Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Review - Sunday October 28th: Grow and Take Heed

Review of Lord’s Day: October 28th 2012
Pastor Shane Walker and Pastor Neil Jackson
Luke 2:39-52, Revelation 6

My take on Sunday's Sermons at Andover Baptist and other thoughts

What happens to a stalk of corn grown indoors when you plant it outside in the elements? It doesn't have the strong fibers which enable corn to withstand the wind and the rain so it falls over and dies.  Jesus was faced with difficult life circumstances which enabled Him to grown strong and increase in wisdom.  And we need to seek to grow strength of character and increase in spiritual wisdom as well.  
- Worship Jesus who is both fully God and fully Man
- Grow in Wisdom and Strength with Jesus as your example

Jesus was fully man.  He did not come out of the birth canal full of witty parables and statements of woe on the pharisees.  He had to mature and grow just as any human boy would.  He had to learn his trade and understand how society worked.  But we need to remember that although we fully embrace the truth that Jesus was 100% man and the many interesting familiar experiences we share with him as fellow humans, he is also 100% God.  Jesus is now at the right hand of His Father in heaven and will return to judge the world with wrath upon His enemies and with love for his adopted children.  Yes, we can identify with His humanity.  But no, we cannot identify with His divinity.  We need to worship Him as He is, fully man and fully God. 

We must be careful to use wisdom to grow in our understanding of society and our trade just as Jesus did.  We must seek to learn and grow in our understanding of spiritual things as Jesus did in the temple.  We should not only read our bible but ask questions of the text and seek their answers.  Is it not a tendency to be lazy and approach our devotional times with a check the box type of mentality? "I've read my ___ chapters for today and prayed, check."  But there should be times where we are struck by difficult passages, questions about application, and confusion over the author's meaning.  We have the Holy Spirit to help illuminate our understanding to these things and we also have trusted teachers to help us.  We must make it our aim to grow in the knowledge of God through the hard work of studying the word and doctrine. We must build moral character through trial and error and the process of repentance.  It is important to train our children from a young age in these things.  Jesus is our example in that he was only twelve years old when he was in Jerusalem for three days learning in the temple.

Notes: Wisdom is not entertaining.  Wisdom is the way things work - it is how to do things the correct way and it is not something that will be exciting.  It is learned slowly and with difficulty over time.

There is a great interest in how the world will end up.  There is a great interest in how our own lives will end up and what the ultimate end will be for us.  Is there life after death? Will we achieve our hopes and our dreams?  What will happen in heaven?  Is there heaven and is there a @#!*% ?  But all of these interests are for the most part passing - many refuse to take these questions seriously.

- The reality of the Tribulation
- The source of the Tribulation
- The purpose of the Tribulation

Further introductory/expository matter: There are four horses sent.  Notice that they are sent by the four living creatures.  Horses: 1) War 2) Violence 3) Famine 4) Death.  It appears that this all happens before the final judgement because the martyrs (fifth seal) are seeking the end "how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" and because the sixth seal seems to unleash events which are consistent with the end of the world and final judgement as we see in other passages.  Isaiah 34:1-4, 2 Peter 3:10-12, Luke 21:25-28 all speak of similar things (Is "host of heaven rot away," 2P "heavenly bodies will melt as they burn," Lu "the powers of the heavens will be shaken" Is "slain shall be cast out the stench of their corpses shall rise," Lu "people fainting with foreboding of what is coming on the world.") If you read the sixth seal in Revelation 6 and Isaiah 34:1-4 you will see striking similarities of imagery.

The tribulation was foretold by Christ.  It is real and we should not be surprised or amazed by it.

The four living creatures are the immediate cause of the tribulations but they are God's agents.  This is a series of events that are according to God's will and are what He desires.

The tribulations of the 1st to 4th seals remind mankind of the coming final judgement.  They are also a test of the believers to stand strong - Luke 21 when we see these things we are to be ready because our final redemption is near! The tribulation is also a means by which the enemies of God are further hardened just as Pharaoh's heart was hardened at the tribulation brought on Egypt, so the ruler of this world and his followers will be hardened at the tribulation brought on the world.  And just as Israel left Egypt and went to the promised land after the final tribulation, so the church will leave this world and enter the new Jerusalem after the final tribulation and judgement.  I think there are some similarities but we can't take it too far.

Unbelievers - take this as a kind and loving warning not to be found an enemy of God on that day.  Even as we look over the devastation caused by a relatively minor storm we can see the shadow of a much bigger judgement to come.  Take heed.

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