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Archive for April, 2013

Are there passages in the Old Testament which have no bearing on the church

April 30, 2013 2 comments

Arthur PinkBut are there not many passages in the Old Testament which have no direct bearing upon the Church today? Certainly not. In view of 1 Corinthians 10:11— “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples [margin, “types”]: and they are written for our admonition”—Owen pithily remarked: “Old Testament examples are New Testament instructions.” By their histories we are taught what to avoid and what to emulate. That is the principal reason why they are recorded: that which hindered or encouraged the Old Testament saints was chronicled for our benefit. But, more specifically, are not Christians unwarranted in applying to themselves many promises given to Israel according to the flesh during the Mosaic economy, and expecting a fulfillment of the same unto themselves? No indeed, for if that were the case, then it would not be true that

 

“whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4).

 

Arthur W. Pink The Application of Scriptures-A Study of Dispensationalism

Beware of deriving comfort from the distress of mind

April 29, 2013 3 comments

fuller3. Beware of deriving comfort from the distress of mind which you may have undergone, or from any feelings within you. Some religious people will tell you, that these workings of mind are a sign that God has mercy in reserve for you; and that, if you go on in the way you are in waiting as at the pool, all will be well in the end; but such language requires great qualification. It is not your being distressed in mind that will prove anything in your favor, but the issue of it. Saul was distressed as well as Davis and Judas, as well as Peter. When the murderers of our Lord were pricked in their hearts, Peter did not comfort them by representing this their unhappiness as a hopeful sign of conversion; but exhorted them to repent, and be baptized every one them in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins.

And thus it was with Paul and Silas, when the jailer was impressed with fear and dismay: they gave him no encouragement from thence, but preached Jesus Christ as the only source of hope. If one who had slain a man in Israel, had stopped short of the City of refuge, and endeavored to draw comfort from the alarm which he had felt, lest the avenger of blood should overtake him, would he have been safe? There is no security to you or to any man, but in fleeing immediately to the Gospel-refuge and laying hold of the hope set before you. If you take comfort from your distress, you are in immiment danger of stopping short of Christ, and so of perishing for ever. Many no doubt, have done so; and that which they have accounted waiting at the pool for the moving of the waters, has proved no other than settling upon a false foundation. Indeed, it must needs be so; for as there is no medium in one that has heard the gospel, between faith and unbelief, he that does not believe in Jesus for salvation, if be have any hope of it, must derive that hope from something in himself.

Rev. Andrew Fuller–The Great Question Answered

To teach our distinctive views is a duty we owe to the unbelieving world

April 26, 2013 1 comment

broadusI. REASONS WHY BAPTISTS OUGHT TO TEACH THEIR DISTINCTIVE VIEWS

3. To teach our distinctive views is a duty we owe to the unbelieving world. We want unbelievers to accept Christianity; and it seems to us they are more likely to accept it when presented in its primitive simplicity, as the apostles themselves offered it to the men of their time. For meeting the assaults of infidels, we think our position is best.

Those who insist that Christianity is unfriendly to scientific investigations almost always point to the Romanists; they could not with the least plausibility say this of Baptists. And when an honest and earnest-minded skeptic is asked to examine with us this which claims to be a revelation from God, we do not have to lay beside it another book as determining beforehand what we must find in the Bible. Confessions of faith we have, some Older and some more recent, which we respect and find useful; but save through some exceptional and voluntary agreement we are not bound by them.

We can say to the skeptical inquirer, “Come and bring all the really ascertained light that has been derived from studying the material world, the history of man, or the highest philosophy, and we will gladly use it in helping to interpret this which wt believe to be God’s word”; and we can change our views of its meaning if real light from any other sources requires us to do so.

There is, surely, in this freedom no small advantage for being the truly rational inquirer. But, while thus free to sear the Scriptures, Baptists are eminently conservative in their whole tone and spirit; and for a reason. Their recognition of the Scriptures alone as religious authority, and the stress they lay on exact conformity to the requirements of Scriptures foster an instinctive feeling that they must stand or fall with the real truth and the real authority of the Bible. The union of freedom and conservatism is something most healthy and hopeful.

John A. Broadus-The Duty of Baptists to Teach Their Distinctive Views

CHAPTER I-VI

HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN MARTYRS TO THE FIRST GENERAL PERSECUTIONS UNDER NERO

VI. Matthias

Of whom less is known than of most of the other disciples, was elected to fill the vacant place of Judas. He was stoned at Jerusalem and then beheaded.

John Foxe-Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

Question 16-Puritan Catechism

Spurgeon 316. Q. Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?

A. The fall brought mankind into a state of sin and misery. (Romans 5:18)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism

The Greatest Trading Post in the World

April 24, 2013 2 comments

Wednesday word: The Greatest Trading Post in the World

In the cross of Christ, we find the greatest trading post in the world. There, our filthy robes of self-righteousness were traded for Christ’s robe of perfect righteousness (Isaiah 61:10). Our guilt was traded for grace and mercy, and our condemnation was traded for our justification. This is not make-believe or some kind of legal fiction. This is reality (Hebrews 9:22; 1 Peter 2:24).

As believers, all of Christ’s righteousness is credited to us. Did you catch that? ALL of Christ’s righteousness is reckoned to us. In the gospel, we are not given a righteousness that looks like Christ’s or one that is similar to Christ’s, we are given Christ’s very own righteousness. All of His perfection, in all its completeness, is now reckoned as being ours. This is no empty theory; this is gospel. Live in it and enjoy it. At the cross, Christ Jesus took legal liability for us and gave us the gift of His righteousness. This is such good and powerful news that, if this gospel were continually preached and believed in our churches, then believers would be transformed and delivered from lives that so often entangle and entrap them.

There are many whom I’ve met who, in their flesh, are striving after their own brand of holiness. They fail to realize that the all-holy God requires perfection. These folk, neither understand true holiness nor the true nature of sin. They, therefore, go about trying to meet what they suppose to be God’s standard. To them Christianity is about keeping the rules and trying to impress God and man. Failing to grasp the gospel fact that Christ has already reached God’s standard on our behalf, these folks are doomed to live lives of misery and failure. The only way they can live a so called perfect life is to either lower the standard of perfection or to excuse sin as not being sin at all! As a result, they lie to themselves about having reached a higher state than the rest of us. Some of them are so deceived that they believe they can actually live throughout the day without sin. They know nothing of the ‘Gospel Trading Post’.

As believers, we must have a good understanding of the Trading Post of the cross. There we encounter the righteousness of God in Christ. Everything that God requires of us is met in Christ; it is supplied in Christ and is fulfilled in Christ. God demands perfection, and the believer has that in Christ. God demands full and total obedience, and we have that in Christ.

Horatius Bonar, in his book, “The Everlasting Righteousness” comments on Ezekiel 16 saying,

“Although the prophet was speaking of Jerusalem we can apply his words to believers. The word of the Lord to us through Ezekiel is choice. The Lord says,

 

1. “I said to you, Live” (Ezekiel 16: verse 6).

2. “I spread my skirt over thee” (verse 8).

3. “I entered into a covenant with you, and you became mine”  (verse 8).

4. “I washed you” (verse 9).

5. “I anointed you” (verse 9).

6. “I clothed you” (verse 10).

7. “I shod you” (verse 10).

8. “I girded you” (verse 10).

9. “I covered you with silk” (verse 10).

10. “I decked you with ornaments, bracelets, chains, jewels, a  beautiful crown” (verse 12).

11. “You were exceeding beautiful” (verse 13).

12. “Your renown went forth for your beauty” (verse 14).

 

This is a snapshot of the ‘Trading Post’ and the perfection with which we, as believers, are now clothed. The Lord Himself is our righteousness and He says to us, “Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee” (Song of Songs 4:7). As we believe this, we enter into rest.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles McKee,

Minister of the Gospel

www.milesmckee.com

Confession statement 23

Published in 1646

The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.

CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.

XXIII ALL those that have this precious faith wrought in them by the Spirit, can never finally nor totally fall away; seeing the gifts of God are without repentance; so that He still begets and nourisheth in them faith, repentance, love, joy, hope, and all the graces of the Spirit unto immortality; and though many storms and floods arise, and beat against them, yet they shall never be able to take them off that foundation and rock, which by faith they are fastened upon; not withstanding, through unbelief, and the temptations of Satan, the sensible sight of this light and love, be clouded and overwhelmed for a time; yet God is still the same, and they shall be sure to be kept by the power of God unto salvation, where they shall enjoy their purchased possession, they being engraven upon the palms of His hands, and their names having been written in the book of life from all eternity.

Matt.7:24.25; John 13:10.10:28,29; 1 Pet.1:4.5,6; Isa.49:13.14,15,16.

The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46

Further illustration of the use of the Character of God

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015Further illustration of the use, together with a necessary reproof of vain curiosity, and refutation of the Epicureans. The character of God as it appears to the pious mind, contrasted with the absurd views of the Epicureans. Religion defined.

2. Those, therefore, who, in considering this question, propose to inquire what the essence of God is, only delude us with frigid speculations, — it being much more our interest to know what kind of being God is, and what things are agreeable to his nature. For, of what use is it to join Epicures in acknowledging some God who has cast off the care of the world, and only delights himself in ease? What avails it, in short, to know a God with whom we have nothing to do? The effect of our knowledge rather ought to be, first, to teach us reverence and fear; and, secondly, to induce us, under its guidance and teaching, to ask every good thing from him, and, when it is received, ascribe it to him. For how can the idea of God enter your mind without instantly giving rise to the thought, that since you are his workmanship, you are bound, by the very law of creation, to submit to his authority? — that your life is due to him? — that whatever you do ought to have reference to him? If so, it undoubtedly follows that your life is sadly corrupted, if it is not framed in obedience to him, since his will ought to be the law of our lives. On the other hand, your idea of his nature is not clear unless you acknowledge him to be the origin and fountain of all goodness. Hence would arise both confidence in him, and a desire of cleaving to him, did not the depravity of the human mind lead it away from the proper course of investigation.

For, first of all, the pious mind does not devise for itself any kind of God, but looks alone to the one true God; nor does it feign for him any character it pleases, but is contented to have him in the character in which he manifests himself always guarding, with the utmost diligences against transgressing his will, and wandering, with daring presumptions from the right path. He by whom God is thus known perceiving how he governs all things, confides in him as his guardian and protector, and casts himself entirely upon his faithfulness, — perceiving him to be the source of every blessing, if he is in any strait or feels any want, he instantly recurs to his protection and trusts to his aid, — persuaded that he is good and merciful, he reclines upon him with sure confidence, and doubts not that, in the divine clemency, a remedy will be provided for his every time of need, — acknowledging him as his Father and his Lords he considers himself bound to have respect to his authority in all things, to reverence his majesty aim at the advancement of his glory, and obey his commands, — regarding him as a just judge, armed with severity to punish crimes, he keeps the judgment-seat always in his view. Standing in awe of it, he curbs himself, and fears to provoke his anger. Nevertheless, he is not so terrified by an apprehension of judgment as to wish he could withdraw himself, even if the means of escape lay before him; nays he embraces him not less as the avenger of wickedness than as the rewarder of the righteous; because he perceives that it equally appertains to his glory to store up punishment for the one, and eternal life for the other. Besides, it is not the mere fear of punishment that restrains him from sin. Loving and revering God as his father, honoring and obeying him as his master, although there were no hell, he would revolt at the very idea of offending him.

Such is pure and genuine religion, namely, confidence in God coupled with serious fear — fear, which both includes in it willing reverence, and brings along with it such legitimate worship as is prescribed by the law. And it ought to be more carefully considered that all men promiscuously do homage to God, but very few truly reverence him. On all hands there is abundance of ostentatious ceremonies, but sincerity of heart is rare.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Henry Beveridge Translation

No Scripture suggests that any portion of it is not for the Church

April 23, 2013 12 comments

Arthur PinkNot only is the assertion that though all Scripture be for us all is not to us meaningless, but it is also impertinent and impudent, for there is nothing whatever in the Word of Truth to support and substantiate it. Nowhere has the Spirit given the slightest warning that such a passage is “not to the Christian,” and still less that whole books belong to someone else. Moreover, such a principle is manifestly dishonest. What right have I to make any use of that which is the property of another? What would my neighbor think were I to take letters which were addressed to him and argue that they were meant for me? Furthermore, such a theory, when put to the test, is found to be unworkable. For example, to whom is the book of Proverbs addressed, or for that matter, the first Epistle of John? Personally, this writer, after having wasted much time in perusing scores of books which pretended to rightly divide the Word, still regards the whole of Scripture as God’s gracious revelation to him and for him, as though there were not another person on earth, conscious that he cannot afford to dispense with any portion of it; and he is heartily sorry for those who lack such a faith. Pertinent in this connection is that warning,

“But fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve… so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3).

Arthur W. Pink The Application of Scriptures-A Study of Dispensationalism

Beware of self reformation through personal convictions

April 22, 2013 4 comments

fullerConsider, and beware, I say again, as you regard your eternal salvation, that you take up your rest in nothing short of Christ! Particularly,

2. Beware of dwelling in a way of self complacency, on those reformations which may have been produced by the power of conviction This is another of those workings of unbelief, by which many have come short of believing, and so of entering into rest. There is no doubt but your convictions have driven you from the commission of grosser vices, and probably have frightened you into a compliance with various religious duties: but these are only the loppings off of the branched of sin; the root remains unmortified. It is not the breaking off of your sins that will turn to any account, unless they be broken off by righteousness; and this will not-be the case but by believing in Christ. The power of corruption may have only retired into its strong holds, from whence, if you embrace not the Gospel way of salvation, it will soon come forth with increased energy and sweep away all your fancied reformations. Nay, it is very possible that while the lusts of the flesh have seemed to recede, those of the mind, particularly spiritual pride, may have already increased in strength. If, indeed, you dwell on your reformations, and draw comfort from them, it is an undoubted proof that it is so; and then, instead of being reformed, or nearer the kingdom of heaven than you were before your character is more offensive to God than ever. Publicans and harlots are more likely to enter into it than you.

Besides if your reformations were ever so virtuous–which they are not, in his sight by whom actions are weighed–yet while you are an unbeliever, they cannot be accepted. You yourself must first be accepted in the Beloved, ere any thing that you offer can be received. “It does not consist with the honor of the majesty of the King of heaven and earth to accept of any thing from a condemned malefactor condemned by the justice of his own holy law, till that condemnation be removed.”

Rev. Andrew Fuller–The Great Question Answered