Archive for August, 2013

Luther, in a sermon on John 16:33

Posted: August 29, 2013 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship

 

It is as though Christ wanted to say: “My dear friend, write the word ‘I’ with a very large capital letter, in order that you may see it well and take it into your heart. . . . It does not matter that you are small and weak; I am all the larger and stronger. . . .”

Christ declares: I have already overcome the world. Thus the great and the small, the rich and the poor, will join hands and be a match for the great monster behemoth. If he tries to swallow and devour you as if you were a little gnat, I will become a big camel in his throat and tear My way through his belly until he bursts and has to return you in one piece, whether he wants to or not. I am the One who says this to you.

But you must turn your eyes from yourselves and be sure to consider who I am, in order that you may be able to say: “Listen, death, devil, pope, emperor, and world, you are really putting on airs. You are showing your long, sharp teeth and are opening your jaws wide. Compared with you I am a poor little worm. This is true. But what do you think about Him who says: ‘I am the One’ and ‘I have overcome the world’–says this to me and tells me to rely confidently on it?”

– Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 24: Sermons on the Gospel of St. John Chapter 14-16, p. 415-17

Praise for Martin Luther

Posted: August 29, 2013 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, The Christian Life

“In my opinion Charles Wesley is the finest English hymn-writer, Thomas Cranmer the best liturgist, William Tyndale the most perceptive Bible translator, Hugh Latimer the finest preacher, and the Westminster divines the ablest catechists. Imagine all of these gifted people gathered up into one individual.

What it took a dozen Englishmen two hundred years to do Martin Luther did in twenty.”

– Victor Shepherd, Witnesses to the Word: Fifty Profiles of Faithful Servants (Clements, 2001), 33

Gospel Promises

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

“Those whom God has chosen to salvation by Christ, are those whom God specially loves in this world. They are the jewels among mankind. He cares more for them than for kings on their thrones, if kings are not converted. He hears their prayers. He orders all the events of nations and the issues of wars for their good, and their sanctification. He keeps them by His Spirit. He allows neither man nor devil to pluck them out of His hand. Whatever tribulation comes on the world, God’s elect are safe. May we never rest until we know that we are of this blessed number! There breathes not the man or woman who can prove that he is not one. The promises of the Gospel are open to all. May we give diligence to make our calling and election sure! God’s elect are a people who cry unto Him night and day. When Paul saw the faith, and hope, and love of the Thessalonians, then he knew ‘their election of God.’” (1 Thess. 1:4; Luke 18:7.)

– J.C. Ryle

Go to the Cross

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

“If it is I who determine where God is to be found, then I shall always find a God who corresponds to me in some way…

But if God determines where he is to be found, then it will be in a place which is not at all congenial to me…

whoever would find him must go to the foot of the Cross…

This is not according to our nature at all, it is entirely contrary to it. But this is the message of the Bible.”

– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

We must never forget that we do not replace Jesus on earth, or even partner with him in the strictest sense. The work is still his, and Jesus is still the one working. Our role is to bear witness to the person and work of Christ. That’s really the point of Acts: to show the apostles as Christ’s witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth (1:8).

Read the whole article at Kevin DeYoung s blog

“Reader, would you have more faith? Then seek to become more acquainted with Jesus Christ. Study your blessed Savior more and more, and strive to know more of the length and breadth and height of His love. Study Him in all His offices, as the Priest, the Physician, the Redeemer, the Advocate, the Friend, the Teacher, the Shepherd of His believing people.

Study Him as one who not only died for you—but is also living for you at the right hand of God; as one who not only shed His blood for you—but daily intercedes for you at the right hand of God; as one who is soon coming again for you, and will stand once more on this earth.

The miner who is fully persuaded that the rope which draws him up from the pit will not break, is drawn up without anxiety and alarm. The believer who is thoroughly acquainted with the fullness of Jesus Christ, is the believer who travels from grace to glory with the greatest comfort and peace.”

– J. C. Ryle, Faith in Christ

Roman 10

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

HERE I WISH TO REFLECT on one small part of Romans 10.

As part of his insistence that Jews and Gentiles alike must be saved by faith or not at all, the apostle Paul reviews the fundamental Christian “word of faith”: “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom. 10:9). This is then slightly expanded: “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (Rom. 10:10). The additional verse does not lay out salvation in two discrete steps: step one, believe in your heart and be justified; step two, confess with your mouth and be saved. This would almost imply that justification can take place apart from salvation, and that faith is an inadequate means that must be supplemented by confession. It would be closer to the apostle’s thought to say that the two lines are parallel—not because each says exactly the same thing as the other (they don’t), but because each throws light on the other, clarifying the other, expounding a little what the other means. Faith in the heart without confession with the mouth thus becomes unbelievable; conversely, confession with the mouth that is merely formal and not generated by faith in the heart is not what the apostle has in mind either. He propounds the faith that generates confession; this confession is borne along by faith. Out of this faith/confession comes justification/salvation—again, overlapping categories, such that in Paul you can’t have one without the other.

So Paul drives the point home: in this respect there is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for the same Lord is Lord of all, and blesses all who call on him, as Scripture says: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom. 10:13Joel 2:32). That means that Christians need to send people with the good news, for otherwise how shall people call on him of whom they have not heard (Rom. 10:14–15)?

The point to observe is that the same Paul who insists so strongly in Romans 8 and 9 that God is unconditionally sovereign insists no less strongly in Romans 10 that people must believe in their hearts and confess gospel truth with their mouths if they are to be saved, and lays on the conscience of believers the imperative to bring this good news to those who have not heard. Any theology that attempts to diminish God’s sovereignty by appealing to human freedom is as profoundly un-Pauline as any theology that somehow diminishes human responsibility and accountability by appealing to some crude, divine fatalism.

 

 

from D.A. Carson’s Blog