Christ is Superior – Part 2

by Kevin DeYoung “God has spoken by his Son, and this Son is superior to all persons, heavenly beings, institutions, rituals, and previous means of revelation and redemption. That’s the big idea in Hebrews 1:1–4 and throughout the book. Christ is superior: To Angels (chs. 1-2) To Moses (ch. 3) To Joshua (chs. 3-4) To Aaron (ch. 5) To Abraham (ch. 6) To Melchizedek (ch. 7) To the old covenant (ch. 8) To the tabernacle (ch. 9) To the high priest (ch. 10) To the treasures of this world (ch. 11) To Mount Sinai (ch. 12) To the city we have here on earth (ch. 13). The Son is our Great Superlative, surpassing all others because in him we have the fullness and finality of God’s redemption and revelation.”   -Kevin DeYoung, Taking God At His Word: Why the Bible Is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You and Me, (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2014), 49.

Christ is Superior – Part 1

by Kevin DeYoung

“Christ is the superior and final agent of God’s redemption and revelation. The writer of Hebrews, drawing form Psalms 2 and 110, makes seven affirmations to this end:

1. The Son is the heir of all things (Heb. 1:2b). Everything culminates in Christ. The mission work of this age is to bring Christ what rightfully belongs to him.

2. The Son is the creator of all things (v. 2c). Though the second person of the Trinity is not mentioned by name in the creation account, we see in Genesis that God created by the action of his divine speech. This word spoken is to be identified with the Word who later became incarnate.

3. The Son is the sustainer of all things (v. 3a). Every proton, electron, every compound, every particle and planet, every star and galaxy is upheld by his powerful word.

4. The Son is the revelation of God (v. 3a). He is the manifestation of God’s presence, not merely a reflection of the divine glory but the radiance of it. He is the exact imprint of God, same in essence and nature. Christ shows us God as he truly is.

5. The Son made purification for our sins (v. 3b). He took away the stain and guilt of sin, not just as a shadow of greater things to come (like the former sacrifices) but as the substance of all that has been prefigured.

6. The Son sat down (v. 3b). Just as a mother sits down at the end of the day because the kids are finally in bed and the kitchen is clean, so Christ sat down at the right hand of God because his work had been accomplished. The enthronement was complete (Ps. 110:1) and the priestly task completed once for all (Heb. 9:25-26).

7. The Son, therefore, has become much superior to angels (v. 4). He is superior to these heavenly messengers because God’s final word has been spoken through him. None will come after him. Our great salvation has come–confirmed by signs, wonders, miracles, and gifts of the Spirit–and it shall never be surpassed (2:1-4).”

-Kevin DeYoung, Taking God At His Word: Why the Bible Is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You and Me, (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2014), 47-48.

 

Lord, in the Morning Thou Shalt Hear

Lord, in the morning Thou shalt hear
My voice ascending high;
To Thee will I direct my prayer,
To Thee lift up mine eye.

Up to the hills, where Christ is gone
To plead for all His saints,
Presenting at His Father’s throne,
Our songs and our complaints.

Thou art a God before Whose sight
The wicked shall not stand;
Sinners shall ne’er be Thy delight,
Nor dwell at Thy right hand.

But to Thy house will I resort,
To taste Thy mercies there;
I will frequent Thine holy court,
And worship in Thy fear.

O may Thy Spirit guide my feet
In ways of righteousness!
Make ev’ry path of duty straight
And plain before my face

My watchful enemies combine
To tempt my feet astray;
They flatter, with a base design
To make my soul their prey.

Lord, crush the serpent in the dust,
And all his plots destroy;
While those that in Thy mercy trust,
Forever shout for joy.

The men that love and fear Thy Name
Shall see their hopes fulfill’d;
The mighty God will compass them
With favor as a shield.

-Isaac Watts, The Psalms of David, 1719.

Jesus, I Come

Out of my bondage, sorrow, and night,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into Thy freedom, gladness, and light,
Jesus, I come to Thee;
Out of my sickness, into Thy health,
Out of my want and into Thy wealth,
Out of my sin and into Thyself,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of my shameful failure and loss,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into the glorious gain of Thy cross,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of earth’s sorrows into Thy balm,
Out of life’s storms and into Thy calm,
Out of distress to jubilant psalm,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of unrest and arrogant pride,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into Thy blessèd will to abide,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of myself to dwell in Thy love,
Out of despair into raptures above,
Upward for aye on wings like a dove,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of the fear and dread of the tomb,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into the joy and light of Thy throne,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of the depths of ruin untold,
Into the peace of Thy sheltering fold,
Ever Thy glorious face to behold,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

-William T. Sleep­er, in Gos­pel Hymns No. 5, 1887.

Lord, We Confess Our Numerous Faults

Lord, we confess our numerous faults,
How great our guilt has been!
Foolish and vain were all our thoughts,
And all our lives were sin.

But, O my soul! for ever praise,
For ever love His Name,
Who turns thy feet from dangerous ways
Of folly, sin and shame.

’Tis not by works of righteousness
Which our own hands have done;
But we are saved by sovereign grace
Abounding through His Son.

’Tis from the mercy of our God
That all our hopes begin;
’Tis by the water and the blood
Our souls are washed from sin.

’Tis through the purchase of His death
Who hung upon the tree,
The Spirit is sent down to breathe
On such dry bones as we.

Raised from the dead we live anew;
And, justified by grace,
We shall appear in glory too,
And see our Father’s face.

-Isaac Watts, Hymns and Spiritual Songs, 1707-1709, number 111.

Four Essential Characteristics of Scripture

By Kevin DeYoung

Sufficiency: The Scriptures contain everything we need to know for knowledge of salvation and godly living. We don’t need any new revelation from heaven.

Clarity: The saving message of Jesus Christ is plainly taught in the Scriptures and can be understood by all who have ears to hear it. We don’t need an official magisterium to tell us what the Bible means.

Authority: The last word always goes to the word of God. We must never allow the teachings of science, of human experience, or of church councils to take precedence over Scripture.

Necessity: General revelation is not enough to save us. We cannot know God savingly by means of personal experience and human reason. We need God’s word to tell us how to live, who Christ is, and how to be saved.

God’s word is final; God’s word is understandable; God’s word is necessary; and God’s word is enough.

-Kevin DeYoung, Taking God At His Word: Why the Bible Is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You and Me, (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2014), 44.

The Great Commission

The Great Commission (Matt. 28:16-20; Luke 24:45-49; John 20:21-23; Acts 1:8)

A. From Matthew

“Matthew 28:18-20 contains what is commonly called the Great Commission. These are Jesus’ last words recorded in Matthew’s Gospel, although we know from the other Gospels and Acts that these were not Jesus’s final words before His ascension. By ending his Gospel with these words, Matthew draws attention to the importance and centrality of the commission–for Matthew, the Great Commission summed up Jesus’s entire post-resurrection message.

Matthew provides some context for these important words.

Following the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the eleven disciples travel to Galilee to a certain mountain in obedience to Jesus’s instructions. Matthew notes that when Jesus appears to them, they worship him, but some continue to doubt. There on the mountain Jesus communicates the earth-shaking results of his resurrection–Jesus now has all authority in heaven and on earth. As a result, his followers must now go out into the entire world to make disciples of all nations by baptizing them and teaching them everything that he has commanded.

The central command of the commission is to make disciples, that is, the develop genuine, lifelong followers of Jesus.

Jesus’s command to baptize “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” Points to a Trinitarian understanding of God and to the deity of Jesus. Jesus affirms his continued presence and empowerment until the end of the age. His followers are not being called upon to embark on this mission alone. Jesus will be with them.

Because of Jesus’s resurrection, the message of God’s kingdom is no longer to be limited to the Jewish nation but must be proclaimed to every nation and every person everywhere in the world.

Matthew makes clear that this is a direct command from Jesus, the resurrected king of the world, to his followers. The Great Commission is not a mere wish or suggestion; it is a command that is just as valid and relevant for Jesus’s followers today as it was when it was first given.

B. From Luke

Luke’s version of the Great Commission is recorded in two places and was spoken near Jerusalem just prior to the ascension. The Lukan Great Commission states that “repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

You will be witnesses of these things” (Luke 24:47-48), accompanied by Jesus’ promise that “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Matthew’s description of perpetual presence is repeated in Luke’s account in terms of supernatural empowerment of the Holy Spirit for the activity of witness to the entire world.

C. From John

The Johannine Great Commission–“As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you”–is followed by the symbolic impartation of the Spirit and a description of the forgiveness of sins that will accompany the church’s proclamation of the gospel. The followers of Jesus are sent by Jesus into the world just as God sent Jesus into the world. Jesus’s followers share his mandate and missions and are empowered by the Spirit in their work.

D. Contradictions?

The continual reappearance of the Great Commission motif using different words in different contexts indicates not that the individual Gospel authors mixed up Jesus’s words but that the theme of the Great Commission is a major element of his post-resurrection teaching (Matt. 28:18-20; Luke 24:47-48; John 20:21-23; Acts 1:8), which goes on over a period of forty days (Acts 1:3).

Jesus continually emphasizes it in different contexts and with different words. It is imperative that the disciples not miss this important command. They are to go into the entire world in the power of the Spirit, sent by Jesus as witnesses to his resurrection and his kingdom. The centrality of this element of Jesus’s post-resurrection appearances must not be missed or downplayed.

E. Conclusion:

Being a Christian is defined in Jesus’s post-resurrection teaching as obeying the Great Commission. It is the mandate that is to define the very existence of his followers.”

-Andreas J. Köstenberger and Justin Taylor with Alexander Stewart. The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2014), 199-202.

Bury the Workman

Steven was a deacon in Jerusalem
They dragged him out those city gates to try and quiet him
When Steven preached those Pharisees started throwing stones
Before he died he raised his eyes and saw Jesus on the throne

He said, You can bury the workmen but the work will go on
And you can silence the voices but you can’t stop the song
When the Spirit’s moving, His will will be done
You can bury the workmen but the work will go on

James was sent to Heaven at the edge of Herod’s sword
And Peter he was crucified like his beloved Lord
The Roman Colosseum, the lions and the fires
The gates of hell did not prevail, they fanned those flames higher

Cause you can bury the workmen but the work will go on
And you can silence the voices but you can’t stop the song
When the Spirit’s moving, His will will be done
And you can bury the workmen but the work will go on

And then they lowered Jesus, they laid Him in a grave
They thought that it was over, that His name would fade away
But Jesus wasn’t listening, no, He rose to life again
Cause God is not persuaded by the arrogance of men

So you can bury the workmen but the work will go on
And you can silence the voices but you can’t stop the song
When the Spirit’s moving, His will will be done
And you can bury the workmen but the work will go on

And you can bury the workmen but the work will go on
And you can silence the voices but you can’t stop the song
When the Spirit’s moving, His will will be done
And you can bury the workmen but the work will go on
Yeah you can bury the workmen but the work will go on

-Unspoken

The King of Glory – Psalm 24

In honor of Earth day: 

“A Psalm of David.

The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof,a
the world and those who dwell therein,

for he has founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.

Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?
And who shall stand in his holy place?

He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to what is false
and does not swear deceitfully.

He will receive blessing from the LORD
and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah

Lift up your heads, O gates!
And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.

Who is this King of glory?
The LORD, strong and mighty,
the LORD, mighty in battle!

Lift up your heads, O gates!
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.

Who is this King of glory?
The LORD of hosts,
he is the King of glory! Selah”

My God, Consider My Distress

My God, consider my distress,
Let mercy plead my cause;
Though I have sinned against Thy grace,
I can’t forget Thy laws.

Forbid, forbid the sharp reproach
Which I so justly fear;
Uphold my life, uphold my hopes,
Nor let my shame appear.

Be Thou a surety, Lord, for me,
Nor let the proud oppress;
But make Thy waiting servant see
The shinings of Thy face.

My eyes with expectation fail,
My heart within me cries,
“When will the Lord His truth fulfill,
And make my comforts rise?”

Look down upon my sorrows, Lord,
And show Thy grace the same
As Thou art ever wont t’afford
To those that love Thy Name.

-Isaac Watts, The Psalms of David, 1719.