Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"You Gotta Serve Somebody" --- A Devotional on Psalm 99


A Devotional on Psalm 99 by Bill Weber

Psalm 99 (English Standard Version)

The LORD Our God Is Holy

1 The LORD reigns; let the peoples tremble!
He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!
2The LORD is great in Zion;
he is exalted over all the peoples.
3Let them praise your great and awesome name!
Holy is he!
4 The King in his might loves justice.
You have established equity;
you have executed justice
and righteousness in Jacob.
5 Exalt the LORD our God;
worship at his footstool!
Holy is he!

6 Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
Samuel also was among those who called upon his name.
They called to the LORD, and he answered them.
7In the pillar of the cloud he spoke to them;
they kept his testimonies
and the statute that he gave them.

8O LORD our God, you answered them;
you were a forgiving God to them,
but an avenger of their wrongdoings.
9Exalt the LORD our God,
and worship at his holy mountain;
for the LORD our God is holy!

---------------

There are really only two religious options according to Scripture. We will either worship and serve the true God, who is holy, transcendent, and ruler of all things, or we will worship and serve created things. In a few short words, the apostle Paul analyzed the essence of the human problem when he said of fallen man, “they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever!” (Romans 1:25).

There is a divide between the Creator and the creature that should never be crossed. But crossing this boundary is the very thing we have done in our sin. We fell for the lie of the deceiver in the garden, who falsely promised that we would “be like God” (Genesis 3:5). We now worship ourselves and the false gods we invent in our fallen imaginations. Instead of following the Lord and his Word, we follow the desires of our fallen hearts, and we suppress the knowledge of the true God, who created us for himself.

To worship the creature is drummed into our heads in our fallen society. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone absolutize and personify “nature” in our society, I would be far richer than I am right now! “Nature” can do amazing things! It can create beautiful sunsets, majestic mountains, and wonderfully made tiny babies! Amazing how impersonal “nature” has this amazing ability to create itself! Poof, it’s like magic! But all of this is simply symptomatic of our society’s worship of the creation/creature rather than the Creator. The aversion of our fallen hearts to the transcendent and holy God runs deep, and so we find ways to avoid the thought of Him, and our language about “nature” and “mother nature” reveals this deep aversion of our hearts.

Psalm 99 shines forth the truth we would prefer to not to consider. It reveals the truth that the Lord is king, who is majestic and holy. He is God, and we are his creatures. God is God and men are but men, and we men (by "men" I mean all people---I'm weary of giving into the feminist takeover of our language!) should give to God what He is due, namely, our awe, submission, love, and praise.

Notice in the psalm the pattern of God’s description followed by man’s proper response:
Description of God: 1 The LORD reigns;
Man’s proper response: let the peoples tremble!

Description of God: He sits enthroned upon the cherubim;
Man’s proper response: let the earth quake!

Description of God: 2The LORD is great in Zion; he is exalted
over all the peoples.
Man’s proper response: 3Let them praise your great and
awesome name!
One of the reasons, we might not submit to the Lord is fear. Can we entrust our lives to God? Is He good? Maybe He is a tyrant?

But the psalm assures us that though the Lord is king over all, his power is always used justly:
4 The King in his might loves justice.
You have established equity;
you have executed justice
and righteousness in Jacob.
A second reason we might not submit to the Lord or give Him praise is our sin, which deserves God’s wrath. How can sinful creatures exist in the presence of a holy God? What fellowship can light have with darkness?

The mention of Moses, Aaron, and Samuel should allay our fears. These Old Testament men were leaders who interceded for the people in their sin. But in Jesus we have an intercessor who far outstrips them. Jesus’ blood speaks a better word than the blood of Abel, says Hebrews 12. Abel’s blood cried out for vengeance, but Christ’s blood cries out for mercy.

Not only that, Moses led the people into the wilderness so that they might worship the Lord at the holy mountain at Sinai. But Jesus has led us to Mt. Zion in heaven. Through the cross of Jesus, the way is now opened for us to worship above where Christ is. When we read in verse 9, “Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy mountain," in Christ we now come to something far higher than Mt. Sinai or Mt. Zion in Jerusalem. We now worship Christ in His very presence in heaven above! Through our Mediator we have forgiveness of sins, the gift of the Spirit, and we have now turned from the worship of the creature to the worship of our Creator. In Christ we have turned away from the lie and come to Jesus who is the truth.

It is a scary thing for sinners, and continuing sinners like us, to approach the King who is holy. But this psalm, and all of Scripture, is meant to teach us that there is a way back to the God we left in the garden through our rebellion. Jesus, the second Adam, enables us to return to the Father, so that we might, as Zechariah put it in Luke chapter 1, “serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.” The King to whom we now come to in heaven shares our flesh, and in our flesh he went to the cross for us. Let us go to Him in worship all our days, not pleading our own merit, but His. And may our time spent in His presence, transform us into his image to the praise of our triune God. Amen.



Saturday, June 26, 2010

A New Hymn Based on Christ's Ascension and Lord's Day 18 of the Heidelberg Catechism


To the Lord Who Has Ascended

To the Tune: BEECHER (Now with Joyful Exultation). Based on Lord’s Day 18 of the Heidelberg Catechism (related Westminster Shorter Catechism Q&A 21, 28, 32). Words: Bill Weber, 2010.

v. 1
To the Lord who has ascended,
let us give Him all our praise.
To the cross He condescended,
on the cross His body laid.
No one took the Lord’s life from Him,
willingly He laid it down.
Three days later He was lifted,
raised above, received the crown.

v. 2
Christ ascended unto heaven,
on the clouds was lifted up.
He was blessing His disciples,
in their sight was taken up.
Now He blesses us from heaven,
He is present for our good.
Prays for us before His Father,
we’re accepted by through His blood.

v. 3
Jesus has received a kingdom,
that will never fade away.
Power, glory and dominion,
unto Jesus, now, always.
So let’s bow and kneel before Him,
and confess Him as our Lord.
Grateful for His grace and mercy,
let us tremble at His word.

v. 4
Resurrected and ascended,
Jesus rules as sov’reign king.
Pours His Spirit on His people,
makes them seek not earthly things.
By the power of the Spirit,
we seek Christ who is above.
Glory in our Lord and Savior,
bask in God’s unfailing love.

v. 5
Christ ascended to the Father,
fully God and fully man.
Now we have our flesh in heaven,
Jesus Christ the Son of Man.
Guarantees our resurrection,
joined to Him, though here below.
He will raise us up to glory,
life in fullness He’ll bestow.


Lord's Day 18

Q & A 46

Q. What do you mean by saying,
"He ascended to heaven"?

A. That Christ,
while his disciples watched,
was lifted up from the earth to heaven^1
and will be there for our good^2
until he comes again
to judge the living and the dead.^3

^1 Luke 24:50-51; Acts 1:9-11
^2 Rom. 8:34; Eph. 4:8-10; Heb. 7:23-25; 9:24
^3 Acts 1:11

Q & A 47

Q. But isn't Christ with us
until the end of the world
as he promised us?^1

A. Christ is truly human and truly God.
In his human nature Christ is not now on earth;^2
but in his divinity, majesty, grace, and Spirit
he is not absent from us for a moment.^3

^1 Matt. 28:20
^2 Acts 1:9-11; 3:19-21
^3 Matt. 28:18-20; John 14:16-19

Q & A 48

Q. If his humanity is not present
wherever his divinity is,
then aren't the two natures of Christ
separated from each other?

A. Certainly not.
Since divinity
is not limited
and is present everywhere,^1
it is evident that
Christ's divinity is surely beyond the bounds of
the humanity he has taken on,
but at the same time his divinity is in
and remains personally united to
his humanity.^2

^1 Jer. 23:23-24; Acts 7:48-49 (Isa. 66:1)
^2 John 1:14; 3:13; Col. 2:9

Q & A 49

Q. How does Christ's ascension to heaven
benefit us?

A. First, he pleads our cause
in heaven
in the presence of his Father.^1
Second, we have our own flesh in heaven—
a guarantee that Christ our head
will take us, his members,
to himself in heaven.^2
Third, he sends his Spirit to us on earth
as a further guarantee.^3
By the Spirit's power
we make the goal of our lives,
not earthly things,
but the things above where Christ is,
sitting at God's right hand.^4

^1 Rom. 8:34; 1 John 2:1
^2 John 14:2; 17:24; Eph. 2:4-6
^3 John 14:16; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; 5:5
^4 Col. 3:1-4




Thursday, June 24, 2010

Two New Hymns Based on Lord's Days 16 and 17 of the Heidelberg Catechism


The Lord Is Holy, True and Just

To the Tune: BETHLEHEM (How Vast the Benefits Divine). Based on Lord’s Day 16 of the Heidelberg Catechism (related Westminster Shorter Catechism Q&A 27, 32, 35, 37). Words: Bill Weber, 2010.

v. 1
The Lord is holy, true and just,
all glor-i’ous, full of light.
No darkness can abide with Him,
nor sinners in His sight.
So Jesus came to seek and save,
to God did make a way.
The Holy Son of God did come,
for all our sins to pay.

v. 2
He suffered at the hands of men
upon the cruel tree.
He spoke these words, My God, My God,
have You forsaken Me?
His death was real and not in vain,
He paid the penalty.
From sin and guilt delivered us,
and set the captives free.

v. 3
If Jesus died our death for us,
why must believers die?
Our deaths won’t pay the debt of sin,
on Jesus’ death rely.
But death will put an end to sin
in the believer’s life,
for Christ has transformed death for us
into a door to life.

v. 4
Through Jesus’ death we’re crucified,
we’re buried dead with Him.
Our old selves should not rule o’er us,
since we have died to sin.
Instead we make an offering
of thanks and gratitude;
we give ourselves a sacrifice,
a gift, O Christ, to You.

v. 5
How can we thank You Father, Son,
for all You’ve done for us?
In love You sent Your only Son,
for sinners such as us.
Your Son did bear sin’s awful load,
how anguished was His soul!
Delivered from sin’s penalty,
the justice, curse of hell.


Lord's Day 16

Q & A 40

Q. Why did Christ have to go all the way to death?

A. Because God's justice and truth demand it:^1
only the death of God's Son could pay for our sin.^2

^1 Gen. 2:17
^2 Rom. 8:3-4; Phil. 2:8; Heb. 2:9

Q & A 41

Q. Why was he "buried"?

A. His burial testifies
that he really died.^1

^1 Isa. 53:9; John 19:38-42; Acts 13:29; 1 Cor. 15:3-4

Q & A 42

Q. Since Christ has died for us,
why do we still have to die?

A. Our death does not pay the debt of our sins.^1
Rather, it puts an end to our sinning
and is our entrance into eternal life.^2

^1 Ps. 49:7
^2 John 5:24; Phil. 1:21-23; 1 Thess. 5:9-10

Q & A 43

Q. What further advantage do we receive
from Christ's sacrifice and death on the cross?

A. Through Christ's death
our old selves are crucified, put to death, and buried with him,^1
so that the evil desires of the flesh
may no longer rule us,^2
but that instead we may dedicate ourselves
as an offering of gratitude to him.^3

^1 Rom. 6:5-11; Col. 2:11-12
^2 Rom. 6:12-14
^3 Rom. 12:1; Eph. 5:1-2

Q & A 44

Q. Why does the creed add,
"He descended to hell"?

A. To assure me in times of personal crisis and temptation
that Christ my Lord,
by suffering unspeakable anguish, pain, and terror of soul,
especially on the cross but also earlier,
has delivered me from the anguish and torment of hell.^1

^1 Isa. 53; Matt. 26:36-46; 27:45-46; Luke 22:44; Heb. 5:7-10


Christ Is Risen from the Grave

To the Tune: SALZBURG (Songs of Thankfulness and Praise). Based on Lord’s Day 17 of the Heidelberg Catechism (related Westminster Shorter Catechism Q&A 28, 32). Words: Bill Weber, 2010.

[In this hymn I’ve varied the refrain (the last two lines), so that it is different each time.]

v. 1
Christ is risen from the grave,
ushers in a brand new age.
Death is overcome by Christ,
gives His own eternal life.
Trust the Son the Father sent,
taste, enjoy His benefits
Christ is risen from the grave,
live by faith in His new age.

v. 2
Rulers of this present age,
did not know the One who came.
Put to death the Holy One,
Jesus, God’s beloved Son.
But their sin fulfilled God’s plan,
to restore our sinful clan.
Christ is risen from the grave,
Give to God unending praise.

v. 3
Flee the wisdom of this age,
Jesus from the tomb is raised.
You are seated now with Christ
and receive eternal life.
Verdict of the final day,
let it all your fears allay.
Righteousness is yours in Christ,
bless’d in Him who justifies.

v. 4
This world is opposed to Christ,
does not know eternal life.
Fear not, bless and do not curse,
seek God’s kingdom, make it first.
For your Father will provide,
ev’ry need He will supply.
Christ is raised up from the grave,
Give your Father loving praise.

v. 5
Jesus is eternal life,
raised to show He is the Christ.
By His pow’r we too are raised,
Christ the way for all our days.
Not for self do we now live,
but to God all glory give.
Christ is risen from the grave,
live for Him in all your ways.

v. 6
Christ is risen from the grave,
give to Him undying praise.
One day He will come again,
raise our bodies up with Him.
Sharing in His glory great,
we will look upon His face.
Christ is risen from the grave,
brings to us the coming age.


Lord's Day 17

Q & A 45

Q. How does Christ's resurrection
benefit us?

A. First, by his resurrection he has overcome death,
so that he might make us share in the righteousness
he won for us by his death.^1
Second, by his power we too
are already now resurrected to a new life.^2
Third, Christ's resurrection
is a guarantee of our glorious resurrection.^3

^1 Rom. 4:25; 1 Cor. 15:16-20; 1 Pet. 1:3-5
^2 Rom. 6:5-11; Eph. 2:4-6; Col. 3:1-4
^3 Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 15:12-23; Phil. 3:20-21

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mourning Over the Word that Created and Rules All Things --- Mark 3:1-6, Part 3


Mark 3:1-6 (English Standard Version)

1 Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. 2And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. 3And he said to the man with the withered hand, "Come here." 4And he said to them, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?" But they were silent. 5And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

----------------------------------------------------

In this final devotional on Mark 3:1-6, let’s look at the last remarkable thing in this passage, namely, the miracle itself. Jesus heals this man with a withered hand with words! At Jesus’ word, think of everything that obeyed in this man’s hand! Here is a quote describing the micro-universe that is too small for us to see: “Along with leptons-- electrons, muons, the tau, and their associated neutrinos and antiparticles -- quarks make up all the visible matter in the universe.” Trilions and trillions of these particles had to obey the word of Jesus for this command to be fulfilled. Who is this that even leptons, electrons, muons, the tau, neutrinos, and antiparticles, obey him? Who can speak to a withered hand and cause it to be restored?

Scripture’s answer is that Jesus is divine, for when God speaks all of creation must obey. Psalm 33:6 says, “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.” Jesus is the God-man, who “upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3).

Jesus didn’t heal this man by praying. Jesus didn’t perform surgery on this man’s hand. No, Jesus simply spoke and it was done. All of the cells in this man’s hand obeyed the word of the One who brought them into existence in the first place.

All of this should teach us an important lesson about reality. It teaches us that the entire inanimate universe is ruled by the word of the Lord. From the largest galaxies to the universe contained in a human hand, everything is ruled by the word of God.

People can choose to deny this reality, and believe that the immensity and minute design of the universe occurred by some kind of blind evolution. But, quite honestly, that answer is absurd, for chance is nothing but a description---it has no ontological being. It is just sheer magic --- a fanciful myth --- to think that this world with its incredible design just magically came into being.

No, the truth is that everything we see, and cannot see, came into being through the word of God. It is preserved and sustained by that same word, and it will be dissolved with fire by the very same word of God:
[5 ] 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, [6 ] and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. [7 ] But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. (2 Peter 3:5-7 ESV)
Everything in the universe obeys the word of the Lord. But, sadly, human beings are in rebellion against that very Word. All of nature obeys the word of its Creator, but man refuses to esteem and obey His Word!

Isaiah points to God’s creation of the universe and all things visible and invisible (heaven and earth), and then makes the application that we should reverence and esteem and obey the Word of God:
Thus says the LORD:

“Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool;
what is the house that you would build for me,
and what is the place of my rest?
[2 ] All these things my hand has made,
and so all these things came to be,
declares the LORD.
But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at my word.
(Isaiah 66:1-2 ESV)
Do you and I tremble at the word of our Lord Jesus Christ? Do we highly esteem the Word of our Father in heaven?

We pay attention to the words of human leaders, but what kind of attention do we give to the Leader of all leaders, Jesus Christ? We honor our earthly fathers and hear their words, but do we honor and hear the words of heavenly Father?

Is it not true that we should mourn over our lack of reverence for God’s Word, the Bible? Should we not mourn over our lack of knowledge of God’s Word, but, even more, our lack of doing what it says? We are part of a rebellious and foolish race, and that truth should grieve us, and cause us to learn the lesson Jesus taught us: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4 ESV)



Monday, June 14, 2010

Christmas In June! --- A Hymn Based on Lord's Day 14 of the Heidelberg Catechism


To Mary God Sent Gabriel

To the Tune: LASST UNS ERFREUEN (Lutheran Service Book #493). Based on Lord’s Day 14 of the Heidelberg Catechism (related Westminster Shorter Catechism Q&A 22 and 27), and Luke 1:26-38. Words: Bill Weber, 2010.

v. 1
To Mary God sent Gabriel,
told she would bear Immanuel.
Al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia.
This is the Son of the Most High,
whose kindom to us has drawn nigh.
Al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia.
Al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia.

v. 2
In Mary’s womb the Christ was formed,
the Son who human lives transforms.
Al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia.
Remaining true eternal God,
assumed our nature, walked this sod.
Al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia.
Al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia.

v. 3
This Jesus is God’s bless-ed Son,
innocent, with the Father one.
Al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia.
In Mary’s womb He was conceived.
Eternal entered history.
Al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia.
Al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia.

v. 4
All those with faith in Jesus Christ,
His holiness does justify.
Al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia.
The Son to earth did come to die,
so we might live with Him on high.
Al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia.
Al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia.

v. 5
By faith in Jesus, God’s true light,
my sin is taken from His sight.
Al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia.
The sin in which we were conceived,
covered for all who have believed.
Al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia.
Al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia.

v. 6
From death the Son was raised on high,
and gives the Spirit, by our side.
Al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia.
The Spirit joins to Christ above,
and fills our hearts with His great love.
Al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia.
Al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia.


Lord's Day 14

Q&A 35

Q. What does it mean that he
"was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary"?

A. That the eternal Son of God,
who is and remains
true and eternal God,^1
took to himself,
through the working of the Holy Spirit,^2
from the flesh and blood of the virgin Mary,^3
a truly human nature
so that he might become David's true descendant,^4
like his brothers in every way^5
except for sin.^6

^1 John 1:1; 10:30-36; Acts 13:33 (Ps. 2:7); Col. 1:15-17; 1 John 5:20
^2 Luke 1:35
^3 Matt. 1:18-23; John 1:14; Gal. 4:4; Heb. 2:14
^4 2 Sam. 7:12-16; Ps. 132:11; Matt. 1:1; Rom. 1:3
^5 Phil. 2:7; Heb. 2:17
^6 Heb. 4:15; 7:26-27

Q&A 36

Q. How does the holy conception and birth of Christ
benefit you?

A. He is our mediator,^1
and with his innocence and perfect holiness
he removes from God's sight
my sin—mine since I was conceived.^2

^1 1 Tim. 2:5-6; Heb. 9:13-15
^2 Rom. 8:3-4; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 4:4-5; 1 Pet. 1:18-19

Saturday, June 12, 2010

God's Values and Man's Values


I wrote this a few years back. It is about the contrast between what God values and man values. I find the chart helpful which probably won't show up well when it is pasted:

Things Worth More than Gold or Silver

Reading:

1) Heidelberg Catechism

34 Q. Why do you call him "our Lord"?

A. Because---not with gold or silver, but with his precious blood---he has set us free from sin and from the tyranny of the devil, and has bought us, body and soul, to be his very own.

2) Scripture 1 Peter 1:18-19: . . . you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

Comment

Q&A 34 alludes to 1 Peter 1:18-19 in its answer. These words are amazing because Peter takes what we consider to be imperishable metals and calls them perishable! Then he goes on to speak of something more enduring and valuable than gold or silver, namely, the death of Jesus Christ!

It is interesting to see what God considers imperishable and valuable. For example, God spoke through Peter to tell us that faith in his Son is imperishable and extremely valuable: “your faith—more precious than gold” (1 Pet. 1:7). Again, God spoke through Peter to tell us that the gospel and the new life it creates is imperishable: “You have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God. . . . And this word is the good news that was preached to you” (1 Pet. 1:23, 25). And, then, once more, God speaks through Peter to tell us what is truly lasting and valuable: “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1 Pet. 1:4).

Human beings, blinded and confused by sin, have their values all mixed up. We tend to devalue what is of utmost value in God’s sight! Based on the verses from Peter cited above, we could diagram God’s values and our sinful values this way:


God Values: The precious death of his Son (1 Peter 1:18-19). Sinful Man Values: Money and wealth, which will perish.

God Values: The gospel word and the imperishable life it produces. (1 Peter 1:23-25). Sinful Man Values: Our own word, and this present life, which is perishing.

God Values: Our imperishable heavenly inheritance (1 Peter 1:4). Sinful Man Values: Our temporary earthly home and our retirement years.

God Values: Our imperishable faith which unites us to Christ. (1 Peter 1:7). Sinful Man Values: Faith in ourselves or false idols of our own inventing.

Everything that is imperishable is connected to Jesus Christ: his shed blood, his gospel word, the fact that he is the Son of God and heir of all things, and our faith that unites us to him. The only way we can match our values to God’s reality is to see Jesus Christ as our exceedingly great treasure. United to him by faith we are united to true and lasting riches.See More


Friday, June 11, 2010

The Briefing Library: The One True Worshipper

The Briefing Library: The One True Worshipper

Jesus: the one true worshipper!

A Hymn Based on Q&A 33 of the Heidelberg Catechism

How Bless’d Is Home, We Are Adopted Sons

To the tune SINE NOMINE (For all the Saints). Based on Lord’s Day 13 of the Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A 33 (related Westminster Shorter Catechism Q&A 34). Words: Bill Weber, 2010.

v. 1
Before all time, the Father loved His Son,
joyful, delighted, always joined as One.
Bless’d harmony, the Spirit, three in one.

refrain
Al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia.

v. 2
This triune love preceded time and space,
flowed to a world which needed saving grace,
to sinners ruin’d, a fallen human race.

refrain
Al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia.

v. 3
The Father sent the Son He dearly loved,
who had existed joyfully above.
The Son was sent in grace, redemptive love.

refrain
Al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia.

v. 4
The human race just like the prodigal,
rejected sonship, left their loving God;
from Father far to seek the world’s applause.

refrain
Al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia.

v. 5
But now in Christ we orphans can come home,
call God our Father, with Him not alone.
Cleans’d, cloth’d in Christ who makes the Father known.

refrain
Al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia.

v. 6
How bless’d is home, we are adopted sons,
who know the Father, life in God the Son;
and have a hope, for heaven has been won.

refrain
Al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia.



Q &A 33

Q. Why is he called God's "only Son"
when we also are God's children?

A. Because Christ alone is the eternal, natural Son of God.^1
We, however, are adopted children of God—
adopted by grace through Christ.^2

^1 John 1:1-3, 14, 18; Heb. 1
^2 John 1:12; Rom. 8:14-17; Eph. 1:5-6

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Hymn Based on Lord's Day 12 of the Heidelberg Catechism, especially Q&A 32


Blessed to Live and Die in Him

To the tune: SONG 13 (Holy Spirit, Truth Divine). Based on Lord’s Day 12 of the Heidelberg Catechism, especially Q&A 32.  Words:  Bill Weber

v. 1
Jesus, prophet, priest, and King,
You have bless’d us, so we sing.
Joined to you by faith alone,
hid in You our heav’n-ly home.

v. 2
John was sent to testify,
for repentance, he baptized.
To the Lamb of God did point,
while the Father did anoint.

v. 3
Raised upon a tree of wood,
took away our sins for good.
Raised, exalted to the throne,
gave the Spirit to His own.

v. 4
We’re anointed to confess,
Jesus’ name to ever bless.
Give ourselves as sacrifice.
Strive ‘gainst sin and live for Christ.

v. 5
Where will we find strength to love?
Look to Christ who lives above;
gives us life, we’re one with Him,
bless’d to live and die in Him.



Lord's Day 12

Q &A 31

Q. Why is he called "Christ,"
meaning "anointed"?

A. Because he has been ordained by God the Father
and has been anointed with the Holy Spirit^1
to be
our chief prophet and teacher^2
who perfectly reveals to us
the secret counsel and will of God for our deliverance;^3
our only high priest^4
who has set us free by the one sacrifice of his body,^5
and who continually pleads our cause with the Father;^6
and our eternal king^7
who governs us by his Word and Spirit,
and who guards us and keeps us
in the freedom he has won for us.^8

^1 Luke 3:21-22; 4:14-19 (Isa. 61:1); Heb. 1:9 (Ps. 45:7)
^2 Acts 3:22 (Deut. 18:15)
^3 John 1:18; 15:15
^4 Heb. 7:17 (Ps. 110:4)
^5 Heb. 9:12; 10:11-14
^6 Rom. 8:34; Heb. 9:24
^7 Matt. 21:5 (Zech. 9:9)
^8 Matt. 28:18-20; John 10:28; Rev. 12:10-11

Q &A 32

Q. But why are you called a Christian?

A. Because by faith I am a member of Christ^1
and so I share in his anointing.^2
I am anointed
to confess his name,^3
to present myself to him as a living sacrifice of thanks,^4
to strive with a good conscience against sin and the devil
in this life,^5
and afterward to reign with Christ
over all creation
for all eternity.^6

^1 1 Cor. 12:12-27
^2 Acts 2:17 (Joel 2:28); 1 John 2:27
^3 Matt. 10:32; Rom. 10:9-10; Heb. 13:15
^4 Rom. 12:1; 1 Pet. 2:5, 9
^5 Gal. 5:16-17; Eph. 6:11; 1 Tim. 1:18-19
^6 Matt. 25:34; 2 Tim. 2:12

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Mark 3:1-6, Part 2 --- Don't Fall for the Serpent's Lie about Judgment


Mark 3:1-6 (English Standard Version)

1 Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. 2And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. 3And he said to the man with the withered hand, "Come here." 4And he said to them, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?" But they were silent. 5And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.
----------------------------------------------

Last time we looked at the importance of love for Jesus, God’s beloved Son, sent into the world for our salvation. The religion of the Pharisees had led them to actually hate God, who was now standing in their midst! This shows how hateful, and even, demonic any form of works righteousness is! If we save ourselves, we despise the salvation God actually accomplished in Christ! Therefore, we must depend entirely on the salvation Jesus accomplished for us, in the same way infants depend on their parents to meet all their needs. Self-reliance and pride bar us from the kingdom of God. We must enter the kingdom humbly, with nothing to offer the Lord except our sin. He will not despise a broken and contrite heart (Ps. 51:17).

But, now, let’s observe another remarkable thing in our passage. In verse 5 it says that Jesus “looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart.” When we consider that Jesus is the exact representation of the Father (Heb. 1:3), Jesus’ interpreted look gives us a glimpse into the very heart of God as he looks at a rebellious human race!

Mark 3:5 reminds me of Genesis 6:5-7 and the judgment of the flood. There we see in the Lord, a mixture of grief and holy anger:
“The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7So the LORD said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.”
We must remember that one of the lies of Satan is to foster unbelief in God’s judgment. The devil wants us to believe that God would never, ever punish sinners. One of his first lies, and the lie he continues to use, is this one: “But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die.’” Satan works to cause us to disbelieve the punishment God imposes for sin. The devil would have us believe that hell is a fiction.

Here in Mark, we see how angry Jesus is about human rebellion and stubbornness toward him. He is angry about what sin has done to the human heart, which he created as righteous, good, and full of love for Him. Jesus shows us the heart of God toward sinners in their rebellion, and he is rightfully angry over a heart that has turned stone cold toward God.

But the anger of God toward sin and sinners is not the whole story. Thankfully, the heart of God is also grieved over man’s departure from his presence and blessing. The very fact that God incarnate is standing in this synagogue in Palestine is testimony to a compassionate God, who desires to reconcile sinners to himself! He did this by sending His Son to be our sin bearer at the cross. Only through the imputation of sin to Jesus, who bore sin’s judgment in our place, could mercy and the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ come to us. If we will turn from our hard, Pharisee-like hearts, and come to Jesus as our Lord and Savior, then we can experience the compassion and love God has for his fallen creatures, ruined by sin.

As always, we do not stand in judgment of God’s Word. Rather, God’s Word stands in judgment of us! What will you do with the truth of God’s anger and compassion as a member of a rebellious human race? Will you humble yourself, believe God’s Word, and come to the Lamb he provided to take away our sins? Will you come to Jesus as your Lord, God, and Savior? Or will you believe the lie that God won’t punish sinners, and continue in your coldness toward your Creator and Redeemer? God longs for you and me to come to Him, but if we don’t, he will not compromise his holiness, and you and I will have to bear his judgment ourselves. Let us come to the God who so loved us that He himself bore our sins.
Great is sin against our Maker,
ev’ry sin is aimed at Him.
Should the clay question the Potter,
fight against his wise design?
The Lord is right in His anger
against human sin and pride.
God is holy, full of justice.
He is Judge and will do right.

We can’t bear God’s righteous anger
or against his power stand.
So God sent His dearly belov’d Son,
the delight of His right hand.
Jesus is the Father’s glory,
perfect picture of our God.
This is He who came to save us,
fully man and fully God.

At the cross we see God’s glory,
justice there and mercy meet.
At the cross Christ bore our judgment,
so from judgment we’d be free.
What kind of God dies for creatures,
rebels from the time of birth?
He is God, He’s just and merciful.
Praise Him one and all on earth!





Here is the beginning of my post. And here is the rest of it.

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