Sure and steadfast

Many of us men were at one time in the Boys’ Brigade but it’s fair to say we knew little of what their motto really meant! It is taken from Hebrews 6.

Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” Hebrews 6:17-20.

An anchor  that is properly stuck fast, is something fixed and immovable guaranteeing that the ship will remain where it is. Our hope in Christ, who is already in heaven, indeed Christ himself, is our hope, our certainty that one day we will be with him. He is fixed there, reigning in glory and all the blessedness in him is promised, indeed sworn to be given us, as it was to Abraham thousands of years ago (v18).

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Covenant (a summary for those not well aquainted).

Based on Calvin’s writings.

Calvin and God’s covenant

“The Psalmist, “calling to remembrance” God’s covenant promises, especially “I will dwell in the midst of you,” and “trusting to that sacred and indissoluble bond,” does not hesitate to portray all the godly, no matter what their earthly miseries may be, “as partakers of this celestial glory in which God dwells.” Resting in the indissoluble bond of the covenant, the believer knows that all God’s “suffering” people will dwell with Him eternally in heavenly bliss, nay, are already “partakers of this celestial glory in which God dwells” (cf. John 17:20-23; Eph. 2:6). The covenant assures us that God dwells in us and we will dwell with God both now and forever.” Calvin’s commentary on Psalm 102:12.
Calvin explains God’s “spiritual covenant” as our being “join[ed],” “bound” and “united” with Him, so that we “cleave” to Him and enjoy a “real participation” in His blessedness.
Calvin considers “the very formula of the covenant,” which, he observes, is the same in every age: “For the Lord always covenanted with his servants thus: ‘I will be your God, and you shall be my people’. This covenant formula, Calvin notes, is frequently used in the Old Testament as a summary of all of salvation: “The prophets also commonly explained that life and salvation and the whole of blessedness are embraced in these words.”
For he (God) did not declare that he would be a God to their bodies alone, but especially to their souls. Still, souls, unless they be joined to God through righteousness, remain estranged from him in death. On the other hand, such a union when present will bring everlasting salvation with it.
In the Protestant Reformed Churches the truth of the covenant, as a bond of friendship and fellowship between God and His elect in Jesus Christ, has been developed and maintained most fully, consistently, antithetically and systematically. This has resulted in increased insight into and/or practical help regarding, for example, the living fellowship within the Holy Trinity, the covenant with Adam, Old Testament history, sovereign grace, infant baptism, Reformed worship, the unbreakable bond of marriage, Christian schooling, and the Christian life as one of God’s friend-servants keeping His covenant.
For Calvin, the covenant promise to be our God, applies not only to us in body and soul and in this world and the next, but it also applies to our (elect) children.
Even in the Old Testament, God’s covenant promise for body and soul, for time and eternity and for us and our children, was through Jesus Christ, the mediator
The saving benefits found in the covenant include: Christ as redeemer, salvation, eternal life, adoption, redemption, gospel, union with God, eternal salvation, life, blessedness, inheritance, privilege, access to God, reconciliation, pardon, forgiveness of sins (justification), adoption into salvation, regeneration or sanctification, resurrection, and the believer’s future and eternal happiness, all of which is due to God’s covenantal mercy and grace.
As Calvin eloquently puts it, “Since therefore this covenant contains solid and perfect blessedness, it follows that all who are excluded from it are miserable.
God has joined these two things together, viz., that he will be propitious to his sons [i.e., justification], and will also renew their hearts [i.e., sanctification]. These benefits are joined together by an everlasting and indissoluble bond, so that those whom he illumines by his wisdom, he redeems; those whom he redeems, he justifies; those whom he justifies, he sanctifies. I Cor. 1:30.
Calvin describes the sacrament of baptism (the New Testament equivalent of circumcision) as a sign and seal of both justification and sanctification: Calvin refers to the blessings of both justification and sanctification through believing partaking of the Lord’s Supper, for it is “a mirror in which we may contemplate Jesus Christ crucified to take away our offences [i.e., justification] and raised again to deliver us from corruption [i.e., sanctification].” And mentions the  third which depends on the second, and that is the illumination of the mind as to the knowledge of God” (Comm. on Heb. 8:10).
All by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, from the scripture alone and to the glory of God alone.

Full articles here:

Passover (3)

Sung Psalm 34:16-22

Read Numbers 9:1-14

This is the third repetition of the command to keep the Passover (first Ex.12, second Lev.23:4-5).

The date 14/1/1 when they left Egypt in the Exodus.

Second Passover was in wilderness of Sinai 14/1/2 with a number of differences e.g. no houses, no blood on door posts. We reckon they kept it in their tents. Where did they get bread or grain to make it? Perhaps bought, perhaps plundered, perhaps brought out of Egypt.

This second Passover took place in two groups. First the vast majority and then a month later (14/2/2) for the men defiled by a dead body who would have needed at least one week to become ceremonially clean.

The Tabernacle was erected 1/1/2 so just a fortnight before and the priests consecrated (Lev.8).

First numbering of people 1/2/2 (Numbers 1).

According to my reckoning Sinai and the giving of the Law was 1/3/1.

Failing to keep the Passover (v13) was the equivalent of church excommunication. We were unsure if it mandated the death penalty or just being put completely out of the camp. Foreigners could partake as long as they were circumcised (typifying the entrance of Gentiles into the church).

Covenantal thought.

My most loved Scriptural doctrine which permeates the whole Bible is that of the COVENANT. This book, written by a faithful local pastor from Crumlin is full of gems in tracing  covenant theology through the ages……e.g.” The origin of  this grace and the benefits enjoyed by those in covenant were always rooted in the election of God. The evidence of the covenant of grace depended on God alone. He answered for both parties in the covenant and worked both willingness and enabling in man by the Holy Spirit…God everywhere reserves to Himself and exercises the right independently of fixing the terms of the relation between Himself and man.” Fellow Christian seek out the truth of the covenant, God’s friendship with man.

Articles

Oh that so many in Roman Catholicism and other false religions would grasp this truth that underlay the Reformation namely salvation from sin is by GRACE ALONE, through FAITH ALONE, in CHRIST ALONE, revealed in SCRIPTURE ALONE and to the GLORY OF GOD ALONE.

Upcoming conference

O Lord, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways.

 

Isaiah 63:17                                                                                                                                          “O Lord, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear?…. These are the words, not of wicked men among the Jews, charging all their errors, hardness of heart, and wickedness they were guilty of, upon the Lord, as if he was the author and occasion of them, and led them into them; but of the truly godly, lamenting and confessing their wandering from the ways, commands, and ordinances of God, the hardness of their hearts; their want of devotion and affection for God; and their neglect of his worship; not blaming him for these things, or complaining of him as having done anything amiss or wrong; but expostulating with him, and wondering at it, that he, who was their loving and tender Father, that he should suffer them to err from his ways, and to wander from his worship, by withholding his grace and withdrawing his presence from them; by leaving them to the corruptions and hardness of their hearts; by chastising them sorely, and suffering the enemy to afflict them in such a severe manner as laid them under temptation to desert the worship of God, and cast off the fear of him.” John Gill Commentary.

Featured picture the broad and narrow ways of Pilgrim’s Progress.

 

The Master Builder

 

You need the right tools for every job in D.I.Y. and building. It makes everything so much easier. In like manner, God, in building his church, needs to have prepared and deployed the right tools, his servants, for the jobs in his church, some are unique special tools for the few special jobs, some are commoner but none-the-less necessary tools for everyday use, and others multi-purpose tools for several ministries. We all are tools in his hands with which he accomplished his ends.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10.

Passover (2)

Sung Psalm 34:16-22 (note ref to bones)

Reading Ex.12:1-14, 21-28, 43-51.

Here we have the details of Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread:

The date: Abib 10th select animal, sacrifice 14th, feast of unleavened bread 14-21, use hyssop to sprinkle/paint blood (c.f. Ps.51), meal in house with family, roast lamb (fire of God’s wrath), a sacrifice (Ex.23:17-18), unleavened bread (sinless Saviour), bitter herbs (Egyptian slavery), be ready for children’s questions, circumcision essential (strangers) (NT church baptism/membership), no broken bone (John 19:33, 36, Ps.34:20).

Deut.16:1-8 repeated plus possibility of bullock being used (herd) part of feast of unleavened bread (Num.28:17-19).

Development/change: change of place (not a house but a city i.e. Jerusalem, national, solemn, priests in charge, an altar, one of three pilgrimage feasts which every male should attend.

Passover in Josiah II Chron. 35:1,7-9,17

Demon possession today?

The gospels are the main source of references to people being possessed by devils. The effect on those possessed varied: dumbness (Luke 11:14), epilepsy (Mark 9:17), running around naked, living in tombs and self harming (Luke 8:27), telling the future (Acts 19:13). It was a phenomenon especially associated with the earthly ministry of Christ just as miracles were more or less confined to the Exodus, prophets Elijah and Elisha, and Christ and the apostles. The victory Jesus won over Satan and the demons was shared with his disciples when he told them to carry on a ministry of  exorcism (Luke 9:1, 10:17). Even those outside Christ’s immediate circle practiced this (Matt.9:38). Are people possessed today? The occult is very strong in some countries and some of the rituals of voodoo and shamanism are frightening and would appear demonic but I reserve judgment.

Mostly taken from The New Bible Dictionary IVP 1962.

 

 

 

War of Words (9)

CPRC Men’s Bible Study       War of Words       Chapter 9 “Citizens in need of help.”

We are all citizens of the Kingdom needing help and called to give it.

Why might we need to confront another believer?

  • If they were committing obvious sin or keeping bad company.
  • If they were believing and sharing false doctrine.
  • If they had offended you.

In confronting, exhorting or comforting someone remember:

PITFALLS PROPER AIMS
Pride-we are no better! Humility/meekness (willing to take abuse)
Being indiscreet (e.g. doing it in public) Reconciliation
Being bitter/wanting revenge/in anger Love for person (wanting their best)
Wrong information Repentance/confession
Matters of no great import (adiaphora) Rom.14 Submission to will of God
Unloving accusation Encouraging/guiding
Judging motives Glory of God

 

Process of backsliding (Heb.3:12-13). Sin leads to unbelief leads to turning away leads to hardening.

Need wisdom if and when to confront or just pray (II Tim.2:25).

The ONE ANOTHER verses:

Exhort (Heb.3:13, 10:25), Be subject (I Peter 5:5), Minister (I Peter 4:9-10), Have compassion ( I Peter 3:8), Pray for and confess faults to (James 5:16), Do not speak evil (James 4:10-11), Provoke (Heb.10:24), Edify ( I Thess.5:11, Rom.14:19) meaning spiritual conversation, Comfort (I Thess. 4:18), Teach and admonish (Col.3:16, Rom.15:14), Prefer (Rom.12:10), Love (John 13:34-35, I John 2 !0), Peace (Mark 9:50), Forgive/confess asap/seek restoration and acceptance after (Eph.4:26, II Cor.2:7), Be kind (Eph.4:32), Forbear (Eph.4:1), Rebuke false teachers (Titus 1:13), Entreat elder (I Tim.5:1).

Lies we believe: “He/she’ll never change”, “I can’t forgive”, “humility leads to being trodden underfoot/drudgery”. Remember God’s omnipotence and promises.

A mnemonic to help in these situations SLAB (for building)

S          use SCRIPTURE

L          LISTEN

A         ALLOW A RESPONSE

B          BUILD UP/ENCOURAGE

 

 

We shared a few examples where we had been confronted and also certain besetting sins that keep us humble but which we seek to kill ruthlessly according to Job 31:1, Rom.8:13 and Matt.5:29.

Next study (DV) Sat. 28th October 2017 8pm on chapter 10 “On the King’s Mission”.

Christ the Covenant

 

imagesE6CIRD6K

The covenant of God, the glorious, personal, warm and loving embrace that encompasses all his people is established by Christ (I Cor.11:25). The covenant formula is “I will be your God and ye shall be my people” (II Cor.6:16). He is not only the messenger of it (Mal.3:1) but he is the substance of it (Isaiah 42:6). He makes it with his elect and their elect seed (Ps.89:3, Gen.17:7) as well as all creation (Gen.9:16). The beneficiaries all get the sign (circumcision in the Old and baptism in the New). His blood ratifies it (Heb.13:20) as he is its mediator (Heb.8:6). He keeps it for ever (Dan.9:4, Jer.33:20, Ezek.37:26), it is unbreakable (Ps.89:34, Ps.105:8-10). It is his marriage to the church (Eph.5:30-32). In it he gives himself, laying down his life for his bride, then he fills her with his Spirit and continues to enrich her by his grace till the great consummation when they are publicly united bodily on the last day at the marriage supper of the Lamb.

Eagle’s wings

Isaiah 40:31 is often misconstrued like Phil.4:18.

John Gill is wise: ” But they that wait upon the Lord,…. As children on their parents, to do them honour, to obey their commands, and receive food and blessings from them; as servants on their masters, to know their pleasure, do their work, and have their wages; as clients on their patrons, to have advice of them, put their cause into their hands, and know how it goes; and as beggars at the door, who knock and wait, tell their case and wait, meet with repulses, yet keep their place, and continue waiting: such an act supposes a knowledge and reverence of God, confidence in him, attendance on him, not with the body only, in public and private, but with the soul also, and with some degree of constancy, and with patience and quietness: the Lord is to be waited upon for the manifestations of himself, who sometimes hides himself, but is to be waited for, since he has his set time to show himself again, and his presence is worth waiting for; also for the performance of his promises, which may be expected from his perfections, the nature of the promises, and their being in Christ; likewise for answers of prayer, and for the fresh discoveries of pardoning grace and mercy; and as Old Testament saints waited for the first coming of Christ, so New Testament saints for his second coming, and for eternal glory and happiness: and such “shall renew their strength”; which is to be understood of spiritual! strength in the heart, and of the graces of the Spirit there: it supposes strength received already, which natural men have not, but converted men have; and yet they want more, and more they shall have; to assist them in the performance of duty, to enable them to resist Satan and his temptations, and the corruptions of nature, and to cause them to endure afflictions and persecutions patiently, and to persevere unto the end:they shall mount up with wings as eagles; swiftly and strongly; it is expressive of the motion of the affections heavenwards towards God and Christ, and things above; of the entrance of faith and hope within the veil, and of the exercise of these graces on Christ, who is now at the right hand of God; of the expectation of glory and happiness in heaven hereafter, and of present support under afflictions, the Lord bearing them as on eagles’ wings; see Psalm 103:5 they shall run, and not be weary; in the way of God’s commandments; which shows great affection for them, haste to obey them, delight and pleasure, cheerfulness and alacrity, therein, so as to be without weariness: and they shall, walk, and not faint: in the ways of God, in the name of the Lord, or in Christ, as they have received him; leaning on him, trusting in him, continuing to do so, till they receive the end of their faith, the salvation of their souls; and so shall not sink under their burdens, nor give out till they enjoy it; different persons, though all of them believers, may be here intended; particularly Christians under the Gospel dispensation, tried and exercised by many enemies; some shall soar aloft, and dwell on high; others, though they cannot rise and “fly” so swiftly and strongly, yet shall “run” without weariness; and others, though they can neither fly nor run, yet shall “walk” without fainting.

Passover (1)

Passover (1)

Sung Psalm 114:1-8 (note Exodus theme)

Reading Exodus 12:1-28

The Jewish Feasts

  • Weekly Sabbath
  • Monthly New Moons
  • Annually pilgrimage: Passover, Pentecost, Tabernacles.
  • Other annual: Day of Atonement, Blowing of Trumpets
  • Later: Purim (Esther), Dedication (Hanukkah-2nd century B.C.)

Significance of Passover

  • First historically
  • First in calendar
  • Related to ten plagues and Exodus from Egypt i.e. redemption
  • Trialled by other institutions viz. feast of unleavened bread and dedication of firstborn.
  • Movable (sometimes in next month e.g.Num.9)
  • Most mentioned feast in all of Scripture
  • Helps determine Christ’s ministry timetable (he attended three Passovers during his ministry)
  • Leads to second sacrament (Lord’s Supper)
  • Reveals nature of the cross
  • In Exodus 12 and 13 the number of verses allocated to each of the three aspects of the feast reflects the importance of each: Passover 31, unleavened bread 16, firstborn 6.
  • Passover has much to teach us about what it typifies viz. Christ our Passover.

Three Cups

THESE ARE WONDERFUL POWERFUL MESSAGES.

THREE CUPS

By Rev Carl Haak (Reformed Witness Hour)

“Of all the truths of the sufferings of Jesus Christ there are none so dear as the truth that He suffered voluntarily. He was not dragged to the cross against His will. He did not endure His suffering as a passive victim, reluctantly, with cold resignation. But He went to the cross and endured His suffering willingly, zealously, and voluntarily…

Scripture presents this truth to us in a figure of speech, in the figure of a cup which He willingly drank. All the sufferings necessary to make full payment for our sins were poured into a cup which the Father presented to His Son, the Son of God, who knew what was in that cup and who loved us, drank the cup, and then dashed the empty cup on the ground before the cross.”

Read to find out more of our Lord’s willing suffering for His people.

Communion with the Son of God (7)

 

This the spouse expresseth, Song of Solomon 2:16, “My Beloved is mine, and I am his;” — “He is mine, I possess him, I have interest in him, as my head and my husband; and I am his, possessed of him, owned by him, given up unto him: and that as to my Beloved in a conjugal relation.” So Isaiah. 54:5, “Thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.” This is yielded as the reason why the church shall not be ashamed nor confounded, in the midst of her troubles and trials, — she is married unto her Maker, and her Redeemer is her husband. And Isaiah, chap. 61:10, setting out the mutual glory of Christ and his church in their walking together, he saith it is “as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with jewels.” Such is their condition,
because such is their relation; which he also farther expresseth, chap. 62:5, “As the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.” As it is with such persons in the day of their espousals, in the day of the gladness of their hearts, so is it with Christ and his saints in this relation……To this purpose we have his faithful engagement, Hos. 2:19, 20, “I will,” saith he, “betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgement, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness.” And it is the main design of the ministry of the gospel, to prevail with men to give up themselves unto the Lord Christ, as he reveals his kindness in this engagement. Hence Paul tells the Corinthians, 2 Cor. 11:2, that he had “espoused them unto one husband, that he might present them as a chaste virgin unto Christ.” This he had prevailed upon them for, by the preaching of the gospel, that they should give up themselves as a virgin, unto him who had betrothed them to himself as a husband. And this is a relation wherein the Lord Jesus is exceedingly delighted, and inviteth others to behold him in this his glory,  “Go forth,” saith he, “O ye daughters of Jerusalem, and behold king Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart.” (Song of Solomon 3:11) He calls forth the daughters of Jerusalem (all sorts of professors) to consider him in the condition of betrothing and espousing his church unto himself. Moreover, he tells them that they shall find on him two things eminently upon this account:— 1. Honour. It is the day of his coronation, and his spouse is the crown wherewith he is crowned. For as Christ is a diadem of beauty and a crown of glory unto Zion, Isaiah. 28:5; so Zion also is a diadem and a crown unto him, Isaiah. 62:3. Christ makes this relation with his saints to be his glory and his honour. 2. Delight. The day of his espousals, of taking poor sinful souls into his bosom, is the day of the gladness of his heart. John was but the friend of the Bridegroom, that stood and heard his voice, when he was taking his bride unto himself; and he rejoiced greatly, John 3:29: how much more, then, must be the joy and gladness of the Bridegroom himself! even that which is
expressed, Zeph. 3:17, “he rejoiceth with joy, he joys with singing.” It is the gladness of the heart of Christ, the joy of his soul, to take poor sinners into this relation with himself. He rejoiced in the thoughts of it from eternity, Prov. 8:31; and always expresseth the greatest willingness to undergo the hard task required thereunto, Psalm. 40: 7, 8; Heb. 10: 7; yea, he
was pained as a woman in travail, until he had accomplished it, Luke 12:50. Because he loved his church, he gave himself for it, Eph. 5:25, despising the shame, and enduring the cross, Heb. 12:2, that he might enjoy his bride, — that he might be for her, and she for him, and not for another, Hos. 3:3. This is joy, when he is thus crowned by his mother. It is believers that are mother and brother of this Solomon, Matt. 12:49, 50. They crown him in the day of his espousals, giving themselves to him, and becoming his glory, 2 Cor. 8:23.
Thus he sets out his whole communion with his church under this allusion, and that most
frequently. The time of his taking the church unto himself is the day of his marriage; and the church is his bride, his wife, Rev. 19:7, 8. The entertainment he makes for his saints is a wedding supper, Matt. 22:3. The graces of his church are the ornaments of his queen, Psalm. 45:9–14; and the fellowship he has with his saints is as that which those who are mutually beloved in a conjugal relation do hold, (Song of Solomon 1). Hence Paul, in describing these two, makes sudden and insensible transitions from one to the other, — Eph. 5, from verse 22 unto verse 32; concluding the whole with an application unto Christ and the church.

Isn’t that beautiful?-JK

Communion with the Son of God (6)

Further quotes from John Owen:

cover owen

This, then, for the present, may suffice in general to be spoken of the personal grace of the Lord Christ:— He has a fitness to save, having pity and ability, tenderness and power, to carry on that work to the uttermost; and a fullness to save, of redemption and sanctification, of righteousness and the Spirit; and a suitableness to the wants of all our souls: whereby he becomes exceedingly desirable, yea, altogether lovely; as afterward will appear in particular. And as to this, in the first place, the saints have distinct fellowship with the Lord Christ;

How do we then relate to him?-JK

Answer: As in the marriage bond.

Declared Righteous

 

The great Biblical doctrine of justification is a declaration of the righteousness of all who believe in Jesus Christ for salvation before:

  1. The heavenly court of God (and hence before all angels). Job 1:8, Romans 8:1
  2. At the judgment day. II Tim.1:12, Rom.5:18-19.
  3. In our own conscience. I John 5:13, Rom. 4:20-5:1.
  4. Before the church on confession of faith and membership (not absolute). Rom.10:9-10.

Misplaced loyalty!

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” Revelation 18:4-5.

Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord. For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your reward.” Isaiah 52:11-12.

Click on slide to enlarge.

A good read 

 

Chastisement of Christians

Isaiah 27:7-9

Hath he smitten him, as he smote those that smote him? or is he slain according to the slaughter of them that are slain by him? In measure, when it shooteth forth, thou wilt debate with it: he stayeth his rough wind in the day of the east wind. By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit to take away his sin; when he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and images shall not stand up.

Compare:  Hebrews 12:11 

Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

When God sends forth an affliction on his people, or gives it a commission to them, as all are sent by him, he does it with moderation; he proportions it to their strength, and will not suffer them to be afflicted above what they are able to bear; and as, in afflicting, he debates and contends with his people, having a controversy with them, so he contends with the affliction he sends, and debates the point with it, and checks and corrects it, and will not suffer it to go beyond due bounds; and in this the afflictions of God’s people differ from the afflictions of others, about which he is careless and unconcerned: when afflictions, like a blustering and blasting east wind, threaten much mischief, and to carry all before them, Jehovah, from whom they have their commission, and who holds the winds in his fist, represses them, stops the violence of them, and gradually abates the force of them, and quite stills them, when they have answered the end for which they are sent: he speaketh,  “by his rough wind in the day of his east wind”; God sometimes meditates hard things against his people, and speaks unto them by the rough dispensations of his providence, admonishes them of their sins, and brings them to a sense and acknowledgment of them, which is his view in suffering them to befall them; or, “he removes by his rough wind”  their fruit, so the Lord, by afflictions, removes the unkind blossoms and bad fruit from his people, their sins and transgressions, as it follows.

By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged,….  they are the means of bringing the Lord’s people to a sense of their sins, and to repentance and humiliation for them, and confession of them, and of leading them to the blood and sacrifice of Christ, by which they are expiated and atoned, and which the Spirit of God brings near, and applies unto them; whereby their sins, they are convicted of by means of afflictions, and which lay heavy upon their consciences, are purged away, and removed from them: to take away sin; this is the design and use of afflictions, the profit and advantage of them to the saints, that, being humbled for their sins, they depart from them, leave and forsake them; as well as the guilt of them is taken away from their consciences, through the application of pardoning grace, upon their repentance; see Job 36:8 this shows another difference between the afflictions of God’s people and of others: namely, in the use and end of them. When he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder; that is, when Jacob, or the people of the Jews, being convinced of their idolatry by their afflictions, shall pull down all their idolatrous altars; break them (and burn them-JK) as chalkstones for lime. (Adapted from John Gill’s commentary of the Bible)

The Keys of the Kingdom

In Isaiah 22:22 we hear of Eliakim being given authority in the house of David, the palace in Jerusalem (JK) but in the mystical sense, Christ is said to have this key, Revelation 3:7 where the following words are applied to him: so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open; all which is expressive of the government of the church being on his shoulders, and of his absolute and uncontrollable power over it; who opens the treasures of his word, of his grace, and of wisdom and knowledge (in the preaching-JK) and communicates them unto, and shuts or hides them from, whom he pleases; who opens and shuts the doors of his church, his house, and lets in, and keeps out, whom he thinks fit; and who also opens and shuts the door of the kingdom of heaven, and introduces into it his own people, and excludes others. (John Gill) This authority was never in the hands of Peter and is NOT in the hands of the Pope but is delegated to those truly in apostolic succession namely office bearers in his true church, who advise on the admission of new members, can excommunicate others and fence the Lord’s Supper table-JK.

Heidelberg Catechism LD 31

The Jubilee (4)

Sung Psalm 45:1-6

Read Lev.27:16-25

The freewill offering of land to the priests became cash to the value of the seed required to sow that land. If a man wanted to buy it back he had to add 20% of the cash value but at the jubilee it reverted to the priests. If a man devoted land to the priests that was bought from another man then a cash value was calculated to be given the priesthood and the land reverted to the original owner at jubilee.

Related passages: Numbers 36:1-7. To prevent land leaving Manasseh the daughters of Zelophehad married within their tribe. Jer.32:7. II Chron.36:21. Neh.10:31. Ezek.46:16-18 (c.f. I Sam.8:14)

Another aspect of Jubilee: Deut.15:1-16. The non-exaction of debt among the Jews (but not foreigners).

In Isaiah 61:1, Jubilee was fulfilled partly when the Jews returned from Babylon but ultimately in the coming of Christ who himself said this Scripture was fulfilled as he read it in the synagogue in Nazareth (Luke 4:16-21). Note it included kindness to Gentiles (widow of Zarephath and Naaman the Syrian).

So the real jubilee came by preaching, by faith and by freeing from slavery to sin and the forgiveness of the debt of sin in the New Testament age, the “now” of II Cor.6:2, in which we no more keep days, months or years (Gal.4:9-10) but resort wholly to the person who brought in real jubilee namely Jesus.

” The benefits of Jubilee were squarely based on the atonement, on the shedding of blood in the stead of Israel. Israel did nothing to atone for itself, did nothing to pay. The benefits were simply bestowed upon Israel by sheer divine grace: slaves were released; debtors were freed;land and people had rest. No one did anything to earn liberation. All simply received it as a pure gift.” Prof David J Engelsma in pamphlet entitled “AD 2000: Year of Jubilee by Papal Indulgence or Reformation Gospel.”

Jubilee ppt (click on view slideshow)

Winning the Souls of Unbelievers – J. Payne

So true. Forget the cold turkey stuff that bears little fruit and take the opportunities as God provides especially anyone asking you a pointed question.

The Three R's Blog

As we pointed out earlier this month (see my Sept.10 post) the September 2017 issue of Tabletalk has as its theme “Soul Winning,” with the featured articles covering the various aspects of the Christian calling and methods of this task (based Prov.11:30).

I have once again profited from these articles, including that by Jon D. Payne, “Winning the Souls of Unbelievers.” In the first main section of this article, headed by the words “Wonderfully Ordinary,” Payne gives the “regular” believer great encouragement in the calling to evangelize.

I post these paragraphs tonight, so that you too may be assured that God has you right where you ought to be to be a means to win souls.

Rather than heap guilt on regular Christians for not soul winning on street corners or in market squares (which few believers are called or gifted to do), wouldn’t it be far better to foster…

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Don’t Worry

This is why his name above all names is Jesus Saviour.

Young Calvinists

“Are we there yet?” “Where are we?” “I want that now!” “What if?…..” “Don’t forget!….” We’ve all heard and asked these questions before, and usually get answers like, “Trust me.” “We get there when we get there.” “Stop worrying.” or simply, “no.” Why do we ask these questions? Because we want to know? Because we’re curious? Because we don’t trust? Because we worry? What is worry? What is trust?

Often times I find myself in a stage of life where I’m not sure who to turn to. Worry clouds my thought and judgment. I can’t think straight. I am driven by a single thought. “What if?” I find no comfort in friends, no comfort in family. My home feels like a prison and my life, hell. Worry is all around me like the storm on the Sea of Galilee, and I am Peter, sinking slowly.

Why didn’t Jesus save Peter…

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The Promise of God

We read of many promises of God (II Peter 1:4) but in essence they are all wrapped up in Jesus Christ-he is the fulfilment of every Promise (II Cor.1:20).

He is the promised Messiah (Gen. 3:15). He fulfils the promises to Abraham of righteousness, multiplied seed, a people who would be redeemed from slavery, a land, and a seed who would bless all nations (Gen.12:2, 15:5,7,13,14 22:18, Acts 26:6, Gal.3:18). He is Abraham’s righteousness (Rom.4:3), gives him seed in great number (all believers) and gives him the inheritance of a new heaven and earth, of which Canaan was a type (Heb.11:8-10). As Abraham’s spiritual children we too inherit all the promises (Heb.6:12-17).

He is the promise of salvation or eternal life (Acts 16:31, 2:39, II Tim.1:1, I John 2:25, Heb.9:15) to all who repent and believe.

The promised Spirit who is poured out is His Spirit (Luke 24:49) who personally enables us to persevere and inherit the promises to come (Heb.10:36). Abraham and the Old Testament faithful looked forward to Christ’s coming but never actually saw it (Heb.11:13,33) we look back on it as history, but whether faith is prospective or retrospective, all are partakers of all the blessings that are wrapped up in him.

The Place of Women in Church

I Timothy 2:11-15

This is the word of God for all time!

Let the woman learn in silence,….The apostle would have them learn in silence, and not offer to rise and speak. They may teach in private, in their own houses and families; they are to be teachers of good things, Titus 2:3. They are to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; but not to teach in the church; for that is an act of power and authority, and supposes the persons that teach to be of a superior degree, and in a superior office, and to have superior abilities to those who are taught by them: nor to usurp authority over the man; as not in civil and political things, or in things relating to civil government; and in things domestic, or the affairs of the family; so not in things ecclesiastical, or what relate to the church and government of it; for one part of rule is to feed the church with knowledge and understanding; and for a woman to take upon her to do this, is to usurp an authority over the man: this therefore she ought not to do.

Eve was formed out of him, and here lies the strength of the apostle’s reason, why the woman should be in subjection to the man; because she was made out of him, and made for him, see 1 Corinthians 11:8. So that the woman’s subjection to the man is according to the laws of nature and creation; and was antecedent to the fall;

But the woman being deceived was in the transgression: and the serpent really beguiled her; she owned it herself, Genesis 3:13.she, by her persuasions and example, brought her husband into the same sin; which involved him and all his posterity in ruin and destruction. And observe the order of the punishment of the serpent, Eve, and Adam, as of their sin; the serpent was first accursed, then Eve, and last of all Adam. Adam being the stronger and more knowing person, and less capable of being managed and seduced; but  Eve was deceived, it appears that the man is the more proper person to bear rule and authority, as in civil and domestic, so in ecclesiastic affairs; and it is right for the woman to learn, and the man to teach:

But women, particularly such as profess godliness, shall be saved in childbearing; meaning spiritual and eternal salvation; not that bearing children is the cause but that good women shall be saved, notwithstanding their bearing and bringing forth children in pain and sorrow, according to the original curse. Notwithstanding the fall of man by the means of the woman, yet there is salvation for both men and women, through the birth of Immanuel, the child born, and Son given;
if they continue in faith and charity, and holiness, with sobriety.

Adapted from John Gill.

Four corners of the earth

Four in Scripture signifies a sense of totality or “the world,” preeminently in the Book of Revelation (Wikipedia).It derives its meaning from there being four cardinal directions namely north, south, east and west.
Four corners of the earth. “And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.” (Rev. 7:1). God rules over all creation.
“And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.” (Rev. 20:8). God rules over the wicked who oppose his church.
“And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:31) c.f. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” (Isaiah 11:12). God saves all his elect.

What is a Protestant?

This article is part three of a series in my church’s Covenant Reformed News.

CR News

What Is a Protestant? (3)

Martin Luther (1517) Start of Reformation and Protestantism.

“As well as the truth that the Bible alone is the Word of God (sola Scriptura), Protestants believe in Christ alone (solus Christus).

The Lord Jesus is both fully God and fully man in one divine Person. He is the eternal and only begotten Son of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, incarnate. As Christ, He is God’s anointed One as promised in the Old Testament. As Jesus, He is the only and complete Saviour. As Lord, He the sovereign governor of all.

We Protestants believe Christ’s virgin birth, sinless life, sacrificial death, victorious resurrection, glorious ascension and almighty rule at God’s right hand.

On the cross, our Lord died for all the sins of all His elect people. All our iniquities were “laid on,” imputed or reckoned to Him (Isa. 53:6) and He bore the punishment for them that was due to us. As our only high priest, He continually prays for us, for “he ever liveth to make intercession for” us (Heb. 7:25).

In order for God to save sinners, Christ’s cross and intercession are absolutely necessary. It is entirely sufficient for all our salvation. We do not need the pope, earthly priests, Mary or the saints to bring us to God (John 14:6; Eph. 2:18; Heb. 10:19-22).

The battle of Protestantism with Rome (and others) is essentially the same as that in Acts 4 between the unbelieving Jewish religious leaders and the apostles, who declared concerning Christ, “This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (11-12).

Scripture alone teaches salvation in Christ alone by faith alone (sola fide). Protestantism proclaims that our salvation and perfect righteousness in Jesus Christ is received solely by faith. The forgiveness of sins in Christ’s blood and the imputed righteousness of God (the lifelong and perfect obedience of Jesus) is ours by believing—only by believing! Our justification and legal standing before God, therefore, does not need any supplementation by the works of the the saints, the Lord’s earthly mother, the church or ourselves.

This biblical and Protestant truth is just as necessary today over against Rome as it was in the sixteenth century. Sadly, sola fide is also crucial against much of modern day evangelicalism. Some of those who speak of justification by faith alone actually mean justification by man’s free will alone! They teach that the sinner’s salvation is determined by the decision of his own supposed free will, contrary to the truth of God’s Word (Rom. 3:11; 7:18; 8:7) and the united testimony of the Reformation, including Martin Luther’s great Protestant manifesto, The Bondage of the Will (1525).

Sola fide is vital for the comfort and vitality of the Christian every day. Being justified by faith alone, we have “peace with God” (Rom. 5:1) and blessedness (4:6-9; Ps. 32:1-2)!

To go further, Scripture alone teaches salvation in Christ alone by faith alone through grace alone (sola gratia). Our salvation is a divine gift, an entirely gratuitous or gracious gift, according to the sovereign favour of our merciful God in Jesus Christ, for we were “chosen … in him before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4).

Grace alone, both in time (by the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ) and in eternity (in election)—this is Protestantism, because this is the teaching of God’s Word: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). “So then it is not of him that willeth [so much for man’s free will!], nor of him that runneth [i.e., the exertion of man’s works], but of God that sheweth mercy” (Rom. 9:16).

The fifth of the Five Solas is the glory of God alone (soli Deo gloria). The glory is not man’s (even in the tiniest part), whether by his supposed free will or his good works, for all that is truly good in the believer’s works is entirely by God’s grace (John 15:5; Eph. 2:10). The glory is not even partially the church’s, especially not the false church of Rome nor any other false or departing church.

Salvation is wholly of the Father, through the Son and by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the glory is alone due to the Triune God: the electing Father, the atoning Son and the calling Spirit. Soli Deo gloria is the message of the Reformation, for “our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased” (Ps. 115:3)!

Philip Schaff, the church historian, sums it up well: “Romanism puts the Church first and Christ next; Protestantism reverses the order. Romanism says, Where the Church is (meaning thereby the papal organization), there is Christ; Protestantism says, Where Christ is, there is the Church. Romanism says, Where the Catholic tradition is, there is the Bible and the infallible rule of faith; Protestantism says, Where the Bible is, there is the true tradition and the infallible rule of faith. Romanism says, Where good works are, there are faith and justification; Protestantism says, Where faith is, there are justification and good works. Romanism throws Mary and the saints between Christ and the believer; Protestantism goes directly to the Saviour. Romanism proceeds from the visible Church (the papacy) to the invisible Church; Protestantism from the invisible Church (the true body of Christ) to the visible … Protestantism is a protest against the tyranny of man on the basis of the authority of God. It proclaims the Bible to be the only infallible rule of Christian faith and practice, and teaches justification by grace alone, as apprehended by a living faith. It holds up Christ as all in all, whose word is all-sufficient to teach, whose grace is all-sufficient to save.”  Rev. Stewart

Isaiah and Britain 2017

What Isaiah said millennia ago applies today!

Isaiah 3

 9The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.

12 As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.

Isaiah 5

23 Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!

24 Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

 

Finding or losing your soul.

Slide1

 Matthew 16:25-26

“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Finding or losing our soul  Click on slide showϖ

To find and keep your soul you must lose it by surrendering it to Christ (who after all paid for it with his blood).

To lose your soul, and that eternally, all you need to do is hold on to it for yourself and neglect or reject the claims of Christ.

Jim Elliot, martyr among the Auca Indians in Ecuador in 1956 stated, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Christ himself, the Apostle Paul and a myriad of saints since, are testimony and examples which prove that life lived for God is the best and indeed only way to live and invest it.

Sermon by Pastor Martyn McGeown of Limerick Reformed Fellowship.

The Jubilee (3)

Jubilee (3)

Sung Psalm 72:1-8 (Messianic Kingdom)

Reading Lev. 25:35-55

A Jew come to poverty could be lent money but at no interest. The medieval church adopted this law and so Christians were not allowed to lend and the Jews took it over.

N.T. believers are to give sensibly to those in need especially brothers (job of church diaconate).

Slavery is not, of itself, morally wrong because we have slaves (servants) here in O.T. Israel. The slavery of blacks in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries which involved kidnapping, torture and ill-treatment was manifestly evil and even today in many lands, east and west, men ,women and children are enslaved by unscrupulous, greedy, uncaring people. In O.T Israel, strangers (foreigners) could be slaves and along with property, inherited with land (v46).These slaves were not released at year of Jubilee.

If a Jew sold himself to a stranger he was to work as a hired servant (vv47-55). If a Jew sold himself to another Jew he was to be released on the seventh year (Ex.21:1-6) but his wife and children did not go free under this older law. Under Jubilee law they were all freed and according to Deut. 15:12-18 they were to be treated liberally with gifts when set free, one reason being their land would lie fallow for another two years! The reason for these laws God says is that all the Jews are God’s servants (v55) i.e. he is to govern their disposal.

Jeremiah 34:8-22 is noteworthy because firstly it shows that the Israelites probably for centuries ignored these laws and here, with impending defeat and captivity they make a “token gesture” to set slaves free but then renege on it and as a result go into captivity for 70 years to allow the land to have the rest it had missed.

Typology-JK (of which more next week)

  • We are God’s willing slaves and freemen (Phil.1:1 bought by the blood of Jesus Christ), cared for by a loving Lord.
  • Our redemption was costly (Ps.49:7-8, 15, I Peter 1:18-19).
  • The worst slavery is slavery to sin which ends in eternal death (Rom.6:20-23, John 8:34).
  • Christ came to bring in this real Jubilee of freeing men (Isaiah 61:1-2, John 8:36).

The Breaker shall come (Micah 2:13)

“The breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the Lord on the head of them.”

 The breaker up is come up before them,…. Not the enemy, either the Assyrian or Chaldean army, but it is best to interpret “the breaker” of Christ himself; so called with respect to his incarnation, being the firstborn that opened the womb, and broke forth into the world in a very extraordinary manner; his birth being of a virgin, who was so both before and after the birth; thus Pharez had his name, which is from the same root, and is of a similar sound with Phorez here, from his breaking forth before his brother, unawares, and contrary to expectation, Genesis 38:29; this agrees with Christ, with respect to his death, when he broke through and vanquished all enemies, sin, Satan, the world, and death; broke through all the troops of hell, and spoiled principalities and powers; and through all difficulties that lay in the way of the salvation of his people; he broke down the middle wall of partition, the ceremonial law which was between Jew and Gentile; and broke off the yoke of sin, Satan, and the law, under which they were, and set them at liberty; and at his resurrection he broke asunder the cords of death, as Samson did his withs as a thread of tow; and at his ascension he broke his way through the regions of the air, and legions of devils there, leading captivity captive, and entered into heaven;  “opening the way” for his people into it; by the ministry of the word, he broke his way into the Gentile world, conquering and to conquer, which was mighty, through God, for the pulling down of strong holds, and reducing multitudes to his obedience; at the conversion of every sinner he breaks open the everlasting doors of their hearts, and enters in; he breaks their rocky hearts in pieces, and then binds up what he has broken; and in the latter day he will break in pieces all his enemies as a potter’s vessel; yea, he will break in pieces and consume all the kingdoms of the earth, which will become like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors: and now he is ascended, or “gone up” to heaven to his Father there, and “before them” his sheep, his people, said to be assembled, gathered and put together; he is ascended as the forerunner of them, to receive gifts for them, and bestow them on them, and to prepare heaven for them, and to make intercession on their behalf; and, as sure as he is gone up, so sure shall they also follow:”

John Gill commentary

This fits well with the verse that describes the means he uses, “Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?” Jeremiah 23:29

War of Words (8)

War of Words


Chapter 8
“Getting to the Destination”
Some believers might cave in to Satan’s suggestion that someone or some group could never change but that would be contrary to Scripture that states God sanctifies his people and church. If the intransigent one is not a believer, truly he or she may get worse! It is always our duty to forgive those who repent, confess and apologise for an offense.
Allowing sinful anger or using demeaning words or names are two sins of the tongue we ought to regret.
The promises of God regarding sins of the tongue and our general need for encouragement are I John 1:9, James 5:16, James 1:5, Psalm 141:3, II Cor.12:9, Romans 6:14, 8:35 and Eph.3:20. He promises forgiveness, cleansing, victory, wisdom and guarding.
A key prayer would be asking for wisdom in words used in the home, in church and on internet.

Key portions of the chapter.

  • The destination (of sanctified speech) is reachable. We ought to thank God for our conscience and feelings of guilt which he brings for different sins and at different times in our lives. (We may remain careless about a besetting sin for a long time!)
    We are assured that we are more than conquerors not only in persecution and hardship but also over sin and death.
  • The fruit of our lips is always worth consideration. It should be: encouraging, loving and wise. It may need to be exhortatory.
  • It should never be bitter, unforgiving, foolish.
  • Only God can reveal to us the heart sin that is the root of sinful words (Luke 6:45, I John 1:9).
  • Confession to God and others (especially those offended) is necessary a.s.a.p. (Eph. 4:26,32).
  • We ought to commit ourselves to not demean, call names and get angry sinfully.
  • When opportunity arises where we would normally sin let us put the old man to death, avail ourselves of God’s grace (by prayer) and put on the new man!
  • Think before you speak (Prov.15:28).
  • Important tools against Satan intruding into relationships are: absolute honesty and a willingness to listen (approach-ability).

Next Study (DV) Saturday October 7th on chapter 9 entitled “Citizens in Need of Help.”

The Lord God is a Sun

Everything in creation teaches us about the creator and glorifies him.


What does the sun do?

Heat-without it being the exact distance (93 million miles) from earth the planet would either be frozen or to hot for life. Heat burns and our God is a consuming fire who consumes sin and will one day destroy this sin-cursed planet and also  all his enemies eternally in hell. The gospel of the love of God comforts (warms) the heart of the believer.

Light-without the full spectrum, especially ultra-violet, there would be no plant and hence no animal life at all. The spectrum of light seen in the rainbow reflects all God’s wonderful attributes. God and Christ are often, if not always, portrayed as being brilliant white as light, in fact unapproachable light (and heat) that would destroy any human coming near! Christ enlightens our minds to see the Kingdom of God and sheds light on our pilgrim path through life. Without divine enlightenment we are in darkness.

Healing-UV light metabolises bilirubin, the waste product of dead red cells that produces jaundice in the newborn, which can damage the brain. It is also used in many skin therapies. Christ heals many of our diseases and sanctifies us spiritually from spiritual sickness till one day his church will be presented without spot or wrinkle.

In that new creation there will be no sun! (Rev.21:23). Why? The Son is the Sun!

Christ is called the sun of righteousness (Malachi 4:2) who arises with healing in his wings.

Two worldviews

Biblical truth versus the World.

The world lies under Satan (I John 5:19) it is the whole system of godless humanism, communism and liberal left wing thinking that is opposed to Christ and the gospel. Increasingly it is making inroads into established churches who apostatize and become synagogues of Satan.

This is the ANTITHESIS.

Link

Reformed/Biblical worldview The world’s worldview
God is sovereign/Calvinism Man is sovereign/Arminianism
God rules providence Deism, the world runs itself
God created all things Evolution is the cause
God created family Dispense with family-live in sin, single parents, divorce, porn, perversions including homosexuality
God made male and female Transgenderism
God says life is sacred, thou shalt not kill Rampant abortion- the murder of unborn children

 

The world’s system is set to takeover ultimately under Antichrist when the Christian church will be a beleaguered remnant UNTIL Christ the true King and Lord returns to bring in everlasting justice and righteousness.

Thanks to Rev. Angus Stewart for basic idea for this.

Recommended book

The Jubile (2)

Sung Psalm 66:1-7

Reading Leviticus 25:23-55

Concerning the LAND (rest), the HOUSES/LAND OWNERSHIP (return) and SLAVES (release).

Points:

  • The land, which in essence is leased, can be redeemed anytime but the price will vary (25:15), depending on how many years remain till the Jubilee. To enable this law to be enacted careful records would have to be kept. Ruth and Naomi returning to Israel whose land was redeemed by Boaz were an example of this being worked out.
  • A house bought in a city could be returned within a year.
  • A house in the country reverts to seller in year of jubilee.
  • Levitical houses could be redeemed at any time and were returned in year of jubilee.
  • Levitical land was theirs in perpetuity.
  • These statutes were unique in Israel, prevented greed and encouraged equality. (Isaiah 5:8-10, Micah 2:1-5, II Cor.8:14-15).

Significance and typology of all this?

  • All God’s people have a heavenly eternal inheritance kept for us (I Peter 1:4).
  • When Christ was born, it was in a certain fixed place (Bethlehem) in Judah in the city of David’s inheritance because both Mary and Jesus’ adoptive father were of the tribe of Judah.

Sovereignty of God

This is why A.W.Pink “blows people away” and is so enlightening to Christian believers.

Thanks to Marco for sharing.

The joy and comfort of the Biblical and Calvinist doctrine of the sovereignty of God.

“The heart’s apprehension of this most blessed truth of the Sovereignty of God produces something far different than a sullen bowing to the inevitable. The philosophy of this perishing world knows nothing better than to ‘make the best of a bad job.’ But with the Christian it should be far otherwise. Not only should the recognition of God’s supremacy beget within us godly fear, implicit obedience, and entire resignation, but it should cause us to say with the Psalmist, ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name.’ Does not the Apostle say, ‘Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Eph. 5:20)? … It [the doctrine of the sovereignty of God] evokes a song of praise. It could not be otherwise. Why should I, who am by nature no different from the careless and godless throngs all around, have been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world and now blest with all spiritual blessings in the heaven lies in Him! Why was I, that once was an alien and a rebel, singled out for such wondrous favors! Ah! that is something I cannot fathom. Such grace, such love, ‘passeth knowledge.’ But if my mind is unable to discern a reason my heart can express its gratitude in praise and adoration. But not only should I be grateful to God for His grace toward me in the past, His present dealings will fill me with thanksgiving. What is the force of that word ‘Rejoice in the Lord alway’ (Phil. 4:4)? Mark it is not ‘Rejoice in the Saviour,’ but we are to ‘Rejoice in the Lord’ as ‘Lord,’ as the Master of every circumstance. Need we remind the reader that when the Apostle penned these words he was himself a prisoner in the hands of the Roman government. A long course of affliction and suffering lay behind him. Perils on land and perils on sea, hunger and thirst, scourging and stoning, had all been experienced. He had been persecuted by those within the church as well as by those without: the very ones who ought to have stood by him had forsaken him. And still he writes, ‘Rejoice in the Lord alway’! What was the secret of his peace and happiness? Ah! had not this same Apostle written ‘And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose’ (Rom. 8:28)? But how did he, and how do we, ‘know’ that all things work together for good? The answer is, Because all things are under the control of and are being regulated by the Supreme Sovereign, and because He has nought but thoughts of love toward His own, then ‘all things’ are so ordered by Him that they are made to minister to our ultimate good. It is for this cause we are to give ‘thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Eph. 5:20). Yes, give thanks for ‘all things’ for, as it has been well said ‘Our disappointments are but His appointments.’ To the one who delights in the Sovereignty of God the clouds not only have a ‘silver lining’ but they are silver all through, the darkness only serving to offset the light.” ~ A.W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God, Chapter 10 and 12.

He is the LIVING SOVEREIGN GOD

Book Alert: “Handle with Care!” – Dr. J. Kennedy

I can get you copies half price plus postage!

The Three R's Blog

Handle-with-care-kennedyA few months ago I was made aware of a new book produced by Dr. Julian Kennedy and today I want to notify you of it and encourage you to make use of it – especially our young people and parents of young people.

The book is Handle with Care! A Biblical and Reformed Guide to Sexuality for Young People(Wipf & Stock, 2017; paper & epub, 114 pp.).

You will find this summary of the book at the publisher’s site:

God’s good gift of sexuality has been corrupted since the fall of man into sin so that man in his depravity is not able to use it for God’s glory and for his own good. Sex between unmarried (fornication), adultery, including divorce and remarriage, and homosexuality are accepted as normal in modern society and young people, even Christian young people, are being influenced by this Satanic lie that “if…

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Called to watch

Available here in UK

 

Called to Watch for Christ’s Return, by Martyn McGeown. Jenison, MI: Reformed Free
Publishing Association, 2016. Pp. 286. [Reviewed by Dr. Julian Kennedy]
Rev. McGeown, missionary pastor of the Limerick Reformed Fellowship in the Republic of Ireland preached through Matthew 24 covering Christ’s teaching on the last things in 2011-2012. The sermons are now compiled in print in this book. It must be said at the outset that a sober, Biblical and Reformed view of this teaching is badly needed still in the church of our day because heresy abounds in the form of universally popular premillennial dispensationalism and postmillennialism and also the many misguided folk putting a fixed date on the second coming. McGeown’s book is divided into treatment of each of the signs in order and then an exposition of the parables that relate to the end times. It is clear, concise and comprehensive and I personally benefited especially on the section on Christ’s parables. My only criticism is of the chapter entitled “The Gospel Preached in all the World”. He states, “We cannot know for sure what constitutes a tribe or nation.” However a word study of scripture does give us a fair idea of what these groupings represent and though we know God will accomplish his purpose, nevertheless the church ought to have some idea of where it stands in the completion of this task and knowing what constitutes a nation, people
or tribe is fundamental in that assessment. He clearly brings out the difference between the predictions relating to AD 70 and those for the end of the world. His description of the great tribulation bears repeating, “God pours out his wrath upon the wicked world, while Antichrist unleashes his fury against the church.” He makes clear the relation between false doctrine and the love of many growing cold and that every attack on the truth is really an attack on Christ who being the truth we must love. His description of what it means to watch bears close study and application. “We watch by standing against the materialism (and all other lawlessness—JK), of our modern society, by praying, by studying the word, and by active, lively membership in a true church” and “Readiness also means living in close communion with Christ.” I had never realized that the wise and foolish virgins are all church members (“The kingdom of God is like…”). The index of scripture will be helpful to those with specific questions relating to specific texts. All in all, a very useful, relatively short (286 pages) sane and sober description of those things which must surely come to pass.

Called to Watch for Christ's Return

Creation

 

Great message!

 

New LRF Blog Post


Our Creator

Posted: 05 Sep 2017 07:50 AM PDT

Our Creator

Creation is a wonderful, awe-inspiring work of God.

Creation is God’s work, by the power of His Word, of calling into existence everything that now exists, as it pleased Him, to the glory of His name. Several times in the creation account we read, “And God said: Let there be …” (Genesis 1:3). What power and wisdom are behind the words, “Let there be”! The Psalms celebrate this work of God: “Let all the earth fear the LORD. Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him, for He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” (Psalm 33:8-9).

God created without preexisting matter. Sometimes scientists boast that they have “created” something in a laboratory. They have not—they have “formed” or “synthesised” something using preexistent chemicals. Without the chemicals, they could do nothing. God created the universe by speaking the word of divine fiat. God created time, space, matter and energy. Before He created, they did not exist. Before He created, only God was. He alone is eternal. Everything else is temporal and depends on Him.

Creation is a carefully designed and ordered work. God formed His creation—first He called matter into existence, and then He arranged that matter in a definite order over a period of six days. The Bible describes how God created the light, the heavens, the dry land and the sea, vegetation and plant life, the heavenly bodies (the sun, the moon and the stars), birds and aquatic life, air-breathing animals on the land, and finally human beings. Every creature occupies a divinely ordered place, and has a divinely determined function and relationship to other creatures. No wonder the inhabitants of heaven cry out, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11)!

The doctrine of creation is never an intellectual curiosity for the Christian. It must lead us to worship. We must stand in awe of our Maker, before whom one day we will stand to be judged. He created us for His glory. Will He receive honour and glory from us, or will we rob Him of what is His due? The doctrine of creation is also a comfort to the Christian: “Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 124:8).

Is this God your help? Or are you in rebellion against your Creator?

Rev. Martyn McGeown.

Hurricane Irma

That the same Lord who calmed the sea of Galilee in front of the distraught disciples is the Lord who controls Hurricane Irma, and indeed all weather, and earthquakes and volcanoes should be obvious to every believer. Jonah 1:4, “But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest…”

All of these “natural” calamities and expressions of his power and judgment are harbingers of the final judgment and the utter destruction of the universe by fire, when he comes to reign. For believers, our salvation draws near, for the reprobate, their destruction looms.

Lord use these means to bring in thy elect people, warn the wicked world and cause the church and the authorities to do all in their power to alleviate the suffering.

War of Words (7)

CPRC Men’s BS

War of Words Chapter 7

Speaking for the King

I found the book “Ye are my witnesses” from 2012 BRF conference to be the best source on this (£5 from CPRC bookshop)

What is witness?

Tripp rightly says our words are to glorify the King and we are his ambassadors and our lives and lips are to testify of Christ our Lord by the Holy Spirit (John 15:25-26).

Why witness?

The command and empowerment (Acts 1:8, II Cor.5:20)

The motivation for us is the love of Christ that draws us away from self (nay it kills self). This substitutionary love is the most compelling argument for change (repentance) and is the only and most powerful means of accomplishing it.

To whom are we witnesses?

Believers and unbelievers, family and acquaintances. Our godly responses and behaviour around them is vital. It may require reproof (Eph.5:11).

What is the aim?

To see people come into the fellowship of the church (Kingdom).

Outcome?

We know witness has the effect of drawing people to Christ, bearing fruit in lives but also hardening others. It may bring persecution and suffering.

Content?

Repentance and faith in the salvation of Christ. Christ’s precepts (10 C). All Reformed truth. Also our personal hope and expectation and meaning in life. Defence of the truth.

What do we need?

Courage and prayerfulness (Acts 2)

Do we take the initiative or wait for opportunities?

If led, we take the initiative, but it’s always encouraging to be asked because then we know we have real interest and God is at work. (I Peter 3:15).

Next study Chapter 8 of “War of Words” on “Getting to the Destination”, Saturday Sept 16th 8pm

 

 

 

Obstacles

 

Yes even Satan is on God’s leash as God’s lapdog and to know my almighty Savior controls even my temptations is a great comfort.

Young Calvinists

A month ago we had a significant windstorm in the Grand Rapids area. Lightning, thunder, heavy rains and an isolated tornado were accompanied by high winds that leveled trees and knocked out power for two days or so.  I commuted to work that Friday morning alright, but when I went use the trails they were blocked with large trees that had fallen during the storm. I was unable to maneuver my bike around them. I tried one direction and couldn’t get through. I went the opposite way and faced the same problem. Finally I biked through Grandville and it ended up taking me longer to get home than I had anticipated.

This little experience is not that much different from our everyday lives. Sometimes God sends us trials and temptations that we find difficult to see our way through and get around. We often wonder why He sends us these…

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The Jubile

The Jubile

Psalm 100 (Rejoice evermore)

Leviticus 25

 

In order in Scripture we read of rest for God and rest for man (the weekly sabbath) and now we come to rest for the land.

Name jubile or jubilee comes from YOBEL (Hebrew for ram’s horn) which was to be sounded all over Israel.

We celebrate jubilees in relation to our monarchy (e.g.Queen’s diamond jubilee 2013), also silver (25) and golden jubilees (50) and also wedding anniversaries.

The word jubilant comes from this root and means rejoicing.

The components of this jubilee, every seventh year and then the 49th and 50th years are:

  • Agriculture (rest for land, people and animals)
  • Land ownership (it reverts to original owner)
  • Release of slaves
  • Solemn worship assembly (Deut.31:10-13)

Did the Jews keep these laws? Generally, no! (II Chron. 36:21).

Principle to bear in mind:

Time, people and land all belong to God (25:23).

Typology: Christ is our rest and so is eternity future (Matthew 11:28, Heb. 4:3, II Thess.1:7).

The Justification of the Ungodly

Key subject in this the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

In summary Romans 4:4-5 teaches that when we speak of man relating to God:

  • Boasting is excluded
  • God is no man’s debtor
  • Man must realize he is ungodly
  • He must repudiate his own works
  • He must believe God justifies
  • The only righteousness acceptable to God is Christ’s

And I have to add that salvation (justification and all that follows from it) is by grace, through faith in Christ.

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azGsqr9sNrs

 

The Armour of God

What is the armour of God by which Christians do battle with the devil, the flesh and the world. Truth the belt, righteousness the breastplate, salvation the helmet, the gospel the shoes, faith the shield, the word as the offensive sword. Christ by his Spirit is ALL these to us. Not by power, nor by might (fleshly), but by my spirit saith the Lord. The Spirit fights against the flesh, he is Spirit of truth, he is the Spirit of faith and imputed righteousness, he is our shield, the Spirit who brings salvation and the Spirit who inspired and uses the gospel of the word to call and conquer. Putting on the armour of God is putting on Christ, recognizing all he has done for us and our privilege being united to him, it is being filled with the Spirit and praying without ceasing. The battle is always the Lord’s by his Spirit and his Spirit is in us!

The Right Knee saga-no more running!

UPDATED!

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

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

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

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

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

Knee

Pic.1

 

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

Pic.3 slight misalignment and it’s correction,

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

Pic.4 artificial spacer

The proposed operation

More

More

and more

and more

and even more

more yet

more

more

more

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

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

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

Cartilage regeneration

 

Patient experience

Total Knee Replacement

 

Sport after TKR

Rowing after Total Knee Replacement?

Re: Knee Replacements

Postby wsmith » August 6th, 2011

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

 

Grace is beauty

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

Grace according to John Owen:

1. Grace of personal presence and comeliness. So we say, “A graceful and comely person,”either from himself or his ornaments. This in Christ (upon the matter) is the subject of near one-half of the book of Song of Solomon; it is also mentioned, Ps. 45:2, “Thou art fairer than the children of men; grace is poured into thy lips.” And unto this first head, in respect of Christ, do I refer also that acceptation of grace which, in respect of us, I fix in the third place. Those inconceivable gifts and fruits of the Spirit which were bestowed on him, and brought forth in him, concur to his personal excellency; as will afterward appear.
2. Grace of free favour and acceptance. “By this grace we are saved;” that is, the free favour and gracious acceptation of God in Christ. In this sense is it used in that frequent expression, “If I have found grace in thy sight;” that is, if I be freely and favourably accepted before thee. So he “giveth grace” (that is, favour) “unto the humble,” James 4:6; Gen. 39:21,Acts 7:10; 1 Sam. 2:26; 2 Kings 25:27, etc.
3. The fruits of the Spirit, sanctifying and renewing our natures, enabling unto good, and preventing from evil, are so termed. Thus the Lord tells Paul, “his grace was sufficient for him;” that is, the assistance against temptation which he afforded him, Col. 3:16; 2 Cor. 8:6, 7; Heb. 12:28. He calls these latter two purchased grace.

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

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

The Covenant with Adam

The Westminster Confession, bulwark of  Reformed and Presbyterian churches states in chapter 7, “The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works, wherein life was promised to Adam, and in him to his posterity, upon condition of perfect and personal obedience.”

Herman Hoeksema, theological father of the Protestant Reformed Churches states in his Reformed Dogmatics, ” Adam had life but not eternal life.  Nowhere do we find any proof in Scripture for the contention that God gave Adam the promise of eternal life if he should obey the particular commandment (not to eat of the forbidden tree). A command is no covenant.”

But was it not just continued blessed earthly life that would have been Adam’s had he not fallen?  He was earthy (I Cor.15:47). Only since, have Christians interpreted it as ETERNAL LIFE. There was no way he could attain immortal heavenly life. Hence Goodwin, one of the Westminster delegates, and others deny the possibility of eternal (spiritual) life for Adam if he obeys, and how long would he have to obey before the reward? Scripture is silent on this hypothesis.

But Adam had friendship with God which is the essence of every divine and unconditional covenant. When he sinned he incurred separation from God which is death and would physically die in time to come. He transgressed the covenant (Hosea 8:1).

A condition, posited by followers of WCF, implies ability and any covenant of works like they posit this is, as was also the Sinaitic covenant taken on it’s own (no grace behind it) is doomed to fail because man cannot keep God’s law whether it’s “Don’t eat from that tree” or “Keep my (10) commandments and live.” In the first case because he was fallible and in the second because he is a slave to sin. Man can never merit with God as Paul points out in Romans 4:4.

Yes Adam was federal head and stands in federal headship to all humanity just as Christ does to saved humanity but I deny he failed in a covenant of works that Christ then obeyed perfectly. He transgressed a covenant of grace which would be superseded by another gracious one in which God would rekindle the friendship and put his law and Spirit in Adam’s heart that would last eternally because of Christ. THEN he possessed eternal life.