October 2012

Happy Reformation Day

The date 31 October 1517, a brilliant but troubled monk took a nail and hammer and nailed his thesis, containing 95 points or objections to certain Roman Catholic doctrines. As you probably know, this sparked the Protestant Reformation, a momentous event which changed not only the church, but the face of Europe, and dissemination through the ages, the world. I don’t at this time intend to lay out the whole story, (this is planned for a church history series, to see the light of day soon) but as a means to celebrate, and for a bit of amusement here are two songs about that event.

This is the reformation polka, one of my favourite videos on youtube. It tells the story of the events with a real catchy hook.

Here are the Lyrics:

When I was ein younger man I studied canon law;
though Erfurt was a challenge it was just to please my pa.
Then came the storm, the lightning struck; I called upon Saint Anne:
I shaved my head, I took my vows – an Augustinian.

Refrain:
Papal bulls, indulgences and transubstantiation:
speak your mind against them and face excommunication.
Nail your theses to the door, let’s start a reformation,
papal bulls, indulgences and transubstantiation.

When Tetzel came near Wittenberg, St Peter’s profits soared,
so I wrote a little message for the All Saints’ bulletin board;
‘you cannot purchase merit for we’re justified by grace;
here’s ninety-five more reasons, Brother Tetzel, in your face!

Refrain

They loved my tracts, adored my wit; all were ex empleror;
the pope, however, hauled me up before the emperor.
‘Are these your books? Will you recant?” King Charles did demand;
“I will not change my diet sir, God help me, here I stand.’

Refrain

Duke Frederick took the wise approach, responding to my words
by knighting George a hostage in the kingdom of the birds.
‘Use Brother Martin’s model as the languages you seek,
stay locked inside the castle with your Hebrew and your Greek.’

Refrain

Now let’s raise our steins and concord books together in this place
and spread the word that ‘catholic’ is spelled with lower-case;
the word remains unfettered when the Spirit gets a chance,
so come on, Katie, drop your lute and join us in our dance. So…

Lyric Source

Now for the other song. This one is a little different, both musically and lyrically. The song isn’t light and comical like the previous one, but rather heavy and and should be played loud.

I’ve been working for my whole life to get to the other side
And try to achieve true righteousness
All the scourges and whips I cracked
The flesh I ripped off my back
It only led me to emptiness

Here I am, a broken man who’s done all that a man could do
And found that it’s only filthy rags
Monasteries, religious schools, indulgences, laws and rules
It all added up to nothing and darkness and death
Vanity, Heartache, and emptiness
Efforts all fading away
The flesh and defeat that it brings
‘Till You guide me and show me things
That my eyes have never seen before
As I burst forth from the belly of the beast
Never fight it anymore
For the burden on my life has been released
Nail it to the door

Nailed these ninety-five things I’ve learned
They’ll say that I must be burned
For God has no place for heretics
All the things that they try to sell
It’s trickery straight from Hell
To turn it into a den of thieves

See these madmen peddling the wares of dead men’s souls
Collecting on a debt already paid so long ago
There’s fire in my spirit, and fire in their eyes
For now they’ll want to burn me alive
Yet freedom rings
Unworthiness is all I bring
The blood of Christ is all I claim
This grace revealed everything
That my eyes have never seen before
As I burst forth from the belly of the beast
Never fight it anymore
For the burden on my life has been released
Nail it to the door

Lyric Source

This is written from the perspective of Martin Luther himself. Struggling with his own sinfulness till he understands justification by faith alone, in Christ alone

I know that not everyone will enjoy these videos. Some will hate the polka in favour of the metal song, and most will enjoy the polka and hate the metal. Granted and fair enough for taste, if you’re not a fan of either genre, don’t play that video

Happy Reformation Day everyone

A Brief Biblical Basis for and History of Missions

This post was written on the plane en route to Kenya, where I was about to participate in my first Short Term Missions trip. The trip was a very successful one, and much enjoyed by myself, the team and the missionary we went to visit. But as I say it was written on the plane before almost anything had happened. It is a little rough in it form (being juggled between conversation, food being served and all the rest that goes on in a plane), and outlines a few of my personal thoughts, as well as what I was thinking through, namely the biblical and historical basis for missions. I hope you enjoy reading it.

 

Ok so I’m leaving on my first mission trip and we’re in the air, just outside of South Africa heading to Kenya.

Betty And Launa, origional missionaries into the region we went to

The team is a little stressed, having been the last group to get on the plane both on the connection and now this one. But God is sovereign, He is in control of our circumstances and He wanted us to go, we know this because we’re on our way.

This is my first trip into a foreign mission field, as it is for most of the team, and for me, it is a long term goal finally come to fruition. For most of my Christian life I have had the idea of entering the mission field at some point. Now this trip is not long term, just 10 days, but nevertheless, it is the very first step towards that missionary direction.

Why does Christians do missions? It is an activity that Christians have engaged in ever since the very first disciples received the Holy Spirit and began preaching the Gospel.

The Biblical Basis

The Old Testament

Missions began long before the New Testament era. The first missionary was Jonah. The usual way the Jewish nation evangelized was by being holy, and the nations would come and see what made them different. Not so with Jonah. God commanded Jonah to go to the Ninivahites, something Jonah really did not want to do. And through the events you are familiar with, God got the reluctant prophet to the city of Ninivah where he preached the shortest, toughest and as it turned out, most successful evangelistic message in history. And the whole city repented.

During Christ’s Lifetime

Jesus is of course the founder of missions in the New Testament sense. We are all familiar with the most famous passage on this topic, Matthew 28:19,20 where Jesus calls all His disciples to go, making more disciples  baptizing and preaching the gospel wherever they went. But Jesus didn’t start there. In Luke 10 for example, He sent out 72 of His followers on a short term mission, giving them instruction to only take very little and to rely on the hospitality of one host. He sent them out as lambs amongst wolves. And they came back rejoicing. (Luke 10:1-11).

The New Testament and Church Father Era

After His ascension  the small church, planted by Jesus, grew very rapidly. What began with 120, soon became 3000, then 5000 men, and as persecution started happening, these thousands of Christians were spread abroad. They went out into the Roman empire, firstly around the eastern Mediterranean  then to Rome and further. In fact, after the fall of Roman, it was in remote locations like Ireland that there was a safe haven for many of the copies of scripture that had been made while the dark ages enveloped Europe.

It was the bible that caused the second generation onwards of Christians to go, the command of Jesus in Matthew 28, ringing in their ears. And expansion mostly stopped during the dark ages. Everyone in Roman Catholic Europe was considered a Christian, it was the only possible state they could be. It didn’t cease altogether, but it certainly stagnated.

The Reformation

Then the reformation. Suddenly people could read the scriptures in their own language again, and boy did it make an effect. Not only were people in large scale converted, but their missionary zeal began again in earnest. You have the followers of Luther spreading out across Europe. You have Calvin being forced into Geneva, a city he did not plan to go to. You had the Moravians and the Wesleyians and the Baptists, You have groups like the London missionary society and the China Inland Mission. You have men like David Livingston, who’s chief purpose in exploring Africa, was the conversion of the peoples there. You  have men like William Carey who was the founder of the modern missionary method of sending one or two people, supported by the folks back home.

You had Hudson Taylor in China, and many men like him who did immeasurable work for Christ in these nations. You have men like Jim Elliot, who, along with his companions, was speared to death, while trying to reach a South American tribe. And so the list goes on. And hundreds of others, both known and unknown men and women, who took up their crosses, left home and planed a flag for Christ on a foreign land. Missions exploded post reformation

And then there are the men my Church support, working in both sensitive and free countries, labouring hard for the cause of Christ and the conversion of the lost. Then there is me, going for a short trip, with a few brothers and sisters to support one of those missionaries. For all the littleness of this trip, I pray God uses us, pours us out like water, let every bit of energy be vested into exalting Christ’s name on this trip. See you on the other side.

Just as a side note, He certainly did pour us out, and as I will relay in future posts, in a number of ways we did not expect.

He loves to see His poor, helpless, suffering patients come

One of the websites that has helped me very much is gracegems.org. They send out a free daily email with a quote, usually of a Puritan. Each quote is an excellent little gem of truth and well worth signing up for. I have collected a large number of these emails and thought I would promote them by posting one each week. Again sign up today at gracegems.org.

“The whole head is sick, and the whole heart is faint. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it–but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores!” Isaiah 1:5-6

Sin not only brings us under condemnation–but it assumes the character of a disease! It has infected the whole soul, and spoiled every faculty. We need healing–as well as pardon. Jesus, in the greatness of his love, provides for both. He becomes not only our Redeemer–but our Physician. He employs His Spirit, His Word, and His Providence–to bring us to a healthy state.
He lays open the wound to our view–and then applies His own most precious blood to heal it! He makes us to feel our sickness–and then bestows His grace to restore us to health. All healing is by His skill–and through His Spirit, grace, blood, and Word. He is the maker of the Balm of Gilead–and He is the Physician there.

He undertakes the healing of all who apply to Him! He never yet failed in any case! He heals all gratuitously. His wisdom shines in the management of every case–and also His skill in healing the most desperate and alarming cases. He acts so kindly and tenderly to all His patients, and heals so judiciously–that He wins the heart of every patient–and all are delighted with His skill.

Thousands throng Him–but not one is overlooked or neglected by Him. He is always at His office, and ready to heal. He loves to see His poor, helpless, suffering patients come–and always greets them with a hearty welcome.
The plague of the heart,
the plague of the head,
weakness in the hands,
feebleness in the knees,
blindness,
deafness,
leprosy,
disease in every form–
are easily removed by Him.

Before Him . . .
the lame man leaps like an deer,
the tongue of the dumb sings,
broken hearts rejoice, and
the blind see out of darkness and out of obscurity.

This process of healing is on-going–none are completely healed at present. And when they are healthy enough–they are sent from the hospital below–to paradise above! Every patient who is healed–is provided with a mansion above, and has a title to the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. There the inhabitants shall no more say, “I am sick,” and the people who dwell there are forgiven their iniquities!

All His patients feel and manifest the symptoms of returning health–which are love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, meekness, goodness, faith, etc. But none of them rest satisfied with any symptoms; they all visit His office frequently, asking Him to complete the cure. And such is His love, kindness, and grace–that He assures all those who have a good work begun in them–that He will complete it in the day of His glorious appearing!

James Smith, “The Love of Christ! The Fullness, Freeness, and Immutability of the Savior’s Grace Displayed!”

The Fear That Drives Out Fear 06

Text: Luke 12: 8 – 10 Part 06

Sermon by Clint Archer

The South African Expositor’s Podcast

The Fear That Drives Out Fear 05

Text: Luke 12: 8 – 10 Part 05

Sermon by Clint Archer

The South African Expositor’s Podcast