Week 7 – Restoration for Israel and Judah (Jer 30:1-33:26)

Working your way through the first 29 chapters of Jeremiah can feel like walking through a desert of judgment with an occasional puddle of hope. But when we get to Jeremiah 30-33, we reach the oasis of restoration and hope.  Within these chapters the new covenant established by a Davidic king bursts into open view to inspire God’s people to put their hope in him.

As believers we have the joy of being under that promised new covenant through the work of Christ. His death and resurrection inaugurated the new covenant that offers full and final forgiveness of sins. As the Righteous Branch he gives his righteousness to his people so that they are called “the Lord is our righteousness.”

Want to hear more? You can listen to the audio below and follow along with the handout.

Week 7 -Restoration for Judah and Israel (Handout)

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Mondays with Marty

In this week’s installment from Off the Record with Martin Luther, Luther explains the importance of Genesis 1:

3043B. The first chapter of Genesis contains the whole of Scripture in it. For that reason, the elders cautioned that no one under the age of thirty years should be permitted to read it. Because it has many mysteries within it which the unlearned cannot take as true; also, no one at that time had hardly paid attention to it, let alone understood it. (p. 339).

DISCLAIMER: The views reflected in this quote do not necessarily reflect those of the author of this blog. This quote is shared in the interest of edification, education, and/or humor.
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The Responsibilities of Church Membership (Acts 2:42-47)

One of the defining characteristics of our culture is a fear of commitment. We love to keep our options open, not get ourselves locked into something that is difficult to get ourselves out of. According to a study released in 2013, by the age of 30 years old, 75% of women in the U.S. have lived with a partner without being married.[1] About 40% of those relationship ended up in marriage within three years, while nearly a third were still together living together without being married.

This lack of commitment has infected the church as well. Some churches have done away with the notion of membership altogether. Other churches still have it, but do almost nothing with it. As a result, it is common for churches to have a large number of regular attenders who are not members.

Despite its growing unpopularity, I still believe that church membership is a biblical idea. In essence, it is a formal expression of our love and commitment to Christ and his church. So what then are the responsibilities of being a member of a local church?

That is the question I sought to answer in my recent sermon at Christ’s Covenant Church. Taking Acts 2:42-47 as my text, I summarized our responsibilities as (1) be involved and (2) be invested.

If you have ever wondered what your responsibilities are as a faithful member of a local church are, I encourage you to listen and learn.

[1] http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-04/unmarried-couples-living-together-is-new-u-s-norm.html

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Mondays with Marty

In this week’s installment from Off the Record with Martin Luther, Luther explains what our greatest comfort as believers is:

6637. The greatest comfort is that Christ is everywhere and will be with us always until the end of the world, just as Himself promised, Matthew 28:20. Therefore, you should certainly believe, when you listen to me or another servant of the Church, that you hear God Himself talking to you from heaven. For I have both the power and the command from God to comfort you and to forgive your sins in the name of Christ; the reason He became man and came to us was to make us holy. And then we flee from Him and shun His great gifts, that He offers us in rich abundance, and run to the side of the devil. Isn’t that a poor, miserable thing? Oh, dear Lord God, help us and open our eyes so that we can see and know. (p. 383-84).

DISCLAIMER: The views reflected in this quote do not necessarily reflect those of the author of this blog. This quote is shared in the interest of edification, education, and/or humor.
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Week 6 – Jeremiah’s Confrontations (Jer 21:1-29:32)

Whereas a central focus of Jeremiah 11:1-20:18 is Jeremiah’s roller coaster ride of frustration and desperation, in this week’s installment we see a series of confrontations Jeremiah has with Judah’s kings (21:1-23:8), false prophets (23:9-40), the people (24:1-25:38), and false belief (26:1-29:32).

In the midst of condemning the wicked shepherds (i.e., the kings) of Judah, Yahweh makes a stunning promise: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.'” (Jer 23:5-6). God had promised David that he would raise up one of his descendants to rule over an eternal kingdom (2 Sam 7:12-16). YHWH reaffirms that promise here in Jer 23:5-6. That promise is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, who as a descendant of David (Rom 1:3) “became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Cor 1:30). God “made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21).

Want to hear more? You can listen to the audio and follow along with the handout:

Week 6 -Jeremiah’s Confrontations (Handout)

 

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Mondays with Marty

In this week’s installment from Off the Record with Martin Luther, Luther explains how the devil makes us doubt heaven:

1202. The devil makes us doubt the existence of heaven both before and after sin. Christ does the opposite; He offers us heaven after sin and a clear conscience (p. 404).

DISCLAIMER: The views reflected in this quote do not necessarily reflect those of the author of this blog. This quote is shared in the interest of edification, education, and/or humor.
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Week 5 – Jeremiah struggles with Judah and God (Jeremiah 11:1-20:18)

As we arrive at Week 5 in Jeremiah, we come to a section (11:1-20:18) where the prophet struggles with Judah, himself, and YHWH. As a result he is surprised by opposition (11:1-12:17), stunned over feeling betrayed by God (13:1-15:21), renewed by God (16:1-17:18), burdened by opposition (17:19-18:23), and prepared to continue serving (19:1-20:18).  Throughout this section Jeremiah rides a roller coaster of frustration, desperation, and restoration.

One of the many gospel glimpses we see in this section is that God intended his people to “be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory, but they would not listen” (Jer 13:11). Yet because of their sin they failed to reflect God’s glory. But the good news of the gospel is that “God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 4:6). As believers see the glory of Christ, we “are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor 3:18).

Want to hear more? You can listen to the audio below and follow along with the handout as well.

Week 5 -Jeremiah’s Struggles with God and Judah (Handout)

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Mondays with Marty

In this week’s installment from Off the Record with Martin Luther, Luther extols the magnificence of the Word of God:

4812. The magnificence of the Word of God is never-ending and indescribable. We can never thank God enough for it. Human reason thinks thus: “Oh, I would walk to the end of the world if only I could hear the Lord our Creator here upon the earth!” Hear, dear brother, God the creator of heaven and earth does talk to you through His preachers. He baptizes, instructs and pronounces us free from sin through His Sacraments. And the Word of God is not to be compared to the words of Plato or Aristotle, but rather God Himself speaks. And the Word is best learned by the common people and youth when preached simply and plainly without the slightest ambiguity, just as Christ taught through simple parables. And that is the best and most suitable manner for the congregation to hear the Word of God and never doubt the preacher. It is especially important when the people are not quite secure in their belief that the pastor speak simply, so he can help and guide them. For although God can certainly overcome opposition, he cannot tolerate confusion and contradiction (p. 228).

DISCLAIMER: The views reflected in this quote do not necessarily reflect those of the author of this blog. This quote is shared in the interest of edification, education, and/or humor.
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Week 4 – False Religion and an Idolatrous People ( Jeremiah 7:1–10:25)

In Jeremiah 7:1–10:25, the prophet gives further evidence of God’s charges against Judah. They hypocritically take comfort in having the temple while living in open disobedience to God (7:1–8:3), reject YHWH’s torah (8:4-17), grieve Jeremiah by living deceitful lives (8:18–9:26), and continue to practice idolatry (10:1-16). As a result, exile awaits them (10:17-25). In this section of Jeremiah we see that YHWH wants his people to know him for who he truly is and as a result live a life of covenant faithfulness.

Along the way we see glimpses of the gospel. God delights in his people knowing him, and he wants to ensure that we know him as he truly is (Jer 9:24). He wants us to know him as “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exod 34:6-7). Despite our rebellion against him, God took on flesh and dwelled among us in the person of Jesus Christ, who was full of grace and truth (John 1:14). Because of what he has done for us, we can experience “the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” and “the power of his resurrection” (Phil 3:8, 10).

Want to learn more? You can listen below and follow along with the handout.

Week 4 -False Religion and an Idolatrous People (Handout)

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Promising New Commentary Series Announced: Biblical Theology for Christian Proclamation

This past Friday Broadman and Holman (B&H) publicly announced a new commentary series entitled Biblical Theology for Christian Proclamation.  According to the preface series (emphasis mine):

The present set of volumes constitutes an ambitious project, seeking to explore the theology of the Bible in considerable depth, spanning both Testaments. Authors come from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives, though all affirm the inerrancy and inspiration of Scripture. United in their high view of Scripture, and in their belief in the underlying unity of Scripture, which is ultimately grounded in the unity of God himself, each author explores the contribution of a given book or group of books to the theology of Scripture as a whole. While conceived as stand-alone volumes, each volume thus also makes a contribution to the larger whole. All volumes provide a discussion of introductory matters, including the historical setting and the literary structure of a given book of Scripture. Also included is an exegetical treatment of all the relevant passages in succinct commentary-style format. The biblical theology approach of the series will also inform and play a role in the commentary proper. The commentator permits a discussion between the commentary proper and the biblical theology that it reflects by a series of cross-references.

The major contribution of each volume, however, is a thorough discussion of the most important themes of the biblical book in relation to the canon as a whole. This format allows each contributor to ground Biblical Theology, as is proper, in an appropriate appraisal of the relevant historical and literary features of a particular book in Scripture while at the same time focusing on its major theological contribution to the entire Christian canon in the context of the larger salvation-historical metanarrative of Scripture. Within this overall format, there will be room for each individual contributor to explore the major themes of his or her particular corpus in the way he or she sees most appropriate for the material under consideration.

This format, in itself, would already be a valuable contribution to Biblical Theology. But there are other series that try to accomplish a survey of the Bible’s theology as well. What distinguishes the present series is its orientation toward Christian proclamation. This is the Biblical Theology for Christian Proclamation commentary series! As a result, the ultimate purpose of this set of volumes is not exclusively, or even primarily, academic. Rather, we seek to relate Biblical Theology to our own lives and to the life of the church. Our desire is to equip those in Christian ministry who are called by God to preach and teach the precious truths of Scripture to their congregations, both in North America and in a global context.

The first volume is by Tom Schreiner on Hebrews, which will release in February 2015. Here is the full list of contributors, including yours truly:

Old Testament contributors:

Desmond Alexander Genesis

Mark Rooker                           Exodus

Paul Wegner                            Leviticus

Richard Averbeck                   Numbers

Ken Mathews                          Deuteronomy

David Firth                              Joshua

Iain Duguid                             Judges, Ruth

Robert Fyall                            1-2 Samuel

Bob Bergen                             1-2 Kings

Gary V. Smith                         1-2 Chronicles

Andrew Hill                             Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther

Barry Webb                             Job

James Hamilton                       Psalms

Allen Ross                               Proverbs

Ernest Lucas                            Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs

Jack Collins                             Isaiah

Stephen Dempster                   Jeremiah, Lamentations

Paul Williamson                      Ezekiel

Joe Sprinkle                             Daniel

Anthony Petterson                   Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah

Ray Clendenen                        Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

New Testament contributors:

Charles Quarles                       Matthew

Peter Bolt                                 Mark

Michael Wilkins                      Luke

Ardel Caneday                         John

Alan Thompson                       Acts

David G. Peterson                   Romans

Peter Davids                            1 Corinthians

Jason Meyer                            2 Corinthians

Matt Harmon                           Galatians

Greg Beale                               Ephesians

Doug Moo                                Philippians

Joel White                                Colossians, Philemon

Terry Wilder                            1-2 Thessalonians

Andreas Köstenberger             1-2 Timothy, Titus

Thomas Schreiner                    Hebrews

David Chapman                       James

Rick Melick                             1-2 Peter, Jude

Michael Martin                        1-3 John

Eckhard Schnabel                    Revelation

The

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