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, December 19, 2009

Hating Those We Love Most . . . Because Jesus Is Better

Jesus said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26-27

In this passage, Jesus demands absolute, undivided love, commitment, and devotion without rival. The love we are to have for Jesus should make all other loves in our lives seem like hatred. Only if we have this kind of love for Christ will we be able to love the lesser goods in our lives (like our families) as they should be loved. Only by trusting, loving, and adoring Jesus most of all can we even begin to love our neighbors as ourselves or to love our wives as Christ loves the church.

Beware of idolizing the good gifts from God in your life.

Dr. Timothy Keller writes:

“We think that idols are bad things, but that is almost never the case. The greater the good, the more likely we are to expect that it can satisfy our deepest needs and hopes. Anything can serve as a counterfeit god, especially the very best things in life . . . What is an idol? It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give.

A counterfeit god is anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living . . . It can be family and children, or career and making money, or achievement and critical acclaim, or saving ‘face’ and social standing. It can be a romantic relationship, peer approval, competence and skill, secure and comfortable circumstances, your beauty or your brains, a great political or social cause, your morality and virtue, or even success in the Christian ministry.”

(Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods, The Empty Promises Of Money, Sex, And Power, And The Only Hope That Matters (New York: Dutton, 2009), xvii-xviii.)

What, in your life, do you need to look straight in the eyes and say: “I hate you . . . compared to Jesus?” It could be your family, your blog, or even your Christian ministry.

May Christ be your all in all!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Trust And Adore: The Death Of Legalism

Geerhardus Vos wrote:

"Faith in its last analysis was to the patriarchs the apprehension, the possession, the enjoyment of God Himself . . . Legalism lacks the supreme sense of worship. It obeys but it does not adore."

Apparently, Vos was a Christian Hedonist!

Geerhardus Vos, Redemptive History And Biblical Interpretation, The Shorter Writings Of Geerhardus Vos (Phillipsburg: P&R, 1980), 229, 231.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

We Cannot Esteem Christ Enough

Spurgeon said:

"My Master has such riches that you cannot count them. You cannot guess them, much less can you convey their fullness in words. They are unsearchable! You may look, and search, and weigh, but Christ is a greater Christ than you think Him to be when your thoughts are at the greatest.

My Master is more able to pardon than you to sin, more able to forgive than you to transgress. My Master is more ready to supply than you are to ask, and ten thousand times more prepared to save than you are to be saved. Never tolerate low thoughts of my Lord Jesus. Your highest estimates will dishonor Him.

When you put the crown on His head, you will only crown Him with silver when He deserves gold. When you sing the best of your songs, you will only give Him poor, discordant music, compared with what He deserves. But Oh! Do believe in Him, that He is a great Christ, a mighty Saviour.

Great sinner, come and do Him honor by trusting in Him as a great Saviour. Come with your great sins, and your great cares, and your great wants! Come and welcome. Come to Him now, and the Lord will accept you, and accept you without upbraiding you."

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, "The Unsearchable Riches of Christ," in Spurgeon’s Sermons, Vol. 9 (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996), 259-260.

HT: Tolle Lege

Saturday, December 5, 2009

May Christ Ravish Us All!

John Donne wrote:

"Batter my heart, three personed God; for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine and seek to mend.
That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn and make me new,
I, like an usurped town, to another due,
Labor to admit you, but, oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend;
But is captive and proves weak or untrue.

Yet dearly I love you and would be loved fain;
But am betrothed unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me."

(John Donne, "Batter My Heart")

Thursday, December 3, 2009

What It Cost To Be The Good Shepherd

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. Psalm 23:1

This amazing truth is ultimately fulfilled in the Good Shepherd - the Lord Jesus Christ. Only in Him is this supernatural satisfaction fully realized, and for this realization to happen, Jesus had to lay down His life for the sheep (John 10:11).

Jesus had to lack everything for His sheep.

Contra rest in green pastures, He had no place to lay His head (Matthew 8:20)

Contra still waters, He was baptized with the wrath of God (Luke 12:50)

Contra a restored soul, His soul was poured out unto death (Isaiah 53:12)

Contra being led in right paths, He was lead as a sheep to the slaughter and offered Himself as a propitiation so that God might be proved righteous (Acts 8:32, Romans 3:25-26)

Contra fearing no evil in the dark death valley, He was made evil Who knew no evil and sorrowed unto death as He contemplated the darkness of death that would utterly consume Him (2 Corinthians 5:21, Mark 14:34-36)

Contra having God with him as His comfort, God forsook Him, pouring out His just wrath upon Him (Matthew 27:46)

Contra having a rod and a staff to comfort Him, the rod of the Father was pleased to crush Him (Isaiah 53:10)

Contra having a table spread before Him, He hungered in the wilderness and thirsted unto death (Luke 4:1-2, John 19:28)

Contra having His head anointed with oil, He wore a blood-soaked crown of thorns (Matthew 27:29)

Contra having a cup that overflows, He drank the cup of the wrath of God to the dregs (Isaiah 51:17, Matthew 26:39)

Contra goodness and mercy pursuing Him all His days, wrath and torment pursued Him unto death (Isaiah 53)

Contra dwelling in the house of the LORD, He was banished from the dwelling of the LORD as the unclean and cursed one (Galatians 3:13)

Jesus had to lack everything as He Himself became the Lamb Who was slain (Revelation 5:6, 12)

And He did all of this on behalf of stubborn, sinful, hell deserving sheep who rebelled against Him. This is the best news in the world! All who know this Good Shepherd by grace through faith will lack no good thing, for He will provide for them, protect them, comfort them and satisfy them fully - He will be all and all to them now and forever and ever:

"Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." Revelation 7:15-17