Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My Grace is Sufficient for Thee

2Cr 12:9
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (KJV)
Below is Matthew Henry's Commentary: We have an account of the answer given to the apostle's prayer, that, although the trouble was not removed, yet an equivalent should be granted: My grace is sufficient for thee. Note, (1.) Though God accepts the prayer of faith, yet he does not always answer it in the letter; as he sometimes grants in wrath, so he sometimes denies in love. (2.) When God does not remove our troubles and temptations, yet, if he gives us grace sufficient for us, we have no reason to complain, nor to say that he deals ill by us. It is a great comfort to us, whatever thorns in the flesh we are pained with, that God's grace is sufficient for us. Grace signifies two things:—[1.] The good-will of God towards us, and this is enough to enlighten and enliven us, sufficient to strengthen and comfort us, to support our souls and cheer up our spirits, in all afflictions and distresses. [2.] The good work of God in us, the grace we receive from the fullness that is in Christ our head; and from him there shall be communicated that which is suitable and seasonable, and sufficient for his members. Christ Jesus understands our case, and knows our need, and will proportion the remedy to our malady, and not only strengthen us, but glorify himself. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Thus his grace is manifested and magnified; he ordains his praise out of the mouths of babes and sucklings.
This is a passage that comes to mind when talking about being distracted by our "infirmities" (Marriage, Parenting, Finances, Physical or emotional pain, etc.) and not relying on or remembering that "God's Grace is Sufficient for Me". I also think there needs to be some clarity as to WHAT exactly the "Gospel" actually is. I think some people think it means anything that comes from the Bible is the Gospel message. As long as it is supported by scripture. Additionally, the word Grace doesn't always seem to have the same meaning as divine un-merited favor. But, it sounds like to me "divine niceness".

If we only have Christ or the Bible as "examples" of how to live then this is the statement that comes to mind by Dr. David Wells:

"It's a message that a god without wrath brought man without sin into a kingdom without judgment through Christ without a cross,"

Grace and Peace,
Coram Deo!!!

Friday, February 15, 2008

A Summary of Romans 1-7 by John Piper

John Piper has spent a long time going through the first 7 Chapters of Romans and preaching on it one verse at a time. I'm sure it was difficult to pull all that wealth of study into a single sermon as an overview. I think it is a good idea (my opinion) when approaching God's Word, is to start from His point of view. Like His Holiness and His Sovereignty. So you can see how passages like Romans 1-7 apply to us. I'm not sure we will always have a "practical" or "personal" application to our day to day activities. However, as I am drawn to God's Word and scared to death by His Holiness and also marvel at His Sovereignty.... That has a profound affect on my view of God and my reverence and love for Him. Paul reminds us of God's Holiness and how far we all are from Him. And how far God had to reach to drag us back to Him. So, when we get together on the Lord's Day. Let's sing songs of praise to His Holiness, His Sovereign Grace. And maybe sometimes we should sing songs of lament over our sin. Isaiah 6 "I am undone." or Matthew 5 "Blessed are the poor in spirit."

The grass whithers and the flower falls, but the Word of our Lord will stand forever.

Click the below link to read or listen to the whole message:

A Summary of Romans 1-7

Romans teaches that the most fundamental problem in the universe is that God's human creatures – all of us – have sinned and fallen short of his glory and are now condemned under the omnipotent wrath of God. There is the problem of our condition called sin. And there is the problem of its consequence called wrath. Another way to say it is that there is real guilt on every person because of sin, and there is real condemnation over every person because the Judge and Maker of the universe is just and holy.

Paul's conclusion after two chapters of as acting the prosecuting attorney is Romans 3:9, "What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written, 'THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE.'" Romans 3:22-23, "There is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." And there's a good definition of what our sin is and why it has mainly to do with God, not man.

When he describes the sins of his own people in Romans 2:24, the climax of the indictment is this: "The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you." What makes sin sin is not first that it hurts people, but that it blasphemes God. This is the ultimate evil and the ultimate outrage in the universe.

The glory of God is not honored.
The holiness of God is not reverenced.
The greatness of God is not admired.
The power of God is not praised.
The truth of God is not sought.
The wisdom of God is not esteemed.
The beauty of God is not treasured.
The goodness of God is not savored.
The faithfulness of God is not trusted.
The promises of God are not relied upon.
The commandments of God are not obeyed.
The justice of God is not respected.
The wrath of God is not feared.
The grace of God is not cherished.
The presence of God is not prized.
The person of God is not loved.

Grace and Peace,

Coram Deo!!!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Heidelberg Catechism - Lord's Day 21

I grew up in the Methodist Church, and this is where I learned the Apostle's Creed. But, I never understood why we talked about the "holy catholic Church". It wasn't until much later in life that I came to understand that this was not talking about the Roman Catholic Church, but it was just talking about the whole entire church of believers. Sometimes refered to as the invisible church. And when Jesus was praying for us in John 17 that we might be One as He and the Father are One. He said it and it was so. We as believers all around the world are all one, no matter how many denominations and peculiarities there may be. We are Brothers and Sisters in Christ.

I also like to imagine that when it is time to take communion that I am taking it simultaneously with someone around the world and I think about being united with them through Christ. Maybe I'm spiritualizing, but I think that I'm really just realizing the connection and the humble feeling that I'm not alone and we are not divided by Nation, Race, or any other status. We are just wretches saved by grace. Praise and Honor are due to God that He would, before the foundations of the world, choose to save anyone. To be part of the adopted family of God, it gives new meaning to being able to approach God and call Him Father. We are a family.

"The forgiveness of Sins" section reminds me of what Luther called the "Great Exchange". Jesus on the cross took our sins upon himself to not just be an atonement, but to also be a "propitiation" (turning away the wrath of God). Also, Christ's Righteousness is imputed to us. So basically, Jesus (on the cross) is treated as if He lived the life that we lived. And we get treated as if we lived the life the Jesus lived. Thus, the Great Exchange has taken place. And Jesus said, "It is finished". No more sacrifices by priests in the temple. Jesus is our High Priest and He sits down at the right hand of the Father. He sits down, because there are no more sacrifices, and He rules and reigns over His kingdom.

I pray that we as a church continue to anticipate His Return and the Glory that we will one day all together enjoy forever. Remember.... He is coming!!!

Chris Allen
Coram Deo!!!

Lord’s Day 21

54. What do you believe concerning the “holy catholic Church?”
That out of the whole human race,[1] from the beginning to the end of the world,[2] the Son of God,[3] by His Spirit and Word,[4] gathers, defends, and preserves for Himself[5] unto everlasting life a chosen communion[6] in the unity of the true faith;[7] and that I am and forever shall remain a living member of this communion.[8]
[1] Gen 26:4; Rev 5:9; [2] Isa 59:21; Jn 10:10; 1 Cor 11:26; [3] Jn 10:11; Acts 20:28; Eph 1:10-13, 4:11-13; Col 1:18; [4] Isa 59:21; Rom 1:16, 10:14-17; Eph 5:26; [5] Ps 129:1-5; Mt 16:18; Jn 10:28-30; [6] Rom 8:29-30; Eph 1:3-14, 4:3-6; [7] Ps 71:18; Jn 10:28-30; Acts 2:42-47; 1 Cor 1:8-9, 11:26; [8] Ps 23:6; Jn 10:27-28; 1 Cor 1:4-9; Gal 3:28; 1 Pt 1:3-5; 1 Jn 2:19, 3:14, 19-21

55. What do you understand by the “communion of saints?”
First, that believers, one and all, as members of the Lord Jesus Christ, are partakers with Him in all His treasures and gifts;[1] second, that each one must feel himself bound to use his gifts readily and cheerfully for the advantage and welfare of other members.[2]
[1] Rom 8:32; 1 Cor 6:17, 12:4-7, 12-13; 1 Jn 1:3; [2] Rom 12:4-8; 1 Cor 12:12-13, 20-27, 13:1-7; Php 2:4-8; Heb 3:14

56. What do you believe concerning the “forgiveness of sins?”
That God, for the sake of Christ’s satisfaction,[1] will no more remember my sins, nor the sinful nature with which I have to struggle all my life long;[2] but graciously imputes to me the righteousness of Christ, that I may nevermore come into condemnation.[3]
[1] 1 Jn 2:2; [2] Ps 103:3, 10-12; Jer 31:34; Mic 7:18-19; Rom 7:21-25, 8:1-4; 2 Cor 5:18-21; 1 Jn 1:7, 2:2; [3] Jn 3:17-18, 5:24; Rom 4:7-8, 7:18, 8:1-2; Eph 1:7