Great Sermon! In the Spirit Comment Part II I had believed that these rules represented the doâ€™s and donâ€™ts of Christianity. If they are not the means to live in the spirit, what are?
For days after listening to this sermon, I pondered the thoughts I heard and prayed to the Lord for greater clarity. Then, on Sunday, June 8, I took Jonathan Edwardsâ€™ book Religious Affections with me to read on the subway while my family and I were on the way to church from Brooklyn to Manhattan. I began reading the section entitled, â€śGracious affection are attended with evangelical humiliation.â€ť
What an incredible piece of writing! At the outset of that section he distinguishes between â€śa legal and [an] evangelical humiliation.â€ť He says, â€śThe former is what men may be the subjects of, while they are yet in a state of natureâ€¦the latter is peculiar to true saints. The former is from the common influence of the Spirit of God, assisting natural principles and especially natural conscience; the latter is from the special influences of the Spirit of God, implanting and exercising supernatural and divine principles:â€¦In the former, a sense of the awful greatness and natural perfections of God, and of the strictness of His law, convinces men that they are exceeding guilty and exposed to the wrath of Godâ€¦
Great Sermon! Are You In The Spirit Comment Part I THIS IS PART I of three comments on this profound sermon....... I have twice listened to this sermon by Pastor Doug. Itâ€™s as deep as one might wish to go into the subject of oneâ€™s walk with Christ and the nature of â€śsalvation.â€ť
While listening I felt that I understood the initial example where the initial example of rappelling down a wall showed that once Pastor Doug let go, years ago, and went out the window for his first rappelling experience, he no longer had misgivings but kept going back to try that experience again and again. He likened his change of perspective about rappelling to a change in perspective that is needed if a Christian is to understand what it is to â€ślive in the spirit.â€ť
So far, so good. However, when he came to the section on rules, I became somewhat unsettled. He told about rules at his Bible college about smoking, drinking, visiting the girlsâ€™ dorm, shows of affection on campus, and other regulations. These activities were supposed to help one to become a better Christian. While Pastor Doug did not deny that these rules might have some efficacy, he stated that these activities would not make one a better Christian. How could I agree with this without falling into antinomianism?
Intriguing and Inspiring Pastor Doug takes us inside the Levitical priesthood of ancient Israel, and shares with us the gospel message embedded in the seemingly arcane rules of the sacrificial system.
He shares many insights but two I find particularly interesting are (1) that the sin of the high priest has the effect of contaminating the entire congregation, and (2) the sin that is atoned for is unintentional sin (i.e., not a defiant sin). Listening to Pastor Doug's series on Leviticus definitely enhances my understanding of Christ as the Lamb of God who is sacrificed on the Cross for the remission of my sins. Thus, though I remain a sinner, I may proceed on a path of righteousness for His Name's sake, spiritually aiming towards the holiness of God.
Great Sermon! Providentially I came across Jerry Bridges' book 'Trusting God Even When Life Hurts' several years ago at just such a time when I needed to trust God in many painful afflictions which I could not understand. I take this opportunity to thank Jerry for such a wonderful modern spiritual classic which I know was God's provision at that time. I have read the book again recently and recommend it to any troubled hurting soul who might be reading this comment. The comments on the Amazon link below will certainly back up what I am saying.
Listen to the 8 sermons by Jerry here on sermonaudio on the theme of his book. So glad I am to have heard him minister via sermonaudio at the Community Baptist Church of Fargo!!
Basic Spiritual Truths Are In This Sermon! How is it that we are all sinners yet aspire to the high calling that is Jesus Christ? Is it a type of schizophrenia? No. I think it's closer to what William Blake called "fearful symmetry." Without the understanding that we are sinners, at best would we not be wallowing in self-righteousness?
And if we remained sinners without redemption in and through Christ, we would be dead in our trespasses.
Pastor VanderMeulen, simply and beautifully, presents the case of a man, Demetrius, in 3 John who bares a wonderful testimony. The saved, the unsaved, and the Bible itself (even John himself, an apostle called by the Lord) speak to this man's integrity, that he is through and through a godly person. As usual, Pastor Doug's no frills preaching gets to the heart of the matter. There is so much in this sermon to clarify the thoughts of a soul seeking to better know its place in the universe and, above all, in the Kingdom. This sermon answers many deep questions that I have carried in my mind and heart. What is it to earnestly walk in faith? I am so aware of myself as sinner, that many times I have asked myself if I am a deceiver if and when others think well of me. Yet, this sermon brings me to a better understanding, and points the way towards a more consistent integrated life.
Great Sermon! I am writing to add a second comment as there was not enough room to complete my thoughts in the first space.
Pastor VanderMeulen noted that our Biblical duty to advise a sinner of his or her sin (he rightly tells us that this discipline is a positive service to the Body of Christ and should not be viewed as merely "negative feedback")can make us uncomfortable. Further, he cautions against willy-nilly criticisms where one has a field day of criticizing our neighbor in the Lord. It is not, to use a Brooklyn phrase, an invitation for Christians "to get in the faces of" other Christians. Yet, at the same time, we are not to be slackers in this regard. Our failure to do so is itself a sin.
I tend to feel very guilty when I call a fellow Christian's attention to a sin; then I swing to another extreme and bite my tongue and begin to drown in horror at "the state of church life." Pastor VanderMeulen's exposition restores my perspective. I'm brought to a point of balance where I can actually begin to see biblically where truth and love actually intersect. I really do not want to be another complacent churchgoer.
Are you a churchgoer who has been fulfilling your duty to the Body?
These sermons help us know if we are
obeying God's commands.
Correction and Prayer are Necessay No one will ever accuse Pastor VanderMeulen of failing to address some of the most sensitive of failing to address some of the most sensitive issues in Scripture.
This sermon follows another on the same verses entitled "Sin In The Body of Christ." In these two sermons,he enlightens us about our Christian duty not only to pray for brothers and sisters whom we perceive as falling into sin (i.e., we don't only gossip or mull over the perceived sins or weaknesses in faith) but we are commanded as well to take them aside and counsel them, thereby calling them to repentance. However, this should be done in a non-condemning way, or, as it is often said, we are to tell the truth with love. The brother or sister should not be spoken to in a belittling way. The measure of our duty then is that we do it; the fullness of our duty is not measured by the sharpness of our tongue. He uses the word "encouragement" a few times, and I don't think I would be far off in saying that the sinning fellow Christian should be encouraged that with the Lord's wonderful grace he or she can turn away from the sin. Further, the sinning brother or sister may discuss other points unknown previously by his/her fellow congregant. "Church discipline" then is something in which all participate.
Indispensable! This three-part series of sermons on Luther's theology of the cross is more than illuminating of Luther's thought. It conveys a sense of just how far removed American evangelical Christianity is from the principles of the Reformation. The time has come for those of us who still believe in them to stand up and say so, as Pastor VanderMeulen has done here. Luther's thought in particular, is extremely subtle, and easily misunderstood. And even when it is understood, it's hard to get one's heart around it. What it really comes down to for any particular person is this: do you accept Scripture as the sole source of revelation or not? If not, then the god you are worshipping is not the God found in Scripture. Better to just be an atheist and stop kidding yourself. It's really all about the principle of sola scriptura.
God's Commands Are Still To Be Obeyed Pastor VanderMeulen reveals that love for the commandments of God is not antithetical to grace, but an essential part of being a born again Christian. If one rejects this doctrine, in what sense can one say he or she loves the Lord?
Although he doesn't use the term, he is rejecting the fallacy of the antinomians.
Listening to the sermon I'm reminded of a book I've been reading, The Religious Affections, by Jonathan Edwards. Edwards stresses the beauty of Christ and the beauty of true religious affections. With the emphasis on beauty in the sermon, there is a vibrant echoing of Edwards' theology.
In the Westminster Shorter Cathecism, so many of the 107 questions are about the Ten Commandments. Can we doubt that our love of Christ is reflected in our love for those Commandments of Almighty God?
The Blessed Are Also The Deeply Happy This beautiful sermon reveals that we are forgiven by and through Christ's blood and righteous obedience. This deep forgiveness produces a deep joy or happiness.
To me, the sermon points us to a level of happiness different from the "feel good" Christianity that is common throughout American Christendom. The church has become so event oriented that we are often stimulated to leave these worship events or evangelism events or women's conference events with a sense of buoyancy and optimism; yet, those feelings tend to ebb and flow with our circumstances. If I may put it this way: we become constantly attracted and re-attracted to Christ Jesus, but we are never anchored in Christ Jesus.
The antidote is, as Pastor Doug brings out, is Christ Himself. As we groan under the enormity of our sins, we begin to magnify the wonderful gift of salvation. As we become increasingly aware of how much doom we deserve, we will become more grateful for the great forgiveness that comes from the throne of grace through Christ.
I never tire hearing of Christ's forgiveness anymore than I tire of Christ Himself. As we listen to this sermon, including the good humored parts with everyday experiences to which we can all relate, we can be more grateful for the "new birth" and all it implies.