THERE’S NOBODY LIKE JESUS

•July 13, 2014 • Leave a Comment


When was the last time you heard a sermon about Joseph? The famous ‘Coat of many Colors.’ “The Favored Son.” “The Tenacity of Joseph” “The Joseph Spirit.”
It probably focused on Joseph’s entrepreneurial spirit. Or how God will raise us up after we have been faithful in our trials. Is that the major theological lesson God wants us to understand from that story? The narrative of Joseph is just a demonstration of the Messiah and His future work. Joseph was sent to his brothers, and his brothers rejected him. Sound familiar? Joseph was put into a pit? Does this remind you of someone? His brothers were the ones who ate bread with him, and they were the ones who lifted up their heel against him. The ones who betrayed Joseph were the very people with whom he dipped morsels of bread. Remind you of another person? Joseph was raised and seated in authority to preserve the life of his people. What about the ‘Coat of many colors’? How does that point to Christ?
A sermon about Joseph that doesn’t mention Christ is missing the point!
There’s Nobody Like Jesus. He secured our salvation and lives forever.
In my past life, I once heard an “evangelist” sermonize for 70 minutes about how Christians need the armor of God to go to heaven. We need the armor, but the armor does not forgive our sins and change our eternal destiny. There’s Nobody Like Jesus.

ONLY ONE person can turn a woman who was famous for singing about adultery into a changed woman who now sings, (Shirley Murdock with Darwin Hobbs) “There’s Nobody Like Jesus” – JESUS THE MESSIAH.

Do we need a Priest?

•June 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

A Roman Catholic asked me recently, “If there are no priest in your church, then who stands before God to clear you from your sins? Don’t you need a priest?” I was surprised by the question.   Most people, no matter what their religious beliefs, are not very reflective.   She obviously thought about this deeply.

I had very little time to answer; yet I wanted to provide a biblical answer.

The book of Hebrews is written to Jewish believers who wanted to return to the Old Testament sacrificial system. They wanted a priest they could see and touch. The Old and New Testament makes it clear that all men need a person who would stand before God and represent them with a sacrifice. In Chapter seven of Hebrews, the apostle compares The Levitical priesthood to Jesus. The Levitical priest became a priest on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent (Hebrews 7:16). There were many in number, and they offered up sacrifices all the time.

Jesus, on the other hand, was made a priest with an oath: “You are a priest forever” (Psalm 110:4). The Levitical priests coiuld not continue in office because of death, but Jesus hold His priesthood permanently. The Last thing about Jesus as a priest, was that He was holy, innocent, unstained, and separated from sinners (7:26). Jesus had no need to offer sacrifices for Himself first and then the people. The law appointed men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath appointed The Son who has been made perfect forever (Hebrews 7:28).

Yes, I do need a priest, and Jesus Christ represents me before the Father. God appointed Him with an oath and He entered once for all into the holy place, thus securing eternal redemption.

I wish this was answer, but all I said was, “Jesus Christ is my High priest, and He died once for me and lives forever to pray for me.” I pray that she thinks deeply about that!

 

Brian L. Spivey

Jesus’ Response to the Sadducees

•May 28, 2014 • 1 Comment

Jesus and the Sadducees

And the Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection.  And they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.  There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no offspring.  And the second took her, and died, leaving no offspring.  And the third likewise.  And the seven left no offspring.  Last of all the woman also died.  In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be?  For the seven had her as wife.”

Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?  For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.  And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?’  He is not God of the dead, but of the living.  You are quite wrong.”  Mk. 12:18-27

Notice the absurdity of the question.  Is this a likely scenario?  No.  This is purely a snag attempt.  I have to say the Pharisees are better at these, even though they accomplish no more than the Sadducees.

But then, you may point out that the question was meant to be absurd because the Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection.  “Reducing to absurdity” is a fine defeater for an illogical conclusion.  Did they succeed?

No.  Jesus actually turns the table on them to show that their question is, in fact, absurd in light of a correct understanding of Scripture and an experiential knowledge of God’s power.

A few thoughts about Jesus’ response:

1.  Jesus believes that truth and the right interpretation of it is possible from the Scriptures.

2.  Furthermore, He expects those who teach to accurately understand the Bible’s implications.  See the burning bush.  Would you have understood what God intended to reveal about Himself in that account?  Do the details matter when it comes to Scripture?

3.  As far as I can tell, Jesus’ statement here about marriage and the resurrection is new revelation (in the sense that it is not taught explicitly in the OT).  The relationships we cherish in this life will substantially change.  We will no longer have a sense of loneliness and incompleteness in the life to come, but will be like the angels in heaven.  They are complete in God and have no need of special companionship.  As my pastor says, “The lamb is all the glory” in the new heavens and the new earth.  God will fill all the empty spaces.  He will be at center stage.

4.  The power of God is of a higher order than any power we are familiar with in this world.  The resurrection, which seems foolish to the natural man, is a display of this power.  Hydraulic power can move a lot of dirt around, even move mountains, electric power is awesome (ever seen lightning strike?), atomic power can level cities, but no power in this life can raise the dead.

C.M Granger

Confused about the Gospel? Look to the President!

•May 18, 2014 • 2 Comments

There are many portraits in this world that help us understand the gospel, but there is a place most of us would never think to look – the oval office. You want a picture of the gospel? Just look at the President!

Don’t worry, this is not an indictment on Obama, nor is this a debate about the faith of Bush or Clinton. No, the person I want to highlight is Franklin Delano Roosevelt (F.D.R.). It was not his faith in God (of which I have no knowledge), but “the picture” of the (former) president.

In 1921, at age 39, Roosevelt contracted Poliomyelitis (Polio for short), an acute viral disease. He was paralyzed and would never walk again. Whenever most people conjure up “pictures” of him in their mind, they remember him in a wheel chair, unable to get up. But what does this have to do with the gospel? Everything.

In Luke 6, we see portraits of the gospel.  The Bible records physical healing and deliverance of all kinds of people.  This is picture of how God brings salvation to sinners. One such picture is found in Luke 6:6-11. Jesus is in the synagogue and Jesus tells a man with a withered hand to stretch his hand forward. The way I have always understood this passage in the past was that the man with the withered hand had faith, and exercised his faith, THEN Jesus healed his hand. What is good about a “You take one step and God will take two steps gospel? The text said that the man had a withered hand. The word “withered” in that context means, “Infantile Paralysis,” an old synonym for Poliomyelitis (Polio). That man could no more stretch out his hand than Roosevelt could get out of his wheelchair. Jesus had to heal the man’s hand first, then he could stretch it forward.  The man with the withered hand is “picture” of the condition of man’s inability to come to Christ. God is the author and finisher of our salvation, and any repentance of faith we have, is a gift from Him. “For by Grace you have been saved through faith; it is a gift from God.

We can mask and dress up our sin. We can play with our electronics and forget that we are spiritually paralyzed – unable to come to God on our own. But when we look at the portrait of Roosevelt, we are reminded of how hopeless our condition is without the power of God.  If you are a believer be encourage that it is good who works in you for His good pleasure, and if you are not, then repent and believe the good news of Jesus Christ.

 

Brian L. Spivey — D.O.C.

Audio from the Northeast ETS Conference

•April 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Sorry for the long delay between posts.  The ETS meetings were great and I spent too much money on books.  In other words, a smashing success.

You can listen to Al Mohler’s sessions here.

Enjoy!

 

C.M. Granger

 

Northeast ETS Meeting, Featuring Dr. Al Mohler, March 29

•February 26, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Wolf in Sheep's ClothingPlease join us at the Clifton Park Community Church on Saturday, March 29, for the annual meeting of the Northeast Evangelical Theological Society.  This year’s featured speaker is Dr. Al Mohler.  In addition, there’ll be breakout sessions where position papers will be presented by theologians, pastors, and seminary students.  If you register before March 1, you’ll get a discount off the price of admission.  You can get more information and register here.

Did I mention the coffee is free?  All day.

There will also be lots of books for sale from our friends at Westminster Discount Books, as well as representatives from Zondervan, Baker, and other Christian publishers.

All of the contributors to this blog will be there, and our own Brian Spivey will be presenting a paper.  Hope you can make it!

C.M. Granger

Can You Sing the Song of King David & Our Forefathers?

•February 22, 2014 • Leave a Comment

David’s song would probably not be played on a contemporary Christian radio station, or played in our churches, but maybe it should.

In Psalm 16, he prayed, “Preserve me, O God.”  The Hebrew word for “preserve” means “to keep or guard.”  We can see this word in action when we look at how guards surround a king, and when a shepherd guards his sheep. David took refuge in the only person who can perfectly shepherd and protect him.

In verse 2, there is a second singular ending on the end of the Hebrew verb, “Say.”  It is a strange thing because it is in the feminine form.  I believe the KJV and the NKJV captures the gist of the why it might be there when they translated verse 2, “O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord.”  David confessed to himself and the Lord, “You are my Lord.”  At the end of verse 2, David declares that his goodness “Extendeth not to thee…”David recognized his radical corruption.  This recognition is crucial for a true understanding of our condition before God.  We won’t feel a need to run to Jesus without this knowledge.

We stand undone and condemned before a holy God.  Without the foreign righteousness of Christ we are men most miserable – we are without hope. The realization of knowing ones sins was huge for pillars in church history.  Bernard of Clairvaux, a 12th century mystic said, “The knowledge of God and knowledge of self belong together and that in their mutual dependence they are necessary for salvation.”  Question # 1 of The Heidelberg Catechism provides a biblical summary of our only comfort in life and in death.  But question #2 asks, “What must you know to live and die in the joy of this comfort?  The answer – “Three things:  First, how great my sin and misery are…” This was the first on the list.  This was the song. The apostles knew how great their sin and misery were; the believer in the 12th Century knew this; the elders and church leaders in Germany in the 16th Century knew this; and David declared this in Psalm 16.  When you look squarely “into the eyes” of a Holy God, can you see “How Great, How Great is our sin!  Sing with me how great is our sin. Then all will see how Great, how Great is our GOD”

Can you sing the song of King David and our forefathers?  Well then, there is hope for you… You can now RUN to Jesus for safety.

Brian Spivey — D.O.C.

 
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