Your Calling - Oh Brethren - RR274B4a
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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. 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 enquire in his temple. Wait on the Lord, be of good courage and he shall strengthen Thy heart. Wait, I say on the Lord. Let us pray.
Almighty God our heavenly Father, again we come into Thy presence rejoicing in Thy mercies. Knowing that there is no good but that which comes from Thee. Open our eyes that we may behold wondrous things out of Thy law. Open our hearts that we may hear and receive Thy word. Grant that in all things our father we may seek after thee and know that Thou art a rewarder of them that diligently seek Thee. Give us a heart that seeks Thee. And now Father, bless us by Thy word and by Thy spirit as we worship Thee. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Our scripture is First Corinthians 1:26-31. Our subject: Your Calling, Brethren. First Corinthians 1:26-31.
“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
Paul begins this passage by reminding the Christians of their calling. Their redemption is God’s work. It is unrelated to their human status. The word flesh means humanity, their status as creatures. [00:03:56]
In terms of the simple facts not many of the Corinthians...
In terms of the simple facts not many of the Corinthians Christians were wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble. Wise men after the flesh means respected men of learning. Philosophers, notable intellectual leaders. Mighty refers to people of importance and noble means of a respected aristocratic family. Clearly there were some from each of these three groups in the church at Corinth but the greater majority were ordinary to lower class. This was their origin in the main. It is not their human status that is important but the fact that they are the called of God. None are boasting of their calling, if any had it in mind as of often been the case, it was to use their calling against their social superiors, to say in effect, I’m as good as you are. The frame of reference is not God’s kingdom but the world around them. This is their important realm. This is where they sought advancement. Then in verses twenty seven through twenty nine Paul in searing bluntness puts down these three groups. Together with the foolish things of the world, all three groups, and the foolish things of this world are chosen by God not because of their merit but by their grace to bring to naught the things that are. God’s sovereign electing grace levels the great men and the zero men. To bring into existence God’s new humanity that no flesh should glory in his presence. God sets aside every kind of human group and yet he uses any and all to create his new human race, the new army of God, the new leaders of humanity. None have ground for boasting in their past, all stand only in his sovereign grace. [00:07:36]
Well, this is not a new theme in scripture...
Well, this is not a new theme in scripture. It’s an old one. As a matter of fact in Deuteronomy 7:7 God’s electing grace with respect to Israel, to the Hebrews, is set forth. God says Israel was the fewest of all people. And as Moses makes clear a faithless and ungrateful nation. Yet by God’s grace they are made his chosen people. In effect now the church is told the same thing. They are Paul tells them, as contemptible as Israel was when it came to the borders of Canaan. The chosen state of Israel was all of grace. So too the chosen status of what was known then as the Christian race is entirely of grace. It is interesting that that term was used. The Christian race. Because they self-consciously saw themselves as the new humanity, a new human race, created by Jesus Christ to replace the old humanity in due time, in God’s time. God reminded Israel at one point Amos 9:7 that He could have chosen and could still choose if He decided for the Ethiopians to be His people, to replace Israel. The same warning is applied to the church. Man’s standing before God is not in himself but in Jesus Christ. Well God has made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. We can only have true wisdom and justice in Him as well as true holiness and salvation. Therefore Paul says as it is written in Jeremiah 9:23 ‘He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord’. Earlier in this chapter Paul had condemned the wisdom of both Jews and Greeks alike. In so doing as our text makes clear Paul sets aside all the wisdom of fallen men and nations. Only Jesus Christ and the inspired scriptures can give us the truth and the wisdom of God. Paul thus insists on a sharp break with the whole world of life and Thought of the first Adam. [00:11:23]
A new humanity in the second and last Adam needs nothing...
A new humanity in the second and last Adam needs nothing from the fallen humanity of the first Adam which continues at war with God. To inspire that hatred, that warfare, takes a deep animosity and yet as Isaiah tells us the enemies of God are going to amass great wealth, vast knowledge and advantages, create great civilizations, trying to be independent of God and defy him. Isaiah again and again reminds us that all the wealth of the ungodly shall go to the people of God. Shall be theirs in due time, for we are the heirs of all creation. The marriage of heaven and hell is an absurd dream often imagined by Christ’s enemies. In fact one notable figure in the history of English Literature, William Blake, a very brilliant and able man, but very wrong headed, wrote something entitled The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. We’ll bring everything together because we’ll make everything mean nothing. And of course that’s the death of righteousness, that’s the death of virtue. The marriage of heaven and hell is impossibility, every attempt is a betrayal of God’s kingdom. Earlier in First Corinthians one Paul had made clear that the gap between the wisdom of the Jewish scribes and the wisdom of the Greek philosophers and Jesus Christ is a very great one. A unbridgeable one by any human device. This difference, this gap is firmly anchored in the fact that the wisdom of this world comes from fallen man whereas the wisdom of God comes in the person of the new Adam Jesus Christ, the sinless and all wise son of God. The status of the Corinthian Christians rests not in themselves, not in any manmade status; it rests in the fact that they are the called of God. And Paul emphasizes this over and over again in all of his writings. [00:15:17]
Now the biblical doctrine of a call or of a calling...
Now the biblical doctrine of a call or of a calling does not mean an abstract summons or a command but a personal call or invitation which can be either good or bad. It is an official summons to a person and as Paul uses it, it is a summons from Jesus Christ. The church therefore is properly made up of the called but what is called for depends upon the Lord. The concept of a calling as a vocation is a separate idea. Here in Corinthians calling has reference to being separated to Christ for His use. And as Paul elsewhere makes clear He can use us however He wants us. He can put us through hellfire and even martyrdom, He is the one who makes the calling not we ourselves. This raises a very important matter, namely the called into Christ’s community do not define their calling, God does. We do not decide what we shall be in Christ. He does. The church is properly made up of the called but what one is called for depends upon the Lord. The concept of a calling as a vocation is a separate idea. Here in Corinthians has reference to being separated to Christ for his use. And this raises a very important matter, namely the called into Christ’s community to define their calling, God does. It is not a subjective manner in essence alThough it definitely has its subjective impact. [00:18:14]
Paul speaks of three groups in the world apart from...
Paul speaks of three groups in the world apart from base things, by which he means those whom the Roman world regarded as no account. They could be middle-class they could be lower class, but they were treated by the high and mighty as of no importance. Then the three groups are the wise or intellectuals, the mighty or the important and the notable, of important families. The world marks these out clearly but it gives little attention to the classifications created by God’s calling and grace. Thus we see a very important fact, a division right down the middle of the human race. Then God does not pay attention to the world’s discrimination on His side. He does not divide them between human trash and the important. Rather God will he says in due time bring down all these high and mighty ones and low ones who are anti-Christ. Bring to naught the things that are Paul says in verse twenty eight, the world will be reduced to a zero by Christ’s called ones. Saint Paul’s declaration to the Corinthians is a rejection of compromise and syncretism. They’re called to convert not to coerce. They are called to make all people Christ’s, not to compromise with them. He rejects compromise and syncretism. Christ’s kingdom will teach the world, not learn from it, because it alone is the kingdom of truth. To be outside Jesus Christ is to be a member of the kingdom of lies and of the liar. [00:21:28]
Paul from one end of Corinthians to the other draws...
Paul from one end of Corinthians to the other draws the line clearly. There is a difference he insists and he warns the church against obliterating that difference. Let us pray.
Our father we give thanks unto Thee that Thou has spoken so clearly in Thy word. Make us ever mindful that the differences between men are not in terms of the things this world values, but in terms of Jesus Christ. Give us grace day by day to walk in the knowledge that all the great lines of discrimination drawn by the world are as nothing in Thy sight. Teach us to hear Thy word, grow in terms of Thy word and to know in all things that Thy word is truth. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Are there any questions now?
[Man speaking] Could you comment on the desire of many churchmen today to be everything that Paul tells us not to be?
[Rushdoony] There is a strong vein in the church today that wants to compromise with the world. In fact, there is a movement, a strong one which I have mentioned before, to create designer churches, churches that will meet the needs of men rather than the requirements of God. This is a fearful offense and the church that so gears itself is going to be judged of God. We are required by God to please Him, not men. And too frequently the church today gears itself to pleasing men. There is a present controversy raging in many, many churches that claim to be evangelical or reformed about the first eleven chapters of Genesis, denying its historicity. It’s amusing that this is so because precisely now more than a few scientists are coming out and admitting that there really is no evidence for Darwin’s theory; that a lot of the claims about finding new evidences of creatures that are between one kind and another are fallacious. You read recently how they found a relative of the rhinoceros that apparently had wings and feathers. That was on the front pages. Nothing about the fact that a group of scientists examining the data said there wasn’t a shred of evidence for that claim. That you don’t hear about. Well, the theory is beginning to fade. For years Christians have attacked it but now there are men who are not Christians who are from within the scientists that are saying this is nonsense, we don’t know a thing about origins. So precisely at the moment when this theory is crumbling and in a generation may pass away we see many church men trying to get on board and insisting that Genesis one through eleven means something else, that is a kind of symbolic statement. [00:27:19]
So there’s a lot of nonsense in the church that is...
So there’s a lot of nonsense in the church that is pathetic. Any other questions or comments?
One of the things that is very clear cut is that Paul as he writes to the Corinthians writes as one who could boast of more than any of the people there about his own background. Because in terms of the whole Jewish world he came from a very important family. We read in Acts that he cast his vote against Steven for Steven’s martyrdom which meant that he had to be on the Sanhedrin. From other sources we know that he came from one of the wealthiest families of the empire, that they were not only Jews of great importance but they were Romans by birth and their citizenship. So Paul could claim to be very important in terms of both the Jewish and the Greco-Roman worlds. But he never did. He makes clear that this does not count. The line of division is the one that is created by God by Jesus Christ. Are there any other questions or comments? [00:29:16]
Well if not, let us conclude with prayer...
Well if not, let us conclude with prayer. Our Father we give thanks unto Thee that thou didst present Paul to speak unto us. We thank Thee for his plain speaking, teach us day by day to separate ourselves from the kingdom of lies to the kingdom of truth, of Jesus Christ. Make us zealous in the truth, obedient in all things knowing that this is a faith which will overcome and conquer the world. 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.