Gospel

Category Archive

Four Questions Explain it All

1. What is truth? The word of God.

2. What is valuable? The kingdom of God.

3. What is ethical? The law of God.

4. How must I be saved? By the Son of God alone.

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Why the Gospel Is Not Christianity 101

Most people think that the Gospel is something that gets you saved and then you move on to bigger and better things – as if the Gospel was Christianity 101. This kind of thinking bears witness to a defective understanding of the Gospel. At our upcoming conference, The Power of the Gospel we will be explaining this in depth. In Romans 1:15-16 Paul makes it clear that the Gospel is for believers, not only unbelievers. Paul was eager to preach the Gospel to the church in Rome, because the people of God need to be nourished by it. And why do we need to be nourished by it? One reason is that everything is rooted in the Gospel. Everything – every category of doctrine, every command echoes back to the Gospel. 

You cannot understand the doctrines and the commands the roles and relationshisp of the Bible clearly and deeply without a clear understanding of the Gospel. In this sense the Gospel makes everything else make more sense. It is the “rosetta stone” for every other command and pattern in the Bible. The Gospel is the center point of everything. As the center point, it explains and interprets everything else. Everything points to the Gospel and the Gospel points to everything.

One of the reasons it is critical for believers to continually consider the Gospel, is that they need a constant framework from which to understand everything. The Gospel clarifies everything. The Gospel sweetens everything. You cannot understand marriage, headship, submission, child raising, discipleship, work, preaching, church discipline or anything else unless you see how the Gospel calls for it and how it glorifies the Gospel. 

One reason you should consider coming to the Power of the Gospel Conference is that you will walk away with fresh eyes for all of life as well as a renewed understanding of everything that the Gospel commands, provides, produces and implies.

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It Takes a Genius to Praise Murder

Abortion Blog

Apparently you are “brilliant” if you make fun of murdering babies. Thats how Cosmopolitan Magazine described it. Bustle says “its the stuff of genius.” So now you are a “genius” if you hold silly signs in front of a place where murder is happening day after day. This is what Grayson and Tina Haver Curren are doing on their Saturday Chores site. They put a smiley face on abortion. We don’t.

For the past four years, our church has been visiting a local Raleigh abortion clinic every Saturday. We go for three reasons:  First, to cry out for the defenseless. Second, to declare the mercies of God that the Gospel offers to the women and men going in and out of there. Third, to offer help if she decides to keep her baby or give it up for adoption or simply needs personal counsel after her abortion.

Since March, the Currins have been coming out for a few minutes to stand next to our sign that reads, “Babies Murdered Here.” They hold up their signs next to ours and take pictures. They usually only stay for a few minutes… its a photo op. The signs are designed to mock pro lifers. They bring signs like, “Happy St Patricks Day,” “I Like Turtles,”  Bring Back Crystal Pepsi.”  They are mocking our message, “Babies are Murdered Here.” Last week they began to post the photos and their story went viral. It was reported in CosmopolitanElleHuffington Post and the Raleigh News and Observer. They’ve decided to stage counter protests. The first week about 60 of their friends showed up to mock, dance, play loud music and drown us out. They came again last Saturday.

Here is my son in law Taylor Tsantles, who is the organizer of our abortion clinic visits,  on Kevin Swanson’s radio show talking about it.

Our mission is to proclaim hope before they enter that door. There is hope. We want to be a voice of hope before that life is terminated and the woman’s life is forever changed.  Here is an explanation of what we are doing over at Hope Before the Door.

It is important that the people in our community know that babies are murdered in there. It is also important that as a community everyone knows that murderers are not babied here. We desire to speak this truth in a spirit of love, compassion and availability. We want to make it clear that there is mercy in God, for He holds out the offer of forgiveness and restoration and no one has sinned too greatly for that. There is hope before the door – and even after.

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How I Prepare for a Sermon

One of the greatest joys of my life is to preach the Word of God in the church. Scripture is true treasure. It reveals a beautiful Savior and a wonderful life. I am so very thankful for the privilege to preach. I usually spend 10-20 hours on a sermon per week. This might sound contradictory, but while I am grateful and happy to preach and I love the beneficial nature of it, I must admit that it has always been taxing, terrifying and humiliating to prepare sermons. Here are the basic elements of my sermon research process:

Sermon Research Process: 

I. Study the text

1. Read the text ten times, listen to it ten times on audio and prayerfully meditate on it before extensive study begins.

2. Identify who is speaking and who is being spoken to.

3. Outline the text. In expository preaching one of the primary objectives is for the sermon to derive its outline, emphasis and message from the text itself.

4. Identify important words in the text, and document where else these words are used and their lexical meaning.

5. Explain the historical locations mentioned in the passage by identifying where they are on the map, where they are referred to in other places in Scripture and why they are mentioned in this particular text.

6. Explain the identity of the people mentioned in the text, where they are found elsewhere in Scripture, and why they are mentioned in this particular text.

7. List the images and metaphors mentioned in the text. (more…)

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Something Helpful for the Law/Grace, Sanctification/Justification Discussion

Here is a helpful reflection on a presentation Derek Thomas made that provides helpful language discussing the role of the law in sanctification. For more on this subject, see also, Ernest Kevan’s book, The Grace of the Law.” It might also be beneficial to take a look at our video sessions on the law as explained in the Second London Baptist Confession, in our series, “Family Foundations in Sound Doctrine.”

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What is the Heart of the Gospel?

There can be no personal transformation, no holy family life, no sanctified church life or any kind of life without the foundation of the gospel. In July 1886, Charles Spurgeon began his message with this statement,

“The heart of the gospel is redemption, and the essence of redemption is the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ. They who preach this truth preach the gospel in whatever else they may be mistaken; but they who preach not the atonement, whatever else they declare, have missed the soul and substance of the divine message.” He goes on to say, “I will speak upon THE GREAT DOCTRINE. The great doctrine, the greatest of all, is this, that God, seeing men to be lost by reason of their sin, hath taken that sin of theirs and laid it upon his only begotten Son, making him to be sin for us, even him who knew no sin; and that in consequence of this transference of sin he that believeth in Christ Jesus is made just and righteous, yea, is made to be the righteousness of God in Christ. Christ was made sin that sinners might be made righteousness. That is the doctrine of the substitution of our Lord Jesus Christ on the behalf of guilty men.”

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Do You Have Mountain-Moving Faith?

Here is a story Paul Washer told at one of our conferences:

“One time, when I was a young man, I came back from Peru. I was asked to speak at a church, and they set up microphones in the aisle ways and people came to ask questions of the missionary.

I’ll never forget this little red-headed boy. He was as red-headed as he could be, and freckles all over his face. He walks up to the microphone. He’s standing on his tiptoes. They had to lower it.

He started: “Mr. Washer?”

I said, “Yep.”

He said, “When you win everybody to Jesus in Peru, then what are you going to do?”

Everybody laughed except him and me. I said, “Well, when I win everybody to Christ in Peru, I guess I have to go find another place to work.”

He said, “Yeah, that’s what I thought too.”

Why not? I don’t see anything in the Bible that tells me it can’t happen. Young person, you listen to me. You let only one person limit you – God.

We have raised up men, who, oftentimes in the name of the providence of God, are narrow-minded, little men with tight spirits and tiny hearts. We need men of breath. We need men of heart. We need men and women who will believe their God for great things. (more…)

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Spurgeon on What It Means to Preach the Gospel

There is much concern today about defining the Gospel. This is such an important endeavor as we have just been through a period where a false, revivalistic Gospel has been preached for over a hundred years. This has led to many false conversions, where people believe they were saved by praying a prayer or having an experience, yet their lives have not changed. So what does it mean to preach the Gospel? Here is Charles Spurgeon on a true Gospel message: “To preach the gospel is to state every doctrine contained in God’s Word, and to give every truth its proper prominence.”

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At the Grave of John G. Paton in Melbourne

 

 

Today we went to the grave of one of the greatest missionaries in history, John G. Paton. Here are a few of his reflections:

His Trust in the Promise of Jesus

His courage and peace was fueled all his life long by the words of His Lord in the Great Commission, “Lo I am with you alway, even to the end of the age.” He wrote,

“’Lo, I am with you alway!’
The secret of a quiet heart!
The secret of a gallant spirit!
The secret of a sunny faith!
The text so often on the tongue! The text upon the tomb!
’Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end!’”

His Honor of His Father

One of the most remarkable aspects of his life is the impact of his father. The memory of his father was one of the centering inspiring forces that worked in his soul. Paton wrote the following about his father’s prayer closet in their thatched house, ‘but we children knew that it was a reflection of the Divine Presence in which his life was lived’. He also wrote,

‘Never,’ he says, ‘in temple or cathedral, on mountain or in glen, can I hope to feel that the Lord God is more near, more visibly walking and talking with men, than under that humble cottage roof of thatch and oaken wattles. Though everything else in religion were by some unthinkable catastrophe to be swept out of memory, my soul would wander back to those early scenes, and would shut itself up once again in that sanctuary closet, and, hearing still the echoes of those cries to God, would hurl back all doubt with the victorious appeal: He walked with God; why may not I?

His Love for Cannibals

One lesson from his life comes from the way he loved the rebellious that God called him to. He was not put off by the cannibals:

‘My first impressions,’ he tells us, ’drove me to the verge of utter dismay. On beholding the natives in their paint and nakedness and misery, my heart was as full of horror as of pity. Had I given up my much-beloved work, and my dear people in Glasgow, with so many delightful associations, to consecrate my life to these degraded creatures? Was it possible to teach them right and wrong, to Christianize, or even to civilize them?’

His Courage in the Face of Danger

His calm in time of crisis caused one friend to say he was the most courageous man he ever knew. On one occasion, when he was in a tree and being threatened from below, he reflected,

‘During the crisis, I felt generally calm and firm of soul, standing erect and with my whole weight on the promise, Lo, I am with you alway. Precious promise! How often I adore Jesus for it and rejoice in it! Blessed be His name!’

‘I have always felt that His promise, Lo, I am with you alway, is a reality, and that He is with His servants to support and bless them even unto the end of the world.’

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What Is the Gospel? – Paul Washer Answers

What Is Revival?

Horatius Bonar (1808-1889) explains it this way:  

What is revival? Strictly speaking, it is the restoration of life that has been lost; and in this sense, it applies only to the Church of God. But used in a more common acceptation, it is the turning of multitudes to God. As conversion is the turning of a soul to God, so a revival is a repetition of this same spiritual process in the case of thousands. It is conversion on a large scale. It is what occurred under the apostles at Pentecost, when three thousand were converted under one sermon. It is what took place at Corinth, Thessalonica, and Ephesus, when, under the preaching of the apostles, multitudes believed and turned to the Lord. This is what we mean by revival!

So revival is more than personal revival and church revival, it includes a broad awakening where multitudes are awakened. So what about us?  First, we can be grateful for the signs of awakening among us, but there is more. There is a community that surrounds us. Because of that, the matter of revival should never leave our consciousness until we see heaven come down and glory fill souls around us.

Also, Kevin De Young has posted some helpful thoughts on revival in two parts.

First, he defines revival like this: “True revival is a sovereign, swift, extraordinary work of God whereby he saves sinners and breathes new life into his people.”

Here is a description of one of the most famous awakenings in history, in the days of Josiah, where we learn that revival begins with love for the Word of God. De Young says,

True revival will always be Bible saturated through and through. Revival is not simply renewed fervor for spiritual things. Buddhists have a fervor for spiritual things. Oprah and Tom Cruise have a hunger for spiritual things. God-wrought revival brings a fervor for the Bible, that we might live, feel, sing, pray, work, and worship according to the word of God.

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What Is the Heart of the Gospel?

There can be no personal transformation, no holy family life, no sanctified church life or any kind of life without the foundation of the Gospel. In July 1886, Charles Spurgeon began his message with this statement:

The heart of the gospel is redemption, and the essence of redemption is the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ. They who preach this truth preach the gospel in whatever else they may be mistaken; but they who preach not the atonement, whatever else they declare, have missed the soul and substance of the divine message.” He goes on to say, “I will speak upon THE GREAT DOCTRINE. The great doctrine, the greatest of all, is this, that God, seeing men to be lost by reason of their sin, hath taken that sin of theirs and laid it upon his only begotten Son, making him to be sin for us, even him who knew no sin; and that in consequence of this transference of sin he that believeth in Christ Jesus is made just and righteous, yea, is made to be the righteousness of God in Christ. Christ was made sin that sinners might be made righteousness. That is the doctrine of the substitution of our Lord Jesus Christ on the behalf of guilty men.

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Help Spread the Word – Four Weeks Until White Unto Harvest

Hello friends, we are just four weeks away from the White Unto Harvest conference. Below is a two-minute promotional video clip we put together specifically for our friends to share around the Internet to get the word out. Would you consider sharing the video below with your friends, your community, and your fellow church members? (Please see below.)

 

Help spread the video… (more…)

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Without Him We Would Starve

The celebration of the Lord’s Table has so many blessings in it, for it is there that we not only acknowledge our vileness, but we also receive medicine for our diseases,  cleansing for our pollutions, comfort for our anguish, and beauty for our ashes. As the living Bread from heaven, Jesus feeds us with the best of foods that will sustain us – Himself, for without Him we would starve.  Here is John Calvin on the Lord’s Supper:
In order, therefore, not to rush headlong to such ruin, let us remember that this sacred feast is medicine for the sick, solace for sinners, alms to the poor; but would bring no benefit to the healthy, righteous, and rich–if such could be found. For since in it Christ is given to us as food, we understand that without him we would pine away, starve, and faint–as famine destroys the vigor of the body. Then, since he is given us unto life, we understand that without him in us we would plainly be dead. (more…)

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Paul Washer and Scott Brown Discuss Explaining the Gospel to an Unconverted Person

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