The Land (10). Cities of Refuge

We sung Psalm 27:1-5 (note where David ran for refuge)

This morning we covered Joshua 20 which outlines the six cities of refuge, three to west of River Jordan (Kadesh, Shechem and Hebron) and three to the east namely Golan, Ramoth Gilead and Bezer (KASH and GRAB mnemonic!). The laws of Exodus 21:12-14, Numbers 35,  Deut. 4:41-43 (first three cities) and Deut. 19:1-13 (examples of manslaughter and the just cause of capital punishment) are re-iterated. Note the conjunction of Levitical cities and cities of refuge in the Numbers chapter. The need for them was to differentiate the two major causes of homicide whether deliberate murder or accidental manslaughter. The first mandated the death penalty but the second did not.

The need for these places was an ingrained fallen “tribal” idea of revenge prevalent then and still today in many Islamic or backward nations in which a near relative would seek to kill the person who had killed their relative. The second three cities are named in Joshua 20:7-9 and note the foreign sojourner is included fairly in the legislation. The one fleeing had to stay in the city of refuge till the case was heard or the high priest died (v4) which could be years!

Related instances are seen in the cases of Adonijah and Joab (I Kings 1:50-53 and I Kings 2:29) who both fled to the horns of the altar in the tabernacle, the first allowed to live and the second put to death as he had murdered two men namely Abner and Amasa (I Kings 2:31-33) and II Samuel 3:27 and 14. In the middle ages churches were often used as sanctuary by those being pursued.

Today these laws are abrogated because there is no high priest, the church is universal and the Old Testament ceremonial and societal ordinances are nailed to the cross of Christ.

King David very often speaks of God and his dwelling place as his refuge or the refuge of others in need see II Sam.22:3, Ps.14:6, 46:1, 57:1, 59:16, 62:7-8, 71:7,91:2, 94:22, 142:5. Often this was literal as God providentially shielded him from his earthly enemies like Saul, but also true of him and us, as we seek help against our spiritual enemies namely the hostile world, our own flesh and Satan.

Contrast our hiding in God and the wicked reprobate who cannot stand in God’s presence (Ps.5:5).

The cities of refuge point to the great refuge of all God’s people namely Christ (Heb. 6:18) to whom we flee, having been guilty of murder (hatred) and many more sins besides, for refuge from the wrath of God where we hide in the cleft of the rock who is Jesus Christ.

Communion with God (34)

Just because God has revealed himself does not mean that the revelation will do anyone any good!-JK.

“Do we not see innumerable persons perishing everlastingly, notwithstanding the manifestation of himself which God has made in Christ?”

” No man knoweth the Father save the Son and he to whomsoever the Son will (desires to) reveal him” Matthew 11:27.

All the attributes of God manifest in Christ are only revealed to the elect by Christ himself. That revelation IS salvation.

“I am,” saith he, “God Almighty” (all-sufficient); — “I am wholly able to perform all my undertakings, and to be thy exceeding great reward. I am God all-sufficient.” Now, you know in whom this covenant and all the promises thereof are ratified, and in whose blood it is confirmed, — to wit, in the Lord Christ alone; in him only is God an all-sufficient God to any, and an exceeding great reward. And hence Christ himself is said to “save to the uttermost them that come to God by him,” Heb. 7. And these three things, I say, are required to be known, that we may have a saving acquaintance; and all these being hid only in Christ, from him alone it is to be obtained. This, then, is the first part of our first demonstration, that all true and sound wisdom and knowledge is laid up in the Lord Christ, and from him alone to be obtained; because our wisdom, consisting, in a main part of it, in the knowledge of God, his nature, and his properties, this lies wholly hid in Christ, nor can possibly be obtained but by him.”

And even Abraham had God revealed to him in Christ (by type and shadow-JK) Abraham, said Christ, saw my day and was glad.
John Owen

Membership of a True Church

Is your church one that ordains women, or even homosexuals? Is it contemplating “gay marriage”? If so it is departing from the truth and probably already apostate. You need to leave!

This hard-hitting booklet expounds the truth outlined in the great Reformed Confessions namely Heidelberg Catechism, Belgic Confession and Westminster Confession that ordinarily there is no salvation (either in it’s beginning or process) outside a true visible instituted church.

“The visible church, which is also universal, is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.” WCF article 25.

THE most important institution you as a believer must be part of …is a true instituted church!

Read booklet here.

http://www.cprf.co.uk/pamphlets/membershipintruechurch.pdf

Communion with God (34)

“God has actually manifested the glory of all his attributes in a way of doing us good. What will it avail our souls, what comfort will it bring unto us, what endearment will it put upon our hearts unto God, to know that he is infinitely righteous, just, and holy, unchangeably true and faithful, if we know not how he may preserve the glory of his justice and faithfulness in his threatenings, but only end in ruin and destruction?  (What is needed is that) which brings salvation, when we shall see that God has glorified all his properties in a way of doing us good. Now, this he has done in Jesus Christ. In him has he made his justice glorious, in making all our iniquities to meet upon him, causing him to bear them all, as the scapegoat in the wilderness; not sparing him, but giving him up to death for us all; — so exalting his justice and indignation against sin in a way of freeing us from the condemnation of it, Rom. 3:25, 8:33, 34. In him has he made his truth glorious, and his faithfulness, in the exact accomplishment of all his absolute threatening and promises. That fountain-threat and combination whence all others flow, Gen. 2:17, “In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt die the death;” seconded with a curse, Deut. 27:26, “Cursed is every one that continueth not,” etc. [Gal. 3:10] — is in him accomplished, fulfilled, and the truth of God in them laid in a way to our good. He, by the grace of God, tasted death for us, Heb.2:9; and so delivered us who were subject to death, verse 15; and he has fulfilled the curse, by being made a curse for us, Gal. 3:13. So that in his very threatening his truth is made glorious in
a way to our good. And for his mercy, goodness, and the riches of his grace, how eminently
are they made glorious in Christ, and advanced for our good! God has set him forth to declare his righteousness for the forgiveness of sin; he has made way in him for ever to exalt the glory of his pardoning mercy towards sinners. To manifest this is the great design of the gospel, as Paul admirably sets it out, Eph. 1:5–8. There must our souls come to an acquaintance with them, or for ever live in darkness.”

Adapted from:

Expectations

Making created things our god!

Young Calvinists

God has blessed his people with many gifts, earthly and spiritually. So many gifts, that we have come to take many of them for granted.

And we expect them.

Nice homes, well paying jobs in a good location, a large circle of friends, the man/woman of our dreams, children, a perfect family. These are all things that we view as the normal things in life. Normal things that “everyone has.” But the thing is, we don’t all have them. And when we don’t have them, we become upset… even angry! “I need these!” we say. “When will you give them to me?”

We expect them from the Lord and we spend our lives waiting. Waiting for the financial break through, waiting for the group of friends to accept you, or waiting for the man to walk into your life and sweep you off your feet. We think about it throughout…

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Imprecatory Psalms

“Imprecatory” means  Psalms that invoke judgment, calamity, or curses, upon one’s enemies or those who are the enemies of God. There are many of them but Psalm 69 is a classic example. It is vital to remember that these are the words of Christ, ” the zeal of thine house has eaten me up,” quoted in John 2:17 are about him. Christ, alone knows those who are his, and conversely those who are reprobate, like Judas who is clearly addressed in verses 25-28. The idea that God’s providential good to wicked men is a sign of his love is totally ruled out by verse 22 and following. Scripture teaches reprobation. God has assigned  and destined that the majority of men who fell in Adam and throughout their lives showed their hatred of him, would not be written with the righteous (v 28) but have their place with Satan and his demons in the lake of fire. God’s good providence toward them makes them more guilty for their ingratitude. Judas, Pharaoh and Esau are prime examples as Paul teaches in Romans. It is an unpalatable doctrine to many, but we must acknowledge that the potter has power over  the clay.

“How do people who defend a love of God for all interpret Psalm 5:5-6, Psalm 6:8 (cf. Matt. 7:23; 25:41), Psalm 139:19-22 and countless other Psalms in which the Psalmist prays that God may destroy the impenitent wicked (cf. Prov. 3:33)? I know that some claim that the so-called imprecatory Psalms are not inspired but this is a ruinous lie about God’s Word (II Tim. 3:16). This argument borders on the ridiculous.” Prof. Herman Hanko 

War of Words (Chapter 4)

CPRC Men’s Bible Study

War of Words

Chapter 4

Idol Words

Readings Luke 6:43-46 and James 4:8-12

Our words tell others, among other things, what is on our mind, what we want, what we want to know.

The kinds of words we should not utter are listed in the James passage*.

Often when we are not walking in the Spirit our words display idolatry, the worship of self, in the form of demands, the desire for respect, desire for applause, desire to indulge in some way, materialism, the want of someone of the opposite sex etc. The focus is on something created not God the creator. Our heart (mind) is controlled by something other than God. This is why James calls these believers “adulterous” because they are pursuing (spiritually and perhaps physically) an idol rather than God. We often quarrel when we cannot get what we want. Human conflict is rooted in spiritual adultery.

Even though all we say is decreed by God, nevertheless we are stewards of our words, are responsible for them, and they will form a large part of our judgment on the last day.

It is the hardest thing in the Christian life to distinguish our motives for our actions and words and this is proven by the truth of Jeremiah 17:9 and why David prays Psalm 139:23-24. It is our duty to renounce all idols and purify our thoughts and motives (see Psalm 51:10 and James 4:8). Also notice that God knows EXACTLY what our motives are (Romans 2:16).

This is very practical because when we love God (first table of the law) we will also love our fellow men (Matthew 23:37-40).

Words spoken that please God come from a heart that loves God above all else and consist, among other things- prayer, praise, edifying and encouraging conversation and showing genuine interest in others etc.

Certain words are always sinful.

 

  • All flattery (Prov.26:28)-seeking to endear self.
  • Lies, bearing false witness and shifting blame-often to protect self.
  • Much anger and impatience-self-love.
  • Gossip-seeking to tarnish others’ reputation.
  • Malice and hatred.
  • Boasting-glorifying self.

 

We have Biblical examples of these in the order above in the false prophets in Kings, Ananias and Sapphira, Absalom and Moses, the false witnesses against Stephen and Christ, Saul and Simon the sorcerer.

 

Next study (DV) July 15th 8pm on chapter 5, “He is King”.

Communion with God (33)

His all-sufficiency is the last attribute to name.


God’s all-sufficiency in himself is his absolute and universal perfection, whereby he lacks nothing, nothing can be added to his fullness, he never decreases. There is also in him an all-sufficiency for others; which is his power to impart and communicate his goodness and himself so to them as to satisfy and fill them, in their utmost capacity, with whatever is good and desirable to them. God abundantly communicated and manifested this in the creation, in that he made all things good, all things perfect; that is, to whom nothing was wanting in their own kind; — he put a stamp of his own goodness upon them all. But now for his people he is an all-sufficient God, to be enjoyed by us, to give all that is in him for the satiating and making them blessed, — that is alone discovered by and in Christ. In him he is a Father, a God in covenant, wherein he has promised to lay out himself for them; in him has he promised to give himself into their everlasting fruition, as their exceeding great reward.

Hence when we know Christ, he is like a spring of waters causing us to never die of thirst, but to be satisfied, though we continue to thirst for him till we are glorified (John 4:14, 7:37-38).

Temperance

TEMPERANCE—The third property that we should supply in our supernatural faith is “temperance” (egkrateian, accusative of egkrateia, which means self-control or self-restraint). Paul preached the faith in Christ before Felix and “reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come…” (Acts 24:25). Temperance is one of the fruits of the Spirit proclaimed by Paul (Gal. 5:23). This word, as well as the other excellencies to be supplied in our faith, was used twice by Peter (II Pet. 1:6). Self-control is the mastery of desires and passions. It prevents excesses of any kind in the life of a Christian. Self-control includes more than abstinence from alcohol. A person may be a glutton and be just as guilty of the absence of self-control. Sorrow and laughter are all right, but a person does not want to spend all his time in either. Therefore, we will gird our mirth and restrain our sorrow. The apostle Paul refused to be mastered by bodily appetites. He disciplined his body into subjection that he might not become disqualified (1 Cor. 9:27).
The Christian is both the governor and the governed. The new nature within us enables us to control the old Adamic nature. From God’s word, we learn we have the new nature which is capable of controlling our old nature within. Hence, we learn that by the help of the grace God has given us that we are governors and we are governed. Without Christ we are nothing, but with Him and His grace we are governors. This is what Paul meant when he said he would keep his body under subjection (I Cor. 9:27). He taught this same truth in Romans 7. There is a warfare between the outward man and the inward man. But we can thank God that we have victory through Jesus Christ (Rom. 7:25).
Knowledge, the preceding property, defends itself by the excellence of self-control. True knowledge leads to self-restraint from every inordinate desire. 

Thanks Barry Watson.