Friday, February 19, 2010

Rapture Insurance...(for your pet!)

This is for all the members at Grace who have pets! I wonder if this is joke perpetrated by R.C Sproul upon unsuspecting dispy's?!? You will have to decide. Thanks to David Boyles for the link.

The Cross

Our brother Kim wrote this poem in response to our preaching text this past Sunday : 1 Corinthians 1:18-25. I thought you would enjoy reflecting upon it.

The Cross

Jesus Christ the Son of God
Made His way to tread the road
Of sinners and of the dead,
Bore the cross until the end.

Bitter cup had He to drink
So God’s wrath in Him would sink;
If it were the Sovereign will
Let it be on Calv’ry hill.

Shameful pain on cruel cross,
Spilled out blood I thought it gross;
But it’s what washed all my sins,
Holy Son for hopeless souls.

Mocking mars on fairest Face,
Dropping sweats gave no solace;
His Father did forsake Him
Life Giver, died He for me/Kim.

Then they buried His body
And leaving the cross empty;
But death couldn’t hold His power,
He rose to live forever.

At the cross He crushed my pride,
None could I then from Him hide;
With my all I asked His grace,
Pardon from Him I embrace.

Copyright@Lian Muan Kim

So what's wrong with proclaiming the gospel as "a personal relationship with God?"

How I've enjoyed hearing the public testimonies these past months from our new members! They've been great. Which is why I feel at ease to encourage us to keep using Biblical language as we proclaim not ourselves but the person and work of Christ.

Michael Horton in his book The Gospel-driven Life, helps us by identifying 3 popular misconceptions of the gospel which, as he writes, "share in common a tendency to identify salvation [hence the gospel] with our own experience of conversion rather than with the news of Christ's objective work in history." Here's Horton:

Misconception # 1: "A personal relationship with God"

"Nowhere do we find the apostles proclaiming the gospel as an invitation to have a personal relationship with God. After all, they presupposed that everyone has a personal relationship with God already. In fact, our major problem is that we do have a relationship with God: the relationship of a guilty defendant before a just judge.

Offering the gospel as a personal relationship with God assumes that one is currently in a neutral situation, lacking the joy of knowing God. Or perhaps, if not neutral, this condition is thought of in terms of separation, a breaking off of communication. However, we have seen that all people know God and suppress this truth in unrighteousness. Our problem is not that we are not on speaking terms with God [or vice versa], but that God is declaring his righteousness and we are shaking our fist in his face.

As Paul points out in Ephesians 2:1-9, the problem that the gospel addresses is that fact that we are born into the world 'dead in trespasses and sins,' 'children of wrath,' and enemies of God.
So the gospel does not offer the possibility of a personal relationship with God, but announces a different relationship with God based on Christ. Instead of enemies, we have been reconciled through Christ's sacrifice [Romans 5:8-11]. 'Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ'" [Romans 5:1].”

Michael Horton, The Gospel-driven Life [2009]

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Replacing the substance of Christ with the shadows of method and technique: a facebook post to a friend

Yeah, I'm really tired of worship wars, if that means getting worked up over a particular style of music that might be used in expressing theological truth. At BBC, we “rock” and “folk” and do all kinds of stylistic settings of theological texts. My point is that legalism, which could be well defined from Matthew 15 as teaching as doctrine the commandments of men, has many faces. Our hearts are idol factories, desperately wicked – unknowably so. And so to worship the waiter, whether the waiter is contemporary or traditional forms, and miss the meal is dangerous. I grew up experiencing what I consider to be, in some respects, traditional legalism. And from the trendy legalism side, just read [I won’t mention names] current church growth literature. It seems like they’re often telling us that that if we don’t incorporate what is the latest church growth business method, our churches will die. Now there may be some helpful ideas in the literature but, good grief, “Salvation is of the Lord.” And that’s where the substance of Christ can easily get replaced with the shadows of method and technique. And I say this ultimately for my sake, for I am at the same time a forgiven and recovering Pharisee. Have you read John MacArthur’s, Ashamed of the Gospel? I just purchased the 2010 update. David Wells’, The Courage to be Protestant is another excellent read that deals insightfully with many of the ideas we’re conversing about.


Monday, February 15, 2010

"Worshipping our greater and more perfect tent not made with hands"

This morning I read 18 times in two chapters [Exodus 39-40] that God’s people prepared for God’s worship "as the LORD had commanded Moses." And the result of their obedience to his command was the reestablishment of God’s dwelling with man – the glory of LORD filling and settling on the tabernacle.

So how do we as the people of God on this side of the cross worship from the heart as the Lord has commanded us? The answer for us is rooted in gospel worship – the worship of Christ, our “greater and more perfect tent not made with hands” [Hebrews 9:11].

“How much more, since Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent not made with hands, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God” [Hebrews 9:14].

"Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer!" Praise our Word that was made flesh and “tabernacled” among us [John 1:14]!

Friday, February 12, 2010

“So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God . . . In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" [Matthew 15:6, 9].

Trendy legalism enslaves worshippers to the bondage of evangelical cultural coolness. It doesn't feel like bondage because we think we've freed ourselves from the shackles of traditional legalism. But really, we've just replaced one kind of legalism for another. I call it reverse legalism.

May the substance always be Christ!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Psalm 133
A Song of Ascents, of David.

1Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brothers to dwell together in unity!
2It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Coming down upon the beard,
Even Aaron's beard,
Coming down upon the edge of his robes.
3It is like the dew of Hermon
Coming down upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the LORD commanded the blessing--life forever.

On this past Lord’s Day we sang together Psalm 133 set to the same tune as the hymn Amazing Grace. As I sang I realized that I was singing with my mouth but not with my mind. What was I supposed to make of oil running down Aaron’s beard? And what is special about dew from Mr. Hermon? Mount Hermon? So in keeping with Jonathan Edwards commitment to never allowing himself to pass over anything in Scripture that he did not understand, but to stop and search it out, I thought I should do the same in regard to Psalm 133. Here is what I found.

Psalm 133 is a song of David that many speculate was written at the time he was finally installed as king at Hebron over all Israel. In order to adequately describe his feelings of joy and peace at the reuniting of the nation, David draws upon two rich poetic images to help us see and feel his joy.

The first image David draws upon is that of the fragrant sweet smelling incense that was poured all over the head of Aaron and spilled down upon his beard and robe when he was anointed High Priest. His anointing was a public act that was part of the process in setting him apart as high priest before the Lord. The oil was symbolic of the fact that the people’s advocate was not just acceptable before the Lord, but a pleasing fragrance to Him. I think what David is saying here is that brotherly love and unity is a fragrant aroma ascending to the Lord and pleasing Him.

The second image is that of Mt. Hermon. At 9,200 feet it has the distinction of being the tallest mountain within the borders of ancient Israel. Most every picture you see of Mt. Hermon will show snow covering its three rounded peaks. During hot summer months cool refreshing streams of water and drafts of cold air flow down this mountain and refresh the dry arid ground below. David says that harmony and unity among brothers is just like those cool flowing breezes that descend down Mt. Hermon; it is wonderfully and joyfully refreshing.

Armed with this knowledge, may I suggest at profitable Bible study. Try looking up in your concordance every other occurrence of Mount Hermon in the Bible and see where it might lead you or what it might teach you. Let me know what you find!

Monday, February 1, 2010

A "god" of our own making?

“God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM' [Exodus 3:14]. In other words, God is telling us that He will not be ‘defined or determined by anything other than Himself’ [RSB]. This is why we don’t want to risk worshipping God without Biblical definition—a "god" of our own making rather than the God who has defined and determined Himself to us in His word.” Doc’s Journal, February 1