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March 4, 2021 12:01 am
When we are convicted of sin, we may be tempted to despair at our sinfulness. Or, we may try to remove our burden through obedience or works. Today, Derek Thomas examines both of these dangers as they appear in John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress.
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Why do I call Romans is best chunky Bible because seducing Christians for centuries. I think of trying to Romans eight because it gives us the gospel in one chapter talks about the doctrine of the Trinity, father, son and Holy Spirit, how to determine one time saying to me that this was in some way calling into question inspiration of all of Scripture and isn't all of Scripture great and the greatest and I said well, just answer this question if you gratuitous to live dry read the first few chapters of Chronicles, which is a list of names are driving.
Romans eight and I think the answer is always Romans eight because it says everything that needs to be said about the gospel in one chapter. Romans eight a teaching series with Derek Thomas to learn more, visit Liggett air.org/teaching series before he wrote the Pilgrim's progress. John Bunyan was embarking on his own spiritual journey and pulled himself up by his bootstraps. He had tried to live for an obedient life and to the outward world to the output observance.
He looked as if he was a new man. And indeed, so I was so yet I knew not Christ, nor grace, nor faith nor hope.
Progress is a classic.
Even if you haven't read it, probably somewhat familiar with the story of Christian and his journey to the celestial city, but what you may not know is that many of the challenges Christian faces parallel Bunyan's journey through the and perhaps your own today of Renewing Your Mind and your teaching fellow Dr. Derek Thomas takes us behind the scenes of this literary masterpiece, come back to electric to Bunyan's Pilgrim's progress and we going to look at the events surrounding the wicked skate and how Christian I gets through the wicked skate wheat we left him lecture one running towards the light that he couldn't see the wicked gates and is running with his fingers in his ears is running away from the city of destruction is not listening to the pleas of his wife for his children and he saying life, life eternal life, and now he meets sent to friends. He hasn't got to the wicked.
Yet in the midst two friends exited their neighbors's office in the city of destruction and that called pliable and obstinate, and of the first thing that we see in this portion is Bunyan's attempts to portray worldly opposition to the gospel that everyone becomes a Christian will experience some kind of opposition may be from members of the family omitted from friends at work and some obstinate represents stubbornness and an immovable point of view and the pliable is the opposite here represents fickleness a readiness to believe anything except this. Of course I said let's eavesdrop their conversation just a little as obstinate what these things you seek. Since you leave all the world to find the Christian says I seek an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled in the data, not away, and it is laid up in heaven and safe that to be bestowed at the time appointed on them that diligently seek it, read it.
So, if you will, in my book and obstinate says Tarsha way with your book. Will you go back with her so no Christians is no, not high because I have laid my hand to the plow and at that point, obstinate beliefs, but to pliable continues walking with him and pliable, says the hearing of this is enough to ravish one's hot but all these things to be enjoyed. How shall we get to be shadows that often Christian says the Lord, the governor of the country recorded that in the book the substance of which is if we be truly willing to have it.
He will bestow it upon us freely pliable says, well, my good companion glad I am to hear these things come on let us amend our pace.
Now Alexander White's famous illustrator and commentator on the characters of Pilgrim's progress gave some lectures set in the late 19th century access and George's cell free church and Edinburgh and it is a well-known book, so there were a couple of volumes six characters from Pilgrim's progress of the mixer, both about the obstinate and about pliable and his comment about pliable is especially interesting pliable was willing to go with Christian for the benefits that Christian describes he wants eternal life.
He wants the promise that God makes to bless you, this man is open to these things.
If your Josquin. Do you want to have your sins forgiven or do you want eternal life.
Would you want to be a Christian answer yes to every single one of them. He believes Christian because he believes everything is typical of many folk in our own time, don't you think that they're open to anything whatever whatever happens to work in deluxe so that's pliable. The pliable never reads the book he really was never burdened by the sense of his own sin so he is like the seed in the Lord's parable of the sword in Matthew 13 and he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that hear the words on the non-withdrawing receives it yet has he not root in himself, but endures for a while and when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word by-and-by is offended by them and he doesn't have any roots and that this is this is pliable bananas commentating on various responses to the gospel. There is responsible obstinate in his assessment when he goes away, but there's the response of pliable who for a season. The case seems to be interested in the gospel seems to respond at least for a season. But then when trouble comes, he disappears out. The second thing we see in this part of the story is Bunyan's attempts to describe how conviction of sin can actually lead you to war's state of affairs before it actually gets better now. That's not true of everyone who is a Christian that not everyone has this biography. This is so this is an autobiography I think of the way Bunyan himself experience salvation than before he came to assurance of faith, he actually went down and down and down into further and further conviction and further further depression with regards to the hopelessness of his condition pliable is still there continues with the Christian until they come to a blog quicksand.
It's a well-known place. Of course the slough of despond.
You may say slough off. I've even heard the word slough but in England it is slough and in Bunyan's time, it was most definitely slough the slough of despond because Christian is weighed down with this burden when it comes to this quicksand. Of course he begins to sink, but pliable because pliable doesn't have a button pliable is a set of light protectant and he manages to free himself from this quicksand without too much difficulty. And next on the scene comes a man by the name of help. Again, these are these are evangelists just like evangelists and self-help is there to to a Christian on in the pathway to salvation and help her protect his hand on the takes hold of Christianity pulls them out of the accent. Alexander Whyte says of this section. In his description of the slough. Bunyan touches his highest watermark for humor and pathos in power and beauty of language. Upon getting stuck in the mire Christian Gnostics help why this place isn't better signposted and and why it isn't fixed and the answer is very interesting this miry slough is such a places cannot be amended. It is the descendent whether the scum and filth that that tends conviction for sin, death continually run and therefore it's called the slough of despond for.
Still, as the sinners awakened about his lost condition. There are varieties in his soul. Many fears and doubts. It's a discouraging place and help her continues to describe how millions of instructions sent to try and mend the place of being swallowed up and that the lawgiver has placed steps to enable the traveler to find a way through a Bunyan is so describing. I think her how he himself descended into a period of melancholy and despair. He was under conviction of sin.
His own personal life for for 18 months. He heard this sermon he been rebuked about his blasphemy and his body language and he been told by a woman of ill repute outside the store one day that he was he was heading to hell unless he mend his so ways, but he still hasn't found the gospel he still hasn't found the way of salvation in the way of assurance of the forgiveness of sins.
So there's another incidence, another takes place obstinate is gone, pliable, managed to get out of the slough of despond easily because he had no burden and help has pulled Christian out of the slough of despond and now the renters another character man by the name of worldly Wiseman and worldly Wiseman is going to send Christian to a place called morality a little village called morality and their he is to meet with a man called Mr. legality who is skilled so worldly. Wiseman says he's skilled at removing burdens like the one Christian has course, this is the way it works. At this is the way of obedience that the way to remove your burden of sin is to do more is to obey the 10 Commandments is to throw yourself into a life of obedience now little later in the story evangelists. I will tell Christian for three things about worldly Wiseman will say first of all that he turns Christian onto the wrong path. Secondly that he makes the cross all gifts to him. And thirdly, he suggests a way that can only lead to death. The way of walks.
Now Bunyan says in his own autobiography and I'm I'm quoting here from grace abounding to the chief of sinners and this is what Bunyan says. Thus, I continued about a year. Our neighbors did take me to be a very godly man, a new religious man and he turned over a new leaf. He had pulled himself up by his bootstraps. He attacked her liver and obedient life and to the outward world to the outward observance. He looked as if he was a new man.
And indeed, so our boss, though, yet I knew not Christ, nor grace, nor faith nor hope someone in the same something very important here that to the way out of conviction of sin is not going to be along the road of obedience is not going to be a along the road of obeying the 10 Commandments of doing good works. Bunyan and his own personal life was fond of the sound of Tintin ambulation.
If you know that what Tinton ovulation, etc. Cabelas listening to church bells and as a married man now to his wife that he would love to go into the church and Bedford and listen to the bellringers in a else to church and she would go up rights to the board and put his ear next to the wood so that he could hear the reverberation of these bells, but as the conviction of his sins grew more and more intense. He began to fear that one of these bells would become unstuck and fall and kill him. This this was part of his conviction that God was out to get to him that the Roth of God would catch him and destroy him know that's his own personal experience in some some of that I think is playing out here in Pilgrim's progress to worldly Wiseman's advice, then, was to go to a town called morality and to meet this man, Mr. legality.
Sounded like good advice to Christian so he sets off in the direction for the town called morality and discovers that this town is on the top of a very steep hill, and his burden is such that he thinks he cannot claim this hill and in illustrative volumes of Pilgrim's progress. Now you you have a little tableau and you'll see Christian. With this huge burden on his back and his timing is very steep hill and and he doesn't feel as though he's going to make it to the top.
Listen to Bunyan's description of it so Christian turned out of his way to go to Mr. legality's house for help, but behold, when he was got no hard by the hill. It seemed so high and also that side of it that was next to the wayside. Did hanging so much over the Christian was afraid to venture further less, the hill should fall on his head. Wherefore, there he stood still and he want not what to do. Also, his burden now seemed heavier to him than while he was in the way that came also flashes of fire out of the hill that made Christian afraid that he should be burned here. Therefore, he swept and did quake for fear then introduces some of his poetry and his portrait isn't always great poetry, it's always good theology, but he wasn't a great poet when Christians untrue carnal man give year out of their way, they go and pay for it. Dear the master worldly Wiseman can but show a Saints. The way to bondage and to woe.
That's an example of Bunyan's poetry, not great poetry and no Christian begun to be sorry that he had listened to the advice of Mr. worldly Wiseman it's of course are Bunyan preaching the gospel. His preaching Paul is preaching.
Romans 320 by the deeds of the law shall no man be justified. This was the discovery of youth in the previous century to Bunyan that by obedience, by acts of obedience to the law by the works of the law that no one no man or woman can be justified, not the labor of my hands come fulfilled by laws, demands could my zeal no rest. Spike no good. My tears forever flow all for sin could not atone.
Thou must save thou alone so Gustavus Copley protect the disappointed evangelists to enter the game and asks what you might expect him to ask what you doing here why have you gone out of the way he supposed to be heading towards this light to the wicked, Katyn tears veered off the path to the town called morality Christian tells him his sorry tale and evangelist quotes from Scripture from the book of Hebrews see that you refuse not him that speaketh, for if they escaped not to refused him that spake on us much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven. Hebrews 1225 unchristian falls stone saying woe is me, for I am undone more conviction, more burden of sin, and he reassures him that God will forgive. This is evangelists nonreassuring for sin that God will forgive all kinds of sin. No matter how document terrible. They all unchristian once again begins to wind his way towards the wicked gates and in the process of time. He gets up to written notices that over the gates, there is a text it's from Matthew seven and verse eight knock and it shall be opened unto you, and again you are familiar sure with the little tableau's civil little etchings or drawings in Pilgrim's progress of Christian knocking at the gate and above the narrow gates that is this text from the sermon on the Mount's knock and it shall be opened unto it is the free offer of the gospel that whoever knocks on the skates.
The gates will open no matter how great the burden, no matter how great the sins man comes to the gate his name is goodwill to love these names that Bunyan conjures up Mr. goodwill I who asks who's there and from where he had, and what did you want to attend.
Christian says here is a poor burden sinner. I come from the city of destruction, but I'm going to Mount Zion that I may be delivered from the Roth to come. I would therefore serve since I am informed that by this gate is the way for the know if you're willing to let me in and Mr. goodwill says I am willing with all my heart said he and without. He opened the gates under goodwill helps them through actually pulls him through the gates and because for one reason, to the science. There is a console occupied by one called Beelzebub.
That's interesting that Bunyan would have satanic opposition right at the point at which he enters the gate and that's of course a mark of Puritan theology in the 17th century that the Christian life is one of bottle. It's one of for hostility. We fight the world and the flesh and the devil. And so right at the entry gates, there is the opposition of Beelzebub who is trying to wound him is he sending arrows in the direction of the gates. And so Mr. goodwill for the Yanks symposium in I think you also see and something that will both comment on them for the lectures, something of Bunyan's Calvinism Bunyan's account of the season, unapologetic Calvinist, he is more than familiar with the rigors of Calvinism is especially with regards to the teleology with regard to the doctrine of salvation, and that ultimately that we are saved not because of human decision, not because of a desire on our part that we are saved entirely by the grace and the mercy and the power of God. Bunyan recognizes that in the debates earlier on in his own century and the sin of the referred daughter, for example, and then the discussions of the Westminster assembly that two of these are these are important matters and that the way we are saved the way we are to be brought into union and communion with Jesus Christ is because God ultimately will set that it's not doing this, not even willing guests. We do will, but because God makes us willing in the day of his power, and so into the very narrative itself.
He introduces illustratively, this idea that at the end of the day.
Christian is sort of pulled in through the gate, and from this point onwards a Christian is a saved man.
He is a redeemed man or is he because he still has his burden and actually he will have his burden for many more pages and we will have to go through a variety of places, surprising places before Christian actually loses his burden and let's raise the issue. What point exactly, did Christian become a Christian to the velveteen mind. This is further read this Pilgrim's progress's Dr. Derek Thomas helping us see the incredible depth in John Bunyan's Pilgrim's progress. This book is been a beloved companion for generations of Christians, and it brings into sharp focus the trials we face as believers, but it also reinforces the great hope that we have in Christ, Dr. Thomas series covers the entire book in 19 lessons. Sam would like to send you the three DVD set just requested today with your donation of any amount to look in your ministries. You can do that email@example.com or you can call us here at later.
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Dr. Thomas is one of our teaching fellows here at legionnaire RC Sproul handpicked these gifted men for their for their broad experience in the pulpit as well as in the classroom. They service by remaining true to our founding purpose and today we have benefited from Dr. Thomas's expertise on John Bunyan's classic work again would like to send you the 19 part series that he taught in the Pilgrim's progress call us at 800-435-4343 with your gift of any amount you can also make a request online at Renewing Your Mind toward tomorrow. Our journey through the Pilgrim's progress takes is to interpret his house. Christian has many lessons to learn is doing to join us here Friday or Renewing Your Mind