Posts by gcbcmn

Posts by gcbcmn

Three Intercessors

The Christian life by its very nature is dependent on other people. This is especially true when it comes to prayer. Every Christian has three people interceding for them: JesusOur Lord Jesus finished His work on earth when He ascended to heaven. But He continues His work in heaven by “interceding for us” (Romans 8:34). Holy SpiritAccording to Paul, the Spirit “intercedes for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:27). The question may be asked: how is…

The God for Sufferers

The book of Job chronicles the title character, Job, and his miserable suffering: he lost everything but life itself. There are not too many people that can claim his experience. As Job suffers, God reveals himself to Job. As in each book of the Bible, the book of Job is ultimately a revelation of God himself—who he is and what he does. In other words, the book of Job is ultimately about God—the God a sufferer needs. In particular, the…

Why Is Church History Important?

Believe it or not, history was one of my least favorite subjects in primary and secondary school. I did not understand the relevance of a bunch of dead guys for my life! After I became a Christian, I began to learn about the history of Christianity. It wasn’t until my college and seminary days where I was able to study the history of the church in more detail. My Christian faith changed my perspective on history in general, and especially…

Is Jesus Returning Soon?

We live in strange and crazy times. It feels like the entire world is “groaning as in the pains of childbirth” (Romans 8:22). But do current events mean Jesus is coming soon? Over the years, I’ve heard many Christians say that Jesus is coming soon. These Christians have been friends and relatives, pastors, and theologians. I’ve heard these opinions in private and public. Some say Jesus is coming soon—in their lifetime, without a specific date; others set specific dates. The…

Personal Evangelism Is Not One-Size-Fits-All

Personal evangelism is not one-size-fits-all. The message is the same no matter the context, place, or time: “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). But the method for communicating the message looks different. For example, Jesus’ mission was to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God (Luke 4:43). But…

Remote Work and the Church

The covid-19 pandemic forced changes in where we work. Many people now tele-commute to the office from the comfort of their home through platforms like Zoom. There has been a rise of “digital nomads,” people living on the road, working wherever they want. Work has changed in the last two years. Since work has changed, how has this affected the church? Where is the church for the remote worker? Can you be a remote worker and a professing believer in…

Does Love Cover a Multitude of Mistakes?

Peter writes in 1 Peter 4:8: “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.” Key to understanding this text is the word “covered.” What does it mean that “love covers a multitude of sins?” It can’t mean that love overlooks sins. That would be in violation of other passages like Luke 17:3 and Matthew 18:15 on confronting sins. It can’t mean that love excuses sins. That would be in violation of other passages…

The Reason the Ascension Is So Important

Christmas and Easter are important markers on the Christian calendar. And rightly so. If Christ was not born, and if Christ was not resurrected, we would not be saved. Another important marker, forty days after the resurrection the ascension occurred (Acts 1:3, 9). (May 26 this year.) Unfortunately, the ascension is often overlooked. Many Christians do not celebrate the ascension as they do Christ’s birth and resurrection. This lack of celebration is unfortunate because without the ascension, we also would…

The Good Old Days

I grew up in the 80s. And I am a sucker for 80s nostalgia: Back to the Future, Bruce Springsteen, and Nintendo NES are some of my fond memories. When I look back on those days, I find myself saying, “Life was so much better back then. It was simpler, safer, and sweeter.” When the world seems chaotic, we all tend to relish “the good old days.” The Old Testament man, Job, did as well. It was after he lost…

When Should I Confront Sin in a Christian?

Jesus gives us the answer in Matthew 18:15: “When your brother sins go and show him his fault in private.” The answer, then, to when to confront sin in a Christian is “when your brother sins.” But what sins do I confront in a fellow Christian? Do I confront some sins? All sins? Egregious sins? Ten Commandment-kind-of-sins? Let me gives three guidelines for what sins you should confront. 1. Public sins Open not closed; visible not invisible; objective not subjective;…

Reading the Bible in Historical Context

In the adult CE hour in our Systematic Theology class, we recently covered how to use the Bible in doing theology. We usually follow the adage that the three most important rules in Bible interpretation are context, context, and context. By context, we typically mean the following: Textual context – the historical setting in which the Bible passage occurs; how the original audience would have understood the passage; to whom the passage was addressed; the grammar of the text; and…

What is One of the Best New Year’s Resolutions You Could Make?

According to one website, the top five New Year’s resolutions are: Exercise more Lose weight Get organized Learn a new skill or hobby Live life to the fullest Not surprisingly, joining a local church did not make the list. But joining a church is one of the best New Year’s resolutions you could make. Here’s why. In the third century, Cyprian of Carthage (c 210-258), once said: “No one can have God for his Father, who does not have the…

Christmas Is About Justice

God has placed within every human being a sense of right and wrong. This can be seen from the earliest of ages when a child screams bloody murder when a toy is taken from him by another child. Everyone has a built-in sense of justice (see Romans 2:15). In recent years, justice has been a major theme of discussion in our culture. Notably, the death of George Floyd sparked riots, protest, and demands for justice under the movement of Black…

Where Is God in Suffering?

A recent online poll shows interesting data on what Americans believe about God and suffering. Most Americans, roughly 80%, say that suffering in the world comes from people, not from God. Another 44% (indicating you could choose more than one answer) say that Satan is responsible for most of the suffering in the world. This data is good to know. My question (as always) is what does the Bible say about God and suffering? Arguably, no one in the Bible…

Modern Expressions in the Ancient Book of Job

We have many phrases, colloquialisms, and expressions we use, sometimes not knowing where they come from. At the end of the day Over my dead body There is light at the end of the tunnel Lay an egg Behind the eight-ball Interestingly, several of our modern-day phrases, colloquialisms, expressions can be found in the ancient book of Job. Catch my breath When we are struck with trials one right after the other, we say: “I did not have time to…

Do Protestants believe in the treasury of merit?

The Roman Catholic Church teaches a concept called the “treasury of merit.” The treasury of merit, in simplest of terms, is a heavenly bank account of good works that have been accumulated over time by Christ, martyrs, and saints when their good works have gone above and beyond what their good works required (i.e., supererogation). In theory, if a “good work” represents walking an old lady across the street, and if I walk five old ladies across the street, the…

Saved to Serve

In his famous treatise, The Freedom of a Christian (1520), Martin Luther states: “A Christian is an utterly free man, lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is an utterly dutiful man, servant of all, subject to all.” These words echo Galatians 5:13: “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Luther understood that a Christian is completely free from condemnation. But…

Prayer Changes… You

In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus says that we do not pray to inform God about what we need: “Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:8). Charles Spurgeon once said: “Prayer is not meant for the Lord’s information. The question is not put to you that you may instruct Him, but that He may instruct you.” Jesus truly does instruct us on the nature of prayer in the Lord’s Prayer. The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus says, is…

Praise God for Chapters and Verses

If you have ever read theological writings from the sixteenth century (or before), you will notice something about the Scripture references used in the writings. For example, in Luther’s masterpiece, The Freedom of a Christian (1520), arguing for the Spirit’s role in freedom, he says: “As Christ says in John 4[:14], it is a ‘spring of water welling up to eternal life.’” The reason verse 14 is in brackets is because verse 14 was not what Luther wrote. An editor…

Why Is Preaching A Big Deal?

Henry Bullinger (1504-1575) is not a common household name. Many readers of this blog have never heard of him. But Bullinger is a name Christians should be familiar with. He played a key role when the church was in desperate need of reformation in the sixteenth century. We could write many blogs on how God used Bullinger to reform the church in a more biblical direction. But I want to focus on one way God used him. Bullinger was one…