Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Kosmosdale Baptist Church on

This week the church to which I belong here in Louisville, Kosmosdale Baptist Church, has begun posting recordings of sermons on the Internet. Readers are invited to listen HERE.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pray for Rain

Gene Bridges over at Triablogue has requested that we offer up prayers for rain for the southeastern United States. Please consider praying in this regard in your daily prayers as well as asking your congregation to pray for rain for this area during Sunday worship and Wednesday night prayer meetings.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Sermon on Isaiah 44:6-20, Part 3: Isaiah 44:7

[Click HERE to read part 1 and HERE to read part 2.]

God says:

“Who is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people.” (Isaiah 44:7a ESV)

Think of how different our God is from the supposed gods of other religions. In pagan systems no one particular god cares for all the people. People may choose to follow a certain god, but then they must perform the right ceremonies to keep that god’s favor. If a stronger nation conquers a pagan nation, then the weaker nation would begin to follow the pagan nation’s gods. But the LORD creates one people to show His love. He calls to them again and again. Even when they reject Him, He sends prophets to urge them to faithfulness. Even when their rejection becomes so great that He allows them to be exiled, He still preserves a faithful remnant and uses that remnant to bless all nations.

“Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen.” (Isaiah 44:7b ESV)

In Isaiah, God declares that King Hezekiah will live fifteen more years, and he does. He declares Cyrus will subdue nations about one hundred years before Cyrus is even born. Later, Jesus declares that Jerusalem will fall about forty years before the Romans raze it to the ground. You can search the texts of other religions– the Koran of the Muslims, the Ramayana of the Hindus– and you will find no book with such verifiable, fulfilled prophecy.

[To be continued...]


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sermon on Isaiah 44:6-20, Part 2: Isaiah 44:6

[You can read Part 1 HERE.]

Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last;” (Isaiah 44:6a ESV)

Think of the arrogance of this statement if made by anyone other than the true God. Even today, outspoken atheists such as Richard Dawkins, who fail to see the difference between God and Man, point to such statements and say that if God does exist, then He is certainly a megalomaniac. But we know from this and other Scripture that God is before all things and that all things end in His glory.

“besides me there is no god.” (Isaiah 44:6b ESV)

This would have been an incredible statement in the ears of Israel’s neighbors, who would have worshiped many gods. This statement is incredible in the ears of our neighbors as well, because though most people in our culture would not claim to worship multiple gods, many people will try to say that all beliefs are equally valid– and that we are wrong to say otherwise. For instance, a short while back Abby and I were in a natural childbirth seminar and the speaker at the seminar was counseling mothers on how to cope with the pain of childbirth. One suggestion that the speaker had was prayer. She said something to the effect of, ‘When laboring, I’ve found that many women take comfort in calling out to a higher power, so you may consider prayer– whether it be to Mother God, Jesus, Krishna, or whoever you may believe in that gives you comfort.’ Now, the forum did not permit this, but what if I had raised my hand and said, ‘Excuse me, but the God of the Bible declares, “Besides me there is no god”?’ What do you think the reaction to that statement would have been? Other participants would have called me narrow-minded at best. So in our culture it is easy for us to shrink away from such absolute statements made by God, but we must resist this temptation if we are to present His message of life to the dying.

[To be continued...]


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Evangelistic Encounter: 10/11-12/07

As I study at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary to hopefully serve Christ in international missions, it is my desire to be a missionary wherever the Lord would have me at this time, specifically at my workplace. As I started my job at UPS about two weeks ago, I was looking for the opportunity to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to my co-workers. Further encouraged by a recent blogpost written by my friend Timmy Brister and a recent sermon on evangelism by Dr. Russell Moore, I have been praying for opportunities to introduce others to faith in Jesus.

Last week, I felt particularly burdened to speak of Christ with my job trainer, as I was working closely with him every night and I knew I would have only limited opportunity to speak with him after my training week. My job trainer, whose name was Ronnie, had told me that he had went to a Catholic church with his grandma when he was younger and had later attended another church with his mom, but when I asked him what he believed about Jesus- who he thought Jesus is, etc., his answers were extremely vague. It seemed like every time I tried to engage Ronnie in more in-depth conversation, our work load would increase, and thus we could no longer converse.

Last Thursday was my last night to work with Ronnie, and I knew it would probably be my last chance to speak to him concerning the message of eternal life. All that week in different conversations with other employees, I had heard Ronnie mention accidents that he knew people had suffered from. I brought this up and then pointed out that eventually we will all have one final accident or final illness or that we will die of old age, etc., and then we will have to face God in judgment. I asked Ronnie if he were standing before God and He asked, "Why should I let you into my heaven?" what would his response be. Ronnie replied that he supposed he would say that he had done the best he could to live right. I then began to talk with Ronnie about God's standard of righteousness in His moral Law reflected in the Ten Commandments. I asked Ronnie if he had ever told a lie, and he said he had.

Just then, break time began and Ronnie went outside to smoke. I followed him part of the way, speaking with him, but then realized that since I am so allergic to cigarette smoke, it would be a bad idea to be around smokers, as I probably wouldn't be able to do my job very well or speak to Ronnie any more if I were sneezing my lungs out.

After break I began talking to Ronnie again. I referred back to Ronnie's statement about telling God that he had done his best. I pointed out that we would all want to say we've done ur best, but if we are honest, we all know that we have lied when we should have told the truth or been angry- even to the point of hatred- when we know we should love everyone. Ronnie added that everyone has disobeyed their parents, and I agreed, also pointing to the fact that we have all used God's name lightly, and that the Ten Commandments say God will not hold anyone guiltless who takes His name in vain. At that point Ronnie started asking about whether all cussing was a sin or only taking God's name in vain. I pointed out that the Bible says, "Let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth," and that Jesus said if you call someone a fool you are in danger of hell fire to say that it is not only taking the Lord's name in vain or even cussing that God will judge, but any abusive speech toward Him or others.

At that point the conversation took what I thought to be an interesting turn. Ronnie began to assert that if God wrote the Commandments now that they would be different. I asked why he thought that was. Ronnie brought up the command, "Thou shalt not kill," and asserted that things were more complicated now, with police having to kill to prevent crime and soldiers killing terrorists. I informed him that God himself commanded capital punishment and military killing in the Old Testament and that the command was better translated, "You shall not murder."

As the conversation progressed, it became apparent that the subject of killing was a red herring. The fact is that Ronnie was hoping I would agree with him that God would relax His standard against adultery, as he is living with His girlfriend.

God allowed me the opportunity to tell Ronnie that while we have no hope in our own good works, our hope is in Christ- in His perfect life, His death on the Cross, bearing the wrath of God for all who would believe in Him, and in His resurrection, conquering death and Hell.

I also got to explain some differences between believing facts and in truly trusting one's life- both here and in eternity- to Christ.

Sadly, by that time, it was time to leave, and I didn't have the opportunity to speak with him any more.

The next night, I saw Ronnie briefly in passing and was able to give him a copy of The Passion of Jesus Christ by John Piper, which he said he would read.

Please pray for Ronnie, that God would use the truth of His Gospel to save his soul from Hell.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

Sermon on Isaiah 44:6-20, Part 1: Introduction

[Sunday before last, I had the great privilege of preaching at the afternoon service of my church home here in Louisville, Kosmosdale Baptist Church. The next few posts will contain the edited content of that sermon.]

Isaiah 44:6-20

Introduction to the book of Isaiah
The book of Isaiah is an account of great judgment and great hope. Isaiah acts as God' prosecutor bringing charges against His chosen nation because of their unfaithfulness to Him, but Isaiah also acts as God's evangelist, bringing the Good News that God will make all things right, establishing a new heavens and a new earth- expanding His kingdom beyond ethnic Israel to all the nations.

Isaiah's status as prophet confirmed
Isaiah's call as a prophet is confirmed in several ways:
First, his call is confirmed by his vision of the LORD sitting on an exalted throne in His temple.
Later, Isaiah acted as God's messenger to King Hezekiah (who was on his death-bed) to tell the King that he had fifteen more years to live- a message confirmed by the sun briefly changing its course in the sky.
Perhaps the most remarkable way that God confirmed Isaiah as a prophet is at the end of our chapter [Isaiah 44], where Isaiah prophesies about King Cyrus by name over 100 years in advance.

Introduction to this text
Throughout the book of Isaiah, the prophet has been delivering a message of judgment against Israel for their hypocrisy in pretending to be concerned with God's law- keeping His feasts, sacrificing, fasting- while rejecting justice and love for the poor. In this regard, Isaiah's ministry was much like that of the Lord Jesus, who came over 600 years later.

Like Jesus, Isaiah confronted a people who used religion as an excuse to continue a self-centered lifestyle at the expense of others. As Jesus predicted the destruction of Jerusalem, Isaiah foretold Judah's captivity in Babylon just a few chapters before our text. Leading up to- and especially during- their time in Babylon, the remnant of Israel would have been severely tempted to worship the idols of the Babylonians and the other nations around them. And that is why the text under consideration would have been so relevant to the people of Israel when it was first given.

This text begins with a proclamation from God concerning His- for lack of a better term- utter uniqueness.

[To be continued...]