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, January 30, 2010

The Christian's Greatest Sin

In a blog post entitled "My Biggest Sin," McKay Caston writes:

You couldn’t help it, could you? This is gonna be juicy, right? Could be. Okay, let’s get to it. What is my biggest sin? Of course, most of us probably think of the Top 10 list in Exodus. “Thou Shall Not…” But we’ve all broken every one of those. No surprise there. So what is my biggest sin? Here goes: Not believing that I have been fully forgiven, totally accepted, and am dearly loved by the Father. Sorry to disappoint you, but when I DON’T believe this, I get religious and become a Pharisee of sorts, who were the biggest sinners in Jesus’ day (because of their prideful, “I can do it if you just show me the rule” hearts). To look upon the work of Jesus on the cross as my judicial substitute and to NOT believe that I am fully forgiven, totally accepted, and am dearly loved is to cheapen the gospel. To think that I can add anything of my own merit is to severely diminish God’s glorious grace. It is an insult to the blood of Jesus. “So Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.”

Jonathan Edwards seemed to agree. In his 25th resolution for his life he wrote:

25. Resolved, to examine carefully, and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God; and to direct all my forces against it.

HT: The Wonder Of The Gospel

Friday, January 29, 2010

Christ's Cross And The Hypocrisy Of Abortion

The Cross Makes Murders of Us All

The following story is told by Rebecca Manley Pippert in her book, Hope Has Its Reasons: The Search to Satisfy Our Deepest Longings (Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 2001), 108-110.)

Several years ago after I had finished speaking at a conference, a lovely woman came to the platform. She obviously wanted to speak to me and the moment I turned to her, tears welled up in her eyes. We made our way to a room where we could talk privately. It was clear from looking at her that she was sensitive but tortured. She sobbed as she told me the following story.

Years before, she and her fiance (to whom she was now married) had been the youth workers at a large conservative church. They were a well-known couple and had an extraordinary impact on the young people. Everyone looked up to them and admired them tremendously. A few months before they were to be married they began having sexual relations. That left them burdened enough with a sense of guilt and hypocrisy. But then she discovered she was pregnant. "You can't imagine what the implications would have been of admitting this to our church," she said. "To confess that we were preaching one thing and living another would have been intolerable. The congregation was so conservative and had never been touched by any scandal. We felt they wouldn't be able to handle knowing about our situation. Nor could we bear the humiliation.

So we made the most excruciating decision I have ever made. I had an abortion. My wedding day was the worst day of my entire life. Everyone in the church was smiling at me, thinking me a bride beaming in innocence. But do you know what was going through my head as I walked down the aisle? All I could think to myself was You're a murderer. You were so proud that you couldn't bear the shame and humiliation of being exposed for what you are. But I know what you are and so does God. You have murdered an innocent baby."

She was sobbing so deeply that she could not speak. As I put my arms around her a thought came to me very strongly. But I was afraid to say it. I knew if it was not from God that it could be very destructive. So I prayed silently for the wisdom to help her.

She continued. "I just can't believe that I could do something so horrible. How could I have murdered an innocent life? How is it possible I could do such a thing? I love my husband, we have four beautiful children. I know the Bible says that God forgives all of our sins. But I can't forgive myself! I've confessed this sin a thousand times and I still feel such shame and sorrow. The thought that haunts me the most is how could I murder an innocent life?"

I took a deep breath and said what I had been thinking. "I don't know why you are so surprised. This isn't the first time your sin has led to death, it's the second." She looked at me in utter amazement. "My dear friend," I continued, "when you look at the Cross, all of us show up as crucifiers. Religious or nonreligious, good or bad, aborters or nonaborters - all of us are responsible for the death of the only innocent who ever lived. Jesus died for all of our sins - past, present, and future. Do you think there are any sins of yours that Jesus didn't have to die for? The very sin of pride that caused you to destroy your child is what killed Christ as well. It does not matter that you weren't there two thousand years ago. We all sent him there. Luther said that we carry his very nails in our pockets. So if you have done it before, then why couldn't you do it again?"

She stopped crying. She looked me straight in the eyes and said, "You're absolutely right. I have done something even worse than killing my baby. My sin is what drove Jesus to the Cross. It doesn't matter that I wasn't there pounding in the nails, I'm still responsible for his death. Do you realize the significance of what you are telling me, Becky? I came to you saying I had done the worst thing imaginable. And you tell me I have done something even worse than that."

I grimaced because I knew this was true. (I am not sure that my approach would qualify as one of the great counseling techniques!) Then she said, "But, Becky, if the Cross shows me that I am far worse than I had ever imagined, it also shows me that my evil has been absorbed and forgiven. If the worst thing any human can do is to kill God's Son, and that can be forgiven, then how can anything else - even my abortion - not be forgiven?"

I will never forget the look in her eyes as she sat back in awe and quietly said, "Talk about amazing grace." This time she wept not out of sorrow but from relief and gratitude. I saw a woman literally transformed by a proper understanding of the Cross.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jesus . . . Name Above All Names!!

There is no one like Him! Run to Him and be saved, safe, and satisfied!

Isaiah 26:8: Your name, even Your memory, is the desire of our souls.

Psalm 9:10: And those who know Your name put their trust in You, for You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.

Proverbs 18:10: The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.

Psalm 8:1: O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.

Psalm 9:2: I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.

Psalm 5:11: But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You.

Here are over 200 names of Jesus from the Bible you can delight in!

Jesus Christ the Righteous, Saviour, Emmanuel, Teacher, Rabboni, Master, Governor, Law Giver, Forerunner, Redeemer, Messiah, Shiloh, Deliverer, Mediator, Intercessor, Messiah and Prince, a Prince and a Saviour, Mighty to Save

Surety of a Better Testament, the Just One, the Holy One, the Holy and the Just, the Holy and Righteous One, the Holy One of God, the Faithful and True Witness, a Witness to the People, a Leader and Commander of the People, the Consolation of Israel, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah

Jesus, the Young Child, Thy Holy Child, the Nazarene, Jesus of Nazareth, Lord, Lord Jesus, the Lord from Heaven, the Lord of Glory, the Lord Our Righteousness, the Lord of the Holy Prophets, Lord and Saviour, My Lord and My God, the Holy One of God

First Fruits, the First Begotten, the Elect of God, a Branch of Righteousness, the Second Adam, the Last Adam, King of Zion, King of the Jews, the King of Israel, the King of Saints, the Prince of the Kings of the Earth, the King Eternal, Immortal, Invisible, God Manifest in the Flesh

The Righteous Judge, the Judge of Israel, the Judge of All the Earth, the Desire of All the Nations, the Ensign of the People, the Captain of the Lord’s Host, a Banner upon the High Mountain

Messenger of the High Covenant, a Minister of the Sanctuary, the Author and the Finisher of Our Faith, Our Advocate, Our Advocate with the Father, Our Peace, Our Ransom, Our Passover, Our Great High Priest, a High Priest Forever after the order of Melchizedek, King of Righteousness, King of Salem, King of Peace

Jesus Christ, Christ Jesus, Lord and Christ, the Lord’s Christ, the Christ of God, Lord Jesus Christ, Lord of Sabaoth, Lord of Hosts, Lord of the Sabbath, Lord of Heaven and Earth, Jesus Christ Our Lord, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the World

The Man Christ Jesus, a Man Approved of God, Our Elder Brother, the First Born among Many Brethren, a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother, the Master, Your Master, Your Lord and Master, Good Master

Horn of Salvation, the Captain of Our Salvation, the Brightness of the Father’s Glory, the Glory as of the Only Begotten, the Image of the Invisible God, the Express Image of His Person, the Fullness of the Godhead Bodily, the Bridegroom, the Beginning of the Creation of God

The Way, the Truth, the Life, the Tree of Life, the Light of Life, the Word of Life, the Bread of Life, the Prince of Life, Life Eternal, the Water of Life, the Living Water, the Living Bread, the Bread which came down from Heaven, the True Bread from Heaven, the Hidden Manna

The Door, the Door of the Sheep, the Chief Shepherd, the Good Shepherd, the Great Shepherd of the Sheep, the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls, a Lamb without Spot or Blemish, the Lamb Slain before the Foundation of the World

The Vine, the True Vine, the Root of Jesse, the Root and Offspring of David, Prophet of Nazareth, a Prophet Mighty in Word and Deed, the Prophet of the Highest

The Morning Star, the Day Spring from on High, Heir of All Things, a Tried Stone, a Living Stone, an Elect Stone, a Sure Foundation, a Stone Chosen of God and Precious, that Rock, that Spiritual Rock, the Rock of Ages, Faithful and True Witness, the Apostle and High Priest of Our Profession, I AM

Man of Sorrows, a Friend of Tax Collectors and Sinners, the Gift of God, the Unspeakable Gift, God Blessed Forever, Light of the World, a Quickening Spirit, the First Fruits of them that sleep, the First Begotten of the Dead, the Resurrection and the Life

The Head of the Corner, the Head of the Church, the Head of Every Man, the True Light which lighteth every man which cometh into the world

Rose of Sharon, the Lily of the Valley, the Altogether Lovely, the Fairest among Ten Thousand, the Bright and Morning Star

The Power of God, the Wisdom of God, the Gift of God, the Word of God, the Image of God, the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world, God’s Elect

The First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, Alpha and Omega, Ancient of Days, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Blessed and Only Potentate, God with Us, God Our Saviour, the Only Wise God Our Saviour, the Lord Which Is, Which Was, Which Is to Come, Almighty, Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, the Branch

The Son of Mary, the Son of Man, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham, the Son of the Blessed, the Son of Righteousness, the Son of the Highest, My Son, the Son of God, the Son of the Living God, God’s Dear Son, the Son of His Love, the Only Begotten Son of God, My Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased

(These names of Jesus were compiled by Clinton N. Howard, published by Greater Europe Mission)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

May Christ Be Everything To Us!

Martin Bucer wrote these passionate words about the great satisfaction that is to be found in the Lord Jesus Christ alone:

" . . . Christ our Lord alone is the One who is, gives, and performs for us everything which we can desire for our true advantage, happiness, and honour."

" . . . all gain, all enjoyment, all honour apart from Christ is poison and death, but . . . in Christ all loss is true and eternal gain, joy, and honour . . . ."

" . . . through the holy gospel of Christ people are well instructed and reminded to seek everything in Christ our Lord alone and be satisfied with all things in Him."

" . . . we have all our joy, comfort, and confidence in Him, Christ our Lord."

"If we really love Christ, He is everything to us . . . ."

Martin Bucer, Concerning The True Care Of Souls, Translated by Peter Beale (Carlisle: Banner Of Truth, 2009) 166-167; 169; 171; 179; 192.