Posted by: James McDonald | March 15, 2013

A Humble Refusal…

HodgeThe following is the text of a letter written by Charles Hodge of Princeton Theological Seminary on behalf of the two General Assemblies of the Presbyterian Church in the USA, explaining why the Pope’s invitation to Protestants to send delegates to the first Vatican Council of 1869-70 was being declined. This letter is as relevant today as when it was first penned.

To Pius the Ninth, Bishop of Rome,

By your encyclical letter dated 1869 you invite Protestants to send delegates to the Council called to meet at Rome during the month of December of the current year. That letter has been brought to the attention of the two General Assemblies of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America. Those Assemblies represent about five thousand ministers and a still larger number of Christian congregations.

Believing as we do, that it is the will of Christ that his Church on earth should be united, and recognizing the duty of doing all we consistently can to promote Christian charity and fellowship, we deem it right briefly to present the reasons which forbid our participation in the deliberations of the approaching Council.

It is not because we have renounced any article of the catholic faith. We are not heretics. We cordially receive all the doctrines contained in that Symbol which is known as the Apostles’ Creed. We regard all doctrinal decisions of the first six ecumenical councils to be consistent with the Word of God, and because of that consistency, we receive them as expressing our faith. We therefore believe the doctrine of the Trinity and of the person of Christ as those doctrines are expressed in the symbols adopted by the Council of Nicea AD321, that of the Council of Constantinople AD381 and more fully that of the Council of Chalcedon AD451. We believe that there are three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are the same in substance and equal in power and glory. We believe that the Eternal Son of God became man by taking to himself a true body and a reasonable soul, and so was, and continues to be, both God and man in two distinct natures and one person forever. We believe that our adorable Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is the prophet who should come into the world, whose teachings we are bound to believe and on whose promises we rely. He is the High Priest whose infinitely meritorious satisfaction to divine justice, and whose ever prevalent intercession, is the sole ground of the sinner’s justification and acceptance before God. We acknowledge him to be our Lord not only because we are his creatures but also because we are the purchase of his blood. To his authority we are bound to submit, in his care we confide, and to his service all creatures in heaven and earth should be devoted.

We receive all those doctrines concerning sin, grace and predestination, known as Augustinian, which doctrines received the sanction not only of the Council of Carthage and of other provincial Synods, but of the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus AD431, and of Zosimus, bishop of Rome.

We therefore cannot be pronounced heretics without involving in the same condemnation the whole ancient church.
Neither are we schismatics. We cordially recognize as members of Christ’s visible Church on earth, all those who profess the true religion together with their children. We are not only willing but earnest to hold Christian communion with them, provided they do not require, as conditions of such communion, that we profess doctrines which the Word of God condemns, or that we should do what the Word forbids. If in any case any Church prescribes such unscriptural terms of fellowship, the error and the fault is with that church and not with us.

PopepiusixBut although we do not decline your invitation because we are either heretics or schismatics, we are nevertheless debarred from accepting it, because we still hold with ever increasing confidence those principles for which our fathers were excommunicated and pronounced accursed by the Council of Trent, which represented, and still represents, the Church over which you preside.

The most important of those principles are: First, that the Word of God, contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only infallible rule of faith and practice. The Council of Trent, however, pronounces Anathema on all who do not receive the teachings of tradition pari pietatis affectu (with equal pious affection) as the Scriptures themselves. This we cannot do without incurring the condemnation which our Lord pronounced on the Pharisees, who made void the Word of God by their traditions (Matt. 15:6).

Secondly, the right of private judgement. When we open the Scriptures, we find that they are addressed to the people. They speak to us. We are commanded to search them (John 5:39), to believe what they teach. We are held personally responsible for our faith. The apostle commands us to pronounce accursed an apostle or an angel from heaven who should teach anything contrary to the divinely authenticated Word of God (Gal. 1:8). He made us the judges, and has placed the rule of judgement into our hands, and holds us responsible for our judgements.

Moreover, we find that the teaching of the Holy Spirit was promised by Christ not to the clergy only, much less to any one order of the clergy exclusively, but to all believers. It is written, ‘Ye shall all be taught of God.’ The Apostle John says to believers: ‘Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and know all things . . . but the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you; and ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him’ (1 John 2:20,27). This teaching of the Spirit authenticates itself, as this same apostle teaches us, when he says, ‘He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself (1 John 5:10). ‘I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth’ (1 John 2:21). Private judgement, therefore, is not only a right, but a duty, from which no man can absolve himself, or be absolved by others.

Thirdly, we believe in the universal priesthood of all believers, that is, that all believers have through Christ access by one Spirit unto the Father (Eph. 2:18); that we may come with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Heb. 4:16); ‘Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water’ (Heb. 10:19-22). To admit, therefore, the priesthood of the clergy, whose intervention is necessary to secure for us the remission of sin and other benefits of the redemption of Christ, is to renounce the priesthood of our Lord, or its sufficiency to secure reconciliation with God.

Fourthly, we deny the perpetuity of apostleship. As no man can be an apostle without the Spirit of prophecy, so no man can be an apostle without the gifts of an apostle. Those gifts, as we learn from Scripture, were plenary knowledge of the truth derived from Christ by immediate revelation (Gal.s 1:12), and personal infallibility as teachers and rulers. What the seals of apostleship were Paul teaches us, when he says to the Corinthians, ‘Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds’ (2 Cor. 12:12). As for prelates who claim to be apostles, and who demand the same confidence in their teaching, and the same submission to their authority, as that which is due to the inspired messengers of Christ, without pretending to possess either the gifts or signs of the apostleship, we cannot submit to their claims. This would be rendering to erring men the subjection due to God alone or to his divinely authenticated and infallible messengers.

Much less can we recognize the Bishop of Rome as the vicar of Christ on earth, clothed with the authority over the Church and the world which was exercised by our Lord while here in the flesh. It is plain that no one can be the vicar of Christ who has not the attributes of Christ. To recognize the Bishop of Rome as Christ’s vicar is therefore virtually to recognize him as divine.

We must stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. We cannot forfeit our salvation by putting man in the place of God, giving one of like passions with ourselves the control of our inward and outward life which is due only to him in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and in whom dwells all the fulness of the Godhead.

Other and equally cogent reasons might be assigned why we cannot with a good conscience be represented in the proposed Council. But as the Council of Trent, whose canons are still in force, pronounces all accursed who hold the principles above enumerated, nothing further is necessary to show that our declining your invitation is a matter of necessity.

Nevertheless, although we cannot return to the fellowship of the Church of Rome, we desire to live in charity with all men. We love all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. We regard as Christian brethren all who worship, love and obey him as their God and Saviour, and we hope to be united in heaven with all who unite with us on earth in saying, ‘Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen’ (Rev. 1:6).

Signed on behalf of the two General Assemblies of the Presbyterian Church in the US of America

Charles Hodge

Posted by: James McDonald | December 15, 2012

A prayer for Connecticut – and the Nation

Almighty Father, Sovereign Lord, God of Love and of Justice, we implore You to be with the many this day who are staggering under the overwhelming weight of grief and loss. We pray that you would reveal Yourself to them. Surround them with supernatural comfort during their great hour of need. Give strength to those who are ministering to the suffering, and have mercy upon those who are lost and grieving. Bind up the wounds of the injured and deal graciously with those who mourn. Give them the peace that surpasses all understanding; and, as You work in Connecticut, help us as a nation to repent. We have neglected Your laws; we have not brought up our children in Your nurture and admonition. We are a hard-necked country of lawbreakers and rebels. Help us, as a people, turn to You, to Your Word, that we may find true peace, true strength, true life. We ask this in the Name of Your Son and our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Posted by: James McDonald | November 30, 2012

A Prayer for a Nation…

Museveni_July_2012_Cropped
On the 50th anniversary of Uganda’s independence from the United Kingdom, President Yoweri Museveni offered the prayer below, publicly repenting on behalf of the sins of his nation. Is Uganda, as a nation, becoming a disciple of Jesus? Could such a prayer be offered from the leader of the United States?

Father God in heaven, today we stand here as Ugandans, to thank you for Uganda. We are proud that we are Ugandans and Africans. We thank you for all your goodness to us. I stand here today to close the evil past and especially in the last 50 years of our national leadership history and at the threshold of a new dispensation in the life of this nation. I stand here on my own behalf and on behalf of my predecessors to repent. We ask for your forgiveness. We confess these sins, which have greatly hampered our national cohesion and delayed our political, social and economic transformation.

We confess sins of idolatry and witchcraft which are rampant in our land. We confess sins of shedding innocent blood, sins of political hypocrisy, dishonesty, intrigue and betrayal. Forgive us of sins of pride, tribalism and sectarianism; sins of laziness, indifference and irresponsibility; sins of corruption and bribery that have eroded our national resources; sins of sexual immorality, drunkenness and debauchery; sins of unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred and revenge; sins of injustice, oppression and exploitation; sins of rebellion, insubordination, strife and conflict. These sins and many others have characterized our past leadership, especially the last 50 years of our history. Lord, forgive us and give us a new beginning. Give us a heart to love you, to fear you and to seek you. Take away from us all the above sins.

We pray for national unity. Unite us as Ugandans and eliminate all forms of conflict, sectarianism and tribalism. Help us to see that we are all your children, children of the same Father. Help us to love and respect one another and to appreciate unity in diversity. We pray for prosperity and transformation. Deliver us from ignorance, poverty and disease. As leaders, give us wisdom to help lead our people into political, social and economic transformation.

We want to dedicate this nation to you so that you will be our God and guide. We want Uganda to be known as a nation that fears God and as a nation whose foundations are firmly rooted in righteousness and justice to fulfill what the Bible says in Psalm 33:12: Blessed is the nation, whose God is the Lord. A people you have chosen as your own.

I renounce all the evil foundations and covenants that were laid in idolatry and witchcraft. I renounce all the satanic influence on this nation. And I hereby covenant Uganda to you, to walk in your ways and experience all your blessings forever. I pray for all these in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Posted by: James McDonald | November 21, 2012

Our Thanksgiving Tradition…

[a repost from previous years]

One turkey carved and waiting. One more in the oven. Stacy and the girls busy with pralines and pies (pumpkin, pecan, buttermilk, apple, and more). Oyster dressing (God bless the Cajuns) awaits!

But it was not always so. The story of the Pilgrim adventure should haunt the minds of today’s celebrants. The dead, the dying, the starving – and yet God was there.

To help us recall this time of want, and then God’s great blessing, we gather with friends and family to sing the following poem. It chronicles the time, in the midst of the despair, when Bradford and the Pilgrims had only five kernels of corn as a daily ration of food, and gave thanks. Then it retells the day when the heavens opened and God poured out blessing upon His people.

May we remember not only their faith and sacrifice, but His goodness, as we feast today.

By the way, we sing this to the tune of Let All Things Now Living.

Five Kernels of Corn – Hezekiah Butterworth
‘Twas the year of the famine in Plymouth of old,
The ice and the snow from the thatched roofs had rolled;
Through the warm purple skies steered the geese o’er the seas,
And the woodpeckers tapped in the clocks of the trees;
And the boughs on the slopes to the south winds lay bare,
and dreaming of summer, the buds swelled in the air.
The pale Pilgrims welcomed each reddening morn;
There were left but for rations Five Kernels of Corn.
Five Kernels of Corn!
Five Kernels of Corn!
But to Bradford a feast were Five Kernels of Corn!

“Five Kernels of Corn! Five Kernels of Corn!
Ye people, be glad for Five Kernels of Corn!”
So Bradford cried out on bleak Burial Hill,
And the thin women stood in their doors, white and still.
“Lo, the harbor of Plymouth rolls bright in the Spring,
The maples grow red, and the wood robins sing,
The west wind is blowing, and fading the snow,
And the pleasant pines sing, and arbutuses blow.
Five Kernels of Corn!
Five Kernels of Corn!
To each one be given Five Kernels of Corn!”

O Bradford of Austerfield hast on thy way,
The west winds are blowing o’er Provincetown Bay,
The white avens bloom, but the pine domes are chill,
And new graves have furrowed Precisioners’ Hill!
“Give thanks, all ye people, the warm skies have come,
The hilltops are sunny, and green grows the holm,
And the trumpets of winds, and the white March is gone,
Five Kernels of Corn!
Five Kernels of Corn!
Ye have for Thanksgiving Five Kernels of Corn!

“The raven’s gift eat and be humble and pray,
A new light is breaking and Truth leads your way;
One taper a thousand shall kindle; rejoice
That to you has been given the wilderness voice!”
O Bradford of Austerfield, daring the wave,
And safe through the sounding blasts leading the brave,
Of deeds such as thine was the free nation born,
And the festal world sings the “Five Kernels of Corn.”
Five Kernels of Corn!
Five Kernels of Corn!
The nation gives thanks for Five Kernels of Corn!
To the Thanksgiving Feast bring Five Kernels of Corn!

Posted by: James McDonald | September 26, 2011

180 – The Movie

Fill in the blank: It is justified to kill a child in the womb when ________.

This is a powerful and compelling argument against the practice of abortion on demand.

Posted by: James McDonald | February 27, 2011

The Lord Jesus Christ – Norm Wakefield

These are my raw notes of Norm Wakefield’s second talk at the 2011 Christian Life Conference in Monroe, WI

  • What is the living hope to which we are born again?
    • 1 Pet 1:3-4
    • Being born again comes through the resurrection of Jesus
    • A hope of an inheritance
    • Is there anything that Peter did that could have made his relationship with Jesus perish, be defiled or fade away? Yes
    • But the relationship was not based on him, but on the work of Jesus! Peter had hope because the relationship he had with Jesus was not based on anything he did, but was based on Jesus love for him
  • How did Jesus reveal Himself to Peter?
    • Jn 21:7, 12-14
    • After two manifestations of Jesus, Peter still goes back fishing
    • Peter has failed – he is disillusioned and discouraged
    • What was Peter’s view of Jesus? Perhaps an earthly king? King of what? The King of the Kingdom when He comes – Maybe master? A master rules,  they take over, they conquer – or maybe Ruler, He will come and rule – these were possibly Peter’s thoughts, and they are correct
    • 21:15-16 – the agape and phileo dialogue – Jesus called him Simon, hearkening back to his relationship before Jesus, Peter in the flesh, he had returned to where he was in the flesh – Jesus was saying that He knew everything about Peter
    • Matt 16:17-18 – Peter didn’t figure it out, it came into him through the work of the Spirit – Jesus was talking of the rock of faith, Jesus being built on the power of God
    • Matt 17:24-27 – Jesus used the name “Simon” when He was trying to build Peter’s faith.
    • Why is Jesus single out Peter? So Peter can see that his relationship with Jesus  is not dependent on Peter
    • Jn 21:18-19 “Follow me”
  • “Feed my sheep,” means that Jesus is the Lord – our shepherd – notice the difference
    • Jesus is Lord over his sin because He is the good shepherd who laid down His life
    • A King rules with law – the subjects must obey
    • Rulers rules with law – the subjects must obey
    • Masters rules with law – the subjects must obey
    • Shepherds rule with love – and the sheep are to obey
    • Jn 21:18-19 “Follow me” – rather than obey me – the shepherd leads the way
    • 1 Pet 2:21, 24-25 – a picture of the love of the shepherd
    • Parents that are having to make their adult children obey see Jesus as the Lord their King not Jesus as the Lord their shepherd
    • 1 Pet  4:19, 5:1-4, 6-8
    • Up to the point of the beach experience, Peter had seen Jesus as rigid king, ready to lord it over others, but know he sees Jesus as a shepherd who guides, leads, and protects
    • Jesus is a King, a Ruler, and a Master, but at His heart is a shepherd, who goes after the wayward sheep with love and mercy rather than the law and with the staff
    • Standards matter, but they do not matter more than our relationship with Jesus
    • When we have a revelation of what Jesus has done, we will seek to follow him and conform to His will, and we will seek to see our neighbors have a relationship with Jesus before we seek to have them conform to standards
    • What will give us comfort is not our adherence to standards, but the certainty of our relationship with Jesus
    • Sheep take their eyes of the shepherd following their hunger – the only way they get back is when the shepherd comes to find them
    • You are in danger of being Satan’s prey if you do not look up and see Jesus as the Lord your shepherd
Posted by: James McDonald | February 26, 2011

The Gospel and our Children – Paul Washer

These are my raw notes of Paul Washer’s second talk at the 2011 Christian Life Conference in Monroe, WI.

The Gospel, our children, and assurance of salvation – important for us parents as we raise our children

  • The Gospel when dealing with children
    • What do we say to teach our children the Gospel
    • Some believe we should set the story forward in stories – but we need to deal with truth, the Holy Spirit illuminates the truth regardless of the age
    • We need to be concerned about souls, not the Four Spiritual Laws
    • We need to begin where the Gospel begins – Jesus died because of God’s justice, this is the beginning point, not our sin.
    • The greatest problem we have is that God is just
    • When our children understand who God is they can better understand who they are
      • Proverbs 17:15 – the Gospel from Proverbs
      • God can only justify the wicked if the debt is satisfied
      • We have a just God in Heaven – what is a just God to do with someone like me?
      • In order to save, God had to satisfy His justice – He had to pay the price – who can pay it? No one, except for the Judge, who carried our sin on Himself
  • If we try to live a ridged, legalistic life and yet add the Gospel as just something we teach alongside manners, we miss the point – it has all got to be about the Gospel, all that we do, all that we teach
  • Do your children see the joy of the Gospel in your life, on your face?
  • It is not about the communication of rules, it is about the communication of life! The life we find in Jesus!
  • It is against God’s law to be immoral? Absolutely! But, is it against God’s law to be without love and joy? Absolutely!
  • We who are Reformed must be careful – we can quote the WCF, but do we seek order to the point that we look as a cemetery? Or do we tarry with the Lord in the night watch? Are we in the Word? Are we in prayer? Are we living the joy of the Lord?
  • The Assurance of Salvation in dealing with children
    • Rev 3:20 is not a picture of salvation, it is Jesus knocking on the door of a church
    • Salvation does not start with “Do you want to go to heaven? It starts with repentance and faith
    • A parent should listen, and let God deal with a child
    • Ask your child if they see their sin – show them Scriptures on repentance – do they know the vileness of their sin?
    • Share with our children the promises of God
    • Bring them to Romans 10
    • Some parents would say, “You are so young, I have doubts about your salvation.” Likewise, it is dangerous to presume their salvation – the important thing is to disciple them, water the seed, watch them grow
    • If they do not have a desire for the things of God, we have reason for concern
    • How does a person know they are saved?
      • It is not the prayer they prayed at one time in their life
      • Address the intellect from John 3:16 – the one who believes in Him, so, do you believe that you know possess eternal life?
      • You say you believe, but what do you believe about Jesus?
        • The deity of Christ: that He is fully God and fully man
        • That he lived a
        • Substitutionary atonement – that He suffered in our place
        • The Resurrection of Jesus
        • Is Jesus “the” Savior or is Jesus “a” savior? The Christian life is to the exclusion of all other lives
    • Address the experience: Rom 5:5
      • The salvation of Jesus is not just an intellect
      • When a person is converted, it is not just a position, it is a real thing that happens – they have a heart of flesh instead of the heart of stone
      • How do we know the historicity of the Resurrection? It is not because we have learned 10 historical reasons for the resurrection – it is because of the work of the Holy Spirit in his life
      • Those who know Jesus really know the wind of the Spirit!
      • America is not Gospel hardened the preachers are Gospel ignorant
      • Points to consider for disciplining children
        • Take then into high truth
        • Preach the Gospel, and trust God to awaken them
        • Do not discourage them, but encourage them with the Word
        • Children are born radically depraved, just as us – and without the Spirit of God, the more they see of Jesus, the more they will hate
        • People talk about freedom all the time – but there is only one being who is free, and that is God – we do not make any free decisions, because we are all under some influences – we will all make decisions as aligned by our affections – and the only way for us to make decisions for God we must be recreated in the image of God, which is not our work, but the work of the Holy Spirit!
        • Practical steps to consider
          • What kind of home has Jesus made for me? What kind of a home am I trying to make for my children?
          • The greatest need in most Christian homes is a godly, Christ-like husband and father
          • Remember the power of winsome joy in the home!
          • In family worship, do not turn the time into a drudgery – Book Recommendation: Teach them Diligently by Lou Priolo – you must live this!
Posted by: James McDonald | February 26, 2011

Looking Up: Faith at Work in Tough Times – Norm Wakefield

These are my raw notes of Norm Wakefield’s first talk at the 2011 Christian Life Conference in Monroe, WI

You are in a dangerous place – where there are speakers – it is so easy to just gather information – it is more than the page of notes – we should seek to listen through the speakers and seek Jesus.

We know more of Peter than almost any disciple – the primary preacher at Pentecost – author of two letters in the NT – walked on water!  But what he knew of Jesus should be what we all know. We can know Jesus as intimately as Peter.

Or temptation is when we examine ourselves and think we are in a good state in light of others  - the danger is to believe a little at that is all – the danger is to believe in God a little and think ourselves fine because those around us believe nothing.

There is the faith that saves and holds us up, and then there is a worldly faith that does not save

  • What does faith look like?  1 Peter :1-2, 14-15, 22; 2:8, 13, 16, 21; 4:2, 6; 5:2
    • Those who are chosen
    • Those who obey
    • Those who have been sprinkled by His blood
    • Surrender to the will of God
    • We find God’s grace to obey  and His peace in the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus
  • What does faith do? 1:5
    • Faith protects us
    • Faith is what saves us
    • Faith in tough times is what carries us through
  • What is the basis of your faith? 1:3
    • A revelation that Jesus is Lord!
    • We need a revelation that Jesus is Lord – we need to understand what this means
    • To Peter, Jesus as Lord is central to His understand of who Jesus is
    • To Peter, the resurrection meant that Jesus is the Lord of life, the Lord of all
    • The resurrection is central to the understanding that Jesus is Lord
    • Reflection of Jesus meeting Peter – when the nets were full, Peter called Jesus Lord and pleaded with the Lord to leave him, because he was a sinful man – this is the way we need to see the Lord, and the way we need to see ourselves
    • Before we understand that Jesus is Lord, who was lord? We were. A faith that lets us still be lord is not God-wrought faith
  • What is the pure milk of the Word?
    • Peter was writing to the Jews who were in Jerusalem when he was preaching
    • Acts 2:24, 36
    • What was the main thing that Peter preached? This is the milk of the Word, the basic substance, the beginning point: Jesus us Lord! We didn’t make Him Lord, the Father made Him Lord!
    • When we drink the pure milk of the word, we see Jesus as the Lord of every breath we take, we see Him as the Lord of all! (3:15)
    • The grace that comes when we see that Jesus is Lord is surrender and obedience
  • Faith comes to those who look up: Fix your hope on God. (1:13)
    • Prepare your minds for action – get ready to have an encounter with Jesus
    • Keep sober in the Spirit – don’t let anything on this planet intoxicate you, steal your affections, this includes your afflictions
    • Fix your hope completely on the grace to come at you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
  • What is it to “look up”?
    • Not to “try” harder
    • Not to “do” more
    • To trust Jesus as Lord
    • We cannot make faith happen – tough times are given from God to teach us to look up and see Jesus as Lord, fix your hope completely on the hope of Jesus as Lord, Lord of all.
Posted by: James McDonald | February 26, 2011

A Few Photos from Day One…

…from the 2011 Christian Life Conference.

Abigail Helping at the Book Table

"Imitate me, as I imitate Christ" - Caleb and Paul Washer

A powerful message - a call to salvation!

 

 

Posted by: James McDonald | February 26, 2011

Biblical Foundations of the Family – Paul Washer

These are my raw notes of Paul Washer’s first presentation from the 2011 Christian Life Conference. A powerful word of the Gospel. Paul lays out the truth that the Biblical foundation of the family is simply and wonderfully this – the Gospel.

In the world we see much that is twisted, but what we have seen here is that all beauty originates from Jesus and the Gospel – we see the death of beauty when we see the a society forgetting Jesus

Want to talk about the Cross of Christ – we must understand  - we are a people who have been regenerated by the spirit and governed by Jesus – the greatest need of fathers, mothers and children is first and foremost the gospel – this must consume you – the only way you can be a proper husband, wife, mother father, child is if you are a disciple of Jesus

Principle apart from the Gospel is death

Duet 6 is empty without the Gospel, Eph 5 is empty without the Gospel – how many times do we have to preach the Gospel? How can we constantly wash our family with the Gospel? There are many who study things in the Scripture, but on the 2nd coming, you are going to understand everything about the about the 2nd coming, but you will just be starting to understand the Gospel – we are just scratching the surface – we need a deeper understanding of the Gospel

Charles Spurgeon – no matter what text he took, he took the course of the Gospel

Have you ever thought about Heaven? The materialistic view of physical utopia where you get all you want and nothing is bad – ponder, how long can you swing on a gate of pearl until it gets boring – there must be something greater than that – what is Heaven? Eternal life is that you might know God, and the greatest revelation is the Gospel of Jesus – spending an eternity tracking down the glory of God in the wonder of Jesus – and at the end of the day, you think it can get greater, you go on from there learning more and more – everyone wants to go to heaven, but they don’t want God to be there when they get there – we go from glory to glory in the person of God in the person of the Son

Doesn’t think of rules or regulations – the Gospel should control us

2 Cor 5:21

There is enough truth and glory in this passage to propel the regenerated heart into an eternity of devotion – He was made sin, to bear our sin,

What does it mean? He knew no sin – of all the things we have read about Jesus, nothing is more amazing – there has never been one moment in your life that you loved God as He ought to be loved – not one moment – piety, prayers, generosity, sacrifice – not one moment that you loved God as He should have been loved. But Jesus? There was never a time when he didn’t love God as he ought to have been loved – Jesus never missed the mark – He knew no sin

He became sin – this is a dangerous text – what does it mean to say “He was made sin?” – did His nature become corrupt and twisted? The answer was for us to become the righteousness of God

Forensic righteousness – Legal righteousness

The moment a person comes to faith he is declared righteous – not that we are righteous and sinless – and so, the moment we believed in Jesus, God declared us to be legally right with Him and He treated us as such – He has declared us right, and treats us right with Him – this is just the abounding grace of God – through Jesus we are legally declared right with Him

What does that have to do with Jesus being made sin? His nature was not corrupt on the Cross, even there He was the spotless lamb of God – but when He was in the Cross, the sin of God’s people was imputed on Him – God treated Him as that which we should have been treated – the full cup of God’s wrath should have been given to us – but Jesus stood in our place, He was treated as we should have been treated

It was imputed sin, but it was real sin – how can you and I know anything about the feeling and darkness of sin being thrown down on the head of a perfect being – because we were born in sin

Illustration – a young lady protected from all harm, but then you go to witness to the prostitutes – and you are thrown into a police car with the prostitutes – you are so ashamed, you feel soiled, you feel denigrated, you can’t stand the filth, and they throw you into the prison – you sit in a corner crushed into a million pieces – you want to die – that doesn’t even begin to tell the story of the Cross – we take in the filth of the world for breakfast, and yet Jesus knew no sin – and our sin was placed upon Him.

Jesus bore our sin – but here is something else, when He was on the tree, He bore our curse (Gal 3:10) – you were so vile before a holy God that the last thing you would have heard as you took the first step into hell is all of Creation applauding because He had rid the earth of us – this is not because God is evil, this happens because God is good – and we are not – what s He going to do with us?

We have no clue of what we are until we go to the biblical standard

Example – What Christians would feel free to wear to the beach today, 60 or 70 years ago, the secular authorities would have arrested them for breaking the law or would have placed them in an institution for mental disorder – we cannot compare ourselves with society, only with the Word

Let’s talk about blessing – from the Beatitudes – but let us turn that upside down – look not at the list from the position of the blessed, but invert it from the view of the cursed – we were the cursed, but in Jesus we are blessed – every time we acknowledge we are blessed is because Jesus bore our curse

God cannot bless the sinner unless someone has stood in his place and satisfied the penalty we deserved – for someone to be blessed by God someone must have been cursed – there is a beauty to being blessed, but it is a mourning beauty – we are blessed because He was cursed – everything we have in our lives is possible because He was cursed – nothing should be good – it should all be grey and nothing good should happen – anything that is good is only because of the mediation of the Lord Jesus

Paul was once asked, “What was the greatest sin?” His answer, “The moon walk.” Why? Because we are so depraved that we should have not been able to do that. The only way we were able to do it was because of the Gospel of Christ. And yet, we didn’t give Him glory.

We deserve the curses of Mount Ebal (Deut 27-28). But none of those curses fall upon the Christian because they fell upon Jesus. As Jesus was on the cross, He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” A that moment, God the Father replied, “God, Your God, damns you!” The curses of Mount Ebal fell upon Jesus on that day! The curse that should have fallen on our head fell upon the Son of God.

We were born estranged from God – born separated from Him – how can we know the pain of being separated from Him? But the Father and the Son? In bliss from eternity past? The Father, Son, and Spirit, lived in everlasting bliss. But on that Tree? On the Cross? The Father and the Son were separated by our sin.

The only covenant keeper was singled out to bear sins that were not His own.

Numbers 6:23-26 – this presents a great problem – how can God grant favor on Israel when His justice demands there death – Jesus took the opposite of this in His death

The wrath of God – in the Garden, some have said incredible atrocities – some have said that Jesus was afraid of Satan, others that he was afraid of the pain, not at all. The martyrs of the first three centuries went to their death singing hymns. How could this be when Jesus is said to have coward in the Garden? But Jesus was not concerned about the physical pain. What was in the cup? Psalm 75:8, Jeremiah 25:15-16. The cup was full of the wrath of Almighty God – most believe that when Jesus was on the Cross, God looked down at the suffering inflicted on Jesus by the Hands of the Romans, God found that sufficient and He turned away in horror – this is heresy. If we are saved, it is not because of what the Romans did, but what the Father did to the Son – there was no twisted joy, but was the plan of redemption being fulfilled – we should die under the wrath of God – Heaven is Heaven because God is there – Hell is Hell because God is there – to save you, someone had to die in our place – God must be just in His love, He must satisfy His justice in His love

The Gospel doesn’t begin with man, it begins with God – and God is just – justice must be satisfied, or justice will satisfy itself in the eternal torment of wicked men

John Flavel (1627–1691)…

The Father speaks. “My Son, here is a company of poor, miserable souls that have utterly undone themselves and now lay open to my justice. Justice demands satisfaction for them, or will satisfy itself in the eternal ruin of them.”

The Son responds. “Oh my Father. Such is my love to and pity for them, that rather then they shall perish eternally I will be responsible for them as their guarantee. Bring in all thy bills, that I may see what they owe thee. Bring them all in, that there be no after-reckonings with them. At my hands shall thou require it. I would rather choose to suffer the wrath that is theirs then they should suffer it. Upon me, my Father, upon me be all their debt.”

The Father responds. “But my Son, if thou undertake for them, thou must reckon to pay the last mite. Expect no abatement. Son, if I spare them… I will not spare you.”

The Son responds. “Content Father. Let it be so. Charge it all upon me. I am able to discharge it. And though it prove a kind of undoing to me, though it impoverish all my riches, empty all my treasures… I am content to take it.”

Do you see how free you are? Don’t you see how free you are? Oftentimes when a prisoner is pardoned, he kills himself because he got off the hook – if we got off the hook, we would have guilt – but we have been set free of our sin because of the sacrifice of Jesus – it is all gone! Every bit of it is gone! Free, free, free, free, it is gone! All the dirt, all the vomit, it is gone! And it cannot be brought to the Throne! We are free, clean! Oh God, what a joy divine!

Remember Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac (Gen 22) – take your son, your only son, whom you love, and offer him as a sacrifice – there is no fight, the boy gives himself willingly – yet at the moment of sacrifice, God intercedes! There is a ram caught in the thicket – but it was simply a picture of the work of Jesus, who was the Son, the only Son, the Son whom the Father loved

Jehovah-jireh is not our stuff – it is that the Lord has provided the Lamb! And He paid for our worst sin, and our best thought, for even our best thought does not honor God as He should be honored. How can God allow the wicked to live – Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David – how can God show mercy? He points over to Calvary

You want to know how much God hates sin, I’ll tell you! God hates sin so much that when His Son bore it He crushed Him! But on the third day, He arose, He has risen indeed – and He vindicated God the Father and the God the Father vindicated the Son. God has raised Him from the dead!

Rom 4:25 – it was God’s seal upon His cross work, the sacrifice was accepted – the one who was raised has ascended to the right hand of God – and He is the King! The nations would do well to kiss the Son because His anger flares up in a moment. Fear the Lamb.

The good news is Christ is reigning. The bad news is Christ is reigning.

What should you do with this? The Bible tells you that you are commanded by God to repent of your sins and believe the Gospel. Repentance is a change of mind – the mind is the center of your will and intellect – change it – and if it is changed everything is changed – as Saul was changed on the road to Damascus and he became Paul – his entire reality was disintegrated, everything he thought was true was wrong, and everything he thought was wrong was true! His mind changed, Jesus was not a blasphemer by the Messiah, the Son of God.

Have you repented? The sin that you love, do you now hate it? Do you now desire God and desire to follow Him? Now what must you do? Believe on the Lord Jesus and be saved – stop believing in everything else, it is not just a repentance from bad works, but also “good works.” Throw yourself upon Christ, do not trust in anything but Jesus – it is Jesus or nothing.

How do I know that I am trusting? Phil 3 – put no confidence in the flesh, boast in Jesus alone. Amen.

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