Archive for June, 2015

June 30, 2015

Strengthened by Grace (2 Timothy 2:1-2)

Pastor Joe Troutman preaching at San Antonio Reformed on June 21, 2015. HT: Billie Moody

Pastor Joe Troutman preaching at San Antonio Reformed on June 21, 2015. HT: Billie Moody

On Sunday, June 28, 2015, Pastor Joe Troutman preached Strengthend by Grace (2 Timothy 2:1-2).

Because Jesus Christ has died and risen, you therefore be strengthened by the grace of God.

1. Strength Training—The ordinary means of grace—the Word, sacraments and prayer—point us to the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ, and are the way God strengthens the faith of believers in Christ. Although a passive command, the call to be strengthened by God’s grace is not a call to inactivity, but to active dependence on the Lord who strengthens us by his grace.

2. Passing It On—The gospel preached by the apostles has been entrusted to our care. Our strengthening by his means of grace is not merely for our individual benefit, but to enable us to preserve the apostolic gospel and to pass it on to future generations.

Listen toStrengthened by Grace (2 Timothy 2:1-2) at mcopc.org.

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June 30, 2015

The Structure of the Tabernacle (Exodus 26)

Chuck CainOn June 28, 2015, the Adult Sunday School Class reviewed Exodus 26, which describes the structure of the tabernacle.

The chapter begins by the LORD telling Moses how the tabernacle curtains were to be designed. The ceiling and walls were to be covered by linen curtains made with colored yarn and cherubim designs. A priest entering the tabernacle would see cherubim depictions on all the walls and the ceiling as a portrayal of heaven. This curtain would then be covered by three more curtains of goats’ hair, rams’ skins, and porpoise skins.

Then the upright frames were described which were to form the north, south, and west walls. The frames were to be made of acacia wood and overlaid with gold. The frames would be 15 feet tall and number 20 for each of the north and south walls making a total length of 45 feet for the tabernacle. A total of 8 frames would comprise the west end. The inside width of the tabernacle would be 15 feet.

Each frame would rest on two silver bases each made from a talent of silver (38:27). The 4 pillars for the veil would each rest on a single silver base. Thus, the 48 frames and 4 pillars would require 100 silver bases, each weighing one talent or 75 pounds (7,500 pounds total).

The chapter also describes the design of the veil and the entrance screen.

Chapters 2540 of Exodus emphasizes the importance and the exactness of required worship. The materials used for tabernacle construction emphasize God’s holiness, glory, and beauty.—Chuck Cain

Listen to The Structure of the Tabernacle (Exodus 26) at mcopc.org.

June 29, 2015

The Transmission of the Tradition (2 Thessalonians 2:13-15)

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Dr. Daniel B. Wallace (Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts) rubs elbows with Pastor Joseph L. Troutman.

On Sunday, June 14, 2015, Pastor Joe Troutman preached on the transmission of the apostolic tradition from 2 Thessalonians 2:13-15.

The Lord used spoken and written means to transmit his word that man might know him and know how to be saved.

1. Many Things Jesus Did—There was a tremendous amount of information about the words and works of the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle John wrote his gospel after the fall of Jerusalem. Paul wrote his letters without the four gospels or the rest of the New Testament to consult. John included material in his gospel which adds to that which is found in the earlier synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke and the rest of the New Testament (See John 20:30-31). Paul had to learn about Jesus from the other apostles and directly from the Lord (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:23).

2. Hold To the Traditions—In addition to his letters, Paul also engaged in oral tradition. Paul writes to calm the Thessalonians’s fears regarding the return of Christ. Paul refers to the gospel as the traditions which have been believed by us. The traditions of the Roman Catholic Church differ from those to which Paul refers, and so are “traditions of men” (Colossians 2:8).

3. By Spoken Word or Letter—In the first century AD, the gospel was transmitted to the church by both spoken word and by letter. Many things about Jesus were written, and many others were only transmitted orally. These oral traditions were certainly passed on to the second and third centuries. One such story is called “The Pericope of the Adulteress” (or, pericope adulterae; hereafter “PA”) which is found in John 7:53-8:11. Notable Christian scholars such as F.F. Bruce, Bruce Metzger and Daniel Wallace believe the events in this passage actually happened. The Codex Bezae, which dates to the 5th century contains the pericope of the adulteress. Kyle Hughes reports that this pericope may be traced as far back as AD 50. Unbelieving scholars, such as Bart Ehrman, use the PA to argue against the reliability of the New Testament, and his recent books have persuaded many to disbelieve the Bible. What you don’t know about the transmission of the text of the New Testament is being exploited by unbelieving scholars like Ehrman to destroy the faith of the common believer.

Oral tradition is generally considered unreliable, yet true events in 2 Thessalonians were transmitted orally. Skeptical scholars doubt its reliability, and they err on the side of late dates for New Testament writings, and discard them as inauthentic. Appeals to the telephone game are often made to undermine the value of oral transmission, but this is a case of modern understanding being imposed on ancient people. Ken Bailey, in “Informal Controlled Oral Tradition in the Gospels” demonstrates that ancient traditions are transmitted with a high degree of accuracy, and so Western views of ancient Eastern traditions are inaccurate.

If the PA is not original to the gospel of John, then how did it get there? It was told and retold by the apostles between AD 50 through the 70s. The pericope features many similarities to the vocabulary of Luke in his gospel and his book of the Acts of the Apostles. It may be that Luke influenced the wording of this unique passage. Its textual pedigree includes a citation by Papias in his Didaskalia, the Codex Bezae and 900 New Testament manuscripts. These have been the means by which this oral tradition was transmitted to us from the apostolic era. No doubt, God orchestrated the transmission of this passage and its inclusion in the New Testament canon.

Simply put, the pericope of the adulteress in John 7:53-8:11 is just another story of Jesus showing compassion toward a repentant sinner, and his convicting hypocrites for their rejection of him. Be thankful for the means of God’s transmission of the gospel.

Listen to The Transmission of the Tradition (2 Thessalonians 2:13-15) at mcopc.org.

For further reading

Where is the Story of the Woman Caught in Adultery really from? (by Daniel B. Wallace)
Informal Controlled Oral Tradition in the Gospels (by Kenneth Bailey)

June 29, 2015

The Nearness of God (Psalm 91)

Rev. Clarence Mays

Rev. Clarence Mays

On June 21, 2015, Rev. Clarence Mays preached on the nearness of God from Psalm 91.

Psalm 91 is the most joyful of all the psalms. It begins abruptly with an emphasis on the high and lofty God. Before dealing with the believer’s trouble, the nearness of God is declared. Focusing on the nearness of God alleviates our fear of trouble.

Listen to The Nearness of God (Psalm 91) at mcopc.org.

June 29, 2015

Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert

Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert CoverStatus: Available

Publisher’s Description

Conversion put me in a complicated and comprehensive chaos. I sometimes wonder, when I hear other Christians pray for the salvation of the “lost,” if they realize that this comprehensive chaos is the desired end of such prayers…. Sometimes in crisis, we don’t really learn lessons. Sometimes the result is simpler and more profound: sometimes our character is simply transformed.
– Rosaria

Rosaria, by the standards of many, was living a very good life. She had a tenured position at a large university in a field for which she cared deeply. She owned two homes with her partner, in which they provided hospitality to students and activists that were looking to make a difference in the world. In the community, Rosaria was involved in volunteer work. At the university, she was a respected advisor of students and her department’s curriculum.

Then, in her late 30s, Rosaria encountered something that turned her world upside down—the idea that Christianity, a religion she had regarded as problematic and sometimes downright damaging, might be right about who God was. That idea seemed to fly in the face of the people and causes that she most loved. What follows is a story of what she describes as a train wreck at the hand of the supernatural. These are her secret thoughts about those events, written as only a reflective English professor could.

Includes a Foreword by Kenneth G. Smith

Rosaria Champagne Butterfield

Rosaria Champagne Butterfield

About the Author

Rosaria and her husband, Kent, live in North Carolina with three of their four children, where Kent serves as a pastor in a Reformed Presbyterian church.

Book Details

154 Pages
Publisher: Crown and Covenant Publications
Publication Date: 2012

Source: WTS Books

Library patrons who have read this book are invited to share their comments, reviews, questions or criticisms for discussion in the comments below this post.

June 24, 2015

The Unfolding Mystery: Discovering Christ in the Old Testament

Unfolding Mystery CoverStatus: Available

Publisher’s Description

Have you ever wondered what Christ said to his disciples to make their hearts burn on the Emmaus road? Follow Ed Clowney through the Old Testament as he shows how all the Scriptures point to Christ.

As you explore Old Testament characters and events, you’ll be inspired by the many specific insights they give us into Jesus’ character and lordship.

Edmund Clowney

Dr. Edmund Clowney

About the Author

Edmund Clowney (Th.B., Westminster Theological Seminary; S.T.M., Yale University), President, Westminster Theological Seminary, 1966-1982; Professor Emeritus of Practical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, was an influential pastor, theologian, and educator. He was author of several acclaimed works, including How Jesus Transforms the Ten Commandments shortly before his death in 2005.

Book Details

220 Pages
Publisher: P&R Publishing Company
Publication Date: August 2013

Source: WTS Books

Library patrons who have read this book are invited to share their comments, reviews, questions or criticisms for discussion in the comments below this post.

June 23, 2015

The True Bounds of Christian Freedom

True Bounds of Christian Freedom CoverStatus: Available

Book Description

Does our being made free by Christ free us from the law? Does our being made free by Christ deliver us from all punishments or chastisements for sin? Is it consistent with Christian freedom to be under obligation to perform duties because God has commanded them? May Christ’s freemen come into bondage again through sin? Is it consistent with Christian freedom to perform duties out of respect for the recompense of the reward? Does the freedom of a Christian free him from all obedience to men?

The True Bounds of Christian Freedom is a clear, scriptural exposition of the place of the law in the life of the Christian. One of the few works currently available which shows the danger of Antinomianism, while also avoiding legalism.

Samuel Bolton

Samuel Bolton

About the Author

Born in London in 1606, Samuel Bolton became a scholar and member of the Westminster Assembly. He was educated at Manchester School and Christ’s College, Cambridge (BA 1629; MA 1632). He ministered successively in three London parishes before becoming Master of Christ’s College in 1654, and later served as Vice-Chancellor of the University. He died in October 1654, after a long illness.

Bolton was the author of The True Bounds of Christian Freedom, published by the Trust in its Puritan Paperbacks series.

Source: Banner of Truth Trust

June 23, 2015

Cherubim, Table for Bread, Golden Lampstand (Exodus 25:1-22)

Chuck CainOn Sunday, June 21, 2015, the Adult Sunday School class reviewed the remainder of Exodus 25 regarding the ark of the covenant, the mercy seat, the table for bread, and the lampstand.

This chapter mentions cherubim for the first time since Genesis 3, where they were identified as guarding the way to the tree of life. Two psalms identify the LORD as enthroned upon the cherubim: Psalms 80 and 99. Also, there are two scripture references that identify the mercy seat as God’s footstool: Psalm 132:7-8 and 1 Chronicles 28:2. Leviticus 16 describes how the high priest entered the holy of holies on the day of atonement and made blood offerings for the sins of himself and the people.

The design of the table for bread is set forth. The use of the table is identified in Leviticus 24:5-9. This states that the priests who replaced the bread weekly ate the replaced bread before the LORD as a symbol of fellowship between the LORD and his people. The bread also reminded of God’s provision for his people. As we read about the table we are reminded that our Lord said “I am the bread of life” in John 6.

The final section describes the golden lampstand. Its design included seven lamps held on branches decorated with almond blossoms. The lampstand likely appeared similar to the Jewish menorah. The lampstand reminds us of the tree of life (Genesis 2-3 and Revelation 22) and the numerous references in scripture of light. In particular we are reminded that Christ said, “I am the light of the world” in John 8-9.—Chuck Cain

Listen to “Cherubim, Table for Bread, Golden Lampstand” (Exodus 25:1-22) at mcopc.org.

June 22, 2015

The Tabernacle, the Ark and the Mercy Seat (Exodus 25:1-22)

Chuck CainOn Sunday, June 14, 2015, the Adult Sunday School class reviewed Exodus 25:1-22 related to the tabernacle.

Verses 8-9 are significant because they highlight the two main attributes of the tabernacle. The word “sanctuary” means “holy place” and refers to God’s holiness and transcendence, whereas the word “tabernacle” means “dwelling place” and refers to God’s immanence. Immanence means being within the limits of possible experience or knowledge. God was camping out with his people. Certainly this reminds us of our Lord who tabernacled among us (John 1:14) yet was transcendent in holiness. One class member rightly pointed out that our sin stands between God’s transcendence and his immanence.

The remainder of this section describes the design of the ark of the covenant and the mercy seat (atonement cover). The ark also speaks of God’s transcendence and immanence. In verse 22 God tells Moses that he will meet with him there, between the two cherubim. Thus God will be immanent. But in Numbers 4 God instructs that the ark is to be touched or seen by no one except the high priest on the annual Day of Atonement. God is transcendent.

The significance of the ark and mercy seat were detailed in regard to the glory of God dwelling between the cherubim. The cherubim were positioned to be looking down on the top of the mercy seat under which were the tablets of the testimony representing Israel’s failures to keep the law. But on the Day of Atonement the high priest poured blood on the mercy seat signifying God’s atonement for the sin of his people by the blood of a substitute, our Lord.—Chuck Cain

Listen to “The Tabernacle, the Ark and the Mercy Seat” (Exodus 25:1-22) at mcopc.org.

June 22, 2015

God, Adam, and You: Biblical Creation Defended and Applied

God Adam and You CoverStatus: Available

Book Description

What difference does Adam make? The answer, to many Christians today, is “not much.”

Adam, we are told, is a mythological figure who can safely be abandoned without compromising the authority and infallibility of Scripture. After all, is holding on to a historical Adam more important than downplaying Genesis 1-3 enough to mediate the gospel to our secular culture?

The Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology joins with historic Christianity in saying that yes, it is. Adam is not only necessary to our Christian faith and witness, but he makes a world of difference to our understanding of God, mankind, the Bible—and even the gospel itself.

The following contributors examine what the truth of Adam means about the truth of Scripture as a whole, how he shows us what it means to bear God’s image, and what an understanding of Adam teaches us about Christ.

Derek W. H. Thomas—The Bible’s First Word
Joel R. Beeke—The Case for Adam
Kevin DeYoung—Two Views of the Human Person
Liam Goligher—Adam, Lord of the Garden
Richard D. Phillips—The Bible and Evolution
Richard D. Phillips—God’s Design for Gender, Marriage and Sex
Derek W. H. Thomas—Differing Views on the Days of Creation
Joel R. Beeke—Christ, the Second Adam
Richard D. Phillips—From God’s Garden to God’s City
Carl R. Trueman—Original Sin and Modern Theology

Learn what difference the historical Adam makes to us today, as followers of the second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Dr. Richard D. Phillips

Dr. Richard D. Phillips

About the Author

Richard D. Phillips is the senior minister of Second Presbyterian Church of Greenville, South Carolina. He is a council member of The Gospel Coalition, chairman of the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology, and coeditor of the Reformed Expository Commentary series.

Book Details

Publication Date: 2015
Publisher: P&R Publishing
Pages: 212

Library patrons who have read this book are invited to share their comments, reviews, questions or criticisms for discussion in the comments below this post.