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|Hey iTrust! 8 July 2012|
This coming Sunday is the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost (8 July 2012).
This coming Sunday we start to look at biology as scientific evidence for God’s existence. You’ve probably heard about “molecular machines” and various “complexity” principles (e.g., irreducible complexity, specified complexity) as evidence for “intelligent agency.” We will certainly touch on those, but Dr. Meyer (our video lecturer) is a specialist on the origin of information, so we will spend even more time on the nagging question: who programmed the DNA?
Another reminder about all this: I am certainly a fan of this “scientific evidence for the existence of God” thing, but never forget that the best we can do here is to know about God in a “Romans 1 ” sense (v. 19, 20: For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.) This is called “general revelation”, which implies that it is generally perceivable yet implicit in the world.
The contrast, and the way we can know anything about who God is as a person, is what’s called “special revelation,” more commonly known as Jesus (Hebrews 1 : in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son) and Scripture, which records what Jesus spoke and his Apostles wrote.
So, with me, enjoy these scientific evidences, let them strengthen your faith, and, yes, even share them with skeptics, but never forget that God “became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” That’s how we know Him, and that’s why we can be sure that “we have now been justified by his blood, [and] much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” [Romans 5:9 –11]
Today (July 2) we start our Summer School class at Oxford with the Ravi Zacharias team. I am sure we will have much to share when we see you again on July 8!
Here are the Scripture readings (lectionary) for this coming week, plus the summary note of how they tie together. We always encourage you to read the weekly Scriptures before you get to church. We think you’ll find that valuable!
First Lesson – Ezekiel 2:1 –5
And he said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak with you.” And as he spoke to me, the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and I heard him speaking to me. And he said to me, “Son of man, I send you to the people ofIsrael, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me. They and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day. The descendants also are impudent and stubborn: I send you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that a prophet has been among them.”
Second Lesson – 2 Corinthians 12:1 –10
Paul’s Visions and His Thorn
I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses—though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Gospel Lesson – Mark 6:1-13
Jesus Rejected; Sends the Twelve
He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching.
And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts—but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.
The Ministers of Christ Are Sent with His Authority to Forgive Sins and Give Life
The Prophet Ezekiel was raised up by the Spirit of the Lord and sent to speak an unpopular Word to the rebellious house of Israel. As a prophet, he was not to speak his own word, but to preach the Law and the Gospel: “Thus says the Lord God,” whether the people “hear or refuse to hear” (Ezek. 2:4 –5). So, too, in the footsteps of the Prophets before Him, the Lord Jesus “went about among the villages teaching” (Mark 6:6 ). In His hometown, as elsewhere, “many who heard Him were astonished,” marveling at His wisdom and at the “mighty works done by His hands,” and yet, “they took offense at Him” (Mark 6:2 –3). The offense culminates in His Cross, which is, ironically, the heart and center of His “authority over the unclean spirit” (Mark 6:7 ). It is by that authority of His Cross that those He sends preach repentance, “cast out many demons,” and heal the sick (Mark 6:12 –13). Thus, the Apostle Paul boasts in the Cross of Christ and in his own weaknesses, knowing that God’s grace is sufficient, and that the power of Christ “is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:8 –9).
See you in iTrust!