KING’S CROSS CHURCH exists to glorify God and enlarge His Kingdom by gathering regularly to proclaim and celebrate the Gospel of Jesus Christ, yielding to the authority of God’s Word as illuminated by the Holy Spirit and summarized in the historic Christian Creeds and Reformed Confessions, partaking together of Christ’s presence in the Sacraments, providing opportunities to love and serve one another in Community, equipping the saints for Ministry to those who are lost and hurting, both locally and globally, and preparing them to cultivate Shalom (peace and well-being) wherever God calls them to serve.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Lectionary Thoughts: Dating John's Revelation

To properly interpret, understand and apply the message of St. John’s Revelation you must first decide when the last book of the Bible was written. If you favor an authorship date after the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, then you will need to either spiritualize the events described, and maintain that the rulers, nations and battles cryptically described in Revelation have no earthly counterparts; no historical earthly fulfillment. Or, you will need to determine which post-A.D. 70 (actual and earthly) rulers, nations and battles were being prophetically described in apocalyptic language. These people and happenings could be past, present or future.

If you favor an authorship date before A.D. 70, then you will tend to understand the rulers, nations and battles depicted in Revelation as historic entities and events that took place before, or shortly after, the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple.

Here are five exegetical (i.e. from the book of Revelation itself) reasons to favor an authorship date before A.D. 70:

Monday, November 7, 2016

"I love you, and you belong to Me."

Baptism of Matthias, Torah, Jubilee and Lucy Hamilton
November 6, 2016

As always “faith” (not effort, striving or law-keeping) is the issue. As Paul wrote:

(Hebrews 11:6) And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

(Galatians 5:6) For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

As we celebrated last week: Our salvation is one that is…
-         Revealed in God’s Word alone
-         By grace alone
-         Through faith alone
-         In Christ alone
-         To the glory of God alone

And the problem for us is, that God’s promises to save, bless and keep us are so audacious, spectacular, and well, nearly unbelievable, that we constantly find ourselves stammering some version of, “Okay, Lord, I believe, help me with my unbelief.”

And this “problem” is only multiplied when it comes to our children, for God’s promises for them are equally audacious, spectacular and well, nearly unbelievable. Three examples will suffice to put us all into an astounded state of, “Lord I believe, help me...”

(Deuteronomy 30:6) And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

(Psalm 103:17) But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children,

(Acts 2:38–39) And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

Thursday, November 3, 2016

October 30, 2016 Sermon Reflection

Sermon Reflection 10/30/2016
As I was reflecting on the sermon this past Sunday, one piece of scripture kept coming to mind. Pastor Gene read and preached from Genesis 3 which is the devastating account of Adam's sin. But what struck me in a new way was vs. 8 and 9, "And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the mans and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man..."  
I have always been intrigued by this description of God walking in the cool of the day. There are several details here that are included in the narrative that, when reflected upon, add deeper meaning to the story. But what was opened up in a new way for me was that while Adam and Eve were fleeing and hiding from God, He was pursuing and calling after them. And as we read on in the narrative the purpose of His pursuit is made known; it wasn't to exact justice from Adam, though that certainly would have been justified. Rather, we see God entering once again into covenant with man by His own prerogative. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

October 23, 2016 sermon Reflection

Sermon Reflection 10/23/2016

In the beginning pages of Scripture we read a tragic story of man’s fall into sin as a result of disobedience. Pastor Gene reminded us this past Sunday that what took place was more than simply Adam not obeying God’s directions, like a son disobeys a father. Adam broke a solemn oath, sovereignly administered with attending blessings and curses, a bond rooted in love and graciously administered to Adam by God. It was a covenant Adam transgressed, a covenant which set the limits and bounds of, among many other things, Gender, Marriage, Work, and Worship. Interestingly, the Westminster Standards, in speaking of this covenant in Shorter Catechism question 12, refers to it as a Covenant of Life. It was through this covenant God meant to administer his kingdom and govern life in it. Our lives were meant to be lived out in that covenant relationship. We were created in our beings to run with the grain of that Creation Covenant. Adam broke this covenant in sin and now the whole creation groans under the curses of this covenant (Rom. 8:20-22). We cannot deny the implications of that covenant breaking today; life in our world is marked by knots and worm-holes that disrupted the grain and beauty of God’s original creation. Not only do we see its effects in the brokeness of the world, we feel its effects as we experience difficulties in our marriages, dissatisfaction and futility in our work, and emptiness in our worship. We are ourselves covenant breakers and, with the creation, groan under not only the implications of Adam’s sin but also our own. 

It is true grace was not absent from the administration of this Creation Covenant. God was not obligated to enter covenant with Adam at all, that he did so was gracious in itself. Also, God could have required perfect and personal obedience of Adam with no promise of life and blessing. That God extends that promise is also gracious. But, after Adam broke that original covenant, God had made plans to put His amazing grace on display in ways that should cause us to lift our hands in praise and our voices in thanks to Him for His incredible mercy. The Covenant of Grace is so identified for a reason; it displays God’s gracious character even towards a rebellious world. I look forward to that proclamation of grace every Lord’s day, but I will especially look forward to understanding it more fully in the weeks to come as we continue the series on God’s Covenants of Promise. 


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Lectionary Thoughts: 2 Kings 16

The altar in Solomon’s Temple was simple in appearance, perhaps even austere, but it was so according to the commandment of God. By God’s design, the daily sacrifices (which pointed to Jesus) would be the focus of Israel’s worship, not the means by which the sacrifices were offered to Yahweh.

King Ahaz traveled to Damascus (v10) to congratulate the king of Assyria on his recent victories. While there, Ahaz was enamored by the detailed workmanship of a pagan altar and immediately commissioned Urijah the priest to make a copy for worship in Yahweh’s Temple. And thus began Judah’s horrible slide into apostasy.

At first, the two altars were positioned side by side (v12). Shortly thereafter, the original altar was moved to a back corner and replaced by the Damascan altar (v14-15). And finally, the water basin that stood before the original brazen altar was cut up for repurposing, and the brazen altar itself was turned into a private oracle for Ahaz; a means for him to “inquire [of the LORD] by” (v15).

So then, perhaps not surprisingly, we read this of God’s people in 2 Kings 17:15: “They despised his statutes and his covenant that he made with their fathers and the warnings that he gave them. They went after false idols and became false, and they followed the nations that were around them, concerning whom the Lord had commanded them that they should not do like them.”

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Sermon Reflection 10/9/16

What comes to mind when you hear the terms “Covenant Theology”? Maybe you have studied up on it. Maybe you have heard of it but only enough to generate more questions. Or maybe you have no clue what it’s all about. It seems to me Pastor Gene’s comment is right; the concept of covenant is mostly something Christians attach a question mark to. I know in my case covenant and covenant theology always seemed to pop up as I was a budding Christian, but like pulling a trout from the stream it proved difficult to get a firm grip. Part of this is possibly due to the fact that the idea of covenant itself can be a bit technical and intellectual. Often times conversations and books about covenant theology can tend to camp out in that intellectual realm and not make it back down to ground level where most of us operate. The topic of God’s love however seems to be something Christians are much more comfortable with and tend to camp out on. 

One of the things I really appreciated about Pastor Gene’s sermon introducing covenant theology was that he took the time to bring the concept of covenant back down to ground level and rightly connected it to the love of God. We cannot say we prefer talking about God’s love to talking about God’s covenants anymore. If we are to feel the force of the heighth, depth, and breadth of the Father’s love for us we must take seriously God’s revelation of himself in the Covenant of Redemption, what was lost in breaking the Covenant of Works, and what it cost for Christ to bring the Covenant of Grace to fullness. I think it is no accident that in the recovery of the Gospel that came from the Protestant Reformation there also came a renewed vigor and study of God’s revelation of himself in his Covenants. The relationship between the grace rich and Gospel centered theology of the reformers and their progeny and the development of the Covenant Theology of the Scriptures was so linked that one current theologian answers the question of what reformed theology is saying, “Reformed Theology is Covenant Theology.” I pray this series in Covenant Theology puts on display the love of God and rightly brings his own glory front and center as it did for our fathers in the faith.


Saturday, October 8, 2016

No Compromise

The current state of our nation continually brings to mind an album jacket and song that the Lord used greatly in my life at WSU forty-or-so years ago.

“Make my life a prayer to You. I want to do what You want me to. No empty words and no white lies. No token prayers, no compromise.” (Keith Green)