Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How Jesus Fulfilled the Law—Moral and Judicial

March 30 - How Jesus Fulfilled the Law—Moral and Judicial

Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. - Matthew 5:17

The moral law was God's foundational code. Jesus fulfilled that law by His perfect righteousness. He obeyed every commandment, met every requirement, and lived up to every standard.

But most important, Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament by being its fulfillment. He did not simply teach it fully and exemplify it fully—He was it fully. He did not come simply to teach righteousness and to model righteousness; He came as divine righteousness. What He said and what He did reflected who He is.

God's judicial law was given to provide unique identity for Israel as a nation that belonged to Jehovah. The laws relating to agriculture, settlement of disputes, diet, cleanliness, dress, and such things were special standards by which His chosen people were to live before the Lord and apart from the world. This judicial law Jesus fulfilled on the cross.

Jesus' crucifixion marked Israel's ultimate apostasy in the final rejection of her Messiah and the interruption of God's dealing with that people as a nation. With that, the judicial law passed away because Israel no longer served as His chosen nation.

Praise God, He will someday redeem and restore Israel (Rom. 9–11), but in the meanwhile the church is His chosen body of people on earth (1 Peter 2:9–10). All the redeemed—those who receive the work of the cross—are His chosen ones.

Ask Yourself

There is no way, of course, for us to duplicate the perfect performance of Jesus, but by surrendering in daily, ongoing ways to His Holy Spirit, we can see Christ's character exuding from us in steady practice. Have your own failures and experiences caused you to deny this truth? Submit to Him afresh today.

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610, www.moodypublishers.com.

Additional Resources
Coram Deo!!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mentoring a Brother 3

Hello Reform-Shire Friends,
Here is this weeks Mentoring a Brother 3 (below)
From this point on it will now transition to hopefully some more weightier interaction and I'll try to promote the discussion by posting some statements or questions that have to do with the Gospel or the Doctrines of Grace.  We'll just see where it goes from there.
Greace (Grace and Peace)

Coram Deo!!!

Subject: Mentoring a Brother 3

If you get a chance to listen to Alistair Begg today (03-09-10), you'll come away with a real appreciation for your fathers and at the same time understand how much we as fathers rely on God our Heavenly Father to guide us and direct us with our families.

Last week we talked about God's Holiness and our absolute depravity as fallen man.  And we talked about the Beatitudes of someone responding to the touch of the Holy Spirit to awaken someone (Ephesians 2:1,5) in that state of depravity or dead in sin.

So, here is the question?  In light of this condition we are awaken from, how do we respond?
What is the only way anyone will respond?  So, we would say that this Grace is irresistible as described in (John 6:37-40).  This does not mean the person cannot at first resist and I would suppose that a person can resist for a time.  But, ultimately, there is no resisting God through the Holy Spirit.

Later on in that chapter it says:
43"Stop grumbling among yourselves," Jesus answered. 44"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.

I'll just leave it at that, and I hope you will have questions or comments or challenges.

Greace = Grace and Peace

Coram Deo!!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Blessed Are The Peacemakers Matthew 5:9

Oh such a timely reminder of how God provides everlasting peace to those who were his very enemies.  I'm truly grateful for the sovereignty and the providence of the Almighty God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. - Matthew 5:9

One of the most obvious facts of world history is that peace does not characterize man's earthly existence. Yet two thousand years ago Jesus instructed God's people to be peacemakers. He gave us a special mission to help restore the peace lost at the Fall.

The peace of which Christ speaks is unlike anything the world knows or strives for. His peace is not concerned with resolving conflict between governments and nations, with righting the wrongs of human oppression. His peace is the inner, personal peace that only He can give to the soul of man, a peace that only His children can emulate.

What makes Jesus' kind of peace different? Instead of focusing on the absence of conflict and strife, Jesus' peace produces righteousness, for only righteousness can bring two antagonistic parties together. It is what brings the unsaved person to God. It is God who reconciles a person to Himself, imputes Christ's righteousness to him, and makes peace with him or her.

Only righteousness can usher in harmony and true well-being. James confirms the nature of God's peace when he writes, "But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable" (James 3:17). Peace cannot be divorced from holiness. "Righteousness and peace have kissed each other" is the beautiful expression of Psalm 85:10. Where there is true peace, there is righteousness, holiness, and purity. May those things characterize you as you strive to be a peacemaker.

Ask Yourself

What situations in your own life are in desperate need of peace and restoration? How do you think God wants to use you as a peacemaker in the midst of it? You've surely tried. You've wanted to see righteousness and justice returned. Pray that the Lord would show you how to exhibit His brand of peace in fresh, new ways.

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610, www.moodypublishers.com.

Additional Resources
Coram Deo!!!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Mentoring a Brother #2

Subject: Mentoring a Brother #2

Hello again,

This week on the White Horse Inn they talk to two authors about the use of catechism in the church. 
Basically catechism are a system of Questions and Answers that teach the basic doctrines of the Bible.  And they were geared for children to use as part of their memorization.  Unfortunately, many evangelical churches like ours have turned their backs on the use of catechism to teach children doctrine to children.  I would venture to say that mostly because it can be boring.  But, it really isn't once you realize what it is you are learning.  The ironic thing is that the Christian church has usually stood firm in not having creeds, confessions, and catechism in their churches.  But then they allow AWANA programs in which is just a kinder, more fun version of catechism, and I don't think they are aware to this fact. 

If you would like to look at a catechism.  The Heildelberg Catechism is really good and it follows the pattern I mentioned last week about Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude. I wouldn't expect you to memorize it but it would be good to review and I can paste one at the bottom of the email.

Since we are starting with the Holiness of God and when looking at Isaiah 6 we see a sense of that Holiness and RC Sproul does a wonderful job of teaching that from so many different angles...

We see that consistently the reaction to even a hint of God's Holiness is a sense of fear, woe is me, and fainting, falling on the face, etc.  You see with Isaiah in this passage (Isaiah 6), you see it with Peter when Jesus has him cast his nets on the other side of the boat and BOOM a "boat load" of fish.  Peter falls to his knees and says ""Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!" (Luke 5)

So, the only thing that we have to offer is guilt.  Sometimes you will hear people say...  But God looks at the heart"  But, all God sees there is filth, sin, and death.  Nothing of any kind of redeeming value whatsoever.
Sometimes you hear people say, well at least we have free will.  The only problem with that is.. that isn't good news.  Because if we were left to ourselves the only free choice that we could possibly make is away from God (Romans 3).    Once you can get a better understanding of God's Holiness, it helps to make clear and gives a better understanding of our depravity.  Which also is part of what is called the doctrines of Grace.  Because this is what helps us to understand how marvelous Grace really is.  And I think, at least for me, that song "Amazing Grace" by John Newton will become a new song to you and will make a whole lot more sense.  I would also recommend watching the movie titled "Amazing Grace" as it tells about the life of William Wilberforce and his friend John Newton.  It helps to show how the Gospel can do its work by being preached by faithful pastors, meanwhile William Wilberforce in turn is impacted by that Gospel message and it has an affect on him as a citizen of a country that was heavily steeped in slavery.  Many people will see that and have commented about what a great man Wilberforce was... and that is true.  But, what isn't in the limelight is the faithful preaching of the gospel that was going on simultaneously as Wilberforce challenged parliament all those years.

When I think of this process of God's Holiness, our Guilt, and then receiving Grace.  I think of Jesus teaching on the Beatitudes.  (Matt 5)  It is often preached that these are things or attitudes that Jesus is saying for people to do or have as Christians.  But, in fact, I have found out that these are in the "indicative sense" which means "statement of fact" so these aren't things that you strive to do as obeying a command.  But, rather, Jesus is describing what happens to a person that goes through this process. 

Blessed are the poor in Spirit:  Lets just look at this.  The Pharisees and the ones who thought they were righteous would never be "poor in spirit" nor would that Rich Young Ruler that asked about entering the kingdom of heaven.  And the only way that someone will realize they are "poor in spirit.  Is when they have been awaken from spiritual darkness or death by God and get a glimpse of His Holiness.  They will all of a sudden see how beggarly poor they really are in spiritual terms.  Then like all those in scripture that caught this glimpse. They will cry out to God.  "Have mercy on me a sinner!"  Then the rest of the beatitudes is just the process of that person being transformed by this new birth of regeneration and it is accomplished by hearing the Gospel.  And you can see the pattern of Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude in the change that happens below.

The Beatitudes
 1Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2and he began to teach them saying:
 3"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
      for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 4Blessed are those who mourn,
      for they will be comforted.
 5Blessed are the meek,
      for they will inherit the earth.
 6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
      for they will be filled.
 7Blessed are the merciful,
      for they will be shown mercy.
 8Blessed are the pure in heart,
      for they will see God.
 9Blessed are the peacemakers,
      for they will be called sons of God.
 10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
      for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 11"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Well, I think that is enough to chew on for now...  And here is the first part of the Heidelberg Catechism:

Remember, this was taught to children about 1st grade to 12th grade and beyond... And it was used when literacy was non-existent a lot of times since books were not as readily available so the 'oral tradition' was used quite a bit in the passing down of the faith. 

Lord's Day 1

Q & A 1

Q. What is your only comfort
   in life and in death?

A. That I am not my own,^1
but belong—
body and soul,
in life and in death—^2
to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.^3

He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,^4
and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.^5
He also watches over me in such a way^6
that not a hair can fall from my head
without the will of my Father in heaven:^7
in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.^8

Because I belong to him,
Christ, by his Holy Spirit,
assures me of eternal life^9
and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready
from now on to live for him.^10

^1 1 Cor. 6:19-20
^2 Rom. 14:7-9
^3 1 Cor. 3:23; Titus 2:14
^4 1 Pet. 1:18-19; 1 John 1:7-9; 2:2
^5 John 8:34-36; Heb. 2:14-15; 1 John 3:1-11
^6 John 6:39-40; 10:27-30; 2 Thess. 3:3; 1 Pet. 1:5
^7 Matt. 10:29-31; Luke 21:16-18
^8 Rom. 8:28
^9 Rom. 8:15-16; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; 5:5; Eph. 1:13-14
^10 Rom. 8:1-17

Q & A 2

Q. What must you know
   to live and die in the joy of this comfort?

A. Three things:
first, how great my sin and misery are;^1
second, how I am set free from all my sins and misery;^2
third, how I am to thank God for such deliverance.^3

^1 Rom. 3:9-10; 1 John 1:10
^2 John 17:3; Acts 4:12; 10:43
^3 Matt. 5:16; Rom. 6:13; Eph. 5:8-10; 2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Pet. 2:9-10

Grace and Peace (I've created a new word) Greace = Grace and Peace together make Greace.  Shall I submit it as a word for the dictionary?  Just kidding!

Coram Deo!!!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Mentoring a Brother: 1

Hello Reform-Shire Friends,

I'm working on a mentoring program with a friend.  If you would like to join along on here, I'll try to post what we are discussing (that isn't personal) on here.  Please send me a note if you are following along and I'll make sure I post on a more timely basis or at least let you know what is going on. 

Coram Deo!!!

Since we are focusing on the Gospel.  I guess we need to know exactly what the Gospel is and what I really mean specifically by the Gospel. 

Gospel means good news...  I think we may have all heard that before.  It comes from a Greek word Euangelion
When you break it down you've got Eu (Good)  angel (messenger) ion ...  I don't remember what the "ion" part is...

The prefix to the word Gospel has Eu which we find at the beginning of words like
euphemism = a good word for a bad thing. 
eulogy = a good statement at a funeral
euphonious = good music or good sound

The second part of the word is Angel and the chief function of an angel is to be a messenger

So, that translates into Good message or Good News or Gospel.  Don't worry I learned this from RC Sproul.

Anyhow... The good news that we are always talking about is in light of bad news.

So, what exactly is the bad news????

God is Holy. 

That's it...  And the fact that we are not Holy..

I know that may sound strange at first blush...  But that is the main problem.  In fact I would be bold enough to say that...  This is what the whole Bible is basically about.

The whole Bible is about how God is Holy.  We are not Holy.  And God reveals in scripture how He is going to fix that problem and it was no suprise to God it was part of His Sovereign plan. 

God and His son love each other and they create this humanity in their image.  And they are going to fall into sin.  They are going to need a redeemer and a savior.  God wants to give His son a gift of humanity, but Jesus has to go and redeem them and save them from their sin, which is ultimately saving us from the wrath of God.  And ultimately because He loves His Father and because he loves this gift the Father has given to Him.

So, in a nutshell.  We are saved by God... from God.  I'm not too sure everyone follows it to that conclusion when they talk about salvation.  But, that is really what it is about.  It really all points us to the person and works of Jesus Christ.

So...  Here is how I try to remember this and how I try to share the gospel in a simple way, and it is a good way too look at the Bible as you are reading and studying it.   

So we start with God and His Holiness and we can look at the bible through that lens and see Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude.
I would challenge you to read these passages below and eventually get the RC Sproul book or DVD series on the "Holiness of God' that is a tremendous study.

1. God is Holy (Isaiah 6)
2. Guilt (Romans 3) We are all guilty and we are totally without a way to approach a Holy God (Bad News)
3. Grace (Ephesians 2) Unmerited Favor - God somehow awakens us from death and brings us to life eventhough we are sinners) (Good News was preached and God enabled us to finally hear it)
4. Gratitude - (Romans 12) We now want to live our lives out of Gratitude for what Christ has done for us.
This is how I describe it..

In light of a Holy God, we realize He is so far from us and that we are all fallen with Guilt and we have no hope and nothing to offer for ourselves.  No excuses, no good works, nothing. 
So God by His Grace provides a savior and He also awakens us from our spiritual darkness and brings us into the light of His holiness and makes us alive.  So, as we see all that God did for us and we contributed nothing.  We now live a life out of Gratitude for what God has already done for us. 

So, now a book like Galatians will show you the "Freedom" that we have in Christ and show how we are no longer under the curse of the law.  And we don't go and continue to sin and live it up since God loves to forgive and I love to sin...(what a great relationship)... but we just don't even want to sin because of our longing to please Him and to obey him.  We then can delight in His laws and commands and actually have a chance at growing and following Him and His teachings.  This is called Sanctification and it begins at salvation and contnues as we grow.  Yes we are going to sin but now we have the freedom and the gratitude to hopefully not sin and strive for holiness.... a humbled holiness.

The word that comes to mind is Justification.  Some people refer to that as a "churchy" word.  Or they may complain that now we are talking about doctrine and getting away from the practical.  But, the doctrine of Justification is at the very heart of the Gospel.

If you were to ask a hundred people in church "what is Justification?" you would be suprised that many people don't know how to answer that.  And the people that do answer or at least heard the word may say something like.  "Just as if I had never sinned"  But, no that isn't what the Bible means by Justification. (that is actually a Roman Catholic answer I think)  It is more like a declaration at a trial by a judge.  The judge says you may go because you have been declared righteous because someone else has justified you.

Jesus has done 2 things.

1. Jesus is treated as if He lived the life that you did to satisy God's wrath against sin. (Propitiation, Atonement)
2. We are treated as if we lived the life that Jesus did so we can be declared as righteous by receiving Jesus Righteousness to our account.

Luther called this the "great exchange"

Grace and Peace,

Coram Deo!!! (Before the Face of God)