mgpcpastor's blog

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.

Leave a comment

Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 14

Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 14

Q & A 27
Q Wherein did Christ’s humiliation consist?
A Christ’s humiliation consisted in his being born, and that in a low condition,1 made under the law,2 undergoing the miseries of this life,3 the wrath of God,4 and the cursed death of the cross;5 in being buried, and continuing under the power of death for a time.6

*1 Luke 2:7; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Galatians 4:4.
*2 Galatians 4:4.
*3 Isaiah 53:3; Luke 9:58; John 4:6; John 11:35; Hebrews 2:18.
*4 Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46; Isaiah 53:10; 1 John 2:2.
*5 Galatians 3:13; Philippians 2:8.
*6 Matthew 12:40; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.

Leave a comment

Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 13

Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 13

Q & A 23
Q What offices does Christ execute as our Redeemer?
A Christ, as our Redeemer, executes the offices of a prophet,1 of a priest,2 and of a king,*3 both in his estate of humiliation and exaltation.

Q & A 24
Q How does Christ execute the office of a prophet?
A Christ executes the office of a prophet, in revealing to us, by his Word4 and Spirit,5 the will of God for our salvation.*6

Q & A 25
Q How does Christ execute the office of a priest?
A Christ executes the office of a priest, in his once offering up of himself a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice,7 and reconcile us to God,8 and in making continual intercession for us.*9

Q & A 26
Q How does Christ execute the office of a king?
A Christ executes the office of a king, in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us,10 and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies.11

*1 Deuteronomy 18:18; Acts 2:33; Acts 3:22-23; Hebrews 1:1-2.
*2 Hebrews 4:14-15; Hebrews 5:5-6.
*3 Isaiah 9:6-7; Luke 1:32-33; 1 Corinthians 15:25.
*4 Luke 4:18-19, 21; Acts 1:1-2; Hebrews 2:3.
*5 John 15:26-27; Acts 1:8; 1 Peter 1:11.
*6 John 4:41-42; John 20:30-31.
*7 Isaiah 53; Acts 8:32-35; Hebrews 9:26-28; Hebrews 10:12.
*8 Romans 5:10-11; 2 Corinthians 5:18; Colossians 1:21-22.
*9 Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 9:24.
*10 Psalm 110:3; Matthew 28:18-20; John 17:2; Colossians 1:13.
*11 Psalm 2:6-9; Psalm 110:1-2;. Matthew 12:28; 1 Corinthians 15:24-26; Colossians 2:15.

Leave a comment

The Sharers And The Builder

Something my Lutheran colleague said yesterday while preaching his last sermon to the congregation he served in Mount Gambier went like this: The Gospel is shared by many; the Church is built by Jesus alone.
I’ve been thinking about that ever since.
It’s true and very encouraging.

Leave a comment

The Only Victor In The Worship War (via Paul Tripp)

From Paul Tripp:

For the child of God, life in a fallen world will be one big worship war. Even though we’ve been given the Holy Spirit and the ability to worship the Creator at all times, our sinful nature will fight to worship the created world.
So how can you be a better soldier? How are you going to keep your heart focused and your worship pure? How are you going to make sure that you don’t waste your life in pursuit of created things?
Pay close attention here: you can’t win this war of worship. You don’t have the ability to free yourself from the myriad of idols that seek to lay claim on your heart. But you’re not alone, and you’re not hopeless.
Jesus came to break the back of your idolatry. Jesus came to free you from your addiction to the shadow glories of the created world. Start right here, right now by crying out for His help. Admit that you’re magnetized by a whole catalog of god-replacements, and ask Jesus to intervene on your behalf.

Read the whole post here.

Leave a comment

Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 18

Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 18

Q. How do you understand the words: “He ascended into heaven”?
A. That Christ was taken up from the earth into heaven before the eyes of his disciples and remains there on our behalf until he comes again to judge the living and the dead.

Q. Then, is not Christ with us unto the end of the world, as he has promised us?
A. Christ is true man and true God. As a man he is no longer on earth, but in his divinity, majesty, grace, and Spirit, he is never absent from us.

Q. But are not the two natures in Christ separated from each other in this way, if the humanity is not wherever the divinity is?
A. Not at all; for since divinity is incomprehensible and everywhere present, it must follow that the divinity is indeed beyond the bounds of the humanity which it assumed, and is nonetheless ever in that humanity as well, and remains personally united to it.

Q. What benefit do we receive from Christ’s ascension into heaven?
A. First, that he is our Advocate in the presence of his Father in heaven. Second, that we have our flesh in heaven as a sure pledge that he, as the Head, will also take us, his members, up to himself. Third, the he sends us his Spirit as a counterpledge by whose power we seek what is above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God, and not things that are on earth.