Monthly Archives: December 2007

Rebellion, Justice and Christmas

When you think about Christmas, what comes to your mind? A young couple looking for a place to rest for the night…? An over-crowded stable…? Stars, shepherds and wise men…? The nativity scene that we have in our minds gives us a wonderful picture of mercy and hope…but it is not the full picture of Christmas. The major themes of Christmas match the themes in David’s life–Sin, Rebellion and Justice. These “Christmas themes” emerge as when we consider Sheba’s Rebellion from 2 Samuel 20.

Sin: After 2 Samuel 11, we see the consequences of David’s sin with Bathsheba. The REST OF DAVID’S LIFE is marred by his selfishness and disregard for the glory of God. Thus, even the “man after God’s own heart” has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. This week, we’ll see this theme continue as David is met with more deception, murder and loss.

Rebellion: The time of rebellion and revolt against David’s kingdom does not end with Absalom. In fact, there is now a man who can “do more harm than Absalom” that is revolting against God’s anointed. Sheba appears to be a man with much influence and power, as he is able to draw the men of Israel away from following David with a word! At the same time, David’s former general sees his replacement as an enemy and a threat to his personal reputation–despite the clear instructions from the King for Amasa to lead. As a result of David’s sin and lack of leadership, this rebellious general takes matters into his own deadly hands.

Justice: Despite the deception, murder and rebellion, God puts down the revolt and brings the rebels to justice. David’s kingdom is again preserved and David seems to have learned from the experience with Absalom, as he quickly disposes of Sheba and his revolt. Despite David’s past failures, God’s justice prevails.

Perhaps you’re thinking: “What does this have to do with Christmas?” Come on, we don’t hear songs on KSBJ about our sin and rebellion, and God’s just punishment against that sin–we hear “Happy Holidays,” and “Santa’s Comin to Town!” But, Christmas is centered on these very themes. God did not send his Son into a world of “good hearted, safe people.” He sent Jesus to a place where people would hate him, reject him and ultimately murder him! Because of sin, we have Christmas. The best way to think about sin is to think of it as rebellion. We are rebelling against our Father, our holy, creating and sustaining God! Instead of worshipping God for who He is and giving thanks to Him, we shake our fists in his face and choose our own path. Because of rebellion, we have Christmas. And God’s justice is prevailing as he sends Jesus to earth! God’s glory is at stake as He has ” passed over former sins .” So, more than a cute baby in a manger, Christmas is about God punishing His son in our place! So we cannot think about Christmas apart from God’s justice.

One theme that also appears over and over in David’s life is mercy! Think of God’s response as David repents, after being confronted with his sin by Nathan: ” The LORD also has taken away your sin; you shall not die ;” This is the essence of Christmas–Mercy! It’s not that God simply winked at David’s sin, or denied it. He knew that sin and the sins of all who would believe would be atoned for at the Cross. This week at Redeemer, we will consider the themes of sin, rebellion and justice, from the merciful shadow of the Cross of Jesus.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , ,

The Return of the King

What do you love most? What do you spend most of your time thinking about? What causes you the most grief and sadness? What brings you the most joy? The answers to these questions may uncover the true loyalties of your heart. Often we are more inclined to hurt and reject those things in our lives that we love the most, for things that can only harm and destroy us. Has this been the case with you?

This week at Redeemer, we will consider David’s Return from 2 Samuel 19 . Absalom’s revolt has been put down, and the rightful king is now to be restored! The justice of Yahweh as prevailed and David’s kingdom has been preserved. Yet, David’s reaction to this victory is one of mourning and sadness. Absalom is dead! The people were so impacted by David’s grief that they did not celebrate at all, but “went in stealth into the city that day…” What does David’s response tell us about his heart? Remember, this is his son! Shouldn’t he be in mourning? Joab (Absalom’s killer) seems to think otherwise as he rebukes David for loving those who hate him and hating those who love him (verse 6).

How should we think about these things? Where should our greatest loyalty and love reside? Think on the words of Jesus when he said “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me (Matthew 10:37) .” It seems that if David’s loyalty were first to Yahweh, these consequences in his life would have never come to pass. Now, that is easy to say from this side of history, but what about you? Are you a follower of Jesus Christ…a disciple? Perhaps it is easy to say yes when things are easy and stress–free. But, have you noticed that our hearts are most exposed at times of loss or failure? When those times come, what will be revealed about you? What is a victory for you? Join us this week as we ask the Lord to make his thoughts our own, and His ways our ways!

Tagged , ,

Al Mohler on The Golden Compass

As many of you know, The Golden Compass, one of three films, based on Phillip Pullman’s books “His Dark Materials,” opens today (December 7th) in theatres. These books and movies have a clear agenda in promoting atheism to children.

    the_golden_compass.jpg

I encourage you to read Dr. Mohler’s blog as you consider the ways in which Christians should respond to challenges like these. My wife and I discovered that our nine year old daughter already had this book in her possession! Thankfully, I had placed it on my bookshelf and she has not had time to read it yet. I know that we cannont (and should not) isolate our children from things like this, but I’m thankful that I can now prepare her for what the author is trying to accomplish, and discourage her from being fooled!

As Dr. Mohler says, Christianity is not going to be toppled by a few fictional books. But, this is a great opportunity to show the futility of life apart from Jesus Christ, our only true Savior.

Tagged , , ,

College Football and Humility?

This year in the final USA Today coaches poll, there was one vote for Virginia Tech as the number two team in the country. It seemed rather strange to many people to see this team so highly ranked, until it was revealed that this vote came from Frank Beamer, the head coach at Virginia Tech. Many people think the system is unfair, since the coaches have such a vested interest in the rankings. Based on the Coach’s desire to be highly ranked, they seem to be unable to give an objective evaluation. Can you relate to this sort of inner conflict?

Recently at Redeemer, we have studied the life of David, a man that clearly was prone to wonder from the clear Words of God. However, he seems to always come back to God in brokenness and repentance. This sort of life, characterized by humility and contrition, results in a realistic and (much more importantly) biblical view of oneself. David viewed life through the lenses of God’s grace, as we will see this Sunday as we consider Guidance from God in the Uncertainty of Life, from Psalm 25. Notice the ways David expresses his need for this powerful God in this text:

O my God, in you I trust; (verse 2); for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long (verse 5); Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD! (verse 7); Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. (verses 8-9)

David seems to be assuming a need for God’s direction; God’s insight; God’s approval. Let me ask you, do you view yourself as this needy? Are you pleading for guidance from the Lord in this way? Are you satisfied with you own self-evaluation of your marriage, attitudes and motivations? Have you asked for the evaluation of others? The beautiful thing about the gospel is that it answers David’s prayer in verse 11: ” For your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great.” This is the good news! We don’t have to life a perfect life, but trust in the One who did! However, this gospel does not operate in a vacuum, or without interaction with other believers (the local church!). How is the Lord sanctifying you by means of the local church? How aggressively are you pursuing humility and the loving, gentle evaluations of others? Are you ranking yourself too highly? So, if you’re in the Houston area, Join us this week as we seek to humble ourselves and thereby draw the gaze of the Creator of the universe!

Tagged , , , ,

“Gay Members in the Church Directory” –Am I Missing Something Here?

If you have not seen this article in the Dallas Morning News, you can read the whole thing here. Here’s what’s going on:

Broadway Baptist Church has debated whether the directory should include gay couples, or gay people individually but not as couples, or whether to omit all individual and family photos.

Members were to vote Sunday after morning worship. But in a clear indication that they are divided over how accepting to be of homosexuality, they met for an hour and then postponed any decision until deacons make a recommendation on Feb. 24.

It appears from the article that Broadway Baptist Church is a Southern Baptist Church, although they claim to be “moderate.” (Does anyone is the SBC know about this?) It also apprears that professing homosexuals (and by that I mean unrepentant) have been allowed to be members at the church. However, this is not the issue…the fuss revolves around the question of “whether photographs of gay couples should be in the directory being assembled for the church’s anniversary.”

Brett Younger, senior pastor, said during Sunday morning’s worship service that some Broadway members believe homosexuality is a sin, based on certain Bible verses. Others think differently and note that Bible verses have been used to justify polygamy, slavery and the oppression of women, he said.

So, the question is not: should openly homosexual people be allowed to be members of the church…the question is: should we print their picture in the directory.

There are so many things to say here: Who are we worried about offending? Are we concerned that people will think the church is narrow-minded? Perhaps we should be more concerned with upholding a regenerate church membership than facing bad press. Perhaps we should be more concerned about the One who will come to judge both the living and the dead, by the sword of his mouth (His word!).

Our response to people who struggle with homosexuality should be the same response that we give to people who struggle with alcoholism or pornography. They are not in their own seperate category. We should love them and seek to minister to them, mainly by presenting them with the glorious gospel of Christ Jesus. Christ came for the sick (sinners), which is not a reference to homosexuals per se, but to every single human being (Romans 3:23). However, we would not allow an unrepentant drunk or adult film star to become a member of the church, and thereby be included in the witness of the gospel to the nations…would we?

May we be those who seek God’s approval as we are rebuked, reproved and trained in righteousnes by all the Scriptures!

(HT: Jason Williams)

Tagged ,