Archive for March, 2016

March 30, 2016

The Once and Future King (Matthew 21:1-11)

Sermons JohnOn Sunday, March 20, 2016, Pastor Joe Troutman preached “The Once and Future King” from Matthew 21:1-11.

Jesus humbly enters Jerusalem as King, and in less than one week he will be crucified in the place of sinners like you and me.

1. The Lord Has Need of Them (1-5)—By his  “Triumphal Entry” into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey, Jesus provides one more sign that he is the King they await, so they might repent and believe (Isaiah 62:11). Their need is our need. Just as he gave them signs they needed to believe he is the Messiah, so he provides what we need to repent and believe.

2. Hosanna (6-9)—Second Temple Judaism of Jesus’s day saw Roman occupation as a new Egyptian bondage. National zeal heightened during the annual Passover feast. Jesus’s riding on a donkey did show him coming as a king, but as one who comes to serve (See 2 Kings 9:13; Psalm 118).

3. The King Enters His City (10-11)—Jesus came to die on a cross for the very people who put him there—sinners like you and me. He will return not to be sacrificed but to judge and once for all conquer all his and our enemies.

Listen to “The Once and Future King” (Matthew 21:1-11) at mcopc.org.

March 29, 2016

The True Branch Abides (John 15:1-8)

IMG_0017On Sunday, March 13, 2016, Pastor Joe Troutman preached “The True Branch Abides” from John 15:1-8.

Everyone who has true faith in Jesus Christ is a branch connected to the vine and you will produce fruit by the power of the Holy Spirit.

1. The True Vine and the Vinedresser—Jesus’s final “I AM” statement: “I am the True Vine.” He is the answer to the prayer in Psalm 80 for the restoration of the vine of Israel. Those who believe in Jesus will be grafted into the True Vine. God the Father is the Vinedresser (literally, the “farmer”) who cuts away unfruitful branches, and prunes the fruitful that they may bear more fruit. (Romans 11:11-24). Though pruning may be a “cathartic” experience for the abiding believer (2 Corinthians 4:17), it is far preferable to being cast off and thrown into the fire.

2. Branches That Don’t Abide—Some members of the visible church are unbelievers. While they may repress their sin for a time, imitating the bearing of fruit, in the end their unbelief and lack of genuine fruit will be revealed, and such branches will be cut off and cast into the fire—despite their membership in the visible church, unbelieving members will spend eternity in hell.

3. The Fount of Fruit—Branches disconnected from the Vine do not, and cannot, bear fruit. Union with Christ is a prerequisite to bearing fruit. Christ promises fruit will be borne by the branch that asks for fruit, so the Father may be glorified, and the branch may prove to be a true disciple.

Listen to “The True Branch Abides” (John 15:1-8) at mcopc.org.

March 23, 2016

Advocate, Counselor, Helper (John 14:15-41)

IMG_0017-0On Sunday, March 6, 2016, Pastor Joe Troutman preached “Advocate, Counselor, Helper” from John 14:15-41.

Jesus’s departure to heaven ensures the sending of the Holy Spirit who secures and applies redemption to us.

1. Another Helper—Prior to his crucifixion, Jesus reassures his disciples that although he is going away, he will not leave them with the help and strength they need.

2. To Love is to Obey—Our love for Jesus who reconciled us to the Father is expressed by our obedience to his commands.

Daily struggles may be faced because we are at peace with God, chosen and adopted. Christ prays for us, and he dwells in us by the Holy Spirit to help us.

Listen to “Advocate, Counselor, Helper” (John 14:15-41) at mcopc.org.

March 21, 2016

The New Perspective on Paul

NT Wright

N.T. Wright, leading proponent of the New Perspective on Paul. HT: Pastor John Keller Blog

On Sunday, January 31, 2016, Pastor Joe Troutman introduced to the adult Sunday School class the recent theological movement among some modern liberal theologians called the New Perspective on Paul and how it pertains to the doctrine of justification.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.(Romans 5:1-2 ESV)

Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith–just as Abraham “believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness”? (Galatians 3:5-6)

Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q&A #33:

Q. What is justification?

A. Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.

The New Perspective on Paul and the Federal Vision are two theological movements, the former a liberal movement and the latter a conservative movement, which share a few common emphases. Firstly, they share a common emphasis on “justification by faithfulness.” The orthodox Protestant doctrine of justification is that faith is the instrument by which one receives justification which is grounded on the faithfulness (i.e., the perfect righteousness) of the Lord Jesus Christ. Another common emphasis shared by the two movements is a lack of distinction between what the Reformed Confessions and Catechisms call the “visible church,” comprised of all, whether elect or non-elect, who profess faith in Christ and their children, and the “invisible church,” comprised of “the whole number of the elect.” Finally, the idea of “keeping covenant” is another shared emphasis between the heresies of the Federal Vision and the New Perspective on Paul.

The most well-known scholars who developed the New Perspective on Paul are Bishop N.T. Wright, James D.G. Dunn, and E.P Sanders. These assert that the Protestant understanding of Justification by Faith Alone is the result of Martin Luther’s reading his personal experience in sixteenth century Roman Catholicism back into his reading of Second Temple Judaism. They say he did this by projecting Roman Catholic legalism back onto the Jews and the Christian Judaizers in his reading of the books of Romans and Galatians. Sanders, Wright and Dunn counter the great Protestant Reformer’s reading of Romans and Galatians by asserting that Second Temple Judaism held to a view which the scholars have called “Covenantal Nomism.” Their definition of “Covenantal Nomism” is that one demonstrates that he is in the covenant by keeping the law. By this definition, they deny Luther’s application of this idea to soteriology (the doctrine of salvation), asserting that it only applies to ecclesiology (the doctrine of the church).

To learn more about the New Perspective on Paul, please read the Report on Justification, which may be found at the website for the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

Listen to “The New Perspective on Paul” at mcopc.org.

March 21, 2016

Boldly Approaching the Throne of Grace (John 14:8-14)

IMG_0017On Sunday, February 28, 2016, Pastor Joe Troutman preached “Boldly Approaching the Throne of Grace” from John 14:8-14.

We may boldly approach God in prayer if we believe in Jesus Christ, the only Way to the Father, who promises to work through us.

1. The Unity of Father and Son (John 14:8-9)—God the Father shares the same divine nature as God the Son; God the Son, in his human nature—our Lord Jesus Christ—visibly reveals God the Father to everyone, not by his appearance, but by his words and his works.

2. Words and Works (John 14:10-11)— Jesus manifests the Father in his words and in his works because he was perfectly obedient to his Father in every way.

3. This I Will Do (John 14:12-14)— Believers will do greater works than the Lord Jesus because after Jesus’ physical resurrection, their preaching will result by the power of the Holy Spirit, in the spiritual resurrection of people from every nation. Our prayers to this end are according to his will, and will result in his working through us to do those greater works.

Listen to “Boldly Approaching the Throne of Grace” (John 14:8-14) at mcopc.org.

March 15, 2016

To Know Jesus is to Know the Way (John 14:1-7)

Sermons JohnOn Sunday, February 21, 2016, Pastor Joe Troutman preached “To Know Jesus is to Know the Way” from John 14:1-7.

By his death on the cross, Jesus prepares a room for you in his Father’s house, and proves that he is the only Way to the Father.

1. Preparing a Place—Jesus’ disciples are troubled because they cannot believe how Peter could deny him. Jesus knows that their troubled spirits are at their core a faith issue. They are to look at the nature and promise of God. Jesus reminds them of who he is and what he is doing.

2. How Can We Know the Way?—Many efforts are made to reject the exclusive claims of Jesus by twisting Acts 10:35 out of context. The claims of inclusivity and universalism are not hard to refute by the word of God. Any means we use to have eternal life with the Father without the Man he has provided is to deny him. It is a denial of God’s grace and an exalting of your own strength and ability which will lead you to hell.

3. Knowing the Father by the Son—The Bible is clear and authoritative that there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved than the merciful name of Jesus. Now he has gone ahead to prepare for your arrival. Believe in him and you’ll be a member of God’s household, adopted as sons.

Listen to “To Know Jesus is to Know the Way” (John 14:1-7) at mcopc.org.

March 14, 2016

Just As I Have Loved You (John 13:31-38)

Sermons John

On Sunday, February 14, 2016, Pastor Joe Troutman preached “Just As I Have Loved You” from John 13:31-38.

Because Christ has loved you with an everlasting love that sent him to the cross in your place, you must love one another.

1. Glory is at Hand (vs. 31-33)–Where Christ is going he goes alone, and what he goes to do he must do alone.

2. Love is a Verb (vs. 34-35) — The more you understand your sin, the better you understand his love for you and the better you understand what he expects of you. God loved us by becoming forever embodied in human flesh. Active, sacrificial love is that to which his disciples–and we–are called. We know more, so we must do more. What God requires of us, he has supplied for us. The love we show each other demonstrates we are his disciples.

3. From Declarations to Denial (vs. 36-38)–It is impossible to perfectly obey his command to love one another. Jesus provided the perfect example. Jesus was going to be a sacrifice alone, but Peter will follow him later in being crucified. Peter protests that he is willing to be sacrificed with Jesus. Christ foretells that Peter will fail to live up to his declaration of such self-sacrifice by denying him three times before the sun rises.

Peter tried with his words and failed with his actions. How like ours Peter’s unrealized zeal was. If Jesus died for Peter in such a sorry state, then he has likewise died for us who lack the ability to live up to what we declare that we will do. Love for each other is the fruit of our faith in Christ.

Listen to “Just As I Have Loved You” (John 13:31-38) at mcopc.org.

March 14, 2016

I Know Whom I Have Chosen (John 13:18-30)

IMG_0017-0On Sunday, February 7, 2016, Pastor Joe Troutman preached “I Know Whom I Have Chosen” from John 13:18-30.

It is by God’s sovereign choice that all things happen so that the salvation of God’s elect will infallibly come to pass.

That You May Believe I Am He (v. 19)

The Bitter Bread of Betrayal (vs. 26-27)

In the Bosom of Jesus (v. 25)

Listen to “I Know Whom I Have Chosen” (John 13:18-30) at mcopc.org.

March 9, 2016

He Humbled Himself (John 13:1-17)

IMG_0017-0On Sunday, January 31, 2016, Pastor Joe Troutman preached “He Humbled Himself” from John 13:1-17.

Jesus washed his disciples’s feet to point them to the fact that he had washed us clean from sin and death on the cross.

1. You Were Washed—The love Jesus expresses to his twelve disciples is also expressed to us who believe today. His washing of their feet points to the cleansing provided through his future death on the cross, called our definitive sanctification, by which God’s people are separated from the sinful world as members of his covenant community.

2. You Are Being Cleansed—Jesus’ washing of his disciples’s feet also points to the believer’s ongoing need of forgiveness–then and now–called progressive sanctification.

3. Serve So Others Might Be Clean—Humble service to your brothers and sisters in Christ is the correct application of Christ’s command to wash one another’s feet.

Listen to “He Humbled Himself” (John 13:1-17) at mcopc.org.

March 8, 2016

March Spotlight! Knowing God

Knowing God CoverStatus: Available

Book Description

A lifelong pursuit of knowing God should embody the Christian’s existence. According to eminent theologian J.I. Packer, however, Christians have become enchanted by modern skepticism and have joined the “gigantic conspiracy of misdirection” by failing to put first things first. Knowing God aims to redirect our attention to the simple, deep truth that to know God is to love His Word. What began as a number of consecutive articles angled for “honest, no-nonsense readers who were fed up with facile Christian verbiage” in 1973, Knowing God has become a contemporary classic by creating “small studies out of great subjects.” Each chapter is so specific in focus (covering topics such as the trinity, election, God’s wrath, and God’s sovereignty), that each succeeding chapter’s theology seems to rival the next, until one’s mind is so expanded that one’s entire view of God has changed. Author Elizabeth Eliot wrote that amid the lofty content Packer “puts the hay where the sheep can reach it–plainly shows us ordinary folks what it means to know God.” Having rescued us from the individual hunches of our ultra-tolerant theological age, Packer points the reader to the true character of God with his theological competence and compassionate heart. The lazy and faint-hearted should be warned about this timeless work–God is magnified, the sinner is humbled, and the saint encouraged. –Jill Heatherly

Source: Amazon

JI PackerAbout the Author

“A Speckled Bird”

The son of a working-class man who was in his recollection, “unfit for major responsibility,” James Innell Packer was brought up in Gloucester, England, in an environment that hardly seemed a likely incubator for one of the greatest Christian minds of the twentieth century. Spending his childhood fumbling to fit in, Packer’s intellectual and bookish qualities often estranged him from his peers. “A violent collision with a bread van” served to further remove him from social acceptance. In the incident, after being chased into a street by some schoolboys, he was hit by a van and “Lost a bit of [his] head as a result.” From then on he recalls, he “Used to move around wearing on [his] head an aluminum plate with a rubber pad attached around the edge.” Frustrated by being, in his words, “A speckled bird,” Packer struggled to fit in. But his opportunity to play sports, like cricket, and live actively had been dashed with the van accident. Ultimately, he embraced his own intellectual curiosity and spent the bulk of his childhood reading voraciously.

His Blossoming Faith

Packer grew up going to church because of the habitual attendance of his parents, but it wasn’t until he was in secondary school that he began thinking seriously about the Christian faith. By the time he entered Corpus Christi College at Oxford in 1944, his vigorous study of the Bible and other Christian writers, including C. S. Lewis, had won his intellectual assent for Christianity. However, Packer recalls, it wasn’t until he attended a meeting of the Oxford Christian Union that he finally made, “A personal transaction with the living Lord, the Lord Jesus.”

Packer didn’t solve his social problems by becoming a Christian, and even at college he began feeling an increased sense of isolation. During this time he happened to start reading some of the great Puritan authors, like John Owen and John Bunyan, and found in their works the inspiration to be ordained and subsequently pursue doctoral studies.

Following Packer’s ordination in the Anglican Church, a providential scheduling mix-up on the part of a friend, changed his life forever. Having double-booked himself for an evening, Packer’s friend asked James to speak to an audience in his absence. This speaking engagement not only broke through Packer’s fear of public situations but also introduced him to his future wife, Kit Mullett, who was sitting in the audience. Together they would have three children, Naomi, Ruth, and Martin and, Packer recalls, a slew of pets.

“Centered on the Lord”

Gaining respect in academic circles, Packer wrote his first book, a critique of Christian Fundamentalism called Fundamentalism and the Word of God, in 1958. Knowing God, his most widely read book, was published fifteen years later in 1973. He worked to found the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy (ICBI). He surprised the academic community in 1979, by leaving his Anglican evangelical community to take a position at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. Regent flourished because of his presence, growing from a tiny institution into the largest center of theological education in its region. Since arriving at Regent he has published a book every year. Together his books have sold more than three million copies. His wife Kit is quick to point out the source of his success, “His devotion to the Lord is the reason for everything he’s done. His writing, his preaching, his lecturing, his living are all centered on the Lord.” To read more about Packer, a recent biography by Alister McGrath, entitled J. I. Packer, gives a careful and sensitive examination of his life.

Source: New Release Today

Book Details

286 Pages
Publisher: InterVarsity Press
Publication Date: 1993
ISBN 10: 083081650X

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.