Category Archives: sermons

Jules on Genesis 1

My good friend Julian Freeman is the pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Don Mills. He and I went to bible college and seminary together, and for a long while he was one of my pastors. Julian is one of those preachers who makes me feel like I should never ascend a pulpit again—he’s an incredibly clear, logical, affective, theological, practical preacher (and he never looks at his notes!). He recently preached from 1 Peter 5 at New City, and it was excellent. I’m so thankful for him.

Jules is preaching through Genesis at his church. Not long ago he preached on Genesis 1, and I must say, it is an excellent sermon. I highly, highly recommend it. He wisely sets God as the foundation of Genesis 1 and shows why we can’t approach the text by asking it scientifically-driven questions that are determined by our pagan, scientific culture. The text is about the who of creation, not the how. He and I hold the same view on this text, but though I’ve read much on it lately, I learned some good stuff from Julian. There is much wisdom in this sermon. I also wonder if he footnoted this blog in his sermon manuscript? :)

God, His World, His People (Part 1)

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M’Cheyne on Giving to the Poor

Again, Tim Keller provides another awesome quote from church history on the need to give to the poor. This one is from a sermon preached by Robert Murray M’Cheyne, the Scottish pastor of the mid-nineteenth century, who died at a young age. This sermon was based on Acts 20:35, “It is better to give than to receive.” These are, like Edwards’ and Newton’s words I posted before, very strong words:

Now, dear Christians, some of you pray night and day to be branches of the true Vine; you pray to be made all over in the image of Christ. If so, you must be like him in giving…”Though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor”. . . Objection 1. “My money is my own.” Answer: Christ might have said, “My blood is my own, my life is my own”. . . then where should we have been? Objection 2. “The poor are undeserving.” Answer: Christ might have said, “They are wicked rebels . . . shall I law down my life for these? I will give to the good angels.” But no, he left the ninety-nine, and came after the lost. He gave his blood for the undeserving. Objection 3. “The poor may abuse it.” Answer: Christ might have said the same; yea, with far greater truth. Christ knew that thousands would trample his blood under their feet; that most would despise it; that many would make it an excuse for sinning more; yet he gave his own blood. Oh, my dear Christians! If you would be like Christ, give much, give often, give freely, to the vile and poor, the thankless and the undeserving. Christ is glorious and happy and so will you be. It is not your money I want, but your happiness. Remember his own word, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Sermons of M’Cheyne (Edinburgh: n.p., 1848).

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Edwards on the Poor

I’m reading Tim Keller’s convicting book Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just and am learning a lot about a balanced view of what is today called “social justice.” I’m finding that my experience with this book is a little similar to when I first became a Calvinist; now I can see helping the poor “on every page” of the bible, just like how I first saw (and still see) election. It’s amazing to see how consistently both testaments are equally concerned with issues of poverty.

A key source that Keller uses is not Dorothy Day or Gustavo Gutierrez, but the eighteenth-century pastor-theologian Jonathan Edwards. In particular, Keller quotes from Edwards’ 1703 sermon “The Duty of Charity to the Poor” (you can find it here, at Yale’s Edwards Center site). I’m amazed at how strong Edwards is on helping the poor, in almost any circumstance. Many of the arguments and justifications I’ve had for not helping the poor have been soundly challenged by Keller and Edwards–I’m quite thankful for this.

Here’s a sample quote from Edwards, that Keller cites:

Speaking against the argument that we shouldn’t help those who continually “bite the hand that feeds them” (my words), Edwards says,

If they are come to want by a vicious idleness or prodigality, yet we ben’t thereby excused from all obligation to relieve ’em unless they continue in it. If they don’t continue in it, the rules of the gospel direct us to forgive ’em; and if their fault be forgiven ’em, then it won’t remain to be any bar in the way of our charitably relieving of ’em. If we do otherwise, we shall act very contrary to that rule of loving {one another} as Christ hath {loved us}: as we observed, not in degree, but [in the] manner of our expressing {love}. Now, Christ has loved us, pitied us, and greatly laid out himself to relieve us from that want and misery that we brought on ourselves by our own folly and wickedness. We foolishly and perversely threw away those riches that we were provided with, upon which we might have lived and been happy to all eternity. (Jonathan Edwards, “The Duty of Charity to the Poor” in Mark Valeri ed., Works of Jonathan Edwards Volume 17: Sermons and Discourses, 1730-1733 [New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999], 401-402.)

Note how gospel centered this is, and how personally it is directed to the hearer (or reader) of the sermon. It really leaves Christians with no excuse. Here we have one of the greatest minds in Christian and American history, whose writings on the Trinity, the Freedom of the Will and Original Sin explode all our categories, and yet he is profoundly concerned to make sure that his theology “comes out the tips of his fingers” (to paraphrase Doug Wilson). This is a great example of how theology in all its depth is also deeply practical, and how God is concerned for the poor.

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Hell

There has been a lot of discussion in the blogosphere of late about the bible’s teaching on hell. In light of this, I thought I would post a link to a sermon I preached on it last year at Grace Baptist in Essex. Here it is.

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Audio: Bruce Ware in Calgary

Bruce Ware, professor of Christian theology at Southern Seminary, recently spoke at the Calvary Grace conference in Calgary, AB. His topic was the doctrine of the Trinity, the subject of a book he wrote a number of years ago. Clint Humfrey, the pastor of Calvary Grace church in Calgary, also did an intriguing lecture entitled “‘The Call Me Trinity: Spaghetti Westerns and Confessing Doctrine.” The audio links are below {HT: Cowboyology}:

Session 1 How Did We Get the Doctrine of the Trinity, Biblical and Historical Overview (Ware)

Session 2 Relation of the Son to the Father within the Trinity. (Ware)

Session 3 ‘They Call Me Trinity’: Spaghetti Westerns and Confessing Doctrine (Humfrey)

Session 4 Relation of the Son to the Spirit within the Trinity (Ware)

Session 5 Q&A (Ware & Humfrey: Pavier moderates)

Session 6 Clint Humfrey Interviews Dr. Bruce Ware

Session 7 Trinitarian God of our Salvation, Eph 1,1-14

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The Cost of Messiahship

John Bell, pastor of New City Baptist Church in Toronto, preached a great sermon this morning entitled “Messiahship and Discipleship” from Mark 8:22-38 – the famous passage where Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” John’s intro is worth considering:

On the 9th of April, 1940, Adolf Hitler launched his Blitzkrieg attack across Europe. In less thanthree months, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands and France were all under the Nazi yoke. The Allied troops had been pushed to the English Channel, waiting what looked like certain annihilation on the beaches of Dunkirk. But English fishermen and tugboat captains crossed the channel in their vessels and evacuated 338,000 troops while the RAF kept the Luftwaffe at bay in the skies overhead.

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Ted Donnelly on Hell

Ted Donnelly, a well-known Reformed Presbyterian from Ireland, has an excellent sermon series on hell. There are a number of subjects that get little attention in evangelical preaching and unfortunately hell is one of them. But if hell is a real place, and it is, then any preacher that wittingly or unwittingly fails to address it is holds some measure of responsibility. It’s like a person who knows that the bridge ahead is washed out and says nothing about it. That person is culpable for the deaths of any who careen over the edge. Likewise, if preachers, teachers and evangelists never speak of hell they are culpable–not ultimately culpable, that responsibility lies with the one who goes to hell, but culpable none-the-less.

A funny story, a number of years ago a couple of TBS students (I will leave them nameless) led a college and career study. They decided to do a four-week series listening to Donnelly on hell. I guess it scared the tar out of some in attendance!

So here is Donnelly:

Why Should We Think About Hell?

What Does The Bible Teach About Hell?

What Will Hell Be Like?

What Effect Should This Have Upon Us?

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Suggested TGC Audio

Last Saturday I attended the Canadian meeting of The Gospel Coalition. The speakers were Don Carson and Mike Bullmore. In one of Carson’s sessions he recommended the TGC website as a one-stop resource for articles, audio and video. One of his suggestions, to combat becoming a clone of one personality or another, was to listen to fifty different preachers hosted at the TGC website. Fifty seems like quite a lot! But his point is well-taken. For what it’s worth, here are my suggestions on who to listen to, though I doubt I’ll get to fifty. Though a person may not be on this list, it does not mean that I haven’t appreciated their ministry. The ones whom I have included stand out in particular as helpful to me. I have placed in bold the ones whom I turn to regularly. In an almost random order, these are the preachers and teachers who have benefited me the most:

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Colossians

This past autumn John has taken New City Baptist through a great series on Colossians. I have to say, it was one of the best sermon series that I’ve sat through. The exegesis, delivery and application is exemplary. And of course the preaching of the gospel. If you listen through the series you’ll hear the various emphases of New City, in particular holy living and evangelism. Check them out below:

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Jesus: The True Temple

The bible is put together in a remarkable way and the more I learn about it, the more I’m in awe. Redemptive history ties the biblical stories together into one big story line that has Jesus Christ – the incarnate God – as the central figure. One way that this story line plays itself out is with the theme of God’s presence. Whether it’s in the Garden, or the pillar of fire, the tabernacle, the temple, or ultimately Jesus Christ and the new heavens and new earth – this story is thrilling!

Reading about it is one thing – as in G.K. Beale’s recent (and awesome) book The Temple and the Church’s Mission (IVP, 2004). But hearing about it, especially in sermon form, is quite another. A couple of Sundays ago John Bell preached an excellent sermon at New City Baptist on Jesus as the true temple that I would highly suggest people listen to. Here’s the link. Here’s the outline:

THE HISTORY OF SALVATION
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Part 18: Jesus, the True Temple
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1) Jesus Clears the Temple (13-17)  

2) Jesus Replaces the Temple (18-22)

3) No Temple in the New Jerusalem 
   (Rev. 21:22)

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Friendship

Julian Freeman recently finished a short sermon series on the topic of biblical friendship. I caught the last sermon in the series on Sunday and it was very thoughtful and convicting. Check them out here.

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Sermon: Jonah 4

We had a good time spending Victoria Day in Windsor this past weekend. One of the joys, among many, was spending time with the people at Grace Baptist Church in Essex. I preached on Jonah 4 at their evening service. I am amazed that they allow me to preach so often, they are a forebearing bunch!

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Sermon: On the Trinity (Matt. 28:16-20)

I preached last night at New City Baptist on the Trinity in the Great Commission. Here it is if you like.

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Sermon: Divine Charity (2 Cor. 8:9)

Last night was my first time preaching for New City Baptist, it was a real joy. We had a good number of people turn out, so my nerves were doubly on edge! I preached from 2 Corinthians 8:9 on Christ who was rich became poor for us so that we might become rich. It’s on sermonaudio if you want to listen.

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Sermon: The Passover (Exodus 12:1-14)

I had the joy of preaching at Richview Baptist this past Lord’s Day, I hope it was a joy for them to listen to! Their pastor, Darryl Dash, graciously asked me to preach on the Passover as it relates to Christ – in 20 minutes! It was their family day, so the kids were in the service making it a little shorter.

Anyways, here is the link if you should choose to listen!

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Why We’re In the State We’re In – Genesis 3

The Fall

John Bell preached a great sermon at New City Baptist last night on Genesis 3 and the Fall. Here’s his outline:

1. The instigation of the revolution (:1-6)

2. The revolution’s results: shame, fear and loss of
fellowship (:7-13)

3. The revolution’s judgment (:4-24)

— a) Husbands and wives
— b) God’s good creation falls
— c) Death
— d) Original sin

Check out the audio.

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