Monthly Archives: November 2008
An excerpt from a sermon on Psalm 116 by Spurgeon titled Precious Deaths delivered at the Metropolitan Tabernacle on February 18th, 1872.
The church embalms the memories of her martyrs wherever they die-precious in God’s sight must their deaths be. The deaths too of those who work for Christ, until at last weary nature gives out, when body and brain are both exhausted, and the man can no longer continue in his beloved labor, but lays down his body and his charge together, never putting off harness until he puts off his flesh-methinks the deaths of such men must be precious in God’s sight. But, not more so, mark that not more so than the departure of the patient sufferer, scarcely able to say a word, solitary and unknown, only able to serve God by submissively enduring pains which make night weary and day intolerable. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of the consumptive girl who gradually melts into heaven; the death of the pauper in the workhouse, without a friend, but uncomplainingly bearing God’s will, is as precious (not perhaps under some aspects), but as truly precious in the sight of the Lord as that of the most useful preacher of the word. Precious to Jehovah is the death of the least in the ranks, as the death of those who rush to the front and bear the brunt of the battle well. There are no distinctions in the text; if you be a saint no one may know you, you may be too poor and too illiterate to be of much account in the world, you may die and pass away, and no record may be among the sons of men, no stone set up over your lonely grave, but precious in the sight of the Lord in every case is the death of his saints. There is no limit as to whom. (emphasis mine)
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”-Psalm 116:15.
1 Corinthians 15:53-57 (ESV)
For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
I believe that every particle of dust that dances in the sunbeam does not move an atom more or less than God wishes-that every particle of spray that dashes against the steamboat has its orbit as well as the sun in the heavens-that the chaff from the hand of the winnower is steered as the stars in their courses. The creeping of an aphid over the rosebud is as much fixed as the march of the devastating pestilence-the fall of sear leaves from a poplar is as fully ordained as the tumbling of an avalanche.
(Charles Spurgeon, ‘God’s Providence’, sermon on Ezekiel 1:15-19, 1908.)
“Humble yourselves under God’s mighty hand so that at the proper time, He may exalt you, casting all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth gives way…The Lord of hosts is with us ” (Psalm 46: 2,11)
“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright.” (Psalm 20:7-8)
Interesting how Americans, Christian or otherwise, respond to turbulent times. So many are in need as financial engines grind to a halt. In strange counterpoint, so many Christiians, not being satisfied with what they have, think the priority is to go on a spending spree at the gun shop as a fearful response to political threats to the Second Amendment. I make this observation as one who used to be an avid shooter and collector of (inexpensive) firearms, as one who even competed for a brief season in IDPA. (1911A1 in .45ACP) I also find no fault with such interests in proper context. We can disagree while maintaining unity in Christ over issues of gun ownership and the role of such in self-defense. That issue is not the thrust of this post. What does interest me is what people place their trust in. As a public confession, if financially able and at the place now where I was spiritually just a three of four years ago, I am ashamed to say my overriding priority in these current political circumstances may have been to buy things before they were banned.
If a reader of this post is a shooter and a collector of firearms, I am not beating you up. Though currently inactive in both collecting and shooting, I am not, as said earlier, condemning those activities. I do question the priority of those who call on the name of Christ who, by their words, seem to be more concerned about and elevate Second Amendment issues above the Gospel. And yes, this post is born from the thoughts that have risen after more than one relatively recent conversation. Though at one time I may have chosen to die on the hill of the Second Amendment, I would not chose to do so now. There are other hills of far more ‘strategic’ importance.
That all being said, here is another poll for you. You get a new hammer, everything looks like a nail. You start using the WordPress poll feature, every issue, every post, needs a poll. The following poll does pose a serious question, at least for me. If, as a Christian striving to be faithful to the Word, the government says you are turn in all your firearms, what do you do as one who is Biblically called to be obedient to the law?
Some rather randomly assembled, ill-knit together, stream-of-consciousness thoughts and questions, some of which are rhetorical:
- I absolutely trust in sovereignty of God knowing that He often works through human agents. Often, I do not understand why Abba Father allows many things to happen, but my faith and trust abide.
- My thinking now is that, yes, I would turn in my firearms. I would not like it and hope that I am never required to do so, but I am now compelled that such is the obedient, Biblical response.
- Does the government have that right to take away effective means of self-defense without the reciprocal promise to provide for one’s protection? Do you feel some tension with the first ‘bullet’ point?
- That being said, I affirm that I am also, as the covenant head of my family, their protector.
- Do some trust their firearms more than they trust God?
- Do some trust political processes more than they trust God?
- Some decisions are easy (though costly, perhaps to the point of loss of life) If living in WW2 Germany, then no, you absolutely do not aid the government in The Final Solution. In hypothetical 2010 America, do you aid the government by your obedience to the law, to some draconian measure, that may lead up to something worse further down the road?
- In regards to the poll, I think that Christians who love the Messiah can reach different conclusions.
- I acquired my concealed carry license about six years ago, though I do not carry as often as I once did. Knowing that I can legally carry the means to take a life weighs increasingly heavy on me. I know, too, that states issuing concealed carry have experienced lower rates of violent crime.
- That I, at one time, cared more about the Second Amendment than about the holocaust of abortion is to my great and never-ending shame.
Could ramble on for hours, but for brevities sake, I will refrain
Luke 22:36 “He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.”
Romans 13:1-7 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
Hebrews 13:5 (ESV) Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Okay, I am no historian or theologian, and I realize that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Having said that, I affirm that, Biblically, Christians are to submit to authorities and render unto governing bodies that which is owed – taxes, for example. What of the American revolution, then, a revolt against an established governing power primarily over, if I have accurately retained my high school American history over the last 30+ years, taxation without representation?
Perhaps this is a simple-minded question, but without regard to the moral character of those who participated on both sides of the conflict and while also unabashedly affirming God’s sovereignty over the affairs of mankind, was it a ‘righteous’ revolution in view of those verses that affirm that we are to submit to authorities as long as such does not lead to disobedience to God?
Part of the motivation behind asking this question arises from my rising consciousness and concerns over the errant synergism of church and state found in some pulpits and congregates, both on the left and right side of ecclesiology and politics. It arises, to, from the nervous hand-wringing of many that precedes recent presidential elections.
As an aside, I recently watched a bit of a local church service on television wherein two or three songs/anthems of a patriotic nature were performed prior to the sermon. Without regard to the tone and content of this post, I am not anti-American or unpatriotic. However, does the national anthem or patriotic tunes have a place in worship? Yea! Another poll for you!
Romans 13:1-7 (ESV)
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
“Ἀπόδοτε οὖν τὰ Καίσαρος Καίσαρι καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ Θεῷ” Matthew 22:21
I have rather recently shied away from culture war rhetoric. I do not think I engage it well, even though I did fight that fight a bit on my old Stumbleupon blog. As an aside and just so you know, if you chose to peruse through the aforementioned blog, understand that I have distanced myself from some of the interests and attitudes found in the aforementioned blog.
Too, part of my push-back as been that often what is spoken by some culture warriors is perhaps, without intent, a form of moralism without a strong Gospel. I confess I have been guilty of such
However, this clip from James White is powerful. I am especially appreciative of his observation of the weakness of post-Christian (European) secularism as it crashes into Islam….