- If an author cuts a significant portion from blogs that he previous written and pastes them into his latest book, but doesn’t site where it was from, it makes me feel like he is being dishonest. I don’t believe that it is technically self-plagiarism but it feels to me like using the same paper in your Introduction to New Testament class and your Systematic Theology 2 class. It just seems lazy. Cite it and I’m fine. Try to pass it off like it’s original and I feel dirty.
- I’m spending the weekend with my wife and kids in Nashville, IN. It’s a tremendous place to getaway and enjoy your family.
- The Mark Driscoll article that I posted on Tuesday made me sad. I received a ton of encouragement and people telling me that their feelings are similar to mine. That makes me sad because I wish that I was way off and there was no reason for concern. But there is, and that makes me sorrowful.
- There is a flippant response to sin that seems rampant in our day and it really bothers me. I’m convinced that we don’t “smart enough” for our sins (to use a Puritan term). We don’t want to engage in an unhealthy self-condemnation, nor listen to the voice of our Accuser, but we also don’t want to think that our covered sin was not costly.
- If you like the new Borrowed Light logo, thank Dawn Lamper. Check out her other stuff here. Also, thanks to Nick Horton for setting up all of the stuff behind the scenes that I don’t understand.
- Last weekend I went to the 9Marks @Southern event. I enjoyed it. I was very impressed with David Helm as a teacher. He was the only one of the speakers that I was not familiar with and his session might have been my favorite. This event just whetted my appetite for T4G in April. I can’t wait.
- Speaking of 9Marks @Southern, Albert Mohler’s talk is something that I’m still chewing on. One of the things that he discussed was the difference between a moral revolution and a moral shift. We are currently in a moral revolution as it concerns sexuality. A characteristic of a moral revolution is that what was once condemned is now celebrated. And here’s what really caused me to think…the other side of a moral revolution is that those that refuse to celebrate are now condemned. Something to think about.
- A good part of the Yankees season will depend on whether Tanaka is more like Hideki Irabu or early Hideo Nomo. P.S. I can’t wait for baseball season to officially begin.
- I’m hosting a Fantasy Baseball league on ESPN. We’ve got one more spot (or maybe a couple more if we decide to expand). If you are interested let me know in the comments (and shoot me an email).
Day Eight: Satisfied in Christ
Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lord, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. (Jeremiah 2:12-13, ESV)
There is a vast difference between drinking from a fountain of living water and drinking the stale murky waters of a broken cistern. No thirsty man in his right mind would turn down the cold, refreshing water from a flowing stream to drink from a muddy, filthy cistern. A broken cistern will never satisfy his thirst. He might take a small and tentative drink from that broken cistern if this is all that is available. But it is not. The man in Jeremiah 2:12-13 is rejecting living water in order to embrace lifeless cistern water.
This is the foolish choice that we make whenever we pursue satisfaction in the broken cistern of sexual impurity. If we are to find freedom from sin and live in purity, we must learn anew where we can find true satisfaction and true refreshment. The Lord must transform our foolish hearts so that instead of craving cistern water, we pursue deep and lasting satisfaction in Christ.
Father, I thank you that one day, “I shall behold your face in righteousness”. And I thank you that on that day “when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness” (Psalm 17:15). I pray that while I wait for that day that I would grow in my satisfaction of Christ. Change my heart in such a way that I seek to find satisfaction in him. Renew my mind so that I see broken cisterns for what they are. Create in me a heart that pursues satisfaction in Christ.
Mike Leake is associate pastor of First Baptist Church of Jasper, IN. He and his wife, Nikki have 2 children (Isaiah and Hannah). Mike is the author of Torn to Heal and regularly blogs athttp://mikeleake.net
Today in our 31 Days of Purity Challenge we prayed that God would create in us a heart to flee areas of temptation. It is a call to get serious about sin. I really appreciated this in Tim’s devotional:
Flee, my brother. Learn how and when to run and do not be ashamed to do so. Do not toy with sexual sin. Do not make light of sexual sin. Do not laugh or joke about the very sins Christ died for. Do not allow yourself even the smallest taste or the briefest glimpse of what God forbids.
If a man pray, as St. Augustine, in his confessions, that God would free him from temptations, and yet is unwilling to have those loving [temptations] from him, he prays, but he doth not desire. There are many that pray; they say in their prayers, “Lead us not into temptation” (Mt. 6:13) and yet they run into temptation; they feed their eyes, their ears, and senses with vain things. You know what they are well enough, their lives are nothing but a satisfying of their lusts, and yet they pray, “Lead us not into temptation.” And there are many persons that desire that, that they dare not pray for, they desire to be so bad. But a Christian, what he desires, he prays for.
Sibbes is telling us that we are hypocritical and do not have proper desires if we are praying for purity and yet not pursuing purity by fleeing areas of temptation. Just as we read in Proverbs 6 if you walk by the harlots house—even if you are all prayed up—you are being a fool.
If you are in Christ you have been given the strength to flee areas of temptation. Taste and see that the Lord is good—indeed much better than the fleeting pleasures of sin. Let us repent of our hypocritical praying without Spirit-fueled action and obedience.
If you find yourself to be a hypocrite in this regard don’t give up hope and turn to yourself for rescue. Flee to Christ. Cast yourself upon His mercy and pray that He would change your desires. Get to the heart of the matter. Confess to him that you want and desire the sin that you know is killing you. Humble yourself before him and pray that he would stir up your affections.
And then smash your idol. Not to show the Lord how serious you are—but because Christ is more precious. Don’t forget what we’ve prayed in our other days and fall back into some pointless legalism—smash your idol because Jesus has already disarmed it on the Cross.
Welcome to a year of reading Richard Sibbes together! The reading plan for the entire year can be accessed here. I encourage you to stick with us, allow yourself time to read, and soak in the riches of this gifted and prolific Puritan preacher. You will be edified and encouraged.
If you have trouble with how Sibbes used words, check out the Lexicons of Early Modern English for definitions from the period.
Let us begin with the text Sibbes meditated on for this writing. “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.” Psalm 27:4.
He breaks down the verse into David’s holy and focused desire for God above all things, to dwell in God’s house, the church, forever, and that he may behold the beauty of the Lord. David’s desire was fueled by the grace of God and channeled into seeking Him above all things. “The Spirit of God in the hearts of his children is effectual in stirring up holy desires.” (219) David certainly had, Sibbes noted, many other desires in his life. Yet, the holy desire of seeking God took preeminence over all other desires. All else in life was subordinated to this one holy ambition; God himself.
David desired to be where God was. Sibbes notes that, this side of Heaven, God’s glory is most manifested in the church. God is all places, but he manifests himself uniquely in the church. He observes; “What makes heaven to be heaven, but because God is there?” (228) David desired not just the tabernacle of his day, but the very presence of God which was manifested most regularly in the tabernacle. David didn’t seek an experience or a sermon, but the very presence of God. His desire was for nothing less than God himself! Sibbes notes that in our day God is most manifested in the right preaching of the word of God, and the right administration of the ordinances of the church; the two marks of true church.
I found it amusing in this message of the desire for God which was to be experienced through the right practice of the ordinances of the church, that one objection he answered was for those who would “read at home good books and sermons and not come to the ordinances.” Some 400 years ago Sibbes was dealing with those who would rather “do church at home,” as if that were possible. Yet, as our Puritan Preacher notes, God’s promises for Christian worship are congregational in nature, and not singular. He references Matt 18:20 often in his assertion that Christian worship is neither solitary nor private.
And what was David’s goal? To behold the beauty of the Lord, who is altogether lovely.
“Christ was never more lovely to his church than when he was most deformed for his church; … when he hung upon the cross.” (231)
Application / Further Discussion
It is here that we need to do some heart work. David desired God himself and thus sought to be in his house, the church. And what did he want to do there? “To behold the beauty of the Lord.” God’s beauty is made visible in many ways, but not more completely than in his son, Jesus Christ. Christ’s substitutionary atonement for us on the cross, though brutal and cruel in execution, is a beauty that makes all other things as filthy rags in comparison. In the cross the great justice, glory, mercy, and grace of God all meet and shine forth. In the cross the church finds its ground for existing; Jesus. What agonizing beauty!
The church then is where we gather to worship and hear the right preaching of his Holy word, and witness the right observance of the ordinances of baptism and communion. Do you find the church beautiful? Certainly there are sinners there and I do not include in this the many false or heretical churches. Yet, I do mean the one, holy, blood bought church of God made up of many local churches who hold his Word high. Is going to church a chore or a privilege? Do you desire to be in the company of fellow saints? Do you desire God above all things and thus go where he may be found?
The church is beautiful and lovely because Christ bought it with his blood and sealed it with his Holy Spirit. We are now, if you are in Christ, joined together with a great cloud of witnesses to worship our Lord. We joyfully submit to his Word, sing his praises, and look forward to his coming again because his redemption is the very essence of beauty. What else is there, this side of heaven, that can compare to the glory of God manifested in his redeemed?
Oh to behold the King in his beauty! The splendor of Christ the righteous receiving worship from those whom he has purchased by his precious blood! What joy to listen to his Word preached! What delight to observe the Lord’s Supper and thus proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes! What else is there for us to do but to seek God and behold his beauty? We were made for this. Indeed, I ask with our brother Sibbes;
“What are our souls more for than to dwell in the meditation of the beauty of God?”
Last week, we covered seven and eight in Mark Dever’s biography of Richard Sibbes.
Next week, we’ll read Sibbes’s sermon series, “The Glorious Feast of the Gospel.”