Calvin on the Book of Psalms

Calvin on the Book of Psalms

John Calvin, the sixteenth century pastor-theologian in Geneva, known most often for his theological treatise, The Institutes for the Christian Religion, should equally be remembered for his commentaries on almost every book of the Bible. As I finish an overview of the book of Psalms at my church, consider how Calvin introduced his commentary on this penetrating part of Scripture: The wearied and resplendid riches which are contained it this treasury it is no easy matter to express in words; so much so, that I well know that whatever I shall be able to say will be far from approaching the excellence of the subject. But as it is better to give to my readers some taste, however small, of the wonderful advantages they will derive from the study of this book, than to be entirely silent on the point, I may be permitted briefly to advert to a matter, the greatness of which does not admit of being fully unfolded.   I have been accustomed to call this book, I think not inappropriately, “An Anatomy of all the Parts of the Soul;” for there is not an emotion of which any one can be conscious that is not here represented as in a mirror. Or rather, the Holy Spirit has here drawn to the life all the griefs, sorrows, fears, doubts, hopes, cares, perplexities, in short, all the distracting emotions with which the minds of men are wont to be agitated.   The other parts of Scripture contain the commandments which God enjoined his servants to announce to us. But here the prophets themselves, seeing they are exhibited to...
Shepherding a College-Bound Member

Shepherding a College-Bound Member

Recently, parents of one of our church’s high-school graduates and college-bound students asked if I would contribute to a book of helpful advice from those who have had an impact on him through his life. I was humbled and honored, as his pastor and as a close friend of the family to contribute. While the name has been changed, and a few of the details, below is the contribution I made as a suggestion of what I would recommend not only to this student, but just about any student as they move away to begin their college career. Brad, While it is no doubt harder for your parents to believe, it really does make Kelly and me take a step back to realize that you have reached this very significant milestone in your life and are headed off to college. One of the greatest joys of our family’s life is to have the close friendship of your family. Recently, while taking my son to a friend’s house abut thirty minutes from us, he wanted to know how far away it was from you. When I asked him if he ever wanted to live far out in the country like his friend, he immediately said, “no way, it’s too far from your family.” Each one of you means much to each one of us. You are embarking on a most significant step. It is now, as you step away from the familiar and safe borders of family, church, and hometown, that you will begin to not only develop new relationships and chart a new course, you will will also begin to see...
Preparing for Sunday – Psalms, Part 2

Preparing for Sunday – Psalms, Part 2

Below is the weekly post our church produces to help prepare our congregation for the Sunday morning gathering. Each summer, I take time to preach overview sermons through the Old Testament. We began last week in Psalms. This week we’ll look at a few more significant take-aways from this beautiful book. For those who live in the Kansas City metro area, we invite you to come to Summit Woods Baptist Church at 10:30 am. Carefully Think Last week we considered the book of Psalms as a whole. This week we will focus on how the Psalms affects our faith in God. Look through several headings of several psalms in each of the five sections of the book. List some of the musical terms that you see referred to (i.e.., “to the choirmaster,” “maskil,” “mahalat,” etc.). While it is difficult (if not impossible) to know what these refer to specifically, what do they indicate about the importance of music and how these psalms were to be played? Read through the following psalms: 7, 35, 58, 69, 85, 109, 137. What does the psalmist say about his enemies? Why does this not contradict the gospel of Jesus in the New Testament? Or does it? If you think so, explain. Read through the following psalms: 2, 8, 22, 69, 110. These are often referred to as Messianic psalms; those that speak of the coming of the Messiah. What characteristics do you learn about the Messiah? What indicators are there in each passage that this refers to the future Messiah and not someone else? Prayerfully Meditate  If the book of Psalms is an ancient...
Be Unashamed – T4G 2014

Be Unashamed – T4G 2014

I had the joy of attending last week’s Together for the Gospel conference. I could (and no doubt at some point should) list a series of personal blessings from the conference, but in this post, I want to merely encourage you to engage in some of the content for yourself. Below are a few of the moments of the week I found deeply encouraging. The Testimonies This is one of several. You should watch them all. Two Marriages from Together for the Gospel (T4G) on Vimeo. The Messages While all of the messages were excellent and encouraged and convicted me in unique ways, here are those I found most impactful: Never Spoke a Man Like This Before: Inerrancy, Evangelism and Christ’s Unbreakable Bible, Kevin DeYoung The Gospel by Numbers, Ligon Duncan Mass Defection: The Great Physician Confronts the Pathology of Counterfeit Faith, John MacArthur Persuading, Pleading and Predestination: Human Means in the Miracle of Conversion, John...
Cap-Quotes: Calvin, His Pastors – Final Quotes

Cap-Quotes: Calvin, His Pastors – Final Quotes

Here are a few more quotes from Manetsch’s book Calvin and His Company of Pastors Regarding Spiritual Counsel and Consolation “Words fail to explain how necessary prayer is. . . . Surely with good reason the Heavenly Father affirms that the only stronghold of safety is in calling upon his name.” Through prayer, Christians are reminded of God’s providential care for them, experience God’s power to heal and help them, and receive assurance of God’s grace to forgive their sins and bring them into eternal life. In sum, Calvin believed, “it is by prayer that we call [God] to reveal himself as wholly present to us.” 290. Goulart’s ten principles to be followed by Christian pastors, or “consolers,” as they apply the medicine of Scripture to the needs of suffering men and women: The pastor should know and have true compassion for the person suffering. The pastor should encourage the ailing Christian to adore the judgment of God and be mindful of his mercy. The pastor should conduct a careful examination of the conscience of the suffering person, probing its condition, deportments, and passions, so as to apply the proper kind of spiritual consolation. The pastor should have at hand a variety of examples of faithful Christians who faced similar afflictions and yet trusted in the grace of God. The pastor should remind the afflicted Christian that other believers have remained faithful as they faced similar, or even worse, trials. The pastor should listen to and affirm what the suffering person says, while gently expanding upon or correcting opinions that are confused or inaccurate. The pastor should encourage the ailing...
Preparing for Sunday – Matthew 13:44-52

Preparing for Sunday – Matthew 13:44-52

Carefully Think Read Matthew 13:44-52 List the parables described here. What are the similarities between each of the parables? What are the differences? What is the emphasis of the first two parables that do not have a stated explanation? What is the emphasis of the thrid parable that is explained? What are the new and old things that Jesus is referring to in the last parable (vv 51-52)? How is this final parable (vv 51-52) a good summary of the three parables before it? Of all the parables in chapter 13? Prayerfully Meditate How do you see your participation in God’s kingdom similar to the man who found the hidden treasure and the merchant who discovered the valuable pearl? The disciples could identify themselves with the parables (v 51). How do you personally identifiy with each of these parables? What is it about the kingdom of God that you find overwhelmingly, joyfully, compelling that you would give up everything to have it? How do you cultivate and maintain such a compelling joy in the things related to God’s kingdom? Intentionally Act Do you find anything in your life distracting you from the deepest joy in the kingdom of God? How can you focus your heart on the kingdom this week? What will you do? How will you respond? How could you use this passage as a means to encourage someone else? Who would that be in your life? Make plans in your heart and schedule to do that this week. Pray for those who will be in attendance Sunday do not love God’s kingdom like the man who finds...
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