April 24

1 Corinthians 15:29-58 (ESV)

29 Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf? 30 Why are we in danger every hour? 31 I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! 32 What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” [1] 34 Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.

The Resurrection Body

35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 36 You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39 For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.

42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; [2] the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall [3] also bear the image of the man of heaven.

Mystery and Victory

50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

April 24

Mark 9:1-13 (ESV)

9:1 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”

The Transfiguration

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one [1] on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, [2] it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; [3] listen to him.” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.

And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead might mean. 11 And they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” 12 And he said to them,“Elijah does come first to restore all things. And how is it written of the Son of Man that he should suffer many things and be treated with contempt? 13 But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him.”

April 24

Psalm 93 (ESV)

The Lord Reigns

93:1 The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt.
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
Your throne is established from of old;
you are from everlasting.

The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
the floods have lifted up their voice;
the floods lift up their roaring.
Mightier than the thunders of many waters,
mightier than the waves of the sea,
the Lord on high is mighty!

Your decrees are very trustworthy;
holiness befits your house,
Lord, forevermore.

April 24

Ruth 2-3  (ESV)

Ruth Meets Boaz

2:1 Now Naomi had a relative of her husband’s, a worthy man of the clan of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz.And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.” So she set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech.And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem. And he said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you!” And they answered, “TheLord bless you.” Then Boaz said to his young man who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose young woman is this?”And the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered, “She is the young Moabite woman, who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves after the reapers.’ So she came, and she has continued from early morning until now, except for a short rest.” [1]

Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.” 10 Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” 11 But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. 12 The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” 13 Then she said, “I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants.”

14 And at mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain. And she ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over.15 When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. 16 And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.”

17 So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah [2]of barley. 18 And she took it up and went into the city. Her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. She also brought out and gave her what food she had left over after being satisfied. 19 And her mother-in-law said to her, “Where did you glean today? And where have you worked? Blessed be the man who took notice of you.” So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and said, “The man’s name with whom I worked today is Boaz.” 20 And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be blessed by the Lord, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!” Naomi also said to her, “The man is a close relative of ours, one of our redeemers.” 21 And Ruth the Moabite said, “Besides, he said to me, ‘You shall keep close by my young men until they have finished all my harvest.’” 22 And Naomi said to Ruth, her daughter-in-law, “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, lest in another field you be assaulted.”23 So she kept close to the young women of Boaz, gleaning until the end of the barley and wheat harvests. And she lived with her mother-in-law.

Ruth and Boaz at the Threshing Floor

3:1 Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you? Is not Boaz our relative, with whose young women you were? See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do.” And she replied, “All that you say I will do.”

So she went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law had commanded her. And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then she came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down. At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet! He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings [3] over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” 10 And he said, “May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich. 11 And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman.12 And now it is true that I am a redeemer. Yet there is a redeemer nearer than I. 13 Remain tonight, and in the morning, if he will redeem you, good; let him do it. But if he is not willing to redeem you, then, as the Lord lives, I will redeem you. Lie down until the morning.”

14 So she lay at his feet until the morning, but arose before one could recognize another. And he said, “Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.” 15 And he said, “Bring the garment you are wearing and hold it out.” So she held it, and he measured out six measures of barley and put it on her. Then she went into the city. 16 And when she came to her mother-in-law, she said, “How did you fare, my daughter?” Then she told her all that the man had done for her, 17 saying, “These six measures of barley he gave to me, for he said to me, ‘You must not go back empty-handed to your mother-in-law.’” 18 She replied, “Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest but will settle the matter today.”

John Piper, on 1 Corinthians 15 in a sermon titled, “Six Gifts of the Resurrection”

“If Christ Has Not Been Raised . . . “

Paul says there are six things that would be in shambles if Christ did not rise from the dead. Then verse 20 reverses the whole paragraph: “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead.” So let’s look at those six things.

  1. Verse 14: “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain.” But since Christ has been raised, our preaching is not in vain.
  2. Verse 14: ” . . . and your faith is in vain.” But since Christ has been raised, our faith is not in vain.
  3. Verse 15: If Christ has not been raised, “we are found to be misrepresenting God [literally: we are false witnesses], because we testified of God that he raised Christ.” But since Christ has been raised, the apostles are not false witnesses about the work of God.
  4. Verse 17: “If Christ has not been raised then your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” But since Christ has been raised, we are not still in our sins.
  5. Verse 18: If Christ has not been raised, then “those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.” But since Christ has been raised, the dead in Christ have not perished.
  6. Verse 19: If Christ has not been raised, then “we are of all men most to be pitied.” But since Christ has been raised, we are not to be pitied.

Stating the Negatives in Positive Terms

But what really made the lights go on for me, and what showed me the good news that six of my deepest longings were being met here by the resurrection of Jesus was when I tried to go back and restate each of these six reversals in positive terms. So far we have used negatives: “preaching not in vain . . . faith not in vain . . . etc.” Now we need to see what God has really done for us in raising Jesus from the dead. We see this when we put all these negatives into positives.

I’m going to switch the order around this time because when the resurrection starts meeting our needs, there is a kind of pattern that fits our experience. I want to follow that pattern as we look at each of our longings being satisfied.

[Piper goes on to list all six positives, with detailed explanations of each, and then concludes the sermon with the following...]

The Greatest News in All the World

The greatest news in all the world is that God and his Son are most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in them. And to make that true God raised his Son Jesus from the dead to reign forevermore.

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?” Mark 8:34-37

The Gallows and the Gift of Life

by John Piper, Palm Sunday 1988

As the story begins, I was in the King’s prison—the prison called “conviction.” It was a very strange prison.

lightprisonThere were windows, but only on one side—the side facing the palace of the King. Mostly I tried to avoid the windows, because I didn’t like the way I looked in the light. The light in the hall was indirect and soft, so it looked like I had some color when I stood in front of the mirrors on the wall. But in the rooms with windows I looked anemic and weak. Every blemish looked ugly. That is why I mostly stayed away from the windows.

But not always. I couldn’t stand the way I looked in the direct light coming through the windows, but there was something almost irresistible about the light. Sometimes I would stand in the hall looking through a door at the shaft of light shining diagonally across the room from one of the windows. I would want so badly to go in and stand by the window and look that light full in the face, and see where it was coming from. But then I would look down at my skin and think how good it looked in the dark and how pale and splotchy it looked in the light, and I couldn’t go in.

doorThere were two doors in the prison—two that I knew about—but they were never locked. I could have left any time I wanted. I mean, if I had tried hard enough. In fact, I did try—several times. But the one door opened onto the King’s palace lawn, and the light there was so bright I couldn’t stand it. And the other opened away from the King’s palace and the darkness there was so frightening I couldn’t enter it.

I mean, I could have. The door was open. That’s where I had come from. I knew the roads on the dark side of the prison. I couldn’t explain what was holding me back. Sometimes it seemed like sheer terror of the dark. Other times what kept me from leaving wasn’t fear so much as an almost overwhelming desire to walk into the light—no matter how painful. But then I would get so angry at the light because of how weak and anemic it made me look.

All the light that I had ever known, far south away from the King’s palace, had made me tan and handsome. It made other people notice me. It made me feel strong and self-confident—at least, most of the time. I was so confused. I looked out into the dark away from the King’s palace, and I didn’t see any light at all. A prison with open doors. Half-way between the light and the dark. I hated them both and loved them both. And I couldn’t move. It was a very strange prison—this prison called “conviction.”

* * * * * *

You might be wondering how I got there. I hadn’t always been in this prison, of course. For years I had lived as far away from the palace of the King as I could. Everybody knows that if you stay far enough away, you can set up your own sort of kingdom. You can write your own laws, and pretty much run your own life. So that’s what we did.

We thought of all kinds of ways to keep the King’s light from bothering us. There were three rules:

  1. First, stay as far away from it as you can. Don’t ever look toward the palace. Don’t ever read any of his letters. Don’t listen to his messengers. That’s rule number one: stay as far away from the light as you can.
  2. Second, use imitation light. You know how this works. You can get far enough away from a blazing star so that it looks like a harmless little dot in the sky of your darkness. But if you want to blot it out completely, what do you do? You just use a lamppost, or hang a string of lights across the backyard. Then the stars disappear altogether. So that’s rule number two: use imitation light. Surround yourself with artificial brightness.
  3. Third, find substitute pleasures. Nobody can live without happiness. None of us would have admitted it then, but what we really had to do was come up with some counterfeit excitements.

Looking back on it now, it seems crazy. Keep running from the King. Keep lighting candles so we can’t see the sun. Keep substituting puddles of pleasure for an ocean of joy. We just could not believe in those days that the light that made us look so bad could be the source of joy. So we ran from the light. We made our own imitations—imitations that made us look good. And feel good.

It didn’t always work, of course. If the King issues a warrant for your capture, there is no escape. I remember the night I was taken captive and brought to the prison called “conviction.”

A young man and his wife moved into town. They said they were sent from the King, and that they had come to take captive some of his rebel subjects and bring them to the palace to meet the King’s Son. They also said that the King’s Son had some business to tend to with some of us, and that the charge was treason.

To my mind this was absolutely incredible. They had no weapons, no soldiers. I remember saying to them, “And just who is it that the King intends for you to take captive, without any weapons and without any soldiers?”

They looked at me with a kind of earnestness and longing that I had never seen before, and said, “The warrants for arrest are kept secret in the vault of the palace. But this much we’ve been told by the King: the people whose names are written there will come when the invitation is given.”

I laughed out loud. “Invitation! To get arrested? You’re crazy! You might as well invite a sheep to the slaughter! Why would anybody come?”

In a split second I knew something was happening to me. Why did I ask that question? Why did I give the slightest indication that I thought there might be an answer to that question?

The King’s messengers didn’t miss it either. The young man said to me, “I’ll tell you why people will accept the invitation to be arrested for treason without soldiers and without weapons.” He opened the King’s book and quoted some words from the King’s Son. He said, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and climb the steps of the gallows and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”

Then he looked up at me and said, just as obvious as though it were written in the sky, “The reason some of you will accept our invitation to be arrested for treason is because you would rather save your life by losing it than lose it by saving it.”

I just stared at him in silence.

I knew some of the stories about the King’s Son—fables, I would have called them once. That he came to one of our towns a long time ago; that they received him like royalty on one Sunday, and then hanged him on Friday. That he rose from the dead three days later, and lives in the palace with the King, and plans to come again and take over the Kingdom someday. I knew all those fables. And I couldn’t imagine what difference it would make even if I did believe they were true.

But here was a young man, with no weapons and no soldiers, telling me that the issue wasn’t merely believing that these stories are true, but that I was under arrest for treason and that I must face the Son of the King.

That was the end of my running from the King. My friends thought I was absolutely crazy, but I knew I had heard the voice of truth. I invited the young couple over to my house, and one by one they began to turn off the imitation lights in my life. That night I went to bed in utter turmoil—frightened at the darkness around me and almost as angry as ever at the King’s light. The next morning I woke up in the prison called “conviction.”

* * * * * *

Well, that’s how I got to the strange prison called “conviction.” Now here’s how I got out. I had been there for maybe a week when the Son of the King himself knocked on the door of my room in the prison. When I opened the door, he simply said, “Follow me.”

He looked very serious. Not angry. Not smiling. Just utterly intent. I followed him through the hall toward the door leading to the palace lawn. When he got to the door, he turned and looked back at me. I shook my head, “No.” I said, “I can’t go there, not now.” He waited a moment longer, then turned back into the prison and went down another hall. I followed as closely as I could for not being sure. Where was he going?

Suddenly, he turned through a door I had never seen. It led out of the prison—not on the palace side, or on the dark side, but onto a dim path in-between the two worlds. He turned at the door and said, “Come. This is a different way.”

“A different way there?” I thought. But he was already walking down the path, and I followed him. When my foot touched the path outside the prison, I thought I had taken the most decisive step of my life. But I was wrong. There was another one I would soon have to take.

The path was rough and narrow. The Prince seemed to know every root and stone along the way. Now and then he looked back over his shoulder. I tried to read his face. No smile. No anger. Or maybe it was both. Maybe his face was like this gray path between two worlds.

We turned into a clearing and he stopped. My heart almost burst through my chest with fear. There in the middle of the clearing was a gallows. It looked very old. There were steps leading up to a platform about eight feet off the ground. A trap door in the platform was rigged to a lever. Above the platform there was a crossbeam with a coil of rope and noose. And on the platform an executioner.

I looked at the Prince in disbelief. “I followed you!” Anger boiled up inside me. I wheeled around to run back up the path . . . but it was gone, sealed over with vines and thorns. My eyes flashed around the clearing like a trapped animal. There were two paths—one blocked by the gallows, and the other wide open leading back to darkness.

Just before I bolted for the black hole, he spoke my name: “John.” I will never be able to explain what it was like to hear the sound of my own name coming from the lips of the Son of the King. “John,” he said it again, “if you would come after me, you must deny yourself and climb the steps of the gallows and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”

And by some miracle of miracles, by the power of his voice, or something in his bearing, my anger was gone. And then, the most decisive step of my life was taken. Still no smile on his face. And no frown. But what I saw was the assurance of a promise. It was written on his face. “Whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” He lifted his hand up the steps—like an usher seating someone at a symphony.

I ascended the old steps to the platform. The executioner’s face was neither happy nor sad. In fact, he had an uncanny resemblance to the Prince. He put the noose over my head and pulled it tightly around my neck. My heart was beating so hard I thought it would pound out of my chest. I wanted to turn and look back at the Prince. I felt like everything I had ever known was ending. And the future? I closed my eyes, and whispered, “Into your hands I yield my life.”

The executioner pulled the lever. I felt the boards scrape underneath my feet. My teeth clenched. Crack! The door gave way, and I fell. Snap! Was it the whip of the rope? Or was it my neck? That’s all I remember.

* * * * * *

The next thing I knew I was being carried by some very strong arms. My neck was incredibly sore, and I could feel the blood running down onto my chest from the laceration. When I opened my eyes, the first thing I saw was the scar on his neck. The next thing I noticed were the tears in his eyes. And the next thing I felt was the water.

He was wading out into a river. It touched my feet first. Then it came up over my whole body, all the way up to my neck. I had never felt anything like this in my life. This was the purest touch I had ever known. The water gathered around my neck and took away all the pain. It came up over my face and hair and washed away all the sweat of fear and anger.

When I came up out of the water, he was smiling.

He carried me up out of the river on the other side. As he put me down on the grass I realized that we were swallowed up in a light more bright than any other I had ever seen. But it didn’t hurt anymore. It was lovely to my eyes, and the warmth of sun on my skin was like the caress of a mother on a frightened child.

The Son of the King put his arm around my shoulders and said, “Come, I want to show you the grounds before you go.”

“Go? Must I go?”

His smile was full of hope. “Nobody stays, John, until they’ve crossed the river twice. You remember the young couple that I sent to arrest you? There’s been an uprising in your town. My Father is calling them in. They’ll be crossing the river again tonight. There’s going to be a big celebration here. I want you to go replace them, John. I’ll be with you. And all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. I’d be very honored if you went for me.”

To which I responded with all my heart, “Master, it’s my pleasure.”

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High;

to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night,

to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre.

For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;

at the works of your hands I sing for joy. (Psalm 92:1-4, ESV)

Sam Storms, of Enjoying God Ministries:

I don’t know about you, but I’m weary of the worship wars that have wreaked havoc in so many churches. It’s sad to look back over the past twenty-five years or so at the damage and division that have resulted from this internecine conflict. Should we use traditional hymns or contemporary songs? Which do you prefer, a robed choir or praise team? Baldwin piano or acoustical guitar? Liberty or liturgy? Standing or sitting? Formal or free? Long or short? Hands raised or at your side? Solemnity or celebration?

As much as I may wish otherwise, I suspect the battle will continue. No, I don’t have a solution for a cease-fire or a remedy that will make everyone happy. But perhaps a start would be for us to return to the biblical text to determine, not what makes us feel comfortable, but what it is in worship that pleases God.

As I was reading through Psalms 92-98 I couldn’t help but notice the exhortations and counsel concerning how and why and to what end we are to worship. So, without further ado, look with me at ten truths or principles that we need to keep in mind when we worship and as we try to draw the near the throne of grace in a way that will honor and exalt the name of Jesus.

(1) Worship that pleases God is perpetual and constant. It is always and ever appropriate. The psalmist resolves “to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night” (Ps. 92:2). We should never think of worship as something reserved for a Sunday morning, as if there were any hour of any day where it wasn’t the thing to do.

(2) Worship that pleases God is instrumental. The psalmists speak of “the music of the lute and the harp” as well as “the melody of the lyre” (Ps. 92:3) and “trumpets and the sound of the horn” (98:5-6). This isn’t to say that singing a cappella is forbidden or unacceptable to God (far from it), but our Lord does appear to enjoy the loud and harmonious sounds that come from all sorts of instruments. Psalm 150 speaks of “trumpet sound” and “lute and harp” and “tambourine” and “strings and pipe” and “sounding cymbals” and even “loud clashing cymbals” (vv. 3-5).

(3) Clearly God delights in joyful worship (92:4; 98:4). “For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your works; at the works of your hands I sing for joy” (Ps. 92:4). Again, we are to “make a joyful noise to the Lord” and “break forth into joyous song” (Ps. 98:4).

So, I guess there are good grounds for the hymn writer having penned the words, “Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee” rather than “Grumpy, grumpy, we adore thee” or “Somber, somber, we adore Thee”!

To read the other 7 truths about worship from Psalm 92-98, click this link to go to Enjoying God Ministries, Sam Storms, “Meditations on the Psalms”

We start reading the book of Ruth today, one of my favorite stories.

Ruth: Sweet and Bitter Providence, sermon by John Piper

It’s a story that shows how “God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform.” It’s a story for people who wonder where God is when there are no dreams or visions or prophets. It’s for people who wonder where God is when one tragedy after another attacks their faith. It’s a story for people who wonder whether a life of integrity in tough times is worth it. And it’s a story for people who can’t imagine that anything great could ever come of their ordinary lives of faith. It’s a refreshing and encouraging book, and I want you to be refreshed and encouraged this summer.

April 23

1 Corinthians 15:1-28  (ESV)

The Resurrection of Christ

15:1 Now I would remind you, brothers, [1] of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

The Resurrection of the Dead

12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope [2] in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God [3] has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

April 23

Mark 8:31-38 (ESV)

Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection

31 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life [1] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”