Indispensable! This three-part series of sermons on Luther's theology of the cross is more than illuminating of Luther's thought. It conveys a sense of just how far removed American evangelical Christianity is from the principles of the Reformation. The time has come for those of us who still believe in them to stand up and say so, as Pastor VanderMeulen has done here. Luther's thought in particular, is extremely subtle, and easily misunderstood. And even when it is understood, it's hard to get one's heart around it. What it really comes down to for any particular person is this: do you accept Scripture as the sole source of revelation or not? If not, then the god you are worshipping is not the God found in Scripture. Better to just be an atheist and stop kidding yourself. It's really all about the principle of sola scriptura.
God's Commands Are Still To Be Obeyed Pastor VanderMeulen reveals that love for the commandments of God is not antithetical to grace, but an essential part of being a born again Christian. If one rejects this doctrine, in what sense can one say he or she loves the Lord?
Although he doesn't use the term, he is rejecting the fallacy of the antinomians.
Listening to the sermon I'm reminded of a book I've been reading, The Religious Affections, by Jonathan Edwards. Edwards stresses the beauty of Christ and the beauty of true religious affections. With the emphasis on beauty in the sermon, there is a vibrant echoing of Edwards' theology.
In the Westminster Shorter Cathecism, so many of the 107 questions are about the Ten Commandments. Can we doubt that our love of Christ is reflected in our love for those Commandments of Almighty God?
The Blessed Are Also The Deeply Happy This beautiful sermon reveals that we are forgiven by and through Christ's blood and righteous obedience. This deep forgiveness produces a deep joy or happiness.
To me, the sermon points us to a level of happiness different from the "feel good" Christianity that is common throughout American Christendom. The church has become so event oriented that we are often stimulated to leave these worship events or evangelism events or women's conference events with a sense of buoyancy and optimism; yet, those feelings tend to ebb and flow with our circumstances. If I may put it this way: we become constantly attracted and re-attracted to Christ Jesus, but we are never anchored in Christ Jesus.
The antidote is, as Pastor Doug brings out, is Christ Himself. As we groan under the enormity of our sins, we begin to magnify the wonderful gift of salvation. As we become increasingly aware of how much doom we deserve, we will become more grateful for the great forgiveness that comes from the throne of grace through Christ.
I never tire hearing of Christ's forgiveness anymore than I tire of Christ Himself. As we listen to this sermon, including the good humored parts with everyday experiences to which we can all relate, we can be more grateful for the "new birth" and all it implies.
Beware of Wolves in Sheep's Clothing This sermon alerts us to the false teachers -- in fact, the HOST of false teachers -- of this "last hour" of "the last days." In is a marvelous companion piece to an earlier sermon by Pastor VanderMeulen entitled God's "Wrath: Our Moral Corruption" which I also highly recommend (I've given CD's to quite a few people).
He cautions us to watch out for the "powerful speakers" and the "miracle workers," for their power and miraculous works do not show, as they might claim, that they are sent from God no many how many times they seem to lift up the name of Jesus Christ. Rather, we need to stand foursquare in the middle of historical beliefs about the Lord. Don't look to novelty. Look to sound doctrine. Become comfortable with sound doctrine. Come to know the power of Christ alone, by grace alone, by faith alone, for the glory of God alone. This knowledge comes by grace through faith. We need to understand these basics, not in the sense of new ideas about the Holy Bible that were not revealed until these last days [sic], but by a solid understanding of these deep doctrinal issues based on serious teachings.
This sermon is timely as we continue to press onto to the mark that is Jesus Christ.
Suffering that bears fruit... A powerful exhortation to fathers. I listened to this purposely on Fathers' Day because I have to discipline my child, and wanted to be focused on Christ as I proceeded into this task.
It's a bit difficult for me to understand the idea of proceeding with discipline from a heart overflowing with love and delight. Yet, I know that this is the right vision of the way a parent should be. I pray that I may proceed in that spirit, blessing my child and carrying on the work of the Lord as it should be carried on.
Thank you for this profound sermon on a much misunderstood area of life.
Great Sermon! This is a great sermon to share with anyone who believes there is something inside him or herself that can lead to salvation and eternity before a holy God. It clearly points out the corrupt nature that lies at the root of the problem, leaving no room for self-righteousness. Very clear biblical message.
Nobody Can Hide From God This sermon is a stark reminder that we had better take seriously the Lord's admonition "Judge not lest you be judged." We are too quick to point the finger at the sins of others, and too little aware of our own sinfulness and the need to box humbly before our merciful and gracious God. Pastor VanderMeulen presents this message without rancor as he preaches into our dark and hardened world. Thank you for this ever-timely message.
Christianity is Historical This sermon emphatically denies that the Christian needs to retreat to subjectivism to defend his or her faith.Hedenies the sharp line of distinction drawn by I. Kant between the noumenal and phenomenal world (Kant saying that one can only know the phenomenal, but not know the noumenal world that includes God's existence).
Rather, the Bible is grounded in verbs, adjectives, and nouns when discussing the Lord God Almighty and the great persons of faith. The language of abstraction is not used. The concrete language of history is used. Thus, the reality of Christ is like the reality of the JFK assassination or the Holocaust. It happened. Thus, our faith is a living reality not grounded in subjective needs or feelings, but on lived history as the supernatural revelation of a gracious God intersected with and was revealed in space and time.
The sermon wisely and powerfully reminds us not to give an inch, and not to think for a second that those who challenge the truth of our faith have the objective facts, and we have mere subjectivity. We are even more grounded in historical reality than our accusers. Unfortunately for them and for the world, they are mentally and morally deficient.
Our Corruption is Very Corrupt This is an incredible sermon! Pastor VanderMeulen reveals that God sees that the ages old attempt by believers as well as non-believers to make the invisible God into visible images or idols is linked to the American worship of self. God understands this self=worship for what it is: hatred of him.
Also, he shares his experience working in prison ministry. He found that the prisoners would deflect facing their criminal guilt by saying that some other criminal was more guilty. He reminds us that we are guilty of the same thing regarding our sins. We compare ourselves to others in order to minimize our own sinfulness. Yet, if we are in Christ it behooves us to admit our sins, for indeed we are beloved children of God and HE HAS SHOWN MERCY UPON US! Jesus Christ, our prophet, priest, and king, came and died for us so that we might be lifted up to eternal life in Him and live as new creations.
I have burned 8 CDs for distribution to unsaved co-workers as well as three pastors. Truly, it is a mighty word from the Lord that will be most renewing or salvific for those "who have ears to hear."
Thank you Pastor VanderMeulen.
(It is possible that this comment might be posted twice due to my confusion about the posting process.)