Tag Archives: Christian Focus

Judas kissed Jesus

“The contrarian in me loves this – a look at Jesus through the eyes of His betrayer. And a look at our own relationship with Jesus through exploring theirs.”

Barnabas Piper, Author of ‘The Pastor’s Kid’, ‘Help My Unbelief’, and ‘The Curious Christian’


The kiss of death

No matter what our culture says and what social mores they’ve come to accept, kissing is intimate. You’re in someone’s space, you’re touching them, and you’re not merely touching, you’re touching lips. Now, I understand that Judas didn’t touch lips with Jesus, but he shared something intimate with the Son of God in order to betray Him.

One of the most intimate of human experiences was used as a signal to turn the Son of God over to His destroyers. This kiss would notify the guards who to mock, ridicule, beat, scourge and nail to a cross. This kiss would bring separation between Jesus and His disciples. This kiss would be the moment Jesus’ entire life has been building up to. This kiss of death, however, would bring God’s plan of redemption to fruition.

This kiss signified death. It signified death for Jesus. It was part of the plan Judas had discussed with the guards. It signified death for Judas. He looked one last time into the eyes of the Man who could save him and simply turned him over. It signified the death of death. Three days later, Christ would roll away the stone and walk away from that tomb. It signified the death of life as we know it. This earth is now closer to its end but the beginning of life eternal is ready for its beginning.

The ‘kiss’ of Christ

The beautiful hymn, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, contains these rich lyrics that reflect upon the Savior on the cross, ‘Did e’er such love and sorrow meet? Or thorns compose so rich a crown?’. Two polar opposites coming together: love and sorrow; sharp thorns and rich crown … kiss and betrayal. These things didn’t belong together, but they were brought together through the man Jesus Christ. Judas disgraced the kiss by using it to betray the Savior of the world. The kiss did not deserve to be disgraced in the manner Judas did. Judas betrayed with a kiss. The greatest traitor in human history kissing the most faithful and trustworthy. Christ, however, has a kiss of His own. What is the ‘kiss’ of Christ? The kiss of Christ is epitomized in the reality of the divine God ‘kissing’ humanity by becoming a human being. Jesus the King became Jesus the babe. The Creator became creature by taking on flesh, leaving His throne and coming to dwell with sinful man. The King of Glory does not belong among prostitutes, tax collectors and self-righteous Pharisees, yet He humbled Himself and dwelt among them.

King of contrasts

What else doesn’t belong together? Enemies adopted as children. You see, God has a way of reconciling things that don’t belong. Judas abused the kiss but God used it to bring His plan of redemption to completion. Christ’s disciples argued about who was the greatest, but Christ became the least so we could inherit the Kingdom. Leaders don’t serve and servants don’t lead, but Jesus led by serving, reconciling what doesn’t belong together. Giving away something is losing, but Christ reconciled giving as receiving.

Any one of us can see a lot of ourselves in Judas. He was an idolater and so are we. He feared man and so do we. He lacked faith and so do we. He sinned against Jesus and so do we. We should be humbled as we survey the life of Judas and realize our lives are often anything but faithful. However, we serve a Savior of reconciliation and He’s the faithful one that reconciles the faithless to Himself.


The above extract is from John Perritt’s new book, published with Christian Focus, What Would Judas Do?: Understanding faith through the most famous of the faithless. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

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Christian Focus on the Reformation

Christian Focus Publications produce a rich selection of titles featuring the significant characters of the reformation – from Martin Luther and John Calvin, to lesser known figures such as Theodore Beza and John Huss. 2017 brings the 5ooth anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, stirred in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Wittenberg door.  We’ve picked out a few titles below which are required reading for those interested in the story of the reformation and its relevance to us today.


 

“With knowledge, wit, and clarity, Carl Trueman brings key insights from the Reformation on Christ, Scripture, and our appropriation of both to bear on the life of the modern evangelical church.”

Michael Lawrence, Senior Pastor, Hinson Baptist Church, Portland, Oregon

 

Carl R. Trueman examines the origins of contemporary Reformed theology in the Reformation world of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. After tracing how this heritage shaped and transformed the intervening period, he then describes some of the major challenges being faced by the evangelical church at the present time and suggests ways of responding which remain faithful to the Scriptures and the theology of the Reformers drawn from it and points towards a future that embraces and disseminates these wonderful doctrines of grace.


 

“…tells the story of Calvin’s life and thought in a compact and compelling way that will serve to acquaint readers with the warm human character of Calvin.”

William Barker, Professor of Church History, Emeritus, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

 

Robert Reymond brings us John Calvin the man. A reality quite different from the caricature often painted today. Here is a man of deep spirituality with a real love for his fellow man and God. A man also with tremendous intellectual abilities. Whether the moniker ‘stern Calvinist’ is applicable or not – his life has much to teach us.


 

Theodore Beza: The Man and the Myth by Shawn D. Wright

“Well researched and well written, this is an important book about Beza based on a close reading of Beza … A stellar contribution to Reformation studies and pastoral theology alike.”

Timothy George, Founding Dean of Beeson Divinity School, Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama

 

Theodore Beza was a man who in his day was one of the luminaries of the Protestant world, who took the reins of the beleaguered Calvinistic movement after its namesake’s death, and who influenced English-speaking Protestantism more than you might imagine. Shawn D. Wright casts light on a figure often neglected and helps illustrate the significant impact of his faith and influence.


Related titles from Christian Focus Publications:

John Knox: Fearless Faith by Steven J. LawsonMartin Luther's Tabletalk

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by | April 24, 2017 · 2:17 pm

UK New Release – April 2017

Check out what’s new at Christian Focus Publications, April 2017 – titles are available now in the UK and available for Pre-order in the US.  Click on the image to find out more:

 

In this 31-day devotional, John Perritt looks at the life of Judas – the experiences he had living with Christ, the things he would have seen and heard, and his terrible final resolve.

The contrarian in me loves this – a look at Jesus through the eyes of His betrayer. And a look at our own relationship with Jesus through exploring theirs.

Barnabas Piper

 

 

The Good Portion is a series written specifically for women to immerse themselves in the depths of Christian doctrine. God created us to enjoy knowing Him – there is always so much more to be discovered and enjoyed!

Keri Folmar has given a real gift to the church in The Good Portion … she graciously addresses our hang-ups and misunderstandings so we can taste the sweetness of God’s Word for ourselves.

Gloria Furman

 

 

In this short and engagingly-written book, Orlando Saer takes us right back to the beginning to rediscover what the Spirit is about. He shines the light of the Bible itself into our confusion and leaves us overwhelmed with gratitude for this precious Pentecost gift.

Expect to learn, expect to grow, expect to discover all it means for you to rejoice in the greatness of the Spirit.

Neil Powell

 

Other new titles from Christian Focus Publications:

 

 

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by | April 21, 2017 · 1:58 pm

The Cost – What it takes to follow Jesus – Steven J. Lawson

Inside the Book: 

Nestled in a few verses in Luke’s Gospel is a Jesus who would not have been tolerated today: He was not politically correct and He certainly did not try to save people’s feelings. Steven Lawson unpacks these few verses, looking at the unashamed honesty, passion, and urgency with which Jesus explains the life-long cost involved in choosing to follow Him. True Christianity is the biggest sacrifice any person ever makes … but it is in pursuit of the most precious prize ever glimpsed.

Praise for The Cost: 

Like a master builder Steve Lawson gives us the foundation of Jesus’ own words to erect a frame showing the cost, demands, gains and losses of following Christ. In doing so, Dr. Lawson gives us a strong and firm edifice that brings glory to Him and His truth.

R.C. Sproul, Founder & Chairman of Ligonier Ministries, Orlando, Florida

This book is a “must read” for all! The unconverted will hear the gospel; the Christian will find the true road to devotion and joy; the minister will be instructed in the task of biblical gospel preaching, ensuring salvation both for himself and for those who hear him (I Timothy 4:16).

Paul Washer, President, Heart Cry Ministry, Radford, Virginia

Christ’s own summons to discipleship is impossible to harmonize with the laid-back, seeker-sensitive, superficial religion practiced by so many people today who claim to be followers of Christ. Dr. Lawson’s exposition of Luke 14:25-35 distills the vital message and presents it in a robust and penetrating way.

John MacArthur, President, The Master’s University and Seminary and Pastor-Teacher, Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, California

Listen In:

Steven Lawson spoke at Shepherd’s Conference 2017 on How to Call People to Follow Christ, listen in below:

About the Author: 

Steven J. Lawson is president of OnePassion Ministries, a ministry designed to bring about biblical reformation in the church today, as well as the Professor of Preaching in the masters and doctoral programs at The Master’s Seminary, Sun Valley, California.

Where to Buy:

The Cost: What it takes to follow Jesus is available at any good Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

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by | April 14, 2017 · 3:25 pm

Michael A. G. Haykin on Patrick of Ireland

Patrick of Ireland: His Life and Impact by Michael A. G. Haykin

The following extract is taken from Patrick of Ireland: His Life and Impact by Michael A. G. Haykin. Part of the Early Church Fathers Series from Christian Focus Publications.

An Evangelical Reflects on Patrick

E.A. Thompson has rightly noted that Patrick’s ‘character is complex and of the utmost fascination’. My own fascination with Patrick began quite early in my studies of the ancient church. Initially, I suspect I was drawn to him because of my Irish ancestry. But in time, his rich Trinitarianism and zeal for missions, his biblicism and dependence on the Spirit exercised their own pull on my heart and mind. Since 1989 I have written a number of pieces on Patrick. In this book-length essay, however, I have not only sought to bring together the various strands of all that I have written about Patrick, but I have also expanded this material considerably so that readers today might see the implications of his life and thought for contemporary Evangelicalism.

It would be both wrong and anachronistic to describe Patrick as an Evangelical. His encouragement of monasticism, for example, hardly squares with Evangelical piety. His devotion to the Trinity, however, has much to teach Evangelicals, far too many of whom seem to have forgotten the absolute necessity of being Trinitarian in teaching and worship. His zeal for missions and the salvation of the lost is not only inspiring, but deeply convicting. Also, he is into missions for all of the right reasons: the glory of God; his love for the lost, in this case, the Irish, and his concern for their salvation; the duty he owes to God’s call on his own life; and obedience of the Scriptural mandate to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. Then, there is his bibliocentrism: whether he had read many other books or not, he leaves us with the overwhelming impression that only one book supremely matters, and that is the Bible. He is not afraid to find truth in other sources – all truth is God’s truth – but in the final analysis, it is Scripture that guides him. Finally, I love his dependence on the Spirit. While his thought and expression are indeed shaped by God’s infallible Word, he sought in all integrity to listen to the Spirit in his daily life and so find that much-needed balance of Word and Spirit that we all require in our day. Most importantly in this regard, because of his own weaknesses, Patrick knew that the Spirit’s work in us is a humbling work, showing us that all in the Christian life is of pure grace: a truly Evangelical note — ‘if I have achieved or shown any small success according to God’s pleasure, … it was the gift of God.’

Featured Reviews:

“Michael Haykin paints a compelling portrait of this bibliocentric bishop and earnest evangelist. The dedicated missionary and thoughtful theologian that emerges belongs to the Gospel-loving global church and not just the Emerald Isle.”

Paul Hartog, Adjunct Faculty, Biblical Studies, Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary, Ankeny, Iowa

“A fine balance between a biography of an extraordinary servant of Jesus Christ and an explanation of the beliefs that sustained Patrick.”

Michael Ovey, (1958-2017) Principal, Oak Hill Theological College, London

About the Author: 

Michael A. G. Haykin is Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality at  The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.


Where to Buy:
Patrick of Ireland: His Life and Impact is available at any good Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

Patrick of Ireland: His Life and Impact by Michael A. G. Haykin Buy Now:

 

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by | March 17, 2017 · 3:11 pm

The Focus on the Bible commentaries are popular level commentaries especially useful for pastors and small group leaders. They are a great resource for personal devotions and spiritual growth. Many of the authors of the commentaries are leading expositors of God’s Word on their speciality subjects. The series holds to the inerrancy of scripture and the uniqueness of Christ in salvation. For a full list of titles in the series, featuring authors such Dale Ralph Davis, Tim Chester and Jim Hamilton, check out www.christianfocus.com. Today we look at three of the latest additions to the series:


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John is known as ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’. He was under our Saviour’s teaching and care for three years. He leaned against Christ’s chest at the last supper and witnessed the crucifixion. Who better then to write about the love of Jesus than the one who had such first-hand experience of it? In these three letters, John is passing on the impact of these experiences to people he loves, tenderly encouraging them to see past their failings and focus on the promises available in Christ.

“Hannah carefully explains the text and skillfully applies its message to our contemporary world. If you want to see afresh the beauty of Christ and grow in your love for him and his people, this book is for you.”

Matthew Harmon, Professor of New Testament Studies, Grace Theological Seminary


John: Jesus Christ is God by William F. Cook

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John’s Gospel is the mature reflections of the last living apostle. John the apostle wrote this book approximately fifty-five years after the resurrection of Jesus. During those years he had reflected on the words and deeds of Jesus and the result is that the pages of the Gospel contain the seasoned thinking of one of Jesus’ closest friends.

“Bill Cook is a wonderful New Testament scholar and pastor … This book will serve extremely well those who preach and teach the Word of God chapter by chapter, verse by verse and word by word.”

Daniel L. Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary


Joel & Obadiah: Disaster And Deliverance by Iwan Rhys Jones

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Disaster and Deliverance, these two words sum up something of the message of both Joel and Obadiah. In Joel, the prophet begins by announcing a disaster in terms of a locust invasion, which has affected Judah. Nevertheless, the prophet holds out the prospect of deliverance. In the case of Obadiah, the focus is on Edom. Edom’s pride and longstanding hostility against the people of God has led her to be party to an attack upon them, and as a result, she is threatened with disaster. The people of God, meanwhile, are assured of better things at the hand of the LORD.

Writing in an accessible and succinct style, Jones introduces us to grand theological themes that run throughout the prophetic writing of Joel and Obadiah … As with many commentaries in this series, Jones’s treatment is fitting for both sermon preparation and small group Bible study.

John Scott Redd, Jr., President and Associate Professor of Old Testament, Reformed Theological Seminary, Washington

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by | March 15, 2017 · 1:12 pm

Peter Mead on In the Market with Janet Parshall

Listen to a great interview with Peter Mead on In the Market with Janet Parshall where he discusses his new book. Lost in Wonder: A Biblical Introduction to God’s Great Marriage is a call back to the joy of our salvation and our first love for Christ. It explores our current and eternal union with Christ using the Biblical analogy of marriage – and shows the profound beauty in both. Listen in: MoodyRadio.org

“… invites us all to rethink our perception of God with fresh categories. The truths explained here have certainly changed me, and I will never go back to the legalistic religion I used to lug around.”

Ray Ortlund, Immanuel Church, Nashville, Tennessee

“If ever a book earned its title, this one did, as I closed its pages ‘Lost in Wonder’.”

David Murray, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan

“That the powerful king of the universe is a God of passionate love makes for glorious biblical theology. That he would relentlessly pursue a sinner like me in such love is simply mind-blowing.”

Dave Gobbett, Highfields Church, Cardiff, Wales & Word Alive Trustee

About the Author:

Peter Mead is director of Cor Deo, a mentored ministry training programme based in Chippenham, England. He is on the leadership team of a church plant and leads the Bible Teachers & Preachers Networks at the European Leadership Forum. He is also the author of Pleased to Dwell and Foundations.

Where to Buy:

Lost in Wonder: A Biblical Introduction to God’s Great Marriage is available at any good Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

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by | March 7, 2017 · 2:22 pm

It’s World Book Day today!

CLC Bookshops and Eden are celebrating World book Day with this selection of fantastic children’s and adult books from Christian Focus, available for ONLY £1 EACH!
John Knox: Fearless Faith by Steven J. Lawson

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“…Take a deep breath as you turn the first page; this story may leave you breathless; but you will almost certainly feel spiritually fitter by the end!”

Sinclair B. Ferguson

John Knox is one of the most colourful figures in church history and his impact is still felt around the world. The real story of Knox surpasses the best fiction novels. Five hundred years after his death, Steven Lawson seeks in this book to ignite our faith for Jesus through Knox’s story. If you think of Knox as the dull Presbyterian, prepare to think again. Let this seminal figure in the history of the Scottish Reformation inspire you to stand firm in your faith and let God impact your spiritual life.


 

A Christian's Pocket Guide to Loving The Old Testament by Alec Motyer

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“…If the world is still here in a hundred years’ time, these thrilling pages will still be looked upon as a treasure trove among God’s faithful people.”

Richard Bewes

Many of us know and love the stories and characters of the Old Testament such as Joseph, Moses and Jonah. But how do we view its importance in relation to New Testament teaching and our 21st century experiences? This accessible yet powerful addition to the Pocket Guide series draw together the threads of Scripture to help us understand the power of God’s word when viewed in its completeness.


 

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Would you like to make a difference? These ten boys grew up to do just that – but first they had to change the church. How did God change them?

Features: Augustine, John Knox, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Hugh Latimer, Jan Hus, Ulrich Zwingli, William Tyndale, Thomas Chalmers, Lord Shaftesbury.


 

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Would you like to make a difference? These ten girls grew up to do just that.

Features: Katherine Luther, Bethan Lloyd-Jones, Sabina Wurmbrand, Susanna Wesley, Ann Judson, Edith Schaeffer, Ruth Bell Graham, Monica of Thagaste, Susannah Spurgeon, Maria Taylor.


 

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History Makers

The History Maker series brings you classic biographies of important people and movements in church history – together with more recent biographical works of the same. They have gained a reputation as an important new resource for the church and now cover nineteen characters from church history. The titles feature well-known figures like Martin Luther and George Muller, as well as lesser-known figures such as Mary Slessor and Andrew Murray. Today we are featuring on one the most popular in our series, George Müller by Roger Steer:

About George Müller: Delighted in God

George Müller’s life is a powerful answer to modern scepticism.

His name has become a by-word for faith throughout the world. In the early 1830s he embarked upon an extraordinary adventure. Disturbed by the faithlessness of the church in general, he longed to have something to point to as ‘visible proof that our God and Father is the same faithful Creator, as he ever was’.

Praying for every penny of the costs, he supervised the building of five large orphanages, housing thousands of children. Under no circumstances would any individual ever be asked for money or materials. He was more successful than anyone could have believed possible and is as much an example to our generation as he was to his.

About the Author:

Roger Steer is the author of thirteen books which have been published in well over a dozen languages – including his internationally acclaimed Inside Story: The Life of John Stott. He lives with his wife in mid-Devon, England, where he preaches, leads retreats and acts as a tutor to young preachers.

Where to Buy:

George Müller: Delighted in God is available at any good Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

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by | February 28, 2017 · 3:02 pm

Off the Shelf – Bible Answers by Derek Prime

9781857929348

Many people want to know what the Bible has to say about God and other pressing issues. To meet that need, Derek Prime has provided a helpful guide that anyone can use. If you have ever wondered what the Bible really says about a topic then this is where to start.

The book is in 2 parts. The first deals with the 50 bible questions and answers. The second part is headed ‘Bible Guidelines’ and has 5 further helpful sections:

  1. The ten commandments
  1. Subjects arising, directly or indirectly, from the ten commandments
  1. The desires and works of the sinful nature
  1. Christian Character (The fruit of the Spirit)
  1. Commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ and the gospel

Praise for Bible Answers:

“I have worn out more than one copy. Simple enough for the beginner and comprehensive enough for the serious student, this updated version should sit beside the Bible of every eager learner.”

Alistair Begg, Senior Pastor, Parkside Church, Chagrin Falls, Ohio

“Derek Prime addresses crucial questions concisely, practically and, most of all, biblically. This is one of the best books to help us ground our faith in the solid truths of God’s Word.”

John Benton, Managing Editor, Evangelicals Now

About the Author:

Derek Prime has devoted himself to an itinerant ministry and to writing since 1987, after 30 years of pastoral service to churches in the UK.

Derek-Prime

Where to Buy:

Bible Answers: Questions About the Christian Faith & Life is available at any good Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

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