The Drama of Redemption – Introduction
Reading: Romans 9:1-5
In Romans, Chapters 9, 10 and 11 are closely related. They unfold for us some of the truths concerning God’s sovereignty and providence, using the people of Israel as a background. Now. because these chapters contain many references to Israel, we ought to ask the question, “When Paul refers here to Israel, who exactly does he mean?” There is no doubt that one theme running through the chapters is Jewish unbelief and the problems that it raised. Why did the covenant people of God fail to recognise their Messiah and crucify Him? How did the conversion of the Gentiles fit in with God’s plan and purpose? What future do the Jews and the Gentiles have, in God’s mind? The passages in chapters 9-11 deal with Israel’s past, present and future! Let’s see:-
1. The Relationships that are being Addressed.
These chapters concern the relationships between the Gentiles and the Jews. The Jews, everyone agrees, have had a unique position in God’s purpose. Paul has already made mention of This. Romans 1:16. Romans 2:9 Romans 2:17-20 Romans 3:1 Romans 3:29-31 Romans 4:1-5 Romans 6:14. Romans 7:1-5 Romans 8:2-5 So these chapters will address the balance between the Old Israel and the new situation, in which God’s people are both Jew and Gentile. But why was such a detailed explanation of the matter necessary? Read more…
Jesus The Mediator
Text . Job 9:32-35 1 Tim 2 5-6 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all.
H/C Lord’s Day 6, Q18 & 19. Because only Jesus can bridge the gap between God and sinners, only he is our Mediator. Today we are going to discover what that means – and whereabouts in the Bible we can find out about his mediatorial work. Read more…
The Great Escape
Text . Romans 2:1-11 Hebrews 2:3.
Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 5.
So far in this series, we have been looking at the basic biblical teaching about MANKIND. We learned that we are sinners, – because we have broken God’s Law, but we were not always like that, we were created in God’s image, and that the image of God was shattered and distorted at the Fall, and that one day we will have to give account of ourselves in judgement. Yet all the time we have been discovering that the solution is always Jesus. He is sinless, and he perfectly fulfilled the Law of God, and yet he gave himself for us, to pay the price for our sin in his own body on the cross. Last study we thought about the Last Judgement and the excuses some people think they might make on that day. To no avail! Now, the bible poses a question, and it is one we will consider: Hebrews 2:3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him. The question in the text makes some basic presuppositions:-
List of EXCUSES you CAN’T use on Judgement Day
Text . Hebrews 9:27-28 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgement, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 4. Q. 9-11
Consider the ultimate end of man, who will one day stand before God, and give account of his works done in this life, and as we know, all our works, even our righteous works, fall short of God’s standards, and condemn us to the Lake of Fire. It’s that judgement that we want to learn a little bit about today, or rather, some of the ideas that people have to stop themselves from having to prepare for it… Think of some common misconceptions…
The Lord’s Prayer: Benediction
Text . 1 Chronicles 29:11-13 Matthew 6:13AV For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
So, why do Catholics not use the Long Ending of the Lord’s Prayer? Why is it in some bibles and not in others? And, why do we use it so extensively?
- It has a long liturgical history. It is used in the DIDACHE. (Teaching of the Apostles) A book of church order and discipline, written around 94AD,, very early in church history, showing the worship practices of the very early church. It’s not canonical, but it is historical, a contemporary report of what the church was doing and saying in worship. When it advises on prayer, the long ending is included. We know that in the first century the first Christians were using it. . So it is historically and liturgically attested.
- It is perfectly scriptural, and based on 1 Chronicles 29:11-13. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, The power and the glory, The victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, And You are exalted as head over all. 12Both riches and honour come from You, And You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great And to give strength to all. 13 “Now therefore, our God, We thank You And praise Your glorious name. So theologically and biblically it is sound and correct.
- It’s provenance is unclear. Our repetition of the Lord’s Prayer (as in the old Book of Common Prayer) was based on the so-called Byzantine Text, – the Greek ‘received text’ that is the basis of the KJV and the NKJV. But the long ending is not in the NIV, or the ESV, which are based on the Alexandrian Texts (Codex Siniaticus and Vaticanus). Slightly older texts, but with less copies. The Byzantine Texts have the benediction but the Alexandrian do not. The RCs up to the reformation didn’t use the Greek Texts, they used Jerome’s Latin Translation (Vulgate) so in their liturgy the long ending is omitted. The Reformers wanted to get back to the Greek Texts, so they included it. More recent discoveries of ancient Alexandrian Manuscripts it is omitted, so modern translations place it in the footnotes. But did the Alexandrian copyists lose it, or did the Byzantine copyists wrongly include it? No-one actually knows.
- It is adiaphora. It is a Protestant tradition to say it, and this tradition connects with the oldest traditions of the Church. We say it because it is universally used in the church, but if another church doesn’t want to include it, it’s not something to argue about.
So, let’s see what the long ending of the Lord’s Prayer can teach us, and what we imply when we say it…
The Divine Image – SHATTERED!
Text . Lord’s Day 3. Gen 1:26-31, 2:18-25,, 3:1-7
Mankind wasn’t made sinful. We were created in the image of God. So what does that mean, and what happened to us?
The Image of God – Our Unique Dignity.
In what way did God make us different from the rest of creation?
- A Special Image. We are created in HIS IMAGE! Let’s be careful that we don’t reverse the order and start to create God in OUR image! Remember that GOD IS NOT LIKE US! Isaiah 46:5 We are not saying that God is like us, that he looks like us, or dresses like us, but rather that we are like him, there are certain of his attributes and characteristics that he has bestowed upon us also. The catechist singles out two of these attributes for special mention:
- Righteousness. In our created, pre-fall state, we had a right standing before God, we were by creation just.
- Holiness. We were created spotless and sinless. Gen 2:25 reminds us of our initial innocence. Even though Adam and Eve were naked, they were not ashamed, they were innocent, righteous and holy, they could look upon their nakedness without sinful thoughts…. And because they were righteous and holy they could approach the Lord God in the garden, and enter his holy presence.
- A Specific Image.
- Personal being Relational. We are capable of having a relationship with other people and with our maker. In fact that is exactly why he made us. 2 Corinthians 3:18
- Rational beings. We have intelligence and a will. A God like capacity for knowledge and thought and action. Colossians 3:10
- Creative beings. Mankind is extraordinarily creative. It marks him our from the rest of creation. In this sense he is displaying one of the attributes of his own creator.
- Authoritative beings. He made us to rule, to subdue the earth and rule over it and populate it.
- Moral beings. As He is Holy, so we were created to be like him. Ephesians 4:24
- A Shared Image.
- No distinction by skin. Have you noticed that there is no distinction made here as regards race or colour or ethnicity? This is why Christians can NEVER be racists. We all share the same common first parentage. We all have equal dignity.
- No distinction by age. That extends to all ages. Old people, middle aged people, young people – all are equally to be valued, all are created in God’s image. And what of the unborn. The fact that we are made in the image of God – does that not mean that when we deliberately deprive that baby of life, we are attacking the uniqueness and dignity of God’s creation?
- A Sexual Image! God made us as either men or women. One or the other. Genesis 1:27 Genesis 2:23 This modern notion that gender is ‘a social construct’ has no place in God’s economy.
- A Shattered Image. We still have the image of God stamped upon us, but because of sin it is distorted and warped and disfigured beyond recognition.
Why would God bestow this very special status upon us, the crown of his creation? Our instructor puts it like this ‘that he might rightly know God his Creator, heartily love him, and live with him in eternal blessedness to praise and glorify him.’ The S/C agrees. ‘Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him for ever…”
Lead Us Not into Temptation.
Text . Matthew 6:13. And lead us, not into temptation, but deliver us, from evil..
Lord’s Day 52 Q127.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Would God ever lead us into temptation? Is the wording of this petition a plea for God not to ‘toy’ with us by placing temptation in our way? Does God want to trip us up, and we are pleading with him not to? No. we are asking him to LEAD US OUT OF, AWAY FROM, TEMPTATION, to protect us from ourselves, and our wicked sinful hearts. Implied in the petition is that when God LEADS us we are safe, whereas when we follow our own lead we go astray and wander into dangerous ways. We can trust God, when we cannot trust ourselves. Deuteronomy 8:2, And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. 3 And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.
In the wilderness, (Matthew 4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.) Jesus was tempted – by the Devil. R C Sproule reminds us that God will TEST us, but will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear. 1 Cor 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.