Tag Archives: Bible

A Whale-Sized Lesson for Preachers

JonahThere now came a lull in [Father Mapple’s] look, as he silently turned over the leaves of the Book once more; and, at last, standing motionless, with closed eyes, for the moment, seemed communing with God and himself.

But again he leaned over towards the people, and bowing his head lowly, with an aspect of the deepest yet manliest humility, he spake these words:

“Shipmates, God has laid but one hand upon you; both his hands press upon me. I have read ye by what murky light may be mine the lesson that Jonah teaches to all sinners; and therefore to ye, and still more to me, for I am a greater sinner than ye. And now how gladly would I come down from this mast-head and sit on the hatches there where you sit, and listen as you listen, while some one of you reads me that other and more awful lesson which Jonah teaches to me, as a pilot of the living God. How being an anointed pilot-prophet, or speaker of true things and bidden by the Lord to sound those unwelcome truths in the ears of a wicked Nineveh, Jonah, appalled at the hostility he should raise, fled from his mission, and sought to escape his duty and his God by taking ship at Joppa. But God is everywhere; Tarshish he never reached. As we have seen, God came upon him in the whale, and swallowed him down to living gulfs of doom, and with swift slantings tore him along ‘into the midst of the seas,’ where the eddying depths sucked him ten thousand fathoms down, and ‘the weeds were wrapped about his head,’ and all the watery world of woe bowled over him. Yet even then beyond the reach of any plummet- ‘out of the belly of hell’- when the whale grounded upon the ocean’s utmost bones, even then, God heard the engulphed, repenting prophet when he cried. Then God spake unto the fish; and from the shuddering cold and blackness of the sea, the whale came breeching up towards the warm and pleasant sun, and all the delights of air and earth; and ‘vomited out Jonah upon the dry land;’ when the word of the Lord came a second time; and Jonah, bruised and beaten- his ears, like two sea-shells, still multitudinously murmuring of the ocean- Jonah did the Almighty’s bidding. And what was that, shipmates? To preach the Truth to the face of Falsehood! That was it!

This, shipmates, this is that other lesson; and woe to that pilot of the living God who slights it. Woe to him whom this world charms from Gospel duty! Woe to him who seeks to pour oil upon the waters when God has brewed them into a gale! Woe to him who seeks to please rather than to appal! Woe to him whose good name is more to him than goodness! Woe to him who, in this world, courts not dishonor! Woe to him who would not be true, even though to be false were salvation! Yea, woe to him who as the great Pilot Paul has it, while preaching to others is himself a castaway!

He drooped and fell away from himself for a moment; then lifting his face to them again, showed a deep joy in his eyes, as he cried out with a heavenly enthusiasm,- “But oh! shipmates! on the starboard hand of every woe, there is a sure delight; and higher the top of that delight, than the bottom of the woe is deep. Is not the main-truck higher than the kelson is low? Delight is to him- a far, far upward, and inward delight- who against the proud gods and commodores of this earth, ever stands forth his own inexorable self. Delight is to him whose strong arms yet support him, when the ship of this base treacherous world has gone down beneath him. Delight is to him, who gives no quarter in the truth, and kills, burns, and destroys all sin though he pluck it out from under the robes of Senators and Judges. Delight,- top-gallant delight is to him, who acknowledges no law or lord, but the Lord his God, and is only a patriot to heaven. Delight is to him, whom all the waves of the billows of the seas of the boisterous mob can never shake from this sure Keel of the Ages. And eternal delight and deliciousness will be his, who coming to lay him down, can say with his final breath- O Father!- chiefly known to me by Thy rod- mortal or immortal, here I die. I have striven to be Thine, more than to be this world’s, or mine own. Yet this is nothing: I leave eternity to Thee; for what is man that he should live out the lifetime of his God?”

He said no more, but slowly waving a benediction, covered his face with his hands, and so remained kneeling, till all the people had departed, and he was left alone in the place.

Herman Melville (1819-91), Moby Dick, Chapter IX, “The Sermon.”

Photo: Jim LePage 

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Jesus is Our Everyday Sabbath

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At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.” – Matthew 12:6-8

This isn’t primarily a story about finding a loophole in the Sabbath regulations. This isn’t primarily about finding precedent in the Old Testament for reaping and eating on the Sabbath. It isn’t even primarily about whether or not you can do good by healing a man on the Sabbath. This is a story about who Jesus is! It is all about Jesus saying to them and to us: I am greater than David. I am the fulfillment of all that David typified. I am greater than the temple. I am the fulfillment of all that the temple typified and symbolized. I am greater than the Sabbath. I bring to you a rest and satisfaction that not even the Old Testament Sabbath could provide. In the words of N.T. Wright, “If Jesus is a walking, living, breathing Temple, he is also the walking, celebrating, victorious sabbath.”

Remember that the Sabbath was instituted by God as a sign of the old covenant with Israel (see Exod. 31:12-13, 16-17). However, as Paul makes clear in Colossians 2:16-17, Jesus is the fulfillment of all that the Old Testament prophesied, prefigured, and foreshadowed: “There- fore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.”

The immediate purpose of the Sabbath in the Old Testament was to provide men and women with physical rest from their physical labors. When Paul says that this Sabbath was a shadow, of which Christ is the substance, he means that the physical rest provided by the Old Testament Sabbath finds its fulfillment in the spiritual rest provided by Jesus. We cease from our labors, not by resting physi- cally one day in seven, but by resting spiritually every day and for- ever in Christ by faith alone. We experience God’s true Sabbath rest, not by taking off from work one day in seven, but by placing our faith in the saving work of Jesus. To experience God’s Sabbath rest, therefore, is to cease from those works of righteousness by which we were seeking to be justified. The New Testament fulfillment of the Old Testament Sabbath is not one day in seven of physical rest, but an eternity of spiritual rest through faith in the work of Christ.

Physical rest, of course, is still essential. God does not intend for us to work seven days a week. Our body and spirit need to experience renewal and refreshment by resting. But resting on Sunday is not the same thing as the OT observance of the Sabbath day. Some Christians have chosen to treat Sunday as if it were a Sabbath, as if it were special, and that’s entirely permissible. Don’t let anyone tell you it is wrong. But neither should you tell anyone that it is wrong if they treat Sunday like every other day of the week. “One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind” (Rom. 14:5). If you want to observe Sunday as a day of rest to the exclusion of all other worldly pursuits or activi- ties, that’s fine. But you have no biblical right to expect others to do the same and therefore no biblical right to pass judgment on them if they don’t.

My point is simply that for the Christian, for the person who is trusting in the work of Jesus Christ rather than in his own efforts, for those resting by faith in Jesus, every day is the Sabbath! Every day is a celebration of the fact that we don’t have to do any spiritual or physical works to gain acceptance with God. We are accepted by him through faith in the works of Jesus Christ. If you are a child of God, born again, trusting and believing in Jesus for your acceptance with God rather than in your own works and efforts, you are experiencing the true meaning of Sabbath twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. I observe the Sabbath every moment of every day to the degree that I rest in the work of Christ for me. Thus, for the Christian, Jesus is our Sabbath rest!

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All of God is Ours in Christ

lookinguntojesus.jpgHere is the propriety of saints – “the Lord thy God.” What is this, that God is thy God? Heaven and earth, angels and men, may stand astonished at it. What! that the great and mighty God, God almighty, and God all-sufficient, should be called thy God! It is observable what the apostle speaks, “God is not ashamed to be called their God.” Would not a prince be ashamed to take a beggar, a base and adulterous woman, to be his wife? But we are worse than so, and God is better than so; sin hath made us worse than the worst of women; and God is better, holier, higher, than the best of princes; and yet God is not ashamed to own us, nor ashamed that we own him as our own – “I am thy God.” It is as if the Lord should say. Use me, and all my power, grace, mercy, kindness, as thine own. Go through all my attributes; consider my almighty power, consider my wisdom, understanding, goodness, truth, faithfulness; consider my patience, longsuffering, forbearance, all these are thine: as thus, — my power is thine, to work all thy works for thee, and in thee, to make a passage for thee in all thy straits, to deliver thee out of six troubles, and out of seven: my wisdom is thine, to counsel thee in any difficult cases, to instruct thee in things that be obscure, to reveal to thee the mysteries of grace, and the wonderful things contained in my law: my justice is thine, to deliver thee when thou art oppressed, to defend thee in thy innocence, and to vindicate thee from the injuries of men. What needs more? O my soul, think of these, and all other God’s attributes; say in thyself, All these are mine: nay more; think of God in Christ, (for otherwise what hast thou to do with God in a covenant of grace?) and say in thy heart, Jesus Christ is mine, my Saviour, my Redeemer, my Head, my elder Brother. His doings are mine, and his sufferings are mine; his life and death, his resurrection and ascension, his session and intercession, all are mine: nay more; If Christ be mine, why then all good things are mine in Christ; I say, in Christ, for they come not immediately, but through the hands of a Redeemer; and though he be a man who redeemed us, yet because he is God as well as man, there is more of God, and heaven, and free-love, in all our good things, than if we received them immediately from God. Ravens have their food, and devils have their being, from God by creature-right; but we have all we have, from God in Christ, by covenant-right. This, surely this very promise, is the principal promise of the covenant; it is the very substance, soul, and life of all. Oh then! how careful shouldst thou be to improve the strength of thy mind, thoughts, and affections, on this only subject!

Isaac Ambrose (1604-64), Looking Unto JesusBook II.2.2

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The Greatness of a Devout Musing Upon the Subject of the Godhead

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The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father. There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity. Other subjects we can compass and grapple with; in them we feel a kind of self-content, and go our way with the thought, “Behold I am wise.” But when we come to this master-science, finding that our plumb-line cannot sound its depth, and that our eagle eye cannot see its height, we turn away with the thought, that vain man would be wise, but he is like a wild ass’s colt; and with the solemn exclamation, “I am but of yesterday, and know nothing.” No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind, than thoughts of God. We shall be obliged to feel –

“Great God, how infinite art thou,
What worthless worms are we!”

But while the subject humbles the mind it also expands it. He who often thinks of God, will have a larger mind than the man who simply plods around this narrow globe. He may be a naturalist, boasting of his ability to dissect a beetle, anatomize a fly, or arrange insects and animals in classes with well nigh unutterable names; he may be a geologist, able to discourse of the megatherium and the plesiosaurus, and all kinds of extinct animals; he may imagine that his science, whatever it is, ennobles and enlarges his mind. I dare say it does, but after all, the most excellent study for expanding the soul, is the science of Christ, and him crucified, and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity. Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity. And, whilst humbling and expanding, this subject is eminently consolatary. Oh, there is, in contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound; in musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief; and in the influence of the Holy Ghost, there is a balsam for every sore. Would you lose your sorrows? Would you drown your cares? Then go, plunge yourself in the Godhead’s deepest sea; be lost in his immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul, so calm the swelling billows of grief and sorrow; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead.

Charles Spurgeon (1834-92), exerted from a sermon titled “The Immutability of God“, delivered on Sabbath Morning, January 7th, 1855, at New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.

HT: Jordan Thomas, Grace Church

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A Lot More Dying to Do: A Birthday Reflection

birthday-candles33

Yesterday was my 33rd birthday.

In most ways, the day was no different than any before.  If it was not for calendar dates, I would know no difference.  But there it was, November 25th and therefore another birthday come by the gracious hand of God.

I have never been one to think much of my age.  It’s just another number in many respects.  A course that all must follow granted and paved by the Author, Giver, and Sustainer of Life.

Since God called me to Himself in His Son by His Spirit through His Word a little over ten years ago I have lived with an ever present urgency toward life.  Tomorrow is a gift not a promise.  This urgency, at times for better and at others for worse, has encouraged my longing for the wisdom of age and experience separated from the life and time needed to cultivate such gifts.  A temptation for all – particularly Christians.

As I reflected on my birthday, I was humbled by what came to mind.  Throughout the day, God’s gifts in my life were constantly brought before me: His salvation, constant provision, care, and grace, my loving and compassionate wife, three beautiful daughters, a supportive and loving family and friends, the body of Christ to which we have been joined, and so many other expressions of grace.

But more than that, my mind was fixed on Christ’s death (bear with me for I am not attempting to be super-spiritual).  Tradition (not dogma) has been that Jesus Christ, in his incarnation, was 33 years of age when he was crucified.  This is the age I now bear.  Many, in light of the fleeting nature of life marred by the curse of sin, say to themselves and others as they grow older that they have a lot more living to do.  Therefore they set out to amass for themselves those things which they feel are lacking in enjoying a “fulfilled life.”  Yet, as I considered my life in relation to Christ’s death on my behalf I realized that it was not more living to my self that was needed but rather I have a lot more dying to do.

You see, this is why Christ came – that in dying he would give us life and in dying we would live.  In Luke 9, following Peter’s great, God-given confession of Jesus as “The Christ of God,” Jesus announces the plan to bring life through death and the way in which we might enjoy such life.  Luke records Jesus’s words:

“The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” (v 22-25)

There it is.  Death for life and life for death.  Christ’s substitutionary and sacrificial death purchased my life, freedom, and eternity.  But my experience and enjoyment of the life he died to give is directly impacted by the life, or better yet, the death I live.

It is not more living for my self, my desires, my ambitions, my dreams, and my happiness that I need but the perpetual putting to death of these for the greater joy of living for Him, his desires, his will, and his people.  This is life.  It is the life that every person in Christ is called to enjoy not just to do.  This is life more abundant found only in and through the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

You see, as I reflect on my life I still see too much of me: pride, lust, idolatry, foolishness, self-righteousness, and much those entail.  What I long for, by God’s gracious sanctifying work of the Spirit, is to see more of Christ in and through me.  Alongside God’s purpose in salvation to be praised for His glorious grace is His purpose to present us holy and blameless before Him (Eph. 1:3f).  While this will be brought to fulfillment in Christ’ return (1 John 3:1-3; Phil. 1:6), my desire and His intention is that I be, here and now until I take my last breath, conformed into the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29-30).  This conformation (or transformation, as used elsewhere) comes through death – a dying to self and a living unto Christ (Rom. 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 4:7-18; cf. Luke 9:23-25 above).

As I look back upon my life, I am thankful and humbled by God’s immeasurable goodness to an unworthy soul.  John Newton said it well, “I am not what I ought to be. I am not what I want to be. I am not what I hope to be in another world. But still, I am not what I once used to be! By the grace of God, I am what I am!”  Praise God!

So, as I look forward to what lies ahead, I wait “for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13) but not only in His return but the appearing of His glory even now in and through my life as I fix my gaze upon Him and am transformed (2 Cor. 3:18).

I am 33 but, by God’s grace, I have a lot more dying to do.

Soil Deo Gloria

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A Biblical Look at Election

christianWhat Election is Not

  • Election is not salvation but unto salvation (2Th 2:13-14; Eph 1:4; Rom 8:29-30).
  • Election is not exclusive of means (2Th 2:14; Eph 1:5, 13; 2Ti 2:10; 1Pe 1:2).
  • Election is not a respecter of persons (Rom 9:18-24). Fame, wealth, wisdom, position, etc., did not cause God to have respect for some and thus elect them (Job 34:19). All being ungodly, none could have been saved had he not shown grace to some.
  • Election is not “salvation regardless,” but unto salvation through the redemption of Christ, applied by the Spirit through the Gospel (Joh 6:37; Rom 10:17; 1Th 1:4-5; 2Th 2:13-14; Act 13:48).
  • Election is not opposed to the Gospel, but the Gospel is a means in accomplishing election’s purpose (see Scriptures already cited).
  • Election is not an enemy of righteousness, but through its appointed means it causes those once ungodly to live godly (Eph 1:4; 1Th 1:4-10).
  • Election is not based on unforeseen faith or works, but it produces faith and works (Rom 9:11-16; 11:5-6; Phi 1:6; 1Ti 1:9; Eph 2:8-10; Act 13:48; 1Co 3:5; Rom 12:3; Eph 4:7; Act 5:31; 2Ti 2:25).
  • Election does not shut the door of salvation but opens that door for all those who come to Christ (Joh 6:37, 44, 63; 10:9; 14:6).
  • Election is not a hindrance to Gospel preaching, but it assures the Gospel of success (Isa 55:11; Joh 10:27; 6:37, 45; 17:20-21; Act 15:14; 16:14; 18:27; 2Ti 2:9-10).
  • Election is not of the Jews only (Rom 9:24; 11:5-8, 11-12, 25; Joh 11:52).
  • Election is not merely to service but to salvation (2Th 2:13-14; 2Ti 2:10).
  • Election is not fatalism but is the work of God (1Th 1:4; Rom 8:28, 30).
  • Election does not destroy man’s so-called “free will.” The will of man is his desire, wish or choice. His choice is sin (Joh 3:19-20; 5:40; 3:11; 4:17-19; Jer 17:9; 13:23; etc.). Man “freely”chooses sin, and by God’s grace, the elect freely choose Christ (Psa 65:4; 110:3; Joh 6:44, 65; Act 13:48). Lazarus “freely” rotted, but at the word of Christ, he “freely” came forth (Joh 11); and so do the elect of God.
  • Election is not anti-missionary but gives the foundation for missions (Joh 6:37; 17:20-21; 2Ti 2:10; Isa 55:11; 2Pe 3:9, 15).
  • Election does not destroy the responsibility of man. Men are responsible with whatever light they have, be it conscience (Rom 2:15), nature (Rom 1:19-20), written Law (Rom 2:17-27), or the Gospel (Mar 16:15-16). Man’s inability to do righteousness no more frees him from responsibility than does Satan’s inability to do righteousness.
  • Election does not make God unjust. His blessing of a great number of unworthy sinners with salvation is no injustice to the rest of the unworthy sinners. If a government pardons one convict, is it injustice to the rest (1Th 5:9)?
  • Election does not discourage convicted sinners but welcomes them to Christ. “Let him who thirsts come” (Rev 22:17). The God who saves is the God who has elected men unto salvation. He is the same God who invites.
  • Election does not discourage prayer. To the contrary, it drives us to God, for He it is who alone can save. True prayer is the Spirit’s prompting; and thus will be in harmony with God’s will (Rom 8:28).
  • Election is not of man. Some say, “God votes, the devil votes, and man votes.” The Bible teaches that election is not of the devil and man, but “of God” (1Th 1:4; Joh 10:16; 1Jo 4:10, 19).
  • Election is not of reason but of revelation. At first it does not appeal to man’s reason; but when man accepts God’s Word, it is seen to be the only thing that could be “reasonable” (Mat 20:15).

Let me close this important chapter with a brief warning to those who reject and speak against the blessed doctrine of election:

  1. It is not wise to make derogatory remarks about what is in the Bible, whether you understand it or not.
  2. It is not wise to reject what the Bible teaches on any subject, especially if you have not studied what the Bible says about it.
  3. It is not wise to make a hobby out of any one doctrine. Although this doctrine is of vital importance, it is only one doctrine and must not be separated from all Christian truth.
  4. It is not wise to reject any doctrine because it has been abused and misused. All the key doctrines have been perverted.

If it were not for election, your will would take you to hell. You can only get rid of election by getting rid of the Bible. My foremost reason for believing in election is because it is clearly and plainly taught in the Bible.

Unbelievably, many people do not know that election is in the Bible. Worse yet, the Biblical teaching on the subject has been very little discussed, taught, or preached. Someone once must have thought it important because it is in our Baptist Faith and Message: “Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners.”

It is not only in our Articles of Faith, but we sing it in many of our hymns—the second stanza of “The Church’s One Foundation” begins “Elect from every nation…”

More importantly, it is in the Bible; and if only one point is made in this chapter, let it be that everyone who believes the Bible must believe in election.

Ernest C. Reisinger (1919-2004), God’s Will, Man’s Will, and Free Will, Ch.5 “Related Doctrines”.

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The Symptoms and Source of a Body Severed from the Head

And he is the head of the body, the church.  He is the beginning, the firstborn for the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. – Colossians 1:18

If the body of Christ in it’s local expression… is in anyway disconnected from the head, is in any way doing anything other than submitting to the headship of Christ, then it will become apparent in:

1. It doesn’t move easily or with confidence and authority in ministering with relevance to godless world.

Disconnected from the head, you will not speak freely and relevantly and impactfully to your pagan friends and neighbors because you’ve lost the connection necessary.

2. Such a church will constantly display a frustration at a gap of what it should be doing and what it is actually doing.

3. It will seem to take forever to respond to and complete even the most straightforward of tasks.

Sometimes I wonder, why does it take so long to get anything done around here.  If this was any other place, this thing would be bankrupt, you know.  What is going on here?  Well it’s not the only answer, but one of the answers is that there’s a disconnection, you see.  The information is not flowing from the head in a way that it needs to flow.

4. The communication of such a fellowship will often be vague and jumbled.  No one will actually know what it’s saying or even if it’s saying anything at all.  And after any unusual exertion, it will be exhausted and protest that it needs time to be given to it to recover.

Now all of this is a failure on the part of the body to submit to the head.

It would be nice somehow or another if we could go in and then give a variety of explanations as to why the body and the head would be disconnected.  There is never any possibility of disconnection from the head to the body in relationship to the headship of Christ.  Therefore, it is all from here to there and it is all addressed in one simple word – sin.  If I am disconnected from the headship of Christ the answer is sin.  If you doubt that, read your Bible.

When you think of the word sin, most of us are so familiar with it we say “Sin… what is sin?” First of all, sin is not a deed, it is a condition.  It’s a state of being.  It’s a mentality. It’s an approach to things.  But it expresses itself in a variety of different ways, and that is why in the New Testament we are given all kinds of words to indicate the nature of sin:

1. hamartia (English transliteration) – it’s a shooting term, from archery.  We’re familiar with it. We know it to be that missing the mark.  We all fall short of the glory of God.  We miss the mark.  We know we are not what we ought to be.  Sin.

2. parabasis (Eng. transliteration) – it means to step across the line.  Those of you who fought your friends at school and then made up very quickly will remember those times on the playground when some character determined that he would dare you to step across the line.  And then he made a line, often drawing it in the dirt with his foot, and he says I dare you to step across it.  And ever so often we were foolish enough to step across it and we live with the consequences as we clutched our noses and ran home to tell our mothers about the evil that had been done to us.  But we stepped across it deliberately, intentionally, premeditatively.  Listen, and listen real carefully – when you and I look at the instruction of the headship of Christ straight-on, when we understand where the lines are drawn and we say, “I know I shouldn’t say this, I know I shouldn’t do this, I know I shouldn’t be there,” and we say it, do it, and go there, then we engage in willful sin and the idea of being able to enjoy the full flow of the communion and guidance and growth of the headship of Christ simultaneous with that is a feat uncountenanced in the whole Bible.  Anybody stepping over the line willfully?

3. paraptoma (Eng. translit.) – means to slip across the line.  This is something that is impulsive, it is unpremeditated, it is unintentional.  We find ourselves saying, “I have no idea why I did that. I didn’t mean to say that.  I didn’t want to do that.”  And we didn’t.

4. anomia (nomos – Greek for law, a – the prefix as in anomoly) – lawlessness.  I’ll do what it want.  I’ll think what I want. I’ll go where I want.  Just total rebellion.

5. opheilema – a debt.  When I fail to give God and other people what is their due.

Now do you understand this?  It is very simple, isn’t it?  If there is any disconnection between the head and the body, it is a result of sin.  Sin that works its way out in my life in lawlessness, in stepping over the line, in slipping over the line, in incurring a debt to God that should be dealt with as I come to him in confession.  And you can’t take the cumulative impact of that amongst the company of God’s people and expect that the power of the Spirit of God will be pulsing throughout the body you see.  That’s why our sins as individuals are not individual sins, for none of us sins to ourselves no more than we live to ourselves or we die to ourselves but we live and die to the Lord and we sin and it impacts everybody else.

Alistair Begg, “exert from sermon “Who’s in Charge of the Church?“, October 22, 2000.

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