The Nature of the One Who Knocks

This message is unretouched, as it were, and so there are a few pauses, ahems, mumbles, wanderings, and so forth. I will upload a cleaned-up version before long. I believe the message is for us all.

 

Revelation 3:14-22

[14] “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.

[15] “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! [16] So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. [17] For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. [18] I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. [19] Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. [20] Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. [21] The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. [22] He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

Song of Songs 5:2-8

She

[2] I slept, but my heart was awake.
A sound! My beloved is knocking.
“Open to me, my sister, my love,
my dove, my perfect one,
for my head is wet with dew,
my locks with the drops of the night.”
[3] I had put off my garment;
how could I put it on?
I had bathed my feet;
how could I soil them?
[4] My beloved put his hand to the latch,
and my heart was thrilled within me.
[5] I arose to open to my beloved,
and my hands dripped with myrrh,
my fingers with liquid myrrh,
on the handles of the bolt.
[6] I opened to my beloved,
but my beloved had turned and gone.
My soul failed me when he spoke.
I sought him, but found him not;
I called him, but he gave no answer.
[7] The watchmen found me
as they went about in the city;
they beat me, they bruised me,
they took away my veil,
those watchmen of the walls.
[8] I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
if you find my beloved,
that you tell him
I am sick with love.

 

Look to Christ, Not to Self

spurgeon-smiling“It is ever the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan’s work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, ‘Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of his children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus.’ All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within. But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: he tells us that we are nothing, but that ‘Christ is all in all.’

Remember, therefore, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee—it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee—it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument—it is Christ’s blood and merits; therefore, look not so much to thy hand with which thou art grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to thy hope, but to Jesus, the source of thy hope; look not to thy faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of thy faith. We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by “looking unto Jesus.” Keep thine eye simply on him; let his death, his sufferings, his merits, his glories, his intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when thou wakest in the morning look to him; when thou liest down at night look to him. Oh! let not thy hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus; follow hard after him, and he will never fail thee.

‘My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness:
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.’”

Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)
From: Morning and Evening, Morning devotion for June 28

What Is Lent?

The following is from the preface to a recommended devotional, “Journey to the Cross” available as a pdf download here. Courtesy of The Gospel Coalition.

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are at the very heart of Christianity. The good news of the gospel is that God has acted in history to conquer evil and reconcile sinners to himself through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. For those who have been united with this Jesus – who have submitted to Him as savior and Lord – have been united with Him in the likeness of His death and will one day be united with Him in the likeness of His resurrection (Rom. 6:5). Lent, therefore, is about living out of our union with, and identity in, Christ. Lent is first and foremost about the gospel making its way deeper into our lives.

Continue reading “What Is Lent?”

Resources for “Attributes – Love of God” class

Thanks to all who are attending Mike Domenica’s series on the Attributes of God, and thanks to those who came this morning to hear about the Love of God. Here are the promised resources (pdfs will open in a new window):

Class Notes:
attributes – the love of God-2.0

D.A. Carson, The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God (ebook):
2000_difficult_doctrine_of_the_love_of_God

William Webster, Experiencing the Love of God (article):
Experiencing the Love of God

Monergism.com Directory listings for Love of God:
http://www.monergism.com/directory/link_category/Gods-Attributes/The-Love-of-God/

These are all excellent resources. Thanks again!

John

Is this what C.H. Spurgeon sounded like?

thomasspurgeon

There were, of course, no recordings of the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon. But there was a single recording of his son, Thomas, who read a few words from his father’s final sermon. Thomas followed in the footsteps of his famous father, pastoring the Metropolitan Tabernacle for 15 years after his father’s death in 1892.

Here is the link to the page with the recording, together with some interesting commentary. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Planning apart from God?

From Martyn Lloyd-Jones:

martyn-lloyd-jones1

We are all expert planners, are we not? Those people [the builders of Babel’s Tower] were planners. They drew the specifications of the city. They had it all worked out. We all do that in life, do we not? You have your plans. Your future life and career are mapped out. You know what you want to do. Where does God come in? Is the plan made under God, or is it made apart from him? The one lesson of [Genesis 11] is that if you plan your life without God at the center, it will come to nothing, nothing at all. It will be as futile and as fatuous as the Tower of Babel. God will come down and will destroy it, whether you like that or not. This is the whole history of the Bible. It is the history of the subsequent centuries after the end of the Bible. It is the history of the twentieth century. The human race is not allowed to build a civilization without God, and you are not allowed to build your life without God.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Gospel in Genesis: From Fig Leaves to Faith (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2009), 141, via desiringgod.org.

Noah & Beginning Afresh

Old Noah stroked his beard and sat
Among his sons like stone. “What’s that?”
They asked. “There in your lap, the bark.”
But Noah let the evening dark
Grow thick before he said a word.

“How can I speak what I have heard!”
He thought, and looked at Ham and Shem
And Japheth. How he cherished them!
“Will they believe? Or will they say
That I am old and speak the way
My father, Lamech, did before
He died. I pray they not ignore
Their aged father now, for I
Speak words by which they live or die.”

Then softly in the dark, “An ark,”
He said, “I’ve drawn it on the bark,
One hundred fifty paces long
And fifty cubits wide, built strong
With gopher wood, and over all
The pitch, and thirty cubits tall.”
He paused as tears rolled down his beard,
“It is, my sons, as I have feared:
The patience of Almighty God
Is ended, and the awful rod
Will break itself in wrath across
Our land. O my sons, the loss!
The loss that comes with unbelief!
Doubt not, my sons. Your father’s grief
Is deep as Sheol for the land
And people like the ocean sand.”
He broke off, weeping at the thought.

He did not shed his tears for naught
Because: where arguments may fail
To win, the tears of love prevail.
Shem, Ham and Japheth had been stirred,
And all three sons believed his word.
The building . . . then the endless rain:
Relentless, raging tears, to drain
The eyes of heaven’s justice dry.
And then the smile of cloudless sky.
The sudden thud of Ararat
And eight thin voices shout, “What’s that?”
A circling dove returns no more,
And Noah passes through the door
Into a silent, lifeless world
Where wrath had done its work and swirled
Its victims to the distant sea.
Now, father Noah, what will be?

Then slowly with arthritic hands
The old man gathers stone and stands
The heavy pieces face to face,
And trembling builds a holy place,
And offers sheep and pigeons there
To worship God with fire and prayer.

O God of fresh beginnings, take
Our Christmas worship for your sake,
And make our hearts a holy pyre
And Noah’s hope the kindling fire.

Let us begin where he’s begun
And light our advent candle one.

 

By John Piper. ©2012 Desiring God Foundation.
Website: desiringGod.org


 

All creation groans

In recent days we in the Northeast have experienced a bit of violent weather, and thus it is our turn to be reminded that we humans have no real control over such things. There are some things just too big for us. When we are in the midst of it, we stand in awe, but this awe rarely drives us to the Great Creator and Sustainer. Instead, what we usually do is to take some pictures and share disaster tales (yeah, but my street was under six feet of water or it was so windy that I had whitecaps in my toilet).  We bail out, clean up, and get back in the saddle. Business as usual.

Day by day, people in various parts of the world deal with natural problems such as poison ivy, scorpions, no rain, too much rain, man-eating tigers, you name it, all indicating that we live in a world where not only man is spoiled (like meat left out too long), but all of nature is spoiled, as well.

Marvelously, creation has been redeemed as well as mankind. Vern Poythress says it well:

Now Christ’s redemption brings a reversal and remedy for the whole disaster of the Fall. Above all, Christ brings a remedy for sin, as Romans 3:21-26 and the rest of Romans 8 indicate. But his triumph will also liberate the larger creation from “futility,” that is, the effects of the curse. The creation was originally good, and the futility was imposed only later, at the time of the Fall. Hence, there is a genuine basis for believing that God will extirpate futility without thereby destroying the good creation as well. And that is what Romans 8:21 promises: “the creation itself will be set freedom from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”

 The full article is here.

Thanks be to God, who redeems us not to merely park us on a cloud, but to enjoy the new heavens and new earth!