4.30.2011

Daily Gospel: 4/30/11

Christ speaks the same message in both the Old and New Testaments because He is speaking to the same people - those who by faith are His. That He is Captain of the army of the Lord is grace to Joshua and grace to us because by the same grace we are made soldiers in that army. The same grace in turn ensures the victory. He is our Captain. He, not Joshua, brings down the walls of Jericho. He, not Joshua, storms the very gates of hell. He, not Joshua, takes captivity captive. He, not Joshua, is Lord of lords and King of kings. And we, because He loves us, march in the victory parade with Him.
 - R.C. Sproul Jr., The Victory Parade We Don't Deserve, Tabletalk Magazine, April 2011, p. 27

4.29.2011

This says it all about the royal wedding...

"Plus this world is in such a sad state, isn't this a wonderful way to distract us from what's going on in the world?"
 - A Syracuse, NY watcher of the royal UK wedding.

It would be really easy for me to get all cynical about the above quote, but "There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" (Proverbs 12:18). Let's go with that.

I agree with the woman who said, "...this world is in such a sad state...". It is. The world truly is in a sad state. If I had to guess, this is what I think would be on her mind: recent unrest across many countries, carnage from tornadoes, seemingly unending wars, and many other things which presently dominate the headlines. Or maybe she was wrapped up in these sorrows: the death of a loved one, a struggle to pay rent, the everyday stress of life, etc. Earthly sorrows abound for all people. Earthly joys also grace our lives. But overall, what can be said about the world? Is there a certain hope or not?

A common remedy to assuage the pain of sorrows is to simply distract the mind with more light, happy, and often fleeting things. In this case it is a marriage celebration clothed in grandeur. But can temporary distractions give a mind lasting happiness and hope? Obviously not. What can? Doesn't the Christmas-time song go like this: "A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices!" The hope that the world longs for is the incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ.

So enjoy a fancy wedding for now. Nothing wrong with that. But don't ever seek relief from the sorrows you face by gripping to anything other than the hope which is found in Jesus.

Daily Gospel: 4/29/11

O for an overcoming faith
To cheer my dying hours;
To triumph o'er the monster Death,
And all his frightful powers!

Joyful with all the strength I have
My quiv'ring lips should sing-
Where is thy boasted vict'ry, Grave?
And where the monster's sting?

If sin be pardoned, I'm secure,
Death hath no sting beside;
The law gives sin its damning power;
But Christ, my ransom, died.

Now to the God of victory
Immortal thanks be paid,
Who makes us conquerors while we die,
Through Christ our living head.
 - Isaac Watts, Hymn 17

Sojourn Community Church recently put out a CD of hymns of Isaac Watts. I highly commend it.

4.28.2011

Daily Gospel: 4/28/11

37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”
 - John 18:37-38

What is truth? What is the truth that Jesus bore witness to?

When the Pharisees were seeking to kill Jesus for healing a man on the Sabbath (John 5:18), Jesus confronted them with some cutting words about who he was. There is much talk about bearing witness and testifying in John 5. In Jesus' address to the Pharisees, he said that the testimony of John the baptist was true (John 15:32). John the baptist was giving the crowds a big helping of straight talk - straight talk directly from God to the people about the Christ. Jesus knew this and said that John has "borne witness to the truth" (John 5:33). John was a truthful prophet (which is somewhat of a redundant phrase).

But the testimony of Jesus is greater than John's testimony (John 5:36). Jesus was testifying about himself, he was a single person whose testimony was self-authenticating because of the works that he was doing. These works were given to Jesus by the Father (John 5:36). Furthermore, even apart from Jesus' self-verifying testimony, the Father and the Scriptures all testify about Christ and validate his works, message, and person (John 5:37-39).

So, what is the bottom line truth that Jesus was bearing witness to? I propose it is this: You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life (John 5:39-40). Jesus' testimony is about himself. It is about how he alone brings eternal life. This is the truth that Jesus bears witness to. How much more striking is it that Jesus tells Pilate that life is only found in him as Jesus closes in on his earthly death.

4.27.2011

Daily Gospel: 4/27/11

First, we must notice that it is a reliable message. Both of those words are important, reliable and message. The gospel is not the same as asking Jesus into your heart. The gospel is not a program for becoming a better you. The gospel is not a series of ethical commands. The gospel is not an experience of generic spirituality. The gospel is the good news that God so loved the world that he sent his Son, Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, to fulfill the law, to suffer as a man, and to die on the cross, bearing the penalty for sin the we deserved, and being raised on the third day that we might be declared innocent and righteous before God. The gospel is a message.
 - Kevin DeYoung

Via TGC

4.22.2011

Daily Gospel: 4/22/11

And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,
 - Romans 4:5

"does not work"
"believes in him"
"justifies the ungodly"
"counted as righteousness"

These are foundational phrases for the doctrine of salvation, specifically justification. They are unique to the Christian faith. They go against everything in self-justifying heart of man. Yet they are the truth, and indeed the only glorious way which one can be saved - justified.

Do you work? Or do you believe? (A necessary caveat: believing is not a work that man meritoriously performs. See Machen's What is Faith? for multiple addresses to this topic.)

Come, you ungodly, and be justified by Jesus' blood.

4.21.2011

Daily Gospel: 4/21/11

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
 - Psalm 100

I was brought back to Psalm 100 by this post over at The Resurgence. I had always read Psalm 100 mainly as a call to serve and worship God, but I am seeing how this Psalm can greatly soothe the doubting heart. Yahweh is God. Jesus is God. Know this. This is a fact. No questioning about it, God is God. He made all of humanity, all the creation. Moreso, he owns us, not as mere trinkets, but as cared and loved sheep. We, the redeemed Church of God, are especially cared for in his mysterious electing grace. Take comfort in this. I know it helps me. It puts ballast in the shaky boat of my heart.

4.20.2011

Daily Gospel: 4/20/11

“Tears of sentimentality and pity are nowhere so much out of place as on Calvary. While resigning ourselves to such emotions, we mistake the Lord Jesus — nay, even degrade Him, and as regards ourselves, miss the way of salvation marked out for us by God. Hence the Savior exclaims, once for all, ‘Weep not for me!’ (Luke 23:28).”

 - F. W. Krummacher, quoted by Philip Graham Ryken in Luke (Vol 2) (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 2009), 573

Via OFI

4.19.2011

Daily Gospel: 4/19/11

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace,
One in Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Savior and my God!
 - Before The Throne of God Above, Charitie L. Bancroft

Via Cyberhymnal

4.18.2011

Daily Gospel: 4/18/11

When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
 - John 19:30

Wonderful preaching yesterday at Missio Church on John 18-19. Take some time today and meditate on the words of our Lord: It is finished. His grace is sufficient for you. Know this. Preach this to your heart.

4.17.2011

Daily Gospel: 4/17/11

You have the assurance of God's Word that, if you are his child, he will "equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ" (Hebrews 13:21). Our endurance in faith and joy is finally and decisively in the hands of God. Yes, we must fight. But this very fight is what God "works in us". And he most certainly will do it, for "whom He justified, these He also glorified" (Romans 8:30). He will lose none of those he has brought to faith and justified. "[He] shall also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by Whom you were called" (1 Corinthians 1:8-9). Our future is as secure as the faithfulness of God. "Faithful is He Who calls you, and He will bring it to pass" (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
 - John Piper, Future Grace, p. 318. Emphasis original.

4.16.2011

Daily Gospel: 4/16/11

From the cross uplifted high
Where the Savior deigns to die
What melodious sounds I hear
Bursting on my ravished ear
Love's redeeming work is done
Come and welcome, sinner, come.

Sprinkled now with blood the throne
Why beneath thy burdens groan
On my pierced body laid
Justice owns the ransom paid
Bow the knee and kiss the Son
Come and welcome, sinner, come.

Spread for thee the festal board
See with richest dainties stored
To thy Father¹s bosom pressed
Yet again a child confessed
Never from His house to roam
Come and welcome, sinner, come.

Soon the days of life shall end
Lo, I come, your Savior, Friend
Safe your spirit to convey
To the realms of endless day
Up to my eternal home.
Come and welcome, sinner, come.
 - "Come and Welcome"

Via Indelible Grace

One of my favorite songs. The only reason I'm glad to be a sinner because Christ came to save sinners.

4.15.2011

Daily Gospel: 4/15/11

Now I saw in my dream, that the highway up which Christian was to go, was fenced on either side with a wall, and that wall was called Salvation (Isaiah 26:1).Up this way, therefore, did burdened Christian run, but not without great difficulty, because of the load on his back.

He ran thus till he came at a place somewhat ascending; and upon that place stood a cross, and a little below, in the bottom, a sepulchre. So I saw in my dream, that just as Christian came up with the cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders, and fell from off his back, and began to tumble, and so continued to do till it came to the mouth of the sepulchre, where it fell in, and I saw it no more.

Then was Christian glad and lightsome, and said with a merry heart, “He hath given me rest by his sorrow, and life by his death.” Then he stood still a while, to look and wonder; for it was very surprising to him that the sight of the cross should thus ease him of his burden. He looked, therefore, and looked again, even till the springs that were in his head sent the waters down his cheeks (Zech. 12:10). Now as he stood looking and weeping, behold, three Shining Ones came to him, and saluted him with, “Peace be to thee.” So the first said to him, “Thy sins be forgiven thee,” (Mark 2:5); the second stripped him of his rags, and clothed him with change of raiment, (Zech. 3:4); the third also set a mark on his forehead, (Eph. 1:13), and gave him a roll with a seal upon it, which he bid him look on as he ran, and that he should give it in at the celestial gate: so they went their way.
 - John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress

Via CCEL

I fell asleep reading and meditating on this passage a few nights ago. What a wonderful thing to fall asleep to: “He hath given me rest by his sorrow, and life by his death.”

4.14.2011

Daily Gospel: 4/14/11

Preaching the gospel to ourselves every day addresses both the self-righteous Pharisee and the guilt-laden sinner that dwell in our hearts. Since the gospel is only for sinners, preaching it to ourselves every day reminds us that we are indeed sinners in need of God’s grace. It causes us to say to God, in the words of an old hymn, ‘Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to thy cross I cling.’

 - Jerry Bridges, The Disciple of Grace: God's Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness, (Colorado Springs, Co.: NavPress, 1994),

4.13.2011

Daily Gospel: 4/13/11

[3] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us [4] to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, [5] who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
 - 1 Peter 1:3-5

A few things I love about this passage:
  • God actually has mercy on us who are stuck in sin's miserable plight. What a joy to consider the goodness shown towards us when we were in an abominable state.
  • Some people hate the idea that they are wholly helpless in spiritual matters, that they are unable to present anything good of themselves before God. Instead of loathing the possibility (truth) that we are miserable humans in God's sight, we should rather rejoice (1 Peter 1:8) in the truth that we have been brought from such a horrible state of spiritual death to a wonderful new spiritual life "through the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
  • "an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you"
    Yes, please. What is this eternal inheritance and life (born-again implies new life in v.3)? John 17:3 - "And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent."
  • "guarded through faith"
    I'm so thankful that God protects us as we live linked up to him through faith. God won't let that link be broken.
  • "a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time"
    We have yet to experience and receive unknown dimensions of our salvation bought for us by Jesus. More grace is coming. Let me be colloquial here and say this: Get pumped.

4.12.2011

Daily Gospel: 4/12/11

“God frees us from our bankruptcy only by paying our debts on Christ’s cross. More than that. He has not only cancelled the debt, but also destroyed the document on which it was recorded.”
John R. W. Stott, The Cross of Christ (Downers Grove, 1986), page 234.

Via Ray Ortlund

4.11.2011

Daily Gospel: 4/11/11

Because the secret of the gospel is that we actually do more when we hear less about all we need to do for God and hear more about all that God has already done for us.
 - Kevin DeYoung

Via The Gospel Coalition

4.10.2011

Daily Gospel: 4/10/11

Every time we look at the cross Christ seems to say to us, ‘I am here because of you. It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying.’ Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is there, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size.
John R. W. Stott, The Message of Galatians (London, 1968), page 179.

Via Ray Ortlund

4.09.2011

Daily Gospel: 4/9/11

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
 - Colossians 3:1-4

4.08.2011

Daily Gospel: 4/8/11

I don’t change when gospel concepts start surprising me, wonderful and essential as that is.  Gospel concepts spread the table, so to speak, for the feast of Christ himself, who fills me and heals me and energizes me.  I change, really change, when I feel loved by him.  I change when I feel accepted by him.  I change when I feel set free by him.  That goes beyond concepts.  It is an experience.  That experience follows the logical and psychological trajectory set by the doctrines.  But what I need is the touch of Christ himself.
 - Ray Ortlund

Why I Read


If you didn't grow up in the 90's, you probably don't get this.

4.07.2011

Daily Gospel: 4/7/11

You may know a good deal about Christ, by a kind of head knowledge. You may know who He was, and where He was born, and what He did. You may know His miracles, His sayings, His prophecies, and His ordinances. You may know how He lived, and how He suffered, and how He died. But unless you know the power of Christ’s cross by experience—unless you know and feel within that the blood shed on that cross has washed away your own particular sins—unless you are willing to confess that your salvation depends entirely on the work that Christ did upon the cross—unless this be the case, Christ will profit you nothing. The mere knowing Christ’s name will never save you. You must know His cross, and His blood, or else you will die in your sins.
 - J.C. Ryle, Practical Religion, “The Cross of Christ”, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1998], 248, 249.

Via J.C. Ryle Quotes

4.06.2011

Daily Gospel: 4/6/11

This is the great glory of Christ—he vastly outshines the first man Adam. The spectacular sin of Adam is not as great as the spectacular grace and obedience of Christ and the gift of eternal life. Indeed, God’s plan from the beginning, in his perfect righteousness, was that Adam, as the representative head of humankind, would be a type of Christ as the representative head of a new humankind. His plan was that by this comparison and contrast, the glory of Christ would shine all the more brightly.

Verse 17 puts the matter to you very personally and very urgently. Where do you stand? “For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” Notice the words very carefully and personally: “those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness.”
 - John Piper, preaching on Romans 5:12-21, italics original.

Via Desiring God

4.05.2011

Daily Gospel: 4/5/11

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure;
Save from wrath and make me pure.

Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyes shall close in death,
When I soar to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.
 - "Rock of Ages", Augustus M. Toplady

4.04.2011

Daily Gospel: 4/4/11

I have taken my good deeds and bad deeds and thrown them together in a heap, and fled from them both to Christ, and in him I have peace.
 - David Dickson

4.03.2011

Daily Gospel: 4/3/11

(John 7:38)“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Literally, it says, out of his belly. But the point is our inner being, call it belly, heart, soul, spirit. What does this mean?


It means that when you come to Jesus to drink, you don’t just get a single drink, but you get spring, a fountain, a well. You get Jesus. Rivers of water will flow because a River-Maker is in you. That’s the point. You will never have to search again for a source of satisfaction for your soul. Every river that needs to flow for the joy of your soul will flow from Jesus. When you come to him, you get him. And he never leaves.
 - John Piper,
 
Via Desiring God

4.02.2011

Daily Gospel: 4/2/11

We must use the assurance of faith in applying the blood of Christ; we must labour to purge and cleanse our consciences with it.


If we find that we have sinned, we must run at once to the blood of Christ to wash away our sin. We must not let the wound fester or exulcerate, but immediately get it healed. . . . As we sin daily, so he justifies daily, and we must daily go to him for it. . . . We must every day eye the brazen serpent. Justification is an ever-running fountain, and therefore we cannot look to have all the water at once. . . .

O let us sue out every day a daily pardon. . . . Let us not sleep one night without a new pardon. Better to sleep in a house full of adders and venomous beasts than sleep in one sin.
 - William Fenner, A Treatise of Conscience, in Works, 108f.; quoted in J. I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life (Crossway, 2010; repr.), 115

Via Dane Ortlund

4.01.2011

Daily Gospel: 4/1/11

Cling to the Mighty One, Cling in thy grief
Cling to the Holy One, He gives relief
Cling to the Gracious One, Cling in thy pain
Cling to the Faithful One, He will sustain
 - Anonymous. Set to music by Indelible Grace.