Blogroll: Sussex Parson

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Updated: 14 min 26 sec ago

A prayer towards the end of a clergy sabbatical

1 hour 28 sec ago
I wrote this prayer towards the beginning of my sabbatical.

Here's something of what I've been praying this final week of my sabbatical:


Heavenly Father,
Thank you for this sabbatical:
For the financial assistance I’ve received;
For time and space and freedom;
For the privilege of worshiping with your people in a variety of different places without being responsible for leading.
Thank you for all who have ministered to me and who have helped me;
For those who have given of their time and expertise;
For those I’ve met who have been a blessing to me;
For all that I’ve been able to do and to think about;
For the rest, refreshment and challenges;
For the opportunity to experience new places and different things.
Thank you for every encouragement.
Thank you for the ways in which I’ve been stretched and stimulated.
And for the ways I’ve been able to minister and study.
Thank you for all that has been achieved.
Thank you for those who have looked after my responsibilities in my absence.


Help me not to be preoccupied by what has not been done.


I continue to pray that the study I have done might bear fruit for me and for the church.


Help me as I consider my return to my normal ministries.
Help me to listen as I seek to discover what has happened in my absence and how things have been.
Give me grace where I might have done things differently.
Help me particularly as I return to the busyness of perhaps a number of things that are over-due my attention.
Give me wisdom as I consider priorities for the immediate and longer-term future.
Help me to say “no” to things appropriately where that’s the right thing to do.
In particular, help me to give myself to prayer the ministry of the Word.
Help me to be a faithful pastor to those you’ve entrusted to my care and to do the work of an evangelist.
Make me willing to serve whole-heartedly and self-sacrificially in all the roles to which you’ve called me.
Again, I pray that you would help me to have in place patterns that will help to sustain a healthy long-term ministry.
Bless and guard our family-life.   
Give me those who will partner with me faithfully in prayer and ministry and help me to be a good friend and fellow-worker to others.
Help me as I share ideas for future ministry with others.
Give me grace to encourage others.
Give us grace to consider what we should pursue and what good things we should leave undone.


Forgive my sins and failures.
Grant me your grace and empower me with your Spirit. In your mercy, may I play my part in your purposes faithfully and to your glory. AmenMarc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

Psalm 13 jottings

1 hour 11 min ago

Psalm 13 notes


Uses:


When prayer seems unanswered / God seems far away or absent or appears to hide / when feeling forgotten (by God) / when wrestling with thoughts / sorrowful / defeated / enemies triumph / when feeling near death


Outlines / structure:


Expositor’s Bible:


Waiting for God’s Salvation


Expression of despair: how long? (vv1-2)
Expression of prayer: give me light! (vv3-4)
Expression of hope and trust: let me sing! (vv5-6)


Goldingay, Baker Commentary


How long, how long, how long, how long?


Wilcock, BST:


1. Distinctive pattern, distinctive prayer
2. Looking backward, looking forward


Kidner, Tyndale:


Desolation into delight


Vv1-2, desolation
Vv3-4, supplication
Vv5-6, certainty


Motyer, Psalms by the Day: A New Devotional Translation


Still waiting, still trusting


A. The fourfold ‘How long’: protracted anxiety
B. The threefold ‘in case’: urgent threats
C. The twofold rejoicing: the fruit of trust


Wilson, NIV Application Commentary


Questioning God (vv1-2)
Plea for deliverance from approaching death (vv3-4)
Trust and confidence (vv5-6)




Notes:


Title:


David


The Psalm suggests “the state in which hope despairs, and yet despair hopes” so Luther according to James L. Mays, cited in Goldingay, p208.


Kidner: “The three pairs of verses climb up from the depths to a fine vantage-point of confidence and hope. If the path is prayer (v3f), the sustaining energy is the faith expressed in verse 5. The prospect from the summit (v5) is exhilarating, and the retrospect (v6) overwhelming.” (p77)


The sections of the Psalm become steadily shorter


Pain, prayer & praise (Wilcock, p50)


“in each stanza the psalmist is concerned with God, with himself, and with his circumstances, in that order.” (Wilcock, p50)


Almost a howl (Keller) – a deep sense of abandonment (Goldingay)


A dose of realism – not pious pretence


A Psalm that gives us permission to be honest with God about how we really feel, to repeatedly question him, to come to him with our doubts / worries / challenges / “issues” . struggles / agony


A personal 1stperson Psalm but also for the music director – how does this affect the reading of the Psalm?


The Psalm considered as the words of Christ – a Psalm Jesus could have prayed on the cross when forsaken by his Father – suffering then vindication pattern


Is God’s absence real or felt / perceived only?


The Psalmist’s problem(s): how he feels (vv1-2)


Vv1-2, Goldingay, aggressive, confrontational – a uniquely impertinent 4-fold question


How long? - Ps 62:3; Hab 1:2; Ps 74:10; 80:4; 94:3; Ex 16:28; Num 14:11, 27 – rhetorical, not a request for information – implication, this is intolerable and needs to stop now – Jer 47:6


Zech 7:13


Vv1-2 – Kidner: the distress analysed in relation to God, to the Psalmist himself and to his enemy.


Motyer, “In turn, divine remoteness, personal indecision / uncertainty, human enmity. The causes of potential breakdown are supernatural, personal, circumstantial. What a recipe!” (p35)


Yahweh, why are you ignoring / neglecting me? Why don’t you act?


The act of praying presupposes that God hears / might hear – he keeps praying! Pray even if it seems God is not listening or responding


Even great King David had his share of sufferings and distress


Cf. Ex 2:24f


V1b, cf. David’s longing to behold God’s face – 11:7; 17:15; cf. 27:4, 8; 34:5 – a clouded friendship Job 29:1ff; 30:20ff; Ps 22:1ff


The Psalmist is not experiencing the blessing of God’s face - Num 6:24-26


David’s plight seems interminable to him – 2 Pt 3:8


How long? echoed in Rev 6:10


V2, “How long will I place plans before my soul?” – plans a plural of amplitude, set plan after plan before – turmoil of thought cf. 77:3-6


Cf. Prov 26:24


V2 – before myself, before my soul (nepes, spirit, self), lit. in / within – to myself – protracted anxiety, different ideas about how to deal with the situation – what am I to do? What can I do? Should I try this or that or the other? Agonising ? about causes, causes of action etc.


V2 – enemy – cf. ? 1 Sam 27:1, with its counsel of despair


What he prays for (vv3-4)


Vv3-4 – God and David’s enemy as two poles of his life


V3 – Take note (notice), answer – two verbs without conjunction – cf. 10:10 – answer lookingly – a look is enough, reassuring David of favour, lifting the trouble, sending the enemy packing (Motyer)


V3 – My God – personal faith under trial – cf. Mk 15:34 – Yahweh is still the Psalmist’s God even though Yahweh seems hidden / absent


V3 – enlighten my eyes – cf. 1 Sam 14:27, countenance, eyes of renewed vitality, resilience – suggests encouragement – Ps 19:8; 118:27; Ezra 9:8


V3b – cf. Mk 14:33f


V3b – illness involved as cause or effect?


V4 – “in case my enemy say: “I have proved able for him”” – i.e. I have prevailed over him (Motyer), I was more than a match for him


V4 – ‘emmot, I am shaken, fall down – and don’t get up again – dead?!


The Psalmist’s resolve and his reasons (vv5-6)


Reasons for trust / rejoicing / singing (in the midst of / despite the realities of the Ps?)


V5 – And / but – And might be a way of suggesting this was his experience throughout


V5 – the I is emphatic, but for my part I…


V5 – committed love – 5:7


V6 – 13 words of one syllable


V6 – “because he is sure to deal fully with me” – treating the verb as a perfect of certainty (Motyer), “Trust brings delight even when nothing has actually yet changed.” – cf. 1 Sam 1:18


Gamal, “he has acted fully for me”, has done all that should be done, all that is necessary


“good” – cf. Eph 3:20


Vv5-6 – a prophetic perfect expressing certainty of future deliverance as a past even?


Phil 1:6 – God’s goodness to us in the past assures us he will bring his work in us to completion


Rom 8:28


Eugene Peterson suggests our real need is not more information / answers to our questions / insight into God’s plans and the future but God’s presence and love, God himself to be an ever-present help in times of trouble.







Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

Psalm 7 jottings

Thu, 20/07/2017 - 09:19
It looks like I may have neglected to post these notes when I made them so just in case they are of any interest:


Psalm 7 notes


Summary:


A prayer of trust in Yahweh for vindication, for justice and for deliverance from enemies.


Uses:


When persecuted or opposed unjustly
To focus on God’s character in difficult circumstances
Praising God’s righteousness and judgement
Giving thanks for deliverance or in the confidence of future deliverance


Prayer:


Lord, you search me and you know me.
I confess that I am a sinner, entirely dependent on your grace.
Make me a person of righteousness and integrity, I pray.
May I be faithful and consistent, as you are, keeping my word, honouring my friends and partners, always dealing fairly with others and fulfilling my responsibilities.


May I never give others cause to hate me or to hate you.


Lord, I pray for justice for myself and for the world.
Vindicate me, and all who are wronged.
Deliver your faithful people who are persecuted without cause.


I look to you as my refuge and shield, my only confidence in this world and in the next.
Arise and fight for your people, I pray.
Yours, Lord, is the battle and the victory.
May your kingdom come and your will be done.
May your just rule be seen upon the earth.


Thank you, Lord, for your righteousness, that I can have complete confidence that the judge of all the world will do right.
Thank you for the Lord Jesus Christ: the only perfectly innocent one who suffered unjustly for me and whom you delivered from death and hell, triumphing over all his enemies.
Thank you for the vindication of his resurrection and ascension and that all evil will be undone.  
All praise to your high and holy name.
Amen.


Outlines / structure:


Expositor’s Bible:


The righteous God loves the righteous


(1)  A - Prayer for refuge (vv1-2)
(2) B - Oath of innocence (vv3-5)
(3) C - God’s righteous judgement (vv6-13)
(4) B’ - Judgement of the guilty (vv14-16)
(5) A’ - Praise of God’s righteousness (v17)


Goldingay, Baker Commentary


On trial, in battle, hunted


Wilcock, BST:


(1) Concerning Cush: a lion (vv1-5)
(2) Concerning God: a courtroom (vv6-9)
(3) Concerning God: an armoury (vv10-13)
(4) Concerning Cush: a pregnancy and a pit (vv14-17)


Kidner, Tyndale:


A cry for justice


Vv1-2, The hunted man
Vv3-5, The oath of innocence
Vv6-11, The righteous judge
Vv12-16, “Sin, when it is finished…”
V17, Thankful praise


Dale Ralph Davis, The Way of the Righteous in the Muck of Life


Just Justice


Take care with your prayer (vv1-5)
Find hope in God’s anger (vv6-11)
Watch Judgement take place (vv12-16)
Remember praise is due (v17)


Notes:


Title:


Goldingay calls a siggayon a lament on the basis of the Akkadian sigu


Shiggaion – Wilcock guesses it could be related to the verb to wander and therefore wild, rhapsodic music


David


Sang to the LORD


Davis has “on account of the words of Cush”


Cush – Sudan (Goldingay) – the area south of Egypt not Ethiopia
2 Sam 18:20-32 the Sudanese – Shimei and or Sheba both styled Benjaminites (Goldingay) – see Goldingay p144 for verbal links between this story and the Psalm
Cf. 1 Sam 24
Concerning Cush, a Benjamite – not mentioned elsewhere in the Bible
When David was pursued by Saul the Benjaminite?
Or during Absalom’s rebellion the latent hostilities of the Benjaminites resurged – 2 Sam 16:5-14; 20:1-22


How is God pictured and described in this Psalm?


Movement from lament to thanksgiving


A broadening out to God’s eschatological rule over the nations? – then God’s people will no longer be troubled


2 Thess 1:5-10 – the coming judgement


Themes / genres: individual lament (vv1-2), oath (vv3-5), kingship psalm (vv6-12), thanksgiving hymn (v17)


Justice and salvation go together here


From intensely personal to global (v7-8)


Cf. Naboth
Num 5:11-28; Dt 8:7-20; 1 Kings 8:31-32


Vivid pictures of David’s opponents: a lion, a pregnant man (!), and a digger of holes
Of God: judge and warrior (Wilcock, p35)


Wilcock: 4 chiastic stanzas: Cush / God / God / Cush (p35)


David lays out before the Lord his position (v1a), his danger (vv1b-2) and his conscience (vv3-5) (Davis, p86)


V1 – Yahweh, My God (repeated in v3) – an initial note of confidence


V1 – I take refuge in you – loyalty, trust


Cf. other supposed refuges… “Other refuge have I none” (Charles Wesley, Jesus Lover of My Soul)


Kidner says the tense shows that “while David’s preservation and deliverance were still matters for prayer (v1b), his unseen refuge was already a fact”


Vv1 & 2 – repetition of save


V2 – lion imagery


V2 – God his only hope – an argument for God to act


Vv3-4 – If, ‘im, 3x in MT


V3 – “this” – whatever his enemy is accusing him of


Dt 25:16


V3 – awel – guilt (NIV) is meanness, deception, hostility, unfaithfulness


Cf. Is 1:15; 59:3, 6


Vv3-5 – an appeal to God’s justice – of course the Psalmist cannot claim sinless perfection but he knows himself to be in the right with respect to his enemies. They are baddies and he is a goody. Their opposition is undeserved.
Cf. Job’s claim to righteousness – 1 Cor 4
Is the Psalmist at all confused about this / really questioning it or is this rhetorical?


He who is at peace with me equivalent to a close friend Ps 41:9; Jer 38:22 – cf. Judas?! – an ally?


2 Kings 7:17


Perhaps david feels slandered, misunderstood, falsely accused of bribes, treachery etc. – cf. Absalom’s smear campaign – 2 Sam 15:1-6


Cf. God’s knowledge and an illustration from the art of spying – CIA photos from 1973 in which one can make out the time on the soldiers watches (Davis, p86f)


V4 – David’s supposed betrayal of Saul?


Vv4-5 suggest a war context


V4 – solem - friend, strictly, ally – someone in a committed salom relationship


Ex 23:4f; lev 19:17f; 1 Sam 24:10f; Prov 25:21


V4b – Goldingay, “but released my watchful foe without cause” – says halas never elsewhere means to plunder – a former ally who has become a foe?


Unprincipled leniency to foes? – cf. Saul to Agag 1 Sam 15


V5 – kebodi, kabod, my glory – personal worth? – can sometimes refer to the liver or inner being, heart – cf. 4:2 / honour – 3:3


Cf. Job 31


V5 – evil as an army


V5 – Selah – Goldingay translates this “(Rise)” – Willock: an interlude for music or meditation? – a pause to read related Scriptures? (Goulder)


Vv6-11 – Kidner: breadth of vision here; concern for universal justice


V6 – God’s anger


V6 – An appeal to God’s anger against the anger of the enemies – God’s anger is the Psalmist’s hope; the attackers’ anger is the Psalmist’s threat (Goldingay)


Cf. Heb 4:13 – God as all-knowing judge – There’s no fooling him!


Cf. 5:5; 6:1


V6 – appeal to God to arise and awake – God does not sleep of course, but it can seem like he does!


V6 – God, you must have ordered a decision


God is more powerful than any enemies and he cares


Cf. Acts 17:31


V6 – repetition: arise, rise up, awake


Cf. Num 10:35-36 and Ps 3:7


V7 – MT suba, return, not seba, rule – return on high, LORD


Return to your judgement seat throne / sit as judge


Vv7-8 – an appeal to God to exercise his rule and judge, to God’s righteousness and integrity / character


A prayer for vindication, declare me in the right – judge my case and find for me, Lord


Cf. 2:8-9


V9 the hinge of the Psalm – movement from prayer to expressions of confidence and praise


V9 – The righteous God searches minds and hearts – both David and his enemies are open books to the LORD


God not grandfatherly and mildly indulgent! (Wilcock)


A court with teeth! (Wilcock)


Vv9-11: 6 descriptive phrases of God: righteous God, tester (one who searches my heart, v9), my shield, saviour, righteous judge, God who expresses his wrath


The ungodly will experience God’s sword; the repentant will benefit from his shield. It is precisely by dealing with the wicked that God delivers the innocent. We ought to be grateful for the fierceness of the Biblical God because it guarantees that eventually all will be as it ought to be (Wilcock, p37)


Chiasm:
A Tester
B Righteous
C Shield
C’ Saviour
B’ Righteous judge
A’ Indignant
(Expositor’s Bible Commentary, p132)


The confidence of a believer before God


Heb 10:19-23; 2 Tim 8:8


V9 – mind and heart, lit. hearts and kidneys, inmost being, the deepest part of a person, innards, Ps 26:5; Jer 11:20; 17:10; 20:12 – God knows the heart Jer 17:9


V10 – God as shield – cf. 3:3; 18:35 – Heb. Lit, my shield is on God


The Lord as righteous judge with the nations gathered around him a familiar image in the kingship of Yahweh Pss 95-99


V12 – God’s delay has given an opportunity for repentance


V12 – God as warrior – cf. Ps 98 – he will fight his peoples’ battles on their behalf


V12 – darak, maybe lit. he treads his bow, pulling the string with his foot


V13 - God’s lightnings like flaming arrows – Ps 18:14


Judgement inescapable and deadly. David’s predicament will be reversed.


Vv14-16 cf. Prov 26:27; 28:10


V14 – pregnancy and birth metaphor


Wickedness may be allowed a gestation period


V14 – The first verb in the verse, habal, elsewhere describes the pain and anxiety of actually giving birth. There are several roots: a common one denotes “act corruptly” or “destroy” (Goldingay).


Cf. begetting and digging – Is 51:1-2 – pregnancy and digging (hara and kara) sound like one another


Evil is fertile but futile (after Kidner)


V14 – NIV disillusionment = saqer, lie, falsehood


Cf. James 1:14f


V15 – word play in the Hebrew – wayyippol, falls, yipal, made


Falls back, yasub, the same as turns (v12)


The lion of v2 falls into the pit of v15


V15-16 – they provoke their own downfall – their plots rebound on themselves – they fall into the pit they have dug – no doubt they think themselves so very clever and well prepared – perhaps they gloat over how they will ruin their enemies, not knowing that a great downfall awaits them


Sin comes home to roost


Wrongdoing is a boomerang – Prov 26:27; Mt 26:52


God stands behind all things – no such thing as merely natural consequences but the way God has established and governs the universe


Davis p90 – an Eskimo technique of getting a wolf to lick itself to death on a knife covered in frozen blood


Cf. the cross – the innocent unjustly suffering one delivered, the evil of his persecutors will rebound on them


V16 – the abcc’b’a’ structure of the verse mirrors the reversal it describes (Goldingay)


V17 – Application: resolve to thank and praise God


Mk 7:37


V17 – the exact expression Yahweh Most High only elsewhere in 47:2


V17 – The name of the LORD most high – note in Expositor’s Bible Commentary on the Name of Yahweh (p135) – The Creator-Redeemer-King God who has revealed himself, the God of the covenant – reliable, promise-keeping, God’s people who call on him can expect his blessing and protection – God’s name recalls his perfections and mighty acts and will be praised – list of other Psalms which use The name of the Yahweh on p136


Name / character


Hope in God’s faithfulness and power


Trial / war / hunt imagery often used together (Goldingay, p152)


Isaac Watts: O bless the Lord, my soul, nor let his mercies lie / forgotten in unthankfullness, and without praises die.


Troubles à prayer àdeliverance à praise


Whether in trouble or in thankfulness, pray!Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

Simple but not easy: the life of a pastor

Wed, 19/07/2017 - 10:03
Much of life is, on the whole, simple but not easy.

Take healthy living as an example. Eat a moderate balanced diet and exercise and so on and you can expect better health. Of course there are complications which need very deep and technical thinking about, but basically, how to look after yourself is simply stated for most people most of the time. But that does not mean it is easy! Most of us know what we ought to do, but our eating, exercising and sleeping may often not be what we know they should be.

So it is with the Christian life. Love God and love your neighbour. Now, some of the detail gets very complicated sometimes, but in outline it is very simple but not easy.

So too with the life of a pastor. Minister the Word, pray, love people, do the work of an evangelist and so on. There are a host of specific skills to learn, like how to do weddings and funerals well. And the Word and the Lord and people are inexhaustible. And sometimes there is a tricky ethical question that 35 hours of study won't really get to the bottom of. But on the whole, most of the time, it is pretty simple.

So why is it not always done? Or not always done well?

Often we know what we ought to do. And we even really believe that we should do it!

We must cry to God for his grace and mercy and the power of his Spirit.

But perhaps one other thing - one to pray for - is keeping the realities of God and heaven and hell at the front of one's mind. Life is busy and distracting. We need to consciously and repeatedly remember God and his love for sinners, his call to repentance, his sanctifying grace and the power of the Spirit and so on.

Regularly the pastor needs to re-focus on eternal realities and on the core of his vocation - not on that pile of admin, the leaky gutter, the financial issues or even the tensions between X and Y over the choice of music - important and urgent as these things might sometimes be. He must even lift his eyes from getting the next sermon adequately prepared.

God. Bible. Prayer. Love. People. Evangelism. Repeat. Something like that, anyway, maybe?Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

Scripture and Supper are both

Tue, 18/07/2017 - 09:23
Scripture and Supper are both signs related to a reality. How do they refer?

If we might say that the “language” of the Supper, including the bread and wine and what is done with them, is something like metaphorical, it is worth remembering that all language and language about God in particular is analogical.

Make sense? Need developing? What footnotes might it call for I wonder?Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

Psalm 12 jottings

Mon, 17/07/2017 - 18:36
I expect these will be my penultimate sabbatical Psalm of the week jottings:


Psalm 12 notes


Summary:


A cry to the LORD for help when evil and lies abound; God’s flawless promise of safety and protection despite the wicked strutting about


Uses:


When feeling isolated / lack of Christian fellowship / the ungodly seem to prevail and are confident of victory
When slander / lies abound


Key verses / possible memory verses: v6, v7


Prayer:


LORD, help, deliver and save me and all your people.
Keep me faithful when many are faithless, when it seems as if everyone is overtaken by a tide of evil.
Protect me from lies and smooth, flattering speech.
May I not be taken in by boasts or bravado.
May I not simply believe what I like to hear.
Make me discerning in the words I listen to.
And also in how I speak.
May I speak wisely, truthfully, honestly.
Keep me from seeking to use and manipulate others.
May I not put an undue confidence in my supposed eloquence or powers of persuasion.
Make me always conscious that you are my Lord, my creator, my owner;
that I owe everything to you;
That I constantly depend on you;
That I have no self-sufficiency;
That all I have is a gift.
Thank you, LORD, that you hear the prayers of your people;
That you regard the oppressed, the weak and the needy;
That you are attentive to their groaning.
Thank you that you have promised to act and bring justice.
LORD, vindicate those who are slandered.
I praise you LORD, that you are exalted above the muck and mess of this world;
That you are unsullied by it;
And yet that you care for it;
That you perfectly govern it with your infallible wisdom;
That you mean to put it to rights.
Thank you for your precious and pure words – words which are tested and proved and trustworthy.
May I prize all that you have said and be quick to resort to your word.  
Whatever the state of the world, however things appear, may I be conscious of my safety and security in you.
Grant me an everlasting confidence in you.


Outlines / structure:


Expositor’s Bible:


Lying tongues and the truthfulness of God’s Word


Prayer for deliverance (vv1-4)
Promise of the Lord (v5)
Reflection on God’s promises (v6)
Prayer for deliverance (vv7-8)


Goldingay, Baker Commentary


Vv1-2 – direct plea and lament at the life of the community
Vv3-4 – wish (jussive declarations) and lament at the life of the community
Vv5-6 – Yahweh’s word in light of the life of the community and response to that word
Vv7-8 – confidence in Yahweh, but a further reference to the depraved life of the community


Wilcock, BST:


Words of guile
Words of truth


Kidner, Tyndale:


“The easy speeches that comfort cruel men”, G. K. Chesterton, ‘O God of earth and altar’


Vv1-4: The power of propaganda
Vv5, 6: The counter-thrust of truth
Vv7-8: The war continues


Wilson, NIV application commentary


Grounds of complaint (vv1-2)
Plea for deliverance (vv3-4)
Divine response and promise (v5)
Confident expectation (vv6-7)
Reprise of complaint (v8)


Dale Ralph Davis, The Way of the Righteous in the Muck of Life


Spin Doctors
Where we are: A lying society (vv1-4)
What we hear: A pure word (vv5-6)
How we get on: A present paradox (vv7-8)


Motyer, Psalms by the Day devotional


The tongue of falsehood and the Word of truth


A1. Appeal to Yahweh in a collapsing society (vv1-2)
B1. The words of man, false and forceful (vv3-4)
C. Yahweh’s commitment (v5)
B2. Yahweh’s words, pure and purified (v6)
A2. Confidence in Yahweh in a mixed society (vv7-8)


Eric Lane, Focus on the Bible Series


David under pressure
Vv1-4: David brings his situation to God
V5: God answers him
Vv6-8: David responds to God’s answer


Notes:


Title:


To the choirmaster


According to sheminith – an octave / 8th – Leupold translates it “by the bases”


A Psalm Of David


Theme: various types of speech / lips / what people are saying / words – the use and abuse of words


What the Psalmist says
What the world is saying
What the LORD says


Structure of the Psalm: problem - prayer – promise – prayer - problem


Similarly Micah 7:2; Is 57:1; Elijah in 1 Kings 19:10, 14


David when persecuted by Saul (1 Sam 18; 19:9-10; 22; 26:19 – sly foes; 23 – two faced dealing with David ?) or in Absalom’s rebellion (2 Sam 15-18)?


Similar context to Ps 11? Perhaps David’s friends have now fled and he is alone (v1) – social foundations destroyed, could be considered an expansion of 11:3 – the same confidence in Yahweh as in Ps 11


Vv1-4: The many who cannot be trusted
Vv5-8: The one who can be trusted


Vv1, 8 – an inclusio of ungodliness – not an instant removal of sin


V1 – cf. Ps 69 - help, deliver, lit. save or send a saviour – a rather blunt / bold / impolite beginning – heartfelt urgency


Vv1-2 – The Psalmist feels as if he is the only godly person left
David is isolated (v1) and facing false accusations (v2)


V1: a peculiar absence – who / what isn’t there: covenant (Hasid/ hesed / faithful) man is no more – cf. Mt 5:13
V2: a social trend – what is there: empty, smooth, deceptive talk


V2 – lies = empty, cheap talk, vanity, no truth behind them, no substance / foundation, false, insincere, irresponsible – corrodes discourse if people’s word cannot be trusted – cf. his word is his bond
Flattering lips – lit. “a lip of smoothnesses” – a plural of amplitude, every sort of flattery (Motyer), smooth lips, plausible talk – nice – their words glide easily – can be addictive to the one who enjoys receiving it – dangerous – cf. Is 30:10; Jn 5:44
Deception – double talk – a double heart, lit. a heart and a heart / a mind and a mind, double minded, two-faced – cf.1 Chron 12:33; Jer 32:39 – the double talk comes from the double mind - they are not people of integrity – the speaker is afflicted too by his denial of truth, disintegrates


Cf. advertising, politics, spin


David’s prayer – vv3-4


V3 – cut off – cut off from the covenant – Gen 17:14


V3 – a boastful tongue – the tongue that speaks big things, big talk – James 3 esp. v5 which may have v3b in mind


Eugene Peterson, God’s words never bloated by boasting or distorted by flattery


Cf. Dan 7:20, 25, “mouth spoke great things”


2 Pt 2; Rev 13; 20:10


V4 – an arrogant philosophy
V4 – lips we own, our lips are with us – part of our equipment, on our side – irresponsible talk for which they do not expect to be held to account – they think they can talk their way to success
Maybe ‘et – our lips will be our blade (Goldingay) – if this is right, their words seem smooth but they are actually sharp!


Cf. Ps 36:1-4


Fake news?


From a truth-twisting society to a truth-speaking God (Davis)


Last half of v5 “those who malign them” tricky to translate – something to do with blowing / panting / longing – NRSV: I will place them in the safety for which they long – or perhaps breathe out a curse – cf. Ezek 21:31


Goldingay, v5, he witnesses to him from puah


V5 – the first time the LORD speaks in the David Collection!


The wicked say, “we will triumph” (v4), but God says, “I will arise” / shine forth (v5)


V5 – “protect” is from the same root as help / save / deliver (v1), could be put in safety


Cf. Ps 3 – taking a stand / arise / deliver language similar


Similarly God’s promises in Ps 34:22; 46:10; 94:14


V6 is an assurance about the assurance given in v5 (Davis) – Yahweh’s words can be trusted
                                                
V6 – furnace of clay – on the earth? To the earth? Of the earth? A change of letter would make it gold, “a furnace, gold purified”


Contrast vv6 and 2 – God’s sayings solid wealth against empty tokens / fake coinage


V6 – 7 representing perfection / completeness – rigorous quality control. Human words are tested and fail in this Psalm. Yahweh’s words are tested and pass – no dross, impurity, corruption in them.


The statement in v6 is of course a general truth always applicable to all of God’s words, but what difference does it make to apply them particularly to God’s words in v5? God’s justice and timing perfect and so on.


V7 – lit. the generation this, from this generation for ever?


The clear confidence of v7 seems to contrast with the present reality of v8


V8 – vile – Kidner: cheapness, worthless (Jer 15:19), shameful excess, gluttonous, Pr 23:20; Dt 21:20


V8 – zullut – worthless / trivial – they treat the valuable as worthless and the worthless as valuable and they can walk about freely, heads held high, because society shares their estimate of things


V8 – lit. when triviality is exalted for the sons of man, that is, in the estimation of people


V8 – the wicked still walking about openly, swaggering about, strutting their stuff, flaunt themselves – back to the situation of vv1-4! – outwardly nothing has changed – living by faith not by sight, with confidence that God will act decisively if not now then at the judgement day Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

The sacramental interpretation of Scripture

Sat, 15/07/2017 - 07:59
Once again the judicious use of The Face Book has drawn my attention to an interesting piece on the alleged sacramental nature of Scripture:

George Westhaver, The Oxford Movement’s sacramental interpretation of Scripture

Westhaver also points to interesting use of the analogy between the incarnation and Scripture - that the divine comes to us clothed in humanity, without an outward appearance of glory. Marc Lloyd
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Scripture's Language

Thu, 13/07/2017 - 12:02
The ‘Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy’ (International Council on Biblical Inerrancy, 1978) which is available with bibliographical information at: http://www.bible-researcher.com/chicago1.html remains helpful in clarifying the doctrine of inerrancy and its limits. E.g. it does not commit one to literalistic interpretation nor to assuming that the Bible always speaks with technical precision or strict accuracy (e.g. it may contain round numbers or phenomenological descriptions).

Interestingly, Calvin noted that God sometimes speaks to us in the language of everyday appearance not of scientific exactness. In his sermon on Job 9:7f, he says: "God speaketh unto us of these things, [the planets and stars] according to our perceying of them, and not according as they be."

Sermons on Job, 157 quoted in Helm, Calvin's Ideas, 187.
Marc Lloyd
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The Word sacramentish

Wed, 12/07/2017 - 17:20
The Sacraments are traditionally thought of in Reformed theology as signs and seals of the covenant.

Bavinck comments:

"In a certain sense also the Word is a sign and a seal – a sign that makes us think of the matter it designates, a seal that confirms that which exists in reality.” (Reformed Dogmatics, volume 4, p479)Marc Lloyd
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On trusting our English Bibles

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 10:47
Whilst I am all for the important work of textual criticism and the best possible translations, this is a useful reminder from Peter Wegner:

“It is important to keep in perspective that fact that only a very small part of the text [of the Bible] is in question – approximately 10 percent of the Old Testament and 7 percent of the New Testament. Of these, most variants make little difference to the meaning of any passage, as Douglas Stuart explains: “It is fair to say that the verses, chapters, and books of the Bible would read largely the same, and would leave the same impressions with the reader, even if one adopted virtually every possible alternative reading to those now serving as the basis for current English translations.””

A Student’s Guide to Textual Criticism of the Bible(Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2006). 298, citing Douglas Stuart, “Inerrancy and Textual Criticism” in Inerrancy and Common Sense, ed. Roger R. Nicole and J. Ramsey Michaels (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1980), p98. Piper, A Peculiar Glory, p83
Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

Jottings on Psalm 11

Sun, 09/07/2017 - 16:36
Continuing my sabbatical aspiration to spend some time each week with a Psalm, some somewhat disorganised jottings on Psalm 11:


Summary: Maintain your confidence in the LORD the heavenly King because the righteous will see his face and the wicked will face his justice


Uses:
Confidence in God in the face of mockery / criticism / defeatism / enemies / wickedness
When tempted to fear / flee / give up
When in danger / threatened by enemies
When everything seems to be going wrong
Looking to God for justice and vindication


Key verses / possible memory verses: v1a, vv4-5 (temple understood as Christ / church / believer), v7!


Outlines / structure:


Expositor’s Bible:


Refuge in the Righteous King
Vv1-3: Refuge in God
Vv4-6: Yahweh is the righteous king
V7: God is the refuge of the righteous


Goldingay, Baker Commentary


Stay or Flit?


Wilcock, BST:


Something familiar, something new
In the dark (vv1-3)
The central fact (v4a)
In the light (vv4b-7)


Kidner, Tyndale:


Panic and stability
Vv1-3: Voices of despair
Vv4-7: The forgotten dimension


Wilson, NIV application commentary


Refuge or flight (v1)
What can the righteous do? (vv2-3)
Yahweh the Examiner (vv4-6)
Affirmation of Yahweh’s righteousness (v7)


Dale Ralph Davis, The Way of the Righteous in the Muck of Life


Crumbling foundations
The advice faith hears (vv1-3)
The answer faith gives (vv4-7b)
The assurance faith holds (v7c)


ESV devotional Psalter


Eugene Peterson, Praying with the Psalms


Motyer, Psalms by the Day devotional


A. Safety (v1a) and misleading voices (vv1b-3)
B. Sovereignty (v4a-b) and a true view of life (vv4c-6)
C. Confidence under divine scrutiny (v7)


Notes:


Title:


To the choirmaster


Of David


Vv1b-3: Supposed reasons for cowardice
Vv4-end: Solid reasons for confidence


Vv1-3 – true and false refuges


Similar themes to Pss 3-10 – the righteous and the wicked, the Lord’s punishment and favour


No prayer in this ps. It is a kind of testimony / creed – no address to God, rather proclamation about him


A theology proved in time of crisis


David as a potential refugee – 1 Sam 18-27 threatened by Sail better background than 2 Sam 15-19, when David fled from Absalom


V1, better, have taken refuge – have you resolved to do that? A decision is necessary. When a crisis comes you will need to know where you stand and to what / whom you are committed. What are your foundations? Where is your refuge / rock / fortress / security?


V1 – In Yahweh emphatic in the Hebrew text – the LORD acts as David’s anchor – David is not all at sea – the foundations may be torn down but this ultimate foundation remains


Cf. other inadequate supposed refuges – security system, pension, family etc. all inadequate refuges – On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand – Rock of ages cleft for me


V1 – I’ve already fled to the LORD so why should I flee?


Those who walk with the Lord may be (v1) vulnerable and unprotected (v2) under attack.


V1 – on fleeing to the mountains: Gen 19:17; 1 Sam 14:22; I Kings 19:3-9; Mt 24:16


? your mountain – 1 Sam 23:14, 25-29; 26:1 – Mt Zion


V1bff – how long is the quotation? – Calvin, NBV, NKJV end it at 1c; NEB, REB include v2, others include v3, JB, NIV, NASB, TEV, ESV.


The foundations are being destroyed (v3) – the normal protections and securities are lacking or seem lacking, ? social fabric disintegrating, civil order unsettled – everything falling apart


V1 – 1 Sam 18:8-16 could be a suitable background – David did eventually flutter off to the mountains


V2 – The speaker distinguishes himself from the wicked – likely David is quoting his friends or he could be summarising his own fears – cf. The Benedict Option ???!!!


Vv1c-3 – The advice of fear, sane but in conflict with 1a


If this advice comes from friends or seeming friends, perhaps it is the more subtle and dangerous for that. Not the advice of a hypocrite, enemy or agnostic, but opposed to faith. Pious, sincere, caring, plausible. Discernment needed. The danger of well-meaning friends! Cf. Peter to Christ – surely not the cross, Lord?!


It’s all very well to take refuge in the Lord, but what are you actually going to do?, David’s friends might have asked.


In matters little whether David is here or in the hill country if he is in the Lord. Attitude not location is key. (Wilcock)


Prudence or unbelief?


Mt 10:23 – flee – Ps 11 – don’t flee!


When to flee and when to stand? – Pray for discernment – Phil 1:9-10


H. L. Ellison, “The love of your friends will often create your most subtle temptations.” (D R Davis, p128)


The assumption behind this advice: safety is all important – security / self-preservation potentially an idol – risk sometimes right


Nothing good can be done here – save your own skin – run for the hills! – don’t run scared


V1 – in Yahweh I am as safe as I ought to be


V2 – the attack of the wicked is immanent (their bows are bent and the arrows are already at the string – they have cocked their gun and are about to shoot) and clandestine, secretive, underhand (they shoot from the shadows). The implication is that their attack will be deadly.


V2 – cf. the modern shadowy threat of terrorism


V3 – could be lit. The faithful one – what has he done? Yahweh?


V3 – pessimistic / defeatist / hopeless – the battle seems already lost, but of course this is to fail to take account of the LORD (v4)!


All the old certainties are gone, nothing fells secure / stable / safe / sure, you can’t tell how things will be from one day to another – and there’s nothing you can do about it


V3 – perfect tense: what could even the righteous have done? Or maybe even “What could even the righteous have determined to do?”


V3 – note the alternative of the NIV footnote – “what is the Righteous One doing?” – God seems absent, inactive, uncaring, powerless?


V3 – the foundations, the ground rules of society


V4 – The LORD is, the crucial central fact


V4 – unlike Theresa May’s government, the LORD’s government is strong and stable, established, firm, immovable


Vv4-5 – temple or palace – same word


V4 – The temple parallel to (a model of) God’s heavenly throne room


Solomon’s temple of course not built in the time of David. The tabernacle?


Yahweh enthroned amongst his people in the temple and also in heaven – with them and exalted – immanence and transcendence – with his people in the crisis and above the crisis


Hab 2:20


V4 – Yahweh, Yahweh – placed emphatically at the beginning of the clauses


“note the imagery, especially about the throne, eyes, and eyelids. David replies that his picture does not imply Yahweh is removed but that he rules (throne); that throne is not a place of inactivity but of supremacy; it does not suggest distance but dominion. Yahweh’s exaltedness or ‘transcendence’ doesn’t indicate distance or indifference but activity(gaze, test), which leads to judgement.” (DR Davis, p129)


The Lord sees – he is not in the dark – his vision penetrates the shadows of v2


V4 – eyelids, Motyer: used as a parallel to eyes for the sake of variation – Ps 132:4


V4 – You need Yahweh front and centre of your vision – that transforms the whole landscape


V4 – God’s judgements just, based on careful scrutiny (gaze, test)


V4 – test – the trials of life as in vv1-3


V4 – God hasn’t moved to the mountains


Steadfastness in a chaotic world all depends where you look: at the wicked (v2a) or at Yahweh (v4). Yahweh must be at the centre of your vision. Yahweh reigns: everything will ultimately be okay.


Cf. Revelation 4 – 12 references to a throne


Keller: 3 responses / insights:
(1) Theological – God is still on his throne and will execute justice in his own wise time (v4)
(2) Practical – crises are really tests, opportunities to find out what is solid etc. (vv4-5)
(3) Spiritual – what we really need is knowledge of God himself, his presence, his face (v7)


V5 – Motyer suggests “It is Yahweh who tests and it is the righteous he tests” brings out the sense of the Hebrew


V5 – the faithful and the unfaithful


V5 – Yahweh’s stillness is not inertia but concentration (Kidner)


V5 – examine, assessing a precious metal


V5 – The righteous pass the test and are safe under God’s all powerful and all-knowing eye. The wicked fail God’s examination and will be subject to terrible judgement


Yahweh’s examination is not just an interesting piece of research – it forms the basis for his action.


V5 – cf. God hates the wicked – “God hates the sin, loves the sinner”


God v definite, a living extremist, loves & hates, virile, not sentimental or bland (see DR Davis p130)


God’s righteous character (v7a) explains his justice and judgement (vv5-6) which is the basis of the believer’s hope. God’s judgement good news for his people


Ps 96:10-13


2 Thess 1:6-9


V6 – the cover of darkness or fleeing to the mountains could not save them


V6 – Motyer, a fine mixed metaphor – “He will rain down on the wicked traps – fire and sulphur and raging heat, the measure in their cup” – not as in NKJV coals


V6 – cup – Ps 6:5; 75:8; 116:13 – Motyer, “life’s experiences as decided upon and measured out by Yahweh”


Not a pleasant share or a cup of blessed wine


V6 – cf. Sodom and Gomorrah – Gen 19:24 – fire in NT Lk 17:28-30; 2 Pt 2:6-9; 1 Pt 1:7


V7 – upright – not sinlessly perfect but basically trusting God, in their better moments loving righteousness and hating evil


V7 – The image is of the face of Yahweh turned favourably to those he loves – Num 6:25; Ps 80:3 – “It is not by flight (v1b) but by confidence in divine favour (v7) that life’s challenges can be faced.” (Motyer)


V7 – cf. Rev 22:4, “They shall see his face” – assurance – remember this is coming when all seems darkness and ruin and you are dodging arrows!


1 Cor 13:12


It is love that causes us to want to gaze on someone’s face


Kidner, “If the first line of the psalm shows where the believer’s safety lies, the last line shows where his heart should be.”


Fellowship with God, loving him for his own sake, God himself the ultimate goal and reward of the believer – not just protection and blessing from God but communion with him.


1 Pt 1:8


DR Davis (p133):
Faith needs discernment to filter out counsels of despair and fear
Faith needs vision to see the just and reigning God
Faith needs hope that anticipates awaking and gazing on God’s face


Only 2 categories, the righteous and the wicked, no neutrality, no 3rd wayMarc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

Visble Words?

Sat, 08/07/2017 - 07:52
Not a new thought, this but:

The sacraments: visible words? Yes, okay.

But this can hardly be the main point, can it? They are not above all something to look at.

As the Articles remind us: "The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, ...but that we should duly use them." (Article XXV)

Can the blind be baptised or appropriately receive the Supper? Of course! QED the visibility of the sacraments is not their essential distinguishing feature.

(Thanks to friends on Facebook from whom these thoughts are lifted!)Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

The Reformed Doctrine of Scripture: a very short summary

Wed, 05/07/2017 - 14:43
I welcome you telling me where this is wrong / how it could be improved. Ta.




The Reformed doctrine of Scripture is sometimes summarised with the tag “what the Bible says, God says.” The Bible is the Word of God and so it reflects his character. According to the doctrine of plenary verbal inspiration all the words of the Bible are breathed out by God the Holy Spirit. The Bible is both a human and divine book, genuinely the work of human writers in ordinary language, but fully and truly God’s word. The human and divine are not in competition in the Scriptures. The mode of inspiration may have varied, but at times the human writers were fully engaged and creative in a process described as concursive operation as God worked in and through the human authors and all the circumstances of their writing so that the words written are his words. In speaking the Scriptures, God has accommodated himself to human need. God intended his canonical Word to be preserved in writing. God’s inscripturated Word always comes to us by physical means (such as sound waves) and engagement with the Bible often involves a physical book.  Likely the claim to inspiration applies strictly to the original autographs, which are now lost but in the providence of God the Scriptures have been sufficiently and accurately preserved for the church such that we can come to it with confidence. Though the original texts remain authoritative, the Bible can and should be translated. The Bible is true, inerrant (without error) and infallible in all that it affirms. Like God, it is entirely trustworthy. It serves as the supreme authority and final court of appeal on all issues it addresses. It is necessary, clear (perspicuous) and sufficient. What the Bible writers said, the Holy Spirit says to the church today. The Bible is self-authenticating and the Holy Spirit witnesses to his own Word. It functions as one of the means of grace and is to be read prayerfully in the fellowship of the church using ordinary means and seeking the Spirit’s help in understanding, applying and living in the light of it. Through the Scriptures God is present as speaking the Scriptures to his church for her salvation, blessing, sanctification and edification. The Bible is God’s voice for all of God’s people. As God speaking, the Bible is powerful and effective (efficacious) either for salvation or judgement. God’s people are to meditate day and night on the Scriptures, but its primary role is in the Lord’s Day service where it is read and proclaimed. God has gifted his church with Ministers of the Word. When received by faith the Scriptures make their hearers wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. It is through the written Word that the incarnate life-giving Word is encountered, known and believed upon.   Marc Lloyd
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The Supper as a complete meal

Tue, 04/07/2017 - 11:46

We are given bread and wine, food and drink (symbolically a complete meal); the ordinary, bread (not cake) and the special, wine (not water). Bread might be said to be food suitable to the morning, to give strength for the day; wine is an eschatological drink for the evening, when work has been finished and is celebrated and rest is enjoyed. Bread and wine, then, point to the church militant as she pilgrims through the world and to the church triumphant as she enjoys all that God has done. Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

Good free stuff on understanding and preaching the Bible

Tue, 04/07/2017 - 10:35
At the Evangelical Ministry Assembly, the following were plugged:

Equipped to Preach the Word - a video based online free course with leader's and participant's work book on Biblical Preaching by David Jackman. (Two modules). Even the trailer is a helpful reminder and encouragement to preachers.

God's Big Picture free online Bible Overview by Vaughan Roberts - nine 10 min videos and accompanying Bible studiesMarc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

EMA Day 3: Closing Sermon - Vaughan Roberts - Rev 11:1-13 - The God Who Sends

Fri, 30/06/2017 - 08:43

Closing sermon – Vaughan Roberts – The God Who Sends – Revelation 11:1-13
A missionary summary, a brief period of service, 2 missionaries who serve for 3.5 yrs, who then lie unburied and are raised
Visual symbols
A series of 7s – 7 letters in ch 2 & 3, 7 churches, an appeal to persevere, endure faithfully to the end
4:1 – trailblazing of what is to happen – chapters 4 & 5 two foundational visions
A throne in heaven with someone sitting on it – the sovereignty of God
The lamb who was slain – a saving God
A context of victory, conquest
7 seals
Suffering & security
7 trumpets – wake up calls, delay, 7th trumpet
Ch 11 – the church in the last days – a delay, an opportunity for a gospel call to go out
These 2 representing the whole church – lampstands represent the churches
Jesus sent the disciples out 2 by 2, 2 witnesses required in a law court
The church in the age of gospel proclamation & mission
We are missionaries. What should we expect? What would Jesus say to us as he commissions us?
(1) You will suffer
OT imagery – Ezekiel 40-48 – new temple imagery – 1 Pt 2 – church as temple
Measuring a sign of ownership, commitment, plans cf. Measuring up a new house
Gentiles standing for the world in opposition to X
42 months – Daniel 12 – tribulation – 3.5 yrs – 42 stages of journey to promised land
A long time but not for ever – the same as the period of mission
Proclamation and persecution together
The experience of the church parallels the experience of X – despised, rejected, opposed, killed
Today we are regarded not just as repressed for holding to traditional biblical morality but repressive
(2) You are not alone
Don’t despair!
V4 – olive trees provide oil to keep the lamp burning
The witness of these prophets will never go out. There is a constant supply of power.
V5 – Jeremiah 5:14 – words like fire
V6 – Elijah and Moses in a context where they were largely rejected, but powerful – no rain for 3.5 yrs
Water into blood, plagues (Moses)
Mt 18:18 – power in what is said, authority to preach the gospel, to announce the gospel, the response to which will have eternal consequences
The preaching of the gospel might seem weak but its powerful – God’s word never returns empty. It always brings judgement or salvation
(3) You won’t regret it
V11 – Is it worth it? Take the long view. We share in X’s cross; we will share in his resurrection (v12)
Cf. The resurrection of the church in China, Cambodia, Iran
John Patten who went to the New Hebrides in the South Pacific. An old man said to him, “Don’t do, you’ll be eaten by cannibals.” / “you’ll be eaten by worms. If I can serve X, it will make no difference whether I am eaten by cannibals or by worms”
Elijah – 7000 remnant that did not bow the knee to Baal
Give glory to the God of heaven – saved?
A vast numberless multitude
D L Moody mission to Cambridge – mockery but then many saved, Guildhall packed, “My God, this is enough to live for”
Yes, ministry is tough, there is suffering, but you are not alone and you wont regret it. My power is with you. Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

EMA Day 3: Kevin De Young - Session 2 - The Mission of the Church

Fri, 30/06/2017 - 08:42

Kevin De Young – Session 2 – The Mission of the Church
The ministry of church / gospel / mission
Mission – not a biblical word in our English Bible – but Latin, sent, Gk, apostle, sent
Not every good thing Xians may do but what is the church gathered as institution and scattered as organism sent to do? What is the church’s task?
How do gospel proclamation and social action / justice / mercy ministry relate in the mission of the church? 2 wings of a bird / plane?
The ministry of J and the mission of the church – Mk
(1) Jesus ministered to bodies as well as to souls
A prototypical day in Jesus’ ministry
(a) teaching
(b) exorcism
(c) healing
Mk 3 – apostles sent to preach and cast out demons – cf. Mt 10 - healing
Compassion for hurting people motivated J to minister to bodies – healing of the Leper – moved with pity
Mk 8:2 – compassion on hungry crowd
Mercy on Bartimaeus
Lk 7:13 – compassion
The heart of Jesus is moved with compassion for hurting suffering people and their bodily needs
Kevin de Young, What is the mission of the church? (Book)
(2) Within this ministry to body and soul, Jesus made preaching his priority
Opening summary: Mk 1:14ff – proclaiming the gospel of God and saying...
G E Ladd, Gospel and Kingdom, passive verbs related to kingdom – you enter and receive the kingdom – not build the kingdom
Gospel proclamation of J as king / lord is only good news if you preach repentance and faith, the means of entering the blessings of the kingdom, being reconciled to Jesus as your king and Lord
1:21
1:38 – the disciples want to prioritise healing but Jesus wants to preach elsewhere – that is why Jesus came
Jesus never went into a town with the explicit purpose of healing or casting out demons. He came out to preach, though of course he healed and cast out demons along the way.
Mk 2:17 – I came to call sinners – proclamation
Mk 6 – the people of Nazareth scandalised by Jesus – v5, their unbelief was so counter to his purpose that he would not heal there – he did not come just to put on a show nor to be useful to them in their physical infirmities
Feeding of the 5000 – 6:34 – compassion because they are like sheep without a shepherd, so he begins to teach them many things – compassion ministry is bible teaching, telling lost sinners how to be saved
(3) In the end Jesus ministered to body as well as souls and made preaching his priority so that those with ears to hear might see his true identity and have faith in him. This was his purpose, his ultimate aim. He came to die for sins and he aimed for people to know who he was and trust in him. The healings and exorcisms intended to show who Jesus was.
1:1 – the purpose of Mk, what Mk wants to prove
3 Acts in Mark
1:1-13 – prologue / introduction
Act 1: 1:14-8:21 – Jesus demonstrates he is the X the Son of God, most miracles here, wonder and amazement about Jesus – 5:43; 7:37 – reactions to Jesus, what the miracle says about J – Mk 2 – healing of the paralysed man, priority of forgiveness of sins, the miracles demonstrate J’s authority and true identity
Parable of the Sower – faith
Calming of Storm
Who is this man?


Act 2: 8:22 – end of Ch. 8 – Jesus clarifies what it means to be the Son of God
Turning point: Peter’s confession
The Father and the demons have said who Jesus is but now for the first time a human being gets it
Peter does not really get the nature of X’s messiah-ship as suffering servant
3 miracles in this act, all to do with clarifying Jesus’ identity and true faith in him
Healing of the boy in ch 9 – what is real faith?
2 healings of blind people – ch 8 & 10 – Bethsaida and Bartimaeus – humility of Bartimaeus and the pride of James and Jn
Ch 8 – 2 stage healing – men like trees walking – Peter sees something but cannot yet see clearly – Peter is like this blind man
Act 3: Ch 11-end – Jesus proves he is the X
Only the cursing of the fig tree (and the resurrection here) – the overthrowing of the temple / Israel
Jesus finally says I am the Son of the blessed one (ch 14)
This man truly was the Son of God, the centurion confesses at the cross (ch 15)
The promise of the title of 1:1 proved at cross and resurrection
16:8 – the ultimate cliff hanger – what about you, your response, who do you say that I am?
In Mark, then, Jesus DEMONSTRATES, CLARIFIES and PROVES who he is
Applications / conclusions:
(1) If we are becoming more like Jesus, we will have compassion on the needs of the world and we will want to help
Gal 6:10
1 Tim 5
Priority of family and church family but do good to all as we have opportunity
(2) Proclamation must remain the church’s priority
Jesus could have just had a great healing mission and avoided the cross
If the church only does what would make Bono and Oprah proud, we are not being Christ-like or
The Great Commission – the task that the church was sent to do
Making disciples of X as servants of others is the task of the church
(3) Whenever we engage in compassion / mercy ministry, there should always be an aim that Jesus might be known and believed in for salvation
Finite time, resources etc.
Peter Ducker: You don’t really have priorities until you have posteriorities
What are you not going to do so that you can do what you have really be sent to do?
The church as church is sent primarily to proclaim the gospel of salvation
Keep the main thing the main thing
J Gresham Machen at height of depression and liberalism – what is the purpose of the church in this new age? The same as in every age to testify about human sin, God offers communion with himself, no other salvation full and free that whoever possesses it has a treasure which all the kingdoms of the earth are as the dust of the streetMarc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

EMA Day 3: Andy Gemmill - Ephesians Session 3 - (3:1-13)

Fri, 30/06/2017 - 08:41

Andy Gemmill – Ephesians session 3 - Ephesians 3:1-13
A big question always there in the Christian life, under the surface: God, is your heart really in this enterprise? Why don’t you do some more visible reigning supreme and save a few more people, help your people more, defend your cause more powerfully? Is God really committed to this?
Are we doing something wrong?
Pl’s imprisonment at the heart of this letter, the reason for his writing
No longer like Acts 19. Has it all gone wrong?
Acts 20 warning that things will change after Pl’s departure: he is going to prison – Pl goes to jail at the hands of his Jewish Ephesian opponents
4 or 5 yrs on, Pl in prison in Rm
Had Pl been prevented from writing before?
6:21 - Tychicus – has he brought news from Eph which has provoked Pl to write?
Human conflict – those who call themselves the circumcision
Pl’s imprisonment – for longer than he had been in Eph – Pl no longer looks like the victorious minister of the risen and reigning X
Pl’s message is relatively new. The Ephesians have only been Xians for about 5 yrs.
The Judaizers seem more impressive than Pl and seem to have tradition and history on their side
3:1, 13; 4:1
3:13 the key purpose statement of the letter – the second imperative of the letter
Pl wants them not to lose heart because of his sufferings but rather be strong in the Lord and in his might, standing firm in the gospel he gave them.
This is fundamentally a do not lose heart letter. This is the do not lose heart passage.
Pl’s message seems a new-fangled novelty.
Where is the power in Pl and his message?
Contrast
V8 unsearchable
Manifold wisdom of God
Immeasurable love
Big bold expansive language of God and his love; weak language about Pl: the prisoner, the sufferer, the leaster of all the saints – constraint
These things are not just juxtaposed but linked. He is a prisoner for their sake, suffering for them which is their glory.
His sufferings are linked to the wonder of what God has done for them
(1) Pl’s message is new, but its always been in God’s plan
Mystery – not a puzzle to investigate – a secret that was kept hidden – v5, not made known before but now revealed to the Apostles and especially to Pl vv3-4
V9 newly revealed but not new
Just cos my middle name hasn’t been revealed doesn’t mean it hasn’t always been there
V6 – the inclusion of the Gentiles through the gospel – not news that Gentiles can be in God’s plan
Is 2 – nations flooding to Zion, law going out
How the gentiles can be in – through the gospel – is newly revealed
1v13 – the Ephesians were included by hearing and believing the gospel and sealed by the HS – God sets up his dwelling when someone hears a message over the garden fence – not becoming Jewish etc.
Pl the Apostle to the Gentiles
(2) Yes, I am in prison, but it remains a powerful message, even though it doesn’t seem so
The power seems to have gone but it remains v8 – progression of ideas: Pl is responsible to preach X to the Gentiles and to bring to light for all the plan of the mystery of the creator – by Pl’s preaching to the Gentiles the plan of God is made visible – through the preaching of the gospel the church comes into being and the plan of God is revealed, v10, even to the powers in heaven
Who is this who can do this?
The power and plan of God will be fully revealed on the final day, but the powers can see the seed and sign of it now
Cf. Tsunami – the sign of the coming Tsunami is the sea receding, going out
Jew and Gentile sitting down for tea together doesn’t seem earth shattering to us, but to the powers, it shows 1:10 is coming: Christ is unifying humanity and all things
Every time you behave together in a 4:2 way etc., no stealing, lying, loving wife etc., the power of God is displayed to the powers. Jesus is Lord he has delivered people from slavery. He will be seen to be Lord of all.
Reflections:
(a) Be reassured by faith not by sight. God’s power may not seem obvious. 1:18 – we need the eyes of our hearts open to God’s power
How often do we look for reassurance in visible things rather than the invisible but soon to be revealed victory of J?
(b) The presence of an invisible audience – the powers – makes very action significant. The Lord sees and the powers see. The unseen is worth keeping going at. Every small unnoticed thing done for the building of the body is part of a bigger battle.
Vv11-13 sum up this argument. God’s eternal plan is being fulfilled. Bold confident access to God. Real if not yet fully seen. It looks bad now, but don’t lose heart.
The prisoner of X Jesus / the Lord – visibly Pl is the prisoner of Rm. He is the prisoner who belongs to the Lord and endures imprisonment for the Lord. But he is also the Lord’s captive. He has been imprisoned by J. Pl has himself been conquered, defeated, taken prisoner, set free – no longer enslaved by sin but now by Jesus. Pl’s imprisonment flows from his ministry. Pl’s preaching has got him in to trouble. His suffering is for the Gentiles, from his Gentile ministry. But further his sufferings are congruent with him having been humbled by a conquering king whose prisoner he is. Not just the prisoner of Caesar but of the Lord. Humbled.
End of the book of Acts – Pl humbled and imprisoned. As for Jesus, faithfulness means suffering, false accusations, imprisonment.
Why doesn’t God stand up and fight?
This is how he fights with humility and gentleness. X and all X’s people. Cross then glory. Life through death.
This pattern overflows to all X’s servants.
4:1-8, 11-2, psalm 68 – psalm of procession to temple, journey from Egypt to promised land, warfare and victory, conquered enemies, celebration of triumph centred on the temple sanctuary, tribute from all the world, praise from all the nations
Who is this warrior? Ps: Yahweh - V8 – X
Who are the conquered? Pl is head of the list
The ones the Lord gives to his people are themselves the conquered: apostles, prophets, but also evangelists and pastor teachers, and no doubt youth workers and women’s workers too
We are conquered enemies of J. Humbling’s and sufferings should not surprise us.
Pl sufferings are for them, their glory.
If we are suffering in ministry, we are in such good company!
God’s power is on display in ordinary church life and relationships. The humiliations of the Apostle show the power of God.
J God’s conquering king is supreme.
We are part of a much bigger unseen battle. God is fighting. All that goes on really does have significance.Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

EMA Day 2: Graham Beynon - sermon: 1 Peter 2:4-10 – The God Who Gathers

Thu, 29/06/2017 - 07:38

Do you typically by default think I or we?
Individualist and collectivist cultures – defined by relationships, groups?
Top 3 individualist countries: USA, Australia, UK
Church – God saves people into a gathered church
(1) God is building a new temple (v4), a spiritual house
Forget about the temple in Jerusalem
Eph 2 – the people are the temple
Living stones, people
God presences himself, meets with his people
Also a holy priesthood offering spiritual sacrifice – whole life offered in worship to God
God is all about relationship, dwelling with his people, present to them, living with them
People come into this new temple through Jesus v4
People come to see Jesus as God sees him and to view him as precious and trust in him
But others reject Jesus as useless rubbish – reversal – rejection to exaltation
How people respond to Jesus and to the message / word cf. Ch 1: the word that was preached to you, the word about J
The gospel does not just result in saved people, it results in a saved people: it creates the church, churches, a temple
Cf. Belonging and believing – it is by believing we belong – individual to collective, not automatic or by association or osmosis – personal trust essential – to the one who believes
Not just a matter of background / upbringing
Belonging before believing? Evangelistic and apologetic power in non-Xians interacting with Xians, but you can’t belong without believing
If you believe, you belong – church membership is not optional – belong to J, belong to his church
Distinguish faith in Jesus and church-going nominalism – but church essential – joining the church is integral to conversion
Eph 2 – in X you are part of the new humanity
1 Cor 12 – baptised by the Spirit into one body
We come to faith as individuals and no one can believe for us, but faith is not purely vertical or private
Church is more than useful / helpful
Conversion results in a new corporate identity – a building, founded on J, not just a whole load of stones!
Xianity is not just a you and J thing
We should define ourselves not just in distinction to others but in relationship with them
God dwells amongst us as a people not just privately in my heart
(2) God is gathering a new people through Jesus (v9)
The language of Ex 19 – redemption, treasured possession, kingdom of priests, holy nation
Church as new Israel, new people of God – “replacement theology”, fulfilment, transformation, multi-ethnic people of God through J
Unique privilege, access to God, treasured, valuable to God
Holy, distinguished from the dark world, set apart, foreigners and exiles, not belonging to the world
Changed, transformed
Recipients of mercy
Corporate identity, united, brought together
Covenant promise: I will be your God and you will be my people
Implications for our view of church:
Challenges a functional view of church – church not just a tool, what it does, a means – not merely utilitarian – the collective nature of the church is not accidental or pragmatic but essential
USA: drive in church
Listening to sermons online not the same as church!
Church not just meetings I go to for the sake of my relationship with God – church more than a filling station
Not just in and out – drive through church without the car!
The homogeneous unit principle a functional view of church, merely pragmatic means to an end?
Who we are not just what we do
Families do things but they are not just means – they are a thing!
Francis Shaffer – we need an orthodoxy of doctrine and of community, and understanding of who we are as God’s people and how it is lived out
Church as more than good meetings
What is the mission / goal of the church? What is the aim here in 1 Pt?
God wants a chosen and treasured people who belong to him and proclaim him and live as his people
God sent Jesus so there could be church! The story of the Bible is the story of gathering of the church. Fall, loss of church. Promise of church. Model of church. Fulfilment of church. Future church.
Church is not only the agent but the goal.
Philip Jensen: what if God doesn’t have a purpose for the church? What if the church is the goal not the instrument, more like a diamond than a hammer it exists for the pleasure and glory of its owner not as a tool for another end.
Obviously the church still does stuff!
Eph 4 – the body grows and builds itself up. The goal is a mature body suitable for Christ.
Or the perfecting of the bride for X.
I and we, of course. Trinity. I trust in Jesus and then we! So we. I belong to the people of God. That defines me. I belong to God’s temple, people, nation, family.
Church not just a priority over TV & sport but how people think of themselves.
When we serve the church, we are about God’s mission. God sent Jesus so there could be church. The future is church. Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

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