CrossWay Milwaukee Membership Class

The following is a playlist of videos working through CrossWay’s Membership Class material (updated 10/2020). More videos will be added to the playlist as the class proceeds. 


View full playlist.

At CrossWay, we believe it is the Biblical pattern and privilege for every believer to publicly join themselves to a local church. This class helps attendees learn more about our church and what it means to become a member at CrossWay.

Is God an Egomaniac for Seeking His Own Glory? (John Piper)

People see God’s exaltation and communication of his own glory as a problem. They don’t like it. They think such self-exaltation is immoral and loveless, even pathological. But there is another way to look at it.

Suppose your heart is a template made for its counterpart, the glory of God. Suppose you were created to know and love and be satisfied by the majesty and beauty of God. Suppose the glory of God was the most beautiful reality in the universe to you and therefore the most satisfying to your soul. Suppose you hungered and thirsted for the presence of the greatness of God more than for anything in the world. And suppose this God, in spite of all your sin, had made a way for the glory of his holiness and righteousness to be maintained and exalted, while still giving himself in friendship to you for your enjoyment forever.

If that were true, then God’s unwavering commitment to uphold and display his glory would not be a mark of selfish pride but a mark of self-giving love. He would be upholding and communicating the very thing for which your soul longs. This would not be the pattern of an old woman wanting compliments, or an egomaniac, or a needy tyrant, or an insecure, jealous lover. Rather, it would be the pattern of the true and living and gracious God. You would see that there is no other God like….

This was his mission. But how would it happen? By self-emptying and servanthood and humiliation and death:

Though he was in the form of God, [he] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Phil. 2:6–8)

Because of this majestic lowliness, in love for sinners, God exalted Jesus and gave him a name above all names (Phil. 2:9). But the aim of it all was that “every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (v. 11). This is the peculiar glory of God and of his Scriptures: the glory of God is everywhere the aim, and the central means is the self-humbling of God himself in Jesus Christ. This is the “light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4).

The glory of the paradoxical juxtaposition of seeming opposites in Jesus Christ is at the heart of how God shows himself glorious in the Scriptures.

Piper, John. A Peculiar Glory: How the Christian Scriptures Reveal Their Complete Truthfulness. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2016, pages 215-216, 223.

Measuring the Ultimate Measure of Truth (John Piper)

We pursue some thoughts triggered by Psalm 36:9: ‘In your light do we see light.’ And these thoughts are provoked further by the catalyst of a famous quote from C. S. Lewis: ‘I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.’

Ordinarily when we seek to have a well-grounded conviction about some claim to truth in this world, we bring all our experience to bear on the claim and try to make sense out of it. What we know from experience before we hear the claim, we apply to the claim to see if it measures up. Does it cohere with what we know to be true? Does it make sense in the light of what we already know? What we know from experience is the standard, the arbiter, the measure of truth.

But what happens when we encounter a claim that says, “I am the Standard, the Arbiter, the Truth”? This claim is unique. It is not like other claims to truth in this world. When the ultimate Measure of all reality speaks, you don’t subject this Measure to the measure of your mind or your experience of the world. He created all that. When the ultimate Standard of all truth and beauty appears, he is not put in the dock to be judged by the prior perceptions of truth and beauty that we bring to the courtroom.

The eternal, absolute original is seen as true and beautiful not because he coheres with what we know but because all the truth and beauty we know coheres in him. It is measured by him, and it is seen flowing from him. He does not make sense, and thus have plausibility, in the light of this world. He brings sense to the world. He is sense. The light that we have in the world does not shine on him and reveal his truth. He is the light of the world, and in his light we see light.

—John Piper, A Peculiar Glory, 158-159

Abel

As I did for both Jubilee and Evangeline, I wanted to write a brief explanation of the meaning of Abel’s name.

As with both his older sisters, Abel’s name, as you probably know, comes from the Bible. His middle name (like Jubilee and Evangeline’s as well) is that of one his great-grandparents. William (more commonly known as “Bill”) is my maternal grandfather.

Abel William is due January, 2020.


Abstract: Abel is the first in the long history of examples of faithful worshipers of God who suffer and die on account of their righteousness. His account reveals to us a God who champions the victimized, avenges evil, and ensures that injustice will not go unanswered. According to the book of Hebrews, Abel is held up as the earliest example of those who put their faith in God and “preserve their souls,” despite all appearances to the contrary (e.g., suffering and death). Christ’s death, however, overshadows Abel’s, as Christ fills the role as the pinnacle righteous one who suffers death. In fact, Christ’s death “speaks a better word than Abel’s.” Whereas Abel’s blood cried out to God for vengeance, Christ’s blood speaks to the satisfaction of God’s just vengeance against unworthy sinners. Additionally, the name Abel matches the word “vanity” in Ecclesiastes. This word, which encapsulates the message of the entire book, describes the futility of looking to the things of this fallen world, and instead redirects our eyes to the fear of the Lord, wherein we can experience lives of true joy.


In scripture, Abel is the second son of Adam and Eve, and the first victim of murder—killed at the hands of his elder brother, Cain (Gen 4:1-16, 25). The name Abel (הֶבֶל, hevel) matches a word most notable for its prolific use as a repeated refrain in the book of Ecclesiastes: “Vanity!”(הֶבֶל, hevel). In its literal sense, this word means breath or vapor. Additionally, at times it comes to describe that which is transitory, fleeting, transient, and ephemeral. In scripture, a character’s name often reflects or conveys something about that individual. This is especially the case in Genesis (e.g., Cain’s name sounds like the Hebrew word for “gotten,” as Eve proclaims, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord”; see also the names of Isaac [=“he laughs”], Jacob [=“he takes by the heel”], Israel [=“he strives with God”], etc.). Although Abel’s name is not explicitly explained in the Genesis narrative, given this phenomenon, many surmise that his name reflects the fleeting, transitory nature of his life. Just as his name indicates, his life would be cut short.

As noted above, the word הֶבֶל (hevel, often translated “Vanity”) plays a central role in the message of Ecclesiastes. It is the Preacher’s (Qohelet) refrain—“Vanity of vanities! All is vanity!—and it both introduces (1:2) and closes out the book (12:8). All in all, it occurs a total of 38 times in Ecclesiastes. In short, one might say that the word הֶבֶל (hevel) summarizes the entire message of Ecclesiastes: vanity!

Continue reading