An atheist chemist​ & a Christian Geneticist examine science, faith, and altruism by The Veritas Forum

Atheist chemistry professor, Ivana Nikolic Hughes (Columbia) and Christian genetics professor, Praveen Sethupathy (UNC) discuss science, faith, and altruism at The Veritas Forum at Columbia, 2015.

Find this and many other talks at

R.C. Sproul: Sola Fide (The doctrine of justification by faith alone)

rc sproul 2The doctrine of justification by faith alone was at the center of the Reformation debates. The Reformers declared that justification is by faith alone, not by faith and works. The biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone is essential to the Gospel. In this message, Dr. R.C. Sproul will explain why this doctrine is essential, and warn against any perversions of it.

This message is from our 2008 National Conference, Evangelism According to Jesus:…

VIDEO by Ligonier Ministries

Why you shouldn’t let your kids figure out faith on their own

Photo credit

by J.C. Thompson via

You will often hear nonbelievers say that parents should let their own children decide what they believe. They say this, while the school, the media and the nonbelieving people are indeed telling our children what to believe. J. C. Thompson makes the case for why we need to teach our children the faith once for all delivered to the saints. Here’s J. C. Thompson:

Kids owning their faith is the goal, right? Why is it that we think that “allowing” kids to figure it out on their own is the solution?

One of the things that I begin to see happen in the dynamic between students and their parents is that students begin to fight against faith practices. Parents usually approach it in one of two ways: they fight it creatively or they step back and let kids “figure it out”.

As a youth pastor it’s a frustrating thing, because figuring it out sometimes really means the family stops practicing faith altogether. I don’t know if it’s because parents were just keeping faith practices happening because of the kids or it’s so frustrating and painful that they stop because it’s too hard to keep pushing their students to grow in their faith.

A couple of insights into young teens when it comes to faith:

1. This is the first time that students begin to see their sin as real. It’s so important that they know what to do with it. Unfortunately, a lot of the times, they hide, seek to comfort themselves, or run. All of these we see played out in the story of Scripture. They must understand, hear, see, how to properly deal with sin. Sometimes their pushback is because they are trying to hide rather than they “hate” going to church.

2. Their questions go unanswered. Young Teens or preteens ask why more than any other question. It’s the most important question to answer as a family. Why church? Why Jesus? Why the Bible? Our faith is based on the gospel. Bring them back to that. God made us beautiful. We became evil. Jesus died. He came back. No one can prove He didn’t even though it’s the most important question in the world.

3. Friends. They influence everything. Find good ones for your kids and invest in them. Do the most fun things with those friends. Constantly invite them places. You are responsible for helping your student make connections. Find them. Show up to their youth group and find good friends for your student.

Then Thompson gives 3 reasons why you should not let them figure it out on their own:

  1. You didn’t figure out faith on your own. Neither did anyone else in Scripture.
  2. Preteens and young teens are hormone-enraged emotional crazy people.
  3. Wisdom = Truth + Experience

Read the entire article here

Can We Know Things to Be True Through Faith?


VIDEO by drcraigvideos:
Dr William Lane Craig answers a question about the relationship of knowledge to faith? Is faith a way to truth? On March 21, 2013, Dr Craig spoke at Texas A&M in College Station, Texas on the topic of faith, science and philosophy. This event was put on by the Veritas Forum which hosts university events that engage students and faculty in discussions about life’s hardest questions and the relevance of Jesus Christ to all of life. The style of this talk was more like a conversation than a lecture as Dr Craig shares much of his own personal story about how he came to faith in Jesus Christ. For more resources visit Dr. Criag’s website:

Gary Habermas – The Worst Suffering We Will Ever Face or When God does not heal you (Essential Reading)

Dr. Gary Habermas – chairman of the Dept. of  philosophy and theology at Liberty University.

Gary Habermas (b. 1950) is an American Christian apologist, theologian, and philosopher of religion. He is Distinguished Professor of Apologetics and Philosophy and chairman of the department of philosophy and theology at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Habermas is noted for his work defending the resurrection and is often cited in the area of Christian apologetics. He has also specialized in cataloging and communicating trends among scholars in the field of historical Jesus and New Testament studies.

In 1985, Habermas and Antony Flew debated the question of Jesus’ resurrection as a literal and historical/physical event, before a crowd of three thousand people. The debate was judged by professional debate judges and was published as a book under the title Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? The Resurrection Debate (Harper & Row, 1987). (source

For apologetics resources in video and written form visit Dr. Habermas’s personal website at and here is the direct link to his video page-

The Worst Suffering We Will Ever Face

This message was given at Calvary Chapel St. Petersburg (February 2013) – Where is God when I’m suffering? Is God ignoring me? Does God break promises? Does God even care about my situation? Why does God let me down so many times? Why doesn’t God answer my prayers? Is God abandoning me? Gary Habermas explores the reality of pain and suffering and doubt in the Christian life. Dr. Habermas also recounts his wife’s stomach cancer and death and the comfort he felt in learning that we are to share in Christ’s suffering.

„While physical suffering can be, and sometimes is the worst, many experts agree, that generally, the worst kind of suffering is emotional suffering. It’s the worst kind of anxiety, depression, anger, and emotional states in which we really work ourselves up. How are we going to handle these from a counseling perspective, from a pain perspective and from a biblical perspective?

I went through a time of 10 years of doubt. And, because of that (I have written 3 books on doubt), I have had about 500 discussions with doubters. So, I would listen, and over the years (30 yrs), the question has changed a little bit. Today, the question I-m hearing from believers is: How come my prayers don’t get past the ceiling? We all say this: How come God treats me this way? Maybe we even dare to think that God breaks His promises.

Now, if you tell yourself this, and your faith is important to you, you’re beginning down a path of a lot of pain….because it’s sort of like saying your spouse is not true to you, if you have a good marriage. Because you are saying that God is untrue to you. First of all, a lesson in theology. God cannot be anything other than what He is. God cannot be unGod. You can only act according to your nature, and God can only act according to His nature, and His nature is a lot more grandiose than ours. Scriptures teaches that there a lot of things that God can’t do. Because of His nature, God can’t lie. God can’t cheat, God can’t be unfair. God can’t trick you, He can’t tempt you with evil. He can’t die, He can’t lie and He can’t break His promises. So, right off the bat, there’s something wrong with these statements: God doesn’t care about me… (It’s a) lie. He breaks His promises… He couldn’t, (even) if he wanted to. And those are the things we should be glad about. (7:00)

The #1 problem with this kind of pain, where you think God is not answering your prayers, so you make God fade in the background, is the world, God, our friends, they are to each of us as we perceive them. My friend to me is the way I think of my friend. Here’s the scary thing: If we lie to ourselves about God – saying He’s breaking promises, letting us down, He’s there for other people, He’s not there for me. The Scriptures say dozens of times that God is fair, just, will do the right thing. Must not the God of all the world do rightly? We all lie, we lie to ourselves. And lies cause pain. But, here’s the issue: If I think God breaks promises, then in my mind, (not in reality), God is a promise breaking God. That’s who I perceive Him to be. And if I think He’s a promise breaker, I’ll treat Him a certain way. And from that treatment pain starts growing. Anger. From anger, often depression. Anger is one of the chief building blocks. Anger and lack of forgiveness are the chief building blocks of depression. And chief building blocks of anxiety are – „the worst thing is about to happen, and it’s about to happen now”. That’s the flint and steel of an anxiety attack.

Sometimes it’s said that depression is living in your past, anxiety is living in your future.They are both very painful, but, these are realities only in my mind. Now, some things I think are true, but, the extent to which I lie to myself determines the extent to which I will experience a lot of pain.(13:00) You can’t control what people do to you (to an extent), but, you can control what you say about it.

Uploaded by religionphilosophy

Consider this: You cannot state the Gospel of Jesus Christ without talking about the reality of suffering. Contrary to what many of us have heard, contrary certainly to what many of us hope, the Bible does not teach that it is about avoiding pain. There are dozens of verses that teach the reality of suffering, and we largely ignore them. It doesn’t preach, but it’s the truth.

What is the Gospel. There’s two sides that define the Gospel: Who Jesus was and what He did, and our response. Jesus’s side is the deity, death and resurrection. But, I can’t talk about the cross without talking about suffering. God watched His Son die. And how about this? Jesus was rejected by His family. That alone is enough to kill any one of us emotionally. Jesus’s brothers tried to take Him aside when He came into town. They thought He was nuts. That’s what the Greek says. „They thought He was besides Himself- two minds, and they tried to get Him out of the public eye. (It was like, „Come on, I have to live here, and You’re embarrassing  my friends. Come on… let’s move over here”) How about the garden of Ghetsemane? He knew why He came, and yet, the pain was so great. Although He wanted the Lord’s will, He asked, could He forego this somehow? Sweating blood is a well known medical phenomenon. But, it is caused by severe stress, which by the way, since Jesus didn’t sin, it points out that severe emotions are not always sinful. Paul says, „Be angry and sin not.” There’s a righteous kind of concern, there’s a righteous kind of anger. There’s an unrighteous kind in the sense of hurting yourself and others.

On the cross, Jesus knew God has not forsaken Him. Of course he is quoting Psalm 22:1 here. He felt abandoned. That was His human experience. Consider these verses. Sometimes we don’t think Jesus had to learn anything. There are several verses that say He did. Here’s one of them: He learned obedience from His suffering. The next one: He was completed by suffering. In John 14-16 there are 3 promises: Pray whatever you want in My name and you got it. In the exact same context there are 3 other comments that say: You’re going to have problems in this life. The last one says: People are going to kill you and think they’re doing God a favor. God, I thought you said that whatever I pray for will come true. Oh, I get it, whenever that persecution comes that will kill me, I’ll just pray that you take it away, right? No. Next chapter, John 17, Jesus is praying to God and He says, „I don’t pray that you take them out of the world, I pray that you preserve them in the world.

Where do we get this idea that being healed means being removed from things? What if it means not being taken from, what if it means God’s gonna take our hand through? We don’t wanna hear that, but, we grow that way. (21:00)

God can mend broken hearts. And God starts, in many verses, God starts in our being careful what we tell ourselves, because we multiply our own pain. We are told in Scripture that we will share in Christ’s suffering. Here’s one you probably one you don’t wanna hear. 1 Peter chapter 2 „We should walk in Jesus’s steps,” and that includes His suffering.

In the last 25 minutes Dr. Habermas recounts his wife’s dying of stomach cancer, and the comfort in the the midst of suffering through the loss of his wife.

Doug Wilson – How to pray and beseech God

September 9, 2012 Text: Psalm 70 Doug Wilson (the first 5 minutes of 45 min message):

There are two and only two fundamental approaches to God in the world. There are two and only two conceptions of God in the world:

  1. One is: God is God and we are not. God is the center of all things.
  2. And the other is: God on the side, God somewhere on the side to help me if I need help. But, I am fundamentally god. I am the fundamental center of all things and He comes around to help or not, at different times. I am the center of the solar system and everything revolves around me

So there are 2 fundamental conceptions of God. One sees the Lord God almighty high and lifted up. The other might be called the domestic animal approach to God, where the ostensible worshipper keeps ‘a god’ on hand the way you might keep a cow for the milk. God is worked, god is the cosmic vending machine in the sky. God is there in order to help you out, that’s his job. He is god in heaven, god on tap.

Now, I am speaking in an obviously disrespectful way- domestic animal approach to keeping god, keeping god for the milk, a vending machine god, god on tap. That’s all disrespectful. That’s disrespectful in how it’s phrased. But, there are people who refuses to phrase it that way who still function that way.

We know from the Bible that God is God altogether. God is God through and through. It’s not a little bit of God here and a little bit of God there. All of God is everywhere, all of God is all of God. That which is true of God is true of all of Him. Now, we know, as christians who want to pursue God centered worship, we know that’s a good phrase. God centered worship is better than man centered worship. But, there’s a way of formulating God centered worship which is at the heart (down in secret places) still man centered worship.

So we know that we want to worship God high and lifted up, but, we don’t know what to do. Once we’ve got that fixed in our minds, we don’t know what to do when the Lord high and lifted up tells us to tell Him to do things; when God, the ultimate God tells us to approach Him and give Him no rest until He answers our prayer. When that God tells us to ask for something, we don’t quite know what to do. We act like Ahaz, and in the name of a high view of God refuse to obey Him.

The prophet Isaiah says, „Ask whatever sign you want,” and he says, „I’m not gonna do that… not me, I don’t wanna be disrespectful.”  Look, the almighty God has just sent a prophet to tell you what to do and you’re saying: No, because I’ve got a too high view of God. That’s the Ahaz approach. Ahaz’s approach is an approach that pretends to a high view of God, but it really isn’t. What we are doing is we’re taking refuge in certain piety, certain expressions, certain confessional expressions and our christian life is not vibrant and alive. We don’t have an ongoing functional relationship with God that’s in accordance with how God describes it, how God invites us to approach Him.

In this psalm, Psalm 70, this psalm is basically a section of Psalm 40. This psalm is a shorter version or a portion of Psalm 40.. with some changes (Yahweh for Elohim, for example). The psalmist is in trouble, as he frequently is and he cries out to God in his trouble. Some of us might think, „I think David is doing this on purpose. I think David, maybe needs to get into an anger management class or a relationship class.” David doesn’t need to do anything other than pursue God, pursue God and then, lo and behold, what happens is opposition. If someone is sold out to God in this world he will have adversaries, he will have trouble. He will have this sort of trouble.

So, the psalmist is in trouble, he frequently is in trouble, he beseeches God to get a move on. Verse 1: Hurry up God. Now, not only does he want God to come quickly. He knows what he wants God to do when God arrives. He wants God to show up and shame and confound the adversaries of his soul. (first 5 minutes of message)

On Telling God to Hurry Up

Sermon: On Telling God to Hurry Up from Canon Wired on Vimeo.

Paul Washer – What are some of God’s mighty works that He has done in your life? Plus a new book


Paul Washer Sermons PAGE – click here

Published on Oct 1, 2012 by 

This clip, from an Interview in 2009, was never put up on the Internet. Paul talks about the greatest miracle in his life, it not being some supernatural thing, but it rather being the love of the Father to discipline him.

Download MP3:

The Miracle of God’s Faithful Discipline


The Gospel’s Power and Message

by Paul Washer – 288 pages, available mid October at – and

One of the greatest crimes of this generation of Christians is its neglect of the gospel, and it is from this neglect that all our other maladies spring forth. Absent from too many pulpits are the essential themes which make up the very core of the gospel—the justice of God, the radical depravity of man, the blood atonement. In The Gospel’s Power and Message, Paul Washer addresses these essential elements of Christ’s good news and provides a guide to help us rediscover the gospel in all its beauty, scandal, and saving power. May such a rediscovery transform your life, strengthen your proclamation, and bring the greatest glory to God.

Read a sample pdf here (

Table of Contents:


PART ONE: An Apostolic Introduction

  1. A Gospel to Know and Make Known
  2. A Gospel to be Received
  3. A Gospel by which We Are Saved
  4. A Gospel of First Importance
  5. A Gospel Handed Down and Delivered

PART TWO: The Power of God for Salvation

  1. “The” Gospel
  2. A Scandalous Gospel
  3. A Powerful Gospel
  4. A Gospel for all Who Believe

PART THREE: The Acropolis of the Christian Faith

  1. Making Much of Sin
  2. Making Much of God
  3. Sinners One and All
  4. Sinners Falling Short
  5. Sinners Through and Through
  6. Righteous Indignation
  7. Holy War
  8. A Most Costly Gift
  9. The Divine Dilemma
  10. A Qualified Redeemer
  11. The Cross of Jesus Christ
  12. The Vindication of God
  13. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
  14. The Foundation of Faith in the Resurrection
  15. Christ’s Ascension as the High Priest of His People
  16. Christ’s Ascension as the Lord of All
  17. Christ’s Ascension as the Judge of All

The Story of George Muller


200 years ago, street kids in England were treated like vermin. With no parents or relatives to look after them, orphans were forced to survive by begging or stealing. They had no one to look to, they lived and they died in the gutter. But help was on its way from someone the Bristol newspaper would later proclaim ‘had robbed the cruel streets of thousands of victims’. However, his start in life was not as the righteous young man his father intended him to be-

from Wikipedia:

George Müller (German – born as : Johann Georg Ferdinand Müller) (27 September 1805 – 10 March 1898), a Christian evangelist and Director of the Ashley Down orphanage in Bristol, England, cared for 10,024 orphans in his life. He was well known for providing an education to the children under his care, to the point where he was accused of raising the poor above their natural station in life. He also established 117 schools which offered Christian education to over 120,000 children, many of them being orphans.

Müller was born in Kroppenstaedt (now Kroppenstedt), a village near Halberstadt in the Kingdom of Prussia. In 1810, the Müller family moved to nearby Heimersleben, where Müller’s father was appointed a collector of taxes. He had an older brother, Friedrich Johann Wilhelm (1803 – 7 Oct 1838) and, after his widowed father remarried, a half-brother, Franz (b 1822).

His early life was not marked by righteousness – on the contrary, he was a thief, a liar and a gambler. By the age of 10, Müller was stealing government money from his father. While his mother was dying, he, at 14 years of age, was playing cards with friends and drinking.

Müller’s father hoped to provide him with a religious education that would allow him to take a lucrative position as a clergyman in the state church. He studied divinity in the University of Halle, and there met a fellow student (Beta) who invited him to a Christian prayer meeting. There he was welcomed, and he began regularly reading the Bible and discussing Christianity with the others who attended the meetings. After seeing a man praying to God on his knees, he was convinced of his need for salvation. As soon as he got home he went to his bed where he knelt and prayed. He asked God to help him in his life and to bless him wherever he went and to forgive him of his sins. He immediately stopped drinking, stealing and lying, and began hoping to become a missionary. He began preaching regularly in nearby churches and continued meeting with the other churches.


English: Orphanages at Ashley Down.

The work of Müller and his wife with orphans began in 1836 with the preparation of their own home at 6 Wilson Street, Bristol for the accommodation of thirty girls. Soon after, three more houses in Wilson Street were furnished, growing the total of children cared for to 130. In 1845, as growth continued, Müller decided that a separate building designed to house 300 children was necessary, and in 1849, at Ashley Down, Bristol, that home opened. The architect commissioned to draw up the plans asked if he might do so gratuitously. By 26 May 1870, 1,722 children were being accommodated in five homes, although there was room for 2,050 (No 1 House – 300, No 2 House – 400, Nos 3, 4 and 5 – 450 each). By the following year, there were 280 orphans in No 1 House, 356 in No 2, 450 in Nos 3 and 4, and 309 in No 5 House.

Through all this, Müller never made requests for financial support, nor did he go into debt, even though the five homes cost over £100,000 to build. Many times, he received unsolicited food donations only hours before they were needed to feed the children, further strengthening his faith in God. For example, on one well-documented occasion, they gave thanks for breakfast when all the children were sitting at the table, even though there was nothing to eat in the house. As they finished praying, the baker knocked on the door with sufficient fresh bread to feed everyone, and the milkman gave them plenty of fresh milk because his cart broke down in front of the orphanage.

Every morning after breakfast there was a time of Bible reading and prayer, and every child was given a Bible upon leaving the orphanage, together with a tin trunk containing two changes of clothing. The children were dressed well and educated – Müller even employed a schools inspector to maintain high standards. In fact, many claimed that nearby factories and mines were unable to obtain enough workers because of his efforts in securing apprenticeships, professional training, and domestic service positions for the children old enough to leave the orphanage.

photo source and caption –

It is ironic that these massive buildings that dominate the ridge at Ashley Down were known for generations as the Muller Homes. Their founder, German immigrant George Muller, was insistent on the title ‘The New Orphan House’ as he did not want his name to be prominent, for he considered himself merely an instrument in the venture.


On 26 March 1875, at the age of 70 and after the death of his first wife in 1870 and his marriage to Susannah Grace Sanger in 1871, Müller and Susannah began a 17 year period of missionary travel. Müller always expected to pay for their fares and accommodation from the unsolicited gifts given for his own use. However, if someone offered to pay his hotel bill en-route, Müller recorded this amount in his accounts.

He travelled over 200,000 miles, an incredible achievement for pre-aviation times. His language abilities allowed him to preach in English, French, and German, and his sermons were translated into the host languages when he was unable to use English, French or German. In 1892, he returned to England, where he died on 10 March 1898 in New Orphan House No 3.

A life of prayer

Müller prayed about everything and expected each prayer to be answered. One example was when one of the orphan house’s boiler stopped working; Müller needed to have it fixed. Now this was a problem, because the boiler was bricked up and the weather was worsening with each day. So he prayed for two things; firstly that the workers he had hired would have a mind to work throughout the night, and secondly that the weather would let up. On the Tuesday before the work was due to commence, a bitter north wind still blew but in the morning, before the workmen arrived, a southerly wind began to blow and it was so mild that no fires were needed to heat the buildings. That evening, the foreman of the contracted company attended the site to see how he might speed things along, and instructed the men to report back first thing in the morning to make an early resumption of work. The team leader stated that they would prefer to work through the night. The job was done in 30 hours.

In 1862, it was discovered that one of the drains was blocked. Being some 11 feet underground, workmen were unable to find the blockage despite several attempts. Müller prayed about the situation and the workman at once found the site of the problem.

Strong gales in Bristol on Saturday 14 January 1865 caused considerable damage in the area and over twenty holes were opened in the roofs. Around 20 windows were also broken and two frames damaged by falling slates. The glazier and slater normally employed had already committed their staff to other work so nothing could be done until the Monday. Had the winds continued, with heavy rain, the damage to the orphanage would have been much greater. After much prayer, the wind stopped in the afternoon and no rain fell until Wednesday, by which time most of the damage had been repaired.

Once, whilst crossing the Atlantic on the SS Sardinian in August 1877, his ship ran into thick fog. He explained to the captain that he needed to be in Quebec by the following afternoon, but Captain Joseph E Dutton (later known as „Holy Joe”) said that he was slowing the ship down for safety and Müller’s appointment would have to be missed. Müller asked to use the chartroom to pray for the lifting of the fog. The captain followed him down, claiming it would be a waste of time. After Müller prayed, the captain started to pray, but Müller stopped him; partly because of the captain’s unbelief, but mainly because he believed the prayer had already been answered. When the two men went back to the bridge, they found the fog had lifted. The captain became a Christian shortly afterwards.

Müller’s faith in God strengthened day by day and he spent hours in daily prayer and Bible reading. – indeed, it was his practice, in later years, to read through the entire Bible four times a year.


The theology that guided George Müller’s work is not widely known, but was shaped by an experience in his mid twenties when he „came to prize the Bible alone as [his] standard of judgement”.

He records in his Narratives that „That the word of God alone is our standard of judgment in spiritual things; that it can be explained only by the Holy Spirit; and that in our day, as well as in former times, he is the teacher of his people. The office of the Holy Spirit I had not experimentally understood before that time. Indeed, of the office of each of the blessed persons, in what is commonly called the Trinity, I had no experimental apprehension. I had not before seen from the Scriptures that the Father chose us before the foundation of the world; that in him that wonderful plan of our redemption originated, and that he also appointed all the means by which it was to be brought about. Further, that the Son, to save us, had fulfilled the law, to satisfy its demands, and with it also the holiness of God; that he had borne the punishment due to our sins, and had thus satisfied the justice of God. And, further, that the Holy Spirit alone can teach us about our state by nature, show us the need of a Saviour, enable us to believe in Christ, explain to us the Scriptures, help us in preaching, etc. It was my beginning to understand this latter point in particular which had a great effect on me; for the Lord enabled me to put it to the test of experience, by laying aside commentaries, and almost every other book, and simply reading the word of God and studying it. The result of this was, that the first evening that I shut myself into my room, to give myself to prayer and meditation over the Scriptures, I learned more in a few hours than I had done during a period of several months previously. But the particular difference was, that I received real strength for my soul in doing so. I now began to try by the test of the Scriptures the things which I had learned and seen, and found that only those principles which stood the test were really of value.

William Henry Harding said, ‘The world, dull of understanding, has even yet not really grasped the mighty principle upon which he [Müller] acted, but is inclined to think of him merely as a nice old gentleman who loved children, a sort of glorified guardian of the poor, who with the passing of the years may safely be spoken of, in the language of newspaper headlines, as a „prophet of philanthropy.” To describe him thus, however, is to degrade his memory, is to miss the high spiritual aim and the wonderful spiritual lesson of his life. It is because the carnal mind is incapable of apprehending spiritual truth that the world regards the orphan Houses only with the languid interest of mere humanitarianism, and remains oblivious of their extraordinary witness to the faithfulness of God.

Matt Chandler – Holiness Part 3 – The „How” Matters

See Part 1 – Holiness

See Part 2 – Holiness – The Goodness of God

Listen to the audio here- Play Download:MP3

Read the notes from the entire sermon here-

Here’s a few paragraph excerpts from the sermon:

  • So far we’ve answered some pretty big questions. We’ve looked at the holiness of God, who he is, how different he is, what really his holiness is, and then last week we looked at God’s ferocious commitment to making us holy. (See parts 1 & 2). We’ve left some pretty big questions unanswered, and the primary question is how he goes about making us holy.
  • How you understand the process by which you become more and more like Jesus, more and more holy… The more you understand that process correctly, the greater life, freedom, and love for God you’ll have, and the more you misunderstand how that takes place, the more wearying and difficult the Christian life will be to you.  In this great exchange between God and you, the only thing you bring to the table is the sin that makes your salvation necessary. You don’t have the tools or the materials with which to build a house that’s holy. You don’t have them. So if you get away from the One who can build that holy house and try to build it yourself… What the Bible is going to repeatedly tell us is you can’t even make a shack of your own abilities and own efforts. So it’s very important for us to understand how we become holy, so we might walk in the fullness of joy that God has brought for us in our adoption as sons and daughters as he makes us a holy people.
  • The very good news is that God has decreed, chosen, predetermined we would become holy and blameless in his sight. We are going to have a positional holiness before God. We are going to be seen and viewed by God as a holy people. But he still doesn’t say really how he goes about that except that he accomplishes it in Jesus somehow. Ephesians 2:1-10 is going to unpack it more fully. So in Ephesians 2 now, starting in verse 1: „And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience–-among whom we all..
  • Now there are some verses and some ideas in the Bible that seem to strain this idea. They put a lot of strain on it. Let me give you an example of just one. I never want to hide from these kind of verses. I actually want to show you how they would work into the gospel. Hebrews 12, verse 14 simply says, „Strive [struggle, work] for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” Here’s what you have to start to do with texts like this. There are a lot like this, even like, „…train yourself for godliness…” You can get into all these texts that seem to put a lot of effort on you in order to become the holiness the Bible just clearly said is actually gifted to you by God alone in Christ. So how do you strive toward the holiness without which no one is going to see the Lord if holiness is a gift of grace through faith? How do you strive for something that’s a free gift? I think here’s how you answer that question in light of the gospel. Let me tell you how you strive for holiness, how you train yourself for godliness, how you pursue righteousness and avoid sinfulness under the banner of the gospel. Here’s how you strive: You strive by faith through grace. If that’s confusing to you let me make it simpler: Fix your eyes on Jesus.
  • So with unveiled faces, you and I now have our eyes fixed on Jesus. We are beholding the glory of the Lord Jesus, and in our beholding of the Lord Jesus we „…are being transformed into the same image…” What’s the image? The image of Jesus, the holiness of God, so that by beholding Jesus we are being transformed into the likeness of Jesus. Look at how this works so we can be patient. „…from one degree of glory to another.” I love that the Bible is so honest about this. As we fix our eyes on Jesus Christ, as we see and savor Jesus, we are transformed from one degree of glory to the next.
  • So how should we fix our eyes on Jesus? Not only is he the founder of my faith, not only is he going to perfect my faith, but look at what in particular we are to look at. „…who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Where are our eyes focused? Our eyes are focused on the founder and perfecter of our faith who, filled with joy, died our death and rose from the grave, showing that all of our sin has been paid for. Therefore, to fix our eyes on Jesus Christ is to pursue holiness and to avoid sin.
  • But what ends up happening to many of us is we take our eyes off of Jesus Christ and go, Okay, let me pursue Jesus Christ… I have my eyes off of him, but let me try to pursue him, and then let me try to avoid sin, and honestly, nine times out of ten we reverse those. Let me avoid sin and try to pursue him. But the Bible continually teaches it a completely different way. „Get your eyes on Jesus. Pursue Jesus. Chase after Jesus.” It’s the same thing over and over. I don’t know if you’ve picked up on this yet. I have one sermon. That’s it. One. We just come out of a different text every weekend to preach it. Because this is what we need to be reminded of over and over and over and over and over again, always. You don’t become holy by trying to become holy. You become holy by fixing your eyes on Jesus Christ, and his decree declared holiness over us because of his life, death, and resurrection. He is the founder and he is the perfecter of our faith who died our death and has risen from the grave to prove that he paid the bill in full and has victory over sin and death.
  • Well how do I fix my eyes on Jesus, Matt? How do I fix my eyes on him? How do I look, how do I gaze, how do I behold his glory? Well God has given you all sorts of things to help this. He has given you the Word of God. The Bible is there so you might see who Jesus is, what he’s like, the nature and character of God. He has given you Christian community. He has given you a place like this where we can just come together and we can make much of Jesus. We can talk about him. We can rally. We can celebrate with one another who Jesus is and what he has done. We get to sing to him and sing about him.

Related links

Moses and Jesus – A Contrast

this is a small excerpt of commentary from  on the passage from Hebrews 3:1-6:

Moses and Jesus Contrasted
Hebrews 3:3-6

3 For he has come to deserve greater glory than Moses, just as the builder of a house deserves greater honor than the house itself! 4 For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God 5 Now Moses was faithful in all God’shouseas a servant, to testify to the things that would be spoken. 6 But Christ is faithful as a sonover God’s house (Hebrews 3:5-6a, emphasis mine).

Just as Jesus is “higher than the angels” (1:1—2:18), He is also greater than Moses (3:1-6). Our Lord was faithful “to the one who appointed him” (3:2). Moses was faithful “in God’s house” (3:5), and thus he is viewed as being a part of the house in verses 3 and 4. What is this “house”? The “house” is My house(3:5), that is, God’s house. This is a term that is often used in reference to the nation Israel,  and then also to the temple. No doubt here “house” means that Moses was faithful in (or among) the people of God, the Israelites. I say among because the author’s point here is that Moses is a part of the house; the Son, however, is greater than the house. He is the builder of the house. The Creator is always greater than the creation.

Let’s not miss the subtlety of the author here. In verse 1, the reader is exhorted to “take note of Jesus.”In verse 2, Jesus and Moses are compared. In verses 3-6a, Jesus and Moses are contrasted, showing Jesus to be greater than Moses. But in verses 3 and 4, if Jesus is being shown to be Moses, then He is greater because He is the “builder of the house,” but the “builder of the house” is said here to be “God.”Let us not miss the fact that our author is saying that Jesus is the Son, and Jesus is God. He is proclaiming the deity of the Lord Jesus.

Two more elements of contrast are introduced in verses 5 and 6. First, we see that Moses was faithful “as a servant,”while “Christ” was faithful “as a son.” Second, this contrast between “servant” and “son” is underscored by the fact that Moses was a servant “in”all God’s house (verse 5), while Christ is the Son“over”God’s house. I love the story Bible teacher Ray Stedman told about visiting a ranch in Montana. At first, Ray knew only the son of one of the ranch hands. When he visited, they were restricted from the main house, and they rode the old “nags” when they went horseback riding. Then, Ray says, he became friends with the owner’s son. Now it was a whole new experience. They had free run of the ranch and could go wherever they pleased. When they rode horses, they rode the best horses. That’s the difference between a servant and a son.

There is one more observation that I would point out to you. The author began by referring to “Jesus,” then to Him as “God” (verse 4). In verse 6, He is the “Son” and “Christ.” Jesus is the Son, God, and the Christ, that is, the Messiah. Some Jews tended to understand these (and other) titles as referring to different persons. Such is not the case with the author of Hebrews.

How Iffy is Our Faith?
Hebrews 3:6b

We are of his house, if in fact we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope we take pride in (3:6b, emphasis mine).

So the author has shown us that the Lord Jesus Christ is vastly superior to Moses, as great a man as he was. Moses was part of God’s “house,” and he was faithful. And now we are told that we, likewise, are of God’s house, “if we hold firmly to our confidence. . . .” How do we deal with this “if”? Our answer has several parts:

1. “If” statements are not restricted to the Book of Hebrews.The fact is that we find similar statements in many places in the New Testament:

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, this person does not belong to him (Romans 8:9, emphasis mine).

And if children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ) – if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be glorified with him (Romans 8:17, emphasis mine).

Notice therefore the kindness and harshness of God – harshness toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness toward you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off (Romans 11:22, emphasis mine).

Put yourselves to the test to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize regarding yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you – unless, indeed, you fail the test! (2 Corinthians 13:5, emphasis mine)

22 But now he has reconciled you by his physical body through death to present you holy, without blemish, and blameless before him – 23 if indeed you remain in the faith, established and firm, without shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard. This gospel has also been preached in all creation under heaven, and I, Paul, have become its servant (Colossians 1:22-23, emphasis mine).

1 So get rid of all evil and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2 And yearn like newborn infants for pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up to salvation, 3 if you have experienced the Lord’s kindness (1 Peter 2:1-3, emphasis mine).

3 Now by this we know that we have come to know God: if we keep his commandments (1 John 2:3, emphasis mine).

Our problem, then, is not unique to Hebrews. If we don’t deal with it here, we will face it elsewhere.

2. The author assumes the best about his readers. That is to say, the author assumes that his readers are fellow believers in Jesus Christ. We saw this by his statements in the first verse of chapter 3. His readers are holy brothers, partners in the heavenly calling, and those who confess Jesus as apostle and high priest. The author’s statements in the rest of the book only confirm the conclusion that he assumes most of his readers are saved.

3. The author does not look at the world through rose-colored glasses.He does assume that most of his readers are believers in Jesus Christ. He does not believe them to be infallible. He understands that the danger of “drifting” is very real and that drawing near is not the path of least resistance. Thus, failure is dealt with as a real possibility.

4. This epistle is written to a church. It may not be a large church, but virtually all the commentators agree that it is written to a church (even if we are not certain where it may be). Whenever a church is addressed, the assumption is made that most of the recipients have a genuine faith in Jesus Christ. But it also means that it is very possible that one or more members of the church addressed may not be saved. Thus the qualifications and the “ifs” that we find in the epistles.

5. The “if texts” are not intended to teach or imply that salvation is by works.The author is simply telling us that those who are truly saved are those who will also persevere to the end. Their faith and trust in Jesus will not fail under pressure. We are encouraged to draw near because we are saved, not to work harder in order to be saved. It is Christ who saves us,  it is Christ through His Spirit who sanctifies us,  and it is Christ who keeps us.  This is precisely why we need to draw near (and stay near) to Him.

6. The “if statements” assume human weaknesses. Only God knows the hearts of men. We know that there will be some who assume that they have gained entrance into heaven who will not be admitted:

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven – only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 22 On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons and do many powerful deeds?’ 23 Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Go away from me, you lawbreakers!’” (Matthew 7:21-23)

Jesus’ story of the rich man and Lazarus must have been a great shock to the Pharisees who heard it. They assumed the rich man would make it to heaven and that the poor man would join others like him in hell. Just the reverse occurred. Our consolation is that God knows His own:

19 However, God’s solid foundation remains standing, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from evil” (2 Timothy 2:19).

We do not know with absolute certainty those who are saved and those who are not. Some folks make their relationship with Jesus pretty plain, both by their profession and by their practice. But others leave us scratching our heads. My point here is to say that because we cannot know the hearts of men, we dare not assume all to be saved, even those who are fairly regular attendees at church. Thus, we must always leave room for the possibility that some who hear us may be unsaved and outside the faith. And because of this, it is only proper to include an “if” here and there, to address such folks. That is why I attempt, in nearly every sermon, to give the gospel to my audience. I assume that someone listening to or reading my sermon may be lost and in need of salvation. That is what our author is doing with his “ifs.”

7. The purpose of this epistle is not to create doubt, but to turn our attention to Jesus. Let’s not lose sight of what the Book of Hebrews is all about. It is an epistle that is addressed to a church, made up mainly of true believers. Over time, these believers, like us, can grow cold in their walk with the Lord, cold in their love for Christ and for men, much like the saints in Laodicea:

14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write the following: “This is the solemn pronouncement of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the originator of God’s creation: 15 ‘I know your deeds, thatyou are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot! 16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of my mouth! 17 Because you say, “I am rich and have acquired great wealth, and need nothing,” but do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked, 18 take my advice and buy gold from me refined by fire so you can become rich! Buy from me white clothing so you can be clothed and your shameful nakedness will not be exposed, and buy eye salve to put on your eyes so you can see! 19 All those I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent! 20 Listen! I am standing at the door and knocking! If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come into his home and share a meal with him, and he with me. 21 I will grant the one who conquers permission to sit with me on my throne, just as I too conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 The one who has an ear had better hear what the Spirit says to the churches’” (Revelation 3:14-22, emphasis mine).

As our Lord invites the lukewarm Laodiceans to repent and return to intimate fellowship with Him (as symbolized by eating a meal with Him), so the writer to the Book of Hebrews warns his readers of the dangers of drifting, and exhorts them to draw near to Jesus.

The Hebrews were not to look back to Judaism, nor to the Old Covenant, nor even to great men like Moses. They were to look to Jesus, the author and finisher of the faith (Hebrews 3:1; 12:2). The last thing our author wants is for us to look to ourselves; his goal is to get us to look to Jesus. The “if passages” are intended to call our attention to our spiritual condition. And, whether good or bad, the exhortation is the same.

Are you lost in sin, under divine condemnation, and headed for an eternity in hell? Look to Jesus! He is the only solution. He is not only God; He also took on humanity, so that He could die in the sinner’s place, bearing his (or her) punishment. He rose from the dead and is ascended to the right hand of the Father, and in so doing, He restores all who are in Him, by faith, to the glory and dignity that was once ours, before the fall.

Are you drifting from God, negligent about studying His Word, spasmodic about your church attendance and fellowship with the saints, apathetic about the peril of those who are without Jesus? Look to Jesus! He is the One who saves, sanctifies, and keeps. It is abiding in Him that we need.

Are you troubled, in need, fearful, discouraged? Look to Jesus!

Our author does not want us to look to mere men, even those as great as Moses. And he certainly doesn’t want us looking to ourselves, as though we are able to keep our souls. We are to look to Jesus.

The Lord will protect you from all evil;

He will keep your soul (Psalm 121:7, NASB95).

David Platt – Questioning God (It is okay to do so)

This is the struggle of faith. It is a real struggle to reconcile the character of God with the circumstances of our life. This is not trite. This is deep and if we are honest with God in our lives; this is a struggle- reconciling the character of God with the circumstances of our lives.

Habakkuk 1  Habakkuk 2

It’s those moments in life when something happens that changes everything. There’s things that happen in our lives that make us sit back and wonder what is going on? Why did this happen and where is God in the middle of this? The pain and suffering…

Habakkuk, the prophet in reverse: who spoke TO God on behalf of the people

What I want to show you is that these are not just okay questions, these are good questions to ask. All the other prophets, except Habakkuk are speaking for the Lord to the people. That is why they always say, „Thus saith the Lord”. But in Habakkuk we see the reverse. We see Habakkuk speaking to God on behalf of the people. What we see in the book is a dialogue with God, where Habakkuk is wrestling with injustice and evil and suffering everywhere around him.

The Babylonians, referred to as the Chaldeans here in Habakkuk, are about to take over Judah. The people of God in the middle of suffering as a result of their sin, and Habakkuk wondering, „God what are you doing? Where are you in the midst of all this?” And what we see is the hard reality of Habakkuk:

God uses painful experiences to accomplish His sovereign purposes

That’s the cold reality of the Book of Habakkuk. The prophet Habakkuk wrestles in the struggle of faith; wrestling with God in the same way we have seen this in Job, or Moses, or even Jeremiah… Habakkuk coming to God with deep, honest questions that lead to deep, honest praise. I want us to see the relationship between the two. From the struggle of faith to the song of faith in the book of Habakkuk.

The struggle of faith:

  • Does God hear? Have you ever cried out to God in the middle of pain and gotten the sense of nothing but the silence of heaven? These are bold questions. You almost wonder: Is this appropriate? I want you to see the prophet pressing in to God. He is not content with surface theology. He is pressing in deeply. Does God really hear?
  • Does God care? Habakkuk’s living in the middle of evil and injustice and suffering and seemingly God is doing nothing about it.
  • Is God good? This is one of the main questions of the book, and really one of the deepest questions in all of life. How can God be good and there be so much evil and suffering in the world? That’s the ultimate question. Is God good and is God holy?
  • Is God holy? He is pressing into the very nature of God here saying, „You are holy, yet you are sitting idly by as all this evil runs rampant.” Which bring us to the next question:
  • Where is God’s power? „God, are You going to protect your people in the middle of all of this contention, strife, destruction; violence rising around, always before your people. Where is your power and…
  • Where is God’s word? „The law is paralyzed. What good is your word? Are You going to show your justice?” which leads to really what I think sums up this whole picture:
  • Is God worthy of my trust? Habakkuk comes to God with questions and God responds by saying that he was about to raise up the enemies of the people of God and use them to rout His people and destroy them. Have you ever cried out to God in the middle of suffering, only to find that His answer and His response only evokes more questions? That is exactly what is happening here. God responds and then Habakkuk says, „What?”

This is the struggle of faith. It is a real struggle to reconcile the character of God with the circumstances of our life. This is not trite. This is deep and if we are honest with God in our lives; this is a struggle- reconciling the character of God with the circumstances of our lives. This is not just be happy and move on. There’s a depth here that Habakkuk is pressing in and it leads us to God’s second response: Verses 2,3 and 4; the most important verses in the entire book. (notes continue below video––>) More DAVID PLATT Sermons here.

Habakkuk 2:2-4

And the Lord answered me:”Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.
For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it;it will surely come; it will not delay.
“Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.

The key phrase in the entire book of Habakkuk is in verse 4. „The righteous shall live by his faith”. From the struggle of faith to the life of faith; God says to Habakkuk, to His people, „Here’s how to walk through suffering. You live by faith.”

Well, how do you do that? The life of faith:

  1. You listen to the truth of God.  „My word is the rock upon which My people will stand, in the midst of pain and suffering. In the midst of trial, you will never go wrong listening to the truth of God. Our emotions will lead us all kinds of different ways. Our circumstances will lead us all kinds of different ways. Our thinking will lead us all kinds of different ways, the advice we are given will lead us all kinds of different ways. The truth of God is the rock, the compass that brings us back to center at every point: walking through trial necessitates that we listen to truth. And the word of God IS the trust. It may not always say exactly what we are wanting to hear; it may not speak in a way that we would like to hear, but we can listen to this truth and find a foundation upon which to stand, no matter what the circumstances are.
  2. Lean on the timing of God. We want action in the short term. Short term circumstances provide a poor measurement of the long term character of God . The life of faith says, „I don’t see it now. All I see is darkness, all around me. The life of faith presses in and says, „I’m going to wait and God is going to show Himself and He is the one who hears and cares and who has all power and who is good and who is holy, who’s going to show this”. This is where we realize that suffering on earth, trials on earth can only be understood in the timing of heaven. Think about it. Any trial, we have no idea all that has gone on to lead us to that point; not just in our lives, but, in other people’s lives around us and we have no idea what is going to come from that in our lives or the other people around us. There is a whole perspective here that we do not have. When Job went through his suffering, he had no idea that Satan had approached the throne of God in heaven to tell God that the only reason Job worships Him is because he has „stuff” from God. And God tells him to take away all his stuff and Satan does it. Unbeknownst to Job, an audience of Satan and a hundred thousand angels and God are peering over Job. And Job tears his clothes and falls on his face and says, „The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. And unbeknownst to Job, 200,000 angels arms go flying into the sky and say, „Worthy is the God of Job!”  and Satan goes running from God’s presence. Job had no idea. I;m not saying that every time you go through trials, there’s some divine presence in heaven leading up to this. But, I am saying this, „You and I have no idea what is going on  leading up to this and we have no idea what is coming out of this. Job had no idea when he was in chapter 1 of what would happen by chapter 42 where he says, „I have heard of you God but now I have seen you and know you deeply”. There is a wrestling between chapter 1 and chapter 42. There is a picture here. There is a timing here and here’s what we are realizing even as we read these prophets. None of these prophets ever fully experienced, saw the hope about which they prophesied. I can not, based on the authority of God’s word, say to any person tonight, about the trial that you are in, in your life, that it will end in this life. The reality is, that you may, never in this life see the end of this trial. At the same time, you can lean on the timing of God. What do you mean?
  3. Live with your trust in God. This is the key question right here. You can, in the midst of suffering, either trust in yourself, or trust in God. God says, „Trust not in yourself, trust in Me”. This is where we realize this verse’s importance for it is quoted several times in the New Testament, most notably: Trusting in God for your salvation. Romans 1:16-17 and Galatian 3:11-12. At the moment, when you trusted in God for your salvation, you trusted yourself upon God. And what God is saying to and through Habakkuk is, „Just as you trust in God for your salvation; trust in God amidst your suffering”. God will show Himself faithful. In the same way that He saved you from your sins, by faith; He will sustain you in your suffering, by faith.
  4. Look forward to your triumph with God. From verse 5 and throughout the rest of the chapter the Chaldeans get their due. But right in the middle of this there are 2 verses tucked away that are glorious glimpses of hope for Habakkuk. 2:14- The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. Yes, there is coming a day when God will show His glory in an astounding, universal way.If you are walking through suffering right now, if you are going through a difficult time of pain and hurt, know this. Hold on to this: There is coming a day when the pain, the hurt and the suffering will fade away and the glory of God will fill the whole earth and it will be beyond dispute: He is indeed good! And He is indeed holy and He is indeed just and right and worthy of our worship. Look forward to the triumph. This is Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:17: Take heart, these light and momentary troubles and afflictions; they are passing away. So, we fix our eyes, not on what is seen, but we fix our eyes on what is unseen. If you are in the middle of suffering in your life, lift your eyes and look toward that which is unseen. God is going to show His glory in a way that is going to cause all the hurt and all the pain and all the wrestling to fade away. God will show His glory and we will stand in awe.
All of this leads to the song of faith. The last chapter in Habakkuk is absolutely amazing. It’s intended to be used as a psalm in worship. Habakkuk just reviews the greatness of God and the history of His people. After those deep, deep question, now the result of deep, deep praise.
The song of faith:
  • God is awesome
  • God is full of wrath. You realize that God is indeed holy and He is indeed just and God will show the full extent of His wrath to sin and sinners alike
  • God is full of mercy. At the same time, God is full of mercy. Wrath and mercy. Isn’t this the picture we are seeing with all of the prophets? Wrath and mercy; helping us to understand the death on the cross (where) wrath and mercy meet together in One.
  • God is present in all of creation. (Deut. 33) When you walk through suffering, yo do not have a God who is distant from you. You have a God who is present with you. He is with you in the valley. He never leaves you alone. You’re never alone in suffering. You God is present in all of Creation.
  • God has power over all things.
  • God is sovereign in all things. There is not one event in history that God is not totally sovereign over. When you hurt, or maybe one day when you hear that diagnosis from the doctor that you dread; know this, that in that moment God is absolutely on His throne and He is not surprised. When you got that call, or when you get that call, it changes everything. Know this: God was, is, will be on His throne; sovereign over all of that. This is really, really good when you realize the next thing…
  • God is the protector of His people. It is good to have this God on your side. Let me rephrase that: You really want to be on His side. Just let this soak in: Child of God. The God who has power over all things in the universe, the God who is sovereign over all things in the universe is your protector. No fear. Bring what may. No fear. God is our protector and He is the deliverer of His people.
  •  All this leads to the last 3 stunning verses. Habakkuk has wrestled with God. Circumstances around Him are dark on every side; suffering and pain and no sign of anything changing and this is Habakkuk’s conclusion: God is our satisfaction. He says „I will rejoice in the Lord” He doesn’t just sustain (trusting) but he satisfies (rejoicing). This is not just some trite happiness, it is a true happiness, a rejoicing that says, „Everything is taken from me and yet I still have God and so I still have joy.
Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord;I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19 God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places
  • God is our strength. He upholds us. He makes us tread in the high places. If you’re in battle, you want to be in the high places. The high places is places where you conquer from. Places where you rule from and reign. In the midst of suffering, Habakkuk says, with His strength and His satisfaction he leads me to the high place, where no matter what is raging around me, I not only survive, thrive; but…
  • God is our victory. He puts us on the mountaintop as a victor and a conqueror in the midst of suffering.
It does seem weird to us, this truth of Habakkuk that God would use painful experiences to accomplish  His sovereign purposes and I want to remind us of something far, far, far weirder. Something far more difficult to comprehend:
The comforting reality of the cross
that God would use His Son’s suffering to accomplish His people’s salvation. That is hard to understand. One writer put it this way. God is always at work in human history, to achieve His ultimate goal. In the means by which He chooses to pursue that goal may be as astounding as: the destruction of a  nation or as incomprehensible as the blood dripping from a figure of a man on a cross. Yes, God’s ways in Habakkuk may seem strange, and yes, God’s ways in our lives may seem strange. Bu, look to the cross, for there, God takes the penalty of our sin, from our lives and pours it out on His Son and takes the pain of His Son to bring us peace. For God, the Father on high, wills the crushing death of His Son; the cruel, torturous, otherwise unexplainable death of His Son to bring us life.
His pain brings us peace.
His death brings us life.
We find salvation in His suffering and because of his sufferings for our sins, in our place, because of His victory over sins on our behalf, because of Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection from the grave we can know this: Put your faith, put your trust in this- our suffering is temporary. Death itself is temporary. Christ is eternal. So thrust yourself upon Him. Thrust yourself upon the eternal God who reigns sovereign over all things and realize: Your suffering is temporary and your God is trustworthy. He will lead us all to conclude: Though there is no figs on the vine and there is no fruit in the field, we can rejoice in our God. Take joy in His salvation and stand strong on the high places because of His glory. Praise be to God. From the  message series: A Chronicle of Redemption Part IV Faithful Prophets in a Divided Kingdom. David Platt is Pastor of the Church at Brook Hills.
More DAVID PLATT Sermons here.

Faith and Reason – Pastor John Piper

This 60 minute sermon was given at the Ligonier 2007 Conference and is drawn from Pastor John Piper’s meditation on Scriptures (rather than using apologetics). The text used is Matthew 16:1-4 – And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. 2 He answered them,“When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ 3 And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. 4 An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed.

The sermon consists of 3 parts-

  1. Contemplating Reason
  2. Contemplating Faith and its Nature
  3. How they relate to each other

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You can also listen to audio or read a related sermon on faith and reason here at In this sermon Pastor Piper considers six observations from the text.

John Piper:

Our theme is faith and reason. We’ll begin with reflections on reason and then on faith and then on the relationship between the two in the awakening of saving faith.

Reflection on Reason

Let’s begin our reflection on reason by looking at Matthew 16:1-4.

And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven [in other words, some evidence that would help them believe]. He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed.

When I was in seminary, there was much talk about Hellenistic thinking versus Hebraic thinking. An example of Hellenistic (or Greek) thinking would be Aristotelian logic, which has the syllogism at its foundation: “All men are mortal; Plato is a man; therefore, Plato is mortal.”1 The point of this distinction between Hebraic and Hellenistic was that the Bible tends to be Hebraic, but we tend to be the heirs of Hellenistic thinking. So if one uses Aristotelian logic in understanding the Scriptures, one is presumably historically uninformed. The Bible does not have its roots in linear, Aristotelian (sometimes called “western”) logic, they said, but in relational, experiential knowledge.

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Is God Dead? Atheism vs Christianity. Debate (2 hours) at Wheaton College

April 2008 – Setting: Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, Cole Memorial Chapel- Cicero’s Podium, a Great Issues Debate Series (a  worthy 2 hour debate)

Peter Kreeft (Professor of Philosophy, Boston College) vs Michael Tooley, (Professor of Philosophy and College Professor of Distinction, University of Colorado, Boulder).

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