In two recent posts by Stephen Altrogge, he has urged his readers to be thankful for music (Coldplay and the Cross) and ibuprofen (The Blessing of Ibuprofen). This was a reminder to me of all the “little blessings” of God that I take for granted. So find something, like the Pilot G-2 .05 I enjoy writing with, and thank God for the small things.
Related to sharpening our thoughts on matters, I am really grateful to John Piper and the dear ones at Desiring God that allow us to have so many excellent, God-centered resources for free. I was really challenged and encouraged by the final sermon on a series on marriage that Piper preached recently entitled “What God Has Joined Together, Let Not Man Separate, Part 2.” Part 1 would be worthy of your attention as well, but part 2 answers some basic questions people often raise about the divorce/remarriage issue. I took Piper’s sermon to be charitable, Biblical and forceful in setting forth God’s desires on this issue. It is worth checking out and I offer it to you as the sermon of the week.
There has been some talk online lately about baptism. It seems the good folks at Covenant Life Church have decided to examine to more faithfully administrate the ordinances of the church. This past Sunday, Josh Harris, Senior Pastor, preached on baptism. One of their pastors, Bob Kauflin, wrote a post reflecting on the importance of baptism in the worship service.
Furthermore, reading Justin Taylor today just after lunch, it seems that my favorite systematic theologian, Wayne Grudem, has changed his view on the different views of baptism in the local church. All of these posts are helpful in sharpening our thoughts on these issues.
For today’s Marriage Monday, let me give a shameless plug for our HomeWord worship service held this Friday evening from 7-9PM at the church. These worship services were featured in our latest newsletter and are a great way to deepen your relatonship with God and your spouse. Plan to join us…!
This upcoming sermon series by John Piper looks interesting.
My heart was leaping in agreement and at the same time I was cut to the quick when I began reading Studies in the Sermon on the Mount by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Meg and I are going to be studying this sermon methodically and I am even considering teaching a Wed PM class using the good doctor’s book as a help. He writes:
It is obviously important that we should approach this Book in the right manner. We must start by agreeing that merely to read the Bible is not enough in and of itself. It is possible for us to read the Bible in such a mechanical manner that we derive no benefit from doing so. That is why I think we have to be careful with every kind of rule and regulation int he matter of discipline in the spiritual life. It is a good thing to read the Bible daily, but it can be quite profitless if we merely do so for the sake of being able to say we read the Bible daily. I am a great advocate of schemes of Bible reading, but we have to be careful that in our use of such schemes we are not content just to read the portion for the day and then quit to rush off without thought and meditation. That can be quite profitless. Our approach to the Bible is something which is of vital importance.
These words are really a microscope into my heart. Too often in my daily time in the Word this is exactly what I do. Oh for grace to not merely read but to listen.
On of my favorite C.J. Mahaney sermons, Cravings and Conflict, has now been turned into an article for our benefit. It would be worth your time to see his Gospel-centered counsel when it comes to facing conflicts head on.
Last night when I was flipping through the channels I saw the horrific sight of the collapse of the I-35W Bridge over the Mississippi. My thought immediately went out to John Piper’s church, Bethlehem Baptist and Desiring God Ministries. As I recalled and Piper confirmed in his blog last night, the bridge is within sight of their church building. Piper posted a blog writing how he began to work through this devastating event with his family. Evidently, their family devotions last night came from Luke 13:1-5 which says:
There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Piper as always with cross-centered focus communicated the following:
All of us have sinned against God, not just against man. This is an outrage ten thousand times worse than the collapse of the 35W bridge. That any human is breathing at this minute on this planet is sheer mercy from God. God makes the sun rise and the rain fall on those who do not treasure him above all else. He causes the heart to beat and the lungs to work for millions of people who deserve his wrath. This a view of reality that desperately needs to be taught in our churches, so that we are prepared for the calamities of the world.
The meaning of the collapse of this bridge is that John Piper is a sinner and should repent or forfeit his life forever. That means I should turn from the silly preoccupations of my life and focus my mind’s attention and my heart’s affection on God and embrace Jesus Christ as my only hope for the forgiveness of my sins and for the hope of eternal life. That is God’s message in the collapse of this bridge. That is his most merciful message: there is still time to turn from sin and unbelief and destruction for those of us who live. If we could see the eternal calamity from which he is offering escape we would hear this as the most precious message in the world.
I urge you to read his post, but also to pray for their church as they minister and for those touched by this devastation, that they would bow their knee before Almighty God and kiss the Son…
I was thinking today about posting for Marriage Monday on the role of the wife, but before I do that (maybe next week), I came across this great post by Tony Reinke over at Shepherd’s Scrapbook on what Christ wishes every husband knew about marriage. I would commend the whole post, but here is what really stuck out to me:
The profound nature of the Cross relates to the husband because true leadership in the home is illustrated by the mystery of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross for His Bride. Nothing of Christ’s was spared in His love for the Church. Christ willingly laid down His comforts, His glory and emptied Himself of all that He was rightfully entitled to save an undeserving and sinful Bride. This He accomplished on the Cross! He released all claims of His reputation, became a bondservant, and humbled Himself in the pursuit of obedience (Phil. 2:5-11).
Christ is no tyrant and no pushover. The same Christ returning to destroy sin with the sharp edge of a sword is the same Christ who washed the feet of His disciples (John 13:5). He came to serve His Bride, not expecting to be served like a lazy husband watching TV with the expectation that his “submitting” wife will cater to the enhancement of his surroundings. Think of this: If the Groom came only to assert his authority and enjoy the fruits of His submitting Bride, we would have no Cross, no Atoning Blood, no forgiveness of sin, no wrath appeased, and we would be hopelessly lost forever.
In the profound mystery of the Cross, true spiritual leadership is emulated. The Cross calls me to serve my wife in way that has no limits on personal comforts sacrificed, calls me to initiate service, and find new ways to care for her spiritual health. I am to care for her as I care for myself.
The stakes are very high. Wives and mothers do not clock out. Their duties can last all waking hours and are on-call through the night. In the past month I have seen the devastating effects of wives who believe that everything in the home rests on their shoulders and to rely on the husband domestically is a sign of failure. Rather, an overburdened wife is an under-led wife and reflects more poorly on the man than the woman. When we as husbands take our eyes off the Cross, we will fail as leaders and our wives will suffer the heavy consequences.
Husbands, are you convicted of your leadership failures like I am? I would encourage you to look at the Cross where we are saved from God’s wrath. We may be poor leaders, but we are justified in Christ and our leadership failures do not impact God’s pleasure in us. Christ achieved the full ransom price for our sinfulness. We can look back with conviction but never should the Christian husband look back at failures with condemnation. The same Cross that emulates leadership is the same Cross that covers our leadership failures.
These are helpful words for us as the ever present indwelling sin rears its ugly head in our lives as Christian men. Husbands, let’s strive for this kind of loving leadership, pursued with cross-centered intensity.