· Posted by Walking Worthy at 15:46
Do you remember the four lepers from 2 Kings 7? The guys who had been abandoned outside Samaria? The Syrians had besieged the city (6:24-33), and there was a famine inside. The lepers said they would try surrendering themselves to the Syrian camp (v.4). When they arrived they saw to their utter surprise a totally empty camp, with signs that the army had fled. They could not believe the spoils that were now theirs. They ate and drank the best meals they had had in weeks, and rejoiced over their newfound treasure (v.8).
Then their consciences pricked them, and they said to each other, “We are not doing right. This is a day of good news, and we remain silent. If we wait until morning light, some punishment will come upon us. Now therefore, come, let us go and tell the king’s household” v. 9. They had found food, but their fellow Samarians were starving. They made the decision to go home and share the good news.
As I reread this passage I thought about the lepers’ reaction, and how it can be applied to the church in the 21st century. We too are living in ‘a day of good news’, with the truth of the gospel, and the freedom to share it (at least in this country, for now). Yet how many of us ‘remain silent’? How many times have you passed up an opportunity to tell someone the good news? When did you last tell someone of the danger they are in (eternally) and what the remedy is in Christ?
I would just encourage you to bear the lepers’ words in mind. Don’t keep the good news that you have to yourself! Share it and do not remain silent.
· Posted by Walking Worthy at 11:47
"Islam is definitely a loser and humanism is definitely a loser. But, sadly, when it comes to matters of public theology, most evangelicals are defeatists. And “even a loser can win when he's up against a defeatist.”
It is remarkable, really, that evangelicals should be defeatists, a dreadful failure of perspective which comes from a refusal to look up. Our discussions are sometimes like a debate between the two men in Slough which has been going on for the last 120 years. One of them insists that humans cannot fly, that if God had intended us to fly he would have given us wings – we know the arguments. The other has produced detailed documents showing how, if pedal speed can be maintained to power the mechanical wings, then it is scientifically possible for humans to fly almost a mile. Meantime, a huge passenger jet containing between 300 and 600 people passes overhead every two
Evangelical defeatism is a failure of Biblical perspective. After all, the risen Lord Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and on earth and has been made head over all things for the Church [Ephesians 1:22]; he is the ruler of the kings of the earth and he is currently putting his enemies beneath his feet; he has presumably asked the Father for the nations as his inheritance and the ends of the earth as his possession - and so he will receive them [Psalm 2]. All nations will bow to Jesus and all kings will serve him and his kingdom will grow to become the largest plant in the garden with the nation-birds finding rest in its branches [Mark 4:31-32]. His kingdom is the stone which crushed the kingdoms of men in Daniel 2 and which is growing to become a mountain-empire which fills the whole earth. He is the firstborn from among the dead and therefore it is right that in all things he has the first place. He has been highly exalted and not only will every knee bow to him but every knee should bow to him.
Evangelical defeatism is a failure of historical perspective. After all, the statistics are out there. It took 1400 years for 1% of the world's population to become Christians and then another 360 years for that to double to 2%. Another 170 years saw that grow from 2% to 4% and then, between 1960 and 1990 the proportion of the world's population made up of Bible-believing Christians rose from 4% to 8%. Now, in 2007, one third of the world's population confesses that Jesus is Lord and 11% of the world's population are "evangelical" Christians. The evangelical church is growing twice as fast as Islam and three times as fast as the world's population. South America is turning Protestant faster than Continental Europe did in the sixteenth century. South Koreans reckon that they can evangelize the whole of North Korea within five years once that country opens up. And then there's the Chinese church consisting of tens of millions of Christians who
have learned to pray, who have confidence in Scripture, who know about spiritual warfare, have been schooled in suffering and are qualified to rule. One day in the next century that Church - tens of millions of Christians trained to die - will be released into
global mission and our prayers for the fall of Islam will be answered.
Evangelical defeatism in matters of public theology is a failure of biblical and historical perspective. Lacking that perspective, British evangelical defeatists are riddled with white guilt and Christian guilt and are marked by parochial and pessimistic self-loathing and suspicion. They offer their hands to the humanists’ handcuffs and their children to their indoctrination centres, making loud assurances that the last thing they would want to do would be to ‘impose their morality’ on others. In public policy debates they speak in the name of the ‘whole person’ and ‘faith perspectives’ rather than in the name of King Jesus. In their Bible studies they have hermeneutical fits if someone suggests that the Old Testament might be relevant for our discussions of public theology, insisting rather that Christians are the wilderness community who live under the cross, are marked by suffering and are destined for political and cultural impotence. Evangelical defeatists begin to twitch if someone mentions too loudly in public that the Bible is God’s infallible and sufficient Word, that Blair and Brown and Cameron and the rest of them are idolatrous high priests of the greatest false god of modern times, the State, who will one day be on their knees before King Jesus, and that the task the Lord Jesus Christ has given the church is to subdue the earth and fill it, that is to disciple the nations."
Part of an article by David Field: Samuel Rutherford and the Confessionally Christian State which can be found here: http://davidpfield.com/other/RutherfordCCS.pdf
· Posted by Walking Worthy at 15:42
“When there are simple, straightforward jobs to be done, and you are full of sadness, and tears are flowing easily, go ahead and do the jobs with tears.
Say to your tears: “Tears, I feel you. You make me want to quit life. But there is a field to be sown (dishes to be washed, car to be fixed, sermon to be written).”
· Posted by Walking Worthy at 08:20
‘The Way of Jesus’ by Rebecca Manley Pippert
Which of these two thoughts sounds most familiar to you, ‘Jesus gave his life on the cross for me’ or ‘through my sin I crucified Christ’?
It becomes easy for us to say that Christ died to pay the penalty for our sin when we think of it as a voluntary gift on his part, but have you ever thought of the crucifixion in terms of the fact that you are responsible for the death of another person, an innocent person?
Matthew 20v28 says that Jesus ‘came… to give his life [as] a ransom for many’, but Acts 2v23 clearly states that Jesus, ‘being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death’ (emphasis added).
These are difficult concepts to understand in connection with each other. On the one hand we have the fact that Jesus died on the cross voluntarily, because it was the will of his Father. On the other, it was our sin that nailed Jesus to the cross and brought about his death. Rebecca Manley Pippert resolves it in this way: ‘It was God’s choice to send his son to our planet and, through the mystery of the sacrifice of the cross, to offer us a bridge back to God. …[but] we must acknowledge that it was our sin – as well as the sin of the whole planet – that lead Christ to the cross.’
Though we should praise God for his grace to us in sending the gift of salvation through the death of his son, we must be careful not to forget the awful consequences of the sin we commit, and remember that we are responsible to God for each one.
Guest article by Rebecca Hughes