What is the armour of God by which Christians do battle with the devil, the flesh and the world. Truth the belt, righteousness the breastplate, salvation the helmet, the gospel the shoes, faith the shield, the word as the offensive sword. Christ by his Spirit is ALL these to us. Not by power, nor by might (fleshly), but by my spirit saith the Lord. The Spirit fights against the flesh, he is Spirit of truth, he is the Spirit of faith and imputed righteousness, he is our shield, the Spirit who brings salvation and the Spirit who inspired and uses the gospel of the word to call and conquer. Putting on the armour of God is putting on Christ, recognizing all he has done for us and our privilege being united to him, it is being filled with the Spirit and praying without ceasing. The battle is always the Lord’s by his Spirit and his Spirit is in us!
Sung Psalm 16:1-7 (note esp. vv 5,6)
Reading Ezekiel 48
This is one of the most obscure chapters in Scripture.
Points to note:
- The division of the land is stylized in strips from east to west for each of the twelve tribes.
- The most important tribes are nearest the centre and those descended from Jacob’s concubines furthest away.
- In comparison with Joshua’s division, the land size is bigger especially in the north with none on east bank of Jordan.
Interpretations: Pre-millennial dispensational. Christ returns to set up a Jewish millennial kingdom in Israel because the detail demands it and it compares with the plans for tabernacle and temple and Joshua’s division. It is literal not allegorical. It is future. The prophets did not speak of the church age.
Amillennial (Reformed) view: There is no literal millennium. We are in the last days now. Ezekiel is prophetic and visionary (40:2) comparable to Zechariah and John’s Revelation. The genealogies are all forgotten-the Jews have no idea of what tribe they are. Any literal millennial kingdom is a retrograde step because God’s people (the church) are not catholic (Jews only), not apostolic (the apostles clearly teach that the OT was written for the church (Acts 15, Rom.15:16, I Cor.10:11, I Pet.1:12), not united and not all holy (ceremonial uncleanness occurs again and the Levites are separated). Also the Mosaic law is changed.
Much in these chapters fit with the new heavens and earth e.g. Trees and river (47:7 c.f. Rev.22:12) and gates (48:31-34 c.f. Rev.21:12-13,25). The key to interpretation is that the prophets portray the glory of the church (in the NT age and age to come) using OT imagery. The Spirit is like oil, wine, harvest, a river. Messiah is the lamb. Our eternal inheritance is the land.
The context: Ezekiel is exiled, he is a priest without a priesthood, the land has been overrun and the people taken captive.
Message by Rev.Andrew Lanning, CERC Singapore.
Faith in Scripture often compared to gold (I Peter 1).
“It should fill us with joy, that infinite wisdom guides the affairs of this world. Many of its events are shrouded in darkness and mystery, and inextricable confusion sometimes seems to reign. Often wickedness prevails, and God seems to have forgotten the creatures that He has made. Our own path through life is dark and devious, beset with difficulties and dangers. How full of consolation is the doctrine that infinite wisdom directs every event, brings order out of confusion, and light out darkness, and, to those who love God, causes all things, whatever be their present aspect and apparent tendency, to work together for good.”
by: J.L. Dagg
Thanks Nil Bansale
III 5 Free grace brings unconditional election
IV 2 Image of God is knowledge, righteousness and true holiness
IV 5 God is gracious to his people
IV 6 God withholds grace from reprobate
VI 1,2 Total depravity of man, fallen from righteousness
VII 3 Covenant of grace is ratified by Christ and for the elect
VIII 3 Christ is full of grace
X 1,2 Grace and salvation comes by Christ causing among his people a willingness to come and respond to his effectual call
XI 3 Justification is by grace
XII Adoption is by grace and God is on a throne of grace
XIII 3 We are called to grow in grace
XV 1,3 Repentance is an evangelical grace. Grace is in Christ.
XVI 3 Graces are received by the Holy Spirit
XVII 2 Covenant of grace
XVIII 1,2 Elect may be assured of being in a state of grace by their faith, love, godly walk and evidence of graces
XIX 7 The law is not contrary to grace of the gospel
XXVI 1 We have fellowship in Christian grace and communion in each other’s graces
XXVII, XVIII 1,1 The sacraments (baptism and Lord’s Supper) are signs and seals of the covenant of grace and put a visible difference between church and world
From the above references grace is only for God’s elect, it is always particular just as the atonement was, and it renews them in the image of God, calling them out and separating them from the ungodly world who being totally depraved have nothing of that image.
JOHN OWEN ON GRACE:
1. Grace of personal presence and comeliness (beauty). So we say, “A graceful and comely person,” either from himself or his ornaments. This in Christ is the subject of near one-half of the book of Song of Solomon; it is also mentioned, Psalm. 45: 2 and John 1:14, “Thou art fairer than the children of men;grace is poured into thy lips.” Those inconceivable gifts and fruits of the Spirit which were bestowed on him, and brought forth in him, concur to his personal excellency;
2. Grace of free favour and acceptance. “By this grace we are saved;” that is, the free favour and gracious acceptation of God in Christ. In this sense is it used in that frequent expression, “If I have found grace in thy sight;” that is, if I be freely and favourably accepted before thee. So he “giveth grace” (that is, favour) “unto the humble,” James 4:6; Gen. 39:21, Acts 7:10; 1 Sam. 2:26; Paul introduces most of his epistles or ends them with a doxology that equates grace with Jesus Christ-indeed there is NO GRACE outside of Christ-JK.
3. The power of God producing the fruit of the Spirit, saving, sanctifying and renewing our natures, enabling unto good, and preventing from evil, are so termed. Thus the Lord tells Paul, “his grace was sufficient for him;” that is, the assistance against temptation which he afforded him, Titus 2:10, I Peter 5: 10-12, Col. 3:16; 2 Cor. 8:6, 7; Heb. 12: 28.
There is no grace outside of Christ for mankind in general, specifically the reprobate wicked-JK
The Land (Cont)
Sung Psalm 43
Reading Judges 11:12-28
Jephthah recounts the history of Israel in his dispute with the king of Ammon showing that the Land east of the Jordan was rightfully the possession of Israel and for 300 years.
Ruth is the story in which her future mother-in-law Naomi leaves God’s church in Israel along with husband Elimelech and her two sons which resulted in the death of all three men. By grace she is brought back to the land and provided with a godly husband Boaz.
David (I Sam.26:19) implies that being forced to leave Israel and the temple was actually leaving God’s worship and Psalm 43 may well have been penned under those circumstances when hunted by Saul.
Naboth had his land coveted by Ahab but he knew it being his father’s inheritance stood for his eternal salvation and a place in the new heavens and earth, so he refused to part with it and put his seal on his faith and hope by dying for that inheritance (c.f.Esau).
Ahab and Naboth.
Next week prepare by reading Ezekiel 48 (or 40-48).
John Owen continues: I shall only add that of Prov. 9:1–5, “Wisdom has builded her house, she has hewn out her seven pillars; she has killed her beasts; she has mingled her wine; she has also furnished her table. She has sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city, Whose is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.” The Lord Christ, the eternal Wisdom of the Father, and who of God is made unto us wisdom, erects a spiritual house, wherein he makes provision for the entertainment of those guests whom he so freely invites. His church is the house which he has built on a perfect number of pillars, that it might have a stable foundation: his slain beasts and mingled wine, wherewith his table is furnished, are those spiritual fat things of the gospel, which he has prepared for those that come in upon his invitation. Surely, to eat of this bread, and drink of this wine, which he has so graciously prepared,
is to hold fellowship with him; for in what ways or things is there nearer communion than in such?
“And because the number of the saints is gathered by no preceding merits, as was said, but only by the gratuitous will of God concerning such, correctly John, about to write to the seven churches which are located in Asia, puts forth the heading of his greeting, saying: Grace to you and peace from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ (Rev. 1:4-5). For, grace is said to be something that has been given freely, not something paid as a reward, but something conferred freely through kindness. For, when this grace shined within us, we, from enemies were led back to friendship with our Creator, from ungodly were made godly, and from servants of sin were adopted as children of righteousness. Every day we are illuminated by this preceding grace so that we may be able to see where we should place our step regarding good work. We are guarded by subsequent grace so that in the end we are not bitten by a serpent in the heel. By this grace we are incited to good work, but having been incited, unless that grace supports what it has incited, we are unable to complete that same work. On this Paul says: The will is present with me, but to do good I do not find (Rom. 7:18). Accordingly, therefore, the will that is present with you, is only because you received it by grace, as you yourself said in another passage: What do you have that you did not receive? (1 Cor. 4:7) Therefore, just as the will was present with Paul because he received this very thing by grace, so he did not find it to do good unless that very grace, which gave him the will, supported it. Accordingly also, the same Apostle says again: It is God who works in you both to will and to do his good pleasure (Phil. 2:13). For, John, Peter, and Paul, when they were about to write to believers, put forth this grace in the heading of their greetings in their writings.”
Ambrose Autpert (730-784), Expositio in Apocalypsin. On Rev 1:3
Thanks Andy Underhill (USA)
Our fellowship with him is characterized by: (1.) Sweetness. (2.) Delight. (3.) Safety. (4.) Comfort.
Safety: “His banner over me was love,” Song of Songs 2:4. The banner is an emblem of safety and protection, — a sign of the presence of an host. Persons belonging to an army do encamp under their banner in security. It is also a token of success and victory,Ps. 20: 5. Christ has a banner for his saints; and that is love. All their protection is from his love; and they shall have all the protection his love can give them. This safeguards them from hell, death, — all their enemies. Whatever presses on them, it must pass through the banner of the love of the Lord Jesus. They have, then, great spiritual safety; which is another ornament or excellency of their communion with him.
Support and consolation, (2:6), “His left hand is under my head, and his right hand
does embrace me.” Christ here has the posture of a most tender friend towards any one in sickness and sadness. The soul faints with love, — spiritual longings after the enjoyment of his presence; and Christ comes in with his embraces. He nourisheth and cherisheth his church, Eph. 5:29; Now, “the hand under the head,” is the support of sustaining grace, in pressures and difficulties; and “the hand that does embrace,” the hand upon the heart, is joy and consolation; —in both, Christ rejoicing, as the “bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride,” Isaiah 62:5. Now, thus to lie in the arms of Christ’s love, under a perpetual influence of support and refreshing, is certainly to hold communion with him. And hereupon, (Song of Songs) 2:7, the spouse is most earnest for the continuance of his fellowship, charging all so to demean themselves, that her Beloved be not disquieted, or provoked to depart. In brief, this whole book is taken up in the description of the communion that is between the Lord Christ and his saints;
John Owen (abridged)
Friendship of David and Jonathan reflects something of Christ’s covenant love to his people: