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In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: A Sovereign Protector

Saturday··2020·01·25
A Sovereign Protector I Have CELESTE Psalm 46 A sov’reign Protector I have, unseen, yet forever at hand, unchangeably faithful to save, almighty to rule and command. He smiles, and my comforts abound; His grace as the dew shall descend; and walls of salvation surround the soul He delights to defend. Inspirer and hearer of pray’r, Thou Shepherd and Guardian of Thine, my all to Thy covenant care I sleeping and waking resign. If Thou art my Shield and my Sun, the night is no darkness to me; and fast as my moments roll on, they bring me but nearer to Thee. Kind Author and Ground of my hope, Thee, Thee, for my God I avow; my glad Ebenezer set up, and own Thou hast helped me till now. I muse on the years that are past, wherein my defense Thou hast proved; nor wilt Thou relinquish at last a sinner so signally loved! —Hymns to the Living God (Religious Affections Ministries, 2017). Listen: CELESTE The current hymnal for this series is Hymns to the Living God, published by Religious Affections Ministries. This is such a good hymnal that I’m pretty sure I could happily post every hymn it contains, but I’ll be limiting selections to hymns I have never posted here before, especially those unfamiliar to me (of which there are many). For more information and to purchase this hymnal, visit Religious Affections Ministries.

The Church, Local and Universal

Friday··2020·01·24
Can one belong to the church without belonging to a church? Not likely, says Mark Dever. Sometimes theologians refer to a distinction between the universal church (all Christians everywhere throughout history) and the local church (those people who meet down the street from you to hear the Word preached to and to practice baptism and the Lord’s Supper). Other than a few references to the universal church (such as Matt. 16:18 and the bulk of Ephesians), most references to the church in the New Testament are to local churches, as when Paul writes, “To the church of God in Corinth” or “To the churches in Galatia.” Now what follows is a little intense, but it’s important. The relationship between our membership in the universal church and our membership in the local church is a lot like the relationship between the righteousness God gives us through faith and the actual practice of righteousness in our daily lives. When we become Christians by faith, God declares us righteous. Yet we are still called to activity be righteous. A person who happily goes on living in unrighteousness calls into question whether he ever possessed Christ’s righteousness in the first place (see Rom. 6:1–18; 8:5–14; James 2:14–15). So, too, it is with those who refuse to commit themselves to a local church. Committing to a local body is the natural outcome—it confirms what Christ has done. If you have no interest in actually committing yourself to an actual group of gospel-believing, Bible-teaching Christians, you might question whether you belong to the body of Christ at all! Listen to the author of Hebrews carefully: Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. (Heb. 10:23–27)Our state before God, if authentic, will translate into our daily decisions, even if the process is slow and full of missteps. God really does change his people. Isn’t that good news? So please, friend, don’t grow complacent through some vague idea that you possess the righteousness of Christ if you’re not pursuing a life of righteousness. Likewise, please do not be deceived by a vague conception of a universal church to which you belong if you’re not pursuing that life together with an actual church. —Mark Dever, What Is a Healthy Church? (Crossway, 2007), 21–22. June 20, 2008

Hope in the Resurrection

Thursday··2020·01·23
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. —1 Corinthians 15:58 Wherefore, my brethren. Having satisfied himself that he had sufficiently proved the doctrine of the resurrection, he now closes his discussion with an exhortation; and this has much more force, than if he had made use of a simple conclusion with an affirmation. Since your labor, says he, is not in vain in the Lord, be steadfast, and abound in good works. Now he says that their labor is not in vain, for this reason, that there is a reward laid up for them with God. This is that exclusive hope which, in the first instance, encourages believers, and afterwards sustains them, so that they do not stop short in the race. Hence he exhorts them to remain steadfast, because they rest on a firm foundation, as they know that a better life is prepared for them in heaven. He adds abounding in the work of the Lord; for the hope of a resurrection makes us not be weary in well doing, as he teaches in Col. i. 10. For amidst so many occasions of offense as constantly present themselves to us, who is there that would not despond, or turn aside from the way, were it not that, by thinking of a better life he is by this means kept in the fear of God? Now, on the other hand, he intimates, that if the hope of a resurrection is taken away, then, the foundation (as it were) being rooted up, the whole structure of piety falls to the ground. Unquestionably, if the hope of reward is taken away and extinguished, alacrity in running will not merely grow cold, but will be altogether destroyed. —Calvin’s Commentaries Volume XX, Commentary on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians (Baker Books, 2009), 2:66.

Victory in Jesus

Wednesday··2020·01·22
but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. —1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God. From this it appears, why it it was that he made mention both of sin and of the law, when treating of death. Death has no sting with which to wound except sin, and the law imparts to this sting a deadly power. But Christ has conquered sin, and by conquering it has procured victory for us, and has redeemed us from the curse of the law (Gal. iii. 13). Hence it follows, that we are no longer lying under the power of death. Hence, although we have not as yet a full discovery of those benefits, yet we may already with confidence glory in them, because it is necessary that what has been accomplished in the Head should be accomplished, also, in the members. We may, therefore, triumph over death as subdued, because Christ’s victory is ours. When, therefore, he says, that victory has been given to us, you are to understand by this in the first place, that it is inasmuch as Christ has in his own person abolished sin, has satisfied the law, has endured the curse, has appeased the anger of God, and has procured life; and farther, because he has already begun to make us partakers of all those benefits. For though we still carry about with us the remains of sin, it, nevertheless, does not reign in us: though it still stings us, it does not do so fatally, because its edge is blunted, so that it does not penetrate into the vitals of the soul. Though the law still threatens, yet there is presented to us on the other hand, the liberty that was procured for us by Christ, which is an antidote to its terrors. Though the remains of sin still dwell in us, yet the Spirit who raised up Christ from the dead is life, because of righteousness (Rom. viii. 10). —Calvin’s Commentaries Volume XX, Commentary on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians (Baker Books, 2009), 2:65–66.

The Sting of Death

Tuesday··2020·01·21
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law —1 Corinthians 15:56 The sting of death is sin. In other words, “Death has no dart with which to wound us except sin, since death proceeds from the anger of God. Now it is only with our sins that God is angry. Take away sin, therefore, and death will no more be able to harm us.” This agrees with what he said in Rom. vi. 23, that the wages of sin is death. Here, however, he makes use of another metaphor, for he compared sin to a sting, with which alone death is armed for inflicting upon us a deadly wound. Let that be taken away, and death is disarmed, so as to be no longer hurtful. Now with what view Paul says this will be explained by him ere long. The strength of sin is the law. It is the law of God that imparts to that sting its deadly power, because it does not merely discover our guilt, but even increases it. A clearer exposition of this statement may be found in Rom. vii. 9, where Paul teaches us that we are alive, so long as we are without the law, because in our own opinion it is well with us, and we do not feel our own misery, until the law summons us to the judgment of God, and wounds our conscience with an apprehension of eternal death. Farther, he teaches us that sin has been in a manner lulled asleep, but is kindled up by the law, so as to rage furiously. Meanwhile, however, he vindicates the law from calumnies, on the ground that it is holy, and good, and just, and is not of itself the parent of sin or the cause of death. Hence he concludes, that whatever there is of evil is to be reckoned to our own account, inasmuch as it manifestly proceeds from the depravity of our nature. Hence the law is but the occasion of injury. The true cause of ruin is in ourselves. Hence he speaks of the law here as the strength or power of sin, because it executes upon us the judgment of God. In the mean time he does not deny, that sin inflicts death even upon those that know not the law; but he speaks in this manner, because it exercises its tyranny upon them with less violence. For the law came that sin might abound (Rom. v. 20), or that it might become beyond measure sinful (Rom. vii. 13). —Calvin’s Commentaries Volume XX, Commentary on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians (Baker Books, 2009), 2:64–65.

Name That Tune

Monday··2020·01·20
What do you do when you have something on your mind, but you’re distracted by a tune stuck in your head? Combine the two, of course. Worship Song Writer With twice the verses, because WWWD?* Worship song writer, worship song writer: My apologies to a certain conservative Baptist, pictured above. Christian Sir or Madam, will you write a song That isn’t full of junk theology that’s wrong, That’s drawn from God’s revelation of himself In the holy scriptures, If you want to be a worship song writer, Worship song writer. It’s an ancient story of a perfect plan— God’s intention to redeem his chosen clan; It begins in eternity—the Three-in-One, Alpha and Omega— Inspiration for a worship song writer, Worship song writer. Worship song writer, worship song writer: It can be about the attributes of God, Of his mercy or his disciplining rod; Either one, or both, will point us to his grace— Precious law and gospel Makes a banquet for a worship song writer, Worship song writer. Write of Jesus Christ who came, our souls to save, Lived a perfect life, died, and rose from the grave; All of this, imputed to his chosen ones— Sing the mercies of the Lord forever, O you worship song writer, Worship song writer. Worship song writer, worship song writer: Read the Psalms and set them to a joyful tune, Or a sadder note to sing lament and ruin; Given for reproof, correction, righteousness, Training for good works, Even the work of a good worship song writer, Worship song writer. Read the great hymns that were written yesterday, And the modern writers following their way; They are great examples you should emulate, If you want to know How to become a great worship song writer, Worship song writer. Worship song writer, worship song writer: For a song that’s corporately singable, Write a simple melody that’s mem’rable; It must have a meter we won’t stumble through†— Be a simple poet If you want to be a worship song writer, Worship song writer. You could write a moving, narcissistic rhyme, But I’m here to tell you, it’s a waste of time; Write of sovereign grace, and why we need it so, And we’ll sing together, And you’ll be a great worship song writer, Worship song writer. Worship song writer, worship song writer, Worship song writer, Worship song writer, Worship song writer. WORDS: David Kjos, 2020 MUSIC: The Beadles, 1966 Nota bene: While playing with this tune, and attributing it to “The Beadles,” was a bit of fun, I am dead earnest about the subject. This is no joke. * What would Watts do? † Unlike this one (this is not a worship song).


2020·01·19
Lord’s Day 3, 2020
2020·01·18
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Christ, Whose Glory
2020·01·17
Swallowed Up in Victory
2020·01·16
The Unity of Hell
2020·01·15
We Will Not All Sleep
2020·01·14
Trinitarian Adoption
2020·01·13
This Should Not Be

2020·01·05
Lord’s Day 01, 2020
2020·01·04
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Christ For the World
2020·01·03
Not Merely the Power
2020·01·02
Both Ends and Means
2020·01·01
The Seldom-Told Story
2019·12·31
Immanuel
2019·12·30
The Firstborn

2020·01·12
Lord’s Day 2, 2020
2020·01·11
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Go, Labor On
2020·01·10
Everlasting Love
2020·01·09
The Last Enemy
2020·01·08
Adoption versus Justification
2020·01·07
If Christ Is Not Risen
2020·01·06
Only by Sovereign Grace



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