Thursday, April 30, 2015

Easter and the Big Lie

A horrible lie about the Christian faith is regularly purported in our world and even in so-called Christian congregations.  The lie is that it really doesn’t matter if you believe in an actual, literal, miraculous resurrection.  Instead, we are to understand that the “fable” of the resurrection is that being humble like Jesus, “taking one for the team,” that kind of thing – brings a renewal to the life of the community.

This is nothing short of blasphemy and makes the gospel proclaimed a piece of impotent mythology.  Paul understood this and told us “If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile” – but it is not simply futile because you believe a lie.  It is futile because, as he says, “you are still in your sins.”  If Christ is not risen, we of all men are most to be pitied.  And if the dead do not rise, we ought to “eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”  If there is no resurrection, there is no Jesus to follow, or no Jesus worth following – He was a liar.  If there is no resurrection, there is no forgiveness for sins – and we are lost.  If there is no resurrection, there is nothing but empty faith – faith in nothing – faith in ideas but not in a Person – but what good are ideas – ideas don’t save anyone.

 We gather this Lord’s Day to declare quite the opposite.  “But now, Christ is risen from the dead” and with this declaration comes the command for all to repent and believe.  The Conqueror has conquered – He has conquered sin and death – your sin and your death.  Believe or perish – there is no compromise – no negotiating – no wiggling out of this.  But this is not tyranny – this is freedom – freedom from death – freedom from guilt – freedom from the power and bondage of sin.  Easter is universal and personal.  Easter declares a new Lord and King over heaven and earth.  Easter declares my personal salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ – come and believe and worship the Risen Lord.

A Three Dollar Flashlight

"Moralism is just a three-dollar flashlight to light the pathway to Hell." - Wilson, AC, p85

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Death and Resurrection

Death and Resurrection.  That is what is proclaimed here at the Table.  We proclaim the Lord’s death and resurrection here at this Table for we partake of our Lord who died and yet Who is alive and well and with us by His Spirit very present, very real, very personal.

We proclaim our own death and resurrection as well.  We proclaim and partake of our union with Christ in His death and our union with Him in His resurrected new life.  We have entered into the first resurrection and that is life in Jesus Christ, a life empowered by Him and all by grace through faith.  It is no longer you but Christ in you which lives.

And we also proclaim our own physical death and resurrection as well.  We renounce our ultimate hope in anything this side of the grave, for we know that in the end, as long as the Lord tarries, our hope is in the second resurrection, the resurrection of our bodies.  And this proclamation is made here at the Table as well.  For every single body in this room will at his or her appointed time be placed like a seed in the ground, and on another day, all of these bodies will be raised at once, in glory, perfected and prepared to be with Jesus – forever.

Reconciling Grace and Works - or Not

"...we will never try to reconcile grace with works - that would be like trying to reconcile an apple tree with its apples." - Wilson, AC, p84

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

What is a Miracle?

"In my judgment, the best definition of the word miracle is "an extraordinary manifestation of God's covenant lordship."" - Frame, ST, p124.

And with this definition in mind, I always think it is wonderful to remember that anyone who has saving faith in Jesus Christ has experienced a miracle.

Wisdom at This Table

Proverbs 9 says, “Wisdom has built her house, She has hewn out her seven pillars; 2 She has slaughtered her meat, She has mixed her wine, She has also furnished her table. 3 She has sent out her maidens, She cries out from the highest places of the city, 4 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” As for him who lacks understanding, she says to him, 5 “Come, eat of my bread And drink of the wine I have mixed. 6 Forsake foolishness and live, And go in the way of understanding.”

To come to this Table with faith is to come to Wisdom.  It is to come and partake of wisdom like one partakes of bread and wine.  With faith, it is partaking of wisdom while partaking of bread and wine.  Communion is many things, but one thing it is not is an empty ritual.  Come here in faith and you will meet and sup with Jesus, partaking of His body and blood, and you will be renewed, enjoying the renewal He has already given through His Word and Spirit.  Come here without faith, come here with rebellion in your heart and in your hands, and it is not that nothing will happen – rather it would have better for you to never have come.

But if you are in Jesus and He has summoned you, then you have no choice in the matter.  You must come.  You may come.  You may come now, letting go of all that sin in your hand and in your mouth so that you may take hold of the bread and drink the contents of the cup.  Come and welcome – again and again – to Jesus Christ.