The Devil conquered by Jesus’ Death and ResurrectionMarch 13, 2016 in Bible - NT - 1 John, Bible - NT - Hebrews, Bible - NT - Revelation, Easter, Good Friday, Meditations, Postmillennialism, Satan
What is your only comfort in life and in death?February 19, 2015 in Bible - NT - Revelation, Bible - NT - Romans, Bible - OT - Genesis, Bible - OT - Isaiah, Bible - OT - Psalms, Church History, King Jesus, Newsletter, Providence
What is your only comfort in life and in death? Have you considered the answer to this question? Life is of course full of many comforts. I like my home, my car, my hot showers and plenteous food. I rest in the embrace of my wife, the laughter of my kids, and the affection of my parents. All these are comforts in life – but they are not comforts that carry over with us into death. They are comforts that leave when the blackness of death envelops us. So what is your only comfort in life and in death?
Many think, vainly, that death itself is a comfort, a land of forgetfulness. But death is no comfort to the one who is not reconciled to God. Death brings no release from suffering for the one who hates or is indifferent to God; it brings only an instantaneous and blinding confrontation with perfect holiness and justice and love – a confrontation that will condemn any man or woman not forgiven through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Death is not a comfort; it is an enemy.
What is your only comfort in life and in death? If you know anything of the Reformed tradition, you perhaps know that this is the first question of the Heidelberg Catechism. The Heidelberg Catechism was written around AD 1563 for the instruction of German Reformed believers, especially children, in the basics of the faith. Its answer to this question is one of my favorites.
Question #1: What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A: That I, with body and soul, both in life and in death, am not my own, but belong to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ, who with his precious blood has fully satisfied for all my sins, and redeemed me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my Father in heaven not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must work together for my salvation. Wherefore, by his Holy Spirit, he also assures me of eternal life, and makes me heartily willing and ready henceforth to live unto him.
Now that, brothers and sisters, is comfort for life and death. I am not my own but belong to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has given Himself for me and, what’s more, so rules over all things that nothing happens in my life that is not for my ultimate good, for my salvation. And this “all things” includes the false accusations of my enemies (Is 50:7-9), the wounds of my friends (Gen 50:20), the failings of my physical and mental health (Ps 73:25-26), etc. All things come to me from my loving Father in heaven who has designed and crafted each event just for me – including the time of my death (Rom 8:28; Rev 1:17-18). Thanks be to God for such comfort.
My daughter has written a thesis on eschatology for her persuasive speech this year. In the midst of her research she had a number of questions – here are a few and my answers.
1. When looking at the 1000 years in Revelation 20, it isn’t literal so is it “prophetic” or something else?
They imply that near the end of Christ’s triumphant rule there will be a brief rebellion by Satan and his hosts which will be overcome by Christ’s return in glory.
You might listen to my sermon here for a description of Revelation 20. You can download the pdf notes for the sermon there as well.
Why Kneel in Worship?January 11, 2015 in Bible - NT - Revelation, Bible - OT - 1 Kings, Bible - OT - Psalms, Ecclesiology, Liturgy, Meditations, Rome, Tradition, Worship
The Public Reading of ScriptureJanuary 12, 2014 in Bible - NT - 1 Timothy, Bible - NT - James, Bible - NT - Revelation, Lord's Day, Meditations, Tradition, Word of God, Worship
13 Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.
“The existence of the Church as the congregation of the New Covenant marks an entirely new epoch in the history of redemption. God was not now merely taking Gentile believers into the Old Covenant (as He had often done under the Old Testament economy). Rather, He was bringing in ‘the age to come’ (Heb. 2:5; 6:5), the age of fulfillment, during these Last Days. Pentecost was the inception of a New Covenant. With the final divorce and destruction of the unfaithful wife in A.D. 70, the marriage of the Church to her Lord was firmly established; the Eucharistic celebration of the Church was fully revealed in its true nature as ‘the Marriage Supper of the Lamb’ (v. 9).” Chilton, p. 473.
Just finished preaching a series on eschatology which is available online via our website or for purchase via email info_at_trinitycda.org. I wanted to put up a number of quotations from David Chilton’s Days of Vengeance which I found particularly helpful in the course of study.
“With the rise of divergent eschatologies over the last two centuries, the traditional evangelical optimism of the Churchwas tagged with teh term ‘postmillennialism,’ whether the so-called ‘postmillennialists’ liked it or not. This has had positive and negative results. On the plus side, it is (as we have seen) a technically accurate description of orthodoxy; and it carries the connotation of optimism. On the minus side, it can too often be confused with heretical millenarianism. And, while ‘amillennialism’ rightly expresses the orthodox abhorrence of apocalyptic revolution, it carries (both by name and by historic association) a strong connotation of defeatism. The present writer therefore calls himself a ‘postmillennialist,’ but also seeks to be sensitive to the inadequacies of current theological terminology.
“This ‘generic’ postmillennialism holds that Jesus Christ established His mediatorial Kingdom by His death, resurrection, and ascension to the heavenly Throne, and as the Second Adam rules over all creation until the end of the world, when He shall come again to judge the living and the dead; that He is conquering all nations by the Gospel, extending the fruits of His victory throughout the world, thereby fulfilling the dominion mandate originally given by God to Adam; that eventually, through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, ‘the earth will be ful of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea’ (Isa. 11:9); and that the Biblical promises of abundant blessing, in every area of life, will be poured out by God upon the whole world, in covenantal response to the faithfulness of His people.” Chilton, pp. 497-498
Disarming the Principalities and PowersJanuary 18, 2010 in Augustine, Bible - NT - Colossians, Bible - NT - Revelation
Colossians 2:13-15 (NKJV)
13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
This Lord’s Day we explored the inauguration or beginning of the Kingdom of God through the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. One of the issues discussed was the conquest of the demonic forces, the principalities and powers, that at one time ruled men and nations. These minions of the devil were, according to Paul, disarmed when our Lord was crucified. Imagining themselves the victors, they were defeated. Augustine explains this winsomely. Below is a quotation I read in the sermon – rearranged by me to make the oral hearing of it easier to follow. I pulled the quotation from David Chilton’s The Days of Vengeance: A Commentary on the Book of Revelation:
The devil was conquered by his own trophy of victory. The devil jumped for joy, when he seduced the first man and cast him down to death…. [He] jumped for joy [again] when Christ died; [but] by the very death of Christ the devil was overcome: he took, as it were, the bait in the mousetrap. He rejoiced at the death, thinking himself death’s commander. But that which caused his joy dangled the bait before him. The Lord’s cross was the devil’s mousetrap: the bait which caught him was the death of the Lord… By seducing the first man, [the devil] slew him; by slaying the last man, he lost the first from his snare. The victory of our Lord Jesus Christ came when he rose and ascended into heaven; then was fulfilled what you have heard when the Apocalypse was being read, “The Lion of the tribe of Judah has won the day.”