John Owen Portrait 2In recent years, many Christians have become increasingly familiar with Jonathan Edwards. As a result, many know that in addition to Edwards’ many theological masterpieces (like The End for Which God Created the World, The Freedom of the Will, and Original Sin), he also wrote what he called Miscellanies. These were reflections of various lengths on miscellaneous theological and practical topics. In other words, they were 18th-century Puritan blog posts.

Well, Edwards wasn’t the only one to do that. John Owen, perhaps the greatest theological mind of Puritanism, also penned these short, blog-post-like, reflections—though he called them “Discourses” instead of “Miscellanies.” A number of Owen’s Discourses are contained in Volume 9 of his Works, under the heading, “Several Practical Cases of Conscience Resolved.” There, he answers numerous practical questions within the span of 3 to 5 pages or so. Some examples include: “How does a Christian recover from neglect of the spiritual disciplines?” and “What does it mean for a sin to be ‘habitual’?” and “How are we to prepare for the coming of Christ?”

The tenth discourse in this collection answers the question: “What shall a person do who finds himself under the power of a prevailing corruption, sin, or temptation?” I don’t know about you, but I’d sure jump at the chance to read John Owen’s blog, and especially his answer on how to mortify a particular besetting sin. You’ll need to read it a bit more slowly and carefully than perhaps you would a contemporary blog post, but my experience with Owen’s writing has been that it’s worth the effort. Here’s John Owen, the blogger.

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Question. What shall a person do who finds himself under the power of a prevailing corruption, sin, or temptation?

[…]

I answer,—

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In my previous post, I explored the Old Testament teaching on the concept of “kingdom” and specifically looked at the promised Davidic kingdom; a kingdom that would be ruled by one of Davids’ descendants in righteousness and be an everlasting kingdom.  I looked at how this kingdom appeared to be established with Solomon but was not, and we saw how Isaiah offered reassurances to Israel that Solomon’s sinfulness in no way negated the certainty of the coming Davidic kingdom.  I also commented on how the expectation of the kingdom was one of a physical, national kingdom that would be centered in Israel but would also be global in scope.

So, when the New Testament era came around, it’s fairly logical to think that this kingdom mentioned in the OT was the expectation, right? Let’s look at the New Testament usages of “kingdom” and explore what is said.  As before, I’ve done this only with an English concordance so this is far from comprehensive or exhaustive, but it’s a definite start.  I list the usages of the word “kingdom” according to their meaning, and I’ve written some notes about references that are either important or may be slightly confusing.  This is going to be a lot to process, so here goes:

The Kingdom: NT Usage -

1. Human empires & reign (national) or Satan’s empire and reign on earth.

HumanKingdom_zps51a0f9a0

Matt. 4:8, 12:25-26, Mark 6:23, 11:10, 13:8, Luke 1:33, 4:5, 11:17-18, 21:10, Heb. 11:33; Rev. 11:15, 26:20. Continue Reading…

Hey kids!  Guess what time it is?

It’s word study time!

excited kid

Two years ago in October 2012, I got mysteriously ill and ended up spending a week in the hospital.  Having nothing to do, being abysmally sick (not really able to eat or sleep), I decided to attempt to read a book on a subject that I had wanted to tackle for a while.  I had wanted to read Alva J. McClain’s book The Greatness of the Kingdom, which is an exhaustive look at the concept of “the kingdom” throughout the entire Bible.  I hadn’t ever really studied the topic in serious depth, so I figured that my illness provided me a perfect opportunity.  The problem was that my office was a horrid mess and my wife couldn’t find the book so I basically decided to do all the study on the topic myself…but that’s a lot of work so I simply did an exhaustive study of the term “kingdom” in the Bible.  I had an English concordance (on my phone) and I looked up every single usage of the word “kingdom” in both the OT and the NT, and started refining my understanding of the kingdom (I had a lot of free time).  I’ll post my findings in the order of Old Testament, New Testament and then kingdom parables.

Why that order?

Well, the reason is not because “the Old Testament comes first” (I tended to previously think of “the kingdom” as essentially a New Testament concept).  I had heard a lot of talk about “the kingdom” in the NT, and I had always been puzzled about something.  When Jesus arrived in Matthew 2:2, he was called “King of the Jews” and in 3:2 his initial message was “repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand”, but the people seemed to know what he was talking about.  They thought that Jesus was the promised king who would establish a promised kingdom, and nobody stopped him and said “hang on a second!  What in the world are you talking about?  Kingdom? What kingdom?”.  In the gospel of Matthew, the “gospel” that Jesus proclaimed was the “gospel of the kingdom” (Matt. 4:23, 9:35, 24:14).  That was the “good news” that Jesus brought to his listeners.

I had never heard anyone explain the setting up of the kingdom promises in the OT, so that seemed to be the logical place to start.  I also decided to treat the New Testament separately from the specific kingdom parables in the gospels for the purpose of limiting the length of the posts and prevent the New Testament post from becoming horribly unwieldy.

Here’s the first installment of my gleanings from my survey of the term “kingdom” in the Bible; this isn’t a comprehensive explanation of the concept, but rather simply the term “kingdom”.  This would only be one step in producing a properly and comprehensively biblical understanding of “kingdom”, but it’s a decent start.  I list the usages of the word “kingdom” according to their meaning, and I’ve written some notes about certain references that are either important or may be slightly confusing: Continue Reading…

November 18, 2014

Peter the Apostate?

by Dave Farnell

Peters_DenialsToday’s article is adapted from Dave’s larger article entitled: “Robert Gundry, Gaining Renewed Support from ETS, Declares Peter an Apostate in Matthew’s Gospel.” To read the entire article, click here.

On October 6, 2014, Robert Gundry delivered an address at Westmont College in which he made the shocking claim that the apostle Peter was actually “Peter the apostate and false disciple according to St. Matthew.” According to Gundry, Matthew’s gospel depicts Peter, after his denials — not as a forgiven apostle — but as an apostatizing false prophet. (To see the video, click here. To read the press release from Westmont, click here).

In essence, Gundry puts Peter on equal footing with Judas Iscariot.

Gundry’s claims are astounding — especially when one considers that never in church history has anyone suggested that Matthew’s gospel depicts Peter as an apostate. But that fact does not faze Gundry, who apparently sees no problem with his novel interpretations. Continue Reading…

Pop quiz: How many days was Jesus in the tomb?watchmaking

a) One and a half

b) Two

c) Three or

d) This is a trick question so I will first read the article and then decide.

Your average “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” contestant would pick “three days final answer” without blinking. Everyone knows Jesus rose on the third day. But that’s not the question. How many days was he actually in the grave? The answer is one and a half days. Or three, depending on if you are a modern Swiss watchmaker or a 1st century Jewish gospel writer.

Put on your Swiss horologist cap for a moment: Jesus died on Good Friday at about 3pm (see Luke 23:44, which calls the time of death at the ninth hour after sunrise). Joseph of Arimathea lays him in the tomb before sundown, and the women interrupt their plans to embalm the body because the Sabbath begins at dusk on Friday. These ladies arrive at the empty tomb at the crack of dawn on Easter Sunday. So that makes for about thirty-six hours or so that Jesus was in the tomb.

An echt Swiss engineer would balk at guesstimating, but if you and I were to round “thirty-six or so hours” off to how many days, we’d probably settle for “a day and a half” or at most “two days.” Right?

Now, let’s say our watchmaker has his quiet time in Matthew 12 before bedtime. He wouldn’t have a good night’s rest after reading Jesus predict, “For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth”(Matt 12:40).

Let’s just fess up: Jesus was not in the tomb three days and three nights. So what gives?

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TMS_9MarksExpository preaching is important. This is especially true for local churches and those who shepherd them. Without a deep commitment to expository preaching in the pulpit, it’s difficult to imagine a church being truly and meaningfully centered on the Word of God. Pastors, then, must understand and uphold expository preaching in order to effectively equip their members for the work of the ministry.

To that end, and on behalf of the Master’s Seminary and 9Marks, John MacArthur and Mark Dever will be hosting a one-day workshop: Preaching and the Church this coming Tuesday (November 18th) in San Diego, CA. Those who live in Southern California, or who are traveling to San Diego for the annual ETS meeting, are welcome to attend.

At the workshop, John will teach twice on the gospel and expositional preaching; Mark will teach on evangelistic expositional preaching and preach a sample sermon from 1 Corinthians. The rest of the time will be spent in panel Q&As with the men.

God has given His inerrant Word to His church in order to encourage, edify, and guide those under its care. This includes pastors, lay leaders, and all members. Therefore, the hope for this workshop is simple: that it will leave you encouraged, edified, and better guided by the Word of God. Register today to secure your place.

November 14, 2014

A Profile of Integrity

by Mike Riccardi

For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in God-given simplicity and sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you. For we write nothing else to you than what you read and understand.
– 2 Corinthians 1:12-13 –

IntegrityAt the time he wrote 2 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul was facing false accusations against his character and ministry. False teachers, claiming to be Apostles of Christ, infiltrated the church of Corinth and, in order to weaken Paul’s influence for the sake of growing their own, launched a full-scale assault on Paul’s legitimacy as an Apostle. Much of 2 Corinthians is a defense of Paul’s integrity as a minister of the Gospel. And he begins that defense by declaring that his conscience is clear from the accusations being brought against him.

But he knows that it would have been too easy for hypocrites who have been seared in conscience to simply appeal to their conscience in order to get everyone off their backs. In 2 Corinthians 1:12–13, Paul explains that the testimony of his clear conscience is something more than a retreat to a private and inner sense of the state of his heart that no one can see or verify. His clear conscience is founded upon a real life of integrity. And that life of integrity is marked by a number of things.

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When I came to Immanuel in March of 2012, the first series I preached was Psalm 119. I chose this Psalm because I wanted to impress on people the foundational nature of the Bible. As Christians, we never get beyond the fact that the word of God is absolutely necessary for everything related to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Psalm 119 makes that point in every single verse.

Yesterday I catalogued the themes of each stanza. Today I want to pass along the most helpful Psalm 119 resources. All four of these interact with every single verse of the stanza (whereas most commentaries have sections on Psalm 119 shorter than the actual psalm!)

These four were the most helpful to me in my preaching, and three of them are free on-line:   Continue Reading…

Psalm 119 is the longest poem in the Bible. It is the longest prayer in the Bible. It is the longest acrostic in the Bible. It is the longest chapter in the Bible. It stands at the center of the Bible, and it is about the Bible. The longest Psalm is a psalm about Psalms. The most intimidating chapter in the Word is also a chapter about the Word.

The scope of Psalm 119 is both huge (22 stanzas) and limited (every verse is about scripture). The chapter covers every aspect of life—successes, failures, victories, defeats, prosperity and adversity—and yet is also almost entirely a prayer (nearly every verse is directed to Yahweh).

Because of its length, the unity of it can often be missed. The stanzas are not interchangeable. Instead, this Psalm is masterfully crafted to guide the reader in a progression through the believer’s life. It covers all you need to know about leading a godly life, from A-Z (or aleph-to-tav, as it were). And it does so in order.   Continue Reading…

November 11, 2014

ICYMI: #askJMac

by C-Gate Links

Last week, John MacArthur dusted his twitter account off, and opened it up for business. Part of that was hosting a Q&A session in real time. Here are the highlights:

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