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In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Christ, We Do All Adore Thee


Christ, We Do All Adore Thee

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing. Revelation 5:12

image

Christ, we do all adore Thee,
And we do praise Thee forever;
Christ, we do all adore Thee,
And we do praise Thee forever,
For on the holy cross hast Thou
The world from sin redeemed.
Christ, we do all adore Thee,
And we do praise Thee forever.
Christ, we do all adore Thee!

The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music).




All Things Foreordained

Friday··2018·02·16
The Westminster Confession states that “God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass” (WCF 3.1; Cf. WLC 12, WSC 7). This is at odds with what is commonly believed, that is, that Satan is a free agent, working evil in the world, and that God is left to react to his attacks, protecting us from evil, and/or using it for our good. But God is more ahead of the game than that. God does not merely use evil after-the-fact; it is a part of his eternal plan (Genesis 50:20). As for the discord and strife that we say exists between Satan and God, we ought to accept as a fixed certainty the fact that he can do nothing unless God wills and assents to it. For we read in the history of Job that he presented himself before God to receive his commands [Job 1:6; 2:1], and did not dare undertake any evil act without first having obtained permission [chs. 1:12; 2:6]. Thus, also, when Ahab was to be deceived, Satan took upon himself to become a spirit of falsehood in the mouths of all the prophets; and commissioned by God, he carried out his task [I Kings 22:20–22]. For this reason, too, the spirit of the Lord that troubled Saul is called “evil” because the sins of the impious king were punished by it as by a lash [I Sam. 16:14; 18:10]. And elsewhere it is written that the plagues were inflicted upon the Egyptians by God “through evil angels” [Ps. 78:49]. According to these particular examples Paul generally testifies that the blinding of unbelievers is God’s work [II Thess. 2:11], although he had before called it the activity of Satan [II Thess. 2:9; cf. II Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2]. Therefore Satan is clearly under God’s power, and is so ruled by his bidding as to be compelled to render him service. Indeed, when we say that Satan resists God, and that Satan’s works disagree with Gods works, we at the same time assert that this resistance and this opposition are dependent upon God’s sufferance. I am not now speaking of Satan’s will, nor even of his effort, but only of his effect. For inasmuch as the devil is by nature wicked, he is not at all inclined to obedience to the divine will, but utterly intent upon contumacy and rebellion. From himself and his own wickedness, therefore, arises his passionate and deliberate opposition to God. By this wickedness he is urged on to attempt courses of action which he believes to be most hostile to God. But because with the bridle of his power God holds him bound and restrained, he carries out only those things which have been divinely permitted to him; and so he obeys his Creator, whether he will or not, because he is compelled to yield him service wherever God impels him. —John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (Westminster John Knox Press, 1960), 1.14.17.

Angel Worship

Thursday··2018·02·15
According to Roman Catholicism, angels as well as saints are appropriate recipients of prayer. Calvin, and Scripture, say otherwise. It remains for us to cope with that superstition which frequently creeps in, to the effect that angels are the ministers and dispensers of all good things to us. For at once, man’s reason so lapses that he thinks that no honor ought to be withheld from them. Thus it happens that what belongs to God and Christ alone is transferred to them. Thus we see that Christ’s glory was for some ages past obscured in many ways, when contrary to God’s Word unmeasured honors were lavished upon angels. And among those vices which we are today combating, there is hardly any more ancient. For it appears that Paul had a great struggle with certain persons who so elevated angels that they well-nigh degraded Christ to the same level. Hence he urges with very great solicitude in the letter to the Colossians that not only is Christ to be preferred before all angels but that he is the author of all good things that they have [Col. 1:16, 20]. This he does that we may not depart from Christ and go over to those who are not self-sufficient but draw from the same well as we. Surely, since the splendor of the divine majesty shines in them, nothing is easier for us than to fall down, stupefied, in adoration of them, and then to attribute to them everything that is owed to God alone. Even John in Revelation confesses that this happened to him, but at the same time he adds that this answer came to him [chs. 19:10; 22:8–9]: “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you . . . Worship God.” —John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (Westminster John Knox Press, 1960), 1.14.10.

Guardian Angels

Wednesday··2018·02·14
It is a popular legend that each of us has a personal guardian angel. I don’t believe we do. Calvin, while not denying the possibility, demonstrates that there is no Scriptural reason to believe it. [W]hether individual angels have been assigned to individual believers for their protection, I dare not affirm with confidence. Certainly, when Daniel introduces the angel of the Persians and the angel of the Greeks [Dan. 10:13, 20; 12:1] he signifies that specific angels have been appointed as guardians over kingdoms and provinces. Christ also, when he says that the children’s angels always behold the Father’s face [Matt. 18:10], hints that there are certain angels to whom their safety has been committed. But from this I do not know whether one ought to infer that each individual has the protection of his own angel. We ought to hold as a fact that the care of each one of us is not the task of one angel only, but all with one consent watch over our salvation. For it is said of all the angels together that they rejoice more over the turning of one sinner to repentance than over ninety-nine righteous men who have stood fast in righteousness [Luke 15:7]. Also, it is said of a number of angels that “they bore Lazarus’ soul to Abraham’s bosom” [Luke 16:22 p.]. And Elisha does not in vain show to his servant so many fiery chariots which had been destined especially for him [II Kings 6:17]. There is one passage that seems to confirm this a little more clearly than the rest. For when Peter, led out of the prison, knocked at the gates of the house in which the brethren were gathered, since they could not imagine it was he, “they said, ‘It is his angel’” [Acts 12:15]. This seems to have entered their minds from the common notion that each believer has been assigned his own guardian angel. Although here, also, it can be answered that nothing prevents us from understanding this of any angel at all to whom the Lord had then given over the care of Peter; yet he would not on that account be Peter’s perpetual guardian. Similarly the common folk imagine two angels, good and bad—as it were different geniuses—attached to each person. Yet it is not worth-while anxiously to investigate what it does not much concern us to know. For if the fact that all the heavenly host are keeping watch for his safety will not satisfy a man, I do not see what benefit he could derive from knowing that one angel has been given to him as his especial guardian. —John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (Westminster John Knox Press, 1960), 1.14.7.

Against Speculation

Tuesday··2018·02·13
The human mind is made to be curious, and to learn. We are designed to investigate and discover. Where would we be without modern advances in technology and medicine? These have been accomplished by God’s design and providence, and we are rightly grateful. But not all investigations are profitable or reverent. There are things that God has chosen not to reveal, and we should be content with that. “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29). [I]t was his will that the history of Creation be made manifest, in order that the faith of the church, resting upon this, might seek no other God but him who was put forth by Moses as the Maker and Founder of the universe. Therein time was first marked so that by a continuing succession of years believers might arrive at the primal source of the human race and of all things. This knowledge is especially useful not only to resist the monstrous fables that formerly were in vogue in Egypt and in other regions of the earth, but also that, once the beginning of the universe is known, God’s eternity may shine forth more clearly, and we may be more rapt in wonder at it. And indeed, that impious scoff ought not to move us: that it is a wonder how it did not enter God’s mind sooner to found heaven and earth, but that he idly permitted an immeasurable time to pass away, since he could have made it very many millenniums earlier, albeit the duration of the world, now declining to its ultimate end, has not yet attained six thousand years. For it is neither lawful nor expedient for us to inquire why God delayed so long, because if the human mind strives to penetrate thus far, it will fail a hundred times on the way. And it would not even be useful for us to know what God himself, to test our moderation of faith, on purpose willed to be hidden. When a certain shameless fellow mockingly asked a pious old man what God had done before the creation of the world, the latter aptly countered that he had been building hell for the curious. Let this admonition, no less grave than severe, restrain the wantonness that tickles many and even drives them to wicked and hurtful speculations. . . . Augustine rightly complains that wrong is done to God when a higher cause of things than his will is demanded. Elsewhere the same man wisely warns that it is no less wrong to raise questions concerning immeasurable stretches of time than of space. . . . As if within six thousand years God has not shown evidences enough on which to exercise our minds in earnest meditation! Therefore let us willingly remain enclosed within these bounds to which God has willed to confine us, and as it were, to pen up our minds that they may not, through their very freedom to wander, go astray. —John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (Westminster John Knox Press, 1960), 1.14.1.

The Witness of Christ to His Divinity

Monday··2018·02·12
We have heard the witness of the apostles to the divinity of Christ. See now what Christ himself said: Now if we weigh his divinity by the works that are ascribed him in the Scriptures, it will thereby shine forth more clearly. Indeed, when he said that he had been working hitherto from the beginning with the Father [John 5:17], the Jews, utterly stupid to all his other sayings, still sensed that he made use of divine power. And therefore, as John states, “the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath, but also called God his Father, making himself equal with God” [John 5:18]. How great will our stupidity then be if we do not feel that his divinity is here plainly affirmed? And verily, to govern the universe with providence and power, and to regulate all things by the command of his own power [Heb. 1:3], deeds that the apostle ascribes to Christ, is the function of the Creator alone. And he not only participates in the task of governing the world with the Father; but he carries out also other individual offices, which cannot be communicated to the creatures. The Lord proclaims through the prophet, “I, even I, am the one who blots out your transgressions for my own sake” [Isa. 43:25 p.]. According to this saying, when the Jews thought that wrong was done to God in that Christ was remitting sins, Christ not only asserted in words, but also proved by miracle, that this power belonged to him [Matt. 9:6]. We therefore perceive that he possesses not the administration merely but the actual power of remission of sins, which the Lord says will never pass from him to another. What? Does not the searching and penetrating of the silent thoughts of hearts belong to God alone? Yet Christ also had this power [Matt. 9:4; cf.John 2:25]. From this we infer his divinity. —John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (Westminster John Knox Press, 1960), 1.13.12.

Lord’s Day 6, 2018

Sunday··2018·02·11
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. —Matthew 11:28–30 Hymn XIV. Rest for weary souls. John Newton (1725–1807) Does the gospel-word proclaim Rest, for those who weary be? Then, my soul, put in thy claim, Sure that promise speaks to thee: Marks of grace I cannot show, All polluted is my best; Yet I weary am I know, And the weary long for rest. Burden’d with a load of sin, Harass’d with tormenting doubt, Hourly conflicts from within, Hourly crosses from without: All my little strength is gone, Sink I must without supply; Sure upon the earth is none Can more weary be than I. In the ark, the weary dove Found a welcome resting-place; Thus my spirit longs to prove Rest in Christ, the ark of grace: Tempest-toss’d I long have been, And the flood increases fast; Open, Lord, and take me in, Till the storm be overpast. Safely lodg’d within thy breast, What a wond’rous change I find! Now I know thy promised rest Can compose a troubled mind You that weary are like me, Hearken to the gospel call; To the ark for refuge flee, Jesus will receive you all! —Olney Hymns. Book III: On the Rise, Progress, Changes, and Comforts of the Spiritual Life. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about #LordsDay from:thethirstytheo !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");


2018·02·10
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: In His Holy Temple
2018·02·09
The Witness of the Apostles to the Divinity of Christ
2018·02·08
The Proper Use of Images
2018·02·07
Images as “Books”
2018·02·06
Spirit and Word
2018·02·05
Principles of Biblical Interpretation
2018·02·04
Lord’s Day 5, 2018

2018·01·27
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Come, Ye Thankful People, Come
2018·01·26
The Author
2018·01·25
The Source
2018·01·24
The True Standard
2018·01·23
’Tis Not that I Did Choose Thee
2018·01·22
Foreknew (Romans 8:29)
2018·01·21
Lord’s Day 3, 2018

2018·02·03
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: For the Beauty of the Earth
2018·02·02
Useful Aids
2018·02·01
The Testimony of the Spirit
2018·01·31
Its Own Proof
2018·01·30
God without the Word
2018·01·29
Scripture Spectacles
2018·01·28
Lord’s Day 4, 2018



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