Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment.
The following outline and discussion questions have been prepared to accompany my Advent sermon on November 28/29, “How Long, O Lord?” (Psalm 13). The questions can be used for discussion in small groups or for personal reflection.
Psalm 13 has three stanzas; our sermon has three points:
- Desertion (vv. 1–2)
- Desperation (vv. 3–4)
- Declaration (vv. 5–6)
Main Point: The future is so sure we can sing about it now because of God’s steadfast love.
A week ago, Pastor Jason Meyer posted this at the Bethlehem Updates Blog. We have re-posted it here in case you missed it.
On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in all 50 states. Prior to Friday’s ruling, 37 states had legislation supporting same-sex marriage. The remaining 13 states will now be forced to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and recognize same-sex unions that have been legally performed in other states.
Here are seven brief biblical reflections on the recent Supreme Court decision. I have organized them with the acrostic “supreme.”
After Judas killed himself, the remaining disciples cast lots to choose between Matthias and Joseph (also called Barsabbas and Justus). Really? Toss a coin? Why?
Perhaps it was to demonstrate the sovereignty of God. Consider Proverbs 16:33, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.”
God often uses obvious blessing and sometimes apparent catastrophic events to bring about sudden developments. He is the God of stability and the God of catastrophe, using them both for his good purposes.
On occasion, God asks rhetorical questions. He posed one to Abraham.
The LORD said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh and say, 'Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?' Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.—Genesis 18:13–14
Though Karl Barth is not always helpful, his words about the grace of God are an exception.
Sovereign Grace according to Karl Barth:
That’s what John Piper said a week ago at the ordination service for Kempton Turner. Grace is vast.
Grace is the deepest foundation. It is the bottom; there is nothing below it. God and God alone is the decisive cause of your election, your new birth, your justification, and your daily life.
All things were created for Him—for his possession, his pleasure, and for his honor.
I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy. For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within.