God is simple but incomprehensible.

Because of who God is and his infinitude in all his qualities we can never understand him but only like Moses, get a glimpse of his backparts. He is all of his attributes to infinity which means he is infinitely righteous, just, holy, powerful, loving etc but he has no parts being pure spirit, inhabiting eternity and filling all things and yet above and beyond all things. Knowing this it is incredible that puny men shake their fist at him and think they can live without him with impunity!

A few quotes from Church Fathers on Divine Simplicity (courtesy of Marco Barone)

“He is a simple, uncompounded Being, without diverse members, and altogether like, and equal to himself, since He is wholly understanding, and wholly spirit, and wholly thought, and wholly intelligence, and wholly reason, and wholly hearing, and wholly seeing, and wholly light, and the whole source of all that is good— even as the religious and pious are wont to speak concerning God.” ~ Irenaeus, Against Heresies2.13.3.

“Do you worship what you know or what you do not know? If I answer, I worship what I know, they immediately reply, What is the essence of the object of worship? Then, if I confess that I am ignorant of the essence, they turn on me again and say, So you worship you know not what. I answer that the word to know has many meanings. We say that we know the greatness of God, His power, His wisdom, His goodness, His providence over us, and the justness of His judgment; but not His very essence. The question is, therefore, only put for the sake of dispute. For he who denies that he knows the essence does not confess himself to be ignorant of God, because our idea of God is gathered from all the attributes which I have enumerated. But God, he says, is simple, and whatever attribute of Him you have reckoned as knowable is of His essence. But the absurdities involved in this sophism are innumerable. When all these high attributes have been enumerated, are they all names of one essence? And is there the same mutual force in His awfulness and His loving-kindness, His justice and His creative power, His providence and His foreknowledge, and His bestowal of rewards and punishments, His majesty and His providence? In mentioning any one of these do we declare His essence? If they say, yes, let them not ask if we know the essence of God, but let them enquire of us whether we know God to be awful, or just, or merciful. These we confess that we know. If they say that essence is something distinct, let them not put us in the wrong on the score of simplicity. For they confess themselves that there is a distinction between the essence and each one of the attributes enumerated. The operations are various, and the essence simple, but we say that we know our God from His operations, but do not undertake to approach near to His essence. His operations come down to us, but His essence remains beyond our reach.” ~ Basil of Caesarea, Letter,234.
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The Word

A light to give direction in life and enlightenment about God and his ways

A hammer to break down hard hearts and opposition to God

A sword to pierce hearts, to excise sin and the superfluous tissues (issues of life)

Pasture to spiritually feed all God’s flock

Water to quench the thirst of those seeking righteousness

Fire to burn away dross and sin in our lives

Are you reading it methodically?

See Bible Reading Plan post. Link

Temptation (48)

Owen now advises us as to how to keep the word of his patience and he starts with Scripture:

Keeping of the word of his patience (Rev.3:10) entails: [1.] Knowledge; [2.] Valuation; [3.] Obedience:—

[1.] Knowledge. He that will keep this word must know it, be acquainted with it, under a fourfold notion:— As a word of grace and mercy, to save him;  As a word of holiness and purity, to sanctify him;  As a word of liberty and power, to ennoble him and set him free;  As a word of consolation, to support him in every condition:—

As a word of grace and mercy, able to save us: “It is the power of God unto salvation,” (Rom. 1:16); “The grace of God that bringeth forth salvation,”(there is no “common” grace-JK) (Tit. 2:11); “The word of grace that is able to build us up, and to give us an inheritance among all them that are sanctified,” (Acts 20:32); “The word that is able to save our souls,” (James 1:21). When the word of the gospel is known as a word of mercy, grace, and pardon, as the sole evidence for life, as the conveyance of an eternal inheritance; when the soul finds it such to itself, it will strive to keep it.

As a word of holiness and purity, able to sanctify him: “Ye are clean through the word I have spoken unto you,” saith our Saviour, (John 15:3). To that purpose is his prayer, (John 17:17). He that knows not the word of Christ’s patience as a sanctifying, cleansing word, in the power of it upon his own soul, neither knows it nor keeps it. The empty profession of our days knows not one step towards this duty; and thence it is that the most are so overborne under the power of temptations. Men full of self, of the world, of fury, ambition, and almost all unclean lusts, do yet talk of keeping the word of Christ! See 1 Pet. 1:2; 2 Tim. 2:19.

As a word of liberty and power, to ennoble him and set him free;—and this not only from the guilt of sin and from wrath, for that it doth as it is a word of grace and mercy; not only from the power of sin, for that it doth as it is a word of holiness; but also from all outward respects of men or the world that might entangle him or enslave him. It declares us to be “Christ’s freemen,” and in bondage unto none, John 8:32; 1 Cor. 7:23. We are not by it freed from due subjection unto superiors, nor from any duty, nor unto any sin, 1 Pet. 2:16; but in two respects it is a word of freedom, liberty, largeness of mind, power and deliverance from bondage:— In respect of conscience as to the worship of God, Gal. 5:1. In respect of ignoble, slavish respects unto the men or things of the world, in the course of our pilgrimage. The gospel gives a free, large, and noble spirit, in subjection to God, and none else. There is administered in it a spirit “not of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind,” 2 Tim. 1:7; a mind “in nothing terrified,” Phil. 1:28,—not swayed with any by-respect whatever. There is nothing more unworthy of the gospel than a mind in bondage to persons or things, prostituting itself to the lusts of men or fear of the world. And he that thus knows the word of Christ’s patience, really and in power, is even thereby freed from innumerable, from unspeakable temptations.  As a word of consolation, to support him in every condition, and to be a full portion in the want of all. It is a word attended with “joy unspeakable and full of glory.” It gives support, relief, refreshment, satisfaction, peace, consolation, joy, boasting, glory, in every condition whatever. Thus to know the word of Christ’s patience, thus to know the gospel, is the first part, and it is a great part, of this condition of our preservation from the hour and power of temptation. TBC

Do you have a Bible Reading plan? If not here is one:

https://www.dionneblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/BibleReading2015.pdf

 

 

The Sacrifices (9)

Sung Psalm 66:8-17 (note refs to burnt offerings)

Reading  Ezra 3:1-6 (the re-institution of the altar after return from exile)

The importance of the burnt offering.

  1. The altar was named after it (altar of burnt offering or brazen altar)
  2. It frequency during the year and total numbers offered: daily morning and evening, weekly, monthly and at all the yearly feasts. This was for the whole nation but reminds us of our daily need of forgiveness and cleansing. The Lamb of God by his lifelong consecration and ultimate sacrifice TAKES AWAY the sins of the world (of his elect) and GOES ON TAKING AWAY THOSE SINS THAT ARE CONFESSED (I John 1:9).
  3. Their importance after return from exile (Ezra)
  4. The basic work of the Levites blessed by Moses (Deut. 33:8-11).
  5. First offering to be revealed and commanded (Lev.1 and 6) also first to be offered when there was more than one type (Num.7:15,21 etc.) except Lev.9, Num.6 and II Chron.29.
  6. First in history: Abel (Gen.4), Noah (Gen.8:20), Abraham (Gen. 22:7) and Job (Job 1:5, 42:8).
  7. It had priority of place and was the place for the other offerings (Lev.4, 7, 16:13).

The reason for this is that it was, from a human standpoint, the easiest to perform in the simple sprinkling and total burning of it and it stood for that which ought to be foremost in the life of God’s people and their aim of pleasing God, namely total consecration of body, soul and spirit to love and serve him (Romans 12:1).

 

Temptation (47)

John Owen continues:

The last general direction, Rev. 3:10: Watch against temptation by constant “keeping the word of Christ’s patience”. This contains an approved antidote against the poison of temptation,—a remedy that Christ himself hath marked with a note of efficacy and success; that is given us, in the words of our Saviour himself to the church of Philadelphia. “Because,” saith he, “thou hast kept the word of my patience, I will also keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell in the earth.” Christ is “the same yesterday, today, and for ever.” As he dealt with the church of Philadelphia, so will he deal with us. If we “keep the word of his patience,” he will “keep us from the hour of temptation.” This, then, being a way of rolling the whole care of this weighty affair on him who is able to bear it, it requires our peculiar attention.

The gospel is the word of Christ’s patience even to believers. A soul acquainted with the gospel knows that there is no property of Christ rendered more glorious therein than that of his patience. That he should bear with so many unkindnesses, so many causeless breaches, so many neglects of his love, so many affronts done to his grace, so many violations of engagements as he doth, it manifests his gospel to be not only the word of his grace, but also of his patience.

Three things are implied in the keeping of this word: [1.] Knowledge; [2.] Valuation; [3.] Obedience. (TBC)

Temptation (46)

 

Further thoughts from John Owen on temptation or trial:

1.God can send an affliction that shall put to death some sin of the flesh in your heart in the matter of temptation, whatever it be, that that which was before a sweet morsel under the tongue shall neither have taste or relish in it unto thee,—thy desire to it shall be killed.

2.Or he can, by some providence, alter that whole state of things from whence thy temptation doth arise, so taking fuel from the fire, causing it to go out by itself.

3. Or he can tread down Satan under thy feet, that he shall not dare to suggest any thing any more to thy disadvantage (the God of peace shall do it), that thou shalt hear of him no more (Romans 16:20).

4. Or he can give thee such supply of grace as that thou mayst be freed, though not from the temptation itself, yet from the tendency and danger of it;

5. Or he can give thee such a comfortable persuasion of good success in the issue as that thou shalt have refreshment in thy trials, and be kept from the trouble of the temptation.

6. Or he can utterly remove it, and make thee a complete conqueror.

Consider where the temptation wherewith thou art surprised hath made its entrance, and by what means, and with all speed make up the breach. Stop that passage which the waters have made to enter in at. Deal with thy soul like a wise physician. Inquire when, how, by what means, thou fellest into this sin; and if thou findest negligence, carelessness, want of keeping watch over thyself, to have lain at the bottom of it, fix thy soul there,—bewail that before the Lord,—make up that breach,—and then proceed to the work that lies before thee (adapted)

In any and every case there is NEVER AN EXCUSE TO SIN BY ENTERING INTO TEMPTATION AND BEING OVERCOME BY IT.

Temptation (45)

Continuing Owen’s work on this topic:

Suppose the soul hath been surprised by temptation, and entangled unawares, so that now it is too late to resist the first entrances of it, what shall such a soul do that it be not plunged into it, and carried away with the power thereof? Pray for deliverance and if it continues you shalt certainly either be speedily delivered out of it, or receive sufficient grace not to be foiled utterly by it but set yourself against the temptation. Pray against the temptation that it may depart; and when that is taken away, the things themselves may be more calmly considered.  Fly to Christ, in a peculiar manner, as he was tempted, and beg of him to give thee succour in this “needful time of trouble.” Heb.4:16, the apostle instructs us herein: “In that he hath been tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.” This is the meaning of it: “When you are tempted and are ready to faint, when you want succour,—you must have it or you die,—act faith peculiarly on Christ as he was tempted; that is, consider that he was tempted himself,—that he suffered thereby,—that he conquered all temptations, and that not merely on his own account, seeing for our sakes he submitted to be tempted, but for us,” (he conquered in and by himself, but for us.) And draw, yea, expect succour from him. Look to him who hath promised deliverance. Consider that he is faithful, and will not suffer thee to be tempted above what thou art able ( I Cor.10:13). Consider that he hath promised a comfortable issue of these trials and temptations. Call all the promises to mind of assistance and deliverance that he hath made; ponder them in thy heart. (John Owen Adapted)

Temptation (44)

Owen gives a helpful explanation of how the shield of faith quenches all Satan’s fiery darts. He says we ought to meet  temptation when it comes by faith concerning Christ on the cross; this will make it sink before thee. Entertain no parley, no dispute with it, if thou wouldst not enter into it. Say, “‘It is Christ that died,’—that died for such sins as these.”

This is called “taking the shield of faith to quench the fiery darts of Satan,” Eph. 6:16. Faith doth it by laying hold on Christ crucified, his love therein, and what from thence he suffered for sin. Let thy temptation be what it will,—be it unto sin, to fear or doubting for sin, or about thy state and condition,—it is not able to stand before faith lifting up the standard of the cross. Faith on Christ crucified is really (the means by which we) shall we overcome that wicked one, 1 Pet.5:9. (Adapted). This really is the bottom line-if Christ died for sin why am I even considering it?

John Owen

Ecclesiastes

King Solomon, the preacher, outlines the main message of his book of wisdom right at the start, “ Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?” (Chapter 1:2,3). He goes on to show that much, perhaps all, that happens on earth under the sun is cyclical. Generations of men and women come and go, the sun rises and sets, weather systems are spirals, “ wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.”

Weather system.

Then there’s the water cycle:

” All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.”

And the menstrual cycle! The cycle of the seasons, the moon, the orbits of the planets…one could go on and on!

History repeats itself, “ The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.  Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.”

His conclusion regarding the work of men under the sun is that it is all in vain and has no eternal benefit and he is correct when one only thinks of earthly work without any relation to God who is above the sun. Life without God may well be cyclical leading nowhere and with no lasting benefit but life with God is linear, leading to glory and bearing eternal fruit along the way. So jumping to the end of the book he ends, ” Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” When one does this life is not in vain, we can expect a “well done” for our stewardship and Paul expected a crown of glory which among other things comprised many of his spiritual children (I Thess. 2:19).

The Sacrifices (8)

Sung Psalm 40:5-9 (note ref to burnt offering)

Read Leviticus 1 (burnt Offering), 3 (peace offering), 4:4ff and 7:7 (sin offering and trespass offering).

We will try and ascertain which of the different aspects of Christ’s salvation (accomplished and applied) are typified in each of the offerings.

Note that in the above offerings the presentation, laying on of hands, and slaughter are essentially the same.

The application of the blood of the sin offering is unique with it being sprinkled seven times before the veil, on the incense altar and ark and also being smeared on the horns of the altar.

The burnt offering being a WHOLE burnt offering is distinctive (Hebrew word OLA meaning “goes up”). The peace offering is most distinctive regarding the eating which is often a picture of fellowship between saints or saints and God.

Christ fulfils all the sacrifices (Eph.5:2, Heb.7:27, I John 2:2) but perhaps especially the whole burnt offering which is linked to his absolutely voluntary and total consecration of body and soul in self-sacrifice to the will of his Father as we see in Psalm 40:6-12 quoted in Hebrews 10:5-14. This sacrifice is the answer to all our iniquities (Ps.40:12) bringing full forgiveness and absolute righteousness. See also Heb.9:27 and 12:29. Christ and our sin imputed to him, were totally consumed just like the burnt offering, through the flame of the Spirit, yet death could not hold him because he was in himself righteous.

 

Temptation (43)

How do we watch for the first approach of any temptation?

“[1.] Be always awake, that thou mayst have an early discovery of thy temptation, that thou mayst know it so to be. Most men perceive not their enemy until they are wounded by him. Yea, others are utterly insensible; they sleep without any sense of danger, until others come and awake them by telling them that their house is on fire. Few take notice of it until it is too late, and they find themselves entangled, if not wounded. Watch, then, to understand betimes the snares that are laid for thee,—to understand the advantages thy enemies have against thee, before they get strength and power, before they are incorporated with thy lusts, and have distilled poison into thy soul.

[2.] Consider the aim and tendency of the temptation, whatever it be, and of all that are concerned in it. Those who have an active concurrence into thy temptation are Satan and thy own lusts. For thine own lust, I have manifested elsewhere what it aims at in all its actings and enticings. It never rises up but its intendment is the worst of evils. Every acting of it would be a formed enmity against God. Hence look upon it in its first attempts, what pretences soever may be made, as thy mortal enemy. “I hate it,” saith the apostle, Rom. 7:15,—that is, the working of lust in me. “I hate it; it is the greatest enemy I have. Oh, that it were killed and destroyed! Oh, that I were delivered out of the power of it!” Know, then, that in the first attempt or assault in any temptation, the most cursed, sworn enemy is at hand, is setting on thee, and that for thy utter ruin; so that it were the greatest madness in the world to throw thyself into his arms to be destroyed. But of this I have spoken in my discourse of Mortification” **

**Killing Sin

Temptation (42)

Continuing my summary/adaptation of John Owen’s work:

When you know the state and condition of your heart you can then “watch against all such occasions and opportunities, employments, societies, retirements, businesses, as are apt to entangle thy natural temper or provoke thy corruption.” “David will hesitate to walk again on the top of his house, when he should have been on the high places of the field. Seeing we have so little power over our hearts when once they meet with suitable provocations, we are to keep them asunder, as a man would do fire and the combustible parts of the house wherein he dwells.”

It is the heart, then, wherein provision is to be laid up against temptation. When an enemy draws nigh to a fort or castle to besiege and take it, oftentimes, if he find it well manned and furnished with provision for a siege, and so able to hold out, he withdraws and assaults it not. If Satan, the prince of this world, come and find our hearts fortified against his batteries, and provided to hold out, he not only departs, but, as James says, he flees: “He will flee from us,” James 4:7. For the provision to be laid up, it is that which is provided in the gospel for us. Gospel provisions will do this work; that is, keep the heart full of a sense of the love of God in Christ. This is the greatest preservative against the power of temptation in the world. Joseph had this; and therefore, on the first appearance of temptation, he cries out, “How can I do this great evil, and sin against God?” and there is an end of the temptation as to him; it lays no hold on him, but departs. He was furnished with such a ready sense of the love of God as temptation could not stand before, Gen. 39: 9. “The love of Christ constraineth us,” saith the apostle, “to live to him,” 2 Cor. 5:14; and so, consequently, to withstand temptation. A man may, nay, he ought to lay in provisions of the law also,—fear of death, hell, punishment, with the terror of the Lord in them. But these are far more easily conquered than the other; nay, they will never stand alone against a vigorous assault. They are conquered in convinced persons every day; hearts stored with them will struggle for a while, but quickly give over. But store the heart with a sense of the love of God in Christ, and his love in the shedding of it; get a relish of the privileges we have thereby,—our adoption, justification, acceptation with God; fill the heart with thoughts of the beauty of his death;—and thou wilt, in an ordinary course of walking with God, have great peace and security as to the disturbance of temptations. When men can live and plod on in their profession, and not be able to say when they had any living sense of the love of God or of the privileges which we have in the blood of Christ, I know not what they can have to keep them from falling into snares. The apostle tells us that the “peace of God,”  Phil. 4:7 “shall keep our hearts.” Φρουρά denotes a military word,—a garrison; and so φρουρήσει is, “shall keep as in a garrison.” “The peace of God shall do it.” What is this “peace of God?” A sense of his love and favour in Jesus Christ. Let this abide in you, and it shall garrison you against all assaults whatever. Lay in store of gospel provisions, that may make the soul a defenced place against all the assaults thereof.”

Acts 3:1-26

CPRC Men’s Bible Study

Acts 3:1-11             The first miracle in early church.

  • Peter and John went to the temple at hour of prayer because they knew there would be many people there, “the hour of prayer; being the ninth hour”, or three o’clock in the afternoon. It was customary with the Jews to pray three times a day, Daniel 6:10 which, according to the Psalmist in Psalm 55:17 were evening, morning, and at noon; in the morning was at the third hour, as in Acts 2:15 or nine o’clock in the morning; that at noon was at the sixth hour, as in Acts 10:9 or twelve o’clock at noon; and that in the evening at the ninth hour, as here, or three o’clock in the afternoon. (John Gill). The Christians may well have continued this custom.
  • The lame man is described as handicapped from birth to emphasise his hopelessness and the seriousness and longevity of his handicap.
  • The “Beautiful gate” was the east gate where all the people would access the inner court and so the lame man would have the greatest exposure and presumably he would be known to all the people.
  • The man could neither stand nor walk. (He likely had bilateral club feet-see pic JK)Lameness is one of many pictures of sin’s infirmity (Lev.21:28-exclusion from priesthood) precluding walking with God (as Enoch did). Healing would be a proof of Christ’s Messiahship (Matt.11:5, Is.35:6).
  • Congenital club feet
  • The apostles wanted his full attention, perhaps they could tell if he had faith and they certainly wanted him to know the source of his healing.
  • Peter lifted him up because he had never, by himself, done this before.
  • He leaped, proving the “perfect soundness” (v16) in his limbs.
  • Solomon’s porch was the long portico around the perimeter of the temple where the disciples often met (Acts 5:12)
  • The people wondered and were amazed and would pay attention to the apostles, having been made receptive.
  • The man was very thankful, praising God, believing in Messiah and leaping for joy.
  • The miracle was to authenticate the apostles’ authority and their message. The miracle typified the work of the Spirit in conversion and the redemption of Christ which will one day include our bodies.
  • Acts 3:12-26     Peter’s sermon
  • Peter spoke to the crowd that had gathered, mainly Jews.
  • Peter was answering the question on many lips, “How did this happen?”His answer was that faith in the power of Jesus Christ had caused this miracle.
  • Peter cited the patriarchs because they were revered, the ones given covenant promises about Christ of which this was a fulfilment and they were in the sphere of God’s covenant.
  • Peter emphasised the denial and murder of Jesus so they would be convicted of that great sin.
  • The names Peter used namely Just, Holy One and of life undeniably pointed to Christ’s messiahship and each name they had explicitly denied calling him a blasphemer and unrighteous.
  • Jesus was the one through whom the lame man believed and by whom he was healed.
  • The Jews were spiritually ignorant of Christ’s identity (c.f. Luke 24, Acts 13:27, 17:30) but this was no excuse.
  • Peter explained their action was necessarily part of God’s plan (decree) c.f. Gen.50:20.
  • Repentance means turning from sin to God. Refreshing conjures up pictures of coolness, water and washing. Times of refreshing are the pouring out of the Spirit granting repentance and faith and all spiritual blessings (Jesus’ wells of water in John 8).
  • God will send Jesus by the Spirit to regenerate people. He was preached before by all the prophets and John.
  • The times (KAIROS=proper or due time) of restitution are the end of the age (world) when this one is dissolved, and God makes new heavens and earth.
  • Moses reference to the Prophet in Deuteronomy 18 is to Christ (note that to ignore or disobey him meant destruction).
  • This Prophet would be like Moses in being a human being, mediator, spokesman, leader and redeemer.
  • All the other prophets speak of Christ typically or prophetically, of his work and end times.
  • The audience of Jews were descended from the patriarchs and prophets.
  • The order of the proclamation of the gospel is Jew first (Rom.1:16) then Greek (Gentiles).
  • Jesus was and is sent to bless by turning away people from their sins by granting repentance and faith thus breaking the curse.
  • The “every one” who repent are the elect who will do so by irresistible grace so no implication of universal atonement.

 

Next study (DV) on Acts 4:1-22 will be August 25th 8pm.

 

 

 

 

Temptation (41)

KNOW YOURSELF!

As men have peculiar natural tempers, so men may have peculiar lusts or corruptions, which, either by their natural constitution or education, and other prejudices, have got deep rooting and strength in them. This, also, is to be found out by him who would not enter into temptation. Unless he know it, unless his eyes be always on it, unless he observes its actings, motions, advantages, it will continually be entangling and ensnaring of him. Labour to know thine own frame and temper; what spirit thou art of; what associates in thy heart Satan hath; where corruption is strong, where grace is weak; what stronghold lust hath in thy natural constitution, and the like. How many have all their comforts blasted and peace disturbed by their natural passion and peevishness! How many are rendered useless in the world by their frowardness and discontent! How many are disquieted even by their own gentleness and facility! Be acquainted, then, with thine own heart: though it be deep, search it; though it be dark, inquire into it; though it give all its iniquity other names than what are their due, believe it not. Were not men utter strangers to themselves,—did they not give flattering titles to their natural iniquity, did they not strive rather to justify, palliate, or excuse the evils of their hearts, that are suited to their natural tempers and constitutions, than to destroy them, and by these means keep themselves off from taking a clear and distinct view of them,—it were impossible that they should all their days hang in the same briers without attempt for deliverance. Uselessness and scandal in professors are branches growing constantly on this root of not knowing their own frame and temper; and how few are there who will either study them themselves or bear with those who would acquaint them with them! (Adapted)

Creation is an elegant book

All creation teaches the believer. All green plants need water and light, The believer is likened to a plant, born again from an incorruptible seed of the word of God, then needing daily the light of the knowledge of God in Christ (from the Scriptures) and the water of the grace of the Holy Spirit (pray for grace) to be like the tree in Psalm 1.

Temptation (40)

I continue quotations or a summary of John Owen’s great work:

“Watch and pray” is Christ’s instruction.

What must we watch?

Watch the heart. There are snares lying in our old natural man, peculiar lusts with occasions suited to them.

How can we watch to resist temptation and discover the first approaches of temptation?

What to do if we enter into temptation?

Owen has previously described the outward means, occasions, and advantages of temptation, now he looks at the heart itself from which temptation arises (James 1:12).

Know your heart! Your natural frame and temper, your lusts and corruptions, your natural, sinful, or spiritual weaknesses, that, finding where your weakness lies, you may be careful to keep at a distance from all occasions of sin. TBC

 

The Sacrifices (7)

The EATING

 

Sung Psalm 23

Reading Leviticus 7:11-37

Note this was written 3,400 years ago through Moses at Mt. Sinai.

Revision of stages and instances of aberrations:

  1. Presentation            Malachi 1 (flawed sacrificial animals)
  2. Laying on hands
  3. Slaughter                 Isaiah 66:3 (hypocritical, idolatrous)
  4. Application              Isaiah 66:3 (as above and Luke 13:1)
  5. Burning
  6. Eating                      1 Samuel 2:13-17

Offerings were eaten except the whole burnt offerings in the case of peace, sin and trespass offerings.

Blood and fat were never to be eaten (Leviticus 3:17, 7:23-27) result was excommunication as in 1 Cor. 11:29.

Who ate what?

Priest and their family, offer-or and his family.

Priests ate peace offering breast and right shoulder in a clean place, sin and trespass offering (what was not burnt) in inner court (Leviticus 7:6)

The offer-or and family ate of peace offering only, all not burnt either boiled or roasted and at the tabernacle.

The host in all this eating was God himself. He owned the offerings and the holy place (Leviticus 3:1, 7:11). The Israelites were his guests (1 Cor. 10:18,20,21).

All the stages relate to Christ of whom they were a type viz:

Presentation      Eph. 5:2

Laying on hands   Isaiah 53:6

Slaughter    John 10

Application     1 Peter 1:2, Heb.12:24

Burning     Eph. 5:2, Heb. 9:14.

Eating  John 6:35, 51-58, 1Cor. 11

For the priests it meant fellowship AND their livelihood (1 Cor.9)

Eating signifies table fellowship and leads to assimilation-food becomes our body. We are united to Christ as we eat and drink his blood and body by faith, not only in the Lord’s Supper but as we feed on his word in all its forms e.g. preaching, reading.

Ours is a one flesh union like marriage-a joyful, social reality, to include the believing needy in our midst (Deuteronomy 12:5-7, 17,18, Is. 25:6, Psalm 36:8, Matt.8:11, Rev.19:7) pointing to the eternal marriage feast in heaven.

Slemish and the Devil’s Marbles

Slemish mountain (1290 feet) near Ballymena, Northern Ireland.

Slemish is a volcanic plug just like Edinburgh Castle rock, an outcrop of hard granite that has been extruded from the earth’s inner core ( called magma or molten rock) as a vertical vent (see pic ) which has then resisted weathering and erosion especially by rain while the surrounding sedimentary rocks and soil have been eroded (washed away) leaving it upstanding.

 

Devil’s marbles

Answers in Genesis account

BRF conference 2018

British Reformed Fellowship conference, Hebron Hall, near Cardiff, Wales 21-28th July 2018

am-fluss

Notes of speeches and devotions. Links to U tube messages.

Day 1

Devotions

Zech.3:1-8  Joshua, like us, is instituted into the holy priesthood by being given the robes of imputed righteousness. We are all priests to offer up spiritual sacrifices-first ourselves and also our praise, thanks, giving and intercessory prayers. Abraham, Joshua and Job led their families as priestly heads in devotion.

Day 2

Hating Family  Rev. McGeown

Luke 14:25-35  Believers must have a holy hatred of family as David spoke about in Psalm 139,which includes forsaking (rejecting) their influence and even their company if required, though it is not necessarily physical separation. We have no fellowship (spiritual) with those who hate the Lord when what they say, do or advise conflicts with devotion to Christ. They must not be allowed to lead us into sin. The cross mentioned in these verses is a painful self-denial for Christ’s sake-he may send a sword to sever ties. Our real family is the family of God, as was Jesus’.

All speeches plus Q/AS on U tube. Click on 1/18 top left to view them all.

Devotions

Ps.92:12-15 (Gen.17:6) Kings shall come from our families, indeed as believers we are all kings and priests (Rev.1:6).

Day 3

God of the Living      Rev.Andrew Lanning

Matthew 22:32         Jesus teaches that earthly marriage which is only a type will give place to the greater and more blessed heavenly marriage between Christ and his bride. The Sadducees’ unbelief made them materialistic political agitators. Today their like do not believe in a spiritual beginning of all things (by God) and a spiritual ending (to all human lives). God has an eye on all the dust that we will become to fashion it into resurrection bodies. Marriage must be dissolved to make way for the greater reality. What Christ describes is covenant life which is eternal as he is, the great I AM of the burning bush. Because HE IS, we are! We are already resurrected to new life in Christ, our souls will be resurrected into heaven at death and on the last day our souls will be reunited with resurrected body. The astonishment of the people was like a knock down blow. Remember Christ IS the resurrection.

Family and Education      Pete Adams

Deut. 6:7     School at home   We want to instill: respect for authority, work ethic, love for neighbour, manners and devotion(s). Formal school is supported in Scripture Gal.4:2  tutors appointed by fathers. Being in a true church vital to children (Ps.128:5)-blessed out of Zion.

The Blessed Eunuch      Rev. Angus Stewart

Isaiah 56   Resting in Christ (the real Sabbath keeping) the eunuch belonged to him and this ultimately is more important that having children. These eunuchs are believers who cannot have children. They are either born eunuchs, made eunuchs, make themselves eunuchs (either by divorce or being divorced and staying unmarried), remaining single, or being a barren man or woman. Deut. 23:1 is rescinded. They are forbidden to indulge in self-pity. God knows best. Think of Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8) likely the tool used to bring many of his countrymen into the catholic church. Eunuchs have a place and a name in God’s eternal kingdom.

 

Devotions    John 14:1-26  As disciples we have a place in God’s family-adopted as children by our Father with Jesus as our elder brother in the family love of the comforting Holy Spirit.

Day 4

Devotions– Romans 1:7-12 and Phil.1:3-10. Paul addresses two church families emphasising fellowship with them and the fact he prays regularly for them.

Trip to Raglan Castle and Gloucester

Divine Origin of the Family  Rev. Andrew Lanning

Origin determines authority and origin directs honour.

Gen.1:1-3, 26-28, 2:18-25

God makes the rules as the creator.

  • Family…In the divine being, the trinity is a family that is complete.
  • Regarding the church he is husband and the church his wife and the mother of his children (including Jesus)
  • Families are generally God’s will (society opposes this) as is being fruitful I Tim.5:14
  • God’s idea of sex-male and female and man needing a helper

Marriage is a civil ordinance-the state has a role.

Devotions-Isaiah 42-43:13. The gathering of the whole church family.

Day 5

Devotions Psalm 111

Note verse 9, God keeps his covenant (to save families in O.T. and N.T) for ever!

Defence of the Gospel (being about marriage and the family)    Prof. David Engelsma

Ephesians 5:22-6:4

Marriage and the family is gospel truth. Errors about the family are errors about the gospel (e.g. allowing divorce and remarriage)

The family promotes the gospel and is the means of extending the kingdom. The witness of loving husband and submissive wife promotes the gospel and covenant children brought up in nurture and admonition of the Lord extends the kingdom in families. The gospel saves families. The gospel proclaims family-marriage is at the heart of the gospel (Christ loving the church and giving himself for her). And marriage to Christ after being dead to the law (Rom.7:2,3). Conversely it is a scandal (stumbling block) when Christians divorce.

Defining marriage -one man, one woman for life plus or minus children (Matt.19:5, Eph.5:25).

Baptists offend the little ones. Paedobaptism is believers bringing their infants to Christ as in gospel (Matt.19:3,4). Nurture and admonition only possible if children are regenerate (spiritually alive). Promise of salvation still is to believers and their seed (Acts 2:38-39).

Malformed marriages as in polygamy in O.T. do not promote gospel.

Our real, lasting spiritual family is the church.

Basis for all this is the fact God is family

All attacks on the family are attacks on God and these are destructive of society, reason for gangs etc. (80% families in Chicago one parent).

God blesses the Christian family Psalm 128.

The God-fearing man and his virtuous wife  Rev. Andrew lanning

Psalm 128/Proverbs 31:10-31

The calling of the Christian husband-to fear the Lord (a reverential awe and love for eternal, unchangeable, self-sufficient Jehovah Jesus), in all paths of obedience, be the loving head of his wife with sacrificial love, understanding her, honouring and protecting her especially against the threat of being deceived-so needs to know the truth, lead her to a true church and have daily Bible-based devotions with her.

The calling of the Christian wife-to fear the Lord, not seek favour of others or external beauty(wrong aims) but rather seek God’s favour, submission (hence not ruling over men in church or family), because she sees Christ working through him. She is the unique helper who complements him (therefore need to communicate freely), this all applies even to the wife of an unbeleiving spouse.

All in all this relationship reflects Christ’s relationship with his church.

Other insights: evolutionism, the feminist movement and the false gospel of Arminianism (free-willism in which Christ is impotent) have all contributed to the erosion of all authority (no absolute standard) and the emasculation of men in society and church.

Devotions 

Isaiah 55:5 The calling of the catholic (universal) church.

Day 6

Devotions:

Psalm 116   Communion with God including Christ on the cross (vv3,15) and the hope of resurrection (v9). Importance of communication in the family and prayer for individual children.

Trip to St. Fagan’s castle and museum of Welsh Life.

Spousal Abuse    Prof. Engelsma

Psalm 56.

Song of Solomon 1:15-2:15

Fact is it is happening in Reformed churches.

Nature: deliberate relentless pattern of destructive behaviour towards wife soul and body. Often cyclical. Physical or emotional/verbal. Note sex is a debt to please the other. Abuser characterised by claiming entitlement, threats and control. Abuse must be dealt with in the churches. Abuse is murder (Heidelberg LD40) I Cor.5 and 6 speaks of reviling and railing. It violates marriage oath.

Church’s calling: preach truth on marriage, confront abuser, wife’s submission should be response to love. Family visitation should examine spiritual condition of family and help. Pastor needs to be involved. Separation may be necessary.

Deliverance: prevention best-women check out future spouse, parents ditto. Men-determine to love. Consistory involvement and counselling. If guilty must be genuine repentance. Abuser may be a hypocrite.

Free booklet available from CPRC bookshop.

Devotions: Psalm 45 (marriage psalm). Ephesians 4 note especially “forgiving one another” (v32).

Day 7

Devotions     Psalm 133   Ed Bos noted how he has seen unity in the conference grow over the years.

Psalm 124  God delivers his people from the persecution or through it.

 

BRF Meeting

Decisions: Next conference July 11-18th 2018  Castlewellan Castle, County Down, Northern Ireland

Speakers  Prof. Engelsma and Rev Lanning

Topic: Union with Christ

 

Parents and Children    Prof. Engelsma

Psalm 89:27-37

Malachi 2:11-16

The destruction of the family is the cause of much of the ills of society and governments actively contribute to this. The family is not only fundamental to society but also the kingdom of God.  God is angry against all attacks on the family. E.g.

Marriage with unbelievers

Divorce

Provoking children to wrath by favouritism, unfair discipline etc

Neglect by husband

Fellowship is sharing one life.

 

Devotions 

Eph.1:1-12 note adoption by Father God.

Day 8

Devotions

Psalm 110 The ascended Christ, David’s son takes his power to reign, triumphing by his Spirit to save his church and destroy his enemies. Quoted in Acts 2:23-39.

It’s good to be single    Rev. Lanning

1 Cor.7:1-9, 17-24

  • it may mean virginity (like Paul
  • you may be divorced or a widow(er)
  • it is good/even better than marrying (in some ways)
  • famous OT singles e.g.Miriam
  • NT single John the Baptist
  1. It is a covenant calling for some and a gift (they are able to contain sexual urges)
  2. It promotes covenant service with undistracted devotion e.g. Anna in Luke 2
  3. It is covenant satisfaction and contentment

Unbiblical divorce and adulterous remarriage     Prof. Engelsma

Matt.19:1-5, Mark 10:11-12, Luke 16:18.

The cause of the Reformed faith and Biblical marriage is God’s and his the power to promote it.

Our authority in this as in all matters of faith and practice is Scripture. Genesis and Jesus’ interpretation of it teaches one man and one woman for life and no divorce. Only God by the power of death divides. Divorce destroys families. The call to the married is be faithful. “Commits” adultery is on-going present tense!

Devotions

Ephesians 3-speaks of the mystery of the catholicity (universality) of the church and Paul’s faithful prayers for the Ephesians. May we continue to faithfully to pray for each other.

Roll on BRF 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BRF Fun Run (5K) Results

  1. Emily Feenstra         F25    19m 28s     75.85%
  2. Carleen Dykstra       F31     21m 33s    68.53%
  3. Bruce Feenstra        M22    19m 08s    67.85%
  4. Joshua Harris          M18    19m 11s    67.70%
  5. Brian Buiter             M25    19m 45s    65.23%
  6. Dr Julian Kennedy   M65    26m 52s    61.98%
  7. Patrick Duerr           M9      26m 23s    61.65%
  8. David Smit              M28    26m 20s    49.31%                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      well done all who took part.

Temptation (39)

Owen’s fourth season of temptation is a season of self-confidence; “then usually temptation is at hand. The case of Peter is clear unto this: “I will not deny thee; though all men should deny thee I will not; though I were to die for it, I would not do it.” This said the poor man when he stood on the very brink of that temptation that cost him in the issue such bitter tears. And this taught him so far to know himself all his days, and gave him such acquaintance with the state of all believers, that when he had received more of the Spirit and of power, yet he had less of confidence, and saw it was fit that others should have so also, and therefore persuades all men to “pass the time of their sojourning here in fear,” 1 Pet. 1:17; not to be confident and high as he was, lest, as he did, they fall. At the first trial he compares himself with others, and vaunts himself above them: “Though all men should forsake thee, yet I will not.” He fears every man more than himself. But when our Saviour afterward comes to him, and puts him directly upon the comparison, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?” John 21:15, he hath done comparing himself with others, and only crieth, “Lord, thou knowest that I love thee.” He will lift up himself above others no more. Such a season oftentimes falls out. Temptations are abroad in the world, false doctrines, with innumerable other allurements and provocations: we are ready every one to be very confident that we shall not be surprised with them: though all men should fall into these follies yet we would not: surely we shall never go off from our walking with God; it is impossible our hearts should be so sottish. But says the apostle, “Be not high-minded, but fear; let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” Wouldst thou think that Peter, who had walked on the sea with Christ, confessed him to be the Son of God, been with him in the mount, when he heard the voice from the excellent glory, should, at the word of a servant-girl, when there was no legal inquisition after him no process against him nor any one in his condition, instantly fall a-cursing and swearing that he knew him not? Let them take heed of self-confidence who have any mind to take heed of sin. And this is the first thing in our watching, to consider well the seasons wherein temptation usually makes its approaches to the soul, and be armed against them. And these are some of the seasons wherein temptations are nigh at hand.”

Temptation (38)

John Owen

Owen goes on to describe a third instance where temptation is waiting: A season of great spiritual enjoyments is often, by the malice of Satan and the weakness of our hearts, turned into a season of danger as to this business of temptation. We know how the case stood with Paul, 2 Cor. 12:7. He had glorious spiritual revelations of God and Jesus Christ (which he says would naturally puff him up with pride-JK). Instantly Satan falls upon him (by God’s sovereign will!-JK), a messenger from him buffets him; so that he earnestly begs its departure, but yet is left to struggle with it. God is pleased sometimes to give us especial discoveries of himself and his love, to fill the heart with his kindness; (This infirmity was to magnify God’s grace-JK). Christ takes us into the banqueting-house, and gives our hearts their fills of love; and this by some signal work of his Spirit, overpowering us with a sense of love in the unspeakable privilege of adoption, and so fills our souls with joy unspeakable and glorious. A man would think this was the securest condition in the world. What soul does not cry with Peter in the mount, “It is good for me to be here; to abide here for ever?” But yet very frequently some bitter temptation is now at hand. Satan sees that, being possessed by the joy before us, we quickly neglect many ways of approach to our souls, wherein he seeks and finds advantages against us. Is this, then, our state and condition? Does God at any time give us to drink of the rivers of pleasure that are at his right hand, and satisfy our souls with his kindness as with marrow and fatness? Let us not say, “We shall never be moved;” we know not how soon God may hide his face, or a messenger from Satan may buffet us. Besides, there lies oftentimes a greater and worse deceit in this business. Men cheat their souls with their own fancies, instead of a sense of God’s love by the Holy Ghost; and when they are lifted up with their imaginations, it is not expressible how fearfully they are exposed to all manner of temptations;—and how, then, are they able to find relief against their consciences from their own foolish fancies and deceivings, wherewith they sport themselves? May we not see such every day,—persons walking in the vanities and ways of this world, yet boasting of their sense of the love of God? Shall we believe them? We must not, then, believe truth itself; and how woeful, then, must their condition needs be!

God’s love and wrath.

Unlike God’s love and hate which are mutually exclusive meaning you are either loved by election in Christ or hated in reprobation outside Christ, God’s love and wrath may exist simultaneously.

We know assuredly from Scripture that the trinity is the repository of eternal love between Father and Son by the Spirit and that God’s people because they are in Christ, are taken into this covenant of love. But we were by nature children of wrath (before conversion) and if we backslide as believers we become subject to his wrath and chastening (Psalms 6:1, 38:1). God’s wrath is his implacable hatred of sin (Romans 1:18) and therefore the reprobate have this wrath abiding on them (John 3:36). Believers pre-conversion and who fall post-conversion are subjects of his temporary wrath.

Christ, the object of God’s eternal love became, during his lifetime and especially on the cross, the object of God’s (temporary) wrath.

God, who is a consuming holy fire (Heb.12:29) consumes sin by the Spirit as Christ suffers and dies, then as that sanctifying power is applied to us, he consumes sin in us throughout our life and especially when we die and enter glory. The sin of the wicked condemns them to the fire of his wrath eternally which never goes out because that sin was never propitiated (atoned for).

His love which is his nature and his wrath which naturally follows from his holiness are both to be praised and glorified by us his people.

Interestingly the burning bush, aflame but not consumed, is the symbol of many presbyterian denominations and depicts the church. We are aflame with his imputed holiness and are the light of the world but we are never consumed.

The Sacrifices (6)

Sung Psalm 50:7-14 (v8)

Reading Leviticus 1

The offerings

Burnt Offering

Meal offering (only stages 1,5,6-see previous posts)

Peace Offering

Sin Offering

Trespass Offering

The Burning

Wood was used and the ashes were put in a pit to the right of the altar and later taken outside the camp (Lev.6:10,11). Later we read of wood being brought by people, priests or Levites according to lot (Neh.10:34, 13:31)

The priests tended the fire.

Source of the fire? In a few instances God (9:24) and it was kept going.

What was burnt? All but the skin of the burnt offering. All but crop and feathers of a bird burnt. In certain offerings parts were burnt outside the camp.

Who cuts up or washes the offering? The offeror “he” (vv 5,6,8,9,12).

Where was the washing of legs and innards done? Unclear.

Priests lay parts on altar.

All the burnt offerings are called a “sweet savour”, the smoke of which ascended to heaven as a type of Christ’s propitiation who offered himself as a sweet savour (Gen. 8:21, Eph.5:2) having consecrated (set himself apart) to God (John 17:19, Heb.9:14) with the eternal spirit acting like the flame. In a secondary or derived manner Christians are living sacrifices (Rom.12:1,2) and a savour among other people (II Cor.2:14-16). What made the smell of a burning animal, a type of Christ sweet was the fact it represented the willing and loving obedience of the Saviour.

Our God is a consuming fire (Heb.12:29), the sacrifice of Christ consumes the sins of all the elect, whereas the sins of the wicked go on burning them up for ever (Mark 9:44).

Temperance in all things

 

If the athlete has to be self-controlled and temperate in all things (food, sleep, physical training) then even more so should the Christian believer be temperate in all things and keep under, nay mortify, his body of sin (sinful flesh).

 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (I Corinthians 9:24-27).

John Gill is good: Commentary (v24)

Second marriages

Malachi warns people that if they are unrepentant, divorced and remarried their worship is unacceptable to God.

 And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with crying out (the tears of the abandoned spouse and children-JK), insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand. Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant (Malachi 2;13,14). Futhermore marrying for a second time while the first spouse lives is adultery (Matthew 5:31, Romans 7:2,3) and adulterers shall not inherit the kingdom of God (I Cor.6:9). How many friends, even among professing Christians do you know in this position?

Psalm 133

I’ve often wondered why Christian love and unity was compared with Aaron’s anointing or the dew of Hermon. Here are my insights plus that of the great commentator John Gill.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.” Psalm 133.

Christian love from our anointing is a public demonstration (John 13:34,35) and personal reassurance of one’s calling (I John 2:27). In Christ we are all anointed as prophets, priests and kings so as to minister to each other. Christian fellowship, like the oil, is precious and refreshing like the dew to invigorate.

“David means the superior aperture of the garment, that which we call the neck or collar band; This anointing oil was typical of the grace of the Spirit, the unction from the Holy One; which has been poured on Christ, the head of the church, without measure; and with which he has been anointed above his fellows; and from him it is communicated to all his members (I John 2:27); to every one of which is given grace, according to the measure of the gift of Christ; and who from his fullness receive, and grace for grace: and particularly brotherly love is compared to this ointment; because of the preciousness of it, which is true of every grace; and because of the extensiveness of it, reaching to head and members, to Christ and all his saints, the meanest and lowest of them; and because of its fragrancy and sweet odour to all that are sensible of it; and because of its delightful, cheering, and refreshing nature; like ointment and perfume it rejoices the heart; yea, the worst things said, or reproofs given, in brotherly love, are like oil, pleasant and useful, ( Proverbs 27:9 ) ( Psalms 141:5) ; and is as necessary for the saints, who are all priests unto God, to offer up their spiritual sacrifices; particularly that of prayer, which should be “without wrath”, as well as without doubting; and to do all other duties of religion, which should spring from charity or love; as the anointing oil was to Aaron and his sons, in order to their officiating in the priest’s office.” John Gill

Temptation (37)

Another instance that leads into temptation is a time of the slumber of grace, of neglect in communion with God, of formality in duty, is a season to be watched in, as that which certainly some other temptation attending it. Let a soul in such an estate awake and look about him. His enemy is at hand, and he is ready to fall into such a condition as may cost him dear all the days of his life. His present estate is bad enough in itself; but it is an indication of that which is worse that lies at the door. The disciples that were with Christ in the mount had not only a bodily, but a spiritual drowsiness upon them. What says our Saviour to them? “Arise; watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.” We know how near one of them was to a bitter hour of temptation, and not watching as he ought, he immediately entered into it. I mentioned before the case of the spouse, Song of Solomon 5:2–8. She slept, and was drowsy, and unwilling to gird up herself to a vigorous performance of duties, in a way of quick, active communion with Christ. Before she is aware, she hath lost her Beloved; then she moans, inquires, cries, endures woundings, reproaches, and all, before she obtains him again. Consider, then, O poor soul, thy state and condition! Doth thy light burn dim? or though it give to others as great a blaze as formerly, yet thou seest not so clearly the face of God in Christ by it as thou hast done? 2 Cor. 4:6. Is thy zeal cold? or if it do the same works as formerly, yet thy heart is not warmed with the love of God and to God in them as formerly, but only thou proceedest in the course thou hast been in? Art thou negligent in the duties of praying or hearing? or if thou dost observe them, thou doest it not with that life and vigour as formerly? Dost thou flag in thy profession? or if thou keep it up, yet thy wheels are oiled by some sinister respects from within or without? Does thy delight in the people of God faint and grow cold? or is thy love to them changing from that which is purely spiritual into that which is very carnal, upon the account of suitableness of principles and natural spirits, if not worse foundations? If thou art drowsing in such a condition as this, take heed; thou art falling into some woeful temptation that will break all thy bones, and give thee wounds that shall stick by thee all the days of thy life. Yea, when thou awakest, thou wilt find that it hath indeed laid hold of thee already, though thou perceivedst it not; it hath smitten and wounded thee, though thou hast not complained nor sought for relief or healing. Such was the state of the church of Sardis, Rev. 3:2. “The things that remained were ready to die.” “Be watchful,” says our Saviour, “and strengthen them, or a worse thing will befall thee.” If any that reads the word of this direction be in this condition, if he hath any regard of his poor soul, let him now awake, before he be entangled beyond recovery. Take this warning from God; despise it not.

John Owen

The Sacrifices (5)

Sung Psalm 84:1-6

Reading Leviticus 1

Having discussed the first three stages in offering namely 1)presentation, 2)laying on hands and 3) slaughter we come to 4) application (of the blood).

APPLICATION Means Places (primarily to atone) Places/people (secondarily to sanctify)
  Sprinkling (even 7 times) altar (5)

horns (4)

people
  Smearing Incense altar(3) tabernacle
  Pouring mercy seat (1)*  
    Veil (2)

*order of holiness Note frequency of blood application is less the holier the place.

 

 

God is omnipresent in all these places but especially in the holy of holies, but also at the altar (Ex.20:24-26, Lev.17:11).

The application of the blood in all these ways is to atone for sin i.e. It is propitiation God-wards. This is redemption accomplished. Redemption applied (sanctification) towards the people is spoken of in 1 Peter 1:2 as it also was on the Israelite doorposts at the Exodus. All the stages of sacrificing are Godward except the last one-eating. Check the reality of Eph.5:2 (burning) and Heb.9:14 (where both accomplishment and application are spoken of).

With the burnt offering (Lev.1:5,11,15, 3:2,8,13) the blood was applied on and around the altar, with sin offering for the priest it was applied before the veil and upon the horns of the altar of incense (Lev.4:6,7, 16,17,25,30) and in same way for the people, a ruler or a common person. The day of atonement saw blood sprinkled on mercy seat and before mercy seat (Lev.16:14,15).

Lessons for us:

  • Blood sacrifice in the O.T. typified the accomplishment of redemption by Christ and the application of the blood typified the application of that redemption in every aspect of salvation.
  • Redemption by Christ’s blood is accomplished at the cross and applied by the Spirit.
  • God is so holy, the only way he can be approached by sinful man is by blood atonement (and that had to be Christ’s).
  • God is so holy all our worship and prayer need sanctified by Christ’s blood.
  • The different sacrifices all teach something different about our approach to God.

Blessing

What more could a human being want than the blessing of God?

 

Ye that fear the Lord, trust in the Lord: he is their help and their shield.

The Lord hath been mindful of us: he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron.

He will bless them that fear the Lord, both small and great.

 The Lord shall increase you more and more, you and your children.

 Ye are blessed of the Lord which made heaven and earth.

 The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord‘s: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.

 The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence.

But we will bless the Lord from this time forth and for evermore. Praise the Lord.

Psalm 115.

The Sacrifices (4)

Sung Psalm 44:17-26

Reading    Revelation 5

The place of slaughter of the sacrifices was in the court of the tabernacle or inner temple court on the north side of the altar (Lev. 1:11, 4:24,29. 7:2)

Compare this with the pagan practices adopted by apostate Israel in Isaiah 57:5. Ezekiel 16:20,21, 23:29 where offerings were made under shady green trees and children were sacrificed below rock cliffs. This idolatrous self-centred will worship was totally devoid of any true atonement for sin rendered to God.

So in the days of the typical animal sacrifice the death of the animal was substitutionary (Gen. 22:13, Ex.32:32, Is.53:10) and penal (Ezek. 18:4, Rom.6:23).

The reality, the death of Christ, had a time of presentation where he was exonerated by Pilate (John 18:38), the laying of the sins of all the elect on him (Is.53:6, II Cor.5:21) and his slaying (Is.53:7, Rev. 5:6,9,12 and 13:8). Note that in God’s eternal ever-living present tense he was slain before time!

His death earned (according to these verses):

  • The redemption of all the elect
  • His rule of heaven and earth (the opening of the decree of God in the sealed book)
  • The worship of all creation

Who else is slaughtered?

God’s saints through the ages in persecution (Ps.44:22, Rom. 8:36)-we may be too!

What sacrifices do we offer as his children?

  • Praise and thanks (Heb.13:15, Ps.69:13)
  • A broken spirit (Ps.51)
  • Doing good and giving (Heb.13:16)
  • Our lives (Rom.12:1)

After all that he has done this is the least we can do!

Psalm 90

Despite the brevity of life, for the believer it is dwelt in God and he in us (the covenant).
Psalm 90 (John Gill commentary)
Psalm 90:9
“For all our days are passed away in thy wrath.
The life of man is rather measured by days than by months or years; and these are but few, which pass away or “decline” as the day does towards the evening; see ( Jeremiah 6:4 ) or “turn away their face”, as the word may be rendered: they turn their backs upon us, and not the face to us; so that it is a hard thing to get time by the forelock; and these, which is worst of all, pass away in the “wrath” of God. This has a particular reference to the people of Israel in the wilderness, when God had swore in his wrath they should not enter into the land of Canaan, but wander about all their days in the wilderness, and be consumed there; so that their days manifestly passed away under visible marks of the divine displeasure; and this is true of all wicked men, who are by nature children of wrath, and go through the world, and out of it, as such: and even it may be said of man in general; the ailments, diseases, and calamities, that attend the state of infancy and youth; the losses, crosses, and disappointments, vexations and afflictions, which wait upon man in riper years; and the evils and infirmities of old age, do abundantly confirm this truth: none but God’s people can, in any sense, be excepted from it, on whom no wrath comes, being loved with an everlasting love; and yet these, in their own apprehensions, have frequently the wrath (anger-JK) of God upon them, and pass many days under a dreadful sense of it:”
Prayer- Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children. 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. (vv.16,17

Temptation (36)

Having expounded on prayer as the chief means of preventing our entering into temptation John Owen goes on to explain what watching means. “Watch and pray”.

What does it mean?

He believes there are special seasons of temptation which are:

  •  unusual prosperity
  •  a slumber of grace
  •  a season of great spiritual enjoyment
  •  a season of self-confidence                                                                                              
    ”  A season of unusual outward prosperity is usually accompanied with an hour of temptation. Prosperity and temptation go together; yea, prosperity is a temptation, many temptations, and that because, without eminent supplies of grace, it is apt to cast a soul into a frame and temper exposed to any temptation, and provides it with fuel and food for all. It hath provision for lust and darts for Satan. The wise man tells us that the “prosperity of fools destroys them,” Prov. 1:32. It hardens them in their way, makes them despise instruction, and put the evil day (whose terror should influence them into amendment) far from them. Without a special assistance, it hath an inconceivably malignant influence on believers themselves. Hence Agur prays against riches, because of the temptation that attends them: “Lest,” saith he, “I be full and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord?” Prov. 30: 8, 9;—lest, being filled with them, he should forget the Lord; as God complains that his people did, Hos. 13:6. We know how David was mistaken in this case: Ps. 30:6, “I said in my prosperity, I shall never be moved.” All is well, and will be well. But what was at hand, what lay at the door, that David thought not of? “Thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled.” God was ready to hide his face, and David to enter into a temptation of desertion, and he knew it not. As, then, unto a prosperous condition. I shall not run cross to Solomon’s counsel, “In the day of prosperity rejoice,” Eccles. 7:14. Rejoice in the God of thy mercies, who doth thee good in his patience and forbearance, notwithstanding all thy unworthiness. Yet I may add to it, from the same fountain of wisdom, “Consider,” also, lest evil lie at the door. A man in that state is in the midst of snares. Satan hath many advantages against him; he forgeth darts out of all his enjoyments; and, if he watch not, he will be entangled before he is aware. Thou wantest that which should poise and ballast thy heart. Formality in religion will be apt to creep upon thee; and that lays the soul open to all temptations in their full power and strength. Satisfaction and delight in creature-comforts, the poison of the soul, will be apt to grow upon thee. In such a time be vigilant, be circumspect, or thou wilt be surprised. Job says, that in his affliction “God made his heart soft,” 23:16. There is a hardness, an insensible want of spiritual sense, gathered in prosperity, that, if not watched against, will expose the heart to the deceits of sin and baits of Satan. “Watch and pray” in this season. Many men’s negligence in it hath cost them dear; their woeful experience cries out to take heed. Blessed is he that feareth always, but especially in a time of prosperity.”

Acts 2:37-47

CPRC Men’s Bible Study

Acts 2:37-40   The response to Peter’s sermon

  1. Pricked in heart means their consciences were disturbed and they were convinced of their sin either in general or specifically in relation to the crucifixion. They were convinced of sin and Christ’s divinity by the Spirit (John 16:8).
  2. They asked what they must do because true repentance includes action (the fruit of repentance called for by John with the pharisees) and seen in Nicodemus’ reparations and the Ephesians burning their occult books.
  3. Repentance is a deep sorrow for sin against God that issues in turning from all known sin to obey God (II Cor.7:10).
  4. Baptism was necessary because it was the New Covenant sign that would replace circumcision and was already enjoined by John.
  5. Repentance is a grace granted by the Spirit (II Tim.2:24,25) and baptism is the sign commanded that signifies regeneration. They are the result of unconditional election (Rom.5:8, Titus 3:5).
  6. The promise of salvation (v38) through Messiah is to all the elect alone and also the ability to obey the command to repent and believe.
  7. The promise is the unconditional, multigenerational covenant that includes believers and their seed as per Abraham, David and Isaiah’s promise in 44:3).

Acts 2:41-47   The life of the early church

  1. Receiving the word meant it produced repentance and faith which in turn would prompt obedience to the outward sign of baptism.
  2. The number is recorded, as were the thousands miraculously fed by Christ, to show the size of the miracle and was the proof that Pentecost had really come and that the apostles would do greater things.
  3. The breaking of bread, we believe, was firstly the Lord’s Supper partaken either in temple or house churches but also fellowship meals together.
  4. Fear coming on every soul means a respect for the Christians because of events.
  5. Signs and wonders proved the apostles were divinely appointed.
  6. What we see is not imposed “communism” but rather a willing generous sharing as each had ability and as need was perceived. It continued the sharing between the apostles they had experienced on the road with Christ, showed they understood it is more blessed to give and what John and Jesus had taught about almsgiving.
  7. As a body they wanted they wanted to express unity and love.
  8. They continued in the temple because it was the natural meeting place, it would take time for the sacrificial system to be replaced and it was a witness to unconverted Jews.
  9. They had the fruit of the Spirit, joy and were sincere.
  10. We suspect it was friends and relatives of the believing community who held them in favour who were added to the church by coming under the preaching

 

Next BS (DV) Saturday August 4th 8pm on Acts 3

What is the Regulative Principle?

“The fact that men seek to worship God according to their own tastes, reveals the lust and excessive pride which has always been part of human nature. Such worship flies in the face of Holy Scripture.” – John Calvin, Sermon on Galatians 3:15-18

The Regulative Principle of worship states that only what God commands is done in worship, no more, no less.

Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s day 35

Q. 96. What doth God require in the second commandment?
A. That we in no wise represent God by images, nor worship Him in any other way
than He has commanded in His Word.

Reading of Scripture, preaching of the truth, singing of psalms, congregational prayer, offering, doxology (baptism/Lord’s Supper)

Full article

How does your church measure up?

Temptation (35)

 

   Owen continues in his advice on how to prevent our entering into temptation by saying:

    Pray as being helpless, rely on his keeping power believing that he will preserve us is a means of preservation; for this God will certainly do, or make a way for us to escape out of temptation, if we fall into it under such a believing frame. We are to pray for what God hath promised. He hath promised that he will keep us in all our ways; that we shall be directed in a way that, though we are fools, “we shall not err therein,” Isaiah 35: 8; that he will lead us, guide us, and deliver us from the evil one. 

He that would be little in temptation, let him be much in prayer. This calls in the suitable help and succour that is laid up in Christ for us, Heb. 4:16. This casteth our souls into a frame of opposition to every temptation. When Paul had given instruction for the taking to ourselves “the whole armour of God,” that we may resist and stand in the time of temptation, he adds this general close of the whole, Eph. 6:18, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication.”
Without this all the rest will be of no efficacy for the end proposed. And therefore consider what weight he lays on it: “Praying always,”—that is, at all times and seasons, or be always ready and prepared for the discharge of that duty.
 out to the
utmost: so shall we stand. The soul so framed is in a sure posture; and this is one of the
means without which this work will not be done. If we do not abide in prayer, we shall abide
in cursed temptations. Let this, then, be another direction:—Abide in prayer, and that expressly to this purpose, that we “enter not into temptation.” Let this be one part of our daily contending with God,—that he would preserve our souls, and keep our hearts and our ways, 
that we be not entangled; that his good and wise providence will order our ways and affairs, that no pressing temptation befall us; that he would give us diligence, carefulness, and watchfulness over our own ways. So shall we be delivered when others are held with the cords of their own folly.”

Temptation (34)

 

Owen goes on to tell us how to watch and pray:

This will make the soul be always committing itself to the care of God, resting itself on him, and to do nothing, undertake nothing, etc, without asking counsel of him.

This will mean we receive the grace and compassion of God, who hath called the fatherless and helpless to rest upon him; nor did ever soul fail of supplies, who, in a sense of want, rolled itself on him, on the account of his gracious invitation.  The keeping of (our soul) in such a frame as, on various accounts, is useful for its preservation. He that looks to God for assistance in a due manner is both sensible of his danger, and conscientiously careful in the use of means to preserve himself: this exercises faith on the promise of God for preservation. To believe that he will preserve us is a means of preservation; for this God will certainly do, or make a way for us to escape out of temptation, if we fall into it under such a believing frame. We are to pray for what God hath promised. Our requests are to be regulated by his promises and commands, which are of the same extent. Faith closes with the promises, and so finds relief in this case. This James instructs us in, chap. i. 5–7. What we want we must “ask of God;”but we must “ask in faith,” for otherwise we must not “think that we shall receive any thing of the Lord.” This then, also, is in this direction of our Saviour, that we exercise faith on the promises of God for our preservation out of temptation. He hath promised that he will keep us in all our ways; that we shall be directed in a way that, though we are fools, “we shall not err therein,” Isa. 35:8; that he will lead us, guide us, and deliver us from the evil one.  Exercise faith on work on these promises of God, and expect a good and comfortable issue. It is not easily conceived what a train of graces faith is attended withal, when it goes forth to meet Christ in the promises, nor what a power for the preservation of the soul lies in this thing; but I have spoken to this elsewhere. Weigh these things severally, and first, take prayer into consideration. To pray that we enter not into temptation is a means to preserve us from it. Glorious things are, by all men that know aught of those things, spoken of this duty; and yet the truth is, not one half of its excellency, power, and efficacy is known. It is not my business to speak of it in general; but this I say as to my present purpose,—he that would be little in temptation, let him be much in prayer. This calls in the suitable help and succour that is laid up in Christ for us, Heb. 4:16. This casteth our souls into a frame of opposition to every temptation. When Paul had given instruction for the taking to ourselves “the whole armour of God,” that we may resist and stand in the time of temptation, he adds this general close of the whole, Eph. 6:18, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary?

Classic Roman Catholic portrayal.

Letter Published in Limerick Post on 23 June 2018

The occasion of Limerick’s Novena prompts me to point out three myths about Mary. First, Mary is not “full of grace,” at least not in the sense that she is a fountain of grace for others. Only Jesus is “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Instead, Mary was highly favoured because, first, she was chosen to bear the Saviour; and second, she is the recipient of God’s salvation: “my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour” (Luke 1:47). If Mary had a Savior, she had sin, both original and actual sin, from which she needed to be saved.

Second, Mary is not the “Mother of God.” More accurately, she was the mother of Jesus, who is the divine Son; she was theotokos (literally, God-bearer), says the Creed of Chalcedon (451 AD), “according to the manhood.” The same creed declares Jesus as “begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead.” The aim of the creed is not to exalt Mary, but to stress the deity of Jesus.

Third, Mary is not able to obtain blessings for poor sinners with Jesus or with the Father: Jesus is the Mediator (1 Tim. 2:5) and the Advocate (1 John 2:1), not Mary. The Bible commands us to “come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace” from Jesus (Heb. 4:16). Jesus, not Mary, died on the cross for sinners; and Jesus, not Mary, intercedes for those sinners. How dreadful to bypass Jesus Christ in order to seek mercy with Mary!

None of this is a slight on Mary, for she does not need, require, or want veneration. Instead, she says to us, “Whatsoever he [Jesus] saith unto you, do it” (John 2:5).

Martyn McGeown

Limerick Reformed Fellowship

 

Heatwave!

Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK are experiencing an unprecedented heatwave with top temperatures near the Irish record of 33.3C in 1887. To prevent burning limit yourself to 20 minutes in the sun with a high factor 20-50 sun cream and hat (especially if short on hair!) If you are fair or a red head better keep covered up! Drink cool sweet liquids.

How does your body regulate temperature?*

Temperature is a function of heat production and heat loss. When we get too warm heat loss must be increased. Normal body temp is 35.5 to 37.5C. If your core (inside) temperature goes above this body chemical processes are affected and nerves can’t function (why you feel weak and tire easily in the heat). Heat exhaustion (which I experienced on the Sea of Galilee marathon 1990) is lack of fluid and temperature over 40C. You feel faint and may collapse. Above 41 or 42C you get heat stroke and may die! This has often happened to army recruits made to yomp (a running march) during exercises on Dartmoor.

This little part of the brain is where temperature is regulated. It receives information from heat sensors in skin, nose and mouth as well as detecting the temperature of blood flowing into it. Inside it there is a heat-losing and heat-promoting centre. When we get too hot it sends impulses to blood vessels to dilate (veins) and to sweat glands to make sweat which evaporates and cools us (up to 2L an hour!). This centre is vital to survival, put in place by the divine creator. Babies can’t sweat like adults so are more liable to heat stroke.

* Acknowledging article by Randy Guliuzza in Bible League Quarterly Oct 2010.

The Sacrifices (3)

The Sacrifices

 

Sung Psalm 44:17-26 (note reference to slaughter)

Read II Chronicles 29:20-36

These verses outlining the temple worship in Hezekiah’s day describe all six stages* in the animal sacrifices except eating because they were whole burnt offerings viz.

  • Presenting, Laying (hands), Slaughtering, Application (of blood), Burning, Eating.
  • These steps are ordered by necessity but also theologically e.g. imputed sin demands the death of the sacrifice (wages of sin).
  • The tool was a sharp knife (see Genesis 22:10).
  • By the cutting of the throat of the animal, through the major artery and vein, death was swift and blood was obtained.
  • Generally, the offeror did the slaughtering (vv15-17), helped by priest and Levites (note that in Ezekiel 44:11 the law was changed that Levites did it). The priests (v24) killed the goats which were for the nation.
  • We surmise that the change from offeror to Levite to priest doing the slaughtering was a progression in rank and importance.
  • In certain cases the King provided all the offerings which would avoid any envy or comparisons between those offering.
  • In the ultimate offering which was typified by all these the Priest-King Jesus Christ not only offers the sacrifice but is himself the sacrifice which alone atoned for all the sins of his people in OT and NT.
  • We discussed without conclusion how the wives, widows, singles and children were represented in these male-led sacrifices.

It is well worth noting that for an offering to be effective it had to be maid in faith, formal sacrifices was useless as all the prophets said but see Amos 5:21ff. So Abel, Abraham, David, Hezekiah and all the rest of the O.T. saints had their eye of faith on the future sacrifice of Messiah when they offered and THAT was their salvation and righteousness-JK

Older, Lower, Slower!

These last 8 months in which I have had two operations have taught me two things at least. First, my increasing frailty or decrepitude as joints give bother, nerves get pinched, skin thins and mind forgets. Second, the detailed love and care of God for me through the treatments, the carers, the recovery, the travelling etc. I would never have thought I’d be in Riga, the capital of Latvia some months back but the Good Shepherd leads me in ways I could never foresee and they are all part of his perfect plan for me (Psalm 138:8). This fits with the recent message (see below) at our church on the immensity of Christ’s love * and the unsearchable riches of Christ of which I will highlight access in prayer and grace to help in time of need. Picture above is of myself recently acting as guide to our blind walker at Ecos parkrun. These verses perfectly describe my experience: “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16 and “ And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:3-5.

 

Temptation (33)

Owen says that it is very evident that it is not a thing in our own power, to keep and preserve ourselves from entering into temptation.

Therefore are we to pray that we may be preserved from it, because we cannot save ourselves. This is another means of preservation. As we have no strength to resist a temptation when it doth come, when we are entered into it, but shall fall under it, without a supply of sufficiency of grace from God; so to reckon that we have no power or wisdom to keep ourselves from entering into temptation, but must be kept by the power and wisdom of God, is a preserving principle, 1 Pet. 1: 5. We are in all things “kept by the power of God.”

This our Saviour instructs us in, not only by directing us to pray that we be not led into temptation, but also by his own praying for us, that we may be kept from it: John 17:15, “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil,”—that is, the temptations of the world unto evil, unto sin; or from the evil one, who in the world makes use of the world unto temptation. Christ prays his Father to keep us, and instructs us to pray that we be so kept. It is not, then, a thing in our own power. The ways of our entering into temptation are so many, various, and imperceptible,—the means of it so efficacious and powerful,—our weakness our unwatchfulness, so unspeakable,—that we cannot in the least keep or preserve ourselves from it. We fail both in wisdom and power for this work. Let the heart, then commune with itself and say, “I am poor and weak; Satan is subtle, cunning, powerful, watching constantly for advantages against my soul; the world earnest, pressing, and full of specious pleas, innumerable pretences, and ways of deceit; my own corruption violent and restless, enticing, entangling, conceiving sin, and warring in me, against me; occasions and advantages of temptation innumerable in all things I have done or suffer, in all businesses and persons with whom I converse; the first beginnings of temptation insensible and plausible, so that, left unto myself, I shall not know I am ensnared, until my bonds be made strong, and sin hath got ground in my heart: therefore on God alone will I rely for preservation, and continually will I look up to him on that account.” This will make the soul be always committing itself to the care of God, resting itself on him, and to do nothing, undertake nothing, etc, without asking counsel of him.

Romans 13:14

 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. Romans 13:14

The first part of this verse refers to the wonderful imputed righteousness of our Saviour and then John Gill says regarding the second half that it refers to, “The body: not but that due care is to be taken of it, both for food and clothing; and for its health, and the continuance and preservation of it by all lawful methods; but not so as

to fulfil the lusts thereof;
to indulge and gratify them, by luxury and uncleanness: it is a saying of Hillell “he that increases flesh, increases worms”; the sense his commentators  give of it is, that

“he that increases by eating and drinking, until he becomes fat and fleshy, increases for himself worms in the grave:”

the design of the sentence is, that voluptuous men, who care for nothing else but the flesh, should consider, that ere long they will be a repast for worms: we should not provide, or be caterers for the flesh; and, by pampering it, stir up and satisfy its corrupt inclinations and desires.” Solemn warning-JK.

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” Galatians 6:7,8.

Temptation (32)

John Owen

2. What can we do to prevent entering into temptation.

What are the best directions to prevent entering into temptation

Jesus our Saviour said: “Watch and pray  (Matt. 26:41) which implies:

(1.) The great danger of temptation

(2.) That it is not in our power to keep ourselves

(3.) Faith in promises of preservation—Of prayer in particular.

We must fear entering into temptation in the same way we fear sin says Owen: “When men see that such ways, such companies, such courses, such businesses, such studies and aims, do entangle them, make them cold, careless, are quench-coals to them, indispose them to even, universal, and constant obedience, if they adventure on them, sin lies at the door. It is a tender frame of spirit, sensible of its own weakness and corruption, of the craft of Satan, of the evil of sin, of the efficacy of temptation, that can perform his duty. And yet until we bring our hearts to this frame, upon the considerations before mentioned, we shall never free ourselves from sinful entanglements. Sin will not long seem great or heavy unto any to whom temptations seem light or small. Grief of the Spirit of God, disquiet of our own souls, loss of peace, hazard of eternal welfare, lies at the door. If the soul be not prevailed withal to the observation of this direction, all that ensues will be of no value. Temptation despised will conquer; and if the heart be made tender and watchful here, half the work of securing a good conversation is over. And let not him go any further who resolved not to improve this direction in a daily conscientious observation of it. “

Psalm 57

Psalms 57

v2 I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me. Similar to Psalm 138:8 which says “God will perfect that which concerns me” and Romans 8:28, “All things work together for good….”. Our sovereign covenant God is doing all that is needful in our lives and giving all that is needful to live for him faithfully.( Romans 8:32, Phil.4:19)

John Gill says, v 8  Awake up, my glory
Meaning his soul, it being the most honourable, glorious, and excellent part of man; is the breath of God, of his immediate production; is a spirit incorporeal and immortal; is possessed of glorious powers and faculties; had the image of God stamped upon it, which made man the glory of God, ( 1 Corinthians 11:7 ) ; and has the image of Christ on it in regenerated persons; and is that with which God and Christ are glorified; and is, upon all accounts, of great worth and value, even of more worth than the whole world: and this sometimes in the saints is as it were asleep, and needs awaking; not in a literal sense; for it is incapable of natural sleep, being incorporeal; but in a figurative and spiritual sense, as when grace is dormant, and not in exercise; when the soul is backward to and slothful in duty, unconcerned about divine things, and lukewarm and indifferent to them; which is occasioned by prevailing corruptions and worldly cares; and sometimes it becomes dull, and heavy, and inactive, through an over pressure by sorrows and troubles, as the disciples of Christ were found sleeping for sorrow, ( Luke 22:45 ) ; which seems to have been the case of the psalmist here; he had been in great distress, his soul was bowed down, ( Psalms 57:6 ) ; he had hung his harp upon the willow, and could not sing one of the Lord’s songs in the place and circumstances he was in; but now he calls upon his soul, and arouses all the powers and faculties of it, and stirs up himself to the work of praise, just as Deborah did, ( Judges 5:12 ) ; some by his glory understand his tongue, as in ( Psalms 16:9 ) compared with ( Acts 2:26 ) ( Psalms 30:12) ; and so may design vocal singing here, as instrumental music in the next clause:

Temptation (31)

 

He says when we become cold or negligent or formal in duties were are entering temptation.

“When a man is weakened, made negligent or formal in duty, when he can omit duties or content himself with a careless, lifeless performance of them, without delight, joy, or satisfaction to his soul, let him know he is entered into temptation, which at the length he will find evident, to his trouble and peril.

This is a certain rule:—If his heart grow cold, negligent, or formal in duties of the worship of God,  one temptation or other hath laid hold upon him. World, or pride, or uncleanness, or self-seeking, or malice and envy, or one thing or other, hath possessed his spirit;  If the head be heavy and slumber in the things of grace, if the heart be cold in duties, evil lies at the door. The spouse cries, “I sleep,”  Song of Solomon 5:2; and that she had “put off her coat, and could not put it on;”—had an indisposition to duties and communion with Christ. What is the next news you have of her? Verse 6, Her “Beloved had withdrawn himself,”—Christ was gone; and she seeks him long and finds him not. There is such a suitableness between the new nature that is wrought and created in believers, and the duties of the worship of God, that they will not be parted nor kept asunder, unless it be by the interposition of some (sin). The new creature feeds upon them, is strengthened and increased by them, find sweetness in them, yea, meets in them with its God and Father; This frame is described in the 119th Psalm throughout. It is not, I say, cast out of this frame and temper unless it be oppressed and disordered by one secret temptation or other.”

 

 

 

 

Temptation (30)

  1. How we may know we are entered into temptation.

Owen goes on to describe our lives like little boats naturally (through original sin) floating down to the sea BUT when winds (temptation) arise they are likely to be buffeted and broken on the shore and rocks.

” Men’s lusts will infallibly (if not mortified in the death of Christ) carry them into eternal ruin, but oftentimes without much noise, according to the course of the stream of their corruptions; but let the wind of strong temptations befall them, they are hurried into innumerable scandalous sins, and so, broken upon all accounts, are swallowed up in eternity. So is it in general with men; so in particular. Hezekiah had the root of pride in him always; yet it did not make him run up and down to show his treasure and his riches until he fell into temptation by the ambassadors of the king of Babylon. So had David; yet could he keep off from numbering the people until Satan stood up and provoked him, and solicited him to do it. Judas was covetous from the beginning; yet he did not contrive to satisfy it by selling of his Master until the devil entered into him, and he thereby into temptation.

Entering into temptation may be seen in the lesser degrees of it; as, for instance, when the heart begins secretly to like the matter of the temptation, and is content to feed it and increase it by any ways that it may without downright sin. In particular, a man begins to be in repute for piety, wisdom, learning, or the like,— Jehu perceived that his repute for zeal began to grow abroad, and he got honour by it. Jonadab comes in his way, a good and holy man. “Now,” thinks Jehu, “I have an opportunity to grow in honour of my zeal.” So he calls Jonadab to him, and to work he goes most seriously. The things he did were good in themselves, but he was entered into temptation, and served his lust in that he did. So is it with many scholars. They find themselves esteemed and favoured for their learning. This takes hold of the pride and ambition of their hearts. Hence they set themselves to study with all diligence day and night,—a thing good in itself; but they do it that they might satisfy the thoughts and words of men, wherein they delight: and so in all they do they make provision for the flesh to fulfil its lusts.” Thus Owen shows that even our good qualities and divine service can be temptations to lust in the realm of ambition, pride or reputation thus learning and even preaching can be defiled.

When by a man’s state or condition of life, or any means whatever, it comes to pass that his lust and any temptation meet with occasions and opportunities for its provocation and stirring up, let that man know, whether he perceive it or not, that he is certainly entered into temptation. I told you before, that to enter into temptation is not merely to be tempted, but so to be under the power of it as to be entangled by it. Now, it is impossible almost for a man to have opportunities, occasions, advantages, suited to his lust and corruption, but he will be entangled. If ambassadors come from the king of Babylon, Hezekiah’s pride will cast him into temptation. If Hazael be king of Syria, his cruelty and ambition will make him to rage savagely against Israel. If the priests come with their pieces of silver, Judas’s covetousness will instantly be at work to sell his Master. And many instances of the like kind may, in the days wherein we live, be given. Some men think to play on the hole of the asp and not be stung, to touch pitch and not be defiled, to take fire in their clothes and not be burnt; but they will be mistaken. If thy business, course of life, societies, or whatever else it be of the like kind, do cast thee on such things, ways, persons, as suit thy lust or corruption, know that thou art entered into temptation; how thou wilt come out God only knows. Let us suppose a man that hath any seeds of filthiness in his heart engaged, in the course of his life, in society, light, vain, and foolish, what notice soever, little, great, or none at all, it be that he takes of it, he is undoubtedly entered into temptation. So is it with ambition in high places; passion in a multitude of perplexing affairs; polluted corrupt fancy in vain societies, and the perusal of idle books or treatises of vanity and folly. Fire and things combustible may more easily be induced to lie together without affecting each other, than peculiar lusts and suitable objects or occasions for their exercise.”