How Jesus helps my fear

“Since the death of my paternal grandmother on 26 June 2018, my family has had to mourn the loss of three family members. Preaching at two of the three funerals, I have been forced to reflect on death personally more than I ever have before. …”

– At The Australian Church Record, Ben George points us to the big picture of God’s purposes.

“All statements about Christ … bear theological significance”

“Christians are defined by one primary mark: we believe in and are disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. …

It is not enough to simply say ‘I love Jesus’ or ‘I follow Jesus.’ Many who say they love Jesus and follow Jesus do not follow Jesus as he has revealed himself in Scripture. As the confession reminds us, we must confess that we believe in ‘Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord’ – the Jesus whose true identity and mission is revealed in Scripture.”

– Albert Mohler has published an excerpt from his new book about The Apostles’ Creed.

Pursuing Sanctification – God’s work or ours?

“John Owen says Christians need to ‘be killing sin, or it will be killing you.’

Yet from my experience most Christians aren’t employing everything they have at their disposal to kill sin or to pursue sanctification in any regard. The most I hear about this is the throwaway line, ‘I’m struggling with X sin’ but upon further questioning often those who say this aren’t struggling at all with a sin; they’ve often simply identified that they have a persistent sin, and yet do nothing about it.

Then when I reflect on my own fight with sin, I’m ashamed to realise I too often fall into the same trap of identifying sin without fighting it. I started to consider why this is the case for me. Why is it that I know about my sins, but I don’t fight them? And I have come to the conclusion that I (and I suspect many others) don’t fight sin because I don’t know what my role is in sanctification.

In order to figure it out I had to understand three things …”

– Daniel Bishop writes on what should be of vital interest to every Christian – at The Australian Church Record – Part 1 and Part 2.

Reading Ephesians (Ephesians 6:21–24)

“Paul’s closing greeting in Ephesians is a good opportunity to summarise what the letter is all about and to remember why it’s worth reading and reflecting on it.”

– Our thanks to ACL Council member Lionel Windsor for a challenging and edifying series reflecting on the Letter to the Ephesians. Here is the last instalment.

How long, Lord, must we call for help?

“In light of the recent Australian bushfires, we perhaps cannot be blamed for asking, Why is God allowing such a thing to happen? How can God turn a blind eye to the devastation that has come as a result of these fires – the loss of property, animals, even human life? Why doesn’t God do something about it? Why does God allow so many to needlessly suffer?

It is these kinds of questions that the prophet Habakkuk also struggled with, roughly six hundred years before Christ. …”

– Ben George writes at The Australian Church Record.

Spiritual Formation: the rise of a tradition

“Spiritual formation” seems to be an innocuous phrase, for Christians; a good thing to do, what we would want for ourselves and others. It is in use in general church circles, and in more formal literature. In particular, if one investigates developments concerning theological education, it is very clear that spiritual formation is what theological education should be about. …

“Spiritual formation” seems a reasonable thing for Christians to do, but what exactly does it mean, and why is it seen as the main purpose of theological education? …

– Church Society has published some excerpts from an article by Kirsty Birkett in the current issue of Churchman.

On Preaching, the Supper, and the Unity of the Church

“Recently, the well-known pastor and author Francis Chan made some alarming comments about preaching, the Lord’s Supper, and the unity of the church.

In this episode of Pastors’ Talk, Jonathan Leeman chats with Mark Dever, Bobby Jamieson, and Mark Feather about Chan’s comments in particular and the topics of preaching, the Supper, and unity more generally.”

Listen here.

Prayer: the heart of evangelism (Ephesians 6:17–20)

“One of the best things we can pray for is that the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ will go out to the world, both through us and through others.”

– Lionel Windsor nears the end of Ephesians and comes to a key passage.

(Photo: GAFCON.)

GAFCON ‘Life up your hearts’ devotions continued

GAFCON has been continuing to publish “Lift up your hearts“, a devotional which began in Advent.

See all that have been published here.

The importance of being a struggling Christian (Ephesians 6:14–16)

Do you ever feel like the Christian life is a struggle? Struggling is normal for Christians. In fact, it’s not just normal. Christians should be struggling!”

– Lionel Windsor continues his exposition of Ephesians.

Stand your ground (Ephesians 6:10–13)

“It’s easy to ignore the spiritual realities of life. But Paul reminds us we should live our ordinary, everyday lives in light of spiritual realities. …”

Lionel Windsor turns to this key passage in Ephesians 6, with a reminder of important spiritual realities at the start of 2020.

The gospel for the boss (Ephesians 6:9)

“Authority implies responsibility. Christians, who have a heavenly Lord and Saviour, have a special reason to be responsible in the way we use our authority.”

– Lionel Windsor turns to the exhortations in Ephesians 6:9 and their application today. At Forget the Channel.

Rejoice that He is with us

“Emmanuel is, for me, one of the most precious words in the New Testament.

The Greek word is a transliteration of the Hebrew phrase, meaning “God with us”. Although only occurring once in Matthew 1:23, where it is a translation of the Hebrew phrase that appears in Isaiah 7:14 and 8:8, it is rich in meaning and has become regularly associated with both Advent and Christmas carols. Jesus is our Emmanuel (or Immanuel to reflect the original Hebrew).”

– Archbishop Glenn Davies shares this Christmas reflection. At SydneyAnglicans.net.

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