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Romans 5:1-21 – Friday Bible Study

A Matter of Death and Life

Read Romans 5.
Paul has laid his charge: all humanity, regardless of ethnic background, deserve God’s wrath. But the good news is that Jesus has taken that wrath upon Himself so that people from any race or religious background can be in a right relationship with God. This is the ultimate fulfilment of God’s promise to Abraham. All of our life is found in Jesus.

• We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Who is at peace with whom? (1)
• Suffering produces _____________, which produces ______________ which produces _____________. What is this a sign of? (2,5)
• Why did the Lord Jesus die? (6-8)
• How does this fact help us face the situations described in question 2?
• What is our expectation for the future? (9)
• How does that impact on our attitude to the here and now? (10-11)
• Christians focus on the death of Jesus, which is vital. What else does verse 11 point us to?
• What fruit did sin produce in the world?
• Paul speaks about sin being present before the commandments were able to reveal it. What evidence does he present to back up that assertion? (12-14)
• What contrast does Paul make between Adam and the Lord Jesus in verses 15-17?
• What terms contrast with ‘sin’ and ‘death’ in these verses?
• If existence under God’s wrath was death what is existence under God’s gracious gift?

Some notes.
This chapter marks what seems to be a transition. New material is being opened up while the opening themes of the book are still being dealt with.
The Christian’s past, present and future are being addressed.
In addition to sin being forgiven, which deals with the past, Paul starts introducing the subjects of life now and life to come.
The inheritance of Adam was death, the gift of God in Christ is eternal life.
In working through these questions the contrast emerges of the great disparity between a deserved judgment of death that flowed from disobedience and eternal life in the reign of the risen Lord Jesus Christ at peace with God.
We didn’t spend a lot of time unpacking this life in depth because the following chapters do that in more depth. Rather we wanted to emphasise the central idea of Chapter 5, that new life in Christ is not simply an escape from God’s wrath but is an entry into eternal riches in Christ.

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Memoirs Of An Ordinary Pastor – A Book Review

Don Carson exists in the evangelical stratosphere. A prolific writer, an engaging speaker, when someone speaks of ‘Carson’, one knows of whom they speak.
The evangelical Christians of Sydney adore him, and when they gather many jokes are told about the deference which is shown to Carson’s scholarship. The laughter which follows usually carries the air of humour which has a point.
Memoirs Of An Ordinary Pastor is Carson’s recounting of the life and ministry of his father, Tom Carson. The elder Carson’s profile was the inverse of that of his famous son. He would labour a lifetime in relative obscurity among the French speaking citizens of Canada. While ministering on a much smaller scale, Carson’s faithfulness was an encouragement to many contemporaries and, through this book, now to the reader.
As author of a book about his own father, Don Carson (DC) makes use of journal entries composed by Tom Carson (TC), his own recollections and some other remembrances provided by others.
In its 160 pages a fascinatingly senstitive account is recorded. In turns TC is revealed as Christian, husband, father, pastor, churchman and friend. The nature of a perfectionist given to bouts of melancholy, but who was also earnest for souls to be saved and grow in the Gospel will be easily recognisable to most pastors who read the book.
In reading the book you will learn something of Canadian church history, something about marriage, something about pastoring, something about parenting, something about the ups and downs of life, something of friendship; something about loss and much about faithfulness and finishing well.
A genuinely touching portrait emerges that reveals that for most engaged in pastoral ministry it is faithfulness in the long haul that will be our lot.
Those who labour in the Word will meet seasons in their life when discouragement is a constant companion; fruit for work seems impossilbe to identify; human friends are no comfort and the heavens seem closed to prayer. Apart from remaining faithful in the Word, continuing in prayer and seeking Christian fellowship, picking up a copy of Memoirs Of An Ordinary Pastor and reading it (or reading it again) will encourage your soul.

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Koorong Catalogue #12 & 19, 2009

In addition to the Winter Sale catalogue this mailing brings us a Food For Thought Catalogue, which usually contains lots of interesting fare. (Also less coffee mugs.) (Although I really wish they’d stock the Bobble Head John Calvin)
So, what’s of interest?
Food for Thought.
A little light on for new commentaries this time.
I just ordered the 2 volume Luke Reformed Evangelical Commentary.
Tony Bird’s James Commentary in the Welwyn Series (Page 2) looks good.
I can’t tell if their catalogue editor has a sense of humour putting Tom Wright’s ‘surprising and inspiring’ book on justification right on top of John Piper’s book which contends ‘that Wright’s highly influential views distort the historic doctrine of justification by faith’. (Page 3) Maybe next month they’ll sell the two books as a bundle.
I also ended up getting the Tozer classics on page 12.
The Calvin material on page 6 is worth keeping an eye on. There’s a fair bit coming out this year and more to come.
The Winter Sale catalogue.
Growing Your Faith by Jerry Bridges (page 24) would be straightforward and solid.
The three books in the series After Jesus by Paul Barnett on page 31 look interesting.
Not so interesting but wryly amusing is seeing Tim Challies book The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment on the same page as Joel Osteen’s Your Best Life Now. Read them in the right order and save yourself the purchase of one.

Really loopy. (Judging a book by its cover dept.) Gigi, God’s Little Princess: There’s A Princess In Me is a picture book for girls aged 4-7. It has a mylar mirror ‘so girls can see themselves as they truly are daughters of the King of kings, God’s little princesses.’ It’s right under His Little Princess which recounts ‘love letters [that] show they’re not pretend princesses – their King is for real and so is their royal identity.’ I don’t know what to make of this stuff. Our identity as Christians is that we are children of God by adoption, loved and accepted by Him because of Jesus. What’s wrong with emphasising that? I’ll look at them some time and see how they deal with it.

Over and out.

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My Dhal Recipe – Lentil Pottage Worth A Birthright

Well, maybe not a birthright, but I think it’s pretty close.
People who know me know I like to cook.
So, some recipes will turn up here.
Most of them are adapted from all over the place.

This is an adaption of a dhal recipe from Margaret and my vegan period. It is supreme comfort food. I like my lentils quite dense and broken down. Others like them firm and soupy. This is quite the pottage, but if you don’t cook it as long it would be wetter.

Gary’s Best Ever Dhal

Oil, whatever’s around
2 onions, chopped
11/2 tablespoons black mustard seeds
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1 tablespoon cumin powder
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 Teaspoon chili powder (to taste), not a hot dish
3-4cm piece of ginger, finely chopped or grated
2-3 cloves of garlic finely chopped

Lentils, about 2 cups (for the purposes of the exercise 1 cup of red
lentils and 1 cup of brown lentils will do, basically about 1 cup of
type likely to break down, eg red lentils, split peas, toor dhal, and 1
cup larger ones more likely to keep shape, eg brown, black lentils or
mung beans)
I like to use 1/4 cup each of yellow split peas; green split peas, toor dhal and red lentils and 1/3 cup each of brown lentils, black lentils and mung beans.

1 litre of rice milk
can of coconut cream
a cup or two of tomato puree
Vegetable stock cube

Some form of saucepan (that holds a couple of litres) and a slow cooker
are good.

So, prepare all ingredients:
In a generous amount of heated oil, first add the mustard seeds until
they pop for a bit, then put in onion and fry off for a little while.
Add ginger and garlic, stir for a bit, then powdered spices and cook off.
I generally add the tomato, stock cube, stir, then the rice milk and
coconut cream and bring up to simmer.
(This basically means when you put it in the slow cooker it warms up
quicker, but make sure you get anything cooked on the bottom of the
saucepan scraped off)

Put the lentils in the slow cooker, add the liquid and cook for ages
until it looks good. May need a bit more water if too thick, and
probably a good wack of salt to taste.

Makes a fair bit. I don’t think you need rice with it, so probably some form of Indian Bread would balance/complete the proteins for vegetarian consumption.

Guess what I’m cooking tomorrow?

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July Australian Presbyterian – J. Gresham Machen

The July edition of Australian Presbyterian has a somewhat obscure choice for its cover feature. J. Gresham Machen was a US Presbyterian from the first half of the 20th century. He was probably the last great Princeton Presbyterian theologian. Carl Trueman is interviewed while Peter Barnes and D.G. Hart (who has written a Machen biography) provide articles on his life, work and legacy.
The dominance of liberalism came about in the period between the World Wars and Machen was one of those who fought against that transition. Ultimately the denomination took away his credentials. Another Presbyterian denomination commenced to carry on the witness of biblical reformed theology. Machen passed away at the age of 55. Apart from the fact he died in relative youth, the new denomination lacked other figures of Machen’s gravitas at a formative time in its development.
A brief historical statement can be found here. For more biographical information look him up on Wikipedia if you like, his page seems to be well looked after.
Back in the day one of the first biographies I read was Ned Stonehouse’s life of Machen. He was, and is, a celebrated figure of orthodox theology. The biography is affectionate and sympathetic without ignoring Machen’s humanity and idiosyncracies.
It is hard to know what overall lesson to draw from Machen’s life. He did not succeed in stemming liberalism in the Presbyterian Church or at Princeton. He was instrumental in the founding of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and Westminster Seminary, but passed before he could have much personal influence over either.
Our situation as a denomination is somewhat removed from that which Machen faced. We do need to be faithful, prudent and vigilant because history shows that error gains a foothold when orthodox folk demonstrate the sort of tolerance that in time allows falsehood to take root. History also teaches that when falsehood wins the day it shows little tolerance to orthodoxy and will eradicate it or drive it out.
The choice of Machen as a cover feature demonstrates the value of history. When enlightened we are equipped not to repeat past mistakes. A period of peace and stability can lead to complacency which can, in turn, lead to destruction.
Even if we lacked the Scriptural injunction to beware of false teaching and false teachers, to watch out for savage wolves, Machen, and others, would testify from the past that we can never think it can’t happen to us.
The truth is worth knowing, asserting, maitaining and defending.


There Is A Hope – Sunday Songs

Stuart Townend again. This time in collaboration with Mark Edwards.
It is hard to find a better contemporary illustration of genuine Christian hope in contrast to psuedo Christian triumphalism than the lyrics of this song.
There’s a lot that I’d like to write about the state of contemporary songwriting, but little of it is edifying so I won’t. Suffice to say I think other songwriters could write material of this type but their theology of worship and the Christian life mean that these sorts of sentiments don’t mean anything to them. It’s hard to sell prosperity, health and self realisation with songs like these. Enough. On with the song.

There is a hope that burns within my heart,
That gives me strength for every passing day;
A glimpse of glory now revealed in meagre part,
Yet drives all doubt away:
I stand in Christ, with sins forgiven;
And Christ in me, the hope of heaven!
My highest calling and my deepest joy,
To make His will my home.
There is a hope that lifts my weary head,
A consolation strong against despair,
That when the world has plunged me in its deepest pit,
I find the Saviour there!
Through present sufferings, future’s fear,
He whispers ‘courage’ in my ear.
For I am safe in everlasting arms,
And they will lead me home.
There is a hope that stands the test of time,
That lifts my eyes beyond the beckoning grave,
To see the matchless beauty of a day divine
When I behold His face!
When sufferings cease and sorrows die,
And every longing satisfied.
Then joy unspeakable will flood my soul,
For I am truly home.

Stuart Townend & Mark Edwards
Copyright © 2007 Thankyou Music

This youtube is the story behind the song, as told by Stuart Townend.

This one is the song itself. (Six and a half minutes)

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Romans 5:1-21 – Week 7 – A Matter of Death and Life

The outline:
1) The history of death.
a) The one man’s transgression. (12-14)
b) God’s judgment. (9-10)
c) Humanity’s status. (6-8)
2) The history of life.
a) The second man’s obedience.
b) God’s love.
c) Our status.
Some comments.
The chapter does break into two sections, 1-11 and 12-21, but since the content overlaps between the two I want to examine the contrasting elements.
Firstly, death.
Verses 12 to 14 deal with Adam’s transgression and its effect on humanity.
Verses 9 and 10 describe us as those under God’s wrath and His enemies.
Verses 6-8 and 12-21 give an insight into human existence as marked by death.
Secondly, life.
Verses 15-19 outline Jesus’ obedience and righteousness as the basis for our justification.
Verses 6-11 demonstrate that this is a demonstration of God’s reconciling love.
Verses 1-5 describe many blessings which are part of the Christian’s life, all generously given by God. This is life!
That’s an outline. Preaching it takes a little longer.