Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Courage for your ‘new scene of action’ (2011)

Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, "Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the LORD swore to their forefathers to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."

Deut 31:7-8

"Moses encourages Joshua. Observe: 

1. Though Joshua was an experienced general, and a man of approved gallantry and resolution, who had already signalized himself in many brave actions, yet Moses saw cause to bid him be of good courage, now that he was entering upon a new scene of action; and Joshua was far from taking it as an affront, or as a tacit questioning of his courage, to be thus charged, as sometimes we find proud and peevish spirits invidiously taking exhortations and admonitions for reproaches and reflections. Joshua himself is very well pleased to be admonished by Moses to be strong and of good courage.

2. He gives him this charge in the sight of all Israel, that they might be the more observant of him whom they saw thus solemnly inaugurated, and that he might set himself the more to be an example of courage to the people who were witnesses to this charge here given to him as well as to themselves.

3. He gives him the same assurances of the divine presence, and consequently of a glorious success, that he had given the people. God would be with him, would not forsake him, and therefore he should certainly accomplish the glorious enterprise to which he was called and commissioned: Thou shalt cause them to inherit the land of promise. Note, Those shall speed well that have God with them; and therefore they ought to be of good courage. Through God let us do valiantly, for through him we shall do victoriously; if we resist the devil, he shall flee, and God shall shortly tread him under our feet."

(Matthew Henry- Complete Commentary on the Bible)

Friday, 17 December 2010

The Glorious paradoxes of the Incarnation

Justin Taylor quotes Spurgeon and Storms on the Glorious Paradoxes of God Incarnate:

Charles Spurgeon preached in 1858 on the wonderful paradoxes of the incarnation:
Infinite, and an infant—
eternal, and yet born of a woman—
Almighty, and yet hanging on a woman’s breast—
supporting the universe, and yet needing to be carried in a mother’s arms—
king of angels, and yet the reputed son of Joseph—
heir of all things and yet the carpenter’s despised son.
Sam Storms also reflects on the paradoxes:
The Word became flesh!
God became human!
the invisible became visible!
the untouchable became touchable!
eternal life experienced temporal death!
the transcendent one descended and drew near!
the unlimited became limited!
the infinite became finite!
the immutable became mutable!
the unbreakable became fragile!
spirit became matter!
eternity entered time!
the independent became dependent!
the almighty became weak!
the loved became the hated!
the exalted was humbled!
glory was subjected to shame!
fame turned into obscurity!
from inexpressible joy to tears of unimaginable grief!
from a throne to a cross!
from ruler to being ruled!
from power to weakness!

Liam Garvie quotes Jonathan Edwards on the Glories of the Incarnation:

“How astonishing is it that a person:

  • who is blessed forever and is infinitely and essentially happy should endure the greatest sufferings that ever were endured on earth!
  • who is the supreme Lord and Judge of the world should be arraigned and should stand at the judgment seat of mortal worms and then be condemned.
  • who is the living God and the fountain of life should be put to death.
  • who created the world and gives life to all his creatures should be put to death by his own creatures.
  • of infinite majesty and glory, and so the object of the love, praises and adoration of angels, should be mocked and spit upon by the vilest of men.
  • infinitely good and who is love itself should suffer the greatest cruelty.
  • who is infinitely beloved of the Father should be put to inexpressible anguish under his own Father’s wrath.
  • who is the King of heaven, who has heaven for his throne and earth for his footstool, should be buried in the prison of the grave.
How wonderful is this! And yet this is the way that God’s wisdom has fixed upon as the way of sinners’ salvation, as neither unsuitable nor dishonourable to Christ.”

Jonathan Edwards, “The Wisdom of God Displayed in the Way of Salvation,” in Works (Edinburgh, 1979), II:144

Monday, 13 December 2010

Scripture and the Sermon

 A preacher can proclaim anything in a stained-glass voice, at 11.30 on a Sunday morning, following the singing of hymns. Yet when a preacher fails to preach the Scriptures, he abandons his authority. He confronts his hearers no longer with a word from God but only with another word from men. Therefore most modern preaching evokes nothing more than a wide yawn. God is not in it.

Haddon Robinson (Expository Preaching)