Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Psalm 24 Jesus Christ the King of Glory Exegesis

Ever since I posted the sermon on Psalm 24, I have noticed several hits to that post because of persons doing Google searches on Jesus Christ and Psalm 24. So, since there seems to be a lot of interest on the topic and for those looking for more of an exegetical study of the Psalm, here is an exegetical paper I wrote on it while in seminary.

For those who have not had Greek or Hebrew, just skip the more technical parts. The paper begins with my translation of the Psalm and my defense of my translation (pp. 1-5). Following that opening section is the main body of the study (pp. 5-37). The paper concludes with some technical appendices covering issues such as the Hebrew verse structure of Psalm 24, a couple of text-critical issues and a couple of word studies (pp.38-55).

Let me know what you think and if you agree or disagree.

Read it here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Church, the Internet and Meaningful Fellowship

There has been a lot of discussion concerning the internet and using the internet to accomplish good. And at the same time, it is important to remember that whatever the good is that can be accomplished with the internet, it should not replace or even diminish the importance of maintaining contact with real persons and real community. It becomes so easy to confuse the illusion of intimacy, friendship and community that is offered by the internet for the real thing in real life. As one writer has said, "Staying glued to screens and plugged-in to soundtracks makes it easier to ignore the people who live with us and around us."

The result of this kind of social interaction, or social distraction, has been the development of shallow and superficial relationships and perspectives of life in general. One recent speaker has argued that this new internet community is causing us to forget about the meaningful and become numb to the genuine human needs that are going unrealized all around us:
“One of the essential problems of our society is that we’re losing sight of what is human in ourselves. We’re quick to go to war, and quicker to attend to our technological imperatives, and quickest of all at forgetting the truly human needs that are all around us. And that includes our own individual needs–those very special, mostly non-material things that would fulfill us, give meaning to our lives, enlarge us and enable us to embrace those around us. . . . I don’t think we can stay in touch with our song by constantly Twittering or tweeting, or thumbing out messages on our Blackberries, or piling up virtual friends-trophies–on Facebook. The time wasted sending a hundred emails about nothing could be time spent holding one person’s hand.”
If this is true, then how is the internet and our use of it effecting the fellowship of the church? Is the time spent in the illusory world and community of the internet assisting the members of the heavenly community in building deep meaning fellowship that reflects what will be true of us in eternity? My pointing in asking the question is not to bash the internet and online communities, but to ask myself if I am using it to assist me in getting to know others that facilitates face to face interaction and my prayers for them, or is it replacing spending time holding their hands--not just because it is human--but because it is sharing the love of Christ.

We must remember that we are technological people living in a technological age, and as technology can truly be used to accomplish some great things, and some fun things, it cannot accomplish everything--we still need face to face, real world interaction and fellowship with one another. We need to hold one anothers hands, cry with one another, and yes laugh with one another in person--emoticons just don't fulfill Christ's new commandment to love one another as he has loved us (John 13.34-35).

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Invocations for Worship at Pilgrim OPC in Raleigh, NC

Here are my two invocations for tomorrow as I fill the pulpit again at Pilgrim OPC in Raleigh, NC. The one for the morning service comes from the call to worship from Psalm 48.1-2, 11.
Call to Worship:
Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised in the city of our God! His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great King. Let Mount Zion be glad! Let the daughters of Judah rejoice because of your judgments!

Invocation:
Most Gracious heavenly Father, who from all eternity have searched us out that we might know you and be to you a pleasing aroma; receive us now into the courts of your Temple in the name of Jesus Christ; accept us into your heavenly city atop your holy mountain. Grant to us the grace and strength to rejoice as Christ's disciples, and to hear his Word, that we might celebrate his mighty acts of redemption and be nourished in our faith. To you, O gracious Father, enthroned above, and to the Son, sitting at your right hand, and to the Holy Spirit, dwelling in our hearts and uniting us to you before your heavenly throne of grace, be all glory, wisdom, power and dominion, now, and again, and forevermore, world without end, Amen.
For the evening service, the invocation comes from the call to worship, which comes from Psalm 145.1-3:
Call to Worship:
I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. Psalm 145.1-3

Invocation:
O Father Most High, whose dwelling place is exalted above the heavens and adorns your eternal majesty and the unsearchable riches of your greatness; O Lord, you are far beyond our loftiest thoughts and innermost desires; and yet, you have condescended to draw near to us in your Son, Jesus Christ. Assemble us, therefore, in his name, whom the angels adore as the Son of the Most High, forever worshiping him, as his name is exalted above all names. Lead us, then, to take our place in that eternal worship and participate in the never ceasing praises offered to the Lamb. Guide us in all that we do, that it might be undertaken at your bidding, filled with your grace, directed by your wisdom, informed by your truth, empowered by your Spirit and accomplished to your glory. Through Christ, our Lord, whom with you and the Holy Spirit, O Father we constantly bless and magnify. To you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God from all eternity and to all eternity, Amen.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Update on ESV Study Bible Giveaway

In an earlier post, I mentioned that my friend James Grant was going to do a drawing to give away a copy of the ESV Study Bible. Well, to provide an update: I WON!!! Woohoo!

And now to patiently wait for my prize.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

"Jesus Christ: The King of Glory," Psalm 24

Historically, Christians have utilized the Psalms as the language describing their communion with God. In a sense, they have understood them as the poetry of the believer's soul in response to the redemptive work of God. As such, persons often find themselves praying and singing the Psalms in the first person as a means for expressing themselves to God, so that the words of the Psalmist become the words of the worshiper.

Let me go on record in saying that this is a good thing, I highly recommend it, and I do it myself. Yet, when we read the Psalms this way, we must be careful not to fall into the error of reading them first and foremost "me-centrically" or "egocentrically," for they are not primarily about "me."

The Psalms are first and foremost about Christ. As Geerhardus Vos has aptly stated, "The content of the Psalter is eschatological and messianic." Every Psalm either expresses the words of Christ or words about Christ. To read the Psalms correctly, then, we must first read them to hear Christ and to see Christ. But reading the Psalms "Christocentrically" does not mean that you cannot also read them as your own words; rather, reading the Psalms Christocentrically is the means by which the words of the Psalms become your words. In fact, I would assert that reading the Psalms Christocentrically necessitates that the words become your words.

The gospel itself teaches us that when the Spirit gives us faith, he uses that faith to unite us to Christ. The answer to question 30 of the WSC states, "The Spirit applieth to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ in our effectual calling," (emphasis mine). The apostle Paul teaches us that this union with Christ means that we have been "crucified with Christ. It is no longer [we] who live, but Christ who lives in [us]. And the life [we] now live in the flesh [we] live by faith in the Son of God, (Gal 2.20).

Because of faith and our union with Christ, his life becomes our life--his story becomes our story. When we read the Psalms Christocentrically to hear Christ's words about himself and to see the truth about Christ--we find Christ and ourselves. And it is only when we first find Christ and then ourselves united to him that the words become our words. We must do the work to first hear and see Christ, before we look for ourselves. The Psalms are your Psalms in Christ; outside of him, the Psalms have no meaning for you. So do read and sing the Psalms as the language of your communion with God, but do so as those united to Christ and as those who have entered into his communion with the Godhead.

Having put forward my understanding of the Psalms, here is a recent sermon on Psalm 24. You can listen to it here. (Audio cut off the end)

Free Book Giveaway - ESV Study Bible

My good friend, James Grant, over at In Light of the Gospel is beginning a free book giveaway each of the coming months. This month's giveaway is a hardcover edition of ESV Study Bible, which you can see here.

Here's how to register:

How to Register for the ESV Study Bible

  1. You must be a subscriber to my blog. You can do this via RSS or by email. If you are not familiar with RSS, read this. You should really try a feeder if you read several blogs.
  2. Fill out the form below.
  3. If you blog, then link to this post, and I will see the link and add your name to the drawing for a second time. But you still have to fill out the contact form. Otherwise, I will not have your email address. If you do not see the link in my comments section, contact me.