The Spirit’s Means of Grace

The primary* means of grace in the church that give us faith, sustains faith and strengthens faith is the preaching of the word of God by a man lawfully called, faithfully proclaiming the true Gospel, the word of God, supported by the sacraments properly administered. Both preaching and sacraments point to Jesus  Christ and it is he who speaks and signifies to us through them by his Holy Spirit.

*Prayer, Bible reading, study and memorisation, godly fellowship and faithful witness are secondary means.


Joshua Engelsma, Doon PR Church


Feast of Tabernacles

Sung Psalm 29:1-6 (apparently sung at this feast)
Reading Leviticus 23:34-44
Other readings Ex.23:16, Ex.34:22, Num. 29:12-40. Note progressive revelation.
Date/duration: 7th month (Tishri) 15th-22nd around our Sept/Oct.
Names: Feast of booths. Ingathering. Jewish Sukkot.
Nature: Redemptive (remembering 40 years in wilderness in tents)
Agricultural (ingathering and thanks for harvest). A joyous feast.

Excellent message

Notes from message:


  • Remembering-temporary, makeshift shelters made from ornamental trees, God’s provision (manna and water) and protection, preventing them becoming too content.
  • Rejoicing-in the fulfilled rest in Christ, going up to Jerusalem, Philippians 4:4, covenant (7th feast, 7th month, 7th day-7 bullocks).
  • Anticipating-final fulfilment in new heavens and earth when God dwells with man.

War of Words (12)

War of Words

Chapter 12

Winning the War of Words

“Our words are the principal tool God uses in the work he does through us.”

Hence the need to choose when or when not to speak (or write) and to choose our words carefully.

We must refuse to let our words be governed by passion or personal desire.

If our conscience pricks us we should apologise to the one offended even if it is just to admit to a sinful attitude. It is also often helpful to others if we humbly confess our need and personal struggles.

The purpose of all human relationships, especially in the church, is to rescue people ensnared by sin, reconcile people to God and restore them to the image of Christ. This alongside edifying them and seeking unity.

The key considerations in winning the war are:

  • Recognising the destructive power of words
  • Affirming our freedom in Christ
  • Saying no to the sinful nature
  • Speaking to serve others in love
  • Talking in the Spirit
  • Goal to restore

We shared about our personal battlegrounds which are usually are in the family with anger and irritation being the principle sins. Sadly our words may fall on deaf ears but we have done our duty if we have confronted the sin (as Isaiah 6:9,10).

We referred to recent article in saltshakers, “Speaking the truth in love and boldness” by Jonathan Langerack which emphasised that loving the truth (The word/Gospel) is loving God and which will necessarily mean our speech loves our neighbour but also our need to respectfully and clearly confront them (Lev.19:17) as Paul did in I Corinthians and Galatians.


Next BS (DV) December 30th 8pm last chapter of War of Words ” Choosing our words.”

Next year (DV) we start study guide on Acts by Mark Hoeksema (RFPA)

Speaking the Truth in Love and Boldness

Jonathan Langerack Jr

First class article on what it means to speak the truth in love and boldness.

Salt Shakers

Ephesians 4:14, 15: “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.”

The voices of the reformers whom God used in the sixteenth-century Reformation of the church call down the centuries to Reformed churches today to speak the truth of God’s Word with love and boldness. First among these voices is the thunder of the man whom God used to begin the Reformation on October 31, 1517: Martin Luther. The truth of God’s Word that Luther recovered for the church is summarized in what we as Reformed people know and call the “five solas of the Reformation” or of the Reformed (biblical) faith: salvation…

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Passover (10) Conclusion


Sung Psalm 34:14-20

Read John 6:11-15 (v4 Passover)

Four types of bread mentioned or alluded to  in this chapter:

  1. Unleavened bread (Passover).
  2. Barley bread (leavened)-eaten and left over (v9)
  3. Manna -bread from heaven (v32.
  4. Bread of life-Christ (v51).

Christ was present at three Passovers:

  1. John 2:13
  2. John 6:4

Between these we have Tabernacles (7:1) and dedication (10:22).

  1. John 11:55
  2. John 13

More allusions to Christ being the fulfilment of Passover:

He is called the Lamb of God (John 1:29), and the spotless lamb without blemish (I Peter 1:19), without broken bones (Ps. 34:20) and our Passover (I Cor.5:7). Also noteworthy that in contrast to the yearly Passover, Christ was offered ONCE for all (Heb.10:14).

P.S.  There are 27 references to the lamb in Revelation, the vast majority of all the NT rerefences. It is as the Lamb slain but now ruling that Christ opens up and brings to pass God’s eternal decree (5:1), causes terror and pours out his wrath when he judges all men (6:16,17), cares for his own (7:17), triumphs over evil and all his enemies (17:14), and marries his blood-bought bride (19:7). Hallelujah!

There are thirty seven references to blood in Hebrews (20) and Revelation (17). Christ was the lamb without spot (Heb.9:14) whose blood was sprinkled on all his people (Heb. 11:28, 12:24, I Peter 1:2) just as its type was sprinkled  over the Jews’ doorposts, but his is the blood of the everlasting covenant (Heb.13:20), the bloody covenant, which is signified and sealed in the Lord’s Supper and the redemptive means of the salvation of the church in all ages.

Baby heart transplant



Some thirty years ago one of my first hospital jobs was as a junior in cardiothoracic surgery under Professor Philip Caves in Glasgow Royal Infirmary. This man was doing major surgery on new-borns and I feel sure had he been spared*, he would have been the first to transplant hearts in new-borns. He was an Ulsterman trained at Queens and also under Shumway at Stanford in the USA. He was a shining example of a Christian clinician with high standards. The most recent case Charlie had a single ventricle, a sure early death sentence in the 80s.

Prof. Philip Caves

Heart transplants

  • Caves died on the squash court age 37 in 1978, only a year after I worked for him.
  • Wikipedia

The Sin of Sodom

Ezekiel 16:49

We usually associate Sodom and Gomorrah with the sin of homosexuality but this verse shows that at base pride and intemperance lay behind that perversion. ” Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom,…. pride; which was the sin of the devils, and the cause of their ruin; the sin of our first parents, by which they fell, and destroyed themselves, and their posterity; and is the prevailing, governing, sin of human nature: it has been the ruin of kingdoms and states, of cities and particular persons; a sin hateful to God, and destructive to man: fulness of bread; the land of Sodom was very fruitful before it was destroyed; it was like the garden of the Lord, Genesis 13:10; it brought forth plentifully, so that there was great fulness of provision, of all sorts of food, which is meant by bread: this, considered in itself, was not sinful, but a blessing; it was the Lord’s mercy and goodness to them that they had such plenty; but it was their sin that they abused it; luxury and intemperance, eating and drinking to excess, are here meant; which led on to that sin, and kindled the flames of it, and were the fuel to it, which has its name from them; and, besides, this fulness of good things enjoyed by them was the source of their pride, and served to increase that, as before mentioned: and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters; prosperity and ease, security and quietness, at leisure, and without labour; two words are used to express the same thing, and to denote, as Kimchi observes, the abundance of it: sloth and idleness, as they often arise from the goodness and fruitfulness of a country, said fulness of provision, so they are the cause of much sin and wickedness; for, if persons are not employed in some business or another, either of the head or hand, they will be doing evil:
neither did she strengthen the hands of the poor and needy; though she had such abundance of food to supply them with, and so much leisure to attend to their distress; but her pride would not suffer her to do it; and she was too idle and slothful to regard such service; perhaps more is intended than is expressed; that she weakened the hands of the poor and needy, and cruelly oppressed them; which is often done by proud men, in great affluence and at leisure, which they abuse to bad purposes.” John Gill

Who are in the image of God?



All men are the image of God according to modern woolly evangelical theology. Is this Biblical? It is the view of many organisations like the Christian Institute, Christian Concern and Answers in Genesis. But for starters fallen mankind makes images and worship them (Rom.1:23)!

We must first define the image of God.

 The image of God according to Scripture is firstly Jesus Christ (II Cor.4:4, Col.1:9, Heb.1:3) secondly pre-fall humanity (Gen.1:26-27, Gen.9:6) and thirdly all believers renewed in knowledge, righteousness and true holiness (Col.3:10, Eph.4:24, Rom.8:29). The image of God equates to the likeness of God (I Cor.11:7, Col.1:15) and the glory of God (I Cor.11:6)! Unregenerate man is totally depraved and in the image of the devil, God’s image having been totally lost in the fall.

It is not morality, rationality, personality, spirituality, language or memory, intellect, will and conscience, or power over creation. These are the characteristics of man (in distinction from the image of God or the qualities of animals) and, even Satan and the fallen demons have these endowments! Are they the image, likeness and glory of God? There is no scriptural basis for these qualities being the image of God.

Totally depraved fallen man does not possess the knowledge of God which Christ defines as having eternal life (John 17:3) and for sure, fallen man does not possess righteousness or true holiness, in fact unregenerate wicked man hates God….can we rightly say he is in the image of God…absolutely not! Hitler, Stalin, Bin Laden, Dawkins?

All those bearing God’s image are sons of God-the incarnate Son, Adam God’s first human son (Luke 3:38) and believers as adopted sons (I John 3:1).

To believe in an image of God in unregenerate man usually is held alongside a common grace for all men which is also erroneous.

For detailed proof of the above: 

Standard Bearer May 15th 2017 p376

Excellent message

Q/A session addressing controversial passages used to support a universal image of God:

Article on the controversial passages:

Passover (9)

Sung Psalm 42:1-5 (note verse 4b true of Christ)

Reading John 2:13-3:2 (Christ’s first of three attendances at Passover)

Additional to last week’s O.T.  references Daniel 10:1-4 when Daniel prays and partially fasts took place during three weeks that included Passover.

Passover in N.T. Points to note:

1.       Passover was the most important feast to the Jews, and that included dispersed Jews and proselytes (Gentiles).

2.       Best attended (John 11:55, Luke 2:41 and Acts 2).

3.       Hard to find a place to keep the feast (Christ had pre-booked!)

4.       Opportunity to “fleece” people-moneychangers and animals for sale (Matt.21:12)

5.       Opportunity for Christ (and priests) to teach (Luke 2:46, John 3:3, Matthew 22-24).

6.       Degrees of holiness (John 11:55, 18:28, 19:31).

7.       Singing (Psalm 114-118, Mark 14:26).