Archive for October 2012

Reformation Day

October 31, 2012

“Reformation Day is a religious holiday celebrated on October 31st or the last weekend in October in remembrance of the Reformation. Martin Luther posted a proposal at the doors of a church in Wittenberg, Germany to debate the doctrine and practice of indulgences. This proposal is popularly known as the 95 Theses, which he nailed to the Castle Church doors. This was not an act of defiance or provocation as is sometimes thought. Since the Castle Church faced Wittenberg’s main thoroughfare, the church door functioned as a public bulletin board and was therefore the logical place for posting important notices. Also, the theses were written in Latin, the language of the church, and not in the vernacular. Nonetheless, the event created a controversy between Luther and those allied with the Pope over a variety of doctrines and practices.

While it had profound and lasting impacts on the political, economic, social, literary, and artistic aspects of modern society, the Reformation was at its heart a religious movement. The Reformation was the great rediscovery of the good news of salvation by grace through faith for Christ’s sake. For centuries, the Roman Catholic Church had been plagued by false doctrines, superstition, ignorance, and corruption. Since most ordinary Christians were illiterate and had little knowledge of the Bible, they relied on their clergy for religious instruction and guidance. Tragically however, monks, priests, bishops, and even the popes in Rome taught unbiblical doctrines like purgatory and salvation through good works. Spiritually earnest people tried to justify themselves by charitable works, pilgrimages, and all kinds of religious performances and devotions, but they were left wondering if they had done enough to escape God’s anger and punishment. The truth of the gospel — the good news that God is loving and merciful, that He offers each and every one of us forgiveness and salvation not because of what we do, but because of what Christ has already done for us — was largely forgotten by both clergy and laity.

The Holy Spirit used an Augustinian monk and university professor named Martin Luther to restore the gospel to its Martin Luther4   rightful place as the cornerstone doctrine of Christianity. Martin Luther and his colleagues came to understand that if we sinners had to earn salvation by our own merits and good works, we would be lost and completely without hope. But through the working of the Holy Spirit, the reformers rediscovered the gospel — the wonderful news that Jesus Christ lived, died, and rose again to redeem and justify us.

As Luther wrote in his explanation of the Second Article of the Apostles’ Creed: I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.

On Reformation Day, we glorify God for what he accomplished in 16th century Germany through His servant, Dr. Martin Luther — the recovery of the gospel of salvation by grace through faith for Christ’s sake. We also earnestly pray that God would keep all of us faithful to the true gospel and help us to joyfully declare it to the world. This lovely hymn verse encapsulates the theme of our Reformation celebration:

    ‘By grace God’s Son, our only Savior, Came down to earth to bear our sin. Was it because of your own merit That Jesus died your soul to win? No, it was grace, and grace alone, It brought Him from His heav’nly throne.’ “

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This article was taken from the Monergism.com website.

Pictures were copied and pasted from the web.

Hallelujah, What a Savior!

October 30, 2012

I enjoy and value the hymns of old. So many of them communicate profound doctrine. “‘Man of Sorrows,’ What a Name” is such a hymn.

This beautiful hymn has lyrics that not only teach doctrine, but elicit reverent worship.

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“‘Man of sorrows,’ what a name
for the Son of God, who came
ruined sinners to reclaim:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
in my place condemned he stood,
sealed my pardon with his blood:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Guilty, helpless, lost were we;
blameless Lamb of God was he,
sacrificed to set us free:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

He was lifted up to die;
‘It is finished’ was his cry;
now in heaven exalted high:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

When he comes, our glorious King,
all his ransomed home to bring,
then anew this song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!”

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“‘Man of Sorrows’, What a Name” was written by Philp Blass (1838 – 1876) in 1875.

He’s Got the Whole World …

October 29, 2012

He’s got the whole world …

Whole World in His Hands 

… in His hands.

 

Grace Is The Theme

October 27, 2012

In Stedfast Adherence to the Professions of the Faith (1718), we find a tremendous collection of sermons preached by Robert Traill (1642-1716), a Scottish Presbyterian pastor and reformer. Among the many sermons included in this volume are thirteen preached on Hebrews 4:16. These sermons from Hebrews are simply entitled Thirteen Sermons on the Throne of Grace.

Traill wrote the preface to Stedfast Adherence. In it are words that reveal the spiritual character and heart of this great preacher. They are as stirring and motivating as any found in the sermons themselves.

“I know of no true religion but Christianity; no true Christianity but the doctrine of Christ; of his divine person, (the image of the invisible God, Colossians 1:15); of his divine office, (the Mediator betwixt God and men, I Timothy 2:5); of his divine righteousness, (he is the Lord our Righteousness, Jeremiah 23:6; which name is also called upon his church, chapter 33:16); and of his divine Spirit, (which all that are his receive, Romans 8:9). I know no true ministers of Christ, but such as make it their business, in their calling, to commend Jesus Christ, in his saving fulness of grace and glory, to the faith and love of men; no true Christian, but one united to Christ by faith, and abiding in him by faith and love, unto the glorifying of the name of Jesus Christ, in the beauties of gospel-holiness.”

When speaking of the theme of the messages from Hebrews 4:16, Traill states that it  …

“… is concerning the throne of God’s saving grace, reared up in Christ, and revealed  unto men in the gospel; with the application all should make to that throne, the great blessings to be reaped by that application, and men’s great need of those blessings.”

As Traill concludes the preface to Stedfast Adherence to the Professions of the Faith, he prays this prayer for the readers of his messages,

“May the Lord of the harvest, who ministered this seed to the sower, make it bread to the eater, and accompany it with his blessing on some that are called to inherit a blessing, and I have my end and desire; the reader shall have the benefit; and the Lord the glory; for of him, and through him, and to him, are all things; to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”

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I would invite you join me as I post through Robert Traill’s Thirteen Sermons on The Throne of God. I believe the Lord will use them to feed and enrich our souls and draw us closer to Him in fellowship and worship.

You can find the Throne of Grace messages here.

Approaching The Throne of Grace

October 26, 2012

Robert Traill was a Scottish Presbyterian pastor and reformer who lived from 1642 to 1716. Because of the religious and Robert Traill2  political persecution he was subject to from the Church of England because of his religious and church beliefs, Traill fled to Holland in 1667 and then to London in 1670. He returned to Scotland for a short period of time, was arrested, and spent several months in Bass Prison. After his release he returned to London where he pastored a Scottish congregation until his death in 1716.

I became familiar with Traill in 2009 when I read, studied, and posted on his six- sermon series on Galatians 2:21. That series, preached around 1692 and later published as The True Gospel Preached: Six Sermons on Galatians 2:21, “set forth the Gospel of God’s Free and Sovereign Grace in Jesus Christ to unworthy sinners who are so foolishly inclined to set about the seeking of their reconciliation with God by the Law and their own righteousness.” (True Covenanter)

The Lord blessed me tremendously as I read and studied the messages delivered by one who lived so long ago. What struck me about those sermons is how God-exalting, Christ-centered, and grace-saturated Traill’s messages are.

You can read my posts on Traill’s Galatians 2:21 sermons here. In the posts you will find links to the sermons so that you can read them, too.

Traill preached a number of sermon series based on only one or two verses of Scripture. He preached a sixteen-sermon series on the Lord’s Prayer, a three-sermon series on Matthew 7:13, 14 on entering at the straight gate, and a thirteen-sermon series on one verse from the Book of Hebrews.

The Hebrews series is entitled The Throne of Grace and is based on Hebrews 4:16. In this passage of Scripture, we receive an exhortation.

“Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.”

The Hebrew’s sermons were included in a book of Traill’s sermons that was published in 1718. The book is entitled A Stedfast Adherence to the Profession of our Faith.

It is my intention to read, study, and post through the thirteen sermons on Hebrews 4:16 that Robert Traill preached three hundred years ago. Just as his messages from Galatians 2:21 touched my heart, I expect the Lord to use Traill’s messages to help me better understand the throne of God’s grace and the privilege that is mine to draw near to God on His throne because of Who Jesus is and what He has done in my life.  I pray that the Holy Spirit will use this passage of Scripture and these messages to stir within me a greater commitment to loving, serving, and worshipping the Lord with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength.

My Name Etched

October 23, 2012

I used to joke with my wife that I could find the first name of each of our children – Hannah, Rachel, Nathan, and Noah, and mine as well, David – in the Bible, but I could not find either her first or middle names there.

Her reply always was, “That’s okay, as I long as I know that my name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”

Regena Jane has a confidence about her salvation and eternal destiny. It is not based on her name or her good looks. It’s not based on anything that she has done or ever will do. And, there is nothing she will ever do that will ever cause her to lose it. Her confidence, and that of all Christians, for salvation and eternal life is simply in the finished, effectual, sure work of God in Christ on the Cross of Calvary.

In a sermon entitled The Immutability of Christ, John Ross MacDuff reminds us that our assurance of salvation, our confidence for daily living, and our confident expectation for tomorrow is found in the Immutable Christ.

Below is one quote from the sermon.

“‘I have engraved you on the palms of My hands. Not on the mountains, colossal as they are, for they shall depart; on no leaf of nature’s vast volume, for the last fires shall scorch them; not on blazing sun, for he shall grow dim with age; or on glorious heavens, for they shall be folded together as a scroll. But on the hand which made the worlds, the hand which was transfixed on Calvary, the hand of might and love–I have engraved you there. No corroding power can efface the writing, obliterate the name–you are Mine now, and Mine forever!'”

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John Ross MacDuff (1818-1895) was a Scottish Presbyterian pastor and writer. He also wrote poetry and was known for his devotional writings.

The above quote is taken from the sermon The Immutability of Christ. It is based on Hebrews 18:8 –

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.”

The sermon can be read in its entirety here.