February 2006

So the proud and esteemed Right Reverend Bishop Prelato says to the lowly Pastor Presbyterio,

“What are you going to give up for God this Lenten season?”

The meek and humble Pastor Presbyterio says to the Right Reverend Bishop Prelato,

For God, this Lenten season, I am going to give up…Lent.”


Charles Spurgeon is loved by many Baptists. He is by far one of the greatest Baptist preachers of all time. I think that this quote from Pastor Charles Spurgeon is one that would make many modern Baptists cringe. How could their beloved Spurgeon make such a comment? Spurgeon loved Christ and loved the Gospel and in this quote he tears through the labels and cuts at the heart.

“There is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation.”
-Charles Spurgeon, Defense of Calvinism

O LORD, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; Nor do I involve myself in great matters, Or in things too difficult for me. Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child rests against his mother, My soul is like a weaned child within me. O Israel, hope in the LORD From this time forth and forever.
-Psalm 131, NASB

In the providence of God this Psalm has been on my heart and mind quite a bit lately. This Psalm was assigned for me to preach- but the text was in error and now I have Romans 12.1-2. In the past week I have spent much time meditating on this Psalm as well as hearing it expounded by Seminarian Bill Boekestein of the United Reformed Churches and Rev. Ray Lanning of my church.

The Psalm begins with the great king of Israel in humble submission to the Lord. He speaks of being humbled in areas of thought, word, and deed. David stands before God in humility. This is our calling as Christians as well- we are to be humbled before the Lord.

The second verse of the Psalm speaks of great trust. The weaned child is one who has learned to trust that his mother will provide nourishment in due time. The Christian rests in the arms of Christ knowing that all needs will be supplied; even in great hunger and calling out to God- the Christian can rest assured that the Lord will provide and give care.

The third verse is one that goes from the individual attention of David to the entire people of God. Not only does David rest and trust in the Lord, but he calls on all of Israel to have this great hope. As followers of Jesus Christ, we too, need to call-out for the Church to trust in the Lord. All those that love Christ will love His bride and have her care in mind. Not only should we rest peaceably on the chest of Christ, but we should call the Church to have this peace as well.

The vain desires with which men are carried away, originate in their seeking to be wise and careful above what is necessary. David adds accordingly, my soul over me is quieted, not as expressing the language of self-confidence, but speaking as if his soul lay sweetly and peacefully on his bosom, undisturbed by inordinate desires. He contrasts the wayward and tumultuous agitation which prevails in those of a discontented spirit, with the peace which reigns in the man who abides in the calling of the Lord. From the verse with which the Psalm closes, we see the reason why David asserted his having undertaken nothing in the spirit of a carnal ambition. He calls upon Israel to hope in the Lord, words which must have been abrupt had it not deeply concerned the common safety of the Church, to know that he sat upon the throne of the kingdom by Divine appointment, in which case the faithful would be certain of the bestowment of the promised blessing. Our hope is of the right kind when we cherish humble and sober views of ourselves, and neither wish nor attempt anything without the leading and approbation of God. -John Calvin, Commentary on the Psalms, volume 5

Bibleworks newest version (7) has arrived, this has been available since the end of January. From the time that I have spent using it already, it is going to prove to be an invaluable resource. This will make studying the original languages much easier as it has many of the texts diagrammed for you and my favorite- all of the parsing is done for you! I saved a lot of time this week in doing work on I Corinthians 12.1-11. What usually requires a desk full of Greek lexicons and other aids can be done with my laptop. Check out how much this program has to offer. If you want to have a deeper understanding of the original Hebrew and Greek (even if you do not know any) than you should pick up a copy of Bibleworks.

Christians are to be angry people. We are to be angry at many things:

We are to be first, angry at our own sin. Our sin is that which nailed Christ to the tree of the cross. We are to be angry that after we have been redeemed, we still have difficulties living lives of gratitude and thankfulness. We continue to sin and to struggle with sin all of our days.
Christians are also to be angry at the sin of others. When we see that God is being blasphemed we should not take this lightly. We are not to act in ungodly ways towards others, but this should spur us on to confrontation and to evangelism. Anger should motivate us to defend the rights of Christ.
When we see that the Church remains in a miserable state, refusing God’s commands, refusing to walk the way Christ walked, and refusing to be a submissive bride- we are to be angry and we are to call out to God to right these wrongs. We are to encourage teachers in the Church to defend the bride and we are to diligently pray that she is reformed to what Scripture requires of the Church.

The Apostle Paul said to be angry and sin not. This tells us that the Christian is entitled to this emotion. This emotion, when harnessed and used for the glory of God, can be a great tool in the quiver of God. Anger should not make us desire our way or our rights; but it should make us cry out for the rights and ways of God. Righteous anger should make us herald proclaiming that which is godliness.

Friends, when is the last time that you were angry at your sin? Angry at a backslidden church? Angry at a world that despises God and Christ? Be angry and sin not.

“I never work better than when I am inspired by anger; for when I am angry, I can write, pray, and preach well, for then my whole temperament is quickened, my understanding sharpened, and all mundane vexations and temptations depart.” -Martin Luther

The moment one becomes a Christian their whole life begins to look differently to them. The new Christian sees him or herself in the light of God’s Word. That light makes a tension in the life of the believer, a tension, which aides in sanctification. The Christian begins to see his or her sin in the light of the Word, which brings misery. The Christian also sees that he or she is an image bearer of God. The Psalmist said, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

This new light from Scripture, and applied by the Holy Ghost, causes a new new mind to see God’s dealings in various disciplines and spheres of life. John Calvin said that when he was converted it was as if the Lord made his mind teachable. This is the truth for all those who truly love God. The mind becomes teachable and the mind begins to see things in the light of God’s great standard.

There is an old Puritan way to discuss this light on the mind- a maid is cleaning the master’s house because of a great gathering that he is having in the morning. She looks upon her work with joy, but in the morning she and the master are devastated. The home is a dusty mess! Why is the home so dusty? After night the sun rose and shone brightly into the estate. In the light of the sun, the maid was able to see the dust covering everything. This is how it is with humanity as well. Man thinks that he is pretty good, that he keeps his life in good order- but in the Light of The Son, man is revealed to be a filth covered sinner. In thy light shall we see light.

In thy light shall we see light.

Light is the glory of life. Life in the dark is misery, and rather death than life. The Lord alone can give natural, intellectual, and spiritual life; he alone can make life bright and lustrous. In spiritual things the knowledge of God sheds a light on all other subjects. We need no candle to see the sun, we see it by its own radiance, and then see everything else by the same lustre. We never see Jesus by the light of self, but self in the light of Jesus. No inward intelligence of ours leads us to receive the Spirit’s light, but the rather, it often helps to quench the sacred beam; purely and only by his own illumination, the Holy Ghost lights up the dark recesses of our heart’s ungodliness. Vain are they who look to learning and human wit, one ray from the throne of God is better than the noonday splendour of created wisdom. Lord, give me the sun, and let those who will delight in the wax candles of superstition and the phosphorescence of corrupt philosophy. Faith derives both light and life from God, and hence she neither dies nor darkens.
Charles Spurgeon, 1885

How much do you love the Lord Jesus today? How do you count him sweet to your life?

By looking unto Jesus we mean an inward experimental knowing, desiring, hoping, believing, loving, calling on Jesus, and conforming to Jesus. It is not a bare swimming knowledge of Christ; it is not a bare thinking of Christ. As Christ has various excellences in Himself, so has He formed the soul with a power of diverse ways of apprehending, that so we might be capable even as the creatures having their several uses. God has accordingly given us several senses, that so we might enjoy the delights of them all. What the better had we been for pleasant odiferous flowers, or sweet perfumes, if we had not possessed the sense of smell? Or what good would language or music, have done us, if God had not sent us the sense of hearing? Or what delight should we have found in meats or drinks, or sweetest things, if we had been deprived of the sense of tasting? So what pleasure should we have had even in the goodness and perfection of God in Christ, if we had been without the faculty and power of knowing, desiring, hoping, believing, loving, and enjoying? As the senses are to the body, so are these spiritual senses, powers, and affections to the soul the very way by which we must receive sweetness and strength from the Lord Jesus. -Isaac Ambrose, Looking Unto Jesus, 1680

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