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Showing posts from January, 2015

Jesus Is the Fulfillment of Religion

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Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! A couple of years ago, a young Christian, Jefferson Bethke, made a video that went viral on YouTube, entitled “Why I Hate Religion but Love Jesus.” It sounds good, doesn’t it? Jefferson professes to love Jesus, and it is a good thing to love Jesus. Not only that, but as you watch the video you can tell he really does love Jesus, and he is zealous for his faith. He wants to share his love for Jesus, and he’s been very successful: his video has been viewed over 28 million times. I have to say, there is much in the video that is good. Unlike many of today’s popular preachers who teach what one critic has called “moralistic, therapeutic deism,” Bethke does share the real Gospel. He proclaims salvation by grace through faith apart from works and he confesses Christ crucified for sinners. His criticism of the church is also not far off the mark… if only he had been more careful with his …

Repent and Believe in the Gospel

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Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the Gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel’” (Mark 1:14-15).   Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! With the arrest of John the Baptist, it is time for Jesus to take center stage. He comes to Galilee, proclaiming the Gospel of God, and saying: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel.” This message is meant to lead Jesus’ first listeners back into the Scripture that they had heard in their synagogues: the Old Testament promises of the Savior, the Son of David, who will establish His kingdom. So when Jesus proclaims, “The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand,” those who know Scripture and do not misinterpret it politically are looking for the promised Messiah-King. The way to the King and His kingdom is to “repent a…

Children Are a Blessing!

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“Children are an inheritance from the Lord. They are a reward from Him. The children born to a man when he is young are like arrows in the hand of a warrior. Blessed is the man who has filled his quiver with them. He will not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the city gate” (Psalm 127:3-5). Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Children are an inheritance from the Lord. Children are a reward. Children are a blessing. I’ve known this… I’ve believed this…I’ve preached this… for a long time. But one Sunday night about three years ago that truth was reinforced. Entering the room, I was greeted by a young couple, in their mid-twenties. She was sitting up in her hospital bed. He was in a chair by her side. Both of them looked tired and confused and scared. Their pastor had asked me to visit them, so I knew they were about 200 miles away from home, without immediate family support. I also knew that she was exp…

Baptized in Christ from Tomb to Womb

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Click here to listen to this sermon. “We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! In the midst of its songs about drinking beer, driving pickup trucks, and chasing pretty girls, country music occasionally reveals a spiritual side. I remember as a kid, listening to my Dad in the barn singing along with Kris Kristofferson, asking “Why me, Lord?” or Johnny Paycheck as he urged, “Let’s all go down to the river.” Carrie Underwood’s recent hit, “Something in the Water,” follows in the same spiritual stream. And its baptismal theme is hard to miss. I’m guessing that some of you have heard the song, but for those of you who haven’t, let me summarize. The lyrics speak of the wasted life of one who, late one night, is “all out of hope and all out of fight.” She recalls the advice of …

Have You Seen Jesus?

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“And when His parents saw Him, they were astonished. And His mother said to Him, ‘Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, Your father and I have been searching in great distress’” (Luke 2:48). Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Have you seen Jesus? He’s been missing for three days! We’ve been looking all over for Him. We’ve left no stone unturned. Where could He be? He’s only twelve. A small town boy lost in the big city, with hundreds of thousands of people gathered for the Passover. I hate to even say these words aloud for fear that they might come to pass, but for all we know, He might be dead! Oh, I know what you’re probably thinking: “How could you let Him out of your sight?” That same thought has been plaguing me. You can’t imagine the guilt I feel for failing to keep a closer watch over the son the Lord entrusted to my care. You must think I’m the worst mother ever! We came to Jerusalem, just like we …