This Is The Father’s Will

The link is to my sermon from Wednesday, July 23rd, and covers John 6:38-40.  Here Christ expounds His glorious statement of verse 37, and emphasizes the Father’s will as the motivating factor in salvation, the truth of election, preservation, and His own deity (to name a few).

This may be my last post for a couple of weeks, as my family are headed to Minnesota to visit my in-laws.  May the Lord bless you all, and I hope to be posting again as soon as we get back, if no opportunity arises during our absence.

The women departed, fearing yet joyful, at the incredible things they had witnessed.  It seems to me that, on this morning, the disciples were probably separated and scattered at different locations.  It was Mary Magdalene who summoned Peter and John to the tomb, as we learn in John’s gospel.  My supposition is that Mary Magdalene went to the place where these two disciples were, while the others went in another direction to alert the rest of the group.  Be that as it may, it does appear from John’s gospel that Mary came to doubt the angelic revelation soon thereafter.  John tells us that after Peter and John had been mystified by seeing the empty tomb and the grave clothes laid in order, they departed, but Mary remained by the sepulcher weeping, thinking someone had stolen away His body.  There the risen Lord appeared to this dear woman, whom He had delivered from demonic bondage, and would make the first to see Him in His glorified state.  At first, Mary thought Him to be the gardener, and asked where they had laid Him.  This indicates that she must have doubted the Lord was truly risen, perhaps questioning with herself whether she had misunderstood the angel, or if this was some kind of hallucination.  But the Lord Jesus needed only to speak her name to remove all doubt, and bring her to His feet in profound worship, rejoicing that her Saviour lived again by the power of God.

It is difficult to discern precisely when Jesus met the women, for we know that He appeared first to Mary Magdalene outside the sepulcher.  This is established both by Mark and John.  It is my speculation that this is the other group of women who separated from Mary Magdalene to find and alert the other disciples.  After having appeared to Mary, the Lord hastened to meet these other dear women, whose affection for Him even after His death had not diminished.  The Lord greeted them cheerfully with the words, “All hail.”  Unlike their sister, these women seem to have recognized Jesus at once.  They believed the word of the angel who had told them that Christ was risen from the dead, and responded in the most appropriate fashion imaginable.  Viewing the risen Lord, their hearts were aroused to a high pitch of fervent worship, and they immediately cast themselves down at the Lord’s feet, and worshipped Him.  This is the proper response of every Christian in any age.  Though we do not see Christ with our physical eyes, yet there is surely a beholding of Him with the eye of faith that is equally as real as the vision with which these women saw Him.  When faith views the Saviour in His resurrected glory, it rejoices with joy unspeakable and full of glory, knowing that His resurrection is the seal of our salvation.  “He was delivered for our offenses, and raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:25).  We are risen with Him, and made to sit on the throne of glory with Him, for we are joined to Him by vital, covenant union, which neither earth nor hell can sever.  Indeed, it cannot be emphasized strongly enough, that the resurrection of our Lord Jesus is among our most powerful motives for worship, and ought to invigorate our faith and zeal day by day.

It would appear that there was a mixture of fear in the women, even as they held Him by the feet and reverently worshipped.  Jesus kindly adjures them, “Be not afraid.”  In His presence there should be fullness of joy.  We need not fear the presence of the Saviour, for He is no angry Judge to His people, but our best Friend, our elder Brother, our Husband, our Redeemer.  Even when He chastises, it is from nothing but love and a desire for our best interest.  Nevertheless, I think we can excuse the women for experiencing some trepidation in their heart, for who among us can imagine that we could ever be prepared to behold a dead man risen up to life again?

Just as the angel had told them, so Jesus commands them to inform His disciples that they should proceed into Galilee, and there they would see Him.  However, it is cheering to note that the Lord did not wait so long to present Himself to His followers.  That very evening He appeared to two of them on the road to Emmaus, then broke into the house where His disciples were cowering for fear of the Jews.  One week later, He appeared again, to confirm the faith of doubting Thomas, who had not witnessed Him the first time.  Only then did they obey the Lord’s word to go into Galilee, where He appeared to them along the lake shore, and gave them a great haul of fish.

 

Two Unshakeable Pillars For Faith

This is my sermon on John 6:37 from Sunday, July 20th.  This is one of the most precious verses in all the Bible to the instructed child of God.  It has so much to teach us about God’s sovereign election, so much comfort to provide for the evangelist, and such great comfort for the child of God in all adverse circumstances.  Christ’s promise that He will never cast out any who come to Him is also one of the greatest evangelical summons in all the scriptures, one to which we do well to give full heed.

The holy women approached this scene after the resurrected Saviour had departed, and were greeted, not by a guard of soldiers, but by a heavenly angel.  The strange sight must have intimidated these pious women, for the angel hastens to bid them fear not.  God will never respond in anger to those who are humbly seeking after His Son.  The angel assures them that he knows the purpose for which they came: “Ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.”  This is high praise for these devoted saints, that although they thought their Lord to be dead, slain by crucifixion as a hateful criminal, yet they still sought His presence, and desired to do Him honor.  Surely, those who remain devoted to Christ at the bleakest times will be rewarded in full splendor at the hour of His coming!

This said, the angel delivers to them news so happy that it reverberates around the world to this very day.  The glad tidings that Jesus Christ is no longer dead and entombed, but has risen, is indeed the word which has turned the world upside down.  Speak no more of Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius as great religious leaders.  Their bodies lie moldering in the tomb, and can no longer impart any benefit to their followers.  But the tomb of the blessed Jesus is empty, and He can never be put back into it.  His bitter foes are still trying to disprove this resurrection story, and put Him back in the grave, but they will no more succeed than could the scribes and Pharisees in Jesus’ own day.  “He is risen” are three words that delight the heart of every child of God, and make him confident that he has rested his hopes for eternal life in the right place.  A dead savior would be no solace to us at all, but the knowledge that Christ has risen from the dead energizes our faith, and enables us to confront the world, the flesh, and the devil, in the hope of certain victory.  He is risen, just as He prophesied, and will never return to the grave.  “Christ, being raised from the dead, dieth no more.  Death hath no more dominion over Him.”  Nor can death prevail finally over the believer, for he will be given a spiritual body just as Christ possessed after His resurrection.  Our Lord was the firstfruits of them that sleep, a token of the far greater harvest yet to come when the final trumpet shall wake the dead from their deep slumber.

This news that Jesus was risen from the dead is a message that is not to be hidden, but proclaimed to the world.  The angel beckons them to see the place where the Lord lay, that they might produce solid eyewitness testimony of the empty tomb.  That was an age which put little stock in the testimony of women, but God thought it proper to have women be included among the witnesses of His Son’s most glorious triumph.  Having seen that the body of Jesus was vanished, the angel commands them to go tell the disciples that Christ was risen, and would precede them into Galilee, whither they should haste to meet Him. 

How Little Barbarians Become Big Barbarians

I generally like Walter Williams articles, and this one is no exception.  He does a great job of exposing the fallacy of our modern system of “discipline,” which is successful at nothing except turning little barbarians into big barbarians.  I can’t say I agree entirely with his rather hawkish views on Iran, but other than that is definitely an article worth reading. 

But that morning, there was yet another upheaval of nature, which showed that a mighty work of God was being done in the world.  This act in fact heralded the greatest act of God recorded in the history of mankind, namely, the resurrection of His dear Son from the dead.  The earth shook and trembled, and an angel descended from the skies to the place of the sepulcher.  Without fear of the guard, this angel proceeded to the tomb of Jesus.  He was there, as it were, to roll out the carpet for the entrance of the King of kings back into the land of the living.  Life had been infused by God back into the corpse of the man Jesus.  He left behind the grave clothes, and when the angel had rolled away the great stone, out came the Lord of glory.  Thus, death was abolished, and life and immortality were brought to light through the Gospel!

Upon the terrifying shock of the earthquake, and the descent of the angel from heaven, the soldiers collapsed and lay inert upon the ground.  It is doubtful they actually witnessed Jesus emerge from the tomb, yet what they had witnessed was surely enough to convince them that this was a supernatural event.  This makes their unbelief and covetousness, which Matthew reveals a little farther on, all the more startling.

Below is a letter I sent to the officials of Washington and Lee University.  For those who do not know, because of the agitation of a mere six liberal students, they are removing the Confederate battle flags from the Lee Chapel.  They deserve to be called out for this despicable capitulation to the forces of political correctness.  If anyone wants the e-mail addresses of the officials, contact me and I will get them to you.

 

I was frankly appalled to learn that Washington and Lee University determined to remove the Confederate battle flags from the Lee Chapel. It appears to be nothing less than a cowardly capitulation to the whining of half a dozen liberal agitators. I suppose that the injured feelings of those like myself who regard General Lee and our Confederate ancestors with honor count for nothing, because they are not politically correct. In the name of tolerance, you are joining the most hateful, bigoted, and intolerant people in the world, while maligning the large numbers of us who still believe General Lee led the Army of Northern Virginia in a noble cause against the tyrannical usurpations of a tyrannical administration, and that the Southern battle flag is worth honoring.
I strongly recommend that you return these venerable flags to their place of honor, and inform the agitators that if they don’t like them they are welcome to withdraw and attend another university. However, I don’t expect you to listen to me. I have learned long ago that George Orwell was speaking prophetically in Animal Farm when he wrote, “All animals are equal; but some are more equal than others.” Apparently white Southerners who honor their Confederate ancestors are officially on the lower rung of equality.

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