Covenant Orthodox Presbyterian Church https://covenantpensacola.org Exalting Christ Changing hearts Wed, 27 May 2020 22:14:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.1 https://covenantpensacola.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/cropped-LOGO-Covenant-OPC-New-Style-Outline-Special-32x32.png Covenant Orthodox Presbyterian Church https://covenantpensacola.org 32 32 Beatitudes – The Blessed Life in Christ. Study 4. Blessed are those who mourn https://covenantpensacola.org/2020/05/27/beatitudes-the-blessed-life-in-christ-study-4-blessed-are-those-who-mourn/ https://covenantpensacola.org/2020/05/27/beatitudes-the-blessed-life-in-christ-study-4-blessed-are-those-who-mourn/#respond Wed, 27 May 2020 22:11:53 +0000 https://covenantpensacola.org/?p=1952  

The salutation.

Grace and mercy and peace be to you all, not as the world gives, but only as Christ gives.  What a wonderful day to be alive. God has given us another day to love and to serve Him.  Soon we will be in His immediate presence enjoying time without end, adoring the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The Scripture.

Beloved, please take out your Bibles.  I am going to read Matthew 5:1-4.  Then I am going to read a brief section from Luke, his counterpart of our beatitude this afternoon.  Read.

Luke 6:20.  And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.  21 “Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.  22 “Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man.  23 “Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets.  24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full.  25 “Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.  26 “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.

Please join me in prayer to ask God’s blessing in His word. Pray. 

The Beatitude.

We are considering the second Beatitude today. V.5. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

See the connection between the first Beatitude and the second. (V.3, 4)  Those that are poor in spirit are often in mourning.  (Rom.9:1) And the opposite is also true.  Proper mourning or heart sorrow is always found in proper poverty or humility of spirit.

The sorrow.

Let’ see what Christ is getting at when He speaks of a blessed sadness or a mourning that receives the blessing of God.

Cursed sorrow.

There was a time when there was no morning or weeping in the world. It was in Genesis one and two.  With the entrance of sin came the entrance of sorrow.  Never forget beloved, sin is the root, misery is the fruit.  I am not saying every sad thing we endure is directly tied to some express sin of ours. But I am saying, the world is a valley of tears because of the curse of God upon the sin of man.

Natural sorrow.

People sorrow, mourn, and weep for many reasons, sickness, pain, bereavement, material loss, wounded pride, and so on. Jesus is not teaching that everyone that is sad for any reason has the blessing of God upon them. Jesus is not saying blessed are the depressed.  Blessed are the morbid.  Those things are self-ward; carnal and not spiritual.  Judas had sorrow and hung himself (Mt.27:3), after which Judas went to his own place – hell. (Acts 1:25, Jn.17:12)

Listen to what God says through the apostle Paul.

2 Corinthians 7:6.  But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus;  7 and not only by his coming, but also by the comfort with which he was comforted in you, as he reported to us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced even more.  8 For though I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it– for I see that that letter caused you sorrow, though only for a while–  9 I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us.  10 For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

Graced sorrow.

Remember the Beatitudes are only given to disciples of Jesus. Only true Christians who are truly joined to Christ exhibit this proper sorrow.  Christ is saying, blessed is the man that can mourn well or mourn spiritually. (2 Cor.7:10, 1 Cor.2:12-16)

In the first beatitude we see those that recognize their spiritual bankruptcy before the Lord.  And in connection with the fourth beatitude, we see those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.

This sorrow is unto God.  Spiritual sorrow is a fruit or a product of the Holy Spirit, produced by the life of Christ in us. (Gal.2:20) This blessed sorrow is the product of saving faith in Christ.

Sorrow for sin.

So, this sorrow is moral or ethical, which has to do negatively about the corruption of morals – sin.  Lawbreaking. Sins of omission and commission.

The apostle Paul says, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart over his Israelite countrymen because they did not know the wages of their sin and the Savior of their sin. (Rom.9:2)

Sorrow for the misery caused by sin.

Though certainly there is room within the context for Christians mourning over other things.  Such as sickness and death.  We call them, the common miseries of life.  But even in these we can mourn or weep over them in a Christ-pleasing or honoring way.  Or we can sin by grumbling against God because of them.

The paradox.

Here we have another beatitude put in a paradoxical form, ,blessed are the mourners, happy are the unhappy.  Happy mourners.  The world’s way of thinking says, blessed are the merry, blessed are those that laugh. (Ecc.7:6) Remember in Luke’s version Jesus adds this, woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep in the life to come. (Lk.6:25, Lk.12:13-21, Ps.73:1-19)  

The perspective.

In Luke’s gospel Christ uses the word ‘now’.  He implies the word then.  This age (now) and the age to come (then).  Christ wants His disciples to live this life with an eternal perspective of the next life.

Luke 18:29.  And He said to them, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God,  30 who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life. (I Cor.2:6, Eph.1:21, present evil age – Gal.1:4)

We live now, here on earth, by setting our minds on things above, namely heaven.  We use eternity to inform and direct our life here. (Col.3:1-3)

Sorrow – now.  Comfort – then.  Cross now. The crown. You cannot have one without the other.  You cannot separate them one from another.  This ought to teach us not to despair under godly sorrow, because this is the method for all of God’s children.  (2 Cor.4:6-15, Jas.1:1-4, I Pt.1:6-8)  

2 Corinthians 4:16.  Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.  17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,  18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

The Exemplar.

Jesus Christ is our great example in this spiritual mourning.   

Certainly we must exercise caution when seeking to understand the silence of Scripture.  Yet it is significant that Bible never records Christ laughing.  This is not to say He never did.  But the Bible never records it.  But the Bible does say Jesus was a man of mourning.   Listen to what God says through Isaiah about our Christ.

Isaiah 53:1. Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?  2 For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.  3 He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.  4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.  5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.  6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.  7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.

Christ wept over Lazarus.  (Jn.11:35) Christ wept over Jerusalem. (Lk.19:41)  Jesus was hated and despised by sinners that He came to save.  He wept because He knew the wages of sin is death. He wept for all of the miseries that sinned caused, the loss of union and friendship with God and all of the pains and brokenness produced by sin.  (Gen.6:6, Ps.78:40-41) Christ wept, He knew the cost of ransoming sinners was to have the Father of His love count Him accursed.

Matthew 26:37-39   37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed.  38 Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.”  39 And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”

Again, Christ Himself is our example of the blessed mourner.   

I Peter 2:19.  For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.   20 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.  21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,

The mourners.

First we mourn over our own sin, which is an aspect of evangelical repentance.   This kind of mourning for our sins is God-ward and not man-centered, it is the opposite of self-centered or selfish.  This mourning vindicates God and indicts self.

Zechariah 12:10  And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born.

WSC 87  What is repentance unto life?  Repentance unto life is a saving grace,(1) whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin,(2) and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ,(3) doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God,(4) with full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience.(5)

(1)Acts 11:18 (2)Acts 2:37,38 (3)Joel 2:12; Jer. 3:22 (4)Jer. 31:18,19 (5)Ezek. 36:31

We mourn our sin.

And this kind of mourning indicates sound judgments, right thinking.  Our thinking is informed by God’s word, which is the Bible.  Scripture shows us that sin is a sad thing.  The sinner finds it his delight.  But when we weep over it, this shows that our minds are being renewed after the image of God.

And this kind of sorrow also indicates our hearts are sufficiently tender concerning God, His holiness, His honor, the good of our soul, and the good of others, the honor of Christ, the good of His church and so on.  We are sad that our sins should harm the cause of Christ.  (Ezek.36:25-27)

We mourn the consequences of our sin.

We also mourn the consequences of our sin, for ourselves and for others.  We think of king David with Bathsheba and murdering her husband Uriah. Though for Believers in Jesus the penalty of the sin is forgiven, sometimes God’s leaves temporal consequences for His own holy purposes and our spiritual good. (Ps.51:1-5)

God told David his sin was forgiven but the sword would never depart from his house.  His own children would kill one another, they would try to kill him, brother would rape sister and so on.  (2 Sam.12:10)

God uses these things to make us truly sad for sinning against God and man. And truly desirous of Christ.  These things make us more watchful and hateful of sin.  They make us more humble. We are the man. We are the woman.  (2 Sam.12:7-9, Heb.12:1-10, WCF 5.5)

We mourn our remaining corruption.

This in turn makes us mourn for our remaining corruption.  We cry with the apostle Paul, oh wretched man that I am. (Rom.7:24)

John Stott wrote these amazing words: I fear that we evangelical Christians, by making much of grace, sometimes thereby make light of sin.  There is not enough sorrow for sin among us.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones made the following statement: Christ connects blessedness and happiness with mourning over sin.  No mourning for sin.  No blessedness, no happiness.  So, the person that says, I never want to hear about sin cuts himself off from true happiness.

Again, when we mourn for sin this goes a long way to preventing us from continuing in sin.  And thus this kind of spiritual sorrow is instrumental in reformation of life.

We mourn for the sufferings we bear for Christ.

Cross carrying hurts. We weep because of it. It hurts to lose family and friends because we love Christ and they do not. We are despised and hated because we love Christ by a Christ hating world. And we weep. (Heb.11, 2 Cor.4)  

We mourn the sins of others.

Not only do we mourn over our own sin, but the regenerate heart that loves God, likewise grieves when others dishonor God by their sin.  (2 Tim.3:12, Ezra 9:4, Ps.139:21)

Psalm 119:136.  My eyes shed streams of water, Because they do not keep Your law.

Habakkuk 1:1-4  The oracle which Habakkuk the prophet saw.  2 How long, O LORD, will I call for help, And You will not hear? I cry out to You, “Violence!” Yet You do not save.  3 Why do You make me see iniquity, And cause me to look on wickedness? Yes, destruction and violence are before me; Strife exists and contention arises.  4 Therefore the law is ignored And justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore justice comes out perverted.

We mourn the sin of unbelievers.

Paul wept over the enemies of the Cross of Christ. (Phil.3:18)

Not only mourning over the sin committed by others but also mourning over the suffering by others shows a gracious, sympathetic, and evangelical heart. (Zeph.3:18, Ps.137:1) This is especially evident towards the household of God. (Gal.6:10)

1 Corinthians 12:25.  the members should have the same care for one another.  26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it.

We mourn the sin of believers.

We find a number of instances in the Scripture where the leaders of God’s people mourn over the sin committed by God’s people such is the close connection in the Body of Christ.

Ezra 10:1.  Now while Ezra was praying and making confession, weeping and prostrating himself before the house of God, a very large assembly, men, women and children, gathered to him from Israel; for the people wept bitterly.  2 Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, said to Ezra, “We have been unfaithful to our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land; yet now there is hope for Israel in spite of this.  (Ezra 9:3, Dan.9:5-6)

Paul told the Corinthian church that they ought to mourn for the gross sin in their midst.  (I Cor.5:1-13)

The blessedness.

Those that mourn for sin, for God’s sake, their blessedness consists in this, that they shall be comforted.  This is spiritual comfort. (I Pt.5:7)

Notice these are divine PROMISES.  They must come true.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (Mt.5:4)

Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. (Lk.6:21)

Godly sorrow turns the soul towards God, and He in turn comforts those that seek Him.  He pardons, He delivers, He strengthens, He reassures, etc.  (Mt.11:28-30, Ps.30:5, 50:15, Isa.55:6, Mic.7:18, Jer.6:16, Jn.14:1-4, Jn.16:33, 2 Cor.7:5-7, 2 Cor.1:5)

The apostle James tells the people of God to mourn so that refreshment from God would come.  How contrary to the modern church that tells congregants never to mourn, instead, always be happy, stay away from anything that causes you to weep.

James 4:7.  Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  9 Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom.  10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.  

If I can borrow a text that speaks of mourning in relation to death and apply it to other kinds of mourning, we learn that there are benefits to be had in mourning.

Ecclesiastes 7:2.  It is better to go to a house of mourning Than to go to a house of feasting, Because that is the end of every man, And the living takes it to heart.  3 Sorrow is better than laughter, For when a face is sad a heart may be happy.  4 The mind of the wise is in the house of mourning, While the mind of fools is in the house of pleasure.  

We remember that natural joy is weak and fickle and deceiving and brief.  Whereas spiritual joy rooted in Christ is pure and everlasting.

Sometimes in God’s providence, part of the comfort consists in God removing the affliction.

Acts 12:5-7  5 So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God.  6 On the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison.  7 And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly.” And his chains fell off his hands.  (2 Chron.20:1-30, 32:9, Ps.116, Isa.38)

Oftentimes however, God comforts us IN the affliction, IN the mourning. God is with in our sorrow. (Rom.8:35-39) He is near to the broken hearted. (Ps.34:18, 2 Cor.4:17, 12:8, Heidelberg Q.1)

We see the happy ending of all our mourning in…

Psalm 126:5.  Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.  6 He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.  (Isa.66:10, Ps.147:3)

Isaiah 35:10  And the ransomed of the LORD will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, With everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away. (Isa.61: 1-3, 65: 13-14)

Revelation 21:4   And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away. (Lk.16:25)

Amen

Study Questions.

  1. Who is the source of blessing? What people are blessed and why? How does Beatitude #1 relate to Beatitude #2?  (Ps.3:8, Mt.5:3-4, Lk.6:20-28, Jn.3:16, Jn.15:1-16)
  1. Explain the difference between worldly sorrow and heavenly sorrow? Where do they come from?  What are their objects?  Is Jesus saying everyone that is sad, and weeping is blessed?  Is Jesus saying it is blessed to be depressed?  Defend your answers with Scripture. (2 Cor.7:10, Mt.27:3, I Cor.2:12-16)
  1. Contrast how unbelievers and Believers consider what is blessed, what is desirable, what is sorrowful, etc. In brief, compare what the unbeliever values and devalues versus how God estimates things.  What lessons do we learn by this?  (Ecc.7:6, Lk.6:25, Lk.12:13-21, Ps.73:1-19, Mt.23:1-12, Rom.12:1-2)
  1. How many ‘ages’ are there? Explain what an eternal perspective is.  How does having an eternal perspective help us receive and benefit from beatitude #2?  (Mt.12:32, Lk.18:29-30, I Cor.2:6, Eph.1:21, Gal.1:4, Col.3:1-3, 2 Cor.4:6-15, Jas.1:1-4, I Pt.1:6-8, 2 Cor.4:16-18)
  1. In what ways is Jesus the example of the blessed mourner? How, when and why did Jesus mourn?  In what way is Jesus blessed?  What does this teach us?  (Isa.52:13-15, Isa.53:1-12, (Jn.11:35, Lk.19:41, Gen.6:6, Ps.78:40-41, Mt.26:37-39, Gal.4:4, I Pt.2:19-21)
  1. What is the primary thing that we mourn over. To whom do we mourn?  What do we learn by this?  (Zech.12:10, Acts 11:18, Acts 2:37-38, Joel 2:12, Jer. 3:22, Jer. 31:18-19, Ezek. 36:25-31, Ps.32, Ps.51, Rom.7:24)
  1. Should we mourn for the sins of others? What does this reveal about us? What should the sins of others cause us to do?  (2 Tim.3:12, Ezra 9:4, Ps.139:21, Hab.1:1-4, Phil.3:18, Zeph.3:18, Ps.137:1, Jn.3:16, Acts 14:21, Mt.5:44, 2 Cor.5:17-21)
  1. In what ways has much of the modern church discouraged spiritual mourning for sin? In what ways has the church sought to imitate the carnal levity and non-seriousness of the world?  (Jas.4:4, 2 Cor.13:5, Heb.12:14, Mt.5:20, Isa.28:7-9, Jer.6:14, Ezek.13:10-16, Exod.32:6, Lk.12:19, Rev.2:1-5, 2:18-22, 3:13-20, I Thess.5:6-7, Jas.4:7-10)
  1. What blessings in this life can and do we receive for spiritually mourning according to God’s word? How are we comforted in our mourning in this life?  (I Pt.5:7, Eccl.7:2-4, Mt.11:28-30, Ps.30:5, 50:15, Isa.55:6, Mic.7:18, Jer.6:16, Jn.16:33, 2 Cor.7:5-7, 2 Cor.1:5, Rom.8:35-39, 2 Cor.12:5-10)
  1. What blessings in the next life will we receive for spiritually mourning according to God’s word? How are we comforted in the next life?  (Lk.6:21-23, Jn.14:1-4, Ps.126:6, Isa.35:10, Isa.61:1-3, 65:13-14, Isa.66:10, Rev.21:4)
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Mark 14:27-31. Sermon 63. A Conversation With Christ https://covenantpensacola.org/2020/05/23/mark-1427-31-sermon-63-a-conversation-with-christ/ https://covenantpensacola.org/2020/05/23/mark-1427-31-sermon-63-a-conversation-with-christ/#respond Sat, 23 May 2020 22:43:54 +0000 https://covenantpensacola.org/?p=1934

Grace and peace to you Beloved in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

We thank the Lord for who He is and for what He has done in our lives and what He will do.   And I thank the Lord for everyone of you Beloved that love Christ in spirit and in truth.  What a glorious gift that God has given us – to worship Him in His word.

Let’s read God’s word together. Mark 14:27-31.  What a passage. So rich and full. Let’s pray and seek God’s blessing on our worship. Pray. 

The Christ.

It has been a while since our last sermon from the book of Mark.  Our last time in this gospel account was Sunday March eighth. A little over two and a half months ago.  My hope is to press on and to finish this the shortest of the gospel accounts.

I love all four gospels because they are so directly about Jesus Christ. Of course, the entire Bible is about our Lord and Savior.  But here the treasure lies on top of the ground.  There is no digging required. The diamonds and the gold of Christ crucified are set right there for all God’s children to believe and to love and to enjoy.  Look at V.27 and V.28 there they are! There He is!

The conversation.

This morning we have the record of a personal conversation between Jesus and His disciples.  Let’s see what we can glean from this little conversation.

God has come down to man in the person of Christ – the God-Man.  Immanuel, God with us, is in friendship with men and women and boys and girls. (I Tim.2:5, Mt.1:21-23) Here in our text in person. Here today in our worship by His Word and Spirit.

Oh Beloved, I want us to really think of that.  Walking with God in the cool of the day. Talking with God. Really talking with Him. Not just talking or praying to our shoes, as it were.   Yes, I understand that these fellows and all of us no longer live in the Garden of Eden when things were good and very good. (Gen.3:8, Heb.11:1-40)

However, this little conversation shows us that God tabernacles with His people in our wilderness pilgrimage, in as the Bible says a howling wasteland, in this present evil age. (Dt.32:10, Gal.1:4)  He is near to us.  God is with us. Christ never leaves His people. His word cheers us along our way.  (Jn.1:14, Rev.22:3-5, Mt.28:20, Heb.13:5, Dt.31:6-8, Josh 1:5)

Think of it.  As believers in Christ we are no longer strangers to God’s covenant or promises. We are no longer in the world without God and without hope. In Christ and by Christ, He has brought us near to God by His own blood. (Eph.2:12-21, Col.2:13-22) He speaks to us in His word. And we speak with Him in our prayers.  (Heb.4:14-16)

The unbeliever thinks it a great honor if he can speak with a well-known athlete or a famous singer or perhaps some famous writer or businessman.  What are they beloved?  Pieces of dust. Destined for the dust. (Gen.3:17) And sinful dust at that. (Isa.6:5, Lk.5:8) Think of the privilege of speaking with the holy God of heaven and earth coming to us as our loving merciful Mediator-Savior!

That is what is going on here in out text.

As an aside  Reformed Christians from the Protestant Reformation and Presbyterians as a part of that Reformation believe a doctrine they call the dialogical principle of worship. This means in corporate worship God is having a dialogue with us! He speaks to us in His word. And we speak back to Him in our praises and prayers and as we agree by faith with His word!  (Gen.12:7-8, 8:15-21, 2 Chron.29:27-28)  Christ is here Beloved. He is walking among the lampstands of His church. (Rev.1:13-18, 2:2, Heb.7:3)

What would our worship look like if we really embraced this truth?!  Perhaps that would make for a helpful future sermon. 😊

The instruction.

Now think of this. It is God initiating the conversation with us!  God moves to men first. And not the other way around. Of course men dead in their sins cannot move to God first. He moves to us to give us spiritual life from our spiritual death. All in Christ. His word says so. (Eph.2:10, Acts 13:48, Jn.1:10-13, Rom.9:8-29)  

Little did these men know that their words and their actions would be recorded by the Holy Spirit into the canon of Scripture for our religious instruction. (Exod.24:12, Rom.15:4, I Cor.10:1-11, WCF 1.1)  The hidden things belong to God, the revealed things belong to us and to our children that we may observe all the words of God. (Dt.29:29)

I want you to think of all the kinds of instruction in the world. Math, science, arts, sports, business, and on and on and on. And each one has its place.

By may I say beloved religious instruction has its place.  And I would say its place ought to be at the front of the line.  We may be ignorant of a great many things and still yet be safely in Christ. For example, we may not know why grass is green, why the sky is blue but if we know why Christ died on the cross, it is well with our soul.

Oh I am not arguing to cease all other instruction.  That would be silly. And sinful.  But I am saying since our chief duty in life is to glorify God and to enjoy God forever, we ought to be religiously instructed.

And for our children especially we should take great pains to talk with them about Christ.  Listen what God said through His man Joshua, the man that led the children of Israel into the (typological) Promised Land – heaven being the anti-type. (see Heb.11)

Joshua 4:21.  He said to the sons of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’  22 then you shall inform your children, saying, ‘Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.’  23 “For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the LORD your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed;  24 that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, so that you may fear the LORD your God forever.”

Notice our text says fathers. You don’t have to tell believing mothers to speak to their children about Christ, they already will. But us fathers need a little direct encouragement from the Lord.

Beloved, how we ought to fill our conversation with our children about the death of Christ, why He died, what sin is, what the penalty for sin is, that we are sinners, and about His life, God’s word, our need of Him, our blessedness in Him.  And remember ‘our’ obedience to Christ, our living for Jesus also instructs our children. May our profession and practice be according to the word of God that our children would come to love the Living Word of God, that we would win our children to Christ.

Beloved if we will not instruct our children in the truth of Christ, we can be sure the unbelieving world will instruct them in the lie.

The disciples.

Now let’s consider the participants in this conversation. Obviously we have Jesus.  And Jesus is speaking with His disciples. And they are speaking with Him. The disciples in view are actually the apostles of Jesus.  For our purpose, a disciple is a believer or a professed follower of Jesus as the Christ.

Now ultimately we prove whether we are a true disciple or not by our believing what Christ requires us to believe and by our doing what our Christ requires us to do.  In other words, our submission to His Lordship will testifies if we have saving faith in Christ or not.

An apostle is a commissioned or sent herald of Jesus Christ. An apostle is a Christian teacher. And a teacher of Christ. Not teaching Jesus of course. But teaching other people about Jesus.  But as an aside sometimes disciples of Jesus do actually presume to teach Jesus! A bad idea by the way. And we do in fact see that a little bit here with the men rejecting what Jesus says “will” happen. More on that in a bit.

These under-shepherds are servants serving servants, sheep serving other sheep.

So, what we have here is a seminary class for them.  Christ instructs at the Passover. Christ instructs walking along the road. Beloved, we should talk about Christ on the Lord’s Day. But we should also talk about Christ when we rise up, and when we lie down, when we come in and when we go out.

Remember not only is Christ our Savior, He is also our Exemplar. We are to imitate Him. Peter says, Jesus left us an example to walk in His footsteps. He carried a cross. We carry our cross. He spoke to others about His death and resurrection. We speak to other about His death and resurrection. (I Pt.2:21-25, I Cor.11:1, I Cor.4:16, Lk.9:23, Phil.3:17, Phil.2:1-11, 2 Thess.3:6-9, Heb.13:7, 3 Jn.1:11)

By this we are taught to seek every occasion to do spiritual good to ourselves and to our fellow man.  Every situation of life provides particular things for which we can drop a word or two about God, His word, our Christ, Man and so on.

But so I am not misunderstood. Not every moment is a proper moment to give religious instruction. There is a time and season for everything under heaven. (Eccl.3:1-8)  Turn, turn, turn. Sorry I could not help myself 😊. (Written by Pete Seger 1959. Popularized by The Byrds)

Beloved, as regards to your religious conversation, use your graced wisdom.  You want your brain surgeon to be 1000% focused on his or her scalpel during your operation.  After, he or she can give thanks to God for the successful operation.  But the general lesson is let’s use and improve our time and our tongues for Christ.

The Shepherd.

Now see how Jesus refers to Himself to His disciple-teachers, as The Shepherd.  

V.27. And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, because it is written, ‘I WILL STRIKE DOWN THE SHEPHERD, AND THE SHEEP SHALL BE SCATTERED.’

The Messiah.

By this Jesus is saying that He is the promised Messiah. And that Messiah is God in the Flesh.  We see the self-awareness of Christ that He is the Christ. Albert Schweitzer wrote the Quest for the Historical Jesus (1906) where he said that Jesus did not know that He was the Christ. The Bible says otherwise. Beloved, if you are searching for the historical Jesus only look in the Bible. 😊  

And remember Jesus is a Jew after the flesh and all of the men He is having a conversation with are also Jews. Salvation is of the Jews. (Jn.4:22)  Christ came to Israel first. God chose Israel out of all the peoples of the earth. And God gave Israel His word, His oracles. What an amazing privilege. (Rom.3:1)

So when Jesus says, I am the Christ, I am the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for the life of His people (Jn.10:1-18) these men would have certainly thought of many many Bible verses showing God is the Shepherd of His people.  The most famous, the Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want. (Ps.23, Ps.80:1-3, Gen.49:24, Ps.95:7, Ps.79:13, Ps.95:7) We are the sheep of His pasture.  If you have some time read Ezekiel 34:6-16 – God Himself will come and save and Shepherd His people. He is here. In Christ.

The humiliation.

V.27. And then Christ teaches them (and us) The Good Shepherd must die. See the main thing that Christ instructs His men in. His death. Remember they are being instructed to be instructors, to teach, Christ frees us, reconciles us, and ransoms us by His blood. (Rev.1:1-8) There is no remission of sin without the shedding of blood. (Heb.9:22)

Look at the language Jesus chooses to use to instruct His disciples about His work.  Jesus quotes the Bible to His men.   Jesus quotes the minor prophet Zechariah.

Zechariah 13:7.  Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, And against the man, My Associate,” Declares the LORD of hosts. “Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered; And I will turn My hand against the little ones.

By this we learn that the OT and the NT teach the same Good News of Jesus.  In the OT we have to dig a little harder and to look a little closer to find Christ, but He is there. (2 Tim.3:14, Zech.13:7)

And we learn that Jesus wants the NT Christian to use the OT to find Him and to live for Him.

Beloved. The death of Christ proves the holy inflexible justice (law) of God. And the death of Christ proves the bestial total depravity of Man. Natural man hates God. Natural man want to murder the true and living God of the Bible. (Rom.3:10-18) But then preeminently the death of Christ proves the love and the goodness and the mercy of God in Christ to hateful evil rebellious God-hating, Christ-hating, sin-loving sinners! (WLC 48-50, Lk.6:35-36)

Beloved, who killed Christ? Jews? Gentiles? Us? Sinners? Yes. But never forget it was divine justice that struck Christ with the sword. Christ paid the penalty of GOD for our sin. (Gal.3)

Scattered. They all fled from Christ. They all left Him. Christ dies alone. No one helps Him. Christ saves alone. No one helps Him. Salvation is all of Christ. We do not help Him. We need Him.

Beloved, Christ was despised and rejected by men. (Isa.53:1-3)  He is too holy and we are too sinful. By application, all those joined to this holy Christ will likewise be despised and rejected. Especially men that preach Christ. (Jn.15:17-27) We  share in the sufferings of Christ.  But as verse 28 teaches, we will likewise share in the glories of Christ. (I Pt.4:13, Rom.8:17, Phil.3:10)

The exaltation.

V.28. Then Jesus speaks about His resurrection from the dead.  Oh beloved the Bible says that Messiah would die for the sins of His people. He will be buried for three days in the earth like Jonah was three days in the great fish. But then the Bible says that God the Father would not let His Beloved Son our blessed Savior suffer decay. (Ps.16:10, Acts 2:27)

Christ rose from the grave on the third day in fulfillment of the Holy Scripture. He rose victorious over the curse, over sin, over Satan, over death, and over the grace.  He satisfied the wrath and the justice of God. The sacrifice was accepted. He lives. And thus, we shall live in Him. (I Cor.15:1-6) Glory to God. (WCF 13.1, 26.1, WLC 52)

The application.

Certainly, Christ wants us to think about and speak about His death and resurrection to ourselves first and then to others. But He is also teaching us to do the same for ourselves. We are to think about and speak about our own death, first to ourselves and then to others.

Not in a morose fashion.  Not to cause despair.  We are to number our days. We are to consider the end of them. (Ps.90) We are to accept and to prepare to take our place among the great cloud of witnesses that have died in the Lord.  This will help our faith in Jesus.  This will help us to be more faithful in our love of Him and serviceable to our fellow man, less fixated on this world, more able to live with our loins girded and ready to go. (Exod.12:11)

And as often as we think and speak about our death, we ought to do the same about our life after death.  God is the God of the living and not the dead. All those who die in Christ are alive in Christ. To be absent from the flesh is to be present with the Lord. (Jn.14:1-3, 2 Cor.5:7-8) And we ought to regularly meditate upon our resurrection from the dead, receiving a glorified body like Christ to spend eternity with Christ. (I Jn.3:1-3)

Oh beloved we should think and speak about heaven with Christ more than we do. O happy day.

The wisdom.

Now I want to point something else about Jesus that we may miss in this conversation. And this mini-point will actually lead into my final point.  Jesus just restated the fundamentals of His gospel.  He just re-taught the basics of His saving work. He gave gospel class 101 to His men again.

Why would Christ do this? Because Beloved we are sheep?  😊

Even true Believers, which eleven out of these twelve men were, we are still so frail and forgetful.  We are sheep. We are not very wise. And we often wander away from the truth of Christ crucified and Christ risen.  Or at least we are tempted to.

And Christ “majors on the majors’, He says essentially, “the Bible says” and I say” with the men He sends out to be His teachers.  And He majors on the majors – daily!  Because we need it beloved.  We can make the majors the minors. And the minors the major!  Or worse. We can add the words of Man to the word of God.  

The frailty.

V.29-31. Now let’s look at the last thing we learn from this conversation which is the remaining weakness and neediness of Christ’s lambs – the apostles, us.

Remember Christ is having a conversation.  And conversations are dialogues and not monologues.  And Christ permits this.

So, the apostle Peter and the other disciples feel free enough to respond to Jesus.  The student speaking to the Master or to the Teacher if legitimate as long as the student remembers he is the student and not the Master.

But in that way, Peter forgets himself.  And all the men do as well.  Remember “Jesus” has just said something “is’ going to happen. And He is actually saying the Bible says this “is” going to happen.  And Peter and the guys say, no it isn’t!  😊

What is interesting about this, is God actually records the error or the ignorance or the weakness of His people in His book for His people.  Not to hurt us. But to help us.

As Christ had perfect self-awareness we see that they (and we) do not. These men misjudged themselves. They thought their faith was stronger than it was. They thought their sin was weaker than it was.

Oh Beloved, these are the kind of people that Jesus saves and that Jesus uses. And remembrances of our sins and failings help keep us humble and they help us rely on Jesus.  This is what makes a serviceable preacher and a Christlike and serviceable Christian.

Beloved I am sure these men did not mean to contradict Christ in a mean way. They love Him. They can’t imagine defecting from Him.  But they did. But Christ did not. Oh beloved are you not thankful that Jesus saves sinners and He keeps us and loves us and uses us despite our frailties and failures and sins?  We are weak but He is strong.  The Lord is our Shepherd we shall not want.

Oh, what we learn from one conversation with Christ.

Amen

Study Questions.

  1. What do we learn by God speaking with men? About God? About man? How does Christ our Mediator enable us to speak with God safely and pleasingly? How does God speaking with us during our pilgrimage encourage our travels? (I Tim.2:5, Mt.1:21-23, Gen.3:8, Heb.11:1-40, Dt.32:10, Gal.1:4, Jn.1:14, Rev.22:3-5, Mt.28:20, Heb.13:5, Dt.31:6-8, Josh 1:5, Eph.2:12-21, Col.2:13-22, Heb.4:14-16)
  1. What is the dialogical principle of worship? How should this affect your worship? How should this affect the content of your worship? Your intellectual, emotion, and perhaps even physical ‘posture’?  What things might the dialogical principle of worship curtail from occurring during worship?  (Gen.12:7-8, 8:15-21, 2 Chron.29:27-28, Rev.1:13-18, 2:2, Heb.7:3)
  1. Christ is giving spiritual or religious instruction in the conversation under examination. What things do we learn by this? (Mk.14:27-31, Eph.2:10, Acts 13:48, Jn.1:10-13, Rom.9:8-29, Exod.24:12, Rom.15:4, I Cor.10:1-11, WCF 1.1, Dt.29:29)
  1. Is religious instruction to our children important? How important? Why? When should it begin? Who should give it? How should it be given? Describe ways that we verbally and non-verbally teach our children about Christ and the Christian life.  (Gen.17:1-12, Dt.6:7, Josh.4:21-25, Prov.22:6, I Jn.5:19, Exod.20:12, 2 Tim.3:14-17, I Cor.14:9, Eph.6:1-4, I Thess.2:7, Heb.12:1-11, Ps.22:9-10, Ps.127:3, 139:13-16, Jn.3:16, 3:36, Acts 2:38-39, I Cor.7:14, Mal.2:15, Ezra 9:2)
  1. What are some things we learn by Christ referring to Himself as our Shepherd? About Him? About us? What does the Shepherd do for us? (Ps.23, Ps.80:1-3, Gen.49:24, Ps.95:7, Ps.79:13, Ps.95:7, Ezek.34:6-16, Jn.10:1-18, Zech.13:7, Mk.14:27, I Pt.2:25)
  2. Why did Christ die? Who killed Christ? Who was responsible for His death? How is the justice of God manifested in His death? How is the mercy of God manifested in His death? How is the depravity of man manifested in His death? (Zech.13:7, Mk.14:27, I Pt.2:21-25, I Cor.11:1, I Cor.4:16, Lk.9:23, Phil.3:17, Phil.2:1-11, 2 Thess.3:6-9, Heb.13:7, 3 Jn.1:11, Rom.3:10-18, Lk.23:21, Ps.22:1-21, Acts 2:23, Isa.53:1-12, Gal.3:1-14)
  1. What does the resurrection of Christ teach us? About Christ? About us? About the Bible? (Mk.14:28, Ps.16:10, Acts 2:27, I Cor.15:1-6, Acts 2:24-27, Lk 24:39, Rom. 6:9, Rev. 1:18, Jn.10:18, Rom. 1:4, Rom. 8:34, Heb. 2:14, Rom. 14:9, I Cor. 15:21-22, Eph. 1:20-23, Col. 1:18,  Rom. 4:25, Eph. 2:1-6, Col. 2:12, 1 Cor. 15:25-20)
  1. Christ spoke about His death and resurrection (life after death) to others, why should we imitate Him in this? What benefits could we potentially glean from thinking about and speaking about our own death and resurrection to ourselves first and then to others? (Jn.3:16, Rom.5:1-10, Eccl.3:1-8, Lk.12:1-49, Phil.2:17, Ps.90:1-17, Eccl.7:2, Exod.12:11, Jn.14:1-3, 2 Cor.5:7-8, I Jn.3:1-3, I Jn.2:15-17, James 4:1-10, 2 Cor.4:18)
  1. What are some truths or doctrines that are essential for our salvation? Truths necessary for us to believe to be a (saved) Christian? What are some Bible truths or doctrines that are non-essential to our salvation? What things can Christians differ on but still be truly saved Christians? Even if we err on these things? How can we major on the minors and minor on the major?
  1. How can a preacher be mute with the moral law? How can a preacher be mute with the gospel? What content can they replace the law and the gospel with? Is a mute watch-dog helpful?  Why are preachers tempted unto silence with God’s law and gospel?  (Ezek.3:17-21, Mt.5:14-16, Jn.1:1-18, Isa.56:10, Prov.29:25, Jn.10:12, 2 Tim.4:14, Jer.14:13-18, Jer.23:21-40, Heb.13:17)
  1. The disciple-apostles contradicted what Christ said in our passage? What do we learn about disciples and about teacher-disciples by this?
  1. What could be some potential benefits of remembering our sins and failures against Christ? Could this help in your talking with God? How? (Jn.3:16, I Tim.1:15, Gal.1:13, 4:29, Acts 8:3, Lk.15:11-32, I Cor.15:9-11, I Pt.5:6)

 

 

 

 

 

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Beatitudes – The Blessed Life in Christ. Study 3. Blessed are the poor in spirit. https://covenantpensacola.org/2020/05/20/beatitudes-the-blessed-life-in-christ-study-3-blessed-are-the-poor-in-spirit/ https://covenantpensacola.org/2020/05/20/beatitudes-the-blessed-life-in-christ-study-3-blessed-are-the-poor-in-spirit/#respond Wed, 20 May 2020 21:12:45 +0000 https://covenantpensacola.org/?p=1926

The salutation to Believers.

Grace, peace, and mercy to you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Thank you once again for joining us in our video Bible studies.  Currently we are in a series on the Beatitudes.

Please get your Bible out and turn to Matthew chapter five. I am going to read Matthew 5:1-16. Read.  Now, let’s ask our Lord to bless His word to us, to help us understand it, love it, and practice it in our lives. Pray.

The blessed in Christ.

This is our third study, but this is the first Beatitude.  Christ says, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Mt.5:3)

Luke’s gospel just says, blessed are the poor. (Lk.6:20) But the context will teach us this is spiritual soulish inward heart poverty or emptiness before God – apart from Christ.

The mind of God.

Most of us have read the Beatitudes so many times that they have somewhat lost their impact.  In this way, this is like the Lord’s Prayer.  Most of us can recite or say the Lord’s Prayer without blinking an eye, almost like a parrot.  Beloved when things are well known to us we need to guard against treating God’s holy things as common things.

Stop and slowly read over this first beatitude, blessed are the poor.  Before we speak on spiritual poverty, mediate on the strangeness of what Jesus just said, the poor are blessed of or by God.

The rebellion of unbelief.

Natural Man says, blessed are the financially rich. Blessed are the physically strong. Blessed are those who are strong in themselves!  Listen to this poem by William Earnest Henley. It epitomizes the heart of unbelieving man.  Unbelieving man refuses to admit that he or she is poor in spirit, and they dare God to prove that they are!  The name of this poem is Invictus, it means unconquerable.  A secondary title is, Song of a Strong Soul. (1875)

Out of the night that covers me
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance,
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,        (he mocks the words of Christ!  Mt.7:13-14)
How charged with punishments the scroll,    
(he mocks the Bible teaching on hell!)
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

This is unconverted man. This is Romans 3:10-18.  Oh beloved if this man died believing this, I can assure you he had the words of another apostate on his lips. Julian the apostate, a rebel against Christ died with these words on his lips, Thou hast conquered O Galilean! (died: June 26, 363)

As an aside. Timothy McVeigh the man who bombed a federal building in Oklahoma choose the poem Invictus to be read just before the state executed him justly for his murder (on June 11, 2001). What does this teach you about natural man?   

The truth of God.

Beloved, God is revealing to us in the Beatitudes that His view of blessedness is radically different than unbelieving man. (Isa.55:8-9, I Cor.1:18-25, Mt.23:7-12, Rev.2:9)

God is saying, in some way, poverty produces riches and mourning produces joy!   

James, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit says, the poor have a high position and the rich have a low position.  Amazing.   

James 1:9.  But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position;  10 and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away.  11 For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away.

The members of Christ.

Remember the Beatitudes are the blessings of Christ for those that believe in Christ.  God blesses all those that He has subdued and brought to Christ. We have been joyfully conquered by Christ. He subdued our enmity and warfare. Jesus made peace for us.  Now we belong to Him. No longer wolves. But His lambs.

We share His nature or His life.  Of course, we do not become divine.  We are always creaturely.  But we are in Him. And His life is in us.

Galatians 2:18.  For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove myself to be a transgressor.  19 “For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God.  20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

The Beatitudes also teach us that we share in His sufferings as His Lambs who live among wolves. And all that we endure for His name testifies we are blessed in Jesus. (Rom.8:17, 2 Cor.1:7-8, Heb.10:33-34, Col.1:24, Heb.2:14, Heb.12:10, I Pt.4:13, WCF 18.2)

Martin Luther said this, the first beatitude is, blessed are the poor and the last beatitude is, blessed are the persecuted.  With this Luther concludes, every true saint is an heir to the cross.

Listen to what Jesus says.

Matthew 16:24.  Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.  25 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  26 “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

The example of poverty.

Now let’s take a look at our great example of spiritual soulish heart poverty. (Phil.2:1-11) Of course, Christ is the One we look to. Christ is represented to us as the Lamb of God.  We want to imitate Jesus. We want to follow in His footsteps. (I Pt.2:21-25) We want to be lamblike in our hearts, words, and actions.   

Christ’s entire earthly life was an expression of His spiritual poverty and humility.  Think of this one instance; Christ manifested poverty of spirit when He rode into Jerusalem.  It was not on a war-horse, or a chariot, or a king’s carriage, but on a donkey, on the foal of a donkey. (Mt.21:5, read also Phil.2:1-11)

Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, (Himself represented as a dove -we want to be dove-like in all our life), says this:

2 Corinthians 8:9   For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich. (I Pt.2:20-21)

Read Hebrew chapter eleven to see the outward estate of many of God’s children. But see their faith and their spiritual poverty on display to encourage us.

The definition of poverty.

Let’s say a few things about what this kind of poverty is not and then what it is.   

What it is not.

Jesus is not here speaking about material poverty.  We can be materially poor for non-sinful reasons. By some providence of God we are brought low in the world’s goods, as is often the case with God’s children in the world.  Again read Hebrews chapter eleven.

And we can be materially poor because of our own sin.  For example, we can be foolish and or lazy and or profligate with our time and talents and so reduce ourselves to poverty.  But Jesus is not calling all men to voluntary material poverty.  Jesus is not saying to all Christians, you must renounce every bit of material possessions that you have and live in a monastery, then you will earn your blessings. No. Without faith in Christ, we could give all our possessions away and we would be un-blessed. (I Cor.13:1-4, Jn.3:36, Ps.73)

Jesus is not denouncing all those who are rich materially.  There are materially rich people that had soul-poverty and thus inherited the kingdom of heaven.  For example, Abraham, David, Joseph of Arimathea. (Mk.15:43, Mt.27:57)

But there are plenty of passages in the Bible, which warn against trusting in riches, or falling in love with riches, the deceitfulness of wealth. And some of the requisite duties of those that are rich in the world’s goods. (Mt.19:23, Lk.12:21, I Tim.6:17, Jas.1:11, 5:1)

What it is.

Spiritual poverty teaches us that man has two parts to his nature: physical and spiritual.   (Gen.2:7, Ezek.37:14, Jn.6:63, WCF 4.2, 6.2, WLC 93)  Our great need is a soul need. Our souls are meant to be filled with God.

The poverty of heart that Jesus is speaking about is gracious or evangelical.  Meaning that it is a gift of God.  And it is a gift of God for all those who come to Christ for salvation.  Christ’s Good News is for the poor in spirit. Think of the prodigal son.  He comes to Christ in rags. He has nothing. Christ has everything. (Lk.15:11-32)

Isaiah 61:1.  The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners;  2 To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn,

3 To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.

The distinguishing traits of this poverty are that the people know they are destitute of any goodness to bring to God. They know that they are heartbroken for their sins against God.  They despair for any good in themselves. They account their best righteousness as a filthy rags before a holy God.  (Isa.64:6, Lk.4:18-19)

Those with soul-poverty know that they have no hope in mere man. They rely wholly on the mercy of God in Christ.  (Read: Luke 18:8-14) They say, God be merciful to me the sinner. (LK.18:9-14)

Listen to how the apostle Paul expresses graced heart-poverty.

Philippians 3:7.  But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,  9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,  10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;  11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.  12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.  

Isaiah 66:2  But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word. (Isa.57:15, Ezek.36:36-37)

The deceitfulness of material riches.

I think it might be helpful here to say a word about material riches and our spiritual poverty or heartfelt lowliness.  While Christ is not speaking against the materially rich, the Bible does sometimes speak about the potential harm that material wealth can have upon our soul.

When Israel was materially poor, they often did better spiritually. When they got into the Promised Land and became materially prosperous then they became spiritually destitute. Their wealth fed their pride and their sin. And their wealth starved their faith. They were Jeshurun. (Dt.32:15)  

James 2:5 does teach that often God does in fact choose the materially poor of the world to be also those who are humble of heart and hence rich in faith. (I Cor.1:27-31)

Also, Christ does say, it is hard for a (materially) rich man to enter the kingdom of God.  (Mt.19:21-27) God speaks about the deceitfulness of wealth. (Mt.13:20-22, Lk.12:20, Lk.16:13-22)  The love of money has caused many to miss salvation in Christ.  (I Tim.6:5-11) Remember Judas.

The book of Revelation has a clear picture of how, one can be materially rich yet spiritually poor and how one can be materially poor yet spiritually rich (rich toward God).

Laodicea.    Revelation 3:17.  ‘Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,  18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich.

Smyrna.     Revelation 2:8.  And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this:  9 ‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.  10 ‘Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

Remember Beloved, the earth has been cursed by God and is consigned to perish. (Gen.3:17, 2 Pt.3:1-11, Lk.12:15) Let’s not find our blessedness in that which is destined to burn. (Mt.7:27, I Cor.7:29-31, I Jn.2:15-17, Prov.23:1-5)

The helps to spiritual-poverty.

Let me give us a few things to help us to maintain a Christ-pleasing soul-poverty.   

Think highly of Christ.

Walk by faith in Christ, rely upon the Holy Spirit.  Read your bible daily. Pray daily. Fast as your can. Worship weekly in the house of God. Practice what you know.  Repent daily. Believe more.  Rely on God’s grace.   

Fundamentally true poverty of spirit is the work and gift of the Holy Spirit in our effectual calling.  Recognize that you are just a branch you are not the Vine. Christ IS the Vine and all saving and sanctifying efficacy comes from Him.  All is grace.

1 Corinthians 4:7   For who regards you as superior? And what do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

Think highly of others.

Do not judge you gifts and your Christian walk by other Christians, but rather use Christ as the great exemplar. This will go a long way in keeping us poor in spirit, constantly needy of Christ. (Lk.17:10) When you do consider other Christians, strive to think of others higher than yourself, try to see the good in your fellow Believers. (Mt.7:5, 12) Even of your fellow man. (Gal.6:10)

Romans 12:10   Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor.

Philippians 2:3-5  Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;  do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.  Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.

Think rightly of self.

Have a proper estimation of who and what you are before God.

Don’t think too highly of yourself.  But don’t think too lowly of yourself.  Think often of how Christ has saved you from your sin. Think often of His continual mercies on you for your continual sin. Recognize you new standing in Jesus. Labor to live worthy of your high calling in Jesus.  You are a saint, justified, adopted, being sanctified, soon to be glorified!!

The blessedness of soul-poverty.

Finally, Christ pronounces a blessing on his tender lamb.  Here we see the tender sympathy of our Shepherd.   

Jesus knows our frames, even as Believers we are apt to recoil from hard or painful things such as soul-poverty, so Jesus quickly adds a blessing for those who so humble themselves under the mighty hand of God.  (Isa.66:2, I Pt.5:5-6) The spiritually poor shall inherit the kingdom of heaven.   

Christ’s lightens our load with His loving promises.  (2 Cor.1:20, Rom.8:31-32)

The Puritan Thomas Watson says here we see the connection between duty and reward.  Not reward as something of strict merit, but everything by the grace of God.  In other words, God does not have to reward obedience, but He does it according to His own goodness and mercy. (I Cor.3:11-15, 2 Cor.5:10, Rev.20:12-13)  

The kingdom of heaven.  Four Senses.

There are four ways in which we find “the kingdom of God” being used in Scripture.

  1. When Christ becomes Incarnate, wherever the King is, there also is the kingdom.

Matthew 10:7.  And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’

  1. When Christ enters into the heart of a man upon conversion.

Luke 17:21.  Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.  (Jn.3:5)

  1. The Church is Christ’s kingdom upon the earth.

Matthew 13:47.  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind;

  1. Finally, we await the future coming of the kingdom of God in consummation. (Jn.18:36, Mt.25:34)

Think of this Beloved…

You are God’s beloved royal child.

The spiritually poor are royal children and we inherit a kingdom because of our King.  The Bible talks about our ‘royal standing’ before God, though the world does not recognize it.

I Peter 2:9.  But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;  10 for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY. (Rev.5:10)  

You will be glorified like Christ at His return.

And when Christ appears, we will be made like Him, and our royal splendor will never fade.

I John 3:2.  Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. (I Pt.5:4, Rev.7:9-10)

You will sit with Christ upon His throne of judgment.

Revelation 3:21.  He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.  22 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'” (I Cor.6:2-3)

Is this to say, yes and amen, as He passes out the sentence?  I do not know.  We do not usurp His divine right in any way though.  The idea is that we who once were judged by the world, will now in Christ be vindicated by Christ.  (WLC 90, WSC 38)  

You have received and will receive the best of kingdoms.

The founder is God.

Hebrews 11:10.   for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. (2 Cor.5:1)  

The Splendor cannot be outdone.

Revelation 21:22. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.

The perfections are endless.

Revelation 21:3-4   And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them,  4 and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

You will enjoy the immediate presence of God forever!

Blessed are the poor in spirit who are rich in Christ!!

Amen

Study Questions  

  1. How do the Beatitudes reveal the difference between God’s ways and valuation of things versus man’s thinking? What does God value? What does Man value? (Mt.5:1-12, Isa.55:8-9, I Cor.1:18-25, Mt.23:7-12, Rev.2:9, Rev.3:17-18, Jas.1:9-10)
  1. How do the Beatitudes reveal our union and fellowship with Jesus Christ? How do the Beatitudes testify that we belong to Christ, that we are His disciples? (Mt.5:1-12, Rom.8:17, 2 Cor.1:7-8, Heb.10:33-34, Col.1:24, Heb.2:14, Heb.12:10, I Pt.4:13, WCF 18.2, Mt.16:24-26)
  1. Describe some ways in which Jesus Christ revealed His spiritual poverty? How did Christ manifest His perfect humility?  How should this affect us? (Phil 2:1-10, Luke 1:31, Jn.1:1-18, Gal.4:4, Lk.2:7, Mt.26:56, Mt.27:4, Isa.53:1-3, 2 Cor.8:9, I Pt.2:20-21)
  1. Is Jesus equating material poverty with spiritual poverty? Is Jesus saying, if you are financially poor then you are blessed?  Can materially wealthy people be spiritually poor?  (I Cor.13:1-4, Mk.15:43, Mt.27:57)
  1. Are there potential spiritual snares associated with material wealth? What does this teach us?   (Mt.19:21-27, Lk.12:20-21, Lk.16:13-22, I Tim.6:17, Jas.1:11, 2:5, 5:1, Rev.3:17-18, I Tim.6:5-11)
  1. Define spiritual poverty or poverty of heart. What does this teach us about the two aspects of Man’s nature?  What does this teach us about true needs and out true source of happiness?  (Lk.18:8-14, Phil.3:7-12, Eph.2:1-9, Isa.66:2, 57:15, Ezek.36:36-37, WCF 15.2, WSC 86 and 87)
  1. How does the promise of a kingdom help us embrace our spiritual poverty? How does Christ’s promise show His tender sympathy and wisdom towards us?  (Isa.66:2, I Pt.5:5-6, 2 Cor.1:20, Rom.8:31-32, I Cor.3:11-15, 2 Cor.5:10, Rev.20:12-13)
  1. Describe the four ways that the phrase ‘kingdom of heaven’ is used in the Bible. How does this affect us?  What is Jesus promising to us?  (Mt.10:7, Lk.17:21, Jn.3:5, Mt.13:47, WCF 25.2, Jn.18:36, Mt.25:34)
  1. Describe some of the blessings you enjoy by being a member of this kingdom?(I Pt.2:9-11, Rev.5:10, I Jn.3:2, I Pt.5:4, Rev.7:9-10, Rev.3:21-22, I Cor.6:2-3)
  1. Why is this kingdom you receive better than the kingdoms of men? (Heb.11:10, 2 Cor.5:1, Rev.21:21-22, Rev.21:3-4)
  1. Extra credit. Interact with the poem Invictus by William Earnest Henley.

 

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The Message of Christ. Sermon 3. The Proclamation of Christ https://covenantpensacola.org/2020/05/16/the-message-of-christ-sermon-3-the-proclamation-of-christ/ https://covenantpensacola.org/2020/05/16/the-message-of-christ-sermon-3-the-proclamation-of-christ/#respond Sat, 16 May 2020 19:31:56 +0000 https://covenantpensacola.org/?p=1910

Grace, peace, and mercy to you Beloved in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Please take your Bibles out and look at John chapter one. I will read John 1:1-18.  The sermon mainly will be from John 1:6. Read. Now let’s pray and ask God’s blessing on our time worshiping in His word. Pray.  

The Christ.

This is our third sermon in our three-sermon mini-series on the Message of Jesus Christ.   In our first sermon we looked at the divinity of Christ. That Jesus is eternal God. He is the second Person of the Trinity.  Last week we looked at the humanity of Christ. Jesus was made like His brothers in every way, except He is sinless that He might be our holy sin-bearer. (Heb.2:11-18) Jesus is our suffering and sympathetic Savior Sacrifice.  We can never meditate on Jesus and the wonders we have in Him too much.

The proclamation.

Now today we are looking at the proclamation of that Christ.  People telling other people that Jesus is the Christ. And that this Christ is Immanuel. (Mt.1:21-23) Jesus is the eternal Son of God now come in the flesh. He is the Son of Man.  Jesus is the Savior of sinners. (I Cor.6:9-11) He saves us from the wrath of God to come. He saves us to be God’s beloved children forever.  (Rom.8:14-18, Jn.1:10-13, Eph.5:8) He gives us rest. (Mt.11:28-30)

He is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. (Jn.1:29,36, Rev.5:6) And the apostle John who wrote this gospel account tells us this about our Jesus in the book of Revelation…

Revelation 7:17.  for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”

Beloved, happy are those that are found in Him. Happy in this life, happy at the hour of our death, and eternally happy in the age to come.  (Heidelberg catechism 1, 2, WSC 32, 36-38)

Well my desire this morning is just to unpack that idea of people who believe in Jesus telling other people that Jesus is the Savior so that they would believe in Him and be saved also.

The proclaimers.

Now let’s look at the proclaimers that we have before us in our passage this morning.

John 1:6.  There came a man sent from God, whose name was John.  7 He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him.  8 He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.

John 1:14. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (I Jn.1:1-3)

Here in our text we have two extra-ordinary ministers particularly in view.

We have John the Baptist. Look at v.6,7, 8, and 15.  Then we have the apostle John, the writer of this gospel account. Look at v.14 and 16. John includes himself in the ‘we’. We beheld Christ. We believed in Christ.  John the Baptist pointed to Jesus in the presence of the apostle John and others and said, behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. (Jn.1:29) 

Extraordinary officers are preachers called by God in some extraordinary way. Like this John and John. God called John the Baptist from his mother’s womb like Jeremiah. (Jer.1:1-4) Read Luke 1:5-80. And Jesus Christ Himself called the apostle John away from his father Zebedee to cease fishing for fish and to become a fisher of men. (Mk.1:17-21, Mt.4:19-23, Lk.5:10-11, 6:14)

But even though these men are extraordinarily called, they are still very ordinary men in one sense. John the Baptist is an itinerant preacher wearing a camel skin coat and eating bugs and honey, living out in the wilderness.  He has no home. He has no things. Nothing the world esteems valuable.  (Mt.3:4, Mk.1:6) And the apostle John is a fisherman. A laborer.

And beloved, think especially of the lowliness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is the Lord of glory, but He left glory for Calvary. The Master of all became a servant of all. The lowest of servants. Washing feet. Crucified as the worst of criminals. He did this for us. (Phil.2:1-11)

God chooses the lowly of the world and He give us this tremendous treasure of Christ crucified in earthen vessels, dust as we are, so He gets all the glory. (2 Cor.4:7) Christ is going to turn the whole world upside down using the lowly of the world! (I Cor.1:21-31) Amazing grace.

And Christ’s servants will say at the end of it, Lord see what your gospel talent has done. (Lk.17:10, Mt.25:20) Martin Luther said, when he arrived before the throne of Christ he will say, Lord I have done nothing, your word has done everything. God causes the growth. (I Cor.3:6-7)

Now ordinary ministers are ministers called by God after the end of the apostolic era. Men like Timothy and Titus. And all pastor preacher evangelists after them. (Eph.4:11) Read I Timothy 3 and 5 and Titus 1 and I Peter 5 they speak about these men.

God inwardly calls them to their preaching of Christ ministry. And then He outwardly confirms their call by opportunity to preach and confirmation of their preaching by other Christians. The presbytery laid hands on Timothy affirming that God called him into the pastoral preaching ministry.  (I Tim.4:14)

I would say the primary application of our passage on the proclamation of Jesus as the Christ is to the gospel ministers, preacher-pastor-teacher-evangelists.

By which we learn, God is the one that has distributed gifts and calling. God is the one that places His children where He wants them within the Body of Christ. (Rom.12:3-13, I Cor.12:1-31)

To one child-servant He makes a mouth, a spokesman, a herald, a preacher-pastor.  To another child-servant He makes a foot, a hand, and so all. All fit together perfectly according to His wisdom and power to build up the Body of Christ.  All are servants of Christ in their God-appointed calling, gifts, and opportunities.

Though the main application is to ministers, this passage does apply to every single person that knows Jesus savingly.  While all Christians are not all called to preach Christ. (WLC 156, 158, James 3:1-3)

Every true Christian has Christ. We know Christ. We have passed from death to life, from darkness to light. We are saved. We have the words of eternal life. We have the gospel talent. Every believing father and mother testifies of Christ to their children. Grandparents to grandchildren.  And so on. (Rev.1:6, 5:10, 20:6)

Every saved person in Christ can tell another person about Christ. You can witness of the Light of Christ and to the Life in Christ. Oh beloved, what eternal value your life has!

The ministers.

Now let’s look at particularly the divine calling of ministers. God calling certain  men to preach Christ.

John 1:6. There came a man sent from God, whose name was John.

Males.

Here are a few basic things we learn. God only calls men to preach in His church, as officer bearers.  There is equality in Christ. No male, no female. Both have a body and a soul. Both are equally forgiven and loved. Both will be equality glorified in Christ. (Gal.3:26-29)

But remember we said, God is Lord over His church. He governs all that He has created and all that He has redeemed. It is the revealed will of God in the Bible that only men be admitted into the office of preacher.

Lordship.

But I would be quick to say, not all men should be quick to be teachers. (James 3:1-3) Out of His redeemed people God choses only a relatively small number to be His commissioned heralds. This is His sovereign will.  And Father knows best. (I Tim.2:9-15, I Cor.14:34-35, I Tim.3:1-2)

Prophecy.

You remember that the angel Gabriel came to John’s father Zacharias and told him that his old wife Elizabeth (a relative of the Virgin Mary’s) was going to give birth to the forerunner of Christ, the Messiah Savior.  This was foretold in the book of Isaiah.

Isaiah 40:1.  Comfort, O comfort My people,” says your God.  2 “Speak kindly to Jerusalem; And call out to her, that her warfare has ended, That her iniquity has been removed, That she has received of the LORD’S hand Double for all her sins.”  3 A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.  4 “Let every valley be lifted up, And every mountain and hill be made low; And let the rough ground become a plain, And the rugged terrain a broad valley;  5 Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, And all flesh will see it together; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”  6 A voice says, “Call out.” Then he answered, “What shall I call out?” All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.  7 The grass withers, the flower fades, When the breath of the LORD blows upon it; Surely the people are grass.  8 The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.  9 Get yourself up on a high mountain, O Zion, bearer of good news, Lift up your voice mightily, O Jerusalem, bearer of good news; Lift it up, do not fear. Say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!”  10 Behold, the Lord GOD will come with might, With His arm ruling for Him. Behold, His reward is with Him And His recompense before Him.  11 Like a shepherd He will tend His flock. (Mt.3:3, Mk.1:3, Lk.3:4, Jn.1:23)

God has His heralds preach His fulfilled word, so that we would believe in His word.

The sending.

Next we learn that God’s heralds of Christ are sent by God. Equipped by God. Commissioned by God. That kind of a thing. Think, set apart by God for this specifically religious work.

John the Baptist was a Nazirite from his birth.  He was to be totally set apart by God for one special holy religious purpose. (Lk.1:15, Num.6:1-12) John the apostle the same thing. Christ told John, no more fishing for fish. I separate you to fish for men with the gospel.

Romans 1:1. Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,  2 which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures,  3 concerning His Son,

Acts 6:2. So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables.  3 “Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.  4 “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

The work.

Now I do not usually like the idea of secular versus sacred because I believe all work we do as Believers is sacred, devoted to the Lord. (Col.3:23-24) We are all servants of Christ. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ. (Mt.23:1-12)

Approved.

But the idea with divine sending or calling and separation is that this is the office and the work of that office that these men are authorized by Him to hold this office and perform these functions. Preaching Christ is their life. It is their service to Christ as determined by Christ.

John 13:20.  Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. (Jn.13:16-20, Mt.10:40, Lk.10:16, I Jn.4:6, Jn.15:20)

I Timothy 4:12.  Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.  13 Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.  14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery.  15 Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all.  16 Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.

Unapproved.

And of course, the thing that this corrects is the error and the danger of men that are not called by God.  They are self-called.  They may be sent by some body of men. But they may not be sent by God.  These are the people that want to be teachers of the law and of the gospel but they are ignorant of both. They ought not to be teachers in Christ’s church. But they push themselves forward. (Acts 20:28-31, Jas.3:1-3, I Tim.1:6-7, Jude 1:1-25, Deut.18:1-14. Do not listen to these ones. Deut.18:15-22. Do listen to this One)

God through the prophet Jeremiah warns His church about this very danger.

Jeremiah 14:13. But, “Ah, Lord GOD!” I said, “Look, the prophets are telling them, ‘You will not see the sword nor will you have famine, but I will give you lasting peace in this place.'”  14 Then the LORD said to me, “The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds. (Jer.23:21)

As an aside, people love self-called men. These are the men that preach peace-peace to people in their sin.  They tickle the ears as Paul tells Timothy. (2 Tim.4:1-4)  They give the people what they want. Or at least they give the goats what they want. So the people give these self-sent ministers what they want. Honor and money and women. (Jer.5:30-31) Their god is their belly. Their god is their pride. (Jude 1:12-16)  Their destruction is certain.

The Devotion.

Now let’s consider the complete devotion to the work that preachers are called to have.  First remember, all of us as Christians are required by Christ to give Him our all, body and soul. Because He has purchased us body and soul.

But in a special way, Gospel preachers are required by Christ to pour themselves out like a drink offering in the ministry of His gospel.  Spurgeon said that he was going to work himself to death in preaching Christ. And then pray himself alive again.

John the Baptist did not preach Christ out of selfish gain. He said, may I decrease and may Christ increase. The apostle John could not cease telling people, Christ is the Light of the world, Christ is the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father but through Christ. He was so faithful to witness and testify of Christ that the Roman authorities put him on the penal colony on the Isle of Patmos.

Revelation 1:9. I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.

Paul said this.

I Corinthians 9:14. So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.  15 But I have used none of these things. And I am not writing these things so that it will be done so in my case; for it would be better for me to die than have any man make my boast an empty one.  16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.  17 For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me.  18 What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.  19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more.

The Subjects.

Now let’s focus a little bit on the subjects that these preachers are to preach.

Ministers are to engage in nothing but the ministry of the word in general. And the ministry of the Gospel according to the word in particular.  I am not saying that they cannot partake of lawful recreations and things like that. Of course they can.  But for their duties as a minister pastor teacher they are to confine themselves to the word of God.  (2 Tim.4:1-8)

Minister ought to be especially on their guard not to become amateur politicians or practitioners of this or that movement and begin to preach these things. If a man desires these things he ought to follow the example of Abraham Kuyper. Put down the Gospel word. And engage in your other things.

Repent.

God sent John to tell the people to repent of their sins and to flee from the wrath of God to come. God’s heralds are His watchmen that He requires to give the people the alarm of impending danger. (Ezek.34:2, 3:18-20, 33:6-9)

Believe.

And the minister is to call people to believe in the Christ to come.  John was a preacher of Christ, of His gospel.  (Mt.3:3, Isa.40:3, Mal.3:1)

Many of us have view about the virus and the governmental restrictions put upon us.  As a minister I tell myself, “John stay in your lane”. My lane is between Genesis and Revelation.  That is my calling.  And the center of my lane is John 3:16. What we are looking at in John 1:1-18. Jesus is my lane.

Love. And the goal of our instruction or the heart of our instruction is love. (I Tim.1:3-7)

The results.

Lastly, let’s consider the results of sowing the gospel seed.  

Christ alone is the grounds of our salvation. He kept the precepts of the Law. He paid the penalties of the Law. Faith alone is the instrument of our salvation. By faith we receive Christ and all His merits. (Rom.3:22-25, Gal.2:16-20, 3:22-26, Eph.1:5, Phil.3:9, Col.1:4, 2:5)

And proclaiming Christ alone is how we believe in Him unto salvation. And the proclamation is either by the written word or the spoken word.  This brings us into a living relationship with the Living Word Jesus. (I Cor.1:17-25, Rom.1:16)  It appears so weak. Maybe even silly. Preaching Jesus will bring people to salvation in Jesus??? Yes!  The power of God unto salvation.

John 1:11. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.  12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,  13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (Gal.3:26, I Jn.5:1, Col.2:6, 2 Cor.5:17, as MANY – you cannot exhaust grace)  

John 3:16. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (whoever – no barriers to come)

James 1:18.  In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.

I Peter 1:23.  for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. (I Cor.15:1-5)

I Corinthians 10:17. So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

Now, not everyone will believe.  Many will not.  Perhaps most will not.  To them the gospel of Jesus is the stench of death. They have given their heart to self, to sin, and to the world. But to those that are appointed to eternal life – they will believe.

And whoever believes in Jesus. Jew, gentile, black, white, rich, poor, male, female will be saved.

Whatever sin one has committed, no matter the quality or the quantity – if you believe in Jesus you WILL be saved. You WILL be forgiven.  (Acts 10:34-43, Isa.49:20-22, Eph.2:12-21, I Cor.6:9-11)  Beloved, Christ has come to seek and to save sinners.  Believe and be saved. And now you are no longer a guilty sinner. You are a beloved son or daughter of God. Covered by the Blood.

And so, the gospel of Jesus is to us the aroma of eternal life. (Acts 13:48, 2 Cor.2:14-17) Beloved, the word of God, the Gospel word of Christ will not go out from God’s servants and come back to God empty.  God will reap a harvest of souls with the Good News of Jesus Christ!  (Isa.55:11, 2 Cor.11:22-23, Rom.9:7, I Jn.3:1, Eph.2:1-10)

Amen

Study Questions.

  1. Why are the two natures of Jesus Christ necessary for Him to be the Lamb of God? What does it mean that Jesus is the Lamb of God? (Jn.3:16, Mt.1:21-23, I Cor.6:9-1, Rom.8:14-18, Jn.1:10-13, Eph.5:8, Mt.11:28-30, Jn.1:29,36, Rev.5:6, Rev.7:17, WLC 38-42)
  1. What two ‘Johns’ are spoken of in John 1:1-18? Describe some things about each man. (Lk.1:5-80, Jn.13:23, 19:26, 20:2, 21:7,20, I Jn.1:1-3 compared with John 1:14-16)
  1. In what way or how are OT prophets and NT apostles ‘extraordinarily’ called by God to be His heralds? Describes elements of the extraordinary call of God and commissioning of God upon the two Johns in our passage. (Lk.1:5-80, Mk.1:17-21, Mt.4:19-23, Lk.5:10-11, 6:14, Mt.3:4, Mk.1:6)
  1. What lessons do we learn about God’s choosing lowly men to be His preachers? What lessons do we learn about God choosing lowly people to be His people?  In what ways are the two Johns lowly or ‘common’.  Why does God not ordinarily choose people that are esteemed as high and mighty in the eyes of men? How is Christ after the flesh lowly? (Isa.55:8-9, 2 Cor.4:7, I Cor.1:21-31, Lk.17:10, Mt.25:20, I Cor.3:6-7, Isa.53:1-12, Phil.2:1-11)
  1. Describe the ordinary office bearers in Christ’s church? What are they? Who are they? How does God call and commission these men? (I Tim.3, 5, Titus 1, I Pt.5, Eph.4:11, I Tim.4:14)
  1. What do we learn by God distributing different gifts to individual members of His church?How can you use your gender, your relations, your gifts, and your opportunities to serve Christ by serving others?  How can you share or serve Christ, His gospel, and the Bible to other people? (Rom.12:3-13, I Cor.12:1-31, Phil.2:1-11, Titus 2:1-15)
  1. What are the God-approved minister-preacher-pastor-teachers called by God to do? (Rom.1:1-3, Acts 6:2-4, Col.3:23-24, Mt.23:1-12, Jn.13:20, Jn.13:16-20, Mt.10:40, Lk.10:16, I Jn.4:6, Jn.15:20, I Tim.4:12-16, Rev.1:9, I Cor.9:14-19)
  1. Describe self-sent preachers, preacher-pastor-teachers that are not sent by God. Why do they preach? What do they preach? Why do people like them? What kind of people like them? Who does not like them? And why? How do you spot them? What should you do when you see them? (Acts 20:28-31, Jas.3:1-3, I Tim.1:6-7, Jude 1:1-25, Deut.18:1-14. Do not listen to these ones. Deut.18:15-22. Do listen to this One, Jer.14:13-14, Jer.23:21, 2 Tim.4:1-4, Jer.5:30-31, Jude 1:12-16, Phil.3:19, Acts 20:29, Col.2:15-23, Gal.1:6-10)
  1. What does the call to repent and believe entail? Repent of what? And why? Believe in what? And why? What do these requires require of the person calling other people to repent and believe? (Ezek.34:2, 3:18-20, 33:6-9, Jn.3:16, Rom.5:1-10, Mt.3:3, Isa.40:3, Mal.3:1, I Tim.1:15)
  1. What are the results of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with others? What two ‘smells’ does the gospel have? And why are their two different ‘smells’ of the same Good News? What is the difference? Can anyone come to Christ and believe in Him and be saved?   (Rom.3:22-25, Gal.2:16-20, 3:22-26, Eph.1:5, Phil.3:9, Col.1:4, 2:5, I Cor.1:17-25, Rom.1:16, Jn.1:11-13, Gal.3:26, I Jn.5:1, Col.2:6, 2 Cor.5:17, Jn.3:16, Jas.1:18, I Pt.1:23, I Cor.15:1-5, I Cor.10:17, Acts 10:34-43, Isa.49:20-22, Eph.2:12-21, I Cor.6:9-11, Acts 13:48, 2 Cor.2:14-17, Isa.55:11, 2 Cor.11:22-23, Rom.9:7, I Jn.3:1, Eph.2:1-10, Jn.6:27-51, Acts 13:48)
  1. Extra Credit. Interact with these two quotes. Martin Luther: when I arrive before the throne of Christ I will say, Lord I have done nothing, your word has done everything. Charles Spurgeon: I am going to work himself to death in preaching Christ. And then pray myself alive again.

 

 

 

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Beatitudes – The Blessed Life in Christ. Study 2. Definition of Blessed https://covenantpensacola.org/2020/05/13/beatitudes-the-blessed-life-in-christ-study-2-definition-of-blessed/ https://covenantpensacola.org/2020/05/13/beatitudes-the-blessed-life-in-christ-study-2-definition-of-blessed/#respond Thu, 14 May 2020 02:23:47 +0000 https://covenantpensacola.org/?p=1891

The study of the blessedness.

Grace and peace to you Beloved in the name of Jesus Christ.  Thank you for joining us today in our Bible study series on the Beatitudes.  If you remember my idea was to have two introductory studies, followed by the eight beatitudes, and then we will have one study each on each similitude, we are like salt and like light. So twelves studies in all.

Let’s pray and ask God’s blessing on our second study.

Please open your Bible to Matthew 5:1-12 and read along with me.  

The definition of blessed. 

As you remember the word beatitude means blessing or happy or favored.  Jesus says, blessed are the meek.  Blessed are the peacemakers.  Well my desire today is to just flesh out what being blessed means.

The source of our blessing.

As we begin to define blessedness, let’s begin with God.  Blessedness is a characteristic of God.  God is the Blessed One.  Christ is the Blessed One.  God is the infinitely happy One because He is the infinitely holy One.

Mark 14:60.  The high priest stood up and came forward and questioned Jesus, saying, “Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?”  61 But He kept silent and did not answer. Again the high priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?”

Paul writes to Timothy, avoid things, which are contrary to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted. (I Tim.1:11)

Listen to how our secondary standards summarize our primary standard defining God.

WSC 4  What is God? A. God is a Spirit,(1) infinite,(2) eternal,(3) and unchangeable,(4) in his being,(5) wisdom,(6) power,(7) holiness,(8) justice, goodness, and truth.(9)

(1)John 4:24 (2)Job 11:7-9 (3)Ps. 90:2 (4)James 1:17 (5)Exod. 3:14 (6)Ps. 147:5 (7)Rev. 4:8 (8)Rev. 15:4

God is perfect, holy, happy and every other good thing.  God is blessed meaning He is to be held in reverence and awe. He is to be hallowed, set part and treated as holy.  He is to be honored in worship.

Thus, (the Triune) God alone is essentially and perfectly praiseworthy, the Holy One, the One who is the source of all blessings.

So for our study when Jesus says to His disciples, you are blessed, He means first and foremost that they are favored by God. They are in a living union and friendship with God the Father, and God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Because they have faith in Messiah.  We are in Christ.  Therefore, we are the recipients of God’s saving favor.

The Hebrew word for blessed. 

The main Hebrew word for blessed is barakh.  The first place we find the word used is Genesis one.  Think recipients of God’s gifts.

God blesses with abilities.

Genesis 1:21.  God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.  22 God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”  23 There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

Be fruitful and multiply shows us an aspect of blessing is God bestowing good according to His pleasure and power.  Blessed in this context means being the recipient of some material or physical good thing from God.  Blessed with life, with existence, abilities, well-being, growth and so on.

This teaches us that God is intimate and active with His creation by His sovereign providence.  God blesses in creation. God blesses in sustaining His creation in providence.

God blesses with calling.

We also see that God blesses in that He bestows gifts upon man beyond physical gifts.  God blesses man far above the lower creatures.

Genesis 1:26.  Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.  28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

God originally blessed man, not only to be fruitful and multiply but also to rule over the earth as a sub-ruler or a servant ruler for God.  Rank and calling are derived by God’s blessing or His gifting.

God blesses with salvation.

Please note again, God the Creator (and the Redeemer) is the source of blessing.

And creatures, including man, are the recipients of God’s blessing.

In fact, only Man is the recipient of God’s spiritual goodness or blessings.  Only man is an image-bearer of God capable of being in union and communion with God in Christ.  Only man was created with true knowledge of God, true righteousness, and true holiness and dominion over the creatures.

Only man receives God’s saving favor in Christ. So when we speak of being blessed by God or in God it is tied to the truth of grace.  And when I use the word grace, I always refer to salvation in Jesus.  I will leave the discussion of so-called common grace for another study.

Remember the blessings that Jesus pronounces upon His disciples are not common to all men, but only for those in Him by faith.

Listen to how the Bible connects the ideas of being blessed and being the recipient of God’s saving grace in Jesus.

Psalm 1:1  How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!

Luke 1:42 And she (Elizabeth) cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women (Mary), and blessed is the fruit of your womb (Jesus)!

Matthew 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The Greek word for blessed.

Next, let’s consider the Greek word for blessedness, makarios.   

It refers to the objective happy state or condition of a man to whom Christ’s righteousness is imputed by faith.  We are blessed by God. We are forgiven, reconciled, redeemed, justified, adopted, being sanctified, and will be glorified!

And in another sense, to a man’s subjective experience of that condition, to feel happy, to feel blessed, to believe in our mind and to feel in our affections that we are favored by God in Christ, and then to live accordingly. We know and feel we are blessed of God.

Romans 4:7.  Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, And whose sins have been covered.  8 “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.”  9 Is this blessing then upon the circumcised, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say, “Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness.”  10 How then was it reckoned? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised;

God blesses for special and spiritual use.

God’s blessing also denotes His separation of a thing or a person for special and spiritual use.

Genesis 2:2.  And by the seventh day God completed His work which He had done; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.  3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

God gave the Sabbath a special significance and use, namely for His worship by Man, first as creatures and after the Fall as redeemed sinners.

Like the Sabbath being sanctified/blessed, we who are redeemed in Jesus are blessed by being taken out of sin and consecrated for God’s holy use in Christ.

There is another Greek word, sometimes translated, thanked and or blessed.  The idea is we thank God for His free, merciful divine favor – blessing. (eucharisto)

1 Corinthians 11:23-26  23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread;  24 and when He had given thanks,  He broke it, and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”  25 In the same way He took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”  26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.

1 Corinthians 10:16 Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ?

This cup represents so much blessing from God in Christ. We are freed from wrath and sin and freed for God, to be His loving children.  (Rev.1:1-10)

The examples of blessedness.  

Let’s spend the remainder of our time contrasting what blessedness is not and what it is.

What blessedness is not.

Let’s begin by examining what blessedness is not.  

True happiness does not consist in the acquisition of worldly things.  Christ does not say, blessed are the rich.   If our chief ‘blessings’ are built upon this world, they will fail us. This would be a foundation built on sand. (Mt.7:27)

Remember the parable of the rich fool.  (Lk.12:15-21)

King Solomon attained to great wealth, greater perhaps that any other man.  Yet for all his acquisitions he cried, vanity, vanity. (Ecc.2:8)  And after long contemplation on the matter, he came to the conclusion that…

Ecclesiastes 12:13  The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.

Things which only last a brief season cannot satisfy our souls.  The world is passing away.  We are created for eternity.  Temporal things cannot be our blessing.

1 Corinthians 7:29.   But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none;  30 and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess;  31 and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away. (I Jn.2:15-17, Prov.23:1-5)

Also think of this thorns and snares often accompany wealth and positions of power or prestige.  The love of money is the root of all evil.  Money and good things can choke out the fruit of the word of Christ.  Remember Judas. (Mt.13:20-22, I Tim.6:5-11)  Remember Israel when they came into the Promised Land, they grew fat and worldly, God called them Jeshurun.  Outwardly rich. Inwardly poor.  

What blessedness is.

Generally our spiritual happiness or blessedness consists in the fruit or the outcome of being united to Christ and awareness of this.  So, blessedness is to Whom we belong.

Psalm 144:15.  How blessed are the people who are so situated; How blessed are the people whose God is the LORD!  (Ps.116:7, 16)

From which we learn that the godly are already blessed.  We are enriched with every spiritual blessing.  (Eph.1:1-5)

We are united with God.  We are married to Him. He is our head and husband.  We are His bride. God is our Father. We are His beloved children.  

1 John 3:9  No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

1 Corinthians 6:15   Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?

We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. (I Cor. 3:16, 6:19, 2 Cor. 6:16)

We are blessed because our sins are not imputed to us. Our sins are imputed to Him. His righteousness is imputed to us in our justification. And His holiness is infused in us in our progressive and practical sanctification-holiness. We are progressively being conformed into His holy image!  

Psalm 32:2.  How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit!  (Jer.50:20, Jer.31:33-34, Isa.54:4)  

We are blessed because all things work to our good.   

Romans 8:28   And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  

Romans 8:38. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,  39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Beloved if you are ever tempted to think, well my outward condition is hard therefore God has not blessed me as a Christian, ask yourself this question.  Is Christ blessed? Was Christ blessed when He lived upon the earth?  Yes.

Christ was infinite blessed. And He suffered. He was poor. He was opposed and hated. And He was murdered. But He was still blessed.

Beloved we enjoy all spiritual blessings in Jesus.  And these things can and do coexist with suffering for Christ.  Those in Christ are blessed in Christ and we share in the suffers of Christ and we will share in the glories of Christ.

Beloved, we are blessed.  We belong to God. We are loved by God. And we are destined to live with God.

Amen

Study Questions   

  1. What are some aspects of God’s nature and of His attributes that make God the Blessed One? Why is God blessed? (I Tim.1:11, Mk.14:61, John 4:24, Job 11:7-9, Ps. 90:2, James 1:17, Exod. 3:14, Ps. 147:5, Rev. 4:8, Rev. 15:4)
  1. What is the main Hebrew word for blessed? Blessed is first used in Genesis 1:21-23.  What truths are we taught about blessings and being blessed in this passage?
  1. What creature receives spiritual blessings from God? Why does God give them?  And why does this creature receive them?  (Gen.1:26-30, Ps.1:1, Lk.1:42, Mt.5:3)
  1. What is the main Greek word for blessed? What is objective blessedness?  What is subjective blessedness?  Use Rom.4:7-10 and your experience to provide your answers.
  1. God blessing something sometimes denotes the truth of being separated for God or consecrated. How and why did God bless the Sabbath day? What are we taught by this?  (Gen.2:2-3)  How are we blessed by being set apart in Christ?  (I Pt.1:1-10)
  1. Can things or wealth be our chief blessing? Can snares sometimes accompany things and wealth? (Lk.12:15, Mt.7:27, Lk. 12:15-21, Eccl.2:8, Mt.13:20-22, I Tim.6:5-10)
  1. In what way does time or the passage of time and the certainty of judgment affect how we define true blessedness in contrast with what the unbeliever finds their ‘blessings’ in? (I Cor.7:29-31, I Jn.2:15-17, Prov.23:1-5, 2 Pt.3:10-12)
  1. Why is true blessing found in belonging to God in Christ? (Ps.144:15, Ps.116:7-8, Ps.116:16, Eph.1:1-5, I Jn.3:9, I Cor.6:15, Ps.32:2, Jer.50:20, I Cor. 3:16, 6:19, 2 Cor. 6:16, Jer.31:33-34, Isa.54:5)
  1. How is it a blessing for all things to work to our good? How do all things work to your good? Explain your answer.  (Rom.8:28)
  1. What additional elements of our blessedness are we taught in Romans 8:29-39?
  1. EXTRA credit. How does being the recipient of God’s blessing make you “feel”? 😊  How then should you live? 

 

 

 

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The Message of Christ. Sermon 2. The Humanity of Christ https://covenantpensacola.org/2020/05/09/the-message-of-christ-sermon-2-the-humanity-of-christ/ https://covenantpensacola.org/2020/05/09/the-message-of-christ-sermon-2-the-humanity-of-christ/#respond Sat, 09 May 2020 21:49:24 +0000 https://covenantpensacola.org/?p=1878

Grace and peace to you beloved in the name of Jesus Christ.  Today we are going to look at v.1 and v.14. Mainly v.14. And the Word became Flesh.  Everything I say this morning I desire to be an explanation of, or an illustration of or a benefit of – and the Word became flesh.

You remember last week I started a three sermon mini series on the Message of Christ from John 1:1-18.  In our passage we see three things. In V.1-5 we have the divinity of Christ. In V.6-13 we have the proclamation of Christ and the reception of Him unto our salvation, then in V.14-18 we have the incarnation of Christ.

Today we are considering the humanity of Christ from v1. And v.14. Jesus Christ is a real human being. He has a real body and a real soul.  And having a body is especially to enable Him to die for the sins of His people. This is what Hebrews 10:1-10 (which I believe quotes a psalm or two) teaches us.  To represent us. To save us. In our nature. For us.  Well that is the essence of my sermon.  At least I hope it is. 😊

The liberation. Christ sets us free.

And what a happy day today is.  Seven Lord’s Days without corporate worship, eight weeks, two months since our last time together.

I suppose many of us now know what David felt in Psalm 63 when he was in the wilderness and could not worship God corporately with the people of God.  What rejoicing to be admitted once again into the courts of the Lord.  With shouts of joy and tears of happiness. (Ps.137:1-6, Isa.55:12, Ps.126:3-6) We sowed in tears. We reap in joy. The joy of corporate worship.

This is after all the great worship in the Father sending the Son in the flesh.  The Word became flesh to save and cleanse sinners, to make us holy acceptable worshippers of a holy God. The Father is seeking worshippers – IN the Word made flesh.

So for a time, the Lord has taken away.  Perhaps we did not esteem His gift.  But in His great mercy, He has given again. (Job 1:21, Job 42:10-17)

As an aside. I will say, since I believe that God governs all His creatures and all their actions. I know that God governed the loss of our liberties. And I do wonder why?  I cannot, or course, be dogmatic. But I know judgment begins with the house of God first. And I know that often in the OT God would bring pestilence against His people to correct them for living like Gentiles. So my first instinct is not to look at the unbeliever. But rather to look at myself. Lord are you correcting me? Have I been neglecting my liberties in Christ? Lord, show me. Lord revive me. Lord reform me.  Just a thought.(WCF 5.5)

But may we thank Him for His kindness and increasingly use our freedoms for His glory.  What a gracious God we serve.

And we know that it is Christ that has ultimately set us free from our worst form of bondage, spiritual slavery to sin and Satan.  And it is Christ that enables us to worship God in Spirit and in Truth, in holiness and in love.  Oh happy day to be free in Christ.

Free to love God with a childlike love because the Word was made flesh.  (Col.1:13, WCF 20.1)

The Sabbath.  Christ gives us rest.

And may we delight in His day of rest, the holy Sabbath.  May we delight in the One who gives us rest from the curse of God for the sins of man, rest from our struggles, rest in our struggles.  (Gen.5:29, Isa.56:1-7, 58:14, Jer.17:21-26, Exod.20:12) Oh how we need rest.  Oh how weary we are.

Jesus says to us,

Matthew 11: 28.  Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.  30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Remember, the writer to the Hebrews tells us Christ is our great Sabbath rest. (Heb.4:1-11) Christ gives us rest from sin, from Satan, from fear, from despair.  And Christ gives us holy pardon and peace and hope and courage.

This day, the day above all other days of the week, the day sanctified by the precept and practice of our Lord, is the day He gives us to consider Him. And all that we have in Him.  Looking forward to heaven, the eternal Sabbath rest.  (Gen.2:1-3)

Today is the day that the Lord hath made so we could worship our Creator and remember His goodness to us as His creatures.  (Mt.5:45, Acts 14:15-17, 17:25, Ps.136:25, Dt.10:18)

Exodus 20:11.  For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

Today is the day that the Lord hath made so that we could worship our Savior and remember all His redeeming mercies to us.  We once were slaves of sin and now we are God’s beloved children freed to love Him, freed to experience His love, freed to show that love to others.  (Ps.118:24)

Deuteronomy 5:15.  You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day.

And we have our rest by the Word made flesh.   

The subject.  Christ fills our hearts.

Therefore, I can think of no better subject to consider on this great day of liberation and freedom and joy than to turn our eyes upon Jesus Christ and look full into His blessed face.  (hymn #481)

My thinking is, in times of sorrow live upon Christ, in times of happiness live upon Christ.

Christ calls those that believe in Him and follow Him – His disciples. (Lk.22:11, Jn.13:35, Mt.11:28-30) Disciple in Greek means ‘learner of’.  Beloved, can you think of a better subject to study than Jesus?!

Imagine what our personal lives and our families and our churches would look like if we spent as many hours in the Bible on our knees studying Jesus as we spend on the internet looking at things destined to perish. (2 Tim.2:1-10, Col.2:22, 2 Pt.3:10-18, I Pt.4:1-7, Col.3:1-3, I Cor.7:31, Jam.4:1-10, I Jn.2:8-17)

Imagine how much gospel-good we could do to this sin-dying world if our hearts and minds were filled with Jesus!  The eternal Word become flesh. (Jn.3:30) Could we ever exhaust the wonders of this!?

I Timothy 3:16.  By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.

Beloved let’s grow in our knowledge and love of Christ from babes, to little children, to strong young men and women and finally to mature fathers and mothers in Christ.

And some day we will be presented to Him as mature, or complete, or perfect, as the apostle Paul says.  Perfectly conformed into Christ’s image, which is the great goal of our new life in Christ. (I Cor.3:1, I Jn.2:12-18, I Cor.14:20, Eph.4:13, Heb.5:14, Phil.3:1-14, Rom.8:29)

The Scripture. Christ fulfills God’s word.

Now let’s consider the larger text, John 1:1-18. John opens his account of the gospel with the One who is the Good News – Jesus Christ.

Beloved, the Gospel is about Jesus Christ.  The Bible is about God’s promise to send the seed of the woman to crush the head of the serpent to set God’s people free.   From the seed of the woman, to the seed of Abraham, to the seed of David, now come through Mary.  The Word became Flesh. He is the Good News.

That is what we see in our passage.  Christ has come to die for the sins of the people to set us free.  That is the Good News.  He does all the saving.  Just like He does all the creating.

Never forget that.  Every false Gospel mingles what Christ does with what we do.  Paul says, add one work of ours to the work of Christ, to the grace of God and we destroy grace.  (Rom.11:6)

The Holy Spirit pronounces anathema on this. (Gal.1:6-11, 5:4, Rom.3:20-28, 9:30-33, 10:1-6)

It is also a good rule of thumb to follow when we study our Bible or when we sit under the ministry of a minister, to ask ourselves, am I hearing more about Jesus? Or more about Man or self?  Salvation? Holiness? Heaven? Or earth? Always recognize the emphasis.  There is always an emphasis. Even our own emphasis.

And God has promised to send His Redeemer to Israel, through Israel.  The Messiah will be David’s son and David’s Lord.  The Savior will be a Jew after the flesh.

John says Jesus is that Israelitish Messiah.

John 1:11.  He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.  

Salvation is of the Jews.  In this One all of the families of the earth will be blessed.

We are taught.  The Bible is true.  The Word was made flesh from the line of Judah.

The addition (kenosis). Christ veils His Deity.

V.1.  John has already told us clearly that the Word, the second Person of the Trinity, the Son of God, Christ is God.  And the Word was God.

And the Word became Flesh.  (Phil.2:1-11, the hypostatic union of the two natures)  

We can never forget the true Deity of Christ.  Our Messiah was and is eternal God.  Christ in His coming to save His people from their sins becomes something that He beforehand was not.  The eternal Word becomes Man in time.  The Messiah has two natures.  His divine nature is uncreated, essential and eternal. His human nature, a true body and a true soul, He takes from the virgin Mary.  She conceived Christ being overshadowed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Both natures are necessary for our salvation.  As God He represents God to Man. As Man He represents Man to God.  And Christ has these two natures in one Person.

What this means for us practically beloved is this.  Christ has all of the qualities and attributes of eternal God because He is eternal God come in the flesh.  We cannot.  He can.  He takes away the curse of God for sins.  He is God. He is able.  He gives us life from death.  He takes away sin and gives righteousness.

He has omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence – for us. (Jn.1:4, 17:3)

He restrains our spiritual enemies. He provides for us in all of our needs. He keeps us. Not one sheep will be lost. Not one hair from our head will fall to the ground but by His will. He governs us by His all wise, all knowing, all good, all kind and all powerful providence. All His government to us is designed to correct, restore, cure, improve our faith in Him, our conformity into His image, our holiness.  All adjusted perfectly, individually, specifically for what we need.

Our beloved, our Redeemer, the Word made flesh never sleeps or slumbers. He always watches over you and cares for you.

The revelation. Christ reveals God to man.

V.14.  The way that John puts it is the Word became flesh.  Is this a mystery?  Yes. And no.  Yes, it is a mystery, because as we said last week considering the divinity of Christ and the Trinity of God, these things are beyond our capacity to understand fully.  But this is not a mystery in another sense.  God clearly said it.  God has clearly revealed it to man.  God wants man to know God and to be known by God.  And this can only occur as we are found in Christ.

This is what God the Son thanked God the Father for in His high priestly prayer.

John 17:3.  This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.  4 “I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.  5 “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.  6 “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.

Christ reveals God to us by His two natures.  The invisible becomes visible.  That is what John is getting at in verses 17 (realized) and 18 (explained).  Christ has ‘explained’ Him.  Christ has revealed God to man by Himself becoming man.  (Prov.8:9, Job 28:12)

This is why Christ will later say to Philip, if you have seen Me you have seen the Father. (Jn.14:9) I and the Father are one. (Jn.10:3)

These truths are easily reconciled with the statement of Christ, that the Father is greater than I. (Jn.14:28) As regards to His Deity Christ is co-equal with the Father (and the Spirit).  As regards to His humanity and specifically in His role as Redeemer-Savior, Christ subordinates Himself under the Father.  Christ as Savior condescends to the Father to be sent by Him, to go to the Cross and purchase the salvation of His people with His blood.

The larger point is, to see Christ in the flesh is to see God in the Flesh.  God could be heard with the voice of a man – by other men.  God could be touched with human hands.

I John 1: 1.  What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life–  2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us–  3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. (Rev.19:11-13, 2 Cor.4:3-4, Col.1:15, Phil.2:1-8)

Colossians 1: 19.  For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him,

Colossians 2:8. Christ.   9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,

And the key is this, by God’s desire or purpose.  God wants to reveal Himself as loving Savior and Reconciler to those who hate Him and love sin. (Gen.3:15) This is why God has given us His Bible.  So we can know Him.  So we can live with Him forever.  Because God is love. (I Jn.4:7-20)    

John 20:31.  but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

I John 4:2.  By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;

The excursus. The error.   Christ reveals true humanity in Him is good. 

(Notes only) I believe that the apostle John here is correcting a heresy of his day, a heresy of the Gnostics that said that all flesh is evil and only spirit could be good.  Beloved, flesh is not inherently evil.  Material physical things are not inherently evil.

God made all that is.  Read Genesis one and two.  Before sin, all things were good and very good.

In creation God created the bodies of Man, of the first male and the first female.  God made Adam from the dust of the earth.  And He breathed into Him the breath of life, made him a living soul.  God made Eve out of the rib of Adam.  Good and very good.

Human bodies before sin were beautiful and perfect by God’s design.  And man’s soul was pure and untainted with sin.  (Gen.1:26-31, 2:7-25, I Cor.15:45)  Perfect body and soul to love and serve a perfect God.

What this implies for us is that Christ will redeem both our body and our soul.

Some day we will have a glorified body joined to our glorified souls.  A beautiful body joined to a beautiful soul.  All holiness. All happiness.  Able to enjoy God perfectly.  Perfect eyes and ears and perfect heart to see and hear and love God. Forever.

Let me say something on religious error in general.

All religion espoused by Natural Man is darkness.  Spiritually dark minds and hearts cannot produce spiritual light.  The Natural Man is always wrong on religion.  This is Paul’s point in Romans 1:18-32 and Romans 8:7. To the unbeliever religious foolish things are true.  And true religious things are foolishness.  And this is especially true on what unbelievers believe and teach about Jesus Christ.  They always miss the truth of the true Christ.

Only the Bible reveals pure saving truth in our only Savior Jesus Christ. And only the Holy Spirit can give us the faith to believe the truth of Christ as He is presented to us in the Bible.

And God regularly in His word will show His enlightened children certain common religious errors so that our corruption would not lead us astray.  This is what the book of Galatians is about.  God tells His saved children, stay away from the false gospel of faith in Christ plus your good works for your salvation.

The solidarity or the sympathy.  Christ becomes one of us.

That brings me to my final point.  The humanity of Christ shows the solidarity of Christ with us.  

The eternal word became flesh as our Savior.  Our Savior became like us in every way except He had no personal sin. (Heb. 2:16, Gal. 4:4, Heb. 2:14, Heb. 7:24-25. Heb. 4:15-16, Gal. 4:5)

Galatians 4:4.  But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,  5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

Christ became a man to represent man in order to save us from the broken Law.  Adam failed in His covenant.  We fell in Him.  Christ comes as the second Adam.  He comes to succeed in keeping all of the precepts of the Law and paying all the penalties of the Lord.  For real people.  For people with a body and a soul.  Christ in our nature kept the Law.  For us.

Hebrews 2:14.  Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,  15 and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.  16 For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham.  17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.  18 For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.

Hebrews 4:14. Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.  15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.  16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Christ entered into our estate of sin and misery to rescue us out of it.  He left glory for misery. For us.  He veiled His glorious divinity with the rags of our humanity. For us.

Think of this Beloved. We are born of a woman. He was born of a woman.  We learn to walk and talk. Christ learned to walk and talk.  We hunger. He hungered. We thirst. He thirsted. We weep. He wept.  We are attacked by the devil. He was attacked by the devil. We die. He died. (2 Cor.13:4, Ps.78:39, Rom.8:3, 2 Cor.5:21, Isa.40:6.  The flesh enables Christ to DIE. Heb.10:1-10)  

He did all this, for us.  Oh beloved, He rose. We will rise. Everything He did, everything He went through, He went through for us.  For His Bride.  Do you see why Christ is our sympathetic High Priest?  He knows.  And He cares.   Think of this.  Christ is at the right hand of God, right now, in our nature praying for us.    Oh beloved, study Jesus. Learn of Him. Look to Him. Love Him. Be absorbed with Him. Soon we will see Him. As He is. And we will be like Him!

Amen

Study Questions.

  1. What are main truths taught in the three sections contained within John 1:1-18, v.1-5, v.6-13, v.14-18? Who is the main subject of John 1:1-18? What does this teach us? (Heb.10:1-10)
  1. What do we learn by God taking away and God giving? Why would God restrict our access to corporate worship, think of David in Psalm 63? Interact with the idea of sowing in tears and reaping in joy?  How does Christ set us free? From what? For what? How?  (Ps.137:1-6, Isa.55:12, Ps.126:3-6, Job 1:21, Job 42:10-17, Jn.3:16, Jn.1:1-18, Col.1:1-13, WCF 20.1, WCF 5.5)
  1. What does the Sabbath teach us about God and man? What does the scheme of working six days and resting one teach us?  Why does man need a day of rest? Rest from what? Rest for what?  What are the two different reasons for keeping the Sabbath given in the Ten Commandments? How is Christ our Rest-Bringer?  (Gen.5:29, Isa.56:1-7, 58:14, Jer.17:21-26, Exod.20:12, Mt.11:28-30, Heb.4:1-11, Gen.2:1-3, Mt.5:45, Acts 14:15-17, 17:25, Ps.136:25, Dt.10:18, Exod.20:11, Ps.118:24, Dt.5:15, Jn.1:1-18)
  1. How does studying Christ help conform us into His image? What are some truths about Christ that would affect your thoughts, affections, words and deeds? How would they affect them?  How could studying Christ in the Bible help you, your family, the church, and society? (Lk.22:11, Jn.13:35, Mt.11:28-30, John 1:1-18, 2 Tim.2:1-10, Col.2:22, 2 Pt.3:10-18, I Pt.4:1-7, Col.3:1-3, I Cor.7:31, Jam.4:1-10, I Jn.2:8-17, Jn.3:30, I Tim.3:16,  I Cor.3:1, I Jn.2:12-18, I Cor.14:20, Eph.4:13, Heb.5:14, Phil.3:1-14, Rom.8:29)
  1. How did the eternal Son of God become Man? Why must Jesus come from Israel? What is the significance of this? (John 1:1-14, Mt. 26:38, Lk. 1:27-42, Gal. 4:4, Heb. 4:15, Heb. 7:26, Jn.4:22, Jn.12:13, 2 Sam.7:12-29)
  1. What benefits do we enjoy because the eternal Word became flesh? (Jn.1:1-18, Jn.3:16, Heb.10:1-10, Jn.17:1-17, Prov.8:9, Job 28:12, Jn.14:9, Jn.10:3, I Jn.1:1-3, Rev.19:11-13, 2 Cor.4:3-4, Col.1:15, Phil.2:1-8, Col.1:19, 2:8, I Jn.4:7-20, Jn.20:31, Rom.5:1-10)
  1. How ought Christ’s true humanity, His real body and His real soul, inform how we think about our body and our soul? For this life? And for the next life?  Does the Bible teach us how to use or nourish our body and our soul? How?  How not?  (Gen.1:26-31, 2:7-25, I Cor.15:45, I Cor.3:16, I Cor.6:12-20, I Cor.9:23-27, Phil.3:17-21, Heidelberg #1)
  1. Can unbelievers, people without saving faith in Jesus correctly understand Jesus or teach right things about Jesus? Can the unbeliever teach religious truth? If people teach wrong things about Jesus and His salvation what ought we to conclude by this?  What do we learn by these things?  Rom.1:18-32, Rom.8:7, I Cor.2:10-16, 2 Cor.2:14-17, I Jn.4:1-6, Jn.17:10-11, Mt.24:11-24, Jam.3:1, 2 Tim.3:14-17, Jude 1:3-25)
  1. Describe some ways that Jesus was made like us yet without sin? (Jn.1:18-18, Heb. 2:14-18, Gal. 4:4, Heb. 7:24-25. Heb. 4:14-16, Gal. 4:4-5, 2 Cor.13:4, Ps.78:39, Rom.8:3, 2 Cor.5:21, Isa.40:6, Heb.10:1-10)
  1. Once Christ took to Himself true humanity, He now is God and Man in one Person forever. Where is Christ now according to His human nature? What is He doing?  What kind of body awaits you as a Believer in Christ?  How ought we to live in light of this? (Mt.22:44, 26:64, Acts 2:25-35, Heb.7:24-28, I Jn.1:1-10, I Jn.3:1-3, Phil.3:1-13)
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Beatitudes – The Blessed Life in Christ. Study 1. Introduction https://covenantpensacola.org/2020/05/05/beatitudes-the-blessed-life-in-christ-study-1-introduction/ https://covenantpensacola.org/2020/05/05/beatitudes-the-blessed-life-in-christ-study-1-introduction/#respond Tue, 05 May 2020 23:19:06 +0000 https://covenantpensacola.org/?p=1869

The study.

Grace and peace to you Beloved in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Thank you again for joining us for our mid-week Bible study.  Today we are beginning a new series on the Beatitudes.  There are eight Beatitudes, but we will have twelve studies.  Two introductory studies, then the Beatitudes, and then we will also include what is known as the Similitudes.  Christians are like salt and light.

I am calling this study “The Blessed Life in Christ”.  In fact, today will be an overview of that very thing.  That having Christ is the greatest blessing in all the world.

Let’s open in prayer and ask God to bless our time in His word.

The blessedness.

Beatitudes means the blessedness of being in Christ. (Mt.5:1-12)  As Believers in Jesus we are blessed by God beyond all imagination. (Ps.1:1, Rom.4:7-8) Only in Glory will we grasp the wonders that belong to us in Jesus. (I Cor.2:9, 13:12, I Jn.3:2)

In a world filled with thorns and thistles it is good to remind ourselves of all of the benefits that we enjoy being found in the beloved Son of God. (Col.3:1-3, Phil.4:8)

Beloved, it is my prayer that this brief study in the Beatitudes will convince and comfort you that in Christ all is well with your soul, and that in Christ your life has fallen to you in beautiful places and that in Christ God plans eternal good for you. (Ps.16:6, Jer.29:11)

This is God’s ballast for us to keep us in the storms of life.  These truths cheer us in the sorrows of life.  We can live and die happily because we have Christ.  We are blessed!

The exhortation.

Let me give us a pastoral exhortation to help us glean the wonder form this passage.  Pray before you read.  Pray after your read for the Holy Spirit to give you insight.  And pray believing each word is God’s true word to you in Christ.  This will make this study effective to your comfort and growth in Christ.  (I Thess.2:13, Isa.66:5, Jas.1:6, Jn.14:26, see WSC 90)

The scripture.

Read Matthew 5: 1-16.

The context.

The Beatitudes are found within the context of the sermon of Christ that we call The Sermon on the Mount.  The sermon on the mount is found in Matthew chapters five through seven.  Obviously, this section is placed within the book of Matthew.

The Messiah.

Matthew opens with the genealogy of Jesus proving He is legally, rightfully, the Promised Messiah.  And then we have Christ’s virgin birth; fulfilling prophecy and proving Christ was true man so He could be capable of dying in our place. (Mt.1-2, Heb.10:1-14, Gal.4:4, Gen.3:15)

The commissioning.

Christ is then baptized, officially and publicly commissioned for His work as Mediator-Savior. (Mt.3:13-17)  In Matthew chapter four Christ does combat with the devil as the Second Adam beginning His work in destroying the works of Satan. (Mt.4:1-11, Gen.3:15, I Jn.3:1-8, Heb.2:14-15, I Cor.15:45)

And then we come here to Matthew chapter five.

The work.

This is part of what is known as the Galilean ministry of Christ. (Mt.4:12-17) This is to distinguish Christ’s public ministry in Judea which is referred to as His Judean ministry. So, in the Beatitudes Christ is in the land of Galilee.  Here He is fulfilling the prophecy found in Isaiah.

Isaiah 9:1.  But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.   2 The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them. (John 1:1-4, Jn.14:1-10)

Christ will bless all of the families of the earth.  (Gen.12:1-3, Gen. 28:14, Rev.5:9, Gal.3:16-29)

The comparison.

Jesus goes up on a mountain to something of a natural amphitheater in order to deliver this sermon.

Often Christ on this mountain is compared and contrasted with Moses on Mount Sinai. (Exod.19:17-25) Moses commands the people to stay away.  Christ bids them to come near.  Moses receives the codified moral law, with the roar of thunder and the flash of lightning signifying the gravity of breaking the law.  Whereas the tenor of Christ’s sermon is gracious and inviting. (Jn.1:17) Christ is gentle, meek, mild, loving and having all blessings.

The compassion.

When Christ looks at the people and He sees their condition He is filled with compassion for them. (Mt.9:36, 14:14, 15:32, Mk.6:34, 8:2, Lk.9:13) And great multitudes flock to Jesus.

The preacher.

Christ’s public ministry opens here with His preaching.  This is an aspect of Christ’s office of prophet as our Mediator-Savior.  This is Christ fulling prophecy given to Moses.

Deuteronomy 18:15.  The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.   16 “This is according to all that you asked of the LORD your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.’  17 “The LORD said to me, ‘They have spoken well.  18 ‘I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.

This is how our secondary standards summarize our primary standard regarding Christ’s offices:

WSC 23  What offices does Christ execute as our Redeemer?

  1. Christ, as our Redeemer, executes the offices of a prophet, of a priest, and of a king, both in his estate of humiliation and exaltation. (Acts 3:21,22; Heb. 12:25 with 2 Cor. 13:3; Heb. 5:5,6,7; Heb. 7:25; Isa. 9:6,7; Matt. 21:5; Ps. 2:8-11)

WSC 24  How does Christ execute the office of a prophet?

  1. Christ executes the office of a prophet, in revealing to us, by his word and Spirit, the will of God for our salvation? (John 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:10-12; John 15:15; John 20:31)

The preacher is God in the Flesh which is itself a fulfillment of prophecy.

Isaiah 54:13  All your sons will be taught of the LORD; And the well-being of your sons will be great.  

Isaiah 50:4.  The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of disciples, That I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.  5 The Lord GOD has opened My ear; And I was not disobedient Nor did I turn back.  6 I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.  

The priest.

Christ also reveals His high priestly ministry by pronouncing a blessing upon His people. (see: Num.6:22-27, WSC 25, Heb.2:17, 3:1, 4:14-15, 5:1-10, 9:1-25)

The gospel – faith.

The beatitudes logically come after Christ’s “first sermon”, as it were, which was the Gospel of Salvation.

Matthew 4:17  From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matthew 4:23.  Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.

The Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul tells us that the gospel of salvation is the message of the Cross referring to the atoning sacrifice of Christ. (I Cor. 15:1-4)

I Corinthians 1:17.  For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.  18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (Eph.2:16, Col.1:20, 2:14)

By believing the gospel of Christ we are saved.

I Corinthians 15:1.  Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand,  2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. (Jn.3:16, Rom.10:1-17, Jn.17:1-17)

The law – faithfulness.

The scheme then is, first believe in Jesus unto salvation then obey Jesus as the proper response to your salvation.  Faith. Then faithfulness.

I Peter 2:24.  and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.

There are three uses of the moral law of God.  The law declares the holy standard of God and constrains the sinner by the threats of the law.  (see WLC 93-97) The law acts as a tutor to show people their need of Christ in the gospel.  (Gal.3:24)

The guide.

And the moral law is useful to believers to show us our duty in Christ, which is our privilege and pleasure. (see WCF 19.6, WLC 97, Ps.119:97, I Jn.5:1-3, Jn.14:15,21) This is the way that we use the Beatitudes to our benefit.

The beatitudes are an expression of our duty unto God.  It pleases God when we are humble, it pleases God when we are gentle, it pleases God when we are merciful.  And therefore, we want to live this way.

To repeat, Christ is not teaching “if” you are peacemakers “then” you will merit salvation.  Salvation is all of God’s grace or gift.

Ephesians 2: 3.  Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.   4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,   5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),   6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;   9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

But saving faith in Christ always produces good works which are the fruit of faith.  You will know true Christian by their Christlike fruit.  By fruits of the Holy Spirit.

The parts.

Each beatitude consists of three parts:

  1. An ascription of blessedness or happiness. (makarios)
  2. A description of the person to whom this ascription applies. (condition – poor, etc.)
  3. A statement for the reason of their blessedness. (their reward is in heaven, etc.)

The assurance.

Christ attaches a blessing to an expression of faithfulness.  For our assurance of God’s love.  For our assurance of being in an estate of grace and salvation.

The blessing and the obedience to Christ are meant to encourage our faith in Jesus, which is to say, to assure us that we are in an estate of grace or salvation.  Our true faith in Christ is proved by our living for Christ.  For example, true believers in Jesus manifest their true faith by hungering for righteousness and by being peacemakers. (Mt.5:3-9)

Look at the usefulness of good works or obedience to God’s word.

WCF 16.2  These good works, done in obedience to God’s commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith:(1) and by them believers manifest their thankfulness,(2) strengthen their assurance,(3) edify their brethren,(4) adorn the profession of the Gospel,(5) stop the mouths of the adversaries,(6) and glorify God,(7) whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto;(8) that, having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end eternal life.(9)

(1) James 2:18,22.  (2) Ps. 116:12,13; 1 Pet. 2:9. (3) 1 John 2:3,5; 2 Pet. 1:5-10.
(4) 2 Cor. 9:2; Matt. 5:16.  (5) Tit. 2:5,9,10,11,12; 1 Tim. 6:1.  (6) 1 Pet. 2:15.
(7) 1 Pet. 2:12; Phil. 1:11; John 15:8.  (8) Eph. 2:10.  (9) Eph. 6:22. (WCF 18.2)

The beatitudes are not the content of the gospel of the Cross, they are the blessedness of those that live transformed lives because of the Cross.

True followers of Jesus are to live radically different than the unbeliever. (Mt.5:21-48, 6:1-18)  We are to live holy like Christ because of what Christ has done for us. Listen to God’s word.

Matthew 6:8  So do not be like them. (Mt.5:44-47, 6:7-13, 6:32-33)  

Luke 6:32.  If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.  33 “If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.  34 “If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount35 “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.  

Titus 1:1  Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness.

The paradox.

Christ constructs each of the beatitudes in a paradoxical fashion.  This is something which on the surface seems absurd; blessed to suffer.  But in fact, Christ is teaching a reversal of human estimations or evaluations.

God’s evaluation of blessedness is not man’s evaluation of blessedness.

(Isa.55:9, 1 Cor.1:17-31)  Remember Christ is declaring the character of His disciples, what is a normative life for a true Christian.  The world may look at you as a Christian and think you are wretched, but God says, you are blessed.

The faith.

Here is the Christian-value-system which is totally at odds with the carnal world.  Jesus shows us our blessedness does not come by our outward environment, it comes by our union and communion with God in Christ.

Beloved believer in Christ, walk by faith in Christ and not by sight.  Consider your estate from the word of God.  Christ says you are blessed in Him.  He cannot lie.  He is truth personified.  You are blessed.  Believe your Lord and Savior. Rejoice! (Rom.1:17, 9:30-33, 2 Cor.5:7, Gal.2:20, Heb.11:1-33)

 

Amen

 

Study Questions.

  1. What do the Beatitudes refer to? What do they mean for Believers? (Mt.5:1-12, Ps.1:1, Rom.4:7-8, I Cor.2:9, 13:12, I Jn.3:2, Ps.16:6, Jer.29:11)
  1. What should we do to glean the most benefit from the Beatitudes contained in Scripture? (Ps.1:2, 2 Tim.3:14-17, Mt. 5: 1-16, I Thess.2:13, Isa.66:5, Jas.1:6, Jn.14:26, see WSC 90)
  1. The Beatitudes are preached in the Land of Galilee, what does this teach us?   (Isa.9:1-2, Gen.12:1-3, Gen. 28:14, Rev.5:9, Gal.3:16-29)
  1. Who is the preacher of the Beatitudes? Describe His person and His offices?  How does this affect the content of His sermon?  How does His person and offices affect the recipients of His sermon?   (Mt.1-2, Heb.10:1-14, Gal.4:4, Gen.3:15, Mt.4:1-11, Gen.3:15, I Jn.3:8, Heb.2:14-15, I Cor.15:45, Dt.18:15)
  1. Describe the gospel of salvation. Use Scripture.  (Mt.4:17-23, I Cor. 15:1-4, I Cor.1:17-28, Eph.2:16, Col.1:20, 2:14, Jn.3:16)
  1. Describe why acceptance of the gospel must logically precede our obedience to the moral admonitions found in the Beatitudes. (Eph.2:1-10, Heb. 11:6, Rom.3:10-18)
  1. What are the three uses of the moral law of God? As Believers how ought we to consider the moral duties found in the Beatitudes?  (see WLC 93-97, Gal.3:24, WCF 19.6, WLC 97, Ps.119:97, I Jn.5:1-3, Jn.14:15,21)
  1. What good things does the blessing and the obedience to Christ as expressed in the Beatitudes produce? (Mt.5:3-9, WCF 16.2, James 2:18-22, Ps. 116:12-13; 1 Pet. 2:9, 1 John 2:3,5; 2 Pet. 1:5-10, 2 Cor. 9:2; Matt. 5:16, Tit. 2:5,9,10,11,12; 1 Tim. 6:1,  1 Pet. 2:15, 1 Pet. 2:12; Phil. 1:11; John 15:8,  Eph. 2:10, Eph. 6:22, WCF 18.2)
  1. Describe the paradoxical nature of the Beatitudes. What lessons do we learn by this?
  1. Describe the relationship of faith with the Beatitudes.  (Rom.1:17, 9:30-33, 2 Cor.5:7, Gal.2:20, Heb.11:1-33)

 

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The Message of Christ. Sermon 1. John 5:1-5. The Deity of Christ. https://covenantpensacola.org/2020/05/02/the-message-of-christ-sermon-1-john-51-5-the-deity-of-christ/ https://covenantpensacola.org/2020/05/02/the-message-of-christ-sermon-1-john-51-5-the-deity-of-christ/#respond Sat, 02 May 2020 20:40:05 +0000 https://covenantpensacola.org/?p=1857

 

The Christ. 

Our last two sermons are what I would call ‘doctrinal sermons’.  We looked at the doctrine of the God’s Law and of God’s Gospel.  Then we looked at the broader truth of the doctrine of Scripture being our exclusive rule for faith and practice.  Perhaps we could label these things the basics of our holy faith. (Acts 6:7, 13:8, 14:22, 16:5)

Today I would like to continue in this vein.  This morning I want to look at my favorite subject in the Bible and that is Jesus Christ.  God the Holy Spirit used John chapter ten in my conversion to Christ.  This gospel was my favorite for my first year or so as a born-again Christian.  I think I read it something like forty times that first year.

I chose chapter one because it so gloriously shows us both the divinity of Christ and the humanity of Christ.  And it does so in a heavenly but simple style.  So simple that even a newborn babe in Christ Jesus can adore His perfections.  (Jn.3:1-16, I Jn.2:12-13, Heb.5:13, I Cor.3:1-3) 

Remember Jesus says that unless you are converted like a little children that you will not enter the kingdom of God. (Mt.18:3-4) Beloved, come to the holy Scriptures with childlike faith.  Look like a trusting and loving child upon the Son of the Father’s love. (Mt.3:17) And simply believe what you read.  And love the One you read about.  (Jn.12:35-50, WLC 160)

 With our sermon today I want to fill up our minds with truths about our Jesus so that our hearts would overflow with love for Him.  Then we would live our lives for His glory.  Our minds for Christ.  Our hearts for Christ.  And our bodies for Christ.  

 What is the language of the apostle Paul?  To live is Christ.  And to die is gain.  And it is gain because we go from knowing Christ dimly as in a mirror by faith in this world to being in His immediate presence, seeing Him in all His glory! (I Cor.13:12-13, Gal.2:20, 2 Cor.5:7, Phil.1:17-25)

The outline. 

Let me read verses 1 to 18.  In verses 1-5, the eternality and divinity of Christ.  In verses 6-13, the proclamation and the reception of Christ. In verses 14-18, the incarnation of Christ.  Chronologically this is the outline of the passage. 

But I am going to follow, I think, the logical outline. 1. Christ is true Deity. 2. Christ is true Humanity. 3. Then the preaching of the God-Man Jesus and then the believing in our Immanuel Savior unto our eternal salvation. 

The doctrine. 

What we will do this morning is to focus on the first point, the deity of Christ, v.1-5.  In the next two weeks we can unpack the other two truths, if the Lord wills. (Jas.4:12-15)

The truth. 

Let me begin by saying that truth matters.  True objective truth matters.  And I mean religious truth and especially as it relates to Jesus Christ.

Beloved, we are justified by faith alone in Christ alone. (Rom.3:28, 5:1, Gal.3:11-29) But we must believe in the true Christ.  Belief in false Christs do not save.  Christ prayed, Father sanctify them in Thy truth, Thy word is truth.  (Jn.17:17)

The Bible is necessary to know the true Christ savingly.  Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ. (Rom.10:1-17)

The passage.  

See our passage for this morning.

V.1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

V.2. He was in the beginning with God.

V.3. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

V.4.  In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.

V.5. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

Our limitations. 

As we begin, remember John is going to just say some things which are beyond our full or complete comprehension. 

We cannot perfectly fully plumb the depths of what John says.  We can understand in part by Spirit-gifted faith in the Spirit inspired word.

But because we are finite creatures of time and space, even as true Believers, we cannot fully explain the infinite perfections of Christ’s blessed being.  We can say things like eternity or infinity.  Maybe even write a sentence or two.  But can we really fully understand boundless time or space?  Un-createdness? 

Paul says in I Corinthians that heaven is so wonderful that it has not even entered the mind of man.  (I Cor.2:9) God corrects even believing righteous Job at the end of that book, were you there Job when I created? Do you know this or that?  Job at the end says, I will close my mouth before You and repent and believe Your word. (Job 40:1-7, 42:1-6)

Our antagonists. 

I say this, because those who reject Christ are often quick to chide believers in Christ for believing in Someone that we cannot fully explain all that He is and why that He is.  Oh beloved how dishonest and devilish unbelief is. (Rom.8:7, 2 Cor.2:15-16, I Cor.2:10-16)

What unbeliever can fully perfectly explain how electricity works, or even how a combustion engine works, or what lives at the bottom of Marianas trench but they still believe in all of these things.  Despite only knowing in part.  Unbelief is not intellectual.  It is spiritual and moral rebellion against God. (Rom.1:18-32, Rom.8:7)

And think of this.  What kind of a god would it be if puny man could utterly know all about this ‘god’, that there were no mysteries about this ‘god’ beyond the capacities of man?(Isa.44:9-28)

I will tell you beloved.  This false god of man’s own understand is man himself. (Gen.3:1-8)  The unbeliever’s god is self.  Based on what they think and based on what they feel. (Judges 21:25, 17:6, Dt.12:8, Jer.23:36, 18:12, Jn.8:47)

The mystery. 

Christ speaks of Himself and His gospel as the mystery of the kingdom of God that only those with graced faith or graced eyes and ears can believe, see, and hear.  (Mt.4:11) The apostle Paul says that the preaching of Jesus is the revelation of a (divine) mystery. (Rom.16:25, I Cor.2:7, Eph.1:9, Eph.2:1-9) And part of this mystery about Christ is that He is Deity come in the flesh. 

The revelation. 

Look at what the Bible, which is the holy infallible word of God says.  The apostle John is clearly referring to Jesus as the Word. (Jn.1:1,14, I Jn.1:1, Rev.19:13, Heb.1:2) We are told, that in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. 

Eternality. 

Christ is eternal uncreated underived independent God. (Exod.3:13-14) There was never a time when Jesus the Son of God was not.  He was before all things. (Col.1:17, Jn.17:5) 

Christ is the great I AM (Yahweh) in the flesh – Immanuel, God with us. (Isa.7:14)  As Christ says seven times in the book of John, the equivalent of Yahweh in Greek is Ego Eimi, I AM that I AM.  The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus because He said, before Abraham was – I AM.  They knew Christ said He was God. (Jn.8:54-59)

Just stated.  Not apologized for.  Not even defended. Not reconciled with seemingly opposing ideas.  Jesus is eternal God.  He is the same in substance with God.  First sentence of this gospel.  Christ is God!

This is doctrine beloved.  This is propositional truth.  This is part of the system of sound words that we are required to hold on to because the written word brings us to the Living Eternal Word.   (I Tim.4:6, 6:3, 2 Tim.1:13, Jude 1:4) This is the One that we believe in.  This is the One we love.  Our Savior is fully God.  He had no beginning.  He has no end.  He is the divine Alpha and Omega.  (Rev.1:8, 21:6, 22:13)  Let me read you two Scriptures.

Isaiah 9:6.  For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Jn.17:1-5)

Colossians 1:15.  He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created through Him and for Him.  17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.  18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.  19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him.  (Equality with God the Father – Phil.2:6)

I want to say something about the doctrine of Christ’s Deity.  And perhaps about doctrine or teaching in general. 

The problem. 

The other day I watched a show called Poly Pastor’s Kids or Poly PKs.  It is about Polynesian adults that grew up with their father as a Christian pastor.  It was interesting and sad to watch so many of these people describe some of the painful experiences associated with being a part of a Christian community where the people are not yet glorified, we still have sin.  Some of the people walked away because they saw hypocrisy in the church.  Some of the people walked away because they wanted to enjoy the world and their sin.  But one fellow was so stunning in his honesty.  He said, I walked away from the church, not because I had a problem with my pastor dad, not because I had a problem with the people.  I walked away because I had a problem with Christianity! 

It was the doctrines, the teachings of the Bible that he rejected.  That’s honesty.  That’s terrifying.  But it is honest.

Beloved, we do not (I do not) call people to come to church (for salvation), join the church, come find friends at the church, enjoy the social life, come because it is good for the socialization of your children, or it helps to be part of a community, it preserves the culture, or anything like this.

You hear things like this all the time.  Oh I like the church building, the windows are nice.  I like the music.  I like the pot-luck get togethers.  I like the community.  I like the rituals.  Oh all these things may have their place IF they keep their right place.  Many people have come to the church that have never come to Christ. 

The church does not save.  Community will not save you.  Experiences do not save.  Friends do not save.  Cultural commonality does not save. 

The solution. 

Come to Christ.  Christ alone saves.  And Christ who is God in the flesh saves.  And you MUST believe in Him.  You must believe the truth about Jesus.  The truth about the Divine Christ will set you free from the wrath of God and from the wages of sin. (Jn.8:32) And nothing else.

Christ told us to beware of false Christs. (Mt.24:1-25) Non-divine Christs are false Christs. Non-divine Christs cannot save.  There is no Good News if Christ is not fully God and fully man.  There is no true Christianity without the divinity of Christ. 

Ask yourself, if a person believes Jesus is just a man or just an angel, are they saved?  Are they true Believers on their way to heaven? (see William Taft quote on the divinity of Christ) No. If Christ were a mere man and He received worship, which He did, would He be holy God?  Oh beloved, stay in the Bible, stay away from deceivers. (I Cor.15:33, 2 Cor.6:14-18, 2 Jn.1:7)

The divine attributes and works. 

Creation. V.3. 

Our text says that Christ, the Word, not only has uncreated eternality.  But that God the Father created all things through God the Son.  And to complete the idea is, through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

John 1:3.  All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. (Ps.40:8)

Hebrews 1:8 But of the Son He says, “YOUR THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVER AND EVER, AND THE RIGHTEOUS SCEPTER IS THE SCEPTER OF HIS KINGDOM. (Heb.1:1-8)

Holiness. V.4.  

Our text says that Christ the eternal word has light and life in Himself.  Christ is holy.  Not holy as we are holy in Him.  Our holiness is derived from His holiness.  His holiness is essential to His eternal Being.  Christ is God spotless, pure, without shadow without sin, all righteousness.  IN Himself.  (Jn.5:26, 6:48,53, 11:25)

Life. 

Christ, the eternal Word has life in Himself.  He is the uncreated source of all other life.  All creation has their existence due to His eternal existence. 

John 1:4.  In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.  5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

Romans 11:36.  For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

Redemption. 

Only God come in the flesh could keep the Law of God perfectly.  Only God come in the flesh could sustain the wrath of God and rise from the dead.

Matthew 1:21   She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Matthew 14:33  And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!” (Mt.16:16, 25:31, 28:18, Mk.8:38, Rom.1:7, 9:5, I Cor.1:1-13, 2:8, 2 Cor.5:10, Gal.2:20, 4:4, Phil.2:6, Col.2:9, I Tim.3:16, Heb.1:1-8, 4:14, 5:8)

Beloved, Christ forgives sins. (Mt.9:1-6) Christ gives life from the dead. (Lk.7:14) Christ receives worship.  Thomas said to Jesus, my Lord and my GOD! (Jn.20:28, Mt.28:9) Angels worship Him.  Oh beloved this is our Christ. 

The Trinity. 

The next thing we see is that the Word is also being distinguished from God (the Father).  Though this is not a full expression of the doctrine of the Trinity, it is a partial revelation of the Godhead.  God the Father is God.  God the Son is God.  And we are told elsewhere that God the Holy Spirit is God. 

Acts 5:1.  But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property,  2 and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet.  3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land?  4 “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”  (see. Isa.48:16-17, 63:9-10, Gen.1:1)  

And these three divine Persons within the Godhead are One God. 

Martin Luther said this verse is against all forms of Arianism and Sabellianism or modalism.

Arianism. 

Arianism is a heretical teaching that Jesus is just a mere man or an elevated creature like an angel.  Men or angels are just creatures.  They are not the uncreated Creator God.  Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons are modern Arians.  The JWs believe that Christ is the arch angel Michael.  So they translate their Bible in John 1:1 that Jesus was a ‘lower case g’ god.  But that is not what the text says.  And the Mormons believe Christ is spirit brother with Lucifer! Beloved that is blasphemy. It is taking the name of God in vain. (Exod.20:7)

Arians may claim to believe Jesus is God, but they mean, less than God the Father.  And Arians believe the Holy Spirit is just a force or a power, certainly not divine God. 

Modalism. 

And modalism is another form of Unitarianism denying the truth of the Trinity.  They say something like this, the Father morphs into the Son and the Son morphs into the Spirit. 

I John 2:22.  Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.   23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.  I Jn.5:10-13)

Beloved, the Bible attributes divine names, titles, attributes, works and worship to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit.  And these three are one God.  Mystery? Yes.  True? Yes.  The Bible says it.  Our faith shouts, glory! 

The application. 

Beloved, truth matters.  Truth on Christ matters eternally.  Believe in this One.

He has all authority and ability to save you forever!  It is love to God to believe everything He reveals about Himself in His word.  It is love to others to tell them the truth about Christ.

Beloved, this is the Christ you believe in. 

John 6:35.  Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.

John 8:12.  Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

John 10:10.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.  11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

John 11: 23.  Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”  24 Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”  25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies,  26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”  (Jn.14:6, 15:1)

 AMEN

 Study Questions.

1. How many true Gods are there?  (Deut. 6:4-5, Jer. 10:10, Exod.20:1-20, Isa.45:22, Mk.12:28-34, I Cor.8:6)  What is polytheism?  What is pantheism?  What is atheism?  What is monotheism? What is Unitarianism?  What is monotheistic Trinitarianism? 

2.  God speaks of Himself in the Bible in certain places in the plural.  The word ‘God’ in Hebrew is Elohim, this word is also in the plural. The NT uses a Greek word which means ‘Godhead’ What does this teach us about the nature of God?  (Gen.1:26-27, Gen.11:7-8, Gen.1:26, Mt. 28:19; John 10:30, Acts 17:29, Rom.1:20, Col.2:9, Mt.3:13-17, Mt.28:19)

3. God the Father is referred to as God in the Bible.  What do we learn about His nature and works?  (Dt.32:6, Jer.3:4-19, Isa.63:16-17, Mt.5:45, 6:6-15, Rom.8:15, I Jn.1:3, John 1:14-18, 5:17-26, 8:54, 14:12-13)

4. Who is the angel of the LORD?  (Gen.16:9-13, Gen.18:1-21, 19:1-22, Mt.11:27, Jn.1:18, Jn.6:46, Jdg.13:17-23, see Isa.9:6)

5.  Christ as Son of God denotes what nature of Christ?  Christ as Son of Man denotes what nature of Christ?  (Ps.2:7, Mk.1:1, Jn.1:34, Acts 13:33, Heb.1:1-5, Mt.26:64, WLC 40)

6.  What are some divine names given to Christ?  (Isa.9:6, I Tim.3:16, Jn.1:1-14, Jn.20:28, Rom.9:5, Mt.1:21-25, Isa.7:14, Mk.1:24, Jn.6:69)

7.  What are some divine attributes applied to Christ? (Isa.9:6, Rev.1:8, Mt.18:20, 28:20, Jn.2:24, 21:17, Phil.3:21, Rev.1:8, Phil.2:6)

8.  What are some divine works performed by Christ?  (Heb.1:2, Mt.9:2, Jn.15:16, Eph.4:11-12, Mt.9:2-7, Lk.10:22, Jn.1:3, 3:35, Eph.1:22, Col.1:17, Heb.1:10-12, Jn.5:22) 

9.  What does Christ’s reception of divine worship teach us about Christ?  (Jn.5:22,14:1, I Cor.15:19, 2 Cor.13:13, Heb.1:1-8, Mt.2:11, Mt.14:33, 28:9, 28:17)   Pre

10.  Why was it necessary for our Mediator-Savior Christ to be God?  (Acts 2:24-25, Rom. 1:4, Rom. 4:25, Heb. 9:14, Acts 20:28, Heb. 9:14, Heb. 7:25-28, Rom. 3:24-26, Eph. 1:6, Mt. 3:17,  Titus 2:13-14, Gal. 4:6, Lk. 1:68-74, Heb. 5:8-9, Heb. 9:11-15, Isa.7:14, Ps.110:1, Mal.3:1, Mt.3:3)  

11.  Interact with these quotes.   President Thomas Jefferson: The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His Father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. (Phil.2:10-11, Mt.25:31-33, 41-46, Jn.3:36)       President William Howard Taft: I am a Unitarian. I believe in God. I do not believe in the divinity of Christ. And there are many postulates (doctrines) of the orthodox creed to which I cannot subscribe. (I Cor.1:18-31, 2:10-16, 2 Cor.2:14-17, Rom.8:7, Mt.19:24, Eph.2:1-9, Mt.22:14, 7:13-14, 13:10-17, Jude 1:18-25, Ps.73

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Prayer: Communing with God in Christ (Study 6. Thanks) https://covenantpensacola.org/2020/04/28/prayer-communing-with-god-in-christ-study-6-thanks/ https://covenantpensacola.org/2020/04/28/prayer-communing-with-god-in-christ-study-6-thanks/#respond Tue, 28 Apr 2020 23:42:56 +0000 https://covenantpensacola.org/?p=1825

The duty of thanksgiving.

Grace and peace to you Beloved in the name of Jesus Christ.  I thank God so much for His goodness to us in Christ Jesus.  And I thank you so much for joining with us in these studies.  May we all be increasingly conformed into Christ’s holy image.  Let’s ask for God’s blessings on our study today. Pray.

Word.

Today in our final study on prayer we are looking at thanksgiving to God as a form of prayer.  Specifically praise of God is for who He is and thanks of God is for what He has does.  For my purpose I will combine both ideas.

Heart.

Though our God is a spotless God He is more interested with our inward heart than the precision of our outward form.  Having a heart for God means we have saving faith in Jesus.  We have a new heart in Christ.  And from that new heart flows our new words – praises and thanks.

King David under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit prayed this prayer.

2 Samuel 22: 47. The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock; And exalted be God, the rock of my salvation,  48 The God who executes vengeance for me, And brings down peoples under me,  49 Who also brings me out from my enemies; You even lift me above those who rise up against me; You rescue me from the violent man.  50 “Therefore I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the nations, And I will sing praises to Your name.  51He is a tower of deliverance to His king, And shows lovingkindness to His anointed, To David and his descendants forever.”

Beloved, this was written for our instruction. (Exod.24:12, Rom.15:4, I Cor.10:11) God wants us to be thankful to Him for all that He is to us.

Inspired by the same Spirit of God, the apostle Paul writing to his brothers in sisters in Christ wrote this,

I Thessalonians 5:16.  Rejoice always;  17 pray without ceasing;  18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

God’s love for us shed abroad in our soul pours forth love back to God.  Our graced-heart overflows with thanks to the One in whom we live and move and have our being. (Rom.5:5, Acts 17:28)

Before we move on, though thanksgiving is our immense privilege and joy, I do want to stress that thanking God in prayer is our divinely required duty.  Prayer is a mandatory duty.  Thanking God in prayer is a duty.

Let me give us a brief definition of duty. Duty is conduct due, a moral obligation, respect or reverence required by a superior to an inferior.  Do you see that in our context God requires the inward heart of love and reverence and then the outward expression of gratitude upon our lips.

Duty is not a concept spoken of too much in the modern church.  We tend to think that grace nullifies duty.  That those two concepts are mutually exclusive.  Moreover, we tend to think that if thanksgiving is mandated that this would rob our thanks of free-affections or heart-warmth and thus make our prayers a formal sham.

But this can’t be true.  We know the greatest commandments are to love God and to love man.  God commands our affections as well as our actions. (Mt.22:35-40, Rom.13:8-10, Gal.5:14, Jas.2:8, I Cor.13:1-13)

Christ has performed all the requirements of the law of God for us.  His merit is graced to us.  So we do not obey to merit.  But we do obey to please.  We do obey as an expression of our gratitude for what He has done. The gospel of grace enables us to love the word of God as our rule.  (WCF 19.6, WLC 94-97)

We love Him. We love Him because He loves us. (I Jn.4:10-19) And now His commandments are not burdensome to us. (I Jn.5:3, Jn.14:15, Lk.6:46) Think of it this way, those with faith in Christ are required to be faithful to Christ.  Those who are under the yoke of Christ are required to follow Christ. (Mt.10:38-42, 11:25-30, 13:18-23, Mt.7:13-29)

And this includes praying as Christ commands us to pray.  And praying like Christ prayed.

I thank You Father. (Jn.11:41, Mk.8:6, Acts 27:35)

In contrast to this (to warn us) listen to what the Holy Spirit says through Samuel to king Saul that refused to do his duty.

I Samuel 15:22.  Samuel said, “Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.  23 “For rebellion is as the sin of divination, And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has also rejected you from being king.”

The definition of thanksgiving.

Next, let’s consider the definition of giving thanks.  In Hebrew the word for thank is yadah.  We looked at this word last week in our study on confession of sin.  Yadah is sometimes translated to confess.  It means to cast up, to cast up to the Lord.  The context tells us what is being brought up to the Lord.  In confession we are bringing our sins to Him asking for forgiveness.  In thanksgiving we are bringing our praises and thanks up to Him in adoration and joy for all that He is and for all that He has done.   

To God.

The idea of casting ‘up’ implies that God is high, that God is up, that God is in heaven the place of His holy habitation and that we are on earth at His footstool. (Isa.66:1, Mt.5:35, Acts 7:49)

Psalm 99:5.  Exalt the LORD our God And worship at His footstool; Holy is He…9 Exalt the LORD our God And worship at His holy hill, For holy is the LORD our God. (Ps.132:7)

The Greek word to give thanks is eucharisto.  Obviously we get our English word eucharist from this word. This is a compound word, eu means good in Greek and charis means grace or gift.

Matthew 26: 26. While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”  27 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you;  28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.

Christ is worshiping God.  Christ our High Priest is showing us acceptable worship of God.  Christ thanks God for a body that He might die for the sins of His people.  So that we could worship God in holiness. Thank God for Christ.  And thank God for every blessing we have in Christ, which is every blessing. (Heb.10:1-22, I Cor.1:20, Rom.8:28-32, I Cor.3:21-23)

In worship.

Right away we learn that thanking God in prayer is part of our worship of God.

The writer to the Hebrews puts thanksgiving prayer as an aspect of our worship of God.

Hebrews 13:13.  So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.  14 For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.  15 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.  16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

I think it is easy to think of worship as being only something we do at corporate worship on the Lord’s Day.

But the Bible tells us to continually worship God.  To pray constantly.  To thank Him constantly, as a vital part of our devotion and adoration OF Him.  This is part of presenting ourselves as a living sacrifice to God as Paul says in Romans. (Rom.12:1)

Joy.

We are called to glorify God and to enjoy God, daily, moment by moment. To worship Him with joy and with thanksgiving.  (Ps.42:4, Isa.51:3)

Paul tells the Philippians Christians to rejoice in the Lord always.  This is worship or adoration of God.  And a part of that “rejoicing” is thanking God.

Philippians 4:4.  Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!  5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.  6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

And I will say, when you are more thankful to God then you are more happy with God.  And we are more happy with God’s government over our life.  Thanksgiving breeds happiness.  Just like ingratitude breeds anger and depression and grumbling.

Love.

All of our life is “worship” a service of love to Christ.  All of our life is a thank-offering unto the Lord.  We pour out our body and soul as a love offering to the Lord as Paul says. (Phil.2:17, 2 Tim.4:6, Jer.33:11, Amos 4:5)

Philippians 1:20.  according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.  21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Psalm 116:1.  I love the LORD, because He hears My voice and my supplications.  2 Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.

People give us good things and do good things for us all the time, and perhaps we do not thank them for.  And sometimes we are not thankful to them, because we do not love them.  We make “like” the gift, but we do not like the giver.  This ought never be the case with any Christian, as God calls us to love Him and to love all people.

One man puts it this way, Self love will put us upon prayer (petitions). But the love of God will put us upon praise and thanksgiving. Those that seek themselves will cry to God in their distress. Those that love God cannot endure that He should be without His due honor. (Thomas Manton, 1620-1677)

This is how our confession has it.

WCF 21.3  Prayer, with thanksgiving, being one special part of religious worship,(1) is by God required of all men;(2) and, that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the Son,(3) by the help of His Spirit,(4) according to His will,(5) with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance;(6) and, if vocal, in a known tongue.(7)

(1) Phil. 4:6. (2) Ps. 65:2. (3) John 14:13,14; 1 Pet. 2:5. (4) Rom. 8:26. (5) 1 John 5:14.
(6) Ps. 47:7; Eccl. 5:1,2; Heb. 12:28; Gen. 18:27; James 5:16; James 1:6,7; Mark 11:24; Matt. 6:12,14,15; Col. 4:2; Eph. 6:18. (7) 1 Cor. 14:14.

The reasons for thanksgiving.

Now let’s spend the rest of our time talking about reasons we have for thanking God.  We have already mentioned a number of them.

General divisions.

Before we descend down to some particulars let me give you three general heads for our thanksgiving.

We thank God for His material temporal mercies.  We thank God for His spiritual and eternal mercies.  And as I mentioned at the beginning we thank or praise God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for His manifold perfections.  I am not going to follow this pattern here.  I will combine them altogether.

General directions.

All of this requires that we live with a conscious awareness of God in our life, in our day to day life.  We are to live thinking of God.  We are to live reading God’s book of providence in our life.  We are to live reading God’s book of Scripture for our life.  All of this is fuel for our thanksgiving.  Coram Deo (before the face of God).

We thank God for His gracious sovereignty.

We thank God for everything we have because everything we have comes from God.  And everything we have comes from God because everything belongs to God.

Job 38:41.  (God asked Job) Who prepares for the raven its nourishment When its young cry to God And wander about without food?

Psalm 50:10.  For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills.  11 “I know every bird of the mountains, And everything that moves in the field is Mine.

God created all things.  He created them for Himself.  And He dispenses them to whom He wishes and for the purposes He determines.  When we say “thank you God” we are acknowledging that God is and that God is sovereign.  And that God is gracious.  And all that we are and all that we have is according to God’s grace.  Meaning according to God’s free unmerited (on our part) gift.

At the same time, by this we are expressing that we are his dependent children.  And that we are utterly dependent upon Him for absolutely everything.  We do not have one thing, but that it was given to us by God.

Look at the Scripture describes this.

I Corinthians 4:6.  Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other.  7 For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

James 1:17.  Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.  18 In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures. (I Chron.29:14, Phil.2:13)

We thank God for His mercies.

Every day we live His mercies to us are new and many. Mercies on our body.  Our daily food.  Our daily health.  For us.  For others.  (I Tim.2:1)  Mercies on our soul.  Faith in Christ. Graced repentance from sin. Abiding comfort of the Holy Spirit. Spirit preservation unto eternity.  For us.  For our loved ones in Christ.  Remember to be specific.  And to be personal.  Remember who you are praying to.

Listen to God’s word.

Psalm 119:156.  Great are Your mercies, O LORD; Revive me according to Your ordinances.

 Psalm 68:19.  Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, The God who is our salvation. Selah.  20 God is to us a God of deliverances; And to GOD the Lord belong escapes from death.

Lamentation 3:21.  This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope.  22 The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail.  23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.  24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.”  25 The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him.  26 It is good that he waits silently For the salvation of the LORD. (Ps.111:4)

Let’s talk about some of the specific mercies we enjoy in Jesus as fodder for our thanksgiving.

Spiritual gifts.

The preeminent thing we have to thank God for is not a thing; it is Christ, salvation in Christ.

Romans 8:28.  And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;  30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.  31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?  32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

 2 Corinthians 9:15. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

Psalm 66:16.  Come and hear, all who fear God, And I will tell of what He has done for my soul.  17 I cried to Him with my mouth, And He was extolled with my tongue.

WSC 32  What benefits do they that are effectually called partake of in this life?  They that are effectually called do in this life partake of justification,(1) adoption,(2) and sanctification, and the several benefits which in this life do either accompany or flow from them.(3) (1) Rom. 8:30 (2) Eph. 1:5 (3) 1 Cor. 1:26,30   

WSC 36  What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification? The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification, are, assurance of God’s love, peace of conscience,(1) joy in the Holy Ghost,(2) increase of grace,(3) and perseverance therein to the end.(4) (1) Rom. 5:1,2,5 (2) Rom. 14:17 (3) Prov. 4:18 (4) 1 John 5:13; 1 Pet. 1:5

The helps unto thanksgiving.

Let’s conclude our time by looking at a few helps to make us more thankful in heart and thus more thankful in our prayers.

Our company.

Stay away from grumblers they will lead you into thanklessness. Get around people that thank God.  Labor to reconcile ourselves to God’s providence.

Our heart.

Guard your heart. Watch over the temper of your heart.  Watch out for a grumbling spirit of being discontent.  Don’t focus on the pain of two or three of your crosses or afflictions and forget thousands of incomparable benefits you enjoy in Jesus.

Also, remember that our crosses are sent to us by God.  And therefore they are for our good. I would argue good physically and spiritually.  John Newton says that he would have been ruined without his crosses.  How many sins has God prevented us from engaging in because of a sickness? See how to look at it from the goodness of God.  Remember God’s purpose is to shape you into the holy image of Christ.  Labor to reconcile ourselves to God’s providence.  And to labor to look for the good in all circumstances.

Always give thanks to God, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, in love.  (2 Cor.9:2)

Our tongue.

We are speaking about prayer, so we feel better when we SAY to God, God thank you, our hearts are lifted up. (Ps.113:6, Ps.139:17, Gen.32:10, 2 Sam.7:18) Say your thanks to God out loud, and often.  Hearing your own thanksgivings to God makes you more thankful to God. 😊

AMEN

Study Guide.

  1. How do you know that it is your duty to pray to God and to thank God in your prayers? What is a duty? How do you reconcile the grace of God in Christ and doing your duty unto God in Christ? Think faith and faithfulness. Does God govern our affections and our actions?  (2 Tim.3:14-17, Jn.3:16, I Tim.2:1-5, 2 Sam.22:47-51, Exod.24:12, Rom.15:4, I Cor.10:11, I Thess.5:16-18,  (Mt.22:35-40, Rom.13:8-10, Gal.5:14, Jas.2:8, I Cor.13:1-13)
  1. Did Christ thank God in prayer? In what circumstances? For what reasons? What lessons do we learn from this?   (Jn.11:41, Mk.8:6, Acts 27:35)
  1. Give the definition of thanksgiving. What is the main Hebrew word for thanksgiving?  What do we learn by this?  What is the main Greek word for thanksgiving?  What do we learn by this?  In what way is thanksgiving part of our worship? (Isa.66:1, Mt.5:35, Acts 7:49, Ps.99:5, Ps.132:7, Mt.26:26-28, Heb.10:1-22, I Cor.1:20, Rom.8:28-32, I Cor.3:21-23, Heb.13:13-16, Rom.12:1)
  1. How is thanksgiving to God an expression of your joy in God or your enjoyment of God and of your love to God. Explain.  Interact with the idea of joyless thanks to God.  (Ps.42:4, Isa.51:3, Phil.4:4-7, Phil.2:17, 2 Tim.4:6, Jer.33:11, Amos 4:5, Phil.1:20-21, Ps.116:1-2)
  1. Interact with this quote from Thomas Watson (1620-1677). Self-love will put us upon prayer (petitions). But the love of God will put us upon praise and thanksgiving. Those that seek themselves will cry to God in their distress. Those that love God cannot endure that He should be without His due honor (in thanksgiving).
  1. Why should we thank-praise God for who He is? Give reasons from the Godhead for your praise-thanks of Him. (Deut. 6:4, 1 Cor. 8:4-6, 1 Thess. 1:9, Jer. 10:10, Job 11:7-9, Job 26:14, Jn.4:24, 1 Tim. 1:17, Deut. 4:15-16, Jn. 4:24, Lk.24:39, Acts 14:11-15, James 1:17, Mal. 3:6, 1 Kings 8:27, Jer. 23:23-24, Ps. 90:2, 1 Tim. 1:17, Eph.1:11, Isa.6:1-6, Jn.3:16, I John 4:1-10)
  1. Why should we thank God for His sovereignty? For His grace?  For ourselves?  And for others? (Job 38:41, Ps.50:10-11, I Cor.4:6-7, James 1:17-18, I Chron.29:14, Phil.2:13)
  1. What are some material and temporal blessings for which you thank God? For yourself? For others?
  1. What are some spiritual and eternal blessings for which you thank God? For yourself? For others? (Rom.8:28-32, 2 Cor.9:15, Ps.66:16-17, Jn.3:16, Rom.5:1-10, Rom. 8:30, Eph. 1:5, 1 Cor. 1:26-30, Rom. 14:17, Prov. 4:18, 1 John 5:13, 1 Pet. 1:5)
  1. What are some practical things you can do to make yourself more thankful? More thankful in your prayers? Less unthankful?

 

 

 

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The Place of the Bible in the Life of the Christian https://covenantpensacola.org/2020/04/25/the-place-of-the-bible-in-the-life-of-the-christian/ https://covenantpensacola.org/2020/04/25/the-place-of-the-bible-in-the-life-of-the-christian/#respond Sat, 25 Apr 2020 20:15:40 +0000 https://covenantpensacola.org/?p=1810

The nature of the Bible.

Today’s passage is one of the most well known passages in the Bible, perhaps the most well known passage in the Bible that speaks to the divine nature and the necessity and the usefulness of Scripture.

Today’s sermon is a topical message on the place of the Bible in the life of the Christian. My desire is to give us an overview of what the Bible says about Itself – for us. The ‘for us’

part is important. The Bible is God revealing Himself to us, to reveal His will for our salvation in His Redeemer Christ Jesus to rescue us out of an estate of sin and misery. And to bring us into an estate of salvation and joy.

Jerome the ancient church father (AD. 347-420) said this, ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ. And I would add that apart from Christ there is no salvation. (Jn.14:1-6, Jn.3:36)

From natural revelation we learn that God is, and that God is all wise and all powerful and all good. And that we are His dependent creatures. (Ps.19:1-6, Rom.1:18-32, Mt.5:45, Acts 17:25, Acts 14:16-17, Ps.139:13-16) Natural revelation is sufficient to make us culpable before God. But it is not sufficient to bring us to a saving knowledge of God.

That only comes by special revelation. And that only as the Holy Spirit applies it to us by the gift of faith in Christ.

In special revelation, which is now codified in the Bible, we learn that God is a loving and a merciful and a powerful Savior to sinners in Christ. The Bible shows us our sin. And the Bible shows us our Sin-Bearer. And now the Bible shows us how to live. (see Heidelberg catechism 1-2, Ps.19:7-14, Jn.3:16, 2 Tim.3:14-15, Rom.16:25, Gal.1:12, Rom.10:1-17, WCF 1.1)

What a convicting truth. It is the essence of our passage. Chapter three is for the congregant. Chapter four is for the minister. We are to live on God’s word until we meet Him face to face.

The rejection of the Bible.

Passively.

It is a truism that oftentimes being too familiar with something diminishes our appreciation of it. If we were to see the crown jewels of England we would likely be amazed. But if we were the night watchman that guarded them every day, likely the luster would be lost to us.

Beloved the same thing happens to professing Bible-believing Christians with the Bible. Yes, yes. The crown jewels of heaven. The Bible is over there under the glass box. On the coffee table. Wonder what I am going to eat for lunch? Wonder where I am going on vacation? So excited.

You see a lack of positive and active and conscious love for God in His word is a passive rejection of the Bible as one’s rule for faith and life, for doctrine and practice. No matter how one may object to this. God knows the heart. (I Sam.16:7, Heb.4:12-13, Jer.17:9-10) And the heart of many professing Christians has deceived themselves as regards to their love of holy Scripture. (Mal.1:1-9, Amos 8:4-7) Inwardly they say, we loathe this miserable food. (Num.21:5)

Let’s beware beloved of having an outward form of Christianity but inwardly lacking a spirit of love for the rule of true Christianity which is God’s word alone. (2 Tim.3:1-5)

May we be the people that say, oh Lord I love Thy Law! (Ps.119:97, 113, 163, 165)

Actively.

There is another thing that we see in our passage as concerns the scripture. Even having the God-Breathed Scripture does not ensure that men will receive It as such. (I Thess.2:13)

And the context of the passage is that people in a professing Christian church will not receive the pure milk and meat of God’s word. They will have no religious taste for the word of God because they crave the word of man. No desire for sound doctrine because they love strange doctrines, the doctrines of demons. (I Tim.1:3-4, I Tim.4:1-4, Col.2:20-23)

They love the wisdom of man and loathe the wisdom of God. This is because goats have no taste for the lamb’s food. (Jer.8:5) Hear God’s word to God’s people on this very thing.

Psalm 50:16.  But to the wicked God says, “What right have you to tell of My statutes And to take My covenant in your mouth?  17 “For you hate discipline, And you cast My words behind you.  18 “When you see a thief, you are pleased with him, And you associate with adulterers.  19 “You let your mouth loose in evil And your tongue frames deceit.  20 “You sit and speak against your brother; You slander your own mother’s son.  21 “These things you have done and I kept silence; You thought that I was just like you; I will reprove you and state the case in order before your eyes.  22 “Now consider this, you who forget God, Or I will tear you in pieces, and there will be none to deliver. (Rev.2 and 3, Ezek.18:25-32, priests in their vomit – Isa.28:7-9)

Remember Beloved God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He does not change.

The restoration of the Bible.

This passage is both a positive exhortation and a negative warning. Do use God’s word. (2 Tim.3:14-17) Don’t forsake God’s word. (2 Tim.4:1-4) Remember Beloved, the Bible says that judgement begins with the house of God first. (I Pt.4:17-19)

To whom much is given much is required. Faith in Christ, and professing faith, comes with great privileges and great responsibilities. May we live up to both, to the honor of Christ. (Lk.12:48, Mt.25:15-26, Mt.5:20, 2 Cor.5:10-11, I Cor.3:11-15, Jn.5:29, Titus 1:16, Mt.5:20)

The Bible is full of admonitions for us as God’s people to not forget God, to not forget His word and to remember God, to remember our Creator, to remember Christ, to remember all that He taught us. God commands us to stand firm in the faith, do not allow yourself to turn back or to fall away.  (Dt.6:12, 8:2, Isa.46:9, I Cor.11:24, Rev.2:5, Eccles.12:1, Ps.103:2)

I Corinthians 15:1.  Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand,  2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.  3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,  (Dt.11:22, Josh.22:5, Prov.4:4, Heb.4:4, 2 Tim.1:13, I Tim.6:3-4)

Many professing Christians have apostatized from the Bible as their only rule for faith and practice. They retain the name Christian. But they have renounced the word of Christ and the Christ of the Word. (Rev.3:1)

This is a call for us to exercise our faith in God in Christ. And if we have failed and have forgotten His word, this is a call to repent and believe and recapture our first love of God as He reveals Himself to us in His holy scripture. (Rev.2:1-5, Rev.3:16)

There was a time in the history of the church that this passage, that God says is necessary for our salvation to know Jesus Christ and for our sanctification to be conformed into the image of Christ was not read in the church. Or in the home. It was not read by the people in a language they could understand. (I Cor.14:10-20) And this is key: because the church leaders said It was not necessary nor legal. Do you see the irreconcilable rival authorities?

We need to remember the Bible warning us about losing the Bible.

As Protestants we need to remember the Protestant Reformation as relates to the Scripture. Luther freed the Bible from the tyranny of the Roman church. Even as Christ freed God’s word from the tyranny of the church leaders of His day; Sadducees and Pharisees. (Mt.23:1-13, Mk.7:1-13)

Men like William Tyndale gave his life to give us the Bible in English. He was tied to a stake and then strangled to death and then his body was burned in the flames on October 6, 1532 at the age of 42 for the crime of putting the Bible in English for people that spoke English! So that they could know Christ and be saved!

I believe that every generation and every church and every individual Christian must purposefully and continuously re-fight to keep the Bible as the sole authority in the life of the Christian. And I believe that every Believer must daily wrestle against the world and the flesh and the devil as they seek to break our love for God’s holy word. (I Cor.9:23-27, Eph.6:10-18)

Remember the great temptation and scheme of Satan against Christ was to get Him to go against God’s word. (Mt.4:1-10) The very same scheme that worked with Adam and Eve. (Gen.3:1-8)

Part of fighting the good fight of faith means fighting to live according to God’s word, by faith. (2 Tim.4:7, I Tim.1:18, I Tim.6:12, I Thess.2:9, 2 Tim.2:1-9, 2 Tim.4:5)

My reason for this subject today is that I believe many professing Christians need to wake up from our worldly slumber and reclaim God’s word once again. (Lamen.4:1, Gen.25:29-34, Heb.12:16, Eph5:14, Jas.4:1-10, I Jn.2:15-19, Mt.24:11-13)

Beloved, the church today is suffering from a famine. And a famine far worse that the pestilence of the covid-19 virus. I am afraid that a great many professing Christians are Bible-less (and prayerless and churchless) “Christians”. They do not read the Bible. Not daily. Not weekly. Not ever. Therefore, what they call their Christianity is not according to what God says.

Hear God’s word warning God’s people about this very thing. There is nothing new under the sun. (Eccl.1:9)

Amos 8:11.  It will come about in that day,” declares the Lord GOD, “That I will make the sun go down at noon And make the earth dark in broad daylight.  10 “Then I will turn your festivals into mourning And all your songs into lamentation; And I will bring sackcloth on everyone’s loins And baldness on every head. And I will make it like a time of mourning for an only son, And the end of it will be like a bitter day.  11 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “When I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, But rather for hearing the words of the LORD.  12 “People will stagger from sea to sea And from the north even to the east; They will go to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, But they will not find it. (Neh.9:26, Isa.29:13, Col.2:20-23, Jas.3:15-18)

The perfections of the Bible.

Now let’s consider some of the perfections of the Bible as we see them represented to us in our passage.  And these are the things that bind us to God’s holy word. (Isa.66:5)

The holiness of the Bible.

V.15. The sacred writings – the holy Scriptures.

God calls His book, His holy book and this is what biblos means in Greek.  The Holy Spirit says the Bible of the OT and the NT is holy Scripture.  We are right to say the holy Bible, without spot, without turning, without darkness, without blemish, all light and life.

It is the word of the three times holy God about His holy Son dying to make sinners holy, to bring us to a realm of holiness where we will be perfectly happy because we will be perfectly holy.

The law is holy. The gospel is holy.  The passages we like are holy.  The passages we don’t like are holy.  Oh Beloved, we ought to tremble every time we pick up our Bible.  Every time we read our Bible without reverence and awe we take the name of God in vain! We are to revere everything whereby God makes His name known.  God increase our faith. God forgive our sin.

The holiness of the Bible is one of the reasons that many professing Christians do not like the Bible.  It is too holy.  And It will not allow them peace and pleasure in this sin.  The holiness of the Bible, which means the holiness of God is one of the reasons our passage says that ministers will preach funny stories and worldly stories to tickle the ears of the congregants.

This is why the unconverted do not like the Bible.  It is because their body and their soul is unholy.  Their thoughts are unholy.  Their affections are unholy.  And the Bible is blindingly holy

None but the born again in Christ love the holiness of God.  And even covered with the blood of Christ we fall down like dead men at the spotless purity of God and His word.  Like Isaiah. (Isa.6:1-7) Like John on the Isle of Patmos. (Rev.12:17-18)  Oh how we need to forsake the worldly and the casual and recapture a sight of the holiness of God.  This Bible is design by God to make us holy! (Eph.1:4, Eph.5:27, I Pt.1:15-16, Rev.20:6)

Beloved are you holy (justified)?  Are you becoming more holy (being sanctified)?

The authority (the inspiration, the truthfulness) of the Bible.

V.16. All Scripture is inspired by God.  (Exod.20:1, 2 Sam.23:2, Mal.4:4, Lk.24:44, Jn.1:23, 5:39, 10:34-35, 2 Pt.1:21, I Jn.4:16, 2 Pt.1:21)

The Bible says that It is inspired by God. Inspired by God is literally Spirit-breathed. This means God the Holy Spirit inspired or guided the human penmen of Scripture to think, to speak, and to write the very words of God.

Miraculously inspired.

Exactly how God inspired He does not tell us. Therefore, this is not necessary for us to know exactly. (Dt.29:29) Though by necessary deduction we can understand a number of things. (WCF 1.6) One, God worked immediately upon His prophets and apostles.

God has access to heart of man. (Prov.21:1) He can harden a heart. He can convert a heart. And He can guide a man’s thoughts and words and pen to reveal God’s word. Nothing is impossible for our God. (Mt.19:26, Job 42:2, Dan.4:34-37, Eph.1:11)

This is why the prophets would say, thus saithe the Lord.  Or, it is written.

Organically inspired.

Two, God the Holy Spirit did not inspire these men in a mechanical process like a dictating machine. If that were true, we would have one style of writing in all 66 books of the Bible (OT-39/NT-27). And that is not true.

Moses writes different than Isaiah. Peter writes different than Paul and John. God the Holy Spirit inspires the penman in an organic way. He uses their education, their personalities, their different times and experiences and the like and He governs it all perfectly such that they write the perfect word of God.

Notice the Bible says the Bible is inspired meaning the prophets and the apostles were inspired when they wrote scripture. The Bible does not say that the prophets and apostles were perpetually inspired because they were not. Remember Peter. He wrote inspired Scripture, First and Second Peter. And at another time denied knowing Christ. (Mt.26:69-75) And at another time feared the Jews and so he corrupted the gospel to the Gentiles. (Gal.2:11-17)

The authority (the infallibility and inerrancy) of the Bible.

Beloved, the Bible alone is inspired by God. No church officer of any church is infallibly inspired by God the Holy Spirit. Beware of all religious popes, Catholic and Protestant, small or large, male or female.   Beware of submitting your soul to man. (WCF.21.1) Beware of the religious traditions of men. (Mk.7:1-13, Col.2:13-23)

Only the Bible is infallible. It cannot err. Only the Bible is inerrant. It contains no errors. The entire Bible is perfect.  There are no true parts and false parts. True on doctrine. But false on historical record. No. The entire Bible is perfect and true. We can trust the destiny of our eternal souls to it. (Mt.7:24-29)

Let’s think of some of the internal proofs that the Bible is our reliable authority.

The prophecies of Christ.

Think of the prophecies of Christ. We can read in the OT about the birth, the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He will be born of a virgin, of the house of David, in the town of Bethlehem, at a time when the scepter or rule had departed from Judah, He would be called out of Egypt, He would dwell in the Gentile land of Galilee, even Nazareth, he would ride into Jerusalem on a young donkey receiving the praise of the people, He would be hung on a cursed tree, He would be mocked and offer bitter gall upon the Cross, the Holy One would remain 3 days on the earth like Jonah, yet God would not allow His Anointed to suffer decay, etc. (Isa 7:14, Micah 5:2, Isa.9:6, Isa.53:5, Isa.55:11)

The practice of Christ.

Think of the practice of Christ. When Christ was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, each time He appealed to the perfect authority of the Bible. (Mt.4:3-10).

Therefore, we as the sheep of Christ follow His voice, we follow His lead concerning the doctrine of Scripture. Our Good Shepherd says the Bible is the Word of God, He cannot lie, we believe His word about The Word. (Mt.21:42, Mt.22:29, Lk.16:29, Acts 17:2, Acts 17:11, Isa.8:16, Mt.15:7-9, Mk.7:5-8)

The necessity (the usefulness) of the Bible.

Let’s consider the usefulness of the Bible. The Bible is able to make moral fools wise! The fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom. (Prov.9:10)

2 Timothy 3:15.  you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

The world of unbelief says the exact opposite.  Bible believers are fools they say.  Believers in Christ and His gospel are fools.  God says He makes us wise.  And they are fools. As the eternal estate will soon reveal.

The Bible teaches that the Bible is necessary for our salvation.  We begin with this truth at the outset of the sermon. (Jn.3:16, John 17:1-17, WCF 1.1) God uses the law to show us our sin and the danger of our sin. (Gal.3:13-29) Then God gives us His gospel to save us from our sin. The Holy Spirit uses the word to work faith in us.  Saved from hell. Saved for heaven. By His Blood.

Young Timothy was led to a saving knowledge of God in Christ by his godly grandmother and mother training him in the Bible.  (2 Tim.1:5, 2 Tim.3:14) Oh mothers and fathers, and grandparents bring the scriptures to your children that they may come to Christ and be saved. Oh Christian forget all the tricks to argue people into becoming a Christian.  Set the law of God and the Gospel of Christ before your family and friends and enemies and pray that God would cause the growth! To quote John Newton, deliver the message and then water it with your prayers and tears. 

Hear the word of God on our salvation and sanctification. On coming to Christ. On being built up in Christ.

Romans 10:13.  for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”  14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?  15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!”  16 However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?”  17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

I Peter 1:23.  for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.  24 For, “ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS, AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS. THE GRASS WITHERS, AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF,   25 BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.” And this is the word which was preached to you. (Jas.1:18, Heb.4:12, Acts 2:37, John 17:1-17)

The clarity of the Bible.

The psalmist says, Thy word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path, the unfolding of Thy words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple. (Ps.119: 105, 130)

The Bible is clear.  You cannot have a sole and infallible rule meant to be obeyed if It cannot be understood.  This does not mean that all things in the Scripture are equally clear.  In fact some portions of the Bible are not only very difficult, but certain things, for example, the Trinity, are beyond our finite comprehensions. (2 Pt. 3:16)

Yet, those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them. (WCF 1.7, Ps. 119:105,130, Ps.19:7, 2 Cor.3:14, 2 Pt.1:18, Hab.2:2, 2 Tim.3:15-17)

Clarity of Scripture is also proved by: All Christians are commanded to search the Scriptures (2 Tim.3:15, Acts 17:11, Jn.5:39) All Christians have the same need, salvation and sanctification. And the Spirit uses the word to accomplish these ends.

The sufficiency of the Bible.

And this leads me to our final perfection, the sufficiency of Scripture.  We do not need Scripture-plus to know God in Christ and to live for Him.  The Bible alone is sufficient for faith and practice. For our sanctification. (Jn.17:17, WCF 1.6, 2 Tim.3:16)

Oh Beloved, what a treasure God has put in your hands.  Your eyes behold the very words of God. Your hands touch the very words of God.  You see the face of your Savior. You have the promise of eternal life. You have foretastes of life with God in glory. Sola Scripture Beloved.

AMEN

Study Questions

  1. What is the Bible? What does the Bible principally teach? (Gen.3:15, 2 Tim. 3:16, 2 Pet. 1:19-21,  Eph. 2:20, Rev. 22:18-19, Isa. 8:20, Lk.16:29-31, Gal. 1:8-9, 2 Tim. 3:15-16, 2 Tim. 1:13, Heb. 11:6, 1 Jn 5:17 , Acts 15:14-18, Acts 4:27-28, Jn.3:16, Lk.24:25-27, WSC 3)
  1. How do people passively reject the word of God as their rule for religious truth and moral guidance? Give examples from both professing unbelievers and professing believers.(I Sam.16:7, Heb.4:12-13, Jer.17:9-10, Mal.1:1-9, Amos 8:4-7)
  1. How do people actively reject the Bible? Give examples from professing unbelievers and professing believers. (Lk.14:16-24, Lk.17:23-30, 2 Pt.3:4, 2 Tim.4:1-4, I Thess.2:13, Jer.8:5, Ps.50:16-22, Rev.2, Rev.3, Ezek.18:25-32)
  1. What do the Biblical exhortations to remember and not to forget and to stand firm in the faith and other similar statements teach us? About God? About Believers?  About our spiritual enemies? About God’s appointed means to keep His exhortations? (2 Tim.3:14-17, 2 Tim.4:1-4, I Pt.4:17-19, Lk.12:48, Mt. 5:15-26, Mt.5:20, 2 Cor.5:10-11, I Cor.3:11-15, Jn.5:29, Titus 1:16, Mt.5:20, Dt.6:12, 8:2, Isa.46:9, I Cor.11:24, Rev.2:5)
  1. What does the holiness of the Bible mean? Why or how is the Bible holy? How ought we to treat and respond to the holy Bible? Does the unbeliever think the Bible is holy? Why? Why not? (2 Tim.3:14-16, Isa.6:1-7, Rev.12:17-18, Eph.1:4, Eph.5:27, I Pt.1:15-16, Rev.20:6,I Sam.2:2, Lev.19:2, Rev.4:8, Rev.15:4, Heb.12:14)
  1. What does it mean that the Bible is inspired or Spirit-breathed? Is the entire Bible inspired? Does inspiration of the Bible mean that the Bible is perfect truth? (2 Tim.3:16, Exod.20:1, 2 Sam.23:2, Mal.4:4, Lk.24:44, Jn.1:23, 5:39, 10:34-35, 2 Pt.1:21, I Jn.4:16, 2 Pt.1:21)
  1. Were the prophets and apostles that were inspired by the Spirit to write Scripture perpetually inspired after they wrote Scripture? Are there people today that God the Holy Spirit continues to ‘inspire’ them the way He did with the prophets and apostles? (1 Peter, 2 Peter, Mt.26:69-75, Gal.2:11-17, Heb.12:1-3, 2 Tim.3:14-17, Rev.22:18)
  1. How do the prophecies of Christ prove that the Bible is the word of God? How does Christ’s use of the Bible prove that It is the word of God? How are we to respond to the Bible? (Isa 7:14, Micah 5:2, Isa.9:6, Isa.53:5, Isa.55:11, Mt.4:3-10, Mt.21:42, Mt.22:29, Lk.16:29, Acts 17:2, Acts 17:11, Isa.8:16, Mt.15:7-9, Mk.7:5-8)
  1. How is the Scripture necessary for our salvation? (Prov.9:10, 2 Tim.3:14-17, Rom.10:1-17, I Pt.1:23-25, Jas.1:18, Heb.4:12, Acts 2:37, John 17:1-17, Jn.3:16, Gal.3:13-29, WCF 1.1)
  1. How is Scripture necessary and useful for our sanctification, our increasing practical conformity into the holy image of Christ. (Jn.17:1-17, 2 Thess. 2:13, Eph. 4:23-24, Rom. 6:4-6, Rom. 8:1)
  1. What is the clarity of the Bible? What is the sufficiency of the Bible?
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