Ezra-God’s building His church.

Ezra is a book about building, building the walls of Jerusalem and the temple of God. Scripture has much to say about building because the church is likened to a building that God, in Christ, is building (Matthew 16:18). I trust as we study this book we will learn how we can play our part in this great construction project. The foundation must be strong, the walls straight, the scaffolding safe, the roof watertight and the house made a home. Follow us (the men of CPRC) in our studies.

 

EzraBUILD

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The building of God’s temple.

Background to study of Ezra-these principles will be vital in understanding the application of the book.

 

  1. God, in Christ is the builder of the church and the ultimate temple of God in heaven. Hebrews 3:3,4. Heb.11:10.Matthew 16:18.Rev.21:2,3.
  2.  Only He ultimately builds it. Psalm 127:1.
  3. Christ is the Rock, foundation and cornerstone. I Cor.3:9,11,14-16. I Peter 2:5,6-8
  4. Ministers and elders lay the foundation and build on it. Romans 15:20. Eph.4:11-16.
  5. The apostles are also foundational. Eph.2:20-22. Rev.21:14.
  6. The church is the rebuilt temple of God which was but a type. Amos 9:11. Acts 15:16.
  7. The word, preached, studied, read, memorized and meditated upon is what edifies. Also Christian fellowship. Acts 20:32. I Thess.5:11. Romans 14:19.I Cor.14:26. Eph 4:29.

 

hand-illustration2The Navigators (illustration)

 

Love the church

Some thoughts from Haggai and Psalm 84

What’s your priority- your own house and life, or God’s church?

Haggai 1:9 ‘Ye looked for much, and, lo it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.’

Seek first the Kingdom-work for it’s advancement…

Haggai1:14 ‘And the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the LORD of hosts, their God..’

Encouragement.. Haggai 2:4 ‘Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts:’

 

The subject of CPRC Men’s BS group Sept 2013 onwards is the Rebuilding of the temple

 

 

Ezra

 

Haggai 2:7 ‘ And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts. Haggai 2:19 Is the seed yet in the barn? yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day will I bless you.’

Attitude to the Lord’s day?

Psalm 84:1 ‘ How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts!’

84:2 ‘My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. 84:4 Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah. 84:10 For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.’ Which is a bit like my job (caretaker) in church now!

And a wonderful promise that I prayed when still single and seeking a wife:

84:11 ‘For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly’. And ‘he who finds a wide finds a good thing!’ Prov.18:22

84:12 ‘O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.’

The privileges of being God’s people

Amos 3:2,3.

‘You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. Can two walk together except they be agreed?’

We, elect people, are known to God in an intimate and loving way, indeed foreknown from before the foundation of the world-loved before time and loved and blessed for all time to come…but, and because of that Fatherly love, God cannot overlook our sin. True all our sins have been atoned for by Christ over 2000 years ago but judgement begins with the house of God and His judgements are in all the earth (Romans 1:18) and effective in the lives of His people. Concerning the remaining sin in our lives, He chastises that we may learn obedience, He teaches us to agree with Him and be at peace.(Heb.12:6, Amos 3:3).

 

Daniel

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Two outstanding lessons from the early chapters:

1) God’s absolute sovereignty (and in particular over our future). cf Eph.2:10

Chapter 4:34 ‘And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:

4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?’

 

2) Daniel’s faith.

6:22’ My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.’

According to Calvin ’He believed therefore in God, not because he hoped for such a miracle (as his three friends had experienced), but because he knew his own happiness to consist in persisting in the true worship of God.’ His attitude was that of Paul who says in Phil.1:21 ‘For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.’

 

A couple of things stand out in the middle chapters of Daniel’s prophecy:

1) Daniel is called by the (arch)angel Gabriel a man ‘greatly beloved’-this is what we all are to God.

2) This is the first time in Scripture that an angel is named and Gabriel stands out as probably the foremost messenger of the Most High-think of the great messages he brought to Zacharias and Mary. But here he is given the task of enabling Daniel to understand the meaning of his visions concerning world empires and their effect on God’s people. Remember as well how an angel strengthened our Lord in the garden.(Luke 22.43).How did he do that? Angels do much for God’s people. Our church CPRC had an enlightening series on angels as we covered the Belgic Confession article 12.

 

Lastly,  providentially the sequential Bible readings for me today are Daniel 10 and Psalm 69 (second half) and they speak of a common theme-the reproach of the people of Israel in captivity, David’s reproach and prophetically Christ’s reproach (esp. Ps. 69:19,20. Daniel’s prayer in 10:12 and the Psalmists in 69:16 are parallel. There follows requests for themselves and imprecations on their enemies which were fulfilled as God’s servant was set on high (69:29), the people restored (69:35) and Christ raised. What wonderful unifying themes we see in Scripture!

 

 

Truth about Islam

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Islam is, first and foremost, a sadistic and totalitarian political ideology. It is a belief system which defines itself by violence, whose spirit is fear and which commands its followers to fight the unbeliever. Even the word itself, “Islam” means submission. It is antithetical to our American ideals. We embrace liberty and free speech, while Islam forbids what we too often take for granted. As civilized people, we support human rights, while the brutal Islamic law, the Sharia, is a never-ending human rights nightmare. In Islam, a woman is worth half of a man, a homosexual is to be executed and a non-Muslim is a second class citizen, lacking in dignity and equality, under a system of apartheid. Islam is a mental illness, born out of the savage mind of a blood thirsty warlord. It’s founder, beheaded those who criticized him and personally engaged in torturing other human beings. This vile and disgusting paedophile “prophet” married a 6 year old child and “consummated” that marriage with her when she was only 9 years old. Because Islam’s founder, Mohammed (Police Be Upon Him) is considered to be the “highest moral example” in Islam, child marriages are common in Islamic societies around the world, even to this day. The cruelty of Islam causes hundreds of millions of women to live under Islamic gender apartheid, even to this day. Slavery is still allowed under Islam, even to this day. Mohammed was a Jew hater, worse than Hitler – because unlike Hitler, when Mohammed went in to murder an entire tribe of Jews, he left no man standing. Consequently, there are perhaps more Muslims, who want to see the entire Jewish race annihilated, in the world today than at any other point in history – and this sick desire is keeping with Islamic teaching. The Jewish women whom Mohammed and his men did not kill, were taken as sex slaves, and to this day the practice of keeping sex slaves is alive and well under Islam. This is how Islam’s founder, Mohammed, met his wife Safia. He killed her husband, her father, her brothers, her tribe, and then he took her for himself. Islamic practices and American ideals are like oil and water. There is no religious freedom in Islam. Under Islamic law, if a Muslim leaves his religion he is to be killed. It is estimated that around 80 percent of all Islamic institutions in America accept some kind of support from Islamic governments that are hostile towards America, or else from terrorist organizations. The teachings and advancement of Islam in America constitute nothing short of sedition and treason. And today, it is reported that the Democratic National Convention will embrace Islam. A house divided against itself will fall. And make no mistake about it, we have been infiltrated – and this is exactly the plan. Barak Obama’s America is an Orwellian nightmare, where we appease our enemies, apologize for our successes, give up our power and shamefully beg those who seek our destruction to like us. Today, as thousands of Islamists are gathering at the DNC to make a political statement that “we are here” they are embraced as “victims” and their savage belief system is ushered in, like Trojan Horse, is as part of the American dream. Is this the America that my grandparents fought to preserve? Is this your America? Will you not fight to preserve it?

 

– Eric Allen Bellimages (1)

God’s everlasting covenant

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God’s covenant is ONE

Gleanings from ‘Doctrine according to Godliness’ by Ron Hanko RFPA

Scripture shows clearly that God’s covenant with Israel is the keeping of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Ex.3:15,16. Gen.17:7.

God’s covenant with Abraham concerning the land had reference to the heavenly land and not earthly Canaan of which he inherited not one square foot. Acts 7:5,Hebrews 11:10.

Are the New Covenant and the Old Covenant (Testament) newer and older revelations of one covenant of grace? Reformed teaching and Scripture teach they are!

The Reformed faith teaches one covenant, one covenant people, Israel being the church of the Old Testament, (Acts 7:38);one sign of the covenant, circumcision and baptism being essentially the same (Col.3:11,12)both being seals of the righteousness of faith; one Saviour and one way of salvation (Acts 4:12);one promise of eternal life in Christ (Acts 2:38,39);and one spiritual fulfilment of all that belongs to the promise (Heb.11:9,10,13-16). It insists too that there is unity between law and grace under both covenants. (Rom.7:12).The Reformed faith insists on a complete unity of the two testaments as a reflection of God’s own unity.

Who are the children of Abraham? True Jews? The answer is believing Jews and Gentiles.(Romans 4:11-16.Galatians 3:7).Philippian gentiles are called the true circumcision in Phil.3:3. Galatians 3:16,29 make clear there is only one Seed: Christ and those in Him and that the true Jerusalem where God dwells is above, the church of the first born and mother of us all.(Hebrews 12:22-24.Gal.4:26).

The identification of Israel as the SPIRITUAL people of God is critical. Our participation in all the blessings and promises of the covenant depend upon it. Only TRUE Jews have any right to the promises –they are not for all who have the name of Jew or Christian but only for those who believe-who are united to Christ by a living faith. Romans 9:6-8.

The purpose of the Law (Ten Commandments) is that they are a guide for a life of thankful obedience to all God’s people, they define and set boundaries to our liberty, Christ is the goal and purpose of the law because it exposes our sin and should lead us to Him.

The covenant with David to establish his kingdom and throne forever (2 Samuel 7:12,13) is fulfilled in Christ (Luke 1:32,33).He is the KING OF THE JEWS, that is all true children of Abraham whom He delivers from their spiritual enemies and earns a place for them in His own heavenly kingdom in the renewed heavens and earth which is the only lasting Kingdom of God. Jesus taught that His kingdom was, and is not, and never shall be, of this world! So don’t expect a ‘millennial reign’! He reigns now.

The place where God dwells with His people, the Old Testament tabernacle or temple is now Christ in the church which is the Mt Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem soon to come down from heaven where He will forever dwell with His people. The covenant is God dwelling with His people.

Preparing one’s ways before the Lord

Rev.James Slopsema

Standard Bearer Nov 1st 2012

In Scripture one’s way refers to the path of one’s life-it includes the goals and the way to attain those goals. There is the path in education, marriage, work and, child-rearing (also church, recreation).As Jotham (2 Chron.27:6) ordered his ways he was conscious of the presence of Jehovah, his covenant God. He constantly looked into the face of Jehovah to see what pleased Him. (James 1:23-25). Live out of Christ by faith with much prayer that you order your ways before the Lord. (Prov.3:5, 6. Psalm 139:23, 24. Ps.25:4). Because Jotham ordered his ways before Jehovah, he became mighty. As we, in the power of the spirit of Christ, order our ways before the face of Jehovah our God, we too will become mighty. We will become mighty to fight against sin and Satan in this life. We will become mighty to serve Jesus Christ in His kingdom.

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Psalm 29

As a family we just read and discussed this Psalm-it was such a blessing I have to share it!

Psalm 29

Theme –The voice of the Lord

V1. We must always ascribe glory to God-that means speak rightly about Him and His glory.

V2. Why? Because  it is His due. Practically this means holy worship in church and by our lives (Romans 12:2). How do we know He(and holiness) is beautiful?  Because His grace is His beauty, Christ was full of grace and He also made so many beautiful things.

V3-8 and 11.What does His voice do? It created the universe, it  thunders, sends forth lightning (which can split great trees which are the largest and biggest living things on the planet), creates earthquakes (making the mountains skip), causes animals to bear young, causes floods,  inspired the Scriptures, calls His people out of darkness (effectual call in regeneration). Think of Christ’s voice calling Lazarus out of the tomb or calming the storm-that is the power of God’s voice.

What will it do?  Raise the dead, destroy Antichrist and his forces, destroy death and bring this world to an end.

V9.  What  we need to do among Christians.

V11. What He promises us, and what we all need daily  namely strength to stand against temptation, in affliction and against opposition and peace in the midst of trouble and anguish.

A wonderful Psalm!oreolewalkingstorm1cedarquake

Bridge Illustration

This simple Bible-based illustration clarified the Gospel for me and led to my conversion.

When shown it I instinctively knew I was on God’s side, because

He had regenerated me.

 

 

This is what the command of the Gospel entails.

It can only happen with God’s sovereign regeneration

of the dead enslaved sinner