God Will Work – January 14, 2022

Sometimes in life, we question God’s actions. As we look at life around us, we wonder if God is really in control. Paul writes a letter to a group of people in Philippi wondering the same thing. In Philippians 1:6, he states, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” The acts of history are not up to us; they are up to God. God began redemption in us. Because of this, we can have confidence that he will complete this redemption.

Perhaps we struggle with the challenges of life because we don’t value our redemption. Because we don’t appreciate our redemption, we have a faulty view of life and history. We become frustrated when we depend on other things for our happiness, satisfaction, or stability. All are sin-stained and unable to accomplish the things for which they were not created. As a result, our faulty view of redemption and God creates instability.

Redemption (the good work God began in us) refers to more than simply getting out of Hell and going to Heaven one day. This redemption brings us into the Kingdom of God. This Kingdom overarches all human life and history. This Kingdom overarches all of life as it grants the believer a different motive and focus. No longer must we rely on this world for satisfaction, joy, and stability. All too often, we rely on family relationships, work success, financial advancement, recreation, acknowledgment, or our political party in power for our stability and satisfaction. When the thing we are looking for fails (and it will), we become unstable and frustrated. Yet, we find wonderful satisfaction when we focus on and live for the everlasting Kingdom.

The Kingdom overarches all of history. God is working every action and circumstance towards the ultimate establishment of that Kingdom when Christ returns. The changes in political establishments and countries continue to take place. Hoping that some political victory will change the course of history is foolhardy at best. Yet, the Kingdom remains an eternal promise. Relying on that Kingdom grants stability regardless of the current political or socio-economic climate.

As you walk through life and find yourself frustrated with the challenges you face, remember that God will work all things for our redemption. You can be confident through the darkest of times because your hope is in Christ. He is solid and steadfast. Don’t be angry or frustrated; find contentment in Christ.

New Year’s Resolutions – January 7, 2022

I don’t generally make new year’s resolutions. I tend instead to make resolutions throughout the year. Yet, like every human alive, I struggle to keep the resolutions after making them. After a week of 2022, perhaps you are struggling to keep your resolutions. I would encourage you to press forward. Proper resolutions provide great help in our lives.

Whenever resolutions become a topic, I think of the great puritan preacher Jonathan Edwards. He regularly made the practice of resolutions. He recorded 70 of them. His resolutions tended to be profound. Consider some of these resolutions and determine if they would not be reasonable to resolve for yourself.

1 – Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many soever, and how great soever.

4 – Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God; nor be, nor suffer it, if I can avoid it.

5 – Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.

10 – Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.

16 – Resolved, never to speak evil of anyone, so that it shall tend to his dishonor, more or less, upon no account except for some real good.

24 – Resolved, whenever I do any conspicuously evil action, to trace it back, till I come to the original cause; and then, both carefully endeavor to do so no more, and to fight and pray with all my might against the original of it.

28 – Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.

40 – Resolved, to inquire every night, before I go to bed, whether I have acted in the best way I possibly could, with respect to eating and drinking.

41 – Resolved, to ask myself, at the end of every day, week, month and year, wherein I could possibly, in any respect, have done better.

56 – Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken, my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.


The complete list of resolutions can be found at www.jonathan-edwards.org/resolutions

God with Us – December 17, 2021

God created all things in absolute perfection. However, humankind quickly destroyed that perfection through willful disobedience and rebellion. As our representative, Adam plunged all men into sin through that one sin. Creation became subject to the horrendous impact of sin. And the world became broken. Yet, God in His sovereign love did not walk away. Instead, He began to work all things towards redemption through God’s eternal plan. We find this promise in Genesis 3:15.

God chose to preserve Noah and his family out of man’s depravity. Later God called Abraham and identified this man as the headwaters of redemption’s stream. This stream would pass through Judah and ultimately be identified in King David. Through David, we learned that the One who would come would be a redeemer and a King. However, things did not go as humanity expected. Israel and Judah entered into captivity, and God stopped speaking to man. Four hundred years of silence ensued. All hope seemed to be lost.

Then, an angel visited a young woman in Galilee one spectacular day. He informed her that she was the final piece before the Redeemer. She would miraculously conceive through the Holy Spirit. We see her incredible faith because she believed the angel and responded in worship.

One can imagine the ensuing conversation with her fiancé, Joseph, and her family. Matthew 1 indicates that Joseph did not believe her. Who could blame him? An angel visited Joseph to confirm Mary’s account. Joseph also responded in faith. Nine months later, the miraculous happened. God entered the world as a baby. Christmas happened.

As we celebrate Christmas over 2000 years later, we must keep in mind the reason for our celebration. Giving gifts and spending time with family is wonderful. However, they are not the reason we celebrate. We celebrate because Jesus became a man so that he could live a sinless life, sacrifice his life for our sin on the cross, and establish the Kingdom of God again. We celebrate because God forgives our sin through our faith in Jesus. We celebrate because God makes us citizens of the eternal Kingdom of God. We celebrate because Christmas means God will fix the world fixed again and make all things right.

So, celebrate this Christmas! Give gifts as a picture of the greatest gift given to us. Spend time with family as a picture of the eternal family we have in Christ. And regularly point to the Gospel. Remember, while the world is broken, it will be fixed because of Christmas (and Good Friday and Easter)!

The Right to Life – December 3, 2021

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Psalm 139:13-16

This week the Supreme Court heard arguments regarding abortion from the state of Mississippi. This event turned into one of the clearest arguments in the case surrounding abortion. Throughout the arguments, the Solicitor General for Mississippi brought significant facts to the forefront. First, there is no constitutional right to take another’s life. Second, the baby in the womb is a person from the moment of conception. On the other hand, the lawyers bringing the case against Mississippi were left with two arguments. First, they argued for legal precedent. The Supreme Court had ruled in the past and must rule the same way again. Second, that women would be hurt if they ruled for Mississippi. Neither of the accusers’ arguments seemed to hold sway. All accounts are that this was a disastrous day for abortion defenders.

To this, we praise the Lord for the opportunity to see the arguments finally laid bare in public. The foundation of the abortion movement is the worship of two idols: the idol of sex and the idol of feminism. The first idol demands that sex be engaged in without consequences. The second idol demands that women be able to do everything men do. The first idol leaves broken hearts and broken bodies in its wake. The second idol demeans women by removing the beautiful and glorious things that only women can do and makes demands on them they cannot fulfill.

In all of this, the answer is the Gospel. The world demands the worship of these idols out of a search for significance, meaning, and peace. However, there is no significance, meaning, or peace apart from God. The Gospel informs us that we can find these things and, even more importantly, forgiveness, family, kingdom, and eternity through the sacrifice of Christ. To truly end this debate, we must regularly and boldly share the Gospel of Christ.

The Supreme Court heard the case, and now they will decide. Our role must be to enter the throne room of God through prayer and intercede for them. We must fervently pray that God will overthrow the wicked decision of Roe vs. Wade. We must also continue to battle for life and support those women who need it. Consider working with Helping Hands to provide tangible support. Love the young ladies in our church and encourage them when they do right. Encourage our young men to treat women with respect. Support life!

Give Thanks – November 26, 2021

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:21

Yesterday, I hope that you had a wonderful day with family or friends. Even more, I hope that you took some time to consider all the incredible blessings that God bestows on you. In the middle of a hard couple of years, it can be easy to lose sight of all the good around us. If you have not already, take some time to express your thanks to God and others for these things.

I am thankful for several things. I am grateful for the family with which God blessed me. Twenty years ago, I met my wife when some friends set us up. It has been a remarkable twenty years. I am blessed beyond measure with a wonderful wife. I am also blessed with two fantastic boys who love the Lord and others. I am continually impressed and convicted by their faith. I cannot wait to see the men that they become.

I am thankful for my church. Over the past four years, the church has continually demonstrated love and faith. The care they show towards one another is a blessing to behold. They frequently sacrifice their money, time, and energy for the church. When one member suffers, they rally to care for that member. When they can divide, they come together and care for one another. I am regularly amazed at their care and compassion. They are committed to growth in their spiritual lives and love the Word. As their pastor, I could ask nothing more.

I am thankful for my country. The freedoms we regularly enjoy are a novelty on the stage of world history. The economic wealth we experience is unprecedented. And the education we demand has never been seen before. The past two centuries of this country present an oddity that may never be seen again. While it is easy to complain about all that has happened in this country, we cannot lose sight of these blessings.

God truly is a good God who cares for His children. Even when we face hardship, the wise believer recognizes all that God grants. Take time today to count your blessings and be overwhelmed by your God. Instead of getting caught in the consumerism of Black Friday, seek contentment with God’s provision. In every circumstance, give thanks.

The Reward for Humility – November 12, 2021

Over the past two weeks, we have examined the need for humility in the believer’s life. Unity in the church only persists as long as its members are humble. Further, last week, we examined Christ’s life as an example of humility. We cannot finish the text in Philippians 2 without looking at verses 9-13.

We see the reward for humility in two ways. First, God has given Christ an exalted position. Because of Christ’s humble sacrifice on the cross, God exalted Christ to his state of glory. He sits enthroned as King and rules over everything. As sovereign over all things, Christ cannot be conquered. Even death could not hold him. Second, God gave him a great name. At the very mention of his name, every knee will bow to him one day and declare that he is Lord over everything. From this, we learn again that God grants grace to the humble.

Verses 12-13 contain our expected response. Paul indicates that these verses are the desired response through the word “therefore.” Since we must humble ourselves for the sake of unity and since Christ set the example of humility and has been exalted into heaven, we must live out our salvation. Humility requires a daily dying to self. We must recognize that we are what we are only through the grace of God.

We live out our salvation with fear and trembling, knowing that God expects much of us and that we owe him everything. We fear disappointing our King. We tremble at the thought that we would love for another. And we recognize that we don’t have the strength to live out our salvation on our own.

For this reason, Paul introduces the two-track method of sanctification. We live out our salvation, but it is God who strengthens us to obey. God’s Spirit empowers us to do what we cannot do on our own. In this context, the Spirit empowers us to live for others and not for ourselves. The Spirit empowers us to look to others first and humble ourselves. Man is not naturally humble. However, the Spirit empowers us to obey God in this matter and to glorify him with our life. And the reward is eternal glory. So live for others and not for yourself.

Reflecting the Humility of Christ – November 5, 2021

Several years ago, the phrase, “What would Jesus do?” became very popular. When we consider that it means to live like Christ, we cannot overlook humility. In Philippians 2, Paul encourages us to emulate the attitude found in Christ. The attitude which Paul identified as the dominant attribute is the one of humility. To be like Christ, we must be humble. Paul identified three ways that demonstrated Christ’s humility.

First, Christ demonstrated his humility through the incarnation. This text informs us that Jesus did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped. Instead, he took upon him the form of man. Prior to the immaculate conception, the second person of the trinity existed in the same form (as a spirit) as the other two persons of the trinity. However, through the incarnation, the Second Person became his creation. He confined himself to a human body. He experienced all that the human body experiences. Humans long to be freed from the travails of the body. Christ took those travails upon himself.

Second, Christ came as a servant. Although he is the Creator, he came as a lowly man. Born in a barn, Christ did not come in a humanly exalted position. Christ’s glory did shine through in his life. He came to a position of influence because of his deity. However, he came to serve. Consider that statement for a moment. The one who spoke all things into existence came to serve and save His creation. We demand to be served. We become frustrated when others inconvenience us. But not Christ! His humility shines through the fact that he embraced service.

Third, he obeyed the Father even to the point of a gruesome death on the cross. We avoid pain and death. Christ embraced it. Rather than uncreate and start over, He chose to redeem through the cross. He endured pain, ridicule, and blasphemy from those he lovingly caused to exist. Although he did not sin, he took our sin on himself. He endured the wrath of the Father. All so that we might have life. The one who did not deserve suffering and death, in humility, embraced it.

We often think that life revolves around us. Conflict festers because we demand our way and our opinion. For too many, there are two ways to accomplish things: my way and the wrong way. We see ourselves as mature, wise sages. Moreover, we see others as the ones blessed with our presence. Following the humility of Christ demands that we seek instead to serve others. We must make much of others. We must be willing to follow the thoughts, opinions, and desires of others. To be like Christ, we cannot make life about us. Instead, live for others.

We Need Humility – October 29, 2021

Have you ever come across someone who is the hero of every story they tell? A problem existed, and they came to the rescue. It is not long before people begin to roll their eyes behind the back of that individual. The individual’s heart motive is to build themselves up and gain credibility. However, the conversation results in the opposite. Sadly, this is often us. Christians need to develop the character trait of humility because pride infects every corner of the world. Sin exists as a result of pride. As a result, humility stands out and declares the gospel.

Paul declared the importance of humility in his letter to the Philippians. In chapter 2, he spent significant time encouraging us to pursue humility. He does this first by imploring us to value others. We struggle with pride because we love ourselves more than others. This is why Paul commanded us, Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. We struggle with selfish ambition. Often, because we believe we have superior spirituality, we couch this ambition in spiritual clothing. We believe that our way is the only way that God will work. So, we demand that everyone conform to our opinions in the church. Often, in the church, our jobs, and the world, we believe we are owed respect and position without earning it. We make the world about our advancement, our fun, our desires. Selfish ambition characterizes us.

The root of this selfish ambition is our conceit. We think of ourselves as higher than we ought. We are convinced that we have better ability, knowledge, or spirituality than others. Even if this is true, we forget that these are gifts from God (James 1:17). As a result, we begin to despise and become condescending to other people. We begin to think, “Those poor people. If they only had as much ability/knowledge/spirituality as I have, they would understand.” Failing to recognize that we are not as great as we think we are.

The roots of selfish ambition and conceit grow into plants of self-interest. We begin to work only for our interests. If the situation involves something I like or benefits me, then I will participate. However, if I am made to do something I don’t like or does not benefit me, I am not interested. We make life all about ourselves. Pride hides behind personal desires. It seems foolish for an individual to participate in a situation in which they have no interest.

The solution to the self-focus is service. Instead of selfish ambition and conceit, we are to consider others more significant. Rather than looking at them with pity or disdain, place them at a higher value and serve them. Consider them to be more important than you. Value their opinions, talents, and knowledge. Think of yourself less and of them more.

Instead of self-interest, become interested in those around you. Begin to work to ensure that their interests and desires are understood and met. Seek to serve those around you and recognize that life is not about you. Be willing to be uncomfortable because the situation is not one you are interested in. in short, stop making yourself the center of everything.

We all need to grow in humility. Andrew Murray states, “Humility is the only soil in which virtue takes root; a lack of humility is the explanation of every defect and failure. … There is nothing so natural to man, nothing so insidious and hidden from our sight, nothing so difficult and dangerous as pride.”[1] Let us then seek to root out our pride, humble ourselves, and serve others. Examine your conversations. Are you the hero of all your stories? How often do you talk about yourself? How often do you criticize others? The problem is pride. Examine your attitudes. Are you easily angered? Are you frustrated with situations? The problem is pride. Examine your actions. Do you refuse to do things for others simply because it is not something you like? Do you allow others to take credit for things you did? We must defeat pride.

[1] Murray, Andrew. Humility: The Journey Towards Holiness (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2001). p. 17, 18.

The Value of Life – October 31, 2021

Society today assigns value to individuals based on looks, ability, money, and power. If an individual holds any of these, they have intrinsic value. If an individual does not, they contain little to no value. Last week we considered the message in Genesis 1 that God created man in His image. As we contemplate the image of God in man, we cannot escape the impact this belief has on our value of life. From conception to death, all life has value, and we should recognize that value. This means that Christians should be champions of life.

First, this means that Christians should champion life from conception. Since God made all humanity in His image, even the unborn contain that image. Therefore, to eliminate that image disregards God. When we respect and value the image of God in the unborn, we honor God. Interestingly, the following phrase in Genesis 1 contains the command to Adam and Eve regarding childbirth. God commanded them to be fruitful and multiply. God places a priority on children. If we believe that man is made in God’s image, we must fight for the unborn.

Second, this means that Christians should value the disabled. Society sees very little value in the disabled. Recently I heard of a European country boasting that they had eliminated down syndrome in their country. The dirty secret is that they had done this through abortion. Yet, the image of God resides in these individuals. They bring tremendous value to humanity. They are made in God’s image, so their lives matter. Therefore, Christians should fight for the disabled.

Third, this means that Christians should value the elderly. As the body and mind degrade, the elderly can feel of little value. Yet, Scripture consistently indicates that we should honor and respect the elderly. When we disregard them, we ignore the image of God. Christians should demonstrate care and appreciation for the elderly.

Each person is valuable because they are made in the image of God. Regardless of looks, ability, money, or power, each individual deserves respect. This means that we should seek to care for all. We should defend the helpless. We should uphold righteousness. We should value God’s image.

Pictures of God – October 8, 2021

For students across the country, it is school picture time. The kids went to school dressed specially for their pictures. Now the prints arrive at home and sometimes leave a little to be desired. Other times they accurately reflect the cuteness and beauty of the child. Considering school pictures again this year, they reminded me of the reality that God made us in His image.

Genesis one presents the fact that God made man differently than all other creation. He chose to make man in His image and His likeness. An image is an object that reflects another thing’s reality, much like a picture demonstrates the reality of you. Humanity reflects in some way the reality of God.

There are a couple of important notes before we get to the point. First, we are not saying that humanity is somehow a part of God. The picture is not you, nor is it a part of you. It is simply a representation of you. So, we are not God or a portion of God; we are merely a representation of God. Second, sin marred this image. When Adam plunged humanity into sin, the image no longer represented a perfect representation of God. Like coffee spilled on a picture, the image has been marred. It is still there. But not quite right.

The image of God gives us value. All human life holds value because we have been made in God’s image. Over the next few weeks, we will explore what this means and how this plays out in everyday life. But please understand that you have incredible value because you hold God’s image. The restoration of this image, our relationship, and the redemption from sin drove Christ to the cross for us. Such is the value of man.

As believers, we should strive to image God accurately. Our role is to present an accurate representation of God to the world. How you work, eat, play, interact, and serve demonstrates what you want the world to think about God. Suddenly everything takes on a little more sobriety. Let us work together to image God accurately and grant the value to all humanity they deserve as God’s image-bearers.