Archive for March, 2010

From the “Tefillah” (“the prayer”; that is the prayer of all prayers) or “Shemoneh Esre” (Eighteen Benedictions) recited by the Jewish people since before the time of Jesus during synagogue worship.  I have excerpted the second benediction, which Jesus would have prayed throughout his life.  Perhaps as you read it, picture Jesus reciting it on the eve of his betrayal, or carrying the cross on the long road to Golgotha. 

“You are mighty, humbling the proud; strong, judging the ruthless; you live for evermore, and raise the dead; you make the wind to return and the dew to fall; you nourish the living, and bring the dead to life; you bring forth salvation for us in the blinking of an eye.  Blessed are you, O Lord, who bring the dead to life.”

to see the Tefillah in its entirety, click here

Matt Maher “Alive Again”

Posted: March 31, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity

God grants

Posted: March 31, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Biblical Theology, Christian Theology, Christianity

“All those that are justified, God vouchsafes, in and for His only Son Jesus Christ, to make partakers of the grace of adoption, by which they are taken into the number, and enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God, have His name put upon them, receive the spirit of adoption, have access to the throne of grace with boldness, are enabled to cry, Abba, Father, are pitied, protected, provided for, and chastened by Him as by a Father: yet never cast off, but sealed to the day of redemption; and inherit the promises, as heirs of everlasting salvation.”

Westminster Confession, Chapter XII

hat tip Kendall

March 30, 2010
Tuesday in Holy Week
Diocesan House

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I received a phone call from the Reverend Steve Wood, rector of St. Andrew’s, Mt. Pleasant, the day before yesterday, Sunday, March 28, 2010, that the Vestry and members of the parish voted to leave The Episcopal Church and affiliate with the Anglican Church in North America.

Although I am not surprised by this decision, I am saddened by it. In fact there is a poignant irony in the departure of St. Andrew’s from the Diocese and from The Episcopal Church. As bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, I receive almost daily letters and emails from people across this Church suggesting that our stance gives them encouragement to remain and persevere within TEC. Yet here at home we could not hold one of our strongest congregations. The departure of The Episcopal Church from the way of Christ and the Biblically rooted teachings of the Church has become too discordant for them to tolerate any longer.

While the ramification from their departure has yet to unfold in its entirety, I hope many among us will look for ways to continue our mutual ministry and relationships. The arrangements to be made for those within the congregation who wish to remain within the Diocese of South Carolina and The Episcopal Church will be among the subjects that I will be discussing with Steve and the parish leadership, as well as among our diocesan leaders.

By God’s grace we will keep St. Andrew’s in our prayers and work with them to find ways to cooperate in gospel mission and ministry that honors Jesus Christ and his Kingdom.

Yours in Christ,

–(The Rt. Rev.)Mark Lawrence is March 30, 2010
Tuesday in Holy Week
Diocesan House

Soren Kierkegaard once wrote:

“We are touched, we look back to those beautiful times.  Sweet sentimental longings leads us to the goal of our desire, to see Christ walking about in the promised land.  We forget the anxiety, the distress, the paradox.  Was it such a simple matter not to make a mistake?  Was it not terrifying that this man walking around among the others was God?  Was it not terrifying to sit down to eat with him?  Was it such an easy matter to become an apostle?  But the result, the eighteen centuries- that helps, that contributes to this mean deception whereby we deceive ourselves and others.  I do not feel brave enough to wish to be contemporary with events like that…” (Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling, Kierkegaard’s Works Vol III pg 115)

The importance of Kierkegaard’s words applied in our present context is this: You and I believe that if we had been present to see the time of Jesus public ministry, his baptism, his feeding of the five thousand, his healing of the lame and blind, his raising of the dead, and eventual resurrection that we would find it easier to believe.  But of course you and I overlook the tremendous responsibility of being those who witnessed with our own eyes the life of Jesus of Nazareth.  Those who witnessed his life with their own eyes are accountable for what they heard and saw during those very interesting times.  This is of course why Kierkegaard writes: “I do not feel brave enough to wish to be contemporary with events like that…”

If that isn’t frightening enough, let me add another observation about witnessing the miracles of Jesus.  You and I are so thoroughly enmeshed in a scientific worldview that we believe the ability to see and observe automatically equates with belief.  That is, if we were able to see and observe Jesus it would make it easier for us to belive.  If we can see and observe, we satisfy the rational requirements of our mind to buttress our faith.  But is this always the case?  (more…)

Vos on Revelation

Posted: March 30, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Biblical Studies, Biblical Theology, Christian Theology, Christianity

taken from his “Biblical Theology” book he is here talking about New Testament revelation and what he says about Jesus is for me very convicting. Some would say they don’t need to hear about the Cross they want to learn something new. ” when are you gonna stop preaching about Jesus”or ” why are you preaching the Gospel again?”.

My answer to why Jesus, the cross, and the Gospel are important to be preached and taught is that He is the great truth to be expounded, it’s the place we are justified, and it’s our only hope.

To take Christ at all He must be taken as the center of a movement of revelation organized around Him, and winding up the whole process of revelation. When cut loose from what went before and came after, Jesus not only becomes uninterpretable, but owing to  the meteoric character of His appearance, remains scarcely sufficient for bearing by Himself alone the tremendous weight of a super naturalistic worldview.

As a matter of fact, Jesus does not represent Himself anywhere as being by his human earthly activity the exhaustive expounder of truth. Much rather He is the great fact to be expounded.

Geerhardus Vos  “Biblical Theology”  pg 302

An excerpt from the final paragraphs of ch 4 of Bonar’s The Everlasting Righteousness. I would highly encourage to click through and read the whole thing. Bonar addresses something very important, particularly in light of North American Evangelicalism, which treats the cross as a stepping stone to a life of discipleship. “NO!” says Bonar. Rather than being a stepping stone, the cross is not only central to the Christian life, but it is the hermeneutic of heaven itself. Enjoy.

We are never done with the cross, nor ever shall be. Its wonders will
be always new, and always fraught with joy. “The Lamb as it had been
slain” will be the theme of our praise above. Why should such a name be given to Him in such a book as the Revelation, which in one sense carries us far past the cross, were it not that we shall always realize our connection with its one salvation; always be looking to it even in the midst of glory; and always learning from it some new lesson regarding the work of Him “in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”? What will they who here speak of themselves as being so advanced as to be done with the cross, say to being brought face to face with the Lamb that was slain, in the age of absolute perfection, the age of the heavenly glory?

Thou fool! Dost thou not know that the cross of the Lord Jesus
Christ endureth for ever, and that thou shalt eternally glory in it, if thou are saved by it at all?

Thou fool! Wilt thou not join in the song below, “To Him that loved
us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood”? Wilt thou not join
in the song above, “Thou was slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood”? And dost thou not remember that it is from “the Lamb as it had been slain” that “the seven spirits of God are sent forth into all the
earth”? (Revelation 5:6).[13]

It is the Lamb who stands in the midst of the elders (Revelation 5:6), and before whom they fall down. “Worthy is the Lamb” is the theme of celestial song. It is the Lamb that opens the seals (6:1). It is before the Lamb that the great multitude stand clothed in white (7:9). It is the blood of the Lamb that washes the raiment white (7:14). It is by the blood of the Lamb that the victory is won (12:11). The book of life belongs to the Lamb slain (13:8). It was a Lamb that stood on the glorious Mount Zion (14:1). It is the Lamb that the redeemed multitude are seen following (14:4); and that multitude is the first-fruits unto God and unto the Lamb (14:4). It is the song of the Lamb that is sung in heaven (15:3). It is the Lamb that wars and overcomes (17:14). It is the marriage of the Lamb that is celebrated, and it is to the marriage-supper of the Lamb that we are called (19:7,9). The church is the Lamb’s wife (21:9). On the foundations of the heavenly city are written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (21:14). Of this city the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple (21:23). Of that city the Lamb is the light (21:23). The book of life of the Lamb, and the throne of the Lamb (21:27; 22:1,3), sum up this wondrous list of honors and dignities belonging to the Lord Jesus as the crucified Son of God.

Thus the glory of heaven revolves round the cross; and every object on which the eye lights in the celestial city will remind us of the cross, and carry us back to Golgotha. Never shall we get beyond it, or turn our backs on it, or cease to draw from it the divine virtue which it contains. (more…)

Morning Thoughts by CH Spurgeon

Posted: March 30, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

C. H. Spurgeon

“He was numbered with the transgressors.”—Isaiah 53:12.

Why did Jesus suffer Himself to be enrolled amongst sinners? This wonderful condescension was justified by many powerful reasons. In such a character He could the better become their advocate. In some trials there is an identification of the counsellor with the client, nor can they be looked upon in the eye of the law as apart from one another. Now, when the sinner is brought to the bar, Jesus appears there Himself. He stands to answer the accusation. He points to His side, His hands, His feet, and challenges Justice to bring anything against the sinners whom He represents; He pleads His blood, and pleads so triumphantly, being numbered with them and having a part with them, that the Judge proclaims, “Let them go their way; deliver them from going down into the pit, for He hath found a ransom.” Our Lord Jesus was numbered with the transgressors in order that they might feel their hearts drawn towards Him. Who can be afraid of one who is written in the same list with us? Surely we may come boldly to Him, and confess our guilt. He who is numbered with us cannot condemn us. Was He not put down in the transgressor’s list that we might be written in the red roll of the saints? He was holy, and written among the holy; we were guilty, and numbered among the guilty; He transfers His name from yonder list to this black indictment, and our names are taken from the indictment and written in the roll of acceptance, for there is a complete transfer made between Jesus and His people. All our estate of misery and sin Jesus has taken; and all that Jesus has comes to us. His righteousness, His blood, and everything that He hath He gives us as our dowry. Rejoice, believer, in your union to Him who was numbered among the transgressors; and prove that you are truly saved by being manifestly numbered with those who are new creatures in Him.

read more here

By Grace

Posted: March 30, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Biblical Theology, Christian Theology, Reformed Theology

“…if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, “What have you that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7), and, “But by the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

Deut 4

Posted: March 30, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity

from Desiring God Blog

(Author: David Mathis)

The Giving of the Law at Mount Sinai

Here is Moses’ amazing monotheistic appeal to the people of Israel at the edge of the Promised Land, after 40 years of wilderness wandering.

Ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether such a great thing as this has ever happened or was ever heard of.

Did any people ever hear the voice of a god speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and still live?

Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, and by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great deeds of terror, all of which the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?

To you it was shown, that you might know that the LORD is God; there is no other besides him.

Out of heaven he let you hear his voice, that he might discipline you. And on earth he let you see his great fire, and you heard his words out of the midst of the fire.

And because he loved your fathers and chose their offspring after them and brought you out of Egypt with his own presence, by his great power, driving out before you nations greater and mightier than yourselves, to bring you in, to give you their land for an inheritance, as it is this day, know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.

(Deuteronomy 4:32—39, paragraphing added)

Fear the Lord

Posted: March 30, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity

here is a post from a daily devotional I receive. This one is from James McDonald from Walk in the Word ministries.

Fear the Lord

The  Weekly Walk

“Who is the man who fears the LORD?” – Psalm 25:12

What is the “fear of God” anyway? That question might be easier to answer by looking at a rough definition of fear itself. Fear is the attitude of heart that seeks a right relationship to the fear-source. That’s pretty straightforward, right? If I fear the future, I might save and prepare. I want to be in a right relationship with the future, so I’m going to do something about it today to make sure the future doesn’t steamroll me. Some people don’t fear the future. They just go on like fools and drive right over the cliff. But if I fear the future, I prepare. Does that make sense?

If I fear the dentist, I floss and brush! I believe he probably knows more about teeth than I do. And plus, when he gives that judgmental, self-righteous look like, “You haven’t been flossing….” I’m sure you have heard that speech. So, I think, “Oh, I don’t want to hear it. I’ll floss and brush.” Why? Because I fear the outcome of failure. So I seek a right relationship to the fear-source.

  • If I fear the future, I prepare.
  • If I fear the dentist, I floss and brush.
  • If I fear God, I submit.
  • If I don’t fear God, I don’t submit.
  • If I fear God, I do what He says.

Fear – it’s not bad, by the way. How many people have heard the definition: “Fear God just means to respect Him?” That was bad teaching. Even though the Bible says like a thousand times that we should “fear God,” we are just supposed to believe it means only that we should respect Him? Incorrect! I put a lot of time into studying this biblical term. The best word that I can think of to describe what fear means – is fear! I like simple stuff. When the Bible says to “fear God,” guess what it means? It means to fear Him. Seek a right relationship with Him.

preached by Rob Sturdy on Palm Sunday, March 28th 2010

a remarkable passage from Owen’s The Glory of Christ

Unto whom we retake ourselves for relief in any case, we have regard to nothing but their will and their power. If they have both, we are sure of relief. And what shall we fear in the will of Christ as unto this end? What will he not do for us? He who thus emptied and humbled himself, who so infinitely condescended from the prerogative of his glory in his being and self sufficiency, in the susception of our nature for the discharge of the office of a mediator on our behalf, – will he not relieve us in all our distresses? will he not do all for us we stand in need of, that we may be eternally saved? will he not be a sanctuary unto us? Nor have we hereon any ground to fear his power; for, by this infinite condescension to be a suffering man, he lost nothing of his power as God omnipotent, – nothing of his infinite wisdom or glorious grace. He could still do all that he could do as God from eternity. If there be any thing, therefore, in a coalescence of infinite power with infinite condescension, to constitute a sanctuary for distressed sinners, it is all in Christ Jesus.  And if we see him not glorious herein, it is because there is no light of faith in us.

This, then, is the rest wherewith we may cause the weary to rest, and this is the refreshment. Herein is he “a hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, and as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” Hereon he says, “I have satiated the weary soul, and have refreshed every sorrowful soul.” Under this consideration it is that, in all evangelical promises and invitations for coming to him, he is proposed unto distressed sinners as their only sanctuary.

John Owen, The Glory of Christ (Owen’s Works Vol IV pg 331)

A letter from Steve Wood, Rector of St. Andrew’s Mount Pleasant.  Be sure to click through and read the whole thing.  I will comment at a future date…

St. Paul wrote:

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season;reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist,fulfill your ministry.

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there islaid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me onthat Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

This morning at 7.15 am the Vestry of St. Andrew’s Church ~ Mt. Pleasant met and unanimously passed the following resolution:

RESOLVED that the resolution unanimously adopted by the Vestry on March 28, 2010 for this church corporation, parish, and congregation to withdraw from and sever all ties with The Episcopal Church in the United States and to transfer its canonical residence to the Anglican Church in North America or another province of the worldwide Anglican Communion be ratified by the members of this church corporation.

read the rest here and a follow up letter can be found here

Jesus’s Kingdom

Posted: March 29, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity

Exodus 39; John 18; Proverbs 15; Philippians 2

from For the Love of God by D.A. Carson

Exodus 39; John 18; Proverbs 15; Philippians 2

WHEN PILATE ASKS JESUS whether or not he is “the king of the Jews” (John 18:33), what interests him is whether or not Jesus presents some sort of political threat. Is he one of these nationalistic, self-proclaimed “messiahs” who are intent on wresting authority from the Roman superpower? If so, he must suffer a capital sentence.

When Jesus finally replies, his answer is like none that Pilate ever heard: “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place” (John 18:36).

One might profitably spend a lot of time pondering this response. We shall focus on four points:

(1) The meaning of kingdom here cannot have the static sense of realm, as in “the kingdom of Jordan” or “the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” It means something closer to the dynamic sense of kingdominion, of kingly rule, for Jesus focuses on what his “kingdom” is “of” or “from,” i.e., what is the source of his kingly rule. This does not mean there is no domain to this kingdominion, no realm connected with it; there is, as we shall see. But it is not the focus of the use of the term here.

(2) Jesus says his kingdom is “not of this world”; it is “from another place.” In other words, all the kingdoms and centers of political strength that human beings construct trace their authority, is “from another place”– and readers of this gospel know that that means from heaven, from God himself.

(3) That is why his servants will not fight. His kingdom does not advance and become an empire the way the empires of this world achieve success, viz. inevitably with a great deal of military drive. The kingdom of God does not advance by human armies and literal warrior-saints. One wishes that those who stirred up the Crusades had meditated a little longer on this text. Apparently Pilate believed at least this part of what Jesus was Jesus was saying, and therefore saw him as no political threat (18:38).

(4) But this does not mean that Jesus is making no claim whatsoever with respect to the kingdoms of this world. He insists he is King Jesus, even if his source of authority is not in this world, and his servants will not defend him by resorting to arms. Nevertheless the time will come when all will acknowledge that he alone is Lord of lords and King of kings (Rev. 17:14; 19:16), and all the kingdoms of this world are destined to become his (Rev. 11:15).

Exodus 39; John 18; Proverbs 15; Philippians 2 is a post from: For the Love of God