Who is Your Victor?

March 15, 2018 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

While Hebrews 2 is not a personal account of failings and struggles with sin and temptation like Romans 7, it affirms their reality. Shame (v. 11). Tyranny of the devil (v. 14). Fear of death (v. 15). Lifelong slavery (v. 15). Sin and temptation (v. 17-18). These are the deeply rooted issues of the heart that have plagued humankind since Adam and Eve. Envy, despair, guilt, hatred, gluttony, murderous thoughts, lust, all result from our lifelong slavery to sin, death, and the devil. The list can go on and on. Paul spoke about stumbling into unwanted sin (Rom. 7:19). Peter denied Jesus (Lk. 22:57). David lusted after a woman married to another man (2 Sam. 11:2). Moses angrily struck the rock (Num. 20:10-12). Abram lied about his wife to save his own neck (Gen. 12:13). Cain killed his own brother (Gen. 4:8).... Keep Reading

The Dignity of Man in the Suffering of Christ

March 8, 2018 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

While he was pondering the vastness of God’s creation, the Old Testament poet, David, exclaimed, “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (Ps. 8:4). David is not complaining. He is marveling at how God esteems humans. “A little lower than the heavenly beings… crowned him with glory and honor… dominion over the works of your hands… all things under his feet” (v. 5-6). Psalm 8 is a celebration of the dignity of humankind, having been created in the image of God.... Keep Reading

Preaching is Less About Me

March 1, 2018 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

On Tuesday I had the opportunity to attend the 9Marks Conference on Preaching, hosted at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. It was a refreshing time to be encouraged in the high calling of preaching by the likes of Mark Dever, Jason Allen, and David Helm. One sentence has stuck with me this week, more than the many other great statements. David Helm, a pastor with Holy Trinity Church in Chicago, said, “Expositors are known more for their convictions than their abilities.” This statement is striking because we live in a culture that celebrates, even idolizes, gifts, abilities, skills, human accomplishments, and achievements. But the more I have pondered Helm’s statement, the more I realize how important this sentence is not only for preachers, but also for congregations. It’s not merely a statement of fact, but a vision for preaching. Here’s what I mean… ... Keep Reading

Looking for a Good Word?

February 22, 2018 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

My three older sons are competing at a speech and debate tournament this week. We have spent many hours working on each of their ten-minute speeches, evaluating the best words and best presentation to use to communicate their message. Good speeches do more than communicate information; they make an impact. Words have power. Ever since God used words to speak all of creation into existence, speech has been a powerful tool. Words create, define, interpret, and explain everything around us. The Gospel is a message, words about specific events and facts in history, that deeply transforms lives when received. God makes us new creations through hearing words about Christ’s death and resurrection.... Keep Reading

Gospel-Empowered Observance Of Lent

February 15, 2018 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Millions of Christians the world over plunged into the season of Lent this week. Beginning with the imposition of ashes as a reminder of our mortality and frailty up to the celebration of Christ’s resurrection on Easter morning, Lent is a season of penitence, fasting, and humble reflection. As with any spiritual discipline, there is a gospel-empowered way to observe Lent and an anti-gospel way to observe the season. At its core, Lent is a time for fasting. As a physical discipline of self-denial, fasting trains our hearts to long for and treasure Christ above all things. It also leads us to deeper repentance of sin, as we reflect on the affliction caused by the self-denial. Jesus speaks about the right and wrong way to fast in Matthew 6:... Keep Reading

What's the Big Deal with Angels?

February 8, 2018 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

The writer to the Hebrews opens his letter with an unusual statement: Jesus is “much superior to angels” (1:4). I say this is unusual because we do not think of angels much (at least I don’t) and don’t feel the weight of this comparison. Why was it so important for the writer to emphasize the superiority of Christ over angels? How does this impact us? There are several places in the New Testament that we receive a glimpse into the esteem 1st century Jews had for angels. Stephen speaks about angels in his sermon before the Jewish leaders in Acts 7. He says, “This is the one (Moses) who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai…” (v. 38). An angel was speaking with Moses at Sinai.... Keep Reading

Blessed by the Mystery of the Trinity

February 1, 2018 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

As I begin a new series of sermons on the New Testament letter to the Hebrews, we run right smack into the doctrine of the Trinity. The writer opens with this statement: “He [the Son, Jesus] is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (1:3). What a magnificent statement about Christ and his identity as divine! This led me to go back to my seminary days and reread Jonathan Edwards’ “Unpublished Essay on the Trinity.” I can honestly say that I don’t think I have read anything else on the subject of the Trinity that is as helpful as Edwards’ treatment, while at the same time leaves me scratching my head. Edwards affirms this odd experience as we wrestle with the significance of the Trinity. He writes:... Keep Reading

Fear of the Lord as Spiritual Maturity

January 25, 2018 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

With the start of the new year, perhaps you have taken stock of your spiritual well-being. Am I growing? What does growth look like? Am I ensnared by any particular sin? Who helps me fight the good fight? What is my goal; for what am I aiming? What does spiritual maturity look like? These are healthy questions we all need to ask of ourselves on occasion. This line of questioning is a part of what Paul implies when he says, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves” (2 Cor. 13:5).... Keep Reading

Longing to Make Known Because We Delight in Christ

January 18, 2018 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

In Hebrews 4:16 we are commanded to “draw near to the throne of grace” with confidence. It’s a beautiful application after the writer has exalted the greatness of Christ as our high priest. Jesus has destroyed “the one who has the power of death” (2:14), delivered us who were “subject to lifelong slavery” (2:15), made “propitiation for the sins of the people” (2:17), and is “able to help those who are tempted” (2:18).... Keep Reading

Longing to Know God’s Grace by Knowing Christ

January 11, 2018 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Every new year and season change affords us an opportunity to reevaluate how things are going. It is healthy and important for marriages, families, individuals, organizations, and even churches to take stock of current conditions, revisit core values, and consider readjustments as needed. This is the philosophical background to new year’s resolutions. With the elders, I have been thinking through these items for the sake of our church. God has been kind and faithful to our church, but we have room to grow as a church body. I pray that as we refocus on our mission of longing to know and make known the astonishing grace of God and lean into our core value of celebrating a robust, dynamic, Reformed understanding of God’s grace, we would be reenergized for what God will do in and through us.... Keep Reading

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