Eyeballing Sin

I’m a fight fan. One of the fundamentals of fighting is to be able to hit and not get hit. We all know that in an octagon of aggression, a terrible mistake could translate to a TKO to the enemy’s favor. That’s why we always hear coaches by the sideline yelling at their fighter to keep their guards up. The likelihood of kissing the canvas unconscious is high every time a fighter throws a punch with his other hand down.

How true can such reality apply in the world of a Christian disciple?
Are we a people who keep our guards up? Or are we someone who is putting it too low? Or maybe some of us have been TKO’d simply because we’ve kept it too low.

Paul tells us in that we ought not to be conformed to this world (Rom 12:2).
Conformity is always locked up with standards. Meaning to say if you conform then you comply with the standards. So the initial question for a Christian is, who and what is your standard? In a world swarming with immorality, don’t you think that as Christians we have to all the more bring our guards up if we are a people who have accepted the standards of God?

If we are beings who were created to worship and the Bible tells us that our worship constitutes presenting our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to Him (Rom 12:1), then don’t you think it talks about a standard hinged on an understanding about who we worship?

If those cases satisfy, then let me present you with some harder questions:
Why do we get insecure with the world?
Why have we ditched modesty and propriety in dressing up?
Why is our culture not different from the world’s?
Why do we want to show more skin, more cleavage, and more stupidity?
Why are we setting ourselves up to eyeball with sin?

I. Culture and the World

If culture represents or mirrors the heart of a certain people group, then are we a people who try to study the culture around us and win it for God, or are we a people who gets sucked in the cultures of the world? Specific: Where has K-pop lead you? Is it leading you to pray for Korea or is leading you into wanting to be more Korean in looks, in attitude, and in culture?
Hey Archie, that’s too low na. Exactly! The guard’s too low! Watch out for the knock out!

But wait, God looks at the heart, right? Tama. So, what is in your heart? ‘Cos God is looking at it nga. Isn’t it true that whatever is in the heart will always manifest and exude out of us?

Why do you feel insecure with the world? Sometimes our insecurity has lead us to curiosity and our curiosity has lead us to impropriety. Keep doubling the frequency of that and you get a hardened heart times two.

Review your identity in Jesus and act it out!

II. Decency and Modesty

Most probably it’s because we are too heavily online. That’s where we get the idea to be more “provocatively stunning“. Let me leak a secret to your benefit. If you are a woman, there is actually nothing wrong with being “marketable“, but do not price yourself too low. If you are market price then you get the market guys. Up to you. If you think you can hook the godly men, nope. Bring it lower and shorter and see who you get. I’m not kidding. It’s a sure thing that men could know if you are a love item or a lust item. Do not think because you’re a church lady you are spared. Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised (Prov 31:30). You do not have to announce, you do not have to pretend, men knows if you are God fearing.

III. Sex and more sex

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled (Heb 13:4). You can have sex and enjoy sex when you’re married.

IV. Too tired to keep it high

Boxers know the guards up rule. But sometimes you would know they’re not in in for a full 12 rounds when somewhere in the middle of the fight they are too tired to put their guards up. What’s at fault? Conditioning.

Same is true with us. Are we conditioned spiritually? Christianity is not a walk in the park. Christianity is blood, sweat, and tears. Meaning to say we need train ourselves to be godly. Godliness has value in all things (1 Tim 4:8). In the long haul it pays off.

Nobody can eyeball with sin long enough and not sin.

 Please click and read this post also:  Plundered by Porn.

Merit Christmas!

Christmas day 2012.

I went out to deliver gifts with my wife and my brother in law. Upon reaching an intersection, a familiar sight approaches our car. The beggar wants to make it big on Christmas day. Appearing gleamed by the sunlight reflecting off the side mirror, she was squinting while mumbling her spiels.

It’s Christmas day, I thought. How do these people celebrate Christmas?

It brought me to a previous musings that I had about Christmas.

What might Christmas be for poor people?
What might Christmas be for divorced moms?
What might Christmas be for the blind?
What might Christmas be for a man advancing in years alone?
What might Christmas be for a felon?
What might Christmas be for an orphan or a cancer patient or nurse-on-duty, or garbage collector, or a suicidal, or a bullied, or a homosexual, or patient, or a molested boy, and so on.

Could it be that along with every less fortunate or bitter people around the world, they are thinking that they don’t merit Christmas?

Is it true in our society that only the fortunate in circumstance could merit a Christmas celebration?

Sometimes people think that as long as they are poor and rugged, as long as they can not afford a noche buena, then Christmas isn’t for them. Can there really be no celebration of Christmas if there is no food on the table or someone in the family is missing for a family picture?

If those might be the case, have we tried asking why the announcement of the birth of Jesus was first revealed to a group of cold, rugged and probably hungry shepherds in the field?
They were dirty, hungry, sad, poor, and cold, yet God made sure that their Christmas doesn’t have to be cold.

God made sure that the coldness brought by the darkness in their hearts will be overthrown by the light that has come into the world that night.

Have we also looked into the reason why these same people went out praising and dancing their way back to the field (still probably hungry) after witnessing and seeing the child the angel was telling them about?

Christmas reveals the person of Jesus. And the joy of Christmas stems from that revelation.
Any joy that is celebrated and derived apart from Jesus will always be momentary.

Come to think of how we have veered away from what Christmas really is. It has become about money, food, relatives, carols, reunions, and family. None of those are bad at all. But if Christmas has become more of that and not much about Jesus, then we are jsut gunning for a transitory joy instead of a deep, unmovable, and unquecnchable joy.

The joy of Christmas stems from realizing that we all do not merit Christmas yet it has been given to us as a gift.

The Bible says in Isaiah 64:6 We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.

Meaning we all don’t merit Christmas but Christmas was brought to us!

I hope and pray that we don’t become like the innkeeper who refused Christmas to happen in his home.

With this in mind, I go back to the poor, afflicted, depressed, and cold.  Yes they don’t merit Christmas and so do I and you and all of us. I can receive the gift of joy and so does everyone. It is good for the us to give alms, feed the hungry, and do all sorts of minstries. But it’s understandable that the end goal should be the preaching of the gospel cause only the gospel of Jesus can bring hope and everlasting joy even to the coldest and darkest hearts.

Merry Christmas!

All in a week’s work

First I have to say that I love my job and I don’t see myself doing any other thing in the distant future. Mondays have always been generous in giving me some moments for contemplations, breathers, and refueling. I tried reviewing what happened at work last week and I want to share it here:

Tuesday:

I had a meeting with a local businessman about the prospect of having a new center built for us. I had a good try at haggling and negotiating. Before the meeting I was googling the how to’s in business proposals but decided to just me during the meeting.

In the afternoon, I had an exciting 3 hour discussion with our church staff on our worship services. We have concluded that we will need to add three more service ministries in the coming months. We have reviewedthe critical points in the ministry that needs attention.

Evening that day my wife and I met with the couples and some other adults at church to discuss onour Sambang Gabi. I’ve never met the adults for some serious meetings and that expalins the jitters. But our discussion went well and we had a fun time together just marveling at the what-could-be’s of the ministry if we will work together.

Wednesday:

My goodness I can’t remember what happened that day! Rest assured I wasn’t lounging around. Ha ha

Thursday:

We heavily rely on volunteers. But since Volunteers Night will be Thurs Night our staff agreed we will be the ones who will work on all the preparations for the event. Volunteers Night is a time to appreciate all the volunteers in our service ministries namely the Ushering, Music, Technical, Kids, and Intercessory. So the entire day was spent on errands and preparation for the night.

Come night time, we had some endless fun! Ministries gave brilliant presentations of their own. And I together with our staff also had our turn. I impersonated the Pacman and my wife did a Charo Santos.It was a memorable night for everyone. I bet the number of volunteers will double next year.

Picture right ontop makes me emotional…

Night wasn’t over yet as it was my wife’s birthday. Some friends surprised my wife at Mc Cafe at for her birthday.

In so many aspects, my wife is just plain awesome!

Friday

I took the day off to be with my wife the entire day. We just went to the mall had snacks and late lunch. I was bugging my wife about what she wanted for her birthday. Her only answer is she just wants my time. I wish I could tell you how wonderful it is to be in the same home with Rianne. She brightens my day and lightens me up when I’m short fused, she is definitely one of the most generous person I know. She is more than what meets the eye. She packs wisdom
beyond her age. (I might as well blog about her)

Saturday

At 4.30am, we had our Sambang Gabi. I was surprised that there was a good number of people who showed up. We had some salu salo and gift giving afterwards.

At 10 Ptr Dawny and I met with the businessman I wrote about. From our meeting I’m tightlipped but all I can say is the future looks bright.

Sunday

Probably the most awaited day of the week. You know we have no idea what people go through during thee week and a lot of times they can not wait for Sunday worship. We had a good run yesterday. Worship team did great. Lately also I’ve been trying to change some styles on my preaching. Supposedly it is to better accomodate everyone so I’m trying my best to be more conversational. I’m adjusting and I could feel some nudge from people who gives me comments. I love it when people do that.

I dozed off past 10 last night.

Plundered by Porn

At the time of his death through the electric chair, Ted Bundy has been considered as one of the most high profile criminals in America. He was responsible for assaulting and murdering not less than 30 girls and ladies before finally being convicted in 1989.

Google his photo and he wouldn’t appear to be the holder of such horrifying resume. In fact, in an interview a couple of hours before his death he revealed that he grew up in a nice Christian home. There were no Dad and Mom fights and there was a tightly knit relationship among siblings. He was not a ghetto guy. He was not weird. He was normal, very normal. And Christian.

Asked as to how and why the spill happened in his life? His answer: Porn.

Pornography at age 12. Thanks to the neighborhood magazines left in trash cans and friends who shared the hardcore passion.

A couple of years after his hook up with porn, Bundy started what was to be America’s nightmare. Wiki it.

I wish to tell you that previously kids are exposed to sensuality at the age of 12. But nowadays, a man’s honor to a woman is already ravaged at the age of 5! Porn is a killer. Why? Because it results to masturbation to fulfill the fantasies ingested upon viewing such film. It then erodes a man’s view of a woman, thus the Bible is clear that if a man looks at a woman lustfully, he sins against her. And during Jesus’ time mind you, women were covered all over and the porn industry wasn’t born yet. That tells me that for me personally I shouldn’t depend on film categorization to make my judgment on a film because GPs doesn’t necessarily mean it is void of sensual acts at all.

The demise in the moral fabric of our generation is too great to be ignored. Pornography is a real issue that plunders a lot of young men and even women in our time. In Mark Driscoll’s words, some are even Porn Again.

Look at these statistics:

The number of internet child porn images has increased 1500% since 1988. Porn industry revenue in the US is at $13.3 Billion. There are 4.3 million porn sites now which makes up 12 % of total websites. Search engine request for porn is 68 million a day. Internet users who view porn are up to 42%.

The Bible tells us to flee from sexual immorality. Job says that he made a covenant with his eyes not to look lustfully at a woman. Pornography is a striking blow, but it is not something that we cannot conquer. God has called us to abstain from sins that war against our souls. There are countless of practical ways at which we can personally counter porn: accountability, x3 watch, and so on. But as much any of those help, this battle is a spiritual one. Reading the scriptures and understanding who God is will inculcate in us the fear of the Lord. Understanding His gospel and having a close relationship with Jesus will keep us from pitfalls as we walk closely with him. Understanding our position before God as his children may help us think twice of squandering our bloodline.

Porn is a man’s lazy way of wanting his sexual drive fulfilled. Stop masturbating. Your spouse or future spouse don’t deserve a jerker hiding behind the counters. Get a ring and marry your woman and enjoy God’s gift of sex.

If you are reading this and you are a porn addict, there is a way out of that pit. Jesus can rescue you from that devastating addiction. He will clothe you anew and lavish you with His mercy and grace as you repent from it. He promises you a scarlet to white spirit.

Apple Peels & the Gospel

I hated apples when I was a kid; not when they are peeled and the seeds are taken out. Knowing about cyanide in its seeds added to the distaste.  I eat one only when they are neatly peeled by my Mom or any adult allowed to do knife tasks at home. While preparing for our local church’s series on cross cultural missions I was reminded of this apple peel parallelism to cross cultural gospel presentation through contextualization.

There has been so many talks about contextualization (that is contextualizing the gospel message for a specific audience or people group making it clearer and understandable for them). Some people would say it is actiually watering down the message of the gospel. I say it depends on who does the contextualizing and how it’s done. There is always an effective way to present it without bending in or compromising the message of the Cross.

In an effort to bring Christ’s message in any culture there has to be an understanding  that it is our to job remove any cultural barrier that hinders the person to receive the gospel. Remember how Paul did away with circumcision for the gentiles. How he skillfully proclaimed and made known the unknown god of Athens, how we acted like a dignitary for the influentials and how he became the weakest of the weak for the weak all in an attempt to win some. God has given us the wisdom to skillfully present the gospel in every culture. We are to peel and to take out the seeds and present the gospel as it is, that way they will realize and do away with what Paul was saying “was Paul crucified for you?” and instead embrace Jesus and Jesus only for what He has done. Happy peeling!

Radicalls

The word radical comes from the latin word radix which means root.  To be radical means to go for the root!

Further, to go for the root means to zero in on what really matters! So what’s the root? The root is that you and I are both filthy sinners. You’re no less than I am and I’m no more than you on this aspect. God on the other hand is way too beyond us in perfection and holiness. Way beyond.

Consider this picture: He  is like a vast ocean, perfect in its peacefulness yet very deep in its depth. It’s beholding majesty holds life for thousands. We on one hand are like an uncontrollable raging river. There is no music in our sound or harmony in our ways. We are bedded by boulders and rocks and not too much life can stand our wildness. Yet have you ever seen a mouth of a river welcomed in by a vast ocean? The wildness of the river is tamed and peace is henceforth predicted. The river ultimately dumps itself in the ocean and the ocean willfully allows another gradient of salt from it. God in His love and mercy allowed us through Jesus to come before Him and rest in the depth of His grace. Jesus has opened the way for us out of the rage of the river and into the peace of the ocean. That will have to be the root. Understanding how Jesus radically made it possible by getting to and dealing with the root of  all our problems which is sin will make us live a radical life for Him. It calls for us to go for the root be radical for God.

Romans 5:8

God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinnersChrist died for us.

Spiritual Coma


A person in a state of coma is described as comatose. Coma is a state of unconsciousness wherein a person cannot be awakened, fails to respond normally to painful stimuli, light or sound, lacks a normal sleep-wake cycle and does not initiate voluntary actions.

Coma results from a variety of conditions, including intoxication, metabolic abnormalities, central nervous system diseases, acute neurologic injuries or traumatic injuries such as head trauma caused by collisions. That’s all Wiki.

A patient in coma is usually numb, inactive, unresponsive, and asleep.

In the same way, a Christian believer may exhibit the same characteristics in the spiritual aspect—numb, unresponsive, inactive, and asleep. The catch is, as with a patient in coma, a Christian in coma may not be aware of the awful situation he is in. He may deny it or acknowledge it but he isn’t fully aware of it.

Time and again the Bible has warned us about the spiritual state of comatose or in other words, a spiritual slumber.

In a letter to the Romans, Paul told them about Israel’s predicament in not having been able to attain that which they seek for; they had eyes that couldn’t see and ears that couldn’t hear.

One of the mentioned causes of coma is intoxication. Medically, it can be drug intake, misuse, or over use. Paul did mention that we ought to be careful to guard the good deposits in us. In another letter he exhorted against conforming to the patterns of this world. Obviously then, intoxication with the world and all the temporary things it offers may lead to a spiritual coma. Being in that state of slumber, he does not respond to the Word of God, he is out of fellowship, he is inactive in Christian service, and he can dangerously become a backslidden consistent church goer.

Let’s not deny the obvious. If we have taken hold of a new religion when the gospel was preached to us then that superficiality may have caused to us to sink deeper in our slumber.

As far as I know, the Cross of Jesus should have changed our taste buds. There were people in the Bible that were given over to their desires simply because they chose the flashy cards of the world over Jesus. In other words intoxication in this sense is utter rebellion.

I don’t intend to make this long, but I write this with a crying soul but an assured heart. Crying because I think of friends in coma, assured because I am not God; meaning it’s beyond me and the I lift the burden to Jesus.

No person can best assess our hearts except ourselves. If you’re in coma right now, I pray for you the verse in Ephesians 5 that says, Awake you that sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.

May all of us drown in the sweetness of Jesus.

Spurgeon’s Street Pulpit

Long blog. Actually, a sermon. Delivered on January 30, 1859 at New Park, Southwark (wherever that is) by Charles Spurgeon. Should you have the time, this is worth reading I promise you.

“He shewed them his hands and his feet.”—Luke 24:40.

HAVE selected this sentence as the text, although I shall not strictly adhere to it. What was to be seen on Christ’s hands and feet? We are taught that the prints of the nails were visible, and that in his side there was still the gash of the spear. For did he not say to Thomas? “Reach hither thy finger and behold my hands, and reach hither thy hand and thrust it into my side, and be not faithless, but believing.” I wish to draw your attention to the ample fact, that our Lord Jesus Christ, when he rose again from the dead had in his body the marks of his passion. If he had pleased he could readily have removed them. He rose again from the dead, and he might have erased from his body everything which could be an indication of what he had suffered and endured before be descended into the tomb. But, no! Instead thereof, there were the pierced hands and feet, and there was the open side. What was the reason for this? There was no absolute necessity for it: it could easily have been dispensed with, What, then, were the reasons? I shall endeavor to enter into this subject, and I hope we may draw some profitable instructions therefrom.
    First, what influence did the exhibition of the hands and feet have upon the disciples? Secondly, why is it that Jesus Christ, now in heaven, bears with him the scars in his flesh? And, then, thirdly, is there any lesson to us in the fact that Jesus Christ still wears his wounds? I think there is.
    I. First, then, OF WHAT USE WAS THE EXHIBITION OF THOSE WOUNDS TO THE DESCIPLES? I reply at once that they were infallible proofs that he was the same person. He said, “Behold my hands and feet, that it is, I, myself.” It was to establish his identity, that he was the very same Jesus whom they had followed, whom at last they had deserted, whom they had beheld afar off crucified and slain, and whom they had carried to the tomb in the gloom of the evening; it was the very same Christ who was now before them, and they might know it, for there was the seal of his sufferings upon him. He was the same person; the hands and feet could testify to that. You know, beloved, had not some such evidence been visible upon our Saviour, it is probable that his disciples would have been unbelieving enough to doubt the identity of his person. Have you never seen men changed, extremely changed in their external appearance. I have known a man, perhaps, five or six years ago; he has passed through a world of suffering and pain, and when I hare seen him again, l have declared, “I should not have known you if I had met you in the street.” Now, when the disciples parted with Jesus it was at the Lord’s Supper. They then walked with him into the garden. There did the Saviour sweat, “as it were great drops of blood.” Do you not imagine that such a wrestling, such a bloody sweat as that, must have had some effect upon his visage. It had surely had enough to mar it before. But now the ploughshares of grief were sharpened, and anguish made deep furrows upon him. There must have been lines of grief upon his brow, deeper than they had ever seen before. This would have produced a change great enough to make them forget his countenance. Nor was this all. You know he had to undergo the flagellation at the pillar of the Praetorium, and then to die. Can you imagine that a man could pass through the process of death, through such astonishing agony as that which the Saviour endured, and yet that there should be no change in his visible appearance? I can conceive that in passing through such a furnace as this, the very lineaments of Christ’s face would seem to have been melted, and would have need to be restruck ere the disciples could discern that he was the same.
    Besides that? when Jesus rose, he rose, you know, as he now sits in heaven. His body was flesh and bone, but, nevertheless, it had miraculous powers; it was capable of entering into a room without the ordinary modes of access. We find our Saviour standing in the midst of his disciples, the doors being shut. I believe that Jesus had a body such as we are to have in the next world. Jesus Christ was not a phantom or spectra. His body was not a spirit; it was a real body. And so in heaven imagine not that we are to be spirits. We are to be spirits until the great resurrection day; but, then, our spirit is afterwards to receive a spiritual body; it is to be clothed upon; it is not for ever to be a naked, bodiless spirit. That body will be to all intents and purposes the same body which shall be laid in the tomb. It is sown in dishonor, and the same it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness, and the same it is raised in power. Mark, Jesus was flesh still! All flesh is not the same flesh: all bodies have not the same qualities. So our Saviour’s flesh was flesh that could not suffer,—flesh that had extraordinary powers about it,—flesh however, that could eat, although it was under no necessity to do so. And such may be the body, the glorified body, which shall be given to us when we shall rise at the first resurrection, and shall be made like unto our head. But, now, think! If Christ had to undergo in his countenance those matchless transformations, that must have been, first of all, connected with his bloody sweat, then, with his agony, and after that, with the transforming, or, if I may use such a word, the transmutation of his body into a spiritual body, can you not conceive that his likeness would be changed, that the disciples would scarcely know him if there had not been some deeply graven marks whereby they would be able to discover him? The disciples looked upon the very face, but, even then they doubted. There was a majesty about him which most of them had not seen. Peter, James, and John, had seen him transfigured, when his garments were whiter than any fuller could make them; but the rest of the disciples had only seen him as a man of sorrows; they had not seen him as the glorious Lord, and, therefore, they would be apt to doubt whether he was the same. But these nail-prints, this pierced side, these were marks which they could not dispute, which unbelief itself could not doubt. And they all were convinced and confessed that he was the Lord; and even faithless Thomas, was constrained to cry, ” My Lord and my God!”
    II. Let us turn to the second question: Why SHOULD CHRIST WEAR THESE WOUNDS IN HEAVEN AND OF WHAT AVAIL ARE THEY? Let me give you some thoughts upon the matter.
    I can conceive, first, that the wounds of Christ in heaven will be a theme of eternal wonder to the angels. An old writer represents the angels as saying, “Oh, Lord of glory, what are these wounds in thy hand?” They had seen him depart from heaven, and they had gone with him as far as they might go, singing, ‘Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth.'” Some of them had watched him through his pilgrimage, for “he was seen of angels.” But when he returned, I doubt not that they crowded round him, bowed before him in adoration, and then put the holy question, “What are these wounds in thy hand?” At any rate they were enabled to behold for themselves in heaven the man who suffered, and they could see the wounds which were produced in his body by his sufferings; and I can readily imagine that this would cause them to lift their songs higher, would prolong their shouts of triumph, and would cause them to adore him with a rapture of wonderment, such as they had never felt before. And I doubt not that every time they look upon his hands, and behold the crucified man exalted by his Father’s side, they are afresh wrapt in wonder, and again they strike their harps with more joyous lingers at the thought of what be must have suffered who thus bears the sears of his hard-fought battles.
    Again, Christ wears these sears in his body in heaven as his ornaments. The wounds of Christ are his glories, they are his jewels and his precious things. To the eye of the believer Christ is never so glorious, never so passing fair, as when we can say of him, “My beloved is white and ruddy,” white with innocence, and ruddy with his own blood. He never seems so beautiful a’ when he can see him as the rose and the lily; as the lily, matchless purity, and as the rose, crimsoned with his own gore. We may talk of Christ in his beauty, in divers places raising the dead and stilling the tempest, but oh! there never was such a matchless Christ as he that did hang upon the cross. There I behold all his beauties, all his attributes developed, all his love drawn out, all his character expressed in letters so legible, that even my poor stammering heart call read those lines and speak them out again, as I see them written in crimson upon the bloody tree. Beloved, these are to Jesus what they are to us; they are his ornaments, his royal jewels, his fair array. He does not care for the splendor and pomp of kings. The thorny crown is his diadem—a diadem such as no monarch ever wore. It is true that he bears not now the scepter of reed, but there is a glory in it that there never flashed from scepter of gold. It is true he is not now buffeted and spit upon: his face is not now marred more than that of any other man by grief and sorrow, for he is glorified and full of blessedness; but he never seems so lovely as when we see him buffeted of men for our sakes, enduring all manner of grief, bearing our iniquities, and carrying our sorrows. Jesus Christ finds such beauties in his wounds that he win not renounce them, he will wear the court dress in which he wooed our souls, and he will wear the royal purple of his atonement throughout eternity.
    Nor are these only the ornaments of Christ: they are his trophies—the trophies of his love. Have you never seen a soldier with a gash across his forehead or in his cheek? Why every soldier will tell you the wound in battle is no disfigurement—it is his honor. “If” said he, “I received a wound when I was retreating, a wound in the back, that were to my disgrace, If I have received a wound in a victory, then it is an honorable thing to be wounded.” Now, Jesus Christ has scars of honor in his flesh and glory in his eyes He has other trophies He has divided the spoil with the strong: he has taken the captive away from his tyrant master; he has redeemed for himself a host that no man can number, who are all the trophies of his victories: but these scars, these are the memorials of the fight, and these the trophies, too.
    For do you not know it was from the side of Jesus that Death sucked its death. Jesus did hang upon the cross, and Death thought to get the victory. Aye, but in its victory it destroyed itself. There are three things in Christ that Death never met with before, all of which are fatal to it. There was in Christinnocence. Now; as long as man was innocent, he could not die. Adam lived as long as he was innocent. Now Christ was about to die; but Death sucked in innocent blood; he sucked in his own poison and he died. Again, blessedness is that which takes away the sting of death. Now Christ, even when he was dying, was “God over all, blessed for ever.” All that Death had ever killed before was under the curse; but this man was never by nature under the curse, because for our sakes he was not born into this world a cursed man. He was the seed of woman it is true, but still not of carnal generation. He did come under the curse when he took upon himself our sins, but not for his own sins. He was in himself blessed. Death sucked in blessed blood: he had never done that before—all others have been under the curse—and that slew Death. It was innocence combined with blessedness that was the destruction of Death. Yet another thing. Death had never met before with any man who had life in himself. But when Death drank Christ’s blood it drank life. For his blood is the life of the soul, and is the seed of life eternal. Wheresoever it goeth, doth it not give life to the dead? And Death, finding that it had drunk into its own veins life in the form of Jesus’ blood gave up the ghost; and Death itself is dead, for Christ hath destroyed it, by the sacrifice of himself; he hath put it away; he hath said, “Oh death, where is thy sting? oh grave, where is thy victory?” But now, since it was from these very wounds that Death sucked in its own death, and that hell was destroyed; since these were the only weapons of a weaponless Redeemer, he wears and bears them as his trophies in heaven. David laid up Goliath’s sword before the Lord for ever. Jesus lays up his wounds before the Lord, for his wounds were his weapons, and this is why he wears them still.
    I was thinking while coming here of Jesus Christ in heaven with his wounds, and another thought struck me. Another reason why Jesus wears his wounds is, that when he intercedes he may employ them as powerful advocates. When he rises up to pray for his people, he needs not speak a word; he lifts his hands before his Father’s face; he makes bare his side, and points to his feet. These are the orators with which he pleads with God—these wounds. Oh, he must prevail. Do you not see that Christ without his wounds, in heaven might be potent enough. but there would not be that glorious simplicity of intercession which now you see. He has nothing to do but to shew his hands. Him the Father heareth always. His blood crieth and is heard, His wounds plead and prevail.
    Let us think again. Jesus Christ appears in heaven as the wounded one, this shews again that he has not laid aside his priesthood. You know how Watts paraphrases the idea He says,

 

“Looks like a lamb that has been slain,
And wears his priesthood still.”
If the wounds had been removed we might have forgotten that there was a sacrifice; and, mayhap, next we might have forgotten that there was a priest. But the wounds are there: then there is a sacrifice, and there is a priest also, for he who is wounded is both himself, the sacrifice and the priest. The priesthood of Melchisedec is a glorious subject. He who reads that with the eye of faith, and is blessed with the Spirit, will find much cause for joy when he contrasts the priesthood of Christ with that of Aaron. The priesthood of Aaron began, and it finished; but the priesthood of Melchisedec had no beginning, and it had no end. He was, we are told, “Without beginning of days, and without end of years;” without father, without mother, without descent. Such is the priesthood of Christ’ It shall never end. He himself is without beginning, and his priesthood is without end. When the last ransomed soul is brought in. when there shall be no more prayers to offer, Christ shall still be a priest. Though he has no sacrifice now to slay, for he is the sacrifice himself, “once for all,” yet still he is a priest, and when all his people as the result of that sacrifice shall be assembled around his glorious throne, he shall still be the priest. “For thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” I take it that this is a further reason why he still bears his wounds in heaven.
    There is another and a terrible reason why Christ wears his wounds still. It is this. Christ is coming to judge the world. Christ has with himself to-day the accusers of his enemies. Every time that Christ lifts his hands to heaven, the men that hate him, or despise him, are accused. The Jewish nation is brought in guilty every day. The cry is remembered, “His blood be on us and on our children;” and the sin of casting Christ away, and rejecting him, is brought before the mind of the Most High. And when Christ shall come a second time to judge the world in righteousness, seated on the great white throne, that hand of his shall be the terror of the universe.” They shall look on him whom they have pierced,” and they shall mourn for their sins. They would not mourn with hopeful penitence in time, they shall mourn with sorrowful remorse throughout eternity. When the multitude are gathered together, when in the valley of Jehoshaphat Christ shall judge the nations, what need he to summon accusers? His own wounds are his witnesses. Why need he to summon any to convict men of sin? His own side bears their handiwork. Ye murderers, did you not do this? Ye sons of an evil generation did ye not pierce the Saviour? Did ye not nail him to the tree? Behold these holes in my hand, and this stab in my side; these are swift witnesses against you to condemn you I There is a terrible side, then to this question. A crucified Christ with his wounds still open will be a terrible sight for an assembled universe. “Well,” but says one of my congregation “What is that to us? We have not crucified the Saviour.” No but let me assure You that his blood shall be on you. If ye die unbelievers his blood shall be required at your hand. The death of Christ was wrought by the hand of manhood, of all and entire manhood. Others did it for you, and though you gave no consent verbally, yet you do assent in your heart every day. As long as you hate Christ you give an assent to his death. As long as you reject his sacrifice, and despise his love, you give evidence in your hearts that you would have crucified the Lord of glory had you been there. Nay, and you do yourself, so fares you can, crucify him afresh and put him to an open shame. When you laugh at his people, when you despise his word, and mock at his ordinances, you are driving nails into his hands, and thrusting the spear into his side; therefore those open hands and that pierced side shall be witnesses against you, even against you, if ye die rejecting him, and enter into eternity enemies to Christ by wicked works.
    I think I have thus supplied severe excellent reasons. But now there is one more which I shall offer to your consideration before I come to the lesson which you shall learn. Christ v, ears those marks in his hands that, as believers, you may never forget that he has died. We shall need, perhaps, nothing to refresh our memories in heaven. but still’ even if we should, we have it here. When we shall have been in heaven many a thousand years we shall still have the death of Christ before us, we shall see him reigning. But can you not conceive that the presence of the wounded Christ will often stir up the holy hearts of the celestial beings to a fresh outpouring of their grateful songs? They begin the song thus, “Unto him that liveth.” Jesus looks upon them and shows his hand and they add, “and was dead, and is alive for evermore, and hath the keys of hell and death.” They would not forget that he died; but certainly that part of the song where it said, “and was dead,” will have all the more sweetness, because there he sits with the very marks of his passion—with the nail-prints of his crucifixion. If we shall be in heaven at all constituted as we are on earth, we shall need some visible token to keep us continually in remembrance. Here, you know, the most spiritual saint needs the bread and wine—sweet emblems of the Saviour’s body. There we shall have nothing to do with emblems, for we shall have the sight of him. And I say, if we be in heaven anything like what we are here, I can imagine that the presence of Jesus may be highly beneficial, may be gloriously precious to the saints in reviving their love continually, and causing their hearts, which are like fountains of love, to bubble up afresh, and send out again the living water of gratitude and thanksgiving. At any rate, I know this thought is very delightful to me, that I shall see the man that did hang on Calvary’s cross, and that I shall see him as he did inane there. I delight to see my Saviour in all the glories of his Father, but I long to go back and see him as he was, as well as he is. I think I should sometimes envy Peter and the rest of them that they should have seen him crucified. Yes, I should say, I see him glorified, but you saw the most marvellous sight. To see a God is an every-day sight with glorified beings, but to see a God covered with his blood, this is an extraordinary thing. To see Christ glorified, that we may see each day, but to have seen him on that special occasion, made obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross, that was an extraordinary sight which even angels themselves could see but once. You and I cannot see that. But those wounds are there still manifest and visible, and we shall be delighted with the rapturous sight of the Lord in glory, with his wounds still fresh upon him. May the Lord grant that we may all be there to see it. May we refresh ourselves with that glorious sight. I can say that I would part with all the joys of sense to view his face Everything that is good on earth I would give away without a wish, without one single lingering thought, if I might but behold his face, and lie in his bosom, and see the dear pierced hands and the wide-open side. We must wait his pleasure. A few more rolling suns shall do it. The moon shall rise and wane for us a few more times, and then

 

“We shall see his face, and never, never sin
But from the rivers of his grace, drink endless pleasures in.”
    III. This brings me now to the third point. WHAT DOES CHRIST MEAN BY SHOWING TO US HIS HANDS AND FEET? He means this that suffering is absolutely necessary. Christ is the head, and his people are the members. If suffering could have been avoided, surely our glorious Head ought to have escaped; but inasmuch as he shows us his wounds, it is to tell us, that we shall have wounds too. Innocence ought to escape suffering. Did not Pilate mean as much when be said, “I find no fault in him, therefore let him go?” But innocence did not escape suffering. Even the captain of our salvation must be made perfect through suffering; therefore, we who are guilty, we who are far from being perfect, must not wonder that we have to be wounded too. Shall the head be crowned with thorns, and do you imagine that the other members of the body are to be rocked upon the dainty lap of ease? Must Jesus Christ swim through seas of his own blood to win the crown, and are you and I to walk to heaven dryshod in silver slippers? No, the wounds of Christ are to teach us that suffering is necessary. In fact, that doctrine was taught upon Mount Calvary. There are only three sorts of men that have ever lived—a good man, a bad man, and the God-man. Now, on Calvary’s cross, I see three characters, I see the thief, the representative of the bad. I see the penitent thief, the representative of the righteous, and I see the God-man in the midst. All three must suffer. Do not imagine, for a moment, that wicked men get through this world without suffering. Oh, no. The path to hell is very rough, though it seems smooth. When men will damn themselves, they will not find it a very pleasurable task. The cutting the throat of one’s soul is not such a pleasant operation. The drinking the poison of damnation is not, after all, an enviable task. The path of the sinner may seem to be happy, but it is not. It is a gilded deceit. He knows there is bitterness in his bowels, even here on earth. Even the wicked must suffer. But, mark, if any out of the world would have escaped it would be the God-man; but the God-man did not escape. He shows us his wounds; and do you think that you shall remain unwounded? Not if you are his, at any rate. Men sometimes escape on earth; but the true-born child of God must not, and would not, if he might, for if he did, he would then give himself cause to say, “I am no part of the body; if I were a part of the body, my head suffered, and so must I suffer, for I am part of his living body.” That is the first lesson he teaches us, the necessity of suffering.
    But next he teaches us his sympathy with us in our suffering. “There,” says he, “see this hand! I am not an high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of your infirmities. I have suffered, too. I was tempted in all ways like as you are. Look here! there are the marks—there are the marks. They are not only tokens of my love, they are not only sweet forget-me-nots that bind me to love you for ever. But besides that they are the evidence of my sympathy. I can feel for you. Look—look—I have suffered. Have you the heart-ache? Ah, look yon here, what a heartache I had when this heart was pierced Do you suffer, even unto blood wrestling against sin? So did I. I have sympathy with you.” It was this that sustained the early martyrs. One of them declared that while he was suffering he fixed his eyes on Christ; and when they were pinching his flesh dragging it off with the hot harrows, when they were putting him to agonies so extraordinary, that I could not dare to mention them here, lest some of you should faint even under the very narrative, he said, “My soul is not insensible but it loves.” What a glorious speech was that! It loves—it loves Christ. It was not insensible, but love gave it power to overcome suffering, a power as potent as insensibility. “For,” said he, “my eyes are fixed on him that suffered for me, and I can suffer for him; for my soul is in his body; I have sent my heart up unto him. He is my brother, and there my heart is. Plough my flesh, and break my bones; smash them with veer irons, I can bear it all, for Jesus suffered, and he suffers in me now; but he sympathises with me, arid this makes me strong.” Yes, beloved, lay hold on this in all times of your agony. When you are sweating, think of his bloody so eat. When you are bruised, think of the whips that tore his flesh. And when you are aging, think of his death. And when God hides his face for a little from you, think of “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me!” This is why he wears his wounds in his hands, that he may show that he sympathises with you.
    Another thing. Christ wears these wounds to show that suffering is an honorable thing. To suffer for Christ is glory. Men will say, “It is glorious to make others suffer.” When Alexander rides over the necks of princes, and treads nations beneath his feet, that is glorious. The Christian religion teaches us it is glorious to be trodden on, glorious to be crushed, glorious to suffer. This is hard to learn. There we see it in our glorified Master. He makes his wounds his glory, and his sufferings are part of the drapery of his regal attire in Paradise Now, then, it is an honorable thing to suffer. Oh, Christian, when you are overtaken by strange troubles, be not afraid. God is near you. It was Christ’s honor to suffer, and it is yours too. The only degree that God gives to his people is the degree of “Masters in tribulation.” If you would be one of God’s nobles you must be knighted. Men are knighted with A blow of the sword. The Lord knights us with the sword of affliction; and when we fight hard in many a battle, he makes us barons of the kingdom of heaven, he makes us dukes and lords in the kingdom of sorrowful honor, not through honor of man, but through dishonor of man, not through joy, but through suffering, and grief, and agony, and death. The highest honor that God can confer upon his children is the blood-red crown of martyrdom. When I read, as I have been reading lately, the story of the catacombs of Rome, and those short but very pithy inscriptions that are written over the graves of the martyrs, I felt sometimes as it I could envy them. I do not envy them their racks, their hot irons, their being dragged at the heels of horses; but I do envy them when I see them arrayed in the blood-red robe of martyrdom. Who are they that stand nearest to the eternal throne, foremost of the saints in light? Why, the noble army of martyrs. And just as God shall give us grace to suffer for Christ, to suffer with Christ, and to suffer as Christ, just so much does he honor us. The jewels of a Christian are his afflictions. The regalia of the kings, that God hath made, are their troubles, their sorrows, and their griefs Let us not, therefore, shun being honored. Let us not turn aside from being exalted. Griefs exalt us, and troubles lift us.
    Lastly, there is one sweet thought connected with the wounds of Christ that has charmed my soul, and made my heart run over with delight. It is this: I have sometimes thought that if I am a part of Christ’s body I am a poor wounded part; if I do belong to that all-glorious whole, the church, which is his fullness, the fullness of him that filleth all in all, yet have I said within me, “I am a poor maimed part, wounded, full of putrifying sores.” But Christ did not leave even his wounds behind him, even those he took to heaven. “Not a bone of him shall be broken,” and the flesh when wounded shall not be discarded,—shall not be left. He shall carry that with him to heaven, and he shall glorify even the wounded member. Is not this sweet, is not this precious to the troubled child of God? This, indeed, is a thought from which one may suck honey. Poor, weak, and wounded though I am, he will not discard me. His wounds are healed wounds, mark! they are not running sores; and so, though we be the wounded parts of Christ, we shall be healed; though we shall seem to ourselves in looking back upon what we were upon earth only as wounds, only parts of a wounded body, still we shall rejoice that he has healed those wounds, and that he has not cast us away. Precious, precious truth I The whole body he will present before his Father’s face, and wounded though he be, he shall not cast his own wounds away, Let us take comfort, then, in this; let us rejoice therein. We shall be presented at last, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing. Mark, Christ’s wounds are no spots to him, no wrinkles, they are ornaments; and even those parts of his church on earth that despair of themselves, thinking themselves to be as wounds shall be no spots, no wrinkles in the complete church above, but even they shall be the ornaments and the glory of Christ. Let us now look up by faith and see Jesus, the Wounded Jesus, sitting on his throne. Will not this help us to gird up our loins to “run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the Shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
    I cannot send you away without this last remark. Poor sinner, thou art troubled on account of sin. There is a sweet thought for thee. Men are afraid to go to Christ, or else they say, “My Sins are so many I cannot go to him; he will be angry with me.” Do you see his hands outstretched to you to night? He is in heaven, and he still says, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Are you afraid to come? Then, look at his hand—look at his hand, will not that induce you? “Oh,” but you say, “I cannot think that Christ can have it in his heart to remember such a worm as I.” Look at his side, there is easy access to his heart. His side is open, and even your poor prayers may be thrust into that side, and they shall reach his heart, holy though it be. Only do thou look to his wounds, and thou shalt certainly find peace through the blood of Jesus. There were two monks of late years in different cells in their convent. They were reading the Bible. One of them found Christ while reading the Scriptures, and he believed with a true evangelical faith. The other one was timid, and could scarcely think it true; the scheme of salvation seemed so great to him he could scarcely lay hold upon it. But, at last, he lay upon the point to die, and he sent for the other to come and sit by him, and to shut the door; because if the superior had heard of that of which they were about to speak, he might have condemned them both. When the monk had sat down, the sick man began to tell how his sins lay heavy on him; the other reminded him of Jesus. “If you would be saved, brother, you must look to Jesus who did hang upon the cross. His wounds must save.” The poor man heard and he believed. Almost immediately afterwards came in the superior, with the brethren and the priests; and they began to grease him in extreme unction. This poor man tried to push them away; he could not bear the ceremony, and as well as he could he expressed his dissent. At last his lips were opened, and he said in Latin, “Tu vulnera Jesu!”—thy wounds, oh Jesus! thy wounds, oh Jesus!—clasped his hands, lifted them to heaven, fell back and died. Oh, I would that many a Protestant would die with these words on his lips. There was the fullness of the gospel in them. Thy wounds, oh Jesus! thy wounds; these are my refuge in my trouble. Oh sinner, may you be helped to believe in his wounds! They cannot fail; Christ’s wounds must heal those that put their trust in him

 

Teaspoon Christianity

 

“For those of us who have been Christians for a while, it becomes easy to think that we’ve pretty much exhausted the possibilities of the Christian life. We can settle into a routine of activities at church and in our small groups and Bible studies, with little expectation of anything new. The familiar becomes the predictable, and everything from here on out will be more of the same. We dip our teaspoon into the vast ocean of the living God. Holding that teaspoon in our hand, we say, ‘This is God.’ we pour it out into our lives, and we say, ‘This is the Christian experience.’

God calls us to dive into the ocean. He call us into ever new regions of his fullness, his immensity, his all-sufficiency. There is more for us in Christ than we have yet apprehended. Let’s never think that we have him figured out or that we’ve seen all he can do. The Bible is not a guidebook to a theological museum. It is a road map showing us the way into neglected or even forgotten glories of the living God.”

Ray Ortlund

Catch Ptr Ortlund at the gospelcoalition.org.

Is Rob Bell’s Love Wins a betrayal of Biblical Truth?

I am intrigued enough about this. By the tone of what Rob Bell was saying about Hell, God, and other Christian beliefs I think his upcoming book will generate a lot of attention from the evangelical world. But I can’t come at any conclusion yet as I haven’t read the book yet. I can comment on the video though. He didn’t say any absolutes but surely he got me itching.