Men's Conference on Pursuing Genuine Biblical Revival

May 5 & 6, 2017

Theme: "Capture Our Hearts Again!"

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Ray Ortlund
Pastor of Immanuel Church (Acts 29 plant in Nashville, TN)
President of Renewal Ministries
Regional Director of Acts 29 Network
Formerly Assoc. Prof. of OT & Semitic Languages @ Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, IL)
Council Member & regular blogger at The Gospel Coalition
Author of commentaries and many books including Isaiah: God Saves Sinners in the Preaching the Word Series Commentary Series, When God Comes to Church: A Biblical Model for Revival Today, The Gospel: How the Church Portrays the Beauty of Christ in the 9 Marks Building Healthy Churches Series and most recently Marriage and the Mystery of the Gospel.

Pre-Conference Workshop - 2 Sessions (Content to be released soon)

Special Guest Speaker: Dr. Tom Schreiner
James Buchanan Harrison Prof of New Testament Interpretation, Professor of Biblical Theology and Associate Dean of the School of Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville, KY)
Author of many commentaries and books including The Law and Its Fulfillment: A Pauline Theology of Law, The Race Set Before Us: A Biblical Theology of Perseverance and Assurance; The King in His Beauty, and Romans in the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament Series.

Registration opens soon at

Hosted by:
Union Lake Baptist Church
8390 Commerce Road
Commerce, MI 48382

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Jesus of the Prophecies

In Sunday School today, we were discussing the importance of being honest with unbelievers about the peril they are in. A powerful text, and a great exemplar for presenting the gospel, is Peter's sermon in Acts 3 in the temple courtyard. As his audience is of Jews, you would expect Peter to direct them to Old Testament prophecies that spoke of Jesus. Peter doesn't let us down. The conclusion of that sermon is chock full of messianic prophecies. Here is the end of his sermon (vv.18-26):

"But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of this holy prophets long ago. Moses said, 'The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.' And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, 'And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.' God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.'"

There is much contained in these verses about who Jesus is and why He came. In class today, we spoke much about Moses' prophecy concerning "a prophet like me" (to use Moses' words). To say it another way, he predicted a Second Moses. While Moses was a deliverer and the mediator of a covenant, Jesus would come and be the perfect Deliverer and the Mediator of a New Covenant that far exceeds the Old.

What I thought was significant in this text pertaining to biblical theology (or the drama of redemption seen throughout the Scriptures) is that Peter tells his countrymen all of the prophets had been pointing to Jesus. Take note of v.24. Peter there explains: "And all the prophets who have spoken . . . proclaimed these days." Every prophet that God has ever sent, pointed the people to the days of Jesus, to the days of a resurrected Messiah that would lead His people out of spiritual bondage, to the days of the God-man who would be the perfect Mediator.

In other words, God's message for His people has always been concerning His Son that would one day come as the Deliverer and Mediator. God sent prophet after prophet that pointed to the days of the risen Savior. It is no wonder that Jesus could explain to the men on the Emmaus Road how all of the Scriptures spoke about Him. We too need to be men that can see all of the Scriptures as, in some way, concerning Jesus and His cross. May the Fellowship in the Gospel Conference help equip us to do just that. Commit to pray in these final days before the conference for such an outcome! Pray for the speakers and their final preparation. Pray for yet more men to register. Pray that many, many gospel-centered books will be bought, taken home, and read. Pray that men will fellowship in the gospel long after next weekend.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Place to Start?

I've been reading a lot of gospel-centered books in the last several months in preparation for the conference. In doing so, I ran across this statement:

"[I]f you do not believe you are dead to sin's guilt, you cannot trust Christ for the strength to subdue its power in your life. So the place to begin in dealing with sin in your life is to count on the fact that you died to its guilt through your union with Christ in His death. This is an important truth you need to ponder and pray over until the Holy Spirit convinces you of it in both your head and heart."

Do you agree with the author's contention that "the place to begin" in defeating sin is trusting that (because of Jesus) you have "died to its guilt"? All Christians would agree that we have died to the guilt of sin because of the cross of Jesus (Romans 8:1). My question is do you believe focusing on the lack of guilt is the place to start in dealing with your sin?


Friday, April 3, 2009

Cross-Informed Speech

Listen to the potential damage our speech can cause:

"How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell...It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison." James 3:5b-6, 8b.

We have all no doubt heard a sermon on James 3 and the tongue. But these words always seem to grab my attention when I read them. What is it about our speech that causes James to use such an alarming description?

Earlier in the passage (v2b), James says that it is the tongue that prevents a man from being truly mature ("a perfect man"). Or perhaps a better way to understand it would be that a person's speech reveals that they are not spiritually mature. You may remember the words of Jesus' rebuke: "[O]ut of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." When we speak evil, it's because our hearts are focused on evil, being governed by evil. (Matt. 12:34). What is so terrible about this is that when our tongues spread hate and bitterness, we act as if we were enemies of the cross. We can actually hinder the message of the cross by how we speak!

Our speech should rather reflect a heart that has been made new and that is focused on what caused its newness! Paul reminds us in Colossians 3 about this process of putting on the new man (which includes the new tongue). He reminds us of how our actions should reflect those of our Savior: We should set our minds on things above because we "have been raised with Christ" (v.1). If we have a complaint against a brother, we should forgive them "as the Lord has forgiven [us]" (v.13). We should let the peace and unity of one body that comes from the gospel rule our hearts (v.15). We should "let the word of Christ dwell in [us] richly" (v.16). Finally, "whatever [we] do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God teh Father through him" (v.17).

As Good Friday approaches when we specifically remember the cross, let our minds be fixated on His sacrifice and the benefits it brought us...and may our mouths overflow rather with praise.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

We All Have an Equal (and Firm) Standing

We all do it. We feel like God must love us more when we live the way we should. The thinking goes something like this, "I'm really on a spiritual high. I'm finding such joy reading the Scriptures. God must be really pleased with me right now." Okay, so we probably wouldn't actually say that, but we think it...don't we?

The other side of the coin is true oftentimes as well. When our spiritual disciplines are in the tank we feel that God must love us less than when we are faithful. We can often use our failures to fuel an attitude that goes something like this, "Well, I've already sinned. God is disgusted with me. I might as well continue on with it!" Again, though these words probably don't come out of our mouths, this attitude can be prevalent.

Some might even think that God's love for them is evidenced by their situation. Trials indicate God's displeasure with me. Happiness and blessings mean God loves me.

Why do we feel like are standing with God is either kept or lost (increased or decreased if you'd rather characterize it that way) based on our actions? Why do we feel that God's love for us is such a fluid reality? It is because we are legalists. We have this innate sinful desire to justify ourselves. In the face of Spirit-illumined truth to the contrary, we continued to defiantly say, "My standing with God cannot be based outside of myself!" This war can wage within us.

It begins before our conversion, like the rich young ruler who asked, "Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?" (Matt.19:16 NASB). This young man needed to know what "good deed" (ESV) he should do in order to be awarded eternal life. Jesus' answer is so foundational: "Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good." (v.17a). Jesus told him that the "good" that was needed for eternal life only came from one source...and it wasn't from within the young man (as was demonstrated by his refusal to sell all of his many possessions and give the money to the poor). After he left, Jesus provided some commentary about the difficulty of a rich man reaching heaven. His hearers were astonished and wondered who then could be saved. Jesus redirected them from thinking about individual people to God, leaving them with a word of great hope: "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (v.26).

As believers, we know this teaching, don't we? This teaching that God is the one who has done what was impossible for us to do. This teaching that the goodness that is needed for eternal life comes from Jesus the Savior. But we forget. We try and replace the righteousness of Jesus with our filthy rags again and again. God is good to grant us fresh repentance, though, and bring us back to the hope in Jesus that we first understood. Consider how Peter reminded the Christians of his day of this very fact in the salutation of his second epistle:

"To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ."

Brothers, remember that God sees you every day as perfect, standing in Jesus' righteousness that is neither added nor diminished by anything you have done or failed to do.