Saturday, November 7, 2015

Charle Bridges on Parenting from Proverbs 23.13-14

(New York/Pittsburgh: R. Carter, 1847.)  pages 429-431

13. Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the  rod, he shall not die. 14. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

     Christian parents do not always recognize the scriptural standard of discipline.  "Foolishness is bound in the heart" of the parent, no less than "of the child." "The wild ass's colt" (Job, xi. 12) must always need its measure of correction. The rule therefore is, notwithstanding all the pleas of pity and fondness--withhold it not.  Do the work wisely, firmly, lovingly.  Persevere notwithstanding apparently unsuccessful results.  Connect it with prayer, faith, and careful in instruction.

     We admit that it is revolting to give pain, and call forth the tears of those we so tenderly love.  But while hearts are what hearts are, it is not to be supposed that we can train without discipline.  If it be asked--will not gentle means be more effectual?  Had this been God's judgment, as a God of mercy, he would not have provided a different regimen.  Eli tried them, and the sad issue is written for our instruction. (1 Sam. ii. 23-25; ill. 13.)  'Must I then be cruel to my child?'  Nay--God charges thee with cruelty, if thou withheld correction from him.  He "goes on his own foolishness." (Chap. xx.ii. 15. Eccles. xi.10.)  Except he be restrained, he will die, in his sin.  God has ordained the rod to purge his sins, and so deliver his soul from hell.  What 'parent then, that trembles for the child's eternal destiny, can withhold correction?  Is it not cruel love, that turns away from painful duty?  To suffer sin upon a child, no less than upon a brother, is tantamount to "hating him in our heart." (Lev. xix. 17, with Chap. xiii. 24.)  Is it not better that the flesh should smart, than that the soul should die?  Is it no sin to omit a means of grace, as divinely appointed, as the word and the sacraments?  Is there no danger of fomenting the native wickedness, and thus becoming accessory to the child's eternal destruction? What if he should reproach thee throughout eternity, for the neglect of that timely correction, which might have delivered his soul from hell? Or even if he be "scarcely saved," may he not charge upon thee much of his increasing difficulty in the ways of God?

        Yet let it not be used at all times. Let remonstrance be first tried.  Our heavenly Father never stirs the rod with his children, if his gentle voice of instruction prevail.  Continual finding fault; applying correction to every slip of childish trifling or troublesome thoughtlessness, would soon bring a callous deadness to all sense of shame.  Let it be reserved, at least in its more serious forms, for wilfulness.  It is medicine, not food; the remedy for the occasional diseases of the constitution, not the daily regimen for life and nourishment.  And to convert medicine into daily food, gradually destroys its remedial qualities. 

       Some parents, indeed, use nothing but correction.  They indulge their own passions at the expense of their less guilty children.  Unlike our Heavenly Father, they afflict and grieve their children willingly;" (Contrast Lam. iii. 33. Heb. xii. 10.) to vent their own anger, not to subdue their children's sins.  Self-recollection is of great moment.  'Am I about to correct for my child's good?'  An intemperate use of this Scriptural ordinance brings discredit upon its efficacy, and sows the seed of much bitter fruit.  Children become hardened under an iron rod.  Sternness and severity of manner close up their hearts.  It is most dangerous to make them afraid of us.  A spirit of bondage and concealment is engendered, often leading to a lie; sowing the seed of hypocrisy--nay, sometimes of disgust, and even of Hatred, towards their unreasonable parents.  'If parents,'—said a wise and godly father--'would not correct their children except in a praying frame, when they can "lift up their hands without wrath," it would neither provoke God nor them.' (Matthew HENRY'S Life, chap. xiii.)

     Other parents freely threaten the rod, yet withhold it.  It was only meant to frighten.  It soon becomes all empty and powerless sound.  This again contravenes our Great Exemplar.  His threatenings are not vain words.  If his children will not turn, they will find them faithful and true to their cost.  This threatening play is solemn trifling with truth; teaching children by example, what they had learnt from the womb (Ps. lviii. 3), to "speak lies." Let our words be considerate, but certain.  Let our children know, that they must not trifle either with them or with us.  The firmness of truthful discipline alone can convey a wholesome influence.  Any defect here is a serious injury.

      We must learn however not to expect too much from our children; nor to be unduly depressed by their naughtiness.  Yet we must not  wink at their sinful follies.  We must love them not less, but better.  And because we love them, we must not withhold when needed correction from them.  More painful is the work to ourselves, than to them.  Most humbling is it.  For since the corrupt root produces the poisoned sap in the bud, what else is it but the correction of our own sin?  Yet though "no chastening for the present be joyous, but rather grievous" (Heb. xii. 11); when given in prayer, in wisdom, and in faith, the saving blessing will be vouchsafed.*  'Lord, do thou be pleased to strike in with every stroke, that the rod of correction may be a rod of instruction.' (SWINNOCK'S Christian Man's Calling, ii. 35.)  'It is a rare soul '--said good  Bishop Hall--'that can be kept in constant order without smarting remedies.  I confess, mine cannot.  How wild had I run, if the rod had not been over me!  Every man can say, he thanks God for his ease.  For me, I bless God for my trouble.' (Silent Thoughts, xxi.)

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Gospel of Mark: A Serving Savior / Lesson 7--“Astounded, Offended, and Unbelieving"--Mark 6:1-29

Lesson 7--Astounded, Offended, and Unbelieving"--Mark 6:1-29
ID: Inductive Questions (Asking the text questions like who, what, where, when, why, & how?”)
CR: Cross References (Comparing Scripture to Scripture, understanding the vague by the clear.)
WS: Word Study (Understanding definition, theological meaning, and usages in other passages.)
The WORD: What does the Bible say?
Context:  Read Mark 4:33-6:3 to help understand the context of this passage.  Read Mark 6:1-29 in a more literal or more dynamic translation than you usually use. 
In this passage we begin to get a sense of the varied response to Jesus and His ministry.
1.     WS: (26:1-6)  What three words from the text summarize the response of the people to Jesus and His ministry?  (Do a word study on one or two of them.)  How did that affect Jesus’ ministry? (Mark 2:2-5; 5:32-34; 10:47-52)
2.     ID: (6:8-9)  What instructions did Jesus give to the Twelve about what they should bring on their “missions trip?”  What do those instructions indicate about their mission?
3.     ID: (3:10-12)  What was their message?  How were they to respond to people who rejected them? (Why do you think Sodom and Gomorrah were referenced?)
4.     CR/ID: (3:14-29)  Who was Herod Antipas (cf. Matthew 14:3-5; Luke 3:19-20 / Matthew 14:6-12; Luke 9:7-9 / Luke 23:7-12).  What do we learn about him in this passage?
5.     ID: (6:14-20, 25-29)  What do we learn about John the Baptist and his ministry in this passage?
6.     CR: (2:8)  Why did Herod think Jesus was like John the Baptist?  Why was the ministry of John the Baptist associated with Elijah (Matthew 17:9-13)?  Why do you think Mark included this flashback of John the Baptist’s death?
The WALK: What should I do?
1.     Is it easier for you to live the Christian life at home or away from home?
2.     Jesus ministry (not omnipotence) seemed to be restricted because of their unbelief (Mark 5:32-34).  How do we sometimes grieve the Holy Spirit by our unbelief?
3.     Do Jesus’ instructions to the disciples have any applications for our evangelistic efforts?  What?
4.     Why do you think Jesus sent them out in twos? What is the lesson for us?
5.     Have you ever made a rash vow that you regretted?  Is it ever best to go back on a promise? 
6.     Where in this passage do we see Gospel truths about God, Man, Christ, and our response? 
Going Beyond:  What areas of theology are touched on in this passage?
   The Bible     God    God the Father    Jesus Christ      The Holy Spirit      Man     Salvation     The Church     Angels & Satan     Future Things –

Answer: There are several men in the New Testament referred to as “Herod.” These Herods were part of a dynasty, a partly hereditary, partly appointed line of Idumean rulers over Israel during the days of the Roman Empire. Unlike other previous kings of Israel, the Herods were appointed by the Roman emperors and the senate.
The first of the Herods is often known as “Herod the Great” and is the one who sought to kill Jesus in Matthew 2 by slaughtering all the infant boys. This Herod also tried to enlist the wise men to reveal the whereabouts of the baby Jesus. According to Jewish historians, this first Herod, also called Herod the Ascalonite, was the son of Antipater, a friend and deputy of King Hyrcanus. He was made king in the room of Hyrcanus his master by the senate of Rome.
The son of Herod the Great was Herod Antipas (or Antipater), who was referred to as Herod the tetrarch (Matthew 14:1; Luke 3:1). The word tetrarch signifies that one who governs a fourth part of a kingdom. His father Herod the Great divided his large kingdom into four parts and bequeathed them to his sons, an action confirmed by the Roman senate. This Herod Antipas was tetrarch of Galilee, the part of the kingdom assigned to him. He is the one Jesus was sent to during His trials and eventual crucifixion (Luke 23). This same Herod Antipas was the Herod who had John the Baptist murdered (Matthew 14).
Herod Agrippa I was the grandson of Herod the Great (Acts 12). It was he who persecuted the church in Jerusalem and had the apostle James, the brother of John and son of Zebedee, put to death by the sword. By the hand of Herod Agrippa I, James became the first apostle to be martyred. Two of Agrippa I’s daughters were Bernice and Drusilla, mentioned in Acts 24 and Acts 25.
Agrippa’s son, Herod Agrippa II, was instrumental in saving Paul from being tried and imprisoned in Jerusalem by the Jews who hated his testimony of Jesus as the Messiah. King Agrippa, out of consideration for Paul being a Roman citizen, allowed Paul to defend himself, thereby giving Paul the opportunity to preach the gospel to all who were assembled (Acts 25—26). Agrippa II was the last of the line of Herods. After him, the family fell out of favor with Rome.
An Apparent Contradiction…
“There is an apparent contradiction between Matthew 10 and Mark 6:8.  Matthew says, “Take not staff” while Mark says, “Take nothing for the journey except a staff.”  Mark uses the word ariƍ, “take up.”  Matthew uses the word ktaomai, “procure.”  It may simply be that Matthew assumes they already have certain “travel tools” and they are not going to buy a new set of luggage for their trip.  In other words, they surely already had a walking stick in their hand.  They didn’t need a new one for this trip.
Edersheim notes that the command to take not extra “stuff” corresponds to the rabbinic command about entering the temple for service without “staff, shoes, … and a money girdle.”  The symbolic reasons underlying this command would, in both cases, be probably the same: to avoid even the appearance of being engaged on other business, when the whole being should be absorbed in the service of the Lord (Edersheim, I: 643).” 
Moore, Mark E. The Chronological Life of Christ. Joplin, MO: College Pub., 2007. Print. p. 251-252

Lesson 7 – Mark 6.1-29

1.  The three words I was thinking of are astonished, offended, and unbelief, but you and your men may see others.
4. Note the article that helps answer this question in the extra section.
4-5  These questions include inductive and deductive character studies about these two contrasting characters.  This should help the men sharpen their observation skills.
6. The last part of this question is primarily to prompt thought and discussion.

2. One of the things to notice is the central part that repentance had in their preaching.  (6:12, 17-19)
4. This question may seem a little moralistic.  However, I thought since the issue was so clear in the passage, it might be a good time to discuss it.
5. Please take some time to observe allusions to the Gospel in the passage each week.  This is an important  focus and skill for the men to develop and it will lay a foundation for them if they should read Mark with an unbeliever.  Of course there is no need to shoe horn the Gospel in where it isn’t.

All the Herods in the Gospels are notoriously difficult to keep straight.  This is a short article to give a sketch of each one. 
I have also included a note about an apparent contradiction.