Posted in charles spurgeon, encouragement, phil johnson, providence, sermons

Preaching Divine Providence: A pair of timeless and wonderful sermons, one old and one new, to bookend your weekend

In 1857, Charles Haddon Spurgeon ascended the pulpit at New Park Street Chapel, Southwark, and delivered a wonderful sermon called God’s Providence.

Charles Spurgeon was an absolutely amazing pastor. His very life defines both submission, and workhorse. Of Spurgeon, Justin Taylor sums up Spurgeon’s prodigious output,

He often worked 18 hours a day. His collected sermons fill 63 volumes (the largest set by a single author in church history). He read six books a week and could recall their contents. He read through The Pilgrim’s Progress more than 100 times. 14,460 people were added to his church’s membership, and he did most of the membership interviews himself. He trained 900 men to the pastorate. He founded an orphanage, edited a magazine, produced more than 140 books, and is said to have received 500 letters a week to respond to. More than 25,000 copies of his sermons were printed each week. He often preached 10 times a week in various churches. He did all this while suffering from gout, rheumatism, and Bright’s disease—living only to the age of 57. And I think his wife was sick most of that time.

One of Spurgeon’s early sermons was called “God’s Providence.” Spurgeon set his reasoning forth at the beginning of his text.

I am constantly talking about providence in my preaching, and I thought it quite as well to devote a whole sermon to explain what I believe are God’s great wonder-working processes which we call Providence.

I love God’s providence because I love God’s sovereignty. The doctrine of Providence is a favorite doctrine of mine, as regular readers know. Providence of God is defined

The providence of God may be defined as His guardianship and care for His creatures and creation. Also, any manifestation of such care may be described as providence. “There is probably no point at which the Christian doctrine of God comes more into conflict with contemporary worldviews than in the matter of God’s providence. Providence means that God has not abandoned the world that he created, but rather works within that creation to manage all things according to the “immutable counsel of His own will” (Westminster Confession of Faith, V, i).

It’s a comfort to ponder how involved God is in the affairs of men, His care of the saved, and His working all things together for the good of those who love Him. (Romans 8:28).

In Spurgeon’s exposition of a passage from Ezekiel, he used the biblical remarkable imagery of the wheels within wheels and the cherubim who are unique and distinct from all other creatures to illustrate Providence.

The sermon was delivered in 1857 but published October 15th, 1908. Spurgeon opened with comforting words:

WHILE READING THE SCRIPTURES, we tried to hint at the practical benefits of the doctrine of Providence. We attempted to explain that portion of Scripture which teaches us to “take no thought for the morrow, for the morrow will take thought for the things of itself.” Our blessed Lord had there uttered very precious words to drive away our fears, to keep us from distrust and from distress, and to enable us so to rely upon Providence that we may say, he that feeds the ravens, and clothes the lilies, will never suffer me to famish nor to be naked.

He is a good God. Spurgeon’s sermons are a blessing and this one in particular is a favorite of mine. I hope you like it too.


In October 2013, Pastor Phil Johnson delivered a sermon as part of the Strange Fire conference at John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church. It is called Providence IS Remarkable. The Conference was a direct rebuttal to the Charismatic movement, which is polluting the minds and hearts of Christians and false Christians all over the world. In this sermon, Johnson relates the true reasons for the miracles of times past and points to the miracle of today, God’s providence. In his sermon, Johnson explained:

Verse 29, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground, apart from your Father.” That doesn’t merely mean that God watches and observes that. It means without His expressed decree and permission, even a sparrow doesn’t die. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. “Fear not, therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows. Really He gives them miraculous power and He tells them, “I’m sending you out in the midst of wolves, you’re going to be attacked,” and instead of saying use that power to silence your opposition, He says, “Just bear in mind God’s there and He’s involved with you.”

I cannot stress this enough. When the Lord wants to reassure the Apostles that Almighty God is directly and personally and lovingly involved in their experience, and not only in their triumphs and successes, but also in their trials and sufferings. Jesus doesn’t point them to the miracles. He doesn’t talk about dreams and visions, or other mystical phenomena. He doesn’t tell them to listen for a still small voice inside their own heads, and He certainly doesn’t tell them that their words have creative power, so, you know, when you encounter opposition, just go ahead and make a positive confession.

Instead, Jesus teaches them a truth we know as the doctrine of providence. He stresses the fact that God is intimately involved in all the details of our lives, even when we can’t consciously sense His presence, even when we don’t understand what He’s doing or why He’s doing it.

Thinking about providence from heaven is remarkable in that it reduces us to a puddle of love in knowing our Great God is intimately involved with His people. No remote, uncaring, or unaware sovereign is He, but a Shepherd actively caring for the most lowly of His lambs. It’s uplifting to ponder these things. (Philippians 4:8).

Here is the Grace To You video with transcript

Here is the stand-alone sermon on Youtube:

Whether old or new, there are sermons out there, and books, and essays, from men the Lord has raised up in truth to convict us, edify us, and comfort us. God’s word is uniquely worth pondering. He has left no generation alone and has always used His people as vessels for this work. And He always will, until the Day He calls us home and we are with Him personally!

Posted in bible, don green, lloyd-jones, macarthur, phil johnson, preachers, spurgeon, steven lawson, the word

Through the Years: Faithful men and praise to Jesus for raising them up

What is it? Answer at bottom

The above is the sermon list by year of sermons available in Dr. John MacArthur’s sermon archive.

On a recent blog essay, someone posted the following question to me:

Why do you worship MacArthur so much? You quote him on your blogs more than you do the Bible.-Jeff”

I answered this way:
“Great question! However I don’t worship Dr John MacArthur. I worship Jesus. You know that. I quote MacArthur a lot for several reasons:

–He is doctrinally correct on every issue I’ve heard him speak to. This means his interpretations are aligned with the bible. This is a precious rarity in these days,
–His entire body of work is online, and easily obtainable. Therefore he is easy to quote,
–He has addressed all of the relevant cultural issues, and these also are online and available, and once again therefore easily quotable.

I also often quote GotQuestions, for the same reasons, and Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry. I’d quote Phil Johnson just as often as I do MacArthur but his sermons are not transcribed as MacArthur’s are. And as a side note, he said a couple of years ago that the same lady has been his transcriber for over 40 years. What a blessing to the faith these people are! We all benefit.

I have quoted in the past Jonathan Edwards, but his language is further away from ours, being almost 300 years old. Same with Charles Spurgeon and Matthew Henry. But I still quote them on occasion as well.

If you came across a doctrinally correct, easily obtainable body of work freely given to the body of Christ from a persevering man of faith, why would you NOT want to use it as much as possible? That is what it is there for.”

My response got me thinking about how grateful I am for the good men and pastors God has raised up. I was thunderstruck by Jonathan Edwards’ sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God“. I have an excerpt of it which I carry constantly in my bible. I occasionally re-read it in its entirety to myself aloud so I can remember and value the feeling of gratitude I have that Jesus saved me from His wrath. The sermon is almost 300 years old, but God carefully preserved it for us so that we can be edified these many generations later.

I was deeply moved by Charles’ Spurgeon’s sermon on God’s Providence. His proposal that the cherubs of the wheels within wheels could be part of the machinery of God’s providence as it works out in our lives was completely amazing to me. I often re-read that sermon to gain further insights that the Spirit will have me learn.

But it was with the advent of technology that we are blessed with being able to hear these preachers as they preach. Many of the later Martyn Lloyd-Jones’s sermons were taped and put onto more current media. John MacArthur’s first sermon at Grace Community Church in 1969 was cassette-taped and transcribed and so have all the rest ever since.

These men are good expositors. The Lord raised them up for the benefit of the church and the edification of souls. When Charles Spurgeon was actively preaching, his sermons were re-printed in the newspaper. He was endlessly quoted. His magazine Sword and Trowel enjoyed a high circulation. Thousands came to hear him in the Tabernacle and the tens of thousands read his sermons each week.

When Spurgeon died, in January 1892, London south of the Thames went into mourning. Sixty thousand people came to pay homage during the three days his body lay in state at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. A funeral parade two miles long followed his hearse from the Tabernacle to the cemetery at Upper Norwood. One hundred thousand people stood along the way, flags flew at half-mast, shops and pubs were closed. It was a remarkable demonstration of affection and respect, even in an era when people were scrupulous in observing the rituals that accompanied death.” (source)

Yet would anyone in those more Godly times peevishly complain that a person was sourcing Spurgeon’s material too much? Worshiping him? I doubt it. “Stop reading his sermon every Monday! You do that too much!” It’s laughable.

I respect the men who came before us and the men whom God raises up today. Their commentaries, books, and sermons are for the benefit of the church members and ultimately are to glorify Him. It’s been true ever since this verse was spoken,

I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind. And I will build him a sure house, and he shall go in and out before my anointed forever.” (1 Samuel 2:35)

God did that and continues to do that until He raised up Jesus, the final High Priest and the Priest forever, bless His holy name. After the cross, back here on earth, God still raises up men to teach and preach to us, because God’s word goes out forever and will never pass away (Matthew 24:25).
Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:2)

The apostasy is growing at an exponential rate. My job as an encourager and a discerner is to point people to credible men whose teaching is solid. We are long past the tipping point where most preaching is solid. Nowadays, most preaching is NOT solid. We have gone from being a ‘God-fearing’ nation, to a God-mocking nation.

Therefore when as Bereans you compare to the bible the links I offer you, I believe in every case you will find it matches. Therefore I am unashamed to continue to quote Dr MacArthur, and I refuse to be browbeaten into seeking other men for people to read who may not be as solid simply to cater to whims and wishes of those who are peeved for some reason.

Now, if someone wants a wider array of Godly preachers to select from, I can accommodate. I listed below my favorites, men to whom I give my respect as elders of the faith and to whom I daily and weekly listen or read. They are all expositors.

What is expositional preaching?
Expositional preaching at its simplest is preaching that is focused on explaining the meaning of Scripture in its historical and grammatical context. Expositional preaching involves explaining what the Bible says to a contemporary audience that is likely unfamiliar with the cultural and historical settings that the passage was written in. The word exposition simply means to “a setting forth or explanation.” So expositional preaching is the explanation of Scripture that is based upon diligent study and careful exegesis of a passage. It is the primary call of the pastor or preacher as we see in 2 Timothy 4:2: “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.”

These first three men have been or are in service to God in a mighty, MIGHTY way, and what a ministry! I praise and thank Jesus for raising them up!

John F. MacArthur, 3,000+ sermons. He has been preaching at Grace Community Church for 45 years. (b. 1939- ). Bio. Sermon archive. I especially enjoyed his preaching series from Genesis

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, (1834-1892). 3,561 sermons. AKA The Prince of Preachers, preached at New Park Street and then Metropolitan Tabernacle for 37 years. (Bio). Sermons. My current favorite is the sermon on God’s Providence.


Martyn Lloyd-Jones, (1899 – 1 March 1981). 1591 sermons available. He preached for 41 years at Westminster Chapel in London. (Bio). Sermon archive here. My current favorite are the Great Biblical Doctrines, especially, The Fall.


I also enjoy Dr Steven Lawson. I just listened to a wonderful sermon of his from Philippians, about daily Christian living. Sermon archive here. (Bio).

Phil Johnson is a personal favorite of mine. I’d quote him as often as I do MacArthur but his sermons haven’t been transcribed until lately. Pastor Johnson preaches at the GraceLife Pulpit of John MacArthur’s church. I enjoy the sermons from Dr. MacArthur, but I personally identify with Johnson. My current favorite sermon of his recently has been What Creation Reveals. (Bio and other Bio)

Don Green

Finally, though certainly not least, is Pastor Don Green. He preaches at Truth Community Fellowship. (Bio). My current favorite sermon of his is called “What is Sin?

I hope these links and the thousands upon thousands of wonderfully exposited sermons available to you will edify you in a great way. May the spotless name of Jesus be glorified through their ministry and by us as we receive His word into our hearts and minds from these men. 

Posted in big bang, creation, God, phil johnson, physics, pratchett

“In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded"

Scientists have announced another breakthrough. Breakthroughs seems to come fast and furious in some of the scientific disciplines. Some seem to stick and others seem to fade away immediately after the hoopla subsides. Think Missing Link in the field of evolution. And think Higgs Boson in the field of Physics. Or gluon. Or quark. Or dark matter. Or, even, the Big Bang.

The “breakthrough” physicists are excited about is that they say they have found another nugget of information about our universe immediately after it banged open. They believe that everything we see was once smaller than an electron, and something made it bang open. At the bang, there were massive gravitational waves that spread out, and this is what physicists have said they found evidence of. “Inflation” is the term they use to describe the run-up to the bang.The universe got bigger and bigger until it split open in a cataclysmic event. Gravitational waves billions of light years across or something, spread out across an instantly expanding universe. The gravitational waves make a distinctive curl or a swirl, and since the wave has already passed by, supposedly billions of years ago, the only remaining way to detect the wave is the way the light around where it used to be is polarized. A telescope in the Antarctic has discovered the swirly polarized signature of the gravitational Big Bang wave. I’ll let Discovery explain further.

Located in the arid atmospheric conditions of Antarctica, BICEP2 has a very clear view of the cosmos. The instrument has the ability of measuring the polarization of the weak signal from the CMB radiation. On Earth, sunlight can become polarized if it reflects off a mirror or when filtered by polarized sunglasses (thus reducing the glare). The radiation from the ancient CMB can also become polarized and gravitational waves have the ability to manipulate the polarization of the incoming radiation. The specific type of polarization, known as ‘B-mode polarization,’ is what BICEP2 has been looking for. And now, with a high degree of certainty, astronomers have found it.

“The swirly B-mode pattern of polarization is a unique signature of gravitational waves,” said Chao-Lin Kuo, of Stanford University and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, co-leader of the project. “This is the first direct image of gravitational waves across the primordial sky.”

Today’s announcement is being touted as the “discovery of the century,” and although the two papers that were announced today have yet to go to print, the high certainty that backs these results is a huge hint that astronomers may have struck gold. Not only does this finding support the theory of cosmic inflation and the first strong observational evidence of gravitational waves, it could tie in to one of the most perplexing problems in modern quantum physics: What role does gravity play with the quantum world?

Physicists are having a hard time understanding how gravity relates to the Standard Model of physics, a situation that has forced theoretical physicists to pursue increasingly exotic ideas to find an answer.

The ‘increasingly exotic ideas in order to find an answer’ is where physicist Alexander Unziger comes in. He is a scientist who says that most of what physicists have come up with is bunk and inventions. But first, a review.

The way that most physicists describe the universe is in the Standard Model. Scientists know there are four major components of the universe, weak nuclear force, strong nuclear force, electromagnetic force, and gravitational force. They think have figured out the first three but for the life of them they can’t figure out gravity. Like where it comes from or how it works. So in the Standard Model they simply ignore it. The Standard Model does not address gravitational force at all. They focus on the first three. That is the first inkling that all is not well in astrophysics.

You might remember the Large Hadron Collider, which conducted an experiment to collide particles to recreate a mini-Big Bang, and see what resulted from the collision. Physicists were looking for the particle that is called Higgs Boson, which would explain the universe’s mass. Back along, they discovered neutrinos, which are particles that have no mass, but what gives the universe mass, the corresponding element to counterbalance the neutrino? They postulated there must exist such a particle, which they dubbed the theoretical Higgs Boson.

Yet that brought them further down the rabbit hole, because if there is a Higgs boson particle, counterbalancing the mass-less neutrino, there still isn’t enough matter in the universe to account for the universe. We’re only up to 4% of the universe. So they invented the theory of dark matter.

Our current understanding of the universe suggests that the matter we can observe only accounts for about 4 percent of all the matter that must exist. When we look at the movement of galaxies and other celestial bodies, we see that their motions suggest there’s much more matter in the universe than we can detect. Scientists named this undetectable material dark matter. Together, observable matter and dark matter could account for about 25 percent of the universe.” (source)

So they invented the theory of dark energy.

And so on and etcetera.

Back to Dr Unzicker.

Science on Sunday: The Higgs Fake
I’ve just read The Higgs Fake by Alexander Unzicker. He says physicists such as Einstein would have considered the “discovery” of the Higgs boson to be utterly ridiculous. And more. Unzicker really rips into particle physics. Not physics, particle physics, also known as high energy physics or HEP. But note that Unzicker isn’t some anti-science zealot. See the author section on Amazon along with his CV and his arXiv papers. He’s a whistleblower, which is why he’s written this book.

You know this when you’ve read A Zeptospace Odyssey by CERN physicist Gian Giudice, because then you know a few things. Like the Higgs mechanism is “frightfully ad hoc”. Like it’s responsible for only 1% of the mass of matter. Like the Higgs boson isn’t the central particle of the Standard Model. So you know there’s a big difference between the facts and the mystery-of-mass hype. And you know that there’s particle physicists out there who know the facts but keep quiet, whilst others hype the hype and tell fairy tales about cosmic treacle.

So you know Unzicker isn’t talking out of his hat. You know Unzicker is right when he says particle physicists haven’t reduced the number of parameters or incorporated gravity. You know they haven’t explained the fine structure constant. Or the mass of the electron and the proton. Or why the electron and proton and their antiparticles are the only stable massive particles. You know particle physicists haven’t explained spin, or charge, or Beta decay, or any of the other puzzles that bothered Einstein and Bohr and Pauli and Schrödinger and Dirac. You know instead that particle physicists have made things more complicated rather than more elegant, going against the grain of scientific progress. You know that instead of explaining things, particle physicists have invented things. Things like supersymmetry, which is now a dead man walking. Things like isospin and color and hypercharge and strangeness. Things that aren’t explained at all, and things that are swept under the carpet, like quark confinement.

So you smile wryly when Unzicker quotes from The End of Physics by David Lindley, a former editor at Nature: “In the end, the quark model succeeded by the ironical trick of proving that no quark would ever be directly seen by a physicist.

This Alexander Unzicker sounds like my kind of scientist.

So why this whole long science essay? To mention the following three items:

1. When scientists theorize one thing and it doesn’t fit, they have to invent another theory to cover the flaws in the first theory, and then invent another to bring along the first two, and so on. This is a perfect fulfillment of this verse:

always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:7)

Of course the verse mainly means they are always learning about God in some kind of fake religion but for these scientists, science is their God. They want to know about the creation, to them it’s called the universe, and they are always learning and dub their theories “The God Particle” and “Higgsogenesis”, but never actually acknowledge God or know God.

2. Forget muons and gluons and Standard Model and dark matter and dark energy and Higgs boson and Large Hadron Collider and gravitational waves. Here is the Standard Model of the Creation of the Universe:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

That’s it. That is the answer. It is so simple that people think, ‘Oh No, It Cannot Be’. O, but it is. We overcomplicate the Gospel by adding words and law. (Galatians 3:12). We overcomplicate our prayers by adding words and repetitions. (Matthew 6:5, 6:7). And we overcomplicate science by deleting God, the First Cause of the Universe’s Existence and the Sustainer of the the Creation. (Hebrews 1:3)

3. It is all a shame, because though science is interesting, the God of creation has been made plain to them. Plain! It’s obvious! It’s not difficult, people!

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.” (Romans 1:19).

The word in Greek is from phaneros, and it means: apparent, disclosed, evident, light, obvious, outward, tell, well known. The verse doesn’t say that He just showed it to them but He has made it plain.

Yet they persist. Famous Physicist Niels Bohr said,

It is wrong to think that the task of physics is to find out how Nature is. Physics concerns what we say about Nature.

There we have it. man seeks not only to suppress their evident knowledge of God, nor glorify Him, nor give Him thanks, “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25). They make themselves gods by saying how the universe came to be.

They come up with theories like gravitational waves in the Big Bang, a theory novelist Terry Pratchett poked at in his book Lords and Ladies,

In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.”

Genesis 1:1 is simple but profound. Please listen to Phil Johnson’s wonderful recent sermon called “What Creation Reveals.” Pastor Johnson said,

Of Genesis 1:1, “A. W. Tozer said that’s the single most important verse in all of Scripture, even surpassing John 3:16. Something in me recoils from the idea of trying to rank the relative importance of key Bible verses, because “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable” but (of course) Tozer believed that as well. So I think I understand what he meant when he ranked Genesis 1:1 as the Bible’s most important text. This is the necessary starting-point and foundation for everything else the Bible has to say.There is no text in the whole Bible that contains more or explains more than Genesis 1:1. Literally everything is in this verse. …  

If creation is the foundation of all truth, the gospel is the central truth to which all other truth leads, and Christ Himself is the very pinnacle and incarnation of all truth. If you have not yet embraced Him as “the way, and the truth, and the life,” my prayer for you is that God will open your eyes to see, and that your entire life and worldview will be transformed by the truth of Christ.

Posted in encouragement, phil johnson, psalms, true prosperity

Phil Johnson: "Sometimes the Lord’s supply seems meager, but it is always sufficient"

I’ve been thinking about money. This is not so surprising for me at this time of year. I work in a school system that I value highly and enjoy. My colleagues from one end of the district to another are wonderful. Some of those are the people in Payroll. Our tradition is that we conclude the first half of the year before Christmas and we enjoy a long break from school, coming back the first week of January. In order to ease the Christmas giving frenzy, the payroll people work in a frenzy themselves to get our paychecks to us before Christmas instead of the last day of the month like usual. We’re paid monthly.

This year we were paid December 18 and we will be paid again on January 31. So we will go six weeks between paychecks, and that is a stretch for anyone.

I am paid almost exactly enough to get by, with little to no surplus month to month. The job itself is a complete blessing. I work with kindergarten children as a teacher aide (now called para-professional.) It fulfills me professionally, because it gives me joy to be with children. It is clean, inside work. Ha, I’ve worked outside before and in very dirty jobs, and this is better, even when a five-year-old throws up on me. It is way better than picking the worms out of freshly caught cod in a freezing fish factory in Maine, which is what I did to pay the rent during college. Among other jobs. My school job also comes with health care benefits, which is a relief, not having had coverage for many years and whistling past the graveyard by on a promise and a prayer.

So the job has many benefits if not being cushy in the paycheck department. I was musing about this over the past week. I’m ending the month in very good shape. Projecting 6 weeks out is a hard things to do but I’m coming in for a precise landing and tomorrow when my paycheck arrives I’ll not have wanted for anything. It takes discipline, self-denial, and constant prayer to make it through to the end of the month.

In the end I’m glad that my financial life is this way, I decided. My discipline flows from a relaxed reliance on the promise of God to provide for us. If I had more money I know I’d become spendthrift. I tend toward greed and selfishness. So with more, I’d turn to God less and I know I’d start to be greedy and selfish. I’d also begin to believe satan’s propaganda that my comforts were self-acquired. I fear Him enough to know that when I get a glimpse of self-awareness, it’s not a pretty picture, and to look back at Him.

I like turning to the scriptures to feed myself even if the fridge isn’t stocked with everything I ever wanted. I know that it is HIM sustaining me. What a comfort.

Am I going to sing “In Christ Alone but send a few dollars extra just in case”? Am I going to pray, “I Need Thee Every Hour, except a bit of a cushion would be nice”? Or, proclaim, ” ‘Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus and my wallet”? What does it mean to sing, pray, speak, and think these things? It means what it means, trust Jesus to provide. Why do we sing “Trust and Obey” on Sunday and then go home and stress about finances on Monday?

So I was pondering these things. It’d good for me to live this way. Maybe other people can handle more money or more of a cushion, but the Lord knows, I can’t. I’m blessed.

I decided to do some cooking and listen to Phil Johnson’s latest sermon while chopping. His sermon is called “Not So Radical” and it is a message he is preaching through the Psalms of Ascents. He is up to Psalm 128.

Pastor Johnson explained that the psalms of ascents were songs the Israelites would sing on the way to Jerusalem. No matter what direction you approached Jerusalem from, and mostly the only way to go was the Jericho road, was uphill. You hiked. You climbed. You sweated. It was 3400 arduous feet uphill all the way. You did this three times a year. Grandma had to be carried in a cart drawn by an ox. The rest just hiked. These songs were songs they would sing in praise and anticipation of the worship festival to come, and would remind them of Who they were going to worship in the coming days.

Psalm 128:5 states the following:

“The LORD bless you from Zion! May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life!”

Pr. Johnson looped back to verse 1 which opens with a message about how fearing the LORD brings blessing. He said,

We don’t hear enough about holy fear these days. Modern preachers like to encourage familiarity rather than fear, and that’s why so much of today’s worship is casual, flippant, man-centered. But Scripture is full of admonitions to fear the Lord. For many today, that is an unfamiliar concept.”

Then he moved into explaining prosperity and blessing.

The word prosperity here in our text speaks of the biblical concept of divine blessing, spiritual affluence, and material sufficiency. This kind of prosperity has nothing whatsoever to do with the worldly idea of mammon. The world’s idea of prosperity is overabundance, opulence, luxury, self-indulgence–all dependent on material wealth. The Lord’s definition of prosperity (by contrast) is full forgiveness, the imputation of perfect righteousness, and “grace to help in time of need”–all blessings of eternal value.

“Sometimes the Lord’s supply seems meager, but it is always sufficient. He measures his blessings carefully, so that a glut of earthly prosperity doesn’t extinguish our hope of heaven. And even that is a great blessing.”

Sometimes the Lord blesses by sustaining with a large cushion, as He did with Job and Abraham. Sometimes the Lord blesses by sustaining exactly, as He does with me and perhaps with you. The Lord takes care of us financially and He takes care of us spiritually. What may seem meager is in truth perfection. I wouldn’t make the trade for anything.

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” (Matthew 6:31-32)

So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.” (Genesis 22:14)


For further reading:

Phil Johnson: Not So Radical
(if the link still isn’t working yet listen here at sermon audio)

9 Marks: Trusting God Through Unemployment

Our Daily Bread: God provides…but how?

Pastor Rick Henderson: The False Promise of the Prosperity Gospel: Why I Called Out Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer

Posted in gracelife, Judy Luenebrink, nahum, phil johnson, preaching, tim challies

Three great sermons: Phil Johnson, Tim Challies, Judy Luenebrink

Here are a few good thoughts, AKA God’s word preached from good men and women.

I love a good sermon on the Old Testament prophets. I love a good sermon on wrath every now and then. Wrath is part of God’s attributes, and we must study all of God’s attributes in order to know Him completely. Learning about His wrath also sensitizes me to His grace. The comparison is astounding. You really know grace when you study wrath, and vice versa. I was under His wrath until I was saved, and this compare and contrast exercise always humbles me…and makes me love Him all the more. Old Testament sermons from credible men are hard to come by though. One of my favorite pastors, Pastor Phil Johnson, often preaches from the Old Testament. Recently he preached on Nahum in a sermon titled “Wrath Poured Out Like Fire.” It is tremendous.

I wrote recently about “Finding God’s Will for Your Life“. I mentioned that God’s will is for us is not necessarily to sell all our goods and run off to Burma as a missionary or otherwise to be excessively ‘radical.’ Christians living the regular life is what God calls most of us to do.

The issue was still on my mind as I perused the list of wonderful sermons to choose from at the Grace Community Church. Pastor Tim Challies from Toronto was a guest pastor at the GraceLife pulpit. He preached on “A Life Pleasing to God” from 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12. He directly addresses the Radical craze and the Crazy Love craze and presents a theologically solid and thoroughly enriching sermon on how to please God with your life. Please take a listen, I am sure you will find it comforting.

I posted once before of the Women’s Ministry of MacArthur’s Grace Community Church. Judy Luenebrink is teaching through Hebrews. If you long for the softness of a woman’s voice, teaching credibly with solid oversight, trustworthy content, and a gentle spirit, go through Hebrews with Mrs Judy. She is on her second lesson now, The Superiority of Jesus.
What better way to spend half an hour or so, learning how and why our gracious Savior is superior to all in the universe?

I wrote earlier today on my other blog about television before computers. I mused on whether the advent of computers was a good thing or not. It was both, I concluded. The upside of advanced technology is that I can listen or watch these wonderful edifying sermons. I love particularly on Saturday afternoons to cook soup and while I peel and chop, listen to the richness of God’s word being preached and explained. I hope you find these sermons and the others on the links edifying to you as well.