Witness

A prayer regarding our witness by life and lip….

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Lord keep me from compromise, cowardice and complicity.

Compromise…..the expedient acceptance of standards that are lower than Christ’s.

 Cowardice……. is a trait wherein fear and excess self-concern override doing or saying what is right, good and of help to others or oneself in a time of need.

 Complicity…….the fact or condition of being involved with others in an activity that is unlawful or morally wrong.

What gives us significance?

 

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7 billion people

Our significance as God’s people contrasts markedly with that of those who love the world.

Their significance consists in the world’s adulation, how famous they are and how many follow them on twitter, how many records they sell or how much money they make. They must matter in the big wide world. In contrast Jesus bids us shine in our small corner of the globe, to minister to our near circle of family, friends and especially in church, where the use of our gifts to build up the body of believers by loving service is paramount. As Jesus said about the parading Pharisees, “they have their reward” and it was passing and inconsequential; but to us he says, without fanfare or even recognition, with perhaps only God as your witness, “lay up treasure in heaven.” To the rich fool who died he says,”Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:20-21). Ultimately our significance comes from the facts that God made us and Christ died and rose to redeem us!

 

Christ’s controversies (The Law) Part 4

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This week we looked at the second use of the law of God.

A reminder on how the law is of use…

1) Evangelism

2) Sanctification

3) Politics

The law as our goal and standard of a life of thankfulness for salvation is expounded to it’s depths in the sermon on the mount by Christ in Matthew 5 to 7. Here Jesus takes his disciples aside and tells them what should characterize their lives. The pharisees thought they could keep the law because they dumbed it down and added man-made scruples (witness the rich young ruler and Saul of Tarsus pre-conversion). However God’s holy standard reaches to our very thoughts and motives e.g., thought of lust, covetousness, hatred. We discussed the fact that all false religion and indeed all heresy and liberal religion come from demonic sources (I Tim.4:1). None have a right view of the law of God. True religion as Christ explains it recognizes  spiritual poverty, sorrows over sin, is meek, desires righteousness, is merciful, has peace with God and desires that others do too and causes persecution from an evil world. Christ goes even further commanding his followers to love their enemies by seeking their spiritual welfare by praying for them and doing them good.

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Have you ever wondered?

Have you ever wondered why God made the sky blue and the grass green?

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Why do staff in operating theatres wear usually green or blue scrubs?

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I believe the answer to both questions is that these colours are in the middle of the light spectrum and thus produce less eye strain than red or violet which are at the outer edges of the spectrum.

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How to Come to Worship

by youngcalvinists

Hebrews 10:22. “Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” This verse has four aspects of how we have to come to worship:
1. With a sincere heart: we have to come to worship God with a heart that is fully ready to give all attention to God. We can’t come with hearts that are full of thoughts about ourselves.
2. In full assurance of faith: we have to come in the full assurance that we have been saved by the work of Jesus Christ, and we are his children. We are part of God’s family, and we have to come to worship with that in mind. When we come together with others who are part of God’s family and are assured that we are part of this family through God’s grace, we can thank and glorify God properly in worship.
3. Having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience: we must come to worship God, knowing that we are totally unworthy to be in God’s presence, but yet we still can. Even though we sin all the time, God still welcomes us into his presence, and God’s children have no need to feel guilty being in God’s presence because He forgives all of our sins.
4. Our bodies washed with pure water: We have to use God’s Word to examine our lives and see the sins we commit each day. This is something we have to do not just before the Lord’s Supper, but every time we come into God’s presence in worship. We have to confess the sins we see through God’s Word and His work in our hearts, and then we can draw before Him in purity.
You say this is impossible to do? Well you’re right. It’s not possible–in your own strength. That’s why we have God’s grace though. Through His grace we can come into His presence to worship Him with the proper mindset.
Abbie Eriks

Tribulation

The Greek word THLIPSIS carries the idea of pressure, as of a heavy burden on the spirit, sometimes also in the NT translated trouble, anguish or affliction. A tribulum, Latin word, from which we get the word tribulation is a threshing sledge that was used for centuries BC and AD to separate the wheat grains from the straw and chaff after harvest. It not only pressed down on the wheat but chopped it up as it had sharp stones or blades set into the base of it. In other words it stood for pressure and hurt to the sheaves of wheat. Hence tribulation stands for pressure and hurt to the people of God in the last days and especially the great tribulation under Antichrist.

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The underside of a middle eastern threshing sledge.

However the picture of wheat and chaff, as we know from scripture is a picture of elect and reprobate in the church particularly and when God brings tribulation it is for the specific purpose of separating true from false believers (Matt.13:21, Matt.24:21, Mark 13:19-24). Tribulation is inevitable said our Lord Jesus simply because, we his people are of heaven and not the earth, and the seed of Satan, the reprobate wicked, hate the seed of the woman Eve (Gen.3:15) meaning Christ and the church.

True believers like Paul are able to say that their light affliction is working out for them a greater weight of glory (II Cor.4:17,18). They(we) can exult in tribulation (Rom.5:1-5), it shall not separate us from the love of Christ (Rom.8:35), indeed it produces patience and hope and is to be expected (Acts 14:22). God comforts us and we comfort one another in tribulation (II Cor.1:3,4). In Revelation 2:10 the church in all ages is commanded not to fear, to be faithful and they will be rewarded with the victor’s crown.

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Christ Presenting Himself Before the Father

Belgic Confession, Article 21:

Christ Presenting Himself Before the Father

  by Rev. Martyn McGeown, Missionary-Pastor Limerick Reformed Fellowship.

  John 10:18: “No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of Myself …

 

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  Sometimes we think of Jesus as a victim upon whom God inflicted terrible sufferings. Some have scoffed at Christianity, calling it “slaughterhouse religion.” More recently, certain wicked me have accused God of “cosmic child abuse.” But all such objections to the Gospel of the cross are based on a deliberate refusal to see that what Christ suffered was voluntary. When we see the awful sufferings of Christ in Scripture let us never lose sight of that great truth. Christ was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, but only because He willingly consented to His arrest and gave Himself into the hands of His captors (John 18:4-9). Christ was beaten, spat upon and mocked, but remember His words in Isaiah 50:6: “I gave my back to the smiters and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.” Christ was arraigned before the Jews and then Pontius Pilate, but only because He Himself permitted it. Christ was crucified and suffered the indignities and agonies of the cross, but only because He personally embraced those sufferings as part of the will of God. All of this He sums up in John 10:17-18: “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” Indeed, Christ did not actually die until the moment determined by Himself. He could not have died one second earlier or later than the one appointed by the Father and to which He willingly submitted. The Belgic Confession explains this in these words: “He hath presented Himself in our behalf before the Father to appease His wrath by His full satisfaction.” The Son of God, as it were, appeared before the Father and declared, “Here I am, send me.” And we must be abundantly clear that the Son of God knew exactly the import of His words: “Send me, Father, and I will be born of a virgin, in humble and miserable circumstances. Send me, Father, and I will grow up in relative obscurity and poverty. Send me, Father, and I will preach thy Gospel, do good and keep thy Law, under which I will be born. Send me, Father, and I will be rejected by many, despised and abhorred by men, betrayed, denied and finally put to death. Send me, Father, and I will submit to the indignities of arrest, false imprisonment, a wicked, unjust, public flogging, rejection by the people in favour of a murderer, and finally the agony of crucifixion. Send me, Father, and I will bear in my own body the full weight of thy wrath against the sins of which my elect are guilty.” The book of Hebrews sums it up, quoting Psalm 40, “Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God” (Heb. 10:7). Something legal happened when Christ presented Himself before the Father. The guilt of all our sins was transferred to the account of God’s Son and He undertook to take full responsibility for what we had done and to do what we had left undone and had refused to do. What amazing love is this! Praise Christ, our self-giving, self-sacrificing Saviour! Reproduced with permission and thanks to Rev.McGeown.

Who needs creeds and confessions?

If we do not learn from the great controversies and the historical creeds that were the result, then churches and Christians today are doomed to repeat the mistakes and doctrinal errors that were made then.

” My goal is to increase knowledge of the confessions and demonstrate our connection to the church of the past”- Newsletter Dec.2009 by Rev.Allen Brummel, Pastor of Sioux Falls PRCA organised in 2010.

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plea for creeds.

Your MAP of effectiveness.

  GH%20Map

Your MAP to success! 

Joshua1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

John15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Proverbs 3:5,6. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Meditate on the word, abide, pray (MAP!) Prayer was at the heart of Christ’s effectiveness and it is the key to our usefulness and the basis of everything God accomplishes.It is absolutely necessary to drive back the enemy, demolish his strongholds and advance the kingdom till the end comes.

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