Saturday, December 27, 2008

John Piper resources: download for free now!

I mentioned John Piper's resources here before, and was reminded again of John's resources by Nicholas Batzig.

In my opinion you'd be hard-pressed to find better Christian resources for growth in the knowledge of God or how to live your life to the fullest for God, than the resources
of John Piper made available at Desiring God.

John's general Resource Library can be found here. You can also make use of his various RSS Feeds and Podcasts and/or Email Subscriptions.


John also has sermons available. Many sermons are available in text, audio, and video.


Apart from the many other resources, apart from his online audio sermons, I would reckon his books to be the top resource at Desiring God. Most of these books can be downloaded as PDF.

Just to remind you, all the resources I mention here are FREE! All you have to pay for is download time. Isn't that great!

Friday, December 26, 2008

NCT Friday: Israel in the New Covenant era


When it comes to Israel, many in the church today believe that God still has some special plan for them, and that we must just be patient to see God's work in Israel in some future time.

Of course, to some, if you do not constantly stand up for the "rights" of the nation of Israel, then you are either a heretic at best, or at worst you are a communist or even an Islamic jihadist!

I would like to bring several articles, written from a New Covenant Theology (NCT) perspective, to your attention, that deal with the issue of Israel in the New Covenant era.

Today's Israel: Is God On Her Side?
Romans 9-11: Israel, Unsubmitted to God's Righteousness
Israel: An Unbelieving People
John 15: The Dilemma of an Old Covenant Jew (PDF)
Romans 11: A New Covenant Perspective
(PDF)
Abraham's Four Seeds
Israel and the Church
The Church and Israel

Update:
First NCT Friday.
Next, NCT Friday: NCT contrasted with Covenant Theology & Dispensational Theology.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day is almost gone!

Christmas Day is almost gone at the time I am writing this! A whole month of expectation comes before this day. For some, even longer. Yet, the expectations of most people is about the holiday, the gifts, the time off work, parties, and many other earthly prospects.

For most, that is how far their thinking goes concerning Christmas. That really is a shame! Christmas is so much more than holidays, gifts, etc! If that was all Christmas was about, it would be such a waste! All those millions spent over the Christmas period! For what? For good times and parties?! Surely money can be spent on much better issues than parties and gifts?!

"(4) And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, (5) to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. (6) And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. (7) And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (8) And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. (9) And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. (10) And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. (11) For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (12) And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. (Lk 2.4-12 ESV)"
Christmas is the outflow of a belief in a historical event that happened around 2000 years ago. That belief is that Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, was born into this world through the virgin Mary. That belief does not stand all by itself. If that were all it was, then God would have accomplished nothing apart from showing up to show us His face.

No, the purpose of God's visit to this planet is much bigger. Jesus came to reveal the truth to this world. Jesus came to give His life as a ransom for many (Mt 20.28). That was the purpose of His coming. Jesus came with the express purpose to die on that cross of Calvary! (Lk 24.26) His purpose was to make a propitiation for God's people, to be the sacrifice that turns God's wrath away from sinners that so gravely deserve God's wrath. Jesus came to atone for the sins of His people.

We must remember that when we celebrate Christmas, we cannot celebrate Jesus as He was at His birth, but as He is now! He is the slayer of the last enemy, death! He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the King of kings!

We must remember that He came for a purpose. A purpose of salvation for His people! Why should we continue to think of Him as that baby in the manger when He is the King of kings. Let us celebrate not only His birth, with the cuteness factor, but worship Him as the only wise God. Christmas led to His death on a cross. However, He is risen and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

HALLELUJAH!

Let us celebrate and worship Jesus as the great victorious KING!
"Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, (2) for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.' (3) Once more they cried out, 'Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.' (4) And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, 'Amen. Hallelujah!' (5) And from the throne came a voice saying, 'Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great.' (6) Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, 'Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. (7) Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; (8) it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure'-- for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. (9) And the angel said to me, 'Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.' And he said to me, 'These are the true words of God.' (10) Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, 'You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.' For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (11) Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. (12) His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. (13) He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. (14) And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. (15) From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. (16) On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. (17) Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, 'Come, gather for the great supper of God, (18) to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.' (19) And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. (20) And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. (21) And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh. (Rev 19.1-21 ESV)"

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Discounts on Calvin's Institutes for 2009 reading schedule

For those that want to read through John Calvin's Institutes in 2009, you can find some discounts here.

You can also find other places to buy yourself a copy of the Institutes here.

JOLLYBLOGGER needs your prayers

Please pray for the JOLLYBLOGGER, David Wayne. He has just recently discovered that he has cancer, and today at 11:00, American EST, he will undergo surgery.

You can find out more at his blog.

Hell's best kept secret

This is a long video. About 52 minutes.

Laugh it up with NT Greek

κοινη!



HT: James White

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fighting error in the church

If I've heard it once, I have heard it a thousand times. We should just love other Christians. It doesn't really matter what they believe, as long as they are sincere. It has become a truly hackneyed response by those who just don't seem to care for the truth. To them, standing for the truth is an otiose effort in light of the fact that we must love God. They just don't like loving God with their minds, though!

Jay Adams, from the Institute for Nouthetic Studies wrote a short summary of how the NT sees fighting for the truth and standing against false teaching.

I think that one of the main problems we have with people who say that we should not point out error in the teachings of others, is that they love reading the Bible devotionally, yet they never actually STUDY the Bible. Perhaps if they spend the time and effort to study the Bible, and not just treating it as a 30-day devotional script, they will start realising how important standing for the truth and against false teaching really is in the NT!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Zondervan author disses ESV

Whether it is so or not, I wouldn't know, but it seems that Zondervan, via Mark Strauss (PhD), an author of Zondervan, dissed the ESV translation.

Is this sour grapes from the NIV crowd at the amazing growth of the ESV? Perhaps I am seeing it all wrong.

However, I am with the ESV crowd!

BTW, I have been waiting for the ESVSB (ESV Study Bible) to arrive in South Africa, and now that it has, I realise that I can't afford it. When I buy a Bible, I buy the bonded leather edition, because the leather edition is beyond my budget. I don't buy the hardcover, since I have found that hardcover editions fall apart after a while.

Anyhow, prices of the bonded leather edition range from around R900 ($87) to about R1099 ($108). This is just too pricey for me. So, for now, I will have to sit out on the ESVSB.

Of course, if there is anyone out there that would be willing to bless me with the ESVSB, it will be greatly appreciated.

Recital of Hebrews 9-10



The preeminence of Santa

I have finally reached my 500th post! So, this is a milestone for me! I definitely am not like some of the other guys out there that blog every single day. And, I am not talking about people that write little ditty lines! I am talking about people that blog significant posts everyday! I just don't know where they get the time. One person like this is Tim Challies. Check him out!

But now, back to my post!

"15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything
he might be preeminent.
19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross."

(Col 1.15-20)

For those who do not live in caves on Mars, I am sure that most, if not all, of us have noticed images and trinkets of all things Christmas almost everywhere. I believe it is quite understandable that these 'things' that supposedly represent Christmas are made up mostly of Santas, Christmas trees and other symbols of modern day Christmas.

When you go shopping you will hear, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, or some other singer belting out some Christmas song, just so that shop owners could keep you in the Christmas 'mood.' Don't get me wrong, I love these songs, especially when I hear a good rendering of 'Oh, Holy Night,' such as that by David Phelps!


Christmas has become a time of spending and being extravagant. Some people make collections of Santa Clauses, or baubles, or whatever. And for those that are not Christians it is understandable. That is what Christmas is to them!

So, for these people Santa, or at least the idea of Santa, is preeminent.

My problem is with those that are Christians, who go so nuts during Christmas, they have many Santas all over the house, many that can play silly irritating tunes when a button is pushed. Further, they have Christmas trees and other Christmas paraphernalia all over. Yet, if you want to find anything at all that they are actually Christian, it would be hard to find. Maybe something small, tiny, or even minute may be found.

The celebration of Christmas, in fact, has nothing to do with Santa and Christmas trees or Christmas lights. Commercially it might. However, for Christians, Santa should have no meaning. The Santa symbol is merely there to create artificial joy!

The central issue of Christmas is Christ, only Christ and nothing but Christ.

"9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.10 And the angel said to them, Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people.11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"(Lk 2.9-14)

The Christmas story is not about Santa and gifts. It is about God, stepping into the plane of human existence, taking on the shape of a man, to reveal to us the truth about ourselves and about God. It is the story of one of the most momentous occasions ever to happen on earth.

Christ came to earth with the purpose of dying for His people. By making Santa and gifts and lights more important than Christ we tarnish the memory of the God-man that walked the earth, who died, rose from the dead and returned to the Father. We, in effect, minimise the importance of the coming of Christ to earth. By making Santa more important than Christ Himself, in typical human rebellion, we tell God that His greatest gift is just not good enough!

With your house full of Santa and Christmas trinkets, you want to shout at me that you are a Christian and that Christ is important to you! Yet, your santaphernalia prove you wrong! In the second most important Christian season of the year, all you have to show is Santa! Where is Christ in your world?

The fullness of deity dwells in Christ. Why be so taken with Santa, who is a figment of man's imagination? All thing were created by Christ. "[A]ll things were created through him and for him." "He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent." Why do we allow a common image of a man to become so preeminent in our lives during this time? Above all things, Christ should have preeminence!

We simply cannot do all things to the glory of God, when He does not get all the glory! If Santa is the preeminent one in your house right now, it is time to rectify the situation. Glorify Christ!

Santa should not have the preeminence. Christ alone should have preeminence in your life as a Christian.

Let's make Christmas about Christ! Start today!

Here are two videos by John Piper on Christmas.


NCT Friday: What Is New Covenant Theology?


What is New Covenant Theology (NCT)? Haven't heard of it? Then this post is for you! Don't like it? Then this post is for you! This post is for you whether you are ignorant or misinformed about NCT!

And, who better than one of the grandfather's of NCT, John Reisinger.

Here is a four part series by John Reisinger on the question, "What is New Covenant Theology?"
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

Update:
First NCT Friday.
Next, NCT Friday: Israel in the New Covenant era.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Reading through Calvin's Institutes in 2009

Reformation21 is going to read through John Calvin's The Institutes of the Christian Religion in 2009.

There are 3 blog posts of importance at Reformation21 concerning this adventure in 2009:
Why read through Calvin's Institutes in 2009? by Ligon Duncan.
All at sea with Calvin? by Iain D Campbell.
In praise of John Calvin's Institutes by Derek Thomas.

HT: Martin Downes

Calvin's Institutes can be found online for free at CCEL.

For those that prefer a book in hand, it is widely available for purchase online:
North America
Amazon - $23.76
Christianbook - Hardcover - $14.99

Europe
Amazon - Hardcover - £13.99

Africa
Kalahari -
Hardcover - R408.81
Take2 -
Hardcover - R265
Augustine Bookroom -
Hardcover - R180

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Book giveaway for Christmas

Don't we all just love Christmas!? At least I do, for the real reasons. And, don't we all just love books!? Again, I do. Now, if you had a chance of getting $260 worth of books for free, wouldn't you grab the opportunity?

Well, here's your chance! Trevin Wax will be drawing a name from the proverbial hat on Christmas day this year, to find out who the blessed winner is of those amazing books. Simply go to his blog, Kingdom People, at this post, and follow the entry rules. Voila! That's it!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Discipline your child for heaven

We forget that disciplining our children is not just about stopping a certain behaviour, but more about shaping a child to follow God and serving Him in obedience.

Russell Moore wrote an excellent article called The Eschatology of Parenting. For those with children, or thinking of having children, read this as a reminder what Christian disciplining of children is about.

Here is a short quote:
"A parent who will not discipline a child for disobedience, or who is inconsistent in doing so, is teaching that child not to expect consequences for behavior.

"In short, a parent who will not discipline is denying the doctrine of hell."


Friday, December 12, 2008

Lisa Miller's gayatribe in Newsweek refuted

See it here!

NCT Friday: NCT and the Mosaic Law

"In keeping with one of the emphases of the John Bunyan Conference, we are going to look at this subject as it relates to the law. Really, this is the specific area of concern handed to anyone studying the larger picture of the Divine schema -- it just works out that way in that it is such a pivotal matter from the point of view both of Scripture and of the competing systems of theology today. Your view of the law winds up shaping your entire hermeneutical grid.

"So, what is the status of Mosaic law since the coming of Jesus Christ? In what way(s) did He affect it, if at all? Still more specifically, how did the revelation which Jesus brought relate to that of Moses? Does Moses' law remain the final court of appeal in questions of ethics? What bearing does it have on ethical and behavioral issues which face the new covenant believer?

"Within this discussion Matthew 5:17-20 looms large. Indeed, out of this pivotal statement of Jesus the whole New Testament theology of law grows. In this passage Jesus specifically disclaims any conflict between Himself and Moses and enthusiastically affirms His harmonious relationship with the older revelation. But the exact nature of this relationship is what we must determine."

Many Christians do not know how to treat the law, especially the Law of Moses, or as some would put it, the Moral Law.

Fred Zaspel starts clearing up the issues in his article New Covenant Theology
and the Mosaic Law: A Theological and Exegetical Analysis of Matthew 5:17-20
.

Update:
First NCT Friday.
Next, NCT Friday: What Is New Covenant Theology?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Jesus bore witness to the truth!

For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice. (Jn. 18.37)

With the evanjellycal church in the state its in, it is difficult to imagine how the church still exists.

Many, if not most, of the
evanjellycal church think that Jesus came to make them rich, to give them goose bumps, give them a good time and that The Shack is a great book for evanjellycal christians (lowercase 'c' intended) to read.

For these people truth is not all that important, as long as you are nice to people and tolerate them. To them, what we believe is not that important. It is what we do, they say!

However, the truth is so important to God, that He sent Jesus to bear witness to the - gasp - truth!

When Jesus said that He would not leave us alone to our own devices, what did He say about sending the Holy Spirit? He called the Holy Spirit the Spirit of truth!
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,
17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. (Jn. 14.16-17)

But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. (Jn. 15.26)

13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. (Jn. 16.13-14)
If you want to find out what is important to a person, just listen to what He prays for. This is true about Jesus too! Even while praying Jesus highlighted the importance of the truth of His Word.
17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.
19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word. (Jn 17.17-20)
If the truth of the God's Word is so important to Jesus, how is it that so many evanjellycals simply ignore it? It is God's truth that sanctifies us, not our own truth!

It is the great human disaster that drives people to assess their own truth as greater than God's, and then still to claim that it is God's truth all along! It is sin that drives them to it! If we ignore God's truth and do not deem it as important as God deems it, we're living in sin and need to repent. It simply means that we are then completely out of step with God!

If we hold our own ideas and 'truths' as more important than God's truth then we are idolaters!

Idolaters will not inherit the kingdom of God!
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,
20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,
21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Gal. 5.16-24)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas cheer!

This is very shocking! Read it and wonder where the world is going. Christ has no part in this Christmas!

HT: GraceRemarx

D.A. Carson sermons

Here are two lists of audio sermons by D.A. Carson:
List One
List Two
List Three

HT: Nicholas Batzig

Ever heard of Christmas?


That's Christmas! from andy pearce on Vimeo.


HT: Adrian Warnock

Baby food for Christians


HT: Dan Phillips

Friday, December 05, 2008

NCT Friday: Common FAQ

"It is obvious that God’s laws relating to the theocracy of Israel and their sacrificial system have changed with the change from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant. But it is wrong to assume that there is some category of law (like 'moral law') that is unchangeable. Instead we should see that our holy God changed His holy law in many ways when He made the New Covenant. Some of these changes seem minor, like changes regarding laws about what we are allowed to eat or the kinds of plants we can plant together in our gardens. But some of these changes are enormous as we have just seen regarding what and how we give to God; His law regarding divorce; and how God wants us to view 'holy days.'"
You can read more at the FAQ called "Commonly Asked Questions About New Covenant Theology" by Steve Lehrer and Michael Adams.

Please note that this is a link to PDF file. You will find free PDF readers at Foxit or Adobe.

Update:
First NCT Friday.
Next, NCT Friday: NCT and the Mosaic Law.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Who will you worship this Christmas?

Santa, or Christ? Or, Santa Christ?

When Christmas rolls around every year, things become whacky! The question is, "Who will you worship this Christmas?" If your answer is Christ, are you sure?

Sinclair Ferguson wrote a very compelling article:
"For one thing, in our worship at Christmas we may varnish the staggering truth of the incarnation with what is visually, audibly, and aesthetically pleasing. We confuse emotional pleasure -- or worse, sentiment -- with true adoration.

"For another thing, we may denigrate our Lord with a Santa Claus Christology. How sadly common it is for the church to manufacture a Jesus who is a mirror refection of Santa Claus. He becomes Santa Christ.

"Santa Christ is sometimes a Pelagian Jesus. Like Santa, he simply asks us whether we have been good. More exactly, since the assumption is that we are all naturally good, Santa Christ asks us whether we have been 'good enough.' So just as Christmas dinner is simply the better dinner we really deserve, Jesus becomes a kind of added bonus who makes a good life even better. He is not seen as the Savior of helpless sinners."

Continue reading "Santa Christ?" here.

John Piper on abortion






John Piper has spoken on the issue of abortion many times. The fact is that too few pastors even dare to tackle the subject. Apparently, it is too political. Since when is the violent dismemberment of a human being too political?

You can find John's sermons on abortion here. Many of the sermons are available in sermon notes, audio and video.

John Piper on the gospel


John Piper shares the crux of the matter concerning the gospel as part of promoting the Gospel Coalition.

Introduction to the Gospel Coalition


It would be tremendously beneficial to the church in South Africa if something like this, with men of such calibre existed here!
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