Hope in Christ in the face of death

November 30, 2020 2 comments

On Tuesday, Nov. 17th of this year, my wife and I celebrated our 31st anniversary. To many this is a joyous occasion. There might be roses, a ring, a bottle of wine, and maybe a night out for a dinner for two. However, this was not the events of which transpired in our lives on that day.

On that day, a few weeks back, we were sitting in a doctor’s office. It was after 6:00 pm. and my wife was the last patient of the day. The doctor had already performed a colonoscopy the Thursday before. She had a cat scan the day before and we were already anticipating the news which the doctor would enter to tell us.

When he entered he began to explain the procedure of the colonoscopy and how he couldn’t enter with his scope. He informed us that instead of being able to enter the colon from the rear-end, that he instead had to go through her throat. He also explained the cat scan and what he was looking for as a result of this procedure. Upon giving us all the ends and outs of these procedures he just came right out and told us that my wife had a tumor and it was cancerous.

So last week we had to visit the surgeon. He explained to us that the tumor wasn’t just in the colon, but had also spread outside the colon, into her stomach muscles, and possibly into her kidney. Tomorrow he performs surgery and there is a whole list of possibles that will be involved due to the fact that he doesn’t know what all he has to take out when he goes in.

The word cancer produces a certain amount of fear into a person. This is understandable because no one wants to die. Nevertheless, having been born, then death is certain if the Lord tarries. Scripture is plain, that it is appointed unto man once to die. However, death is not the end. Death is just the transferring from one world to another. Yet in all this we can still have hope.

There is one who has defeated death.

His name is Jesus Christ!

He defeated it upon an old rugged cross.

His name is Jesus Christ!

He defeated it while being forsaken by the Father.

His name is Jesus Christ!

No matter what we go through in this life, it will never be compared to what Christ endured for us. We have never been forsaken by the Father. Nor have we been forsaken by the Son who sits beside the Father making intercession for us. Nor have we been forsaken seeing that Christ is no longer on earth with us because he sent us a Comforter. One who comforts us concerning the promises of God.

We do not have to fear! What we must do is trust! What we must do is have faith in God and cling to his promises! Cling to the promise of Christ who said, I will never leave you or forsake you!

One thing more and I will close:

Christ even comforts us with his body. He has a body of believers of whom he has entrusted to care for one another. Therefore I call on all God’s saints, to pray. Pray to the Father! Ask him to move upon this situation and if it be His will to allow the surgeon to perform this operation without any complications. Nevertheless, let His, the Father’s, will be done!

Even so, Amen!

Reformedontheweb

But the crime may be seen to be worse when we think of ‘what God is’

November 30, 2020 Leave a comment

But the crime may be seen to be worse when we think of what God is. Let me appeal personally to you in an interrogatory style for this has weight with it. Sinner! Why art thou at enmity with God? God is the God of love, he is kind to his creatures; he regards you with his love of benevolence; for this very day his sun hath shone upon you, this day you have had food and raiment, and you have come up here in health and strength. Do you hate God because he loves you? Is that the reason? Consider how many mercies you have received at his hands all your lives long! You are born with a body not deformed, you have had a tolerable share of health; you have been recovered many times from sickness; when lying at the gates of death; his arm has held back your soul from the last step to destruction. Do you hate God for all this? Do you hate him because he spared your life by his tender mercy? Behold his goodness that he hath spread before you! He might have sent you to hell; but you are here. Now, do you hate God for sparing you? Oh, wherefore art thou at enmity with him? My fellow creature, dost thou not know that God sent his Son from his bosom, hung him on the tree, and there suffered him to die for sinners, the just for the unjust? And dost thou hate God for that? Oh, sinner, is this the cause of thine enmity? Art thou so estranged that thou givest enmity for love? And when he surroundeth thee with favors, girdeth thee with mercies, encircleth thee with lovingkindness, dost thou hate him for this? He might say as Jesus did to the Jews: “For which of these works do ye stone me?” For which of these works do ye hate God? Did an earthly benefactor feed you, would you hate him? Did he clothe you, would you abuse him to his face? Did he give you talents, would you turn those powers against him? Oh, speak! Would you forge the iron and strike the dagger into the heart of your best friend? Do you hate your mother who nursed you on her knee? Do you curse your father who so wisely watched over you? Nay, ye say, we have some little gratitude towards earthly relatives. Where are your hearts, then? Where are your hearts, that ye can still despise God, and be at enmity with him? Oh! Diabolical crime! Oh! Satanic enormity! Oh! Iniquity for which words fail in description! To hate the all-lovely-to despise the essentially good-to abhor the constantly merciful-to spurn the everbeneficent- to scorn the kind the gracious one, above all, to hate the God who sent his Son to die for man! Ah! In that thought-”the carnal mind is enmity against God,”-there is something which may make us shake; for it is a terrible sin to be at enmity with God. I would I could speak more powerfully, but my Master alone can impress upon you the enormous evil of this horrid state of heart.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “The Carnal Mind Enmity Against God,” A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, April 22, 1855

But has any portion of the Protestant Pedobaptist world fully renounced the old Popish dogma which teaches that infants are regenerated in baptism? pt1

November 27, 2020 Leave a comment

I am gratified to say, however, that all these denominations, but especially those portions of them who have preserved their evangelical character, have gradually acquired, as they became better instructed in the word of God, more distinct and full conceptions of the work of the Spirit in regeneration, and especially is this true of the various classes of Methodists, Congregationalists, and Presbyterians in our country and in Europe. Apart from infant baptism, they recognize amply the great truth as stated by us, that regeneration is a change of heart, effected exclusively by the Holy Ghost. More than this; they give in their life and character, most gratifying evidence that they are themselves the subjects of this heavenly renovation. Thus happy, in its influence upon the character and destiny of the church and people of God, has been the Reformation.

But has any portion of the Protestant Pedobaptist world fully renounced the old Popish dogma which teaches that infants are regenerated in baptism? Do they believe in the doctrine of regeneration as exclusively the work of the Holy Spirit, and also in the antagonistic and conflicting doctrine of regeneration by baptism? Such inconsistency, it would seem, is almost incredible. Yet when infant baptism is to be administered, or defended, all their evangelical principles are apparently forgotten.

This relic of Popery can only be sustained by the dogmas of Popery. Baptism and regeneration are not now esteemed by them as separate and distinct things, but are declared essentially identical. This statement is not hazarded carelessly. It is made after mature thought, and full investigation. I am aware that it is not a light imputation. I shall therefore sustain it by the amplest evidence.

What kind of testimony may be regarded as satisfactory in proof of so grave a proposition? The declarations of Confessions of Faith, Catechisms, and accredited writers, must, of course, be conclusive. To these, therefore, I direct your attention. The Augsburg Confession says:

Our church likewise teaches that since the fall of Adam, all men who are naturally engendered, are born with a depraved nature, that is, without the fear of God, or confidence towards him, but with sinful propensities; and that this disease, or natural depravity, is really sin, and still condemned, and causes eternal death to those who are not born again by baptism and the Holy Spirit.”[75]

The earlier Helvetic, another Lutheran Confession, is still more explicit. Its language is:

Baptism is, by the institution of the Lord, the law of regeneration. With which holy law, we, on that account, baptize our infants.”

The Thirty-Nine Articles embrace in substance the declarations of the Augsburg Confession, and add,

There is no condemnation to them that believe, and are baptized.”[76]

For this reason they also baptize their infants! The Articles of Religion of the Methodist church assert that, baptism is

a sign of regeneration, or the new birth,” and is to be administered to infants.[77]

The Westminster Confession says:

Regeneration,” with various other blessings, is “offered” in baptism, and that “by the right use of this ordinance the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited and conferred by the Holy Ghost, to such, whether of, age, or infants, as that grace belongeth unto according to the counsel of God’s own will, in his appointed time.”[78]

Other Confessions not yet noticed concur with these. The Belgic Confession says:

The sacraments are signs, and visible symbols of things internal, and invisible, by which, as by means, God himself works in us by the power of the Holy Ghost.”

The Heidelberg Catechism, or Confession, written by Zachary Ursinus, says: “Christ commanded the external laws of baptism with this promise annexed, that [in it] I am not less certainly washed by his blood and Spirit, from the pollutions of the soul, that is, from all my sins.”

The Gallican Confession says:

God really, that is, truly and efficaciously, does whatever he there [in our baptism in infancy] sacramentally shadows forth, and therefore we annex to the signs the true possession of that thing [regeneration] which is thus offered us.”[79]

The same doctrine is maintained in the Bohemian, the Saxon, and all the others. These are the teachings of the Confessions. Their lessons cannot readily be mistaken. The Catechisms maintain the same doctrine. The Bishops of the English church, in their “Answers to the Ministers of the Savoy Conference,” remark:

We may say in faith, of every child that is baptized, that it is regenerate by God’s Holy Spirit; and the denial of it tends to Anabaptism, and the contempt of this holy sacrament, as nothing worthy, nor material whether it be administered to children or no.”[80]

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 6- Infant baptism is an evil because it is in direct conflict with the doctrine of regeneration by the Holy Spirit

Happy Thanksgiving 2020

November 26, 2020 Leave a comment

Thanksgiving is a day in which we pause and reflect on the blessings of God in our lives over the past year. Most dwell on the material earthly things of which they have obtained. However, as Christians, we ought to pause and thank God for the greatest of all gifts. This gift is the gift of the Lord Jesus Christ, who lived a life pleasing to God, in our stead, and was delivered up to God’s wrath, for the punishment of all his elect’s sins. So this day we pause and thank God for this of all the greatest gifts: Obtaining salvation through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Happy Thanksgiving from Reformedontheweb!

A quote from Spurgeon:

“Furthermore, beloved, we have heard of heavenly harvests, the outflowings of the upper springs, which, in days of yore, awakened the Church of God to loudest praise. There was the harvest of Pentecost. Christ having been sown in the ground like a grain of wheat, sprang up from it, and in his resurrection and ascension was like the waved sheaf before the Lord. Let us never forget that resurrection which crowned the year of God’s redeemed with goodness. It was a terrible year indeed; it began in the howling tempests of Christ’s poverty, and want, and shame, and suffering, and death; it seemed to have no spring and no summer, but yet it was crowned with an abundant harvest when Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Fifty days after the resurrection came the Pentecost. The barley-harvest had been passed wherein the wave-sheaf was offered; then came the days of wheat-harvest. Peter, and the eleven that were with him, became the reapers, and three thousand souls fell beneath the gospel sickle; there was great joy in the city of Jerusalem that day — nay, all the saints who heard thereof were glad, and heaven itself, catching the divine enthusiasm, rang with harvest joy. It is recorded that the saints ate their bread with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God. Pentecost was a crowning mercy, and it was remembered by the saints with crowning thanks.”

Charles H. Spurgeon-Sermon Delivered On Sunday Morning, September 27th, 1863 (Text that Spurgeon preached from: “Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness.” – Psalm 65:11.)

The delight it implies

November 26, 2020 Leave a comment

Note, next, the delight it implies. “I will cause you to walk in my ways,” not as a man who toils, but as one who walks at ease. The believer finds it as sweet to walk in God’s ways as Isaac felt it sweet to walk in the fields at eventide. We are not slaves sweating in sore bondage, but children serving with delight. His commandments are not grievous. His yoke is easy and his burden is light.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “Covenant Blessings”- A Sermon delivered on Lord’s Day Morning, April 14th, 1872. A Sermon on Ezekiel 36:26-27.

The Wednesday Word: The Unique High Priest

November 25, 2020 Leave a comment

For something to be deemed UNIQUE it must be the only one of its kind. It is, therefore, impossible for something to be more unique or most unique. If it is unique, it is unique. It stands alone. There is nothing like it. Therefore, Jesus is the unique priest. None can compare to Him.

There were, of course, the priests of the Old Testament. They repeatedly brought offerings of the blood of bullocks and lambs to deal with Israel’s sin.

Each year there was a continual offering for sin. This was merely a signpost to Christ. And then came Jesus. He was the unique priest who made a unique offering. He didn’t offer up the blood of some wee animal. No indeed, He offered Himself and was in this way a priest unparalleled and unrivaled in the annals of human history. He was unique.

No other priest would have dared offer himself for the sins of his people. Why? Because he, himself, was a sinner. He would have had to have an atonement made for his own sins.

Christ, however, the unique priest, died for sins but not for His own … He had none. He came from a virgin womb … He was born sinless and He was buried in a virgin tomb (see John 19:41) … He died sinless.

Jesus was unique. He was both the priest and the offering.

Someone asks, “But how can He be both?”

I would reply,

How can He be both God and the Son of God?

How can He be both the Shepherd and the Lamb?

How can He be both the Beginning and the End?

There are paradoxes, not contradictions.

Jesus is the unique priest. Consider the incomparable transfer of Isaiah 53:6, “The Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Every evil vice was laid on Him and His entire virtue laid on us. We are now standing in grace (Romans 5:2b) and living in blessings. He is all our righteousness. He is our sanctification. We are complete in Him.

Years ago, in 1975, on my first trip to the United States I was invited to watch the Dallas Cowboys playing (on TV) against one of their American Football rivals. I gladly accepted the invitation, but I must confess, being a Rugby fan, I didn’t understand much of what was going on out on the field. But I politely followed the lead from my hosts … when they booed, I booed…when they shouted, I shouted. Near the end of the game, Dallas were trailing behind. Then, out of nowhere, everyone in the room was on their feet cheering and there was I, on my feet, cheering with the best of them. I thought, however, I’d best come clean and quietly inquire as to what was happening. So, I asked my host about the commotion. He looked at me with an expression which asked, ‘Which part of Mars do you come from?’ and then replied with one word, “INTERCEPTION.” Dallas had intercepted the ball and had gone on to score.

Later, I thought about it and considered how, in the gospel, Jesus was the great interceptor. He made the greatest interception in human history. He intercepted the wrath of an angry God which was headed straight for us. What a catch! What a reversal of the game.

Jesus is the unique priest. If by faith we recieve Him as our saviour, and substitute, we can be as sure of heaven as though we were already there.

Jesus is the unique priest!

So, what is a priest? A priest is one who speaks to God for man and that’s what Jesus is doing right now. He’s not on the cross, He’s out of the grave and is alive in heaven forevermore. Now I don’t want to offend anyone but, since Jesus is the unique priest, that means that there’s no point in praying to Mary or Joseph. They can do nothing for a poor terrified sinner.

Jesus is Unique. Trust in Him alone.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XXVIII- Calvinism in History

November 25, 2020 Leave a comment

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XXVIII

CALVINISM IN HISTORY

11d. CONCLUSION

The famous English Baptist Charles Hadden Spurgeon (1834-1892), one of the world’s greatest preachers, spoke as follows:

I am never ashamed to avow myself a Calvinist. I do not hesitate to take the name of Baptist; but if I am asked what is my creed, I reply, ‘It is Jesus Christ.’”

And again, “Many of our Calvinistic preachers do not feed God’s people. They believe election, but they do not preach it. They think particular redemption true, but they lock it in the chest of their creed, and never bring it out in their ministry. They hold final perseverance, but they persevere in keeping quiet about it. They think there is such a thing as effectual calling, but they do not think they are called frequently to preach it. The great fault we find with them is, that they do not speak right out what they believe. You could not know if you heard them fifty times what were the doctrines of the Gospel, or what was their system of salvation. And hence God’s people get starved.”

When we come to a study of foreign missions we find that this system of belief has been the most important agency in carrying the Gospel to the heathen nations. St. Paul, whom the more liberal opponents of Calvinism admit to have been responsible for the Calvinistic cast of the theological thought of the Church, was the greatest and most influential of missionaries. If we call the roll of the heroes of Protestant Missions we find that almost without exception they have been disciples of Calvin. We find Carey and Martyn in India, Linvingstone and Moffat in Africa, Morrison in China, Paton in the South Seas, and a great host of others. These men professed and possessed a Calvinism which was not static but dynamic; it was not their creed only, but their conduct.

And in regard to foreign missions, Dr. F. W. Loetscher has said: “Though like all our sister Churches we have reason, in view of our unprecedented resources and the appalling needs of heathen lands, to lament that we have not accomplished more, we may at least thank God that our venerated fathers made so good a beginning in establishing missions all over the world; that the Calvinistic Churches today surpass all others in their gifts to this cause; and in particular that our own denomination has the unique honor and privilege of discharging her farreaching responsibities by actually confronting every one of the great non- Christian religions, and preaching the gospel on more continents, and among more nations, peoples, and tongues, than any other evangelical Church in the world.” [74]

Although to some it may sound like an unwarranted exaggeration, we have no hesitation in saying that through the centuries Calvinism, fearlessly and ringingly polemic in its insistence upon, and defense of, sound doctrine, has been the real strength of the Christian Church. The traditionally high standards of the Calvinistic Churches in regard to ministerial training and culture have borne a great harvest in bringing multitudes to the feet of Jesus, not in temporary excitement, but in perpetual covenant. Judged by its fruits Calvinism has proven itself incomparably the greatest evangelizing force in the world.

The enemies of Calvinism are not able honestly to confront the testimony of history. Certainly a glorious record belongs to this system in the history of modern civilization. None more noble can be found anywhere. “It has ever been a mystery to the so-called liberals,” says Henry Ward Beecher, “that the Calvinists, with what they have considered their harshly despotic and rigid views and doctrines, should always have been the staunchest and bravest defenders of freedom. The working for liberty of these severe principles in the minds of those that adopted them has been a puzzle. But the truth lies here: Calvinism has done what no other religion has ever been able to do. It presents the highest human ideal to the world, and sweeps the whole road to destruction with the most appalling battery that can be imagined.

It intensifies, beyond all example, the individuality of man, and shows in a clear and overpowering light his responsibility to God and his relations to eternity. It points out man as entering life under the weight of a tremendous responsibility, having on his march toward the grave, this one sole solace — of securing heaven and of escaping hell.

Thus the Calvinist sees man pressed, burdened, urged on, by the most mighty influencing forces. He is on the march for eternity, and is soon to stand crowned in heaven or to lie sweltering in hell, thus to continue for ever and ever. Who shall dare to fetter such a being? Get out of his way ! Hinder him not, or do it at the peril of your own soul. Leave him free to find his way to God. Meddle not with him or with his rights. Let him work out his own salvation as he can. No hand must be laid crushingly upon a creature who is on such a race as this — a race whose end is to be eternal glory or unutterable woe for ever and ever.”[75]

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

It is to be duly noted what God here threatened was the direct consequence and immediate punishment of sin

November 24, 2020 2 comments

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shah surely die” (Gen. 2:17). It is to be duly noted what God here threatened was the direct consequence and immediate punishment of sin, to be inflicted only upon the rebellious and disobedient. That death which now seizes fallen man is no mere natural calamity, but a penal infliction. It is not a “debt” which he owes to “nature,” but a judicial sentence which is passed upon him by the divine judge. Death has come in because our first parent, our federal head and representative, took of the forbidden fruit, and for no other reason. It was altogether meet to God’s authority and holy will that there should be an unmistakable connection between sin and its punishment, so that it is impossible for any sinner to escape the wages of sin, unless another should be paid them in his stead—of which the covenant of works contained no hint.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Two-The Adamic Covenant

What is God to us?

November 23, 2020 4 comments

What is God to us? He is the creator of the heavens and the earth; he bears up the pillars of the universe, his breath perfumes the flowers; his pencil paints them; he is the author of this fair creation; “we are the sheep of his pasture, he hath made us, and not we ourselves.” He stands to us in the relationship of a Maker and Creator, and from that fact he claims to be our King. He is our legislator our law-maker; and then, to make our crime still worse and worse, he is the ruler of providence; for it is he who keeps us from day to day. He supplies our wants; he keeps the breath within our nostrils; he bids the blood still pursue its course through the veins; he holdeth us in life, and preventeth us from death, he standeth before us, our creator, our king our sustainer, our benefactor, and I ask, is it not a sin of enormous magnitude-is it not high treason against the emperor of heaven-is it not an awful sin, the depth of which we cannot fathom with the line of all our judgment-that we, his creatures, dependent upon him, should be at enmity with God?

Charles H. Spurgeon- “The Carnal Mind Enmity Against God,” A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, April 22, 1855

These facts sufficiently explain the manner in which regeneration and baptism were at first confounded

November 20, 2020 Leave a comment

These facts sufficiently explain the manner in which regeneration and baptism were at first confounded, and the fatal extent of the consequent delusion. Baptism was a panacea which cured every malady. This was the condition of things everywhere prevailing, when the Reformation dawned upon the world. Spiritual religion, except among a few who were denounced as heretics, and hunted down with fire and sword, was lost, and grace, and salvation, were communicated, and obtained, only through sacraments.

Darkness covered the earth, and gross darkness the people. The Reformation poured a flood of light upon the world. It restored the doctrine of justification by faith, as we saw in the last chapter; and it restored also, though much less perfectly, the doctrine of regeneration by the Holy Spirit. It did both by giving back to the people the Bible, of which for many centuries, priestly jealousy, and priestly domination, had deprived them. The minds of men were recalled to first principles. True penitents turned to God, and obtained as in primitive times, by faith in Christ, assurance of the divine favor, the Spirit bearing witness with their spirit that they were born of God. Luther, and Melancthon, and Calvin, and Zuingle, and Ridley, and Latimer, and their compeers, were themselves doubtless regenerated.

In Germany, and England, and France, and even in Spain, men awoke as from a sleep of ages. They shuddered when they beheld the gulf from which they were barely delivered. They commenced the work of reform. They exposed the abuses of Popery in terms of indignant eloquence. They stated some of the doctrines of Christ with great clearness, but this, it must be confessed, is exhibited with painful obscurity. In none of the German Confessions is it presented with satisfactory distinctness. Nor is it set forth with more plainness in the Thirty-Nine Articles, or in the Articles of Religion of Mr. Wesley. The Calvinists had evidently a better comprehension of the doctrine than the other Protestants. The Westminster Confession thus speaks: God is pleased “effectually to call [men] by his word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills; and by his almighty power, determining them to that which is good.”[74]

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 6- Infant baptism is an evil because it is in direct conflict with the doctrine of regeneration by the Holy Spirit