Saturday, April 14, 2007


The Invincible Iron Links

Could this be why I don't like Will Ferrell all that much? It's not funny.

When toilet plungers are outlawed, only outlaws will have toilet plungers.
The same for beavers. I wonder if they know they are outlawed?

DUCK! -- Or Else

Lies, lies, lies - it wasn't the sausage, sausage is good, it was the idiot waiter. Unless, of course, it was bangers which are inedible.

It wasn't me, nor was it me with the fountain at Irwin Library, 1977, and I have no idea who it was.

Getting paid for doing nothing.

"Researchers" my eye! People who think they are not making enough money, that's who.

This calls the evil genius in me.

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Comic Art

Continuing the every other week look at speedsters, today we turn our attention to an evil nemesis of a speedster, the Reverse Flash. This is one of the those characters that had enormous juvenile appeal, but has survived as a much loved part of the Flash story.

The juvenile appeal is, of course, the color-reversal, evil twin thing, but I think the color reversal is the secret to the general appeal as well. As with sidekick, Kid Flash, the yellow caught your eye as a kid and just had that "cool" factor. As the comics grew up with us, this was simply a character we wanted to come along for the ride.

The story is simple enough, Professor Zoom in the future uses Barry Allen's costume from a museum to give himself the Flash powers then comes back into the past to take Flash's glory. Which may also explain part of the appeal. I don't know why, but everybody wants to be the Flash. Other heros there was always somebody that wanted to be them, but it seemed like everybody wanted to be the Flash. Maybe it was because any kid that into comics was gonna be slow and therefore picked on a bit....

Worth noting in this page from the Silver Age are two things. First note the extensive use of narration boxes in the panels - they are there because of the second thing to note - the very stilted nature of the drawings themselves. The narration was there to convey the action that the drawings could not. It is not that artists of the Silver Age were less capable, but that the technology did not permit the reproduction of art that would convey action like it can now.

I miss the old days to some extent. One must work very hard to read a comic now, looking at all images closely to follow the story. In the old days, with pages like this you essentially read the story with illustrations. It is higher art these days, but with bifocals, it is not easy for me to take in the art like it should be. I often find myself panning and scanning with my head which means I never get the full impact of the image and the story is harder for me to follow.

And here you thought it was simple kid stuff.

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Friday, April 13, 2007


Raising Pharisees

Justin Taylor recently summarized a speech given at the Shepherd's Conference on "How To Raise A Pharisee." Excellent points, excellent speech, what struck me was it's necessity.

Being PC(USA) and all, I come from pretty much the opposite end of the spectrum, if we have Pharisees in my tradition they are pharisetical about liberalism, not legalism, which is, I think, very instructive. This fact points out first that we are sinners, but secondly that we are limited.

God is, in some sense, the God of the middle. One way to consider phariseeism is as a form of self-centered extremeism. We latch on to some aspect of faith, make it THE aspect of faith, and ride that aspect into a place of authority, influence, and self-righteousness.

And yet, we worship a God of balance, wholeness, and completeness. There are no extremes, no aspects. Three simple ramifications of this fact:

First, read widely. We all tend to stay "close to home" with what we read. Don't. Discover, learn, EXPLORE. You don't have to agree with everything you read, but if you don't read beyond your comfort zone, you will become pharisetical about that zone.

Secondly, remember your limitations. We simply cannot see all and know all as God can. By the necessity of our created, and therefore lesser, state we will never be able to hold all things present in our minds and thoughts as God can. Whenever we focus on any aspect of faith, our limitations will prevent us from considering others that may apply. Be humble in your focus, know that there is always more to know. When you form an opinion, qualify it. "Based on all I know...." Understand the difference between certain knowledge and truth.

Finally, always remember, it's not about what we know, but who we know. Because we are limited, because we can never fully understand, it must be about more than knowledge. In the end, phariseeism arises because we think its about us -- it's not, it's about God. We don't have to know it all because He does. He will reveal to us what we need at any given time, provided we we rely upon Him and not ourselves.

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Home From Texas Links, Y'all

Alright, that's it. I have been harassed, haranguged and generally discriminated against for decades, but it is not my fault. I was born this way; I am who God made me to be. These past three years I have struggled and lost weight, but it is obviously pontless and a denial of who I was born to be. Honey, pass the donuts!

The above paragraph is subject to an extreme sarcasm alert, of which homosexual activists should take special note.

Well, duh!

But then aren't they all...

Time waster - it does get hard eventually.

Now that is the progress of mankind.

Does this make Prince an evolutionary throwback?

Yeah, but the people are. See this picture is proof.

WHAT?!?!?! How can something that definitinally shine no light be eclipsed?

Not the god for me!

Oh come on, it's part of the charm.

Talk about your law of unintended consequences.

Old news. I should know, I've been to Stratford-upon-Avon, soon to be home of the "Midsummer's Nightmare Haunted House."

Now that is what I call reality TV!

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Friday Humor

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Thursday, April 12, 2007


The Fearful Church

Jollyblogger links to iMonk who in response to an atheiest says:
I can hear the blah blah blah now, so if you plan to comment on how dumb it is to expect an atheist to get the Gospel, save it. This guy heard exactly what evangelicals are selling these days: the Culture War. Be afraid, fear for your culture, save your kids, take control of the country, stop Hillary, etc. Manipulation. Fear mongering. Not the Gospel, unless you’ve already traded in the Gospel for something else.
Fear sells, little doubt about that. We have one whole political party based on it, and based on this, a powerful branch of the other one. We have a virtual new religion of global warming born of fear. We see new products advertised everyday to solve problems we did not even know we had. Why, oh why, in the midst of all our plenty do we have such fear?

Would you believe sin? Perhaps our fear is the current cultural reflection of the gnawing inside of us that is sin. We fear because something is telling us things are just not right.

What is most maddening about this is that the culture war is real, but as long as we delude ourselves thinking we are fighting it instead of addressing the fear, we will never win. As long as we are focused on our fear instead of on the actual war, the enemy has the advantage. An effective soldier learns to overcomes their fear, or at least fight in disregard of it.

And yet the beauty of the gospel is that we have nothing to fear. We don't have to overcome fear, we can just eliminate it.
Rom 8:35-39 - Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, "For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered." But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The victory is won, ours to claim. I think it is high time we got about doing it.

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Illuminated Scripture

Last week the first in a new series of Illuminated Scriptures was introduced. This is the second in the series. We are now open for guesses as to what the theme of this series might be. Leave your guess in the comments. If you are correct, we will let you know. After a winner is declared a set of Illuminated scripture note cards will be sent to the address you provide us by hitting the “contact me” button on the blog. Good luck! (Or maybe luck has nothing to do with it.)

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Leavers Letters

MMI recently pointed to a blog that is reprinting letters from people that have left their churches called "Letters from Leavers." Time and again as you read through the material there is a theme - the institutional church does not reflect the Christ the leaver has come to know.

No doubt in some cases that is a reflection of the leaver having come to know a very unusual Christ. However, the numbers would indicate there is a genuine problem there. Usually when I try to talk to church leadership people about this the response I get is always the same - "What are we supposed to do?" I want to take a brief shot at answering that.

Often when this reason for leaving is cited it is because the person that is leaving has been deeply hurt. That hurt is real, regardless of how trivial, unintentional, or contrived it may seem to you as church leadership. So what do you do? - minister to it. I would suggest two important factors in doing so. One, own that as a part of church leadership, it is your job to prevent people from getting hurt, even if you are not the offending party, and even if the offense is silly or imagined. Confess, ardently, your role in the church's failure. Then, I think some justice must be brought the to circumstance. The directly offending party needs to be chastised in some fashion.

This is so often where we really fall down on the job. Anytime we comfort someone that has been hurt, but fail to correct those who rendered the harm, the comfort seems like mere gesture - just patronizing someone. "Yeah, we hurt you, we're sorry, but we are not going to do anything to try not to hurt you again." Is it any wonder someone would move on in such an instance? The probablity of being harmed again is just too high.

Which is illustrative of why the reason for leaving being discussed here is raised even without apparent harm. To the leaver the church just does not seem serious about really trying to be God's institution. In many cases, far more cases than most would admit, the fact that we as the church fall radically short is not even acknowledged. But in those cases where it is acknowledged, there are generally no steps taken to change it - at least not the right steps.

An example - "the church is not warm." So you add greeters. Well, greeters make the door warm, but not the church. We don't need programs, we need change - in the lives of everyone in the church.

Admit, then act is the key. I know that action will be hard. I know that action will be resisted. But that is not the point. It was not easy for Christ to go to the cross either. But He did.

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It's Linkeriffic!

Just because I like to hear my wife saw "Awwww, how cute is that?"

Cellular rage

So can a 3 year old.

And another SciFi movie is born.

There are slow news days and then, well...

Only the military can tell stories this way and make you laugh this hard.

Tastes Great, Less Filling.

The fart police?

Finally, is this as off-the-mark, near offensive as I think it is, or am I an old fuddy-duddy?

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Can Sin Be Explained?

Mark Lauterback recently did a two-post series on explaining sin to "The Righteous" Read the first post to understand what he means by that term. In his second post he completes his thoughts on the problem. Let me set this up for you briefly. The problem he examines is the communication of the doctrine of sin in a world where we are all sinners and all share common grace. That is to say we all have the capacity to do good, even without salvation.

I have a had a dozen reactions to this, but will try and limit myself to just a couple.

My first reaction is cautionary. I agree with Mark, but sometimes we focus on the common grace good of everybody and forget that often what appears to be good is far from it. His opening example is of the secular individual that worked to save the Jews in the Holocaust. Such people indeed did immense good, but it is quite possible that they did so out of the basest of motives, for example, hatred of the Nazi persecutors. I have no doubt Christ would have harbored Jews had He been there, but I think he would have also tried to find a way to reach the Nazis.

I think this is what Christ was talking about in the Sermon on the Mount. The simple performance of good does not make us good. That is the essential message when we talk about sin, but it is so easy to turn that into cheap grace, that the mere performance of good is good. The genuine transformation we are offered in Christ will cause us to see the good we perform as evil becasue of our misplaced and selfish motivation.

My second reaction deals with my work on Artcile VI Blog, where I am working with a Mormon to examine the question of religion as relates to the presidential candidacy of Mitt Romney, who I think by now everyone knows is a Mormon.

Clearly if we hold to the common grace Lauterbach discusses, and I certainly do, then "even a Mormon" can work to accomplish God's ends as the President of the United States. As God used people of all faith to preserve the Jews in the Holocaust, certainly He can do good with a person of a different faith in the White House.

To think otherwise is to doubt God's sovereignty.

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Still in Texas Links

Do you wilf?

Go ahead, it's innocent, it's fun, you have nothing better to do. And if that is not enough.

What about the guy taking the bath?

Oh, please Get a frigging life!

Attack of The Killer Mackeral. No, this is a not a new comic book, but it ought to be.

Descretion forbids comment

Lots of coffe and a nap, I'm thinking.

But then don't we all.

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Kitty Kartoons

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Monday, April 09, 2007


Markets and Morality

Joe Carter recently wrote a dynamite post at Evangelical Outpost on markets and morality. Exstensive quoting is needed to set up the point I want to make.
Progressives, fearing that no one is in control and that powerful will take advantage of the weak, believe the state must step in to prevent inequitable and unjust outcomes. Conservatives (as we would define them today), by contrast, put their faith in the system itself and believe that left unhindered by the state, is sufficient to lead to the best possible end result. Libertarians, who view markets as morally neutral, contend that the individual, when allowed total liberty, will usher in the ideal end state. While all of these positions have some merit, they all ultimately fail when they leave out the most significant reason for putting our trust in the markets: because all control ultimately belongs to God.

Recognizing this fact, however, does not release homo economicus from all responsibility. A market is, after all, merely a mechanism for buying and selling goods and services. And while it is often viewed as highly individualistic and selfish, the fact remains that markets cannot exist without a network of humans in relationship with one another. As with all human interactions, though, our natural proclivity to sin can have a detrimental effect. Market forces and outcomes are prone to injustice and inequitable distribution precisely because man is by nature a sinful creature.


This raises an interesting question for Christians: Does God's sovereignty not extend to markets? If so, then why do we expect, as Morris says, for God to circumvent the institution he has created and provided for our well-being by providing a "miracle?" The primary reason, in my opinion, is that we no longer think theologically about economics. While we evangelicals often form our views on such institutions as marriage and the family from our theology, we acquire our understanding of markets from our politics. If we subscribe to a progressive politics, then we adopt the Left's criticism of markets. If we subscribe to conservative politics, then we embrace the Right's unquestioning allegiance to unfettered markets.

What we need is a third way. We need a clear Christian vision that understands that markets are a moral sphere (contra the libertarians). We need to promote the idea that free individuals rather than government force is necessary to carry out this task (as the left often contends). We need to realize that the "market" is not a mystical system that will miraculously provide for our neighbor (as many conservatives seem to think). What we need is develop a coherent Biblically-based conception of how the market as a human institution can be used for the redemptive purposes of our Creator. As with every institution, what the markets need is for Christians to act more like Christ.
[emphasis added]
Joe's arguemnt here is one that says, in essence, "free individuals, are THE moral agents in the marketplace, and by extension, society in general." There are two immensely important ramifications from that statement.

The first is that is defines the role of the church in society. The church's job is to shape the individual into one suitable to act as THE moral agent. It's interesting though because in a free society there will be pressure on the church to degrade with the society. The pressures are a natural result of the desire to survive and the "market" forces. But this is where Christ's example is ever so instructive. The church, if it is indeed Christ-like, should be willing to sacrifice its desire to survive for the sake of fulfilling its role. Is that not what Christ did when He went to the cross? More, if we truly believe in Christ, we believe in a resurrected Christ, we like Jesus, must say "Not my will, but Thine," and rely on God to resurrect His church, should we fail to survivie in pursuit of fulfilling our role.

The second ramification is particularly vital in the current political age. If we are shaping individuals as THE moral agent for society, when we act in society, we will have to make common cause with other agencies that share our morality, even if they do not share our means of shaping moral agents. In other words, the maintenance of the necessary freedom requires that in societal action, the morality be preminent over the theology, even if it is the theology that drives us personally to the morality. Thus we cannot ask of candidates and officials if they share our faith, only that they share our morality.

This is, as Joe demonstrates, the Christian view of society, markets and governance. Thus I think it is fair to say that regardless of the individual faith of the Founding Fathers, they did found the nation, as a free naton, on principles reflective of Christianity. In that sense, we are undoubtedly a Christian nation.

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Moving to Austin Links

We're travelling from San Antonio to Austin to day to see friends. Easter in San Antonio was grand. First Presbyterian Church is just three blocks from the Alamo and they had a marvelous service.

Who's counting? The definition does change depending you know.

Wondering what to do with your Easter leftovers?

Why you snake in the bodywork? It appears; however, there might be circumstances where such could be useful.

You’re St. Melito of Sardis!

You have a great love of history and liturgy. You’re attached to the traditions of the ancients, yet you recognize that the old world — great as it was — is passing away. You are loyal to the customs of your family, though you do not hesitate to call family members to account for their sins.

Find out which Church Father you are at The Way of the Fathers!

I had no idea I was! (HT:If I should fall from grace...)

Now that is what I call a campaign strategy!

Let's insult everyone!

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Sunday, April 08, 2007


Illuminated Scripture - Easter Edition


HE IS RISEN! - Links

Here is the highlight of yesterday, the coldest April day in recorded San Antonio history! I spent my elementary school years in the great state of Texas and have never been to the Alamo before. Having grown up on the legends of Travis, Bowie, Crockett and Bonham, I was unhappy with the interpretative materials. I'm a Liberty Valence kind of guy:

Ransom Stoddard: You're not going to use the story, Mr. Scott?
Maxwell Scott: This is the west, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.
Keep it in the history books - I like my legends.

In fact, I'll get on my soapbox just briefly. Is it any wonder people have no stomach for things like the Iraq battle in the war on terrorism. When we have no heroes, we have no desire to be heroes. Proof! Real life heroes are real men and women who do hard things and have failings. But the heroic legend inspires generations beyond to muddle through the hard times, to stand when no one else will - to value something enough to die for it. Some thimgs are worth dying for, and while the death of the men at the Alamo is not truly comparable to the death of our Lord, is today above all days not proof that some things are indeed worth dying for?

Matt says it all for Easter.

Funny how it is just the front half of that verse that makes the headline.

An Easter scandal of eggstravagant proportions.

Can one be pregnant only on weekends?

That poor man.

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Sermons and Lessons


GEORGE LIVINGSTONE ROBISNON Professor of Old Testament literature and exegesis in McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, 1898 - 1938; born August 19, 1864, at West Hebron, Wash¬ington County, N. Y.; educated at Salem Washington Academy and Fort Edward Collegiate Institute; graduated BA., from Princeton University in 1887; instructor in the Syrian Protestant College, Beirut, Syria, 1887-90; won, upon graduation from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1893, the Old Testament fellowship in Hebrew which afforded him two years’ study in Germany; Ph.D., University of Leipsic, 1895; D.D., Grone City College, 1904; pastor of the Roxbury Presbyterian church, Boston, Mass.; professor of Old Testament literature and exegesis in Knox College, Toronto, Canada, 1896-98.


“Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” - John 19:19.

These words upon the cross were an accusation against Christ. “Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross and the writing was, Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” It seems striking, when we think of it, that our Lord should have been crucified as king, when by the very act of His sacrifice He was performing His priestly office and, at the same time, fulfilling His own prophecy. Yet in three languages over His cross were written the words, “Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews.”

The word “king“ signifies sovereignty, authority, power; and traced to its origin seems to denote one to whom superior knowledge has given superior power. In the evil world various other words are employed to designate the sovereigns of particular states. Thus there is the “shah “of Persia, the “sultan“ of Turkey, the “emperor “ of China, and formerly there were the “dey” of Algiers, and the “doge“ of Venice. Jesus was called “king.” We are accustomed to think of Him as Savior and too little to contemplate him as king, yet the Bible clearly sets forth His kingship. The Gospel of Mat¬thew especially emphasizes His regal power. The writer of this gospel evidently sought to prove to the unbelieving Jews that Jesus was their expected king. The Old Testament had long before declared the coming of a monarch. In Genesis He is denominated lawgiver “: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah nor a lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh come: and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”

The prophet Isaiah invests him with judicial and executive functions: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulders. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom to order it and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever.” Daniel ascribes to him eternal and unlimited domin¬ion over all: “And there was given him dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting domin¬ion which shall not pass away and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” David enthrones Him at the right hand of God:” The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”

Christ Himself claimed kingly authority. The Sermon on the Mount resounds with those commanding words: “But I say unto you.” “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.” As Jesus went up and down through Galilee, He said to one and another,

Follow me,” and His disciples followed Him. To the sick He said, “Arise“; to the dead Lazarus, “Come forth.” His. great commission, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature,” was based upon His kingly authority. In all His teaching and in all His words there was an air of command. The gospel picture we have of Him is quite the contrast of king or prince, yet, as has been said, “All his words were kingly, all his acts a succession of the kingliest deeds, decisions, commands.” When He preached, He spoke with authority; when He taught He showed divine wisdom, and when He healed, He evinced divine power. Christ needed no excuse and made no apology. He was a ruler and He came to rule; He was a monarch and He performed the functions of a monarch; He was a king and He spoke like a king.

Christ was recognized as king. On the first day of what we call “Passion week,” He made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. That day saw His formal inauguration as king of the Jews. His humanity was then exalted. Starting from Bethany, He was borne on an ass’ colt - not upon a war-horse, but an animal the symbol of peace - over the Mount of Olives, down across the valley of the Kedron on the way to the Holy City. It was Passover week. Thousands of Jews had come up from all parts of the Roman Empire to attend the feast. The city was crowded to its utmost. Our Lord was escorted by His disciples. As He approached the city, throngs came out to meet Him. Multitudes gazed with eager eyes from lofty eminences. The city began to resound with the cries and shouts of the people. Branches of palm trees were broken down and strewed before the new monarch. Adoring followers spread their garments in the way that the new-hailed king might tread upon them. The shout of hosannas to the Son of David rent the air. Jesus was entering the capital. We read much of the pomp and splendor with which earthly kings are es¬corted through their realms. History relates that the way before the conquering Xerxes, as he led his troops across the bridge over the Hellespont, was strewed with green branches of myrtle while the incense of burning spices and aromatic perfumes filled the air. Travelers, even in these modern days, tell of Persian rulers passing in wonderful pageants along a road of roses miles in extent, and of glass vessels with symbols of mysterious fash¬ion - tokens of supreme prosperity - broken at every step beneath the horses’ feet. But look at Christ’s retinue! What a resplendent pageant! Look at the crowded capital! Hear the people cry hosannas to their triumphal monarch! Watch the jealous rabbis as they endeavor to hush the exultant throng. Jesus is making His triumphal entry and the world is for the first time beginning to grasp the meaning of His person and work.

And yet the admiring hosts only saw in Him His temporal power. Even His disciples understood not the spiritual import of His kingship. They had but a vague conception of the kingdom of heaven. By the” kingdom of God” a Jew understood human society perfected, where God was visible and ruled. They failed to comprehend His spiritual rule; they failed to acknowledge His divine lordship; they failed to recognize Him as the great king and head of the Church. Christ was more than temporal king. His loyalty commenced in heaven‘s eternal purpose. He was to be monarch of men ‘s hearts as well as minds. He was to be the governor and controller of human destiny. Not only this, but He was to reign in love. He was to be a king of love. He was to win His followers through love. He was to found His kingdom on love. Napoleon, conversing in exile one day at St. Helena, as his custom was, about the great men of antiquity and comparing himself with them, said: “Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and myself founded great empires, but upon what did the creations of our genius depend? Upon force. Jesus alone founded His kingdom upon love, and to this day millions would die for Him.” True indeed! Upon love Jesus established His monarchy. His empire is a monarchy of love, not a democracy, not a republic, but an absolute monarchy based upon supreme loyalty to Him, and governed throughout by love. Broad and extended, yet never exceeding the limits of love. This is Christ’s kingdom, and this is the manner of His government; a kingdom worthy of a human, and worthy, also, in every way of a divine Christ.

Let us consider briefly His kingly offices: Earthly kings exercise various functions. In a word, they make subjects, found kingdoms, govern their people, protect and defend their empires, and conquer their enemies. Our Lord has similar functions. Our catechism tells us that “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.”

As a king, therefore, Christ’s first office is the subjection of His people. Such is the natural condition of the human heart, that without the almighty power of a divine ruler men would not be brought into subjection. “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Men are obstinate and refused to be governed, and it requires kingly power and kingly love to conquer such rebellions hearts. Yet Christ affects His purpose and men become His loyal subjects. Paul is a good example of such subjection. He was on his way to Damascus. His heart was set against Christianity. His mission was to visit the synagogues and bring any disciples of Christ that he might find bound unto Jerusalem. He was, therefore, in absolute rebellion against the Savior. But, “ suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about him, and he fell unto the ground and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? “ Not until he heard the voice from heaven was his heart chanted. Not until the divine effulgence was manifested to Paul in miraculous power did he inquire, “Who art thou, Lord? “ Not until Paul was smitten to the earth was he led to ask,” Lord, what wilt thou have me do? “ Then it was the King of men softened Paul’s heart; then it was that Christ conquered his rebellions will; then it was that Paul became the doulos, purchased servant, of Jesus Christ. Even so Christ subdues us. He speaks with authority to the conscience. He questions our lives; He interrogates our motives; He visits us in secret; He speaks to us when alone; He follows us into the darkness; He haunts our slumbers; He makes us dissatisfied with self; and He reveals Himself to us in such a way that He conquers our stubborn wills, wins our rebellions hearts, and. makes us His obedient and willing subjects. This is the first work of the Christ-king.

As a king, Christ rules his people. After the Macedonian had conquered the East, after the renowned Roman had subjected the world, after the hero of France had overrun Europe, their common difficulty was to know how to govern. To have left those foreign nations to govern themselves would have meant disloyalty and revolt. So in the kingdom of grace. The great King does not leave us to govern ourselves. Having become citizens of His realm, we are placed under new laws, bound by new obligations and subject to new restrictions. We are citizens of a new commonwealth. “Old things have passed away.” New thoughts, better feelings, higher aspirations are our possession. Duties that once we deemed a burden now become a joy. Things we once hated, now we love. Whenever He calls, we are ready to obey. We are no longer our own masters. We belong to His moral empire. He gives laws and He expects obedience. He holds the right and He demands the service of every human life. “His will becomes the common rule of all; His life our common motive; His glory our common end.” He governs in righteousness. He fills our hearts with love. He infuses into us a feeling of sympathy. He makes us philanthropic. He rids us of social selfishness. He inspires us with Christian fellowship. He delivers us from caste. He allays strife. He promotes peace. He opens up before us the great avenues of Christian love; strengthens us in weakness, comforts us in sorrow; corrects us when sinful; and helps us and encourages us in times of perplexity and discouragement— all for the praise of His glorious name. Christ governs, and His government is a government of love; Christ reigns, and His reign is a reign of love.

Again, Christ protects His people from their enemies. His citizens are surrounded by adversaries on every side. Foes from within and without beset the child of God. Sin, Satan, the world and the grave are all enemies of Christ‘s subjects. If His people are continu¬ally being tempted; but, ”The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations.” He has promised to do so. To the Church of Philadelphia he declared: “I will keep thee from the hour of temptation.” And again, Paul says: “God is faithful who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation also make a way of escape that ye may be able to bear.” Christ unhesitatingly told those entering His kingdom that, “they should be hated of all men for his name‘s sake.” But He added,

There shall not a hair of your head perish.” He it is who “is able to keep us from falling and to present us faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy; the only wise God our Savior,” and King. He it was who “delivered the apostle out of the mouth of the lion.” He it was who enabled martyrs to die with feelings of triumphant victory in their hearts, and made them ready and willing to be burnt at the stake or be tortured in body on the rack because of their confidence in His protection. Just so He will protect us. If we are loyal subjects of King Jesus, nothing can overcome us. “Even the gates of hell shall not prevail against us.” Sin shall not have dominion over us. Through Him will come salvation. Through Him we shall have the victory. What blessed assurance have His people! What secure protection! What perfect safety in the empire of such a sovereign! What unspeakable joy un¬der the governorship of Jesus!

But He does more than subdue, control and defend His subjects: Christ restrains His own and His peoples‘ enemies. The birth of this monarch made the great Herod tremble upon his throne. Christ’s reply to Satan: “Get thee hence“ thwarted further temptation. His rejoinders in the temple silenced the priests and elders of the people. His “woes“ recorded in Matthew caused the Pharisees and hypocrites to falter and retreat. And to-day His voice, speaking through the conscience, checks the enemies of the cross in their wicked plots to overthrow the Church. He strikes terror into wicked hearts. Rebels become cowards in carrying out their schemes against the children of God. Their hearts fail them in prosecuting their plots against the citizens of the kingdom of Christ. Wicked men falter when they come to the threshold of righteousness. The wretch trembles when he reaches the crisis of his contemplated crime. Sin totters as it undertakes to ruin the child of God. The Psalmist says: “When the wicked even my enemies and my foes came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.” Christ restrains and in¬timidates His enemies. He frustrates the assaults of sin. How? By the barracks and castles and fortresses, I mean the churches, chapels and cathedrals, reared in all parts of the world for the drill and discipline of His soldiers; by the immense fortifications of holi¬ness—the schools of the prophets - erected against the onsets of Satan; by the lighthouses planted along the coast, by which are meant the sailors’ rests and hospitals and other char¬itable institutions to be found in almost every quarter of the globe; by the war-ships sent out into the enemy’s territory, by which I mean the missionaries of the gospel who have gone forth to battle for truth; by the standing army of the Church of Christ, with its ministers and officers, its Sabbath-school teachers and Christian workers; who stand armed with the whole armor of God, their loins girt about with truth, having on the breastplate of righteousness, their feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, on their arms the shield of faith, on their heads the helmet of salvation, and in their hands the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God; con¬fronted by these, the adversaries of Christ’s kingdom hesitate and grow faint at heart; before these the world becomes weak, vice is restrained, the evil one is thwarted, Satan stand dumb, every adversary trembles, and Christ ‘s people are made to prosper. I verily believe that there is enough wickedness in the world to overthrow the Church were it not for the restraining power of King Jesus.

As a king Christ conquers His own and His peoples’ enemies. Restraining is not sufficient. The enemy must be completely overthrown. This is the final achievement of our King. Christ is a conqueror. His kingdom is an eternal kingdom. “ The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and, cast away their cords from us,” but Christ is a conqueror of kings. No weapon formed against His kingdom shall prosper. The contest which once seemed doubtful will then betoken His victory, and it will be a complete victory. At His name, “every knee shall bow of things in heaven and things in earth and things under the earth: and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” All the agents of Satan, all devils, Beelzebub the sovereign of devils, Lucifer the brilliant devil, Mammon the money devil, Pluto the fiery devil, Baal the military devil,” all will fall prostrate before His conquering power. Before Him the nations will bow, for He will come as judge. At His feet angels and archangels will kneel. “A crown will be given to him as he goes forth conquering and to conquer “; “and great voices “ will be heard “in heaven, saying, the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ and he shall reign forever and ever.” We read of the triumphs of the Caesars; of the triumphal arches erected in ancient Rome in honor of returning conquerors. But compare with these the triumph of Jesus. Behold the heavenly Caesar, as saints and angels celebrate His universal victory! For Him the arch of triumph is nothing less than the arc of heaven itself; His city, the heavenly Jerusalem; His triumph a universal celebration. “The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents, the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall fall down before him, all nations shall serve him. He shall have dominion from sea to sea and from the river unto the ends of the earth. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.” “All things shall be put in subjection under his feet.” “For he must reign till he liath put all enemies under his feet.” The last enemy shall be conquered. As victor, He shall reign, and to Him will be ascribed glory, and majesty, and power for ever and ever.

Let us pause and contemplate such a victory. Let us picture to ourselves that celestial coronation scene. Jesus our King seated on the throne of heaven, surrounded with glory, His kingdom universal, His enemies under His feet, Satan vanquished, earthly magistrates and potentates, sages and kings, armies and emperors, bowing submissively before Him as King of Kings and Lord of Lords; hymns of praise chanted by the heavenly choir; tributes of adoration by the saints clothed in white; His elect singing hallelujahs to Him that sitteth upon the throne of God most high, and worshiping multitudes raising their voices in songs of triumph, as God the Father places upon His brow the crown of victory. What a glorious coronation! What a supreme triumph! What an unparalleled victory! Oh, Jesus, thou art the monarch of the skies, thou art king of heaven and of earth!

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