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Archive for May, 2010

I’m reading a children’s version of Pilgrim’s Progress to the children. It is a great book! Christian is a pilgrim having chosen to flee from the City of Destruction and to go on a pilgrimage to the Celestial City. On the way he falls into the Slough of Despair, climbs the Hill of Difficulty, loses his burden at the Cross, travels down the Valley of Humiliation and today he travelled through the Dark Valley. On the way he counters various characters. In what follows Christian is threatened by one of the soldiers of the Wicked Prince, Self, who I understand is our sinful nature that threatens to kill us.

"You know you have served Him very badly since you set out. You were so careless that you fell into the Slough, and you let Worldly deceive you and turn you out of the right path. Then you slept in the arbor and lost your Roll, and when you came in sight of the lions you were very nearly turning back for fear of them. And yet, at the Palace Beautiful, you talked as if you were one of the King’s most faithful servants! I don’t know how you can expect Him to do anything for you."

Little Christian knew that all these things were true, and he wondered how Self had heard about them.

"I have been very sorry," he said, “and the King will forgive me. He knows I am only a little boy.”

Then Self could not keep back his anger any longer. He had been speaking gently, because he wished Christian to forsake the King of his own accord, but when he saw that his words were of no use he became fierce with passion.

"I hate your King," he cried, "and everybody and everything belonging to Him! You are my servant, and you shall never go to the Celestial City for I will kill you."

So he held his shield firmly on his arm and caught nearly all Self’s darts upon it, until the wicked soldier became wild with rage, and rushing suddenly at little Christian he seized him in his strong arms. Those darts which Christian had not been able to catch upon his shield had struck him and wounded him in his hands and feet. His wounds were very sore and were bleeding so much that he was beginning to feel faint. Self had seen this, and he flung the child upon the ground, thinking he would now be able to kill him. Little Christian had drawn out his sword from its sheath, but when Self threw him down, it fell from his hand, and as he lay on the path he thought he had now no chance of escaping from his cruel enemy. But just as Self was going to strike his last blow, Christian saw that the sword lay within his reach. He put out his hand and caught it up, and before Self had time to prevent him, he thrust it into the soldier’s body and gave him a terrible wound.

Now the soldiers of the Wicked Prince could not bear the pain of a wound given with one of the King’s swords, and Self cried out when Christian struck him. Then the boy’s courage came back to him, and he thrust the weapon at his enemy a second time, and after that Self fled away across the valley, and Christian was left alone.

He lay for a minute upon the path, and then he got up and looked around. All over the grass lay the sharp darts that had been thrown at him, but Self was gone. Christian could not see him anywhere.

It was the King who helped me, he thought, and his heart was full of thankfulness for his wonderful deliverance.

Source: Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan (modified by Helen L. Taylor)

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I read the following on Saturday night and found it very encouraging and helpful.

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Many years ago, I witnessed revival in its most microcosmic form in a sudden, unexpected, and remarkable work of God’s Spirit on a friend. The work was so dramatic, the effect so radical, that news of it spread quickly to different parts of the country. People were asking, “Just what exactly happened?”

Five things seemed to have happened, and they were still fresh in the memory two and a half decades later:

1. A painful exposure of the particular sin of unbelief occurred. Listening to preaching was a staple of my friend’s spiritual diet, but what came with overpowering force was a sense that God’s Word had actually been despised inwardly. God’s own Word, preaching in the power of the Spirit, stripped away the mask of inner pride and outward reputation for spirituality. There was a fearful exposure of sin.

2. A powerful desire arose to be free from all sin. A new affection came, as if unbidden, into the heart. Indeed, a desire seemed to be given actually to have sin increasingly revealed and exposed in order that it might be confessed, pardoned, and cleansed. Disturbing though it was, there was a sweetness of grace in the pain.

3. The love of Christ now seemed marvelous beyond measure. A love for Him flowed from a heart that could not get enough of Christ, ransacking Scripture to discover more and more about Him.

4. A new love for God’s Word was born—for reading it, for hearing it expounded and applied, and especially for knowing every expression of God’s will, so that it might be obeyed.

5. A compassionate love for others now flowed. It came from this double sense of sin and need on the one hand and grace and forgiveness on the other. Christian witness ceased to be a burden and became the expression of Spirit-wrought and powerful new affections.

source: Sinclair Ferguson ‘One Night Only’ from In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel-Centered Life

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(Lev 1:3) Sacrifices need to be without blemish foreshadowing Jesus as a sacrifice without sin.

(Lev 1:4) People press hands onto animal’s head in order to associate their sin with animal’s death. Jesus dies as a substitute for sinners.

(Lev 1:1-17) Burnt offerings burn whole animal as pleasing aroma resulting in God’s favor. Jesus suffers destruction so we experience grace.

(Lev 2:1-16) Grain offerings of unleavened flour with oil, frankincense & salt of covenant. Jesus’ body is bread of life and covenant.

(Lev 3:1-17) Peace or fellowship offering of which a portion is eaten by those offering the sacrifice. Fellowship with God c.f Lord’s Table.

(Lev 4:1-35) Sin offerings have blood used for cleansing. The blood and death of Jesus cleanses us from sin.

(Lev 5:14-19) Guilt offerings for unintentional sins re: observing God’s holy things. Jesus is our guilt offering making restitution for us.

(Lev 8) The ordination of Aaron as priest foreshadows the greater ordination of Christ as priest. Unlike Aaron no sacrifice for his own sin.

(Lev 9:22-24) The first sacrifice brings Israel blessing, causes to see the glory of the LORD, fire from God indicates effective sacrifice.

(Lev 9:22-24) Jesus’ work as priest brings blessing, enables us to see God’s glory & is shown effective by an act of God i.e. resurrection.

(Lev 10:10-11) Jesus as priest teaches God’s people to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean.

(Lev 11) The distinction between clean Israel & unclean Gentiles is removed by Christ who makes all men clean. c.f. Acts 10.

(Lev 11) Jesus removes the greatest form of uncleanness, that is, death.

(Lev 13) Sin is like a spreading and destructive leprosy or mildew.

(Lev 14) Cleansing from leprosy/sin – sprinkling and applied blood, bathing in water & anointing with oil i.e. cross, baptism and Spirit.

(Lev 15:31) Christ as priest keeps his people from things that make them unclean so they will not die but experience God’s presence.

(Lev 16) The goat sacrificed on the Day of Atonement prefigures the work of Christ on the cross. Blood cleanses and brings sabbath-rest.

(Lev 16:21-22) The goat sent to carry sin away into the wilderness and die also prefigures the work of Christ in removing sin.

(Lev 17:1-9) True worship can only occur at the one place of God’s choosing. The NT place God chooses for his people to worship is Christ.

(Lev 18:25,27) Unclean and unholy living results in being vomited out from God’s presence c.f. Rev 3:16.

(Lev 19) The Law points to the righteousness that is seen in Christ.

(Lev 19) God has compassion of the poor, fatherless, widows, aliens. Jesus demonstrates the same in his saving acts in NT.

(Lev 20:24-26) Separation between clean & unclean animals. Salvation is grounded in God’s separating his people from the nations to be holy.

(Lev 21:16-22:9) Priests are to be without defects and must not be unclean. In this way they foreshadow Jesus as a perfect & sinless priest.

(Lev 22:17-25) Animal sacrifices must be without blemish. In this way they foreshadow Jesus as a perfect & sinless sacrifice that atones.

(Lev 23:3) Jesus gives us our sabbath rest.

(Lev 23:4-8) Passover points to Jesus as our Passover Lamb who brings us deliverance from bondage.

(Lev 23:9-14) Firstfruits points to Jesus as the first fruits of the resurrection.

(Lev 23:15-22) Feast of Weeks i.e. Pentecost is the occasion of God’s pouring out his Spirit on all his people.

(Lev 23:23-25) Trumpets may foreshadow the return of Jesus and the rapture.

(Lev 23:26-32) Atonement may foreshadow the final judgment.

(Lev 23:33-44) Feast of Booths foreshadows life in the kingdom of God. Final expression in new heavens and earth.

(Lev 24:10-23) The death penalty for the one who broke the law of Moses ultimately portrays the covenant curse borne by Jesus.

(Lev 25) Sabbatical years and Jubilees point to the release that Jesus brings. Release from debt, slavery and loss of inheritance.

(Lev 25) Laws concerning redemption point to the redemptive work of Christ from debt, slavery and loss of inheritance.

(Lev 25:49) The redeemer is of one a family member of their own flesh. The Word became flesh & dwelt among us to be our kinsman-redeemer.

(Lev 26) The covenant blessings for obedience – fruitfulness, peace, God’s presence – anticipate the blessings of the new earth.

(Lev 26) The covenant curses for disobedience anticipate God’s wrath and eschatological judgment in the Lake of Fire.

(Lev 27) The importance of keeping one’s vows to the LORD points to the complete obedience of Jesus Christ.

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“Though we often think of holiness in a more narrow sense of separation from impurity and moral evil, in its broader sense holiness is obedience to the will of God …

Faith and holiness are inextricably linked. Obeying the commands of God usually involves believing the promises of God.”

source: Holiness and Faith Chapter 15 in ‘The Pursuit of Holiness’ by Jerry Bridges.

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The past judgments of God upon sinners ought to be improved by us as warnings to avoid imitation of their sins. And the view of his almighty power ought to animate us to a speedy and serious repentance. It is happy to have him for a friend, but terrible to have him our adversary.

No pattern ought to be copied in contempt or disobedience to him. And no safety can be expected in obstinate wickedness. No unbelief can falsify God’s word. If we receive not has promises, he will execute his threatenings upon us.

But how closely Jesus Christ cleaves to his people in all their debasement and distress! He is ready to teach his servants, or employ his angels or ministers, for their relief. And while most of mankind remain unconcerned under the curse of God and the power of the devil, seasonably and effectually he intercedes for his people.

Hereby is ensured to his church the destruction of all their cruel and brutal enemies, and comfort and happiness to themselves. And, let Satan find as many and as powerful agents to oppress the church as he will, Christ will find enough to resist and destroy them.

Source: Reflections by John Brown on Zechariah Chapter 1

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The Holy Spirit

enables us to see our need for holiness,

creates within us a desire for holiness,

strengthens us for holiness through our dependence on him expressed in:

a humble consistent intake of Scripture (Isaiah 66:2)

prayer for holiness (Ephesians 3:16, Colossians 1:9-10)

 

source: A Summary of ‘Help in the Daily Battle’ Chapter 7 in ‘The Pursuit of Holiness’ by Jerry Bridges.

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May the LORD, who is good, pardon everyone who sets his heart on seeking God — the LORD, the God of his fathers — even if he is not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary.

2 Chronicles 30:18-19

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