Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Justified from All Things
February 28, 2010

"And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses." (Acts 13:39)

Many Christians today tend to the doctrine of justification as something too "theological" to deal with. But it simply means "declaring to be righteous" a person who had actually been guilty of some offense. It is the prerogative of the judge trying his case to pronounce innocence or guilt as based on the evidence. In the case of sin against a divine law, "it is God that justifieth" (Romans 8:33), for He is the Judge.

But how can God both "be just, and the justifier" of one who is obviously guilty--as, indeed, we all are, since "all have sinned" (Romans 3:26, 23)? The answer is that we are "justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins." (Romans 3:24-25).

Christ has credited His perfect righteousness to our account and paid the death penalty for all our sins. We are told in the Scripture above cited (Romans 3:24) that we are justified by His grace. Then Romans 5:1 says we are "justified by faith" and Romans 5:9 says we are "justified by his blood." Finally, we are justified by the Holy Spirit. "Ye are washed, . . . sanctified, . . . justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:11).

And all of this is absolutely guaranteed by Christ's victory over death. "Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification" (Romans 4:25). As our text assures us, "all that believe are justified from all things" in the eyes of God. In the eyes of men, however, "by works a man is justified, and not by faith only" (James 2:24). HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

The God of the Gourd
February 21, 2010

"And the LORD GOD prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd." (Jonah 4:6)

In the brief story of Jonah, the Lord has given us a striking insight into His providential ways with His people. He "prepared" four special instruments for revealing His will and His great concern for the people God wanted to help. Each involved a very ordinary thing, functioning in an extraordinary way (providential miracles, as it were).

First, "the LORD had prepared a great fish" (Jonah 1:17), both to save Jonah from drowning and to enable God to convince him of the urgent necessity of fulfilling the ministry to which He had called him. Then, after he had preached in Nineveh and God had spared the city, Jonah became angry and wanted to die, so "the LORD God prepared a gourd . . . that it might be a shadow over his head" (4:6). Jonah was thankful for this providential shade from the heat, but he was still not thankful for the sparing of Nineveh. Therefore, "God prepared a worm," and by the next day, "it smote the gourd that it withered" (4:7). Furthermore, "God prepared a vehement east wind" (4:8), and the blasting heat angered Jonah more than ever, so that he again wanted to die.

Finally Jonah was able to hear what God was really saying to him in all these circumstances, and he realized the tremendous scope of God’s mercy and compassion for the lost.

As with Jonah, God speaks to us through ordinary things in providential circumstances. Whether by a marvelous deliverance or a comforting provision, a sudden loss or a mighty storm, God leads us into His will and transforms our lives and hearts to conform to His love. "All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28). HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Love Is Obedience
February 14, 2010

"For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous." (1 John 5:3)

The disciple John is known as that disciple who had a special love for Jesus and vice versa. He was identified as that disciple "whom Jesus loved" (John 20:2). His writings give a clear picture of the love that God has for us, as well as the kind of love we should have in response to Him. John does not identify this type of love as an emotional or sentimental feeling. It is more than affection; it is total obedience to Him, as noted in the following sampling of verses. "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15). "But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected; hereby know we that we are in him" (1 John 2:5). "And this is love, that we walk after his commandments" (2 John 6). Such a view of love may come as a surprise to some, but it reflects total submission to His kingship. This is the proof of our love for God as seen in our text and elsewhere.

The other side of love is love toward men, and John has much to say of this matter as well. "And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also" (1 John 4:21). He elsewhere writes "that we love one another" (2 John 5); and "these things I command you, that ye love one another" (John 15:17). Paul even picks up the theme: "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law" (Romans 13:9-10). In summary, love to man is a principle that works no ill towards one's neighbor, but, in contrast, seeks his greater good. Christ's human half-brother calle d it "the royal law" (James 2:8). Love to God yields obedience to all His commandments. Both kinds of love are mandated by God. "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matthew 22:40). JDM

h/t: J D Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Shaking the Earth Terribly
February 7, 2010

"And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth." (Isaiah 2:19)

Ever since the convulsions of the Flood, the earth's crust has been in a state of instability, causing earthquakes from time to time all around the world.

But there are earthquakes yet to come which will exceed anything ever yet experienced. The earthquake prophesied in our text was also predicted in Revelation. "And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; . . . and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And . . . |they| hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from . . . the wrath of the Lamb" (Revelation 6:12-16). But when these judgments of God are in the earth, those who have rejected the love of the sin-bearing Lamb of God still will remain unrepentant and will merely seek to flee His anger.

God is long-suffering, but "the great day of his wrath" will surely come (Revelation 6:17). "For thus saith the LORD of hosts; . . . I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations" (Haggai 2:6-7). "The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly" (Isaiah 24:19). Finally will come "a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. . . . And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found" (Revelation 16:18, 20).

Those who belong to Christ, however, will be delivered from the wrath to come: "This word . . . signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, . . . that those things which cannot be shaken may remain" (Hebrews 12:27). HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research