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“He manifests his comparative glory; “Thou art more excellent than hills of prey: fairer than the sons of men;” the bride, the believer sees him as the apple-tree among the trees of the wood, every way incomparable. Whatever he be compared to he excels it; if he be a lily, he is the lily of the valley; if he be a rose, he is the rose of Sharon; if he be a plant, he is the plant of renown; if he be a physician, he is the physician of value; if an advocate, he is an advocate with the Father; he is represented without any parallel.”

-Ralph Erskine (1685-1752)

Close-up_of_Sirius“What shall I say! And how shall I describe this Birth to you? For this wonder fills me with astonishment. The Ancient of days has become an infant. He Who sits upon the sublime and heavenly Throne, now lies in a manger. And He Who cannot be touched, Who is simple, without complexity, and incorporeal, now lies subject to the hands of men. He Who has broken the bonds of sinners, is now bound by an infants bands. But He has decreed that ignominy shall become honor, infamy be clothed with glory, and total humiliation the measure of His Goodness.”

-John Chrysostom (c. 349-407)

“Find the door of your heart, you will discover it is the door of the kingdom of God.”

-John Chrysostom (c. 349-407)

662a7aecb7“. . . the return of Christ unto judgment is not an arbitrary addition that can be isolated from his preceding work and viewed by itself.  It is a necessary and indispensable component of that work.  It brings that work to completion and crowns it.  It is the last and highest step in the state of his exaltation.

“Because Christ is the savior of the world, he will someday return as its judge.  The crisis,  or judgment (krisis),  that he precipitated by his first coming he consummates at the second coming.  The Father gave him authority to execute judgment (krisin poeiein) because he is the Son of Man (John 5:27).  Eschatology, therefore, is rooted in Christology and is itself Christology, the teaching of the final, complete triumph of Christ and his kingdom over all his enemies.  In accord with Scripture, we can go back even further.  The Son is not only the mediator of reconciliation (mediator reconciliatonis) on account of sin, but even apart from sin he is the mediator of union (mediator unionis) between God and his creation.  He is not only the exemplary cause (causa exemplaris) but also the final cause (causa finalis) of creation.  In the Son the world  has its foundation and example, and therefore it has in him its goal as well.  It is created through him and for hims as well (Col. 1:16).  Because the creation is his work, it cannot and may not remain the booty of Satan.  The Son is the head, Lord, and heir of all things.  United in the Son, gathered under him as their  head, all creatures return to the Father, the fountain of all good.  The second coming is therefore required by his first coming.  It is implied in the first; in time, by inner necessity, it will proceed from the first; the second coming brings the first coming to its full effect and completion and was therefore comprehended in a single image with the first coming by Old Testament prophecy.”

– Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics (4:685).

Last Lord’s Day (Sunday), we considered the weighty saying of Christ, “The Son of man came not to serve, but to be served, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28).  Jesus was going to the cross, but sadly, his disciples detoured him with their foolish question.  Yet Jesus made this sad detour a boundless blessing for them and us, if we have ears to hear.

Listen – if even for a minute or two – to the message here.

 

Altar-of-Sacrifice“And when our iniquity had been fully accomplished, and it had been made perfectly manifest that punishment and death were expected as its recompense, and the season came which God had ordained, when henceforth He should manifest His goodness and power (O the exceeding great kindness and love of God), He hated us not, neither rejected us, nor bore us malice, but was long-suffering and patient, and in pity for us took upon Himself our sins, and Himself parted with His own Son as a ransom for us, the holy for the lawless, the guileless for the evil, the just for the unjust, the incorruptible for the corruptible, the immortal for the mortal. For what else but His righteousness would have
covered our sins?

“In whom was it possible for us lawless and ungodly men to have been justified, save only in the Son of God?

“O the sweet exchange, O the inscrutable creation, O the unexpected benefits; that the iniquity of many should be concealed in One Righteous Man, and the righteousness of One should justify many that are iniquitous!”

Epistle to Diognetus, 5:2-5 (ca. 150 A.D.)

The God-Man

Rembrandt_The_Apostle_PeterSomething that often strikes me when reading the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – is their earthiness.  There is something raw, unpolished, and therefore real about these four eye-witness accounts of Jesus Christ.  It has the ring of the genuine.  Their portraits of Christ and the twelve apostles are absolutely not photo-shopped.

One clear instance is the un-photo-shopped Peter.  Peter was hand-picked by Jesus at the very beginning of his three-year ministry.  Peter was a common man.  A fisherman by trade.  Really, had the Savior not singled him out, he would have lived and died a nameless nobody in the backwoods of Judea.  But Jesus changed all that.

Read the rest of this entry »

Here’s a short clip from our last sermon on 1 Peter 3:17-18, “For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.”

To listen to the entire sermon, click here.

“But the proof of the possibility of the resurrection of the flesh I have sufficiently demonstrated, in answer to men of the world. And if the resurrection of the flesh is not found impossible on the principles even of unbelievers, how much more will it be found in accordance with the mind of believers! But following our order, we must now speak with respect to those who think meanly of the flesh, and say that it is not worthy of the resurrection nor of the heavenly economy, because, first, its substance is earth; and besides, because it is full of all wickedness, so that it forces the soul to sin along with it. But these persons seem to be ignorant of the whole work of God, both of the genesis and formation of man at the first, and why the things in the world were made. For does not the word say, Let Us make man in our image, and after our likeness? Genesis 1:26 What kind of man? Manifestly He means fleshly man, For the word says, And God took dust of the earth, and made man. Genesis 2:7 It is evident, therefore, that man made in the image of God was of flesh. Is it not, then, absurd to say, that the flesh made by God in His own image is contemptible, and worth nothing? But that the flesh is with God a precious possession is manifest, first from its being formed by Him, if at least the image is valuable to the former and artist; and besides, its value can be gathered from the creation of the rest of the world. For that on account of which the rest is made, is the most precious of all to the maker.”

-Justin Martyr (100-165 A.D.)

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