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Archive for June, 2016

Baptism As A Means Of Grace by Fred Malone, Jason Walter & Tom Hicks [Audio]

Building Tomorrows Church Conference audio is up. I recently benefited greatly from two sermons regarding Baptism as a Means of Grace, one is from the 2011 ARBCA GA by Fred Malone:

BAPTISM AS A MEANS OF GRACE

Here are some notes from Tom Hicks on the sermon:

Is baptism a means of grace?

1. There is no ex opere operato (from the work performed) grace conveyed in baptism.

2. Baptism is not a “seal” of the new covenant. The Holy Spirit is the “seal.” Baptism is a “sign” of covenant membership.

3. Baptism is a means of grace appointed by God to strengthen and encourage the faith of the believer who is baptized. Baptism also strengthens other believers and proclaims the gospel to unbelievers who witness the ordinance.

4. Some Baptists wrongly think baptism completes conversion. That notion is neither taught in Scripture nor the 1689 Second London Baptist Confession of Faith. Those who would make baptism a part of conversion overturn the Bible’s gracious doctrine of justification by faith alone because of Christ alone.

How is baptism a means of grace?

1. Baptism is a sign to the person baptized of the full salvation accomplished by Jesus Christ. We should never think of baptism without thinking of the Lord Jesus Christ and saving union with Him. The work of Christ on Calvary’s hill must always take precedence in our minds and hearts over the ordinance of baptism itself. As the believer joins faith to his baptism, the Spirit of Christ strengthens the believer’s faith, which lays hold of Christ who is proclaimed in the ordinance.

2. Baptism confirms forgiveness of sins in the heart of the believer. It testifies to the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ. But, baptism itself has no power to accomplish forgiveness of sin, either as an atonement or as a means of appropriating the atonement.

3. Baptism is an appeal to God from a good conscience. We are not to appeal to baptism itself, but we are to appeal to the Lord Jesus Christ directly in baptism. Baptism, therefore, calls us to turn from sin and to Jesus Christ.

4. Baptism becomes a means of grace in older believers who reflect on their previous baptism. It reminds them of Christ and so strengthens their faith.

5. Baptism is a sign of the believer’s future resurrection from the dead in glorification.

ALSO

Jason Walter (Christ Reformed Baptist Church – Vista, CA) has a sermon on baptism:

REMEMBER YOUR BAPTISM

 

Source [Confessing Baptist]

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Oliver Cromwell: Lord Protector of England

(1599-1658)

There is definitely an association between John Knox and Oliver Cromwell. Knox, in his book The Reformation of Scotland, outlined the whole process without which the British model of government under Oliver Cromwell never would not have been possible. Yet Knox was more consistently covenantal in his thinking. He recognized that civil government is based on a covenant between the magistrate (or the representative or king) and the populace. His view was that when the magistrate defects from the covenant, it is the duty of the people to overthrow him.

Cromwell was not a learned scholar, as was Knox, nevertheless God elevated him to a greater leadership role. Oliver Cromwell was born into a common family of English country Puritans having none of the advantages of upbringing that would prepare him to be leader of a nation. Yet he had a God-given ability to earn the loyalty and respect of men of genius who served him throughout his lifetime. John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim’s Progress served under his command in the English Civil War, and John Milton, who penned Paradise Lost, served as his personal secretary.

Cromwell’s early years were ordinary, but after a conversion experience at age 27, he was seized by a sense of divine destiny. He became suddenly zealous for God. He was a country squire, a bronze-faced, callous-handed man of property. He worked on his farm, prayed and fasted often and occasionally exhorted the local congregation during church meetings. A quiet, simple, serious-minded man, he spoke little. But when he broke his silence, it was with great authority as he commanded obedience without question or dispute. As a justice of the peace, he attracted attention to himself by collaring loafers at a tavern and forcing them to join in singing a hymn. This exploit together with quieting a disturbance among some student factions at the neighboring town of Cambridge earned him the respect of the Puritan locals and they sent him to Parliament as their representative. There he attracted attention with his blunt, forcible speech as a member of the Independent Party which was made up of Puritans.

The English people were bent upon the establishment of a democratic parliamentary system of civil government and the elimination of the “Divine Right of Kings.” King Charles I, the tyrant who had long persecuted the English Puritans by having their ears cut off and their noses slit for defying his attempts to force episcopacy on their churches, finally clashed with Parliament over a long ordeal with new and revolutionary ideas. The Puritans, or “Roundheads” as they were called, finally led a civil war against the King and his Cavaliers.

When he discerned the weaknesses of the Roundhead army, Cromwell made himself captain of the cavalry. Cromwell had never been trained in war, but from the very beginning he showed consummate genius as a general. Cromwell understood that successful revolutions were always fought by farmers so he gathered a thousand hand-picked Puritans – farmers and herdsmen – who were used to the open fields. His regiment was nicknamed “Ironsides” and was never beaten once, although they fought greatly outnumbered – at times three to one.

It was an army the likes of which hadn’t been seen since ancient Israel. They would recite the Westminster Confession and march into battle singing the Psalms of David striking terror into the heart of the enemy. Cromwell’s tactic was to strike with the cavalry through the advancing army at the center, go straight through the lines and then circle to either the left or the right milling the mass into a mob, creating confusion and utterly destroying them. Cromwell amassed a body of troops and soon became commander-in-chief. His discipline created the only body of regular troops on either side who preached, prayed, paid fines for profanity and drunkenness, and charged the enemy singing hymns – the strangest abnormality in an age when every vice imaginable characterized soldiers and mercenaries.

In the meantime, Charles I invited an Irish Catholic army to his aid, an action for which he was tried for high treason and beheaded shortly after the war. After executing the national sovereign, the Parliament assumed power. The success of the new democracy in England was short-lived. Cromwell found that a democratic parliamentary system run by squires and lords oppressed the common people and was almost as corrupt as the rulership of the deposed evil king. As Commander-in-Chief of the army, he was able to seize rulership and served a term as “Lord Protector.”

During the fifteen years in which Cromwell ruled, he drove pirates from the Mediterranean Sea, set English captives free, and subdued any threat from France, Spain and Italy. Cromwell made Great Britain a respected and feared power the world over. Cromwell maintained a large degree of tolerance for rival denominations. He stood for a national church without bishops. The ministers might be Presbyterian, Independent or Baptist. Dissenters were allowed to meet in gathered churches and even Roman Catholics and Quakers were tolerated. He worked for reform of morals and the improvement of education. He strove constantly to make England a genuinely Christian nation and she enjoyed a brief “Golden Age” in her history.

When Charles I was beheaded, the understanding was that he had broken covenant with the people. The view of Cromwell and the Puritans was that when the magistrate breaks covenant, then he may legitimately be deposed. The Puritan understanding of the covenantal nature of government was the foundation for American colonial government. This was true of Massachusetts and Connecticut and to a lesser extent in the Southern colonies. When the Mayflower Compact was written, the Pilgrims had a covenantal idea of the nature of civil government. This was a foundation for later colonies established throughout the 1600s. These covenants were influenced by what Knox had done in Scotland and what the Puritans had done in England.

Progress of Nations, vol. IV, pp.144-153.

 

Source [Reformed Reader]

God teaches us the truth that He alone is God by commanding us to “look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.”

June 27, 2016 1 comment

SpurgeonNow, who are the ends of the earth? Why, there are poor heathen nations now that are very few degrees removed from brutes, uncivilized and untaught, but if I might go and tread the desert, and find the Bushman in his kraal, or go to the South seas, and find a Cannibal, I would say to the Cannibal or the Bushman, “Look unto Jesus, and be ye saved all the ends of the earth.” They are some of “the ends of the earth,” and the gospel is sent as much to them, as to the polite Grecians, the refined Romans, or the educated Britons. But I think “the ends of the earth “imply those who have gone the farthest away from Christ. I say, drunkard, that means you! You have been staggering back, till you have got right to the ends of the earth; you have almost had delirium tremens, you cannot be much worse, there is not a man breathing worse than you. Is there? Ah! but God, in order to humble your pride, says to you, “Look unto me, and be ye saved.” There is another who lived a life of infamy and sin, until she has ruined herself, and even Satan seems to sweep her out at the back door; but God says, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.” Methinks I see one trembling here, and saying, “Ah! I have not been one of these, sir, but I have been something worse, for I have attended the house of God, and I have stifled convictions, and put off all thoughts of Jesus, and now I think he will never have mercy on me.” You are one of them. “Ends of the earth!” So long as I find any who feel like that, I can tell them that they are “the ends of the earth.” “But,” says another, “I am so peculiar; if I did not feel as I do, it would be all very well; but I feel that my case is a peculiar one.” That is all right; they are a peculiar people. You will do. But another one says, “There is nobody in the world like me; I do not think you will find a being under the sun that has had so many calls, and put them all away, and so many sins on his head; besides, I have guilt that I should not like to confess to any living creature.” One of “the ends of the earth “again; therefore all I have to do is to cry out, in the Master’s name, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God and there is none else.” But thou sayest sin will not let thee look. I tell thee, sin will be removed the moment thou dost look. “But I dare not; he will condemn me; I fear to look” He will condemn thee more, if thou dost not look. Fear, then, and look; but do not let thy fearing keep thee from looking. “But he will cast me out.” Try him. “But I cannot see him.” I tell you, it is not seeing, but looking. “But my eyes are so fixed on the earth, so earthly, so worldly.” Ah! but, poor soul, he giveth power to look and live. He saith- ”Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- Sovereignty and Salvation-A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, January 6

Free Ebook- Origins of the Particular Baptists

June 24, 2016 1 comment

by Gordon L. Belyea

This document traces the origins of the Particular Baptist from the English Separatists movement.

 

 

Download here. (Pdf)

Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 3-Chapter 26-The Meaning of Baptism

CHAPTER 26-THE MEANING OF BAPTISM

Introduction:

Christendom seems to be hopelessly split over the ordinances. It is split over ordinances because split over the way of salvation. The ordinances are closely related to the gospel and the way of salvation. Christendom not even agreed on how many ordinances there are. Some say three, some two and some none. To me it is obviously true there are two, baptism and the Lord’s supper. Not the gospel, but picture or represent the gospel. Do not save, but testify to what does save.

Baptism is not an empty ceremony. It has a deep and blessed meaning. It was given for a purpose and when we find the purpose, we find the mode or act. The mode was changed because the design or purpose was perverted. This is easy to see: when men began to think that baptism saves they naturally changed the mode. Here is a lost man; he is sick and can not be immersed but he must be baptized to be saved, so he is sprinkled. Novatian, 250 A. D.

In most of our English translations of the Bible, the word for baptize is not translated, it is anglicised. King James I ordered the translators to keep the old ecclesiastical words without translating them. Baptize is not a translation. The Greek verb is baptizo. It is anglicised by changing the last letter from o to e. The Greek word for sprinkle is rhantizo and it is rightly translated sprinkle. If they had dealt with that word like they did baptizo they would have anglicised it and call it rhantize. Those who have been sprinkled have been rhantized, not baptized.

John Calvin: “But whether the person who is baptized be wholly immersed, and whether thrice or once, or whether water be only poured or sprinkled upon him, is of no importance; churches ought to be left at liberty, in this respect, to act according to the differences of countries. The very word baptize, however, signifies to immerse; and it is certain that immersion was the practice of the ancient church.”

WHAT BAPTISM IS NOT FOR:

It is not for the purpose of saving the sinner. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation, but baptism is not any part of the Gospel. The three gospel facts are the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Paul: “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect” (#1Co 1:17); “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:” (#1Pe 3:21); “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (#Ac 22:16).

WHAT BAPTISM IS FOR:

1. Baptism is to commemorate the death and burial of Christ. It commemorates by symbol the three facts of Gospel. Baptism testifies to the death of Christ. To commemorate His death we take a sinner who is dead to sin and plant him in the likeness of Christ’s death and raise him up in likeness of his resurrection. We take a sinner trusting in Christ and bury him in the liquid grave and then lift him out of it.

2. Baptism illustrates the believer’s position before the law of God. What is the believer’s legal status or station? He is dead to sin and alive unto God through Jesus Christ. It is not something to be felt but to be reckoned. “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (#Ro 6:11). I must take this by faith. I do not feel as if I am dead to sin, but God says I am, and I take it on faith. Now if I am dead I must be buried and then raised up out of the grave. I must symbolize my own burial and resurrection. As a believer in Christ I have been crucified, buried and raised, and this is what is symbolized in my baptism. I did not know this when I was baptized. You believers here tonight have this advantage over me. I can see the meaning of my baptism now, but I did not see it then. You have a new life to walk in, and this new life is symbolized by the resurrection part of baptism.

So your baptism testifies to the faith you have in Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. By faith you are united to Him and occupy His position before God in the legal sense. As the old man you have sinned and the sentence of death has been executed on your surety Jesus Christ. And now before the law as a new man you are to walk in the new life. This new life is to be lived by faith, faith that you have been crucified with Christ, faith “that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (#Php 1:6). “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (#Col 3:1).

3. Baptism anticipates the believer’s bodily resurrection from the dead. “Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him” (#Ro 6:8); “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” (#1Co 15:29).

Conclusion:

Baptism commemorates the resurrection of Christ. It illustrates the believer’s death to sin and resurrection to walk in a new life he has in Christ. It anticipates the resurrection of His people.

C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 3

Confessions of Faith: “No Creed But The Bible”

by Tom Nettles

1. The Bible: A Matter of Faith

At the most basic level, every Christian should confess, “I have no creed but the Bible.” The Bible is meant to be believed. In matters of faith dependent upon revealed truth, therefore, the Christian should make no commitment of heart or head to a proposition not founded immediately upon Scripture.

In its first chapter, the Second London Confession makes clear this principle after discussing many of the various doctrines of Scripture:

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Charles Spurgeon’s Letters-Letter 70

MENTONE, Jan. 12, 1892.

MY DEAR SON CHAR, —

I am truly sorry to hear that you are so ill, but all I can do is to pray our Lord to restore you, and bless you and the dear wife and bairns. It seems so strange that you should be laid by in the middle of so much usefulness; but it is often so. So that you may at least know that you are not put on the shelf because you are useless. Some good reason lies hidden in the Divine bosom. Be of good cheer ….

You can do no more than the Lord enables. When we cannot work we must rest, and we feel an easy conscience about it. May this new evil-cast out the old one, and may you sleep.

Trying weather just now, but I am holding my own. Mr. F. T. been here and Gone.

Receive my love, and that of your dear mother.

Your loving father,

C. H. S.