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Archive for October, 2010

Oct 28

Follow-up to Sunday’s Sermon: How Redemption Fuels the Christian Life

2010 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Sermon Follow-Up

In Sunday’s message, How Redemption Fuels the Christian Life, Ryan showed us from Colossians 1:11-14 how gratefulness for our redemption in Christ fuels the strength, patience and joy that Paul prays for God to give them. Martin Lloyd-Jones expands on this text and warns us against forgetting the centrality of Chris’s work in beginning and sustaining the Christian life:

The gospel…, in the first instance, does not ask us to do anything – it is primarily an announcement of what God has done for us…. The work of the devil is to twist it, to pervert it…to prevent us from seeing it…, [to tell us] that the message of Christianity is a call to us to do something to put ourselves right, to put the world right, to stop this, to stop that! But the very first principle of Christianity denies that completely; it is the exact opposite. Christianity is an announcement and a proclamation of what God has done. Yet people still persist in thinking that Christianity is a call to them to do something. That is why they do not sing and praise God; that is why their hearts are not on fire and full of rejoicing. It is because they think Christianity is a code of ethics, a way of life and of living. No, says Paul,… he [has qualified] us; he has done it all.” – Love So Amazing: Expositions on Colossians 1

Since this concludes three sermons on Paul’s prayer in Colossians, this is a good time to link to resources on the subject, so that we would more faithfully pray and in a way that is faithful to the gospel.


Heart of Prayer, Jerram Barrs

A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers, D.A. Carson

A Praying Life: Connecting With God in a Distracting World, Paul Miller

Praying Backwards: Transforming Your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus’ Name, Bryan Chapel

DSC Audio:

Prizing the Privilege of Prayer, Jerram Barrs

Saturday Seminar: Prayer, Ryan Kelly

Learning Prayer from Paul, Ryan Kelly

Brokenness Unto Joy: Confession, Tim Ragsdale

Pursuing the Pleasure of His Presence in Prayer, Ryan Kelly

What to Pray for the Saints in Christ, Ryan Kelly

Oct 26

Questions about Slavery, Poverty, and Evangelicalism (Clarus 2010, Q&A Grudem/Alcorn, Part 5)

2010 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Clarus 10

This post is the fifth in a series of six from Ryan Kelly’s Question and Answer discussion with guests, Wayne Grudem and Randy Alcorn at Clarus 2010 (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4).

Does the Bible implicitly endorse slavery?

Randy, What are your thoughts about Wayne’s lecture on the economics of poverty?

What is encouraging and concerning in American evangelicalism

What do you think about Boyd’s, The Myth of a Christian Nation?

Oct 20

Follow-up to Sunday’s Sermon: Our Prayers, God’s Priorities

2010 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Sermon Follow-Up

When Paul prayed for strength for believers be prayed that they would be “strengthened with power.” Prayer for power is a frequent request of the apostle’s for the church. Several things come to mind when we think of “power.” Last week we lost power before the first service when a balloon collided with a local power line. Cars are powerful. Bombs are powerful. But there is a kind of power that outdoes them all. D.A. Carson has a helpful explanation of the power that is “according to his glorious might”:

“The power that raised Jesus from the dead–is the power that is at work in us to make us holy, to make us a fit place for Jesus to dwell, to enable us to grasp the limitless dimensions of God’s love for us (Eph 3:14-19), to strengthen us so that we have great endurance and faith and lives constantly characterized by thanksgiving (Col. 1:11-12). It takes extraordinary power to change us to become like that. In fact, it takes nothing less than the power of God that raised Jesus from the dead. What the apostle wants, then, is not power so that he might be thought powerful, but power so that he might be conformed to the will of God. Only the power that brought Jesus back from death will do.” – Basics for Believers: An Exposition of Philippians, Pg. 87

In Sunday’s message, Our Prayers, God’s Priorities, Ryan Kelly showed us from Colossians 1:9-14 how to pray. Taking Paul’s lead, we should pray frequently, for understanding, for fruit, for strength and in all of our prayers we should keep circling back to redemption, for we pray as those who have been “delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (1:13-14). Ryan also recommended an excellent book on the subject of prayer by D.A. Carson, A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers.

Oct 18

Questions about Investing Money (Clarus 2010, Q&A Grudem/Alcorn, Part 4)

2010 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Clarus 10

This post is the fourth in a series of six from Ryan Kelly’s Question and Answer discussion with guests, Wayne Grudem and Randy Alcorn at Clarus 2010 (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).

How should Christians think about investing? Can money management become a distraction?

How can young people plan for the future?

What is the nature of heavenly treasures and rewards?

Oct 15

Follow-up to Sunday’s Sermon: Colossians 1:3-8

2010 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Sermon Follow-Up

In Sunday’s message, Thank God for Gospel Growth, Ryan preached from Colossians 1:3-8 where Paul tells his readers that he thanks God for them and for how the gospel “is bearing fruit and growing” among them (6). As Timothy Keller puts it, “The gospel is not just the A-B-C’s of Christianity, but it is the A to Z of Christianity.”

This quote from C.F.W. Walther in his 1929 work, Law and Gospel, shows us the kind of reading and preaching of Scripture that leads to fruit-bearing, gospel-growing life.

The Word of God is not rightly divided…

  • When the Word of God is not rightly divided when the Gospel is preached first and then the Law; sanctification first and then justification; faith first and then repentance; good works first and then grace.
  • When the Word of God is not rightly divided when the Gospel is preached first and then the Law; sanctification first and then justification; faith first and then repentance; good works first and then grace.
  • When the preacher describes faith in a manner as if the mere inert acceptance of truths, even while a person is living in mortal sins, renders that person righteous in the sight of God and saves him; or as if faith makes a person righteous and saves him for the reason that it produces in him love and reformation of his mode of living.
  • When the Gospel is turned into a preaching of repentance.
  • When the preacher speaks of certain sins as if they were not of damnable, but of a venial nature.
  • When an attempt is made by means of the demands or the threats or the promises of the Law to induce the unregenerate to put away their sins and engage in good works and thus become godly; on the other hand, when an endeavor is made, by means of the commands of the Law rather than by the admonition of the Gospel, to urge the regenerate to do good.

For more reading on how the gospel grows us and grows in us, check out Monergism’s page on gospel-centered living.

Oct 13

What is the Mission of the Church?

2010 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Recommended Link,The Church

That’s an important question. We’re called to do many things, but what is the one thing that informs and makes sense of every other thing we’re called to as Christians and as the church?

Yesterday, Kevin DeYoung posted an article written by Ryan Kelly about the word, “Missional.” In this post, Ryan follows up on his recent round table discussion with pastors Greg Gilbert and Kevin DeYoung on the subject of the mission of the church. Ryan argues for the centrality of gospel proclamation if all of the Church’s doing and helps clarify the relationship between showing mercy in tangible ways and sharing about Mercy in Jesus Christ, between offering help in this life and telling persons about the only Help for life eternal.

Ryan offers three suggestions to help inform the ongoing conversation concerning “the vocabulary and content of the church’s mission.” I’ll paste them here, along with highlights from each explanation. However, don’t waste your time reading it here – go to Kevin’s blog and read the entire article.

1) Insisting on a definition of missional or asking for specifics of one’s view of the mission is not curmudgeon fundamentalism—it’s still needed.

…There are a few take-aways here. 1) Those skeptical of the term missional should give the benefit of doubt about another’s definition until there’s reason to be concerned. The term itself has no necessary bearing on gospel fidelity. 2) Conversely, those who identify themselves with the term missional should be gracious and eager to clarify when another asks him what that word means. I’ve seen too many young pastors get bent out of shape simply for being asked what missional means to them. That’s silly. 3) We should all strive to avoid repetitive empty vocabulary, and instead make pains to be clear about what we think the church should be doing. Again, this is a good discussion if we navigate it openly and graciously.

2) Especially we younger evangelicals have to give a more sober and careful hearing to our fathers in ministry when they warn us with historical examples of when the church’s deeds eclipsed, or became, her gospel.

….Read Machen’s Christianity and Liberalism every five years. Read the work of George Marsden, especially Reforming Fundamentalism: Fuller Seminary and the New Evangelicalism, which chronicles the missteps of both fundamentalism and left-wing evangelicalism in the last century. Surely we don’t think our generation or our camp is so sharp, so vigilant that we are above repeating such mistakes. So perhaps we young, mission-impassioned, ambitious types need to do a little less eye-rolling and a little more prayerful listening when others—especially those more historically astute and/or experienced—seem more cautious and suggest more careful nuance about the relationship between deeds and gospel.

3) Partly influenced by the need to protect the gospel, but mostly based on the Bible itself, it seems to me that there is warrant for prioritizing gospel proclamation over other important commands Jesus gives his followers.

  • While Jesus healed and fed, the gospel accounts culminate with the disciples’ commission to proclaim and make disciples. This doesn’t mean that this is all they are to do, but “famous last words” do seem particularly noteworthy, especially when they are quadruply given.
  • The book of Acts not only begins with another such commission (1:8), but continues with dozens of preaching/conversion stories to makeup a rather overwhelmingly consistent theme.
  • Paul insists that the facts of the gospel weekend—Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection—are of “first importance” (1 Cor. 15:3). Those who want to have social and cultural issues right alongside the gospel have to provide a satisfying explanation of what Paul meant here if he didn’t see any priority. I, personally, haven’t heard one yet.
  • The word “gospel” implies that there’s a message—a message which must be proclaimed. As Carson recently wrote: “…the very nature of announcing or proclaiming (good) news—whether ευαγγελιζω or kηρύσσω—is that words are the primary medium. What we might call the logocentrism of Scripture is massively reinforced by the nature of the gospel itself: it is news, good news, to be proclaimed.”
  • There are some very good NT scholars who have written on the mission of the church and have rather consistently put the emphasis of the church’s mission on its proclamation (e.g., KostenbergerO’BrienPlummer). As I’ve already noted, this seems to be a growing consensus among some of the most prominent missionalleaders as well.
  • Most agree that good deeds are, in part, validation of the gospel message to unbelievers. But by nature this sets up some kind of priority: the validation of a thing cannot be greater than or completely on par with the thing itself.

Again, visit Kevin’s site for the whole article.

Oct 11

Questions about Giving Money (Clarus 2010, Q&A Grudem/Alcorn, Part 3)

2010 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Clarus 10

This post is the third in a series of six from Ryan Kelly’s Question and Answer discussion with guests, Wayne Grudem and Randy Alcorn at Clarus 2010 (Part 1, Part 2).

Where can we go to learn about radical sacrificial love? How much should Christians give?

How should Christians speak with one another about giving habits?