"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." - Jerome

Monday, December 24, 2012

Favorite Christmas Passage

"And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.  She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth.   And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems.  His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it.  She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne,   and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days."

-Revelation 12:1-6

Friday, December 21, 2012

Lawlessness is not Sanctification, but Sin.

"Not under law but under grace" does not mean "we shall sin that grace may abound!"

My Sermon on Romans 6:1-14: Sanctification - The Dominion of Grace


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Sabbath in Scripture, the Confession and BCO

Genesis 2

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host ofthem. And on the seventh day Godfinished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from allhis work that he had done. So Godblessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all hiswork that he had done in creation.

Exodus 16
27 On the seventh day some of the peoplewent out to gather, but they found none. 28 Andthe Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commandmentsand my laws? 29 See! The Lord has given you the Sabbath; therefore on the sixth day he gives youbread for two days. Remain each of you in his place; let no one go out of hisplace on the seventh day.” 30 So thepeople rested on the seventh day.

Exodus 20
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep itholy. Six days you shall labor, anddo all your work, 10 but the seventhday is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall notdo any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or yourfemale servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and restedon the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed theSabbath day and made it holy.

Deut 5
12 “‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep itholy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 13 Sixdays you shall labor and do all your work, 14 butthe seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your maleservant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of yourlivestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servantand your female servant may rest as well as you. 15 You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and anoutstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your Godcommanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

Nehemiah 13
15 In those days I saw in Judah peopletreading winepresses on the Sabbath, and bringing in heaps of grain and loadingthem on donkeys, and also wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of loads, whichthey brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And I warned them on the daywhen they sold food. 16 Tyrians also,who lived in the city, brought in fish and all kinds of goods and sold them onthe Sabbath to the people of Judah, in Jerusalem itself! 17  Then I confronted the nobles of Judah and saidto them, “What is this evil thing that you are doing, profaning the Sabbathday? 18  Did not your fathers act inthis way, and did not our God bring all this disaster[a] on us andon this city? Now you are bringing more wrath on Israel by profaning theSabbath.”
19 As soon as it began to grow dark at thegates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I commanded that the doors should beshut and gave orders that they should not be opened until after the Sabbath.And I stationed some of my servants at the gates, that no load might be broughtin on the Sabbath day. 20 Then themerchants and sellers of all kinds of wares lodged outside Jerusalem once ortwice. 21  But I warned them and saidto them, “Why do you lodge outside the wall? If you do so again, I will layhands on you.” From that time on they did not come on the Sabbath. 22 Then I commanded the Levites that they shouldpurify themselves and come and guard the gates, to keep the Sabbath day holy.Remember this also in my favor, O my God, and spare me according to thegreatness of your steadfast love.

Isaiah 58
13  “If you turn back your footfrom the Sabbath,
    fromdoing your pleasure on my holy day,
and call the Sabbath a delight
    andthe holy day of the Lord honorable;
if you honor it, not going your own ways,
    orseeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;
14 then you shall take delight in the Lord,
    and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Matthew 11-12
28  Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I willgive you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, forI am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 Formy yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
12:1 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on theSabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain andto eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him,“Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” Hesaid to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and thosewho were with him: how he entered the house of God and atethe bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for thosewho were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you notread in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane theSabbath and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater thanthe temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘Idesire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. Forthe Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”
He went on from there and entered their synagogue. 10 Anda man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to healon the Sabbath?”— so that they might accuse him. 11 He said tothem, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath,will not take hold of it and lift it out? 12  Of how much morevalue is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 13 Thenhe said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, andit was restored, healthy like the other. 14 But the Phariseeswent out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.
15 Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followedhim, and he healed them all 16 and ordered them not to make himknown. 17  This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophetIsaiah:
18  “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen,
    my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
    and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
19 He will not quarrel or cry aloud,
    nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets;
20 a bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smoldering wick he will not quench,
until he brings justice to victory;
21      and in his name the Gentiles willhope.”

Hebrews 4
4:1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, letus fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but themessage they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faithwith those who listened.[a] For we who have believed enter that rest, as hehas said,
“As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest,’”
although his works were finished fromthe foundation of the world. For hehas somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on theseventh day from all his works.” Andagain in this passage he said,
“They shall not enter my rest.”
Since therefore itremains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good newsfailed to enter because of disobedience, againhe appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, inthe words already quoted,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”
For if Joshua hadgiven them rest, God[b] would nothave spoken of another day later on. Sothen, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God's rest has alsorested from his works as God did from his.
11 Let us therefore strive to enter thatrest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharperthan any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, ofjoints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.13 And no creature is hidden from his sight,but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

WestminsterConfession 21:8
8. This Sabbath is then kept holy to the Lord when men,after due preparation of their hearts and arranging of their common affairsbeforehand, not only observe a holy rest, all the day, from their own works,words, and thoughts concerning their everyday occupations and recreations, butalso devote the whole time to the public and private exercises of God's worshipand to the duties of necessity and mercy.

Larger Catechism

Q. 116. What is required in the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment requireth of all men the sanctifying or keeping holyto God such set times as he hath appointed in his word, expressly one whole dayin seven; which was the seventh from the beginning of the world to theresurrection of Christ, and the first day of the week ever since, and so tocontinue to the end of the world; which is the Christian sabbath, and in theNew Testament called The Lord's Day.

Q. 117. How is the sabbath or the Lord's day to be sanctified?
A. The sabbath or Lord's day is to be sanctified by an holy resting all theday, not only from such works as are at all times sinful, but even from suchworldly employments and recreations as are on other days lawful; and making itour delight to spend the whole time (except so much of it as is to be taken upin works of necessity and mercy) in the public and private exercises of God'sworship: and, to that end, we are to prepare our hearts, and with suchforesight, diligence, and moderation, to dispose and seasonably dispatch ourworldly business, that we may be the more free and fit for the duties of thatday.

Q. 118. Why is the charge of keeping the sabbath more specially directedto governors of families, and other superiors?
A. The charge of keeping the sabbath is more specially directed to governors offamilies, and other superiors, because they are bound not only to keep itthemselves, but to see that it be observed by all those that are under theircharge; and because they are prone ofttimes to hinder them by employments oftheir own.

Q. 119. What are the sins forbidden in the fourth commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the fourth commandment are, all omissions of theduties required, all careless, negligent, and unprofitable performing of them,and being weary of them; all profaning the day by idleness, and doing thatwhich is in itself sinful; and by all needless works, words, and thoughts,about our worldly employments and recreations.

Q. 120. What are the reasons annexed to the fourth commandment, the moreto enforce it?
A. The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment, the more to enforce it, aretaken from the equity of it, God allowing us six days of seven for our ownaffairs, and reserving but one for himself, in these words, Six days shaltthou labor, and do all thy work: from God's challenging a special proprietyin that day, The seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: fromthe example of God, who in six days ... made heaven and earth, the sea, andall that in them is, and rested the seventh day: and from that blessingwhich God put upon that day, not only in sanctifying it to be a day for hisservice, but in ordaining it to be a means of blessing to us in our sanctifyingit; Wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Q. 121. Why is the word Remember set in the beginning of thefourth commandment?
A. The word Remember is set in the beginning of the fourth commandment,partly, because of the great benefit of remembering it, we being thereby helped in our preparation to keep it, and, in keeping it, better to keep all the rest of the commandments, and to continue a thankful remembrance of the two great benefits of creation and redemption, which contain a short abridgment of religion; and partly, because we are very ready to forget it, for that there isless light of nature for it, and yet it restraineth our natural liberty inthings at other times lawful; that it cometh but once in seven days, and many worldly businesses come between, and too often take off our minds from thinking of it, either to prepare for it, or to sanctify it; and that Satan with his instruments much labor to blot out the glory, and even the memory of it, to bring in all irreligion and impiety.

The Sanctification of the Lord’s Day

48-1.“The fourth commandment requireth the keeping holy to God such
set times as he hath appointed in his word; expressly one whole day in seven,
to be a holy sabbath to himself.” (WSC 58).

48-2.God commanded His Old Testament people to keep holy the last day
of the week, but He sanctified the first day as the Sabbath by the resurrection
of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. For this reason the Church of the
new dispensation has from the time of the apostles kept holy the first day of
the week as the Lord’s Day.

48-3.It is the duty of every person to remember the Lord’s Day; and to
prepare for it before its approach. All worldly business should be so ordered,
and seasonably laid aside, as that they may not be hindered thereby from
sanctifying the Sabbath, as the Holy Scriptures require.

48-4.The whole day is to be kept holy to the Lord; and to be employed in
the public and private exercises of religion. Therefore, it is requisite, that
there be a holy resting, all the day, from unnecessary labors; and an
abstaining from those recreations which may be lawful on other days; and
also, as much as possible, from worldly thoughts and conversation.

48-5.Let the provisions for the support of the family on that day be so
ordered that others be not improperly detained from the public worship of
God, nor hindered from sanctifying the Sabbath.

48-6.Let every person and family, in the morning, by secret and private
prayer, for themselves and others, especially for the assistance of God to
their minister, and for a blessing upon his ministry, by reading the Scriptures,
and by holy meditation, prepare for communion with God in his public

48-7.Let the time not used for public worship be spent in prayer, in
devotional reading, and especially in the study of the Scriptures, meditation,
catechising,religious conversation, the singing of psalms, hymns, or spiritual
songs;visiting the sick, relieving the poor, teaching the ignorant, holy
resting, and in performing such like duties of piety, charity, and mercy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Jesus, the Law, and the Christian

This is a great look at the Law and the life of the Christian, based on Matthew 5:17-20.

Sermon by Aaron Myers - Listen here: www.providencepres.net/index.php?option=com_sermonspeaker&task=singlesermon&id=10126&Itemid=145

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

Friday, July 27, 2012

Piper: Christian Biography

Every Year, John Piper delivers a talk about a figure from Church History. Here is a list of most of his talks:

J.C. Ryle.
A minister in the Church of England in 1800's, prolific author

Charles Simeon
A minister in the Church of England in 1700's, often suffered opposition for preaching the gospel

Charles Spurgeon
A Baptist minister in the 1800's, powerful preacher who also dealt with depression

William Tyndale
Early translator of the Bible into English who was executed by Catholics for his efforts. 1500's

 John Owen
A Congregationalist minister in 1600's, greatest theologian in the English language

 A bishop who fought against Arius over the deity of Christ, in 300's

John Calvin
 Reformer in the 1500's

Martin Luther
 The monk that started the Reformation over justification by faith alone
Robert Murray McCheyne
 Scottish Presbyterian minister in the 1800's, died in late 20's

 Bishop that fought against the heretic Pelagius in 300's and 400's

George Muller
minister in 1800's

Andrew Fuller
 Baptist supporter of missions

Adoniram Judson
Missionary to Burma

George Whitefield
Church of England evangelist in the 1700's, the Spirit started the Great Awakening through his preaching, and was the actual founder of Methodism.

William Cowper
 Poet and hymn writer that suffered from Depression

J. Gresham Machen
 Founder of Westminster Seminary and the Orthodox Presbyterian church who fought against liberalism in the early 1900's
John Newton
 Minister in Church of England and hymn writer of Amazing Grace.

C.S. Lewis
 writer and author

David Brainerd
 American missionary to the Indians in the 1700's, friend of Jonathan Edwards who wrote his biography of his short life.
Martin Lloyd Jones
 Minister in the Church of England in the 1900's
Jonathan Edwards
 Congregationalist minister in the 1700's
William Wilberforce
 Member of Parliament that fought to end slavery in England in 1700's

John Bunyan
Baptist preacher and writer of "Pilgrim's Progress" in 1600's

John C Paton
 Presbyterian missionary in the Pacific in 1800's

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Reformation Worship Conference

Something to check out if you are able, the Midway Reformation Worship Conference in October with speakers such as Derek Thomas, Bob Godfrey, Richard Phillips, T. David Gordon. An introductory video here:

Reformation Worship Conference 2012 from Dana Willis on Vimeo.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Regulative Principle of Worship

"The acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by Himself, and so limited by His own revealed will, that He may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture." - The Westminster Confession. Ch 21.1

A timely discussion of the Reformed "Regulative Principle of Worship" beginning around minute 14:


Friday, July 06, 2012

Desiring the Kingdom: Critical Interaction

I have little time to blog. But I did begin to notice that many that are pushing the liturgical boundaries of the PCA have a common inspiration for their desires: James K.A. Smith, a professor at Calvin College who wrote on the way worship affects our desires. I read "Desiring the Kingdom" critically can found some things helpful, but other things hurtful if adopted. My interaction in the form of a review and analysis below that I wrote two years ago may be helpful for others that have not read Smith and wonder at its contents and fans.

            Smith begins his study on Christian Education, Liturgy and Worldview with a tour of the local mall. This tour, however, is described using the language of liturgy rather than our common language. The mall becomes a perfect model to see how American corporate culture has come to understand the forming and manufacture of desire. The entire mall experience aims at creating previously absent desires or exaggerating desires to the point where they will be acted upon in the form of consumerism.
            This example of the mall also offers a perfect model for Smith's idea of the manner in which humans function over against the main ways in which Christians have come to talk about Worldview. Worldview language in Christian circles have almost exclusively focused on cognitive process and intellectual (information) categories. Yet, the mall would hardly be confused for a place of high cognition, yet it competes with the church for the attention and desires of a Christian. Desire, not cognition, ought to be the currency of worldview thought.
            This desiring rather than purely cognitive person is called the liturgical animal (or homo liturgicus).  To make his point, Smith often draws stark contrasts between cognitive and affectual. A picture is preferred to an idea. (53) Smith clarifies that it is a picture painted by stories and myths, picture and icons. (54) Also, mind is contrasted with imagination. The dominant models which see humanity as primarily cognitive or believing fail to take the imaginative, affectual, and desiring aspects.
            Smith expresses his anthropology in the phrase “desire forms knowledge” (70) meaning that our understanding comes from first desire, image and story before there is understanding. Understanding has been distinguished along the line of Heidegger. Smith is not alone in this observation of immediate response as a form of knowledge. Malcolm Gladwell made such a connection in “Blink,” observing how experts or long practictioners in a field can often make snap accessments or judgments with high degrees of accuracy before the sensory input is evaluated by high level cognition. However, this occurred first by cognition, working its way into the unconscious.
            Smith adheres to the formula lex orandi lex credendi, the law of prayer is the law of faith. In other words, worship precedes doctrine. Smith makes this explicit in looking at the historical development of the early  church where worship preceded the introduction of the Scriptures. Smith also applies that to the people of God today in being first worshipers before thinkers.(136-138)
            Although the word is not used, Smith seems to adhere to a form of empiricism. “Gut” or “heart” language often relates to body and sensory experience. To build upon this empirical data, forming into habit, forms the greater part of the activities of daily life for the human creature. Cognition is segregated to those processes that analyze, make connections and articulate truth in proposition.
            In practice, this analysis allows one to see the way non-Christians form our desires. The mall and the sporting event both shape our desires but neither do so through cognitive bookish approaches. For Smith, our cognitive approach must yield to an affective and imaginative approach to combat the world.


            Smith's approach in Desiring God is helpful in broadening our view of humanity. A cognitive focused approach relegates all but intellectual matters to the perifary. Rationalism must ensue and a platonic anthropology takes the place of a Christian one. Plato believed vice merely flowed from ignorance. Eliminate ignorance and you eliminate vice. A Christian perspective must take into account our bodies and the whole human including their affections. All of these aspects, also, are fallen and mere informational approaches do not produce virtue and eliminate vice. Smith's evaluation rightly recognizes this reality.
            Smith challenges the cognitive approach, however, by greatly depreciating the role of the mind. Such an approach brings with it serious and troubling questions: One cannot help but question that if a view of man that depreciates the bodily for the cognitive does not acknowledge the whole human, does one that depreciates the cognitive, mental and intellectual part of a human in preference of the bodily properly answer this dilema or merely mirror it?  As a human perceives their surroundings, does the input bypass the mind? Has the mind been relegated to such a narrow set of duties (higher level reasoning) that we merely aim for the animal spirits instead? Does the fact that the world aims directly for our desires and bypasses the mind validate the church doing the same thing?
            The dominate language of Smith seems to be the language of “looking” and “seeing” and “picture.” However, Isaiah 53:2b describes Christ as “ he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.” Yet, the language of desire and heart longing pervades our religious expectations. Christ is the bread for which we hunger, the wine for which we thirst, and altogether beautiful. [Here I follow the vast majority of Christianity in time and number who see the Song of Solomon as having something to do with Christ and not merely lustful lovers.] Such statements may warn us that to harmonize these texts, we must see that what attracted disciples, crowds and martyrs to Christ is not purely able to be expressed in the language of sight. We look and see no comeliness. Yet we look and see beauty, and object of desire. That object of desire is not perceivable by the eyes but something different. We are invited to “come and see” but also not to look upon outward appearances.
            Smith has put his finger on an important reality of the need for affective language and dimensions to our idea of what it means to be Christian. Yet, the idea of picturing and icons made me uncomfortable that it might be missing that though we may see those things, we may “see and not perceive.” Indeed, even the ears may be a medium by which we “hear, but do not understand.” We are invited to "come and see" (John 1:46) a man "with no form or majesty" (Is 53:2) and to see as lovely (Song 4:7) a man with "no beauty that we might desire him" (Is 53:2)
            The thesis is very helpful in analysis. Smith focuses mostly on the contrast between the liturgy of consumption and a capitalistic culture or the liturgy of the University versus the liturgy of the Church, constructed to lead us towards desiring the kingdom. The language of forming desire, then, is the language of liturgy. The points of comparison, then, are the liturgies of the church and the liturgies of the world. What do we learn about reality in the church's liturgy? What is presented as the highest good and ultimate object of desire? These questions can assist in adjusting the liturgy to address these questions.
            Addressing changes in our liturgy, however, may undermine lex orandi, lex credendi in an absolute sense. If we change our liturgy, we acknowledge that our worship must fit our theology and doctrine. Then, our doctrine precedes our worship, something that is expressly rejected in pg 136. Therefore, we must re-think lex orandi lex credendi.
            Smith's one-sided language does, however, allow us to re-imagine the relationship between lex orandi and lex credendi. We desire to change the worship/orandi to fit our beliefs/credendi because our worship does feed, nurture and teach our beliefs in many different mediums. Through the hear, the eye, the fingers, and the mouth, our creed comes into our whole person. Yet, if the cognitive could not inform, and our beliefs could not shape our worship, then we would never know to change it.  The relationship should not be seen merely as a one-way street. Our beliefs must inform our worship and our worship must teach our beliefs. The formation of new believers largely takes place through the worship of the community in word, sacrament and prayer. People do, however, move to new communities after conversion for the express belief that certain worship fits the creed better. This is because the Scripture determines worship, belief and all of life. We must have a third category of lex scriptura informing both belief and worship as belief and worship interact and work on each other without absolute priority.
            Overall, Smith's book addresses a blind spot in my thinking on Spiritual Formation. Coming from a Reformed perspective and an introverted intellectual perspective, I am certainly one that is prone to miss that humans are broader beings than merely floating brains. Part of being human involves the affections and the imagination and if only the mind is addressed then people are being treated as less than human. However, Smith does seem to think we can separate and segregate (and ostrocize?) the mind as opposed to the rest of the human anatomy. Instead, in communicating the faith and discipling Christians must involve the mind, but also must involve the rest of the human. Smith's prescriptions, then, largely stand with a return to purposeful liturgy. Sacraments and Prayer must be given proper attention as well as a substantive pulpit. We must have our desires enflamed, but also we must know what or Who we are to love. 

Summary: PRO: We should follow Smith in realizing the way worship drives our love of God and shapes us. CON: But we should reject the idea that worship drives our theology, but rather have our theology drive and be communicated by our worship. We also should reject having our emotions engaged apart from our mind, but rather engage the mind to drive the affections. Finally, we should reject using the eye or ignoring God's 2nd Commandment's validity for our view of worship.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Psalm 42 personalized

Based on Psalm 42. Album here. Lyrics: 

I have lost my appetite
And a flood is welling up behind my eyes
So I eat the tears I cry
And if that were not enough
They know just the words to cut and tear and prod
When they ask me “Whereʼs your God?”

Why are you downcast, oh my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
I can remember when you showed your face to me

As a deer pants for water, so my soul thirsts for you
And when I survey Your splendor, You so faithfully renew
Like a bed of rest for my fainting flesh

When Iʼm looking at the ground
Itʼs an inbred feedback loop that drags me down
So itʼs time to lift my brow
And remember better days
When I loved to worship you and learn your ways
Singing sweetest songs of praise

Let my sighs give way to songs that sing about your faithfulness
Let my pain reveal your glory as my only real rest
Let my losses show me all I truly have is you

So when Iʼm drowning out at sea
And all your breakers and your waves crash down on me
Iʼll recall your safety scheme
Youʼre the one who made the waves
And your Son went out to suffer in my place
And to show me that Iʼm safe

Why am I down?
Why so disturbed?
I am satisfied in you

Friday, April 20, 2012

Richard Sibbes on the Gospel

Richard Sibbes. from "The Ungodly’s Misery."

Works of Sibbes Vol 1 pg. 387-388

[Listen to it read by Mark Dever here.]

Question. But, what is it to obey the gospel?

Answer. To obey the gospel is to entertain the offers of it; for indeed though the gospel command us to believe in the Son of God, yet withal it offers the very command unto us ; to believe in Christ, being in effect a command to receive him, which supposeth an act of giving and tendering something to us. Now when we do not receive and entertain with our whole heart Christ and his benefits, freely offered, we disobey the gospel, and so procure danger to ourselves.

But more particularly, he obeys the gospel that is sensible of his own miserable and sinful condition, and from a sense thereof hungereth after the grace and favour offered in Jesus Christ to pardon sin, which when he hath once obtained, [he] walks answerable to that great mercy received. He that receives whole Christ to justify him, and sanctify him too ; that receives Christ as a king to rule him as well as a priest to save him, such a one receives the gospel. But those that are not sensible of their misery, or if they be, will not go to Christ, but, as desperate persons, fling away the potion that should cure them, these are far from obeying the gospel of God. Such likewise as pretend, Oh, Christ is welcome with the pardon of sin, but yet live in gross wickedness, against knowledge and conscience, and suffer him not to bear sway in their hearts, as if Christ came by blood alone, and not by water ; whereas indeed he came as well by water to sanctify us, as by blood to die for us.

Many there are that think they obey the gospel, who are indeed very rebels and enemies unto it. They welcome the gospel, and they hate popery, &c., but notwithstanding they will be their own rulers, and live as they list ; they will not deny themselves in their beloved sins ; they are fall of revenge, notwithstanding the gospel saith, This is my commandment, that you love one another,' John xv. 12. That ' bids them deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and live soberly,' Titus ii. 12 ; yet they will riot, and follow their base courses still. The gospel teacheth a man to acknowledge God in all his ways, to deal with God in all things he goes about. Now, when a
man lives without God in the world, saying, God is merciful, and Christ is a Saviour, and yet persists in those ways which seem good in his own eyes, never looking to God to guide him, or his law to rule him, how can such a one be said to obey the gospel?

[Works have no place in the act of Justification.]

That works have no place in the act of justification. But some others there are amongst us, that regard not Christ and his satisfaction alone, but join faith and works together in justification ; they will have other priests, and other intercessors than Christ. Alas ! beloved, how are these men fallen from Christ to another gospel, as if Christ were not an all-sufficient Saviour, and able to deliver to the uttermost ! What is the gospel but salvation and redemption by Christ alone ? Gal. ii. 16.

Therefore Rome's church is an apostate church, and may well be styled an adulteress and a whore, because she is fallen from her husband Christ Jesus.

And what may we think of those that would bring light and darkness, Christ and antichrist, the ark and Dagon together ; that would reconcile us, as if it were no such great matter! Beloved, they that join works with
Christ in matter of justification, err in the foundation. The very life and soul of religion consists in this. What was the reason the Jews stumbled at this stumbling block, and were neyer benefited by Christ ? Why ? They set up a righteousness of their own, which could not stand, but soon failed them. So when a man sets up a righteousness of his own, neglecting the righteousness of Christ, it is impossible he should ever be saved, living and dying in that error, Philip, iii. 10.