What a glorious day! Even if you don't like the snow, how can you help praising God with such a magnificent display of his power and control over his creation?
Job 37:6 For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth;
Job 38:22 Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow?
Ps 147:16 He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes.
Ps 148:7-13 Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps: Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word: Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars: Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl: Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth: Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.
I can't help adding this aside: It's incredible how many Global Warming meetings have been canceled for snow! In the wake of the Dec 8 Copenhagen meeting (which was greeted by a rare blizzard) we are having the biggest December snow on record for central VA! Is God holding this phony theory in derision?
Emily and I attended a conference last week put on by the NCFIC on the sufficiency of scripture. We were blessed by messages by many solid and influential Christians, including Scott Brown, Doug Phillips, Ken Ham, Voddie Bacham, Paul Washer, Kevin Swanson, and others. Their message was a message of urgency - a doctrine whose neglect has caused mediocrity, inefficacy, and indeed heresy in much if not most of modern Christianity. And it is a message which, if we adopt unreservedly, will cause persecution from without, and even perhaps more persecution from within the "church".
I would like first to acknowledge the amazing mercy and intervention of God. Near the end of our trip to Kentucky we began to notice a distinct vibration, and then a bumping and rattling noise in the wheels. We hobbled along with the bumping until we could pull off the road to a gas station - just a block away from the hotel. Upon popping the hub cap, we discovered that a careless mechanic, who had balance the wheel before we left, had put ALL of the lug nuts on backward! The nuts had slowly worked themselves loose over the trip and one bolt had broken off because of the stress the wobble had caused. As we reversed the nuts and tightened them, another bolt which had been weakened snapped off. I believe if we had continued for a mile or two more we might have ended up driving a tricycle! Only God's grace kept this from happening on a 65mph highway.
The first thing we notice as we entered the conference area are these two verses on prominent posters:
2Ti 3:16-17: All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
Isa 30:1 Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me...
Not only is scripture sufficient, but it is our only sourcebook for all matters regarding faith and practice. And to go to the world for counsel, denying what the scripture teaches, is to ask for a curse - a curse we are seeing the fruits of today. If the foundations be destroyed (and our foundation is reliance on the Word of God), what can the righteous do? The answer is to return in repentance to Christ and Scripture - both the living Word of God.
Have you ever heard someone give one of the following rationale for a decision? “The Bible is silent on this subject"; “If it is not repeated in the New Testament then it doesn't count”; “Jesus is about grace not law"; “God told me to do it” (although it's inconsistent with scripture). These are all erroneous maxims which deny the sufficiency and authority of the entire Bible. We resist the rationalist secular humanist, who says that there is no transcendent truth and the autonomous human mind is sufficient. But too often we adopt the part of the semi-rationalist, living like the scripture is only sufficient for some questions, and we are on our own to figure out others. Why do you suppose so many kids who went to conservative churches are leaving the faith before they even leave the home? I believe it is because of hypocrisy in the church - leaders who claim the sufficiency of the Bible, but do not live it. What a convicting thought for any discipler!
Do you teach? Have you ever critically examined the Bible's book on education - the book of Proverbs? Notice that it focuses on character. Are you in the business of dispensing knowledge, wisdom, and understanding? Yes, we are too often tempted to think that academics are somewhat neutral, and thus adopt the greek model of education. But how about looking to scripture for our model? Discipleship and life integration are the ways of the Lord, and if through education we do not end up on our knees praising the greatness and goodness of God, we are committing a travesty against him!
The battle against the sufficiency of scripture has been a constant theme throughout the Bible and all of church history. Satan has staged many attacks, but today's battle is waged through so-called science. If science contradicts the Bible, which are we to believe? The Mysterious Islands, which premiered at the conference, showed clearly how the facts do not support the accepted view - evolution. Only because scientists come to the table with preconcieved views about the existance of God must they come up with this outlandish theory and call it fact. We need Christian scientists who are willing to suffer the persecution inevitable when they step out and speak against this myth. Ken Ham has done this, and we greatly enjoyed visiting the Creation Museum while in the area, which displays the handiwork of God, lifting him up as Creator.
I came back from this conference with a renewed passion to seek out the things of God from his word for myself, applying it to every area of my life. The doctrines of the world tend to creep in unknowingly, and I tend to just take them for granted. This neglect too often becomes sin. Instead, I need to be constantly comparing all the activities in my life to scripture. The world has long heard the power of the gospel over the guilt of sin. Now they are looking to see if it can free us from the power of sin.
The golden ratio, mathematically represented as the Greek letter phi (φ) is 1 : 1.618, or more precisely
Leonardo Fibonacci (1175) is commonly cited as having discovered this ratio, although it has existed from the beginning of time, and has been discovered and rediscovered throughout the centuries. Mathematically, two quantities have the golden ratio if the ratio of the sum of the quantities to the larger quantity is equal to the ratio of the larger quantity to the smaller one. Expressed algebraically:
This proportion has been given many different names, the Golden Section, the Golden Ratio, the Golden Mean, the Golden Cut, and the Divine Proportion (I have no problem with this name, for I believe it was divinely designed). And it has inspired many applications, including the Golden Rectangle, the Fibonacci Spiral, the Golden Angle, and the Fibonacci Gauge.
The Fibonacci Sequence (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34 55, 89, 144 ...) is derived from the Golden Ratio, and represents a series of ratios which approximate φ with increasing precision as the sequence progresses. For instance, 2:3 equals 1.5, 5:8 equals 1.6, and 89:144 equals 1.6179. The next number in the sequence always equals the sum of the previous two numbers.
So what's so important about this ratio? Only that it keeps popping up in nature, science, and art, and has been identified as the ratio that is the most visually pleasing.
Shells - A Fibonacci Spiral is created by drawing arcs connecting the opposite corners of squares, whose relative sizes follow the Fibonacci Sequence. Many shells follow the shape of the Fibonacci Spiral.
Sunflowers and Pinecones - The individual florets of the sunflower (and of the daisy as well) grow in two spirals extending out from the center in opposite directions. The first spiral has 21 arms, while the other has 34. These are Fibonacci numbers, and have the Golden Ratio. Similarly, pinecones have 5 and 8 arms, or 8 and 13 arms depending on their size. This arrangement has been identified as the most efficient way of filling the space on the pinecone with seeds.
Daisies - Most daisies have 21, 34, 55, or 89 petals - all Fibonacci numbers.
Spiral Growth - The Golden Angle, also derived from the Golden Ratio, approximates to 137.51°. This is often the angle found between successive florets or leaves, in spiral growth.
Moths & Butterflies
- The proportions and placement of colorings on a moth's wings follow the Golden Ratio.
Human body - probably God's most amazing use of the Golden Ratio is the human body. Obviously everyone is different, but if you take the average proportions for several people, you will start to find a pattern. Just in the human face, the following Golden Ratios are found:
- Center of pupil : Bottom of teeth : Bottom of chin = φ
- Outer & inner edge of eye: Center of nose = φ
- Outer edges of lips : Upper ridges of lips = φ
- Width of center tooth : Width of second tooth= φ
- Width of eye : Width of iris = φ
Examples from the entire body:
- The human head forms a golden rectangle (width : height = φ)
- Whole body height : head to fingertips = φ
- Top of head to fingertips : head to navel and elbows = φ
- Top of head to navel and elbows : head to pectorals and inside top of arms = φ
- Top of head to navel and elbows : width of shoulders = φ
- Top of head to navel and elbows : length of forearm = φ
- Top of head to navel and elbows : length of shinbone = φ
- Top of head to pectorals : top of head to base of skull = φ
- Top of head to pectorals : width of abdomen = φ
- Length of Forearm : length of hand = φ
"I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well."
Music - How many notes are there in an octave (black and white)? How many white notes? How many black notes? That's right - all of those numbers (5, 8, 13) are Fibonacci numbers!
Architecture - Man has long recognized the wisdom of following God's ways, though sadly many do not recognize Jehovah as the true God. Nobody knows quite why (other than God created it so), but things that use the Divine Ratio just look good - plain and simple. Ancient ruins show the use of the Golden Ratio, and designers and architects today still refer to it as the Golden Rule.
Woodworking - The Golden Ratio makes for the most aesthetically pleasing furniture. Want to learn how to use a Fibonacci Gauge in woodworking?
And this is just the tip of the iceberg! Other examples where the Golden Ratio has been observed in creation include the size of DNA molecules, ants, dolphins, pineapples, cactus, romanesque cauliflower, fruit seeds, the size of Saturn's ring, and the orbital periods, mean distances, and orbital velocities of the planets in the solar system.
Man is indeed without excuse, for God has put his signature on all of creation. "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse" - Romans 1:20.
Here’s an excellent poem that I found in Maryanne’s reading book.
I found a few practical examples of ways to help others.
If any little word of mine
May make a life the brighter,
If any little song of mine
May make a heart the lighter,
God help me speak that little word
And take my bit of singing,
And drop it in some lonely vale
To set the echoes ringing.
If any little care of mine
May make a friend’s the fleeter,
If any lift of mine may ease
The burden of another,
God give me love and care and strength
To help my toiling brother.
"Bear one another*s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." (Galations 4:2)
"Freely ye have recieved, freely give." (Matthew 10:8)
"Let us not love in word; neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth." (I John 3:18)
"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." (John 13:35)
We just listened to a sermon on love by Darrel Champlin taken from John 21:15-19. It was very motivational and encouraging. His term for agape love was “love with shoes on”. To put it to use – serving others or sharing the Good News. In Darrel’s real life stories I was blessed to see his application of Jesus’ question – do you love me? There were many trials that he went through, but instead of being discouraged, he showed love to his persecutors.
In one case he was in South America, and in this specific area there was such demonic power and control that no one had been saved for 250 years. Finally there were starting to be some converts, but the witch doctor decided to do a demonstration to try and sway the people back under the devil's power. He jumped on shards of glass without having his feet cut, and stamped a bonfire out without being burnt. Such was the power of the devil. This witch doctor had come to break the power of the gospel by demonstrating the power of the devil. Darrel knew that the only thing that he could do that would prevent the ‘babes in Christ’ from going back to their old ways was to do the fire-dance himself. He went through the same ordeal unharmed, God had supernaturally protected him, and the cause of Christ was greatly strengthened.
We can learn to love Christ. We can have such a passion for souls. We can pray for the unborn generations. Like Hannah we should dedicate our children to the Lord – even before they are born. As Christians we are soldiers. The battle is against the prince of the power of the air. The battle is in the mind and for the soul. How do we win the battle? by “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”.(2 Corinthians 10:5 )
Many Christians today feel defeated because they are constantly being bombarded by temptations. But instead we should be realizing that the Lord is testing us and trying us so that we may become as pure gold. Make no compromise. Sin greatly grieves our Lord. Time is too short, so live in repentance.
America today is filled with so many who are willing to make small compromises. That is how we got to where we are now politically. Compromise builds on compromise leading down the slippery slope to disaster. Don’t let that happen. Take personal responsibility. As God says in His Word: "if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
And finally, we should remember that in Christ we have already won the war, but we are called to stand fast in the battles.
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13)
As I was recently reading some contractual language, the following words caught my eye: “We have a royalty-free, irrevocable, in perpetuity license...” Doesn't this describe our “contract” with God? We have a royalty-free, irrevocable, in perpetuity salvation. No payment is necessary - the payment has already been made by God himself. It is impossible for us or anyone else to do anything to revoke the salvation. And we will have this salvation forever. This is good news indeed!
The biblical distinctive which sets Christianity apart from other religions is Jesus, and the fact that He is our sole sufficiency. Adherents to other religions attempt to be good enough to be saved. But we know that we cannot be good enough, so we must rely on Jesus who is. We are justified by faith, not works; we are justified by grace, not law; and we are justified by divine righteousness, not human effort.
Faith is the agent that qualifies us for and brings us to salvation. Faith is belief in something not seen, and when mentioned in the Bible refers to faith in God and his promises. 1 Peter 1:9 says, “Receiving the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls,” and so we know that faith brings us to salvation. Peter also calls this faith ours - we must possess it and personally put it to use. Yet this is a dynamic tension, for we know that in ourselves there is no good thing. And Ephesians 2:8 says “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Works can never save us. Even a single sin is sufficient to damn us for eternity, and can never be undone. James 2:10 says if we have broken the law in one point, we are guilty of all. And even those things we are doing which we think are good, if we do them without Christ, are iniquity and called sin by God. In essence, without fellowship with God we cannot do right, and due to Adam's sin we were born out of fellowship. Since we can never live up to the law, it cannot justify us; but rather it becomes is a mirror to show us our own sinfulness and inability to gain favor with God through works. Therefore, the law is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. We then, when presented with the good news of the gospel, and given grace through the Holy Spirit to understand and receive it, exercise the faith God has bestowed upon us and believe in faith.
Our faith comes not through any human effort, but from divine generosity - often called grace in the Bible. Any righteousness that we obtain through that faith (though it never can be sufficient to merit salvation) is the gift of God. Where then does salvation come from? The God man, Jesus, says of me to the Father, “Yes, I know that he has sinned and will therefore never be righteous enough to come to heaven and have fellowship with us, so look at my righteousness instead.” The divine righteousness of Jesus is generously and amply imputed to my account, so instead of seeing my sin God sees Jesus' righteousness.
If I was to summarize salvation in a single phrase, it would have to be these words: “Total dependence on God.” If there is anything we can do to obtain salvation, it is nothing. Or rather, it is realizing that there is nothing we can do, and thus trusting wholly in what Christ has already done (salvation), and what subsequently the Spirit is doing (sanctification). When we have fully embraced this fact, we must also acknowledge our responsibility to allow the Lord to work through us (the other side of this dynamic tension), and work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12). But we must recognize our total dependence on God even for that.
The Neely's were our hospitable hosts for several days while we were in North Carolina this September, and we greatly enjoyed spending the time with them. We especially enjoyed the times at the dinner table with them, during which we discussed such exciting topics as, “What is your most embarrassing moment?” and discovered the follies of gossip by playing “telephone.” Even when we shortened the phrase down to one single simple word, we still could not get it to pass unaltered around the table. How embarrassing... or perhaps enlightening!
After meals were over, Mr. Neely led the “family” in Bible study. We would also sit at the table and sing several hymns, mainly by memory though once we got out some hymn books. Praising the Lord together in song was a highlight of our visit, and we enjoyed singing around the table, around the piano, and even in the car.
And the kids had a blast playing Bible charades! We acted out Gideon and his foxes, Hannah and Penina, the stoning of Paul, and the Philistines' experience with the Ark of God. And we had at least as much fun preparing as we did acting out the stories.
On Sunday we were blessed to hear a sermon by “Uncle John” Chapman, from the end of Romans 12. If we feel the impulse to get revenge for wrongs another has done us, then we don't understand salvation. For, but for the grace of God, there goes I. We should instead have compassion, repaying with good, knowing that we ourselves were saved out of a similar state. And we should live in such sacrificial love that those “enemies” have no choice but to see God in us.
Looking back, I am encouraged by the Neely's focus on “seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” and how our family was motivated to do the same. We were constantly singing, reading, playing, and sharing the word of God – not on Sunday or morning devotions only, but throughout every day. I believe this is what it's about when the Bible tells us to “teach them when you rise up and sit down,” “seek first the kingdom,” “pray without ceasing,” “delight in Thy statutes”, and many others. I was motivated - and would like to challenge you as well - to keep Him always first.
One highlight of our vacation was our raft trip along the Nantahala river. The whole family crammed into a single raft, which ended up working exceptionally well. Dad and I were in the back, which meant we were responsible for steering the clumsy craft. The rest provided the power, listening for the occasional (or more accurately, frequent) “paddle left”, “paddle right”, or “paddle all” indicating who should paddle to help steer in the proper direction.
We made the course in about ¾ of the time that our host had estimated, even though we had quite a few problems. Once we took a wrong fork, and I ended up nearly impaled on a dangerous-looking pine tree which had fallen across the creek. Thankfully, the raft had a harder skin than the people. On another occasion, we ended up stuck on a large rock with no resort but to leave the raft and heave her over. After peering over the side, I decided there was no way I was getting out there. The water was rushing forcefully under the craft, and I could see that I would quickly get sucked under the boat. So I jumped out on a nearby rock to help heave. But no sooner had I done so, but I saw that Dad had left the boat on my side, and was struggling to hang on to the raft for dear life. He managed to work his way around the raft to a safer spot, but admitted afterward that he would not have been able to hold on too much longer. You really get an appreciation for the power of water when a seemingly small current in shallow water like that can overcome a strong man.
The expedition was not just an opportunity for fun, but also an opportunity to learn family unity. If you do not paddle in sync with the rest of the people on your side of the boat, you will end up getting tangled up with their paddles. And if you paddle too hard, you may end up spinning the raft in circles (which happened not a few times). The people in the back learned leadership, and the people up front learned submission, both of which were necessary to keep the boat on course.
I think this is a great picture of how God has made all levels of society, including the church and the family, to function. God sets up leaders to guide the people in the right direction, but without followers they would end up just “going with the flow.” As a hand or foot you may not like taking orders from the head, but remember that without it you will quickly end up stranded on one of the many obstacles of life, and going nowhere fast. Unity is when we all work together, but recognize that God has given different roles, and submit to the authority structure He has put in place.
As Christians, we talk a good deal about pursuing God, seeking the kingdom of God, walking in the footsteps of Jesus. Yet we often neglect to pursue our dads, which God has put in our lives as primary sources of wisdom, correction, and direction. How can we say we are seeking our heavenly father when we do not follow His command to honor, obey, and learn from our earthly fathers? Why is it that we have such a curse of children departing from the faith soon after (and often well before) they leave the home for college or to make their own way in the world? I believe it is at least in part because we have failed to turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and children to their fathers (Mal 4:6).This year's Family Encouragement Weekend
was great, and one of the things I remember from it was Joshua Wilkes
encouraging children take responsibility for pursuing their fathers. Looking back over the years, I realize that I tend to think, “If Dad is not teaching me, how can I learn from him? If he is not initiating, how can our relationship grow?” What an immature viewpoint! I am just as responsible, if not more so, to pursue our relationship. And I have everything to gain and nothing to lose from doing so.
I also met Mr. Jonathan Chapman there, who I found to be someone I immediately aspired to be like in certain ways. I appreciate his direct, yet humbly unassuming manner, and his unconcealed concern for... well, pretty much everyone. Here's how he introduced himself to me: “Hi, I'm Jon too, I'm with the Neely's
. How's your relationship with your dad?” He went on to encourage me to start reading the Bible together with Dad regularly. If I wasn't thinking about the subject before, that certainly made the difference.
You come away from a week like that all energized, but then reality sets in. If your dad is anything like mine, you may get responses like “Yeah, I'd love to do that, maybe some time when we have more time” or “We've got to knock out some of these other priorities first.” I guess that's why you use the word “pursue”, because its not easy and its not a one-time thing – you have to keep at it, just like seeking God.
But it is worth it, and vacation is a great time to start when there aren't a whole lot of other priorities. I had the privilege this week of spending more time with Dad, and tasting more of the unity and wisdom that comes from doing so. And like Mr. Chapman said, reading the Bible together is a great practical way to learn of God together and of/from each other. So do not become weary with well doing, for in due season you will reap if you faint not.
Remembering the faith of previous generations in God, the Christian roots of our nation, and God’s providential care of it.
Alvin York (1887-1964) lived in Pall Mall Tennessee. His father died when he was 24. After his father died his life “sorter went to pieces for a few years”. During this time York was drinking, gambling, and fighting, but his mother was praying for him to come to know the Good Shepherd. Four years later he surrendered his life to Christ. Two years after, he was drafted for World War 1; although he applied for a religious exemption, he ended up realizing that fighting was necessary. One of the verses that helped York come to this understanding was “Blessed are the peacemakers
” Matthew 5:9a. He was fighting in the war to bring peace.
Excerpts from Sergeant York's war diary:
June 27, 1918
Montsec Sector, France.“I did a heap of thinking and praying at this time. And monr’n ever I jes knowed I was going to get back all right. I believed in God and in His promises And I knowed as I did that He would believe in me and watch over me.
York’s account of how he made it thru the Argonne Forest battle alive:“…I don’t care how good a shot man is, hit ain’t in the nature of things for one man with an army rifle and a pistol to whip thirty-five machine guns that can each fire over six hundred shots a minute from a p’int blank range of between twenty and thirty yards…I’m a-telling you the hand of God must have been in that fight. It surly must have been Divine Power that brought me out….Men were killed on both sides of me and all around me and I was the biggest and most exposed of them all… and I never receiving a scratch, and bringing in one hundred and thirty two prisoners…without the help of God I jes couldn’t have done it.”
York’s humility and faith in God through great adversity is a great example to us all.
“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life” 1 Timothy 6:12a
“Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (2) looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1a-2
The only strength by which the saints are
enabled to encounter with all oppositions and trials, is only by Jesus Christ, who is the
captain of their salvation, being made perfect through sufferings; who hath engaged His
faithfulness and strength to assist them in all their afflictions, and to uphold them in
all their temptations, and to preserve them by His power to His everlasting kingdom.
John 16:33, 15:5; Phil. 4:11, Heb. 2:9,10;
2 Tim. 4:18.
Jesus Christ hath here on earth a
[manifestation of His] spiritual kingdom, which is His Church, whom He hath purchased and
redeemed to Himself as a peculiar inheritance; which Church is a company of visible
saints, called and separated from the world by the word and Spirit of God, to the visible
profession of faith of the gospel, being baptized into that faith, and joined to the Lord,
and each other, by mutual agreement in the practical enjoyment of the ordinances commanded
by Christ their head and king.
Matt. 11:11; 2 Thess. 1:1; 1 Cor. 1:2; Eph.
1:1; Rom. 1:7; Acts 19:8,9, 26:18; 2 Cor. 6:17; Rev. 18:4; Acts 2:37, 10:37; Rom. 10:10;
Matt. 18:19,20; Acts 2:42, 9:26; 1 Pet. 2:5.
To this Church He hath made His promises,
and giveth the signs of His covenant, presence, acceptation, love, blessing and
protection. Here are the fountains and springs of His heavenly graces flowing forth to
refresh and strengthen them.
Matt. 28:18, etc.; 1 Cor. 11:24, 3:21; 2
Cor. 6:18; Rom. 9:4,5; Ps. 133:3; Rom. 3:7,10; Ezek. 47:2.
And all His servants of all estates (are to
acknowledge Him to be their prophet, priest and king;) and called thither to be enrolled
among His household servants, to present their bodies and souls, and to bring their gifts
God hath given them, to be under His heavenly conduct and government, to lead their lives
in this walled sheepfold, and watered garden, to have communion here with His saints, that
they may be assured that they are made meet to be partakers of their inheritance in the
kingdom of God; and to supply each others wants, inward and outward; (and although each
person hath a propriety in his own estate, yet they are to supply each others wants,
according as their necessities shall require, that the name of Jesus Christ may not be
blasphemed through the necessity of any in the Church) and also being come, they are here
by Himself to be bestowed in their several order, due place, peculiar use, being fitly
compact and knit together according to the effectual working of every part, to the
edifying of itself in love.
Acts. 2:41,47; Isa. 4:3, 1 Cor. 12:6,7,
etc.; Ezek. 20:37,40; Song of Sol. 4:12; Eph. 2:19; Rom. 12:4,5,6; Col. 1:12, 2:5,6,19;
Acts 20:32, 5:4, 2:44,45, 4:34,35; Luke 14:26; 1 Tim. 6:1; Eph. 4:16.
Being thus joined, every [local] church
hath power given them from Christ, for their wellbeing, to choose among themselves meet
persons for elders and deacons, being qualified according to the word, as those which
Christ hath appointed in His testament, for the feeding, governing, serving, and building
up of His Church; and that none have any power to impose on them either these or any
Acts 1:23,26, 6:3, 15:22,25; Rom. 12:7,8; 1
Tim. 3:2,6,7; 1 Cor. 12:8,28; Heb. 13:7,17; 1 Pet. 5:1,2,3,4:15.
That the ministers lawfully called, as
aforesaid, ought to continue in their calling and place according to God's ordinance, and
carefully to feed the flock of God committed to them, not for filthy lucre, but of a ready
Heb. 5:4; John 10:3,4; Acts 20:28,29; Rom.
12:7,8; Heb. 13:7,17; 1 Pet. 5:1,2,3.
The ministers of Christ ought to have
whatsoever they shall need, supplied freely by the church, that according to Christ's
ordinance they that preach the Gospel should live of the gospel by the law of Christ.
1 Cor. 9:7,14; Gal. 6:8; Phil. 4:15,16; 2
Cor. 10:4; 1 Tim. 1:2; Ps. 110:3.
All believers are by Christ united to God; by which union, God is one with them, and they are one with Him; and that all believers are the sons of God, and joint heirs with Christ, to whom belong all the promises of this life, and that which is to come.
1 Thess. 1:1; John 17:21, 20:17; Heb. 2:11, 1 John 4:16; Gal.
Those that have union with Christ, are justified from all their sins by the blood of Christ, which justification is a gracious and full acquittance of a guilty sinner from all sin, by God, through the satisfaction that Christ hath made by His death for all their sins, and this applied (in manifestation of it) through faith.
1 John 1:7; Heb. 10:14, 9:26; 2 Cor. 5:19; Rom. 3:23; Acts 13:38,39; Rom. 5:1, 3:25,30.
All believers are a holy and sanctified people, and that sanctification is a spiritual grace of the new covenant, and an effect of the love of God manifested in the soul, whereby the believer presseth after a heavenly and evangelical obedience to all the commands, which Christ as head and king in His new covenant hath prescribed to them.
1 Cor. 12; 1 Pet. 2:9; Eph. 1:4; 1 John 4:16; Matt. 28:20.
All believers through the knowledge of that justification of life given by the Father and brought forth by the blood of Christ have as their great privilege of that new covenant, peace with God, reconciliation, whereby they that were afar off are made nigh by that blood, and have peace passing all understanding; yea, joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have received atonement.
2 Cor. 5:19; Rom. 5:9,10; Isa. 54:10; Eph. 2:13,14, 4:7; Rom. 5:10,11.
All believers in the time of this life, are in a continual warfare and combat against sin, self, the world, and the devil; and are liable to all manner of afflictions, tribulations and persecutions, being predestined and appointed thereunto, and whatsoever the saints possess or enjoy of God spiritually, is by faith; and outward and temporal things are lawfully enjoyed by a civil right by them who have no faith.
Rom. 7:23,24; Eph. 6:10,11, etc.; Heb. 2:9,10, 2 Tim. 3:12; Rom. 8:29; 1 Thess. 3:3; Gal. 2:19,20; 2 Cor. 5:7; Deut. 2:5.
Faith is the gift of God, wrought in the
hearts of the elect by the Spirit of God; by which faith they come to know and believe the
truth of the Scriptures, and the excellency of them above all other writings, and all
things in the world, as they hold forth the glory of God in His attributes, the
execellency of Christ in His nature and offices, and of the power and fulness of the
Spirit in its [His] workings and operations; and so are enabled to cast their souls upon
His truth thus believed.
Eph. 2:8; John 6:29, 4:10; Phil. 1:29; Gal.
5:22; John 17:17; Heb. 4:11,12; John 6:63.
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.
Faith is ordinarily begotten by the
preaching of the gospel, or word of Christ, without respect to any power or agency in the
creature; but it being wholly passive, and dead in trespasses and sins, doth believe and
is converted by no less power than that which raised Christ from the dead.
Rom. 10:17; 1 Cor. 1:28; Rom. 9:16; Ezek.
16:16; Rom. 3:12, 1:16; Eph. 1:19, Col. 2:12.
The preaching of the gospel to the
conversion of sinners, is absolutely free; no way requiring as absolutely necessary, any
qualifications, preparations, or terrors of the law, or preceding ministry of the law, but
only and alone the naked soul, a sinner and ungodly, to receive Christ crucified, dead and
buried, and risen again; who is made a prince and a Savior for such sinners as through the
gospel shall be brought to believe on Him.
John 3:14,15, 1:12; Isa. 55:1; John 7:37; 1
Tim. 1:15; Rom. 4:5, 5:8; Acts 5:30,31, 2:36, 1 Cor. 1:22,24.
The same power that converts to faith in
Christ, carrieth on the soul through all duties, temptations, conflicts, sufferings; and
whatsoever a believer is, he is by grace, and is carried on in all obedience and
temptations by the same.
1 Pet. 1:5, 2 Cor. 12:9, 1 Cor. 15:10;
Phil. 2:12, 13; John 15:5; Gal. 2:19,20.
Concerning His priesthood, Christ having
sanctified Himself, hath appeared once to put away sin by that one offering of Himself a
sacrifice for sin, by which He hath fully finished and suffered all things God required
for the salvation of His elect, and removed all rites and shadows, etc. and is now entered
within the vail into the holy of holies, which is the presence of God. Also, He makes His
people a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifice acceptable
to God through Him. Neither doth the Father accept, nor Christ offer to the Father, any
other worship or worshippers.
John 17:19; Heb. 5:7,8,9,10,12; Rom. 5:19,
Eph. 5:2; Col. 1:20; Eph. 2:14, etc.; Rom. 8:34; Heb. 9:24; 8:1; 1 Pet. 2:5; John 4:23,24.
This priesthood was not legal or temporary,
but according to the order of Melchisedec, and is stable and perfect, not for a time, but
forever, which is suitable to Jesus Christ, as to Him that ever liveth. Christ was the
priest, sacrifice, and altar: He was a priest according to both natures; He was a
sacrifice according to His human nature; whence in Scripture it is attributed to His body,
to His blood: Yet the effectualness of this sacrifice did depend upon His divine nature;
therefore it is called the blood of God. He was the altar according to His divine nature,
it belonging to the altar to sanctify that which is offered upon it, and so it ought to be
of greater dignity than the sacrifice itself.
Heb. 7:16, etc.; Heb. 5:6, 10:10; 1 Pet.
1:18,19; Col. 1:20, 22; Heb. 9:13; Acts 20:28; Heb. 9:14, 13:10,12,15; Matt. 23:17; John
Concerning His kingly office, Christ being
risen from the dead, and ascended into heaven, and having all power in heaven and earth,
He doth spiritually govern His church, and doth exercise His power over all, angels and
men, good and bad, to the preservation and salvation of the elect, and to the overruling
and destruction of His enemies. By this kingly power He applieth the benefits, virtue, and
fruits of His prophecy and priesthood to His elect, subduing their sins, preserving and
strengthening them in all their conflicts against Satan, the world, and the flesh, keeping
their hearts in faith and filial fear by His Spirit: By this His mighty power He ruleth the
vessels of wrath, using, limiting and restraining them, as it seems good to His infinite
1 Cor. 15:4; 1 Pet. 3:21,22; Matt.
28:18,19; Luke 24:51; Acts 1:1, 5:30,31; John 19:36; Rom. 14:9; John 5:26,27; Rom.
5:6,7,8; 14:17; Gal. 5:22,23; Mark 1:27; Heb. 1:14; John 16:15; Job 2:8; Rom. 1:21,
[9:17-18]; Eph. 4:17,18; 2 Pet. 2.
This His kingly power shall be more fully
manifested when He shall come in glory to reign among His saints, when He shall put down
all rule and authority under His feet, that the glory of the Father may be perfectly
manifested in His Son, and the glory of the Father and the Son in all His members.
1 Cor. 15:24,28; Heb. 9:28; 2 Thess.
1:9,10; 1 Thess. 4:15,16,17; John 17:21, 26.
Jesus Christ by His death did purchase
salvation for the elect that God gave unto Him: These only have interest in Him, and
fellowship with Him, for whom He makes intercession to His Father in their behalf, and to
them alone doth God by His Spirit apply this redemption; as also the free gift of eternal
life is given to them, and none else.
Eph. 1:14; Heb. 5:9; Matt. 1:21; John 17:6;
Heb. 7:25; 1 Cor. 2:12; Rom. 8:29,30; 1 John 5:12; John 15:35, 3:16.
Unto this office He was appointed by God from everlasting; and in respect of his manhood, from the womb called, separated, and anointed most fully and abundantly with all gifts necessary, God having without measure poured out His Spirit upon Him.
Prov. 8:23; Isa. 42:6, 49:15; 11:2,3,4,5, 61:1,2; Luke 4:17, 22; John 1:14, 26, 3:34.
Concerning His mediatorship, the Scripture holds forth Christ's call to His office; for none takes this honor upon Him, but He that is called of God as was Aaron, it being an action of God, whereby a special promise being made, He ordains His Son to this office; which promise is, that Christ should be made a sacrifice for sin; that He should see His seed, and prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand; all of meer free and absolute grace towards God's elect, and without any condition foreseen in them to procure it.
Heb. 5:4,5,6, Isa. 53:10,11; John 3:16; Rom. 8:32.
This office to be mediator, that is, to be prophet, priest, and king of the Church of God, is so proper to Christ, that neither in whole, or any part thereof, it cannot be transferred from Him to any other.
1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 7:24; Dan. 7:14; Acts 4:12; Luke 1:33; John 14:6.
This office to which Christ is called, is threefold; a prophet, priest, and king: This number and order of offices is necessary, for in respect of our ignorance, we stand in need of His prophetical office; in respect of our great alienation from God, we need His priestly office to reconcile us; and in respect of our averseness and utter inability to return to God, we need His kingly office, to convince, subdue, draw, uphold and preserve us to His heavenly kingdom.
Deut. 18:15; Acts 3:22,23; Heb. 3:!, 4:14,15; Ps. 2:6; 2 Cor. 5:20; Acts 26:18; Col. 1:21; John 16:8, Ps. 110:3; Song of Sol. 1:3; John 6:44; Phil. 4:13; 2 Tim. 4:18.
Concerning the prophecy of Christ, it is that whereby He hath revealed the will of God, whatsoever is needful for His servants to know and obey; and therefore He is called not only a prophet and doctor, and the apostle of our profession, and the angel of the covenant, but also the very wisdom of God, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, who for ever continueth revealing the same truth of the gospel to His people.
John 1:18; 12:49,50; 17:8; Deut. 18:15; Matt. 23:10; Heb. 3:1; Mal. 3:1; 1 Cor. 1:24; Col. 2:3.
That He might be a prophet every way complete, it was necessary He should be God, and also that He should be man; For unless He had been God, He could never have perfectly understood the will of God; and unless He had been man, He could not suitably have unfolded it in His own person to men.
John 1:18; Acts 3:22; Deut. 18:15; Heb. 1:1.
That Jesus Christ is God is wonderfully and clearly expressed in the Scriptures. He is called the mighty God, Isa. 9:6. That Word was God, John 1:1. Christ, who is God over all, Rom 9:5. God manifested in the flesh, 1 Tim. 3:16. The same is very God, 1 John 5:20. He is the first, Rev. 1:8. He gives being to all things, and without Him was nothing made, John 1:2. He forgiveth sins, Matt. 9:6. He is before Abraham, John 8:58. He was and is, and ever will be the same, Heb. 13:8. He is always with His to the end of the world, Matt. 28:20. Which could not be said of Jesus Christ, if He were not God. And to the Sone He saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever, Heb. 1:8, John 1:18.
Also, Christ is not only perfectly God, but perfect man, made of a woman, Gal. 4:4. Made of the seed of David, Rom 1:3. Coming out of the loins of David, Acts 2:30. Of Jesse and Judah, Acts 13:23. In that the children were partakers of flesh and blood He Himself likewise took part with them, Heb. 2:14. He took not on Him the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham, verse 16. So that we are bone of His bone, and flesh of His flesh, Eph. 5:30. So that He that sanctifieth, and they that are sanctified are all of one, Heb.2:11. See Acts 3:22, Deut. 18:15; Heb. 1:1.
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