Deception

 

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The power of Satan to deceive is very obvious here as I sit in a public library in Trinidad. Islam, for example enslaves many. A girl with a hijab listens to a sex education talk among her peers. Another enters with only the tiniest of eye slits to look at the massive wall post on Ramadan in the library. The library has two large stacks of Islamic books on display. What will it take to show these poor deluded people that their ‘god’ is an idol and their prophet a charlatan pedophile? The power of the true God and His gospel.

Religions and cults are obvious deceptions but perhaps equally as pervasive and much more captivating for the unsuspecting seeker and even believer is this:

THE CHRIST OF ARMINIANISM

7 August 2013 at 14:17

The Christ of Arminianism (Freewillism) Rev. Steven Houck

The Bible warns us that in the last days in which we live there will be many false Christs-those who claim to be Christ but who are imposters. Jesus said, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” (Matt. 24:4-5). We who profess to be Christians must take heed. We must be very careful that we are not deceived. Our calling is to trust, love, and follow the true Christ and Him only. We may have nothing to do with the false Christs who are so numerous in our day.

We know about the Christ of the cults and other religions. He is a good man, a prophet, the first creation of God, a great spirit, a divine idea, or even a god himself. But he is not true and eternal God. He receives his existence from another who is greater than he. He is not the Christ of the Bible. We are not deceived by this Christ. He is a false Christ.

We know about the Christ of Roman Catholicism. They profess that He is true God. He suffered and died for the forgiveness of sin. He arose again, ascended into heaven, and is coming again. But he is not a complete Savior. The Christ of the Roman Catholics can not save sinners without their own good works and the intercession of priests. He is not the Christ of the Bible. We are not deceived by this Christ. He is a false Christ.

There is, however, another false Christ who is much more dangerous than the Christ of the cults and the Christ of Roman Catholicism. He has deceived people for many years and he continues to deceive millions. This Christ is so dangerous that, if it were not impossible, he would deceive the very elect (Matt. 24:24). He is the Christ of Arminianism.

This false Christ is extremely dangerous because in many ways he appears to be the True Christ. They say that he is true God, equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit. They say that he died on the cross to save sinners. They even say that he saves by his grace alone, without the work of man. This Christ will have nothing to do with the Christ of the cults and the Christ of Roman Catholicism.

But watch out! Be warned! The Christ of Arminianism is not the Christ of the Bible. Do not be fooled!

1. The Christ of Arminianism – loves every individual person in the world and sincerely desires their salvation.

The Christ of the Bible – earnestly loves and desires the salvation of only those whom God has unconditionally chosen to salvation. (Ps. 5:5, Ps. 7:11, Ps. 11:5, Matt. 11:27, John 17:9-10, Acts 2:47, Acts 13:48, Rom. 9:10-13, Rom. 9:21-24, Eph. 1:3-4)

2. The Christ of Arminianism – offers salvation to every sinner and does all in his power to bring them to salvation. His offer and work are often frustrated, for many refuse to come.

The Christ of the Bible – effectually calls to Himself only the elect and sovereignly brings them to salvation. Not one of them will be lost. (Isa. 55:11, John 5:21, John 6:37-40, John 10:25-30, John 17:2, Phil. 2:13)

3. The Christ of Arminianism – can not regenerate and save a sinner who does not first choose Christ with his own “free will.” All men have a “free will” by which they can either accept or reject Christ. That “free will” may not be violated by Christ.

The Christ of the Bible – sovereignly regenerates the elect sinner apart from his choice, for without regeneration the spiritually dead sinner can not choose Christ. Faith is not man’s contribution to salvation but the gift of Christ which He sovereignly imparts in regeneration. (John 3:3, John 6:44 & 65, John 15:16, Acts 11:18, Rom. 9:16, Eph. 2:1,Eph. 2:8-10, Phil. 1:29, Hebr. 12:2)

4. The Christ of Arminianism – died on the cross for every individual person and thereby made it possible for every person to be saved. His death, apart from the choice of man, was not able to actually save anyone for many for whom he died are lost.

The Christ of the Bible – died for only God’s elect people and thereby actually obtained salvation for all those for whom He died. His death was a substitutionary satisfaction which actually took away the guilt of His chosen people. (Luke 19:10, John 10:14-15 & 26, Acts 20:28, Rom. 5:10, Eph. 5:25, Hebr. 9:12, I Peter 3:18)

5. The Christ of Arminianism – loses many whom he has “saved” because they do not continue in faith. Even if he does give them “eternal security,” as some say, that security is not based upon his will or work but the choice which the sinner made when he accepted Christ.

The Christ of the Bible – preserves His chosen people so that they can not lose their salvation but persevere in the faith to the very end. He preserves them by the sovereign electing will of God, the power of His death, and the mighty working of His Spirit. (John 5:24, John 10:26-29, Rom. 8:29-30, Rom. 8:35-39, I Peter 1:2-5, Jude 24-25)

As you can see, although the Christ of Arminianism and the Christ of the Bible may at first seem to be the same, they are very different. One is a false Christ. The other is the true Christ. One is weak and helpless. He bows before the sovereign “free will” of man. The other is the reigning Lord Who wills what He pleases and sovereignly accomplishes all that He wills.

If you believe and serve the Christ of Arminianism, you must recognize the fact that you do not serve the Christ of the Bible. You have been deceived! Study the Scriptures and learn of the True Christ. Pray for grace to repent and trust Christ as your sovereign Savior.

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Trinidad

Now we have been here nearly half our holiday I felt it was time for some background information, reflections and, I trust, expressions of faith.

Firstly as we all know it’s not a building that constitutes a church and neither is a house or a location a home but it’s the people in both places that make it a place we love and appreciate. In the providence of God some 28 years ago I fell in love with a Trinidadian girl that God brought into my life while I was serving on a Christian mission ship (MV Logos of OM). Marianna was one of twelve siblings. Her sister Monica, married to Clyde have 4 sons and 2 daughters and live near Mayaro on the east coast of the island, a short walk from the beach. We are always taken such good care of here and some of you will know Jackie and her two children and Michelle from previous visits to Northern Ireland. God has gracious purposes for many of Marie’s extended family. There is only one semi-Reformed church on the island of 1.2 million and it does not fit the bill of being a true church as they are Baptist, church discipline is lacking, the gospel is somewhat compromised and the regulative principle is ignored.

 

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The flag of Trinidad and Tobago-Red for the warmth of the sun and people.

Black for  fortitude and prosperity (pitch, oil, and gas)

White for purity, hope and waves.

This is a subtropical pair of islands where I think the average temperature lies between 32 and 37 C all year and the rainfall 200cm annually  (3 x Ulster) and that in torrents. Insects continually bite and in homes and cars air conditioning makes life much more bearable and a net over your bed is also a blessing.DSCF6625The cost of living is similar to the UK except petrol is a fifth of the price.

The people are of black african descent (from the  first slaves working the sugar plantations) or from the Indian subcontinent (brought in as labour after slavery abolished). The land became independent of Britian in 1962 but there are still many signs of the colonial past including the place names eg Roxborough, Scarborough and Plymouth and the residences around Grand Savannah park in the capital Port of Spain. Nominal or heretical christianity, Islam and Hinduism dominate the spiritual lives of the people who are generally warm and outgoing.DSCF6698

Immorality is widespread and some violent crime.The food is very varied, often spicy yet you can find fast food most towns.The roads are very variable and travelling times are thus longer than you would expect in an island less than 50 miles long! There is much industry based around plentiful offshore oil and gas.

The people live in wooden or stone (block) houses often built by themselves, with plenty ventilation and often on pillars.

Wildlife is everywhere, including the night chorus of cicadas and amphibians, the dawn bird chorus, the ubiquitous green or brown lizards that scuttle around and the ever-present vultures or ‘cobos’ circling in the thermals overhead. Fish are also plentiful and sold by the roadsides as are crabs. Much food comes from the land in the form of fruit like mangoes, coconuts and domestic animals including goats. Stray dogs are everywhere. Of the two islands Tobago is the popular tourist destination because it’s surrounding seas are crystal clear and I can tell you the snorkelling is superb.

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Please join me in praying for the establishment of a Reformed church on these islands.

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Tobago

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Today we were blessed to spend over an hour snorkeling at Goat Island and Little Tobago . We reached there by a glass bottomed boat, based at Blue Waters Inn, Speyside, Tobago. The  number, variety  of size and colour of the species was  remarkable among these ‘aquatic jewels’.  Shoals of largish, ten inch , dark blue ones, some with translucent blue fins  attracted attention but there are also shoals of tiny silver ones in the shallows on the sands. My favourites were the Spotted damsel which is about two inches in length and a dark grey colour but covered in translucent blue spots. Another kind of very thin Pipe fish also has the same spots. The Parrot fish , more than any other, eat the coral  but so do all the rest. Many types of coral and sponges were there.

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On the way home we stopped off at Argyle Falls, a three tiered, series of cataracts gushing into deep pools in which you can swim. If you get near to or under the falls they pommel you mercilessly! I have to say they definitely rival Glenarrif and have the advantage of being  in a warm clime where there is no fear of getting hypothermia (too cold)!

Water (1) Why is it so fascinating and fun?

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What is it about the sea and swimming pool that can keep people amused for hours? Why is water so fascinating and fun?

YOU MUST REMEMBER THAT EVERYTHING GOD HAS CREATED IN THE PHYSICAL REALM HAS SPIRITUAL LESSONS TO TEACH US.

  1. Water supports you (and all kinds of boats)-think of the ark! They were saved by water and in water! Water has the ability to support you-just like grace that is sufficient for us.
  2. Waves-water in circular motion-moves you (and your surfboard or body board)-like the blessed joys of salvation (even this morning I was moved to tears by contemplating His goodness).
  3. Wonders of the deep-you have seen the wildlife, the beautiful fish, some apparently so strange -theology can be like this and His depths are unsearchable.
  4. Travel on it-slowly by sail or at speed by jet-ski-we are all moving towards our destination by growing in grace and we ALL reach it.
  5. Water is often polluted-when we left on the ferry from Port of Spain the stink of raw sewage in the port was overpowering, the cause being gross uncleanliness by man-in contrast the waters of Store Bay, Tobago where we snorkelled and swam with beautiful fish were crystal clear. God’s pure and holy word must never be polluted  by man-made heresy and corrupted doctrine.
  6. There’s a third kind of water after sea and fresh and that is stagnant water. This kind of water  is stuck and going nowhere, often discolored orange. No input and no output. This is like the hypocrite in the church. The wicked servant who was given one talent but hid it because he did not really know the master, of whom he was afraid, and buried that talent. He regularly hears the word but it has no effect and of course he exercises no ministry to others-a sad useless undrinkable pool. Perhaps a place where mosquitoes breed.

You will note I deliberately omitted the aspects of cleansing  (baptism) and the necessity of water for life  (of which Christ is the only source) as much has been written on these aspects . That I address here..

Water is a wonderful picture of the grace and power of God-just like our Lord Jesus said-‘He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.’

 

Rest for God’s people.

 

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The rainbow, first seen in the time of Noah, whose name means rest.

Augustine stated “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”

    If you have ever ‘run your heart out’ in a distance race over 400m (one lap of the track) or further, say a 5K  or even  a marathon, or done a hard day’s work, or been in severe pain you will have experienced the desire, sometimes almost overwhelming for the effort or pain to cease and for rest! Your body cries out “ Stop!” Weak human bodies need rest from their labour!

     When we are away from home travelling, do we not long to be home? Proverbs 27:8 says “As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.” Rest, it seems to me, in Scripture  has this dual meaning of ceasing from labour and being home with your loved ones. A house is only a home when those you love are there. Heaven is our home because He who loves us with an infinite love, The Lord Jesus, is there!

     When God instituted the seventh day Sabbath in Genesis 2:2-3 He gave it to man as a day of resting from his labour, not to be idle, but to take time to worship His God and experience something of the perpetual spiritual rest that we now possess in Christ by faith. We have a foretaste of the rest which will be perfected in heavenly glory. It is a rest the wicked never experience as they are like a troubled sea that never rests, because of their sin and godlessness (Isaiah 57:20).

      I want at this point, to quote from that excellent Expository Dictionary of NT words by W. E. Vine who   in turn quotes J. Patrick in Hastings’ Bible Dictionary,” Christ’s rest is not a rest from work, but a rest in work, not the rest of inactivity but of the harmonious working of all faculties and affections—of will, heart, imagination, conscience—because each has found in God the ideal sphere for its satisfaction and development”–isn’t that brilliant!

    The two main words used for rest in the Old Testament are the one derived from SHABBAT (Sabbath) and another word NUWACH to rest, dwell or let alone, with the idea of a home. The OT quotation in Hebrews 3:18   is from   Psalm 95:10-11 where the Hebrew word MENUCHAH is used which means to repose peacefully, to be consoled (as in marriage) and to dwell or be at home. “Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.” The unbelieving, continually grumbling, idolatrous Israelites who came out of Egypt never entered that rest of the promised land which was a figure of heaven and hence a saving relationship with God. Now we, as New Testament believers, are in the wilderness of this world but nevertheless as believers we know rest.

 NUWACH  in Exodus 33:14 speaks  of God’s  promises of His presence and rest which a new generation of Israelites would inherit. The words MENUCHAH and NUWACH  seem to be used almost interchangeably,“For ye are not as yet come to the rest (MENUCHAH) and to the inheritance, which the LORD your God giveth you. But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the LORD your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest (NUWACH) from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety; Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; ’ (Deut 12:9).

        Solomon prays,” Now therefore arise, O LORD God, into thy resting (NUWACH) place, thou, and the ark of thy strength:” (II Chronicles 6:41). Here he is quoting from His father’s inspired words in Psalm 132:8 (where MENUCHAH is used). So now with the land at peace we have God resting among his people.    

 

       In the New Testament the noun ANAPAUSIS is used by our Lord in Matthew 11:28-29 where He, speaking  to His elect, calls them to Himself by His irresistible grace, from their heavy labour and burden of sin, to rest in Himself. This rest is prophetically spoken of in Isaiah  11:10 ,  “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.” The return from the Babylonian captivity also prefigures our rest in Christ in Isaiah 14:3 “And it shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve.”

 

   In the New Testament Hebrews chapters 3 and 4 speak much about this rest. The verb ‘KATAPAUSIS’ is used which means to settle down and rest. This rest is the rest from one’s vain work to earn salvation, the rest from trying in the flesh to keep the law.

    MENUCHAH and ANAPAUSIS are used again where Isaiah 66:1 is quoted in Acts 7:49,”Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?”  In Psalm 132 in the context of David’s sincere desire to build the temple we read these amazing verses 13 and 14, “ For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.” This underscores the key covenant truth that God desires to dwell among His people and so He does. His elect church  in all ages are Mt Zion, the true eternal heavenly tabernacle which is the Jerusalem above.

      As believers we have the inestimable privilege that God, by His Spirit dwells in us. ‘Know ye not that ye are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you.” (I Cor.3:16). Believers are the temple or dwelling place or rest of God! One of the New Testament words for temple is NAOS the root of which means to dwell.

 Collectively, as an organism,the church is His dwelling, ’In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.(Eph.2:22,23)

     The ANAPAUSIS rest will be our experience in the eternal state as we read in Revelation 14:13 “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”

     So, to sum up. Scripture speaks of a mutual indwelling or rest of God in His people and His people in Him. We rest in Christ’s finished work from our bonded labour in sin. We live our lives seeking to keep that rest of soul by obeying Christ. We look forward to eternal rest in glory from all our labour and also from the wicked  who will be punished. Since all this depends upon God, we glorify Christ accomplishes all this by His Spirit who rests in us now and ultimately will raise us by His power, so that God dwells in us His glorified church forever.

1 John 4:13 ‘Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.’ Beloved saints we are on our way to perfect rest and our eternal home!

 

To listen to the recent sermon series on Hebrews 4 check out: Rest for God’s people CPRC Sermons by Rev Angus Stewart.

The nearness of Christ’s coming.

CPRC Ballymena’s Tuesday morning Bible Studies 2012-2013

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A very necessary study in the face of the errors of premillenialism, postmillennialism, scoffers and sceptics

A summary of the last few weeks.

1.Christ’s coming occurred at fixed times in the past eg His birth, His Transfiguration (II Peter 1:16,17), the sacking of Jerusalem AD70 (Matthew 24:16-20), Pentecost (John 14:18,28). He also comes in His effectual call of His people (John 10:27), for the saint at death (John 14:3), and ultimately at the end of time (II Thess.1and 2).

2.Nearness in time may mean hundreds of years.

‘A little while’ is in Haggai 2:6,7 equal to 520 years) Deuteronomy 4:25-27 (1400BC till 722 and 586BC)Isaiah 29:9-24 (700 years)

3.From God’s perspective where 1000 years are as a day.

Psalm 90:4,10. II Peter 3:8.

4. Scripture speaks of apparent delay.

Christ… Matthew 24:48,25:5,19.

Paul…. in I Thess. It is mentioned as soon at the end of every chapter yet in II Thess.2:2 he lists things that must happen first.

Peter….I Peter 4:7 (at hand) II Peter 3 (the wait)

5.The time between Christ’s first and second comings is called the Millennium (1000 years) and therefore a long period (now over 2000 years!) in the New Testament and  also called the last days (a very short period indeed).

6. The Harvest at the end of the world (of elect and reprobate).

A harvest presupposes patient waiting by the farmer. Matthew 13:24ff and Revelation 14:15ff. Christ waits for the harvest to be ripe-the very last elect and iniquity to be full.

7. Things that must happen first-Cup of world’s iniquity has to fill up and Christ’s cup of suffering (in His church) has also to fill up.

Our prayer must be, ‘Come Lord Jesus, come quickly!

8.The signs of His coming can be categorized into:

a) Signs in creation-Famines,earthquakes,pestilences and signs in the heavens.

b) Signs among the nations-wars

c) Signs in the church-worldwide preaching of the gospel,false christs, apostasy,persecution,abomination that makes desolate and great tribulation.

These are all found in Matthew 24 and Mark 13 and reinforced in Revelation 6 with the four horsemen.

All these signs are footsteps of Christ’s coming and are judgments on the world and mercy to the elect. 

 

Family worship

 

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’  Joshua 24:15

Notes from J.H Merle D’Aubigne  sermon 1827 Paris

1.       The first worship was family worship. eg Abraham and his household. Promise of Matthew 18:19.

2.       Moses  commanded  Israel to teach their children. (also example of Timothy)

3.       In the early church we have the habit of husbands and wives praying and reading the Bible together. (Clement).

4.       Indulging your children with gifts, all their whims, letting them follow their own course-they will grow vain, proud, idle, disobedient, impudent and extravagant. They will treat you with contempt.

5.       In a house where God is forgotten, there is rudeness, ill-humour, and vexation of spirit.

6.       Domestic piety will bring true love and strength in the hour of trial.

7.       There can be liberty of time and form but the Word of God, prayer and singing of Psalms are vital.

8.       The Christian family united in Jesus will ,  without doubt, meet around the throne of glory.

 

Hear Thomas Manton’s Epistle to the reader of the Westminster Confession of Faith (adapted)

The devil hates the kingdom of Christ, and he knows the best way to crush it in the egg, so he  perverts youth (sexually), and seeks to keep people ignorant of (as I was for years) or to supplant family devotions. He strikes at all those duties which are public in the assemblies of the saints; but these are too well guarded by the solemn injunctions and dying charge of Jesus Christ, as that he should ever hope totally to subvert and undermine them; but at family duties he strikes with the more success, because the institution is not so solemn, and the practice not so seriously and conscientiously regarded as it should be, and the omission is not so liable to notice and public censure. Religion was first hatched in families, and there the devil seeks to crush it; the families of the Patriarchs were all the Churches God had in the world for the time; and therefore, (I suppose,) when Cain went out from Adam’s family, he is said to go out from the face of the Lord, Gen. 4:16. Now, the devil knows that this is a blow at the root, and a ready way to prevent the succession of Churches: if he can subvert families, other societies and communities will not long flourish and subsist with any power and vigor; for there is the stock from whence they are supplied both for the present and future.

For the present: A family is the seminary of Church and State; and if children be not well principled there, all miscarries: if youth be bred ill in the family, they prove ill in Church and Commonwealth; there is the first making or marring, and the presage of their future lives to be thence taken, Prov. 20:11. By family discipline, officers are trained up for the Church, 1 Tim. 3:4, One that ruleth well his own house, etc.; and there are men bred up in subjection and obedience. It is noted, Acts 21:5, that the disciples brought Paul on his way with their wives and children; their children probably are mentioned, to intimate, that their parents would, by their own example and affectionate farewell to Paul, breed them up in a way of reverence and respect to the pastors of the Church.

Let every believing family head persevere with the family altar!

Practically speaking, after a meal is best time, and preferably breakfast.

I would add that when on holiday with family or friends, and they are willing to join you, or when in your own home and you have guests,  family worship is blessed witness.

Original full article

 

 

 

 

Blasphemy!

 

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I was contemplating the trial of Christ in the book ‘Upon this Rock’ by Doezema and it struck me that the accusation made by the Sanhedrin of blasphemy was actually true because all His elect people were guilty of making themselves ‘gods’ before their conversion. Exactly the sin of Lucifer (Isaiah 14) and the sin our first parents fell into in Genesis 3. This grievous sin along with all the others, for all His people, for all time, He took upon Himself.

First week in Trinidad.

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We are enjoying ourselves a lot. Monica (Marie’s sister) and her family are great hosts. Lovely food. Lifts to the beach and to visit family etc. Very warm. Air conditioned rooms and car vital unless you want to shower multiple times every day! Went to a church plant in Marie’s home village-‘brethren’ type service but they did sing a few Psalms and the preaching on ‘Discipleship’ was reasonable though, much to our amusement, the preacher burst into song right at the start. But at least our other family members have a ‘church’ of sorts to attend. They badly need Reformation and the regulative principle of worship.