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Deliver My Soul - Psalm 22:16-21

For dogs encompass me;16 a company of evildoers encircles me;they have pierced my hands and feet—I can count all my bones—17 they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, 18 and for my clothing they cast lots.9 But you, O LORD, do not be far off O you my help, come quickly to my aid! 20Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog! 21 Save me from the mouth of the lion! You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!

These verses from Psalm 22 clearly identify it as Messianic. The details given correspond directly to events of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, which took place a thousand years after David wrote the psalm.Verse 16 says, “they have pierced my hands and fee,” which is consistent with Roman crucifixion,” and “I can count all of my bones,” may refer to the posture of the victim, with arms spread wide above the height of the shoulders, exposing the ribs. That the soldiers attending the execution would “divide [his] garments among them,” would in itself be a particular detail unique to Christ’s crucifixion, but verse 18 also says, “for my clothing they cast lots.” John 19:23-24 indicates that Jesus’s tunic was woven of one piece of fabric, so rather than tearing it, they cast lots. That both of these details correspond to the crucifixion of Jesus is remarkable. Fulfillment of prophecies like these confirm our belief and trust in both the Old Testament Scriptures and the gospels, and with the gospels their testimony to the person and work of Jesus.

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 13:12 -- john_hendryx

Rejected by Men, Remembered by God - Psalm 22:6-11

6 But I am a worm and not a man,
    scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
    they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
“He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him;
    let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”

Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
    you made me trust you at my mother's breasts.
10 On you was I cast from my birth,
    and from my mother's womb you have been my God.
11 Be not far from me,
    for trouble is near,
    and there is none to help.

Psalm 22:6-11

Psalm 22 is not a cheerful, happy psalm. But ours is not always a cheerful, happy life, and it is encouraging to know that the Old Testament saints, and even Jesus Himself experienced the same rejection and alienation we sometimes suffer. Their words and their example teach us how to handle such circumstances, and give us hope when they happen to us, too.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 10:49 -- john_hendryx

Sensual vs. Scriptural - Psalm 22:1-5

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.  Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them.  To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. Psalm 22:1-5

We live in a sensual generation in a sensual society. This is true not just for the hedonistic, “If it feels good, do it,” crowd. It is a logical result of a materialistic world and life view. If there is no God, no truth, only the material world we live in, we will certainly tend to be more strongly influenced our five senses and the tangible, material things that they can see, feel, hear, smell and taste. And following on this, we will be more strongly influenced by feelings and emotions than by abstract philosophical concepts like truth or justice or love or beauty. Feelings and emotions are not concrete, either , but they just happen to us without our conscious effort, and so in that sense they seem more real to the contemporary mind.

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 14:23 -- john_hendryx

Messianic Psalms - Psalm 2

1 Why do the nations rage
    and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers take counsel together,
    against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
    and cast away their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
    the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
    and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
    on Zion, my holy hill.”

I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
    today I have begotten you.

Psalm 2:1-7

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 10:12 -- john_hendryx

Final Words - 1 John 5:18-21

18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

As John finally concludes his letter he reminds his readers of four key points: we don’t have to be the way we have always been, this world is not our home, truth is found in God and, anything that is not from God is against Him.

First of all, we don’t have to be the way we have always been. In fact, we should not be. “Everyone who has been born of God does not keep sinning (v. 18).” If we have experienced Christ’s love and abide in Him we will “walk in the way He walked (2:6),” and sinful patterns and practices from the past will not define us. God so wants us to live new lives that He personally protects us, from sin and from the evil one who would tempt us and who seeks to do us harm.

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 10:29 -- john_hendryx

Faith or Obedience?

As Reformed believers we can rightly become very excited about discovering the depths of the biblical riches of God's grace. But as a result of wrong thinking about this, many of our churches avoid talking about obedience. One reason is that many have been burned in the past by legalistic churches or another is that they may be afraid of compromising the crucial doctrine of justification through faith alone. Those are good things to avoid but passages like Titus 2:12 teach "us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age." In fact the New Testament is full of divine commands or imperatives. True if taken in the wrong way, these commands could be construed as legalism or justification by works, but when regeneration is understood aright, the renewed heart, where the Spirit is at work, makes these commands part of our inner delight in living for Christ. We obey because the Spirit has united us to Christ and inclined our hearts toward holiness .... not in order to be saved but because we are saved. All obedience needs to be grounded in grace ... that is springs from Christ's work, not something we do in order to deserve Christ's blessing.  Our motive for obedience shows whether we understand the gospel or not. 

Wed, 07/09/2014 - 16:28 -- john_hendryx

Why Are Secular Progressives So Threatened by the Christian's View of Homosexual Behavior?

Why do the the secular progressives feel so threatened when homosexual behavior is called a sin by Christians? Is this sin unique among sins? The recent fury by the Hollywood crowd over Kirk Cameron's honest answer to a journalist's question and the firing of verious people for their views on this issue got me to thinking about this.

For thousands of years the church has declared many various things as sinful; practices that are in direct rebellion against the Creator. These are acts that God Himself revealed to men as opposing his Lordship. The church has always declared the sinfulness of sex outside the covenant of marriage (before and after marriage), the sinfulness of idol worship, greed, envy, hatred, pride and arrogance, self-righteousness, murder and many more. And the largest proportion of these are directed toward the church's own sin. You can see this every morning in our prayers and every Sunday (in confessional churches) during the corporate confession of sin where we remind ourselves that we are sinners and do so by then naming specific sins we ourselves are all guilty of ... and the very grace in the gospel constantly reminds that we are no better than others (to think one is better such an easy sin for all of us to fall into), and we also remind ourselves that but for the grace and mercy of God in Jesus Christ alone would would have no hope at all. We confess daily that if we based our ability to please God and earn eternal life on our own broken sinful lives, that none of us would make it, since we all justly deserve God's wrath. Humanity, therefore, needs a Savior because it is in slavery to sin and bent on rebellion against the only one who can deliver us. None of us are immune from sin and our personal sin is not more righteous the sins of the gay person. We are all equally damned without God's grace.

Wed, 07/09/2014 - 15:25 -- john_hendryx

Intercession and Apostasy - 1 John 5:16-17

16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death. 1 John 5:16-17

John has taught his readers to imitate Jesus by obeying the Father, as He has obeyed (2:6, 3:6), and by showing love to our brothers as Christ has shown love to us (3:16). Here he calls on them to intercede with God for those who are sinning. This is an indirect call to imitate Jesus as He is an intercessor, He pleads with God on our behalf. As the Apostle Paul says, “Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us (Romans 8:34).” It is not our intercession that gives life. It is God that gives life (v. 16), and His righteous anger is only turned aside by Christ’s propitiation (2:2). But John is talking about brothers, those who are already followers of Christ. So, in a sense, their sin is already forgiven in Christ, and God is pleased to hear our requests because of Him.

John warns that there is an exception, though, in the “sin that leads to death.” This must be spiritual death, of the type Jesus talks about in the Gospel of Mark:

Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter,  but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin (Mark 3:28-29).”

Wed, 07/09/2014 - 10:49 -- john_hendryx

Gospel Assurances - 1 John 5:13-15

13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him (1 John 5:13-15).

John has taught his readers about many things, like sin and righteousness and light and darkness and truth and lies, the dangers of loving the world and the threat of antichrists. He has also assured them of the the joy they can have as believers, the assurance that Christ is their advocate, and that they are God’s children. He has called them to love one another, following Christ’s example. He warned them that they must discern between good and evil spirits. And he has encouraged them that Christ has overcome the world, its threats and temptations.

John offers powerful encouragements and dire warnings. But as he begins to conclude his letter, he wants to make clear to his readers why he has written them. The promises and the dangers are real, but he also wants to give a big picture perspective. So he says directly that he is writing to Christians, so that they may know that they have eternal life (v. 13).

John similarly who wrote at the end of his gospel that he has

. . . written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name (John 20:30-31).

So, whether John is writing a gospel telling the good news of who Jesus is, hoping his readers might believe and come to have life, or if he is writing to those who are already believers, his emphasis is on eternal life.

Tue, 07/08/2014 - 10:53 -- john_hendryx

Overcoming - 1 John 5:1-4

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

There are various things we must overcome in life: hardships or trials, difficulties or troubles. All of these have negative connotations. So what does John mean when he says that “those who have been born of God have overcome the world”? Most of us have overcome something, like illness or negative attitudes. But to overcome the world either seems wildly ambitious, or paints the world in a pretty negative light.

In fact, John does paint the world in a negative light. But the world he is referring to is the fallen world, characterized by sin and corruption. It is the world governed by the devil, and is opposed to the love of the Father (2:15). It is the world that is the source of the lust of the flesh, eyes, pride of life (2:16), and which is passing away (2:17). This world does not know God (3:1), and hates those who do (3:13). It is filled with false prophets (4:1) and antichrists (4:3). Nevertheless, Christians can take heart, because He who is in us is greater than him who is in the world (4:4). In fact, Jesus was sent and came into the world (4:9) precisely to be the savior of the world (4:14).

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 09:51 -- john_hendryx

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