mgpcpastor's blog


1 Comment

The Resurrection: You Don’t Get It; It Gets You (via Will Willimon)

Will Willimon on why human understanding never expects resurrection:

Mary’s perfectly logical, understandably natural need to pursue the body of her beloved Jesus has not yet room for the miracle that has happened. The voice of Jesus has called to her, across an abyss of death, thrown a line to her across the cavernous expanse between her little logic of red wheelbarrows and all that and the power of God to work wonder. Like the voice that shatters glass, the voice of Jesus has shattered Mary’s world, called her forward to new possibility, new future.
Mary is now able to obey, to tell the others, “I have seen the Lord” (vs. 18). She has moved beyond her preoccupation with the corpse to an encounter with Christ. Her cause-effect logic is replaced by the larger logic called faith. She has been encountered, not by the dead corpse she thought she was seeing, but by a living Lord who is on the move and will not be held by us on our little logic.
Now there are at least two ways to think about things: cognition has two paths to the point of recognition. The first is, say, when you’re working on a tough math problem and after much effort you say, “I got it!”
The other way is, say, when you go to a great movie, and it changes you, lays hold of you to the very depths and you emerge changed. In that case, you don’t say, “I got it!” No. It gets you.

Read the whole post here.


Leave a comment

Christian Funerals – Grief With Hope (via Constantine Campbell)

At Desiring God Con Campbell reminds us that if Jesus can weep before the grave of a friend we shouldn’t be in too much of a rush to make our funerals too happy.
From the post:

Sometimes our Christian funerals are too happy. Yes, we believe our loved one is with Jesus. Yes, we believe that he or she will rise again. We do not grieve as those without hope. But we still grieve. If Jesus weeps for Lazarus, who he knows will not stay dead for long, it is appropriate that we weep for those who have died. They are with Jesus, but we will not see them again in this life. We will not speak with them or embrace them again here. It is right to grieve — with hope, yes — but still grieve.
After he wept for Lazarus, Jesus went to the tomb and ordered the stone to be removed (John 11:38–39). Martha, who so far has shown great faith and insight, doesn’t fully understand what’s going on. “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days” (John 11:39). Jesus responds to Martha with a mild rebuttal, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40). What he is about to do will reveal the glory of God.
After praying, Jesus shouts, “Lazarus, come out!”
And he does.
The Resurrection and the Life
The raising of Lazarus is an incredible miracle. It is the seventh, and final, sign in John’s Gospel. It is also the greatest sign, as though the others have been leading up to it. Each one is more spectacular than the last, climaxing now in Jesus’s authority over death itself. While Mary and her friends knew from the previous signs that Jesus is powerful — he could have prevented Lazarus’s death — they did not believe he had power over death itself. The seventh sign proves them wrong.
This is why Jesus told Martha that he is the resurrection and the life (John 11:25). He embodies resurrection.

Read the whole post here


Leave a comment

Westminster Larger Catechism – Lord’s Day 23

Westminster Larger Catechism – Lord’s Day 23

Q & A 82
Q What is the communion in glory which the members of the invisible church have with Christ?
A The communion in glory which the members of the invisible church have with Christ, is in this life,1 immediately after death,2 and at last perfected at the resurrection and day of judgment.*3

Q & A 83
Q What is the communion in glory with Christ which the members of the invisible church enjoy in this life?
A The members of the invisible church have communicated to them in this life the firstfruits of glory with Christ, as they are members of him their head, and so in him are interested in that glory which he is fully possessed of;4 and, as an earnest thereof, enjoy the sense of God’s love,5 peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Spirit, and hope of glory;6 as, on the contrary, sense of God’s revenging wrath, horror of conscience, and a fearful expectation of judgment, are to the wicked the beginning of their torments which they shall endure after death.7

Q & A 84
Q Shall all men die?
A Death being threatened as the wages of sin,8 it is appointed unto all men once to die;9 for that all have sinned.*10

Q & A 85
Q Death, being the wages of sin, why are not the righteous delivered from death, seeing all their sins are forgiven in Christ?
A The righteous shall be delivered from death itself at the last day, and even in death are delivered from the sting and curse of it;11 so that, although they die, yet it is out of God’s love,12 to free them perfectly from sin and misery,13 and to make them capable of further communion with Christ in glory, which they then enter upon.14

Q & A 86
Q What is the communion in glory with Christ, which the members of the invisible church enjoy immediately after death?
A The communion in glory with Christ, which the members of the invisible church enjoy immediately after death is, in that their souls are then made perfect in holiness,15 and received into the highest heavens,16 where they behold the face of God in light and glory,17 waiting for the full redemption of their bodies,18 which even in death continue united to Christ,19 and rest in their graves as in their beds,20 till at the last day they be again united to their souls.21 Whereas the souls of the wicked are at their death cast into hell, where they remain in torments and utter darkness, and their bodies kept in their graves, as in their prisons, till the resurrection and judgment of the great day.22

Q & A 87
Q What are we to believe concerning the resurrection?
A We are to believe that at the last day there shall be a general resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust:23 when they that are then found alive shall in a moment be changed; and the selfsame bodies of the dead which were laid in the grave, being then again united to their souls forever, shall be raised up by the power of Christ.24 The bodies of the just, by the Spirit of Christ, and by virtue of his resurrection as their head, shall be raised in power, spiritual, incorruptible, and made like to his glorious body;25 and the bodies of the wicked shall be raised up in dishonour by him, as an offended judge.26

Q & A 88
Q What shall immediately follow after the resurrection?
A Immediately after the resurrection shall follow the general and final judgment of angels and men;27 the day and hour whereof no man knoweth, that all may watch and pray, and be ever ready for the coming of the Lord.28

Q & A 89
Q What shall be done to the wicked at the day of judgment?
A At the day of judgment, the wicked shall be set on Christ’s left hand,29 and, upon clear evidence, and full conviction of their own consciences,30 shall have the fearful but just sentence of condemnation pronounced against them;31 and thereupon shall be cast out from the favourable presence of God, and the glorious fellowship with Christ, his saints, and all his holy angels, into hell, to be punished with unspeakable torments, both of body and soul, with the devil and his angels forever.32

Q & A 90
Q What shall be done to the righteous at the day of judgment?
A At the day of judgment, the righteous, being caught up to Christ in the clouds,33 shall be set on his right hand, and there openly acknowledged and acquitted,34 shall join with him in the judging of reprobate angels and men,35 and shall be received into heaven,36 where they shall be fully and forever freed from all sin and misery;37 filled with inconceivable joys,38 made perfectly holy and happy both in body and soul, in the company of innumerable saints and holy angels,39 but especially in the immediate vision and fruition of God the Father, of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, to all eternity.40 And this is the perfect and full communion, which the members of the invisible church shall enjoy with Christ in glory, at the resurrection and day of judgment.

*1 2 Corinthians 3:18.
*2 Luke 23:43.
*3 1 Thessalonians 4:17.
*4 Ephesians 2:5-6.
*5 Romans 5:5; 2 Corinthians 1:22.
*6 Romans 5:1-2; Romans 14:17.
*7 Genesis 4:13; Matthew 27:4; Hebrews 10:27; Romans 2:9; Mark 9:44.
*8 Romans 6:23.
*9 Hebrews 9:27.
*10 Romans 5:12.
*11 1 Corinthians 15:26, 55-57; Hebrews 2:15.
*12 Isaiah 57:1-2; 2 Kings 22:20.
*13 Revelation 14:13; Ephesians 5:27.
*14 Luke 23:43; Philippians 1:23.
*15 Hebrews 12:23.
*16 2 Corinthians 5:1, 6, 8; Philippians 1:23; Acts 3:21; Ephesians 4:10.
*17 1 John 3:2; 1 Corinthians 13:12.
*18 Romans 8:23; Psalm 16:9.
*19 1 Thessalonians 4:14.
*20 Isaiah 57:2.
*21 Job 19:26-27.
*22 Luke 16:23-24; Acts 1:25; Jude 6-7.
*23 Acts 24:15.
*24 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; John 5:28-29.
*25 1 Corinthians 15:21-23, 42-44; Philippians 3:21.
*26 John 5:27-29; Matthew 25:33.
*27 2 Peter 2:4, 6-7, 14-15; Matthew 25:46.
*28 Matthew 24:36, 42, 44.
*29 Matthew 25:33.
*30 Romans 2:15-16.
*31 Matthew 25:41-43.
*32 Luke 16:26; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9.
*33 1 Thessalonians 4:17.
*34 Matthew 25:33; Matthew 10:32.
*35 1 Corinthians 6:2-3.
*36 Matthew 25:34, 46.
*37 Ephesians 5:27; Revelation 14:13.
*38 Psalm 16:11.
*39 Hebrews 12:22-23.
*40 1 John 3:2; 1 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 4:17-18.


Leave a comment

Because He Lives by Matt Maher & Co – Sunday Songs

Matt Maher and a cast of thousands have a song called Because He Lives, which is not the same as the song by the Gaithers, but still manages to borrow a few lines from the Gaither lyrics, so they’re credited along with five others as composers of this.
For all the credited composers it is a likeable song because it’s not long, makes its point and makes it well.
This is a lyric video.

The lyrics:
1.
I believe in the Son
I believe in the risen One
I believe I overcome
By the power of His blood
Chorus 1.
Amen, amen
I’m alive, I’m alive
Because He lives
Amen, amen
Let my song join the One that never ends
Because He lives
2.
I was dead in the grave
I was covered in sin and shame
I heard mercy call my name
He rolled the stone away
Chorus 2.
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, every fear is gone
I know He holds my life, my future, in His hands

Chris Tomlin | Daniel Carson | Ed Cash | Gloria Gaither | Jason Ingram | Matt Maher | William J. Gaither
© 2014 Hanna Street Music (BMI) (adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com)/ Sony/ATV Tree Publishing / I Am A Pilgrim Songs (BMI) / Sony/ATV Timber Publishing / Open Hands Music (SESAC) / Alletrop Music (BMI) (adm. by Music Services) / worshiptogether.com Songs (ASCAP) Worship Together Music (BMI)sixsteps Music (ASCAP) sixsteps Songs (BMI) S.D.G. Publishing (BMI) (adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com)


1 Comment

The Compelling Example Of God Working All Things For Good (via David Burke)

David Burke provides an Easter reflection that reminds us that in puzzling and painful providence the perception of the “goodness and the perfections of his providence may often only be seen through the rear vision mirror and not through the windscreen or side windows.”

The death and resurrection of Jesus is the compelling example of God working all things for the good of those who love him. As we meditate on it, we have confidence quietly to stay loyal to the Lord as we wait to see the resolution of our painful and puzzling providence. The patriarch puts it well yet again, So do not fear, I will provide for you and your little ones (Gen 50:21).
Read the whole post here.


Leave a comment

Resurrection Is In The Very Nature Of God, And In The Lives Of Christians, Too (via Ron Block)

Ron Block gives a very person testimony about the power of the resurrection life.
In conclusion:
Resurrection is in the very nature of God, because he is Life. We get that. But what we sometimes miss is that same nature resides in us by the Holy Spirit, and we are alive with that same life. 2 Peter 1:4 says we are “partakers of the divine nature” through knowing Christ, that we have everything we need for life and godliness in him who called us to glory and virtue.
It’s not simply being saved from God’s wrath, and hell, but, as Paul puts it, “….do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:2-4)
For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. (Romans 8:3b-4)
The Resurrection, for the believer, means a redefinition, a renaming of ourselves, a reorientation. It means life comes out of death. It means we know there is eternal life in us, life in this seed that is planted again and again in dark, muddy ground, and Life will always spring up out of death, again, and again, and again, until the day there is no more death.

Read the whole post here.


Leave a comment

There’s Only One Way To See The Risen Lord Jesus

I’ve been continuing in post-easter mode with articles for the Border Watch.
Next week will have a remembrance theme.
I’m conscious that not everyone will read all of these, so even though themes overlap they have to stand on their own.
I’m also working on the idea that there will be a committed readership that identify as Christian. It may be larger than the readership among those who don’t.
A distinct part of the discipline of these is the title. It’s an area that I struggle with.
I was working under ‘A Singular Perception Of The Risen Lord Jesus’.
The editor decided on ‘Individual Perception Varies Resurrection View’.

Do you remember ‘dress-gate’ back in late February? It seemed like everyone on the internet was arguing about a picture of a dress that some people believed was blue with black highlights, while others, seeing the same picture, were adamant the dress was white with gold features.
Twitter exploded with whiteandgold and blueandblack hashtags, families and friends were divided, celebrities weighed in with their opinions via social media, and those with qualifications in Vision Sciences had a rare time in the spotlight (so to speak).
The best explanation seemed to be that colour was a construct of our brains and vision, with light, past experiences and other factors accounting for the differences in perception.
People can look at the same object and truly be correct in their own minds when they see it with completely different colours.
There are some people who propose a similar view about the resurrection of Jesus. The assertion is made that resurrection didn’t mean returned from the grave free from the power of death; but rather it meant that Jesus’ followers aimed to adopt his teaching and attitudes in their own lives and actions, and by so doing continue his ‘life’.
The argument would observe that the concept of resurrection and Jesus’ return are a metaphor for this shared conviction.
Everyone else would see an occupied tomb, but the disciples of Jesus perceived an empty one. With both being ‘right’ in their own minds.
The problem with this particular theory is that both the text of the Bible and the actions of the disciples seem to go out of their way to disprove it.
In Luke’s gospel, among others, the risen Lord Jesus is described in physical terms, able to be touched and eating food. It was not an idea or philosophy that came forth from the tomb, it was a person.
Similarly, in the Acts of the Apostles, the teaching of the disciples was about meeting the risen Jesus, not adopting a moral code or ethical precepts. Time and again, we observe the aim of their work was to see people in relationship with Jesus, not reform society.
Sometimes you might hear people say that they’re Christians because they keep the ten commandments, went forward at a rally, go to church every Sunday, or have lived a good life. If these are the only reasons folk think they’re a Christian or going to heaven, they’re not actually following that which the Bible teaches and the early Christians stressed.
The early church wanted to make sure people wouldn’t falsely fall into the idea that Christianity was whatever people wanted to make it to be. They guarded against the idea it was all a matter of perception.
Perhaps you’ve mistakenly been thinking that Christians are all about a moral and ethical values based on the teaching of Jesus. If that’s been the case please reconsider, and, instead, consider that Christianity is all about meeting the risen Lord Jesus.