Five Points Blog

After Darkness, Light

The very nature of God is to enter our darkness and bring us into his light. Isaiah 9:2 foretells of Jesus Christ, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.”

The deep darkness Isaiah writes of was a moral decay born of promiscuity, drunkenness, and magic. God had given his rebellious Israelite people over to the base lusts because in their pride they had rejected true hearts of love for God and pure worship in his temple. Their sinful acts were not just deserving of judgment, they were his judgment. The darkness they lived under was the present anger of a good and holy God.

How desperately they needed light—not daylight but divine light. They needed their eyes opened to the light of God’s glory in the purity of his goodness. They need someone to come purge their moral waters of sin’s blindness—to rescue them from themselves with light.

Instead of sending them a great warrior to wage war, he sent them a newborn Son to offer counsel—wonderful counsel. The son born in Isaiah’s day foretold the Son of God born to Mary, conceived by the Holy Spirit, whose name is Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). The only light that dispels sin’s darkness is Jesus Christ, the Light of the world.

And this light blazes on. The light of Christ’s free grace illumined the darkness of 16th century Europe, a time known as the Reformation, and its lasting motto is “post tenebras lux”—after darkness, light! May Christ’s light shine in your heart, your relationships, our nation, and among all the peoples of the earth.

Wash Her With the Word

Husbands are called to imitate Jesus in relating to their wives (Ephesians 5:25). We are to provide and protect our wives physically and spiritually. One way in particular that is done is by “the washing of water with the word” (v.26)—bathing your wife in the Word of God.

Pray Scripture for your wife. Leave notecards with passages that would be especially encouraging to her. Make time for her during the day to enjoy uninterrupted time reading the Bible. Equip her to study Scripture well.

There are many ways for husbands to do this. But as you start thinking about a Christmas gift for your bride, I want to encourage you husbands towards two specific options.

First, give her a copy of Jen Wilken’s Women of the Word for Christmas, and then make the time for her to be able to read it and the Bible. Take the kids out of the house on Saturday mornings. Do end-of-the-day chores to free her up. Arrange a “mommy’s helper” to come over during the day. Be intentional about asking her what she’s learning to motivate her to keep reading.

This book will help your wife study the Bible for herself better. And no matter what stage of life your wife is in, she needs the Spirit to stir her soul through his Word.

Second, bless your wife by making arrangements for her to be able to attend a weekly Bible study where she can hone her study skills and connect and pray with other ladies. You can even print up a little certificate to put beneath the tree to let her know you’ve lined up all the details to free her to attend.

One option along these lines is a new women’s Bible study that will be held at Five Points starting January 8. Every Thursday morning from 10-11:30am, I will be applying simple Bible study methods like what Wilken offers in her book to a study of Colossians. Half our time will be spent in the Word, and the other half will be for the ladies to pray, talk specifically about how Colossians applies to their lives, and enjoy each other’s company. Childcare will be provided for a minimal fee ($5/child, $8/two children, $10/family cap) so that even moms with littles can attend.

What other ideas do you have for ways to wash your wife with the water of the Word?

Christ’s Supreme Glory in the Church

The Apostle Paul finishes Ephesians 3 with these thrilling words, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us” (verse 20). It’s only half a sentence, yet soaring, exhilarating joy in God shines from it. Behind the blessing is the grand truth that God is able to do far more than all we could ask or think. So what is the “far more” God is doing?

In context the abundant ability is love. The power within us is the Spirit of Jesus Christ and the purpose is to maximize God’s glory on the earth. Through his love for the Church, God means to extend his reputation throughout the universe as the being most worthy of all praise and glory. This is what God is doing.

The best human marriages are a parable of this. When a godly husband loves, leads, serves, and strengthens his wife, she goes out in public with a deep and abiding joy on her face. And Proverbs 31:23 is fulfilled, “Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.” This means the man’s wife is so open with her joy and esteem of her husband that when he sits among the leaders he is known as an excellent husband because his wife “displays his glory” for others to see.

God invented such a dynamic in human marriage so the entire human race would know something of what he is doing cosmically and eternally. God is the husband to the Church and as the Church moves throughout the world in his strength, his joy, his abundance, and his love, she shines forth her joy. Discerning observers will say, “What a husband she must have!”

What Do We Mean “Gospel-Centered”?

At Five Points, we value gospel-centered worship, community, service, and mission. What do we mean by "gospel-centered"? John Piper articulates well what we're talking about in our "gospel-centered" values in a sermon he preached this past Sunday:

You can hear more about our values by listening to Pastor Brent's sermon series "Gospel-Centered Vision & Values."

Puritan Work Available Free Online

In my ongoing work with Don Kistler and The Northampton Press, I've offered to put one of the finished, edited, but yet un-printed Northampton books into blog form. Check out The Man of God Blog which features several posts -- a start of what I hope will eventually be dozens of book excerpts in blog post form. All the material comes from the book, Man of God, by Octavius Winslow, which awaits the funds for print production at The Northampton Press.

While part of my purpose is to generate growing awareness of The Northampton Press, the Winslow text, and Don's teaching ministry, I'm more interested in bringing excellent material like this to bear in the lives of readers here at Five Points and all over the world. That we can have access to this information and publish it on a free blog site and link to the Five Points website is a tremendous gift of God. I don't want us to miss its significance and the opportunity to be good stewards of it.

Regarding the book itself, I've only read through a few of these chapters and so far am amazed at its clarity and depth, theologically and practically. I've read other works by Winslow and find him to be a trusted, faithful voice that clearly and pastorally applies biblical truth to his readers.

Other than posting portions of each chapter in short chunks, the only other changes I am making are to title each post as descriptively as I can, include the key chapter verse at the beginning of each post, and add a question or two for consideration at the end.

I trust that as readers become familiar with the blog that they'll freely comment on it.

I welcome your input on any of this project and invite you to promote and distribute the blog and its posts wherever you'd like. There's an easy means to subscribe to the blog via email; please encourage anyone to sign up who might benefit.
By the way, The Man of God Blog is not limited to men. Women are of course welcome to read it and will benefit just as much, too.