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Things Unseen

Things Unseen is a podcast by Sinclair Ferguson. It is available on https://www.ligonier.org/. Key🗝️…..

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.

The newest notes will be at the top.

June 12, 2024  – God Justifies the Ungodly. Justification is not the same as propitiation (related, but not the same). Justification is a legal term. We need to remember our ungodliness. We have to be careful to look for our glimmers of good traits. Justification is permanent.

The doctrine of justification concerns God’s gracious judicial verdict in advance of the day of judgment, pronouncing guilty sinners, who turn in self-despairing trust to Jesus Christ, forgiven, acquitted of all charges and declared morally upright in God’s sight.

Justified, justification, being counted righteous because of Christ’s righteousness and not my own, takes place at the very beginning of the Christian life when we come to trust in Christ.

June 11, 2024  – The Propitiation for Our Sins. Doing better, cleaning up our act, does not resolve us of punishment. Jesus’ sacrifice is the propitiation for our sins. On the cross all our sins were super-intensely put on Jesus, to the point he felt forsaken by God. Jesus has become the propitiation for our sins.

Propitiation means “averting the wrath of God by the offering of a gift.”

The horror and the wonder of the mercy of God in Christ.

June 10, 2024  – Every Spiritual Blessing in Christ. Don’t separate too much the life and work of Jesus. The work was done in and by him. We don’t have salvation apart from Jesus. In the same way, we can’t have salvation or Jesus, and not have him as Lord. We need to focus on Jesus, the whole (multifaceted) “enchilada.”

June 7, 2024  – One Person, Two Natures. More on Chalcedon.

June 6, 2024  – Co-Essential with the Father. 2 take-always from Chalcedon. perfect in Godhead . . . co-essential with the Father. Arius and those he influenced held that the Son was the greatest of all God’s creation, but not Himself God. In 2 Corinthians 5, isn’t it? In Christ, God Himself was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting our trespasses against us. Jesus needed to be fully God and fully man to be fully qualified to save us from our sins and reconcile us with God.

June 5, 2024  – Truly God and Truly Man. Always had a divine nature. Then, the Word became flesh. Incomprehensible. Early (and current) theologians didn’t (can’t) explain the trinity/incarnation, but they described it as best they could. Definition of Chalcedon of 451 AD. Stunning statement, should cause us to ponder and worship and appreciate Jesus Christ.

June 4, 2024  – The Person of the Son. Velcro strips of basic Christian doctrine are like a Biblical worldview. doubting Thomas, “My Lord and my God!” And in between John 1 and John 21, we learn what it means that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father” and “of His fullness we have received grace upon grace.”

June 3, 2024  – Thinking about Jesus. “We’ve become a generation of people who possess vast amounts of fairly detached pieces of information.” “It’s collecting fragments of a picture, but not really knowing where and how these fragments fit into the frame.”

Even though it has become difficult in this day and age, we need to be able to sit and meditate, perhaps for 5 whole minutes, on the person and work of Jesus. One useful framework (or outline) is that he is 1 person with 2 natures (fully God and fully man while he was on earth).

May 31, 2024  – 🗝️Consecrated to God🗝️. Holiness is separation from sin and also separation for love and devotion (for Jesus, love and devotion to the other 2 persons in the Godhead and love and devotion for humankind). We should strive for the same (that is, to be holy means:): be separated from sin and for love and deviation, first to God and then to our fellow man.

May 30, 2024  – Dwelling in Eternal Light. Even the seraphim, who are holy, must cover their faces when in God’s intensely holy presence. The last stanza of Thomas Binney‘s hymn says:

These, these prepare us for the sight
Of holiness above;
The sons of ignorance and night
May dwell in the eternal Light
Through the eternal Love.

May 29, 2024  – The Thrice-Holy One. Studying God (the infinite one), a, humbles us and b, exhales us into His presence so that we develop an increased sense of wonder that we can speak of Him and even speak to Him. Know God in his holiness, intense holiness. Isaiah understood God’s holiness well, so well he thought he was coming apart.

May 28, 2024  – The Simplicity of God. Our attributes can vary from day to day. But for God, they are unchanging. His goodness, and His faithfulness, and His omnipotence, His holiness, and His unchanging character—they’re all who He is. Theologians call this the simplicity of God. They don’t mean He’s simpleminded; in fact, the very opposite. When we speak of the simplicity of God, we mean the immense density of all His attributes all concentrated into one unimaginably great being.

May 27, 2024  – Knowing God. Yes, try, but/and realize you will only understand a small portion of God’s amazing greatness and omniscience. Therefore, knowing God begins with humility.

Week – God. The Creator-creature distinction.

May 24, 2024  – The Glory of Pentecost. The knowledge of God (sometimes called the secret) in the old covenant was second hand, given through a prophet, priest, or king (via prophecies, dreams, and visions). With the new covenant, the resurrected Christ is our prophet, priest, and king. Due to the Holy Spirit, all believers have direct access to God. We no longer need a mediator here on earth. Joel was prophesying this. Peter quoted Joel. The bottom line of Pentecost, is that all have knowledge (and blessings) of God. *all – this was an internationalizing of God’s covenant.

May 23, 2024  –The Promise of the Holy Spirit. He (Jesus) said in John 14:16, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive.” During the 50 days, He ask Him for it. On Pentecost it was given/fulfilled. The wonder of Pentecost is that the same Holy Spirit that Jesus knew, we come to know.

May 22, 2024  – Welcome to the Last Days. The Pentecost setting was very diverse. Since we are on this side of the resurrection, we are now in the last days. The old has passed away, the new has come. New creation.

May 21, 2024  – Seeing through the Lens of Scripture. Peter said those days prophesied in Joel are now. Peter was passionately and powerfully describing and explaining the important meaning of (“these events”) the current and recent events from a scriptural perspective, not how he felt about it.

The saints of God seek to see and understand things through the eyeglasses of God’s Word. This becomes to the instinct of the believer.

May 20, 2024  – What Was Pentecost All About? When reading the gospels, or the Bible in general, our first focus shouldn’t really be on “find me,” but on “find Jesus.” Who is He? What is He like? What is He doing? We first of all ask, “Who is Jesus here, and what is He doing?” And only then do we ask, “Well, how then does that apply to me?”

May 17, 2024  – Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. If we have our receptors up, the Trinity is there throughout scripture, either directly or indirectly.

The doxology:

Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Amen.

May 16, 2024  – What Jesus Taught about the Trinity. John 13–17. Did Jesus think the Trinity is important? Yes. We find in these chapters is a magnificent tapestry of gospel grace, woven from three threads: the work of the Father, the work of the Son, and the work of the Holy Spirit.

J.B. Phillips wrote a little book with the title, Your God Is Too Small. It’s not really about the Trinity, but I think those words do apply to our appreciation of the Trinity, because if we’ve thought about the Trinity as a speculative and impractical doctrine, then our God is too small.

We’re called to live the Christian life as those who belong to the family of God. We’ve been named for the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—for the Trinity. That’s our new family name. But it’s not just a formal thing. It’s an amazing, glorious reality in which, by the indwelling of the Spirit, not only does the Spirit indwell us, but through the Spirit, both the Father and the Son come, as Jesus says, to make our lives their home.

May 15, 2024  – Baptized into the Triune Name. Trinity, is in fact, basic/foundational and profoundly practical. “I baptize you in the name (singular) of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”—the words that go back to Jesus’ Great Commission in Matthew 28. Baptism is a naming ceremony. The initial question is often, “By what name is this child called?” Then the baptism occurs. The person is given the identity of being in the Christian family/kingdom/covenant. The child’s name they are called is associated with the name of God, which is, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

May 14, 2024  – The Triune God of Love. Why is the doctrine of the Trinity important? God is love is more completely manifested as a trinitarian God. The two truths about God, Love and Trinity, mesh together nicely.

May 13, 2024 – Knowing the Trinity. The human tendency to think that if we don’t fully understand something, then it must not be important, is flawed (flaw 1). We don’t fully understand the trinity, but it is (nonetheless) essential. There is only one God, and this one God exists eternally in a unity of three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, each of these persons having a distinct relationship to the other two.

B.B. Warfield said, “The Old Testament may be likened to a chamber richly furnished but dimly lighted; the introduction of light brings into it nothing which was not in it before; but it brings out into clearer view much of what is in it but was only dimly or not at all perceived before.”

God’s trinitarian nature reminds us that while we can know Him, we do not, cannot, and never will, fully comprehend Him, because He is God and we are not. Another human tendency is to take something we do not fully understand and simplify it to something we can understand (flaw 2). This can work with some things. However, we have to be careful (perhaps better, avoid) doing this with God.

May 10, 2024 – He Must Reign. See catechisms. In particular, the Shorter Catechism gives to the question, “How doth Christ execute the office of a king?” It focuses on what Jesus is doing now: “Christ executeth the office of a king, in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies.”

We don’t come to trust Christ as our Savior without simultaneously coming to Him as our Lord, for the simple reason that you can’t have half a Christ any more than you can have half a wife. ..and we are always growing in faith and relationship.

3 enemies are: the world that seeks to conform us to itself, the flesh that seeks to drag us down into sin, and the devil who seeks to draw us away from our trust in and love for the Lord.

May 9, 2024 – Interceding from Heaven. As priest, one role is to intercede for the people. He never stops caring. We cannot be condemned, because Jesus is at the right hand of God, interceding for us.

May 8, 2024 – The Heavenly Ministry of Christ. Continuing His ministry as Prophet and Priest and King. Priest preaching, but through and using His human instruments.

God’s Word begins to do its own work in us, shaping and reshaping our thinking, transforming our affections, melting our wills, and renewing our minds. And Prayer

May 7, 2024 – Dominion Regained. While in many cases, Jesus did things in a subtle way in this case, our Lord left the Apostles and the young church in a very decisive way in an event that, in its own way, was like His incarnation, His crucifixion, His resurrection—a once for all event.

The first words of Psalm 110 where David says, “The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.’” That’s what’s happening in the ascension. Jesus is not just leaving the world; He’s going to heaven.

All dominion in heaven and earth has been given to Me (Jesus). Satan got dominion after the fall.

May 6, 2024 – He Ascended into Heaven. Many authors  speak of it. As John says in his gospel, He came from God, and He was going back to God (John 13:3). His resurrection tells us that His atoning sacrifice has been accepted. His ascension tells us that He has completed all the work His Father gave Him to do on Earth. The ascension means that Jesus, who was crucified for us, now occupies the throne of heaven and reigns over all things for us.

Week – the ascension.

May 3, 2024 – Looking to Our Loving Father. Satan in the garden…they’d exchanged the truth about God for the lie. And even when they were restored, that lie was now in the bloodstream of the human race. We’re suffering not just from long COVID; we’re suffering from the long lie.
JohnOwen said, “Christians are but little exercised . . . in holding immediate communion with the Father in love…This makes us go heavily, when we might rejoice; and to be weak, where we might be strong in the Lord.”

he goes on to offer us the solution to this affliction. He says, “Eye the Father as love.”

May 2, 2024 – The Deceiver’s Great Lie. Romans 1:25 exchange the truth about God for a (greek says “the”) lie.

Lie is this: “God says He’s loving and generous, but He’s actually mean and restrictive. Is He really the kind of God who would put you in this magnificent garden and then said, ‘Ah, none of it is to be yours,’” twisted and distorted view of God.

May 1, 2024 – The Enemy of Our Souls. WHY does Satan hate us, deceive us, trick us, etc. Ultimately, Satan’s hatred was hatred directed against God. John 8:44 (and surrounding) Strong and clear statement on Satan (and his followers).

Just as Satan attacked Adam through his favorite thing, Eve, he attacks God through His favorite thing, humans — who the divine Trinity created in their image. Satan hates God joy in us.

April 30, 2024 -The Strategies of Satan. We need to detect the clammy hand of Satan at work. Paul says in 2 Corinthians: says, “we are not ignorant of his designs.”

[Satan strategy] James says, “Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire… echo there of Genesis  … “Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.”

April 29, 2024 – The Tragedy of the Fall. When we lose hold of God Himself, our identity as His image will also get lost. Christians need to remember that we are all people made as the image of God, and therefore we’re called to reflect Him, to live for His glory according to His word. And when we refuse to do that, we then no longer enjoy Him. And when we don’t enjoy Him, things begin to disintegrate all around us.

[Satan strategy] Using the very best gift the Creator had given to Adam, Eve, Satan call Adam away from God. This is a common strategy of Satan. Use our faves to pull us away.

Week: tragedy of the fall.

April 26, 2024 – Lead Us Not into Temptation. Jesus Himself knew how fierce the battle could be. We’re praying to be delivered from the strategies of the evil one. God doesn’t lead us into temptation, But, He certainly leads us into situations that will test us. James 1:13

“The Spirit immediately drove [Jesus] out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals” (Mark 1:12–13). Well, that little footnote, “He was with the wild animals,” gives us a clue to what was happening here. Jesus was reversing the tragic and sinful act of Adam and Eve. They were tested by Satan in a garden of plenty. They were surrounded by a docile animal kingdom that was under their authority.
This sixth, and final, petition about temptation is followed by the affirmation of God’s kingdom, power and glory.

April 25, 2024 – Forgive Us Our Debts.

April 24, 2024 – Our Daily Bread. <more than just bread, but it also does emphasize basics. There’s a connection between simplification and sanctification.

April 23, 2024 – On Earth as It Is in Heaven. Renew/refresh/reorganze our mind. It begins to shape how we think about life. It reorders our priorities. It recenters us on the Father. It sets our affections on the right things and in the right order. Thy will be done On Earth as It Is in Heaven—What we’re praying for here is help to know and to do God’s will.

April 22, 2024 – Our Father in Heaven. Hallowed/Holy. We bow humbly first.

Prayer is a pattern for living.

Week – Lord’s Prayer. How to pray and how to live.

April 19, 2024 – Worthy Is the Lamb. Vision statement Jesus announced at Caesarea Philippi: “I will build my church*, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). *In enemy occupied territory.

Apostle John expresses all this very pointedly in 1 John 3:8: “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”

Revelation 12: Sinclair’s idea is the devil pursuing the women is our present time- where the church is now.

In this picture is that at the center of all history stands the One who holds the end of this ball of thread that unravels from Genesis 3:15 to the end of Revelation—that is, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, join in heaven’s song of praise to the Lamb who was slain.

April 18, 2024 – The Blessing of Abraham.  A covenant Genesis 22:18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” The covenant of Jesus is greater: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

April 17, 2024 – He Will Give Us Rest. Death throughout Genesis. In Genesis 6:5, we come to some of the darkest words in the whole Bible: “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” And then came what Genesis 6:7 calls the “blotting out” of man—the flood. “Noah” sounds like relief in Hebrew. The promise is still in tact. Yes, eventually Jesus.

April 16, 2024 – God’s Unfailing Promise. Jesus would come. Adam and Eve believed, but did not know the specifics. The naming of their children, reflects their belief.

April 15, 2024 – The Central Promise of Scripture. Gen 3:15 is huge.  Predicts ongoing struggle and that ultimately God will win. [From Holman notes] Hostility between the first woman and the serpent would be passed on to future generations. This verse is known in Christendom as the protoevangelium, or “first good news,” because it is the first foretelling of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Using an emphatic Hebrew construction, God announced here that a male descendant—He—would someday deal the serpent (meaning Satan) a fatal blow. The NT writers understood Jesus Christ to have fulfilled this prophecy (Heb 2:14; 1Jn 3:8). In an extended sense, the NT also indicates that God would work through the church—those indwelt by the Spirit of Christ—to destroy the works of the devil (Rm 16:20). The assertion that the snake would only strike his opponent’s heel (as opposed to head) suggests that the devil will be defeated in the ensuing struggle (Rv 2:2,7-10).

Week – The protoevangelium, the first promise of the gospel recorded in Genesis 3:15.The Bible is strongly theologically held together (“Smyth-sewn”) by strong threads.

April 12, 2024 – Created for Glory. Adam was created to be the prophet, and the priest, and the king of creation—marvelous dignity. Also, child of God charged with tending the garden. Note on Romans 3:23: it is not All have sinned and broken the commands of God.” But no, what Paul says is that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Again, Q1 of shorter catechism.

April 11, 2024 – Jesus’ Teaching on Marriage and Gender. Man and woman Genesis 2 and Jesus.

April 10, 2024 – The Inconsistent Atheist.  Atheists use/borrow bits and pieces of Christianity.

April 9, 2024 – Male and Female He Created Them. The only “not good” that God noticed in the original creation was that Adam, the man, was all on his own.

🗝️April 8, 2024 – Who Am I? Dietrich Bonhoeffer poem titled “Who Am I?” He was engaging in some real spiritual self-examination. Teenagers write poems with the same title, but They were a quest for identity and often an expression of identity confusion. Bonhoeffer was asking about the consistency of his own life, but these youngsters were asking the question, “Who am I?” because they no longer knew the answer to it.

This question now haunts the younger generation. Not only is that true, but in effect, they’re told to be haunted by it. God said, in Genesis, we are created in his image and male or female. Society is saying, as in the garden, did God really say?

Week – What is man?

April 5, 2024 – James Reunited with His Brother and Lord. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:3–8  the resurrected Jesus appeared to James.  Saul/Paul, Thomas, Mary M., Peter, bro. James had a negative element in their past. The main point is the loving care that Jesus showed to his family.

April 4, 2024 – Peter’s Failure Was Not Final. The angel in the tomb, on Easter morning, said, oh, and make sure to tell Peter that he is risen. Mark 16:4–7. “Failure Need Not Be Final,” was the message for Peter, and for us.

April 3, 2024 – The Disciples’ Hearts Burned within Them <<while HE spoke to US. On the road to Emmaus, Jesus explain things logically from OT (Which is true and possible). However, Jesus is not just An answer to the Old Testament riddle. Rather, He is the incarnate Jesus. He is with us. It is his presence that made their hearts burn within them.

April 2, 2024 – John Saw and Believed. John arrived first, but did not go in. Peter 2nd, but went in. Then John went into the tomb. He saw the face cloth, folded up neatly in place, and he believed. This is significant. Jesus left evidence behind that He was risen from the dead and was alive.  (Even though Jon mentions in parentheses they did not fully understand.)

April 1, 2024 – Mary Knew Her Master’s Voice. We still hear that voice today. When the Word of God is preached in the power of the Spirit.

Week – I look at some who encountered Jesus after the resurrection.
March 29, 2024 – The Man Who Was Crucified beside Him. Jesus made this Friday “Good Friday” for him, and it’s the only thing that can make it good for us too.

March 28, 2024 – Simon, Who Carried His Cross. There’s evidence in other parts of the  NT that Simon of Cyrene, his wife , and sons, Alexander and Rufus, became Christians.

March 27, 2024 – Pilate, Condemned Him. His name in Apostles Creed. Pilot knew, at a rudimentary level, the Jesus was the Christ (Matt 27:22) and that Jesus was the king of the Jews ((John 19:19), but he did not believe it. Knowledge does not equal belief.

March 26, 2024 – Peter, Who Denied Him. Peter’s regeneration (trust in Jesus) prior, did not keep him from falling. Peter was saved (and Judas wasn’t.)

Peter was saved because Jesus prayed for him. Put another way, Peter’s salvation wasn’t guaranteed by what was done in him, but by what Jesus did for him. There’s a message there for all of us: Our security doesn’t lie in ourselves. It’s Christ who saves us—the Christ who died for us, who rose again for us, who is at God’s right hand for us, who makes intercession for us.

March 25,  2024 – Judas, Who Betrayed Him. Half of John‘s gospel is devoted to holy week. Judas.

John Bunyan’s poem, titled “A Caution to Stir Up to Watch Against Sin”:

Sin, rather than ‘twill out of action be,
Will pray to stay, though but a while with thee;
One night, one hour, one moment, will it cry,
Embrace me in thy bosom, else I die:
Time to repent (saith it) I will allow,
And help, if to repent thou know’st not how.
But if you give it entrance at the door,
It will come in, and may go out no more.

Week – people who encountered Jesus during Passion/Holy Week.

March 22,  2024 – Let the Word of Christ Dwell in You Richly. Colossians 3:16.  “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” We get the Word by reading/study, preaching, and singing.

March 21,  2024 – Christians Sing Differently. Not just horizontally, but also vertically – upward to God; and in His presence.  Christians sing coram Deo.

March 20,  2024 – Singing with the Son of God. At the end of the Passover meal (Thursday night), as He was about to go to the garden of Gethsemane, He and His disciples, we’re told in Matthew’s gospel, sang a hymn. We know what it probably was because Passover was one of those occasions when the same praise was sung year after year. It was called the Hallel (like the word hallelujah), from the first lines of Psalm 113, with which it began:

Praise the Lord!
Praise, O servants of the Lord,
praise the name of the Lord!

Blessed be the name of the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its setting,
the name of the Lord is to be praised!

March 19,  2024 – Do You Have a Hymnbook? Offers things a screen does not give. Seeing the verses together shows the flow. Being contemporary can mean that Christians are deprived of the wisdom of the ages.

March 18,  2024 – Christians Love to Sing. Express praise and admiration and gratitude. Sing, not just in church.

Week: Christians Love to Sing

March 15,  2024 – From Covetous to Christlike.  When the Big Ten are discarded, it becomes a moral chaos, and the government has to produce more and more laws, and the gradual undermining of the stability and safety of society.
Chief Justice John Roberts famously wrote in one of his opinions, that we are doing things simply because we want to.

Commandment number 10 really cut to the heart for the apostle Paul. Romans 7:7-12. it may be that he covered Stephen. In Stephen, Saul of Tarsus saw illustrated firsthand what he would write in the eighth chapter of Romans: a lifestyle that expressed beautiful obedience to the law, but a lifestyle that was effected only through faith in Jesus Christ.

March 14, 2024 – Is It Ever Right to Lie? William Holmes McGuffey, responsible for the McGuffey reader, was an itinerant preacher ordained in the Presbyterian Church. every commandment implies its opposite, so it’s not enough to refrain from lying speech. As the book of Proverbs tells us, we need to learn how to use truthful words in a way that both blesses and heals others, and that’s part of our growing Christian maturity.

Sinclair makes two points. We can’t argue backwards from what God does in His providence to justify everything that we or other people do (for example, to justify a lie). (2) while we should never bear false witness, this does not mean that we are obliged never to withhold information, or that we are obliged to tell people anything that we know that they want to know. There’s a time to speak and a time to keep silent.

March 13, 2024 – Theft (-) and Generosity (+). Do Not (-) is common in the 10 Commandments. This is partially for simplicity. As a small child Albert Einstein‘s father told him do not play with the electric socket. This was to keep him safe and alive. There would be plenty of time later for Albert to learn why. (Again, as first Corinthians 13 says, love always protects.) As the principal that was stated on March 11 states, for each negative there is a positive. do not steal, but also give generously.

March 12, 2024 – The Beginning of Lust. It is not a private sin. It has multiple repercutions. John Bunyan poem, “…But if you give it (sin) entrance at the door,
It will come in, and may go out no more.”

March 11, 2024 – Murdering in Our Hearts. Q99 of Larger Catechism has much good info, including, “That it is spiritual, and so reacheth the understanding, will, affections, and all other powers of the soul; as well as words, works, and gestures.” They involve both the outside and the inside, that is, the outward actions and the attitude of the heart and soul. Each negative is paired with a positive, and each positive is prepared with a negative.

March 8, 2024 – Honor Your Father and Mother.  #1-4 relationship with God. First of the next six is honor your father and mother. Not obey your father and mother. Sometimes (esp when young) but not always. Indirectly, this is a commandment for fathers and mothers to act in a manner worthy of honor.
Law and rules are our protective friendly guards.

March 7, 2024 – A Pattern for Our Days. Sabbath. #balance Not only about or all about the sabbath day. Keep it holy means to not pile up things on that day because “it is free.” Healthy lifestyle. Consider, as creations of God in his likeness, our dignity and our destiny.

The sabbath is a gift. It was Adam’s first full day. God provided Adam a day of rest, where he could admire the magnificent and beauty of the creation.

March 6, 2024 – Taking God’s Name in Vain. Not just not swearing. Also, not taking God lightly. Live as if we know we have God’s blessings, are baptized in His name, are in a covenant relationship, and we are living coram Deo.

March 5, 2024 – The Danger of Idolatry.  John Calvin: our hearts are a perpetual factory of idols. It’s actually dangerous for us to have an idol. Our safety lies only in God.

March 4, 2024 – The Ten Commandments. Given by the God of infinite holiness and righteousness, but they were also given in a context of grace.  “I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will deliver you from slavery to them. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm. I will take you to be My people, and I will be your God.”
1st – putting the Lord first is not only the right way to live; it’s the best way to live.
Week –
The Ten Commandments

March 1, 2024 – The Lord Will Provide. Jehovah Jireh. Abraham said these, when the Lord provided the ram. Mount Moriah. Solomon built the temple there. Jesus spent his last week on earth there.

February 29, 2024 – Burning, Yet Not Consumed. Moses met with God as the Fire that burned but was burn ing in a bush that was not consumed, the Fire that came to save the people, the Fire that transforms our lives. The fire in the bush was self existent. It produced light and heat, but did not consume, or need, any energy.
In the same way, Blaise Pascal Describe the God and Christ in him as a fire.  he wrote it on a slip of paper and sewed it into his coat.

February 28, 2024 – More of God. Begin with God. God’s revealing of Himself is progressive and it’s cumulative until He fully reveals Himself as the I Am in our Lord Jesus Christ.
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.”

February 27, 2024 – I Am Who I Am. I am iff eternally existent. We are becoming/growing/dying. I am is One who wants to be in relationship with us (Covenant with us) And cares about us.

February 26, 2024 – The Most Important Question. What is God really like? Q4 (shorter catechism):What is God?  A: God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.

Week 9 What is God really like?

February 23, 2024 – The Heavenly Music of Self-Control. Self-control (wo the other fruit) can be metallic or strong-willed. There’s really only one fruit of the Spirit, and it’s this: being more like the Lord Jesus.

3×3 = 9-part harmony.

The Spirit of God works within the believer to produce a conformity to God’s law that God’s law itself could never reproduce.

What he’s saying here is exactly the same as what he says in Romans 8:3–4: But what the law couldn’t do because it was weak through our sinful flesh, God has done Himself, sending His own Son in the likeness of the flesh of sin and for sin, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

Only the Spirit of the Lord Jesus can make us like Jesus and produce in us the fruit of the Spirit. And when He does that, our lives become like trees that are bearing fruit and blossoming wonderfully.

February 22, 2024 – Soft-Handed Gentleness. Gentleness ~ kindness.  Soft grip. Ps 18 the last words of verse 35: “Your gentleness made me great.” How is something being said? and What is not being said.

February 21, 2024 – Faithful, Trusted, and True.

February 20, 2024 – Reflecting God’s Goodness. Many of the questions philosophers have asked over the centuries have been about the true, the good (and/or love), and the beautiful, what we call epistemology (How do we know things?), aesthetics (How do we assess things?), and ethics (What is the good life? And what, after all, do we mean when we say “good”?). 

February 19, 2024 – Kindness: Simple Yet Significant. Kin, as family. One of the greatest words in the Hebrew Bible, hesed, what one of the Old Testament scholars translated as leal love, loyalty love.
Augustine was initially ambivalent with Ambrose, but God and Ambroses kindness…

GREAT STORY: 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?

February 16, 2024 – The Patience of God and of His Children.  Other translations use longsuffering or forbearance. Get a longer fuse. Yes, be patient, even with fools. Testing situations grow our patience.

February 15, 2024 – Peace Be with You. Not just peace with God, but experiencing peace. Having a sense of peace. Old Testament word shalom, which was far more than simply a feeling of being at peace. It was the experience of being made whole and well—coming home, knowing that you belong, no longer being a stranger, being a member of the family—that sense that there is a well-being in your life that wasn’t there before. Jesus‘s first words on Easter evening, as he appears, “Peace.”
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.

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.” With God, we have peace and wholeness.

“The Lord is merciful and *gracious,” says Psalm 103, “The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” *Grace in pilgrimage. Like faith and all these fruits, patience can continually grow in us.

February 14, 2024 – A Supernatural Joy. 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; because our sins have been forgiven and we’ve been counted righteous; and because, as Paul says, we’ve begun to understand that through difficulties, trials, friction, sufferings, affliction, the Spirit is working to make us more and more like Jesus. He’s producing endurance and character and hope in us. It’s the smile on the face of the person who has peace from God.

February 13, 2024 – Do You Have Love? But what is love? Well, at the end of the day, it’s not emotion so much as forgetting about ourselves and living for others—being like Jesus in that way in our devotion and care.

February 12, 2024 – The Fruit of the Spirit. [∃9] singular. Come together as one. In  balance. William Still (Sinclaire’s minister) said that the growing Christian is someone who has learned to do the natural thing spiritually and the spiritual thing naturally.

Week 7, year 2 -Fruit of the Spirit Gal 5:22-23 (ESV)

February 9, 2024 – Cleansed and Renewed. As on Isaiah 6, in worship, we are cleansed of our iniquities and renewed, so we can “Here am I. Send me.”

February 8, 2024 – Principles for Worship. There are constants (“elements”) and variables (such as the time, and whether to sit or stand). In the first letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul tells us how to make decisions regarding worship. He raises these two questions. “Is this really going to be edifying for the church?” And the second question, “Is this really going to be for the glory of God?” The second question being primary.

February 7, 2024 – Bowed Down in the Presence of God. It’s like that famous Old Testament text: “What is the point of dwelling in Jerusalem if we never see the king’s face?” And that’s what worship is about: seeing the King’s face.

February 6, 2024 – The Quality of Our Worship. It is not a performance factor. Rather, is there deep sense of the majesty of God and His glory, a sense of the exaltation of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

February 5, 2024 – Let Us Worship God. Calvin said The Bible, after all, is a means to an end, to bring us to the knowledge of God. And the end is worship. That’s the goal. For most of the church services that Sinclair attended, they all begin with the words “Let us worship God.”

Week 6, year 2 – Worship

February 2, 2024 – Training in Righteousness. The word for training is a childlike training. Bringing us up in the family likeness, bringing us up to be more like our elder brother, the Lord Jesus Christ.

We need to make a hymn (poem) “This is my father‘s word.”

Wonderful story about T.C. Hammond and his (street) boys and the Bishop.

February 1, 2024 – Correction: A Healing Word. Greek word epanórthōsis. ortho Orthodontist straightens, gives beauty, improves bite. Orthopedic dr. Straightens and heals. Improvement.

January 31, 2024 – Teaching and Reproof. 2 Timothy 3:16–17 Word is profitable/useful. Read and hold the Bible up as a mirror. Word of God is reproving you to bring you to repentance that you may enjoy His forgiveness and new life.

January 30, 2024 – God’s Word at Work in Us. Paul, in Thessalonians, 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.

January 29, 2024 – Scripture: The Mouth of God. Like having the architect’s drawings for a building. Jesus, when tempted said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Jesus Himself was quoting from Deuteronomy 8:3. We are privileged to listen, through the Word, to the voice of God.

January 26, 2024 – I Will Remember Their Sins No More. The new covenant (“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”), described in Jeremiah 31:34—and cited in the New Testament in Hebrews 8:12 because it’s fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

We are clothed you in Christ’s righteousness. So, perhaps the thing we need to remember most of all is the one thing the Lord tells us He remembers no more. He’s given His Son to cover your sins. And He says to you, “Your sins I remember no more.” Know the peace that that brings.

January 25, 2024 – Remembering the Covenant. He is a covenant-making and covenant-keeping God. We need to remember it too.

January 24, 2024 – Storing Up Scripture in Our Hearts. Scottish hymn that’s called “God the Unchangeable.” Here’s the first verse:

Twixt gleams of joy and clouds of doubt our feelings come and go; Our daily state is tossed about in ceaseless ebb and flow. No mood of feeling, form of thought, is constant for a day; But Thou, O Lord, Thou changest not, the same Thou art alway.

Job says, “I have treasured the words of God’s mouth more than the portion of my food” (Job 23:12).

Prayer: May the Word of God go deeply into my soul. Lord, may your Word go deeply into my soul.

January 23, 2024 – Lest You Forget the Lord. “Take care, lest you forget* the Lord.” is in Deuteronomy twice. *forget what He is like.

PS 102: first 11 verses author is down in the dumps: he’s used the word “I” six times, the word “me” seven times, and the word “my” eleven times, and that’s the problem. As Martin Luther used to say, in some ways, it’s our biggest problem. We are, as he put it, incurvatus in se, “turned in upon ourselves.” We’re remembering ourselves, but we are not remembering the Lord.

Verse 12: But you, Lord.” The engine of grace has been fired up. The spiritual memory file has unfrozen. He looks outward and upward. He looks Bible-ward, and he begins to remember. God is enthroned; God is the Lord; God has been remembered throughout the generations; God is merciful and will have pity on him; God is from everlasting to everlasting.

January 22, 2023 – A Day to Remember. #sabbath  Fill (store up) ourselves with Biblical (God’s) truth and stimulants. Refection. Re-calibrate. Reboot.

Week 4, year 2 – things to remember.

January 19, 2023 – Give Sin a Name. (1) Name the distortion. and… (2) Write down the name of the opposite grace of your blemish. We are not transformed merely by avoiding the works of the flesh. We need simultaneously to seek God’s *Grace (in pilgrimage) and the fruit of the Spirit. There’s God’s Grace (general), but there are various forms of God’s graces (plural). Paul says put off and put on.  (3) 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.”

January 18, 2024 – Loud Opinions and Little Prayer. Mr. Querulus is always expressing opinions about what government, or authorities, or educational systems, or the church—he’s always expressing opinions about what they are doing wrong. Quote(Newton):

There are people enough to make a noise about political matters, who know not how to employ their time to a better purpose. Our Lord’s kingdom is not of this world; and most of these people may do their country much more essential service by pleading for it in prayer, than by finding fault with things which they have no power to alter.

What Mr. Querulus is doing is a sinful conformity to the men of this world.

January 17, 2024 – Can You Keep a Secret? Mr. & Mrs. Humanus. Very welcoming people people. But they can’t keep a secret. He trusted himself too much, but he had lost control of his tongue. And that means he had actually lost control of his heart because spiritually, the tongue is directly connected to the heart.

Jesus’ words, “One who is faithful in very little is also faithful in much.” Because faithfulness isn’t really faithfulness unless it’s faithfulness in everything.

January 16, 2024 – The Austere Christian. The problem with Mr. Austerus is 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. And that’s the problem. He 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. He needs the gentleness of the Lord Jesus.

January 15, 2024 – The Faults We Fail to Notice. There may (probably) be a scratch, or a dent, or a mark, or a blotch in your life that you’ve hardly noticed, but might be the thing that stands out to others and makes them think that although you profess to be growing in likeness to Jesus Christ, something is hindering you? Maybe even thinking about that will draw something to your attention. And if that’s the case, what you really need to do is to [pray] tell the Lord Jesus about it because He’s promised to forgive you, and He’s also promised to begin to cleanse you and make you more like Himself.

January 12, 2024 – Eyes Opened to Christ. The Word became flesh. And the purpose of it all is that those who come to trust in Him might have the right to become the children of God.
By God’s grace, we find the Savior. Furthermore, our minds open in awe and wonder, that in coming to know the Savior, we actually come to know the creator of the whole cosmos, and that coming to know Him as Savior meant that we can look on the creation with fresh eyes, that it was created by the One who came into it in order to save each of us.

January 11, 2024 – Unbelief: A Moral Issue. Everyone who claims to be an atheist will somewhere, somehow, sometime give themselves away. Somewhere along the line it will become clear that the atheism that they claim is simple intellectual honesty in fact has deep moral roots because deep down, as Paul says in Romans 1:30, they are haters of God. ‘

January 10, 2024 – Our Identity: The Image of God. The bottom line is who we are, and why we are here. (Denial of God’s existence inevitably results in an identity crisis.) The creation account in Genesis 1 climaxes with God making man in a different way from the way He had made other creatures, making man after holding a divine council, and making him in particular as His image in order to reflect Him and to imitate Him.

We can never escape the revelation of God, not only because we are surrounded by it, but because in a sense, we carry it around with us even although we have defaced and deformed it, which is exactly the point that Paul makes in his sermon to the Athenians when he quotes a couple of pagan writers as saying, “In [God] we live and move and have our being. And we are indeed his offspring” (Acts 17:28). So that it’s not only that there is no last exit from divine revelation that surrounds us.

Ultimately, if you deny the existence of God, it’s not only that God collapses from your world and life view, it’s that your own identity (and world and life view) becomes very shaky (and susceptible to collapse).  That is, you no longer know who you really are.

We’re living, at least in the Western world, in a pandemic of identity crisis.

January 9, 2023 – No Real Atheists. Denial of God’s existence inevitably results in (logical) inconsistencies.

January 8, 2023 –  Creation Reveals the Creator. Revelation, God’s revelation began at the creation and is ongoing.

Define Revelation (n). 1. the act of revealing or disclosing [seen or communicated]; disclosure. 2. something revealed or disclosed, especially a striking disclosure, as of something not before realized.

3. Theology. God’s disclosure of Himself and His will to His creatures. an instance of such communication or disclosure. something thus communicated or disclosed. something that contains such disclosure, as the Bible.

The age-old question that philosophers have always asked and scientists still seek to penetrate—“Why is there something and not nothing?”—is a question that’s answered right in the very first chapter of the Bible. In the beginning God created. Therefore, all of creation tells of The Creator.  We’re blind to it because of our sin, and our eyes are opened to it by the grace of Jesus Christ.  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.

Week 2, year 2. God’s revelation (in creation)

January 5, 2023 – A Life-Changing Experience.  Maybe wishing for a Holy New Year is better than wishing for a Happy New Year. After his (Chapter 6) vision Isaiah realized that to be truly happy, one needs to be holy first; and his favorite description for the Lord becomes “the Holy One.”

Isaiah’s response seems to have been three-dimensional. (1) awareness of his own sinfulness. Even though is was very, very articulate, he said he had unclean lips. (6 woes in Chapter 5 [see ChatGPT], 7th is on himself in Chapter 6.); (2) his experience of God’s pardoning grace (burning, cleansing coal to the lips);  (3) unreserved willingness to serve the Lord without question.  “Here am I. Send me.”

January 4, 2023 – How to Be Happy. As believers we have assurance and happiness.

January 3, 2023 – A Resolution for the Christian Life.

Paul’s personal resolution in Philippians 3:10–14.

He says:

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. And by any means possible, attaining the resurrection from the dead. Not that I’ve already obtained this, or I’m already perfect, but I press on to make it my own because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I’ve made it my own, but one* thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

*Fun, possible exchange between Paul and Timothy as Paul dictates the letter. Timothy ask the multitasker, “One thing?” Paul might have responded, “You need to understand I’m not busy doing many different things. I’m busy doing one thing in many different ways. And all of them are about getting to know the Lord Jesus Christ better, to share His life and to become like Him.”

January 2, 2023 – Growing in Love for the Church. And are we yet alive, by Charles Wesley (1749)

January 1, 2023 – Beginning a New Year Well. Begin this new year by sharing the Methodist Covenant prayer with you, and to invite you, with me, to commit yourself to the Lord and to pray for His help through this new year.

I am no longer my own, but Yours. Put me to what You will, place me with whom You will. Put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be employed for You or laid aside for You, exalted for You or brought low for You. Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and heartily yield all things to Your pleasure and disposal. And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, You are mine, and I am Yours. May it be so. And may the covenant which I have just made here on earth be confirmed in heaven.

Year 2 Week 1; Week 53 overall.


Notes from 2023 are here.

Things Unseen 2023

Things Unseen is a podcast by Sinclair Ferguson. It is available on https://www.ligonier.org/. Key🗝️….. 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. The newest notes are at the top. These are my notes …