In Christ Alone

564 I first heard Sinclair Ferguson speak at a Faith and Life Conference at All Saints Presbyterian Church in Richmond, VA. 

A few years later I was at a Ligonier Conference in Orlando and listened to him present deep truths from the Gospel of John that were all the more compelling as they came wrapped in the sound of his rich Scottish accent.  Because his teaching always challenged and enlarged my heart and mind, I was anxious to read his new book:

In Christ Alone.

I had a sense as I moved from chapter to chapter that I was reading something "greater than" other books that I have delighted in.  Early on, my mind stopped referencing my fondness for Sinclair Ferguson because I became enthralled with the glory and supremacy of Christ.  I found myself intending to stop at the end of one chapter only to be grabbed by the title of the next and reading on. It was thrilling to see how many ways and through how many topics he remained commitedly Christocentric.  I know that this will be a book that I will return to again and again.  It is such a gift of concise, enriching Jesus exalting teaching.

Some of the questions dealt with are:

  • What does it mean to abide in Christ?
  • What is a legitimate prayer?
  • Why did Jesus weep at Lazarus’ tomb?
  • How well do you play second fiddle?
  • What does it mean to come to Christ for rest?
  • What does contentment look like and why does it have to be learned?
  • What can we know about our enemy the Devil?
  • What am I to think in light of struggles and suffering?
  • How am I to exercise the liberty that I have in Christ?

ferguson Having just completed a study of Hebrews, I was especially interested in the chapters that unpacked the meanings of that book.

Ferguson asks a question that he called a touchstone of truth so that a reader could discern the influence that a particular teaching was having on them.  "Is this teaching by which I am being influenced leading me to love and trust Jesus more? Or less?  (p. 67) 

I can say with deep appreciation and joy–this book certainly led me into a deeper love of my Savior Jesus!

Christ Colored Lens

two-eyes (Small)Recently, I studied the Book of Hebrews with a group of women in my church.  Sometimes, when you lead a study you forget to reflect and think personally about how God’s Word is changing you.

This morning as I reflected on the 13 chapters of Hebrews, I realized God has taught me to look at my circumstances, my culture, and my future through Christ colored lens.

Here are some of the glorious truths that are newly precious to my heart:

  • God speaks to us through His Son Jesus (1:2)
  • Jesus represents God exactly (1:3)

christJesus provides the solution for my sin problem (1:3)

  • Jesus is supreme over all that is created (1:2, 4; 2:8)
  • Jesus authored–or pioneered my salvation (2:10;5:8-9)
  • Ignoring Jesus is ignoring salvation (2:3, 10)
  • Jesus is making me holy and is not ashamed of me (2:11; 10:14)

Jesus’ death defeated the devil and freed me from the fear of death! (2:14-15)

Jesus’ incarnation made it possible for Him to become a merciful and faithful High Priest who can help when I am tempted and in need. (2:17; 4:14-16)

  • Jesus is my destination and the source of perfect rest. (4:2-7)
  • The Word of God is my guidebook to spiritual maturity.  By constant use it trains me to distinguish good from evil  (4:12; 5:14;6:1)
  • Jesus is my anchor in heaven–firm and secure (6:19)
  • Jesus is praying for me day after day–how can I fail? (7:25)
  • Jesus is my guarantee that God’s standard of perfection has been met. (7:18-22)
  • Because of Jesus, my sins are remembered no more–ever–ever–ever (8:12;9:15)
  • Jesus has written His law on my mind and heart so that I am more inclined to care about what He cares about. (8:10)
  • Jesus’ sacrifice is the basis of my service — even when my conscience wants to accuse me of unworthiness (9:14;10:22)
  • With Jesus, believing is seeing! (10:39-11:1)
  • Jesus (Small)Jesus’ indwelling Spirit gives me "eyes" to see and believe the reality and activity of the invisible God (11:1-3)
  • With eyes fixed on Jesus,  I can face the future with hope regardless of my circumstances.  (11:13, 12:2-11)
  • With eyes fixed on Jesus, I can endure hardship sure that it is productive rather than destructive! (12:7-11)
  • Because of Jesus, I have entered a kingdom that cannot be shaken as the Babylonians, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Roman, German, Japanese, etc. have been. (12:28)
  • Because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever– there is no possibility of being disappointed in or by Him (13:8)
  • Jesus is a great Shepherd–He equips me–His sheep with everything I need for doing His will. (13:20-21)
  • Jesus is able to strengthen my heart for the journey of faith–it does not come by my efforts but by the sweet gift of grace

Hallelujah!  It is all about you Jesus!

Moses’ Prosperity Doctrine

By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to share ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.

He considered abuse suffered for Christ to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to the reward.

By faith he left Egypt, unafraid of the king’s anger; for he persevered as though he saw him who is invisible. (Hebrews 11:24-27)

learnenglish-central-stories-treasure-story-330x220 Talk about a radical reorientation to everything that we think in the natural!

  • Who wouldn’t want to be known–isn’t fame the greatest treasure?
  • Who wouldn’t want to have the place of son in the royal family–isn’t celebrity and having people look up to you a major rush in life?
  • Who wouldn’t want to be well thought of and treated well–isn’t good treatment our just desserts?

Continue reading “Moses’ Prosperity Doctrine”

The Today Show

“So watch your step, friends.  Make sure there’s no evil unbelief lying around that will trip you up and throw you off course, diverting you from the living God. 

For as long as it’s still God’s Today, keep each other on your toes so sin doesn’t slow down your reflexes.”

Hebrews 3:12-13, The Message

ages During a study of Acts in the Fall, I was struck by the view of history that the early Christians like Peter and Paul expressed in their preaching.  Often, they would recount the history of the Jews and highlight where they went astray–where they were diverted from the Living God. 

Paul’s purpose as he put the spotlight on history was to suggest that it was not just a story from the past that he was reminding people of but it was a story that was being repeated in his Today.

Continue reading “The Today Show”