latinists and Calvin scholars. All previous editions—in Latin, French, German, and English—have been collated; references and notes have been verified, corrected, and expanded; and new bibliographies have been added. The translator and his associates have taken great care to preserve the rugged strength and vividness of Calvin’s writing. They have not, however, hesitated to break up overly long sentences to conform to modern English usage or, whenever possible, to render heavy Latinate theological terms in simple language. The result is a translation that achieves a high degree of accuracy and at the same time is eminently readable.

Long recognized for the quality of its translations, introductions, explanatory notes, and indexes, the Library of Christian Classics provides scholars and students with modern English translations of some of the most significant Christian theological texts in history. Through these works–each written prior to the end of the sixteenth century–contemporary readers are able to engage the ideas that have shaped Christian theology and the church through the centuries.

John_Calvin_by_HolbeinAbout the Author

John Calvin (1509–64) was a prominent French theologian during the Protestant Reformation and the father of the theological system known as Calvinism. (from Theopedia.com).

About the Editor

John T. McNeill was an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. He taught at Westminster Hall; Queen’s University, Ontario; Knox College, Toronto; the University of Chicago; and Union Theological Seminary, New York. McNeill authored many books, and was one of the general editors of The Library of Christian Classics.

Book Details

2 Volumes | 1,822 Pages
Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press
Publication Date: January 1960

Source: WTS Books

April 21, 2015

Characteristics of the Ten Commandments, part 2

Chuck CainOn Sunday, April 19, 2015 the adult Sunday school class continued to review twelve topics relating to the Ten Commandments. The five reviewed last week were summarized along with additional discussion regarding the liberty and benefits that the law provides us. The law communicates to us the attributes our God’s values, and because we love him we rejoice in emulating those values like we would those of an earthly father.

The following additional topics were reviewed this week:

6. The Law’s Eternal Validity
7. Examples of the Law Being Known Before Sinai
8. Types of Laws –
– moral, civil, and ceremonial; and errors in their understanding, such as theonomy and dispensationalism.
9. How the Decalogue Is Repeated and Fully Developed in the New Testament
10. The Three Uses of the Law
– It teaches God’s people how to live for his glory
– It restrains sin in society
– it reveals sinners’ need for a savior
Topic 11 was briefly introduced regarding hermeneutics of the Decalogue.—Chuck Cain

Listen to “Characteristics of the Ten Commandments, part 2” at mcopc.org