Thursday, October 30, 2014

reformation day

The photo above is of the Luther Monument in Worms, Germany.  Learn more about it here

In celebration of Reformation Day, here are a few quotes from Martin Luther (apologies for some lacking source citation): 

"Faith is a living, unshakeable confidence in God's grace; it is so certain, that someone would die a thousand times for it. This kind of trust in and knowledge of God's grace makes a person joyful, confident, and happy with regard to God and all creatures. This is what the Holy Spirit does by faith. Through faith, a person will do good to everyone without coercion, willingly and happily; he will serve everyone, suffer everything for the love and praise of God, who has shown him such grace. It is as impossible to separate works from faith as burning and shining from fire." (Introduction to the Commentary on Romans)

"We find no rest for our weary bones unless we cling to the word of grace." (Commentary on Galatians)

“He who believes God, recognizes Him as true and faithful, and himself as a liar; for he mistrusts his own thinking as false, and trusts the Word of God as being true, though it absolutely contradicts his own reasoning.”  (Commentary on Romans)

"We must learn that forgiveness of sins, Christ, and the Holy Spirit, are freely granted to us at the preaching of faith, in spite of our sinfulness. We are not to waste time thinking how unworthy we are of the blessings of God. We are to know that it pleased God to freely give us His unspeakable gifts. If He offers His gifts free of charge, why not take them? Why worry about our lack of worthiness? Why not accept gifts with joy and thanksgiving?”  (Commentary on Galatians) 

[On Galatians 1:4...] "Christ was given up to death not for our righteousness or holiness, but for our sins, which are true sins, great ones, infinitely many, and invincible. So do not think they are small and such as may be gotten rid of by your own works; and do not despair because of their greatness if you feel oppressed by them, either in life or in death. Rather, learn from Paul to believe that Christ was given, not for pretend sins, nor for small sins, but for great and huge sins; not for one or two, but for all of them; not for vanquished sins (for no one— not even any angel— is able to overcome the least sin that there is), but for invincible sins."  (Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians)

"There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage." (Table Talk)

"Peace if possible, truth at all costs." 

“I am more afraid of my own heart than of the pope and all his cardinals. I have within me the great pope, Self.”

"Prayer is not overcoming God's reluctance, but laying hold of his willingness."

"We are beggars: this is true." ("The Last Written Words of Luther," Table Talk)

Monday, October 20, 2014

WSC on the Lord's prayer

"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.  
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  
Give us this day our daily bread, and 
forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” 
(Matthew 6:9-13 ESV)

There's a wonderful summary of the meaning of the Lord's prayer in the Westminster Shorter Catechism...

“Our Father in heaven...” teaches us firstly to draw near to God with all holy reverence and confidence as children to a father able and ready to help us; and secondly, that we should pray with and for others. (Six requests follow...)

1) “Hallowed be your name...” we pray that God may enable us and others to glorify him in all in which he makes himself known; and that he would overrule all things for his own glory.

2) “Your kingdom come...” we pray that Satan's kingdom may be destroyed, that the kingdom of grace may be advanced and ourselves and others brought into it and kept in it; and that Christ's return and the kingdom of glory may come quickly.

3) “Your will be done on earth...” we pray that God, by his grace, would make us able and willing to know, obey and submit to his will in all things, as the angels do in heaven.

4) “Give us today our daily bread...” we pray that by God's free gift we may receive a sufficient share of the good things of this life, and enjoy his blessing with them.

5) “Forgive us our debts...” we pray that God, for Christ's sake, would freely pardon all our sins; and we are encouraged to ask this because, by his grace, we are enabled from the heart to forgive others.

6) “Lead us not into temptation...” we pray that God would either keep us from being tempted to sin, or support and deliver us when we are tempted.

priorities in prayer (from Paul)

We just finished several Sunday evenings studying, and then applying in prayer, the things that the Apostle Paul prayed for the churches he wrote to. 

Here in bullet summary are the prayer points found in the Pauline epistles...

o Thanksgiving for God’s work in them
o For them to know God’s will with wisdom
o To walk worthy of (live up to) our calling
o To live a life pleasing to God
o To grow in the knowledge of the Lord
o For God to give power for every good work
o To be sanctified (beautified) by the Lord
o That God be glorified in & by them
o Wisdom and revelation in knowing God
o To be enlightened to know spiritual blessings
o To be strengthened by the Spirit inwardly
o Ability to understand the love of God
o Love to abound more, with discernment
o To prove the surpassing value of Jesus
o To bear the fruit of righteousness through Christ
o To render acceptable service to God’s people
o Deliverance from evil plans of unbelievers
o For boldness in gospel proclamation

Saturday, October 18, 2014

truth about nature of reality

"...the Christian message offers the missing piece deleted by naturalism - the personal, infinite Creator God who stands above nature and has spoken. This points first, not to a religious truth, but a truth about the nature of reality; that is, the world is one way if God is there, and it is another way if He is not. However, our voice in the name of truth will have little weight if our theology has no edge and we do not order our lives any differently than those without the truth."

(Bruce A. Little, "Theology Engaging Culture")

Friday, October 17, 2014

calvin's prayer

This is John Calvin's prayer at the beginning of his short work, The Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life, published in 1550.  This was a portion of the larger Institutes that was published as a brief manual for the spiritual life of the believer. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sunday notes (Jim Krouscas)

Some Sunday quotes & notes from the sermon by Jim Krouscas. 

"Two natures beat within my breast.
The one is foul, the other blest.
The one I love, the one I hate;
The one I feed will dominate."

"To be In Christ – that is redemption; but for Christ to be IN YOU – that is sanctification! To be IN CHRIST – that makes you fit for heaven; but for Christ to be IN YOU – that makes you fit for earth! To be in Christ – that changes your destination; but for Christ to be IN YOU – that changes your destiny! The one makes heaven your home – the other makes the world His workshop." 

(Ian Thomas, The Life of Christ in the Life of the Believer)

Treasuring Christ.  Because of Christ...

1) I am a recipient of God’s mercy. (Col 3:6)

2) I am a new person. (Col 3:3)

3) I am being renewed in the knowledge of God. (Col 3:10)

4) I am part of the universal Body of Christ. (Col 3:11)

5) I am chosen by God. (Col 3:12)

6) I am holy. (Col 3:12)

7) I am loved. (Col 3:12)

8) I am forgiven by God. (Col 3:13)

Sunday's sermon online here. 

moment by moment

Here is Francis Schaeffer on the unity of what salvation is... 

"[Salvation] is a single piece, and yet a flowing stream.  I became a Christian once for all upon the basis of the finished work of Christ through faith; that is justification.  The Christian life, sanctification, operates on the same basis, but moment by moment.  There is the same base (Christ's work) and the same instrument (faith); the only difference is that one is once for all and the other is moment by moment.  The whole unity of biblical teaching stands solid at this place.  If we try to live the Christian life in our own strength we will have sorrow, but if we live in this way, we will not only serve the Lord, but in place of sorrow, he will be our song.  That is the difference.  The 'how' of the Christian life is the power of the crucified and risen Lord, through the agency of the indwelling Holy Spirit, by faith moment by moment."   (Italics in the original)

(Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality, p. 79)

Monday, October 6, 2014

recognizing God's lordship

"You are my witnesses," declares the LORD, "and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior. I declared and saved and proclaimed, when there was no strange god among you; and you are my witnesses," declares the LORD, "and I am God."  (Isaiah 43:10-12 ESV)

"Recognizing God’s lordship affects the way we understand the world. If God is in control of the world, then the world is under his control. If God is our supreme authority, then he has the right to tell us what to believe. And if he is present everywhere, our attempts to know the world ought to recognize that presence. The most important fact about anything in the world is its relationship to God’s lordship...

"Naturalistic thought believes that all persons in the world are the product of impersonal forces, and that they can best be understood by reducing them to impersonal bits of matter and energy or, monistically, as aspects of an impersonal oneness. In these views, persons are reducible to the impersonal. In the biblical view, the impersonal reduces to the personal. Matter, energy, motion, time, and space are under the rule of a personal Lord. All the wonderful things that we find in personality—intelligence, compassion, creativity, love, justice—are not ephemeral data, doomed to be snuffed out in cosmic calamity; rather, they are aspects of what is most permanent, most ultimate. They are what the universe is really all about."

(John Frame, Systematic Theology)