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Archive for the ‘Sermons, lectures, etc’ Category

Certain hymns and spiritual songs strike an immediate and lasting chord deep within, uniting heart, soul, emotions, and mind as they blend profound doctrine and rich piety. How Deep the Father’s Love for Us and Before the Throne of God I Stand are two that draw that response. And now there is another.

Pastor Chris Anderson recently wrote a marvelous hymn, Draw Near Through Christ. This hymn reminds me of Complete in Him, Dr. Michael Barrett’s book on soteriology.

You can listen to it here: Draw-Near-Through-Christ.mp3.

And here is a brief devotional explaining the song, stanza by stanza: tbc110403b.mp3

Draw Near Through Christ

In Eden’s bliss we walked with God
Unhindered by the curse.
Yet we rebelled and were expelled—
Estranged; alone; perverse.
Two mighty cherubs barred the path
To Eden’s holy place;
No more could men, now stained by sin,
Behold our Maker’s face.

Beneath the Law we sought the Lord
Through sacrifice and priest.
One time each year one man, in fear,
Sought God with blood of beast.
Still mighty cherubs blocked the way
So sinners could not pass—
In curtain sewn, on golden throne,
They stopped the rebel fast.

Then Christ appeared to clear the way
To God for sinful man;
Fulfilled the Law without a flaw—
Our Temple, Priest, and Lamb.
Astounded cherubs stepped aside;
Each hid his flaming sword.
With nail and thorn the Veil was torn;
Draw near through Christ the Lord!

In Jesus’ name we boldly come
Before the throne of grace.
With empty hand, in Christ we stand
To seek Almighty’s face
Till saints and cherubs join in awe
Around the Savior’s throne.
With one great voice we will rejoice:
“All praise to Christ alone!”

Copyright 2010 ChurchWorksMedia.com. All rights reserved.

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Ask any of my former students and you will learn that my favorite Bible book is Ruth. I have studied it and taught it at least a dozen times over the years and still find new, fascinating, and even richer truths each time I look at it.

I have read numerous commentaries on Ruth, and frankly, most of the them are as shallow as much of the preaching about the book. More along the lines of commentary on a Harlequin romance (do they still print those things?), than any serious study of inspired literature.

So it has been a real treat to read Sinclair Ferguson’s Faithful God: an exposition of the book of Ruth. This little commentary is based on four talks that he gave fifteen years ago in Wales; you can find the audio of the sessions here. This commentary is far and away the best commentary on Ruth I have read.

Since the book is based on sermons, much of it is written for the ear more than the eye. And it is richly pastoral rather than simply technical. However, Ferguson masterfully undergirds his wise applications with excellent exegesis.

Unlike many other commentators and pastors, he doesn’t read western and modern romantic contrivances into the drama. He places it into its proper historic context. He also draws out the streams of theology that Ruth points to. From conversion to redemption to Christology and more, Ferguson unlocks truths on which to feast in meditation.

I have a few quibbles, mostly over his treatment of Naomi. I think he is too kind to her, seeing her ‘conversion’ at the end of chapter 1 as she returns to Bethlehem. I believe her expression of bitterness is a true reflection of her heart’s attitude. He is also a little too generous to her in chapter 3. He rightly identifies her scheme as ‘risky’, but I believe it is downright wicked.

However, Ferguson shines in his understanding of the character of Ruth and Boaz. He rightly identifies Boaz’s actions in chapter 2 as motivated by godliness rather than some pathetic attempt to impress a single woman he just saw across the field.

He also draws out the richness of the greater theology of the book. Listen to how he ends his final chapter:

The story that began for Naomi at a time when there was no king in Israel, became a day when there was no bread in Bethlehem, and then a dark night in which there were no children in her family.”

But God.

But her covenant-keeping, grace-bestowing God drew her with cords of love and unto her a Child was born, unto her a Son was given. A Son who would be the Bread of Life. A Son who would be crowned King, not with a crown of gold but a crown of thorns.

And that is why  the book of Ruth is a wonderful meditation for this Easter season.

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This is a must listen interview that Mark Dever had with Mez McConnell, now pastoring a Scottish inner city church. His story of God tracking him down is an incredible display of grace and sovereignty.

 

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In my never-to-be-humble opinion, Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is one of the foremost Christian thinkers of our generation. His God-given ability to apply Scripture and a biblical worldview to current events is a gift to the Church. He has recently begun offering two audio resources that are invaluable for Christians.

His daily podcast, “The Briefing,” analyzes several issues of the day and provides a Scriptural context for considering them. These are relatively short, usually about 20 minutes and are normally posted early in the morning. Click here to subscribe to The Briefing.

He has also begun irregular conversations called “Thinking in Public” that deal with specific issues Christians ought to consider or reconsider. I would suggest listening to his conversation about yoga with Stephanie Syman and Doug Groothuis.  Click here to subscribe to Thinking in Public.

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The God Who is There: Finding Your Place in God’s Story

On February 20-21 and 27-28, 2009, Don Carson presented a 14-part seminar entitled “The God Who Is There” at Bethlehem Baptist Church’s North Campus in Minneapolis. This series will serve the church well because it simultaneously evangelizes non-Christians and edifies Christians by explaining the Bible’s storyline in a non-reductionistic way.

The series is geared toward “seekers” and articulates Christianity in a way that causes hearers either to reject or embrace the gospel. It’s one thing to know the Bible’s storyline, but it’s another to know one’s role in God’s ongoing story of redemption. “The God WhoIs There” engages people at the worldview-level.

And now MP3s (full) and video (10-minute previews) are available for Carson’s 14-part series:

If this series is “geared toward ‘seekers’ then I like continuing to seek. “[N]on-reductionistic” is a kind way of saying that you will have a mental tummy ache the first few times you listen, not because of the difficulty, but the amount of nourishment. This is somewhat akin to the buffets I have heard are available on a cruise ship.

DA Carson’s explanation of the sweep and storyline of Scripture is masterful and captivating. While I take issue with a few things (particularly the lack of precision regarding the Creation narrative), this is a phenomenally rich resource. This series would be beneficial to all believers, especially valuable for a new Christian who desires to learn the Scriptures, as well as those unbelievers who are genuinely curious. Highly recommended.

The MP3′s may be found at The Gospel Coalition (which is itself a phenomenal resource). A brief note: these are enormous mp3 files, so if your mp3 player is space-deficient, as mine is, be forewarned.  A CD may also be obtained, simply for the cost of shipping!, from Monergism Books. Speaking of books, it is also a book, which I need to obtain sooner rather than later.

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The 2003 Desiring God conference focused on Jonathan Edwards. Sam Storms introduced Edwards’ thoughts on Heaven titled, “Joy’s Eternal Increase.” I have returned to the too many times to count, for it provides valued perspective to life.

20031011_sam_storms.mp3

Listen. Feast. Bookmark. And return often.

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