Not everyone will believe the gospel. Why?
“God desires all people to be saved,” 1 Timothy 2:4 tells us. “God does not take pleasure in the death of anyone,” Ezekiel 18:32 says. Then why are there some who refuse to trust in Jesus and therefore die lost in their sins?
There are two different answers to this question.
But we should understand that these two answers go beyond making sense of God’s will of decree and will of command. Those “two wills” in God describe a biblical distinction that’s been expressed various ways in the Scriptures and throughout the centuries. God’s “two ways of willing,” writes John Piper, “implies that God decrees one state of affair while also willing and teach…
I am writing this to plead with Christian parents to require obedience of their children. I am moved to write this by watching young children pay no attention to their parents’ requests, with no consequences. Parents tell a child two or three times to sit or stop and come or go, and after the third disobedience, they laughingly bribe the child. This may or may not get the behavior desired.
Last week, I saw two things that prompted this article. One was the killing of 13-year-old Andy Lopez in Santa Rosa, California, by police who thought he was about to shoot them with an assault rifle. It was a toy gun. What made this relevant was that the police said they told the boy two times to drop th…
“I think, therefore I am.” René Descartes penned this popular line in his 1637 treatise, Discourse on the Method, and it’s a good summary of the book itself. Heralding the importance of scientific discoveries and the necessity of doubting one’s own view of the world, Descartes’ work is often considered the first domino to fall in what is now called the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment, with its explosion of scientific discoveries and philosophical arguments, had one task: to replace authority and tradition with reason and self-sufficiency.
For centuries, the existence of a divine being beyond our realm was largely assumed. When people talked of events in their lives such as miracles, disast…
Unclean spirits stir. Demonic thrones and dominions gather. Cosmic powers over this present darkness come to attention. And the devil himself, ready to devour and destroy, ignites his fiery darts and stretches his legs for the lion’s prowl.
As All Hallows’ Eve draws nigh, the spiritual forces of evil align, and Satan prepares his hordes for the party of the year — the grand harvest festival, celebration of darkness and death, when they pretend to be their strongest.
Halloween is almost here. But so is their final defeat. Jesus haunts their Halloween.
One Little Word
As the demonic rulers and authorities make ready, the one who sits in the heavens laughs (Psalm 2:4). To him, the devil is …
This is one of those really deep, common truths — one which Jonathan Edwards expounds with the intellectual horsepower of a genius, and to which our most common experience testifies:
Essential to our present joy is the anticipation of greater joy to come.
This is why, for example, the best part of going on vacation is often the day before we start it. The glad anticipation of what will be compounds in the present and gives us a good feeling. But the closer we get to the last day of vacation, the more the joy diminishes. Sound familiar?
In American culture, the weekend can be a miniature version of this experience. After five days of work, many of us look forward to two days off on Saturda…
Christian preaching is not parroting.
As desirable as it is to copy a skilled communicator, and as unavoidable as it is to imitate those who have shaped us most, there is good reason for a preacher to find his own voice. Not vanity, but being true to what Christian preaching is.
Before it is heralding a message, preaching means first and foremost stewarding a message. Before we “preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2), we should be devoted and unashamed students, “rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Before telling others what God has to say, we must hear his voice ourselves and deeply know his speaking.
What’s New About Christian Preaching
This relationship between studying an…
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16)
This verse from Colossians is so full of nourishment that there is no way to put the whole thing in our mouths at one time. It’s going to take a few blog bites to chew on it.
Today, all I want to do is chew on the first word: “let.” Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.
Another way to say it is, don’t stop the word of Christ from filling you to satisfaction. Or stop stopping it.
Here’s the thing: we are frequently impoverished spiritually by our own not letting ourselves be rich. On o…
Jefferson Bethke has recently published Jesus > Religion: Why He Is So Much Better Than Trying Harder, Doing More, and Being Good Enough. The book’s title and content are inspired by his spoken-word video, “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus,” which has been viewed 26 million times. Yes, 26 million.
Filled with Jefferson’s own story, the book is raw and authentic. It will engage many, especially young people, who have been hurt by or given up on the church. His conviction and passion are contagious and inspire hope for the next generation of Jesus-lovers and leaders. In the end, Jesus > Religion is about grace — unconditional, scandalous, glorious grace. And we all — every one of us …
What is the relationship between loving God and neighbor, and how can both Jesus and Paul say that loving our neighbor fulfills the law (Matthew 7:12; Romans 13:8; Galatians 5:14)? Isn’t love for God an even higher priority?
Moses helps us answer these questions in Deuteronomy 10:16–19, where he portrays a radical love of neighbor as the key test to measure whether we are loving God with all.
With an echo of the call to love God with all, Moses opens Deuteronomy 10 by calling Israel to maintain radical God-centeredness (Deuteronomy 10:12–13). Yahweh is always to be the blazing center in his people’s solar system. He then notes that such wholehearted, life-encompassing allegiance to God was…
Is it a sin for me to drink alcohol?
It could be, says Pastor John in today’s episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast.
“I’m a default teetotaler,” he says. “And what that means is if I have my choice, I don’t drink alcohol, but I might, to be a good guest. . . . But I don’t think anybody can make a case from Scripture that teetotalism is required.”
So what’s his case? Pastor John explains in today’s podcast (episode #200):
Also, this week we introduced Ask Pastor John podcast videos to YouTube — yes, videos. But if you’re expecting video footage of Pastor John answering questions, you’ll be sorely disappointed. We have taken the audio recording, set it to a photo, and m…