Thursday, August 25, 2011

Listen and Lead

This one is especially for the men of Bethel. We need to hear this. And we need to listen...and lead.

For the good of our wives, for the good of our children, for the glory of Christ, let's resolve to humbly and dependently follow Christ, so we can lead our wives and children in a Christlike manner, in the right path.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

In Praise of our Soap-Like Savior

In Luke 5:12-14, Jesus cleanses a leper. When preaching on that passage back in February, I mentioned that Jesus is our soap-like Savior. Unless it's some decorative bar in the powder room, you never worry about getting a bar of soap dirty and ruining it. Similarly, you never nervously hesitate to pour the Clorox out of fear that your bleach might get moldy. The influence only travels one direction.

Jesus is our soap-like Savior. He was not afraid to touch this ritually unclean leper, making himself unclean according to the law. Instead of contagious skin disease or uncleanness being communicated to Jesus, Jesus communicated contagious holiness to the leper.

A friend of mine recently listened to that message and sent the following insightful and encouraging expansion of the word picture (thanks, Jeff!):
In your sermon, Jesus was soap-like particularly in His divine ability to cleanse without Himself getting dirty--i.e., the mechanism of cleansing is unidirectional, from soap to dirty hands, from Savior to poor and needy sinner. Jesus is also soap-like in His incarnation: without soap, you can't get oils off of your hands with just water. The oil and water won't mix, the water will run off your hands, and the oil will remain behind. Soap is effective because at its molecular level, it bridges the gap between oil and water, uniting them molecularly: soap has a polar hydrophilic end (water-loving) and a non-polar lipophilic end (fat-loving). Soap unites oil and water molecularly, because it is uniquely equipped to bond with both of them. So, in a sense, soap is able to "reconcile" water and oil, allowing one to clean off the other...the parallels between a loving God, His messy creation, and the soap-like Savior, are rich indeed.
2 Corinthians 5:21
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Hebrews 2:14-18 (emphasis added)
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Gossip and Flattery

A very helpful summary from a very helpful book: 
Gossip involves saying behind a person’s back what you would never say to his or her face.
Flattery means saying to a person’s face what you would never say behind his or her back.
—R. Kent Hughes, Disciplines of a Godly Man, 10th anniversary ed. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2006), p. 139.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Deuteronomy 6:20-25 On This Side of the Cross

Deuteronomy 6:20-25

“When your son asks you in time to come,

‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the LORD our God has commanded you?’

then you shall say to your son,

‘We were Pharaoh's slaves in Egypt.
And the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand.
And the LORD showed signs and wonders, great and grievous,
against Egypt and
against Pharaoh and all his household,
before our eyes.
And he brought us out from there,
that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers.

And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes,
to fear the LORD our God,
for our good always,
that he might preserve us alive,
as we are this day.’

And it will be righteousness for us,
if we are careful to do all this commandment before the LORD our God,
as he has commanded us.’

Deuteronomy 6:20-25 this side of the cross

When your son or daughter asks you in time to come,

“Mom and/or Dad, why do we do all of these things? What is the meaning of these commands and songs and prayers and testimonies and baptisms and communion and sermons and Home Group meetings and acts of service and telling people about Jesus?”

Then you shall say to your son or daughter,

            “We were slaves of sin and enslaved to the fear of death. We were blind to our blindness, in the domain of darkness, under the heavy hand of the wicked Prince of Darkness.
            And the LORD brought us out with a mighty hand. It was SO amazing!
He showed his unstoppable power through unassuming weakness. He so loved us that he sent his only Son to enter this dark world, taking on our flesh and blood. He lived the perfect life that we could not live so that he could be the perfect sacrifice for our sins. And he died in our place on a shameful, cursed cross so that the curse would fall on him and not on us. He was condemned – it looked like weakness and a defeat – so that we would be pardoned.
Do you see the power of the cross?!
The signs and wonders, great and grievous, that you expect on the day of the Lord’s deliverance fell not on us, not on any earthly enemies, but on Jesus! Deep darkness at midday, rocks splitting, the earth shaking – it was all evidence of God’s righteous wrath being poured out on his Son! It looked like the Son of God was bound in weakness to a wooden cross, but really he was binding the Prince-of-Darkness Strongman and plundering his house!
            And he brought us out from there, he rescued us,
that he might bring us in – home to himself. He reconciled us to God. We have peace with God now through our Lord Jesus Christ. We’ve been adopted into his family. Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is ours in Christ Jesus. And not only that, but he went away to prepare a place for us. One day he will return in power and make all things new! And we will inherit the earth! Not this old earth with all its brokenness and groaning and pollution, but a new heavens and new earth where there will be no more death or crying or pain anymore. We will see God face-to-face and walk in the light of his face forever! That’s when we’ll experience the fullness of what it means that he brought us out…to bring us IN!

And the LORD commanded us to do all these things,                     
to fear the LORD our God,
                        for our good always,
                        not in order to live and be accepted,
but because he has made us alive together with Christ, because Jesus Christ is himself our righteousness, and because we are already accepted and loved and have eternal life in him.

Monday, August 8, 2011

That's My King! ... Do You Know Him?

This is fairly well-known clip from a sermon by the late S.M. Lockeridge. I played this for the VBS staff last week in staff devotions. If this doesn't get your blood pumping to praise the Lord, I don't know what will!

I'm not a big fan of the visuals that go along with most of the video versions that are out there, but this one isn't too bad. Note that the audio doesn't start until 20 seconds in.

Dr. S.M. Lockridge - "That's My King"

The Bible says my King is a seven way King,
He's the King of the Jews, that's a racial King,
He's the King of Israel, That's a national King,
He's the King of righteousness,
He's the King of the ages,
He's the King of Heaven.
He's the King of glory.
He's the King of Kings and He's the Lord of Lords.

That's my King. Well, I wonder do you know Him?

David said the Heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork.
My King is a sovereign King.
No means of measure can define His limitless love.
No far seeing telescope can bring into visibility the coastline of His shoreless supplies.
No barriers can hinder Him from pouring out His blessings.
He's enduringly strong.
He's entirely sincere.
He's eternally steadfast.
He's immortally graceful.
He's imperially powerful.
He's impartially merciful.

Do you know Him?

He's the greatest phenomenon that has ever crossed the horizon of this world.
He's God's Son.
He's a sinner's Savior.
He's the centerpiece of civilization.
He stands in the solitude of Himself.
He's august and He's unique.
He's unparalleled.
He's unprecedented.
He is the loftiest idea in literature.
He's the highest personality in philosophy.
He's is the supreme problem in higher criticism.
He's the fundamental doctrine of true theology.
He is the cardinal necessity for spiritual religion.
He's the miracle of the age.
He's He yes He is He is the superlative of everything good that you choose to call Him.
He's the only one qualified to be an all-sufficient Savior.

I wonder if you know Him today?

He supplies strength for the weak.
He's available for the tempted and the tried.
He sympathizes and He saves.
He strengthens and sustains.
He's guards and He guides.
He heals the sick.
He cleansed the lepers.
He forgives sinners.
He discharges debtors.
He delivers the captives.
He defends the feeble.
He blesses the young.
He serves the unfortunate.
He regards the aged.
He rewards the diligent and He beautifies the meager.

I wonder if you know Him?

Well, My King He's is a key,
He's the key to knowledge.
He's the wellspring of wisdom.
He's the doorway of deliverance.
He's the pathway of peace.
He's the roadway of righteousness.
He's the highway of holiness.
He's the gateway of glory.

Do you know Him?

Well, His office is manifold.
His promise is sure.
His life is matchless.
His goodness is limitless.
His mercy is everlasting.
His love never changes.
His Word is enough.
His grace is sufficient.
His reign is righteous.
And His yoke is easy.
And His burden is light.
I wish I could describe Him to you but...He's indescribable.
Yes. He's indescribable,
He's incomprehensible,
He's invincible.
He's irresistable.
Well, you can't get him out of your mind.
You can't you can't get Him off of your hand.
You can't outlive him.
And You can't live without Him.
Well, the Pharisees couldn't stand Him, but they found out they couldn't stop Him.
Pilate couldn't find any fault in Him.
The witnesses couldn't get their testimonies to agree.
Herod couldn't kill Him.
Death couldn't handle Him and the grave couldn't hold Him.

Yeah, That's my king. That's my King, Yes.

And Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever, and ever, and ever and ever.
How long is that?
And ever, and ever, and when you get through with all of the forevers, then Amen.

The Logic of Sovereign Grace

Stop and ponder the logic of this passage (hopefully the formatting will come through):

Deuteronomy 7:6-8 (emphasis added)
"For you are a people holy to the LORD your God.
The LORD your God has chosen you      to be a people for his treasured possession,
                                                                out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
         It was not because you were more in number than any other people 
                                                                      that the LORD set his love on you and chose you
                                                                      for you were the fewest of all peoples,
         but it is because the LORD   loves you and 
                                                        is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, 
                                                                     that the LORD has  brought you out with a mighty hand and 
                                                                                                    redeemed you   from the house of slavery, 
                                                                                                                              from the hand of Pharaoh...

In other words, the LORD your God has set his love on you and chosen you, not because of anything in you, but because of something in Him. He set his love on you...because he loves you. The reason for his love, is his love. And there's simply no other reason underneath his sovereign grace. "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy." God's will is ultimate. Not ours. For sinful and weak-willed sinners like us, that's really good news.

Ephesians 2:4-6 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved-- (emphasis added)