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List of EXCUSES you CAN’T use on Judgement Day – Heb.9:27-28

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…

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The Lord’s Prayer – Benediction. Matthew 6:13AV. Lord’s Day 52B

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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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…

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The Divine Image – SHATTERED! Lord’s Day 3

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?

  1. 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:
    1. Righteousness. In our created, pre-fall state, we had a right standing before God, we were by creation just.
    2. 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.
  2. A Specific Image.
    1. 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
    2. Rational beings. We have intelligence and a will.  A God like capacity for knowledge and thought and action.   Colossians 3:10
    3. 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.
    4. Authoritative beings. He made us to rule, to subdue the earth and rule over it and populate it.
    5. Moral beings. As He is Holy, so we were created to be like him. Ephesians 4:24
  3. A Shared Image.
    1. 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.
    2. 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?
  4. 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.
  5. 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…”

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Lead Us Not Into Temptation… Matt 6:13

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.
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Hymn: The Law of God

The law of God is good and wise,
And sets His will before our eyes,
Shows us the way of righteousness,
And dooms to death when we transgress.

Its light of holiness imparts
The knowledge of our sinful hearts,
That we may see our lost estate
And seek deliverance ere too late.

To those who help in Christ have found
And would in works of love abound
It shows what deeds are His delight
And should be done as good and right.

When men the offered help disdain
And wilfully in sin remain,
Its terror in their ear resounds
And keeps their wickedness in bounds.

The law is good, but since the fall
Its holiness condemns us all;
It dooms us for our sin to die
And has no power to justify.

To Jesus we for refuge flee,
Who from the curse has set us free,
And humbly worship at His throne,
Saved by His grace through faith alone.

Matthias Loy,   1873

long metre

Preaching the Catechism

The Synod of Dort gave rules and directives regarding the preaching of the catechism:
1. Ministers who fail to catechise to be censured. 

2. Catechism Sermons to be brief and easy to understand. (Even for children)

3. Small attendance is no excuse not to preach. Even if only the ministers family attends, the sermon is to continue as an example to others. 

4. The minister should petition the authorities to curb work, sporting events etc on the Sabbath, to allow people to attend church for teaching. 

5. Every church benefits from having its own minister – so that catechesis can be done in a second service each week. 

6. ‘Church visitors’ to examine ministers and confessing members to find those unwilling to catechise. 

Payne & Heck, 2013 ‘A Faith Worth Teaching’ RHB, Grand Rapids. P43-44

Legal Fears

The Broken Law

Lord’s Day 2. Q3-5. Reading: Matthew 22:34-40.
H/C3. From where do you know your sins and misery? From the Law of God.
In our last study we discovered that before we can be rescued from our sin, and be brought into the presence of God, we must first first RECOGNISE, ADMIT AND CONFESS our sin. But where do I learn that I am a poor wretched sinner? In The LAW.

1. The Testing Question.
This lawyer would have been deeply immersed in the minutiae of the Law. He would have sought to elaborate on it and hedge it so that he could keep the law. But such Pharisaism was FALSE RELIGION. Romans 3:20 Romans 7:7. But this question was not for his deeper understanding. It was to TEST Jesus.  I

2. The Perfect Answer.
Jesus’ answer helps us in understanding the Law. He gives us a precise summary of the whole law, in two simple statements, each corresponding to the tables of the law:-
1. Our Duty to God. Deuteronomy 6:5 That’s the beginning of the Shema, that statement that begins every service in a synagogue. We are to LOVE GOD with

  • Undivided Heart. That means that nothing is to come before our emotional desire to love and please God.
  • Undivided Soul. Our whole inner being should be God-focussed. How does my personality reflect Christ? Generally, it doesn’t.
  • Undivided Mind. Our thoughts are only to be God exalting…. Hmmm. It’s difficult to keep the mind under control, no matter who you are!

2. Our Duty to Others. Leviticus 19:18.

  1. Love them. No matter who they are!
  2. Regard them as neighbours. Even when they are our sworn enemies.
  3. Serve them. Even if they are totally ungrateful.

So here’s the law’s demands. We are to love God with undivided hearts, and to love our neighbours with the same intensity and to the same extent as we love ourselves. How many people do you know who can do either of these? How many CHRISTIANS do you know who can do either of these?

3. The Law In Summary. V40
The whole OT is summarised in the Ten Commandments and in the words of Christ here. Galatians 5:14

  • The ‘Ten Words‘ – in Exodus 20 God gives Moses the Law, in Ten Commandments. We will look at them later in the year, but for now we note that they fall into:-
    • Two tables. Law regarding our responsibilities to our Creator, and Law regarding our responsibilities to other people.
    • Three aspects. (Ritual Law, National Law, Moral Law. The moral law was fulfilled in Christ, but was NOT abolished, so Christians are to seek to keep it.
    • Three uses. RC Sproul defines them as:
    1. The first purpose of the law is to be a severe schoolmaster who drives us to Christ.
    2. A second purpose for the law is the restraint of evil.
    3. The third purpose of the law is to reveal what is pleasing to God. (John 14:15).
  • The Law Throughout the Scriptures. But the Law of God is not found only in the Decalogue. Martin Luther defined the Law as seen throughout the Bible, OT and NT, in a very simple and easily understood way. He taught, ‘Anything that say DO is Law. Anything that says DONE is grace!’

4. Obeying the Law?
So was the lawyer right then? Would we be able to love God and our neighbour perfectly and so please God? Certainly not! Romans 3:10-12 1 John 1:8-10. Romans 8:7. Ephesians 2:3 In fact in his natural state man HATES God, and hates his Law. He hates other men, and he even hates himself! So…
• Can I keep this perfectly? H/C5 asks this very question. Q. Can you keep all this perfectly? No, I am inclined by nature to hate God and my neighbour.
• Who then could keep the Law? Just One. Jesus fulfilled all God’s Law for us. Matt 5:17-18

In Mark’s account we read that the lawyer agreed with what Jesus had said! Mark 12:32 How could Jesus tell a testing legalistic sinner that he was not far from the Kingdom? Simple, the man knew that Jesus was right, that he was unable to keep the law perfectly, and that is, as we have learned, the very first stage in the sinner’s redemption. And that is the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of one whom the Lord is calling to Himself.

© Bob McEvoy