Mark, Lesson 1: Introduction

By Pr Rich Futrell Overview With the events in his Gospel, Mark makes no attempt to link them to the historical events taking place within Judea or the Roman Empire.  Neither does Mark bother to explain the links between the various events he covers, the exception being what takes place during Christ’s passion.  Rather, his […]

The Monsters Among Us

This is our pastor’s newsletter article for October 2019. Ancient peoples dreaded the deep.  The darkened abyss gurgled with predatory beasts, fanged creatures to swallow you whole, hungering for more.  Today, those shrieking, mythical denizens still fill us with wonder, if not terror.  In the Bible, the book of Job mentions the leviathan and other […]

Subjective Justification

Recap and Intro Justification: God’s declaration of righteousness, which also establishes someone in a state of righteousness.  This can only happen because someone’s sins are forgiven.  (“Justification” can also refer to someone revealing his righteousness by how he lives, for example, in much of James.) Christ, in His saving work, justified the entire world.  Before […]

Objective Justification

This is a short series we’re studying on justification, with this first lesson on the objective reality of what Jesus did. Our Universal Condition The book of Romans reveals our universal human condition.  The writer, Paul, combines two Old-Testament passages to announce this reality. Masoretic Text Septuagint Romans Paul’s Point Ecclesiastes 7:20 There is none […]

The Conundrum of Faith and Love

This is our pastor’s article for the Summer, 2019 edition of our newsletter. Faith The workings of a holy God are contrary to our sinful nature, for He is pure and we are not.  So, don’t let how He chooses to do things surprise you.  Still, we often are.  Reflect on faith, and you will […]

1 Peter: Lesson 13: Concluding Encouragement to Shepherd and Flock

Peter begins this section with a “so” or “therefore,” connecting this section to the previous one.  He ended chapter 4 with “Let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”  Now, Peter explores how pastors are to live out their vocation as they “entrust their souls […]

1 Peter: Lesson 12: Suffering and Its Implications

Last week, in 1 Peter 4:7, Peter finished with commanding Christians to have a “sound mind” and to be “sober.”  Both of these repeated what he earlier said.  First, to “arm yourselves with [Christ’s] way of thinking” (vs. 1).  Second, not participating in “drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties,” with all sinful behavior being an outgrowth of […]

1 Peter: Lesson 11: Living Like the End is Near

Intro In 1 Peter 3:16, Peter mentioned Christians “having a good conscience.”  Later, he reveals baptism saves, as the appeal of a good conscience toward God.  Unless one never sinned, being righteous on his own, baptism can only save because, through it, God forgives, giving the “unrighteous” a clean conscience.   The Mind of Christ Peter […]

1 Peter: Lesson 10: The Good Conscience God Gives Us

Intro In 1 Peter 3:16, Peter mentions Christians “having a good conscience” but doesn’t tell us how this came to be—but he will.  Next, he writes: “It is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.”  Verse 18 then follows as a continuation of 17, starting with […]

1 Peter: Lesson 9: A Focus on How the Christian Lives, Peter’s Conclusion

Intro In chapter 2, Peter instructed how Christians are to relate and function within the general structures of society (2:11-17).  He followed this by a focused instruction of how Christians should live in a household, often when someone is the only Christian (2:18-3:7).  Peter now alerts us he is concluding this section by beginning with […]