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Doctrines of Power

At Grace Community Bible Church, we believe the Canons of Dordt are an accurate summary of what the Bible teaches about key doctrines regarding salvation. Sometimes the Canons of Dordt are referred to as the “Doctrines of Grace.” But I have always wondered how my Arminian friends feel about this title. Is their system not “doctrines of grace”? It wasn’t until a recent study of the Canons of Dordt, I found that it might be better to refer to the…

Keep Hoisting the Sails

For many of us, right about now, we are stuck in a rut with our daily Bible reading. We started the year well, with great intentions and ambitions to read the Bible in a year. But somehow, Leviticus is boring us to death! So, with that said, I want to remind you that the means of grace God has orchestrated, like Bible reading, is like sailing. A sailor cannot control the wind one iota. All the sailor can do is…

Human Love Versus God’s Love

How is God’s love different than our love? There are at least four ways God’s love is different than human love. I’m borrowing these four ways from a sermon by William Cooper, author of many well-known hymns including “There is a Fountain.” God’s love is eternal; ours is not. It is hard to fathom in our finite minds, but, if you are a Christian, from before time began, God loved you. This means his choice of you is an effect…

Life Is Fragile

Three years ago on Easter Sunday 2017, I was so sick that I could not get out of bed. The day before I was in full health; on Easter Sunday morning, I was hardly able to move. I can only recall two other times in my entire life being so sick. More recently, due to a herniated disc, I have been on my back more in the last few weeks than I have ever been. Both sickness and injury have…

What Does Chalcedon Have To Do With Christmas?

Chalcedon is a city in Turkey that was the sight of the ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451. The Council of Chalcedon produced the Chalcedonian Definition which explains the incarnation of Christ. The Chalcedonian Definition says that Jesus Christ was one person in two natures—fully human and fully divine. This means that . . . At the moment of incarnation, Christ was fully man and fully God, being fully God from eternity. In the incarnation, Christ not only assumed flesh,…

What Is Christmas About?

What is Christmas about? Christmas is about the incarnation of the glory of God. Allow me to unpack this. What is the glory of God? The glory of God is the display of all that he is. Each of God’s attributes (e.g., holiness, goodness, justice, etc.) tell us what God is like; they tell us about who he is. The glory of God is the display of his attributes, of all that he is. To use an imperfect analogy, on…

Your Work Is Service to Christ

The Scripture teaches us that as we work, we are to work for God, doing the best at what he has called us to do (Colossians 3:23). If we can do our work—whether outside the home or inside the home, paid or unpaid—“as for the Lord,” then it follows that our work is in some sense service to God. And this is exactly what the Bible teaches: “It is the Lord Christ whom your serve” in your work (Colossians 3:24).…

Should We Use the Term “Born Again?”

Many people use the term “born again.” The term is heavily utilized both by evangelicals and the news. When Christians use the term “born again,” it is often shorthand for an evangelical Christian, as opposed to a Roman Catholic. However, many Christians use the term with little thought of their context and audience. Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus is illustrative and instructive for us. When Jesus meets Nicodemus, he says to him that “unless one is born again he cannot see…

Advice on Killing Sin

The definitive treatment on killing sin is a series of sermons John Owen preached on Romans 8:13 that eventually became Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers (1656). In the book, Owen has several pithy statements of advice on killing sin. “Be killing sin or it will be killing you” According to Romans 8:13, Christians are to actively kill sin in their lives. The reason is simple: sin is serious. If we do not kill sin, it will kill us!…

When Desires Aren’t Fulfilled

What do you do when God implants a desire to do something or have something and that desire is not fulfilled? For example, God gives you the desire to serve him as a pastor or missionary or engineer or military officer, and the desire isn’t fulfilled? Or, God gives you the desire to be married or to have children, and the desire isn’t fulfilled? How do you process these disappointments, especially considering Psalm 145:19, which states: “He will fulfill the…

The Great Ejection: Praying for the Persecuted Church

In the United States of America, we have freedom of religion and worship. We often take these freedoms for granted and complain about government intervention in religious matters. Nevertheless, we have a measure of freedom. Compared to our brothers and sisters in persecuted countries, we have much to be thankful for. We also have much to be thankful for compared to our brothers and sisters in the persecuted past. On August 24, 1662, 357 years ago today, more than 2,000…

Should We Follow Our Heart?

There is a modern-day way of life that says: “Follow your heart.” According to this philosophy, the way to happiness and freedom is to follow what your heart tells you to do. In a nutshell: if it feels good, do it. The problem is that this concept is fundamentally flawed for two important reasons. First, the philosophy of “follow your heart” is inherently inconsistent. No loving person would let a five-year-old eat an entire 64-ounce bag of tootsie rolls in…

A Diet of Worms

On October 31, 2017 we celebrated the 500-year anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing his 95 Theses to the Castle church door. If October 31 marks the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, another famous date made it official. That date was April 18, 1521 at the Diet of Worms. The Diet (=assembly or gathering) was called by Emperor Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire to convene in the German city of Worms (pronounced “Vorms”). The reason this Diet was called…

What is the Bible About?

I am convinced that many Christians functionally read their Bible as if it is about them.  For example, the temptation of Jesus by the devil in the wilderness is a well-known event. What many Christians do (I have done this in the past) is they read Matt 4:1-11 and ask the question, “How does this passage apply to me?” What they take away many times is this: Jesus memorized the Scriptures; during his hour of temptation he quoted Scripture to…

Institutes and Idolatry

If I were to tally a survey of the five most influential Christian books of all time, undoubtedly, John Calvin’s, the Institutes of the Christian Religion would make it on many lists. In fact, this very day, marks the 483-year anniversary (March 22, 1536) of the first publication of the first edition of his book. Contrary to popular belief, the Institutes of the Christian Religion is not a dry, heartless book of theology. The book is warm and pious, intended…

Spiritual Breathing

Prayer is like breathing – spiritual breathing. This analogy came to me via J.C. Ryle: “Prayer is to faith what breath is to life. How a man can live and not breathe is past my comprehension, and how a man can believe and not pray is past my comprehension too.” Ryle’s statement is based on 1 Thess 5:17: “Pray without ceasing.” Often 1 Thess 5:17 is seen as a command. And it is a command. But more than a command,…

Sausage Anyone?

Last year, as I was eating king cake with my colleagues on Fat Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday), we discussed how Catholics relinquish meat during the Lenten season. Our newest colleague was asked: “Are you Catholic?” “I used to be,” he said, “but I loved meat too much!” Chuckles filled the lunch room. As light-hearted as his comment was, the Reformed Reformation (not the Lutheran Reformation), of which Grace Community Bible Church can generally trace its roots, started by…

The Gospel in a Verse

The God-man priest propitiates the Father’s wrath for his people’s sins. That’s the summary of the gospel in one verse in Hebrews: “Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (2:17). This verse unfolds with three attributes of Christ: the person of Christ; the office of Christ; the work of…

The Ministry of Every Christian

If you are a Christian, you are called to ministry. I don’t mean vocational ministry—few of God’s people are called to vocational ministry. But I do mean ministry. The question is, what is ministry supposed to do, and what is that ministry aiming to accomplish? Simply put, ministry is this: proclaim to present. This language comes from Col 1:28: “We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete…
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