Saturday, May 5, 2012

Christianity Explored Session 2

Last night (May 4) we some good discussion about the lines of evidence Mark cited to make his case for Jesus. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Book of Acts

The sermon this past Sunday (29th) at Immanuel Bible Church was an overview of the Book of Acts.  Three great themes are intertwined in Luke's history and defense of the infant Christian movement.  Each strengthens the others, like steel cables braided into a larger cable, massive and strong.  Christ is risen!  So bold a claim is, in itself, at the heart of the Christian faith.  It is also the only reasonable explanantion for much what follows in the Acts account.  The Spirit has come!  Christ promised the Spirit and made good on that promise.  At every turn in Luke's story, the Personal presence of God the Spirit is testifying to the truth of the Resurrection and enabling the building of the Church.  The Church is being built!  And what's more, the "gates of Hell" do not hinder its progress.  The practical manifestation of that Church, the army in the trenches, is the local church.  But even as local churches come and go, Christ's promise stands: "I will build My church." 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Grace Gospel Tamil Church: Christian Baptism

On Saturday, April 28 we concluded a brief study on Christian Baptism.  We considered New Testament answers to four basic questions:  1)  What does baptism mean?  2) How should we baptize?  3)Whom should we baptize?  4) Must we baptize and be baptized? 

Baptism is an issue which, admittedly, divides Christians.  On the one hand, we do not wish to condemn others who disagree with us about "How" and "Whom" (although we would take a very hard line against viewing it as a saving act).  On the other hand, it is much too important to pass over it and simply say, "Well, good Christians disagree, so let's not bother about it.  Not all truth is equally important, and this is less important than, say, Justification (unless, of course you mistakenly think Baptism justifies).  But it's far more important than figuring out who the two prophets are in Revelation.  Baptism is commanded by our Lord, and we must do our best to understand what it is He has commanded.  On a personal level, it is a public act loaded with meaning, and, especially for those of us with Hindu backgrounds and family, it may be highly controversial.  We simply cannot take the topic lightly. 

We had some great discussion and questions; perhaps more will find their way here.  Vincent, if you're reading this, I haven't forgotten your question . . . it's a good one and I need to give it a bit more though. 

See you all May 13, if not sooner!

New Series of Posts for Grace Gospel Tamil Church

I have had the privilege for several months of teaching a Bible study for teens and young adults at Grace Gospel Tamil Church in Scarborough.  They and their pastor have been a help to us at Immanuel Bible Church in Markham, and we hope we are a blessing to them in return. 

Most recently, I have been asked to take on a series of topics in brief, one- or two- part studies.  The topics come directly from questions the young people have asked as well as current issues their pastor is concerned to address.  A small sample of topics we hope to address include Baptism, Discerning God's Will, and Answering Muslim Questions about Jesus. 

As part of this series, I will try to keep current with postings here to provide another avenue for question and answer.  All posts come to me first, so if you wish to remain anonymous, that can be done. 

What's so Great about the Great Commission?

On Sunday, April 22 we wrapped up our series on the life of Christ with a look at Matthew 28:16-20.  Just before His ascension into Heaven, our Lord gave His Apostles the task of making disciples in all nations.  Christians often refer to this task as "The Great Commission". . . so . . . what's so great about the Great Commission?  The greatness of the commission is seen in the majesty of the Commissioner. He has been given all authority in heaven and on earth.  And His greatness is not limited to the position He has been given by the Father:  His very Person is majestic, mighty, noble.  This is a Man like no other, a Man Who had just conquered the grave, a Man about to ascend to glory.  A task He gives is to be held in high honour because it is He Who gives it.  The greatness of the Great Commission is also seen in the magnitude of the task itself.  This is a commission of massive geographical proportions:  "all nations / all the world."  And it means not only preaching the Gospel and then baptizing, but also teaching disciples to observe all that Jesus commanded.  This task is far too massive for a lone individual, or even the 11 Apostles gathered that day.  It is a task for every generation of believers serving through their local churches.  The promise that goes with it - "I will be with you until the end of the age" - outlived the Apostles and still stands for us to lean upon. 

How shall we respond?  We can neither shoulder the task alone nor leave it to someone else.  We must find and use our gifts for the advance of the Gospel whever God has put us, and we must partner with others for its advance around the world.  We who live in Toronto are particularly blessed with opportunities, because God has brought the world to us.  The diversity of this metropolis is evident even in our little assembly, where Canada, Egypt, the United States, Portugal, Barbados, China, and Singapore are often represented.  What a privilege!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

King Jesus and the Last Enemy

On Easter Sunday we read Matthew's account of the Resurrection.  Just before His crucifixion Jesus had been asked if He were indeed a King, and He answered, "It is as you say."  Jesus may not have been the sort of King the crowds wanted, and He was not the political sort of ruler the Romans might fear (not yet, anyway!), but He was and is a King.  He began to wage war on all His enemies and ensured the defeat of death by His own resurrection.  We turned to I Corinthians 15:20-26 to remind ourselves that death is an enemy destined for defeat by King Jesus. 

Why Was the Veil Torn?

On Friday, April 6 we joined the Grace Gospel Tamil Church for a Good Friday Service.  Yours truly had the privelege of bringing the Word in the English service.  We read Mark's brief account of the tearing of the veil in the temple.  We considered the miracle itself (it could not have been done by a man) and its meaning.  Then we turned to Hebrews chapter 10 to see the message to us:  "draw near!"