September 25th, 2016 at the First Presbyterian Church of Tucker 1 Thessalonians 5:24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.English Standard Version There are no greater promises in the Bible regarding our salvation than a verse like this. That He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. I…Read More
August 21st, 2016 at the First Presbyterian Church of Tucker 1 Thessalonians 5:19 Do not despise prophecies. The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society. Everybody on this planet hears the voice of God speaking to them about His glory. Psalm 19:1-4 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky…Read More
Reverend Anthony R. Locke June 27th, 2010 at the First Presbyterian Church of Tucker Luke 1:1-4 Apostle’s Creed Series 10 English Standard Version 1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of…Read More
Reverend Anthony R. Locke May 30th, 2010 (Trinity Sunday) at the First Presbyterian Church of Tucker 2 Corinthians 13:14 English Standard Version The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. The Trinity is one of those distinctively Christian doctrines that…Read More
Reverend Anthony R. Locke March 20th, 2011 www.FirstPresTucker.org at the First Presbyterian Church of Tucker Are English Bible’s the Word of God? Psalm 119:89-96 Do I hold in my hand the Word of God? English Standard Version 89 Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. 90 Your faithfulness endures to all…Read More
What is the Lake of Fire? The Sea of Fire is a place so big, that there are no shores. No islands of refuge. No stable footing and no reachable surface. There is sulfur. Gunpowder is made with sulfur to increase the heat and explosive nature of the compound. Sulfuric acid has lots of sulfur. Sulfur boils at 850 degrees.
So God is asking for us to imagine a sea of boiling sulfur into which the Devil is cast and sinks. That’s not a comforting thought, unless you hate the Devil.
And this experience of the Devil is permanent. There’s no end to his torment. He is lost under the billowing waves of God’s wrath. He will forever feel like he is burning up. He will forever feel like he is drowning. He will be forever lost to God’s love.Read More
A hundred years ago a comet made of frozen gas entered our atmosphere and made impact in Russia, in a swampy forest in western Siberia. When an ice comet travels through Earth’s atmosphere, the friction melts and atomizes the frozen gas into a trail of flammable vapor that spreads from the Earth’s crust all the way back to the highest parts of our stratosphere. When the explosion happens on the surface of the earth, the fire ball has the potential to reach thousands of miles high with the explosive power of a thousand atomic bombs.
The shock wave from that explosion flattened 80 million trees over 800 square miles. The center of the impact left all the trees standing straight up with no branches.
The fireball stretched back into the outer atmosphere, as high as there is burnable oxygen to ignite the trial of gas left in the wake of the comet’s path. This produced so much light that a day later Londoners could read their newspapers under the night sky.
The comet struck at 7:17 am on June 30, 1908. Just over a hundred years ago.
But the energy from that event pales in significance to another explosion that happened 500 years ago in London, an explosion of light that set the world ablaze, and still shines today. That light is the glory of the Son of God shining forth from the pages of Holy Writ. That light wasn’t shining very well for a thousand years before Tyndale.Read More
When the early church pieced together the Apostle’s Creed, they were using the baptismal formulas previously in use by the actual Apostles. We don’t know which Apostle coined each phrase of the Apostle’s Creed, but one of the twelve was baptizing converts in the name of Jesus Christ who suffered under Pontius Pilate.
Which begs the question, “why are we confessing anything about a secular Roman governor?” This morning I am going to explain why Pilate’s name is in the creed, and I am going to suggest that it is necessary for a sound faith.
During this time period in Rome there were mystical religions that taught a variety of strange ideas. These false religions didn’t claim their teachings were real in a historic or scientific sense, but their teachings were spiritually real.
Lots of Christians understand their own faith within this context. My sermon will try to convince you otherwise.
Let me illustrate this with a true experience of mine. I visited a seminary in the late 1990’s where I considered enrolling. Before I enrolled I wanted to discern what kind of an education I would receive so I asked a professor this question. “Do you think the virgin birth really happened historically or is it just spiritually real?” The teacher knew what I was asking. I wasn’t being a smart-aleck. I was trying to size up the orthodoxy of the school.Read More
Jesus makes two ascents. Take a moment to think this through. There are two events when Jesus ascends into Heaven.
This answers the question, “Where was Jesus during the three days His body was in the grave?”
The second ascent is recorded in the Bible in Acts 1:3-11. This is called the Ascension.
The difference is that in the first ascending of Jesus in Heaven He does so as a Man. He joins with the saints for three days without a resurrected body. He then goes back and forth to heaven for 40 days with a resurrected body.
The Ascension is different entirely. In the Ascension God answers Jesus prayer in John 20:5 “And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.”
This is why Mary couldn’t cling to Jesus and keep Him for herself. He wasn’t yet fully ascended.Read More
God can’t keep Himself from knowing the future and determining it’s outcome. It’s an unstoppable consequence of His sovereign power and omniscience.
Without God we won’t come to faith. God makes the difference. We should thank Him, not criticize His choices.
Christians need to stop grumbling about election.Read More
To not embrace the doctrine of inerrancy is to pervert the Gospel and put your soul in danger.
We do not prove the Bible to be God’s word by labeling it inerrant as a matter of reason or logic. The Bible claims this for itself.
We should close the debates and refocus our collective energies.Read More
From WTSBooks.com The ARP Denomination has selected the English Standard Version (ESV) as the translation of choice for Synod Christian Education materials. The First Presbyterian Church of Tucker has also embraced this Bible version. Below is a page from http://www.wtsbooks.com/content/about_esv which explains the benefits of this English version. Blessings to you as God transforms your life with His…Read More
The ARP Denomination has selected the English Standard Version (ESV) as the translation of choice for Synod materials. The First Presbyterian Church of Tucker has also embraced this Bible version. Below is a page from http://www.wtsbooks.com/content/about_esv which explains the benefits of this English version. Blessings to you as God transforms your life with His sacred Word. The English Standard…Read More
Election should steal from you the idea that you saved yourself with an act of faith. You don’t get the glory for being saved. God gets the glory. Your faith isn’t salvific – a good work.
Election doesn’t diminish the “Whosoever will may come!” part of the Bible. Our part is believing. We still have to confess faith in Jesus or we are not obeying the command to believe.
Election doesn’t paint God as mean by sending people to Hell. Matthew 23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!
Election doesn’t diminish the power of grace. God family isn’t a exclusive club of saved people. Election creates a large inclusive family like the sands in the sea and stars in the night sky.
Why does election save more people than sin damns? Because grace is greater than sin. Sin bruises the heel, grace crushes the head. Sin brings people to hell on a wide path, like a group event, or like a city wide revolt away from God into Hell.
Going to heaven is a narrow path for the few who find it. This means that faith is a one on one encounter with Jesus. Going to Hell is a group event. This does not mean that more people are in Hell than in Heaven. I believe grace will get the upper hand numerically too. God’s magnanimous love is proven by election. There will be more people in Heaven than Hell. It is God’s doing.
Let me wrap this up. Don’t begrudge the role God plays in your salvation. Trust God to be good in the use of that mighty power. Absolute power corrupts absolutely . . . for humans, but not God.Read More
There is an amazing Bible topic called Predestination. It answers some pretty important questions about God and our salvation. Specifically, predestination is suppose to make us feel certain things in our heart and in our faith about God and about our salvation.
I know most people think of predestination as a painful journey in Calvinistic theology, but, God doesn’t handle it that way in the Bible. God doesn’t think this doctrine is hard. To God this doctrine is meant to be a huge blessing. We aren’t suppose to think it first; we are to feel it.
So what are we suppose to feel?
First, we are to feel wrapped up in the everlasting arms of our heavenly Father who is in complete control of everything. Romans 8:28 reminds us that the roller-coaster ride we call life never catches God by surprise. Even sad events are used by God to build our character, return us to prayer and test our submission to the will of God. Predestination means that we can be at peace with our tomorrow because God controls our yesterday, today and tomorrow. Can you feel that? It’s the steady hands of the Lord leading you forward.Read More
Infant Baptism is a very interesting subject for maturing believers seeking to know more about God’s Covenant relationship with His people. To help those looking for quality material I have pasted in two articles with which I agree and I believe agree with the ARP Standards as well as the Westminster Confessions of Faith. The articles…Read More
Matthew 16:13-28 Apostle’s Creed Series 13 English Standard Version 13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”…Read More
Everyone has an inner desire to draw near to God, but not everyone is drawn by faith. The people in our passage were drawing near to Jesus to get food for their stomachs. Like Simon the magician in Acts 8, they wanted to be a part of the spectacle. John 6:26 Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.
Why do we draw near to God? Is it because we think church attendance will magically make our life better? Many people who used to go to church can tell you that isn’t true.
Do we seek God so He will bless our business, our family, our marriage, and our life? Are we seeking the blessing or are we seeking to draw near to Jesus?
Going to church to seek a better life for yourself will leave you empty and cynical. I know this from personal experience while in college. John 6:27 Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.
Jesus is stamped with the Father’s own divine seal of approval. “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Believing and living for Jesus constitutes doing the work of God.
This is a broad definition and very liberating. Everyone can do God’s work wherever they find themselves. We seek Jesus first, and then in faith we do our labors in this world as unto the Lord and not unto men. Our own talents and interests lead us into our hobbies and employment, but our faith in Jesus enables us to do these things for God’s glory and not our own.
My dad used to tell his three sons, “find what you love and learn to make a living at it.”
Jesus would say, “find what you love and by faith glorify and enjoy God with it.”Read More
Jesus cried out “My God, My God, Why hast thou forsaken me?” And in those three hours of total darkness on the cross Jesus went through what we would have suffered if we had gone to Hell.
He is the only person to ever go through Hell on earth. We must believe this or we miss the message of the Gospel. If Jesus didn’t go through Hell for us then our Hell remains unpaid.
The Gospel says that there is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus – for Jesus took it all. There is no wrath remaining – for Jesus drank it all.
The Apostle’s Creed includes this theological statement to explain what really happened just before Jesus dismissed His spirit. If it speaks to nothing more than His death and burial then it is redundant. This is the position of John Calvin and the church since the Reformation.
Confessing that Jesus descended into Hell tells us what really happened in the darkness. It is the real story told from God’s perspective. We will never be allowed to peer into this mystery of our salvation because Hell is not for us if we are in Christ.
In Jesus the darkness has lifted. The curse is gone. Death’s stinger broke off inside the flesh of Jesus. The grave holds no victory dance over the dead body of a saint. Hell is not for us.
For on the cross Jesus descended into Hell. Praise His name forever.Read More