Web Excursions are links and websites that we’ve stumbled across today that we hope will be a blessing to you.
Why We Should Preach Christ in Every Sermon – Fred Malone: "There are two thoughts I would offer in answer to this: (1) Biblical Hermeneutics, and (2) Biblical Example."
Should We Preach Christ in Every Sermon? – True preaching is not: 1. An expositional sermon, even from a New Testament text, without mentioning Christ except in an evangelistic appeal at the end. 2. A sermon filled with illustrations and humor, while only nominally mentioning a text, or Jesus Christ Himself, occasionally. 3. A "practical series" on marriage, joy, etc., without explaining how the person and work of Jesus Christ applies to marriage, joy, etc. 4. A running commentary on a passage of Scripture without preaching Christ because He is not mentioned explicitly in the text.
The Canon of Scripture by Samuel Waldron – "Is the idea of a canon, a list of sacred writings which are looked at possessing divine authority, itself biblical? In other words, Does the Bible teach the idea of a canon? This question is even more urgent to answer in light of the fact that the termcanon, is never used of a list of writings possessing final authority in the Bible."
Church Discipline: The Neglected Third Mark of the Church – "Biblical church discipline is a culture of accountability, growth, forgiveness, and grace that should permeate our churches. Each member of a church has a responsibility to help others as they struggle with sin—not through judgment and criticism, but rather with gentleness and an eye toward restoration, knowing that he too is subject to temptation (Gal. 6:1)."
In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life: Free eBook – "During the month of August, Reformation Trust is giving away the eBook edition of Sinclair Ferguson’s In Christ Alone. This book explores various aspects of the person and work of Jesus. It has been written to help believers gain a better understanding of their Savior and the Christian faith, and to live out that faith in their day-to-day lives."
Church Discipline: Earl Blackburn Interviewed by Mark Dever – Earl Blackburn, pastor of Trinity Reformed Baptist Church in La Mirada, CA for 22 years and now pastor at Heritage Baptist Church in Shreveport, LA, talks candidly with Dr. Mark Dever about the practical outworking of church discipline in a variety of different circumstances.
My husband is not my soul mate. | The Art in Life – Excellent advice for our young adults when considering marriage. "There is no biblical basis to indicate that God has one soul mate for you to find and marry."
Simple Evangelism – "But how can other members of the church easily engage in evangelism? How can you turn a short conversation into an opportunity to discuss the gospel? One of simplest ways that has proven helpful is asking a simple question: “Where do you go to church?”"
How the Bible Regulates Worship: Two Free Lectures – "How does the Bible regulate our worship? Pastor Matt Foreman addresses this question as he lectures on the larger topic of worship and church ministry. In two free video lectures, Pastor Foreman addresses the distinction between worship as a way of life and corporate worship. He also discusses the distinction between elements and circumstances of worship.?"
Teaching Children the Bible – Author Sally Lloyd-Jones often asks children "How many people here sometimes think that if you aren’t good, God will stop loving you?" Almost without fail they raise their hands. These children think they have to keep the rules or God won’t love them. They think if they mess up God will stop loving them. These children are in Sunday schools. They know all their Bible stories. And they have missed what the Bible is all about. Because we haven't taught them.
Where Do the Prayers Come from in “The Valley of Vision”? – An interesting set of frequently asked questions about this modern Puritan classic.
Gift? – An imaginary dialogue – Romans 4:5 – But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness. (N.A.S.B.)
The Whole Counsel Of God – SermonAudio.com – In this sermon on Acts 20:17-38, James M. Renihan explores the phrase "The Whole Counsel Of God." What does it mean when Paul said, "I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God," and it what are it's applications for us?
Minority Status: How Are Christians to Respond to Their Developing Cultural Displacement? – "We should also remember out history. It is precisely those periods of time when the Church held the greatest degree of institutionalized dominance that she wandered from the truth and became corrupted from within. In proclaiming the truth, perhaps a better position for the Church to occupy is one that is exactly outside the social system to which it has been called as a herald."
Reformed Baptist Online Hymnal ￼ – "The Reformed Baptist Online Hymnal is a collection of traditional, public domain hymns which proclaim and praise God for who he is and what he has done for his people, as revealed in his word. All hymns are offered as printable PDFs optimized for vocalists, keyboardists, and guitarists—often in multiple keys. Because these hymns are in the public domain in the United States, they are offered free for any use whatsoever."
Why Men Have Stopped Singing in Church – "Years ago, worship leaders used to prepare their flocks when introducing a new song. 'We’re going to do a new song for you now. We’ll go through it twice, and then we invite you to join in.' That kind of coaching is rare today. Songs get switched out so frequently today that it’s impossible to learn them. People can’t sing songs they’ve never heard. And with no musical notes to follow, how is a person supposed to pick up the tune? And so the church has returned to the 14th century. Worshippers stand mute as professional-caliber musicians play complex instruments, and sing in an obscure language. Martin Luther is turning over in his grave."
Christianity & Liberalism – In my little book, Christianity and Liberalism, 1923, I tried to show that the issue in the Church of the present day is not between two varieties of the same religion, but, at bottom, between two essentially different types of thought and life. There is much interlocking of the branches, but the two tendencies, Modernism and supernaturalism, or (otherwise designated) non-doctrinal religion and historic Christianity, spring from different roots. In particular, I tried to show that Christianity is not a "life," as distinguished from a doctrine, and not a life that has doctrine as its changing symbolic expression, but that–exactly the other way around–it is a life founded on a doctrine.
Reformed Baptist History in America – Sam Waldron: "Any church, therefore, determined to preach and practice the whole counsel of God in American today must be ready for war. It must be ready to be called many things by those who believe in autonomous freedom and worship at the shrine of individual liberty! Even those who should know better may be alienated by the spirit of the age. Yet the war is not unwinnable…. The secret of winning the war is not compromise with the spirit of this age. It is uncompromising obedience to God which holds the promise of his blessing."
Big Theology for Little Kids – "One of the chief benefits of catechisms is that the firewood of biblical knowledge has already been found, chopped, hauled, split, and stacked. No parent is a perfect theologian; we all have gaps in our understanding and can fail our children by explaining only those doctrines that are most precious to our own hearts. Teaching the catechism fills in our omissions, gives us structure, and supplies answers to those questions we are inadequate to answer."
The Most Important Message – "Well, we don’t need to speculate because Paul tells us right here in 1 Corinthians 15 what he shared with the Corinthians as being “of first importance”: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. Paul’s first and most important priority was not to organize or to criticize, to politicize or philosophize. Rather, he came to make an announcement, to proclaim good news, to tell what Jesus had done, focused specifically on His death and resurrection."
The Baptist Confession on Life After Death and the Resurrection | It Is Written – "Americans are willing to talk about morality, politics, religion, and a host of other hot topics. When it comes to serious reflection upon the significance of death, however, they’re quick to change the subject. In fact, most of us spend the majority of our lives in a kind of subconscious denial of the reality of death. "
St. Patrick: Take Back the Great Missionary from the Culture of Green Beer – "Today most people know St. Patrick for green beer, banishing snakes from Ireland, using shamrocks to teach the trinity, or Patrick’s walking stick growing into a living tree. Indeed, none of this has anything to do with the real Patrick. However, the factual accounts of Patrick, missionary to Ireland, are even more compelling than the folklore. Telling the true story of Patrick the Christian missionary provides an inspiring lesson in God’s grace and mercy."
Main Session #7 Paul Washer on Vimeo – Paul Washer preached in the 2013 G3 Conference on the subject of penal substitutionary atonement.
Are You Worshiping the Idol of ‘Open Options’? – "But there comes a point when pausing becomes procrastination, when waiting is no longer wise. There comes a point when not to choose becomes idolatry. It becomes a lack of trust in the God who ordains the decisions we will make, gathers up the frayed ends, and works all things for our good and his glory."
Your church is too relevant. Plus nine other reasons kids leave churches. – "You didn’t misread that, I didn’t say irrelevant, I said RELEVANT. We’ve taken a historic, 2,000 year old faith, dressed it in plaid and skinny jeans and tried to sell it as “cool” to our kids. It’s not cool. It’s not modern. What we’re packaging is a cheap knockoff of the world we’re called to evangelize."
Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart – Challies: "We have an enemy who is identified as the Deceiver. He loves to deceive Christians into thinking that they cannot possibly have been delivered from condemnation, and he loves to deceive unbelievers into complacency, making them believe that they have been forgiven even without true faith and repentance. Some of his most effective work is in removing assurance from those who ought to have it, and in giving assurance to those who should not have it. This book will comfort the Christian and challenge the deceived unbeliever. Full of useful illustrations, powerful insights and, best of all, gospel hope, it is exactly the book I will recommend to anyone who struggles with assurance. In fact, I am going to buy a few and keep them close at-hand; I know I will be reading it with someone soon enough."
Bringing Marriage Back to Earth – Brian Tallman: "Common critiques of contemporary marriage in the West often include the recognition that marriage has become too sentimentalized. In light of Calvin’s comments, I wonder if the church isn’t guilty of making marriage too spiritual. That’s not to say that there aren’t Christian ethics that relate to marriage. Of course there are. Moreover, that isn’t to say that there aren’t opportunities to model and display the gospel in marriage. There are. But even when Paul speaks of the great mystery of marriage because it refers to Christ and His church, his proof text is Genesis 2:24: 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh,' a text universally considered to be referring to the institution of marriage in general and not Christian marriage specifically. Marriage—Christian marriage and non-Christian marriage—point to the gospel."
Swimming the Tiber? – Mark Jones: "In understanding why evangelicals turn to Catholicism, we must confess that churches today in the Protestant tradition have much for which to answer. Many evangelical churches today are, practically speaking, dog-and-pony shows. Not only has reverence for a thrice holy God disappeared in our worship, but even the very truths that make us Protestant, truths for which people have died, such as justification by faith alone, have been jettisoned for pithy epithets that would not seem out of place in a Roman Catholic Mass or, indeed, a Jewish synagogue. Our polemics against Rome will be of any lasting value only when Protestant churches return to a vibrant confessional theology, rooted in ongoing exegetical reflection, so that we have something positive to say and practice alongside our very serious objections to Roman Catholic theology."
Make Your Election Sure | Reformed Bible Studies & Devotionals at Ligonier.org – "We cannot know for certain the true state of anyone’s heart besides our own. Some profess faith and persevere until their deaths. Other professing believers later fall away, revealing that they never truly had faith to begin with (1 John 2:19). Until Jesus returns, the visible church is a mixed body; not all of those who profess faith actually possess it (Matt. 13:24–30)."
The Googlization of Bible Study – "Now, I don’t need that chew time. If I have a problem I simply Google it. And it’s making me dumberer. If I have an intellectual problem I tip my hat to Mr. Google and get an answer. Very quickly. I read through some sort of answer and then move on. The problem with this, though, is that I have an answer but I do not own that answer. "
Can you catch sin like a cold? – Barnabas Piper: "So many Christians live in cultural quarantine, shutting themselves off from what they see as sinful influences. They avoid 'bad' people and even places. They talk about those people and places like they are disease carriers – 'We can't have them around' or 'We couldn't go there.' They act like someone can sneeze sin onto them, that they will catch the bad decisions and guilt of another through physical proximity. What does his shunning communicate to those we have labeled 'unclean'? Exactly that, Christians think they are unclean. Not the ideal way to draw people to Jesus. But sin is not an infectious disease."