Priority Prayers

What are the greatest needs in the world today?

earth

For the church:

  • Labourers for the harvest field—Reformed ministers, elders and deacons, the former trained and sent by overseeing congregations/synod and the latter volunteering to move or raised up locally.
  • Supporting churches with prayer, oversight and finance.
  • Reformation in all departing churches.
  • Prayer, practical and financial support for the persecuted and starving.

For the world:

  • The gospel proclaimed personally, through Scripture distribution or through electronic means to make disciples of all peoples.
  • Conversion of men and women in power
  • Righteous laws
  • Acceptance of true asylum seekers and refugees.
  • The destruction of radical Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Communism and apostate Christianity.
  • The salvation of all the elect including among cults and all groups above.

Witnessing

 

woman-at-the-well

Christ with the woman at the well (John 4:1-45) exemplifies wisdom in witness. Divine providence led Christ to her (v4), his route, his thirst…..

  • he excited her interest (v14)
  • she desired the living water (v15)
  • sin had to be dealt with (v16ff)
  • she is instructed in true worship (v24)
  • Christ reveals himself to her (v26)
  • she believes (v29)
  • she wins many others (v39)

Lord help us do likewise. Lead us to prepared hearts.

Satan v Job

     “And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” Luke 10:18

untitled

Satan underestimates and does not know the power of God and the grace of God. He believed Job would curse God if all he had was taken away, he believed he could take over the throne of God in a revolt, he believed if he killed Christ he would overthrow all God’s salvation of men, he believes he can deceive and devour God’s people ─ he is wrong on all counts. Because he is NOT omniscient, because he is a liar and deceives even himself, his thoughts are wrong, his evil is exposed, and it will not be long till he is publicly, eternally and finally exposed as wicked and banished to everlasting torment in the lake of fire.

We need to pray that more people will be shown by God how deceived they are in his camp, repent, believe and enlist under Christ.

For his part, that great saint Job, in and through his terrible affliction, did not know what glory he was giving God and how his life would impact many others who have lived with affliction ever since.

Peace

There will only ever be peace between men when those men have peace with God first-JK

images

“Peace is the great gift of the grace of God, earned on the cross of Christ and given to God’s people as their possession. The gift of peace cannot be found in the wicked. ‘There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked’ (Isaiah 48:22). Christ earned peace for his people by paying for their sins: ‘Having made peace by the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself’ (Colossians 1:20). Peace is therefore harmony with God. The heart of God and the hearts of the elect (God’s chosen) beat together. Peace is a blessing of covenant fellowship (friendship) with God.”

From ‘Faith Made Perfect’ by Herman Hankofaithmadeperfect

On this Rock!

Built and Established on the Rock!

untitled

Faith is a living daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man  could stake his life on it a thousand times.  –  Martin Luther

Some years ago, I worked for a local authority in the North of England and one of my many responsibilities was the maintenance of the lifts in the civic property and high-rise flats. I remember one particular day as I was walking past the lift engineers section in the office I overheard the clear and strident sounds of exasperation (that’s putting it very politely!). It seemed that we had a lift that was constantly going out of alignment. Once is acceptable, twice signifies a problem and five times says it’s something serious! Up to this point in time, the engineers had simply repositioned all of the controls in the shaft to ensure that the lift continued to function safely. As a precaution, I asked my colleagues in the Architect’s department to send out a surveyor to check the shaft alignment. Some weeks later, I was asked to attend a meeting in the Architect’s offices. It seemed that the shaft was seriously out of alignment – what was happening? The whole of the ten-story block of flats was apparently tilting to the west! Not serious at this stage – but what was causing the problem?

SIMPLY REPOSITIONED ALL OF THE CONTROLS

Men and machines were sent to the site and bore holes were drilled. The block had been built on a piled foundation of 600mm; shafts had been drilled down to the bedrock and then filled with reinforced concrete. But on the west side it appeared that the bedrock had not been quite what it should have been! It was the rock infill of an old quarry and the sheer weight of the building over the years had caused the rocks to shift ever so slightly. How had this happened? Nobody knew. The block had been built almost thirty years earlier and was one of many built at the same time. The problem was dealt with by simply injecting hundreds of tonnes of concrete grout under the building. Stability was restored.

STABILITY WAS RESTORED!

I was reminded of those verses in Hebrews 11 – ‘Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.’ The word ‘substance’ – hupostasis in the original Greek language is a word still in use today by theologians, medical doctors, philosophers and indeed civil engineers, but what does it mean in its real sense, hypostatic tension – ‘The real nature of a thing which underlies and supports its outward form and properties.’ Quite a mouthful but very relevant to you and I. What is it that keeps us going day by day? It is our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; it is He who underlies and supports our faith moment by moment, day by day. He is truly the immoveable Rock upon which we can stand by faith in Him. There is an interesting comparison here between the world and my tilting block of flats – every time the world shifts a little, our leaders move the controls to enable the processes of life and government to continue. When we sense that our lives are tilting slightly, we need only to remember that we stand firm on the Lord Jesus Christ – our Rock, we don’t have to move anything and don’t need anything more to add further stability!

Brian Allenby (Christians at Work)

The above made me think of two things. First the hypostatic (substantial) union of the Person of Christ who is both God and man. “Jesus has two complete natures—one fully human and one fully divine. What the doctrine of the hypostatic union teaches is that these two natures are united in one person (substance) in the God-man. Jesus is not two persons. He is one person. The hypostatic union is the joining of the divine and the human in the one person of Jesus. ”

Secondly it is this union expressed in Peter’s words, “Thou art the Christ” which forms the Rock on which the Lord builds his church. This  Rock is that he is the all-powerful divine builder of the church, that he is also the divine foundation and he is also the Rock upon whom we fall unto salvation or else when the Rock falls on a person it grinds him to powder.

Where the rubber hits the road!

Covenant Reformed News of the C.P.R.C.

http://www.cprf.co.uk

September 2010 • Volume XIII, Issue 5


Antithetical Living and Witnessing

Where the rubber hits the road.

untitled

Referring to the blessed man of Psalm 1:1 who “walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful,” a reader states, “I need to grasp the ‘standing, sitting and walking’ we are not to do with the ungodly … It is where the ‘rubber hits the road’ in our every day witness. Where does one draw the line in relationships at work, with neighbours, etc?”

This is a good question that involves directly the Reformed doctrine of the antithesis: the unbridgeable, spiritual chasm between the wicked and God’s covenant children that exists because the wicked are of their father the devil, whose works they do, and God’s people are regenerated and called to live in this world by grace, as children of the light and as those who represent the cause of God’s covenant in this world.

The difficulty lies in the fact that we are in the world, though not of the world, as Christ puts it (John 17:15-16). We “rub shoulders” with unbelievers in every aspect of life. Wicked and righteous work together in the same shop or office. Wicked and righteous buy and sell in the same stores. Wicked and righteous are often related to each other, some in very near relationships, others in more distant relationships.

The problem has attracted the attention of theologians for many centuries—and even millennia. Roman Catholic doctrine has traditionally taught that separation from the world is the way for the Christian to maintain the antithesis. Have nothing to do with the world! Crawl into a monastery and venture out only at night and only when absolutely necessary, but scurry back into the safety of a cell lest contact with the world defile one. That is the way to holiness. The old Anabaptists hold to much the same idea.

Others seek to overcome the problem by speaking of a “common grace” that is given to all men, which enables the Christian to have fellowship with those in the world and engage in a common endeavour with ungodly men. As long as both are seeking the same goals (the welfare of the working man, the eradication of abortion, the battle against homosexuality, the conquest of poverty, etc.), it is permissible and even desirable to cooperate in the work.

The biblical and Reformed doctrine of the antithesis condemns both ideas and calls God’s people to a higher realm of service. The key to the life of the antithesis is the calling to be a witness to one’s faith in the world. The antithesis itself is sharply set forth in Psalm 1, Deuteronomy 33:28, II Chronicles 19:2, II Corinthians 6:14–7:1 and many other similar passages. But the calling of God’s people is also to “let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). It is indeed at this point that “the rubber hits the road.”

Christian liberty is involved here. How one causes his light to shine before men surely differs for one who is in the armed forces from one who lives with an unbelieving spouse. Surely how a Christian doctor lets his light shine before men differs from the calling of one who works in an environment where blasphemy and foul talk are the order of the day. And each must, for himself, in his own station and calling, determine how he is to let his light shine before men.

First, never, never partake with them in Babylon’s evil deeds (Rev. 18:4); never participate in evil. Nor are we to participate in evil with other Christians; nor in our private lives when only God can see what we do. We must not only refuse when we are asked but we must explain why we refuse, pointing to God’s Word and its calling.

Further, our good works must be constant and visible. Our good works shine before men when we never swear, never desecrate the Sabbath, never speak filth, never mock authority. Our good works shine before men when we do what is right: seek God’s blessing at mealtimes (on the job too!), love our wives and children, go to church on the Lord’s Day, are happy and cheerful even in affliction and trial, speak only words of concern, sympathy, love and trust in God. Peter reminds us that, when our light shines before men, they will ask us concerning the hope that is in us. When they do, we are to be ready to give a good defence of our faith; Peter calls it an apology (I Peter 3:15).

This means that we must be ready always and quick to speak of our faith and our hope. There are really two sides to this: the one side is that we condemn the wickedness that is prevalent around us. We tell people that it is sinful to use God’s name in vain and that God will not hold such a man guiltless. We defend the sanctity of marriage and purity of life and speech. In doing this, we must call such men to repentance and faith in Christ. If we love our neighbour as ourselves, then we want them to be saved, and salvation comes through repentance from sin and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

My father told me of a Christian who complained about being persecuted and ultimately fired for his witness. He worked during World War II on an assembly line that made tanks. But he, when pressed, admitted that he walked up and down the assembly line witnessing to his fellow workers. He had to be told that his witness was to be as hard a worker as he possibly could be first of all. Without this his witness was a farce and his being sacked was not persecution, but what he deserved. Yet, if persecution is the result of our witnessing, we are to bear it as a mark of slavery to Christ.

Our witnessing is not a constant harangue about religion, for then we cast pearls before swine (Matt. 7:6). But we must not keep silence when we ought to speak. Our obligations in our calling are fulfilled when all those with whom we come in contact know we serve Christ and love him, know that we believe and live according to the Scriptures, and know what their own personal obligation before God is.

Each must do this in his own place and station in life. Each must do this, as Peter reminds us, “with meekness and fear” (I Peter 3:15). Each must do this so that God is glorified, for others seeing our good works must glorify our Father in heaven.

The man who walks around in a restaurant asking each of the diners whether he is saved, while he refuses to go to church and give his children godly instruction, is a poor witness and frequently does more harm to the cause of God than the unbeliever.

We are to love our neighbour; our neighbour is the one standing alongside us and sometimes in need of our help. God put him there so that he too may come to know his calling. Whether ultimately he repents of sin or not is irrelevant; God has His purpose. The goal of it all is that God may be glorified and praised whether through His work of salvation or His work of just punishment of the wicked. Prof. Hanko


If you would like to receive the Covenant Reformed News free by e-mail each month (and/or by post, if you are in the UK), please contact Rev. Stewart and we will gladly send it to you.

The Royal Marriage Feast

imagesE6CIRD6K

” It may seem as if the king was merely inviting people
to the wedding celebration, as if to say, “Come join us at
the feast if you like.” However, when the call comes from
a king who rules over you, it is, in fact, a summons or a
command. When God called Abraham to leave Ur of the
Chaldees (cf. Heb. 11:8), that was not a mere invitation
that Abraham might or might not obey depending on
his mood. Abraham had a duty to obey God’s call. So it
is with the call of the gospel; all who hear have a duty to
heed the call. The gospel is no mere offer to be accepted
or rejected at one’s whim. Rather, God commands all
men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30).”

From the Standard Bearer January 15th 2016 by Rev. John Marcus.

 

Lay preaching

images 2 images

In Ballymena town centre and all round the world the “brethren” (Gospel Hall) particularly and those in interdenominational agencies like Operation Mobilisation, YWAM etc. who are laymen, take to preaching the gospel in evangelism. Should they be doing so?

NOT according to scripture.

A. W. Pink: “It is true, blessedly true, and God forbid that we should say a word to weaken it, that all believers enjoy equal nearness to God, that every one of them belongs to that ‘holy priesthood’ who are to ‘offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ’ (I Peter 2:5). Nevertheless, all believers are not called by God to occupy the same position of ministerial honour, all are not called to be preachers of His Gospel or teachers of His Word (James 3:1). God calls and equips whom He pleases to engage in His public service, and bids the rank and file of His people ‘obey them that have the rule over you and submit yourselves’ (Heb. 13:17). Yet, sad to say, in some circles the sin of Korah is repeated. They demand an ecclesiastical socialism, where any and all are allowed to speak. They ‘heap to themselves teachers’ (II Tim. 4:3). This ought not to be” (Exposition of Hebrews).

Gordon Clark: “Exercising the office without ordination is a sin … Ordination confers authority to preach, administer the sacraments, and exercise discipline … The dunamis or ability of gifts is one thing; the exousia or authority to it is another thing … Ordination … is not simply an apostolic function to cease with the first century. Preaching is ordinary and regular. Therefore, mission or sending is too. The Great Commission of Matthew 18:19-20 shows that mission is perpetual, and thus sending likewise. The connection between a steward and a bishop is made in Titus 1:7. I Timothy 4:14 shows that ordination is an act of presbytery. I Timothy 5:22 warns against laying hands suddenly on some attractive neophite. And Titus 1:5, by the words ‘in every city,’ shows that ordination is regular and ordinary … Ministers of the Gospel are called shepherds, entering by the door and not breaking in; they are called angels, ambassadors, and rulers. But men do not give themselves the position of ambassador or even of shepherd. They must be appointed and sent … Paul calls himself a steward in I Corinthians 4:1, and calls all bishops so in Titus 1:7. Ministers are therefore servants; they invite guests to the wedding feast. But clearly no one can properly invite guests to a lord’s wedding feast, unless the lord has previously appointed him. Paul was so appointed: ‘Wherefore I am ordained a preacher and an apostle’ (I Timothy 2:7), in which phrase we note that Paul was ordained a preacher as well as an apostle. He repeats this in II Timothy 1:11. Preachers, therefore, are to be given authority to preach by ordination” (“The Presbyterian Doctrine of Ordination,” in The Church Effeminate, pp. 192-201).

Would you let a barber surgeon (18th or 19th century hairdresser) operate on you?

More

Many are called but few are chosen.

 

 

imagesYH5QYE8A

Matthew 22:14 with a stroke explodes the notion of hyper-Calvinists that only convicted sinners, or the elect are called by the gospel. You cannot know who your audience are! Only in the sense that the call is the effectual call is this correct. But in the sense that the external call of the gospel*, preached by men, with the command to repent and believe is to go to all nations promiscuously, they are wrong. Christ clearly differentiates between the outward preached call* to the many, and the inward effectual call** from death to life that he accomplishes in the few. One asterisk* equates with the outward call and two** to the inward call.

This is corroborated in the Canons of Dort Heads III/IV Articles 8-10.

Article 8. As many as are called** by the gospel, are unfeignedly called**. For God hath most earnestly and truly shown in his Word, what is pleasing to him, namely, that those who are called** should come to him. He, moreover, seriously promises eternal life, and rest, to as many as shall come to him, and believe on him.

Article 9. It is not the fault of the gospel, nor of Christ, offered therein, nor of God, who calls men by the gospel*, and confers upon them various gifts, that those who are called* by the ministry of the word, refuse to come, and be converted: the fault lies in themselves; some of whom when called*, regardless of their danger, reject the word of life; others, though they receive it, suffer it not to make a lasting impression on their heart; therefore, their joy, arising only from a temporary faith, soon vanishes, and they fall away; while others choke the seed of the word by perplexing cares, and the pleasures of this world, and produce no fruit. – This our Savior teaches in the parable of the sower. Matthew 13.

Article 10. But that others who are called* by the gospel, obey the call, and are converted, is not to be ascribed to the proper exercise of free will, whereby one distinguishes himself above others, equally furnished with grace sufficient for faith and conversions, as the proud heresy of Pelagius maintains; but it must be wholly ascribed to God, who as he has chosen his own from eternity in Christ, so he confers upon them faith and repentance, rescues them from the power of darkness, and translates them into the kingdom of his own Son, that they may show forth the praises of him, who hath called** them out of darkness into his marvelous light; and may glory not in themselves, but in the Lord according to the testimony of the apostles in various places.