Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The State's First Duty

"The first and basic duty of the state is to further the Kingdom of God by recognizing the sovereignty of God and His word and conforming itself to the law-word of God...Because of its failure to require that the state be Christian, because of its implicit death-of-God theology, the church has surrendered the state to apostate reason and the devil. The church has done this becuase it has denied the law of God. It has, in fact, implied that God is dead outside the walls of the church, and it then must logically proclaim His death within the church." - Rushdoony, IBL, p240

It seems we, the church, continue to play this game. We agree with the state that we will let her manage her affairs according to whatever standards she chooses, requesting only that we be allowed to do the same behind our walls. But the state is the strong one in our day, and because we have competing gods, our walls are pushed closer and closer together until there finally is no place that the state cannot say that she has authority there as well.

The state and the church are both in rebellion to the word of God in this. Both need to fully repent that the Kingdom of God might flourish in our land.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Confession, Consecration, and Communion

Each Lord’s Day, God summons you – you individually, and you corporately – you as individuals and you as families and you as His church, the body of His Son, the Bride for His Son, the work of His hands, the sheep of His pasture. We come again and again, but it should never be dull or monotonous for those with eyes of faith. The remaking of the world, our world, is taking place as we gather.

We come and confess our sins because they have been paid for at the cross. We do not have to bear them, we do not have to pay for them. The Sin-Offering has been made and so we stand in that sin-offering, that once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We are made clean again because He died for us.

We come and offer up ourselves, all of ourselves, in the Ascension offering. Our prayers, our songs, our praise, offered up in Jesus’ name and with the shouts of our Amens, are received in the presence of the Ancient of Days at His throne, where He speaks His Word to us, cutting us open with the precise skills of a sovereign surgeon whose word is sharp and reveals to us who we are in graphic detail. He cuts us apart, arranges us, finds us in Christ, and receives us as perfect because of His perfect righteousness. He re-arranges us, renews us, instructs us, and tells us His story and how we are in that narrative again – and we find ourselves made new in the New Man, in Christ.

We come to a Table of Fellowship and in the essence of what was pictured through the Peace Offering, where God, priest, and confessor ate together in the sweet fellowship of full reconciliation, love, acceptance. We even find ourselves called sons and daughters of the living God, co-heirs with Christ, reigning with the One who sits at the right hand of His Father with all authority over heaven and earth, even down the details of our coming week. We will walk with Him this week because we have supped with Him this morning.

So come and worship – worship the God who is remaking us all into the image of His Son by the power of His Spirit. Do not hold anything back, do not doubt Him, His goodness, His love, His acceptance of you in His Son – do not doubt the work of His discipline in your life through trials and sufferings – speak to Him about all these things, and find your glory in His, your life in His, your eternal joy in Him through His eternal joy over you.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Prophet, Priest, and King - at the Lord's Table

We come to the Table to partake of our Lord. We do so by faith and in the power of His Holy Spirit and not by any merit of ourselves. But we do partake, we are changed, we are being made into the New Man, into the image of Christ.

And as we saw, Jesus is the Greater Prophet – we partake of this Prophet and our way of thinking about the world is changed – the words that come out of our lips should change as well.

Jesus is our High Priest – and we partake of the perfect sacrifice, offered once for our sins – we sit down with our High Priest and sup with Him and with our heavenly Father in union and communion – all is well for peace has been made with our God and therefore we may have peace with one another – we have learned forgiveness, for we taste it here at this Table. Therefore, we can give forgiveness – we are what we eat.

Jesus is our King, and we partake of His reign, His riches, His abundance at this Table. He shares all things with us and we co-reign with Him, equipped here by our Mighty Warrior to defeat every foe in His name. Therefore, we leave here prepared to take every thought captive to Christ, and to spread the kingdom of Grace throughout our world.

This is the Table of the Word of God – this is the Table of Truth and Love. All who have been baptized are summoned to come and partake – and welcome to Jesus Christ.

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Giver of Thanks - Always

All of us have received countless, unmerited gifts from our God and Redeemer, the greatest of which is our union and communion with Christ Himself which is ours by faith for eternity. But we have received many lesser gifts as well – and as I said, countless and unmerited. All of us have also not received many gifts from our Lord, and often these are gifts which we see others have been given and we wonder why God does not like us or what have we done wrong.

When we forget that God is the giver of every good and perfect gift, we begin to boast in ourselves over the gifts we have received, which makes us prideful, arrogant, selfish, and miserly. We worked hard for these gifts and too bad for everyone else. When we forget that God is the Sovereign One who has decided, for good reasons, not to give us gifts which we would like to have now, but He has given them to others, we begin to think we’ve been cheated, that God is not good and kind, and this makes us envious, bitter, faithless, and generally miserable people.

What must we do? We must give thanks in all things. We must give thanks every time we DO NOT receive a gift that we wish we had. We must thank God for His sovereign wisdom, His perfect timing, His ways which are beyond finding out, and the stories He has given us over and over again which prove that He always has good reasons for His timing and choices.

But that is hard – for all of us. Begin here: begin with giving thanks for all the gifts you have been given. Make a list. Practice giving thanks for the smallest things. Practice giving thanks over and over again for those things. Discipline yourself to be a thankful person all the time in all the little, mundane things, so that you are well trained to handle giving thanks when God doesn’t give according to your plans or time.

He has called you here to give thanks – to give thanks for your salvation and the promised salvation of the world – some of which we can see and much which we cannot yet see – to give thanks for His perfect works of sanctification in and through you and throughout His church – to give thanks for the Triune God, for the power of the Word and Spirit at work in us – and this service ends with a Eucharist – a Thanksgiving Meal, where we cap off our thanks with thanksgiving. This should flow over to a time of fellowship and feasting this Sunday at our monthly feast – but it should spread out into all the days of this week. Give thanks – in all things. Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say- rejoice.