Monthly Archives: March 2014

  • The Resurrection and the Life, Part 2

    We are fast approaching the fifty-day celebration of the central tenet of the Christian faith: Easter. Our textual reflections on John 11 lead us to consider the implications of Jesus’ resurrection, as in him and his ministry the future breaks into the present. Sure, the first century Jews were waiting for the glorious reality of the resurrection on the last day (Daniel 12). But that day was still a long way out, at least it was in their minds. They were still under the thumb of Rome after all. But in Jesus, all of that changes. He is the resurrection and the life. In other words, in him, the resurrection of the last day is the reality of this day. In Jesus the future has radically broken into the present. Promise has given way to fulfillment.

    One of the reasons Jesus … Read More »

  • The Resurrection and the Life, Part 1

    In the text of John 11, Jesus more than hints at what the future holds for him. Sure, we must go with him and Thomas and die (11:16). But that is not the end of the story. That is the penultimate chapter of his life. God is the God of life. His very first creative acts sent the cosmos teeming with life. Let there be life are the words that reverberate through the pages of Scripture. And those words come to fulfillment in the person of Jesus who brings life to the world. Sometimes Christians speak of receiving life through Christ’s death. But that is not really the apostolic way of looking at things. The New Testament writers speak more of us dying with him and then living with him through his powerful resurrection. Because of this, the resurrection of … Read More »

  • The Lord’s Prayer

    Last week our reading of the law came from that section of Scripture in Matthew’s gospel that records for us the famous Lord’s Prayer. In light of our recent confrontation with it, I thought it might be helpful for us to revisit the question of why we pray the Lord’s Prayer in our worship services. Honestly, I feel a little weird defending the practice of reciting the Lord’s Prayer in our services.  No one seems to mind when an elder prays one of Paul’s prayers or when we recite the Psalms, but when the Lord’s Prayer comes out, the Catholic meters start going wild.  This was driven home to me recently when I heard a message wherein the preacher mocked churches that pray the Lord’s Prayer.  Hopefully, this will not only explain why we do what we do, but also … Read More »

  • Perseverance of the Saints

    As you might expect, the passage for this morning’s sermon is the locus classicus when it comes to the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. As such, it helps us to think through difficult experiences and questions like: What happens to someone who becomes a follower of Jesus and then falls away? If you have spent any amount of time in the church you know that question arises not from the hypothetical but from the actual. Apostasy happens. In the minds of many Christians, there are two answers to that question. Historically, Arminians and Lutherans have taught that a person may be born again and then later fall away from that state of grace. So it is possible for one who makes a profession of faith, is baptized and joins Christ and his church, and then falls away to … Read More »