Friday, 30 May 2008

Genesis 38

I have honestly never seen a sermon series on Genesis that has ever included Gen 38

By itself it has been preached on as:
1. A demonstration of the unbelief of the family of Israel
2. A interlude to show us that the line of Christ would come via Judah
3. Comparisons with the story of Ruth (here's an interesting one - http://the48files.blogspot.com/2008/04/judah-and-tamar-retold.html)
4. Moses makes an error (!?)
5. Chronological necessity

Yet no one seems to want to explain why Judah & Tamar are interposed into the story of Joseph's life - my guess is because they don't see everything being about Jesus

So here's my attempt at it... (feel free to criticise)

Gen 37
- We start of with Joseph - the picture or type of Christ - Son of His Father
- His first coat - the coat of many colours - the splendour/glory He had with His Father - even before the world began
- We see him dream of exaltation - the Lamb that would be exalted on high
- Yet his brothers - the first shepherds - would hate him for that dream, he knows they would kill him, and through him into the pit, they would claim a lion has devoured him - Christ knows that the Lamb has to be slain before the foundation of the world

- Then so it begins - he is sold into slavery into Egypt - and indeed out of Egypt He would be called
- Now we take a look at Judah - the rejected shepherd - dwelling in the land of Canaan, loving the Canaanites - allied with such despicable angels
- There is no fruit for this Adam - his alliance with the wicked will only lead to death - and so his seed produced only bad fruit, and the tree is cut down and thrown into the fire
- Yet the promised one will come out from this Adam - not through a normal conception - but a through a strange intercourse!
- So the one who is a prostitute, spurned by the her lovers, comes into a secret birth - she is given seed from one who is higher than her husband, her father even
- Her child is unrecognisable, veiled for who He is, with only a scarlet thread to mark his line, although the wood, the seal and the cord would identify her prodigy
- her husband wants to reject her, but cannot, for her line is that of the Messiah
- it is He who is called the breach - the one who will tear down the dividing wall, and bring those who dwell in Canaan to God

- Then Joseph, born in Canaan, sent to Egypt, grows in favour and in stature with God and men
- an innocent man then accused - delivered up for the transgressions of others - rejecting the temptations of the whore of Babylon
- after a little while He is risen again - condemning the flesh, and offering wine again to His master on high - Joseph's vision is beginning to come into reality
- He is exalted back to the one who is the true King - and sends out others in a time of famine to show them where they all may find bread

So that's my sketchy understanding of the story of Christ in Gen 37-40

More of the rest of the story can be found on Prentice's sermon on Gen 40-41

There's also an excellent book by Octavius Winslow (late 19th Century) (but I have yet to read it)

Judged according to what they had done

What's this about?

11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and
sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the
dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened.
Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged
according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the
dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them,
and each person was judged according to what he had done. 14 Then death and
Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.
15 If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown
into the lake of fire. (Rev 20:11-15)


Gotta preach on it on Sunday evening. So I've gotta explain the millenium, the second death and judgement 'accordging to what they had done.' Hmm...

Any help??

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Praise God for the Furnace

Excerpt from A. W. Tozer

It was the enraptured Rutherford who could shout in the midst of serious and painful trials, "Praise God for the hammer, the file and the furnace."
The hammer is a useful tool, but the nail, if it had feeling and intelligence, could present another side of the story. For the nail knows the hammer only as an opponent, a brutal, merciless enemy who lives to pound it into submission, to beat it down out of sight and clinch it into place. That is the nail's view of the hammer, and it is accurate except for one thing: The nail forgets that both it and the hammer are servants of the same workman. Let the nail but remember that the hammer is held by the workman and all resentment toward it will disappear. The carpenter decides whose head will be beaten next and what hammer shall be used in the beating. That is his sovereign right. When the nail has surrendered to the will of the workman and has gotten a little glimpse of his benign plans for its future it will yield to the hammer without complaint.

The file is more painful still, for its business is to bite into the soft metal, scraping and eating away the edges till it has shaped the metal to its will. Yet the file has, in truth, no real will in the matter, but serves another master as the metal also does. It is the master and not the file that decides how much shall be eaten away, what shape the metal shall take, and how long the painful filing shall continue. Let the metal accept the will of the master and it will not try to dictate when or how it shall be filed.

As for the furnace, it is the worst of all. Ruthless and savage, it leaps at every combustible thing that enters it and never relaxes its fury till it has reduced it all to shapeless ashes. All that refuses to burn is melted to a mass of helpless matter, without will or purpose of its own. When everything is melted that will melt and all is burned that will burn, then and not till then the furnace calms down and rests from its destructive fury.

With all this known to him, how could Rutherford find it in his heart to praise God for the hammer, the file and the furnace? The answer is simply that he loved the Master of the hammer, he adored the Workman who wielded the file, he worshiped the Lord who heated the furnace for the everlasting blessing of His children. He had felt the hammer till its rough beatings no longer hurt; he had endured the file till he had come actually to enjoy its bitings; he had walked with God in the furnace so long that it had become as his natural habitat. That does not overstate the facts. His letters reveal as much.

Such doctrine as this does not find much sympathy among Christians in these soft and carnal days. We tend to think of Christianity as a painless system by which we can escape the penalty of past sins and attain to heaven at last. The flaming desire to be rid of every unholy thing and to put on the likeness of Christ at any cost is not often found among us. We expect to enter the everlasting kingdom of our Father and to sit down around the table with sages, saints and martyrs; and through the grace of God, maybe we shall; yes, maybe we shall. But for the most of us it could prove at first an embarrassing experience. Ours might be the silence of the untried soldier in the presence of the battle-hardened heroes who have fought the fight and won the victory and who have scars to prove that they were present when the battle was joined.

The devil, things and people being what they are, it is necessary for God to use the hammer, the file and the furnace in His holy work of preparing a saint for true sainthood. It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.

Without doubt we of this generation have become too soft to scale great spiritual heights. Salvation has come to mean deliverance from unpleasant things. Our hymns and sermons create for us a religion of consolation and pleasantness. We overlook the pace of the thorns, the cross and the blood. We ignore the function of the hammer and the file.

Strange as it may sound, it is yet true that much of the suffering we are called upon to endure on the highway of holiness is an inward suffering for which scarcely an external cause can be found. For our journey is an inward journey, and our real foes are invisible to the eyes of men. Attacks of darkness, of despondency, of acute self-depreciation may be endured without any change in our outward circumstances. Only the enemy and God and the hard-pressed Christian know what has taken place. The inward suffering has been great and a mighty work of purification has been accomplished, but the heart [knows] its own sorrow and no one else can share it. God has cleansed His child in the only way He can, circumstance being what they are. Thank God for the furnace.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Sinfulness of Sin - 2

More from Venning:

The difference between the saints & the wicked in dealing with sin:

The saints:
1. They bear witnesss against sin
2. They give adivce and cousel to men against sin
3. They reprove sin
4. They withdraw from the company of sinners
5. They mourn over other men's sins
6. They pray and endeavour to get pardon for the sins of those who harldy seek for it themselves
7. They witness against their own sin
8. They will not sin even when they have opportunity
9. They would rather suffer than sin
10. They will not sin though grace abound
11. They take care and use means to prevent sin
12. They are always praying that they may not sin
13. They hide the Word of God in their heart
14. They abstain from the appearances and occcasions of evil
15. The main thing that keeps them from committing sin, or for which they repent when they have committed it, is that it is against God
16. They abhor all sin- all kinds, and all degrees of sin - they hate sin as sin
17. They abhor all their secret sins - even those unknown to them
18. They are against all inclinations to sin
19. They cannot content themselves not to do evil - they must also do good
20. They abhor sins committed and themselves for committing it
21. They are restless until sin is purged as well as pardoned
22. They justify God when He chastises and afflicts them for having sinned
23. They take a holy revent on themselves and become more zealous for God
24. They desire to die only to be rid of sin

The wicked:
1. They may consider some things to be sinful
2. They may be ashamed of committing it
3. They give sins new names (e.g. Drunkenness is good fellowship)
4. They do as much as possible in the dark
5. They may be tormented while sinning (e.g. Amnon)
6. They may sin under a form of godliness
7. They may be ashamed of sin after they commit it
8. They dare not own their sin
9. They cannot endure to be called by the name of the sin they practise
10. They palliate, excuse and disavow sin
11. They deny that they have sinned
12. They dare not look into their actions or call themselves to account
13. They will decry and punish sin in others what they themselve are guilty of to better conceal their own or to compensate for it
14. Yet they desire to die the death of the righteous

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Revival

Here's the full Duncan Campbell Sermon!

http://www.mediafire.com/?uxyo3xvsdnc

____________________________
Ever seen this? No?

Then you really should!

Mr Eddy

(from news.bbc.co.uk)

Church to debate convert motion

A traditionalist Anglican has said he will continue with a campaign for the Church of England to work explicitly to convert Muslims to Christianity.

Paul Eddy, a lay member of the General Synod, has come under intense pressure from bishops to withdraw his plan.

But he has secured enough support for his motion to be debated at the next meeting of the Church's ruling body.

The motion calls on the Church to proclaim Christianity as the only route to ultimate salvation.

Mr Eddy, who is training to become a priest, has been denounced by some Muslims, but says the Church can no longer avoid hard questions about its beliefs.

He said he had received angry e-mails and telephone calls from senior figures in the Church denouncing his motion.

No-go areas

Mr Eddy claims to have the backing of at least 124 members of the synod, including the Bishops of Rochester, Carlisle and Chester.

Speaking to the Sunday programme on BBC Radio Four, he said that in an effort to be inclusive and inoffensive, the church had "lost its nerve" and was "not doing what the Bible says".

"Both Christianity and Islam are missionary faiths," he said. "For years, we have sent missionaries throughout the whole world, but when we have the privilege of people of all nations on our doorstep, we have a responsibility as the state church to share the gospel of Jesus Christ."

Mr Eddy claimed that 20% of parishes contained populations in which 60% of people were not Christian.

And he said that without a concerted effort, the church was in danger of creating "no-go areas for the gospel".

"Most Muslims that I've talked to say, 'I really wish that Christians would stop watering down their faith and expecting us to do the same.'

"Until we start really saying what we really believe in our faith, there will be no respect.

"Actually, to present to a Muslim that we believe Jesus is the only way to God, they'll say, 'We know that'.

"They will expect us - if we're true Christians - to try to evangelise them, in the same way they will expect us, if they're true Muslims, to adopt their faith."

Risk of alienation

Mr Eddy called for a code of good practice to be drawn up by bishops to give church members advice on how to evangelise.

It should also give advice, he said, on how to support Muslims who choose to convert and are then ostracised by their communities.

BBC News religious affairs correspondent Robert Piggott says Mr Eddy's stance is likely to alienate many Muslims at a highly-sensitive time in the relationship between Islam and Christianity in the UK.

Our correspondent added that the motion is a sign of the conservative evangelical wing of the Church flexing its muscles to oppose what it warns is a watering down of Christian values in deference especially to Muslims.

The summer meeting of the synod is from 4 July to 8 July in York.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

The Great Gospel in Marriage

Jacky's written a full essay on marriage in Scripture from Eph 5

read it here:

The Great Gospel

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Mysteries Revealed in Christ's Fullness

The term 'mystery' used in the NT has been very mysteriously used in commentaries, always implying that there was something unknown in times past...

But if we look at the context of mystery - it is always something hidden, yet know-able, so then all these concepts like the gospel, the church, the Gentiles coming in, the marriage of Christ in the bride (verses below), are know-able things, yet the fullness is seen in Christ Himself

Thus the word mystery is also the origin of the term 'sacrament'
Something that is hidden from the world, yet known, revealed, to those who receive it in faith by the Word of God

All the things that happen in the fullness of Christ are true in the 'age of mystery'

- the church is there (ecclesia) (cf. Acts 7)
- the Spirit is given
- OT saints die and their spirits go to heaven
- OT saints can trust and know the methods and promises of the cross through the Word of God
- OT saints can be baptised (washed)
- etc...

indeed as Augustine says: "The sacraments (mysteries) of the Jews were different in their signs, but equal in the thing signified; different in visible appearance, but equal in spiritual power"

yet the fullness of these things happens at the appointed time, revealed in Christ - the Word Himself - plain for all to see - even the world!
_____________

Romans 11:25 25 Lest you be wise in your own conceits, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

Romans 16:25-26 25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26 but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith -

1 Corinthians 15:51 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

Ephesians 1:7-10 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

Ephesians 3:3-6 3 how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. 4 When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. 6 This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Ephesians 3:8-10 8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 5:32 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

Ephesians 6:19 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel,

Colossians 1:25-27 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Colossians 2:2-3 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Colossians 2:9 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,

Colossians 4:3 3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison -

1 Timothy 3:9 9 They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.

1 Timothy 3:16 16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Exact time of the creation of angels

From Berkhof (chapter IV on "Creation of the Spiritual World" in his systematics):

"In distinction from God they are created beings. The creation of the angels has sometimes been denied, but is clearly taught in Scripture...The time of their creation cannot be fixed definitely. The opinion of some, based on Job 38:7, that they were created before all other things, really finds no support in Scripture. As far as we know, no creative work preceded the creation of heaven and earth. The passage in book of Job (38:7) teaches, indeed, in a poetic vein that they were present at the founding of the world just as the stars were, but not that they existed before the primary creation of heaven and earth. The idea that the creation of the heavens was completed on the first day, and that the creation of the angels was simply a part of the day's work, is also an unproved assumption, though the fact that the statement in Gen. 1:2 applies to the earth only would seem to favour it. Possibly the creation of the heavens was not completed in a single moment any more than that of earth. The only safe statement seems to be that they were created before the seventh day. This at least follows from such passages as Gen 2:1; Ex 20:11; Job 38:7; Neh 9:6"

Discuss? I always thought angels were created during day one or day four... and not before. Your views?

Friday, 16 May 2008

Ignatius

Some quotes from Ignatius, 110AD:

The Epistle of Ignatius to the Philadelphians, IX

The priests indeed are good, but the High Priest is better; to whom the holy of holies has been
committed, and who alone has been trusted with the secrets of God. He is the door of the Father,
by which enter in Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the prophets, and the apostles, and the Church. All these have for their object the attaining to the unity of God. But the Gospel possesses something transcendent [above the former dispensation], viz., the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ, His passion and resurrection. For the beloved prophets announced Him, but the Gospel is the perfection of immortality.All these things are good together, if ye believe in love. The priests indeed, and the ministers of the word, are good; but the High Priest is better, to whom the holy of holies has been committed, and who alone has been entrusted with the secrets of God. The ministering powers of God are good. The Comforter is holy, and the Word is holy, the Son of the Father, by whom He made all things, and exercises a providence over them all. This is the Way which leads to the Father, the Rock, the Defence, the Key, the Shepherd, the Sacrifice, the Door of knowledge, through which have entered Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, Moses and all the company of the prophets, and these pillars of the world, the apostles, and the spouse of Christ, on whose account He poured out His own blood, as her marriage portion, that He might redeem her. All these things tend towards the unity of the one and only true God. But the Gospel possesses something transcendent [above the former dispensation], viz. the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, His passion, and the resurrection itself. For those things which the prophets announced, saying, “Until He come for whom it is reserved, and He shall be the expectation of the Gentiles,” have been fulfilled in the Gospel, [our Lord saying,] “Go ye and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” All then are good together, the law, the prophets, the apostles, the whole company [of others] that have believed through them: only if we love one another

Historical Theology

Reeves is starting his teaching series on theology through the ages...

Here are the first in the series:

Apostolic Church Fathers


More to come soon!

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Come now, you rich...

Hey,

Read this bit of James in prep for SWOT. It's so hard hitting, I'd encourage you to read it a few times and dwell on each word, and then read the commentary below that really brings it home. The sword is sharp indeed...

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. James 5:1-3


The first half of the paragraph is a description of the awful misery that will come upon the rich. In the first place, they will lose their wealth. But that by itself is far too tame an exposition of James's words. The rich will find their hoarded wealth rotted, their fine clothes moth-eaten and their treasured gold and silver corroded (images that recall Jesus' words in Mt 6:20). James gives vivid and terrible images of the destruction of their wealth, indicating that the rich will experience horror and despair over their loss. They will weep and wail in misery. The verb wail is onomatopoeic--ololyzo--adding to the vividness of the imagery by sounding like the wailing it describes. It conveys the sounds of "weeping accompanied by recurring shouts of pain" (Kistemaker 1986:156), bringing to mind the experience of excruciating grief or anguish. The rich will lose everything they have devoted themselves to and everything they have relied upon. Theirs will be the despair of people who discover their dreams and treasures destroyed forever.

If the rich were only misguided in devoting themselves to their wealth, this first misery would be enough. But there is a second level to their misery: the destruction of the wealth will consume the rich people themselves. The imagery expresses forcefully that their sin has been a deliberate pursuit of evil. Literally, James says, the rust or corrosion on the gold and silver will be the active agent against the rich. The corrosive action will take two forms: first to testify against the rich (acting as evidence of their guilt) and then to eat their flesh like fire (acting as punishment for their sin).

There are, then, three miseries specified for the rich: despair from losing their wealth, guilt from the evidence against them and horrible pain from being devoured in the judgment upon them. (IVP Commentary)

Reductionism

It occurred to me today that Two Ways to Live, if it describes a philosophy of ministry, provides a solid basis for partnership in the gospel. If our brothers and sisters are convinced of "the choice we all face", the seriousness of sin, the need for conversion, the work of Christ as the only hope for humanity and the urgency of getting this gospel out to the nations in a clear and biblical presentation... well great!

But if Two Ways to Live describes a person's theology then there may be problems. Not least of these is the entrance of Jesus half way through the presentation, entering a situation He's apparently had nothing to do with.

Tim Keller also points out that the whole "now submit to *God*" thing could easily present a legalistic gospel. There are, he says, three ways to live not two for there are two different ways you can be your own lord and saviour. License or legalism are both rebellions but 2WTL only hits the former.

Now in a simplified presentation, problems are inevitable. It's just unfortunate that what was always meant to be a quick tract for unbelievers has turned into a foundational theology for a generation. And for all those people trinity and christology are very clearly extra to the basic gospel message. Because the basic gospel message is about God, us, sin, redemption (through this Jesus thing - btw isn't box 4 always really hard to explain!!), choice.

But what I really struggle with is when Two Ways to Live describes a person's spirituality! Every sermon is "sin is bad, thank God for Jesus, now choose to follow Him." All issues in the Christian life become matters of 'bending the knee', learning humility, suffering now - glory later, not long till heaven now. And that becomes very wearying...

So thank God for such a philosophy of ministry, beware it if it becomes your basic theology, and run from anyone who's embraced it as their spirituality!

Have you met such people? They walk among us you know...

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

The Sinfulness of Sin

To understand grace one must understand sin...

Romans 5:20-21 20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The depths of it, the wickedness of it, the sinfulness of it...

Romans 7:12-13 12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. 13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure.

A few quotes on the reality of sin from Ralph Venning, 17th Century:

"Carnal men. or sinners are called by the name of enemies to God... sin and its acts are expressed by names of enmity and acts of hostility, such as, walking contrary to God, rebelling against God, rising up against Him as an enemy, striving and contending with God, and despising God. It makes men haters of God, resisters of God, fighters against God, even blasphemers of God, in short - atheists, who say there is no God. It goes about to ungod God, and is by some of the ancients called Deicidium, God-murder or God-killing."

"In short, sin is the dare of God's justice, the rape of His mercy, the jeer of His patience, the slight of His power, the contempt of His love..."

"The body is a body of sin, the members are servants to uncleanness and iniquity. Take him from head to foot, from the crown of the one to the sole of the other, there is no whole part of him; but all is filthy and full of putrefactions and sores... their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness, with their tongues they use deceit, the poison of asps is under their lips, their throat is an open sepulchre, the eye-lids haughty, ears dull of hearing, deaf as the adder, the forehead is as impudent as a brow of brass, both hands are employed to work iniquity, the belly is an idol-god, the feet are swift to shed blood, the inward part is very wickedness, the gall is a gall of bitterness, the spleen is infected with envy and malice..."

"Poor soul! Can you find it in your heart to embrace such a monster as this? Will you love that which hates God and which God hates? God forbid! Will you join yourself to that which is nothing but contrary to God and all that is good? Oh say to this idol, this devil, get hence, what have I to do with you, you sorcerer, you full of malignity and mischief, you child, yea father of the devil, you who are the founder of Hell, an enemy to all righteousness, who ceases not to pervert the right ways of the Lord, and to reproach the Living God! Away! Away! Shall I be seduced by you to grieve the God of all my joy, to displease the God of all my comfort, to vex the God of all my contentment, to do evil against a good God, by whom I live, move and have my very being, Oh no!"

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Pentecost

A few thoughts on Pentecost and the reason for the Spirit being sent in this new way, from my 8am sermon this morning on Acts 2:1-21.

http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=d8tdhbb_0d28bc3g2

few curious questions

1. the back-to-jerusalem movements? (FYI, the whole focus on getting the gospel back to jerusalem)

2. leaving church because of 'poor' teaching? (all-round disagreeable teachings which do not edify jesus 'sufficiently')

3. the nature of our new bodies post-new creation of heavens and earth? (as dev says... we will not be androgynous)

these were just a few on the top of my head... please discuss.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Justin Martyr

Since we're on the subject of preaching Christ from the OT,
thought we could do a few Justin Martyr quotes,
Justin's my favourite author - he's from 100+ AD,
so taught by the people the apostles taught,
and is incredible to see how he uses the old testament,
since it seems the only NT book he's quoting from is Matthew

All these are from his dialogue with Trypho the Jew

Even you, who are the circumcised according to the flesh, have need of our circumcision; but we, having the latter, do not require the former. For if it were necessary, as you suppose, God would not have made Adam uncircumcised would not have had respect to the gifts of Abel when, being uncircumcised, he offered sacrifice and would not have been pleased with the uncircumcision of Enoch, who was not found, because God had translated him. Lot, being uncircumcised, was saved from Sodom, the angels themselves and the Lord sending him out. Noah was the beginning of our race; yet, uncircumcised, along with his children he went into the ark. Melchizedek, the priest of the Most High, was uncircumcised; to whom also Abraham the first who received circumcision after the flesh, gave tithes, and he blessed him: after whose order God declared, by the mouth of David, that He would establish the everlasting priest. Therefore to you alone this circumcision was necessary, in order that the people may be no people, and the nation no nation; as also Hosea, one of the twelve prophets, declares. Moreover, all those righteous men already mentioned, though they kept no Sabbaths, were pleasing to God; and after them Abraham with all his descendants until Moses, under whom your nation appeared unrighteous and ungrateful to God, making a calf in the wilderness: wherefore God, accommodating Himself to that nation, enjoined them also to offer sacrifices, as if to His name, in order that you might not serve idols. (XIX)

"I do not say so; but those who have persecuted and do persecute Christ, if they do not repent, shall not inherit anything on the holy mountain. But the Gentiles, who have believed on Him, and have repented of the sins which they have committed, they shall receive the inheritance along with the patriarchs and the prophets, and the just men who are descended from Jacob, even although they neither keep the Sabbath, nor are circumcised, nor observe the feasts. Assuredly they shall receive the holy inheritance of God. (XXVI)

What need, then, have I of circumcision, who have been witnessed to by God? What need have I of that other baptism, who have been baptized with the Holy Ghost? I think that while I mention this, I would persuade even those who are possessed of scanty intelligence. For these words have neither been prepared by me, nor embellished by the art of man; but David sung them, Isaiah preached them, Zechariah proclaimed them, and Moses wrote them. Are you acquainted with them, Trypho? They are contained in your Scriptures, or rather not yours, but ours. For we believe them; but you, though you read them, do not catch the spirit that is in them. (XXIX)

And where it has been said, 'O God, give Thy judgment to the king,' since Solomon was king, you say that the Psalm refers to him, although the words of the Psalm expressly proclaim that reference is made to the everlasting King, i.e., to Christ. For Christ is King, and Priest, and God, and Lord, and angel, and man, and captain, and stone, and a Son born, and first made subject to suffering, then returning to heaven, and again coming with glory, and He is preached as having the everlasting kingdom: so I prove from all the Scriptures. (XXXIV)

"And the offering of fine flour, sirs," I said, "which was prescribed to be presented on behalf of those purified from leprosy, was a type of the bread of the Eucharist, the celebration of which our Lord Jesus Christ prescribed, in remembrance of the suffering which He endured on behalf of those who are purified in soul from all iniquity, in order that we may at the same time thank God for having created the world, with all things therein, for the sake of man, and for delivering us from the evil in which we were, and for utterly overthrowing principalities and powers by Him who suffered according to His will. (XLI)

Now assuredly, Trypho, I shall show that, in the vision of Moses, this same One alone who is called an Angel, and who is God, appeared to and communed with Moses. For the Scripture says thus:'The Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the bush; and he sees that the bush bums with fire, but the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will turn aside and see this great sight, for the bush is not burnt. And when the Lord saw that he is turning aside to behold, the Lord called to him out of the bush.' In the same manner, therefore, in which the Scripture calls Him who appeared to Jacob in the dream an Angel, then[says] that the same Angel who appeared in the dream spoke to him, saying,'I am the God that appeared to thee when thou didst flee from the face of Esau thy brother;'and[again] says that, in the judgment which befell Sodom in the days of Abraham, the Lord had inflicted the punishment of the Lord who[dwells] in the heavens;--even so here, the Scripture, in announcing that the Angel of the Lord appeared to Moses, and in afterwards declaring him to be Lord and God, speaks of the same One, whom it declares by the many testimonies already quoted to be minister to God, who is above the world, above whom there is no other[God]. (LX)

Thus it is written: 'And the Lord spake to Moses, Say to this people, Behold, I send My angel before thy face, to keep thee in the way, to bring thee into the land which I have prepared for thee. Give heed to Him, and obey Him; do not disobey Him. For He will not draw back from you; for My name is in Him.' Now understand that He who led your fathers into the land is called by this name Jesus, and first called Auses(Oshea). For if you shall understand this, you shall likewise perceive that the name of Him who said to Moses, 'for My name is in Him,' was Jesus. For, indeed, He was also called
Israel, and Jacob's name was changed to this also. (LXXV)

"Moreover, the prophecy, 'Behold, the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,' was uttered respecting Him. For if He to whom Isaiah referred was not to be begotten of a virgin, of whom did the Holy Spirit declare, 'Behold, the Lord Himself shall give us a sign: behold, the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son?' For if He also were to be begotten of sexual intercourse, like all other first-born sons, why did God say that He would give a sign which is not common to all the first-born sons? But that which is truly a sign, and which was to be made trustworthy to mankind,--namely, that the first-begotten of all creation should become incarnate by the Virgin's womb, and be a child,--this he anticipated by the Spirit of prophecy, and predicted it, as I have repeated to you, in various ways; in order that, when the event should take place, it might be known as the operation of the power and will of the Maker of all things; just as Eve was made from one of Adam's ribs, and as all living beings were created in the beginning by the word of God. But you in these matters venture to pervert the expositions which your elders that were with Ptolemy king of Egypt gave forth, since you assert that the Scripture is not so as they have expounded it, but says, 'Behold, the young woman shall conceive,' as if great events were to be inferred if a woman should beget from sexual intercourse: which indeed all young women, with the exception of the barren, do; but even these, God, if He wills, is able to cause[to bear]. For Samuel's mother, who was barren, brought forth by l the will of God; and so also the wife of the holy patriarch Abraham; and Elisabeth, who bore John the Baptist, and other such. So that you must not suppose that it is impossible for God to do anything He wills. And especially when it was predicted that this would take place, do not venture to pervert or misinterpret the prophecies, since you will injure yourselves alone, and will not harm God. (LXXXIV)

Hear, then, how this Man, of whom the Scriptures declare that He will come again in glory after His crucifixion, was symbolized both by the tree of life, which was said to have been planted in paradise, and by those events which should happen to all the just. Moses was sent with a rod to effect the redemption of the people; and with this in his hands at the head of the people, he divided the sea. By this he saw the water gushing out of the rock; and when he cast a tree into the waters of Marah, which were bitter, he made them sweet. Jacob, by putting rods into the water-troughs, caused the sheep of his uncle to conceive, so that he should obtain their young. With his rod the same Jacob boasts that he had crossed the river. He said he had seen a ladder, and the Scripture has declared that God stood above it. But that this was not the Father, we have proved from the Scriptures. And Jacob, having poured oil on a stone in the same place, is testified to by the very God who appeared to him, that he had anointed a pillar to the God who appeared to him. And that the stone symbolically proclaimed Christ, we have also proved by many Scriptures; and that the unguent, whether it was of oil, or of stacte, or of any other compounded sweet balsams, had reference to Him, we have also proved, inasmuch as the word says: 'Therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.' For indeed all kings and anointed persons obtained from Him their share in the names of kings and anointed: just as He Himself received from the Father the titles of King, and Christ, and Priest, and Angel, and such like other titles which He bears or did bear. Aaron's rod, which blossomed, declared him to be the high priest. Isaiah prophesied that a rod would come forth from the root of Jesse,[and this was] Christ. And David says that the righteous man is 'like the tree that is planted by the channels of waters, which should yield its fruit in its season, and whose leaf should not fade.' Again, the righteous is said to flourish like the palm-tree. God appeared from a tree to Abraham, as it is written, near the oak in Mature. The people found seventy willows and twelve springs after crossing the Jordan. David affirms that God comforted him with a rod and staff. Elisha, by casting a stick into the river Jordan, recovered the iron part of the axe with which the sons of the prophets had gone to cut down trees to build the house in which they wished to read and study the law and commandments of God; even as our Christ, by being crucified on the tree, and by purifying with water, has redeemed us, though plunged in the direst offences which we have committed, and has made a house of prayer and adoration. Moreover, it was a rod that pointed out Judah to be the father of Tamar's sons by a great mystery." (LXXXVI)


and so many more...

Friday, 9 May 2008

The Director of Music...

This is a cut out from: The Bible Student's Compendium And Dictionary
I'm sure it could be massively more Christ-focused,
but I think it's a great attempt nevertheless...

To err is to not see Jesus in everything
The problem with every exegesis is it's never enough about Him

____________________________________________________________

The 5 books of the Psalms:

BOOK 1 IS THE GENESIS BOOK.
It shows us God's plan for MAN. God is Jehovah (the Lord) in this book. He has covenant-plans toward mankind. True, sin has broken things up and man is in rebellion against God. But the plans were made in CHRIST, and God still has His one Man in mind: Ps. 2; THE LAST ADAM: Ps. 8 (cf. Gen. 1). The middle Psalm of the book (21) describes Him as crowned for rule and set to be a blessing for ever (v. 6; cf. Gen. 12 and 22:18); though, indeed, He shall only reach His Crown through a Cross (22-24). Yet the MAN Christ Jesus is set before us, waiting in faith for the glory the Lord will give Him (16, 17, 18); "bowed down heavily" in the days of His flesh (35:14), yet "the Lord hath pleasure in the prosperity of His Servant" (v. 27), and when He has "waited patiently" as "a poor and needy" Man, cast upon the Lord, He receives the promised reward (40, 41). It is a "blessed" thing to consider this poor MAN (41).

BOOK 2 IS THE EXODUS BOOK. It begins with the true Israel in tears and suffering (42) yet appealing to God against "an ungodly nation" (43) and though "counted as sheep for the slaughter" (44), calling upon God to redeem them (44:26). Then comes THE DIVINE REDEEMER. Finally a redeemed Israel sings sings praises for deliverance (61-68). And the book that began with suffering conducts us, Psalm by Psalm, through a varied experience on pilgrimage towards God, towards the glorious kingdom of Christ, which will leave nothing for the loyal soul to desire (72: see esp. v. 19 and 20).

THEN BOOK 3 IS THE LEVITICUS BOOK. This is the book of the Sanctuary. Search and see how that in nearly every Psalm some reference is made to the sanctuary. Israel's house is indeed now left unto her "desolate" and given over to her enemies. But HE WHO DWELLS BETWEEN THE CHERUBIM (80:1) will yet "shine forth" again and the deserted altars shall again be laden with worship (84). For Jehovah is faithful and has sworn (89).

BOOK 4 IS THE NUMBERS BOOK: the book of the wilderness. Angels watch over God's true Israel there (91), and when Israel has profited by the past wilderness lesson (95), the wilderness shall blossom as the rose (96, etc. cf. Is. 35). For Christ will return as LORD OF THE WHOLE EARTH (98:5-7; cf. Heb. 1:6) and the earth will no longer be a wilderness but will enjoy the promised blessings (101-106). This is a very striking book indeed and may well end, as it does, with "Hallelujah."

BOOK 5 IS, LIKE DEUTERONOMY, THE BOOK OF THE COVENANT WORD. Its chief Psalm is 119, which is all in praise of that Word. (Remember Deuteronomy begins "These be the words" and tells, as we saw, how God bare witness of a New Covenant through Moses). This Word tells of "good things to come." Christ is the High Priest of these good things (Ps. 110; cf. Heb.). It will be a wonderful day when "the greater Hallel" (Pss. 117-118) is sung in Mount Zion - "the day which the Lord hath made," when the Rejected Stone is made "THE HEADSTONE OF THE CORNER." No wonder the words are treasured by believing hearts (119) and their eyes "lifted up" (121) for their redemption which draws nigh. From distress (120) they will ascend - as the songs of "degrees", songs of "the steps" (the steps of ascent to the Divine Temple) describe - to the sanctuary of blessing, where the Lord of heaven and earth will bless men out of Zion (135).

The Book closes with a grand universal anthem in five "Hallelujah" Psalms.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Preaching to the Elderly

Anyone from Asia will know how tricky it can be to preach to an older generation rooted in cultural religion...

One Singapore pastor gives his suggestions...

Winning over the elderly

Monday, 5 May 2008

The Ascension

Ever wondered what the ascension is about? Why Christ had to leave the earth after His resurrection? Didn't have a huge party on the 1st of May to celebrate Ascension Day?

Here's my attempt at explaining a bit of this glorious event at the Clubhouse service...

The Ascension of Christ

MP3 File
(apologies for preaching so fast - figured we get taught so little on it, so didn't want to wait a whole year to get on the subject again)

Sunday, 4 May 2008

In the Image of God we were made long ago...

The "image of God" has been a subject of much debate over the last 2000 years in theology,
with viewpoints ranging from - 'we look like Him' to 'we can think and can be creative'

A talk a few weeks ago at the clubhouse brought this to mind -

Very many Christians argue that we should love someone because they are special,
i.e. they are walking image-bearers, thus they deserve respect and honour and love
He then continued to say this is a whole bunch of nonsense,
since at the fall, the image of God was utterly destroyed

The illustration he used was this:
Like an old Victorian house which they've kept the front or fa├žade of it
but they have demolished everything within it for renovation,
so once you look past the shell, it is only dust and destruction

That seems to be a good analogy of what remains of the 'Imago Dei'
All was lost at the fall, with only a shell remaining,
That image, that likeness corrupted, ruined, devastated by sin

Thus only in Christ is that image remade new, rebuilt,
that Victorian house is renovated with a stunning new interior,
and in fact we wait for the exterior to be destroyed and rebuilt as well
An unbeliever is like a thing that does not exist
broken pots waiting to be smashed
A shadow, destroyed by the sun
A nightmare, vanishing with like a dream
Whereas those in Christ are clay jars that hold burning torches within,
also waiting, except we long, groan for the day of revelation

Why then do we love our neighbour?
Not for anything that they are,
but rather for Who Christ is,
and what Christ has done for us on the cross,
We love because God loved us first...
We forgive others because our debts are forgiven
We honour others, because all authority is given to us by Christ
We are patient with others, because of the Father's patience
We are generous with others, because He will supply all our needs
We are kind with others, because He showed pity on us
We suffer and bear others, because He suffered so that by the grace of God, none of us need taste death

Saturday, 3 May 2008

UCCF recommended books

(copied from Dan Hames blog)

This is hilarious.....