The Awfulness of Hell

John Gill on Mark 9:49

” For every one shall be salted with fire”

 

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That is every one of those that transgress the law of God, offend any that, believe in Christ, retain their sins, and sinful companions; every one of them that are cast into hell, where the worm of conscience is always gnawing, and the fire of divine wrath is always burning, with that fire every one of them shall be salted: that fire shall be to them, what salt is to flesh; as that keeps flesh from putrefaction and corruption, so the fire of hell, as it will burn, torture, and distress rebellious sinners, it will preserve them in their beings; they shall not be consumed by it, but continued in it: so that these words are a reason of the former, showing and proving, that the soul in torment shall never die, or lose any of its powers and faculties; and particularly, not its gnawing, torturing conscience; and that the fire of hell is inextinguishable; for though sinners will be inexpressibly tormented in it, they will not be consumed by it; but the smoke of their torments shall ascend for ever and ever; and that they will be so far from being annihilated by the fire of hell, that they shall be preserved in their beings in it, as flesh is preserved by salt:

War of Words

 

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Paul David Tripp has come in for criticism for psycho-heresy but he has a lot of worthwhile material. ” Love is willing self-sacrifice for the redemptive good of another not demanding reciprocation or that the person is deserving.” ” Immanuel is his name, not just because he came to earth but because he made us his dwelling place.”

His book “War of Words” emphasises the importance of our words that are either life-giving or deadly, never neutral, words that are always the overflow of our hearts.

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Holiness to the Lord

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And the golden plate shall be upon Aaron’s forehead, the plate of gold, with the inscription on it, holiness to the Lord, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; this supposes that the sacrifices of the children of Israel, were attended with sin and blame, either in the matter of their offerings and gifts, or in the manner in which they brought them; and which through the high priest having this plate of gold, with the above inscription on it, were expiated; they were bore away from them, and were not placed to their account. There is sin in the best performances of the saints; there is not a just man that does good, but he sins in doing that good; the best righteousness of men is imperfect, and attended with sin; and this cannot be borne, or taken away by themselves; if God should mark such sins as these, they could not stand before him; now Christ, their High Priest, bears and takes away these, along with all others, which are laid upon him, and borne by him:

Belgic Confession 24

“for we do no work but what is polluted by our flesh, and also punishable; and although we could perform such works, still the remembrance of one sin is sufficient to make God reject them. Thus then we would be continually vexed, if (we) relied not on the merits of the suffering and death of our Saviour. ” (abridged)

 

Respect for the Word of God

ALL Scripture is inspired by God. ALL Scripture needs to be obeyed.

Young Calvinists

Many people today claim to love the Word of God. They talk about the beauty of the Bible, especially its poetry and rhythmic flow. Many of these same people, however treat it as irrelevant, in much the same way that we would treat a magazine of the 1970s.  In other words, they treat it with contempt while still claiming to love it. When it comes to such issues as women in office, homosexuality, or premarital sex we often hear something like this: “The Bible might have said that back in Paul’s day but we live in a different era now, so those rules don’t apply anymore.”  Still others cherry-pick which parts of the Bible they will adhere to. Doing that is nothing new. Thomas Jefferson is well known for going through the Bible with knife and cutting out the miracles and other parts of Scripture that he didn’t believe in…

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The Holy War (12)

In a whistle-stop review quiz of the history of Israel from Moses to David (500years) we covered things like:

  • God using forces of nature to defeat enemy e.g. water, earthquake, hail and thunder.

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  • His people won battles through praise, prayer, angels and technical inventions.
  • Wars often inspired songs
  • Wars resulted in the deaths of thousands including major figures like Samson, Saul and Josiah.
  • Summons to battle could be the usual trumpets but unusually a dismembered concubine or oxen.
  • Individuals warred and also partners.
  • David was the greatest warrior (typifying Christ ─ Heb.2:14).

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  • Some general principles: God often judges and chastises his people by war and oppression and many die but Psalm 44:9-26 reveals that God’s people despite doing good, may also suffer and in this case we call it persecution. This will eventually lead us to consider war in the New Testament, which of course is spiritual.

ECOS PARKRUN

 

 

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Best ever Parkrun today (73.2% age-graded Age Grade explained) even though not fastest. Did the 5K (3 miles) in 22mins 42 secs– just down on my best this year and less than a minute down on pre-hip replacement. It was down to prayer for God’s enabling, quality training, a good night’s sleep, rest day from running yesterday, light racing shoes and pushing myself as hard as I could even though I was in “no man’s land” with no runners ahead to chase or behind to keep ahead of. Thankful. Citius-Altius-Fortius…Faster-Higher-Stronger even at my age!

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Parkrun result history. The big dip was before and recovery from hip surgery!

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Sean Hasson has run 200 Parkruns in 5 years!

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Friend Sammy Millar first home.

Only runner to get a better percentage than me 80%!

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Motivating to run in a bunch!

What does ECOS PARKRUN look like?

 

 

Preparing My Heart with Gladness

Even in the business of the week we still have fellowship with our covenant God although granted the privileges of the Lord’s Day are special.

Young Calvinists

This Saturday, as we prepare for worshiping our God tomorrow, I can’t help but think of the first verse of Psalter #348:

With joy and gladness in my soul

I hear the call to prayer;

Let us go up to God’s own house

And bow before Him there.

How glad and joyful I am that I can go to God’s house! Why am I so happy, you ask? Why is it such a good thing to go to church? How joyful can it really be to go and worship?

Let’s think about it this way. We are busy as beavers Monday through Saturday: school, work, family, friends, relationships—all of these things demand our attention and care. We are always thinking ahead to what we have to do next, or when this is going to happen, or who we are going to see here. It’s as if our minds are clocks…

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The Breath of Life

God has no need to breathe but breath represents God’s life. Without his breath, no life.

Young Calvinists

Psalm 33:6 “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.”

Are you breathing?

Of course you are; if not, you wouldn’t be conscious for long or even alive, much less reading this article. But how often do you think about the slow, regular breaths that keep you alive every minute of every day? To become more aware, let’s try something: Take a deep breath and hold it.

keep holding…

keep holding…

Are you starting to feel like something’s missing?

Your chest is probably feeling heavy. You might feel a sense of panic twirling in your stomach, and pretty soon your brain will be screaming for air. If you don’t relent, dark edges may start to creep into the edges of your vision. Before you pass out, breathe!

It’s amazing how we can be reduced to an…

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You did not choose me — I chose you.

New LRF Blog Post


The God Who Chooses

Posted: 08 Feb 2017 07:40 AM PST

The God Who Chooses

Part of God’s eternal purpose is election or predestination. We know what election is—it is a choice. In election, however, we mean God’s choice. Specifically, we mean God’s choice concerning salvation. Even more specifically, we mean God’s choice of whom He will save.

There are some who think that God has chosen to save everybody. Their argument is that God wants everyone to be in heaven, but He leaves it up to individual people to decide whether they want to be in heaven with God or not. Often salvation is described as an offer—God wants to give you salvation, but you have to be willing to accept it. Some portray Jesus as “knocking on the door of your heart,” hoping that you will invite Him into your life.

The Bible does not teach that. In fact, such a portrayal is very dishonouring to God. We have already seen that God is almighty, sovereign and majestic in His holiness. Does a beggar knocking on hearts sound like God? Would the God who is independent be reduced to depending on His creatures in such a way? In fact, Scripture says, “It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy” (Romans 9:16). If salvation depends on the freewill of humans, then God depends on the freewill of humans. Then humans—not God—are sovereign. God forbid!

The Bible teaches that before the world was created—in His eternal decree—God made a choice. First, He chose Jesus Christ to be the Saviour. Second, in that decree, He gave a certain, definite, limited number of humans to Jesus Christ. Third, He sent Jesus Christ into the world to save those humans—and only them—from their sins. Jesus explains: “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which He hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day” (John 6:39). Jesus did not come to try to save as many as possible, and then fail in the attempt. Jesus came to save a definite number—as many as the Father had given to Him—and them He actually saves. Not one of them shall be lost. Is that not good news?

Paul writes, “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Ephesians 1:4).

Predestination is not a horrible teaching. It is God’s eternal choice of His people in love.

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Rev. Martyn McGeown

PARKRUN VOLUNTEERING

 

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Brief description of all necessary jobs.

VOLUNTEER CO-ORDINATOR JOB: he or she gets volunteers by asking personally, waving his clipboard and shouting, sending appeals by e-mail and FB messages. When he gets one or more volunteers he enters them on live WIZARD PARKRUN site under VOLUNTEERS which then uploads them to ECOS website. After each Parkrun he confirms who did what, so they get their points and after 25 volunteering days their well-deserved purple T shirt! Along with RACE DIRECTOR he makes sure they are trained for their jobs.

RACE DIRECTOR, a key post each week is someone who delegates jobs and ensures all is set up including refreshments, makes sure all volunteers are trained and bibbed with high-viz, gives the pre-run announcements, starts the run, responds to any incidents, oversees timing and scanning and ensures all gates and doors locked at finish. He or she has a checklist to follow. They would also need to co-ordinate any life-saving or first aid response to illness or injury.

PACERS are experienced runners who undertake to run at a pace which they wear on their bib e.g. 25 or 30 minutes, to help runners toward a new P.B. or set time. They are an extra in many Parkruns.

RESULTS PROCESSOR gets your performances uploaded on the ECOS PARKRUN website asap after the run. The times from stopwatch and placings from scanner are downloaded and collated by the clever computer to generate the list. Parkrun head office then generates a report which, along with some comments is posted on ECOS FACEBOOK page by the RUN REPORT WRITER.

VOLUNTEERS, the people who enable Parkrun to happen, can be under 18 as long as an adult is supervising them! Everyone gets 100 points for their first three volunteer jobs. VISUAL IMPAIRED PERSON HELPER and TAILRUNNER GET 100 VOLUNTEER POINTS PLUS RUN POINTS. This is the last year there will be a points competition. It ends on our Anniversary March 25th 2018 unless I am mistaken.

TOKEN PERSON or chip dispenser gives a finishing token with each participant’s position on it to them just after they cross the line at end of finishing funnel. Finishers should stay in order! There can be anything from 80 to 220 finishers. Every ten or twenty numbers they check with timers they are on same number of finishers. After the run tokens need replaced on pin dispenser. Easy first volunteer job!

PHOTOGRAPHER positions him or herself for snaps of as many participants as possible, wherever they choose, with their own or a borrowed camera (there is usually a CANON SLR digital one easy to use or the PARKRUN PINK digital camera to borrow). Photos uploaded asap to FB page.

TIMEKEEPERS (TWO) have a stopwatch to record the start and time of each participant. They press a button to start (3 on right) then each time someone crosses the line they press (1 on left), when all are in, they press (3) again and give watch to result processor. Job done! Every ten runners or so they check that their numbers match the number that the token person has given out.

What do SCANNERS do? At least one scanner, and we usually have two, needs to be at base for the first finishers to scan their BARCODE then FINISH TOKEN in that order for each finisher. If no BARCODE scan nothing. If scanner fails, manually enter name and result on sheet provided. Return chips to ice box. Barcodes on phones not allowed. The second scanner can usually run before doing his/her job to help scanner one.

TAILRUNNER! Tail runner walks or jogs with the last runner going round, picks up any temporary run direction signs and locks the grey gate at the sluice/overspill. Ideal for someone injured and recovering, or racing later in the day. Time taken usually 35 to 45 minutes.

VI GUIDE escorts visually impaired or blind Parkrunners or walkers around the course to keep them safe plus or minus guide dog!

MARSHALS are sometimes needed for mentally or physically handicapped participants to guide them around or accompany someone under 11 with no guardian.

SET UP. Two people need to help put out finishing funnel cones, cones across finishing area, open gates to car parks, put out all signs and run or bike round one half of the course to check for ice, deep puddles, fallen trees etc.-a good way to warm up. We also always need helpers to set out refreshments.

 

 

 

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The Holy War (11)

 

Sung Psalm 78:58-66

Reading Judges 15

Samson

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The situation was dire, Israel because of their rank idolatry, was under the domination of the Philistines (10:6 and 13:1). They were so for forty years and there was no cry of repentance yet God intervened by calling Samson indirectly through his parents (13:5) who would begin to deliver them. Their full deliverance would only come later under Samuel, the last judge (I Sam.7). We think Samson may have overlapped with Jephthah and Eli.

The Nazarite vow which was really upon his mother and Samson came from Numbers 6:1-6 and meant:

  • Hair was never to be cut
  • No wine or food or drink made from grapes
  • No touching of a dead body (this must have been rescinded in Samson’s case!)
  • Nazarites normally vowed for a time period but Samson was one from birth to death.

Judges, by the way did judge legally among the people and also fought to deliver them between the time of Joshua and Saul the first king.

Samson was unique: poetic and intelligent (his riddles and figures of speech), supernaturally strong through his consecration (signified by his hair) and anointing by the Spirit of God, he fought alone, he used unusual weapons, he also fought several battles and he only began to deliver Israel.

Among all Israel he was the only one who cared about their sorry spiritual state, the rest compromised and in fact handed him over to the enemy (15:11).

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However his great weakness was the lust of the eyes through which he wanted three different pagan women, with two of whom he fornicated, God yet choosing to use his sin as a means of causing a fight against the Philistines. His taking the gates from Gaza to Hebron involved nearly forty miles walk mainly uphill with a great weight! In the end in severe chastisement, God took out his eyes.

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He died fighting slaying more than at any other time of his life.

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National repentance of the Jews?

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Here is proof that there will be no national repentance of the Jews:

  1. The Land: Although Abraham and his descendants were promised Canaan, Hebrews 11 makes it clear that the patriarchs actually looked for heaven as their homeland and Canaan just represented that hope. So the land of Israel has no great significance any more, it is real estate like England or India, one day to enter the conflagration and be renewed.
  2. The Temple: This structure representing God’s presence with Israel, was destroyed in 70AD thus ending God’s covenant with them as a nation (Matthew 21:43). We are told that we believers are now the temple of God. No more sacrifices will ever be offered because Christ has fulfilled them all and any return to them in the future would be a blasphemous denial of his once-for-all work on the cross.
  3. The King: David is a type of Christ. No more tabernacle of David ever (Isaiah 16:5 notwithstanding!) Christ’s kingdom is NOT of this world…ever. So no messianic state in Israel!
  4. Israel: This name which once stood for the Jews as a nation, although in reality it meant only the elect remnant among them (Romans 9:6). Israel, the church in the Old Testament is now the name for the church composed of Jew and Gentile, the true circumcision. So when Scripture states “All Israel shall be saved” it means all the elect of all nations. God’s elect church are now the only single nation of God (I Peter 2:9). God never did love the whole nation of Israel or any other nation for that matter. His everlasting, foreknowing, electing love has always and will always be, only for Christ and all those chosen in him before the foundation of the world, because love is the bond of perfectness (Col.3:14) that is, the bond between the members of the trinity and of all the elect in the Son, given to him and united to him by faith. God never did and never will love his enemies, the reprobate wicked (like Esau Romans 9).

For all these reasons Romans 11 CANNOT and DOES NOT mean there will be a national repentance and turning to God among the Jews in the last days. They are like any other people, they will have representatives before the throne in eternity.

James 5:13-18

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James 5:13-15

The Prayer of Faith

  1. The opposites James mentions are affliction and being merry. In the first instance he tells us to pray and in the second to sing Psalms although he could also have said it the other way round, namely in affliction sing Psalms which are prayers (as Paul and Silas did in Acts 16) and when merry pray thankfully.
  2. The affliction mentioned, we believe, could be physical or spiritual. In the New Testament affliction is used of:
  • Persecution (Matt.24:9, Heb.11:25,37, II Cor. 1:6).
  • Conviction of sin and chastisement for sin (James 4:9 WRETCHED, Psalm 107:17, Psalm 119:67,
  • I Kings 8:35)
  • Famine/destitution (Acts 7:11, James 1:27)
  • Satanic attack or temptation (Job, Paul’s thorn etc).
  • Pain/sickness/bereavement
  • Spiritual weariness

The usual Greek word is THLIPSIS meaning pressure although in this verse it is KAKOPATHEO meaning hardship.

  1. The happy should sing Psalms because God is to be praised at all times, especially for blessings even though we are told to rejoice and praise him at all times (Phil.4:4, Psalm 34:1).
  2. Is any sick? The word sick and the word weak are the same Greek word e.g. I Cor. 11:30, II Cor. 11:30 (AESTHENEO) meaning without strength. The other word for weary and the word sick are the same (KAMNEO Heb. 12:3, James 5:15). The context suggests again both, we are body and soul and often spiritual sickness accompanies physical sickness.
  3. God may use the elders’ prayers and anointing (whether literal or not) to heal the sick (v16) cf Rev.3:18.
  4. Anointing with oil was an Old Testament practice signifying anointing with the Spirit for service as prophet, priest or king. The Spirit heals physically and/or spiritually whether directly or through means but by itself no oil cures anything.
  5. Prayer may cure illness if it is God’s will e.g. Paul’s many miracles, Elisha, Peter (Acts 9:40) where even resurrection from death occurs in answer to prayer.
  6. Again the answer is as above although the New Testament is full of examples where prayer in faith an requests made directly to Christ were all positively answered. Should a person die then they are forever healed!
  7. Healing in the ministry of Christ and the apostles is always a picture of the spiritual healing the gospel brings (John 12:40, I Peter 2:24, Isaiah 53:5, Luke 4:18) which is basically the forgiveness of sins (Mark 2:9-10). The prayers of the elders offered in faith will bring physical healing AND forgiveness according to this scripture.

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James 5:16-18

The Power of Prayer

1/2     Confessing your sins to one another relates especially to sins committed against another Christian which must be confessed, repented of and forgiven. So as to bring reconciliation and restore harmony. We must also confess all known sin to God. Confession of serious public sin in the church must be publicly confessed. Private besetting sins MAY be shared among caring brethren for help and accountability.

  1. Prayer for our brethren should be modelled on Paul’s prayers for the churches where he prays for their sanctification, which is a cleansing from sin and spiritual healing (Isaiah 1:6, Psalm 41:4, Jer. 3:22, Psalm 107:19-20, Psalm 6:1-3). Leprosy, the most obvious and contagious OT disease, made people unclean as a picture of sin.
  2. Confession and repentance brings healing to the conscience and healing of wounds between saints. Old wounds should not be picked at as we sometimes do with scabs!
  3. James is not teaching that prayer ever changes God’s mind but he is saying that Spirit-inspired prayer is effective and Christ exhorts persistence in his parable of the widow and corrupt judge (Luke 18:1ff).
  4. If the prayer of the righteous is according to God’s will (John 16:24), it will be answered and God will bring the positive outcome asked for, or deliverance e.g. Elijah and the drought and Elisha (II Kings 6:17), also Christ at Lazarus’ tomb. God used Christ’s prayers and will use our prayers in effecting his purposes (John 17).
  5. James uses Elijah as an example because he saw God miraculously answer his prayers despite him being sinful just like us.
  6. This means God uses the prayers of sinners to demonstrate his power, vindicate them and to encourage them. This encourages us to pray fervently despite our sinfulness. But we must remember Psalm 66:18, John 15 and I John 3:22. We can always plead his promises, tell him to fulfil his threats (Deut.28:23), pray using Scripture.

Ultimately Elijah’s prayer was heard because it was in line with God’s will and vindicated himself as the true God.

Next Study Saturday February 25th (Last of James) James 5:19-20 and review of book. Summarise each chapter, perhaps pick a key verse. Think about what we should study next-we are pursuing one idea.

 

 

Hating your own life

“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26.

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Ever wondered what this means?

Read this article by Rev. Angus Stewart

https://media.wix.com/ugd/49b4d1_b3514bfd3f184e72a9062c56a0725f5b.pdf

 

“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.” Romans 8:13

Truth

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“To err doctrinally from the truth is serious. God is himself the truth. He has revealed his truth in Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth and the life. The confession of the truth by the church and its members is the measuring stick by which the saints’ love for God can be measured. If we are careless about the truth and indifferent toward it, if we overlook aberrations and tolerate untruths about God and Christ, and if we consider the truth to be of so little importance that we never condemn heresy, we do not love God.”

Herman Hanko in “Faith Made Perfect” RFPA  2015

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Available here:

Joseph

Every time I read Genesis 45 tears well up in my eyes. The story evokes so much pathos. Joseph, the long-lost eleventh son of Jacob having been sold as a slave by his jealous brothers has risen to be prime minister of Egypt.

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He has given his brothers a taste of injustice by returning their food money in their sacks and planting his silver cup in Benjamin’s. He has been testing their characters by demanding a hostage when they return home and now for the last time, having sent his steward to apprehend them, he finally cannot control himself any longer in their presence and leaves the room to weep returning to reveal his identity with much weeping and embracing.

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Although not a type of Christ there are many parallels in the two lives:

  • He is betrayed by jealous brethren (Christ and the Jews).
  • He is sold for twenty pieces of silver (Christ was sold for thirty)
  • He is unjustly bound and imprisoned
  • God is manifestly with him throughout (Chapter 39 x4)
  • Having suffered he is exalted to very high station
  • He forgives his brethren
  • He believes in the absolute sovereignty of God
  • He is a saviour to his family
  • He forgave them their sin against him

He is a godly example and man of faith (Hebrews 11:22), is there any wonder I named my son after him?

The Meaning of Grace

Christians who believe grace is unmerited favour have only part of the answer and Christians who believe in “common” grace, that God in the gospel offers it to all men are very mistaken as definition 4 below shows. Only God’s elect are the objects of his saving, particular grace.

The word grace in Scripture has a variety of meanings:

1. Grace as an attribute of God has the fundamental meaning of pleasantness, attractiveness, and gracefulness. God is the perfection of all beauty and attractiveness and gracefulness, because He is the implication of all infinite perfection of goodness in the ethical sense. God is perfectly lovely and beautiful.

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A  graceful dancer

2. Grace in Scripture denotes the attitude of graciousness or pleasantness, the gracious disposition of God to the creature. This is undoubtedly the meaning of the phrase, “to find grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Gen. 6:8; Gen. 19:19).

3. In close connection with the preceding, the word grace has the meaning of undeserved or forfeited favor. In this case, the favorable attitude of God is accentuated and enhanced by the condition of the subjects who receive the grace of God. The word of God uses the term grace as standing opposed to obligation and, therefore, as being opposed to works.

4. The word grace frequently is used in Scripture to denote the power of God whereby the sinner is actually saved and delivered from the bondage of sin and corruption, whereby he is regenerated and sanctified, and thus is made pleasant in the sight of God. It also includes all the spiritual blessings and virtues that are bestowed upon the objects of God’s favor.

5. Grace is used in the sense of thanks, as we read in the original of 1 Corinthians 15:57: “Grace be to God, who giveth us the victory.” The meaning is most probably that grace is ascribed to God by those who are the objects and recipients of the power of God’s grace, in order that He may receive praise and adoration as the only God of all grace.

Herman Hoeksema

(Reformed Dogmatics [Grandville, MI: RFPA, 2014], vol. 2, pp. 280-281)

The Holy War (10)

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Sung Psalm 144:1-8

Read Judges 11:12-28

We reviewed Judges 9, the history of Gideon’s son Abimelech and his unholy war with Shechem in which according to the curse of Jotham, they destroyed each other (9:57).

Judges 10:6 details Israel’s wicked, many-faceted idolatry.

The next major Judge (given significant space in Bible) is Jephthah in chapter 11. Jephthah leads Israel against Ammon after the people beg him to do so. vv12-28 detail Jephthah’s argument in the land dispute in which he manifests his knowledge of Israel’s history in the Pentateuch. Ammon was claiming land that was not theirs (they also intruded into land west of the Jordan). The battle (vv32-33) was a holy war because:

  • The Spirit of God came upon Jephthah (v29)
  • God delivered them (v32)
  • It was a just war (” Lord judge”), the land was theirs.
  • Jephthah’s rash vow (v30). The aftermath of which we believe was Jephthah’s daughter’s perpetual virginity.

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In chapter 12:1-6 we read of a civil war between Jephthah’s forces and the proud Ephraimites with massive loss of life (42,000 men). Jephthah is mentioned in Hebrews 11:32-24 in the context of acts of faith which included holy war (“subdued kingdoms”).

The Holy Spirit and the Ascension

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What was promised?

What happened?

What changed?

 

Christ promised to pour out his spirit on the disciples after the resurrection. He said that he would send the comforter who would be their teacher and we know this PARAKLETE would apply all the benefits of Christ’s atoning death, resurrection and ascension to his people (John 14:16, 16:7, 13, Acts 1:8), namely adoption, assurance, sealing and gifting.

The outpouring of the spirit at Pentecost, and subsequently on all the elect, was promised in the Old Testament as Peter stated (Acts 2:33). Psalm 68:18 (quoted in Eph.4:8), Isaiah 32:15, 44:3, 59:21, Ezekiel 39:29 and especially Joel 2:28 are relevant.

The Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son (BC Art.11*) was poured out on the fledgling church enabling miraculous signs to authenticate their ministry, gift them for all their service, teach them, and seal them as his people for ever.

What changed was, that the eternal unchangeable Spirit came as the Spirit of the risen Christ (John 7:38-39, I Cor.15:45), merited by Christ’s great work, promised as his inheritance (along with all his seed) and received by him as mediator, not for himself, because he was always filled without measure (Psalm 45:7, Heb.1:9, John 3:34) but for the church.

What changed was:

  • He was poured out publicly and universally (previously almost exclusively among the Jews)
  • He came as the teacher of God’s truth, to complete the canon and develop truth throughout church history.
  • He came dispensing richer grace (the least in the kingdom is greater than John the Baptist) and all the gifts (I Cor.12), tongues especially was new and a reversal of Babel.

* Belgic Confession.

Teamwork

This applies in many spheres of life e.g. medicine, aviation, sport and church. I am sure you could find Scripture references and examples to back it up..

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What does good teamwork depend upon?

  • Good leadership which demonstrates..
  • Good communication
  • Assertiveness
  • Good example
  • Delegation
  • Supports and values
  • Challenges

What about good followers?

  • Manage self
  • Competent but seeks help
  • Follows orders after evaluation
  • May challenge with alternatives

Different types:

  • Sheep
  • “yes” men
  • Pragmatist
  • Alienated (pride)
  • Star follower

Failed communication: why did the airliner running out of fuel crash? Black box recorder (air traffic control/cockpit) revealed:

  • Lack of clarity
  • Lack of urgency
  • Lack of critical language
  • Lack of respect

Blessed are the pure in heart.

 

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Matthew 5:8.                                                                                                                                                                    Blessed are the pure in heart,…. Not in the head; for men may have pure notions and impure hearts; not in the hand, or action, or in outward conversation only; so the Pharisees were outwardly righteous before men, but inwardly full of impurity; but “in heart.” The heart of man is naturally unclean; nor is it in the power of man to make it clean, or to be pure from his sin; nor is any man in this life, in such sense, so pure in heart, as to be entirely free from sin. This is only true of Christ, angels, and glorified saints: but such may be said to be so, who, though they have sin dwelling in them, are justified from all sin, by the righteousness of Christ, and are “clean through the word,” or sentence of justification pronounced upon them, on the account of that righteousness; whose iniquities are all of them forgiven, and whose hearts are sprinkled with the blood of Jesus, which cleanses from all sin; and who have the grace of God wrought in their hearts, which, though as yet imperfect, it is entirely pure; there is not the least spot or stain of sin in it: and such souls as they are in love with, so they most earnestly desire after more purity of heart, lip, life, and conversation. And happy they are,
for they shall see God; in this life, enjoying communion with him, both in private and public, in the several duties of religion, in the house and ordinances of God; where they often behold his beauty, see his power and his glory, and taste, and know, that he is good and gracious: and in the other world, where they shall see God in Christ, with the eyes of their understanding; and God incarnate, with the eyes of their bodies, after the resurrection; which sight of Christ, and God in Christ, will be unspeakably glorious, desirable, delightful, and satisfying; it will be free from all darkness and error, and from all interruption; it will be an appropriating and transforming one, and will last for ever. John Gill Commentary<!–

Matthew 5:9–>

This can be cross-referenced with Paul’s aim, ” bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” in II Corinthians. 10:5

Irish Indoor Rowing Championships (IIRC) 2017

16251950_769354589882443_4307003303604627424_o  The bucket’s for anyone who throws up!16265354_769490766535492_4942477512579740555_nReady, Attention, Row!

After a sleepless overnight train and bus journey I arrived at University of Limerick just in time for the first race the 1000m at 10.12am. As ever I had Ken Lake, ex-marine and CEO of Lakes Fitness in Malta beside me, who invariably (up till now) beats me. He did it again well and truly, pulling away to 80m in front, by the end, but I have to add he is a heavyweight (over 75Kg) rower and I am lightweight. So, a silver. Then with an outside chance at an Irish record in the 500m sprint I had to get off 0.7Kg by 3pm to make lightweight for it. I made it after three runs and a visit to the loo. In this race both I and John Martyn of Galway started off hard and in fact John led till the last 100m I believe, when Ken overhauled him.

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1000m first three.                                           L to R. John, Ken and me.

The championships as ever were well run with around 1,400 competitors of ages 12-75, with a professional photographer on hand and plenty vociferous supporters (see pic).

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IIRC website

Thousands of photos on this FB page

 https://www.facebook.com/JustLookAtTheLensPhotography/photos/

How to row indoors properly

 

Abraham’s servant’s prayer.

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I find this prayer and it’s answer one of the most remarkable in the Bible, for two reasons: first it’s specificity, Eliezer asks for something quite detailed and specific and second he says it in his heart (v45). This shows that our prayers don’t have to be actually spoken out loud and they can be about the most small, specific or detailed subject in our lives. What a gracious privilege to be God’s covenant friend.

Genesis 25:12-67

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The Holy War (9)

 

Just a reminder that this series of studies concerns the antithesis. The battle fought through the ages between the seed of the woman (Eve), the church, God’s people, and the seed of the serpent (the reprobate wicked), God’s enemies. In the Old Testament these wars were fought with physical (and spiritual) weapons whereas in the New Testament age, they are fought with spiritual weapons alone.

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Gideon

Sung Psalm 83:5-15

Read Judges 6:1-24

The enemies that this judge will confront are Midian, Amalek and the children of the east (likely nomads). Large numbers are involved─135,000 men and myriads of livestock which were devastating the countryside (6:5-6, 8:10). The enemies had been ravaging the land in fulfillment of God’s curse in Deut. 28 esp. v33.

Gideon was a humble, youngest son in an inauspicious tribe. His call is the longest of all the judges, he is tested as he is commanded to destroy his father’s idols, and he is given signs to encourage him notably a food offering consumed by fire, an angel ascending in the flame, fleeces dry or wet and a dream among the Midianites. He is also given promises (7:9,14).

His army is whittled down from 32,000 to 300 to show that God it is who fights for Israel.

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The enemy kings are all beheaded. Gideon is among the heroes of faith in Hebrews (11:32).

 

5 Proven Weapons in the Fight for Holiness (actually one but with five strokes!)

 

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When Paul says to put to death the deeds of the body “by the Spirit” (Romans 8:13), I take him to mean that we should use the one weapon in the Spirit’s armor that is used to kill. Namely, the sword. Which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17).

So when the body is about to be led into a sinful action by some fear or craving, we are to take the sword of the Spirit and kill that fear and that craving. In my experience that means mainly severing the root of sin’s promise by the power of a superior promise.

So, for example, when I begin to crave some illicit sexual pleasure, the sword-swing that has often severed the root of this promised pleasure is: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). I recall the pleasures I have tasted of seeing God more clearly from an undefiled conscience; and I recall the brevity and superficiality and oppressive aftertaste of sin’s pleasures, and with that, God has killed the conquering power of sin.

It is a beautiful thing to be the instrument of God’s word-wielding power to kill sin.

Having promises at hand that suit the temptation of the hour is one key to successful warfare against sin. But there are times when we don’t have a perfectly suited word from God in our minds. And there is no time to look through the Bible for a tailor-made promise.

So we all need to have a small arsenal of general promises ready to use whenever fear or craving threaten to lead us astray.

Here are a few of my most proven weapons:

1. “Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10)

I have slain more dragons in my soul with that sword than any other I think. It is a precious weapon to me.

2. “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).

How many times I have been persuaded in the hour of trial by this verse that the reward of disobedience could never be greater than “all things.”

3. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me . . . And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18).

How many times have I strengthened my sagging spirit with the assurance that the Lord of heaven and earth is just as much with me today as he was with the disciples on earth!

4. “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you shall glorify me” (Psalms 50:15).

What makes this weapon so compelling is that God’s helping me is made the occasion of my glorifying him. Amazing arrangement. I get the help, he gets the glory!

5. “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus”(Philippians 4:19).

The context is financial and material. But the principle is total. What we really need (not just want) will be granted. And what is need? Need is what we must have to do God’s will. What we must have to magnify our Savior. That is what we will be given as we trust him.

Be constantly adding to your arsenal of promises. But never lose sight of the chosen few that God has blessed in your life. Do both. Be ever-ready with the old. And every morning look for a new one to take with you through the day.

Check out also I Cor.10:13-JK

Pastor John

_______

Our identity in Christ

 

Summary of message given by Rev. Ronald VanOverloop at CPRC Ballymena Wednesday June 18th 2017

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Text Acts 27:23.

Paul standing on the shifting deck of an otherwise doomed merchant sailing vessel with 276 people on board tells them God “whose I am, and whom I serve” told him that all on board would be saved from the wreck.

Identity is NOT:

  • What I do
  • What others think of me

Our identity (as Christians) is:

  • What God thinks of me
  • What God has done for me

The fall of man, and our fall in him has made us as depraved creatures think horizontally all the time, that is about ourselves and other people. Fear of man predominates and we are constantly comparing ourselves with others and sometimes thinking we don’t need others. All these ideas are sinful thoughts and attitudes.

We need to think vertically: We have two legs that we stand on. First leg…we are vile dust by nature (the old man of sin), second leg we are a new man (Christ in me by his Spirit) who nevertheless is dominant (our kicking foot!)

God sees us IN CHRIST as belonging to him, beloved everlastingly, perfectly righteous (holy), ordained to good works.

Praise his name!

Paul’s prayers for the Ephesians

 

Rev. Ron VanOverloop (Grace Church, Michigan)

“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith”

Sung Psalm 1

Readings Ephesians 1:16-19 and 3:14-20 (see also his prayers in Philippians and Colossians)

Generally we pray for folk who are ill or going through trials of some kind and this is right, but Paul after listing all the blessings these saints have, and thanking God for them, focusses his prayer on spiritual blessings namely the knowledge of God, his power and love, the hope of his calling and his inheritance. To know him is to love him and I believe he prays that the mutual indwelling of the covenant Christ in his people is more and more their experience (Gal.2:20, II Cor. 6:16, Col.1:27, John 14:20).

We discussed how a person knows they are predestined/elect and the Canons of Dort are wonderfully clear mentioning “infallible proofs”: (Head 1 Article 12). Notice that our election, our indwelling sinfulness (Head 5 Article 2) and our perseverance (Head 5 Article 12) are all reasons for humility and when we are humble Christ dwells in us!

The tabernacle (also temple)-Old Testament picture of God dwelling with his people. We are now the temple of God!

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Clouds

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” Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge?” Job 37:16

 

According to scientists, the weight of the average cumulus cloud is 1.1 million pounds! Think about that for a moment. This means that at any given moment, there are millions of pounds of water floating above your head. That’s the equivalent of 100 elephants.

Yet that weight is so dispersed in tiny droplets that it floats!

God’s Mercy

We heard this morning at church (CPRC Ballymena) from Rev. Ron VanOverloop with Micah 7:18-19 as his text, about “The Supreme God Delighting in Mercy”.

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Bartimaeus whose cry was , “Jesus Son of David have mercy upon me.”

We learnt that mercy is something deep in God, one of his immutable attributes and something he has eternally which is his deep desire to bless himself. It is expressed in time by his mercy towards his elect miserable sinful people whom he saves in Christ and blesses eternally. The truth that he is mercy in himself apart from creation and the expression of it, has to be held alongside the fact that all his eternal, immutable attributes coexist with his eternal decree and covenant in Christ to be merciful and bless his people. So in reality his mercy never existed outside of his covenant—it is covenant mercy.

It is incredible that such a great, holy and powerful God should show mercy to miserable sinners like us and in fact I believe were it not for the work of the Holy Spirit convincing us NO-ONE would believe it! We couldn’t and we wouldn’t!

His mercy in Christ is exhibited in the Good Shepherd seeking his sheep which was the subject of the evening sermon (Luke 15) where incidentally the self-righteous Pharisees and the elder brother were actually goats who thought they were sheep! Being found by Christ is simultaneous with repenting which we do initially upon conversion and continually throughout our Christian lives.

James 5:10-12

CPRC Men’s  Bible  Study

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James 5:10-11          Examples

  1. The prophets are examples of patience in suffering because most or all of them suffered either personal or family trouble or persecution in the form of abuse, threats, imprisonment even death at the hands of the people. For example; Abel, Job, Joseph, Moses, Elijah, David, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Zechariah (Matt 23:35-37) and John the Baptist. Jesus depicted this in a parable (Matt 21:33-40). See also II Chron 36:15-16, “ And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy.”
  2. They suffered because of the antithesis, the battle between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. Godless wicked men hate God and his servants and their message. Cain and Abel are prime examples—self-righteous Cain hated godly righteous-by-faith Abel. Many of the prophets brought specific accusations and condemnation of the people’s behaviour.
  3. They showed patience by not retaliating, by continuing their witness bravely and accepting and enduring their suffering as from God. Their patience was an expression of:
  • Trust in God
  • Waiting for justice
  • Meekness (unjust suffering)
  • Hope for their future

4.Happiness generally is a mood reflecting joy in circumstances but here “happy” (Greek: MAKARIOS) means blessed. The root is MAK meaning either lengthy or beautiful, pointing, I think, to the character traits engendered by patient suffering, i.e. conformity to Christ (Phil 3:8-11). Christ of course suffered terribly yet is ever blessed and his glory and joy are imparted to us (Jas 1:2-4). He said it was blessed to suffer for righteousness sake (Matt.5:10). What enabled the prophets (and Christ) to do this?

  • Love for God
  • Their following Christ (Heb 11:25)
  • For the good of the church
  • Their identity as children of God (John 13:3)
  • Looking to future joy and reward (Heb 12:2)
  • Glad to be counted worthy (Acts 5:41)
  1. Job’s patience was his acceptance of all his loss at God’s hand without complaint and his continuing to praise him. The end of the Lord for him was restoration, God explaining much about his work,  and glory to his name through Job’s perseverance (also indirectly comfort for many believers since).
  2. The examples of the prophets and Job serve to highlight the truth of the fifth point of Calvinism namely the preservation or perseverance of the saints.

 

James 5:12         Swearing

 

1/2. Swearing was apparently a big problem among the Jews and it meant calling upon God, or another witness as proof that someone was telling the truth or would keep their oath. It implies some retribution or calamity if the oath is not kept.

  1. James forbids rash and profane swearing. He cannot be forbidding all oaths because it is lawful to swear in a courtroom, to make marriage or confession of faith church vows and to swear by God. God himself swears (Gen 22:16, Ps 110:4, Heb 7:21).
  1. Swearing was permitted in O.T. law (Num 30:2ff, Deut 6:13, Is 45:23, 95:16) and Paul made a vow. James is backing up Christ’s admonition in Matt 5:33-37 which makes clear that oaths are unnecessary to the man of integrity.
  2. (see 3 above)
  3. Improper oaths often include breaking the third or ninth commandment and will bring guilt and consequences (loss of reputation) and condemnation (Zech 5:3) especially on judgment day.

Next BS (DV) Sat. Feb. 4th 8pm James 5:13-18

 

Witnessing

 

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Christ with the woman at the well (John 4:1-45) exemplifies wisdom in witness. Divine providence led Christ to her (v4), his route, his thirst…..

  • he excited her interest (v14)
  • she desired the living water (v15)
  • sin had to be dealt with (v16ff)
  • she is instructed in true worship (v24)
  • Christ reveals himself to her (v26)
  • she believes (v29)
  • she wins many others (v39)

Lord help us do likewise. Lead us to prepared hearts.

Purity of mind

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Job even in the midst of suffering covenants to avoid the sin of lust or fornication/adultery in the mind. Hear John Gill,” (Job) bound himself by a covenant, made a resolution in the strength of divine grace, not to employ his eyes in looking on objects that might ensnare his heart, and lead him to the commission of sin;  to shut or turn his eyes from beholding what might be alluring and enticing to him: it is said of Democritus, that he put out his eyes because he could not look upon a woman without lusting after her: (is this not universally true of all men?)
“why then should I think upon a maid;” of corrupting and defiling her, since he had made a covenant with his eyes, and this would be a breach of that covenant: and therefore, besides the sin of lusting after her, or of corrupting her, he would be a covenant breaker, and so his sin would be an aggravated one: or he made a covenant with his eyes, to prevent any impure thoughts, desires, and inclinations in him; for the eye affects the heart, and stirs up lust in it, and excites unclean thoughts and unchaste desires: this shows that the thought of sin is sin; that fornication was reckoned a sin before the law of Moses; and that Job better understood the spirituality of the law than the Pharisees did in the time of Christ, and had the same notion of lust in the heart being fornication and adultery as he had; and that good men are not without temptation to sin, both from within and from without; and therefore should carefully shun all appearances of evil, and whatsoever leads unto it, and take every necessary precaution to guard against it.

Able to admonish one another

Sermon on Romans 15:14: Limerick Reformed Fellowship

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Rev. Martyn McGeown

Summary:

Admonish means to bring truth to the heart of another. What means does God use? Preaching, reading Bible, another believer.

Of what does it consist?

  • Teaching (the ignorant)
  • Beseeching (conscience)
  • Comforting/encouraging/consoling
  • Warning (a duty)
  • Rebuking

How does it happen? Informally by an individual believer or if serious enough by church discipline.

Listen to sermon

 

Fire at the centre of the earth.

” As for the earth, out of it cometh bread: and under it is turned up as it were fire.” Job 28:5.

How did Job know that the inner earth was hot, very hot, long before modern science around 2000BC when he wrote this? Scientists estimate it’s 6000C which is as hot as the surface of the sun! The omniscient Spirit of God inspired him to write this and the Bible’s scientific accuracy, well before modern science, is another proof of its divine inspiration.

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Scientific paper.

Holy War (8)

 

Psalm 83:5-15

Judges 5:1-23

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The judges were deliverers of oppressed Israel as well as those who upheld the law. The first Judge, Othniel was a link to Moses and Joshua being son in law to Caleb. He fought the king of far-off Mesopotamia (3-11). The second Judge Ehud killed Eglon king of Moab.

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The third Shamgar fought the Philistines and killed 600 of them with the unlikely weapon of an ox goad.

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The fourth was a woman, Deborah who encouraging Barak, fought the Canaanites specifically King Jabin and General Sisera who had 900 iron chariots. God who fought with and for Israel in all these battles overthrew these chariots with a flooded Kishon river in the boggy waterlogged vale of Megiddo (5:21). Deborah’s song is full of history and mentions ten of the twelve tribes!

Sisera fleeing on foot was also killed by a Kenite woman.

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Just to reiterate that these were Holy Wars. God through Israel fought his and their enemies, in answer to prayer often though supernatural means.

 

Identity

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It is noteworthy that the first two temptations of Christ were centred on his identity. “I thou be the Son of God….”. Christ’s firm conviction of who he was (John 13:3) saw him overcome. Similarly we as God’s children need to be utterly convinced that we are adopted, loved, helped and kept by our heavenly Father despite the fact that of ourselves we are guilty totally depraved sinners.

“Content with who I am in Christ”

Lecture at C.P.R.C. Ballymena

Rev. Ron VanOverloop (Michigan, USA)

Weds. 18th January 2017 at 7.30pm

Satan v Job

     “And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” Luke 10:18

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Satan underestimates and does not know the power of God and the grace of God. He believed Job would curse God if all he had was taken away, he believed he could take over the throne of God in a revolt, he believed if he killed Christ he would overthrow all God’s salvation of men, he believes he can deceive and devour God’s people ─ he is wrong on all counts. Because he is NOT omniscient, because he is a liar and deceives even himself, his thoughts are wrong, his evil is exposed, and it will not be long till he is publicly, eternally and finally exposed as wicked and banished to everlasting torment in the lake of fire.

We need to pray that more people will be shown by God how deceived they are in his camp, repent, believe and enlist under Christ.

For his part, that great saint Job, in and through his terrible affliction, did not know what glory he was giving God and how his life would impact many others who have lived with affliction ever since.

The Eternally Active God

New LRF* Blog Post


The Eternally Active God

Posted: 05 Jan 2017 10:06 AM PST

God is the eternally active and living God. Never is God idle. Never is God bored. Never is God lonely or unfulfilled. Eternally within His own being, God has planned and purposed all things. We call God’s eternal plan His “counsel.” “Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:18). “Being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Ephesians 1:11).

God is perfectly free. He depends on no one. Therefore, He depends on no one when He determines His eternal counsel. No one gives Him advice—nor does He seek advice—in determining what He should do. Since God’s counsel is eternal, no one was there, no creature, neither man nor angel, to give Him advice, or to give input into His counsel. God could choose to create or not to create, and having decided to create, He could create whatever pleased Him in any way it pleased Him. “But our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased” (Psalm 115:3).

God’s counsel is unchangeable. Never does God change His mind. And nothing happens in history to force Him to change His mind. From our perspective, God might sometimes seem to change, but in reality He has purposed all things from eternity. God’s counsel includes all things—every event, every person, every activity. Nothing is outside of the scope of God’s decree. The rise and fall of nations, the birth, death (and every detail of life) of every individual, and even the fall of a sparrow are included.

The doctrine of God’s sovereign counsel is a terror to the wicked. Try as they might, they cannot overthrow the God who sits on the throne. God laughs at their puny efforts to thwart His purposes (Psalm 2:4). Evil men are but instruments in His hand to fulfill His will, whether they know it and acknowledge it or not. However, the same teaching is of great comfort to God’s children: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Conversely God works all things to the destruction of the reprobate wicked (Psalm 73 and 69:22-15)—JK

It is a wonderful truth that all things are under God’s control and power, that all things serve God’s glory, and that all things serve the salvation of God’s people. There is no greater comfort and assurance than that!

Fear for the Future

 

If you are like me you constantly need reassurance that you have no need to fear. In fact you are commanded 75 times in Scripture to “fear not!” Rev. John Heys wrote about this in the Standard Bearer in 1970.

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“..the thought of death gives us fear and many an anxious moment.”  But, “Let the eye of faith be fixed on Christ, and our fear will not be one of terror and fright but of reverence and awe, ” and I would add COMFORT. “Death does not seem such a terrible woe to the believer, because he sees it as his servant instead of his enemy…And he fears God rather than death which God controls so perfectly.”…”And if (God’s) mercy is ALWAYS upon us (Psalm 103:17) and was upon us from everlasting and will be everlastingly, what can or will harm us?” The Lord is constantly with us his people, ready and willing to meet every need. We have covenant fellowship with him. He is in us and we in him. NOTHING can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

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Full article

Comfort in death

Limerick Reformed Fellowship

Give unto the LORD the glory due unto His name (Psalm 96:8)

www.limerickreformed.com

Live Broadcast: http://mixlr.com/limerickreformed/

Lord’s Day 1st January 2017

Order of Service

Missionary-Pastor Martyn McGeown

 

 

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Evening worship – 5.30pm

Our Confession of Life After Death

Scripture Reading: Psalm 16:1-11

Text:  Heidelberg Catechism, LD 22, Q&A 57

  1. Temporary Separation
  2. Immediate Joy

III. Future Glory

Psalms: 73:23-28; 107:16-21; 16:1-5; 16:6-11

 

Quotes to Consider

Calvin: “Though many talk much of God’s providence, and profess to believe that he exercises a special guardianship over his own children, few are found actually willing to entrust their safety to him” (Commentary on the Psalms, vol. 2, p. 477).

 

  1. H. Spurgeon: “This is noble encouragement to all the saints; die they must, but rise they shall, and though in their case they shall see corruption, yet they shall rise to everlasting life. Christ’s resurrection is the cause, the earnest, the guarantee, and the emblem of the rising of all his people. Let them, therefore, go to their graves as to their beds, resting their flesh among the clods as they now do upon their couches” (Treasury of David, vol. 1, p. 197).

 

Spurgeon: “Trapp’s note on the heavenly verse which closes the Psalm is a sweet morsel, which may serve for a contemplation, and yield a foretaste of our inheritance. He writes, ‘Here is as much said as can be, but words are too weak to utter it. For quality there is in heaven joy and pleasures; for quantity, a fullness, a torrent whereat they drink without let or loathing; for constancy, it is at God’s right hand, who is stronger than all, neither can any take us out of his hand; it is a constant happiness without intermission: and for perpetuity it is for evermore. Heaven’s joys are without measure, mixture, or end'” (ibid, p. 197).

 

Edward Willan: “‘In thy presence is the fullness of joy;’ and herein consists the consummation of felicity; for what does any man here present wish for more than joy? And what measure of joy can any man wish for more than fullness of joy? And what kind of fullness would any man wish for rather than this fullness? And where would any man wish to enjoy this fullness of joy rather than in the presence of God, which is the ever-flowing and the over-flowing fountain of joy? And when would any man wish for this enjoyment of the fullness of joy in the very fountain of joy rather than presently, constantly, and incessantly? Now all these desirables are encircled within the compass of the first remarkable, to make up the consummation of true felicity. ‘In thy presence is fullness of joy’” (quoted in ibid, p. 211).

 

John Cragg: “This then may serve for a ground of comfort to every soul distressed with the tedious bitterness of this life; for short sorrow here, we shall have eternal joy; for a little hunger, an eternal banquet; for light sickness and affliction, everlasting health and salvation; for a little imprisonment, endless liberty; for disgrace, glory. Instead of the wicked who oppress and afflict them, they shall have the angels and saints to comfort and solace them, instead of Satan to torment and tempt them, they shall have Jesus to ravish and affect them. Joseph’s prison shall be turned into a palace; Daniel’s lions’ den into the presence of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah; the three children’s hot fiery furnace, into the new Jerusalem of pure gold; David’s Gath, into the tabernacle of the living God” (quoted in ibid, p. 212).

 

Zacharias Ursinus: “Flesh and blood being mortal and corrupt, as it now is, cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Therefore flesh and blood, simply such, cannot inherit the kingdom of God. But this does not legitimately follow. Hence flesh and blood, understanding by this, that which is sinful, and corrupt, cannot inherit the kingdom of God; but as glorified and immortal it shall obtain an entrance there. The Apostle expressly teaches this when he says, ‘It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.’ … The apostle means by a spiritual body, not that which is changed into the Spirit, or which is in all its properties equal to the Spirit, but that which is ruled by the Spirit of God, which is immortal and free from all misery, adorned with heavenly splendour, glory, activity, strength and holiness. So he also calls a natural body, not that which is changed into the soul, or which is equal to it in all its properties, but that which in this mortal state is quickened, controlled, and directed by the soul. That this is the meaning of what Paul calls a spiritual body, is proven. 1. Because he says it is raised a spiritual body, but a spirit is no body. 2. He also adds, ‘this corruptible (body) must put on incorruption'” (Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism, pp. 315-316).

 

 

Heidelberg Catechism, LD 22

Q 57.  What comfort doth the “resurrection of the body” afford thee?
 A.  That not only my soul after this life shall be immediately taken up to Christ its Head; but also, that this my body, being raised by the power of Christ, shall be reunited with my soul, and made like unto the glorious body of Christ.

Race over the Glens

This is a very tough, seriously up and down trail race along the sides of Antrim’s deepest, glacially produced, glens namely Glenariff. It is 6.5 miles. It usually takes place on January 1st annually, but this year because New Year’s Day fell on a Sunday, the Lord’s Day, the race was moved to January 2nd. The car park was full to overflowing as 366 runners plus families and other support, arrived. It was cold, and there were many icy patches. Although it is tough, the uphill sections so steep that you must walk, I always enjoy this race. I actually enjoy letting myself go on the downhill sections taking the brakes off most of the time, catching up many competitors. I beat a fair number of much younger folk and finished fourth male over 60, in just over 53 minutes (winner was 36!) The medal was pretty, using the flyer motif with picture of the glen. See below. Mark Kelly of Ballymena Runners produced an excellent video which can be viewed below…

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Prayer for a new year.

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First these wonderful truths from the Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 9:

Q. 26.  What believest thou when thou sayest, “I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth”?
A.  That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (who of nothing made heaven and earth, with all that is in them;1 who likewise upholds and governs the same by His eternal counsel and providence2) is, for the sake of Christ His Son, my God and my Father;3 on whom I rely so entirely, that I have no doubt but He will provide me with all things necessary for soul and body;4 and further, that He will make whatever evils He sends upon me, in this valley of tears, turn out to my advantage;5 for He is able to do it, being Almighty God,6 and willing, being a faithful Father.7

  1. Gen. 1, 2. Psa. 33:6.
  2. Psa. 115:3. Mat. 10:29. Heb. 1:3. John 5:17.
  3. John 1:12. Rom. 8:15, 16. Gal. 4:5, 6. Eph. 1:5. 1 John 3:1.
  4. Psa. 55:22. Mat. 6:26. John 1:16.
  5. Rom. 8:28.
  6. Rom. 4:21.
  7. Rom. 10:12. Mat. 6:26. Mat. 7:9-11

    Requests from Psalm 90:

    12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

    14 O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

    15 Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil.

    16 Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children.

    17 And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.

    Thank you for your love through prayer!

 

Watch and pray

Watch and pray

Why?

What is the opposite?

What does it involve?

Firstly we need to consider that watching is more than seeing. It is looking intently at something or someone with carefulness, whether it’s a football match, babysitting a grandchild or an animal in the wild. The first mention of “watching” in the Bible is Gen.31:49, when Laban says to Jacob,” The LORD watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.” In context he was calling on God to scrutinise any future incursions by either of the men against the other. Then as the Israelites crossed the Red Sea we read, “ And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians” (Ex.14:24). This is the first mention of the classical use of the term regarding watchmen and the time of their watch. The morning watch was the last part of the night before dawn. Watchmen would be guarding a city from the walls and towers, or shepherding their flocks or at sea steering a ship and watching for rocks and all during the night e.g. In Luke 2:8 “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” Watching here entailed staying awake and on guard for dangerous predators who would attack sheep. Watching in Matthew 26:38 and 40 also meant staying awake.

Among the Jews the night was divided into three four-hour “watches” , Gideon chose to attack at around 10pm. “So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands” (Judges 7:19), and this division continued on till Roman times. The Romans divided the night into four “watches;” this was recognized among the Jews (see Mark 13:35 and “And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea” (Matt.14:25)i.e., sometime between 3 and 6am.

There could be day watches too as in the days of Nehemiah, “Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them” (Neh. 4:9). “My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning” (Ps.130:6). This verse captures the idea of longing for time to pass which would be natural for any night-watchman.

Spiritual watchmen however, had a different task. They were leaders or prophets given the responsibility to watch over the souls of God’s people in Israel in the same way as ruling or pastoral elders do in the church today. “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you” (Hebrews 13:17). “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears” (Acts 20:28-30). “I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence “(Is.62:6). The people on hearing their preaching and warnings would either listen and repent, or harden their hearts, “Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken” (Jer.6:17). In both Old and New Testament we read of lazy, careless, negligent and wicked watchmen who neglect their duties, “His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber” (Is.56:10). False shepherds, not called by God, are the modern equivalent. They neither know God, nor his gospel, and all they care about is their fleshly lusts and monetary gain (II Pet. 2:1-3). These are meant to bark or sound a trumpet (preach and prophesy) when they see danger approaching e.g. the people falling into idolatry, Sabbath-breaking, enslaving their brethren, or any obvious wickedness, and if they don’t, God holds them accountable; “ Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul” (Ezek.3:17-19). Warning, admonishing, exhorting are part and parcel of the office of Old Testament priest or prophet and the New Testament teaching and ruling elder.

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     “Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips” (Ps 141:3). This is the first time the verb is used in the context of self-control in speech but it could equally be used of any of our daily activities. We need to watch all our appetites, how we use our time, how we treat others etc. The meaning here is moral alertness, “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry” (II Tim.4:5).

However the key instance of watching we need to consider is one Christ oft repeated, “ Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt.26:41). Paul also says, “Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears” (Acts 20:31). Paul also contrasts watching with sleeping, “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober” (I Thess. 5:6). These instances Matt. 24:43, 26:41, Acts 20:31, 1 Cor. 16:13, Col. 4:2, 1 Thess. 5:6,10, all mean spiritual alertness, “be watchful” (1 Pet. 5:8) or “be vigilant”, also Rev. 3:2,3; 16:15. Those who sleep are spiritually unconscious or even dead and totally unaware of the danger they face and their being under God’s wrath. The Christian believer is the only class of human being who ought to be spiritually watchful!

Watching and praying are often linked and this is vital because by being in an attitude of constant prayer and communion with the Lord, temptation will be kept at bay, and will help us overcome (Eph. 6:18, I Thess.5:18). “Awake to righteousness, and do not sin” (1 Corinthians 15:34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.)images6286izgr

Being awake is equated with righteousness and not sinning. Paul was writing to the church at Corinth, which shows that even true Christians can be spiritually asleep to varying degrees. Diligence and carefulness in all the means of grace whether it’s daily Bible reading and prayer in our personal devotions (Prov. 8:34), family devotions, personal or church Bible study or Lord’s day attendance, cannot be overemphasised. Christian fellowship is also vital, as is witness when opportunity arises (Rev.12:11). Christ also meant us to watch world events in the light of Biblical teaching as we will see more and more the harbingers of his second coming as recorded in Matthew 24. When he comes will he find us watching? We really should never drop our guard!

2017 January 1st

 

 

The Apostle John wrote, “Blessed is he that readeth and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein:” The Bible reading plan for 2017 starts today and I plan to share a few thoughts on the daily passages with the prayer they might be helpful to others.

Genesis 1-3:24.  The very first sentence in Scripture makes it clear to me the earth is unique, God has NOT made other inhabited worlds or aliens, there is only one life-sustaining earth, hence the folly and waste of money searching for other life in the universe! The greatest understatement ever made follows viz., “He made the stars also”.

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Trillions of galaxies made up of millions of stars, most of which would make our sun look miniscule comprise the vast universe of stars. Yet God planned to reveal himself supremely and decreed to play out the great battle of history for the glory of his name on one unique tiny blue planet.

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The creatures were made “after their kind” which we are told by creation scientists means after their family kind rather than species. So God made the first dog and cat from which we got every species of dog/wolf and cat/big cat.

Man lost the image of God which is righteousness and true holiness (Eph.4:24) when he fell. Mankind are now born in the image of Satan (John 8:44).

We are just made of dust, of the same chemicals that make up earth, hence a cremated body is just ash dust.

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God ordained marriage, not fornication (shacking up or living with a girlfriend). He called Eve Adam’s wife after he had performed the first wedding. The lifelong commitment of marriage between one man and one woman is vital for proper family life as God ordained it.

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Satan made out God to be a scrooge or killjoy (Gen.3:1), he still lies to men in the same way today. Eve usurped her place in taking of the forbidden fruit and Adam did not stop her, thus reneging on his responsibility. She was deceived and he willingly sinned. This is why we have Paul’s apostolic and authoritative word that women are not to lead or teach in churches (I Tim.2:12-15).

The antithesis begins in 3:15. God creates enmity between the seed of the woman (Christ and the church) and the seed of the serpent (the wicked). Christ shall break the head of the serpent and kill him.

Work is for man’s sake (3:17).

Man shall not live by bread alone.

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Living on bread alone, by living in this world without Christ is actually death. Death in the Biblical sense is separation from God (Rom.6:23, Isaiah 59:1-2, Ephesians 2:1). Every person is like this by nature. We are not born into the world as God’s children, we have to be adopted as such through rebirth. Christ, opposing Satan in Matthew 4:4, quotes Deuteronomy 8:3, saying that man can ONLY live by God’s word. This was said in the context of God supplying manna to the Israelites, which manna Christ said represented him (John 6:33). So Christ is heavenly bread. We must eat him! A man only becomes a child of God and truly alive by being born again (John 3:3, 6:53-58) by hearing, understanding, believing and obeying the gospel (I Peter 1:23), which is eating and assimilating Christ. We must hear the word of Christ to live spiritually (John 5:24-25). By hearing it preached in a true church, by reading it in a faithful translation, and by the working of God’s Spirit we are resurrected from being spiritually dead and become really alive. We eat the heavenly bread. Christ comes to dwell in us. We are graciously given eternal life by God’s grace. This eternal life is friendship and true knowledge of God (John 17:3). This is what real Christians celebrate in the Lord’s Supper. Are you really living or still dead in your un-forgiven sins?

James 5:19-20

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James 5:19-20 and resumé of book

The Conversion of the Sinner

  1. Ultimately the truth is Christ (John 14:6) but in terms that we can see and understand it is the Scriptures (Ps.119:128,142).
  2. To err from the truth is to believe falsehood and/or teach it which then affects the way you live. Unbelief, deception and wrong behaviour are all sinful. Denominations that err from the truth usually apostatise. The necessity is knowing the truth AND loving it (II Thess.2:10-11).
  3. To convert means to come to confess sin or falsehood, repent from it and re-consecrate oneself to God. Peter is an example (Luke 22:32) and David (Ps.51).
  4. Although God must work in the heart, we may be the means whereby a sinner is converted. It is severally illustrated in terms of eyes, ears and mind. The eyes must be opened (John 3:3) and the ears (Matt.13:15, Mark 4:12, John 12:40 and Acts 28:27) to hear Christ’s voice and the heart needs to understand. The word is also the instrument (Ps.19:7). This is true at initial conversion and subsequent on-going conversion.
  5. The death of which James writes is that of backsliding and ultimately, if unrepentant, eternal death in apostasy.
  6. To hide a multitude of sins is to have them covered by the blood of Christ when they are confessed and forsaken (I John 1:9, Ps.103:12, Ps.32:1). God declares them buried in the deepest sea and no longer remembered.

Key themes of the book of James

  • Affliction through trial and temptation to which we are to respond by rejoicing and prayer.
  • Fleeting nature of riches and not respecting persons.
  • Control of the tongue.
  • Living faith is shown by works.
  • Prayer encouraged and the restoration of the backslider.

Divisions of book

1:1-8 Greetings and exhortation to rejoice in trials knowing they work for good and that God will grant wisdom.

1:9-16 Riches fade. The source of temptation.

1:17-27 Control your anger. Obey the word.

2:1-9 Don’t respect persons.

2:10-26 Your faith works to show you are justified.

3:1-18 Teachers judged more strictly. Control tongue. Exhibition of godly wisdom.

4:1-17 Against lust and pride and boasting.

5:1-9 Against riches and injustice.

5:10-18 Exhortation to endure, no rash swearing, need to pray with examples.

5:19-20 Need to restore backslider.

Next BS (DV) March 25th to look at first chapter of “War of Words” by Paul David Tripp (on e bay £10 incl. p&p)

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See also: War of Words

Covenant Communion with God

In light of my love for the gracious covenant of God, the bond of friendship every true believer enjoys with Father, Son and Spirit, I propose to share notes from John Owen’s great work on communion with the triune God. May you be blessed and edified as I am sure I will be!

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It can be read in its totality here: Communion

I John 1:3

Communion implies:

  • common nature (humanity and spirituality) with Christ
  • common interest (God’s glory)
  • common condition (blessed, suffering)
  • common actions (gospel)
  • common delight

Essentially in this bond of fellowship God communicates himself.

II Cor.13:14

I Cor.12:4-6

Our worship, love and the exercise of faith are toward  each of the persons of the trinity.

Each TEACH: John 6:45, Matthew 17:5, John 14:26.

All GRACES come from all three persons. The Father communicates by way of original authority, the Son by purchased treasury and the Spirit by immediate efficacy. (Romans 8:11).

Song of Solomon (authorship)

From Covenant Reformed News by CPRC February 2017

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Does Solomonic Authorship Befit the Song of Songs?

A reader writes, “I was reading the Song of Solomon and I wondered why the Spirit of God chose a man like Solomon, who flagrantly abused the marriage covenant, to write the book most interpret as exemplifying the one-flesh union between a man and his wife, and between Christ and His bride. Perhaps it is just another way of showing how the type always fails, unlike the antitype! I would be very interested in reading a good Reformed book on the Song of Solomon bringing out all it teaches of God’s covenant. I don’t know if there has been one.”
Sadly, many, even within the Reformed camp, have denied that the Song of Solomon, sometimes known as the Song of Songs or Canticles, is an Old Testament metaphorical song celebrating the marriage relation between Christ and His church. One author, a former classmate in college, called it “An Erotic Love Song.” A former professor in a Reformed seminary denied that it was canonical; that is, he denied that it had a place in Scripture because it could not have been inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Nevertheless, the questioner is right. It does exemplify the truth of marriage that husband and wife, as earthly pictures of Christ and His church, presuppose an underlying earthly figure. That underlying figure is the institution of marriage that dates from Paradise. And the underlying type is Solomon himself. David was a type of Christ as the warrior that destroys the enemies of the church to prepare the way for the kingdom of heaven. Solomon, in all the wealth and beauty of his kingdom, was a type of Christ who brings about, through His cross, the everlasting kingdom of righteousness.
Solomon married 700 wives and also possessed 300 concubines (I Kings 11:3). It was indeed a mockery of the institution of marriage. Solomon paid the price for this, for his foreign wives led him into idolatry.
I have no interest in justifying Solomon’s sin. But it must be remembered, nonetheless, that before the coming of Christ, who, by His death and resurrection, made possible the true heavenly marriage, the earthly picture in the old dispensation was only a picture and thus defective. And so God permitted polygamy and concubinage because the earthly picture was not very clear in its depiction of the reality. It was like a very bad photo of a royal figure taken with a cheap camera. The picture was fuzzy and blurred; the details could not be clearly seen. When God reminded David of the many things He had given him, one of those was his many wives (II Sam. 12:1-14). But those in Scripture who were married to more than one wife inevitably had family problems: Abraham, Jacob, Elkanah, David, Solomon and many of the kings in both Israel and Judah.
It ought also to be remembered that, although the historical books of the Old Testament do not mention Solomon’s confession of his sin, it is almost certain that Solomon’s book Ecclesiastes is his confession.
Finally, Solomon, though it was sinful, was carrying on a custom which monarchs in his day practised. Harems, sometimes huge, were common in palaces throughout the Middle East. Many wealthy men had harems.
Now to the question itself. The question seems to me to assume that no wicked man could be used by God in inspiring the Scriptures. But all the men whom God used in writing the Bible were sinners. Nevertheless, when they wrote, they were “holy men of God” (II Pet. 1:21). Their holiness was not a total and complete alteration of their entire nature from depravity to sinlessness. David, after all, committed his sins of adultery and murder after writing Psalm 23. It does mean that, in writing the Scriptures, they were kept by God from any possible error. And it means that all who participated in the writing of Scripture were God-fearing men, consecrated to the Lord and His cause. This was true of all of them, including Solomon.
David was a dreadful sinner, as well as his son Solomon. David sinned against the seventh commandment, as well as Solomon, and added the sin of murder to hide his adultery. Before his conversion, Paul committed the dreadful sin of persecuting Christ’s church.
I realize that the questioner meant a little more than the fact that God used sinful men to write the Scriptures: he meant to say that one who broke the marriage bond was used by God to write about that marriage bond. How can one who defiled marriage write about true marriage, especially the marriage of Christ and His church?
It seems to me that we ought to reframe the question in this way: Is not Solomon, the forgiven sinner, in the best possible position to be used by God to write a song on the beauty and wonder of the marriage between Christ and His church? He knew better than most how wicked he was (and we are), and how even saints corrupt an institution that is so sacred and holy. And so he looked at the true marriage of Christ and His bride the church, and saw in it the redemption of the marriage state among God’s people. That is, he saw what a marriage here on earth ought to be when it reflected the reality of the true marriage. So he sang a song about it by the inspiration of the Spirit of Christ. He did so as an expression of hope for the future, when the figure would disappear to make room for the reality.
One more point on the truth of inspiration. God, in His marvellous wisdom, did not pick men at random to write the Bible. From eternity, He conceived in His own mind the one sacred Scripture in which God in Christ is fully revealed. The Bible is a portrait of Christ. From eternity, God also chose those men whom He wanted to write the various parts of Scripture. As if that were not enough, God sovereignly determined all the preparation that each man needed to be able to write what He had determined for him to write. If one does not include in the doctrine of inspiration both predestination and divine providence, he is bound to go wrong. So Solomon, weak and sinful as any man, was chosen to write parts of Scripture (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon). Throughout his life and forty-year reign, God was preparing him for this work. Solomon seems to me the ideal man to write this beautiful song about marriage—here on earth but especially in heaven. It was a longing for the reality, and who can better write about the reality than one who knew how he had corrupted the figure? Prof. Hanko

 

Covenant Protestant Reformed Church

http://www.cprf.co.uk/crnews.htm#.WK2Bq8LPue8

The Holy War (13)

 

Sung Psalm 60:5-12

Read Isaiah 7:1-14

Holy War by the major prophets

images Assyrians besieging.

The major prophet writing most about this was Isaiah. Specifically, we hear about the Assyrian invasion under Sennacherib in the days of Hezekiah when God miraculously saves Jerusalem by an angel that destroys 185,000 of the enemy. Check out Is.30:15 and 37:36 where we have another example of pacific expectancy, “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.” This is the last major holy war in the O.T.

In this chapter (7) we have a wicked confederacy of Syria and Israel seeking to install a puppet king in Judah (v6) and hence together resist Assyrian dominance. Judah is afraid (v26). Ahaz, perhaps the most wicked ever king of Judah, refuses to ask God for a sign yet nevertheless God uses the Assyrians to defeat this confederacy.

Scripture links the later victory of Judah over the Assyrians (vv4-6) with the coming of Christ who brings victory to the church as their King (v7) and establish his eternal kingdom. The King of chapters 7,9 and 11 will be victorious (11: 6-9) by his zeal and ultimately will usher in the new heaven and earth. The new Davidic empire typified here includes the Gentiles (v10, 14).

Thinking ahead about 750 years we have all the enemies of the church and God defeated at the cross and in the resurrection.

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  • the wicked world is destroyed and renewed (Daniel 2:35, Romans 8:21, II Peter 3:13).
  • The flesh or old man in every believer is dealt a death blow (Romans 8:10-11).
  • Satan defeated and ultimately destroyed (Hebrews 2:14).

Is it not amazing and contrary to all this world’s thinking, that the moment of utmost human helplessness and weakness when Christ gave up the ghost on the cross, was the most powerful event in God’s holy war and ultimately the efficient means whereby he will renew all of creation?

The result is an exultant song of victory (11:12) just like Miriam’s at the Red Sea and Deborah and Barak’s.