Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

The Flesh and the Spirit
April 25, 2010

"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." (Galatians 5:16)

The conflict between flesh and spirit is a frequent theme in Scripture, beginning way back in the antediluvian period: "And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh" (Genesis 6:3). The "flesh," of course, refers to the physical body with all its feelings and appetites, while man's "spirit" refers especially to his spiritual nature with its ability to understand and communicate in terms of spiritual and moral values, along with its potential ability to have fellowship with God.

Because of sin, however, the natural man is spiritually "dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1), and "they that are in the flesh cannot please God" (Romans 8:8). When the flesh dominates, even the apostle Paul would have to say, "I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing" (Romans 7:18). This aspect of human nature became so dominant in the antediluvian world that "all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth" (Genesis 6:12), and God had to wash the world clean with the Flood.

Now, however, the substitutionary death of Christ brings salvation and spiritual life to all who receive Him by the Holy Spirit. "If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you" (Romans 8:10-11). By the Lord Jesus Christ, the human spirit is made alive right now, through the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the body's resurrection is promised when Christ returns.

"They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh." The daily challenge to the believer is this: "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:24-25). HMM

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

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Headstone of the Corner

"The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner." (Psalm 118:22)
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That this enigmatic verse is really a Messianic prophecy is evident from the fact that Christ Himself applied it thus. "Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?" (Matthew 21:42). The Jewish leaders had refused Him as their Messiah, but the day would come when they would have to confess their sad mistake.

Later, addressing them concerning "Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead," the apostle Peter said: "This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner" (Acts 4:10-11).

This analogy evidently refers back to the building of Solomon's great temple a thousand years earlier. At that time, each of the great stones for its beautiful walls was "made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building" (1 Kings 6:7). According to tradition, there was one stone which didn't fit with the others, so the builders moved it out of the way. At last, when the temple tower was almost complete, they found they were missing the pinnacle stone which would cap all the rest. Finally they realized that the stone they had rejected had been shaped to be the head stone at the topmost corner of the tower.

Peter referred to it again in his epistle: "Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: . . . Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient" (1 Peter 2:6-8). HMM

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

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Praising the Lord
April 11, 2010

"Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul." (Psalm 146:1)

Each of the last five psalms (146-150) begins and ends with: "Praise ye the LORD"--i.e., "Hallelujah." They comprise a sort of "Hallelujah Chorus": a grand epilogue to the five books which make up the complete book of Psalms.

Each of these five books also ends in a doxology. Note:

Book 1: "Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen" (Psalm 41:13).

Book 2: "And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen" (Psalm 72:19).

Book 3: "Blessed be the LORD for evermore. Amen, and Amen" (Psalm 89:52).

Book 4: "Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the LORD" (Psalm 106:48).

Book 5: "My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever" (Psalm 145:21).

It is interesting, even if coincidental, that these five final praise psalms--all thanking God for past deliverances and the promise of an eternal future--contain a total of 153 verses. This is the same as the number of great fishes caught in a strong net by the disciples after Christ’s resurrection, symbolizing their going forth to fish for men in all nations, bringing them safe to the eternal shores of glory (John 21:10).

Then come the last five songs with their ten cries of "Hallelujah!" In the New Testament, "Hallelujah" (or "Alleluia") occurs only in the setting of the victorious marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:1-6). This suggests that these "Hallelujah Psalms" may be sung by the redeemed multitudes as they gather at His throne in heaven. HMM

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

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Resurrection Day sermonette

I Will Ever Be True
April 4, 2010

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2)

The concluding verse of our song, "The Old Rugged Cross," contains a commitment to follow Christ in this life and looks forward to life with Him in eternity.

To the old rugged cross I will ever be true,
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He'll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I'll share.

When coupled with the preceding scriptural verse, our text mirrors these thoughts: "Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us" (v. 1). In this life, we have both the victorious examples of many that have gone before (Hebrews 11), and Christ Himself. Both He and they have suffered joyfully, and so can we: "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, . . . But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye" (1 Peter 4:12-14).

Once Christ fully "endured the cross," He rose from the dead in victory over death to take His rightful place "at the right hand of the throne of God." He now calls us to be "crucified with Christ" (Galatians 2:20), "in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins" (Ephesians 1:7). He'll call us some day to Himself, where we shall "sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:6), "and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4:17). So I'll cherish the old rugged cross. JDM

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