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Sep 2019 23 Sep 23, 2019

Our pluralistic, consumer driven society is all about choices, options, and diversity. If you don’t like what you see, be patient; another version, an updated edition, a new and improved alternative will soon appear. This is often the case in certain expressions of contemporary “Christianity” (so-called). Don’t like the Jesus of evangelical, orthodox biblical faith? No problem. There are plenty of other Jesus’s to choose from. There’s...Read More

Sep 2019 20 Sep 20, 2019

No. There is no such thing as the spiritual gift of healing. There never has been and never will be. Obviously, this calls for some explanation. Many Christians, perhaps even most, think of healing in much the same way they do the spiritual gifts of teaching or mercy or evangelism or encouragement. That is to say, they envision a person with the gift of healing as being able to heal all diseases at any time, whenever they will. A person with the gift of teaching can teac...Read More

Sep 2019 16 Sep 16, 2019
5

I am constantly amazed that this question is still being asked, and even more amazed that some Christians respond by saying, Yes. May I remind you of a few important things that Muslims believe, or conversely, don’t believe? Muslims deny the truth of the Trinity, that the one eternal God exists in three co-equal persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Muslims also deny the incarnation. We are told in John 1:14 that the eternal Word or Second Person of the Trinity ...Read More

Sep 2019 13 Sep 13, 2019

Whereas the NT is quite clear that the office of Elder is restricted to qualified men, there is considerable and on-going dispute among evangelicals on the question of whether women can serve in the office of Deacon. Here are my reasons for saying Yes to this question. (1) Although the word for “deacon” can describe a non-technical ministry of serving to which all Christians are called, I believe Romans 16:1 is speaking of the office of deacon to which one m...Read More

Sep 2019 11 Sep 11, 2019

Nowhere outside of the book of Acts are the duties and responsibilities of a deacon mentioned. Twice Paul describes them as “serving”, but never provides content or structure to what this means. Most believe this is because the early church looked to the portrayal of deacons in Acts 6 as providing the nature of this office and the sort of “service” or “ministry” they would provide. The most that we might say with confidence is that &ld...Read More

Sep 2019 9 Sep 9, 2019

Here at Bridgeway we are working on building out the role of what it means to be a Deacon in the local church. In this brief, three-part series, I want to address the primary questions that arise when dealing with this issue. The English word deacon is the translation of the Greek word diakonos which appears 29x in the NT. However, only four of those twenty-nine occurrences refer to a person who holds the office of deacon (Rom. 16:1; Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:8, 12). The othe...Read More

Sep 2019 6 Sep 6, 2019
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One of the more challenging texts in the NT is found in Matthew 27:51-54. It concerns a rather bizarre event in the wake of our Lord’s death on the cross. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to ...Read More

Sep 2019 2 Sep 2, 2019
2

No, this isn’t an article on work per se. My focus here is the way in which the OT Sabbath ordinance has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Let me explain. Observe how Jesus responded to the accusation of the Pharisees that he and his disciples had profaned the Sabbath when they plucked heads of grain to satisfy their hunger (Mark 2:23-28). Matthew’s version of the story includes this remarkable declaration by our Lord: “Or have you not read in the Law...Read More

Aug 2019 28 Aug 28, 2019
3

Everyone is familiar with the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman in John 4. But not everyone can explain what Jesus meant when he said that the Father is seeking men and women who will worship him “in spirit and truth” (v. 23)? To say that we must worship God “in spirit” means, among other things, that it must originate from within, from the heart; it must be sincere, motivated by our love for God and gratitude for all he is and has ...Read More

Aug 2019 26 Aug 26, 2019

Last November, while in Denver for the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, I recorded an interview with Andrew Gabriel, author of Simply Spirit Filled. You can watch the 8 minute interview by going to this address. https://www.andrewkgabriel.com/2019/08/18/encouraging-spiritual-gifts/...Read More

Aug 2019 26 Aug 26, 2019

Last week I posted an article in which I argued that if God is going to love us in the fullest and highest manner, he must seek from us the praise and adoration of all that he is. It is a portrayal of God in Scripture (see John 4:23) that almost destroyed C. S.  Lewis’s faith. Today I want to continue thinking on this theme. So let me begin with an illustration. If God is to love my wife, Ann, optimally, in the most superlative way possible, he must bestow or...Read More

Aug 2019 21 Aug 21, 2019
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[I posted on this subject a few years ago, but as I’m preaching through John’s gospel it reared its head yet again. It is of such profound importance that we need to meditate deeply on it over and over again.] C. S. Lewis was voted by evangelicals in America as the single most influential Christian of the 20th century. If you are wondering why he was known only by his initials, it is probably because C. S. stands for Clive Staples. If you were named Clive St...Read More

Aug 2019 19 Aug 19, 2019
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I couldn’t help but sit up and take note when I read that “popular Texas megachurch pastor and author Robert Morris preached before hundreds of inmates at the state's largest prison last week, assuring [them] that God is not ‘mad’ at them.” According to the article on The Christian Post, “The H.H. Coffield Unit in Anderson County houses over 4,000 inmates in East Texas. Since the Southlake-based church opened up its Coffield Campus la...Read More

Aug 2019 14 Aug 14, 2019

This may be the shortest article I’ve ever posted. It concerns the misspelling of a word that is being used with increasing frequency in evangelical circles. Much is being said these days about apostasy or the falling away of certain formerly professing Christians. In an article I read today, once again it referred to people who “apostacize". In one sentence he writes, “Years before a man or woman apostacizes . . .” Please note that the proper sp...Read More

Aug 2019 14 Aug 14, 2019
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[On August 7th, J. D. Greear, President of the Southern Baptist Convention, posted this brief but insightful article on the nature of the atoning death of Jesus. There is, in my opinion, no greater threat to the Christian faith, the true gospel, and the glory of God and all he has done for us in Jesus, than the repudiation and sinful characterization of penal substitutionary atonement on the part of certain “theologians”, “pastors”, and “aut...Read More

Aug 2019 12 Aug 12, 2019
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I love the spiritually volcanic eruptions of doxology in Scripture. One such explosion of praise is 1 Peter 1:3 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!” It’s perfectly ok to ask the question: Why is God “blessed”? Why is he worthy of such adoration? Peter says it is because he is infinitely merciful and kind and has caused us to be born again unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (v. 3)....Read More

Aug 2019 9 Aug 9, 2019

Many of you are already aware of a 30-minute podcast featuring Ray, me, and Tony Merida that is currently available at the Gospel Coalition website. It was recorded live at the Acts 29 Global Gathering in Orlando, back on July 24th. The focus of the questions Tony asked us was endurance in pastoral ministry. How have we done it? What are the greatest challenges to endurance and perseverance? What words of counsel do you have for young pastors today? Questions like that....Read More

Aug 2019 8 Aug 8, 2019
2

[The editors of Pneuma Review recently asked me several questions about the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues. Here it is.] At this point in church history speaking in tongues is still a controversial subject. What would you say to someone who refers to speaking in tongues as gibberish? If a person believes that all tongues speech both in Scripture and today is a known human language spoken somewhere in the world but previously not known by the speaker, then yes, i...Read More

Aug 2019 5 Aug 5, 2019

John MacArthur’s Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship (Thomas Nelson, Nov 12, 2013) reviewed by Craig S. Keener [Craig Keener wrote an extensive review of MacArthur’s book, Strange Fire, following the conference of the same name. It was originally published on-line at Pneuma Review on November 15, 2013. Since it is quite lengthy, I will post it in two parts. Part One was posted on Friday, August 2. Below is Part Two]...Read More

Aug 2019 2 Aug 2, 2019
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John MacArthur’s Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship (Thomas Nelson, Nov 12, 2013) reviewed by Craig S. Keener [Craig Keener wrote an extensive review of MacArthur’s book, Strange Fire, following the conference of the same name. It was originally published on-line at Pneuma Review on November 15, 2013. Since it is quite lengthy, I will post it in two parts. Below is Part One] While offering some very needed points,...Read More

Jul 2019 29 Jul 29, 2019
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I’m asked this question more times than you can imagine, and I addressed it at length in my book, Tough Topics (Crossway). In this article I will try to shorten that explanation a bit. If we are going to answer this question with any degree of accuracy (assuming it can be answered), we must set it within the context of Jesus’ interaction with the Sadducees and the question they posed to him in Mark 12:18-23. And Sadducees came to him, who say that there i...Read More

Jul 2019 24 Jul 24, 2019
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What precisely is “eternal life”? Does this simply mean that if we believe in Jesus we will live forever? Is he referring here only to the unending duration of our existence? No, it means far more than that, because everyone, even unbelievers, will live forever. Some will live forever in the presence of God in the new heavens and new earth while others will live forever in hell. So “eternal life” must mean something more than simply always remain...Read More

Jul 2019 22 Jul 22, 2019

John comes straight to the point without hesitation or compromise. If one does not believe in the Son, he/she will “perish.” To perish is the opposite of experiencing eternal life. If you gain eternal life by believing in Jesus, you are assured by God that you will never perish. But what does it mean to “perish”? It does not mean that you cease to exist. It means that you remain under the condemnation of God’s wrath and judgment. Twice in v...Read More

Jul 2019 19 Jul 19, 2019

The eternal life that John describes in John 3:16 does not come automatically to all people. It is not bestowed on those whose children “behave” themselves or on people who first get their lives straightened out, put everything in order, and make certain their bills are paid on time. Eternal life is for anyone and everyone who “believes” in this gift of God’s love, namely Jesus: who he is and what he has done to save sinners. This offer is ...Read More

Jul 2019 17 Jul 17, 2019

Today we turn our attention to the gift that God gave. We saw in the previous post that God’s immeasurable love is such that he not only feels a great affection for the fallen world but that this feeling leads to concrete, sacrificial action: he gave us his Son! Muslims consider it blasphemy to suggest that God has a son. Many Mormons happily affirm that Jesus is God’s son because they argue that God the Father, who has a literal, physical body, had sexual r...Read More

Jul 2019 15 Jul 15, 2019
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When we declare our love for someone, we often have in mind at best a stirring of our hearts, an internal affection that rarely is expressed in any concrete action on our part. That sort of love is hardly worth having. God’s immeasurable love for us, on the other hand, is a giving love, a sacrificial love. As John declares in John 3:16, God so loved the world that he gave his only Son. Let this truth sink deeply into your soul: God loved this world by giving to it...Read More

Jul 2019 12 Jul 12, 2019

Today we turn our attention to the object of God’s immeasurable love: the world. John uses one word: “world” (kosmos). Many try to magnify God’s love by pointing out how many people have lived in this world. “Just think,” they say, “of the multitudes of men and women who have swarmed across the face of the earth. Oh, how great the love of God must be that it could encompass such a countless multitude.” I’m not so sur...Read More

Jul 2019 11 Jul 11, 2019
Jul 2019 10 Jul 10, 2019

John 3:16 may well be the most famous verse in the entire Bible. Even if it isn’t, its truth warrants continual celebration and gratitude. What I propose to do over the next couple of weeks is to explore this passage by looking at seven inescapable and eternally significant realities that together comprise this justifiably famous text. The first truth in this text, God’s love, is foundational to everything that follows. But can anything more be said about th...Read More

Jul 2019 8 Jul 8, 2019

Last week I posted only the first half of an interview that Pneuma conducted with Andrew Gabriel based on his excellent book, Simply Spirit Filled. Here is the second half. Pneuma Review: When addressing the subject of spiritual manifestations, such as shaking and being slain in the Spirit, some people tend to categorize them as either all of God or all not of God. You do not do that in the book. Please tell us why. Andrew Gabriel: The funny thing is that a friend from...Read More

Jul 2019 8 Jul 8, 2019

Here is the headline in the June 7, 2019, edition of USA Today: “Pope tweaks temptation phrase in Lord’s Prayer.” Instead of “Lead us not into temptation” he wants Catholics to pray, “Do not let us fall into temptation.” This caught my attention, as you might expect. Five days later, on June 12, John Piper wrote an article in response to the Pope’s action entitled, “Reading the Bible Upside Down: Why the Pope Changed ...Read More

Jul 2019 5 Jul 5, 2019

[On June 30, the Pneuma Review published this short interview with Andrew Gabriel. If you don’t recognize that name, he is the author of a book that I have highly recommended on numerous occasions. The book is, Simply Spirit Filled: Experiencing God in the Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit. It is written for a lay audience. It is not technical and no knowledge of Greek is required. Andrew does a great job of addressing some of the more controversial aspects of ...Read More

Jul 2019 3 Jul 3, 2019

What did Jesus mean in John 3 when he spoke to Nicodemus of being born again? The best way to answer that question is by taking note of what Jesus did not mean. And it is, somewhat surprisingly, Nicodemus himself who supplies us with the answer. (1) We know, first of all, that being religious is not the same as being born again. We know this because Jesus was speaking to one of the most religious men in Israel, a Pharisee, and to that man he says, “You, Mr. Pharis...Read More

Jul 2019 1 Jul 1, 2019

One of John Piper’s most important books is entitled God is the Gospel: Meditations on God’s Love as the Gift of Himself (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2005). The primary emphasis of the book is the fact that, whatever other blessings we might obtain when we believe in Jesus Christ, preeminent over all is the glorious reality of getting God! The Apostle Peter put it this way: “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that h...Read More

Jun 2019 28 Jun 28, 2019

[The following brief article was released on June 27th at www.premierchristianity.com.] “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.” At first glance you might think these words came from the lips of a wild-eyed fanatic who has little regard for the Bible. The gift of tongues is often treated like the proverbial ‘black sheep’ in the family of God. We can’t completely dismiss the presence of the gift of tongues, but we regard...Read More

Jun 2019 26 Jun 26, 2019

This is a quick reminder that the early bird discount to register for Convergence 2019 ends this coming Saturday, June 29. Don’t let this date pass by without taking advantage of the lowest ticket price available. We are genuinely excited and expectant for what we believe God will do at the conference, as we focus entirely on the theme: The God Who Heals. Join me, Matt Chandler, Jack Deere, Andrew Wilson, Michael Brown, and Christine Caine, together with the Brid...Read More

Jun 2019 26 Jun 26, 2019

How does an understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ affect our lives? What difference does it make in how we live and how we relate to others and how we handle the countless struggles and experiences of life? Here is but a small sampling of how life is influenced when the Gospel is at the center. In each of the following texts, the subject matter or ethical responsibility or commandment under consideration is in some way grounded in or flows out of the gospel. This w...Read More

Jun 2019 24 Jun 24, 2019

Let me begin with a confession: I’ve never seen a single episode of either the Bachelor or the Bachelorette. And I don’t intend to. That’s no judgment on you who do watch the show (but now that we’re at it, why do you watch it?). It’s simply a way of saying that if I have misunderstood or misinterpreted what actually happened on the episode in question, it’s because I never actually saw it. My information is based on an article that ap...Read More

Jun 2019 19 Jun 19, 2019

Many have reached a saturation point when it comes to the notion of gospel centrality. “Enough already,” they cry, with more than a little exasperation. I understand this reaction. We who identify as evangelicals are good at taking what is otherwise a fully biblical term or concept and beating it into the ground or pounding it into the heads of our people. So, yes, it’s possible for us to grow justifiably weary of certain terminology. After years of wa...Read More

Jun 2019 17 Jun 17, 2019

Many are under the false impression that the Holy Spirit is absent from the Old Testament. These ten things will serve to correct this misunderstanding. (1) The Hebrew term ruach = breath, wind, spirit, appears @ 377 times in the OT (only 264 of which are translated by the Greek pneuma in the LXX). 94 of these 377 instances refer to the Spirit of God. No significance should be placed on the fact that ruach is feminine. Says Anthony Thiselton: “It is an accident of...Read More

Jun 2019 13 Jun 13, 2019

This is to let you know that we are looking for our next Pastor of Student Ministries here at Bridgeway. We are accepting applications through July 3rd. The Pastor of Student Ministries at Bridgeway will strive to help all our students grow in their understanding and confidence in the truth of God’s Word and to cultivate a deeper and more joyful satisfaction in all that God is for us in Jesus Christ. If you are interested, or know of someone who is, go to www.bri...Read More

Jun 2019 13 Jun 13, 2019

Earlier this week I posted an article on what I call “The Dirty Dozen.” They are the primary reasons why we stink at evangelism. They are the typical excuses people use not to share their faith with non-Christians. In the aftermath of that article, one person commented that there is yet another reason that may well be the most frequently cited of all. I think he’s right. I can’t believe I didn’t include it in the original list. But then who...Read More

Jun 2019 10 Jun 10, 2019
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When I say that “we” stink at evangelism, I’m not talking about all of you. Some of you, I hope many of you, excel at sharing your faith with non-Christians. But most of us do not. It may sound offensive, but let’s be honest: we stink at evangelism. At least I do. But I don’t want to. My desire to be more faithful and vocal in sharing the gospel with the lost has led me to identify what I call the Dirty Dozen. These are the twelve reasons wh...Read More

Jun 2019 5 Jun 5, 2019
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My new book, The Language of Heaven: Crucial Questions about Speaking in Tongues was officially released yesterday, on June 4, and is available now at Amazon. Below is the list of 30 questions about tongues that I seek to answer in the book. Introduction: Tongues – A Good Gift from the Father of LightsMy First Experience of Speaking in Tongues(1) What happened on the Day of Pentecost?(2) Where Else in Acts did People Speak in Tongues?(3) Does the gift of tongues a...Read More

Jun 2019 3 Jun 3, 2019
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Last week I spoke about Mike Bickle and answered some of the questions that people ask concerning him. Today I will address the International House of Prayer for which he provides leadership. Some of you have never heard of IHOPKC while others have only read about it on the blogs and websites of its most vocal critics. Even fewer of those reading this article have actually visited the house of prayer or spent much time taking advantage of what is offered. Let me begin b...Read More

May 2019 31 May 31, 2019

You may recall that in my list of the best books of 2018 I placed Everyday Glory by Gerald McDermott at the top. I was recently asked by www.juicyecumenism.com to write a brief review of it. Here it is below. My spiritual journey has been largely shaped by the same historical figure to whom Gerald McDermott gives much of the credit for his own: New England pastor and theologian, Jonathan Edwards (1703-58). McDermott, currently the Anglican Chair of Divinity at Beeson Di...Read More

May 2019 29 May 29, 2019
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If I am asked one question more than any other, it typically concerns what I think about the International House of Prayer in Kansas City and Mike Bickle. So I am going to post two articles, the first about Mike and the second about the House of Prayer itself. Before I begin what will undoubtedly prove to be two controversial articles, full disclosure is called for. From 1993-2000 I served as Mike Bickle’s associate pastor at what was first Metro Vineyard Fellows...Read More

May 2019 27 May 27, 2019
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Of the many things John writes concerning the Word, the Son of God, in John 1, one of the more important is his statement in v. 14 that he is “full of grace and truth.” Let’s be clear right from the start. God isn’t whatever you want him to be. He is who he is whether you like it or not. God is not like silly putty in the hands of those who wish to twist and shape him into something more palatable to their senses. He has always been, is now, and ...Read More

May 2019 22 May 22, 2019

If when you sin you run away from God rather than to God, you have failed to fully embrace the grace of God. If when you sin your instinctive response is one of fear of judgment rather than gratitude for forgiveness, you have failed to fully embrace and understand the grace of God. If when you sin your immediate reaction is to hide from God rather than openly confess how you’ve failed, you don’t understand grace. If when you contemplate your own value as a...Read More

May 2019 20 May 20, 2019
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When it comes to our understanding and experience of Christian sanctification, I can’t think of a more important biblical text than Philippians 2:12-13. Here is what Paul wrote: “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12-13). Paul&rsq...Read More

May 2019 17 May 17, 2019
May 2019 15 May 15, 2019
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My new book, The Language of Heaven: Crucial Questions about Speaking in Tongues, is available at Amazon for pre-purchase and will be released on June 4. What follows below is the introduction to the book that I hope will give you a sense for why I wrote it. Like many, if not most of you, I grew up loving Christmas. I couldn’t wait until Christmas morning when my sister and I would tear into the many gifts that our parents had worked so hard to purchase for us. Ev...Read More

May 2019 13 May 13, 2019
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I’m a bit hesitant about posting this article, for the simple fact that there are differing versions of what is known as complementarianism. Although there are several foundational truths that all complementarians embrace, differences emerge when it comes to application in the local church and in para-church ministries. So be aware that not all complementarians will necessarily agree with the way I articulate the concept. (1) I’ll begin with identifying some...Read More

May 2019 10 May 10, 2019
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I’m excited to announce the soon-coming release of my book on the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues: The Language of Heaven: Crucial Questions about Speaking in Tongues (Charisma House, 272 pages). Yes, that’s right, 272 pages on this one spiritual gift! I know that sounds like an exaggeration, but I have examined every biblical text on the subject, analyzed and responded to virtually every interpretation of them, and have tried to address the numerous qu...Read More

May 2019 8 May 8, 2019

I just saw the news that Asia Bibi has finally arrived safely in Canada. If you don’t know her story I encourage you to go here (https://www.christianpost.com/news/asia-bibi-leaves-pakistan-to-be-reunited-with-daughters-in-canada-reports.html) to read about her experience. She spent 8 years in a Pakistani prison for supposedly blaspheming Muhammad. After being released a year ago she has remained in Pakistan while her daughters sought refuge in Canada. She was deta...Read More

May 2019 6 May 6, 2019
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As glorious and wonderful as is the physical birth of a new-born baby, it pales in comparison with the spiritual re-birth of a person and the new life in Jesus Christ that they receive by God’s mercy and grace. I don’t mean to downplay the beauty of physical birth. It is truly a miracle and puts on display God’s creativity and power. But the second birth, being born again, as the NT describes it, is greater still. Physical birth only gives us physical l...Read More

May 2019 3 May 3, 2019

On first sight, John 1:5 may not appear to be all that significant. But I need to remind myself of the truth it contains every day. Otherwise, I fear I might want to give up, or just hunker down until Jesus returns. Here is what John says: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). John’s point in this passage is to tell us how the Word of God (John 1:1), the Second Person of the Trinity, relates to the da...Read More

May 2019 1 May 1, 2019
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Last Sunday I began a new sermon series on the Gospel of John. As all of you are undoubtedly aware, the so-called “Prologue” to John’s gospel, chapter one, verses 1-18, is quite breathtaking! On Sunday we looked at seven things John says about the “Word” in vv. 1-5. Here I want to mention only two of them. First, the Son of God, or the Word, was eternally pre-existent: “In the beginning was the Word” (v. 1a). You should immedia...Read More

Apr 2019 29 Apr 29, 2019
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[Today’s article is for sports fans. The rest of you may wish to look elsewhere for your Monday morning edification!] Another of my childhood heroes has passed away. The Boston Celtics announced this past Thursday night (April 25, 2019) that John Havlicek (affectionately known as “Hondo”) had died at the age of 79. I’ve been a sports fan all my life. My dad and I shared multiple incredible experiences together as he supported me in my athletic p...Read More

Apr 2019 25 Apr 25, 2019
Apr 2019 24 Apr 24, 2019
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In countless churches here in OKC and throughout the country, people gathered last week to observe what we call Good Friday. You will notice that I did not say they gathered to “celebrate” Good Friday. There is a long-standing tradition in evangelical, and especially liturgical, churches that Good Friday should be approached with sobriety and sadness. If there is one word that would appropriately describe the mood of Christians on Good Friday it is somber. I...Read More

Apr 2019 22 Apr 22, 2019

Yesterday, Christians all around the world celebrated one of the foundational truths of their faith, the bodily resurrection of Jesus. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, “we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Cor. 15:19). And yet, many continue to doubt if this actually occurred. Perhaps you are one of those who appeal to a variety of explanations for the empty tomb. Let’s consider the many reasons why some doubt and others simply deny that Jesus...Read More

Apr 2019 18 Apr 18, 2019
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I was recently asked by the hosts of The Laymens Lounge to answer a few questions about the Christian faith. I thought you might enjoy my answers. 1. What is the “Gospel” and what practical implications does the Gospel make in my everyday life? I believe the Gospel is the gloriously good news, indeed the very best news, that God has graciously done everything necessary, at great sacrifice to himself, through the sinless life, penal substitutionary and sacri...Read More

Apr 2019 17 Apr 17, 2019
Apr 2019 15 Apr 15, 2019
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There are so many fascinating, intriguing, and appealing things about Jesus that one hardly knows where to begin. But let me try. When I peruse the gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus, several things virtually leap off the page. For example, I try to envision what it would have been like to sit under the teaching of Jesus. How would I have responded? My sincere hope is that I would have responded the way the multitude did after Jesus concluded his Sermon o...Read More

Apr 2019 10 Apr 10, 2019

If you plan on being in Oklahoma City on Friday, April 18, I want to invite you to join us for our traditional “Good Friday” service at 6:30 p.m. in our auditorium. I would also encourage you to invite friends and family members who may not know Jesus and his saving love. This will be a wonderful time for them to hear a short and pointed presentation of the gospel. So, why do we speak of the Friday when Jesus was brutalized and crucified as good? It would al...Read More

Apr 2019 8 Apr 8, 2019
2

The conflict between the so-called Word and Spirit camps is not one supported by either God’s Word or the Holy Spirit. I’m shocked by how often Christians forget that it is the written Word of God that encourages us to pursue spiritual gifts and commands us never to forbid speaking in tongues, while it is the Spirit of God who is responsible, by inspiration, for every theological truth that the Bible affirms. This division is not one that the Bible would eve...Read More

Apr 2019 5 Apr 5, 2019
1

In a recent blog article at the Gospel Coalition website, Justin Taylor drew attention to some shocking statistics cited by Mark Noll in his book, The New Shape of World Christianity: How American Experience Reflects Global Faith (IVP Academic, 2009). I thought you would find this fascinating, as I do. Here is what Justin wrote. It is as if the globe had been turned upside down and sideways. A few short decades ago, Christian believers were concentrated in the global n...Read More

Apr 2019 4 Apr 4, 2019
2

I woke up this morning, as did you, and as all people do each day of their lives, with an unshakeable, inescapable, relentless longing for joy. I can’t wash it from my skin in the shower or hold my breath in hopes that it will disappear. Psychological catharsis will not drive it from me. Willpower will not suppress its influence. And contrary to much so-called “Christian” counsel, I should not exorcise its presence or pray for its defeat. There is in o...Read More

Apr 2019 1 Apr 1, 2019
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On Sunday, Christmas Day, 1904, Dr. G. Campbell Morgan, pastor of Westminster Chapel in downtown London, England, delivered a somewhat unusual sermon. Contrary to his normal practice of expounding a passage of Scripture, he proceeded to tell his people about the remarkable things that the Holy Spirit was doing at that very time in Wales. G. Campbell Morgan was a perceptive man, a conservative, sane, balanced, and highly respected pastor. Having heard that revival had br...Read More

Mar 2019 29 Mar 29, 2019
1

The Apostle Peter tells us that “the passions of the flesh” are waging “war against” our “souls” (1 Peter 2:11). Don’t underestimate the significance of this daily battle for our souls. So, how are we to fight? With what weapons do we wage this war? Peter says we do so “as (or because we are) sojourners and exiles” (v. 11a; see 1 Peter 1:1,17). His point is that we should draw strength to say No to fleshly passions b...Read More

Mar 2019 28 Mar 28, 2019

I’m happy to announce the publication of what I believe will be the definitive treatment of justification for years to come. It is now available for purchase at Amazon or at the Crossway Books website. It is titled: The Doctrine on Which the Church Stands or Falls: Justification in Biblical, Theological, Historical, and Pastoral Perspective, edited by Matthew Barrett. Foreword by D. A. Carson I was honored and privileged to contribute to this volume. My chapter ...Read More

Mar 2019 28 Mar 28, 2019
Mar 2019 25 Mar 25, 2019
2

There is hardly a more controversial and confusing topic in the Bible than that of the Antichrist: who or what is this? Is it a person or a symbol of corporate opposition to Christ, or perhaps both? In this article we’ll look only in John’s first epistle for helpful answers to this question. (1) Interestingly, the only place in the NT where the word “antichrist” appears is in the Johannine Epistles, not in Revelation. Nowhere in Revelation is the...Read More

Mar 2019 22 Mar 22, 2019
2

What is worship? Here is my definition: Worship begins in the mind with deep, biblical thoughts about God, robust and expansive truths about who he is, his greatness and glory. This in turn inflames the heart and awakens passionate affections for God such as joy, gladness, delight, reverence, gratitude, admiration, love, fear, zeal, and deep satisfaction in all that God is for us in Jesus. These in turn find expression in all of life, whether in singing or speaking or...Read More

Mar 2019 20 Mar 20, 2019
4

[It’s time for my annual rant about the madness, the lunacy, the stupidity, if you will, of March Madness, in particular, the annual ritual in which a national champion in college basketball is determined on the basis of a single-elimination tournament. Many of you have read it before, so feel free to move on to other things. But if you missed it, you need to read it.] If you aren’t a fan of college basketball here in the U.S., stop reading and go about your...Read More

Mar 2019 18 Mar 18, 2019
2

What are we to do when Christians clash? I’m not thinking of momentary spats or minor disagreements, but of significant divisions and conflict grounded in equally sincere convictions about what is right and wise. If you’ve been a Christian for any period of time you’ve no doubt seen it or, sadly, been embroiled in one of your own. Once again, one of the admirable things about the Bible is its often brutal honesty, its refusal to gloss over the glitches...Read More

Mar 2019 14 Mar 14, 2019
1

I recently returned to reading John Piper’s book, Reading the Bible Supernaturally, and was stunned yet again by a truth that has utterly transformed my life. That’s not an overstatement. I can’t think of another theological principle that has meant more to me than what you are about to read. I have often in my books tried to say the same thing, but it always seems to fall short of how John has expressed it. John begins by citing C. S. Lewis and his de...Read More

Mar 2019 11 Mar 11, 2019

The title to this article may surprise you. What in the world is Paul’s letter to Laodicea? I thought Paul wrote only 13 of the NT epistles (14 if you include Hebrews, which he probably didn’t write). It’s an interesting question. Here are ten things we should know about this mysterious letter. (1) We know this letter to the Laodiceans was written by Paul because of the instruction he gave to the Colossians in his letter to the church in that city: &ld...Read More

Mar 2019 7 Mar 7, 2019
3

You may be wondering why God would orchestrate life in such a way that we have to remain steadfast in prayer (Col. 4:2). After all, it strikes you and me as much easier and far more pleasant if God would simply say Yes right now. Here are a few reasons why he doesn’t. First, we are a presumptuous people! We just assume that God ought always to do what we ask, when we ask, precisely in the way we ask. By delaying his response, God awakens us to the gracious charact...Read More

Mar 2019 5 Mar 5, 2019
Mar 2019 4 Mar 4, 2019

Whereas the NT is quite clear that the office of Elder is restricted to qualified men, there is considerable and on-going dispute among evangelicals on the question of whether women can serve in the office of Deacon. Here are my reasons for saying Yes to this question. (1) Although the word for “deacon” can describe a non-technical ministry of serving to which all Christians are called, I believe Romans 16:1 is speaking of the office of deacon to which one m...Read More

Mar 2019 1 Mar 1, 2019
4

Last night I had the privilege of speaking to the students in our counseling school here at Bridgeway. The topic assigned to me was that of soteriology, or salvation. More specifically, we looked at the subject of God’s sovereignty in salvation and the subject of divine election. As I prepared for our time together, I decided that the best way to dive headlong into the topic was by way of an illustration I used in my book, Chosen for Life: The Case for Divine Elec...Read More

Feb 2019 27 Feb 27, 2019
1

I am regularly blessed by the Scripture meditations that appear daily at the Solid Joys app, yet another expression of the ministry of John Piper. This week, Monday, February 25, there appeared a brief meditation entitled, “You Are Greatly Loved.” I loved it! I was deeply encouraged by it, and I think you will be also. Here it is. We all once lived among [the sons of disobedience] in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the m...Read More

Feb 2019 25 Feb 25, 2019
1

As we are in the process of building a diaconate at Bridgeway, I thought it would be helpful to mention a few important things to keep in mind. (1) The English word deacon is the translation of the Greek word diakonos which appears 29x in the NT. However, only four of those twenty-nine occurrences refer to a person who holds the office of deacon (Rom. 16:1; Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:8, 12). The other instances of the word simply mean servant or messenger or one who ministers ...Read More

Feb 2019 21 Feb 21, 2019
3

There is an astounding statement in 1 Peter 2:6 about Jesus Christ that stands as a challenge to each of us who claim to be his followers. Peter describes Jesus as “a cornerstone chosen and precious.” Think about it: he is chosen of the Father and precious! He is of immeasurable value to God the Father and must therefore be precious and of immeasurable value to us! Treasuring Christ is God’s response to Christ and therefore should be ours. Consider thi...Read More

Feb 2019 18 Feb 18, 2019
4

We should acknowledge right from the start that the terminology of “slave” and “master” is highly offensive. And the reason is that our concept of “slavery” today is quite different from what existed, for example, in the time of Paul when he wrote Colossians 3:22-4:1. So let’s proceed carefully as we try to understand what the Bible actually says about this controversial topic. Needless to say, this is far from an exhaustive trea...Read More

Feb 2019 13 Feb 13, 2019
1

I’m excited today to tell you about a new book that I can happily recommend to everyone. The title is, Simply Spirit-Filled: Experiencing God in the Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit (Nashville: Emanate Books, 2019, 186 pp.). The author is Andrew Gabriel with whom I became acquainted last year and got to know better when we met up at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in November, 2018. When Andrew sent me a pdf copy of his manuscript, I...Read More

Feb 2019 12 Feb 12, 2019
Feb 2019 11 Feb 11, 2019
7

Ours is a splintered, fractured world, that often in its differing political parties and conflicting ethical systems and its seemingly endless variety of opinions on virtually every imaginable subject holds out little hope for ultimate meaning. And yet in the midst of undeniable diversity and the differences that so often divide us, the Bible tells us that there is a single, overarching, unitary theme and purpose and goal to all of human history and experience. The apos...Read More

Feb 2019 7 Feb 7, 2019
3

The immediate answer to the question posed in my title is, Yes, of course. Each individual Christian has the immeasurable privilege and joy of knowing and enjoying the love God has for them in Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:5; Gal. 2:20). But there is a dimension to this experience that God intends for us to enjoy only in the context of relationship with others in the body of Christ. Why do I say this? I say it because of two things Paul said in his prayer in Ephesians 3:14-19. Yo...Read More

Feb 2019 4 Feb 4, 2019
2

We should acknowledge from the outset that the adjective “common” does not appear in the Bible as a modifier of the noun “grace.” But we are justified in making use of it in view of how God’s dealings with non-Christian people are portrayed for us in Scripture. Our task will be to determine in what sense, if any at all, the grace of God is given to or is operative in the lives of those who persist throughout life in unbelief and rebellion ag...Read More

Jan 2019 31 Jan 31, 2019

By Andrew Wilson | Wednesday 30 January 2019 [This is a wonderful and insightful article by Andrew Wilson. He posted it on his blog yesterday.] What is the most attractive quality in a leader? No doubt there are all sorts of ways of answering that, and although some responses are obviously wrong, I don't think there's any particular one that is obviously right (other than "Christlikeness" or "love", which just push the question back a stage: "OK, so what does that look...Read More

Jan 2019 28 Jan 28, 2019
1

Shame and guilt are often confused in people’s thinking. What are they, and how do they differ? More important still, how might we be set free from the debilitating effects of shame? Here are ten things to keep in mind. (1) Shame is the painful emotion that is caused by a consciousness of guilt, failure, or impropriety, that often results in the paralyzing conviction/belief that one is worthless, of no value to others or to God, unacceptable, and altogether deserv...Read More

Jan 2019 24 Jan 24, 2019

[You may have read about Lady Gaga’s comments regarding Vice-President Mike Pence’s wife. If not, brace yourself. Michael Kruger has written a perceptive analysis of her absurd perspective. It was published on January 22 at Michael’s blog, https://www.michaeljkruger.com.] Michael Kruger By now, plenty has been written on the issue of Mike Pence’s wife teaching at a Christian school that supposedly “bans” (the preferred word of the ma...Read More

Jan 2019 23 Jan 23, 2019
1

[This article by Andrew Wilson was first posted at the Desiring God website (www.desiringgod.ord] last week, on June 17.] Andrew WilsonPastor, King's Church, LondonJanuary 17, 2019 It is a strange quirk of the contemporary church that arguably the most common way of handling the charismatic gifts, at least in the West, is the only one that simply cannot be defended from Scripture. For now, I will leave aside the question of whether the distinction between “mirac...Read More

Jan 2019 21 Jan 21, 2019

In a previous article I spoke of the first wave of the First Great Awakening, a revival that fell upon New England in 1734-36. Today we turn our attention to the second wave of the Spirit’s work and the events that can generally be dated 1740-42. (1) Historians have typically traced the revival’s beginning to the visit to America of George Whitefield (1714-71), known as “The Grand Itinerant.” Whitefield arrived in the fall of 1740 and “set ...Read More

Jan 2019 18 Jan 18, 2019
Jan 2019 17 Jan 17, 2019
1

Afshin ZiafatLead Pastor, Providence ChurchFrisco, TX January 7, 2019 [I first met Afshin Ziafat a few years ago at a gathering of the Council of the Gospel Coalition. He has become a good friend. When he shared with me his testimony of coming to faith in Jesus and what it cost him, I was astounded, and grateful to God for his amazing grace. On January 7, Afshin described his story in an article first posted at the Desiring God website. Take some time and read it close...Read More

Jan 2019 14 Jan 14, 2019
2

On May 30, 1735, Jonathan Edwards (1703-58) wrote a letter of eight pages to Dr. Benjamin Colman (1673-1747), pastor of Brattle Street Church in Boston, in which he described the nature of the revival he was seeing. Colman forwarded a substantial portion of the letter to a friend in London where news quickly spread about religious events in the Colonies. Edwards was in turn asked to write a more detailed account of what he had witnessed, the result of which was titled: A...Read More

Jan 2019 9 Jan 9, 2019
1

Starting this morning at 9:00 a.m. we began a three-day time of corporate prayer and fasting at Bridgeway. Friday night at 7:00 p.m. the fast will end and we will host an all-church worship service. If you’re in OKC, please join us. You may wonder, Why are we doing this? There are several ways of explaining this. Let me begin by citing several texts: “Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob” (Psalm 24:6). &...Read More

Jan 2019 7 Jan 7, 2019
1

Is there any such thing as the “Jezebel spirit”? If so, what is it, or who is it? And what relationship does it sustain to the spiritual gift of prophecy? To answer this we must turn our attention to the letter of Jesus to the church in Thyatira. “But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. ...Read More

Jan 2019 2 Jan 2, 2019
Dec 2018 31 Dec 31, 2018

Worship involves our bodies as well as our hearts and minds. Our posture tells a story. It makes a statement to God and to others about the state of our souls and the affections and passions of our heart. If you were to visit Bridgeway, you would immediately recognize that we freely and frequently lift our hands when we worship. Some people may be seen kneeling. Some sit throughout the course of a service, either by preference or due to some physical limitation. Some ju...Read More

Dec 2018 28 Dec 28, 2018
1

Last year, at almost precisely this time, I posted the following article on the subject of New Year’s Resolutions. If you struggle to articulate them, and struggle even more to keep them, perhaps this will help you. So here it is once again. Resolving in the grace of God to bring one’s life into greater conformity to the image of Jesus is an appropriate expression of Christian sanctification, regardless of the time of year. It was in the late fall of 1722 th...Read More

Dec 2018 24 Dec 24, 2018
2

No biblical text so vividly portrays for us the true meaning of Christmas as does 2 Corinthians 8:9. There the apostle Paul wrote this: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). In what sense was Christ “rich” or “wealthy”? I want you to think with me about what kind of “wealth” or “rich...Read More

Dec 2018 19 Dec 19, 2018

It’s time once again to list what I believe were the best books released in 2018. And it gets more and more difficult each year to keep the list to only ten. So, in addition to the ten, I’ll include a few who are deserving of “honorable mention.” This was originally posted in two parts. Here I have combined them into one article. (10) Gregg R. Allison, 50 Core Truths of the Christian Faith: A Guide to Understanding and Teaching Theology (Grand R...Read More

Dec 2018 19 Dec 19, 2018
1

Here are numbers five through one, as well as a few that are deserving of “honorable mention.” (5) Joe Rigney, Lewis on the Christian Life: Becoming Truly Human in the Presence of God (Wheaton: Crossway, 2018), 310 pp. The most recent installment in Crossway’s Theologians on the Christian Life series may well be the best one yet. I can’t think of anyone else who could have written this book besides Joe Rigney, Professor of literature and theolog...Read More

Dec 2018 17 Dec 17, 2018

It’s time once again to list what I believe were the best books released in 2018. And it gets more and more difficult each year to keep the list to only ten. So, in addition to the ten, I’ll include a few who are deserving of “honorable mention.” Instead of trying to list and briefly describe all ten in one article, I will break these down into two posts, beginning with numbers ten through six, and concluding with numbers five through one. (10) ...Read More

Dec 2018 14 Dec 14, 2018

Following the posting of my brief article, Plagiarism: My Copyright Law is that You have the Right to Copy, John Piper responded with a suggestion. I think he’s right. Here is what he said. Sam, I love your free-hearted permission to use all your stuff that you just wrote about. One question. Don’t you want to add one more qualification to the two you gave: You wrote: There are only two qualifications to that rule. First, I ask that you not charge people...Read More

Dec 2018 14 Dec 14, 2018
3

Hardly a day passes that I don’t read somewhere of someone being accused of plagiarism. This past week it was a Christian college president accused of plagiarizing a sermon and book by Joel Osteen. Aside from the fact that I find it surprising that Osteen could say or write anything that is worthy of being copied, it is just one more example of what is happening on a daily basis. The evangelical publishing world has been forced to deal with this problem in recent ...Read More

Dec 2018 11 Dec 11, 2018
1

100 years ago today, December 11, 1918, Alexander Solzhenitsyn was born. He entered into the presence of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, August 3, 2008. So in honor of his 100th birthday, I want to re-post an article I wrote about him back in 2013. It’s difficult to explain the personal impact of Solzhenitsyn. He was such a massive figure in the public eye and provoked controversy (the good kind) throughout the course of his life. He was born on December 11, 19...Read More

Dec 2018 10 Dec 10, 2018

Last week I wrote about the Montanists and probably caused many of you to scratch your heads wondering, “Who in the world are the Montanists?” Today we turn our attention to another odd group known as the Nicolaitans. There is at least one profound difference between the two: the Montanists were most likely genuine believers in Jesus; the Nicolaitans were most assuredly not. (1) The Nicolaitans are mentioned by name twice in the NT, both in the book of Revel...Read More

Dec 2018 6 Dec 6, 2018
Dec 2018 6 Dec 6, 2018
1

My former colleague at Wheaton College, Alan Jacobs, now a professor at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, is without question the most widely-read and brilliant man I’ve ever known. There is virtually no intellectual discipline on which he cannot speak with remarkable insight. I’m sure he’d blush (and protest) to hear me say that. In any case, on November 30 of this year he wrote a blog article (http://blog.ayjay.org/) about our President. The title cau...Read More

Dec 2018 3 Dec 3, 2018
2

About what? I suspect that many of you have never heard the name Montanism or the individual Montanus from whom the movement is named. Often times when contemporary cessationists wish to ridicule or caricature charismatics they accuse us of being modern day Montanists. So, what was this movement and what did they believe? (1) We can date the emergence of Montanism in Phrygia to about a.d. 155. However, Eusebius and Jerome both date the movement to a.d. 173. One of the p...Read More

Nov 2018 28 Nov 28, 2018
3

Two weeks ago, at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in Denver, Colorado, I engaged in an encouraging and edifying conversation with three friends: Andrew Wilson, Tom Schreiner, and Ligon Duncan. I did not have long for my presentation: a mere 20 minutes. But I did take the opportunity to pose a question for Tom and Ligon, both of whom, like Andrew and me, are complementarians. My question was stirred by something Tom wrote in his book on spiritu...Read More

Nov 2018 26 Nov 26, 2018
6

Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is mentioned in three of our four gospels. It is found in Matthew 12:22-32; Mark 3:22-30 and again in Luke 12:10. Many Christians are burdened by the thought that they may have committed this sin, or they live in paralyzing fear that some day they will. It behooves us to examine precisely what Jesus meant. (1) The religious leaders had just witnessed Jesus cast out a demon from someone and they concluded from it that Jesus was himself posses...Read More

Nov 2018 21 Nov 21, 2018
2

Last week, together with some 2,700 others, I attended the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in Denver, Colorado. The theme of this year’s gathering was the Holy Spirit. On the first day of our meeting I participated in a three-hour panel conversation (debate?) with three good friends: Andrew Wilson, Tom Schreiner, and Ligon Duncan. Andrew and I defended the position known as Continuationism (all spiritual gifts continue to be given by God and ...Read More

Nov 2018 19 Nov 19, 2018
4

The Bible never encourages Christians to be gullible or naïve. We are to exercise discernment. After all, as the Apostle John said in 1 John 4:1 – “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” In this passage John is talking about non-Christians who prophesy falsely. Their fundamental error and what exposes them as unregenerate is their denial tha...Read More

Nov 2018 13 Nov 13, 2018
Nov 2018 12 Nov 12, 2018

All genuine, Christ-exalting, Christ-enjoying worship is in or through or by means of the Holy Spirit. This is what Paul meant when he said: “For we are the [true] circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3). His point is that the Spirit evokes worship, directs our hearts and minds to Christ in worship, reminds us of all the right reasons for worship, and empowers and energizes us fo...Read More

Nov 2018 8 Nov 8, 2018
1
Nov 2018 7 Nov 7, 2018
1

[This article was published yesterday (11-6-18) by Crossway at their blog, www.crossway.org.] There is no indication that our world’s fascination with angels and demons is in decline. Rarely does a day pass that we don’t hear of someone’s alleged encounter with either a holy angel or a fallen demon, together with news that a new TV show or film on Netflix will feature either or both of these species of spiritual beings. Sadly, though, there is a lot of...Read More

Nov 2018 5 Nov 5, 2018
2

That title may have put you off, but if you are still reading, I trust you will recognize how critically important this issue of Kenosis is to our understanding of the person of Christ and the incarnation. (1) The word translated kenosis is related to the Greek noun kenos and the verb kenoo. Kenos has the sense of empty or to no purpose and kenoo means to deprive of power or to make of no meaning or effect. It is the verb form that is found in Philippians 2:7 (see also ...Read More

Oct 2018 31 Oct 31, 2018
2

That may strike you as a silly question, but some have honestly wondered in view of what the apostle says in Colossians 3:1-4. There he exhorts the believer to “seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above,” said Paul, “not on things that are on earth.” Is there in Paul's perspective and language an encouragement to Christians that they ignore social injustice today in a...Read More

Oct 2018 29 Oct 29, 2018

A view frequently advocated by cessationists is that the spiritual gift of prophecy in the NT is largely identical with preaching. This is the position advocated, for example, by John MacArthur (and to a certain extent by J. I. Packer). One wonders what the motivation is behind this argument. I suspect that it is due, at least in part, to the discomfort that many cessationists feel with the idea of spontaneous revelation from the Holy Spirit in the present day. In any ca...Read More

Oct 2018 24 Oct 24, 2018

Those who self-identify as Open Theists deny that God has exhaustive, meticulous foreknowledge of all future events, including (especially) the morally responsible decisions of human beings. Their argument is that if such choices are infallibly foreknown, they are necessarily certain to occur, and if they are certain to occur they cannot be avoided, and if they cannot be avoided they cannot be regarded as morally blameworthy or praiseworthy. Jonathan Edwards responds to...Read More

Oct 2018 22 Oct 22, 2018
2

History, according to one cynic, is nothing but “the succession of one d___ thing after another.” Unfortunately, many Christians would agree, although one hopes they wouldn't use precisely the same terminology! The fact is, people wonder why the history of Christian theology is worthy of our time and energy. Facts, dates, and dead people do not inspire much excitement, and many doubt the practical value of spending time on something that cannot be changed. A...Read More

Oct 2018 17 Oct 17, 2018
1

What happens when revival comes? What might we reasonably expect, or is it unwise to assume that in every revival the same things occur? My study of history seems to indicate that no two revivals are precisely the same. There are varying points of emphasis and God appears to enjoy doing new and unexpected things each time he chooses to visit us with his manifest presence. But one thing typically occurs in every revival: souls are saved. During the first phase of the Fir...Read More

Oct 2018 15 Oct 15, 2018
5

Although largely unfamiliar to Protestants, the name of Ignatius Loyola is widely known among Roman Catholics. Here are ten things you should know about him and the Society of Jesus that he founded. (1) Don Inigo de Onez y Loyola, i.e., Ignatius (1491-1556), was the youngest in a family of thirteen children who spent his early years seeking fame and fortune in the military. He “grew up a courtier and caballero, captive to the romantic ideals of medieval chivalry&r...Read More

Oct 2018 10 Oct 10, 2018
2

The division among Christian folk during the revival we know as the First Great Awakening (1734-35; 1740-42) often was due to their different understandings of the nature and significance of physical or bodily manifestations. Many of the so-called Old Lights in Jonathan Edwards’s day insisted on the spurious nature of the so-called “revival” by pointing to the physical and emotional phenomena that were occurring. These manifestations, so they insisted,...Read More

Oct 2018 8 Oct 8, 2018
2

We don’t typically understand jealousy as a good thing. How, then, can I dare suggest that God is characterized by jealousy? To many, that sounds virtually blasphemous. So let’s take a close look at this oft-neglected attribute of God. (1) We need to understand from the start that jealousy can be both good and bad. Jealousy can be driven or motivated both by holy and righteous motives as well as unholy and unrighteous ones. Jealousy can be a sign of both sin...Read More

Oct 2018 5 Oct 5, 2018
2

Jonathan Edwards was born on October 5, 1703. His influence on the global body of Christ, and on me personally, is incalculable. So where is he now? That may sound like a strange question, but I mean it seriously. His body lies in a cemetery near Princeton University. But his soul is by no means asleep or unconscious. So, where is he? What is he thinking, seeing, feeling, enjoying? The question was raised in my mind as I read his funeral sermon for David Brainerd. Brain...Read More

Oct 2018 1 Oct 1, 2018
3

The most famous verse in the Bible, at least among Christians, is John 3:16. But do we really understand what it means? Here are ten things to keep in mind as you reflect on it. (1) Are the words of John 3:16 the words of Jesus or John the Apostle? Probably the latter. John 3:10-15 are clearly the words of Jesus in his conversation with Nicodemus, but it appears that John himself is reflecting on the significance of Jesus’ death in the verses that follow. (2) Wha...Read More

Sep 2018 26 Sep 26, 2018
1

There is a common vision disorder known as Convergence Insufficiency (CI) that illustrates the problem many have with Word and Spirit. People with CI have difficulty seeing things clearly that are near to them. One eye tends to drift outward when reading or doing close work, often leading to double vision. The problem can lead to headaches, eye strain, blurred vision, and difficulty concentrating. “Spiritual Convergence Insufficiency” occurs when a Christian...Read More

Sep 2018 24 Sep 24, 2018
4

That there is no salvation apart from a conscious faith in Jesus Christ is considered by many to be scandalous. Here are ten things to remember about this critically important issue. (1) The doctrine I believe is taught in Scripture is known as particularism or exclusivism or restrictivism. Advocates of this view insist that all are lost apart from a conscious and volitional embrace of Jesus as personal Lord and Savior. Salvation is available only to those who by faith ...Read More

Sep 2018 20 Sep 20, 2018
3

One of the more debilitating obstacles to life in the local church is the fact that people are obsessed with discovering their spiritual gift and frustrated that they have not as yet figured it out. So they do nothing. I want to recommend an approach to you today to overcome this. Stop gazing at your navel and step out and serve someone. Let your gift find you. I’m not opposed to the use of spiritual gifts inventory tests. But I think both Scripture and common sen...Read More

Sep 2018 17 Sep 17, 2018
6

We must acknowledge the fact that the vast majority of human beings in history have died without ever hearing the name of Jesus. What may be said about the eternal destiny of these millions of souls? Are they forever condemned to hell? If so, how can it be fair or an expression of divine justice that they entered eternity without having had the advantage or opportunity afforded those who live in a place or time where the gospel of Christ is preached? Or could it be that ...Read More

Sep 2018 13 Sep 13, 2018

There's simply no restrained or measured way of saying it: Colossians 1:29 is a breathtaking passage of Scripture! Let me begin with Paul's description of his ministry. But don't disengage. Don't think this passage is irrelevant to you simply because you are neither an apostle nor in vocational ministry. How does Paul envision ministry? Put simply, it's really hard work: “For this I toil, struggling.” By “this” Paul probably has in mind the full ...Read More

Sep 2018 10 Sep 10, 2018
2

Christian Hedonism often goes misunderstood and thus maligned. Let’s look closely at ten things that bring clarity to what is meant by the label. (1) When it comes to Christian Hedonism, the adjective is everything. Hedonism is itself a godless approach to life that says we should pursue whatever brings us optimum pleasure. Hedonism judges right and wrong on the basis of whether or not an action brings pleasure or pain. But Christian Hedonism is an entirely differ...Read More

Sep 2018 5 Sep 5, 2018
3

When I read Paul’s words in Colossians 1:24, “I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake,” I shake my head. It isn’t because I don’t believe what he says. It’s because I struggle to identify with his experience. I’ve lived a rather sheltered, comfortable, and safe life here in America. I honestly have no idea what my brothers and sisters in Christ on the other side of the globe have endured for the sake of the gospel. This dispari...Read More

Sep 2018 3 Sep 3, 2018

Despite Queen Elizabeth's efforts to unify the people of England (she ruled from 1558-1603), some did not think the spirit of the Reformation had gone far enough. The Puritans of the late 16th and early 17th centuries did not believe Elizabeth's attempt at compromise (Via Media) was sufficient. Her settlement “was based on the assumption that while Christian doctrine is found only in the Bible, such secondary matters as liturgy and Church organization may be impose...Read More

Aug 2018 29 Aug 29, 2018

Brief Comments on the Passion TranslationAugust 27, 2018 by Craig Keener [On August 27 Craig Keener posted a short but helpful article on the Passion Translation. I thought many of you might find it helpful.] Lacking time to engage the Passion Translation thoroughly, I offer just two comments here, one positive and the other negative. First, in the passages that I surveyed, the author captured the spirit of the text well, communicating it in contemporary language. In...Read More

Aug 2018 27 Aug 27, 2018
4

A week or so ago I was alerted to a video (https://vimeo.com/275908702) that focused on the amazing creative power of God, both in terms of the massive size of the universe as well as the incredibly small world of molecules and atoms. It may be helpful here at the start to remember that we count from million to billion to trillion to quadrillion to quintillion to sextillion. So, here are ten things that should leave you in awe of your God. (1) On a clear night, perhaps...Read More

Aug 2018 24 Aug 24, 2018
2

Often times people argue that the primary (if not sole) purpose for the healing ministry of Jesus was to confirm his messianic identity and deity. Others suggest that it was also designed to signal and confirm the in-breaking of the kingdom of God and to provide us with a foretaste of the blessings that will be ours when the kingdom is consummated upon Christ’s return. Whereas there is truth in both of the above noted explanations, we must also consider the expres...Read More

Aug 2018 20 Aug 20, 2018
3

It actually sounds a bit silly, even irreverent, to speak of only ten things we should know about Jesus. There are thousands of things to know about him, perhaps millions. Indeed, when we arrive in the new heaven and new earth we will discover that there is an infinity of truths about our Savior that it will be our joy to see, know, and savor. But for now, today, let’s consider the ten things said about him in Colossians 1:15-20. There Paul writes: “He is ...Read More

Aug 2018 17 Aug 17, 2018
3

In a recent article (August 6, 2018; www.ligonier.org), noted Reformed theologian Sinclair Ferguson sets forth what he calls “solid biblical reasons” for believing that the spiritual gifts of working of miracles, revelatory prophecy, and speaking in tongues were purposely intended by God “only for a limited period.” By the latter he means the time during which the original apostolic company were alive on the earth. Let me say that I have tremendo...Read More

Aug 2018 13 Aug 13, 2018
3

As Paul delineates nine of the gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, the last on his list is “the interpretation of tongues.” Later in that chapter he again refers to interpretation in his denial that any one gift is granted to all Christians (v. 30b). In his instruction on how believers are to arrive at any particular corporate assembly, he says that whereas one may come with a hymn, another with a word of instruction, another with a revelation from ...Read More

Aug 2018 8 Aug 8, 2018
3

What is it about Wayne Grudem and massive hardback books? His Systematic Theology, currently being revised, came in at a hefty 1,264 pages. Politics according to the Bible was a mere 624 pages, and Bible Doctrine brings up the rear with a paltry 528 pages. Wayne’s most recent work, Christian Ethics: An Introduction to Biblical Moral Reasoning (Crossway), tops them all. It is 1,296 pages! My only objection is that it is too large and too heavy for me to find space ...Read More

Aug 2018 6 Aug 6, 2018

The words of the psalmist are forthright and unmistakable: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). Clearly, joy is essential to our Christian experience and relationship to God. So here are ten things to keep in mind when you think about joy and your delight in God. (1) The command is not that we have joy, but that we have joy or delight in God. David doesn’t say, “Delight yourself.” That...Read More

Aug 2018 1 Aug 1, 2018

I don’t often review books on my blog, but I’m so excited about Gregg Allison’s new volume that I can’t resist the temptation! I read through 50 Core Truths of the Christian Faith: A Guide to Understanding and Teaching Theology (Baker Books) quite a while back and found it to be the best, most informative, clearest, and most accessible short book on theology that I’ve ever come across. I say “short” but may need to retract that ...Read More

Jul 2018 30 Jul 30, 2018

I recently read of yet another claim that a statue of the Virgin Mary was weeping. But this time it was different. Her “tears” were examined and found to be the chemical equivalent of olive oil. I will leave it to you to decide what to make of this, but it got me thinking again about the role of Mary in Roman Catholic devotion. One of the consistent claims among many Roman Catholics is that Mary will occasional appear to individuals with some message or warn...Read More

Jul 2018 25 Jul 25, 2018
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You may recall that in Philippians 2:25-30 Paul described a certain Epaphroditus who risked his life for the work of Christ. “Honor such men” (v. 29b), said Paul. Tragically, today we honor people in whom we find none of the characteristics of an Epaphroditus. It is the pompous, arrogant athlete, or the self-indulgent Hollywood actress, or the unscrupulous Wall-Street financial wizard who wins our praise and adoration. Perhaps it's time to re-evaluate the cr...Read More

Jul 2018 23 Jul 23, 2018
4

Suffering is an unpopular but essential topic for Christians to understand. And it is nowhere more clearly explained than in 1 Peter. So here are ten things we can learn about suffering from this letter. (1) In 2 Corinthians 6:10 Paul describes himself as “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing”. And in Colossians 1:24 he again declares, “I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake.” It should come as little surprise, then, that Peter would echo this senti...Read More

Jul 2018 19 Jul 19, 2018
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A few weeks ago I concluded preaching through the book of Revelation. It was an incredible challenge but a rewarding one as well. The series lasted for 38 weeks. Every Sunday we dug deeply into this remarkable and at times unsettling book. Each verse was addressed. Nothing was ignored. I’m happy to let you know that the full manuscript for each sermon on Revelation is now available on my website. This means that you have at your disposal a verse-by-verse interpret...Read More

Jul 2018 18 Jul 18, 2018
2

The word “affection” may be unfamiliar to many, except when used of romantic feelings that pass between a man and a woman. This is not the sense in which I use it here. Jonathan Edwards defined the affections as “the more vigorous and sensible exercises of the inclination and will of the soul.” So, are our “affections” the same as our “emotions” or “passions”? I don’t think so. Certainly, there is what m...Read More

Jul 2018 16 Jul 16, 2018
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Where will believers in Jesus spend eternity? It won’t be on a cloud or a star in some distant galaxy. It will be on the sanctified and redeemed soil of the new earth. Here are ten things you should about what eternal life will be like in the new heaven and new earth. (1) According to Revelation 21:1 this present earth and the heavens above will “pass away” when Jesus Christ returns to destroy his enemies and consummate his kingdom. But this present ea...Read More

Jul 2018 12 Jul 12, 2018
3

Short answer: probably not. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways in which to determine with a high degree of probability whether or not God exists. Many have tried to articulate various arguments believed to be decisive in demonstrating that “God” exists, none more famous than the so-called “Five Ways” of Thomas Aquinas. Thomas died in 1274, just shy of his fiftieth birthday. The Five Ways include: • The argument from motion ...Read More

Jul 2018 9 Jul 9, 2018

It is all too easy to become discouraged and disheartened by the rampant presence of evil and injustice in our world today. It leaves us wondering: Will anything ever be done to bring to justice those who have perpetrated such wickedness? Will anything ever be done to reward those who are righteous? The answer is Yes! We have this assurance because of what we read in Revelation 20:11-15 concerning the final judgment. Here are ten things to keep in mind. (1) What we have...Read More

Jul 2018 6 Jul 6, 2018
2

I’m an extremely patriotic person. I love the United States of America. I am forever deeply grateful for the countless blessings that I’ve enjoyed because of the freedom that is part of the foundation of this great country. Had I been asked to do so, I would have fought in any war to defend our country. And yes, I celebrated the 4th of July with fireworks and hotdogs and a profound expression of thanksgiving to God for all that he has enabled this country to ...Read More

Jul 2018 2 Jul 2, 2018
2

Mysticism is an approach to Christianity that focuses on preparation for, consciousness of, and reaction to what can be described as the immediate or direct presence of God. Emphasis is placed on the subjective or “felt” experience of being in an intimate relationship with God, what some mystics refer to as “spiritual ecstasy”. The earthly goal of this relationship is personal ethical and spiritual transformation, the heavenly culmination of which...Read More

Jun 2018 30 Jun 30, 2018

The book of Revelation has one primary and profoundly simple theme or big idea: God wins! That is why I have entitled this series of messages on Revelation: The Triumph of the Lamb. This remarkable and challenging book explains to us how God rescues and redeems his people, defeats Satan, routs evil, transforms creation, and eventually and eternally dwells among us forever.Read More

Jun 2018 29 Jun 29, 2018

What is it that makes this portrayal of the risen and glorified Christ more than just a fascinating pictorial display? I doubt if there is a more majestic description of our reigning King than what we find here in Revelation 1:12-16. Countless attempts have been made by artists to render an accurate representation of the Lord Jesus Christ. I’m sure that now we find ourselves in the age of computers and highly technical tools of graphic design that many will make an effort to supply us with a vivid portrait of Jesus as he is described in this text. Read More

Jun 2018 29 Jun 29, 2018
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This past Sunday, June 24, 2018, I concluded a series of sermons in the book of Revelation. There were 38 of them! As I reflected on my time in this remarkable book, ten truths stood out to me above all else. Unlike some, the things in Revelation that had the greatest impact on me had nothing to do with numerical symbolism or 666 or the Beast or the Great Prostitute or the millennium. Here are the primary lessons I learned. (1) Christians in this present age can expect ...Read More

Jun 2018 28 Jun 28, 2018

“What Christ thinks of the Church.” That was the title to a short book on Revelation 2-3 by British pastor John Stott. I like that. We need to think about what Christ thinks of us, the Church. We should care profoundly about what Christ thinks of the Church. But I would like to rephrase Stott’s title, if I may, and entitle the seven letters of Revelation 2-3, “What Christ SAYS to the Church.” My reason for this is found in the opening verse to each of the seven letters. Seven times over we are told that what we are reading are “the words” of the risen Christ to his people.Read More

Jun 2018 27 Jun 27, 2018

A straight sail from the island of Patmos of approximately 50 miles brings one to the port of Ephesus at the mouth of the river Cayster. Traveling up coast some 35 miles almost due north of Ephesus is the city of Smyrna (population @ 100,000). It is the only one of the seven cities still in existence today (modern Izmir in western Turkey). Smyrna was a proud and beautiful city and regarded itself as the “pride of Asia.” The people of Smyrna were quite sensitive to the rivalry with Ephesus for recognition as the most splendid city of Asia Minor. Read More

Jun 2018 27 Jun 27, 2018

In the two closing chapters of Revelation, John portrays for us the beauty and splendor of the new heavens and new earth, and especially the grandeur of the New Jerusalem. One thing that he repeatedly emphasizes is who is in and who is out. He first tells us in Revelation 21:8 that “the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable,” along with “murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars” will not have a place in the New Jerus...Read More

Jun 2018 26 Jun 26, 2018

Ann and I lived in Kansas City, Missouri, known as “The City of Fountains.” Before that, we lived in Chicago, “The Windy City”. Paris, France, is called “The City of Lights” and New York is often described as “The City that Never Sleeps”. We have friends who live in Las Vegas, infamously (but justifiably) referred to as “Sin City”, and the list could go on. Read More

Jun 2018 25 Jun 25, 2018

Why in the world would I take a Sunday morning and talk about what I have called in the title to this message, “The Jezebel Spirit”? There are two reasons. First, there are people alive and well in the professing evangelical church today who are guilty of the same perverted behavior as was this woman named Jezebel back in the church in Thyatira in the first century. Second, I love the spiritual gift of prophecy. I hold it in extremely high regard. It plays an important role in our corporate and private spiritual experience here at Bridgeway. And I am jealous to protect it from abuse and perversion. Paul commanded us in 1 Corinthians 14:1 to earnestly desire spiritual gifts, especially that we might prophesy. Why? Because, as he said two verses later in 1 Corinthians 14:3, prophecy builds up, encourages, and consoles other Christians. So, when someone appears on the scene in church history, like Jezebel did in the first century, we need to take time to identify her sin and equip ourselves to oppose its presence in our midst.Read More

Jun 2018 25 Jun 25, 2018
1

Forgiving others is counter-intuitive to human nature. It rarely seems to make sense. Most often it grates on our souls like fingernails on a chalkboard. King Louis XII of France spoke for us all when he said, “Nothing smells so sweet as the dead body of your enemy!” If we were honest with each other we’d readily admit that we enjoy withholding forgiveness because it permits us to keep our enemies (and even some of our friends) under control. It gives ...Read More

Jun 2018 24 Jun 24, 2018

Let’s begin our time in God’s Word today with a test. Don’t worry, no one will grade you other than yourself and God. And there is only one question on this exam. Here it is: Where are you today, in terms of Christian growth and zeal and love for Jesus, in comparison with where you were when you first became a Christian? Read More

Jun 2018 23 Jun 23, 2018

One of the more important lessons I’ve learned through the years, especially when it comes to church life, is that seeing isn’t always believing. I don’t want to sound cynical or pessimistic, but you shouldn’t always trust your eyes. What I’m trying to say is that I’m not as impressed as I used to be when I hear of a church with a surging membership, multi-million dollar budget, expansive facilities, and a reputation for programs, ministries, and a growing influence in the community. Read More

Jun 2018 22 Jun 22, 2018

In what do you take deepest delight? What is it that brings the greatest and most intense joy and happiness to your heart? If I were to say to you, “Rejoice, because ________,” how would you fill in the blank?” I’m sure that many of us would point to our families, perhaps our children. Others might say that their greatest source of joy is their good health and good friends and a robust bank account. Of course, if Christians give much thought to the question they would eventually say something like, “My greatest source of joy is in knowing Jesus and being assured that I will spend an eternity in intimate fellowship with him.” Others might point to the truth of our adoption as God’s children, or our being justified or declared righteous in God’s sight through faith in Jesus, and the list of answers could go on almost without end.Read More

Jun 2018 22 Jun 22, 2018
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So, there I was sitting at my desk a few days ago, staring at Revelation 22:4 and the incredible declaration by John that in the new earth we “will see his [God’s] face.” It sounds beyond belief. We will see God’s face! What does that mean? Later that day, during a short break, I logged on to a popular internet news site and saw the headline of an article that had just been posted. The title of the article was: What does God look like? The sub-tit...Read More

Jun 2018 21 Jun 21, 2018

One could make a strong case that the letters to Smyrna and Philadelphia are the most important of the seven, for in neither of them do we find a single word of complaint. They both receive unqualified praise and approval. These, then, are truly churches of which Christ heartily approves.Read More

Jun 2018 20 Jun 20, 2018

The Bible has a remarkable capacity to challenge and overcome our misperceptions about who we are. When we are inclined to think of ourselves as orphans, the biblical text declares that we are the adopted children of God. If we are wracked with guilt, the inspired word reminds us that we are forgiven. The feeling of being stained and soiled by sin is overcome with the realization that we are cleansed by the blood of Christ and clothed in his righteousness. Read More

Jun 2018 20 Jun 20, 2018

In Revelation 22 an angel reveals to John, and John in turn reveals to us, numerous blessings that we will experience in the new heaven and new earth. One of them is found in v. 3b – “and his servants will worship him.” Before we unpack this marvelous truth, let’s skip down to vv. 8-9 and take note of a warning from this angel concerning worship. To all of us who are tempted to worship and love and cherish anything but God, the angel declares: &l...Read More

Jun 2018 19 Jun 19, 2018

I’ve lived in nine cities. I was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma, from which we moved when I was ten to settle in Midland, Texas. I attended high school in Duncan, Oklahoma, and went to college in Norman. My wife and I lived in Dallas, Texas, for twelve years, and then moved back to Oklahoma, this time to Ardmore, in 1985. Since then we’ve lived in Kansas City, Chicago, once again in Kansas City and now OKC.Read More

Jun 2018 18 Jun 18, 2018

What is happening in heaven right now? And by “right now” I mean right now! Literally. John was given a vision that answers this question and the portrait it provides is undoubtedly as true today as it was nearly 2,000 years ago. This passage, together with Revelation 5, is a vision of the majesty of a sovereign God in complete control of his creation. From an earthly perspective, it might seem that the enemies of the kingdom of God are winning. Christians are being persecuted, imprisoned, and martyred. Tragedy and trial and turmoil are rampant and the Great Dragon (Satan), the Beast, and the False Prophet appear to have the upper hand. All hope of light at the end of the tunnel grows dim because the tunnel has no end. The tunnel is all there is. History simply has no purpose. Dreams of finally emerging out the other side are shattered . . . there is no other side!Read More

Jun 2018 18 Jun 18, 2018
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The number of suicides among people we know, at least by name, has been increasing with disturbing regularity. It began with the tragic death of Matthew Warren, Rick Warren’s 27-year-old son. Then it was the comedian Robin Williams. In the past two weeks we heard of the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. In light of this I thought it might be helpful to identify ten things all of us should know about suicide. (1) According to the Associated Press, Public H...Read More

Jun 2018 17 Jun 17, 2018

To be perfectly honest, there are times when I feel the same way John did as he stood before the throne of God. Not that I’ve ever been in the presence of the throne of God, but reading Revelation 5:3-4 resonates with my own fears and anxieties about where human history is going and whether or not we are ever going to emerge from this colossal mess we’ve created for ourselves.Read More

Jun 2018 16 Jun 16, 2018

Perhaps the single greatest controversy surrounding Revelation and the most important issue when it comes to interpreting the book, is the question of its structure. Many, perhaps most, evangelicals read Revelation as if it is describing a short period of time that is still in the future. Those who embrace what may be called the futurist view of the book most often will argue that what we have in Revelation 6-19 is a description of events that will take place in the future in a period of seven years they call The Great Tribulation.Read More

Jun 2018 15 Jun 15, 2018
2

I’m often asked questions by young men in the ministry regarding how I go about the process of sermon preparation. We typically make a good bit of progress in our discussion until they hear that I begin work on a sermon on Monday and typically conclude no later than Wednesday. Their response often reveals a false assumption about the Holy Spirit. They tend to believe that it reflects a greater reliance on the Spirit to wait until Friday or even Saturday night to be...Read More

Jun 2018 15 Jun 15, 2018

Often when we speak of those who suffer from persecution and martyrdom we hear only words and the impact on our hearts is minimal. So I want to begin this morning by putting a face with a name. His name is Sharoon Masih and he was sixteen-years old. I say “was” because three weeks ago, on August 27, during only his fourth day at school, he was savagely beaten to death inside his school by his classmates. Read More

Jun 2018 14 Jun 14, 2018

There are several good reasons why the Apostle Paul described the Second Coming of Jesus Christ as our “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13). It is a “blessed hope” because it will mean the end of all sin and suffering in our lives. No more battles with temptation. No more feelings of guilt when we fail. No more diagnoses of cancer or heart disease or arthritis. No more sadness upon hearing of the death of a loved one. No more funerals. No more anger or resentment or unforgiveness or lust or greed. No more jealous rivalries. No more division between Christians. No more friction between husbands and wives or parents and their children.Read More

Jun 2018 13 Jun 13, 2018

As you know, here at Bridgeway we love to sing the song, King of My Heart. The way in which it declares that God is good is both biblical and reassuring. But there is a line in the chorus that often times sticks in the throat of some believers. It goes something like this: “You’re never gonna’ let, never gonna’ let me down.” Some of you struggle to sing this because deep down inside you don’t really believe it. You think there have been times in your life when God really did let you down, and you are afraid there may well be more instances in the future when he’ll do it again.Read More

Jun 2018 12 Jun 12, 2018

Sam StormsBridgeway ChurchRevelation #19Download PDF When we’ve been there Ten Thousand Years! Revelation 7:9-17 It has always struck me as bizarre that some Christians, or at least those who profess to be Christians, don’t think it is spiritually beneficial or helpful or encouraging to think about heaven. Many of them have bought into the old saying that such people are “so heavenly minded they’re of no earthly good.” Yes, I have known a...Read More

Jun 2018 11 Jun 11, 2018

Why do people struggle with the book of Revelation? By that I don’t mean why do people have differing interpretations of what will happen when Christ returns, or why do people disagree on the identity of the Beast and False Prophet. The struggle I have in mind is the difficulty people have with the unrelenting display of divine wrath and judgment on the world of unbelievers and idolaters. In other words, the single greatest problem people have with this book isn’t its symbolism or its view of history or the meaning of the number 666. The single greatest challenge that people face when reading Revelation is the extent and intensity of the judgments that unbelievers and idolaters endure.Read More

Jun 2018 11 Jun 11, 2018
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Original sin sounds so archaic, so pessimistic, so grimly medieval. For heaven’s sake, this is the era of the computer and the space shuttle. And haven’t the most learned psychologists and sociologists assured us that people are by nature good, having been turned to their evil ways not by some inner instinct but through the influence of a deviant culture and sub-standard education? These questions indicate how important it is for us to understand the biblical...Read More

Jun 2018 10 Jun 10, 2018

Today, December 10, 2018, is the second Sunday in the season we call Advent. It is the season of the year in which we turn our collective attention to the truths of Christmas, which is to say, the truth of the Incarnation of the Son of God, his conception in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and the ultimate purpose for which the Father sent his Son into this world. Read More

Jun 2018 9 Jun 9, 2018

It’s not easy today to remain hopeful and encouraged and confident about the future of our society and the world as a whole. Things are a mess. For every one step forward it seems like we take two steps backwards. For every victory that is won for truth and morality and the Christian faith, it seems as if there is a multitude of defeats. In his excellent commentary on Revelation Dennis Johnson puts it this way:Read More

Jun 2018 8 Jun 8, 2018

What are the prospects for the church of Jesus Christ all across the earth, as we await the second coming of our Lord? What I mean by that is, what should we expect in terms of our relationship to the broader culture and the world of unbelievers as a whole? What should we do as we look to the end of human history and the establishment of God’s eternal kingdom?Read More

Jun 2018 8 Jun 8, 2018
1

In his description of the new heaven and new earth, John refers to several glorious blessings that God’s people will experience. In Revelation 21:6 he mentions one in particular. It is God himself who declares: “To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.” Why doesn’t he simply say, “to the one who believes”? Why “thirst”? In fact, this isn’t the only time this imagery is used. In...Read More

Jun 2018 7 Jun 7, 2018

[Having described the seven trumpet judgments, but before explaining the seven bowls, John inserts three parenthetical chapters (Revelation 12-14). The purpose of chapter 12 is to provide us with a deeper perspective on the spiritual conflict between the world and the church. At the heart of its message is that, although Satan is the principal source of the persecution of God’s people, he has been decisively defeated by Christ, a victory in which we now share even in the midst of suffering and martyrdom.]Read More

Jun 2018 6 Jun 6, 2018

I’m guaranteed of one thing when it comes to this sermon. Most, if not all of you, will pay very close attention. The reason is that there is hardly a more fascinating and controversial topic in eschatology than that of the Antichrist. Is the Antichrist the same as the Beast of Revelation? Is there more than one Antichrist? Is he a figure of past history or the future? Is the Antichrist a person or a power or a movement, or some combination of all? These and other questions will arise as we try to make sense of this concept.Read More

Jun 2018 6 Jun 6, 2018

In their recent book, MultiChurch: Exploring the Future of MultiSite, Brad House and Gregg Allison address what they believe is the primary objection to multisite churches: video preaching. They list four criticisms in particular: (1) Video venues foster a cult of personality; (2) Video venues devalue the pulpit and the preaching of the Word; (3) Video venues neglect the care of the congregation; and (4) Video venues isolate the preacher from the congregation (p. 78). I...Read More

Jun 2018 5 Jun 5, 2018

In his final two letters written not long before he was beheaded in Rome under orders from the Emperor Nero, the Apostle Paul was clearly energized and concerned about the emergence of false teaching that he obviously believed would pose a great threat to the health and well-being of the church.Read More

Jun 2018 4 Jun 4, 2018

Let me say this up front and get it out of the way. I really don’t want to preach on this text. It isn’t because I don’t understand it. I do. In fact, it is precisely because I understand what it is saying that makes me reluctant to preach on it. Neither is my reluctance to preach on it because I don’t believe it is true. I do believe it is true. I do believe that there is a place called hell and that people are going there. Read More

Jun 2018 4 Jun 4, 2018
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Last week I wrote an article that identified ten things we should all know about quenching the Spirit, or perhaps I should say ten ways to quench the Spirit that we must studiously avoid. Today I want to turn our attention to ten ways we tend to quench the Spirit in the act of preaching God’s Word. (1) The first thing to remember is that nowhere in Scripture do we find the sin of quenching the Spirit explicitly linked to teaching or preaching God’s Word. The...Read More

Jun 2018 3 Jun 3, 2018

Last week we immersed ourselves in what is undeniably one of the most emotionally challenging passages in all the Bible. The portrayal in Revelation 14:9-11 of eternal punishment in hell is terrifying and sobering. Today we come to a passage that is only slightly less foreboding. Read More

Jun 2018 2 Jun 2, 2018

Theories about the end of the world have become big business in recent years. Certain environmentalists tell us that unrestrained global warming will bring about the end of the world as we know it. Certain politicians tell us that the world will likely end in a nuclear conflagration, perhaps instigated by North Korea or Russia. Certain astronomers tell us that one day a massive meteorite will break through our atmosphere and crash headlong into the earth, setting in motion a series of climate changes and floods and earthquakes that will mark the world’s end. Then, of course, we’ve got hundreds of movies coming out of Hollywood that are making a fortune by promoting the idea that in some for or other aliens from a distant galaxy will invade us and either colonize or cannibalize our world, bringing an end to life on this planet.Read More

Jun 2018 1 Jun 1, 2018

Today I want to help you make sense of the world in which we live. In particular, I have in mind the multiple ways in which our society and every society on earth conspires to oppose and oppress the kingdom of Jesus Christ. I imagine there are any number of ways in which people try to make sense of what is happening around the globe, but I want to do my best to account for it in terms derived from the book of Revelation.Read More

May 2018 31 May 31, 2018

In Revelation 17:1 John was promised that he would be shown “the judgment of the great prostitute”. Although he was given a brief glimpse in 17:16, the full story is now told in chapter 18.Read More

May 2018 30 May 30, 2018

Why does Bridgeway exist? We exist to exalt Christ in the City. We do many things. We preach Scripture. We pray. We evangelize and go on mission trips. We gather in small groups and sing. We serve one another and love one another and sacrifice for one another. We strive for ethnic reconciliation. We strive for biblical justice. But why do we do these things? We do them because of the reason why we exist. We exist to make Christ known, to exalt his beauty and majesty, to act and speak and live in such a way that Christ is seen as preeminent and glorious and worthy of all our heart’s affection and joy and delight.Read More

May 2018 30 May 30, 2018

All too often people arrive at a Sunday corporate gathering of God’s people and give little to no thought about what they are doing. It’s become something of a mindless, weekly routine. When the pastor preaches, they listen. When another prays, they pray (or doze off). And when the congregation sings, they sing. But do we understand what is happening when we sing? Do we think much of the spiritual dynamics when we sing our praises to God? Do we understand wh...Read More

May 2018 29 May 29, 2018

I hope . . . I hope that all of you here today will feel warmly welcomed and be encouraged by the people at Bridgeway. Read More

May 2018 28 May 28, 2018

In February of 2015, 20 Egyptian Christians were lined up on a beach in Libya, wearing orange jumpsuits. After refusing to renounce their faith in Christ, they were forced to kneel down. One by one, they were each savagely beheaded. It wasn’t until three years later, in 2018, that their bodies were returned to Egypt to be properly buried. Although their physical bodies suffered great indignity, their souls immediately entered into the presence of their Lord Jesus Christ where, as priests of God, they joined with him in ruling and reigning over the affairs of heaven and earth. And when Christ returns to this earth at the end of human history, they will accompany him and be among the first to receive their glorified and resurrected bodies.Read More

May 2018 28 May 28, 2018

Were it not for the fact that no less than the Apostle Paul himself commanded us not to quench the Spirit, who among us would ever have suggested that this is even within the realm of possibility? To suggest that the omnipotent Spirit of God, the third person of the Godhead, could ever be quenched and thus limited or hindered or in some manner restricted in what he might do in our lives and in the life of the local church is to tread on thin theological ice. Yet in 1 Th...Read More

May 2018 27 May 27, 2018

Not everyone thinks it helpful to focus on the future. They’ve bought into the old saying that people who do are “so heavenly minded they’re of no earthly good.” On the contrary, I’m persuaded that we will never be of much use in this life until we’ve developed a healthy obsession with the next. Therefore, we must take steps to cultivate and intensify in our souls an ache for the beauty of the age to come. And that is precisely my aim as we turn our attention to Revelation 21-22.Read More

May 2018 26 May 26, 2018

Several years ago Ann and I, together with our two daughters, were driving back home from a short vacation in Estes Park, Colorado. I can’t recall precisely where we were, but I think it was somewhere near the Colorado / Kansas border. We could see ahead of us that storm clouds were forming and sure enough it began to rain quite heavily. After the rain ended, we could see directly in front of us the most beautiful and majestic rainbow that we had ever seen. Now, I’ve seen a lot of rainbows, but I had never seen anything quite like this one. Read More

May 2018 25 May 25, 2018

So, there I was sitting at my desk a few days ago, staring at Revelation 22:4 and the incredible declaration by John that in the new earth we “will see his [God’s] face.” It sounds beyond belief. We will see God’s face! What does that mean? Later that day, during a short break, I logged on to a popular internet news site and saw the headline of an article that had just been posted. The title of the article was: What does God look like? The sub-title that followed said: “Liberals and Conservatives have different ideas.” Yes, I was sufficiently curious that I read the article, written by a man named Mark Price. The study was paid for with grants from the Templeton Foundation and National Science Foundation. Read More

May 2018 24 May 24, 2018

We began our study of the book of Revelation on April 23rd of last year. Today is our final week in this incredibly challenging yet remarkably glorious book of the Bible. We have seen and heard and learned much, but here are the ten primary themes or points of emphasis in Revelation that have most greatly impacted me.Read More

May 2018 21 May 21, 2018
6

I read in the local newspaper today (5-18-18) that an annual Jehovah’s Witnesses convention is scheduled to convene here in OKC this weekend. It got me thinking once again about this unusual religious organization. Some demographic details are enlightening. In his article at the website of the Gospel Coalition, Joe Carter cites the Pew Research indicating that “no more than 4 in 10 members of the group belong to any one racial and ethnic background: 36 percen...Read More

May 2018 16 May 16, 2018
1

Perhaps the single greatest criticism from cessationists is their belief that the charismatic embrace of revelatory gifts of the Spirit, such as prophecy and word of knowledge, undermines and is inconsistent with the sufficiency of Scripture. As odd as this may initially sounds, I believe the opposite is true. It is the cessationist denial of the on-going validity of revelatory gifts that compromises the sufficiency of Scripture. By the sufficiency of Scripture many thi...Read More

May 2018 14 May 14, 2018

The Imago Dei, Latin for “image of God”, is crucial for our understanding of who we are as the direct creation of God. Here are ten things to guide our thinking. (1) We read in Genesis 1:26 of God’s determination to create man “in our image (tselem), after our likeness (demut).” Theologians typically have tried to identify one particular element or characteristic feature in humanity that embodies or constitutes the imago dei. (2) If both h...Read More

May 2018 10 May 10, 2018
6

I probably shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was, upon hearing that there are people at Bridgeway who, for whatever reason, believe that sex before marriage is permissible. Pre-marital sex is commonplace in our culture, but to hear that it is present in the church is extremely disheartening. My surprise upon hearing this is that I would never have imagined that such a view could even exist among professing Christians. There are some things that are so patently o...Read More

May 2018 7 May 7, 2018
4

There is in the New Testament a plethora of information and detail regarding the second coming of Christ. I couldn’t begin to cover it all in one short blog post. So, in this article I will only draw your attention to what we are told in Revelation 19:11-21, one of the more graphic portrayals of who Jesus is and what the second coming will mean for unbelievers in particular. (1) We must first remind ourselves that the second coming of Jesus is our sure and certain...Read More

May 2018 2 May 2, 2018

Were it not for the fact that no less than the Apostle Paul himself commanded us not to quench the Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19-22), who among us would ever have suggested that this is even within the realm of possibility? To suggest that the omnipotent Spirit of God could ever be quenched and thus limited or hindered or in some manner restricted in what he might do in our lives and in the life of the local church is to tread on thin theological ice. Paul says in 1 Thessalonia...Read More

Apr 2018 30 Apr 30, 2018
2

We hear and say much about redemption justification and adoption and forgiveness of sins. But when was the last time you heard a sermon about the doctrine of reconciliation? What does it mean to say we are reconciled to God? What does it mean when we appeal to non-believers to be reconciled to God? In this post we’ll look at ten things we all should know about this glorious truth. (1) The most well-known biblical text on reconciliation is 2 Corinthians 5:18-21. Th...Read More

Apr 2018 25 Apr 25, 2018
1

Michael Reeves’ book, Spurgeon on the Christian Life, has just been released by Crossway. It is part of the Theologians on the Christian Life series to which I earlier contributed a volume, Packer on the Christian Life. I’ve only just started working my way through what I anticipate will be a wonderful and encouraging book. Early on, Reeves mentions something about Spurgeon that most of us have known. It has to do with his love of cigars! Here is how Reeves ...Read More

Apr 2018 23 Apr 23, 2018
4

I recently participated with several other authors who contributed a volume to the Crossway series entitled, Theologians on the Christian Life. My book was devoted to J. I. Packer. Here are ten things you should know about him. (1) If you are wondering why Crossway would include J. I. Packer in the list of those who deserved to have a book written about their view of the Christian life, I would simply remind you that the readers of Christianity Today identified J. I. Pa...Read More

Apr 2018 18 Apr 18, 2018
3

As I’ve been preaching through the book of Revelation it has become ever more evident to me that reading divine providence is a tricky and often dangerous business. By “reading providence” I mean the tendency that all of us have to interpret what God is doing in the world around us and even in our own lives. We typically try to read providence because we are uncomfortable with mystery. We don’t like being kept in the dark about why God does or doe...Read More

Apr 2018 16 Apr 16, 2018

On several occasions in Scripture we come across reference to something called “the book of life” or “the Lamb’s book of life.” What is it and why is it important that we know? (1) In the OT the “book of life” (or its equivalents) was a register of the citizens of the theocratic community of Israel. To have one’s name written in the book of life implied the privilege of participation in the temporal blessings of the theocr...Read More

Apr 2018 11 Apr 11, 2018

“What?” you say. A prepositional phrase? How can something so mundane and ordinary be a source of encouragement? Good question. Here’s a good answer. Revelation 17 is an ugly chapter. I’m not being critical of God’s inspired and infallible Word. I’m just being honest. When you read Revelation 17 you encounter a “great prostitute” with whom “the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk” (Rev. 17:2). There’s simply no getting around the fact: this is ugly.Read More

Apr 2018 9 Apr 9, 2018

All of us have our favorite Bible verses. Some of us have our favorite Bible books. Mine is Second Corinthians. Perhaps that is due to the fact that it is so profoundly pastoral and describes in detail how Paul interacted with a church that treated him poorly. In any case, if you’ve never studied Second Corinthians I urge you to do so. Here are ten things about the letter that may help you get started.Read More

Apr 2018 4 Apr 4, 2018
1

The good news that constitutes what we call the Christian “gospel” is nowhere better summarized than in 1 Peter 3:18. There the apostle tells us that “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.” There is so much worthy of our consideration in this text, but I want to draw your attention to only one word: “for”. Jesus, who was perfectly and altogether righteous, suffered FOR yo...Read More

Apr 2018 2 Apr 2, 2018
1

There has been considerable controversy over the differences between Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and their respective descriptions of what happened on Easter Sunday morning. But the differences are not discrepancies. In other words, all four accounts, in my opinion, are complementary and perfectly compatible with one another. When we compare and align the four gospel accounts we derive the following ten truths. (1) The first thing of importance for us to note is the c...Read More

Mar 2018 30 Mar 30, 2018
3

Following the death two weeks ago of Stephen Hawking, there was much discussion about whether or not he believed in God. Some insisted he remained an atheist to the bitter end, while others suggested that he had a death-bed conversion. To the latter I cannot speak, but I do have an opinion on his attitude regarding the existence of God. He was not, in my opinion, an atheist. He may have claimed to be an atheist. But he wasn’t, and neither is anyone else. What follo...Read More

Mar 2018 28 Mar 28, 2018
4

The story of the triumphal entry Matthew 21 tells a rather dramatic, often intense, remarkably tender, and yet in places even violent story about who Jesus is. It provides us with a window into the soul of our Savior. During Passover the population of Jerusalem swelled to 10x its normal size; thousands in and around the Temple complex gathered to pray, to offer their sacrifices, to perform ceremonial cleansings, rituals of purification, paying their tithes, and no doubt...Read More

Mar 2018 26 Mar 26, 2018
8

In recent years there has appeared a radical departure from traditional theism that has come to be known as the Openness of God theory or Open Theism. Although there are numerous components in this new view of God, in this article I only take note of ten of them. You should also know that what follows is not a critique of the openness theory, but simply an explanation of its basic ideas. (1) Proponents of the openness doctrine believe that the classical view of God in w...Read More

Mar 2018 21 Mar 21, 2018
2

I want to bring to your attention a new book that everyone needs to read. The author, Jack Deere, is a long-time friend of mine with whom I was in seminary back in the 1970’s. Here is the description of the book from the inside cover. Following that I’ve included my personal endorsement of this riveting memoir. “A powerful memoir of finding beauty and friendship through the pain of loss, tragedy, and brokenness, Even in Our Darkness explores what it me...Read More

Mar 2018 19 Mar 19, 2018
3

What do we mean when we affirm the inerrancy of the Bible? The importance of that question has not diminished in the least. It is as crucial today as it was 100 years ago. So let’s look at ten things that will help us understand what we mean (and don’t mean) when we speak of an inerrant Bible. First, though, it would be helpful to note that among evangelicals, two views of biblical inerrancy have dominated the landscape. Some embrace what has been called &ld...Read More

Mar 2018 16 Mar 16, 2018

This past Wednesday, March 14, one of the more brilliant scientists of our generation passed away. Stephen Hawking was 76 years old. In the immediate aftermath of his death numerous news services and blogs described his dire warnings to those of us who remain alive on Earth. Hawking believed that if certain changes aren’t made, the world as we know it will come to an end and life on earth will cease. Among the many potential causes of the end of life on Earth note...Read More

Mar 2018 14 Mar 14, 2018
9

In a blogpost earlier this week I identified ten things that we should all know about covenant membership in the local church. But there are still people who object to the idea and resist it at all costs? Why? There are several reasons, all of which share one thing in common. I wonder if you can identify what it is. What follows is the response I provided to those at Bridgeway Church here in OKC who were hesitant about our implementation of covenant membership. (1) If w...Read More

Mar 2018 12 Mar 12, 2018
3

Membership in a local church is very much in the minds of Christians these days. Is it biblical? Is it necessary? Is it helpful? These and other questions lead to the following ten things you should know about what church membership means and entails. [In addition to my own research, I’ve drawn heavily on the writings of John Piper, Michael McKinley, Jim Elliff, Mark Dever, and Kevin DeYoung.] Perhaps the best place to begin is by asking the question: What do you ...Read More

Mar 2018 7 Mar 7, 2018
7

Once again an extremely popular worship song is coming under scrutiny. This time it is Cory Asbury’s song, “Reckless Love.” We sing it regularly here at Bridgeway and I encourage you to do so as well. I was more than a little surprised when a few people pushed back, wondering if it was biblically and theologically appropriate to speak of God’s love as “reckless.” Then I was informed that similar questions were being raised by others a...Read More

Mar 2018 5 Mar 5, 2018
2

The fact that your immediate and instinctive response to this topic is probably somewhat (or considerably) negative reflects how far removed we are today from the spirit of the New Testament. As we’ll see, a commitment to discipline in the local church is indicative not only of one’s love for holiness, as well as those lingering in sin, but most of all for the Lord Jesus who “gave himself up for her [i.e., the Church], that he might sanctify her, having...Read More

Mar 2018 2 Mar 2, 2018
14

The reality of hell and eternal punishment is not a popular topic, even among Christians. Part of the problem is that the nature of hell has been horribly distorted in our culture and portrayed as an experience that is far from what we read in the NT. When I’m asked why I believe in hell, my response is three-fold. First, I have such unshakable and robust confidence in the inerrant truth of every word in the Bible that the matter is already settled before I even r...Read More

Feb 2018 28 Feb 28, 2018

I’ve been surveying the doctrinal statements of numerous churches of late and I continue to come across a familiar mistake. It is also found in the Baptist Faith and Message of the Southern Baptist Convention. It reads, as do many statements in churches of other denominations: “At the moment of regeneration He [i.e., the Holy Spirit] baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ.” I agree with the BFM that Spirit baptism occurs at the moment of ...Read More

Feb 2018 26 Feb 26, 2018
2

The spiritual gift of speaking in tongues remains controversial in our day and is a subject deserving of our close attention. This short article is not designed to argue that tongues are still valid but simply attempts to describe the nature and function of tongues speech. (1) The “tongues” spoken on the Day of Pentecost were real human languages. The variety of nations represented (vv. 8-11) would certainly confirm this. The word “language” (vv....Read More

Feb 2018 22 Feb 22, 2018

I’ve just posted six articles (sermon manuscripts) from my series on Worship that I preached about a year ago here at Bridgeway. Go to Resources and click on Articles. The articles are listed under Theological Studies. ...Read More

Feb 2018 21 Feb 21, 2018
2

Although I’ve written on this subject before, I think it would be helpful if we revisited Revelation 13:16-18 and the so-called “mark of the Beast.” As you know, this is an issue that continues to inflame debate concerning the end times and contributes greatly to the overall hysteria that serves only to discredit the Christian community in the eyes of the world. I have in mind the belief by many that the “mark” of the Beast is a literal tat...Read More

Feb 2018 19 Feb 19, 2018
1

Right now, without ceasing, Jesus Christ is interceding for all those who know him. It is a wonderful truth indeed. Here are ten things to keep in mind when you think of Christ’s heavenly intercession. (1) Christ’s heavenly intercession was prefigured in the Old Testament. We know that Christ's atoning death was prefigured by the offering of sacrifices on the brazen altar, but the daily burning of incense on the golden altar in the Holy Place (cf. Exod. 30:1...Read More

Feb 2018 15 Feb 15, 2018

Paul’s letter to the Philippians is often regarded as the most tender and joy-saturated letter that he wrote. I concur. Not long ago I preached a verse-by-verse series through Philippians. The entirety of that series is now available. There are 22 detailed lessons that walk through Philippians seeking to make sense of what Paul wrote and to make application to life. Simply go to the top of the Home page and click on Resources. Then click on Articles. You will see ...Read More

Feb 2018 14 Feb 14, 2018

We recently celebrated the early retirement of a debt we incurred to purchase our office building and to expand our facilities to make room for all the children who are present at Bridgeway. Some people wondered whether or not it was biblical for us to take out a loan. They suggested we should not undertake the renovations until we had all the money in hand. I appreciated their concerns but was not convinced that it was unbiblical to borrow money. The most helpful artic...Read More

Feb 2018 12 Feb 12, 2018
1

Not too long ago a book was published with the title: What was God doing on the Cross? It appears that there are two questions being asked, not one. First, “What was God doing on the cross?” Why was the God-man impaled on a Roman gibbet? It seems shocking that God should be crucified? Second, “What was God doing on the cross?” Once we've agreed that the God-man was on the cross, we wonder, “what was he doing there?” What was he accompl...Read More

Feb 2018 9 Feb 9, 2018

[Michael Kruger published an article on his blog on February 5, 2018. It is nothing short of brilliant. If you have not heard of Jen Hatmaker’s endorsement of the moral legitimacy of the LGBTQ agenda and her approval of so-called “same-sex marriage” you probably will sometime soon. Kruger’s response to her “de-conversion” needs to be closely read by all Christians. Please take a few minutes and walk with him through this fascinating is...Read More

Feb 2018 7 Feb 7, 2018
1

We read in Revelation 12:11 that the saints “conquer” Satan “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” What does this mean? It does not mean we destroy Satan, for we know that will not occur until the return of Christ (see Revelation 20). In fact, it would appear that our victory over Satan in one sense only serves to intensify his wrath directed against the earth (v. 12)! So nei...Read More

Feb 2018 5 Feb 5, 2018

What is known as the satisfaction theory of the atonement is most closely associated with the name of St. Anselm. Here are ten things to know about how he conceived of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. (1) First, it may help to know a little about the man himself. Anselm was born in 1033 at Aosta in Piedmont (northern Italy) two years before William the Conqueror became Duke of Normandy. He died in 1109. He was a studious youth, amiable, and often displayed a profo...Read More

Jan 2018 31 Jan 31, 2018

I don’t know how I’d go about it, but I would love to learn how Christianity first came to Oklahoma City. When was the gospel first preached in our city and by whom? What was the response of those who heard? Was there initial opposition to the truth? Were those who spoke of Jesus persecuted? If so, how did they react? Where was the first church planted? How large was it? How quickly did the gospel spread to the surrounding area? I would love to know the answer to these questions.Read More

Jan 2018 31 Jan 31, 2018
2

Christians are divided on whether or not there will be a mass, global ingathering of souls at the end of the age. There may be a hint that could help us in Revelation 11:13. There we read: “And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.” We know that the “hour” in view here is the time of the end...Read More

Jan 2018 30 Jan 30, 2018

My guess is that many of you are thinking to yourselves: “Sam, are you kidding me? You actually plan on preaching an entire sermon on the opening greeting of a NT epistle. Come on! Give us some biblical meat, something we can really chew on and apply to our lives, something that’s going to make a difference in how I conduct my life next week, something that’s going to stick in my soul and change how I think and feel and act. For heaven’s sake, don’t waste my time with the meaningless trivialities of an ancient salutation!” Read More

Jan 2018 30 Jan 30, 2018

Our first national Convergence conference is now several months behind us, but we continue to hear on a daily basis of the numerous ways that men and women were blessed and encouraged in their passionate pursuit of Word and Spirit. Convergence as a national conference will be held in Oklahoma City, God willing, every other year. So, make plans now to join us in the Fall of 2019 for our second conference. But the overwhelming response we’ve received in the form of ...Read More

Jan 2018 29 Jan 29, 2018

I have to confess that all week as I studied and reflected on this passage we’ve just read, I was envious. I don’t think it was sinful envy, but envy it was. Hearing Paul talk about his relationship to the Philippians, how he felt about them and loved them and yearned to be with them, how he prayed for them and how he partnered with them in the gospel, I couldn’t help but stand back from it all and say: “This is what the church is supposed to be. This is the body of Christ stripped of artificial veneer and superficiality and obsession with image and all the meaningless clichés that so often characterize our interactions, such as: ‘How are you today? Oh, just fine. God is so good. How are you? Oh, just fine. Yes, he is good. I’ll be praying for you. Oh, that’s fine. I’ll pray for you too. Wonderful. Have a nice day. You too.’”Read More

Jan 2018 29 Jan 29, 2018

Of the many theories of Christ’s atoning sacrifice that emerged in church history, this is the one least known by contemporary Christians. (1) The principal architect of this theory was Irenaeus (115/125 – 195-202). Irenaeus drew upon the terminology of Ephesians 1:11 (“with a view to an administration suitable to the fulness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ”) for his doctrine of recapitulation. Other words he used we...Read More

Jan 2018 28 Jan 28, 2018

Tertullian (@ 200 a.d.) was one of the greatest of the early church fathers and was actually the first man to use the word “Trinity” to describe the nature of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He lived and wrote at a time when opposition to Christianity and the Church was intensifying. Although Tertullian was an apologist, which is to say he devoted himself to defining and defending the Christian faith against its critics, he was quick to point out that it wasn’t any particular theological or philosophical argument that would ultimately persuade pagans of the truth about Jesus. Rather it was the seemingly inexplicable love that Christians had one for another that initially baffled and finally captivated non-Christians. In one memorable statement, Tertullian said this: “It is mainly the deeds of a love so noble that lead many to put a brand upon us. ‘See,’ they say, "[see] how they love one another, . . . How they are ready even to die for one another!’ No tragedy causes trouble in our brotherhood, [and] the family possessions, which generally destroy brotherhood among you, create fraternal bonds among us. One in mind and soul, we do not hesitate to share our earthly goods with one another. All things are common among us [except] our wives. (Apology 39).Read More

Jan 2018 27 Jan 27, 2018

One of the greatest challenges we face as Christian men and women is the threat to our confidence in the goodness of God when circumstances turn bad. Therefore one of the greatest needs we have is the faith to believe that God exercises providential control over every dimension of our lives and will transform even the worst and most aggravating of tragedies into an opportunity for the advancement of the gospel and the praise of his glory.Read More

Jan 2018 26 Jan 26, 2018

The art of living well comes from knowing that dying is gain. Contrary to what many may think, that is not morbid. In fact, there is nothing quite as exhilarating and life-giving and joy-filled as pondering death. At least that’s true for the Christian. Read More

Jan 2018 25 Jan 25, 2018

How do you respond when God gives you something you don’t want? How would you describe your feelings when God brings people, circumstances, and situations into your life that are at best inconvenient and at worst irritating, exasperating, and perhaps even life threatening? Read More

Jan 2018 25 Jan 25, 2018
1

I just recently posted at www.samstorms.com ten new articles on the book of Proverbs. This brings the total number to eighteen. If you’ve never accessed the material, simply click at the top of the home page on the word Resources. You will then see a new tab, Biblical Studies. Scroll down the page and you will come to the series on Proverbs. I hope and pray you find these helpful....Read More

Jan 2018 24 Jan 24, 2018

What kind or sort of relational culture do you want to see and experience here at Bridgeway? What ought to be the personal, inter-relational atmosphere here in our church? For what do you want to be known by those outside our community? When people speak of Bridgeway and the way all of us interact with one another, what do they say? What you do want them to say? That’s what I want us to think about today. But before I go any further, let me give you an illustration of the kind of relational culture that we must at all costs avoid.Read More

Jan 2018 24 Jan 24, 2018
1

Subjective theories of the atonement are those which envision the focus or aim of Christ’s sufferings to be the human soul rather than God himself. This model is referred to either as the moral influence theory or the example theory. (1) The moral influence theory was given its most explicit portrayal by Peter Abelard (1079-1142). Abelard argued that there is nothing in God’s nature that necessitates satisfaction or prevents him from indiscriminately forgivi...Read More

Jan 2018 23 Jan 23, 2018

Some statements in the Bible leave you scratching your head, asking: “What could this possibly mean?” Other texts leave you wiping tears from your eyes, wondering: “Did God really do that for me?” Then there are those passages that blow your mind and leave you shouting: “Wow! I can’t believe what I just read!” And finally there are some things in the Bible that leave you gasping for breath, struggling to maintain your composure, texts and statements and stories that quite literally drive you to your knees, in awe and wonder.Read More

Jan 2018 22 Jan 22, 2018

I need to explain the title to today’s message: Act the Miracle. It isn’t original with me. I didn’t make it up. I stole it. I have unapologetically plagiarized the words “Act the Miracle” from the Desiring God national conference that Ann and I attended last September in Minneapolis, with their permission of course.Read More

Jan 2018 22 Jan 22, 2018

It’s not easy today to remain hopeful and encouraged and confident about the future of our society and the world as a whole. Things are a mess. For every one step forward it seems like we take two steps backwards. For every victory that is won for truth and morality and the Christian faith, it seems as if there is a multitude of defeats. In his excellent commentary on Revelation Dennis Johnson puts it this way: “When evil is everywhere and the world is rip...Read More

Jan 2018 21 Jan 21, 2018

I don’t know how you feel about this, but there have been times during the course of my life and ministry in the local church when I seriously wondered if it might be the wise thing to do simply to quit and withdraw into the isolation and seclusion of a monastery. As boring and outrageous as that may sound to you, at times it has struck me as profoundly appealing.Read More

Jan 2018 20 Jan 20, 2018

Some of you may not like the title to my message this morning. You may think it lacks political correctness and that instead of referring to an ordinary “Man” of God I should have said an ordinary “Person” or “Human,” and in that way I would have included both genders, male and female. But the fact is that I have in view “men” particularly and not “women.” That isn’t to say women can’t benefit from what I want to say. I’ll explain how they can in just a moment. But the focus of my message today, indeed the focus of Paul’s comments in Philippians 2:19-30, is the Christian male. So I want to talk about what every ordinary man who knows and loves God ought to be like.Read More

Jan 2018 19 Jan 19, 2018

My first experience with divine healing came quite suddenly and unexpectedly and with remarkable results. I was 10 years old. We had just moved into our new home in Midland, Texas. I had gone to bed somewhat early that night because of a terribly painful headache. I didn’t know anything about migraines at that young age, but I suspect that’s what I was suffering from. It was debilitating, almost paralyzing.Read More

Jan 2018 19 Jan 19, 2018

Martin Luther King, Jr., Day falls on the third Monday in January each year. It is a day designed to awaken the people of our country to the urgent need for racial harmony and racial reconciliation. Sanctity of Life Day typically falls on the Sunday closest to January 22, the day marking the Supreme Court’s decision in the now infamous case, Roe v. Wade. Likewise, it is a day designed to awaken the people of our country to the devastation caused by abortion and the...Read More

Jan 2018 18 Jan 18, 2018

I have a simple but profound philosophy when it comes to the Christian life. When it is fully understood it can be revolutionary. By that I mean it can take a self-absorbed, idolatrous rebel and empower him to pursue a life that truly honors God. It can take a hopelessly depressed, self-loathing woman and restore meaning and value and joy to her lowly life.Read More

Jan 2018 17 Jan 17, 2018

Put aside your political affiliation for just a moment this morning, and don’t let it interfere with my opening illustration.Read More

Jan 2018 17 Jan 17, 2018
2

Many of you are probably unaware of the debate that continues to rage among evangelical theologians over the question of the extent of the atonement. Most Bible-believing Christians argue that when Jesus died on the cross he was making atonement for all the sins of all people. That is to say, his death was universal in scope. He died not only for Jews but also for Gentiles, not only for men but also for women, not only for the elect of God but also for those who ultimate...Read More

Jan 2018 16 Jan 16, 2018

My title for today is a long one – Holy Dissatisfaction and Relentless Pursuit: Overcoming the Threat of Spiritual Stagnation. Now what in the world do I mean by that?Read More

Jan 2018 15 Jan 15, 2018

I can live in the absence of a lot of things. If pressured to do so, I can probably get by without baseball and movies and books and a nice car and the home where Ann and I currently reside. To lose all that would be hard. It would put a strain on life. But I think I can live without them.Read More

Jan 2018 15 Jan 15, 2018
1

Do we have reason to believe that subsequent to our born-again experience we may have life-changing, empowering, and transforming encounters with the Holy Spirit? Yes. Here are ten things that we should keep in mind. (1) Although those in the classical Pentecostal tradition would disagree with me on this, I don’t believe that any such post-conversion experience should be identified with the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Spirit-baptism occurs for all Christians at th...Read More

Jan 2018 14 Jan 14, 2018

This past week I counted up and gave some considerable thought to the churches that I’ve either regularly attended while growing up or at which I have served on pastoral staff. The total came to an even dozen. Included among these are four Southern Baptist churches that I attended regularly while growing up, one independent Baptist church, one Presbyterian church, two non-denominational Bible churches, one Vineyard church, one Anglican church, one non-denominational charismatic church, and finally Bridgeway!Read More

Jan 2018 13 Jan 13, 2018

Rejoice in the Lord? Are you kidding? Is Paul kidding? Does he have any idea what he’s saying? Is he so out of touch with the harsh realities of life that he can be this flippant and happy-go-lucky?Read More

Jan 2018 12 Jan 12, 2018

Among the many reasons I could mention why I love God’s Word, let me give you just one example. When I read a passage such as Philippians 4:8-9, I find myself experiencing a double effect. On the one hand, I feel encouraged and energized, almost as if I’m being lifted above and beyond the harsh realities of life in this fallen world of ours. It’s as if the exalted language of v. 8 and the virtues to which it calls me serve as something of a powerful updraft that elevates me from my place on earth and draws me closer to God.Read More

Jan 2018 12 Jan 12, 2018

[As you probably know, Kirk Humphreys recently was pressured to resign from the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents, largely over his comments concerning the moral legitimacy of homosexual conduct. He is also being asked to resign from the Board of the John Rex Charter Elementary School here in OKC. He has refused to do so, much to his credit and courage. This past Monday, January 8, the regular meeting of the Oklahoma City school board was convened and many appeared...Read More

Jan 2018 11 Jan 11, 2018

One of the most helpful things I’ve learned in my years as a pastor is the crucial role that self-awareness plays in our growth as Christians. By self-awareness I mean the capacity to be honest and sincere when it comes to both our strengths and weaknesses. To be “aware” of oneself in the way that I have in mind is to be conscious and forthright about our tendencies and inclinations. To be self-aware is to possess a keen sense of the way we impact other people. To be self-aware is to have a clear grasp on why we react the way we do when we encounter adversity or threatening circumstances. It is to be in touch with how we think and what we value and why we make the choices we do.Read More

Jan 2018 10 Jan 10, 2018

There are over 2,300 references to finance and money in Scripture. Many would prefer that the Bible say nothing at all on the subject because any mention of it makes them feel uncomfortable. Some are uncomfortable because they feel guilty for not being generous and for having fallen far short in financial stewardship. Others feel uncomfortable because they think the only reason why a preacher would ever bring it up is when he wants to elevate his own personal standard of living.Read More

Jan 2018 10 Jan 10, 2018

This inaugural message on the book of Proverbs is going to be somewhat odd, insofar as I am going to provide a short introduction to the book as a whole while also addressing what it says about how to overcome the power of peer pressure. Read More

Jan 2018 10 Jan 10, 2018
5

When people confess that they find prayer boring and uneventful, I often wonder if they really know the One to whom they are speaking. Of course, some push back against that suggestion and say: “Come on, Sam. Be a little more gracious and kind. Of course I know the God to whom I’m speaking. After all, I’m a Christian.” Well, I’m sorry, but that isn’t good enough. A lot of genuine, born-again believers go through their Christian lives l...Read More

Jan 2018 8 Jan 8, 2018
1

The first thing you should know (but not included among the ten) is that Jonathan Edwards’s most important sermon was not “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” That was certainly his most famous sermon, but not the most important one he ever preached. That distinction must be reserved for “A Divine and Supernatural Light,” which he delivered to his congregation in Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1734. The full title to this message was &ldq...Read More

Jan 2018 3 Jan 3, 2018
6

I’ve noticed an interesting trend among several of the comments in response to my letter to the President and Board of Regents at OU. A few people have suggested that Kirk Humphreys is being “intolerant” of those who engage in homosexual intimacy. But that is not true. The problem is that in recent years the meaning of “tolerance” has undergone a significant but often unnoticed shift. No one has pointed this out with greater clarity than D....Read More

Jan 2018 1 Jan 1, 2018

Mark Twain is known and remembered for a lot of things, but Christian faith isn’t one of them. Nevertheless, he did say some remarkable things that Christians need to hear. One of the more insightful comments he made is this: “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out why” (Mark Twain).Read More

Jan 2018 1 Jan 1, 2018

Resolving in the grace of God to bring one’s life into greater conformity to the image of Jesus is an appropriate expression of Christian sanctification, regardless of the time of year. It was in the late fall of 1722 that 19-year-old Jonathan Edwards wrote the first of what would eventually become 70 resolutions for life. He was, at the time, serving as pastor of a Presbyterian church in New York City. The 70th, and last resolution, was written on August 17th, 172...Read More

Dec 2017 31 Dec 31, 2017

You can’t not worship. Ignore my use of the ungrammatical double negative and try to understand what I’m saying. You can’t not worship. Or to put it yet another way, “we can’t not love something ultimate” (James K. A. Smith, You Are What You Love, 20). You may choose not to sing. You may choose not to bow down. You may choose not to lift your hands. You may choose not to give any outward or physical expression to your devotion, but you can’t not worship. Read More

Dec 2017 30 Dec 30, 2017

When we stand and sing our praise to God as a congregation, we should probably pause and express our gratitude to the 16th century Protestant reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546). This year, as you probably know, is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation that to a large extent was launched by Luther on October 31, 1517. What you probably don’t know about Luther is that he was largely responsible for introducing into the life of the evangelical church the practice of congregational singing. From the Council of Laodicea in the 4th century until Luther in the early years of the 16th century, virtually no one sang in church except for the ordained clergy.Read More

Dec 2017 29 Dec 29, 2017

We who live in the United States are witnesses to and participants in a power struggle that occurs every four years. We’ve just emerged from one. Whatever else you may think about the race for the presidency of the United States, be assured of this one thing: it is all about the pursuit of power. Yes, there are certain individuals who run for office based on principle, but they are few and far between. Most do so because they have an insatiable passion for power. Read More

Dec 2017 29 Dec 29, 2017
22

[Most of you know by now that Kirk Humphreys, evangelical Christian and former Mayor of Oklahoma City, “resigned” from the Board of Regents at the University of Oklahoma. The issue that led to this unfortunate turn of events was Humphreys’ biblical stance on the issue of homosexuality. The letter below was sent to President Boren and the University’s Board of Regents both by email and regular post. Mr. Humphreys also was sent a copy of the letter....Read More

Dec 2017 28 Dec 28, 2017

Nothing will stir up and agitate the emotions of Christian men and women as much as a discussion of the role of emotions in Christian men and women. Is it bad for a Christian to feel good? Or is it good to feel bad? Or are feelings, whether good or bad, irrelevant to the one who believes in Jesus? Are our emotions as Christian men and women something to enjoy or avoid? Are they a source of delight or a sign of danger, or in some sense both? Read More

Dec 2017 28 Dec 28, 2017

A couple of years ago I preached through the book of Joshua at Bridgeway Church. The sermon manuscripts are now available for your use at my website. Simply click on Resources at the top of the home page and you will see where the Articles appear. Look under Biblical Studies. You will need to scroll down to the bottom of that list and you’ll find the 15 articles on much of Joshua. I hope and pray they are of benefit to you in your study of God’s Word!...Read More

Dec 2017 27 Dec 27, 2017

I’ve lost count of the number of weddings I’ve performed over the past 44 years of ministry, but I do remember one in particular. It was the wedding of an American man and a British young lady. She happened to be living with Ann and me at the time. When we sat down to discuss details of the ceremony she asked if I would be willing to use the vows that are frequently employed in older Anglican wedding ceremonies. “Sure,” I said. Among the things that both the bride and groom would recite were these words of commitment:Read More

Dec 2017 25 Dec 25, 2017

It’s time once again for my top ten list of the best books of 2017. But I’m going to fudge a bit on the year. A few of these books were released before 2017, but I either only recently got around to reading them or they are of such relevance to this particular year (the 500th anniversary of the launch of the Protestant Reformation) that I thought they should be included. So we’ll start with number ten and work our way down (up?) to number one. (10) Thi...Read More

Dec 2017 20 Dec 20, 2017
2

I’ve often said that the single most amazing, mind-boggling verse in the Bible is John 1:14 – “The Word became flesh!” As we approach Christmas, I thought it would be good to post again some observations I made in my book, Pleasures Evermore. I pray you are blessed by this meditation on the paradoxes of the Incarnation. Take a deep breath and ponder what this means. Don't dismiss it as theological speculation. This is a truth on which your eterna...Read More

Dec 2017 18 Dec 18, 2017
2

What becomes of those who die in infancy, before reaching an age of intellectual and moral development that would make it possible for them to understand and respond to the revelation of God in the gospel and in creation? This question also applies to those who grow into adulthood suffering from such severe mental impairment that they are incapable of moral discernment, deliberation, or rational decision-making. If human nature is corrupt and guilty from conception, the ...Read More

Dec 2017 13 Dec 13, 2017
1

When the seventh trumpet is sounded in Revelation 11:15 we read an astounding statement that serves to reinforce our confidence that when all is said and done, God wins! There John records the words of multiple “voices” in heaven, saying: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11:15). The declaration is that what Satan formerly ruled, in a manner of speaking, as t...Read More

Dec 2017 11 Dec 11, 2017
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This theory of the atonement will likely strike most Christians as bizarre, and rightly so! (1) The primary advocate of this theory was the Scottish theologian and intellectual leader, John McLeod Campbell (1800-1872). Campbell was instructed at home by his father from an early age and was fluent in Latin before entering the University of Glasgow in 1811. He received additional training at the University of Edinburgh. His vigorous defense of unlimited atonement put him ...Read More

Dec 2017 7 Dec 7, 2017
1

On more than one occasion I have heard contemporary proponents of the so-called “prosperity” gospel appeal to Paul’s use of the principle of sowing and reaping to support their view. By the way, I say “so-called” prosperity gospel because when seen for what it is there is very little if any “good news” or “gospel” in it. That aside, was Paul an intentional or inadvertent advocate of this view? Twice in his writings P...Read More

Dec 2017 4 Dec 4, 2017
2

As much as we hear about the gospel of Jesus Christ one would think that everyone is on the same page when it comes to defining this word. Sadly, that is not the case. So just what is the gospel? How might we define it? Here are ten things to keep in mind. (1) The “gospel” is the gloriously great good news of what our triune God has graciously done in the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ to satisfy his own wrath against us and to se...Read More

Nov 2017 30 Nov 30, 2017

Sam StormsBridgeway ChurchProverbs #10Download PDF Sermon Summary #10 The Virtue of Self-Control and the Vice of Intoxication Galatians 5:13 I want to begin by identifying three issues that are not up for discussion this morning. That doesn’t mean they aren’t important or that they shouldn’t be addressed at some point. It’s simply that we need to keep our focus limited and precise and time will not allow me to answer every question that may ar...Read More

Nov 2017 29 Nov 29, 2017

Sam StormsBridgeway ChurchProverbs #9Download PDF Sermon Summary #9 Loving and Leading our Children through Discipline Proverbs 13:24 Over the years many things have led me to fall ever more in love with Scripture and to grow in my respect for what God has provided for us in the pages of this book. One of those things is the way in which the Bible, at one moment, reverberates with profound theological truths and, in the next, reaches down into our everyday existence ...Read More

Nov 2017 29 Nov 29, 2017
2

While much can and should be said about spiritual gifts, here are a few relevant observations or principles that I believe should guide our understanding and exercise of the charismata. (1) Every single spiritual gift, whether it be mercy, serving, giving, speaking in tongues, or prophecy, is a “manifestation of the Spirit” given “for the common good” (1 Cor. 12:7). Therefore, every gift is by definition supernatural, since every gift is the enab...Read More

Nov 2017 28 Nov 28, 2017

Sam StormsBridgeway ChurchProverbs #8Download PDF Sermon Summary #8 Proverbs on the Sluggard Proverbs 6:6-11; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15 Typically, when the apostle Paul or some other biblical author issues a stern warning to separate or stay away from a particular person, you expect it to be based on something fairly serious. Perhaps the individual has denied the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Or maybe they are living in open and defiant sexual sin or are engaged in some...Read More

Nov 2017 27 Nov 27, 2017

Sam StormsBridgeway ChurchProverbs #7Download PDF Sermon Summary #7 Proverbs on Pride and Passion Proverbs 16:5 I want to paint a mental picture for you this morning, a picture that begins in beauty but concludes in ugliness. It’s a beautiful day. The sun is shining. Not a cloud in the sky. A gentle breeze is blowing. A young teen-aged boy is standing on the tee box of the fourth hole at the Elks golf and country club in Duncan, Oklahoma. It’s a short but...Read More

Nov 2017 27 Nov 27, 2017
3

Yet again today we try to understand a little-known theory of the atonement that has actually re-emerged in our own day. (1) The primary proponent of the governmental theory was Hugo Grotius (1583-1645). Law, according to Grotius, is a positive statute or enactment. “It is not,” he says, “something inward in God, or in the Divine will and nature, but is only the effect of his will” (iii). Law is thus a product of God’s will by which not eve...Read More

Nov 2017 26 Nov 26, 2017

Sam StormsBridgeway ChurchProverbs #6Download PDF Sermon Summary #6 Wisdom and our Wealth Proverbs 30:7-9 All of God’s Word is true and all of it is designed to change us both in terms of our inward character and our outward conduct. But there are some truths in Scripture that have a unique capacity to radically transform our lives. They literally revolutionize not only how we think and view the world, but also how we live in it. When properly understood they a...Read More

Nov 2017 25 Nov 25, 2017

Sam StormsBridgeway ChurchProverbs #5Download PDF Sermon Summary #5 The Anatomy of Adultery Proverbs 7:1-27 To preach one sermon on the sin of sexual infidelity, in a society that considers it not only a virtue but an entitlement, is to invite criticism. To preach two sermons on the evil of adultery, on consecutive Sundays no less, is to subject oneself not only to criticism but to scorn and ridicule as well. Anyone who exalts marital fidelity as I have done or who ...Read More

Nov 2017 24 Nov 24, 2017

Sam StormsBridgeway ChurchProverbs #4Download PDF Sermon Summary #4 Infidelity: America’s New National Pastime Proverbs 5:1-23; 6:20-35 There was a time in our country when baseball was considered the national pastime. The die-hard fan, of course, would insist that it still is. But statistics reveal that in recent years football has won for itself that cherished position, and I suppose fans of both baseball and football will continue to argue which is truly our...Read More

Nov 2017 23 Nov 23, 2017

Sam StormsBridgeway ChurchProverbs #3Download PDF Sermon Summary #3 Sticky Friends Proverbs 18:24 2 Timothy 4:9-21 This is our third week in the book of Proverbs, and if we’ve learned anything thus far it is that Proverbs is all about the practical dynamics of living in a fallen world. As I said in the opening message, this book doesn’t tell us why we exist but aims to instruct us in how to navigate the often treacherous waters of life and relationships....Read More

Nov 2017 22 Nov 22, 2017

Sam StormsBridgeway ChurchProverbs #2Download PDF Sermon Summary #2 Your Words have the Power of Life and Death Proverbs 18:20-21 The difference between the right word and the almost right word, said Mark Twain, is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug! His point, I believe, is that just as there is a frightening world of difference between a bolt of lightning, on the one hand, and the luminescence of an insect, on the other, so also between saying t...Read More

Nov 2017 22 Nov 22, 2017
1

It’s actually easier to identify the effects of shame than it is to define its essence. But I’ll try. Shame is the painful emotion that is caused by a consciousness of guilt, failure, or impropriety, that often results in the paralyzing conviction/belief that one is worthless, of no value to others or to God, unacceptable, and altogether deserving of disdain and rejection. As you can see, shame and guilt are not the same thing. The difference between guilt a...Read More

Nov 2017 20 Nov 20, 2017
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If the language of Christus Victor is foreign to you, it simply means Christ the Victor. The focus of this theory of the atonement suggests that the primary aim of Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection from the dead was the defeat of Satan and the powers of evil. In its earliest expression it took the form of the somewhat crude ransom to Satan theory. And it is there that we begin. (1) Origen (a.d. 185-254) is somewhat enigmatic in his comments on Christ&rs...Read More

Nov 2017 17 Nov 17, 2017
1

You are all aware, I’m quite sure, that there is an eternity of difference between saying, “Delight yourself,” and “Delight yourself in the Lord” (Psalm 37:4). The former is pagan or secular hedonism. The latter is Christian Hedonism. So let’s unpack this notion that our delight or joy is to be in God. And the question is: Why, and what does that mean? In order to answer that, I want to direct your attention to a footnote. Strange as ...Read More

Nov 2017 15 Nov 15, 2017

A few years ago I taught a verse-by-verse series on 1 Corinthians 12-14. This series covers everything Paul said about spiritual gifts and their exercise in the local church. The title to the series is Life in the Spirit. All 13 of these sermon manuscripts are now available on my website. Simply click on Resources at the top of the Home page and then click on Articles. You will see the documents under Biblical Studies. This is the most detailed and extensive series of ...Read More

Nov 2017 13 Nov 13, 2017
4

No one has spoken with greater clarity on the nature of both pride and humility than Jonathan Edwards. Here are ten things we can learn from him. All citations are from Religious Affections (Yale). (1) Hypocrites are quite good at making much of their humility and speaking lowly of themselves and their attainments. Such folk loudly proclaim their lowliness and then expect others to praise them for it! They are quick to make known their failures and their humility but re...Read More

Nov 2017 8 Nov 8, 2017
2

Perhaps the single greatest controversy surrounding Revelation and the most important issue when it comes to interpreting the book, is the question of its structure. Many, perhaps most, evangelicals read Revelation as if it is describing a short period of time that is still in the future. Those who embrace what may be called the futurist view of the book most often will argue that what we have in Revelation 6-19 is a description of events that will take place in the futu...Read More

Nov 2017 6 Nov 6, 2017
2

I could have as easily entitled this post: ten things you should know about what happens when a Christian dies. So what happens when a Christian dies? The simple answer is that he/she enters immediately into what theologians call the intermediate state. It is called “intermediate” because it is what we experience in between the time of our earthly lives (now) and the time when we receive our glorified and resurrected bodies. So here are ten things to keep in ...Read More

Nov 2017 1 Nov 1, 2017
8

I was recently asked by a member at Bridgeway if I believe in what is called “replacement” theology. Although this is a massively complex subject, I tried to provide a brief answer. Here it is. All biblical interpreters recognize that there is development between the Old Testament and the New. Some say the Old Testament is the seed to which the New Testament provides the flower. Others speak of the relationship as one of symbol to substance, or type to anti-...Read More

Oct 2017 30 Oct 30, 2017
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When I say the “relationship between Jesus and the Holy Spirit” I’m not talking about the internal dynamics that exist eternally among the three persons of the Trinity. What I have in mind is the relationship that Jesus sustained to the Holy Spirit during the time of his earthly ministry. Here are ten things to keep in mind as you reflect on this question. (1) It was not primarily by virtue of his divine nature that Jesus lived the kind of life he did ...Read More

Oct 2017 27 Oct 27, 2017

Sometimes the most seemingly insignificant words in the Bible carry the greatest, indeed eternal impact. That is certainly the case in Revelation 7. There we read: Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in t...Read More

Oct 2017 25 Oct 25, 2017
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The portrayal by John of his vision of the “innumerable multitude” in Revelation 7 may go a long way in helping us understand how the promise of the Abrahamic covenant is ultimately fulfilled. We read this in Revelation 7:9-12. “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm bran...Read More

Oct 2017 23 Oct 23, 2017
3

Will the debate ever end about the identity of the 144,000 servants in Revelation 7? Perhaps not, but I hope these ten truths will contribute something to our understanding of who they are and what they do. We read that 12,000 are “sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel” (Rev. 7:4). (1) The list of tribes in Revelation 7 corresponds to none of the nearly twenty different variations found in the OT. Judah, listed first here, is found in that position i...Read More

Oct 2017 18 Oct 18, 2017

Here at Bridgeway we love to sing the song, King of My Heart. The way in which it declares that God is good is both biblical and reassuring. But there is a line in the chorus that often times sticks in the throat of some believers. It goes something like this: “You’re never gonna’ let, never gonna’ let me down.” Some struggle to sing this because deep down inside they don’t really believe it. They think there have been times in their l...Read More

Oct 2017 16 Oct 16, 2017
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On October 5-7, we hosted some 1,400 people in OKC at the Convergence Conference where we focused on the passionate pursuit of both Word and Spirit in the Christian life and in the local church. My first message was on the power of God. I’m not talking about God’s omnipotence, what he is in himself, but rather the power of the Spirit that he has imparted to us for the work of the ministry. Here are ten things we should all know about this power. (1) God&rsqu...Read More

Oct 2017 16 Oct 16, 2017
2

I’m happy to announce that the plenary sessions from our recent Convergence Conference will be made available at noon today, central time. You can find them at either of these two websites: www.convergenceconference.org or www.bridgewaychurch.com. It was an incredible week and God was pleased to bless us with his manifest presence and power. Many were healed and their testimonies will be posted at a later date. Even more were refreshed, empowered, and encouraged i...Read More

Oct 2017 15 Oct 15, 2017

Picture yourself in the most painful situation imaginable. Your finances are in a shambles, your health is deteriorating daily, and you are all alone. No one seems to care how you feel. You have a splitting headache, the house is an unmitigated mess, and tomorrow has all the signs of being worse than today . . . and the telephone rings. Sure enough, it’s that one person in your life who never calls or seems to care until they need something from you. And today, of all days, you’re in no condition to give. How would you react?Read More

Oct 2017 13 Oct 13, 2017

If someone were to ask you what it is about Christianity that makes it unique among the many world religions, how would you answer them? What is it about the Christian faith that sets it apart and in doing so helps to confirm its truthfulness? What is it about Christianity that makes it so appealingRead More

Oct 2017 12 Oct 12, 2017

This may sound a bit strange, but there are some things in the Bible that are not so much to be understood as they are to be trusted. Here’s what I mean. The Bible is meant for our instruction. God moved on the hearts and minds of its authors over a 1,500 year period to record his revelation of what is true and right and good. In doing so, we also have in the Bible a revelation of what is false and wrong and evil. The Bible is there for God’s people to lead us into what we should believe and how we should behave. And for that we should be eternally grateful.Read More

Oct 2017 12 Oct 12, 2017
1

In my book, Convergence: Spiritual Journeys of a Charismatic Calvinist, I make a point that ought to be obvious to anyone who reads Scripture, namely, that the God of the Bible is a speaking God. The whole of Scripture, from the Garden of Eden to the New Heavens and New Earth, is a record of God speaking in human history to his people. He spoke to Adam and Eve, to Noah, to Enoch, as well as to Abraham, Moses, Samuel, Solomon, and a seemingly endless list of men and women...Read More

Oct 2017 11 Oct 11, 2017

You may not be familiar with the name Tertullian. I don’t of anyone who has named their child after him. Tertullian lived and ministered in the early years of the third century a.d. He was one of the greatest of the early church fathers and was actually the first man to use the word “Trinity” to describe the nature of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He lived and wrote at a time when opposition to Christianity and the Church was intensifying. Although Tertullian was an apologist, which is to say he devoted himself to defining and defending the Christian faith against its critics, he was quick to point out that it wasn’t any particular theological or philosophical argument that would ultimately persuade pagans of the truth about Jesus. Rather it was the seemingly inexplicable love that Christians had one for another that initially baffled and finally captivated non-Christians. In one memorable statement, Tertullian said this:Read More

Oct 2017 10 Oct 10, 2017

I had originally planned on beginning today with a question, until I realized it was a silly question, the answer to which is always, “Yes.” But just because it is a silly question and everyone will always respond with the same answer, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be asked. So here goes: “Do you ever find yourself troubled in heart?” Read More

Oct 2017 9 Oct 9, 2017

Is it ok to pray for a miracle? To hope for a miracle? To seek God for a miracle? For many years I thought it was unspiritual to desire or seek for any spiritual gifts, especially those of a more overt miraculous nature. I had been taught it was an indication of immaturity to seek signs in any sense, that it was a weak faith, born of theological ignorance, that it was only the biblically illiterate and emotionally unstable people who prayed for healing or a demonstration of divine power. One author I read actually said that to desire miracles is sinful and unbelieving! But then I noticed Acts 4:29-31, which records this prayer of the church in Jerusalem:Read More

Oct 2017 9 Oct 9, 2017

It’s both amazing and deeply distressing that I continue to hear of people who are supposedly “in love with Jesus” but not with the church. “We like you, Jesus, but we don’t care for your wife!” Really? The so-called “organized” church is for some reason offensive to them. Does the NT support such a notion? Is it possible for someone to be a Christian and remain opposed to his Bride, the church? I hope these ten truths abou...Read More

Oct 2017 8 Oct 8, 2017

What precisely is a miracle? What events in life would qualify as miracles? When you make a trip to Penn Square Mall on the day before Christmas and discover that the parking lot is not only completely full but has spilled out onto the grassy median and even across the street, do you pray for a miracle? And when you then make one more loop through the parking lot only to discover that a spot has suddenly opened up for you directly in front of the store where you planned on shopping, do you regard that as having happened by direct intervention from God? Was that a miracle? Read More

Oct 2017 7 Oct 7, 2017

There are numerous reasons why non-Christians struggle to believe the Christian faith. I won’t burden you by listing them. But when it comes to Christians themselves, believers in Jesus, there are typically only two. If you should ask a born-again-justified-by-faith-in-Jesus-man-or-woman what their greatest struggle is when it comes to Christianity, they will most likely point to one of two things.Read More

Oct 2017 6 Oct 6, 2017

Gordon Fee is one of the more prominent NT scholars of our day. In one of his books he refers to the struggle one student had with understanding how the Holy Spirit could be a person. "God the Father makes perfectly good sense to me," said the student, "and God the Son I can quite understand; but the Holy Spirit is a gray, oblong blur" (5-6). Read More

Oct 2017 6 Oct 6, 2017

[Much was made last week when news broke that Hugh Hefner had died. I couldn’t believe my ears as I listened to sports talk radio and other news agencies talk about how great it would have been to have lived his life. A lot has been written in the days since Hefner died, but nothing so insightful and truthful as the article below by my friend, Jon Bloom, of Desiring God. I encourage you to read it carefully and pass it along to as many as you can.] Continue re...Read More

Oct 2017 5 Oct 5, 2017

We live in a rather odd season in the history of the church of Jesus Christ. What isn’t odd or strange is the spread of new and unbiblical doctrines. That, sadly, is something of a commonplace in church history. There always have been and always will be people who profess to know Christ and claim to believe in the authority of the Bible who promote false teachings, some of which are undeniably heretical. Read More

Oct 2017 4 Oct 4, 2017

I can’t begin to tell you how many times during the course of a normal week that someone asks me, in an obviously distressed and confused tone of voice: “Sam, what’s wrong with our world? What is happening? Is there any hope at all?”Read More

Oct 2017 4 Oct 4, 2017
1

[Andrew Wilson posted this article on his blog today as he makes his way from the U.K. to Oklahoma for the Convergence Conference. Please do heed his appeal and pray for us this week.] I'm flying to Oklahoma City today to speak at the Convergence conference, which aims to encourage people in "the passionate pursuit of Word and Spirit." Given the timing, this obviously isn't an advert (although with Sam Storms, Francis Chan, Matt Chandler and Jack Deere, it should be qui...Read More

Oct 2017 3 Oct 3, 2017
1

Several weeks ago I announced that my entire series of sermon notes on the book of Hebrews was available on my website. Today I’m happy to tell you that all twenty-two lessons on the book of James are now posted. If you are unfamiliar about how to access these documents, simply click on Resources at the top of the Home page, and then on Articles. Look under Biblical Studies, and at the bottom of the list you will see both Hebrews and James. These twenty-two articles are essentially a verse-by-verse analysis of James. I hope and pray you will find them helpful in your life or ministry, or in both. Read More

Oct 2017 3 Oct 3, 2017

Last week I came across an article (www.mattmoore.org, “Is Your Heart Good Soil?”) that instantly captured my attention. The author confessed both his “sadness and terror” as he thought about the departure from Christianity on the part of several of his close friends. “One moment they appeared to be joyfully walking with God,” he writes, “and then out of nowhere — to my shock and horror — they began trampling all over his Son . . . . I'm not talking about just a little backsliding or a bit of stumbling. These guys and gals flat out rejected Jesus. Today, they proudly admit that they couldn't care less about the biblical realities of sin, judgment, or God's gracious offer of redemption. They are utterly finished with Christianity.” Read More

Oct 2017 2 Oct 2, 2017

Blaise Pascal, a 17th century French philosopher and mathematician, once said, and I quote:Read More

Oct 2017 2 Oct 2, 2017
2

Temptation does not end when you become a Christian. It begins. That isn’t to say non-Christians aren’t tempted, but the primary target of Satan’s seductive devices are the children of God. We see this in the experience of Jesus, who was tempted by the Devil for forty days in the wilderness. Notwithstanding Satan’s decisive defeat, we read in Luke 4:13 that he only departed from Jesus “until an opportune time.” If Satan’s attack ...Read More

Oct 2017 1 Oct 1, 2017

There was a time when I thought the verb “enjoy” and the noun “God” should never be used in the same sentence. I could understand “fearing” God and “obeying” God, even “loving” God. But “enjoying” God struck me as inconsistent with the biblical mandate both to glorify God, on the one hand, and deny myself, on the other. How could I be committed above all else to seeking God’s glory if I were concerned about my own joy? My gladness and God’s glory seemed to cancel each other out. I had to choose between one or the other, but embracing them both struck me as out of the question. Worse still, enjoying God sounded a bit too lighthearted, almost casual, perhaps even flippant, and I knew that Christianity was serious business. Read More

Sep 2017 30 Sep 30, 2017

I’ve had the privilege in life to know a good many so-called “famous” people. I hesitate to say this because it may sound like name-dropping, something I deplore. The fact that God has providentially orchestrated my life so that I have had the opportunity to become friends with famous and quite successful Christians has nothing to do with me. It says nothing about me. So I mention this only to draw attention to the fact that no earthly acquaintance or friendship can come remotely close to the glory and honor and joy of being friends with Jesus. His is the only name worth dropping!Read More

Sep 2017 29 Sep 29, 2017

The author of the book of Hebrews said something in chapter five of his letter that is extraordinarily relevant to the lives of Christian men and women today. He said that “solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (Heb. 5:14). By “solid food” he means the deep things that God has revealed to us. A lot of Christians would prefer never to be challenged or stretched when it comes to biblical truth. They much prefer to be constantly fed with a liquid diet of revealed truth. They don’t want the meat of the word. Sometimes it’s hard to chew, and at other times even harder to swallow.Read More

Sep 2017 28 Sep 28, 2017

Let me be clear right from the start. I stole the title for today’s message from the sub-title to J. D. Greear’s book, Jesus Continued: Why the Spirit Inside You is Better than Jesus Beside You. It’s an excellent book that I recommend you read. Even if you don’t get around to reading it, I suspect that the sub-title will surely capture your attention. Is it really true that having the Holy Spirit live inside us forever is actually better than walking and talking in the physical presence of Jesus at our side? Read More

Sep 2017 27 Sep 27, 2017

I despise the term, Indian-giver. If you look it up in Webster’s Dictionary it is defined as “a person who gives something to another and then takes it back.” I was happy to discover that the Concise Oxford English Dictionary doesn’t even include a listing for the term. I don’t know where it came from or when it was first coined, but it is derogatory of Native Americans and perhaps even racist. It suggests that an “Indian” is by nature the sort of individual who cannot be trusted when he gives you something because he is just as likely to take it away without cause or justification. So let’s dispense with the term altogether.Read More

Sep 2017 27 Sep 27, 2017

There are several good reasons why the Apostle Paul described the Second Coming of Jesus Christ as our “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13). It is a “blessed hope” because it will mean the end of all sin and suffering in our lives. No more battles with temptation. No more feelings of guilt when we fail. No more diagnoses of cancer or heart disease or arthritis. No more sadness upon hearing of the death of a loved one. No more funerals. No more anger or res...Read More

Sep 2017 26 Sep 26, 2017

Today is the second message in our new series in John 13-17 that we are calling, Last Words. That is to say, we are looking at what has also been called The Farewell Discourse of Jesus, the concluding words of instruction and encouragement that Jesus gave to his disciples on the night on which he was betrayed by Judas Iscariot. Some have referred to these five chapters as The Upper Room Discourse because that is where they gathered to celebrate the last supper. Read More

Sep 2017 26 Sep 26, 2017

On a somewhat regular basis, young married couples will come to me and ask my advice about how they might learn to pray together. Often, it is either only the husband or the wife who comes and complains that his/her spouse remains silent when the other prays aloud. For any of you to whom this applies, please don’t take offense or feel any shame. Ann and I struggled with this for several years early on in our marriage. I couldn’t understand why Ann was so reluctant to pray in front of me, and it was only after quite a few years that I discovered the reason: she didn’t entirely trust me with her heart and her deepest desires and fears. Read More

Sep 2017 26 Sep 26, 2017

Last week I indicated to you that there are four glorious truths found in the opening five verses of John 17. We looked at the first two of them last Sunday. The first is found in v. 1 where Jesus affirmed the absolute sovereignty of God the Father over his life and the time of his death. This we see in his words, “Father, the hour has come.” The second truth is stated both in v. 1 and again in vv. 4-5. There we were given a glimpse into the love of God for his people. I won’t repeat myself again today, but let me simply sum up the second of these two glorious truths by saying this. Read More

Sep 2017 26 Sep 26, 2017

Is there a unifying theme to the extended prayer of Jesus in John 17? I mentioned to you in an earlier message that John 17 ought to be called “The Lord’s Prayer” insofar as it is a prayer that he himself actually prayed. What we typically call the Lord’s Prayer is found in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6:9-15. But there is one thing in that prayer that Jesus never could and never would have prayed. Jesus instructs his disciples to pray: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matt. 6:12). But Jesus had no sin, he had no debts, he committed no trespasses that needed to be forgiven. So the prayer in Matthew 6 is the “Lord’s Prayer” only in the sense that it contains his instruction on how you and I are supposed to pray. Read More

Sep 2017 25 Sep 25, 2017
3

The word “meditation” has developed something of a bad reputation in certain Christian circles. In this article I want to reclaim it as one of the essential spiritual disciplines for all believers. (1) Meditation begins, but by no means ends, with thinking on Scripture. To meditate properly our souls must reflect upon what our minds have ingested and our hearts must rejoice in what our souls have grasped. We have truly meditated when we slowly read, prayerfu...Read More

Sep 2017 23 Sep 23, 2017

Most people in this room was either not yet born or far too young to remember the momentous events of 1948. This was the year that witnessed the formation of what is known as The World Council of Churches. The driving force behind the establishment of this organization was a desire for Christian unity. Read More

Sep 2017 22 Sep 22, 2017

I know some of you don’t like your jobs. And I can understand why. You struggle to get up each day and return to a task that either bores you or wears you out or feels unproductive. But you do it anyway because you know that God honors hard work and you know you have an obligation to pay your bills and you know that others depend on you. I say this because I want to say Thank You to everyone at Bridgeway. Thank you for paying me to do something that I enjoy more than anything else in the world. I’m never bored with what I do. I never struggle to get up each day and resume my responsibilities as senior pastor of this church. I get worn out on a fairly regular basis, but that’s largely because I’m getting old. Sometimes I feel unproductive because I don’t see the fruit or results in some people’s lives that I had hoped to see. But aside from that, I can’t begin to imagine doing anything else than what I do. So, thank you!Read More

Sep 2017 22 Sep 22, 2017
2

We’ve been looking this week at the fifth seal in Revelation 6:9-11. Here it is again: “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a l...Read More

Sep 2017 21 Sep 21, 2017

In the previous article I made several observations about the nature of the intermediate state, in particular the conscious condition of those who have died physically and are now in heaven in the presence of the risen Christ. Here again is the text we looked at: “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign L...Read More

Sep 2017 20 Sep 20, 2017
4

This past week I preached on the fifth seal judgment in Revelation 6:9-11. Here is what it says: “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest...Read More

Sep 2017 18 Sep 18, 2017
2

The word miracle is used somewhat promiscuously to describe everything from healing a paralytic to finding a parking space at the mall on the day before Christmas. So we begin our ten things we should all know about miracles with a definition. Continue reading . . .  The word miracle is used somewhat promiscuously to describe everything from healing a paralytic to finding a parking space at the mall on the day before Christmas. So we begin our ten things we should ...Read More

Sep 2017 13 Sep 13, 2017
4

I recently received an email that asked me a question about reincarnation. More specifically, the question centered around Melchizedek and if perhaps the way he is described in Hebrews 7 suggests at least the possibility of reincarnation. Here is the text, followed by my reply. Continue reading . . . I recently received an email that asked me a question about reincarnation. More specifically, the question centered around Melchizedek and if perhaps the way he is describe...Read More

Sep 2017 11 Sep 11, 2017
2

The Convergence Conference: the Passionate Pursuit of Word and Spirit, is now only a few weeks away. I hope and pray you will give serious consideration to joining us here in Oklahoma City, October 5-7. Here are ten things you should know about the conference. Continue reading . . . The Convergence Conference: the Passionate Pursuit of Word and Spirit, is now only a few weeks away. I hope and pray you will give serious consideration to joining us here in Oklahoma City, ...Read More

Sep 2017 7 Sep 7, 2017

[In the wake of the release of The Nashville Statement last week there have been several critical comments and questions raised. Denny Burk responded to these issues and his treatment is well worth your close consideration.] Continue reading . . . August 29, 2017 Denny Burk [In the wake of the release of The Nashville Statement last week there have been several critical comments and questions raised. Denny Burk responded to these issues and his treatment is well worth...Read More

Sep 2017 6 Sep 6, 2017
1

Last week I alerted you to the release of The Nashville Statement on human sexuality. I provided a link to the place where you can read the entire document, especially the Articles of Affirmation and Denial. Just in case you didn’t click on the link, I decided to provide you with those fourteen articles. Continue reading . . . Last week I alerted you to the release of The Nashville Statement on human sexuality. I provided a link to the place where you ca...Read More

Sep 2017 4 Sep 4, 2017
3

What may we conclude, if anything at all, about the tragedy in Houston? What lessons does the Bible teach us as we try to make sense of this event? What is the relationship of God’s sovereignty to the devastation of this hurricane? Here are ten things to keep in mind. Continue reading . . . What may we conclude, if anything at all, about the tragedy in Houston? What lessons does the Bible teach us as we try to make sense of this event? What is the relationship of ...Read More

Sep 2017 1 Sep 1, 2017
2

Beginning in early March of 2014 I launched a verse-by-verse series of sermons on the Epistle to the Hebrews. I concluded the series in May of 2015. There were a total of 47 sermons on the book. My standard practice here at Bridgeway is to provide our people with a written manuscript of each sermon. All 47 of these sermon manuscripts on Hebrews are now available on my website. Continue reading . . . Beginning in early March of 2014 I launched a verse-by-verse series of ...Read More

Aug 2017 31 Aug 31, 2017
1

I was in Nashville, TN, last Friday as I joined approximately 60 evangelical leaders to formulate and finalize a statement on what we believe is the biblical view of sexuality, with particular emphasis on homosexuality and transgenderism. This statement is sponsored by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, together with the Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. Continue reading . . .  I was in Nashville, TN, last Fri...Read More

Aug 2017 30 Aug 30, 2017
1

Last week we looked at ten things we should know about angels. Our focus was on good and holy angels, those who persevered in their obedience to God. But what about demons? Although fallen and rebellious, they, too, are angels. So today we turn our attention to some ten things the Bible says about demons. Continue reading . . .  Last week we looked at ten things we should know about angels. Our focus was on good and holy angels, those who persevered in their obedie...Read More

Aug 2017 25 Aug 25, 2017
1

I’ve always been fascinated by who remained, following the crucifixion of Jesus, to attend to his body and provide for his burial (see Mark 15:42-47). Contrary to what most of us would have expected, it wasn’t Peter or John or James or any of the disciples. Continue reading . . .  I’ve always been fascinated by who remained, following the crucifixion of Jesus, to attend to his body and provide for his burial (see Mark 15:42-47). Contrary to what m...Read More

Aug 2017 23 Aug 23, 2017
1

That’s quite a claim in the title. I’m certain that others who have read far more of Augustine than I would beg to differ. Needless to say, we all have our favorite texts, those theologically rich and experientially captivating statements for which Augustine is justly famous. But I want to mention mine, which, as you probably have guessed, is found in his Confessions. Continue reading . . .  That’s quite a claim in the title. I’m certai...Read More

Aug 2017 21 Aug 21, 2017

Unbelievers scoff at the suggestion that angels are real. For them, angels are a holdover from the medieval mindset that debated endlessly about how many of them could dance on the head of a pin! But for the Christian who takes the Bible seriously, angels are an essential part of God’s universe and play a crucial role in the lives of believers. Here are ten things we need to keep in mind regarding who they are and what they do. Continue reading . . . Unbelievers s...Read More

Aug 2017 18 Aug 18, 2017
2

I am keenly aware of the skepticism of many when it comes to the claims of people like myself regarding the validity today and the life-changing power of prophetic ministry. So let me tell you a story. Today, August 18, is a very important day in my life as a Christian. And it provides an important lesson for us concerning the nature and operation of the spiritual gift of prophecy. Continue reading . . . I am keenly aware of the skepticism of many when it comes to ...Read More

Aug 2017 16 Aug 16, 2017
2

This year, 2017, marks the twentieth anniversary of the death of John Wimber. Ten years ago I wrote a brief article of remembrance to mark John’s passing. It seems only fitting that ten years later, on the twentieth anniversary of his death, that we should take a few minutes to remember this man and what he meant to the body of Christ. So I’m reposting the article I wrote in 2007. I hope you enjoy it. Continue reading . . . This year, 2017, marks the twentie...Read More

Aug 2017 14 Aug 14, 2017
3

Repentance is a massively important spiritual issue that calls for careful study and clear articulation. Here are ten things to remember about what it means to repent of our sin. Continue reading . . .  Repentance is a massively important spiritual issue that calls for careful study and clear articulation. Here are ten things to remember about what it means to repent of our sin. (1) Genuine repentance begins, but by no means ends, with heartfelt conviction of sin....Read More

Aug 2017 9 Aug 9, 2017

In this passage James envisions a believer intervening in the life of another, wayward, believer. The result is that you will “save his soul from death” and will “cover a multitude of sins.” Does this mean there is the potential for a Christian to sin so severely that if someone doesn’t intervene to restore him/her that this person might “lose” their soul to “death,” i.e., lose their salvation? No. Several points need to be made.Read More

Aug 2017 9 Aug 9, 2017
3

Now that I have your attention, let me explain what I mean. Sadly, in today’s world if you refuse to endorse the moral legitimacy of same-sex physical intimacy you are branded as a hate-filled bigot, a homophobic who is devoid of love for those who struggle with (or have already yielded to) attraction to someone of the same sex. Continue reading . . .  Now that I have your attention, let me explain what I mean. Sadly, in today’s world if you refuse to e...Read More

Aug 2017 7 Aug 7, 2017

Two weeks ago we looked at ten things all of us should know about Augustine. His principal theological opponent was a man named Pelagius. Today we turn our attention to what little we know about the person of Pelagius and especially what we should know about his theology. Continue reading . . .  Two weeks ago we looked at ten things all of us should know about Augustine. His principal theological opponent was a man named Pelagius. Today we turn our attention to wha...Read More

Aug 2017 3 Aug 3, 2017
3

At the conclusion of our Lord’s letter to the church at Laodicea, we read this remarkable promise: “The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne” (Rev. 3:21). Continue reading . . .  At the conclusion of our Lord’s letter to the church at Laodicea, we read this remarkable promise: “The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as ...Read More

Jul 2017 31 Jul 31, 2017
10

Few things are more controversial among Christians than the sovereignty of God. Is God truly sovereign over everything, including calamity, natural disasters, death, and demons, or is his sovereign control restricted to those things we typically regard as good, such as material blessing, family welfare, personal salvation, and good health? Today we turn our attention to ten things we should all know about God’s sovereignty. Continue reading . . . Few things are mo...Read More

Jul 2017 27 Jul 27, 2017
5

I’ve been a subscriber to World magazine for as long as I can remember. Some have referred to it as the Christian version of Time magazine. Actually, it’s a lot better than Time ever was and not simply because it is faith-based. But I’m not here to praise World. I’m here to draw attention to two things that I noted in its most recent, August 5, 2017, issue. Continue reading . . . I’ve been a subscriber to ...Read More

Jul 2017 26 Jul 26, 2017

Some Arminians argue for what is called corporate or class election. Continue reading . . .  Some Arminians argue for what is called corporate or class election. For example, Roger Forster and Paul Marston contend that “there is no such thing in the New Testament as personal (individual) election of believers. Christ is the chosen One, and believers are elect because they are in him” (God’s Strategy in Human History, 145). Here they explain their ...Read More

Jul 2017 24 Jul 24, 2017
5

Was Augustine (the emphasis is on the second syllable, hence aw-GUS-tin, not AW-gus-teen) the greatest theologian in the history of the Christian church? That will always remain a matter of opinion, but if there is a Top Ten list he would most assuredly be counted in the first five. Today we look at ten things we should know about him. Continue reading . . . (1) Augustine was born on November 13, 354, in the small North African city of Thagaste. He died on Aug. 28, 430....Read More

Jul 2017 21 Jul 21, 2017
1

I don’t know Eugene Peterson, which is to say I’ve never met him personally. I know of him from his many books and his personal paraphrase of the Bible, The Message. I’ll be honest. I’ve never cared much for The Message. I know many who love it, but I’m the odd sort who prefers a more formally equivalent (dare I say “literal”?) translation of God’s Word. But that is not what this article is about. Continue reading . . .&nbs...Read More

Jul 2017 19 Jul 19, 2017
2

The Bible has a remarkable capacity to challenge and overcome our misperceptions about who we are. When we are inclined to think of ourselves as orphans, the biblical text declares that we are the adopted children of God. If we are wracked with guilt, the inspired word reminds us that we are forgiven. The feeling of being stained and soiled by sin is overcome with the realization that we are cleansed by the blood of Christ and clot...Read More

Jul 2017 17 Jul 17, 2017
1

Today we turn our attention to the issue of beauty. What is it? Can it be defined? What does it mean to have an aesthetic experience? Is God beautiful, and if so, how does it relate to his glory? Continue reading . . .  Today we turn our attention to the issue of beauty. What is it? Can it be defined? What does it mean to have an aesthetic experience? Is God beautiful, and if so, how does it relate to his glory? (1) After creation, when God looked upon his handiwo...Read More

Jul 2017 15 Jul 15, 2017

“At the heart of why people disbelieve and believe in God, of why people decline and grow in character, of how God becomes less real and more real to us – is suffering” Read More

Jul 2017 15 Jul 15, 2017

Supposing, just for the sake of illustration, that you come across an envelope in which there is a lengthy letter. It doesn’t belong to you but you are determined that it be delivered to its rightful destination. More than likely the first order of business would be to examine the front of the envelope to discover the individual or individuals to whom the letter is addressed. But to your dismay, there are no names there. To complicate matters, there is no address on the envelope. No city is mentioned, no state, no zip code, no country. You are left without a hint as to who might be the intended recipient of this letter.Read More

Jul 2017 14 Jul 14, 2017

Last week in our inaugural study in the book of James I briefly suggested that the primary theme of this epistle is that Christianity is not just a body of doctrines to believe but also a life to be pursued in the power of a living faith. In other words, James, perhaps more so than any other NT book, calls on us to put into practice on a daily basis what we profess to believe. In fact, James will go so far as to say that a work-less faith is a worth-less faith. In true, genuine Christianity, that experience of the soul that we call “faith” is alive and energetic and fruitful and productive. When we get to chapter two James will argue that whereas faith alone justifies us in the sight of God, such faith is never alone. It is always accompanied by or issues in the fruit of the Holy Spirit or obedience.Read More

Jul 2017 14 Jul 14, 2017

If you’ve ever wondered why Bridgeway Church exists, it isn’t so that those who don’t play golf might have something to occupy their time on a Sunday morning. Our mission statement is clear and to the point: We exist to exalt Christ in the City, through Gospel-centered Worship, Discipleship, Community, and Mission. But why? Why is it our individual and collective mission to exalt Christ? Why is it that we don’t make it our primary collective aim to promote brotherly love or compassion or economic justice or peace? After all, those are all excellent and much-needed virtues. What makes Jesus Christ so special that he should be elevated as preeminent in our thoughts, our hearts, our activities, and our energy as a local church? Read More

Jul 2017 14 Jul 14, 2017
5

One of the more important books released in 2017 is Andy Naselli’s, How to Understand and Apply the New Testament: Twelve Steps from Exegesis to Theology (Presbyterian & Reformed). What follows is one example of why I so greatly appreciate Andy’s book. Continue reading . . . One of the more important books released in 2017 is Andy Naselli’s, How to Understand and Apply the New Testament: Twelve Steps from Exegesis to Theology (Presbyteria...Read More

Jul 2017 13 Jul 13, 2017

My dad was a banker for most of his professional working life. He was also a remarkable judge of character. I think this came from at least two sources. One was certainly the Holy Spirit. In other words, I think God uniquely gifted my dad with powers of discernment. He could see through the false fronts that people put up and was remarkably accurate when it came to looking beyond and behind actions to the motivation in people’s hearts.Read More

Jul 2017 13 Jul 13, 2017

When we began our series in the book of Hebrews I mentioned several things about which we remain in ignorance. For example, we don’t know who wrote the book or when it was composed or where the author was located or who the people were to whom it was addressed. However, I think we can reasonably conclude one thing about the people who received this letter. Whatever else we may not know about them, I’m quite confident that they had never seen the Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life! Yes, I know, they didn’t have movies in the first century; but let me make my point anyway.Read More

Jul 2017 12 Jul 12, 2017

It’s a refrain we’ve all heard countless times. Read More

Jul 2017 12 Jul 12, 2017

Jesus is better, or so the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews would have us believe. As good and great as was everything that preceded him during the time of the Old Covenant under Moses, Jesus is better. Jesus is immeasurably superior to anything your heart can conceive or your mind can imagine. Jesus Christ is God’s full and final revelation to the world of what is good and true and beautiful and eternal. He is the one who by God’s decree will inherit everything. He did, after all, create everything. He is the radiant effulgence of God’s glory and the exact, precise expression and embodiment of what God is like. He bears up and carries along by his powerful word the whole of the universe so that what God has ordained to come to pass will in fact come to pass. By the sacrifice of himself on the cross he cleansed us from the defilement and stain of our sin and then sat down at the right hand of God on high. Read More

Jul 2017 12 Jul 12, 2017

Jonathan Petersen, Manager of marketing for Bible Gateway, interviewed Sam Storms about his book, Practicing the Power: Welcoming the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Your Life (Zondervan, 2017). Continue reading . . . Jonathan Petersen, Manager of marketing for Bible Gateway, interviewed Sam Storms about his book, Practicing the Power: Welcoming the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Your Life (Zondervan, 2017). What is your “pipe dream” you speak of in your...Read More

Jul 2017 11 Jul 11, 2017

Now here’s a question for you, and yes it does have a purpose and it does have a direct relation to our passage this morning. Read More

Jul 2017 11 Jul 11, 2017

Let me come straight to the point. Our world, and sadly that often times includes the professing Christian church, is, contrary to James’ counsel, slow to hear, quick to speak, and has a hair trigger when it comes to anger. You can almost hear people justifying each of these:Read More

Jul 2017 11 Jul 11, 2017

[“The introductory formula [in v. 6a] is interesting. At first glance the wording seems cavalier, ‘But one has somewhere testified.’ The author is not betraying ignorance, as if he doesn’t know the text which he cites. The letter as a whole demonstrates that he is sophisticated and knowledgeable in his use of the OT. These are not the words of an uneducated novice. Hebrews doesn’t focus on the person who uttered the words or the exact place where they are found. The author wants us to pay heed to the OT scripture as testimony . . ., as the word spoken by God, and hence the human author remains unnamed” (Tom Schreiner).]Read More

Jul 2017 10 Jul 10, 2017

My guess is that the majority of people here today have at one time or another throughout their educational experience audited a class or course, whether in high school or more likely in college. I certainly have. I loved the courses I audited. After I had graduated from Dallas Seminary in 1977 I returned a couple of years later and audited beginning Hebrew which was being taught by my good friend Jack Deere. Read More

Jul 2017 10 Jul 10, 2017

Let me be entirely honest with you this morning. My guess is that most of you think I never have doubts about my faith in Christ or that everything in Christianity makes perfectly good sense to me. Quite honestly, that’s not true. I often find myself asking why God did what he has done. What reason did he have for doing it this way and not that way? On occasion, to be honest, it doesn’t strike me as being the best or most efficient way of doing things. On occasion, I say to myself, and to God, “That doesn’t make sense to me. It seems really odd that this is how you have chosen to go about achieving your ultimate glory in creation and redemption.”Read More

Jul 2017 10 Jul 10, 2017

Today we turn our attention to James Arminius and a few brief observations about the theological system that bears his name. Continue reading . . .  Today we turn our attention to James Arminius and a few brief observations about the theological system that bears his name. (1) Jacob Harmenszoon, better known to history as James Arminius, was born in Holland in 1559. His father died within a year of his birth and his mother, his brothers and sisters, and virtually ...Read More

Jul 2017 9 Jul 9, 2017

Last week our time in this passage was devoted to exploring what it means to say that God the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity, became a human being in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, and how he, by dying and rising from the grave, was able to defeat and destroy Satan and to deliver men and women from the fear of death by which Satan kept them enslaved.Read More

Jul 2017 9 Jul 9, 2017

Today, traditionally known as Easter Sunday, more biblically known as Resurrection Sunday, is all about one theme and one theme only: Jesus of Nazareth, the God-man, following a sinless and altogether virtuous and obedient life, died a substitutionary and altogether sufficient and saving death, and then rose again to a new life in a glorified but still human body.Read More

Jul 2017 8 Jul 8, 2017

All of us know that some sins are more conspicuous and overt than others. Public drunkenness, for example, or profane speech are readily identifiable. It’s obvious to even the casual observer if someone is intoxicated. The same is true of obscene or profane speech. If you have eyes and ears you can know instantly whether such sins are being committed.Read More

Jul 2017 8 Jul 8, 2017

I had an interesting experience in studying this passage in Hebrews 3 and in my preparation for this message. I got massively distracted! But in a good way! And I hope you will be happy and pleased that I was. So let me explain. Read More

Jul 2017 7 Jul 7, 2017

There simply is no more eternally important question that any man or woman can ask and then answer than this: “How might I, a hell-deserving sinner, be reconciled to God and made acceptable in his sight?” Or we might pose the question in yet another way: “How might I, a man/woman who is undeniably unrighteous and thus deserving of eternal judgment, be made righteous in the sight of God?” Other questions might feel more pressing or more practical, but rest assured that nothing else in all of life matters much in comparison with the issue of how we can be made right with God and thus assured of eternal life in his presence.Read More

Jul 2017 7 Jul 7, 2017

’d be curious to know what many of you think about your salvation and what God has done through Christ to reconcile you to himself. My guess is that most Christians today would respond by talking of personal faith in Jesus and repentance from sin, of being forgiven and becoming a child of God. A few of you would mention what it means to be justified or declared righteous in the sight of God through faith alone in Christ alone. And of course, all these things are true and wonderful. Don’t think for a moment that I’m not thankful for everything God has done for me in and through Jesus.Read More

Jul 2017 6 Jul 6, 2017

I’m sorry for having to begin on something of a downer, but I want to draw your attention today to the many ways that human beings have distorted some of the most precious of God’s gifts to us.Read More

Jul 2017 6 Jul 6, 2017
1

Recently I joined the hosts of Two Thieves Podcast to discuss the keys to sound biblical interpretation, with particular application to the subject of eschatology and my own amillennial convictions. The interview is about 45 minutes in length. Continue reading . . .  Recently I joined the hosts of Two Thieves Podcast to discuss the keys to sound biblical interpretation, with particular application to the subject of eschatology and my own amillennial convictions. Th...Read More

Jul 2017 6 Jul 6, 2017

Back in Hebrews 2:4 our author encouraged us not to neglect this “great salvation” that we have in Jesus Christ. Do you know why your salvation is great? Do you think often of it? Have you exerted the mental and spiritual energy to meditate on the multi-faceted, multi-dimensional nature of what it means to be “saved” from sin and death and condemnation? How much time have you given to exploring the multitude of blessings that comes with being a child of God? Read More

Jul 2017 5 Jul 5, 2017

I think all of you are familiar with the oft-heard statement that Christians are people who are “in” the world but not “of” the world. There isn’t a specific biblical text that says it in precisely those terms, but James 4:4 does describe followers of Jesus as people who should avoid developing a “friendship with the world.” In fact, James says that to be a “friend” of the world is to be at “enmity with God” (James 4:4b). The apostle John exhorts Christians, “do not love the world or the things in the world” (1 John 2:15a). Read More

Jul 2017 5 Jul 5, 2017

Today, in our study of these two verses in Hebrews 4, you are going to hear something about Bridgeway Church and our philosophy of ministry that you may never have seriously considered before. You are also going to learn something about me, although I trust that those of you who’ve been here for a while already are aware of what I will say. You who are new to our fellowship likewise need to know what drives me and accounts for what I do on a Sunday morning and the way that I do it. Simply put, you will hear today what we believe about the Bible and how it governs all we do.Read More

Jul 2017 5 Jul 5, 2017
1

Highly regarded Wesley-Arminian theologian Thomas Oden passed away just a few months ago here in Oklahoma City. Among Oden’s many published works is one that provides a clear presentation of the Arminian-Wesleyan view of God’s saving grace. Continue reading . . .  Highly regarded Wesley-Arminian theologian Thomas Oden passed away just a few months ago here in Oklahoma City. Among Oden’s many published works is one that provides a clear presentatio...Read More

Jul 2017 4 Jul 4, 2017

I don’t like oversimplification. I don’t typically give much credence to those who try to reduce complex problems to a single cause. But I’m going to make an exception to that this morning. And I’m making an exception because James does. Or I should say, God does through the writing of James. Read More

Jul 2017 4 Jul 4, 2017

Allow me to set the stage, so to speak, for what we read here in Hebrews 4:14-16, especially v. 16 on which we will focus most of our attention. Read More

Jul 2017 3 Jul 3, 2017

There is a radio commercial that I hear several times a week here in OKC. If you don’t listen regularly to sports talk radio you probably aren’t aware of it. Quite honestly, I can’t even tell you what product or service is being promoted, but I do vividly remember the opening comments that are designed to grab the listener’s attention. The spokesman says something along the lines of: “Few have mastered the art of name-calling.” He then plays a recording of one particular local sports talk radio host who on occasion, when provoked, refers to people who call into his show as: “Sissies. Gutless Amoebas. Yard birds.” Now, to be fair to this man, he doesn’t describe all his listeners that way; just the ones who ask silly questions or attack him without reason.Read More

Jul 2017 3 Jul 3, 2017

If you were to ask the average Christian to quote one verse in the Bible that best summarizes what we call the gospel, most would instinctively turn to John 3:16. And that’s ok. It is stunning to think that because God loved this world of fallen sinners he sent his only Son, Jesus, so that if we believe in him we have everlasting life. So, you can’t make a mistake or go wrong by pointing to John 3:16 as an excellent summation of the gospel.Read More

Jul 2017 3 Jul 3, 2017

In two previous installments of “10 things you should know” we looked at ten reasons why preaching in general has fallen on hard times, as well as ten reasons why biblical preaching is critically important. Today we look at the nature of expositional preaching and why it is, in my opinion, the far superior approach to making known the written Word of God. Continue reading . . .  In two previous installments of “10 things you should know” we ...Read More

Jul 2017 2 Jul 2, 2017

Perhaps the greatest sound and light show in the history of God’s people took place in conjunction with the giving of the Ten Commandments. We are told in Exodus 20:18ff. that after God had spoken what are known as the Ten Words that “all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking” (Exod. 20:18a). Their response was anything but surprising: “the people were afraid and trembled and they stood far off” (Exod. 20:18b). Read More

Jul 2017 2 Jul 2, 2017

I have to suppress the urge to laugh out loud when I hear Christians tell me how great it would be if we could only return to the glory days of the early church. They appear to believe that in the first century the church was far better off than it is today, that it knew little of division or false teaching and knew a lot of power and purity. I have to be entirely honest and say that this sort of spiritual nostalgia is horribly misinformed.Read More

Jul 2017 1 Jul 1, 2017

Is it possible for a Christian to live like an atheist? I don’t mean “live like an atheist” in the sense that one actually denies the existence of God or commits sin repeatedly and feels no conviction or experiences no repentance. That person would have no basis for claiming to be a Christian in the first place. What I have in mind is a person who is born again going about his or her business and daily affairs without the slightest regard for God’s intimate personal involvement in what happens. I have in mind the person who gets up each day and pursues whatever responsibilities they have all the while presumptuously taking for granted that they are alive. I have in mind the person, born-again mind you, who rarely if ever pauses to consider that whether or not they live another 10 seconds or another 10 years is dependent on the sovereign will of God.Read More

Jul 2017 1 Jul 1, 2017

It has been slightly more than a year and a half since we concluded a brief series of sermons on the question of whether or not born-again believers in Jesus Christ can lose or forfeit their salvation. We looked at virtually all the passages in the NT to determine if a person who has been justified by faith in Jesus Christ can somehow experience de-justification. Can a person who has been fully forgiven of their sins do something that would lead God to once again regard them as guilty for their sins and thus liable to eternal punishment for them? Can a true child of God be cast out of the divine family? In other words, can someone who has been adopted by God as a spiritual son or daughter lose their status and be eternally ostracized from the family of faith? Can someone who has been redeemed by the blood of Jesus fall back into bondage and spiritual slavery? Read More

Jun 2017 30 Jun 30, 2017

I’d like to see a show of hands. How many of you here today are by nature patient? Is there anyone who finds patience as natural as breathing? Anyone? Anyone? I’m looking for that man or woman, young or old, who instinctively responds to irritating people and aggravating circumstances with a calm and controlled spirit. Anyone? Anyone? Hmmm. I didn’t think so.Read More

Jun 2017 30 Jun 30, 2017
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In a recent tweet my friend Matt Chandler made this comment about the acquittal of a police officer in the shooting death of Philando Castile Continue reading . . .  In a recent tweet my friend Matt Chandler made this comment about the acquittal of a police officer in the shooting death of Philando Castile: “This brokenness requires radical steps but it’s deeply demonic. Praying for Holy Spirit breakthrough and the binding of this spirit.” I...Read More

Jun 2017 30 Jun 30, 2017

There is no way to exaggerate or overestimate what you could achieve by the grace of God if you were living in the full assurance of your hope in Christ. There is no way to exaggerate or overestimate how deeply you could enjoy the blessings of being a child of God if you were living in the full assurance of your hope in Christ. Let me turn that around and say the same thing in different terms. God wants you to know that you belong to him. His desire is for every one of his blood-bought children to be gripped and captivated by the certainty of the hope we have in Jesus. He wants you to rest in the full assurance of that hope so that you will live out of the overflow of his love for you. He wants you to rejoice in the assurance of that hope so that you can be both holy and happy in Christ. Read More

Jun 2017 29 Jun 29, 2017

Truth, or integrity in our speech, that sense of moral obligation to God according to which we represent things as they really are, both in word and deed, has gradually eroded in many segments of our society. This shouldn’t come as a total surprise insofar as the first sin in the Garden of Eden was an attack upon the veracity or truthfulness of what God himself had said. Recall the statement: “in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17). Man’s test consisted in his trust of the veracity of the God who uttered those words. Satan spoke to Eve: “You will not surely die” (Gen. 3:4b). Satan does not deny that God could inflict the punishment of death, as if to say that God’s power were at issue. Neither is it an impeachment of God’s knowledge, as if to suggest that Satan questioned God’s ability to anticipate the outcome of the whole affair. Rather, as John Murray makes clear:“He directly assails God’s veracity. ‘God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, your eyes will be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil’ (Genesis 3:5). He accuses God of deliberate falsehood and deception. God has perpetrated a lie, he avers, because he is jealous of his own selfish and exclusive possession of the knowledge of good and evil!” (Principles of Conduct, 126). Read More

Jun 2017 29 Jun 29, 2017

To what lengths do you think God might go to provide you with rock solid proof that he loves you and will fulfill his promises to you? How extravagant might his efforts be? Is there a limit to what he might do or say in order for you to be encouraged and reassured that his promise to save you cannot be broken? Read More

Jun 2017 29 Jun 29, 2017
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I’m currently reading through John Piper’s most recent book (and so should you!), Reading the Bible Supernaturally: Seeing and Savoring the Glory of God in Scripture (Crossway, 2017). I’ll have a more complete review of it when I’m done, but I can assure you that it will most definitely be on my list of Top Ten Best Books of 2017. Continue reading . . .  I’m currently reading through John Piper’s most recent book (and so should y...Read More

Jun 2017 28 Jun 28, 2017

So, let’s be honest with each other this morning about why we don’t pray as much as we know we should. When I talk with Christians of all ages and both genders, I hear comments like these:Read More

Jun 2017 28 Jun 28, 2017

So, who the heck is Melchizedek? And assuming we can find an answer to that question here in Hebrews 7, what difference does it make to you and me? The best way for us to proceed in search of an answer is by pausing briefly and making certain that we know the flow of the book of Hebrews.Read More

Jun 2017 28 Jun 28, 2017

I was recently invited by the Gospel Coalition to contribute to their series of posts called “On My Shelf.” Numerous individuals have also been asked to share what they are currently reading and what they’ve read in the past that has had a significant impact on their lives. Here is my list. Continue reading . . .  I was recently invited by the Gospel Coalition to contribute to their series of posts called “On My Shelf.” Numerous indivi...Read More

Jun 2017 27 Jun 27, 2017

Many of you are new to Bridgeway and may not as yet fully understand what we mean when we say we are a church committed to both the Word of God and the Spirit of God. Or, upon hearing that, you may respond by saying: “Big deal. All churches believe in the importance of the Bible, and all churches believe in the existence of the Holy Spirit.” That may be true, but that’s not what we mean here at Bridgeway.Read More

Jun 2017 27 Jun 27, 2017

No matter how seemingly helpful the many psychological formulas that help you cope with life may be, no matter how transforming the practical counsel you might find in today’s world to help you with your problems may be, everything is either partial or periodic. What I mean by that is simply this: they only go so far and for so long before they lose their capacity to make a difference. Read More

Jun 2017 26 Jun 26, 2017

The responses I hear when I ask someone to pray for the sick that they might be healed are varied: Read More

Jun 2017 26 Jun 26, 2017

At our community group leaders gathering here on Friday night I spoke about what has been called the “scandal of particularity”. What many perceive to be the “scandal” of our evangelical faith is the idea we promote that there is only one particular pathway to God; only one particular and exclusive opportunity to be saved; only one particular person, namely, Jesus Christ, through whom we are reconciled to God. Read More

Jun 2017 26 Jun 26, 2017

In last week’s installment of our ten-things-you-should-know series I focused on the causes for the demise of biblical preaching. Today I want to focus on why it is so critical that pastors be committed to the exposition of the Word. Continue reading... In last week’s installment of our ten-things-you-should-know series I focused on the causes for the demise of biblical preaching. Today I want to focus on why it is so critical that pastors be committed to th...Read More

Jun 2017 25 Jun 25, 2017

In July of last year, when we began this series of studies in the epistle of James, I pointed out in the first message that most scholars agree that the “James” who wrote this letter was in fact the half-brother of Jesus (see Mark 6:3-6). That is to say, he was the natural born son of Joseph and Mary. Like his other siblings, he was initially opposed to the ministry of Jesus, but after the resurrection he became a committed and loyal disciple of his older half-brother (see Acts 12:17; 15:13; 21:18).Read More

Jun 2017 25 Jun 25, 2017

I did not plan for our study of Hebrews 8 to fall on the last Sunday of the month, the day on which we regularly celebrate the Lord’s Supper. I can only attribute that to divine providence! Of course, some of you may not immediately recognize the connection between the New Covenant, about which Hebrews 8 says more than any other passage in the NT, and our celebration of the Lord’s Supper. If that is true, I would simply remind you of the words spoken by Jesus when he celebrated the Passover meal with his disciples just before his betrayal and crucifixion. Read More

Jun 2017 24 Jun 24, 2017

If every Christian isn’t familiar with 2 Timothy 3:16-17, every Christian should be. There the Apostle Paul made what most believe is the most important statement in the Bible about the Bible. He said:Read More

Jun 2017 24 Jun 24, 2017

I’ll be the first to admit that on a number of occasions in our study of Hebrews I’ve wondered to myself: What does this book have to do with life in 2014? Its language seems so foreign and its images so distant and its symbolism so strange. We live in a world where a man has walked on the moon. We wake up each day to a life dominated by computer technology and threats of nuclear terrorism. And when we get sick we have antibiotics within arm’s reach. All this talk of high priests and blood sacrifices and ceremonial defilement and some guy named Melchizedek makes me wonder whether it’s really of practical benefit to study this book. Read More

Jun 2017 23 Jun 23, 2017

So Moses said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘About midnight I will go out in the midst of Egypt, and every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the cattle. There shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there has never been, nor ever will be again (Exodus 11:4-6)Read More

Jun 2017 22 Jun 22, 2017
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The New City Catechism: 52 Questions & Answers for Our Hearts & Minds was published earlier this year by Crossway. A companion volume, The New City Catechism Devotional (239 pages), with an Introduction by Timothy Keller and under the general editorial oversight of Collin Hansen was also published by Crossway. Part Three of the Devotional is devoted to short chapters on the theme of Spirit, Restoration, and Growing in Grace. I was asked to contribute the devotion...Read More

Jun 2017 22 Jun 22, 2017

How seriously and sincerely do you look forward to the Second Coming of Christ? Does it occupy your thinking on a regular basis? I’m not asking whether or not you enjoy engaging in speculative debates with friends about the identity of the Antichrist or whether or not Russia will conspire with other nations to invade Israel. I’m not asking you about your opinion on whether or not there will be a so-called Great Tribulation and where you stand on the timing of the Rapture in relation to it. Read More

Jun 2017 21 Jun 21, 2017
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Back in April of this year, at the national conference of the Gospel Coalition, Kevin DeYoung addressed the question of why there appear to be so many different interpretations of the Bible? If the Bible is inspired and sufficient, why do so many Christians disagree with one another on particular texts and topics? The language of “pervasive interpretive pluralism” was first used by author Christian Smith, who recently converted to Roman Catholicism. Kevin&rsq...Read More

Jun 2017 20 Jun 20, 2017

I’m going to begin by asking you a series of questions, to each of which, in my opinion, there is one simple answer. Read More

Jun 2017 20 Jun 20, 2017

Most of you are too young to remember this, but in the 1970’s one of the most controversial books to be released came from the pen of Harvard University professor, B. F. Skinner. It was titled, Beyond Freedom and Dignity. The central thesis of that book was that inasmuch as humanity is on the verge of self-annihilation, it has become imperative that radically decisive steps be taken to control human behavior. Skinner, of course, was an advocate of biological evolution. You and I, said Skinner, are no more than the highest and most developed animal on the evolutionary scale. Read More

Jun 2017 20 Jun 20, 2017
Jun 2017 19 Jun 19, 2017
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Biblical preaching has fallen on hard times in the western world. There’s certainly no lack of speaking and sharing and shouting. And dramatic presentations and video clips are prevalent in pulpits across America. But there is precious little biblical preaching. The Bible makes a token appearance here and there, but rarely to be explained and expounded and acknowledged as authoritative for how we think and live. There are several reasons for this dearth of biblical...Read More

Jun 2017 19 Jun 19, 2017

Gina Welch is a graduate of Yale University, teaches English at George Washington University, and is the author of the book, In the Land of Believers: An Outsider’s Extraordinary Journey into the Heart of the Evangelical Church (Metropolitan Books, 2010). Here is the description she provided of herself: “I am a secular Jew raised by a single mother in Berkeley, where we took a day off school in October for Indigenous Peoples, not for Christopher Columbus. I cuss, I drink, and I am not a virgin. I have never believed in God” (2).Read More

Jun 2017 18 Jun 18, 2017

This passage in Hebrews 10 makes a lot of people extremely uncomfortable. More than a few of you were probably squirming in your seats as I read it just a moment ago. And it isn’t primarily because it seems to suggest that a Christian can lose his/her salvation. That, of course, is an important issue that I’ll take up shortly. No, I’m referring to the language here that speaks of such things as judgment, the fury of fire consuming sinful people, punishment, and vengeance.Read More

Jun 2017 17 Jun 17, 2017

This portion of God’s Word that we call the Letter to the Hebrews has occupied our attention now for thirty weeks. Although I had studied and even preached through Hebrews many years ago, its impact on me this time has been far beyond anything I experienced before. Over and over again, almost on a weekly basis, this letter has rocked my world. I’ve been encouraged one week and challenged the next. I’ve been deeply convicted by the Holy Spirit only then to be reminded of the glory of having had my sins finally and forever forgiven. I’ve been stunned by the majesty of Jesus, our Great High Priest, one week, only then to be overwhelmed by his meekness and mercy the next. Read More

Jun 2017 16 Jun 16, 2017

Before we so much as stick our big toe into the deep waters of Hebrews 11, I want to make two things crystal clear. The first has to do with the nature and meaning of Christian faith. The second relates to the place of Hebrews 11 in the context of the book of Hebrews as a whole. Read More