Give the gift of books this Christmas!

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For teens...

Christian living

 

 

For adults...

nativity and childhood of Jesus

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Born for Our Salvation by Rev. McGeown – ebook now available!

Based on the gospel narratives from Matthew and Luke,  this book tells the story of the greatest miracle in history: the incarnation, birth, and childhood of Jesus Christ, the Savior born for our salvation!

Endorsements:

"The great strength of the book…is its captivating account of the history of Christ’s birth. Christianity is a faith based not in abstract and speculative ideas, but in real events unfolding in real time. Pastor McGeown makes the narrative of Christ’s birth come alive."

—Rev. Joseph Holstege, pastor of Zion PRC, Jenison, MI

"The book exhibits the exegetical excellence, clarity of expression, and beautiful simplicity that we have come to expect from this writer in his other volumes."

—Rev. Jonathan Langerak, pastor of Heritage PRC, Sioux Falls, SD

"If you only have time to read one book this Christmas season, I recommend Born For Our Salvation. McGeown’s writing style is clear; his exegesis is sober; his applications are convicting and edifying. People of all ages…will find the book understandable and encouraging."

—Rev. Stephen Regnerus, pastor of Lynden PRC, Lynden, WA

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Hard copy coming soon…

Ebook now available!

NOTE: If you are a hard copy book club member, the ebook is free!

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Abiding in Christ’s Love (3)

We have seen the beautiful affirmation of Christ’s love for us. We have heard Christ’s exhortation to abide or continue in his love. We now come to the most controversial aspect of the text, for Jesus connects our abiding in Christ’s love to the keeping of his commandments in verse 10—“If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love” (v. 10). On the face of it, Jesus seems to be teaching conditional salvation or (at the very least) conditional experience of salvation. Does Christ’s use of the word “if” indicate a condition that we must fulfill in order to abide in his love?

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Abiding in Christ’s Love (2)

Before Jesus departs from his disciples on the night of his arrest and trial, he assures them of his love. His love for his disciples—and for believers in every age—is as the Father’s love for him: “As my Father hath loved me, so have I loved you” (v. 9). What beautiful words to cheer the troubled souls of the disciples and to comfort our fearful hearts!

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Abiding in Christ’s Love

We are familiar with Christ’s beautiful figure of a vine and its branches in John 15. However, what is less familiar is the idea of “abiding” found in the same chapter. To “abide” is to remain, to stay, or to continue, where the verb “abide” (translated in various ways) occurs eleven times in vv. 1–11. Jesus speaks of different kinds of “abiding.” First, there is Christ’s abiding in us (v. 4–5)—that is fundamental. Second, there is the abiding of Christ’s words in us (v. 7). Third, there is our abiding in Christ (vv. 4–5, 7). Finally, and the subject of this blog post, there is our abiding in Christ’s love.

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Faith Working by Love

The issue in Paul’s epistle to the Galatians is justification. How is a guilty sinner declared righteous before God? The answer: a sinner is justified before God on the basis of the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ received by or through the instrument of faith alone without works.

Paul preached that gospel in Galatia. The saints in Galatia had received and believed that gospel. But false teachers infiltrated the churches. They brought a different message, the message that the sinner is justified on the basis of his obedience to the law of God; or that he is justified on the basis of good works; or that he justified on the basis of faith and good works.

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October 1, 2019 Standard Bearer preview article

The author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye repudiates the Christian faith

Joshua Eugene Harris (b. 1974) was a leading figure in the “Christian Purity” movement. His father, Greg Harris, was a leader among Christian homeschoolers in the 1980s and 1990s, a movement that his son, Joshua, enthusiastically embraced. At the age of 17 Harris began to speak at his father’s homeschooling events, and from 1994–1997 he published New Attitude Magazine, a resource for homeschooled teenagers. In 1997 without any formal theological training, Harris moved from Oregon to Maryland to place himself under the mentorship of Charles Joseph (C. J.) Mahaney, pastor of Covenant Life Church and Sovereign Grace Ministries.

The same year, Harris published his bestseller I Kissed Dating Goodbye at the age of twenty-two or twenty-three. A year later, 1998, he married Shannon Boone with whom he has three children. His second book, Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello to Courtship (2000), recounts the history of his relationship with Shannon.

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Faith Working by Love (2)

Powerless Alternatives

Two other things mentioned in verse 6 do not avail.

According to verse 6 there are two kinds of people “in Jesus Christ.” There are two kinds of Christians, two kinds of believers or two kinds of church members: the circumcision, believing Christians of a Jewish background; and the uncircumcision, believing Christians of a Gentile or pagan background.

In the New Testament “circumcision” is almost synonymous with “Jew.” Circumcision was the Jewish ceremony of initiation or the Old Testament sign of the covenant. In Paul’s day it was still the sign that distinguished the Jews from the other nations and the Jews boasted in their circumcision. The Judaizers thought that circumcision was so important that the Gentiles must be circumcised in order to be saved and justified before God (Acts 15:1). Moreover, circumcision signifies and represents the whole law, which is clear from the context: “Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing; for I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace” (Gal. 5:2–4).

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Faith Working by Love

The issue in Paul’s epistle to the Galatians is justification. How is a guilty sinner declared righteous before God? The answer: a sinner is justified before God on the basis of the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ received by or through the instrument of faith alone without works.

Paul preached that gospel in Galatia. The saints in Galatia had received and believed that gospel. But false teachers infiltrated the churches. They brought a different message, the message that the sinner is justified on the basis of his obedience to the law of God; or that he is justified on the basis of good works; or that he justified on the basis of faith and good works.

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“Crucified with Christ, I Live” (2)

Alive in Christ

You might think that, if Paul has been crucified with Christ and had died to the law, he would be dead—but he is not, for he clarifies in verse 20, “Nevertheless, I live.”

Paul’s crucifixion with Christ did not put his physical body in the tomb. Paul’s death to the law did not kill him physically. Paul was not physically crucified at all.

Or to put it another way, Paul is dead in one sense: he is dead to the law; but he is alive in another sense: he is alive to God. When the law threatens him, Paul’s answer to the law is, “I died to you; I am dead to you because of the cross of my Savior, Jesus Christ.” When God calls him, Paul’s answer to God is, “O my God, I live to thee; I devote myself to thee because of Jesus Christ thy Son.”

“I live” is Paul’s conclusion in verse 20. What does he mean by that? Does he refer simply to physical life? That cannot be the meaning, for that would be true of anyone—believer or unbeliever; or Christian, Jew, or atheist. But Paul is making a distinction: I have been crucified with Christ; therefore, I live. To the unbeliever Paul would say, “You have not been crucified with Christ, but you are a stranger to Christ; therefore, you do not live. You cannot live.”

Outside of Christ, the unbeliever is dead.

The life of which Paul writes is the rich life of fellowship with God. This life has its source in God, for God alone has true life. This life consists in knowing God. This life is eternal and everlasting life. It is the life of heaven begun in to the soul, which will come to perfection in the kingdom of God.

“Nevertheless, I live.”

Paul lives because Christ lives.

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