Mar 192018

1. I think this quote from Wendell Berry should be made part of the canon…“When we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.”…

2. You will either believe that all of life is a religious experience or you will spend your life seeking one…

3. Most of what passes for charismata in the church today is utterly trivial and self centered…spiritual masturbation without the decency to seek privacy…

4. Much of what I hear when people speak of “praying for revival” is a prayer for “people to think like us”… if and when revival comes it will offend most of those praying for it and they will commence to pray against it…

5. I’ve started to be encouraged by the reports of a decline in religion…I choose to see it as Jesus cleaning the chalkboard…

6. Saeed Abedini was arrested again...having just returned from an overseas trip to attempt to free his (alleged) long time mistress. He’s not worth writing a full article on…allegedly…

7. The revelation of God in nature is a companion to His revelation in scripture and both are components of His full revelation in Christ…instead of arguing about revelation, I think it better to simply recognize it…

8. According to a “literal” reading of Genesis, animals were created for companionship…so your pets are really more in sync with the kingdom than the people who criticize how much you care about your pets…

9. Few things bring me more comfort than a fire in the fireplace on a cold morning…

10. I think the church calendar should include the start of baseball season as a feast day…

Mar 172018

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of
darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of
this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit
us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come
again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the
dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives
and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and
for ever. Amen.

Mar 172018

Revelation 5:1-7

The Scroll and the Lamb

1 Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals.

  • This is a continuation of what John is seeing through the ‘open door’.
  • In chapter 4 he sees one seated on the throne – now he sees a scroll, and now we are introduced to someone else.
  • Scrolls are big in the Bible;
  • Ezekiel 3:3 = “And he said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly with this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it.” Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey.”
  • Jeremiah 36:27  = “Now after the king had burned the scroll with the words that Baruch wrote at Jeremiah’s dictation, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah:
  • Luke = Jesus goes to the synagogue and reads from the scroll of Isaiah and speaks of its fulfillment in their hearing.
  • Who holds the scroll? God – in his right hand = power & might. God is in control and God is always running the verbs.
  • Exodus 15:6 = “Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power, your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy.”
  • Psalm 44:3 = “for not by their own sword did they win the land, nor did their own arm save them, but your right hand and your arm, and the light of your face, for you delighted in them.”
  • Sealed – when something is sealed it is the opposite of revealing. When something is sealed there is no action going on. You do not know the content and you do not know what it is to be doing.
  • When you have something open, then you have revelation –something happening – action.
  • 7 seals = complete sealing.
  • Look at the paradox – the open door to see the ‘closed’ scroll.

And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?”

  • So who is worthy to open this scroll? No one!
  • Note the loud voice. I guess even angels are excitable.
  • Who is this mighty angel? Gabriel? Michael? We do not know.

And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it,

  • Look at the certainty of the statement. No one! In heaven or under the earth – no one nowhere.

and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it.

  • Think of this impact on John as he is brought to loud weeping.
  • I imagine there is silence once it is realized – no one.
  • Think who is here and they are still silent – 24 elders … silent. The 4 living creatures … silent. The millions of heavenly hosts gathered around God’s throne … silent.

And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

  • Note the difference in the descriptions laid out in v. 5 & 6. How heaven describes Jesus (5) and how we see him (6).
  • Lion of the tribe of Judah = a political type description of messiah. He is going to be a king. The Son of David 2 Sam 7
  • Root of David conquers – v. 6-14

And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

  • Wait, saw a lamb? I thought I would see a lion. Not just any lamb but one that has been slain … slaughtered and butchered for sacrifice (the sacrificial Passover lamb.)
  • Note in v 5 it says he has conquered – this is where the victory is – in the sacrifice – on the altar.
  • Is this lamb the hope of the church? What about David before Goliath?
  • What is the normal future of a lamb? To become lamb chops … not to give life.
  • The lamb John sees is the lamb who takes away the sin of the world – John 1:29. He is the Passover lamb to which all previous Passover lambs pointed.
  • Paul writes of this in 1 Cor 5:7b – “For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.”
  • 1 Peter 1:19 – “knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”
  • Hebrews 10:1-18 – this entire section is about Jesus as the only sacrifice that counts. The one sacrifice, once for all for all people.
  • This is the Christian religion – that Jesus, his passion, his death, his resurrection, IS victory, this is the victory over sin, death, the devil, and hell.
  • It is heaven for us – for all generations.
  • Seven horns = horns are always a symbol for power.
  • Seven eyes = sees all, knows all
  • Seven spirits = the Holy Spirit. The 7 spirits of the Lord (1) will rest on him says Isaiah the prophet – (2) the spirit of wisdom, (3) of understanding, (4) of counsel, (5) of power, (6) of knowledge, (7) and the fear of the Lord. Isaiah 11:2

And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.

  • The picture of God sitting on his throne is very important. God has done his Good Friday; he has done his Mt Calvary.
  • This whole scene in Rev 5 is needed to interpret the whole Book of Revelation – John turns looking for a lion and sees a lamb.
  • The lamb, not the lion, is God’s revelation to you and to me.
  • God’s revelation is always different than the revelation we look for. We look for lions and he gives us a little David. We look for lions and he gives us a slain lamb.
  • In Jesus we see God for who he is.
  • In Jesus we see the very heart of the gospel.
  • In Jesus we are given to see all of reality – the facts of our lives.
  • In Jesus we know what God thinks of us, we know how God treats us and we know what God has done for us.
  • And, we would not expect this. Everything we see here contradicts our values and our ideas of how things should be done – how things should be done in this world.
  • How do we do this? We keep maps and charts – we are score keepers, tit for tat, quid pro quo kind of world.
  • We look for lions, we look for Goliaths – this is how our world works.
  • If you want to see God doing his best work, you look here. However, we are prone to ask “where are you God? The world is going to hell in a hand basket.”
  • He is working here in Christ – the lamb who is slain. He died. He is the victim.
Mar 152018

Psalm 51: True Theology – Part 4

“To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!

3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.”

Last week in Part 3 of this four part series on Psalm 51, we examined David’s plea for renewal (vv. 7-12). This week we will conclude this series by looking at David’s vow to teach and praise (vv. 13-17).

Part 4 – The Vow to Teach and Praise (vv. 13-17)

“13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”

David is so confident that God will grant his petitions for forgiveness and renewal that he vows: “I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.” The joy the Gospel creates in the heart of a penitent sinner is often irrepressible. We are given similar examples in the gospels. Often when Jesus healed someone, He would strictly command them to tell no one, but they would not keep silent. For example: “And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it.” (Mark 7:35-36; see also Mark 1:45 and Luke 5:15)

Note that David did not say “I will teach transgressors ‘your laws.’ ” He says “your ways.” David understands that sinners will return (i.e., repent or convert) to the God of steadfast love and abundant mercy, to the God who is gracious to contrite hearts.

The law can spiritually break a sinner’s bones and ready him for grace, but it cannot create a clean heart or renew a right spirit. Paul also wrote: “for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” On the other hand, the Holy Spirit working through the Gospel creates faith, a clean conscience, a new heart and a right spirit. Thus David vows to proclaim the Gospel to transgressors. Moreover, he is confident that others will receive the Word and return to God with joy and gladness.

David’s second vow has the characteristics of both teaching and praise. The dead can do neither from the grave. Thus if God delivers David from divine judgment for his culpability in the murder of Uriah, David will “sing aloud of [His] righteousness.” The significant point here is that God’s righteousness includes his mercy. Paul explained this connection (and the connection to Christ) beautifully in his letter to the Romans:

“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Rom 3:21-26)

David’s third vow begins with a request that God would grant him the courage to praise Him publically: “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.” The public praise of God is a gift of the Holy Spirit: “no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit.” (1 Cor 12:3).

To praise the Lord publicly is tantamount to engaging in a battle against the devil, the world, our own flesh and all its vices. It involves personal humiliation in that we are declaring that we are not our own lords. We may be tempted, for fear of danger, gain of security or due to the bad advice of friends or family, to close our lips. Therefore, we might pray for strength to ignore the suggestions of the devil, the world and our own flesh to keep silent, and that God would grant us courage to publically declare His praise.

The sacrifice of praise from a humbled and contrite heart is most pleasing to God. These are gifts of the Holy Spirit who comes to us through the Word of God and learned in the school of experience.

“18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
build up the walls of Jerusalem;
19 then will you delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.”

This article concludes this series on Psalm 51. Thank you for reading!

Closing prayer: Heavenly Father, may the words of this Psalm of David dwell in us richly. For the sake of your Son our Lord, grant us your steadfast love and abundant mercy. Protect us from the schemes of the devil and deliver us from evil. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.


In preparing for writing these articles, I made extensive use of the following works:

Brug, John F. Peoples Bible Commentary: Psalms 1. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2005. Print.

Ngien, Dennis. Fruit for the Soul: Luther on the Lament Psalms. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2015. Print.

Terrien, Samuel. The Psalms: Strophic Structure and Theological Commentary. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2003. Print

Mar 142018

Stephen Hawking died yesterday and some Christians are crowing on social media.

With memes and headlines against colored backgrounds they are imagining with evident glee the discomfort that Hawking is going through having found out that their god exists.

The problem is that their god doesn’t exist…at least not with the attitude they have.


Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked,” (Ezekiel 33:11 ESV)

What should our attitude be when someone enters eternity having seemingly denied Christ?

There but for the grace of God, go I.

The grace of God is the only thing between you and whatever an unbeliever faces on the other side.

Maybe we need to define grace again for some.

It is the unmerited favor of God.

You don’t deserve it.

You didn’t earn it.

You deserved whatever you believe hell is as much as any unbeliever…but grace…

Listen to Dr. Packer;

“What is grace? In the New Testament grace means God’s love in action towards men who merited the opposite of love. Grace means God moving heaven and earth to save sinners who could not lift a finger to save themselves. Grace means God sending His only Son to descend into hell on the cross so that we guilty ones might be reconciled to God and received into heaven. ‘(God) hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him’” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

When an unbeliever leaves this life the only acceptable responses are grief over the loss, fear over their destiny, and gratitude to God that we have a sure hope.

Anything else is sin and a a clear sign that someone doesn’t understand who they really are or what Christ accomplished for them.

Now may God give me the grace to love those who I scorn because they somehow believe they were inherently better than the departed sinner…

Mar 132018

We’ve been following the sordid tale of sexual abuse at Morning Star Community Church carefully as one of our long time friends of the blog was one of the victims.

We were also informed that the church was a Calvary Chapel affiliate and asked what that meant in terms of possible actions by denominational leaders.

The church shows up on the Calvary Global Network “church finder”, but not on the database for the Calvary Chapel Association.

My guess would be that this is one of those churches aligned with Brian Brodersen and CGN over common vision and not because it’s a traditional Calvary Chapel.

In any case, the discipline is the same for both groups…removal from the database.

That’s it.

CGN will not be involved in this process in any other way.

Neither the Calvary Chapel Association, nor CGN will get involved in local church scandals because that creates legal liability for the organization…liability that cost Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa a lot of money over the years.

As this scandal deepens it would seem prudent to me to remove this “church” from the CGN database immediately…I’ll be checking the site frequently to see if that happens.

Mar 132018

No hugging…are we having a crisis of touch?

How a terrible worship song drove me from Christianity…

She was assaulted, he was applauded…

Hills to die on…

The truth about men and church…

The last temptation…

The true sin of American evangelicals in the age of Trump…

The suffering leader…

Biblical womanhood: What is a woman?

Billy Graham asked that some docs be kept private until his death…to be released next week…

Science and biblical miracles…

No denomination discipline for Ravi Zacharias…

Woman preacher schooling men with new book on the crucifixion…

Science and mysticism…

He listened to jazz on Thursday…

Christian persecution worse than at any time in history…

Theology of laundry…

Why all Christians should meditate…

Your second narrative…

Is there a saving truth?

Why the Bible doesn’t command us to be colorblind…

What does the word “repent” mean?

Outdated or authoritative?

Whose job is it to care for the poor?

Forsaking the violence of judging others…

The heresy of nationalism…

Remember to support EricL at top right…

Mar 122018

1. The “great apostasy” begins with believing we’re already in the “better country’…These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.

If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return.But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” (Hebrews 11:13–16 ESV)

2. I have a raging Daylight Savings Time hangover…

3. If you’re terribly unsettled by both the church and the culture you’re right where God wants you…

4. Rachel Denhollander gives me huge hope for better things in the fight against corruption in the church…this woman will not be intimidated by the bullying and smear tactics that have silenced so many…may God be with her in every way…

5. If you’re posting political angst every day on your social media, you’re basically talking to yourself…no one is interested in being persuaded…

6. I can accurately predict who the next pastor to fall will be by counting the number of “sponsored ads” they buy on Facebook…

7. I think I feel sorry for those folks who have been told what a heretic Eugene Peterson is…they’ve been robbed by the Pharisees…

8. I don’t tell our congregation who they can’t read…they’re adults with brains who should consider such rants that a breach of pastoral ethics and authority…

9. In the bad old days the church burned those it considered heretics…we’ve replaced the pyre with the post and tweet…

10. I wonder how people who don’t seem to have a conscience can claim to have the Spirit…got lots on my mind today…



Mar 122018

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