AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH - October 8, 2006
A CONTINUATION OF THE THRUST AND BASE OF
THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF AUSTRALIA
ON BIBLICAL LINES …
CHOICE COMPARISONS - Psalm 106
THAT CHALLENGE TO CLOSE COMMUNION WITH CHRIST
In considering the history of Israel, its redemption from Egypt, its access to the promised land, its performance, Psalm 106 gives us a plan, a look-out for perspective from which we can survey the principles and apply them to ourselves.
I PONDER THE PAST
Psalm 106:1-2 The mighty acts of God were for Israel those of creation and redemption from Egypt in the Exodus. For us, they remain creation, but now to there is added a new redemption, not by mere power from another land as captor, but from sin as slave-driver. It is not by concentration of divine dynamic alone; it is by shedding of blood. It is Calvary; for Exodus, with the lamb's blood on the door of those to be protected, there comes the Cross, with the Lord's own blood on the heart to be covered and granted His peace and His victory.
Psalm 106:3-4 Visit me with Your salvation ... Here is the concept of abiding, then as now, but now direct and without priest's aid. Here is the path of holiness, of godliness as one seeks at all times to follow His truth, justice, love and ways.
Psalm 106:5 Seek for the favour of the Lord's people - this is the concept of service, of presenting your bodies to Him who is the Head of the Church and Lord of all creation, as a "living sacrifice, holy acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service" - Romans 12:1.
Psalm 106:6-7 Acknowledge sin - "they did not remember the multitude of Your mercies". Then as now, there is the hideous unthankfulness of many who yet think they serve God. You see it in the recent Anglican assault on the word of God, not just in one place, but systematically, detesting justice and judgment as if it were 'violence' and acting as if 'He' means violence. One might as well say many women practice selfish artfulness as this, that man is brutal. Children too, can be bumptious and unfeeling.
Perhaps we should never mention man, cut his name off and refuse he or she or child or any! In fact, there is such a thing as judgment, as authority, and seemliness; and when God came to earth, it was to be sure, through a woman, but it was as a man, to whom the presidential role is given (Ephesians 5), though only when he is himself, as Christ was, prepared to sacrifice himself for the other. It is twofold and mutual; and is meaningless without love, for GOD IS LOVE!
He is also Lord and to be addressed as what He IS! Why, He asked, do you call Me Lord, Lord and not do the things that I say! (Luke 6:46). The solution is not to refuse Him the title which is His as Commander (Isaiah 55:4), but to DO what He commands OUT OF LOVE (John 14:21-23). The Anglican manoeuvre is in the direction of an entirely different religion, made despite the ruling and face of Him who as man, is called Lord! It is not the same as that of Him who died for us, being Lord, and declaring, "If I, then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet" - John 13:14.
Christ in complete contrast declares that one should do WELL to call Him 'Lord': not think twice but act once! This is flat contradiction of the authority of Christ, and that is only one of the reconstitution of the image of God approach. Naturally enough, with assault forces from this ecclesiastical base used on the heartland of Christian doctrine, it is not at all surprising to learn that the new approach casts doubt "on huge swathes of Christian teaching and practice." If you take the core of an apple, there MUST be a lot of movement of the periphery!
What does it mean ? If Christ days YOU SAY WELL, and Anglican authorities declare you may well SAY NOT WELL! we are finding here represented a new Christ, subject to 'Church leaders' just as the incarnate Christ was so placed by them into custody leading to the Cross. They too could not stand Him as He was. His authority, total because He is God, was made the very ground of His execution (Mark 14:61-65). It was to be, then as now, THEIR authority, and to Christ not HIS but their word was to be applied. They condemned Him as He was and tried to make Him different by crucifixion, only to be frustrated by the resurrection, in the power of which current Christians ought to act, in denying what denies Him, and removing it far from their fellowship; and if it will not go, then they must do so!
If such is to be the case: Come out of her! the call is. It is indeed seen or applicable in such biblical passages as Romans 16:17; as I Corinthians 11:4,13, where another Jesus is a work of false apostles; as I Timothy 6, where the sound words of Christ are made the criterion and those departing from them must be left alone, having no part; as II John, where the doctrine of Christ is the beginning of fellowship and its lapse the end of it; as Acts 20:28-29, as also II Thessalonians 2:15, 3:6, and II Peter 2:7,17. You simply do not, to use Paul's language, keep wolves on your staff for your 'kids', nor have another Jesus portrayed for your sheep, when you worship the true one. That is idolatry, and idolatry keeps out of the kingdom (I Corinthians 6:9).
What would you expect when the name of the Lord is suspended from grace! You call me Master and Lord, and you say WELL, for so I am. You do not well, because it may lead to trouble. These are not one voice, or mind; and the religions differ, one that of the crucified Saviour and risen Lord, and the other than of men.
Thus all things are to be in place: and it is useless to try to put God in His place. His is all.
Man's ways come to design fruition only when before the Lord and His ways, each takes and all assume what is their proper role. Sin added to sin does not obliterate it, and denial of the word of the Lord does not make peace, but merely intensifies the grounds of irreconcilability. When a Church does this, it is an assault force, not a friend.
Israel too had foreign and alien deities, ideas and dispositions, and they were the ruin of her. It is better to acknowledge sin and repent, and follow the Lord's Christ with godly zeal and practicality.
"They soon forgot His words". Despite the most assiduous kindness and amazing deliverances from the Lord, the people were apt to forget and just 'be themselves'. God sent 'leanness to their soul'. When you demolish beauty, the result leaves a memory and a mess. One should recall His redemption and all it took and brings, and not litter the kingdom of the Lord with half-heartedness.
2 PRACTISE HOLINESS
Psalm 106:16-23 "Had not Moses His chosen one stood in the breach, to turn away His wrath..." This he did even after through envy they had attacked his rule, a prototype of the assault on Christ to come. We are reminded thus to pray for those who persecute us, yes even to intercede, and seek the good of those who do us harm (Matthew 5:11-12,43ff.).
Psalm 106:24-33 "They angered Him also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses on account of them..." Boldness in holy testimony to the Lord must go with a personal meekness. Provocations may intensity; self-control must remain, the courage of testimony fraught with individual humility.
Psalm 106:34-39 "They served their idols which became a snare to them..."
Thorough-going personal consistency in seeking, following and loving the Lord is not an option but part of the way. Ignore it at your peril. It is ludicrous to have heart-cherished demands of spirit and person, which your 'require' and practise for yourself, when you are the Lord's! bought with a price (cf. I Cor. 6:19). It would be like making your domestic home a public place. II Kings 17:33,39-41 shows the desolate character of this, such a thing proceeding even when Israel to the North, had been devastated. Learn early! They "feared the LORD yet served their own gods", fittingly a residue following the collapse of that section of Israel, its depopulation and the coming of many aliens to repopulate, with some of Israel to 'guide' their religion.
We read here that Israel "even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons!" How great is the sin of a people that sacrifice their young! Instead of learning early, they impose their sin on their children. Then they would burn them physically to Moloch; now they fry them mentally and burn in offering them spiritually to the gods of naturalism, unremitting in their hostility to the living God in their schools. Small wonder in some things at least our PM is trying to have curricula made more wholesome.
3 PRAY WITHOUT CEASING
Psalm 106:40-43 "He abhorred His own inheritance..." He gave them to Gentile rule, so ghastly was their two-sidedness, double-mindedness. SO can bodies called churches, yet slide and slither into spiritual worldliness and efforts to attract by foregoing their very reason for existence, making themselves abhorrent to God: COME OUT OF THEM! is His word (cf. Revelation 18:4, Romans 16:17, Jeremiah 51:45-46). The last declares that one should come out from such 'worship' sites, lest your heart should fail! It is like being a leg of roast mutton, stored for eating in the dust-bin. Come out! If you are brought low, it is God who can raise you in due time (I Peter 5:6). Don't stay THERE!
Psalm 106:44 "Nevertheless
He regarded their affliction, when He heard their cry..."
Let not desolation dictate, but seek to overcome it, and cry to God! Note the 'when' in its place. WHEN He heard what ? heard their cry! Look at Psalm 145:18 here. “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.” You must persist, for the PROMISE is for all things relating to life and GODLINESS (II Peter 1:3). You are KEPT by the POWER OF GOD, says Peter, and granted these precious promises. Remember the unjust judge in Luke 11:8, and how importunity is opportunity!
Psalm 106:45-48 People need to be brought back to the Lord, to
"triumph in Your praise."
Focus must be maintained on what life is for, on being removed from mere wallowing in this world, and acting as citizens of the kingdom of heaven (cf. Philippians 3:21).
As we approach Communion, let us recall to heart that the heart of the Gospel is the Lord, and the heart of the Lord was laid bare at Calvary, and His power at the resurrection. So let us give thanks and praise to Him for His mighty works, the summit Calvary and the resurrection that chastised death and reunited man to life forever: receiving with humility the love and ability of our God, our souls restored in His kindness, our ways chastened in His purity and our lives sent in His service.