As the Israelites came into the promised land, the book of Deuteronomy records that Moses told them their history. A whole generation passed away while in the desert, so it was important for them to have everything straight before they crossed the Jordan.
In Deuteronomy chapter 7, Moses warns about the need for Israel to stay away from the gods of other cultures. Just so they know who they are, just so they don’t forget where they came from, Moses reminds them.
I think of true preaching of the gospel as defined by three arrows. One arrow points backward into history, all the way back into the biblical world, drawing from the ancient text the pure, authorial meaning of the passage being preached.
Every Christian can think of a sin he has identified and attacked with all the brutality he can muster. One of the great joys of the Christian life is seeing God be true to his Word as he motivates and empowers us to wage war against indwelling sin. Yet every one of us probably also has a sin we rather enjoy, a sin we refuse to put to death. In fact, we may even protect and promote it. We might refer to it as a pet sin. Here are some tips on identifying your pet sin.
Rest is not necessarily sleep; it’s not necessarily increased leisure; it’s not even necessarily inactivity, though all of those things matter. Rest goes deeper. Rest is a state in which we live which we can only enter into through the gospel which tells us that because of what Jesus has done on our behalf, we can, at last, stop striving. We can live in a sense of wholeness and peace of heart because Jesus has finished His work on our behalf and for the glory of God at the cross. We don’t have to earn God’s approval; we don’t have to jockey for position; we don’t have to warrant any measure any more. It is finished, and we are the firmly established and beloved children of God.
While there is much to commend in the schedule—his weekly Wednesday Sabbath with his family, for example—I want to offer a caution lest any pastor try to implement a modern version of this.
Here’s my caution: Remember Spurgeon spent a large part of the last third of his life out of the pulpit while he recovered from depression-anxiety and multiple physical ailments.
Did you know that pastors are supposed to have a similar ministry toward their people, minus the unkindness? According to Paul in First Thessalonians 5:12, a characteristic of elders is that they “admonish” those under their care—they warn and correct their church members with God’s word. Even fellow believers are sometimes required to admonish one another (see 1 Thessalonians 5:14). Scripture isn’t always meant to comfort us. Sometimes it addresses us in our pride, or when we are thinking incorrectly, or behaving sinfully.
A favorite from the archives:
Today is Canada Day here in Canada, eh.
It’s kind of like the Fourth of July except, instead of declaring war, we asked permission to move out of mom’s basement (true story). And 2015 is the 148th anniversary of our becoming a kinda/sorta/not really independent nation, and the 33rd of the existence of our formal constitution. That’s right, America: we’re not only polite, but we take our time.