2.15.09 gbcvic sermons

Guilty as Charged (Rm 3.10-12)

In this message we begin to consider the proof of Paul’s proposition: all men are sinners under the wrath of God. The proof comes from God’s written revelation, the only authority for faith and practice. It conclusively proves man’s guilt as the depravity of his character is revealed.

Pilgrim’s Progress (2): Gaius Welcomes the Pilgrims

In this section we cover two homes which host the pilgrims (and provide brides for Christiana’s sons). One of these houses is in the midst of Vanity Fair, where they find less trouble than Christian and Faithful did, due to a greater number of pilgrims and the guilty consciences of those who dwell in the Fair. The pilgrims are pictures of victorious Christians living in the midst of an evil world.

Willful Ignorance (2 Pt 3.5) [Creation]

Our message this afternoon is motivated by wide spread recognition of the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth. We show that God calls such unbelief ‘willful ignorance’ and that such willfulness is an attempt to excuse some indulgence of lust, but at an awful cost.


Today was a ‘cool’ day at church. We are due for new gas furnaces in two weeks, so we wanted to make sure we used up as much of our fuel oil as possible. Well… we used it all up, so we huddled together in our first service (with temp. in the mid-50s … chilly, but not too bad) and moved to our fellowship room for the afternoon service.

Nevertheless a good day, with good attendance and a good spirit by all.

are your people stupid?

A recent blog by Mark Galli of Christianity Today includes this “gem”:

The place [the National Pastors Convention] is full of pastors who are either exhausted, burnt out, frustrated, or missional. They all amount to the same thing: a simmering anger about the church.

For most pastors that anger is directed at stupid lay people, stubborn church boards, or indifferent church bureaucrats. But “the church,” and especially “the Western church” or “the American church,” is the object of a myriad of derisive and sarcastic comments.


Pastor, would you say your people are “stupid”? [Read more…]

very brief update

I am typing one-handed, my right arm in a sling. They told me I can’t use my puter for two days! That’s almost as bad as no Timmies!

The concern was possibility of blocked heart arteries, today’s procedure was an angiogram. They discovered some minor buildup in an area that doesn’t concern them, so treatment is medication, diet, and exercise. Thanks for your prayers.

don j
jer 33.3

Why We Fight

A Canadian soldier was among three killed in Afghanistan yesterday. The Canadian Press ran this story a few hours ago.

“Why We Fight,” was written in Afghanistan in 2006 by Cpl. Andrew Grenon of Windsor, Ont., one of three Canadian soldiers who died Wednesday in an ambush in the volatile Zhari district. It was released Thursday by members of Grenon’s family. [Read more…]

its not just the old fundies who worry

Others are at it also: “An open letter to young Southern Baptists“.

What is with this?

  • Simple intergenerational angst, once known as “The Generation Gap”?
  • The Spirit of our Age?
  • The whole world has gone mad?

Personally, I’m opting for that last one.


on Thanksgiving Sunday

In Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October. Usually, as in all ways we differ from Americans, many Canadians are quite smug about it. According to us, we celebrated Thanksgiving first. So there. Most Americans I know look on this insecurity with bemusement.

Anyway, since Thanksgiving fell on Oct 8, the earliest it can occur in Canada, we made our Sunday a special Thanksgiving Sunday. We usually hold a special service and Thanksgiving banquet in our hall on the actual day. This year a number of people are away, including my wife who is caring for her failing mother in Tennessee. So the week before, we decided to make our regular Sunday meal our Thanksgiving dinner. Our ladies did a tremendous job decorating the fellowship room and preparing the meal. And… our folks invited a number of others to the services. We ended up with 66, which was especially tremendous since I was thinking we would be way down with the number of folks who were away.

Our first service continued our Romans series, finally completing verse 1 with the message The Called Apostle. The proposition of the message was this: “The Word of God stands or falls on the integrity of its human authors.” We began the message talking about the importance of credentials and showing how Paul was laying out his credentials in verse 1. We noted a bit more about the designation ‘slave of Christ Jesus’, noting that the slavery to Christ is a voluntary slavery, an entire selling of the soul to Christ. The term is not used of Christians in general in the NT, but of men who are given over to the service of Christ in the gospel. The bulk of the message dealt with the credential ‘a called apostle’ [literal rendering]. The term apostle was invested with special meaning by the Lord himself, the word does mean ‘sent one’ but in Greek usage doesn’t have the high, ambassadorial connotation that the New Testament gives it. The Lord himself used it to distinguish a select group out of his disciples [and a man named Saul, an apostle born ‘out of due season’.] The function of these men is to lay the groundwork for the Christian church, to provide the foundation. The whole credibility of the Christian church rests on their integrity and mission. This leads us to the third credential ‘separated unto the gospel’ or ‘horizoned’ or ‘marked out’ – the word has to do with someone who is especially set apart, marked out like a towering monument on the horizon, like a mountain, for a particular cause, in this case, the gospel.

In all of this, we see a man volunteering himself as the slave of Christ. This man finds himself called an apostle, and marked out for a task. These last two are the works of God in his life. I concluded this way:

It is remarkable – the God of Heaven put His word in the hands of men.

Now …

God’s word is in your hands.

What kind of credibility do you offer its message in the places where you live?


For our afternoon service, we did something different. As our Thanksgiving Sunday fell on the first Sunday of the month, making it a Communion Sunday, I decided to create a reading interspersed with various hymns to prepare our hearts for communion. We had our deacons and one of the deacon’s wives doing most of the reading. I read the ‘narrator’ bits. The selections moved from some of the birth passages to the betrayal and denial, the trial, the crucifixion, and the resurrection. The hymns were selected from our Majesty Hymnal. The whole reading and singing took us about 45 minutes to complete. The whole service was quite moving as simply the words of Scripture put before us once again the redemptive work of Christ. So that you can see the way the service went, here is a link to Thanksgiving: A Communion Reading.

May the Lord bless you in your work, wherever you might be. At our Thanksgiving, our hearts are quite full of the grace of God.

May those unsaved folks who visited our services this weekend be moved by the power of the Word of God to trust Christ for their own salvation.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

on admitting it – no one cares about my quote game

… at least that’s the way it appears.

I suspect that my wide readership is perhaps not the best sample to select from. Many of the few who read this blog may not read Piper at all, and have no comment. Those who do read Piper may think that I am baiting them, or else they just aren’t that interested. For my take, I think that some of the quotes I offer reflect my understanding of Piper’s views (to some extent), but I really would like for someone who does read Piper to see if my less thorough knowledge is actually mistaken or not.

If anyone who fits the category would care to comment, I’d be grateful.

on a different kind of quote game

I ran across six quotations in my reading recently. A certain thought struck me as I read them so I thought I would test it out on anyone who cares to comment. There are six quotations from six different individuals. They are similar in one respect, but distinct in another. They represent (according to the person providing the quotations) three variations of a certain point of view.

I am not asking you to guess the sources of the quotations. Rather, I am curious which of these quotations you would consider to be closest to the views of John Piper and why. It is possible that none of these views are close to his views.

If you want to guess who gave each quote, that is fine. I will reveal the sources in a later post.


On the contrary, the life that God has given us is the life of His son. All whom He has called He has also justified, and all whom He has justified He counts as already glorified. God never begins anything that He does not bring to an end. The world may start that which it cannot finish, but God says: “He that hath begun a good work in you, will keep on perfecting it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1.6, Gk.). Here are all three of the great doctrines of God’s work within us. He which hath begun a good work in you — that is justification — will keep on perfecting it — that is sanctification — until the day of Jesus Christ — that is glorification. There is no change in God, and there will be no change in His work in us.


The apostle Paul gives us his own definition of the Christian life in Galatians 2:20. It is no longer “I, but Christ.” Here he is not stating something special or peculiar — a high level of Christianity. He is, we believe, presenting God’s normal role for a Christian, which can be summarized in the words: l live no longer, but Christ lives His life in me.

God makes it quite clear in His Word that He has only one answer to every human need — His Son, Jesus Christ. In all His dealings with us He works by taking us out of the way and substituting Christ in our place. The Son of God died instead of us for our forgiveness: He lives instead of us for our deliverance. … It will help us greatly, and save us from much confusion, if we keep constantly before us this fact, that God will answer all our questions in one way and one way only, namely, by showing us more of His son.


I want here boldly to assert that it is my happy belief that every Christian can have a copious outpouring of the Holy Spirit in a measure far beyond that received at conversion, and I might also say, far beyond that enjoyed by the rank and file of orthodox believers today. It is important that we get this straight, for until doubts are removed faith is impossible, God will not surprise a doubting heart with an effusion of the Holy Spirit, nor will He fill anyone who has doctrinal questions about the possibility of being filled.


The fullness of power is the heritage of every Christian! It may be an unclaimed heritage, but the power of God which enables a Christian to witness for Christ and win souls is the right of every Christian. Not to be filled with the Holy Spirit, not to be endued with power from on high, is to miss the highest good, and fail to claim the Highest blessing, offered to every child of God. … That the power of Pentecost is for every Christian is made clear; first, by the promises which are to all alike; second, by the New Testament examples; third, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in every Christian makes the enduement for service logical for every Christian; fourth, by the fact that the soulwinning task demands supernatural power; and, fifth, because the Word of God clearly commands Christians to be filled with the Holy Spirit.


‘I have been crucified with Christ,’ says Paul. What does this mean? In principle, it means that my right to myself is annihilated, as His concern and love for others is expressed through me. Identification, that’s the first thing. Not simply to die to myself, but to live in Him. Bless your hearts, evangelism isn’t a ‘project’, it’s a way of life! ‘Feed My sheep. Identify yourself with My interests in other people,’ says Jesus. Oh, to be so satisfied, identified with Jesus that my life is spoiled for everything but His will! Am I more concerned with my right to live, than with my daily dying to Him? Which are you more concerned about? Paul says, ‘I die daily’ — do you? Do I? Is that my major passion?


It takes a long time to come to a moral decision about sin, but it is the great moment in my life when I do decide that just as Jesus Christ died for the sin of the world, so sin must die out in me, not be curbed or suppressed or counteracted, but crucified. No one can bring anyone else to this decision. We may be earnestly convinced, and religiously convinced, but what we need to do is come to the decision which Paul forces here. … I cannot reckon myself “dead indeed unto sin” unless I have been through this radical issue of will before God. Have I entered into the glorious privilege of being crucified with Christ until all that is left is the life of Christ in my flesh and blood?

There you have it. Let me know what you think.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

on faith and works

I started a book by Elmer Towns today. It is our current selection for our reading group: Understanding the Deeper Life. I had not been aware that Towns subscribed to Keswick views, but it is quite plain from this book. He spend his undergraduate years at Columbia Bible College (now Columbia International University) under Robert McQuilkin. McQuilkin and Columbia are Keswick, hence the influence on Towns.

In his introduction, Towns alludes to his experience as the president of Winnipeg Bible College (now Providence College and Seminary) and makes a very interesting observation:

Later, my experience as president of Winnipeg Bible College refined the principles by which I lived. I had some Christian mysticism that was not based on the Bible. I was tested and found wanting. (I prayed all night on several occasions for money but I did not get it. The problem was I only prayed. I learned that my walk with God must be based on biblical principles, not feelings. (The colleged prospered when I not only prayed for money, but organized a financial outreach campaign. God honors both faith and works.)

In thinking about this, I immediately made some application to our ministry and the need for growth and souls. We are praying for souls. We are praying for growth. We aren’t doing much. In years past, we have done many things – tried different types of outreaches, etc. I confess that the paltry results are demotivators.

A few years ago I was talking to a friend who planted a church over in the Lower Mainland. It is self-supporting now and pastored by another friend. I asked him what it took to build a church in Western Canada. He told me this: “You aren’t going to like my answer. … It’s knocking on doors.” He was right, I didn’t like his answer. But he went on to explain, “I can’t say that knocking on doors by itself did anything to build the church. We used to go around door-knocking offering in home Bible studies. We had some who were interested, most not. But as we worked, the church grew. The Lord blessed our efforts, often in ways we hadn’t expected.”

Well, I still don’t like knocking on doors. But the point expressed by Towns and illustrated by my friend resonates with me. It is time to be doing something, not just praying. Faith is good, but let’s work out our faith, eh?

While I can’t imagine just doing a strict doorknocking campaign, I do think that we must be more active in evangelizing our community. That will mean becoming more visible to the community in some way, making contacts, and encouraging people to respond. I have a few notions percolating around in my brain, it is high time to take action on them and move forward.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

on Love, Liberty, and Christian Conscience by Randy Jaeggli

I read this book by my good friend Jaeggli today. We were in grad school together, sharing many classes, most notably the unofficial ‘Snack Shop Theology’. I have always appreciated Randy’s godly testimony and level-headed thinking. He doesn’t get rattled like some of us excitable types.

This little book has just been published as one of a series called “Biblical Discernment for Difficult Issues”. The subject is of great interest to me, see my series of posts on my Sunday AM sermons this summer. My son, Duncan, sent me an autographed copy today! The book is a scant 58 pages. I wish it was longer, but the purpose of this series is to provide short works on timely topics. [The BJU press listing says it is 72 pp, but that includes all the empty pages at front and back of the book, including the preface. I suppose that is standard procedure, but the actual work is just 58 pp.]

The book’s title gives a fair summary of the contents. The bulk of the book, and the longest chapter, is a thorough discussion of the conscience, working through the scriptural development of the notion in a thorough and scholarly manner, while remaining fairly accessible for the non-academic reader. It is of especial value to a pastor who would like a well-worked out argument for the topic.

The chapters are:
1. Introduction
2. Misunderstanding Legalism
3. The Role of Conscience
4. The Nature of True Liberty
5. Conclusion

The second chapter, Misunderstanding Legalism, gives a good discussion of the use and misuse of the term. Randy argues for defending the meaning of the term, but, while I thoroughly agree with him, it seems that the evangelicals have totally co-opted ‘legalism’ for their own pejorative ends.

The fourth chapter is the one I wish was longer, but what is said is biblical and helpful. Randy’s points in this chapter are ‘True liberty includes restraint’ and ‘True liberty produces increased knowledge of Christ’. He closes the chapter with this sentence:

True liberty allows the believer to see Christ as He is and grow in the ability to reflect Christ’s image to a world that is perishing in sin.

Aside from wishing for more in the fourth chapter, I also was hoping to see some engagement of Fee’s comments on 1 Cor 8-10, comments which are replicated in Tom Constable’s Notes. I have been somewhat taken with Fee’s view of the meat offered to idols and would like to get the point of view of someone with more academic insight than I have. I guess I’ll just have to write him and ask him what he thinks!

All in all, I recommend this little work as a valuable contribution to the subject of Christian liberty from a thoroughly fundamentalist perspective. I am glad that the Bob Jones Seminary is taking the initiative to publish works like this. This is the second of the series, the first being Ken Casillas’ Law and the Christian, The: God’s Light Within God’s Limits.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

For summaries of my summer series on Legalism and Liberty, check

here and