Posted in unity and love

A Day Dedicated to Love: As God Intended

Over the weekend I had the privilege of officiating the wedding ceremony of my eldest son, Gabriel.Here is a picture of the newly wed couple.

It was an exiting day for our family. Marriage is a wonderful gift from our Creator. While, my wife and I are not eager to be grandparents in the foreseeable future, we are thrilled to graft our newly wed daughter (in-law) into our family. Even better is knowing that both of them love the Lord Jesus Christ and desire to honor Him for what I hope is a long-life.

Weeks before the wedding I was asked whether or not I was going to preach a sermon. After some thoughtful consideration and prayer I knew in my own heart that a sermon was not optional. And so, I considered what would be an appropriate message for the young couple, as well as those in attendance. Because I have not had the time to post much of my writing on this site, I thought it appropriate to share the message I gave on October 16, 2021.

Love is a powerful word. It is what brought the two of you here today. But, God’s definition of love is in many ways a foreign concept with our current cultural convictions.

In Scripture, love is described as an action. First and foremost love is defined by how we relate to the Triune Creator God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit):

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind” (Luke 10.27a; cf. Deut 6.5; NASB).

Secondly, this love is to be reciprocated to others:

You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12.31; cf. Lev 19.18).

While these truths are often repeated by believers and non, they only give us direction as to where our love is to be pointed, but they tell little of how we are to love. There is no need to fret, though, for Jesus Christ gives us the directives for how we are to love. Love is defined by keeping the Law-Word of God; following His instructions in regards to good and evil:

If you love Me,” Jesus says, “you will keep My commandments” (John 14.10). Furthermore, the Holy One of Israel adds, “If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love” (John 15.10). Jesus expresses to His followers that true love is one that is faithful to the Word of God, keen on the instruction God has given us for living, so that we may enjoy loves true expression. “Why,” you might ask? The answer is given to us by the apostle Paul:

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the Law [of God]” (Rom 13.10; bracket added for clarity).

Often times at weddings you will hear the recitation of 1 Corinthians 13. The reason for this is rather simple, it gives wonderful sounding words in defining biblical love. Contextually, Paul is speaking about the type of love that is to be given to fellow members of the body of Christ (ekklessia—from the Greek; the congregation or assembly of Jesus; often called the Church). However, given the nature of marriage—a covenantal institution ordained by God in the beginning; a gift given to a man and a woman who desire to share their lives with one another—it does seem appropriate that the love described there apply to marital union.

Love is patient, love is kind, it is not jealous; love does not brag, it is not arrogant. It does not act disgracefully, it does not seek its own benefit; it is not provoked, does not keep an account of a wrong suffered, it does not rejoice in unrighteousness [that is, sin], but rejoices with the truth; it keeps every confidence, it believes all things, hopes all things endures all things. Love never fails…” (1Cor 13.4-8a; emphasis added).

Notice that in each expression love is defined as an action. True love is found in humility before God through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. True love is God’s Law-Word at work in the life of a believer. This does not insinuate perfection on the part of the believer for reality proves that we all fall short and sin; first and foremost against our Maker, but also against our neighbor. In such cases the solution is to confess our wrong and seek forgiveness against the offended part. One final word by the apostle Paul is important for the soon to be newly wed couple to hear (as well as you in this audience).

In Ephesians 5 some words of wisdom are given to the married and the marrying. First Paul calls on the Christian to remember his or her position before their Lord God:

...Be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma” (Eph 5.1-2).

Then, Paul speaks to the married, and in our case this afternoon, the soon to be married:

Wives, subject yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands also ought to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are parts of His body. For this reason a man shall leave His father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, as for you individually, each husband is to love his own wife the same as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband” (Eph 5.25-33).

Let me simplify this passage for you all, in particular for the two of you, for there is much that Paul says here. Paul is comparing the union of husband and wife with Christ Jesus and His bride, the Church. Just as the bride of Christ is called to submit and respect her Lord, so too is the wife to submit and respect her husband. Why? In the same way that Christ is the head of the Church, the husband is the head of his wife. Meaning what? That he is responsible for her. He is responsible for how he leads in the home, how he cares for his wife, how he protects her from all harm in the same way that Christ leads, cares for, and protects His Church. And if the husband performs his role as husband properly—a spiritual leader that is concerned with doing right and abstaining from wrong (although not perfectly)–then the wife needs to follow his lead, and in so doing she honors her Lord and Savior Jesus.

The husband is commanded to love his wife like Christ loved the Church. How did Jesus do this? He willingly laid down His life for His brides sake. So too then is the husband expected to willingly give of his life for the betterment of his wife. Just as we would never harm our own bodies, the same ought to be true of husbands and their wives. If the husband acts with such things in mind, then he too honors his Lord above.

Again we find that true love, when defined properly, is action. It is based on a faithful commitment to one another. Gabriel and Makalah this is the type of love you are expected to demonstrate to one another; before God and mankind. The same expression of love Christ demonstrated and is now demonstrating for those bonded to Him, is required of the two of you. If you love Christ, as you both have professed, then you will love each other as He commands.

Marriage is a wonderful gift from our Creator. One that is not meant to be taken or entered into lightly. May the Lord of Glory bless your union on this day. And, may those in attendance be a help and not a hindrance to your new found life together.

Let us pray.

Posted in Beliefs

On Humming “A Mighty Fortress” Through Your Masks

Introduction Allow me, if you will, to address the issues of true liberty, liberty of conscience, and the vaccine mandates. As more COVID mandates …

On Humming “A Mighty Fortress” Through Your Masks

An excellent post by an excellent Christian pastor. At least that’s my opinion of the venerable Doug Wilson.

Posted in Christian Living

Discerning Truth from Error

It is the role of the Christian to not only stand for truth but decipher it from the swamp of information that plaques us on a daily basis. I was asked by a dear friend, “With all the misinformation out there on both sides–the radicals on the left and right–how are we to know what is true?” A pertinent question. One that demands an answer. In getting to the truth we must weigh the source and the intended result from the information that they share. We must measure in our minds what the underlying presuppositions might be. We are to hold their known character in the light and view what has been told by the light of God’s Word. Our Lord is not the author of confusion. He does not speak out both sides of His mouth. He does not apply inconsistent or arbitrary standards to the position He holds. In short, our Lord is not a liar. Jesus does not seek to murder or coerce or manipulate us. He says, “Come to Me and I will give you rest.” He says, “Come to Me so that your sins may be blotted out.” He says, “Come to me and I will give you water and bread that you might live forever.” But not so for Satan who desires to see you bound and gagged in this life and in the next, so that you will experience the wrath reserved for him and the angels (messengers of darkness) in an eternal hell.

The children of God are equipped to identify a lie, even if the whole world is caught under its sway. And we must be willing to stand in the torrent of the cultural winds that seek to blows us down, to bend them to their will. This we can do if our lives be built upon the Rock, for our Rock is not like their rock. Ours is a stronghold, a mighty refuge. Theirs, regardless of its apparent splendor and might, is shifting sand.

It is the role of the believer to know the truth.

Posted in Uncategorized

Seven Ways to Prepare Your Family for What’s Coming | Doug Wilson |

In this episode of Blog & Mablog, Pastor Doug Wilson gives seven ways to prepare for what’s coming.

Enjoying this video? Check out Doug’s “Rules for Reformers” today!
https://canonpress.com/products/rules-for-reformers/or Doug Wilson gives seven ways to prepare for what’s coming.

— Read on tv.gab.com/channel/canonpress/view/seven-ways-to-prepare-your-family-61412ad9a63bd99c094d8b78

We’ll stated and on point!!

Posted in history

Day of Remembrance: Being Mindful of Past Memories in Order to have Hope for the Present-Future.

There is no remembrance of the earlier things, and the later things as well, which will occur, There will be no remembrance of them among those who will come later still” (Eccl 1.11; NASB).

Fading memories rekindled…

How much do you remember of your past? What are the events of your past that stick in your mind? Are they good memories or bad? If you’re like most people then it is probably a little of both. You remember good times, but there are also times that were bad (might even have been horrible) that stick out like a sore thumb. Those memories of the past that have crept into your thoughts in the present that you’d very much like to forget. The sort of thing that gets you to shake your head, close your eyes, and say “No, no…not that!”

When you think about it our memories are quite amazing things. Different types of stimuli bring them to the forefront of our minds; sometimes at the most inconvenient moment possible. Smells, lights, sounds, the sensation of touch all of which are used to remind us of our past as our memories come simmering to the surface. For example, the smell of freshly cut grass on a hot humid summer morning brings to mind two-a-day practices for the upcoming football season from my youth. The song by the Four Seasons entitled December, 1963 playing on the radio brings back memories of me riding in the back of a pickup truck traveling through Clearfield, PA in the winter of 1994, with snow steadily falling on the well lit streets. I can still feel my hair blowing in the chilly wind at about 35 mph.

Dark days of history…

And then there was September 11th, 2001. The day that the Twin Towers fell. The day when the United States of America was attacked by terrorists under the leadership of a man later found out to be Osama Bin Laden. Commercial airliners were overtaken by Islamic terrorists in the air and were then diverted to crash into what many recognized as a marvel of America ingenuity.

I was in Ontario, Canada on that historic day. The air was cool and crisp. A bunch of family and friends (all outdoorsy dudes) had decided to go on a two week fishing trip in one of the most serene places in North America. We were having a blast slaying fish, until a couple Canadians from the RV park where we were staying hollered at us USA boys. The scene was gut wrenching. Bile could be felt in the back of my throat. Along with a slow boiling anger in the center of my chest.

I had grown up in an era where you were raised daily to pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and the republic for which its stands. “Under God” was a phrase that had real meaning, at least in a traditional sense. Like many young men from that time (I was 22 years old then) I seriously thought about signing up for military service. It was the revelation that I was to be a dad in 8 months that put that notion to rest.

Two days before the twenty year anniversary of that day, September 9th, 2021, another terrorist event occurred. This time it was terrorism of a domestic source. This time it was not buildings that were attacked, and lives immediately lost. Oh no, not that. This time it was the ability to build lives, to provide for loved ones, which has been attacked.

A few weeks back I was reading on the Department of Homeland Security’s web-page of domestic terrorism. They cited possible resistance to certain medical restrictions (you know of what I speak) by extremists of an evangelical nature, as the source of trouble. I now know why. The federal government knew what was coming down the pike. I assumed it was coming since I’ve been paying attention to other sectors of our world. Nations that are being crippled by bureaucratic terrorists under the guise of medical health and public safety, were the signal fires to us here in the United States, but just like on September 11th, 2001 we ignored the warnings around us.

Why? How? Because we were then and are now consumed with our own lives. Selfishly driven, selfishly motivated, giving little care for anything other than our own creaturely comforts.

Historic day that shone…

But rather than beat on that drum, I wanted to speak on another September 11th from history. One that shows the concerns and convictions of the many who fought for the freedoms that we are currently allowing to be stripped from piece-by-piece. So different were the thoughts of those that have gone before us. So different were their priorities than the many that now share this soil.

Benjamin F. Morris writes,

“The breaking out of the Revolution cut off the supply of ‘books printed in London.’ The scarcity of Bibles also came soon to be felt. DR. PATRICK ALLISON, one of the chaplains to Congress, and other gentlemen, brought the subject before that body in memorial, in which they urged the printing of an edition of the Scriptures.

“On the 11th of September, 1777, the committee to whom the memorial was referred reported as follows—

“Thursday, September 11, 1777—The committee to whom the memorial of Dr. Allison and others was referred, report, That they have conferred fully with the printers, &c., in this city, and are of opinion that the proper types for printing the Bible are not to be had in this country, and that the paper cannot be procured, but with such difficulties, and subject to such casualties, as render any dependence on it altogether improper; that to import types for the purpose of setting up an entire edition of the Bible, and to strike off 30,000 copies, with paper, binding, &c., will cost £10,272, 10, which must be advanced by Congress, to be reimbursed by the sale of the books; that, in the opinion of the committee, considerable difficulties will attend the procuring the types and paper; that, afterwards, the risk of importing them will considerably enhance the cost, and that the calculations are subject to such uncertainty in the present state of affairs, that Congress cannot much rely on them; that the use of the Bible is so universal, and its importance so great, that your committee refer the above to the consideration of Congress, and if Congress shall not think it expedient to order the importation of types and paper, the committee recommend that Congress will order the Committee of Commerce to import 20,000 Bibles from Holland, Scotland, or elsewhere, into the different ports of the States of the Union.

Whereupon it was moved, That the Committee of Commerce be directed to import 20,000 copies of the Bible.

On this motion New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Georgia, voted in the affirmative; New York, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, voted in the negative.

So it was resolved in the affirmative.”1

Meaning what? That during a time of war, when people were fighting to protect their homes and livelihood from tyranny, from despots that were trying to force submission on the citizens in this land from across the pond, their leaders primary concern was the spiritual well-being of the people here. It was understood that God’s Word provided not only the foundation of all of life, but gave beautiful meaning to concepts such as freedom for which they were fighting for. It is the Christian faith birthed from the precious Word of Christ—what we call our Holy Bibles—that sparked the ideals that formed this nation. The fact that we are now under threat from terrorists from within and without as seen in our past (twenty years ago: Sept. 11th, 2001; and just yesterday: Sept. 9th, 2021) ought to serve as a warning to remember our roots.

We were victorious at our nation’s founding not because we were the greatest in number or strength or military prowess, but because we had entrusted ourselves unto the Lord of Hosts. Tyrants who supposed that they were god-in-the-flesh failed because of this basic principle:

Unless the Lord builds a house, they who build it labor in vain; unless the Lord guards a city, the watchman stays awake in vain” (Psa 127.1).

The Shining is not over…

In time, history will show that the present day that we face birthed tyrants destined to fail (Rom 19.17). For it was for this purpose that they entered this world…that the glory of Almighty God might shine through all the earth (Exod 19.15-16; 15.11-16). Do not grow weary in hope, for it is in the Lord Jesus Christ that all shall bow and through Him peace shall come; in history, not outside of it (Phil 2.9-11):

For [Christ] must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when He says, ‘All things are put in subjection,’ it is clear that this excludes the Father who put all things in subjection to Him [the Son]. When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all” (1Cor 15.25-28; cf. vv. 20-24).

If we remember what happened in the past because of God’s sovereign providence, then we have no need whatsoever to ever fear what tomorrow may hold. For all tomorrows are in our Father’s hand. Oh, that we would remember these truths and believe them!

ENDNOTE:

1Benjamin F. Morris, The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States, Reprint 1864 (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision Press, 2021), 252-253. Emphasis Added, All Caps in original.