In Hebrews 7:25 we read, “ Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” This is not the first time we read of Christ praying for us viz.,”I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.” (John 17:9) and specifically, “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:32 spoken to Peter). Our on-going salvation depends on the continual intercession of Christ AND our fellow believers viz.,”And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thess.5:23). We will be saved but our intercession for one another is one of the MEANS!
Many Arminians and other gainsayers point to Hebrews 6:4-8 as an example of believers who fall away and are lost. You only have to read verse 9 to see the writer contrasts them with true believers who exhibit the things that accompany salvation. But John Gill’s commentary is helpful, “and have tasted of the heavenly gift:.. there are others who taste, but dislike what they taste; have no true love to Christ, and faith in him; or have only a carnal taste of him, know him only after the flesh, or externally, not inwardly and experimentally; or they have only a superficial taste, such as is opposed to eating the flesh, and drinking the blood of Christ, by faith, which is proper to true believers; the gust they have is but temporary, and arises from selfish principles. And were made partakers of the Holy Ghost; not his person, nor his special grace; there are some who so partake of him, as to be united to him, in whom he becomes the principle of spiritual life, and motion: such have the fruits of the Spirit, and communion with him; they enjoy his personal presence and inhabitation in them; they have received him as a spirit of illumination and conviction, of regeneration and sanctification, as the spirit of faith, and as a comforter; and as a spirit of adoption, and the earnest and seal of future glory; but then such can never so fall away as to perish: a believer indeed may be without the sensible presence of the Spirit; the graces of the Spirit may be very low, as to their exercise; and they may not enjoy his comforts, gracious influences, and divine assistance; but the Spirit of God never is, in the above sense, in a castaway; where he takes up his dwelling, he never quits it; if such could perish, not only his own glory, but the glory of the Father, and of the Son, would be lost likewise: but by the Holy Ghost is sometimes meant the gifts of the Spirit, ordinary or extraordinary, ( 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 ) and so here; and men may be said to be partakers of the Holy Ghost, to whom he gives wisdom and prudence in things natural and civil; the knowledge of things divine and evangelical, in an external way; the power of working miracles, of prophesying, of speaking with tongues, and of the interpretation of tongues; for the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost seem chiefly designed, which some, in the first times of the Gospel, were partakers of, who had no share in special grace, ( Matthew 7:22 Matthew 7:23 ) ( 1 Corinthians 13:2 1 Corinthians 13:3 ).” Gifts are no proof of grace!!
Sung Psalm 119:9-16
Read Hosea 5
Remembering Hosea 8:12, what is included in the written law of God given to Israel by divine inspiration through the pen of Moses? We believe it is the whole Pentateuch (Genesis to Deuteronomy). Evidence pointing to Moses writing these books is plentiful e.g. Ex.17:14, 24:4, 34:27, Numb.33:2 and Deut.31:19. God wrote it and Moses wrote it! Christ also backs this up (John 5:46-47).
The great things of God’s law include so much: Creation, the flood, the history of the patriarchs, the Exodus, the wilderness wanderings, the giving of the law, feasts and the sacrificial and priestly system. This verse is sandwiched between verses describing many (unholy) altars and wrong sacrifices. Hosea also alludes to Deut.32:18 in v 14 where God is Israel’s Maker.
As we have seen, Hosea mentions many instances in the history of God’s people in the Pentateuch and exposes their disobedience to almost all of the ten commandments. Here are more references to the law especially ceremonies: 2:11, 5:6, 6:6 (Lev.1-7),9:4-5, 12:9. Chapter 2:17 fits with Deut.12:3, 4:4 with Deut.17:12, and 5:10 with Deut.19:14.
Hosea is replete with references to breaking God’s law by sin, transgression and treachery. We have the covenant blessings of agricultural prosperity and the multiplication of the people contrasted with the much more prevalent covenant curses of drought, military defeat, captivity and the slaughter of their children. Truly a remarkable book from a remarkable prophet whose renewed mind was full of the knowledge of the Scriptures he had, mainly the law of Moses.
Nice Easter article!
5 Who Tried to Stop Easter… and Failed.
Liz Kanoy | Editor, Crosswalk.com
Here are 5 who tried to stop Jesus’ life, death, or resurrection and failed according to God’s plan:
1. King Herod: The Paranoid Manipulator
King Herod and many of the people he governed did not want to welcome a new King. Herod feared for his throne, and his people feared his vengeance. Once Herod learned information about the Messiah from the Magi, he asked them to return with a location so that he too could worship the King.
But being warned in a dream, the Magi traveled home a different way. Then Herod in his anger and paranoia decided to take matters into his own hands and tried to kill every Hebrew baby boy that fit the age range of the Messiah.
“When Herod realized that he has been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.” –Matthew 2:16
But God sent an angel to warn Joseph in a dream, and he took Mary and Jesus to safety in Egypt. Herod failed to stop the Messiah, and God’s sovereign plan for His Son continued.
2. Satan: The Evil Deceiver
Satan tried to stop God’s plan by tempting Jesus with empty promises and bribes that he could not fulfill. Jesus, both fully divine and fully human, experienced temptation as a man the same way that we do, but He did not yield or sin.
“Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only. Then the devil left him…” –Matthew 4:8-11
Can you imagine the fury Satan felt when Jesus remained strong in His choice to choose us—even to death? Though the Bible does not tell us, I think it is plausible to think that Satan was there at the crucifixion. We know he entered Judas Iscariot; Luke 22:3 says, “Then Satan, entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus.”
If he couldn’t stop God’s ultimate plan, he surely wanted to cause as much pain and havoc as he could while the Messiah suffered on earth. Satan failed, and not only did he lose the battle…he lost the war. God’s plan prevailed unhindered as prophesied.
3. The Sanhedrin/Chief Priests: Wickedly Insecure Men
The Sanhedrin was the supreme council of the Jewish people in the time of Christ and earlier. You can find out more information about the Sanhedrin at BibleStudyTools.com. Matthew 26:59 tells us,
“The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death.”
They really didn’t like Jesus…and their desire was to trap Him into what they considered blasphemy. They already had it set in their minds that they would find a way to execute Him.
“Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed. So they bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate the governor.” –Matthew 27:1
And they didn’t stop there…
“But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.” –Matthew 27:20
They wanted Jesus dead, and they succeeded as God had planned. But they failed in thinking that they were in control; they had no power when it came to Jesus’ life, death, or resurrection…the power and plan was God’s alone. They could not stop the resurrection, nor could they stop the news of it. The tomb was found empty; death could not hold Him. He is risen indeed.
4. Simon Peter: The Brave Defender
Peter tried to stop Jesus from being taken by the Roman guards. He succeeded in cutting off the ear of the high priest’s servant before Jesus stopped him. John 18:10-11 says,
“Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear (The servant’s name was Malchus.) Jesus commanded Peter, ‘Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”
“Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” –Matthew 26:53-54
Can you imagine how hard it must have been for the disciples to accept that Jesus must die to fulfill His plan as Messiah—and that there was nothing they could do to help or stop it? They did not fully understand yet why Jesus must die, and they doubted before they saw Him again. Peter failed to protect the Messiah and save Him from the cross, but later he understood that it wasn’t Jesus who needed saving. Oh what grace God bestows on us.
5. Pontius Pilate: The Reluctant Judge
Even Pilate’s wife tried to dissuade him from crucifying Jesus: “When Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: ‘Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.’” –Matthew 27:19
Crosswalk.com Contributor Dr. Pritchard shares,
“All four gospels make it clear that Pilate knew Jesus was innocent of any crime. If you put the gospel accounts together, it appears that Pilate tried four times to avoid sentencing Jesus to death:”
- He told the Jews to try the case themselves:
“Pilate said, ‘Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.’” –John 18:31
- He sent the case to Herod:
“…When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.” –Luke 23:6
- He tried to placate the Jews by scourging Jesus instead of crucifying him:
“Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. …Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, ‘Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.’” –John 19:1,4
- He tried to make a deal but the people chose Barabbas instead:
“Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews? Asked Pilate, knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.” –Mark 15:9-11
“What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?’ Pilate asked. They all answered, ‘Crucify him!’ When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood,’ he said. ‘It is your responsibility!’” –Matthew 27:22-24
Pilate did not understand Jesus completely, but he knew that He was innocent. Rather than standing up for Jesus at great personal cost, he faltered to blackmail from high-ranking Jewish officials and mob mentality letting the people choose Jesus’ fate as God had planned.
“Pilate’s crime in many ways was worse than the sin of the chief priests. They thought Jesus was guilty and wanted him dead; Pilate knew he was innocent and sent him to die anyway. He stalled and hesitated and tried to pass the buck. He wouldn’t decide so the mob decided for him,” writes Dr. Pritchard.
As believers, we can be thankful that God did not let any man or spirit stop His plan to send His Son to die on a cross and rise from the dead. God’s plan for salvation could not be stopped, and because He paid the only price that could be paid there is hope for all who believe.
Publication date: March 23, 2016
E-Bulletin by Rev. Brian Allenby Christians at Work
‘We hope that you have a blessed and restful Easter’
Saturday 26th March 2016
How Often Should We Pray?
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. — Ephesians 6:18
‘They stand best who kneel most’
How is your prayer life? Is prayer a central and significant part of your life, or is it something you only do when you are with other believers? Is prayer a daily discipline for you, or do you mainly pray when you get in trouble? Do you pray when you are home alone, or do you find that you only pray and worship the Lord when you go to be with the church, or are in the presence of other worshipping and praying people?
To pray regularly requires discipline. Unfortunately, most people are “on-again, off-again” when it comes to prayer. They are faithful for a while, but then they fall out of prayer because they are too tired to get up early, or they become distracted by other things.
But, how often are we supposed to pray? Ephesians 6:18 gives us the answer! It says, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”
The word “always” is taken from the Greek phrase ?en panti kairœ?. The word ?en ?would be better translated at. The word ?panti ?means each and every. You could say that this word ?panti ?is an all-encompassing word that embraces everything, including the smallest and most minute of details. The last word in this Greek phrase is the word ?kairos?, the Greek word for times or seasons. When all three of these words are used together in one phrase (?en panti kairœ?) as in Ephesians 6:18, they could be more accurately translated at each and every occasion.
Ephesians 6:18 conveys this idea:
“Pray anytime there’s an opportunity — no matter where you are or what you’re doing. Use every occasion, every season, every possible moment to pray….”
This clearly tells us that prayer is not optional for the Christian who is serious about his or her spiritual life. According to this scripture, believers are to make prayer a top priority. Yet, unfortunately, prayer is largely disregarded by the average Christian today.
If prayer isn’t a priority in your life right now, why not make it a priority, starting today? You might say, “But I don’t have time to pray.” You have time to do whatever you really want to do. If it’s truly in your heart to pray, you can find the time. And, if your schedule is as busy as you think it is, take Ephesians 6:18 to heart. Grab any available time you can find, and make it your prayer time. Why not start this day right? Make a quality decision to make prayer your first order of business! Easter is a good time to set yourself right in these matters.
I like the way Paul put the same sentiment over in his letter to the Thessalonian Church, especially the way in which the New Living Translation expresses it, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19:
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit.
Thoughts aimed towards heaven turn to prayers-He knows our thoughts! Hence we do not need even set times but they are also vital. You can snack all day but set meals are basic!-JK
Happy [shall he be] that taketh and dasheth thy little ones
against the stones.
Hear John Gill: ” That takes the infants from their mothers’ breasts, or out of their arms, and dashes out their brains against a “rock”, as the word F11 signifies; which, though it may seem a piece of cruelty, was but a just retaliation; the Babylonians having done the same to the Jewish children, and is foretold elsewhere should be done to theirs, ( Isaiah 13:16 ) . Nor is this desired from a spirit of revenge, but for the glory of divine justice, and that such a generation of cruel creatures might be rooted out of the earth;”
Helpful article God’s judgment of the wicked.
I came across a slide called “God-the original baby killer”. While it was written by someone who clearly hated God it still truthfully named places in history where God did just that through his angel or human instrumentality namely: Exodus 12:29, Numbers 31:17 and I Samuel 15:3. The principle of just retribution (eye for eye, tooth for tooth) is also applicable (Obadiah 15).
It ought to be remembered that so-called civilised societies around the world have been responsible for the majority of baby deaths by abortion since time began!
The grounds for walking, running, cycling, canoeing.
We would like to recommend the superb, Christian, weeklong, family holiday conference this summer in Northern Ireland run by the British Reformed Fellowship (BRF)!
“‘Behold, I Come Quickly:’ The Reformed, Biblical Truth of the End” is the rich conference theme. The speeches will cover the glorious return of Jesus Christ and the signs of His coming, the Antichrist or the beast, the two witnesses of Revelation 11 and hopeful, godly living in dark days, plus a lot more! The main speakers are Prof. Engelsma from America and Rev. Lanning from Singapore. The venue is Castlewellan Castle, County Down, and the conference runs from Saturday 16 to Saturday 23 July, 2016.
Two day trips are planned, as well as other activities and good fellowship. Join people from all parts of the British Isles, plus saints from continental Europe, North America, Singapore, the Philippines, Australia, etc.
For more information on July’s British Reformed Fellowship conference in Castlewellan Castle on the end times, including the booking form, go to www.britishreformed.org or phone Mary Stewart on 25 891 851.
In a recent prayer letter from a missionary brother reaching out to unreached people in China he wrote this:
My local pastor co-worker M hopes to be driving his new jeep into the mountains to a town of unreached folk. Well, it’s not a brand new jeep. His original jeep was getting a bit wonky from all the journeys on rough mountain roads, and so he recently traded it in for a more reliable second-hand one. And this has been particularly encouraging for my sister in her children’s ministry…
Second-hand car dealers probably have a dubious reputation the world over, and we made sure M’s quest for
another vehicle was covered with prayer. Once he found the one he liked, M boldly ventured to ask the
dealer for a discount price, stating that the jeep was to be used for church mission work. Amazingly, the dealer
agreed to reduce the price because, so he said, his wife is a Christian and he has been so impressed by the change in
her since her conversion! Great testimony, but that’s only half of it. As M continued in conversation, the
dealer went on to explain how his wife came to faith in Christ. She’s a primary school teacher, and in her class
there’s a remarkable child who stands out from all her classmates because of her loving and caring ways. This little
girl, brought up in a Christian home, shines out as light in the darkness, and that is what drew her teacher to faith in
the Lord Jesus. Her parents may never know this side of heaven how their daughter contributed to a cut-price deal
for M’s jeep, but one day that family will surely hear the words: “Well done, good and faithful servants!”