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From Vanity to Doubting Castle

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
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January 21, 2022 12:01 am

From Vanity to Doubting Castle

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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January 21, 2022 12:01 am

There may be danger on the road to the Celestial City, but God arms His people for the battles ahead. Today, Derek Thomas evaluates how the reality of spiritual warfare in the Christian life is portrayed in The Pilgrim's Progress.

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Growing up today on Renewing Your Mind. The Pilgrim's progress in the defeat of drive despair or overflows stay with us in John Bunyan's allegorical masterpiece the Christian life is pretrade as a battle against worldliness indwelling sin and evil as we read the Pilgrim's progress were encouraged to fight the same enemies with all her might.

All the while realizing that our strength is from the Lord. The victory is his bottom, but this is lecture number 17. In our studies sin Pilgrim's progress in number five. In part two of the story of Christiana and before boys we left them last time that the house or in of Gaia's. They were there about two months or so.

It's on the outskirts of the city of Urbana to wear vanity for where Faithfull was smart to impart one of the story and the true weddings have taken place. Matthew, the oldest boy has married Mercy and James II oldest has married Phoebe diocese daughter, so another set out diocese in his on the outskirts of the city of vanity, so they had no in the direction of the city of vanity in the great talks recounts the tale of Christian it's one of these moments in the book and the tail where your have a recap of the story not so much of talk to but of part one of the story just in case you've forgotten what it happened. Along this path took the journey we are told once again of Faithfull's mountains so Christiana and mercy and Matthew, James, and Phoebe Mr. honest on two other characters Mr. ready to halt who has crutches and Mr. feeble mind seems to be afraid that he'll be a burden to the others. These are the characters now that into vanity, they launch at the house of a man by the name of Mr. Nason M and a SON Nason. He says suppress Uno from Cypress, an old disciple and the this is being taken directly from acts 21 and verse six somebody who showed kindness in the ministry of the apostle Paul, under some Saints, then even in the most we could of places. Vanity is a wicked city is a city full of allurements attempted to name a couple of cities that are probably should refrain but even these godless places that the Lord's people and Mr. Nason, the suppressant is one of the reasons for his daughter's in particular one by the name of grace to fetch Mr. contrite Mr. holy man. Mr. love St. Mr. Dare not die and Mr. penitent of the people of vanity now appear to be much more moderate than when Christian visited there. This is the place where Faithfull was monitored. This is part two Pilgrim's progress are published in 1684, there were in fact killing time since Scotland in the 1680s there were some macho, some Covenanters were persecuted in Scotland in the 1680s, but not in England and I think combining is reflecting here. Perhaps an English mysterious understanding of further times and the persecution at least violent persecution seems to be a thing of the pasta and so when Christiana and her troop come through vanity. Actually, they discover it's a much more moderate place than when Christian visited there. They stay at the house of Nason for a while and that to more weddings. Samuel the third eldest boy to grace the daughter of Nason and Martha to Joseph, the fourth remaining son, so all four of the boys now married and all within the space of a few pages in the narrative and the you are expected of course to marry him to marry early on in Christian homes in the 17th century marriage was regarded with great deal of fell onto and they would be expected to have a family and raise children and instruct them in the way of further godliness to for weddings than in the space of a few pages now monster of seven headed seven horns monster comes out of the woods and murderous a number of people.

Those who love their lives more than their souls succumb to his demands, and are spared but Gray talked determines to go and do battle with this monster. They wound him seriously. Bunyan seems to making the point that their preaching unchristian action can seriously hinder the progress of evil in society.

Vanity itself isn't as evil as it was in the time of Christian and the faithful.

But there are evil things in this monster appears on the here is Gray talked doing arts and seriously injuring the seven headed seven horns monster. They stand a while. No at the place where Faithfull was killed and the give thanks to him that enabled him to bear his cross so well and then they approach a river that is on this side of the delectable Mountains. They see a mandrel and a place for the nourishing and bringing up of Landon's the babes of whose women that go on pilgrimage under Christiana urges her for daughters-in-law mercy. Phoebe grace and Martha to the care of one who can have compassion on that can go and gather these lambs with his arms and counted them in his bosom, and that can gently lead those who are with young suggesting perhaps that these women are by now expecting children of their own in the allegory they come true bypass mental this is where Christian and hopeful. His new companion. I had crossed over the style had taken the said bypass the mentor that didn't storm you remember they were fearful of being drowned and then having survived the storm they take shelter. It's nighttime. They sleep and then there caught by giant despair taken back to the dungeon of the castle of giant despair and his wife for diffidence and they come to that spot in the road where the spy bypass mental style that leads to my path meadow and they determined to do something.

Mr. Gray talked Mr. honest and for the sons now set out on a journey along by path meadow they're going to ransack this castle, the government destroy this castle and do they leave the women behind the wives and Christiana in charge of our Mr. feeble mind, and Mr. ready to halt you remember who is on crutches now. Modern commentators on Bunyan charged him with being something of a of a what what what can I use a misogynist.

At this point the two purposes. The 17th century and the women should not have been in a place of battle in the 17th century. So there are obviously left behind under the care of these two men even though one of them is feebleminded and the other one is on crutches now Bunyan affixes a text here. Isaiah 11 six a little child might lead to them. The point I think is that is the travel on God's Highway, there may be danger but to source protection know God is necessary in the least qualified conservative in what is the symbolic role that's been paid out here now back to the Giants in the castle and the diffidence giant despair and his wife diffidence are killed and then for the next seven days as they destroy the castle. The plunder to raise it to the ground. They find the dead bodies everywhere under the bones lying around and they discover to people. Mr. despondency and his daughter much afraid, these two are very much alive, the brought back to Mr. despondency and his daughter much afraid that when they hear this conquest when they come back in the here of the conquest that everyone breaks into singing and tell me reads part of the narrative here when Mr. Gray tightens his companions had performed this exploit. They took Mr. despondency and his daughter much afraid into their protection, for they were honest people, though they were prisoners and doubting castle to that tyrant giant despair. They therefore I say took with them. The head of the giant for his body that buried under a heap of stones and down to the road and to their companions. They came and showed them what they had done that when feeble mind and ready to halt Saul that it was the head of giant despair. Indeed, they were very Jock Congdon married no Christiana if need was could play upon the bio the daughter mercy upon the loot. So, since there were so Mary disposed she played them a lesson.

I'm ready to halt would dance so have this picture of this man with crutches and he's about to dance. So he took despondency's daughter named much afraid by the hand and to dancing they went in the road to he could not dance without one crutch in his hand, but I promise you he footed it well. Also, the girl was to be commended for she answered. The music handsomely while you might think that's somewhat surprising if you inhibit sentencing for Puritanism work is how often 17th century Puritanism is portrayed, namely, as being opposed to music and dancing and entertainment and enjoyment and fun HL Mencken's famous definition of Puritan the nagging fear that someone somewhere may be happy, but well Bunyan knew all about happiness and the joy food and even dancing in the officer knew a thing about dancing the describes here how especially this rather amusing picture of Mr. ready to halt. I would one crutch and one hands and his partner in the other end of the dancing dancing to what we are asked dancing to the death and the severed heads of Giants despair. This is so this is a great story, but it it it raises to the surface of very important issue. The importance of spiritual warfare because this is what the allegory is talking about. It's talking about spiritual warfare.

We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world.

Paul says this battle against sin against indwelling sin remaining sent remaining corruption we forgive him that would be Bunyan's understanding of the gospel that when we come to Christ we are forgiven we are justified all our sins past, present and future are forgiven and yet we continue to sin, our sins are forgiven, but we continue to sin and therefore we we need us. The Lord's prayer reminds us to confess our ongoing sins on a daily basis. We wrestle against indwelling sin. Bunyan would've had the typical 17th-century understanding of the second half of Romans chapter 7 of the good that I would. I do not do evil, that I would not that I find that I do a wretched man that I am who shall deliver me from the body of this destined he would've understood that us Paul describing how a Christian season engages in experiences. His ongoing Christian life us as an ongoing battle against indwelling sin.

There would be a battle against the world.

That's what vanity stands for the city of vanity and even though vanity this time is less evil than it was in the time of Christianity.

Still, it is still part of the world.

It still has its allurements and its temptations. It's a city followed Bunyan that this would remind him of how the Bible itself divides the whole history of the world into two cities. The city of Babylon and the city of Jerusalem and how in the closing chapters of Revelation.

Revelation 17 fall and fall in this Babylon the great, from the varieties of the Tower of Babel in the book of Genesis says symbol of worldliness of the human aggrandizement usurping God's role and position right through to the closing chapters of Revelation there is a battle against worldliness against the philosophies and ideas of the world that would seek to drag you away from your commitment to be the Lord sent to live out and out for Jesus Christ battle against indwelling sin battle against the world but also of course a battle against Satan battle against evil and the battle against the hordes send the menu of Satan fighting an enemy Christian against Apollyon. Now Gray talked against Giants giant mall Giants lay good and grim, and others.

I Bunyan is a monster to portraying this particular aspect of the Christian life is one of bottle is also an issue here that we can touch on for a few minutes and that is the whole business of the castle castle of giant despair. This is a threat that comes into the lives of Christians are the threat of despair to lose hope to lose assurance to grow melancholy your member in part one, one of the things that giant despair tried to do was to get Christian and hopeful to take their own lives.

The softness of suicide, even in part one of Pilgrim's progress.

But spiritual despair. Think of the great passages of the Bible. Elijah under the juniper tree in first Kings 19 asking God to take away his life. Realizing that perhaps his end was near, and that he didn't want Jezebel.

Ahab's wife to have all the glory didn't want them to read in a newspaper that took cream Jezebel had taken the life of Elijah that if he was going to die that God should do it. Jeremiah in the Jeremiah 1920. Remember when it spent the night in the stocks. The chief temple policeman under the name of Asher had got enough of Jeremiah's preaching of doom and gloom and judgment tend to put them in the stocks and then released him the next morning and Jeremiah preaches the same sermon again term in the morning and then suddenly mean very suddenly changes in the Jeremiah begins to utter words like custody, the day that I was born and wishing that he had died in the stillbirth inside his mother's womb so that his grave would forever be with his mother, wishing that the midwife who had said it's a boy in a had never been born. Actually, Jeremiah's coaching almost verbatim. The third chapter of Joel similar experience that Job went through after his trial that even the Psalms. A while without costs down on my soul. While though disquieted within me off. Perhaps the two on the man's throat after the death of Jesus and the walking remember how Luke describes them to pass and probably his wife and probably clear person and his wife are relatives of Jesus.

Relatives of Mary, there is that tradition that's probably the identification bedroom how Luke describes it, their faces to the ground. Looking down… Hangdog expression under Bunyan is Sir doing without hearing Pilgrim's progress among the reasons why. Great hearts and the four boys goal and destroy the castle of giant despair is because he sees this is a great threat. It's an enormous threat to the people of God. The temptation to despair. The temptation to darkness, the temptation to melancholy until this is Bunyan dealing with counseling issues dealing with them from the Scriptures dealing with them from spiritual principles dealing with them from the principles of the gospel and going in there and destroying the Giants and his wife and raising the castle to the ground, but in that passage that I just read stairs. My version has a picture of the well is a picture of the Giants had done a poll by the side of the road and their dancing around it and playing the lieutenants on and then there's a little description and it says the doubting castle he demolished the giant despair has left his head, but she says sin can rebuild the castle sin can really build the castle and make despair.

The giant live again even though he's been killed. Sin can rebuild that castle. The removal of this temptation to despondency was only a temporary thing. Sin can make it reappear again an interesting comment by Bunyan about the whole issue of the temptation of the fight very engaged in against the world and the flesh and the devil drawn Bunyan's betrayal of the Christian life is a masterpiece we really are in a battle a spiritual battle and we need to be trained and equipped to fight with the weapons and armor that God has given us once the apostle Paul describes in Ephesians chapter 6 there listening to Renewing Your Mind and we went. Thank you for being with us today.

Dr. Derek Thomas has been our guide to report to the Pilgrim's progress this week following Christiana story the entire series that he taught is available in a three DVD set. Contact us today with a gift of any amount of regular ministries and will be glad to send it your way to donate online. You can go to Renewing Your or you can call us. Our number is 800-435-4343 our desire.

Regular ministries indeed our prayer is to see a worldwide awakening to the truth of God's word, our president and CEO Chris Larson joins me here in the studio Chris we hear from so many people who been exposed to reformed theology for the first time they tell us how it's provided them with a much bigger view of who God is and our desires to reach even more people this year absolutely and to be able to reach more people. It was Dr.'s bowl.

In fact, who believed in an innovative use of technology. He would connect that even to Paul circulating his letters on the Roman roads and how that was able to travel around the Mediterranean. Of course with Guttenberg in his invention and health.

Martin Luther appropriated that for the dissemination of gospel truth were continuing to make significant investments in technology with her new website were working on a new edition of our app, but our Apollonian has received more than a million downloads that significant outreach that's happening. Listen to this testimony. He's using the link in your app on a regular basis. It was like going to seminary on your phone for free right to get such breadth and depth of knowledge of the beauty and glory of the gospel and in the entire world of theology at your fingertips is revolutionary and have solid doctrinal biblical Orthodox historic reformed teaching through.

That means, without a doubt God is blessed in my life, and we appreciate Andrew sharing that with us and that you too can have a seminary at your fingertips when you begin using the link in your app is Andrew did. It's free and can be used on Apple and android devices to slip forward in your app store when you search for Ligonier many people believe that the Reformation was a trivial debate over words next week. Dr. Michael Reeves joint is to explain why the Reformation was critical and it still is. That's because theological precision has eternal significance. Join us for Reformation truth, beginning Monday here on Renewing Your Mind

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