AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH October 31, 2010
Presbyterian Church following the Bible without Qualification
and the Lord Jesus Christ without Compromise by Faith
THE DEITY, THE DISMISSAL AND THE DEBACLE,
THE DIVINE, THE DELIGHT AND THE DELIVERANCE:
The waiting room of the dentist used to be a thing of some slight awe, since pain was more extended, intense and conditions more adverse. Waiting! Waiting for your vessel to wharf, on which you duly sail for another country, no sight, no way, then suddenly it is a speck, a looming presence, an invitation. The removal of persecution, godless, heartless, inveterate, then after prayer and perseverance gone: more waiting! Yet in retrospect such waiting can be like the hands of the intimately affectionate clay moulder, sculpting with precision, the Lord the potter.
In Israel the sublime waiting on the Lord was far from unknown, and nothing less than the coming of the promised Messiah, fulness of Godhead in Him, was in view. We turn now to look at one wonderful exhibit of humanity, like a ripe peach with the bloom upon it, for old age is by no means without its beauty, when it is in the Lord. His name is Simeon.
Luke 2:29 has this:
now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation,
which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of Your people Israel."
These exquisite words of Simeon, lover of God, pious man of prayer, "just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel", when "the Holy Spirit was upon him," indicate that after
life-time wish to see something better than the stumbling works of man,
prayerful pondering of the wonder of the Messiah soon to come
weighing of the acute needs of a corrupted and professionalised priesthood,
he was now at rest.
Blessed are those who wait for the Lord, in rest of spirit, in desire of heart, in confidence of mind. "Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord!" says Psalm 27:14.
In his arms he held the very One, now little and vulnerable, soon to become strong and sacrificial, through whom would come that consolation for which that nation waited, which it needed, through whom indeed would come salvation for Jew and Gentile alike.
The Greek word, literally a unloosing away, or a dismissal, apolouw, and it is used in that culling verse, Luke 23:25. It concerns Pilate, governor, Barabbus, robber and murderer, and Jesus Christ, Saviour.
released to them the one they requested,
One is dismissed FROM death, the other is dismissed TO death.
Again, it is underlined in Isaiah:
"And therefore will the LORD wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for Him," Isaiah 30:18.
He, Simeon waited; but another course appealed to the nation. They did not wait, but delivered up Jesus to the murder squad. Consider again Luke 23:25.
Look at those two verbs: "released" and "delivered." The latter more literally is "give away, give over" and the other "dismiss". The evil was relinquished, granted release, liberated; the good was given away, dispensed with, yes, here yielded up and hence DISMISSED.
Ever since Israel has had the more than dubious joy of too close association with murderers who have hated her, and evil and its powers, have had too close association with this world, a mockery where Christ is likewise dismissed. This isincreasingly true even of nations once not far off from the ways of the kingdom, at least in many of their citizens, and alas still true of the authorities in charge in Israel, a democratic nation where this state of affairs represents the people.
Murder and mayhem attend all, the Gentiles now caught in an ever-increasing dynamic in the vortex of godlessness and empty aims, or concocted religiosity. Assault becomes a norm, not least from devilish religions, seeking a world contoured to its command, provoking others to fight, using repeated threats to confront, enhanced by dubious treacheries from apparent friends, which help others to fight in vain. This is but part. If fear does not lead to a 'protective' antichrist soon, then charm may entice to an empty heart, full of deceit. Never trust force, inane substitute for truth.
It is necessary to look at the topic, then, of DISMISSAL, for Barabbus was dismissed from trouble, and in essence has been at large ever since, EXCEPT where the risen Christ rules. In handing over Christ, GIVING HIM UP to the treacherous crowd, Pilate was accomplishing in turn a dismissal, for their lust was to kill. Israel was dismissing Christ, and enabling a criminal to have charges against him dismissed.
In John 18-19, we see just how much dismissal was involved when the crisis of mankind came, more dangerous than the flood, for when the devastating inundation left, there was repair, but when Christ left there was no repair except through repentance, uncommonly unpopular.
1) We see Judas dismissed from any bond with Jesus, but to this, he dismisses himself, for as to the enemies of truth, "he stood with them," John 18:5.1),
2) Now we see Christ's own dismissal of any armed defence (John 18:11). Why ? There was a cup to drink, a destiny to fulfil, grievous, all but ghoulish in appearance, but merciful in result and aim. PUT UP YOUR SWORD! He cried to Peter, restoring the aggressor's ear What Christian body could EVER use the sword for religious reasons and be called Christian, after that! A State might fight to prevent enslavement of its country by an aggressor, but to the Church of Jesus Christ there is an absolute prohibition on the use of force in the domain of religion and its procurement. It is a kingdom of truth (18:36-37). Hence Judas' betrayal could occur; for thus God is running the world, and it is not by force, for love abhors force in its domain. Similarly men and women of all ages can dismiss the truth, the kingdom of heaven, assault Christians, more available now than is Christ for slaughter. And they do.
3) Dismissed likewise, after an initial display of force in protection for Christ, was courageous loyalty on the part of Peter. Fantasies about this excellent apostle are hung up to dry here just as at Matthew 16:20-22.
4) Dismissed was the ploy of the priest, Annas, father-in-law of the High priest, Caiaphas, seemingly seeking to cast Jesus as a subversive. Tell me concerning your doctrine! he ordered, as if he did not know, and might entrap Him (as some tried, Luke 11:53ff.), earlier. But Jesus would have no clandestine assault and declared roundly:
openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the
Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing.
Why do you ask Me ? Ask those who have heard Me what I said to them.
Indeed they know what I said."
5) At this, we find in John 18:23, one of the officers struck Him, complicating His simple affirmation by potential intimidation and confusion, turmoil, an excellent weapon against truth, often used. But Christ dismissed his challenge: "If I have spoken evil, bear witness fo the evil; but if well, why do you strike Me ?" This was in a nutshell the enterprise of the enemy, to AVOID TRUTH by VIOLENCE, and it has been a chief method ever since. It is a chief method of Islamic terrorists who abound in many bodies of murderers, as it has been in many since Christ.
6) In John 18:30, we discover dismissal out of hand, of any need to give a reasonable answer to the question: WHY speak evil of Jesus Christ ? The question is begged:
"If He were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him up to you."
In other words, he IS evil, TRUST US, we know! Don't even consider the evidence. Dismiss it! This approach we answer on the Web in our Biblical Christian Apologetics series of 187 volumes. People however are often undisposed to heed (John 8:43). So then were the Jews unwilling to give ground to Pilate. How present a reasoned case against Him when there isn't one. Misled fear of cost ? yes: case ? no. Instead political pressure was applied, as now in South Australian schools, where God's action of creation is routinely scamped, and mythology substituted by FORCE, using tax money for the fraud.
7) In John 18: 36-37 we find dismissal of national or territorial ambition. HIS kingdom first and foremost for one as for all, concerns truth, sin being a form of bondage and usurpation. Grabbing has nothing to do with it; but God appoints places and times to people as He will. Unwise is he who ignores the word of God to any, on anything.
8) The dismissal of truth by Pilate is to be viewed in John 18:38. However, as in the governor's insistence on leaving intact, the notice over the cross of Christ, 'King of the Jews', there was no mean appreciation by Pilate of Christ, as is often the case: but also commonly, this was dismissed because fear for profession, career, personal security dominated his thoughts. So was Christ sold, and so is He by those who refuse to sacrifice for the truth, or allow ambition or fear to make of their hands or tongues, lying instruments.
9) Dismal dismissal was also accorded any favourable comparison with robber Barabbus, on the part of Jesus Christ in the eyes of Israel's government Murderous moments prevailed! John 18:40. NOT THIS MAN! they cried as if insulted by the very idea of such a choice!
What, Christ! it was as if they said. Christ! what's wrong with you: WE want Barabbus!
10) Dismissal of disciples was also achieved, on the part of His disciples, in protective provision, John 18:7-8.
"I have told you I am He. Therefore if you seek Me, let these go their way."
11) In John 19:5-8, it is any pity which is dismissed: the sight of Christ harrowed, harassed, smitten, written off, subject of anguish and object of mockery, yet by Pilate called their King, moved their hearts as an ant moves a mountain. Humanity's condition is a direct reflection of this appalling attitude, then focussed in Israel, now featured in many a nation, where His disciples are detained, His churches burnt or assaulted, His principles flouted and His name dishonoured as filth twitches in its high regard for itself, and truth is abhorred (cf. Isaiah 49:7).
The nation which exalts folly, however, and the world which is seeking to preserve itself by pliable and populous accord on moral issues in order to purge religious extremists by a yet greater and mindless extremism (The Australian, October 29, 2010), is merely erecting its own gallows, like Haman (cf. Revelation 19:19, Esther 8:7), for itself. Of this news, more anon.
Do they never learn! after France, 1789, Russia 1917; or Iran 1979, where even now by continual report, force rules, corruption flourishes, torture triumphs, boasting taunts, and threats of demolishing a nation, soar...
What is now touted in the article just noted, is this: morals agreeable to all, fashioned for all. The concept that the extremism of Christian grace and love, with love of God, His will, His word and His salvation the only rational basis for any morality-with-truth combination, is reasonably to be chosen, instead of self-serving invention, does not seem to occur to the mandarins of convenient morality.
Popular ? this the cross never is nor has been, since truth hurts and hypocrisy is more readily accommodated and autonomy stirs like the very devil. Man still is unwilling to learn that folly is no substitute for accredited faith, and that God is not mocked, being our own Author, which nothing can ever efface (Hosea 8:7, Proverbs 14:34), that He is One, has and knows His own mind and has clearly stated it. Moreover, He has acted to provide free salvation where hearts being changed, agitating force is not an option or a need, so solving the riddle of man with the redemption of Christ, foretold, fulfilled, applied.
Therefore love the Lord, and do not join Judas movements in a religious sell-out, an engulfing distillate of opposites, sure of one thing only, that Christ must not rule. Here is Pilate once again, this time courtesy of a Brookings Institution think tank, in an increasingly common move of appeal, before the antichrist requires unswerving serving of his designs for just one, under HIS amalgam, one only counter-Christ control unit: Result ? Revelation 19:19.
Why sell, only to find that you have not only sold your soul for survival, destitute of both truth and love, but become a honey-pot for the ants which love treachery, and despise truth, and hence with multiple stings act as if to manipulate man! Jesus has abundant life; but it involves self-discipline, while it provides eternity. When God spoke, He made sure nothing else could compare, either in fulfilment in fact or in the face of Jesus Christ (cf. SMR). Only truth lasts, and there is no other name for which rational testimony can be given, or in which salvation for man can be found.
truth, and sell it not,"
"also wisdom and instruction and understanding."
You might as well buy blight, or purchase locusts as turn from the Lord. For a short time, for an indulgent season, you may slack, yield to some spiritual seduction, and run back amazed at your own folly (consider David and Bathsheba, with Psalm 51); but it is like honey for a fly, a trepidatious move to let's its sweetness tempt you.
Sweetness is not found in flesh or world or luring; it is found in truth, which never changes, in God who is willing to make categorical changes in man, not to invent a new type of thing, but in restoration and affiliation as a child of God. Call upon the Lord therefore if you value your soul (Psalm 50), and do not linger, avoid loitering with mere thoughts of men, trying to make gods, ultimate resources, and ignoring what made them. What is this if not subversion, when the God of orientation, salvation and redemption is Himself looming like Gibraltar as you enter the Mediterranean, like the Rockies, some hours after Vancouver, present like air, nearby, more expansive than space, incomparably more intensive than are the greatest creations of man: but to be called upon by those who habitually wear masks and need the breath of life, the warrant of life everlasting (Proverbs 1, II Corinthians 5-6).
Pity ? In dismissing Christ in all His glory, this world merely is pitiless on itself, as on truth, mercy and viability. It is the lure of lordship without glory, fecklessness without faith, and the trap of the false shepherd to which such heartlessness brings straying and recklessly vulnerable man.
NEXT SUNDAY, DV: we plan to complete this presentation.
For a fuller presentation of the above, follow this link.