Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tim Ambrose has been blogging

There are riches at Rev'd Tim Ambrose's blog, Timothy Titus:


And I'm looking forward to further goodies.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Roger Carswell Audio

Evangelist and author Roger Carswell is due to be the main speaker at the Sussex Gospel Partnership Passion for Life Mission in 2010. He's a very engaging and biblically faithful speaker. But you may not want to take my word for it. You can hear him for yourself all over the internet before you invite your friends, family, neighbours, colleages, dog and budgey to hear him in the flesh.

Googleing something like "Roger Carswell audio" yields the kind of things you might be interested in.

Here are some of the things I hastily gleaned from there. Sometimes a bit of scrolling down, looking around or searching is needed:




Tuesday 20th February Forgiven - Can God really forgive me for ...? - Roger Carswell 14MB mp3

Monday 19th February Me Myself and I - Who am I? - Roger Carswell 18MB mp3

Monday 19th February Where is God in a messed up World - Roger Carswell 11MB mp3

Sunday 10th December Away in a Manger or here with us now? - Roger Carswell 3.8MB mp3

Saturday 4th November Houseparty Talk 3 - 1 Thessalonians 4 - Roger Carswell 11MB mp3

Saturday 4th November Houseparty Talk 2 - 1 Thessalonians 2 - Roger Carswell 14MB mp3

Friday 3rd November Houseparty Talk 1 - 1 Thessalonians 1 - Roger Carswell 14MB mp3





If anyone knows of any other Roger Carswell stuff (especially perhaps a typical evangelistic talk!) which is available for free on the interweb, please feel free to add a comment.

Update: see also

www.theevangelist.org.uk & www.tell-me-more.org (includes some audio)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

History of Paedocommunion

Here is the conclusion of Tommy Lee's "The History of Paedocommunion: From the Early Church Until 1500”: (emphasis added)

From the third century until the twelfth and thirteenth century there is overwhelming evidence that the Western Church regularly brought her infants and young children to participate in the Lord's Supper. This is evidenced by several primary sources and substantiated by numerous secondary sources. Before this time, "we have no unambiguous evidence about the practice"83 of paedocommunion. However, not even the most ardent opponents of infant and young child communion have been able to adequately explain why it "suddenly" became the common and universal practice of the church in the third century. The most logical explanation of the church's third century paedocommunion practice is that it was the same as the church's first and second century paedocommunion practice. The efforts of Coppes and others to shed doubt on the presence of infant and young child communion in the first and second centuries have been ineffective. We do not have any direct references to paedocommunion in first or second century documents, but as soon as references to this practice appear, (far from being considered novel) they are accidental remarks about a practice as common and ordinary as going to sleep at night.

In the West, history records the infants and young children of the church being denied the Lord's Supper for the first time in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. It is important to note that "the Lord's Supper was lost to the church's children in the west not as a result of a purification of the church's practice of the sacrament but rather as the result of a horrible corruption of it."84 There were three or four minor realities that deterred people from having their infants and children communed, but the primary reason for their exclusion was the superstitious fear of the elements provoked by the theory of transubstantiation.

In Eastern Christianity , there has never been a reason to discontinue the ancient tradition of paedocommunion which has been handed down to them from the early church. "Still today in the Eastern Orthodox Church, infants [receive]... the three sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist, within a few minutes of each other, and in that order."85

There have been a few reformational attempts in the West to restore the early church's custom of communing her infants and young children, but these endeavors have never totally won the day. The most famous of these attempts came from the fifteenth century Hussites. The following is a portion of one of their communion hymns:

"You gave us his body to eat,
His holy blood to drink
What more could he have done for us?

"Let us not deny it to little children
Nor forbid them
When they eat Jesus' body.

"Of such is the kingdom of heaven
As Christ himself told us,
And holy David says also:

"From the mouths of small children
And of all innocent babes
Has come forth God's praise
That the adversary may be cast down.


"Praise God, you children You tiny babes, For he will not drive you away, But feed you on his holy body."86


82 Ibid., 35.
83 Leithart, 34.
84 Robert S. Rayburn, "Report of the Ad-Interim Committee to Study the Question of Paedocommunion," in PCA Digest Position Papers 1973-1993 Part V, ed. Paul R. Gilchrist (Atlanta: Presbyterian Church in America, 1993), 513.

85 DeMolen, 54-55.
86Cited in Rayburn, 514.

The Feeding of the 5000

Some headings for a brief sermon on John 6:1-14 in our BCP Communion service today:

The people's need

The disciples' inability

Jesus' ability

Jesus chooses to use his disciples

So let us come to the Lord's table:
Knowing that we are hungry and needy
Ackowledging our inability and our pathetic resources
Trusting Jesus' limitless power, depending on him to feed us and keep us going to the promised land
Daring to offer him the little that we have and willing to be used by him, getting involved in what he is doing.


I'm going to have another crack at preaching on John 6:1-15 on 10th May, d.v., so I'll let you know if I think its meaning has changed. The Vicar also preached a brief sermon on it on 8th March (along similar lines, I seem to remember) entitled 'Into all the world' at a service which had a world mission focus. John's sermon is available on our church website sermon page.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Best job in the world

Thomas Carlyle apparently said:

Who, having been called to be a preacher, would stoop to be a king?

Quoted in Bruce Milne, The Message of John, BST (IVP, 1993), p100

Art and the Bible

There's lots of great stuff at Art and the Bible, searchable by Scripture passage and so on.

Church Dogmatics

Barth's Church Dogmatics appears to be available online.

Thanks to Philip Sumpter for the pointer.

Update: Ah, they seem to be requiring a password now. Shame.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Passion for Life Mission Videos

Videos promoting the Passion for Life mission are now available to view at:


Monday, March 23, 2009

How much is 200 denarii?

In preparing to preach on John 6 I've spent far too long trying to work out how much 200 denarri (which Philip says in v7 it would cost to feed the crowd of about 5000 men) would be worth in Britain today, and I'm not sure I'm much the wiser. Unless my sums fail me, which they probably do (!), I reckon 200 denarri might be somewhere between 8 and 23 thousand pounds, which seems an absurdly wide range! I might plump for £15 000 as a guestimate.

Based on the minimum wage:
From 1 October 2008 the UK minimum wage for workers aged 22 years and older is £5.73 per hour.
ESV: a denarius was a daily wage for a worker
£5.73 X 7 hours for a day: £40.11 a day
£40.11 days wage X200 denarrii = £8 000
NIV: 200 denarrii = 8 months wages (= aprox 240 days wages)
£5.73 X 7 hours for a day: £40.11 a day
£40.11 a day X (8 months = 240 days) = £9 626.40

Based on the median wage:
Median weekly pay for full-time employees in the UK in April 2008 was £479.
ESV: a denarius was a daily wage for a worker
£479 per week / 5 = £95.80 a day ; 95.80X200 denarri = £19 160
NIV: 200 denarrii = 8 months wages (= aprox 240 days wages)
£479 per week /5 days X 240 days = £22 992

Since doing these sums, I notice that Tom Wright (John for Everyone, SPCK, p71) "translates" 200 denarrii as "six months' pay".

In Mark 6, Tom Wright "translates" 200 denarrii as "£10 000".

Simnel Sunday

Since we finished our Christmas cake on 2nd Feb I've been looking forward in hope to a Simnel cake for Easter, but it turns out that I need not have waited so long. If Wikipedia is to be believed, Mothering Sunday has also traditionally been known as Simnel Sunday and Refreshment Sunday. Families would often get together on this day and Simnel cake would be enjoyed in a lessening of the austerities of Lent. I'm afraid I've no Lentern fast to set aside, but any excuse for some Simnel cake...

Where to look at Communion?

John, our vicar, has lost his voice so I was asked to preach a one-off at short notice on Sunday. As it was going to be a Communion service I thought it might be good to think about the Lord's Supper together.

Here are some jottings from my handout. (The audio sermon should appear on our church website in due course).

Perspectives on the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor 10:14-22; 11:17-34)


Ø Look back to the Lord’s death (11:23-26)

Last Supper; Passover; Remember (11:24, 25) – Visible Word


Ø Look up to the Lord (11:24)

His Supper – not mine or yours, not the minister’s, not the church’s

Give thanks (10:16; 11:24) – “Eucharist” = “thanksgiving”

A participation / sharing / fellowship / “communion” in Christ (10:16) – enjoy his (spiritual) presence

Ø Look away from idols / demons (10:14, 20-21)

Ø Look within to yourselves (11:26-32)

Examine yourself (11:28); Confession; Humility

Ø Look around to the body of Christ (11:7-22, 29, 33)

A family meal; Unity (10:17)

Ø Look out to the world (11:26, 32)

“Mass” = “go”, sent out (in mission)


Ø Look forward to the Lord’s return (11:26)

The Wedding Supper of the Lamb (Rev 19:9)

Preaching Plans

In addition to some midweek BCP Communion services (using the lectionary), here are my preaching plans for May - Aug '09. Basically I'm continuing my series in the 10 commandments and John's Gospel. No "clever" titles, I'm afraid.

10th May PM – John 6:1-15 – The Feeding of the 5000

31st May AM – Pentecost Holiday Club Family Service

We're using TnT's God's Miracle Worker: Elisha (Christian Focus, CF4 Kids) as our holiday club material.

14th June PM – John 6:16-24 – Jesus walks on the water

21st June AM – Exodus 20:12 – Honour your father and your mother

19th July PM – John 6:25-59 – The Bread of Life

26th July AM – Exodus 20:13 – You shall not murder

9th Aug PM – John 6:60-71 – The words of eternal life

16th Aug AM – Exodus 20:14 – You shall not commit adultery

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Make them see & feel

Calvin said:

Let those who would discharge aright the ministry of the Gospel learn not merely to speak or to declaim, but to penetrate the consciences of men, and make them see Christ crucified, and feel the shedding of His blood. When the Church has painters such as these, she no longer needs dead images of wood and stone, she no longer requires pictures; both of which unquestionably were first admitted to Christian temples when the pastors had become dumb and been converted into mere idols, or when they uttered a few words from the pulpit in such a cold and careless manner that the power and efficacy of the ministry was utterly extinguished."

Commentary on Gal 3:1, CR 50:202-3, quoted in Wallace, Word and Sacrament etc. pp248-9

And for my next trick... !

Calvin says:

When I baptise, is it as if I had the Holy Ghost up my sleeve to produce at any time? or the body and blood of the Lord to offer to whom I please? It would be sheer presumption to seek to attribute to mortal creatures what belongs to Jesus Christ.

Sermon on Acts 1:4-5, CR 48:600 quoted in Wallace, Word and Sacrament etc. p172

Saturday, March 14, 2009

You shall not bear / lift up the name of Yahweh in vain

Some jottings for my sermon tomorrow morning (audio on our church sermon page in the fullness of time):

Using God’s name / “Jesus” as a swear word - COED

Serious: “the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name”

“I don’t mean anything by it” – Thoughtless use of God’s name

Our thoughts and attitudes not just the sounds we make (“Golly”)

Names in the Bible describe - God’s name stands for his character (Ex 34:5-7)

Anything contrary to God’s character forbidden – the whole of creation bears his name (Acts 7:49; Mt 23:16-22; 5:33-37; Ps 8:1; 19)

God has revealed his name - The blessings of knowing God’s name - relationship

LORD = Yahweh / Jehovah – God’s unique personal covenant name - I am who I am (Ex 3) – God has the authority to name / define himself – he is self-existent / self-sufficient

We “bear” God’s name (Num 6:27; Dt 28:10; 2 Chron 7:14; Dan 9:18-19; Rev 13:6) – “Christians” – baptised in the Triune name (Mt 28:19)

God’s name / fame / reputation depends on us (Rm 2:24)

“Lift up” – “vain” / empty worship (Ps 24:4) – sincerity – hypocrisy – reverence & awe (Ecc 5:1-7)

A right use of God’s name – “Hallowed be your name” (Mt 6:9), not ours (Gen 11:4; Ps 115:1; Is 42:8) - Honour God with our speech (integrity) - Call on God’s name (Prov 18:10) – Proclaim his name

The name of Jesus – “I AM” (Jn 8:58) – powerful (Acts 3:6) – Pray in his name - bow, confess (Phil 2:9-11); be saved (Acts 4:12)

Jesus has borne the guilt of all his people who have misused God’s name – God acts for (the glory of) his name’s sake

Good golly gosh!

The third commandment applies to our thoughts and attitudes not just to the sounds we make when speaking.

We may manage to avoid using God’s name as a swear word, but what about our thoughts of God?

We may have substituted “golly” or “gosh” for God’s name, but if we’re still thinking “God”, though we manage to say something else, we still fall foul of this commandment.

There’s nothing necessarily wrong with saying “golly” or “gosh”, of course. Though those words were originally a substitute for God’s name, the meanings of words depends on their usage not their origin, so it’s possible to use those words without any sin being involved


There’s nothing wrong with expressing surprise – or whatever – with words such as “golly” or “gosh”. Ultimately it’s the heart that counts.

True Guilt

In a sermon preached on Ex 20:7 at St Andrew the Great, Cambridge, on 3rd May 1998, Colin Marshall commented that:

Our modern society would have us feel guilty for not recycling our rubbish but not for recycling marriage partners.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Wedding sermon gags

D.v. I'm going to marry my (non-Christian) sister in the Summer.

Any tips on the sermon gratefully recieved!

We've pencilled in 1 Corinthians 13, 1 John 4:7-12 and John 15:9-12 as the readings.

Got any good gags? - though I am conscious that it should be more sermon than best-man or father of the bride-ish!

If you're going to be there, look away now to avoid spoilers!

I thought I might say something about love in marriage and the love of God for us shown in Jesus' penal death for us.

Here are a couple of gags I remember hearing in wedding sermons:

A woman, who wasn't in the habit of giving her husband complements, once told him that he was a "model husband". He was so flattered that he looked up "model" in the dictionary where he read: "a model: a small fake imitation of the real thing".

(Could lead into Eph 5 - Christ as the model husband).

* * *

A young Christian was struggling in his marriage and, in need of advice, he asked an older, wiser Christian if he'd ever contemplated divorce. The older man looked him in the eye and replied: "Divorce? Never. Murder, many times."

3 words for Marriage

If I were doing some marriage preparation (especially with non-Christians) I might recommend 3 that one should say to one's husband or wife and to God:

To one's partner...

(1) SORRY - be quick to apologise, keep short accounts

(2) THANK YOU - don't take one another for granted, show appreciation

(3) PLEASE - communicate and talk about how you'd like to do things - how can your partner show you appreciation etc.

To God...

(1) SORRY - that I have ignored you, rebelled against you and lived my way for myself

(2) THANK YOU - for your love and grace, that the Lord Jesus took the penalty for my sins

(3) PLEASE - forgive me and help me by your Spirit to live for the Lord Jesus Christ

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Deborah 13: Servant of God

A friend from church recommended BBC 3's Deborah 13: Servant of God which is available on BBC i player (which I haven't had a chance to watch yet).

Debbie is from a large homeschooling Christian family.

My friend said she seemed remarkably happy and well adjusted and not hankering after some of the typical sins of teenagers as if she thought she might be missing out. He was inspired by her boldness in evangelism.

Here's the blurb from the BBC:

Documentary about 13-year-old Deborah Drapper, who, unlike other British teens has never heard of Britney Spears or Victoria Beckham. She has been brought up in a deeply Christian family and her parents have tried to make sure she and her ten brothers and sisters have grown up protected from the sins of the outside world.

Deborah is a bright, confident girl who has big ambitions for her life and the film spends a summer with her as she ventures out in the world to see what life outside her family could be and starts putting her beliefs forward to a wider audience.
Broadcast on: BBC Three, 9:00pm Tuesday 10th March 2009
Duration: 60 minutes
Available until: 9:59pm Tuesday 17th March 2009
Deborah's blog can be found at: http://deborahdrapper.com/
There is also an item from the Telegraph entitled Follow the Bible not the Beckhams.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

He Shall Come Again

The hope of Christ’s return thrilled the New Testament Christians, as witness over three hundred references to it in the documents – on average, one every thirteen verses.

J. I. Packer, Affirming the Apostles’ Creed (2008, Crossway) p107 – formerly in Growing in Christ / I want to be a Christian

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Parenting Dos and Don'ts diagrams

Very helpful!


I was surprised and saddened to find this when I looked in my Concise Oxford Dictionary (9th Edition, 1995):

Jesus .int. colloq. an exclamation of surprise, dismay, etc. [name of the founder of the Christian religion d. c. AD 30]

It seems that Jesus’ name has been reduced to a swear word with his identity as an afterthought.

Frame on commandment no. 3

Have I mentioned how much I’m enjoying reading bits of John Frame’s The Doctrine of the Christian Life (in preparing to preach on the 10 commandments)?

In addition to the previous posts, here are a few jottings arising from Frame on the 3rd commandment:

1st commandment: who to worship / the object of worship (Frame’s situational perspective)

2nd commandment: how to worship / the regulation of worship (Frame’s normative perspective)

3rd commandment: the attitude with which we worship (Frame’s existential perspective)

“Naming in Scripture accomplishes three purposes: exercising sovereignty (control), giving revelation [characterizing] (authority), and locating (presence).” (p489)

“The one who gives a name to someone else has some measure of control over the one who receives it. The parent names the child, the conqueror names the conquered city, and the Lord names his people. Yahweh names himself, for there is no one higher than him. The fact indicates his aseity, his self-sufficiency, his control over all things pertaining to himself.” (p489)

Gen 32:22-32 – Jacob wresting with God at Peniel – Jacob tells God his name and asks God’s name – much like having power over God

Knowing someone’s name gives some authority over a person – cf. manipulation of gods in paganism (p489) – exchange of names can initiate a relationship and bring benefits or burdens

In Confucian societies, one must not refer to a superior by their name, only by a title.

“God also places his name upon his people (Num 6:27; Dt 28:10; 2 Chron 7:14; Dan 9:18-19; Rev 13:6), identifying his future with theirs. As long as they bear his name rightly, not in vain, he will protect them by his power.” (p490)

Names in the Bible describe. To name someone is to say something about them.

Name = reputation – good name / bad name – 1 Kings 4:13 – Solomon’s name (his fame) was in all the surrounding nations

A name marks a person out.

Our name closely identified with us. We wouldn’t like it if someone forgot our name, or made fun of it or laughed at it, or mispronounced it, or damaged our good name.

“God is also identified with his name. To praise his name is to praise him; to despise his name is to despise him. Glory is due to his name (Pss. 29:2; 66:2; 96:8). We are saved for “his name’s sake” (Ps 106:8; cf. 1 Sam 12:22; Ps 23:3; 25:11; 79:9), because … we bear his name. We give thanks to his name (Ps 140:13) and trust his holy name (Ps 33:21). God redeems his people for the sake of his own reputation, his glory, his name.” (p491)

“Indeed, God’s name has divine attributes. It is glorious and awesome (Dt 28:58), majestic (Ps 8:1,9), and holy (Lev 20:3; Ps 33:21; 99:3; etc.). So, like the word of God, God’s name is God himself. This helps us to understand why the names of God should always be used in a reverent way. For when we deal with God’s name or names, we are dealing with God himself.” (p491)

“Moving from narrow to broad, God’s name is (1) the proper name Yahweh, (2) other names like Elohim [God], El Shaddai [God Almighty], and El Elyon [God Most High], (3) his whole revelation of himself and the human reception of that revelation (i.e., his reputation), and (4) Yahweh himself.” (p491)

The temple / tabernacle bears God’s name (Dt 12:11; Ez 6:12; cf. Ez 43:7)

God’s Name is in his angel (Ex 23:21)

Jesus is the only name given under heaven by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12)

At the name of Jesus every knee must bow (Phil 2:9-11)

Jesus is the name of God par excellence.

God’s name is in the gospel (Acts 9:15)

“… there is also a sense in which the whole creation bears the name of God.” The heaven and earth are God’s throne and footstool (Is 66:1; Acts 7:49) and therefore his temple. Mt 23:16-22; 5:33-37

“because God has created all things and remains sovereign over them, to swear by anything is to swear by him…. in one sense the whole creation bears his name. The whole creation is under his control, it authoritatively reveal his name, and God is present throughout it.” (p493)

It is wrong to misuse anything God has made.

Ex 20:7 - “take” = not the common Hebrew verbs for speak (amar or davar) but nasa’ = lift up, bear, carry
As God’s people we belong to him and take that identity where ever we go. Do not dishonour God’s name, his good name, his reputation.

Shav’ – “in vain” – empty, trivial, meaningless (Job 7:3); unsuccessful action (Job 15:31; 35:13; Ps 60:11; 89:47; Jer 2:30; 4:30; 6:29; 46:11; etc.) – human wickedness (Job 11:11; 31:5) – lies (Dt 5:20; Ps 12:2; Job 31:5)
Ps 26:4; 41:6 – meaninglessness / falsehood

Idolatry as shav’, vanity Ps 31:6; Jer 18:15

Blasphemy a very serious crime - capital crime for sojourners as well as the people of Israel (Lev 24:15f)

Reviling God’s name (Ps 74:10, 18), despising his name (Is 52:5f), cursing God’s name (Rev 16:9; cf vv 11, 21)

We are always in God’s presence and we always use his name with an attitude of reverence. It should always be an act of worship to speak God’s name and so our attitude of worship matters.

The use of God’s name in oaths (e.g. membership vows, ordinations, marriage vows), confessions (creeds) and blessings (praise / prayer) “correspond roughly to the church’s kingly, prophetic, and priestly ministries, respectively, and therefore to the situational [control], normative and existential perspectives.” (p497)

Scripture commands us to take oaths and vows in God’s name (e.g. Ex 22:10-11; Ps 22:25; 50:14; 61:8, 65:1). Taking oaths in God’s name, not in the name of another god, is a mark of allegiance to him (Dt 6:13; 10:20; Is 19:18; 65:16; Jer 12:16).” (p498)

“God gives us his name to be proclaimed, not to be hidden as a private treasure. The Christian should always be prepared to speak about Christ (p503) and on his behalf, whenever an unbeliever asks him to give a reason for his faith.” (p504)

Although Jesus condemned some for calling other people fools (mwros) in Matthew 5:22, he uses the same term of the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23:17. Just as there is righteous and unrighteous anger, so there is a righteous and unrighteous use of strong, denunciatory language. (p505f)

If people think about it at all using God’s name as a swear word may express resentment against God – complaining against him

Holy Laughter

John Frame comments:

Sin in Scripture is tragic, but it is also comic. The seriousness of it should not detract from our ability to laugh at it. This laughter is edifying. It shows us how pitiful are man’s efforts to oppose almighty God. That Satan himself should imagine that he can overturn God’s throne is the height of absurdity. That mere human beings join his rebellion is even more ridiculous. The point of comedy is often disproportion, and if we don’t see the disproportion here enough to laugh at it, we have not quite caught the point. And the disproportion between the Creator and his creatures can lead to a holy laughter, in which reverence and amusement coincide. (p506)

Scripture speaks well of a cheerful, merry or glad heart (Prov 15:13; 2 Cor 9:7). That should not surprise us. Laughter is close to cheer, and cheer is close to joy. Christianity is about serious matters, but it does not make us glum. (p507)

Some relevant texts: Ps 2:4; 1 Cor 1:20; Prov 10:23. We may see humour in Prov 19:24; 26:15; 23:5; 27:15; 26:27; 28:10; Ps 7:15; 9:15; 57:6; Ecc 10:8; Num 22:22-41; Mt 19:24; 23:24; Acts 12:12-17.

See further: D. Elton Trueblood, The Humor of Christ (New York, Harper, 1964)

The Doctrine of the Christian Life

Monday, March 09, 2009

Ex 20:7 & Ps 24:4 - bearing falsely

I ain't got no Hebrew, I'm afraid, but John Frame points out an interesting parallel between the 3rd commandment (Ex 20:7) and Psalm 24:4.

Ex 20:7 - You shall not bear (nasa') the name of the LORD your God in vain (shav').

Ps 24:4 - He who ... does not lift up (nasa') his soul to an idol or swear by what is false (shav').

The Doctrine of the Christian Life, p494


The Church House Bookshop informs me that:

An exciting new range of parish registers are due to be published by Canterbury Press at the end of the month.

Try as I might, I'm struggling to get too excited about that!

No Vain Jangling!

The Westminster Larger Chatechism Answer 113 points out that the 3rd commandment forbids "vain janglings". John Frame helpfully comments that:

In case any readers are not convicted of the sin of vain jangling, the phrase is from the KJV translation of 1 Tim 1:6. The Greek term is also translated "vain discussion" (ESV) and "meaningless talk" (NIV).

The Doctrine of the Christian Life, p488


Not so long ago I preached my way through the Lord's Prayer and now I'm preaching my way through the 10 Commandments (sermons here). You can find some helpful exposition of both of these in the Westminster Shorter Catechism and the Westminster Larger Chatechism.

Jesus on Trial (John 5)

This is as far as I got for a handout on John 5:16-30, which in the end I didn't handout. But just in case its of some interest or use to anyone:

Accusation 1: Sabbath breaking (v16)

Jesus takes the place of the paralysed man on trial (v9bff, v16)

The issue: Jesus’ identity and authority (v12)

Accusation 2: “Making himself equal with God” (v18)

Jesus’ defence (v17, v19):

(1) Jesus is the Son (vv17-20)

(2) Jesus is the Life-Giver (v21, vv24-26, vv28-29)

(a) Spiritual life in the present (v21, vv24-26)

(b) Physical life in the future (vv28-29)

(3) Jesus is the Judge (vv22, 27, 30)

The sermon is available on our church website audio page.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Do non-Sabbatarians cheat on their wives?

There seems to be an argument about keeping the Sabbath that goes something like this:

(1) The Sabbath is ultimately about the eschatological rest we enjoy in Christ

(2) We keep the Sabbath spiritually by believing in Jesus

(3) We do not need to treat Sunday as a special day

But imagine where that kind of thinking might end up if it were applied to marriage:

(1) Marriage is ultimately about the relationship between Jesus and the believer

(2) We avoid committing adultery spiritually by being faithful to Christ

(3) We do not need to keep our wedding vows