Monday, 3 December 2012

Sinai versus Canaan

The goal of the Exodus on one hand must be Sinai - to meet with God
Yet Sinai is only a stopover then they head to Canaan - so what's the deal?

Well if we take 'promised rest' to be defined as an 'enjoyable relationship'
then this may make sense

At Sinai - they are scared of God, and God shows His fury at them - what they need of course is a mediator and prophet - played by Moses

But it is this mediator also plays the role of priest - he must make the people acceptable to God
On one hand He offers gifts & sacrifices for them
but on the other - He must make the people acceptable (holy) to God

thus the wilderness is the process of the prophet/priest making the people holy to God - i.e. bringing them from a 'distanced' meeting with God into an 'enjoyable permanent relationship' with God
the process of stripping away and a different kind of feeding

so the goal is not only are they 'ready' to enter Canaan - but looking forward to a restful relationships with God - the desire of all that 'striving' (cf Heb 4)

the wilderness of course is risky and painful business - and it causes many to long to go back to being 'alone' suffering in Egypt - basically the desire for bachelorhood once again

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Hebrews Sermons

2 more sermons from the book of Hebrews

Hebrews 12- What does it mean to have a Father who loves you

Final Sermon - an attempt to summarise the whole book of Hebrews in 15min + some Heb 13 bits:

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Spurgeon on Psalm 45

"Some see here Solomon and Pharaoh’s daughter only – they are short-sighted. Others see Solomon and Christ – they are cross-eyed. Well-focused spiritual eyes see here Jesus only." Got this off Richard Brooks, who preached a sermon series on Psalm 45. The title of the first one on verse 1 - A Heart Full of Christ - is enough to make you want to listen to the whole series!

He also has a commentary on the Song of Songs published by Christian Focus.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Bible

A sermon on trying to get to grips with the discipline of reading and studying the Bible:

Monday, 8 October 2012

Being like Jesus when suffering for doing good

Preached on 1 Peter 2:18-25 yesterday at church and ruffled a few feathers.

Partly because I implied that God was not about giving people what they deserve at all, and that on the contrary, He's actually determined to give us what we don't deserve - by punishing Jesus for our sins and giving us His righteousness.

More so because I said Peter was very specific in how we are called to follow Jesus' example in suffering for doing good. i.e in case we didn't know how to apply this, Peter says, when insulted, don't retaliate; when suffering unjustly, don't threaten back. Just keep quiet all the way just as Jesus did - no tribunals, or threatening to speak to the manager etc. Did I go too far?

What about Paul who demanded to be escorted out publicly after being persecuted? But then it's interesting that he doesn't seem to protest whenever he's persecuted or beaten up. It's only after he's been cleared of wrongdoing, which he did not ask or fight for, that he wants a public vindication.

Or when he appealed to Caesar? Maybe this was part of his plan to get to Rome - i.e. he wasn't seeking vindication since he could've been freed, but only looking to go and preach Jesus there?

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

40 Days

Jesus fasts 40 days to let us know that He will hold His own body voluntarily to the cross for our sakes.

Hebrews 10b sermon

"It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God"

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The incarnation of man

We all know that One reason Jesus became flesh was to show us that He really understood us, hence He is qualified to be a priest.

Yet in our salvation, we are invited to be drawn into His life, particularly through His earthly life.

Thus what must motivate us in our actions is not so much 'what do I need to do to be like Jesus' or WWJD in each and every situation, but rather how can I know Jesus more deeply and intimately, in particular, how can I experience the Father's love for me in and through Christ.

So the church is invited to become like the true man, born again in the flesh if you like, that we may participate in the divine nature even when in the flesh, and there is no other means than to imitate Christ.


Coveteousness, which is idolatry (Col 3:5)

Idol worship is not different in the OT than the NT,
that would be to say that we have fundamentally improved in the human race
However, if the sinful nature remains the same (in fact, probably gets worse)
Then we must be just as prone to idolatry as they were

So is it that the direction of idol-worship has changed from images of wood and stone to more intangible things?
Not really, because what was at the goal of idolatry?

1 Cor 10:7 - "Eating, Drinking & Playing" - was the source of the creation of the 'gods that delivered us out of Egypt'

An idol, though not having any existence, is simply humanities selfish usage of another being or person to achieve ones own flesh desires

Thus to even re-direct our focus on the Living God, yet to have these desires - makes Him the chief idol
more here -

So then the only solution is a change in desires. Now that is impossible to be wrought from within ourselves. It can only be done by someone else externally changing what we most fundamentally want. And that someone must Himself be desirable above those things.

Thus the only application of idolatry, must be to bring people into situations (the church) where a desirable God is publicly preached and presented - or 'held out' to be taken up into oneself.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Royal Priesthood

Compare Ex 19 with 1 Peter 2 then with Heb 7

The Royal Priesthood is of the Melchizedek order not the Levitical order.

Therefore what does it mean got the church to be royal priests after the order of Melchizedek and NOT Levi??

Eternal High Priest

Was still struggling with getting to grips with why it is a big deal that Jesus is a high priest FOREVER

The illustration given is usually what if you had a pastor who never died. And I suppose that makes some sense

But what really seemed to make more sense was the wedding vows:

I take you to be my lawful wedded Wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part...

Now imagine if you had a husband who removed the clause in that vow:

I take you to be my lawful wedded Wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, FOREVER

Now you know that once you are in a relationship, transformation happens. You become more and more like each other. 5 years later, you are closer. If the relationship goes well, 50 years later you are closer, if still well, 5000 years later imagine it... 500000 years late imagine the richness, the closeness..

Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25 ESV)

Jesus is the sole basis of drawing near to God, and that is still His eternal job...

Monday, 27 August 2012

Laying on of hands

One might ask how could God's power be passed through human hands?

The same way the very Word of God is passes through human lips

The same way the gospel of Jesus is passed through human feet


Thursday, 23 August 2012


John Wesley said there are 5 things which God will definitely meet you in, as He promised

Scripture, prayer, fasting, Christian conversation, sacrament

I'm now rather convinced that regular fasting is not really about praying better. But rather to come close to feeling what Jesus felt.

Matt 6 implies that regular fasting should be done on normal 'working days'. Meaning, we learn to serve others in our affliction. We identify with our self-sacrificial Lord. Others benefit while we suffer.

Isn't that knowing Jesus better?
As much as prayer transforms the prayer as they know And relate to God better, fasting and giving must surely do the same.

What do you think?

Saturday, 18 August 2012

The Oath

We know the promise precedes the law, but Hebrews 7 tells us that the oath proceeds it.

The oath as in Heb 6, is to confirm the promise.

Thus the law comes in between the promised work of Christ and the oath which cements His work into eternity, given after Jesus sat down. The law is but a temporary blip between 2 unchangeable things.

It is then to our comfort that the oath confirms that Jesus blood once shed for all continues to be eternally effective for us. His priestly work continues till this very day.

"I have sworn by myself you are a priest forever..."

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Use your selfishness

Here's a random thought...

We know our hearts are deceitful above all things... thus no matter how 'noble' or 'servant-hearted' we think we are, usually there are hidden motives behind it... that's just a fact.

So we should really stop trying to be 'good people', and do what the Lord does - use our sins against ourselves

Thus instead of focusing on things like how much we serve one another, or how much we love our neighbour, or what can we do for others... blah blah... We should be absolutely selfish in a desire to know Jesus for ourselves - at the expense of anyone and anything

For it is only in this 'sin-filled' pursuit, that Jesus then directs us to all the 'means' of knowing Him in our service to others.... "If you love me... Feed my sheep".

When our driving force is wanting to selfishly obtain Jesus and all His ten thousand charms for ourselves, we can be sure that Jesus will direct us to do all the things we need to do during this passing away age..

It will also make sure that we don't do the one thing that always gets in the way of our relations with others - listening (fearing) the voice of men... cos we're actually genuinely admitting we're not too interested in their praises or plans.. well not in any serious way of course

Stick with Jesus in and through our wickedness, and He will bring it all to good - and then the glory will inevitably only be His

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Jesus Sat Down

Moving on from the ascension...

Jesus hands over His blood, then sits down
Time for the doctrine of 'sitting down' (from Hebrews):

1. A new kingdom is established - with Jesus as King
2. The old age is triggered to begin passing away (for the old is rendered obsolete when the new is enacted)
3. The new kingdom is categorised by sitting down - i.e. rest, rather than by toilsome labour
4. The new kingdom is one where the Greater serves the Lesser (the Father now begins to serve the Son)
5. The one who sits down is not a tyrant, but a gentle high priest - in the order of Melchizedek - it is the beginning of the rule of the Priest-King - who characterises the nature of that age
6. The one who sits down is God-Man - enacted the beginning of the 'third way' of life
7. The passing of the old kingdom, triggers the 'journey' of the church - one cannot stand still in this age - move forward, or die - exit the camp, and pass through the waters of death or the Egyptians will skewer you
8. The saints are those who are heading for the new invisible city - one of permanence - the ones who are waiting for Him to be revealed

anything else?


Wednesday, 25 July 2012


I suggest that Hebrews is do named because it is a letter to the 'naturalised' church. That is to say those who growing up in a Christian/Jewish culture who no longer choose to move forward to the new city and have chosen to stand still - thus they are 'Hebrews'

The counter doctrine to get ppl moving is the doctrine of Jesus sitting down

Hebrews 4 sermon

What could it mean to enter that rest ?

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Friday, 29 June 2012

Trinitarian Essence is Love

From here:

Jonathan Edwards:
God's Trinitarian essence is love. God's purpose in creating a universe in which sin is permitted must be to communicate that love to creatures. The highest or most beautiful love is sacrificial love for the undeserving. Those---ultimately the vast majority of humans---who are given eyes to see that ineffable beauty will be enthralled by it. They will see the beauty of a universe in which unsentimental love triumphs over real evil. They will not be able to view Christ's love dispassionately but rather will respond to it with their deepest affections. Truly seeing such good they will have no choice but to love it. Glimpsing such love, they will be drawn away from their preoccupations with the gratifications of their most immediate sensations. They will be drawn from their self-centered universes. Seeing the beauty of the redemptive love of Christ is the true center of reality, they will love God and all that he has created.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Article VII - Of the Old Testament (39 Articles)

Once, when I was talking to an Anglican minister about Jesus in the Old Testament, and called this the 'Blackham view', I was rebuked and told to stop calling this the 'Blackham view'. This debate in about faith in Jesus in the Old Testament or faith in the promises of God is not a recent, but old one. Perhaps surprisingly, those who came up with the 39 Articles saw this debate to be so crucial that they sought to address it alongside the papist errors of Rome: "The Old Testament is not contrary to the New: for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to Mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and Man, being both God and Man. Wherefore they are not to be heard, which feign that the old Fathers did look only for transitory promises." Those who maintain that the OT saints knew and trusted in Jesus for salvation, are simply following what has always been believed by the Church throughout history, and should be believed by all, not least by Anglicans, since we claim to hold on to the 39 Articles. Article 7 on the OT is strongly worded, especially in the application when faced with those who deny that the OT believers trusted in Jesus. But what do you reckon? Should we stop listening to those who falsely claim that the OT saints trusted only the promises and not in Christ Himself? Should we warn our congregations to stop listening to those who have departed from that which is maintained by the above Article, just as we might warn people against the errors of Rome?

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Judgement and Salvation

Great set of talks here

Glen - perhaps you can clarify for me:

in salvation there is the embrace of judgement
perhaps we could say that the church faces judgement in loving voluntary rehabilitation (which can be strict)
rather than in forced incarceration?

So in the body of Christ, healing still involves pain? - like severe reconstructive surgery
(as light purges the darkness from our bones)

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Genesis 22

A recent sermon from our church theologian (not me) on Gen 22

What do you think?

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Late Good Friday Meditation

This Good Friday, remember Christ is the tent that was set up.
The Tent-Pegs were driven in, and the flesh opened - that we may have Life, between the Waters of Death
His Side was pierced, that we may enter in through the place where Marital Life was Born
The Black Skies and Cracking Rocks assail us, but we are hidden within the Crevice in the Rock
He shields us in His body, even as we are carried in Him to the Tomb
The Sabbath Rest in the midst of Murderous Triumph
Then He comes into His own, uniting us with Him as One Eternally, A New Life
The 3rd Day's Prelude of the 8th

Saturday, 14 April 2012

The Only Valid Application

The only valid application of any sermon, Bible study etc...  surely must be "Come"

The goal is to draw everyone to Jesus, constantly, again and again, by diverse ways and actions

Thus in any application my goal must be to get people to come.

If I tell them to join a cell group - it is to 'Come' into His promised presence when 2-3 gather
If I tell them to leave a sinful habit - it is to 'Come' into His arms, as they run
If I tell them to read their Bibles - it is to 'Come' daily to Him first
Even when I tell people to 'Go' (into the world) - I am telling them to 'Go' because I want them to 'Come'

Christ came to draw all men to Himself, and to the Father

Monday, 9 April 2012


Can we have a more Trinitarian theology of the 'passability' of God?

Is the Father moved by the Son?
Does the Father need the Son ?

Won't answers to questions like that help understand how he relates to the church ?

What do you think?


Jesus was the suitable priest because He had an indestructible life

The resurrection was inevitable for the son of god could not be destroyed. The spirit of god within him - that is his trust of his father's love for him made him indestructible.

Thus in his priestly ministry he has made us too indestructible . For we have the same Spirit and the same ministry and are joined into eternity

Death and decay may compress us , but it cannot extinguish what has now become eternal


Jesus was the suitable priest because He had an indestructible life

The resurrection was inevitable for the son of god could not be destroyed. The spirit of god within him - that is his trust of his father's love for him made him indestructible.

Thus in his priestly ministry he has made us too indestructible . For we have the same Spirit and the same ministry and are joined into eternity

Death and decay may compress us , but it cannot extinguish what has now become eternal

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Jacob Wrestling

I'm sure most of us have heard how this incident is always a comparison to Gethsemane

Christ wrestles with His Father & his fleshly will (or something like that) - to come out the Victor (Israel meaning He has striven with God and Man and wins)

Now if we continue to take Esau as Adam - then the story continues
as much as Jacob's 'mission' was to present Esau to the Father (Isaac)

now after the wrestling - Jacob is prepared to reconcile with horrible Esau who (he thinks) has come to murder Him
and in some sense - there ends the story of Jacob?

(read bit of this in someone's quotations from Chrysostom)

Monday, 26 March 2012

Reminder from Dev on Preaching

And he said to me, "Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with my words to them. For you are not sent to a people of foreign speech and a hard language, but to the house of Israel— not to many peoples of foreign speech and a hard language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, if I sent you to such, they would listen to you. But the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, for they are not willing to listen to me: because all the house of Israel have a hard forehead and a stubborn heart. Behold, I have made your face as hard as their faces, and your forehead as hard as their foreheads. Like emery harder than flint have I made your forehead. Fear them not, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house." Moreover, he said to me, "Son of man, all my words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart, and hear with your ears. And go to the exiles, to your people, and speak to them and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord God,' whether they hear or refuse to hear." (Ezekiel 3:4-11 ESV)

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Bit of nard from Spurgeon

Remember, that Jesus Christ when he comes to us to-day, as the messenger
of the Father, comes for no personal ends... When Jesus pleads with us, although
he urges us to render unto God our love and our obedience, yet God does
not stand in need of these as the householder stood in need of his rents.
What is it to the infinite Jehovah whether thou serve him or not? If thou
rebel against God, will he be less glorious? If thou wilt not obey the Lord,
what difference can it make to his boundless happiness? Will his crown
shine the less brightly, or his heaven be less resplendent because thou
chooses to be a rebel against him?... It is for thine own sake that
God would have thee yield to him; how can it be for his own? If he were
hungry he would not tell thee, for the cattle on a thousand hills are his. He
can crush whole worlds to dust, “or with his word or with his nod”; and
dost thou think he has aught to gain from thee? Thou alone wilt be the
gainer or the loser; therefore when Jesus prays thee to repent, believe thou
in the disinterestedness of his heart; believe that it can be nothing but the
tenderest regard for thy well-being which makes him warn thee. Hear how
Jehovah puts it: “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the
death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live.”

If you reject him, he answers you with tears; if you
wound him, he bleeds out cleansing; if you kill him, he dies to redeem; if
you bury him, he rises again to bring us resurrection. Jesus is love made

Monday, 12 March 2012

Outward or Inward

We want inward change
But the gospel is external

So the temptation is to remove outward rituals or duties in the very real possibility that we begin to trust in them and not Christ

Yet we must have outward things come to us - eg sacraments, the Word - if things are to change inwardly

Here I suggest there has been a real neglect of brotherly relationships . That it is ok to establish dozens of rituals and practices, not as individuals or as necessary church structures , but rather as agreements between fellow Christians .

The body of Christ exhorting one another to set up different ways to increase faith in Christ, and adjusting and tearing down ways that have become stifling.

That way, everything remains external to the individual for the purposes of inward change

So when we put on Christ , we put on His body. - that is the Church. And through His body, the Spirit testifies from the Head to the members , returning to the head.

Thus while hierarchy is essential to testify to Fatherhood. The tops of the hierarchies - eg fathers or elders - must be flat , that they may counsel one another , speak the Word to one another and even set up fluid structures within the church to increase faith, which all are free to change once they have outlived their purposes

Not foolproof, as the whole group can work together in sin , but much better than an individualistic faith I would think.

The Deceit of Christ

If Abraham portrays the Father
And Isaac is the silent bridegroom

Jacob is the deceiver that comes in Adam's skin (Esau). To present his new people to the Father who allows Himself to be deceived.

Thus is God the God of Abraham Isaac And Jacob. And in it the whole plan of the Seed is shown

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Resurrection morning

If Jesus died around 3 pm on a Friday, and rose on a Sunday morning ... that's 9 hrs till midnight, 24 hrs till the next midnight, which together is 33 hrs ... so if he rose at around 7am on Sunday, he would have been in the grave exactly 40 hrs.

Unfortunately, I'm not quite sure it works. For once, I haven't seen the Bible using the number 40 in connection with the time between Jesus death and resurrection. Secondly, apparently sunrise in Israel is no later than at 6:40am even in winter (poor young man that fled naked! he must have been freezing if it really was winter). Also, since it sounds that Jesus died just after 3pm, it might mean He would have risen rather slightly after than slightly before 7am...

The gospels all emphasise that it was on the first day around sunrise (probably dependent on whether you're looking at the time when people leave for the tomb, or arrive at the tomb):
toward the dawn of the first day of the week (Matthew)
very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen (Mark)
on the first day of the week, at early dawn (Luke)
on the first day of the week ... early, while it was still dark (John)

Maybe, we should be looking for the number 38 instead, which is also an interesting number (John 5:5). Then, Jesus could have risen at around 5am, and passover could have been in a more warmer time of the year.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

The rich young ruler

Allow me to try paraphrasing this story from mark 10

A 5 yr old little young overachiever runs up to 'daddy' Jesus and says
Daddy daddy I want to be the president (or some other almost unattainable positive post)
Jesus replies, the president son? Do you know what that involves ?
You must do this... And this... And this.. And this...
And the 5yr old says. Yes daddy I've done all those things in nursery
Jesus looks upon his child and loves him... Isn't he sweet.?

(taking him seriously as a child and encouraging him)
Ok kiddo... Just one more thing as a next step
You've got to take all your toys and give them to your friends to gain election votes
What?! He replies. I can't do that...
And is very sad
So is Jesus

Why do they want to do such silly things... And not just let me love them...sigh...

So thats a terrible caricature ... But I think it captures the feelings between the two

On another note.. Jesus mentions the 6 latter commandments not so much because he wants to show the omission of the first 4., but he wants to show him that he did not fulfil the summary of the commandments - I.e. to love your neighbour as yourself. He does this in a positive way since he is a little earnest

Then he explains that to love your neighbour as yourself would involve giving everything you have to at least equalise yourself with the poor. By definition

To be good however... Means to 'lay down your life for others'
Therefore only the Father is good . Since He gave up His Son already - all he had for others
Jesus will soon become good when he does the same - with his life.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

The 'Silence' of Creation

Creation was made 'speechless' on purpose

A harmonious concert that plays in the background,
or a vivid painting of brilliant colour

It was meant to not say anything by itself - hence it cannot save,
and by itself cannot offer any meaningful knowledge of its composer

In fact, it can be misinterpreted by those who do not know Him
to say anything they want it to say

It is only when the Word, comes and explains its creation
Does everything make sense - and then we say...
'oh I see... of course that's what it meant'

Therefore the church is the Word meant to both preserve a crumbling creation
- preserve in the sense that it must keep it pointing to its Master, when decay attacks it
and it must speak the Word that creation was never meant to say

Creation was made to be reserved for the Word to speak... it is the necessary background music

Friday, 6 January 2012

Theology of time - essay

Time is Love

Please download, enjoy (if possible) and let me know your views so I can produce a better draft next time round :)

The purpose of this essay is to highlight that a misconceived view of "time" plagues our reading of Scripture (especially the Old Testament), which intertwines with our (mis)understanding of the Spirit's work in both the OT and NT.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

The Law that Protects

You may find this strange...

But one of my long time ponderings was why did the Lord 'outsource' parenting of kids to the law & angels -i.e. a nanny? In the context of Singapore where everyone outsources their parenting to maids or child-care centres from as young as 6 months - this gave very negative connotations that the Lord didn't want to 'deal' with His kids until they were old enough to engage with in a more meaningful way.

My sinful thinking was quite shattered this morning... when I found I had to discipline my daughter quite severely for an offence she had committed. I found my wife to be much more faithful in the matter - she is more consistent in laying down the rules & regulations and punishing the small offences in small ways. If I had more consistency - and 'more law' for the children - then my the severe discipline would have never been necessary. Anarchy would have been resisted at an earlier stage.

Thus the Lord God, in absolute loving kindness and faithfulness lays down the law to a juvenile world - through his adopted children Israel - preventing sin from spreading into total lawlessness or anarchy. In this way - we are 'protected' from the harsh (but obviously much more patient) wrath that comes hand in hand with a jealous love.

The Pharasaitical understanding of the law, therefore, so obviously becomes tyrannical - for it seeks to keep children under a caretaker - with parental convenience and domination as its motivation. Where else the law in it's proper context - laid down for the young (or lawbreakers) - forms a protective barrier, that allows children to approach near enough to see the grace that is behind, through, and ahead of it. Much like the Levitical arrangement in the camp in the wilderness.

Jesus came when the school teaching had ended - yet that does not mean we do not lay down law for our own children in their own childishness - in  holy and good motivation. The desire of the law however, must surely be the hope of complete intimacy and indwelling. The one-arms length is for our own safety and growth - not for His convenience, and neither is it His desire. He who wants to come down to be so close and never depart....

(more of that thinking in the sermon below)