Posts Tagged With: salvation

Family Matters

There is a play-on-words in 1 Peter 1:22.

As you will hear in this PODCAST, an insightful play-on-words that we miss to our peril.

Coming as it does from Peter’s pen, I can assure you that this play-on-words is most-intentional. Pregnant with meaning poignantly personal to Peter, and to us as well.

This play-on-words is a bit of a pun—not humorous at all, but serious in the extreme—that goes straight to the heart of what it means to be committed-Christ-follower now, today, in our current Christian culture.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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This Little Light of Mine

Courtesy of WorshipHouse Kids.

What does it mean to “be holy”?

As you are about to hear in this PODCAST, the answer is remarkably simple and practical. So simple and practical that you don’t need a seminary degree to understand this.

And yet, were I a betting man, I would be willing to wager that “be holy” means something vastly different than many of us have been led to believe it means.

You, my friend, are in for a treat!

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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You Want Me to Go WHERE? You Want Me to Do WHAT?

I want you to imagine for a moment this scenario. (As you will hear in this PODCAST, a potentially familiar biblical story to you.)

That being said, see if you can guess the name of its principle player.

His people were ravaged by a barbarically blood-thirsty Empire, the armies of which decimated his land, desecrated his holy places, and butchered his people.

His hatred for these pagan barbarians flamed in his guts with the white-hot fury of volcanic rage. A smoldering-just-beneath-the-surface-anger that could have understandably erupted into a deadly confrontation at the slightest provocation.

But God is a God of mercy, isn’t he?

So He asked this man to set aside his prejudices, to extinguish the fiery rage that blazed within him. And in the face of the mountain of abuses he and his people suffered at the hands of these hedonistic heathens, these merciless marauders, to travel into the very power-center of this occupying power in order to share with the people there the Good News of God’s redemptive love.

The notion that he would engage these interlopers on any level was utterly repugnant to him. Not to mention his absolute inability even to entertain the slightest possibility that some such as these might spend an eternity with him in Heaven.

He didn’t want God to save them; He wanted God to obliterate them.

So down to the seaport city of Joppa he went (that’s your clue to this mystery man’s identity) where he confronted a personal crisis of faith unlike he had ever experienced before.

Does he walk away in rebellion against God? Does he get into a boat and sail away, in direct defiance of God’s revealed will?

Or does he submit himself to the task to which God called him, knowing full-well that in doing so he may-well place himself squarely in the crosshairs of his sworn enemy?

To whom am I referring? Who was this singularly-selected servant of God, forced to face such a potentially life-threatening, history-altering choice?

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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Simon the Samaritan Sorcerer

His legacy is forever set in stone, indelibly etched in granite as Simon the Sorcerer.

As you are about to hear in this PODCAST, Simon the Sorcerer is the very first person we meet outside of the cozy confines of the Holy City, Jerusalem. #ThisIsHuge!

You talk about a guy who had the deck stacked against him, meet this Simon the Samaritan Sorcerer.

That gasp you just heard was the rush of disbelieving air exploding out of the collapsing lungs of Luke’s original readers.

Trust me: We should gasp too!

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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One Little Word That Makes ALL the Difference

Ironies abound, in the four verses I just read to you. A full compliment of ten ironies by my count. Ten!

The most soul-stirring and hope-producing irony being this—the takeaway of this PODCAST:

“Your most influential, inspirational, impactful life-message—greatest chapter of your story—will come not out of your successes, but out of your failures.”

To invoke Jesus’ masterful metaphor — “You ARE the light of the world.”

That being true, your brightest beacon of light will shine forth from the depths of your darkest hour.

And no, I am not referring to the failure of the thousands who gathered at the Temple on this day in Acts 3 to hear Peter indict them for their greatest failure, as stunning as that failure certainly was.

There is buried within the syllables of this story an even greater failure.

An absolutely epic fail, one that hinges on exactly one word—one word about which I will tell you as you get into this podcast. A failure that underscores the blessed reality that…

“Your most influential, inspirational, impactful life-message—greatest chapter of your story—will come not out of your successes, but out of your failures.”

Call it the backdoor blessing of this amazing story. A God-blessed reality that stands in stark contrast to the what was without a doubt the weirdest experience I have ever had when speaking in a seminary chapel…

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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A Minor Prophet with a MAJOR Message

Welcome to Peter’s first-ever sermon.

As you will hear in this PODCAST, this fisherman-turned-preacher’s initial foray into the world of sermonizing is memorable in extreme.

And whether you realize it or not, Peter’s first sermon out of the gate is all about… Grasshoppers. As in locusts. Lots and lots of locusts.

A plague of locusts. A past-plague of locusts. A coming plague of locusts. And a future (even future for us) plague of locusts. See it there in Acts 2:14-16?

Listen as I read it to you, and see if you can hear ominous chomps of locusts:

Then Peter stepped forward with the eleven other apostles and shouted to the crowd, “Listen carefully, all of you, fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem! Make no mistake about this. These people are not drunk, as some of you are assuming. Nine o’clock in the morning is much too early for that. No, what you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel.”

See any locusts in that? No? Well, then, keep listening. Because as you are about to hear, it is vital that we do.

His name is Joel. He is one of so-called 12 “Minor Prophets.” But make no mistake about this: Joel may have been a “Minor Prophet.” But there was absolutely nothing minor about his message.

Let me ever-so-briefly remind you of structure of the Old Testament…

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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Jesus Walks the Way of Sorrows

praetorium4It is called, appropriately enough, the Via Dolorosa, Latin for “The Way of Sorrows.”

For Jesus, it absolutely was a way of sorrows — every single excruciatingly painful step of it, from the Antonia Fortress (where Pilate sentenced Him), to Golgotha (where Jesus’ execution awaited Him).

In this PODCAST, we will walk that path together.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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A Fox in the Henhouse

Jerusalem-4There is No.Clearer.Picture in all of the Bible of the heart of God towards sinners — I’m talking the hardest of hardhearted sinners — than this one right here in Luke 13.

A Scriptural snapshot that will go a long way to defining your biblical view of God and your biblical understanding of Jesus, both as a man and as God.

If you think of the Bible as a picture book, Luke paints for us a portrait of Jesus that is, quite frankly, irresistible, and most refreshing to my soul. It will be to yours as well. Guaranteed.

One that comes to us, ironically enough, thanks to a small cadre of good Pharisees. Yes! Heard me right. Good Pharisees.

The Pharisees as a group, as we have discussed in weeks gone by, and as you therefore understand, were historically among Jesus’ chief tormentors. That being said, there were in the minority some good Pharisees.

  • Nicodemus comes to mind as a good Pharisee, one who lovingly cared for Jesus’ body after the crucifixion.
  • In Mark 12, Jesus told a good Pharisee that he was “not far from the Kingdom of God.”
  • In Acts 15, reference is made to a number of good Pharisees who were committed Christ-followers.
  • And here in Luke 13, we find a small group of good Pharisees who traveled likely from Galilee to Perea to warn Jesus about the murderous intentions of Antipas.

This, my dear friends, is quite a gripping story.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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The Epic (and I Do Mean EPIC) Handoff

2009-11-26T221005Z_01_DET12_RTRIDSP_0_NFL“Epic,” as in Your-Salvation-and-Mine-Rides-or-Falls-on-This. I kid you not.

This PODCAST is going to be fun, and so instructive. Instructive on two levels.

1. Instructive as we discover together exactly what Jesus meant here in Matthew 18:18-20.

2. Instructive as we are handed, courtesy of Jesus, an opportunity to learn what to do, and perhaps more importantly, what not to do with the Bible.

As you are about to hear, we must bring to this passage every interpretive tool in the tool box in order to arrive at an accurate interpretation and application of this passage.

Let me put it this way: The Apostle Paul encouraged his protégé, young Pastor Timothy, to…

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth, (2 Timothy 2:15).

Do you know why Paul encouraged Timothy to handle the word of truth correctly? Because there were then, as there are now, scores of people — pastors, teachers, conference speakers, authors, commentators — who routinely handle the word of truth incorrectly.

In 1 Timothy 1:3, Paul similarly wrote Timothy,

I urged you to stay there in Ephesus and stop those whose teaching is contrary to the truth.

Why write this? Because there were Sunday school teachers or small group leaders in Timothy’s church who were teaching error.

It is so easy to make the Bible say whatever we want it to say. It is so easy, too easy, to carelessly teach what the Bible does not say.

Case in point: Matthew 18:18-20. A commonly-quoted passage made to mean all sorts of things that, to be perfectly honest with you, Jesus never intended. A passage so often applied in ways that Jesus did not have in mind. He would cringe today to see what so many have done with this passage.

And, as you are about to see, this passage will indeed require us to bring to its interpretation and application a whole set of interpretive tools — a knowledge of language, history, geography, culture, chronology, context, literary & Jewish background — all in an effort to understand what Jesus did indeed intend to convey to His disciples and to us at a singularly watershed moment in Jesus’ ministry.

So in this podcast, dear friend, we have a lot to talk about.

Please remember that depending upon your connection speed and web browser, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you as you listen.

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A Closed Door, Or an Open Window?

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We are going to begin this week’s PODCAST precisely from where we left off in last week’s podcast.

We left off last week by considering together this most enigmatic verse (Hebrews 5:8):

Even though Jesus was God’s Son, He learned obedience from the things He suffered.

If you are at all uncomfortable with that, then the rest of this story will make no sense, and will leave you with an even greater discomfort.

But if you are willing to allow for the fact that “Even though Jesus was God’s Son, He learned obedience from the things He suffered,” then you are in for this great big blessing: The grand and glorious realization that Jesus, just like you and just like me, learned in real time what it means to live a life of obedience to God the Father.

We stressed last week, and I will ever-so-briefly remind you now, that Jesus was fully human, just like us. Last week we discussed some of the implications of Hebrews 4:15, where the writer emphatically affirms this ever-so-comforting reality:

Jesus understands all of our human weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings and temptations we do, yet He did not sin.

Jesus experienced every human emotion, felt keenly every human feeling — including our feelings of fear, insecurity, uncertainty, abandonment, betrayal. 

I mean, you just wait until we get to the Garden of Gethsemane, at which time there will be no doubt that in Jesus 100% deity meets 100% humanity, with all that that word humanity implies.

As we saw so vividly last week, life threw at Jesus unexpected challenges, unanticipated conflicts, undeserved difficulties, uninvited troubles… Just like life throws at us.

Jesus learned, just as so many of us are now learning, that sometimes, perhaps even most times, our richest life lessons can be taught only in the crucible of calamity.

By the reading of books our minds become broad. But it is only as we walk the pathway of pain that our souls become deep.

Something that Jesus learned.

Something that we are each learning.

Even though Jesus was God’s Son, He learned obedience from the things He suffered.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed it might take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you as you listen.

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