This is another message, titled “Real Worship”, by the Rev. Chris Fishlock, a curate at St. Helen’s Bishopgate in the United Kingdom. This particular sermon is on John 4:16-26 and is certainly on an issue we wrestle with in our time: what is true worship? (As a reminder, Chris Fishlock is also involved in the Fleet Street Talks, a mid-week church in the heart of the city.)
From Dr. Richard Trucks of Third Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, here is an audio sermon on Facing Temptation that is based on James 1:13-15. This would be a good message for any of us, since all of us are faced with temptation. No believer in Christ is immune from temptation; remember what Charles Simeon wrote: “However advanced a man may be in piety or age, he is still in danger of falling.” This sermon is an excellent antidote against this. (Interestingly, Dr. Trucks also addresses the question of how do we determine what is wrong: the answer is by the standard of the Word of God.)
From the Rev. Vaughan Roberts of St. Ebbe’s Church in the United Kingdom, here is an audio sermon titled Doubting – How long O Lord that is based on Habakkuk 1:1-2:1 and is the first in a series titled From Doubt to Faith. This series will cover the Book of Habakkuk and it should really be quite edifying – I hope you will try out this sermon. Matthew Henry writes about verses 12-17 of Chapter 1:
However matters may be, yet God is the Lord our God, our Holy One. We are an offending people, he is an offended God, yet we will not entertain hard thoughts of him, or of his service. It is great comfort that, whatever mischief men design, the Lord designs good, and we are sure that his counsel shall stand. Though wickedness may prosper a while, yet God is holy, and does not approve the wickedness. As he cannot do iniquity himself, so he is of purer eyes than to behold it with any approval. By this principle we must abide, though the dispensations of his providence may for a time, in some cases, seem to us not to agree with it. The prophet complains that God’s patience was abused; and because sentence against these evil works and workers was not executed speedily, their hearts were the more fully set in them to do evil. Some they take up as with the angle, one by one; others they catch in shoals, as in their net, and gather them in their drag, their enclosing net. They admire their own cleverness and contrivance: there is great proneness in us to take the glory of outward prosperity to ourselves. This is idolizing ourselves, sacrificing to the drag-net because it is our own. God will soon end successful and splendid robberies. Death and judgment shall make men cease to prey on others, and they shall be preyed on themselves. Let us remember, whatever advantages we possess, we must give all the glory to God.
Such comforting words in times such as these,
Here is the third in an intriguing series of audio lectures on “Asking Questions and Finding Answers” by Dr. John Woodhouse of Moore Theological College in Australia. In this one, Dr Woodhouse talks about “The Moral Question: Is Anything Wrong?” and I think we could say it is a worthy complement to From The Gospel Coalition: “What is Morality Other than Harm?”. As Dr. Woodhouse asks, “What makes something that is wrong, wrong?”
From the team of Andrew Klavan and Bill Whittle comes this provocative discussion on “Can a Conservative Be an Atheist?” – see what you think.
From the Rev. William Klock of Living Word REC in British Columbia, here is a most appropriate sermon that was given for Trinity Sunday, titled Life in the Holy Trinity. Fr. Bill, in this message, begins by quoting the Athanasian Creed, and then notes:
Pretty extreme, eh? The Creed begins: “Whosever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic Faith. Which Faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.” And the Creed ends similarly: “This is the catholic Faith, which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.” Our pluralistic and post-modern culture gets its hackles up at that sort of exclusivity. Even Christians are sometimes taken aback by that kind of language. And that’s interesting if we consider the words we heard Jesus say in today’s Gospel. Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” And then a moment later: “Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:3, 5). Most Christians don’t have any trouble with the exclusivity of Jesus. After all, we take him at his word when he says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). And yet we read the words of the Creed and I’m sure that more than a few of us found their exclusivity at least a little troubling. The Apostles’ Creed is simple; the Nicene Creed is a little more specific; but the Athanasian Creed is very specific and very detailed about precisely who and what the Holy Trinity is, very precise about the person and nature of Jesus and the Incarnation, and very precise about the fact that our salvation depends on affirming these very specific truths about God. That kind of precision isn’t fashionable today. Certainly not in our culture, but it’s also not fashionable in many parts the Church today either—even in “evangelical” circles where even the simpler Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds are no longer recited and, increasingly, no longer even known. And the end result is that church leaders, out of ignorance, end up dredging up old heresies that the creeds were drafted to guard against and laypeople, because they have no grounding in creedal orthodoxy either, accept and believe these old heresies and in doing so endanger their faith.
This is why the creeds are so important. They define what the Bible teaches us about the object of our faith—about the Triune God in whom we believe and in Incarnate Word in whom we trust for our redemption. Many of you were here a few years ago when I illustrated this problem very dramatically by sitting on an empty cardboard box that collapsed under my weight. My point was to illustrate the fact that we are not saved by our faith or by the sincerity of our beliefs; we are saved by the object of our faith. I can believe all I want that an empty cardboard box will support my weight, but all the faith in the world won’t make it so. Just so, all the faith in the world that a false God or a false Jesus can save won’t give a false God or a false Jesus the ability to save me. Our faith must be in the Triune God who reveals himself in the God-Man, Jesus Christ. The creeds make sure that we put our faith in this God.
Correct doctrine is important, and if you will read the rest of this sermon, Fr. Bill goes on to give us some excellent insight into how the work of the Holy Trinity brings us into fellowship with that Triune God.
This edition of Bill Whittle’s Afterburner is titled “Happiness” and one might say it has a theme relating to Memorial Day. Bill talks about the the heroism of Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, two former Navy SEALs who died attempting to rescue Americans in Benghazi, and asks: For what did they die?
From The Gospel Coalition comes this video on “What is Morality Other than Harm?” which is a discussion of this topic by Collin Hansen, Tim Keller, and Al Mohler. They really do shed some Biblical light on what has come to be an oft-asked question in our day.
From Dean Phillip Jensen of St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney, here is a video meditation, titled “The Beginning of Wisdom”, on Psalm 130. He has some striking thoughts on “the beginning of wisdom” and how this is seen in Psalm 130; while Proverbs 9:10 has the famous statement “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”, Dean Jensen points out that the lack of certainty about the knowledge of God in our culture is actually a detraction from this beginning of wisdom. As he notes, this problem is not an intellectual one, though; it is a spiritual one.