Together for the Gospel (T4G)…

What a great and tiring time!  Imagine sitting under the preaching of John MacArthur, Mark Dever, RC Sproul and Al Mohler…well, that was just in ONE DAY!  Then the next morning to hear John Piper (at his God-glorifying best).  CJ Mahaney concluded the conference, and you need to know him and his writings.  He is great at speaking / writing in a common way about extraordinary things.  These guys all followed two men you may not know about: Ligon Duncan and Thabiti Anyabwile.  Here is a link to the messages FOR FREE!

I’ll write more in the coming week on some things that were particularly impactful to me during this conference.  I will say one thing at this point.  As Richey Miller and I were on the airplane returning to XNA, I told him that I almost felt the need to apologize that he (and Stephen Martin) had to listen to me on Sunday.  He rightly said (and rebuked me) that he does not come to hear me!  Well said.  It reminded me that the confidence I have on the early Sunday mornings is found solely in Christ and the authority of the Word, but I need to be more consistent in finding my confidence there at other times throughout the week (like on airplanes).

ESV Study Bible…

Many of you have asked about a study bible version of the ESV.  Well, HERE it comes!  I have referenced some of you to the Reformation Study Bible (ESV), but this new one may be a better fit for many of you.

Pray for me…

I have been praying and thinking for some time now about what I will be preaching next (Lord willing).  I know that’s a long ways off (no emails on that, please!), but I believe the Spirit of God to be at work right now in what our body needs from the Word in these first 7-10 years of our ministry together as we wait for the coming of our Bridegroom, Jesus.

I have been leaning toward Hebrews for some time, but wanted to be faithful to rotate every other series with the Old Testament.  Well, during the conference, John Piper made an aside comment about preaching Leviticus prior to Hebrews, and how he wished he had done this.  While I’m not prepared to commit to this, I believe this to be the strongest consideration for our future preaching schedule.  Due to the nature of Leviticus, we would look at it in larger sections / themes.  However, once we approach Hebrews, we could conceivably be there for several years because of the rich text showing the satisfaction that Christ is for the sacrifice of sin and the sacrifice we are to make in living out a Christ-centered life.

So, pray for me and pray that God would give us wisdom in this, as well as prepare the body to better understand the law and the fulfillment / satisfaction of Jesus Christ.

One Experience…

One very interesting experience I had this week was on the flight back yesterday.  I sat next to a reformed Jew, who is very active in his congregation (synogogue).  In short, the reformed Jew would be considered “liberal” by traditional Jews.  They do not necessarily look for a messiah to come or a national restoration to Israel.  It’s more a “spirit of Israel” kind of thing.  None the less, they observe the feasts and I asked him a few questions about it.

I asked this gentleman about their present day administration of the sacrificial system.  Again, there is not real replacement of these things, they simply remember them from time past, yet clearly no satisfaction of the sacrifice for sin.  I encouraged him to read Hebrews to understand where I was coming from regarding Christ satisfying what his forefathers performed once and for always.

In the course of our conversation I asked about the outer expressions for converts and he affirmed that there is a ceremonial “bath” for those who convert to Judaism.  While I was confident in the background study while we studied John 1, it was interesting to know that the present-day Jew still understood that “baptism” was an outer sign of inner association.  So, I told him about John’s interaction with the Jewish leaders on this point.  Then he added a point that I was not aware of (and still need to corroborate).  He said that the women (historically) would have the ceremonial “bath” on a monthly basis to show cleansing from their time of menstruation.  Immediately, my thoughts (and conversation) turned to scriptures’ charge that our “righteousness is as filthy rags” (Isa.64:6).  It would make sense, then, that the “one baptism” mentioned in Ephesians 4 would represent the single sacrifice made by Christ once and for all for sin.  What a great picture!  No more unclean till evening!  No more sin to atone for!  While it mustn’t produce a laziness in us, we should be free to know that when Christ laid down His life for His sheep (John 10) He did so in their place, as their substitute, and fully satisfied the righteous requirements and wrath of God poured out on sin to His glory!  Hallelujah, What a Savior!

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