The History of Redemption

The main story of the Bible is God redeeming his people. The following paragraphs outline the whole of the Bible showing how every bit of scripture points to Jesus Christ.
The Age of Adam: Adam is the one man who failed God, so the one man, Jesus Christ, came to represent all of us in his perfect obedience to God All of us who are united to Adam by natural birth, must be united to Jesus Christ for redemption and spiritual birth.
The Age of Noah: Noah preached the good news to a wicked generation. He and all his family were saved from destruction. All of us are to see Jesus Christ in the life and salvation of Noah, so that we might hear the good news and be saved from destruction.
The Age of Abraham: Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. All of us become spiritual children of Abraham, as we believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, the true Isaac, who has come to win the promise for us.
The Age of Moses: Moses, the great prophet and mediator of God’s holy law, led God’s children to faith and repentance in the face of God’s demand for perfection. All of us are driven to trust in Jesus Christ as we face the demands of God’s holy laws, taking comfort in Jesus, our one and only Mediator between us and our heavenly Father.
The Age of Prophets: The prophets delivered God’s judgment upon his chosen Israel, who had broken his covenant. The prophets announced the coming of the one, true Israel, the Christ, who would keep the covenant for all peoples of the world. All of us must heed the prophets’ warning and find refuge in Christ Jesus, who has kept the covenant for us.
The Coming of Christ: Christ Jesus came as the Son of Man, the divine second person of the Trinity, to seek and to save the lost children of God. Jesus Christ came as the Son of God, the second Adam, as our human representative, to perfectly keep the covenant and thus win the Father’s favor for all of us.
The Age of the Apostles: The Apostles were eye-witnesses of Jesus Christ, who were given the mission to preach the good news to the ends of the earth, to all generations in these last days. All of us must come under the authority of the Apostles, receive by faith their Lord, our Savior Jesus Christ, and join the mission until Jesus Christ returns to judge the living and the dead.
Biblical history places the person and work of Jesus Christ at its center. The Old Testament anticipates his coming, calling all those who lived before Christ Jesus to do so looking to Jesus by faith. The New Testament remembers his coming, calling all those who have lived after Christ Jesus to do so looking up to him by faith.

Published in: | on September 5th, 2015 | No Comments »

Bill Burt – A Memorial Sermon

“Finishing Well”
Romans 5: 1-5

Perhaps some of you will agree that Bill Burt could talk a mean streak and expertly tell a story. He would often apologize to me for telling one story after another, but I would encourage him to continue. He would say, “You are listening to an old man repeat his stories,” but I would beg to differ with him for one main reason: Having come into Bill’s life in his final chapter, I found him bent on finishing well, punctuating his stories with testimony to God’s guidance and grace lavished upon him. Continue reading »

Published in: | on December 22nd, 2014 | No Comments »

Memorial of Charles Robert Westerberg June 29, 2014

Fellow members of Evergreen Presbyterian Church and staff of St. Stephen’s Academy gathered on Sunday, June 29, 2014 to honor the life and death of Bob Westerberg. Pastor Keith Thomas read Psalm 90 and led in prayer. Headmaster and Ruling Elder John Breckenridge read the Eulogy printed at the conclusion of this post. Pastor Nathan E. Lewis preached the following sermon.

A Sermon at the Memorial of Bob Westerberg

2 Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3 if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. 4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

The Apostle Paul likens our earthly bodies to a tent and then likens our glorified bodies upon our entrance into heaven as a house. Bob Westerberg lived longer than the average life span, a full and rewarding life. But for many years, as he placed his hope in the resurrection of Jesus, he longed for a more permanent existence and reward. In the past months he even groaned, longing to put on his glorified body free of sight and hearing loss, aches and pains and ease of breath. The Apostle Paul’s first encouragement is that God has prepared for us a more permanent and rewarding life than the one he has graciously given us in this world. Continue reading »

Published in: | on June 30th, 2014 | 2 Comments »

Can You Prove that Jesus Rose from the Dead?

This post is designed as an assignment for my Apologetics course at St. Stephen’s Academy. You are welcome to post a comment, but if you are one of my students, then, you are required to do so. Listen to Dr. Art Lindsley’s lecture, “Case For The Resurrection: Can You Prove that Christ Was Raised From the Dead?” Post a comment supplying your assessment of Dr. Lindsley’s evidences for the resurrection of Jesus. Also include in your posted comment what you believe to be a proof of the resurrection that Dr. Lindsley does not present.

“I accept the resurrection of Easter Sunday not as an invention of the community of disciples, but as a historical event. If the resurrection of Jesus from the dead on that Easter Sunday were a public event which had been made known…not only to the 530 Jewish witnesses but to the entire population, all Jews would have become followers of Jesus.” Pinchas Lapide, Orthodox Jewish

Published in: | on April 17th, 2014 | 9 Comments »

What is Your View of Freedom? “Determinism, Chance, and Freedom,” John Frame

As a second online assignment for the students of my Apologetics Class at St. Stephen’s Academy, I have chosen John Frame’s article, “Determinism, Chance, and Freedom.” 1. Read the article and then 2. Write a paragraph answering the question, “What is your view of freedom?” 3. Post as a comment. 4. Post a response to at least one of your classmates.

You need not be one of my students to join the conversation. Post your own answer and respond to any participant. Ask questions toward better understanding of freedom.

Published in: | on October 13th, 2013 | 8 Comments »

William Lane Craig for My Apologetics Class 2013

If you are a student in my Apologetics Class at St. Stephen’s Academy in Beaverton, Oregon, then your assignment is to view each of the one-minute video clips below in which Dr. William Lane Craig answers the title questions and then post your best response including your personal answer to the question.

If you are not one of my students, then I invite you to comment. Whatever you write could be of help to my students and to me.

Best Argument for Belief in God

Can We Trust the Bible Written 2,000 Years Ago?

Can We Trust Religious Experiences?

Can There Be Meaning without God?

How Can Christianity be the One, True Religion?

Published in: | on August 27th, 2013 | 71 Comments »

Sermons on Isaiah 52-66

Isaiah 52: 1-15
“The Grand Procession”

Isaiah’s prophecy is at times dramatic. It is difficult to read it as a set of propositions or merely as a legal document God has served to his sinful people – full of dry legalese and archaic language. The words leap off the page! As the prophecy unfolds, it is not unlike watching a play performed, but it is more like the actors in the play inviting us, even imploring us to join them on stage, to enter into the drama. In Isaiah 52, it is difficult for us to think, “God is rousting Judah out of her slumber and sin.” Rather, we hear God calling us, speaking to us, his voice ushering from these ancient scrolls, piercing through time and culture gaps, ringing in our ears as if he were speaking directly to us.

This chapter is structured around two rousing cries. God commands, “Awake, awake!” in (1) and then in (11) he commands, “Depart, depart!” God is rousing his people to join a parade led by Messiah, leaving the gates of Jerusalem in grand procession sprinkling the nations of the world with divine grace. This is the pilgrimage of a lifetime! This is the final and grandest of all of God’s missions to gather the nations to his Son. This is a description of the whole of these last days, from the passion of Christ to the Final Day of Judgment. “Awake, awake! Depart, depart!” Don’t miss the parade; fall in line behind the Son and go out into the world and into the new heavens and new earth. Continue reading »

Published in: | on March 12th, 2013 | Comments Off

Searching for a God Particle- A Parable

We sit in the art gallery, silent yet full of beauty. The guest artist has promised to make an appearance. The doors open admitting a socially awkward entourage of irreverent natural scientists who use a bullhorn to tell us that they are hiring lab rats to help them find the God particle. Any of us in the gallery who wishes to work for a handsome hourly wage is part of the research team. The lead scientist demonstrates our task. With a blade he scrapes a bit of paint from the canvas of one of the masterpieces. He deposits the paint flakes into a glass dish, adds thinner, mixes to an even consistency then smears it on a slide. “Take your time; prepare small smears; We are looking for something quite small; and you are being paid by the hour.”

The lead scientist tells us to start with those parts of the paintings that most likely would represent God – the light rays filtering through the fir grove, the artist’s signature, or the gilded dome on the distant horizon. A pantheistic looking girl ignores him and starts to scrape some mossy rocks along the banks of a stream. A materialist scrapes gold leaf from the dome, and while the natural scientists peer into their microscopes, he deposits the gold into a baggy stashing it in his pants. Most of the scrapers dutifully smear slides stacking them beside the microscopes, filling out their tedious forms, a grave sense of historical importance on their faces.

I sit on the viewing bench, my scalpel in hand unable to join the others at the canvases. I slide around to face the opposite wall to gaze at the unscathed paintings. I imagine the curator storming into the gallery ordering the guards to escort the desecrators to her office. In time she enters, smiles and chats with the lead scientist, taking her turn at his microscope. I learn later that the natural scientists and the museum have been rewarded an impressive grant to conduct this research together.

The painting directly before me depicts a horizon. The sky is orange and vast. The earth is yellow. The line between is thin and straight. I can see for miles. I wonder how it is that the artist can capture with the variation of two colors and one black line the immensity of nature. I find myself drawn into the painting walking rapidly away from the scraping pigment and the clicking of slides. The minimalist’s world of yellow and orange is focused upon the distant horizon stirring an expectation for some cataclysmic event or an eschatological figure arising from the thin, straight line. From where do these images and longings arise? They are certainly not painted. Are they figments of my imagination? I decide to wait for the artist who will answer the question for me. The artist will explain to me what is not painted but seems to be powerfully present.

On the bench beside me is a brochure, a guide to the exhibit. I read the section describing the painting before me. The artist quotes, “Do you believe because you have seen? Blessed are those who have not seen but believe.” It is as if the artist anticipated the scraping behind me. While his quote doesn’t completely answer my question, it does make sense as I observe the painting. My strong desire is to walk to the end of the yellow, rise above the line and explore the orange. But then, orange is my favorite color.

Published in: | on February 7th, 2013 | 7 Comments »

Sermons on Isaiah 41-50

Isaiah 41:1-20
God Gathers Jew and Gentile

In our day, we highly value beachfront property. What do you prefer for your holiday? A walk along the beach or a retreat in the mountains? In Isaiah’s day, the most valued real estate was Mt. Zion, the holy city, Jerusalem with God’s temple at its center. What is of utmost value in Isaiah 41 is God gathering his people into a covenant dwelling with him. God is gathering his children from the ends of the earth and so the imagery of Isaiah 41 reflects this in terms of geography. The closer one is to God’s holy mountain, the better. The coastlands in Isaiah’s prophecy refer to those on the fringe, those far away from God’s mountain. God’s redemption and restoration of his creation has not stopped with the gathering of Israel to Mt. Zion. He continues to gather some from every tongue, tribe and nation, from the ends of the earth. In our text, God addresses the coastlands, those people who have yet to stream into the holy city on Mt. Zion.

From Isaiah 41 we learn about how God gathers people into his covenant love. Continue reading »

Published in: | on January 14th, 2013 | 1 Comment »

Upon the Tragedies of Newtown Ct., Clackamas, Oregon and Mass Shooting of 2012

Our entire nation is mourning the evil deaths of the children and teachers in Newtown Ct. and the two beautiful adults in the Clackamas Town Mall in Oregon. These gunmen did not merely exercise their free wills to do their evil. Truthfully, their wills were not as free as we would think, influenced by countless failures, sins, wounds, delusions, and perhaps, illness. As we pray for God’s comfort to rest upon the families and neighbors of the dead and as we mourn the disruption of our communal peace, we are also wondering, “Is there anything that we can do to prevent such tragedies in the future?” I have been making a list and though incomplete I submit for your consideration:

1) Live by the gospel and encourage others to do the same – people who actually apply the gospel to their behavior do not kill their neighbors.
2) Curb the amount of violence your children/family/friends watch.
3) Put a severe limit on the amount of time your children/family/friends play violent video games.
4) Put a limit on the amount of time your children/family/friends spend in alternate/parallel worlds. Read fantasy and SciFi, but also read other genre and balance it with nonfiction.
5) Instill in your children a work ethic.
6) Do not pressure family members to pursue merely one course in life – college isn’t for everyone; some high school graduates benefit from a gap year to do a service oriented project; other children should enter the work force earlier than they have been; if there is a closed job market, then volunteer, go on a mission -work for the good of others.
7) Join a church fellowship where relationships are being forged and where the whole counsel of God’s word is preached regularly.
8) Encourage regular conversation with friends and family, especially children. Ironically, a typical American parent allows his/her child to watch illicit behavior on the screen but will never talk to the child about illicit behavior. It is better to engage in regular conversations about sex, violence, evil, habits, relationships, God, human nature, genocide, famine….than it is to watch it on TV or in a movie without any wise analysis and evaluation in conversation.
9) Reach out to people on the fringe of your communities – developmentally disabled, mentally ill, socially awkward, underemployed, unemployed, people going through divorce, abuse, addiction…Reach out in love – do not retract in fear.
10) Do not resist going to counseling. If anyone you love thinks that you should see a psychologist, then do it. If anyone you know seems to need psychiatric help, then do everything you can to move him in that direction. If you have subscribed medication – take it – take the doses your doctor has suggested.
11) And…promote the inestimable value of each and every individual human life.
12) Put off divorce if at all possible; it is devastating for children – actually for all family members.
13) Pray regularly for repentance in our nation and neighborhoods – a daily personal repentance.
14) If you own guns and keep them in your home (especially if you have children) then invest in a gun safe and keep your guns secure.

Published in: | on December 14th, 2012 | 6 Comments »