The New Jerusalem, then, is the apocalyptic portraiture of the New Testament Church and Kingdom of God. Its symbolism exhibits the heavenly nature of the communion and fellowship of God and his people, which is entered here by faith, but which opens into unspeakable fullness of glory through the ages.
Christianity is based on the historicity of a miracle, that of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from a Jerusalem tomb two millennia ago. That event is why we celebrate Easter as the holiest of Christian celebrations and Sunday as the Christian Sabbath. Our faith depends on Christ’s resurrection, His victory over sin and death. Too often, however, modern Christians express uncertainty about the implications of Christ’s resurrection as it relates to the final resurrection at the second coming of Christ.
Religious holidays memorialize the life of Jesus, which is honored differently by Protestants and Catholics. Actually, there are three calendars intertwined in the American calendar: Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish.
I’ve seen an advance screening of Mel Gibson’s controversial new film, The Passion of the Christ. It was a digital projection with a temporary soundtrack and no special effects. Doesn’t matter. It was still the most moving and memorable portrayal of Jesus Christ that I have ever witnessed. Produced by Mel Gibson, co-written with Benedict Fitzgerald, and starring Jim Caviezel, this masterpiece has clearly been providentially ordained by God for such a time as this.
The Great Commission is simultaneously one of the most familiar passages in Scripture and one of the least understood. It is found at the conclusion to the Gospel of Matthew after the resurrection of Christ and as a consequence of that glorious event. Its appearance at the end of Matthew is most apropos, for this is the gospel designed to introduce Christ as the King. The Lord Jesus Christ is the authoritative ruler sent from God to establish the Kingdom of God.
Sometimes I feel like a Toyota — not that there’s anything wrong with that — but a charred one at that. Occasionally, I must confess, I even feel like a Kia or (dare we remember the Yugo) another similar subcompact after it has collided with a Hummer — head-on. Totaled, I think, is the word I’m seeking. Might as well open the junkyard doors because my life doesn’t seem capable of repair. Even if money, time, and parts were not issues, no one could take the grimy mess that is the sin-wracked me and restore it, let alone make it resemble the gold-plated beauties in the sparkling showroom.
The new creation has come. The old world is passing away (1 Jn. 2:17), and Jesus Christ is presently making all things new (Rev. 21:5). It is a great mistake to limit His transforming power to the human heart, or postpone its cosmic impact to eternity. John saw a new world and a new civilization. We need the same vision.
A deluding spirit is loose within Evangelicalism! It teaches that God’s authority extends only as far as piety, the inner life of the believer, and possibly in some measure to the church also. Many within our ranks have drunk deeply of this spirit having never tested it by the Word of God, which alone can deliver from conformity to the world (Rom. 12:1-2; Ps. 119:99-100). As a polluted well and a trampled spring they have acquiesced to the spirit of plurality and compromise (Pr. 25:26).
The doctrine of the resurrection was Paul’s preeminent tool for effecting change in the mission field of the Roman Empire. Paul majored in preaching the Christ who was “declared to be the Son of God with power…by His resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:4). Every Sunday school child probably knows that in each sermon in the Book of Acts, the neon light is upon the resurrection. Even the “amateur” sermon by the deacon Stephen in Acts 7, which many have assumed does not emphasize the resurrection and seems to validate the idea that deacons must never preach (!), does precisely the opposite.
The first kind of discussion on the resurrection I heard as a new Christian placed a great deal of stress upon the fact that Christ was (truly, physically) raised from the dead and that the evidence supported this fact and refuted the various theories proposed in its stead (e.g., the swoon theory, the body-theft theory, etc.). There was also a strong emphasis placed upon the fact that we Christians do not worship a dead martyr but a living Savior, who is now seated at the right hand of God where He serves as our Mediator with God and as the Head of His church, which is in vital union with Him. I am grateful for having received this faithful teaching. However there was something very important omitted from it, namely, what we may call the “cosmic context” of the resurrection of Christ.
The place of God’s law in the New Testament is an area of considerable debate among Christians today. There are three views about the law and its Old-New Testament relationship that exist at present.
How people answer the question “What is the proper role of civil government in society?” will largely determine whether they, while sojourning on this earth, live as slaves to the state, or as free and self-responsible individuals before a loving God.
There is a revolution in contemporary evangelical worship and preaching.1 Church growth gurus preach new techniques of attracting crowds and growing churches. While their motives may be good, their approach to worship and preaching is a dramatic departure from what is genuinely Biblical. While my criticisms don’t apply to all churches, they are true of many of the largest churches and are, I’m afraid, indicative of the direction of modern evangelicalism.
On a misty morning in the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains, two heart-broken, teary-eyed young boys, ages four (1) and seven, stand by their dying mother’s bedside. The disinterested world at large, far removed from that quiet farm in Old Virginia, took little notice of the events that were about to unfold, but Heaven stood at rapt attention. As the godly Presbyterian mother’s soul prepared to take its heavenly flight, she sent up a petition to the God of her fathers that would affect not only her two young sons, but thousands yet unborn as well.
Our public schools teach moral relativism to the Christians’ children, “values clarification,” and the joys of sex in every imaginable context but marriage. Our universities are even worse. Our courts hammer us with anti-Christian rulings —abolishing school prayer, creating a “constitutional right” to abortion, deleting “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance, and establishing additional “rights” to sodomy and homosexual marriage.