The Double Groan of the Gospel

Introduction

It would be ridiculous to deny that Christian are drenched with countless blessing both material and spiritual. Yet it would not be overstating the case to recognize that every Christian personally, and Gospel workers in particular, have the greatest share or portion not in this life but the next. Glory, for the main part, belongs to worldly men. In this valley of tears believers are often heaped with shame.

It is in the context of despised, inglorious, faith that the apostle Paul mentions a ‘double groan’ of the Gospel to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 5.10. His double aim is confidence in their travail for the Lord and consolation for the afflictions and reverses they endure.

The Gravitational Groan

Our home is not down here, but with God in heaven above. Paul contrasts the temporary, flimsy, earthly body with the permanent, indestructible, heavenly frame – one day soon we will be like the risen, exalted, Lord Jesus, death swallowed up in glory, in the Temple prepared by God. Contemplation of this new resurrection body, in the likeness of the glorified humanity of our exalted Lord Jesus, should be light a magnet which draws our hearts, by soul-transforming, heart-rejoicing, triumphant-overcoming, walking by faith and […]


What’s wrong with the Occult?

I’m giving a talk this evening to some of the young people of our Presbytery about the Occult, so I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone today… Eastern Presbytery CY members look away now!!

 

In his introduction to The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis wrote ‘There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.’ Lewis makes the point that the Devil is perfectly happy with either of those extremes – both suit his purpose very well. The apostle Paul says in 2 Cor 2.11 that we are not ignorant of the Devil’s tactics. The occult is one of his many tactics to ensnare human beings, and so we should be aware of it dangers.

 

What is the Occult?

The word ‘occult’ means ‘secret’ or ‘hidden’. Occult practices have to do with gaining secret, hidden knowledge and using invisible powers to control things in the world. This knowledge and power comes from the unseen, supernatural world. All kinds of practices fall under label ‘occult’, such as fortune telling (in any of its many […]


Browse Worthy: Shots in the Arm

So often the news and even blogosphere can be depressing to read, from the latest political scandal to the next ecclesiastical controversy. Though living in this sin-drenched world means we have to deal with negative news, meditating on the grace of God in Christ can fill us with the Spirit’s goodness. Here are a few good reads along those lines.

The State of Evangelicalism in America and all that Blah Blah Blah | Tim Challies

Encouraging to read our Canadian brother reminding those south of him how we should be grateful to God for all that he is using the American church to do around the world.

Assurance: a Pastoral Conversation | Jeffrey Stivason

An imagined but all-too-real conversation that shows how a pastor might help a parishioner whose mind is troubled regarding assurance of salvation.

Why and how do we sing to one other? | Matt Merker

A short video clip from 9Marks that explains that our congregational singing is not only to God, but to one another.

When Everything Is Missions | Kevin DeYoung

This article is a review of a book by this name (When Everything is Missions by Denny Spitters and Matthew Ellison) that explains its thesis: everything is not missions, should not be missions, and when […]



And so-and-so Begat so-and-so

We all know the difficulties of “so-and-so begat so-and-so.” Many evangelical believers read through a Bible in a year reading program. Several of the daily readings will include lists of genealogies that secretly–or maybe not so secretly–prompt the reader to ask questions as to the practicality of such lists upon lists upon lists.

Bible readers using the M’Cheyne reading plan or the reading guide  of the Trinitarian Bible Society’s Westminster Reference Bible are currently working through the beginning of I Chronicles. If you are familiar with the book, it begins with ten chapters of difficult genealogy that include several of the most arduous names found within the pages of the holy Scriptures. If your family is like my family, you may be asking yourself how to work through the so-and-so begat so-and-sos.

Here are two family worship helps from my table to yours as you work through the so-and-sos:

First off, as we are working through the genealogy lists during family worship, we have someone else read the passages to us. This may seem like a strange suggestion–especially from someone who publicly reads the Scriptures for a living–but it is helpful to hear another voice; and a trained one at that.

Yesterday and today we […]


3GT Episode 60: Gordon Keddie, Author of Prayers of the Bible

On this episode of 3GT, we interview Pastor Gordon Keddie, author of the new book Prayers of the Bible from Crown & Covenant Publications. Yet this is not your ordinary interview. With his Scottish brogue, lively spirit, and keen insights, Gordon brings the subject of prayer to life!

Nor is this an ordinary book on prayer. His newest book offers 366 prayers of the Bible in a two-page, daily format. Each day contains an inspiring, pithy devotional in Gordon’s inimitable style, a suggested psalm portion to accompany it, and space to write down particular prayers.

Our episode sponsor Crown & Covenant will give away two free copies of Prayers of the Bible! Just be one of our first two listeners to send one of Gordon’s favorite prayers mentioned in the podcast along with your name and address to threeguystheologizing@gmail.com.

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/3gt-episode-602.mp3

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How to Secure Attendance at a Prayer Meeting by R.J. George

R.J. George was a predecessor of mine by more than a century, having served as a pastoral theology professor at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary from 1892 until the time of his death in 1911. George wrote a three-volume set entitled Lectures in Pastoral Theology that contains a treasure trove of pastoral advice. In his second volume, entitled Pastors and People, he explains with wisdom, care, quaintness, and even some humor how a pastor should go about encouraging people to come to a prayer meeting (pages 32-34). I have reproduced this short section below with some editing.

If interested, you can view these volumes online (Vol. I, Vol. II, Vol. III). George goes on after this section to explain how to conduct a prayer meeting, the exercises that should take place within the meeting, and the helps then the hindrances to a prayer meeting, That the church would have such precise care and practice today!

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1) Arrange carefully as to the place of meeting.

a. If possible have all meet together. It is always heartsome to have a good-sized meeting. It promotes a warmth, and sociability, and congregational spirit.

b. If necessary, district the congregation. You must study the convenience of the people. They cannot […]


Why do you read about heaven to people dying with cancer?

Not presumably because you were taught to do that in your pastoral theology class! Nor because that’s what you saw an elder doing when one of your relatives was sick! Nor because you just like saying comforting things to other Christian people!

The far better reason to do it is because it is the means of grace that God has appointed for Christian people to be strengthened in their trials, particularly in deeply distressing times of suffering and sickness. When we minister in this way, with careful thought and prayer, from a heart full of gentleness, kindness and love, great blessing often flows to both reader and receiver.

Of course there are many other things people do to make things a little easier for a loved one or friend in their dark hours of need. You can show them kindness by purchasing a thoughtful card or writing a letter or buying them a present. You can try to cheer them up by saying perhaps you will be cured (which experience and medicine indicate may be a little falsely optimistic at best). You can share some humorous comments which may engender a wry smile or elevate their mood temporarily – but inappropriate humor […]


Frustrated with a Friend

Introduction

Having an interest in Hebrew and Old Testament studies in particular there are few people to whom I am more indebted than the scholar Mark Futato. His language courses are brilliant and his contribution to Hebrew studies massive. Whether thinking of ‘BibleWorks’ or ‘Daily Dose of Hebrew’, though I have never met him personally, I regard him as a friend.

I Just Happened To Be Reading

I was, however, a little troubled recently, when I picked up a new book entitled ‘A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Promised’, edited by Ligon Duncan III: this text contains many brilliant contributions from numerous outstanding authors. It was with a sense of excitement, therefore, that I eventually turned to the chapter on the Psalms.

Why I was frustrated

I really was not anticipating what I encountered next, as I lit upon a surprising comment he makes, on page 353 of this tome. It comes at the end of a lucid, succinct, informative, in many ways excellent entry: the section is headed ‘Approaching the New Testament’; he is dealing with the question of how many or which of the Psalms should be considered Messianic? Let me quote what our brother says:

“The answer can either be […]


The Crosses of Peace, Purity, and Progress

In his famous biography Roland Bainton paints a captivating (if perhaps not altogether honest) portrait of one of Martin Luther’s most famous moments. Attending an imperial assembly in the city of Worms, Luther was called upon to give answer to his writings. He entered the town in a two wheeled cart with a processional of two thousand people. He was ushered into the presence of the emperor where when asked to recant of the many things he had written, he apparently replied: “Since then Your Majesty and your lordship desire a simple reply, I will answer without horns and without teeth. Unless I am convicted by the Scripture and plain reason–I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other–my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen.”

Centuries later it’s easy to romanticize the moment — the resolve, courage, confidence, and conviction that seems to define and almost overwhelm the scene. Luther is, so to speak, an iron pillar against whom the waves of this […]