Friday, May 1, 2015

Some good stuff: Importance of preaching Divine Wrath, Tithing is not a New Testament command, Reality of Spiritual Warfare, 25 Years of Hubble (allowing us to see God's handiwork)

Some good stuff:

John Martin - The Great Day of Divine Wrath
I'm big on wrath. What are we "saved" from, if we never teach, witness about, or preach the wrath? How can we understand the majesty, depth, and generosity of His love if we do not first understand the wrath? This article appeared at Ligonier and is written by one of the preachers I enjoy most, Steven Lawson:

Is It Necessary to Preach Divine Wrath?
The Genevan Reformer John Calvin said, “Preaching is the public exposition of Scripture by the man sent from God, in which God Himself is present in judgment and in grace.” Faithful pulpit ministry requires the declaration of both judgment and grace. The Word of God is a sharp, two-edged sword that softens and hardens, comforts and afflicts, saves and damns.


1 Corinthians 9 is a tremendous chapter, embedded as it is between 8 and 10, where Paul lengthily expounds about eating meat sacrificed to idols. In reading the passage, I found some parts of chapter 9 difficult to understand. My puny mind and all. I turned to another of my favorite preachers, S. Lewis Johnson, after I'd read the particular passage. He expounded on it in a tremendous way. In one part of the sermon, he took a little side trip. Oh, our beloved preachers and their rabbit trails, lol. Here is the side trip down tithing lane in his sermon "Paul's Right to Compensation":
Now, we know that of course in the Old Testament, the Levitical priests carried out the ministry, and they were supported by the children of Israel, the other tribes. They were supported by the tithe. The tithe was not a gift. The tithe was income tax. They had to pay a tenth to the support of the priests, and so the priests carried on the work of the Lord, and they were supported by the children of Israel because they were taxed, ten percent. Clinton hasn’t brought that up yet. But nevertheless, in the Old Testament that’s the way it was done. The Old Testament speaks of tithes and offerings. Offerings were in addition to the tithe. Tithe was income tax. It’s so amazing to me, so amazing to me that we can hear ministry to the effect that we ought to give tithes. Tithes are the big thing in most of our churches, tithes. If you’ll just simply take your Concordance out and look at the New Testament and look up the term “tithe,” and you’ll see that it is never used of anything other than something that happened as history, as history, not now.

I remember my father, when the church in Charleston was putting up a new addition, First Presbyterian Church there, the Old Scots Church. And it was later on, I had been a minister of the gospel for a good time, and we had a number of talks. He was an elder in the church, and he handed me the literature. And he said, “Well, what do you think about this? Do you think — what do you think he was implying what I thought he should give? Well, I wasn’t going to give him any advice at all, but I read the material. And it was an appeal to the members of the First Presbyterian Church of Charleston to give for the new addition. Tithes was mentioned I don’t know how many times. I may still have that in my — in my notes somewhere. I thought it was a good illustration. I could use it in preaching.

But tithes, tithes were mentioned, and I had an opportunity to mention to my father that, as far as the tithe is concerned, the tithe is an Old Testament income tax. And I do know that he happened to give an offering. He told me later, he had given an offering. But we just, I feel, after all these years as old as I am, the biggest mistake made in a local church is failure to read the Bible, failure to read the Bible. The elders, deacons, and members, failure to read the Bible. Expect others to do it for us. Let Dr. Johnson tell us what the Bible has to say. No. If it depended on me, somewhere you’d go wrong because I’d go wrong somewhere. But read the Bible.
So, no, tithing was a national tax in the OT, rendered to support the temple upkeep and support the priests. It is not a NT mandate. Don't let anyone pressure you otherwise.


Another little gem from SL Johnson's sermon,
Lord Bacon, who was not a religious man to my knowledge, authored an aphorism regarding the interpretation of legal documents that bears directly on the interpretation of the Biblical records as well. He said, “Interpretation that departs from the letter of the text is not interpretation but divination.” That’s precisely what it is. It’s you adding things to the text as if you are an authority like the Lord God in heaven, the divine being.

EPrata photo
I really enjoyed this article from Answers in Genesis about the reality of spiritual warfare. If one peeve of mine is that the wrath is hardly preached, the reality of the spiritual war is even less so.

The Reality of Spiritual Warfare in the Home
by Dr. Robert H. Carpenter on December 13, 2007
One of the sad realities within the local church today centers on the fact that numerous born-again Christians have little or no knowledge of the spiritual warfare that takes place all around us. The Bible is crystal clear in proclaiming that there is a battle raging in the heavenlies as the forces of evil continue to wage war against not only the Creator, but also against all who trust in Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord.


Look at what our Creator has done! Just look at it!

Visit Hubble's 25th anniversary website to see the curated collection of Hubble’s anniversary images. In contrast, this Flickr set contains one image from each year that Hubble has been in orbit.

Explore beautiful Hubble Space Telescope images from each year the telescope has been in orbit


"Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all". (1 Chronicles 29:11)

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