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.

Message

Joshua Engelsma, Doon PR Church

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What is a Protestant?

The answer really covers what it means to be a true Biblical Christian.

Covenant Reformed News

November 2017  •  Volume XVI, Issue 19

What Is a Protestant? (5)

Having seen what a Protestant is historically, theologically, creedally and ecclesiastically, we now need to consider this question: What is a son or daughter of the Reformation ethically? How does Protestantism influence one’s lifestyle? Many things could be said here but I will highlight just two points.

First, a Protestant loves and speaks the truth. Part of the background for this is historical. It is Jesuit teaching that it is okay, even virtuous, to tell a lie, if it serves the Roman Catholic Church. A degree of this moral ambiguity concerning the ninth commandment has hung over Roman Catholicism for many centuries. Think of the lies and cover-up in the Roman church, especially over the last several decades, regarding their homosexual priests who sexually abuse little boys.

Protestantism’s concern for truth flows from its solas or “onlys.” Sola Scripturadeclares, “thy word is truth” (John 17:17). Salvation is solus Christus for He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Jehovah alone is glorified (soli Deo gloria) as the “God of truth” (Deut. 32:4) by our keeping the ninth commandment: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” (Ex. 20:16).

Also the gospel truth of justification by faith alone (sola fide) also promotes honesty. In Psalm 32, David rejoices in the forgiveness or non-imputation of his sins: “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile” (1-2). For believers, the non-imputation of sins and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness always go hand in hand (Rom. 4:6-8). Now notice what Psalm 32:2 adds: “Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” One who is truly blessed because of the non-imputation of his sins and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to him by faith alone is honest before God, through the work of the Holy Spirit. Whereas fallen man instinctively and wickedly covers and hides his transgressions, the true believer confesses his sins, both for the first time and throughout his Christian life. Therefore, the child of God is honest, speaking the truth both to himself and to others, for in his “spirit there is no guile.”

Second, there is what has been called the Protestant work ethic. This too flows from the Five Solas or “onlys” of the Reformation. According to sola Scriptura, we must keep the fourth commandment out of gratitude, and so we labour for six days and rest upon the Christian Sabbath, which is called the Lord’s Day (Rev. 1:10), by spending the day in the private and public worship of God. We emulate our Saviour, Christ alone (solus Christus), who did the work His Father gave Him (John 4:34; 17:4). We are justified by faith alone (sola fide) and the faith which alone receives the imputed righteousness of God is also a faith that works, for we are justified by faith alone but not a faith that is alone. We are saved by grace alone (sola gratia) and so we do our work out of gratitude for a wholly gracious salvation. In keeping with the Reformation principle of soli Deo gloria, we labour to honour and serve the Triune God, and not merely man.

True Protestants believe that they ought to do honest and hard work, and they engage in it. Think of the French Huguenots and the terrible negative effect on France economically when they were persecuted and driven out of that country, especially through evil King Louis XIV’s Revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685).

The Protestant work ethic is based on two other biblical and Protestant truths. The first is the priesthood of all believers. It is not only the case that the Christian minister’s faithful work is of value in God’s eyes; the work of all His people is holy when it is done out of faith and to please Him in Jesus Christ. The second biblical and Reformation truth that supports the Protestant work ethic is that of calling. It is not only preachers or elders or deacons who are called to their church offices. Instead, all Christians are called by God to work in whatever lawful employment He has given them in His providence. So it does not matter to the Lord how low paid your job may be or how menial and supposedly humble it is. No work is “beneath” you, when it is done to the glory of God. Our Saviour laboured manually for many years as a carpenter! This is an important point to make in our day when Western secularist ideas are degrading the good creation ordinance of work, and many people foolishly think that there is more dignity in being unemployed than in a low-paid job.

Listen to the refreshing biblical teaching of Colossians 3:22-24: “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” The motto of the Protestant work ethic is, in effect, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might” (Ecc. 9:10).

So are you a Protestant? Doctrinally, do you hold to the Five Solas of the Reformation (Scripture alone, Christ alone, faith alone, grace alone and the glory of God alone) and to the great Protestant creeds? Practically, do you speak the truth, and believe and engage in hard, honest work? Historically, are you rooted in the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation, which is pure, apostolic Christianity? Then keep on witnessing to the truth of God, working for the ongoing reformation of the church and fighting the good fight of faith!  Rev. Stewart

If you are NOT a protestant then what are you? Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Muslim, Hindu, Bahai? If you do not believe and rely on the five solas are you a real Christian at all ? I doubt it!

Disobedience

 

Jerusalem sacked and genocide of Jews 70 AD.

Disobedience among God’s people, to the revealed word of God, will inevitably bring judgment. The Bible is proof. Time and again they were warned but they refused to listen. They were repeatedly overrun by their enemies in the time of the Judges, Jerusalem was sacked and they went into captivity in Babylon in 590 BC and after they rejected the Messiah their holy city was again destroyed and millions slain by the Roman Emperor Titus in 70 AD.

“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” I Peter 4:17.

God chastises his disobedient children and will utterly destroy those who profess his name but are reprobate.

Reformation today

Reformation today
As necessary as in 1517

Why? Because as Jeremiah says, “Ye trust in lying words. My house is being abused. THERE ARE ABOMINATIONS in my worship. Jer. 7:8, 11, 30. Christ’s rare violence was seen when he saw the place of his worship being abused.

 


Millions steeped in tradions and superstition of false religion in Roman Catholicism*.
Millions more are members of or adhere to false and departing churches.
*Mary venerated. She is never portrayed as co-redemptrix or someone to pray to in all N.T. Scripture does not say she was sinless and taken miraculously into heaven. The infinite God cannot have a mother, only the incarnate Son of God.
*Idolatrous mass. The once-for-all sacrifice of Christ substituted by a daily ritual that is supposed to atone for sin.
*Priests and pope usurp the headship of Christ in his church.
*Justification (forgiveness) by faith and works substituted for true faith alone that leads to assurance hence no assurance for those seeking to merit.
The upshot of all these abominations will be to be driven from Christ out of his dwelling place into damnation.
False and departing churches that allow hymns and songs that are not God-breathed, shallow homilies take the place of doctrinal preaching, women and homosexuals given office, there is belief in universal atonement and free will, on-going miracles and miraculous spiritual gifts-these will inevitably join together under the false prophet of antichrist and worship him!

Come out from among them and seek the truth in Scripture and a true church.

Dr Julian Kennedy, Deacon, Covenant Protestant Reformed Church, Ballymena.

The Reformation under Josiah

Josiah as King led the Reformation of God’s people in the 7th Century BC.

 

Reformation consisted:

  • The public reading of the word of God (reading and preaching)
  • The consecration of the people to God by a covenant (confessing church membership in a true church)
  • The removal of all practices and places built contrary to God’s word (i.e. idolatry, icons)
  • The institution of pure worship according to the word of God at Passover. (regulative principle)
  • The deposition and excommunication or death of all false teachers (Church discipline)

II Kings 23 gives the details.

How does your church measure up?

Relevant book

O Lord, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways.

 

Isaiah 63:17                                                                                                                                          “O Lord, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear?…. These are the words, not of wicked men among the Jews, charging all their errors, hardness of heart, and wickedness they were guilty of, upon the Lord, as if he was the author and occasion of them, and led them into them; but of the truly godly, lamenting and confessing their wandering from the ways, commands, and ordinances of God, the hardness of their hearts; their want of devotion and affection for God; and their neglect of his worship; not blaming him for these things, or complaining of him as having done anything amiss or wrong; but expostulating with him, and wondering at it, that he, who was their loving and tender Father, that he should suffer them to err from his ways, and to wander from his worship, by withholding his grace and withdrawing his presence from them; by leaving them to the corruptions and hardness of their hearts; by chastising them sorely, and suffering the enemy to afflict them in such a severe manner as laid them under temptation to desert the worship of God, and cast off the fear of him.” John Gill Commentary.

Featured picture the broad and narrow ways of Pilgrim’s Progress.

 

The Master Builder

 

You need the right tools for every job in D.I.Y. and building. It makes everything so much easier. In like manner, God, in building his church, needs to have prepared and deployed the right tools, his servants, for the jobs in his church, some are unique special tools for the few special jobs, some are commoner but none-the-less necessary tools for everyday use, and others multi-purpose tools for several ministries. We all are tools in his hands with which he accomplished his ends.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10.

Three Cups

THESE ARE WONDERFUL POWERFUL MESSAGES.

THREE CUPS

By Rev Carl Haak (Reformed Witness Hour)

“Of all the truths of the sufferings of Jesus Christ there are none so dear as the truth that He suffered voluntarily. He was not dragged to the cross against His will. He did not endure His suffering as a passive victim, reluctantly, with cold resignation. But He went to the cross and endured His suffering willingly, zealously, and voluntarily…

Scripture presents this truth to us in a figure of speech, in the figure of a cup which He willingly drank. All the sufferings necessary to make full payment for our sins were poured into a cup which the Father presented to His Son, the Son of God, who knew what was in that cup and who loved us, drank the cup, and then dashed the empty cup on the ground before the cross.”

Read to find out more of our Lord’s willing suffering for His people.

Misplaced loyalty!

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” Revelation 18:4-5.

Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord. For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your reward.” Isaiah 52:11-12.

Click on slide to enlarge.

A good read