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Preaching: The Abuse of Redemptive-Historical Preaching, Part 2

Dear Church Family, Two weeks ago, I sought to explain the proper definition of redemptive-historical preaching. I also attempted to explain how this form of preaching is often abused and provided some examples and evidence of the abuse of redemptive-historical preaching to be on the lookout for. You may read part one of "Preaching: The Abuse of Redemptive-Historical Prea...

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Preaching: The Abuse of Redemptive-Historical Preaching, Part 1

Dear Church Family, This is the third installment of our weekly series on preaching. First, we considered the full-orbed definition of the gospel that includes what Jesus did in history and how God saves sinners (Preaching: What is the Gospel?). Second, we considered the full-orbed definition of gospel preaching that includes Jesus Christ as well as the doctrines and comm...

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Preaching: The Foundation and the Superstructure

Dear Church Family, In last week's reflection, we considered how we might arrive at a more full-orbed definition of the gospel. The gospel is about more than the good news of justification, it is the good news of the kingdom of God! Thus, the gospel includes what Christ, as the King of God's kingdom, has done in history: how Jesus brought the kingdom (inauguration), how J...

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Preaching: What is the gospel?

Dear Church Family, In the first two sermons of our present preaching series on "The Church and the Means of Grace," we sought to ask and answer the question, "What to expect from your pastor?" So, we looked at 1 Timothy 4:11-16. Specifically, we saw how the Apostle Paul admonishes his younger protg, Timothy (as well as all pastors and preachers) to guard both himself and...

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Be of Sin the Double Cure

Dear Church Family, In our online Sunday school class this past Sunday, we examined the third vow of church membership: Do you now resolve and promise, in humble reliance upon the grace of the Holy Spirit, that you will endeavor to live as becomes the followers of Christ? Basically, this vow is about sanctification, asking a person who joins the church to seek to live in ...

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Membership Vows 1 & 2 (The Bad News and the Good News)

Dear Church Family, We have been having a great (virtual) Sunday evening class for the last several weeks! Thank you to those who have participated and thank you for your patience as we all try and navigate meeting and learning in an online setting. I recognize that it is not ideal. For my part, I can sometimes switch to autopilot and the lessons end up something akin to...

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1 John 5:18-21 (That You May Worship)

Dear Church Family, This week we come to the final four verses of 1 John and the conclusion of our study of this epistle. If you've been following along in our study, then hopefully by now you might remember the three main themes or emphases of this letter. The Christian life is comprised of: right doctrine (what you believe), right relationships (who you love), and right...

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1 John 5:14-17 (That You May Pray)

Dear Church Family, As we near the end of this first epistle from the Apostle John, God's Word focuses us in on the power and privilege of prayer. And, if you give full weight to the meaning of these words, and take God's Word to heart it is, indeed, an amazing teaching about prayer. In the verses that we come to now, there are two different kinds of prayers that are ta...

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1 John 5:6-13 (That You May Know)

Dear Church Family, One of the questions that most every believer struggles with at one point or another in their Christian life is the question of assurance. Inevitably, doubt sets in, and you ask yourself "Am I really a Christian?" As a pastor, I can tell you that doubting one's salvation is one of the primary struggles for many Christians. You may have thought that y...

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1 John 5:1-5 (The Order of Salvation and Assurance)

Dear Church Family, As we enter the fifth and final chapter in our study of 1 John, we find that the Apostle John wishes to conclude this letter by encouraging and building up the assurance of faith of his readers, "those who believe in the name of the Son of God" (1 John 5:13). And so, we are encouraged in our faith in Christ and the assurance of eternal life (1 John 5:6...

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1 John 4:7-12 (The Perfected Love of God)

Dear Church Family, Continuing in our study of 1 John, we come to a section in chapter four (1 John 4:7-12) in which John once again takes up the topic of love, specifically, a call for believers to love one another. In fact, that phrase, "love one another," is repeated three times in these verses. In verse 7, it is an exhortation: "let us love one another." In verse 11, ...

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1 John 4:2-6 (Testing the Spirits)

Dear Church Family, The Apostle John begins the fourth chapter of his first epistle with a call for discernment, a call for believers to "test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1). As we noted in our last lesson, John expects that this "testing of the spirits" be equally applied to both himsel...

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