The Nations and Resurrection Gospel Blog # 18


            The GOSPEL Is Becoming PUBLIC TRUTH

               More than 700 years before the birth of Jesus, Isaiah was prophesying that the GOSPEL would become “PUBLIC TRUTH” for the international community.  That is the way we should understand Isaiah 2:1-5 along with many other parallel passages in Isaiah and the whole Old Testament.  How else can you possibly interpret Isaiah 2:4?: “He (God) will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples.”

When we interpret Isaiah in this way we are simply taking our place among a large and growing number of respected Biblical scholars who see this text prophesying such remarkable success for the GOSPEL that it will have a powerful and positive influence in our sinful world.

How desperately the international community needs to hear God speaking right now! His GOSPEL given through the RISEN CHRIST is surely our only hope.  We just saw 298 people murdered in the skies over Ukraine this past week.  We see Jihadists wreaking havoc in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Nigeria.  We see our own government stumbling and staggering through a complex web of seemingly insoluble problems of their own making.  Many churches worldwide are advocating such moral horrors as “abortion on demand” and homosexual marriage. We are tempted to throw up our hands in hopeless horror.

I am simply agreeing here with Leslie Newbigin as I quoted him in my last blog.  Seeing this same kind of seemingly desperate conditions in the last century, Newbigin called on believers to come out of their private little church world and advocate the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ as PUBLIC TRUTH.  In other words, call for the whole world to recognize publicly that the gospel and the gospel alone has the power to bring peace and meaning into our lives.

This does not mean that Christians have to attack other religions and philosophies.  It means that we have to believe our own gospel so fully that we actually live it, thus giving that gospel convincing integrity in the eyes of the “nations”.  Then our words of counsel in the public domain will persuade the “nations” to consider the GOSPEL as PUBLIC TRUTH that must be considered in order to bring peace and meaning into every sphere of life.

Then, when the GOSPEL has transforming impact on our lives, our families, our work, our music, our education, our charitable ventures, our church-life, we will not need to attack other religions and philosophies.  The KINGDOM OF GOD reflected in such transformed life-styles will demonstrate its reasonableness with such winsome power that “Many peoples will come and say, ‘Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord’.”

To some limited extent this has already happened.  There was a time when European nations were so influenced by the gospel (such as the period following the Reformation) that many of those nations seriously considered the gospel as the kind of PUBLIC TRUTH that they should heed in considering political, social and military direction.  To this very day, whenever, England inaugurates a new king, the Scottish head of state is always commissioned to put the Bible in the hands of the new king with an appeal for the King to follow the Word of God as divine instruction. The American colonies in the 17th, 18th centuries publicly acknowledged the gospel as PUBLIC TRUTH, not only in the Mayflower Compact but in a great number of civic and governmental documents.  Even into the late 19th century, many American states authorized the preaching of public sermons before any major election.

But this is not a call for “the good old days.”  “Thy Kingdom Come” is a prayer Jesus taught us to pray in expectation that nations now and in the future will be persuaded to listen to the wisdom that flows from the gospel.  Leslie Newbigin, now in Heaven, must be singing a bit more enthusiastically in that choir because so many native Indians have forsaken the bondage of their old religion which regarded them as “untouchables.” Many of those poor souls are turning to Christ, seeing his gospel a PUBLIC TRUTH, and discovering the joy new life in a Risen Savior.

Yes, it is true that such spiritual victory will remain limited in this present age of the church.  But scripture teaches us to expect the ultimate triumph of the Savior.  Christians should be working in every area of life to see the gospel recognized as PUBLIC TRUTH.  Though victory may be limited, it will also be real, substantial, significant, wonderfully effective in many ways.  Let us rejoice in the victories, patiently awaiting final triumph.

(On vacation 2 weeks, probably not blogging, answering emails on my android:


Resurrection of Jesus as “PUBLIC” Truth Blog # 17

His Resurrection Is Not Just Private Opinion


It was a missionary to India, Leslie Newbigin, who brought the phrase “public truth” to prominent attention in the world of Christian literature.  Newbigin was a missionary to India from 1936 to 1974 and witnessed the Indian culture struggling to find hope in their desperate world.  He became convinced that Indians needed to discover the gospel as “public truth”.   To him this meant that the gospel of the Savior’s death and Resurrection must be applied to every sphere of their lives – politics, law, sociology, psychology, economics etc.

Newbigin did not restrict this opinion to the conditions he discovered in India.  In his 1991 book, Truth to Tell, he enthusiastically applies this teaching to the entire world.  He subtitles this book, The Gospel as Public Truth, and insists that we must bring the facts of the gospel to bear on every sphere of human life.  He objects strenuously to Enlightenment philosophers like Rene DesCartes (17th century), insisting that his “program of indubitable knowledge is a fatal blind alley” (page 33).  Newbigin is not a grim enemy of such philosophy but seems to be almost singing as he describes the ample grounds we have for believing that the gospel is the kind of truth that must lie at the base of all reality.

Now isn’t it wonderful when we see evidence that this is true!  And I am happy to agree with Newbigin that it is.  At the moment it is true that the Humanist/Atheist establishment seems to be succeeding in restricting the gospel to merely private opinion.  They are “permitting us” to say anything and everything we want to say as long as we just say it in church, around the family table or in other private institutions.  Just keep it out of politics.  Don’t try to intrude the gospel into psychiatry or education.  The Supreme Court may have the 10 commandments on the walls of their building, but don’t try to get such ideas into the minds of the justices.

That is what our enlightenment philosopher humanists are telling us but scripture has told us that a change is coming.  I will give just two examples in this brief article.

FIRST, The words of Isaiah in his second chapter.  In his first chapter Isaiah had painted a doleful  picture of how Israel had become a “sinful nation” because they had become as idolatrous as the nations that surrounded them.  But the second chapter tells us that all this is going to change.  In the first 5 verses it becomes obvious that Israel is going to hear God’s gracious invitation to, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob”.  Then, when Israel accepts that invitation, they are so remarkably restored that they become a powerful witness to the nations surrounding them (read the first 5 verses of this chapter).  These other nations, of all things, “beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.”

I am saying, dear friends, that this is a prophecy of what WILL CERTAINLY HAPPEN when the gospel of Jesus Christ is regarded as PUBLIC TRUTH. No, this has not fully materialized yet, but it is God’s Word that is promising that it will become a reality.

SECOND, The words of Paul the Apostle in Acts 28:31.  “Boldly and without hindrance, he preached THE KINGDOM OF GOD, and taught about the Lord Jesus.”  Paul is not teaching his hearers to keep the wonder of “the kingdom of God” as a private opinion.  He is clearly proclaiming the kingdom as PUBLIC TRUTH that will come to public expression in their lives.

THIS DID HAPPEN RIGHT THEN.  The Kingdom of God did come in the church and in many aspects of life that Paul’s preaching touched.  We can see proof that it was happening then even in the fact that Paul soon got his head chopped off.  Caesar Nero did that to Paul because the kingdom was becoming so visible through preaching and the growth of the church that it was threatening Nero’s pretension to be “Lord”.  That is the way Nero signed his name.

The wonderful good news is that it is still happening!!  We pray, “Thy Kingdom come” and the fact is God’s Kingdom is coming.  More about this in my next blog



Beyond Merely Believing that Jesus Ascended

               Many Christians recite the fact of the Ascension of Christ every Sunday.  As part of the Apostle’s Creed we say together, “He ascended into Heaven.”  This is grand and I heartily approve but my fear is that the reality of the Ascension of Jesus does not grip the hearts and minds of many who repeat the creed.

As a practicing pastor and missionary for the last 56 years I have known a great number of professing Christians whose lives do not reflect deep faith in this awesome reality.  Frustrated by their own habitual sinning and depressed by their constant failure to prosper in their professed faith, too many of these dear people seem to have a mentality of spiritual failure. I am convinced that such a sad mind-set fails to take hold of the glorious wonder of the Ascension and of the Resurrection that preceded it.

On the contrary the Apostle Peter reflects the normal mentality, the normal mind-set of a Christian when he tells the Sanhedrin that he cannot stop speaking about the Savior. In Acts 4:12 Peter insists to that assembled court, “We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”  Peter had personally witnessed the death of Christ on the Cross.  Then he saw him Risen from the dead.  And finally he had stood there spell-bound as he watched Jesus rise into the eternal glory, there to be seated at the right hand of God (Acts 1:9-11).  It is this awesome complex of events that helped Peter know that his worst sins were forgiven and that he was truly free to live joyfully before his Lord.

If I might borrow contemporary psychological jargon for a moment, I could say that Peter was suffering from “obsessive compulsive disorder.” In Peter’s case, however, this was a truly joyful “disorder”.  His mind was so gripped by what he had seen in those Redemptive acts of Jesus that he had to tell everybody who would listen, even those proud members of the Sanhedrin. I am convinced that his preaching to those men would have been so full of joy that his voice would have had a singing quality to it.  Those Sanhedrin cats had the power to crucify him!  Never mind!  Peter HAD to describe the “mighty acts of Christ” even to those evil men.

I must insist: this is the NORMAL MENTALITY, THE NORMAL MIND-SET of anyone who really believes that Jesus performed his great acts of redemption in our behalf and then ASCENDED TO THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER.  It is not enough for us to recite this as a formal statement of our faith.  It must grip our imagination, our whole hearts, our whole being.  When such truth takes hold of us it enables us to do serious battle with our habitual sins.  It enables us to overcome our depressions.  It lifts us up into a world where victory over Satan becomes an increasingly frequent experience for us.  We are empowered to speak like Peter spoke to friends and enemies alike.  We begin to enter into the kind of Joy that the Savior Himself is experiencing seated at the right hand of God.

That is because we are seated beside Jesus who is seated beside the Father!  Do you believe that?  Why not?, when Ephesians 2:6 says it so plainly, “…and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” This fact is clearly asserted in other texts like Colossians 3:1 and then is assumed throughout the rest of the New Testament.  There is every reason to believe such a wonderful thing about our present position in Christ.  We are kings and queens, not paupers and peasants.  When we take hold of this truth and this truth takes hold of us we receive the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome Satan and all his whole legion of demons.

This is why I wrote blog #15 and why I preached that sermon on this subject last week.  It has become one of the main reasons for me to remain active.  The longer I live and preach the more I am convinced that we need to give far greater emphasis to the triumphing acts of Jesus:  His bodily rising from the dead, his Ascension into glory, His enthronement at the right hand of God, His present work of building His glorious Temple that will be finally revealed in the work he is completing in Revelation 21 and 22.

Please believe me when I say I do not want to fault my brothers in the ministry.  But the fact is that I so want to influence them.  I want them to join me and others with such convictions. I want everyone who reads these blogs to be so gripped by the mighty redemptive acts of Jesus that they will be lifted up in the Holy Spirit-given Joy of our salvation.  Our Faith in this great Savior is not a heavy burden that we have to carry.  It is not an obstacle to full and satisfying life.  It is the very essence of true life, setting us free from the illusions and delusions that Satan and the sinful world try to foist on us at every turn.

We praise our great Trinitarian God for loving us so much that He has seated us with Christ in the heavenly places.

Full of God’s Unfailing Love, Blog #15

July 6, 2014          FULL OF GOD’S UNFAILING LOVE, Blog #15                      Psalm 33

Thank you for sending me to the General Assembly of the PCA which met in Houston, Texas two weeks ago. One of the first people I met there was Pastor Larry Roff, longtime organist of the assembly.  He is a man who frequently goes to Ukraine on mission trips and has been very helpful in our ministry there.  I thanked him for the fact that he had gone to Ukraine this last April, right during the trouble they were having with Russian military interference in their land.

While Larry was telling me about his trip he began to weep about how much he loved those people and wanted to help in their distress.  I have to confess that I was weeping with him as he spoke because those people are very dear to both of us.

As the assembly went to work on various issues, I could not forget Larry’s tears.  To me his tears symbolized  the tender love of God described in Psalm 33. Three times in this Psalm God’s love is called his “unfailing love” vss 5, 18 and 22. (ESV steadfast love).  This amazing love of God is the means by which He cares for us, by which he rules us, directing our lives and the life of the entire world. You see, Larry really couldn’t help himself.  Caught up as he was himself in the love of God he had to love our dear friends in Ukraine, weeping over them as the Savior would have wept: THEME >>>


 You may recognize my quotation from Shorter Catech 11. (Note  bulletin) Catechism is worth memorizing – Grand statement of God’s absolute Sovereignty over all things.But also important to see that even catechisms can be improved by adding Biblical elements – like the tender Love of God.  I want you to agree with me that I have improved this catechism by adding  this Biblical insight.  (John Piper adding to #1 “Chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying him forever.” Then I want you to feel free to do the same thing as you study and teach these grand truths to your children and each other. Main point of this Psalm is that GOD RULES US LOVINGLY. 

Psalm is describing the RULE of God over all things weaving this statement of his “UNFAILING LOVE, STEADFAST LOVE” into this description of his RULE 3 times v 5, 18 & 22.  This is no exception to the way the Bible speaks of God’s rule.  Not an exception, but a rule.  God’s sovereign rule over us and all things is woven so tightly into his love that the two can hardly be distinguished.  How we should rejoice in this loving rule of God surrounding us, engulfing us, PROPELLING US DOWN THE PATHWAY OF LIFE.  NAOMI JOYCE –launched her last night at her graduation party.  God is launching all of you to serve him in your callings every day.

Our Muslim friends do not have this view of God.  The Koran says practically nothing about Allah loving anyone or anything.  His rule over his people is arbitrary, unpredictable, fatalistic.  It is a rule that sends them on JIHAD, even hating each other – as between Sunni’s and Shias today.             What an opportunity we have to show them and the whole world this God (holding up Bible), helping them come to Him.  True of all false religions – Christ is our only refuge.  Three ways God helps us understand this: 


“Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous!”- next 3 verses fairly exploding with joy, celebrative joy  Concluding v 3 “play skillfully and SHOUT FOR JOY!”

“Shout” is same word God commanded Joshua to use when they marched around Jericho and the walls fell down.  

That Shout was a celebration of twin wonders:



You are not celebrating a fantasy, but a reality, a basic reality of the universe GOD LOVES HIS OWN CHOSEN PEOPLE AND HE DESPISES THOSE WHO DESPISE HIM Not something to be embarrassed about!! 


 IllUs: Few days ago I had been studying 3rd vs of text “New Song”,

Craigie’s remark about “New” in “new song”        “‘new “ designates…the ever-new freshness of God in his victorious kingship.

“God is not boring! His sovereign rule is not boring  “fresh, bright, sparkling”

            God is on the march – Jerichos are falling, YOU Israelites are possessing the land! Riding Bike  in a fresh, bright sparkling morning – God personally put every drop of dew on the grass,         Makes all the grass turn green and all the flowers to bloom            


  • “Now don’t go home and start belly-aching again!”
  • There is a sparkling freshness to everything God is doing – new babies being born,
  • Granddaughter baptized in Houston, great granddaughter born in Chicago, Lydia Tuesday night
  •  Whole new epoch’s of life opening up to us, because the future is filled with GOD!
  • Life is filled with exciting NEW WONDERS OF GOD the King at work, leading us into tomorrow.


II. GOD IS DRAWING US INTO HIS ETERNAL PLAN 10-19 עֵצָה= counsel, advice, plan.  His rule is going somewhere.  There is direction in his plan (read 10-11)  Dynamic forward movement:

Bob Dylan: He has plans of his own when he sets up is throne!  He has already set it up.


4TH OF JULY AT BANDOWSKI’S – BEAUTIFUL, BUT NOT HEAVEN YET                         DOG WITH ARTHRITIS                        

                         ME NOT QUITE THE SAME ON VOLLEY-BALL COURT,  HARD TIME                           SPIKING BALL            

                          BUT WE ARE ON OUR WAY THROUGH THE COVENANT LOVE OF GOD            

NAME OF THIS LOVE: COVENANT LOVE – Outline in bulletin moving toward              fulfillment of COVENANT COVENANT LOVE (V 18) is KEY in God’s plan,

God found Adam/Eve hiding in the garden, scolded them, BUT CREATED “HOPE” IN THEM GOD told them that the “seed” of Eve would crush the head of Satan, restore mankind.             So God DREW mankind into his plan EMBRACING THEM IN HIS COVENANT LOVE. THIS COVENANTAL LOVE was God’s principal instrument to rule them GOD held them by the heart!  He captured their affections. GOD enabled them to love Him as he loved them GOD LOVED THEM AND THEIR FAMILIES, ESTABLISHING THE PATTERN OF SALVATION. SO, THROUGHOUT HISTORY:

  • COVENANT in the garden with Adam/Eve,  Then with Noah, with Abraham
  • COVENANT Expanded in David Ps. 89:1-4, Isaiah, Daniel
  • COVENANT Fulfilled in our Lord Jesus Christ, DELEGATED BY THE FATHER – LORD OF ALL






  • As Israel was commissioned to build the kingdom through conquest of Canaan, Jericho first
  • So the church today is commissioned to build the kingdom throughout the world

Lorraine and me called to build a church and a school in Huntsville Alabama Then to go to Ukraine to help them build a denomination, Then to be a small part of Trinity… GOD IS DRAWING EACH OF YOU >>>>>YOU, YOU AND YOU. 

III. GOD IS LIFTING US INTO THE HOPE OF ETERNAL LIFE, v 20-22 HOPE used twice in these verses in anticipation of RESURRECTION/ASCENSION.




When I challenge you to accept his call to be a builder alongside God, I am challenging you to fill your heart with his RESURRECTION/ASCENSION GLORY –

So Peter at Pentecost –        So Paul after Damascus Road

They were marching around Jericho, shouting the praises of God   So, you and I seeking to follow our Savior in the love and grace he gave so freely.

Illus: Nuremberg Trial, Pastor Henry Gerecke from St. Louis, asked by Army to serve as chaplain to the criminals on trial.  American army showed wonderful compassion for those men simply by providing Gerecke as Chaplain.  He held chapel for them nearly every day and then after they had been condemned to die, he was with them every day, visiting them in their cells, praying with them and answering their questions.  “Wilhelm Keitel was especially interested in certain Bible portions and certain hymns which spoke of the love of God in the REDEEMING BLOOD OF CHRIST. (page 253).” He was one of three of them including Ribbentrop and Sauckel who professed faith in Christ and took communion with Gerecke.

Gerecke was a deeply humble man.  But in a sense, he was in the Jericho tradition, marching around the 3rd Reich, shouting the praises of our Lord Jesus Christ, bringing down the walls of resistance.  BABYLON WAS FALLILNG. CONCLUSION Just before the PCA adjourned I found Larry Roff in the hallway and thanked him for his tears. They were eloquent evidence to me of GOD’S LOVE FOR HIS PEOPLE.  God was moving Larry’s heart to love our dear friends in Ukraine. That kind of love is what moves the kingdom of God toward the coming of Christ, toward the final victory of Jesus Christ over all his and our enemies.  It is powerful evidence that God is at work in this world drawing sinners into the fold and building saints into a glorious temple.  When he gets the last brick for that temple, He will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and we will be forever with the Lord.




Slight Shift in Blog Strategy Toward Longer Articles

The bodily Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ has been the major theme of my blog to date.  I remain convinced that this is the right direction for me to take. Following the suggestions of some of my friendly critics, however, I have decided to make one adjustment. Some of my blogs are going to be a bit more lengthy. I am convinced that you are right when you tell me that certain subjects I am trying to cover just demand fuller development than are possible in the brief articles I have been writing – none of them much longer than one type-written page.

The first more lengthy blog that I will send you will be the very next one, a sermon which I preached last Sunday on Psalm 33.  My theme in this message is:  GOD ALWAYS RULES IN LOVE OVER ALL HIS CREATURES AND ALL THEIR ACTIONS.  The theme is my development of a statement that occurs three times in this Psalm.  In verses 5, 18 and 22 the Psalmist refers to the “unfailing love of God” NIV, or the “steadfast love of God” ESV. The point I am establishing is that God’s “unfailing love” is so woven into his sovereign rule over us that we are compelled to spend our lives serving him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.  And, yes, I do see the Resurrection of the Savior as integral to this wonderful love of God leading us to serve our savior.  You will see how I include that truth alongside the ASCENSION OF THE SAVIOR in the last part of point the second point of the sermon.

This blog will be at least 3 pages long, maybe longer.  My notes, as preached orally may need additions here and there so that they will be understandable in this written form.

SO I ESPECIALLY NEED SOMETHING FROM YOU IN RESPONSE!   I need you to either email me or use the “response” line in the blog to indicate your reactions to this change.  It is not that all of my blogs will be this long, but that I will try to give appropriate longer statements where the subject demands it.

Also, if you like the idea of getting a printed sermon like the one I will send, it will be helpful to know this.  I have often heard that published sermons are “hopelessly boring” and if that is your response, I need to know.  It is possible that I will send such sermons from time to time.  I preach about once every six weeks at TRINITY PRESBYTERIAN here in Union, Missouri and could send printed copies of sermons if you like.

The fact is that these sermons appear in audio form along with this blog.  You can listen to them if you like.  Feel free to email me with any responses you wish to make.

Now, this is going to be a remarkably short blog.  I am almost finished.

I will only reiterate my passion for the RESURRECTION theme of my blog.  I am deeply concerned to find so little emphasis on this central theme of the New Testament.  I am talking about the preaching I hear both from Reformed pulpits and broad evangelical pulpits. I hear it so seldom and when I do hear it there seems to be far too little stress on the ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL part that this truth must play in our preaching if we are going to be effective preachers of the gospel of Christ.