For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. Luke 17:24
But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. Malachi 4:2

But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . Galatians 6:14
For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:2
Let the motto upon your whole ministry be - "Christ is All!" - Mather

Saturday, August 13, 2016

"That's My King!" In Proverbs 10

Jesus Christ Made His Father Glad
Yet On That Cross My God Was Mad
The Righteous King Was Counted Bad
Yet Rose To Conquer All That's Sad
In Him You Shall Be Righteous-Clad
To His Greatness None Can Add
He's Treasure Like You've Never Had!

That's my King!

Jesus Christ Provides Our Food
And Thwarts All Cravings Wicked Lewd
His Diligence God's Wrath Subdued
Then Rose From Death He Did Elude
Now With All Riches He's Imbued
So Trust The Son And Be Renewed
For By This Christ You'll Be Pursued
And Every Blessing He'll Include!

That's my King! I wonder if you know Him?!

Jesus Christ Has The Most Diligent Hand
He's The Prudent Son Whose Work Is Planned
In Him Sin's Shame Was Crushed And Banned
So Trust The Son And By Him Stand
He Is All Riches Pure And Grand!

That's my King!

Blessed By The Best Who's The Best Of The Blessed
Jesus Christ Is The Best Of The Blessed
He's On An Everlasting Quest
With Conquering Love And Joy And Zest
To Save His Own Who Failed The Test
He Died And Rose His Love Expressed
He Took The Curse By Wrath Oppressed
Then Rose And Conquered As Professed
So Trust The Son, Don't Be Depressed
For In His Righteousness Your Dressed
With Him Alone You'll Be Obsessed
In Him You Have The Best Of Blessed!

That's my King!

Jesus Has A Tongue Of Gold
The Way To Life His Mouth Has Told
He Feeds The Multitudes Untold
With Greatest Food Our King Behold
He Tells The Truth With Wisdom Bold
And Died And Rose As Told Of Old
So Trust In Him And Give Him Hold
Of Your All Heart And Lips Controlled!

That's my King!

Christ Was Beaten With The Rod
Though He's The Holy, All-Wise God
The Way Of Righteous Words He Trod
Yet To The Cross To Die He'd Plod
But Rise To Conquer – 'Twas God's Nod
His Matchless Worth Is No Facade
This All Because He Took The Rod!

That's my King!

Christ's Words Were Numbered Prudent Wise
In Shape And Volume Perfect Size
Far More Than Gold And Silver Prize
Cut Off, Forsaken, Yet He'd Rise
And Feed With Words – Endless Supplies
So On His Beauty Fix Your Eyes!

That's my King! Do you know Him?!

Jesus' Love Covers All Sin Offenses
He Died To Crush Hatred's Dire Consequences
And Rose To Break Down all Our Defenses
To Fill Us With Joy Beyond All Our Senses
So Trust In The Son He'll Pay All Expenses
For All Your Offenses And Sin Consequences!

That's my King!

Jesus Christ Is Our Greatest Joy      
Every Proud And Wicked Ploy
He'll Cast Down And Then Destroy
He's Hope The Righteous Will Enjoy
He's God's Wisdom To Employ
So Trust Him As Your Highest Joy!

That's my King!

Jesus Christ Is Our Wealth And Strong City
He Has More Riches Than Every Billionaire Committee
He Died On That Cross Where He Was Ruined Without Pity
Then Rose To Bless Us With The Everlasting City!

That's my King!

Jesus Has The Most Memorable Name
He Died To Take All Our Shame And Blame
Then Rose So Freedom We Proclaim
And Now We'll Never Be The Same
His Name Is Utmost – Greatest Fame
Oh Set Our Hearts For You Aflame
Remember Us For Your Great Name!

That's my King!

Jesus Christ Gives The Greatest End
He Walks Secure – The Perfect Friend
In Storms He Stands To Help Extend
He Lives Forever To Defend
He's Blameless – Never Did Offend
“It Is Finished!” Is Death's End
So Trust In Him And Death Transcend!

That's my King! That's my King!

Friday, August 5, 2016

"That's My King!" Who's Better Than A Diamond Ring!

She won't need a diamond ring
Because the King will make her sing
To Him alone she'll bow and cling
Great joy to her His love will bring
He will be her everything
Her all in all and life's wellspring
She'll serve the poor and take the sting
Of giving up that diamond ring
For oh how worthy is her King!

That's my King!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

No Longer "Do And Live!" But "Christ Is All!"

The Westminster Delegates taught that there was a works principle in the Mosaic Covenant in the Westminster Confession.  They cited Leviticus 18:5 from the Mosaic Covenant as a proof text for the covenant of works.  That's pretty amazing to me.  Let me say it again: they used a proof text from the Mosaic law as a basis for the covenant of works with Adam.  Moses' command for Israel to "do and live" and Paul's interpretation of that command in both Romans 10:5-6 and Galatians 3:12 is the Biblical warrant for a covenant of works in Eden and a works principle in the Mosaic Covenant.

To be clear, I am not saying God was not gracious with Israel in the Mosaic Covenant. It was gracious to show them their utter sinfulness, their helplessness to achieve righteousness on their own, and, through the sacrificial system, to point them to a Redeemer Who would come. But this sacrificial system could not take away sin (Hebrews 10:4), and many offenses in the Mosaic Covenant required God's people to show no mercy - the death penalty was the only response. No sacrifice could make atonement - the blood of man must be shed. A works principle was embedding in the Mosaic Covenant in order to drive those in that covenant to Christ - the only suitable, compassionate, and all-sufficient Savior!

Below I list 32 ways the law functioned for the Jews under the Mosaic Covenant.  The law was given to Israel as a rule of life.  But there was a big problem.  Namely, God said He had not given Israel a heart to do the law:

Deuteronomy 5:29:  Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!

Deuteronomy 29:4:  But to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear.

Deuteronomy 31:26-29:  Take this Book of the Law, and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there as a witness against you; for I know your rebellion and your stiff neck. If today, while I am yet alive with you, you have been rebellious against the LORD, then how much more after my death?  Gather to me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their hearing and call heaven and earth to witness against them.  For I know that after my death you will become utterly corrupt, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days, because you will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands.

Joshua 24:19: But Joshua said to the people, "You are not able to serve the LORD, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins."

The LORD told Israel they would fail to keep the law (Deuteronomy 30-32).  The fact that Israel broke covenant with God and was exiled is a great proof of a works principle in the Mosaic Covenant.  This will never happen to the Church.  The Church will never be exiled!  The Church will triumph through the blood of the Lamb as God saves all His elect from every tribe, tongue, and nation as a pure, spotless bride.  And why?  Because unlike Israel, who was a little story or paradigm of the first Adam (who also failed to do and live), Jesus - the second and true Adam, the only true and worthy Israelite Who ever lived - He came and He did and lives forevermore!  He alone conquered sin, death, hell, and Satan.  He alone did the law perfectly whereas all others have failed.  Therefore, He lives!

And by faith we can live in Him!  So the primary function of the law for all the unregenerate Jews (which was most of them for most of Israel's history!) in the Mosaic Covenant was to drive them to Christ - and oh how gracious this was!!  Only with the ushering in of the New Covenant is the law fully established - as Paul says (Romans 3:31).  Only now in the New Covenant era do we have the fullness of the Spirit and the Law written on the hearts of God's people in a manifest way.  And we have all of this because our dear Savior did and lived for us.  Oh what good news this is!!

Now look how the law primarily functions, according to the Holy Spirit in the Pauline corpus:

The law was . . .

1.  A ministry of condemnation (2 Corinthians 3:9)

2.  A ministry of death (2 Corinthians 3:7; Romans 7:10)

3.  A ministry of killing (2 Corinthians 3:6; Romans 7:9)

4.  Giving a knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20; 7:7)

5.  Bringing about wrath (Romans 4:15)

6.  Reviving sin (Romans 7:9)

7.  Making sin exceedingly sinful (Romans 7:13)

8.  The strength of sin (1 Corinthians 15:56)

9.  Making nothing perfect (Hebrews 7:19)

10.  Not taking away sins (Hebrews 10:4)

11.  Weak and unprofitable (Hebrews 7:18)

12.  An inferior covenant, based on inferior promises (Hebrews 8:6) (Compared to the New Covenant)

13.  At fault (Hebrews 8:7-8)

14.  Not the way to inheritance (Galatians 3:18)

15.  Not able to give life (Galatians 3:21)

16.  Confining all under sin (Galatians 3:22)

17.  A yoke not able to be borne by the Jewish Fathers, Peter, and the Apostles (Acts 15:10)

18.  In direct contrast to New Covenant Faith (Romans 10:5-6; Galatians 3:12)

19.  Enabled the imputation of sin.  It acted in a particular, specific way under the Adamic and Mosaic covenants that it did not act outside of those covenants (Romans 5:14)

20.  Imprisoning sinners until faith came (Galatians 3:23)

21.  A school-master to lead us to Christ (Galatians 3:24)

22.  Not of faith (Galatians 3:12)

23.  Promised life but brought death (Romans 7:10)

24.  Was added because of transgressions (Galatians 3:19)

25.  Was added to increase transgressions, and so sin abounded (Romans 5:20)

26.  In its proper use, was not given for the just, but for the lawless (1 Timothy 1:8-11)

27.  Contrasted with grace and faith (Romans 4:13-16; Romans 6:14)

28.  Condemning Israel while the promise made to Abraham rescued them from destruction over and over again (Exodus 32:9-13; Leviticus 26:40-42; Deuteronomy 4:25-31, 9:4-5, 23-27; 2 Kings 13:1-26; and Micah 7:18-20)

29.  Was broken by Israel.  Therefore they were exiled for breaking covenant with God.  This is in stark contrast to the New Covenant.  The Church will not break the New Covenant, but will ultimately triumph through the blood of the Lamb as God gathers all His elect from every tongue, tribe, language and nation!

30.  Whatever it says it says to those who are under the law that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God (Romans 3:19)

31.  Compared with the elementary principles of the world that held people under bondage (Galatians 4:1-11)

32.  Held people under bondage (Galatians 4:25)

Only if we first meet the law face to face the way it is described above will we, through the law, die to the law so that we might live to God (Galatians 2:19), belong to Christ (Romans 7:4), and bear true, lasting, God-glorifying fruit for Him!  Only then can we say with the Psalmist:  "How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! . . . The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces" (Psalm 119:72, 103).

Appendix

When Paul wrote about the law, the graciousness of the sacrificial system was not his focus.  He focused primarily on the “do and live” aspect of the law, just like the LORD His God:

Jeremiah 7:21-23:  Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: "Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices, and eat the flesh. For in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to your fathers or command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. But this command I gave them: 'Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.'

And over and over again, God's people broke His law (the Mosaic legislation):  they did not do and live, and appeal was made to the promises made to Abraham for mercy:

Failure to "do and live" - Exodus 32:9-10:  And the LORD said to Moses, "I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you."

Mercy through the Abrahamic Covenant:  Exodus 32:11-14:  But Moses implored the LORD his God and said, "O LORD, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, 'With evil intent did he bring them out, to kill them in the mountains and to consume them from the face of the earth'? Turn from your burning anger and relent from this disaster against your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, 'I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your offspring, and they shall inherit it forever.'" And the LORD relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people.

Mercy for sinners based on the Abrahamic Covenant:  Leviticus 26:40-42:  "But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers in their treachery that they committed against me, and also in walking contrary to me, so that I walked contrary to them and brought them into the land of their enemies- if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity, then I will remember my covenant with Jacob, and I will remember my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land.

Stephen Dempster comments on this passage:
Moreover, the book [Leviticus] concludes on a negative note with a list of blessings for obedience to the covenant and curses for disobedience.  The curses (Lev. 26:14-39) far outweigh the blessings (Lev. 2:3-13).  The imbalance indicates an expectation of covenant violation.  In addition, the last curse of exile (Lev. 26:33-39) proves to be the ultimate curse that Israel could experience.  It is the death of the nation.  Hope is held out for Israel in a foreign land, however, and that hope is grounded not in the Sinai covenant but in the Abrahamic covenant, which is repeated three times in one verse (Lev. 26:42).  If the people confess their sins and have a change of heart, the covenant with the patriarchs will be remembered, and the end of the exile is implied. (Stephen G. Dempster, Dominion and Dynasty:  A Theology of the Hebrew Bible, New Studies In Biblical Theology series, D. A. Carson (ed.), (Downers Grove:  InterVarsity Press, 2003), 104.)
Mercy from the failure to obey the Mosaic Covenant through the Abrahamic Covenant:

Deuteronomy 4:25-31: When you father children and children's children, and have grown old in the land, if you act corruptly by making a carved image in the form of anything, and by doing what is evil in the sight of the LORD your God, so as to provoke him to anger, I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you will soon utterly perish from the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess. You will not live long in it, but will be utterly destroyed. And the LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the LORD will drive you. And there you will serve gods of wood and stone, the work of human hands, that neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the LORD your God and obey his voice. For the LORD your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.

Deuteronomy 9:5:  Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart are you going in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations the LORD your God is driving them out from before you, and that he may confirm the word that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

Deuteronomy 9:23-27:  And when the LORD sent you from Kadesh-barnea, saying, 'Go up and take possession of the land that I have given you,' then you rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God and did not believe him or obey his voice. You have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you. "So I lay prostrate before the LORD for these forty days and forty nights, because the LORD had said he would destroy you. And I prayed to the LORD, 'O Lord GOD, destroy not your people and your heritage, whom you have redeemed through your greatness, whom you have brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Remember your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Do not regard the stubbornness of this people, or their wickedness or their sin . . .

2 Kings 13:23:  But the LORD was gracious to them and had compassion on them, and he turned toward them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, nor has he cast them from his presence until now.

Micah 7:18-20:  Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities under foot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham, as you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old.

Paul contrast the “do and live” of the Mosaic law with New Covenant faith.  Stephen Westerholm is very helpful on this point:
The point is both obvious and crucial that what Paul means by “law” in Galatians 3:10-14 [and Galatians 3:18 as well for our purposes] does not differ from other passages we have considered:  the “law” refers not to the Pentateuch, but to the divine requirements imposed upon Israel at Mount Sinai and intended (need it be said?) to be done.  But whereas in other passages it was regarded as self-evident that the law was to be done or kept, that it was not to be transgressed, here the axiom is made the basis for a fundamental claim about the nature of the law:  since the basic principle of the law is that it requires deeds, it “does not rest on faith.”  Faith and deeds (or faith and the law) are seen – in this context at least – as exclusive alternatives.  (Stephen Westerholm, Perspectives Old And New On Paul:  The “Lutheran” Paul and His Critics, (Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 2004), 304-305.)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

If We Have Christ, We Desire Nothing More!

"Wherever we turn in the church of God, there is Jesus. He is the beginning, middle and end of everything to us . . . There is nothing good, nothing holy, nothing beautiful, nothing joyous which He is not to His servants. No one need be poor, because, if he chooses, he can have Jesus for his own property and possession. No one need be downcast, for Jesus is the joy of heaven, and it is His joy to enter into sorrowful hearts. We can exaggerate about many things; but we can never exaggerate our obligation to Jesus, or the compassionate abundance of the love of Jesus to us. All our lives long we might talk of Jesus, and yet we should never come to an end of the sweet things that might be said of Him. Eternity will not be long enough to learn all He is, or to praise Him for all He has done, but then, that matters not; for we shall be always with Him, and we desire nothing more." Frederick Faber

Saturday, June 4, 2016

"Christ Is All" In The Coffin

Oh Father, please help me get back in the coffin.

Please help me live in the coffin.

True life only comes inside the coffin.

When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I need to do is get into the coffin.

When I am afraid, I need to get back in the coffin. Dead people don't fear.

When I am anxious, I need to get back in the coffin. Dead people don't worry.

When I am alone, I need to get back in the coffin. Dead people don't know they are alone.

When all my personal hopes and dreams are shattered, I need to get back in the coffin. Dead people don't have hopes and dreams.

When I selfishly desire my own happiness, I need to get back in the coffin. Dead people don't selfishly desire.

When I'm tempted to sin, I need to get back in the coffin. Dead people don't sin.

When I'm tempted to lust, I need to get back in the coffin. Dead people don't lust.

When I'm tempted to sin in anger, I need to get back in the coffin. Dead people don't feel unrighteous anger.

When I'm afraid I'll never get married, I need to get back in the coffin. Dead people don't need to be married.

When I'm afraid I'll never have children, I need to get back in the coffin. Dead people don't need children.

When I don't feel like praying, I need to get back in the coffin. Dead people pray.

When I don't feel like reading my Bible, I need to get back in the coffin. Dead people read their Bibles.

When Christ is not all to me, I need to get back in the coffin. Dead people know that Christ is all.

When God is not my greatest joy, I need to get back in the coffin. Dead people know that God is the greatest joy.

When I feel overwhelmed by the trials and hardships of this life, I need to get back in the coffin. Dead people have endured all trials and hardships.

Oh Joseph, get back in the coffin!

Jesus said: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24)

One-way missionaries bought one-way tickets to the mission field and packed their bags in coffins.

Spurgeon said: “I have now concentrated all my prayers into one . . . that I may die to self, and live wholly to Him.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said: “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”

Martin Luther said: “Until a man is nothing, God can make nothing out of him.”

“Then Jesus told His disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.'” (Matthew 16:24-25)

The truest, most full, most joyous, most satisfying life is found when you are dead inside the coffin.

Inside the coffin, life is gloriously beautiful!

Oh Joseph, get back in the coffin!

For inside the coffin, the Coffin Crusher dwells!

Monday, May 16, 2016

"That's My King!" In Proverbs 9!

Jesus' Feast Gives Eternal Life
He Died To Save From Wrathful Strife
And Make Us Pure – His Lovely Wife!

That's my King! Do you know Him?!

Jesus Christ Was Severely Abused
Though He Never Scoffed Or Words Misused
He's The Wisest Of All And Yet Was Bruised
Shamefully Used, And Falsely Accused
But He Rose And Left All Foes Confused
Now From Judgment For Sin We're Forever Excused!

That's my King! That's my King!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

"That's My King!" Who Was Single Yet He Burned Aflame With Passion Yearned For His Bride Who Spurned Her Righteousness He Earned And From Her Sin She Turned To Long For His Return!

"For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion." 1 Corinthians 7:9

Jesus was a single man His whole time on earth, but He was always aflame with passion for His bride, the Church. At the consummation of all things, He will take her to Himself and marry her so that He might express His flaming passion for her in new, glorious, and utterly sensational ways for all eternity!

Come Lord Jesus!

He was single all His life
And conquered every strife
Then gave His precious life
So we could be His wife!

That's my King!

Pleasures of marriage He never knew
He lived and died – the single Jew
There's joy in sex and marriage true
But from a greater joy He drew
Eternal pleasures are what He knew
Joys from His Father through and through
His delights in the Father flourished and grew
The pleasures of sin away He threw
No lust His heart would ever pursue
For God's beauty itself is the greatest view
His heart was crushed when this Beauty withdrew
For on that cross God's wrath would spew
Forsaken by God He paid our due
Though no sin to Him would ever accrue
He became sin for me and for you
Then He arose and made all things new
To bring you to God – a bride clean and true
Come to Him now – your desires He'll subdue
You'll cry from your heart:  "All my joy is You!"

That's my King! Do you know Him?!

Oh Father please come – my need seems dire
Please come help me fight overwhelming desire
Oh God You alone can put out the fire
Turn my eyes upon You and lift me up higher
To trust and obey all that You require
May I find "Christ is all!" –  my great King and Sire
And delight in Him – our greatest Desire!

That's my King!

God's Word says singleness is the best way
And you'll be happier if single you stay
All your attention on God you can lay
He'll fill all your thoughts – to Him you can pray
He wants you alone with Him everyday
A Lover Who's jealous and won't let you stray
He's the Fountain of all delight so survey
His glorious beauty on full display
He died to take your sins away
And lives to give you life His way
So trust in Him and fight to obey
He'll grant you contentment – come what may!

That's my King! I wonder if you know Him?!

One day you'll be married for eternal duration
This fact is certain – God's declaration
For all who trust in Christ for salvation
Will marry the Lamb in the new creation
His bride you will be from every nation
You'll marry the King – the best combination
Most loving, most kind, your closest relation
The greatest Spouse – beyond all expectation!
If you have Him, fear no deprivation
You'll know all is good at the consummation
Where joys in Him pass all imagination
And grow forever in great adoration
The Husband-King is all compensation
So find in Him life's full celebration!

That's my King!  That's my King!