"No Compromise, No Surrender"
Luke 24:46-53: Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.
Dr. Sproul told the story of Polycarp, martyred for Christ in 155 A.D. in Smyrna when he was at least 86, perhaps older. Polycarp was killed because he refused to call Caeser 'Lord'. Dr. Sproul went on to explain that 'Lord' has multiple meaning. 1: 'Sir'; 2: a slave owner; 3: an imperial title (used for God in both the Old and New Testaments). It was this latter meaning that Polycarp refused to use in reference to Caeser--for that title is alone reserved for God.
In this passage, the disciples were not rejoicing because Jesus was gone (which of course, He never really is gone), but because He was going to recieve His kingdom.
Jesus is Lord and there is no other Sovereign. (Rev. 5:11-14)
"On This Rock"
Genesis 3:14-15: So the Lord God said to the serpent:
“Because you have done this,
You are cursed more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you shall go,
And you shall eat dust
All the days of your life.
And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”
Revelation 12:1-6: Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her
there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
- Matthew 16:13-17:2: When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
- He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.
From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.
Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”
But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. “Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”
Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.
Point 1: Christ's Central Plan is to Build a Church. As Christ draws us to Himself, we become closer to each other. We are called into fellowship with one another. The world cannot imitate a church.
Point 2: Christ Plans to Build His Church on Enemy Occupied Territory. He refers us back to the 'gates of Hell shall ne'er prevail', pointing out that the gates are the center of strategic operations. We must never be surprised when thing go wrong. [We are sinners living in a fallen world.]
Point 3: Christ Builds His Church through Frail Servants. He can do this because He is the Sovereign Savior. We are stewards even though, "At the end of the day, we are all basket cases."
Point 4: Christ Builds His Church on the Groundplan of His Own Destiny. In other words, on His death on the Cross.
"He is Risen Indeed"
Dr. Zacharias opened with a story about a debate between a certain man (name I can't recall) and Richard Dawkins--at one point the man asked Dawkin's the whole title of Darwin's Orgin of the Speices. Mr. Dawin's couldn't remember it and swore using the Lord's name. This is what Dr. Zacharias had to say about it (more or less): The ultimate evidence of God's sovereignty is when a man who claims he doesn't believe in God calls on Him to help him remember the title of the book which claims he does not exist.
Acts 17:24-31: “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ Therefore, since we are the
offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or
silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”
I Corinthians 15:3-8: For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then
last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
Point 1: People Deny the Resurrection Because it is Abnormal. "Normal" doesn't mean anything, the supernatural does exist. Used the fact that scientific facts to not match evolution as an example.
Point 2: God is the Redeemer of Human Existance. Man can try all he likes, but he is incapable of moving his own soul without God's quickening. Our society does not really understand evil. It trivilizes evil, which trivilizes the new birth, which in turn trivilizes the Redeemer.
Point 3: God is Our Ultimate Hope in Human Existance. There are twelve evidences as to the reality of the resurrection. 1: The disciples eyewitness experience--they saw Jesus, they touched Him. 2: The early proclamation of the resurrection. 3: [um...this is illegible!] 4: The empty tomb. 5: The proclamation in Jerusalem. 6: There is no contrary evidence. 7: The existance of the Church. 8: Sunday worship. 9: The conversion of James. 10: The conversion of Paul. 11: The women were the first to know (the last place that culture would have turned for evidence). 12: The physical resurrection over the 'spiritual' resurrection because you can't argue with a spiritual resurrection.
You are a soul, you have a body.
"A Good Offense"
For starters, R.C. Jr. made a play on words that is rather difficult to repeat on digits about a 'good offense is a good offense'...In other words rather than being on the defensive, we should be on the offensive, which will naturally, offend the world.
In John 17, Christ tells his disciples they will be hated by the world-this is still true today. God graciously repeats Himself telling us this (among other things) multiples times because He knows how much we love the world. We seek to earn it's favor and approval.
Once again, he returns to the offense analogy, asserting that a good offense is a good defense and a good offense is us leading against the world. We must defend the things of God, the authority of His Word, the things He has told us. Jesus was the ultimate offense to the world.
I never had thought of this like this before, but R.C. Jr. points out that when Christ declares "the gates of Hell cannot prevail" that gates are defensive in nature: "Jesus has promised that we will go into their house and take them down." [How's that for postmil? :)] He then used a great term...the point at which the world squawks is the point where we must attack.
I Corinthians 1:20-25: Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
Here, Paul is not saying that we will never see the lost brought in; the Word is power. Jesus came to die for sinners--not righteous people.
We do not want to be fighting a previous war--we need to be engaged in today's war. What is it that the world object to most strongly now? Judgement. Our 1) judging other religions by saying they are false, and 2) our faith calls them to put their sins behind them--we call sin, sin.
Today, the church rather tends to cover sin up and refuse to stand our ground--this weakens the church. We must call sin what it is--sin and proclaim Christ as the only way. "If you can't say it, there's an 100% chance they won't hear it!" People already know they are sinners (Rom. 1) and under the wrath of God. They get angry with Christians because we tell them what they are trying so desperately hard to forget. They are reminded of what they already know and they don't like it. It is dangerous to the power of hell and to our pride and our complacency. The power of the preaching is shown at the gates of hell. (James 1:27)
Luke 6:27-36: But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
This passage, which instructs us to love our enemies, is easy to understand, but hard to practice. We tend to have a grumbling, complaining, down cast attitude. We are to minister to our enemies--defined as those outside the Kingdom.
Luke 18:1-14 contains the parables of the Persistant Widow and the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. The target audience, Mr. Begg states, was the presumptuous, pompus, 'religious' types--they lived hypocrically. They did not have a true awareness of God, because that brings an awareness of sin.
"Christian behavior is absolutely crucial to the furtherence of the Gospel." This addresses not just personal behavior, but civic life. We are to be submissive, faithful, and loyal to those over us for their authority is from God (this does not mean we blindly obey). We are to be engaged in our communities so long as no question of conscience is envolved. The Christian should be marked by grace, respect, manners, etc. In a word, courtesy. Not least of course, humility of heart. All these should be grounded in the mercy of God.
All men are our neighbors.
Throughout his talk, Mr. Begg kept coming back to Christopher Hitchens and how so many Christians were callous and insulting as he died, rather than compassionate and courteous. Rather than lovingly trying to point him to Christ, they instead were exulting publically and hatefully "serves him right!" The point is not to 'cover the sin' as in not seeing it, but to build relationships with unbelievers and minister to them in an evidence of our Christianity. Never once did Mr. Begg infer that we should not call sin, sin, to an unbliever; but we should address it in love and humility.
"Doctrine in the Dock"
Romans 6:17: But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.
Romans 12:1-2: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your
reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Our doctrine shapes our experience; it builds our character.
Dr. Ferguson posed what he termed the "Historical Question": Doctrine has not always been 'bad'...how did we get here? His answer, the so-called "Enlightenment" and Emmanuel Kant's claim that the human mind can only grasp the phonomenal (i.e. the physical) and not the neumenal (i.e. the spiritual or supernatural). Still speaking hypotheically, we have a 'universal obligation' (I presume that is our inborn religiousness) which drives us to adhear to a 'universal obligator' (God). There is no real fellowship between God and man in this relationship.
The Gospel is the only perveyor of real civilization.
So many times, we are asked what we find that applies to us, what a passage means to us, etc. Rather than looking for that, we need to find Christ in each passage--afterall, we are not any passage (unless, like Dr. Furgeson joked, you are 2,000 years old!) We need to have a gospel driven experience rather than having an experience driven gospel.
The 10 commandments are experiential, but in order to make sense of them, you have to know who God is. What we know about God shapes our experience and transforms us and our views.
The words of Christ in the Sermon on the Mount are simple, but also profoundly doctrinal.
[This one seems quite clunky and doesn't flow well--I must have been getting hungry...]
II Timothy 3:1-5: But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For
men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers,
disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty,
lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
With some of these, I wasn't so sure how exactly the text and the lecture fit--but anyway...Cal Thomas is something of a humorist and I don't think he really used an outline. My notes are rather spotty, so please bear with me.
Love is not based on happiness. Not only that, love is a choice, not an emotion. Rather than 'happiness' we should strive after contentment because contentment is tied to the eternal.
Anything that does not strength us morally is actually an attack. (Is. 5:20)
The problem (in a general sense) these days is the lack of fathers--Mr. Thomas gave a whole list of statistics showing how children with no fathers tend to 'go bad' in greater numbers than those from heterosexual two parent homes.
Then he asked the stinging question, "What influence can we [the Church] have if we aren't any different?" Christ must be the center of our lives.
In the end, he summed up by saying, "When people stop believing in God, they will belive in anything."
"Here I Stand"
Anybody familiar with the history of the Reformation may have already smiled knowing that quote belongs to none other than the great Martin Luther. It was April the 15th, the year of our Lord 1521. The setting: The Diet of Worms. (Mr. Lawson mentioned something I had never heard before--at least that I remember--Luther made a preaching trip out of his summons and preached in every town from Wittenburg to Worms.) He was asked but two questions: 1--Are these your books? and 2--Will you recant? Roughly, here was Luther's answer: "Unless I am convinced by the Scripture...I am bound by the Scriptures...I cannot, nor will not recant anything...Here I stand, I can do no other. God help me."
Luther is probably most famous for his declaration of sola scriptura and sola fide. He was, according to Mr. Lawson, the ice-breaking ship so the rest of Europe could follow.
II Timonthy 3: 16-17: All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
"The man and woman who stands on the Word of God cannot be moved."
Point 1: Where We Must Stand. Our stand on the Word of God is backed by six non-negotiable cornerstones. 1: The Inspiration of Scripture (II Tim. 3:16; II Peter 1:21). The Scriptures have one Primary author (God) who used secondary authors (men) to write His holy Word. Luther stated, "[It is] neither from man, nor of man, but from God." 2: The Inerrancy of Scripture (Titus 1:9; Heb. 6:18; Ps. 12:6, 19:7, 119:160; Pro. 30:5). 3: The Authority of Scripture (Ps. 19:7-8). It is soveriegn and all claims must be proved by the Word. 4: The Perspecuity of the Scripture (Ps. 19:8). The Scriptures are clear. They are not to be witheld from the people. And that glorious principle--Scripture interprets Scripture. 5: The Sufficency of Scripture (Ps. 19:7; Is. 55:11; II Tim. 3:17). 6: The Invinciblity of Scripture (Jer. 23:29; Heb. 4:12).
Point 2: Why We Must Stand. 1: To abandon the Word is to abandon God Himself--this is apostasy. 2: To abandon the Word is to abandon Christ--the Living Word, the author of the written Word. 3: To abandon the Word is to abandon the Truth. 4: To abandon the Word is to abandon the Gospel.
"Preach the Word"
II Timothy 4:1-6: I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.
What does it mean to preach the Word? Mr. Begg began by pointing out that we can only know the Scriptures through the Spirit and that it is a minister's job to open the Word to us.
Point 1: The Solemnity of the Charge. I must have thought that was self-explainatory, because I didn't take any notes on that.
Point 2: The Clarity of the Charge. The charge of course, is to preach the Word. Though it may sound trite, the Bible is taught simply by teaching the Bible. The preacher is to set forward what is contained in the Word, teaching us what God has done in Christ in order for us to be reconciled with Him. We must be aware of the source of the charge--it is from Scripture alone. In order to understand for our present day, we much also understand the historical setting. He also pointed out the difference between teaching and preaching. Teaching give people an understanding of the truth. Preaching takes that teaching and transforms it into a personal passionate plea that appeals to the mind, will and emotions. He emphasised that it is not a lecture.
Point 3: The Necessity of the Charge. Plain and simple, preaching the Word is necessary because falsehood must be combated and Truth is the only means by which to destroy falsehood.
"Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-air"
The title is barrowed from Francis Schaeffer, referring to modern man's lack of truth on which to stand. Once I heard that, I did notice it had a very Schaefferesque ring to it.
The text: John 18:36-38
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king
Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no fault in Him at all.
Mr. Lawson had more of an outline than Dr. Sproul, so he was easier to take notes from. He started by pointing out that Pilate was being disparaging when he asked, "What is truth?" I had never seen it that way, so it was rather thought provoking.
Point 1 as to why modern man has his feet firmly planted in mid-air: The Rejection of Truth (aka absolute truth). They claim truth is relative...the younger generations are more likely to claim this and reject the idea of absolutes. I thought the term "moral stutterers" rather interesting. They have no absolutes, and therefore no truth, and no morals. The greatest sin to them is to affirm absolutes, truth, and morals.
Point 2: The Reality of Truth. Truth is reality; the way things really are. Truth is divine (in the sense that God is Truth and every true thing comes from Him), absolute (once again, because if something is truly true, it does not change), objective, singular, eternal (I'm kind of hazy on this one as I didn't actually catch it), authorative, and powerful.
Point 3: The Reception of Truth. One cannot fully accept truth without God opening their minds. Sovereign regeneration is necessary for any man to come to a real knowledge of the truth.
Mr. Lawson closed by affirming God will honor His truth, therefore, we should be bold in speaking it.