A Portion of Papyrus and the so called “Wife of Jesus”

Photo credit:  Photo by Karen L. King

A fourth century scrap of papyrus written in Coptic has received headlines and mass attention in the media. What is all the fuss about? It contains a line that says, “Jesus said to them, ‘my wife…’” along with some other incomplete sentences. Does this mean that He did have a wife? How should Christians respond to such a finding and media fuss?

Firstly, it is interesting that the media ignores the content of second and third century findings that affirm the reliability and teaching of the New Testament, but place great attention on this fourth century portion of papyrus. Apologist, James White observes in a recent blog post, “Funny how the media makes so much Continue reading A Portion of Papyrus and the so called “Wife of Jesus”

Preach the Gospel – not Values

Creative Commons: Christian Values Candle Set

Many churches (and individuals) are teaching and preaching Christian values to a lost world. This message is calling for people to respect and embrace the standards of behaviour taught in the Scriptures. It must be noted that outward conformity to Christian values will extend certain benefits to an individual’s personal life and to those around them – however, this in and of itself it detrimental and damning to the hearer. Dr. R. Albert Mohler insightfully notes in a recent blog post,

“Hell will be filled with people who were avidly committed to Christian values. Christian values cannot save anyone and never will. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not a Christian value, and a comfortability with Christian values can blind sinners to their need for the gospel.”

Here Mohler makes the important point that what is essential in our message to the unbelieving world is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the unmistakable teaching of Scripture that the practice of Christian values comes as the result of one hearing and heeding the gospel of Christ (see ). This is necessary because the gospel – not Christian values – contains “the power of God for salvation” (). This does not mean that the Christian isn’t concerned regarding societies abandonment of Christian values and nor should they be silent on such matters. As Mohler also says,

“We should not pray for Christian morality to disappear or for Christian values to evaporate. We should not pray to live in Sodom or in Vanity Fair. But a culture marked even by Christian values is in desperate need of evangelism, and that evangelism requires the knowledge that Christian values and the gospel of Jesus Christ are not the same thing.”

The point is, we as God’s people are to make the gospel known because only the gospel’s power can bring true and eternal change to a sinner’s plight. We are to preach the gospel!

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth,

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Consumed by the Glory of Christ

In my preparation for a sermon series in the book of Colossians, in addition to some great commentaries, I have been reading one of Banner’s Puritan Paperbacks titled “The Glory of Christ” by John Owen. This has been an amazing read! In this post, I would like to share with you one of the many treasures in this volume. In (The Glory of Christ in His Person) Owen makes the point that because of who Christ is, fixing our minds on Him is “the best, the most noble and beneficial truth that we can think about or set our hearts on.” That is an important statement, however, does that reflect what our minds are consumed with? Owen goes on to insightfully say:

“The Scripture takes to task the foolishness of men who ‘spend their money for that which is not bread, and their labour for that which does not do us any real good’. They spend their time and money chasing after perishing things, when something solid and everlasting is set before them. What do men think about most of the time? Some spend their time planning how to make provision for their flesh and how to satisfy its lusts (). They spend their thoughts on sinful pleasures, refusing to behold the glory of Christ. Some continually worry about the things of this world, seeking promotion and rewards for all they do. So they are transformed in the image of the world, becoming earthly, unspiritual and stupid. The blindness, the darkness, the foolishness of poor sinners! Do they not realize who it is they despise? Do they not realize who it is they are rejecting and for what?”

It is of utmost importance that we know that nothing is more noble or beneficial than consuming our minds with the glory of Christ. May we make it our practice and duty to think about our Lord. How do we do this? Owen goes on to suggest that we “diligently study the Bible and the revelations of the glory of Christ revealed there.” It is our duty to go to that place where He is revealed and fix our minds on Him!

3:1 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written,

“That you may be justified in your words,
and prevail when you are judged.”

But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world? But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.

What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written:

“None is righteous, no, not one;
11 no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
13 “Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 in their paths are ruin and misery,
17 and the way of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

The Bible’s Authority

A few weeks ago it was my privilege to preach a sermon on the topic of the Bible’s authority. It was noted that throughout the centuries there has been a consistent attack on the Bible’s authority. When it comes to knowing God’s will, seeking guidance, providing teaching on matters concerning salvation and spiritual growth many are asserting that churches ought to look outside of Scripture. This can be seen by those who embrace and promote personal experience, extra-biblical revelation, mysticism, philosophy, seeker sensitive strategies, and even tradition for solutions to their spiritual problems or for answers to spiritual truths.

In this message two outcomes of the Bible’s Authority were observed. Firstly, we noted the Superiority of Scripture. Knowing that throughout the ages many great books have been written and that they have provided encouragement to people and insight into certain facts. What makes the word of God superior? Continue reading The Bible’s Authority

Book Review: “Commentary on Matthew” By C. H. Spurgeon

Commentary on Matthew: The Gospel of the Kingdom
(Banner of Truth).

The name Charles Haddon Spurgeon is familiar to many. Whether one has benefited from his Morning and Evening readings, his written sermons, his Treasury of David or perhaps simply heard some memorable quote, most would agree that he certainly has and continues to be positively influential. Spurgeon was born in 1834, converted at the age of 16 and commenced his pastoral ministry in 1851. Nicknamed the prince of preachers, Spurgeon was a faithful herald of the gospel of Jesus Christ. A warrior for the truth and a fisherman for souls, he was a man who was used for the glory of God. After many struggles against those who propagated error and with personal issues of health, Spurgeon died and went to be with the Lord on 31 January 1892.

This is a newly typeset edition of Spurgeon’s commentary on the Gospel according to Matthew. This volume is a precious jewel among the Continue reading Book Review: “Commentary on Matthew” By C. H. Spurgeon

The gospel in 1 Timothy 1:15

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With this post we welcome our new pastor, Andrew Courtis, to the Hills Bible Church Blog.

is right up there with as a great mini gospel text. It summarizes the grand truths of the gospel in a short memorable statement. Consider these simple (yet profound) words: “the saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Of course much can be said concerning this whole text, but in this post I would like to consider four fascinating words concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, He: “came into the world.” After establishing great insight into the person of the Saviour in this verse, Paul proceeds to focus on His Work. These words speak of the greatest mission to ever be accomplished in the history of the universe. Let us consider what took place as the eternal Son of God, the second member of the Holy Trinity “came into the world.

The word ‘incarnation‘ refers to that event in which the Lord Jesus Christ took upon Himself a human nature. Jesus Christ who existed in all eternity (), “became flesh and dwelt among us” (). This event happened at the right moment of God’s prophetic timetable (). The means in which He came into the world was through the virgin conception ().

In this act, Christ Jesus (who is God), became man – and yet remained God. He had set aside the complete independent use of His Divine attributes in a way that He remained God, but it was veiled in His humanity (). Why was this done? Christ took on human flesh, so that He might take upon Himself human sin. In the words of Thomas Watson, “He took our flesh that he might take our sins, and so appease God’s wrath.” It was necessary that the Lord Jesus Christ had Continue reading The gospel in 1 Timothy 1:15

15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,

14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.