Category Archives: Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC

Rejoice with the Shepherds

B11chreveoc“All salvation, all truth in regard to man, has its eternal foundation in the triune God Himself. It is this triune God who here reveals Himself as the everlasting reality, from whom all truth proceeds, whom all truth reflects, be it the little streamlet of Paradise or the broad river of the New Testament losing itself again in the ocean of eternity. After this nothing higher can come. All the separate lines along which through the ages revelation was carried, have converged and met at a single point. The seed of the woman and the Angel of Jehovah are become one in the Incarnate Word.” (Geerhardus Vos, “The Idea of Biblical Theology,” Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation, p. 13).

“The shepherds had to return to their flocks but they returned with a song in their hearts and carried the joy of adoration with them. They really felt they could take care of their flock again because the praise of God no longer conflicted with their earthly occupations.” (S. G.. De Graaf, Promise and Deliverance, Vol. 3, p. 326).

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church.

 

The Sun of Righteousness

sun_14658cMalachi 4 is the last word of God in the Old Testament before 400 years of silence are broken by the angel Gabriel’s message to Zechariah in the temple, telling him that he would be the father of the one to prepare for the coming of the Messiah.

Malachi 4 contains a warning of coming judgment, both in the near and more distant future:

“Nor, again, have we any right to exclude the whole period from the destruction of Jerusalem till the last judgment, as if in the great book of history only the first and last leaf were written with the finger of God, and the rest left vacant.” (E. W. Hengstenberg, Christology of the Old Testament, on Malachi 4:1).

Geerhardus Vos notes (The Eschatology of the Old Testament, p. 162) regarding Malachi:

“The judgment aspect of Jehovah’s advent—the coming is condensed into the one ‘day’ par excellence and this one day assumed the character of a veritable dies irae (‘day of wrath’) (3:2; 4:1). . . . Side by side with this retributory aspect, the judgment assumes the form of a process of purification resembling the method whereby silver and gold are extracted from the dross adhering to them.”

“Malachi shows that despite God’s mercy in choosing Israel over Edom (1:1–5), Israel’s response to exhortations to faithfulness has been negative. . . . If Israel will repent of its many sins, God will bless the people again in the future (3:5–18). Judgment is coming, but the faithful will be spared (4:16).” G. K Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology, p. 85).

From the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church

What Does It Take to See God?

allthings_3186cReflecting on the interchange between the LORD and Job (Job 40–42):

“He can trust the infinitely holy and mighty and wise and gracious One to do whatsoever seemeth Him good. It is good if God does it; it is the best thing possible; no man at least, nor any finite being, could alter it for the better; and Job would not have it otherwise.” (William Henry Green, The Argument of the Book of Job Unfolded, pp. 312-313).

Sunday afternoon Bible study at Trinity Presbyterian Church

The Promise of the Messiah

thorns_17324c“The New Testament makes it clear to us that no man is to partake of the tree of life until he has the right to do so, and there must come the second Adam, who by his obedience (as the first Adam disobeyed) obtains for his people the right to partake of the tree of life. We will eat of that tree when we have the right to partake of it, and that right we receive through Christ.” (Edward J. Young, In the Beginning: Genesis 1–3 and the Authority of Scripture, p. 110).

“The first redemptive revelation after the fall (Gen. 3:15) . . . predicted the final victory over sin, the removal of the curse, and, by implication, the return of the conditions of paradise.” (Geerhardus Vos, The Eschatology of the Old Testament, p. 37).

You probably don’t need reminding that you live in a fallen world, a world under the curse that God pronounced when Adam and Eve sinned. You listen to the news and you are reminded. And when you look honestly at yourself you are reminded again. But, as Genesis 3:15 & 4:25–26 point out, into our broken, hurting world, God promises to send the Seed of the woman. That gives you hope and comfort.

In giving Seth, God is assuring that One will come whose blood will speak better things than that of Abel. Instead of crying out for vengeance, his blood speaks the comfort and joy of forgiveness. The joy and peace sung outside of Bethlehem, the triumph of the resurrection, and the wonder of the new heavens and earth are all encapsulated in what God granted Adam, Eve, and you. And notice where is found that description of blood that speaks of better things than that of Abel. It is in the context of worship. And the scene of worship in Hebrews 12 is not in the future. In Christ you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem.

From the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church.

The Swift Will Not Escape

judge_4421cIn Amos 2:6–16 the prophet, having boxed the compass with descriptions of God’s judgment on surrounding nations, turns to the sins of God’s covenant people, Israel. The poor are oppressed by the wealthy, even trampled into the dirt. Immorality is rampant (and even the immorality is oppressive).

“In the final analysis, the Lord God asks us to be merciful not for the sake of the poor but for His own sake. . . . By being merciful, God’s people are to celebrate the virtues of their merciful Father. They are to manifest His image.” (Herman Veldkamp, The Farmer from Tekoa, p. 70).

Israel sins in its relationship with the LORD. The LORD recounts his mercy to his people. He is faithful to his covenant promises. The Amorites, the inhabitants of the land before Israel, are destroyed, despite their gigantic size (echoes of the warnings of 10 of the spies). See Numbers 21:21ff; Joshua 10. Notice among the mercies is the LORD leading his people in the wilderness for 40 years. We think of that time as judgment (and in a sense it was). But it was also a blessing. The LORD was leading them for that time so that they could inherit the promised land. Recognize that God may be leading you through difficult, trying, seemingly punishing times in order to prepare you for receiving additional blessing. But the climax of their sin is simply that command the prophets to be silent. Israel treated those who were set apart to God as profane, as ordinary. The distinctiveness of the prophet is that he speaks God’s Word. But he is silenced. The relationship between God and his people is broken, the voice of the LORD is silenced.

Membership in God’s covenant people does not spare you from judgement if you live in rebellion, whether it is open defiance of God or a quiet pushing him into the background. Take God’s coming judgment seriously. No one is powerful enough (the hero described as warrior), no one is swift enough, to escape God’s judgment. “That day” is the Day of the LORD. Be thankful for the LORD’s vindication. Note that even the crushing cart is groaning with the harvested grain. The harvest will ultimately prove to be abundantly fruitful, Amos 9. “That day” is the Day of the LORD, a day of judgement, but also of salvation.

[The Wednesday evening Bible Study at Trinity Presbyterian Church focuses on Amos 2.]

 

God’s Timing in Giving His Son

sundial_14975ac“[W]e are not looking for a teacher and example. We are looking for a Saviour. And a purely human, a merely natural, as distinguished from a supernatural, Christ can never be our Savior. . . . We have such a Saviour presented to us in the Gospels, a Saviour who is not merely man but God. The really difficult thing is to believe that such a Saviour really entered into this world. It is a very blessed thing, but it is certainly not a trivial thing. It is not one of those trivial things that are so easy to believe because they occur every day. It is certainly not a thing that can be believed without a mighty revolution in all a man’s thinking and all a man’s life.” (J. Gresham Machen, The Christian Faith in the Modern World, p. 190).

“When this moment, determined by the counsel of God had come, God sent His Son. The word translated sent forth comprises two thoughts: the going forth of the Son from a place at which He was before; and His being invested with divine authority. By this the profound and glorious significance of Christ’s coming in the wold is indicated.” (Herman Ridderbos, The Epistle of Paul to the Churches of Galatia, p. 155).

From the Reflection on Galatians 4:4-–5 for Trinity Presbyterian Church/

Clothed with Christ

What does your baptism mean?Ga0327

“[B]aptism signifies union with Christ in the virtue of his death and the power of his resurrection, purification from the defilement of sin by the renewing grace of the Holy Spirit, and purification from the guilt of sin by the sprinkling of the blood of Christ. The emphasis must be placed, however, upon union with Christ. It is this that is central, and it is this notion that appears more explicitly and pervasively than any other. Hence our view of baptism must be governed by this concept.” (John Murray, Christian Baptism, p. 8).

“Paul will argue that in this Son, the sons of God are neither male nor female, all are one in the one Son. The selection of ‘son’ (huios) or ‘sons’ (huioi) serves Paul’s purpose to expose the inviolable, indissoluble filial solidarity of the redeemed with the Redeemer. Just as the Pauline label of the church as the bride of Christ (Eph. 5:21–32) does not exclude males, the choice of huios does not eliminate or alienate believing females,who are also the sons of God.” (David B. Gardner, Sons in the Son: The Riches and Reach of Adoption in Christ, p. 53).

“For as many as were baptized into Christ, into fellowship with him, have put on Christ, appropriating Christ, so that now they are in Christ and belong to him (Gal. 3:27–29),walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4, 6ff.; Eph. 5:26), live to God (Rom. 6:11, 13), and indeed carry the life of Christ within themselves (Gal. 2:20). And just as by baptism they entered into communion with Christ, so they also entered into fellowship with his church, which is his body.” (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 4, p. 505).

From the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church.