Jesus: A Lover and a Fighter

December 28, 2010

Uh, what he just said--what'd he say?

In case you missed the sermon:Jesus: A lover and a fighter

I got a couple of quizzical looks this past Day of the Lord during my talk which leads me to believe either I might have been foggy on a point or two OR (and this is more likely ;^/ ) the points I was making challenged the listener to process new thoughts.

One of the quizzicals occurred when I was waxing @ the sin of Achan and his becoming a part of the ban. The idea of the ban or that which is devoted to Yahweh and offered up to him in smoke is best seen from this passage in Deuteronomy:
None of those condemned things shall be found in your hands, so that Yahweh will turn from his fierce anger; he will show you mercy, have compassion on you, and increase your numbers, as he promised on oath to your forefathers…
As I said on Sunday, Achan, by reaching out and taking what belonged to Yahweh, took to himself what was holy. In so doing, that principle of holiness spread to him and made him included in what was to be offered up to God. So, I made the application that God’s people must not become like those who do not love God and have God as their enemy; else the people of God will find that God is no longer Immanuel for them but “a” satan. The word “satan” in the Bible, while being used most often of the being known also as the Devil, is also used of God in the sense I am using. Satan is simply the English rendering of the Hebrew word לשׂטן
and means adversary. Is God an adversary? Yes, to his enemies primarily. But, yes, too, regarding his people if they choose to become enemy-like to him.

Any other thoughts?

As always Pastor Dove gives us food for “pondering.” Having so much to chose from, I’ll limit myself to one of his applications. This comes from his third point, “The Naming of the Child.” PD made the point that Jesus’ given name (rather than the one Isaiah~Matthew mentions) means “YaHWeH saves.” The questions begged are “Who is saved?” and “Saved from what?” After leading up to his application, PD, says, “When tempted, go to Jesus. He will help you.” I’d like to camp out here and bear a bit of my soul to you all.

What does it mean to go to Jesus and he will help you? What does that look like? What does it smell and feel like? Does Jesus show up and save the day when we call on him? Does he check his “Inbox” and send an angel to show us the way? I have to say that I have called on Jesus in times of turmoil and without exception…there’s been no answer. Just silence. So, what does that mean? What does it mean to “go to Jesus in your time of need and he will help you”?
I can remember when I was at a new job that put a lot of stress on me and I was continually locked up with panic and fear. What did I do? Where did I go? Where do you go when you need some shelter? Where do you go when you need a friend? I went to Jesus in prayer and asked for his help. For four weeks I did this and to no avail. The stress never subsided and the panic only increased. After the four weeks passed (with no answer to prayer in sight), I was driving passed a church marquee that read, STRESSED? TRUST JESUS. Needless to say, I wanted to smash into the sign with my car.
Have you been there? I doubt I’m the only one and I’m not afraid to be honest with you about my own struggles. So, what happened? Nothing. I just made it through. And I often wonder(ed), “What is the difference b/t me when I ask for help and don’t get it and just push through and a non-believer who just pushes through without any “Spiritual” help?
How ’bout you?

I did think of a song by an artist named Mindy Smith, that reminds me of the call to “Come to Jesus.”

Whose name is on your lips?

December 15, 2010

Pastor Dove challenged us this past Day of the LORD concerning our confession that we “believe in Jesus Christ…our Lord.” His first admonition was that we should “Confess” what we believe @ Jesus; his second was that we should “Call” upon Jesus in our times of need; and thirdly…uh…tertiarily…. uh…you tell me (Just kidding, I know what it is, I’m just checking to see if you were paying attention).

Anyway, as this is my first post with those of you @ Living Hope, PCA, I won’t wax too long but just throw something out there to whet the pallet. Pastor Dove mentioned in his sermon something I think most of us might have missed b/c of its deep”ness.” When PD referred to Paul’s and Peter’s affirmation of who Jesus is, he pointed out their acknowledgement that he is LORD. It is upon this point I’d like to think. Most modern translations of the Old Testament use this word, LORD, to translate the Hebrew name for God: יהוה or Yahweh. For instance, look at Psalm 110

The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.

Have you ever wondered what the difference b/t these two words is? I, myself, think it rather confusing. As I mentioned, though, the word in all CAPS is not the Hebrew word for “master” as is the second one. The word translated LORD is actually God’s name as he revealed himself to his covenant people beginning with Adam and Eve and his name means “I am” or “the one who is” (actually Eve is related to the same root as Yahweh’s name).
The second word is simply the word “lord” meaning “master” or “big cheese.” As I said, I think this translation of the two words negatively affects our appreciation for the meaning of the text of scripture. So, more consistently the verse ought to read, Yahweh says to my master: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet. It may seem like a small point about which to worry, but I believe God gave us his name for a reason. He wants us to use it. While it is true that God is our lord, that is not his name. His name is Yahweh.
Now for the jump to Jesus. Who is Jesus? The son of Joseph and Mary? Yes, to be sure. The son of God, messiah and King? Quite so. But there is a more profound and shocking truth to note. Jesus, himself, is Yahweh. Peter points us in this direction when in his sermon he quotes Joel who says,
And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of Yahweh Will be delivered. When Peter says this in regards to Jesus he is saying that to call upon Jesus is to call upon Yahweh’s name. Yahweh’s new name is revealed in the person of Jesus (Jesus actually is the Greek version of Joshua which means “Yahweh saves”).
Paul does the same in Philippians 2. Paul teaches us in this passage that Jesus is Yahweh when he quotes Isaiah 45, I have sworn by Myself; The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, And shall not return, That to Me every knee shall bow, Every tongue shall take an oath. This is what Paul says everyone must do to Jesus. If this is so, then Jesus is Yahweh. In case it still hasn’t rattled your brain, to put it another way, Jesus was the one with Adam and Eve in the garden, Noah in the Flood, and Abraham in Mamre, and Moses @ Horeb, and Daniel in the lions’ den.

What do you think?