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Who are the COMFORTED persons

December 31, 2018 Leave a comment

III. And now thirdly, who are the COMFORTED persons! I like, you know at the end of my sermon to cry out “Divide! divide!” There are two parties here-some who are the comforted, and others who are the comfortless ones- some who have received the consolation of the Holy Ghost, and some who have not. Now let us try and sift you, and see which is the chaff; and which is the wheat; and may God grant that some of the chaff may this night be transformed into his wheat.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “The Comforter,” A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Evening, January 21, 1855

The Covenants-Chapter 5a-The Covenant of promise in Christ to Abraham

December 28, 2018 6 comments

Abraham’s place was “Ur of the Chaldees.” There he received a divine command indicative of some future purpose of Jehovah, what he knew not. ‘The God of glory’ appeared to him, and said, ‘Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and go into the land which I shall show thee.’ Promptly he obeyed, ‘and went out, not knowing whither he went.’ Providence directed his steps to Haran, where he remained until he had performed the last sad rites of sepulture for his aged father. Then again, ‘The Lord said to Abraham, Depart to a land that I will shew thee, And I will make thee a great nation. And I will bless thee, and make thy name great. And thou shalt be a blessing. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee. And in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed’ (Gen 12:1, 3). In this simple narrative we have the original promise made to Abraham, which Paul calls ‘the covenant of God, in Christ’, or the pledge that Messiah should come of his family. The promise was made when the patriarch was seventy-five years old, in the year of the world two thousand and eighty-two, and nineteen hundred and twenty-two years before the advent of Messiah. He received and embraced it with unwavering faith, and devoutly and promptly complied with the command with which it was associated. He ‘departed as the Lord had spoken to him’, with all his family and substance. And as Moses instructs us, ‘They went from Haran, to go into the land of Canaan ; and into the land of Canaan they came. And Abram passed through the land, to the place of Sychem, to the plain of Moreh’ (Gen 12:1-3), a beautiful valley between the mountains Ebal and Gerizim, where he fixed his residence, and ‘builded an altar unto the Lord,” who there again appeared to him, and said, ‘To thee will I give this land’ (Gen 12:4-6). Upon these events, and in explanation of the full import of the covenant, an inspired apostle says, ‘Now to Abraham and his seed, were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed; which is Christ’ (Heb 11:12).

But Abraham had subsequently, assurances on this subject, still more full, and emphatic. More than forty years he had resided, ‘as a pilgrim and a stranger,’ in Canaan, when the covenant was renewed, “and ratified with an oath.’ Mean time his faith had been subjected to various trials of the severest character. He and his wife had now both reached a very great age; he about a hundred and his wife ninety years, and they were still without issue. In the ordinary course of things, as respects posterity they were both, as Paul justly remarks, ‘as good as dead’. The promised son came not! How could he believe that he would come, or that the promise would, or could, ever be fulfilled? We are assured however, that ‘Abraham staggered not’. His faith was unshaken. “With God nothing is impossible.” Isaac at length was born! And under the circumstances, his birth was as truly miraculous, as was that of the Saviour himself. All his cherished hopes were realized, and this son so dear to his heart, was now verging towards manhood, when occurred another trial of his faith, infinitely more painful and appalling than the former. ‘Take now thy son,” said God to the aged patriarch, ‘thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there for a burnt offering!’ But could this command be really from on high! Had he not in this case, every reason to distrust the evidence of even his own senses? Could infinite goodness require of a father, a deed so horrible? Thus Abraham might have reasoned. But no such inquiries were in his heart. It was enough that God had spoken. Of this he was assured. He therefore, hesitated not to obey, but hastened to the appointed mountain; builded there the prescribed altar; placed upon it the necessary wood; bound his son, laid him upon the pile, grasped the knife, and stretched forth his hand to strike the fatal blow; when his proceeding was arrested by a voice from above! ‘Abraham, lay not thy hand upon the lad; neither do thou any thing to him; for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld from me thy son, thine only son’ (Gen 22:1-13). Another glorious victory was achieved. Faith had again triumphed. Paul illustrating this cardinal grace, thus refers to the incident before us:- “By faith Abraham when he was tried, offered up Isaac; and he that had received the promises, offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, In Isaac shall thy seed be called; accounting that God was able to raise him up even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure” (Heb 11:17-18). When these and other scenes had passed, and which are recorded, that “we upon whom the ends of the earth have come,” may imitate the unwavering confidence in the word of God, which characterized “the father of the faithful,” then Jehovah said to Abraham:- ” By myself have I sworn,” “that blessing I will bless thee; and multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies. And in thy seed shall all the earth be blessed” (Gen 22:15-16). These trials of Abraham’s faith, and repetitions in the strongest forms, to him of ” the covenant of promise,” were, like the sufferings of Job, not especially necessary on his account, but were for our advantage. Therefore said Paul, “When God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.” “Men verily swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is to them, an end of all strife.” So “God, willing more abundantly to show unto [us the true] heirs of promise, the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it with an oath, that by two immutable things [the promise in the original covenant, and the oath in its repetition] in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us; which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the vail, whither our forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus Christ (Heb 6:13-20).

R. B. C. Howell- The Covenants

Charles Spurgeon’s Letters-Letter 201

December 27, 2018 Leave a comment

TO VARIOUS FRIENDS

To [Mr. John Ruskin].

CLAPHAM, Nov. 26, 1862.

MY DEAR MR. RUSKIN, —

I thought you had cast me off; but I perceive that you let me alone when all is right, and only look me up when you are getting disgusted with me. May that disgust increase if it shall bring me oftener into your company!

I shall be delighted to see you to-morrow, lucre, at any time from 10 to 12 if this will suit you.

I wish I had a den in the Alps to go to; but it is of no use for me to grow surly, for I am compelled to live amongst you sinners, and however disgusted I may get with you all, I must put up with you, for neither Nature nor Providence will afford a den for me.

Yours ever most truly and affectionately,

C. H. SPURGEON.

The Wednesday Word: Life with a Capital L

December 26, 2018 4 comments

We do not get spiritual life by feeling something about ourselves but by believing something about Jesus. Jesus Christ is both the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). When we have Him as our truth then we enjoy Him as our life.

But, when do we begin to enjoy this life? We enjoy it when we believe. This is why we read, “..And that believing you might have life through his name” (John 20:31).

Too many time we occupy ourselves with our condition. But looking inwards cannot impart life. Constantly looking inwards is as useless as a rubber beak on a woodpecker and as dangerous as a concrete parachute.

Instead of looking inward, we must look outside ourselves to the Lord Jesus, to the one who accomplished our redemption. He is the one who imparts life. But we don’t enjoy that life by focusing on it. No indeed! It is as we occupy ourselves with the Lord Jesus, the more we relish the new life He gives us.

For example, when the stinging memory of ancient sins rises up to plague us, we learn not to dwell on them or even to focus on our repentance. We look instead to the Christ who once hung for us on that center cross and died for that particular sin (s).

The old maxim, ’Seeing is Believing’ does not hold true in the Gospel. In the Gospel,” Seeing is not believing, instead, believing is Seeing.’ As the old Hymn writer said of the cross, “It was there by faith I received my sight.” Believe, trust, rest on the fact that He, the Lord Jesus, has taken our punishment. He is the faithful One. As we focus on Jesus, Life with a capital L will be enjoyed immediately.

Look to Jesus! Look to Jesus!

Look away to Christ our God!

None but Jesus, none but Jesus

Can do helpless sinners good

The more we cling to Jesus the more life we will enjoy. Again, we must be clear on this. The source of our life does not come from anything in us or from having had some new and wonderful experience. The source of our life comes from the Gospel, from the Person of Christ, His doing, dying and rising again.

Every claim which the eternal, righteous Judge held against us has been settled by the blood of Jesus. As we believe the Gospel, the more we will enjoy spiritual life. As we look away from ourselves, we see that God is just and the justifier of them that believeon the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 3:29). As we behold and confess these gospel truths, our hearts will be full of rejoicing.

It’s no wonder then that Paul wrote, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world (Galatians 6:14).

While the unsaved stay close to the world, we stay close to Jesus and his finished work. He is the center of our message and the center of our life. He is the one who accomplished everything the Father intended Him to finish.

Our life comes from Christ and His cross. In the shadow of the cross, sorrows cannot live and joy cannot die! In the shade of the cross, the attractions of the world perish.

Here it is we find our Heaven,

While on the cross we gaze;

Love we much? We’ve more forgiven,

We are miracles of Grace

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XI-Unconditional Election-Continued-C

December 26, 2018 4 comments

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XI

Unconditional Election [contd]

9. THE VASTNESS OF THE REDEEMED MULTITUDE

The decree of God’s electing and predestinating love, though discriminating and particular, is, nevertheless, very extensive. “I saw, and behold, a great multitude, which no man could number, out of every nation and of all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, arrayed in white robes, and palms in their hands; and they cried with a great voice, saying, Salvation unto our God who sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb,” Rev_7:9, Rev_7:10. God the Father has elected untold millions of the human race to everlasting salvation and eternal happiness. Just what proportion of the human family He has included in His purpose of mercy, we have not been informed; but, in view of the future days of prosperity which are promised to the Church, it may be inferred that much the greater part will eventually be found among the number of His elect.

In the nineteenth chapter of John’s Revelation a vision is recorded setting forth in figurative terms the struggle between the forces of good and evil in the world. Concerning the description there given Dr. Warfield says: “The section opens with a vision of the victory of the Word of God, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords over all His enemies. We see Him come forth from heaven girt for war, followed by the armies of heaven; the birds of the air are summoned to the feast of corpses that shall be prepared for them; the armies of the enemy — the beasts and the kings of the earth — are gathered against Him and are totally destroyed; and ‘all the birds are filled with their flesh’ (19:11-21). It is a vivid picture of a complete victory, an entire conquest, that we have here; and all the imagery of war and battle is employed to give it life. This is the symbol. The thing symbolized is obviously the complete victory of the Son of God over all the hosts of wickedness. Only a single hint of this signification is afforded by the language of the description, but that is enough. On two occasions we are carefully told that the sword by which the victory is won proceeds out of the mouth of the conqueror (verses 15 and 21). We are not to think, as we read, of any literal war or manual fighting, therefore; the conquest is wrought by the spoken word — in short, by the preaching of the Gospel. In fine, we have before us here a picture of the victorious career of the Gospel of Christ in the world. All the imagery of the dread battle and its hideous details are but to give us the impression of the completeness of the victory. Christ’s Gospel is to conquer the earth; He is to overcome all His enemies.”30

To us who live between the first and second coming of Christ it is given to see the conquest taking place. As to how long the conquest continues before it is crowned with victory, or as to how long the converted world is to await her coming Lord, we are not told. Today we are living in a period that is relatively golden as compared with the first century of the Christian era, and this progress is to go on until those on this earth shall see a practical fulfillment of the prayer, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” As we get the broader view of God’s gracious dealings with the sinful world, we see that He has not distributed His electing grace with niggard hand, but that His purpose has been the restoration to Himself of the whole world.

The promise was given to Abraham that his posterity should be a vast multitude, — “In blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is upon the sea-shore,” Gen_22:17; “I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth; so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then may thy seed also be numbered,” Gen_13:16. And in the New Testament we discover that this promise refers not merely to the Jews as a separate people, but that those who are Christians are in the highest sense the true “sons of Abraham.” “Know therefore, that they that are of faith, the same are sons of Abraham”; and again, “If ye are Christ’s then are ye Abraham’s seed, heirs according to promise,” Gal_3:7, Gal_3:29.

Isaiah declared that the pleasure of Jehovah should prosper in the hands of the Messiah, that He should see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied. And in view of what He suffered on Calvary we know that He will not be easily satisfied.

The idea that the saved shall far outnumber the lost is also carried out in the contrasts drawn in Scripture language. Heaven is uniformly pictured as the next world, as a great kingdom, a country, a city; while on the other hand hell is uniformly represented as a comparatively small place, a prison, a lake (of fire and brimstone), a pit (perhaps deep, but narrow), (Luk_20:35; 1Ti_6:17; Rev_21:1; Mat_5:3; Heb_11:16; 1Pe_3:19; Rev_19:20; Rev_20:10, Rev_20:14, Rev_20:15; Rev_21:8-27). When the angels and saints are mentioned in Scripture they are said to be hosts, myriads, an innumerable multitude, ten thousand times ten thousand and many more thousands of thousands; but no such language is ever used in regard to the lost, and by contrast their number appears to be relatively insignificant (Luk_2:13; Isa_6:3; Rev_5:11). “The circle of God’s election,” says Shedd, “is a great circle of the heavens and not that of a treadmill. The kingdom of Satan is insignificant in contrast with the kingdom of Christ. In the immense range of God’s dominion, good is the rule, and evil is the exception. Sin is a speck upon the azure of eternity; a spot upon the sun. Hell is only a corner of the universe.”

Judging from these considerations it thus appears (if we may hazard a guess) that the number of those who are saved may eventually bear some such proportion to those who are lost as the number of free citizens in our commonwealth today bears to those who are in the prisons and penitentiaries; or that the company of the saved may be likened to the main stalk of the tree which grows and flourishes, while the lost are but as the small limbs and prunings which are cut off and which perish in the fires. Who even among non-Calvinists would not wish that this were true?

But, it may be asked, do not the verses, “Narrow is the gate, and straightened the way, that leadeth unto life, and few are they that find it,” and, “Many are called, but few chosen,” Mat_7:14; Mat_22:14, teach that many more are lost than saved? We believe these verses are meant to be understood in a temporal sense, as describing the conditions which Jesus and His disciples saw existing in Palestine in their day. The great majority of the people about them were not walking in the ways of righteousness, and the words are spoken from the standpoint of the moment rather than from the standpoint of the distant Judgment Day. In these words we have presented to us a picture which was true to life as they saw it, and which would, for that matter, describe the world as it has been even up to the present time. But, asks Dr. Warfield, “As the years and centuries and ages flow on, can it never be — is it not to be — that the proportion following ‘the two ways’ shall be reversed?”

These verses are also designed to teach us that the way of salvation is a way of difficulty and of sacrifice, and that it is our duty to address ourselves to it with diligence and persistence. No one is to assume his salvation as a matter of course. Those who enter into the kingdom of heaven do so through many tribulations; hence the command, “Strive to enter in by the narrow door,” Luk_13:24. The choice in life is represented as a choice between two roads, one is broad, smooth, and easy to travel, but leads to destruction. The other is narrow and difficult, and leads to life. “There is no more reason to suppose that this similitude teaches that the saved shall be fewer than the lost than there is to suppose that the parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25: l ff) teaches that they shall be precisely equal in number; and there is far less reason to suppose that this similitude teaches that the saved shall be few comparatively to the lost than there is to suppose that the parable of the Tares in the corn (Mat_13:24 ff) teaches that the lost shall be inconsiderable in number in comparison with the saved — for that, indeed, is an important part of the teaching of that parable.”31 And we may add that there is no more reason to suppose that this reference to the two ways teaches that the number of the saved shall be fewer than the number of the lost than there is to suppose that the parable of the lost sheep teaches that only one out of a hundred goes astray and that even it shall eventually be brought back, which would indeed be absolute restorationism.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

Merry Christmas 2018

December 25, 2018 2 comments

Reformedontheweb would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!

I will leave you with a quote from Charles Spurgeon:

We must learn from this, that if salvation glorifies God, glorifies him in the highest degree, and makes the highest creatures praise him, this one reflection may be added — then, that doctrine, which glorifies man in salvation cannot be the gospel. For salvation glorifies God. The angels were no Arminians, they sang, “Glory to God in the highest.” They believe in no doctrine which uncrowns Christ, and puts the crown upon the head of mortals. They believe in no system of faith which makes salvation dependent upon the creature, and, which really gives the creature the praise for what is it less than for a man to save himself, if the whole dependence of salvation rests upon his own free will? No, my brethren; there may be some preachers, that delight to preach a doctrine that magnifies man; but in their gospel angels have no delight. The only glad tidings that made the angels sing, are those that put God first, God last, God midst, and God without end, in the salvation of his creatures, and put the crown wholly and alone upon the head of him that saves without a helper. “Glory to God in the highest,” is the angels’ song.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- ‘The First Christmas Carol,’ A Sermon delivered on Sabbath Morning, Dec 20, 1858

The use of Parentheses

December 25, 2018 Leave a comment

The use of parentheses is entirely a matter of interpretation, for there were none in the originals and few in the early Creek copies. The translators deemed them necessary in a few instances, so as to indicate the sense of a passage by preserving the continuity of thought, as in Romans 5:13-17, which is an unusually long one. Some of the simplest and best known examples are Matthew 6:32; Luke 2:35; John 7:50; Romans 1:2. It is not to be thought that words enclosed in brackets are of less importance: sometimes they are an amplification, as in Mark 5:13; at others they are explanatory, as in Mark 5:42; John 4:2. Instead of being only of trivial significance, a number of parenthetical clauses are of deep moment. For instance, “For I know that in myself (that is in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing” (Romans 7:18)—the absence of that qualifying word had denied that there was any principle of grace or holiness in him. Similar examples are found in 2 Corinthians 5:7, and 6:2. On the other hand, some are of doubtful propriety: not all will consider that the parentheses found in the following passages are necessary or even expedient: Mark 2:10; John 1:14, and 7:39; 1 Corinthians 9:21; 2 Corinthians 10:4; Ephesians 4:9, 10. Below are three passages in which this writer considers the use of parentheses is a real help in the understanding of them.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures