Sermon read last Sunday (23/4/2017) at CERC Singapore. Originally preached by Rev. Carl Haak….a MUST if you are getting weary in prayer or any of the disciplines of the Christian life.
After about thirty hours of sleeplessness we reached the Filipino holiday island of Boracay (see map). It is just to the north of the big central island in the Philippines Panay. White sands and clear water I believe but like so many exploited holiday islands it is certainly not a conservation island
Last day in Singapore!
Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church in Singapore is sister church (much bigger several times) to my own home church CPRC Ballymena, U.K.
My wife and I enjoyed fellowship with brethren and sisters today in worship, Bible Study, and chat at mealtimes. Though the sermons were “read” they we done in such a way as to be very like sermons preached.
A.M. Israel’s war with Amalek, Rev. D. Kleyn, (Exodus 17:8-16).
- Relatives who hated us and were hated by God (Amalek).
- God fights using us.
- Our power is in intercession believing God’s authority (rod)
P.M. Not weary in well-doing. Rev. C. Haak (Gal.6:9).
- flesh is weak.
- we all have our respective callings and “duty-work”.
- we may sow to the Spirit continuously.
- work is rewarded as we reap fruitful harvest (our own quality of life eternal, people converted and quality fruit in their lives).
The Men’s Bible Study in John 15 was exhaustive and enlightening and both in it and in personal fellowship I felt privileged to be used by God in serving the brethren.
Ladies’ BS (men in background)
Late tonight we leave for Philippines for a few days on one of their holiday islands and then weekend in Manila.
So many animals on display but especially liked Komodo Dragon, Fruit Bat and little water Monitor that for me stole the show with the elephants, swimming across their mote and being bombed by a huge log. The Ong family were our hosts. Later another church couple Roy and Florence took us out to a street restaurant and then up to a vantage point where we saw the cable-car to Sentosa island and all the commercial buildings and apartments. End of day considering Job together and sharing the highlights and perceived purpose of our visit.
About 100 inches rain per year, temperatures averaging 30C most days, thunder and lightning on 40% of days.
An excellent guide: https://www.guidemesingapore.com/relocation/introduction/climate-in-singapore
|Predestination: That’s Not Fair!
Posted: 20 Apr 2017 01:57 PM PDT
Predestination: That’s Not Fair!
The accusation against God that predestination is unfair is foolish. God cannot be unfair or unjust because He is the very definition of righteousness. “What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid!” (Romans 9:14). When something seems to be unfair, we must remember that we are not competent judges, and really have no right to judge the Almighty. He judges us. We do not judge Him.
It is also wicked rebellion against God to label Him a cruel tyrant or an evil puppet master. God is not a cruel monster. He is, in fact, the sovereign Creator and Judge, and as such He can do with His creatures what He wills. All His doings are good and in accord with perfect righteousness and wisdom. Human beings are not puppets or robots—we are rational, moral creatures, who are accountable to God.
If God choose to save none, but punished all, He would be just to do so. None deserve salvation. All of us deserve to be condemned for our sins. If a governor had ten men on death row, all of whom were guilty of heinous crimes and worthy of death, and the governor, by sovereign prerogative, determined to pardon one, the other nine cannot complain that they did not receive the same pardon. All deserved justice. Nine received strict justice, were sentenced to death, and executed, while one received mercy and received a pardon. Similarly, God declares, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion” (Romans 9:15).
Therefore, the sinner has no ground for his complaint. If he hates God, loves his sins, and despises Jesus Christ, how will he complain if God gives him the hell that he so richly deserves? If a man lives as a rebel against God, why should he expect salvation from Him? And if another receives salvation, given to him freely by grace alone, why will any complain that he did not receive what another received—when none deserved it?
God chooses to give salvation to some as is His sovereign prerogative as God. God says to the complainer, “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen (Matthew 20:15-16).
Instead of complaining, marvel at predestination and worship God for it.
Rev. Martyn McGeown
|What he does
|What we must not do
|What that means
|Indwells||His person sealing-love, kindness and tenderness.
|Grieve him (Eph.4:30)
|Pursue universal holiness
|Sanctifies||His gracious operation-like fire
|Quench him (I Thess. 5:19)
|Work out what he works in
|Speaks through ministers||The means of grace (preaching, reading)
|Resist him (Acts 7:51) by closing ears
|Listen and apply
Taken from John Owen’s “Communion with the Triune God.”
He does NOT inspire the “lively worship” or do the spurious “high jinks” or “miracles” or “so-called healings” or prostrations of the Pentecostal and Charismatic pseudo-churches but rather he reveals and teaches the truth of God and glorifies Christ by every means through the Scriptures which he inspired. We are to do the same. He is the divine witness and we are lesser witnesses.
Red Sea crossing. Jordan crossing-Ark leads.
The two great water crossings typify and foreshadow the two great stages of redemption in the work of Christ for his people. First the Red Sea crossing during the Exodus typifies release from bondage to sin and the tyranny of Satan and then the Jordan crossing and entry into Canaan typifies our release from this body of death into glorified bodies as we receive our eternal inheritance in our promised land in the age to come. No heaven without being born again. Both redemptive acts solely God’s work!
“We lose both the power and pleasure of our obedience for want of this consideration. The Holy Ghost undertakes to be our comforter. What an unworthy thing it is to grieve him who comes to us on purpose to give us consolation! The Holy Ghost, in his inﬁnite love and kindness toward me, has condescended to be my comforter; he does it willingly, freely, powerfully. What have I received from him! In the multitude of my perplexities how has he refreshed my soul! Can I live one day without his consolations? And shall I be regardless of him in that wherein he is concerned? Shall I grieve him by negligence, sin, and folly? Shall not his love constrain me to walk before him to all well-pleasing?” Eph.4:30
These are the most visited gardens in the world ( 4 million p.a.) and a UNESCO world heritage site. Trees of the tropics, some huge and 300 years old, beautiful flowers especially orchids AND wandering monitor lizards that swim thrown in, plus fish and turtles. It was hot! Cost 80p!
Bat-Tailed Drongo (black)
Pitcher plant-carnivorous-insects fall in and are dissolved.
Owen is brilliant (Communion with God).
There are three things considerable in the Holy Ghost: (1) his person, as dwelling in us; (2) his actings by grace, or his motions; (3) his working in the ordinances of the word, and the sacraments—all for the same end and purpose. To these three are the three cautions before suited: (1) Not to grieve him, in respect of his person dwelling in us. (2) Not to quench him, in respect of the actings and motions of his grace. (3) Not to resist him, in respect of the ordinances of Christ, and his gifts for their administration. Now, because the whole general duty of believers, in their communion with the Holy Ghost, is comprised in these three things, I shall handle them severally. TBC.
Do you know you are going to heaven?
The self-righteous religionist cannot answer positively because he never knows if he has done enough. The true Christian who has the Holy Spirit has the assurance of God’s love as Father. The true believer knows Christ has done everything for his salvation. The former is slave to a spirit of bondage and fears and even self-cruelty (see flagellation above) and his religion crucifies the Son of God afresh and is a damnable insult to him. Even if you give your body to be burnt without true love for God it profits you nothing. Only those who know Christ paid for their sins ONCE FOR ALL truly love him in return.
Adapted from John Owen’s “Communion with Triune God.”
What a day? Was a two to three hour trip by jeepney and tricycle, the latter over very rough roads up east into central Luzon’s mountains to get to a river, going to be worth it? It surely was! Among amazing marble and limestone formations we swam in the crystal-clear water and the surrounding green-clad steep mountain jungle, watching speeding sand martins dart in and out of the craggy cliffs. Tinipak it is called. Nil and Dorothy have been so kind to take us around AND collect us and take us back home in case we get lost in the incredibly, busy Metro Manila. What was also good was fact we had some steep climbing up and down the gorge sides—my first real exercise since getting here.
Pictures-see FB pages!
Tues. 4/4/17 It was well nigh impossible to sleep on 14 hour flight, but at least with an isle seat I could stretch my legs! Manila is like West Indies, warm and humid 26 degrees. As I write I am surrounded by high rise hotels on the open top floor of Stone House hotel accessing internet. Sleep required!
5/4/17 Having been met and taken to B/B by Benilde and Dorothy (see welcome table) and their friendly taxi-driver, praise God caught up on sleep. Here are some views from top floor. Some Lovely plants growing there.
Transportation-jeepneys and trikes!
Typical suburban street
Weds 5/4/17. Standard of living is generally cheaper than UK. Petrol, food and drink about half our prices (1L petrol 50-60p), BUT gyms are a rip off asking me for 900-1200 pesos (£15-20) for one session! Wages are generally low, minimum seems to be about £25 a week (6,000 pesos a month).We toured the huge Farmers Market where every kind of food and utensil can be bought, exotic seafood, chicken legs, live eels, catfish etc. Picked a fish and had it cooked and battered and sauced for us (see pic). Lovely meal and fellowship with Nil, Dorothy and Sonny and Luz Umali, elder and wife from Berean PRC.
Piles of eggs at the Farmer’s Market.
6/4/17 Visited with Nil and Dorothy with Dick Espiritu. Late afternoon to Cloud 9 to see all of Manila from high vantage point as sun went down. Pall of grey smog hung over the city. Dropped and broke camera, so no more pics from me! These two of our hotel and Nils house are courtesy of Google earth.
7/4/17 Today an early start to travel to the Filipino equivalent of Glenarrif waterfalls.
What are the greatest needs in the world today?
For the church:
- Labourers for the harvest field—Reformed ministers, elders and deacons, the former trained and sent by overseeing congregations/synod and the latter volunteering to move or raised up locally.
- Supporting churches with prayer, oversight and finance.
- Reformation in all departing churches.
- Prayer, practical and financial support for the persecuted and starving.
For the world:
- The gospel proclaimed personally, through Scripture distribution or through electronic means to make disciples of all peoples.
- Conversion of men and women in power
- Righteous laws
- Acceptance of true asylum seekers and refugees.
- The destruction of radical Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Communism and apostate Christianity.
- The salvation of all the elect including among cults and all groups above.
1.provide (someone) with amusement or enjoyment.“a tremendous game that thoroughly entertained the crowd”
synonyms: amuse, divert, distract, delight, please, charm, cheer, beguile, interest, fascinate, enthral, engage, involve, occupy, absorb, immerse, engross, preoccupy, hold the attention of“he wrote his first stories to entertain his children” antonyms: bore
receive (someone) as a guest and provide them with food and drink.“a private dining room where members could entertain groups of friends”
synonyms: receive, play host/hostess to, show hospitality to, invite to a meal/party, invite (round/over), ask (round/over), have (round/over), give someone a meal, throw a party for; Morereceive guests, have guests, play host/hostess, provide hospitality, have people round/over, have company, hold/throw a party, keep open house, have a dinner/lunch party“I expect you entertain a lot”
This is keeping the fourth commandment which we do because we love God.
The Lord’s Day is the New Testament fulfillment of the Old Testament Sabbath, the day of rest that God instituted at the close of the creation week. On this day God calls His people to rest; not merely to rest physically (though that is part of it), but to rest spiritually. This spiritual rest is an important dimension of our worship on the Lord’s Day. For that reason, we do well to think about Sabbath rest as we prepare ourselves for worship tomorrow.
The true idea of Sabbath rest is lost in much of the church today. On the one side, there are those who have taken the liberty to transform the Sabbath into a day for themselves. Rather than faithfully attend the corporate worship of the church, they are very willing to substitute “family time” or some other activity in place of church. That can be a temptation…
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John Owen in his masterful treatise on Communion with the Triune God teaches us just how we underestimate the blessed work of the Holy Spirit in us. “Without ME (and the Spirit is CHRIST IN ME) ye can do nothing.”
“Now, our afflictions, our sins, and our obedience, with the attendances of them respectively, are the great concernments of our lives. What we are in reference unto God is comprised in them, and the due management of them, with their contraries, (necessitate) consolation from the Holy Ghost, that gives us a joyful issue throughout. All the consolations of the Holy ghost consist in his acquainting us with, and communicating unto us, the love of the Father and the grace of the Son; we have our communion with the Father in his love, and the Son in his grace, by the operation of the Holy Ghost. By persuading us of the eternal and unchangeable love of the Father, he fills us with consolation. (He communicates) the grace of Christ, — all the fruits of his purchase, all the desirableness of his person, as we are interested in him. He glorifies Christ by revealing his excellencies and desirableness to believers, as the “chiefest of ten thousand, — altogether lovely,” and then he shows them of the things of Christ, — his love, grace, all the fruits of his death, suffering, resurrection, and intercession: and with these supports their hearts and souls. And here, whatever is of refreshment in the pardon of
sin, deliverance from the curse, and wrath to come, in justification and adoption.
Froward, perverse, unthankful; grieving, vexing, provoking him. Yet in his love and tenderness does he continue to do us good. He knew what we were, and what we could do, and what would be our dealings with him, — he knew we would grieve him, provoke him, quench his motions, defile his dwelling-place; and yet he would come to be our comforter. Want of a due consideration of this great love of the Holy Ghost weakens all the principles of our obedience. ”
Now we better understand the benediction, ” Now the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
Manuscript due to go to publishers today.
Many think that loving and serving and obeying God is a chore, a restriction on enjoying life, something to be avoided at all costs. Nothing could be further from the truth. To love and serve God is life as it was meant to be, abundant life, eternal life, the life enjoyed by the first humans in Eden. Any other way is death and separation now and for ever from the ONE who is the fount of all good. Repent and believe the Gospel, for the glory of God AND your own good!
12 And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,
13 To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
This is too much!
(Edward Payson, 1783-1827)
Only to be permitted to contemplate such a being as Jehovah . . .…
to ponder goodness, holiness, justice, mercy, patience and sovereignty–personified and condensed;
to ponder them united with eternity, infinite power, unerring wisdom, omnipresence, and all sufficiency;
to ponder all these natural and moral perfections indissolubly united and blended in sweet harmony–in one pure, spiritual being, and that being placed on the throne of the universe
–to ponder this would be happiness enough to fill the mind of any creature in existence!
But in addition to this,
to have this ineffable Being for my God, my portion, my all;
to be permitted to say, “This God is my God forever and ever!”
to have His resplendent countenance smile upon me;
to be encircled in His everlasting arms of power and faithfulness and love;
to hear His voice saying to me, “I am yours–and you are Mine! Nothing shall ever pluck you from My hands, or separate you from My love–but you shall be with Me where I am, behold My glory, and live to reign with Me forever and ever!”
This is too much! It is honor, it is glory–it is happiness too overwhelming, too transporting for mortal minds to conceive, or for mortal frames to support!
In Heaven, the saints will be entirely lost and swallowed up in God, and their minds will be so completely absorbed in the contemplation of His ineffable, infinite, uncreated glories!
Oh, then, what must it be, to escape forever from error and ignorance and darkness and sin–into the region of bright, unclouded, eternal day!
What must it be, to behold your God and Redeemer face to face!
What must it be, to continually to contemplate, with immortal strength–glories so dazzlingly bright, that one moment’s view of them would now, like a stream of lightning, turn your frail bodies into dust!
What must it be to to see the eternal volume of the divine counsels, the mighty map of the divine mind, unfolded to your eager, piercing gaze!
What must it be to to explore the heights and depths, the lengths and breadths of the Redeemer’s love–and still to see new wonders, glories, and beauties pouring upon your minds in constant, endless succession, calling forth new songs of praise–songs in which you will unite with the innumerable choirs of angels, with the countless myriads of the redeemed, all shouting with a voice like the voice of many waters, “Alleluia, for the Lord God omnipotent reigns!”
The Land (2)
Sung Psalm 105:6-12
Read Genesis 15
Note v19 where God for the first time is called “possessor of heaven and earth”, hence he is the dispenser of it. The geography is delineated─from Wadi-el-Arish? to the Euphrates.
Three great promises of the covenant:
Hence all of grace according to the will of the testator.
God unilaterally and unconditionally makes this covenant and will keep it, on pain of death (cut pieces).
The programme is laid out:
- The people (seed) will be strangers
- They will be slaves
- The nation who enslaves will be judged
- There will be an exodus
- There will be plunder
Why the delay (over 400 years)? Because Abraham’s seed must multiply and the inhabitants of the land must be ripe for judgment. Promise renewed (17:8).
In chapters 18 and 19 Sodom and Gomorrah are ripe for (miraculous) judgment c.f. II Peter 2:6
Lessons from Lot’s departure (from God):
- Left true church (Abraham)
- Loved money
- Fell grievously
- Was chastised severely-lost his family and the children of incest were ancestors of enemies of the church (Moab and Ammon v Israel).
Rev. Martyn McGeown
Whether we agree with predestination or not, it is the Bible’s teaching. Whether we react in a positive or negative way emotionally to this teaching, it is the truth of God’s Word. When God’s Word offends our sensibilities—and it often will because we are sinners—we must learn to submit to its teaching.
But before we react emotionally, we need to make sure that we understand the teaching. Often, we react emotionally to a misunderstanding.
First, predestination means God’s determination beforehand (pre) of the eternal destiny (destination) of His rational and moral creatures. Since God is God, He has the right to do this. Paul reminds us of our place before God: “Nay, but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay? (Romans 9:20-21). How absurd it would be for a creature to complain to the Creator!
Second, God’s predestinating choice is unconditional. We know what a conditional choice means—we make conditional choices every day. Why do you choose one breakfast cereal over another, or why do you choose eggs or toast (or whatever) for breakfast? Because of some quality in the food—that choice is conditional. An unconditional choice is one where the choice is not determined by any quality in the thing chosen. It is almost impossible for a human being to make such an unconditional choice. Things always influence us. God chooses His people unconditionally—He finds no attractive quality in them; they are not better, greater or nicer than anyone else. God does not even choose them because He foresees that there will be some good quality in them. God explains this to Moses: “The LORD did not set His love upon you, nor choose you [for such and such a reason], but because the LORD loved you” (Deuteronomy 7:7-8). The verdict—God loved His people simply because He loved them! There is no reason in us!
Third, God’s choice of His people is eternal and therefore unchangeable. God did not wait and see how history and His people would turn out before He made His choice. It was before the foundation of the world, or, as Paul writes, “the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that purpose of God according to election might stand” (Romans 9:11).
That is humbling—salvation is not our choice; it is the Lord’s.
But where better place for salvation to be than in the wise hands of the almighty, always good God!
I should add that notwithstanding the decree of predestination every human being because of their sin in Adam AND their own rebellion against the most high God deserves eternal hell, and will rightly suffer that judgment unless by God’s grace they believe in Christ—JK
“He gives us habitual grace; — a principle of grace, opposed to the principle of lust that is
in us by nature. This is the grace that dwells in us, makes its abode with us; which, according to
the distinct faculties of our souls wherein it is, or the distinct objects about which it is exercised,
receiveth various appellation, being indeed all but one new principle of life. In the understanding,
it is light; in the will, obedience; in the affections, love; in all, faith. So, also, it is differences in
respect of its operations. When it carries out the soul to rest on Christ, it is faith; when to delight
in him, it is love; but still one and the same habit of grace. ” Owen in Communion with God.
” And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written,
Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt.” John 11:14-15
Do you realise who this man was who rode into Jerusalem on “Palm Sunday” nearly 2,000 years ago? God says he is a king. King of the Jews. And who is a Jew? Not someone descended from Abraham physically, but a believer, someone who acknowledges Jesus Christ as King, King over all things and their King. The King who suffered and died to win his Kingdom. The King who one day will make heaven and earth new as rightly his. Is he your King? He is also appointed to judge all me when he comes again. Will you be able to say on that day, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord”?
New Bible Study topic for Mens’ group at CPRC.
First meeting Saturday March 25th 2017 session 1.
Below you will find links to Study Guide and the first chapter only of the book.
Cross training could include gym/weights, walking, rowing or cycling
|Date/day||Distance||Time||How I felt||Notes||Cross training|
Sung Psalm 105:8-14
Reading Genesis 12:1-20
The Holy War was for the Holy Land: We have
- The covenant promise to give the land to Abraham and his seed
- The promise of God to dwell there
- The land was for a people
- The land came with God’s law
All Old Testament history, except Esther was played out in the land. The prophets can be divided into pre-exilic, exilic and post-exilic according to when the prophesied concerning Israel and the land they were to be exiled from viz:
|Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea||Daniel||Haggai|
|Obadiah, Jonah, Micah||Ezekiel||Zechariah|
|Nahum, Habbakkuk, Zephaniah||Malachi|
The land of Israel is an issue of hope and eschatology. To Abraham it was an unseen land and object of faith. To this was added the promise of Gen.13:15-16 adding that his seed would be innumerable.
- the seed who would inherit the land was Christ and all the elect in him (Gal.3:7, 16).
- The land is a type/picture of heaven (Heb.11:9-10).
Filmed in Barrowland Glasgow…year??
“There’s one short road from the cradle to the endless light of day,” could be said of a Christian’s life.
I cannot recommend highly enough this treatise by arguably the greatest British Theologian, John Owen. Particularly the section on delighting in Christ from page 80. It is very clear from Scripture that Christ’s love for us and our love for Christ is expressed in delight, the one with the other. We are meant to ENJOY him and fellowship with him just as he, unbelievably delights in us! If you relish the covenant this is a must read! I will be summarising the best bits on this blogsite. Perhaps it’s worth noting that Owen uses the word “entertain” to describe the mutual delight of Christ and his bride…. see Delight/entertain
The New Testament Warfare
Sung Psalm 144:1-8
Read II Cor. 10:1-10
In Isaiah 11:10-15 we read that God’s and Israel’s O.T. enemies will serve Christ. God uses O.T. imagery and names in a prophetic way which has a N.T. fulfilment. This is likewise true in Amos 9:11-12 where it reads that David’s kingdom will include Edom and all the heathen nations but again we know that this is a prophecy fulfilled in the N.T. age when the elect among all nations come into the church (Acts 15:16-17).
Whereas in the O.T. the enemies were heathen nations and the goal was territory through offensive war either to possess the land (Joshua), or extend the empire (David), although there were also defensive wars, when we get to N.T. times there is no actual land to possess (heaven is assured) but rather the extension of the kingdom of God to the ends of the earth through missions is the goal. In order, the great cities central to this purpose were Jerusalem, Antioch and then Rome.
The king of God’s N.T. army sits enthroned in heaven. He too undoubtedly has fought and does fight (Isaiah 59:17). His captains were initially apostles, prophets and evangelists but now ministers, elders and deacons. The foot-soldiers are all believers. The armour and weapon are outlined in Eph.6:10-16 and Heb.4:12. For defence, the helmet, the assurance of salvation; the breastplate of (Christ’s) imputed righteousness; the belt of truth (Christ and his word); the sandals of the gospel of peace with God and a readiness to share it; the shield of faith; the sword of the Spirit. From the Corinthians epistle which in context refers to self-control and church discipline we see that winning arguments is not enough, the battle is in the mind. To win over an enemy God must regenerate them. In the battle faith is vital as is discipline, effort and patience (I Tim.6:12, II Tim.2:3-6) and we must not be distracted and be over-occupied with civilian (worldly) pursuits.
We have seen that wisdom consists:
The wisdom of Solomon!
1. Knowledge of God.
2. Knowledge of self and now we come to:
3. Walking with God.
Now, that one may walk with another, six things are required:— 1. Agreement. 2. Acquaintance. 3. A way. 4. Strength. 5. Boldness. 6. An aiming at the same end. All these, with the wisdom of them, are hid in the Lord Jesus.
- Agreement-Amos 3:3. We now have peace and access.
- We know him-I John 5:20, John 1:18, because he has revealed himself.
- There is a way, a highway of holiness (Isaiah 35:8) into which we are directed(Is. 30:21), of good works (Eph.2:10).
- Ability is given (John 15:5, Phil. 2:13).
- We have confidence and boldness (Heb. 4:16).
- Our aim like Christ’s is the glory of God (I Cor.10:31).
From Communion with God by John Owen.
Christ alone reveals the wisdom of God.
The sum of all true wisdom and knowledge may be reduced to these three heads:—
1. The knowledge of God, his nature and his properties.
2. The knowledge of ourselves in reference to the will of God concerning us.
3. Skill to walk in communion with God:—
- Knowledge of God. “He that hath seen me hath seen the father.”How else to know his love apart from Christ? (I John 4:9). Pardoning mercy and grace? (Rom.3:25, John 1:14). Vindictive justice (Making Christ to be sin and suffer God’s wrath). Patience, forbearance and long-suffering (II Peter 3:9). When Moses asked God to show him his glory he hid him in a rock, that rock was Christ.
- Ourselves. Our sin is manifest by our consciences and the righteous law and just judgment is coming. We know these things by his death. God, in the death of Christ, punishes and condemns sin in the flesh of his own Son, in the sight of men, angels, and devils, and he has given an abundant assurance of a righteous and universal judgement to come; (how could his cruel killers get away with it?) By his resurrection he has given assurance that Christ risen from the dead, is appointed by him to be the judge of all; in whom and by whom he will judge the world in righteousness granting unspeakable consolation on the one hand to those who believe in him, and terror on the other to those who despise him: so that the wisdom of this also is hid in Christ.
- To follow (In Christ is the wisdom to walk with God).
From John Owen’s work Communion with God.
Has God’s standard for marriage changed over time?
We have to say NO because God is one and his law is one and eternal. The seventh commandment safeguards one man-one woman for life, reflecting his covenant with his bride, the church.
But some churches allow divorce and remarriage!
They cause their people to sin:
“Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.” Jesus in Luke 16:18
And adulterers will NOT enter the kingdom of heaven (I Cor.6:9).
So why polygamy and allowing divorce in OT?
New International Bible Dictionary states regarding polygamy, ” It would seem that God left it to man to discover by experience that his original institution of monogamy was the proper relationship.” It always brought trouble of some kind. Moses SUFFERED the ungodly Israelites to divorce and remarry because of the hardness of their hearts, same could be said of divorce and remarriage laws in our land today, all of which will be followed by the ungodly and the backslidden church member. There will ALWAYS be consequences and suffering when the ideal is not followed but God’s standard for his people and for society has never changed. What Christ said about it stands as God’s standard for all time.
This leaflet needs shared widely especially in churches who use the Westminster Confession as their creed.
Answers in Genesis expound this well too.
One theory that has gained much credence in the past number of years is called Uniformitarianism. This belief states that world as we know it today has always been that way and will always function in the ways that we think it should. Although its popularity has increased in the last number of years, along with the related theory of evolution, it existed in Biblical times:
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers walking after their own lusts, and saying where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (II 3:3,4).
This, however, is not the case. Let’s look at the weather, for instance. In the beginning, God gave the Garden of Eden a moderate climate with none of the wild fluctuations in temperature we sometimes hear about. There…
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When the spouse (in Song of Solomon) has gone thus far in the description of him (her husband Christ), she concludes all in this general assertion: “He is wholly desirable, — altogether to be desired or beloved.” (Concerning) the excellencies of my Beloved, in (the) way of allegory I can carry things no higher; I find nothing better or more desirable to shadow out and to present his loveliness and desirableness: but, alas! all this comes short of his
perfections, beauty, and comeliness; ‘he is all wholly to be desired, to be beloved;’ —
Lovely in his person, — in the glorious all-sufficiency of his Deity, gracious purity and holiness
of his humanity, authority and majesty, love and power.
Lovely in his birth and incarnation; when he was rich, for our sakes becoming poor, — taking
part of flesh and blood, because we partook of the same; being made of a woman, that for us he
might be made under the law, even for our sakes.
Lovely in the whole course of his life, and the more than angelical holiness and obedience
which, in the depth of poverty and persecution, he exercised therein; — doing good, receiving evil;blessing, and being cursed, reviled, reproached, all his days.
Lovely in his death; yea, therein most lovely to sinners; — never more glorious and desirable
than when he came broken, dead, from the cross. Then had he carried all our sins into a land of
forgetfulness; then had remade peace and reconciliation for us; then had he procured life and
immortality for us.
Lovely in his whole employment, in his great undertaking, — in his life, death, resurrection,
ascension; being a mediator between God and us, to recover the glory of God’s justice, and to saveour souls, — to bring us to an enjoyment of God, who were set at such an infinite distance from
him by sin.
Lovely in the glory and majesty wherewith he is crowned. Now he is set down at the right hand
of the Majesty on high; where, though he be terrible to his enemies, yet he is full of mercy, love,
and compassion, towards his beloved ones.
Lovely in all those supplies of grace and consolations, in all the dispensations of his Holy Spirit,
whereof his saints are made partakers.
Lovely in all the tender care, power, and wisdom, which he exercises in the protection,
safe-guarding, and delivery of his church and people, in the midst of all the oppositions and
persecutions whereunto they are exposed.
Lovely in all his ordinances, and the whole of that spiritually glorious worship which he has
appointed to his people, whereby they draw nigh and have communion with him and his Father.
Lovely and glorious in the vengeance he taketh, and will finally execute, upon the stubborn
enemies of himself and his people.
Lovely in the pardon he has purchased and does dispense, — in the reconciliation he has
established, — in the grace he communicates, — in the consolations he does administer, — in the
peace and joy he gives his saints, — in his assured preservation of them unto glory.
What shall I say? there is no end of his excellencies and desirableness; — “He is altogether
lovely. This is our beloved, and this is our friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.”
John Owen in Communion with God
No love, friendship or acceptance? What about loving our neighbour? They are our neighbour and we love them by sharing Christ. Friendship? Perhaps not in the real, intimate sense, but sharing an interest can become some kind of friendship and Christ was a friend of sinners (many unconverted I am sure). Acceptance? We cannot change them and we hate what they do but surely we have to accept them as they are, after all Christ accepted us even when we were his enemies and took us into fellowship with himself. So you can see, while I agree with the antithesis, I disagree with the way it is often portrayed and purportedly live out. Your point about confronting sin agrees with Scripture, “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather reprove them.” (Eph.5:11).
Antithesis. Anti-thesis. Against a viewpoint. Merriam-Webster defines it as “the direct opposite.” God tells us what the antithesis is in Genesis 3:15. He says to Satan: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Enmity between the children of the Devil and children of God. That is, hatred, war, and conflict between the elect and the reprobate—no love, friendship, or acceptance. There must be a clear separation between the two.
Now that we know the antithesis is, let’s see how we can apply it to life in college. A place where many of us Young Calvinists (including me) currently reside or frequent.
You’re in one of your Gen Ed classes that you have to take—Introduction to Physics. The class is set up so that you have to work with…
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Colossians 1:19: “ For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell;” and John 1:14: “ And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
Hear John Owen: For the fountain of grace, the Holy Ghost, he received not him “by measure,” John 3. 34; and for the communications of the Spirit, “it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell,” This is the Beloved of our souls, “holy, harmless, undefiled;” “full of grace and truth;” — full, to a sufficiency for every end of grace, — full, for practice, to be an example to men and angels as to obedience, full, to a certainty of uninterrupted communion with God, — full, to a readiness of giving supply to others, — full, to suit him to all the occasions and necessities of the souls of men, — full, to a glory not unbecoming a subsistence in the person of the Son of God, — full, to a perfect
victory, in trials, over all temptations, — full, to an exact correspondence to the whole law, every righteous and holy law of God, full to the utmost capacity of a limited, created, finite nature, — full, to the greatest beauty and glory of a living temple of God, — full, to the full pleasure and delight of the soul of his Father, — full to an everlasting monument of the glory of God, in giving such inconceivable excellencies to the Son of man.”
And by his cross and resurrection we are the recipients of some of this fullness all our days.
Sung Psalm 68:17-21
Christ’s last week begins with his “triumphal entry” to Jerusalem (Zech.9:9 quoted in Matt.21:5-9) where it is clear the populace had a wrong view of his kingship. He came as a lowly king (Matt.22:15-22) who submitted to the Romans and told his disciples to pay their taxes and clearly taught that rebellion was forbidden. In Matt.24 he predicts the national destruction of Jewry as a picture of the end of time tribulation under antichrist just before his return in glory. In Matt.26:51 Peter’s foolish violent act showed he misunderstood the nature of Christ’s kingdom and the nature of his disciples’ warfare. What Christ said to Pilate underlined this (John 18:36).
Christ was a rejected king nevertheless there was no time when he was not ruling over all his enemies, exercising his sovereign kingship, bringing thick darkness signifying Satan’s work, but also opening graves and raising the bodies of believers and ultimately himself showing that his final earthly battle versus sin, Satan and the wicked world was won, all having been publicly judged as evil, wicked and murderous by their treatment of the Son of God. He won this spiritual battle single-handed just like David won his physical battle with Goliath (Isaiah 63:5-6). He now incarcerates Satan and the demons (Ps.68:18), destroys all Satan’s deathly power over the elect (Heb.2:14, Col.2:15, I Cor.15:57) and makes death serve his purposes (to free and glorify his people). The Psalm also shows the vital importance of praise (v25) and the power of grace to sustain us (v28).
So in tabular summary:
|Old Testament Holy War||New Testament Holy War|
|For a physical kingdom (land)||For a heavenly kingdom|
|By force of arms (physical weapons)||By spiritual weapons (Eph.5) Word, prayer, praise, humility, suffering)|
|Physical enemies-Canaanite, Philistines etc.||Spiritual enemies-world, flesh, devil.|
|Power of grace|
|Various victorious kings of Israel/Judah||Christ the victorious king|
It is true that no human being can be under the wrath of God and be loved by him simultaneously. Christian believers, God’s elect sheep have been loved by him IN CHRIST from before the world was. Before we were saved we were BY NATURE children of wrath even as others and we retain this sinful nature till our dying day, yet we are loved infinitely and everlastingly.
What about Christ?
Our Heidelberg Catechism puts it this way,”Q. 37. What dost thou understand by the words, “He suffered”?
A. That He, all the time that He lived on earth, but especially at the end of His life, sustained in body and soul the wrath of God against the sins of all mankind; that so by His passion, as the only propitiatory sacrifice, He might redeem our body and soul from everlasting damnation, and obtain for us the favor of God, righteousness and eternal life.”
In the Triple Knowledge*, Herman Hoeksema’s exposition of H.C. he states, “All his (Christ’s) life is one testimony of the fact that he lived in perfect fellowship with his father, and was conscious of his approval and favour.” But didn’t he bear God’s wrath too? Let it be clearly stated that Christ as a person was never the object of his father’s wrath but “he suffered the expression, the concrete effect of the wrath of God against sin”, “the reaction of his holiness against (us) the workers of iniquity.” This comes to it’s climax in Christ’s God-forsakenness at Calvary, “At the moment when God is most highly pleased with him, he experiences all the terror of being forsaken of God!”
What a Saviour! Who would not consecrate themselves body and soul to live for him?
These two big “E”s are repeatedly mentioned by the apostle Paul.
Paul and Barnabas depicted.
Heb.3:13 “But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”
I Thess.2:11, 5:14 “As ye know how we exhorted and comforted (encouraged) and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children”, “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort (encourage) the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.”
Barnabas’ names means son of consolation (encouragement) Acts 4:36.
How do we encourage in the fellowship with other believers?
- Praise them when praise is due—commend, thank, give thanks for them.
- Edify—build them up (strengthen them in midst of difficulties by stirring up their faith and assuring them of God’s promises), instruct them by increasing their knowledge, encouraging faith and love.
- Urge or beseech them.
Why do we need to exhort?
Because our unbelief causes departures from God (Ps.95). The Israelites shunned to covenant promises of God for Canaan, the blessings held no attraction for them, perhaps because they knew they would need to fight for them! Frequently they, and we, are deceived by attractive idolatry and sin.
How do we exhort in the fellowship? Daily!
It means to call alongside to help either:
Don’t be afraid to do this as James tells us in James 5:19-20.
John 10:18 reads, “ No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”
Christ allowing himself to be wickedly scourged, beaten, humiliated and eventually cruelly and excruciatingly killed WAS NOT A VICTIM! Even while he permitted, nay decreed, his own awful sufferings he sovereignly was in charge of his murderers, enabling them to act wholly responsibly in their wickedness, out of their own malice to put him to death.
Christ was the ONLY MAN EVER to decide the moment of his death as he dismissed his spirit (Luke 23:46).
Christ was the ONLY MAN EVER to raise himself from the dead and take his life again, by omnipotent death-defying power invested in him eternally by his father.
Christ was, and is, the ONLY MAN EVER to possess eternal life in himself, the power of an endless life and the love of the Father (Heb.7:16).
Christ was, and is, the ONLY MAN EVER to be given sovereign judgment over all other men (John 5:22).
Christ was, and is, the ONLY MAN EVER to have power to cast all who despise him into everlasting hell.
Who is CHRIST to you?
An irrelevance, someone who died and whose body disappeared 2000 years ago, just a good man or example?
Or as he is in truth—the ever-living LORD of the universe and your rightful LORD, SAVIOUR, MASTER and FRIEND?
“Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him” (Psalm 2:12).
“This is the will of God, that he may always be eyed as benign, kind, tender, loving, and unchangeable therein; and that peculiarly as the Father, as the great fountain and spring of all gracious communications and fruits of love. We rest in the Father’s love. We love him in return.
Both his love and ours are a love of rest and delight (Zeph. 3:17) seeking nothing more. The two-way love is through Christ. He is the treasury wherein the Father disposeth all the riches of his grace, taken from the bottomless mine of his eternal love; and he is the priest into whose hand we put all the offerings that we return unto the Father. Love is first poured out on Christ; and from him it drops as the dew of Hermon upon the souls of his saints.”
But God’s love and ours differ─”The love of God is a love of bounty; our love unto him is a love of duty. The cause of his love is his good pleasure and the cause of ours his love for us. His love is unchangeable and infinite, ours variable and weak.
The love of God for his elect people is like the sun shining in all its strength despite being apparently hidden by the clouds of circumstance or our variable emotions. (from prayer of Rev. Angus Stewart CPRC).
Revelation 1:7 reads, “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last:”, so the glorified ascended Lord Jesus Christ introduces himself to John as the initiator and creator of all things and the conclusion and goal of all things also.
When I was faced with my university application form back in 1970, though not a believer, my heartfelt tears and cry for help to Jesus were answered when providentially I was led to apply for medicine at Edinburgh university. During my undergraduate studies I was converted and started attending a true church. My medical career encompassed many specialties initially, all in the Glasgow area from 1977 till 1993, then a job move to Bournemouth saw me devote myself to Emergency Medicine there for the next 15 years. Sadly no true church in Bournemouth so when a job arose in Belfast near enough to Covenant Protestant Reformed Church in Ballymena I applied and got the job. Having retired from full time work in ED at Belfast Royal in 2012 I continued doing locums till 27th January this year when I retired fully.
Medical life has not been easy and there have been many humiliating circumstances but I have derived a lot of satisfaction and enjoyed good relations with many colleagues. With no pressure now to earn more or cover empty shifts I can devote myself to, roughly in order of priority:
- Fellowship with my covenant divine friend (Bible, prayer, studies, good books, periodicals)
- Church work (caretaking, deacon, treasurer, writing)
- Family home and Joseph’s business with animals
- Keeping fit The Lord started my medical career, carried me through it, and now has brought it to an end so I thank him.
Sung Psalm 18:36-42 (graphic imagery!)
Read Micah 4:9-5:6
First century Jews wrongly expected a king who would deliver them from and defeat the Romans. In John 6:14-15 they clearly expected a king like David and a prophet like Moses, both of whom fought holy wars. That there were Jewish freedom-fighters is clear from Acts 5:36-37 and 21:38. Matthew 24 is a warning against false prophets and christs who through their physical rebellion, would bring about the mass killing of the Jews in AD 70. All these ideas were based on misunderstood prophesy and eventually led to the death of their true Messiah.
In Micah, another prophet from Judah contemporary with Isaiah, we read of the coming shepherd king who will have worldwide dominion. In 4:1-3 we read of the last days, or N.T. age of peace between God’s people when physical holy war against their enemies ceases.
The latter chapters of Isaiah cast more light on the messianic king. Metaphorical roads would be made for him (40:3-5), he would be a shepherd king (10-11), no rallying cry (42:1-3), he wields a metaphorical sword (the words of his mouth 49:1-4), and he would suffer (50:4-11). Isaiah 40:10, 51:9 and 53:1ff speak of the arm of the Lord who is Christ. Zech.13:7 is a clear messianic prophecy describing how the messiah must suffer to deliver his people from slavery to sin and Isaiah 59:16-21 shows him to be the warrior Redeemer. The messiah starts his ministry proclaiming liberty to captive sinners and the coming day of judgment. This messiah will eventually tread down all his enemies (63:1-6) c.f. Revelation 19:11-13 on the final day.
Now we need to learn how to fight our battles for the kingdom following Christ and the apostles’ example as per Paul’s exhortation in I Timothy 1:8, to “wage a good warfare.”
Very challenging article. Anytime our motives are scrutinised it calls for some soul-searching!
“He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him.” (Proverbs 27:14).
The communion of the saints is a wonderful thing. Feeling the care and spiritual encouragement of one’s church family, especially in times of grief or spiritual struggle, is a great blessing and comfort to the Child of God. God did not mean for us to walk this pilgrimage alone. As it is written in Ecclesiastes 4:10, “woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.” The unity of the body of Christ is a good and beautiful thing.
However, we must search our hearts so that our good deeds towards our brothers and sisters don’t become a source of pride on our own part. In Proverbs 27, Solomon writes of a man who wakes up early…
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James 5:19-20 and resumé of book
The Conversion of the Sinner
- Ultimately the truth is Christ (John 14:6) but in terms that we can see and understand it is the Scriptures (Ps.119:128,142).
- To err from the truth is to believe falsehood and/or teach it which then affects the way you live. Unbelief, deception and wrong behaviour are all sinful. Denominations that err from the truth usually apostatise. The necessity is knowing the truth AND loving it (II Thess.2:10-11).
- To convert means to come to confess sin or falsehood, repent from it and re-consecrate oneself to God. Peter is an example (Luke 22:32) and David (Ps.51).
- Although God must work in the heart, we may be the means whereby a sinner is converted. It is severally illustrated in terms of eyes, ears and mind. The eyes must be opened (John 3:3) and the ears (Matt.13:15, Mark 4:12, John 12:40 and Acts 28:27) to hear Christ’s voice and the heart needs to understand. The word is also the instrument (Ps.19:7). This is true at initial conversion and subsequent on-going conversion.
- The death of which James writes is that of backsliding and ultimately, if unrepentant, eternal death in apostasy.
- To hide a multitude of sins is to have them covered by the blood of Christ when they are confessed and forsaken (I John 1:9, Ps.103:12, Ps.32:1). God declares them buried in the deepest sea and no longer remembered.
Key themes of the book of James
- Affliction through trial and temptation to which we are to respond by rejoicing and prayer.
- Fleeting nature of riches and not respecting persons.
- Control of the tongue.
- Living faith is shown by works.
- Prayer encouraged and the restoration of the backslider.
Divisions of book
1:1-8 Greetings and exhortation to rejoice in trials knowing they work for good and that God will grant wisdom.
1:9-16 Riches fade. The source of temptation.
1:17-27 Control your anger. Obey the word.
2:1-9 Don’t respect persons.
2:10-26 Your faith works to show you are justified.
3:1-18 Teachers judged more strictly. Control tongue. Exhibition of godly wisdom.
4:1-17 Against lust and pride and boasting.
5:1-9 Against riches and injustice.
5:10-18 Exhortation to endure, no rash swearing, need to pray with examples.
5:19-20 Need to restore backslider.
Next BS (DV) March 25th to look at first chapter of “War of Words” by Paul David Tripp (on e bay £10 incl. p&p)
See also: War of Words
In light of my love for the gracious covenant of God, the bond of friendship every true believer enjoys with Father, Son and Spirit, I propose to share notes from John Owen’s great work on communion with the triune God. May you be blessed and edified as I am sure I will be!
It can be read in its totality here: Communion
- common nature (humanity and spirituality) with Christ
- common interest (God’s glory)
- common condition (blessed, suffering)
- common actions (gospel)
- common delight
Essentially in this bond of fellowship God communicates himself.
Our worship, love and the exercise of faith are toward each of the persons of the trinity.
Each TEACH: John 6:45, Matthew 17:5, John 14:26.
All GRACES come from all three persons. The Father communicates by way of original authority, the Son by purchased treasury and the Spirit by immediate efficacy. (Romans 8:11).
John Gill on Mark 9:49
” For every one shall be salted with fire”
That is every one of those that transgress the law of God, offend any that, believe in Christ, retain their sins, and sinful companions; every one of them that are cast into hell, where the worm of conscience is always gnawing, and the fire of divine wrath is always burning, with that fire every one of them shall be salted: that fire shall be to them, what salt is to flesh; as that keeps flesh from putrefaction and corruption, so the fire of hell, as it will burn, torture, and distress rebellious sinners, it will preserve them in their beings; they shall not be consumed by it, but continued in it: so that these words are a reason of the former, showing and proving, that the soul in torment shall never die, or lose any of its powers and faculties; and particularly, not its gnawing, torturing conscience; and that the fire of hell is inextinguishable; for though sinners will be inexpressibly tormented in it, they will not be consumed by it; but the smoke of their torments shall ascend for ever and ever; and that they will be so far from being annihilated by the fire of hell, that they shall be preserved in their beings in it, as flesh is preserved by salt: