Wednesday, May 30, 2007

More evangelistic websites is an outreach to drug users in London. Written in Ali-G style English, there are testimonies of those who have turned from a life of drugs to a life of following Jesus. Sadly the gospel doesn't come across clearly. is a small site (which has the advantage of addressing a few key apologetic questions) Sadly it seems not to take the opportunity to share the gospel as it goes through the evidence for the resurrection and the reliability of the bible etc. is a good course to use with Non-Christians is a great course, which I have found useful. It is basically an expansion of 2 ways 2 live . is from the Billy Graham association. It present the 'bridge' outline of the gospel. It has a slightly bizarre invitation to pray with Billy Graham online! is the well known Alpha Course. While I have some reservations about the course, I love the video that my friend Al Duckworth has done to advertise it! (the picture above right is a snapshot from the video) is perhaps the most well-known creationist site out there. It is very professional, but I have many reservations with the wisdom of this as an apologetic approach. is a huge site for apologetics with Muslims. the gospel comes through clearly in several places, and less clearly in others.

Please keep letting me know of other evangelistic / apologetic sites. I hope to have some posts soon reviewing the different sites that I list.

Four implications of the fact that the LORD is one.

Having preached on Deuteronomy 6 last Sunday, I had the chance to do some reflecting on what is meant by the idea that "the LORD is one". This is the section from the sermon pointing out four implications of the oneness of God.

Did you notice, that the reason to love the Lord though isn’t merely because God Commands it? Before he commands to love him, he tells him something about himself that shows that me must love him.

Verse 4:

The LORD our God, the LORD is one

In the Hebrew there are merely four words here, but whether we understand these four words will make the difference between understanding the purpose of life or failing to understand it.

1) (cf 1 Corinthians 6:8) At the very least what is being affirmed here is complete monotheism. There is only one God and he has no rivals.

This reaffirms the first of the ten Commandments, that there is only one God and therefore he alone is to be worshipped.

But far more is implied that merely monotheism.

2) (cf Exodus 3) The idea is that because God is one he will not change.

That is in fact the significance of his name “The Lord” – literally YHWH meaning “he is”. We call him “He is” because he calls himself, EHYH, “I AM”

He is already perfect so he cannot change for the better, and he certainly will not change for the worse.

But more than that, as the eternal God who sees all things at once, he is entirely trustworthy. He will never make a promise and then have some unforeseen circumstance make him change his mind.

He will never do something and then think better of it.

Israel needed to know this on the brink of the promised land.

His power has not diminished. (He would be able to look after them in the land as surely as he was able to rescue them from Egypt
His love has not diminished. He is not like a forgetful spouse who wanders away from his marriage vows.

If you are following the Lord Jesus Christ today, take comfort in the character of God. It is his good and sovereign action that brought you to trust in Christ, and saved you. He will not think better of it.

Have you been weighed down by your sin this week? He hasn’t thought better of saving you. You may still approach him. Turn to him and love him once again. He did not turn you away the first time you turned to him. He will not turn you away if you turn from your sin and love him today.

3) (cf I wonder if you think that you have grasped the reality of Deuteronomy 6:4, just because you don’t believe that there are lots of gods, but know there is but one. Perhaps you are a Muslim, or a follower of Judaism, or maybe you don't follow any particular religion, but you like the idea that there is just one God. You are most welcome here.

I’d love to ask you a question, though.

If God is ONE, then he doesn’t need us. He may love us, but if he is really infinitely more significant than us, he is the one LORD, he doesn’t need us.

Yet, if he is at his very essence LOVE, how can he love if he is merely ONE. For him to be love, he must have an object of his love. Who do you think is the eternal object of God’s love. The object of his love that he had before he made the world?

Jesus is very clear that he is the eternal object of God’s love.

On the night before Jesus died, he prayed in the hearing of his disciples.

"Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of he world."
On another occasion, Jesus said,
“I and the Father are one."

He was clearly referring back to this verse. The Lord is ONE. Who is the LORD? 'I and the Father are One', says Jesus.

The religious leaders certainly understood what Jesus was implying as they picked up stones to stone him,

but Jesus said to them, "I have shown you many great miracles from the Father.
For which of these do you stone me?"
"We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God."

If you have not recognized that Jesus himself, together with the Holy Spirit are one God, then you haven’t understood this verse, and, according to Jesus, you haven’t understood what you were created for.
God’s oneness necessarily implies that he is also three.

4)(cf Romans 3:30) But more than that, God’s oneness means that His attributes do not contradict each other. He is character is consistent.

Be careful not to suggest that there is somehow division or conflict within God’s character. If we are not careful, we can end up saying things like, “I know God is holy and just, but in the end is love overrides his justice and he forgives.”

No: God is ONE. There is no internal struggle between love and justice within him. He will only exercise his love in ways that are consistent with his justice. He will only exercise his justice in ways that are consistent with his love for all that is good. His justice is loving justice. His love is just love.

The extraordinary news of the gospel is that God has provided a way to be just and the one who declares the guilty innocent.

I’m going to say that again: God has provided a way to be just and the one who declares the guilty innocent.

If there is only one thing that you are going to understand this morning it must be this, so I’ll say it again:

God has provided a way to be just and the one who declares the guilty innocent.

That is what we need. We are all guilty. If we want to know God as we were designed to we must be declared innocent. He is just – if we are declared guilty on the day we meet him, we will be sent to hell. He will not overlook his justice for the sake of his mercy. He is one. Yet we are all guilty

We are all made to perfectly love God. We haven’t. We have lived as if we were the only God, not Him. God in his love for all that is good, hates our rebellion against him, and in his justice will see that our rebellion is punished. We deserve to face that punishment ourselves in hell. But in his incredible love God has provided another place for his justice to be met. He sent his SON. The one who is himself God, whom he loved before the creation of the world. That same son he sent to live as a man. He lived a perfect live, but died on the cross taking the punishment that his people deserved.

He calls us now to turn from our sin, and put our trust in the death of Jesus, so that he might justly punish our sin, and justly declare us righteous.

It is right that the Lord commands us to love him:, for he is the one Lord, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

It’s as if we are great Picasso paintings. But we are unsigned. Who’s name will you put at the bottom of the painting? Picasso’s? or someone else’s?

Well, if you are a Picasso painting, then only Picasso is worthy of having your name at the bottom. You can’t say, ‘well, I prefer Monet” Picasso would be rightly insensed.

If the Lord is the only God, then only He is worthy of our undivided worshipping love, and he is right to command such love.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Beautiful Ten Commandments

I've just started a sermon mini-series on Deuteronomy 5-7. You can listen here

Since I preached on Sunday, most of the comments that I've had from people were about the newness of the idea that the Law is beautiful.

I think people generally knew the idea that the law points us to our need for Christ, but therefore see the law as only negative. Whereas, when we see the Ten Commandments as a reflection of God's character (admittedly embedded within the Old Covenental framework of Exodus, Land, And Sabbath) then they are beautiful.

Also, the way in which we are condemned by the law is all the more powerful.

The law reveals God's goodness, and in doing so it reveals our sinfulness.

1) The Lord loves undivided hearts that worship him alone
We love to worship things that he has made
2) The Lord loves right worship
We love to think that we know better than God even as to how we would approach him.
3) The Lord Loves the honour of his name
We love only that we are honoured, and talk casually about Him as if he were merely a man.
4) The Lord loves to provide rest for us
We love to work ourselves into the ground as if this world were all there was.
5) The Lord loves to hold out authority to us
We love only our own authority.
6) the Lord loves life
We see other people as if there were just there to serve us
7) The Lord loves marriage
We cling onto the adultery of our hearts
8) The Lord loves his own providential distribution of wealth
We love to grab whatever we can
9) The Lord loves truth and justice
We love whatever puts ourselves in the best possible light
10) The Lord loves contentment
We love to imagine what we could be if we had different things, different gifts, differently behaved families.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Evangelistic and Apologetic Websites

Chris Watson Lee has a good series of links to evangelistic websites

He writes...

There are loads of faithful gospel explanations on the internet, although I’d imagine there are many that aren’t. Here are some links to what I hope are Biblical gospel outlines. Do check back, as I might be updating this page every now and then…
Matthias Media, Two Ways To Live
Desiring God, Quest for Joy
Grace to You, Who do you think that I am?
John Blanchard, Ultimate Questions
UCCF, The Message of Life
Ligonier Ministries, What is the Gospel?
Joshua Harris, The Room, (an illustration).

Got questions? Want to find out more? Why not (discerningly) visit: by UCCF click here by Sydney Anglicans click here
Tell Me More by Roger Carswell click here click here
Anyone know of other good sites?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Is Systematic Theology Necessarily Unbiblical?

NT Wright's criticism of "Pierced for our transgressions" was largely methodological. Yet, because the methodology was that of systematic theology rather than biblical theology, he called the book "deeply, profoundly, and disturbingly unbiblical."

This raises an important question:

Can Systematic theology be truly biblical?

Here is an essay I wrote on this very question a few years ago.