Monday, May 25, 2020

Saucy: where the church can be seen

Monday, May 25, 2020
    Feast of the Venerable Bede, Priest, Monk of Jarrow, Historian, 735
    Commemoration of Aldhelm, Abbot of Mamsbury, Bishop of Sherborne, 709
Meditation:
For the LORD loves the just
    and will not forsake his faithful ones.
They will be protected forever,
    but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off;
the righteous will inherit the land
    and dwell in it forever.
    —Psalm 37:28-29 (NIV)
Quotation:
    It is true that the New Testament uses the term ekklesia for the spiritual reality of the body of Christ and also for the assembly, in which the genuineness of the spiritual reality of every individual professing member cannot be known. To this extent, the exact membership of any individual church and the universal church at large cannot be known and is thereby invisible. But even this invisible membership is very visible in the reality of life. As for membership in an invisible church without fellowship with any local assembly, this concept is never contemplated in the New Testament. The universal church was the universal fellowship of believers who met visibly in local assemblies.
    ... Robert L. Saucy (1930-2015), The Church in God’s Program, Chicago: Moody Press, 1972, p. 17 (see the book)
    See also Ps. 37:28-29; John 10:27-30; Rom. 11:2-5; 1 Cor. 8:3; 2 Tim. 2:19
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, Your invisible church is visible to the world.
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Sunday, May 24, 2020

Wesley: all things possible

Sunday, May 24, 2020
    Feast of John and Charles Wesley, Priests, Poets, Teachers, 1791 & 1788
Meditation:
    Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.
    —Jeremiah 32:17 (NIV)
Quotation:
    If all things are possible with God, then all things are possible to him who believes in him.
    ... John Wesley (1703-1791), Sermons on Several Occasions, v. II, New York: Carlton & Phillips, 1855, p. 446 (see the book)
    See also Jer. 32:17; Gen. 18:14; Matt. 6:22-23; 19:26
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You have performed a miracle within me.
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Saturday, May 23, 2020

Kurosaki: the one true center of the church

Saturday, May 23, 2020
    Commemoration of Petroc, Abbot of Padstow, 6th century
Meditation:
    [Jesus:] “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
    —John 17:20-21 (NIV)
Quotation:
    Recently, some Christians have recognized the existing state of the church as sinful, or, at least, as faulty and mistaken. They are trying to save the Christians out of this labyrinth by reuniting the divided churches, by forming an alliance of churches, or by trying to form an ecumenical church. For all that, it seems very difficult to obtain the desired result, because all the present churches are still standing on the principles of the Reformation, unable to rid themselves of the sectarian spirit inherited from Catholicism. So the number of denominations and sects shows no sign of decreasing, and all efforts to unite the churches seem likely to end only in the formation of yet other sects and denominations. Yet the center of Christianity is neither institution nor organization. Nor is it even the Bible itself, as the Reformers made it, for the Ekklesia existed before the formation of the New Testament canon. Christians were in fellowship with God and one another, centering their faith in Christ, long before there was any accepted New Testament. There is only one center of Christianity—spiritual fellowship with God through Jesus Christ.
    ... Kokichi Kurosaki (1886-1970), One Body in Christ, Kobe, Japan: Eternal Life Press, 1954, ch. 4 (see the book)
    See also John 17:20-23; Matt. 18:20; John 14:23; Rom. 12:5; 15:5-7
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, send Your Spirit to unite us.
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Friday, May 22, 2020

Nida: the one work of faith

Friday, May 22, 2020
Meditation:
    “See, he is puffed up; his desires are not upright—but the righteous will live by his faith...”
    —Habakkuk 2:4 (NIV)
Quotation:
    In Romans 1:17, we are accustomed to find the words, “The just shall live by faith.” This declaration has been a clarion call to faith and has been the text for many a sermon on the necessity of continued faith throughout life. It is true that this verse may have this meaning, but it is more probable that it means, “He who through faith is righteous shall live.” This is in keeping with the whole emphasis of Paul throughout Romans, which has as its theme “justification by faith” (Romans 5:1). Paul does not present two themes in Romans: the one, “living by faith,” and the other, “justification by faith.” His purpose was to emphasize one great primary truth of Christian doctrine: the righteousness which comes by faith in God. It is a kind of imputed righteousness, which has its origin in the grace of God and its response in the faith of man. Not only is this translation more in keeping with t he Pauline context, but it is more faithful to the Hebrew of Habakkuk 2:4, of which it is a quotation.
    ... Eugene A. Nida (1914-2011), God’s Word in Man’s Language, New York: Harper, 1952, p. 73 (see the book)
    See also Hab. 2:4; John 3:36; Rom. 1:17; 5:1; Gal. 3:11; Phil. 3:8-9; Heb. 10:36-39; 11:6
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You have shown the world how to live!
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Thursday, May 21, 2020

The Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ: the joy of Ascension Day

Thursday, May 21, 2020
    Ascension
    Feast of Commemoration of Helena, Protector of the Faith, 330
Meditation:
    When [Jesus] had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven.
    —Luke 24:50-51 (NIV)
Quotation:
    This Ascension Day is properly the most solemn feast of our Lord Jesus: for this day first in His manhood He began to sit on the Father’s right hand in bliss and took full rest of all His pilgrimage before.
    Also this is properly the feast of all the blessed spirits in heaven: for this day they had a new joy of their Lord whom they saw never before there in His manhood.
    ... The Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ, tr. Nicolas Love, Michael G. Sargent, Westminster: William Caxton, 1490, critical edition, Garland Pub., 1992, p. 219 (see the book)
    See also Luke 24:50-51; Mark 16:19; Acts 1:9; Eph. 1:18-21; 1 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 1:3
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, I long to see You in the flesh.
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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Behrends: Jesus, both God and man

Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Meditation:
    Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.
    —2 John 7 (NIV)
Quotation:
    Jesus Christ is God in the form of man; God in every fiber of his being, man in every fiber of his being; as completely God as if he were not man, and as completely man as if he were not God. We cannot divide him. He is always divine, and he is always human. The truly human experiences were also divine experiences. The truly human acts were also divine acts. The personality was human from center to circumference, and it was divine from center to circumference. The one soul was human to the core, and it was divine to the core. It follows from this, that whatever is affirmed of Jesus Christ, is as true of his deity as it is of his humanity.
    ... A. J. F. Behrends, part VII. “Why Did Christ Die?”, from “Short Studies Upon Great Themes”, printed in Christian work: illustrated family newspaper, v.64, p. 173 (see the book)
    See also 2 John 1:7; John 1:14; 1 Tim. 3:16; 1 John 4:2-3
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, I do confess Jesus, fully God and fully man.
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Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Adams: Inscription for a pulpit

Tuesday, May 19, 2020
    Feast of Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, 988
Meditation:
    [Paul to the elders at Ephesus:] Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.
    —Acts 20:28 (NIV)
Quotation:
INSCRIPTION FOR A PULPIT

“The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed.”
The hungry sheep that crave the living Bread
Grow few, and lean, and feeble as can be,
When fed not Gospel, but philosophy;
Not Love’s eternal story, no, not this,
But apt allusion, keen analysis.
Discourse well framed—forgot as soon as heard—
Man’s thin dilution of the living Word.

O Preacher, leave the rhetorician’s arts;
Preach Christ, the Food of hungry human hearts;
Hold fast to science, history, or creed,
But preach the Answer to our human need,
That in this place, at least, it may be said
No hungry sheep looks up and is not fed.
    ... Robert Hammond Adams (1883-1975) (my grandfather)
    See also Acts 20:28; Ps. 23; John 6:32-35,51; 10:11; 21:15-17
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, grant our pastors Your Spirit for the preaching of Your word.

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