Justified Journal

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Grazing on worldly food

I live in a suburb. That means I live in a place that’s full of people who have jobs (probably somewhere else). With the money they make, they buy smart phones and other technology like tablets, phablets, etc. They do this to “keep in touch” with the world.

Some people are actually addicted to “information gathering”. It reveals an insatiable hunger that all people share.

I have that hunger, too. Over the years, the way I have feed myself is through television shows. In the past few years, I have gotten into those home improvement programs where a contractor helps a family take their home from outdated or damaged to pristine condition. If I am not able to see the show in its entirety, I feel like I have been cheated out of a fulfilling experience.

Even if I do watch a program all the way through, I will only be satiated for a little while. The next day, I am back at it again, watching episode #462.

It is an unhealthy way of dealing with the hunger of the soul.

What is it that we are missing?

Jesus said in John 6:27;

“Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.”

Further down, Jesus says:

48“I am the bread of life. 49“Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50“This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51“I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”

52Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” 53So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. 54“He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55“For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. 56“He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57“As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. 58“This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.”

This presents a conundrum. If you are a modern evangelical, you must find a way to explain away what Jesus has said. He can’t really mean what He said, after all. Or, can he?

The Bible is not enough

Hotels and motels in America used to share one thing in common: A Bible from the Gideons.  If you consider why people go to a motel, you’ll begin to understand why the Bibles are there, too.

Of course, I think this is a good thing.  But, is it enough?

Even Jesus didn’t think so:

“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself”  -Luke 24:27

What’s the point?  Jesus needed to point out (to His own disciples, nonetheless) that the trajectory of the Old Testament was Himself, Jesus of Nazareth.

John 5:39 states:

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me …”

Even Jesus’ disciples interpreted the Old Testament through the lens of Jesus, from Acts 8:

34The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus

This means that the individual who doesn’t understand scripture needs a teacher to interpret it Christologically for them.  It is the most critical part of evangelism.  Christians who view the Scripture as mainly about something other than Jesus Christ are not capable of seeing a conversion like the Ethiopian Eunuch’s.

This is a good one-page article by Horace Hummel on understanding the Old Testament Christologically: http://www.mtio.com/articles/aissar5.htm

May God lead us into opportunities to do just this.

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Psalm 19:1:

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

Romans 1:20:

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.

These verses would seem to imply that Scripture is not necessary to know God.  Additionally, it calls into question the need for church, not to mention the sacraments. In fact, any intermediary could be perceived as an obstacle to seeing God for who He is.

But, what is perceived about God?  His Glory, His eternal power, and His divine nature.  Can you and I find comfort in these things?  We might be awed by this creation, feeling very small and insignificant, but not comforted.

The God perceived in nature never leads us to Jesus.  It never leads us to a justifying God.  It never leads us to forgiveness.  For that matter, it never leads us to seeing our sins for what they are.

Where does one learn of these things?  Where does one find salvation from a Glorious, eternally powerful, divine God?  Only in the church where Christ is rightly proclaimed, where the law and Gospel are rightly divided, and where the sacraments are given for you.  Now, that’s Glorious!

May 25th sermon

Sermon from May 25:

Rotted roots

Everyone who has ever read the Bible has come to it with a prior belief about it (presupposition).  Those who say, “I just believe what the Bible says”, live in denial.  The fact is that everyone comes to the Bible with a point of view on what it is for.

Here is a brief analysis of a couple:

Moralists: This sect reads the Bible literalistically.  That is, they read the Bible and reduce it to achievable works.  Confessional Evangelicals see them as anti-nomians, because they minimize the impact of the law.  They tame the lion and make it a kitty.

Mystics: This group reads the Bible analogically.  That is, even portions of Scripture that are not written as analogies are analogized.  The following is a good explanation of this error:

http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/revelation/introduction/the-rise-of-allegorical-interpretation.html

In both of the above errors, the belief is that the scripture serves as a means to receive God’s approval or have an ecstatic connection with God.

Confessional Evangelical: Not to be confused with Modern Evangelical.  The assumption is that Scripture is about Jesus.  This is founded in Jesus speaking to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35), and Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-40).  In these two sections of Scripture, the Old Testament is interpreted through the lens of Jesus of Nazareth as the fulfillment of Messianic prophecy.  That is to say, the Bible is not about you, it’s not about God, it’s about God the Son saving sinners.  The second Adam has come to reverse the curse of the first Adam.  Seeing Scripture as primarily about Jesus is truly evangelical doctrine.

Sermon on John 11

Jesus talks with Martha in John 11 (15 minutes):

 

 

-John

Sermon from March 16

Here is the sermon I preached last weekend:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsxXbMTtWO0

-John

 

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