Saturday, April 29, 2006

What Sinners Should Plead with God-by Ralph Erskine Part 3

I'm really enoying going throught all the Erskine stuff here.

Here's part 3 of "What Sinners Should Plead with God" to give a sample.

3. Plead his power, in a sense of your own weakness. Do you feel the power and multitude of your corruptions within you? Say with Jehoshaphat, "Lord I have no might against this great company; neither know I what to do: but mine eyes are upon you." With you all things are possible. Though I may despair of help in myself and others; yet, you have forbid me to despair of help in you. You said, Let there be light, and there was light; therefore say, let there be faith, and it will immediately take place; for faith is your work and your gift: it is "the work of God that we believe: by grace we are saved, through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God."
-Ralph Erskine (1685-1752)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

What Sinners Should Plead with God-by Ralph Erskine Part 2

2. Plead your own feebleness and inability to help yourselves; this was the impotent man's plea at the pool of Bethesda, John 5:6,7 "When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, 'Do you want to get well?' 'Sir,' the invalid replied, 'I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.'" So say you, Lord, I have lain many years with this dead plagued heart, beside the open fountain of your blood; I am unable to move to it of myself; I have none to put me in: ordinances cannot do it; ministers cannot do it; you must put to your helping hand, or else the work will remain unperformed.

-Ralph Erskine (1685-1752)

(More of Ralph Erskine and his brother Ebenezer can be found here.)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Jesus-The Great Liberator Part 3-What is the Freedom Christ Gives Us?

(Part One is here)
(Part Two is here)

What is this Freedom Christ gives us? The obvious answer is not always the correct answer, but in this case it is. This can be seen in John 8:34. Jesus says,

"Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin."

We are freed from slavery to sin.

When Adam and Eve first sinned, (Genesis 3:1-7), they became slaves of sin, and that has been the state of every human being since. We sin and show we are slaves of sin.

Jesus says there’s a way out of being a slave of sin. If He sets us free we are free indeed. “Indeed” here means “For real”
We are set free for real.

Let’s look at this in more detail-
1-Believers are freed from the burden of the Law. We are not free to disregard it or scoff at it, but freed from fulfilling it as a condition of salvation, and freed to obey it as well.

Before Christ frees us-we don’t want to obey, except if there’s something in it for us. That may be money, fame, recognition, help for our family, or maybe just the “good” feeling we get from helping out—ultimately it is self centered. We do not act out of the proper motives such as love for Christ and gratitude to Him for setting us free. If we are serving God as He would have us there may be times when it hurts to obey, and we can’t see any benefit-outside of our trust in His mercy, love, and promises.

In Romans 6 Paul calls those who are Christians to stop acting as slaves of sin and to start acting as slaves of righteousness. Being set free by Christ enables that.

2-Believers are free from condemnation of sin.
"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1.
"And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross." Colossians 2:13-14.

These passages show us Jesus can set us free; because He has paid the price-He took the penalty upon Himself.

3-Believers are free from the dominion of sin.
"For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace." Romans 6:14
"For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corintians 5:21

This points to sanctification-or being set apart by God to serve Him and be made more Christ like.

4-Believers are free from the sting of death-Death can separate us from this world, but it cannot hurt us once it’s done. We grieve the loss of loved ones but we will see other believers again—in God’s presence- Death is not in charge-God is.
"O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?"
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:55-57

Here Paul is referring to Hosea 13:14, and answering it in Christ.

This is the freedom Christ gives believers.

In Part Four I will wrap it up with why this freedom is so wonderful.
(I am especially indebted to the Puritan John Flavel's work Method of Grace in this series.)

The Great Commission

Matthew 28:16-20

16Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (ESV)

We commonly refer to Jesus' command here as the Great Commission.
We commonly use it as an impetus to sending missionaries, evangelism and Church planting.
We refer to it when we baptize "in the name of The Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

And I believe these are valid references.

But--how often do we use it reference to discipling others?
After all, Jesus commands us to "make disciples." So if we make disciples--whould we also not disciple them?

While we can rightly point to this passage to send missionaries, sharing the gospel, and planting churches-let's make sure that impetus doesn't run over those who are already believers. We need to disciple those already in our churches.

Jesus told us to do that.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

There are many translations of this old hymn, here's one of my favorite translations of the first stanza-

O sacred Head, now wounded,
With grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded
With thorns, Thine only crown.
O sacred Head, what glory,
What bliss, till now was Thine!
Yet, though despised and gory,
I joy to call Thee mine.

The joy and sadness, the triumph and pain, the evil and the ultimate good, all join together as Christ saves sinners.

What Sinners Should Plead with God-by Ralph Erskine Part 1

In the previous post I mention Fire and Ice.
One of the features is a section for the Puritan Ralph Erskine (1685-1752) and his brother Ebenezer(1680-1754).

Here's a sample of Ralph's writing.

What Sinners Should Plead with God
by Ralph Erskine

1. Plead his promise, Ezek 36:26,27. "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws." It is a free, gracious promise: cry to him to make good that word to you, seeing he has said, "Once again I will yield to the plea of the house of Israel and do this for them." ver. 37. Tell him, that now you are come to inquire, and request him to do it.

(more to come)

LOTW-a new meaning

I think LOTW now stands for "Links of the Whenever"
I do try to post at least weekly--but sometimes life gets going.
But on with the links-

Fire and Ice is a site I like to visit. It has puritan sermons, quotes, poetry, history, biography and more. One of my favorite features is The Puritan Quote of the Week. I don't know if this actually changes each week--but the current quote is-
"Sin in a wicked man is like poison in a serpent; it is in its natural place."

If you're into hockey uniforms, and would like to make a mockup of a hockey jersey with your name on it, or use an existing team's look with your own logo on it-check out Roger Clemente NHL Jersey Templates.
It also includes some international team jerseys, without the number & letter fonts.
Just be fair and give him credit if you use his template for anything other than personal use. (And watch out for "Roger"-which is not his real name-he can be a bit racy. I do not know him personally, though.)