Founder of Christianity Today, Billy Graham, with Carl F.H. Henry (1913-2003), editor,
who is holding the first issue.

A Passion to Right the World

In a recent Sunday School class, I used the word “equity” and was asked about its meaning. The larger question being discussed was the position or practice of our church on justice issues in society. How much our own ministry should be or will be influenced by concerns about what is happening in our society? To begin, the biblical idea of equity comes from a Hebrew term that basically means “level” like a geographical plain. The idea of equity in society should mean that people are treated “on the level” or fairly. If we pay attention to our society or the people we encounter in life generally, we will become aware of situations where there is inequity

One of the books I read while away on my sabbatical was an older publication of Carl Henry’s, The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism. Carl Henry was an American evangelical and Christian theologian who gave leadership to evangelicals in the mid-to-late 20th century. He is perhaps best known for his leadership along with Billy Graham in the founding of Christianity Today. He wrote this book to argue for the active involvement of evangelicals or “fundamentalists” in the social issues of American culture. He was troubled that evangelicals had distanced themselves from societal concerns and that “the apostolic Gospel stands divorced from a passion to right the world (p.45).” Sound relevant? I will be sharing some other notable excerpts next week. Keep in mind that Henry wrote this book in 1947! Given the divisions in our nation and which are reflected among Christians and in our own church, what Henry worried about then, is worth our concern now.

 

Sermon Videos

April 11, 2021

2021年4月11日

English Sermon
英語主日崇拜

“The Right Man at the Right Hand, part 2”
Psalm 110:3,5,6
Rev. Dr. Jack Davidson
戴惟信牧師

Cantonese Sermon
粵語主日崇拜

『不朽的盼望』
徒1:1-11
陳立平長老
Elder Ben Tran
“Long for the Imperishable”
Acts 1:1-11

Mandarin Sermon
国語主日崇拜

《 赐我自由》
约翰福音8:31-36
郑宇长老
Elder Zheng Yu
“Set Me Free”
John 8:31-36

 

Jesus as Warrior King (King Aragon)

View of the World


It was great to be back and see so many of you on Easter Sunday! I appreciated some comments that I received through email and other interactions on the phone or in person about the sermon on Easter Sunday. After thinking about it a little more, I am going to go on in Psalm 110 this Sunday. On the traditional church calendar, Easter Sunday is the “First Sunday of Easter” and the following Sunday is the “Second Sunday of Easter” and so on. The series explanation for Easter Sunday and this coming Sunday is reposted below.

I am persuaded that the truths touched on in Psalm 110 provide the basic and best biblical structure for shaping a Christian perspective and outlook about so much that is happening in our world today. Most recently attention has shifted to concern over the treatment of Asians and Asian Americans in our society. Please, when you have a minute check our link to Karalee Nakatsuka’s letter that she has given us permission to circulate. Also, if you have written anything or come across an article that you have found particularly helpful for evaluating or understanding these times in which we live, pass it along to me. I’d like to consider it.

Click to Read Karalee’s Letter

The Right Man at the Right Hand — Psalm 110: View of the World 

Three-Part Series on Psalm 110

Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021
Psalm 110:1-2

Second Sunday of Easter,
April 11, 2021
Psalm 110:3,5,6

Third Sunday of Easter,
April 18, 2021
Psalm 110:4,7

By Colin Smith, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28360765

 

Arguably, the most frequently quoted psalm in the New Testament, Psalm 110 sets forth the authority and power of Jesus Christ over, and in, this present fallen world.  King David, the author of the psalm, prophetically listens in and records God direct message to His anointed King.  David’s reference to Him as “my Lord” is his act of worship, recalling Joshua’s worship and his humble question to the mysterious man he encounters outside Jericho: “What message does my Lord have for his servant?” In Psalm 110, Yahweh and His King are in Divine alignment with one purpose: to completely subdue and rule our world. Their unity of purpose is such that whether the setting is the throne (verse 1), or the battlefield (verse 5),  they are at each other’s “right hand” to this end. Jesus began His conquest by breaking the power of sin’s punishment on the cross and now in the fullness of His resurrection, and through the work of the Holy Spirit, He is breaking the power of sin’s presence. The battle against sin is not over, not in us, and not in our world, but we can take heart. If we believe in Him, the right Man is on our side, as Martin Luther taught us to sing. No other psalm displays the divine Person of Christ, His passion, His power, and the prospect before Him.

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Dear Friends,

…today I would like to share some of
my thoughts, not out of anger, but out of care for our community, to provide an opportunity for increased
awareness and understanding, in the hopes that we can continue to work to become a hospitable community for
all.

Easter Sermon Videos

April 4, 2021

2021年4月4日

English Sermon
英語主日崇拜

“The Right Man at the Right Hand”
Psalm 110
Rev. Dr. Jack Davidson
戴惟信牧師

Cantonese Sermon
粵語主日崇拜

『主恩豐富』
約21:1-14
慎牧師
Pastor Mark Shen
“The Richness of the Lord”
John 21:1-14

Mandarin Sermon
国語主日崇拜

《 你认识耶稣的复活吗? 》
太28:1-10
赵保罗牧师
Pastor Paul Zhao
“Do You Know the Resurrection of Jesus?”
Matt 28:1-10


Children’s Ministry
兒童事工

 

Sermon Videos

March 28, 2021

2021年3月28日

English Sermon
英語主日崇拜

“The Triumphal Entry”
Matthew 21:1-11
Guest Preacher:
Pastor Ben Yu
余健琛牧師

Cantonese Sermon
粵語主日崇拜

『受苦的主』
以賽亞書53:1-12
黎彼得牧師
Rev. Dr. Peter Lai
“The Suffering Lord”
Isaiah 53:1-12

Mandarin Sermon
国語主日崇拜

《方舟与盐柱》
路加福音17:26-32
任晓静牧师
Pastor Mary Ren
“The Ark and the Salt Pillar”
Luke 17:26-32


Children’s Ministry
兒童事工

 

Theologian Abraham Kuyper, 1837-1920
Theologian Abraham Kuyper, 1837-1920

Spiritual Power for the Crushing Contradictions

 

The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made.
Psalm 145:9

 

In his introductory comments on this passage, Abraham Kuyper, the 19th century theologian (who also served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands 1901-1905) writes, “Our heart is continually inclined to rebel against the Lord our God … that oh so gladly – were it even for a single day – we would take from His hands the reins of His supreme rule, imagining that we would manage things far better and direct them far more effectively than God.”

 

Nearing the end of my sabbatical in St. Louis and my return to Los Angeles, I’m grateful to my good friend and colleague, Pastor Ron Lutjens, for bringing Kuyper’s message on Psalm 145 to my attention. I was preparing to write again on Psalm 51 but then so much happened. I felt the force of Kuyper’s observation. The senseless and horrific murders in Atlanta have stirred a timely and much needed correction in our tolerance for the denigration and mistreatment of Asians and Asian Americans. But was there no other way for this national examination to begin? Here, in St. Louis, Michelle and I attended a vigil for the slain. Then there was yet another mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado.

 

Closer to home, all our hearts are traumatized by the death of our sister in Christ, Colleen Wong. She was a true servant of the Lord, a wise counselor, and a true friend of our fellowship. If we could, who among us would not be tempted to take last Friday out of God’s hands?! We must acknowledge that we have no way to understand these dreadful events nor skill to interpret their meaning. Only then can our faith in Jesus Christ truly be faith in Him. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Faith in Jesus is the most vital when we really cannot possibly understand or explain this life and so must completely rely on Him. After listing all of the kinds of injustices and wrongs and troubles that confront us in this world, Kuyper writes,

 

Never say, therefore, that the way God does things justifies itself to you, as being all-wise and all-good. This can only be said by someone who does not think deeply, who pays no attention to what goes on around him, and who is so used to the contradictions of life, that they no longer affect him. But if you have still remained young and fresh of heart, and love inspires you, and what you see happening around you grips you, leaves you no rest and compels you to think, then never say that the common course of life teaches you God’s wisdom and God’s love.

It is rather as though a thwarting power goes through all of life, and as though intentionally God does otherwise than we honestly think it ought to have happened; that in the face of what we see, it is by faith alone, that we should hold ourselves to God, and in spite of every experience of life, should confess that God is good to all.

As to why [God works this way] we literally know nothing. But this much is certain, that he who pays attention to things at large and observes what goes on around him, can only and alone hold on to the wisdom and goodness of God by faith. The psalmist puts it this way: “The Lord is good to all and His tender mercies are over all His works.” But no, we do not see this, and life does not show us this. It can only be witnessed to by the Holy Spirit in your innermost self.

But if alone, you come to the one true viewpoint [of the psalmist] and you have a testimony concerning your God which neither want nor death can tear out of your heart, then your faith in God’s goodness is a conquest, which you have won with spiritual power upon the crushing contradiction of reality around you. Then the song that God is wise and good is no longer a child’s exercise to you, which you have sung imitating others, but it becomes to you a psalm of life, welling up from the inward address of your soul. And then if it goes through fire, and though the waters of the most bitter reality threaten to engulf you, yet you triumph, and in the face of trouble and anguish of soul, of want and suffering, of death and grave, yet you sing of the goodness of God.

And then you do not try to explain this difficulty, in which you cannot succeed anyway; and then you do not reason about it, as though to hang your confession of God’s goodness on the cobweb of your reasoning. No; instead you have the high courage to look in the eye cold-bloodedly the bitterness of your suffering, and to drink the cup of your suffering to the dregs. And then you do not hide it, that you do not understand God, that of His love you see the contrary, of His wisdom rather the reverse. But yet you hold yourself immovably fast to what your faith testifies, and with the psalmist you continue to exult: “The Lord is good to all” and good also to me.

Excerpted and adapted from In the Shadow of Death (Chapter 19, “The Lord is Good to All: Resting in God’s Appointment,” by Abraham Kuyper [Dutch ed., 1893; English ed., 1929])

 

I did not know Colleen as well as some of you, but I was a committed “fan” and frequently sought her counsel on matters of our church fellowship. We had made some plans just recently, and I had complete confidence in her gifts and wisdom to help me carry them out. I was depending on her. There is no one I can think of now who can replace her. I will have to go to Jesus! She would tell us plainly in her matter of fact voice that the spiritual power we need to face the end of her life and ministry on earth is in Him. I think Kuyper’s words would make sense to her. Faith in the goodness of God is a conquest we win only in Him, and a song we can, and must, sing now through tears springing from truth so that the ancient wisdom of Proverbs 3:5 for all of us and for all of life rings loud again: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

 

Sermon Videos

March 21, 2021

2021年3月21日

English Sermon
英語主日崇拜

“Union with Christ”
Colossians 1:25-27
Guest Preacher:
Pastor Doug Brandt

Cantonese Sermon
粵語主日崇拜

『披戴得勝戰袍(2)』
以弗所書 6:14-20
慎勇牧師
Pastor Mark Shen
“Put on the Victorious Armor of God, part 2”
Ephesians 6:14-20

Mandarin Sermon
国語主日崇拜

『出死入生』
彼得前书3:12-18
孙家骥牧师
Pastor Jiaji Sun
“From Death to Life”
1 Peter 3:12-18


Children’s Ministry
兒童事工

 

King David Enthroned, by Jerry Harston
Image: King David Enthroned, by Jerry Harston

His Best for Our Worst

 

Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare Your praise.
Psalm 51:15

 

After at least nine months, when David finally acknowledged his guilt, the prophet Nathan told him, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the Lord show utter contempt, the son born to you will die.” (2 Samuel 12:13-14) The “utter contempt” indicates an unintended consequence of David’s plan to do away with Uriah. He had told Joab, “Put Uriah in the front line … then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.” (2 Samuel 11:15) David’s sin had not only struck down Uriah and shamed Bathsheba, but struck at the honor of God, too. His sin was compounded by a kind of sacrilege. As the appointed representative of God over His people, he had misused Israel’s army for his own ends. The name of God was now dishonored, and Israel’s enemies felt empowered.

The parallel between Israel and the church or David and ourselves, is not exact, but it is helpful for us to think of our fellowship and ourselves in this light. The Apostle Paul says that God’s “intent was that now, through the church the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to His eternal purpose which He accomplished in Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Ephesians 3:10-11) Do we grasp that we are His appointed representatives, bearing His name for the sake of His kingdom? How do my sins, my decisions or my plans, effect the spiritual battle in which the church is now engaged? What is my working view of our church fellowship’s significance? The sense, sorrow, and shame of his sin had completely shut David’s mouth. Do any of our sins or the decisions we have made ever cause us to just shut up? They should!

David was a great sinner and so are we. And yet he clings to God, and so should we. The Apostle Paul gives hope to great sinners: “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.” ( 1Timothy1:15) David prays, “Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare Your praise.” If God convicts us and shuts our mouths, it is so that He might open them by His grace. In John 15:5 Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” In Psalm 51 David has an “apart from Me you can do nothing” realization. In the book of Psalms such a realization is the sure and certain prelude of praise. It can be so in our lives, too. Consider the opening lines of Psalm 16: “You are my Lord; apart from You I have no good thing.” Apart from God, I am lost. Apart from Him, I am miserable. Apart from Him, I have nothing good. No one but the Son can help me! Let all His fainted and fallen people say it on their knees, “Apart from You, I have no good thing! I have done my worst for You, but You have done the best for me, O Savior. Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare Your praise!”

 

Sermon Videos

March 14, 2021

2021年3月14日

English Sermon
英語主日崇拜

“Ho Hum. Whoa! Uh oh?”
Ephesians 3:10
Colleen Wong

Cantonese Sermon
粵語主日崇拜

『你們說我是誰?』
路加 9:18-25
陳立平長老
Elder Ben Tran
“Who Do you Say I Am?”
Luke 9:18-25

Mandarin Sermon
国語主日崇拜

『手扶着犁向前看』
路加福 9:61-62, 17:32-33
任晓静牧师
Pastor Mary Ren
“Hand to the Plow and Look Forward”
Luk 9:61-62, 17:32-33


Children’s Ministry
兒童事工