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March 5, 2021 12:01 am
Jesus cautioned that those who follow Him must carefully count the cost of discipleship. Today, Derek Thomas considers a sobering description in The Pilgrim's Progress of those who fail to count the cost.
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John Bunyan 17th-century people were afraid of sin that a falling away from the faith. This is a very sobering truth one. I think that makes a Bunyan's photo's progress perhaps shocking and somewhat alarming to modern readers, particularly modern readers who have been influenced by an easy believe is if we read the Pilgrim's progress to help but be reminded of very real spiritual issues in our own lives. What's at stake in the decisions we make and we overcome pitfalls and obstacles. What must we do in this life to make it to the next generations of Christians have benefited from this beautiful story today on Renewing Your Mind. We returned to Dr. Derek Thomases behind-the-scenes look, welcome back to elective three and study together of Bunyan's Pilgrim's progress worth a very very interesting stage in Pilgrim's progress. The Christian has just made it through the wickets cake tasting pulled through by a man by the name of goodwill and you you might have you not known. The story you might've expected at this point for the burden to roll away from this point onwards, that would be little by way of difficulty. But actually that's not the case and what happens now is alarming. For some it is distressing for others it is confusing because Mr. goodwill tells him not to go to the house of Mr. interpreter and here in this house. He will see many things, one of which will be deeply, deeply disturbing Alexander White says in his commentary on Putin's progress among the characters of Pilgrim's progress. He says every minister of the gospel is an interpreter and every evangelical church is an interpreter's house to bear that in mind as commentators try to understand what Bunyan is actually doing at this point he saying that the church has a responsibility to teach those who are recently converted those who've been brought in through the wickets gate that got a responsibility to teach them certain things about the way of salvation about what the Christian life actually looks like. I suppose Pilgrim's progress is at the opposite end of the spectrum from views of Christianity that might suggest come to Jesus and all your troubles will disappear now. I was told something of that kind of when I became a Christian and actually what I discovered was that came to Jesus and I discovered problems I didn't have before. I think the Bunyan is wanting to prepare Christians and his readers for the difficulty of the Christian life that the Christian life is going to be a bottle from beginning right up to the point of entry to the celestial city when he comes to the house of interpreter and interpreter lights a candle and gives Christian a tour of the house under what kind of further issues now emerge seven. In particular, the stress a couple of them more than the others, but he's basically taken to seven different rooms because first of all that he sees a picture, a portrait and it's a very grave person with his eyes lifted up to heaven and he has the best of books in his hands on the law of truth upon his lips on the world behind his back and he is pleading with men in a crown of gold hangs over his head. While it might be special pleading on my parts to say bananas. Of course thinking here about a minister is thinking about her gospel preacher is thinking about an evangelist is thinking about the Puritan preacher of the 17th century, I think in Bunyan's mind this is his own minister, John Gifford and the Baptist church. A man who influenced Bunyan a great deal in his early coder mentions in his early discipleship and is characterized by several things is characterized by the fact that he has the Bible in his hands and he's an honorable man. He is the amount of truth and integrity is also an evangelist is pleading with men and women to come to the Savior and a crown of gold hangs over his head. This is a typical depiction of a 17th-century evangelical reformed Puritan preacher of the gospel concerned with proclaiming the truth of the Bible, but also concerned about bringing men and women to face and to a knowledge of the gospel to this man is like evangelist that we've seen is also like the card to help the preceding results. A bit like the man goodwill that we've seen who pulled them through the wickets gate and they'll be more such characters. All of them depicting the office of one who proclaims and preaches the gospel then secondly, he sees a man sweeping the room and all his achieving is producing a lot of dust until a girl brings water and and sprinkles the room and then the dust gathers and and can be swept away properly. What is this picture about and it's about the law. Bunyan reflects on Romans 79 when the commandment came soon revived and I die. Of course, sir. Bunyan is understanding that section of Romans sevenbiographical of the apostle Paul's own experience of salvation, and that when the law came. It stood up things like dust in the air, but actually didn't bring assurance of salvation I only the water of the gospel could bring assurance of salvation and again it's a it's a way of, for depicting pictorially the fact that the law has this character of this function of the raising within us and an even greater awareness of our sinfulness that the law that convicts that the law brings further evidence of our transgressions, then thirdly, he sees too little children. I one is called reason and the other is called patients and they represent the people of this world's who want everything now on people of the world to come were content to await the difference between those of the world and those sort of the kingdom of God and one is anxious to have everything right now and the other is content to wait for the world to come then. Fourthly, he's taken to a fireplace. The fire is burning and it's burning high and uncluttered. Despite the fact that somebody is throwing water on this file until he's taken around to the other side of the fire behind the wall and on the other side. Someone is throwing oil on the fire and causing it to blaze what is Bunyan trying to say he saying this is what our young Christian needs to understand that there's going to be opposition.
There is this going to be water thrown on your zeal, you come to Jesus you come to the gospel you come to salvation and you have this enthusiasm of this zeal, but the world will always be trying to put out the seal of the Holy Spirit will be pouring his oil of grace upon that heart and causing that flame to burn for the Lord and for the gospel. Then for three he sees a castle under this a scene of a man and is dressed in armor and he comes out and shows sword and he's engaging in battle against his opponents in the slaves. All of his opponents, and he's victorious but it's a picture battle and it's one of these.
It's a typical 17th-century understanding of what the Christian life looks like the Christian life from beginning to end. This one a battle. That's one of warfare. Ephesians 661 thinks of William Burnell, the Puritan of the 17th century, writing a 900 page volume of exposition of that section in Ephesians chapter 6 put on the whole armor of God so that in the day of battle in the might be able to stand at one thinks of the very famous often cited remark of John Geary nine 1646 just prior to Bunyan's own conversion is describing the character of an old English Puritan's whole life is accounted a warfare where in Christ was his captain is almost prayers and tears. The cross is bound, and his word is motto been sick. He posits her, which means he who suffers conquers Vincent the positive. He who suffers conquers. That was the motto of the typical English Puritan in the middle of the 17th century in Bunyan is in many ways. A typical English Puritan.
He is describing that the Christian life you come to Jesus and then you must be prepared to fight. You must be prepared to engage in a battle that will take you all the way to glory, it was a lesson I think Paul learned from his first missionary journey when he served recounting of the lessons of that first missionary journey in the home church in Antioch. He says in acts 1422. It is through much tribulation with winter the kingdom of God come to Jesus and you can expect warfare come to Jesus. You can expect tribulation come to Jesus, you can expect opposition from the world on the flash and the devil at the seventh I'll come back to the six because I want to dwell on it with us. Everything that he sees is a man arising out of bed shaking and trembling because he's had this dream of the day of judgment, and he was left behind. Now this isn't anything to do with left behind as we think of it in our own timeless interpretation of the secret rapture that that is what Bunyan is talking about when he is talking about two very important things you one is the day of judgment, that there is a day of reckoning and that would've been typical contents of the gospel. How do you do evangelism.
How do I do tell men and women that their lives are in danger.
You tell them about a day of reckoning you tell them about a day of accountability that there is a day that they will be brought before the judge. The judge of all the arts and he who sees everything and knows everything and you will have to give an account for everything that you've done and everything that you've said the day of judgment. The day of reckoning and the fact that that's in this picture this dream that this menace had that in this judgment he was. He was left behind. He he he wasn't to vindicate he wasn't exonerated he wasn't brought into the everlasting kingdom into the city of of God and to Bunyan is saying. I think that's it. Evangelism means being brought to that point where you realize that there are two roads here.
There is a road that leads to the eternal city.
But this also.
Another wrote a very fearful road, a road that can only leads to doom and destruction to the judgment and the eternal judgment of God, but we missed one and that's the six thing the interpreter shows him in this house and it's quite it's quite alarming. It's quite unexpected.
I imagine if you were to write a similar kind of tail today describing the nature of the Christian life. I I wonder if we would even dream of including what Bunyan includes here he sees a man in an iron cage and the man is saying that he was once a pilgrim he was once a Christian. He was once a confessor, a professor of of the Christian faith affair and flourishing professor is a Bunyan puts these words into this man's lips, one who professes faith. The one who claims to be a Christian and that he is so hardened his heart that he cannot repent, you have to ask yourself why does Bunyan depict this, why does he show this.
What is the purpose of this way does he get this from an answer to that. Of course, is Hebrews 6 and Hebrews 10 Hebrews 6. The description that's given of a man who is one screen and lightning to us was tasted of the heavenly gift who has tasted of the Holy Spirit. But that's if he doesn't. If he doesn't persevere if he commits what in the language of the King James version of the Bible in the 17th century was the unforgivable sin is sin that cannot be forgiven, then there is no repentance under this is this is the picture that's shown to Christian in interpreters house, a man who was once a flourishing Christian but has left off his perseverance and now finds himself in the states where he cannot repent. Let's read a little bit of the conversation between because Kristin interrogates this man in the iron cage. Kristin says what are you now and the man says I am now a man of despair in them shut up and it is in this iron cage. I cannot get out. I cannot get out. But how came as though in this condition, I left off to watch and be sober. I laid the reins upon the neck of my lusts.
I sinned against the light of the word on the goodness of God. I have grieved the spirit and he is gone. I attempted the devil and tears come to me. I have provoked God to anger and tears left me. I have so hardened my heart that I cannot repent and then Kristin says is there no hope. But you must be kept in the iron cage of despair.
No none at all commences why the son of the Blessed is very pitiful and the man says I have crucified him to myself of freshly quoting Hebrews 65 crucified him to myself a fresh five despised his person. I despise his righteousness have counted his blood, an unholy thing I have done despite the spirit of grace. Therefore I've shot myself out of all the promises that now remains to me nothing but threatenings, dreadful threatenings, fearful threatenings of certain judgment and fiery indignation which will devour me as an adversary for what did you bring yourself into this condition. Kristin nests and the man says for the lusts, pleasures and profits of this world and the enjoyment of which I did. Then promise myself much delight but now every one of those things also bite me and normally like a burning worm, but Not Now Repent and Turn God Us Denied Me Repentance Is What Gives Me No Encouragements to Believe EA Himself Has Shut Me up in This Iron Cage, nor Come All the Men in the World, Let Me out.
Oh, Eternity, Eternity. How Shall I Grapple with the Misery That I Must Meet with in Eternity, Sober and It's Quite Alarming. It's a It's Unexpected Because It's Not Part of Evangelical Preaching and Teaching in Our Time. In the 17th Century That Verse in Hebrews 6064 through Six and a Similar Set of Verses in Hebrews 10 That Were Taken Very Seriously Indeed, We Have To Ask I Think the Question When Did We Last Hear a Sermon on the Unforgivable Sin of the Sin against the Holy Spirit That Cannot Be Forgiven of These Days We Tends to Interpret That Does the Sin of Unbelief That the Only Sin the Company Forgiven Is Unbelief. You Gonna Faith You Can't Be Forgiven so That Becomes in the Unforgivable Sin.
But in the 17th Century the Sin against the Holy Spirit, the Unforgivable Sin Was a Sin That You Could Actually Commit to Us. It Was an Act of Apostasy. It Was a Deliberate Turning Away from the Truth of the Gospel and into a Life of Licentiousness from Which She Would Not Be Able to Repent and Deduct Postpartum Preaching in the 17th Century, and Bunyan Has a Tear in John Calvin's Time in the Previous Century There Was a Famous Italian Reformer Who Would Turn from Catholicism Embrace the Protestant Reformation and Then Towards the End of His I Had the Content on the Don Back into a Romanism and Intra-Way of Walks in and This Man Was Often Cited in Sermons As an Example of Somebody Who'd Committed the Act of Apostasy from Which There Would Be No Repentance.
At the Very Least a Bunyan Is Describing Here the Needs to Persevere in the Perseverance to the End Shall Be Saved.
He Sees Stressing Something That Is so Vital I Think to 17th Century Understanding of the Way of the Gospel That You Come to Jesus and You Come to Jesus by Faith Alone in Christ Alone. Nothing in My Hands I Bring, Simply to Thy Cross I Cling but Then You You Must Persevere Work out Your Salvation with Fear and Trembling, for It Is God That Works in You Both to Will and to Do of His Good Pleasure. And There Is a There Is a Holy Activity about the Christian Life, and of a Fearfulness of Sin in a Fearfulness of the Possibility of Apostasy across Server. The Archetype Here Is Judas Himself Who Was a Professing Disciple of Jesus in the Upper Room You Know When Jesus Is One of You Will Betray Me. They Didn't All Turn to Judas and Say Will You Know It's It's Gotta Be Him Because We Didn't Trust Them from the Stock to What What the Disciples Are Saying This Is. Is It Me, What Are You Talking about Me. So She Was Wanting, Who Had Been a Disciple Who Would Profess the Faith but Committed an Act of Apostasy from Which There Was No Repentance. This Is a This Is a Very Sobering Truth, and the One I Think That Makes a Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. Perhaps Shocking, and Somewhat Somewhat Alarming to Modern Readers, Particularly Modern Readers Who Have Been Influenced by an Easy Believe Is in a Come to Jesus and Then to Worry about Nothing from Thereon until the End. And Even If You Live like the Devil Are You Can Be Saved to the Whole Lordship Controversy of the 1980s and 1990s Comes to Mind Lloyd Jones Said of the Muffler. Joan Says I Can Say Definitely after Some 35 Years of Pastoral Experience That There Are No Passages in the Whole Scripture Which Are More Frequently Troubled People and Cause Them Soul Identity. The Passages in Hebrews 6 and Hebrews 10 That's an Interesting Statement in the I'm Not so Sure That We Would Be Saying That in the Time That We Live. I Think the Emphasis Is Gone Somewhere Else in Our Own Time. I Think When Humans Produce Progress Is a Reminder at the Very Least of the Needs to Persevere Right to the Very End. The Christian Life Is One of War for This Man in the Iron Cage Was Held up As a Warning. Remember Lots Wife. Remember Judas Remember the Man in the Iron Cage and That Is Why the Pilgrim's Progress Is Such an Incredible Help to Us As We Continue Our Own Journey through Life, and I Really Think It Causes Us to Ask the Question, Are We Prepared to Battle to the End We Heard a Message from Dr. Derek Thomas's Series on the Pilgrim's Progress. He Taught the Series in 19 Parts, Making His Way Chapter by Chapter through the Book We Only Scratch the Surface over the past Couple of Days Your on Renewing Your Mind.
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