Archive for the year 2010

Communion Journal

Fixed WordPress today. Hopefully I'll journal more now.

Wash Yourself

Are you laboring after God and not finding him?

Could it be that you are not washing yourself? Do you not know that God is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity? Do you not know that no unclean thing can enter into his presence? There is a fountain opened for the cleansing of all sin and filth. Make use of it. (Hab 1:13, Rev 21:27, Zech 13:1)

Or perhaps you wash generally but do not know how to wash specifically. Imagine a mechanic taking a shower in the dark after working in grease all day. If he cannot see to scrub off the deep stains, if he only passes the soap over his body, or—worse yet—only rinses in the stream of water, will his efforts make him clean? To be sure, he will be cleaner than if he did not wash at all. Yet if he had to meet a king that night, the mechanic would make sure to wash in the light and to remove every spot and stain.

Or to use a more biblical analogy, under the law there was a general purification for sin offered up every morning and evening. On top of this, the purification was doubled on the sabbath and the great atoning sacrifice was offered up once a year. Yet all of this was not enough to purge an Israelite from specific sins and uncleanness. For specific sins and uncleanness he would have to offer a special sacrifice or perform a specific rite to wash from that particular stain. Otherwise that man was to cut off from the congregation.

Numbers 19:20

20 “If the man who is unclean does not cleanse himself, that person shall be cut off from the midst of the assembly, since he has defiled the sanctuary of the Lord. Because the water for impurity has not been thrown on him, he is unclean. (ESV)

This was written for our instruction (Rom 15:4, 1Co 9:10). Examine yourself. By the light of the Spirit, see your filth, so that you may make use of the cleansing power of the blood to purify yourself. This not only can be a sensible experience for the believer, it must be! Without using the senses, you will be like the mechanic who washes in the dark, or like the Israelite who does not cleanse himself specifically. Such a one is to be cut off from the assembly since he has defiled the sanctuary of the Lord. How then will you enter into his presence if you will not use God’s means of cleansing yourself? Will God tolerate a person who forsakes God’s ways and means for his own? Hebrews says “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Heb 10:22).

If you would enter with full assurance of getting an audience with the King, had not you better wash first?

Communion Journal

Was able to draw near to God tonight through the writings of Owen. Here are a few quotes:

This is the great fundamental privilege of the gospel, that believers, in all their holy worship, have liberty, boldness, and confidence, to enter with it and by it into the gracious presence of God.

 

God set bounds unto mount Sinai, that none should pass or break through into his presence in the giving of the law. He hath set none to mount Zion, but all believers have right, title, and liberty to approach unto him, even unto his throne. There is no such order now, that he who draws nigh shall be cut off; but on the contrary, that he that doth not so do shall be destroyed.

 

The nature of gospel worship consists in this, that it is an entrance with boldness into the presence of God. However men may multiply duties, of what sort or nature soever they be, if they design not in and by them to enter into the presence of God, if they have not some experience that so they do, if they are taken up with other thoughts, and rest in the outward performance of them, they belong not unto evangelical worship. The only exercise of faith in them is in an entrance into the presence of God.

Tim Keller on Sensible Communion with God in Prayer

The following comes from a lecture series that Tim Keller and Edmund Clowney taught together entitled: Preaching Christ in a Postmodern World.

Enjoy!

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By Jesus Christ not healing the sick, not raising the dead, not feeding the hungry; but by creating 150 gallons of the most incredible wine to keep a party really really going strong—by him choosing that as his quintessential first miracle what he’s really saying is “I’m the real master of the banquet, I’m the one who comes in your life to bring joy. It’s my job to turn your life into a feast. I’m the real master of the banquet, I’m the real Lord of the feast.”

But beyond that, what he’s really saying he’s bringing into your life is sensation, powerful sensation, because what he brings is all about taste. See verse 9 and 10, when the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned to wine, when he tasted it he says; “This is incredible! This tastes so great!” That’s what the whole thing is about.

Why does the bible continually talk about tasting? Why in Psalm 34 does it say, “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good,” don’t they already know the Lord is good? … Jesus Christ came to bring powerful sensation into your life. He doesn’t just say, “In the kingdom of heaven we’re going to have a feast.” He says, “the kingdom of heaven is a feast.” The kingdom of heaven is a feast!

Jesus Christ came to bring sensation. Jesus Christ wants you to taste and see that the Lord is good. Jesus Christ wants you to understand the sweetness of God.

Listen, here is a quote from Spurgeon, he says; “Some of us know what it’s like to be too happy to live. The love of God has been so overpoweringly experienced by us on some occasions that we almost had to ask God to stop the delight, for we were afraid that we could endure no more. I believe one night that if God had not veiled his love and glory a bit we would have died for joy.”

Do you know anything about that at all? Do you have any idea what Spurgeon is talking about? Why? Why not?

That’s what he [Christ] brought. That’s what he came to bring. You realize, this is his calling card, he says, “I’m the real master of the banquet, and its your life I want to come into. I want to be the Lord of the feast.”

Why are you settling for bread and water in your prayer life? Why are you settling for bread and water? Why not have a feast? In your own prayer life are you settling for bread and water?

Marching to Zion

The hill of Zion yields
A thousand sacred sweets,
Before we reach the heavenly fields,
And walk the golden streets.

More about the lectures:

  • The lectures can be found at Reformend Theological Seminary’s iTunes site—look under “RTS Seminars and Lecture Series” (requires iTunes)
  • Alternatively, here is a link to an RSS feed containing the entire lecture series (RSS)
  • The particular lecture these clips come from is Adoring Christ: Communion with God (mp3)
  • There is also a 189 page syllabus that goes along with the series (pdf)

A note from Keller that I skipped

After the Spurgeon quote, Keller addresses the seminary students and says:

Now I know it’s a little dangerous if I was talking to the average person to put forth this, I have to be careful when you’re preaching about this because modern people just love experience and you have to safeguard it and talk about the danger of making an idol; but I’m talking to you. I’m talking to you. I want to know something. Do you know anything about that at all? Do you have any idea what Spurgeon is talking about? Why? Why not?

Keller, with some intentionally, urges the students to use caution before talking about this subject with the average person. I don’t agree with Keller on this point. Scripture is quite vocal about proclaiming the necessity of seeking and experiencing the richness of the joy of God’s presence.

Communion Journal

Today was another uphill battle to find joy. Yet my head broke through the clouds on several occasions. Was able to meet with some men tonight and had much freedom in prayer to plead with God, to see his smiling face, and to confess my sinfulness before him. What a joy is our God. He blesses us with all blessings and more besides. What a bliss it will be to cast of the husk of flesh that hates God all day long—to enter into the freedom of eternal and unhindered worship. That will be a great day.

Communion Journal

Yesterday joy was elusive. Fought with some degree of persistence and found joy but would quickly loose it to return to a pensive, doubting, fearful frame.

Yesterday evening was enabled to enjoy a sweet, trusting frame and to share that hope with friends.

Today is also one of striving but with more success. Was enabled with some fervency to dedicate all to God. Once again felt faced with an offer from God that he would give us the ministry we want or that we could continue to follow him down a more hidden road. Joyously, was able once again to trust unto God our path.