Five Points Blog
- Brent Nelson
- May 25, 2012
In Mark 12:18 the Sadducees take their turn at publicly vilifying our Lord Jesus Christ. They sought to stump him on the resurrection. As a group, the Sadducees did not believe such a miracle would occur. Yet they knew Jesus taught the truth of the resurrection. So to humiliate him, they create a fictional scenario where seven brothers each pass the same widow down to the next as they die. Then they ask him, “In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be?”
They mean to mock the resurrection. It seems absurdly unworkable to them. How could something they had never seen, a dead person rise, be true of all who follow Christ? But Christ publicly calls them out as wrong, because they “…know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God” (v.24).
The Sadducees knew not the Scriptures in that they assumed marriage continued into heaven. It does not. Human marriage is a temporary shadow that gives way to the brilliant, everlasting light of our marriage to Christ, our husband in heaven. The Sadducees overlooked the Old Testament texts that show God to be Israel’s husband (Hosea 2, Ezekiel 16, Song of Songs, et al). And now their heavenly Husband stands before them.
Neither did they know the power of God. When He declared Himself the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, he means, that to be their God implies they will never die. God will so sustain life, that death is defeated for all who are His. If God has the power to keep Israel’s patriarchs alive, he has power to raise and keep the dead alive. This is the power the Sadducees got wrong.
Beloved ones, put away all naturalistic and man-centered ways of thinking. Lay hold of the hope that arises from the Scriptures and the life-giving, dead-raising power of God in Jesus Christ!
Amazed at His Power,
- Dave Houston
- May 22, 2012
Here are some additional quotes from Jodi Ware's talk on contentment this past weekend.
“[One of the marks of Christian maturity which a believer should seek is] an acquiescence in the Lord’s will founded in a persuasion of his wisdom, holiness, sovereignty, and goodness . . . So far as we attain to this, we are secure from disappointment. Our own limited views, and short-sighted purposes and desires, may be, and will be, often over-ruled; but then our main and leading desire, that the will of the Lord may be done, must be accomplished. How highly does it become us, both as creatures and as sinners, to submit to the appointments of our Maker! And how necessary is it to our peace! This great attainment is too often unthought of, and over-looked; we are prone to fix our attention upon the second causes and immediate instruments of events; forgetting that whatever befalls us is according to his purpose, and therefore must be right and seasonable in itself, and shall in the issue be productive of good. From hence arise impatience, resentment, and secret repinings [i.e., complainings] which are not only sinful, but tormenting; whereas, if all things are in his hand, if the very hairs of our head are numbered; if every event, great and small, is under the direction of his providence and purpose; and if he has a wise, holy, and gracious end in view, to which everything that happens is subordinate and subservient;--then we have nothing to do, but with patience and humility to follow as he leads, and cheerfully to expect a happy issue . . . How happy are they who can resign all to him, see his hand in every dispensation, and believe that he chooses better for them than they possibly could for themselves.”
From Letters of John Newton (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1960), 137.
[Regarding lust of the flesh]
It is to be gluttonous in food; effeminate in luxury; slavish in pleasure; lustful
and lax in morals; selfish in the use of possessions; regardless of all the spiritual
values; extravagant in the gratification of material desires. The flesh’s desire is
regardless of the commandments of God, the judgment of God, the standards of
God and the very existence of God.”
William Barclay, The Letters of John and Jude (Westminster John Knox, 3rd ed., 2002), 57.
“If you’re willing to sin to obtain your goal or if you sin when you don’t get what you want, then your desire has taken God’s place and you’re functioning as an idolater.”
Elyse Fitzpatrick, Idols of the Heart, (Phillipsburg, NJ, P&R, 2001), 25.
“The problem with using life’s little pleasures as life’s big escapes is that before long we come to depend on those pleasures. . . . When we turn life’s little pleasures into remedies for life’s troubles, we are setting up idols in our hearts, which actually push God aside . . . All idols are governed by the law of diminishing returns. The more we seek solace in our escape of choice, the farther from God we take ourselves and the more miserable we get.”
Lydia Brownback, Contentment (Wheaton: Crossway, 2008), 52-53.
[This volume is one of several excellent “on-the-go devotionals” by this author.]
“The lust of the eyes is ‘the tendency to be captivated by the outward show of things, without enquiring into their real value.’”
(C.H. Dodd, quoted in Barclay,) 58.
“. . . the cravings of the human heart can be changed . . . God would have us long for Him instead. To make us truly human God must change what we want, for we must learn to want the things Jesus wanted . . . The human life is a great paradox. Those who die to self, find self . . . If I crave happiness, I will receive misery. If I crave to be loved, I will receive rejection. If I crave significance, I will receive futility. If I crave control, I will receive chaos. If I crave reputation, I will receive humiliation. But if I long for God and His wisdom, I will receive God and His wisdom. Along the way, sooner or later, I will also receive happiness, love, meaning, order and glory.”
David Powlison, Dynamics of Biblical Change (Journal of Biblical Counseling).
Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes, and accept Thy will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all utterly to Thee to be Thine forever. Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit. Use me as Thou wilt, send me where Thou wilt, work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever.
Prayer of Betty Stam, martyred missionary in China
E. B. Pusey, a 19th-century church leader. Listen to these resolutions:
1) Allow thyself to complain of nothing, not even of the weather.
2) Never picture thyself under any circumstances in which thou art not.
3) Never compare thine own lot with that of another.
4) Never allow thyself to dwell on the wish that this or that had been, or were, otherwise than it was, or is. God Almighty loves thee better and more wisely than thou dost thyself.
5) Never dwell on the morrow. Remember that it is God’s, not thine. The heaviest part of sorrow often is to look forward to it. “The Lord will provide.”
Quoted in Linda Dillow, Calm My Anxious Heart (NavPress, Colorado Springs: 1998)
“If we do not have what we desire, we have more than we deserve.”
Thomas Watson, The Art of Divine Contentment (Soli Deo Gloria, 2nd edition, 2001), 121.
O Lord, I am astonished at the difference
between my receivings and my deservings,
between the state I am now in and my past gracelessness,
between the heaven I am bound for and the hell I merit.
Who made me to differ, but thee?
for I was no more ready to receive Christ than were others;
I could not have begun to love thee hadst thou not first loved me,
or been willing unless thou hadst first made me so.
O that such a crown should fit the head of such a sinner!
such high advancement be for an unfruitful person!
such joys for so vile a rebel!
(Valley of Vision, p. 12-13)
“Death begins a wicked man’s hell, but it puts an end to a godly man’s hell.”
Thomas Watson, The Art of Divine Contentment (Soli Deo Gloria, 2nd edition, 2001), 96.
“We came in with nothing, we will leave with nothing, and anything we get in between is fleeting and temporary. If we would just view our lives from this perspective, our capacity for joy would enlarge. Contentment would become much more than an occasional mood; it would characterize our entire life.”
(Lydia Brownback, Contentment, p. 107)
- Brent Nelson
- May 11, 2012
You remember Jesus’ parable of the wicked tenant farmers. They had been hired by the Vineyard Owner (God) to tend his vines (Israel), so they bear fruit and enjoy its blessing and the Owner’s favor. Instead they refused to bear fruit, they killed his messengers (the prophets) and finally they killed his Son, all for selfish greed.
The Vineyard Owner’s Son is Jesus Christ. The chief priests, scribes and elders to whom Jesus told this parable understood his meaning perfectly when they perceived that Jesus told this parable against them (Mark 12:12).
Marvel at the wonder of Christ’s teaching in this parable. He denounces the blindness of Israel. With a siren alarm, Christ exposes the great sin of Israel’s leaders. They are given great honor to care for God’s people (the vineyard) and instead of nurturing it toward the great fruit of worship and faithful obedience, they foster unbelief and error in the people. Those builders who should know good stones when they see one, reject the best Stone.
Marvel also, at the prediction our Lord makes of his own death and resurrection. In his parable, Jesus shows that he, the Son, will be killed by the tenants. Christ predicts his own crucifixion, and exactly who will kill him. But it isn’t just the horrific sin of Christ’s death foretold, but his rising as well. That’s the point of his quoting Psalm 118. “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” Literally this reads: “He has become the head of the corner.” This means, after death, Christ will rise to the head of the entire building. Though killed he will be the heir of the vineyard! That’s why Peter concludes of this verse: “There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12).
Jesus’ dangerous parable exposing the religious leaders’ wickedness, climaxes on our His being our true and singular Savior.
- Dave Houston
- May 04, 2012
Here's a music video from Shane & Shane's lateset album, The One You Need. They'll be in concert at Five Points this Tuesday at 7:30 pm.
- Dave Houston
- May 02, 2012