Ezekiel’s Temple (2)

In Ezekiel 47 we read of a river of water issuing from the temple getting bigger and deeper as it goes and eventually emptying into the Dead Sea which is healed and produces abundant fish! Jesus spoke of a bubbling up spring in the heart of every believer which is the water of eternal life (John 4:13-15). In Zechariah 14 and Revelation 22 we read of another river of life flowing from the New Jerusalem in the new heavens and earth bordered by twelve fruitful trees that also heal the nations. The first and last visions above are pictures of the truth of Christ’s teaching. From the temple of God in heaven and from the temple of God which is the church and each one of God’s people come forth continually the fruit of the Spirit of God and life eternal and all the life-giving blessings of salvation. Take a minute to thank and praise God for the Holy Spirit!

Nicene Creed: And I believe in the HOLY GHOST, the Lord and Giver of life; who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spake by the prophets. (including Ezekiel!)

Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 20: What dost thou believe concerning the Holy Ghost?

A-First, that He is true and co-eternal God with the Father and the Son; ; secondly that He is also given to me to make me by a true faith, partaker of Christ and all His benefits, that he may comfort me and abide with me forever. Blessed Spirit!-JK.

John Gill says,”  these waters also may be applied to the grace of the Spirit of God in regeneration and conversion; which is compared to water, for its cleansing, fructifying, and refreshing nature; to “waters,” for the abundance of it; and this flows from the God of all grace through Christ, and out of his fulness is gradually increased, and becomes a well, yea, rivers of living water, John 7:37, but it seems best to understand them of the Gospel, and the doctrines of it; which, like water, cools those who are inflamed with the heat of the fiery law; extinguishes the thirst of sensible sinners, and refreshes them; cleanses and purifies their souls, which is instrumentally done with the washing of water by the word; and makes them fruitful and flourishing: this is not of men, but God; comes from heaven, the holy of holies; and out of the house and church of God; from Zion and Jerusalem, by Christ the door, and points to him the way; and is chiefly concerning him, the altar, his sacrifice and satisfaction, peace, atonement, and propitiation by him; see Isaiah 2:3.

Highlighted sections all point to the power of the Spirit who accomplishes everything in the building of God’s kingdom-JK

Conversely it is worth noting that there is a disease called hydrophobia (hatred of water) which is rabies, transmitted from an infected animal bite that is usually fatal and reminds me of the corresponding wicked antagonism of the reprobate who are set against and immune to the work of the Spirit through his servants and word.

Seeking things above

Could be subtitled, ” Baptism in the Holy Spirit”.

Colossians 3:1-4

Sermon by Rev. Martyn McGeown of Limerick Reformed Fellowship Sept 2nd 2018 on occasion of baptisms of Chester and Dale Mansona.

Christians are to seek things above because they are united to Christ in his death and resurrection. We use earthly things to further the kingdom. David Livingstone said, “I place no value on anything I have except in relation to the kingdom of Christ.” We died to the rule of sin and to the world. Spirit baptism just described, is signified by water baptism.

Sermon

Practical applications-JK

  • Find and join a true church.
  • Live close enough to attend all services and BS/catechism
  • Serve in that church using all your gifts
  • Make daily personal and family devotions a priority
  • Raise your children in the fear of God
  • Witness as opportunity presents
  • Pray without ceasing
  • Be a faithful steward of all you have-body, possessions. money and give generously.

Temperance (3)

More quotes from Langerak. “”Keep under means discipline..the intemperate Christian cannot run the Christian race. It is called running because it takes exertion. It is impossible to fulfill our callings apart from temperance. Temperance serves the athlete’s contest. He (Paul) teaches that intemperance is a sin.”

From “Walking in the way of love” by Nathan Langerak.

Available here.

Temperance (2)

Temperance is a necessity in the Christian life. It is one of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23). Here are some quotes from “Walking in the way of love” by Nathan Langerak in I Corinthians 9:25-27….”The temperate man keeps his eye on the prize and runs and fights with a purpose. Keeping under the body and bringing the body under subjection are aspects of temperance. His (the athlete’s) appearance in those games (Olympics) is not strictly the product of his superior bodily strength and athleticism–natural giftedness–but is especially due to his temperance. Temperance is inner spiritual strength in the justified believer.” 

Great book! Get it here!

Mortification of Sin (9)

Secondly. If this be the work of the Spirit alone, how is it that we
are exhorted to it? — seeing the Spirit of God only can do it, let the
work be left wholly to him. GOOD QUESTION!

[1.] It is no otherwise the work of the Spirit but as all graces and
good works which are in us are his. He “works in us to will and to do
of his own good pleasure,” Phil. 2:13; he works “all our works in
us,” Isa. 26:12, — “the work of faith with power,” 2 Thess. 1:11,
Col. 2:12; he causes us to pray, and is a “Spirit of supplication,”
Rom. 8:26, Zech. 12:10; and yet we are exhorted, and are to be
exhorted, to all these.

[2.] YET…He does not so work our mortification in us as not to keep it
still an act of our obedience. The Holy Ghost works in us and upon us,
as we are fit to be wrought in and upon; that is, so as to preserve our
own liberty and free obedience. He works upon our understandings,
wills, consciences, and affections, agreeably to their own natures; he
works in us and with us, not against us or without us; so that his
assistance is an encouragement as to the facilitating of the work, and
no occasion of neglect as to the work itself. And, indeed, I might here
bewail the endless, foolish labour of poor souls, who, being convinced
of sin, and not able to stand against the power of their convictions,
do set themselves, by innumerable perplexing ways and duties, to keep
down sin, but, being strangers to the Spirit of God, all in vain. They
combat without victory, have war without peace, and are in slavery all
their days. They spend their strength for that which is not bread, and
their labour for that which profits not.
This is the saddest warfare that any poor creature can be engaged in. A
soul under the power of conviction from the law is pressed to fight
against sin, but has no strength for the combat. They cannot but
fight, and they can never conquer; they are like men thrust on the
sword of enemies on purpose to be slain. The law drives them on, and
sin beats them back. Sometimes they think, indeed, that they have
foiled sin, when they have only raised a dust that they see it not;
that is, they distemper their natural affections of fear, sorrow, and
anguish, which makes them believe that sin is conquered when it is not
touched. By that time they are cold, they must to the battle again; and
the lust which they thought to be slain appears to have had no wound.
And if the case be so sad with them who do labour and strive, and yet
enter not into the kingdom, what is their condition who despise all
this; who are perpetually under the power and dominion of sin, and love
to have it so; and are troubled at nothing, but that they cannot make
sufficient provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof?

Great stuff Mr Owen!

Practical Christian Love

Christian love

Christian Marriage ought to be the prime example of Christian love.

I find so many writers don’t really define what love is. If we want to exhort people to love we need to clarify just how they do that. The qualities of it are all in I Corinthians chapter 13, but what I have grasped over the years are these characteristics:
1. Love is outgoing, away from self to others in all situations. It is looking not on one’s own things/concerns but that of others (Phil.2:3,4-vital in conversation and fellowship).
2. Love serves others and takes the lower station if need be to help practically. Like Paul gathered sticks in Malta, Christ washed disciples feet. It is sacrificial of time and energy and money. Christ so loved that he came down to the lowest depths (Phil.2:5-9).
3. Love wants the best for the other and wants to bless them. That may mean a rebuke but is often encouragement from Scripture or experience. It builds up/edifies.
4. Love aims at God’s glory not self-glory.
5. Love is lifelong.

I hope this is a help and practical.

Chastisement of Christians

Isaiah 27:7-9

Hath he smitten him, as he smote those that smote him? or is he slain according to the slaughter of them that are slain by him? In measure, when it shooteth forth, thou wilt debate with it: he stayeth his rough wind in the day of the east wind. By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit to take away his sin; when he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and images shall not stand up.

Compare:  Hebrews 12:11 

Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

When God sends forth an affliction on his people, or gives it a commission to them, as all are sent by him, he does it with moderation; he proportions it to their strength, and will not suffer them to be afflicted above what they are able to bear; and as, in afflicting, he debates and contends with his people, having a controversy with them, so he contends with the affliction he sends, and debates the point with it, and checks and corrects it, and will not suffer it to go beyond due bounds; and in this the afflictions of God’s people differ from the afflictions of others, about which he is careless and unconcerned: when afflictions, like a blustering and blasting east wind, threaten much mischief, and to carry all before them, Jehovah, from whom they have their commission, and who holds the winds in his fist, represses them, stops the violence of them, and gradually abates the force of them, and quite stills them, when they have answered the end for which they are sent: he speaketh,  “by his rough wind in the day of his east wind”; God sometimes meditates hard things against his people, and speaks unto them by the rough dispensations of his providence, admonishes them of their sins, and brings them to a sense and acknowledgment of them, which is his view in suffering them to befall them; or, “he removes by his rough wind”  their fruit, so the Lord, by afflictions, removes the unkind blossoms and bad fruit from his people, their sins and transgressions, as it follows.

By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged,….  they are the means of bringing the Lord’s people to a sense of their sins, and to repentance and humiliation for them, and confession of them, and of leading them to the blood and sacrifice of Christ, by which they are expiated and atoned, and which the Spirit of God brings near, and applies unto them; whereby their sins, they are convicted of by means of afflictions, and which lay heavy upon their consciences, are purged away, and removed from them: to take away sin; this is the design and use of afflictions, the profit and advantage of them to the saints, that, being humbled for their sins, they depart from them, leave and forsake them; as well as the guilt of them is taken away from their consciences, through the application of pardoning grace, upon their repentance; see Job 36:8 this shows another difference between the afflictions of God’s people and of others: namely, in the use and end of them. When he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder; that is, when Jacob, or the people of the Jews, being convinced of their idolatry by their afflictions, shall pull down all their idolatrous altars; break them (and burn them-JK) as chalkstones for lime. (Adapted from John Gill’s commentary of the Bible)

Our faith

Our faith in Christ, a marvelous gift of God is the human side of our justification. God justified us by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ with into which we are baptized by the Spirit who simultaneously works faith in us. 

We are “kept by the power of God through faith (the means) unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” 

I Peter 1:5-7.

Note it is our faith in Christ, very precious faith, not as some posit, the faithfulness of Christ or our faith in the faithfulness of Christ. The object of our faith is Christ and it is we who believe and are kept believing till faith gives way to sight! Then faith and hope will be done away and only love, which is eternal, love between us and our Saviour will remain forever.

DO GOOD TO THOSE WHO HATE YOU.

So states Christ in Luke 6:27.

Helen Berhane who was imprisoned and tortured for her faith in Eritrea shares this exhortation.

The love of God shed abroad in our hearts enables us to do what is otherwise humanly impossible-to love our enemies.

” Every good gift that comes to us comes as a gift from our amazing Father in heaven. Sharing in the sufferings of Christ always brings us deeper into fellowship with Jesus-and for this gift we must be thankful.”

“Here is a great mystery: when we respond to hatred with the love of God , it sets us free!”

Can you guess what we are freed from? Free from slavery to fear, revenge and hatred.

” It enables us to be free even when in prison.”

“God so loved the world that he sent his son into the world to die for those who would hate him, harm him and ultimately put him to death.” AMAZING!

” There may be some who chose to hate me and harm me because I am a Christian-but God’s love complels me to do them good.”

AMAZING POWER OF GRACE!

Brothers and sisters reading this. May this be our experience too as it is soon coming our way!

Attitude to Persecution

Hear Cyprian:

Cyprian of Carthage (200-258AD), while suffering banishment, writes a letter to three of his church members (Nemesian, Felix, and Lucius), who were sent to work in the mines as punishment for their faith. Cyprian, who by all accounts, should be the recipient of letters of encouragement, writes one himself to his fellow suffering Christians. He writes, “That you have been grievously beaten with clubs, and have been initiated by that punishment in your Christian confession, is a thing not to be lamented. The body of a Christian trembles not on account of clubs: all his hope is in the wood (i.e., the cross of Christ). The servant of Christ acknowledges the emblem of his salvation: redeemed by wood to eternal life, by this wood he is advanced to his crown. O happy feet, shackled indeed at present with fetters, ye will quickly finish a glorious journey to Christ! Let malice and cruelty bind you as they please, ye will soon pass from earth and its sorrows to the kingdom of heaven. In the mines ye have not a bed on which the body may be refreshed; nevertheless, Christ is your rest and consolation: your limbs are fatigued with labour, and have only the ground to lie on; but so to lie down, when you have Christ with you, is no punishment. Filth and dirt defile your limbs, and ye have no baths at hand; but remember, ye are inwardly washed from all uncleanness: your allowance of bread is but scanty; be it so, ‘man doth not live by bread alone, but by the word of God: ye have no proper clothes to defend you from the cold; but he who has put on Christ, is clothed abundantly. How will all these deformities be compensated with honour proportioned to the disgrace! What a blessed exchange will be made of this transient punishment for an exceeding and eternal glory!… And though your travail be great, yet is the reward greater, which is most certain to follow: for God, beholding and looking down upon them that confess his name, in their willing mind approveth them, in their striving helpeth them, in their victory crowneth them; rewarding that in us which he hath performed, and crowning that which he hath perfected in us.”

Thanks to Andy Underhile.