We shall overcome!

 

The title of the song of the civil rights movement of the sixties and seventies in the US should apply to God’s people in every age. We are the true overcomers! We shall overcome all our enemies just as Christ overcomes all his.

A word study of “overcome” “overcame” and “overcometh” gives us 35 references half of which are in the books of I John and Revelation which is no coincidence as both were written in the context of persecution.

In the Old Testament history books you would expect the word to be used in the context of battle and so it is-Joshua hearing the people cavorting around the golden calf, sadly overcome by idolatry, says to Moses that it does not sound like the noise of battle and a people either overcoming or being overcome. Later Caleb encourages Israel to go up and possess the land by overcoming all her enemies (Num.13:30). Balak hires Balaam to curse Israel so he and the Moabites can overcome them ( Num.22:10).In  a much later civil war a confederacy of Israel and Syria could not overcome Judah under Ahaz (II Kings 16:5). The later Old Testament books of Song of Songs and the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah have the word used of overpowering love (Song 6:5) and drunkenness where wine overcomes (Is.28:1 and Jer.23:9). In all these instances a powerful force seeks to vanquish a weaker one.

When we come to the gospels the first and very significant reference is used by Christ speaking to the Jewish leaders concerning exorcism of evil spirits in a parable where he, as the stronger man, overcomes Satan, the strong man, and plunders his house (Luke 11:22). The central work of the incarnate Christ was to destroy Satan and his works (Heb.2:14). Later in his ministry Christ clearly teaches that he has overcome the world-he has lived in it amongst all its sinful people  headed by Satan and overcome by never sinning. His overcoming included his being crowned with thorns !

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Evil spirits fight back and overcome the vagabond exorcist sons of Sceva  in the comical account of Acts 19:16!

The theology of overcoming  is Paul’s subject  in Romans where first he teaches that God can never be judged successfully and he is always justified in all his works (Rom.3:4). Later in the epistle he expounds the significance of Christ’s victory and shows how it is bequeathed to us. In  the marvellous verse Romans 8:37 we are called “hyper-conquerors,” the literal meaning of the Greek HUPERNIKAO , we gain a decisive victory through him that loved us, who overcame all his and our enemies in the cross! One way in which we overcome is by not returning evil done to us, for if we do, evil wins getting the sinful response it wants (Rom 12:24).

Before we come to the decisive verses in I John and Revelation, Peter reminds his readers that sin is a power that overcomes people and enslaves them (II Peter 2:19-20 c.f.Rom.6:16-17). This truth is key as humanity are either slaves to sin or slaves of righteousness (Rom.6:14).

The apostle John, the apostle of love, particularly addressing the young believing men, says they have overcome the wicked one, and I would guess this is in relation to their remaining pure from sexual sin (I John 2:13-14). When we come to I John 5:4-5 we reach the climactic core of our victory in Christ. Whoever is born again overcomes the world, sin and Satan by their faith, by their being united to Christ who also overcame defeating sin, death, hell and Satan by his perfect life and obedience unto death FOR US and then granted that same power TO US through his Spirit in regeneration.

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Incidentally when Paul or John wrote, the crown they would have been thinking about was the laurel wreath given to the victor in the Olympic stadium. As believers we strive honestly not just according to the rules of sport or of our government but by God’s rules in his word.

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Christ has, in principle, defeated all his enemies in the cross with Satan being  judged a  liar and murderer and death overcome, but his public victory is in the future  Rev.17:14, 20:14 (c.f. I Cor.15:24-28)

The reward for overcomers is a recurrent theme in Revelation (2:7, 11, 17, 26, 3:5, 12, 21, 21:7)

The rewards include eating of the tree of life and the hidden manna, being given a white stone and a new name, white raiment, power over the nations, having Christ confess us before the Father, being made a pillar, sitting on thrones and inheriting the new heaven and earth.

This victory is ours even though we are overcome physically and killed by antichrist (Rev.11:7 and 13:7). The gracious means of our overcoming are outlined in Rev.12:11 and are the blood of the lamb (our justification), the word of our testimony (confession) and not loving our lives unto death (in other words loving Christ more than life itself and being wholly consecrated to him).

Dear fellow Christian this is our heritage in Christ whether we live or die, we live and die unto the Lord. For however long we must battle against sin, the world, the flesh and the devil , we shall by his grace overcome, win the victory and be crowned, just as Christ our forerunner is gone ahead of us into glory.

 

 

Respectable Sins (Study 3) Questions

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CPRC Men’s Bible Study

Respectable sins     Study 3      Chapter 8 and 10

Scheduled Sept 19th 2015

Ungodliness and un-thankfulness

 

  1. How would you define ungodliness? (See Jude 15 and Rom.1:18).

Why are we so prone to this?

How does it differ from unrighteousness?

Are the ungodly wicked?

2. How can we train ourselves in godliness? (I Tim.4:7).

3. Do you think Bridges is correct in saying “ungodliness is apt to be the root cause of other sins” and that we are all guilty of it?

4. Explain James 4:13-15.

5. Why is Colossians 1:9-10 such a model prayer?

6. Why is un-thankfulness a characteristic of ungodly people? (Rom.1:21) How is it expressed?

7. Count some of your blessings.

8. Why should we be thankful for everything? (Acts 17:24-25, I Thess.5:18).

9. Why should we be thankful even if the situation is disappointing or difficult?

10. How can we by faith believe and thank God even in difficulties?

Can you share a time when you either could or could not do this? What lesson did you learn?
Pray for the desire and ability to grow in godliness and thankfulness.

Respectable sins (Study 2) Answers)

Study  2 (Chapters 4-6)

respectable sins

Reading  Mark 15

  1. Salvation consists:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       a) Forgiveness from guilt of sin (justification) Rom.5:1 and imputed righteousness.                                                                                                                    b) Freedom from power of sin Rom.6:18. (sanctification)                                                                                                                                                                                                                    c) Freedom from presence of sin (glorification) Col.1:14, 21-22.
2. The great motive for our battle against sin is gratitude (for what Christ did for us) Heidelberg LD 32. His love in the cross, his power by the Spirit and the fact our victory is certain should all motivate us.
3.The fact all our sins past, present and future are all forgiven lets us honestly and unashamedly face up to, confess and forsake our sins. We have nothing to fear except the consequences. Confession means we agree with God’s assessment. Repentance is a continuing necessity.
 4. Scripture (the royal law) and the work of the Spirit convict us of sin (Heb.4:12).
5. Throughout Scripture we have verses assuring us of forgiveness e.g. Psalm 103, Rom.5, Rom 8:15-16 almost all the epistles e.g.Col.2:13, I John 2:12, Eph.1:6-7.
6.God promises that thirsting we shall eventually be filled (last day), mortifying we can overcome, confessing we shall be cleansed. His purpose is to conform us to his Son and the Son continually intercedes for us.
7. Scripture needs to be in our heart and mind to be used by the Spirit as Psalm 119:9-11 teaches. It is the standard (plumb line, spirit level, bull’s eye).
8. Sin deceives us, the promise of pleasure, the denial of consequences, the idea God withholds good and our perverse desire to be independent conspire to cause us to sin. Lack of conviction may be due to God withholding grace.
9. As we pray in line with Psalm 139:23-24, Psalm 51 and I John 1:9 God exposes sin (especially motives), grants repentance, cleanses and empowers us to overcome as promised in I Cor.10:13. A word study on “overcome” or “overcometh” would be enlightening (to follow).

 

Christian Sabbath observance

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How do you spend your Sundays? Reformed Christians call Sunday the LORD’S day because they believe it is the Christian Sabbath, the day Christ rose, the day he poured out his Spirit, the first day of the week.

Do you go to church twice, if there are two services?

Do you play sport, watch TV, play on your I phone?

It ought to be a day wholly set apart for private and public worship of God and not doing our own pleasure (Isaiah 58:13).

Check out the following:

Here is the Westminster Shorter Catechism’s explanation of keeping the Sabbath Day:

 

Q. 58. What is required in the fourth commandment?

A. The fourth commandment requireth the keeping holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his word; expressly one whole day in seven, to be a holy sabbath to himself.

 

Q. 59. Which day of the seven hath God appointed to be the weekly sabbath?

A. From the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, God appointed the seventh day of the week to be the weekly sabbath; and the first day of the week ever since, to continue to the end of the world, which is the Christian sabbath.

 

Q. 60. How is the sabbath to be sanctified?

A. The sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy resting all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days; and spending the whole time in the public and private exercises of God’s worship, except so much as is to be taken up in the works of necessity and mercy.

 

Q. 61. What is forbidden in the fourth commandment?

A. The fourth commandment forbiddeth the omission or careless performance of the duties required, and the profaning the day by idleness, or doing that which is in itself sinful, or by unnecessary thoughts, words or works, about our worldly employments or recreations.

 

Q. 62. What are the reasons annexed to the fourth commandment?

A. The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment are, God’s allowing us six days of the week for our own employments, his challenging a special propriety in the seventh, his own example, and his blessing the sabbath day.

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The Decathlon

This track and field event for men is the greatest test of all round athletic ability and is a competition in track and field in local and national and international competition including the Olympic Games. The ten events in order are:

Day one-100m, Long Jump, Shot Put, High Jump and 400m.

Day two-110m hurdles, Discus, Pole vault, Javelin and 1500m.

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There have been many great exponents over the years including the young Bob Matthias who won in 1948 aged 18, Daley Thompson of GB who kept beating the Germans, Thomas Dvorak and Roman Sebrle of Czechoslovakia, and the latest, featured in red above Asthon Eaton of USA.

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Ashton Eaton current world record holder from the USA.

The breakdown of his world record

New world record 9045 points   Beijing World Champs 29/8/2015

Day One  4703

Day Two  4342

 

http://www.iaaf.org/news/report/beijing-2015-decathlon-1500m

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Eaton (Wikipedia)

 

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Thompson.

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Interview with Sebrle

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Dvorak.

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Matthias.

 

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Athletic builds: Small light distance runners, bigger middle distance runners and a heavier muscular decathlete.    Each event scores points measured roughly as 1000 points equals world record. So you can see 9,000 points is an average of 90% world record performances. Each event is a saga or story unfinished till the last event with fortunes ebbing and flowing. It still excites me and perhaps some day I’ll finish another one!

The greatest seen here in a documentary…

 

 

Hosea (History 3)

Sung Psalm 46 (note references to Jacob)

Read Hosea 12.

Why did Hosea single out Jacob and not Abraham or Isaac as the historical figure on whom to base this message? Because Jacobs sons exclusively became the twelve tribes whereas some of Abraham’s (by Keturah) and Isaac’s (Esau) were outside the people of God.

Hosea knew his Scriptures and by the Spirit added more to them. He assumed his audience also knew them. Note the history happened around 1700BC, Moses wrote it down around 1400BC and here Hosea is recalling it around 750BC.

This is the only place in Scripture where a prophetic writer weaves the history of a patriarch into a message moving back and forward in that patriarch’s history.

References to Jacob include:

V3 Genesis 25:22-26 and 32:24-32 untitled.png 3
V4 Genesis 28:11-22 and 35:1-7 untitled
V5 Genesis 28:11-15
V12 Genesis 28 and 29

Why the references to Jacob? His name means “heel-holder or supplanter”.

He twice wrestles, firstly with his brother and secondly with the angel.untitled.png 2

He becomes Israel meaning “prince with God”.

He is promised covenant blessings (seed, kings, land, God’s help and presence).

Exactly why Hosea singles him out we shall see next time.

The perfect pitch of angelic praise.

Sermon on Revelation 7:11-12 by Rev Brian Huizinga.

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Sermon

Notes: Interlude between 6th and 7th seals.

The angels’ “amen” means this is truth, we agree with the confession of the elect multitude.

They praise the revelation of God as shown in salvation.

The angels serve our salvation and have a great interest in it (I Peter 1:12).

Glory to God as he redeems and judges.

“Blessed” means speak well of.

“Wisdom” we would never have thought of salvation in the way of sin.

It is wickedness (in man and Satan) to speak as if there was no absolute truth-this is it, the purpose of all things, the sevenfold acclamation of God in perfect praise.

Office of Deacon

 

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Notes from message by Rev. A Lanning (C.E.R.C Singapore).

Reading Deuteronomy 17:14-18:8

There are O.T and N.T. equivalent offices namely:  Prophet is now pastor/teacher

Priest is now deacon, to show mercy.

King is now elder to rule.

Each are called and equipped to minister in the Lord’s name.

Deacons are to show compassion and sympathy that is expressed in acts of mercy meeting physical needs and spiritual  mercy.

They are to diligently collect and prudently and liberally give on behalf of the congregation.

The congregations duty is to: 1) Receive them  2) Give and 3) Look to them (rather than government/social security)

There will always be poor and through them we are reminded of our spiritual poverty and Christ’s riches.

“It is what we believe about Scripture more than anything else that sets us apart.” – August 2015 “Standard Bearer” – Prof.R. Cammenga

So true and mirrors my last blog post on Scripture being equivalent to Christ in print!

Standard Bearer

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The Three R's Blog

SB-Aug-2015-coverThe latest issue of The Standard Bearer has been published and is now available. The August 2015 issue (the “SB” is published monthly in the months of June, July, and August; otherwise bi-monthly) contains a fine variety of articles once again – from a meditation on 1 Cor.12:3 to material on Reformed doctrine, world and life view, missions, and family matters (cf. cover image to the left; click on it to enlarge).

One of the featured articles is the latest installment on the Second Helvetic Confession from the pen of Prof.R. Cammenga (PRC Seminary). In this article he expounds Chapter I,B of this Reformed confession, “Of the Holy Scripture Being the True Word of God.”

Here are his opening lines as he introduces his conclusion to Chap.1:

Fundamental to everything that the Reformed Christian believes and confesses is the truth of sacred Scripture: “…in this Holy Scripture, the universal Church…

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