Archive for the ‘The Christian Life’ Category

The Mount of Disappointment

Posted: March 12, 2015 by boydmonster in The Christian Life, Trinity Sermons

On the Friday before I preached this sermon, I learned that my dad would likely need to be taken off of life support soon.  I had already begun preparing this sermon in the midst of my dad’s illness, not knowing that he would’t survive.  Although my associate was ready to preach, I decided to go ahead and preach this sermon.  My hope was that as I brought this message of hope in the midst of sorrow other strugglers might believe the wonderful truths of the gospel.  If it is helpful to you, I thank God.  If it can be helpful to others, please pass it along.

In Him,

Iain

http://www.trinitymyrtlebeach.org/sermon/february-15th-2015/

I preach to you today with a heavy heart. Thursday after work, Shelly and I drove up to Charlotte to check on my Dad and my family. For those of you who do not know, Dad went in to the hospital 3 and a half weeks ago with the flu and has been largely unconscious for most of the time since then. He had been showing some signs of progress with improved lung and kidney function. He had even opened his eyes and responded to some pain tests. When we went to go see Dad on Friday, we were told that there was no reason for him to not be awake and so they were going to do an MRI to see if they could find a reason. On the way home, I got a phone call from my brother. The MRI showed that Dad has had a number of strokes. They are on both sides of his brain and up the middle of his brain as well. At this point, his chances of survival are negligible. Even if he does survive, his quality of life will likely be dismal

That news came on the wake of a lot of ups and downs. At several points the medical professionals and we thought Dad was going to pull through, only to have our hopes dashed by another new development in his case. I stand before you today on a Mountain of Disappointment. Not the least point of disappointment is that on Friday when we heard they were going to do an MRI, I had a bad feeling and so I asked you all to pray. After sending that out, I had a sense of hopefulness that God’s people were praying to their loving heavenly father. That prayer was not answered the way I had hoped it would be.

I tell you all that today not for your sympathy. I cannot say how much I appreciate it and how much I need your prayers. I have been encouraged a hundred fold in the way that this church has carried me and my family through this time. Were I to live a hundred lifetimes, I could not pay you back. I tell you this today because I want to take the gravity of this situation and appeal to you to turn your eyes to some wonderful truths.

I know, that you too have stood, are standing, and will stand on the Mount of Disappointment. You have seen the all too early demise of loved ones. You have seen marriages not turn out the way you thought they would. You have lost your jobs and struggled to support your families. You have seen your children walk into pains that you would have given your life to keep them from.

You have stood there and you have wondered where God is. You have wondered if He cares. You have wondered why it has to be this way. You have wondered if you’ll ever be able to be the same again.

I want you to come with me this morning on a trip to some other Mountains of Disappointment. Stand with me if you will on Mount Nebo, the highest point in the Pisgah mountain range just east of the Jordan River. Stand there and see the man Moses.

If ever there was a man who had reason to hope in God, it was Moses. Imagine him thinking back through the years when he climbed Mt Sinai to meet with the Lord. He and the people of Israel had seen God do wondrous and powerful things in Egypt. Imagine as he speaks face to face with God and dreams of entering into the Promised Land as the people of God.

(more…)

Rowan Williams points out that the Greek of the Nicene Creed does not say that we believe in the Church, but “that we believe the Church.” Williams suggests that means that the church which tells us to believe in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is not to have the same status as what we say we believe when we affirm our belief in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. But, Williams argues, because we believe that the Holy Spirit vivifies the church, we can trust the church when we are told by the church to believe in the Holy Spirit. We believe as Christians that the Holy Spirit makes us believers in the Holy Spirit through the witness of the church. The Holy Spirit is, therefore, at once the subject and the object of our faith. That is why the Holy Spirit is rightly understood to be the animating principle of the central practices that makes the church the church – that is, it is the Spirit that makes preaching, baptism and Eucharist more than just another way of communication, initiation, of sharing a meal

The article is a little long, but well worth your time. Read it at link below.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2013/11/14/3891054.htm

The happiest way of living

Posted: November 12, 2013 by doulos tou Theou in Discipleship, Spurgeon, The Christian Life

“Every day I find it most healthy to my own soul to try and walk as a saint, but in order to do so, I must continually come to Christ as a sinner. I would seek to be perfect. I would strain after every virtue, and forsake every false way. But still, as to my standing before God, I find it happiest to sit where I sat when first I looked to Jesus, on the rock of His works, having nothing to do with my own righteousness, but only with His.

Depend on it, dear Friends, the happiest way of living is to live as a poor sinner, and as nothing at all—having Jesus Christ as All in All. You may have all your growths in sanctification, all your progress in graces, all the development of your virtues that you will. But still I do earnestly pray you never to put any of these where Christ should be. If you have begun in Christ, then finish in Christ. If you have begun in the flesh, and then go on in the flesh, we know what the sure result will be. But if you have begun with Jesus Christ as your Alpha, let Him be your Omega.

— Charles Spurgeon
The Blessing of Full Assurance: Sermons on 1 John

HT:OFI

1Cor 4 , D.A. Carson

Posted: September 19, 2013 by doulos tou Theou in Biblical Studies, Christianity, The Christian Life

PAUL IN 1 CORINTHIANS 3 HAS BEEN telling the Corinthians how not to view servants of Christ. They are not to view any particular servant of Christ as a group guru, for that means other servants of Christ are implicitly inferior. When each different group within the church has its own Christian guru, there are therefore two evils: unnecessary division within the church, and a censorious condescension that pronounces judgment on who is worthy to be a guru and who is not. Paul insists that all that God has for the church in a Paul or an Apollos or a Cephas rightly belongs to the whole church (1 Cor. 3:21–22).

At the beginning of 1 Corinthians 4, Paul goes on to tell the Corinthians how they are to view servants of Christ: “as those entrusted with the secret things of God” (1 Cor. 4:1). The word rendered “secret things” does not mean “mysterious things” or “things that only the elite of the elect may learn.” The word is often rendered “mysteries” in our older versions. In the New Testament, it most commonly refers to something that God has in some measure kept veiled, hidden, or secret in the past, but which he is now making abundantly clear in Christ Jesus. In short, these “servants of Christ” are entrusted with the Gospel—all that God has made clear in the coming of Jesus Christ.

Those given a trust must prove faithful to the one to whom they are accountable (1 Cor. 4:2). For that reason, Paul knows that how the Corinthians view him is of little importance; indeed, how he assesses himself has no great significance either (1 Cor. 4:3). Paul knows that it is important to keep a clear conscience before the Lord. But it is possible to have a clear conscience and still be guilty of many things, because conscience is not a perfect instrument. Conscience may be misinformed or hardened. The only person whose judgment is absolutely right, and of ultimate importance, is the Lord himself (1 Cor. 4:4). It follows that the Corinthians should not appoint themselves judges over all the “servants of Christ” whom Christ sends. When the Lord returns, the final accounting will become clear. At that point, Paul says, “each will receive his praise from God” (1 Cor. 4:5)—a wonderful thought, for it appears that the final Judge will prove more encouraging and positive than many human judges.

Some place remains in the church for discernment and judgment: see tomorrow’s meditation! But there are always batteries of critics who go way “beyond what is written” (1 Cor. 4:6) with legalistic tests of their own disgruntled devising, attaching themselves to their gurus and abominating the rest. They often think they are prophetic, whereas in fact their pretensions come close to usurping God’s place.

 

 

from D.A. Carson’s blog

1 cor 3 , D.A. Carson

Posted: September 18, 2013 by doulos tou Theou in Biblical Studies, Christianity, The Christian Life

THE TWO EXTENDED METAPHORS that Paul deploys in 1 Corinthians 3:5–15 make roughly the same point, although each carries a special shading not found in the other.

In the agricultural metaphor (1 Cor. 3:5–9), the Lord is the farmer, Paul prepares the ground and plants the seed, Apollos waters the fledgling plants, and the Corinthians are “God’s field” (1 Cor. 5:9). In the context, which is designed to combat the Corinthians’ penchant for division based on attaching themselves to particular “heroes” (1 Cor. 3:3–4), Paul is concerned to show that he and Apollos are not competitors, but “fellow workers” (1 Cor. 5:9)—indeed, “God’s fellow workers” (i.e., they are fellow workers who belong to God, not fellow workers along with God, as if God makes up a threesome). Not only so, but neither Paul nor Apollos can guarantee fruit: God alone makes the seed grow (1 Cor. 3:6–7). So why adopt a reverential stance toward either Paul or Apollos?

The architectural metaphor initially makes the same point: the various builders all contribute to one building, and therefore none should be idolized. Now the Corinthians are not the field, but the building itself (1 Cor. 3:9–10). Paul laid the foundation of this building; otherwise put, he planted the church in Corinth. The foundation that Paul laid is Jesus Christ himself (1 Cor. 3:11). Since his departure from this building project, others have come and built on this foundation. Thus, so far the architectural metaphor implicitly makes the same point that the agricultural metaphor made explicitly.

But now the architectural metaphor turns in a slightly different direction. Paul insists that later builders are responsible to choose with care the material they put into this building (1 Cor. 3:12–15). A “Day” is coming (1 Cor. 3:13), the day of judgment, when all that is not precious in God’s sight will be consumed. It is possible that a builder could use such shoddy materials that in the end, all that he has built is devoured, even if he himself escapes the flames.

Two observations: (1) The person Paul describes as being “saved, but only as one escaping through the flames” (1 Cor. 3:15), is not some purely nominal Christian whose conduct is indifferentiable from that of any pagan. Such do not enter the kingdom (1 Cor. 6:9–10). This is a “builder,” not the mass of Christians who constitute the “building” (1 Cor. 3:10). The question is whether these evangelists and pastors are using proper materials. (2) In 1 Corinthians 3:16–17, the building, the church of God, becomes a temple. Later on, God’s temple is the individual Christian’s body (1 Cor. 6:19–20), but here it is the local church. God loves this building so much that he openly threatens to destroy those who destroy God’s temple. Damage the church, and you desecrate God’s temple—and God will destroy you.

 

 

from D.A. Carson’s blog

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

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