Church Newsletter 2021-3-10

Saints,

Enjoy the glorious sunshine and this bit of spring amid winter. 

Here is an interesting thought from C.S. Lewis. “Do not be scared by the word authority. Believing things on authority only means believing them because you have been told them by someone you think trustworthy. Ninety-nine per cent of the things you believe are believed on authority. I believe there is such a place as New York. I have not seen it myself. I could not prove by abstract reasoning that there must be such a place, I believe it because reliable people have told mc so. The ordinary man believes in the Solar System, atoms, evolution, and the circulation of the blood on authority—because the scientists say so. Every historical statement in the world is believed on authority. None of us has seen the Norman Conquest or the defeat of the Armada. None of us could prove them by pure logic as you prove a thing in mathematics. We believe them simply because people who did see them have left writings that tell us about them: in fact, on authority. A man who jibbed at authority in other things as some people do in religion would have to be content to know nothing all his life.”[1]

Digging deeper

Study Questions

1. Do you agree that if God pronounces judgement, we as believers must not quarrel with him but agree with him?

2.  ‘To obey is better than sacrifice.’ This is true, but how superlatively good is that ultimate Sacrifice which is itself perfect obedience (Hebrews 10:9–14)?[2]

Filling up the edges

The Christian Life requires conforming to the standard of both God’s ethics and God’s emotions. What he condemns, we must condemn. What he curses, we must curse. What he loves we must love. What saddens him, ought to sadden us. 

Ephesians 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 

“But Jesus didn’t hate!” is a common retort. 

Hebrews 1:8–9 But of the Son [the Father] says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.” 

Some of us need to stop letting the world define words like love, mercy and compassion. The fruit of the spirit does not negate the Holy War, it frames it. Some of us need to hate sin and grieve over the fall and moral failure of our brothers and sisters and stop letting the world define words like war, enemy and hate for us.  Nightlong lamentation – crying out to God over the failure of church leaders and fellow Christians, this is a prescription for what ails many of us. 

Discipleship and imitation are inseparable. The call of Jesus to “follow me,’ demanded a life-long determination on the part of his disciples to pattern their values, beliefs, and behavior after their Master. For Paul too, imitation had a cruciform character. Saul does not have a heart after God. Samuel does. Reject Saul’s version of the Christian life and imitate Samuel’s. 

So here is how I propose growing in our imitation of the Lord Jesus. These are the areas I think we should all focus on.

Learn to love properly. We must give ourselves to the love of God and the love of our neighbor. Desire to rejoice in the Lord, in the public worship of God, in the commands He has given to us. Eagerly pursue evangelism and mercy work. We must love our husbands, wives, children and grandchildren. We must love our neighbors and co-workers. 

Romans 13:9–10 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

The more we are given over to these things, the more difficult it will be for the world to accuse us that our hatreds are just “phobias,” or some other sign of a broken mind. We don’t hate because we love hating. We hate because we love what we are defending. Zeal is a prescription for what ails many of us.

Learn to hate hypocrisy. When we hate the sins of others more than we hate sin in ourselves, we are a couple of miles down the deadly road to hell. When we judge others by their actions and words, while judging ourselves by our motives, we are already in the grip of Satan. When we judge others by a different standard than the one we desire to have applied to ourselves, we are rejecting the Lord’s teaching. Judgment begins with the household of God, and this is why there will never be a restoration of the republic without a reformation in the church.

Learn to hate jargon, buzzwords – any words detached from the objects they are supposed to represent – which is what happens when we deny the correspondence view of truth.

The correspondence theory of truth is that epistemological theory that states that the truth or falsehood of any statement is determined only by how it relates to the world and whether it accurately describes that world. Our beliefs and statements must correspond to the actual state of affairs. Evolution is a theory that does not correspond to the reality of a fossil record.  Identity politics assert many things about sex and gender that do not correspond to the physical attributes providentially distributed at birth. 

So, learn to love objective truth, and hate all subjectivism. Learn to mean what you say, and say what you mean. Target every form of verbal pretension and postmodern word games and redefining of terms. We must all master precision. Put a scope on the proverbial truth rifle. Sight it in. Go out for target practice in an abandoned garden patch. Get a sight on the pumpkins of postmodernism. Use hollow points. The results will gratify you.

Learn to hate every form of egalitarianism, feminism, metro-sexuality and associated fropperies, pomosexuality, and androgyny. In the image of God He created them, male and female (Gen. 1:27). And every true Christian has since that time said, amen

Learn to hate every attempt to turn the Scriptures against itself. No verse trumps any other verse. Dicing up the word of God into mantras and appeals to “simplify,” our interpretation is of the devil. No word from God is at war with any other word from God. The very first thing that “red letter Christians” do in their insistence to go “by the words of Jesus only” is reject the words of Jesus about the rest of Scripture. All you need to grow in this hatred rightly is a special edition of the Bible, which you can get at any Christian bookstore, with the words of the Holy Spirit in black.  All of Scripture and only Scripture — that is the ultimate and infallible rule of faith and practice. Those who seek to divvy up the Word are hostile to the Word, and so we must return that hostility with verve and pep.

Learn to hate every form of coercion that is not mandated by the Almighty God Himself. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. Love liberty and love it in every lawful form. Hate every suggestion that would — apart from an explicit requirement from the Creator — bind, restrict, limit, constrain, constrict, curb, inhibit, stifle, bridle, disallow, immure, compel, or deprive the lawful liberty of another person. This is not done for the sake of an abstract idol called “individualism.” It is nothing more complicated than love of neighbor. In this, our statist and despotic age, it is not possible to love your neighbor without also hating an intrusive police state or the Green new deal, Government stimulus or the AOC Squad all wrapped in golden promises of prosperity and freedom. Hatred of coercion also includes every form of unjust warfare — hatred of ungodly compulsion is not limited in any way to domestic politics. We must reject the evangelistic program that spreads democracy with F-18’s and tomahawk missiles and expeditionary forces. 

Learn to hate the suggestion, made by some on our side, that we “take no prisoners.” The strategy outlined by the Lord Jesusvis that we disciple the nations, baptizing them and teaching them obedience. This means that we first recognize that they are undiscipled, unbaptized, and disobedient. The whole point is to persuade them, not to nuke them. As we undertake the endeavor of imitating Christ well, in our midst we will soon enough discover more than a few who do not know what spirit they are of; Luke 9:54–55 And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But [Jesus] turned and rebuked them. 

We must learn to listen to the voice of God and obey it. Let the Lord define the terms, not our feelings and not the world. Let us take up the whole counsel of God, bearing the fruit of the spirit, wield the sword of the spirit with faith and wisdom

Around the Web

Pastor Wilson has some encouraging words on being the Prophetic voice. 

Here is a beautifully produced explanation of Psalm 8 

Devotion

Call my wandering heart home

Dear Lord of your people, let every evening toll the bell of recollection to call home my poor wandering heart. And when the tumult of a busy, unsatisfying, and troublesome world is over, oh for grace to do as my Lord did: to send the multitude away, and get up apart into the holy mountain of faith and love in the Lord Jesus, to meditate and pray! 

Amen.


[1] Lewis, C. S.. A Mind Awake: An Anthology of C. S. Lewis . Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

[2] Davis, D. R. (2000). 1 Samuel: Looking on the Heart (p. 164). Scotland: Christian Focus Publications.

Author: Michael Kloss

There is a Sunday conscience, as well as a Sunday coat; and those who make religion a secondary concern put the coat and conscience carefully by to put on only once a week. - Charles Dickens

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