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Archive for April, 2013

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

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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

It is a duty we owe our fellow Christians

April 19, 2013 3 comments

broadusI. REASONS WHY BAPTISTS OUGHT TO TEACH THEIR DISTINCTIVE VIEWS

2. To teach our distinctive views is a duty we owe to our fellow Christians. Take the Roman Catholics. We are often told very earnestly that Baptists must make common cause with other Protestants against the aggressions of Romanism. It is urged, especially in some localities, that we ought to push all our denominational differences into the background and stand shoulder to shoulder against Popery.

Very well; but all the time it seems to us that the best way to meet and withstand Romanism is to take Baptist ground; and if, in making common cause against it, we abandon or slight our Baptist principles, have a care lest we do harm in both directions. Besides, ours is the best position, we think, for winning Romanists to evangelical truth. Our brethren of the great Protestant persuasions are all holding some “developed” form of Christianity, not so far developed as Popery, and some of them much less developed than others, but all having added something, in faith or government or ordinances, to the primitive simplicity.

The Roman Catholics know this, and habitually taunt them with accepting changes which the church has made while denying the church’s authority, and sometime tell them that the Baptists alone are consistent in opposing the Church. We may say that there are but two sorts of Christianity; church Christianity and Bible Christianity. If well-meaning Roman Catholics become dissatisfied with resting everything on the authority of the church and begin to look toward the Bible as authority, they are not likely, if thoughtful and earnest, to stop at any halfway house, but to go forward to the position of those who really build on the Bible alone.

Or take the Protestants themselves. Our esteemed brethren are often wonderfully ignorant of our views. A distinguished minister, author of elaborate works on church history and the creeds of Christendom, and of commentaries, etc., and brought in many ways into association with men of all denominations, is reported to have recently asked whether the Baptists practice trine immersion. A senator of the United States from one of the southern states, and alumnus of a celebrated university, was visiting, about twenty years ago, a friend in another state, who casually remarked that he was a Baptist.

“By the way,” said the senator, “what kind of Baptists are Paedobaptists?”

Not many years ago a New York gentleman who had been United States minister to a foreign country published in the New York Tribune a review of a work, in which he said (substantially), “The author states that he is a Baptist pastor. We do not know whether he is a Paedobaptist or belongs to the straiter of Baptists.” Now, of course these are exceptional cases; but exemplify what is really a widespread and very great ignorance as to Baptists. And our friends of other denominations often use great injustice because they do not understand our tenets and judge us by their own.

As to “restricted communion,” for example, Protestants ally hold the Calvinian view of the Lord’s Supper, and so think that we are selfishly denying them a share in the spiritual blessing attached to its observance; while, with our Zwinglian view, we have no such thought or feeling. These things certainly show it to be very desirable that we should bring our Christian brethren around us to know our distinctive opinions, in order that may at least restrain them from wronging us through ignorance.

If there were any who did not care to know, who were willing to be deprived of a peculiar accusation against us, them our efforts would be vain. But most of those we encounter are truly good people, however prejudiced, and do not wish be unjust; and if they will not take the trouble to seek information about our real views, they will not be unwilling to receive it when fitly presented. Christian charity may thus be promoted by correcting ignorance. And besides, we may hope that sc at least will be led to investigate the matters about which differ. Oh, that our honored brethren would investigate!

A highly educated Episcopal lady some years ago in one our great cities, by a long and patient examination of her with no help but an Episcopal work in favor of infant baptism at length reached the firm conviction that it is without warrant in the Scripture, and became a Baptist. She afterward said, “I am satisfied that thousands would inevitably do likewise if they would only examine.”

But why should we wish to make Baptists of our Protestant brethren? Are not many of them noble Christians, not a few of them among the excellent of the earth? If with their opinions they are so devout and useful, why wish them to adopt other opinions? Yes, there are among them many who command our high admiration for their beautiful Christian character and life; but have a care about your inferences from this fact. The same is true even of many Roman Catholics, in the past and in the present; yet who doubts that the Romanist system as a whole is unfavorable to the production of the best types of piety?

And it is not necessarily an arrogant and presumptuous thing in us if we strive to bring honored fellow Christians to views which we honestly believe to be more scriptural, and therefore more wholesome. Apollos was an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, and Aquila and Priscilla were lowly people who doubtless admired him; yet they taught him the way of the Lord more perfectly, and no doubt greatly rejoiced that he was willing to learn. He who tries to win people from other denominations to his own distinctive views may be a sectarian bigot; but he may also be a humble and loving Christian.

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

CHAPTER I-V

HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN MARTYRS TO THE FIRST GENERAL PERSECUTIONS UNDER NERO

V. James the Less

Is supposed by some to have been the brother of our Lord, by a former wife of Joseph. This is very doubtful, and accords too much with the Catholic superstition, that Mary never had any other children except our Savior. He was elected to the oversight of the churches of Jerusalem; and was the author of the Epistle ascribed to James in the sacred canon. At the age of ninety-four he was beat and stoned by the Jews; and finally had his brains dashed out with a fuller’s club.

John Foxe-Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

Question 15-Puritan Catechism

Spurgeon15. Q. Did all mankind fall in Adam’s first transgression?

A. The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself but for his posterity, all mankind descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him in his first transgression. (1 Corinthians 15:22; Romans 5:12)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism

The Altogether Lovely Christ

April 17, 2013 1 comment

Wednesday word: The Altogether Lovely Christ

In Christ alone we discover who God is and what He is like. In Christ alone we also learn what man should be like. What a marvel Christ is .… God and Man in one person; there has never been anyone like Him! Consider this; the greatest of people are usually flawed. Einstein was brilliant, but he was also a sex maniac. Gandhi, the great peace-loving leader of India once paid a compliment to Adolph Hitler. Patrick Henry, the famous American revolutionary, occasionally locked his wife in the basement. Let’s face it, the best of men are men at best, they are all flawed, all that is, except for Christ Jesus. In the annals of human history, Jesus Christ remains the only one of whom it can be truthfully asserted, “He is altogether lovely ” (Song of Songs 5:16).

He is altogether lovely because He is the out-shining of the Father’s glory (Hebrews 1:3).

He is altogether lovely for although He is the glory of God against whom we are measured and fall short, He has become our champion and has brought us back to God (Romans 3:23, Hebrews 2:10)

He is altogether lovely because there He was, at the cross, “Bearing shame and scoffing rude,” and doing so without opening His mouth in His own defence (Isaiah 53:7).

He is altogether lovely because although He is the shepherd, He is also the Lamb. The faithful guide is the flawless sacrifice; the perfect protector is Himself the wonderous wrath offering (Hebrews 13:20, Romans 3:25).

He is lovely because He, by Himself, purged our sins (Hebrews 1:3)!

But, is He really altogether lovely? If so, then tell people about Him. What a simple message we have …“Behold the Lamb!” We don’t have to argue or be belligerent, we can simply tell about the Lamb. We don’t have to despise or condemn, we just tell about the Lamb. He is altogether lovely! We can help no one unless we point them to the Lamb. No one else can take away sin. No one else can bathe the conscience and cleanse it for it is the Lamb who was slaughtered; it is the Lamb who was the one final sacrifice for sin. He is altogether lovely.

Not only when we witness, but also when we have fellowship one with another may we say, “Behold the Lamb.” May we talk about His person, work and offices. May we continually think about Him, observe Him and know all that we can about Him. May we examine Him, meditate on Him, worship Him and sing to Him! The more we are occupied with Him, the more we will be transformed.

There was no greater wonder ever than that God should provide Himself as the Lamb for the sin offering. May we always be in awe of Him! Angels marvel at this mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh. May we join with them in astonished wonder and never cease to be amazed.

May we always be filled with the wonder of the flawless Lamb! He is not distant. He is here; He is not in hiding. Look at Him and see Him for who He is. He is the living Word, the Word made flesh, the Holy One come to earth as the sinner’s friend (John 1:14). He is loveliness itself, filled with grace and truth.

About 300 hundred years ago, Scotland had many prominent preachers. An English man went there to listen to some of them. First he went to hear Robert Blair. He came back and said, “That man showed me the majesty of God.” Then he went to hear a sermon by David Dixon, and he said,“ That man showed me my heart.” And then he heard Samuel Rutherford, and he said, “That man showed me the loveliness of Jesus.” What mighty preaching there must have been in those days. We may yet see it return to our pulpits.

And that’s the Gospel Truth

Miles McKee,

Minister of the Gospel

www.milesmckee.com