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Daniel: The Blessed Man

August 11, 2022 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Daniel 7 is one of the most deep, complex, and exhilarating chapters in the Bible. After seeing the vision and hearing its interpretation, even Daniel admits that “my thoughts greatly alarmed me, and my color changed” (v. 28). At the center of the vision of beastly kingdoms and malicious rulers, Daniel gets a glimpse into the throne room of heaven. This glance on God’s sovereignty is worth more meditation. Read slowly verse 9 & 10: As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire. A stream of fire issued and came out from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened. ... Keep Reading

All Scripture is Profitable, even Daniel 7-12

August 4, 2022 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

This Sunday at Oak Hills we will be entering the second half of our sermon series on Daniel. Preachers and Bible studies often focus on the first six chapters, but skip over the second six chapters of Daniel. The first half contains all the well-known stories: Daniel’s diet, Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and humility, the fiery furnace, the lion’s den, and the writing on the wall. The second half, well, gets a bit strange: other-worldly beasts trampling the earth, angelic beings wrestling with demonic beings, and cryptic prophecies with various number formulations. Unfortunately, some avoid such portions of Scripture as if they are not profitable. The apostle Paul, however, says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). So, how should we hear the second half of Daniel as profitable? Part of the challenge is understanding the genre of Daniel 6-12. Bible scholars call this portion of Scripture (along with the book of Revelation and portions of Ezekiel and Zechariah) apocalyptic literature. If you do a Google search for the word Apocalypse, you’ll see images of destroyed cities, links to dooms-day movies, and references to Revelation. The word simply comes from the Greek word for revelation, it literally meaning a revealing. But there is more to the word when it is used to describe a genre in the Bible. ... Keep Reading

The Bible promises that God “gives grace to the humble” (Jms. 4:6). Last week we began to dig into what that grace looks like. I call it the blessings of humility. We saw that humility leads to justification by faith, fruitfulness in Christ, contentment, hunger for Christ, peace, and joy. Not to sound too much like a product sales pitch... Keep Reading

I started this series by giving several reasons why it is valuable to focus on humility. One of those reasons is that humility is the well-spring of all blessing and virtue. We see this in the oft-quoted proverb, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (Jms. 4:6). I would like to draw out and unpack those blessings that f... Keep Reading

Last week Pastor John, Bill Burns, Bret Willoughby, and I attended our denomination’s 49th General Assembly in Birmingham, AL. This is an annual meeting of representatives from the churches of the PCA to deliberate over matters that concern our denomination as a whole. Our denominational magazine, byFaith, provides a full report of the actions of GA on their website. You are welcome to read that (and ask questions), but I wanted to share some of the highlights here. GA received the report from the ad interim study committee on Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault. This committee was formed by the 47th General Assembly in 2019 to “provide resources to God's people to help and encourage them respond well in cases of abuse in the church.” Their report is excellent and thorough and will be a valuable resource for the leaders of our church. You can check out the committee’s website for more information and to read the full report yourself. GA voted to withdraw the PCA from the National Association of Evangelicals. Concerns have grown over the increased political advocacy of the NAE, and many believe there is little value in remaining in such an association. As I read on Sunday, GA voted to send this statement about abortion to federal and state government officials:... Keep Reading

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Sometimes it helps to understand a concept by studying its opposite. This is true when learning about humility. The opposite of humility, of course, is pride. C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity, “According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fle... Keep Reading

As one of the great Puritan writers, Thomas Brooks wrote The Unsearchable Riches of Christ in 1655. As the title implies, in this treatise, Brooks digs into the goodness and richness of Christ. Interestingly, however, his first section focuses on humility. He builds the case for a theological how-to for becoming humble by cataloguing the many benefits of being humble. We will come back to that list of eighteen characteristics of a humble soul in a later Touchpoint. Today I want to share Brooks’ nine “how-tos” for becoming humble. You’ll see some overlap with my relational how-to and theological how-to from the past two weeks, but like a good Puritan, Brooks leaves no stone uncovered. I will briefly comment on each. ... Keep Reading

Last week I began to answer the question, “How does one grow in or develop humility?” I brought us to Jesus’ call to become like children in Matthew 18:3-4 as an answer to that question. As I have thought more about that call, I think we can call that the “Relational How-To.” We grow in humility when we see ourselves in relationship with God as children with a loving, gracious, and holy Father. Like children, we are utterly dependent on God for everything. When we live each day with that relational perspective, we grow in humility. Today I want to answer the question with a “Theological How-To.” Our knowledge of God and his ways directly shapes and develops our humility. A.W. Tozer opened his book, The Knowledge of the Holy, by stating, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” He builds the case that what we think about God shapes and impacts every area of our lives. John Calvin opens his Institutes of the Christian Religion by stating, “True and sound wisdom consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves” (Book 1. Chapter I. Paragraph 1). He wrestles with what comes first, knowledge of God or knowledge of self. He ultimately concludes that knowledge of God must precede proper knowledge of self. Therefore, we grow in humility when we deepen our understanding of God and his ways. Let me touch on some highlights of this theological how-to. ... Keep Reading

We have spent several weeks considering the definition, examples and importance of humility. Humility is living in light of God’s assessment of our nature, position, abilities, and calling. Jesus and Paul are great, biblical examples of humility. Satan is the perfect anti-example. Humility is essential for our relationship with God and with others. Let’s talk about the how-to. How does one grow in or develop humility? Admittedly, there is no clear statement in the Bible about how to grow in humility. But I think Jesus gives us the closest description in Matthew 18:3-4. Starting in verse 1, we read: 1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus puts forward a child as a model of humility. There are parallel statements in verses 3 and 4 that emphasize the parallel between humility and childlikeness. In verse 3 Jesus says. “unless you turn and become like children;” and in verse 4 he says, “whoever humbles himself like this child.” We grow in humility when we “turn and become like children.” What is it about becoming like a child that fosters humility? ... Keep Reading

Two weeks ago, I brought our attention to 1 Peter 5:5-7. In this passage Peter gives two commands related to humility. The first is others focused. The second is God focused. Hear Peter’s exhortation: “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” Last time we considered the second command and concluded that without humility, we will never have a relationship with God. Let’s consider the first command, “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another.” Notice, once again, the command is grounded in the Proverb, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” That’s what the key word “for” indicates for us. We must clothe ourselves with humility toward others because God will oppose us if we don’t. What does this mean? Our relationships with one another will not work according to God’s design without humility toward one another. If we do not live according to God’s design, we find ourselves in rebellion to our Creator and at threat of the decay of sin. This applies not only to personal ethics (e.g., alcohol and substance abuse, sexual impurity, work/rest balance, etc.), but also to relational ethics. If we do not engage in relationships with one another according to God’s design, we will not find the blessings of joy and companionship God intends for us through those relationships.... Keep Reading

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