The Christian in Complete Armour (6)

Again, consider the Christian and any duty of God’s worship, still his strength is in the Lord.

  1. Prayer. Would he pray? Where will he find materials for his prayer? Alas, he ‘knows not what he should pray for as we ought,’ Rom. 8:26. Let him alone, and he will soon pray himself into some temptations or other, and cry for that which [it] were cruelty in God to give; and therefore God puts words in our mouths:‘Take with you words and say,’ Hosea 14:2. Well, now he hath words put into his mouth. Alas, they will freeze in his very lips, if he hath not some heart-heating affections to thaw the tap. And where shall this fire be had? Not a spark to found on his own hearth, except it be some strange fire of natural desires, which will not serve. Whence then must the fire come to thaw the iciness of the heart, but from heaven? The Spirit, he must stretch himself upon the soul, as the prophet on the child, and then the soul will come to some kindly warmth and heavenly heat in its affections. The Spirit must groan, and then the soul will groan. He helps us to these sighs and groans which turn the sails of prayer. He dissolves the heart and then  prayer bursts out of the heart by groans of the lips by heavenly rhetoric, out of the eyes as from a flood-gate with tears. Yet further, now the creature is enabled to wrestle with God in prayer, what will he get by all this? Suppose he be weak in grace, is he able to pray himself strong? This drops from heaven also: ‘In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul,’ Psalm  138:3. David received it in duty,  but from his God. He did not pray himself strong, but God strengthened him in his prayer.
  1. Hearing the Word. Well, cast your eyes once more upon the Christian, as engaging in another ordinance of hearing the word preached. The soul’s strength to hear the Word is from God. He opens the heart to attend, Acts 16:14, yea, he opens the understanding of the saint to receive the Word, so as to conceive what it means. David sat for half a year under the public lectures of the law, and the womb of his heart shut up, till Nathan comes, and God with him, and now he conceives presently, yea, and brings forth the same day, falls presently into the bitter pangs of sorrow for his sins, which went not over till he had cast them forth in that sweet 51st Psalm. Why should this one word work more than all the former, but that now God struck in with his word, which he did not before? He is therefore said to ‘teach his people to profit,’ Isaiah 48:17. He sits in heaven that teacheth hearts. When God’s Spirit, who is the headmaster, says thus and thus conceive of such a truth, improve such a promise —presently the eyes of his understanding open, and his heart burns within him while he speaks to him. Thus the Christian’s strength (to pray and hear the word) is in the Lord.’

Now we shall give some reasons.

The Christian in Complete Armour (5)

 ‘Be strong in the Lord’ means plainly that the saint’s strength lies in the Lord, not in himself.  The strength of every saint, yea, of the whole host of saints, lies in the Lord of hosts. God can overcome his enemies without their hands, but they cannot so much as defend themselves without his arm. It is one of God’s names, ‘the Strength of Israel,’ I Sam. 15:29. He was the strength of David’s heart; without him this valiant worthy
(that could, when held up in his arms, defy him that defied a whole army)
(spurred on-JK) by the words from the Philistine’s mouth.  David said, ‘He (God) taught his fingers to fight,’ and so is the strength of all his saints in their war against sin and Satan. Some propound a question, whether there be a sin committed in the world in which Satan hath not a part? (I guess NOT-JK). But if the question were, whether there be any holy action performed without the special assistance of God concurring, that is resolved, ‘Without me ye can do nothing,’ John 15:5. Thinking strength of God, ‘Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God,’ II Cor. 3:5.  To will is more than to think, to exert our will into action more than both. These are of God:  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure,’ Phil. 2:13. He makes the heart new, and having made it fit for heavenly motion, setting every wheel, as it were, in its right place, then he winds it up by his actuating grace, and sets it on going, the thoughts to stir, the will to move  towards the holy object presented; yet here the chariot is set, and cannot ascend the hill of action till God puts his shoulder to the wheel: ‘to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not,’ Rom. 7:18. God is at the bottom of the ladder, and at the top also, the Author and Finisher, yea, helping and lifting the soul at every rung, in his ascent to any holy action. Jesus prayed,  ‘Father, keep them,’ John 17:11; as if he had said, they must not be left alone, they are poor shiftless children, that can neither stand nor go without help; they will lose the grace I have given them, and fall into those temptations which I kept them from while I was with them. This is preserving grace-JK.

The Christian in Complete Armour (4)

2. The Christian is to walk contrary to the world, Rom.12:2. We are commanded not to be conformed to this world, that is, not to accommodate ourselves to the corrupt customs of the world.  Some will hoot and mock him, shame is that which proud nature most disdains, to avoid which many durst not ‘confess Christ openly,’ John 7:13. Persecution will come (II Tim.3:12) as with Daniel and the three Hebrew friends.

3.The Christian must keep on his way to heaven in the midst of the apostasy and false professors.  We had need of a holy resolution to bear up against such discouragements, and not to faint; as Joshua, who lived to see the whole camp of Israel, a very few excepted, revolting, and in their hearts turning back to Egypt, and yet with an undaunted spirit maintained his integrity, yea, resolved though not a man beside would bear him company, yet he would serve the Lord.

4. The Christian must trust in a withdrawing God, Isaiah. 50:10. Let him that
walks in darkness, and sees no light, trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.  And trust delay or a negative answer to prayer-JK.

5. The believer is to persevere in his Christian course to the end of his life:
“his work and his life must go off the stage together. This adds weight to every
other difficulty of the Christian’s calling, few can bear it as a constant
trade. O, this persevering is a hard word! this taking up the cross daily, this praying always, this watching night and day, and never laying aside our clothes and armour, I mean indulging ourselves, to remit and unbend in our holy waiting on God, and walking with God. This sends many sorrowful away from Christ, yet this is a saint’s duty, to make religion his every-day work, without any vacation from one end of the year to the other. These few instances are enough to show what need the Christian hath of resolution. ”

Gurnall goes on to make two vitally important points. If we are to stand and persevere:

  1. We must know God and be established in our faith. Daniel 11:32, I Thess. 3:2,         I Peter 5:10.
  2. We must have a fixed purpose to please and glorify God. Psalm 86:12, II Tim. 2:4

The Christian in Complete Armour (3)

Why the battle?  On what fronts is it fought?

  1. The Christian is to proclaim and prosecute an irreconcilable war against the flesh (the old man) and his bosom sins; those sins which have lain nearest his heart, must now be trampled under his feet.  Now what courage and resolution does this require? You think Abraham was tried to purpose, when called to take his ‘son, his son Isaac, his only son whom he loved,’ Gen. 22:2, and offer him up with his own hands, and no other; yet what was that to this? Soul, take thy lust, thy only lust, which is the child of thy dearest love, thy Isaac, the sin which has caused the most joy and laughter, from which thou hast promised thyself the greatest return of pleasure or profit;  lay hands on it and offer it up: pour out the blood of it before me; run the sacrificing knife of mortification into the very heart of it; and this freely, joyfully,  our lust will not lie so patiently on the altar, as Isaac, or as a ‘Lamb that is brought to the slaughter which was dumb,’ but will roar and shriek; Satan will say why bother it’s only a small sin or it’s in secret…..Samson, the strongest man ever, was slain by lust for women-JK

The Christian in Complete Armour (2)

Gurnall states, “The devil had as good have let Paul alone, for he no sooner
comes into prison (in Rome) but he falls a preaching, at which the gates of
Satan’s prison fly open, and poor sinners come forth. Happy for
Onesimus that Paul was sent to jail; God had an errand for Paul to do
to him and others, which the devil never dreamed of. Nay he doth not
only preach in prison, but that he may do the devil all the mischief he
can, he sends his epistles to the churches, that tasting his spirit in his
afflictions, and reading his faith, now ready to be offered up, they
might much more be confirmed; amongst which Ephesus was not least…”

PART ONE

He begins his exposition of Ephesians 6 with a Sweet and Powerful Encouragement to the War: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord,
and in the power of his might.” — Eph. 6:10

THE WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT TO BATTLE:  just as with Joshua 1:5-8 (JK)

“There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest. 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. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”  “Why must the Christian soldier be strong? …………………………. but that thou mayest ‘observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee,’ . It requires more prowess and greatness of spirit to obey God faithfully, than to command an army of men; to be a Christian than a captain. What seems less, than for a Christian to pray? yet this cannot be performed aright without a princely spirit: as Jacob is said to behave himself like a prince, when he did but pray; The Christian in prayer comes up close to God, with a humble boldness of faith, and takes hold of him, wrestles with him; yea, will not let him
go without a blessing, and all this in the face of his own sins, and divine justice,
which let fly upon him from the fiery mouth of the law; ” Prayer is the front line of the battle!-JK. But remember, “The battle is the Lord’s” (I Sam.17:47).

The Christian in Complete Armour

I plan to summarize this Puritan book for the benefit of fellow Christians:

William Gurnall

A Treatise
Of the Saints’War against the Devil:
Wherein a Discovery is made of that grand Enemy of God and his People, in his Policies, Power, Seat of his Empire, Wickedness, and chief design he hath against the Saints.
A Magazine Opened,
From whence the Christian is furnished with Spiritual Arms for the Battle,
helped on with his Armour, and taught the use of his Weapon: together with the happy issue of the whole War.
ByWilliam Gurnall, M.A.,
Of Emanuel College, Pastor of the Church of Christ, Lavenham, Suffolk.

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his
might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand
against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and
blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of
the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may
be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and
having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with
the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of
faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the
wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit,
which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and
supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all
perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that
utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to
make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador
in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”
— Ephesians 6:10-20.

Covenant Consecration (19)

 

Sung  Psalm 67 (mission Psalm)

Reading  Isaiah 66:15-24

This rich portion of prophesy speaks of a sign among the Jews who is Jesus Christ who has come (Luke 2:34) attested to in the four gospels. Those Jews who escape judgment (v v 15,16) by Babylon and God’s judicial hardening) i.e. believers are sent (as apostles and missionaries in the book of Acts and the latter up to the present day) to the Gentiles (far off lands), including the violent, warlike people, most totally ignorant of Jehovah (think of Papua New Guinea!) Missionary preaching is that of the weighty, glorious gospel of Christ (v 19 c.f. John 1:14, Isaiah 6) which glorifies God (Rom.10:14,15,15:20). The Gentile converts are called “all your brethren” meaning there is absolute equality between Jew and Gentile with one Father (Eph. 2:13-18, 3:5-8, Gal.3:28, Col.3:10,11) and every one of the elect will be brought in (John 17:24). Successful mission work is bringing the elect into the instituted church ( the holy mountain Jerusalem etc is all couched in Old Testament terms). These converts are a meal offering to God, one to which was added frankincense (prayer), oil (the Spirit) and salt (of the covenant) c.f. Rom.15:16, II Tim.4:6). All this is God’s work…”I”.

The Steady Eye

The Steady Eye

Brian D. Dykstra

“Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee” (Prov. 4:25).

God warns us many times in Proverbs about disobedience. In this section of Proverbs, however, we are told how to obey Him, how to keep the heart for out of it are the issues of life. God just commanded us to put away a froward mouth. He now gives us direction regarding our eyes.

Our five senses connect us physically to creation. They are also inlets to our souls. How we observe and interact with the creation influences our spiritual life. This is especially true for our eyes. Christ warns us, “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light” (Matt. 6:22). Jesus also warns us about the evil eye and the resulting spiritual darkness (v. 23).

Knowing that our eyes exert a powerful influence in our lives, Solomon instructs us how to use our eyes properly. We are to “look right on.” Satan knows how powerful temptations presented through our eyes can be. The things on which we fix our eyes will direct the soul. The inspired apostle Peter knew this as well. He wrote of those who departed from the truth, “Having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children” (II Pet. 2:14). This is clear to us in today’s entertainment. The music, dancing and various forms of video presentations display to our eyes a world full of adultery which cannot satisfy its depraved desire for sin. The world’s lack of moderation in its use of alcohol fuels the raging fire of hedonistic passion.

Eyes have often led people into sin. Lot’s wife did not keep her eyes straight ahead. She turned to see the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, evidently desiring the life she had enjoyed there, and was turned to a pillar of salt. During the destruction of Jericho, Achan saw among the spoils some treasures which he desired. He coveted, took the accursed thing and all Israel suffered the consequences in a humiliating defeat. Then there is David. Instead of keeping his eyes fixed on the enemy on the battlefield, he stayed in Jerusalem where his wandering eye saw Bathsheba. His life would never be the same.

There are examples of eyes which are looking straight at a goal. The idea is someone who looks steadily at a mark in order to walk a straight path. When I mow my lawn in a diagonal pattern, I do not have the edge of the driveway or side of the road to keep the mower lines nice and straight. I must pick a spot where the grass meets the road on the opposite side of the lawn, stare at it and walk as straight as I can toward it. When I’m successful, the result is a nice, straight pattern.

Job directed his eyes this way. He did not want adulterous thoughts to enter his heart, so he says, “I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?” (Job 31:1). He would not allow his eyes to wander so as to arouse sinful desires. He would be careful with his eyes. Joseph did this, though Potiphar’s wife certainly did not keep her eyes fixed on godliness. We read, “his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me” (Gen. 39:7). With her eyes, she recognized Joseph to be attractive and desired to satisfy her sinful passion. Joseph, however, guarded his eyes. In fact, Joseph would not even allow himself to be in the same room as she, so his eyes could not fall upon her and lead him into temptation.

We must keep our eyes straight before us, on the single goal of glorifying God. Our eyes must be on the path God sets before us by His Word. Keeping our eyes fixed shows our gratitude for all the blessings He has given to us in Christ. The pleasures of sin do not lie in the path of God’s law. Distractions to a thankful life lie to the right and left. If we allow our eyes to wander from the single purpose of living a thankful life, we expose ourselves to myriad temptations. Were we to follow our eyes, seek the things of this world and satisfy the desires of the old man of sin, we would lose the feeling of God’s favour. We would no longer feel the spiritual warmth of God’s gracious countenance which is more than life to us.

This brings us to eyelids: “Let thine eyelids look straight before thee.” None of the commentaries on my bookshelf mentioned the significance of why Solomon switches from “eyes” to “eyelids.” However, there must be more to the divine inspiration of Scripture than allowing writers literary discretion to avoid dull repetition of terms.

Here is my attempt in dealing with “eyelids.” When I walk a pathway which is smooth and has nothing which would cause me to stumble, I can keep my eyes up to see distant things. However, when the path has many obstacles and I must place each step carefully, my eyes are down. This is when someone coming from the opposite direction sees my eyelids, not my eyes. In the next verse, Solomon writes, “Ponder the path of thy feet,” which has the idea of having to walk carefully. We must have our eyelids straight before us when the path of life becomes more difficult or presents more dangers.

We must take this admonition seriously. Living a Christian life is no joke. This world is not a place of amusement for us. God does not call us to serve ourselves. We may not live a frivolous life. We are engaged in a serious spiritual battle. The stakes are high. Satan is as a lion seeking his prey so we had better be alert, keeping our eyes fixed straight before us and not allowing our eyes to see the sinful distractions which the world offers. If we cannot control our eyes, if we realize they constantly lead us into sin, Christ instructs us, “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell” (Matt. 5:29). It is that serious.

Being careful about the use of our eyes is an aspect of keeping our hearts. We must protect our spiritual eyes at all times. We want to enjoy fellowship with God through grateful living. This is the true life of our hearts. May God help us and our children to have our eyes look right on and let our eyelids look straight before us.

More than Conquerors

 

Quotes:

Robert Haldane: “The sufferings of believers above enumerated, which, as the Apostle had just shown, verify the truth of the ancient predictions of the word of God, shall not separate them from the love of Christ, but, on the contrary, are to them the sources of the greatest benefits. Through them they are more than conquerors. This is a strong expression, but in its fullest import it is strictly true. The Christian not only overcomes in the worst of his trials, but more than overcomes his adversaries and all those things which seem to be against him. It is possible to overcome, and yet obtain no advantage from the contest, nay, to find the victory a loss. But the Christian not only vanquishes, he is also a gainer by the assault of his enemy. It is better for him than if he had not been called to suffer. He is a gainer and a conqueror, both in the immediate fruits of his sufferings, as God overrules them for his good, bringing him forth from the furnace as gold refined, and also in their final issue; for ‘our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.’ The term conquerors reminds us that the life of a believer is a warfare, in which he is called to combat, both within and without. We may remark, too, the difference between the judgment of God, and the judgment of men, respecting the victory of believers. In the world, persecutors and oppressors are judged as the conquerors; but here, those are pronounced to be such, who are oppressed and persecuted. They are the servants of Him whom the world put to death, but who said to His disciples, ‘Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world'” (Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans, p. 422).

Rev. Cornelius Hanko on Romans 8:37: “Paul assures us that we are more than conquerors! Conquerors! We stand in the battlefield of this world with the fiercest, cruellest enemy that anyone can imagine. He is not interested in our life, our possessions, our home, our natural comfort. He wants our soul! It is not ‘we shall be conquerors,’ although that is true enough. We’ll raise the victor’s song at last, even as the apostle Paul who could say, ‘I have fought the good fight; I have kept the faith … forthwith the crown.’ But this is stronger than that. We are even now conquerors, while the enemy rages and fumes around about us. There is still more. We are more than conquerors. A soldier may leave the field of battle after having driven the enemy to rout. Happily he goes home the victor, and yet he often does that with mixed feelings. He may have been severely wounded, so that he carries the battle scars the rest of his life. The losses to one’s own victorious army may be so great that another victory like that would mean disaster. In wars that are fought among men, there never is a real victor who can boast only of victory. There are sorrows, griefs, losses, destructions that are never again completely overcome. Yet that is not the way in the Christian’s battle of faith. The damages, the losses, the scars of battle are always with the enemy. The damages, the losses, the scars that we suffer are turned to our profit. The enemy can only be instrumental to bless us, to prepare us for heaven, and finally, at death, to give us complete victory with Christ in glory. A glorious reality: ‘We are more than conquerors!'”

Morning Service  Sunday August 18th 2019- 11:00 AM – Rev. Martyn McGeown

SERMON: More Than Conquerors  

Scripture Reading: Psalm 44:1-26
Text: Romans 8:37

Consecration of Levites (18)

“Replacement Theology?”-NO! “Inclusive Catholic Theology”.

Sung Psalm 135:14-21

Reading Isaiah 66:15-24

In this prophecy the wicked idolatrous Israelites indulge in abominable worship and lifestyle and will be cast off (vv17,18a), whereas God calls (gathers-Isaiah 43:5)) his elect from all (Gentile) nations(v18b). The Scriptures in both Old Testament and New Testament fulfilment are replete with this message. Isaiah 65:1, Romans 10:19-21, Deut.32:43, Luke 4, Matthew 21:43, Acts 13:46-48, Romans 11.

Stats

Why does God leave his chosen people (physical Israel) to gather in a universal (catholic) church from the Gentile nations?

  1. He is God of creation and made all peoples.
  2. Christ must have his inheritance and marry his bride of all nations.
  3. He hardens the angry reprobate Jews.
  4. He provokes Jews to jealousy and always saves a remnant.
  5. He keeps his promise to Abraham.

Christ and his ambassadors are a light to the nations (Isaiah 49:6). God monergistically (all alone) gathers his elect irresistibly. Salvation in these verses is a “seeing of God’s glory” and since the glory of God is seen in the face of Jesus Christ (Isaiah 40:5, John 1:14) it is revelation of him and as we look to him we are changed into his image (II Cor.3:18).