“Orthodox Christology” by Keith Mathison

Last night I was reviewing the latest blog post over at Ligonier Ministries and it was so good that I felt might be useful to repost here.  Keith Mathison is three parts into a series on what he’s titled ‘An Introduction to Orthodox Christology’.  It’s a look at the entire Bible – in parts – and how we understand different part of the OT (and I assume the NT in future blog posts) to be speaking of Christ. As you might know, the ending “ology” means “the study of”.  So “Christology” is naturally “the study of all things pertaining to Christ.”

The post I read last night was focused on 2 Samuel and some of the Psalms and was really enjoyable. It’s a little on the heavy side for those who might not regularly read scholarly work, but I think you’ll find it fascinating if you’ve never examined some of these things before, and I urge you to at least give it a skimming!

Post 1: Why Christology is Important 

Post 2: The Pentateuch 

Post 3: The Historical Books and Psalms

Soli Deo Gloria!

PJW

Speaking at the Ligonier Partner Dinner 2014

Last night I had the privilege of giving a brief testimony of how God has used Dr. R.C. Sproul and Ligonier Ministries in my life. Below is the video from the dinner – I hope you enjoy, and are edified by the content.  It was an extremely encouraging evening.  Katie and I went together and are in the midst of attending the Ligonier National Conference here in Orlando as I type this. For more information about Ligonier you can visit them here. I can’t say enough about this fantastic ministry.  They really do a lot to train people and bridge that gap between sunday school and seminary.

4 Goals to Pursue in Parenting

Last week I reposted ‘s article on 5 Dangers to Avoid in Parenting, which was linked from the Ligonier Blog.  Tonight, I wanted to repost the continuation of that series.  Boekestein now gives a few ideas about the “positive” side of the equation.  I hope you find this encouraging as you start your week!

PJW

4 Goals to Pursue in Parenting

Posted: 15 Jul 2013 03:00 AM PDT

 

Near the end of Colossians 3 God speaks his will to people who play a role in six different relationships; Wives, husbands, children, fathers, bondservants, and masters. Only to fathers does God NOT speak a positive command. He simply says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged” (Col. 3:21). Perhaps by doing so, God is accentuating the uniquely devastating problem of parental provocation. Still, Ephesians 6:4 teaches us that there is a clear alternative to provocative parenting.

So, instead of provoking our children to wrath and discouragement how do we bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord?”

1. Make Jesus Central to Your Family Life

In some “Christian” families Christ is simply not central. Too often we emphasize our own righteousness or the righteousness we expect from our children. How is this ethic different from that in a non-Christian home? We sing, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” Do we apply those words in our homes?

Christ-centered parenting also means explaining to our children how they can come to Christ. Too often we tell our children to respect us, to obey us, and to grow up. But we don’t help them bring their troubles to, and find healing in, Jesus. Christ said that his yoke is easy; his burden light. He will give rest for our weary souls (Matt. 11:29-30). We need to lead our children to rest in Christ. God forbid that we would make things more difficult for our children than Jesus would.

2. Make Grace Shine in Your Family

Is the most powerful principle in your home grace or law? The law merely tells us what God’s will is and that we must obey it. It is grace alone that teaches us how to please God.

William Hendriksen explains that “Fathers should create an atmosphere which will make obedience an easy and natural matter, namely, the atmosphere of love and confidence.” Our emphasis should be on the positive.

Imagine that on the first day of a new job your trainer gave you only negative instructions. “Don’t ever be late to work, interrupt the boss during his meetings, use the phone for personal calls…” You would eventually wonder, “What AM I supposed to be doing? How do I do my job?” We often lead children to the same exasperation.

Gracious parenting especially applies to correction. Be sure that your children know that you love them as they are, not as you would like them to be. As a good rule of thumb, ask yourself, “What kind of correction is most helpful for me?”

3. Model Repentance before Your Kids

Many children are rarely shown what it looks like to seek forgiveness from others for their sins. We tell them to do it but we don’t show them how. We tell them to “apologize like you mean it.” But we don’t demonstrate what heart-felt sorrow for sin looks like. One way to model repentance is to seek our children’s forgiveness, especially if our provocation has driven them away.

4. Listen to the Advice of Others

Effective parents seek counsel from their pastors and elders, their own parents, and even their own kids. They also take advantage of good books on parenting. Two great helps on spiritual parenting are Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp and Parenting by God’s Promises by Joel Beeke.

Our children are a sacred trust. Our task is not so much to rule over them, as to lovingly, graciously, train them to fear God. If you have ever worked with concrete you know that you only have a few hours to work it into the proper shape before it becomes immovable. So it is with children. We have just a few years to help shape the spiritual impulses that will guide them through the rest of their lives. We must do all we can to avoid misshaping our children by provoking them to discouragement.

5 Dangers to Avoid in Parenting

This past Monday the folks at Ligonier had a post from Robert Boekestein on 5 traps that parents can fall into while parenting. I thought a few of these were particularly helpful so I wanted to repost the blog below.  You can find the original here.  I hope this is an encouragement to you all!

5 Dangers to Avoid in Parenting

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 03:00 AM PDT

 

“Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” (Colossians 3:21)

It is tempting to blame children for our family problems. But Scripture does not allow us to do this. Children bear the responsibility to obey their parents. But God commands parents to raise their children with godly nurture, being careful not to frustrate them. Inestimable damage is done by parents who provoke their children, and cause them to become discouraged.

While specifically addressing fathers in Colossians 3:21, God is speaking to both parents. The word translated, “fathers” is elsewhere used to mean “parents” (Heb. 11:23). Additionally, fathers are spoken to as covenant heads of the families. Fathers are to see that neither parent provokes the children. Fathers cannot stand idly by if their children are being provoked by their mothers.

What Does it Mean to Provoke?

The word used in Colossians 3:21 means to agitate, often to anger. Matthew Henry explains that parents provoke their children by treating them with rigor and severity, by holding the reigns too tightly and thereby raising their passions, discouraging them in their duty.

Years ago I was invited to participate in a long and strenuous horse ride. Due to fear and inexperience I held the reigns so tightly that the bit began to agitate the horse’s mouth. Before long the horse grew restless and threatened to throw me. I was provoking him to anger by holding the reigns too tightly. He was willing to be directed. But I was undermining his willingness by my heavy hand.

In Ephesians 6:4 Paul contrasts two approaches to parenting. On the one hand parents can provoke their children to wrath. On the other, parents can bring up the children in the training and admonition of the Lord. Failing to patiently, and constructively train our children in the things of God, we often substitute more fleshly methods of parenting which provoke our children’s anger.

What Is Discouragement?

The word literally means to lose energy or passion. Discouraged children lose hope, stop trying, and give up. When children say, “I don’t care” or “It doesn’t matter,” they are often conveying discouragement. It is tempting to dismiss a dispirited child’s behavior as being teenager-ish or childish. But parents must resist assuming that their child’s indifference is normal. In fact, there are hosts of young people who are passionate about life and enthusiastic in godliness. But sometimes this passion is squelched by parental provocation.

5 Dangers to Avoid

1. Mishandling the Rod of Discipline

Surely the Rod can be used too little. “He who spares his rod hates his child…” (Prov. 13:24). Children need to be taught that sin hurts. If they don’t, they may lose interest in pursuing godliness because they don’t see the danger of sin.

But the rod can also be used too much. The Apocrypha says: “He who loves his son will whip him often… bow down his neck in his youth, and beat his sides while he is young” (Ecclus. 30:1,12). This is not Christian discipline. Sometimes a wise rebuke is better than the rod (Prov. 17:10). This is particularly so as a child moves past the early years of childhood. Matthew Henry urges parents to exercise authority not “with rigor and severity, but with kindness and gentleness.” If your children can forget that you love them, either during or immediately following discipline, you might be doing it wrong.

2. Maintaining a Disorderly Home

God is a God of order (1 Cor. 14:33). He has created us in his image to promote order and thrive in the context of order. A disorderly home can discourage children. A perpetually messy, or especially an unsanitary home can help produce poorly adjusted children. A lack of regularly scheduled meal times and bed times can frustrate children’s God-given desire for order.

3. Holding Inappropriate Expectations

Some parents expect almost nothing from their kids. In such settings, children can lose energy or passion because they are never helped to “reach forward to those things which are ahead” (Phil 3:13). In other homes too much is expected. Experience teaches that unreasonable expectations are the ideal breeding ground for discouragement. If your children regularly fail to measure up to your standards, you might be expecting too much.

4. Building a Joyless Home

In some homes children are not treated with the dignity that God requires. Some parents rarely congratulate or encourage their children, focusing instead, on their faults. Parents must never forget that their children are people created in God’s image. Children of believers are even included in God’s covenant (1 Cor. 7:14).

5. Failing to Speak as “One Flesh”

Too often, dad and mom are not operating by the same rules when it comes to interacting with their kids. One parent might be more lenient. The other might be more demanding. But such “accidental doublespeak” is dangerously confusing to our children. In irreconcilable disagreements the wife must graciously acquiesce to her husband’s leadership (Col. 3:18).

There are many more potential causes for childhood discouragement. Like good physicians, parents should evaluate the spiritual health of their children and, where applicable, diagnose the source of their children’s discouragement. Sometimes the answer will be found by looking in the mirror.

A Summary of the Gospel

Ligonier posted this elongated quote from Jeremiah Burroughs this week and I wanted to share with you. It’s a great summary of the gospel, and an opportunity to read some of Burroughs – a man who wrote many great works, many of which people today may not have ever even heard of. So check this out and then check out some of his other stuff!

A Summary of the Gospel
Posted: 03 May 2013

The gospel of Christ is the good tidings that God has revealed concerning Christ. As all mankind was lost in Adam and became the children of wrath, put under the sentence of death, God, though He left His fallen angels and has reserved them in the chains of eternal darkness, yet He has thought upon the children of men and has provided a way of atonement to reconcile them to Himself again.

The second Person in the Trinity takes man’s nature upon Himself, and becomes the Head of a second covenant, standing charged with sin. He answers for it by suffering what the law and divine justice required, and by making satisfaction for keeping the law perfectly. This satisfaction and righteousness He tenders up to the Father as a sweet savor of rest for the souls that are given to Him.

And now this mediation of Christ is, by the appointment of the Father, preached to the children of men, of whatever nation or rank, freely offering this atonement unto sinners for atonement, requiring them to believe in Him and, upon believing, promising not only a discharge of all their former sins, but that they shall not enter into condemnation, that none of their sins or unworthiness shall ever hinder the peace of God with them, but that they shall through Him be received into the number of those who shall have the image of God again to be renewed unto them, and that they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

That these souls and bodies shall be raised to that height of glory that such creatures are capable of, that they shall live forever enjoying the presence of God and Christ, in the fullness of all good, is the gospel of Christ. This is the sum of the gospel that is preached unto sinners.

Ferguson on Abiding in Christ

Great little post out today from Sinclair Ferguson on Abiding in Christ. Check it out:

What Does it Mean to Abide in Christ?
Posted: 01 Feb 2013 03:00 AM PST

The exhortation to “abide” has been frequently misunderstood, as though it were a special, mystical, and indefinable experience. But Jesus makes clear that it actually involves a number of concrete realities.

First, union with our Lord depends on His grace. Of course we are actively and personally united to Christ by faith (John 14:12). But faith itself is rooted in the activity of God. It is the Father who, as the divine Gardener, has grafted us into Christ. It is Christ, by His Word, who has cleansed us to fit us for union with Himself (15:3). All is sovereign, all is of grace.

Second, union with Christ means being obedient to Him. Abiding involves our response to the teaching of Jesus: “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you …” (John 15:7a). Paul echoes this idea in Colossians 3:16, where he writes, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,” a statement closely related to his parallel exhortation in Ephesians 5:18: “be filled with the Spirit.”

In a nutshell, abiding in Christ means allowing His Word to fill our minds, direct our wills, and transform our affections. In other words, our relationship to Christ is intimately connected to what we do with our Bibles! Then, of course, as Christ’s Word dwells in us and the Spirit fills us, we will begin to pray in a way consistent with the will of God and discover the truth of our Lord’s often misapplied promise: “You will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7b).

Third, Christ underlines a further principle, “Abide in My love” (15:9), and states very clearly what this implies: the believer rests his or her life on the love of Christ (the love of the One who lays down His life for His friends, v. 13).

This love has been proved to us in the cross of Christ. We must never allow ourselves to drift from daily contemplation of the cross as the irrefutable demonstration of that love, or from dependence on the Spirit who sheds it abroad in our hearts (Rom. 5:5). Furthermore, remaining in Christ’s love comes to very concrete expression: simple obedience rendered to Him is the fruit and evidence of love for Him (John 15:10–14).

Finally, we are called, as part of the abiding process, to submit to the pruning knife of God in the providences by which He cuts away all disloyalty and sometimes all that is unimportant, in order that we might remain in Christ all the more wholeheartedly.

This post has been adapted from Sinclair Ferguson’s book, In Christ Alone.

Ligonier Conference 2013

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If you haven’t had an opportunity to look at the upcoming Ligonier Conference in Sanford Florida, then take a look below.  I’m going to be going because its a great time to be refreshed in the word, and grow spiritually.  Some of the church’s top preachers and theologians will be speaking, so if you have the opportunity to break free for the weekend, it would be well worth the time.  Here is more info from the website:

Standing Together On the Bedrock of God’s Truth

 

Is the church in America alive, or is it dead? This question is not as easy to answer as it might seem. There are many outward signs of strength. A large proportion of people in the United States profess to be born again. Politicians often profess faith in Christ. Megachurches dot the land.

When we look a little deeper, however, we find signs of death. Many professing Christians deny the existence of objective truth and ethics. Some elevate personal experience to a level of authority equal to Scripture. Congregations neglect preaching in favor of marketing techniques and entertainment. Such things reveal a hollow core, a lack of steadfastness in those things that endure.

Revelation 3:2 tells us that when we see death and not life, the faithful remnant is called to “strengthen what remains and is about to die.” Now, perhaps more than ever before, we must stand with conviction. We live in age of compromise, but if we stand on the bedrock of God’s truth, we will not bend with the winds of relativism and faithlessness.

Conference Info here

Ravenous Sheep

This is a late night entry here, but I had to repost this because in light of some recent discussions about sheep, their nature and troublesome character traits, this seemed hilarious.

RC Sproul, Jr has a short column today about his own hilarious attempt to take care of three sheep a few years back.

Enjoy…

Ravenous Sheep

I had already failed my first test in becoming a gentleman farmer. Three years and roughly 200 chickens produced eggs for my family at a rate of roughly $1… each. A few years had passed though since my experiment in folly, and I was ready to try again. I purchased three recently weaned lambs, set up portable fencing on my land and became a shepherd.

Things went rather smoothly, until they didn’t. Two weeks into the experiment I looked out into my field and saw a third of the fencing was down. I raced outside to find two of the lambs safe and content, still eating grass. The third also had not run off. No, she had managed to turn the downed fence into a straight jacket. She had gotten herself hopelessly entangled, was on her side and kicking about wildly, tangling herself all the more. I remember grabbing one of the rubber “posts” and pushing the pointed metal end into the lamb’s side, trying to pin her down so I could begin to untangle her. She just kicked all the more. I was sweating, frustrated, and a smidge frightened, and screamed to this little one, my voice echoing across the valley, “Be still. I’m trying to help you.” That’s when I learned what it means to be a shepherd.

Most of us have a rather distorted, city-fied understanding of sheep. We remember from Sunday School that picture of Jesus, smiling as He carried that smiling lamb, the one, over His broad shoulders back to the 99. We never stopped to ask how that one managed to get so far away.

Now the world is full of failed shepherds. Some fail by confusing shepherding with bullying. Most fail by being hirelings, by just not caring. There is, however, a reason why sheep need shepherds, on earth, flesh and blood shepherds. Because sheep are sinners too. They don’t just wander off out of ignorance. They jump over fences to get at what has been forbidden them. They close their ears to the voice of the Master and follow their own downward path. They hide when they sense a shepherd has come for them. And when cornered they will hiss, bite and kick. Worse still, so often after being carried back to the flock they run off again. Some are so anti-shepherd it’s hard to tell if they’re even sheep at all.

Whenever I am blessed to visit another’s pulpit I always try to work this nugget into my address. I tell the gathered saints- “The hardest thing about being a pastor is not being poorly paid. If that needs to be fixed and you can, please do. The hardest thing about being a pastor isn’t the long hours. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t call when you are in the emergency room. It does mean if you have a theological question at 9:30 Saturday night, try to wait until after Sunday service to ask. The hardest thing isn’t the lack of respect in the church and the world over his calling. If you can help there, please do. The hardest thing about being a pastor is the pain of watching the sheep you love banging their heads against the wall until their wool is like scarlet.” The hardest thing about being a shepherd is the pain of loving the sheep.

This, though, is the calling of the shepherd. Jesus repeatedly told Peter the implication of his love for Him- feed, tend, feed His sheep. He didn’t say the sheep would joyfully receive their food. He didn’t say they would return the shepherd’s love. He didn’t say they would run to you joyfully when you call them. He said to tend them, and to feed them, to love them. Feed them the Word. Love them. And know that the Great Shepherd of the sheep promises to turn the bloodiest of fleece into the whitest of wool, for them, and for you.

Getting to Know Jonathan Edwards

This week we’ll be learning about Jacob’s Ladder, and how Christ fulfilled the dream that Jacob had had hundreds of years before He stepped foot on earth.  The man who probably best described this vision and its full meaning, was Jonathan Edwards.

Most modern Christians have never studied much of what Edwards had to say, or who he was.  So I thought it would be helpful to provide a brief sketch of who this brilliant man was, so that you may more fully appreciate what he has to teach us in our study through the book of John.  To do this, I’m going to post below some excerpts from a few sources, but mostly from John Piper’s short Biography of the man which can be found by clicking here.

Chuck Colson says this about Edwards, “The western church – much of it drifting, enculturated, and infected with cheap grace – desperately needs to hear Edwards’ challenge. . . . It is my belief that the prayers and work of those who love and obey Christ in our world may yet prevail as they keep the message of such a man as Jonathan Edwards.”

Edwards was an 18th Century puritan preacher who is perhaps best known for his sermon “Sinners in the hands of an angry God.” Many of you were probably made to read this sermon in high school – even if you went to a secular school.  Edwards is often demonized as a puritan who was himself angry at sinners, and concentrated most of his preaching powers on scaring people into the kingdom of heaven.  The truth, as is often the case, couldn’t be further from this ill-conceived caricature.

As John Piper says, “Most of us don’t know that he is considered now by secular and evangelical historians alike to be the greatest Protestant thinker America has ever produced. Scarcely has anything more insightful been written on the problem of God’s sovereignty and man’s accountability than his book, The Freedom of the Will.”

In his book, ‘The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards’, Steven Lawson notes that, “All Christian writing is influenced, to one extent or another, by the theological foundations upon which the author stands. Edwards’ writings, including his ‘Resolutions,’ rested squarely upon ‘Reformed theology in its English Puritan form.’ This theological system, which emphasized God’s glory and absolute sovereignty,’ provided a structural framework for Edwards’ thought.’ In short, Edwards was a ‘convinced Calvinist’; he had drunk deeply from the wells of Scripture and had tasted the supreme authority of God to his soul’s satisfaction.”

The influence that Edwards had on America, and the cause of Christ here in the relatively young colonies was profound.  As Piper says, “Does any of us know what an incredible thing it is that this man, who was a small-town pastor for 23 years in a church of 600 people, a missionary to Indians for 7 years, who reared 11 faithful children, who worked without the help of electric light, or word-processors or quick correspondence, or even sufficient paper to write on, who lived only until he was 54, and who died with a library of 300 books – that this man led one of the greatest awakenings of modern times, wrote theological books that have ministered for 200 years and did more for the modern missionary movement than anyone of his generation?”

For current leaders like Piper, Edwards has been a great source of inspiration.  “Alongside the Bible, Edwards became the compass of my theological studies. Not that he has anything like the authority of Scripture, but that he is a master of that Scripture, and a precious friend and teacher”, Piper says.

Piper describes the balance between studying the Bible and practical living as portayed by Edwards:

Edwards did not pursue a passion for God because it was icing on the cake of faith. For him faith was grounded in a sense of God which was more than what reason alone could deliver. He said,

A true sense of the glory of God is that which can never be obtained by speculative [reasoning]; and if men convince themselves by argument that God is holy, that never will give a sense of his amiable and glorious holiness. If they argue that he is very merciful, that will not give a sense of his glorious grace and mercy. It must be a more immediate, sensible discovery that must give the mind a real sense of the excellency and beauty of God. (Works, II, 906)

In other words, it is to no avail merely to believe that God is holy and merciful. For that belief to be of any saving value, we must “sense” God’s holiness and mercy. That is, we must have a true delight in it for what it is in itself. Otherwise the knowledge is no different than what the devils have.

Does this mean that all his study and thinking was in vain? No indeed. Why? Because he says, “The more you have of a rational knowledge of divine things, the more opportunity will there be, when the Spirit shall be breathed into your heart, to see the excellency of these things, and to taste the sweetness of them.” (Works, II, 162, see p.16)

But the goal of all is this spiritual taste, not just knowing God but delighting in him, savoring him, relishing him. And so for all his intellectual might, Edwards was the farthest thing from a cool, detached, neutral, disinterested academician.

As we continue to learn and to study together, I hope you will continue to grow by reading and meditating upon the Word of God, but will also take some time to reflect upon the great lessons we’ve learned from men like Jonathan Edwards.

To ready more about this great Godly man, see below for some resources:

‘The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards’ – Steve Lawson’s short Edwards Biography

‘Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography’ – Biography by Ian Murray

‘The Freedom of the Will’ – Edwards’ most famous book on Election

‘Religious Affections’ – The book that probably most influenced Piper’s view of God and what it means to be joyful in God.

‘Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God’ – famous sermon by Edwards on the need for repentance and salvation by Jesus Christ

‘The Spirit of Revival’ – Longish article by RC Sproul on the marks that identified the revival that Edwards lead in the 18th Century.

Ligonier National Conference

Coming up on March 15-17 Ligonier Ministries will be hosting their national conference in Orlando.  If this is something that interests you, please let me know and I’ll make sure you get a ticket (I’ll take care of the tickets – you just take care of getting to Orlando!).

Ligionier Ministries was founded by Dr. R.C. Sproul, and has been greatly influential in my life, and the lives of many members here at Dublin Baptist.  Check out the video below for more information on the conference.

PJW

Ligonier Ministries 2012 National Conference (March 15-17 in Orlando) from Ligonier on Vimeo.

Register & Learn more: http://www.Ligonier.org/events/2012-national-conference/

Burning hearts are not nourished by empty heads.

One of the things most alarming about today’s culture is the way in which evangelicals are responding to attacks. Many have bought into the idea that having one’s heart in the right place is all that matters—that a passion for Jesus and the life of the mind are mutually exclusive. What this view misses is that burning hearts are not nourished by empty heads. We must develop our minds if we are to sustain our passion for the Savior and deal with the bias against us.

At Ligonier Ministries’ 2012 National Conference, we will be addressing this problem as we consider the theme of “The Christian Mind.” From March 15-17, 2012, R.C. Sproul will be joined by Sinclair Ferguson, Robert Godfrey, Michael Horton, Steven J. Lawson, Albert Mohler, Stephen Meyer, R.C. Sproul Jr., and Del Tackett to consider the importance of building a Christian worldview, the role of education in the Christian life, science and God’s natural revelation, defending the faith, and many other topics.