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5000명을 먹이는 사람(A Person Who Feeds the 5000)/ 막6:35-47(Mark 6:35-47), 요6:5-13(John 6:5-13)/ 한영대역설교/ 어린이주일학교설교/ 2007-02-27
5000명을 먹이는 사람(A Person Who Feeds the 5000) 막6:35-47(Mark 6:35-47), 요6:5-13(John 6:5-13) 한 기업인이 목사님을 찾아왔습니다. a businessman came to a pastor. “목사님 저는 성공하지 못한 사업가입니다.” He said “ I am a failed businessman.” “왜요? 요즘 불황이라 회사가 힘드신가 봐요?” “why? is there a depression in your company?” “직원들 봉급주고 나니까 남는 게 없어요.” “I don’t have anything left when I give the wages to my workers” “그럼 사장님 가족들의 생활비도 집으로 못 가져가십니까?” “So, can’t you take the money and use it for your family?” “그런 게 아니라 남들처럼 돈도 못 모으는 회사가 어디 있습니까?” “No, It that I can’t save any money like the other companies do.” “직원들이 몇 분이나 되세요?” “how many people work for you?” “20명입니다.” “20 people” “20명이나 먹여살려요? 사장님은 성공하신 기업인입니다!!” “20 people? your are a successful businessman.” “성공이라뇨?” “successful?” “20명분을 깔고 앉아서는 혼자 먹겠다고 20명 굶기는 실패한 사람이 아니라 20명을 먹여 살리는 성공한 사람입니다. “you are not a person who doesn’t give the wages to survive by yourself, but gives 20people money for them to survive. 앞으로 하나님께 기도하실 때 20명만 아니라 200명, 아니 2000명을 먹이는 기업가가 되게 해달라고 기도하싶시오.” Pray form now on and ask God to make a you successful person who feeds 200 no, 2000 more people.” 세계적인 기업 삼성의 이건희 회장이 말한 인재에 관한 철학입니다. This is the philosophy that the talented man, Lee Ken Hee President of world-wide enterprise Samsung talks about. ◎ 천재급 인재를 확보하라. Secure the natural genius-talented man. 창조적인 천재 한 명이 수십만 명을 먹여 살린다. One creatively talented person feeds ten thousand people. 여러분 오늘의 설교 제목이 무엇입니까? “What is today’s title?” “5000명을 먹이는 사람”입니다. “It is A Person Who Feeds the 5000” 함께 보실 성경은 요한복음 6장 1절 -13절의 말씀입니다. 마가복음 6장 35-47 35. 때가 저물어 가매 제자들이 예수께 나아와 여짜오되 이곳은 빈 들이요 때도 저물어가니 And when it was already quite late, His disciples came up to Him and [began] saying, “The place is desolate and it is already quite late; 36. 무리를 보내어 두루 촌과 마을로 가서 무엇을 사 먹게 하옵소서 send them away so that they may go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat. ” 37. 대답하여 가라사대 너희가 먹을 것을 주라 하시니 여짜오되 우리가 가서 이백 데나리온의 떡을 사다 먹이리이까 But He answered and said to them, “You give them [something] to eat!” And they *said to Him, “Shall we go and spend two hundred denarii on bread and give them [something] to eat?” 38. 이르시되 너희에게 떡 몇 개나 있느냐 가서 보라 하시니 알아보고 가로되 떡 다섯 개와 물고기 두 마리가 있더이다 하거늘 And He *said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go look!” And when they found out, they *said, “Five and two fish.” 39. 제자들을 명하사 그 모든 사람으로 떼를 지어 푸른 잔디 위에 앉게 하시니 And He commanded them all to recline by groups on the green grass. 40. 떼로 혹 백씩, 혹 오십씩 앉은지라 And they reclined in companies of hundreds and of fifties. 41. 예수께서 떡 다섯 개와 물고기 두 마리를 가지사 하늘을 우러러 축사하시고 떡을 떼어 제자들에게 주어 사람들 앞에 놓게 하시고 또 물고기 두 마리도 모든 사람에게 나누어 주시매 And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed [the food] and broke the loaves and He kept giving [them] to the disciples to set before them; and He divided up the two fish among them all. 42. 다 배불리 먹고 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43. 남은 떡 조각과 물고기를 열 두 바구니에 차게 거두었으며 And they picked up twelve full baskets of the broken pieces, and also of the fish. 44. 떡을 먹은 남자가 오천 명이었더라 And there were five thousand men who ate the loaves. 45. 예수께서 즉시 제자들을 재촉하사 자기가 무리를 보내는 동안에 배 타고 앞서 건너편 벳새다로 가게 하시고 And immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of [Him] to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the multitude away. 46. 무리를 작별하신 후에 기도하러 산으로 가시다 And after bidding them farewell, He departed to the mountain to pray. 47. 저물매 배는 바다 가운데 있고 예수는 홀로 뭍에 계시다가 And when it was evening, the boat was in the midst of the sea, and He [was] alone on the land. John 6장 5-13 [NASB] 5. 예수께서 눈을 들어 큰 무리가 자기에게로 오는 것을 보시고 빌립에게 이르시되 우리가 어디서 떡을 사서 이 사람들로 먹게 하겠느냐 하시니 Jesus therefore lifting up His eyes, and seeing that a great multitude was coming to Him, *said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, that these may eat?” 6. 이렇게 말씀하심은 친히 어떻게 하실 것을 아시고 빌립을 시험코자 하심이라 And this He was saying to test him; for He Himself knew what He was intending to do. 7. 빌립이 대답하되 각 사람으로 조금씩 받게 할찌라도 이백 데나리온의 떡이 부족하리이다 Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little.” 8. 제자 중 하나 곧 시몬 베드로의 형제 안드레가 예수께 여짜오되 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, *said to Him, 9. 여기 한 아이가 있어 보리떡 다섯 개와 물고기 두 마리를 가졌나이다. 그러나 그것이 이 많은 사람에게 얼마나 되겠삽나이까? “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?” 10. 예수께서 가라사대 이 사람들로 앉게 하라 하신대 그 곳에 잔디가 많은지라 사람들이 앉으니 수효가 오천쯤 되더라 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11. 예수께서 떡을 가져 축사하신 후에 앉은 자들에게 나눠 주시고 고기도 그렇게 저희의 원대로 주시다 Jesus therefore took the loaves; and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted. 12. 저희가 배부른 후에 예수께서 제자들에게 이르시되 남은 조각을 거두고 버리는 것이 없게 하라 하시므로 And when they were filled, He *said to His disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments that nothing may be lost.” 13. 이에 거두니 보리떡 다섯 개로 먹고 남은 조각이 열 두 바구니에 찼더라 And so they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, which were left over by those who had eaten. Question 1. 이 사건은 언제 시작해서 언제 끝이 났습니까? when did this event happen and when did it finish? Question 2. 누가 예수님께 “각 사람으로 조금씩 받게 할찌라도 이백 데나리온의 떡이 부족하리이다” 라고 했나요? who said “200 denarius worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little. ” Who did answer Jesus, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little?” Question 3. 보리떡 5개와 물고기 두 마리를 가졌던 사람은 누구입니까? who was it that prepared the 5 barley loaves and 2fish? Question 4. 예수님이 보리떡 5개와 물고기 두 마리를 가지고 가정먼저 하신 일은? what did Jesus do first with the 5 loaves and 2fish? Question 5. 제자들이 “무리를 보내어 두루 촌과 마을로 가서 무엇을 사 먹게 하옵소서”라고 하자 예수께서 대답하신 내용은? What was Jesus’ answer when his disciples asked if “they may go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” Question 6. 예수께서 제자들을 명하사 그 모든 사람으로 떼를 지어 푸른 잔디 위에 앉게 하셨는데 사람들은 몇 명씩 앉았는가? How many people did He command them all to recline by groups on the green grass? 떼로 혹 백씩, 혹 오십씩 앉은지라 And they reclined in companies of hundreds and of fifties. 오늘 이 본문의 말씀을 통해서 어떻게 5000명을 먹여 살리는 인물이 될 것인지를 알고 이런 인재가 되기를 그리스도의 이름으로 축원 드립니다. Today we’ll talk about how to be a person who feeds 5000 people. I hope that we’ll become these kind of people in Jesus Name” 지금도 예수님은 명하십니다. Jesus still demands. 너희가 먹을 것을 주라 “You give them [something] to eat!” 그리고 그 방법을 말씀해 주십니다. And he tells us how to do so. 먹이는 사람이 됩시다. Let’s become people who feed. 5000명을 먹이는 사람이 됩시다. People who feed 5000 people. 1. 내 것을 기꺼이 주는 손 1. A hand willingly giving mine to someone else. 은별이 어릴 때 보던 책이 있습니다. “수박을 맛있게 먹는 방법”이란 곰돌이가 주인공인 책입니다. There is a book that Grace liked to read when she was a baby. It was called “how to eat a watermelon more deliciously” with a baby bear being the main character. 음식을 맛있게 먹을 수 있는 방법 하나쯤은 여러분도 가지고 계시겠죠? everyone would have their own way of eating something deliciously. 곰돌이는 수박을 혼자서 먹기 위해 친구들 몰래 차가운 냇물 속에 수박을 담궈 둡니다. The baby cub put the watermelon in a water of steam to eat the watermelon by himself. 그러나 친구들이 곰돌이를 찾아와서 물속에 담궈 둔 수박을 보게 됩니다. But his friends come and see the watermelon in the stream water. 곰돌이는 수박을 혼자 먹기 위해 꾀를 냅니다. The baby cub plans a trick to eat it by himself. “수박을 어떻게 먹으면 맛있을까?” he asked to others “how should we eat it to make it more delicious?” “수박은 칼로 잘 잘라서 먹어야해!!” 그러고는 한 친구에게 칼을 가져오라고 집으로 보냅니다. “a watermelon has to be cut perfectly with a knife in order to have it nicely!” and so the baby cub send him to get the knife. “수박화채를 해서 먹으면 더 맛있을 거야!!” 다른 친구에게는 오목한 그릇을 가져오라고 집으로 보냅니다. “It will be more delicious if we make it into a watermelon salad!” so, he sent him to get a bowl for it. 설탕을 가져오라고 또 다른 친구를 보냅니다. And he sent the other friend to get some sugar. 친구들을 다 집으로 보낸 곰돌이는 그 수박을 꺼내 들고는 혼자 먹기 위해 언덕으로 도망갑니다. when he sent all of his friends to get something he ran away up the hill with the watermelon. 그러다가 개구리를 보고 얼마나 놀랐는지 그만 언덕에서 수박을 떨어트리고 맙니다. 수박은 굴러가다가 그만 깨어져 버립니다. But he got a fright by a frog and dropped the watermelon a d it rooled down the hill and smashed. 아무것도 모르고 돌아온 친구들은 울고 있는 곰돌이를 위로합니다. the friends who didn’t know anything come and cheer the crying cub. 그리고는 모두 함께 깨어진 수박을 맛있게 먹습니다. And they all deliciously, ate the smashed watermelon together. 한참을 먹다가 곰돌이가 말합니다. and then later the cub said. “아! 수박은 함께 먹어야 가장 맛있다.” “watermelon’s are most delicious when we all share.” 오늘 본문에 나타난 소년은 그가 먹을 변변치 않은 도시락인 보리빵 다섯 개와 물고기 두 마리를 내어놓습니다. In today’s scripture, the young boy ,without hesitation gave his only 5 barley bread and 2 fish. 그러나 기적은 여기에서 출발되었습니다. But that was the miracle started. 혼자 먹으려고 감춰 두지 않고 내놓게 되었을 때, when he didn’t hide it to eat it by himself. 자기뿐 만 아니라 5000명을 먹이는 사람이 되었습니다. He , not only fed himself but another 5000 people. 사랑하는 여러분 everyone. 5000명을 먹이는 인재가 되기 위해 to be a person who feeds 5000 people, 첫째: 곰돌이가 발견한 수박을 맛있게 먹는 방법을 잊지 마시기 바랍니다. 1st: always remember how the baby cub found how to eat the watermelon most deliciously. 2. 예수님께 드리는 손 빌립이라는 제자는 200데나리온으로도 부족하다고 말합니다. Phillip said “200 denarius worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little. 지금 돈으로 환산하면 1데나리온이 노동자 하루 품삯이니까 80 x 200 = $16,000NZD라도 부족하다는 말을 합니다. If we exchange 200 denarius into NZD, it will be. 1 denarius is one person’s wage for a day. So $80 x 200 would be $16,000 and that would be not enough to feed 5000 people. 즉 한 끼 겨우 $3.20 NZD, 맥도널드에서 치즈버거 겨우 사면 5000명 먹긴 하겠지만 5000명분 주문하려면 뉴질랜드 전역에 있는 맥도널드에 가서 사온다 해도 반나절은 족히 걸릴걸요? 라며 부정적으로 말합니다. We can only eat 1 meal at the cost of only $3.20 NZD, which is only enough to buy 2 cheese burgers at Mcdonald’s. It will feed them. but it will take half a day to go to all the Mcdonald’s in the country to get it. 그러나 안드레는 소년의 떡을 예수님께 가져왔습니다. But Andrew gave Jesus the bread and fish the little boy had given him. 모두 것은 예수님의 손에 들려져야 합니다. 거기에서 기적이 일어납니다. Everything must go into the hands of Jesus. because that is where miracles happen. 삶이 너무 어려워 예수님께 기도드리려고 손을 모으려면 When you pray because you are holding a heavy burden, 내가 쥐고 있던 것을 다 내려놓습니다. You out down all the things that you had in your hands. 그러나 But... 기도 후에 내려놓은 것을 다시 가져간다면 If you take back the things you had after you had prayed 내 손은 나는 다시 무거워질 수밖에 없습니다. your hand will have to be heavy again. 예수님의 손에 올려드리세요. Put your hand on Jesus’ 나는 가벼워지고 예수님은 많은 사람을 이롭게 하실 것입니다. you will become lighter and Jesus will make many people beneficial. 예수님께 드리세요. Give it to Jesus 이것은 예수님께 받기만 해온 일반적인 기독교인들의 모습과는 많은 차이가 있고 도전적이 말입니다. This is a challenging word which is different to what general Christians do. Only receive from Jesus. 예수님께 드리면 무언가를 이루시리란 믿음은 창조적인 믿음입니다. A Creative faith is when you have a faith which believes that if you give something to Jesus, he will make something out of it. 받기 위해 드리는 이기적인 것이 아닙니다. It is not giving just to receive in a selfish way. 예수님 이것을 드립니다. Jesus I give this you. 당신의 필요를 위해 써주세요!! Use it for what you need!! 다시 한번 더 강조하여 말씀드립니다. I’ll emphasize it more. 계산하지 마시고 여러분이 가진 것 그것을 예수님이 예수님 자신을 위해서 쓰시라고 내어 놓으십시오!! Don’t calculate, and give everything you have to Jesus and give it to Him for only He to use. 이 창조적인 믿음이 5000명을 먹이는 위대한 사람을 만들 것입니다. This creative faith will make a person who feeds 5000 people. 3. 감사드리는 손 3. A hand that gives thanks. 우리는 지난 4주간 감사에 관한 여러 가지 이야기를 나누었습니다. 그중 감사는 결과가 아니라 시작이라는 말씀을 기억 하실 것입니다. For the last 4weeks we have been talking about thanks giving and you would remember that thanks giving is not a result but a start. 5000명을 먹인 기적은 예수님의 손에서 이루어졌습니다. The miracle that feed the 5000 started in Jesus’ hand. 예수님은 어떤 절차에 의해서 5000명을 먹이시는 기적을 일으키셨습니다. Jesus used an order to make the miracle of feeding the 5000 to happen. 예수님이 5000명을 먹이시기 먼저 하신 일이 무엇일까요? What did Jesus first do to feed the 5000? 그것은 감사를 드리는 것이었습니다. That was to give thanks. 떡덩이는 다섯 개, 물고기는 겨우 두 마리인데 어떻게 5000명이나 먹는단 말입니까? He had only 5 barley bread and 2 fish but how did he feed the 5000? 어떤 손이기에 나누기만 하면 생겨난단 말입니까? What kind of hand does he have to make bread when he halves it? 그건 바로 감사의 마음으로 나누는 손입니다. It was a hand sharing with a thanking heart. 한번 그때의 상황을 상상해 봅시다. Let’s imagine that situation. 예수님이 일인분의 떡과 물고기를 나누어 만드시려면 짧게 잡아서 10초의 시간이 필요하다고 가정해 봅시다. Let’s say that Jesus took about 10 seconds to make the amount of food for 1 person. 그러면 5000번째 사람이 그것을 먹으려면 50000초 즉 13시간을 기다려야 합니다. Then the 5,000th person would have to wait 50,000seconds which is 13 hours to get his meal. 뿐만 아니라 13시간의 예수님의 손노동도 문제가 됩니다. Not only that, 13 hours of labour would be problem for Jesus. 성경은 그 시간을 이렇게 설명합니다. This is how the bible say that time. 마가 6장 35절 때가 저물어가매 제자들이 예수께 나아와 여짜오되 이곳은 빈 들이요 때도 저물어가니 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 마가 6장 44-47의 말씀 떡을 먹은 남자가 오천 명이었더라 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand. 예수께서 즉시 제자들을 재촉하사 자기가 무리를 보내는 동안에 배 타고 앞서 건너편 벳새다로 가게 하시고 Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 무리를 작별하신 후에 기도하러 산으로 가시다 저물매 배는 바다 가운데 있고 예수는 홀로 뭍에 계시다가 After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray. When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. 이 말씀으로 미루어보면 “저물어갈 때부터 저녁때 까지니까” 길어야 2시간입니다. 거기에다 나누는 시간, 거두는 시간, 무리들을 보낸 시간이 거기에 포함되니까 정말 길게 잡아야 1시간 30분입니다. If we think about it, from late in the day to evening it would take less than 2hours and if we take out the time in which they distributed and gathered the food and sending everyone home, it would’ve taken less thank 1hour and a half. 그럼 어떻게 1시간 30분 만에 5000명을 먹일 수 있을까요? then how did Jesus feed 5000 people in 1and a half hours? 예수님은 먼저 first, Jesus 이렇게 미리 명하셨습니다. had already demanded. 5000명을 50명 100명씩 나누어 앉히라고 하셨습니다. He told the 5000 people to sit in groups of 50’s and 100’s 마가 6장 39-40 제자들을 명하사 그 모든 사람으로 떼를 지어 푸른 잔디 위에 앉게 하시니 떼로 혹 백씩, 혹 오십씩 앉은지라 And He commanded them all to recline by groups on the green grass. And they reclined in companies of hundreds and of fifties. 그러면 대충 계산해보겠습니다. If we estimate. 50명 무리=> 50팀, 50groups => 50 people 100명 무리=> 25팀 25 groups => 100 people 이렇게 가정해 봐도 최소 팀만 75개 팀이 됩니다. if we guess it like this there will be at least 75 groups. 즉 50명 혹은 100명이 들어가는 식당 75개 업소가 동시에 1시간 30분 동안 식사를 다 마칠 수 있는 방법은 무엇일까요? So, how do 75 restaurants which contain 50 or a hundred people, finish eating in 1 and a half hours? 개개의 식당에서 미리 준비한 식사를 10명 내지는 20명의 직원이 빠르게 나눠줘야 가능할 수 있습니다. It will be possible if each restaurant serves with 10~20 people, the food they had already prepared. 그러므로 5000명을 한시간 30분만에 먹이려면 50명 식당의 직원 500명과, 100명 식당의 직원 500명 총 1000명이 동시에 서비스해야 가능 하다는 이야기입니다. 이제 답이 나왔습니다. so in order to feed 5000 people in 1 and a half hours you will need 500 people in the restaurant of 50 and 500 in the restaurant of 100, So, 1000 people have to serve at the same time. 예수님으로 비롯되어 나누어진 떡과 물고기는 12제자들에게 나누어졌고 제자들은 적어도 75개 무리들에게 또 나눕니다. The food that was shared from Jesus was distributed to the 12 disciples. And the disciples distributed it to the 75 groups 그리고 거기에 앉은 사람들도 서로 나눕니다. And the people in the groups also distributed among themselves. 이제 이해가 되십니까? do you understand now? 감사함으로 나누는 손을 가진 사람이면 누구에게나 동일한 기적이 일어났다는 것 이외에는 이 기적을 설명할 방법이 없습니다. everyone that has the hands that give thanks will make the same miracle that happens. And there is no way to explain it 왜냐하면 성경에서는 떡과 물고기가 하늘에서 각사람 앞으로 떨어진 것이 아니라 나눔으로서만이 이런 일이 일어났다고 말씀했기 때문입니다. Because the bible doesn’t tell that the food fell from the sky but feed them through sharing. 여러분 감사의 손 everyone’s thanking hands. 나눔의 손은 5000명을 먹이는 기적을 일으킴을 잊지 마십시오. Don’t forget that sharing hands can feed 5000 people. 과연 감사는 아무리 나누어도 부족함 없이 생겨나는 신비한 것입니다. Thanks giving is a mysterious way that never runs out even if you share. 떡을 가지사 He took the loaves; 감사하신 후 having given thanks, 나누셨습니다. He distributed 세상에서 기적을 만드는 손은 따로 없습니다. 바로 감사드리는 손입니다. 감사드릴 때 나눌 수 있습니다. There is no other hand that produces a miracle than a thanking hand. When you give thanks you will share. 결론 입니다. this is the conclusion. 5000명을 먹이는 인재가 되려면 “남을 잘되게 하리라”는 철학을 가져야 합니다. If you want to become a person who feeds 5000 people we need to have a philosophy to make others succeed. 다른 말로는 “나먹고 나 잘 살겠다”는 철학으로는 안 된다는 것입니다. another words, it does not possible philosophy that is I’ll eat to survive will not work 여러분 모두 부자 되시기 바랍니다. I hope everyone will become rich. 그러나 부자 돼서 남 주시기 바랍니다 But become rich and give to others. 5000명뿐만 아니라 5만명 먹이시는 사장님이 나오시길 주의이름으로 축원합니다. I hope that there will become a person who feeds not only 5000 but 50,000 people. 기도드리겠습니다. let’s pray 오천명을 보시고 너희가 먹을 것을 주라고 하신 하나님. Go who told us to give others something to eat 오늘도 그 말씀 여전히 저희에게 명하시면서 그 어떻게 하면 되는지를 말씀해주신 하나님 감사합니다. Thank you for still telling us to do so and teaching us the way. 내 것을 기꺼이 주는 손 예수님께 드리는 손 감사로 나누는 손이 되게 하옵소서 Let us share with a hand that gives, that give to Jesus and that shares. 예수님 이름으로 기도드립니다. 아멘. We prayed in Jesus’s name. Amen. 박성열 목사(뉴질랜드 예수찬양교회)
A Beautiful Success(아름다운 성공)/ Genesis 45:1-15(창45:1-15)/ 2006-11-20
A Beautiful Success(아름다운 성공) Genesis 45:1-15(창45:1-15) A BEAUTIFUL SUCCESS Genesis 45: 1-15 An extremely popular MBC television series in Korea, called “Success Era,” concluded this past season with an episode about professional woman golfer Se-ri Pak as the grand finale. This program was started in November of 1997—in the midst of the great Asian financial crisis that led to IMF bailout in Korea—to give a sense of hope and courage to the despairing and dejected people of Korea. As its pilot episode, “Success Era” featured stories about late Ju Young Chung, CEO of Hyundai Group, and Ja Kyung Ku, the Honorary CEO of LG Korea to give inspiration to the masses that were reeling from the effect of a massive financial crisis. As featured subjects in “Success Era,” 198 people from all strata of society, who have shown particular distinction and renown in succeeding in life, were selected. These 198 people shared a common theme throughout their lives: Their lives had been pocked marked with and scarred by countless obstacles, tribulations, or tragedies. Insufficient scholastic background, physical disabilities, poverty, discrimination against women—all these were some of the obstacles that these people had to overcome in order to succeed in life. The personality with the highest viewer rating—a rating of 28.7% prime time—was fashion designer Andre Kim. During a fan poll, that asked viewers which inspirational personality they would like to see again, late Hyundai CEO Ju Young Chung took first place. Noted celebrities and personalities, such as actor Sung Ki Ahn, Chancellor of Korea University Joon Yup Choi, and CEO of Nongshim Foods Choon Ho Shin, did not appear on this program because they refused to acknowledge the fact that their life story was one of success. The desire to succeed—perhaps it is one the basic instincts inherent in all human beings. Nowhere in this world can we find someone who is willing to fail. Yet, there are remarkable differences in opinion regarding the definition of success. What constitutes success? An entrepreneur will tell you that success is defined as greatest net profit. An entertainer will tell you that success is defined as garnering as much fan support and love as possible, while maintaining a sky-high popularity rating. An athlete will tell you that winning games—and ultimately championships—is the essence of success. A studious student will tell you that success is believed to be gaining admission to a college or university of his choice and graduating with a good grade. And a pastor will tell you that success is construed as having the highest possible ABC rating—Attendance, Building, as in having a sizable infrastructure to conduct service, and Cash, as in the amount of offerings made by the congregation. However, are these externally visible gauges the only true indicators of success? In this world, there are accomplishments that we, as humans, may consider to be successes while God Himself may hold contrary views. There are dishonorable, filthy successes. There are tainted successes that not only destroy those in pursuit, but also negatively impact those around them. A representative case of a filthy success may be an election victory in a political campaign, where mudslinging, illegal shortcuts, defamation, and slandering played a crucial role in victory. Around us, there are too many people who are willing to resort to any means available, regardless of ethics or morals—thus lending a true credence to the phrase “end justifies the means”—in pursuit of this scarred glory, the deplorable and dishonorable success. First place does not necessarily equate to success. There is only one first place; hence, as logic concludes, only one person who can claim to be the best—erstwhile countless number of people may have strove and gave their all to be the best. Do we count the one in the first place as the only one that succeeded while we discount everyone else as failures? Being the best—and holding the distinction as being in the first place, however, is not eternal. No matter how high a peak we may have conquered to be the number one, at some point in the near future, we must vacate that apex—for someone else will always succeed over and surpass us. Like a mountain climber who conquered a mountain peak, we must come down from the apex some point in our lives; hence, first place and the top place are not eternal. Likewise, we cannot consider ourselves to be successful on the account of money, power, or fame. Because true happiness is not a result of some contest, an item subject to grade. Because true happiness is not determined by money, power, or fame. Therefore, our success must be a thing of beauty, an item of cleanliness instead of something that is tainted and contaminated with impurities. Then what is a pure, beautiful success? What is a true success for us, as Christians? In finding an answer to this question, I would like to research into the success story of Joseph. The legendary story of Joseph’s success is a true, shining example of a pure, beautiful success. First, a beautiful success is a success that realizes God’s will and intent. Joseph was a man sacrificed due to his brothers’ envy and jealousy. As the last born, he was a subject of his father’s preferential and spoiling treatment; furthermore, overt boasting of his dreams brought on great hatred from his older brothers. Joseph was eventually sold to Egypt as a slave—and the tribulations and pains felt by Joseph during slavery is indescribable and inexpressible. In a foreign country, he had to crawl from the bottom. Joseph became the overseer of the estate of General Potiphar; however, by resisting the sexual advances of Potiphar’s wife, Joseph was imprisoned. All of you probably know, quite well, how Joseph overcame all these obstacles and tribulations in becoming the second highest ranking man in Egypt, behind the Pharaoh, as the prime minister of Egypt, the overseer of all national affairs—and the ruler of all but the one. The important thing to remember is that Joseph interprets and construes all his success in the land of Egypt as a success that will realize God’s will and intent. Joseph clearly delineates this fact when meeting with his brothers after his travails in Egypt—his brothers, whom, out of their hatred, tried to kill Joseph and eventually exiled him to a foreign land, away from the protective umbrella of his parents. Take a look at verses 5 through 8 of today’s scripture. “But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. And God sent me before you to preserve posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.” The reason for the beauty and effervescence of Joseph’s success lies in his belief that the course of his life is a result—or providence—of realizing the holy will and script of God. Everyone—do you wish your success to be the bright, shining and beautiful success? Then ask of God’s intent towards you—about what He has in mind for you. No matter what you do—whether you earn money, go to work, study, or anything else, grab and hold onto God’s intent, of what He is trying to accomplish through you. In Matthew 6, verse 33, Jesus promised, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” If our lives are engulfed in the divine task of realizing God’s will, this alone will be enough to make our lives a success. An owner of a tennis club was cleaning up the locker room by picking up used towels after a group of high school students used his club to work out. The owner cleaned the locker room, putting all towels in a basket, without much thought and out of habit; yet, his friend, who had been watching all along, asked a very profound and meaningful question. “Did you pick up the towels because you are the owner of this club, or are you a owner of this club because you pick up the towels?” Indeed this is an important question, for it delves in the very essence of our being, our existence in this world. Why do you do the work or things that you do? Do you do it because you have no choice—that the responsibility had been thrust upon you without a choice, and you have nothing but the option of carrying out your responsibilities? Or do you do it because you consider it a divine purpose—something that God has charged you to do and accomplish? Depending on how you answer this question, your success could either be crystalline or filthy. Second, the price of beautiful success usually entails efforts wrought with sweat, tears, and blood. In Korean, the word for gangs—a group of people who resort to violence as a way of living—is “Bulhandang.” The root of the word, derived from Chinese, has a deep meaning. The word “Bulhandang” means those who desire to make a living without shedding a droplet of sweat—in other words, those who wish to live without working or exerting efforts. Disciple Paul warned the people of Thessalonia by saying, “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” (Thessalonians 3 :10). A filthy, decrepit success is one in which no sweat has been expended—in essence, a cheap accomplishment without a concerted effort. Why is lottery or gambling bad? Both aim at receiving a jackpot that does not require any effort or hard work. Joseph, after shedding all three liquids that humans can produce—sweat, tears, and blood—while exerting maximum effort, rose to the second highest position in Egypt. His accomplishment was not some jackpot, a thing of luck that did not require any work or effort. In order to realize his dream, Joseph had to work hard, often suffering great pain, in a foreign land. He had to fight through insufferable loneliness, the sudden, abrupt separation from his loved family, and had to start from the bottom in a foreign land that refused to recognize his status. But he trudged along, driving forth with a firm belief that one day, God will realize his dreams—and began constructing his life. Everywhere he went, he was recognized and lauded for his characteristic—honesty and diligence. In verse 5, chapter 39 of Genesis, the Bible states that once Joseph became the overseer of the estate that belonged to the captain of the guards of the Pharaoh, Potiphar, “the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had in the house and in the field.” A diligence of one man brought unprecedented abundance and blessings for the entire household. Potiphar trusted Joseph so much that he left all affairs of the estate—minus what he himself ate for meals—up to Joseph. In Genesis, chapter 41, verse 38, it is stated that once Joseph started working under the Pharaoh, he earned such a trust from the Pharaoh that Pharaoh himself boasts to other servants, “Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?” The secret to Joseph’s success was doing his best at all he did while having faith and trust in God. Joseph’s success is beautiful because it was gained through an investment of honest effort and hard work. True mountain climbers, those who truly know and appreciate the mountain, do not call their work “mountain climbing.” Rather, they refer to it as “mountain entering.” It is not mountain climbing—a competitive activity to climb higher and higher peaks, to determine who is the best—but a mountain entering, where one enters the mountain with humblest of hearts to enjoy what the nature has to offer. It is true. In order to enter the mountain, one must become small and low; likewise, in order to achieve a beautiful success, one must lower himself to the lowest position possible. Sir Roy Sission of England stated that the secret to success lay in the ‘Three Hs of Leadership.” The impetuses of success are humanity, humility, and humor. Joseph probably embodied all three characteristics; no doubt he was a humane man full of humility and a good sense of humor. The reason why the success story of Joseph shine so brightly and referred to it often is that relying on candor and commitment as his watchword, without the safety net of his loved parents and family, Joseph created something out of nothing. There is a beautiful story behind the creation of marathon, the event often referred to as “the flower” of the Olympic Games. A Greek soldier, in 490 BC, ran 26 miles, from the city of Marathon to Athens, in order to deliver the news of Athens’s triumph over Persia during the Battle of Marathon. This soldier, upon arriving in Athens, uttered one word—Victory!—before collapsing and dying of fatigue. When the Olympic Games were revived in 1896 in the West, a new event, a 26-mile running event called marathon was created to commemorate this soldier and his beautiful commitment. In order to carry out the task of delivering the news of victory to Athens, this soldier ran and ran for 26 miles, eventually giving his own life to accomplish the task. The sweat, tears and blood shed by those who gave their all to accomplish a task are objects of beauty. If you truly desire to succeed, sweat profusely. Always remember that beautiful success is realized after a hard day’s work—through great efforts and, sometimes, pain. Third, beautiful success always benefits and brings happiness to all those around them. A special characteristic of a beautiful success is that it always ends in a happy ending. Today’s scripture captures the reunion between Joseph, who accomplished a rare, extraordinary success in Egypt, and his older brothers, who brought such extraordinary pain and suffering to bear upon Joseph. Any other person, no matter that these people were his brothers—and with the exception of Benjamin, all were his step or half brothers—would have tried to exact some sort of revenges as a pay back for all those years of suffering and pain. But Joseph did not exact revenge nor held a grudge against his brothers. He did not repay evil with evil, going eye for an eye. Rather, he forgave, and responded to evil with good and kindness. After excusing all the servants and assistants, Joseph wept aloud—so loud that the Pharaoh in Egypt heard it—in front of his brothers. In verse 14, it is stated that he wept while hugging Benjamin—the sole full sibling of Joseph, meaning they had the same mother—and Benjamin did the same in hugging him back and crying. Joseph, in hugging and kissing each and every one of his brothers, cast away all blaming and grudging feelings from his heart. They reconciled dramatically. Through all this we can gain a sense of the warm humanity of Joseph. Not only did Joseph forgive his brothers, but he also interprets his exile to Egypt as God’s divine will and blessing, to rescue and save his people—the people who were on the verge of death from starvation and famine. Joseph had the faith that his success ended not merely in his own abundance and riches, but that his success hinged upon realization of God’s plan to bring happiness and salvation to all people around him. A beautiful success enables my success to benefit others. Therefore, a tarred success is one in which money, power and fame bring happiness and benefits to a select few and not to all people. The true discriminator of a beautiful and a filthy success rests here. How many people will benefit and be happy as a result of my success? Juxtaposed against this standard, our success can be beautiful, or it can be filthy and tarred. During this year’s World Series, the Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the New York Yankees and won the World Championship. The Diamondbacks attract our particular interest because they have a 22-year old Korean relief pitcher, Byung Hyun Kim. Kim became a subject of attention—as the possible goat should the Diamondbacks lose the series—after blowing a 2-run lead in the bottom of ninth inning with two outs—in both Games 4 and 5. However, since the Diamondbacks dramatically won Game 7, Kim’s mistakes were covered up and disappeared among the euphoria of Arizona victory. The interesting thing to note is that despite the two crushing, demoralizing defeats, no one on the Diamondbacks criticized Kim for losing two-run leads on two consecutive nights. Rather, they encouraged Kim by saying “losing is not your fault but our collective faults,” and “we believe in you.” Furthermore, even the Arizona fans cheered Kim on during Game 6, chanting “We want Kim!” and “We’ll be OK with Kim!” from the stands. After Game 7 Arizona victory, Kim had the following things to say to the reporters who interviewed him. “All this time, I played baseball by myself. Because I was a pitcher, the sense of self was more acute on the field because the game hinged upon the pitches that I made. I though all was well if I pitched well. But through this Series, I learned that my teammates are my family. We win as a team and we lose as a team.” Byung Hyun Kim finally understood the essence of team sports through the World Series. In Luke 6, verse 38, Jesus said that “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into you bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” We are all neighbors, living together and next to each other. The true success can be defined as those accomplishments that not only benefit myself, but one that benefits the collective community and those around us. What is the wrong with those children who learn to think that the first place is the only definition of success? Such notion, when analyzed carefully, is a very selfish, self-serving one. By being in the first place, those children learn to benefit only themselves and seek to be the best for their own sake and happiness. A success that provides something for the neighbors, benefits others, and brings happiness to all people around us is a truly beautiful success. No matter what area you succeed in, I hope that your success can bring happiness and benefits to all those around you. Lastly, let’s think about Jesus with Joseph’s success story. By the secular standards, Jesus Christ was not a success. Everyone strives to be the number one in this world; however, Jesus finished last and became a failure. His Disciples, of whom He had great expectations, did not meet nor measured up to what Jesus expected of them; furthermore, they failed to understand Jesus’ true intent. Jesus was arrested, tortured, interrogated, and executed at the cross in the most vile, decrepit manner. In sum, He failed greatly. Did anyone fail so completely, by the world’s standards, in history of mankind? Yet, strangely, history does not view Jesus as a failure. Rather, the history views Jesus as its brightest, greatest, and most successful victor ever. Why so? It is because Jesus Himself demonstrated and carried out the three standards, the prerequisites, of beautiful success that I have mentioned above. Jesus was but a tool of God in carrying out the Herculean task of saving mankind. In order to carry out this task, and to realize God’s will, Jesus unsparingly shed His sweat, tears, and blood. He let His body be crucified on the cross and torn apart to meet God’s intent. Not only did Jesus meet God’s intent in saving mankind, he brought true happiness and benefits to all mankind, near and far, throughout the epoch of history. Do you want to see a demonstration of a beautiful success? Think of Joseph and Jesus. I pray in the name of our Lord that your successes will be beautiful, ones that benefit all your neighbors just as Joseph and Jesus’ success brought happiness and benefits to all mankind. I would like to conclude today’s sermon by sharing with you an excerpt from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s work. “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and ensure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a better place whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” Pastor H. K. Kim
A Blessed Alternative(복된 선택)/ Revelation 21:4(계21:4)/ 2012-03-23
A Blessed Alternative(복된 선택) Revelation 21:4(계21:4) There shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. - Revelation 21:4 “다시 사망이 없고 애통하는 것이나 곡하는 것이…다시 있지 아니하리니” - 요한계시록 21:4 Imagine that a person was seriously ill and near death but then recovered. Recalling his experience, he says that recovering from the surgery that saved his life was extremely painful. But then he jokingly remarks, “Think of the alternative!” Even Christians sometimes say that. Yet what does that common jest imply? Is it better to endure the pain of this temporal world than to die and enter the eternal joys of heaven? We know that life in the coming world will be so much better than the life we now experience in this world. According to the apostle Paul, “To live is Christ, and to die is gain ... To depart and be with Christ ... is far better” (Philippians 1:21,23). Certainly we are thankful for material blessings and provisions from the Lord and all the meaningful relationships we experience here and now by His grace. But as Christians, let’s not even jokingly agree that the option of entering heaven is less desirable than surviving on this sin-cursed earth. We eagerly anticipate the joy of being with our Lord Jesus Christ in heaven (2 Corinthians 5:8). Someday “there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain” (Revelation 21:4). What a blessed alternative! - 한 사람이 중한 병에 걸려 거의 죽을 뻔하다가 살아났다고 가정해 봅시다. 그는 자기의 경험을 말하면서 생명을 건지게 된 그 수술에서 회복할 때에 통증이 매우 심했다고 말합니다. 그리고 나서 “다른 방법을 써보세요” 하고 농담조로 말하는 것입니다. 그리스도인들도 흔히 이렇게 말합니다. 그러면 농담과 같은 이 평범한 말에는 어떤 뜻이 들어 있을까요? 한시적인 이 세상에서 아픔을 견디며 사는 것이 죽어서 영원한 천국의 기쁨으로 들어가는 것보다 낫다는 뜻인가요? 다가올 세상의 삶은 지금 이 세상에서 누리는 삶에 비하여 훨씬 더 좋다는 것을 우리는 알고 있습니다. 바울사도는 “내게 사는 것이 그리스도니 죽는 것도 유익함이니라…떠나서 그리스도와 함께 있을 욕망을 가진 이것이 더욱 좋으리라”(빌 1:21, 23)고 하였습니다. 물론 우리는 하나님의 은혜로써 우리가 지금 이곳에서 누리고 있는 주님으로부터의 물질적 축복과 섭리하심, 그리고 모든 귀한 인간 관계에 대해 감사를 드립니다. 그러나 우리 그리스도인들은 천국에 들어가는 것보다 죄로 물든 이 땅위에 사는 것이 낫다는 말에 농담으로라도 동의해서는 안됩니다. 우리는 천국에서 주 예수 그리스도와 만나는 기쁨을 간절히 사모하는 사람들입니다 (고후 5:8). 어느 날엔가 “다시 사망이 없고 애통하는 것이나 곡하는 것이나 아픈 것이 다시 있지 아니한다”(계 21:4)고 하였습니다. 얼마나 복된 선택입니까?
A Blessed Alternative(복된 선택)/ Revelation 21:4(계21:4)/ 2012-03-23
A Blessed Alternative(복된 선택) Revelation 21:4(계21:4) There shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. - Revelation 21:4 “다시 사망이 없고 애통하는 것이나 곡하는 것이…다시 있지 아니하리니” - 요한계시록 21:4 Imagine that a person was seriously ill and near death but then recovered. Recalling his experience, he says that recovering from the surgery that saved his life was extremely painful. But then he jokingly remarks, “Think of the alternative!” Even Christians sometimes say that. Yet what does that common jest imply? Is it better to endure the pain of this temporal world than to die and enter the eternal joys of heaven? We know that life in the coming world will be so much better than the life we now experience in this world. According to the apostle Paul, “To live is Christ, and to die is gain ... To depart and be with Christ ... is far better” (Philippians 1:21,23). Certainly we are thankful for material blessings and provisions from the Lord and all the meaningful relationships we experience here and now by His grace. But as Christians, let’s not even jokingly agree that the option of entering heaven is less desirable than surviving on this sin-cursed earth. We eagerly anticipate the joy of being with our Lord Jesus Christ in heaven (2 Corinthians 5:8). Someday “there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain” (Revelation 21:4). What a blessed alternative! - 한 사람이 중한 병에 걸려 거의 죽을 뻔하다가 살아났다고 가정해 봅시다. 그는 자기의 경험을 말하면서 생명을 건지게 된 그 수술에서 회복할 때에 통증이 매우 심했다고 말합니다. 그리고 나서 “다른 방법을 써보세요” 하고 농담조로 말하는 것입니다. 그리스도인들도 흔히 이렇게 말합니다. 그러면 농담과 같은 이 평범한 말에는 어떤 뜻이 들어 있을까요? 한시적인 이 세상에서 아픔을 견디며 사는 것이 죽어서 영원한 천국의 기쁨으로 들어가는 것보다 낫다는 뜻인가요? 다가올 세상의 삶은 지금 이 세상에서 누리는 삶에 비하여 훨씬 더 좋다는 것을 우리는 알고 있습니다. 바울사도는 “내게 사는 것이 그리스도니 죽는 것도 유익함이니라…떠나서 그리스도와 함께 있을 욕망을 가진 이것이 더욱 좋으리라”(빌 1:21, 23)고 하였습니다. 물론 우리는 하나님의 은혜로써 우리가 지금 이곳에서 누리고 있는 주님으로부터의 물질적 축복과 섭리하심, 그리고 모든 귀한 인간 관계에 대해 감사를 드립니다. 그러나 우리 그리스도인들은 천국에 들어가는 것보다 죄로 물든 이 땅위에 사는 것이 낫다는 말에 농담으로라도 동의해서는 안됩니다. 우리는 천국에서 주 예수 그리스도와 만나는 기쁨을 간절히 사모하는 사람들입니다 (고후 5:8). 어느 날엔가 “다시 사망이 없고 애통하는 것이나 곡하는 것이나 아픈 것이 다시 있지 아니한다”(계 21:4)고 하였습니다. 얼마나 복된 선택입니까?
A Blessed Person(복 있는 사람)/ Psalms 1:1-3(시1:1-3)/ Pastor Heunggyu Kim(김흥규 목사)/ 2006-01-11
A Blessed Person Psalms 1:1-3 There is a special television program that aired on Korea’s Seoul Broadcast Service station to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the station. Called “Duk Yi,” this program looked like it was made a long time ago. But on the International Channel of the cable TV, this program is aired every week. It is a story about a young girl named Guiduk, whose family members, except for her mother and one older brother, is all out of control. Her father is a dance instructor and a notorious free-spender. Her oldest brother is an ignorant hoodlum. To boot, her older sister takes away all blessings destined for her. But the viewers like this drama because of Guiduk. Despite all the difficulties, she succeeds, and the viewers get inspired watching her story. We call a person like Guiduk a good fortune. Because of her, happiness comes knocking on her family’s door. There are people in this world worthy of blessings. During this first worship service of the New Year, let’s think about whom should be blessed. Listen to today’s words, and become a blessed person yourselves. Psalms 1 acts as a prologue to the entire testament of Psalms. It contains the words that form the basis of rest of the 150 chapters of Psalms. Therefore, it comes before all the other chapters. Psalms 1 sharply contrasts a ‘blessed person’ and a ‘person without blessings.’ Those who are blessed walk the path of the righteous; those who are not walk the path of evil (verse 6). Psalms 1 introduces us to these two sharply different paths to choose from. Then who is this ‘blessed person’ mentioned in Psalms 1? When we consider this question, we must remember that the ‘blessing’ mentioned in the Bible is different from what an average person would consider a blessing. People say that one is blessed when one’s wishes come true. For example, if everyone in a household live long without disease, earn a lot of money, the husband succeeds in business, and children go to good schools, then people call that family blessed. But when Psalms 1 defines a blessed person, it is different from the secular and materialistic definition of ‘blessing.’ Then who is a blessed person? He is the one who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, does not stand in the path of a sinner, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. According to verse 1, blessed one doesn’t do three things. Foremost, he does not heed the “counsel of the ungodly.” According to the English version NRSV, he does not follow the “advice of the wicked.” What does this mean? The blessed one does not listen to advice from people who live without God, who only live with evil and secular thoughts in their minds. The blessed one does not listen to bad advice from people who live with impure thoughts in their minds. If you go out into the world, you can see many people like this. People who swindle and deceive others are out there in numbers. The blessed one does not listen to advice from these people. Next, the blessed one does not stand in the “path of a sinner.” Who is a sinner? It is those who commits a crime. Among crimes, there are petty crimes—like lying, hating, having impure thoughts—and there are major crimes, like theft and murder. When we say sin, people often think of people who commit one of these major crimes. But the Bible states that anyone who lives without God is a sinner. Therefore, the epistle of Romans states that there are no righteous people, only those who have committed sins who cannot receive the glory of God (Romans 3: 10, 23). So those who live without considering God as their Master, those who consider themselves the master of their lives are sinners. A blessed person does not take this path, the path without God. Lastly, a blessed person does not sit in “the seat of the scornful.” The English version of NRSV states, “the seat of the scoffers,” the ones who laugh at others. What do they scorn or scoff at? They scorn and scoff at God. They do not offer the throne of their lives to their Creator, God. Instead, they declare themselves king. They become arrogant. A blessed person does not get trapped in self-righteousness and scoff at the words of God. If a blessed person does not do the three things mentioned above, then what does he do? A blessed person’s delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. Take a look at verse 2. A blessed person’s “delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” He does not listen to the advice of the ungodly, does not stand in the path of sinners, and does not sit in the seat of the scornful. Rather, he enjoys God’s words and mediates on it. In Hebrew, the word for law is ‘Torah.’ ‘Torah’ can be the law, or commandments, of Moses; here, it can also mean the ‘instruction of God.’ A person without blessings listens to the advice of the deceitful ungodly, with no regards to God’s instructions. But a blessed person lives according to God’s instructions given to him, the word of God. A person without blessings has no God, lives without God’s words, and stands in the path of sinners. But a blessed person bring God into the center of their lives and live according to His words in leading a righteous life. A person without blessings ignores God and scoffs at His words, leading an arrogant life. A blessed person humbles himself before God and leads a life full of humility. In short, a blessed person, day and night, sitting or standing, coming or going, meditates God’s words and leads his life according to those words. The slogan of our church this year is “A church that understands God’s words: Entire congregation reads the Bible front to back.” Many people carry the Bible, yet does not seriously read it. There is no more important tool in understanding God and His words than the Bible. The Bible is one of the most important means to reach God’s salvation and graces. Without reading the Bible in detail, one cannot understand God’s intent. One cannot become a good Christian without having the Bible nearby. John Wesley (1703-1791), the founder of the Methodist church, once called himself ‘homo uinus libri,’ or ‘a person of the one book.’ He called himself ‘a man of the Bible.’ His sermons always started with the Bible and ended with the Bible. His writings and books were always full of quotes from the Bible. People called Wesley and his followers ‘Bible moths.’ Over the course of this year, all members of our congregation should be able to read the Bible in its entirety. The Bible is divided into 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament, for a total of 66 books. There are 929 chapters in the Old Testament and 260 chapters in the New Testament, for a total of 1,189 chapters. If one reads about 4 pages a day, then one can finish reading the Bible in a year. I plan to give expositionary sermons, the ones that completely break down and analyze the Bible, during daily morning services, Wednesday evening services, Friday prayer services, and Sunday evening services. We must, above all, concentrate our efforts on correctly understanding the Bible. This happened in a church in America. A male Christian of the church, who devoutly attended all services, was asked a question about the wife of the nephew of Abraham, Lot, in Genesis. He quickly answered, “Oh, she was a pillar of salt by day and a pillar of fire by night!” In this New Year, we must rejoice in God’s words and truly understand His words. After understanding His words, we must put them into action. During the summer of 1996, in Dadeville, Alabama, two people had a contest of who knew more about the Bible in front of an apartment. One of those two people, Gabel Taylor, had an older brother who was a minister. Therefore, he knew quite a bit about the Bible. They were contesting their knowledge about the Bible when a particular verse from the Bible led them to an argument. After a long debate, Taylor, whose brother was a minister, won the argument. But the loser of the contest was beside himself with anger. He went into his house, grabbed a gun, and shot Taylor in the face, killing him on the spot. What does this tragedy teach us? No matter how much one knows about the Bible, it all means nothing if that knowledge is not put into action. This year, it is important for us to know and learn a lot about the Bible. But we must not forget that putting that knowledge into action is much, much more important. When we put God’s words into action, people will know that we are true Christians! Then what happens to a blessed person? Whatever he does will prosper and God will recognize him. Take a look at verse 3 of today’s scripture. “He shall be like a tree, Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth is fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither, And whatever he does shall prosper.” For those like us, who live in a good environment, the magnitude of this blessing is hard to grasp. But for those people who live in a desert, like Israel and the Middle East, these words will seem like Eden. People living in a dry region, where lack of rain brings about great dust storms, the words of verse 3 are a Godsend. A tree planted in the river bed, with its roots in water always bearing fruit year-round—these words will remind the people of Middle East of Eden, where Adam and Eve once lived. Similar words appear in Jeremiah 17: 7-8. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is in the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but her leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.” What great words! For those who depend on God, who rejoice in His words, who meditate His words, and who live according to His words, these blessings will follow. Neither drought nor heat will prevent beautiful fruits from blooming. The leaves will always be green and vibrant. And they will be successful and prosperous in all they do! The blessings defined in Psalms 1 are much different than the definition of the secular world. This blessing is an internal blessing given by God. Regardless of our material wealth, authority we have, or how successful our children may be, this is a continual blessing given by God. People who receive this blessing are happy, even though they may be persecuted for believing in God. They are thankful even when their businesses fail and lose their wealth. It is because this blessing is not of this world. It is a gift from God. It is a blessing that allows us to be satisfied and joyous in one entity: God. 2003 is dawning upon us. I wish a Happy New Year to each and every one of you. Do not be a person without blessings, following the advice of the ungodly. Do not stand in the path of sinners; do not sit in the seat of the scornful. Instead, standing or sitting, day or night, rejoice in God’s words. Read it and reflect on it. And put it to action with zeal. Become the righteous people that God will recognize. Above all, be like the tree on the riverbank—always full of fruit, regardless of season. I hope in the name of our Lord that each one of you will be a blessed person! Amen Pastor Heunggyu Kim(김흥규 목사)(Incheon Naeri Methodist Church(인천 내리감리교회))
A Caution Against Bigotry(편협한 신앙에 대한 경고)/ Philippians 3:12(빌3:12)/ Pastor John Wesley(요한 웨슬리 목사)/ 영어설교(English Sermons)/ 1742-04-02
A Caution Against Bigotry(편협한 신앙에 대한 경고) Philippians 3:12(빌3:12) A Caution Against Bigotry Philippians 3:12 “And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in Thy name: and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not.” Philippians 3:12 Mark 9:38, 39 1. In the preceding verses we read, that after the Twelve had been disputing “which of them should be the greatest,” Jesus took a little child, and set him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, said unto them, “Whosoever shall receive one of these little children in My name, receiveth me; and whosoever receiveth me, receiveth not me” only, “but him that sent me.” Then “John answered,” that is, said, with reference to what our Lord had spoken just before, “Master, we saw one casting out devils in Thy name, and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.” As if he had said, “Ought we to have received him? In receiving him, should we have received thee? Ought we not rather to have forbidden him? Did not we do well therein?” “But Jesus said, Forbid him not.” 2. The same passage is recited by St. Luke, and almost in the same words. But it may be asked, “What is this to us, seeing no man now casts out devils? Has not the power of doing this been withdrawn from the church, for twelve or fourteen hundred years? How then are we concerned in the case here proposed, or in our Lord’s decision of it?” 3. Perhaps more nearly than is commonly imagined; the case proposed being no uncommon case. That we may reap our full advantage from it, I design to show, I. first, in what sense men may, and do, now cast out devils: II. secondly, what we may understand by, “He followeth not us.” I shall, III. thirdly, explain our Lord’s direction, “Forbid him not;” and IV. conclude with an inference from the whole. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I. 1. I am, in the first place, to show, in what sense men may, and do, now cast out devils. In order to have the clearest view of this, we should remember, that (according to the scriptural account) as God dwells and works in the children of light, so the devil dwells and works in the children of darkness. As the Holy Spirit possesses the souls of good men, so the evil spirit possesses the souls of the wicked. Hence it is that the Apostle terms him “the god of this world;” from the uncontrolled power he has over worldly men. Hence our blessed Lord styles him “the prince of this world;” so absolute is his dominion over it. And hence St. John: “We know that we are of God, and” all who are not of God, “the whole world,” “en tOi ponErOiI keitaiI,” --not lieth in wickedness, but “lieth in the wicked one;” lives and moves in him, as they who are not of the world do in God. 2. For the devil is not to be considered only as “a roaring lion going about seeking whom he may devour;” nor barely as a subtle enemy, who cometh unawares upon poor souls, and “leads them captive at his will;” but as he who dwelleth in them, and walketh in them; who ruleth the darkness or wickedness of this world (of worldly men and all their dark designs and actions), by keeping possession of their hearts, setting up his throne there, and bringing every thought into obedience to himself. Thus the “strong one armed keepeth his house;” and if this “unclean spirit” sometimes “go out of a man,” yet he often returns with “seven spirits worse than himself, and they enter in and dwell there.” Nor can he be idle in his dwelling. He is continually “working in” these “children of disobedience.” He works in them with power, with mighty energy, transforming them into his own likeness, effacing all the remains of the image of God, and preparing them for every evil word and work. 3. It is, therefore, an unquestionable truth, that the god and prince of this world still possesses all who know not God. Only the manner wherein he possesses them now differs from that wherein he did it of old time. Then he frequently tormented their bodies as well as souls, and that openly, without any disguise: now he torments their souls only (unless in some rare cases), and that as covertly as possible. The reason of this difference is plain: it was then his aim to drive mankind into superstition; therefore, he wrought as openly as he could. But it is his aim to drive us into infidelity; therefore, he works as privately as he can: for the more secret he is, the more he prevails. 4. Yet, if we may credit historians, there are countries, even now, where he works as openly as aforetime. “But why in savage and barbarous countries only? Why not in Italy, France, or England?” For a very plain reason: he knows his men, and he knows what he hath to do with each. To Laplanders he appears barefaced; because he is to fix them in superstition and gross idolatry. But with you he is pursuing a different point. He is to make you idolize yourselves; to make you wiser in your own eyes than God himself, than all the oracles of God. Now, in order to do this, he must not appear in his own shape: that would frustrate his design. No: He uses all his art to make you deny his being, till he has you safe in his own place. 5. He reigns, therefore, although in a different way, yet as absolute in one land as in the other. He has the gay Italian infidel in his teeth, as sure as the wild Tartar. But he is fast asleep in the mouth of the lion, who is too wise to wake him out of sleep. So he only plays with him for the present, and when he pleases, swallows him up! The god of this world holds his English worshippers full as fast as those in Lapland. But it is not his business to affright them, lest they should fly to the God of heaven. The prince of darkness, therefore, does not appear, while he rules over these his willing subjects. The conqueror holds his captives so much the safer, because they imagine themselves at liberty. Thus “the strong one armed keepeth his house, and his goods are in peace;” neither the Deist nor nominal Christian suspects he is there: so he and they are perfectly at peace with each other. 6. All this while he works with energy in them. He blinds the eyes of their understanding, so that the light of the glorious gospel of Christ cannot shine upon them. He chains their souls down to earth and hell, with the chains of their own vile affections. He binds them down to the earth, by love of the world, love of money, of pleasure, of praise. And by pride, envy, anger, hate, revenge, he causes their souls to draw nigh unto hell; acting the more secure and uncontrolled, because they know not that he acts at all. 7. But how easily may we know the cause from its effects! These are sometimes gross and palpable. So they were in the most refined of the heathen nations. Go no farther than the admired, the virtuous Romans; and you will find these, when at the height of their learning and glory, “filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, despiteful, proud, boasters, disobedient to parents, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful.” 8. The strongest parts of this description are confirm!!ed by one whom some may think a more unexceptionable witness. I mean their brother heathen, Dion Cassius; who observes, that, before Caesar’s return from Gaul, not only gluttony and lewdness of every kind were open and barefaced; not only falsehood, injustice, and unmercifulness abounded, in public courts, as well as private families; but the most outrageous robberies, rapine, and murders were so frequent in all parts of Rome, that few men went out of doors without making their wills, as not knowing if they should return alive! 9. As gross and palpable are the works of the devil among many (if not all) the modern heathens. The natural religion of the Creeks, Cherokees, Chickasaws, and all other Indians bordering on our southern settlements (not of a few single men, but of entire nations), is to torture all their prisoners from morning till night, till at length they roast them to death; and upon the slightest undesigned provocation, to come behind and shoot any of their own countrymen! Yea, it is a common thing among them, for the son, if he thinks his father lives too long, to knock out his brains; and for mother, if she is tired of her children, to fasten stones about their necks, and throw three or four of them into the river, one after another! 10. It were to be wished, that none but heathens had practised such gross, palpable works of the devil. But we dare not say so. Even in cruelty and bloodshed, how little have the Christians come behind them! And not the Spaniards or Portuguese alone, butchering thousands in South America: not the Dutch only in the East Indies, or the French in North America, following the Spaniards step by step: our own countrymen, too, have wantoned in blood, and exterminated whole nations; plainly proving thereby what spirit it is that dwells and works in the children of disobedience. 11. These monsters might almost make us overlook the works of the devil that are wrought in our own country. But, alas! we cannot open our eyes even here, without seeing them on every side. Is it a small proof of his power, that common swearers, drunkards, whoremongers, adulterers, thieves, robbers, sodomites, murderers, are still found in every part of our land? How triumphant does the prince of this world reign in all these children of disobedience! 12. He less openly, but no less effectually, works in dissemblers, tale-bearers, liars, slanderers; in oppressors and extortioners, in the perjured, the seller of his friend, his honour, his conscience, his country. And yet these may talk of religion or conscience still; of honour, virtue, and public spirit! But they can no more deceive Satan than they can God. He likewise knows those that are his: and a great multitude they are, out of every nation and people, of whom he has full possession at this day. 13. If you consider this, you cannot but see in what sense men may now also cast out devils: yea, and every Minister of Christ does cast them out, if his Lord’s work prosper in his hand. By the power of God attending his word, he brings these sinners to repentance; an entire inward as well as outward change, from all evil to all good. And this is, in a sound sense, to cast out devils, out of the souls wherein they had hitherto dwelt. The strong one can no longer keep his house. A stronger than he is come upon him, and hath cast him out, and taken possession for himself, and made it an habitation of God through his Spirit. Here, then, the energy of Satan ends, and the Son of God “destroys the works of the devil.” The understanding of the sinner is now enlightened, and his heart sweetly drawn to God. His desires are refined, his affections purified; and, being filled with the Holy Ghost, he grows in grace till he is not only holy in heart, but in all manner of conversation. 14. All this is indeed the work of God. It is God alone who can cast out Satan. But he is generally pleased to do this by man as an instrument in his hand: who is then said to cast out devils in his name, by his power and authority. And he sends whom he will send upon this great work; but usually such as man would never have thought of: for “His ways are not as our ways, neither his thoughts as our thoughts.” Accordingly, he chooses the weak to confound the mighty; the foolish to confound the wise; for this plain reason, that he may secure the glory to himself; that “no flesh may glory in his sight.” -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- II. 1. But shall we not forbid one who thus “casteth out devils,” if “he followeth not us”? This, it seems, was both the judgement and practice of the Apostle, till he referred the case to his Master. “We forbad him,” saith he, “because he followeth not us!” which he supposed to be a very sufficient reason. What we may understand by this expression!!, “He followeth not us,” is the next point to be considered. The lowest circumstance we can understand thereby, is, he has no outward connexion with us. We do not labour in conjunction with each other. He is not our fellow-helper in the gospel. And indeed whensoever our Lord is pleased to send many labourers into his harvest, they cannot all act in subordination to, or connexion with, each other. Nay, they cannot be personal acquaintance with, nor be so much as known to, one another. Many there will necessarily be, in different parts of the harvest, so far from having any mutual intercourse, that they will be as absolute strangers to each other as if they had lived in different ages. And concerning any of these whom we know not, we may doubtless say, “He followeth not us.” 2. A Second meaning of this expression!! may be, --he is not of our party. It has long been matter of melancholy consideration to all who pray for the peace of Jerusalem, that so many several parties are still subsisting among those who are all styled Christians. This has been particularly observable in our own countrymen, who have been continually dividing from each other, upon points of no moment, and many times such as religion had no concern in. The most trifling circumstances have given rise to different parties, which have continued for many generations; and each of these would be ready to object to one who was on the other side, “He followeth not us.” 3. That expression!! may mean, Thirdly, --he differs from us in our religious opinions. There was a time when all Christians were of one mind, as well as of one heart, so great grace was upon them all, when they were first filled with the Holy Ghost! But how short a space did this blessing continue! How soon was that unanimity lost! and difference of opinion sprang up again, even in the church of Christ, --and that not in nominal but in real Christians; nay, in the very chief of them, the Apostles themselves! Nor does it appear that the difference which then began was ever entirely removed. We do not find that even those pillars in the temple of God, so long as they remained upon the earth, were ever brought to think alike, to be of one mind, particularly with regard to the ceremonial law. It is therefore no way surprising, that infinite varieties of opinion should now be found in the Christian church. A very probable consequence of this is, that whenever we see any “casting out devils,” he will be one that, in this sense, “followeth not us” --that is not of our opinion. It is scarce to be imagined he will be of our mind in all points, even of religion. He may very probably think in a different manner from us, even on several subjects of import!!ance; such as the nature and use of the moral law, the eternal decrees of God, the sufficiency and efficacy of his grace, and the perseverance of his children. 4. He may differ from us, Fourthly, not only in opinion, but likewise in some point of practice. He may not approve of that manner of worshipping God which is practised in our congregation; and may judge that to be more profitable for his soul which took its rise from Calvin or Martin Luther. He may have many objections to that Liturgy which we approve of beyond all others; many doubts concerning that form of church government which we esteem both apostolical and scriptural. Perhaps he may go farther from us yet: he may, from a principle of conscience, refrain from several of those which we believe to be the ordinances of Christ. Or, if we both agree that they are ordained of God, there may still remain a difference between us, either as to the manner of administering those ordinances, or the persons to whom they should be administered. Now the unavoidable consequence of any of these differences will be, that he who thus differs from us must separate himself, with regard to those points, from our society. In this respect, therefore, “he followeth not us”: he is not (as we phrase it) “of our Church.” 5. But in a far stronger sense “he followeth not us,” who is not only of a different Church, but of such a Church as we account to be in many respects anti-scriptural and anti-Christian, --a Church which we believe to be utterly false and erroneous in her doctrines, as well as very dangerously wrong in her practice; guilty of gross superstition as well as idolatry, --a Church that has added many articles to the faith which was once delivered to the saints; that has dropped one whole commandment of God, and made void several of the rest by her traditions; and that, pretending the highest veneration for, and strictest conformity to, the ancient Church, has nevertheless brought in numberless innovations, without any warrant either from antiquity or Scripture. Now, most certainly, “he followeth not us,” who stands at so great a distance from us. 6. And yet there may be a still wider difference than this. He who differs from us in judgement or practice, may possibly stand at a greater distance from us in affection than in judgement. And this indeed is a very natural and a very common effect of the other. The differences which begin in points of opinion seldom terminate there. They generally spread into the affections, and then separate chief friends. Nor are any animosities so deep and irreconcilable as those that spring from disagreement in religion. For this cause the bitterest enemies of a man are those of his own household. For this the father rises against his own children, and the children against the father; and perhaps persecute each other even to the death, thinking all the time they are doing God service. It is therefore nothing more than we may expect, if those who differ from us, either in religious opinions or practice, soon contract a sharpness, yea, bitterness towards us; if they are more and more prejudiced against us, till they conceive as ill an opinion of our persons as of our principles. An almost necessary consequence of this will be, they will speak in the same manner as they think of us. They will set themselves in opposition to us, and, as far as they are able, hinder our work; seeing it does not appear to them to be the work of God, but either of man or of the devil. He that thinks, speaks, and acts in such a manner as this, in the highest sense, “followeth not us.” 7. I do not indeed conceive, that the person of whom the Apostle speaks in the text (although we have no particular account of him, either in the context, or in any other part of holy writ) went so far as this. We have no ground to suppose that there was any material difference between him and the Apostles, much less that he had any prejudice either against them or their Master. It seems we may gather thus much from our Lord’s own words, which immediately follow the text: “There is no man which shall do a miracle in My name, that can lightly speak evil of me.” But I purposely put the case in the strongest light, adding all the circumstances which can well be conceived, that, being forewarned of the temptation in its full strength, we may in no case yield to it, and fight against God. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- III. 1. Suppose, then, a man have no intercourse with us, suppose he be not of our party, suppose he separate from our Church, yea, and widely differ from us, both in judgement, practice, and affection; yet if we see even this man “casting out devils,” Jesus saith, “Forbid him not.” This import!!ant direction of our Lord I am, in the Third place, to explain. 2. If we see this man casting out devils: But it is well if, in such a case, we would believe even what we saw with our eyes, if we did not give the lie to our own senses. He must be little acquainted with human nature who does not immediately perceive how extremely unready we should be to believe that any man does cast out devils who “followeth not us” in all or most of the senses above recited: I had almost said, in any of them, seeing we may easily learn even from what passes in our own breasts, how unwilling men are to allow anything good in those who do not in all things agree with themselves. 3. “But what is a sufficient, reasonable proof, that a man does (in the sense above) cast out devils?” The answer is easy. Is there full proof, (1) That a person before us was a gross, open sinner? (2) That he is not so now? that he has broke off his sins, and lives a Christian life? And (3) That this change was wrought by his hearing this man preach? If these three points be plain and undeniable, then you have sufficient, reasonable proof, such as you cannot resist without wilful sin, that this man casts out devils. 4. Then “forbid him not.” Beware how you attempt to hinder him, either by your authority, or arguments, or persuasions. Do not in any wise strive to prevent his using all the power which God has given him. If you have authority with him, do not use that authority to stop the work of God. Do not furnish him with reasons why he ought not any more to speak in the name of Jesus. Satan will not fail to supply him with these, if you do not second him therein. Persuade him not to depart from the work. If he should give place to the devil and you, many souls might perish in their iniquity, but their blood would God require at your hands. 5. “But what, if he be only a layman, who casts out devils! Ought I not to forbid him then?” Is the fact allowed? Is there reasonable proof that this man has or does cast out devils? If there is, forbid him not; no, not at the peril of your soul. Shall not God work by whom he will work? No man can do these works unless God is with him; unless God hath sent him for this very thing. But if God hath sent him, will you call him back? Will you forbid him to go? 6. “But I do not know that he is sent of God.” “Now herein is a marvellous thing” (may any of the seals of his mission say, any whom he hath brought from Satan to God), “that ye know not whence this man is, and, behold, he hath opened mine eyes! If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.” If you doubt the fact, send for the parents of the man: send for his brethren, friends, acquaintance. But if you cannot doubt this, if you must needs acknowledge “that a notable miracle hath been wrought” then with what conscience, with what face, can you charge him whom God hath sent, “not to speak any more in his name”? 7. I allow, that it is highly expedient, whoever preaches in his name should have an outward as well as an inward call, but that it is absolutely necessary, I deny. “Nay, is not the Scripture express? ‘No man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.’ ” (Heb. 5:4) Numberless times has this text been quoted on the occasion, as containing the very strength of the cause; but surely never was so unhappy a quotation. For, First, Aaron was not called to preach at all: he was called “to offer gifts and sacrifice for sin.” That was his peculiar employment. Secondly, these men do not offer sacrifice at all, but only preach; which Aaron did not. Therefore it is not possible to find one text in all the Bible which is more wide of the point than this. 8. “But what was the practice of the apostolic age?” You may easily see in the Acts of the Apostles. In the eighth chapter we read, “There was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the Apostles.” (Verse 1) “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.” (Verse 4) Now, were all these outwardly called to preach? No man in his senses can think so. Here, then, is an undeniable proof, what was the practice of the apostolic age. Here you see not one, but a multitude of lay preachers, men that were only sent of God. 9. Indeed, so far is the practice of the apostolic age from inclining us to think it was unlawful for a man to preach before he was ordained, that we have reason to think it was then accounted necessary. Certainly the practice and the direction of the Apostle Paul was, to prove a man before he was ordained at all. “Let these” (the deacons), says he, “first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon.” (1 Tim. 3:10) Proved, how? By setting them to construe a sentence of Greek and asking them a few commonplace questions? O amazing proof of a Minister of Christ! Nay; but by making a clear, open trial (as is still done by most of the Protestant Churches of Europe) not only whether their lives be holy and unblamable, but whether they have such gifts as are absolutely and indispensably necessary in order to edify the church of Christ. 10. But what if a man has these, and has brought sinners to repentance, and yet the Bishop will not ordain him? Then the Bishop does forbid him to cast out devils. But I dare not forbid him: I have published my reasons to all the world. Yet it is still insisted I ought to do it. You who insist upon it answer those reasons. I know not that any have done this yet, or even made an attempt of doing it. Only some have spoken of them as very weak and trifling: and this was prudent enough; for it is far easier to despise, at least seem to despise, an argument, than to answer it. Yet till this is done I must say, when I have reasonable proof that any man does cast out devils, whatever others do, I dare not forbid him, lest I be found even to fight against God. 11. And whosoever thou art that fearest God, “forbid him not, either directly or indirectly. There are many ways of doing this. You indirectly forbid him, if you either wholly deny, or despise and make little account of, the work which God has wrought by his hands. You indirectly forbid him, when you discourage him in his work, by drawing him into disputes concerning it, by raising objections against it, or frightening him with consequences which very possibly will never be. You forbid him when you show any unkindness toward him either in language or behaviour! and much more when you speak of him to others either in an unkind or a contemptuous manner; when you endeavour to represent him to any either in an odious or a despicable light. You are forbidding him all the time you are speaking evil of him, or making no account of his labours. O forbid him not in any of these ways; nor by forbidding others to hear him, --by discouraging sinners from hearing that word which is able to save their souls! 12. Yea, if you would observe our Lord’s direction in its full meaning and extent, then remember his word: “He that is not for us is against us; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth”: he that gathereth not men into the kingdom of God, assuredly scatters them from it. For there can be no neuter in this war. Every one is either on God’s side, or on Satan’s. Are you on God’s side? Then you will not only not forbid any man that casts out devils, but you will labour, to the uttermost of your power, to forward him in the work. You will readily acknowledge the work of God, and confess the greatness of it. You will remove all difficulties and objections, as far as may be, out of his way. You will strengthen his hands by speaking honourably of him before all men, and avowing the things which you have seen and heard. You will encourage others to attend upon his word, to hear him whom God hath sent. And you will omit no actual proof of tender love, which God gives you an opportunity of showing him. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- IV. 1. If we willingly fail in any of these points, if we either directly or indirectly forbid him, “because he followeth not us,” then we are bigots. This is the inference I draw from what has been said. But the term “bigotry,” I fear, as frequently as it is used, is almost as little understood as “enthusiasm.” It is too strong an attachment to, or fondness for, our own party, opinion, church, and religion. Therefore he is a bigot who is so fond of any of these, so strongly attached to them, as to forbid any who casts out devils because he differs from himself in any or all these particulars. 2. Do you beware of this. Take care (1) That you do not convict yourself of bigotry, by your unreadiness to believe that any man does cast out devils, who differs from you. And if you are clear thus far, if you acknowledge the fact, then examine yourself, (2) Am I not convicted of bigotry in this, in forbidding him directly or indirectly? Do I not directly forbid him on this ground, because he is not of my party, because he does not fall in with my opinions, or because he does not worship God according to that scheme of religion which I have received from my fathers? 3. Examine yourself, Do I not indirectly at least forbid him, on any of these grounds? Am I not sorry that God should thus own and bless a man that holds such erroneous opinions? Do I not discourage him, because he is not of my Church, by disputing with him concerning it, by raising objections, and by perplexing his mind with distant consequences? Do I show no anger, contempt, or unkindness of any sort, either in my words or actions? Do I not mention behind his back, his (real or supposed) faults --his defects or infirmities? Do not I hinder sinners from hearing his word? If you do any of these things, you are a bigot to this day. 4. “Search me, O Lord, and prove me. Try out my reins and my heart! Look well if there be any way of” bigotry “in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” In order to examine ourselves thoroughly, let the case be proposed in the strongest manner. What, if I were to see a Papist, an Arian, a Socinian casting out devils? If I did, I could not forbid even him, without convicting myself of bigotry. Yea, if it could be supposed that I should see a Jew, a Deist, or a Turk, doing the same, were I to forbid him either directly or indirectly, I should be no better than a bigot still. 5. O stand clear of this! But be not content with not forbidding any that casts out devils. It is well to go thus far; but do not stop here. If you will avoid all bigotry, go on. In every instance of this kind, whatever the instrument be, acknowledge the finger of God. And not only acknowledge, but rejoice in his work, and praise his name with thanksgiving. Encourage whomsoever God is pleased to employ, to give himself wholly up thereto. Speak well of him wheresoever you are; defend his character and his mission. Enlarge, as far as you can, his sphere of action; show him all kindness in word and deed; and cease not to cry to God in his behalf, that he may save both himself and them that hear him. 6. I need add but one caution: Think not the bigotry of another is any excuse for your own. It is not impossible, that one who casts out devils himself, may yet forbid you so to do. You may observe, this is the very case mentioned in the text. The Apostles forbade another to do what they did themselves. But beware of retorting. It is not your part to return evil for evil. Another’s not observing the direction of our Lord, is no reason why you should neglect it. Nay, but let him have all the bigotry to himself. If he forbid you, do not you forbid him. Rather labour, and watch, and pray the more, to confirm!! your love toward him. If he speak all manner of evil of you, speak all manner of good (that is true) of him. Imitate herein that glorious saying of a great man, (O that he had always breathed the same spirit!) “Let Luther call me a hundred devils; I will still reverence him as a messenger of God.” Pastor John Wesley
A Caution Against Bigotry(편협한 신앙에 대한 경고)/ Philippians 3:12(빌3:12)/ Pastor John Wesley(요한 웨슬리 목사)/ 영어설교(English Sermons)/ 1742-04-02
A Caution Against Bigotry(편협한 신앙에 대한 경고) Philippians 3:12(빌3:12) A Caution Against Bigotry Philippians 3:12 “And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in Thy name: and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not.” Philippians 3:12 Mark 9:38, 39 1. In the preceding verses we read, that after the Twelve had been disputing “which of them should be the greatest,” Jesus took a little child, and set him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, said unto them, “Whosoever shall receive one of these little children in My name, receiveth me; and whosoever receiveth me, receiveth not me” only, “but him that sent me.” Then “John answered,” that is, said, with reference to what our Lord had spoken just before, “Master, we saw one casting out devils in Thy name, and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.” As if he had said, “Ought we to have received him? In receiving him, should we have received thee? Ought we not rather to have forbidden him? Did not we do well therein?” “But Jesus said, Forbid him not.” 2. The same passage is recited by St. Luke, and almost in the same words. But it may be asked, “What is this to us, seeing no man now casts out devils? Has not the power of doing this been withdrawn from the church, for twelve or fourteen hundred years? How then are we concerned in the case here proposed, or in our Lord’s decision of it?” 3. Perhaps more nearly than is commonly imagined; the case proposed being no uncommon case. That we may reap our full advantage from it, I design to show, I. first, in what sense men may, and do, now cast out devils: II. secondly, what we may understand by, “He followeth not us.” I shall, III. thirdly, explain our Lord’s direction, “Forbid him not;” and IV. conclude with an inference from the whole. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I. 1. I am, in the first place, to show, in what sense men may, and do, now cast out devils. In order to have the clearest view of this, we should remember, that (according to the scriptural account) as God dwells and works in the children of light, so the devil dwells and works in the children of darkness. As the Holy Spirit possesses the souls of good men, so the evil spirit possesses the souls of the wicked. Hence it is that the Apostle terms him “the god of this world;” from the uncontrolled power he has over worldly men. Hence our blessed Lord styles him “the prince of this world;” so absolute is his dominion over it. And hence St. John: “We know that we are of God, and” all who are not of God, “the whole world,” “en tOi ponErOiI keitaiI,” --not lieth in wickedness, but “lieth in the wicked one;” lives and moves in him, as they who are not of the world do in God. 2. For the devil is not to be considered only as “a roaring lion going about seeking whom he may devour;” nor barely as a subtle enemy, who cometh unawares upon poor souls, and “leads them captive at his will;” but as he who dwelleth in them, and walketh in them; who ruleth the darkness or wickedness of this world (of worldly men and all their dark designs and actions), by keeping possession of their hearts, setting up his throne there, and bringing every thought into obedience to himself. Thus the “strong one armed keepeth his house;” and if this “unclean spirit” sometimes “go out of a man,” yet he often returns with “seven spirits worse than himself, and they enter in and dwell there.” Nor can he be idle in his dwelling. He is continually “working in” these “children of disobedience.” He works in them with power, with mighty energy, transforming them into his own likeness, effacing all the remains of the image of God, and preparing them for every evil word and work. 3. It is, therefore, an unquestionable truth, that the god and prince of this world still possesses all who know not God. Only the manner wherein he possesses them now differs from that wherein he did it of old time. Then he frequently tormented their bodies as well as souls, and that openly, without any disguise: now he torments their souls only (unless in some rare cases), and that as covertly as possible. The reason of this difference is plain: it was then his aim to drive mankind into superstition; therefore, he wrought as openly as he could. But it is his aim to drive us into infidelity; therefore, he works as privately as he can: for the more secret he is, the more he prevails. 4. Yet, if we may credit historians, there are countries, even now, where he works as openly as aforetime. “But why in savage and barbarous countries only? Why not in Italy, France, or England?” For a very plain reason: he knows his men, and he knows what he hath to do with each. To Laplanders he appears barefaced; because he is to fix them in superstition and gross idolatry. But with you he is pursuing a different point. He is to make you idolize yourselves; to make you wiser in your own eyes than God himself, than all the oracles of God. Now, in order to do this, he must not appear in his own shape: that would frustrate his design. No: He uses all his art to make you deny his being, till he has you safe in his own place. 5. He reigns, therefore, although in a different way, yet as absolute in one land as in the other. He has the gay Italian infidel in his teeth, as sure as the wild Tartar. But he is fast asleep in the mouth of the lion, who is too wise to wake him out of sleep. So he only plays with him for the present, and when he pleases, swallows him up! The god of this world holds his English worshippers full as fast as those in Lapland. But it is not his business to affright them, lest they should fly to the God of heaven. The prince of darkness, therefore, does not appear, while he rules over these his willing subjects. The conqueror holds his captives so much the safer, because they imagine themselves at liberty. Thus “the strong one armed keepeth his house, and his goods are in peace;” neither the Deist nor nominal Christian suspects he is there: so he and they are perfectly at peace with each other. 6. All this while he works with energy in them. He blinds the eyes of their understanding, so that the light of the glorious gospel of Christ cannot shine upon them. He chains their souls down to earth and hell, with the chains of their own vile affections. He binds them down to the earth, by love of the world, love of money, of pleasure, of praise. And by pride, envy, anger, hate, revenge, he causes their souls to draw nigh unto hell; acting the more secure and uncontrolled, because they know not that he acts at all. 7. But how easily may we know the cause from its effects! These are sometimes gross and palpable. So they were in the most refined of the heathen nations. Go no farther than the admired, the virtuous Romans; and you will find these, when at the height of their learning and glory, “filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, despiteful, proud, boasters, disobedient to parents, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful.” 8. The strongest parts of this description are confirm!!ed by one whom some may think a more unexceptionable witness. I mean their brother heathen, Dion Cassius; who observes, that, before Caesar’s return from Gaul, not only gluttony and lewdness of every kind were open and barefaced; not only falsehood, injustice, and unmercifulness abounded, in public courts, as well as private families; but the most outrageous robberies, rapine, and murders were so frequent in all parts of Rome, that few men went out of doors without making their wills, as not knowing if they should return alive! 9. As gross and palpable are the works of the devil among many (if not all) the modern heathens. The natural religion of the Creeks, Cherokees, Chickasaws, and all other Indians bordering on our southern settlements (not of a few single men, but of entire nations), is to torture all their prisoners from morning till night, till at length they roast them to death; and upon the slightest undesigned provocation, to come behind and shoot any of their own countrymen! Yea, it is a common thing among them, for the son, if he thinks his father lives too long, to knock out his brains; and for mother, if she is tired of her children, to fasten stones about their necks, and throw three or four of them into the river, one after another! 10. It were to be wished, that none but heathens had practised such gross, palpable works of the devil. But we dare not say so. Even in cruelty and bloodshed, how little have the Christians come behind them! And not the Spaniards or Portuguese alone, butchering thousands in South America: not the Dutch only in the East Indies, or the French in North America, following the Spaniards step by step: our own countrymen, too, have wantoned in blood, and exterminated whole nations; plainly proving thereby what spirit it is that dwells and works in the children of disobedience. 11. These monsters might almost make us overlook the works of the devil that are wrought in our own country. But, alas! we cannot open our eyes even here, without seeing them on every side. Is it a small proof of his power, that common swearers, drunkards, whoremongers, adulterers, thieves, robbers, sodomites, murderers, are still found in every part of our land? How triumphant does the prince of this world reign in all these children of disobedience! 12. He less openly, but no less effectually, works in dissemblers, tale-bearers, liars, slanderers; in oppressors and extortioners, in the perjured, the seller of his friend, his honour, his conscience, his country. And yet these may talk of religion or conscience still; of honour, virtue, and public spirit! But they can no more deceive Satan than they can God. He likewise knows those that are his: and a great multitude they are, out of every nation and people, of whom he has full possession at this day. 13. If you consider this, you cannot but see in what sense men may now also cast out devils: yea, and every Minister of Christ does cast them out, if his Lord’s work prosper in his hand. By the power of God attending his word, he brings these sinners to repentance; an entire inward as well as outward change, from all evil to all good. And this is, in a sound sense, to cast out devils, out of the souls wherein they had hitherto dwelt. The strong one can no longer keep his house. A stronger than he is come upon him, and hath cast him out, and taken possession for himself, and made it an habitation of God through his Spirit. Here, then, the energy of Satan ends, and the Son of God “destroys the works of the devil.” The understanding of the sinner is now enlightened, and his heart sweetly drawn to God. His desires are refined, his affections purified; and, being filled with the Holy Ghost, he grows in grace till he is not only holy in heart, but in all manner of conversation. 14. All this is indeed the work of God. It is God alone who can cast out Satan. But he is generally pleased to do this by man as an instrument in his hand: who is then said to cast out devils in his name, by his power and authority. And he sends whom he will send upon this great work; but usually such as man would never have thought of: for “His ways are not as our ways, neither his thoughts as our thoughts.” Accordingly, he chooses the weak to confound the mighty; the foolish to confound the wise; for this plain reason, that he may secure the glory to himself; that “no flesh may glory in his sight.” -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- II. 1. But shall we not forbid one who thus “casteth out devils,” if “he followeth not us”? This, it seems, was both the judgement and practice of the Apostle, till he referred the case to his Master. “We forbad him,” saith he, “because he followeth not us!” which he supposed to be a very sufficient reason. What we may understand by this expression!!, “He followeth not us,” is the next point to be considered. The lowest circumstance we can understand thereby, is, he has no outward connexion with us. We do not labour in conjunction with each other. He is not our fellow-helper in the gospel. And indeed whensoever our Lord is pleased to send many labourers into his harvest, they cannot all act in subordination to, or connexion with, each other. Nay, they cannot be personal acquaintance with, nor be so much as known to, one another. Many there will necessarily be, in different parts of the harvest, so far from having any mutual intercourse, that they will be as absolute strangers to each other as if they had lived in different ages. And concerning any of these whom we know not, we may doubtless say, “He followeth not us.” 2. A Second meaning of this expression!! may be, --he is not of our party. It has long been matter of melancholy consideration to all who pray for the peace of Jerusalem, that so many several parties are still subsisting among those who are all styled Christians. This has been particularly observable in our own countrymen, who have been continually dividing from each other, upon points of no moment, and many times such as religion had no concern in. The most trifling circumstances have given rise to different parties, which have continued for many generations; and each of these would be ready to object to one who was on the other side, “He followeth not us.” 3. That expression!! may mean, Thirdly, --he differs from us in our religious opinions. There was a time when all Christians were of one mind, as well as of one heart, so great grace was upon them all, when they were first filled with the Holy Ghost! But how short a space did this blessing continue! How soon was that unanimity lost! and difference of opinion sprang up again, even in the church of Christ, --and that not in nominal but in real Christians; nay, in the very chief of them, the Apostles themselves! Nor does it appear that the difference which then began was ever entirely removed. We do not find that even those pillars in the temple of God, so long as they remained upon the earth, were ever brought to think alike, to be of one mind, particularly with regard to the ceremonial law. It is therefore no way surprising, that infinite varieties of opinion should now be found in the Christian church. A very probable consequence of this is, that whenever we see any “casting out devils,” he will be one that, in this sense, “followeth not us” --that is not of our opinion. It is scarce to be imagined he will be of our mind in all points, even of religion. He may very probably think in a different manner from us, even on several subjects of import!!ance; such as the nature and use of the moral law, the eternal decrees of God, the sufficiency and efficacy of his grace, and the perseverance of his children. 4. He may differ from us, Fourthly, not only in opinion, but likewise in some point of practice. He may not approve of that manner of worshipping God which is practised in our congregation; and may judge that to be more profitable for his soul which took its rise from Calvin or Martin Luther. He may have many objections to that Liturgy which we approve of beyond all others; many doubts concerning that form of church government which we esteem both apostolical and scriptural. Perhaps he may go farther from us yet: he may, from a principle of conscience, refrain from several of those which we believe to be the ordinances of Christ. Or, if we both agree that they are ordained of God, there may still remain a difference between us, either as to the manner of administering those ordinances, or the persons to whom they should be administered. Now the unavoidable consequence of any of these differences will be, that he who thus differs from us must separate himself, with regard to those points, from our society. In this respect, therefore, “he followeth not us”: he is not (as we phrase it) “of our Church.” 5. But in a far stronger sense “he followeth not us,” who is not only of a different Church, but of such a Church as we account to be in many respects anti-scriptural and anti-Christian, --a Church which we believe to be utterly false and erroneous in her doctrines, as well as very dangerously wrong in her practice; guilty of gross superstition as well as idolatry, --a Church that has added many articles to the faith which was once delivered to the saints; that has dropped one whole commandment of God, and made void several of the rest by her traditions; and that, pretending the highest veneration for, and strictest conformity to, the ancient Church, has nevertheless brought in numberless innovations, without any warrant either from antiquity or Scripture. Now, most certainly, “he followeth not us,” who stands at so great a distance from us. 6. And yet there may be a still wider difference than this. He who differs from us in judgement or practice, may possibly stand at a greater distance from us in affection than in judgement. And this indeed is a very natural and a very common effect of the other. The differences which begin in points of opinion seldom terminate there. They generally spread into the affections, and then separate chief friends. Nor are any animosities so deep and irreconcilable as those that spring from disagreement in religion. For this cause the bitterest enemies of a man are those of his own household. For this the father rises against his own children, and the children against the father; and perhaps persecute each other even to the death, thinking all the time they are doing God service. It is therefore nothing more than we may expect, if those who differ from us, either in religious opinions or practice, soon contract a sharpness, yea, bitterness towards us; if they are more and more prejudiced against us, till they conceive as ill an opinion of our persons as of our principles. An almost necessary consequence of this will be, they will speak in the same manner as they think of us. They will set themselves in opposition to us, and, as far as they are able, hinder our work; seeing it does not appear to them to be the work of God, but either of man or of the devil. He that thinks, speaks, and acts in such a manner as this, in the highest sense, “followeth not us.” 7. I do not indeed conceive, that the person of whom the Apostle speaks in the text (although we have no particular account of him, either in the context, or in any other part of holy writ) went so far as this. We have no ground to suppose that there was any material difference between him and the Apostles, much less that he had any prejudice either against them or their Master. It seems we may gather thus much from our Lord’s own words, which immediately follow the text: “There is no man which shall do a miracle in My name, that can lightly speak evil of me.” But I purposely put the case in the strongest light, adding all the circumstances which can well be conceived, that, being forewarned of the temptation in its full strength, we may in no case yield to it, and fight against God. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- III. 1. Suppose, then, a man have no intercourse with us, suppose he be not of our party, suppose he separate from our Church, yea, and widely differ from us, both in judgement, practice, and affection; yet if we see even this man “casting out devils,” Jesus saith, “Forbid him not.” This import!!ant direction of our Lord I am, in the Third place, to explain. 2. If we see this man casting out devils: But it is well if, in such a case, we would believe even what we saw with our eyes, if we did not give the lie to our own senses. He must be little acquainted with human nature who does not immediately perceive how extremely unready we should be to believe that any man does cast out devils who “followeth not us” in all or most of the senses above recited: I had almost said, in any of them, seeing we may easily learn even from what passes in our own breasts, how unwilling men are to allow anything good in those who do not in all things agree with themselves. 3. “But what is a sufficient, reasonable proof, that a man does (in the sense above) cast out devils?” The answer is easy. Is there full proof, (1) That a person before us was a gross, open sinner? (2) That he is not so now? that he has broke off his sins, and lives a Christian life? And (3) That this change was wrought by his hearing this man preach? If these three points be plain and undeniable, then you have sufficient, reasonable proof, such as you cannot resist without wilful sin, that this man casts out devils. 4. Then “forbid him not.” Beware how you attempt to hinder him, either by your authority, or arguments, or persuasions. Do not in any wise strive to prevent his using all the power which God has given him. If you have authority with him, do not use that authority to stop the work of God. Do not furnish him with reasons why he ought not any more to speak in the name of Jesus. Satan will not fail to supply him with these, if you do not second him therein. Persuade him not to depart from the work. If he should give place to the devil and you, many souls might perish in their iniquity, but their blood would God require at your hands. 5. “But what, if he be only a layman, who casts out devils! Ought I not to forbid him then?” Is the fact allowed? Is there reasonable proof that this man has or does cast out devils? If there is, forbid him not; no, not at the peril of your soul. Shall not God work by whom he will work? No man can do these works unless God is with him; unless God hath sent him for this very thing. But if God hath sent him, will you call him back? Will you forbid him to go? 6. “But I do not know that he is sent of God.” “Now herein is a marvellous thing” (may any of the seals of his mission say, any whom he hath brought from Satan to God), “that ye know not whence this man is, and, behold, he hath opened mine eyes! If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.” If you doubt the fact, send for the parents of the man: send for his brethren, friends, acquaintance. But if you cannot doubt this, if you must needs acknowledge “that a notable miracle hath been wrought” then with what conscience, with what face, can you charge him whom God hath sent, “not to speak any more in his name”? 7. I allow, that it is highly expedient, whoever preaches in his name should have an outward as well as an inward call, but that it is absolutely necessary, I deny. “Nay, is not the Scripture express? ‘No man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.’ ” (Heb. 5:4) Numberless times has this text been quoted on the occasion, as containing the very strength of the cause; but surely never was so unhappy a quotation. For, First, Aaron was not called to preach at all: he was called “to offer gifts and sacrifice for sin.” That was his peculiar employment. Secondly, these men do not offer sacrifice at all, but only preach; which Aaron did not. Therefore it is not possible to find one text in all the Bible which is more wide of the point than this. 8. “But what was the practice of the apostolic age?” You may easily see in the Acts of the Apostles. In the eighth chapter we read, “There was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the Apostles.” (Verse 1) “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.” (Verse 4) Now, were all these outwardly called to preach? No man in his senses can think so. Here, then, is an undeniable proof, what was the practice of the apostolic age. Here you see not one, but a multitude of lay preachers, men that were only sent of God. 9. Indeed, so far is the practice of the apostolic age from inclining us to think it was unlawful for a man to preach before he was ordained, that we have reason to think it was then accounted necessary. Certainly the practice and the direction of the Apostle Paul was, to prove a man before he was ordained at all. “Let these” (the deacons), says he, “first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon.” (1 Tim. 3:10) Proved, how? By setting them to construe a sentence of Greek and asking them a few commonplace questions? O amazing proof of a Minister of Christ! Nay; but by making a clear, open trial (as is still done by most of the Protestant Churches of Europe) not only whether their lives be holy and unblamable, but whether they have such gifts as are absolutely and indispensably necessary in order to edify the church of Christ. 10. But what if a man has these, and has brought sinners to repentance, and yet the Bishop will not ordain him? Then the Bishop does forbid him to cast out devils. But I dare not forbid him: I have published my reasons to all the world. Yet it is still insisted I ought to do it. You who insist upon it answer those reasons. I know not that any have done this yet, or even made an attempt of doing it. Only some have spoken of them as very weak and trifling: and this was prudent enough; for it is far easier to despise, at least seem to despise, an argument, than to answer it. Yet till this is done I must say, when I have reasonable proof that any man does cast out devils, whatever others do, I dare not forbid him, lest I be found even to fight against God. 11. And whosoever thou art that fearest God, “forbid him not, either directly or indirectly. There are many ways of doing this. You indirectly forbid him, if you either wholly deny, or despise and make little account of, the work which God has wrought by his hands. You indirectly forbid him, when you discourage him in his work, by drawing him into disputes concerning it, by raising objections against it, or frightening him with consequences which very possibly will never be. You forbid him when you show any unkindness toward him either in language or behaviour! and much more when you speak of him to others either in an unkind or a contemptuous manner; when you endeavour to represent him to any either in an odious or a despicable light. You are forbidding him all the time you are speaking evil of him, or making no account of his labours. O forbid him not in any of these ways; nor by forbidding others to hear him, --by discouraging sinners from hearing that word which is able to save their souls! 12. Yea, if you would observe our Lord’s direction in its full meaning and extent, then remember his word: “He that is not for us is against us; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth”: he that gathereth not men into the kingdom of God, assuredly scatters them from it. For there can be no neuter in this war. Every one is either on God’s side, or on Satan’s. Are you on God’s side? Then you will not only not forbid any man that casts out devils, but you will labour, to the uttermost of your power, to forward him in the work. You will readily acknowledge the work of God, and confess the greatness of it. You will remove all difficulties and objections, as far as may be, out of his way. You will strengthen his hands by speaking honourably of him before all men, and avowing the things which you have seen and heard. You will encourage others to attend upon his word, to hear him whom God hath sent. And you will omit no actual proof of tender love, which God gives you an opportunity of showing him. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- IV. 1. If we willingly fail in any of these points, if we either directly or indirectly forbid him, “because he followeth not us,” then we are bigots. This is the inference I draw from what has been said. But the term “bigotry,” I fear, as frequently as it is used, is almost as little understood as “enthusiasm.” It is too strong an attachment to, or fondness for, our own party, opinion, church, and religion. Therefore he is a bigot who is so fond of any of these, so strongly attached to them, as to forbid any who casts out devils because he differs from himself in any or all these particulars. 2. Do you beware of this. Take care (1) That you do not convict yourself of bigotry, by your unreadiness to believe that any man does cast out devils, who differs from you. And if you are clear thus far, if you acknowledge the fact, then examine yourself, (2) Am I not convicted of bigotry in this, in forbidding him directly or indirectly? Do I not directly forbid him on this ground, because he is not of my party, because he does not fall in with my opinions, or because he does not worship God according to that scheme of religion which I have received from my fathers? 3. Examine yourself, Do I not indirectly at least forbid him, on any of these grounds? Am I not sorry that God should thus own and bless a man that holds such erroneous opinions? Do I not discourage him, because he is not of my Church, by disputing with him concerning it, by raising objections, and by perplexing his mind with distant consequences? Do I show no anger, contempt, or unkindness of any sort, either in my words or actions? Do I not mention behind his back, his (real or supposed) faults --his defects or infirmities? Do not I hinder sinners from hearing his word? If you do any of these things, you are a bigot to this day. 4. “Search me, O Lord, and prove me. Try out my reins and my heart! Look well if there be any way of” bigotry “in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” In order to examine ourselves thoroughly, let the case be proposed in the strongest manner. What, if I were to see a Papist, an Arian, a Socinian casting out devils? If I did, I could not forbid even him, without convicting myself of bigotry. Yea, if it could be supposed that I should see a Jew, a Deist, or a Turk, doing the same, were I to forbid him either directly or indirectly, I should be no better than a bigot still. 5. O stand clear of this! But be not content with not forbidding any that casts out devils. It is well to go thus far; but do not stop here. If you will avoid all bigotry, go on. In every instance of this kind, whatever the instrument be, acknowledge the finger of God. And not only acknowledge, but rejoice in his work, and praise his name with thanksgiving. Encourage whomsoever God is pleased to employ, to give himself wholly up thereto. Speak well of him wheresoever you are; defend his character and his mission. Enlarge, as far as you can, his sphere of action; show him all kindness in word and deed; and cease not to cry to God in his behalf, that he may save both himself and them that hear him. 6. I need add but one caution: Think not the bigotry of another is any excuse for your own. It is not impossible, that one who casts out devils himself, may yet forbid you so to do. You may observe, this is the very case mentioned in the text. The Apostles forbade another to do what they did themselves. But beware of retorting. It is not your part to return evil for evil. Another’s not observing the direction of our Lord, is no reason why you should neglect it. Nay, but let him have all the bigotry to himself. If he forbid you, do not you forbid him. Rather labour, and watch, and pray the more, to confirm!! your love toward him. If he speak all manner of evil of you, speak all manner of good (that is true) of him. Imitate herein that glorious saying of a great man, (O that he had always breathed the same spirit!) “Let Luther call me a hundred devils; I will still reverence him as a messenger of God.” Pastor John Wesley
A challenge to be great(크게 되려고 하는 도전)/ Matthew 20:17-28(마20:17-28)/ 2006-02-03
A challenge to be great(크게 되려고 하는 도전) Matthew 20:17-28(마20:17-28) A challenge to be great Matthew 20:17-28 INTRODUCTION The setting for our text today is a time of crisis. Jesus is nearing the day of suffering and death on the cross. He takes His disciples off for a moment away from the crowd: perhaps for refreshing and energizing, but also for encouragement. It is during this momentary break that Jesus is confronted with the worldly ambitions of James and John along with their mother. Let us see how He handles their desire for pre-eminence in His Kingdom. In doing so, Jesus discusses what true greatness really is. I. MISGUIDED MOTIVES (vv. 20-21) 1. There will always be women who are status seekers. 2. There will always be men who are power hungry. II. CRITICAL CONSIDERATIONS (vv. 22-23) 1. Pre-eminence in His Kingdom is based upon suffering. 2. Pre-eminence demands service rendered in a spirit of love, not for reward. III. WORLDLY WAYS (vv. 24-25) 1. Those who seek pre-eminence stir up anger and jealousy. 2. Those who seek pre-eminence define greatness as exercising authority and ruling. IV. GODLY GREATNESS (vv. 26-27) 1. Whoever desires to be great in God’s Kingdom must be a servant. 2. Whoever desires to be pre-eminent must become a slave. V. ETERNAL EXAMPLE (v. 28) 1. Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve. 2. Jesus came to give His life for others. CONCLUSION These men and their mother got answers they were not expecting. They had hoped to reign with Jesus, to be lords over others. However, Jesus intends for His followers to be servants of others, not lords over others. He redefines greatness as ministering, as serving, as showing love in action out of a spirit of humility. True greatness involves giving your life for others, not asking others to give their lives for you! Do you understand this simple lesson from Jesus? If you do, then begin to practice the message in your life by serving others in a spirit of humility and of love. Illustration: A poor Scottish Farmer named Fleming. Pastor Dr. Glenn A. Jent
A Christian’s graces(그리스도인의 은혜)/ 1 Cor. 4:7(고전4:7)/ 2009-02-14
A Christian’s graces(그리스도인의 은혜) 1 Cor. 4:7(고전4:7) A Christian’s graces 1 Cor. 4:7 “What do you have—that you have not received?” 1 Cor. 4:7 What grace do you have—that you have not received? All the light, and all the life, and all the love, and all the joy, and all the fear, and all the faith, and all the hope, and all the patience, and all the humility, etc., that you have—are all grace gifts—they are all from God. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights.” (James 1:17) A man should never look upon his graces—but should be ready to say, “These are the jewels of glory with which God has bespangled my soul!” Look! as all light flows from the sun, and all water from the sea - so all temporal, spiritual, and eternal good flows from God. All your graces, and the greatest excellencies which are in you, do as much depend upon God, as the light does upon the sun, or as the rivers do upon the sea, or as the branches do upon the root, (John 15:1-5) All the springs of comfort that I have communicated to my soul, and all the springs of grace that I have to quicken me, they are all from God. A Christian’s graces are all such flowers of paradise as never grew in nature’s garden. Now, when a Christian looks thus upon all those costly diamonds of grace, with which his soul is bedecked, he keeps humble, though his graces are high. Dear hearts, when you look upon the stream, remember the fountain; when you look upon the flower, remember the root; and whenever you look upon your graces, then be sure to remember Christ the fountain of grace. When one of your eyes is fixed upon your graces - let the other be always fixed upon Christ the fountain of grace. “Indeed, we have all received grace after grace from His fullness.” (John 1:16) Grace is strengthened, maintained, nourished, and upheld in your souls - in life and power, in beauty and glory - by the spiritual, powerful, and glorious operations of Christ! Christians, your graces are holy and heavenly plants of Christ’s own planting and watering! It is Christ alone who can cause your graces to blossom, and your souls to be like a watered garden - green and flourishing! Therefore let the eye of your souls be firstly, mostly, and chiefly fixed upon Christ.
A Compassionate Love(자비로운 사랑)/ Matt 9:35-10:8(마9:35-마10:8)/ 2007-05-05
A Compassionate Love(자비로운 사랑) Matt 9:35-10:8(마9:35-마10:8) SERMON: “A Compassionate Love” O Lord, we pray, speak in this place, in the calming of our minds and in the longing of our hearts, by the words of my lips and in the thoughts that we form. Speak, O Lord, for your servants listen. Amen. Charles Wesley’s hymn, “Love Divine, All Love Excelling” with which we began this service of worship is a wonderful hymn of praise - and a wonderful prayer. The praise - Jesus, thou art all compassion, pure, unbounded love thou art. And the prayer - Visit us with thy salvation, Enter every trembling heart. The gospel begins today with these words about Jesus. As you just heard - but I want you to hear again: Jesus went though all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” I think most of us are particularly aware of the importance of compassion - of the importance of compassion and of the great need that our world has for it - a world in which so many struggle to get along without anyone to direct them, - in which so many are left without a strong and caring presence in their lives - in which so many are like sheep without a shepherd - wandering, lost, often alone, often embittered, or, as Jesus himself puts it when he sees the crowds coming out to him for healing and hope, so many are harassed and helpless. God wants us to live in family - - for our young to be nurtured and guided and protected and taught and loved richly and well, - and for our old to be respected and cared for and embraced - and for those in between to be strengthened and given joy and strength and help as they fulfil the purposes in life for which God has breathed life into them. God wants for us to be family together in our homes, living godly and righteous lives - lives of peace and joy and sharing; and God wants for us to be family together in his church - among his people - to be a family, a people, a nation, that live according to his covenant, and who - because of that covenant keeping - and because of God’s promises to us become a people who truly are different, a people who truly are dedicated to God’s purposes and who not only have the ability to connect, but actually do connect, one another - and the whole world - to God, our heavenly Father. But some of our homes are shattered. Some of our children are left without a father - or a mother - or both - who can model for them what the love of God is all about. Some children in this world need so much that is not being given to them and you here today - I daresay each one of you - know that; and weep on account of it; and wonder what to do about it. That weeping and wondering - that impulse of love - is the same impulse that moves the heart of God, and the heart of Jesus, as they look upon us and our world. So many people are broken and in need of healing. So many need to hear and see how close the Kingdom of Heaven is to them, so many need the things that contaminate their lives to be cleansed so many need the demons that afflict their lives to be driven out so many need to be raised to new life -and to have their dead - those they care for and those that they wish that they could care for - restored to them. God’s purpose for his people has ever been - as we heard from the Old Testament Reading this morning, to make us into a kingdom of priests and a holy nation, to make us ones who model - who set the example of what God is like and who, by our living, by our obedience to the word of God, help to connect the whole world to God - to bridge the gap that exists between what is - and what should be - to help bring wholeness to the world. In this world that God has made that is what Fathers and Mothers are supposed to be about. They are supposed to be ones who turn to God and by keeping the word of God in their hearts and in their actions - provide what their children - and what our world needs. And many of us have had such godly parents - we have had such Fathers Godly men who not only teach the way of the Lord to their children, but who live it out as well - with joy and with wisdom - with humility and with strength and so raise up after them a generation whose delight is in the Lord, and whose ways are God’s ways. Praise God for them! But - many others in our world have not had such fathers or mothers - and we need them, our world needs them if we are to be whole - and our world with us. We who are gathered here today in Christ’s name are called to help answer that need. “The harvest is plentiful” says Jesus as he looks upon the lost ones all around him, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” And then he sends out his followers - and gives them the power they need to do the work that needs doing - the power and authority that they need to help bring salvation. Each of us here today is called by God to be a healer - first within our own family - among our sons and daughters - our wives and husbands - our cousins and nephews and nieces - and, of course, among our brothers and sisters - our fellow believers And as we continue to tend to those in our midst who are lost and who are broken, as we continue to encourage and teach those God has entrusted to us, we are called to remember those who are not yet part of our family, and to go and make disciples of all nations baptizing in the name of the Father and the Son and The Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything that Jesus has commanded us. We can do that - we can heal the broken and drive forth the demons that afflict our families and our world, we can be as our Father in heaven is - by allowing our Father in Heaven to guide us and direct us. Pray my brothers and sisters for all parents today - - Pray with thanksgiving for those who have lived and are living by God’s word and who have raised up children to God in a godly way. - And pray with tears and with hope and with desire - and with love for those who are lost and who need the healing of God in their lives if they are to be all God has made them to be. Pray for workers who will bring the compassionate love of God - the compassionate love of our Saviour Jesus - to the world about us. And Pray that God will empower you - through your devotion to his living word, to be fathers to the fatherless, shepherds to those who have no one to lead them to the still waters and to places that will restore their souls, and brothers and sisters to those whose who have no earthy family to love and care for them and to encourage them and guide them to the one whose family is not only eternal - but eternally blessed.
A Critical Spirit(비판 정신)/ Matthew 7:1-6(마7:1-6)/ Pastor J. David Hoke/ 영어설교(English Sermons)/ 2014-02-12
A Critical Spirit(비판 정신) Matthew 7:1-6(마7:1-6) A Critical Spirit Matthew 7:1-6 DO not judge lest you be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. -(Matthew 7:1-6) Many people today are just plain miserable. And plenty of these miserable people are also extremely critical. I am not sure that they are critical because they are miserable or miserable because they are critical. Whatever the case, we often find ourselves around critical people. I don’t like critical people. I’m not sure that anyone does. They are much like complainers. You just don’t like to be around someone who is always critical and complaining. One writer quoted a medical survey concerning chronic complainers. Amazingly, the survey indicated that these chronic complainers seemed to live longer than people who are always sweet and serene. The survey claimed that their cantankerous spirit gives them a purpose for living. Each morning they get up with a fresh challenge to see how many things they can find to grumble about, and they derive great satisfaction from making other people miserable. The writer questioned the conclusions of the medical survey. He surmised that chronic complainers really don’t outlive others, rather it just seems that way to everybody around them. Indeed, it does seem that way. All of us have known people who were complainers and full of criticism. They had adopted a negative outlook on life. This critical spirit expressed itself in many ways. They were always fault finding, putting other people down, and judging others. They were negative and looked at everything in a negative way. If we are honest, we have to admit that we do not want to be around people like that, even though we are sometimes tempted to act like that ourselves. So, when Jesus addressed this issue in the Sermon on the Mount, He was dealing with something that every person must confront. We must confront it in others, and we must confront it in ourselves as well. Having a negative, critical, judgmental attitude is everywhere - even in us. As we will see, Jesus’ teaching is simple and straightforward. He tells us that we must first stop being judgmental. Then He tells us that rather than being judgmental concerning others, we must look to ourselves and eval!!uate our own lives. Stop Being Judgmental Do not judge lest you be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; And by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. (7:1-2) Many people have misunderstood Jesus admonition concerning judging. When Jesus says that we are not to judge, many people have interpreted that to mean that we are not to engage in any form of analysis or eval!!uation of others. In other words, this line of thinking says that we cannot conclude that a person’s behavior! or lifestyle is wrong, and that they are consequently wrong for engaging in it. Those who would like to justify all manner of evil use this commandment of our Lord to chasten anyone who would take a stand for righteousness. We live in such an age. For many years there has been an emphasis on tolerance and acceptance. Now, there is nothing wrong with tolerance and acceptance. They are indeed good qualities. But what many mean by them is that we should accept any lifestyle, any act, without careful, critical eval!!uation. We see this type of thinking reach its pinnacle in the idea of politically correct (PC) speech. Is this what Jesus is talking about? No. This is a misunderstanding of what Jesus was speaking to. We know this because of what the Scriptures say in so many other places. In fact, in the sixth verse of this chapter, Jesus calls us to eval!!uate the kind of people with whom we are dealing as we seek to share the Gospel. He talks of not giving what is holy to dogs, and of not throwing your pearls before swine. Clearly we have to eval!!uate the kind of people with whom we are dealing to fulfill Jesus’ command. Later, in this same chapter, Jesus says, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.”(15-16) Obviously, we must engage in a fruit eval!!uation if we are going to determine who is a true or false prophet. So, we are called upon to make a judgment about individuals and behavior!s. Many other passages also indicate this. But if Jesus was not talking about refraining from any form of judgment, what was He talking about? I think it is clear that Jesus was saying that we should not allow ourselves to develop and maintain a critical, judgmental spirit. He was talking about our attitude toward others. He was talking about our tendency to condemn others and to be judgmental and self-righteous. We all have a tendency to be judgmental at times. Perhaps this is because we feel that to put others down is to lift ourselves up. It has been said that people tend to judge in others the very things that are wrong in themselves. So, perhaps we are seeking to hide our own inadequacies by pointing out the inadequacies of others. One thing is clear. Being judgmental is a serious problem - one that all of us must face. But apart from the reality that none of us likes to be judged and none of us likes to be around judgmental people, there is another and more serious problem with being judgmental. Jesus warns us that those of us who engage in that activity will be judged ourselves. You see, judging others has consequences. To engage in the reckless judgmental attitudes that Jesus condemns means that we set ourselves up as God. We must remember that God is the ultimate judge of all things. We seldom have all the facts. We seldom can look into any situation and really see it for what it is. We certainly cannot look into someone’s heart. Only God can do these things. Therefore, only God is qualified to judge. We can eval!!uate certain things. And we should. But we must always remember that our eval!!uation is unreliable. Therefore, we must never engage in the kind of absolute criticism and condemnation that so many people do. When we do, we set ourselves up as God. And Jesus says that you will be judged. And Jesus tells us how we will be judged. The way you judge will become the way you will be judged. In other words, we will get back what we give out. The standard that we hold others to will become the standard by which we are judged. What standard are you holding others to? Can you live up to that standard? Be careful before you answer that. In fact, perhaps you should not be the one to answer that question at all. Ask someone who knows you to be honest with you about whether you can meet the standard. You see, sometimes we tend to be blind to our failures and inconsistencies. That is why Jesus warns us about having a judgmental spirit. So, the message of Jesus is clear that we are to stop being judgmental. He commands us to eliminate a critical attitude from the way we deal with others. In fact, He is telling us not to focus on others at all. Rather, we should focus on ourselves. Evaluate Your Own Life And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” and behold, the log is in your own eye? (7:3-4) Rather than looking to others with a critical eye and judging them, we should rather look to ourselves and judge ourselves. Jesus calls us to eval!!uate our own lives before we even attempt to help others eval!!uate their lives. Only by evaluating ourselves will we be able to resist the temptation to eval!!uate others. Illustration Jesus gives us is an extremely humorous one. It is of a person trying to take a splinter out of someone else’s eye when he has a log sticking out of his own. Picture, if you will, a person with a beam of wood approximately six feet in length protruding from his eye. As he turns his head from side to side this beam of wood flattens people left and right. How is that sort of person ever going to be able to even see a splinter in someone else’s eye? As they tried to approach the other person, the log sticking out of their own eye would knock the other person over. It is obviously ridiculous that someone in that condition should criticize someone else for having a splinter. This is the picture Jesus paints. Obviously, what He is saying is that we should first look to ourselves. Eval!!uate your own life. Look at your own faults. Examine your own sins. Be honest with yourself about your own condition. Deal with you first. So many of us need to look at our own hearts. Often, we live under an illusion that our hearts are right and pure when they are not. Until we see our own heart, it will be easy to judge others. You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (7:5) Jesus tells us that unless we are willing to deal with our own situation, we are nothing but a hypocrite. If you really want to help others, the first thing you must do is to take the log out of your own eye. Only if you do this can you then be able to see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. This is an extremely import!!ant principle. By obeying this principle, we will be able to avoid the critical, judgmental attitude that causes us to condemn others. You see, when we truly see ourselves, we are less tempted to desire to judge anyone else. When we truly see ourselves, we become aware that we need mercy, not judgment. If we were judged, even fairly, then we would be condemned. Therefore, we should treat others as we would want to be treated ourselves. Do you want others to give you the benefit of the doubt? Then give it to them. Do you want others to think well of you, even when they do not understand you? Then do the same for them. Do you want others to criticize you or encourage you? If you want encouragement rather then criticism, try to be an encourager yourself. Jesus calls us to love one another, to seek the highest good for one another, and to build up one another. Judgmental attitudes tear others down. A critical spirit discourages others. This is why Jesus deals with this kind of attitude. This kind of attitude has no place in the church. It has no place in the life of a Christian. If you find this attitude in yourself, ask God to give you the ability to take a good long look at you. Ask Him to show you your heart and your hang-ups. Ask Him to enable you to pull the log out of your own eye first. Pastor J. David Hoke
A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(칼빈의 언약적 성경해석과 언약신학으로부터 추론된 세대주의 비평)(1)/ Matthew 12:28(마12:28), Matthew 13:40-43(마13:40-43), Acts 1:3(행1:3), Acts 28:31(행28:
A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(칼빈의 언약적 성경해석과 언약신학으로부터 추론된 세대주의 비평)(1)/ Matthew 12:28(마12:28), Matthew 13:40-43(마13:40-43), Acts 1:3(행1:3), Acts 28:31(행28:31), Col. 1:13(골1:13), Rev. 1:6(계1:6)/ Pastor Dr. Peter Lillback(피터 릴백 박사 목사)/ 2015-02-12 A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(칼빈의 언약적 성경해석과 언약신학으로부터 추론된 세대주의 비평)(1) Matthew 12:28(마12:28), Matthew 13:40-43(마13:40-43), Acts 1:3(행1;3), Acts 28:31(행28:31), Col. 1:13(골1;13), Rev. 1:6(계1:6) A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(1) Matthew 12:28, Matthew 13:40-43, Acts 1:3, Acts 28:31, Col. 1:13, Rev. 1:6 In this 500th anniversary year of the birth of John Calvin, we remember the work of the Genevan Reformer who permanently impacted the Protestant Reformation and Reformed theology. This can be seen especially in his teachings of the covenant. Calvin’s approach to the covenant makes a difference in the way one interprets the Scriptures and describes their unity in Christ’s saving work. In Calvin’s understanding of the covenant, we also discover a structure for developing the saving benefits of Christ as well as the Christian life and sacraments. Our study will engage Calvin’s covenantal hermeneutic as well as his covenant theology. Let us consider Calvin and the covenant with the specific backdrop of Dispensationalism, one of the important evangelical theologies of our day. Although dispensationalism was a system unknown to Calvin since it had not yet been formulated in his day, Calvin’s covenantal thought stands in distinction to dispensationalism and offers a ready critique to its leading ideas. Lecture One: A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic. In this first lecture, we will consider the following eight points: I. The Differences Between Dispensationalism And Covenant Theology. II. The Differing Historical Origins Of Dispensationalism And Covenant Theology. III. Calvin’s Emphasis On The Unity Of The Bible Seen In The Formula of the Covenant. IV. Calvin’s Covenantal Dictum For Interpreting The Bible: The Covenant Is Always The Same In Substance, Yet It Is Distinct In Administration. V. While Christ Is The Heart Of The Bible There Is Continuity And Discontinuity In The Covenant. VI. God’s Promises Of Salvation In Christ Are Organically Present In The Old Testament: The Covenant Is The “DNA” Of The History Of Salvation. VII. Boundary Disputes: The Covenantal Interpretation And the Dispensational Interpretation of the Old Testament Land Promises. VIII. Covenant Theology Teaches That The Kingdom Is Not Just Future, It Is Already But Not Yet. Let us begin, then, by addressing the first of these eight points. I. The Differences Between Dispensationalism And Covenant Theology. What makes dispensationalism to be Dispensationalism and what makes covenant theology to be covenant theology? When one reads his Bible, does the difference between these two approaches to interpreting the Bible matter? After all, people who read the Bible with a dispensational perspective believe in Jesus Christ. And people who hold to the covenant theological tradition do so as well. So this is not a debate about who is a Christian and who is not. It is a debate about the proper way to understand the Bible. So what makes Dispensationalism, dispensationalism? Dr. Charles Ryrie stated in Dispensationalism Today that the sine qua non of Dispensationalism is the distinction between the Church and Israel. Thus without the distinction between the Church and Israel, there is no Dispensationalism. Accordingly, the central idea of Dispensationalism is that there are two peoples of God: the Old Testament people of God called Israel, and the New Testament people of God called the Church. These two are entirely different. Dispensationalism declares that when Jesus came, He brought His kingdom to His Old Testament people but they rejected Him. Because they rejected Him they were set aside and God initiated an entirely different dispensation, the Church age. This age is a “great parenthesis”. The dispensation of the church is the age of grace after the Old Testament dispensation of Israel and the law. Then at the end of the church age, the church will be raptured out of the world before seven years of tribulation. God will return to His Old Testament plan for Israel. That plan is to bring the lapsed kingdom to a restored Israel. Thus the church is in the middle of God’s work with OT Israel and His work with the restored Israel after the rapture of the church. The kingdom in Dispensationalism therefore is futurethe premillennial kingdom. For dispensational theology, the kingdom has not come. It was rejected by Israel, and instead, Jesus planted His church. When the church is taken up, then the kingdom for Israel will come. Thus for Dispensationalism, the kingdom is future to be fulfilled in a literal thousand year kingdom as referenced in Revelation 20. Three foundational ideas of Dispensationalism, then, are: (1) there are two peoples of God, (2) the Church and Israel are to be kept distinct, and (3) the kingdom is for Israel and is primarily future. Covenant Theology takes a very different view of these three issues. How then does one define covenant theology? To begin, covenant theology teaches that there is only one people of God. This one people of God can be internally distinguished as the people who were looking forward to the Messiah to come from the people who are looking back at the fact that He’s come and is coming again. Nevertheless, these are one and same people of the Messiah. They are the true Israel of God. So whether we are speaking of the church, or of the Old Testament saint, they are part of the one people of God. Thus for Covenant Theology, the kingdom is not just totally future. The kingdom is already here even though there is much more yet to come. It is “already and not yet.” Covenant Theology declares that there is a kingdom that is already at work, and yet it is to come in far greater glory. This present and future kingdom has been brought to the one people of God, those who were looking forward to the first coming of the Messiah and those that are looking back at His having come and who is yet to come again a second time. Thus Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology are two different systems and two different ways of reading the Bible. II. The Differing Historical Origins Of Dispensationalism And Covenant Theology. Next, let us summarize the history of each. Dispensationalism is a recent development in the history of the church. It began in the late 1800s in Plymouth, England under the teaching of John Nelson Darby, who developed the leading ideas of the Dispensational system. Dispensationalism has been popularized through Bible colleges and Bible publications. It is now a theology known around the world. Covenant Theology, on the other hand, goes back to the ancient church. St. Augustine put it this way, “The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed. The New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.” This simple theological dictum well summarizes the heart of Covenant Theology. Augustine is saying that the whole Bible is about Jesus. Augustine’s point is that the whole Bible is about Jesus whether one reads the Old or the New Testament. Both Testaments are interrelated in the coming of Christ. Augustine’s and other early Christian biblical scholars’ recognition of the unity of the Bible in Christ came to its own in the Reformation. In 1534 only 17 years after Luther’s 95 Theses, Henry Bullinger wrote the first treatise on the covenant, entitled, “Of The One And Eternal Testament or Covenant of God.” Bullinger was a Swiss Reformer working at the beginning of the Reformation. Because the Reformed theologians went back to a direct exegetical study of the Bible, following the principle of as sola scriptura, they rediscovered the centrality of the covenant for understanding the Bible. Bullinger and Zwingli before him concluded that the covenant was the key idea to understanding the Bible. Covenant theology, then, is an idea that goes back to the ancient church with Augustine, and is one of the important insights of the theology of the Reformed tradition. If one identifies with the Presbyterian tradition, another name for the Reformed tradition, one will quickly recognize that covenantal teaching is foundational in the Westminster Standards. Following Zwingli and Bullinger, Calvin emphasized the covenant and joined them in teaching that the covenant is a key idea to understand the Bible’s theology and to show its great unity in Christ. III. Calvin’s Emphasis On The Unity Of The Bible Seen In The Formula of the Covenant. What are some of the distinctives of covenant theology? First, let us speak of the formula of the covenant. A baker or a cook knows if one leaves something out of the recipe or formula, a disaster results. Leave out the baking powder and one might not have a good desert. A chemist has a formula that creates a certain chemical reaction. Similarly, there is a formula that describes the covenant. According to Calvin, it is, “I will be your God and you will be My people.” This phrase is encountered repeatedly in the Bible. A few examples include Genesis 17, Leviticus 26, Jeremiah 32, Ezekiel 36, 2 Corinthians 6, Hebrews 8 and Revelation 21. The formula of the covenant begins in the Old Testament, moves to the New Testament and carries forward into heaven in Biblical revelation. Notice that the formula of the covenant does not say, “I will be your God and you will be My peoples” in the plural. It says “I will be your God and you will be My people” in the singular. As it proceeds from the Old Testament to the New Testament to heaven, it manifests one people of God in relationship with God. It also reveals that the covenant is a relationship that God Himself initiates with man. This is seen in the divine “I”. The formula of the covenant does not say, “Let’s make a deal” or “Let’s make a bargain.” It begins with “I will be your God.” God takes the initiative. We call this monergism, mono-lateral salvation, sovereign grace, or Calvinism.. God takes the first step. He seeks us out. Jesus Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost (Lk. 17:10). In the covenant, God takes the initiative and by His initiation we become His people. Consider three texts: Jeremiah 31:31, Genesis 15 and Genesis 17. Jerome of Bethlehem translated the Hebrew and Greek Bible into Latin creating what was been called the Vulgate translation which is still the official translation for the Roman Catholic Church. Jerome wanted to differentiate the books of Israel before the coming of Christ (Genesis to Malachi) from the books after the coming of Christ (Matthew to Revelation). He called the first the Old Testament and the second, the New Testament. To do so, he utilized Jeremiah 31 where it says, “I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel. Jerome translated the Hebrew word berith, by the Latin word, testamentum which can mean either a covenant or a testament, as in a last will and testament. Berith literally means “to cut” something and thus by implication a covenant because a covenant was made by sacrifice. And so after Jerome, we have spoken of the Old Testament and the New Testament as the two great sections of the canon of Scripture. But the Hebrew word that used in Jeremiah 31 suggests that we should rather speak of the Old Covenant and the New Covenant rather the Old Testament and the New Testament. This would help us to realize how important the idea of covenant is. The point here is that the idea of the covenant helps to organize the entire Bible because the Bible is God’s covenant with His people. IV. Calvin’s Covenantal Dictum For Interpreting The Bible: The Covenant Is Always The Same In Substance, Yet It Is Distinct In Administration. Now let’s take this a step further. Let’s consider how to read the Bible in a way that ties the Bible, Old and New Testament, into one book, that sees the Bible as a whole book for one people of God. How then do we make the Old Testament and the New Testament come together? Along with Calvin’s emphasis on the formula of the covenant, we find a basic interpretive principle that he presents to understand the history of salvation in the Bible. This says, “The covenant is always the same in substance but distinct in administration.” Substance means what something really is. Administration has the idea of how one governs something. For example, there’s an administration of a president that is followed by a different president who governs or administers in another way. This also holds in the administration of a family. For example, I have had a mother now for many years. When I was about two or three years old and learning to walk across the street my mother used to hold my hand and say, “Peter, you can’t run across the street now. You can only go when I let you go, and when you walk, you hold on to my hand. I don’t want you to get hurt in the traffic.” When I go home and see my Mom today, and when we cross the street I take hold of her arm and say, “Mom hold on to me. I don’t want you to fall down in traffic while we’re walking across the street.” We administer our love and concern for safety for each other differently now then when I was a child. Nevertheless, the love of our family is unchanged. The substance of family love is unchanged. The administration of family safety is quite different. In the same sort of way, the covenant is always the same in substance Christ’s saving love for His people while it is administered differently, as by sacrifice in the OT and by worship of the incarnate Christ in the NT. Calvin’s views of the continuity of the covenant can be presented as follows: A Summary of Calvin’s Arguments for the Spiritual Continuity of the Old and New Covenants They are the Same in Substance 1. Same Law and same Doctrine since Beginning of World 2. Christ is Mediator of the Covenants 3. Both have the Grace of Justification 4. Sacraments have Equal Significance in both 5. Both have the Word of God, which is to have Eternal Life 6. The Formula of the Covenant Common to both includes Eternal Life As we look at the Bible from Calvin’s perspective, the substance of the Bible is always Jesus the Messiah and His saving work. But the way that God explains what the Messiah was to do changed from the Old Testament to the New. In the Old Testament there were bloody sacrifices and there was a high priest and there was a tabernacle or temple. In the New Testament we don’t have those things. Things are administered differently now. Another helpful example is a building with its scaffolding. When a building is being built there are scaffolds set up around it. But when the building is complete, the scaffolds are taken down and removed since they are no longer needed. Thus the Old Testament administration of the covenant of grace was administered by animal sacrifices, rituals, dietary laws and high priests. All those things were the scaffolds used to bring the Messiah into the world. Now that He’s come, God administers His saving work differently and the Old Testament administration of the covenant has ended. Thus its visible signs and practices, its scaffolds, have been removed. V. While Christ Is The Heart Of The Bible There Is Continuity And Discontinuity In The Covenant. Another way to speak of the substance of the covenant is to see it summarized in the formula of the covenant, “I will be your God and you will be My people.” That has always been the heart of the Bible even though God’s administration of His covenant changes through time. Another phrase to describe this dual emphasis of unchanging substance with differing administrations is to emphasize the continuity and discontinuity of the Old and New Testaments. Thus from a Presbyterian perspective, we baptize the children of believers in the New Testament because the children of believers in the Old Testament were circumcised. Circumcision and baptism are very different in administration, but they are the same in substance. They both declare that God is in covenant with His people. The way the sacrament was administered before Christ came was different than after Christ because the shedding of human or animal blood was pointing to Christ’s saving sacrifice that alone could truly take away the sin of the world. But now that Christ has come and shed His blood, we no longer have need to shed sacrificial blood. Similarly, the Passover became the Lord’s Supper. The change was needed because there is no longer any shedding of blood. Thus Christians do not slay the Passover lamb. Jesus has fulfilled that picture. The Passover was always pointing to Him, the substance of the covenant. The diversity of the covenant is in its form. The continuity of the Covenant is in Christ, the Passover Lamb. We continue to have the bread and the cup of Passover pointing us to the fact that God takes His wrath away from His people because His Son has shed His blood for us and that blood has been placed upon the lentil of our hearts so that we might be saved. Calvin enumerates five differences between the covenants. They relate only to the externals and not to the substance of the covenant. Calvin’s View of the Differences In Administration Between the Old and New Covenants Old Covenant Before Christ New Covenant After Christ 1. Material and Temporal Blessings represent spiritual blessings 1. Direct Meditation upon spiritual blessings 2. Images & Ceremonies as types of Christ 2. Full Revelation of Christ in His Incarnation 3. The OT Law is letter that kills 3. The NT Gospel is spirit that makes alive a. The OT Law in the narrow sense condemns because it is the demand of Law without the Holy Spirit’s Aid a. In the New Covenant the Law is written upon the heart by the Spirit in the Gospel and is accompanied by the forgiveness of sins b. The OT Law in the broad sense includes the Gospel by borrowing from it the Promises of Christ b. The Gospel of the New Covenant has been the experience of God’s Children since the beginning of the World 4. The Old Covenant was characterized by bondage and fear 4. The New Covenant is characterized by freedom and trust 5. The Old Covenant was limited to Israel 5. The New Covenant is extended to all nations So as we learn to think covenantally, we discover the interconnectedness of the formula of the covenant, the substance and administration of the covenant, and the continuity and discontinuity of the covenant. The substance of the covenant unites the whole Bible emphasizing the continuity of the covenant even though the administration of the covenant differs through history emphasizing the discontinuity of the covenant. VI. God’s Promises Of Salvation In Christ Are Organically Present In The Old Testament: The Covenant Is The “DNA” Of The History Of Salvation. How do we understand the stories in the Bible and how do we understand our Christian lives? We must read the Bible as a history of salvation and not as a logically arranged systematic theology. God didn’t inspire a systematic theology of Jesus. He did not provide us with a Biblical book entitled, “The Doctrine of God” or “The Doctrine of the Church.” The Bible is a history of salvation. They Bible reveals the dramatic stories of what God did through redemptive history. The unfolding character of God’s story is a mystery until the whole story is done. Mysteries, surprises, twists and turns keep on coming as God’s organic plan is progressively unfolded. One of the great covenant teachers of the early twentieth century was Geerhardus Vos who taught at Princeton and impacted our professors at Westminster. He developed and emphasized the historic, organic unfolding of salvation in Scripture. What does “organic” mean? If someone plants a garden of flowers, he needs some seeds. When one looks at a seed, the seed already contains its blossom. But if one has never seen that seed before he would not be able to guess what it is. But because of the seed’s organic development, everything that the mature tree is to become is already present in its seed. And that’s the way the Bible is, right from its beginning. The whole story of the Bible is already present when God said, “He will crush his head and he will bruise his heel,” in Genesis 3:15. That is the story of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can go back and read it in light of the Gospel and realize that the Gospel was there all along. Initially, men did not understand that. It took the unfolding of the history of salvation until finally the wonderful resurrection and victory of Christ was clear. But it was always there because the whole Bible is about Christ. Consider Luke 24 where Jesus gives His first Bible study after His resurrection. Jesus speaks to two men on the road to Emmaus who were discussing the story of the crucifixion and the rumors that the tomb was empty. Luke 24:36ff says, While they were still talking about this, Jesus Himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at My hands and My feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, He asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave Him a piece of broiled fish, and He took it and ate it in their presence. He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you. Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Then He opened their minds so that they could understand the Scriptures. Now when Jesus refers “to everything that was written about Him in the Law of Moses, and the Prophets, and the Psalms,” He was identifying the three main divisions of the Canon of the Old Testament. That was the way the Jews divided the books of the Old Testament. In essence He was saying, “It matters not which Old Testament book you read, if your mind has been opened by My Spirit, you will discover that it all speaks of me.” That is the way Jesus wants His people to read the Bible; to see that it is all about Him. The Bible is the dramatic story of the history of redemption that organically unfolds Jesus’ saving work. Thus covenant theology rejects the Dispensational notion that the OT is for the Jewish people of God and the NT is for the Gentile people of God. Instead, covenant theology teaches that the whole Bible is about Christ who came to save all of God’s people who by faith become the true Israel whether they are Jews or Gentiles. VII. Boundary Disputes: The Covenantal Interpretation And the Dispensational Interpretation of the Old Testament Land Promises. It’s at this point where one of the greatest differences arises between Dispensationalism and covenant theology. Dispensationalists say the many land promises that God gave to Israel are yet to be fulfilled. This they claim will occur when the church is raptured, and when after the seven year tribulation, the kingdom finally comes, then all the land promises to Israel will be literally fulfilled. Covenant Theology believes Dispensationalists are misreading the Bible when they interpret the Bible in that way. Consider here 2 Corinthians 1:18-20. The apostle Paul is writing to the church in Corinth about the truthfulness of his ministry. He says in 1:18, But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not “Yes” and “No” but in him it has always been “Yes.” The key verse is verse 20: For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. What Paul is saying is that if one finds any promise in the Bible and if he interprets it without Christ, he’s misreading it. Every promise is “yes” and “amen” in Christ. If one does not read the Bible this way, it is as though Jesus becomes irrelevant to that promise. For Paul, then, every land promise and every other redemptive promise always finds its meaning in Christ. The point is that there is continuity and discontinuity in the covenant. The land promises are to be understood as though God had said, “I have redeemed you out of the world to be my people. Thus I’ve given you a heavenly land which is my true and ultimate promised land.” Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” And at the conclusion of Revelation, when we are in Heaven, we have God dwelling with us. Then God says, “I will be your God and you will be My people, in a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness.” That is why the writer of the Hebrews teaches in Hebrews 11 that Abraham was not looking for real estate in Palestine when he left early Ur. Instead, he was looking for a city whose builder and maker is God. A covenant theologian can say “yes and amen” to that in Christ. Paul declares that that is how we are to read the Bible. If we don’t read the Bible in this way, we are misreading it. But Dispensationalism teaches that the Bible is to be read without seeing all of it promises fulfilled in the ultimate culmination of all things in Jesus Christ. VIII. Covenant Theology Teaches That The Kingdom Is Not Just Future, It Is Already But Not Yet. The formula of the covenant reflects the substance of the covenant, while the administration of the covenant was different before Christ came than its administration after Christ came and ascended to heaven. Having ascended to the right Hand of the Father, He poured out His Holy Spirit on His people inaugurating His kingdom. God’s Kingdom began at Pentecost. The kingdom is now here even though it is still not yet here fully. The Kingdom is already but not yet. Chuck Colson illustrated this by the D-Day invasion. When the Marines hit Omaha beach and took the cliffs they did the impossible. Having accomplished this, they were confident that one day they would conquer the Third Reich. They already had won but they had not yet won. There was still a long battle yet ahead even though they had secured that victory by doing the impossible. The incarnation of Jesus Christ and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit and its birth of the New Testament era of covenant life are the beginning of the kingdom. One day Satan’s “Third Reich” is going to fall and the whole kingdom will be come even though it has already begun and we as believers are part of it. Jesus Kingdom is already here. (See Matthew 12:28; 13:40-43; Acts 1:3; 28:31; Col. 1:13; Rev. 1:6.) Pastor Dr. Peter Lillback(피터 릴백 박사 목사)(Pennsylvania Proclamation Presbyterian Church(미국 펜실베이니어 선포장로교회))
A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(칼빈의 언약적 성경해석과 언약신학으로부터 추론된 세대주의 비평)(1)/ Matthew 12:28(마12:28), Matthew 13:40-43(마13:40-43), Acts 1:3(행1:3), Acts 28:31(행28:
A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(칼빈의 언약적 성경해석과 언약신학으로부터 추론된 세대주의 비평)(1)/ Matthew 12:28(마12:28), Matthew 13:40-43(마13:40-43), Acts 1:3(행1:3), Acts 28:31(행28:31), Col. 1:13(골1;13), Rev. 1:6(계1:6)/ Pastor Dr. Peter Lillback(피터 릴백 박사 목사)/ 2015-02-12 A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(칼빈의 언약적 성경해석과 언약신학으로부터 추론된 세대주의 비평)(1) Matthew 12:28(마12:28), Matthew 13:40-43(마13:40-43), Acts 1:3(행1;3), Acts 28:31(행28:31), Col. 1:13(골1;13), Rev. 1:6(계1:6) A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(1) Matthew 12:28, Matthew 13:40-43, Acts 1:3, Acts 28:31, Col. 1:13, Rev. 1:6 In this 500th anniversary year of the birth of John Calvin, we remember the work of the Genevan Reformer who permanently impacted the Protestant Reformation and Reformed theology. This can be seen especially in his teachings of the covenant. Calvin’s approach to the covenant makes a difference in the way one interprets the Scriptures and describes their unity in Christ’s saving work. In Calvin’s understanding of the covenant, we also discover a structure for developing the saving benefits of Christ as well as the Christian life and sacraments. Our study will engage Calvin’s covenantal hermeneutic as well as his covenant theology. Let us consider Calvin and the covenant with the specific backdrop of Dispensationalism, one of the important evangelical theologies of our day. Although dispensationalism was a system unknown to Calvin since it had not yet been formulated in his day, Calvin’s covenantal thought stands in distinction to dispensationalism and offers a ready critique to its leading ideas. Lecture One: A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic. In this first lecture, we will consider the following eight points: I. The Differences Between Dispensationalism And Covenant Theology. II. The Differing Historical Origins Of Dispensationalism And Covenant Theology. III. Calvin’s Emphasis On The Unity Of The Bible Seen In The Formula of the Covenant. IV. Calvin’s Covenantal Dictum For Interpreting The Bible: The Covenant Is Always The Same In Substance, Yet It Is Distinct In Administration. V. While Christ Is The Heart Of The Bible There Is Continuity And Discontinuity In The Covenant. VI. God’s Promises Of Salvation In Christ Are Organically Present In The Old Testament: The Covenant Is The “DNA” Of The History Of Salvation. VII. Boundary Disputes: The Covenantal Interpretation And the Dispensational Interpretation of the Old Testament Land Promises. VIII. Covenant Theology Teaches That The Kingdom Is Not Just Future, It Is Already But Not Yet. Let us begin, then, by addressing the first of these eight points. I. The Differences Between Dispensationalism And Covenant Theology. What makes dispensationalism to be Dispensationalism and what makes covenant theology to be covenant theology? When one reads his Bible, does the difference between these two approaches to interpreting the Bible matter? After all, people who read the Bible with a dispensational perspective believe in Jesus Christ. And people who hold to the covenant theological tradition do so as well. So this is not a debate about who is a Christian and who is not. It is a debate about the proper way to understand the Bible. So what makes Dispensationalism, dispensationalism? Dr. Charles Ryrie stated in Dispensationalism Today that the sine qua non of Dispensationalism is the distinction between the Church and Israel. Thus without the distinction between the Church and Israel, there is no Dispensationalism. Accordingly, the central idea of Dispensationalism is that there are two peoples of God: the Old Testament people of God called Israel, and the New Testament people of God called the Church. These two are entirely different. Dispensationalism declares that when Jesus came, He brought His kingdom to His Old Testament people but they rejected Him. Because they rejected Him they were set aside and God initiated an entirely different dispensation, the Church age. This age is a “great parenthesis”. The dispensation of the church is the age of grace after the Old Testament dispensation of Israel and the law. Then at the end of the church age, the church will be raptured out of the world before seven years of tribulation. God will return to His Old Testament plan for Israel. That plan is to bring the lapsed kingdom to a restored Israel. Thus the church is in the middle of God’s work with OT Israel and His work with the restored Israel after the rapture of the church. The kingdom in Dispensationalism therefore is futurethe premillennial kingdom. For dispensational theology, the kingdom has not come. It was rejected by Israel, and instead, Jesus planted His church. When the church is taken up, then the kingdom for Israel will come. Thus for Dispensationalism, the kingdom is future to be fulfilled in a literal thousand year kingdom as referenced in Revelation 20. Three foundational ideas of Dispensationalism, then, are: (1) there are two peoples of God, (2) the Church and Israel are to be kept distinct, and (3) the kingdom is for Israel and is primarily future. Covenant Theology takes a very different view of these three issues. How then does one define covenant theology? To begin, covenant theology teaches that there is only one people of God. This one people of God can be internally distinguished as the people who were looking forward to the Messiah to come from the people who are looking back at the fact that He’s come and is coming again. Nevertheless, these are one and same people of the Messiah. They are the true Israel of God. So whether we are speaking of the church, or of the Old Testament saint, they are part of the one people of God. Thus for Covenant Theology, the kingdom is not just totally future. The kingdom is already here even though there is much more yet to come. It is “already and not yet.” Covenant Theology declares that there is a kingdom that is already at work, and yet it is to come in far greater glory. This present and future kingdom has been brought to the one people of God, those who were looking forward to the first coming of the Messiah and those that are looking back at His having come and who is yet to come again a second time. Thus Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology are two different systems and two different ways of reading the Bible. II. The Differing Historical Origins Of Dispensationalism And Covenant Theology. Next, let us summarize the history of each. Dispensationalism is a recent development in the history of the church. It began in the late 1800s in Plymouth, England under the teaching of John Nelson Darby, who developed the leading ideas of the Dispensational system. Dispensationalism has been popularized through Bible colleges and Bible publications. It is now a theology known around the world. Covenant Theology, on the other hand, goes back to the ancient church. St. Augustine put it this way, “The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed. The New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.” This simple theological dictum well summarizes the heart of Covenant Theology. Augustine is saying that the whole Bible is about Jesus. Augustine’s point is that the whole Bible is about Jesus whether one reads the Old or the New Testament. Both Testaments are interrelated in the coming of Christ. Augustine’s and other early Christian biblical scholars’ recognition of the unity of the Bible in Christ came to its own in the Reformation. In 1534 only 17 years after Luther’s 95 Theses, Henry Bullinger wrote the first treatise on the covenant, entitled, “Of The One And Eternal Testament or Covenant of God.” Bullinger was a Swiss Reformer working at the beginning of the Reformation. Because the Reformed theologians went back to a direct exegetical study of the Bible, following the principle of as sola scriptura, they rediscovered the centrality of the covenant for understanding the Bible. Bullinger and Zwingli before him concluded that the covenant was the key idea to understanding the Bible. Covenant theology, then, is an idea that goes back to the ancient church with Augustine, and is one of the important insights of the theology of the Reformed tradition. If one identifies with the Presbyterian tradition, another name for the Reformed tradition, one will quickly recognize that covenantal teaching is foundational in the Westminster Standards. Following Zwingli and Bullinger, Calvin emphasized the covenant and joined them in teaching that the covenant is a key idea to understand the Bible’s theology and to show its great unity in Christ. III. Calvin’s Emphasis On The Unity Of The Bible Seen In The Formula of the Covenant. What are some of the distinctives of covenant theology? First, let us speak of the formula of the covenant. A baker or a cook knows if one leaves something out of the recipe or formula, a disaster results. Leave out the baking powder and one might not have a good desert. A chemist has a formula that creates a certain chemical reaction. Similarly, there is a formula that describes the covenant. According to Calvin, it is, “I will be your God and you will be My people.” This phrase is encountered repeatedly in the Bible. A few examples include Genesis 17, Leviticus 26, Jeremiah 32, Ezekiel 36, 2 Corinthians 6, Hebrews 8 and Revelation 21. The formula of the covenant begins in the Old Testament, moves to the New Testament and carries forward into heaven in Biblical revelation. Notice that the formula of the covenant does not say, “I will be your God and you will be My peoples” in the plural. It says “I will be your God and you will be My people” in the singular. As it proceeds from the Old Testament to the New Testament to heaven, it manifests one people of God in relationship with God. It also reveals that the covenant is a relationship that God Himself initiates with man. This is seen in the divine “I”. The formula of the covenant does not say, “Let’s make a deal” or “Let’s make a bargain.” It begins with “I will be your God.” God takes the initiative. We call this monergism, mono-lateral salvation, sovereign grace, or Calvinism.. God takes the first step. He seeks us out. Jesus Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost (Lk. 17:10). In the covenant, God takes the initiative and by His initiation we become His people. Consider three texts: Jeremiah 31:31, Genesis 15 and Genesis 17. Jerome of Bethlehem translated the Hebrew and Greek Bible into Latin creating what was been called the Vulgate translation which is still the official translation for the Roman Catholic Church. Jerome wanted to differentiate the books of Israel before the coming of Christ (Genesis to Malachi) from the books after the coming of Christ (Matthew to Revelation). He called the first the Old Testament and the second, the New Testament. To do so, he utilized Jeremiah 31 where it says, “I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel. Jerome translated the Hebrew word berith, by the Latin word, testamentum which can mean either a covenant or a testament, as in a last will and testament. Berith literally means “to cut” something and thus by implication a covenant because a covenant was made by sacrifice. And so after Jerome, we have spoken of the Old Testament and the New Testament as the two great sections of the canon of Scripture. But the Hebrew word that used in Jeremiah 31 suggests that we should rather speak of the Old Covenant and the New Covenant rather the Old Testament and the New Testament. This would help us to realize how important the idea of covenant is. The point here is that the idea of the covenant helps to organize the entire Bible because the Bible is God’s covenant with His people. IV. Calvin’s Covenantal Dictum For Interpreting The Bible: The Covenant Is Always The Same In Substance, Yet It Is Distinct In Administration. Now let’s take this a step further. Let’s consider how to read the Bible in a way that ties the Bible, Old and New Testament, into one book, that sees the Bible as a whole book for one people of God. How then do we make the Old Testament and the New Testament come together? Along with Calvin’s emphasis on the formula of the covenant, we find a basic interpretive principle that he presents to understand the history of salvation in the Bible. This says, “The covenant is always the same in substance but distinct in administration.” Substance means what something really is. Administration has the idea of how one governs something. For example, there’s an administration of a president that is followed by a different president who governs or administers in another way. This also holds in the administration of a family. For example, I have had a mother now for many years. When I was about two or three years old and learning to walk across the street my mother used to hold my hand and say, “Peter, you can’t run across the street now. You can only go when I let you go, and when you walk, you hold on to my hand. I don’t want you to get hurt in the traffic.” When I go home and see my Mom today, and when we cross the street I take hold of her arm and say, “Mom hold on to me. I don’t want you to fall down in traffic while we’re walking across the street.” We administer our love and concern for safety for each other differently now then when I was a child. Nevertheless, the love of our family is unchanged. The substance of family love is unchanged. The administration of family safety is quite different. In the same sort of way, the covenant is always the same in substance Christ’s saving love for His people while it is administered differently, as by sacrifice in the OT and by worship of the incarnate Christ in the NT. Calvin’s views of the continuity of the covenant can be presented as follows: A Summary of Calvin’s Arguments for the Spiritual Continuity of the Old and New Covenants They are the Same in Substance 1. Same Law and same Doctrine since Beginning of World 2. Christ is Mediator of the Covenants 3. Both have the Grace of Justification 4. Sacraments have Equal Significance in both 5. Both have the Word of God, which is to have Eternal Life 6. The Formula of the Covenant Common to both includes Eternal Life As we look at the Bible from Calvin’s perspective, the substance of the Bible is always Jesus the Messiah and His saving work. But the way that God explains what the Messiah was to do changed from the Old Testament to the New. In the Old Testament there were bloody sacrifices and there was a high priest and there was a tabernacle or temple. In the New Testament we don’t have those things. Things are administered differently now. Another helpful example is a building with its scaffolding. When a building is being built there are scaffolds set up around it. But when the building is complete, the scaffolds are taken down and removed since they are no longer needed. Thus the Old Testament administration of the covenant of grace was administered by animal sacrifices, rituals, dietary laws and high priests. All those things were the scaffolds used to bring the Messiah into the world. Now that He’s come, God administers His saving work differently and the Old Testament administration of the covenant has ended. Thus its visible signs and practices, its scaffolds, have been removed. V. While Christ Is The Heart Of The Bible There Is Continuity And Discontinuity In The Covenant. Another way to speak of the substance of the covenant is to see it summarized in the formula of the covenant, “I will be your God and you will be My people.” That has always been the heart of the Bible even though God’s administration of His covenant changes through time. Another phrase to describe this dual emphasis of unchanging substance with differing administrations is to emphasize the continuity and discontinuity of the Old and New Testaments. Thus from a Presbyterian perspective, we baptize the children of believers in the New Testament because the children of believers in the Old Testament were circumcised. Circumcision and baptism are very different in administration, but they are the same in substance. They both declare that God is in covenant with His people. The way the sacrament was administered before Christ came was different than after Christ because the shedding of human or animal blood was pointing to Christ’s saving sacrifice that alone could truly take away the sin of the world. But now that Christ has come and shed His blood, we no longer have need to shed sacrificial blood. Similarly, the Passover became the Lord’s Supper. The change was needed because there is no longer any shedding of blood. Thus Christians do not slay the Passover lamb. Jesus has fulfilled that picture. The Passover was always pointing to Him, the substance of the covenant. The diversity of the covenant is in its form. The continuity of the Covenant is in Christ, the Passover Lamb. We continue to have the bread and the cup of Passover pointing us to the fact that God takes His wrath away from His people because His Son has shed His blood for us and that blood has been placed upon the lentil of our hearts so that we might be saved. Calvin enumerates five differences between the covenants. They relate only to the externals and not to the substance of the covenant. Calvin’s View of the Differences In Administration Between the Old and New Covenants Old Covenant Before Christ New Covenant After Christ 1. Material and Temporal Blessings represent spiritual blessings 1. Direct Meditation upon spiritual blessings 2. Images & Ceremonies as types of Christ 2. Full Revelation of Christ in His Incarnation 3. The OT Law is letter that kills 3. The NT Gospel is spirit that makes alive a. The OT Law in the narrow sense condemns because it is the demand of Law without the Holy Spirit’s Aid a. In the New Covenant the Law is written upon the heart by the Spirit in the Gospel and is accompanied by the forgiveness of sins b. The OT Law in the broad sense includes the Gospel by borrowing from it the Promises of Christ b. The Gospel of the New Covenant has been the experience of God’s Children since the beginning of the World 4. The Old Covenant was characterized by bondage and fear 4. The New Covenant is characterized by freedom and trust 5. The Old Covenant was limited to Israel 5. The New Covenant is extended to all nations So as we learn to think covenantally, we discover the interconnectedness of the formula of the covenant, the substance and administration of the covenant, and the continuity and discontinuity of the covenant. The substance of the covenant unites the whole Bible emphasizing the continuity of the covenant even though the administration of the covenant differs through history emphasizing the discontinuity of the covenant. VI. God’s Promises Of Salvation In Christ Are Organically Present In The Old Testament: The Covenant Is The “DNA” Of The History Of Salvation. How do we understand the stories in the Bible and how do we understand our Christian lives? We must read the Bible as a history of salvation and not as a logically arranged systematic theology. God didn’t inspire a systematic theology of Jesus. He did not provide us with a Biblical book entitled, “The Doctrine of God” or “The Doctrine of the Church.” The Bible is a history of salvation. They Bible reveals the dramatic stories of what God did through redemptive history. The unfolding character of God’s story is a mystery until the whole story is done. Mysteries, surprises, twists and turns keep on coming as God’s organic plan is progressively unfolded. One of the great covenant teachers of the early twentieth century was Geerhardus Vos who taught at Princeton and impacted our professors at Westminster. He developed and emphasized the historic, organic unfolding of salvation in Scripture. What does “organic” mean? If someone plants a garden of flowers, he needs some seeds. When one looks at a seed, the seed already contains its blossom. But if one has never seen that seed before he would not be able to guess what it is. But because of the seed’s organic development, everything that the mature tree is to become is already present in its seed. And that’s the way the Bible is, right from its beginning. The whole story of the Bible is already present when God said, “He will crush his head and he will bruise his heel,” in Genesis 3:15. That is the story of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can go back and read it in light of the Gospel and realize that the Gospel was there all along. Initially, men did not understand that. It took the unfolding of the history of salvation until finally the wonderful resurrection and victory of Christ was clear. But it was always there because the whole Bible is about Christ. Consider Luke 24 where Jesus gives His first Bible study after His resurrection. Jesus speaks to two men on the road to Emmaus who were discussing the story of the crucifixion and the rumors that the tomb was empty. Luke 24:36ff says, While they were still talking about this, Jesus Himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at My hands and My feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, He asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave Him a piece of broiled fish, and He took it and ate it in their presence. He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you. Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Then He opened their minds so that they could understand the Scriptures. Now when Jesus refers “to everything that was written about Him in the Law of Moses, and the Prophets, and the Psalms,” He was identifying the three main divisions of the Canon of the Old Testament. That was the way the Jews divided the books of the Old Testament. In essence He was saying, “It matters not which Old Testament book you read, if your mind has been opened by My Spirit, you will discover that it all speaks of me.” That is the way Jesus wants His people to read the Bible; to see that it is all about Him. The Bible is the dramatic story of the history of redemption that organically unfolds Jesus’ saving work. Thus covenant theology rejects the Dispensational notion that the OT is for the Jewish people of God and the NT is for the Gentile people of God. Instead, covenant theology teaches that the whole Bible is about Christ who came to save all of God’s people who by faith become the true Israel whether they are Jews or Gentiles. VII. Boundary Disputes: The Covenantal Interpretation And the Dispensational Interpretation of the Old Testament Land Promises. It’s at this point where one of the greatest differences arises between Dispensationalism and covenant theology. Dispensationalists say the many land promises that God gave to Israel are yet to be fulfilled. This they claim will occur when the church is raptured, and when after the seven year tribulation, the kingdom finally comes, then all the land promises to Israel will be literally fulfilled. Covenant Theology believes Dispensationalists are misreading the Bible when they interpret the Bible in that way. Consider here 2 Corinthians 1:18-20. The apostle Paul is writing to the church in Corinth about the truthfulness of his ministry. He says in 1:18, But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not “Yes” and “No” but in him it has always been “Yes.” The key verse is verse 20: For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. What Paul is saying is that if one finds any promise in the Bible and if he interprets it without Christ, he’s misreading it. Every promise is “yes” and “amen” in Christ. If one does not read the Bible this way, it is as though Jesus becomes irrelevant to that promise. For Paul, then, every land promise and every other redemptive promise always finds its meaning in Christ. The point is that there is continuity and discontinuity in the covenant. The land promises are to be understood as though God had said, “I have redeemed you out of the world to be my people. Thus I’ve given you a heavenly land which is my true and ultimate promised land.” Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” And at the conclusion of Revelation, when we are in Heaven, we have God dwelling with us. Then God says, “I will be your God and you will be My people, in a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness.” That is why the writer of the Hebrews teaches in Hebrews 11 that Abraham was not looking for real estate in Palestine when he left early Ur. Instead, he was looking for a city whose builder and maker is God. A covenant theologian can say “yes and amen” to that in Christ. Paul declares that that is how we are to read the Bible. If we don’t read the Bible in this way, we are misreading it. But Dispensationalism teaches that the Bible is to be read without seeing all of it promises fulfilled in the ultimate culmination of all things in Jesus Christ. VIII. Covenant Theology Teaches That The Kingdom Is Not Just Future, It Is Already But Not Yet. The formula of the covenant reflects the substance of the covenant, while the administration of the covenant was different before Christ came than its administration after Christ came and ascended to heaven. Having ascended to the right Hand of the Father, He poured out His Holy Spirit on His people inaugurating His kingdom. God’s Kingdom began at Pentecost. The kingdom is now here even though it is still not yet here fully. The Kingdom is already but not yet. Chuck Colson illustrated this by the D-Day invasion. When the Marines hit Omaha beach and took the cliffs they did the impossible. Having accomplished this, they were confident that one day they would conquer the Third Reich. They already had won but they had not yet won. There was still a long battle yet ahead even though they had secured that victory by doing the impossible. The incarnation of Jesus Christ and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit and its birth of the New Testament era of covenant life are the beginning of the kingdom. One day Satan’s “Third Reich” is going to fall and the whole kingdom will be come even though it has already begun and we as believers are part of it. Jesus Kingdom is already here. (See Matthew 12:28; 13:40-43; Acts 1:3; 28:31; Col. 1:13; Rev. 1:6.) Pastor Dr. Peter Lillback(피터 릴백 박사 목사)(Pennsylvania Proclamation Presbyterian Church(미국 펜실베이니어 선포장로교회))
A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(칼빈의 언약적 성경해석과 언약신학으로부터 추론된 세대주의 비평)(2)/ Matthew 12:28(마12:28), Matthew 13:40-43(마13:40-43), Acts 1:3(행1:3), Acts 28:31(행28:
A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(칼빈의 언약적 성경해석과 언약신학으로부터 추론된 세대주의 비평)(2)/ Matthew 12:28(마12:28), Matthew 13:40-43(마13:40-43), Acts 1:3(행1:3), Acts 28:31(행28:31), Col. 1:13(골1:13), Rev. 1:6(계1:6)/ Pastor Dr. Peter Lillback(피터 릴백 박사 목사)/ 2015-02-12 A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(칼빈의 언약적 성경해석과 언약신학으로부터 추론된 세대주의 비평)(2)/ Matthew 12:28(마12:28), Matthew 13:40-43(마13:40-43), Acts 1:3(행1;3), Acts 28:31(행28:31), Col. 1:13(골1;13), Rev. 1:6(계1:6) A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(2) Lecture II. A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenant Theology As we saw in the first lecture, Calvin interprets the Bible in a covenantal and Christocentric manner. He is firmly committed to the organic unity of the history of redemption that is explained in its continuity and discontinuity by God’s covenantal revelation. The eight points that we addressed in our first lecture are: I. The Differences Between Dispensationalism And Covenant Theology. II. The Differing Historical Origins Of Dispensationalism And Covenant Theology. III. Calvin’s Emphasis On The Unity Of The Bible Seen In The Formula of the Covenant. IV. Calvin’s Covenantal Dictum For Interpreting The Bible: The Covenant Is Always The Same In Substance, Yet It Is Distinct In Administration. V. While Christ Is The Heart Of The Bible There Is Continuity And Discontinuity In The Covenant. VI. God’s Promises Of Salvation In Christ Are Organically Present In The Old Testament: The Covenant Is The “DNA” Of The History Of Salvation. VII. Boundary Disputes: The Covenantal Interpretation And the Dispensational Interpretation of the Old Testament Land Promises. VIII. Covenant Theology Teaches That The Kingdom Is Not Just Future, It Is Already But Not Yet. Having seen Calvin’s covenantal hermeneutic and how its implications stand in contrast to the hermeneutics of Dispensationalism, let us now consider Calvin’s covenant theology that flows from his covenantal hermeneutic and see how it stands in critique of Dispensational theology. We will address the following six points in this second lecture: I. Covenant Theology Celebrates Christ’s Incarnation Because By Assuming Humanity, Christ Becomes The Covenant. II. The First Saving Benefit of the Covenant Of Grace Is Justification by Faith Alone. III. The Second Saving Benefit Of The Covenant Of Grace Is Sanctification By Faith and Obedience. IV. The Four-Fold Relationship Of Sanctification And Justification In Calvin’s Covenant Theology. V. The Different Ethical Tendencies Emerging From Covenantal Ethics And Dispensational Ethics. VI. The Corporate Character Of Calvin’s Covenant al Understanding Of Sacraments. Let us then look at the first of these six points. I. Covenant Theology Celebrates Christ’s Incarnation Because By Assuming Humanity, Christ Becomes The Covenant. Before Calvin began to write his theology, Heinrich Bullinger had already emphasized in his 1534 Of The One And Eternal Testament Or Covenant Of God that Christ Himself is the covenant due to His incarnation. Bullinger explains in his tenth section entitled, “Christ, the Seal and Living Confirmation of the Covenant”: What I am about to say of Christ the Lord is not the entire doctrine. Rather, it is that very point worthy of admiration due to His incarnation, namely, the eternal covenant of God with the race of men that covenant which He set forth and confirmed in an astonishing and living way. Indeed, when the true God assumed true humanity, immediately it [i.e., the covenant] was not treated with more words and arguments, rather, by this thing itself, that greatest mystery is attested to the whole world--that God admitted man into covenant and partnership. Further, He bound man to Himself by an indissoluble connection by the highest miracle of love, to be our God. Thus undoubtedly with Isaiah we too believe the name given to Christ (Isaiah 7:14). He is called Immanuel, just as if someone might say, “God with us.” Thus the Gospels review these innumerable miracles and great benefits of Christ with so many examples. By these indeed, Isaiah declared God to be kind, and therefore the Horn of Plenty, the Father, and Shaddai to the human race. To this name also the very death and resurrection of Christ are referred. They [i.e. the words that compose the name Immanuel] are indeed most certain testimonies of the divine mercy, justice, and restitution of life. By Christ, God Himself established and expounded for us all of Himself, before our eyes; blessing us and accepting us as cleansed by Christ, into partnership and the eternal kingdom. All of which John’s Gospel says embraced by the few but heavenly words, “In the beginning was the word, and the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory; glory, I say, which was proper for the only-begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. Indeed of His fullness, we have received grace for grace. Because the law was given by Moses, grace and truth have appeared by Jesus Christ” (John 1:1, 14, 16, 17). You hear this highest truth, that mystery that God has become a man, that is, He has become entirely of us, He Himself dwells among us. You hear that He has begun to shine His power and glory to the world, not for any other plan than that He may draw us to Himself by most beautiful benefits in His love, who is the fullness of our God Shaddai. For Paul also says, “In Christ dwells all the fullness of God bodily, and you are in Him complete and perfect” (Colossians 2:9, 10). In this way, therefore, the Lord Jesus Himself confirmed and displayed the first part of the covenant. The very incarnation shows that God is God--Shaddai, the blessing and eternal happiness of the seed of Abraham. (My translation.) To get at what Bullinger is saying, let us suppose that God said, “I so want you to know that I am your God and that you are My people, that I will give you a proof that you cannot possibly forget or overlook it.” God’s proof of His covenantal commitment is seen in His becoming a man. By Jesus’ incarnation, the God-Man becomes the union of God and man, thus mirroring the very covenant itself. The formula of the covenant says, “I will be your God and you will be My people.” By the incarnation God declared, “Because I am your God and because you are My people, I your God am becoming a human person like you, to be with you.” Isaiah 7:14 says, “The virgin will conceive and have a Son and you will name Him Immanuel”. Immanuel means, “With us is God” or “God with us”. The name Immanuel is the covenant name, meaning that “God is with us”. Jesus as the incarnate Covenant Savior and Lord permanently unites God to His people by taking on unfallen human nature and becoming a man. Thus Jesus’ incarnation physically manifests the formula of the covenant: “I will be your God and you will be My people.” By the incarnation, God in Christ declares, I am with you and you are with Me. Calvin’s emphasis on Christ as the very covenant of God is seen in his extensive Christ-centered development of the covenant of grace’s saving benefits. Consider the following: Let us then set forth the covenant that he once established as eternal and never perishing. Its fulfillment, by which it is finally confirmed and ratified, is Christ. Who, then, dares to separate the Jews from Christ, since with them we hear, was made the covenant of the gospel, the sole foundation of which is Christ? ...the apostle contends that it ought to be terminated and abrogated, to give place to Christ, the Sponsor and Mediator of a better covenant;... This is the new covenant that God in Christ has made with us, that he will remember our sins no more. The intimate relationship of Christ and the covenant for Calvin can be seen by their repeated juxtaposition. The covenant not only contains Christ, but He is its foundation. The promise of both of the Old and New Covenants have Christ as their foundation. Since the New Covenant is from the beginning, the Old Covenant is Christian. Thus the Old Testament fathers had Christ. The law includes Christ. The Old Covenant’s end was Christ and eternal life. In fact, the Old Covenant was an empty show unless Christ’s death and resurrection are part of it. Thus the ark of the Covenant, the Old Testament ceremonies, and the progressive revelation of the Old Covenant all point to Christ. Christ’s advent ushers in the New Covenant that stands in continuity with the Old. The Redeemer’s coming does not invalidate the Old Covenant. Instead, He renews and continues it. He causes it to be new and eternal. By fulfilling and confirming the Old Covenant, Christ brought an eternal and never perishing covenant. Christ’s redemptive work is fully integrated with the covenant. Accordingly, Christ is the Mediator, the Sponsor, the Redeemer, and testator of the covenant. The blood of the covenant in Christ’s atonement or redemptive death for sin is what ratifies the covenant. Thus the covenant is ratified with Christ and His members. Christ’s resurrection, intercession, priesthood, and Kingdom, are associated with the covenant. Indeed, Christ is the one who confirms, seals and sanctions the covenant. Calvin also sees a relationship of Christ and the covenant in the application of redemption in such areas as faith, sonship, union with God and Christ, good works, and the Sacraments. Clearly, Christ and covenant is a major strand in Calvin’s golden chain of salvation. The commentaries also relate Christ and the covenant on numerous points. Calvin further develops his emphasis on Christ as the very covenant of God when he explains the inseparability of the covenant of grace’s saving benefits in the very same manner in which he explains the inseparability of these same saving benefits in Christ Himself. We will consider this below in section IV of this lecture. II. The First Saving Benefit of the Covenant Of Grace Is Justification by Faith Alone. As we have seen, the word for covenant in Hebrew is berith, meaning to cut. In this context, consider Genesis 15. Childless Abram wanted a son. So the Lord brought Abram out to view a clear starry night’ sky. The Lord promised Abram that his children would be as numerous as the stars. We read in Genesis 15:6, Abram believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. We call this justification by faith. In fact, Paul uses this same text in his Epistle to the Romans to show that believers are justified by faith alone. Here God brings righteousness to Abram through faith by means of a covenant, a berith. To make this covenant sacrifice, Abram takes different kinds of animals and cuts them from the top of the head, through the nose, through the torso, all the way through the tail, and then the pieces are laid on the ground. This is indeed a berith, a cutting, a bloody sacrifice. This powerful image was an ancient custom by which one made a covenant. In making a covenant, one slew an animal and then walked between its parts and in essence promised, “If I don’t keep my promise, I will be just like the animals that we’ve just walked between.” To make a mortgage that way with your bank would be to sign it in blood! Here we see a promise joined with a sanction or punishment for disobedience. If the covenanter did not keep his word, he would be like the animal that was just slain. But the story doesn’t stop there. Next Abram watches the sun setting, he gets ready to enter into the covenant but instead he falls into a deep sleep. He is in effect paralyzed and he hears God speak. He sees a theophany, a manifestation of God. It is a smoking pot and a burning oven that alone passes through the middle of the animal parts, while Abram has no part in this covenant. The Lord in effect was saying, “Abram I alone establish the covenant. I alone can bring you righteousness. I alone can fulfill this promise. You cannot do it. But you will benefit by this covenant since you have been justified by faith.” Moreover, the Lord was also making a great promise. In effect He said, “If I don’t keep My promise, I will cease to exist.” But the Lord in essence was also saying even more: “So that you might be righteous, I will have to assume flesh and become the Lamb of God who is slain as a sacrifice for sinners to take away the sin of the world.” In this dramatic story of ancient covenant making by sacrifice, God alone guarantees the formula of the covenant: “I will be your God and you will be My people.” When one is justified by faith in Christ, he does absolutely nothing but receive Christ’s gift of His perfect righteousness before God. This righteousness is imputed to him by faith alone that he receives with a beggar’s hands of faith. Christians are in this covenant by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone as seen in the Scriptures alone so that God alone receives the glory in our salvation. III. The Second Saving Benefit Of The Covenant Of Grace Is Sanctification By Faith and Obedience. But this is not where Abram’s story stops. We next turn to Genesis 17 where we find that the Lord makes a covenant with Abram by changing his name and giving him a new name. So Abram becomes Abraham. As this new name is given, another covenant is made that begins with the words, “Walk before me and be blameless.” In essence God says, “Remember you did not walk between the animal parts before, but were righteous by faith. But now you must walk before me and be blameless. In fact, you are going to have the covenant, the berith, cut in your own flesh. You are going to be the living sacrifice. Your very body is to be cut in the covenant of circumcision.” Thus it is no longer an animal, but Abram who is the covenant sacrifice. By extension, circumcision leads to the circumcision of the heart, the removing of the old nature. This is what Abraham is supposed to become as one who has been justified by faith. He is now to walk with God. This theologians have called sanctification. Those that are justified by faith are also those who are to learn to walk in holiness before God and become living sacrifices, as Paul called them in Romans 12:1-2. In covenant sacrifice, Abram was to give his body onto the Lord as a living sacrifice. Consider again Jeremiah 31. There God said He was going to make a new covenant with Israel, a new berith. It would not be like the covenant that He made with Israel where the law of God was written on tablets of stone and were broken because the people rebelled and worshiped the golden calf. This time God would write the law on Israel’s hearts, forgiving their sins. But notice that the new covenant presents a second great benefit. The first benefit of the covenant is forgiveness of sins which is called justification by faith. The second benefit of the covenant is sanctification in which the law of God is written on the hearts of God’s people so that they will live for Him. Thus the new covenant has two great blessings: justification and sanctification. Reflect again on the formula of the covenant: “I will be your God and you will be my people.” One can hear both the truths of justification and of sanctification in the formula of the covenant. Listen to the two emphases that the covenant formula can be given. The first emphasis says, I will be your God and you will be My people. Do you hear that wonderful promise? God says, “You are righteous through faith in Me. I’m giving you this.” This is the indicative or factual expression of the Covenant of Grace. Now let me read these same words again but accent them in a different way: I will be your God and you will be My people. Do you hear a different nuance in the same words? By emphasizing the words in this way, we move from the indicative to the imperative. In other words, what God has promised, He also demands. And what God demands, He also promises. God’s enabling us to keep His covenant is seen in the fact that He writes His law on our hearts. He has not only forgiven us, but now He also gives us the ability to become His people. This gracious gift is underscored by God’s revealed name in Genesis 17El Shaddai, the Almighty and All-Sufficient God. So justification and sanctification are the two great benefits of the covenant that come to us in God’s covenant of grace. And remember this formula of the covenant goes from Genesis all the way to Revelation and it’s the one people of God that participate in it. All too often Dispensational and evangelical theology separates sanctification from God’s saving grace. It is an expression of growth and maturity but not part of God’s redemptive plan. Covenant theology following Calvin’s emphasis on what he called the “duplex gratiae” or double graces declares that God saves His people by justifying and sanctifying them. IV. The Four-Fold Relationship Of Sanctification And Justification In Calvin’s Covenant Theology. These truths of the covenant must be taught to God’s people of all ages. Accordingly, we need an illustration that is useful for children and grown ups too. So allow me to offer such an illustration by asking you to look carefully at your hands. You have a right hand and a left hand. Your two hands will now stand for the two blessings of the New Covenant: sanctification, I will write my law on your hearts; justification, I will forgive your sins. Let your dominant hand be your justification hand. So if you are right handed, think of your right hand as your justification hand and your left hand as your sanctification hand. If you are left handed, let your left hand be your justification hand and your right hand be your sanctification hand. I want you to learn four important principles of the relationship of justification and sanctification from your two hands. These principles are: 1. Justification and sanctification, like your hands, must be distinguished. 2. Justification and sanctification, like your hands, are simultaneous given. 3. Justification and sanctification, like your hands, are inseparable. 4. Justification and sanctification, like your hands, must be logically ordered. Notice first that a person’s two hands are distinct. That is important to remember. If someone says, “Turn right,” and one turns left he will get into trouble or get lost. Early on, people learn to distinguish their right hands from their left. The point is this: justification and sanctification, the two benefits of the covenant, are distinct. We must distinguish them. The great mistake of Roman Catholicism is to say the way one is justified is by becoming sanctified. Catholicism teaches that if one does good works, God will declare such a one to be righteous. But that destroys justification by faith alone. In this illustration, that is to confuse one’s left hand with his right hand, or to identify his justification with his sanctification. But some evangelicals think of this in an opposite way from Roman Catholics. But still, they confuse their right and left hands, or confuse justification and sanctification. In this view, sometimes called, “easy-believism” one declares, “If I believe in Jesus that is how I become forgiven and holy. It doesn’t matter if I do anything else as long as I believe, because that’s all one needs before God.” This view teaches that one becomes sanctified by being justified. But that is to confuse one’s right hand with his left hand, or to identify one’s sanctification with his justification. This is the reverse of Catholicism, but like Catholicism, it confuses justification and sanctification. Calvin taught and the Reformed faith teaches that there are two great saving benefits of the covenant of grace, and we must never confuse them. We have two hands which are distinct and we must never confuse them. Notice secondly, that the two hands we have, were given to us simultaneously. Humans are born with a right and left hand that come simultaneously. So when God brings us the blessings of the New Covenant, He not only forgives our sins as a completed act and declares us to be righteous by clothing us in the righteousness of Christ, He also gives us the Holy Spirit to begin to make us holy. With this gift of the Holy Spirit, God starts the process of teaching us to become holy, to die to sin and to live to Christ. While the sanctification work of the Holy Spirit is a process that goes on and on, it starts at the same time as our forgiveness or justification in Christ. These two benefits of the covenant are simultaneous. Nevertheless, we must distinguish them for they are different. The third thing we need to realize about these two New Covenant blessings is that they are inseparable. No one decides to take off his left hand when in a hurry and says, “I don’t have time to mess with my left hand today”. If one’s left hand gets separated he uses his other hand to dial a doctor and pleads, “Could you reattach this hand? I don’t want them separated!” Nevertheless, there are people that spiritually speaking want to separate justification from sanctification. A libertine says, “I just want to be forgiven. I want a Jesus credit card so I can just do what I want and know I’m forgiven.” But one cannot do that. The puritans in essence used to say, “When you receive Jesus, you receive Him in all of His offices as prophet, priest, and king. Not just as a priest who gives you forgiveness and a sacrifice. But also as a king who rules over you and a prophet who teaches you His word. You cannot separate his offices.” The opposite of this is the legalist who says, “I don’t need to be forgiven, I will be good enough by my own moral reformation to please God.” This we would call a Pharisee. But the Pharisee is like the Libertine. The only difference is that they seek to cut off the opposite hand! But, the two hands of the covenant of grace are inseparable. Accordingly, Calvin assails those who claim only one benefit of the covenant at the expense of the other. Also, with the same effort these rascals, by canceling one section of it, tear apart God’s covenant, in which we see our salvation contained, and topple it from its foundation. Not only are they guilty of sacrilege in separating things till now joined.... Because Christ and the covenant are so intertwined, there are those who not only try to “tear apart God’s covenant” but who also attempt to “tear Christ in pieces”. Thirdly, he calls him our sanctification, by which he means, that we who are otherwise unholy by nature, are by his Spirit renewed unto holiness, that we may serve God. From this, also, we infer, that we cannot be justified freely through faith alone without at the same time living holily. For these fruits of grace are connected together, as it were, by an indissoluble tie, so that he who attempts to sever them does in a manner tear Christ in pieces. Let therefore the man who seeks to be justified through Christ, by God’s unmerited goodness, consider that this cannot be attained without his taking him at the same time for sanctification, or, in other words, being renewed to innocence and purity of life. Calvin repeatedly uses the image of tearing Christ in pieces to underscore the inseparableness of justification and sanctification. It is indeed true, that we are justified in Christ through the mercy of God alone; but it is equally true and certain, that all who are justified are called by the Lord, that they may live worthy of their vocation. Let then the faithful learn to embrace him, not only for justification, but also for sanctification, as he has been given to us for both these purposes, lest they rend him asunder by their mutilated faith. ...as Christ cannot be torn into parts, so these two which we perceive in him together and conjointly are inseparable--namely, righteousness and sanctification. Whomever, therefore, God receives into grace, on them he at the same time bestows the spirit of adoption, by whose power he remakes them to his own image. But since the question concerns only righteousness and sanctification, let us dwell upon these. Although we may distinguish them, Christ contains both of them inseparably in himself. Do you wish, then to attain righteousness in Christ? You must first possess Christ; but you cannot possess him without being made partaker in his sanctification, because he cannot be divided into pieces [I Corinthians 1:13]. Since, therefore, it is solely by expending himself that the Lord gives us these benefits to enjoy, he bestows both of them at the same time, the one never without the other. Thus it is clear how true it is that we are justified not without works yet not through works, since in our sharing in Christ, which justifies us, sanctification is just as much included as righteousness. The covenant therefore helps to organize the benefits of salvation. The two covenantal benefits of justification and sanctification are distinct, yet they are inseparably related and simultaneously received in Christ. Thus Christ and the covenant are essentially identified since both are the source of these great redemptive benefits. This doctrine gives Calvin a two edged sword to wield against his theological opponents. The Romanist, who thought his works merited salvation, was confronted with the fact that good works without Christ’s righteousness were still impure. The Libertine, who thought that Christ’s death made him spiritually pure regardless of his personal life, was confronted with the inseparability of the Holy Spirit’s work of regeneration and Christ’s righteousness. The three ideas from Calvin we have considered so far concerning the relationship of the two benefits of the covenant are: 1. Justification and Sanctification must be distinguished. 2. Justification and Sanctification are simultaneous given. 3. Justification and Sanctification are inseparable. Now let us consider the fourth idea of the relationship of justification and sanctification in Calvin: 4. Justification and Sanctification must be logically ordered. Or to put it in Calvin’s terms, what is subordinate is not contrary. The fourth point, then, that Calvin makes is that the two benefits of the covenant of grace are to be logically ordered. Or to put it another way, one benefit of the covenant is dominant and the other is subordinate. This too is like our two hands. If one is right handed, the right hand is the dominant hand over the left hand. The point that we must see here is that justification is always dominant over sanctification and sanctification is always dependent upon and subordinate to justification. So if one is right handed, it means his right hand, his justification hand, is the primary hand and the left hand, his sanctification hand, is dependent upon and subordinate to the right hand. Theologically speaking, this means that one can never say, “I know I’m forgiven because I’m doing so many good things.” This is to confuse the gospel. Instead, one must say, “Because I am forgiven and righteous in Christ, I can and will live for Him by the Holy Spirit.” Calvin compared justification to the foundation of a house, and he likened sanctification to the superstructure built upon that foundation. Thus the house of sanctification is always dependent upon the foundation of justification. Calvin actually uses an important dictum that comes from the medieval tradition, namely, “What is subordinate is not contrary.” What he meant in this context is that the righteousness of the believer’s obedience, which is real righteousness before God, does not present an alternate or contrary way of salvation. This is because sanctification is under or subordinate to the greater righteousness of Christ’s obedience in justification. Sanctification righteousness although graciously produced by the Holy Spirit’s ministry in the believer is nevertheless subordinate to Christ’s righteousness bestowed in justification. So sanctification is not a competing way of salvation for the believer since it is always inferior to the righteousness of Christ. Indeed, sanctification righteousness honors justification righteousness and by its very existence manifests the superior righteousness of Christ in justification. Accordingly, sanctification does not produce justification or have any role in justification’s work of forgiveness or of imputing the perfect righteousness of Christ. One must never depend on his own new obedience or sanctification. Instead, he must always depend upon Christ. To return to our analogy, the dependent hand of sanctification must always rely on the superior hand of justification that lays hold of Christ by faith. Thus Calvin’s covenant doctrine does not permit the law to be in opposition to the gospel after the blessings of the covenant are bestowed upon a believer. Justification and sanctification are necessary components of the divine benefits of salvation. They are bestowed “at the same time”. Yet a logical order exists between them which must not be overlooked. Since the “spirit” is added to the “letter” of the law, the believer has a true righteousness of obedience. But, It is a subordinate righteousness to the righteousness of Christ. Yet it is not a contrary righteousness. Calvin affirms this principle in his Antidote to the Council of Trent. We, indeed, willingly acknowledge, that believers ought to make daily increase in good works, and that the good works wherewith they are adorned by God, are sometimes distinguished by the name of righteousness. But since the whole value of works is derived from no other foundation than that of gratuitous acceptance, how absurd were it to make the former overthrow the latter! Why do they not remember what they learned when boys at school, that what is subordinate is not contrary? (Emphasis mine.) I say that it is owing to free imputation that we are considered righteous before God; I say that from this also another benefit proceeds, viz., that our works have the name of righteousness, though they are far from having the reality of righteousness. In short, I affirm, that not by our own merit but by faith alone, are both our persons and works justified; and the justification of works depends on the justification of the person, as the effect on the cause. Therefore, it is necessary that the righteousness of faith alone so precede in order, and be so preeminent in degree, that nothing can go before it or obscure it. In his The True Method of Giving Peace and Reforming the Church, Calvin again explains the subordination of the Christian’s works righteousness to the righteousness of faith. In order that ambiguities may be removed, it is necessary that the Righteousness which we obtain by faith, and which is freely bestowed upon us, should be placed in the highest rank, so that, as often as the conscience is brought before the tribunal of God, it alone may shine forth. In this way the righteousness of works, to whatever extent it may exist in us, being reduced to its own place, will never come, as it were, into conflict with the other; and certainly it is just, that as righteousness of works depends on righteousness of faith, it should be made subordinate to it, (Emphasis mine.) so as to leave the latter in full possession of the salvation of man. Thus for Calvin, the covenant is a powerful concept because it establishes that we are justified by faith alone, yet by a faith that is never alone, but is always accompanied by all of God’s saving graces. Thus the Gospel teaches us that Jesus is both Savior and Lord.” The indicative of our union with Christ is in justification (we are righteous) and the imperative of our union with Christ is in sanctification (we are to be righteous). As we have seen, both of these emphases are implied in the formula of the covenant. The following chart helps us to capture Calvin’s covenantal thought in terms of the two savings benefits of the covenant of grace. The Relationship of the Two Parts of the Covenant of Grace in Calvin’s Thought Justification Sanctification 1. Through the Covenant of Grace in Union with Christ 1. Through the Covenant of Grace in Union with Christ 2. Simultaneous with Sanctification 2. Simultaneous with justification 3. Inseparable from Sanctification 3. Inseparable from Justification 4. Distinguishable from Sanctification 4. Distinguishable from Justification 5. By Faith Alone in Christ 5. By Faith and Obedience to the Law through Enablement of the Holy Spirit 6. A Superior righteousness that is not contrary to Sanctification Righteousness 6. An Inferior Righteousness not contrary to Justification Righteousness 7. Faith Alone Justifies and is the Superior Cause of Salvation 7. But Faith is Never Alone in the Justified Person, so sanctification’s works are Inferior Causes of Salvation 8. Imputed Righteousness 8. Inherent Righteousness V. The Different Ethical Tendencies Emerging From Covenantal Ethics And Dispensational Ethics. What difference does the covenantal rather than the dispensational reading of the Bible really make in the Christian life? First, we should see that covenant theology declares that the kingdom of Christ has already begun and is not completely future. If one believes that the kingdom is yet to come but is not yet here, it is possible for the church to see itself as a group of people that should retreat from the world, to care mainly about themselves. The Church’s primary task then is to invite others to join them in their retreat from culture. This approach often asserts that the world is going to get worse and worse and there is nothing anyone can do about it. All one can hope for is for Jesus to come and rapture the Church out of this fallen world and only then everything will be right. Allow me here to give a personal experience. When I left Dallas Seminary in 1978 to go to Westminster Seminary, it was at the time of the first great oil crisis caused by the oil embargoes. I vividly remember being in those long lines of cars at the gas station. In Philadelphia I received word from friends in Dallas that the Seminary had decided to take out an ad in the local newspaper declaring that this was the last call for the rapture. It is clear that there have been a several more opportunities for Dispensational interpreters to call for the rapture! The best-selling Left Behind series hadn’t yet been written. This was when I realized I could no longer be a Dispensationalistnot if Dispensationalism focused on reading newspapers to figure out when Jesus would come. I began to understand that the question we should have been asking was, “How does one live for Christ if there’s no gasoline?” There is a different ethic created by Dispensationalism and by Covenant Theology. Dispensationalism asks one to live in light of the raptureno gasoline means the rapture is coming. Covenant Theology, however, asks one to reflect on what it means to be a Christian when one can no longer pump gas. Jesus taught in Matthew 5, “You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.” He was not talking only to the Old Testament people of Israel. He was talking to Christians. In essence, He was saying: “You are to make a difference. You are to be salty salt that purifies a fallen world and you are to be radiant light that dispels the darkness of unbelief that surrounds the believer. You are to touch the world with what you believe and in what you do.” Covenant Theology declares that believers are to influence their cultures for Christ’s sake. Light shines and dispels darkness. Light makes its presence known. So the Christian is to be the light of the world wherever he goes, whether into a family, into a school, into a political party, into a university or into a business. He is to shine the light of the kingdom of Christ everywhere and make a difference. An adherent of covenant theology must understand that he is to demonstrate that the kingdom of Christ is present. The Christian should be able to say, “I will make a difference for His name wherever I ameverywhere I go, in everything I do, in everything I say.” That is the vision of the ethics of covenant theology, rather than looking to the future trying to ascertain the dates and times of Christ’s return. Covenant Theology accepts Jesus’ agnosticism about the time of His return. Our Lord taught us that, “No man knows the day or the hour or the time or the season that’s appointed by the Father.” Instead of figuring out the time of Christ’s return, one is to be occupied in service to Christ until He comes. We are to be busy in the world, seeking to reach the world for Christ’s sake. Christ’s Kingdom has irrupted or broken into the space and time of human existence. Thus Jesus taught that His gospel of the kingdom had to be preached in the entire world and only then would the end come. Thus believers are called to be missionaries and evangelists engaging our changing world with God’s unchanging Word so that his kingdom will make progress. VI. The Corporate Character Of Calvin’s Covenant al Understanding Of Sacraments. Finally, I will offer a few observations about the sacraments as they are differently viewed from the Dispensational perspective and from the vantage point of Covenant Theology. This vast topic could encompass the nature, meaning and practice of the sacraments in terms of the Eucharist, Baptism and Infant Baptism. But to state the matter simply, let us note that Dispensationalism tends to see the sacraments in a more individualistic sense, whereas Covenant Theology insists that the sacraments are to impact the entire community of God’s people. Dispensationalism’s individualistic tendency parallels its belief that the world will grow worse and worse. But as long as one believes in Christ as Savior, everything will ultimately be all right since the individual believer will go to heaven. In contrast, without diminishing the joyful hope of the individual’s salvation, covenant theology affirms with Joshua, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Covenant Theology recognizes the corporate nature of God’s covenant promise, as seen in the intergenerational expression of the formula of the covenant from the Old Testament, “I will be your God and the God of your children after you” and “To a thousand generations of those that love me and keep my commandments.” On the basis of these Old Testament promises that are held to be still valid in the New Testament era, Calvin and covenant theology have affirmed the corporate character of the covenant as expressed especially in infant baptism. Calvin is so adamant that the covenant with the Jews continues into the New Covenant era that he asserts that to deny this is nothing less than blasphemy! For Calvin, such denial implies that Christ’s coming actually narrowed God’s grace rather than expanding it: Yet Scripture opens to us a still surer knowledge of the truth. Indeed, it is most evident that the covenant which the Lord once made with Abraham is no less in force today for Christians than it was of old for the Jewish people, and that this work relates no less to Christians than it then related to the Jews. Unless perhaps we think that Christ by his coming lessened or curtailed the grace of the Father--but this is nothing but execrable blasphemy! Accordingly, the children of the Jews also, because they had been made heirs of his covenant and distinguished from the children of the impious, were called a holy seed. For this same reason the children of Christians are considered holy; and even though born with only one believing parent, by the apostle’s testimony they differ from the unclean seed of idolaters. Now seeing that the Lord immediately after making the covenant with Abraham commanded it to be sealed in infants by an outward sacrament what excuse will Christians give for not testifying and sealing it in their children today? Children in the Old Testament and in the New are a holy seed by virtue of the same covenantal promise made by God with Abraham. Accordingly, infant baptism bears the same force of command as circumcision. Nor does Calvin accept the evasion that Abraham’s children in the Old Testament Covenant simply foreshadow believers in the New Covenant era. This cannot be, because God’s covenant established with Abraham includes the Christian believer and their children too. In the use of the term “children” they find this difference: those who had their origin from his seed were called children of Abraham under the Old Testament; now, those who imitate his faith are called by this name. They therefore say that that physical infancy which was engrafted into the fellowship of the covenant through circumcision foreshadowed the spiritual infants of the New Testament, who were regenerated to immortal life by God’s Word. In these words, indeed, we see a feeble spark of truth. But those fickle spirits gravely sin in seizing upon whatever first comes to hand where they ought to proceed further, and in stubbornly clinging to one word where they ought to compare many things together....We should, accordingly, aim at a better target, to which we are directed by the very sure guidance of Scripture. Therefore, the Lord promises Abraham that he will have offspring in whom all the nations of the earth will be blessed, and at the same time assures him that he will be his God and the God of his descendants. All those who by faith receive Christ as author of the blessing are heirs of this promise, and are therefore called children of Abraham. Calvin’s point is that while there is an element of truth in the objection, it does not fully explain all of the salient Scriptural data. It is true that the offspring of Abraham’s flesh foreshadowed the future offspring of Abraham by faith. Yet this fact does not remove the promise that God made to Abraham’s physical offspring. God assured Abraham “that he will be his God and the God of his descendants.” Calvin’s response is not an either/or, but a both/and. The implication for the practice of baptism is that the offspring of Abraham are heirs of the promise, even those who became his offspring by faith. Thus the children of Abraham’s offspring by faith are also made full partakers of the promise, since they are now part of his family. The covenant with Abraham continues to operate in the New Covenant era. A criticism of Calvin’s argument for paedobaptism is that the only sign of the covenant was circumcision, and it has ceased. Therefore, the covenant of circumcision is of no value because its sign is abolished. Calvin’s retort is that the changing of the sign does not change the covenant. And let no one object against me that the Lord did not command that his covenant be confirmed by any other symbol than circumcision, which has long since been abolished. There is a ready answer that for the time of the Old Testament he instituted circumcision, to confirm his covenant, but that after circumcision was abolished, the same reason for confirming his covenant (which we have in common with the Jews) still holds good. Consequently, we must always diligently consider what is common to both, and what they have apart from us. The covenant is common, and the reason for confirming it is common. Only the manner of confirmation is different--what was circumcision for them was replaced for us by baptism. If it is true that there is no replacement for circumcision, then in Calvin’s mind, Christ’s coming actually obscured God’s grace rather than increasing it: Otherwise, if the testimony by which the Jews were assured of the salvation of their posterity is taken away from us, Christ’s coming would have the effect of making God’s grace more obscure and less attested for us than it had previously been for the Jews. Now, this cannot be said without grievously slandering Christ, through whom the Father’s infinite goodness was more clearly and liberally poured out upon the earth and declared to men than ever before. As covenantal theologians in the New Testament era, following in the covenantal hermeneutic of Calvin, we are to be concerned in our sacramental lives with the corporate character of the covenant community just as the people of the Old Testament era understood the corporate character of God’s covenantal promises to them. These covenantal promises are not merely individual, but they encompass the importance of the whole family and the coming generations as we personally and collectively grow in Christ. Conclusion: There are several other areas of covenantal thought in Calvin that could be pursued. But we shall conclude having seen that for Calvin, biblical interpretation, the saving benefits of Christ, Christian ethics and the Church’s sacramental life are all important expressions of God’s one and eternal saving covenant of grace revealed throughout the history of redemption from Old Testament to New Testament. Although Calvin never encountered Dispensationalism per se, his understanding of the covenant was directly opposed to the foundational premises of Dispensationalism. So with pun intended, in this New Testament dispensation of God’s one covenant of grace in Christ, which includes the 500th anniversary of Calvin, let us maintain the covenant as a central element in our biblical and theological labors. For as Calvin himself declared as he commented on Psalm 25:10, “We have no reason to be afraid that God will deceive us if we persevere in His covenant.” Pastor Dr. Peter Lillback(피터 릴백 박사 목사)(Pennsylvania Proclamation Presbyterian Church(미국 펜실베이니어 선포장로교회))
A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(칼빈의 언약적 성경해석과 언약신학으로부터 추론된 세대주의 비평)(2)/ Matthew 12:28(마12:28), Matthew 13:40-43(마13:40-43), Acts 1:3(행1:3), Acts 28:31(행28:
A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(칼빈의 언약적 성경해석과 언약신학으로부터 추론된 세대주의 비평)(2)/ Matthew 12:28(마12:28), Matthew 13:40-43(마13:40-43), Acts 1:3(행1:3), Acts 28:31(행28:31), Col. 1:13(골1;13), Rev. 1:6(계1:6)/ Pastor Dr. Peter Lillback(피터 릴백 박사 목사)/ 2015-02-12 A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(칼빈의 언약적 성경해석과 언약신학으로부터 추론된 세대주의 비평)(2)/ Matthew 12:28(마12:28), Matthew 13:40-43(마13:40-43), Acts 1:3(행1;3), Acts 28:31(행28:31), Col. 1:13(골1;13), Rev. 1:6(계1:6) A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(2) Lecture II. A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenant Theology As we saw in the first lecture, Calvin interprets the Bible in a covenantal and Christocentric manner. He is firmly committed to the organic unity of the history of redemption that is explained in its continuity and discontinuity by God’s covenantal revelation. The eight points that we addressed in our first lecture are: I. The Differences Between Dispensationalism And Covenant Theology. II. The Differing Historical Origins Of Dispensationalism And Covenant Theology. III. Calvin’s Emphasis On The Unity Of The Bible Seen In The Formula of the Covenant. IV. Calvin’s Covenantal Dictum For Interpreting The Bible: The Covenant Is Always The Same In Substance, Yet It Is Distinct In Administration. V. While Christ Is The Heart Of The Bible There Is Continuity And Discontinuity In The Covenant. VI. God’s Promises Of Salvation In Christ Are Organically Present In The Old Testament: The Covenant Is The “DNA” Of The History Of Salvation. VII. Boundary Disputes: The Covenantal Interpretation And the Dispensational Interpretation of the Old Testament Land Promises. VIII. Covenant Theology Teaches That The Kingdom Is Not Just Future, It Is Already But Not Yet. Having seen Calvin’s covenantal hermeneutic and how its implications stand in contrast to the hermeneutics of Dispensationalism, let us now consider Calvin’s covenant theology that flows from his covenantal hermeneutic and see how it stands in critique of Dispensational theology. We will address the following six points in this second lecture: I. Covenant Theology Celebrates Christ’s Incarnation Because By Assuming Humanity, Christ Becomes The Covenant. II. The First Saving Benefit of the Covenant Of Grace Is Justification by Faith Alone. III. The Second Saving Benefit Of The Covenant Of Grace Is Sanctification By Faith and Obedience. IV. The Four-Fold Relationship Of Sanctification And Justification In Calvin’s Covenant Theology. V. The Different Ethical Tendencies Emerging From Covenantal Ethics And Dispensational Ethics. VI. The Corporate Character Of Calvin’s Covenant al Understanding Of Sacraments. Let us then look at the first of these six points. I. Covenant Theology Celebrates Christ’s Incarnation Because By Assuming Humanity, Christ Becomes The Covenant. Before Calvin began to write his theology, Heinrich Bullinger had already emphasized in his 1534 Of The One And Eternal Testament Or Covenant Of God that Christ Himself is the covenant due to His incarnation. Bullinger explains in his tenth section entitled, “Christ, the Seal and Living Confirmation of the Covenant”: What I am about to say of Christ the Lord is not the entire doctrine. Rather, it is that very point worthy of admiration due to His incarnation, namely, the eternal covenant of God with the race of men that covenant which He set forth and confirmed in an astonishing and living way. Indeed, when the true God assumed true humanity, immediately it [i.e., the covenant] was not treated with more words and arguments, rather, by this thing itself, that greatest mystery is attested to the whole world--that God admitted man into covenant and partnership. Further, He bound man to Himself by an indissoluble connection by the highest miracle of love, to be our God. Thus undoubtedly with Isaiah we too believe the name given to Christ (Isaiah 7:14). He is called Immanuel, just as if someone might say, “God with us.” Thus the Gospels review these innumerable miracles and great benefits of Christ with so many examples. By these indeed, Isaiah declared God to be kind, and therefore the Horn of Plenty, the Father, and Shaddai to the human race. To this name also the very death and resurrection of Christ are referred. They [i.e. the words that compose the name Immanuel] are indeed most certain testimonies of the divine mercy, justice, and restitution of life. By Christ, God Himself established and expounded for us all of Himself, before our eyes; blessing us and accepting us as cleansed by Christ, into partnership and the eternal kingdom. All of which John’s Gospel says embraced by the few but heavenly words, “In the beginning was the word, and the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory; glory, I say, which was proper for the only-begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. Indeed of His fullness, we have received grace for grace. Because the law was given by Moses, grace and truth have appeared by Jesus Christ” (John 1:1, 14, 16, 17). You hear this highest truth, that mystery that God has become a man, that is, He has become entirely of us, He Himself dwells among us. You hear that He has begun to shine His power and glory to the world, not for any other plan than that He may draw us to Himself by most beautiful benefits in His love, who is the fullness of our God Shaddai. For Paul also says, “In Christ dwells all the fullness of God bodily, and you are in Him complete and perfect” (Colossians 2:9, 10). In this way, therefore, the Lord Jesus Himself confirmed and displayed the first part of the covenant. The very incarnation shows that God is God--Shaddai, the blessing and eternal happiness of the seed of Abraham. (My translation.) To get at what Bullinger is saying, let us suppose that God said, “I so want you to know that I am your God and that you are My people, that I will give you a proof that you cannot possibly forget or overlook it.” God’s proof of His covenantal commitment is seen in His becoming a man. By Jesus’ incarnation, the God-Man becomes the union of God and man, thus mirroring the very covenant itself. The formula of the covenant says, “I will be your God and you will be My people.” By the incarnation God declared, “Because I am your God and because you are My people, I your God am becoming a human person like you, to be with you.” Isaiah 7:14 says, “The virgin will conceive and have a Son and you will name Him Immanuel”. Immanuel means, “With us is God” or “God with us”. The name Immanuel is the covenant name, meaning that “God is with us”. Jesus as the incarnate Covenant Savior and Lord permanently unites God to His people by taking on unfallen human nature and becoming a man. Thus Jesus’ incarnation physically manifests the formula of the covenant: “I will be your God and you will be My people.” By the incarnation, God in Christ declares, I am with you and you are with Me. Calvin’s emphasis on Christ as the very covenant of God is seen in his extensive Christ-centered development of the covenant of grace’s saving benefits. Consider the following: Let us then set forth the covenant that he once established as eternal and never perishing. Its fulfillment, by which it is finally confirmed and ratified, is Christ. Who, then, dares to separate the Jews from Christ, since with them we hear, was made the covenant of the gospel, the sole foundation of which is Christ? ...the apostle contends that it ought to be terminated and abrogated, to give place to Christ, the Sponsor and Mediator of a better covenant;... This is the new covenant that God in Christ has made with us, that he will remember our sins no more. The intimate relationship of Christ and the covenant for Calvin can be seen by their repeated juxtaposition. The covenant not only contains Christ, but He is its foundation. The promise of both of the Old and New Covenants have Christ as their foundation. Since the New Covenant is from the beginning, the Old Covenant is Christian. Thus the Old Testament fathers had Christ. The law includes Christ. The Old Covenant’s end was Christ and eternal life. In fact, the Old Covenant was an empty show unless Christ’s death and resurrection are part of it. Thus the ark of the Covenant, the Old Testament ceremonies, and the progressive revelation of the Old Covenant all point to Christ. Christ’s advent ushers in the New Covenant that stands in continuity with the Old. The Redeemer’s coming does not invalidate the Old Covenant. Instead, He renews and continues it. He causes it to be new and eternal. By fulfilling and confirming the Old Covenant, Christ brought an eternal and never perishing covenant. Christ’s redemptive work is fully integrated with the covenant. Accordingly, Christ is the Mediator, the Sponsor, the Redeemer, and testator of the covenant. The blood of the covenant in Christ’s atonement or redemptive death for sin is what ratifies the covenant. Thus the covenant is ratified with Christ and His members. Christ’s resurrection, intercession, priesthood, and Kingdom, are associated with the covenant. Indeed, Christ is the one who confirms, seals and sanctions the covenant. Calvin also sees a relationship of Christ and the covenant in the application of redemption in such areas as faith, sonship, union with God and Christ, good works, and the Sacraments. Clearly, Christ and covenant is a major strand in Calvin’s golden chain of salvation. The commentaries also relate Christ and the covenant on numerous points. Calvin further develops his emphasis on Christ as the very covenant of God when he explains the inseparability of the covenant of grace’s saving benefits in the very same manner in which he explains the inseparability of these same saving benefits in Christ Himself. We will consider this below in section IV of this lecture. II. The First Saving Benefit of the Covenant Of Grace Is Justification by Faith Alone. As we have seen, the word for covenant in Hebrew is berith, meaning to cut. In this context, consider Genesis 15. Childless Abram wanted a son. So the Lord brought Abram out to view a clear starry night’ sky. The Lord promised Abram that his children would be as numerous as the stars. We read in Genesis 15:6, Abram believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. We call this justification by faith. In fact, Paul uses this same text in his Epistle to the Romans to show that believers are justified by faith alone. Here God brings righteousness to Abram through faith by means of a covenant, a berith. To make this covenant sacrifice, Abram takes different kinds of animals and cuts them from the top of the head, through the nose, through the torso, all the way through the tail, and then the pieces are laid on the ground. This is indeed a berith, a cutting, a bloody sacrifice. This powerful image was an ancient custom by which one made a covenant. In making a covenant, one slew an animal and then walked between its parts and in essence promised, “If I don’t keep my promise, I will be just like the animals that we’ve just walked between.” To make a mortgage that way with your bank would be to sign it in blood! Here we see a promise joined with a sanction or punishment for disobedience. If the covenanter did not keep his word, he would be like the animal that was just slain. But the story doesn’t stop there. Next Abram watches the sun setting, he gets ready to enter into the covenant but instead he falls into a deep sleep. He is in effect paralyzed and he hears God speak. He sees a theophany, a manifestation of God. It is a smoking pot and a burning oven that alone passes through the middle of the animal parts, while Abram has no part in this covenant. The Lord in effect was saying, “Abram I alone establish the covenant. I alone can bring you righteousness. I alone can fulfill this promise. You cannot do it. But you will benefit by this covenant since you have been justified by faith.” Moreover, the Lord was also making a great promise. In effect He said, “If I don’t keep My promise, I will cease to exist.” But the Lord in essence was also saying even more: “So that you might be righteous, I will have to assume flesh and become the Lamb of God who is slain as a sacrifice for sinners to take away the sin of the world.” In this dramatic story of ancient covenant making by sacrifice, God alone guarantees the formula of the covenant: “I will be your God and you will be My people.” When one is justified by faith in Christ, he does absolutely nothing but receive Christ’s gift of His perfect righteousness before God. This righteousness is imputed to him by faith alone that he receives with a beggar’s hands of faith. Christians are in this covenant by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone as seen in the Scriptures alone so that God alone receives the glory in our salvation. III. The Second Saving Benefit Of The Covenant Of Grace Is Sanctification By Faith and Obedience. But this is not where Abram’s story stops. We next turn to Genesis 17 where we find that the Lord makes a covenant with Abram by changing his name and giving him a new name. So Abram becomes Abraham. As this new name is given, another covenant is made that begins with the words, “Walk before me and be blameless.” In essence God says, “Remember you did not walk between the animal parts before, but were righteous by faith. But now you must walk before me and be blameless. In fact, you are going to have the covenant, the berith, cut in your own flesh. You are going to be the living sacrifice. Your very body is to be cut in the covenant of circumcision.” Thus it is no longer an animal, but Abram who is the covenant sacrifice. By extension, circumcision leads to the circumcision of the heart, the removing of the old nature. This is what Abraham is supposed to become as one who has been justified by faith. He is now to walk with God. This theologians have called sanctification. Those that are justified by faith are also those who are to learn to walk in holiness before God and become living sacrifices, as Paul called them in Romans 12:1-2. In covenant sacrifice, Abram was to give his body onto the Lord as a living sacrifice. Consider again Jeremiah 31. There God said He was going to make a new covenant with Israel, a new berith. It would not be like the covenant that He made with Israel where the law of God was written on tablets of stone and were broken because the people rebelled and worshiped the golden calf. This time God would write the law on Israel’s hearts, forgiving their sins. But notice that the new covenant presents a second great benefit. The first benefit of the covenant is forgiveness of sins which is called justification by faith. The second benefit of the covenant is sanctification in which the law of God is written on the hearts of God’s people so that they will live for Him. Thus the new covenant has two great blessings: justification and sanctification. Reflect again on the formula of the covenant: “I will be your God and you will be my people.” One can hear both the truths of justification and of sanctification in the formula of the covenant. Listen to the two emphases that the covenant formula can be given. The first emphasis says, I will be your God and you will be My people. Do you hear that wonderful promise? God says, “You are righteous through faith in Me. I’m giving you this.” This is the indicative or factual expression of the Covenant of Grace. Now let me read these same words again but accent them in a different way: I will be your God and you will be My people. Do you hear a different nuance in the same words? By emphasizing the words in this way, we move from the indicative to the imperative. In other words, what God has promised, He also demands. And what God demands, He also promises. God’s enabling us to keep His covenant is seen in the fact that He writes His law on our hearts. He has not only forgiven us, but now He also gives us the ability to become His people. This gracious gift is underscored by God’s revealed name in Genesis 17El Shaddai, the Almighty and All-Sufficient God. So justification and sanctification are the two great benefits of the covenant that come to us in God’s covenant of grace. And remember this formula of the covenant goes from Genesis all the way to Revelation and it’s the one people of God that participate in it. All too often Dispensational and evangelical theology separates sanctification from God’s saving grace. It is an expression of growth and maturity but not part of God’s redemptive plan. Covenant theology following Calvin’s emphasis on what he called the “duplex gratiae” or double graces declares that God saves His people by justifying and sanctifying them. IV. The Four-Fold Relationship Of Sanctification And Justification In Calvin’s Covenant Theology. These truths of the covenant must be taught to God’s people of all ages. Accordingly, we need an illustration that is useful for children and grown ups too. So allow me to offer such an illustration by asking you to look carefully at your hands. You have a right hand and a left hand. Your two hands will now stand for the two blessings of the New Covenant: sanctification, I will write my law on your hearts; justification, I will forgive your sins. Let your dominant hand be your justification hand. So if you are right handed, think of your right hand as your justification hand and your left hand as your sanctification hand. If you are left handed, let your left hand be your justification hand and your right hand be your sanctification hand. I want you to learn four important principles of the relationship of justification and sanctification from your two hands. These principles are: 1. Justification and sanctification, like your hands, must be distinguished. 2. Justification and sanctification, like your hands, are simultaneous given. 3. Justification and sanctification, like your hands, are inseparable. 4. Justification and sanctification, like your hands, must be logically ordered. Notice first that a person’s two hands are distinct. That is important to remember. If someone says, “Turn right,” and one turns left he will get into trouble or get lost. Early on, people learn to distinguish their right hands from their left. The point is this: justification and sanctification, the two benefits of the covenant, are distinct. We must distinguish them. The great mistake of Roman Catholicism is to say the way one is justified is by becoming sanctified. Catholicism teaches that if one does good works, God will declare such a one to be righteous. But that destroys justification by faith alone. In this illustration, that is to confuse one’s left hand with his right hand, or to identify his justification with his sanctification. But some evangelicals think of this in an opposite way from Roman Catholics. But still, they confuse their right and left hands, or confuse justification and sanctification. In this view, sometimes called, “easy-believism” one declares, “If I believe in Jesus that is how I become forgiven and holy. It doesn’t matter if I do anything else as long as I believe, because that’s all one needs before God.” This view teaches that one becomes sanctified by being justified. But that is to confuse one’s right hand with his left hand, or to identify one’s sanctification with his justification. This is the reverse of Catholicism, but like Catholicism, it confuses justification and sanctification. Calvin taught and the Reformed faith teaches that there are two great saving benefits of the covenant of grace, and we must never confuse them. We have two hands which are distinct and we must never confuse them. Notice secondly, that the two hands we have, were given to us simultaneously. Humans are born with a right and left hand that come simultaneously. So when God brings us the blessings of the New Covenant, He not only forgives our sins as a completed act and declares us to be righteous by clothing us in the righteousness of Christ, He also gives us the Holy Spirit to begin to make us holy. With this gift of the Holy Spirit, God starts the process of teaching us to become holy, to die to sin and to live to Christ. While the sanctification work of the Holy Spirit is a process that goes on and on, it starts at the same time as our forgiveness or justification in Christ. These two benefits of the covenant are simultaneous. Nevertheless, we must distinguish them for they are different. The third thing we need to realize about these two New Covenant blessings is that they are inseparable. No one decides to take off his left hand when in a hurry and says, “I don’t have time to mess with my left hand today”. If one’s left hand gets separated he uses his other hand to dial a doctor and pleads, “Could you reattach this hand? I don’t want them separated!” Nevertheless, there are people that spiritually speaking want to separate justification from sanctification. A libertine says, “I just want to be forgiven. I want a Jesus credit card so I can just do what I want and know I’m forgiven.” But one cannot do that. The puritans in essence used to say, “When you receive Jesus, you receive Him in all of His offices as prophet, priest, and king. Not just as a priest who gives you forgiveness and a sacrifice. But also as a king who rules over you and a prophet who teaches you His word. You cannot separate his offices.” The opposite of this is the legalist who says, “I don’t need to be forgiven, I will be good enough by my own moral reformation to please God.” This we would call a Pharisee. But the Pharisee is like the Libertine. The only difference is that they seek to cut off the opposite hand! But, the two hands of the covenant of grace are inseparable. Accordingly, Calvin assails those who claim only one benefit of the covenant at the expense of the other. Also, with the same effort these rascals, by canceling one section of it, tear apart God’s covenant, in which we see our salvation contained, and topple it from its foundation. Not only are they guilty of sacrilege in separating things till now joined.... Because Christ and the covenant are so intertwined, there are those who not only try to “tear apart God’s covenant” but who also attempt to “tear Christ in pieces”. Thirdly, he calls him our sanctification, by which he means, that we who are otherwise unholy by nature, are by his Spirit renewed unto holiness, that we may serve God. From this, also, we infer, that we cannot be justified freely through faith alone without at the same time living holily. For these fruits of grace are connected together, as it were, by an indissoluble tie, so that he who attempts to sever them does in a manner tear Christ in pieces. Let therefore the man who seeks to be justified through Christ, by God’s unmerited goodness, consider that this cannot be attained without his taking him at the same time for sanctification, or, in other words, being renewed to innocence and purity of life. Calvin repeatedly uses the image of tearing Christ in pieces to underscore the inseparableness of justification and sanctification. It is indeed true, that we are justified in Christ through the mercy of God alone; but it is equally true and certain, that all who are justified are called by the Lord, that they may live worthy of their vocation. Let then the faithful learn to embrace him, not only for justification, but also for sanctification, as he has been given to us for both these purposes, lest they rend him asunder by their mutilated faith. ...as Christ cannot be torn into parts, so these two which we perceive in him together and conjointly are inseparable--namely, righteousness and sanctification. Whomever, therefore, God receives into grace, on them he at the same time bestows the spirit of adoption, by whose power he remakes them to his own image. But since the question concerns only righteousness and sanctification, let us dwell upon these. Although we may distinguish them, Christ contains both of them inseparably in himself. Do you wish, then to attain righteousness in Christ? You must first possess Christ; but you cannot possess him without being made partaker in his sanctification, because he cannot be divided into pieces [I Corinthians 1:13]. Since, therefore, it is solely by expending himself that the Lord gives us these benefits to enjoy, he bestows both of them at the same time, the one never without the other. Thus it is clear how true it is that we are justified not without works yet not through works, since in our sharing in Christ, which justifies us, sanctification is just as much included as righteousness. The covenant therefore helps to organize the benefits of salvation. The two covenantal benefits of justification and sanctification are distinct, yet they are inseparably related and simultaneously received in Christ. Thus Christ and the covenant are essentially identified since both are the source of these great redemptive benefits. This doctrine gives Calvin a two edged sword to wield against his theological opponents. The Romanist, who thought his works merited salvation, was confronted with the fact that good works without Christ’s righteousness were still impure. The Libertine, who thought that Christ’s death made him spiritually pure regardless of his personal life, was confronted with the inseparability of the Holy Spirit’s work of regeneration and Christ’s righteousness. The three ideas from Calvin we have considered so far concerning the relationship of the two benefits of the covenant are: 1. Justification and Sanctification must be distinguished. 2. Justification and Sanctification are simultaneous given. 3. Justification and Sanctification are inseparable. Now let us consider the fourth idea of the relationship of justification and sanctification in Calvin: 4. Justification and Sanctification must be logically ordered. Or to put it in Calvin’s terms, what is subordinate is not contrary. The fourth point, then, that Calvin makes is that the two benefits of the covenant of grace are to be logically ordered. Or to put it another way, one benefit of the covenant is dominant and the other is subordinate. This too is like our two hands. If one is right handed, the right hand is the dominant hand over the left hand. The point that we must see here is that justification is always dominant over sanctification and sanctification is always dependent upon and subordinate to justification. So if one is right handed, it means his right hand, his justification hand, is the primary hand and the left hand, his sanctification hand, is dependent upon and subordinate to the right hand. Theologically speaking, this means that one can never say, “I know I’m forgiven because I’m doing so many good things.” This is to confuse the gospel. Instead, one must say, “Because I am forgiven and righteous in Christ, I can and will live for Him by the Holy Spirit.” Calvin compared justification to the foundation of a house, and he likened sanctification to the superstructure built upon that foundation. Thus the house of sanctification is always dependent upon the foundation of justification. Calvin actually uses an important dictum that comes from the medieval tradition, namely, “What is subordinate is not contrary.” What he meant in this context is that the righteousness of the believer’s obedience, which is real righteousness before God, does not present an alternate or contrary way of salvation. This is because sanctification is under or subordinate to the greater righteousness of Christ’s obedience in justification. Sanctification righteousness although graciously produced by the Holy Spirit’s ministry in the believer is nevertheless subordinate to Christ’s righteousness bestowed in justification. So sanctification is not a competing way of salvation for the believer since it is always inferior to the righteousness of Christ. Indeed, sanctification righteousness honors justification righteousness and by its very existence manifests the superior righteousness of Christ in justification. Accordingly, sanctification does not produce justification or have any role in justification’s work of forgiveness or of imputing the perfect righteousness of Christ. One must never depend on his own new obedience or sanctification. Instead, he must always depend upon Christ. To return to our analogy, the dependent hand of sanctification must always rely on the superior hand of justification that lays hold of Christ by faith. Thus Calvin’s covenant doctrine does not permit the law to be in opposition to the gospel after the blessings of the covenant are bestowed upon a believer. Justification and sanctification are necessary components of the divine benefits of salvation. They are bestowed “at the same time”. Yet a logical order exists between them which must not be overlooked. Since the “spirit” is added to the “letter” of the law, the believer has a true righteousness of obedience. But, It is a subordinate righteousness to the righteousness of Christ. Yet it is not a contrary righteousness. Calvin affirms this principle in his Antidote to the Council of Trent. We, indeed, willingly acknowledge, that believers ought to make daily increase in good works, and that the good works wherewith they are adorned by God, are sometimes distinguished by the name of righteousness. But since the whole value of works is derived from no other foundation than that of gratuitous acceptance, how absurd were it to make the former overthrow the latter! Why do they not remember what they learned when boys at school, that what is subordinate is not contrary? (Emphasis mine.) I say that it is owing to free imputation that we are considered righteous before God; I say that from this also another benefit proceeds, viz., that our works have the name of righteousness, though they are far from having the reality of righteousness. In short, I affirm, that not by our own merit but by faith alone, are both our persons and works justified; and the justification of works depends on the justification of the person, as the effect on the cause. Therefore, it is necessary that the righteousness of faith alone so precede in order, and be so preeminent in degree, that nothing can go before it or obscure it. In his The True Method of Giving Peace and Reforming the Church, Calvin again explains the subordination of the Christian’s works righteousness to the righteousness of faith. In order that ambiguities may be removed, it is necessary that the Righteousness which we obtain by faith, and which is freely bestowed upon us, should be placed in the highest rank, so that, as often as the conscience is brought before the tribunal of God, it alone may shine forth. In this way the righteousness of works, to whatever extent it may exist in us, being reduced to its own place, will never come, as it were, into conflict with the other; and certainly it is just, that as righteousness of works depends on righteousness of faith, it should be made subordinate to it, (Emphasis mine.) so as to leave the latter in full possession of the salvation of man. Thus for Calvin, the covenant is a powerful concept because it establishes that we are justified by faith alone, yet by a faith that is never alone, but is always accompanied by all of God’s saving graces. Thus the Gospel teaches us that Jesus is both Savior and Lord.” The indicative of our union with Christ is in justification (we are righteous) and the imperative of our union with Christ is in sanctification (we are to be righteous). As we have seen, both of these emphases are implied in the formula of the covenant. The following chart helps us to capture Calvin’s covenantal thought in terms of the two savings benefits of the covenant of grace. The Relationship of the Two Parts of the Covenant of Grace in Calvin’s Thought Justification Sanctification 1. Through the Covenant of Grace in Union with Christ 1. Through the Covenant of Grace in Union with Christ 2. Simultaneous with Sanctification 2. Simultaneous with justification 3. Inseparable from Sanctification 3. Inseparable from Justification 4. Distinguishable from Sanctification 4. Distinguishable from Justification 5. By Faith Alone in Christ 5. By Faith and Obedience to the Law through Enablement of the Holy Spirit 6. A Superior righteousness that is not contrary to Sanctification Righteousness 6. An Inferior Righteousness not contrary to Justification Righteousness 7. Faith Alone Justifies and is the Superior Cause of Salvation 7. But Faith is Never Alone in the Justified Person, so sanctification’s works are Inferior Causes of Salvation 8. Imputed Righteousness 8. Inherent Righteousness V. The Different Ethical Tendencies Emerging From Covenantal Ethics And Dispensational Ethics. What difference does the covenantal rather than the dispensational reading of the Bible really make in the Christian life? First, we should see that covenant theology declares that the kingdom of Christ has already begun and is not completely future. If one believes that the kingdom is yet to come but is not yet here, it is possible for the church to see itself as a group of people that should retreat from the world, to care mainly about themselves. The Church’s primary task then is to invite others to join them in their retreat from culture. This approach often asserts that the world is going to get worse and worse and there is nothing anyone can do about it. All one can hope for is for Jesus to come and rapture the Church out of this fallen world and only then everything will be right. Allow me here to give a personal experience. When I left Dallas Seminary in 1978 to go to Westminster Seminary, it was at the time of the first great oil crisis caused by the oil embargoes. I vividly remember being in those long lines of cars at the gas station. In Philadelphia I received word from friends in Dallas that the Seminary had decided to take out an ad in the local newspaper declaring that this was the last call for the rapture. It is clear that there have been a several more opportunities for Dispensational interpreters to call for the rapture! The best-selling Left Behind series hadn’t yet been written. This was when I realized I could no longer be a Dispensationalistnot if Dispensationalism focused on reading newspapers to figure out when Jesus would come. I began to understand that the question we should have been asking was, “How does one live for Christ if there’s no gasoline?” There is a different ethic created by Dispensationalism and by Covenant Theology. Dispensationalism asks one to live in light of the raptureno gasoline means the rapture is coming. Covenant Theology, however, asks one to reflect on what it means to be a Christian when one can no longer pump gas. Jesus taught in Matthew 5, “You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.” He was not talking only to the Old Testament people of Israel. He was talking to Christians. In essence, He was saying: “You are to make a difference. You are to be salty salt that purifies a fallen world and you are to be radiant light that dispels the darkness of unbelief that surrounds the believer. You are to touch the world with what you believe and in what you do.” Covenant Theology declares that believers are to influence their cultures for Christ’s sake. Light shines and dispels darkness. Light makes its presence known. So the Christian is to be the light of the world wherever he goes, whether into a family, into a school, into a political party, into a university or into a business. He is to shine the light of the kingdom of Christ everywhere and make a difference. An adherent of covenant theology must understand that he is to demonstrate that the kingdom of Christ is present. The Christian should be able to say, “I will make a difference for His name wherever I ameverywhere I go, in everything I do, in everything I say.” That is the vision of the ethics of covenant theology, rather than looking to the future trying to ascertain the dates and times of Christ’s return. Covenant Theology accepts Jesus’ agnosticism about the time of His return. Our Lord taught us that, “No man knows the day or the hour or the time or the season that’s appointed by the Father.” Instead of figuring out the time of Christ’s return, one is to be occupied in service to Christ until He comes. We are to be busy in the world, seeking to reach the world for Christ’s sake. Christ’s Kingdom has irrupted or broken into the space and time of human existence. Thus Jesus taught that His gospel of the kingdom had to be preached in the entire world and only then would the end come. Thus believers are called to be missionaries and evangelists engaging our changing world with God’s unchanging Word so that his kingdom will make progress. VI. The Corporate Character Of Calvin’s Covenant al Understanding Of Sacraments. Finally, I will offer a few observations about the sacraments as they are differently viewed from the Dispensational perspective and from the vantage point of Covenant Theology. This vast topic could encompass the nature, meaning and practice of the sacraments in terms of the Eucharist, Baptism and Infant Baptism. But to state the matter simply, let us note that Dispensationalism tends to see the sacraments in a more individualistic sense, whereas Covenant Theology insists that the sacraments are to impact the entire community of God’s people. Dispensationalism’s individualistic tendency parallels its belief that the world will grow worse and worse. But as long as one believes in Christ as Savior, everything will ultimately be all right since the individual believer will go to heaven. In contrast, without diminishing the joyful hope of the individual’s salvation, covenant theology affirms with Joshua, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Covenant Theology recognizes the corporate nature of God’s covenant promise, as seen in the intergenerational expression of the formula of the covenant from the Old Testament, “I will be your God and the God of your children after you” and “To a thousand generations of those that love me and keep my commandments.” On the basis of these Old Testament promises that are held to be still valid in the New Testament era, Calvin and covenant theology have affirmed the corporate character of the covenant as expressed especially in infant baptism. Calvin is so adamant that the covenant with the Jews continues into the New Covenant era that he asserts that to deny this is nothing less than blasphemy! For Calvin, such denial implies that Christ’s coming actually narrowed God’s grace rather than expanding it: Yet Scripture opens to us a still surer knowledge of the truth. Indeed, it is most evident that the covenant which the Lord once made with Abraham is no less in force today for Christians than it was of old for the Jewish people, and that this work relates no less to Christians than it then related to the Jews. Unless perhaps we think that Christ by his coming lessened or curtailed the grace of the Father--but this is nothing but execrable blasphemy! Accordingly, the children of the Jews also, because they had been made heirs of his covenant and distinguished from the children of the impious, were called a holy seed. For this same reason the children of Christians are considered holy; and even though born with only one believing parent, by the apostle’s testimony they differ from the unclean seed of idolaters. Now seeing that the Lord immediately after making the covenant with Abraham commanded it to be sealed in infants by an outward sacrament what excuse will Christians give for not testifying and sealing it in their children today? Children in the Old Testament and in the New are a holy seed by virtue of the same covenantal promise made by God with Abraham. Accordingly, infant baptism bears the same force of command as circumcision. Nor does Calvin accept the evasion that Abraham’s children in the Old Testament Covenant simply foreshadow believers in the New Covenant era. This cannot be, because God’s covenant established with Abraham includes the Christian believer and their children too. In the use of the term “children” they find this difference: those who had their origin from his seed were called children of Abraham under the Old Testament; now, those who imitate his faith are called by this name. They therefore say that that physical infancy which was engrafted into the fellowship of the covenant through circumcision foreshadowed the spiritual infants of the New Testament, who were regenerated to immortal life by God’s Word. In these words, indeed, we see a feeble spark of truth. But those fickle spirits gravely sin in seizing upon whatever first comes to hand where they ought to proceed further, and in stubbornly clinging to one word where they ought to compare many things together....We should, accordingly, aim at a better target, to which we are directed by the very sure guidance of Scripture. Therefore, the Lord promises Abraham that he will have offspring in whom all the nations of the earth will be blessed, and at the same time assures him that he will be his God and the God of his descendants. All those who by faith receive Christ as author of the blessing are heirs of this promise, and are therefore called children of Abraham. Calvin’s point is that while there is an element of truth in the objection, it does not fully explain all of the salient Scriptural data. It is true that the offspring of Abraham’s flesh foreshadowed the future offspring of Abraham by faith. Yet this fact does not remove the promise that God made to Abraham’s physical offspring. God assured Abraham “that he will be his God and the God of his descendants.” Calvin’s response is not an either/or, but a both/and. The implication for the practice of baptism is that the offspring of Abraham are heirs of the promise, even those who became his offspring by faith. Thus the children of Abraham’s offspring by faith are also made full partakers of the promise, since they are now part of his family. The covenant with Abraham continues to operate in the New Covenant era. A criticism of Calvin’s argument for paedobaptism is that the only sign of the covenant was circumcision, and it has ceased. Therefore, the covenant of circumcision is of no value because its sign is abolished. Calvin’s retort is that the changing of the sign does not change the covenant. And let no one object against me that the Lord did not command that his covenant be confirmed by any other symbol than circumcision, which has long since been abolished. There is a ready answer that for the time of the Old Testament he instituted circumcision, to confirm his covenant, but that after circumcision was abolished, the same reason for confirming his covenant (which we have in common with the Jews) still holds good. Consequently, we must always diligently consider what is common to both, and what they have apart from us. The covenant is common, and the reason for confirming it is common. Only the manner of confirmation is different--what was circumcision for them was replaced for us by baptism. If it is true that there is no replacement for circumcision, then in Calvin’s mind, Christ’s coming actually obscured God’s grace rather than increasing it: Otherwise, if the testimony by which the Jews were assured of the salvation of their posterity is taken away from us, Christ’s coming would have the effect of making God’s grace more obscure and less attested for us than it had previously been for the Jews. Now, this cannot be said without grievously slandering Christ, through whom the Father’s infinite goodness was more clearly and liberally poured out upon the earth and declared to men than ever before. As covenantal theologians in the New Testament era, following in the covenantal hermeneutic of Calvin, we are to be concerned in our sacramental lives with the corporate character of the covenant community just as the people of the Old Testament era understood the corporate character of God’s covenantal promises to them. These covenantal promises are not merely individual, but they encompass the importance of the whole family and the coming generations as we personally and collectively grow in Christ. Conclusion: There are several other areas of covenantal thought in Calvin that could be pursued. But we shall conclude having seen that for Calvin, biblical interpretation, the saving benefits of Christ, Christian ethics and the Church’s sacramental life are all important expressions of God’s one and eternal saving covenant of grace revealed throughout the history of redemption from Old Testament to New Testament. Although Calvin never encountered Dispensationalism per se, his understanding of the covenant was directly opposed to the foundational premises of Dispensationalism. So with pun intended, in this New Testament dispensation of God’s one covenant of grace in Christ, which includes the 500th anniversary of Calvin, let us maintain the covenant as a central element in our biblical and theological labors. For as Calvin himself declared as he commented on Psalm 25:10, “We have no reason to be afraid that God will deceive us if we persevere in His covenant.” Pastor Dr. Peter Lillback(피터 릴백 박사 목사)(Pennsylvania Proclamation Presbyterian Church(미국 펜실베이니어 선포장로교회))
A day without fear(두려움 없는 날)/ Mark 13:1-8(막13:1-8)/ 2007-02-10
A day without fear(두려움 없는 날) Mark 13:1-8(막13:1-8) SERMON: A DAY WITHOUT FEAR O Lord, we pray, speak in this place, in the calming of our minds and the longing of our hearts, by the words of my lips and in the meditations of our hearts. Speak, O Lord, for your servants listen. Amen. I don’t know about you - but I get scared at times. At times I feel afraid. The fear I am talking about is the kind of fear that arises when a person walks into a crowded room and suddenly it goes silent, - the fear that can overwhelm you when you see two people look at you and then begin to whisper to each other, - the fear that arises when someone you love and need is angry at you, - the fear that happens when your father criticizes you - the fear that clutches at you when you have been told for weeks how your company has to cut staff and suddenly your boss calls you and says he wants to talk to you about your annual performance evaluation. I don’t feel this fear as often as I used to, but every now and then it reaches out and tries to grab me, every now and then I am overwhelmed by self-doubt, every now and then - I wonder if I am good enough, and fear that I am not. At such times I stop for a minute and remember that God thinks that I am good enough. And that if God thinks I am good enough - it matters not what I think of myself, or what my fear is trying to make me think of myself. And the moment passes. The reason I mention this today - is because both the Gospel reading and the Reading from Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews speak about having confidence - about not being alarmed by the signs of the end of our world - nor being fearful when it appears that we are about to meet God. As I thought about these texts during this past week - as I thought about how Jesus encourages his disciples in the gospel to not be alarmed when the temple is destroyed and nations rise against nations, and earthquakes and famines overwhelm various parts of the world, - and about how Paul tells us that because of Christ’s sacrifice we can enter the Holy of Holies with confidence and hope and there meet the living God - the God that, at one time, no mortal could look upon and live, I wondered why it was so important for Jesus and for Paul to say these things. I wondered why so much stress is laid upon holding fast to our hope without wavering and upon encouraging one another when we see the Day of the Lord approaching. You see, to a large extent I have lost track of my fear. When I was younger I lived in a house of fear, a house of physical and emotional violence I knew what it was to cower and cringe and what it was to hide my fear so that I would not be picked on again. But I moved from that house and I discovered the healing love of God in people around me. I knew too one time the fear of failure, the fear of criticism, the fear of not being good enough. That fear was a constant companion for many years, but - except for the occasional time it reaches out to grab me, those times I mentioned at the very beginning the sermon, I have left that fear behind, I know that God loves me - I have experienced his acceptance from the hands of others, and in the depths of my prayer and my meditations. Nor do I worry about the end of the world, nor about earthquake, famine or flood or war. I pray for the coming of a better world- for the coming of the kingdom, and on the simplest level of total and undeserved grace I know that the trailer is on solid ground, that forest grows abundantly not a 1000 yards from my door, that the creek has not flooded over its banks for many years, and that wars are something that happen when people fail to obey God. My duty is to share and to work for peace. My only fear is that I will forget to do all that I can do and forget to love as well as I can love. As for meeting God face to face - while I have a certain desire to avoid the moment coming soon, I also have an eagerness for it - a longing for it - that is based on a long standing assurance that God will treat me mercifully and justly and a long standing set of experiences that tell me that God has not yet once judged me as harshly as I judge myself or as others judge me. I have lost track of almost all that I once feared. And so I suspect have most of you. So when Jesus tells his disciples to not be alarmed when they seethe temple thrown down so that not one stone is left standing upon another - and Paul speaks about how we can enter the inner sanctuary of God with confidence and hope - the full impact of those words can easily be lost. While they are good words, encouraging words, they are not words that normally startle us or strike us with any sense of urgency. especially those of us who have been in the faith for a long time, - those of us who have tested and trusted in the claims of Jesus for many years, - and those of us who have, like me, achieved a certain number of years upon the face of this earth and have in those years been touched by genuine love - by Christ-like love. But - my friends - if not for ourselves, then for the sake of others we need to relate strongly to the words of today’s readings from the New Testament. Fear for the most part may have passed us by, we may have outgrown it, or we may have become so familiar and so comfortable with the good news of God’s love and care that fear rarely reaches out to grab us, but for many people fear is a all- pervasive presence: - it shapes their behaviour during the daytime and moulds the dreams that they have at night. - It leads ever greater numbers of teenagers to commit suicide, - and it cripples the emotional and social lives of millions upon millions of adults. For some there is no such thing as a day without fear, and I don’t mean the physical fear that overwhelms us with Adrenalin when a car swerves towards us on the highway. nor do I mean the fear that rises in us when we hear that a loved one has cancer - the fear that we will be left alone - though that is getting closer to what I mean. NO, I mean the fear that life is pointless, - the fear that no one will ever love us, - the fear that every hand is either set against us – or totally ignorant of our existence. - the fear that our children, our friends, and our lovers will never reach the goals we dream of for them, - the fear that God does not exist and that if he exists -we are going straight to hell, - the fear that when all is said and done - we will perish utterly from the face of this earth and that not one thing that we have done or will ever do will make a difference to anyone or anything, and I mean the fear that the World really is ending, - that war and earthquake, and flood and famine will destroy everything and that in its place there will come nothing - nothing for the universe and nothing for me - that there will be no new heaven and no new earth for myself or my children - that all that is good now will cease to be and no good will arise in its place. For the sake of those who feel these fears as a present reality -as a daily reality, we need to get in touch with the fears we have overcome and the confidence we have been given. And we have to share that confidence, that faith, with those around us. We have to share our confidence and our faith with those teenagers who believe that when Kurt Cobain died the light went out of the world - and with the likes of the lonely old woman in the nursing home who, despite her relatively good health, keeps on saying that there is nothing to live for. We have to bring out the treasure that we carry hidden in our hearts and hold it up before our workaholic brothers or sisters- and tell them of the peace that comes from working less and playing with and loving our neighbours more. We have to reveal the light that has placed in our lives by God to those whose whole world is the darkness of fear and inadequacy- sharing with them the fact that God truly does love us as we are - and that there are no conditions - no demands – no qualifications put on that love. We have to reveal and live out the vision we have received of anew heaven and a new earth - of a kingdom of justice and truth, of joy and love, and of peace and plenty to those who fear that the end of this world is coming……. At one time my friends I could not imagine a day without fear. Now, because of what God has given me, because of how I have discovered God’s love for me, I find it hard to imagine a day that has fear in it. But for the sake of others -both you and I are called to imagine the fear that dwells in the hearts of so many around us, and to meet together and encourage one another with the encouragement that we have received. We have to speak forth our faith and live out our belief so that all can hear and see. Our help is in the name of The One who made heaven and earth, and in his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. He will not suffer your foot to be moved -He is your keeper, your defence at your right hand, from every evil he shall keep your soul, goodness and mercy will follow you all your life, and you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Amen.
A Father’s Wisdom(아버지의 지혜)/ Psalms 34:(시34:)/ 2012-02-12
A Father’s Wisdom(아버지의 지혜) Psalms 34:(시34:) I encourage you to turn to Psalm 34. Keep it open as we look together at this sacred text. It was written at a time when David was afraid that he would be killed by King Saul. As a result, he fled into Philistia—the land of the old arch-enemies of his people. While there, he was recognized as the one who had killed Goliath. So in the attempt to escape from the horns of the dilemma, David resorted to feigning or pretending to be a madman. He had saliva dripping down his beard. Such that the King of Philistia, Abimelech, said, “Don’t I have enough madmen in Philistia that I should have this other one?” and basically excommunicated David from the presence of the Philistines. It is tragic that some of life’s lessons cannot be learned any other way but through experience. I wish there were other ways of learning. David had learned an immense lesson in the midst of his failure. There is no more miserable picture than that of David pretending to be mad in the courts of the King of Philistia. David wants to instruct us in this Psalm 34. It is an incredible Psalm that portrays a father’s wisdom for his children. This is the young man’s story—told when David was older and presumably wiser as he penned these words. Many times in our worship, we will be greeted with the words, “God is good!” to which you respond, “All of the time!” There is a sense in which we derive that statement from Psalm 34. David is very eager to tell us that God is really good. That he is wonderful beyond measure. That he’s a great God. Immediately from the very outset of the Psalm, he is able to transfer your gaze from your own navel to God himself. “I will extol the Lord at all times,” he begins. When the Apostle Paul writes to the Church at Thessalonica, he says in the first epistle, the fifth chapter and the 18th verse, “give thanks in all circumstances” whatever happens, in every situation of life, before and after and in every trial of life. In the bright days of joy that you experience and the dark days of fear, my praise, he writes, will continually be on my lips. Is it possible that this is more than bravado on the part of David? Is this something that we should aspire to? Is it in fact feasible and embraceable? Is this pie-in-the-sky-by-and-by or can this part and parcel of the Christian life be able to say with heartfelt conviction, “I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.” Obviously, David knew difficult days. This Psalm was written in the context of one of the most heinous difficult dark days in David’s life. He is writing from the depths of hurt and experience when he says that he will praise God all the time and in every circumstance of life. He refers in verse 4 to the fact that there were fears that he was trying to avoid—horrendous experiences, the dread of the unknown, running for his life—seeing others massacred because of him. Yet as he looked around, there were others that he gazed upon who were followers of the Lord Jehovah. They were somehow able to rise above the circumstances and David longed for that in his own experiences. So we read in verse 5, “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” In other words, these believers portrayed a degree of confidence and joy that seemed to bid farewell to fear, terror and shame and enabled all of those things to give way to radiance. I want to attempt to explain what it means to be a radiant follower of Jesus Christ. I want to outline the steps that one must take if one is to live the victorious Christian life. What then does it mean to be radiant? Why is it that so many believers and followers of Jesus Christ seem to be anything but radiant? There seems at times to be a blatant disconnect between possessing the joy of Jesus and being befuddled with the circumstances that surround us in life. The word radiant is found in Isaiah 60:5. “Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy…” There it describes the mother’s face lighting up at the sight of her children that she thought were long lost. They were coming home. She became radiant with joy. I remember my first major trip away from home when I was a boy; I had come to America to begin my studies in theological education. Ireland was a long way off and I was desperately homesick. I had been gone a mere 3 months and longed to get back. I took a little job in order to earn $212.00, which was the price of a round trip airfare from New York to Dublin. I knew if I got as far as Dublin, I could make it home. I decided to surprise my mother. She wasn’t expecting me for 3 years. I remember the great joy of opening the door and saying, “Hello Mom!” She turned around. She had been washing the dishes and dropped some of her best china, but it didn’t seem to matter because I saw the radiance on my mother’s face. Isaiah captures that when he talks about what it means to be radiant. The word is used again to depict the face of Moses in Exodus 34. You remember the story when he was up on Mt. Sinai and he eventually came down after having spent time with our Lord. Everyone looked at the face of Moses when he came down the mountain. Scripture says, “When Moses came down from Mount Sinai… he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord,” (Exodus 34:29). Or when Paul writes to the Church at Corinth is his second Epistle, 3rd chapter, verse 18. There we read these words: “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” The word there also that is used is with ever-increasing radiance, which comes from the Lord. It indicates the Christian’s growing likeness to our Lord Jesus. Whereby, the more we spend time in his company and his presence, the more we take time to gaze upon his lovely face; then that loveliness shines out in our lives. The transformation is there for everyone. That’s what radiance is. That’s what you as a follower of Jesus Christ need to embrace. I want you to note first of all David’s understanding of worship in this Psalm. Right from the very beginning, he says, “I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the Lord.” David sees it is the essence of boasting in the Lord. Boasting is one of those things that we tend to hopefully shy away from. It’s all too easy to boast of one’s own accomplishments. We desire to impress one another or to be accepted by someone else. The Psalmist is saying something entirely different here. He’s saying, instead of boasting about yourself, join me and boast of the Lord. Let us say how wonderful, how amazing, how incredible God is. Fill your hearts with his presence, and with his attributes, and with his person, with his faithfulness, and with his works, and with his promises. You will find them unparalleled, matchless, and incomparable. Fill your life so that you live radiantly with the worship of God. Let me say this carefully, diligently and yet emphatically; the purpose of praise and the purpose of worship is not to make God’s people feel good. It amazes me that after all these years in ministry that so many followers of God do not seem to get that. Worship is not about making you feel good. Worship is not about you. Worship is solely and completely acknowledging the greatness of God!! (And by the way, that makes you feel good.) We gather for worship in order to magnify the name of God alone. There are so many believers today who are missing out on that. Believers will tell me that they are in a Bible study, but they don’t go to worship. Or they attend a Sunday school class, but they don’t go to worship. It seems rather strange when I ask the question, “What is the point of learning about him if it doesn’t propel you to worship him?” Bible study is no substitute for gathering together to praise his holy name—the more you get to know him, the more you are driven to worship him. If that is not the case, then one would need to question the quality of the learning experience itself. To be a radiant Christian is to understand worship as David understood worship. Secondly, I want to suggest to you David’s understanding of prayer. He writes, “This poor man called…” (v.6). He’s got the essence of what prayer is all about. This poor wretch’s prayer is the cry of a poor wretch, but it is nonetheless powerful with Heaven, because it goes on to tell us that, “the Lord heard him.” Listen. David passionately believed that God hears and answers prayer. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your station might be in life. It is the personal testimony of David when he was at his most wretched condition that he suggested to be heard of God is to be delivered by God. Prayer can deliver us from trouble. Indeed, it can move the very heart of God to become involved in our lives, to intervene and affect the outcome of our situation. When God intervenes in a human life, that intervention is massive, miraculous, and irresistible. David reiterates that whole idea throughout these verses. God is a God that answers prayer (“…He answered me” (v.4)), a God who hears prayer (“the Lord heard him…” (v.6)), a God who saves through prayer, (“He saved [the poor man] out of all his troubles,” (verse 6)), a God who delivers through prayer, (“[the Lord] delivers them” (verse 7)). Confidence oozes out of the pain of the Psalmist in verse 7; David says, “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.” David was absolutely convinced that God plants an army around you. You are ultimately, finally and fully protected because on every side there are warriors of sleepless eyes keeping watch over you by day and night. What an incredible encouragement for those who find themselves resourceless in the enterprise that we call life. David is saying that if you feel resourceless, then you’re not going to be radiant. To be radiant you need to know that all the resources of Heaven are at your command. You are a child of the King! The experience of the Psalmist can be the experience of everyone. So David is compelled as he goes on in one of the loveliest verses, to invite others to share the adventure. In verse 8 he says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him” No wonder we sing that lovely hymn by Joseph Scriven: What a Friend We Have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer. Do you want to be a radiant follower of Jesus Christ? Transform your thinking to the power intrinsic to you in prayer, the power intrinsic to you in worship. I would have you notice thirdly David’s understanding of wisdom. Throughout the entire Psalm you may have noticed, the reiteration of the phrase—“the fear of the Lord.” The fear of the Lord is expressed in submission to the will of the Lord. So the fear of the Lord and submission to his will means to walk in his ways: to respect his will, to tremble to offend him, to hasten to serve him. David seems to indicate that we should fear the Lord and fear nothing else. I believe the grave absence in the church today is the fear of the Lord. It is absent from so many in the church. Because if we fear the Lord, we would be more concerned about what we do, say, and how we act. If we desire happiness in life, happiness is contrived in terms of the fear of the Lord: to enjoy life to the fullest. “Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days…” David speaks as a father to everyone—who desires life and many good days—that’s all of us. If you would really find joy and happiness in life, David now wants to give you the secret of what it means to live happily, joyfully and radiantly. This is not a level of mediocrity to which he refers, to which so many attain—which in the last analysis is not life at all. The art of truly joyful living is not given to everyone to know. But here it is given, true wisdom and how to live and how to die. He sums it up by saying, “Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it” (v.13, 14). Specifically, what the Psalmist is saying and David is telling us—base your life upon integrity as opposed to deception, “practice good instead of evil” (v. 13), “seek peace and pursue it” (v. 14). These are simple and profound lessons. But the reality is that so many believers are sour and grumpy all the time. They go about like they have just lost a liver. There is a sense in which they are always angry, always critical, always negative, always seeing the bad; seeing the cup half empty instead of seeing it half full. So many believers and there is a radical disconnect between the experience of the Psalmist and saying to live radiantly in Christ and those who feel they have just lost their kidney. They betray the Christ that they purport to serve. I understand that the theology of “think positively” has fallen into disrepute. I agree with some of those concerns, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. What David is telling us here is that he is challenging us to be honest people, to be decent people, to be good people, to be peaceable with one another, to be positive in your attitude, to be grateful in your heart, to be loving and to be kind. That’s not just an Old Testament measure of holiness—it’s also the New Testament measure of holiness! Does that not strike a bell with many of you? Like Paul wrote to the Church at Galatia, “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-3). These are the attributes of a follower of Jesus Christ. God forgive us when we live other ways. Let me tell you a little story of coming back from Malta. It was a Friday night. I lined up for my ticket. I had a reserved seat on British Airways. When I got to the counter, they said, “I’m sorry, your seat has been taken.” I said, “No, I don’t think so. I have reserved them.” “No, she said, we’re full. However, we will give you $1,000.00 if you will go tomorrow and we will put you up and feed you.” I said, “If this were a Thursday night I would jump at that. But it was a Friday night and there are lots of people waiting for me on Sunday and I need to get back.” She said, “We don’t have any seats.” I said, “Well you have a problem then, don’t you?” My daughter was with us. She was heading back to Edinburgh. She said, “Dad, demand your rights here.” My daughter is quite aggressive. She takes after her mother. (That’s not true by the way!) “You tell them that you are a Pastor!” (A great deal of good that would do, I am sure.) “You can’t let them treat you this way.” I said, “Calm down and let me try to handle this.” I went over as nice as I could be. “I’ve really got to get to Los Angeles…” Well, to cut a long story short, when eventually they were in the last few minutes, they called my name along with Vicky. They had upgraded me to those marvelous seats that fold down flat into a bed. God is good! As the man was giving me the ticket, he said, and my daughter was standing within earshot, “We’re upgrading you because you’ve been so nice!” My daughter said afterwards, “I may start being nice now!” Here’s the fourth thing: David’s understanding of life. It is an intensely realistic portrayal of life in verses 15 to the end. There is no guarantee that the righteous will escape problems. In fact we read, “a righteous person may have many troubles” (v. 19). At times you may be “brokenhearted… and crushed in spirit” (v. 18). But God’s presence is always to be experienced in the crisis of life, because “he hears your cry” (v.17). He hears your cry whenever you are hurting. He hears your cry. Isn’t that lovely? Just the way a mother hears the cry of her sick child. Or a father responds to the terrorized plea of his child, so God hears you. In fact, he can’t take his eyes off you (v. 15). You’re so precious to him that he observes you with tenderness. The world is full of broken, hurting people with shattered hopes, dashed dreams—what a wonderful thing to read that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted. It was Dr. Joseph Parker who was speaking to a graduating class of theological students and advised them, “Always preach to broken hearts and you will never lack an audience.” It’s true! So in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we have the privilege of bringing a broken-hearted savior to a broken-hearted world. That’s good news! It is the essence of our faith that enables us to live, no matter what the circumstance in life—to live joyfully and radiantly. So I hope you will say to one another as you leave today, or over the course of days to come, especially if you see a grumpy believer, “Smile! God loves you.” If you want to add, “I love you too”, you can add that. But if we understand worship, wisdom, prayer, and life as David did, then you will be able to say; “I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice!” (Psalm 34:1–2). Pastor Alan J. Meenan
A Feast in Abundance(풍성한 축제)/ Psalms 23:(시23:)/ 2012-02-12
A Feast in Abundance(풍성한 축제) Psalms 23:(시23:) In 1872, Lord Wolseley, an English Lord, wrote in the Soldier’s Pocketbook these words, “In all siege operations, it is most important that all possible advantage be reaped of every hour of darkness.” This idea of taking “advantage of every hour of darkness” struck me. Isaiah, the Old Testament prophet, also spoke about treasures of the darkness. So what I want to say right from the outset, while I should be speaking on Psalm 27 today, I just couldn’t let go of Psalm 23. It’s such a beautiful Psalm. I would like to review the last two verses of this Psalm with you this morning. Psalm 23 was not written at a time of idyllic ease. It was written when life was difficult, complicated, and burdensome. Otherwise, David would not have penned the words, “Thou hast prepared a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” This was probably not written when he was a young boy tending sheep in the Judean hills. There probably was a great catastrophe in his life. The reality is that we would long for life to be trouble-free. If life were trouble-free, then we wouldn’t need something like Psalm 23. When we long for a trouble-free life, where you can simply soak in the sun and do nothing but relax and enjoy yourself, we forget the old Arabian proverb: “all sunshine makes a desert.” It is probably not in our best interest to have a life that is truly trouble-free. (It’s all academic anyway, because no one experiences such a life.) Life is full of all kinds of trouble. Some of you, while you are listening to me, are going through difficult, dark moments. You’re here this morning hiding a lacerated heart. Some great travesty, injustice, disappointment or something else you’re trying to overcome here. God bless you in that process. So those of us who are not going through dark times, rest assured, guaranteed, you will. Even if you have, it does not preclude the fact that you will again. That’s why Psalm 23 is so pertinent to any Christian living and breathing at all. Jesus Christ never suggested that we escape life. The Christian is never encouraged to try to escape life. People today, all around us, are trying to escape life. That’s what drugs are. They are simply an attempt to escape the realities of life, to move to a different, higher and supposedly better plane. One’s fascination or involvement with some kinds of music, books, or movies, or whatever the case might be, often is an escape from reality, because reality is so difficult to cope with. Jesus never suggested that we try to escape from life. He taught us how to live life, how to cope with life—even when it is incredibly difficult! When worse comes to worst, and the uphill climb becomes a struggle, Isaiah’s words are very significant. He talks about the treasures of the darkness. Can it possibly be that even in the darkness, there are treasures? The apostle Peter talks about it in I Peter verse 1, “It is God’s power that guards us through faith for salvation.” So we are guarded. Those of us who follow Christ are guarded through faith. Psalm 23 is a reminder that God cares for us even in our darkness. So we come to verse 5: “you prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” God’s blessing is so sure that even though your enemies may gather around and watch, there is nothing they can do to stop the blessing of God from reaching the one that He loves and wants to bless. The tragedy today is that so many Christian people, young and old, tend to think that when the storms beat upon their lives, they are no better off than people who don’t believe. They look at their situation and ask, “What advantage is there to being a follower of Christ?” The apostle James, the brother of Jesus, writes on one occasion, “the reason why so many Christians don’t have is because they have never asked.” If we are reluctant to ask God for miracles in our lives, we shouldn’t be surprised when we never receive one. But if we dare to ask, dare to believe, dare to lay hold on the promises of God, and say “Lord, this is what I need for your glory,” then he will rise to meet whatever needs we might have. This God that we deal with is a God who rains bread from Heaven. He’s a God who sent ravens to feed a prophet. He’s a God who takes a few morsels of food and multiplies them so they can feed a multitude. Our Lord Jesus Christ himself reminded his own disciples, as he would remind you today, “don’t be like the non-believers.” The difference between a non-believer and those who follow Christ is your heavenly Father knows everything that you need. He has promised to supply your needs according to the riches of his glory. His timing may be different from yours, and that’s always a frustration! For example, a couple of days ago this week I was trying to sync my Palm Pilot with my computer. It wouldn’t work. I got boggled and upset. Sometimes God’s timetable and our timetable don’t quite “sync.” That can be frustrating. But believe me, He will never come a moment too soon and He will never come a moment too late. The lovely book of the Bible, The Song of Solomon, is a beautiful love poem between lovers. The people say to the bride in front of the groom, “he brought you into his banqueting hall. He prepared a table before you. He placed a banner over you. The banner said, ‘This is my love.’” “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” The Lord promises, there will never be a time in your life while you are a follower of Christ that your needs will go unmet. There will never be a time when the table will be bare. He is going to take care of you. No matter what the enemy may threaten to do, you are safe and secure. That’s the great confidence that exudes from these verses in Psalm 23. What glorious words are these! David goes on to say in the second part of verse 25 that not only will “He prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies,” but “He anoints my head with oil. My cup overflows!” What David is telling us is that not only is God willing to provide for us and take care of us, he gives us the confidence and the hope that as a follower of Jesus Christ, you will always be in the palm of his hand! We will never have to worry that every need will be supplied. That’s His promise; He will do it in abundance! “You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows!” You see, one of the things that I love about the Scriptures is the superlative language. For example, in the wonderful story of the Prodigal Son, it’s not just the calf they kill. No, it’s the fatted calf! It’s not that he will just give us peace, but it will be a peace that will pass all understanding! It isn’t just joy, but it is joy unspeakable and full of glory! It is grace abounding! You see, almost in every way David alludes to the fact that when God supplies our needs, he will do it in abundance. There is always that note of bounty in the provision of God. Jesus came not to give life, but to give more abundantly. Jesus spoke, not that he might give us joy, but that our joy might be full! When you conceive of God and his provision for you, it’s a picture of the great divine shylock in the sky measuring out the pound of flesh drop by drop and pound by pound. No! No! No! He anoints your head with oil and your cup overflows. In the overflowing cup, what David is saying is that He gives you more than you need. He not only meets your needs, he gives you more than you need. Then, what overflows from your cup might fall into the cups of other people. So it behooves us to be like Christ: to be equally generous, to commit that cup to overflow into the cups of others. There is something about traveling in Africa and coming back from Nigeria that helps me to realize that we in America are blessed beyond what we deserve. We are the most blessed nation in the entire world. Coming back from Africa, one realizes afresh the immense affluence and wealth that is here. As Oprah Winfrey said in her interview with Diane Sawyer this week, that when people say to her that the need is here in America as well, her response was, “You have no idea.” That is not to say that there are no needs in America, but you have no idea how people are living in other parts of the world. They are living on garbage dumps. Their homes are made of cardboard. They are giving birth nowhere near hospitals or doctors. They are dying of AIDS. I love what God is doing with Oprah Winfrey and also with Bono of U2 in trying to raise the awareness of the western world to the plight of the orphans, in particular in Africa, whose parents have died of AIDS and many of who are dying of AIDS themselves. As Americans, we must learn to give in a measure that we have been given. We must be generous if we would seek to be like the Christ whom we follow. We are instructed Biblically as followers of Christ to give one-tenth of all our income to the work of God. I hope that you are endeavoring to do that. When I look at the immense need of the world, even a tenth is a paltry amount compared to the amazing need that is all around us. Even though I am thankful for Oprah and Bono in raising awareness, I am very cognizant of the fact that in many ways what they are saying and doing is trying to meet the need of Africa at its surface level. In other words, we are applying band-aids to the folk in Africa. But it is only by investing in the Church in Africa that we will begin to solve the root problem, the source of the problem dealt with. As the Church seeks both to educate the people of Africa and also by preaching a higher standard of morality so that the problem that is AIDS today in Africa can be addressed. My cup overflows. Verse 6 says, “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.” David is saying is that there will never be a day throughout the rest of your life when you will not have two heavenly escorts. Every moment of every day following close behind there will be these two escorts: Tove and Hesed. Tove is the glorious goodness of God and Hesed is the loving kindness of God. The old versions of Psalm 23 interpret Hesed as mercy. The new versions translate it as love, mercy, grace, goodness, kindness and all those things. They are all wrapped up because there is no English word that describes this Hesed of God. Still, they are right there by your shoulder following you all the time. I have a little dog at home. Everywhere I go she is by my feet. I change direction and she’s there. I sit down she sits at my feet. She’s always getting in the way. She is always there. That’s what David is saying. Every now and again you want to take a look over your shoulder, because right there will be goodness on the one hand and kindness on the other. It’s always following you. It was Francis Thompson that was inspired by this verse to write his poem The Hound of Heaven. Dale Evans, Roy Rogers’ wife, is brought back to God through that poem. This is what she writes: I saw that it [Psalm 23] told my own story of running and hiding from God for over 18 years, of sunshine and shadow, toil and treasure, success and defeat—trying hard to get out of my life the sound of those steady strong haunting feet that followed me everywhere. David adds the very first word of the verse there: surely. This isn’t just that goodness and mercy will follow me, but surely it will follow me. I ask David, why are you so sure that it’s going to follow you every moment of every day. You will never be able to escape it, no matter what! Looking over your shoulder is the loving kindness of God. How can you be sure that there will never be an instant when he’s not there when the presence of God is not with you? He responds, “Because God is God! God is everlasting. God is unchanging. God has pledged himself and promises goodness and kindness to me. God has set his love upon me and will not forget me in eternity. Even though there will be days when you may be downhearted, days when you are sad, days when you feel lonely, days when life will seem dreary and sunless. This is not about your feelings—it stands a sentinel to the soul. This is the reality. This is the walk of God beneath our feet. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me every moment of every day of every year of my life—this persistent unending love of God! It’s not just that you are loved. I’m embarrassed just how much you are loved. God lavishes his love upon you and he never gives up—never. Even when others have given up on you or when you have given up on yourself. Even then, God, the Hound of Heaven, has not given up. Did you ever see the movie Mutiny on the Bounty? Christian Fletcher was the gentleman on the Bounty that led the mutiny against Captain Bly. Captain had set out from England with his crew to find rare fruit trees. He finished up in Tahiti. The women in Tahiti were very accommodating to the men. The men wanted to stay in Tahiti. But eventually Captain Bly got pried away from Tahiti, and a short distance out, Christian Fletcher led the mutiny. Captain Bly and a few loyal sailors were given a little boat. It’s an incredible miracle that enabled them to sail across 4,000 miles of Pacific Ocean to the East Indies to safety. In the meantime, the mutineers had turned back to Tahiti and persuaded 12 Tahitian girls to be with them. Obviously they couldn’t stay in Tahiti because the wrath of the British Empire would have been down on their heads. (That’s when the British Empire was an empire!) So they sailed away to the first place they could find. They found an uninhabited island and decided to live there. But one of the sailors got into making whiskey. He got everybody drunk. Some of the men went out of their minds. At least one committed suicide by throwing himself off a cliff. The rest went over to bestiality. The women and the children born of the unions moved to another part of the island. This, by the way, is where the movie ends. But I’m going to tell you the rest of the story. They moved to another part of the island and had nothing to do with the men. One by one, the men died until there were only two left; Alexander Smith and Edward Young. Edward Young was older. He knew he was going to die. So he decided to teach Alexander Smith to read. As he rummaged through the possessions of the bounty, which had since been scuttled, burned, and sunk in the bay, he found the bounty’s Bible. He started with Genesis. He taught Alexander Smith to read word by word. As they read word by word, the revelation of the goodness and kindness of God dawned upon their souls. They began to pray as they had never prayed before. Unfortunately, Edward Young died before they ever got to the New Testament. But Alexander Smith went on to read even the New Testament. He got the full revelation of God’s forgiveness, love, and pardon. When an American ship first set sight on the island, the women by this time had recognized the change in Alexander Smith and moved back. The Captain of that American ship brought news back to the United States saying there was one mutineer who survived 19 years after the mutiny itself. He added these words: “Never in all my life have I seen such a perfect Christian society as the one I encountered there.” That’s the persistent goodness and kindness of a God who never gives up. As if that isn’t good enough, even great enough to be able to say surely goodness and infinite loving kindness will accompany me, will watch and guide my steps every moment of every day of my life. Wow! David even adds that he’s going to enjoy a nice forever. The last part of verse 8, I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. The Lord gives abundant life in the present and a glorious inheritance in the future. Now here he writes, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord not only all the days of my life to behold the beauty of the Lord, but I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever to behold the beauty of the Lord. One thing that I’m beginning to notice with the passing of the years is the recognition that our nature is not keyed toward the temporal. It’s really keyed towards the eternal. There is within the human heart this longing for a sense of permanency and a sense of home, because life at times seems, at best, transient. It’s hard to hold in your hand, it’s like a vapor, like water running through your fingers. The days pass so quickly. You wonder if there is anything more permanent than this. David is telling us that there is goodness, mercy, love, and kindness will attend to us every day of our lives. As if that isn’t good enough, when he dies, he says, it gets even better: we will enjoy the company and the presence of God for all time—for we will be home with God, a place that death cannot invade, where our friendships will not be impaired by time—a place of permanent abode. It’s with this that the minstrel closes his song. I will dwell in the house of the Lord. I will be at home forever more. What is it about home that is so compelling to us? It was a few years ago when I found myself back in my hometown in Ireland, in the city of Belfast. I was passing through the city and stayed the night in a hotel right in the heart of the city. I remember I went out for walks on familiar streets. Even many of the stores I had passed daily were still familiar after decades of being away. I remember standing by the spot where my brother was killed in a road accident when he was a young man of 20. I remember going to see the street on which I was raised, past the Church that I used to attend—a place where I discovered Jesus Christ as the Savior of my life. Yet as I walked those familiar streets and felt that beautiful Irish soft morning where the rain almost hung in the air and the sun was hidden by the clouds, I listened to the accents that were strange accents that I recognized but couldn’t understand. But I realized as I stood there, that it was no longer home. My parents were no longer there. My brother was dead. Many of my friends have died. My sister had moved away from the city. It was the strangest feeling to be in a familiar place and not feel at home, because home is not a familiar place. The appeal of home is not in bricks and mortar. It’s in being with people you love. That’s why Heaven is ultimately and finally the home of all who believe. Where the entire family of God will one day be gathered and we will never know separation again. Surely goodness and loving kindness will dog my every step. “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” This is the confidence that I encourage you to hold fast. This is a God who is going to take care of you no matter what. This is a God who will protect you. This is a God who would bless your going out and your coming in. Even when we come to leave this world, what he has prepared for us will be beyond our imagination. Let me finish with a little story that I always found amusing. You will understand when I start that you are not to take this story literally. It’s a once upon a time story of twin boys conceived in the same womb. As the weeks passed, and as their awareness grew, the boys laughed with joy. “Isn’t it great to be conceived? Isn’t it wonderful to be alive?” Together the boys explored their world. When they found the mother’s cord that gave them life, they sang for joy. “How great is our mother’s love,” they said, “that she shares her own life with us?” The weeks stretched into months. The twins noticed how much the other was changing. “What does it mean?” asked one. “It means that our stay in this world is drawing to an end,” said the other. “I don’t want to go, said the first. I want to stay here always.” “We have no choice,” said the other. “But maybe there is life after birth.” “But how can there be,” asked the first. “We will shed our life cord and how is life possible without it? Besides, there is the evidence that others were here before us and none of them have returned to tell us that there is life after birth. No, this is the end.” So the one fell into deep despair, saying, “if conception ends at birth, what is the purpose of life in the womb? It’s meaningless. Maybe there is no mother after all.” “But there has to be!” protested the other. “How else did we get here? How did we remain alive?” “Have you seen our mother?” asked the first. “Maybe she lives only in our mind. Maybe we made her up because the idea made us feel good.” So the last days in the womb were filled with deep questioning and fears. Finally the moment of birth arrived. When the twins had passed from their world, they opened their eyes and they cried, for what they saw exceeded their wildest dreams. The author of the story adds these lovely words: “Eyes have not seen, nor has the ear heard, nor has it so much as dawned upon humanity what God has prepared for those who love him.” My beloved, He has set a table before you. He has brought you into his banqueting hall and he has set a banner over you and the banner says, “This is my love.” He has anointed your head with oil, has blessed you far more than you can even contain. And will continue to do so. As a result, it is certain that his infinite mercy and glorious loving kindness will dog your every step for the rest of your life. When life comes to an end, it will even be better. This is not pie in the sky by and by, this is God’s word to his people today—to bring this confidence and hope as you live out the Christ life—as you live it out generously, as you live it out lavishly! Pastor Alan J. Meenan
A Feast in Abundance(풍성한 축제)/ Psalms 23:(시23:)/ 2012-02-12
A Feast in Abundance(풍성한 축제) Psalms 23:(시23:) In 1872, Lord Wolseley, an English Lord, wrote in the Soldier’s Pocketbook these words, “In all siege operations, it is most important that all possible advantage be reaped of every hour of darkness.” This idea of taking “advantage of every hour of darkness” struck me. Isaiah, the Old Testament prophet, also spoke about treasures of the darkness. So what I want to say right from the outset, while I should be speaking on Psalm 27 today, I just couldn’t let go of Psalm 23. It’s such a beautiful Psalm. I would like to review the last two verses of this Psalm with you this morning. Psalm 23 was not written at a time of idyllic ease. It was written when life was difficult, complicated, and burdensome. Otherwise, David would not have penned the words, “Thou hast prepared a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” This was probably not written when he was a young boy tending sheep in the Judean hills. There probably was a great catastrophe in his life. The reality is that we would long for life to be trouble-free. If life were trouble-free, then we wouldn’t need something like Psalm 23. When we long for a trouble-free life, where you can simply soak in the sun and do nothing but relax and enjoy yourself, we forget the old Arabian proverb: “all sunshine makes a desert.” It is probably not in our best interest to have a life that is truly trouble-free. (It’s all academic anyway, because no one experiences such a life.) Life is full of all kinds of trouble. Some of you, while you are listening to me, are going through difficult, dark moments. You’re here this morning hiding a lacerated heart. Some great travesty, injustice, disappointment or something else you’re trying to overcome here. God bless you in that process. So those of us who are not going through dark times, rest assured, guaranteed, you will. Even if you have, it does not preclude the fact that you will again. That’s why Psalm 23 is so pertinent to any Christian living and breathing at all. Jesus Christ never suggested that we escape life. The Christian is never encouraged to try to escape life. People today, all around us, are trying to escape life. That’s what drugs are. They are simply an attempt to escape the realities of life, to move to a different, higher and supposedly better plane. One’s fascination or involvement with some kinds of music, books, or movies, or whatever the case might be, often is an escape from reality, because reality is so difficult to cope with. Jesus never suggested that we try to escape from life. He taught us how to live life, how to cope with life—even when it is incredibly difficult! When worse comes to worst, and the uphill climb becomes a struggle, Isaiah’s words are very significant. He talks about the treasures of the darkness. Can it possibly be that even in the darkness, there are treasures? The apostle Peter talks about it in I Peter verse 1, “It is God’s power that guards us through faith for salvation.” So we are guarded. Those of us who follow Christ are guarded through faith. Psalm 23 is a reminder that God cares for us even in our darkness. So we come to verse 5: “you prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” God’s blessing is so sure that even though your enemies may gather around and watch, there is nothing they can do to stop the blessing of God from reaching the one that He loves and wants to bless. The tragedy today is that so many Christian people, young and old, tend to think that when the storms beat upon their lives, they are no better off than people who don’t believe. They look at their situation and ask, “What advantage is there to being a follower of Christ?” The apostle James, the brother of Jesus, writes on one occasion, “the reason why so many Christians don’t have is because they have never asked.” If we are reluctant to ask God for miracles in our lives, we shouldn’t be surprised when we never receive one. But if we dare to ask, dare to believe, dare to lay hold on the promises of God, and say “Lord, this is what I need for your glory,” then he will rise to meet whatever needs we might have. This God that we deal with is a God who rains bread from Heaven. He’s a God who sent ravens to feed a prophet. He’s a God who takes a few morsels of food and multiplies them so they can feed a multitude. Our Lord Jesus Christ himself reminded his own disciples, as he would remind you today, “don’t be like the non-believers.” The difference between a non-believer and those who follow Christ is your heavenly Father knows everything that you need. He has promised to supply your needs according to the riches of his glory. His timing may be different from yours, and that’s always a frustration! For example, a couple of days ago this week I was trying to sync my Palm Pilot with my computer. It wouldn’t work. I got boggled and upset. Sometimes God’s timetable and our timetable don’t quite “sync.” That can be frustrating. But believe me, He will never come a moment too soon and He will never come a moment too late. The lovely book of the Bible, The Song of Solomon, is a beautiful love poem between lovers. The people say to the bride in front of the groom, “he brought you into his banqueting hall. He prepared a table before you. He placed a banner over you. The banner said, ‘This is my love.’” “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” The Lord promises, there will never be a time in your life while you are a follower of Christ that your needs will go unmet. There will never be a time when the table will be bare. He is going to take care of you. No matter what the enemy may threaten to do, you are safe and secure. That’s the great confidence that exudes from these verses in Psalm 23. What glorious words are these! David goes on to say in the second part of verse 25 that not only will “He prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies,” but “He anoints my head with oil. My cup overflows!” What David is telling us is that not only is God willing to provide for us and take care of us, he gives us the confidence and the hope that as a follower of Jesus Christ, you will always be in the palm of his hand! We will never have to worry that every need will be supplied. That’s His promise; He will do it in abundance! “You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows!” You see, one of the things that I love about the Scriptures is the superlative language. For example, in the wonderful story of the Prodigal Son, it’s not just the calf they kill. No, it’s the fatted calf! It’s not that he will just give us peace, but it will be a peace that will pass all understanding! It isn’t just joy, but it is joy unspeakable and full of glory! It is grace abounding! You see, almost in every way David alludes to the fact that when God supplies our needs, he will do it in abundance. There is always that note of bounty in the provision of God. Jesus came not to give life, but to give more abundantly. Jesus spoke, not that he might give us joy, but that our joy might be full! When you conceive of God and his provision for you, it’s a picture of the great divine shylock in the sky measuring out the pound of flesh drop by drop and pound by pound. No! No! No! He anoints your head with oil and your cup overflows. In the overflowing cup, what David is saying is that He gives you more than you need. He not only meets your needs, he gives you more than you need. Then, what overflows from your cup might fall into the cups of other people. So it behooves us to be like Christ: to be equally generous, to commit that cup to overflow into the cups of others. There is something about traveling in Africa and coming back from Nigeria that helps me to realize that we in America are blessed beyond what we deserve. We are the most blessed nation in the entire world. Coming back from Africa, one realizes afresh the immense affluence and wealth that is here. As Oprah Winfrey said in her interview with Diane Sawyer this week, that when people say to her that the need is here in America as well, her response was, “You have no idea.” That is not to say that there are no needs in America, but you have no idea how people are living in other parts of the world. They are living on garbage dumps. Their homes are made of cardboard. They are giving birth nowhere near hospitals or doctors. They are dying of AIDS. I love what God is doing with Oprah Winfrey and also with Bono of U2 in trying to raise the awareness of the western world to the plight of the orphans, in particular in Africa, whose parents have died of AIDS and many of who are dying of AIDS themselves. As Americans, we must learn to give in a measure that we have been given. We must be generous if we would seek to be like the Christ whom we follow. We are instructed Biblically as followers of Christ to give one-tenth of all our income to the work of God. I hope that you are endeavoring to do that. When I look at the immense need of the world, even a tenth is a paltry amount compared to the amazing need that is all around us. Even though I am thankful for Oprah and Bono in raising awareness, I am very cognizant of the fact that in many ways what they are saying and doing is trying to meet the need of Africa at its surface level. In other words, we are applying band-aids to the folk in Africa. But it is only by investing in the Church in Africa that we will begin to solve the root problem, the source of the problem dealt with. As the Church seeks both to educate the people of Africa and also by preaching a higher standard of morality so that the problem that is AIDS today in Africa can be addressed. My cup overflows. Verse 6 says, “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.” David is saying is that there will never be a day throughout the rest of your life when you will not have two heavenly escorts. Every moment of every day following close behind there will be these two escorts: Tove and Hesed. Tove is the glorious goodness of God and Hesed is the loving kindness of God. The old versions of Psalm 23 interpret Hesed as mercy. The new versions translate it as love, mercy, grace, goodness, kindness and all those things. They are all wrapped up because there is no English word that describes this Hesed of God. Still, they are right there by your shoulder following you all the time. I have a little dog at home. Everywhere I go she is by my feet. I change direction and she’s there. I sit down she sits at my feet. She’s always getting in the way. She is always there. That’s what David is saying. Every now and again you want to take a look over your shoulder, because right there will be goodness on the one hand and kindness on the other. It’s always following you. It was Francis Thompson that was inspired by this verse to write his poem The Hound of Heaven. Dale Evans, Roy Rogers’ wife, is brought back to God through that poem. This is what she writes: I saw that it [Psalm 23] told my own story of running and hiding from God for over 18 years, of sunshine and shadow, toil and treasure, success and defeat—trying hard to get out of my life the sound of those steady strong haunting feet that followed me everywhere. David adds the very first word of the verse there: surely. This isn’t just that goodness and mercy will follow me, but surely it will follow me. I ask David, why are you so sure that it’s going to follow you every moment of every day. You will never be able to escape it, no matter what! Looking over your shoulder is the loving kindness of God. How can you be sure that there will never be an instant when he’s not there when the presence of God is not with you? He responds, “Because God is God! God is everlasting. God is unchanging. God has pledged himself and promises goodness and kindness to me. God has set his love upon me and will not forget me in eternity. Even though there will be days when you may be downhearted, days when you are sad, days when you feel lonely, days when life will seem dreary and sunless. This is not about your feelings—it stands a sentinel to the soul. This is the reality. This is the walk of God beneath our feet. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me every moment of every day of every year of my life—this persistent unending love of God! It’s not just that you are loved. I’m embarrassed just how much you are loved. God lavishes his love upon you and he never gives up—never. Even when others have given up on you or when you have given up on yourself. Even then, God, the Hound of Heaven, has not given up. Did you ever see the movie Mutiny on the Bounty? Christian Fletcher was the gentleman on the Bounty that led the mutiny against Captain Bly. Captain had set out from England with his crew to find rare fruit trees. He finished up in Tahiti. The women in Tahiti were very accommodating to the men. The men wanted to stay in Tahiti. But eventually Captain Bly got pried away from Tahiti, and a short distance out, Christian Fletcher led the mutiny. Captain Bly and a few loyal sailors were given a little boat. It’s an incredible miracle that enabled them to sail across 4,000 miles of Pacific Ocean to the East Indies to safety. In the meantime, the mutineers had turned back to Tahiti and persuaded 12 Tahitian girls to be with them. Obviously they couldn’t stay in Tahiti because the wrath of the British Empire would have been down on their heads. (That’s when the British Empire was an empire!) So they sailed away to the first place they could find. They found an uninhabited island and decided to live there. But one of the sailors got into making whiskey. He got everybody drunk. Some of the men went out of their minds. At least one committed suicide by throwing himself off a cliff. The rest went over to bestiality. The women and the children born of the unions moved to another part of the island. This, by the way, is where the movie ends. But I’m going to tell you the rest of the story. They moved to another part of the island and had nothing to do with the men. One by one, the men died until there were only two left; Alexander Smith and Edward Young. Edward Young was older. He knew he was going to die. So he decided to teach Alexander Smith to read. As he rummaged through the possessions of the bounty, which had since been scuttled, burned, and sunk in the bay, he found the bounty’s Bible. He started with Genesis. He taught Alexander Smith to read word by word. As they read word by word, the revelation of the goodness and kindness of God dawned upon their souls. They began to pray as they had never prayed before. Unfortunately, Edward Young died before they ever got to the New Testament. But Alexander Smith went on to read even the New Testament. He got the full revelation of God’s forgiveness, love, and pardon. When an American ship first set sight on the island, the women by this time had recognized the change in Alexander Smith and moved back. The Captain of that American ship brought news back to the United States saying there was one mutineer who survived 19 years after the mutiny itself. He added these words: “Never in all my life have I seen such a perfect Christian society as the one I encountered there.” That’s the persistent goodness and kindness of a God who never gives up. As if that isn’t good enough, even great enough to be able to say surely goodness and infinite loving kindness will accompany me, will watch and guide my steps every moment of every day of my life. Wow! David even adds that he’s going to enjoy a nice forever. The last part of verse 8, I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. The Lord gives abundant life in the present and a glorious inheritance in the future. Now here he writes, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord not only all the days of my life to behold the beauty of the Lord, but I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever to behold the beauty of the Lord. One thing that I’m beginning to notice with the passing of the years is the recognition that our nature is not keyed toward the temporal. It’s really keyed towards the eternal. There is within the human heart this longing for a sense of permanency and a sense of home, because life at times seems, at best, transient. It’s hard to hold in your hand, it’s like a vapor, like water running through your fingers. The days pass so quickly. You wonder if there is anything more permanent than this. David is telling us that there is goodness, mercy, love, and kindness will attend to us every day of our lives. As if that isn’t good enough, when he dies, he says, it gets even better: we will enjoy the company and the presence of God for all time—for we will be home with God, a place that death cannot invade, where our friendships will not be impaired by time—a place of permanent abode. It’s with this that the minstrel closes his song. I will dwell in the house of the Lord. I will be at home forever more. What is it about home that is so compelling to us? It was a few years ago when I found myself back in my hometown in Ireland, in the city of Belfast. I was passing through the city and stayed the night in a hotel right in the heart of the city. I remember I went out for walks on familiar streets. Even many of the stores I had passed daily were still familiar after decades of being away. I remember standing by the spot where my brother was killed in a road accident when he was a young man of 20. I remember going to see the street on which I was raised, past the Church that I used to attend—a place where I discovered Jesus Christ as the Savior of my life. Yet as I walked those familiar streets and felt that beautiful Irish soft morning where the rain almost hung in the air and the sun was hidden by the clouds, I listened to the accents that were strange accents that I recognized but couldn’t understand. But I realized as I stood there, that it was no longer home. My parents were no longer there. My brother was dead. Many of my friends have died. My sister had moved away from the city. It was the strangest feeling to be in a familiar place and not feel at home, because home is not a familiar place. The appeal of home is not in bricks and mortar. It’s in being with people you love. That’s why Heaven is ultimately and finally the home of all who believe. Where the entire family of God will one day be gathered and we will never know separation again. Surely goodness and loving kindness will dog my every step. “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” This is the confidence that I encourage you to hold fast. This is a God who is going to take care of you no matter what. This is a God who will protect you. This is a God who would bless your going out and your coming in. Even when we come to leave this world, what he has prepared for us will be beyond our imagination. Let me finish with a little story that I always found amusing. You will understand when I start that you are not to take this story literally. It’s a once upon a time story of twin boys conceived in the same womb. As the weeks passed, and as their awareness grew, the boys laughed with joy. “Isn’t it great to be conceived? Isn’t it wonderful to be alive?” Together the boys explored their world. When they found the mother’s cord that gave them life, they sang for joy. “How great is our mother’s love,” they said, “that she shares her own life with us?” The weeks stretched into months. The twins noticed how much the other was changing. “What does it mean?” asked one. “It means that our stay in this world is drawing to an end,” said the other. “I don’t want to go, said the first. I want to stay here always.” “We have no choice,” said the other. “But maybe there is life after birth.” “But how can there be,” asked the first. “We will shed our life cord and how is life possible without it? Besides, there is the evidence that others were here before us and none of them have returned to tell us that there is life after birth. No, this is the end.” So the one fell into deep despair, saying, “if conception ends at birth, what is the purpose of life in the womb? It’s meaningless. Maybe there is no mother after all.” “But there has to be!” protested the other. “How else did we get here? How did we remain alive?” “Have you seen our mother?” asked the first. “Maybe she lives only in our mind. Maybe we made her up because the idea made us feel good.” So the last days in the womb were filled with deep questioning and fears. Finally the moment of birth arrived. When the twins had passed from their world, they opened their eyes and they cried, for what they saw exceeded their wildest dreams. The author of the story adds these lovely words: “Eyes have not seen, nor has the ear heard, nor has it so much as dawned upon humanity what God has prepared for those who love him.” My beloved, He has set a table before you. He has brought you into his banqueting hall and he has set a banner over you and the banner says, “This is my love.” He has anointed your head with oil, has blessed you far more than you can even contain. And will continue to do so. As a result, it is certain that his infinite mercy and glorious loving kindness will dog your every step for the rest of your life. When life comes to an end, it will even be better. This is not pie in the sky by and by, this is God’s word to his people today—to bring this confidence and hope as you live out the Christ life—as you live it out generously, as you live it out lavishly! Pastor Alan J. Meenan
A Few Things Against You(당신의 뜻과 다른 몇 가지 것들)/ Revelation 2:12-17(계2:12-17)/ 2015-03-15
A Few Things Against You(당신의 뜻과 다른 몇 가지 것들) Revelation 2:12-17(계2:12-17) A Few Things Against You Revelation 2:12-17 12 “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. 13 I know where you live? Here Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city ?here Satan lives. 14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. 15 Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it. Main Verse Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. Revelation 2:14 REFLECTION I stood in a video rental store the other day surveying the latest movies and wondering, “Is this a place I should be?” With all the sometimes subtle and often blatant messages of my culture which are diametrically opposed to God’s word in full view in my current surroundings, was this place for me? Was my presence an accommodation in and of itself? Would the angel of my church have warned of this place? Was I being legalistic in my thoughts or sensitive to God’s conviction? The word to the church in Peramum cut two ways. The believers were commended for remaining true to their faith in a very difficult environment. These were anything but easy days to be a believer. One of their brothers had been martyred, and Satan was having a field day in their city. Their faithfulness to the name of Jesus in these circumstances was noteworthy. Yet God called His own to a higher standard. He wanted more out of His church than willingness to not bail. He expected lifestyles above reproach. He desired His own to resist accommodation to a bent culture. Though they lived in a place where Satan had his throne, God must reign supreme in their lives. Avoiding blatant betrayal of faith was not enough. These believers were being called out by God to stand strong. They were to be separate and holy in the middle of an ungodly culture. If the kingdom to come were to be theirs, they needed to live as members of that kingdom now. There are few messages to our culture that are as relevant and profound as this one. The siren call of our culture is not to abandon Christ in name, but rather to accommodate our Christian convictions to the mores of our culture and thus to abandon Him in lifestyle. How else can we explain the lifestyles of the average person who calls him/herself as Christian, but lives anything but holy? The great danger of our day is precisely the one faced by the church in Pergamum. It is the danger that compromise and holiness are like oil and water. They do not mix no matter how much we try to shake them together. For the believer, they are mutually exclusive terms and lifestyles. So let us who have ears hear the Spirit. In view of the coming kingdom for which we eagerly wait, let us give His Spirit free reign to convict us of any compromise, to rid our lives of any accommodation to sin, and to let holiness reign. DAILY PRAYER Lord, You know my weaknesses like no other. You know my blind spots to this culture You have me in. Free me to live a holy life. Create in me tenderness to the call of Your Spirit when temptations to compromise knock at my door. Keep working in me to refine and purify my life. Amen. APPLICATION It is often difficult to recognize our accommodations to the culture we live in. Like smoke, it seeps into the fabric of our lives. Though we can get used to the smell, it stinks. Others around us notice. Most importantly, the compromised lifestyle stinks to the nostrils of God. So how do you get rid of it? Begin with honest, naked prayer. With the psalmist, pray “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Invite a peer whose walk with Christ you admire to examine your life, to keep you accountable to holiness and talk to you honestly about your decisions and patterns of living. Ask an elder or leader of your church to help you examine your life and to pray with you. If you are serious about holiness, it will cost you. It will cost you potential relationships, friendships, financial opportunities and it will cost you a big hunk of your selfishness. The reward will far outweigh all these costs, but don’t forget that compromise is always the easiest road. It is seldom the road that leads to godliness.