Resources for Studying Malachi

We desire to be a place where we can gather to encounter the person of Jesus through the transforming study of His Word, and to that end the vast majority of our sermons are verse-by-verse studies through whole books of the Bible. On May 19th we will begin a seven week study of the book of Malachi, and in order to glean as much from this amazing book as possible we want to share some additional resources. Our ultimate authority should always be the written Word of God, the Bible, but secondary literature can help to expand our knowledge and understanding of what was written. This will fuel our love of the Bible when we devote time to comprehend it better. Below is a compiled list of secondary literature about the book of Malachi that speaks to this fascinating prophetic book.

  • As an overview of the book of Malachi, The Bible Project has a great video, you can watch here.
  • Additionally, Nancy Guthrie talks with Lee Gatiss about how to teach the book of Malachi in a podcast interview. She also provides additional audio and written resources on Malachi.
  • Peter Adam wrote an amazing commentary on Malachi and I would highly encourage you to spend some time reading it! You can purchase it here.

Let’s all be in prayer for our church that this study would be used by the Holy Spirit to grow our affection for God and His Word, and enable us to better proclaim His truth to our neighbors!

Lent 2019


The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are at the very heart of Christianity. It is by means of these truths that we come into an understanding of our rescue. A rescue brought about by God as He has acted in history to conquer evil and reconcile sinners to himself through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. For those who find their identity in that truth, they have been united with Christ in His death and will one day be united with Him in His resurrection.

Romans 6:4–6 (ESV) We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.

If we have been united to Christ, then it seems as if we should take some time to meditate on this truth. The early church believed that we should take time to meditate on our union with Christ and therefore added a period of time into the church calendar right before Easter. The preparation for Easter dates back to our early church fathers.  Prior to denominations, church calendars and papal decrees, we can find the second century church establishing a time of reflection, fasting and preparation for the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus.

This time of reflection is commonly called Lent. References to fasting during Lent can be found in the early church writings. Irenaeus (130-202AD), the disciple of Polycarp (who was the disciple of the Apostle John), wrote concerning the time allotted for a lenten fast.  Concerning a season for fasting as part of the Easter preparation, Irenaeus writes: “Such variation in the observance did not originate in our own day, but very much earlier, in the time of our forefathers” (Eusebius, History of the Church, V, 24). This quote lets us see into the early church, that very early on they were discussing a time of fasting and preparation for the Easter celebration.

Our modern Christian calendars begin the Lenten Season on Ash Wednesday and proceed for 40 days (minus Sundays) leading up to Easter Sunday. The word “Lent” comes from the Greek word which means “forty.”  Although the English word Lent partially takes on that meaning, it literally means “lengthen.” The concept of the term lengthen comes from the lengthening of the sun during the days of Spring. Sundays themselves are not counted in these forty days, as they are generally set aside as days of renewal and celebration (“mini-Easters” of sorts).

The number forty carries great biblical significance based on: the forty days of rain Noah and his family endured in the flood, the forty years Israel spent in the wilderness, Jesus’ forty-day fast in the wilderness, the forty days Jesus spent on the earth after his resurrection, and so much more. Forty days have been used by God to represent a period of trial, testing, and preparation. Likewise, Lent is a season of preparation and repentance during which we anticipate the death (Good Friday) and resurrection (Easter Sunday) of Jesus. It is this very preparation and repentance that gives us a deep and powerful longing for the resurrection and joy of Easter.

Why Celebrate Lent?

For many throughout history, Lent has been a time of abstinence and self-affliction. As Reformed Protestants, we believe it is important to point people to the early churches’ perception that Lent is about preparation. As the church of Christ, we are preparing our hearts and minds for the Passion Week, the days that mark Christ’s atonement for our sins and victory over Satan and death. These days carry a much greater significance when we have properly prepared for them and retrace Christ’s journey to the cross. Lent helps the church focus on why Jesus had to die and why we need a Savior.

Some will find it helpful during this time to abstain from certain pleasures because you have found them to become idolatry for you. But never forget that as people who are centered on the Good News — the Gospel — we recognize that we need a Savior. Therefore, we put off idolatry because we have a Savior, and not because we are trying to be worthy of one. As with any ritual or symbol, Lent can be abused and made meaningless, so it is imperative to consider our motives before we begin.

Others will find it helpful during this time to add to our everyday rhythms. Consider spending extra time reading the Gospels or other theological books centered on the death, burial, and resurrection.  These activities are always encouraged, but especially during this season of preparation. The goal is to create a noticeable break in our regular schedules to prepare our hearts for the celebration of Easter.

Philippians 3:8–11 (ESV) Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Preparing for Easter Resources:

Fifty Devotional Readings from C. S. Lewis 

Journey to the Cross (Walker) 

Fifty Reasons Jesus Came to Die (Piper) 

Your Sorrow Will Turn to Joy: Morning & Evening Meditations for Holy Week (Desiring God) 

The Cross of Christ (Stott)

Redemption, Accomplished and Applied (Murray)

Hebrews Resources

As we continue in our study of the book of Hebrews over the next 20+ weeks, we want to provide some additional resources to make sure that we get the most out of our time in this amazing book. Our ultimate authority should always be the written Word of God, the Bible, but secondary literature can help to expand our knowledge and understanding of what was written. This will fuel our love of the Bible when we devote time to comprehend it better. Below is a compiled list of secondary literature about the book of Hebrews that speaks to this fascinating book of the New Testament.

  • Each week we will record and upload the previous weeks sermon to our website, so if you missed one you can catch up on the material by clicking here.
  • As an overview of the book of Hebrews, The Bible Project has a great video, you can watch here.
  • Additionally, Nancy Guthrie talks with Sam Storms about how to teach the book of Hebrews in a short video and she also provides additional audio resources and books on the book of Hebrews.
  • Kent Hughes book, “Hebrews: An Anchor for the Soul, can be bought here.
  • Some other sermon series on Hebrews include ones by Piper, Chandler, and Storms, you can access by clicking on their names.

Writings on God’s Glory

Last Sunday we wrapped up our series on the 5 Solas of the Reformation with a message on Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God alone). This powerful concept answers the question of the ultimate purpose for each of our lives, but it is a message our sinful flesh wars against.  One of the ways we battle our tendency to make life “all about us” is by filling our minds with concepts that draw our affections heavenward. Two such resources are Glory Hunger, by J.R. Vassar, and The Weight of Glory, by C.S. Lewis.

Both of these authors deal with the fact that we try to steal glory from God and hoard it for ourselves, and both authors awaken in the reader a desire to live more for the glory of God–a task worth pursuing with every fiber of our being!  You can buy both books online easily, but if you want to read the Lewis essay on “The Weight of Glory,” you can do so here.

May God increasingly make our church a place where He alone is glorified! Soli Deo Gloria!

Sola Scriptura: Definitions and Bible References

Last week we kicked off our study on the doctrines of the Reformation with the topic of Sola Scriptura, or Scripture Alone. We saw that as humans we all appeal to an ultimate authority for our understanding of what truth is, therefore our task is to make sure we are appealing to the correct authority! Some of the different authorities Christians submit to include:

  • Institutional Authority: Those in power have the ability to define truth.
  • Individual Autonomy: No one except the individual has the ability to define truth.
  • Hopeless Agnosticism: Truth may indeed exist, but we have no way of knowing for sure what it is.

The Roman Catholic Church has historically appealed to their institutional authority as the ultimate arbiter of truth, while modern evangelicals have often wrongly interpreted Sola Scriptura to be a license for individual autonomy (Often seen with the refrain, “Me and my Bible is all I need.”), totally void of any reliance on tradition or the historic Christian creeds. These differing approaches have left such a wide chasm that many in our day are now feeling the pull of hopeless agnosticism.

Contrary to these three approaches is the Reformation principle of Sola Scriptura, which can be defined the belief that:

The Bible alone is our authority (not Institutional Authority), we study it in the context of community and historic orthodoxy (not Individual Autonomy) where we find truth (not Hopeless Agnosticism).

Out of this doctrine four principles regarding Scripture can further be affirmed, leading us to say, Scripture is:

  • Authoritative: It carries God’s authority and accomplishes His will.
    • Isaiah 55:10-11, Nehemiah 8:1-9, Acts 17:11.
  • Clear: The truths God has chosen to reveal can be understood through reading the Bible honestly.
    • Deuteronomy 29:29, Luke 16:29-31.
  • Sufficient: The Bible reveals all we need to know in order to follow and obey, particularly when understood correctly within the Church community.
    • 2 Peter 1:3, 1 Timothy 3:15, 2 Peter 3:16-17.
  • Necessary: No other writings reveal the Word of Life.
    • 2 Timothy 4:3, Isaiah 55:8-9, John 6:68, Psalm 119, Romans 10:13-15.

One of the great treasures of the Protestant Reformation was its emphasis on Scripture and the fact that it led to the translation and propagation of the Word of God into many different languages. With this being the case, may we be a people who study God’s Word, look to it as our authority, and share the Good News it communicates with all those we meet!