How does God use his word?

Sword of the Spirit

It is a precious Bible truth, that the enlightening grace of the Holy Spirit, although it be specially promised to the Gospel ministry as that by which alone their peculiar functions can be successfully exercised, is not confined to them, nor to any one class or order of men, but it is common to all believers. Every private person, — every humble man, who takes his Bible in his hand, and retires to his closet to read and meditate on it there, is privileged to ask and to expect the teaching of the Spirit of God. ‘If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.’ The direct communication of every soul with God as ‘the Father of lights,’ with Christ as ‘the light of the world,’ and with the Holy Ghost as ‘the Spirit of truth,’ shows what standing the Christian people have in the Christian Church; and that, although God has graciously provided for them ministerial helps and spiritual guides, he has not left them absolutely dependent on any order of men; still less has he subjected them to mere human authority in matters of faith: ‘their faith must stand not in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.’ James Buchanan

Ignorance of Christ

Self glory or status, pleasure, money, religious zeal and works righteousness…all these are paltry, vain, and rightly hell-deserving goals of men and women who consider not their duty to God revealed in the Bible and the salvation of Jesus Christ-JK

Hear John Owen

“What Paul says of them that crucified (Christ), may be spoken of all that reject him, or refuse communion with him: “Had they known him, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory;” — Did men know him, were they acquainted in any measure with him, they would not so reject the Lord of glory. Himself calls them “simple ones,” “fools,” and “scorners,” that despise his gracious invitation, Prov. 1:22. There are none who despise Christ, but only they that know him not; whose eyes the god of this world has blinded, that they should not behold his glory. The souls of men do naturally seek something to rest and repose themselves upon, —something to satiate and delight themselves withal, with which they [may] hold communion; and there are two ways whereby men proceed in the pursuit of what they so aim at. Some set before them some certain end, — perhaps pleasure, profit, or, in religion itself, acceptance with God; others seek after some end, but without any certainty, pleasing themselves now with one path, now with another, with various thoughts and ways, like them, Isa. 57:10 — because something (comes into their life, that they pursue though weary). In what condition soever you may be (either in greediness pursuing some certain end, be it secular or religious; or wandering away in your own imaginations, wearying yourselves in the largeness of your ways), compare a little what you aim at, or what you do, with what you have already heard of Jesus Christ: if any thing you design be like to him, if any thing you desire be equal to him, let him be rejected as one that has neither form nor comeliness in him; but if, indeed, all your ways be but vanity and vexation of spirit, in comparison of him, why do you spend your “money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not?”

Communion with God (17)

 

The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Christ’s fitness to save — he is a fit Saviour, suited to the work because he unites of the natures of God and man in one person and thus able to be a Saviour to the uttermost. He lays his hand upon God, by partaking of his nature, Col.2:9; and he lays his hand upon us, by being partaker of our nature, Heb. 2:14, 16: and so becomes an umpire (THE ONLY MEDIATOR) between both (I Tim.2:5). By this means he fills up all the distance that was made by sin between God and us; and we who were far off are made nigh in him. Upon this account it was that he had room enough in his breast to receive, and power enough in his spirit to bear, all the wrath that was prepared for us. Sin was infinite only in respect of the object (against the infinite God); and punishment was infinite in respect of the subject (Christ). This ariseth from his union. Union is the conjunction of the two natures of God and man in one person, John 1:14, Isa. 9:6, Rom. 1:3, 9: 5. The ONLY SAVIOUR of men (Acts 4:12).

Adapted from John Owen’s “Communion with the Triune God”.

Priority Prayers

What are the greatest needs in the world today?

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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

 

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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

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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

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“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!

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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.

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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


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The Royal Marriage Feast

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” 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.