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The Wednesday Word: Jesus, the Unabridged Version of God

One of the reasons God became a man was to destroy Satan and open the way to eternal life. Nobody but God was qualified for this task because none but the Almighty was strong or wise enough to accomplish such a feat.

The Mighty God, our Redeemer, came to undo and destroy the shocking distress that Satan had exacted upon us … and did so by becoming human.

Why human? Why did He not become a super angel?

He became human because it was the human race that Satan had destroyed in the Fall. It was thus, as a true human, the eternal Word was born. In His doing and dying, He received the full onslaught of Satan and put him away by His great sacrifice at Calvary (Colossians 2:15).

To paraphrase Anselm (AD 1033-AD 1109),

“And so also was it proper that the devil, who was man’s tempter, and had conquered him when he ate of the tree, should be conquered by another man as he suffered on the tree.”

Anselm: Cur Deus Homo: Chapter 3

May we always be thrilled the boundless Gospel truth of the incarnation.

‘He left His heavenly crown,

His glory laid aside.

On wings of love came down,

And wept, and bled, and died.

What He endured no tongue can tell,

To save our souls from death and hell’.

As true believers we hold, defend and propagate the truth of the full revelation of the Almighty God in Christ alone.

From all eternity the Lord Jesus Christ is the eternally, self-existent One who was and is and is to come. He is Yahweh, the great I Am, the Alpha and the Omega, the Word made flesh. He was and is God. His divine nature was unborrowed, underived, andunconferred.

It is Jesus, the Lord from heaven, who is above all (John 3:31).

He has the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9).

He has and is both the wisdom and the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:24)

In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3).

As Gospel-centered believers, it is our privilege to propagate the message that the Lord Jesus possesses all that God is. If we want to know how God acts, then we study Jesus and see what He has done. Jesus is the unabridged version of God: He is the very mystery of God! Jesus is the full and accurate interpretation of the mind of God. To meet Him is to meet God. To be saved by Him is to be saved by God. He is the final word from God to man (Hebrews 1:1-3).

It should be of no surprise, therefore, that Christ is still despised and rejected by men.

The radical Muslims, as they vie for world domination,witness against His deity.

The radical Hindus think nothing of attacking Christ’s followers in India, Nepal and other places.

The Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses deny that He is the Mighty God.

Even, in many Christian circles, Christ’s true identity has become blurred.

Who then will stand up for Jesus in this generation?

Will we?

Will you?

As for me and my house, we intend to make more than much of Jesus. We appreciate what John Newton stated; He said,

“I am well satisfied it will not be a burden to me at the hour of death, nor be laid to my charge at the day of judgment, that I have thought too highly of Jesus, expected too much from him myself, or labored too much in commending and setting him forth to others, as the Alpha and Omega, the true God and eternal life.

– John Newton (1725-1807), English minister & author of the hymn “Amazing Grace”

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

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God changes not in his plans

December 5, 2016 2 comments

3. Impress’d on his heart it remains. Then again, God changes not in his plans. That man began to build, but was not able to finish, and therefore he changed his plan, as every wise man would do in such a case- he built upon a smaller foundation and commenced again. But has it ever been said that God began to build but was not able to finish? Nay. When he hath boundless stores at his command, and when his own right hand would create worlds as numerous as drops of morning dew, shall he ever stay because he has not power? and reverse, or alter, or disarrange his plan, because he cannot carry it out? “But,” say some, “perhaps God never had a plan.” Do you think God is more foolish than yourself then, sir? Do you go to work without a plan? “No,” say you, “I have always a scheme.” So has God. Every man has his plan, and God has a plan too. God is a mastermind; he arranged everything in his gigantic intellect long before he did it and once having settled it, mark you, he never alters it. “This shall be done,” saith he, and the iron hand of destiny marks it down, and it is brought to pass. “This is my purpose,” and it stands, nor can earth or hell alter it. “This is my decree,” saith he, promulgate it angels- rend it down from the gate of heaven ye devils; but ye cannot alter the decree; it shall be done. God altereth not his plans; why should he? He is Almighty, and therefore can perform his pleasure. Why should he? He is the All-wise, and therefore cannot have planned wrongly. Why should he? He is the everlasting God, and therefore cannot die before his plan is accomplished. Why should he change? Ye worthless atoms of existence, ephemera of the day! ye creeping insects upon this bay-leaf of existence! ye may change your plans, but he shall never, never change his. Then has he told me that his plan is to save me? If so, I am safe.

“My name from the palms of his hands

Eternity will not erase;

Impress’d on his heart it remains,

In marks of indelible grace.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- The Immutability of God- A sermon delivered on Sabbath morning, Jan 7th, 1855

The proper study of a Christian is the Godhead

November 14, 2016 Leave a comment

Spurgeon“I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”- Malachi. 3:6.

IT has been said by some one that “the proper study of mankind is man.” I will not oppose the idea, but I believe it is equally true that the proper study of God’s elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father. There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity. Other subjects we can compass and grapple with; in them we feel a kind of self-content, and go our way with the thought, “Behold I am wise.” But when we come to this master-science, finding that our plumb-line cannot sound its depth, and that our eagle eye cannot see its height, we turn away with the thoughts that vain man would be wise, but he is like a wild ass’s colt and with the solemn exclamation, “I am but of yesterday, and know nothing.” No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind, than thoughts of God. We shall be obliged to feel

“Great God, how infinite art thou,

What worthless worms are we!”

But while the subject humbles the mind it also expands it. He who often thinks of God, will have a larger mind than the man who simply plods around this narrow globe. He may be a naturalist, boasting of his ability to dissect a beetle, anatomize a fly, or arrange insects and animals in classes with well nigh unutterable names; he may be a geologist, able to discourse of the megatherium and the plesiosauras, and all kinds of extinct animals, he may imagine that his science, whatever it is, ennobles and enlarges his mind. I dare say it does, but after all the most excellent study for expanding the soul is the science of Christ, and him crucified, and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity. Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity. And, whilst humbling and expanding, this subject is eminently consolatary. Oh, there is, in contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound, in musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief- and in the influence of the Holy Ghost, there is a balsam for every sore. Would you lose your sorrows? Would you drown your cares? Then go plunge yourself in the Godhead’s deepest sea; be lost in his immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul, so calm the swelling billows of grief and sorrow; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead. It is to that subject that I invite you this morning. We shall present you with one view of it,-that is the immutability of the glorious Jehovah. “I am,” says my text, “Jehovah,” (for so it should be translated) “I am Jehovah, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”

There are three things this morning. First of all, an unchanging God; secondly, the persons who derive benefit from this glorious attribute, “the sons of Jacob;” and thirdly, the beneath they so derive, they “are not consumed.” We address ourselves to these points.

Charles H. Spurgeon- The Immutability of God- A sermon delivered on Sabbath morning, Jan 7th, 1855

The Wednesday Word: Seeing the Father!

“In Christ the invisible God has become visible. Whoever sees Him sees the Father (John 14:9). Whoever wants to know who God is and what He is must behold the Christ. As Christ is, such is the Father.”

Herman Bavinck: The Divine and Human Natures of Christ

Have you ever tried witnessing to a person who hates the doctrine of Christ’s deity? They smugly say, “Well, of course, Jesus never claimed to be God, he merely claimed to be the Son of God! Oh really? The next time this happens, take them to the Scripture and show them this, “Philip said unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us. Jesus said unto him, “Have I been so long a time with you, and yet you have not known me, Philip? He that has seen me has seen the Father; and why do you say then, Show us the Father? John 14:8-9.

It doesn’t get any simpler than this! Philip had had enough of these references to the Father and asked Jesus plainly to, “Show us the Father.” Christ’s response is astonishing. He says, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me has seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?

Was Jesus mistaken about His own identity? Was He simply a good man with a God -consciousness? Or was He merely a man possessed by God? Call it whatever way you will, if Jesus is wrong about being the God/Man, He’s a fruitcake! Listen to what He boldly declares, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father.” In other words, He’s saying, “Philip I’m the visible image of the invisible God. Philip, you don’t have to guess anymore about what God is like, I am God in human form.”

This is stout stuff! Jesus most clearly and without ambivalence claimed to be God. John writes at the beginning of his gospel; “No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John: 1:18).

The word translated ‘declared’ is of utmost interest. It is the Greek word ‘exegeomai’ from which we get the English words exegete and exegesis. When a preacher exegetes a passage of scripture, he brings out all that is contained in the verses. He declares what is there. He dares not read into the passage things that are not there otherwise he would be practicing eisegesis and not exegesis. Christ, according to John 1:18, is the exegesis of God. He has fully declared him. Is it any wonder then that He can say to Philip “If you have seen me you have seen the Father?” Horatius Bonar astutely remarks;

“Christ’s person is a revelation of God. Christ’s work is a revelation of God. He is in the Father and the Father is in Him. His words and works are the words and works of the Father. In the manger, He showed us God. In the synagogue of Nazareth, He showed us God. At Jacob’s well, He showed us God. At the tomb of Lazarus, He showed us God. On Olivet, as He wept over Jerusalem, He showed us God. On the cross, He showed us God. In His resurrection He showed us God. If we say with Philip “Show us the Father and it is sufficient for us,” He answers, “Have I been so long a time with you and yet hast thou not known me? He that has seen me has seen the Father (John 14:8-9). This God, whom Christ reveals as the God of righteous grace and gracious righteousness, is the God with whom we have to do.”

Horatius Bonar: God’s Way of Peace: Chapter 3

Do we understand the incarnation (God becoming man)? I for one do not. It is a mystery (1 Timothy 3:16). I can’t explain it, but I can declare it. God came here Himself, became one of us and yet remained fully God. Then as one of us, as a real and genuine human, He surrendered Himself to the ignominious death of the cross. No wonder the hymn writer declares, “Hallelujah, what a Saviour!”

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com

The Wednesday Word: Gospel Fullness

In this Wednesday Word, I want to speak again about Jesus. May the Spirit of Lord raise up a generation of believers who will, above all else, speak of and love the Lord Christ.

Some commentators tell us that today’s Scripture, Colossians 2:9, is an illusion to the Tabernacle in the days of Moses. It looked commonplace and ordinary on the outside, but inside it housed the very glory and presence of the Eternal God. So it is with Christ. Little did people know that the humble carpenter from Nazareth was indeed God manifest in the flesh.

May we all take the time to meditate on Him. The truth of Christ’s identity is as overwhelming as it is staggering! He is both human and divine. The Fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily in Him.

Of course, Christ’s enemies say that the word ‘Godhead’ does not actually mean Godhead: or they say that this verse means that it was merely the power of God which dwelt in Christ. It is astonishing to discover the hatred that men still harbour towards Christ and the truth of His dual nature. However, the Bible cannot be clearer on Christ’s identity than it is in this verse.

Colossians 2:9, according to Calvin, “ … means simply, that God is wholly found in him (Christ), so that he who is not content with Christ alone, desires something better and more excellent than God. The sum is this, that God has manifested himself to us fully and perfectly in Christ.” Calvin’s Commentaries: Colossians.

According to Benjamin Warfield, this verse means; “There is nothing in the God who is over all which is not in Christ.” (Easton’s Bible Dictionary – Godhead)

In Isaiah 11:2-5, we are given a prophetic picture of the Lord Jesus which conveys something of this fullness. There we read, “..and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; and shall make Him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord:….”

What an astounding description of Jesus. Notice how Christ demonstrates the sevenfold Spirit of God!

The Spirit of the Lord.
The Spirit of Wisdom.
The Spirit of Understanding.
The Spirit of Counsel.
The Spirit of Might.
The Spirit of Knowledge.
The Spirit of the Fear of the Lord.

The fullness of the Godhead was and is indeed manifest in Him. The foundation of our faith then is that He who died on the cross was God incarnate. When we meet Christ Jesus, we meet with God in His fullness. This is the foundation upon which our eternal destiny is built. This is our security. The One who has lived, died and risen for us is Emmanuel, God with us. This is exceedingly good news!

“Mortals with joy beheld his face,
Th’ eternal Father’s only Son;
How full of truth! How full of grace!
When through his eyes the Godhead shone.”
Isaac Watts

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

Anti Trinitarians refuted by ancient Christian writers

March 11, 2015 2 comments

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015Anti Trinitarians refuted by ancient Christian writers; e. g., Justin, Hilary. Objections drawn from writings improperly attributed to Ignatius. Conclusion of the whole discussion concerning the Trinity.

29. Assuredly, whosoever will compare the writings of the ancient fathers with each other, will not find any thing in Irenaeus different from what is taught by those who come after him. Justin is one of the most ancient, and he agrees with us out and out. Let them object that, by him and others, the Father of Christ is called the one God. The same thing is taught by Hilary, who uses the still harsher expression, that Eternity is in the Father. Is it that he may withhold divine essence from the Son? His whole work is a defense of the doctrine which we maintain; and yet these men are not ashamed to produce some kind of mutilated excerpts for the purpose of persuading us that Hilary is a patron of their heresy. With regard to what they pretend as to Ignatius, if they would have it to be of the least importance, let them prove that the apostles enacted laws concerning Lent, and other corruptions. Nothing can be more nauseating, than the absurdities which have been published under the name of Ignatius; and therefore, the conduct of those who provide themselves with such masks for deception is the less entitled to toleration.

Moreover, the consent of the ancient fathers clearly appears from this, that in the Council of Nice, no attempt was made by Arius to cloak his heresy by the authority of any approved author; and no Greek or Latin writer apologizes as dissenting from his predecessors. It cannot be necessary to observe how carefully Augustine, to whom all these miscreants are most violently opposed, examined all ancient writings, and how reverently he embraced the doctrine taught by them, (August. lib. De Trinit. etc.) He is most scrupulous in stating the grounds on which he is forced to differ from them, even in the minutest point. On this subject, too, if he finds any thing ambiguous or obscure in other writers, he does not disguise it. And he assumes it as an acknowledged fact, that the doctrine opposed by the Arians was received without dispute from the earliest antiquity. At the same time, he was not ignorant of what some others had previously taught. This is obvious from a single expression. When he says (De Doct. Christ. lib. 1.) that “unity is in the Father,” will they pretend that he then forgot himself? In another passage, he clears away every such charge, when he calls the Father the beginning of the Godhead, a being from none — thus wisely inferring that the name of God is specially ascribed to the Father, because, unless the beginning were from him, the simple unity of essence could not be maintained. I hope the pious reader will admit that I have now disposed of all the calumnies by which Satan has hitherto attempted to pervert or obscure the pure doctrine of faith. The whole substance of the doctrine has, I trust, been faithfully expounded, if my readers will set bounds to their curiosity, and not long more eagerly than they ought for perplexing disputation. I did not undertake to satisfy those who delight in speculate views, but I have not designedly omitted any thing which I thought adverse to me. At the same time, studying the edification of the Church, I have thought it better not to touch on various topics, which could have yielded little profit, while they must have needlessly burdened and fatigued the reader. For instance, what avails it to discuss, as Lombard does at length, (lib. 1 dist. 9,) Whether or not the Father always generates? This idea of continual generation becomes an absurd fiction from the moment it is seen, that from eternity there were three persons in one God.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 13-Henry Beveridge Translation

The name ‘God’ is used of the Father only in respect of order within the Godhead

February 18, 2015 2 comments

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015Previous refutations further explained.

26. To the objection, that if Christ be properly God, he is improperly called the Son of God, it has been already answered, that when one person is compared with another, the name God is not used indefinitely, but is restricted to the Father, regarded as the beginning of the Godhead, not by essentiating, as fanatics absurdly express it, but in respect of order. In this sense are to be understood the words which Christ addressed to the Father, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent,” (John 17:3.) For speaking in the person of the Mediator, he holds a middle place between God and man; yet so that his majesty is not diminished thereby. For though he humbled (emptied) himself, he did not lose the glory which he had with the Father, though it was concealed from the world. So in the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 1:10; 2:9,) though the apostle confesses that Christ was made a little lower than the angels, he at the same time hesitates not to assert that he is the eternal God who founded the earth. We must hold, therefore, that as often as Christ, in the character of Mediator, addresses the Father, he, under the term God, includes his own divinity also. Thus, when he says to the apostles, “It is expedient for you that I go away,” “My Father is greater than I,” he does not attribute to himself a secondary divinity merely, as if in regard to eternal essence he were inferior to the Father; but having obtained celestial glory, he gathers together the faithful to share it with him. He places the Father in the higher degree, inasmuch as the full perfection of brightness conspicuous in heaven, differs from that measure of glory which he himself displayed when clothed in flesh. For the same reason Paul says, that Christ will restore “the kingdom to God, even the Father,” “that God may be all in all,” (1 Corinthians 15:24, 28.) Nothing can be more absurd than to deny the perpetuity of Christ’s divinity. But if he will never cease to be the Son of God, but will ever remain the same that he was from the beginning, it follows that under the name of Father the one divine essence common to both is comprehended. And assuredly Christ descended to us for the very purpose of raising us to the Father, and thereby, at the same time, raising us to himself, inasmuch as he is one with the Father. It is therefore erroneous and impious to confine the name of God to the Father, so as to deny it to the Son. Accordingly, John, declaring that he is the true God, has no idea of placing him beneath the Father in a subordinate rank of divinity. I wonder what these fabricators of new gods mean, when they confess that Christ is truly God, and yet exclude him from the godhead of the Father, as if there could be any true God but the one God, or as if transfused divinity were not a mere modern fiction.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 13-Henry Beveridge Translation