Category Archives: General

An Offering Acceptable to God

Rm1529“It is in Christ that the people of God will be resurrected and glorified. It is in Christ they will be made alive when the last trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible (I Cor. 15:22). It is with Christ that they will be glorified (Rom. 8:17). . . . Apart from union with Christ we cannot view past, present, or future with any­thing but dismay and Christ­less dread. By union with Christ the whole complexion of time and eternity is changed and the people of God may rejoice with joy un­speakable and full of glory.” (John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied, pp. 163-165).

“An offering to be acceptable to God must conform to condi­tions of purity. So in this case. The conditions of holiness are created by the Holy Spirit. Hence the clause, ‘sanctified by the Holy Spirit’, stands in appo­sition to ‘acceptable’”. (John Murray, The Epistle to the  Romans, Vol. 2, p. 211).

New: See “Study Notes” for the handout for this study

(One of the questions: “What is “ascension deficit disorder”?”


A Bittersweet Scroll

beach_15979c“The radiance of the angel’s appearance marks him as one who bears the image of his Master, reflecting the Master’s glory as he brings the Master’s message. . . . Throughout Revelation angels are superhuman servants of God, doing his bidding and carrying his revelation to the embattled saints on earth.” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 158).

“Also included in the metaphor of the scroll is the idea that the sweetness refers to God’s redemptive grace in the gospel to those believing and the bitterness to the fact that this grace must be experienced in the crucible of suffering (cf. 2 Cor. 2:15–16), since the little scroll connotes the Christian’s purposes on a small scale in imitation of the large-scale purposes of Christ signified by the larger book of ch. 5. . . . Perhaps sweetness and bitterness simply represent redemption and judgment. . . .” (G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation, p. 552).

“Although the Lamb’s redeemed people are drawn from ‘every tribe and tongue and people and nation,’ from this same group are drawn the enemies of the Lamb, destined for destruction. John’s prophecy concerning the nations is indeed bittersweet.” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 164).

Quotes used in the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC.

Why Did Christ Die and Live Again?

Ayear1142ec“The transformed attitude to death (cf. Heb. 2:14, 15) springs not from any change in the character of death but from the faith of what Christ has done to death and from the living hope of what he will do in the consummation of his conquest. It is the res­urrection of Christ, the hope of resurrection after the pat­tern of his, and the re­moval of sin which is the sting of death that transform the re­lation of the believer to death.” (John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans, pp. 181–182).

“The Lordship of Christ is never suspended. The believer is never in a situation that is neu­tral or indifferent and so he must ever live in the recognition of Christ’s lordship and act in the intelligent and fully-per­suaded consciousness of devo­tion to him.” (“The Weak and the Strong” in Collected Writ­ings of John Murray, Vol. 4, p. 156).

Protected for Praise

C16year21ec“As Judah’s Lion proved to be the slain Lamb, displaying royal power through the weakness of his sacrifice, so the flock he protects sounds like a precisely numbered, exclusively Israelite army braced for battle but looks like a countless, international crowd celebrating a victory already won. The victory was won by the Lamb when he was slain to purchase this multitude from the peoples to become God’s treasured kingdom of priests (5:5, 9).” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 133 [on Revelation 7]).

“[T]he reason for the picture here is to emphasize the identity of the Lamb with his people. He is the corporate representative of his saints. Therefore, just as he first suffered and received his reward at the resurrection, so his flock follow the same pattern in their own lives (see on 1:5, 9, 20; 2:14). He led them by the Spirit on earth and will lead them in person in the future.” (G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation, p. 443).

Quotes used in the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC.


water_15944c“This church needs an injection of Christ’s resurrection power, since they are in the worst condition of all the churches in the letters.” (G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation, p. 302).

“Jesus’ knock is not that of a homeless traveler, standing outside the locked door of a human heart, seeking shelter. Rather, he is the master of the house, and he will burst through the door in in sovereign judgment (James 5:9).” (Dennis E. Johnson, The Triumph of the Lamb, pages 92–93).

(Quotes used in the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC.)

Only a Name?

Rv0305“Jesus calls himself ‘he who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars’ (Rev. 3:1). The seven Spirits are God’s one Spirit, who is limitless, knowing all, present everywhere, and almighty. In Revelation 5 John will see the Spirit symbolized by by the Lamb’s seven eyes, which “are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth” 5:6; cf. Zech. 3:9; 4:10). The Son of Man who sees his churches also holds their identity (stars/angels) securely in his hand. This church has underrated Jesus’ present knowledge and therefore faces a shocking awakening at his coming.” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 84).

“The essence of a church is not its programs, buildings, past achievements, reputation, institutional greatness, or formal doctrinal correctness, but its spiritual life. This life comes only through fellowship with the living Christ, and is demonstrated through the seriousness of repentance and obedience.” (Vern S. Poythress, The Returning King, p. 90).

From the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church, continuing a sermon series on the Book of Revelation.

star11c“The flaw in the Thyatirians’ growing faith and love was naïveté, a lack of discernment that took people at face value rather than putting them to the test of truth. Jesus says to the church at Thyatira, ‘I love your love, but I hate your tolerance.’” (Dennis E. Johnson, The Triumph of the Lamb, p. 80).

“Sin can always come up with excuses to do what it wants, to do what is convenient and comfortable. It may take a prophetically penetrating criticism like John’s to bring people up short. Or it may take even more: the hand of God in punishment (vv. 22–33).” (Vern S. Poythress, The Returning King: A Guide to the Book of Revelation, p. 89).

“This ‘overcoming’ occurs before the believer inherits the promises of 2:26–28, as in the letters to Tyatira and Pergamum. And this ‘conquering” of sin (so 2:4–5, 14–16, 20–24) entails being conquered by the world, since, when believers refuse to compromise with the world, they are persecuted by the world.” “It is not just how people die that proves them to be overcomers, but the whole of their Christian lives are to be characterized by ‘overcoming,’ which is a process completed at death.” (G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation, pp. 269, 271).


Quotes used in the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC