Sermon Audio – Zechariah

Sometimes things do not work out like we hope. Whether it is something we buy, an experience, or even a relationship, sometimes our hopes are disappointed. Here’s one we can probably all identify with: the movie you go to see is a total dud. Or maybe the new piece of technology you have had your heart set on doesn’t do what you wanted it to do. But those are small examples. Let’s think bigger.

Maybe it is a vacation you have been anticipating and saving for that ends up a flop. Or even more significantly, maybe it is a job that you thought would be a perfect fit that turned out very different than you were told. Or maybe it is a relationship that you expected to bring you joy and fulfillment but has instead resulted in frustration and disappointment. Part of living in this fallen world is dealing with disappointment when promises don’t deliver what we were expecting.

The Jews who returned to the Promised Land after 70 years of exile knew that all too well. Last week Pastor Larry explained how this remnant of 50,000 Jews had returned to the land and began rebuilding the temple. But opposition soon brought the building to a halt. About a decade later Haggai came onto the scene in the Fall of 520 BC, where for four months he called the Jews to resume working on the temple.

Zechariah’s ministry began during Haggai’s ministry, but then extended beyond it into at least the next year and probably beyond. Both leading up to and during the exile God had promised that one day his people would return to the land and live under a king from David’s line. The temple would be rebuilt even more glorious than before, and the people would be empowered to obey. But their reality fell way short of those promises. So through Zechariah, God lifts the eyes of the people to the promised king and his kingdom.

Want to hear more? You can listen here to the audio of this overview sermon of Zechariah.

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Mondays with Marty

In this July 4th installment from Off the Record with Martin Luther, Luther reminds us of God’s sovereignty over rulers and nations:

1810. God treats kings the way children do a card game. While they are playing, they hold the cards in their hands; afterwards, they throw them in the corner, or under a bench, or on the rubbish pile. That is exactly how God handles those in power. As long as they are in power, He thinks of them as useful, but as soon as they go too far, He knocks them off their throne and lets them lie there, like the King of Denmark, and so on.  (p. 187).

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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Mondays with Marty

In this week’s installment from Off the Record with Martin Luther, Luther reminds us what a blessing it is to love God’s Word:

115. When the topic turned to the disrespect for the Word of God prevalent among the peasants, nobles and townspeople, he said: This disrespect should be a comfort to us and an admonition that we should give God thanks for these blessings: that we are those who love His Word, diligently listen to and study the Word of God, and that we desire Holy Scripture. For it is a great punishment and a severe judgment of God, that one would hold God and His Word in such contempt, that one would not hear it and will neither honor nor respect His ministers.  (p. 309).

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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Mondays with Marty

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

5017. Holy Scripture demands a humble reader, who trembling shows reverence to God’s Word, who constantly pleads: “Teach me, teach me, teach me!” The arrogant oppose the spirit. And even though some may study diligently, and unerringly preach Christ for a time—as soon as they become proud, God closes the church to them. Wherefore, every proud person becomes a heretic, if not actually, then for all practical purposes. It is difficult for a person who has excellent gifts not to become arrogant. Those upon whom God bestows great gifts, He plagues with great torments, to teach them that they are nothing. Paul was given a thorn in his side, so that he would not become arrogant…Pride drove the angel [the devil] from Heaven; that is why we need humility in the study of Holy Scripture. (p. 362).

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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Mondays with Marty

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

1854. The world is looked upon as a paradise; on the other hand, the Church is despised by the entire world, but nevertheless, highly esteemed by God. Aaron went about splendidly in his priestly vestments and was well received. But we should not concern ourselves with what the world says about us. Why should I care whether money lenders, the nobility, farmers and greedy citizens think I am a piece of filth? At one time, I would have done the same. Therefore, what the world thinks of us should not disturb us. It is important and enough that the devout think well of us. (p. 256-57).

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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Mondays with Marty

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

5559. Riches are the least important thing in the world, the smallest gift, that God could give a person. What can compare to God’s Word? Yes, what can compare to the blessings and beauty around us, or compare to the blessings of feeling and sensing? Nevertheless, we strive diligently toward wealth! In no fashion are riches any good. That is why our Lord God gives riches to crude jack—es, and blesses them with nothing else   (p. 165).

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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Mondays with Marty

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

2433. The world neither acknowledges nor believes in the hidden treasures of God; it cannot be disputed that an obedient maid, a true diligent servant, and a child-bearing wife are far above a praying monk, who does not see beyond his grub; each, however, under the command and control of God   (p. 111).

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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Mondays with Marty

In this week’s installment from Off the Record with Martin Luther, Luther explains why marriage is one of God’s sweetest blessings:

2506. The joy of a religious spouse. The greatest joy is to have a religious spouse, one to whom you can entrust everything and depend upon, with whom you can raise children, and so. God puts a lot into a marriage, without the parties giving much thought to it in advance. Katie, you have a religious husband, you are an empress! Thank God for it! But only good and God-fearing people reach such a level.   (p. 45-46).

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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Mondays with Marty

In this week’s installment from Off the Record with Martin Luther, Luther explains how believers should speak to Christ:

5598. In regard to how a faithful soul should talk with Christ, Martin Luther said: I am your sins, You are my salvation. Therefore I am joyful and without worry. For my sins have no power over Your redemption, now will Your salvation allow me to remain a sinner long. Praise be to God! Amen!   (p. 376).

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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Making All Things New: Inaugurated Eschatology for the Life of the Church

513ZDo37-HL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_This week my latest book has been released: Making All Things New: Inaugurated Eschatology for the Life of the Church. I teamed up with my good friend Ben Gladd, who is a professor at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. Together we have tried to explain how the “already/not-yet” dynamic of our redemption in Christ should shape the way we think about the life and ministry of the church. Eschatology is not merely what happens at the end of history. God’s kingdom breaking into this world through Jesus Christ has inaugurated a new creation, a reality that should shape pastoral leadership and be reflected in the life and ministry of the church. Viewed another way, this book is an attempt to flesh out in practical terms the theological vision of G.K. Beale, who was kind enough to write an introductory chapter.

While the main audience for this book is pastors, church leaders, and college/seminary students, anyone who wants to understand how eschatology shapes ecclessiology will benefit from reading it.

You can order a print copy here, or the Kindle version here.

Here are some of the endorsements:

“For those who think that biblical theology (especially the teaching about inaugurated and consummated eschatology) doesn’t relate to daily life and ministry, Gladd and Harmon demonstrate that eschatology permeates every aspect of ministry, from prayer to preaching to missions. The book is filled with practical suggestions, but what makes it unique and powerful is that the practical implications are rooted in what the Scriptures teach about eschatology. Readers will be instructed, edified, and encouraged.”

Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“It’s long been repeated that Christians live in the ‘now’ and the ‘not yet.’ We stand in the middle of an old world dying and a new creation already born in our midst through Jesus Christ. How does this sense of living between the ages shape our conception of the church, pastoring, and ministry? In this book two younger scholars, with the assistance of Greg Beale, show what it means to be end-time people. They offer some great theological reflections and practical advice on how to lead people who are waiting with patience and purpose for the day when God is all in all.”

Michael F. Bird, lecturer in theology, Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia

“Here is where ecclesiology and eschatology meet. Although end-times teaching is woven into the fabric of God’s Word, what this teaching says about the church is seldom considered by pastors. A careful look at Scripture shows that the church is a profoundly eschatological community. Gladd and Harmon offer skillful guidance on how a biblical understanding of the end times is crucial to the church’s ministry and to its very identity for today. By looking at the entirety of the biblical witness, they demonstrate that God’s eschatological design for the church is both a future hope and a present reality.”

Daniel M. Gurtner, professor of New Testament, Bethel Seminary

“In what amounts to a carefully guided tour of biblical theology for the church, Gladd and Harmon offer a biblically thick description of Scripture’s redemptive narrative. Writing in careful scholarly detail yet in an accessible manner that never loses sight of the big picture, Gladd and Harmon exhort the church and its pastoral leadership to be the end-time people of God, encouraging them to recognize their place within Scripture’s redemptive storyline. A very helpful combination of scholarly precision and pastoral sensitivity.”

Darian Lockett, associate professor of biblical and theological studies, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University

Making All Things New is a clear and helpful guide that will enable all Christians to understand why inaugurated eschatology is not just something for the seminary classroom but a doctrine to be lived out and rejoiced in. Gladd and Harmon have done us a great service by demonstrating in a compelling way why eschatology matters in the life of the church. Anyone who is serious about understanding one of the most important aspects of the New Testament ought to read and apply this book.”

Chris Bruno, author of The Whole Story of the Bible in 16 Verses

“Gladd and Harmon apply to pastoral ministry the inaugurated eschatology they learned from Greg Beale. The book repeatedly moves from sound exegesis to theology to application.”

Andy Naselli, assistant professor of New Testament and biblical theology, Bethlehem College and Seminary, Minneapolis

“What a marvelous book! Gladd and Harmon team up to explore the interface between inaugurated eschatology and pastoral ministry. This book will serve as an excellent resource not only for those training for ministry but for those slogging it out in ministry and looking to reinvigorate their understanding of ministry as an end-time event among God’s people. Gladd and Harmon have achieved the rare feat of writing a book that is both substantive and useful, insightful and practical, scholarly and churchly–a model of what I would call ‘ecclesial theology.’ I recommend it highly!”

Todd Wilson, senior pastor, Calvary Memorial Church

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