The Crucifixion — Part 1 — Mark 15:22-32

Posted by on Mar 29, 2017 in Christian | Comments Off on The Crucifixion — Part 1 — Mark 15:22-32

The Crucifixion — Part 1 — Mark 15:22-32

We have arrived at the climactic point in Mark’s gospel where Jesus is now fulfilling His ultimate mission of Redemption.

Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Mark 2:20  “But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.”

Mark 8:31

Mark 9:12  “And yet how is it written of the Son of Man that He will suffer many things and be treated with contempt?”

Mark 9:31

Mark 10:33-34, 38

Mark 12 – Parable of the Vineyard Owner

Mark 14:8  “she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial.”

Mark 14:41the hour has come

Focused in on the key events of the Gospel:

Mark 1:1   “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God

1 Cor. 15:1-4  Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.  For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures

So on the importance scale we are off the charts when we come to this historical record of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Second Adam.


The Via Dolorosa — Mark 15:16-21

Posted by on Mar 28, 2017 in Christian | Comments Off on The Via Dolorosa — Mark 15:16-21

The Via Dolorosa — Mark 15:16-21

The Roman Catholic approach to the season of Lent has always mystified me.  Here you have religious people making their own free choice regarding what comfort or enjoyment or food they are willing to give up to identify with the suffering of Jesus Christ on their behalf.

 Lent is defined as a solemn religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later, before Easter Sunday.   Began this year on March. 1.

In Lent, many Christians commit to fasting, as well as “giving up” certain luxuries in order to “replicate the sacrifice of Jesus Christ’s journey into the desert for 40 days”.

Many Christians also add a Lenten spiritual discipline, such as reading a daily devotional or praying through a Lenten calendar, to draw themselves near to God.  – Wikopedia

You might have friends that have shared with you what they are giving up this year for Lent – maybe chocolate or going to the movies or having dessert ….

But how can any self-imposed period of abstinence compare to the depths of humiliation and physical suffering which Jesus Christ endured at the hands of sinful Roman soldiers?  Here you have the majestic Creator laying aside all of His rights and prerogatives as Sovereign to submit to unimaginable scorn and sadistic abuse from those He had created and had come to rescue from their fallen state of depravity and enmity to God.

The abusive treatment we are going to pause to consider today should remind us of both the depths of human depravity and the depths of our Lord’s patience and mercy and forbearance as He faithfully completes His mission of accomplishing redemption for lost sinners.  Consider how much Jesus gave up as He humbled himself to submit to suffering and then death on the cross.  Consider what it means for us to be challenged by Jesus to take up our cross daily and follow after Him.  Certainly we are not talking in the same realm as giving up chocolate or dessert or the movies.  Need to pause and linger at this text; look into the face of our Savior; see his patient suffering at the hand of sinners; enduring shame on our behalf.


The Origin of Sin — The Fall of Man — Genesis 3:1-7

Posted by on Mar 17, 2017 in Christian | Comments Off on The Origin of Sin — The Fall of Man — Genesis 3:1-7

The Origin of Sin — The Fall of Man — Genesis 3:1-7

If God created the world and God is good, then how did evil come into this world? There is no question that we live in a world filled with evil and wickedness.  It’s a legitimate question and one which will be addressed by Genesis 3.  Look at the stark contrast between the Paradise that God created in the Garden of Eden – described by God as very good and characterized in 2:25 as a state of purity and innocence: “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”  Contrast that with post-Fall state of shame and fear and loss of innocence described just 7 short verses later: “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.”  Something catastrophic has occurred – something that has altered the condition of man for all time – the Fall of Mankind and the entrance of sin into the world with all of its devastating consequences.

S. Lewis Johnson: The Apostle Paul speaking for the divine revelation in Romans Chapter 5 and verse 12, speaks with the outmost plainness and assurance regarding the entrance of evil into this world. He says therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, so death spread to all men, because all sinned. The Apostle claims that sin entered into this world through the fall of Adam and Eve. Later on, he writes in the eighth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans about the creation and he says, for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of him who subjected it and hoped that the creation itself also will be free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. So that at the present time, what we see is the result of what happened in the Garden of Eden.

This morning we will study more closely this familiar story.  It is not a myth or just some type of allegory.  It is a literal historical account of the entrance of sin and death into the paradise that had been Eden.  We will gain insight into the devious ways in which Satan schemes to attack us and drive a wedge between us and our Creator.  By understanding how temptation works we can better devise a strategy for victory over it.


Top Ten Reasons Most People Resent Insurance

Posted by on Feb 28, 2017 in Top Ten Lists | Comments Off on Top Ten Reasons Most People Resent Insurance

Top Ten Reasons Most People Resent Insurance

Most people have developed some form of innate resistance to insurance sales.  Otherwise you would truly become “insurance poor” because there is no silencing the unending variety of insurance pitches that bombard us.  Certainly, not many people grow up with the goal of becoming an insurance sales person.  It usually is more of a fallback position after some other more idealistic career path did not pan out.  This is not to say that there is anything wrong with insurance sales.  It is a necessary product that serves an important function in every household.  We need people dedicated to this industry to provide us with the options and coverage that will suit our needs.  But still there is an underlying resentment of Insurance based on the following Ten Reasons:

10) It is an intangible product that you really hope you never have to use.

9) Because there is no tort reform and lawsuits run rampant with outrageous settlements, insurance premiums have skyrocketed.  Look at the medical malpractice insurance field.  It is ridiculous.

8) We end up having to insure people who are not responsible enough to provide their own insurance.

7) Insurance sales people can seemingly justify any amount of coverage = whatever you can afford — it all sounds so essential = so irritating.

6) The administrative bureaucracy can make filing a claim a difficult path to navigate.  Sometimes it seems they are intentionally complicating the process to delay the payment of legitimate claims.

5) The insurance contracts have become increasingly complicated.  It takes a lawyer to read all of the fine print.  Events that you might expect to be part of a basic coverage might require some type of special rider.  Everybody hates to hear the response: “That’s not covered.”

4) To some degree, insurance seems like a misplaced form of security where you are replacing dependence upon God for financial security.  Who really controls your future?  Where does your confidence truly lie?  This is not to say that Christians don’t need insurance products.  We do.  But we must be careful not to let the insurance coverage deflect our true source of security in life.

3) The variety of types of insurance has expanded to touch every area of life.  We can understand the need for Home, Auto, Health, and even Life insurance.  But those basic forms have now been eclipsed by more exotic and specialized types of coverage.

2) The deductible is burdensome and keeps escalating so that the insurance coverage ends up only covering cataclysmic events.

1) When you need to make a claim, despite years of having faithfully paid your premiums with a clean record, the company penalizes you for using the coverage and jacks up their rates.




Origin of Species — Mankind — Gen. 2:4-25

Posted by on Feb 27, 2017 in Christian | Comments Off on Origin of Species — Mankind — Gen. 2:4-25

Origin of Species — Mankind — Gen. 2:4-25

Importance of this subject matter – what does it really matter how you interpret the opening chapters of Genesis?

Jer. 10:6-16

Relationship between Chaps. 1 and 2:

Chap. 1 is an Overview – covers the entire first week of creation – by the end of the chapter you have both Adam and Eve created and God resting on the seventh day.

Chap. 2 is a Flashback – focusing in on the details of Day 6.

Problem passage is vv.4-6 – what is being said here?

Parunak: The creation narrative is a successive zooming in to the central theme:

[illustration: Google Earth application]

  • 1:1, (celestial) heavens and earth

  • 1:2-2:3, zoom in on “earth” to see it furnished and populated

  • 2:4-3:24, zoom in on second half of sixth day to see man created.

Very specific details given by our Creator; no mystery how He wants us to interpret these opening chapters.

Griffith Thomas: In the first chapter man comes at the end as the crown of creation; here he comes at the commencement as the starting-point of human history.

Our culture has undermined purpose of unique Roles of Man and Woman and role of Marriage and the Family – not understanding and submitting to God’s design



Pet Peeve #38: Fast Food Cashiers That Don’t Listen to Your Order

Posted by on Feb 25, 2017 in Pet Peeves | Comments Off on Pet Peeve #38: Fast Food Cashiers That Don’t Listen to Your Order

Most of us are very experienced when it comes to ordering fast food from whatever chains we frequent.  We are familiar with the menu options.  We understand what information is required by the cashier to complete our order.  We certainly subscribe to the mission that our overall experience should be characterized as “fast” and “efficient.”  If we wanted ambiance and a more extended relationship with our food provider we would be eating in a fancier sit-down, take-your-order-at-the-table establishment.  So when it is our turn to step up to the cashier to place our order, we are prepared for the challenge.  [I can’t speak for the chronically indecisive segment of the population that seems to stumble over any simple decision as if it were potentially life-changing.]

Yet somehow the training of cashiers in these fast food joints does not extend to teaching them basic listening skills.  Invariably I will lead off my order by checking the box of whether this order is for “take-out” or to “dine in” (quite a euphemism for the overall experience — I guess it is not to be confused with “fine dining” but still involves consumption of food at some form of a table or counter).  Subsequently I rattle off the details of my order and finish by supplying my name (if that is the tagline required for fulfillment of the order).  Invariably, the cashier with fingers poised to complete the order, gives me that blank look and asks the frustrating question: “Will that be take-out or dining in?”  I guess sequence of information is everything to one who is performing essentially a robotic function for their 8 hur shift every day.

Toothpaste Tubes Always Have One More Squeeze Left In Them

Posted by on Feb 25, 2017 in Life | 1 comment

Toothpaste Tubes Always Have One More Squeeze Left In Them

This is a universal phenomena that I am sure will resonate with everybody.  When you get to the end of your toothpaste tube and you think there could not possibly be one more usage remaining, you give it that ultimate roll-up and squeeze and out pops just enough for one more application.  How can that be?  You have been trying to empty that tube for the last 2 weeks.  Your pristine unopened new tube is positioned in the cabinet ready to be deployed into useful service.  But your old dilapidated tube continues to surprise you with its unending contribution.  There are various techniques that one employs to try to produce that ultimate squeeze.  All techniques require the application of supreme pressure in one form or another.  When you are just dealing with what remains in the tip of the opening, it can be tricky to get the right leverage with your thumb and finger.  But as long as you start at the base of the tube and apply the pressure gradually up towards the opening, it seems that there is always one more squeeze in the generous tube.  I would think that from a marketing standpoint of cycling through new products the manufacturer would have come up with some devious mechanism to prevent the consumer from getting his money’s worth out of each tube.

Movie Review: Is Genesis History?

Posted by on Feb 24, 2017 in Christian | Comments Off on Movie Review: Is Genesis History?

Movie Review: Is Genesis History?

My wife and I had the opportunity last night to view the  movie Is Genesis History?  It was a fantastic introduction to the overall theme of the historicity of the events of the first 11 chapters of Genesis — very timely since I have just begun preaching through the book.  It made the basic point that people operate from either of two very different paradigms when it comes to viewing the scientific data.  So it is not really a debate over science vs. the bible but rather a debate over whether the events recorded should be considered real and historical.  Presuppositions and faith approaches provide the grid of interpretation for both positions.  In fact it takes far more faith to hold to the evolutionary model.  The vast difference in time schemes required by the two different views makes it imperative to deal with some of the dating issues in the various scientific disciplines.

Beautiful filming on location at various key sites – showing the grandeur of God’s Creation and allowing us to go and see some of the data that then must be interpreted.  Host Del Tackett interviews various scientists from the realm of geology (formation of the surface of the earth – looking at the Grand Canyon), paleontology (the fossil record – visiting prominent archeological digs), and astronomy (peering through a telescope at the vast universe).  He also provides a platform for a Hebrew scholar to discuss some basic characteristics of the text such as:

  • The Hebrew word for day (yom) and how it should be understood as a literal 24 hour period in this context
  • The historical structure of the narrative – as opposed to trying to label it as poetry or as a myth story
  • The structural significance we have mentioned of toledot as a unifying feature in the book

The movie starts off with a visit to the site of Mt. St. Helens dramatic volcanic eruption back in May 1980.  If you had no background of the surrounding events, you would look at what you see there today and possibly come up with a much different dating model than what is the case – not hundreds or thousands of years but only less than 40.  The same argument then applies on a grander scale with the various dating paradigms for the earth used by different scientific disciplines.

Is Genesis History? attempts to deal with that one simple question: Is the biblical account of creation and flood and the Tower of Babel meant to be understood as history? Does it describe actual history? And does the world give evidence of recent creation and catastrophic flood?  At the end the major contributors to the film gather for a roundtable discussion to wrap things up and encourage the viewer to go online to various creation websites to dive deeper into areas that might interest them.  All this film can do is provide a basic introduction and overview to the issues.  Obviously, it is selective in its approach and the other side would have other empirical data it would like to feature.

Many Christians have surrendered this ground so easily with a casual, “What does it really matter” type of attitude.  The wrap-up addresses some of the key theological implications of embracing any form of evolution – either the naturalistic total view or the somewhat modified Theistic Evolution or Day Age approach.  As we have already discussed, you cannot have death introduced into the world until the Fall of Adam.  Otherwise you have no Gospel and you have seriously undermined the credibility of the entire Scriptures.  Big answers to the So What question.

Challies: In many ways the film is about addressing assumptions. The underlying assumption in the film is that history tells us what happened while other fields tell us how it happened. If Genesis is history from the first chapter to the last, it is designed to tell us what happened. Once we know what happened, we can look elsewhere—geology, astronomy, biology, and so on—to determine how it actually came about. When we understand Genesis as history, we can then approach the world through its lens. Suddenly we see evidence all around us. We see the world backing up the Genesis story.

Alternatively, if we understand Genesis as mythology or literary framework, we approach the world through that lens and, not surprisingly, find evidence to back that faulty claim. So much comes down to paradigms. The film means to show that contemporary scientists and even theologians approach their field with faulty presuppositions, one of which is that the universe is ancient. Not surprisingly, then, they come to interpret the evidence in light of their presupposition.


The Beginning of Earth and All It Contains — Gen. 1:1-2:3

Posted by on Feb 20, 2017 in Christian | Comments Off on The Beginning of Earth and All It Contains — Gen. 1:1-2:3

The Beginning of Earth and All It Contains — Gen. 1:1-2:3

We live in a culture that resists the authoritative declaration of absolute standards.  In our world, everything is relative – everything revolves around your individual perception rather than some objective standard outside of yourself.  And yet the paradox is that we like to label certain things morally good and others morally evil.  What is the basis for those types of evaluations apart from God being the standard for good and evil?  Otherwise one culture could establish a norm that murdering is good instead of evil.

God has a lot to say about people who have lost their moral compass; whose conscience and discernment have been so perverted by sin that they call good “evil”, and evil “good.”  They have exchanged the truth of God for a lie and end up worshiping and serving the creature rather than the Creator.

As we enter into our study of Genesis – the Book of Beginnings – we see God laying the foundation for what He declares to be objectively good and objectively evil.  These are the absolute standards that God has never changed and that apply down through the centuries, regardless of the confusion in men’s minds and hearts.

God is able to do this because by nature, He declares that in His very essence He is Good.  Remember what Jesus explained to the rich young ruler: “Why do you call Me good?  No one is good except God alone.”  (Luke 18:19)  That is why the commandments that He issues are good and right and consistent with a path of goodness and righteousness because they are consistent with the character of God.

As we read through the first chapter of Genesis, what has to strike you is the repetitive phrase: “God was that it [what He had created] was good.”  In fact when it comes to summing up the entire six days of creation, He feels compelled to ramp up His evaluation and declare “it was very good.”  (vs. 31)



Genesis — Book of Beginnings — Overview

Posted by on Feb 4, 2017 in Christian | 1 comment

Genesis — Book of Beginnings — Overview


Why Study the Book of Genesis?  Significant in 5 key ways

1)  Significant from its TitleBook of Beginnings (transliteration from the Greek translation of the Septuagint); books named by the first word in the book; Book of Origins – looked at this idea last week; need to understand both our origins and our destiny – Jesus identified Himself by the title: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end

First book of the Bible and first book of the Pentateuch – 5 books of the Pentateuch are really viewed as 1 book with 1 author – that will be important when we come to discuss authorship

But many evangelical scholars today would question whether Genesis is scientifically accurate when it comes to explaining the origin of life on earth.  Maybe it is just a mythological adaptation that has theological application but was never intended to be interpreted literally.

Albert Mohler begs to disagree:

Theological disaster ensues when the book of nature (general revelation) is used to trump God’s special revelation, when science is placed over Scripture as authoritative and compelling. And that is the very heart of this discussion. While some would argue that the Scriptures are not in danger, the current conversation on this subject is leading down a path that will do irrevocable harm to our evangelical affirmation of the accuracy and authority of God’s Word.

So our understanding of the inerrancy of Scripture is at stake in how we interpret the book of Genesis.

Certainly it is a controversial bookDerek Kidner:

There can scarcely be another part of Scripture over which so many battles, theological, scientific, historical and literary, have been fought, or so many strong opinions cherished