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.

Our responsibility regarding the Holy Spirit

Owen is brilliant (Communion with God).

There are three things considerable in the Holy Ghost: (1) his person, as dwelling in us; (2) his actings by grace, or his motions; (3) his working in the ordinances of the word, and the sacraments—all for the same end and purpose. To these three are the three cautions before suited: (1) Not to grieve him, in respect of his person dwelling in us. (2) Not to quench him, in respect of the actings and motions of his grace. (3) Not to resist him, in respect of the ordinances of Christ, and his gifts for their administration. Now, because the whole general duty of believers, in their communion with the Holy Ghost, is comprised in these three things, I shall handle them severally. TBC.

WE OWE ALL TO THE HOLY SPIRIT

John Owen in his masterful treatise on Communion with the Triune God teaches us just how we underestimate the blessed work of the Holy Spirit in us. “Without ME (and the Spirit is CHRIST IN ME) ye can do nothing.”

John Owen

“Now, our afflictions, our sins, and our obedience, with the attendances of them respectively, are the great concernments of our lives. What we are in reference unto God is comprised in them, and the due management of them, with their contraries, (necessitate) consolation from the Holy Ghost, that gives us a joyful issue throughout.  All the consolations of the Holy ghost consist in his acquainting us with, and communicating unto us, the love of the Father and the grace of the Son; we have our communion with the Father in his love, and the Son in his grace, by the operation of the Holy Ghost. By persuading us of the eternal and unchangeable love of the Father, he fills us with consolation.  (He communicates) the grace of Christ, — all the fruits of his purchase, all the desirableness of his person, as we are interested in him. He glorifies Christ by revealing his excellencies and desirableness to believers, as the “chiefest of ten thousand, — altogether lovely,” and then he shows them of the things of Christ, — his love, grace, all the fruits of his death, suffering, resurrection, and intercession: and with these supports their hearts and souls. And here, whatever is of refreshment in the pardon of
sin, deliverance from the curse, and wrath to come, in justification and adoption.

Froward, perverse, unthankful; grieving, vexing, provoking him. Yet in his love and tenderness does he continue to do us good. He knew what we were, and what we could do, and what would be our dealings with him, — he knew we would grieve him, provoke him, quench his motions, defile his dwelling-place; and yet he would come to be our comforter. Want of a due consideration of this great love of the Holy Ghost weakens all the principles of our obedience. ”

Now we better understand the benediction, ” Now the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

 

Christ’s fullness

Colossians 1:19: “ For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell;” and John 1:14: “ And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

  Hear John Owen: For the fountain of grace, the Holy Ghost, he received not him “by measure,” John 3. 34; and for the communications of the Spirit, “it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell,” This is the Beloved of our souls, “holy, harmless, undefiled;” “full of grace and truth;” — full, to a sufficiency for every end of grace, — full, for practice, to be an example to men and angels as to obedience, full, to a certainty of uninterrupted communion with God, — full, to a readiness of giving supply to others, — full, to suit him to all the occasions and necessities of the souls of men, — full, to a glory not unbecoming a subsistence in the person of the Son of God, — full, to a perfect
victory, in trials, over all temptations, — full, to an exact correspondence to the whole law, every righteous and holy law of God, full to the utmost capacity of a limited, created, finite nature, — full, to the greatest beauty and glory of a living temple of God, — full, to the full pleasure and delight of the soul of his Father, — full to an everlasting monument of the glory of God, in giving such inconceivable excellencies to the Son of man.”

    And by his cross and resurrection we are the recipients of some of this fullness all our days.

War of Words

 

images untitled

Paul David Tripp has come in for criticism for psycho-heresy but he has a lot of worthwhile material. ” Love is willing self-sacrifice for the redemptive good of another not demanding reciprocation or that the person is deserving.” ” Immanuel is his name, not just because he came to earth but because he made us his dwelling place.”

His book “War of Words” emphasises the importance of our words that are either life-giving or deadly, never neutral, words that are always the overflow of our hearts.

Short Video

Full video

Joseph

Every time I read Genesis 45 tears well up in my eyes. The story evokes so much pathos. Joseph, the long-lost eleventh son of Jacob having been sold as a slave by his jealous brothers has risen to be prime minister of Egypt.

untitled-png-4

 

He has given his brothers a taste of injustice by returning their food money in their sacks and planting his silver cup in Benjamin’s. He has been testing their characters by demanding a hostage when they return home and now for the last time, having sent his steward to apprehend them, he finally cannot control himself any longer in their presence and leaves the room to weep returning to reveal his identity with much weeping and embracing.

imagest8tx6sbe

Although not a type of Christ there are many parallels in the two lives:

  • He is betrayed by jealous brethren (Christ and the Jews).
  • He is sold for twenty pieces of silver (Christ was sold for thirty)
  • He is unjustly bound and imprisoned
  • God is manifestly with him throughout (Chapter 39 x4)
  • Having suffered he is exalted to very high station
  • He forgives his brethren
  • He believes in the absolute sovereignty of God
  • He is a saviour to his family
  • He forgave them their sin against him

He is a godly example and man of faith (Hebrews 11:22), is there any wonder I named my son after him?

The Holy Spirit and the Ascension

images7gveugvl untitled

What was promised?

What happened?

What changed?

 

Christ promised to pour out his spirit on the disciples after the resurrection. He said that he would send the comforter who would be their teacher and we know this PARAKLETE would apply all the benefits of Christ’s atoning death, resurrection and ascension to his people (John 14:16, 16:7, 13, Acts 1:8), namely adoption, assurance, sealing and gifting.

The outpouring of the spirit at Pentecost, and subsequently on all the elect, was promised in the Old Testament as Peter stated (Acts 2:33). Psalm 68:18 (quoted in Eph.4:8), Isaiah 32:15, 44:3, 59:21, Ezekiel 39:29 and especially Joel 2:28 are relevant.

The Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son (BC Art.11*) was poured out on the fledgling church enabling miraculous signs to authenticate their ministry, gift them for all their service, teach them, and seal them as his people for ever.

What changed was, that the eternal unchangeable Spirit came as the Spirit of the risen Christ (John 7:38-39, I Cor.15:45), merited by Christ’s great work, promised as his inheritance (along with all his seed) and received by him as mediator, not for himself, because he was always filled without measure (Psalm 45:7, Heb.1:9, John 3:34) but for the church.

What changed was:

  • He was poured out publicly and universally (previously almost exclusively among the Jews)
  • He came as the teacher of God’s truth, to complete the canon and develop truth throughout church history.
  • He came with greater revelation (especially concerning Christ’s work and eschatology), dispensing richer grace (the least in the kingdom is greater than John the Baptist) and all the gifts (I Cor.12), tongues especially was new and a reversal of Babel. New Testament believers are all prophets, priests and kings!

* Belgic Confession.

Blessed are the pure in heart.

 

untitled

Matthew 5:8.                                                                                                                                                                    Blessed are the pure in heart,…. Not in the head; for men may have pure notions and impure hearts; not in the hand, or action, or in outward conversation only; so the Pharisees were outwardly righteous before men, but inwardly full of impurity; but “in heart.” The heart of man is naturally unclean; nor is it in the power of man to make it clean, or to be pure from his sin; nor is any man in this life, in such sense, so pure in heart, as to be entirely free from sin. This is only true of Christ, angels, and glorified saints: but such may be said to be so, who, though they have sin dwelling in them, are justified from all sin, by the righteousness of Christ, and are “clean through the word,” or sentence of justification pronounced upon them, on the account of that righteousness; whose iniquities are all of them forgiven, and whose hearts are sprinkled with the blood of Jesus, which cleanses from all sin; and who have the grace of God wrought in their hearts, which, though as yet imperfect, it is entirely pure; there is not the least spot or stain of sin in it: and such souls as they are in love with, so they most earnestly desire after more purity of heart, lip, life, and conversation. And happy they are,
for they shall see God; in this life, enjoying communion with him, both in private and public, in the several duties of religion, in the house and ordinances of God; where they often behold his beauty, see his power and his glory, and taste, and know, that he is good and gracious: and in the other world, where they shall see God in Christ, with the eyes of their understanding; and God incarnate, with the eyes of their bodies, after the resurrection; which sight of Christ, and God in Christ, will be unspeakably glorious, desirable, delightful, and satisfying; it will be free from all darkness and error, and from all interruption; it will be an appropriating and transforming one, and will last for ever. John Gill Commentary<!–

Matthew 5:9–>

This can be cross-referenced with Paul’s aim, ” bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” in II Corinthians. 10:5

Identity

untitled

 

It is noteworthy that the first two temptations of Christ were centred on his identity. “I thou be the Son of God….”. Christ’s firm conviction of who he was (John 13:3) saw him overcome. Similarly we as God’s children need to be utterly convinced that we are adopted, loved, helped and kept by our heavenly Father despite the fact that of ourselves we are guilty totally depraved sinners.

“Content with who I am in Christ”

Lecture at C.P.R.C. Ballymena

Rev. Ron VanOverloop (Michigan, USA)

Weds. 18th January 2017 at 7.30pm

Fear for the Future

 

If you are like me you constantly need reassurance that you have no need to fear. In fact you are commanded 75 times in Scripture to “fear not!” Rev. John Heys wrote about this in the Standard Bearer in 1970.

imagesy6gvakfy

“..the thought of death gives us fear and many an anxious moment.”  But, “Let the eye of faith be fixed on Christ, and our fear will not be one of terror and fright but of reverence and awe, ” and I would add COMFORT. “Death does not seem such a terrible woe to the believer, because he sees it as his servant instead of his enemy…And he fears God rather than death which God controls so perfectly.”…”And if (God’s) mercy is ALWAYS upon us (Psalm 103:17) and was upon us from everlasting and will be everlastingly, what can or will harm us?” The Lord is constantly with us his people, ready and willing to meet every need. We have covenant fellowship with him. He is in us and we in him. NOTHING can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

untitled

Full article