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Christmas Services on 12/24/17
9:00 AM and 10:45 AM

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Feb 25

Session 4 Recap: Mark Dever, “Conflict”

2017 | by Aaron Colyer | Category: Clarus 17

Editor’s Note: Aaron Colyer is the Lead Pastor at First Baptist Church, Roswell, NM. He is a member of the Albuquerque Chapter of The Gospel Coalition. This post is a summary of Mark Dever’s message from Saturday morning at Clarus, February 25, “Conflict,” from Romans 7.

•••••

Dever begins by giving us some big picture ideas in the chapters leading up to Chapter 7. Gilbert previously described to us the great faith explained in Chapter 4, in which we also see our own connection to Adam in his sin. In Chapter 5 Paul discusses the peace we have by faith in Christ, and Chapter 6 reveals the newness of life every believer experiences. However Chapter 7 takes us back to the conflict we have with the law of God, revealing our sin in spite of the fact that every genuine believer is reborn. The encouragement for the Christian reading Romans 7 is found in that while sin and death continue in this life, so do grace and victory over sin through Christ!

Dever contends that Paul’s argument follows three questions: 

  1. What is our relationship to God’s rules? The law is no longer our master, as “the law is only binding on a person as long as he lives.” As in marriage, the covenant is only broken through death, and the covenant of the law has no power in the life of a Christian because we have “died to the law through the body of Christ.” As believers we are to recognize that we are dead to the law and Christ is our new master. It is a joyous message to know that because of the death of Christ, we are freed from the threat of God’s wrath hanging over our heads. Because of His power setting us free from sin, we are free to now bear fruit for God!
  1. Are God’s rules good? Though we are dead to the law now, it is still good. The law made us aware of our sin, but sin is the culprit- not the law. Our ambusher, betrayer, assassin, and murderer is sin, not the law! Each person has rejected God’s truth, and in so doing we have been mortally wounded- not by the law, but by our own sin. Thus, Dever encourages us to take heed of Psalm 34:8, “Taste and see that the LORD is good, blessed is the man that takes refuge in him.” While it is good that the law expose our sin, we should also resist the temptation to find our identity in our sinfulness, lest we forget the Imago Dei by which we have been created. This honesty about sin only helps the Christian to celebrate the victory that is found in Christ!
  1. Do God’s rules kill us? Paul emphatically answers his own question quite strongly, “By No Means!” Paul’s problem was not that he was bound to the law, but that even in his vindicated, new life, he is still bound to sin. If Paul should “delight in God’s law” and yet struggle through sin, we too must be prepared to endure that same civil war in our own hearts. This war only leads us to rely on the victory that comes through Christ alone. Our triumph is in Jesus and the gospel. We don’t need more rules, we need rescue! And thanks be to God- Christ Jesus has provided that for us!

Feb 25

Session 3 Recap: Greg Gilbert, “Faith”

2017 | by Spencer Brown | Category: Clarus 17

Editor’s Note:  Spencer Brown is the Lead Pastor at Center City Church, Albuquerque, NM. He is a member of the Albuquerque Chapter of The Gospel Coalition. This post is a summary of Greg Gilbert’s message from Saturday morning at Clarus, February 25, “Faith,” from Romans 4:18–22.

•••••

In Session 3, Gilbert explored the source of our faith as found in Romans 4. While our culture may see faith as being weak and childish- an empty belief in the ridiculous—our faith is a strong, confident, trust in God to do everything that He has promised. A strong, confident trust in God does not mean that faith comes easy. God may promise what seems impossible, but our trust must be grounded in the God who makes the promise, not the believability of the promise.

3 Questions About Faith

  • Faith is what? Paul raises the stakes as he adds components to the definition of faith in Romans 4:18-21. The final definition of faith comes at the end of the progression: Abraham was fully convinced that God was able to do what he promised. Paul defines faith as believing in God’s promise in three ways: trusting when everything else around seems impossible, trusting and waiting in that promise for a long time, and believing without wavering.
  • Faith in what? Abraham grounded his faith, not only in the promise of God, but in the kind of God who made that promise. The promise was made by the one God “who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.” What a Christian needs is not more faith, but stronger faith. It comes through increasing your understanding of who God really is, and ultimately making a decision to rest on that.
  • Faith does what? The faith described in Romans 4 should affect change in our lives. Faith increases our love for God and our desire to obey Him. Our view of God is in direct proportion to our love and corresponding obedience to Him. If we see Him as small, we will have small love and small obedience. If we seem Him as great, then we will have great love and great obedience. Faith also gives us courage to defy the world, it produces joyful endurance, and it unites us to Christ- pointing us to eternity.

Conclusion: Greg concluded by reminding us of the hymn, Abide with Me, that reflects on God’s promise that we will abide with Christ in heaven for eternity. When our eyes our finally closed on this earth, they will be opened in heaven. We will watch as dawn breaks, and God fills all the universe with the knowledge of His Glory.

Feb 25

Clarus ’17 Photo Roundup, Friday, February 24

2017 | by Ben Moore | Category: Clarus 17

Carissa & Ben Photography

Carissa & Ben Photography

Carissa & Ben Photography

Carissa & Ben Photography

Carissa & Ben Photography

Carissa & Ben Photography

Carissa & Ben Photography

Carissa & Ben Photography

Carissa & Ben Photography

Carissa & Ben Photography

Carissa & Ben Photography

Carissa & Ben Photography

Carissa & Ben Photography

Carissa & Ben Photography

Carissa & Ben Photography

Carissa & Ben Photography

Conference Photography by Ben Moore. Contact Ben at info@CarissaAndBen.com.

Feb 24

Session 2 Recap: Dever, “Hypocrisy”

2017 | by Michael Kelshaw | Category: Clarus 17

Editor’s Note: Michael Kelshaw is the Head Minister at Trinity at the Marketplace, Albuquerque, NM. He is a member of the Albuquerque Chapter of The Gospel Coalition. This post is a summary of Mark Dever’s message from Friday evening at Clarus, February 24, “Hypocrisy,” from Romans 2.

•••••

Tonight Mark Dever showed the great dangers of hypocrisy from Romans 2. In Chapter 1 we see that Paul pursues open depravity—the clearly immoral. In Romans 2, Paul goes on to pursue hidden depravity—those who appear moral but in reality are not. He exposes their hypocrisy all the way through the chapter. This passage reveals our guilt and our need for grace by showing us that hypocrisy is inexcusable, pointless, and blasphemous.

  1. Hypocrisy is inexcusable. Dever explained how Paul goes at self-confidence by addressing those who would condemn others for their sin and then do the very same things themselves. Paul shows how the judgment of God is upon such people. The reality is that hypocrites are just calling for God’s judgment on themselves. Every time they are criticizing someone else they are simply giving God one more piece of evidence that they know full well how they should live and are piling up the evidence against themselves. So the person that does not repent and trust in Jesus alone remains under the right and righteous judgment of God. There is no excuse for hypocrisy because the judgment of God rightly falls on people who practice such things.
  2. Hypocrisy is pointless. Hypocrisy is pointless because God will judge according to deeds anyway. God’s judgment is according to what a person has done, and it will be righteous and seen as such. Ethnicity will not shield anyone from God’s judgment; He does not show favoritism and His judgment is impartial. Hypocrisy is a pointless illusion because God will judge men’s secrets through Christ and all will be revealed in the end. Hypocrisy will not shield anyone from the Lord’s righteous and impartial judgment. Christ is the only hope of salvation for sinners like you and me.
  3. Hypocrisy is blasphemous. Dever explained how the circumcised lawbreaker—the one who is Jewish in name only—stands condemned as breaking the third commandment. Men such as these had taken God’s name publicly upon themselves and then lived contrary to it. So do we, when we bear Christ’s name and then act in contradiction to His commands. Those who do so blaspheme God’s Name. They misrepresent God’s name to the world. Hypocrisy is blasphemous and a misrepresentation of God, and it will not vindicate you on the last day.

Dever concluded that hypocrisy will not save us. Paul assaults shallow self-righteousness and shows us that our hypocrisy actually exposes our need for Christ. Everything that we would trust in other than Jesus has been burnt to the ground, and it calls us to repent of our sin and trust in the sinless Savior. The good news is that a person is only ever justified by faith in Jesus, so rely on Him alone!

Feb 24

Session 1 Recap: Gilbert, “Unashamed”

2017 | by Grant Blankenship | Category: Clarus 17

Editor’s Note: Grant Blankenship is the Preaching Elder at Cedar Springs Church, Cedar Crest, NM. He is a member of the Albuquerque Chapter of The Gospel Coalition. This post is a summary of Greg Gilbert’s message from Friday evening at Clarus, February 24, “Unashamed,” from Romans 1:16–17.

••••

Greg Gilbert opened our conference with three reasons we can have unshakeable confidence in the gospel:

  1. Because it has massive power. Paul does not say, “I am not ashamed of the gospel because its message is very powerful,” but rather because it is the power that saves! The same power that resurrected Jesus from the grave is the same power that brought dead souls to life and is at work in others to bring them to life as well. Gilbert challenged us to, “Stand back for a minute in a little bit of amazement that you are a believer at all… The same word of God that was powerful enough to bring the universe into existence, brought you from death to life.” You don’t have to be ashamed to talk to others about this Good News because this message is backed up by the massive power of the God of the universe. We don’t find confidence to share the gospel because of our ability to persuade and convince people, but rather in the Spirit’s power to bring about life.
  2. Because it offers an awesome gift. The righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith. The gift of salvation is a gift based entirely on faith. It “begins and ends with faith; it is faith from top to bottom.” Martin Luther called this an “alien righteousness” because it comes from outside of us. The problem for humans is not just the absence of good works, but the presence of sin. We cannot blot out those sins no matter how hard we try to cover them with good works. The heart of the gospel is that we cannot save ourselves, and yet we need to be declared righteous by the Holy Judge of the universe. It is only through “The Great Exchange,” as Luther called it, that we can be saved. Jesus’ righteousness is given to us, and in exchange the wrath we deserved was poured out on the Son, satisfying the requirements of our Holy Judge.
  3. Because it is a wide open invitation. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the most universal invitation in the world. But it’s an invitation, so it must be accepted. You must come to the source of living water if you want it. This awesome gift is not found with any other god. It is only available in Jesus Christ.

Feb 22

Clarus ’17 Conference Schedule and Talk Titles

2017 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Clarus 17

Clarus ’17 is this weekend!

From February 24–26 we’ll be joined by Mark Dever and Greg Gilbert who will address our conference theme, Romans and the Reformation. Click here to read about this year’s speakers and conference theme.

We’ve been working with the speakers over the last few months to give shape to the conference. Here’s an outline of talk titles and texts we’ll soak in together.

Friday Night, February 24

  • Session 1: Greg Gilbert, “Unashamed” —Romans 1:16–17
  • Session 2: Mark Dever, “Hypocrisy” —Romans 2

Saturday Morning, February 25

  • Session 3: Greg Gilbert, “Faith” —Romans 4:18-22
  • Session 4: Mark Dever, “Conflict” —Romans 6

Saturday Afternoon, February 25

  • Session 5: Greg Gilbert, “Salvation” —Romans 8:31-39
  • Session 6: Mark Dever, “Election” —Romans 9
  • Session 7: Panel Discussion with Mark Dever and Greg Gilbert

Sunday Morning, February 26

  • Session 8: Corporate Worship with Mark Dever, “Worship” —Romans 12

For specific session times, see the Conference Schedule.

If you haven’t watched it yet, here’s the invitation video for Clarus ’17.

Dec 30

Reading the Bible in 2017

2016 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Recommended Resources

The original title for this post was, “Reading the Bible in 2071.” I mistyped the date. But then, that’s actually how some of us might approach Bible reading. It’s something we’ll get to later. A reading plan can help with this procrastination.

Remember Jesus’ words, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). He was talking about himself! You don’t need to read the Bible in a year, but in 2017 you can certainly read the Bible regularly if you haven’t. The New Year is a great opportunity to decide how you’ll do that.

If you’re looking for a Bible Reading plan, here’s Justin Taylor’s post from last year: “Reading the Whole Bible in 2016.” If you’re looking for more of a pattern for ongoing reading rather than a plan to read the Bible in a year, here’s a simple plan by Drew Hunter summarized in his recent Tweet: “No check-box, no guilt, Bible-reading plan: two Old Testament, two New Testament chapters per day. Finish a book, pick another.” It just might be for you.

While a read through Justin’s post should surface a good plan for you, here are a few plans to consider:

  • Chronological Reading Plan: Reading God’s Story: A Chronological Daily Bible, by George Guthrie is a unique resource. This Bible is published with a one year daily reading plan in mind, ordering the Biblical material chronologically along the Bible’s own narrative framework and includes a reading plan. George Guthrie has also published a one year chronological Bible reading plan, Read the Bible for Life.
  • The M’Cheyne Plan with Daily Devotional Commentary: For the Love of God is a two volume series of books written by D.A. Carson providing daily reading to supplement the M’Cheyne reading plan. This plan, named after its designer and Scottish minister in the 1800′s, Robert Murray M’Cheyne, takes you through the Old Testament once and the Psalms and New Testament twice in one year.
  • Several Places A Day: Crossway’s Daily Bible Reading Plan is available as a PDF form to print out as a series of bookmarks. This plan gets you through the Bible in a year, reading from several different places in the Bible each day. Crossway has published 10 reading plans to supplement the ESV, including RSS, email, audio, and print versions daily. Also, the Discipleship Journal “Bible Reading Plan,” by NavPress, takes you through the entire Bible by reading from four different places each day.
  • Just a List of Chapters: The Bible Reading Record, by Don Whitney, is a simple list of every chapter in the Bible. With this, you can read at whatever pace you like and keep track of what you’ve read until you’re through the Bible. This, of course, wouldn’t necessarily be a one year plan, but it could be. To get through the Bible’s 1089 chapters in a year, you need to read an average of 3.25 chapters a day, which comes out to about four chapters per day if you commit to reading five days each week.
  • A Plan for Following God’s Redemption Plan: The Bible Eater is a simple one-page print out with a list of every chapter in the Bible of you to read on a certain rhythm and check off as you go. This plan highlights the Bible’s chapters that are especially significant for grasping the Bible’s storyline centered in Christ.

If the Bible is new to you, or if you haven’t personally invested in knowing the Scriptures through regular reading, listen to Ryan’s sermon on Psalm 1, “If You Wanna Be Happy for the Rest of Your Life….” And if you need some help reflecting on some of the spiritual dynamics involved in our struggle to read the Bible, check our Ryan Kelly’s article, “How’s Your Bible Reading Going?.” Finally, for a list of helps in understanding the Bible as you read it, check out the previous DSC post, “Help for Understanding the Bible.”