Posts Tagged ‘1 Peter 1’
John 16:16-24 (90 Days with Jesus, Day 74)
16″In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.” 17Some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” 18They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.” 19Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’? 20I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 21A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. 23In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
Let me put this right into your lap from the start:
Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. 8Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. 9For three and a half days men from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. 10The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth. 11But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. 12Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.” (Revelation 11:7-12, NIV)
This is one example. The world rejoiced when Jesus was crucified. They jeered and sneered. They scoffed and beat their breasts. They shook their heads and mocked. Indeed, the disciples were filled with grief. They witnessed what you and I will not: The death of the Lord of Glory. They saw firsthand, up-close—they were eyewitnesses!—the death of Jesus Christ. I can only imagine. I have the accounts of his death. They were filled with grief, but Jesus says that grief wouldn’t last forever. In fact, he says that grief would be turned to joy! Furthermore, he says that their joy would not be taken away from them. Their joy was incorruptible, indestructible. Sadly, many don’t understand this joy, and never will.
But here’s what I wonder: Do we have a reason to be filled with grief? Or, has the joy experienced by the disciples been carried on even to this day? Let me say it: I don’t believe that we are to get together or go about through our lives weeping and mourning over the death of Jesus. Was it a sad day? Yes. But I don’t think it should cause us to weep. We don’t mourn like those folks who have no hope; the rest of men. Instead, we are filled with inexpressible joy! Peter would later write:
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
We are not mourners and who can take away our joy? Who? None. The Psalmist wrote:
10 Hear, LORD, and be merciful to me;
LORD, be my help.”
11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
LORD my God, I will praise you forever. (Psalm 30)
Who can take away our joy? What rejoicing world can thunderclap us into despair? What mocking world can heave us into the pit of gloom? He has turned our mourning into dancing because he has triumphed over the evil, powers, principalities, and wickedness of this world. The prince of this world has been crushed. We don’t come together, for example, to mourn and grieve the death of Christ, but to celebrate and dance and rejoice. I don’t think Christians dance nearly enough. Oh, I’m not talking about some maddening choreographed ballet type stuff. I’m talking about the sort of Dancing that Annie Dillard describes in her book An American Childhood. I don’t have the book in front of me, but in one place she describes just running down Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh wildly flailing her arms about and simply running for no other purpose than joy. I don’t think we conservative types, us stiff upper-lip types, us tight-a** types get this. We’re not children, after all. And to our shame we have forgotten precisely what it means to just run around, flailing our arms about, for no other reason than our happiness and joy.
I love how CS Lewis ends the Chronicles of Narnia with the characters just running and running and running and running. We think perhaps that because the world is down we have reason to cry. We think because the sun doesn’t shine we have reason to let the gloom in our minds crowd out the joy. But have we truly considered this joy that cannot be taken away from us? I’ll tell you this, Jesus may be right that no one can take away our joy, but we are rather quick on the trigger when it comes to giving it away.
What I would like Christians to do is recover. We need to recover from our sense of seriousness. We need to recover from our sense of dignity. We need to recover from our sense of pride and self-importance and sing and dance and run around with our arms flailing about like a the tentacles on a slimy octopus. You understand don’t you? David said, “I’ll become even more undignified than this,” after someone despised him for dancing naked before the Ark of the Covenant. You understand don’t you? We think we are better Christians if we have a sense of dignity and seriousness and if we act like adults. But we have a joy that is indestructible and Peter says is inexpressible.
Don’t you think it would be a good idea to spend a lifetime trying to express that which is inexpressible? Don’t you think it would be a valuable use of time trying to discover words that express what we currently have no vocabulary for? Don’t you think it would be a valuable way to expend our daily energy engaged in a non-stop pursuit of ways to express this joy that we have because Jesus has triumphed over evil, over suffering, and over the prince of this world? Don’t you think it is rather a waste of time sitting around clinging tightly to our grief? Don’t you think it would be better to dwell in joy than in Meshek? (Psalm 120)
Why do you think the world continues to gloat over us in their apparent victory? The world has no victory over us. The victory belongs to Jesus and therein we rejoice. The Lamb has triumphed!
Soli Deo Gloria!
A while back I made quick reference at this blog to an essay published by Scientific American written by Michael Shermer: Darwin on the Right. It’s an older essay (published September 18, 2006), but I think the points he made then still need to addressed by thinking people who refuse to just give up. The overall tone of the essay, brief as it is, is just that: Christians ought to just give up the fight because, according to Darwinists, there is such a preponderance of evidence for Darwinian evolution that it seems silly for anyone to argue against it. Shermer writes:
According to a 2005 Pew Research Center poll, 70 percent of evangelical Christians believe that living beings have always existed in their present form, compared with 32 percent of Protestants and 31 percent of Catholics. Politically, 60 percent of Republicans are creationists, whereas only 11 percent accept evolution, compared with 29 percent of Democrats who are creationists and 44 percent who accept evolution. A 2005 Harris Poll found that 63 percent of liberals but only 37 percent of conservatives believe that humans and apes have a common ancestry. What these figures confirm for us is that there are religious and political reasons for rejecting evolution. Can one be a conservative Christian and a Darwinian? Yes. Here’s how.
Now, I realize these figures are severely outdated, and that Shermer’s essay is over a year old, but I doubt the figures have changed much. Shermer’s approach is kind of a ‘Awe, com’on you silly Christians (and Conservatives!) get with the program!’ He also seems to think that believing in evolution (or at least making it compatible with biblical Christianity) is a rather simple thing to do: “Just follow these six easy steps and, Presto! as if by magic the synthesis will be complete.” But is it really as easy as Shermer would suggest? I think not. I’d like to take his points one at a time which means that these posts may run a little longer and may, in fact, be broken up as I address each of his six points.
First, Shermer writes that ‘Evolution fits well with good theology.’ He writes:
Christians believe in an omniscient and omnipotent God. What difference does it make when God created the universe–10,000 years ago or 10,000,000,000 years ago? The glory of the creation commands reverence regardless of how many zeroes in the date. And what difference does it make how God created life–spoken word or natural forces? The grandeur of life’s complexity elicits awe regardless of what creative processes were employed. Christians (indeed, all faiths) should embrace modern science for what it has done to reveal the magnificence of the divine in a depth and detail unmatched by ancient texts.
Well, in fact it does matter a great deal–theologically speaking, and for a few reasons at least. First, because, as I have stated elsewhere, the premise of Darwinian evolution is that it does not require any god to be involved. (I sometimes think Richard Dawkins carries more dislike for theistic evolutionists than he does for Creationists.) The whole idea then that Christians should accept a system of belief that does not require God, even the God of Scripture, is absurd. Second, because the Scripture says that God Created the world by his Spoken Word! The Scripture does not say that God used ‘natural forces’ (whatever that means). Genesis 1 is ample testimony that God spoke the world and the universe into existence. Colossians 1 is further evidence. But there is also Hebrews 11:3: “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” (And, please, spare me the drivel about creationism being only a matter of faith because evolution is no less a matter of faith!)
Third, ‘modern science’ is not rejected! This is the straw-man that Darwinists continue to lob out at Christians. Christians do not reject science; we reject materialistic Darwinian evolution and those ideas and beliefs that reject the Word of God as true.
Fourth, it (evolution) is not good or even bad theology or even compatible with good theology because Darwinian evolution is not any sort of Continue Reading »
I’d like to leave you this evening with two thoughts concerning the creation of the Word by God through Christ. The first, is that in Jesus, we have hope, meaning, and purpose in life:
17Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. (1 Peter 1:17-21, NIV)
I submit that part of this ‘empty way of life’ handed down to us was, in part, the empty Darwinism that was around long before Darwin since it is ultimately a rejection of the Word of God. However, it is this empty way of life that Darwinists are trying to reinstill in us by their continual rejection of the Word of God.
And, from Hebrews 1 (NIV):
1In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.
5For to which of the angels did God ever say,
“You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Or again,
“I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”?
6And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says,
“Let all God’s angels worship him.”7In speaking of the angels he says,
“He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire.” But about the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever,
and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
by anointing you with the oil of joy.”10He also says,
“In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
You will roll them up like a robe;
like a garment they will be changed.
But you remain the same,
and your years will never end.”
13To which of the angels did God ever say,
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet”?
14Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?
Jesus Christ is the beginning and the end (goal) of creation. He sustains all things by His powerful Word, He laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of his hands. What a powerful picture! What a glorious truth! We are not here due to some random, meaningless chance. We do not sustain things by our own ingenuity. We do not create. Man is not the measure of all things. His Name is Jesus! He is the King and the glory in which we have put our hope.
But I also notice how our redemption is tied tightly to the power of Jesus as Creator and Ruler of this universe He made. This is one, and enough, reason to sustain an ongoing belief in the Scriptures when they attest: “In the beginning God Created the Heavens and the Earth.” Thanks be to God!
Soli Deo Gloria!