Bucolical


I got to finish Jonathan Edwards’ sermon The Excellency of Christ today. Edwards unpacks something of the “admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies in Jesus Christ”, and goes on to give us application to them.

Consider this juicy quote:

One design of God in the gospel is to bring us to make God the object of our undivided respect, that he may engross our regard [in] every way, that watever natural inclination there is in our souls, he may be the center of it; that God may be all in all.

You can read it for free here.

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In case you missed it, or have already fogotten about it, Pastor Mike kind of shook up the whole world with his sermon on Romans 6:5-10. I was doing a little looking at Romans 6:7, and specifically at this whole “freed” vs. “justified” translation issue. This is critical because it really shapes our reading of the following verses and our understanding the relationship of our hearts to sin.

I started with the english translations and how they render this verse. The grossest offender that I saw was the NLT:

For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.

As opposed to the ESV (footnoted) translation:

For one who has died has been justified from sin.

Wycliffe got it right though:

For he that is dead [to sin], is justified from sin.

Also of interest is the Greek used here. Even if you don’t know anything about Greek, check out the parsed version at Zhubert.com, here. Just run your mouse over the terms to get the parsing and a definition. Of course the word is shaped by the context, but this isn’t an exegisis paper, we’re just perusing the Greek. 🙂

God is love. You’ve heard it a thousand times from individuals who really mean “my idea of love is god.” And if you’ve heard this statement used in this way, you’ve probably heard the same person question a view of God that allows for his wrath and justice.

The question is, are they exclusive (not the people – the atributes of God)? Can God be both loving and just? I suppose a further question could be raised: Can I even ask these questions? I have spoken with folks who say that beyond “God is love”, we can’t really define God if we remain biblical. (Nevermind every book in the Bible that ascribes or implies things about the Lord… but I digress.)

A while back I realized that we are given catagories besides love even in this verse with which to understand God. In fact, it is necessary in order to understand “God is love” that we think of him as holy. The context of “God is love” demands it.

(more…)

Good Gun:

Do try, as far as you can, to make the very way in which you speak to minister to the great end you have in view. Preach, for instance, as you would plead if you were standing before a judge, and begging for the life of a friend, or as if you were appealing to the Queen herself on behalf of someone very dear to you. Use such a tone in pleading with sinners as you would use if a gibbet were erected in this room, and you were to be hanged on it unless you could persuade the person in authority to release you. That is the sort of earnestness you need in pleading with men as ambassadors for God. Try and make every sermon such that the most flippant shall see without any doubt that, if it be an amusement for them to hear you, it is no amusement for you to speak to them, but that you are pleading with them in downright solemn earnest about eternal matters. I have often felt just like this when I have been preaching,—I have known what it is to use up all my ammunition, and then I have, as it were, rammed myself into the great gospel gun, and I have fired myself at my hearers, all my experience of God’s goodness, all my consciousness of sin, and all my sense of the power of the gospel; and there are some people upon whom that kind of preaching tells where nothing else would have done, for they see that then you communicate to them not only the gospel, but yourself also. The kind of sermon which is likely to break the hearer’s heart is that which has first broken the preacher’s heart, and the sermon which is likely to reach the heart of the hearer is the one which has come straight from the heart of the preacher…

~C.H. Spurgeon (referenced here)
Bad Gun:

Somebody is attacking me because of something I am teaching. Let me tell you something brother, you watch it! …Sometimes I wish God would give me a Holy Ghost machine gun, I’ll blow your head off!

~Benny Hinn (referenced here)

I’ve found that, for me, there are (at least) two easy ways to immediately induce salivation.

1. Introduce a food item lovingly garnished with Tabasco(c) sauce to my environment.
2. Let me look at this, this, this, or this. [Caution: Theological Books!!]
On the note of building a puritan library, I found Tony Reinke’s series to be informative thus far.

Now for something completely different:

If you haven’t already, read Piper’s suggestions on ministering to your pastor. I think every christian should read and apply this.