Temptation (23)

Owen continues to discuss public versus private temptation: what he says concerning public or worldwide and church-affecting temptation is very relevant today-JK

Consider that temptations are either public or private; and let us a little view the
efficacy and power of them apart:—

1.There are public temptations; such as that mentioned, Rev. 3:10, that was to come
upon the world, “to try them that dwell upon the earth;” or a combination of persecution and seduction for the trial of a careless generation of professors. Now, concerning such a temptation, consider that, it hath an efficacy in respect of God, who sends it to revenge the neglect and contempt of the gospel on the one hand, and treachery of false professors on the other. Hence it will certainly accomplish what it receives commission from him to do. When Satan offered his service to go forth and seduce Ahab that he might fall, God says to him, “Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so,” 1 Kings 22:22. He is permitted as to his wickedness, and commissioned as to the event and punishment intended. When the Christian world was to be given up to folly and false worship for their neglect of the truth, and their naked, barren, fruitless, Christ-dishonouring profession, it is said of the temptation that fell upon then, that “God sent them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie,” 2 Thess. 2:11. That that comes so from God in a judiciary manner, hath a power with it and shall prevail. That selfish spiritually-slothful, careless , and worldly frame of spirit, which in these days hath infected almost the body of professors, if it have a commission from God to kill hypocrites, to wound negligent saints, to break their bones, and make them scandalous, that they may be ashamed, shall it not have a power and efficacy so to do? What work hath the spirit of error made amongst us! Is it not from hence, that as some men delighted not to retain God in their hearts, so he hath “given them up to a reprobate mind,” Rom. 1:28. A man would think it strange, yea, it is matter of amazement, to see persons of a sober spirit, pretending to great things in the ways of God, overcome, captivated, ensnared, destroyed by weak means, sottish opinions, foolish imaginations, such as a man would think it impossible that they should ever lay hold on sensible or rational men, much less on professors of the gospel. But that which God will have to be strong, let us not think weak. No strength but the strength of God can stand in the way of the weakest things of the world that are commissioned from God for any end or purpose whatever.

2.There is in such temptations the secret insinuation of examples in those that are
accounted godly and are professors: Matt. 24:12, “Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold,” etc. The abounding of iniquity in some will insensibly cast water on the zeal and love of others, that by little and little it shall wax cold. Some begin to grow negligent, careless, worldly, wanton. They break the ice towards the pleasing of the flesh. At first their love also waxes cold; and the brunt being over, they also conform to them, and are cast into the same mould with them. “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Paul repeats this saying twice, 1 Cor. 5:6, and Gal. 5:9. He would have us take notice of it; and it is of the danger of the infection of the whole body, from the ill examples of some, whereof he speaks. We know how insensibly leaven proceedeth to give savour to the whole; so it is termed a “root of bitterness” that “springeth up and defileth many,” Heb. 12:15. If one little piece of leaven, if one bitter root, may endanger the whole, how much more when there are many roots of that nature, and much leaven is scattered abroad! It is easy following a multitude to do evil, and saying “A conspiracy” to them to whom the people say “A conspiracy.” Would any one have thought it possible that such and such professors, in our days, should have fallen into ways of self, of flesh, of the world? to play at cards, dice, revel, dance? to neglect family, closet duties? to be proud, haughty, ambitious, worldly, covetous, oppressive? or that they should be turned away after foolish, vain, ridiculous opinions, deserting the gospel of Christ? In which two lies the great temptation that is come on us, the inhabitants of this world, to try us. But doth not every man see that this is come to pass? And may we not see how it is come to pass? Some loose, empty professors, who had never more than a form of godliness, when they had served their turn of that, began the way to them; then others began a little to comply, and to please the flesh in so doing. This, by little and little, hath reached even the top boughs and branches of our profession, until almost all flesh hath corrupted its way. And he that departeth from these iniquities makes his name a prey, if not his person.

3. Worldliness-JK. Public temptations are usually accompanied with strong reasons and pretences, that are too hard for men, or at least insensibly prevail upon them to an undervaluation of the evil whereunto the temptation leads, to give strength to that complicated temptation which in these days hath even cast down the people of God from their excellency,—hath cut their locks, and made them become like other men. How full is the world of specious pretences and pleadings! As there is the liberty and freedom of Christians, delivered from a bondage frame, this is a door that, in my own observation, I have seen sundry going out at, into sensuality and apostasy; beginning at a light conversation, proceeding to a neglect of the Sabbath, public and private duties, ending in dissoluteness and profaneness. And then there is leaving of public things to Providence, being contented with what is;—things good in themselves, but disputed into wretched, carnal compliances, and the utter ruin of all zeal for God, the interest of Christ or his people in the world. These and the like considerations, joined with the ease and plenty, the greatness and promotion of professors, have so brought things about, that whereas we have by Providence shifted places with the men of the world, we have by sin shifted spirits with them also.

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Temptation (22)

Owen now moves to consider the power of temptation, from the effects and fruits of it in the saints of old, and partly from such other effects in general as we find ascribed to it;

It will darken the mind, that a man shall not be able to make a right judgement of
things, so as he did before he entered into it. As in the men of the world, the god of this
world blinds their minds that they should not see the glory of Christ in the gospel, 2 Cor.
4:4 “whoredom, and wine, and new wine, take away their hearts,” Hos. 4:11; so it is
in the nature of every temptation, more or less, to take away the heart, or to darken the understanding of the person tempted.
How?-JK

1. By fixing the imagination and the thoughts upon the object , so that the mind shall be diverted from all considerations of the things that would relieve and succour it in the state wherein it is. A man is tempted to apprehend that he is forsaken of God, that he is an object of his hatred, that he hath no interest in Christ. By the craft of Satan the mind shall be so fixed to the consideration of this state and condition, with the distress of it, that he shall not be able to manage any of the reliefs suggested and tendered to him against it; but, following the fullness of his own thoughts, shall walk on in darkness and have no light. I say, a temptation will so possess and fill the mind (like some depression-JK) so that all other defences evaporate and when others, knowing their state are speaking to them the things that concern their deliverance and peace, their minds will be so possessed with the matter of their temptation as not at all to understand, scarce to hear one word, that is spoken to them.

2. Temptation will give oil and fuel to our lusts,—incite, provoke, and make them rage beyond measure e.g. carnal fear in Peter, pride in Hezekiah, covetousness in Achan,
uncleanness in David, worldliness in Demas, and ambition in Diotrephes. A man knows not the pride, fury, madness of a corruption, until it meet with a suitable temptation. And what now will a poor soul think to do?

John Owen-adapted.

Temptation (21)

 

But don’t men want to preserve peace with God? Is not peace of conscience a deterrent to entering temptation?

Owen says no!  “The peace of such a one may be false peace or security, made up of presumption and false hopes; yea, though he be a believer, it may be so. Such was David’s peace after his sin, before Nathan came to him; such was Laodicea’s peace when ready to perish; and Sardis her peace when dying. (Also Jonah in the bowels of the ship fleeing from God-JK). What should secure a soul that it is otherwise, seeing, it is supposed, that it doth not universally labour to keep the word of Christ’s patience, and to be watchful in all things? Think you that the peace of many in these days will be found to be true peace at last? Nothing less. They go alive down to hell, and death will have dominion over them in the morning. Now, if a man’s peace be such, do you think that can preserve him which cannot preserve itself? It will give way at the first vigorous assault of a temptation in its height and hour. Like a broken reed, it will run into the hand of him that leaneth on it.

But suppose the peace cared for, and proposed to safeguard the soul, be true and good, yet when all is laid up in this one bottom, when the hour of temptation comes, so many reliefs will be tendered against this consideration as will make it useless. “This evil is small; it is questionable; it falls not openly and downright upon conscience. I do but fear consequences; it may be I may be keep my peace notwithstanding. Others of the people of God have fallen, and yet kept or recovered their peace. If it be lost for a season, it may be obtained again. I will not solicit its station any more; or though peace be lost, safety may remain.” And a thousand such pleas there are, which are all planted as batteries against this fort, so that it cannot long hold out.

Owen says that keeping peace with God in one particular may open him up to many other temptations that will prevail-JK The fixing on this particular only is to make good one passage or entrance, whilst the enemy assaults us round about. It is true, a little armour would serve to defend a man if he might choose there his enemy should strike him; but we are commanded to take the “whole armour of God” if we intend to resist and stand, Eph. 6. This we speak of is but one piece; and when our eye is only to that, temptation may enter and prevail twenty other ways. For instance, a man may be tempted to worldliness, unjust gain, revenge, vain-glory, or the like. If he fortify himself alone with this consideration, he will not do this thing, and wound his conscience and lose his peace; fixing his eye on this particular, and counting himself safe whilst he is not overcome on that hand, it may be neglect of private communion with God, sensuality, and the like, do creep in, and he is not one jot in a better condition than if he had fallen under the power of that part of the temptation which was most visibly pressing on him. Experience gives to see that this doth and will fail also. There is no saint of God but puts a valuation on the peace he hath; yet how many of them fail in the day of temptation!

Finally what about the vileness of sinning against God. How shall they do this thing, and sin against God, the God of their mercies, of their salvation? How shall they wound Jesus Christ, who died for them? This surely cannot but preserve them. Owen says every day this consideration fails also. There is no child of God that is overcome of temptation but overcomes this consideration. But it did preserve Joseph (Genesis 39:9)-JK

 

?Foraminal stenosis causing lumbar radiculopathy or Piriformis Syndrome.

It’s either this  Piriformis syndrome  

or…..

This is the other major differential. Spinal arthritis with lots of extra bony spurs one of which is pressing on L5 lumbar nerve giving right calf weakness and numbness in outer lower leg and foot. Points favouring Piriformis are acute onset, buttock trigger point and positive test.

https://www.discspine.com/conditions/foraminal-stenosis/

This may be the best option? This young woman had an acute disc, mine’s chronic arthritic narrowing but similar problem though I have no pain.

https://neurospineriga.co.uk/flo-turner

Temptation (20)

 

“Consider the particular ways and means that such a heart hath or can use to safeguard
itself in the hour of temptation, and their insufficiency to that purpose will quickly appear.
I shall instance in some few only:—

1. Love of honour in the world. Reputation and esteem in the church, obtained by
former profession and walking, is one of the heart’s own weapons to defend itself in the
hour of temptation. “Shall such a one as I fly? I who have had such a reputation in the church of God, shall I now lose it by giving way to this lust, to this temptation? by closing with this or that public evil?” This consideration hath such an influence on the spirits of some, that they think it will be a shield and buckler against any assaults that may befall them. They will die a thousand times before they will forfeit that repute they have in the church of God! But, alas! this is but a withe, or a new cord, to bind a giant temptation withal. ”

2. “There is, on the other side, the consideration of shame, reproach, loss, and the like.
This also men may put their trust in as a defence against temptations. They would not for the world bring that shame and reproach upon themselves…” but this only applies to public sins such as the world takes notice of and abhors, and so is of no use when sins are covered up nor in invisible heart sins–JK

3. “They have yet that which outweighs these lesser considerations,—namely, that
they will not wound their own consciences, and disturb their peace, and bring themselves
in danger of hell fire. This, surely, if any thing, will preserve men in the hour of temptation.
They will not lavish away their peace, nor venture their souls by running on God and the
thick bosses of his buckler! What can be of more efficacy and prevalency? ” No, says Owen even that consideration will not preserve him.

Temptation (19)

 

In the hour of temptation will the heart help us?

“Let it be whose heart it will, Prov. 28:26, “He that trusteth in his own heart is
a fool;” he that doth so, be he what he will, in that he is foolish. Peter did so in his temptation; he trusted in his own heart: “Though all men forsake thee, I will not.” It was his folly; but why was it his folly? He shall not be delivered; it will not preserve him in snares; it will not deliver him in temptations. The heart of a man will promise him very fair before a temptation comes. “Though all men should deny thee,” [says Peter,] “I will not. Shall I do this evil? It cannot be.” All the arguments that are suited to give check to the heart in such a condition are mustered up. Did not Peter, think you, do so? “What! deny my Master, the Son of God, my Redeemer, who loves me? Can such ingratitude, unbelief, rebellion, befall me? I will not do it.” Shall, then, a man rest in it that his heart will be steadfast? Let the wise man answer: “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool.” “The heart is deceitful,” Jer. 17:9. We would not willingly trust any thing wherein there is any deceit or guile; here is that which is “deceitful above all things.” It hath a thousand shifts and treacheries that is will deal withal; when it comes to the trial, every temptation will steal it away, Hos. 4:11. Generally men’s hearts deceive them no oftener than they do trust in them, and then they never fail so to do.”

This is the old heart (mind) of man that is deceitful. Owen then goes on to show how powerless it is resisting temptation.

God’s will that his people enjoy assurance.

“The Roman Catholic Church of Luther’s day and the Roman Catholic Church of today not only deny the possibility of the assurance of salvation, but deny that assurance is the will of God for his people. That is the stranglehold that the Roman Catholic Church has on its members…Luther understood from scripture that it is the will of God not only to save his people, but also to give those whom it is his will to save the assurance of their salvation..in this life here and now. He contended that this is the normal experience of the Christian.” (See I John 5:11-13)

From “Here we stand”  Editor Ronald Cammenga

Pilgrimage Feasts (5)

Pilgrimage Feasts in the New Testament

Reading Acts 18:1-23

In verses 20-21 there is evidence Paul sincerely desired to keep this unspecified fest in Jerusalem but not as an obligation otherwise he would have exhorted the other Jews in Corinth. It is clear from verse 11 that he spent 18 months in Corinth hence kept none of the annual pilgrimage feasts during that time. When he got to Ephesus he spent 2 years there (19:10) and in fact 3 years in total are mentioned (20:31) so while there kept no feasts. When the pilgrimage feast have all been fulfilled in the cross, Pentecost and the water welling up within us, as he tabernacles in us by his Spirit, then they are obsolete. Finally when Paul in I Cor.16:8 stayed in Ephesus till Pentecost, he then went back into Greece (v5) so, as is usual, when these feasts are mentioned they generally just fix the time of year. Rather we see from I Cor.16:1-2 and Acts 20:7 that the first day of the week, the weekly NT sabbath of the Lord’s Day was what was kept by the church. So no more bloody sacrifices but rather that of giving ourselves, our praise and our giving offerings, no more priestly class as we are all kings and priests, and no more special dwelling place of God because we come to the heavenly Zion by faith (Heb.12:23).

Temptation (18)

After showing how saints in the past fell into temptation Owen continues:

Let us consider ourselves, we are weakness itself. We have no strength, no power to withstand. Confidence of any strength in us is one great part of our weakness; it was so in Peter. He that says he can do any thing (self-confidence), can do nothing as he should. And, which is worse, it is the worst kind of weakness that is in us,—a weakness from treachery. If a castle or fort be never so strong and well. There are traitors in our hearts, ready to take part, to close, and side with every temptation, and to give up all to them; yea, as traitors incite an enemy. Do not flatter yourselves that you should hold out; there are secret lusts that lie lurking in your hearts, which perhaps now stir not, which, as soon as any temptation befalls you, will rise, seduce, and never give over until they are either killed or satisfied. He that promises himself that the frame of his heart will be the same under a temptation as it is before will be woefully mistaken. “Am I a dog, that I should do this thing?” says Hazael. Yea, thou wilt be such a dog if ever thou be king of Syria; temptation from thy interest will unman thee. He that now abhors the thoughts of such and such a thing, if he once enters into temptation will find his heart inflamed towards it, and all contrary reasonings overborne and silenced. He will deride his former fears, cast out his scruples, and contemn the consideration that he lived upon. Little did Peter think he should deny and forswear his Master so soon as ever he was questioned whether he knew him or no. It was no better when the hour of temptation came; all resolutions were forgotten, all love to Christ buried; the present temptation closing with his carnal fear carried all before it.

Royal adultery

 

In case, as a Christian, you are getting swept along by the royal wedding euphoria surrounding Harry and Meghan please be aware that this couple, along with Charles and Camilla and Ann and Timothy are, or will be participants in on-going adultery which bars them from the kingdom of heaven. “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterersnor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,” (I Cor.6:9). What is an adulterer? Among other things it is someone married to another who has divorced and whose first spouse still lives (and so is still married in God’s eyes).  “So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.” (Romans 7:3). “But I say unto you,  whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” (Matthew 5:32). The word of God is clear, even though the law of the land allows divorce and remarriage, in God’s eyes only death ends the marriage bond.

Godliness with contentment is great gain.

If a man is selfish and self-love prevails in his heart, he will be glad of those things that suit with his own ends, but a godly man who has denied himself will suit with and be glad of all things that shall suit God’s ends. A gracious heart says, God’s ends are my ends and I have denied my own ends; so he comes to find contentment in all God’s ways, and His comforts are multiplied, whereas the comforts of other men are single. It is very rare thay God’s ways shall suit with a man’s particular end, but God’s ways suit with His own ends. If you will only have contentment when God’s ways suit with your own ends, you can have it only now and then, but a self-denying man denies his own ends, and only looks at tje ends of God and therein he is contented.

Jeremiah Burroughs
The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, p. 90

Temptation (17)

 

Now Owen cites several cases among believers where they entered into temptation:

Adam was the “son of God,” Luke 3:38, created in the image of God, full of that integrity,
righteousness, and holiness, which might be and was an eminent resemblance of the
holiness of God. He had a far greater inherent stock of ability than we, and had nothing in
him to entice or seduce him; yet this Adam no sooner enters into temptation but he is gone,
lost, and ruined, he and all his posterity with him. What can we expect in the like condition,
that have not only in our temptations, as he had, a cunning devil to deal withal, but a cursed
world and a corrupt heart also? Abraham was the father of the faithful, whose faith is proposed as a pattern to all them that shall believe; yet he, entering twice into the same temptation, namely, that of fear about his wife, was twice overpowered by it, to the dishonour of God, and no doubt the disquiet of his own soul, Gen. 12:12, 13, 20:2.
David is called a “man after God’s own heart” by God himself; yet what a dreadful thing
is the story of his entering into temptation! He is no sooner entangled, but he is plunged
into adultery; thence seeking deliverance by his own invention, like a poor creature in a toil,
he is entangled more and more, until he lies as one dead, under the power of sin and folly.
I might mention Noah, Lot, Hezekiah, Peter, and the rest, whose temptations and falls
therein are on record for our instruction. Certainly he that hath any heart in these things
cannot but say, as the inhabitants of Samaria upon the letter of Jehu, “ ‘Behold, two kings
stood not before him, how shall we stand?’ O Lord, if such mighty pillars have been cast to
the ground, such cedars blown down, how shall I stand before temptations? Oh, keep me
that I enter not in!” Behold the footsteps of them that have gone in.

On this account would the apostle have us to exercise tenderness towards them that are fallen into sin: Gal. 6:1, “Considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” He doth not say, “Lest thou also sin, or fall, or see the power of temptation in others, and know not how soon thou may be tempted, nor what will be the state and condition of thy soul thereupon.” Assuredly, he that hath seen so many better, stronger men than himself fail, and cast down in the trial, will think it incumbent on him to remember the battle, and, if it be possible, to come there no more. Is it not a madness for a man that can scarce crawl up and down, he is so weak (which is the case of most of us), if he avoid not what he hath seen giants foiled in the undertaking of? Thou art yet whole and sound; take heed of temptation, lest it be with thee as it was with Abraham, David, Lot, Peter, Hezekiah, the Galatians, who fell in the time of trial.

He goes on to say how foolish it is for us, in our day, despite the many warnings from God, and the sad experiences every day under our eyes, that we run into and put ourselves in the path of temptations.  In the company we keep and the circumstances we occupy we need to beware and not exhibit brash boldness but go forward with due regard and trembling.

Temptation (16)

Owen now compares and contrasts the entering into temptation of professors and true saints. He uses Luke 8:13, the parable of the sower, “They on, the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy, and have no root, but for a while believe.”

“Well! how long do they believe? They are affected with the preaching of the word, and believe thereon, make profession, bring forth some fruits; but until when do they abide? Says he, “In the time of temptation they fall away.” When once they enter into temptation they are gone for ever. Temptation withers all their profession, and slays their souls. We see this accomplished every day. Men who have attended on the preaching of the gospel, been affected and delighted with it, that have made profession of it, and have been looked on, it may be, as believers, and thus have continued for some years; no sooner doth temptation befall them that hath vigour and permanency in it, but they are turned out of the way, and are gone for ever. They fall to hate the word they have delighted in, despise the professors of it, and are hardened by sin. So Matt. 7:26, “He that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth that not, is like unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand.” But what doth this house of profession do? It shelters him, keeps him warm, and stands for a while. But saith he, verse 27, “When the rain descends, when temptation comes, it falls utterly, and its fall is great.” Judas follows our Saviour three years, and all goes well with him: he no sooner enters into temptation, Satan hath got him and winnowed him, but he is gone. Demas will preach the gospel until the love of the world befall him, and he is utterly turned aside. It were endless to give instances of this. Entrance into temptation is, with this sort of men, an entrance into apostasy, more or less, in part or in whole; it faileth not. ” So it goes with the empty professor!-JK

John Owen treatise on Temptation.

Affliction

Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church Singapore, our sister church, shared this recently and I thought it worth repeating:

In our sojourn here as God’s children, we are not immune to the trials of life. Last Lord’s day in the congregational prayer we are reminded again of the trials of life that the people of God have to go through. We prayed for one beloved saint from our midst who was hospitalized with sickness. As we see the trials which God’s people have to go through, we call to remembrance the blessed Confession we hold to. We take great comfort especially in these two Questions & Answers of our Heidelberg Catechism.

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

Q. 27. What dost thou mean by the providence of God?
A. The almighty and everywhere present power of God, whereby, as it were by His hand, He upholds and governs heaven, earth, and all creatures; so that herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, meat and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, yea, and all things come, not by chance, but by His fatherly hand.
We are reminded here that all things come not by chance but by His fatherly hand. There is no greater comfort to go through our trials in this valley of tears, than with this knowledge and assurance that we are in the Father’s hand. Beloved let us lay hold on this truth.

Full Catechism here.

Available here.

Temptation (15)

 

Christ promises this freedom and deliverance as a great reward of most acceptable
obedience, Rev. 3:10. This is the great promise made to the church of Philadelphia, wherein
Christ found nothing that he would blame, “Thou shalt be kept from the hour of temptation.” Not, “Thou shalt be preserved in it;” but he goes higher, “Thou shalt be kept from it.” “There is,” saith our Saviour, “an hour of temptation coming; a season that will make havoc in the world: multitudes shall then fall from the faith, deny and blaspheme me. Oh, how few will be able to stand and hold out! Some will be utterly destroyed, and perish for ever. Some will get wounds to their souls that shall never be well healed whilst they live in this world, and have their bones broken, so as to go halting all their days. But,” saith he, “ ‘because thou hast kept the word of my patience,’ I will be tender towards thee, and ‘keep thee from this hour of temptation.’ ” Certainly that which Christ thus promises to his beloved church, as a reward of her service, love, and obedience, is no light thing. Whatever Christ promises to his spouse is a fruit of unspeakable love; that is so in an especial manner which is promised as a reward of special obedience.

John Owen.

I am unsure exactly what the Scripture here means but we know in every temptation there is a God-given way of escape (I Cor.3:10) and this church was spared the Great Tribulation which is yet to come at the end of time, if this is what it means. Whether we in the twenty-first century will escape this remains to be seen. If the hour of temptation means some horrendously powerful attempt by Satan to cause us to deny Christ (as Peter experienced) or  the three Hebrews with Nebuchadnezzar renege on our dutiful path (as with Christ in Gethsemane) perhaps we will escape such if we walk obediently-JK

The battle is the Lord’s

 

Our Bible readings today were 1 Samuel 17 and Acts 9 and providentially they could be linked. David, righteous and bold as a lion fearlessly takes on Goliath and kills him. He providentially comes to the Israelite camp just as Goliath parades about on his fortieth day.

Saul wreaking havoc in the early church is struck down by the risen Christ and converted instantaneously on the road to Damascus, becoming a champion in the spread of the gospel. The dominion of his old man who hated the gospel and God’s people was killed as he become by the Spirit a lover of God and his people.

In both instances the Lord worked by his Spirit powerfully, in the same way the ultimate victory was wrought at the cross when Satan was bruised under Christ’s feet who by the bold sacrifice of himself, destroyed the works of the devil and any claim he had on elect sinners both before and after Calvary.

Temptation (14)

“Lead us not into temptation ” Matthew 6:13

Continuing my summary and adaptation of John Owen’s treatise.

It is the great duty of all believers to use all diligence in the ways of Christ’s appointment,
that they fall not into temptation. I know God is “able to deliver the godly out of temptations;” I know he is “faithful not to suffer us to be tempted above what we are able, but will make a way for our escape:” yet I dare say I shall convince all those who will attend unto what is delivered and written, that it is our great duty and concern to use all diligence, watchfulness, and care, that we enter not into temptation; and I shall prove this:—

In the Lord’s prayer our Saviour taught of not entering into temptation,” when he said: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” If we are led into temptation, evil will befall us, more or less.

How God may be said to tempt us, or to “lead us into temptation,” I showed before. In this direction, it is not so much the not giving us up to it, as the powerful keeping us from it that is intended. The last words are, as it were, exegetical, or expository of the former: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil;”—“So deal with us that we may be powerfully delivered from that evil which attends our entering into temptation.” Our blessed Saviour knows full well our state and condition; he knows the power of temptations, having had experience of it, Heb. 2:18; he knows our vain confidence, and the reserves we have concerning our ability to deal with temptations, as he found it in Peter; but he knows our weakness and folly, so then if we have any confidence in the wisdom, love, and care of Jesus Christ towards us, we must pray this.

Pilgrimage Feasts (4)

PILGRIMAGE FEASTS IN N.T.

 

Sung Psalm 132 (another pilgrimage Psalm)

Readings Acts 12:1-12 and 20:16

Harking back to Acts 2 why were the 120 there at Pentecost? We believe for two reasons, firstly keeping the law and secondly because Christ had commanded them to wait there.

Paul and the apostolic band are in Philippi at Passover (20:6), so they clearly were NOT keeping the O.T. law but DID observe the Sabbath on the first day of the week (v7). In the first instance (Acts 12) around the time Herod killed James, the feast of unleavened bread is mentioned just to give us the date. Secondly in Philippi the same feast is mentioned to again give us the time of year but then why would Paul want to be, if possible, in Jerusalem for Pentecost? This was not a necessity just a preference (he tarried twice vv4,10). This was about 58AD some 28 years after the Cross.

Possible reasons:

  1. Teach the Jews and proselytes (to Reform them gradually)
  2. Keep the Law
  3. Evangelism
  4. Meet the church (leaders)
  5. Christian liberty
  6. Just give us a date.

We believe it was for evangelism (albeit as a prisoner) and to meet church leaders.

Temperance (3)

More quotes from Langerak. “”Keep under means discipline..the intemperate Christian cannot run the Christian race. It is called running because it takes exertion. It is impossible to fulfill our callings apart from temperance. Temperance serves the athlete’s contest. He (Paul) teaches that intemperance is a sin.”

From “Walking in the way of love” by Nathan Langerak.

Available here.

Daily devotions

As a Christian you ought to have daily devotions and have your children do the same. Reading a portion of Scripture and meeting God in prayer are a basic discipline and privilege of being one of God’s children. There are many different Bible Reading plans to get you through the Bible in a year.

Today’s readings for me are especially moving. The story of Ruth and how Boaz took loving pity on her (she gleaned about 22 litres of barley!) and the story of Stephen who gave the Sanhedrin a scriptural history lesson but unlike Peter did not get a repentant response but rather murderous hatred BUT he had the unique and wonderful privilege of seeing his Lord and Saviour in heaven before going to be with him as the first Christian martyr. As my erstwhile pastor used to say, “Once he saw glory he had no desire to remain here!”

Temperance (2)

Temperance is a necessity in the Christian life. It is one of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23). Here are some quotes from “Walking in the way of love” by Nathan Langerak in I Corinthians 9:25-27….”The temperate man keeps his eye on the prize and runs and fights with a purpose. Keeping under the body and bringing the body under subjection are aspects of temperance. His (the athlete’s) appearance in those games (Olympics) is not strictly the product of his superior bodily strength and athleticism–natural giftedness–but is especially due to his temperance. Temperance is inner spiritual strength in the justified believer.” 

Great book! Get it here!

Acts 2:14-36 (part 1)

Acts 2:14-36

1.Peter gives this sermon as he was the natural leader and often spokesman for the apostles (Matt.13:13-20, John 6:68-69, his walking on the sea etc). He, along with James and John, got special privileges. He was specifically rebuked and recommissioned by Christ.

2.He refutes the charges of drunkenness because custom among the Jews was not to eat or drink till the fourth hour (10am) and it was only 9.

3. Peter quotes Joel 2:28-32 because what was happening was the fulfilment of this prophecy and God was keeping his promise.

4.THE LAST DAYS are the period between Christ’s first and second coming that is the New Testament age (Heb.1:2)

5. All flesh means all races, Jew and Gentile, all ages, both sexes and every status. The fulfilment of the prophecy was the wonder and sign of different tongues, all the gifts of the Spirit, increased understanding and boldness among the disciples.

6. The prophesying is speaking forth the word of God (I Cor.14:1,3,39), and this may include future events. All believers are prophets in the first sense.

7.Visions are revelation when awake and dreams are revelation when asleep. Both wrought by God the Spirit as direct revelation. Many OT and NT examples eg Joseph, Daniel, even wicked Pharaoh, Belshazzar and Nebuchadnezzar, Agabus, Paul, Peter, Cornelius, Ananias, John. They are important because they include warnings, revelation including Scripture, and guidance.

8. Prophesy, dreams and visions are not evidence of the Spirit’s work today because the canon of direct revelation (Scripture) is complete. They were means whereby God spoke directly to his prophets.

9. God’s servants and handmaidens are all believers.

10. The awful and cataclysmic events mentioned happen in 70 AD (blood and fire as Jerusalem is sacked) and at the end of the world (Rev.6:12).

11.The triune God by the Spirit creates, guides providence and also destroys God’s enemies (II Thess.1:8,9) and eventually this world by fire and recreates the new heavens and earth. He is the almighty arm of Christ.

12. The great and notable day of the Lord is the Second Coming of Christ.

13. Calling on the name of the Lord means repenting and believing (like thief on cross, Philippian jailer in Acts 16:31 etc).

14. Peter calls Christ Jesus of Nazareth and refers to him in his humanity because he wants to emphasize his real humanity and the events surrounding his earthly death.

15. God’s approval means his pleasure and authentication (baptism in Jordan).

16. Miracles are supernatural feats done by men, wonders are strange events in creation and signs are earthly events with a spiritual meaning.

17.The apostles, deacons and evangelists alone performed the miracles, as signs of their authenticity.

18. God’s determinate counsel is his eternal decree and his foreknowledge the love of his elect (Christ and all his) before time (Rom.8:29, 11:2).

19. Peter is accusatory because he wants to clearly apportion the blame for Christ’s death and lead those men to repent. Preaching needs to be sharp and polemical and sometimes specifically directed (Paul to Festus, Agrippa and Felix) to expose sin.

20.Peter emphasizes the resurrection because it did three things:

  • Authenticate Christ’s divinity
  • Show God was satisfied with his work
  • Show he was alive now

Next study May 26th 8pm to finish to question 32 at Kennedy’s home

Temptation (13)

John Owen continues: The means of prevention of entering into temptation.

Our Saviour says there are two: “Watch” and “Pray.”

1. To watch is as much as to be on our guard, to take heed, to consider all ways and means as to be on our guard, to take heed, to consider all ways and means whereby an enemy may approach to us: so the apostle, 1 Cor. 16:13…. to “stand fast in the faith,” as good soldiers, to “quit ourselves like men.” , to “take heed,” or look to ourselves, as the same thing is by our
Rev. 3:2. A universal carefulness and diligence, exercising itself in and by all ways and means prescribed by God, over our hearts and ways, the baits and methods of Satan, the occasions and advantages of sin in the world, that we be not entangled, is that which in this word is presseth on us.

2. For the second direction, of prayer, I need not speak to it. The duty and its concernments are known to all. I shall only add, that these two comprise the whole endeavour of faith for the soul’s preservation from temptation. Just be in a prayerful attitude and ready to converse with God all the time-JK

Britains Culture of Death

Britain’s Culture of Death

K.V. Turley has written for Crisis Magazine calling Britain a ‘waste land’. Highlighting abortion clinic buffer zones, Alfie Evans’ treatment by the judiciary, and the recent landmark of 50 years of abortion in the UK, Turley says: “In a country where the idea of individual rights is a mantra endlessly recited, there is one right that must never be talked of… the right to life for the child as yet unborn. Seemingly, now, the shadow of the Culture of Death envelops: the weak, the elderly, the defenseless, even the dying.”

Against Euthanasia:

Temptation (12)

Owen is hard to follow and the last two posts were I think too long and difficult, so I am going to summarize and simplify what he has said in the last two posts.

Entering into temptation happens when Satan strenuously entices us but uses fear or persecution by himself or others or some lust or corruption to entice. Then the heart gets entangled and begins to justify the offence and not be wholly able to eject or cast out the poison and leaven that hath been injected;  being off its watch the soul may cry, and pray, and cry again, and yet not be delivered; as Paul “besought the Lord” thrice for the departure of his temptation (test), and prevailed not. The entanglement continues. And this usually falls out in one of these two seasons:—

[1.] When Satan, by the permission of God, for his nefarious purposes has got some peculiar advantage over the soul as with Peter,—he sought to winnow him, and prevailed.

[2.] When a man’s lusts and corruptions meet with peculiarly provoking objects and occasions, through the condition of life that a man is in, with the circumstances of it; as it was with David: A man entered into temptation; and this is called the “hour of temptation,” Rev. 3: 10,—the season wherein it grows to a head. Owen says a sin that might normally be resisted because of the circumstances and it being “the hour” it is particularly enticing and it prevails. David probably had temptations before, in his younger days, to adultery or murder, as he had in the case of Nabal; but the hour of temptation was not come, it had not got its advantages about it, and so he escaped until afterward.  Blessed is he who is prepared for such a season; without which there is no escaping. This, as I said, is the first thing required to entering into temptation; if we stay here, we are safe.

So how does this happen?

First the mind dallies with the evil solicited unto, it begins to make excuses. If it makes this process, it is coming towards it hour. Perhaps at first the soul was amazed with the ugly appearance of what it aimed at, and cried, “Am I a dog?” But if this indignation does not grow and by conversing with the evil, begins to grow familiar with it, but thinks “Is it not a little one?” then the temptation is coming towards it high noon; lust hath then enticed and entangled, and is ready to “conceive,” James 1:15.

When this temptation and sin has prevailed on others, and the soul is not repelled, nor pities and prays for their deliverance. Its prevailing with others is a means to give it its hour against us. The falling off of Hymeneus and Philetus is said to “overthrow the faith of some,” 2 Tim. 2:17–18.

When we begin to think that it is not absolutely evil. this was how the Galatians  fell from the purity of the gospel,—freedom from persecution, union and consent with the Jews gave credence to the temptation.

What other factors cause us to enter into temptation?

The temptation is restless and argues, here is the opportunity, here are specious pleas and pretences,  hopes of pardon afterwards etc
So when he had got all things in a readiness against Christ, he made it the “hour of
darkness.”

When the temptation brings in fear and allurements, these two combine the whole forces of temptation. When both are brought together, temptation is in its hour. They were both in David’s case as to the murder of Uriah. There was the fear of his revenge on his wife, and possibly on himself, and fear of the publication of his sin at least; and there was the allurement of his present enjoyment of her whom he lusted after. Men sometimes are carried into sin by love to it, and are continued in it by fear of what will ensue upon it.
But in any case, where these two meet, something allures us, something affrights us, and
the reasonings that run between them are ready to entangle us,—then is the hour of
temptation.
This, then, it is to “enter into temptation,” this is the “hour” of it;

Great insights Mr Owen!-JK

Adapted from the book.

Temptation(11)

 

 

Before I descend to other particulars, having now entered hereon, I shall show in general,—1st. How or by what means commonly any temptation attains its hour; 2dly. How we may know when any temptation is come to its high noon, and is in its hour.

1st. It doth the first by several ways:—

(1st.) By long solicitations, causing the mind frequently to converse with the evil solicited unto, it begets extenuating thoughts of it. If it makes this process, it is coming towards it hour. It may be when first it began to press upon the soul, the soul was amazed with the ugly appearance of what it aimed at, and cried, “Am I a dog?” If this indignation be not daily heightened, but the soul, by conversing with the evil, begins to grow, as it were, familiar with it, not to be startled as formerly, but rather inclines to cry, “Is it not a little one?” then the temptation is coming towards it high noon; lust hath then enticed and entangled, and is ready to “conceive,” James 1:15: of which more at large afterward, in our inquiry how we may know whether we are entered into temptation or no. Our present inquest is after the hour and power of temptation itself.

(2dly.) When it hath prevailed on others, and the soul is not filled with dislike and abhorrency of them and their ways, nor with pity and prayer for their deliverance. This proves an advantage unto it, and raises it towards its height. When that temptation sets upon any one which, at the same time, hath possessed and prevailed with many, it hath so great and so many advantages thereby, that it is surely growing towards its hour. Its prevailing with others is a means to give it its hour against us. The falling off of Hymeneus and Philetus is said to “overthrow the faith of some,” 2 Tim. 2:17–18.

(3dly.) By complicating itself with many considerations that, perhaps, are not absolutely evil. So did the temptation of the Galatians to fall from the purity of the gospel,—freedom from persecution, union and consent with the Jews. Things in themselves good were pleaded in it, and gave life to the temptation itself. But I shall not now insist on the several advantages that any temptation hath to heighten and greaten itself, to make itself prevalent and effectual
with the contribution that it receives to this purpose from various circumstances, opportunities, specious pleas and pretences, necessities for the doing that which cannot be done without answering the temptation, and the like; because I must speak unto some of them afterward.

Temptation (10)

 

So, then, unto our entering into temptation is required,— (1.) That by some advantage, or on some occasion, Satan be more earnest than ordinary in his solicitations to sin, by affrightments or allurements, by persecutions or seductions, by himself or others; or that some lust or corruption, by his instigation and advantages of outward objects, provoking, as in prosperity, or terrifying, as in trouble, do tumultuate more than ordinary within us. There is a special acting of the author and principles of temptation required thereunto. (2.) That the heart be so far entangled with it as to be put to dispute and argue in its own defence, and yet not be wholly able to eject or cast out the poison and leaven that hath been injected; but is surprised, if it be never so little off its watch, into an entanglement not easy to be avoided: so that the soul may cry, and pray, and cry again, and yet not be delivered; as Paul “besought the Lord” thrice for the departure of his temptation, and prevailed not. The entanglement continues. And this usually falls out in one of these two seasons:—

[1.] When Satan, by the permission of God, for ends best known to himself, hath got some peculiar advantage against the soul; as in the case of Peter,—he sought to winnow him, and prevailed.

[2.] When a man’s lusts and corruptions meet with peculiarly provoking objects and occasions, through the condition of life that a man is in, with the circumstances of it; as it was with David: of both which afterward. In this state of things, a man is entered into temptation; and this is called the “hour of temptation,” Rev. 3: 10,—the season wherein it grows to a head: the discovery whereof will give farther light into the present inquiry, about what it is to “enter into temptation;” for when the hour of temptation is come upon us, we are entered into it. Every great and pressing temptation hath its hour, a season wherein it grows to a head, wherein it is most vigorous, active, operative, and prevalent. It may be long in rising, it may be long urging, more or less; but it hath a season wherein, from the conjunction of other occurences, such as those mentioned, outward or inward, it hath a dangerous hour; and then, for the most part, men enter into it. Hence that very temptation, which at one time hath little or no power on a man,—he can despise it, scorn the motions of it, easily resist it,—at another, bears him away quite before it. It hath, from other circumstances and occurrences, got new strength and efficacy, or the man is enervated and weakened; the hour is come, he is entered into it, and it prevails. David probably had temptations before, in his younger days, to adultery or murder, as he had in the case of Nabal; but the hour of temptation was not come, it had not got its advantages about it, and so he escaped until afterward. Let men look for it that are exposed unto temptations, as who is not? They will have a season wherein their solicitations will be more urgent, their reasonings more plausible, pretences more glorious, hopes of recovery more appearing, opportunities more broad and open, the doors of evil made more beautiful than ever they have been. Blessed is he who is prepared for such a season; without which there is no escaping. This, as I said, is the first thing required to entering into temptation; if we stay here, we are safe.

John Owen

Pilgrimage Feasts (3)

Because all the feasts mandated going up to Jerusalem, Mount Sion and the temple these short messages from Hebrews 12:22-24 explain the reality now for all believers who have come and do come to Mount Sion by faith in Jesus Christ. Check out Psalm 24:3-6 and Psalm 2:6! You are come to the Pilgrimage Feasts, Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles in the reality of the Lamb sacrificed, the one who pours out his Spirit and the one who dwells in us in our wilderness wandering and leads us to our heavenly city and the heavenly tabernacle. All the feasts point to Christ and his work and our life in him. Passover justification in the blood, Pentecost the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit and Tabernacles glory, the ultimate harvest of all the elect and God’s eternal tabernacle with his glorified people. Passover-the feast of God’s GRACE, Pentecost- the feast of God’s GIFT and Tabernacles-the Feast of God’s GLORY (see 2 Chronicles 5:13-14, Haggai 2:1,9 and John 1:14).God’s OT feasts in Israel and their timing reflect the stages of the Christian life and God’s timing in the history of the world-the Cross and Pentecost about 29AD and the end of the world??!!

Temptation (9)

 

What does it mean to enter into temptation?

This is not merely to be tempted. It is impossible that we should be so freed from temptation as not to be at all tempted. Whilst Satan continues in his power and malice, whilst the world and lust are in being, we shall be tempted. “Christ,” says one, “was made like unto us, that he might be tempted; and we are tempted that we may be made like unto Christ.” Temptation in general is comprehensive of our whole warfare; as our Saviour calls the time of his ministry the time of his “temptations,” Luke 22:28. We have no promise that we shall not be tempted at all; nor are to pray for an absolute freedom from temptations, because we have no such promise of being heard therein. The direction we have for our prayers is, “Lead us not into temptation,” Matt. 6:13; it is “entering into temptation” that we are to pray against. We may be tempted, yet not enter into temptation. So that something more is intended by this expression than the ordinary work of Satan and our own lusts, which will be sure to tempt us every day. There is something signal in this entering into temptation, that is not the saints’ every day’s work. It is something that befalls them peculiarly in reference to seduction unto sin, on one account or other, by the way of allurement or affrightment. It is not to be conquered by a temptation, to fall down under it, to commit the sin or evil that we are tempted to, or to omit the duties that are opposed. A man may “enter into temptation,” and yet not fall under temptation. God can make a way for a man to escape; when he is in, he can break the snare, tread down Satan, and make the soul more than a conqueror, though it have entered into temptation. Christ entered into it, but was not in the least foiled by it. But it is, as the apostle expresseth it, 1 Tim. 6:9, “to fall into temptation,” as a man falls into a pit or deep place where are gins or snares, wherewith he is entangled; the man is not presently killed and destroyed, but he is entangled and detained,—he knows not how to get free or be at liberty. So it is expressed again to the same purpose, 1 Cor. 10:13, “No temptation hath taken you;” that is, to be taken by a temptation and to be tangled with it, held in its cords, not finding at present a way to escape. Thence saith in  2 Peter 2:9, “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations.” They are entangled with them; God knows how to deliver them out of them. When we suffer a temptation to enter into us, then we “enter into temptation.” Whilst it knocks at the door we are at liberty; but when any temptation comes in and parleys with the heart, reasons with the mind, entices and allures the affections, be it a long or a short time, do it thus insensibly and imperceptibly, or do the soul take notice of it, we “enter into temptation.”

John Owen

Owen is not clear I feel. It appears that entering into temptation is allowing the temptation to conceive sin in our minds or the trial to begin to frighten us or make us rebel-JK

Romans 5:1-5

I love this quote from that great Scottish worthy Robert Haldane recently in LRF bulletin: “What fullness and variety of instruction and consolation are contained in the first five verses of this chapter! The work of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is exhibited, all severally acting, as God alone can act, in the various parts of man’s salvation. The righteousness of God is imputed to the believer, who is therefore justified, and pronounced by the Judge of all the earth righteous. As righteous, he has peace with God, and free access to Him through Jesus Christ; and being thus introduced into the favour of God, he stands in a justified state, rejoicing in hope of future glory. Being justified, he is also sanctified, and enabled to glory even in present afflictions. He enjoys the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, through whose Divine influence the love of God is infused into his soul. Here, then, are the peace, the joy, the triumph of the Christian. Here are faith, hope, and love, the three regulators of the Christian’s life. Faith is the great and only means of obtaining every privilege, because it unites the soul to Christ, and receives all out of His fullness. Hope cheers the believer in his passage through this world, with the expectation of promised blessings to be accomplished in future glory, and is thus the anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, which holds it firm, and enables it to ride out all the storms and troubles of life. Love is the renewal of the image of God in the soul, and the true principle of obedience” (Romans, p. 191).

Robert Haldane 1764-1852

Temptation (8)

 

Owen defines temptation:

Temptation, then, in general, is any thing, state, way, or condition that, upon any account whatever, hath a force or efficacy to seduce, to draw the mind and heart of a man from its obedience, which God requires of him, into any sin, in any degree of it whatever.
In particular, that is a temptation to any man which causes or occasions him to sin, or
in any thing to go off from his duty, either by bringing evil into his heart, or drawing out
that evil that is in his heart, or any other way diverting him from communion with God,
and that constant, equal, universal obedience, in matter and manner, that is required of
him.
For the clearing of this description I shall only observe, that though temptation seems
to be of a more active importance, and so to denote only the power of seduction to sin itself,
yet in the Scripture it is commonly taken in a neuter sense, and denotes the matter of the
temptation or the thing whereby we are tempted. And this is a ground of the description I
have given of it. Be it what it will, that from any thing whatever, within us or without us,
hath advantage to hinder in duty, or to provoke unto or in any way to occasion sin, that is
a temptation, and so to be looked on. Be it business, employment, course of life, company,
affections, nature, or corrupt design, relations, delights, name, reputation, esteem, abilities,
parts or excellencies of body or mind, place, dignity, art,—so far as they further or occasion
the promotion of the ends before mentioned, they are all of them no less truly temptations
that the most violent solicitations of Satan or allurements of the world, and that soul lies at
the brink of ruin who discerns it not. And this will be farther discovered in our process.

Always remember that temptation alone is NOT SIN but when cherished in the heart LEADS TO SIN-JK

Baptism of infants of believers.

Powerful New Testament teaching that elect infants of believers are regenerate!

Therefore are to receive the NT sign of church membership!

  • Children of believers are models to adults of salvation in their humility and passivity (Christ)
  • Children of believers are said by Jesus to believe in him (Matthew 18:6)
  • Children of believers are protected by angels hence saved (Hebrews 1:3)
  • Christ came to save children (Matt.18:11)
  • Irresistible will of God to save them (Matt.18:14)
  • Jesus believed in the regeneration of elect children (quotes Psalm 8:2)
  • John leaped for joy in the womb.
  • Mary believed in the multi-generational covenant with Abraham (Luke 1:50,55)
  • Children of believers, even infants are in the kingdom of God hence born again (Luke 18:15)
  • Children of believers are Christ’s lambs with spiritual life needing fed (John 20:15).

From Belgic Confession class by Rev. Angus Stewart at Covenant Protestant Reformed Church, Ballymena.

Listen here: http://www.cprc.co.uk/belgic34t.mp3

Temptation (7)

 

Owen continues that it is not God’s testings and trials that he wants to elucidate in this treatise but rather temptation as it denotes an active efficiency
towards sinning.

In this sense temptation may proceed either singly from Satan, or the world, or other men in the world, or from ourselves, or jointly from all or some of them, in their several combinations:—

(1.) Satan tempts sometimes singly by himself, without taking advantage from the world, the things or persons of it, or ourselves. So he deals in his injection of evil and blasphemous thoughts of God into the hearts of the saints; which is his own work alone. Satan is alone in the sin, and shall be so in the punishment. These fiery darts are prepared in the forge of his own malice, and shall, with all their venom and poison, be turned into his own heart for ever.
(2.) Sometimes he makes use of the world, and joins forces against us, without any helps from within. So he tempted our Saviour, by “showing him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them.”

3. And the variety of the assistances he finds from the world, in persons and things which I must not insist on,—the innumerable instruments and weapons he takes from thence of all sorts and at all seasons,—are inexpressible. e.g. through the eyes to lust-JK

4,  Sometimes he takes in assistance from ourselves (our flesh/old man of sin-JK) also. It is not with us as it was with Christ when Satan came to tempt him. He declares that he “had nothing in him,” John 15:30. It is otherwise with us: he hath, for the compassing of most of his ends, a sure party within our own breasts, James 1:14, 15. Thus he tempted Judas: he was at work himself; he put it into his heart to betray Christ; Luke 23:3, “he entered into him” for that purpose. And he sets the world at work, the things of it, providing for him “thirty pieces of silver” (verse 5, “They covenanted to give him money”); and the men of it, even the priests and the Pharisees; and calleth in the assistance of his own corruption,—he was covetous, “a thief, and had the bag.”

The Pilgrimage Feasts (2)

Pilgrimage Feasts

Our second class looking at these collectively and the relationships between them.

Sung Ps. 121 (second of pilgrimage psalms)

Reading John 7:32-44 (Jesus at Feast of Tabernacles)

Pentecost marked a development in:

  • Pneumatology-the Spirit of the risen and ascended Christ poured out on a passive church.
  • Soteriology-all the blessings of salvation accompanied this and the brought deeper understanding of them.
  • Ecclesiology-the church became truly catholic (universal).
  • Eschatology-this marked the beginning of the last days.

Just as in chronological order, Passover is before and is also the basis for Pentecost. The cross and resurrection of Christ (at Passover and Feast of first-fruits of barley) which are a blood atonement and death, representing redemption bringing freedom from the bondage of sin, also lead to the application of Spirit baptism and sanctification (unleavened bread), and the first-fruits of the wheat harvest at Pentecost.

Tabernacles reminding us of the wilderness wandering and drought but also commemorates the supply of water which then flows out of the recipients and represents our activity of working out our salvation and blessing others.

Passover, first-fruits and Pentecost which are all one day feasts happened once-for-all and are looked back upon, whereas unleavened bread and Tabernacles which were seven days each represent the on-going nature of the Christian life of progressive sanctification and supply of the Spirit. All the feasts combine to proclaim the gospel, albeit in Old Testament shadows and types.

Temptation (6)

Why and how does God tempt (test)?

Why?

  1. He shows man what is in him,—either his grace or man’s corruption. Grace and corruption lie deep in the heart; Thus he tempted Abraham to show him his faith. Abraham knew not what faith he had (I mean, what power and vigour was in his faith) until God drew it out by that great trial and temptation. So he tried Hezekiah to discover his pride; God left him that he might see what was in his heart, 2 Chron. 32:31. He knew not that he had such a proud heart, until God tried him.
  2.  God shows himself to man, and that,— that it is God alone who keeps from all sin. Until we are tempted, we think we live on our own strength.When the trial comes, we quickly see whence is our preservation, by standing or falling. So was it in the case of Abimelech, Gen. 20:6, “I withheld thee.”
    In a way of renewing grace. He would have the temptation continue with St Paul, that he might reveal himself to him in the sufficiency of his renewing grace, 2 Cor. 12: 9. We know not the power and strength that God puts forth in our behalf, nor what is the sufficiency of his grace, until, comparing the temptation with our own weakness, it appears unto us. The efficacy of an antidote is found when poison hath been taken; and the preciousness of medicines is made known by diseases. We shall never know what strength there is in grace if we know not what strength there is in temptation. We must be tried, that we may be made sensible of being preserved.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             How does God tempt/test?
    1. He puts men on great duties, such as they cannot apprehend that they have any strength for, nor indeed have. So he tempted Abraham by calling him to that duty of sacrificing his son;—a thing absurd to reason, bitter to nature, and grievous to him on all accounts  Gen. 22:1, 2.                      Many men know not what is in them, or rather what is ready for them, until they are put upon what seems utterly above their strength; indeed, upon what is really above their strength so when any duty is required that is extraordinary, that is a secret not often discovered. The duties that God, in an ordinary way, requires at our hands are not proportioned to what strength we have in ourselves, but to what help and relief is laid up for
    us in Christ;                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. By putting them upon great sufferings. How many have unexpectedly found strength to die at a stake, to endure tortures for Christ! yet their call to it was a trial. This, Peter tells us, is one way whereby we are brought into trying temptations, 1 Pet. 1:6, 7. Our temptations arise from the “fiery trial;” and yet the end is but a trial of our faith.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. By his providential disposing of things so as that occasions unto sin will be administered unto men, which is the case mentioned, Deut. 13:3 (false prophets).

Prayer for the beginning of the day

” Cause me to hear thy loving-kindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.” Psalm 143:8

Lovely and key message why we need to seek God’s face first thing in the morning.

David couldn’t start a new day without hearing of God’s loving-kindness and grace. This is the position of every repentant sinner (believer). This habit enables the killing of sin, service of God and the blessing of others, directing us into holiness.

Rev. Carl Haak

Sermon on Psalm 143:8

Temptation (5)

 

It’s meaning:

It means to prove or test and we are told to test ourselves and pray that God would do so also. God tempted Abraham (Gen.22:1)

Temptation also denotes any evil, as it leads to evil, and in this sense we are to pray that we “enter not into it.” Peter was tempted to deny Christ. God tempts no man in this sense (James 1:13)

Passively it hath suffering in it: so temptation is affliction, James 1:2;  in that sense, we are to “count it all joy when we fall into temptation;” Paul had many temptations.

Adapted from Owen’s treatise.

Temptation (4)

 

 

You will at once see how needful Owen’s treatise is for us today when we hear his evaluation in his preface of 17th century Britain:

” a spirit of error, giddiness, and delusion goes forth with such strength and efficacy, as it seems to have received a commission to go and prosper; whilst there are such divisions, strifes, emulations, attended with such evil surmises, wrath, and revenge, found amongst brethren; whilst the desperate issues and products of men’s temptations are seen daily in partial and total apostasy, in the decay of love, the overthrow of faith, our days being filled with fearful examples of backsliding, such as former ages never knew; whilst there is a visible declension from reformation seizing upon the professing party of these nations, both as to personal holiness and zeal for the interest of Christ; And for the sake of them that mourn in secret for all the abominations that are found among and upon them that profess the gospel, and who are under the conduct of the Captain of their salvation, fighting and resisting the power of temptations, from what spring soever
they rise in themselves, are the ensuing directions proposed to consideration.
That our faithful and merciful High Priest, who both suffered and was tempted, and is
on that account touched with the feeling of our infirmities, would accompany this small
discourse with seasonable supplies of his Spirit and suitable mercy to them that shall consider it, that it may be useful to his servants for the ends whereunto it is designed, is the prayer of him who received this handful of seed from his storehouse and treasure.
John Owen.

Temptation (3)

 

Main headings of the treatise on temptation:

  • THE NATURE AND POWER OF TEMPTATION
  • THE DANGER OF ENTERING INTO IT
  • THE MEANS OF PREVENTING THAT DANGER-WATCH AND PRAY

From the text, Matt. 26:41, the author considers in succession three topics educed
from it:—temptation, the means by which it prevails, and the way of preventing it. The most
of the treatise is occupied with the last topic,—the means of prevention. It is subdivided
into inquiries,—as to the evidence by which a man may know that he has entered into
temptation, the directions requisite to prevent entering into it, and the seasons when
temptation may be apprehended. The discussion of this last inquiry merges very much into
an illustration of the Christian duty of watchfulness, and the treatise is closed by a general exhortation to this duty. Slight defects in the arrangement, the renewed discussion of a point after it had been quitted, and the disproportionate space accorded to some parts of the subject, are explained, perhaps by the circumstance that the treatise was originally a series of discourses.—Ed.

“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41

 

Household and infant baptism Biblical.

 

The baptism of believers professing faith is not in question but baptism of the households or infant children is unacceptable to Baptists.

If it can be shown that there is one covenant in all ages, that the Old and New Covenant initiatory signs are equivalent and that it is commanded for infants then infant baptism/household baptism is Biblical.

The covenant, expressed in the formula, “I will be your God and you shall be my people”, ratified in the Covenant head namely Jesus Christ and effected by his atonement and the outpouring of the Spirit (BC and AD) is everlasting and includes the elect of all ages, who are Christ’s sheep and are irresistible regenerated, justified, sanctified and glorified. The regeneration is unconditional and we are passive. The BOND of faith that this covenant brings about, expressed by Christ in the vine and branches simile (John 15) may or may not issue in conscious expressed faith of the elect person who may be in the womb (John), an infant or mentally retarded or dumb. In this ONE covenant disclosed by God in the OT the sign mandated for believers and their seed (Gen.17:7) alongside the promise to save elect seed (Isaiah 44:3, 59:21) was circumcision and in the NT baptism. These signs signify exactly the same reality which is the washing of regeneration/salvation (Titus 3:5, Col.2:11-13). Hence believers, households (Acts 16) and young children who also believe (Mark 10:13,14). There are many examples of NT household baptism.

Temptation (2)

 

Whatever motives incited him to the preparation of it, the whole work, with the exception
of a few paragraphs, might have been written, with set purpose, for the people of God in every age. In no work is the sound judgment of our author more conspicuous. He avoids all fanciful speculations into the mysteries of satanic agency, such as were too common on this theme. He is too much in earnest that his readers should be brought into a condition of safety against the wiles of the devil, to break the force of his warnings and entreaties by ingenious speculations and irrelevant learning. Not merely in the warm appeals interspersedwith his expositions, but in the patient care with which no nook of the heart is left unsearched, does the deep solicitude of Owen for the spiritual welfare of his readers appear. To one who reads the treatise in the spirit with which the author wrote it,—simply that he may judge his own heart, and know what temptation means, and be fully on his guard against it,—the effect is far beyond what the mere wealth of fancy or the arts of rhetoric could produce.

Temptation

Starting a new blog of John Owen’s works, this time on Temptation, also titled ” Overcoming Sin and Temptation and subtitled “resisted and repulsed”.

Owen, John (1616-1683)
Publisher: Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library
Description: “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit
indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41).                                               These words, which Jesus spoke to his disciples in the garden of Gethsemane, serve as the foundation for John Owen’s treatise Of Temptation. Owen preached on the subject of
temptation frequently during his many years of service as the dean and vice chancellor of Christ Church in Oxford–Of Temptation is the culmination of his discourses on the subject.
In his treatise, Owen addresses the nature and power of temptation, the risk of entering into it, and the means of avoiding its danger. Owen defines temptation as anything with the ability to entice the Christian’s mind or heart away from obedience to God and redirect it towards sin. Owen warns us that our power is not strong enough to protect us from temptation; rather, it is by God’s power of preservation that we are saved. As Christians, we can guard ourselves against temptation in part by praying for God’s power to help us resist it. His treatise teaches Christians how to recognize the threat of temptation and protect themselves against it.
Emmalon Davis

 

This PDF file is copyrighted by the Christian Classics Ethereal Library. It may be freely
copied for non-commercial purposes as long as it is not modified. 

The Pilgrimage Feasts (1)

THE PILGRIMAGE FEASTS

Sung Psalm 120

Read 1 Cor. 5: 1-13*

The three feasts need mentioned together which is biblical, theological and always chronological in Scripture and related to:

  • The Jewish calendar e.g. Leviticus 23
  • Being in the land and the central place of worship
  • The agricultural year and sharing with the poor
  • Joy

The Pilgrimage Psalms 120-134 delineate the journey going up to Jerusalem but don’t follow a pattern.

In a multitude of ways Christ is the fulfilment of the O.T. Passover and redeems us from the bondage of sin (1 Cor.5:7). Sin like leaven starts small, spreads and affects the whole-like in a lump of dough and affects an individual, family or church. Church discipline is necessary for the impenitent wicked and those holding false doctrine. This is the application of the feast of unleavened bread in the passage read. Tolerating either evil, is not love but hatred (Lev.17:19). For an excellent exposition of this see “Walking in the way of love” by Nathan Langerak**

*Note that the feast of Passover being linked to the weekly feast of unleavened bread and the purging of the home of all leaven points to Christ purging us from our sins both definitively by our baptism into his death (at Passover) and progressively throughout our lifetime (the week-long feast of unleavened bread) (see Rom.6:3,4 and I John 1:9, Titus 2:14, 2 Cor.7:1).

**


Link

Mortification of Sin (37)-by the death of Christ

Advantages with expecting Christ’s help:

  1. “You, Lord, never forsake them that put their trust in you.” When the heart is once won to rest in God, to repose himself on him, he will
    assuredly satisfy it. He never says, “Seek you my face in vain.” If Christ be chosen for the foundation of our supply, he will not fail us.
  2. We will diligently seek the means of grace whereby Christ is wont to communicate himself to the soul; He that expects anything from a man, applies himself to the ways and means whereby it may be obtained. The beggar that expects an alms lies at his door or in his way from whom he does expect it.  Rest your faith peculiarly upon the death, blood, and cross of Christ; that is, on Christ as crucified and slain. Mortification of sin is peculiarly from the death of Christ. It is one peculiar, yea, eminent end of the death of Christ, which shall assuredly be accomplished by it. He died to destroy the works of the devil. Whatever came upon our natures by his first temptation, whatever receives strength in our persons by his daily suggestions, Christ died to destroy it all. “He gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works,” Tit. 2:14. This was his aim and intention (wherein he will not fail) in his giving himself for us. That we might be freed from the power of our sins, and purified from all our defiling lusts, was his design. “He gave himself for the church, that he might sanctify and cleanse it; that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot,
    or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish,” Eph. 5: 25-27. And this, by virtue of his death, in various and several degrees, shall be accomplished. Hence our washing, purging, and cleansing is everywhere ascribed to his blood, 1 John 1: 7; Heb. 1:3; Rev. 1:5. That being sprinkled on us, “purges our consciences from dead works to serve the living God,” Heb. 9:14. All supplies of the Spirit, all communications of grace and power, are from the cross as Paul states in Rom. 6:2, “How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”  “Dead to sin by profession; dead to sin by obligation to be so; dead to sin by participation of virtue and power for the killing of it; dead to sin by union and interest in Christ, in and by whom it is killed: how shall we live therein?” Furthermore verse 3,”Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” We have in baptism an evidence of our implantation into Christ; we are baptized into him: but what of him are we baptized into an interest in? “His death,” saith he. If indeed we
    are baptized into Christ, and beyond outward profession, we are baptized into his death. The explication of this, of one being baptized into the death of Christ, the apostle gives us, verses 4, 6: “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” “This is,” saith he, “our being baptized into the death of Christ, namely, our conformity thereunto; to be dead unto sin, to have our corruptions mortified, as he was put to death for sin: so that as he was raised up to glory, we may be raised up to grace and newness of life.” He tells us whence it is that we have this baptism into the death of Christ, verse 6; and this is from the death of Christ itself: “Our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed;” is crucified with him,” not in respect of time, but causality. We are crucified with him meritoriously, in that he procured the Spirit for us to mortify sin; efficiently, in that from his death virtue comes forth for our crucifying; in the way of a representation and exemplar we shall assuredly be crucified unto sin, as he was for our sin. This is that the apostle intends: Christ by his death destroying the works of the devil, procuring the Spirit for us, has so killed sin, as to its reign in believers, that it shall not obtain its end and dominion.

Adapted from John Owen

Acts (study 5)

Acts 2:1-4
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and the accompanying signs.

Pentecost took place 50 days (7 weeks and I day) after Passover (Leviticus 23:16,17). It had “fully come” may mean it was the fulness of God’s time (Gal.4:4) or the dawn of the day that had begun according to Jewish reckoning the evening before at 6pm, or it could mean that this was the fulfilment of all prophecy and types.
The Old Testament feast that corresponded to Pentecost was the feast of firstfruits (of the wheat harvest). The fulfilment was the first harvest of souls into the N.T. church.
The believers were “with one accord in one place” because Christ had instructed them in Acts 1:4 to pray and wait. We guess it was in a room in the temple, big enough for 120 people.
The sound like that of a mighty rushing wind was a sign of the coming of the Spirit because wind and breath are both associated with the Spirit (John 3:8, Ezekiel 37:9).
This association teaches us that just like wind the Spirit is under God’s sovereign control, is irresistible, is powerful though unseen.
The cloven tongues like fire were the other sign of the Spirit, perhaps alluding to his dividing his gifts and blessing to every man (I Cor.12:11) but since fire in Scripture is a sanctifying influence, purifying, refining, consuming sin (Heb.12:29), also signifying God’s presence (Ex.3:2, 19:18), Mal.3:2,Matt.3:11, Luke 12:49, his vengeance (II Thess.1:8), his word (Luke 24:32, Jer.20:9).
This allusion tells us the Spirit makes holy, convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8), enlightens (light), brings repentance and faith, reveals Christ, comforts (heat) and cleanses from sin.
They spoke in all the languages adopted by the dispersed Jews from every country in the Roman Empire. These were real languages unfamiliar to the disciples. It was a sort of reversal of the confusion of Babel.
This tells us the Spirit works worldwide and will make the church truly catholic and universal and reminds us of the need for Scripture in all languages.
Pentecost was not the birth of the church because it was there in the Old Testament from Adam, Abraham and among Israel but it was the birth of the N.T. church. We guess Peter spoke his sermon in Hebrew.
The Spirit today does not use tongues or fire because these signs authenticated the authority of the apostles (I Cor.13:8) but we have the complete canon of Scripture.

Acts 2:5-13
There were many Jews living in and visiting Jerusalem who were devout because they were frequently in the temple or local synagogues (like Cornelius) and devoted to Judaism. Luke wants to emphasise the spread and extent of their origin. Many were probably already believers.
There was a multitude in Jerusalem because every male Jew was to attend the three great pilgrimage feasts every year and God chose this time because they were gathered and would be ingathered as a harvest.
The first reaction was one of confusion and disbelief because this was unprecedented.
The second reaction was of amazement and marvelling because Galileans were speaking foreign languages.
The third reaction was to mock, calling them drunk because they must have sounded inebriated.
Luke may well have mentioned all the languages and nationalities to show us that these believers would be dispersed back home and be used to plant churches in all these parts, many of which Paul would visit.

Next study May 5th Acts 2:14-36

Pilgrimage Feasts (6)

Pilgrimage Feasts and the New Testament

Sung Psalm 122 (song of ascents going up to Jerusalem)

Reading Galatians 4:1-11

Is the keeping of the OT pilgrimage feasts mandatory for NT believers? No!-there is no Biblical mandate (Acts 15 clearly leaves them out).

May they be used for evangelistic purposes to reach Jews?  They may, but are they detracting from the power of preaching?

May they be used for educational purposes to teach what the Jews do?  Of course, but why should Christians want to do so?

They may be used syncretistically by ecumenical groups and this is sadly often the case today e.g. the ICEJ (International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem founded 1980) organises a yearly “Christian” Feast of Tabernacles. It believes that 1948 was crucial to God keeping his covenant with his people.

The modern Passover Seder is very different from the original Passover meal which only had roast lamb, unleavened bread, bitter herbs and wine. It is now much more elaborate and Messianic Jews and others using the meal as an evangelistic tool make many insubstantial allusions regarding for example the matzos that are purely arbitrary with no evidence that this was done in OT or early church e.g. the wafers are pierced, striped, one is broken and then hidden.

The Pilgrimage Feasts:

NOT kept by any in the early church

To keep them or even use them denies the primary gospel power of preaching the word.

They actually CANNOT be kept because there is no temple, altar, priests, sacrifices etc

From Galatians Paul is scathing on those who would return in any way to Judaism- you can’t have Christ AND the feasts (Gal.4) and all the feasts and other O.T. special days are SHADOWS pointing to Christ.