Here is a video message by the Rev. Charlie Skrine of St. Helen’s Bishopsgate Church in the United Kingdom. It is titled “Two Valuations of Jesus” and is based on Mark 14:1-11. He does a good job of bringing out the contrast between the value placed on Jesus by the woman who anointed His feet at Bethany on one hand, and Judas Iscariot on the other.
Tonight I would like to call attention to two free books currently available in Amazon Kindle format: The Wiersbe Bible Study Series: Hebrews by Warren Wiersbe and A Thankful Heart in a World of Hurt by Joni Eareckson Tada.
The first of these is a commentary on the Book of Hebrews by Wiersbe, who is a reliably sound Bible scholar and expositor. The Amazon notes show the relevance of Hebrews to our day:
Hebrews—written by Christians, to Christians, and for Christians—is loaded with theology accessible to any believer who wants to grasp the origin and meaning of faith. Penned at a time that was politically unstable, Hebrews targets believers who were tempted to abandon their faith and slip back into the rules and regulations of Judaism.
In our politically unstable time of “wars and rumors of wars” (Mark13:7), we can all understand the quest for stability. But there is only one source of rock solid security.
Warren Wiersbe will show you that by focusing on the reality of the unseen first, an overwhelming desire for intimate friendship with God will follow. You will begin to see less with your physical eyes and more with your spiritual eyes as Wiersbe takes you on a journey, personally or with the fellowship of a group, that will strengthen your walk by deepening your insight.
The book by Joni Eareckson Tada is actually more of a pamphlet – only a few pages – but it is a much-needed reminder of the need to have a thankful heart, even if we find ourselves going through trials and sorrows.
Here is a sermon titled They Saw His Glory from the Rev. William Klock of Living Word REC in British Columbia. This sermon is based on Luke 9:28-36 and as Fr. Bill notes, it would have been most appropriate for the Feast of the Transfiguration. This portion says it well as to what was happening in that event:
Two things happen. First, Jesus’ appearance, his face, his countenance, his clothes change. Everything about him becomes dazzlingly white. Think of it as if Jesus has been turned spiritually inside-out for the benefit of his disciples. In the Old Testament a person’s countenance was considered to be a mirror showing his or her heart and manifesting his or her relationship with the Lord—we’d say the condition of their spirit and their closeness to God. The disciples would, no doubt, have been having trouble taking in the crazy things Jesus had said. “Yes, I’m the Messiah and now, because of that, I have to be rejected and die.” Was he really the Messiah? Was he really God’s representative? Here’s the proof straight from God. The Father manifested himself at Jesus’ baptism to confirm him in his ministry and now, as Jesus calls his disciples to follow him to rejection and death, the Father manifests himself again to confirm for the disciples that Jesus isn’t crazy and that he hasn’t got it all wrong.
The second thing that happens is that Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus. Again, this is also for the disciples’ benefit. Luke says, “Behold!” or “Look!” And Moses and Elijah were, he says, in “glory”—the Greek word is the one from which we get our word “doxology” and here it refers to their being bright and dazzling, just as Jesus was. But they’re not just standing there, the disciples realise that Jesus is talking with them about his departure to take place at Jerusalem.
This is what he was referring to in the last section when he told the disciples that he was going to be rejected and executed by the Jewish elders and chief priests. That could obviously only happen at Jerusalem. And that he’s talking about it with Moses, the lawgiver, and with Elijah, the greatest of the prophets, confirms for the disciples that this is all part of God’s plan for the Messiah. It’s not crazy after all, no matter how much it doesn’t fit with everyone’s expectations. The whole scene is loaded with symbolism that points to who Jesus is. Moses and Elijah represent and embody the Old Covenant. Again, Moses represents the law. Elijah represents the prophets. Here they are with Jesus now, confirming him in his mission and ministry—in a sense passing the torch. Jesus is the fulfilment of the law. He’s also the fulfilment of the prophets. In Jesus everything the Old Covenant had promised and was working toward is bring fulfilled.
And that makes the discussion of his “departure” even more profound. The Greek word Luke uses can take on a number of different meanings: not just “departure”, but it can also be a euphemism for death—as we might say someone is “passing away”. That certainly applies to what Jesus has said will happen at Jerusalem. But the Greek word is one we all recognise: exodos. It’s the word for the Exodus in the Old Testament—God’s release of his people from their bondage in Egypt. When Luke uses the word here it’s loaded with the significance of that event. Jesus isn’t just discussing his death with Moses and Elijah; he’s discussing the exodus in which he’s going to lead his people out of bondage, not from Egypt this time, but from sin and death. The exodus in which Moses led the people is just a type, just a shadow of the exodus in which Jesus will lead the way. And here the disciples get a hint at the big picture. It’s through rejection by the elders and priests and it’s through his death that Jesus will lead this new exodus and in it he will take his place as the Messiah and King. It’s through the exodus-death of the Messiah and as he rises to life again on the third day that he will vindicate his people and establish his kingdom.
And this is why, as Jesus is praying about the awful events to come and about his own rejection and death, he’s suddenly transfigured. It’s in those awful events, that Jesus will show his glory. In giving up himself he will redeem his people once and for all. So in this Transfiguration is a foretaste for the disciples of the glorified Jesus they’ll meet on the other side of the Cross.
If you’d like to hear this message, you can do so via the player below.
Here, from the Preaching Matters media ministry of St. Helen’s Bishopsgate in the United Kingdom, is a video message by Dr. John Woodhouse that is titled “Preaching is Not a Sacrament”. Dr. Woodhouse ably goes on to tell us what preaching is, and talks about its role in the Church.
Here is another presentation by Dr. William Lane Craig, noted scholar and apologist for the Christian faith, on “The Doctrine of Man.” In this one he talks further about the body-soul dualism of man, and stresses that “this is not just a metaphor or a figure of speech. It is ontological. There really is a soul which survives the death of the body and will be eventually reunited with the body.” He describes the Apostle Paul’s position on this as:
In summary of Paul’s view then, when a Christian dies the soul goes to be with Christ until the second coming. When Christ returns the remains of the body, if any, will be transformed to a resurrection body which will be incorruptible, immortal, powerful, and spirit-filled. And the soul will be simultaneously united with that body. Then those who are alive will be similarly transformed to their resurrection bodies. So I think you can see that Paul’s view is essentially the traditional Jewish view with the addition of the Christological focus; namely, it is not going to be simply the judgment day but Christ is the agent who will conduct the judgment on that day. It is at the return of Christ that Christ will then be the judge of the living and the dead. Although he changes the Jewish view slightly by adding this Christological element, he basically affirms the same dualistic view that was traditional in Judaism.
The transcript of the video can be read here.
If you anticipate the monthly free audiobooks from christianaudio.com as eagerly as some I know, you will be interested in this: Francis Schaeffer’s classic work, “How Should We Then Live?” is September 2014′s free audiobook. Schaeffer was certainly a profound thinker and his works are both an early warning of what was – and is – happening to Western civilization and the Christian culture on which that civilization was built, and how to think about those changes. Highly recommended.
From Dean Phillip Jensen of St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney, Australia, here is the next in a video series on spiritual gifts, titled “Loving Gifts: Seek to Prophesy”. In this one he talks about 1 Corinthians 14:26-40.
This short excerpt on “Miracles: An Obstacle to Belief?” is taken from the St. Helen’s Bishopsgate Tuesday Lunchtime sermon “You can’t expect me to believe in miracles” by Dr Andrew Sach. As a scientist and atheist, he had dismissed miracles as scientifically impossible, but later came to see them as strong evidence in favor of the claims of the Christian faith. The full talk can be seen and heard here. You may also be interested in seeing some short interviews with scientists who attend St Helen’s here.
Speaking at George Whitefield College in South Africa, Abp. Peter Jensen gave two excellent messages on the doctrine of conversion. Included in these is a warning about the danger of false conversion. (It is, unfortunately, very possible for there to be people with some degree of spiritual experience who remain unsaved.) These are excellent expositions – see what you think.
This week on the McAlvany Weekly Commentary podcast they are featuring an interview with Adam Fergusson, author of When Money Dies, a classic account of hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic. The notes say that “It deals with not only the economic impacts that hyperinflation had upon society in the Weimar Republic, but also the way that society itself changed. First published in 1975, When Money Dies was hailed as a cult classic in the wake of the Financial crisis of 2007-2010, with copies changing hands on eBay for up to $1000. As a result, When Money Dies was republished in July 2010, becoming an internet sensation after allegedly being commended by financier, Warren Buffett.” The podcast audio can be heard here and I would say if you follow economic trends it is very much worth hearing.