What would reformer ulrich zwingli say to us today?
"For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21
Back to the Bible
2019 marks the 500th anniversary of systematic Biblical Exposition. It was 1 January 1519 when Swiss Reformer, Ulrich Zwingli, launched the Reformation in Switzerland by beginning Expository Preaching. Starting with Matthew 1:1, he worked, week by week, chapter by chapter, verse by verse, line by line, through every Book and every Word of the New Testament. This bold action of replacing the Latin mass with the preaching of the Word of God, in the local language, marked the beginning of Expository Preaching.
The Reformer of Switzerland
Ulrich Zwingli was the father of the Reformation in Switzerland. Born and raised in the Alps, Zwingli was one of the most colourful and audacious characters in Swiss history. A devout student of Scripture, Zwingli was transformed and shaped by the Word of God. He has been described as "an amazing combination of intellect, passion and wit."
Man of the Mountains
Born at an altitude of 3,600 feet (1,100 metres), the son of the Mayor of Wildhaus, Zwingli studied in Bern, Basel and Vienna. In 1506, he received his MA degree. As a pastor in Glarus, Zwingli served as a chaplain with Swiss soldiers in the Battle of Marignon.
Praying the Imprecatory Psalms for Justice
Encouraging Victims of Persecution
To those of us involved in ministering to Christians suffering persecution the imprecatory Psalms are a tremendous source of comfort. Those of us who are fighting for the right to life of the preborn, or battling social evils such as pornography, or violent crime, need to appreciate what an important weapon God has entrusted to us in the imprecatory Psalms. This study will help inspire and guide your prayers and the prayers of your family and congregation:
The Imprecatory Psalms
When I first encountered the prayers for judgement in the Psalms, I was quite as loss to know how to respond to them. Prayers such as:
"Break the arm of the wicked and evil man; call him to account for his wickedness..." Psalm 10:15 did not seem consistent with the gospel of love which I had accepted. Yet Psalm 10:15 was clearly motivated by love for God ("The Lord is King forever and ever; the nations will perish from His land" 10:16 and "Why does the wicked man revile God?" 10:13) and by love for the innocent who suffer ("You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them and You listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more." 10:17-18.)
The Wrath of God
Nevertheless, I grew increasingly uncomfortable reading such graphic prayers for God to judge the wicked as: "Pour out Your wrath on them; let Your fierce anger overtake them" 69:24; "O Lord, the God who avenges, O God who avenges, shine forth. Rise up, O Judge of the earth, pay back to the proud what they deserve." 95:1-2; "Break the teeth in their mouths, O God... let them vanish like water... let their arrows be blunted... The righteous will be glad when they are avenged, when they bathe their feet in the blood of the wicked. Then men will say, 'Surely the righteous still are rewarded; surely there is a God who judges the earth.'" 58:6-11. Certainly I wanted God to be honoured and yes, I was deeply distressed by the prevalence of evil - but could I actually pray for God to pour out His wrath on the wicked?
The Heart is deceitful and desperately wicked
“Thus says the Lord: ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited. ‘Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit. ‘The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” Jeremiah 17:5-10
Madness and Wickedness in the Heart
"I am a good person!"
Jesus said no one is good except God alone (Mark 10:18). When we evaluate ourselves in the light of God's Ten Commandments, recognising that Jesus is the standard, no one should deceive themselves by claiming that: "I am a very good person!"
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