Monthly Archives: June 2008

How Do You Distinguish Between True and False Gospels?

Do you find yourself discussing the gospel often at your church? I hope that you do, as we are all called to “guard the good deposit,” and if we’re not careful we can drift away from the truth that was once for all delivered to the saints. I’ve recently been involved in discussions at my church about the difference between the true gospel and false gospels.

I’ve also recently been blessed by the messages from the 2008 Resurgence Conference: Text and Context. I would recommend every message to you.

So you can imagine how excited I was to listen to John Piper’s message entitled How I Distinguish Between the Gospel and False Gospels. Just click here and you can find the message on audio and video. Its 85 minutes, so you’ll need a little time to listen, but I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Here are his six pillars for the true gospel as a preview:

1. It is a Plan

2. It is an Event

3. It is an Accomplishment

4. It is an Offer to All

5. It Must be Applied Personally

6. It Leads to a Supremely Happy Future


The Gritty Disappointment of Sin

Imagine for a moment that you are stranded on a desert island with a handful of people, fighting for survival. Food and water supplies are running out quickly and desperation is beginning to set in. One member of the group discovers an old, dilapidated water well that could be repaired and used, with some digging and hard work. The entire group dedicates itself to digging for water, including yourself. The days are long and you’ve never been more thirsty in your life. There are signs of progress, but things are not moving as fast as you’d like. Suddenly, one hot afternoon you notice across the way the most beautiful sight imaginable. You can’t believe you’ve missed it, but before your very eyes you see a powerful waterfall pooling into a deep oasis of clear, cool water. Immediately your mind goes to the warnings your friends have given you about hallucinations and mirages that may appear due to your condition. These warnings however fade into the back of your mind as you rush to the water and dive in! You plunge your head beneath the cool waves only to gulp a mouth full of gritty sand and sea shells. Clearly the oasis was not really there, and surging expectation has quickly turned into frustration and disappointment.

Have you ever experienced the gritty disappointment that sin brings? This week at Redeemer, we will consider a passage that informs us of the dangers of running after the “mirage of pleasures” offered by the world. The title of our sermon this week is Do Not Love The World, from 1 John 2:15-17. Its interesting to see that John’s depiction of the temptation brought on by the world (the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life) describes accurately the sin of our original parents. When Eve saw that the fruit was “good for food” and a “delight to the eyes,” she ate. The promise that she was holding onto was that she would “be like God.” I wonder if these core temptations have changed much since the Garden? Have you considered the words of Jesus lately that describe his followers as “the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14)? How can we be the light of the world if we are in love with the world’s eluding pleasures? Jesus continues in verse 16 to say “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” So friend, what pleasures are you running to? Are you continually running after the oasis of deception brought on by pride and lust? Solomon wrote that “the heart of a man is never satisfied” (Prov. 27:20). Do you know that there is a fountain that will never run dry in Jesus? Join us this week as we seek to dive into that living water!

Psalm 16:11– You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore

Come to the Waters!

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What’s RIGHT with the Southern Baptist Convention?

Perspective is a gift from God. I was recently reminded (see C.J. Mahaney’s message on this page) of the perspective of the Apostle Paul when he wrote to the not so impressive church at Corinth. Paul begins 1 Corinthians with these words: “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus” (1:4). Paul exhibits an attitude of thankfulness even with the unruly and disobedient Corinthians. Paul identifies evidences of grace in the Corinthian church when some (like me!) might only see their glaring deficiencies. This perspective issues from a pastoral heart of humility and an amazing dependence on the grace of God.

David Nelson, has recently displayed similar perspective regarding the Southern Baptist Convention. I am guilty of often going directly to the areas of struggle and failure in the SBC, and disregarding the God-given victories in the seminaries, churches and mission fields. So, the title of this post is not a misprint. I am not asking what is WRONG with the SBC, but wanting to direct your attention to what is RIGHT and what is moving in a RIGHT and biblical direction. You can see encouraging examples of this here, here and here.

This week at my church, we will be talking to people who are wanting to join our church about why we are Southern Baptist. I would submit to you that we are Southern Baptist because of all the things that are RIGHT in the SBC, like a cooperative effort to send missionaries across the globe, a commitment to the inerrancy of the Scriptures and a desire to see young men and women trained for long, fruitful ministries in local churches across the country. Don’t get me wrong, the SBC has it’s work cut out for improvement, repentance and change (like the Corinthians did). But should we throw the baby out with the bath water? We can still give glory to God for all that is RIGHT in the SBC.

For more encouragement on this topic, put this blog on your google reader! Contributers to Between the Times are:

Danny Akin, the president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Bruce Ashford, the director of the Lewis A. Drummond Center for Great Commission Studies and associate professor of philosophy and intercultural studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Nathan Finn, an assistant professor of church history at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kenneth Keathley, the dean of graduate studies and professor of theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and David Nelson the senior vice president for academic administration and dean of the faculty at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.


Everyone Who’s Name is Found in the Book Will Be Rescued!

Perhaps like me, at times during the Daniel sermon series, you have found yourself steamrolled by the amazing precision of God’s knowledge and power. It’s no wonder that liberal scholars want to date Daniel to a time after these events occurred. When we are faced with God’s sovereignty and might we have no choice but to be overwhelmed. As we conclude our study, we will again be confronted with the reality of God’s power and control of all things. This week at Redeemer, we will be be considering The End of These Wonders, focusing on Daniel 11:36-12:1-13.

Daniel 12 especially hones in on the last day when the book, that contains the names of all those who will be rescued, will be opened. Consider Daniel 12:3–“And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” What wisdom is the author referring to? What will you be trusting in on that last day? The thesis of proverbs may lead us in the right direction. Solomon writes that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge…” (Proverbs 1:7). How has your frame of reference changed, with respect to God, as we have studied the book of Daniel? Are you more inclined towards a prayerful pursuit of pleasure in him? Are you encouraged by God’s protection of his people? Have you been reminded a new of the Lord’s holiness and majesty? Has your need for a Savior, who is the wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24), been magnified?

It has been such a blessing for me to be confronted week in and week out with these truths from Daniel. It is our prayer that this series will produce both immediate and enduring fruit in the lives of the saints at Redeemer! If you’ve missed some of the sermons, or you’d like to review them all (this would be a great idea!), click here to access our sermon archive page. Just like any book, you don’t want to miss the ending…and you don’t want to miss this Sunday’s sermon on the conclusion of the book of Daniel.

The Victory is Won!

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Appreciation Service for the Hamilton Family

Jim Faculty PicDear Friends,

About five years ago we walked into our first Greek class and were greeted by a new face. At the time we had no idea how much of an impact this man (along with his family) would have on our lives. Dr. Jim Hamilton was new to the Havard Campus and, along with many other students, we immediately knew that he was different. It did not take long to recognize the passion Jim had for the glory of God–so, over the next three years we sought to take as many classes from him as we could! At the end of the semester Jim invited all of his students over to his house and we were delighted to meet his wonderful wife Jill and their first child, Jake.

Well, a few years down the road a man named Jack Arnold invited Jim to preach at a tiny church plant of about four families and after some persuasion and a long phone conversation Jim agreed to preach for four weeks. Well, here we are over 156 weeks later and the six weeks that Jim committed to, turned into three years of faithful ministry at Baptist Church of the Redeemer. We have been unbelievably blessed by the way Jim has served our church and we could go on and on about the way that Jill has led in Women’s Bible Studies and poured so much of her life into our local church. Many of us have benefited from Jill’s hospitality and welcoming spirit, which has continued despite her full time job with the new Hamilton additions, Jed and Luke. We will dearly miss the Hamilton family and we are so thankful for the time God has given us with them.

Many of you know Jim mainly as a seminary professor. Personally, we can say that his zeal for the glory of God has impacted us more than he’ll ever know. We would not trade the three years that we have been blessed to study under him for anything! I’m sure that many of you have had similar experiences with Jim’s teaching ministry. Those of you that have taken classes from Jim know that his passion for the original languages is contagious and his love for the local church and hunger for a right understanding of the Bible are inspiring! The students at the Havard Campus will truly miss him, as will his church!

Thus we would like to set aside a time to communicate the ways in which Jim and Jill have blessed, encouraged and ministered to those around them. We would like to invite you to join us on Sunday evening, June 22nd as we seek to honor the Hamilton family before they head to Louisville as Jim takes up a teaching post at Southern Seminary. We will begin the evening at 6:00pm, on the campus of First Baptist Church Missouri City, in the gymnasium. We are asking folks to bring ice cream and/or a dessert to enjoy as we fellowship together. There will be a time for you to communicate your thankfulness to the Hamiltons and to see them off (this will be their last Sunday in Houston). If you have any questions about this time of celebration please send an e-mail to

We look forward to seeing you on June 22nd as we seek to bless and encourage this wonderful family.


Travis Cardwell and Billy Newhouse

Here is a summary of the details:

Hamilton Going Away Celebration
Sunday, June 22nd at 6:00pm
First Baptist Church, Missouri City (gym)
Bring ice cream or dessert!
Click Here for a Map

Do You Know God Like This?

How do you respond to evil and suffering? What keeps your head above water when life seeks to drown you in despair and depression? What do you have to hold onto? Over and over throughout our study of Daniel’s life, we’ve seen him come face to face with persecution, death and terrifying visions of the end of all things. Where does he derive his strength? It seems throughout Daniel’s life he has been strengthened by specific promises from the Word of God. He does not merely read the Word and remain unaffected, but he clings to it for life, and for the promise of the Lord’s victory over evil, sin and death.

This week, we will be considering Conflicts and Rescue to Come , from Daniel 11-12. To say that the future will be turmoil and destruction is an extreme understatement. There will be extreme conflicts between kings who are bent toward self-exaltation and total domination. Those who “have insight” will fall by the sword, by flame and by captivity. In other words, the future holds significant disaster and tragedy for the people of God. So how can we be encouraged by this? We can be encouraged in the following ways: First, notice how Daniel records the manner in which the desolations occur. At least five times in this passage we read the phrase “at the appointed time.” Even as Daniel recounts the various trials and desolations that will occur in the future, he acknowledges “for that which has been decreed will be done!” He even remarks that these times will “purge, purify, and refine many…but the wicked will not understand.” So, these are not random, unlucky or coincidental events. These disastrous events are ordained by God for His own glory and for the good of His people. What will be the result? Verse 32 proclaims that “the people who know their God will display strength and take action.” What an encouragement!

So, how can we be sustained through trials and seemingly “out of control” circumstances? We cling to the promises of God. We reflect on the sovereignty and majesty of the one who created all things, and sustains them with a mere word! We contemplate how this amazing, terrible God desires fellowship with rebellious nobodies like you and me. We can be those who display strength and take action, because we know our God!! Do you know Him like this?

How Blessed is He!

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