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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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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

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

Easter Resources from CF4K

CF4K provides some excellent resources for Easter. We’ve picked out 3 titles today which are great for sharing the Easter story with children, click on the covers to find out more.


 

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The Promise by Carine Mackenzie

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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

New Books at a Glance

Check out the latest titles from across the Christian Focus Publications adult titles, available worldwide.

9781781919071      9781781913246

9781781919064      9781781919095

9781781919088      9781781919101

9781781919118

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Let the Children Worship

The following extract is taken from Let the Children Worship by Jason Helopoulos, new at Christian Focus Publications. Jason encourages the church to embrace the important part children play in the life of the church and unfolds the enormous blessings to be found in having them present in the worship services of the congregation. He points out how the struggles are temporary – whereas the blessings can be eternal.

9781781919095

Wisdom for Parents

Let’s face it, bringing our children into corporate worship is not always easy. Squirming kids, rustling papers, the eyes of others, and a host of other problems often accompany children in worship. Unfortunately, some parents identify Sunday mornings with the most difficult part of their week. I understand. As a family, we have lived it. In no way do I want to dismiss the challenge and at times frustration, but I hope you will see the struggle is well worth it. As Christian parents, we desire above all else that our children would know, love, delight-in, serve, and honor Christ. The more they encounter Him through the means of grace, the more likely we will witness this blessed outcome. Corporate worship, as we detailed in chapter two, is above all else a meeting with God in the person of Christ by His Word and by the Spirit. Including our children in this weekly encounter can’t help but be a good thing for their souls.

Real challenges confront us as we bring our children into corporate worship, but they are not insurmountable. I want to offer some practical and “Mom-tested” tips as you attempt to do so.

Treasure the Lord’s Day

God knew our need for rest. In the very act of creation, He ordains one in seven days for rest and worship (Exod. 20:8-11). This day highlights our week. As Christians, we live from Lord’s Day to Lord’s Day. And the highpoint of the Lord’s Day is gathering together with His people to offer holy worship. Help your children by focusing on this moment throughout the week. Talk about Sunday morning worship all week long. Help your children to see that each week begins with this privilege (Acts 20:7; Heb. 10:24-25). And when the day arrives, model excitement about it. If Mom and Dad reluctantly go to church, then the children will reluctantly go as well. If Mom and Dad criticize the preacher, sermon, or others in the church, then the children will most likely criticize as well.

Cultivate a spirit of joy on Sunday mornings in your home. If this is the highlight of our week, then let’s act like it. Talk about how wonderful the day promises to be, wake the kids up with excitement, turn on good Christian music for the whole family to listen to, and put a smile on your face. It’s o.k. to smile on Sunday mornings!

Prepare Appropriately

Many of our problems on Sunday morning stem from issues before we even arrive at church. Tired children and tired parents create fertile ground for cranky worshippers. Be boring on Saturday nights. Send your entire family to bed early. Friday nights can be filled with late-night activity, but Saturday nights should routinely be safeguarded. Sleepy heads make for drowsy worshippers. Lay out Sunday morning clothes the night before, so there aren’t complications with finding an outfit that fits well, looks right, or is ironed. This is especially helpful with teenage daughters!

On Sunday mornings, wake your family up with plenty of time to spare. Try not to arrive late or even a few minutes before the service. Rushing out the door at home and rushing in the door at church has discombobulated many children and stymied many worshippers.

On the car-ride to church talk about the passage that you will hear preached, sing a hymn together, and converse about the things of God. This helps to prepare the way for worship. If a visiting missionary is scheduled to share or the Lord’s Table is going to be observed or any other unique moment is scheduled to occur in the service, take time in the car-ride to discuss it. This sets the mood and helps them understand and appreciate moments in the service. I practice this with my children, who love the personal interaction and it has the added benefit of not only helping them to prepare for worship, but also helps me.

Implement Family Worship at Home

A family that worships together at home finds it much easier to worship together in corporate worship. A child will find it natural to hear and read the Word of God, sing hymns, confess their sins, and pray. It also helps our children learn to sit still, understand the importance of worship, and focus during prayer. For too many children, worship at church seems foreign, because worship at home is absent.

Many churches preach expositional sermons. This means that you know what you will hear read and preached in the week’s service—the next passage. Other churches may preach topically but publish in advance the passages on which the preaching will focus. Some families find it helpful to read the upcoming sermon passage during the week. Read and converse about it around the dinner table and during family worship. The children will then possess a familiarity with the text the pastor plans on preaching. This knowledge will give them some things to listen for in the sermon. My son, when five and six years old, always delighted in expressing his “knowledge” about the Sunday sermon text. He would often lean over during the service with that kind of child “whisper-scream,” “I know that story! I know about that!” It delighted this Father’s heart, as if I didn’t know and hadn’t led him through it earlier in the week for that very reason.

Start Early

Many believe it is more challenging to introduce a three-year-old to corporate worship then a twelve-year-old, but this is simply not true. A three-year-old is in the formative years of training. They are not yet “set in their ways” and remain quite teachable. They want to please Mom and Dad, though at times it does not seem like it! A twelve-year-old possesses his or her own thoughts on what should be expected and “endured.” This creates far more challenging issues than wrestling with a three-year-old to sit still. All this to say: it is far easier to begin with small children, so start early. Keep reminding yourself that a few months of struggling with a three or four-year-old teaching them how to sit still in corporate worship yields benefits for the rest of their lives.

Some of us came to this conviction late. Our children may have already reached their teenage years and we regret they weren’t in corporate worship with us earlier. If you find yourself in this place, keep reminding your heart and mind that God’s grace is sufficient. Do not be “hard” on yourself. You didn’t ruin your children and this doesn’t make you a “bad parent.” Yet, I would remind you, if your children still reside in your home, it is not too late to start. Don’t wait. Begin now and seize the years remaining … Buy a copy of Let the Children Worship, for more gems of wisdom for parents.


“In Let the Children Worship, Jason Helopoulos instills a sense of anticipation of what will happen as children are not only blessed by their presence among the body of Christ but also bless us with their presence.”

Nancy Guthrie, Bible teacher and author of Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament series


About the Author: 

Jason Helopoulos is assistant pastor at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan, and a guest blogger at The Gospel Coalition. He and his wife, Leah, are parents of two young children, Gracen and Ethan. Jason is also author of A Neglected Grace: Family Worship in the Christian Home

Jason Helopoulos

Where to Buy:
Let the Children Worship 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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Creation Sings with Carine Mackenzie

9781781917855.indd

 

  • Learn about the Creation story
  • Hear how God speaks to us
  • Beautiful colour illustrations throughout
  • For 8-12 Year Olds

Listen as the heavens declare the glory of God. Watch as the sky above proclaims his handiwork. (Psalm 19:1) And Learn from the one true God, as his work shows you who he is and what he is like. Powerful, Creative, Just, Merciful. Creation sings about him! God’s work declares God’s truth! In Creation Sings, see how each day of Creation links in to Old and New Testament stories that teach us more about God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit – the Creator.

Inside Creation Sings

About the Author: 

Carine MacKenzie’s talent for retelling Bible stories has meant that children from all over the world have been given the opportunity to discover Jesus Christ for themselves. Carine’s 150th book 365 Great Bible Stories was released in July 2011. She has sales of several million books and lives in Inverness, Scotland.

carine1

Where to Buy:

Creation Sings: How God’s Work Declares God’s Truth 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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The John Owen Collection

9781781919064

John Owen is amongst the best known of the Puritans (1616-1683). He was a profound and thought provoking pastor-theologian. Death of Death in the Death of Christ is the latest in the John Owen Collection from our Christian Heritage Imprint and has a number of features to assist the reader in getting to grips with John Owen’s writings:

  • The text has been divided into chapters.
  • Subheadings inserted. The contents pages include primary and secondary subheadings to aid navigation.
  • The style and placement of biblical references has been made consistent with modern practice.

Description:

Death of Death in the Death of Christ was John Owen’s first masterpiece. Written from seven years of studying and reflection by one of the greatest minds in theological history, its exploration into the Scriptural perspective on the doctrine of universal redemption is yet to be answered or paralleled.

From the foreword by Sinclair B. Ferguson:

The Death of Death in the Death of Christ ranks among the best known, and indeed may actually be the best known, of the dozens of books that flowed from the pen of John Owen during his four decade long career as an author. Whenever there is a renewed interest in what lies at the heart of the gospel, these pages have a tendency to be rediscovered and re-read. It seems that each generation needs to discover them anew. Weigh carefully what you read; compare it with Scripture. Allow Owen to challenge your thinking. For this is a book to make you think.

Where to Buy:
Death of Death in the Death of Christ 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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Other titles in the John Owen Collection:

full size image The Person of Christ: Declaring a Glorious Mystery—God and Man by John Owen9781845502096 9781857924749 9781857924756 9781845505998 9781845509743

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