Category Archives: soteriology

Communion meditation 20161023

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Luke 4:18-19

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and the regaining of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”

Jesus’ death and subsequent resurrection continues to proclaim the good news of God’s kingdom that he proclaimed in his earthly ministry. Now we have the opportunity to proclaim the same gospel.

Here’s why it is good news:

  1. If you are in any kind of bondage, the gospel offers you freedom.
  2. If you have any kind of illness or injury or defect physically, the gospel offers you healing.
  3. If you are being treated unfairly or being denied justice in any way, the gospel offers you justice.

Today’ as we partake of these emblems, we can once again affirm our allegiance to the one who bought for us the freedom, healing and justice that we had lost when our ancestors sinned.

We accept by faith the gospel of God’s grace, and declare our faith in the one who is restoring God’s kingdom.

Lord, thank you for you broken body. We celebrate your sacrifice because it means ultimate victory for God and us, because your brokenness on the cross means our complete healing when you return.

Lord, thank you for your shed blood. We celebrate your sacrifice because it means ultimate victory for God and us, because your depletion on the cross means our complete restoration when you return.

Amen.

guilt and obedience

May 2015 (21)“… simple guilt in the face of global statistics doesn’t produce sustainable obedience to God’s commands. We may change our ways for a short time based upon guilt, but it won’t last.”

David Platt, Counter Culture: A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture in a World of Poverty, Same-Sex Marriage, Racism, Sex Slavery, Immigration, Abortion, Persecution, Orphans and Pornography. Tyndale House Publishers, 2015, p.32.

free to

May 2015 (20)“If you are a follower of Christ, then you are free to rest in his finished work on your behalf, and at the same time you are free to do good work according to his will.”

David Platt, Counter Culture: A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture in a World of Poverty, Same-Sex Marriage, Racism, Sex Slavery, Immigration, Abortion, Persecution, Orphans and Pornography. Tyndale House Publishers, 2015, p.30.

just one more way

May 2015 (11)“If there were 1000 ways to God, we would want 1,001.  The issue is not how many ways lead to God, the issue is our own autonomy before God.  We want to make our own way.  This is the essence of sin in the first place – trusting our ways more than God’s way.”

David Platt, Counter Culture: A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture in a World of Poverty, Same-Sex Marriage, Racism, Sex Slavery, Immigration, Abortion,
Persecution, Orphans and Pornography
. Tyndale House Publishers, 2015, p.14.

communion meditation on Psalm 28:5

10003922_10152668831491949_3110639243135913332_n“Because they do not regard the works of the LORD Nor the deeds of His hands…” (Psalm 28:5 NASB).

Embedded in this psalm, in verse 5, is a phrase I would like to draw your attention to. David is complaining about his enemies, and he says that they do not regard the Lord’s works. They do not understand the Lord’s actions. That is what struck me when I was reading this psalm a few days ago. I have to admit that the first thing that came to mind when I read those words about the Lord’s works was something totally outside of the context of Psalm 28. I thought about peek tramping: hiking to the top of a mountain, and looking out on the landscape, and seeing something terrific and unimaginable, and just knowing “This is what the LORD did.” It’s sort of like art appreciation, only the artist is God, and not humans. I know why we have to take classes in art appreciation, because there is so much art that I don’t automatically appreciate. But I always appreciate God’s amazing landscapes in nature.

Many of the interpreters of this passage in Psalm 28 think of it in those terms. But others are a bit closer to David’s idea when they interpret it not in terms of creation but in terms of providence. When you think about David, you think about the work that God did in preserving him, in rescuing him from his enemies. David, after all, is the one who fought the big, hairy, scary dude, Goliath. God’s work was preserving David and bringing him victory over his enemies. David was not always a skinny kid with rocks, he grew up a warrior, and fought battles, and God’s work was preserving him in those battles.

I want to invite you to regard another of the LORD’s works this morning. We do that on a regular basis here at Takanini Community Church. We come together regularly and think about the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ when we partake of the elements of what we call the communion meal, or the Lord’s Supper. Most of the world does not regard this. They don’t think about the fact that this is the Lord’s work. These symbols remind us of what the Lord did for us.

God has a long standing history of reminding his people of himself, and what he did for them. We think about the Passover, and how every year the people of Israel have a dinner and think about it. For us, nearly every week we get together and use this time to think about what the Lord did for us, and that is truly what it is. By virtue of our coming together and eating a bit of bread and drinking grape juice, we are not accomplishing anything. We are not carrying on any sacrifice, and there’s nothing magical happening on our end here. The emblems that we are taking do not become anything magical. But as we regard what God did for us, we are making a statement of faith.

 

Jefferson Vann
Sunday, April 12, 2015
Takanini Community Church
Auckland, New Zealand

unique purpose

April 2015 (7)

“God’s purposes were for Israel to live in the land so that eventually God’s promised redemption of the world would be achieved, though this would mean dispossessing the Canaanites.  No other country in history was set apart for this purpose or party to this covenant.” 

Paul Copan & Matthew Flannagan, Did God Really Command Genocide? (Kindle location 1091).

Salvation by Grace

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A Bible Study by  Jefferson Vann

Ephesians 2:1-9 NIV “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions– it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith– and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.”

the questions:

Why You Could Not Contribute To Your Salvation.

1. You were born spiritually ____________________ (1).

2. You naturally followed the ____________________ in its rebellion against God (2).

3. You were naturally disobedient because ___________ was your ruler (2).

4. What you _____________________ to do was sin (3).

5. You were by nature an object of God’s _________ (3).

What God has already contributed to your salvation

1. God chose to ________________________ you (4)

2. God chose to have _________________ on you (4).

3. God chose to give you _________________________ just as he raised Jesus from the dead (5).

4. God chose to give you a new __________________, that of being in Christ (6).

5. God chose to demonstrate his ___________________ to you for eternity (7).

What is there left to contribute?

1. _______________, because you are already alive (5).

2. _____________, because you are already exalted (6).


The answers:

 

Why You Could Not Contribute To Your Salvation.

1. You were born spiritually dead (1).

2. You naturally followed the world in its rebellion against God (2).

“The essence of the doctrine of grace is that God is for us. What is more, he is for us who in ourselves are against him.”

T. H. L. Parker, “Grace.” Baker’s Dictionary of Theology. 257

3. You were naturally disobedient because Satan was your ruler (2).

4. What you wanted to do was sin (3).

5. You were by nature an object of God’s wrath (3).

What God has already contributed to your salvation

“…God takes the initiative in saving men. If he left men to themselves, no one would ever be saved.”

James A Nichols, Christian Doctrines. 76

1. God chose to love you (4)

“…grace is an attribute of God….It is God’s free, sovereign, undeserved favour or love to man, in his state of sin and guilt, which manifests itself in the forgiveness of sin.”

L. Berkhof, Systematic Theology. 427

2. God chose to have mercy on you (4).

“Grace is the sweet sovereign favor shown to someone who does not deserve any favor, but the exactly the very opposite.”

Will Pounds, “Salvation By Grace Alone.” http://www.abideinchrist.com/selah/ jun26.html

3. God chose to give you new life just as he raised Jesus from the dead (5).

“Even faith is not some good work which God must reward with salvation. It is God’s gift.”

Millard Erickson, Christian Theology. 959

4. God chose to give you a new status, that of being in Christ (6).

5. God chose to demonstrate his kindness to you for eternity (7).

What is ther left to contribute?

1. Nothing, because you are already alive (5).

2. Nothing, because you are already exalted (6).

“There cannot be two ways of salvation for the same people. … If, then, I teach men that they can be saved by works, I have practically told them that salvation by grace is a myth, a mistake, a mischievous error.”

C. H. Spurgeon, “The Agreement of Salvation by Grace with Walking in Good Works” Online: http://www.biblebb.com/files/spurgeon/ 2210.htm