[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Monday, November 05, 2007

A Sermon on Mary and Martha

by Matthew

I preached this yesterday:

Luke 10
38 ¶ Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.

39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.

40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.

41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:

42 but one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

This passages completely subverts the attitude of people in this society and in the world. Society values men and women of action. People say ‘actions speak louder than words.’ People value men and women who ‘get things done.’

The temptation for the preacher is too excuse Martha in this story. Many would instinctively feel that she was the sensible person in this story, busying herself with the tasks that needed to be done. However, to take this line is to make out that we know better than the Lord Jesus. Our Lord knew that Martha was doing more than she needed to do. She was going overboard.

In the King James Bible the Lord says ‘Martha, thou art careful about many things.’ There may be things that it is right to be careful about. But Martha was troubling herself with more than was necessary. She was preparing too many dishes, trying to get everything perfect. A lot of women who host dinner parties make the mistake of preparing more elaborate food than they can prepare in the available time. And that frequently spoils the evening.

There are a number of very bad ways to preach this passage.

One mistake in preaching this passage is too emphasise the difference between the personality of Mary and the personality of Martha. Mary is spiritual and deep, Martha is sensible and practical. The preacher then tells us that the Church needs both Marys and Marthas and they are all just as valuable. While there is a certain amount of truth in this approach; for the Holy Spirit does give different gifts to Christians and uses different personalities, this misses the main point in this story. Whatever the differences between Mary’s personality and Martha’s; it was their behaviour that was the issue. Martha’s behaviour and attitude was wrong, Mary’s behaviour and attitude was right and to be praised.

Another bad way of preaching this passage is too make it all about justification by faith. Martha is thus portrayed as working for her salvation and Mary is seen as having faith. Justification is certainly by faith. Any attempt to compromise the glorious truth of justification by faith must be rejected. As we shall see, this passage does touch on that issue, but to preach this passage that way is a distortion.

The reason for this is that Martha was a true woman of faith. We read in John chapter 11 that Martha was convinced of the resurrection of the dead. We also read that she confessed that Jesus was the Christ. We often hear of Peter’s confession of Christ, but I think Martha’s is even more wonderful. You will please forgive me if I divert from Luke to bring it up here.

Our Lord says to Martha:

"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

Jesus asks Martha a yes or no question. He asks Martha to affirm a fact. Do you realise that the difference between heaven and hell comes down to a yes or no to this question? Jesus asked Martha whether she believed that He could give her everlasting life. Did she believe that if she trusted in Him she would never die? She answers:

27"Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world."

Martha affirmed Jesus’s claim to be the Christ. Believing that Jesus is the Christ is simply to take Jesus at His word. To trust that he will give you everlasting life. If you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, if you take him at his word, if you answer yes to his question, you will never die.

Have you come to that point of trusting in Jesus Christ? Are you certain of being raised from the dead to everlasting life?

But we must return to Luke.

We read in this passage that Martha received Jesus into her house. I would like to say a word to Christians about how they use their houses. Do you know that your house is a gift from God? We are responsible to Him for how we use all the gifts that He gives us. There are so many ways in which you can use your house to serve your God. You can host prayer meetings and Bible study meetings. You can provide accomodation for visiting speakers. I don’t think there is an university or college here in Upton, otherwise I would have said that you can provide lodgings for a Christian student. How about inviting single people for Sunday lunch after church? Do you know, for single people, Sunday afternoons can be a really lonely time. Have you thought about inviting a single person to join you for Sunday lunch? It is not only in church that we can serve God. We cannot put too high a premium on hospitality.

However, in seeking to show hospitality, let us beware of pride. Seeking to show off our cooking or how nice our houses are. That is not a right motive for hospitality. And I think we can see that in Martha in this story. Instead of keeping things simple and just offering a few dishes, she was trying to prepare a feast. She wanted the Lord Jesus to remember her for her cooking and for her skills in preparation. She was getting caught up in the things of this world.

This world is passing away. This world is coming to a close. We read in the second epistle of Peter that the world is going to be burned or purified. It is going to be transformed. The Christian looks to a new heavens and a new earth. Seeking glory in this world. Delighting in the things of this society which are passing away is folly.

Only things that are eternal will remain. Mary was looking at eternal things. She saw that Jesus was the Son of God and wanted to hear His words to seek more of Him. Martha was getting caught up in the things of this world that were passing away.

One sin leads to another. Martha had shown her pride and she soon showed her anger. She lost her temper and complained to the Lord.

"Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"

Loosing your temper is no light matter. The Lord Jesus said that if in you are angry with your brother without a cause, you have committed murder in your heart. Martha was angry with her sister for no good reason.

Martha was a believer and yet she sinned. Christians are not perfect. In every Christian there is that Martha that wants to judge others and complain about unfairness when there is no unfairness. Christians are not perfect.

Maybe you have been hurt by Christians who have said or done things that were wrong. Don’t let that keep you from seeking Christ. Yes, Christians blow it. They need forgiveness just as much as anyone else. The difference is that they have found forgiveness for their sins. They know that they have an advocate in heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ.

It says in the firt epistle of John chapter 1:

8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Have you found forgiveness for your sin? That forgiveness can be found in the Lord Jesus Christ. He can purify you from all unrighteousness.

Notice how the Lord answers Martha. He addresses her by name:

“Martha, Martha”

We can almost hear the tenderness in His lovely voice. Martha had sinned. Martha had blown it and disappointed her master. Yet He loved her. Despite her failing, the Lord still loved Martha. For the love of Christ for sinners is great indeed. The apostle Paul wrote in Romans chapter 5, verse 8:

8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

It was His love for sinners that took the Lord Jesus Christ to the cross. There He demonstrated His love for the lost by bearing in Himself the penalty for the sins of the world. By His sacrifice He made it possible for you and I to be reconciled unto God. To have peace and find acceptance in Him.

Have you come to know the love of Christ for sinners? Have you looked to Christ and received His free gift of redemption?

The Lord told Martha that one thing was needful and Mary had chosen it. What is that thing that Mary had chosen?

Was it listening to preaching? Is that the one thing needful? We certainly do need to listen to preaching. Attending to the Word of God is vital. However, there is more to the Christian life that simply listening to sermons.

No, the one thing that was needful, that thing that Mary had chosen was Jesus Christ Himself. She had chosen to sit at His feet and Hear Him. She had chosen to seek more of His presence and a greater knowledge of Him.

There was an Anglican theologian, WH Griffith Thomas, who wrote a book entitled ‘Christianity is Christ.’ This is absolutely true. The Christian religion is not about things that Christians do, it is not about the churches that Christians join. Christianity is 100% about a person, the man Jesus Christ in whom manhood and deity are united.

Some people say a Christian is a person who follows Christ. That is part of the truth, but only part. I would say Christianity is not so much about following Christ as knowing Christ.

From the start to the finish, the Christian life is about knowing Christ.

The Christian life begins with trust in Christ for the gift of eternal life. We have seen how Martha exercised faith in Christ. She recognised that He was resurrection and the life, the guarantor of eternal life to those who believe. For Jesus is life, He possesses it and gives it to those who put their trust in Him.

Possessing eternal life means that one will certainly live forever. But eternal life also has a dynamic character. For our Lord said:

3Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

Eternal life involves knowing God and knowing Him through Christ. As the Christian experiences more of the life of Christ, the more she comes to know of God.

The Christian life is a new kind of life. When one believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, one is born again. The Christian possesses a new nature one that is patterned after Christ. The apostle Paul was able to say:

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

The Christian is a completely new person modelled after Christ.

The more the Christian grows in the knowledge of Christ, the more she is able to live as He would. She becomes more Christ-like.

As for the future, the Christian will know Christ and be with Him forever. It says in 1 Thessalonians that when Christ comes ‘so shall we ever be with the Lord.’

The delights of heaven will be incredible, but the greatest of all of them is to be with the Lord Jesus Christ. If you have been invited to a friend’s house for dinner, you look forward to going. You may look forward to the food, but more likely, you are looking forward most to seeing your friend. You look forward to being with that person who you admire and who’s company you enjoy. The Christian can look forward to being with the perfect man, the greatest man in history.

In the future, this man Jesus Christ is going to establish His perfect rule and government over the universe. Everything in heaven and earth will be put under His authority. But He will not rule alone. Those Christians who have faithfully served Him will be given a share in reigning with Him. They will constitute a celestial aristocracy, a new heavenly government. They are exalted to the highest position through Christ.

Thus, to know Christ is a most wonderful thing indeed. To say that knowing Christ is life-transforming is an understatement.

Do you know this man Jesus Christ? Have you chosen that better part?

You can know all of the blessings found in Christ if you would only turn to Him. If you would believe on Him and trust Him to give you everlasting life, then He shall indeed. Like Martha, you will have that certainty that you will never die.

For our Lord said of Mary in this story that the best part that she had chosen would never be taken from her. Once you are in Christ, you are in Him forever. It is an everlasting salvation. You can have eternal life.

Choose the best part. Choose the Lord Jesus Christ. Believe on Him and you can enjoy Him forever.


  • Good job, Matthew!

    By Blogger VA ~Susan, at Monday, November 05, 2007 6:26:00 PM  

  • Thanks, Susan.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, November 06, 2007 12:25:00 AM  

  • "Eternal life involves knowing God and knowing Him through Christ. As the Christian experiences more of the life of Christ, the more she comes to know of God."

    Wow, a hearty Amen. Very well put Matthew.

    By Blogger Chris, at Thursday, November 08, 2007 9:50:00 AM  

  • Thankyou, Chris. That is encouraging.

    Eternal life also involves living forever. Living after death and being raised from the dead.

    Are you going to live forever?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Thursday, November 08, 2007 10:54:00 AM  

  • God willing, yes I intend to.

    By Blogger Chris, at Thursday, November 08, 2007 12:15:00 PM  

  • You intend to. But you might not.

    You intend to have eternal life, but you dont believe you posess it know.

    The tragedy here is that we are saved by faith not by intentions.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Thursday, November 08, 2007 12:24:00 PM  

  • And you might not Matthew, but this doctrinal quibbling is not what Jesus intended. There is no tragedy vis-a-vis me. We don't decide these things. You don't, I don't. You speak of tragedy as if it is a forgone conclusion that I will not have it. I will never claim that you do not have it, because to so claim is to engage in divination, the sole provence of God. I will not have it if I stand before the judgement throne of God and it is decided then that I do not have it. Correct me if I'm wrong, but as I understand the prophetic timeline, the Judgement has not yet taken place, has it? A few things need to happen in the meantime. John 5:28-29 says,

    28"Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.

    According to Jesus, the gift of eternal life will be granted after the resurrection and judgement. Does your faith in Jesus also include a belief that he has the right to judge these matters?

    By Blogger Chris, at Thursday, November 08, 2007 2:46:00 PM  

  • Chris, it is not a matter of judging you.

    I am simply stating your beliefs.

    You believe that your being raised from the dead to everlasting life depends upon your living a life of obediance.

    You do not believe that what Christ has done in His death and resurrection is sufficent to secure your eternal destiny. You believe you must also live a life of obediance as well.

    "According to Jesus, the gift of eternal life will be granted after the resurrection and judgement."

    I deny that this is the case. Eternal life is received now, though in the future a person can experience more of that eternal life in its dynamic and qualitative aspect.

    John 3
    16 ¶ For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

    36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

    1 John 5
    11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Friday, November 09, 2007 12:39:00 AM  

  • Matthew,

    Quite right. We do need to obey his commandments. What does Jesus mean when he says at John 14:6, "I am the way and the truth and the life?”

    I take it to mean that we Christians must walk the walk of Christ, not to complete unfinished works of the cross, but to emulate his way of living, his way of thinking about his Father, his daily, if not constant devotion to Almighty God. Jesus not only provided the means for our redemtion to God, he taught us how to worship God in a way that is acceptable to him. He showed us what it means to be a child of God and to be grateful and thankful for the priveledge to be in his good graces. See its all about God, not us. Our focus should not be on our salvation, or our rewards, rather our focus should be on worshipping God, giving thanks, giving honor and glory to him, and obeying his commands because he is our Father and he has the soveriegn right to command. That's why Paul said in his letter to the Philippians that "Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.14Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16as you hold out[c] the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing."

    Working out our salvation with fear and trembling. Fear at what? Trembling at what? The fear of God is better expressed as the fear of displeasing him, as we fear displeasing our fleshly parents.

    You speak of salvation and eternal life as a present possession. This of course means that you feel and are confident that you deserve it, because you have faith. At Ephesians 2:8, Paul uses the word Kha'ris, often translated to read "Grace", but what is really being expressed in the word is a type of kindness that God bestows on us that is undeserved. This is also why we are commanded as Christians to exhibit this attribute (Luke 6:35, Romans 12:14). These ones who are our enemies are to be loved as well. Do they deserve it? No, but nonetheless we are to bestow this undeserved kindness on them, as our Father bestow upon us. All this to say that we are saved by God's grace or his undeserved kindness towards us.

    So is it your position that your faith has already purchased your salvation; that somehow you deserve it? By saying that you now possess eternal life are you not in fact saying that you have earned it, through your faith? Isn't this really a works based salvation.

    By Blogger Chris, at Friday, November 09, 2007 12:32:00 PM  

  • Matthew,

    Endurance in faith, or exercising faith, not merely puncitilliar faith or passive assent, is ubiquotously attested to in scripture. Jesus at John 14:12 expressed it as "Truly, truly, I say to you,whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do..."

    This goes back to walking in the way of the Lord, picking up our crosses and demonstrate our faith by following.

    The faith of new Christians is a little like this punctilliar faith that you and Antonio are preaching. Consider the love that a toddler has for a toy. In one instant, the toy is the toddler's entire universe and in the next instant, it is abandoned for something more compelling. God knows our character, he knows that we can be easily distracted by the things of this world. We need to do the works of the Lord, walk in his way, over our lifetime (Matthew 24:13)to demonstrate our faith so that we are not the toddler who abandons the toy, but mature Christians who give honor and glory to God and are truly thankful for his undeserved mercies. In this way, we can become resolved that there is absolutely nothing we can do to improve upon the works of the Cross of Christ.

    Joshua was a great General and commanded many fighting men, but he was given instruction to march around Jericho seven times and on the seventh day, seven times. Why did God require Joshua and his men to do this? So that in so doing they could see for themselves the hopelessness, the impossibility of their task, that in their weakness at being able to destroy their enemy and overcome the impenetrable walls of the city, they would have to rely exclusively upon God to deliver them. The message: In our weakness, we discover our strength, Almighty God.

    This is why, based on my understanding of scripture, that walking in the way of our Lord, exercising faith in him and the One who sent him, is a saving faith.

    By Blogger Chris, at Friday, November 09, 2007 1:52:00 PM  

  • [Our focus should not be on our salvation, or our rewards, rather our focus should be on worshipping God, giving thanks, giving honor and glory to him, and obeying his commands because he is our Father and he has the soveriegn right to command. ]

    Very true, Chris. Jesus taught about the importance of true worship when he spoke to the woman at the well.

    John 4:20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

    Jesus told her that God is seeking true worshipers and that the worship He seeks from us must be done in spirit and truth. To worship God rightly someone has to know the One they are worshiping otherwise they are only worshiping a figment of their imaginations.

    Jesus called Himself the Son of God. You believe that this term means that Jesus is less than God, but the term "Son of God" actually refers to His deity.

    Louis Berkhof writes in His Systematic Theology:

    "[The term Son of God is used] in the metaphysical sense as the Second person of the trinity in contrast to the Socinians and Unitarian views. In some passages it is abundantly evident that the name [Son of God] is indicative of the deity of Christ. John 5:18-25; Hebrews 1.

    The Jews certainly understood Jesus to claim He was the Son of God in the metaphysical sense, for they regarded the manner in which He spoke of Himself as the Son of God as blasphemy Matthew 26:63; John 5:18; 10:36."

    John 19:6 When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” 7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.”

    J. C. Ryle writes on this passage:
    "The expression 'Son of God' meant far more to a Jewish mind than it does to us. We see in John 5:18 that the Jews considered that when our Lord said that God was his Father he made himself 'equal with God'. See also John 10:33. One thing at any rate is very clear: whatever Socinians may say, our Lord distinctly laid claim to divinity and the Jews distinctly understood him to mean that he was God as well as man.
    Cyril well remarks that if the Jews had dealt justly, they would have told the Gentile ruler that the person before him had not only claimed to be the Son of God, but had also done many miracles in proof of His divinity."

    John 20:26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

    Can you say to the Lord Jesus Christ along with Thomas "My Lord and my God?" Are you worshiping and honoring the Son as well as the Father?

    John 5: 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. 22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.

    Rev 5: 11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” 13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” 14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
    Jesus said, "I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am [he] you will die in your sins”
    John 8:24 .”

    May God be pleased to reveal His Son to you, Chris.

    Every Blessing,

    By Blogger Susan, at Friday, November 09, 2007 7:47:00 PM  

  • "In this way, we can become resolved that there is absolutely nothing we can do to improve upon the works of the Cross of Christ."

    I am sure you would not seek to improve on the work of the cross.

    But essentially you deny it's sufficency.

    You believe that the cross can only obtain life for the believer when she lives a life of obediance.

    The cross in your view can only provide salvation to the person who is faithful.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Saturday, November 10, 2007 2:00:00 AM  

  • Matthew,
    This was a great sermon!
    I did notice your use of your new favorite expression "celestial aristocracy." :~)
    I love the way you took this simple, familiar story and got into many different subjects. I like the way you ended the sermon as well. Thanks for posting it!

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, November 10, 2007 6:18:00 AM  

  • Hi Susan,
    Thank you for taking the time to impart those wonderful scriptures and expressions.

    It seems though that you have weighted the extra-scriptural writing and commentary over the plain words found in the Bible. I want to be clear about what I believe. Jesus was not just a man, a prophet, although coming as last in a long line of prophets. There is a very crucial difference. The prophets, all witnesses to the True God, as Jesus is, were born of woman, and Jesus was born of God (John 1:1, John 3:16). I affirm his deity. You cannot be the 1st born of all creation, the Son of God and not have the essence of God, or deity. There is no question as to his deity.

    But he came to bear witness to his Heavenly Father, to reconcile mankind to him, and to show us a perfect form of worship that is acceptable to God.

    Jesus is also referred to as the Son of Man. I always found this a curious name for him and couldn't quite put it together until I had a thorough reading of the Hebrew scriptures. The Son of Man refers to his place as the Lamb of God. He is the Son of Man in the same way Isaac was the son of Abraham. Abraham, before his hand was stayed, was prepared to sacrifice his son to God, to demonstrate his love and total devotion to God. In the same manner, God offers on our behalf, his Son, to demonstrate his love for mankind. Jesus is our offered sacrifice to God, those who put faith in him, so that we may be washed clean of our sin. No sin can stand in the presence of God and Jesus sacrifice allows mankind to stand in the presence of God. A sacrifice of God to himself is no sacrifice. It lacks meaning. A sacrifice of a true Son? That has real meaning. I know no parent who would not gladly give up their lives to save their child, so precious is the life of the child to the parent. This relationship, properly understood, is the real essence of the ransom sacrifice.

    It is elemental. No jumbled meanings or tortured sentence constructions to describe what God did for us, who God is, and who Jesus is and what Jesus did for us.

    I take God at his word when he says at Exodus "I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.Thou shalt have no other gods before me."

    And since this was revealed to his people through Moses just 3,500 or so years ago, and Jesus has been with his Father since creation, it would seem right and proper for God to reveal himself then and there as the Triune being that you claim him to be.

    I do not marvel at the words of Thomas. He was profoundly moved by the experience. He was humbled in the face of such magnificence and grace. I do not think he misspoke, I think Christianity misinterprets. The deity of the Son of God is without question. John points out in the 1st chapter of his Gospel that nothing came into existence without the Son. Jesus is our Alpha and Omega, we begin and end with Jesus, to the glory of God. In the face of all scripture, which is inspired, this interpretation of Jesus being God, capital "G", renders the bible full of inconsistency. We know its not inconsistent, so it must be our interpretation.

    By Blogger Chris, at Saturday, November 10, 2007 11:13:00 AM  

  • The Cross is perfect in its sufficiency. I can do nothing to improve upon it. I can demonstrate my faith in it by walking in the way of our Lord. Faith is demonstrated by our walk and what we do, not what we say we believe.

    If you would admit it, you walk in the way. Why do you walk in the way? You have faith. If you weren't walking in the way, your faith is abandoned because Jesus correctly points out, you cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve the world and God simultaneously. A ministry that stresses punctilliar faith as a means to eternal life will be misunderstood by new persons to the faith. It does not stress that faith requires more than passive assent. Something easily obtained is not valuable. Something easily obtained is the wide road.

    By Blogger Chris, at Saturday, November 10, 2007 11:23:00 AM  

  • By the way, I love it when you tell me what I believe.

    Christians I have found are the most judgmental bunch. Why wait for Christ to judge, Christians have it all figured out.

    What's present in Christianity today is arrogance and entitlement, rather than meekness.

    By Blogger Chris, at Saturday, November 10, 2007 11:27:00 AM  

  • Susan,
    Another way of looking at it is this. How did God regard the offerings of Abel and Cain? Abel offered up the first fruits of his flock and God was pleased. Not so with Cain. We see in this story of the OT, what God expects of us. Our first fruits.

    Jesus was God's first fruit, and therefore the ultimate sacrifice and the ultimate expression of his love for us.

    By Blogger Chris, at Saturday, November 10, 2007 1:02:00 PM  

  • Chris, if I mistake your beliefs do tell me.

    You have written an awful lot of comments on this blog and others.

    I think there is sufficent information for me to have a fairly good idea what you believe, though I am sure I could make some mistakes.

    I do not understand why you insist that faith always results in action.

    I do not see this teaching in Scripture and it does not seem to reflect experience.

    I believe that Royal mail will deliver the post on Monday.

    I have affirmed a fact. Why would it affect my behaviour?

    I might look forward to receiving my letters, but even if I did not I would still believe (have faith) in Royal mail delivering my post.

    There seems nothing essential to faith that necessarilly results in action.

    If I do something, I exercise my will.

    However, in believing a thing I do not exercise my will.

    You cannot choose to believe a thing. Rather you are persuaded that it is true.

    Try believing in orange penguins. You wont be able to do it. You cannot choose to believe anything.

    However, you can choose to do things.

    So it seems to me rather self-evident that faith and action are two fundamentally different things.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Sunday, November 11, 2007 1:22:00 AM  

  • Well, firstly, you claim that I deny the sufficiency of the cross. Somehow my actions which are motivated by my faith deny the sufficiency of the cross and your actions somehow affirm the sufficiency of the cross. Is this not a double standard?

    The Cross of Christ is the offer, our acceptance is in the form of belief. Look at belief as writing a check. The check lacks sufficiency if there are no funds in the account on which it is drawn. Look at the exercising of faith as the actual money that makes the check good. The Cross of Christ is insufficient for those who will not accept the offer, and our belief is insufficient unless it is backed by faith, and the "exercise" thereof.

    Unfortunately, the practical result of your witness can be a do nothing faith. I say can, because evidently you are "active" in the Lords work. But do the new ones to the truth get your message?

    I believe that the bible liberally dispenses the message that the Christian life is an active one. Does your activity demonstrate that you believe the Cross to be insufficient? Do the ministries, actions, works of Paul and the Apostles demonstrate that they felt the Cross was somehow insufficient? I suspect not.

    Would the practical result of your Gospel result in the good news being spread to all of the inhabited earth if action is not required? I believe that it is to argue against human nature to suggest so.

    By Blogger Chris, at Sunday, November 11, 2007 4:42:00 PM  

  • Your argument so far seems to be:

    1. We are saved by faith.
    2. The Bible teaches we should do good works.
    3. Therefore, faith must include works or it is not really faith.

    The problem with this argument is that the conclusion does not follow from premise 2.

    We all agree that the Bible teaches we should do good works. That does not mean that they are involved in the appropriation of eternal life.

    The problem is that so far you have not demonstrated your premise that the demand for good works means that they are an essential part of saving faith.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Monday, November 12, 2007 12:36:00 AM  

  • Matthew 24:14 does not say, "this good news should be preached..." It says it "must" be preached.

    Does this not resemble a command for the faithful to do something? If not us, then who?

    By Blogger Chris, at Monday, November 12, 2007 1:34:00 PM  

  • At Matthew 25: 41-46 we read:
    41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
    44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'
    45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
    46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

    As I've stated previously, note the use of the word “Lord” when these people pleaded their case. They were believers who did nothing to help. Their actions were in conflict with their faith. Faith alone does not save them.

    Matthew, while street witnessing you warned the kids of their wrong "course" in life. Perhaps they were believers, you didn't say. What you focused on was what they were doing. Clearly you appear to be of the belief that actions are in and of themselves condemning.

    Earlier I quoted John 5:28

    28"Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.

    "All" who have done good, "all" who have done bad. Life or death based on what we do. Can it be any clearer? Have you constructed some logical detour that would deny these plain words from our Lord?

    Despite the mixed messages you send, I believe what you told those kids was correct and is in keeping with bible teaching about eternal salvation.

    By Blogger Chris, at Monday, November 12, 2007 2:18:00 PM  

  • Chris,

    "Does this not resemble a command for the faithful to do something? If not us, then who?"

    Yes, this is a command. When have I denied that believers are commanded to do things?

    There are many commands given to believers and disobediance of them has consequences both temporal and eternal.

    "As I've stated previously, note the use of the word “Lord” when these people pleaded their case. They were believers who did nothing to help."

    Calling Jesus 'Lord' does not make one a believer. A believer is one who has faith in Christ for eternal life.

    I have explained the Sheep and Goats before.

    Present day believers will not be judged at that point as they will have been resurrected some months before this point.

    The Sheep and Goats is a judgement of the survivors of Armageddon. It is not certain that all the Sheep are believers (they have evidently never read Matthew 25).

    There will be few believers on earth between the resurrection of those in Christ and Armageddon.

    It is likely that if there are any unfaithful believers, they will have died before this point.

    ""All" who have done good, "all" who have done bad. Life or death based on what we do."

    There are a number of FG interpretations of that verse.

    It is important to note that our Lord gives no details as to what 'good' and 'bad' is meant here.

    There is an impotant principle of using passages that are simple to interpret passages that are difficult.

    Some FG people think 'good' here means believing.

    Personally, I think that this is a generalised statement of the reality of resurrection.

    It is either a contemporary conventional term that would be recognised by the reader or else our Lord is simply spelling out the general character of the redeemed.

    It is generally the case that believers do good works. They have a new nature that is created in them by the working of the Holy Spirit.

    It is rare to find a believer who does not show some signs of a changed life.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, November 13, 2007 3:50:00 AM  

  • The term Lord in this verse points to a deference being displayed that is based on an acknowledgement of a superior office. Only believers regarded Jesus as having a superior office. And in any case, what is clear about what Jesus is saying, is that these people are claiming that they would have done these things (helped, fed, provided water, etc.) if it were the Lord who was in need.

    The principle involved is that those of us who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and the God who sent him, will provide for the least of those in the body of Christ who are in need. To not do so, is to reject Christ. He makes it clear that to reject the least of these brothers, will utlimately mean rejection of you by Christ. He does not appear to be referring to unbelievers.

    Matthew, I apologize for my contentiousness.

    By Blogger Chris, at Tuesday, November 13, 2007 10:02:00 AM  

  • Matthew please comment on Hebrews 6:4-8

    4It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because[b]to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

    7Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.

    Believers who fall away are likened to thorns and thistles who in the end will be burned. Does this not refer to the necessity of endurance in faith?

    By Blogger Chris, at Tuesday, November 13, 2007 10:56:00 PM  

  • Chris, so would you say that Roman Catholics are true believers? They believe that Jesus is Lord, even though they hold to a system of beliefs that fundamentally contradicts what you see as the teachings of the Bible?

    Don't forget that every tongue will one day confess that Jesus is Lord.

    The Sheep and the Goats judgment is a judgment of nations. The nations are divided up into these two categories of sheep and goats.

    Surely those who up to that point are unbelievers are included?

    And surely one witnessing the coming of Christ in glory will not fail to address Him as Lord?

    It is important to connect this saying with the prophetic context of the Olivet discourse.

    Hebrew 6:4-8

    I agree that this passage teaches the vital necessity of endurance.

    However, there is no indication here that the apostate persons go to hell or are anihilated.

    The language of thorns being burned must be seen as metaphorical.

    When examined within the context of Hebrews it should be understood that the loss of these people is the loss of their inheritance and their privilege in glory.

    I would not say you are being contentious.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Wednesday, November 14, 2007 12:55:00 AM  

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