Saturday, May 19, 2012

Edwards, Storms, and Chandler on raising your affections for Christ

Today I will be speaking at a youth convention at Wifrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. If you read this in time, and could say a quick prayer for me, that would be great. In preparing for my session, I came across a couple of helpful excerpts and quotes and I thought I would share them.

The first comes from a Jonathan Edwards sermon called The Admirable Conjunction of Diverse Excellencies in Christ Jesus. The famous Puritan pastor makes his fist point with the following:

That which I would observe from the words, for the subject of my present discourse, is this, namely --

There is an admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies in Jesus Christ.

The lion and the lamb, though very diverse kinds of creatures, yet have each their peculiar excellencies. The lion excels in strength, and in the majesty of his appearance and voice: the lamb excels in meekness and patience, besides the excellent nature of the creature as good for food, and yielding that which is fit for our clothing and being suitable to be offered in sacrifice to God. But we see that Christ is in the text compared to both, because the diverse excellencies of both wonderfully meet in him ...

Wonderfully unique and dissimilar characteristics all converge in our wonderful Saviour. Edwards continues by discussing how we might behold these "diverse excellencies":
  Having thus shown wherein there is an admirable conjunction of excellencies in Jesus Christ, I now proceed,
Secondly, To show how this admirable conjunction of excellencies appears in Christ's acts, [ namely:]
A) in his taking of human nature,
B) in his earthly life,
C) in his sacrificial death,
D) in his exaltation in heaven,
E) in his final subduing of all evil when he returns in glory.
This leads into two quotes and a paraphrase that speak to the Edwardsian idea that we need to avail ourselves to God in such a way that our affections for him are raised. One of the ways we do that is beholding Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18) and the above sermon points to that. But consider this idea of raising our affections.

Jonathon Edwards put it like this: “Endeavour to promote spiritual appetites by laying yourself in the way of allurement.” Sam Storms, in his companion book to Edwards' Religious Affections entitled Signs of the Spirit put this Edwards quote in his own words writing,  “Posture your life so that you may be easily enticed by the beauty of Christ.” Matt Chandler, pastor and author of Explicit Gospel, put this idea into practice suggesting that “[t]here is something about dark coffee and early mornings that raises my affections for Christ.” Chandler promotes the idea that we need to put ourselves in situations and do the things which lead to our affections for Christ being elevated. Sometimes, this is something as simple as a cup of dark roast coffee or setting the alarm a little earlier.

Put some thought into those things which cause your affections for Christ to be raised, and then do those things.

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