Skip to main content

Seven ways that Christ comes to the church

It is wonderful to know, from Sibbes, that Christ comes to the church but: "How does he knock?" Sibbes answers: In every kind of way.

God comes to speak to us in our own language,
1. In mercy and in correction, by his word and his works.
2. By invitation
3. By the good example of other Christians
4. His ministerial knocking:
When he was here in the days of his flesh, he was a preacher and prophet himself, and now he is ascended into heaven, he has given gifts to men, and men to the church, Eph. 4:11, seq., whom he speaks by, to the end of the world. They are Christ's mouth, as we said of the penmen of Holy Scripture. They were but the hand to write; Christ was the head to indict. So in preaching and unfolding the word they are but Christ's mouth and his voice... So the ministers are Christ's mouth. When they speak, he speaks by them, and they are as ambassadors of Christ, whom they should imitate in mildness... So Christ speaks by them, and puts his own affections into them, that as he is tender and full of bowels himself, so he has put the same bowels into those that are his true ministers.... He speaks by them.
5. By the Spirit:
. Oh! the Spirit is the life, and soul of the word; and when the inward word, or voice of the Spirit, and the outward word or ministry go together, then Christ does more effectually knock and stir up the heart... Now this Spirit with sweet inspirations knocks, moves the heart, lightens the understanding, quickens the dull affections, and stirs them up.
6. By the conscience

Summary: We see what means Christ uses here his voice, works, and word; works of mercy and of correction; his word, together with his Spirit, and the conscience, that he has planted, to be, as it were, a god in us; which together with his Spirit may move us to duty.

7. And the whole Trinity knocks:
"Whilst Christ thus knocks, all the three persons maybe said to do it. For as it is said else where, that ‘God was and is in Christ reconciling the world,' etc., 2 Cor. 5:19. For whatsoever Christ did, he did it as anointed, and by office. And therefore God does it in Christ, and by Christ, and so in some sort God died in his human nature, when Christ died. So here the Father beseeches when Christ beseeches, because he beseeches, that is sent from him, and anointed of the Father. And God the Father stoops to us when Christ stoops, because he is sent of the Father, and does all by his Father's command and commission, John v. 27. So besides his own bowels, there is the Father and the Spirit with Christ, who does all by his Spirit, and from his Father, from whom he has commission. Therefore God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit knock at the heart. 'Open to me, my love, my dove, my undefiled;' but Christ especially by his Spirit, because it is his office."
But, we might ask: why does he wait - why does he not force his way in? (to be continued)


Popular posts from this blog

"Big eyes full of wonder"

Books. Fiction. Libraries. Second only to churches as are the best gateways in your community to ultimate reality and new possibilities.

Our local library has just re-opened after refurbishment, and I love that our boys have spent several mornings there during the summer holidays, discovering some wonderful new stories.

I realised a few months back that I wasn't reading enough fiction. My work necessitates reading a lot of non-fiction, a mix of historical and contemporary thinking, biblical studies and theology. But fiction is the cinderella. Easily overlooked, and yet able to awaken my imagination and show me the way things are meant to be.

So I've picked up a few more lately - bought and borrowed. Not every book attempted flies, and that's ok. These have been winners though.

Ink. This is Alice Broadway's debut novel. It's young adult fiction and tells the story of Leora who lives in a world where the events of your life are tattooed on your skin. Nothing gets hid…

Uniquely Matthew

Reading gospel accounts in parallel is sometimes used to blur the differences in perspective between the evangelists, seeking to harmonise the texts and find a definitive historical account of what happened. No such thing exists because every account is biased and limited. You simply can't record everything. You have to hold a vantage point. And that's not a problem.

Matthew, Mark and Luke take a very different vantage point to John who was of course an eyewitness himself of the events. Comparing the text of Matthew, Mark and Luke across the death and resurrection of Jesus yields two steps.

Firstly, the common ground. All three accounts tell of...
Simon of Cyrene carrying the cross…. · Jesus labelled as King of the Jews…. · Criminals crucified with Jesus… · Darkness in the daytime… · Jesus' loud final cry… The women who witnessed Jesus death, and Jesus' burial… · The tomb lent to Jesus by Joseph of Arimithea… · The women who went to the tomb on the morning of the…

Songs we're singing in Church

Christians are a singing people, it's part of what we do when we gather.

Our church meets morning an evening on a Sunday - normally using 5 songs in each service. So, over the year that's about 520 song-slots available. The report from the database system we use ( tells us that in the past year we've sung about 150 different songs.

Our current most used song has been sung 11 times in the last year, just under once a month. Our top 10 are used about every 6 weeks. By #30 we're talking about songs used every two months. The tail is long and includes loads of classic hymns from across the centuries, plus other songs from the past 40 years, that we have used around once a term or less.

1. Rejoice - Dustin Kensrue

2. Come Praise & Glorify - Bob Kauflin

3. Man of Sorrows - Hillsong

4. Cornerstone - Hillsong

Rejoice was a song I didn't previously know, along with a couple of others that have quickly become firm favourites for me: Chri…