Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Value of the Prophets for the Church today


I am preaching through Hosea. It can be challenging when laboring to faithfully and accurately apply the message of the Prophets to God's people today. On one hand I do not wish to commit the error of the dispensationalist who insists the message was unique to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament and not to the "Church" today as such. On the other hand, while I believe Israel to be the Church in the Old Testament, it was in the form of a theocratic nation, not the trans-national (the term "multiethnic" usually draws fire) organism it is today. Simply put, the Church is among the nations now rather than being a nation as such. All too often I hear well-meaning people try to apply God's message to the prophets as the message of God to America. The message of Scripture is to the Church. The message of the prophets, in it's general sense, is to be applied to the Church. As the Church is transformed by the message of God's Word, by His Grace, she will necessarily impact the nation she is part of, but the message is in fact for the sanctification of the Church first. In light of these considerations, rightly handling the OT prophets can be a hard task for the preacher. This is also a complex, never-ending discussion among bible interpreters.

Anyways, I have found the prayer of John Calvin concerning the message of Hosea and it's application to the post-resurrection Church very helpful indeed.

Grant, Almighty God, that since we are at this day as guilty before thee as the Israelites of old were, who were so rebellious against thy Prophets, and that as thou hast often tried sweetly to allure us to thyself without any success, and as we have not hitherto ceased, by our continual obstinacy, to provoke thy wrath, - O grant, that being moved at least by the warnings thou givest us, we may prostrate ourselves before thy face, and not wait until thou puttest forth thy hand to destroy us, but, on the contrary, strive to anticipate thy judgment; and that being at the same time surely convinced that thou art ready to be reconciled to us in Christ, we may flee to Him as our Mediator; and that relying on his intercession, we may not doubt but that thou art ready to give us pardon, until having at length put away all sins, we come to that blessed state of glory which has been obtained for us by the blood of thy Son. Amen.

4 comments:

Rick Calohan said...

One of the many joys of attending Redeemer is to hear the expositions of the inspired and infallible Word of the Living Triune God. To hear your sermons on Titus, Handel’s Messiah, and now Hosea has been blessing as well as Nathan’s sermons on Psalm 25, 26, & 27. I know that these sermons are recorded and are available in MP3 format but is there any chance that transcripts will become available for those who unable to hear due to a disability?

Frontier Forest said...

For far too many years I too was guilty of trying to mop-up God’s Word, living by and spouting dispensational thinking. The reasoning was easy, but the theology was all wrong, i.e. reading a promise that pertained to only the nation and people of Israel, then trying to spice and dice the thoughts into a promise that fit me and would apply to the covenant church of today. Thanks be unto God for such hard and truthful teachings from our Pastors!

Mark Davis said...

We don't have anyone on deck to transcribe sermons at this point, Rick. There is software available that can transcribe audio to text for the disabled, such as Dragon Naturally Speaking by Nuance, Inc.

Rick Calohan said...

Mark,

Thanks for the information and clarification.