the grace of community

Some things are better shared than enjoyed alone. My two oldest sons are bookworms. When one reads and loves a book, he immediately wants to share it with the other. He is convinced that his enjoyment of that book will be greater if he can share it with his brother. Perhaps you have felt the same way about a book. Or a movie. Or a joke. Or a restaurant.

We usually want to share with others the things that bring us real joy in life. We want to help others know and experience the things we delight in. Our joy in them actually increases when we share that joy with other people. (more…)

remorse or repentance?

Every once in a while, one of my children will misbehave. (Shocker.) Often when this happens, I will catch them. Frankly, my kids aren’t very bright about their misbehavior, having not yet learned the art of concealing their rebellion. (“No, dad, I didn’t eat the cake that was on the counter,” said my chocolate-mouthed progeny.) (more…)

why exposition?

Last Sunday at Capitol City, we began a series walking through the book of Titus. This follows a series over the summer in which we walked through the Psalms of Ascent. Beginning in January, we’ll spend almost 30 weeks in the book of 1 Samuel. Hopefully this is obvious: As a church, one of our primary commitments in preaching is to biblical exposition. That means that the normal pattern of our preaching and teaching involves walking methodically through whole books of the Bible, as opposed to preaching and teaching on selected topics or from selected texts.1

Why is biblical exposition important? Why have we made a commitment to it as a church? Here are four reasons why. (more…)

why titus?

The world offers us competing visions of “the good life.” Advertisers everywhere really want us to believe that if we buy their products then we’ll be enjoying the life we’ve always wanted. Snickers satisfies, or something like that. What’s more, we all drift through life with a vague notion of the “ideal me.” We think that there’s a future version of ourselves that will make us happy. So we pursue this ideal me – the physically fit me, or the well read me, or the materially wealthy me – with the belief that once we get there, then we’ll be happy. (more…)

a prayer for gospel clarity and gospel unity

Father God:

Few things are worth fighting for in life. In particular, few things are worth discord and ruffled feathers among your people. The clarity of the gospel, of course, is worth fighting for. Since it was worth the death of your Son to you, the gospel should be a precious treasure to us. When that treasure is contaminated or spoiled or corrupted in any way, we should fight to restore it to its brilliance and beauty. (more…)

“faith alone” is never alone

On Sunday morning at Capitol City, we unpacked the glorious doctrine of justification by faith alone. Many churches like ours will celebrate this truth explicitly at some point this year as we recognize the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 theses.

Justification by faith is the absolute heart of the gospel. No work of ours can ever make us right in God’s eyes. Only the perfect, finished work of Christ can. Nor can we add to Christ’s work. The gospel is not good news that says, “Now you must get to work.” It is good news that declares, “It is finished” (John 19:30). We can only accept Christ’s work for us – that’s where faith comes in. It is absolutely essential that we uphold and cherish the wonderful truth of justification by faith alone. (more…)

more than “just as if I never sinned”

On Sunday morning at Capitol City, we unpacked the wonderful doctrine of justification by faith alone. Justification by faith is the very heart of the Christian gospel – yet it is often widely misunderstood.

Much of that misunderstanding owes to an old play on words, often repeated, that suggests that justification means that God treats me “just as if I never sinned.” While justification does amount to our complete legal pardon before the judgment of God, while it does mean that God treats us (legally) as if we never sinned, that is only half of justification. (more…)