Friday, April 29, 2011

Hymn Lyrics for John 7

Who Was This Who Did These Signs?

To the tune: CWM RHONDDA. Based on John 7. Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
Hostile were the Jews ’gainst Jesus,
breaking Sabbath was His crime.
Jesus’ brothers unbelieving,
with the world they took their side.
Crowds were torn about His person,
who was this who did these signs?
who was this who did these signs?

v. 2
Jesus came unto the temple,
teaching them the truth of God.
Speaking not for His own honor,
but the Father’s praise, applause.
Jesus, Sent-One of the Father,
He’s the Christ, the Son of God.
He’s the Christ, the Son of God.

v. 3
In the trial of the ages,
is this man the Lord and Christ?
Is this Jesus a deceiver
or the Son of God and Christ?
O believe Christ’s witness, truthful,
side with Him, receive true life,
side with Him, receive true life.

v. 4
Christ replaces the true temple,
Spirit flowing out from Him.
Raised to life in triune glory,
Spirit gives to dwell within.
Blessed we are to be in Jesus,
dead and buried, raised with Him,
dead and buried, raised with Him.

v. 5
Son of God sent from the Father,
to the Father He returned.
Vindicated by His rising,
rule, authority He earned.
He’s your Judge, the King in glory,
will you trust or will you spurn?
will you trust or will you spurn?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hymn Lyrics for John 6:25-71

Jesus Taught about the Meaning of the Fish and of the Loaves

To the tune: UPP, MIN TUNGA Praise the Savior Now and Ever. Based on John 6:25-71. Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
Jesus taught about the meaning
of the fish and of the loaves.
He gives life that’s everlasting
for the saints His Father chose.
Come to Jesus for God’s blessing,
saves you from eternal woes.

v. 2
They sought Jesus for wrong reasons,
found Him in a synagogue.
Jesus, Bread that came from heaven,
sacrificial Lamb of God.
Bread of God by faith partaken,
gave His body, shed His blood.

v. 3
Find your life in Jesus given
by the Father for His own.
Christ will keep you safe ’til heaven,
find your strength in Him alone.
He’s the Lord in power risen.
His the kingdom, His the throne.

v. 4
As we make our way to heaven,
strength is needed on the way.
Use the means that God has given,
feed on Christ from day to day.
Word and Spirit to enliven,
prayer the precious hand of faith.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Singing Through the Heidelberg Catechism: Lord's Day 52 (Part 1)

Lord's Day 52 (Part 1)

Q & A 127

Q. What does the sixth request mean?

A. "And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one" means,

By ourselves we are too weak
to hold our own even for a moment.

And our sworn enemies—
the devil, the world, and our own flesh—
never stop attacking us.

And so, Lord,
uphold us and make us strong
with the strength of your Holy Spirit,
so that we may not go down to defeat
in this spiritual struggle,
but may firmly resist our enemies
until we finally win the complete victory.


The sixth petition is a bit puzzling. For on the one hand, Scripture tells us that God tempts no one to evil, so why would we need to ask the Father not to do something he never does? But on the other hand, if the word temptation means testing, why should we ask God not to send us tests, when clearly this is something he does, according to Scripture? James even advises us to rejoice in the various tests and trials that come from our Father’s providential hand.

Lionel Windsor has pointed to the Old Testament background to give us a better understanding of what is meant by the petition, lead us not into temptation. He points to the way the Israelites put God to the test at Massah in Exodus 17. Here at Massah, a place-name that means testing, the people so distrusted the Lord who had delivered them from Egypt, that they accused him of bringing them into the desert to kill them! They distrusted and rebelled against the Lord and his servant-mediator, Moses.

It seems to me, then, that in the sixth request we are asking the heavenly Father to keep us in Jesus Christ through faith, so that we might not apostasize and fall away from our Mediator through a heart of unbelief. Just as the Lord kept Peter’s faith from failing when Satan had asked to sift him, so we pray He might also keep our faith from failing in times of testing (Luke 22:31-33). This interpretation would be in line with 1 John 5:4: “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” Positively, then, in the sixth petition we are asking the Father for the Spirit to continue to work faith in Jesus Christ in our hearts.

Prayer, which is the hand of faith, is born of need. The great danger in the spiritual struggle we are involved in is self-confidence. We are never to look to our own strength in the war we wage with “the devil, the world, and our own flesh.” Q&A 127 recognizes that faith seeks its strength outside of itself, in Jesus Christ in heaven, whom the Spirit has united us to by faith. Jesus’ overcoming --- his victory over our enemies (John 16:33) --- is the basis for our life of faith in the goodness of God our Father.

Notice how Q&A 127 puts no confidence in ourselves, but looks away to the Father through the Son for grace and strength. With the catechism we admit that “by ourselves we are too weak to hold our own even for a moment.” With the catechism, we admit that our enemies are too persistent and strong for us. And so, with the catechism we look to the Lord to “uphold us and make us strong with the strength of the Holy Spirit,” who lifts our hearts to fellowship with the Father and the Son.


Our Weakness, Lord, We Would Confess

To the tune: ROCKINGHAM OLD ( Based on Lord’s Day 52 of the Heidelberg Catechism (related Westminster Shorter Catechism Q&A 106). Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
Our weakness, Lord, we would confess,
we cannot stand against our foes.
For on our own we have no strength.
in Christ alone Your power flows.

v. 2
Our enemies oppose the Lord,
attack His people day and night.
Our flesh, the devil, and the world,
oppose our faith and hate the light.

v. 3
O send Your Spirit, make us strong,
and keep Your people in Your Son,
that in this fight, intense and long,
we would resist and overcome.

v. 4
O Father, there is only One,
who in this battle vict’ry won.
His name is Jesus, Your dear Son.
I hide in Him, by faith I come.

v. 5
If I should sin against you, Lord,
transgress Your laws, turn from Your Word.
May I in mercy be restored,
Your blood to cleanse, Your Spirit poured.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hymn Lyrics John 6:16-21

The Setting Was the Sea

To the tune: SCHUMANN ( Based on John 6:16-21. Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
The setting was the sea,
chaotic, uncontrolled.
Disciples struggling ’gainst the deep,
were rowing in the boat.

v. 2
And then the Lord appeared,
was walking on the sea.
The Lord’s disciples greatly feared,
beheld the Mystery.

v. 3
This is not just a man,
but God in our own flesh.
All things are ruled by His command,
and on the sea He treads.

v. 4
Deliverance He brings
to those in dire distress.
For on the throne He rules as King,
delights to save and bless.

v. 5
So trust Him in your need,
for time and space He made.
The One who walked upon the sea,
believe, be not afraid.

v. 6
We praise you, O our Christ,
the Lord of heav’n and earth,
the Great I AM and sacrifice,
our God of matchless worth.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Singing through the Heidelberg Catechism: Lord's Day 51

Heidelberg Germany and the
Church of the Holy Spirit
Lord's Day 51

Q & A 126

Q. What does the fifth request mean?

A. "Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors" means,
Because of Christ's blood,
do not hold against us, poor sinners that we are,
any of the sins we do
or the evil that constantly clings to us.

Forgive us just as we are fully determined,
as evidence of your grace in us,
to forgive our neighbors.


How much have we been forgiven in Christ? How great is the debt of sin we owe to God?

In 2010 a British Petroleum oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. For three months crude oil spewed into the ocean. The problem with the cleanup was that the well could not be capped and so the oil continued to flow into the ocean destroying wildlife and beaches for three months.

This gives us a bit of the picture of the debt of our sin. The problem is not just “the sins we do,” but also that these sins continually flow from “the evil that constantly clings to us.” We sin because we are sinners, and as the Belgic Confession reminds us, original sin in us “is not abolished or wholly uprooted even by baptism, seeing that sin constantly boils forth as though from a contaminated spring.” Even our conversion to Jesus Christ does not cap the well of our original sin! Not just for three months, but for a lifetime, sins flow from the original sin within us, or as Q&A 126 puts it, “the evil that constantly clings to us.”

In Matthew 18, we learn something of the size of our debt of sin against God our Father. Jesus tells a parable designed to teach us about forgiveness. In the parable, a king (who stands for God) is settling accounts with his servants, and one is brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents, which was an incalculable, unpayable amount. In our day the amount would be about six billion dollars, a debt that even the richest man could not pay! In the parable the servant is forgiven his debt---all six billion dollars of it, and he and his family are saved from the slavery that was the punishment for debtors in the ancient world.

But then a man comes to this forgiven servant, who owes him a hundred denarii, which translates to 12,000 dollars in today’s economy. But instead of forgiving this man his debt, this wicked servant had his debtor thrown into prison.

What should we learn from this parable? The main point of this parable is to teach Peter, and us, about our need to forgive others. The idea seems to be that if we have been forgiven so much by our heavenly Father, how can we do anything but forgive those who sin against us! Our forgiveness of others should go beyond Peter’s seven times (Mat. 18:21) to a forgiveness that doesn’t keep count, for nothing can compare to the great debt we have been forgiven by the Father through the atoning death of his Son. If God has so forgiven us, how can we not graciously forgive our debtors? Forgiveness of others is really about this question: How much have you been forgiven in Christ?


Deepest Need of Ev’ry Person

To the tune: REGENT SQUARE “Angels from the Realms of Glory” ( Based on Lord’s Day 51 of the Heidelberg Catechism (related Westminster Shorter Catechism Q&A 105). Words: William Weber, 2010.

v. 1
Deepest need of ev’ry person,
born in Adam’s sinful race.
Guilt of many sins committed,
how we need God’s pard’ning grace!
Speak, O Christ, a word of pardon,
“Son, your sins are all forgiv’n!”

v. 2
What could be a greater problem
than the judgment of the Lord?
Sin a great offense against Him,
men have not their God adored.
Speak, O Christ, a word of pardon,
“Son, your sins are all forgiv’n!”

v. 3
Not just sins we have committed,
evil also clings to us.
Adam’s independent nature
won’t let go, adheres to us.
Speak, O Christ, a word of pardon,
“Son, your sins are all forgiv’n!”

v. 4
We deserve not grace but justice
from the hand of God the King.
Do not hold our sins against us,
nor the sin that to us clings.
Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy,
through the blood that You have shed.

v. 5
O how desp’rate our condition
is before the Holy One.
In our sin we stand before Him,
in His glory we’re undone.
Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy,
through the blood that You have shed.

v. 6
Father, we can never grasp it,
love that sent Your Son to us.
Taking on our mortal nature,
so that He might die for us.
Praise to You for love astounding
in Your Son’s atoning death.

v. 7
You forgive us in your mercy,
through the blood of Your dear Son.
Father, we forgive our neighbor,
for the wrongs against us done.
Thanks to You for Your great mercy,
help us show it to the world.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Singing through the Heidelberg Catechism: Lord's Day 50

Lord's Day 50

Q & A 125

Q. What does the fourth request mean?

A. "Give us today our daily bread" means,
Do take care of all our physical needs
so that we come to know
that you are the only source of everything good,
and that neither our work and worry
nor your gifts
can do us any good without your blessing.

And so help us to give up our trust in creatures
and to put trust in you alone.


The early church tended to view “daily bread” as a reference to Jesus Christ, rather than physical bread. I must admit I am sympathetic to this interpretation, and I think the catechism is too. Certainly, “bread” at the surface level is a reference to physical bread, and a synecdoche standing for all of our “physical needs,” as the catechism says. Jesus is teaching us to trust our heavenly Father to meet all our physical needs, which include much more than bread.

We also see Jesus’ concern for the physical well being of his creatures in the Gospels. For example, after Jesus raises Jairus’ daughter from the dead, he “told them to give her something to eat” (Mark 5:43). The Lord showed a similar concern for his disciples who had worked all night fishing, preparing them a meal of bread and fish (John 21:1-14).

But if the surface meaning of daily bread is a reference to all of our physical needs, why must we stop there? Anyone who reads the Gospels knows that Jesus always saw beyond the surface meaning to the deeper meaning. For example, in John 4:31-34, Jesus tells his disciples that he has “food to eat that you do not know about,” and they mistakenly think Jesus is talking about physical bread. This comes on the heels of Jesus telling the Samaritan woman that he gives living water, which she mistakes for physical water from the well. The same mistake occurs in John 6, where Jesus says, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger,” but the people persist in thinking about earthly bread.

The truth is that we need Jesus to be our daily bread, much more that we need physical bread! What good is it to have our physical needs met, if we do not have our deepest spiritual need met in Jesus? The catechism gets at this when it says, “that neither our work and worry nor your gifts can do us any good without your blessing.” If we don’t have Jesus Christ and his favor and blessing, then our physical blessings will end up cursing us rather than blessing us, for we will take those blessings and idolize them!

This is the point of the last sentence of Q&A 125, when it says, “And so help us to give up our trust in creatures and to put trust in you alone.” Here the catechism echoes Martin Luther, who rightly teaches that “to have a god is nothing else than to trust and believe him with our whole heart. . . . the trust and faith of the heart alone make both God and an idol. . . . That to which your heart clings and entrusts itself is, I say, really your God.”

The only way to avoid the idolatrous use of physical needs and gifts is to know the true daily bread, Jesus Christ. Trusting, enjoying, and worshipping him as our Lord and God each day is the only way to give up our trust and worship of creatures. And, so we pray, “Give us our daily bread.”


O Lord, You’re Very Great

To the tune: MARION “Rejoice, O Pure in Heart” ( Based on Lord’s Day 50 of the Heidelberg Catechism (related Westminster Shorter Catechism Q&A 104). Words: William Weber, 2010.

v. 1
O Lord, You’re very great,
the Maker of all things.
Sustaining, ruling by Your pow’r,
You are the mighty King.

Rejoice, rejoice,
rejoice, give thanks and sing.

v. 2
Dear Father, we ask you,
as children born of grace:
O give to us our temp’ral needs,
and favor of Your face.

Rejoice, rejoice,
rejoice, give thanks and sing.

v. 3
Our Father, we depend
for ev’ry breath on You.
You give all skill and give all strength,
all thanks to You is due.

Rejoice, rejoice,
rejoice, give thanks and sing.

v. 4
Our Father, help us trust
that we are Yours in Christ,
adopted children, Jesus bought
by His own sacrifice.

Rejoice, rejoice,
rejoice, give thanks and sing.

v. 5
Your children look to You,
dear Father, please provide
the things we need in earthly life,
and with them Jesus Christ.

Rejoice, rejoice,
rejoice, give thanks and sing.

v. 6
For Jesus is true bread,
without Him hearts will die.
In Him is blessing, favor, life,
by faith we find supply.

Rejoice, rejoice,
rejoice, give thanks and sing.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hymn Based on John 6:1-15

Jesus Fed a Crowd of Thousands

To the tune: REGENT SQUARE (Angels from the Realms of Glory Based on John 6:1-15. Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
Jesus fed a crowd of thousands
with five loaves and two small fish.
Food enough for all the hungry,
each one ate all that he wished.
Will you see the sign’s revealing,
or its meaning will you miss?

v. 2
Jesus in a heav’nly setting,
gives the life that satisfies.
Earthly things will keep us hungry,
heav’nly bread true life supplies.
Jesus Christ the bread of heaven,
eat by faith, receive His life.

v. 3
For our life He came from heaven
to a hungry, starving world.
Idols cannot feed the hungry,
souls will die without the Word.
Christ incarnate Word from heaven,
life He gives unto the world.

v. 4
Do not work for food that’s spoiling,
do not let it rule your heart.
Seek the Bread who comes from heaven,
He must rule, set Him apart.
Idols leave your soul still wanting,
Jesus satisfies the heart.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Sola Panel | What kind of nonsense?

The Sola Panel What kind of nonsense? The gospel is news, but foolish news in terms of the world's wisdom.

in all honesty: what I'm reading: 'I cannot unlive my life' from Wolf Hall

in all honesty: what I'm reading: 'I cannot unlive my life' from Wolf Hall Stories of martyrdom are always encouraging. Martyrdom is living out physically the inward meaning of our baptism.

Singing through the Heidelberg Catechism: Lord's Day 46

Lord's Day 46

Q & A 120
Q. Why did Christ command us
to call God "our Father"?

A. At the very beginning of our prayer
Christ wants to kindle in us
what is basic to our prayer—
the childlike awe and trust
that God through Christ has become
our Father.

Our fathers do not refuse us
the things of this life;
God our Father will even less refuse to give us
what we ask in faith.

Q & A 121
Q. Why the words
"in heaven"?

A. These words teach us
not to think of God's heavenly majesty
as something earthly,
and to expect everything
for body and soul
from his almighty power.


Lord’s Day 46 points to three places where we can have mistaken ideas about God.

First, we can be mistaken about God’s almighty power. This was the problem with the Sadducees of Jesus’ day, who did not believe in the resurrection. Jesus told them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God” (Mat. 22:29).

Our Father, Jesus teaches us, is “in heaven.” This phrase points to God’s majesty, power, and sovereign rule over all the earth. Right before God’s judgment fell on the most powerful man on earth in the ancient world, the Lord spoke to him through Daniel, saying, “But the God in whose hand are your life-breath and all your ways, you have not glorified” (Dan. 5:23 NASB). If the life-breath and ways of the most powerful man on earth is in God’s hand, then surely our life-breath and ways are in his hand too! Even more, Jesus teaches us that our destiny in the age to come is also in the Father’s hand: “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mat. 10:28). The catechism is right when it call for the reverent fear of God, given his “heavenly majesty,” and “almighty power.”

Second, we can be mistaken about the Fatherhood of God. The truth is that God is not the Father of all people. We lost the right to call God, Father, through Adam’s sin. Now, Jesus teaches us that there is only one way back to the Father, and that one way is through himself: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).

Third, we can be mistaken about the goodness of God. In Luke 19, we meet a man with an insulting view of Jesus, and thus, of the Father, for Jesus is the exact image of the Father. The man says to the Lord, “I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man” (Luke 19:21). But neither Jesus nor our heavenly Father is severe or difficult to please. Rather, Jesus is gentle and his yoke is easy. Likewise, our Father is gracious and generous.

Jesus teaches us about the incredible generosity of the Father when he says:

“What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy
Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11-13).
The key words are “how much more!” Yes, earthly fathers, sinful though they are, can be very generous. But the generosity of earthly fathers is but a pale reflection of the lavish generosity of the heavenly Father, who is without sin. For the Father will give us the most prized of all gifts, the Holy Spirit, the very Spirit of Jesus Christ, to dwell within us! O that we could see how extravagantly generous is the heart of our Father toward us! Rightly the catechism calls us to trust our Father in heaven!


No One Comes unto the Father, But through Jesus, His Dear Son

To the tune: LAUDA ANIMA ( Based on Lord’s Day 46 of the Heidelberg Catechism (related Westminster Shorter Catechism Q&A 100). Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
No one comes unto the Father,
but through Jesus, His dear Son.
For the cross the only altar,
where salvation’s work was done.
Praise the Son and praise the Father,
Holy Spirit, three in One.

v. 2
Rev’rent fear we owe the Father,
dwells in heaven, glor-i-ous.
Sov’reign, Ruler, no one other,
rules in glory, luminous.
Give all honor to the Father,
ruling over each of us.

v. 3
Trust the Father in His kindness,
He will give you what is best.
Earthly fathers often faithless,
still, to children gifts dispense.
How much more your Father, gen’rous,
gives the Spirit, ever blest.

v. 4
Help us, Father, as Your children,
live on earth to honor You.
With a fear and trust begotten
through Your Spirit and Your truth.
Living as obed-ient children,
pleasing You in all we do.

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

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Singing through the Heidelberg Catechism: Lord's Day 42

Lord's Day 42

"The Eighth Commandment"
You shall not steal.

Q & A 110
Q. What does God forbid
in the eighth commandment?

A. He forbids not only outright theft and robbery,
punishable by law.
But in God's sight theft also includes
cheating and swindling our neighbor
by schemes made to appear legitimate,
such as:
inaccurate measurements of weight, size, or volume;
fraudulent merchandising;
counterfeit money;
excessive interest;
or any other means forbidden by God.

In addition he forbids all greed
and pointless squandering of his gifts.

Q & A 111
Q. What does God require of you
in this commandment?

A. That I do whatever I can
for my neighbor's good,
that I treat others
as I would like them to treat me,
and that I work faithfully
so that I may share with those in need.


According to Q&A 110, the eighth commandment “forbids all greed.” In Ephesians 5:5 and Colossians 3:5, greed is equated to idolatry. This shows us that in order to keep this commandment, or any of the commandments, we must have a right relationship with God. The Ten Commandments hang together. You cannot keep the command to love others, if you don’t love God. Generosity will be difficult for people who love money and possessions more than they love God. As Jesus said, “No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

Commenting on this verse above, Philip Ryken writes:

“The human heart was made to love God, who is infinite in all his perfections, and thus we have within us the capacity for a vast affection. We are designed to love the Supreme Being supremely. However, there is room in our hearts for one and only one predominating affection. There may be many things we love, but one of them must have the controlling influence, because our hearts were made to serve under the mastery of only one governing desire.”
Q&A 111 emphasizes the positive teaching of the eighth commandment, which is generosity. But generosity flows from a heart that is free from greed, because it loves the God who has been so gracious to us in Christ. Thus, God commends the generosity of the Macedonian Christians, who first gave their hearts in thanks to him, which gave them the desire and freedom to use their money for his glory and the good of others:

“For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints—and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us” (2 Cor. 8:3-5).
This eighth commandment, like all the commandments, shows us the moral glory and beauty of God. But as sinners we fall far short of his glory. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). Jesus’ teaching on money, possessions, and generosity condemns us all. Only Jesus has kept the law that condemned the rich young ruler: “Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor” (Luke 18:22), for only Jesus “for [our] sake . . . became poor, so that [we] by his poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9.

The good news of the gospel is that Christ’s obedience is now ours, including his freedom from greed, and his perfect love for God that resulted in the richest generosity toward us. By faith in Him, we are accepted. We are also lifted to heaven to share in the triune life and love. Thus we are freed from greed, so that we might be generous like our Lord.


The Eighth Command, You Shall Not Steal

To the tune: PUER NOBIS ( Based on the eighth commandment and Lord’s Day 42 of the Heidelberg Catechism (Related Westminster Shorter Catechism Q&A 74-75). Words: William Weber, 2010.

v. 1
The eighth command, you shall not steal,
with all your neighbors fairly deal.
Do all you can to meet his need,
and keep your heart from selfish greed.

v. 2
Be honest in all that you do,
and live by Jesus’ golden rule:
Treat others as you’d like them to
treat you in all they say and do.

v. 3
The eighth command forbids all greed,
for Jesus came so we’d be freed.
In Christ we’re freed to trust and love,
not things of earth, but God above.

v. 4
The heart is where our treasure lay.
All earthly treasures pass away,
but there’s a treasure that will last,
His name is Jesus, hold Him fast.

v. 5
To You, O God, all glory due,
but sinful man did steal from You.
Your glory, honor did we take
in foolish pride usurp Your place.

v. 6
Let God be God, His place not take.
All idols in your heart forsake.
For idols vain will fade away,
but Christ our treasure now, always.

Our Lord lived free of selfish greed,
came down to earth to meet our need.
Though He was rich, for us made poor,
through faith in Him we are restored.

Great Quote from Philip Ryken

Great quote from Philip Ryken: "The human heart was made to love God, who is infinite in all his perfections, and thus we have within us the capacity for a vast affection. We are designed to love the Supreme Being supremely. However, there is room in our hearts for one and only one predominating affection. There may be many things we love, but one of them must have the controlling influence, because our hearts were made to serve under the mastery of only one governing desire. Jesus said, 'No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mony' (Luke 16:13)."

Monday, April 11, 2011

Singing through the Heidelberg Catechism: Lord's Day 41

Lord's Day 41

"The Seventh Commandment"
You shall not commit adultery.

Q & A 108
Q. What is God's will for us
in the seventh commandment?

A. God condemns all unchastity.
We should therefore thoroughly detest it
and, married or single,
live decent and chaste lives.

Q & A 109
Q. Does God, in this commandment,
forbid only such scandalous sins as adultery?

A. We are temples of the Holy Spirit, body and soul,
and God wants both to be kept clean and holy.
That is why he forbids
everything which incites unchastity,
whether it be actions, looks, talk, thoughts, or desires.


The seventh commandment is a difficult commandment for sinners, because it reflects our basic problem with God, which is idolatry. The sexual act, which combines union, communion, and praise, is the physical adumbration of our spiritual worship in Christ. This is why the Anglican prayer book’s wedding service says, “With this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow. . . .”

In John chapter two, Jesus performs his first miraculous sign at a wedding, foreshadowing the eschatological marriage of Christ and his church at his return. In John chapter three, Jesus is called the bridegroom. In the Old Testament the Lord was the husband of his people, and Jesus is the Lord incarnate. Then, in John chapter four Jesus comes to a well, which in the Old Testament is the place of betrothal. Isaac, Jacob, and Moses all found their wives at a well. So if we are familiar with the Old Testament, and the preceding background in John 2-3, we expect to meet Christ’s representative bride at this well. Just as Isaac, Jacob, and Moses took wives from a foreign country, so too does Jesus take his representative wife from a foreign people, the Samaritans.

The marital and sexual imagery continues in Jesus’ discussion with the woman at the well. In Proverbs 5, notice the similar water imagery that we find in John 4:

15Drink water from your own cistern,
flowing water from your own well.
16Should your springs be scattered abroad,
streams of water in the streets?
17 Let them be for yourself alone,
and not for strangers with you.
18Let your fountain be blessed,
and rejoice in the wife of your youth . . . .
The living water that Jesus gives is the Holy Spirit, as John 7:37-39 show. But in 1 John 3:9, the apostle John boldly says that believers have “God’s seed” or sperm (the Greek word is sperma) abiding in them to prevent the sin of apostasy. This “seed” or sperm is also a reference to the Holy Spirit. Jesus, of course, is not talking about literal sperm, but uses the living water imagery in John 4 with an understanding of Proverbs 5. John understood this also, as 1 John 3:9 shows. Add to this, the fact that the Samaritan woman is bearing fruit later in John 4 as she brings people to the Savior, and the marital imagery is complete.

All of this points to the truth that worship in union with Jesus Christ is the way to sexual fidelity. The Samaritan woman had six previous husbands, but all of them left her dissatisfied. Jesus is her seventh and perfect husband, and she can rest content in union with him. Her faith union with Jesus brings her, and us, participation in the life, love, and praise of God the Father through the Spirit.

Sexual unfaithfulness is a sign of our spiritual unfaithfulness through idolatry. The only remedy is worship, and worship takes place only through our union with Jesus Christ, which is properly reflected only by the exclusive sexual union of husband and wife. All other sexual unions picture man’s sinful idolatry.


Christ, who Redeemed You with His Blood

To the tune: BISHOP ( Based on the seventh commandment and Lord’s Day 41 of the Heidelberg Catechism (Related Westminster Shorter Catechism Q&A 70-72). Words: William Weber, 2010.

v. 1
Christ did redeem you with His blood,
His costly death has purchased you.
Belonging now to Christ your Lord,
you are His temple chaste and true.

v. 2
God’s will for you is purity,
your body, soul to Him belong.
So you are Christ’s, to Him be true.
He is your love your joy and song.

v. 3
In love the Savior died for us,
our heav’nly husband for His bride.
In love He washed us, water, blood,
sending His Spirit to reside.

v. 4
The ten commands are wise and true,
and number seven’s best for you.
So do not argue ’gainst His will,
cling to your Lord who blesses you.

v. 5
Marriage is good, designed by God,
the union of a man and wife.
A picture of the myst’ry great,
our Savior’s union with His bride.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hymn Lyrics for John 5:30-47

The Sun Is Brilliant in Its Light

To the tune: ST. ANNE (O God, Our Help in Ages Past Based on John 5:30-47. Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
The sun is brilliant in its light,
illuminates the sky.
But God the Son more glor-i-ous,
in grace and truth He shines.

v. 2
The world complains against the Lord,
accuses Him of crimes,
rejects the Son He sent to us,
who came to give us life.

v. 3
The case is strong for Jesus Christ,
the witnesses are sure.
The Baptist pointed unto Him,
his light was pure and clear.

v. 4
But greater still the witness of
the signs that Jesus did.
They showed the glory of the Son,
that in His flesh was hid.

v. 5
The Scriptures also testified
about the coming Christ.
His suff’ring and His glory too,
the Scriptures prophesied.

v. 6
The greatest witness in the trial
between the world and Christ,
it is the Father who is true,
the One who cannot lie.

v. 7
Who will you side with in this trial
between the world and Christ?
The Father’s verdict has been giv’n,
when Jesus Christ did rise.

v. 8
Whose glory will you seek in life,
whose praise and love pursue?
The truth is found in Jesus Christ,
who came for our rescue.

v. 9
All sinners wither like the grass
that flourish for a time.
But Jesus’ glory will not pass,
forever will it shine!

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

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Do not starve yourself any longer – Ray Ortlund

Do not starve yourself any longer – Ray Ortlund Great advice for preachers, but all Christians could benefit by taking this advice.

Hymn Lyrics Based on John 5:1-29

God the Son Came Down from Heaven

To the tune: ODE TO JOY (Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee Based on John 5:1-29. Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
God the Son came down from heaven
to fulfill the Sabbath sign.
Reconciling and restoring
through atoning sacrifice.
Did the work the Father gave Him,
“It is finished,” was His cry.
In the tomb on Sabbath rested,
on a new day did He rise.

v. 2
Jesus healed upon the Sabbath,
Jewish leaders were incensed.
They accused Him of law breaking,
blind to what His healing meant.
God the Son had come from heaven
to restore a sin-sick race.
Came to do what no one other
could accomplish in our place.

v. 3
Jesus said, My Father’s working,
so I too must be at work.
Doing what My Father shows me,
glorify Him on the earth.
Then the Jews tried hard to kill Him,
charging Him with blasphemy.
Honored not the Son from heaven,
made themselves God’s enemies.

v. 4
Jesus sent from God the Father,
give Him honor that He’s due.
Those refusing to receive Him,
honor not the Father too.
For the Son is the life-giver,
raising men up from the dead.
Like the Father, life is in Him,
came from heaven, living bread.

v. 5
Judgment’s given unto Jesus,
we will face Him on that day.
Verdict handed down forever,
glory shining, holy blaze.
On that day one place of safety,
hid in Christ through precious faith.
For our Judge in mercy saves us,
bearing judgment in our place.

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