November 19, 2014
Believers celebrate Jesus in many ways. He is our Savior, Brother, and Friend. We can tend to emphasize his humanity, love and vulnerability. And, well we should.
On balance, he is the mighty God. We mustn’t forget this. If we do, we create an improper view, I might say, image of Jesus. We can refashion Jesus into a god who is more manageable. With manageability we lose our sense of worship and awe. We, to some degree, domesticate Him.
I don’t think we actually forget that He is the God-Man. I’m suggesting that we might unconsciously emphasize Jesus’ humanity over his deity.
As you know, the Apostle John lived and walked with Jesus for three years. He saw Jesus raise the dead; He witnessed the Transfiguration. He encountered the resurrected Jesus. Yet, how did John respond when he encountered Jesus in the book of Revelation (1:17)? “When I saw him, I fell at this feet as though dead.” John, in spite of his familiarity with Jesus, was overwhelmed when he encountered him. The veil was removed and John understood as never before who Jesus is. John, in spite of his history with Jesus, in spite of being the conduit of the Holy Spirit used to give us the gospel of John, three letters, and the book of Revelation, was stunned when he encountered Jesus.
If John was stunned by his encounter with Jesus, what will it be like for us? Indeed, every knee will bow, every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord, that He is God. This awareness won’t be forced; like with John, it will be the reflex of stunned hearts and minds. It will be the only appropriate response to the glory of our precious Savior.
Let me conclude with several quotes from people whose articulation far surpasses mine. First, from Charles Wesley’s eloquent Christmas carol “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”:
Christ, by highest Heav’n adored;
Christ the everlasting Lord;
Late in time, behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th’incarnate Deity,
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.
I love songs that make me think. This song does this. “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; Hail th’incarnate Deity.” We are often impressed with people, with their skills, gifts, wealth, and power. On that Day when we stand before Jesus the people who have impressed us in the past will be on their knees beside us. Those who impress us today will be long forgotten when confronted with the glory of Jesus. Those who impress us today will be like a candle when compared to the sun.
Finally, I love this quote from Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.” It is a dialogue about meeting Aslan, the Christ figure:
“Ooh!” said Susan, “I’d thought he was a man. Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”
“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs Beaver; “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”
“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.
“Safe?” said Mr Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
June 24, 2014
“Faith . . . unites the soul with Christ, as a bride is united with her bridegroom. From such a marriage, as St. Paul says, it follows that Christ and the soul become one body, so that they hold all things in common, whether for better or worse. This means that what Christ possesses belongs to the believing soul, and what the soul possesses belongs to Christ. Thus Christ possesses all good things and holiness; these now belong to the soul. The soul possesses lots of vices and sin; these now belong to Christ. . . . Now is not this a happy business? Christ, the rich, noble and holy bridegroom, takes in marriage this poor, contemptible and sinful little prostitute, takes away all her evil and bestows all his goodness upon her! It is no longer possible for sin to overwhelm her, for she is now found in Christ.”
–Matin Luther (HT: Ray Ortlund)
March 24, 2014
R. C. Sproul Jr. answers the question all of us ask at one time or another: How Should We Understand the Promise Jesus Makes in John 14:14, “If You Ask Anything in My Name I Will Do It?”
Mark Altrogge poses the question, What do you want people to say at your funeral? Good question to think about. What will they say?
Understanding the person of Jesus Christ is one of our most vexing challenges. Justin Taylor leans on Stephan Wellum to think about whether God was in the tomb as a corpse.
I understand being very upset with where our culture is going? How should the church respond to those who actively disobey God’s moral law? Should we preach the gospel or advocate stoning? You are right, stoning is the wrong answer.
March 12, 2014
November 6, 2013
The most wise, righteous, and gracious God doth oftentimes leave, for a season, His own children to manifold temptations, and the corruption of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and, to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon Himself, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends.
Put differently, God allows us to sin so that we might grow. Phil Ryken helpfully discusses this area of providence.
Is all sin created equal? I often hear that it is. All sin equally sends us to hell but all sin is not equal in gravity. Tim Challies discusses the issue.
Are you a Bible teacher? Do you use texts from both the Old and New Testament to talk about Christ? Trevin Wax encourages his viewers to be distinctly Christian. This is important encouragement for Christian teachers.
October 29, 2013
In a grace focused environment it is important to remember that we best help our children understand grace in light of the law. John Piper encourages parents to require obedience of their children.
Last week I posted a link to Tim Challies detailing 18 things he will not regret doing with his children. This week he highlights 18 things he will not regret doing with his wife. Good encouragement.
Here is an interesting piece by Halee Gray Scott, critiquing the way women’s ministry is typically run in evangelicalism. From my inexperienced position, it seems that what she says is important.
Do you ever read the Old Testament and wonder how to apply it? Eric Ortlund offers some helpful tips in his piece, A Very Brief Guide to Reading the Old Testament Devotionally.
Finally, “Christ-Centered Preaching and Teaching” is free in several formats.
May 9, 2013
If you are getting older, like me, you have probably thought about the fact that the day might come when you won’t be able to care for yourself. If you are like me, you probably push that thought to the far recesses of your mind hoping that that eventuality never transpires. We don’t want to be a burden to our children or anyone else for that matter. Russell Moore writes about why we really don’t want to be a burden to our children. You might be surprised at what he says.
This map shows that over half of the world lives in one incredibly small area. Keep praying.
Preaching is about Jesus. While talks might be informative, insightful, and even encouraging, if they aren’t about Jesus ultimately the information, insight, and encouragement isn’t from the gospel. It might be helpful but it isn’t the help Jesus died to give. Even though the talk might be heard in a church with Bibles open, it still isn’t the good news. John Koessler reminds us that Jesus has to be part of every sermon.