Friday, August 26, 2016

The Image Maker and the Image Bearer

I'm sure this must have occurred to many others...

The Eternal Son of God made man in His own image. In the Son "was life; and the life was the light of men" (John 1:4). But the image was lost. The same Eternal Son took this nature, in the likeness of sinful flesh yet without sin (and therefore without the image lost) into union with His own divine person. He did so in order that the image might be restored in those united to Himself as His own people. 

The image maker united the image bearing nature with His person in order to restore the image in those that had sinned but are united to Him by faith. 

Great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh.

Friday, August 05, 2016

The Stronger than the strong man armed

Paraphrased notes of a sermon by an FP minister: NB this is NOT a word-for-word note.

Luke 11 v21-22. 'When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils'.

1. The strong man is Beelezebub, Satan. If Adam in a state of innocency was unable to withstand him, how can we who are far from innocent (but are also self-deceived) stand against him?

He keeps his palace. It has large rooms. He keeps it in peace: the Lord is speaking of how Satan is keeping the heart of man. Man's heart was a great building, beautiful with large windows and great prospects from them. Men have their Understanding -- that's one room of the soul. They have another room: Love - love to relations, love to country, love to a place. What a room that is: it must have been a great room when the light of God filled it. The Will of man, with which he chooses, is a great room. The other creatures don't have a will in the way that man has. Man was made in the image of God. It's a ruin now but the glories of God are still to be seen. Satan rules in this soul as his palace. He has brought darkness into the Understanding: if the light that is in you be darkness, how great is that darkness'. The fallen heart of man is a sad sight compared to what it fell from, the unfallen heart with which he walked with God in the cool of the day.

Satan has taken away the love of God and holiness away and put in its place the love of this present evil world. Satan rules and reigns over this present evil world and in the heart. The love of ourselves is a strong force -- 'what's in it for me?'. God asks: 'If I be God, where is my honour?'. But Adam asks: 'What's in it for me?'

The will of man is the ability to choose. Naomi and Ruth and Orphah were returning to Israel along the path, they had much in common, but one of the daughters-in-law was a child of God and the other was a child of Moab still. The darkness of the prince of darkness was still in her heart. Instead of pressing on to Bethlehem - the 'house of bread' -- she bade Naomi farewell and God farewell.

Satan gains a 'lawful captive' says the Bible, because man is a willing captive. Adam and Eve willingly took the fruit. Satan's occupancy of the palace is lawful. If a person comes under the preaching of the word, Satan comes and takes away the seed of the Word. The heart remains as unbroken and unchanged as ever.

2. The Stronger than the strong man armed. This is the Lord Jesus. It's not an army of many that overcomes Satan but one man. The only begotten Son is the only one for the deliverance of a fallen world. All our hope of deliverance, light and spiritual strength are in the One Saviour. There is One name given among men whereby we must be saved. When Jesus came into the world, Satan knew this was the One. There were many battles between them. Christ was to tread the wine-press alone, ever fighting as a weak man in Gethsemane. Satan breathed some of his own spirit into men: the scribes and Pharisees who cried against Christ showed their scorn at the cross. Had the scorners had spiritual insight, they would have seen a King dying for them, the Son of God. A great battle was taking place, the greatest ever fought. What a demonstration of love in the face of hatred, of mercy in the face of cruelty. Christ cried out: 'It is finished'.

Now the Stronger takes the palace from the strong man armed and divides the spoils. Instead of being in darkness the soul is now in light, the great work of renovation begins. The day that the sinner is saved, and the Stronger puts the resident out, a renovation called sanctification begins. A true spiritual life is in the heart. The understanding is renovated like the two on the way to Emmaus. The room of love is renovated -- the sinner is made willing to give up the world. The Will has a marvellous renovation begun in it. Self-interest, self-advantage, self-will and self-righteousness are renovated so that there's will to run in the precepts of the Lord.

A word of application: we can't have Satan and Jesus dwell and reign in the one heart.



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