Friday Sermon | “A Man in the Night” by Alistair Begg

2011-alistair-begg

Today, we’ll visit TruthforLife.org for a sermon by Alistair Begg. Today’s sermon aired yesterday (May 14th, 2015). I found it a good way to bring this week’s theme to a close. We’ve been focused on Resting in Christ, in His Saving grace, by faith. The occasion of Nicodemus sneaking in the night to speak to Jesus gives us an opportunity to recognize that works of the Law are not where we find our rest, our peace, nor our assurance. Rather, it is in believing in faith the work that He has done for us.

Sermon link:  A Man in the Night (Part 2 of 2)

Nicodemus was a law-abiding, religious man. But when he encountered Jesus, Nicodemus was surprised to learn how little he actually knew about entering the Kingdom of God. Sincerity, and even following all the rules, was not enough to qualify.

Sermon Text

John 3:1-16 (ESV)

You Must Be Born Again

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you dounless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him,“Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in himmay have eternal life.

For God So Loved the World

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Supporting Texts

Ezekiel 36:25-27 (ESV)

25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

Numbers 21:4-9 (ESV) | The Bronze Serpent

From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. And the peoplespoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.

 

May God bless you and keep you,
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

Friday Sermon | Alistair Begg – A Superior Covenant (Hebrews 8:1-13)

2011-alistair-begg

Today, we’ll visit TruthforLife.org for a sermon by Alistair Begg. Given yesterday’s tough examination of Tithing and the Malachi 3:8-10 proof text, I thought it best that we reach into the archives of Truth for Life and listen to Alistair Begg teach on the topic of understanding the covenants, and really about how to approach the whole of Scriptures.

Sermon link: A Superior Covenant

The Bible is like a two-act play: the second act makes no sense without the first. The New Testament is understandable and significant only in light of the Old Testament. In this passage, the writer helps us understand the necessity of the Old Covenant sacrificial system as it foreshadows the perfect sacrifice of the New Testament Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.

Alistair shares a breakdown of the Bible (from his Sunday school teacher back in Scotland) that I find extremely helpful in recognizing how we should approach the Scriptures.

  • The Old Testament – Jesus Predicted
  • The Gospels – Jesus Revealed
  • The Acts of the Apostles – Jesus Preached
  • The Epistles – Jesus Explained
  • The Revelation – Jesus Expected

Sermon Text

Hebrews 8:1-13 (ESV) | Jesus, High Priest of a Better Covenant

1 Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man. 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. 4 Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. 5 They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” 6 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.

8 For he finds fault with them when he says:

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord,
when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah,
9 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers
on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt.
For they did not continue in my covenant,
and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws into their minds,
and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor
and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
for they shall all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,
and I will remember their sins no more.”

13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

May God bless you and keep you,
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know”

trebleclefMy children love music. They love to have mommy and daddy sing for them at bedtime. One of their favorite songs, is “Jesus Loves Me”. I thought we’d spend some time today looking at the song’s origins and exercising some Biblical Discernment.

This song began as a song written for a child, so it is fitting that we consider it a children’s hymn to this day. The content of this song, however, is well worth heading as adults. It seems so much easier to proclaim the love of Jesus to the world than it is to accept it for myself. I don’t think I’m alone in that.

Luke 18:15-17 (ESV) | Let the Children Come to Me

15 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

Performed by Johnny Cash

[youtube https://youtu.be/6JxCgo6iPrg]

Written by Anna Bartlett Warner (1860)

For a little background on her, let’s look to the quick bio found in CyberHymnal.com:

Anna’s father was Henry Warner, a wealthy New York City lawyer. When he lost most of his fortune in the 1837 depression, the family was forced to move to their summer home (Good Craig) on Con­sti­tu­tion Island in the Hudson Riv­er. It was then that Anna and her sis­ter Su­san be­gan writ­ing to earn mon­ey. They al­so con­duct­ed Bi­ble class­es for ca­dets at the near­by Mil­i­tary Acad­e­my at West Point. In mem­o­ry of her, the Acad­e­my’s Con­sti­tu­tion Is­land Asso­ci­a­tion man­ag­es the War­ner’s is­land prop­er­ty as an his­tor­ic site.

When Susan was writing a novel, Say and Seal, she asked her sister, Anna, to write a song that the doctor could sing to a sick boy. The following appeared in that novel on pages 115-116.

Jesus loves me—this I know,
For the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to him belong,—
They are weak, but he is strong.

Jesus loves me—He who died
Heaven’s gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in.

Jesus loves me—loves me still,
Though I’m very weak and ill;
From his shining throne on high,
Comes to watch me where I lie.

Jesus loves me—he will stay,
Close beside me all the way.
Then his little child will take,
Up to heaven for his dear sake.

The Refrain added by William Bradbury (1862)

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Discussion

This wonderful song conveys to children a high view of the Bible and of the Love of Jesus. That He died so that we might enter Heaven, our sing having been washed away. He loves us in our weakness, and is with us to comfort us, and to take us home for His sake. The song isn’t promising “sunshine and lollipops” here on earth. It was, after all, written as a song of comfort to a dying boy in a novel. The folks at HymnTime.com record the following testimony of the song:

The Rev. Dr. Jacob Chamberlain, who for many years has been working among the Hindus, writes as follows regarding this hymn, long one of the most popular children’s songs in the world: “Many years ago I translated into Telegu the children’s hymn, ‘Jesus loves me’ and taught it to the children of our day-school. Scarcely a week later, as I was going through the narrow streets of the native town on horseback, I heard singing that sounded natural, down a side street. I stopped to listen, cautiously drawing up to the corner, where unobserved I could look down the street and see and hear. And there was a little heathen boy, with heathen men and women standing around him, singing away at the top of his voice: ‘Jesus loves me this I know…’

As he completed the verse some one asked the question: ‘Sonny, where did you learn that song?’ ‘Over at the Missionary School,’ was the answer. ‘Who is that Jesus, and what is the Bible?’ ‘Oh! the Bible is the book from God, they say, to teach us how to get to heaven, and Jesus is the name of the divine Redeemer that came into the world to save us from our sins; that is what the missionaries say.’ ‘Well, the song is a nice one. Come, sing us some more.’ And so the little boy went on—a heathen himself, and singing to the heathen—about Jesus and his love. ‘That is preaching the Gospel by proxy,’ I said to myself, as I turned my pony and rode away, well satisfied to leave my little proxy to tell his interested audience all he himself knew, and sing to them over and over that sweet song of salvation.”

Sankey, pp. 179-80

Such a great story of the impact a children’s hymn can have in sharing the Gospel.

John 3:16-21 (ESV) For God So Loved the World

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

John 14:27-29 (ESV)

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe.

Amen. When our children are young, the first lesson they need to know down deep inside is that they are loved. They will process what it means to be loved by Jesus by first considering what it means to be loved my Mom and Dad. I am such a poor example of Christ’s love for my dear sweet children, but I will preach, teach, and sing of His love for them until the Day of His return. And I really need to get better about singing the rest of the verses.

In closing, I thought I might share a fun little acoustic Blues version performed by Jeremy Camp at a private concert. A Christian Radio station held a local contest of some sort and the prize was spending time with Jeremy Camp. I hope you enjoy it.

Jeremy Camp does a Blues Version

[youtube https://youtu.be/dpO8rY4VmeM]

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

Friday Sermon | Alistair Begg – In This is Love (1 John 4:10)

2011-alistair-beggToday, we’ll visit TruthforLife.org for a sermon by Alistair Begg. The world doesn’t get to define love. It isn’t theirs. It isn’t ours, honestly… God is the very definition of Love. The world first redefines “love” and then flips this scripture to read “love is god”, but they’ve made their own god by taking the liberty of first defining what they want love to be. Now, this isn’t really where Alistair takes this message, but this is why I’m choosing this sermon for this day.

Sermon link: In This is Love

God’s love for us – for each one of us – is expressed in the great cost He paid at Calvary, bearing the wrath that our sins deserve. But as we learn in this Good Friday message, until the Holy Spirit shows me my sinfulness, I won’t understand my need of salvation.

1 John 4:7-21 (ESV) | God is Love

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

May God bless you and keep you,
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

Friday Sermon | Alistair Begg – Elizabeth and Zechariah (Luke 1:5-23)

2011-alistair-beggToday, we’ll visit TruthforLife.org for a sermon by Alistair Begg.

Elizabeth and Zechariah

After years of prophetic silence, God announced the birth of John the Baptist to one faithful couple. As Alistair Begg explains, the announcement illustrates the mystery of God’s work throughout history. The events surrounding the birth of Jesus remind us that the providence of God can be seen at work in ordinary events, both good and bad.

Luke 1:5-23 (ESV) | Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.

Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty,according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth,15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19 And the angel answered him, “I amGabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” 21 And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22 And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute.23 And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.

May God bless you and keep you until the Day of Christ’s Return,
In Him,
Jorge