A Sermon on Exodus 33.12-34.9

Mission that Welcomes Everybody In, preached by Matt Click at Immanuel Baptist Church.

Partakers of the Divine Nature

The soul that is joined to Christ is quickened with a divine life, so we read in 2 Pet 1.4. Where believers are said to be partakers of the divine nature: a very high expression, and warily to be understood. Partakers of the divine nature: not essentially; so it is wholly incommunicable to the creature, nor yet hypostatically, and personally; so Christ only was a partaker of it; but our participation of the divine nature, must be understood in a way proper to believers; that is to say, we partake of it by the inhabitation of the Spirit of God in us, according to 1 Cor 3.16, 17. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” The Spirit, who is God by nature dwells in, and actuates the soul whom he regenerates, and by sanctifying it, causes it to live a divine life: from this life of God the unsanctified are said to be alienated, Eph 4.18, but believers are partakers of it.

John Flavel, The Method of Grace, 89, vol. 2 of 6.

Blog Day Friday

I figure if I keep pushing this back throughout the week, eventually I will land on Monday again . . .

Here goes . . .

This 2003 Desiring God Conference message was highly recommended to me.  Haven’t listened yet, but its Sam Storms and its about Jonathan Edwards and its titled Joys Eternal Increase — has to be great!

Another message, this one by David Platt on 1 Timothy 2.8-15, a highly controversial passage known as the “women saved by childbearing?” passage.  Platt says what is laughable to the world is essential to the church.

Rachel Held Evans has been asking people of various religions and, apparently theological systems, to answer the pertinent questions of others.  Here, Justin Taylor is the subject of “Ask a Calvinist?”  Great read.  Also recommend the links within his answers — some shocking!

Over at Desiring God, Jonathan Parnell tells us What the World Needs to Be Told.

And, Justin Taylor talks about Inerrancy and Infallibility through the mouth of John Frame.

Hope you have a blessed Friday; may the Lord grant your mind light and your heart a corresponding warmth as His Word and Spirit preach to you this Sunday.


Blog Day Wednesday

Well, I missed Blog Day Monday, so Blog Day Wednesday — here goes:

Patrick Schreiner posts a sale on Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert’s new book “What is the Mission of the Church?” at Westminster and says, “must read for every church leader.”

Doug Wilson talks about an aesthetic, Kuyperian reformation through a “jungle full of monkeys.”

The blog at Desiring God advertises tonight’s DG live conversation with Greg Gilbert and Kevin DeYoung about their new book.

Over at the Gospel Coalition, Justin Holcomb writes a great review of Daniel Walker’s God in a Brothel: An Undercover Journey into Sex Trafficking and Rescue.

For a somewhat foreign topic to this blog, Texas A&M is going to the SEC . . . or maybe not.  Baylor stands in the way — gotta love those “Baptist” universities.

Hope you all have a blessed day; may our God give you and then satisfy your longing for Him.

The Excellency of the Power Belongs to God

If you ask, whence hath the word preached this mighty power? The answer must be, neither from itself nor him that preaches it, but from the Spirit of God whose instrument it is, by whose blessing and concurrence with it, it produceth its blessed effects upon the hearts of men.

First, This efficacy and wonderful power is not from the word itself; take it in an abstract notion, separated from the Spirit, it can do nothing: it is called “the foolishness of preaching,” 1 Cor. i.21. Foolishness, not only because the world so accounts it, but because in itself it is a weak and unsuitable, and therefore a very improbable way to reconcile the world to God; that the stony heart of one man should be broken by the words of another man; that one poor sinful creature should be used to breathe spiritual life into another; this could never be if this sword were not managed by an omnipotent hand.

And besides, we know what works naturally, works necessarily; if this efficacy were inherent in the word, so that we should suppose it to work as other natural objects do, then it must needs convert all to whom it is at any time preached, except its effect were miraculously hindered, as the fire when it could not burn the three children; but alas, thousands hear it, that never feel the saving power of it, Isa. liii.1 and 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4.

Secondly, It derives not this efficacy from the instrument by which it is ministered: let their gifts and abilities be what they will, it is impossible that ever such effects should be produced from the strength of their natural or gracious abilities, 2 Cor. iv. 7. “We have this treasure (saith the apostle) in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

The treasure of the gospel-light is carried in earthen vessels, as Gideon and his men had their lamps in earthen pitchers, or in oyster-shells, for so the word also signifies; the oyster-shell is a base and worthless thing in itself; however, there lies the rich and precious pearl of so great value.  And why is this precious treasure lodged in such weak, worthless vessels? Surely it is upon no other design but to convince us of the truth I am here to prove, that the excellency of the power is of God, and not of us; as it follows in the next words.  To the same purpose speaks the same apostle, 1 Cor 3.7. “So then, neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.”

Not any thing! What can be more diminutively spoken of that gospel-preachers? But we must not understand these words in a simple and absolute, but in a comparative and relative sense; not as if they were not necessary and useful in their place, but that how necessary soever they be, and what excellent gifts soever God hath furnished them with; yet it is neither in their power nor choice to make the word they preach effectual to men; if it were, then the damnation of all that hear us must needs lie at our door; then also, many thousands would have been reconciled to God, which are yet in the state of enmity, but the effect of the gospel is not in our power.

Thirdly, But whatever efficacy it hath to reconcile men to God, it derives from the Spirit of God, whose co-operation and blessing (which is arbitrarily dispensed) gives it all the fruit it hath.

Ministers, saith one, are like trumpets which make no sound, if breath be not breathed into them. Or like Ezekiel’s wheels, which move not unless the Spirit move them; or Elisha’s servant, whose presence doth no good except Elisha’s spirit be there also. For want of the Spirit of God how many thousands of souls do find the ministry to be nothing to them? If it be something to the purpose to any soul, it is the Lord that makes it so. This Spirit is not limited by men’s gifts or parts; he concurs not only with their labours who have excellent gifts, but oftentimes blesses mean, despicable gifts with far greater success.

Suppose, saith Augustine, there be two conduits in a town, one very plain and homely, the other built of polished marble, and adorned with excellent images, as eagles, lions, angels; the water refreshes as its water, and not as it comes from such or such a conduit. It is the Spirit that gives the word all that virtue it hath: he is the Lord of all saving influences: he hath dominion over the word, over our souls, over the times and seasons of conversions; and if any poor creature attend the ministry without benefit, if he go away as he came, without fruit, surely we may say in this case, as Martha said to Christ, in reference to her brother Lazarus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died; so, Lord, if thou hadst been in this prayer, in this sermon, this poor soul had not gone dead and carnal from under it.

– John Flavel, The Method of Grace, 57-59, vol 2 of 6.

Piper’s Personally Convicting Application of Hebrews 6.4-8

What Then Do These Verses Mean for Us?

I’ll be very personal, to give it it’s sharpest point. If in the coming years I commit apostasy and fall away from Christ, it will not be because I have not tasted of the word of God and the Spirit of God and the miracles of God. I have drunk of his word. The Spirit has touched me. I have seen his miracles and I have been his instrument for a few.

But if, over the next ten or twenty years, John Piper begins to cool off spiritually and lose interest in spiritual things and become more fascinated with making money and writing Christless books; and I buy the lie that a new wife would be exhilarating and that the children can fend for themselves and that the church of Christ is a drag and that the incarnation is a myth and that there is one life to live so let us eat drink and be merry—if that happens, then know that the truth is this: John Piper was mightily deceived in the first fifty years of his life. His faith was an alien vestige of his father’s joy. His fidelity to his wife was a temporary passion and compliance with social pressure; his fatherhood the outworking of natural instincts. His preaching was driven by the love of words and crowds. His writing was a love affair with fame. And his praying was the deepest delusion of all—an attempt to get God to supply the resources of his vanity.

If this possibility does not make me serious and vigilant in the pursuit of everlasting joy, what will?

The practical conclusion of this awesome truth is given in next week’s text. In the meantime, I pray that you will not be glib, but serious, about whether Christ is your highest joy. If you really bank your hope on him and in him, he will not let you go.

-John Piper, Sermon on Hebrews 6.4-8

God is Light

Over the last couple of months I have been astounded by one verse: “This is the message we have heard from (Jesus) and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1.5).

It is not just that “God is light,” but that when John considers the entire sum and substance of Jesus’ message, he concludes, “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.”  In its individual parts and as a whole, Jesus’ proclamation was one thing: God is pure, unadulterated Light.  Astounding!

Now, this is no surprise if you know John.  John loves duality, particularly the contrast between light and dark.  In this post, I only propose to offer the dualities within this one main duality.  What does it mean, in other words, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all?  This is a duality and its understanding offers further dualities in John’s writings.  This short list is what I put forth.  I am sure that it is not exclusive.  Indeed, I am only drawing from my recent study of 1 John.

Of course, in the immediate context of 1 Jn 1.5, light refers to holiness.  But what might we learn from the larger context of 1 John?

1. God is holy, morally pure and upright, so His children are holy (light) and not ungodly, unholy or unrighteous (dark).  (1 Jn 1.5-10)

2. God as light refers to God as Truth; so His children know, believe, listen to and practice the truth (light) over against error (dark).  (2.4-6; 4.1-6)

3. God as light refers to God as love; so His children love Him and one another (light) and do not hate like the hypocrite or like Cain (dark).  (2.8-10; 3.11-15)

4. God as light refers to God as life; so His children are alive from the dead (light) and do not abide in death (dark).  (3.14-15)

5. God as light refers to the God who gives light or illumines; so His children see the truth of the Scriptures and how to love one another (light) and this in opposition to the blind who reject the truth of the Scriptures, who deny the fundamental doctrines of the gospel, and become a cause for stumbling in the lives of the saints and others (dark).  (1.4, 2.2, 7-8, 12-14, 18-27, etc., denoted by John’s certain belief that Christians “know the truth” and that he is referring to what has been written or heard and what he is presently writing to them — Scripture).