Our faith

Our faith in Christ, a marvelous gift of God is the human side of our justification. God justified us by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ with into which we are baptized by the Spirit who simultaneously works faith in us. 

We are “kept by the power of God through faith (the means) unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” 

I Peter 1:5-7.

Note it is our faith in Christ, very precious faith, not as some posit, the faithfulness of Christ or our faith in the faithfulness of Christ. The object of our faith is Christ and it is we who believe and are kept believing till faith gives way to sight! Then faith and hope will be done away and only love, which is eternal, love between us and our Saviour will remain forever.

Communion with God the Son (3)

Owen continues:  Our fellowship with him is characterized by: (1.) Sweetness. (2.) Delight. (3.) Safety. (4.) Comfort.
(1.) Sweetness: “He brought me to the banqueting-house,” or “house of wine.” It is all set forth under expressions of the greatest sweetness and most delicious refreshment, — flagons, apples, wine, etc. “He entertains me,” saith the spouse. This is grace and mercy, — love, kindness, supplies revealed in the gospel, declared in the assemblies of the saints, exhibited by the Spirit. This “love is better than wine,” Song.1: 2 “not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Gospel dainties are sweet refreshments; whether these houses of wine be the Scriptures, the gospel, or the ordinances dispensed in the assemblies of the saints, or any eminent and signal manifestations of special love (as banqueting is not every day’s work.)

Alternative Medicine

Many people, including Christians are pinning their health hopes on alternative therapies which include homeopathy, acupuncture, reflexology and the like. If you are one of them or are contemplating trying one please take seriously this warning:

It probably will not work and it may be positively dangerous physically and spiritually.

Christian Medical Fellowship article

From triple helix – spring 2003 – Alternative medicine – A Christian perspective [pp4-6]

 PDF version
(Right click and choose ‘save as…’ to download a printable version of this article)

Communion with God the Son (2)

The bride compares him to the apple-tree among the trees ( Song of Songs 2:3) of the because he has the two eminent things of trees, which the residue of them have not:—

1. Fruit for food; 2. Shade for refreshment.

Of the one she eats, under the other she rests; both with great delight.  These are desirable things, to an hungry, weary soul (such alone seek for shade and fruit). “In Christ,” saith she, “there is fruit, fruit sweet to the taste; yea, ‘his flesh is meat indeed, and his blood is drink indeed,’ ” John 6:55. “Moreover, he has brought forth that everlasting righteousness which will abundantly satisfy any hungry soul, after it has gone to many a barren tree for food, and has found none. Besides, he abounds in precious and pleasant graces, whereof I may eat; yea, he calls me to do so, and that abundantly.” These are the fruits that Christ bears. They speak of a tree that brings forth all things needful for life, in food and raiment. Christ is that tree of life, which has brought forth all things that are needful unto life eternal. In him is that righteousness which we
hunger after; — in him is that water of life, which whoso drinks of shall thirst no more. Oh, how sweet are the fruits of Christ’s mediation to the faith of his saints! Shades for refreshment and shelter; — shelter from wrath without, and refreshment because of weariness from within. When the heat of wrath is ready to scorch the soul, Christ, interposing, bears it all. Under the shadow of his wings we sit down constantly, quietly, safely, putting our trust in him; and all this with great delight. Yea, who can express the joy of a soul safe shadowed from wrath under the covert of the righteousness of the Lord Jesus! There is also refreshment in a shade from weariness. He is “as the shadow of a
great rock in a weary land,” Isaiah 32:2. From the power of corruptions, trouble of temptations, distress of persecutions, there is in him quiet, rest, and repose, Matt. 11:27, 28.
John Owen

Communion with God the Son (1).

We commune with him ( I Cor.1:9) as Mediator.

The souls of the saints are the garden of Jesus Christ where he finds fragrance of graces he has imparted (Song of Sol. 2:14). He delights in the fruit of the Spirit in us (Song.5:1).

Likewise he calls the spiritual dainties that he has for us a “feast,” a
“wedding.” (Prov.9:2,5).

Both Christ and his church are likened to beautiful lilies, because they mutually indwell each other. He is also the fragrant rose of Sharon.

This mutual union and communion is the (new) covenant.

What he is to his spouse: “I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys” (Song of Songs 5: 1). The Lord Christ is, in the Scripture, compared to all things of eminency in the whole creation. He is in the heavens the sun, and the bright morning star; as the lion among the beasts, the lion of the tribe of Judah. Among the flowers of the field, here he is the rose and the lily. The two eminencies of flowers, sweetness of savour and beauty of colour, are divided between these. The rose for sweetness and the lily for beauty (“Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these” [Matt. 6:29])

Killing Sin (13)

OWEN EXHORTS US TO DEAL WITH SIN EARLY.

Consider what occasions, what advantages your sin has taken to exert and put forth itself, and watch against them all. This is one part of that duty which our blessed Saviour recommends to his disciples under the name of watching: Mark 8:37, “I say unto
you all, Watch;” Consider what ways, what companies, what opportunities, what studies, what businesses, what conditions, have at any time given, or do usually give, advantages to your distempers (besetting sins), and set yourself heedfully against them all. Men will do this with respect unto their bodily infirmities.  All things injurious to health they will generally avoid-JK. Are the things of the soul of less importance? Know that he that dares to dally with occasions of sin will dare to sin. He that will venture upon temptations unto wickedness will venture upon wickedness. Rise mightily against the first actings of your distemper, its first conceptions; suffer it not to get the least ground. Do not say, “Thus far it shall go, and no farther.” If it have allowance for one step, it will take another. It is impossible to fix bounds to sin. It is like water in a channel, if it once break out, it will have its course.  Remember James gives that gradation and process of lust, James 1:14, 15, that we may stop at the entrance. Dost you find your corruption to begin to entangle your thoughts? rise up with all your strength against it, with no less indignation than if it had fully accomplished what it aims at. Consider what an unclean thought would have; it would have you roll yourself in folly and filth.

How does God use his word?

Sword of the Spirit

It is a precious Bible truth, that the enlightening grace of the Holy Spirit, although it be specially promised to the Gospel ministry as that by which alone their peculiar functions can be successfully exercised, is not confined to them, nor to any one class or order of men, but it is common to all believers. Every private person, — every humble man, who takes his Bible in his hand, and retires to his closet to read and meditate on it there, is privileged to ask and to expect the teaching of the Spirit of God. ‘If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.’ The direct communication of every soul with God as ‘the Father of lights,’ with Christ as ‘the light of the world,’ and with the Holy Ghost as ‘the Spirit of truth,’ shows what standing the Christian people have in the Christian Church; and that, although God has graciously provided for them ministerial helps and spiritual guides, he has not left them absolutely dependent on any order of men; still less has he subjected them to mere human authority in matters of faith: ‘their faith must stand not in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.’ James Buchanan

The Right Knee saga-no more running!

UPDATED!

I have gone back to rowing as I always need a physical challenge and competition v self or others. As long as I don’t fully flex knee it ought to not be damaging impact. The brace has certainly eased the pain and may be a good stop gap between now and operation to permanently realine.

Proverbs 19:21 “ There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.”

Proverbs 20:24 “ Man’s goings are of the Lord; how can a man then understand his own way?”

Psalm 37:23  ” The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.”

“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21). I have enjoyed running of all kinds over the years and even toyed with the of the idea of one last decathlon. But it is not to be as the outside semi-lunar cartilage is almost  worn away, torn and loose, plus the cartilage on the end of my thigh bone is badly worn (pic. 2). Part of the reason for this is a slight misalignment leg at knee level (see pic. 1). Surgery is planned to augment the cartilage with an artificial spacer (pic. 4)and supplement that on the bone end along with a slight realignment of the bones by an osteotomy (bone cut-see pic. 3). After this, all high impact activities will be prohibited because they could undo all the work. So running, jumping and rowing (extreme flexion) are over. Cycling and walking should be ok. God is good and he knows what he is doing (Psalm 138:8).  

Knee

Pic.1

 

Pic. 2 Semi-lunar cartilages yellow, hyaline (glass-like) articular cartilage grey.

Pic.3 slight misalignment and it’s correction,

by taking a wedge of bone out of the distal femur.

Pic.4 artificial spacer

Possible surgery

More

More

and more

and more

and even more

more yet

more

more

more

http://www.briancolemd.com/wp-content/themes/ypo-theme/pdf/distal-femoral-osteotomy-2016.pdf

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00167-016-3988-2

http://tony-gibbon.co.uk/treatment/knee-treatment/treatments/distal-femoral-osteotomy

Cartilage regeneration

 

Patient experience

Total Knee Replacement

Sport after TKR

Rowing after Total Knee Replacement?

Re: Knee Replacements

Postby wsmith » August 6th, 2011

i am an orthopedic surgeon with a hip replacement. rower is good for hip and knee surgery but for knee should wait until swelling is down and start with easy, smooth rowing to gain motion and flexibility (prolonged knee inflammation can lead to decreased long term motion). probably will need to wait 4-6 months until it is good to train hard, i.e. intervals, etc. getting as full motion as needed for a complete catch may be difficult and take 9-12 months. but the motion and training from early on will be good for you and good for your knee. how things will end up will depend on previous training history, age and how long and severe the disablement was from the knee arthritis. good idea to discuss with the surgeon. nowadays, high levels of exercise are usually encouraged. probably you will be amazed at how good things will feel. the rower lets joint replacement patients potentially reach tremendous fitness levels in a safe, sustainable manner: ideal in many ways. you may not achieve previous speed levels due to some decrease in motion, but won’t it feel nice to train hard without the joint pain, even if it is not perfect? hss is a good choice with a proven track record of excellence in joint replacement surgery. the type of knee is not a important as everyone makes out. many surgeons have financial interests and you should ask: “why this particular company?” what is important is that the particular knee design is not brand new, has a proven track record and the surgeon does at least 100″ish” such surgeries per year. good luck. wade smith md
wsmith

 

Killing Sin (12)

 

Besetting sin is rooted in our nature, and often cherished, fomented, and heightened from our constitution.

1. This does not absolve of the guilt of your sin.
It is from the fall, from the original depravation of our natures, that the kindles and nourishment of any sin abides in our natural temper. David reckons his being shapen in iniquity and conception in sin aggravated his guilt. That you art peculiarly inclined unto
any sinful distemper is but a peculiar breaking out of original lust in your nature, which should peculiarly abase and humble you.

2. That in reference to your walking with God, without extraordinary watchfulness, care, and diligence, the sin will assuredly prevail against your soul.

3. For the mortification of any sin so rooted in the nature of a man, this is the key states the apostle, 1 Cor. 9: 27, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection.” The bringing of the very body into subjection is an ordinance of God tending to the mortification of sin. This gives check unto the natural root of the sin, and withers it.
That the means whereby this is done, — namely, by fasting and watching, and the like, — cannot of their own power, produce true mortification of any sin; for if they would, sin might be mortified without any help of the Spirit in any unregenerate person in the world. They are to be looked on only as ways whereby the Spirit may, and sometimes does, put forth strength for the accomplishing of his own work, especially in the case mentioned.

___________

Elijah at the brook Cherith

 

What should we learn from this episode in the fiery prophet’s life? One thing Rev. Bleyenberg makes clear is that Israel (Northern Kingdom) has grievously apostatised from true religion and as a result God withdraws his word (Amos 8:11). When churches like the Church of Scotland AND Church of England apostatise, which they have as denominations Christ withdraws his presence and grace and it is the calling of his elect people to come out, be separate and raise their voices against the wicked compromises with the world. For Elijah it meant safety, separation and provision. Following Christ faithfully will never leave us needy (Romans 8:32).

Killing Sin (11)

More instruction from John Owen:

  • Load your conscience with the guilt of the besetting sin.
  • Have strong desire for deliverance.
  • Some besetting sins are deeply rooted in men’s natures. I Cor.9:27. Fast if need be.
  • Occasions and advantages of sin to be prevented. “Watch”
  • The first actings of sin vigorously to be opposed. James 1:14ff. “You cannot stop birds flying over your head but you can stop them nesting in your hair,” Luther.

War of Words (Chapter 6)

CPRC Men’s B.S.


War of Words Chapter 6
Following Christ for the wrong reasons
Reading John 6:26-40

  1. Can we profess to follow Christ for the wrong motives? Yes! Tripp gives the example of a man who was bitter with God as things went wrong in his life and a woman whose husband did not love her. Had these people counted the cost? Were they not like those who Christ warned only followed him for the food he provided and for the possibility of an earthly kingdom free of the Romans? Jesus says his people will go through tribulation (John 16:33). The “followers” in John 6 left him when confronted with their own inability, the sovereignty of God in salvation and the exhortation to seek their only satisfaction in the true bread of life, himself. If we say we follow him and have selfish reasons or complain of providence we lie and if we backslide by seeking to satisfy other ambitions other than Christ and his kingdom we will become bitter and discontented. The pure motives of Job and Habakkuk (Job 1:20-21, Hab.3:17-19) are outstanding compared with the mercenary motives of Judas Iscariot and Simon Magus and the pride of King Saul. Trials should not cause us to doubt the love of the King but rather convince us of it! Godly responses to trial and affliction glorify God because there is nothing selfish or of self-interest in them. Indeed we are humbled, hurt and held up to contempt in them.

2. So why do we follow Christ? Because he is the only Saviour, is worthy and we are thankful, love him and want to glorify him. This is the Christ-centred life.

3. Can we be side-tracked? Yes! The desire for glory (fame or position), money /possessions (lust of the eyes), self-gratification (greed, sexual sin) or just elevating family, marriage or friendship with people above love for Christ will all choke our spiritual lives like weeds and kill the good plant if not rooted out (parable of sower). All these are self-centred. See Luke 12:15, Matthew 10:37.

4. What are we to seek first? His Kingdom and righteousness-loving him by obeying all the commandments, doing good works which will bring reward, being good stewards of all we have (for increased responsibility in glory), laying up treasure in heaven (qualities of faith, purity and spiritual fruit produced in others by our witness/teaching). I Cor.3, I Peter 1:3-9.

5. What glorifies God? Loving God with heartfelt praise and thanks (Psalm 50:23), suffering patiently (I Peter 2:19 and Peter told of his death John 21:19), true conversions (Gal.1:24), genuinely loving others.

6. What really satisfies us is oneness with Christ and the fruit of the Spirit (the bread and water of life) and humble submission to his sovereign will.

7. Since our words and actions are shaped by our purposes and motives it is vital to get them right. For this we pray (Psalm 50:10, 139:23-24). Selfishness rather than Christ-centredness will, if thwarted, bring out rebellion, complaining, anger, hurting others, using others and feigned spirituality. Contrariwise godliness with contentment is great gain (Psalm 75:23, 17:15, Phil.3:10, I Tim.6:6). This will affect what we say, write about on FB, blogs, e-mails or snail mail.

Killing Sin (10)

What happens when we cherish sin and don’t kill it?

Maggots eating flesh.

  • There is the danger of eternal destruction.  God will deliver some from a continuance in sin that they may not be destroyed, but he will deliver none from destruction that continue in sin; so that whilst any one lies under an abiding power of sin, the threats of destruction and everlasting separation from God are to be held out to him. If a man “draw back” through unbelief, “God’s soul has no pleasure in him;” — “that is, his indignation shall pursue him to destruction:” (Heb.3:2)
  • That such a person, under the power of any corruption, can have no assurance and destruction from the Lord may justly be a terror to him;  “There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus,” Rom. 8:1. But who can assert this ? Only “They that walk after the Spirit, and not after the flesh.”
  • It grieves the holy and blessed Spirit. As a tender and loving friend is grieved at the unkindness of his friend, of whom he has well deserved, so is it with this tender and loving Spirit, who has chosen our hearts for a habitation to dwell in, and there to do for us all that our souls desire. He is grieved by our harbouring his enemies, and those whom he is to destroy, in our hearts with him. We are hardened by the deceitfullness of sin. Is it not a high aggravation of the countenancing of a lust, or suffering it to abide in the heart, when it is (as it must be, if we are believers) entertained under the peculiar eye and view of the Holy Ghost?
  • The Lord Jesus Christ is wounded afresh by it; his new creature in the heart is wounded; his love is foiled; his adversary gratified. As a total relinquishment of him, by the deceitfulness of sin, is the “crucifying him afresh, and the putting of him to open shame;” so every   harbouring of sin that he came to destroy wounds and grieves him.
  • It will take away a man’s usefullness in his generation. His works, his endeavours, his labours, seldom receive blessing from God. If he be a preacher, God commonly blows upon his ministry, that he shall labour in the fire, and not be honoured with any success or doing any work for God; and the like may be spoken of other conditions. God blasts such men’s undertakings.

Killing Sin (9)

Believers must have constant longing, breathing after deliverance from the power of  sin. Longing desires must incite and stir up the person in whom they are to a diligent use of means for the bringing about the thing aimed at.  Longing, breathing, and panting after deliverance is a grace in itself, that has a mighty power to conform the soul into the
likeness of the thing longed after. Hence the apostle, describing the repentance and godly sorrow of the Corinthians, reckons this as one eminent grace that was then set on work, “Vehement desire,” 2 Cor. 7:11. And he himself expresses his desire  for deliverance in Rom. 7: 24. So even more needs to be the rage against any particular lust and corruption!  Unless you long for deliverance you shalt not have it. This will make the heart watchful for all aids against its enemy, and means that are afforded for the destruction of any particular sin. Strong desires are the very life of that “praying always” which is enjoined us in all conditions, and in none is more necessary than in this; they set faith and hope on work, and are the soul’s moving after the Lord. Get your heart, then, into a panting and breathing frame; long, sigh, cry out. You know the example of David; (Psalm 51).

John Owen

Communion with God (40)

Requires a WAY.

There must be a way wherein we must walk with God. Christ stated clearly that he is the way, who has set apart for that purpose “a new and living way” into the holiest of all (Heb. 10:20); a new one, for the first, old one was useless; a living one, for the other (The Law summarised in the Ten Commandments) is dead: therefore, says he, “Let us draw near” (v. 22); having a way to walk in, let us draw near. “I am the way; and no man comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6). He is the medium of all communication between God and us. In him we meet; in him we walk. All influences of love, kindness, mercy, from God to us, are through him; all our returns of love, delight, faith, obedience unto God, are all through him—he being that “one way” God so often promises his people: and it is a glorious way (Isaiah 35:8)—a high way, a way of holiness, a way that none can err in that once enter it; which is further set out (Isaiah 42:16). All other ways, all paths but this, go down to the chambers of death; they all lead to walk contrary to God.

Furthermore:

Further excerpts from John Owen’s book:

“If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth,” 1 John 1:6. “He that saith, I know him” (I have communion with him), “and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him,”1 John 2:4. The love of the world and of the Father dwell not together. And if this be so, how many that go under the name of Christians, come short of the truth of it! How unacquainted are the generality of professors with the mystery of this communion, and the fruits of it! Do not many very evidently hold communion with their lusts and with the world, and yet would be thought to have a portion and inheritance among them that are sanctified? They have neither new name nor white stone, and yet would be called the people of the Most High. May it not be said of many of them, rather, that God is not in all their thoughts, than that they have communion with him? The Lord open the eyes of men, that they may see and know that walking with God is a matter not of form, but power! In other words many who profess to be Christians, attend church etc are not at all God’s people!-JK

This ends Part One of communion with the Father.

Why is the Christian bound to obey Christ and do good works?

Owen states:

  • God has decreed this (Eph.2:10), the Son has ordained and appointed this as mediator  and he pours out the Holy Ghost to enable believers to works of obedience and holiness and to work holiness in others.
  • Our holiness is the one major purpose of Father, Son, and Spirit in the business of exalting the glory of God in our salvation.
  • For ourselves there is honour, peace, usefulness.
  • For others in the world it serves to the conviction and stopping the mouths of some of the enemies of God.
  • It contributes to the conversion of others.
  • Mainly (and this agrees with Heidelberg Catechism) it is the whole expression of our thankfulness.

 

Young Universe

Comets cannot be more than a few thousand years old or they would all have disintegrated.

Fast Facts

  • Spiral galaxies rotate much too quickly for an old universe. They would be twisted beyond recognition if they were really as old as secular astronomers claim.
  • The magnetic fields of planets and moons in our solar system are consistent with their age of a few thousand years, but are much too strong for an age of billions of years.
  • The debris shed by disintegrating comets is what causes meteor showers. Since earth intersects such a debris field once each year, most meteor showers are annual.

AIG article

Killing Sin (8)

 

Owen likens our lives to a garden and our lusts as weeds that choke our graces. “But now let the heart be cleansed by mortification, the weeds of lust constantly and daily rooted up (as they spring daily, nature being their proper soil), let room be made for grace to thrive
and flourish, how will every grace act its part, and be ready for every use and purpose!

Killing Sin (7)

The use of means for the obtaining of peace is ours; the bestowing of it is God’s prerogative.

The privileges of our adoption made known to our souls are the ways instituted by God to give us life, vigour, courage, and consolation. “The Spirit bearing witness with our spirits that we are the children of God,” giving us a new name and a white stone, adoption and justification, that is, as to the sense and knowledge of them, the immediate cause is the Spirit.

But this I say, in our ordinary walking with God, and in an ordinary course of his
dealing with us, the vigour and comfort of our spiritual lives depend much on our mortification, because this alone keeps sin from depriving us of the one and the other.

Every unmortified sin will certainly do two things:

[1.] It will weaken the soul, and deprive it of its vigour.

[2.] It will darken the soul, and deprive it of its comfort and peace.

[1.] It weakens the soul, and deprives it of its strength. When David had for a while harboured an unmortified lust in his heart, it broke all his bones, and left him no spiritual strength; hence he complained that he was sick, weak, wounded, faint. “There is,” saith he, “no soundness in me,” Ps. 38:3; “I am feeble and sore broken,” verse 8; “yea, I cannot so much as look up,” Ps. 40:12. An unmortified lust will drink up the spirit, and all the vigour of the soul, and weaken it for all duties.

Because it entangles the affections. It diverts the heart from the spiritual frame that is required for vigorous communion with God; it lays hold on the affections (lusts), rendering its object beloved and desirable, so expelling the love of the Father, 1 John. 2:15, 3:17; so that the soul cannot say uprightly and truly to God, “You art my portion,” having something else that it loves. Fear, desire, hope, which are the choice affections of the soul, that should be full of God, will be one way or other entangled with this unmortified lust.

It fills the thoughts with schemes as to how to satisfy the lust, so the imagination is defiled.

As sin weakens, so it darkens the soul. It is a cloud, a thick
cloud, that spreads itself over the face of the soul, and intercepts
all the beams of God’s love and favour. It takes away all sense of the
privilege of our adoption;

 

Killing Sin (6)

 

To recap: In Owen’s exposition of Romans 8:13…

1.The necessity of mortification (killing sin) unto life.

2. The certainty of life upon mortification.

3. The usefulness of mortification:

That the life, vigour, and comfort of our spiritual life depend much on our mortification of sin. Strength and comfort, and power and peace, in our walking with God, are the things of our desires. Were any of us asked seriously, what it is that troubles us, we must refer it to one of these heads:– either we want strength or power, vigour and life, in our obedience, in our walking with God; or we want peace, comfort, and consolation therein.

Owen continues under these headings:

  • The vigour and comfort of our spiritual lives depend on our mortification.
  •  The desperate effects of any unmortified lust; it weakens the soul.
  •  All graces improved by the mortification of sin.
  •  The best evidence of sincerity.

Killing Sin (5)

Continuing the adaptation of Owen’s work.

If this is the work of the Spirit alone, why are we exhorted? Why not let the work be left wholly to him?

Though it is his work he “works in us to will and to do of his own good pleasure,” Phil. 2:13; he works “all our works in us,” Isa. 26:12; he causes us to pray, and is a “Spirit of supplication,” Rom. 8:26,  yet we are exhorted rightly in all these.

He works our mortification in us  but we still must act obediently. The Holy Ghost works in us and upon us, but so as to preserve our own liberty and free obedience. He works upon our understandings, wills, consciences, and affections, agreeably to their own natures; he works in us and with us, not against us or without us; so that his assistance is an encouragement as to the facilitating of the work.

I might here bewail the endless, foolish labour of poor souls, who, being convinced of sin, and not able to stand against the power of their convictions, do set themselves, by innumerable perplexing ways and duties, to keep down sin, but, being strangers to the Spirit of God, all in vain i.e. they are not regenerated.

Knowing God as Lord

Excellent post. Great example of a believer acknowledging God as Lord would be Job…”The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the LORD”

Young Calvinists

How can we know that God is Lord?  Do we know Him as Lord through the creation around us?  Through His revelation to us in His Word?  Through the earthly blessings we receive from Him?  These are all legitimate answers to the original question.  However, while they are probably the most obvious, they are not the only options.  One answer that particularly stands out to me is one that may at first seem paradoxical, especially in our current church world: we know God as Lord through His seemingly unfair actions in the world around and through His chastising of us.

For some time now, I have been working through the book of Ezekiel in my personal devotions.  One thing that I have come to notice is the frequent use of the phrase, “and ye shall know that I am the Lord,” or similar such phrases.  This line often concludes a…

View original post 465 more words

Killing Sin (4)

Continuing John Owen’s treatise.

How does the Spirit mortify sin?

1. By causing our hearts to abound in grace and the fruits that are
contrary to the flesh. Gal.5:22-23. “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”  “By living in the Spirit and walking after the Spirit;” He causes us to abound in those graces which are contrary, opposite, and destructive to all the fruits of the flesh.

2. By a real physical efficiency on the root and habit of sin, for the weakening, destroying, and taking it away. Hence he is called a “Spirit of judgment and burning,” Is. 4:4, really consuming and destroying our lusts. He takes away the stony heart by an almighty efficiency; for as he begins the work as to its kind, so he carries it on as to its degrees. He is the fire which burns up the very root of lust.

3. He brings the cross of Christ into the heart of a sinner by faith, and gives us communion with Christ in his death, and fellowship in his sufferings.

Killing Sin (3)

Part 3 of Owen’s treatise

The Holy Spirit is the agent in mortification (Rom.8:13): He it is who takes away of the stony heart, Ezek. 11:19, 36:26, “I will give my Spirit, and take away the stony heart;” “Without Christ we can do nothing,” John 15:5. All actings of any grace whatever, from him, are by the Spirit, by whom he alone works in and upon believers. As per Acts 5:31 he grants repentance of which mortification is no small portion.  Having “received the promise of the Holy Ghost,” he sends him abroad for that end, Acts 2:33.

All self-denying religious acts, like many indulged in by Romanists, Hindu monks and fanatical Muslims are useless and impotent in mortification because NOT in the Bible.

Lessons from Solomon’s Temple

Our Bible reading plan today  took us to 1 Kings 6 and 7, the building of Solomon’s temple.

Points:

  • The whole temple was lined with gold leaf (6:22), as was all the furniture e.g. altar, ark, candlesticks, table of showbread. Significance? Gold is a very precious metal that does not tarnish. Our faith is likened to it in 1 Peter 1:7. It is essential (Heb.11:6). Note it is the means by which God keeps us (it is our union with Christ established by God). Our faith must be tried (Zech.13:9), it is built on the foundation of Christ our salvation (I Cor.3:12).
  • This temple prefigures the heavenly temple where God dwells now (v29) guarded by mighty seraphim with representatives of all creation animal and vegetable (7:29) and also the new heaven and earth.

  • The massive pillars, 33 feet high, that held up the temple, Jachin and Boaz are ” He will establish” and “Strength” reminding us of God’s church, the pillar and ground of the truth (I Tim.3:15) which he establishes, causes to grow and into which his people are incorporated (Rev.3:12).

Our Lord Christ, the person in whom God resides fully, is preciousness that cannot be tarnished,  the truth incarnate and the maker of all living things from whom all glory is directed.

The Wisdom of Solomon

I Kings 3 tells us the source of King Solomon’s wisdom. It was given him by God in answer to prayer, prayed mind you, in his sleep in a dream! It was wisdom to govern and judge but he was also given great learning and insight presumably by reading and observing the natural world. Sadly, in his life he was unwise in his polygamy, something many believe he renounced towards the end of his life.

His reign of peace and wisdom prefigure Christ who was wisdom personified, as he penned by inspiration in Proverbs 8. Wisdom was eternally begotten, delighted in creation, was himself the delight of his Father and having done all his redeeming work,  installed in the position of all power (Matthew 28:18), to be confirmed publicly when he appears.

Solomon built a beautiful earthly temple, Christ builds the temple of his church throughout history, the place where he dwells forever.

Calvin on the Wonder of the Psalms

The most recent British Reformed Journal carried an article entitled “Calvin on the wonder of the Psalms ” by Rev. Angus Stewart from which I have taken the following quotes:

  • “In a word, whatever may serve to encourage us when we are about to pray to God is taught us in this book”. The believer will recognise the truth of these words on the vital connection between the Psalms (read and sung) and fervent prayer.
  • Thus singing the prayers of the Psalms stirs us up to further praying and praising.
  • In evangelical churches, uninspired hymns are far more frequently sung than the 150 Psalms and Psalm singing is often derided as “dead,” as if the Spirit of Christ’s inspired words are not “spirit” and “life” (John 6:63)!

  • Calvinists were convinced that they could legitimately appropriate the psalms to themselves … The psalms were their (and should be our–JK) songs which they sang as the elect people of God in a covenant relationship with Him (W. Stanford Reid)

  • Next time you feel disinclined to pray….read or sing a Psalm!
  • Get the BRJ

 

 

Killing sin (2)

Just recently our church reading plan covered I Kings 2. This is an extraordinary chapter in that it’s contents include three executions. Adonijah,  Joab and Shemei are all put to death by Benaiah under King Solomon’s instructions. Why? Adonijah, the older brother, led a rebellion to become king before his father David died. His rebellious heart remained when Solomon ascended the throne and he made moves to usurp him. Joab sided with Adonijah and was also guilty of the murder of Abner and Amasa. Shemei cursed David and was under oath not to leave Jerusalem. These latter two were named by David as those who ought to die justly earlier in the chapter. Benaiah, one of David’s mighty men and head of his personal bodyguard (II Sam.23:20-23) was Solomon’s trusted executioner.

These executions of evil men within Solomon’s kingdom enabled him to have peace and reign effectively. Our execution of sin (mortification) in our lives enables us to live in peace with God and to reign in life as kings over ourselves (Rom.5:17, I Cor.9:27, Rom. 6:12). See further posts on mortification.here.

Execution of Joab.

Killing sin (mortification).

Notes from John Owen’s treatise.

Based on Romans 8:13, “ For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”

Indwelling sin, which battles against us spiritually all our lives, has to be killed daily.  It wants to overcome us.

“Every unclean thought or glance would be adultery if it could;” “Now nothing can prevent this but mortification; that withers the root and strikes at the head of sin every hour..” We are given the Spirit to fight. “Where sin, through the neglect of mortification, gets a considerable victory, it breaks the bones of the soul, Ps. 31:10, 51: 8, and makes a man weak, sick, and ready to die, Ps. 38:3-5, so that he cannot look up, Ps. 40:12;” Thus although in principle sin is dethroned by our death with Christ on the cross, nevertheless it is our duty to put sin to death daily.

Sermon on mortification (HC LD 33)

Grace is beauty

“Grace alone makes the elect gracious; grace alone keeps them gracious; and the same grace alone will render them everlastingly glorious in the heaven of heavens.” – Augustus Toplady

In New Testament usage God’s grace usually means the sovereign powerful, irresistible work of his unconditional, undeserved love towards his elect that saves and keeps them (Eph.2:8-9, Ex.33:19, Titus 2:11). It inevitably saves it’s recipients and goes on working throughout their lives (II Cor.12:9, Eph.4:7, Acts 4:33), hence Paul’s repeated salutations and doxologies like “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all ” (II Cor.13:14 and also Peter’s (I Peter 1:2, II Peter 3:18). The elect are looked upon with favour and as beautiful in Christ.

But when we come to Christ, the source and communicator of that grace, we cannot say that it was anything undeserved or merciful or needful for him. He was full of grace (John 1:14). So what was he full of? The beauty of holiness! God, in Christ is a being of absolutely perfect beauty, which is reflected in his creation and which is lauded in Scripture and which is communicated to his people (Ps.149:4, 90:17, 29:2, 96:9, 110:3,27:4, Is.33:17, Ezek. 16:14). It was not outward beauty people saw (Is 53:2) it was inward! The spotless Bridegroom makes his bride beautiful (II Peter 3:14). Lord let this beauty be upon us!

The Gap

“No man cometh unto the Father but by me.”  John 14:6. There is a gulf, a gap, a separation between man and God caused by sin (Isaiah 59:2). Sin is inborn in us causing us to come short of the proper purpose of all things which is the  glory of God. We cannot obey his commands. This gulf continues after death (Luke 16:26). Only Jesus Christ enables man to bridge the gap because he:

Is God and man who did no sin.

Atoned for sin in his death.

He has devolved Power from the Father to save us from the guilt, power and presence of sin.

The illustration above enabled me to understand the gospel over 40 years ago.

Praise is foreign

The Psalms exalt God and realistically portray mankind as ephemeral and sinful. Praising God is not natural for the human heart. By nature we all want praise for ourselves, we think we are good and deserve heaven. It is not until the Spirit of God, by the word of God, convinces us of our sin, of God’s righteousness and of judgment to come and Jesus Christ reveals himself in the gospel of grace that we can see ourselves as we really are and praise our creator and redeemer.

 

 

War of Words (Chapter 5)

 

He is King

How ought the sovereignty of God affect our lives/words.

Read Romans 11:33-36.  God clearly rules over all that happens.

Tripp states,” A life of godly communication is rooted in a personal recognition of the sovereignty of God.” Can we prove this from Scripture? Well if we recognise that all that is said to us or done to us is under God’s control we will not do either of four things:

  1. Retaliate (David and Shemei, Christ (I Peter 2:24).
  2. Grumble, complain, show frustration or be disappointed (Phil.2:14, Job 1:21-22). How much of our speaking expresses irritation toward people who get in our way?
  3. Rebel. Miriam and Aaron, all civil rebellion e.g. Adonijah, Absalom.
  4. Envy (Psalm 73:3).

Rather we will respond positively, thanking God, taking the opportunity to witness and recognising God’s sanctifying providence. We will encourage fellow saints in his sovereignty and point to evidences of his loving hand. We will rest in his love/control (Matt.11:28-29, Job 22:21).

All “idol words” will be set aside, words and schemes to get what we want e.g. Jacob and Rebecca.

Tripp gives an excellent definition of fantasy,” An imaginary world of our own making where we are king.”  All fantasy, devoid of reality and almost inevitably selfish and wicked is to be crushed by the Christian.

Tripp then takes us through the spheres where God is King and sovereign:

  • God rules the created universe and every situation (Dan. 4:34-35).
  • God rules over all for the church, for her redemption (Eph. 1:22)
  • God rules over the specific details of our lives, every Christian individual. (Psalms 139, 121).
  • God rules over every aspect of our salvation (Ps.138:8, Phil.1:6).
  • God rules over the circumstances of our sanctification (Eph.1:4-6, Rom.8:17-18, 28-29).
  • God rules over our relationships for our sanctification (Eph.4:12).
  • God rules over everything for his glory.

A.W. Pink’s “Sovereignty of God” is a key and comprehensive work (available on line).

Next study (DV) August 5th on chapter 6, “Wrong motives”.

 

 

David v Goliath (application for today)

 

If we give up the Scriptures, the battle is over. God will still gather His Church but not among us and we will go lost in our generations.

  1. Much of the church world is on the verge of surrendering to the enemy. The enemy today sends especially three Goliaths into the fray.

    1. The giant of Darwinism has intimidated most of the church world to compromise on six-day creationism for fear of being thought “unscientific”.

    2. The giantess of feminism has screamed “Chauvinism” so often that she has forced most of Christendom to open their pulpits and consistory rooms to women despite the clear teaching of Scripture.

    3. The giant of militant homosexuality shrieks “homophobia” and threatens “hate crime” legislation. This has caused many churches to tremble before him so they do not preach against sodomy and even tolerate it among their members.

      Excerpt from notes on this sermon by Rev. Martyn McGeown:  Sermon                                                          

Communion With God (39)

To recap, communion with God requires heavenly wisdom, all of which is hid in Christ.

The wisdom consists:

  • Knowledge of God
  • Knowledge of ourselves
  • Knowledge of how to walk with him

To walk with God requires:

1. Agreement. 2. Acquaintance. 3. A way. 4. Strength. 5. Boldness. 6.
An aiming at the same end. All these, with the wisdom of them, are hid in the Lord Jesus.

  1. Agreement.

“Two cannot walk together unless they be agreed” (Amos 3:3).

By nature we are rebels, hate God, are subject to his wrath, totally depraved and defiled. God is light, love and glorious holiness.

Only Christ brings peace between the two (Eph. 2:14, I Peter 3:18) this reconciliation is achieved by the cross and our death to the power of sin and dominion of Satan.

2. Acquaintance—we must know God. This also is hid in the Lord Jesus, and comes forth from him, 1 John 5: 20, “He has given us an understanding, that we should know him that is true;” He opens our understandings that we may understand the Scriptures, Luke 24:45;

 

Communion With God (38)

The third truth hid in Christ is JUDGMENT (John 16:8)

HIS DEATH SHOWED GOD’S RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT UPON SIN.
in the sight of men, angels, and devils, has given an abundant assurance of a righteous
and universal judgement to come; Those who own him to be the Son of God, will not deny a judgement to come.
HIS RESURRECTION Acts 17:31, God has given assurance of this thing to all, by raising Christ from the dead, having appointed him to be the judge of all; in whom and by whom he will judge the world in righteousness.

So he who has loved us, and given himself for us, — who is himself the righteousness that he requires of our hands; and on the other side, by him who has been, in his person, grace, ways, worship, servants, reviled, despised, condemned by the men of the world; — which holds out unspeakable consolation on the one hand, and terror on the other: so that the wisdom of this also is hid in Christ.

Thus the knowledge of ourselves, in reference to our supernatural end, is  wisdom. The things of the greatest concern are, sin, righteousness, and judgement; the wisdom of all which is alone hid in the Lord Jesus. Which Owen has just proved–JK.

The Land (11)

 

Levitical cities

Sung Psalm 99:4-9

Reading   Joshua 21 and I Chronicles 5:54ff

Why did the Levites have designated cities?

Gen.49:5-7. Prophecy

Deut.33:8-11. To teach throughout the land (II Chron.17:8, Mal.2:4-9)

Joshua 13:14, I Chron.29:15, Deut. 18:6, Judges 17:7 and 19. They were sojourners (cf I Peter)

Elkanah, Samuel’s father (I Chron.6:27) was a priest and so of course, was he.

So this tribe of priests and priest helpers were to live off the sacrifices just as today full time ministers of the gospel live off the gospel (giving of church members) I Cor.9:1-15. Hebrews contrasts the Levitical priesthood with that of Christ’s.

Plus tithes.

Pattern for Marriage

 

These messages in the Reformed Witness Hour will challenge  you in your marriage:

Husbands love your wives.

Marriage is to reflect God’s covenant of grace.

Two sinners saved by grace, bound for life are to exhibit daily grace.

Forbearing and forgiving.

Christ sanctifies us and uses marriage to sanctify us.

Aim to know Christ and be like Christ in marriage.

Die to self, lead, listen, comfort, counsel, care, practically serve in kind, thoughtful behaviour.

Make her feel treasured.

Goal of transforming her into the image of Christ.

and…

Laying down your life in love for your wife will transform her.

Communion with God (37)

Righteousness (the second thing that by the wisdom that is in Christ men are convinced)

This all men are persuaded of, that God is a most righteous God; (that is a natural notion of God which Abraham insisted on, Gen. 18:25, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”) they “know that this is the judgement of God, that they who commit such things are worthy of death,” Rom. 1:32; that “it is a righteous thing with him to recompense tribulation unto offenders” (which is why the way of sinners is hard) 2 Thess. 1:6. He is “a God of purer eyes than to behold evil,” Hab. 1:13; and therefore, “the ungodly cannot stand in judgement,” Ps. 1:5. Hence the great worry of every person who to any extent has a notion of God’s righteousness, believes in his own immortality and judgement to come, about how he can be righteous in the presence of this righteous God-JK.  This worries them all their days and so, as the apostle speaks, Heb. 2:5, “through the fear of death they are all their lifetime subject to bondage,” they are perplexed with fears about the issue of their righteousness, lest it should end in death and destruction.
Dear friend do you know you are righteous before God? If not search the Scriptures.

Who are in the image of God?

 

“It is commonly taught that all human beings bear the image of God. Yet that would mean that man by nature is like God, which Scripture says he is not. Man certainly was like God when the Almighty created him. But he became like the devil when he listened to him. The ones who bear God’s image are those who are in God’s Image. Christ is the Image of God, and only those who are in Him are like Him, and thus like God. Although these imagebearers have an evil nature, God is the Father of their spirit, and in their spirit they look like their Father.” From article that can be read in full below:

Standard Bearer May 15th 2017 p376

Communion with God (36)

The Spirit convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8)

Sin…“Fools make a mock of sin.” A true saving knowledge of sin is to be had only in the Lord Christ: in him may we see the desert of our iniquities, and their pollution, which could not be borne or expiated but by his blood; neither is there any wholesome view of these but in Christ. In him and his cross is discovered our universal impotency, either of atoning God’s justice or living up to his will. The death of sin is procured by, and discovered in, the death of Christ; as also the manifestation of the riches of God’s grace in the pardoning thereof. A real and experimental acquaintance, as to ourselves, with all which, is our wisdom; and it is that which is of more value than all the wisdom of the world.

Communion with God the Son (4)

Characterised by delight.

The spouse is quite ravished with the sweetness of this entertainment, finding love,
and care, and kindness, bestowed by Christ in the assemblies of the saints. Hence she cries out, 2:5 “Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples; for I am sick of love.” Upon the discovery of the excellency and sweetness of Christ in the banqueting-house, the soul is instantly overpowered, and cries out to be made partaker of the fullness of it. She is “sick of love:” overcome, with the mighty acting of that divine affection, after she had once tasted of the sweetness of Christ in the banqueting-house. Her desire deferred, makes her heart sick; therefore she cries, “Stay me,” etc.; — “I have seen a glimpse of the ‘King in his beauty,’ — tasted of the fruit of his righteousness; my soul melteth in longing after him. When a person is fainting on any occasion, these two things are to be done:— strength is to be used to support him, things are given to refresh his spirits. The beloved needs strengthening grace to support her in that condition, to do her duty; and refreshing of the Holy Ghost, to revive her until she come to a full enjoyment of Christ. And thus sweetly and with delight is this communion carried on.