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Posts Tagged ‘Gifts’

Happy Thanksgiving 2016

November 24, 2016 2 comments

Reformedontheweb would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

With that said, I will leave you with a quote by Spurgeon:

“But how shall we give crowning thanksgiving for this crowning mercy of the year? We can do it, dear friends, by the inward emotions of gratitude. Let our hearts be warmed; let our spirits remember, meditate, and think upon this goodness of the Lord. Meditation upon this mercy may tend to nourish in you the tenderest feelings of affection, and your souls will be knit to the Father of spirits, who pitieth his children. Again, praise him with your lips; let psalms and hymns employ your tongues to-day: and tomorrow, when we meet together at the prayer-meeting, let us turn it rather into a praise-meeting, and let us laud and magnify his name from whose bounty all this goodness flows. But I think, also, we should thank him by our gifts. The Jews of old never tasted the fruit either of the barley or of the wheat-harvest, till they had sanctified it to the Lord by the feast of ingatherings. There was, early in the season, the barley-harvest. One sheaf of this barley was taken and waved before the Lord with special sacrifices, and then afterwards the people feasted. Fifty days afterwards came the wheat-harvest, when two loaves, made of the new flour, were offered before the Lord in sacrifice, together with burnt offerings, peace-offerings, meat-offerings, drink-offerings, and abundant sacrifices of thanksgivings, to show that the people’s thankfulness was not stinted or mean. No man ate either of the ears, or grain, or corn ground and made into bread, until first of all he had sanctified his substance by the dedication of somewhat unto the Lord. And shall we do less than the Jew? Shall he, for types and shadows, express his gratitude in a solid manner, and shall not we? Did he offer unto the Lord whom he scarce knew, and bow before that Most High God who hid his face amidst the smoke of burning rams and bullocks? And shall not we who see the glory of the Lord in the face of Christ Jesus come unto him and bring to him our offerings? The Old Testament ordinance was, “Ye shall not come before the Lord empty;” and let that be the ordillance of to-day. Let us come into his presenoe, each man bearing his offering of thanksgiving unto the Lord. But enough concerning this particular harvest. It has been a crowning mercy this year, so that the other version of our text might aptly be applied as a description of 1863, “Thou crownest the year of thy goodness.””

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.)

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Does the Bible Teach That the Charismatic Gifts Are For Today?

January 26, 2016 5 comments

 

Above is a debate between Dr. Sam Waldron, Dean and Resident Professor of Systematic Theology at Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, and Matt Slick, President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry. They debate the question, “Does the Bible teach that the charismatic gifts are for today?”

No matter which side of the issue you may be on, I highly recommend watching this debate, which is very instructive and helpful in seeking to understand the important issues involved. I think it may be the best debate I have seen on the issue, especially since it is between two men who share a commitment to Reformed theology.

 

 

Source [Reformed Baptist Blog]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old and New Perspectives on Paul: A Third Way?

January 14, 2016 1 comment

By J. V. Fesko

John Barclay, professor of divinity at Durham University in England, has written a sizable contribution to New Testament studies in Paul and the Gift. His basic thesis is that gift is the proper first-century category for comprehending Paul’s term grace (2). His primary focus is examining the divine gift giving, which for the apostle Paul is God’s gift of Christ (4).

Barclay believes gift is the best way to understand Paul’s concept of grace for three chief reasons.

First, grace is a multifaceted concept that theologians frequently use but seldom define. Some stress the incongruity of grace (giving to an unworthy recipient); others the efficacy of grace. Barclay points out that these different “perfections” of grace (conceptual extensions) aren’t better or worse interpretations of the concept, just different aspects of it (6). He identifies six possible perfections of grace (70–75, 563):

•Superabundance—the size or permanence of a gift

•Singularity—the giver’s sole and exclusive desire to express benevolence and goodness

•Priority—the timing of the gift, namely, that it takes place prior to the initiative of the recipient

•Incongruity—a gift given without regard to the worthiness of the recipient

•Efficacy—the effect of the gift, namely, what the gift is designed to accomplish

•Non-circularity—the gift escapes reciprocity and a system of exchange

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Honorable Gifts

October 13, 2014 1 comment

Spurgeon 1We shall divide God’s gifts into five classes. First, we shall have gifts temporal; second, gifts saving; third, gifts honorable; fourth, gifts useful; and fifth, gifts comfortable. Of all these we shall say, “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?”

3. We now come, in the third place, to notice the differences which God often makes in his Church in HONORABLE GIFTS. There is a difference made between God’s own children — when they are his children. Note what I mean: One hath the honorable gift of knowledge, another knows but little. I meet, every now and then, with a dear Christian brother with whom I could talk for a month, and learn something from him every day. He has had deep experience — he has seen into the deep things of God — his whole life has been a perpetual study wherever he has been. He seems to have gathered thoughts, not from books merely, but from men, from God, from his own heart. He knows all the intricacies and windings of Christian experience: he understands the height, the depths, the lengths, and the breadths of the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge. He has gained a grand idea, an intimate knowledge of the system of grace, and can vindicate the dealings of the Lord with his people.

Then you meet with another who has passed through many troubles, but he has no deep acquaintance with Christian experience. He never learned a single secret by all his troubles. He just floundered out of one trouble into another, but never stopped to pick up any of the jewels that lay in the mire — never tried to discover the precious jewels that lay in his afflictions. He knows very little more of the heights and depths of the Savior’s love than when he first came into the world. You may converse with such a man as long as you like, but you will get nothing from him. If you ask why is it, I answer, there is a Sovereignty of God in giving knowledge to some and not to others. I was walking the other day with an aged Christian, who told me how he had profited by my ministry. There is nothing humbles me like that thought of yon old man deriving experience in the things of God, receiving instruction in the ways of the Lord from a mere babe in grace. But I expect that when I am an old man, if I should live to be such, that some babe in grace will instruct me. God sometimes shutteth the mouth of the old man and openeth the mouth of the child. Why should we be a teacher to hundreds who are, in some respects, far more able to teach us? The only answer we can find is in the Divine Sovereignty, and we must bow before it, for has he not a right to do as he wills with his own ? Instead of being envious of those who have the gift of knowledge, we should seek to gain the same, if possible. Instead of sitting down and murmuring that we have not more knowledge, we should remember that the foot cannot say to the head, nor the head to the foot, I have no need of thee, for God hath given us talents as it hath pleased him.

Note, again, when speaking of honorable gifts. Not only knowledge, but office is an honorable gift. There is nothing more honorable to a man than the office of a deacon or a minister. We magnify our office, though we would not magnify ourselves. We hold there is nothing can dignify a man more than being appointed to an office in a Christian church. I would rather be a deacon of a church than Lord Mayor of London. To be a minister of Christ is in my estimation an infinitely higher honor than the world can bestow. My pulpit is to me more desirable than a throne, and my congregation is an empire more than large enough; an empire before which the empires of the earth dwindle into nothing in everlasting importance. Why does God give to one man a special call by the Holy Ghost, to be a minister, and pass by another? There is another man more gifted, perhaps, but we dare not put him in a pulpit, because he has not had a special call. So with the deaconship; the man whom some would perhaps think most suitable for the office is passed by, and another chosen. There is a manifestation of God’s Sovereignty in the appointment to office — in putting David on a throne, in making Moses the leader of the children of Israel through the wilderness, in choosing Daniel to stand among princes, in electing Paul to be the minister to the Gentiles, and Peter to be the Apostle of the Circumcision. And you who have not the gift of honorable office, must learn the great truth contained in the question of the Master, “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own ?”

There is another honorable gift, the gift of utterance. Eloquence hath more power over men than all else besides. If a man would have power over the multitude, he must seek to touch their hearts, and chain their ears. There are some men who are like vessels full of knowledge to the brim, but having no means of giving it forth to the world. They are rich in all gems of learning, but know not how to set them in the golden ring of eloquence.

They can collect the choicest of flowers, but know not how to tie them up in a sweet garland to present them to the admirer’s eye. How is this? We say again, the Sovereignty of God is here displayed in the distribution of gifts honorable. Learn here, O Christian man, if you have gifts to cast the honor of them at the Savior’s feet, and if you possess them not, learn not to murmur; remember that God is equally as kind when he keepeth back as when he distributeth his favors. If any among you be exalted, let him not be puffed up; if any be lowly, let him not be despised; for God giveth to every vessel his measure of grace. Serve him after your measure, and adore the King of Heaven who doth as he pleaseth.

Charles H. Spurgeon-Sermon-Divine Sovereignty-Delivered May 4 1856

Gifts Temporal

September 29, 2014 1 comment

Spurgeon 1We shall divide God’s gifts into five classes. First, we shall have gifts temporal; second, gifts saving; third, gifts honorable; fourth, gifts useful; and fifth, gifts comfortable. Of all these we shall say, “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?”

1. In the first place then, we notice Gifts Temporal. It is an indisputable fact that God hath not, in temporal matters, given to every man alike; that He hath not distributed to all His creatures the same amount of happiness or the same standing in creation. There is a difference.

Mark what a difference there is in men personally (for we shall consider men chiefly); one that is born like Saul, a head and shoulders taller than the rest — another shall live all his life a Zaccheus — a man short of stature. One has a muscular frame and a share of beauty; another is weak, and far from having anything styled comeliness. How many do we find whose eyes have never rejoiced in the sunlight, whose ears have never listened to the charms of music, and whose lips have never been moved to sounds intelligible or harmonious. Walk through the earth and you will find men superior to yourself in vigor, health, and fashion, and others who are your inferiors in the very same respects. Some here are preferred far above their fellows in their outward appearance, and some sink low in the scale and have nothing about them that can make them glory in the flesh. Why hath God given to one man beauty and to another none? to one all his senses, and to another but a portion? Why, in some, hath He quickened the sense of apprehension, while others are obliged to bear about them a dull and stubborn body? We reply, let men say what they will, that no answer can be given except this, “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight.” The old Pharisees asked, “Did this man sin or his parents, that he was born blind?” We know that there was neither sin in parents nor child, that he was born blind, or that others have suffered similar distresses, but that God has done as it has pleased Him in the distribution of His earthly benefits, and thus hath said to the world, “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?”

Mark, also, in the distribution of mental gifts, what a difference exists. All men are not like Socrates; there are but few Platos; we can discover but here and there a Bacon; we shall but every now and then converse with a Sir Isaac Newton. Some have stupendous intellects wherewith they can unravel secrets — fathom the depths of oceans — measure mountains — dissect the sunbeams, and weigh the stars. Others have but shallow minds. You may educate and educate, but can never make them great. You cannot improve what is not there. They have not genius, and you cannot impart it. Anybody may see that there is an inherent difference in men from their very birth. Some, with a little education do surpass those ‘who have been elaborately trained. There are two boys, educated it may be in the same school, by the same master, and they shall apply themselves to their studies with the same diligence, but yet one shall far outstrip his fellow. Why is this? Because God hath asserted His sovereignty over the intellect as well as the body. God hath not made us all alike, but diversified His gifts. One man is as eloquent as Whitefield; another stammers if he but speaks three words of his mother tongue. What makes these various differences between man and man? We answer, we must refer it all to the Sovereignty of God, who does as He wills with His own.

Note, again, what are the differences of metz’s conditions in this world. Mighty minds are from time to time discovered in men whose limbs are wearing the chains of slavery, and whose backs are laid bare to the whip — they have black skins, but are in mind vastly superior to their brutal masters. So, too, in England; we find wise men often poor, and rich men not seldom ignorant and vain. One comes into the world to be arrayed at once in the imperial purple — another shall never wear aught but the humble garb of a peasant. One has a palace to dwell in and a bed of down for his repose, while another finds but a hard resting place, and shall never have a more sumptuous covering than the thatch of his own cottage. If we ask the reason for this, the reply still is, “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight.”

So, in other ways you will observe in passing through life how sovereignty displays itself. To one man God giveth a long life and uniform health, so that he scarcely knows what it is to have a day’s sickness, while another totters through the world and finds a grave at almost every step, feeling a thousand deaths in fearing one. One man, even in extreme old age, like Moses, has his eye undimmed; and though his hair is grey, he stands as firmly on his feet as when a young man in his father’s house. Whence, again, we ask, is this difference? And the only adequate answer is, it is the effect of Jehovah’s Sovereignty. You find, too, that some men are cut off in the prime of their life the very midst of their days — while others live beyond their threescore years and ten. One departs before he has reached the first stage of existence, and. another has his life lengthened out until it becomes quite a burden; we must, I conceive, necessarily trace the cause of all these differences in life to the fact of God’s Sovereignty. He is Ruler and King, and shall He not do as He wills with His own?

We pass from this point — but before we do we must stop to improve it just a moment. O thou who art gifted with a noble frame, a comely body, boast not thy self therein, for thy gifts come from God. O glory not, for if thou gloriest thou becomest uncomely in a moment. The flowers boast not of their beauty, nor do the birds sing of their plumage. Be ye not vain ye daughters of beauty’; be not exalted ye sons of comeliness; and O ye men of might and intellect, remember, that all you have is bestowed by a Sovereign Lord: He did create; He can destroy. There are not many steps between the mightiest intellect and the helpless idiot — deep thought verges on insanity. Thy brain may at any moment, be smitten, and thou be doomed henceforth to live a madman. Boast not thyself of all that thou knowest, for even the little knowledge thou hast has been given thee. Therefore, I say, exalt not thyself above measure, but use for God what God has given, thee, for it is a royal gift, and thou shouldst not lay it aside. But if the Sovereign Lord has given thee one talent, and no more, lay it not up in a napkin, but use it well, and then it may be that He will give thee more. Bless God that thou hast more than others, and thank Him also that He has given thee less than others, for thou hast less to carry on thy shoulders; and the lighter thy burden the less cause wilt thou have to groan as thou travels on towards the better land. Bless God then if thou possessest less than thy fellows, and see His goodness in withholding as well as in giving.

Charles H. Spurgeon-Sermon-Divine Sovereignty-Delivered May 4 1856

Dr. Michael Brown and Dr. Sam Waldron debate the question, “Have the New Testament Charismatic Gifts Ceased?”

December 2, 2013 3 comments

Dr. Michael Brown and Dr. Sam Waldron had a very cordial debate on the question, “Have the New Testament Charismatic Gifts Ceased?” Dr. Brown’s rebuttal arguments did not appear to me to reflect an understanding of Dr. Waldron’s primary argument, the so-called Cascade Argument.

I strongly believe that it is important to a dialog that both sides understand the other. Thus, my hope is that by spelling out this argument in writing, I can clarify the argument to Dr. Brown, to those who agree with him, and more broadly to those considering the question of the gifts.

 

The Cascade Argument can be summarized thus:

1) There are no apostles of Christ on earth today.

2) Because there are no apostles of Christ, there are no prophets.

3) Because there are no prophets, there are no tonguespeakers.

4) In view of 1-3, there are no miracle workers on earth today.

 

Read the rest here.

Confession statement 45

September 25, 2013 2 comments

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.

XLV ALSO such to whom God hath given gifts in the church, may and ought to prophecy [viz., teach] according to the proportion of faith, and to teach publicly the word of God, for the edification, exhortation, and comfort of the church.

1 Cor.14:3, etc.; Rom.12:6; 1 Pet.4:10,11.; 1 Cor.l2:7 1 Thess.5:19, etc.

The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46