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

Monday, August 30, 2010

Christ Is All In The Bible!

Tim Keller speaks of how the Bible is mainly about Jesus:

“Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” (Luke 24:27)

Jesus is the true and better Adam who passed the test in the garden and whose obedience is imputed to us (1 Corinthians 15).

Jesus is the true and better Abel who, though innocently slain, has blood now that cries out for our acquittal, not our condemnation (Hebrews 12:24).

Jesus is the true and better Abraham who answered the call of God to leave all the comfortable and familiar and go out into the void “not knowing wither he went!” to create a new people of God.

Jesus is the true and better Isaac who was not just offered up by his father on the mount but was truly sacrificed for us. While God said to Abraham, “Now I know you love me because you did not withhold your son, your only son whom you love, from me,” now we can say to God, “Now we know that you love me, because you did not withhold your son, your only son, whom you love, from me.”

Jesus is the true and better Jacob who wrestled and took the blow of justice we deserved, so we, like Jacob, only receive the wounds of grace to wake us up and discipline us.

Jesus is the true and better Joseph who, at the right hand of the king, forgives those who betrayed and sold him and uses his new power to save them.

Jesus is the true and better Moses who stands in the gap between the people and the Lord and who mediates a new covenant (Hebrews 3).

Jesus is the true and better Rock of Moses who, struck with the rod of God’s justice, now gives us water in the desert.

Jesus is the true and better Job, the truly innocent sufferer, who then intercedes for and saves his stupid friends (Job 42).

Jesus is the true and better David, whose victory becomes his people’s victory, though they never lifted a stone to accomplish it themselves.

Jesus is the true and better Esther who didn’t just risk losing an earthly palace but lost the ultimate and heavenly one, who didn’t just risk his life, but gave his life to save his people.

Jesus is the true and better Jonah who was cast out into the storm so that we could be brought in.

Jesus is the real Rock of Moses, the real Passover Lamb – innocent, perfect, helpless, slain so the angel of death will pass over us.

He is the true temple, the true prophet, the true priest, the true king, the true sacrifice, the Lamb, the Light, the Bread.

The Bible is not about you — it is about him.

(Tim Keller, Ockenga Preaching Series 2006)

HT: It's a Beautiful Gospel

In Christ, The Story Gets Better Throughout All Eternity!

And as [Aslan] spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at least they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.

C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle (New York: Macmillan, 1956), 183.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Jesus Christ: Greater Than All Our Idols!

Recently, Kenny Stokes preached a sermon on idolatry from 1 John 5:20-21 at Bethlehem Baptist Church.

Tyler Kenney writes: "Near the end he laid out 13 questions, adapted from an old Puritan sermon, to help us identify the idols of our hearts."

I have inserted what the answers to all these questions should be:
1. What do you most highly value? JESUS CHRIST
2. What do you think about by default? JESUS CHRIST
3. What is your highest goal? TO KNOW JESUS CHRIST
4. To what or whom are you most committed? JESUS CHRIST
5. Who or what do you love the most? JESUS CHRIST
6. Who or what do you trust or depend upon the most? JESUS CHRIST
7. Who or what do you fear the most? JESUS CHRIST
8. Who or what do you hope in and hope for most? JESUS CHRIST
9. Who or what do you desire the most? Or, what desire makes you most angry or makes you despair when it (He) is not satisfied? JESUS CHRIST
10. Who or what do you most delight in or hold as your greatest joy and treasure JESUS CHRIST
11. Who or what captures your greatest zeal? JESUS CHRIST
12. To whom or for what are you most thankful? JESUS CHRIST
13. For whom or what great purpose do you work? JESUS CHRIST

Oh Father, please make these answers true in the deepest recesses of our hearts by the power of Your Holy Spirit . . . for Jesus' sake! Amen!

HT:Desiring God

Monday, August 23, 2010

You Have More Than All Things In God!

Charles Spurgeon wrote:
The LORD Your God. Leviticus 11:44

In the worst of times our great consolation is God. The very name of our covenant God, “The Lord your God,” is full of good cheer. “The Lord your God” is Jehovah, the Self-existent One, the unchangeable One, the ever-living God, who cannot change or be moved from His everlasting purpose (Heb. 7:24).

Child of God, whatever you do not have, you have a God in whom you may greatly glory. Having God, you have more than all things, for all things come from Him. If everything was blotted out, He could restore it by His will. He speaks and it is done. He commands and it does not move. Blessed are you if the God of Jacob is your help and hope (Ps. 146:5). The lord Jehovah is our righteousness and everlasting strength (Is. 26:4). Trust Him forever. Let the times roll on; they cannot affect our God. Let troubles run like a storm; they will not come close because He is our defense. Jehovah is as much your God as if no other person in the universe could use that covenant expression.

All His wisdom, all His foresight, all His power, all His immutability – all of Him is yours.

Let us rejoice in our possession. Poor as we are, we are infinitely rich in having God. Weak as we are, there is no limit to our strength since the almighty Jehovah is ours. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31). Sorrowful one, rejoice! If God is yours, what more do you need?

He is our God by our own choice of Him, by our union with Christ Jesus, and by our experience of His goodness. By the spirit of adoption, we cry, “Abba, Father” (Rom. 8:15).

Charles Spurgeon, Beside Still Waters: Words Of Comfort For The Soul (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1999), 14.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pleading That Christ Would Be All In All With Songs

We sang three hymns over the weekend that plead with the LORD to make Christ all in all to us. May He do it for Jesus' sake!
I Asked The Lord
(John Newton, 1779)

These inward trials I employ
from self and pride to set thee free
and break thy schemes of earthly joy
that thou may'st find thy all in me.

My Times Of Sorrow And Of Joy
(Benjamin Beddome, 1778)

Here perfect bliss can ne'er be found,
the honey's mix'd with gall;
Midst changing scenes and dying friends,
be Thou my all in all.

Jesus Paid It All
(Elvina Hall)

I hear the Savior say, "Thy strength indeed is small,
Child of weakness, watch and pray, Find in Me thine all in all."

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Make Christ Your Greatest Treasure!

A dear brother wrote me this note as I started a new church internship. These words are sweet, and they convey a message I need to review moment by moment every day:
Dear Brothers,
Welcome! . . . [the internship] is certainly demanding . . . lots of reading, lots of writing and lots of meetings, events, meals, weddings, services, service reviews, reviews of service reviews, reviews of reviews of service reviews . . . you get the point. So, from one weak, easily distracted, quickly diverted brother . . . an encouragement: Brothers, guard your communion with the LORD. Make it daily. Make it meaningful. Make it non-negotiable. Pursue Christ. Make Him . . . not great papers, or activity, or prep for ministry, or ecclesiological understanding . . . your greatest treasure. And fight for this by going deep with Him daily. I struggled with this during the internship. And I have since. Let's get after this together brothers. For Christ is more precious than even fruitful ministry: "The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, 'Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!' And he said to them, 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven'" (Luke 10:17-20). Oh for grace to do so! Welcome, again.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Our Jealous Lover!

Mark Dever writes:
The Bible presents God not simply as our creator but as our jealous lover. He wants us - every part of us.

Mark Dever, The Gospel And Personal Evangelism (Wheaton: Crossway, 2007), 34.

Christ: The Perfect Object Of All Our Devotion!

Mark Dever writes:
To fear God is to love him. When the One who is our all-powerful creator and judge is also our merciful redeemer and savior, then we have found the perfect object for the entire devotion of our heart. And that devotion will lead us to share this good news about him with others.

Mark Dever, The Gospel And Personal Evangelism (Wheaton: Crossway, 2007), 27.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Christ: The All Sufficient Comforter!

Discussing the trials and struggles Christians face, Richard Sibbes wrote:
God sees fit that we should taste of that cup of which his Son drank so deep, that we might feel a little what sin is, and what his Son's love was. But our comfort is that Christ drank the dregs of the cup for us, and will succour us, so that our spirits may not utterly fail under that little taste of his displeasure which we may feel. He became not only a man but a curse, a man of sorrows, for us. He was broken that we should not be broken; he was troubled, that we should not be desperately troubled; he became a curse, that we should not be accursed. Whatever may be wished for in an all sufficient comforter is all to be found in Christ:
1. Authority from the Father. All power was given to him (Matthew 28:18).
2. Strength in himself. His name is 'The mighty God' (Isaiah 9:6).
3. Wisdom, and that from his own experience, how and when to help (Hebrews 2:18).
4. Willingness, as being bone of our bones and flesh of our flesh (Genesis 2:23; Ephesians 5:30).

Richard Sibbes, The Bruised Reed (Carlisle: Banner Of Truth, 2008), 66.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

All The World Is Nothing Compared To Christ!

Richard Sibbes said:
Be stirred up, then, to desire to be where Christ is, and to have the kisses of his love in his ordinances, as further testimonies of his favour, and never rest from having a desire to increase in grace and communion with Christ. So shall you never [lack] assurance in grace and communion with Christ. So shall you never [lack] assurance of a good estate, nor comfort in any [bad] estate. Cast such a man into a dungeon, he hath paradise there. Why? Because Christ comes to him. And if we have this communion with Christ, then though we are compassed about with death, yet it cannot affright us, because the great God is with us, Ps. xxiii. 4. Do with such a one as you will; cast him into hell, if it were possible; he having a sweet communion with Christ, will be joyfull still; and the more sense we have of the love of Christ, the less we shall regard the pleasures or riches of the world. For what joy can be compared with this, that the soul hath communion with Christ? All the world is nothing in comparison.

Richard Sibbes, "The Spouse, Her Earnest Desire After Christ," in The Works Of Richard Sibbes, Vol. 2 (Carlisle: Banner Of Truth, 1983), 207-208.

The Infinite Riches Of Christ

Richard Sibbes wrote:
. . . the church (and so every Christian) . . . hath evermore springing up in them an insatiable desire for a further taste and assurance of [Christ's] love [because of] Christ's infinite riches, infinite in his glory, in his power, in his beauty, in his pleasures, and joys, and the like. He hath all things, 'All power is given him in heaven and in earth,' Mat. xxvii. 18; every way infinite in himself; and hence it is, that the spouse hath an infinite desire to have a further taste of his love, and a nearer communion with him.

Richard Sibbes, "The Spouse, Her Earnest Desire After Christ," in The Works Of Richard Sibbes, Vol. 2 (Carlisle: Banner Of Truth, 1983), 204.

Lacking No Good Thing In Christ!

Richard Sibbes said:
Christ condescended so far unto us, to such a near league, as to take us to be his spouse, who hath all things. What then can we [lack] when we are at the fountain of all things? We can [lack] no protection, for that is the covering of this well. We can [lack] no good thing but he will supply it. We have free access unto him, as the wife hath to her husband . . .

Richard Sibbes, "The Spouse, Her Earnest Desire After Christ," in The Works Of Richard Sibbes, Vol. 2 (Carlisle: Banner Of Truth, 1983), 201.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Panting For Christ!

John Owen wrote:
This I know: that in the immediate beholding of the person of Christ we shall see a glory in it a thousand times above what here we can conceive. The excellencies of infinite wisdom, love, and power therein, will be continually before us.

And all the glories of the person of Christ which we have before weakly and faintly inquired into, will be in our sight forevermore. Hence the ground and cause of our blessedness is that 'we shall ever be with the Lord,' (1 Thess. 4:17), as He Himself prays, 'that we may be with Him where He is, to behold His glory' (John 17:24).

We cannot perfectly behold it until we are with Him where He is. There our sight of Him will be direct, intuitive, and constant. There is a glory, there will be so, subjectively in us in the beholding of this glory of Christ, which is at present incomprehensible.

For it doth not yet appear what we ourselves shall be (cf. 1 John 3:2). Who can declare what a glory it will be in us to behold this glory of Christ? And how excellent, then, is that glory of Christ itself? This immediate sight of Christ is that which all the saints of God in this life do breathe and pant after.

John Owen, "Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ," in The Works of John Owen, ed. William Goold, 24 vols. (Edinburgh: Johnson & Hunter; 1850-1855; reprint by Banner of Truth, 1965), Vol. 1:379.

HT: Tolle Lege

Monday, August 2, 2010

Christ: The Delight Of All Believers!

John Owen wrote:
The saints' delight is in Christ: He is their joy, their crown, their rejoicing, their life, food, health, strength, desire, righteousness, salvation, blessedness: without Him they have nothing; in Him they shall find all things. 'God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ' (Gal. 6:14). He has, from the foundation of the world, been the hope, expectation, desire, and delight of all believers.

John Owen, Communion With The Triune God, Eds. Kelly Kapic and Justin Taylor (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1657/2007), 236.

HT: Tolle Lege