Category Archives: Westminster Shorter Catechism

Memoir of the Rev. John Brown, part 10

Celebrated Author

But Mr. Brown was not only distinguished as a minister of the gospel, and a teacher of divinity, he is celebrated also as an author. A strong desire to contribute towards the moral and religious improvement of mankind, and that he might, in some measure, be useful to the church of Christ, when he rested from his labours, weighed down every consideration of either profit or applause connected with his writings; indeed the pecuniary reward of all his labours, in this way, was but a matter of small account, never exceeding forty pounds. It was reserved, however, for his booksellers to reap a much more bountiful harvest; several of his works having already appeared in upwards of thirty, and some even in forty editions.

His first attempt as an author was his large work on the Catechism, which appeared in the year 1758; the next was a lesser work, also on the Catechism; and the rest of his works succeeded one another as circumstances seemed to render them necessary. (A modern edition is available from Reformation Heritage Books) That the doctrines he taught might appear with all the solidity and perspicuity in his power, he was at the extraordinary pains of writing his manuscripts thrice, and occasionally four times over, before they went to press; and frequently, after all this trouble in correcting, adding, and retrenching them, to request some one of his brethren to examine, and give his candid opinion concerning them.

But on none of his works has he bestowed so much labour as on his Dictionary of the Bible; a book of such diversified information, extensive research, and generally acknowledged utility, that it is doubtful if any work, of equal size, has hitherto appeared better calculated for assisting in the study of the Holy Scriptures, although now from the increased amount of information on scientific, historical, and other subjects, it necessarily is imperfect as compared with what he doubtless would have made it, had he possessed the opportunities of our day.

Memoir of the Rev. John Brown of Haddington

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Sermon Notes: “Invited to the Supper” (Matthew 22:1-14)

The following sermon was preached by Rev. Joe Troutman at Mid-Cities Presbyterian Church in Bedford, Texas. Listen online or subscribe to the podcast.

God calls all to repent and believe and many refuse, but others believe and are welcome to the feast.

The parable of the wedding feast is the third parable of judgment spoken by Jesus on the week leading to his crucifixion. While the first two primarily targeted the Pharisees, Saducees and Jewish priesthood, this parable applies to all in the nation of Israel who do not follow Christ in faith, but are guilty of rebellion against God.

God will judge everyone who refuses to repent and believe, but will show mercy by bringing to himself repentant believers who had not previously been associated with his covenant people.

Rejection of the Call (Matthew 22:1-7) And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 

 

  • The setting of the parable of the wedding feast is a feast thrown in a kingdom by the king for his son.
  • It was customary to send invitations with the expectation of a response of intention to attend, followed by a second call—an announcement that the meal is now ready, and that those invited are to now come to the feast.
  • Historically it was often a crime for those who promise to attend to then refuse to do so.
  • Jesus’ parable portrays an absurd exaggeration of this scenario.
  • In verses 5 and 6, the rejection of the invited guests evidences their ingratitude: some ignored the servant sent to call them, others mistreated and killed him, just as the Israelites always did the Old Testament prophets.
  • In verse 7, the king is rightfully angry and sends troops to kill the invited guests and burns down their city.
  • The guests reflect what Israel had been doing to God for generations. The king’s judgment in the parable reflects the wrath to come both in AD 70 and the Final Judgment upon Christ’s return.

Invitation to All (Matthew 22:8-10) Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.

 

  • In verse 8, the food is made ready.
  • In verse 9, the servants are sent to anyone who will come, who demonstrate a faith not found among the invited guests, as the Centurion whose servant Jesus healed in Matthew 8, of which Jesus said “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith     I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:10-12).
  • Throughout all of the Scriptures, one plan of salvation is revealed: both Jew and Gentile must have faith in the Messiah of Israel. Just as Old Testament Judaism sometimes included Gentiles, so Christianity does not exclude all Jews—for example, first century Christianity was largely Jewish—but all who respond to the invitation are welcome to the wedding feast.
  • Thus the invitation in the parable is what is expressed in the Westminster Shorter Catechism (Q&A 31) as “the free offer of the gospel.”
  • The church offers salvation to all—God sorts out those who respond from those who do not respond. The church gives a general call which may be rejected or falsely received. The Holy Spirit gives an effectual call by which those who respond will necessarily be saved.

 

Responsibiltiy (11-14) “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”

 

  • The king of the parable goes in disguise to inquire of one who attends the wedding feast without a wedding garment, and throws him out into outer darkness.
  • The wedding garment represents the fruit of faith: grateful, obedient works.
  • In the local church, all respond to the call to worship, but not all truly believe, evidenced by a life of unrepentant disobedience. Thus, some in the local church will be found to be without their “wedding garment.”
  • In verse 14, God’s choice is shown to be the ultimate factor. If God doesn’t effectually call his chosen, all would refuse to come as the invited guests at the beginning of the parable, and as the citizens of Israel who will not have Jesus to be their Messiah.
  • Though many be called, few are chosen. True believers must humbly and charitably receive all who profess faith in Christ, they must not proudly exclude those who differ on non-essentials, as if they belonged to the one true church.
  • There is a visible church comprised of all professing believers (all who have responded to the general call), and there is an invisible church comprised of the elect (all brought effectively to Christ by the Holy Spirit’s effectual call).
  • Thus, church membership alone is not saving; renewal of the heart by the Holy Spirit to repent and believe is necessary.
  • Without faith, there is no hope. With faith comes true membership in the invisible church, which the parable portrays by those who come to the wedding feast wearing their wedding garment.

Theological & Doxological Meditations #48

Theology in the First Commandment

Q. What are we specially taught by these words, before me, in the first commandment?

 A. These words, before me, in the first commandment, teach us, that God, who seeth all things, taketh notice of, and is much displeased with, the sin of having any other God (Deuteronomy 30:17-18; Psalm 44:20-21; Ezekiel 8:12)

Now Blessed Be the Lord Our God

#11, Trinity Hymnal (© 1990)

Psalm 72:8,11,12,18,19

Scottish Psalter, 1650 Mod.

McKEE C.M.

Spiritual

Arr. By Harry T. Burleigh, 1939

Now blessed be the Lord our God,

The God of Israel,

For he alone does wondrous works

In glory that excel.

And blessed be his glorious name

To all eternity;

The whole earth let his glory fill.

Amen, so let it be.

His wide dominion shall extend

From sea to utmost sea,

And unto earth’s remotest bounds

His peaceful rule shall be.

Yea, all the kings shall bow to him,

His rule all nations hail;

He will regard the poor man’s cry

When other helpers fail.

The Once and Future King (Matthew 21:1-11)

Sermon Notes from Sunday, October 9, 2011. Delivered by Rev. Joe Troutman at Mid-Cities Presbyterian Church (OPC). Listen online.

Jesus comes into Jerusalem as king, but in a week’s time he will have been crucified and raised from the dead for sinners like you and me.

Westminster Shorter Catechism 26

Q. How doth Christ execute the office of a king?

A. Christ executeth the office of a king, in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us (Psalm 110:3; Matthew 28:18-20; John 17:2; Colossians 1:13), and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies (Psalm 2:6-9; Psalm 110:1-2; Matthew 12:28; 1 Corinthians 15:24-26; Colossians 2:15).

“The Lord Has Need of Them” (Matthew 21:1-5) Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”

  • Jesus demonstrates that he is Israel’s Messiah by fulfilling Isaiah 62:11 and Zechariah 9:9
    • Behold, the LORD has proclaimed to the end of the earth: Say to the daughter of Zion, “Behold, your salvation comes; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.”(Isaiah 62:11 ESV)
    • Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9 ESV)
  • What was this need? To show us that “[our] salvation comes” (Is. 62:11)
    • “By sending for the donkey and colt, Jesus is giving us what we need to believe in him as our Savior.”
    • Our need was for a Passover Lamb—we need Someone to die in our place; to wash us clean; to be protected and redeemed from our captivity to sin.
    • To those who need God to show that he is real, he has done so by these prophecies of Israel’s Messiah, and their fulfillment hundreds of years later in Jesus of Nazareth.
      • God shows us that he is the true God of Israel: the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and that Jesus is the true King of Israel, who subdues sinners to himself, rules and defends us who believe, and restrains and conquers all his and our enemies.

 “Hosanna” (Matthew 21:6-9) The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

  • Foreshadowed in Jehu’s servants’ response to Jehu’s anointing as King of Israel, and prophecy to defeat the evil king Ahab
    • Then in haste every man of them took his garment and put it under him on the bare steps, and they blew the trumpet and proclaimed, “Jehu is king.”  (2 Kings 9:13 ESV).
    • In crying “Hosanna (Heb. “O Save!” ) to the Son of David!”, the people declare who Jesus is, the rightful King of Israel.
    • In crying “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” the people sing a portion of the Hallel (Psalms 113-118)—a portion of which is sung after the drinking of “the Cup of Redemption” during the Passover seder (see Psalm 118:26a). Jesus comes to redeem his people from sin, as God redeemed Israel from Egypt.
  • Parallels between Israel’s captivity in Egypt and their present occupation by Rome spark strong Jewish nationalism during the Passover season. Rome watches for seditious behavior. The notion of a pretender to the throne of Israel is the very kind of threat for which they watch, and this makes Christ’s entry into Jerusalem especially dangerous. But notice the humility of this King who enters triumphantly, not on a warhorse, but rather on a lowly donkey.

“The King Enters His City” (Matthew 21:10-11)   And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”

  • Christ enters Jerusalem but is not recognized by her citizens as their long-awaited King.
    • The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. (John 1:9-11 ESV)
      • Foreshadows Christ’s rejection by the people at the end of this Passion Week. Jesus comes to Jerusalem as King, but Jerusalem was not his Kingdom.
      • When Jesus walked the earth, his Kingdom was located wherever he went. Jesus wasn’t entering his Kingdom in his Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, he brought his Kingdom with him. Christ’s Kingdom is “not of this world” (see John 18:36).
  •  Christ does triumphantly enter to conquer, but not to conquer the Romans.
    •  The Triumphal Entry clearly showed that Jesus was Messiah according to Zechariah 9:9.
    •  The Triumphal Entry set in motion the events that would lead to his crucifixion.
    •  The Triumphal Entry threatens Rome, but Christ’s act in the following passage will be a threat to the Jewish priests and other religious leaders.
  •  Christ did not come to overthrow the Romans and reign in Jerusalem, but to die on a cross for the very people who sent him there: sinners like you and me. He went willingly, but it was yours and my sins which drove him to the cross. He went lovingly to suffer and to die for those who will come to believe. In his crucifixion, the King of Israel will conquer by accomplishing the salvation of his people.
  •  The King came once riding on the foal of a donkey; he went unrecognized by some, met with indifference by others and still others met him with hostility. He was openly rejected and nailed to a cross.
  • But the King will come again riding on the clouds with power and glory (Matthew 24:30). The time of his return remains hidden but he will come to judge as the Ruler of the earth.
    • At this time, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (see Philippians 2:9-11).
      • Those who already believe, trust and love Jesus will rejoice at his coming and will kneel again.
      • Those who refuse to humbly submit to the Lord in response to his first coming will be humbled and bowed against their wills when he returns to judge.

Everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ will bow his knee willingly, lovingly, obediently and instantly. Repent, believe in him—today—now!—while it’s still called today (see Hebrews 3:13), so that when he comes in glory he will know you as his own and you will rejoice at his coming and not be fearful.

Theological & Doxological Meditation #46

The First Requirement

 Q. What is required in the first commandment?

A. The first commandment requireth us to know and acknowledge God to be the only true God, and our God; and to worship and glorify him accordingly (1 Chronicles 28:9; Isaiah 45:20-25; Matthew4:10).

O People Blest, Whose Sons in Youth

 (play file 362 in “T&D mp3″ sidebar widget)

 #362, Trinity Hymnal (© 1990)
From Psalm 144:12-15
The Psalter, 1912; alt. 1961
SHORTLE 8.8.6.D rep.
Charles G. Goodrich, 1905

O people blest, whose sons in youth,
in sturdy strength and noble truth,
Like plants in vigor spring;
Whose daughters fair, A queenly race,
are like the cornerstones that grace
the palace of a king, the palace of a king.

O people blest, when flock and field
Their rich, abundant increase yield,
And blessings multiply;
When plenty all thy children share,
And no invading foe is there,
And no distressful cry, and no distressful cry.

O happy people, favored land,
To whom the Lord with lib’ral hand
Has thus his goodness shown;
Yea, surely is that people blest
By whom Jehovah is confessed
To be their God alone, to be their God alone.

Theological & Doxological Meditation #45

The First Commandment: Worship the Right God

Q. Which is the first commandment?

A. The first commandment is, Thou shalt have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:3; Deuteronomy 5:7).

God Is Known Among His People
(play file 066 in “T&D mp3″ sidebar widget)
#66, Trinity Hymnal (© 1990)
From Psalm 76
The Psalter 1912; alt. 1990, mod.

God is known among his people,
every mouth his praises fill;
From of old he has established
his abode onZion’s hill;
There he broke the sword and arrow,
bade the noise of war be still.

Excellent and glorious are you,
With your trophies from the fray;
You have slain the mighty warriors,
Wrapped in sleep of death are they;
When your anger once is risen,
Who can stand in that dread day?

When from heav’n your sentence sounded,
All the earth in fear was still,
While to save the meek and lowly
God in judgment wrought his will;
e’en the wrath of man shall praise you,
your designs it shall fulfill.

Vow and pay unto Jehovah,
Him your God forever own;
All men, bring your gifts before him,
Worship him, and him alone;
Mighty kings obey and fear him,
Princes bow before his throne.

Theological & Doxological Meditation #44

Teaching of the Decalogue’s Preface

44. What doth the preface to the Ten Commandments teach us?

A. The preface to the Ten Commandments teacheth us, that because God is the Lord, and our God, and Redeemer, therefore we are bound to keep all of his commandments (Luke 1:74-75; 1 Peter1:14-19).

Blest Are the Undefiled

(play file 557 in “T&D mp3″ sidebar widget)

 #557, Trinity Hymnal (© 1990)
From Psalm 119
Isaac Watts, 1719; mod.
DOWNS C.M.
Lowell Mason, 1832

Blest are the undefiled in heart,
Whose ways are right and clean,
Who never from the law depart,
But fly from ev’ry sin.

Blest are the men who keep your word
And practice your commands;
With their whole heart they seek the Lord,
And serve you with their hands.

Great is their peace who love your law;
How firm their souls abide!
Nor can a bold temptation draw
Their steady feet aside.

Then shall my heart have inward joy,
And keep my face from shame,
When all your statutes I obey,
And honor all your name.

Theological & Doxological Meditation #43

The Decalogue’s Preface
 

Q. What is the preface to the ten commandments?
 

A. The preface to the ten commandments is in these words, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage (Exodus 20:2).

O God, Most Holy Are Your Ways

(play file 039 in “T&D mp3” sidebar widget)

#39, The Trinity Hymnal (© 1990)
Psalm 77:13-20
The Psalter, 1912; alt. 1990, mod.
VATER UNSER 8.8.8.8.8.8.
V. Schumann’s Geistliche Lider, 1539

O God, most holy are your ways,
and who like you deserves my praise?
You only do such wondrous things,
The whole wide world your glory sings;
Your outstretched arm your people saved,
Though sore distressed and long enslaved.

O God, from you the waters fled,
The depths were moved with mighty dread,
The swelling clouds their torments poured,
And o’er the earth the tempest roard;
‘mid lightning’s flash and thunder’s sound
great trembling shook the solid ground.

Your way was in the sea, O God,
Through mighty waters, deep and broad.
None understood but God alone,
To man your footsteps were unknown;
But safe your people you did keep,
Almighty Shepherd of your sheep.

RAPechism

I just went to the Sovereign Grace Ministries website and downloaded yet another rap written by “The Voice” Curtis Allen, who previously was challenged to rap on the Heidelberg Catechism in honor of Kevin DeYoung’s recent book on it, and now, for reasons I’ve yet to read, if not only because of popular demand due to it’s novelty, a rap on the Westminster Shorter Catechism, accompanied, and containing commentary and instruction, by Dr. D. A. Carson.

When you get your bottom jaw off the floor,  you can visit both posts here and here. You can download each song if you please, and read the lyrics (some of us need to read the lyrics). After I downloaded them, I put them together in a playlist with an album name of my own invention, “RAPechism.”

Looks like those Baptistic, charismatic Calvinists are good for something after all 🙂

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