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What Think You about Christ?


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What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?

—Matthew 22:42

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First, what think you about the person of Christ? ’Whose Son is he?‘ This is the question our Lord put to the Pharisees in the words following the text. And never was it more necessary to repeat this question than in these last days. For numbers that are called after the name of Christ and I fear, many that pretend to preach him, are so far advanced in the blasphemous chair as openly to deny his being really, truly, and properly God. But no one that ever was partaker of his Spirit will speak thus lightly of him. No, if they are asked, as Peter and his brethren were, ’But whom say ye that I am?‘ they will reply without hesitation, ’Thou art Christ the Son of the ever-living God.‘ For the confession of our Lord‘s divinity, is the rock upon which he builds his church. Was it possible to take this away, the gates of hell would quickly prevail against it.

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But secondly, what think you of the manhood or incarnation of Jesus Christ? For Christ was not only God but he was God and man in one person. Thus runs the text and context, ’When the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, What think ye of Christ? Whose Son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. How then, says our divine Master, does David in spirit call him Lord?‘ From which passage it is evident, that we do not think rightly of the person of Jesus Christ, unless we believe him to be perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.

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The reason why the Son of God took upon him our nature was the Fall of our first parents. . . . As God made man, so God made him perfect. He placed him in the garden of Eden and condescended to enter into a covenant with him, promising him eternal life upon condition of unsinning obedience. And threatening eternal death, if he broke his law and did eat the forbidden fruit.

Man did eat. And herein acting as our representative, thereby involved both himself and us in that curse, which God, the righteous judge, had said should be the consequence of his disobedience. But here begins that mystery of godliness, God manifested in the flesh. For (sing, O heavens and rejoice, O earth!) the eternal Father, foreseeing how Satan would bruise the heel of man had in his eternal counsel provided a means whereby he might bruise that accursed serpent‘s head. Man is permitted to fall and become subject to death. But Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, Light of light, very God of very God, offers to die to make an atonement for his transgression and to fulfil all righteousness in his stead.

And because it was impossible for him to do this as he was God and yet since man had offended it was necessary it should be done in the person of man. Rather than we should perish, this everlasting God, this Prince of Peace, this Ancient of Days, in the fullness of time had a body prepared for him by the Holy Ghost and became an infant. In this body he performed a complete obedience to the law of God whereby he, in our stead, fulfilled the covenant of works and at last became subject to death, even death upon the cross. That as God he might satisfy, as man he might obey and suffer, and being God and man in one person, might once more procure a union between God and our souls.

And now, what think you of this love of Christ? Do not you think it was wondrous great? Especially when you consider that we were Christ‘s bitter enemies and that he would have been infinitely happy in himself, notwithstanding we had perished forever. Whatever you may think of it, I know the blessed angels, who are not so much concerned in this mystery of godliness as we, think most highly of it. They do, they will desire to look into and admire it, through all eternity. Why, why O ye sinners, will you not think of this love of Christ? Surely it must melt down the most hardened heart. Whilst I am speaking, the thought of this infinite and condescending love fires and warms my soul. I could dwell on it forever.

—George Whitefield, “What Think Ye of Christ?” in Lee Gatiss (Ed.), The Sermons of George Whitefield (Crossway, 2012), 1:405, 407–408.




Honoring a Man without Dishonoring Christ

Monday··2019·01·21
Today, Christians across the nation, including many who hold a thoroughly biblical understanding of the gospel, will be celebrating Martin Luther King as a Christian leader, and will object to any assertions to the contrary. Although I understand the importance of King as a leader in the civil rights movement, it is important for Christians to understand why this is wrong. Martin Luther King was not a Christian by any biblical definition. I am well aware of seriousness of this statement, and how jarring it is to a “judge not” culture, but for the sake of the gospel and the integrity of the church, it must be said. At this point, you may be wondering how I can make such a serious judgment; you may be demanding justification for such a horrific—and it is truly horrific—claim. I might correctly respond that I need not prove a negative, that the burden of proof lies with the positive assertion, and would come in the form of a credible profession of faith in Christ, expressed in biblical terms. Lacking such a profession—and I would contend that it is lacking—from such an historically well-known man, universally titled “Reverend” and known for preaching “sermons,” is evidence enough. Although I do believe that is enough (it would certainly bar anyone from membership in any biblical church), there is ample proof, in King’s own words, that his faith, if it may be so called, may not be considered a biblical, saving faith. Take a look for yourself. 1. The death of King’s Jesus actually made atonement for exactly nothing. (A View of the Cross Possessing Biblical and Spiritual Justification) First we may say that any doctrine which finds the meaning of atonement in the truimph of Christ over such cosmic powers as sin, death, and Satan is inadequate. . . . Such views taken literally become bizarre. Merit and guilt are not concrete realities that can be detached from one person and transferred to another. Moreover, no person can morally be punished in place of another. Such ideas as ethical and penal substitution become immoral. What, then, was the purpose of the cross? The cross represents the eternal love of God seeking to attract men into fellowship with the divine. . . .the death of Christ is a revelation or symbol of the eternal sacrificial love of God. Although that essay makes references to both incarnation and resurrection, the following denies both. 2. King’s Jesus was not the biblical Jesus. He was not God incarnate, born of a virgin. He did not rise from the dead. (What Experiences of Christians Living in the Early Christian Century Led to the Christian Doctrines of the Divine Sonship of Jesus, the Virgin Birth, and the Bodily Resurrection) A more adequate explanation for the rise of this doctrine [of the virgin birth and divine sonship of Christ] is found in the experience which the early christians had with Jesus. The people saw within Jesus such a uniqueness of quality and spirit that to explain him in terms of ordinary background was to them quite inadequate. For his early followers this spiritual uniqueness could only by accounted for in terms of biological uniqueness. They were not unscientific in their approach because they had no knowledge of the scientific. They could only express themselves in terms of the pre-scientific thought patterns of their day. No laws were broken because they had no knowledge of the existence of law. They only knew that they had been with the Jesus of history and that his spiritual life was so far beyond theirs that to explain his biological origin as identical with theirs was quite inadequate. We of this scientific age will not explain the birth of Jesus in such unscientific terms, but we will have to admit with the early Christians that the spiritual uniqueness of Jesus stands as a mystery to man. . . . The root of our inquiry [into the origin of the doctrine of the resurrection] is found in the fact that the early Christians had lived with Jesus. They had been captivated by the magnetic power of his personality. This basic experience led to the faith that he could never die. And so in the pre-scientific thought pattern of the first century, this inner faith took outward form. But it must be remembered that before the doctrine was formulated or the event recorded, the early Christians had had a lasting experience with the Christ. They had come to see that the essential note in the Fourth Gospel is the ultimate force in Christianity: The living, deathless person of Christ. They expressed this in terms of the outward, but it was an inner experience that lead to its expression. King’s lack of a positive confession, his grossly immoral life (which I have not described, but is a matter of historical record), and his explicit denials of the gospel, should tell us all we need to know about his alleged Christianity. It is not a point on which we need to dwell in discussions of his historical contributions, but we do need to stop affirming this fiction. I honor and even celebrate the lives of many people throughout history who were not Christians, but not under the gospel banner. To do so obscures the gospel message in the church and to the world. And now, why should it be thought a breach of charity, to affirm, that those who deny the divinity of Jesus Christ, in the strictest sense of the word, cannot be Christians? For they are greater infidels than the devils themselves, who confessed that they knew who he was, ‘even the holy one of God.’ They not only believe but, which is more than the unbelievers of this generation do, they tremble. And was it possible for arch-heretics to be released from their chains of darkness under which (unless they altered their principles before they died) they are now reserved to the judgment of the great day, I am persuaded they would inform us how hell had convinced them of the divinity of Jesus Christ and that they would advise their followers to abhor their principles, lest they should come into the same place and thereby increase each other’s torments. —George Whitefield, “What Think Ye of Christ?” in Lee Gatiss (Ed.), The Sermons of George Whitefield (Crossway, 2012), 1:406–407.

Lord’s Day 3, 2019

Sunday··2019·01·20
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? —Romans 8:33–34 Hymn VIII. The Propitiation. Thy anger, for what I have done, The gospel forbids me to fear: My sins thou hast charg’d on thy Son: Thy justice to him I refer: Be mindful of Jesus and me! My pardon he suffer’d to buy; And what he procur’d on the tree, For me he demands in the sky. —The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady: To the Holy Spirit (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). 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.

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: One There Is

Saturday··2019·01·19
One There Is Above All Others GODESBERG One there is, above all others, well deserves the name of Friend; His is love beyond a brother’s, costly, free, and knows no end; they who once His kindness prove, find it everlasting love! Which of all our friends to save us, could or would have shed their blood? But our Jesus died to have us reconciled in Him to God; this was boundless love indeed! Jesus is a Friend in need. Men, when raised to lofty stations, often know their friends no more; slight and scorn their poor relations though they valued them before. But our Savior always owns those whom He redeemed with groans. When He lived on earth abased, Friend of sinners was His name; now, above all glory raised, He rejoices in the same; still He calls them brethren, friends, and to all their wants attends. Could we bear from one another what He daily bears from us? Yet this glorious Friend and Brother loves us though we treat Him thus; though for good we render ill, He accounts us brethren still. O for grace our hearts to soften! Teach us, Lord, at length to love; we, alas! forget too often what a Friend we have above; but when home our souls are brought, we will love Thee as we ought. —Hymns to the Living God (Religious Affections Ministries, 2017). 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.

Joe thought robbing the Skate and Surf Shop, while not making a huge haul, would at least be fairly easy and low-risk. However, as he approached the store in the dark of night, he saw a sight that made his blood run cold. It was a young man, twenty-something, long blonde hair swept back, wearing baggy shorts, Hawaiian shirt, and shades, riding on the back of the most enormous German Shepherd Joe had ever seen. Only then did he notice the warning he should have seen earlier in the week when he was casing the joint—a small blue-and-white sign in the store window which read, “guard dude on doggy.”

Go Tell Your Father

Thursday··2019·01·17
Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. —Matthew 18:3 Are ye God’s children? Are ye converted and become like little children? Then deal with God as your little children do with you. As soon as ever they want anything, or if anybody hurt them, I appeal to yourselves if they do not directly run to their parent. Well, are ye God’s children? Doth the devil trouble you? Doth the world trouble you? Go tell your Father of it, go directly and complain to God. Perhaps you may say, I cannot utter fine words. But do any of you expect fine words from your children? If they come crying and can speak but half words, do not your hearts yearn over them? And has not God unspeakably more pity to you? If ye can only make signs to him, ‘As a father pitieth his children, so will the Lord pity them that fear him.’ I pray you therefore be bold with your Father, saying, ‘Abba, Father,’ Satan troubles me, the world troubles me, my own mother’s children are angry with me. Heavenly Father, plead my cause! The Lord will then speak for you some way or other. —George Whitefield, “Marks of a True Conversion” in Lee Gatiss (Ed.), The Sermons of George Whitefield (Crossway, 2012), 1:397–398.

O Blissful Moment!

Wednesday··2019·01·16
Last night, a precious saint and member of our church lost a battle, but, by the grace of God in Christ, won the war. He has fought the good fight, finished the course, and kept the faith. He has now received his crown of righteousness (1 Timothy 4:7–8). He was a godly man, an encouraging example of faith, and I am grateful to have known him. As I have thought of little else today, this hymn has been a source of joy in the midst of grief. Face to Face Face to face with Christ, my Savior, Face to face—what will it be— When with rapture I behold Him, Jesus Christ Who died for me? Refrain Face to face I shall behold Him, Far beyond the starry sky; Face to face in all His glory, I shall see Him by and by. Only faintly now I see Him, With the darkling veil between; But a blessed day is coming When His glory shall be seen. Refrain What rejoicing in His presence When are banished grief and pain; When the crooked ways are straightened And the dark things shall be plain. Refrain Face to face! O blissful moment! Face to face—to see and know; Face to face with my Redeemer, Jesus Christ Who loves me so. Refrain For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. —1 Corinthians 13:12


2019·01·15
To Become Like a Child
2019·01·14
Whitefield on Original Sin
2019·01·13
Lord’s Day 02, 2019
2019·01·12
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: How Sweet and Awful
2019·01·11
A Priest Goes to a Ball Game
2019·01·10
Will You Not Go?
2019·01·09
Weary and Heavy-Laden

2019·01·01
New Year’s Day, 2019
2018·12·31
We Three Kings
2018·12·30
Lord’s Day 52, 2018
2018·12·29
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Hark, the Glad Sound!
2018·12·28
I Wonder as I Wander
2018·12·27
Silent Night
2018·12·26
Gloria

2019·01·08
An Explanation: Why I Don’t Like “At the Cross”
2019·01·07
When I Was Your Age
2019·01·06
Lord’s Day 01, 2019
2019·01·05
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Not All the Outward Forms
2019·01·04
Contagious
2019·01·03
Godly Priorities
2019·01·02
Let Jesus Do All



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