For a lighter moment on 3:12 I thought we'd have a little limerick, inspired by the time when Spurgeon came across someone who claimed to have reached sinless perfection. When Spurgeon trod heavily on his foot his perfection dissolved!
Rob Bell's book "Love wins" came out yesterday.
The thesis seems to be "If God is a God of love the gate to heaven will always remain open" - even after the last judgement. (Matthew 25:10? cf Genesis 7:16) Eventually everyone will chose that gate. (Matthew 7:13-14?)
Kevin DeYoung has already written a substantial review that is worth reading. http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/files/2011/03/LoveWinsReview.pdf
Bell obviously has a following this side of the pond too, with a tour planned for the UK this spring. http://www.greenbelt.org.uk/love-wins?gclid=CIWSus7t16cCFdFX4Qodij5x9g
What sounds like a very comforting message may instead end up patting people on the back, telling them that there is no urgency, and reassure them that all will be fine on the road, which, tragically does in fact lead to an everlasting destruction.
Strangely, one of the most read posts on this little read blog has been a little review I did of one of Rob Bell's little nooma vids. In the comments there I was accused of accusing Bell of not believing the good news that Jesus rescues us from the wrath of God by dying in our place upon the cross. If in 22 vids he never teaches that, I suggested that he probably doesn't believe it.
Well, there is sadly no need for speculation any longer.
From his own lips he describes that gospel, the gospel we so desperately need, as not good news at all.
This is an advert for his new book "Love wins" that has not yet been released. But how does it win, if it doesn't deal with our greatest problem... making ourselves subjects of God's good and perfect judgement?
I guess he will tell us in the book; but I fear that it will not be such good news after all.
“Because transient earthly pleasures do not satisfy and do not last; because moral and spiritual vision is easily distorted and darkened, because a choice must be made between God and money, because the kingdom of God demands unswerving allegiance to its values, therefore do not worry, and in particular do not worry about mere things. But let us consider a more subtle connection.... Jesus has been minimizing the ultimate significance of material possessions; and no doubt not a few among his hearers find themselves wondering "but what about necessities?"... Jesus answers that just as earthly possessions can become an idol which deposes God by becoming disproportionately important, so also can earthly needs become a source of worry which deposes God by fostering distrust."
I think this will be the conclusion to this morning's sermon on Matthew 6:19-24
There are celebrations in Cairo this weekend as President Mubarak has stepped down.
But we have to admit that it is unclear as yet whether whoever follows him will be any better.
One day there will be an uncontested ruler.
There will be no more protests against his rule, not because the citizens of the kingdom have no freedom, but because we will all be able to see perfectly; we will see perfectly that he is the perfect ruler; that he is the one in whom we find our purpose. That he is the one for whom we were made. That he is the one who alone is of infinite and lasting value. That he may for ever be our treasure.
“We human beings are a strange lot. We hear high moral injunctions and glimpse just a little the genuine beauty of perfect holiness, and then prostitute the vision by dreaming about the way others would hold us in high esteem if we were like that. The demand for genuine perfection loses itself in the lesser goal of external piety; the goal of pleasing the Father is traded for its pygmy cousin, the goal of pleasing man. It almost seems as if the greater the demand for holiness, the greater the opportunity for hypocrisy.”
This morning we have a mens breakfast at Twynholm where I'm speaking on a biblical view of work, so I've been going over some old notes.
This is a little theology of work I wrote a few years ago.
Sometime soon I'd like to revise it, expanding the section on "Frustration and Redemption" by looking in more depth at the "Work of Christ" in Redemption. But I hope it is useful in its present form.
Divorce Divorce, by John Murray
Good book for those who grew up with divorce understanding ways in which it might have affected them, and taking them to the gospel. Child of divorce, Child of God by Kristine Steakly. She also has a blog.
Marriage (obviously closely related to lust and to divorce, as the former is a distortion of what was intended for marriage and the latter is trying to escape God's good plans for marriage). In recent years there have been several excellent books written on marriage.
Chrisopher Ash, Married for God
Gary and Betsy Ricucci, Love that Lasts
Dave Harvey, When Sinners Say, "I do"
“Our problem is that we burn with indignation and anger, not at sin and injustice, but at offence to ourselves. In none of the cases when Jesus becomes angry is his personal ego wrapped up in the issue. More telling yet, when he was unjustly arrested, unfairly tried, illegally beaten, contemptuously spat upon, crucified, mocked; when in fact he had every reason for his ego to be involved, then, as Peter says, ‘he did not retaliate; when he suffered he made no threats.’ (I Peter 2:23) From his parched lips came forth rather those gracious words, ‘Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing’ (Luke 23:34) ”
If you come to our Sunday evening Services over the next couple of weeks there will be some copies of some of these books being given away for free for those who are quick a sticking their hand in the air at the appropriate moment!