Posts Tagged ‘Gospel’

The Dying Thief: From Reformation21

Powerful post from Mark Jones in Reformation21 on the faith of The Thief on the Cross.
Do yourself and read the entire piece, but here are some tasty excerpts:

“… In this conversion we have a specific fulfillment of Christ’s first words on the cross. No sooner had Christ spoken the words, “Father, forgive them,” had the Father answered that prayer by turning a once-reviling criminal into a Christ-glorifying saint. While the soon-to-be converted criminal was not directly responsible for Christ’s death, he nevertheless joined with those who were and was thus indirectly addressed when Christ asked for God to forgive “them.”

Christ, the sinless one, was numbered with or counted among the transgressors (Isa. 53:12; Luke 22:37), all of whom have a bigger problem than the day-to-day sins they commit. They hate Christ, the God-man. Anyone who has a master other than the Lord Jesus hates him (Lk. 16:13; Gal. 4:8). That these two criminals loathed him is clearly manifested during the crucifixion: “And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way” (Matt. 27:44).
When the criminal who was converted was doing his worst against Christ, Christ was doing his best for this criminal.

This criminal’s faith did not come at a time such as when Christ turned water into wine; or performed miracles, such as walking on water, opening the eyes of a blind man, or raising Lazarus from the dead. No! The criminal believed on the Messiah while he was hanging as one cursed upon a tree. The criminal trusted in and boldly defended the one whose disciples had abandoned him. Jesus was at his lowest when this criminal asked to be remembered in Christ’s kingdom.
When he was on the cross, did anyone publicly cry out, as John the Baptist did, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn. 1:29)? But this is essentially what the dying thief did. Little wonder, then, that Christ should promise him a place in his kingdom: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk. 23:43).
The criminal acknowledged he was guilty; he acknowledged that Christ was not (“this man has done nothing wrong”); he feared God; but, and here is the key: the criminal did not merely want to be in a better place. He wanted to be with Christ in a better place: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Lk. 23:42). The criminal believed “against all hope”.
Heaven is a better place because that is where Christ is. Everyone wants to go to heaven, but not everyone wants to go to Christ’s heaven. Not so with this criminal: he saw, with his eyes, Christ at his worst; but with the eyes of faith, he believed that Christ would soon be at his best, and so put his faith in a dying king.
Christ is always – always! – willing to save even the most miserable of sinners. A recognition of guilt (Lk. 23:40) and a confidence in him and not ourselves (Lk. 23:42) will always lead to the most assuring truth a sinner can receive: the Savior welcomes such into his paradise! ”

Excellent words. A dear friend, after reading this, replied as such:
“Loved this.

Yes!! It’s not the streets of gold, or the pearly gates, or even the promise of eternal, painless–blissful!–life. It’s being with Jesus Christ. Which of us, who loves his/her child, given the choice of going to live in a slum with that child, or going alone to live in a mansion on the French Riviera along with a limitless expense account while the child is sent alone to the slum, would choose the latter? And if we love our children more than we love Christ, we are not worthy of Him.

And how bad could a slum be if Jesus was right there by our side?”
Read the whole piece:


The Fullness of Time

December 25, 2014 1 comment

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4-5 ESV)

Merry Christmas

“Preach the gospel. Call people to obedient faith. It still works”- A Hobby Lobby Reaction

Larry Rogier, a Michigan Pastor whose insightful blog at , has a couple of smart posts at his place on a Christian’s reaction to the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision. Here’s the first

Rogier characterizes the decision as ” a small, minor, and likely short-lived victory for freedom.”

This is my assessment, not Rogier’s, but I wonder if he wouldn’t agree with me that far too often Christians confuse the two kingdoms.

Here’s another quote:

For those whose Christian hope is in America, they will be found sorely disappointed. This holiday weekend is a good time to remember that America is not the church, and the church and the gospel doesn’t depend on America.

HL being free from providing all forms of birth control isn’t going to bring revival. I doubt your church attendance will be higher this weekend because of this. In fact, I doubt many people in your church will know much about this case. So I encourage you not to change that.

Preach the gospel. Call people to obedient faith. It still works.

Read the whole thing, and make it a habit to check in on his blog:

Jared Wilson’s You’re Going to Die….

Jared Wilson of The Gospel-Driven Church offers yet another spot-on rejoinder to those spouting health and prosperity teaching:

As far as I’m concerned, the more of this the better, until it is thoroughly discredited.

Second Thoughts From Veggie Tales’ Creator

Money quotes:

“VeggieTales “convinced kids to behave Christianly without actually teaching them Christianity.” So says founder Phil Vischer in a new interview.”

“His words reveal a man who’s beginning to see the difference between moralism and the gospel. And a man humble enough to acknowledge his role in confusing the two:

I looked back at the previous 10 years and realized I had spent 10 years trying to convince kids to behave Christianly without actually teaching them Christianity. And that was a pretty serious conviction. You can say, ‘Hey kids, be more forgiving because the Bible says so,’ or, ‘Hey kids, be more kind because the Bible says so!’ But that isn’t Christianity, it’s morality.

American Christian[s]… are drinking a cocktail that’s a mix of the Protestant work ethic, the American dream, and the gospel. And we’ve intertwined them so completely that we can’t tell them apart anymore. Our gospel has become a gospel of following your dreams and being good so God will make all your dreams come true. It’s the Oprah god… We’ve completely taken this Disney notion of ‘when you wish upon a star, your dreams come true’ and melded that with faith and come up with something completely different. There’s something wrong in a culture that preaches nothing is more sacred than your dream. I mean, we walk away from marriages to follow our dreams. We abandon children to follow our dreams. We hurt people in the name of our dreams, which as a Christian is just preposterous.”

Mark Dever on Church Growth

Mark Dever with some excellent, pointed words on the relationship between preaching the Gospel and church growth: namely, there isn’t necessarily a relationship between the two.

The video is about 9 minutes, but well worth it.

A Double-Shot of Martin Bashir

March 18, 2011 Leave a comment

We have for you today two items, both featuring MSNBC’s Martin Bashir.

Here’s Bashir very courteously eviscerating a woefully unprepared Bell. Bell clearly didn’t realize that Bashir was on to his tactic of playing fast and loose with Scripture and material from other church fathers. Bashir knew it, and called him on it. Bashir didn’t often let Bell off the hook, but I wish we could have seen more eye-rolling over Bell’s pap that “When we shed a tear, God sheds a tear.” Nonetheless, when Bell tried to dust off some of his pseudo-profundity, Bashir called him on it. Clearly Bell didn’t expect such depth and breadth from a secular interviewer.

Consider then, this radio interview that Bashir did on the Paul Edwards program. According to his bio, Bashir, a former Nightline (and our family’s favorite) Anchor, was born in the UK to Pakistani Christian parents. In the radio interview, Bashir Bashir clearly demonstrates his knowledge of both Scripture and of church history, and mentions that he’s an Evangelical Christian who attends Tim Keller’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York.

Well worth your time.