Theology and History - RR274M23a
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|This transcript is unedited. It was:|
|Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library|
|Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules|
|Posted by with permission.|
Let us worship God. Put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day and having done all, to stand. Let us pray.
[Unidentified man speaking] Our most good and heavenly father we thank Thee for the privilege that we have of gathering together as your children. We thank You for the meaning, the purpose and the hope that you give us in the world around us. We pray that You give us wisdom to understand better day by day and week by week our responsibilities to you and how Your word applies to our lives. We pray that You would strengthen us when we feel weak, we pray that you would encourage us with hope in Christ when we feel discouraged, we pray this morning especially for Thy church that is persecuted, we pray that You would encourage them in the certainty of victory. We pray that You would be with those who are ministering to them, we pray that You would encourage them and protect them in the dangerous times that they see. WE pray that You would be with us this morning as we look at Your word, we pray that You would give us wisdom to apply it to ourselves, to our families, to our places of employment and to the world around us. Give us grace this day as we worship you, In Christ our Savior’s name, Amen. [00:02:08]
[Rushdoony] Our scripture this morning is First Corinthians...
[Rushdoony] Our scripture this morning is First Corinthians 15:1-11. First Corinthians 15:1-11 and our subject: Theology and History.
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.”
It is readily clear that Saint Paul is the great theologian of the Bible. It is through him that god gives us the profoundest statement of the Trinity, of the atonement, sanctification and much, much more. [00:04:51]
At the same time it is never abstract theology, Paul...
At the same time it is never abstract theology, Paul gives us application. In fact, we can say that in the Bible as a whole the tie between doctrine and application is so clear that theological depth reveals the most relevant and practical moral application. We see this in First Corinthians 15:12 following. The section immediately after our text. As Paul shows us that Christ’s resurrection has a direct connection with ours. So the rest of this chapter which we would consider in the weeks to come is a very practical application of the meaning of the resurrection. Now in verses one or two Paul states bluntly that the faith of any church member is a vain thing if it is abstract. To believe in Christ’s resurrection is vain if we fail to see it as totally related to our own future, to our lives. To believe in Jesus Christ is to become a new creation and to have an eternal destiny with him. Verses 12-15 develop this radical point. The resurrection begins great task of renewal, of transforming us and of all creation. It is not simply a spiritual fact but a total work of regeneration, of making all things new. In verse three Paul reminds his readers that he has taught them the meaning of the atonement because of sin, from Adam on all men are born in sin, that is with a predisposition in all their being to see themselves as ultimate, as god, as themselves the determiners of all good and evil and therefore as the only true and final judges in all things. This is what is known as original sin, the will to be one’s own God and law. The consequence of sin is that it leads to separation from God and this separation is death. Sin and death mark the nature and being of all men outside of Jesus Christ. And this separation is basic to fallen man. [00:08:49]
Man could not make atonement for his sin because he...
Man could not make atonement for his sin because he himself is sinful. He is evil in all his intentions. Jesus Christ does this for his people. And as their vicarious substitute dies for them to make atonement for their sins. This is scriptures have predicted. Also that he was buried and rose again from the dead on the third day. Now Paul ties doctrine, prophesy and history together because all come from the true and living God. The expression according to the scriptures which we encounter here in three and four is common to the whole of the New Testament and it stresses the fact that all history is given as a part of God’s sovereign plan and gracious purpose. In verses five through nine Paul cites the witnesses to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. First in verse five is Sephas or Peter. Then second the remaining twelve disciples. Third the resurrected Jesus appeared to over five hundred believers, many of whom were still living as Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthians. Then fourth he was seen by James and then all the apostles. Fifth, Paul adds he was seen by himself. This does not exhaust the list of witnesses, there were many more who witnessed the resurrection, it does cite those who because of their work as evangelists were perhaps better known. They were among those who had traveled, who were familiar to the Corinthians. Paul lists himself as least worthy as among these witnesses, having once been a persecutor of the church. The difference between Saul the enemy and Paul the apostle, is he says, the grace of God. Paul having been an enemy of Jesus Christ goes in particular the grace of God in saving Him. So that his writings always stress grace. In verse ten the word grace is used three times. All these men all though cited in verses five to nine have preached the resurrection so that the men cited therein were known directly or indirectly to the Corinthian believers. Their testimony had been a part of their experience as a believer. To hear eye witnesses to the resurrected Jesus testify. We do know that as the men who had lived and known Jesus Christ personally grew old it was their great joy when they went to church wherever it was throughout Asia Minor as these old folks were led into the service to great one another with a response that became kind of ritual. ‘Have you known? We have known. Have you heard? We have heard. Have you touched? We have touched.’ Their happy claim, these survivors that they were among those who had known Jesus, had heard Him and had touched Him. [00:14:17]
In any case whether it was Paul or these many other...
In any case whether it was Paul or these many other eye witnesses all had preached the resurrection and the Corinthians had believed them. Now they had to see its direct relationship to them and their future, the resurrection was not something that just happened to Jesus and they were supposed to believe in, even more they had to understand what it mean for them, for their lives, for their future. Paul thereby prepares his readers to make the application of the resurrection to their own lives. We made believe without question that Columbus discovered America in 1492 or that World War One ended with the Armistice on November 11, 1918. But neither fact makes atonement for us and neither fact offers us the certainty of our resurrection from the dead. Christ’s death affected our atonement, our deliverance from the power of sin and death. And his resurrection means our resurrection into everlasting life. It is the total regeneration and reorientation of our lives. We are not members of Jesus Christ simply by believing the resurrection or saying yes, it could or it did happen, but only by knowing it to be our atonement and our source of eternal life. Thus Christ’s death and resurrection are events in history but they are also events in our lives if we are truly believers. This is why so many hymns stress the death and resurrection as both historical and contemporary events. So that they see it as something that happened, yes, centuries ago outside of Jerusalem but something that has happened in their lives and they can witness to it. [00:17:42]
This is why chapter fifteen ends in a note of victory...
This is why chapter fifteen ends in a note of victory. Death and the grave are not conquerors over us, ours is the victory in Jesus Christ so true biblical theology begins and ends in history. In the beginning God created all things, at the end Apostle John pronounced in Revelation 22:21 the grace of our lord be with you all, Amen. Because they are the people of the resurrection, the grace of God, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is with us, we are the people of His victory. Let us pray.
Our Father we give thanks unto you for this Thy word. For Thy mercy unto us, and Thy redemption of us through the blood of Jesus Christ. We thank Thee by His resurrection we too have victory of sin and death. That we are eternally Thy people. Give us joy in Thy great salvation, strength in Thy grace and confidence in Thy mercy. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen. Are there any questions now about our lesson?
One of the things that we need to recognize is that the Bible ties all of life and the world together. It’s not just a collection of hit and miss miscellaneous data that somehow evolved, has no relationship one to another. It’s not a mindless universe. Now this makes for a remarkable difference. When we go to non-Christian writings we find that though there are attempts, especially in Greco-Roman thinking, to tie all these loose ends together somehow the whole of the universe is for them somehow a collection of miscellaneous data, no relationship. Our civilization is completely spoiled so to speak for the Bible because the Bible says in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. All things are tied together by that fact. All things are His creation and in terms of the resurrection all things have a place either in His eternal kingdom or outside of it. Now, the whole world is more or less thinking nowadays in Biblical terms because of the spread of Christianity. It does not see as once was the case nothing but a lot of miscellaneous data, unrelated one to another. So consider how important that fact alone is, that God created, God redeemed, God resurrected and God hath an eternal purpose for all things. It means that we have a totally different perspective so that what we have to say is today that the bible’s influence is far, far beyond the borders of Christianity. It has saturated the whole world so that even Darwinian evolution tries to see unity in all this. Not the miscellaneous kind of evolving that the Greeks saw, or the Romans. The whole of man’s outlook, the world over, has been now given a new shape, a biblical one. [00:23:50]
This in itself is a tremendous fact...
This in itself is a tremendous fact. We have things in our favor as we go into all the world to preach the gospel because we are going to be preaching to it to people who have been preconditioned by everything in our modern world, by our ungodly science as well as our philosophies to see a unity, a God created unity really in all creation. Yes?
[Man speaking] I first cited the Bible is the only book in history that was written over a fifteen hundred period by a lot of different people in a lot of different places that carries the same message, the same theme throughout.
[Rushdoony] Very well put, very well put. That’s totally true. And this is why the Bible is a forbidden book in many quarters because it militates against everything that the modern man wants to have be true. I recall in the twenties, I mentioned this I believe some years ago, I think it’s worth mentioning, a prominent writer, one of the best known of the first quarter of the century who described his last days and weeks as he knew he was dying and he had a lovely place, a very fine library, the idea of leaving all that did not appeal to him, the idea of death did not appeal to him and so he admitted that as he went into his library his eye would go almost instinctively to the shelf where he had a copy of the Bible. And yet he could never, he admitted, bring himself to pulling it off the shelf and reading it. He knew it had the answer he wanted, but there was a meaning to everything. But he knew it also came at a price that he had to acknowledge that he was a sinner and that he needed Jesus Christ. So apparently to the very last pulled the Bible off the shelf. So it is a witness and it is interesting regularly to read in the papers steps taken against the Bible in various universities, colleges, public schools, even quoting it can lead a student into very real trouble. It’s a witness against everything they represent. Any other questions or comments? [00:27:59]
Well if not let us conclude with prayer...
Well if not let us conclude with prayer.
Our Father we give thanks unto Thee for Thy word. We thank thee that in Thy creation all things have meaning, all things are interrelated, and all things have an eternal destiny in terms of Jesus Christ our Lord. We thank Thee that Thou has called us by Thy sovereign grace and made us Thy people. Bless us now in Thy service. And now go in peace, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, bless you and keep you, guide and protect you, this day and always, Amen.