Mar 11 2013

Why did Jesus say, “Don’t tell others?”

by Doug Wolter

Yesterday I preached on 4 incredible stories from Mark 4:35-5:43 where Jesus calms the storm, heals the demoniac and the hemorrhaging woman, and raises Jairus’ daughter from the dead.  Afterwards, a member of my church asked me a great question: Why did Jesus tell the demon possessed man to go and tell others but told the ones who saw Jairus’ daughter being raised to strictly tell no one?  What a great question!  Here’s my response:

The demon-possessed man was in a Gentile region where not many knew about Jesus or cared about the coming Messiah. In Mark 5:17, after Jesus had healed the man, they begged him to leave the area.  Jesus left, but told the demoniac to go and tell what had happened to him since he would now be the only real witness in this region (Mark 5:19).

Now Jairus and his daughter lived in Galilee. This region would’ve been Jewish and therefore anticipating a coming Messiah and so Jesus wanted to keep this a secret because he didn’t want to stir up a big crowd.  The concern on Jesus’ part was that people’s attention would be distracted from what he really came to do, namely, the ministry of the word (Mark 1:38).  His essential aim was to preach repentance and faith (the message of the kingdom) and then die on a cross. After he died and rose again, that’s when he told his disciples to go and tell everyone who he was because that was the real message he came to bring as the Messiah.


Oct 18 2011

The Mystery of Abiding

by Doug Wolter

Why do I doubt God? Why do I expect so little from him? After all, if I really am his child, if I really do have access to his throne, if I really have his Son and his Spirit interceding for me, then why am I not asking more of God and believing he will answer? Jesus, you say, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you” (John 15:7). Really? Are you serious? Do you really want me to ask and believe with that kind of boldness, with that kind of heart, expecting you will answer? 

I guess that’s where it starts – with my heart being united with your heart and my words in prayer sounding strangely familiar with your words in scripture. Is that what abiding is all about? When you and me are so intimately connected, so unified as one, that the process is as natural and effortless as a branch bearing fruit?

In the end, it’s a mystery–one that I can’t analyze and figure out, but only experience. Abiding, praying, and seeing the Holy Spirit move in my life is something I cannot comprehend but what I long for more and more for your glory and my good. So teach me to remain in you. Cause me to slow down. Remind me that you are a real Person that I am joined to. And set me free to believe you for great things.

Aug 16 2011

New Website: Divorce Ministry for Kids

by Doug Wolter

Divorce affects the lives of so many children in our society today, but how can the church respond?  I appreciate Wayne Stocks and his heart to help hurting children and their families through his new website called Here’s why he started the website:

Since 1972, over 1,000,000 kids each year have joined the ranks of the children of divorce. These kids face struggles which are very unique and very real. And, unfortunately, many of our churches are ill-equipped to deal with the special needs of this growing segment of their congregations. Whether they worry about addressing the issue of divorce for fear of alienating their congregations, pretend that the problem simply does not exist, or simply fail to recognize the magnitude of the issue, many churches are ill-equipped to deal with, or minister to, children of divorce.

Read the rest … and check out Tony Kummer’s podcast with Wayne about the website

Aug 12 2011

New Youth Curriculum on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

by Doug Wolter

I’m excited about Desiring God’s new curriculum on biblical manhood and womanhood called, “Rejoicing in God’s Good Design.” My friend, Gary Steward, is one of the writers. I appreciate his heart to teach these important truths to the next generation. Check out this video for more explanation of the curriculum.

Jul 6 2011

Finish the Mission Conference

by Doug Wolter

Guest post by Mark Wolter

Wish I could get to this one. Glad I will be able to watch/listen online later!

Jul 3 2011

Good News for the Family?

by Doug Wolter

Guest post by Mark Wolter

Get the free audio book here.

Jun 29 2011

My 2-year-old Illustrates the Folly of Sin

by Doug Wolter

Guest Post by: Ben Reaoch

Thanks, Doug, for this opportunity to participate in your blog while you’re away. I thought I would share about a recent event in our family that turned out to be a poignant picture of biblical truth.

Over the years I’ve thought about different ways to describe the folly of sin, but I think this was one of the most vivid portrayals of it I’ve ever encountered.

Our family was recently at a cabin out in the middle of nowhere in West Virginia. We really enjoy this place because there’s no cell phone reception and no TVs or internet or anything like that, and we just hang out as a family and play games and go on hikes and enjoy being together.

We hadn’t been there long—Stacy and I were still unloading some things and the kids were playing outside—when our older kids (Milaina and Noah) found our 2-year-old (Annalyse) trying to eat a muddy stick. I don’t know what came over her to make her want to taste this thing, but apparently these kinds of things happen to 2-year-olds from time to time. Sure enough, she had dirt around her mouth, and Stacy and I brought her inside to clean her off.

Then it was time for her to sit on the potty, which is an exciting part of our lives right now. Many of you can identify. I think the fact that parents have to potty-train their children is part of the curse. While she was sitting there I said to Annalyse, “Why did you put that muddy stick in your mouth?” She said, in all seriousness, “I thought it would taste like candy.” I’m not even making this up. It was all I could do not to burst out laughing. But I said, “Did it taste like candy?” And with almost a surprised and perplexed look on her face, she said, “No?!” Then she told me, “And my brother was telling me, ‘No, don’t put that in your mouth.” So I told her, “That’s because your brother loves you and doesn’t want you to hurt yourself.”

When we were hiking later we talked about how that muddy stick is a lot like sin. We think it’s going to taste like candy, but we end up with dirt on our faces and a bad taste in our mouths. And when our brothers and sisters in Christ call out to us, “No, don’t do that,” we better listen, because they’re doing that out of love for us.

Jun 29 2011

no one deserves grace…

by Doug Wolter

offered to all who will repent and believe....

guest post by: stephen cavness

recently i was contacted by a college student who wanted some input on this exchange:
“my family got into a discussion[argument?] about people who never hear about jesus. my cousin says people who don’t hear the gospel will go to hell, but my aunt said that if god sent people to hell who never even had a bible or heard of jesus, then that would be cruel & evil. what do you think happens to people who never hear about jesus?”

i don’t know if anyone in this discussion has been privy to the recent “is hell real?” debate or not,but i am glad that she is thinking through this and not just blindly taking sides. the issue for her was that the choice presented was “either god is loving and people who never hear the gospel go to heaven anyway-*or* he is cruel and sends them to hell even though they didn’t get a fair chance”.

i wrote a pretty lengthy response(much longer than what is below), starting with re framing the question. rather than “is god loving or cruel” the actual question seeking an answer is “why is it that anyone goes to hell?”,with  the answer being…”because we are all sinners who deserve nothing but hell from a holy and just god”.

i included a lot of references from scripture regarding god’s holiness and justice and our own state apart from christ, and the problem that poses for the sinner who will be judged by a holy and just god. then i drew aline from there to christ as the only salvation from getting what we all deserve.

i won’t post my entire response,but here is an excerpt. maybe it will help you think through the topic so that you can be prepared if you find yourself on the receiving end of a similar question- from a family member,co-worker,or even in a sunday school class/ small group.

[scriptures referenced prior to this point - romans ch. 1, 3, 5, & 6; ephesians 2; john 3]

suppose that you are standing in line at your local bank and in walks a man who declares that he would like to pay off your debt if you meet with him and fully disclose to him your debt and your responsibility to pay for it, and then trust his word that he will pay your debt. shocked, you go to him,admit that you have tremendous debt that is rightfully yours (student loans, car, etc.- all debt that is rightfully yours). he asks the bank president how much the total of your debt is, and then gives him a check for that exact amount.

you would be ecstatic, no? and then this man tells you to go and start telling people about him and promises to do the same for them, if they will follow the same steps you did.

now, imagine  someone hearing this story who responds by saying  “well he is the most cruel and evil man i have ever heard of…  that’s not fair at all…what about the people who weren’t there- they have debt too??!??!”

you see the issue? this person has ignored the fact that everyone’s debt is deserved by them, and they *SHOULD* pay for their own debt. this man’s act was tremendously gracious and loving. he is not mean or cruel at all! this person has allowed their sense of justice to be skewed. they are wanting to escape what they *do* deserve (paying off their own debt) and are demanding what they do *not* deserve (someone else paying the debt for them).

this man’s act of kindness does not obligate him to extend it to everyone. yet he continues to extend his graciousness and goodness by offering to do the same for anyone who comes to him and follows the procedure. no one who has their debt paid by him deserves it, but he will do it for every single one who does come.

here is the parallel…
all of us have a sin debt that we deserve to pay off on our own. it is our debt that we have because we are born into this world rebellious sinners. no one, apart from the new birth, wants to be under god’s rule or in his kingdom. we do nothing but sin in our “cosmic treason” against god- constantly telling him in word or deed/attitude “you are NOT my boss!!!” when in fact, he is- he created us and has complete authority over us.

every single person who is in hell deserves to be there.nor is there anyone there who wanted be saved, but wasn’t. they are paying the debt that justice demands that they pay. it isn’t unfair or unjust. people who heard of jesus and had bibles and people who never heard or had bibles… they are all sinners who deserve an eternal and literal hell.

but here is the kicker…i deserve hell too…and so do you. in fact, every person (except for jesus) who has ever walked this earth has deserved hell. the difference between the christian and the unbeliever (whether they ever heard of jesus or not) is that the christian’s debt has already been paid. so when the christian goes to heaven, it is not because god ignores or forgets about the debt that they avoid hell. it is because he knows that their debt has already been paid by a substitute (jesus)and he does not demand payment again for a debt that has already been paid. but having that debt paid wasnot deserved by anyone. god does not owe anyone grace.

so whenever anyone goes to hell…it is not simply because “they didnt have a bible or hear about jesus” . it is because justice and holiness demand that their sin debt be paid – its what they deserve. when the christian gets heaven, its only because they have a blood stained receipt marked “paid in full” signed by the son of god- and none of us deserve that, nor does god owe it to anyone. it is by grace we are saved- and no one deserves grace.

so this reminds us of two things:
1.) the great love and mercy of god who promises to save everyone who will repent of their sin and believe in jesus christ alone for the forgiveness of their sinfulness and their right standing before god. he does not have to do this. he is not obligated to do this. he is not unfair or “mean” to not save everyone. on the contrary, he is infinitely kind, gracious, and loving to say to everyone from every nation tongue and tribe, “if you will repent and believe- i will NOT give you what you deserve!”

2.) it reminds us the importance and urgency of missions and evangelism. the offer of the gospel is to all people without regard to age, ethnicity, location, reachability. “whoever will call on the name of the lord will be saved!” but as paul as reminds us that they will only have faith if they hear the word of god, but they wont hear unless people “go and tell”. (romans10)

may god use the terror filled reality of hell and the beauty and joy of the gospel of grace to move us to always be telling people deserving to pay for their sins that there is indeed one who will pay their debt for them… even though he doesn’t have to and they don’t deserve it.

that isn’t unfair or wicked- it is beautiful.

May 2 2011

We Aren’t the Change Agents

by Doug Wolter

Great new post here by Paul Tripp:

The cross reminds us that we are not the change agents, but representatives of the One who holds the power of real internal and interpersonal change in his hands.

(Read the entire post)

Mar 11 2011

Earthquake in Japan – Pictures

by Doug Wolter

May these pictures cause us to pray. God, use this tragedy as an opportunity to show your mercy.