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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Monday, July 23, 2007
ἡ ὁδός
For Susan.I was at a prayer meeting one morning - a men's breakfast for evangelicals in my area, and was struck as one fellow, in the context of the conversation, began to remark, "Well, it is just like the bible says,..." - which to me, is a very good beginning to any just about any statement you could make in a mixed company of Christians. Only he followed it up with, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!"

Now, I know what you are thinking - isn't that a Shakespearean quote? Well, no actually. This quote is adapted from a line in the play "The Mourning Bride" by William Congreve. The actual line reads,
"Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned"
Congreve was a late 17th century (and early 18th century) author and playwright. Another famous quote of his is likewise often erroneously attributed to Shakespeare is a line from the same play,
"Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast"


I mention that not to impress you with my ability to "Google" quotes and thereby present to the blogging community the facade of one who is quite artsy and well read - but rather, I mention it because it demonstrates how some of us, I would even suggest many of us, have some ideas or notions in our heads that we attribute to incorrect sources.

I take to task, for instance the words of Thomas Jefferson in the American Declaration of Independence: "all men are created equal" - taken out of its context, we might imagine that this reflects a biblical truth, and some would even argue that, but the bible neither says it nor implies it. The bible certainly teaches that God is an impartial Judge, and shows no personal favoritism, but it does not suggest in any way that that all people are in every possible way equal.

I mentioned that this Sunday from the pulpit by way of illustrating how we as a culture have progressed into a sort of moral relativism that can blind us to seeing the righteousness of God.

My text was Matthew 19:16 - Matthew 20:16, which begins with the rich young ruler and ends with the parable of the workers in the vineyard. I wanted to illustrate this one truth - that God is righteous, and when we can't see God's righteousness it is because our own sense of righteousness has been corrupted by the world system.

I used our cultures "pursuit of equality" to illustrate the secular mindset - we began with such high ideals - even that all men were created by the same hand and therefore the politics of the new world would not cater to a class system that gives more rights to some and less to others depending upon their birth status, etc. etc. That is a wonderful ideal - and a good solid point - God made us all, so we ought not to exalt ourselves one against another. But the full thrust of that statement was truncated over time so that it no longer dealt with the inequality of political class systems, but was rather applied to individuals, which in itself is not bad thing - but it lost the idea of the class system, and began to mean only that all people are equal in pretty much every way possible.

Many schools continue today to enforce a "no fail" policy - why? Because we are all equal, it isn't right to demand some minimum requirement. The United Nations has for years been promoting the idea that spanking your children is child abuse - why? Because children are equal to us, and if spanking an adult is abuse, so too is spanking children. It doesn't take too many examples to show how corruption sets in after time. What begins as something good, becomes corrupted as the stink of the world system begins to taint it.

This is why we have moral relativism today. That is why my truth is true, and your truth is true even though we disagree - the only evil is to suggest that anyone is wrong - since we are all equally right.

Now, I mentioned these things on Sunday in the pulpit to illustrate how inclined we are to think of something as good and proper just because everyone else thinks it is good and proper - because perhaps long ago, the root that gave birth to that branch may have been a much better thing - and the sentiment attached to the root seems to linger in the branch - which was to say that as we read that portion of scripture, I wanted us to read it in perfect freedom from that worldly taint - to see God's righteousness and marvel, rather than to stand in judgment of it.

So I explained just the last part of the parable of the workers in the vineyard - the pay out, where the householder calls his servants to pay the laborers and starting with the ones who showed up at the end of the day - and progressing to the ones who had been there all day - he had his servants pay them all the same wage, yet the ones who had worked all day supposed they would receive more because they had worked more - and in doing so betrayed themselves as having misunderstood the generosity of the householder.

You see, I explained, they weren't being paid that day because they had worked. They were being paid because that morning the householder went out into the square and elected to choose them. They were being paid right now because that householder gone out that morning and hand picked them to come and work for him. The wages that were being paid to them did not find their origin in their own labor as they imagined, but rather it was ultimately dependent upon the choice of the householder. They didn't see it because they couldn't take their eyes off their own merit - they could not rightly comprehend that it was by grace and only by grace that they received employment - and that it was this same grace that had put them there in front of the money table at the end of the day. It had been the householders prerogative to provide employment for them, not his duty - the same prerogative that he exercised in hiring the others. The wage each one received was received first and foremost because the householder was a man given to grace - their labor was not what had merited their selection, because they were selected before they had embarked upon the labor - not because of their merit, but because of his choice of them. Each one therefore received the same wage - a wage that wasn't dependent upon merit, but upon grace - and since it was by grace, it was not according to their labor that they were paid, but according to the generosity of the householder.

Yes, we can talk about how this parable pictures the Gentile inclusion in the Jewish church, it certainly does picture that - but our focus was on the righteousness of God - the grace of God, the choice that was made without our merit - really, our focus was the God exalting gospel - the truth that God's grace in all things is not extended to us as a matter of merit, but as a living testimony to the beauty and grace of our Living God. We were gathered together to bring God glory, and that was the way it was going to be done - by looking at why Christ told this parable: to explain what He meant when He said that the last would be first, and the first would be last, and in doing so to exalt the name of God on earth.

Recall that Peter had seen that the rich young ruler refused to give up all and follow Christ, and so Peter said hey - we did give up everything and follow you - what are we going to get for it? A little impertinent I suppose, but Christ didn't rebuke him, instead he answered him that in the regeneration (that is, not in this lifetime but after Christ is enthroned) everyone who followed Christ thus would receive a reward - but that those who were first (presumably in this life - such as the rich young ruler) would be last, and those who were last (such as those who gave up all) would be first - in the regeneration.

Then Christ immediately tells this parable, and I think it was to underscore the error that Peter was making when he basically asked Christ, hey, what do we get for all the work we are doing? what do we get for our efforts? For giving up all? - the answer was, you will receive, not because of your labor, but because you are chosen - an answer that, when rightly understood, defeats the wage mentality, and puts one back on the path of genuine worship in the Spirit.

Listen: The one thing that is going to make you impotent as a Christian is a pious form of navel gazing. What do you have that you didn't receive? Let's extend that thought - what will you do for Christ in the future that will not have been given you by Him to do? Oh - brother, sister, please don't stop there, there is one more step: when are you going to stop thinking that Jesus has no interest in you or the things that you do? There is a road set before you, just for you even today - a road that has long been waiting for your feet to walk on it. A road that can only be walked upon by those who are willing to say - "God has put me here!" - and can never by found by all who would try to walk it otherwise - but if you know your father has placed the road beneath your feet - brother, sister, walk.

Labels: , ,

posted by Daniel @ 11:27 AM  
22 Comments:
  • At 1:30 PM, July 23, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    The audio for that sermon may be put up this week. If anyone is interested I will post the link here.

     
  • At 2:33 PM, July 23, 2007, Blogger Even So... said…

    That's ἡ ὁδός Daniel...

    Oh, by ἡ ὁδός , I did preach using some of your illustration from "don't hate your sins" yesterday...convicting...

    Am I on the wrong road with this ἡ ὁδός thingy?

    "ἡ ὁδός" references courtesy of zhubert and google, all rights reserved...

     
  • At 2:42 PM, July 23, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    I think the dative is called for in the phrase: "by τῇ ὁδῷ" actually, ;-)

    Hey, I liked that guest sermon #5 on your blog (if anyone is reading this and hasn't read that - go to JD's blog right now and read it). Great stuff there.

     
  • At 2:51 PM, July 23, 2007, Blogger Even So... said…

    he he he...I was hoping you would chime in with my imperfect melding...yeah, Pastor Arnold has been a mentor to me and has a thriving church in the greater Tampa area...

     
  • At 3:07 PM, July 23, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    I should have linked to the post, but I was overcome by a fit of lah-zee-nus. I am better now.

    Hey - I like the new look over at you place, though there is still some room for polish. You might consider enclosing the "body tag" in your template within a noembed tag to get rid of the blogger blue bar on top (i.e. <noembed><body></noembed>), I think the blogger bar looks a little out of place up there.

    That's just me.

     
  • At 4:10 PM, July 23, 2007, Blogger Even So... said…

    Thanks, but actually, I didn't really know what I was doing at all, complete trial and error my friend...I copied and will past that thingy you wrote, hope it works, now if I can find where to put it!

     
  • At 4:36 PM, July 23, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    I should have mentioned, that if you add that code you might want to find the place in your template where the "body" style is listed (it would be near the top) and make sure it includes the following items:

    body {
    margin: 0;
    padding: 0;
    }

    That gets rid of all that extra white space on top now that the blogger bar is gone.

    cheers ;-)

    Dan
    <><

     
  • At 5:29 PM, July 23, 2007, Blogger Even So... said…

    First move worked, second doesn't seem to yet...

     
  • At 7:40 PM, July 23, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    I think it depends on which template thingy you are using...

    Try this first:

    body{
    margin-top:0px;
    }

    If this doesn't work try:

    body{
    margin-top:0px;
    position: relative;
    top: -50px;
    }

    If neither work, well, I am all out of ideas.

    Dan
    <><

     
  • At 9:42 PM, July 23, 2007, Blogger Carol said…

    A good post that I enjoyed reading.

    It reminds me of a quote from Vincent Cheung in this article on a somewhat different subject: "Moral responsibility does not presuppose human freedom, but it presupposes divine sovereignty." We are responsible for our sins because God says we are, not because we are free to 'not' sin, ....just as you say: we are God's elect because he says we are, not because of any good works we do.

    God is in complete control. Praise his wonderful name!

     
  • At 10:27 PM, July 23, 2007, Blogger Even So... said…

    Thanks, Daniel...the stuff wasn't working until I decided to just try and mix some stuff up, and voila!, but then the bottom of the header and the top of the post date had too much white space, but since you gave mne the top margin stuff, I thought well, I'll just do bottom -50 and see if it comes up, and after I fiddled around with where to put it, well, presto!

    Anyway, thanks again, but it also does me good since I think I learned a little more html action than if it had just went smoothly...

     
  • At 8:16 AM, July 24, 2007, Blogger Susan said…

    Oh please put the audio up!
    I had considered asking you awhile ago when I read that you were preaching at your church if audio were available, but I know you're busy and so didn't want to trouble you, but since you mentioned it...
    It will get a listening here if you do.
    Thnx.
    And thanks for this post. I'm encouraged and moving forward. I've asked for the Lord's help today in walking in the Spirit, and by His grace and mercy, I shall.

     
  • At 8:18 AM, July 24, 2007, Blogger Susan said…

    Hey, is there any way I can change my system so I can read the Greek letters? The title of your post and JD's comments come out as mostly little boxes, although the last letter is a final sigma rendered correctly.

     
  • At 8:19 AM, July 24, 2007, Blogger Susan said…

    Looks like a delta as the third letter? The rest are boxes.

     
  • At 8:44 AM, July 24, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Susan - what browser are you using?

     
  • At 10:44 AM, July 24, 2007, Blogger Susan said…

    I was using Explorer. I just switched to Mozilla Firefox. Now I see an
    Eeta - sigma (?) - delta - sigma (?) - final sigma ? (That doesn't seem like I have it right - with so many sigmas.) But Firefox does seem to be better as far as seeing Greek letters. I just don't think I have them figured out correctly?
    Help me out here?
    Ees-ths-s?

     
  • At 10:57 AM, July 24, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    I put an image in the post for you Susan. ;-)

    Perhaps you simply haven't got enough system fonts on your 'puter?

     
  • At 12:29 PM, July 24, 2007, Blogger Susan said…

    OMIKRON! OMIKRON!
    Yee haw!
    Okay, so now, let's see -
    Eeta - omikron - delta - omikron - final sigma.
    I can't tell if it's two words or one, but give me a wee bit of time here and I'll see if I can figure it out.
    (I hope I got those letters correctly now. Thanks for walking me through it rather than just giving me the answer.)

     
  • At 12:41 PM, July 24, 2007, Blogger Susan said…

    Ok, well, I'm not quite sure about the eeta. I see it can be "or, than" (particle).
    But I'm fairly confident, based on your post, that it is omikron - as in omikron-delta-omikron-final sigma.
    Wait. Let's see:
    οδος ?
    (My son showed me "character map" on his last visit here - for the Hebrew.)
    And it means "way, road, journey, conduct"
    Bingo?

     
  • At 1:22 PM, July 24, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    There you go: as in, I am the Way the Truth and the Life...

    It can be a bit tricky because the noun follows the second declension but is feminine (which is why the nominative singular article is eta rather than omicron).

     
  • At 11:11 AM, July 26, 2007, Blogger Jon Nunley said…

    Excellent, convicting and encouraging post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It also brought to mind a quote from a post I made HERE where someone quoted a Chinese proverb and said it was from Scripture.

    Lisa @ Deo Volente

     
  • At 11:21 AM, July 26, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Give a man a fish... that's classic.

    Thanks Lisa.

     
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