Is the love of God merely in time and for everyone or is it something completely different? Is your god, made in your image an idol, rather than the God of Scripture? Check out this sermon…
Is the love of God merely in time and for everyone or is it something completely different? Is your god, made in your image an idol, rather than the God of Scripture? Check out this sermon…
Colossians 212 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
In this and the surrounding verses we see the nature of true faith. It is being IN CHRIST “in whom (we) are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands (definitive sanctification),” it is being “buried with him in baptism, wherein also (we) are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God (new life).” Ingrafting into Christ is faith (Heidelberg Catechism Q/A 20,21). Faith is the bond that unites us to Christ, performed by the operation of God at regeneration, that becomes conscious in the believer’s life as he believes the Scriptures and lays hold on Christ as the only hope of salvation.
“Faith is not man’s work, but God’s work.” Herman Hanko in “Faith Made Perfect”. RFPA 2015
The Reformation brought the church again to the Apostolic faith by emphasizing the 5 “onlys” (Solas) but really there are 6! The one often set aside is central to all the purposes of God namely, the Covenant Alone.
The covenant “formula” oft repeated throughout Scripture is “I will be your God and you will be my people”. God dwells in love as three persons and extends that covenant of love to include his people in all of history, through his Son. God’s friendship with elect sinners is its essence. It is a huge privilege to be a covenant friend and child of God! Treasure it!
At this year’s Reformation Day Conference in the CERC (Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church in Singapore), Rev Andy Lanning gave three speeches under the theme “The Forgotten Sola Of the Reformation: Solus Foedus”.
Was the Covenant a forgotten Sola? Which doctrine of the covenant is true? How does the covenant affect our lives as God’s people?
Click to listen to the 3 RDC speeches!
If you cannot give the time to listening to these speeches to which I highly commend , here are three summaries:
The 5 “Solas” by their nature rule out all human meriting with God (Pelagianism)
Teaching on God’s covenant relates to marriage, family, infants, worship and church membership.
The Anabaptists (part of the Reformation) anathematised Roman Catholic baptism of infants as the grossest of errors they opposed. They also held to recognizing no civil authority, no military, no oaths, direct revelation by dreams, extreme communal living. Their cause meant great suffering and harm for the true Reformed people who were lumped with them by the RC authorities and severely persecuted with over 100,000 deaths. They were the reason the Belgic Confession was written and providentially no Reformed died in the Dutch lowlands. We see the same bad name given the cause of Christ today by their successors in the excesses of Pentecostalism and charismaticism. The answer to their erroneous doctrines is the truth of God’s covenant formulated mainly in Zurich by Zwingli and his successor Bullinger. In summary:
Is Roman Catholic baptism valid?
Yes according to Calvin and the Reformers as is any baptism that is:
a) Done in the name of the Trinity
b) Done with water.
c) Done by a lawfully called clergyman.
Regarding Adam and God’s covenant with him we can say:
Mutual ownership. “I will be your God and you will be my people”-God belongs to us and we belong to God.
Intimate relationship. The tabernacle and temple were where God dwelt with his people just as a married couple dwell together. Marriage reflects the covenant between Christ and his church. Yet he has no need of us.
Structured. It is his covenant. He orders, He promises, He is Father. We have obligations e.g. the sign to be given, he orders, we are children.
Unconditional. He establishes it unilaterally with the elect of which Christ is the federal head (Gen.17:7). The promise is to the elect seed only (Acts 2:38, Rom.8:30, 9:7-8).
Unbreakable. (Gen.17:7) “everlasting”.
False view is the conditional covenant. Klaas Schilder of Liberated Reformed Churches of Netherlands.
A covenant, unbreakable, unconditional bond made by God with his people by the Holy Spirit and based on the sacrifice of Christ.
Who should be baptised? Well every denomination agrees that adults who confess their faith should. Fine, but when it comes to the children of believing parents we separate into credobaptist and paedobaptist. The credobaptist says children, especially infants, can’t profess faith so they must not be baptised. The paedobaptist says God makes his covenant with believers and their seed (children). The O.T. people of God gave their young children the covenant sign and since there is only ONE people of God in all time, the N.T. believer has the same command to obey. Paul calls the children of at least one believing parent “holy” in first Corinthians. While we acknowledge only the elect children are included in the covenant, the fact remains ALL were to be given the sign. Witness Jacob and Esau. Jacob was elect and Esau was not. But wasn’t circumcision given to the Jews only and a sign of their incorporation into the physical seed of Abraham? It had nothing to do with believing! No! Listen to this quote, “Herman Hanko: “Baptism and circumcision are identical in every respect except in their outward form, and their outward form is in keeping with the different dispensation in which they were given as signs of the covenant. The Scriptures are very clear on the point that circumcision and baptism both signify essentially the same thing. Both refer to the inward cleansing of the hearts of God’s people through regeneration and sanctification; both are signs and seals of the righteousness which is by faith; both refer to the work of sanctification through Jesus Christ” (We Are Our Children, p. 54).
From Salt Shakers-the magazine of the youth of Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church, Singapore.
COVENANT LIFE AND
OUR DAILY DEVOTIONS
and only because our parents force us to do it? Are our hearts in it? Do we give priority
to our personal devotions over all our other daily activities? The Oxford dictionary deﬁnes
“devotion” to be love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person or activity. Our personal devotions
should hence stem from our love for God and always be placed in ﬁrst priority.
Do we display love, loyalty, and enthusiasm when it comes to spending time
with God daily? Let us be reminded of how important daily devotions are in
our Covenant Life with God and may we be encouraged to spend time with God
in prayer and the reading of His Word daily.
According to Prof. Engelsma, the Covenant of God with His elect is a unique
relationship of intimate fellowship in mutual love. And this intimate relation of
friendship is established in our Lord Jesus Christ. God reveals this in Scripture,
saying, “I will be your God, and you will be my people.” (Jeremiah 7:23)
And in Jeremiah 31:33, “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with
the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their
inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall
be my people.” God claims us as His people and as His children we are called
to keep this Covenant by living out the Truth of the Covenant. This can be
done in so many ways, for example, obeying God’s commandments,
and living antithetically in marriage and in the institution of the home.
However, in this article, we will focus on how we can keep the Covenant by
doing our daily devotions.
Covenant Life and Daily Devotions
What is vital in maintaining relationships with your friends, parents,
and those that you love? Communication, isn’t it? It is only through
continuous perseverance and patience in communication that we
discover what the other party likes or dislikes, what their personality is like,
and what their desires are— among many other things. It requires
communication to form a close and intimate friendship between two
parties. This is the same for the relationship we have with God.
In order to have a Covenant life with God, communication with God is key.
God communicates with us through the preaching of His Word in the Bible,
and through our daily prayers and devotions. But the most intimate
and personal means of communication we have with God is through
our devotions and prayers. It is only through personal devotions that we get
to share our unique needs, struggles and thanksgiving with our Covenant Friend.
At the same time, we learn of His will for us through the Scriptures.
Personal devotions are also a great Covenantal privilege!When we do our
devotions, we enter into the presence of Jehovah to listen to Him speak to us
through the reading of His Word (Psa 119:9, 105), and we also speak to Him
through our prayers. This is indeed a Covenantal blessing! There are many
verses in the Bible that exhort us to do our devotions! Daily devotions should
generally consist of at least two parts: prayer to God and the reading of Scripture.
The following two paragraphs show proof from the Bible about praying
and reading God’s Word respectively.
These verses exhort us to be always praying and always talking with our
Covenant Friend. By praying, we are walking with God and will enjoy
the blessings of Covenant Life, just like Enoch did. (Genesis 5:22)
Luke 18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought
always to pray, and not to faint; Luke 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always,
that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass,
and to stand before the Son of man. Romans 12:12 Rejoicing in hope;
patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit,
and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Other verses include Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18.
b) Reading God’s Word
First, we want to read God’s Word because His Word is a lamp unto
our feet and a light unto our path (Psalm 119:105). His Word reveals
His way for us and guides our footsteps as we journey as pilgrims.
Just as it would be foolishness for a traveller not to seek counsel from maps,
it will be foolishness for a child of God not to seek God’s will in the Scriptures.
Second, God’s Word is a weapon for His children in the midst of this
wicked world—it is the sword of the Spirit. (Ephesians 6:17)
Daily devotions prepare us for the daily battles we face with the devil;
not doing our devotions would be akin to going to the battleﬁeld unarmed!
John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life:
and they are they which testify of me. Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said,
It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that
proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Psalm 119:9 Wherewithal shall a
young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
Other verses include Act 17:11, Isaiah 34:16, and Deuteronomy 6:6-7.
We can also learn from many godly men in the bible who showed such
devotion for doing their devotions (pun intended) and enjoyed the fruits
of this Covenantal exercise. Look at David who prayed three times a day
and always sought after God (Psalm 55:17; 63:1,6), Daniel who continued
to pray and worship God despite threats to his life (Daniel 6:10),
Job who esteemed the words of God more than food for his body (Job 23:12)
and Jesus who set the example for His disciples and followers by making prayer
and devotions His priority and
exhorted them to do the same (Mark 1:35; Matthew 6:6).
Today, there are many attacks of the devil targeted at this Covenant Life
we have with God. The message of the world is to live life to the fullest,
to pursue material wealth and highﬂying careers, to seek fun and all sorts
of worldly entertainment so much so that the wonderful Truth and the
importance of the Covenant is pushed to a dark corner of a youth’s
closet and forgotten. As Christian youth, we must be vigilant and not fall into the
devil’s temptations which lead us away from the blessedness of keeping
God’s Covenant. Applying this speciﬁcally to daily devotions, let us
beware of spiritual laziness. A spiritually lazy youth neglects his prayers and the
reading of God’s Word; he lacks appreciation for the Truth and takes it for granted.
A spiritually lazy generation would be detrimental to the church and even the
denomination becauseapostasy begins with spiritual laziness! This is so
because he would choose worldly entertainment or the pursuit of worldly goals over
reading God’s Word and prayer. He will then lack a good understanding of Scripture,
which will allow false doctrines to creep into the church easily.
My fellow youth, when we plan our week’s or day’s activities, let us consider these:
“Will I have enough quiet time alone to meditate on God’s Word?
Does playing computer games or watching the television edify my soul?
Can I put some of these things away and spend more time cultivating the
Covenantal relationship I have with my Covenant Friend? Am I just giving
excuses when I say that I do not have time for God?” May we be encouraged
that there is much spiritual proﬁt in doing our devotions and how it adds to the
blessedness of the Covenant Life we have with God. All the attempts we
make to read God’s Word and develop spiritually will surely be rewarded by
God’s grace. Through devotions, the reality of God’s grace and love for us
will become more apparent; and when God’s Word becomes more precious to us,
we will have a much deeper comfort and security as we live as pilgrims in this world.
Let us press on in keeping the Covenant through doing our daily devotions,
and be comforted by the spiritual proﬁt we will have as shown in Proverbs 13:4,
“The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the
diligent shall be made fat.”
Salt Shakers | Love for God’s Word
Now more than ever, I feel an urgency to speak about the tribulation gripping the world. As scene after scene plays out like a horror film that doesn’t end. Even America is embroiled in awaiting chaos, as events unfold in the heartland of our country that threatens a civil type war. We watched again this morning as murder from a horror film played out in Jerusalem as people praying in a synagogue were brutally attacked with axes, knives and guns. Scenes too gruesome to display on public television. Beheadings, crucifixions, amputations, stonings, all manner of public execution and mass graves, images too graphic for us to fully take in. Suffering that is unimaginable.
As I listened tonight to a well known pastor and theologian describe the battle that is ensuing for our very souls by satan and his legion of demons, as he explained how important it was to guard our minds from deceiving spirits, as well as our hearts. Our hearts so that we may turn to faith and love instead of hatred and calls for murder and revenge. And again, I felt the urgent need to warn the Body of Christ that the time is now. The time to arm ourselves with the Armor of God. As the Pastor pointed out, Paul used the description of Roman armor because it was heavy and meant to guard the head, heart and vital organs.
The Christian’s Vital Organs: Our minds where Christ has placed the truth—the sword with which to fight the deception. And our hearts as we turn to faith and love. Not hate, fear or vengeance.
Are you ready? Is your mind, body, heart protected? Soon it will be too late. Many will fall away as the Bible predicts. Are you ready?
Read Ephesians 6:10-18
Credit to ImpurFektFaith you tube
By C. Refsland, VOP Advocate
Practically speaking you put on the full armour every day as you seek the Lord in his word and prayer devotedly going into the day dependent upon him and unceasing in your prayerful fellowship with him-JK.
“Who can forgive sins but, God alone?” was the charge made by the pharisees to Christ as he healed the paralytic man who had been let down through the roof by his friends. Christ’s reply was “but that you may know that the Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins,” he said unto the sick of the palsy, “ I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.” (Luke 5:20-24). By this answer Christ not only claimed to be divine, he exercised the prerogative of the divine, namely to forgive sins. “To err is human, to forgive divine” is a well known truism.
Since all sins are against God and he is a just judge and has made a way for fallen man to be forgiven, namely by the sacrifice of his Son for sin, it is to him alone we must come to ask forgiveness( Acts 13:38; Eph.1:7). Scripture says,” But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.” (Ps.130:4) and “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9).
What about forgiving the sins of others? For the believer there is no dispute, he is commanded to forgive his brother or sister as many times as necessary (Matt.6:14; 18: 21-22,35;II Cor.2:7;Eph.4:32), with the important proviso that the one who sinned must repent and ask for forgiveness (Luke 17:3-4). What about the believer forgiving the unbeliever e.g. a persecutor? The supreme examples here are the Lord Jesus himself and Stephen, the first martyr. Both men asked their heavenly Father to forgive the men who were putting them to death and God heard their prayers: witness the centurion’s statement as Christ expired and Saul consenting to Stephen’s death. If they prayed that God would forgive, then presumably they forgave their killers themselves. These prayers did not wait for any repentance on the behalf of the sinners. What about us? Can we do the same? Should we do the same? Many persecuted in foreign lands testify to doing this! Just last night I read of a US POW who forgave his evil Japanese tormentors and warmly embraced them when decades later he met them again in Japan.
I reblog this from Brian Allenby of Christians at Work.
Weekending 1st November 2014
How? By the means!
“The preserving, protecting, quickening, and strengthening grace of God is spread abroad upon the church in word and sacraments, in preaching and instruction, in discipline, and in all the labour expended on God’s church. The Lord cares for his vineyard!” From “Redeemed with Judgment” by Homer C. Hoeksema.
In other words if you want to grow in grace, in knowledge, in sanctification, then you must seek to be a member of a true church that faithfully teaches and applies the whole counsel of God. Regular faithful exposition of Scripture is the key tool God uses to sanctify his people.
The wild grapes brought forth by the apostate church (Israel in Isaiah’s time and most churches today) are the fruits of sin and death. “The church may look beautiful, be refined, polished, civilized, and ever so religious. But in reality the apostate church which despises God’s revelation, tramples his word, and departs from his truth, stands spiritually and morally far below heathendom, which does not even have God’s revelation.”
To which church do you belong?