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Psalm 2 December 15, 2018

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Psalm 2.

Summary: In this passage, the psalmist draws a sharp contrast between two parties.

The first party is Jesus Christ – the Son of God. His Father has granted Him authority over all things, including the nations. Thus, those who choose to submit to Him will be blessed.

The second party consists of those who refuse to submit to Him. The psalmist exhorts them to submit to Him – lest He judge them.

Thoughts: This psalm includes several prophecies concerning the Messiah. I hope to meet the psalmist (possibly David) in the next life and probe them on this point. Did they intentionally reference the Messiah when writing this psalm? If so, what were their thoughts and feelings regarding the Messiah? Did they eagerly anticipate His First Coming? Were they filled with a sense of awe and humility while pondering the deeds that He would perform? Did they believe that His First Coming would occur in their lifetime? What was their conception of the spiritual facet of the Messiah’s kingdom? Did they receive any feedback from their compatriots regarding these prophetic references?

Here, the psalmist exhorts all who reject the authority of the Messiah to submit to Him. Spurgeon offers some thoughts on this point in his commentary on verse 10:

Delay no longer, but let good reason weigh with you. Your warfare cannot succeed; therefore desist and yield cheerfully to him who will make you bow if you refuse his yoke. How infinitely wise is obedience to Jesus, and how dreadful is the folly of those who continue to be his enemies!

I am curious as to whether other nations were aware of this psalm. If so, how was it conveyed to them? How did they respond to it? Did this psalm compel them to declare their loyalty to the king of Israel – or did they regard it as bluster? Did they have analogous “psalms” in praise of their deities that included exhortations for Israel to submit to them? If they suffered a defeat at the hand of Israel, did the survivors reflect on this psalm and bemoan their decision to ignore it?

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The Authority of Jesus Questioned August 4, 2018

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Here are my thoughts on Matthew 21:23-27.

Summary: In this passage, Jesus returns to the temple and preaches the Gospel message. There, He is confronted by the Jewish leaders, who question Him regarding His authority to preach.

He responds by querying them regarding the origin of the ministry of John the Baptist. The Jewish leaders then engage in a continuous discussion, noting that:

  • if they acknowledge that John was commissioned by God, then He would probe them on their failure to acknowledge this point during John’s ministry
  • if they assert that John was not commissioned by God, then the people would reject them.

Thus, they refuse to answer His query – and so He refuses to answer their query.

Thoughts: Here, Jesus exposes the hypocrisy of the Jewish leaders with an incisive query. This passage furnishes yet another example of Jesus’ strategy of asking questions to reveal the thoughts and attitudes of others. Indeed, the questions that He poses during His ministry are probing – and relevant for modern-day believers. For example:

  • do we believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ?
  • can we endure the suffering that He endured in this life?
  • can we refer to ourselves as His mother and brothers?

While these questions are challenging, we must confront them; if we can answer them in the affirmative, then we are confident that we belong to Him.

The Wise and Foolish Builders January 20, 2018

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Matthew 7:24-29.

Summary: In this passage, Jesus exhorts His disciples to build their lives on Him. To reinforce this point, He presents a parable contrasting two men:

  • one builds his house on rock – and it survives a storm
  • the other builds his house on sand – but it does not survive a storm.

This parable marks the conclusion of His sermon. His audience is astonished at the authority that He has displayed in His teaching.

Thoughts: Ryle reflects on the Sermon on the Mount:

So ends the Sermon on the Mount. Such a sermon never was preached before; such a sermon perhaps has never been preached since. Let us see that it has a lasting influence on our own souls. It is addressed to us as well as to those who first hear it; we are the ones who will have to give account of its heart-searching lessons. It is no light matter what we think of them.

Now that I have completed my mini-stroll through the Sermon on the Mount, I can say that I am thankful for that experience. In particular, I know that Christ has challenged me to:

  • be more sincere when making promises
  • truly love my enemies
  • battle against my censorious, fault-finding attitude.

These challenges have revealed the weaknesses in my walk with God – and remind me that I am not fully sanctified. I pray that the Holy Spirit would enable me to make meaningful progress on these issues as I dwell in my frail, sinful body. If I can be successful in this regard, then God will be more fully glorified in my life and others – especially those whom I dislike – will be blessed through my words and deeds.

Jesus Greater than Moses March 18, 2015

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Here are my thoughts on Hebrews 3:1-6.

Summary: The author begins by exhorting his readers, who:

  • are in the family of God
  • are being sanctified
  • have been drawn to Christ by God Himself

to rationally consider the person and work of Christ in light of his preceding teaching; indeed, they have professed that Christ is a divine messenger and represents them before God. This will help them see that Christ was faithful to God, who designated Him as His divine messenger; Christ was at least as faithful as Moses was in God’s church. Now Christ is worthy of more glory than Moses; the author supports this point by citing the analogy of a house depending on a builder for its existence. Indeed, any house must have a builder; in particular, God’s church was built by Christ. Also, while Moses was faithful in testifying about the Gospel message as a member of God’s church, Christ was faithful in His role, where He has supreme authority over God’s church. The author concludes by telling his readers that they are members of God’s church – as long as they boldly and openly profess that this is the case.

Thoughts: In this passage, the author refers to the church as “God’s house.” Owen offers some insights on this point in his commentary on verse 6:

Believers are Christ’s house in three ways. First, because Christ lives in them by his Spirit. Hence they are called “living stones,” and on him they are built into a “spiritual house”…Christ dwells in them in this way…Second, they are cemented and united like the temple long ago…Third, Christ lives among them as they worship together…

This passage caused me to ponder the fact that Christ dwells in every believer. Indeed, believers offer rather unpleasant homes for God to dwell in, as the Holy Spirit must battle with our sinful nature, as seen in Romans 7:7-25. The Holy Spirit desires to “make himself at home” in our hearts, yet the other occupant of our hearts – our sinful nature – earnestly desires to evict Him. One must wonder how the Holy Spirit can condescend to dwell in a spiritual house that is marked by constant strife. Somehow the Holy Spirit knows that as time passes, He will gain control of our hearts and evict our sinful nature. This long-term perspective is worthy of our consideration, and indeed it gives us hope while we struggle with the fact that our hearts are not perfect homes for the Holy Spirit. Of course, we should also consider what we can do to improve the “living conditions” of the Holy Spirit.