Lessons from the Sermon on the Mount: The Influence of the Church in Society

Posted January 18, 2009 by psalter
Categories: Ecclesiology, Uncategorized

Matthew 5:13-16 (New King James Version)

13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Salt and light was Christ’s way of illustrating the role of the church in society.  This is a very serious subject.  Two things that I have learned: 1- Salt had a religious and a sacrificial significance.  See Numbers 18:19 and 2 Chronicles 13:5.  When the Old Covenant church brought offerings to the Lord, the choice parts of those offerings were given to the priests as was ordained by the Lord.  The salt applied to the meat offering symbolized the eternal covenant of  the Lord between His people and Himself and with each other.  2 Chronicles mentions salt in a religious sense as well.  The salt in both passages of Scripture was speaking of the covenant of God and all of its responsibilities and blessings that exist between God and His people and they with each other.  Jesus uses this same illustration for the covenant people of God in these last days.  The salt represents and reminds the people of God of the complete loyalty they are to have toward not only God, but toward one another.  They will know that we are Christ’s disciples by the love that we have for each other.  This love not only comes from the Holy Spirit that dwells within believers, but it is this coupled with the Spirits revelation to His church that were are covenanted together with not only God, but with each other.  This covenant isn’t even broken by death.  It is a covenant that lasts for all of eternity.  This the bond that holds all true believers together with each other and with God, Jesus Christ being the head of the church which is in heaven and on earth united.  This loyalty to Christ and to each other coupled with the dynamic display of the power of the Holy Spirit, this is what influences the society around us.  The Holy Spirit’s work in the church and it’s unification of the saints in heaven and on earth is the preserving  power within society.  Salt preserves, and God calls us the salt of the earth.  The Lord is the preserver of His covenant and uses the church as His instruments in preserving it as well.  Without the Lord, it doesn’t happen.  And as God has ordained it, without the church there is no covenant either and would be no reason to have one or to preserve it in and through His glory

We are the temple that bears the light of the world within us.  Even in the Old Covenant light is symbolic of God, His law, and the covenant people of God.  We are the sons of light as described in the New Covenant.  Again this is because we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, the ones who hold forth the law of God, and is evidenced in the world to be the people of God.  We are commanded to be the influence in this world for Christ for these very reasons.  This is the Lord’s world in that He is the Creator of it and also we were to be fruitful and multiply and to take dominion of it for the sake of the gospel.  It is all fruitless if God isn’t working out His eternal plan for salvation, which he always does.  May God grant us repentance and power to be the influence in our families, our cities, our nation, and our world.  Amen.

The Doctrine of Original Sin: The Effects of Sin and Our Hope Part 4. The Conclusion.

Posted September 28, 2008 by psalter
Categories: Anthropology, Christology, Harmartiology, Pneumatology, Uncategorized

Tags: , , ,

I have been thinking of all of this and let me just say this.  We are miserable creatures.  Miserable, how?  This does not mean that we are literally miserable but that we are separated from God.  We no longer have free access to God.  We have no hope outside of Jesus Christ.  If God is drawing you to Himself respond to Him by repenting of your sins.  Outside of Jesus Christ we have no hope of deliverance.  There would never be peace between you and God.  God would continue to be a terror to you because of the sin in your life.  For those who do not believe this is what God is to you.  You will always have this sense of condemnation that just will not go away.  Nature tells us that there is a God and that you are accountable to Him.  The Word of God tells us about the way of deliverance for your soul.  Without Jesus Christ you are doomed because He is the blood sacrifice for those who will believe and repent.  If you are convicted of the fact that these things are true run to the Lord.  He is there for you.  Quit running from God and die to yourself.  You are not going to make it out of this life alive.  You will die.  I promise you.  Some would condemn the Jews for crucifing Jesus.  Let me remind you that it was every nation on earth that crucified Jesus Christ.  You killed Jesus Christ.  It is your fault.  It is my fault.  It is the fault of sinners world wide in every ethnic group.  Someone had to pay for sin and it will either be Jesus Christ for His people or it will be paid for by those who reject the truth of the Gospel wo is Jesuis Christ.  Turn from your sins and live your life to the glory of God.  Trust in Jesus Christ and in Him alone for your deliverance from sin.  It is not an easy life but the guilt of sin will be washed away and the gift of the Holy Spirit will be yours.  What is the gift of the Holy Spirit?  It is exactly what it says, the gift is the Holy Spirit who will live within you to guide and direct you.  He is the One that applies the life, death, and resurrection to your miserable little life as well as mine.  Repent, rejoice, take up your cross and follow Him.

Matthew 16:24-26

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

My Commentary on the Beginning of Creation from Genesis 1:1, 2

Posted September 11, 2008 by psalter
Categories: Anthropology, Christology, Pneumatology, Theology Proper, Uncategorized

Genesis 1:1-2 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was(A) without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

This is one of the most ignored phrases in the creation account and it answers so many questions. You ask what the phrase is. The phrase is “In the beginning”. This phrase is hardly taught on and yet it is the key to the next two verses. When this phrase is examined in the context of the first and second verses it clearly states that the heavens and the earth were created by God in the beginning. It sounds pretty obvious but it really isn’t. The heavens and the earth are the sum, the totality of, God’s material/immaterial universe of things discovered and things not yet discovered.
The beginning refers to that period of time when everything that was created was created. Why do I say that? The definition of the word beginning in the Hebrew (which is one of the languages the Old Covenant was written in in the original manuscripts) is this: the first in place, time, and order. According to that definition the fifth day isn’t the “beginning”. The second day isn’t the beginning. The beginning is literally the beginning. So it means that the very first thing that God did, before anything else, is He created the heavens and the earth. This sounds absurd to the modern ear. This is part one of creation. This is when all things were created but wasn’t defined or formed as of yet. It is like buying a model car that comes in pieces. When you take it out of the bag in all of its little, individual pieces it is still a car regardless of the fact that it isn’t put together yet. Verse two above is the result of what we are discussing here. The earth was created and yet without form. The earth was obviously there because God called this undefined matter earth. The matter that God had created was EVERTHING that God would use to create and define all that we now know of. With that said, this created matter had no form to it yet. It was also void in that (according to the Hebrew definition) it was an undistinguishable ruin. It doesn’t mean that the earth did not exist, but that it was a mass of undistinguishable matter ready for formation. In the Hebrew, the deep is defined as the abyss (as a surging mass of water). Notice it did NOT say a surging mass of water as is usually portrayed, but AS or LIKE a surging mass of water. What does this mean? This is how this undefined mass of matter called the earth is described, it is like water. It gives a picture of how the ocean might look except it is a sea of matter (water in a figurative sense) rather than literal water. 2 Peter 3:6 refers to this word water and further explains the above. “For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the Word of God.” 2 Peter 3:6. The phrases “out of”, and “through” is key to understanding this. The phrase “out of” in the Greek speaks of a point of origin. Through refers to the channel of an act. The earth was formed from the point of origin which was the unformed mass of matter. It was able to be formed out of the act that preceded it in the creation of all things, at the point of time when all was created there in what was called the beginning. In other words, the earth was formed through the act of creation that took place at the very beginning by the Word of God. The origin was the water, or mass of unorganized, unformed matter. This leads us to the next point.
The Spirit of God hovered, or moved, over the face of these waters. At this point the Spirit of God prepares to bring order to this chaotic mess. He is preparing to bring the earth from an undefined, undistinguishable, chaotic state of being to something that is defined, distinguishable, and orderly. The word hovering, or as found in the King James Version moved, means to brood, to flutter. This teaches us that as a hen moves to brood (or gathers) her chicks so that there is some order in the brood and so that the hen can protect her brood; God does this with the created matter. It is a picture of God taking what He has created and gathering it together as a hen gathers chicks, moving in such a way in order to bring order and form to the earth.

So much for the damnable heresy of the gap theory.

The Doctrine of Original Sin Part 3:Effects of The Sin Nature

Posted September 9, 2008 by psalter
Categories: Anthropology, Christology, Harmartiology, Uncategorized

Romans 3:1-19

Rom 3:1  Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision?
Rom 3:2  Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.
Rom 3:3  What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?
Rom 3:4  By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.”
Rom 3:5  But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.)
Rom 3:6  By no means! For then how could God judge the world?
Rom 3:7  But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner?
Rom 3:8  And why not do evil that good may come?–as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.
Rom 3:9  What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin,
Rom 3:10  as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;
Rom 3:11  no one understands; no one seeks for God.
Rom 3:12  All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
Rom 3:13  “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.”
Rom 3:14  “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
Rom 3:15  “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
Rom 3:16  in their paths are ruin and misery,
Rom 3:17  and the way of peace they have not known.”
Rom 3:18  “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Rom 3:19  Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.

As we see in this passage of Scripture all man kind is under this harsh taskmaster called sin, as taught in Romans 6.  There is no one who is exempt from this.  When we really admit that we are dead in sin and realize that we cannot please God, with any amount of good deeds we will be better off.  And anyway, dead means dead.  This was the purpose of the work of Jesus Christ.  And so it is logical that the Scripture teaches that there is none righteous, no, not one.  That means no one.  Someone might say, “I am a good person and have done nothing wrong.”  Yes, compared to other people you look good.  Compare yourself to a God Who is perfect in every way and we are filthy without Christ.  In God’s eyes there is no one who is righteous.  No one who really understands because sin blinds us to the realities of the person and work of Jesus Christ.  God asked Job, “Who is it that darkens my council?”  It is natural to see God through our twisted understanding of Him.  Another point is that we do not truly understand how sinful we really are.  We tend to view ourselves as being better than we really are.  We deny what our true spiritual condition is before God and man naturally rejects the remedy for his soul.

Also, sin is repelled by the holiness of God.  An analogy Jesus gave to us about Himself in speaking of His holiness was that He is the light that came into the world.  See what He says about the relationship of man verses the Light.

Jesus is that light here in John 1:1-5:

Joh 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Joh 1:2  He was in the beginning with God.
Joh 1:3  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Joh 1:4  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
Joh 1:5  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

And what man does with that light in John 3:18-20

Joh 3:18  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
Joh 3:19  And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
Joh 3:20  For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.

This is why man flees from God, even when they want what God has, they are powerless, and without a true desire to run to God on their own because they are repelled by the holiness of God.  It is truly an act of God to save a person from their sins.  I will continue with the rest of the passage in Romans 3 from verse 12 soon in part 4 otherwise this post is going to be pretty big.  This is a general overview of the Scripture and as God leads I might have one post speaking about things in a little more detail.  Hopefully by this weekend I’ll have part 4.  God bless.

There is Forgiveness for All Sin. Porn, Lying, Gluttony, Etc.

Posted August 30, 2008 by psalter
Categories: Harmartiology, Theology Proper, Uncategorized

Tags: , , ,

You must remember folks that there is forgiveness for every sin that you commit.  When you come to God in full acceptance of what He has shown you about your sinful state of being, humble yourselves in His sight, and turn from your sins, God will forgive you and cleanse you from your sins.  We all realize that sexual addictions of all sorts is a huge problem in this nation, not only for men but for women as well.  It could be pornography, adultery, fornication, orgies, homosexuality, etc.  They like other sins do and will trap you and it is very hard to overcome.  It doesn’t have to be this kind of sin to experience this.  I have never been addicted to these sorts of sins.  Everybody has a sin that they are prone to.  For some it might be food, materialism, peer pressure, alcoholism and not necessarily alcohol, lying, witchcraft, etc.  Whatever sin you are prone to there is forgiveness and cleansing for that sin.  God is a merciful God.  If He is dealing with your heart today respond to Him in repentance.  This means that you are determined not to do it again, but if you do He is there to help you as you, forgive you, cleanse you once more.  Usually an addiction takes time to work through and to overcome it by the power of the Holy Spirit.  You cannot do this in your own strength.  Sometimes God removes the sinful desire from you immediately but not always.  If you are alive and breathing you have hope.  You need the church, His Spirit, prayer, and the study of His Word to overcome this.  Pray and be honest with God because He knows it all anyway.  You cannot hide anything from Him.  The things listed above are the avenues that God works through.  May God bless you and keep you.

A Call to Persevere

Jude 17-25

17But you must(A) remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18They[a] said to you,(B) “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” 19It is these who cause divisions, worldly people,(C) devoid of the Spirit. 20But you, beloved,(D) building yourselves up in your most holy faith and(E) praying in the Holy Spirit, 21(F) keep yourselves in the love of God,(G) waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22And have mercy on those who doubt; 23save others by(H) snatching them out of(I) the fire; to others show mercy(J) with fear, hating even(K) the garment[b] stained by the flesh.

Doxology

24(L) Now to him who is able(M) to keep you from stumbling and(N) to present you(O) blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25to(P) the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord,(Q) be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

1 John 1:5-10

Walking in the Light

5(A) This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that(B) God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6(C) If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and(D) do not practice the truth. 7But(E) if we walk in the light,(F) as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and(G) the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8(H) If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and(I) the truth is not in us. 9(J) If we confess our sins, he is(K) faithful and just to forgive us our sins and(L) to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say we have not sinned,(M) we make him a liar, and(N) his word is not in us.

The Genealogies of Jesus Christ, the Son of Abraham, the Son of David, the Son of God

Posted August 28, 2008 by psalter
Categories: Christology, Uncategorized

It is often that people ask about the two genealogies which are found in Matthew 1 and Luke 3. There are different interpretations of this. Some say that Matthew is Joseph’s line and Luke recorded Mary’s line. The other interpretation is the one that I tend to agree with the most. The purpose of St. Matthew’s genealogy was to show that Jesus was the promised King and Redeemer of the church.

The Son of Man Is Given Dominion

Daniel 7:13, 14:

13“I saw in the night visions,

and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
14 And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed.

Matthew 28:18

18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

Some would teach that the passage in Daniel is speaking about the second coming of Jesus Christ. That couldn’t be further from the truth. It is an instance of bad interpretation. When studied the son of man is with a cloud of heaven going to the Ancient of Days who is God the Father. Jesus Christ, the Son of Man is being received into the presence of the Father. It is a Old Covenant teaching on the Ascension of Christ. In the above passage from St. Matthew Jesus officially declares the truth that He has been given a kingdom. He encourages the Apostles that all power and authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him. Then comes the great commission which is the prescribed way to perpetuate Christ’s mission when He was on earth. As stated in the above passage of Scripture in Daniel, this kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. It is a kingdom that knows no concept of time and space. It is a kingdom that is not threatened or concerned of being destroyed. Jesus Christ ushered in the Kingdom of God.

Isaiah 9:1-7

1 But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.
2 The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shined.
3 You have multiplied the nation;
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
4 For the yoke of his burden,
and the staff for his shoulder,
the rod of his oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire.
6 for to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

This passage of Scripture also explains that not only will His kingdom have no end but that He would be on the throne of David. He is not able to do this unless He was in the legal line of the Davidic kings. This is the point of St. Matthew’s record of Christ’s genealogy. The genealogy begins with Abraham showing that He was of the seed of Abraham, a Jew. This is when God made a covenant with Abraham to begin His work in building a Jewish nation. In other words, the sign of the covenant was to be applied to every covenant child from Abraham down to all of his posterity which is the nations, the church. Jesus wasn’t just a legal Jew but a legal king of the Jews. In His genealogy, from David on, it proceeds to list the kings of Judah from David to Solomon to Rehoboam, a king of Judah. All of the kings listed in the genealogy are kings of Judah not Israel. Judah was the southern kingdom and Israel was the northern kingdom. It is called the Divided Kingdom of Israel. All of the names from the Babylonian captivity on were legal descendants of these kings ending with the Son of God the King of Kings, the Sovereign of the Church. So I believe that the genealogy listed in Matthew was the legal line of the Messiah. In St. Luke’s gospel the genealogy listed goes back to Adam. This emphasizes the family line of Christ not His legal royal line. Praise the Lord!

St. Matthew= Christ’s royal line, not His family line. This would also explain the differences in some of the names.

St. Luke= Christ’s family line.

Which ever interpretation is correct the point of the genealogies are the same, to show that Jesus is the promised Christ. Amen and Amen.

The Doctrine of Original Sin. Part 2: The Sin Nature.

Posted August 27, 2008 by psalter
Categories: Anthropology, Harmartiology, Uncategorized

This second part of our study could also be entitled total depravity. We cannot get this confused with human nature. The human nature only speaks of what we naturally do as humans beings. We walk on two legs, we talk, we are social beings, we are the only creatures that were made in the image of God and so we have a natural desire to worship something greater than ourselves, etc. The sinful nature, as we discussed in part one, was passed on to every man through Adam. It is now apart of our nature to sin. We live and breathe sin as we live and breathe being human. There is no escape from this in and of ourselves. No matter how much we try, we will sin. In the same way, no matter how much we try not to be a human, we cannot. Sounds obnoxious to explain it that way, doesn’t it? This is the very thing that separates you from God. When we compare ourselves with the our fellow man most of us are not so bad. But when you consider the absolute perfection of God in comparison to our sinful, rebellious selves, we are hardly fit for any kind of acknowledgment from a Holy God. God owes us nothing but His wrath, because we have rebelled against Him. It would be right and just to for God to judge us and to punish us in the fires of hell. That is why it is called mercy when God elects to save any of us. Otherwise, mercy isn’t mercy, but is something owed to us in the name of fairness. The question is not why would He send us to hell, but why would He save us at all. It would be fair to leave us in our sins and to perish for eternity. The sin nature possesses every part of us. Because of this total contamination we are unable to please a holy God.

A question to consider. Do things defile us? The answer is no. And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” But Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us.” And he said, “Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.” Matthew 15:10-20. It is the sin within that defiles us. Sin is the root of the things listed in the above verse. This is our nature outside of Christ. We have a natural inclination to rebel against God and His revealed will, which is His Word. This is what leads us into all kinds of sin. This is what we naturally desire as humans. It starts at conception as we looked at in Part One. If you are so drawn to, respond to God by turning from your sins. Will you remain a slave to sin, or will you submit to God?

Part 3 and the solution to this problem is coming.  Part 3 is the Effects of Sins and Part 4 The Solution.