Archive for May, 2014

 For Exposition of Jonah Part 5 click HERE

Jonah whale

Jonah 2

The good thing about studying further a series after you preach on something is that you are able to go back for deeper study.  Sometimes that means you come to a better conclusion that you had originally.  Case in point?  The last few weeks going through Jonah chapter two I was struggling with whether or not Jonah repented in the belly of the Big Fish.  The following is my conclusion, my reasons and what I see is the implication for our lives.

Further Consideration: Did Jonah Repented?

(A) Jonah saying “While [i]I was fainting away, I remembered the Lord,” (v.7a)

(1) Inversion of Noahic flood where Genesis 8:1 where “God remembered Noah,” since it’s God’s initiative that saves Jonah rather than the other way around (Youngblood, Location 2172).

(2) The faithful in the Bible typically confess that it’s Yahweh remembering them rather than they taking the initiative to remember God such as in Judges 16:28, 1 Samuel 1:11, 19; 2 Kings 20:3, Psalms 25:7, 106:4, Jeremiah 15:15, etc (Youngblood, Location 2175).

(B) Jonah’s prayer makes no reference to wrong doing and lacks confession or sorrow over his own sin (Youngblood, Location 2183).

(C) Jonah’s prayer has tension that indicate he might not understand the difference between penance and repentance

(1) Jonah 2:8 talks about other sinners who were idolators but there is not acknowledgement of his immediate sin and situation at hand.

(2) In contrast to the Idolators he compares himself as one who gives sacrifice to the Lord in the next verse in Jonah 2:9.  He is comparing himself to others rather than comparing his sins to God’s standards.

(3) In Jonah 2:9 Jonah said “which I have vowed I will pay.”  He might be having a works righteousness mentality going on here.

(D) Jonah’s attitude later on when Nineveh repented reveals that Jonah might not have had any heart change despite his initial behavior.

We can legitimately go to the conclusion to help illuminate what came before since the book of Jonah likes to use the literary device of intentionally leave out details in the beginning only to reveal it in a later scene what Jonah’s mind was thinking:

(1) The secret of Jonah’s reason for not going to Nineveh

(2) The secret of Jonah’s God with the mariner

What can we learn from Jonah not repenting?

(A) Action is not enough!  Jonah did outwardly carry out God’s plan but it’s important to confess our sins especially in light of 1 John 1:9 that He is faithful to cleanse us when we do!

(B) Make sure you do repent!

 NEXT: Exposition of Jonah Part 7

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  1. Point 2: John 8:58 (cf. Exodus 3:14), “Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”  εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ἰησοῦς, Ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, πρὶν Ἀβραὰμ γενέσθαι ἐγὼ εἰμί.[1]
    1. Explanation:
      • Although Abraham lived 2,000 years before Christ, Jesus made a startling statement, “Before Abraham was born, I am.”
      •  What was Jesus point in this statement?  Was His point in reference to Himself merely coming or existing before Abraham?  No.  If that was the case then He could have merely said, “Before Abraham was born, I was.”  But He did not say that.[2] 
      • Instead our Lord Jesus uses egō eimi (cf. vv. 24, 28).  It is also used elsewhere in John.
        • John 8:24, “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”[3]
        • John 8:28, “So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.
        • John 9:9, “Others were saying, ‘This is he,’ still others were saying, ‘No, but he is like him.’ He kept saying, ‘I am the one.'”
        • John 18:5, “They answered Him, ‘Jesus the Nazarene.’ He said to them, ‘I am He.’ And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them.”
        • John 18:6, “So when He said to them, ‘I am He,’ they drew back and fell to the ground.”
        • John 18:8, “Jesus answered, ‘I told you that I am He; so if you seek Me, let these go their way.'”
        • The phrase “I am” is also prevalent and has strong connections throughout Isaiah 40-55.
      • The phrase “I am,” although not exact like “I AM WHO I AM” (Ex. 3:14), points our to God’s sovereignty.  “I am”  is also prevalent and has strong connections throughout Isaiah 40-55.  The “I am” reveals Himself in different categories.  For further study, I encourage you to study the verses below.  It will be a great encouragement to your soul.
        • Isaiah 41:4 [first & the last], 10 [fear], 13 [fear]
        • Isaiah 42:6, 8 [glory]
        • Isaiah 43:3 [Holy One, Savior],[fear]
        • Isaiah 43:10, 11-13, 15 [deliverer], 25 [wipes out transgressions]
        • Isaiah 44:5, 6 [no other God]
        • Isaiah 45:5 [no other God], 6 [no other], 7 [creates light, darkness; causes well-being, creates calamity], 18 [created the heavens], 22 [turn to Him because there is no other]
        • Isaiah 46:9 [no other God],
        • Isaiah 48:12 [first and the last], 17 [teaches]
        • Isaiah 49:23 [know that I am the Lord]
        • Isaiah 51:12 [he comforts], 15 [stirs up the sea]
        • Isaiah 52:6 [speaks]
      • When the Jews heard this statement, they knew what He was saying.  They knew He was not merely referring to the point that He came before Abraham, but they understood his focal point; a point that conveyed the notion that He was God.  Jesus was claiming deity.
      • Jesus was referring Himself to be Yahweh (YHWH).  Jesus shares the name of God.
        • LORD (YHWH, Yahweh/Kyrios); Lord (Adonai [Heb.]/Kyrios [Gk)
          • LORD GOD: Gen. 2:4; Exod. 3:15-18; Deut. 3:24 LXX [etc.]; 6:4; Pss. 34:8; 118:25; Isa. 8:12-13; 40:3, 13; 45:23; Joel 2:32
          • Lord Jesus: Matt. 3:3; 7:21-22; 8:25; 14:30; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4; 6:46; Acts 1:24; 2:21, 36; 7:59-60; 8:25 [etc.]; Rom. 10:9-13; 1 Cor. 1:2, 8 [etc.], 31; 2:16; 4:4-5; 5:4; 6:11; 7:17, 32-35; 8:6; 10:21-22; 16:22-23; Phil. 2:9-11; 1 Peter 2:3; 3:13-15
        • Jesus is “Lord.”
          • See Acts 10:36; Romans 10:9; 1 Cor. 12:3; Phil. 2:11
          • Kyrios represents the name of Yahweh in the OT; it is the “I AM” of the Ex. 3:14.[4]
        • Distinction concerning letter case: Yahweh/YHWH is translated “LORD” in your English Bibles, while Adonai is spelled mostly as “Lord” (cf. Matthew 3:3).
        • To the Jewish leaders it was blasphemous for Jesus to say “I AM.”  As a result, they picked up stones to stone Him.
    2. In our next installment, we will continue talking about Yahweh and I AM.

[1]Kurt Aland et al., The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993; 2006), Jn 8:58.

[2]D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans, 1991), 358.

[3]All Scripture is quoted from the New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995); unless otherwise noted.

[4]John M. Frame, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief (Phillipsburg, NJ: Crossway, 2013), 881.



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William edgar apologist


William Edgar, Professor of Apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary gave a lecture on the topic of homosexuality in light of the Christian worldview.  It was delivered on May 28th, 2013 in Europe and was sponsored by the Forum of Christian Leaders.

Here’s the video from Youtube:

The page from the Forum can be accessed here.

The lecture in the form of MP3 can be accessed by clicking HERE.

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After You've Blown It


Order on Amazon: After You’ve Blown It: Reconnecting with God and Others (LifeChange Books)

Let’s face it: We all sin daily. So a book on sin, guilt, repentance and God’s grace will always be relevant for the spiritual man or woman. Erwin Lutzer writes this book with a pastoral heart. I appreciate the tone of the book and early in the book uses the parable of the two sons to drive the point about God’s grace. The book also has a helpful discussion about the need to confess our sins and rectifying for our sins even if it means it is difficult and costly in paying back for things we have done. Another helpful point I got from the book is also the wisdom in how we confess our sins such as sins that only occur in our thought might at times be better off confessed to God if it didn’t happen in action against another person, since certain sins such as that of lust might end up causing more sin rather than being helpful to the other person.

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Patrick Rock

Note: After completing our series of Twenty Apologetics Sermon Illustrations, I can’t help it but to see more good analogies out there for an apologist’s toolbox.

Point: How often do you hear people say that they are against Christianity because of the hypocrisy of those who say they believe in Christianity or are leaders in the Christian community?  Does the existence of hypocrites rule out the truth claims of the propositions set forth in Christianity?  While we don’t want to downplay the responsibility of people’s sin and hypocrisy we must also realize that hypocrisy as an argument against Christianity does not have that much weight as it might seem initially.

Picture: The following news story seems to be an appropriate analogy to illustrate my point.

A senior adviser to David Cameron was arrested on child abuse images allegations, Downing Street said tonight.

Patrick Rock, who had been involved in drawing up proposals for internet porn filters, resigned after being questioned by police. Officers from the National Crime Agency examined Downing Street’s computer systems and offices used by Mr Rock, 62.

He was an been adviser to the Conservative party for 30 years and got to know Mr Cameron in the mid-1990s when they were both worked for Michael Howard when he was Home Secretary.

The Prime Minister brought him into Downing Street in 2011 to work in the Number 10 policy unit. He took responsibility for home affairs issues and was among officials who were involved in drawing up controls against internet images of child abuse.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “On the evening of February 12, Downing Street was first made aware of a potential offence relating to child abuse imagery. It was immediately referred to the National Crime Agency.

“The Prime Minister was immediately informed and kept updated throughout. Patrick Rock was arrested at his home in the early hours of February 13, a few hours after Downing Street had reported the matter.

“Subsequently, we arranged for officers to come into No 10 and have access to all IT systems and offices they considered relevant.

“This is an ongoing investigation so it would not be appropriate to comment further, but the Prime Minister believes that child abuse imagery is abhorrent and that anyone involved with it should be properly dealt with under the law.”

The Daily Mail quoted a friend of the Prime Minister as saying: “He has known Patrick for a long time and never expected anything like this.”



OPPONENT: I can’t believe in Christianity because of all the hypocrisy I see. <Insert moral argument (Example: Church experience, Christians throughout history who were oppressive, etc) >

CHRISTIAN: I see.  I don’t want to downplay the tragedy of people committing evil acts.  I would join you in saying that when Christians or so-called Christians sin, that is a wrong that ought to be called out for what it is.  Do you know I agree with you that hypocrisy is wrong?


CHRISTIAN: Now let me ask you another question: Do you think that just because someone is a hypocrite means that the ideas itself that allegedly espoused must necessarily be false?


CHRISTIAN: I think therefore its not enough to point out there are hypocrites and rule out Christianity…

OPPONENT: I mean yes.

CHRISTIAN: Oh.  I’m curious, do you think Child Pornography is wrong?

OPPONENT: What?  Of course it is wrong!  It is sick!

CHRISTIAN: Have you heard about how in the UK there is a man name Patrick Rock who is really against Child pornography on the internet?

OPPONENT: No tell me about him.

CHRISTIAN: <Insert apologetics illustration>


CHRISTIAN: I imagine you agree with me that what Patrick Rock did was wrong.


CHRISTIAN: But does Mr. Rock’s inability to live up to his own standard rule out his ideology that Child Pornography is wrong?

OPPONENT: Of course not…

CHRISTIAN: I agree, I’m glad you said that.  In the same way, you can’t just dismiss Christianity as doctrinally false just because there are hypocrites who claim to follow and represent it.  If we reason this way, why, we would be in a world of problems won’t we?



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10 Big Lies America Medved

Although I have not heard him for years, I enjoy Michael Medved’s radio show because of how he approaches people that disagree with him: he interacts with his guests and those who call in with a level of civility that is almost rare and unique on talk radio.  While I don’t believe the United States is always right, Medved’s book Ten Big Lies about America will challenge some of the narrative of the “Hate America First” crowd.  It is a brilliant and an enjoyable read.

Medved focuses his first chapter on the issue of American relations to Native Americans.  In the popular narrative of American history taught in some introductory college courses, one would think it was mere systematic genocide by the Federal government but Medved’s closer look reveal that at times the Federal Government at times restrained local whites from aggression.  Medved does not paint a false portrait that Americans never did anything wrong but he does show when it is exaggerated or taken out of context.  I appreciate Medved challenging the notion that native Americans were all peaceful but coming of Europeans—however the history of tribes versus other tribes indicate otherwise.  Medved also dealt with the claim of using biological warfare of blankets with germs against the Native Americans with consideration that the understanding of germs wasn’t understood at that time along with other errors surrounding this story being told.

Another chapter that I really appreciate with “Big Lie Number 3” that dealt with the claim by some that America’s founding fathers intended a secularized nation.  This is a subject that I love to read about.  I think the chapter did a good job showing that the founding father never intended to have a secularized state of the kind that progressives today envisioned.  The Founding Fathers were more religious in their views of things than some people realized.

Although I didn’t agree with everything Medved has to say about it nevertheless I did enjoy “Big Lie Number 10” about how America is in an irreversible decline.  I do think that are some moral issues that have worsen in our country but I also don’t think it’s totally irreversible.  Medved does a good job of showing how there were times in American history that the general social and moral landscape was worst than it is now—and how things turned around.  My own theological beliefs makes me realize that God is sovereign and He can turn things around with a revival and Reformation.

Other interesting aspect of the book I enjoyed include his interaction with the idea that only government programs can remedy economic downturns (he even made a quoting reference to Mises!) and also puts in perspective of the average American’s general prosperity.

I do recommend this book.

Available on Amazon

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Restrepo (2010)

In light of Memorial Day I thought I share with you a documentary about a platoon of US Army Soldiers in a tough valley of Afghanistan.  It is called Restrepo and it was released in 2010.

I must warn the viewers that the video has a lot of swearing and combat footage.  I thought it was worth sharing to show what some of our fighting men go through.

The name Restrepo is based upon the name of one of the soldiers in the platoon who was killed early in their deployment.  Later a small fighting outpost was built and named after that soldier.  The film is about the soldiers who manned and fought in Restrepo.

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