The Gospel


By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestined unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death.
The Westminster Confession of Faith, Ch. III:3

Those of mankind who are predestined unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to His eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of His will, hath chosen in Christ unto everlasting glory, out of His mere free grace and love, without any other thing in the creature as a condition or cause moving Him thereunto.
The Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689, III:5

Jonathan Edwards

The enjoyment of [God] is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Fathers and mothers, husband, wives, or children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows; but God is the substance. These are but scattered beams, but God is the sun. These are but streams. But God is the ocean.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thank You T4G

T4G2010 - O Great God from Together for the Gospel (T4G) on Vimeo.

And here are the lyrics:

O great God of highest heaven
Occupy my lowly heart
Own it all and reign supreme
Conquer every rebel power
Let no vice or sin remain
That resists Your holy war
You have loved and purchased me
Make me Yours forevermore

I was blinded by my sin
Had no ears to hear Your voice
Did not know Your love within
Had no taste for heaven’s joys
Then Your Spirit gave me life
Opened up Your Word to me
Through the gospel of Your Son
Gave me endless hope and peace

Help me now to live a life
That’s dependent on Your grace
Keep my heart and guard my soul
From the evils that I face
You are worthy to be praised
With my every thought and deed
O great God of highest heaven
Glorify Your Name through me

© 2006 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

All I Have Is Christ - Devon Kauflin

Awesome Song! Awesome Lyrics!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

TGC Reviews



TGC Reviews

Books Given Away at T4G

Posted: 16 Apr 2010 01:23 PM PDT

If you weren't able to attend T4G, here were the 21 books given away for free. (Without taking the time to add it all up precisely, my guess is that each attendee received about $400 worth of books!)

Most of the links below take you to WTS Books—though a few to Amazon—if you want more info on any of the titles (sample chapters, endorsements, etc.).

I heard that T4G gave away 200,000 books. Praise be to God. May they be read and applied and given to others!

§ R.C. Sproul, The Holiness of God

§ Michael Reeves, The Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the Reformation

§ Mark Dever and Michael Lawrence, It Is Well: Expositions on Substitutionary Atonement

§ Colin Marshall and Tony Payne, The Trellis and the Vine: The Ministry Mind-Shift that Changes Everything

§ The ESV Study Bible

§ Thabiti Anyabwile, The Gospel for Muslims: An Encouragement to Share Christ with Confidence

§ Greg Gilbert, What Is the Gospel?

§ John MacArthur, The Jesus You Can't Ignore: What You Must Learn from the Bold Confrontations of Christ

§ Joshua Harris, Dug Down Deep: Unearthing What I Believe and Why It Matters

§ John Piper, Finally Alive

§ Owen Strachan and Doug Sweeney, Jonathan Edwards on Beauty

§ Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Plight of Man and the Power of God

§ Owen Strachan and Doug Sweeney, The Essential Jonathan Edwards Collection

§ Christopher Ash, The Priority of Preaching

§ Albert Mohler, He Is Not Silent: Preaching in a Postmodern World

§ Ligon Duncan, Fear Not! Death and the Afterlife from a Christian Perspective

§ T4G, Proclaiming a Cross-Centered Theology

§ D.A. Carson, Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus

§ J.I. Packer, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God

§ Jonathan Leeman, The Church and the Surprising Offense of God's Love: Reintroducing the Doctrines of Church Membership and Discipline

§ J. Mack Stiles, Marks of the Messenger: Knowing, Living and Speaking the Gospel


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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Together for the Gospel 2010 (T4G2010)

Session 1: Mark Dever (The Church Is The Gospel Made Visible)

T4G 2010 -- Session 1 -- Mark Dever from Together for the Gospel (T4G) on Vimeo.

Session 2: RC Sproul (The Defense and Confirmation of the Gospel)

T4G 2010 -- Session 2 -- R.C. Sproul from Together for the Gospel (T4G) on Vimeo.

Session 3: Albert Mohler (How Does It Happen? Trajectories Toward an Adjusted Gospel)

T4G 2010 -- Session 3 -- Al Mohler from Together for the Gospel (T4G) on Vimeo.

Session 4: Thabiti Anyabwile ("Fine Sounding Arguments" - How Wrongly "Engaging the Culture"

T4G 2010 -- Session 4 -- Thabiti Anyabwile from Together for the Gospel (T4G) on Vimeo.

Session 5: John MacArthur (The Theology of Sleep)

T4G 2010 -- Session 5 -- John MacArthur from Together for the Gospel (T4G) on Vimeo.

Session 6: John Piper (Did Jesus Preach Paul's Gospel?)

T4G 2010 -- Session 6 -- John Piper from Together for the Gospel (T4G) on Vimeo.

Session 7: Lingon Duncan (Did the Fathers Know the Gospel?)

T4G 2010 -- Session 7 -- Ligon Duncan from Together for the Gospel (T4G) on Vimeo.

Session 8: Matt Chandler (Special Guest) / CJ Mahaney

T4G 2010 -- Special Session -- Matt Chandler from Together for the Gospel (T4G) on Vimeo.

T4G 2010 -- Session 9 -- C.J. Mahaney from Together for the Gospel (T4G) on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Trellis and the Vine: The Ministry Mind-Shift That Changes Everything

by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne

March 31, 2010

Colin Marshall and Tony Payne. The Trellis and the Vine: The Ministry Mind-Shift That Changes Everything. Matthias Media, 2009. 196 pages.

It is too easy to lose focus, to become distracted, to forget why we committed our lives to pastoral ministry. We can so easily become overwhelmed by the daily tasks of ministry. At most churches there are emails to return, there are services to plan, there are reports to read, there are letters to write. Some of this work is hugely important. It is difficult to oversee a church without doing the work of administration. Still, I don't know any pastor who signed up for this ministry because he wanted to see letterhead and logos change—he committed his life to the ministry of the church because he hoped to see lives change!

Colin Marshall and Tony Payne of Matthias Media (an excellent, Christian, Australian publishing company) have given the church a great gift with their recent book, The Trellis and the Vine: The Ministry Mind-Shift That Changes Everything. Here, they clarify the goal of Christian ministry. It is, they argue, both simple and measurable: "Are we making and nurturing genuine disciples of Christ?" (14) Too many Christian workers are involved in "trellis" work—building the structure of the church, when they should be involved in "vine" work—personally investing in the lives of others.

Don't we know this? I've never met a pastor who intentionally puts programs in front of people. Then why should Christian leaders read this book? Here are five reasons:

1. We are too tempted to create flash-in-the-pan growth. Well-intentioned attempts to bring people into the church can quickly distract us from the more laborious work of training disciples who will go into the world and make disciples. It is not always easy to find a balance between "bring them in" and "grow them up." Certainly both can take place. But Marshall and Payne are right when they argue that it is easier to plan an evangelistic event than work to make the culture of a church more evangelistic.

2. Because in an attempt to plug people in we can wear them out. Marshall and Payne mince no words: "We need to care for people and help them to flourish and grow in ministry, not squeeze them dry in the interests of keeping our programs running" (20). Are you sure you never do this? Let me ask you a question: do you love the members of your church for what they do: help in the nursery, keep problems away from you, go-with-the-flow, or for who they are: sinners saved by the blood of the Lamb?

3. We talk more about church growth than gospel growth. Every pastor needs to be convinced that God will not ultimately judge the success of our ministry on the size of our church but on the spiritual vitality of the sheep in our care. "We talk these days about church growth. And when we think about our lack of growth, we think of the lack of growth of our particular congregation: the stagnation or decline in numbers, the wobbly state of the finances, and possibly the looming property issues" (37). These are real problems facing most pastors. But how often do we fail to measure gospel growth: the spiritual fruit growing in people's lives, an increased passion for God, a growing fidelity to truth, a renewed commitment to evangelism?

4. We are tempted to withdraw into public ministry when we should persevere in private ministry. Perhaps this sounds strange, but the reality is pastors can hide behind public preaching and teaching just as they hide behind a stack of papers in their office. If the pastor doesn't give himself to training others he runs the risk of creating a church that is merely a reflection of his own personality. Marshall and Payne put it this way:

Perhaps the most striking disadvantage of this way of thinking about ministry is that it feeds upon and encourages the culture of 'consumerism' that is already rife in our culture. It perfectly fits the spirit of our age whereby we pay trained professionals to do everything for us rather than do it ourselves (95).

What a danger! Public preaching and teaching is the God-ordained means of growing the church. But it does not replace every pastor's responsibility to see every member involved in doing the work of the Lord. Yes, the pastor must preach. "But crucially, the pastor is also a trainer. His job is not just to provide spiritual services, nor is it his job to do all of the ministry. His task is to teach and train his congregation, by his word and his life, to become disciple-making disciples of Jesus" (99).

5. We want to make disciples but may not always know how. Discipling is better "caught" than "taught." Still, if anyone can teach discipling it's the people at Matthias Media. Materials like Two Ways to Live and Just for Starters are fantastic, easy-to-use, theologically rich resources that pastors can implement in one-on-one or small group environments.

Every pastor, every Christian is faced with the question, "how should I best use my time?"  There is no simple answer, it will differ from person to person. Still, Marshall and Payne used Scripture to remind me how valuable it is to meet regularly with new and growing believers who can eventually turn around and meet with others. They explained the importance of giving over a portion of my schedule to discipling individuals and small groups. It may take time for me to see the fruit, but I have every reason to be confident that it is time well spent.

Aaron Menikoff (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Senior Pastor of Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA.

You must submit to supreme suffering in order to discover the completion of joy -- John Calvin

What is the Gospel?

What Is The Gospel?

A couple months ago I emailed my dear brother Scotty Smith (Pastor for Preaching, Teaching and Worship at Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee) and asked him to provide me his thoughts on the gospel. What he sent me was pure gospel gold.


  • The gospel is God the Father's irrepressible commitment to redeem his pan-national trans-generational family, and restore his broken creation through the person and work of Jesus, and the power and presence of his Holy Spirit
  • The gospel is the glory-story of how God the Father is redeeming a people from every single race, tribe, tongue and people group for a life of worship service in the new heaven and new earth. All of this is being accomplished through the person and work of his Son, Jesus, and the power and presence of God the Holy Spirit.
  • The gospel is the doxological drama in which Jesus, the second Adam, servant-Savior and loving Lord, is redeeming his pan-national Bride and making all things new, to the glory of God
  • The gospel is the unfolding story of God's contra-conditional love for an ill-deserving people, and for his beloved and broken creation-a story which has Jesus as its hero, the nations as its characters, the world as its storyboard, and the new heaven and new earth as its goal.
  • The gospel is like a great song: It has a lyric to be known (theology), a music to be loved (doxology) and a dance to be learned (mission). Indeed, the gospel calls for informed minds, en-flamed hearts and engaged feet.
  • The gospel is God's passionate, joyful, covenant commitment to make all things new through the person and work of his Son, Jesus, and by the power and presence of His Holy Spirit. "All things" include both a people and a place-the Bride of Christ, and the new heaven and new earth. We dare not emphasize one of these to the exception of the other.

Friday, April 2, 2010

T4G2010 Schedule

Schedule for T4G, Apr. 13-15, 2010
For more info, see

Tuesday, April 13
9:00a – 12noon

1:00p – 3:00p
Session 1: Mark Dever — The Church is the Gospel Made Visible

3:00p – 3:30p
Panel #1

3:30p – 5:00p
Session 2: R C Sproul — The Defense and Confirmation of the Gospel
— What I Have Learned in 50 years

5:00p – 7:30p

7:30p – 9:00p
Session 3: Al Mohler — How Does it Happen? Trajectories Toward an
Adjusted Gospel

9:00p – 9:45p
Panel #2

Wednesday, April 14
8.00a – 9.30a
Session 4: Thabiti Anyabwile — 'Fine-Sounding Arguments' — How
Wrongly 'Engaging the Culture' Adjusts the Gospel

9:30a – 10:15a

10:15a – 11.30a
Session 5: John MacArthur — The Theology of Sleep! (Mark 4)

11:30a – 12:15p
Panel #3

12:15p – 3:00p

Wednesday Breakout Sessions (Note: Since sessions are concurrent, you
can register for only one. And you must register to attend.)

• Eric Bancroft — Convincing Christianity: The Implications of a
Robust Gospel in Marriage

• Tony Carter — Proclaiming the Comfort of the Gospel

• Kevin DeYoung — 'Tis Mystery All, The Immortal Dies: Why the
Gospel of Christ's Suffering Is More Glorious Because God Does Not

• Greg Gilbert — What Is the Gospel?

• Brian Habig — Fears of the Minister

• Joshua Harris — Dug Down Deep: Helping Others Build Their Lives
on Christ-Centered Doctrine
• Michael McKinley — Unity, not Uniformity: Diversity in the Body
of Christ

• David Platt — An Unadjusted Gospel in an Unreached World:
Connecting Gospel Theology with Urgent Missiology

4:00p – 7:00p

7:00p – 8.30p
Session 6: John Piper — Did Jesus Preach the Gospel of Evangelicalism?

8:30p – 9:15p
Panel #4

Thursday, April 15
8.00a – 9.15a
Session 7: Ligon Duncan — Did the Fathers Know the Gospel?

9.15a – 9.30a

9:30a – 10:40a
CJ Mahaney with Matt Chandler

10:40a – 11.10a

11:10a – 12:15p
Session 8: CJ Mahaney — Expository Faithfulness (II Timothy 4:1-5)


ligonier: The Agonizing Prayer in Gethsemane (Jerry Bridges)