Archive for March, 2013

“That’s My King Dr. S.M. Lockridge – “

Posted: March 31, 2013 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity

“Christ is Risen – Matt Maher – “

Posted: March 31, 2013 by doulos tou Theou in Uncategorized

“Christ is Risen, He is Risen Indeed!”

Posted: March 31, 2013 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Uncategorized

To the Dregs

Posted: March 30, 2013 by boydmonster in Hell
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A mortal man spending eternity in hell, being mortal and therefore finite, will still not have endured all of its torments. Christ however, being eternal God, drank to the dregs the justice of divine wrath. The result being that the torments He endured on the cross on our behalf were infinitely more severe than all the torments of all the damned combined. In order to free us from the penalty of our sins Christ suffered infinitely on the cross.

Where was God today?  How many people have asked that question through the ages?  From young parents losing a child, to victims of the horrors of war, to young teenagers having their hearts broken for the first time, almost all of us have wondered where God was when the pain came.  When Jesus hung on the cross, His detractors asked similar questions, “He saved others, let Him save Himself,” they said, “If you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross.”  Jesus’ only response, if it can be considered a response, came as He quoted psalm 22 before His death, “Eloi, Eloi, lamma sabacthani!”  Translated “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me!”  The crowds who heard him misheard his words and thought he was calling for Elijah (Eloi and Elijah being pronounced similarly enough in Aramaic that when a crucified man screamed them they could be confused).  Thinking that he was calling for Elijah they gave Jesus one last chance, “Let’s see if Elijah comes to take Him down.”  While they may have misheard Jesus’ words, they misinterpreted what was happening on the cross.  They thought the only evidence of God’s action in the crucifixion would have been if Jesus was taken down from the cross.

Likewise we only see God’s hand when he takes us down from our little crosses.  When He spares our child, gives us the grade, provides for our budget, or heals our disease.  In 2 Cor 5:19, Paul says “In Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting people’s sins against them.”  What Paul is saying is that God was not less present in Jesus’ abandonment on the cross, but by leaving Jesus on the cross to the death, He was more present and more active than at any time in history.  God was there, in the abandoned Christ, working redemption and forgiveness.  Where was God on Good Friday?  He was in not only in heaven, judging our sins in the man Christ Jesus, but He was in Christ, atoning for us through His sinless life and death.  He was there at the cross glorifying Himself more than He has in any healing, military victory, or miraculous delivery.  The God we worship is not only present when we are delivered and relieved, but He is ever so much more present through our suffering and pain, working a redemption better than we ever could have hoped for.  

The True Demerit of Sin

Posted: March 29, 2013 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Sanctification

 “Never was sin seen to be more abominably sinful and full of provocation than when the burden of it was upon the shoulders of the Son of God…Would you, then, see the true demerit of sin?—take the measure of it from the mediation of Christ, especially his cross.”

John Owen:(Communion with the Triune God,  203-04)

John 6 – D.A. Carson

Posted: March 28, 2013 by doulos tou Theou in Biblical Studies, Christianity, Discipleship

JESUS DECLARES HIMSELF TO BE the “bread of life” (John 6:35), the “bread of God” (6:33).

The language is metaphorical, of course. That is made clear by John 6:35, where the metaphor is unpacked just a little: “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” One normally eats bread; one does not “come” to bread or “believe” in bread. Thus what Jesus means by eating this bread of life must be largely equivalent to what it means to come to Jesus and believe in him.

This “bread of life discourse” (as it is called) follows the feeding of the five thousand (6:1-15). There Jesus provides bread and fish to the hungry masses. These were the staple foods of Galilee; he provided what was needed to sustain life. But in this gospel the evangelist points out that Jesus’ miracles are not mere events of power, they are significant: they point beyond themselves, like signs. This miracle points to the fact that Jesus not only provides bread, but rightly understood he is bread. He is the staple apart from which there is no real life at all.

Further, he is the ultimate “manna” (6:30-33). His interlocutors remind him that Moses provided manna, “bread from heaven” (Ex. 16), and they want him to do the same. After all, he had done it the day before in the feeding of the five thousand. If Jesus has performed the miracle once, why not again — and again and again? Isn’t that what Moses did?

But Jesus insists the ultimate source of the “bread from heaven” was not Moses but God, and the ultimate “bread from heaven” was not the manna of the wilderness years, but the One who came down from heaven — Jesus himself. After all, everyone who ate the manna in the wilderness died. Those who eat the ultimate bread from heaven, the antitype of the manna, never die.

People in an agrarian culture understand that almost everything they eat is something that has died. We think of food as packaged things. The reality is that when you eat a hamburger, you are eating a dead cow, dead wheat, dead lettuce, dead tomatoes, dead onions, and so forth. The chief exception is the odd mineral, like salt. Jesus’ audience, and John’s readership, understood that other things die so that we may live; if those other things don’t die, we do. Jesus gives his life so that we may live; either he dies, or we do. He is the true bread from heaven who gives his life “for the life of the world” (6:51).

 

 

from D.A. Carson

Rejoice on your way

Posted: March 28, 2013 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship, Spurgeon

“Now, you need not ask tonight whether you are God’s elect. I ask another question — Do you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ? If you do, you are His elect — if you do not, the question is not to be decided by us yet. If you are God’s chosen ones, you will know it by your trusting in Jesus. Simple as that trust is, it is the infallible proof of election! God never sets the brand of faith upon a soul whom Christ had not bought with His blood. And if you believe, all eternity is yours! Your name is in God’s Book, you are a favored one of Heaven, the Divine decrees all point to you — go your way and rejoice!”

– C.H. Spurgeon

John 5- D.A. Carson

Posted: March 27, 2013 by doulos tou Theou in Biblical Studies, Christianity, Discipleship

ONE OF THE MOST STRIKING biblical passages dealing with what it means to confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God is John 5:16-30.

In a preindustrial culture, the majority of sons do what their father does. A baker’s son becomes a baker; a farmer’s son becomes a farmer. This stance — like father, like son — enables Jesus on occasion to refer to his own followers as “sons of God.” Thus Jesus declares, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9). In other words, God himself is the supreme peacemaker; therefore, people who are peacemakers act, in this respect, like God, and therefore can be designated, in this respect, “sons of God.”

That is the kind of functional category with which Jesus begins in John 5:17. When challenged about his “working” on the Sabbath, he does not offer a different reading of what “Sabbath” means, or suggest that what he was doing was not “work” but some deed of mercy or necessity; rather, he justifies his “working” by saying that he is only doing what his Father does. His Father works (even on the Sabbath, or providence itself would cease!), and so does he.

His interlocutors perceive that this is an implicit claim to equality with God (5:18). Yet almost certainly they misunderstand Jesus in one respect. They think the claim blasphemous, because it would make Jesus into another God — and they are quite right to hold that there is but one God. Jesus responds with two points. First, he insists he is functionally dependent on his Father: “the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing” (5:19). Jesus is not another “God-center”: he is functionally subordinate to his Father. Yet second, this functional subordination is itself grounded in the fact that this Son does whatever the Father does (5:19). Christians may be “sons of God” in certain respects; Jesus is the unique Son, in that “whatever the Father does the Son also does.” If the Father creates, so does the Son: indeed, the Son is the Father’s agent in creation (1:2-3). In the following verses, the Son, like the Father, raises people from the dead, and is the Father’s agent in the final judgment.

Muslims with little grasp of Christian theology think the Christian Trinity is made up of God, Mary, and Jesus: God copulated with Mary and produced Jesus. They think the notion bizarre and blasphemous, and they are right. But this is not what we hold, nor what Scripture teaches. I wish they could study John 5.

I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

 

 

from D.A. Carson

Good & Desirable

Posted: March 27, 2013 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship

“This book… will simply be about growing in our enjoyment of God and seeing how God’s triune being makes all his ways beautiful. It is a chance to taste and see that the Lord is good, to have your heart won and yourself refreshed. For it is only when you grasp what it means for God to be a Trinity that you really sense the beauty, the overflowing kindness, the heart-grabbing loveliness of God. If the Trinity were something we could shave off God, we would not be relieving him of some irksome weight; we would be shearing him of precisely what is so delightful about him. For God is triune, and it is as triune that he is so good and desirable.”

– Michael Reeves, Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith (IVP, 2012)

“No man’s sufferings ever have been, or ever can be, as voluntary as were the sufferings of Christ… It is the divinity of Christ that tests his human heroism on a pinnacle beyond the reach of any rivals in heroic martyrdom… He only had complete and absolute power to save himself all through his Passion, and all through it at every second he actively refused to do so. This magnified beyond conception the intensity of his ordeal. The crucifixion is the unique example of an entirely and totally voluntary acceptance of extreme suffering and of agonising death in the presence of total ability to escape them at any moment.”

K.C. Thompson, Once For All quoted in Michael Green, The Empty Cross of Jesus.

Exodus 25; John 4 – D.A. Carson

Posted: March 26, 2013 by doulos tou Theou in Biblical Studies, Christianity, Discipleship

EXODUS 25 AND JOHN 4 are canonically tied together.

The former begins the instructions for the construction of the tabernacle and its accoutrements (Ex. 25 — 30). The tabernacle is the forerunner of the temple, built in Solomon’ s day. Repeatedly in these chapters God says, “See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain,” (25:40) or “Set up the tabernacle according to the plan shown you on the mountain” (26:30) or the like. The epistle to the Hebrews picks up on this point. The tabernacle and temple were not arbitrary designs; they reflected a heavenly reality. “This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: ‘See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain’”(Heb. 8:5).

John 4 finds Jesus in discussion with a Samaritan woman. Samaritans believed that the proper place to worship God was not Jerusalem, home of the temple, but on Mounts Gerizim and Ebal, since these were the last places stipulated for such worship when the people entered the land (Deut. 11:29Josh. 8:33). They did not accept as Scripture the texts concerning the monarchy. The woman wants to know what Jesus thinks: Is the appropriate place for worship these mountains, near where they are standing, or Jerusalem (John 4:20)?

Jesus insists that the time is dawning when neither place will suffice (4:21). This does not mean that Jesus views the Samaritan alternative as enjoying credentials equal to those of Jerusalem. Far from it: he sides with the Jews in this debate, since they are the ones that follow the full sweep of Old Testament Scripture, including the move from the tabernacle to the temple in Jerusalem (4:22). “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks” (4:23).

This means: (1) With the coming of Christ Jesus and the dawning of the new covenant, appropriate worship will no longer be tied to a specific geographic location. Implicitly, this announces the obsolescence of the temple. Worship will be as geographically extensive as the Spirit, as God himself who is spirit (4:24). (2) Worship will not only be “in spirit” but “in truth.” In the context of this gospel, this does not mean that worship must be sincere (“true” in that sense); rather, it must be in line with what is ultimately true, the very manifestation of truth, Jesus Christ himself. He is the “true light” (1:9), the true temple (2:19 — 22), the true bread from heaven (6:25ff.), and more. True worshipers worship in spirit and in truth.

 

from D.A. Carson

We have cause to bless Him

Posted: March 26, 2013 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship, Sanctification

 “Though the lives of men are dear and precious to God, yet they are not as precious as His glory.  The glory of His name is a thousand, thousand times more dear unto God than the lives of thousands and thousands of people…We think much to have the lives of men taken away, but if we knew what the glory of God meant, and what infinite reason there is that God should be glorified, we would not think it so much that the lives of so many men should go for the glory of God.  It is mercy that our lives have not gone many times for God’s glory.  How often might God have glorified Himself in taking away our lives?  We have cause to bless Him that our lives have been preserved for as long as they have.”

Jeremiah Burroughs: (Gospel Worship, 28)

THE NEW TESTAMENT ACCOUNTS of the “words of institution”: — i.e., the words that institute the Lord’ s Supper as an ongoing rite — vary somewhat, but their commonalities are striking. Luke 22:7-20 allows us to reflect on some elements of one of those accounts.

All three synoptic Gospels indicate that Jesus ordered his disciples to prepare for a Passover meal; Luke stresses the point (22:1, 7-8, 11, 15). Jesus wants his own actions and words to be understood in the light of that earlier traditional feast. The Passover celebrated not only the release of the Israelites from bondage, but the way that release was accomplished: in God’ s plan, the angel of death “passed over” the houses protected by the sacrificial blood, while all the other homes in Egypt lost their firstborn. Moreover, this miraculous exodus set the stage for the inauguration of the Sinai covenant. So when Jesus now takes bread at a Passover meal and says, “This is my body given for you” (22:19), and when he takes the cup and says, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (22:20), one hears more than overtones from the old covenant ritual. This side of the cross, one cannot avoid the conclusion that Jesus sees his own death, the shedding of his own blood, as the God-provided sacrifice which averts the wrath of God, that he himself is the Passover Lamb of God par excellence, and that his death establishes a covenant with the people of God by releasing them from a darker, deeper slavery.

Someone has said that the four most disputed words in the history of the church are “This is my body.” Without entering the lists on all that might be said about this clause, surely we can agree that one of its functions, as it is repeated in the ritual that Christ Jesus himself prescribed, is commemorative: “Do this in remembrance of me” (22:19). It is shocking that this should be necessary, in exactly the same way that it is shocking that a commemorative rite like the Passover should have been necessary. But history shows how quickly the people of God drift toward peripheral matters, and end up ignoring or denying the center. By a simple rite, Jesus wants his followers to come back to his death, his shed blood, his broken body, again and again and again.

It is also an anticipatory rite. It looks forward to the consummated kingdom, when the Passover and the Lord’ s Supper alike find their fulfillment (22:16, 18). We eat and drink as he prescribes “until he comes” (1 Cor. 11:26), when commemoration and proclamation will be swallowed up by the bliss of his presence.

 

 

from D.A. Carson

The victorious energy

Posted: March 25, 2013 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship, Spurgeon, Uncategorized

 

Salvation is often accomplished by a lengthened process. I have heard that when builders wanted to bridge a great chasm, they shot across the river an arrow or a bullet that drew with it a tiny thread. That was all the communication from bank to bank, and the rolling torrent was far below.

Despise not the day of small things! The insignificant beginning was prophetic of grand results. By means of that little thread they drew across a piece of twine. When they had safely grasped it on the other side, they bound a small rope to the end of twine, and they drew the rope across. Then to that rope they tied a cable, and they drew the cable across. And now over that chasm there strides an iron bridge, along which the train rattles with his mighty load.

So does Jesus unite us to Himself. He may employ at first an insignificant thread of thought, then a sense of pleasant interest, then some deeper feeling, then a crushing emotion, then a faint faith, then stronger faith, then stronger yet, until, as last, we come to be firmly bound to Christ. Be thankful if you have only a thread of communication between you and Jesus, for it will lead to more. Something more hopeful will be drawn across the gulf before long. Christ’s attractions are often very gradually revealed, and their victorious energy is not felt all at once.

— Charles SpurgeonThe Power of the Cross of Christ

 

HT:OFI