Tag Archives: Gospel-Centered

The Great Samaritan – A Gospel-Centered Look at The Most Famous Parable

The Parables

A while back I discussed how to read the parables through a gospel lens. Now I’m getting the chance to preach through them at Shoreline and it’s a real joy. Here’s the pertinent gospel-centered section of my recent sermon on the parable of the Good Samaritan:

Where this parable is about a good Samaritan, Jesus is the Great Samaritan. In nearly every detail, Jesus has taken the parable, brought it into real life, and raised the stakes.

Jesus didn’t just see us by chance. The good Samaritan saw the man, verse 33, “as he journeyed.” It was a chance encounter. He wasn’t looking for anyone to save. He just happened by. But as we saw in the parable of the lost sheep Jesus was on a mission. He was coming for us. He knew we were lost. He knew we needed rescue. And so he came. With purpose. For us.

And our state was worse. We weren’t near death. [And this might be how you feel today.] What does Scripture say? This past fall we walked through the book of Ephesians.

“You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”

You were dead. No spiritual life. No vigor. No vitality. No strength. No hope.

And the price he paid was so much higher. The good Samaritan gave two days wages, and said, “Do what it takes.” What did it take? Jesus showed us what it takes. The cost of our death, the cost of new hearts, was his life – the death of the Son of God on a Roman cross.

But the outcome was so much greater. The good Samaritan gave his time, money, comfort, respectability so that the man could be restored to his original state. Jesus, the King of kings, died exhausted, in pain, naked, and alone under the curse of the Father not so you can go back to living a normal life. He did it so he could walk out of the tomb on the third day on your behalf.

That’s why Paul can continue in Ephesians 2:

You were dead… “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

That’s how he purchased new hearts for us.

How does that help us be a neighbor?

Continue reading The Great Samaritan – A Gospel-Centered Look at The Most Famous Parable

Jay Adams on Gospel-Centered Preaching

Many consider Jay Adams the father of the biblical counseling movement. If you aren’t familiar with the different counseling models often seen in the church here’s the basic breakdown:

  • Christian Counseling – Begins with the insights and framework of modern psychology and uses Scripture as a supplement.
  • Biblical Counseling – Begins with Scripture as the model of human behavior and care, and uses modern psychology as a supplement.

Around the turn of the 20th century psychology came to fame and the “care of souls,” which had traditionally been the domain of clergy, transitioned rapidly to psychologists and, later, psychiatrists. It is so prevalent that even today most seminary counseling programs, even at evangelical schools, are based on psychology first and the Bible second.

Adams made a huge splash with his first book Competent to Counsel where he argued for the church to return to her rightful role in soul care. Since then, he’s written tons on counseling and that’s what he’s best known for.

A Counselor Turns His Gaze On Preaching

But Adams has also been very active in the realm of preaching. I’d like to share an excerpt from an article he wrote in 2004, long before the recent resurgence of gospel-centered preaching. In an article titled Preaching Evangelistically he says that we must preach the gospel in every sermon. How? Continue reading Jay Adams on Gospel-Centered Preaching

How God Redeems Even Slavery

I preached Ephesians 6:1-9 this weekend. It’s the hardest passage I’ve tackled. That’s due to the instruction: “slaves obey your masters.” If you want to pick a passage in the book of Ephesians that is most offensive to our day, it’s either this or “wives submit to your husbands.” My guess is that slavery is still more controversial.

Here’s the sermon in whole followed by the pertinent excerpt showing how God worked to redeem the institution of slavery: Continue reading How God Redeems Even Slavery

Connect to Christ in Function, Not Form

I recently preached a sermon on the ark of the covenant in Exodus 25. While studying the ark I realized that there was an overwhelming amount of typology written about the ark that, while not necessarily allegory, was definitely superficial. I would consider it unwise at least and probably irresponsible.

Most of these instances focused on how the Ark was built from two materials (gold and wood). Here’s an example: Continue reading Connect to Christ in Function, Not Form

Where Righteousness and Peace can Kiss

Another awesome quote about the Ark of the Covenant. This one didn’t make it into the sermon but I really wanted to share it.

The deposition of [the Ten Commandments] in the ark underneath the mercy seat… testified to the fact that God’s kingdom in Israel was founded on immutable justice and righteousness (Ps. 89:15; 97:2). Even grace, in its actings, must respect law. Favour cannot be dispensed on terms which make the law “void” (Rom. 3:31). If sin is pardoned, it must be with full recognition of the law’s claims against the sinner. The ultimate end must be to “establish the law” (Rom. 3:31). Only in the Gospel have we the clear revelation of how, on these terms, mercy and truth can meet together, and righteousness and peace can kiss each other (Ps. 85:10; Rom. 3:21–27).
– H. D. M. Spence-Jones, ed., Exodus, vol. 2, The Pulpit Commentary (London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1909), 253.

The Claims Both of Justice & Mercy Satisfied

I’m putting the finishing touches on a sermon about the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25:10-22) for tomorrow morning and wanted to share this tremendous quote. It’s a meditation on how only Yahweh could bring together the conflicting demands of mercy and justice perfectly:

The teaching of the ark in this respect was, primarily, that of David in the eighty-fifth psalm: “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” Mercy without justice is a weak sentimentality, subversive of moral order. Justice without mercy is a moral severity—theoretically without a flaw, but revolting to man’s instinctive feelings. The synthesis of the two is required. The law, enshrined in the holiest place of the sanctuary, vindicated the awful purity and perfection of God. The mercy seat, extended above the law, assigned to mercy its superior directive position. The cherubic figures showed the gaze of angels riveted in astonishment and admiration on God’s mode of uniting mercy with justice, by means of vicarious suffering, which he can accept as atonement. Finally, the Divine presence, promised as a permanent thing, gave God’s sanction to the expiatory scheme, whereby alone man can be reconciled to him, and the claims both of justice and of mercy satisfied.

H. D. M. Spence-Jones, ed., Exodus, vol. 2, The Pulpit Commentary (London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1909), 251.

In the Ark of the Covenant justice (the tablets of the law) and mercy (the mercy seat) come together. They point forward to the day when God the Son would bear the wrath of justice due us so we could receive the mercy he lovingly bestows.