Saturday, October 5, 2013

Happy Birthday Jonathan Edwards

Today is Jonathan Edwards birthday. In celebration of Jonathan Edwards, I am going to invite you to read my two favorite Edwards' sermons.

I am not an expert on Edwards, but I have read a few of his sermons. Of course everyone is most familiar at least with the name of "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God". Sadly many people think that this is the summation of Edwards' preaching--hell fire and brimestone. But Edwards preached this doctrine (1) because it was in Scripture and (2) Edwards was concerned with the glory of God and exalting God.

My two favorite sermons of Edwards are his "The Excellency of Christ" which he preached from the text Rev. 5:5-6. This is not only a wonderful reflection on Christology but also leads the heart to worship. Edwards compares how Christ is both the most high being over all (by virtue of being God) but also how he is the most lowly of all (by virtue of being the Lamb).

You can read the sermon here.

A quote to wet your appetite:

In Christ do meet together self-sufficiency, and an entire trust and reliance on God, which is another conjunction peculiar to the person of Christ. As he is a divine person, he is self-sufficient, standing in need of nothing. All creatures are dependent on him, but he is dependent on none, but is absolutely independent. His proceeding from the Father, in his eternal generation, argues no proper dependence on the will of the Father; for that proceeding was natural and necessary, and not arbitrary.But yet Christ entirely trusted in God: -- his enemies say that of him, "He trusted in God that he would deliver him," Matt. 27:43. And the apostle testifies, I Pet. 2:23. "That he committed himself God."

He also offers exhortation to accept Christ. He has words to the weak and distressed soul. I'd encourage you to read this sermon.

My other favorite sermon is his GOD GLORIFIED IN THE WORK OF REDEMPTION, BY THE GREATNESS OF MAN'S DEPENDENCE UPON HIM IN THE WHOLE OF IT. Quite the long title but it is often shorted just to "God Glorified in Man's Dependance."

This sermon is preached on 1 Corinthians 1:29-31. He moves from a Calvinist soteriology where God does all the work, to argue that the Christian can only ever boast wholly in the Lord. It is extremely practical--and Christian today need to be exhorted to boast only in the Lord.

You can read the sermon here.

" The redeemed have all their inherent good in God. Inherent good is twofold; it is either excellency or pleasure. These the redeemed not only derive from God, as caused by him, but have them in him. They have spiritual excellency and joy by a kind of participation of God. They are made excellent by a communication of God's excellency. God puts his own beauty, i.e. his beautiful likeness, upon their souls. They are made partakers of the divine nature, or moral image of God, 2 Pet. 1:4. They are holy by being made partakers of God's holiness. Heb. 12:10. The saints are beautiful and blessed by a communication of God's holiness and joy, as the moon and planets are bright by the sun's light. The saint hath spiritual joy and pleasure by a kind of effusion of God on the soul. In these things the redeemed have communion with God; that is, they partake with him and of him."

"Hence those doctrines and schemes of divinity that are in any respect opposite to such an absolute and universal dependence on God, derogate from his glory, and thwart the design of our redemption. And such are those schemes that put the creature in God's stead, in any of the mentioned respects, that exalt man into the place of either Father, Son, or Holy Ghost, in any thing pertaining to our redemption. However they may allow of a dependence of the redeemed on God, yet they deny a dependence that is so absolute and universal. They own an entire dependence of God for some things, but not for others; they own that we depend on God for the gift and acceptance of a Redeemer, but deny so absolute a dependence on him for the obtaining of an interest in the Redeemer. They own an absolute dependence on the Father for giving his Son, and on the Son for working out redemption, but not so entire a dependence on the Holy Ghost for conversion, and a being in Christ, and so coming to a title to his benefits. They own a dependence on God for means of grace, but not absolutely for the benefit and success of those means; a partial dependence on the power of God, for obtaining and exercising holiness, but not a mere dependence on the arbitrary and sovereign grace of God. They own a dependence on the free grace of God for a reception into his favour, so far that it is without any proper merit, but not as it is without being attracted, or moved with any excellency. They own a partial dependence on Christ, as he through whom we have life, as having purchased new terms of life, but still hold that the righteousness through which we have life is inherent in ourselves, as it was under the first covenant. Now whatever scheme is inconsistent with our entire dependence on God for all, and of having all of him, through him, and in him, it is repugnant to the design and tenor of the gospel, and robs it of that which God accounts its lustre and glory."

I hope that you will read and enjoy these sermons.

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