DO GOOD TO THOSE WHO HATE YOU.

So states Christ in Luke 6:27.

Helen Berhane who was imprisoned and tortured for her faith in Eritrea shares this exhortation.

The love of God shed abroad in our hearts enables us to do what is otherwise humanly impossible-to love our enemies.

” Every good gift that comes to us comes as a gift from our amazing Father in heaven. Sharing in the sufferings of Christ always brings us deeper into fellowship with Jesus-and for this gift we must be thankful.”

“Here is a great mystery: when we respond to hatred with the love of God , it sets us free!”

Can you guess what we are freed from? Free from slavery to fear, revenge and hatred.

” It enables us to be free even when in prison.”

“God so loved the world that he sent his son into the world to die for those who would hate him, harm him and ultimately put him to death.” AMAZING!

” There may be some who chose to hate me and harm me because I am a Christian-but God’s love complels me to do them good.”

AMAZING POWER OF GRACE!

Brothers and sisters reading this. May this be our experience too as it is soon coming our way!

Irreducible Complexity

Irreducible Complexity

Some details surrounding human conception that MUST happen and thus were programmed by God and CANNOT have ever gone through an evolutionary process.

For the conception of a baby these details are necessary:

  • Sperm moved along by Fallopian Tube muscles NOT their tails (flagellae).
  • Without capacitation the sperm can’t fertilize egg.
  • Cilia (hairs on the walls of cells of tubes) move the egg by waves (like wind on a wheatfield).
  • Sperm releases acrosomal contents to dissolve the sticky coating around the egg and another enzyme dissolves the outer egg coat.
  • After fertilisation granules inside the membrane thicken it to stop the rest of the sperms.
  • Human chorionic gonadotrophin from the syncitiotrophoblast (one massive jelly-like cell around the egg) penetrates the uterus to start formation of placenta.
  • After birth when the raw womb lining bleeds where placenta was attached sphincters close the ends of the uterine arteries and oxytocin from suckling breast  stop mother bleeding to death.

Egg being moved by cilia.

This video from Answers in Genesis is brilliant and gives a full account of the processes.

DVD

The Land (10). Cities of Refuge

We sung Psalm 27:1-5 (note where David ran for refuge)

This morning we covered Joshua 20 which outlines the six cities of refuge, three to west of River Jordan (Kadesh, Shechem and Hebron) and three to the east namely Golan, Ramoth Gilead and Bezer (KASH and GRAB mnemonic!). The laws of Exodus 21:12-14, Numbers 35,  Deut. 4:41-43 (first three cities) and Deut. 19:1-13 (examples of manslaughter and the just cause of capital punishment) are re-iterated. Note the conjunction of Levitical cities and cities of refuge in the Numbers chapter. The need for them was to differentiate the two major causes of homicide whether deliberate murder or accidental manslaughter. The first mandated the death penalty but the second did not.

The need for these places was an ingrained fallen “tribal” idea of revenge prevalent then and still today in many Islamic or backward nations in which a near relative would seek to kill the person who had killed their relative. The second three cities are named in Joshua 20:7-9 and note the foreign sojourner is included fairly in the legislation. The one fleeing had to stay in the city of refuge till the case was heard or the high priest died (v4) which could be years!

Related instances are seen in the cases of Adonijah and Joab (I Kings 1:50-53 and I Kings 2:29) who both fled to the horns of the altar in the tabernacle, the first allowed to live and the second put to death as he had murdered two men namely Abner and Amasa (I Kings 2:31-33) and II Samuel 3:27 and 14. In the middle ages churches were often used as sanctuary by those being pursued.

Today these laws are abrogated because there is no high priest, the church is universal and the Old Testament ceremonial and societal ordinances are nailed to the cross of Christ.

King David very often speaks of God and his dwelling place as his refuge or the refuge of others in need see II Sam.22:3, Ps.14:6, 46:1, 57:1, 59:16, 62:7-8, 71:7,91:2, 94:22, 142:5. Often this was literal as God providentially shielded him from his earthly enemies like Saul, but also true of him and us, as we seek help against our spiritual enemies namely the hostile world, our own flesh and Satan.

Contrast our hiding in God and the wicked reprobate who cannot stand in God’s presence (Ps.5:5).

The cities of refuge point to the great refuge of all God’s people namely Christ (Heb. 6:18) to whom we flee, having been guilty of murder (hatred) and many more sins besides, for refuge from the wrath of God where we hide in the cleft of the rock who is Jesus Christ.

Membership of a True Church

Is your church one that ordains women, or even homosexuals? Is it contemplating “gay marriage”? If so it is departing from the truth and probably already apostate. You need to leave!

This hard-hitting booklet expounds the truth outlined in the great Reformed Confessions namely Heidelberg Catechism, Belgic Confession and Westminster Confession that ordinarily there is no salvation (either in it’s beginning or process) outside a true visible instituted church.

“The visible church, which is also universal, is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.” WCF article 25.

THE most important institution you as a believer must be part of …is a true instituted church!

Read booklet here.

http://www.cprf.co.uk/pamphlets/membershipintruechurch.pdf

Communion with God (34)

“God has actually manifested the glory of all his attributes in a way of doing us good. What will it avail our souls, what comfort will it bring unto us, what endearment will it put upon our hearts unto God, to know that he is infinitely righteous, just, and holy, unchangeably true and faithful, if we know not how he may preserve the glory of his justice and faithfulness in his threatenings, but only end in ruin and destruction?  (What is needed is that) which brings salvation, when we shall see that God has glorified all his properties in a way of doing us good. Now, this he has done in Jesus Christ. In him has he made his justice glorious, in making all our iniquities to meet upon him, causing him to bear them all, as the scapegoat in the wilderness; not sparing him, but giving him up to death for us all; — so exalting his justice and indignation against sin in a way of freeing us from the condemnation of it, Rom. 3:25, 8:33, 34. In him has he made his truth glorious, and his faithfulness, in the exact accomplishment of all his absolute threatening and promises. That fountain-threat and combination whence all others flow, Gen. 2:17, “In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt die the death;” seconded with a curse, Deut. 27:26, “Cursed is every one that continueth not,” etc. [Gal. 3:10] — is in him accomplished, fulfilled, and the truth of God in them laid in a way to our good. He, by the grace of God, tasted death for us, Heb.2:9; and so delivered us who were subject to death, verse 15; and he has fulfilled the curse, by being made a curse for us, Gal. 3:13. So that in his very threatening his truth is made glorious in
a way to our good. And for his mercy, goodness, and the riches of his grace, how eminently
are they made glorious in Christ, and advanced for our good! God has set him forth to declare his righteousness for the forgiveness of sin; he has made way in him for ever to exalt the glory of his pardoning mercy towards sinners. To manifest this is the great design of the gospel, as Paul admirably sets it out, Eph. 1:5–8. There must our souls come to an acquaintance with them, or for ever live in darkness.”

Adapted from:

Imprecatory Psalms

“Imprecatory” means  Psalms that invoke judgment, calamity, or curses, upon one’s enemies or those who are the enemies of God. There are many of them but Psalm 69 is a classic example. It is vital to remember that these are the words of Christ, ” the zeal of thine house has eaten me up,” quoted in John 2:17 are about him. Christ, alone knows those who are his, and conversely those who are reprobate, like Judas who is clearly addressed in verses 25-28. The idea that God’s providential good to wicked men is a sign of his love is totally ruled out by verse 22 and following. Scripture teaches reprobation. God has assigned  and destined that the majority of men who fell in Adam and throughout their lives showed their hatred of him, would not be written with the righteous (v 28) but have their place with Satan and his demons in the lake of fire. God’s good providence toward them makes them more guilty for their ingratitude. Judas, Pharaoh and Esau are prime examples as Paul teaches in Romans. It is an unpalatable doctrine to many, but we must acknowledge that the potter has power over  the clay.

“How do people who defend a love of God for all interpret Psalm 5:5-6, Psalm 6:8 (cf. Matt. 7:23; 25:41), Psalm 139:19-22 and countless other Psalms in which the Psalmist prays that God may destroy the impenitent wicked (cf. Prov. 3:33)? I know that some claim that the so-called imprecatory Psalms are not inspired but this is a ruinous lie about God’s Word (II Tim. 3:16). This argument borders on the ridiculous.” Prof. Herman Hanko 

War of Words (Chapter 4)

CPRC Men’s Bible Study

War of Words

Chapter 4

Idol Words

Readings Luke 6:43-46 and James 4:8-12

Our words tell others, among other things, what is on our mind, what we want, what we want to know.

The kinds of words we should not utter are listed in the James passage*.

Often when we are not walking in the Spirit our words display idolatry, the worship of self, in the form of demands, the desire for respect, desire for applause, desire to indulge in some way, materialism, the want of someone of the opposite sex etc. The focus is on something created not God the creator. Our heart (mind) is controlled by something other than God. This is why James calls these believers “adulterous” because they are pursuing (spiritually and perhaps physically) an idol rather than God. We often quarrel when we cannot get what we want. Human conflict is rooted in spiritual adultery.

Even though all we say is decreed by God, nevertheless we are stewards of our words, are responsible for them, and they will form a large part of our judgment on the last day.

It is the hardest thing in the Christian life to distinguish our motives for our actions and words and this is proven by the truth of Jeremiah 17:9 and why David prays Psalm 139:23-24. It is our duty to renounce all idols and purify our thoughts and motives (see Psalm 51:10 and James 4:8). Also notice that God knows EXACTLY what our motives are (Romans 2:16).

This is very practical because when we love God (first table of the law) we will also love our fellow men (Matthew 23:37-40).

Words spoken that please God come from a heart that loves God above all else and consist, among other things- prayer, praise, edifying and encouraging conversation and showing genuine interest in others etc.

Certain words are always sinful.

 

  • All flattery (Prov.26:28)-seeking to endear self.
  • Lies, bearing false witness and shifting blame-often to protect self.
  • Much anger and impatience-self-love.
  • Gossip-seeking to tarnish others’ reputation.
  • Malice and hatred.
  • Boasting-glorifying self.

 

We have Biblical examples of these in the order above in the false prophets in Kings, Ananias and Sapphira, Absalom and Moses, the false witnesses against Stephen and Christ, Saul and Simon the sorcerer.

 

Next study (DV) July 15th 8pm on chapter 5, “He is King”.

Communion with God (33)

His all-sufficiency is the last attribute to name.


God’s all-sufficiency in himself is his absolute and universal perfection, whereby he lacks nothing, nothing can be added to his fullness, he never decreases. There is also in him an all-sufficiency for others; which is his power to impart and communicate his goodness and himself so to them as to satisfy and fill them, in their utmost capacity, with whatever is good and desirable to them. God abundantly communicated and manifested this in the creation, in that he made all things good, all things perfect; that is, to whom nothing was wanting in their own kind; — he put a stamp of his own goodness upon them all. But now for his people he is an all-sufficient God, to be enjoyed by us, to give all that is in him for the satiating and making them blessed, — that is alone discovered by and in Christ. In him he is a Father, a God in covenant, wherein he has promised to lay out himself for them; in him has he promised to give himself into their everlasting fruition, as their exceeding great reward.

Hence when we know Christ, he is like a spring of waters causing us to never die of thirst, but to be satisfied, though we continue to thirst for him till we are glorified (John 4:14, 7:37-38).

Temperance

TEMPERANCE—The third property that we should supply in our supernatural faith is “temperance” (egkrateian, accusative of egkrateia, which means self-control or self-restraint). Paul preached the faith in Christ before Felix and “reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come…” (Acts 24:25). Temperance is one of the fruits of the Spirit proclaimed by Paul (Gal. 5:23). This word, as well as the other excellencies to be supplied in our faith, was used twice by Peter (II Pet. 1:6). Self-control is the mastery of desires and passions. It prevents excesses of any kind in the life of a Christian. Self-control includes more than abstinence from alcohol. A person may be a glutton and be just as guilty of the absence of self-control. Sorrow and laughter are all right, but a person does not want to spend all his time in either. Therefore, we will gird our mirth and restrain our sorrow. The apostle Paul refused to be mastered by bodily appetites. He disciplined his body into subjection that he might not become disqualified (1 Cor. 9:27).
The Christian is both the governor and the governed. The new nature within us enables us to control the old Adamic nature. From God’s word, we learn we have the new nature which is capable of controlling our old nature within. Hence, we learn that by the help of the grace God has given us that we are governors and we are governed. Without Christ we are nothing, but with Him and His grace we are governors. This is what Paul meant when he said he would keep his body under subjection (I Cor. 9:27). He taught this same truth in Romans 7. There is a warfare between the outward man and the inward man. But we can thank God that we have victory through Jesus Christ (Rom. 7:25).
Knowledge, the preceding property, defends itself by the excellence of self-control. True knowledge leads to self-restraint from every inordinate desire. 

Thanks Barry Watson.

Communion with God (32)

Other attributes of God manifest supremely in Christ.

Wisdom

Creation, providence and God’s governing the world exhibit his wisdom. “How manifold are his works in wisdom has he made them all; the earth is full of his riches,” Ps. 104:24. So in his providence, his supporting and guidance of all things; for all these things “come
forth from the LORD of hosts, who is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working,” Isa. 28:29. His law also is for ever to be admired, for the excellency of the wisdom therein, Deut. 4: 7, 8. But yet there is that which Paul is astonished at, and wherein God will for ever be exalted, which he calls, “The depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God,” Rom. 11:33; — that is only hid in and revealed by Christ. Hence, as he is said to be “the wisdom of God,” and Christ to be “made unto us wisdom;” and a “mystery; even the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world was; which none of the princes of this world knew,” In Eph. 3:10, it is called, “The manifold wisdom of God;” and to discover this wisdom angels only learn it by observing the building of God’s church.

The recovery of Eden, nay the surpassing glory of the new creation, that was lodged in Christ’s bosom from eternity, to recover things to such an estate as shall be exceedingly to the advantage of his glory, infinitely above what at first appeared, and for the putting of sinners into inconceivably a better condition than they were in before the entrance of sin.
“This is a great mystery,” Eph. 5:32, says the apostle; great wisdom lies herein.

Attitude to Persecution

Hear Cyprian:

Cyprian of Carthage (200-258AD), while suffering banishment, writes a letter to three of his church members (Nemesian, Felix, and Lucius), who were sent to work in the mines as punishment for their faith. Cyprian, who by all accounts, should be the recipient of letters of encouragement, writes one himself to his fellow suffering Christians. He writes, “That you have been grievously beaten with clubs, and have been initiated by that punishment in your Christian confession, is a thing not to be lamented. The body of a Christian trembles not on account of clubs: all his hope is in the wood (i.e., the cross of Christ). The servant of Christ acknowledges the emblem of his salvation: redeemed by wood to eternal life, by this wood he is advanced to his crown. O happy feet, shackled indeed at present with fetters, ye will quickly finish a glorious journey to Christ! Let malice and cruelty bind you as they please, ye will soon pass from earth and its sorrows to the kingdom of heaven. In the mines ye have not a bed on which the body may be refreshed; nevertheless, Christ is your rest and consolation: your limbs are fatigued with labour, and have only the ground to lie on; but so to lie down, when you have Christ with you, is no punishment. Filth and dirt defile your limbs, and ye have no baths at hand; but remember, ye are inwardly washed from all uncleanness: your allowance of bread is but scanty; be it so, ‘man doth not live by bread alone, but by the word of God: ye have no proper clothes to defend you from the cold; but he who has put on Christ, is clothed abundantly. How will all these deformities be compensated with honour proportioned to the disgrace! What a blessed exchange will be made of this transient punishment for an exceeding and eternal glory!… And though your travail be great, yet is the reward greater, which is most certain to follow: for God, beholding and looking down upon them that confess his name, in their willing mind approveth them, in their striving helpeth them, in their victory crowneth them; rewarding that in us which he hath performed, and crowning that which he hath perfected in us.”

Thanks to Andy Underhile.

Psalm 37 and athletic competition.

Some further thoughts about sport and athletic competition from Psalm 37.

(Top) Wayde VanNeikerk (a believer) World record holder 400m (43.03)

(Below) Usain Bolt (not a believer) World record holder 100m (9.59) and 200m (19.19)

We are frail human beings and in our best state we are altogether vanity (Psalm 37:5), “Surely every man walketh in a vain show:” If what we do is for our own glory it is absolutely vain! In fact it is displeasing to God for anyone to take glory to themselves for any achievement. All who compete for their own glory, or money or fame are foolish and vain. We ought to glory alone in God (Jer. 9:23-24). Our beauty or strength consumes away like a moth (v11). We have nothing left to show for our short lives! Much of what we do is vain (The whole book of Ecclesiastes has much to say about this). That you beat someone else of the same age (or younger or older!) in some sport is ultimately down to the ability God gives you, one wins, one comes second, one is an “also ran.” So it boils down to God’s enabling, although your own training also contributes, but even that you do by God’s providential help. So are you “better” than someone else or is it that God gives you more ability on the day, and you have avoided injury etc.? I think it’s the latter! That said, if God has given you a measure of health and strength and you enjoy sport, do it heartily as unto him, for his glory, as being a good steward of all his gifts. All done in consecration to him and obedience to his word will be rewarded.

concept2_record_1_julian kennedy

Communion with God (31)

Owen goes on to speak of the patience, forbearance and longsuffering of God. There is no question he exercises his patience in providence and does not requite sinners as their deeds deserve. Notwithstanding all the providential good he does to wicked men are to make them all the more guilty. So the patience and forbearance out of Christ  actually contribute to men’s destruction.  Rom. 9:22, “What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction?” It was but to leave them inexcusable, that his power and wrath against sin might be manifested in their destruction. And therefore he calls it “a suffering of them to walk in their own ways,” Acts 14:16; which elsewhere he holds out as a most dreadful judgement.

However in Christ these qualities, particularly the last, are revealed clearly and pre-eminently in the salvation of his people. He only suffers long with his people (II Peter 3:9). He waits to be gracious to them (Isaiah 30:18) and his forbearance is salvation (Rom.3:25).

Adapted from John Owen

 

The Land (9)

Click to enlarge

Sung Psalm 37:3-9 (note multiple references in the psalm to our inheritance)

Reading Joshua 14

To recap Joshua 14-19 are about the division of the land among the 9 ½ tribes west of the Jordan. It is noteworthy that the division starts with an individual (Caleb) and ends in another (Joshua).

In Gilgal the allotment is made to Judah, Ephraim and half Manasseh. Gilgal was the place the campaign started and where the people were circumcised. Gilgal means rolled and the offence of uncircumcision was rolled away (as the skins were). The rest of the allotment took place in Shiloh. How long was the campaign? It was seven years and can be worked out from events in Caleb’s life. It took two years to get to Kadesh where the spies were sent out when he was 40 and then they were all condemned to wander 38 further years in the wilderness. So campaign started when he was 78 and finished when he was 85 with strength unabated (like Moses too Deut.34:7). God keeps his promises and men must remain fit for their tasks. His was a reward of grace. He was given the cities of Anak (Num.13:28 which were renamed Hebron (14:12, 15:13-14) c.f. I Samuel 30:14. In 19:49-50 we come to the conclusion of the division with Joshua’s allotment of Timnathserah in Ephraim. The common factors with these two men were they were the two good, fearless and faithful spies who wholly followed the Lord. In similar fashion there will be degrees of reward for Christians in our heavenly inheritance.

 

Communion with God (30)

God’s mercy and forgiveness is wholly wrapped up in the Lord Christ, and that out of him there is not the least conjecture to be made of it, nor the least morsel to be tasted. Had not God set forth the Lord Christ, all the angels in heaven and men on earth could not have apprehended that there had been any such thing in the nature of God as this grace of pardoning mercy. The apostle asserts the full manifestation as well as the exercise of this mercy to be in Christ only, Tit. 3:4, 5, “After that the kindness and love of God our Saviour towards man appeared,” namely, in the sending of Christ, and the declaration of him in the gospel. Then was this pardoning mercy and salvation not by works discovered.

His vindictive justice. God has, indeed, many ways manifested his indignation and anger against sin; so that men cannot but know that it is “the judgement of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death,” Rom. 1:32. He has in the law threatened to kindle a fire in his anger that shall burn to the very heart of hell. And even in many providential dispensations, “his wrath is revealed from heaven against all the ungodliness of men,” Rom. 1:18. So that men must say that he is a God of judgement. Consider:

  • The angels for sin were cast from heaven, shut up under chains of everlasting darkness unto the judgement of the great day
  • Sodom and Gomorrah were condemned with an overthrow, and burned into ashes, that they might be “examples unto those that should after live ungodly,” 2 Pet. 2: 6
  • God’s wrath could not be diverted from sinners without the interposing of a propitiation. God would admit of no atonement but in his (Christ’s) blood.

John Owen

 

Communion with God (29)

Owen states that God can only be truly known through Christ and to this Scripture agrees: 1 John 5:20, “The Son of God is come and has given us an understanding, that we may know him (God) that is true.” Christ in the revelation he makes of God and his will, is the great prophet of the church. God is known by creation in his eternal power and Godhead, but the life of this (full) knowledge of God lies in an acquaintance with his (that is Christ’s) person, wherein the express image and beams of this glory of his Father do shine forth, Heb. 1:3.

Other properties of God which, though also otherwise discovered, yet are so clearly, eminently, and savingly only in Jesus Christ; as

  •  His vindictive justice in punishing sin.
  •  His patience, forbearance, and long-suffering towards (elect) sinners
  •  His wisdom, in managing all things for his own glory
  •  His all-sufficiency, in himself and unto others. TBC

 

Communion with God (28)

Only in Christ can men know:

Love and pardoning mercy:—

[1.] Love; I mean love unto sinners. Without this, man is of all creatures most miserable; and there is not the least glimpse of it that can possibly be discovered but in Christ. The Holy Ghost says, 1 John 4:8, 16, “God is love;” that is, not only of a loving and tender nature, but one that will exercise himself in a dispensation of his love, eternal love, towards us, — one that has purposes of love for us (his sheep or elect) from of old, and will fulfil them all towards us in due season. But how is this demonstrated? how may we attain an acquaintance with it? He tells us, verse 9, “In this was manifested the love of God, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” This is the only discovery that God has made of any such property in his nature, or of any thought of exercising it towards sinners, — in that he has sent Jesus Christ into the world, that we might live by him.

[2.] Pardoning mercy, or grace. Without this, even his love would be fruitless. What discovery may be made of this by a sinful man, may be seen in the father of us all; who, when he had sinned, had no reserve for mercy, but hid himself, Gen. 3:8. He did it when the wind did but a little blow at the presence of God; and he did it foolishly, thinking to “hide himself among trees!” Pardoning mercy, that comes by Christ alone; that pardoning mercy which is manifested in the gospel, and wherein God will be glorified to all eternity, Eph. 1. Pardoning mercy is God’s free, gracious acceptance of a sinner upon satisfaction made to his justice in the blood of Jesus; It is forgiveness, tempered with exact justice and severity. Rom. 3:25, God is said “to set forth Christ to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness in the remission of sins;” his righteousness is also manifested in the business of forgiveness of sins: and therefore it is everywhere said to be wholly in Christ, Eph. 1:7. So that this gospel grace and pardoning mercy is alone purchased by him, and revealed in him. And this was the main end of all typical institutions (e.g. blood sacrifices), — to manifest that remission and forgiveness is wholly wrapped up in the Lord Christ. Had not God set forth the Lord Christ, all the angels in heaven and men on earth could not have apprehended that there had been any such thing in the nature of God as this grace of pardoning mercy. The apostle asserts the full manifestation as well as the exercise of this mercy to be in Christ only, Tit. 3:4, 5, “After that the kindness and love of God our Saviour towards man appeared,” namely, in the sending of Christ, and the declaration of him in the gospel. How this is to be had the Holy Ghost tells us, 1 John v. 20, “The Son of God is come and has given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true.” By him alone we have our understanding to know him that is true. Now, these properties of God Christ revealeth in his doctrine, in the revelation he makes of God and his will, as the great prophet of the church, John 17: 6.

John Newton

A Place

Young Calvinists

Of kings and of beggars,
Of black and of white,
Of sinners all different,
Tied together in Christ.
Of gathering in the Word,
Of devotion and song,
Of prayer and reflection
And knowing our wrong.
Of experiencing salvation,
Of giving great thanks
Of desiring to serve
In God’s holy ranks.
Of seeing new parents
Bring their child to the fount.
Of eating and drinking
Of blessings none can count.
Of meeting to study,
A rendezvous for rest.
Of feeling at peace
With the ones we love best.
Of laughter and cheer,
Of witnessing two wed,
Of tears of pure joy
As lifelong vows are read.
Of sorrow and heartache,
Of mourning one gone,
Of tears that remember
The promises we wait on.
Of communion of saints,
Of joy found in Christ.
Of living and learning
Of His life sacrificed.
Of happy hands lifted high
In thanksgiving and praise,
Of humble…

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Communion with God (27)

Further revelation (after creation).

Wherefore the Lord goes farther; and by the works of his providence, in preserving and ruling the world which he made, discovers and reveals these properties also. For whereas by cursing the earth, and filling all the elements oftentimes with signs of his anger and indignation, he has, as the apostle tells us, Rom. 1:18, “revealed from heaven his wrath against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men;” yet not proceeding immediately to destroy all things, he has manifested his patience and forbearance to all. This Paul, Acts 14:16, 17, tells us: “He suffered all nations to walk in their own ways; yet he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling their hearts with food and gladness.” A large account of his goodness and wisdom herein the psalmist gives us, Ps. 104 throughout. By these ways he bare witness to his own goodness and patience; and so it is said, “He endures with much long-suffering,” etc., Rom. 9: 22. But now, here all the world is at a stand; by all this they have but an obscure glimpse of God, and see not so much as his back parts. Moses saw not that, until he was put into the rock; and that rock was Christ. There are some of the most eminent and glorious properties of God (I mean, in the manifestation whereof he will be most glorious; otherwise his properties are not to be compared) that there is not the least glimpse to be attained of out of the Lord Christ, but only by and in him; and some that comparatively we have no light of but in him; and of all the rest no true light but by him.

Communion with God (26)

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.

God, by the work of the creation, by the creation itself, did reveal himself in many of his properties unto his creatures capable of his knowledge; — his power, his goodness, his wisdom, his all-sufficiency, are thereby known. This the apostle asserts, Rom. 1:19–21 displays his eternal power and Godhead; and verse 21, a knowing of God: and all this by the creation. But yet there are some properties of God which all the works of creation cannot in any measure reveal or make known; — as his patience, long-suffering, and forbearance. (Or I would add his holiness, love, justice etc.-JK)

From John Owen.

Communion with God (25)

Another reason Christ is dear to us:

True wisdom, consists of the knowledge of God and this is hid in Christ alone, similarly no true knowledge of ourselves but in Christ, consisting the knowledge of sin and also of righteousness and of judgement. True wisdom is practised by walking with God  in Christ.

In I Cor. 1:24, the Holy Ghost tells us that “Christ is the power of God, and the wisdom of God:” not the essential Wisdom of God, as he is the eternal Son of the Father (upon which account he is called “Wisdom” in the Proverbs, chap. 8:22, 23); but as he is crucified, so he is the wisdom of God; that is, all that wisdom which God layeth forth for the discovery and manifestation of himself, and for the saving of sinners, which makes foolish all the wisdom of the world, — that is all in Christ crucified; held out in him, by him, and to be obtained only from him. And thereby in him do we see the glory of God, 2 Cor. iii. 18. For he is not only said to be “the wisdom of God,” but also to be “made unto us wisdom,” 1 Cor. 1:30. He is made this by ordination and appointment: Col. 2:3, “In him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

Communion with God (24)

Christ is altogether lovely.

Lovely in 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 save our 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.”

From John Owen’s treatise:

communion

Communion with God (23)

Remember we said that in our likening the covenant between Christ and his people to a marriage the love between the two consisted:

  • Mutual resignation of one to the other
  • Mutual delight in the other.

So on our part we freely, willingly consent to receive, embrace, and submit unto the Lord Jesus, as our husband, Lord, and Saviour, — to abide with him, subject their souls unto him, and to be ruled by him for ever. This we do initially upon conversion but also subsequently all our days.  The delight in Christ, for his excellency, grace, and suitableness, far above all other beloveds whatever, preferring him in the judgement and mind above them all. In the place above mentioned, Song of Solomon 5:9, the spouse being earnestly pressed, by professors at large, to give in her thoughts concerning the excellency of her Beloved in comparison of other endearments, answereth expressly, that he is “the chiefest of ten thousand, yea,” verse 16, “altogether lovely,” infinitely beyond comparison with the choicest created good or endearment imaginable. The soul takes a view of all that is in this world, “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,” and sees it all to be vanity, — that “the world passeth away, and the lust thereof,” 1 John 2: 16, 17. These beloveds are no way to be compared unto him. It views also legal righteousness, blamelessness before men, uprightness of conversation, duties upon conviction, and concludes of all as Paul does, Phil. 3:8, “Doubtless, I count all these things loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.”

Adapted from John Owen’s “Communion with the Triune God.”

 Owen

 

The Land (8)

Sung Psalm 80:1-6 (note refs to Ephraim and Manasseh).

Reading Joshua 17:1-18

Observations about half tribe of Manasseh (west of the Jordan)

There was some fluidity about the apportioning of towns to these tribes-Ephraim was given towns in Manasseh and Manasseh towns in Asher and Issachar.

Ephraim and Manasseh complain about room and are told to deforest some areas and defeat and drive out the Canaanites.

The sons of Manasseh were six including Hepher but he through Zelophehad only had five daughters (v3-4). So ten portions were given-five to the other five sons and five to the daughters of Zelophehad as God instructed Moses (Num.26:33, 27:1-11,36:2-4). God ruled they should inherit as the other sons but they were told to marry within their tribe to keep the integrity of each tribe’s inheritance which they duly did (Num.36:6,10-12).

Compare with Galatians 3:28 and I Peter 3:7 where we see equality in salvation between nations and sexes and equal inheritance in glory. After all we all inherit the Lord as our portion!

 

Communion with God (22)

The marriage between Christ and his church consists:

  • They give themselves to one another
  • They love one another

Christ commits to tenderly love and care

We commit to lovingly obey

Portrayed in Hosea

Hos. 3:3, “Thou shalt abide for me,” saith he unto her, “thou shalt not be for another, and I will be for thee.” — “Poor harlot,” saith the Lord Christ, “I have bought thee unto myself with the price of mine own blood; and now, this is that which we will consent unto, — I WILL BE FOR THEE, AND THOU SHALT BE FOR ME, and not for another.

Christ gives himself to the soul, with all his excellencies, righteousness, preciousness, graces, and eminencies, to be its Saviour, head, and husband, for ever to dwell with it in this holy relation. He looks upon the souls of his saints, likes them well, counts them fair and beautiful, because he has made them so. Song of Solomon 1:15, “Behold, thou art fair, my companion; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves’ eyes.” Let others think what they please, Christ redoubles it, that the souls of his saints are very beautiful, even perfect, through his comeliness, which he puts upon them. Song of Solomon 2:14, “O my dove,” saith he, “that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely;”

Our response is, ‘My Beloved is mine;’ in all that he is, he is mine.” Because he is righteousness, he is “The LORD our Righteousness,” Jer. 23:6. Because he is the wisdom of God, and the power of God, he is “made unto us wisdom,” etc., 1 Cor. 1:30.  So, our Christ, our Beloved, as to all the ends and purposes of love, mercy, grace, and glory; whereunto in his mediation is designed to be in this marriage covenant never to be broken.  Christ comes in the promises of the gospel to us in all his desirableness; convinces us of his good-will towards us, and his all-sufficiency for a supply of our wants; and upon our consent to acceptof him, — which is all he requires or expects at their hands, — he engageth himself in a marriage covenant to be theirs for ever.

 

Adapted from John Owen.

The Sinfulness of Sin

 

Dear Brethren,

Commenting on the great evil of sin, Samuel Bolton (1606-1654) said, “How great an enemy was this that God must send out His Son to conquer it? He can arm flies, lice, frogs, the meanest of creatures, to overthrow the greatest power and force on the earth; but no less than His Son was strong enough to conquer sin.” I wonder how many of us grasp the weight of that statement and ardently believe it? How bad, how evil, how degenerate, how ruinous, how offensive, how utterly grotesque, filthy, and loathsome is your sin? Is the least of your sins worthy of an eternity in hell?
Be honest with your own soul and with God: when was the last time you wept, grieved, groaned over your sin? Not because its nastiness, ugliness, or perversity shamed you; not because its humiliation and disgrace made you feel dirty; not because its consequences filled you with panic and fear; not because your guilt-ridden conscience kept you awake, gave you no rest, and would not stay silent—sin can certainly produce such experiences in our soul. But have you sorrowed for your sin because you, a creature made in the image of God, have chosen the evil of evils against a holy and good God?
How do you answer these questions? Are your eyes dry? Your lips silent? Your heart quiet, undisturbed? Has your view of grace become an anaesthetic that numbs your spiritual sensitivities, so that you shrug off sin rather than despising and mortifying it? Has grace become your license to live like the world or, at least, to take sin lightly? Do you really know what you are doing when you sin? I believe it safe to say that apart from those suffering forever in the flames of the unquenchable fires of hell, we rarely perceive the depths nor biblically respond to the sinfulness of sin.
With that in mind, we offer you this new issue of the Free Grace Broadcaster—The Sinfulness of Sin. This issue does not unfold the doctrine of sin: that awaits a future issue. The purpose of this collection of articles is to press our hearts to honestly consider before heaven the dreadfulness of sin and the only hope for its pardon—Jesus Christ.

Therefore, Arthur W. Pink begins with a brief, biblical definition of sin, followed by William S. Plumer’s excellent exposition of sin as an infinite evil. Pink offers us a second article, explaining that there is nothing so vile as sin, as he describes its nature. Puritan Thomas Watson teaches us from vivid biblical descriptions that sin is a heinous thing, worthy of God’s just curse; while another Puritan, Ralph Venning, labors to show us that the heart of the sinfulness of sin is its relentless opposition to God; in fact, Venning says that if it could, sin would “ungod God.” A third Puritan, Samuel Bolton compares natural evils—natural disasters such as plagues, hurricanes, and earthquakes—with moral evil—sin—to teach us that sin is the greatest evil known to man! Watson then takes on the vital issue of degrees of sin, for many in his day and ours are deluded into thinking that God does not view one sin as greater than another. Furthermore, many of us have weak views of sin, so Edward Payson helps us to see that our sins are infinite, innumerable, and monstrous; thankfully, he points us to Jesus Christ and His redemptive work on the cross as the only remedy for the plague of our hearts. Again, pointing us to Christ, J. C. Ryle explains with great clarity our need for repentance from sin and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Charles Spurgeon displays the unknown depths of human sin and convincingly reveals that we really do not know what we are doing when we sin against God. The last word is from Octavius Winslow, who shows us that the one place where we may see our sins in all their depraved wickedness is the cross of Jesus Christ: from that extraordinary light, we will see our sins as they really are.

Pastors, do God’s blood-bought children under your care understand the sinfulness of sin? If not, how will they love Christ, how will they love holiness if they have low views of sin? Parents, do your children understand that God hates nothing in this universe but sin? That one sin is so infinitely evil that it will damn a sinner to an infinite hell? Dear people of God, do you really grasp the horror of sin by meditating on the Christ of God, hanging on Calvary’s cross? Oh, read this issue prayerfully and carefully; and, then, love Jesus Christ more intensely than ever before. Understanding the sinfulness of sin will drive you to a more profound love of the crucified and resurrected Savior.

In the love of Christ Jesus,

Jeff Pollard~Free Grace Broadcaster

Eight Facts Regarding Biblical Healings

An important short treatise that should correct the claims of Charismatics and Pentecostals.

The healing of the lame man at the Beautiful Gate in Acts 3.

Eight Facts Regarding Biblical Healings

Rev. Angus Stewart

 

Here are 5 simple facts regarding miraculous healing as it occurred in the Bible, in contrast to typical healing meetings today:

  1. All the people who came to be cured by Christ or the prophets or the apostles were always healed (Matt. 4:23-24; 8:16; 9:35; 12:15; 14:36; 15:30-31; 21:14; Mark 6:56; Luke 4:40; 6:17-19; 9:11; Acts 5:16; 28:8-10). In Scripture, no one ever left unhealed for there was a 100% success rate. This is very different from healing meetings today.
  2. All the people who were cured in the Bible were undeniably healed, having both ailments and cures that were verifiable (I Kings 13:6; II Kings 5:14; Isa. 35:5-6; Matt. 8:4, 14-15; 9:6-8, 29-31, 33; 11:4-5; 19:2; Mark 3:5-6; Luke 7:22; 13:10-17; 14:1-6; 17:14; John 2:23; 3:2; 4:45; 5:5-16; 6:2; 7:31; 9:1-34; 11:39-48; 12:1, 9-11, 17-19, 37; Acts 2:22; 3:7-12; 4:14-16; 5:12-16; 6:8; 8:6-8, 13; 9:33-35, 36-42; 14:3-4). That is, they had something obviously wrong with them (e.g., paralysis, withered hand, leprosy, fever) and then they were clearly healed (e.g., the lame walked, the blind saw). There are no scriptural healings of unverifiable ailments with unverifiable cures (e.g., headache or back pain). In this, too, biblical healing is very different from healing meetings today.
  3. All the people who were cured in the Bible were completely healed (I Kings 13:6; Matt. 12:13, 22-23; 14:36; 15:28; Mark 1:30-31; 3:5; 5:26, 34; 6:56; 8:25; Luke 7:10; 8:35, 48; 11:14; 13:11-13; 17:14; 22:51; John 5:8-9; 7:23; 9:6-7; Acts 3:2, 7-9, 16; 4:9-10; 9:33-34; 14:8-10). No one was ever partially healed in Scripture, needing later rehabilitation or medical care. In this, too, biblical healing is very different from healing meetings today.
  4. All the people who were cured in the Bible were immediately healed when they were with Christ or the apostles or the prophets (Matt. 8:3; 15:28; 20:34; Mark 1:31, 42; 2:11-12; 5:29, 42; 7:35; 10:52; Luke 13:13; Acts 3:7; 9:17-18, 34; 16:18; 22:13) or when God’s extraordinary office-bearers spoke the Word regarding those needing healing who were not present bodily (Matt. 8:6, 13; 15:28; John 4:50-53) or when they performed the prescribed action (II Kings 5:10-14; Luke 17:14; John 9:7). In Scripture, no one was ever miraculously healed over a period of days or weeks or months. In this, too, biblical healing differs markedly from healing meetings today.
  5. The people who were cured in the Bible were healed of various and serious afflictions, with some even being raised from the dead (I Kings 17:17-24; II Kings 4:32-37; Matt. 4:23-24; 9:35; 10:1, 8; 11:5; 15:30-31; Mark 1:32-34; 16:17-18; Luke 4:40; 7:11-17, 22; Acts 5:15-16; 8:7; 20:9-12). There is no record of anyone in Scripture being cured of relatively minor ailments (e.g., the cold) or of miraculous healers only being able to cure people with certain types of illnesses but not others. In this, too, biblical healing differs from healing meetings today.

A close consideration of the many recorded healings in the Bible will also reveal that they happened “without” the following 3 things, in contrast to typical healing meetings today:

  1. All the people who were cured in the Bible were healed without relapses a few minutes or hours or days or weeks or months later. No one was ever merely temporarily healed in Scripture. In this, too, biblical healing is very different from healing meetings today.
  2. All the people who were cured in the Bible were healed without anything designed to whip up the crowd or play on their emotions. In no instance of healing in Scripture is it performed in connection with fanfare, singing, music, dancing, drama or anything akin to the techniques of hypnosis or auto-suggestion. In this, too, biblical healing is radically different from healing meetings today.
  3. All the people who were cured in the Bible were healed without any sort of remuneration for the healer. In fact, in Scripture it is sinful to give or receive money or goods for miraculous healing (I Kings 13:7-8; II Kings 5:15-16, 20-27; cf. Acts 8:18f.). What about this factor in healing meetings today?

In short, in God’s Word, those who sought to be cured by Jehovah’s true messengers were always, undeniably, completely and immediately healed of various and serious afflictions, without relapse or remuneration or anything designed to play on people’s emotions. How many of these 8 biblical characteristics are evident at the healing meetings of the various healers of whom you are aware? 0/8, 1/8, 2/8, 3/8, 4/8, 5/8, 6/8, 7/8 or 8/8? Biblical healings have all 8 of these traits, unlike modern claims of miraculous healing today. Remember, anything short of all 8 traits indicates that these things are not of God!

The real tragedy of terrorism

Tragic as terrorism is, it makes little difference whether we die of old age or are murdered in our prime. What matters is eternity where you will be forever. You will either be in heaven with God and his people and his angels or you will be in hell with suicide bombers and with all who hate God.

The greatest tragedy of the recent terrorist attacks is not murder, terrible as that is, but that so few are ready for what happens after death. Simply put, those who are not washed in the blood of Christ (from their sin) and clothed with his righteousness will be going to hell whether they are suicide bombers or the victims of such murders.

Adapted from editorial in English Churchman 9/16th June 2017

Communion with God (21)

So marriage is most often the way God describes his relation to his people-JK

“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, Ps. 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 to verse 32; concluding the whole with an application unto Christ and the church. It is now to be inquired, in the next place, how it is that we hold communion with the person of Christ in respect of conjugal relations and affections, and wherein this does consist. Now, herein there are some things that are common unto Christ and the saints, and some things that are peculiar to each of them, as the nature of this relation does require. The whole may be reduced unto these two heads:— [1.] A mutual resignation of themselves one to the other; [2.] Mutual, consequential, conjugal affections. ” In other words Christ and his people give themselves to each other and love each other!-JK

John Owen

Communion with God (20)

 

 

Christ was pained as a woman in travail, until he had accomplished the redemption of his bride, 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, Ps. 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.

Do you often think of how you are married to Christ and he is your loving husband?-JK

John Owen

DAVID’S LEGACY

  

In today’s reading * I Chronicles 28 and 29 describe David’s great legacy as he prepares all that’s needed for his son Solomon to build the temple.

We have the PROPHECY and PROMISE (28:6,9) of God.

PRACTICAL INSTRUCTION (28:12)

PROVISION (28:14ff)

PROMOTION (28:20)

PEOPLE (28:21)

PREPARATION (29:2)

PERSONAL GIFTS (29:3)

PRAISE AND PRAYER (29:10ff)

PROSPERITY (29:23)

PEACE (29:25) and of course Solomon means peace!

A wonderful couple of chapters.

Typology of Christ building his church through all of time.

Here’s the reading plan*.

 

Click to enlarge

 

This is beautiful! (Communion with God 19)

What does the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ mean to us his people?

Owen states rightly it’s about a marriage! “He is married to us, and we to him; we fellowship with him as to his personal excellencies. 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.” Isa. 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 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, S of S 3:11, “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.” 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, Isa. 28: 5; so Zion also is a diadem and a crown unto him, Isa. 52:3. 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 of her redemption.”

John Owen

Amazing knowledge of Scripture this man had!

Marriage the mystery

 

“Christ belongs to His church. He was chosen from eternity to be the Head of His church. At no time is Christ viewed by God apart from His church. He was sent as her Redeemer and Lord. Neither is the church at any time without her husband. She is His. She is His body, of His flesh and blood. There is an intimate bond of union between Christ and His bride. It is this bond that is reflected in the marriage of a man and his wife. In fact, this becomes one of the motivating factors that causes a godly man to seek out his wife in all things. Just as the church is so very dependent on Christ, so also the wife, when tied together with her husband, is so very dependent on him. They joy in each other. They dwell with each other. They are friends with each other.” Rev. Wilbur Bruinsma on Reformed Witness Hour (3863)

Link to messages

Ignorance of Christ

Self glory or status, pleasure, money, religious zeal and works righteousness…all these are paltry, vain, and rightly hell-deserving goals of men and women who consider not their duty to God revealed in the Bible and the salvation of Jesus Christ-JK

Hear John Owen

“What Paul says of them that crucified (Christ), may be spoken of all that reject him, or refuse communion with him: “Had they known him, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory;” — Did men know him, were they acquainted in any measure with him, they would not so reject the Lord of glory. Himself calls them “simple ones,” “fools,” and “scorners,” that despise his gracious invitation, Prov. 1:22. There are none who despise Christ, but only they that know him not; whose eyes the god of this world has blinded, that they should not behold his glory. The souls of men do naturally seek something to rest and repose themselves upon, —something to satiate and delight themselves withal, with which they [may] hold communion; and there are two ways whereby men proceed in the pursuit of what they so aim at. Some set before them some certain end, — perhaps pleasure, profit, or, in religion itself, acceptance with God; others seek after some end, but without any certainty, pleasing themselves now with one path, now with another, with various thoughts and ways, like them, Isa. 57:10 — because something (comes into their life, that they pursue though weary). In what condition soever you may be (either in greediness pursuing some certain end, be it secular or religious; or wandering away in your own imaginations, wearying yourselves in the largeness of your ways), compare a little what you aim at, or what you do, with what you have already heard of Jesus Christ: if any thing you design be like to him, if any thing you desire be equal to him, let him be rejected as one that has neither form nor comeliness in him; but if, indeed, all your ways be but vanity and vexation of spirit, in comparison of him, why do you spend your “money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not?”

Communion with God (18)

 

The personal excellency and grace of the Lord Christ are seen in three facets:

  • His fitness to save, from the fact he is divine and human in one person.
  • His fullness to save, from the fact he is one with the Father.
  • His excellency to endear, from his complete suitability to meet all the wants of the souls of men.

There is no spiritual want in man  but Christ will supply that need. Is he dead? Christ is life. Is he weak? Christ is the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Has he the sense of guilt upon him? Christ is complete righteousness, — “The Lord our Righteousness.” Many poor creatures are sensible of their wants, but know not where their remedy lies. Indeed, whether it be life or light, power or joy, all is wrapped up in him.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 fulness 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;

John Owen

 

 

The Land (7)

Sung Psalm 60:6-12 (note this is a Davidic Psalm and delineates the Israelite empire at its height and mentions the exploits of Joab in subduing the Jebusites and the Edomites)

Reading Joshua 15:1-12 (but references from chapters 15-19)

Note Paul’s witness to the division of the land in Acts 13:19!

The borders of Judah’s allotment is the largest description of any of the tribes (63 verses). It is noteworthy in the precision of the boundaries, useful in any future dispute. The land is described by geographical features as they had no maps—hills, rivers, valleys, seas and towns. The list of towns (Bethlehem notably absent as it was then unimportant) give us a long list of places important in Biblical history (from Genesis to Revelation). Here is a sample with their significance:

15:9    Kireath-Jearim where Uzzah died steadying the ark.

16:2    Archi home of Hushai the Archite, one of David’s advisors

15:51   Gilo-home of Ahithophel the Gilonite the advisor to David and Absalom who hung himself

18:21  Gibeon-home of the Gibeonites who deceived Joshua

Ramah-Samuel’s burying place

Beeroth-home to the men who killed Ishbosheth

15:31  Ziklag-which was given to David and his men by King Achish the Philistine

19:26  Carmel-the mount where Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal cf. the other Carmel in Judah where Abigail and Nabal lived.

19:27  Cabul-meaning worthless which was a town given by Solomon but despised by Hiram

19:41  Zorah and Eshtaol-home of Manoah (Samson’s father)

and MANY more e.g. Adullam, Gibeah, Jezreel, Hebron and Rabbah.

Regions are delineated within Judah’s inheritance viz.

15:21-32 the Negev

33-47 Coastal region

48-60 the hill country of Judah (home of Zachariah/Elizabeth)

61-62 wilderness of Judah by Dead Sea where Christ was tempted.

Interesting slide (click to enlarge)

Can you guess which tribe each picture represents?

Communion with God (18)

Christ’s fullness to save.

Because of his divinity and the Spirit being given him without measure for the work of our salvation: “He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him,” Heb. 7:25; having all fullness unto this end communicated unto him: “for it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell,” Col. 1:19; and he received not “the Spirit by measure,” John 3:34. And from this fullness he makes out a suitable supply unto all that are his; “grace for grace,” John 1:16. Had it been given to him by measure, we had exhausted it.

He surely is an unfathomable and eternal source of the (spiritual) water of life that never runs out (John 8)—JK

And as with real water, his water continues to satisfy our thirst for God.

 

Baptism of Infants of Believers Biblical

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There is absolutely no question that the initiatory rite or sacrament of the Christian faith namely baptism is rightly administered to all the infant children of one or two believing parents. Colossians chapter two links the Old Testament and New Testament rites inextricably in verses 11 and 12. Paul states that the reality of spiritual circumcision and spiritual baptism are exactly the same and are the work of Christ. They consist the dethroning of the sinful flesh in mortification and resurrection to new life in Christ. Circumcision of the body and water baptism in themselves mean nothing but what they signify is everything. Deuteronomy 30:6 is one of many Old Testament verses indicating that heart circumcision is the necessary reality that salvation brings. Abraham, our faithful father was circumcised after his justification by faith and his children and servants were circumcised too whether believing or not, at the same time. That circumcision was the sign of Old Testament salvation Paul makes clear in Romans 4:11. So why do Baptists deny the New Testament equivalent sign to their children? They are “hung up” on individual believers’ baptism and baptism by immersion (unnecessary) and are not convinced that God from the beginning till the end of time is a God of the everlasting covenant of grace that he makes with believers AND their elect seed! (Gen.17:7, Acts 2:39). Both believing adults and all the infants of a believer ought to be given the sign in obedience to the Lord who changes not. Besides we know from the example of John the Baptist that children can be regenerated in the womb and many infants believe in Christ as he said himself (Mark 9:42) otherwise how could the mouths of babes and sucklings praise him? Furthermore often in the Old Testament God promised salvation to the children of believers see Isaiah 44:3 and 59:21. Adult circumcision and baptism do require confession of faith but infant circumcision and now baptism emphasise grace preceding faith and the promise of the covenant to be a God to believers and their elect seed. It is a COMMAND!

Though Foaming Waters Roar

I used to love white water kayaking, where you used the water to your advantage in manoeuvring and you had to learn to roll back up if you went over!

Young Calvinists

I recently had the opportunity to go white-water rafting on a river in West Virginia. While riding through the roaring rapids of the river, I could not help but be struck by the power of the water. Sitting at the front of my raft, I met the huge, rolling waves head-on as they towered and crashed over me. All around me, foamy water swirled as the powerful current rushed dangerously. This experience brought to mind many Scripture passages about the power of the water and seas and prompted me to ponder the awesome power of the One of Whom it is said that, “the sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land” (Psalm 95:5). God “rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, [He] stillest them” (Psalm 89:9).

Psalm 107:23-31 describes the experience of those “that go down to the sea…

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The only source of blessing.

People seek to bless others and the word “bless” is used indiscriminately!

Who can bless others but God alone! Blessing rests in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:3).

When Peter addressed the Jewish crowd he stated, “Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.” (Acts 3:23)

The kindreds (peoples) of the earth are blessed in coming of the seed of Abraham namely Christ….and how are they blessed? “ Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.” (Acts 3:24). The basic way human beings are blessed are when by God’s grace they repent and believe the gospel. ONLY believers are blessed and only believers can be a blessing to others. God’s people are blessed for ever (Ps.21:6, Matthew 25:34), the reprobate wicked (who never repent) are cursed ( Prov.3:33, Matt.25:41). Do you want the blessing of God? Repent and believe. Seek a true church.

 

 

War of Words (Chapter 3)

The Word became Flesh

We read many verses in Ephesians 4-6 relating to speech.

  1. What has the Word becoming flesh to do with our use of words (in speaking and writing)?

Three answers:

  • He sets the standard, which is perfection, since all his words were truth, pure and God-glorifying (Psalm 119).
  • He gives us the ability, by his indwelling Spirit to speak like him (II Peter 1:3). Power to minister.
  • When we fail we have an advocate and forgiveness.

 

Tripp speaks of aspects of our ability that we need to tap into:

  • Hope in a guaranteed positive result.
  • Riches of supply in Christ who alone can tame our tongues.
  • Power to speak like Christ (Eph.3:20).

 

  • Recognition that God rules in every circumstance (especially when tempted to sin).

What practical steps can we take to seek to speak godly words?

  • Admit our inability and pray on every occasion (Like Nehemiah).
  • Keep alert and recognise God’s rule in the situation e.g. when tempted to retaliate (remember Shimei). Don’t give in to a pattern of sinful talk (e.g. arguing)
  • Recognise that you cannot do what God alone can.
  • Be willing to admit sin to God and others.
  • Listen to rebuke.
  • Believe God does use you to bless others so take the initiative with strangers, brethren and sisters etc.

Worth noting that about 20% of the verses in Proverbs concern speech-have a look and mark them all.

 

Next Study (DV) Saturday June 24th 8pm to look at Chapter 4 “Idol Words”

Communion with God (17)

 

The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Christ’s fitness to save — he is a fit Saviour, suited to the work because he unites of the natures of God and man in one person and thus able to be a Saviour to the uttermost. He lays his hand upon God, by partaking of his nature, Col.2:9; and he lays his hand upon us, by being partaker of our nature, Heb. 2:14, 16: and so becomes an umpire (THE ONLY MEDIATOR) between both (I Tim.2:5). By this means he fills up all the distance that was made by sin between God and us; and we who were far off are made nigh in him. Upon this account it was that he had room enough in his breast to receive, and power enough in his spirit to bear, all the wrath that was prepared for us. Sin was infinite only in respect of the object (against the infinite God); and punishment was infinite in respect of the subject (Christ). This ariseth from his union. Union is the conjunction of the two natures of God and man in one person, John 1:14, Isa. 9:6, Rom. 1:3, 9: 5. The ONLY SAVIOUR of men (Acts 4:12).

Adapted from John Owen’s “Communion with the Triune God”.

Was Darwin right?

 Evolutionary tree.

Excerpt from letter by Terry Mortensen (Answers in Genesis):

“So the fossil record falsifies the theory of evolution. But it confirms the teaching of Genesis 1—that God created different kinds of plants and animals and mankind with the ability to produce enormous variety within each kind, but not the ability to change one kind of creature into a different kind (e.g., a fish into an amphibian, a reptile into a bird or mammal, a dog into a horse or cat, or an ape into a man). In fact, in the article above, Gould says that there are two characteristics of the fossil record: abrupt appearance and stasis. That is, the first time a creature appears in the lowest rock layer it is fully formed and fully recognizable. As we come up through the rock layers we see variation within each kind of creature but they remain the same kind of creature (i.e., they may have longer or shorter legs than predecessors, or longer or shorter snouts, etc., but no new and different body parts). But “abrupt appearance and stasis” is just another way of saying “creation after their kind,” as Genesis 1 teaches.

Darwin was really only destroying a straw-man when he showed that species change, because Bible-believers in his day and creation scientists today had/have good scientific evidence that a created “kind” in Genesis 1 is not the same as the modern  “species” but rather is equivalent to “genus” or more often “family.” So, creationists don’t believe in the “fixity of the species”. While he showed that species change, he did not show that (much less how) all plants and animals and man are descended from a common ancestor. And no evolutionist since him has presented credible evidence (that can stand up to careful scrutiny by well-informed critics) to show that it happened, as Gish and Werner’s work above demonstrates.”

Full letter

Communion with God (16)

The personal excellency and grace of the Lord Christ are seen in three facets:

  • His fitness to save, from the fact he is divine and human in one person.
  • His fullness to save, from the fact he is one with the Father.
  • His excellency to endear, from his complete suitability to meet all the wants of the souls of men.

John Owen

What prayer is

What Prayer Is

Click to enlarge.
 
Prayer is to the Christian what breathing is to a healthy person. Without prayer a Christian dies.  Breathing is spontaneous; in many ways so is prayer. 
Prayer is like a river that returns to its source, for prayer has its power in the Spirit of Christ working life in the heart of God’s child; that life returns again in prayer to God who gave it. It is the expression of the thirst for God that makes a stag panting after the water brooks an apt simile (Ps. 42:1).
Prayer is lovers’ talk, for it is a holy conversation between the living and eternal God and the redeemed child of God in which both speak to each other in the most intimate relationship of love. 
Prayer is a child coming to his Father, knowing that his Father loves him and will provide for him in every need. We must begin our prayers, the Lord says, with “Our Father who art in heaven.”
In prayer the believer enters consciously into God’s presence. There is an earthly element in prayer, for in heaven we will not pray any longer, at least not in the sense in which we usually speak of it. We shall see Christ face-to-face (1 Cor. 13:12) and be consciously in Christ’s presence every moment. But here on earth we are preoccupied with many things, and God is often far from our thoughts. Prayer is the pause in our often busy and hectic lives that brings us face-to-face with God through Jesus Christ. Prayer is also heavenly, for it takes us out of this world and carries us soaring on the wings of prayer into God’s own dwelling place.
Usually we think of prayer as those moments when we fold our hands and close our eyes and it is usually necessary for us to do this, because we are easily distracted and our minds are easily turned away from being in God’s presence. But folding our hands and closing our eyes are not essential to prayer, nor do these actions guarantee prayer. A mother, while all but overwhelmed with the cares and duties of tending to the needs of her family, may offer a silent prayer to God as she has her hands immersed in dishwater. A child, taunted by cruel classmates, may seek grace from God to (not)retaliate against his tormentors. A father, forced to listen to foul language in the shop, may, while operating his press, seek strength to witness properly to those who take the name of his God in vain.
To remember that prayer is consciously to be in the presence of God in order to carry on a holy conversation with Him will help us to understand how Scripture can admonish us to pray continuously. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Paul literally says, “Pray without ceasing.” There are no qualifications, no limitations, no explanations that would ease the force of the command, but only this: “Pray without ceasing.” The same admonition is repeated in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” (6:18). In Colossians 4:2 the members of the church at Colosse are urged to “continue in prayer,” and to the church at Rome Paul writes that they should continue “instant in prayer” (12:12). This is the high calling to which we are called, the goal of sanctification in our lives. To walk every moment in the consciousness of being in the presence of God is that for which we strive here in the world, but which shall be ours only in glory.
Herman Hanko 
When You Pray, pp. 1-2 

Communion with God (34)

Just because God has revealed himself does not mean that the revelation will do anyone any good!-JK.

“Do we not see innumerable persons perishing everlastingly, notwithstanding the manifestation of himself which God has made in Christ?”

” No man knoweth the Father save the Son and he to whomsoever the Son will (desires to) reveal him” Matthew 11:27.

All the attributes of God manifest in Christ are only revealed to the elect by Christ himself. That revelation IS salvation.

“I am,” saith he, “God Almighty” (all-sufficient); — “I am wholly able to perform all my undertakings, and to be thy exceeding great reward. I am God all-sufficient.” Now, you know in whom this covenant and all the promises thereof are ratified, and in whose blood it is confirmed, — to wit, in the Lord Christ alone; in him only is God an all-sufficient God to any, and an exceeding great reward. And hence Christ himself is said to “save to the uttermost them that come to God by him,” Heb. 7. And these three things, I say, are required to be known, that we may have a saving acquaintance; and all these being hid only in Christ, from him alone it is to be obtained. This, then, is the first part of our first demonstration, that all true and sound wisdom and knowledge is laid up in the Lord Christ, and from him alone to be obtained; because our wisdom, consisting, in a main part of it, in the knowledge of God, his nature, and his properties, this lies wholly hid in Christ, nor can possibly be obtained but by him.”

And even Abraham had God revealed to him in Christ (by type and shadow-JK) Abraham, said Christ, saw my day and was glad.
John Owen

Expectations

Making created things our god!

Young Calvinists

God has blessed his people with many gifts, earthly and spiritually. So many gifts, that we have come to take many of them for granted.

And we expect them.

Nice homes, well paying jobs in a good location, a large circle of friends, the man/woman of our dreams, children, a perfect family. These are all things that we view as the normal things in life. Normal things that “everyone has.” But the thing is, we don’t all have them. And when we don’t have them, we become upset… even angry! “I need these!” we say. “When will you give them to me?”

We expect them from the Lord and we spend our lives waiting. Waiting for the financial break through, waiting for the group of friends to accept you, or waiting for the man to walk into your life and sweep you off your feet. We think about it throughout…

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