Friday, July 28, 2006

The New Creation, Christ's Bride

*This sermon was preached at the GBCB youth camp last month*

II. The New Community

a. Christ’s Bride

Yesterday we discussed regeneration and sanctification. All of this leads into our discussion of the Church because those who are regenerate and being sanctified make up the Church. There is a lot of confusion over what the church is, and how to define the church because the term church has been misused and redefined. In our culture people say they are “going to church on Sunday,” or they “belong to the church,” to most people the church is just a building. This is not the way that the NT defines the church. The NT defines the church as all of those individuals who have been reborn of God, and redeemed into the body of Christ. This is exactly what Ephesians 5:23 teaches us when it says “Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.” So the Church proper consists of all those people who have submitted to Christ as their head and Savior. Within this Universal Church there are local communities of believers. We would call this the local church. For example, Grace Bible Church is not the church, but rather a local church body within the universal church.
The NT uses several images to describe the Church that I would like to look at (This is not an exhaustive list, but rather a sampling of how the NT views the Church). First, the NT refers to the Church as the “people of God.” 2 Corinthians 6:16 says “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Again, the NT refers to the church as people not a building. The image of the Church being God’s people emphasizes God’s initiative in choosing a people for himself. The second image that I would like to look at is the Church as the body of Christ. I will only briefly discuss this now because I want to come back to it. We read in detail this image in 2 Corinthians 12:12ff. This image of the church as the body of Christ emphasizes the close connection of the church as group of believers to one another, and to Christ. The final image that I want to discuss is the image of the Church as the “Bride of Christ.” In Ephesians 5:31-33 we see that the church’s relationship with Christ can be compared to the relationship of a husband and wife. This again emphasizes the closeness of the believers who make up the church to one another, and to Christ. But there is more to this image than just this closeness. There is also an eschatological reference here. In Revelation 21:9 we see the bride of Christ, the Church, being given to Christ at the consummation of the New Heaven and the New Earth. Christ paid for this Bride with his own blood, and at the end of time Christ will receive His bride.

b. The One Body

Being the body of Christ and the Bride of Christ carries with it great responsibility. In Ephesians 4:1-6 the apostle Paul tells us that we must live lives that are worthy of this amazing calling. We do this, in part, by preserving the unity that God has provided for us in the Church. What is amazing about this passage is that Paul does not say that we need to create a unity, but rather we must maintain the unity that God has already provided for us. In verses 4-6 we see what that this unity is. There is one church body, one Spirit, one calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and finally one God and Father. This community of regenerated individuals is in itself an amazing work of God and the unity of the Church comes from this work of God. Joshua Harris, writing on this subject, said “The longer that I’m a Christian, the more aware I become that I cannot live the Christian life on my own. My individual and direct relationship with God through Jesus is the greatest privilege and He is truly all I need—and yet God in His wisdom has created all of us to need others, too.” John Piper went so far as to say that “sanctification is a community project.” This means that as we are working out our salvation we must do so together. God has made us one through Jesus Christ.


God has done an amazing work to create the church, and for us to not take that seriously is a sin. When we do not pursue peace, and lift one another up we are, by our actions, demonstrating that this work of God through Christ is unimportant to us. We must remember that God has done this amazing work in the Gospel not only to save us individually, but also to set apart for himself an entire group of people. We are a part of that group and we must remember that was we seek to live out our Christian lives.

Yesterday Anonymous left a comment questioning my view on the Church. I hope this answers some of the questions that he left. Also, in light of the passages listed here I cannot imagine taking the RCC view of the Church (the Church refers to the hierarchy of the RCC). I would love to debate my constant commenter on this issue if he would drop the anonymous, and actually deal with me rather than secretly send me RCC dogma. Otherwise I will continue to delete his comments.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The New Creation, Christ’s Bride

*This sermon was preached at the GBCB youth camp last month*


Over the last few weeks we have talked a lot about the how a man can be made right before a perfect and holy judge. This knowledge is foundational, and is required for what we are going to talk about. Today I want to talk about the church; and without the salvation we have already spoken of there could be no church. In Ephesians 5:25 we see just how important the church is to Christ, “Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” This designation of “the Church” sets us apart. There are no other institutions or organizations like the church, because Christ has died only for the church. We are the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, purchased by the blood flowing from His own veins. Even the term church has immense meaning. The Greek word that we have translated as church has the idea of a calling. This makes the Church a group of people summoned together by God. What an amazing thing! God has worked out his plan not only to save individuals, but also to create a world-wide community of these individuals. If the church is so important to God that He sent Christ to die for her, then it should be important to us as well. This is why I want to talk about the church this. Before we can get a discussion of the church body we must first talk about the individuals within that body. The church is a community that is made of “new creatures.” But what are these new creatures? To answer that question we need to start at the very beginning.

I. The New Creation

a. Regeneration

The place that we must begin when talking about the new creation is the doctrine of regeneration. If conversion refers to the response of man to God’s calling, then regenerations is the other side of conversion. Regeneration is God’s transformation of an individual so that they can accept Christ. In this act God, or more specifically the Spirit, renews a person so that they are no longer unable to seek God because of their sin. The most extensive explanation of this concept is found in John 3:1-8. Here the Lord Jesus Himself describes this concept of regeneration to Nicodemus. In this passage Jesus answers the question that Nicodemus didn’t even ask. Jesus knew Nicodemus’ heart, and that his true need was for spiritual regeneration. What we see here is that this regeneration is not something that can be achieved through human effort. In fact, the key to understanding this concept is understanding man’s need for transformation. The human being is spiritually dead and thus needs a new spiritual birth. We will find the origin to this spiritual death in Genesis 3. In Genesis 2:17 God told Adam that “in the day” that he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he would “surely die.” In Genesis 3 we find that Adam did eat of that tree, but physical death did not occur. Instead, Adam died spiritually. Just as the second birth that Jesus spoke of was spiritual birth rather than a physical birth, so to the death of Adam was spiritual rather than physical. Christ understood this need completely when He said that “unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” In short, regeneration is the work of the Spirit to take a person who is spiritually dead and makes them alive. The act of regeneration is no small thing. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 Paul, describing this concept, said “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.” By this supernatural work humans can be transformed, and spiritually brought back to life.

b. Sanctification

We would view regeneration as an instantaneously complete event, but it is not an end in itself. Regeneration is a beginning, but there is much more to come. In Philippians 1:6 the apostle Paul made this point clear when he wrote “And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Later Paul refers to the manifestation Christ’s work in your life as the “fruits of the Spirit.” These fruits of the Spirit are the direct opposite of the fruit of the old nature, the flesh (Galatians 5:19-23). This continuing work is what we would call sanctification. Sanctification is the work of God in the life of the believer, making him or her holy. The definition of holy can be complicated, but for our purposes I want to make it as simple as possible. Thus, our working definition of holy will be “bearing an actual likeness to God.” From here what we must understand is that sanctification takes place subsequent to justification. This means that when God is working out your sanctification He is causing your moral condition to catch up with your legal status before God. Let me explain. After regeneration we are able to repent and put our faith in Christ. At this time we are justified; that is to say God looks at us as being justified because of the work of Christ. However, even though God has declared us to be justified we still have sin in our lives. Our minds are stilled filled with the pollution caused by a sinful life. Here is where the doctrine of sanctification comes in. Sanctification is an actual transformation of the character and condition of a person. It is the cleaning out of the remaining pollution from sin. This does not happen all at one time; it a progressive work that is accomplished over the entirety of the believers life.
To this you may be thinking, “That’s great. I am glad that God is doing this work, and I am glad that I know the logical sequence of events that go into salvation. But how does this affect my life?” Let me tell you how it will affect your life. As we have already seen Scripture is very clear in teaching that this is a supernatural work of God in your lives. But Scripture also teaches us that we have a responsibility in our sanctification. Philippians 2:12 says “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” This verse does not refer to salvation by works (it can’t Ephesians 2:8-9), but rather the believers responsibility to pursue obedience to God in their sanctification. This is something that you should be actively working on everyday. The question that we are left with is, how? First of all, we must remember that it is the presence of the Spirit in our lives that works this sanctification out. And as we have said many times, it is the Spirit of God working through the Word of God that makes a lasting change in our lives. By this we mean that the chief tool that the Spirit of God uses in the process of your sanctification is the Bible. Thus, in order to work out your salvation and clear your mind of sinful pollution you must immerse yourself Scripture. This is exactly the picture that is painted for us in Romans 12:2. Our minds must be renewed by the Spirit through Scripture. In order for this to happen we must be in Scripture. If you want a radical change in your life to rid you of the evil stain that sin leaves in your life, then you must immerse yourself in God’s Word.
At this point you may be thinking about the times that you have fallen short of this, and even now the lack of time you spend in God’s word. Let me encourage you in two ways. First of all, you are so young. If you will develop habits in your life that are spiritually profitable, and responsible they can last you a life time. Learn to make time for God’s Word every day, just like you would make time for food. Second, know that if you are a true believer in Christ Jesus then you can be assured that He will complete the work that he began in you. We saw in Philippians 2:12 that we must work out our own salvation, and if we go on to verse 13 we read “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” This is the new creature that has been created by God; these are the individual that make up the Church.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Keep your eye on the JE center

Over the couple of years or so work has been going on to compile the many works of Jonathan Edwards online at the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University. I was lucky enough to find this resource in its infancy, and be a part of the beta testing. In the beginning there was not much to test, however that has changed over the last few months. Currently there is no better place to find such an exhaustive compilation of the works of Edwards. What makes this site so useful in study, and devotions is the relative ease with which you can preform a search. I believe that you can still sign up as a beta tester and receive a free year of access to this resource. I would highly recommend it to all of my readers.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Gospel: God's Glory & Man's Humilitaion

*This Sermon was preached last month at the GBCB Youth Camp*

Here is where we last left off:
The question that we are now left with is, what should our response be to God’s glory in the Gospel?

The first thing that comes to my mind when thinking about this question is humility. Honestly, it should be utter humiliation and this is exactly what we see in
Ezekiel 36:22-32. In this passage God blessed the people with grace so that He would receive the glory. This is the Gospel. God does not save someone because of who they are. God saves people because of who He is.
Do you love the gospel because God has made much of you, or do you love the Gospel because it has freed you to make much of God forever? If you love the Gospel because God has made much of you then you need to humble yourself and remember that your joy should be rooted in the infinite value of God.

If you have great guilt in your life from sin your hope should not be in you, but rather your hope should be in the name of Christ. Do not get wrapped up in esteeming yourself highly and think that it is the Gospel. The whole point of the Gospel is not that we are so good that God saved us, but rather that we are so bad yet because God is so good He has saved us. At the thought of our salvation we should not say to ourselves “I must be something because Jesus died for me.” Ezekiel makes it very clear that the thought of God’s grace in light of our sin should leave us confounded and ashamed.

This leaves us with an interesting tension that is particularly highlighted in the NT. We are to remember our sins yet forget them.
Ephesians 2:12-13 tells us that we must remember our sins, but Philippians 3:12-13 tells us that we must forget our sins. The key to understanding this is found in the beginning of Philippians 3:12. Paul understands that he has not already obtained perfection, and so he remembers his sin but forgets. I think that we can find this balance if we remember enough to be ashamed by our sin and satisfied with God’s grace; but don’t remember (or dwell on) your sin to the point that you are paralyzed by it. The Gospel should humble us, not make us proud. We should be ashamed and confounded by our sin so that we will be happy and satisfied with God’s grace.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Gospel: God's Glory & Man's Humilitaion

*This Sermon was preached last month at the GBCB Youth Camp*

Romans 3:25-26

Here is where we left off yesterday:

Someone might say well John 3:16 says that God saves men because of His love; and 1 Corinthians 13:5 says that love is not self-seeking; so how can God be out for His own glory in the salvation of men?

To that I would answer this way. First of all, God does save men because He loves them. Because He loves them He wants what is best for them, and the best thing in the universe is God. If God were to give you all the riches of this world to enjoy, but withhold Himself then He would be demonstrating hatred toward you. But, if God were to withhold every earthly enjoyment from you but himself that would be the ultimate demonstration of love. John, in 1 John 3:1, says that the love of the Father is the reason that we can be called the children of God. Thus, we must say that God has saved men for His own glory, and because of His love. But how do those two ideas fit together, and how does God seek his own glory but Scripture says that love is not being self-seeking? Let me try to explain. To love you God must give you what is best for you. God is what is best for you. God has given Himself to us so that we can enjoy Him, and take pleasure in Him forever. He does not want us to take pleasure in anything above himself because He is jealous for His glory, and because it is not what is best for us. God wants us to have ultimate pleasure in Him, and if we are going to do that we must express that pleasure through praise. Think about you favorite hobby, or sport, or food, or even person. You love to talk about those things which you enjoy, right? When something great happens what is the first thing that you want to do? Tell someone! It is almost as if you cannot completely enjoy the moment until you tell someone else. The same is true about you enjoyment with God. You will not be able to enjoy God, and take pleasure in Him until you praise Him giving Him the glory. This is why God’s passion for His own glory is not self-serving it is for your benefit. The question that we are now left with is, what should our response be to God’s glory in the Gospel? We will discuss this tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Gospel: God's Glory & Man's Humilitaion

*This Sermon was preached last month at the GBCB Youth Camp*

Romans 3:25-26

We find the answer to the question, why would God go to such great lengths to set apart for Himself a redeemed people, twice in vv. 25-26. Two times Paul states that God has done these great things in order to show His own righteousness. It was for His name’s sake, His own glory, that he sent Christ as a sacrifice. This may sound strange to you that God has saved you first and foremost because he loves His own glory, but this is what Scripture teaches us. I want to take the time to look at several passages to make this point clear. In 2 Samuel 12:6-25 we see this same principle at work. The people of Israel had sinfully asked for a human king. They had been living under a Theocracy, and God was their King. But they wanted to be like the other nations. They wanted to depend on a man to lead them into battle rather than God. So, they asked for a king. This was a great act of wickedness (v. 17) because it brought shame upon the name of God. The people of Israel disgraced God’s name in front the watching nations and in vv. 19-20 we see His response. “Do not be afraid.” This must be wrong; it should read “be afraid.” But, this was not God’s message and in v. 22 we see why. It was for “His name’s sake,” or His glory, that He spared Israel.
Look at Isaiah 48:9-11. Here, again, we see God deferring his anger. Six times in this passage God tells us why he deferred His anger. “For my name’s sake… for the sake of my praise… for my own sake, for my own sake… how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.” We are, of course, the beneficiaries, but ultimately God saves us for His glory. John MacArthur put it this way, “The primary reason we are redeemed is not so that we may escape hell- that is a blessed benefit, but not the major purpose. The central objective for which we are redeemed is not even so that we might enjoy the manifold eternal blessings of God. In fact, the supreme motive in our redemption is not for us to receive anything. Rather, we have been redeemed so that God may receive worship- so that our lives might glorify Him.” Someone might say well John 3:16 says that God saves men because of His love; and 1 Corinthians 13:5 says that love is not self-seeking; so how can God be out for His own glory in the salvation of men? I will speak to this issue in the next post.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Gospel: God's Glory & Man's Humilitaion

*This Sermon was preached last month at the GBCB Youth Camp*

“In His divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.” These are the words of the apostle Paul in Romans 3:25. This is a reference to God’s dealings with human beings before Christ. We spoke yesterday about the justification, redemption, and propitiation that are found in Christ, but what about those who were before Christ. Paul tells us that God passed over, or overlooked sin. God postponed the full penalty of sins previous to the cross allowing certain sinners to stand before Him without an adequate satisfaction for His holy justice. This poses a serious theological problem! Most people see Hell as a problem saying something to the effect of “How could a loving God send someone to Hell?” The problem is not Hell, the problem is forgiveness. How can a perfect and righteous God who is supposed to be the perfect and righteous judge of the universe just over look sin. If we had a judge letting rapists, and murders back onto the streets there would be a public uproar. However, this is exactly what God did in 2 Samuel 12:13. David looked upon another man’s wife, took that woman for himself, and sent her husband out to die. Yet, the Lord put away his sin, and he did not die. How can this be? How could God just overlook this sin? Not only is God just overlooking sins, He is also ignoring the dishonor showed to Him by men. In doing this it seems as though He is condoning men in their esteeming of themselves to be more trustworthy in their judgment than God. It is almost as if God is allowing Himself to be more lowly than His own creation. Basically, it is as if God is saying that it doesn’t matter. “But for God thus to deny the infinite value of his glory, to act persistently as if the disgrace of his holy name were a matter of indifference to him- this is the heart of unrighteousness. This if God is to be righteous e must repair the dishonor done to his name by the sins of those whom he blesses. He must magnify the divine glory man thought to deny Him.”1

To find the answer to our theological problem we must look carefully at vv. 25-26. The first thing that we must see in these verses is that the righteousness that Paul speak of here is different from the righteousness mentioned in v. 21. This righteousness does not refer to the righteousness that God has made available to men through Christ. Rather, this righteousness refers to the righteous character of God Himself. I would define this righteousness as God’s commitment to His glory, and absolute faithfulness to act for His name’s sake (More on this to come). In vv. 21-25a we saw the righteousness of God manifest through Christ, and made available to men. Here we see God’s righteousness displayed, but how? Basically, what we see here is God’s actions in passing over sins previously committed being justified. Here again, this justification is different from what we saw in v. 24. This justification is not man’s justification from sin, but God being justified in justifying. God showed that he was not unjust in his forgiveness of the OT saints when he sent Christ to be the sacrifice for all the saints. This public display of Christ’s sacrifice demonstrates that God was righteous all along in his forbearance. In fact, what we see is that God exercised his forbearance in light of the certainty of the sacrifice of Christ. It all began in Genesis 3:15 when, instead of killing Adam and Eve right there on the spot, God gave mankind the hope of salvation. As we saw yesterday all throughout the OT we can find the foreshadowing of Christ sacrifice. Look at v. 26. God sent Christ, at the perfect time, so that he might demonstrate His perfect righteous justice, and at the same time justify the ungodly through faith. This was the twofold purpose of Christ’s work. When we understand how truly amazing God’s purpose in Christ death was we are left with the question why would God go to such great lengths to set apart for Himself a redeemed people?

1. Piper, John. The Justification of God, 1993, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Back to Business...

After the short break to cover my father-in-laws story we will now return to the messages I preached at camp this year.

The Gospel:
Christ’s Righteousness & Man’s Sin (Part II)
Romans 3:21-25a

Beginning in verse 22 all the way down to verse 26 Paul explicitly defines what this godly, hope providing righteousness is. This righteousness has been made manifest through Christ. The only hope for us, who as Paul penned it “have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” is the righteousness of Christ. Because we have sinned and fell short we have to be justified before God. To be justified we must be redeemed through the sacrifice of Christ. This sacrifice is God’s public display of His righteous son as a propitiation. This idea of propitiation is slightly different from redemption and deserves our attention. Propitiation carries with it the idea of appeasement, or satisfaction. In many ancient pagan religions the idea of man appeasing his deity and pleasing him with a gift was common. However, in the NT the idea of propitiation is a work of God not of man. This means that when God justifies someone it is not as if their sins have been omitted as if they never happened. Rather, God justifies someone because their sins have been unjustly bore by another. The purpose of this substitution was that in Christ our sins may be covered. If you are paying attention then you should realize that more has to be done for us to be saved. We already saw that in order for humans to have a right relationship with God we too must be righteous. The problem that we are left with, even after our sins are forgiven, is that we do not have righteousness. This means that just as Christ had to become a substitute for our sin, he must also provide us with righteousness. This is what theologians have termed the imputation of Christ. Our sin imputed to Christ, and Christ’s righteousness imputed to us. This is the great exchange that Paul described in 1 Corinthians 5:21. It is our sin imputed to Christ that gets us back to square one. It is the righteousness of Christ imputed to us that brings us into a righteous state before God. This ransoming propitiation was paid for in Christ’s own blood. Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:18-19
“You were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold… but with the precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”

We have seen that the righteousness of God has been manifest through Christ, and now the only question that we have left is, “how do we receive this righteousness?” This really is the most important question for anyone to answer. To avoid any possible misunderstanding Paul gives an explanation of what this righteousness of God is, and how it works in vv. 22-26. It is the righteousness that was revealed in Christ, and the righteousness that is acquired by faith in Christ. Paul does not leave us guessing on this question. We receive this righteousness by faith. It is not our gift to God to please him, but rather His gift for us to satisfy His wrath. Faith is the means by which we receive God’s grace. This has always been the case. In Hebrews 11 we see that the OT saints were saved by grace when they believed in faith. But what is this faith, and what is our faith in? Scripture makes it abundantly clear the faith is more that just making a verbal declaration. In James 2:17ff we see that faith can only be expressed by works. So it is through faith not works that we receive this righteousness from God; but that faith will only be identifiable by the kind of fruit it produces.

Saving faith is placing one’s self in total submission to the Lord Jesus, understanding that because of sin you are helpless. This act will come from a belief in Christ that is the result of the Holy Spirit. We need righteousness, but we cannot attain it by our own works. Our righteousness can only come through Christ. Not even our faith, which is required of us, is a work. If faith was a work then salvation would be by works. If faith were a work then God would owe us. God would be obliged to save because of what we have done, rather than for His glory.

Monday, July 10, 2006

More Stories about my Father-in-Law

The Following are in order as they appear when you google Gordon Montoya:

The Miami Herald

The Palm Beach Post (actually just a total rip off of the Miami Herald)

Free Republic

Taking Flight (a fear of flying support group, and yes I am serious)

Yahoo News

Orlando Sentinel

(If you are confused read the last post)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

A Day in the Life of Gordon Montoya

You may or may not have seen the headlines coming out of Tampa today, but a man attempted to force his way into the cockpit of a Delta plane landing at Tampa International Airport. This made for an exciting day here at my house, mainly because my father-in-law was on the plane. In fact, he was on the second row of that plane. Gordon Montoya, my wife's father, was the first person on the plane to react to the situation. Here is how the St. Petersburg Times put it:

"Gordon Montoya, 52, of Brandon, was sitting in the second row in the first-class cabin and tackled the man after he raced by and grabbed the cockpit door.

It was like it wasn't real," Montoya said Friday. "Fortunately, my reaction was
pretty quick to grab him. I just got out of my seat, grabbed him and wrestled
him to the ground. It just happened. There was really not a lot of thought
process that went into it."

Montoya said he said four other passengers
restrained the man. He said there was never any chance the man would break into
the locked cockpit.

"They are heroes," airport executive director Louis
Miller said of the passengers. "In my mind, they are absolute heroes."

To add to that the Tampa Tribune wrote this:

The running man also startled first-class passengers Gordon Montoya, a Brandon
businessman, and Freitag. Freitag and his wife, Lorraine, had been bumped to
first class and were seated in the first row after missing a connecting flight
at LaGuardia.

"He hit that cockpit door, pounding on the door, trying to open it," Herb Freitag said.
Montoya said that without thinking, he rushed forward and grabbed the man's legs. "I tried to get him up off the ground so I could get him down," he said.

As the two wrestled, Freitag said, he grabbed at Laimendez as well. By this time, Montoya had pinned his legs, and Davisberg placed his foot on Laimendez's chest.
Here is the story from Bay News 9:

Passengers tackled a man who was rushing toward the cockpit as a flight
approached Tampa International Airport late Thursday...

Gordon Montoya, aboard Delta flight 1850 after a business trip to New
York, jumped from his seat and grabbed Liamendez. "I pushed him into the
galley against the exit door in the galley and got him down," Montoya said.
"That's when two or three others joined in and helped hold him on the ground."
Montoya and the others held Liamendez for about ten minutes until the
plane landed and authorities took over.

...Police said Gordon Montoya was the first passenger to jump Liamendez.
Montoya said he only did what his instincts told him to do. "I wouldn't call myself a hero,"

...Montoya said. "I just wanted to live and get home to my family."

This last one from the local CBS news is my favorite (you can find video here as well). This was written by Sara Dorsey:

Tampa, Florida - Gordon Montoya, a seasoned business traveler, says as his Delta flight was making its final approach into Tampa didn't have time to think let
alone be scared.

Gordon Montoya, Subdued Soldier:
“This young man came just running down the isle past me. I was in row two and he was immediately on the cockpit door grabbing it and trying to open it.” Authorities say that man was 24-year-old Neftali Liamendez, a military policeman. His family told airport authorities Liamendez was acting irrationally after his duty in Iraq. Officials say they were told he was headed from New York to Tampa with his
brother to get mental treatment. Montoya says all he knew was he had to act.

Gordon Montoya, Subdued Soldier:
“I tried to grab his legs and get him off the ground.” Montoya's quick moves resulted in bumps and bruises but were successful.

Gordon Montoya, Subdued Soldier:
“By the time I had him on the ground, there were four other passengers that really had us surrounded and holding him down.”

Louis Miller, Director of Tampa
International Airport
“They are all heroes in mind, they are absolute
heroes.” Louis Miller, Director of Tampa International Airport, says this
shows passengers are more savvy and the post 9-11 system is working.

Louis Miller, Director of Tampa International Airport:
“Thank goodness the door had been reinforced and he couldn't get in there.”
My father-in-law travels quite a bit (he has a platinum status with Delta if that tells you anything). This has been the fear of the family since 9-11 and we are thankful to God that He used Gordon restore peace and safety on the plane. Look for Gordon's name this weekend, he has done interviews with almost every single media outlet that you can think of. Also, remember he and the family in your prayers. Gordon has to get right back on a plane next week. Needless to say his wife and girls will be worried about him.

Here are several links to the story (also see above links):

Fox News

Friday, July 07, 2006

Camp '06

As you may have noticed Youth Camp was last week. It was quite an experience to say that very least. I would have to say that Camp this year was the most positive experience that I have ever has, either as a student or a leader, with any camp. What made Camp amazing was the time spent with missionaries and missionaries in training. We spent our time at The Master's Mission this summer. We had the opportuntiy to work on several projects along with the crew there, and it was a wonderful time for all involved. Over the coming days I will be posting the notes from my morning sermons. The idea was to emphasize the gospel, then our response to the gospel. Pretty simple. You will have to excuse any typing mistakes. I was so pressed for time in all of this that I have taught through all these lessons and have not even gone through and edited them for mistakes (You can help edit these posts through the comments section of the bog).

The Gospel:
Christ’s Righteousness & Man’s Sin
Romans 3:21-25a

The first thing that we see in this passage is that a righteousness has been revealed. What makes this so significant is that righteousness is required for a relationship with God. We see the reason for this in Job 37:23. Here we see that, among other things, the Lord is righteous and He will not violate that righteousness. This means that in order for humans to have a right relationship with God we too must be righteous. Countless religions and systems have been formed for this very purpose, and yet here in this passage we have the answer. We see that God has revealed a righteousness whereby we can have a right relationship with Him. This is what makes the Gospel the good news.

I. A Righteousness Revealed

a. A Supernatural Righteousness (v. 21a)
As we search to understand this righteousness we see that it is a supernatural righteousness. In other words, this righteousness is unattainable to men. This is horrible news, because without this righteousness we face the wrath of God. We see that this righteousness is supernatural in three different ways in v. 21. First, look at how Paul begins this verse, “But now.” This means that the righteousness that has been manifest is in contrast to what was discussed in the previous verses. If we look back at the first three chapters of the book of Romans to see what this righteousness is in contrast to we will see an in depth description of the depravity of man. The first paragraph (1:18-23) and the concluding paragraph (3:9-20) do well in summarizing Paul’s description of the sinfulness of man. In the first paragraph we see that human beings, in their natural state, are unrighteous. Men have suppressed the truth about God, and boasting of their own wisdom they exchanged the glory of God for man made idols. So often we hear that people are basically good, and given the opportunity will do the right thing. Romans chapter 1 tells us something very different. This theme runs throughout the first three chapters of Roman until finally in 3:9-20 Paul concludes his prosecution of sinful man with a final and formal indictment against all men. From this we can clearly see that this righteousness that is being revealed is not from men.
The second indication that this righteousness is unattainable to men is the clear statement that this righteousness is from God. The source of this righteousness that has been made manifest is God. Psalm 71:19 says, “Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you?” The answer to that question is clearly, no one is like God! This righteousness that has been revealed must be God’s righteousness, rather than man’s righteousness.
The third indication that this righteousness is unattainable to men is found when Paul tells us that this righteousness “has been made manifest apart from the law.” Paul is not only referring to the law itself, but also man’s attempts to be righteous before God through the law. We can toil and work trying to keep every aspect of the law, but we will never attain the righteousness that God requires. To some people this seems unfair, and because of that, unbelievable. But really it makes sense. God is infinitely righteous and the judge of the world. This means that he must judge the world on the basis of his infinite righteousness. If God were to just let people get away with their sins he would cease to be righteous. But we will pick this topic up later. For now we need to understand the utter despair of this situation described here. Man needs righteousness and there is a righteousness that has been revealed, however that righteousness is unattainable to men.

b. Described by Scripture (v. 21b)
Paul continues to describe this righteousness as “being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets” (NASB) or “the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it” (ESV). Although we cannot attain this righteousness through the Law we can find it described in the Law as well as the rest of the OT. As you read through the book of Romans in particular you will see that one of the apostle Paul’s favorite prophets to quote was Isaiah. For this reason I think that it would most profitable to go to Isaiah and see how this righteousness was foretold. In Isaiah 11:1-5 we see there is someone coming, anointed by the Spirit, who will judge in righteousness. In fact, in verse 5 we see that he is characterized by righteousness. In Isaiah 32:15-17 we again find the prophet Isaiah speaking of a time when the Spirit of God would be poured out. This time we see that the effect of the pouring out of the Spirit will be righteousness. The effect of this righteousness will be peace, and the result of this righteousness will be quietness and trust forever. This result of this righteousness is sweet, and we are unable to attain it. Yet, in Isaiah 46:12-13 we find our hope. For you the stubborn hearted, who disobey your parents, who resent instruction, you who are far from far righteousness, you who have no hope, God has given you hope.

*I tried to post some great pictures but blogger was giving me some trouble.*

Monday, July 03, 2006

We are Home

We are back from camp, and we are tired. It will be at least one more day before I dig myself back out, but here is a taste of Camp this year.

And on a lighter note: