Things Unseen is a podcast by Sinclair Ferguson. It is available on https://www.ligonier.org/.
1 Corinthians 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
There’s a theme each week.
Week 1 – Happy New Year
Began Jan. 2, 2023. – Covenant Renewal Service of the UMC. Commit ourselves to the Lord and pray for His help this new year. Wikipedia. Prayer found here.
Jan. 3, 2023 – Charles Wesley’s hymn, And are we yet alive. Grow in Love for the Church.
Jan. 4, 2023 – A Resolution for the Christian Life. Paul’s personal resolution. Phil 3:10-14. 1 thing. I’m [busy] doing 1 thing in many different ways. 🔹Getting to know the Lord Jesus Christ better; 🔹share His life, 🔹to become like Him. Translations vary. Good News Translation Phil 3:10
All I want is to know Christ and to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his sufferings and become like him in his death.
Jan. 5, 2023 – How to Be Happy. Hymn: A debtor to mercy alone.
Things future, nor things that are now,
Not all things below nor above
Can make Him His purpose forego,
Or sever my soul from His love.
Jan. 6, 2023 – A Life-Changing Experience. Isaiah ￼6. 🔸 awareness of his own sinfulness. Of unclean lips, in fact; and Isaiah was an elegant preacher￼￼. Previous he stated six woes. His own sinfulness was the seventh woe.￼🔸 God’s pardoning grace.￼ 🔸 unreserved willingness to serve the Lord. *here am I, send me.”￼
Week 2 Revelation
Jan. 9, 2023 – Creation Reveals the Creator. Profound closing paragraph:
￼It’s in this way that the invisible God makes His invisible attributes known to us in visible things. And that’s revelation. But we’re blind to it because of our sin, and our eyes are opened to it by the grace of Jesus Christ. That’s why the hymn writer Anna Letitia Waring once wrote, “Something lives in every hue that Christless eyes have never seen.” As Christians, we certainly don’t know everything, but the great thing is we know something about everything. We know that it’s been made by God. We know that we are living in His world. And we know that we are secure with Him.
Jan. 10, 2023 – No Real Atheists. Actually, to the atheist, ￼nothing makes sense, there is no foundation for rationality, And sooner or later they are ￼driven to despair.
4⭐️ Jan. 11, 2023 – Our Identity: The Image of God. Dutch theologian, Abraham Kuyper. Here’s a beautiful statement he makes in his encyclopedia of theology when he says, “If the cosmos is the theater of revelation, in this theater, man is both actor and spectator.” God made man in particular as His image in order to reflect Him and to imitate Him. St. Augustine said it best when He wrote, “Because you have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in Thee.” (Like a homing pigeon, returning.) Unless we identify ourselves with God, we are lost.
￼Jan. 12, 2023 – Unbelief: A Moral Issue. Story: the Russian poet and playwright Yevgeny Yevtushenko met Sir Kingsley Amis. And he said to him, “Sir Kingsley, is it true what I hear about you, that you are an atheist?” – “Well, yes,” said Kingsley Amis, “It’s true I’m an atheist, but it’s more than that. You see, I hate Him.” This prompted laughter from those who were hearing the telling of the story.￼ However, it is desperately sad. Paul said we are haters of God. It isn’t intellectual honesty, but unrighteousness. Atheists are inconsistent. God’s revelation is, in fact, inescapable. Atheists can dislike it, attempt to deny it, ignore it, hate it, and certainly not follow it, but can not actually escape the existence of God.
Jan. 13, 2023 – Eyes Opened to Christ. When you come to Christ as Savior, you discover that He is also the creator, and something lives in every hue that Christless eyes have never seen. I hope that’s true for you too. (Anna Letitia Waring)
Week 3 – Letters by John Newton.
Jan. 16, 2023 – The Faults We Fail to Notice. John Newton wrote many letters (that are still available to read). Like a blotch on a tie or noticeable and distracting scratch on a car, do you have a flaw in your character which distracts from your otherwise worthy attributes?
Jan. 17, 2023 – The Austere Christian. Mr. Austerus says he prizes the precepts of God’s Word, but there’s one thing he seems to have forgotten. He’s forgotten to be courteous and loving. And instead of having the gentleness of the Lord Jesus, there’s somethingabout him that seems to demand attention…And the problem with Mr. Austerusis that he doesn’t realize that his virtue has got twisted out of shape. It’s become disconnected from the other graces that are so vital to a Christlike life.
Jan. 18, 2023 – Can You Keep a Secret? It’s a letter about people whose problem is really that they sing about amazing grace, but they haven’t themselves become amazingly gracious. Mr. Humanist had lost control of his tongue and he couldn’t keep a secret.￼ Mr. Humanist had actually lost control of his heart because spiritually, the tongue is directly connected to the heart. Faithfulness isn’t really faithfulness unless it’s faithfulness in everything.
Jan. 19, 2023 – Loud Opinions and Little Prayer. Mr. Querulus, and perhaps Mrs. Querulus too. Always has an opinion, but doesn’t really do research-or prayer. Sinful conformity to this world.
Jan. 20, 2023 – Give Sin a Name. Principles. The first is this: whatever you come to realize is distorting the image of the Lord Jesus in you, be sure to give it a name. If we don’t have a clear sight of the target that we want to destroy in our lives, then we will miss it. Unless we confess to the Lord, “Lord, the blemish on my Christian character and walk is called (whatever it is),” it’s unlikely that we really will be delivered from it. So, we need to learn to name the distortion.
(2) Write down the name of the opposite grace of your blemish. And when you have done that, commit yourself before God to seeking it. We are not transformed merely by avoiding the works of the flesh. We need simultaneously to seek the fruit of the Spirit.
(3) We need to realize that the resources for lasting transformation are to be found in the Lord Jesus Christ. Pray the simple prayer, “Lord God, make me more like my Lord Jesus Christ.”
PRAYER ANSWERED BY CROSSES | By John Newton hymn laments that prayers are not answered but trials continue. In the final verse and a half God replies,
￼“’Tis in this way,” the Lord reply’d, “I answer pray’r for grace and faith.  “These inward trials I employ, From self and pride to set thee free; “And break thy schemes of earthly joy, “That thou mayst seek thy all in me.”
Week 4 – things to Remember, from scripture
Jan. 23, 2023 – A Day to Remember. Sabbath. Stimulate memory banks. *Ex 20:8-11 remember the sabbath and keep it holy-reflect. Stop, shut down, unplug, reboot.
Jan. 24, 2023 – Lest You Forget the Lord. “take care lest you forget the LORD” (Deut. 6:12). But if we have forgotten Him, the first step of recovery is this: to say out loud, “But you, Lord. Ps 102:12.
Jan. 25, 2023 – Storing Up Scripture in Our Hearts. We desperately need to sow the seeds of the Word of God in our hearts.
Jan. 26, 2023 – Remembering the Covenant. “Take care, says the Lord, lest you forget the covenant of the Lord your God” (Deut. 4:23). And the word “Lord” there, as you may know, is Yahweh, the covenant name of God. [We are in the New Covenant– via Christ.] Isaiah 50:4: “Morning by morning, the Lord awakens. He awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.” TheLord helps us to remember it. Every time we come to the Lord’s Table. God, through his son Jesus, did the overwhelming majority of the work, through his sacrifice on the cross, ￼in setting up the covenant with us, with each of us.￼
Jan. 27, 2023 – I Will Remember Their Sins No More. Don’t be haunted by past sins. When Satan tempts to sin, he tells us, “This isn’t such a big deal.” But then when we fail and fall, he capitalizes on our sin; he emphasizes our guilt. He comes to us, and he almost seems to screw into us our deep incapacity, and as John Calvin once said, seeks to drive us to despair. We can be paralyzed with shame￼.
Week 5 – the Bible. Living working Word￼. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Jan. 30, 2023 – Scripture: The Mouth of God. Therefore, ￼the authority and reliability of the Bible￼. In Hebrews, he doesn’t say, “This is what God said.” He says, “This is what our heavenly Father is saying to us.” He is now, through the Scriptures, addressing us as sons. I think we need to recover that sense of the amazing privilege we have in possessing the Bible.
Jan. 31, 2023 – God’s Word at Work in Us. Bible gives us/teaches God’s promises, God’s will, and God’s son. It’s given to us chiefly in order to make us like Jesus.￼ We need to be convinced of the authority of scripture. ￼Paul was speaking about when he wrote to the Thessalonians and said, “I’m so glad that you received the word of God not as the word of men, although it had come through men, but as it really is: the word of God.” And then he added something I think is very significant. He said, “You received it as the word of God, which is at work in you believers.” And that’s the big difference. The Bible is not just an information source but working in us. ￼It works in us. It transforms us. It shapes us to be more like Jesus.
Feb. 1, 2023 – Teaching and Reproof. God says that the Word that goes out of His mouth will not return to Him empty. Isaiah 55:11. Teaching/transformation of our minds. And reproof-And that’s the kind of healing that causes pain before it brings cure. So, God’s Word can hurt in order to heal. That’s why when you’re reading the Bible, you should always hold it up as a mirror of your own soul and ask yourself, “Is there something amiss?
Feb. 2, 2023 – Correction: a healing word.￼ greek word is a positive word. Orthos. healing straighten. Doctors and orthodoxy- a beautiful thing. Some rebuke yes, but we want teaching and straightening (positive) , profitable.
Feb. 3, 2023 – training in righteousness.￼ instruction word is a *child training* word. 2 Tim 3:16-17. A good story about street kids learning 100 Bible verses and a snooty bishop.￼
Week 6 – Worship
Feb. 6, 2023 – Let Us Worship God. John Calvin said that what really lies at the heart of things is worship. Q: What does God actually like? What does He want? What kind of directives has He given to us? Begin the service with ￼“Let us worship God.”
Feb. 7, 2023 – The Quality of Our Worship. Sadly, at least in my experience, what people are often talking about when they assess worship is really only whether the singing was…, choir, anthem, the organist, the liturgy, etc. We should be assessing, and focusing on, a sense of the majesty of God and His glory, a sense of the exaltation of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Feb. 8, 2023 – Bowed Down in the Presence of God. Become conscious of the presence of the Lord with us. John 14:23 23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey* my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” *Obedience.
The efficacy—the power, the influence, the impact—of the sacraments is not tied to the moment of administration [and worship, in general]. So, the significance of our baptism lasts the whole of our Christian life. The pleasure of being at the Lord’s Table endures even when we get up and leave.
Worship is an experience of the treasure of the presence of God lingering with us, transforming our lives, shaping our character, and putting dignity and reverence into our lives. And that’s what worship is about: seeing the King’s face.
Feb. 9, 2023 – Principles for Worship. Singing praise, praying, exposition of Scripture, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper. When we ask, “What will tend to the glory of God?” we are likely to be able to worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Feb. 10, 2023 – Cleansed and Renewed. Isaiah’s sins were forgiven by The Seraphim come and putting ￼the burning coals on his lips.￼ our sins are forgiven by Christ coming to us and forgiving us. ￼ we should end our worship service (leave our worship service), saying, ￼“Lord, whatever you want me to do, wherever there is need that I can meet, Lord, whatever you hold for me in this week, here am I. Send me.”
Week 7/8 The Fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22–23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Feb. 13, 2023 – The Fruit of the Spirit. Singular, they grow together. Horticultural not mechanical. Time to grow. They are balanced. ￼￼￼Learning to do the natural thing spiritually and the spiritual thing naturally. Likeness to the Lord Jesus.
Feb. 14, 2023 – Do You Have Love? Love is a decision, a verb. From God. Q: What is love? A: Forgetting about ourselves and living for others, being like Jesus. Devotion and care.
Comment that Peter the Venerable, the abbot of the great monastery of Cluny in the medieval days, once made about his much more famous friend, Bernard of Clairvaux. “Bernard,” he said to him, “You do all the difficult and complicated things well. But you’re failing in the simple thing. You don’t love.” I must say when I read these words first, they were like an arrow in my heart—doing the difficult things, but not doing the simple thing well.
Feb. 15, 2023 – A Supernatural Joy. As per Romans 5:1-11, joy is not referring to a sunny disposition (or personality) but rather￼ joy in our salvation (counted righteous, and more). As people might say at home in Scotland, “Christian joy’s no natural.” It’s not natural. It’s something that’s produced in us by the Holy Spirit. And it’s produced in us only when we’ve been brought to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. (Hope is not listed explicitly but it is a byproduct of joy.)￼
Feb. 16, 2023 – Peace Be with You. Augustine says in his Confessions that our hearts are restless. God has made us for Himself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in God.
I was brought up as a teenager on the Rolling Stones’ words, an anthem of the sixties: “I can’t get no satisfaction, and I’ve tried and I’ve tried and I’ve tried.” And where there is no satisfaction, there can be no peace. But here for the simplest and newest believer is the privilege and blessing of the gospel that the Lord Jesus says to you, “My peace is now yours.”
Feb. 17, 2023 – The Patience of God and of His Children. (Patience is not just quietly waiting for something.) ￼Patience is not having a short fuse, but longer and longer fuse. To learn/gain patience we need to be put in situations which would cause us to be impatient.
Feb. 20, 2023 – Kindness: Simple Yet Significant. Related to kin, treating people as family. hesed, loyalty love. Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:4. agape (Strong’s g0026)
Ruth is about kindness. Ruth toward Naomi. Boaz noticing and being kind. God chose 2 very kind people to be the parents (g-g-…-parents of David, and His Son, Jesus.
Wonderful story of Augustine coming to faith under Ambrose. “When Augustine’s wanderings and searchings eventually led him to Milan, he encountered the figure of Ambrose, the bishop, one of the great preachers of his day. He was tremendously impressed by his eloquence. He says he hung on his diction with rapt attention, but he was pretty bored by what he said. What he loved was only the charm in his language, and as a result of that, he was relatively indifferent to what he said. But then as he got to know him, things changed. Listen to what he says towards the end of book five of his Confessions: “I began to like him, at first indeed not as a teacher of the truth, for I had absolutely no confidence in your church, but as a human being who was kind to me.” Isn’t that something? The milk of human kindness in Ambrose—not his great preaching—was what God first used to bring to faith in Christ a man whose Christian life, witness, and writings have shaped the history of the Western world for 1700 years. So, who knows what your kindness today to someone might mean?”
Feb. 21, 2023 – Reflecting God’s Goodness. Joseph of Arimathea was a good man. Mark’s gospel gives us a beautiful description of him: he was a respected member of the council looking for the kingdom of God (Mark 15:43).
Feb. 22, 2023 – Faithful, Trusted, and True. The words for faithfulness and faith in the Old Testament have the same root as the word amen. Faithfulness is just saying an ongoing amen to the commitments that we’ve made. Faithfulness is being consistent, being reliable, being able to be trusted, being dependable.
Feb. 23, 2023 – Soft-Handed Gentleness. Like the athlete with soft hands (infielder or golfer). Ps 18:35 “Your gentleness made me great.” Possibly remain silent and speak carefully.
Feb. 24, 2023 – The Heavenly Music of Self-Control. Self-Control by itself isn’t really fruit. It’s cold and metallic. There’s really only one fruit of the Spirit, and it’s this: being more like the Lord Jesus. Only the Spirit of the Lord Jesus can make us like Jesus and produce in us the fruit of the Spirit.
Week 9 – Q: What is God really like?
Feb. 27, 2023 – The Most Important Question. (W. Shorter catechism) ￼Q4: What is God? A: God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. Burning bush: Moses knew that the key question on peoples minds that they would ask is who is this God? ￼🔑Who God is and what He is like is bound to shape who we are and what we are like and how we live.
Q3: What do the Scriptures principally teach? A: The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.
Feb. 28, 2023 – I Am Who I Am. Unchanging (we grow, grow old, die) God does have a beginning or end. He saw their need and wants relationship. Also an aspect of I am is that I will deliver that I will make good on my promises. Also, keep your eyes and ears open.
Mar. 1, 2023 – Knowing More of God. “Yahweh” is used dozens of times already in Genesis. (Not just at the burning bush in exodus.) ￼I am. We are always growing in our understanding of God. ￼ I’m going growth. The prayer of Richard of Chichester, “Lord, for these three things I pray: to see Thee more clearly, to love Thee more dearly, and to follow Thee more nearly.”
Mar. 2, 2023 – Burning, Yet Not Consumed. Moses met with God as the Fire that burned but was burning in a bush that was not consumed, the Fire that came to save the people, the Fire that transforms our lives. An active parable of a God who is absolutely independent, uncaused, in need of nothing, sufficient for Himself: a fire who simply burns, uncreated fire. And yet, at the same time, He is the I Am who makes Himself present in history and among His people, like the fire in the bush, without them being consumed. In fact, He comes not to consume them, but to preserve and save them. He is infinite and independent, but He’s not a prisoner of His infinity. In the mystery of His being, He can make Himself known in history. And more than that, He can come to be with His needy people and save them.
Also words from the piece of paper that was found sewn into the coat lining of Blaise Pascal when he died.
Mar. 3, 2023 – The Lord Will Provide. Jehovah-Jireh. This is what He is like: He is the God we can trust to provide us with everything we need. Abraham told his son on Mount Moriah that the Lord would provide a sacrifice. He did provide a sacrifice, a ram caught in a ticket. Years later, God provided the ultimate sacrifice his son, Jesus, on that same Mount Moriah know the place of Jerusalem and Golgotha. ￼Look at the cross. This is proof that God will provide. ￼
Week 10 – Ten Commandments
Mar. 6, 2023 – The Ten Commandments. Given in a context of grace. His first words are, “I am Yahweh, your God, your God who…” The first commandment teaches us that putting the Lord first is not only the right way to live; it’s the best way to live.
Mar. 7, 2023 – The Danger of Idolatry. Anything we think about more than God. Car, bank, balance, job, pop-star.￼ Idolatry is wrong, but more than that it is neither safe nor healthy. ￼ They cannot satisfy Ezekiel idols of the heart. St. Augustine: “You have made us for Yourself,” he writes in his Confessions, “and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You.” It’s just as the Rolling Stones: “I can’t get no satisfaction.” And here’s Ecclesiastes: “God has put eternity into man’s heart.” Are you safe with Him, or in danger with an idol?
Mar. 8, 2023 – Taking God’s Name in Vain. Including not lightly. The first petition in the Lord’s prayer is hallowed be thy name.￼ The name of God is taken a pond one’s self at ￼baptism. Belonging.
Mar. 9, 2023 – A Pattern for Our Days. Fourth commandment remember the sabbath day and keep it holy. It’s a mistake to think that the Sabbath commandment is either only about one day in the week or all about one day in the week. Balance, all week. This is a commandment that reminds us of our dignity and destiny as men and women. One day to rest, admire, and enjoy it (creation and God).