Church Newsletter 2018-11-7

Saints,

I pray that your week is going well and that the joy and grace of Jesus is as obvious in your life as it is abundant. May His face shine upon you and give you peace.

Filling up the edges

They shall be holy to their God and not profane the name of their God. For they offer the LORD’s food offerings, the bread of their God; therefore they shall be holy. – Leviticus 21:6

The priests of Yahweh were to be holy for they were His table servants. They offered God His bread. And what was that bread? The sacrifices of the people of Israel. The table of the Lord was about fellowship, forgiveness and fruit; food.

The Lord ate with sinners who slew lambs and birds as propitiation for their sins and shared that meal with God. But there aren’t enough birds and lambs in all of creation to cleanse our filth, so Jesus came in the flesh to be our final and forever propitiation. So we sit at His table and feast on Him.

This is what God’s mission to the world is all about. A sacrificial meal of God, signifying peace and fellowship between God and man, eaten in God’s presence with God’s family.

This grace quickly becomes the basis for an inner circle. Inner circles are what we all want so desperately. A seat at the adult table, the cool kid table, the table of exclusivity that reveals how awesome, intelligent and “with it,” we are.

C.S Lewis on how you get “in,” to the inner circle. “Obviously bad men, obviously threatening or bribing, will almost certainly not appear. Over a drink or a cup of coffee, disguised as a triviality and sandwiched between two jokes, from the lips of a man, or woman, whom you have recently been getting to know rather better and whom you hope to know better still-just at the moment when you are most anxious not to appear crude, or naif, or a prig-the hint will come. It will be the hint of something which is not quite in accordance with the technical rules of fair play: something which the public, the ignorant, romantic public, would never understand: something which even the outsiders in your own profession are apt to make a fuss about: but something, says your new friend, which “we”-and at the word “we” you try not to blush for mere pleasure-something “we always do.” And you will be drawn in, if you are drawn in, not by desire for gain or ease, but simply because at that moment, when the cup was so near your lips, you cannot bear to be thrust back again into the cold outer world. It would be so terrible to see the other man’s face-that genial, confidential, delightfully sophisticated face-turn suddenly cold and contemptuous, to know that you had been tried for the Inner Ring and rejected. And then, if you are drawn in, next week it will be something a little further from the rules, and next year something further still, but all in the jolliest, friendliest spirit. It may end in a crash, a scandal, and penal servitude: it may end in millions, a peerage and giving the prizes at your old school. But you will be a scoundrel.”

Couple this with Gerard’s assertion that man desires a scapegoat, as much as he desires an inner circle, and you get an inner circle based on berating the “forces,” of darkness outside the circle who must be destroyed in order to restore peace and prosperity. But the problem isn’t “out there.” The problem is inside each one of us and its called our heart; the source of our will, affections and actions.

Mankind needs a scapegoat (Lev. 16:6-10). John the Baptizer recognized that this sacrifice, which takes the sin of the world away, is Jesus (John 1:29).

God never promised peace and prosperity this side of heaven. He made peace with you and is your ally in an all out war on sin. The Lord’s table is set amidst His enemies (Psalm 23:5). Jesus’ overflowing goodness, mercy and life will overflow our cup as we sit with Him at His feast table, even as the raging plotting nations nash their teeth and revile us.

Jesus offers us a seat at the table of His forgiveness. A table for the sick. The broken. The degenerate. The soulless. Everyone is sick, but not everyone knows it. Those who do, turn their hearts to heaven and find there, a command to sit, take and eat. Take and drink.

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! – Psalm 34:8

Around the worldwide web

A seven minute video on sacrifice and atonement for the whole family. These are good. Very, very good teaching tools.

https://thebibleproject.com/all-videos/biblical-themes/

Devotional

For steadfast faith JOHN 12: 35

O God, what would I be if you were to forsake me? What can I do if you withdraw your hand? What can I know if you do not enlighten me? How quickly the educated become infants; the prudent, simple; the wise, fools! How awesome you are in all your works and judgments! Let me walk in the light while I have light, so that I may not be caught in darkness. Many renounce their faith and become careless and weary in your grace. They are deceived into thinking they know everything and have no need. They feel satisfied and become slothful and ungrateful and are soon ruined. Therefore help me to remain in the fervor of faith, that I may daily increase in it through Jesus Christ, my real and only helper.

Amen.

Church Calendar

Service 11-11-18

Erik, Call

Nate, Prayer

DISCIPLESHIP CLASS: A SURVEY OF THE GOSPELS

Sunday mornings 9AM, through 11/18/18. Childcare provided for children 2-6. Kids aged 7 and up are encouraged to join the adult class.

LADIES’ FELLOWSHIP GATHERING

Wednesday, Nov 28, 7pm at Lannie Brown’s home. Tami will email out details

A Love Story

One of the central truths about the Christian life is that it consists of people who are of the Word, the book; the story. This requires us, then, to be people of words, books and stories. Stories shape our affections. This is why worldviews are always narratives. Darwin tells a tale of a “nobody,” pile of goo becoming, through resilience and self-will, something nearly divine. Marx tells a story of a garden of Eden lost to the greed and lies of the bourgeoise who must be brutally overthrown by the hapless proletariat to return the world to equitable safety and comfort.  C.S. Lewis said, “story always wins.”

This is why the stories we consume are so important. The stories we read, shape us. They inform our imagination, our intellect and our affections. In our hearts and minds; story always wins.

1 Thessalonians 1:6“And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit.”

You became an imitator of the Apostles and the Lord when you were converted. What were you imitators of before that?

Ephesians 2:1–3And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following thecourseof this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

Sons of disobedience imitate the prince of the power of the air and the spirit of the age. As sons of obedience you are called to imitate Christ; to be Holy as He is Holy; to love as He loved.

To aid in this endeavor, Jesus provided His life to imitate, as well as, apostles and church officers to imitate. Paul says, “Be imitators of me…” 1 Cor. 4:16, “Be imitators of God, as beloved children,” Ephesians 5:1.  Paul says to “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” Hebrews 13:7.

But to the point, the Apostle John says in 3 John 11“Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good.”

Taking all this together, we need to place before our eyes stories and biographies full of goodness, worthy of imitation. Good stories are soul food. And for our lack of appetites and for our gluttony for junk food, we need to do a lot of repenting. Continue reading “A Love Story”

Husbands are Honored guests

As much as we discuss the idea of biblical headship, do we really understand it? We hear or read that we are the head of the home and fill in the details of this doctrine from all kinds of places. From our time in the army, or the shift manager at our high school job, or the from the leadership techniques we learned from one of those ESPN 30 for 30 documentaries. We think that the head of the wife is the boss of the wife, end of the discussion, where is my beer? Or coitus, as the case may be.

What we do not understand is the organic nature of our authority in the home. The Biblical doctrine is complicated, limber and dynamic. The two errors are dangers on either side of the road which we franticly drive our marriages into, side-to-side, like a pinball. On one side is egalitarian feminism; a wooden fence, which has no way for accounting for what men and women actually are. Masculinist domineering is the solid hedge on the other side. Egalitarian feminism is a pure democracy – a flat horizontal line. Masculinist domineering is like a divine-right-of-kings monarchy – a straight vertical line. Continue reading “Husbands are Honored guests”

Church Newsletter 2018-10-31

Saints,

I pray that, as the fall gets going, the Lord grants us all good health. As a family we need to pray for one another as often as we can. We are scattered around the Puget Sound so, instead of a prayer meeting, I think it is important to hold a designated day of prayer as a church. So, on Thursday Mornings from 7am to 9am, we will hold a weekly prayer vigil. As often as life and work allow, between 7am and 9am, concentrate on praying for our community; both Redeemer and the city in which you live.

Pray for the Worship service, marriages, vocations, childrearing, health, stewardship and gratitude of Redeemer Church and your city. Write this list on a sticky and put up somewhere you can see it.

As we do this together, separately, we will actually be drawing closer to one another and the Father as a body. Prayer is the key to a healthy spiritual life and a healthy church. Praise and petition God. We are all sufferers and sinners, so together we need to grow stronger in this key spiritual discipline.

Blessings.  Continue reading “Church Newsletter 2018-10-31”

Standing On The Promises

There is unquestionably an element of understanding to faith. But there is more to it than that. For Luther, Faith is fundamentally trust. He uses the word fiducia, which means confidence. Faith is about trusting a God who makes promises, and whose promises may be relied upon.

Luther wrote in The Babylonian Captivity of the Church, “Where there is the word of God, who makes promises, there must necessarily be the faith of the person who accepts those promises.”

Faith lays hold of promise. Assurance is not established on reason or science but on the apprehension and acceptance of the word of God.

Witsius comments on Hebrews 11:1 by stating that there is ‘substance,’ or hypostasisor existence to the objects of our faith, “the properties and circumstances of things have a hypostatis, that is, really exist, and are not mere figments of our imagination. Accordingly, faith causes the thing hoped for, though not yet actually existing, to exist in the mind of the believer; who assents as firmly to the promises of God, as if he saw the blessings promised already present.”[1]

Calvin also used this term hypostasis when referring to the object of our faith. Calvin states, “Faith is the hypostasis, that the support or possession, on which we fix our foot.”[2]

Witsius also states that, “We understand by the term [faith], a principle which pervades all the faculties of the soul, and is the proper mean of uniting them to Christ, and of thus quickening, and making them holy, and happy.” [3]

The final resurrection of all men has not yet occurred, nor does it exist in itself, but faith gives it substance in our mind, because we believe God’s promise. The object of our faith; God’s promise of the resurrection, becomes a fact, a historical event just like the battle of Gettysburg.

Likewise, this principle works backward in time to lay hold of the promises of past events. Christ’s declaration in John 19:30 that “It is finished,” though stated in the past and fulfilled in the future, has substance or existence as truth in the present by faith.

Also, in communion we believe that Christ is present in the elements because He said He is, and faith in those words makes the communion, not a figment of our imagination, but something substantive and real. We believe and by believing we come to know that it is not merely bread and wine we hold. And this faith animates our spiritual life and relationship with Christ.

Faith lays hold of God’s words, objects both past and future, and makes them present.  This supports the soul, upon which it steadfastly fixes its foot and stands firm.

[1]The Apostle’s Creed, Vol. 1. Witsius, Herman. 43

[2]The Apostle’s Creed, Vol. 1. Witsius, Herman. 44.

[3]The Apostle’s Creed, Vol. 1. Witsius, Herman. 35.

Wives are Glorious Despots

1 Timothy 5:14 So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. 

The Greek word translated “manage their households” is Oikodespotein; to rule as a despot. The wife is the despot of the home. What are we to make of this given biblical gender roles and headship?

This is not contradictory. The husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. Husbands have the responsibility and authority to lead their household. But good leadership does not micro-manage. It is not overbearing, rude or controlling. Husbands do not have the prerogative to make every decision in the household. Spheres of authority were created by God for good reason. The fact that a woman gets pregnant does deny that the husband is ultimately responsible for the child, unlike the modern view.

When it comes to choosing which prenatal vitamen, or OB or researching the right body pillow, no man is threatened enough to wonder where his headship went. But ultimately, if it’s a home birth or hospital birth fall well within his prerogative.

Men, what do you think of bosses who are control freaks and cannot let anyone else have authority, give input or take ownership of customers or products? What do you call such a boss?

A good leader in business is one who finds or cultivates competent men to whom he can delegate. A man ought to choose a woman who brings value to his life. Some of that value is the fact that you can trust her. She is competent and knows her business.

Proverbs 31:10–11An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.  Continue reading “Wives are Glorious Despots”

The Light of the Mind

How does man know what he knows? How does man think? How does the mind process information? Augustine’s influence on man’s understanding of his own understanding can’t be overstated[1], especially when it comes to philosophy, theology and culture. Augustine thought deeply about how man thinks. Given Augustine’s classical education, thirst for philosophical inquiry and deep religious faith, he was particularly equipped by God to teach the Church what Athens has to do with Jerusalem; becoming the second founding father of Christianity[2].  Ronald H. Nash’s contribution to the ongoing debate about exactly what Augustine thought about how man thinks is an important scholarly work. What makes Nash’s work The Light of the Mind[3], so valuable to Augustinian and epistemological studies, is Nash’s approach. Nash accepts the fact that it was never “Augustine’s plan to construct a systematic theory of knowledge.”[4]So Nash’s approach to Augustine’s work is to formulate a system for evaluation. Augustine sometimes said very complicated things about faith’s relationship to knowledge [5]leading some to wonder if, as he aged, Augustine perhaps changed his position on truth, knowledge and faith. But Nash collects Augustine’s ideas into buckets to show exactly what Augustine taught about each idea and then proceeds to show how the buckets; skepticism, truth, faith, sensation, cognition and intellection flow forth into a consistent whole. Nash both attempts and accomplishes his goal. To show that “one can find throughout his [Augustine’s] writings the same general framework of knowledge. From some of his earliest letters to the definitive writings of his mature years he accepted approximately the same position.”[6]Augustine did not write a systematic work of philosophy, aesthetics or theology, but produced works in each with a systematic and poetic mind. Nash suggests that if we break down Augustine’s statements about various aspects of knowledge, we can develop a systematic and defensible Augustinian view on knowledge. Continue reading “The Light of the Mind”