Monday, November 30, 2009

Nothing But the Blood

I got a comment on my blog (on this post about the Curse Motif), so I'm celebrating with a follow-up blog here. To provide more reading on penal substitution, please start with Mark Dever's article, then enjoy other prominent theologians talk about this glorious doctrine.
More importantly than these of course is the Scripture itself.
  • Isaiah 53:6 - "the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all."
  • Isaiah 53:12 - "yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors."
  • Romans 3:25
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21 - "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
  • Galatians 3:13 - "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us -- for it is written, Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree."
  • Hebrews 10:1-4
It has been suggested that the atonement/curse/penal substitution is negative, hateful. Quite the opposite. Knowing what God reveals about His plan for salvation of sinners is about the happiest doctrine you can ever know!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
-It Is Well With My Soul by Horatio Spafford

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving thoughts

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. There is no pressure in present-giving (and receiving), delicious food is plenteous, and football is on the TV and in the back yard. Family get-togethers are great, and fellowship is rich. But this Thanksgiving I want to be sure that I am most thankful for the God who gives--not the gifts He gives!

In that spirit, here are some words from John MacArthur and a young preacher from Countryside.

Rekindling the Gratitude - John MacArthur
The Thanksgiving season is a wonderful time to heighten your sensitivity to the blessings bestowed by God. Thanksgiving grabs your attention, shakes the cobwebs loose, and reminds you of all God's most precious gifts. That's one reason Thanksgiving has always held such a special place in my heart. It rekindles in me the kind of God-centered gratitude that our Lord demands and deserves—the kind that should readily be on our lips year round.

To help stimulate that kind of deeper gratitude, my family has adopted a Thanksgiving tradition we've found extremely helpful. Each year after our Thanksgiving meal we gather in our living room and simply recite the blessings of God that have touched our lives. One by one we circle the room, each one of us expressing our gratitude to God for His many physical and spiritual blessings.

Allow me to share with you just five blessings that deeply touch me every year and prompt me to thank God. Perhaps it'll catch and you'll be able to rekindle your gratitude!

You're Saved and You Know It
No work of God's is more beyond my comprehension yet closer to my heart and more worthy of gratitude than salvation. Before coming to know Christ, each of us lived in a self-imposed prison. Guilty, condemned, spiritually blind, and with no means to pay our debt, our destiny was one of eternal separation from God.

But Christ not only rescued us from the power and penalty of our sins, He also lifted us to a place of blessing. He delivered us from punishment and brought glory. He took away the threat of hell and gave us the hope of heaven. He dismissed us from divine wrath and brought us a divine benediction. One hymn writer put that unfathomable transaction like this:

In wonder lost, with trembling joy, We take the pardon of our God; Pardon for crimes of deepest dye, A pardon bought with Jesus' blood, Who is a pard'ning God like Thee? Or who has grace so rich and free?

We sing of salvation. We talk of salvation. Salvation is the essence of Christianity. Thanking God for saving us should be the unceasing occupation of our lips—only a stone-cold heart could offer anything less.

Read the rest of the article here.

JD Summers (CSide) kicked of November with this message, and it still echoes in my brain and heart as we look to Thanksgiving tomorrow. JD asked, "What is it that you are most thankful for?" Stop and answer that before reading. JD went on to say that your answer to this reveals what is most important to you. Is it God or is it His gifts? God is the Gospel.

Finally, Jim Elliff has some practical ways we can honor God on Thanksgiving.

May the Lord richly bless you all with His mercy and grace!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Curse Motif Video

I have found a new website that is a real blessing: Recover the Gospel. They have a video that is worth sharing. It includes a condensed version of RC Sproul's 'Curse Motif' sermon from the T4G Conference of 2008. This sermon, listed on my sermon favorites (right panel), can be downloaded here. Please check out this video, though, and meditate on the glorious doctrine of penal substitution and what that means for sinners like us who deserve the wrath of the One and Only, Almighty God.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Opening Eyes by Joni Eareckson Tada

My wife forwarded this to me. Great reminder to cherish God's Word ...

Joni and Friends Daily Devotional
November 12, 2009
Opening Eyes
"Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the earsof the deaf
unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb
shout for joy"-- Isaiah 35:5-6

Dale stepped up to the pulpit and heaved onto it an incredibly large bookwith thick pages. As an elder lowered the microphone for him, Dale flipped toa section in the middle of the book. He adjusted his black glasses as if hecould see and began to read: "Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the kneesthat give way; say to those with fearful hearts, 'Be strong, do not fear;your God will come.'"

I immediately recognized the familiar passage from Isaiah 35. Dale's huge andcumbersome book was the Bible written in Braille. But not the entire Bible.The volume from which he read that morning represented only several booksfrom the Old Testament. He had left most of his Bible at home because hecouldn't carry the entire thing!

The blind man continued his reading, with his hands placed squarely on thepage and fingers constantly moving over the bumps and points. He read withfirm authority. Every once in a while he paused while his fingers encountereda staple in the page (his way of underlining a verse).

Dale looked so small behind the big book and the even bigger pulpit. But inmy eyes, he seemed so large. The Bible must be incredibly precious to Dale, seeing that it requires such effort to read it, to underline a verse, and to even cart it around! I glanced at my Bible on my lap. I knew, after that day, I would never look at it quite the same.

How precious is your Bible to you? Is it time for you to see the Bible afresh as the Word of God, a cherished communication from our heavenly Father? Read the entire chapter of Isaiah 35 today and relish in the truth and hope which is the Word of God.

* * * * *

Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved us enough to reveal Yourself to usthrough the Word. Help me to read it with a fresh vision today.


Joni and Friends Taken from More Precious Than Silver.
Copyright © 1998 by Joni Eareckson Tada. Used by permission. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Plea to Christian Young People to Be Fools by Bryan Elliff

Found this article today, written to young people by Bryan Elliff (CF) when he was 18. It is written for young people but applies to all ages ...
The people of God are called to be fools for the sake of Christ. Many Christian young people are not.

When Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians, he was fighting this very battle. He brought into sharp contrast the wisdom of the world and the foolishness of God. To the world in their wisdom, he said in chapter 1, the cross of Christ is utter stupidity. It is bloody, dirty, poor, and intellectually bankrupt—the historical execution of a Jewish, religious criminal. “But,” he said, “to those who are the called . . . [it is] Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God (1:24).” The cross does not cease to be dirty, and bloody, and poor, but to the called, this “foolishness” is seen as the glorious power and wisdom of the omnipotent and omniscient God.

The world hates the gospel. How else can you explain the martyrdom of the many early Christians in the Roman Coliseum, or the beheading of John and Betty Stam, missionaries to China, in 1934, or the brutal torture and death of three missionaries in Asia this past year? To the world in their wisdom, the cross of Jesus Christ is still dirty, bloody, poor, and stupid. And, possibly what is the most hateful of all, it demands of them absolute submission. That is the gospel that you are called to preach and live.
Read the whole article.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

116 Video - To Live is Christ by Trip Lee

As a follow up to Dan's Christ-exalting "Yes!" for God's Gift of Music post, here's a video from 116 (as in Romans 1:16) about Philippians. It's great to see the lyrics because I must admit I can't always follow all the great content being poured into these great rhymes! Enjoy this exposition of Philippians by Trip Lee ...


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Free Desiring God audio book download!

This month you can download John Piper's classic Desiring God in audio book format for free!

Click here for the offer from

About Me

Here is my testimony: mike