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Westminster Larger Catechism – Lord’s Day 28

Westminster Larger Catechism – Lord’s Day 28

Q & A 107
Q Which is the second commandment?
A The second commandment is, ‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments’. (Exodus 20:4-6)

Q & A 108
Q What are the duties required in the second commandment?
A The duties required in the second commandment are, the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath instituted in his Word; particularly prayer and thanksgiving in the name of Christ; the reading, preaching, and hearing of the Word; the administration and receiving of the sacraments; church government and discipline; the ministry and maintenance thereof; religious fasting; swearing by the name of God; and vowing unto him; as also the disapproving, detesting, opposing all false worship; and, according to each one’s place and calling, removing it, and all monuments of idolatry.

Q & A 109
Q What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?
A The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counselling, commanding, using, and anywise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself; tolerating a false religion; the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature whatsoever; all worshipping of it, or God in it or by it; the making of any representation of feigned deities, and all worship of them, or service belonging to them, all superstitious devices, corrupting the worship of God, adding to it, or taking from it, whether invented and taken up of ourselves, or received by tradition from others, though under the title of antiquity, custom, devotion, good intent, or any other pretence whatsoever; simony; sacrilege; all neglect, contempt, hindering, and opposing the worship and ordinances which God hath appointed.

Q & A 110
Q What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment, the more to enforce it?
A The reasons annexed to the second commandment, the more to enforce it, contained in these words, ‘for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments’; are, besides God’s sovereignty over us, and propriety in us, his fervent zeal for his own worship, and his revengeful indignation against all false worship, as being a spiritual whoredom; accounting the breakers of this commandment such as hate him, and threatening to punish them unto divers generations; and esteeming the observers of it such as love him and keep his commandments, and promising mercy to them unto many generations.

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Westminster Larger Catechism – Lord’s Day 26

Westminster Larger Catechism – Lord’s Day 26

Q & A 100
Q What special things are we to consider in the ten commandments?
A We are to consider in the ten commandments, the preface, the substance of the commandments themselves, and several reasons annexed to some of them, the more to enforce them.

Q & A 101
Q What is the preface to the ten commandments?
A The preface to the ten commandments is contained in these words, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.1 Wherein God manifests his sovereignty, as being YHWH, the eternal, immutable, and almighty God;2 having his being in and of himself,3 and giving being to all his words4 and works:5 and that he is a God in covenant, as with Israel of old, so with all his people;6 who, as he brought them out of their bondage in Egypt, so he delivers us from our spiritual thraldom;7 and that therefore we are bound to take him for our God alone, and to keep all his commandments.8

*1 Exodus 20:2.
*2 Isaiah 44:6.
*3 Exodus 3:14.
*4 Exodus 6:3.
*5 Acts 17:24, 28.
*6 Genesis 17:7; Romans 3:29.
*7 Luke 1:74-75.
*8 1 Peter 1:15, 17-18; Leviticus 18:30; Leviticus 19:37.

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Learning From The Pace Of A Day That Each Day Is Enough (via Zack Eswine)

From a sermon by Zack Eswine:

Recover a Weekly Rhythm: Passionate Work, Strategic and Wholesome Rest
When God made the days and nights, this pace for a day, this rhythm for a week peeked out at us, like a shy but faithful friend (Genesis 1). We want a stronger looking friend. So we overlook the wisdom of this gentle-looking one. But make no mistake, wisdom and true strength whispers here.
Day 1: Work, Cultivate, Make Covenant Love, Build friendship & Family, then . . . Rest
Day 2: Work, Cultivate, Make Covenant Love, Build friendship & Family, then . . . Rest
Day 3: Work, Cultivate, Make Covenant Love, Build friendship & Family, then . . . Rest
Day 4: Work, Cultivate, Make Covenant Love, Build friendship & Family, then . . . Rest
Day 5: Work, Cultivate, Make Covenant Love, Build friendship & Family, then . . . Rest
Day 6: Work, Cultivate, Make Covenant Love, Build friendship & Family, then . . . Rest
Day 7: Rest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rest

No wonder Jesus teaches us that each day has enough in it (Matthew 6:34) and to pray for daily need (Matthew 6:11).

Read more here.

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Following Jesus And Choosing Not To Be A Loner (via Steve Brown)

Helpful thoughts from Steve Brown reflecting on the conscious choice of Jesus to be involved in the lives of others, and all that choice entails.
What does that mean for us.

Jesus refused to be a loner. Jesus is God and one of his attributes is self-sufficiency. The Westminster Confession of Faith states, “God hath all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of himself; and is alone in and unto himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which he hath made…” While that is of course true, there is so much more to be said. Paul wrote, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:4-8). Jesus chose not to be a loner. And in so doing, Jesus chose pain…the inevitable result of being in relationship with other people. If you are committed to people, it is a commitment to pain, chaos, misunderstanding, conflict, anger, betrayal and pathos. Just ask Jesus. He knows.

Read the whole post here.

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Jesus, Our Way, Our Truth, Our Life (via Will Willimon)

William Willimon muses on the implications of Jesus being the way:

Surely Jesus means more than simply his way of life (and death) is to be the disciples’ way. He doesn’t say that his philosophy is the way (as Plato might have said) but rather “I am the way… “ A person, rather than a doctrine or a belief, is the way. It’s similar to what he says elsewhere about being the Door and the Shepherd (10:7, 11), a saying much like Matthew 7:13f. Because Jesus is uniquely related to the Father, he is our way to the Father. Verse 14:7 is a statement about destination. When we see Jesus, we see the Father. To know Christ is to at last see God.
John Milbank says that modern theology is in the grip of a “false humility.” God? Oh God is too grand, too ethereal; therefore, it is impossible to say anything definitive about God.
We wish. If God were not incarnate in Christ, then we could make “God” mean anything we please. John 14:1 dares to assert that the one standing before us — this Jew who is soon to be crucified by an unholy alliance of church and state because of what he said and what he did — is our access to God. Belief in Jesus is not something added on to a belief in God, but rather belief in Jesus is our belief in God. Here, standing before us is not only the “way” but also the “truth” about God.

Read more here.

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Jerry Bridges Takes A Place In The Church Eternal

I have found the writings of Jerry Bridges formative and encouraging.
Transforming Grace was a book that came at a point in my life where it was both comforting and challenging.
He never pastored a church but has taught thousands and has left a written legacy that will help many more.
His death marks the transition of a life that fruitfully lived out the freedom and the disciplines of grace.
Read more about his life here.
His commitment to the ongoing sharing of the Gospel as the foundation of ongoing pastoral ministry is something that I hold firmly.
I’ve shared this video before. Here it is again.

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A Question Of Motivation

Prepared for our local paper, The Border Watch.

Peak-hour traffic is relative.
In Mount Gambier it’s the seven or eight cars in front of me waiting at the Jubilee Highway – Wehl Street roundabout. In Brisbane it’s nose to tail traffic for kilometres for three hours in the morning and three hours in the evening.
And yet the experience of Brisbane peak hour doesn’t alleviate the frustration I feel when waiting for the cars in front of me on Wehl Street to get through the roundabout in Mount Gambier. I still think they’re too slow and miss gaps in the highway traffic.
Knowing that someone somewhere else is doing worse than you doesn’t always help you in your current experience. Perhaps you were told to eat the dinner you didn’t like for the sake of starving children in Africa. Despite a childish inability to truly empathise with that tragic reality, the prompt to think of others worse off never made dinner taste any better.
The tendency to find comfort or motivation for our own situation by thinking of worse situations is a temptation that seldom offers satisfying fruit.
It doesn’t develop our own sense of empathy for others, and depends on negative emotions such as guilt to compel us to our action. This won’t deepen relationships with those around us, nor will it grow our own senses of responsibility and self-discipline.
Instead we need to ask ourselves what our impatience points out about ourselves. What sense of privilege encourages us to believe we should be free of frustrations that are common to all? Why would we want to exert power and influence over others on the basis of negative emotions instead of investing the time to motivate them through trust and conviction?
The answers to these questions might cause us some discomfort, but they point the way to areas where we need to grow. Our own growth will then equip us to better serve others as we focus on their needs rather than seeking to influence their behaviour in order to make us feel better.
Those who are specially focussing on following Jesus during the weeks leading up to Easter can reflect on this principle as well.
It wouldn’t be helpful to think of activities being done, or other activities refrained from, in terms of wanting to make Jesus happy or being in fear of disappointing him.
It’s true that Jesus told his disciples that their love for him would be demonstrated in keeping his commandments; he also bid them to take up their crosses and follow him. But in doing so Jesus was not implying that a life following him was lived in fear of his frown; or that those who follow him should be mindful that whatever they’re going through Jesus went through worse.
Jesus doesn’t need validation from his disciples’ obedience or reassurance that their actions seem to hold him in high enough regard.
Christian faith holds that Jesus has done everything needed to bring forgiveness and freedom to his disciples. He bids those who follow him to do so for their sake, not his.