Monday, March 31, 2014

Notes on the Lord's Day Observance

a. by Larry Bray: A moral law is one that all men are bound to. Ceremonial laws were done by the priests, not by all men Civil laws were done by the civil magistrate, not buy all men There are also laws of particular equity and general equity. Laws of general equity were binding on all men while laws of particular equity were binding only on the Jews in order to show a difference between them and the Gentiles. Dietary laws were of particular equity Generally speaking all laws are moral but have different spheres in which they are limited to. Strictly speaking moral laws are those commanded to all men

 b. by Nick Napier: As there are a couple of men on your post with whom I would disagree---and I do not care to "get into it" with them, I thought I'd try to help you with your questions: a. A moral law is a law that flows from and is essential to the character of God. Positive law is a law which God ordains for His own purposes---often for testing His people. Ceremonial laws are those specific laws which were given in the Mosaic economy which were to point to Jesus as our only hope and Savior. So then, the 10 commandments each flow from the character of God---He will not tolerate false worship b/c He is worthy of perfect worship (& on we go down the line---He gives us 1 in 7 as a rest b/c ultimately He is our rest...etc.) Positive law--example, do not wear mixed fabrics or eat shell fish. God gave these to separate His (theocratic Nation of Israel) from the rest of the world--they are not rooted in His character, and so He is free to change them with the administration of the New Covenant in Jesus. (Acts 10). Ceremonial law is that which was designated to point to Jesus and was fulfilled by Him----sacrificing bulls & lambs. Since the moral law is demonstrable of the character of God, it is irrevocable---the Sabbath is a part of that. Its principle is acknowledged by its change and perpetuity in the NT. (Jonathan Edwards argues the case well, here: http://www.biblebb.com/files/edwards/sabbath.htm) Some of the reason for such distinctions in laws is that we are no longer the theocratic nation of Israel, but are Israel in its fullness---that is a spiritual kingdom. Chapter 19 of the WCF does a good job of sorting through these things. Fasting is not a moral law. Marriage is a creation ordinance---but the ordinance is that those who are married are to "be fruitful & multiply"---there are eunuchs for the Kingdom of God (as Jesus and Paul demonstrate; further if it meant that all must be married, then Jesus would have been in sin & we know that's not the case). As far as work---work is good, God worked, but rested from His labors on the 7th day; so, we rest. For h. see WCF 19.1----the people before Moses knew the moral law of God---it was inscipturated with Moses. So that it was passed down it was the law written on their hearts, as it were.

 c. Most helpful: http://wscal.edu/resource-center/resource/the-law-and-the-sabbath

 d. A good resource: http://heidelblog.net/2013/11/resources-on-the-doctrine-of-sanctification-and-the-third-use-of-the-law/

 e. another page: http://feedingonchrist.com/the-third-use-of-the-law-and-finished-work-of-christ/

Saturday, March 29, 2014

SARAH EDWARDS QUOTE

"What shall I say: A holy and good God has covered us with a dark cloud. O that we may kiss the rod, and lay our hands on our mouths! The Lord has done it. He has made me adore his goodness that we had him so long. But my God lives; and he has my heart. O what a legacy my husband, and your father, has left to us! We are all given to God: and there I am and love to be. Your ever affectionate mother, Sarah Edwards."

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Not mind alone, not heart alone

“Faith in Christ is not the reception of a dry, dead orthodoxy—to believe in Jesus is not simply to be a sixteen-ounces-to-the-pound Calvinist.
Saving faith is not the mere reception of a creed or form of any kind. To believe is to trust and no man truly believes—in the New Testament meaning of the word—until he is brought to trust in Christ, alone, and takes his whole religion upon trust, relying not on what he sees, nor on what he is, but on what is revealed in God’s Word—not on what he is, or can be, or shall be, nor on what he does or can do, nor on what he feels or does not feel—but relying solely on what Christ has done, is doing and shall yet do.”—1901, Sermon #2737 ~~Charles H. Spurgeon~~

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

PRAYER IS NOT AN APPENDIX

Part of our problem is that we view prayer as an appendix to our work rather than as the first major part of our work. If we are to live godly lives, we must pray. If we would learn the art of sacred wrestling and holy argument with God, we must pray. All the books we read on prayer and all the sermons we preach on prayer will be of no help unless we pray as Jacob did when he wrestled with God, saying, "I will not let thee go, except thou bless me" (Gen. 32:26). -Joel Beeke-

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THINGS WE SHOULD HAVE ENJOYED

Sermon quote, "When you are familiar with the secret place, it won't be a secret." /// meaning, prayer transforms and strengthens us, so that the light of Jesus will be shining and vibrant, not hidden under a bush.
Someone said, "On day we will have to give an account for all the things that we should have enjoyed, but didn't." /// Oh, that we would enjoy prayer, Scripture, evangelism, hospitality, mercy, truth, sanctification, kindness, and focusing upon the Lord in His grace, glory, and love.

Monday, March 17, 2014

HOW TRAGIC

"How tragic to have an orthodox head wedded to a rebellious heart!" Dr.James Montgomery Boice

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

ADDRESS MY SOUL

Calvin says "We are all partly unbelievers throughout our lives", and Martin Lloyd-Jones lights the way out of this particular area of stumbling. He puts it perfectly in the chapter "Feelings"- "I cannot make myself be happy, but I can remind myself of my belief. I can address my soul as the psalmist does in Ps.42 'Why art thou cast down, O my soul, and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou'...believe thou, trust thou. That is the way." ~~Martin Lloyd-Jones~~

EVERY WHAT IF

''If you're God's child, know that every "What if" your fearful heart can generate is about something that is ruled by your sovereign Savior.''- Paul Tripp

"exceeding sinful."

Look upon all sin as that which crucified the Saviour, and you will see it to be "exceeding sinful." ~~ Charles H. Spurgeon~~

BATTERED PASTORS

The call to be a pastor is one of unparalleled privilege. It is a joy, though a sobering one, to apostle paul.gifpreach God's Word for the benefit of God's people. For battered pastors, however, (and they are numerous) the glad labor of being a pastor has become detrimental to their well-being and that of their family. I have written previously that the reality of battered pastors is a scandal upon the church. A startling number of pastors leave the ministry every month. The proof is in the research. The anxiety of caring for the church (to use Paul's words) is simply too much for many pastors to bear. They leave not because they lost their love for Christ. They love Jesus and they love his church. But the battering they have received at the hands of a congregation or elders has left them too wounded to go on. It is for these men that my heart aches.

 In 1989 the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development embarked on an 18 year study that revealed some rather frightening statistics about pastors. It is important to point out that this particular study focused only on evangelical churches. Mainline denominations were not included in the testing.

 Here is a sampling of the findings: • 90% of the pastors report working between 55 to 75 hours per week. • 50% feel unable to meet the demands of the job. • 70% of pastors feel grossly underpaid. • 90% feel they are inadequately trained to cope with the ministry demands. The unique demands placed upon the pastor simply cannot be adequately prepared for in a classroom. • 70% of pastors constantly fight depression. • 50% of pastors feel so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living. The training that pastors must receive leaves them ill equipped to do anything else when they are driven from their church. • 80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families. • 80% of spouses feel the pastor is overworked. • 80% of spouses feel left out and under-appreciated by church members. • 70% do not have someone they consider a close friend. • 40% report serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month. • #1 reason pastors leave the ministry -- Church members are not willing to follow the leadership of the pastor. • 50% of the ministers starting out will not last 5 years. • 1 out of every 10 ministers will actually retire as a minister in some form. Only 10% of ministers will last long enough to retire as ministers. • 4,000 new churches begin each year and 7,000 churches close. • Over 1,700 pastors left the ministry every month last year. • Over 1,300 pastors were terminated by the local church each month, many without cause. One of the authors of the study wrote: Over 70% of pastors do not have anyone they would consider to be a friend, and hardly any pastors had any close friends. Ninety percent (90%) of pastors feel they were not adequately trained to cope with ministry coordination and the demands of the congregation. Seventy-five percent (75%) of pastors experience a significant crisis that they faced due to stress in the ministry (Fuller Institute, 1989-1992).

We at the FASICLD retested that data by various means starting in 1998 and also retested the results in an internet survey form several times over the last eight years. We found it has slightly worsened. Most pastors now work up to and more than 60 hours a week. Hence, why the divorce rate among pastors is rising and pastor's children rarely stay in the church or keep their faith. In both studies, over 40% of the pastors reported serious conflicts with their parishioners every month. This leaves pastors physically tired, spiritually weary, and even distant from God! Thus, they cannot properly minister or connect with their flock. Most of the pastors I know work hard and care deeply about the church. Most of the pastors I know have never expected to get rich from being a pastor. We are sickened by stories of pastors building 16,000 square foot mansions and using hundreds of thousands of dollars of church money to pay a marketing firm to ensure that their next book will be a NY Times bestseller.

The pastors I know are scandalized by such a thought. The vast majority of pastors toil away in relative obscurity making just enough money to pay the bills (so long as their wives are working as well). Many of these very men face heartbreaking conflict regularly with members of the church. I don't suppose anyone likes conflict. But it must be kept in mind that when pastors go through conflict they rarely have the sorts of close friendships upon which they may lean for solace. It is very difficult for a pastor to make close friends within the church he serves. This is not so because he does not desire those friendships. I assure you he does. He longs for the sorts of friendships in church he had before he became a pastor. The problem is that he knows that members of his church have a very hard time when they realize that he is a fellow sinner. The pastor does not want to cause members of the flock to stumble. And while church members know that their pastors are sinners, it is another thing entirely when they actually gain knowledge of those sins with which he struggles. So the pastor guards himself. And it cannot be fixed by telling your pastor, "Go get yourself some close friends outside of church."

He simply does not have the time or energy to pursue additional relationships. His life orbits around the church almost exclusively. This means that church members have the power to break the heart of their pastor. This was certainly evidenced in the ministry of the Apostle Paul. In 2 Corinthians 2 he references a particularly painful time in his ministry. It was after he had written his lost "hard letter." Since we don't have this letter we don't know its content precisely. But we do know that it was a stinging rebuke. Paul was grieved by their reception of the so-called "super apostles" who had cruelly slandered him. But now his heart was deeply troubled by the possibility that the Corinthian church would refuse his counsel and reject him personally. To make matters worse, Titus, who was supposed to bring word to him concerning the Corinthian response, had not met him as arranged. Paul assumed the worst. "When I came to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ, even though a door was opened for me in the Lord, my spirit was not at rest because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I took leave of them and went on to Macedonia" (2 Corinthians 2:12-13).

 Paul was so distressed by his anxiety concerning the Corinthian church that he even walked away from an open door for the gospel. Paul was in deep pain. Today we would almost certainly describe him as being depressed. He loved the Corinthian church and because he loved them they had the capacity to hurt him deeply. And they did. Ultimately however Paul recognized that being a pastor means following Christ in His Triumph (2 Cor 2:14-17). Like the conquered following along in the procession of a Roman Triumph, ours is not to win victories. Ours is to be led along in Christ's triumph. We are captives to His cause. We do not spread our fame but the fragrance of Christ. Even through the battering, that is enough.

POSTED MARCH 10, 2014 @ 8:56 PM BY TODD PRUITT TOPICS: Battered Pastors, pastoral ministry

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The true church is too different

"The true church is too different for the world to tolerate it." —Sinclair Ferguson

Saturday, March 8, 2014

FIRE IN MY BONES

…THERE IS IN MY HEART AS IT WERE A BURNING FIRE SHUT UP IN MY BONES, AND I AM WEARY WITH HOLDING IT IN, AND I CANNOT.” – JEREMIAH 20:9

“I agree that the great thing your people in your churches will need, is a correct communication of truth. That I believe with all my heart. They need you to look at the grammar, they need you to diagram the Greek sentence possibly, they need you to do everything in its context-they need truth! And truth is something you have to dig for, and it’s hard. But I am going to say something here that some people would not agree with. They need a preacher inflamed with the reality of the truth being communicated by all that grammar, a man on fire. Not a false fire. Not a, “this fire comes from me, look at how great I am. A man who is literally dumbfounded at what he is seeing. A man found in awe-that is what they need.” – Paul Paul David Washer - Heartcry Missionary Society

Friday, March 7, 2014

DESPERATELY SET AGAINST GOD

“The great destroyer of man is the will of man. I do not believe that man’s free will has ever saved a soul, but man’s free will has been the ruin of multitudes. 

‘You would not,’ is still the solemn accusation of Christ against guilty men. Did He not say, at another time, ‘You will not come unto Me, that you might have life’? 

The human will is desperately set against God and is the great devourer and destroyer of thousands of good intentions and emotions which never come to anything permanent because the will is acting in opposition to that which is right and true.”— 1894, Sermon #2381~~Charles H. Spurgeon~~

FAITH UPHOLDS

Faith upholds a Christian under all trials, by assuring him that every painful dispensation is under the direction of his Lord; that chastisements are a token of His love; that the season, measure, and continuance of his sufferings, are appointed by Infinite Wisdom, and designed to work for his everlasting good; and that grace and strength shall be afforded him, according to his need.
~~John Newton

PINK ON PRAYER

Prayer is the way and means God has appointed for the communication of the blessings of His goodness to His people. 

Prayer is not intended to change God's purpose, nor is it to move Him to form fresh purposes. God has decreed that certain events shall come to pass through the means He has appointed for their accomplishment.~~A.W. Pink~~

Real prayer is communion with God, so that there will be common thoughts between His mind and ours. What is needed is for Him to fill our hearts with His thoughts, and then His desires will become our desires flowing back to Him.


The prevailing idea seems to be, that I come to God and ask Him for something that I want, and that I expect Him to give me that which I have asked. But this is a most dishonouring and degading conception. The popular belief reduces God to a servant, our servant: doing our bidding, performing our pleasure, granting our desires. No, prayer is a coming to God, telling Him my need, committing my way unto the Lord, and leaving Him to deal with it as seemeth Him best.~~A.W.Pink~~

Prayer is not so much an act as it is an attitude - an attitude of dependency, dependency upon God.~~A.W. Pink~~

Thursday, March 6, 2014

THE WORSE I GET

"I’ve realized the more I try to get better, the worse I get. I’m just realizing I am a narcissist. I think way too much about how I’m doing, if I’m doing it right, have I confessed every sin. In other words, I’m thinking much more about me and what I need to do than Jesus and what He’s already done. And as a result, I’m not getting better. I’m getting worse. " - Tullian Tdjividjan

WATSON

Yes, and worse than a dog!

(Thomas Watson)

Christian, you cannot believe that evil which is in your heart, and which will break forth suddenly--if God should leave you! 

"You will burn their strongholds, slay their young men with the sword, dash their infants in pieces, and rip up their pregnant women. And Hazael answered: What is your servant, only a dog, that he should do this monstrous thing!" (2 Kings 8).

Hazael could not believe he had such evil in his heart, that he should rip up women with child. Is your servant a dog? Yes, and worse than a dog--when that corruption within is stirred up!

If one had come to Peter and said, "Peter, within a few hours you will deny Christ," he would have said, "Is your servant a dog, that he should do such a monstrous thing?" But alas! Peter did not know his own heart, nor how far that corruption within would prevail upon him!

The sea may be calm and look clear; but when the wind blows--how it rages and foams! Just so, though now your heart seems good, yet, when temptation blows--how may sin reveal itself, making you foam with lust and passion! Who would have thought to have found . . .
  adultery in David,
  drunkenness in Noah,
  and cursing in Job?

If God leaves a man to himself--how suddenly and scandalously may sin break forth in the holiest men on the earth!
"Hold me up--and I shall be safe!" Psalm 119:117 

OUR POWERLESSNESS

A consciousness of our powerlessness should cast us upon Him who has all power. Here then is where a vision and view of God's sovereignty helps, for it reveals His sufficiency and shows us our insufficiency. A.W. Pink

Monday, March 3, 2014

CONSTANT GRACE AND MERCY

: "You are often sinning, but He is always forgiving you; you are often wandering, often erring, often grieving Him, but “He forgives all your iniquities.” I do not feel like preaching when I touch this text. I heartily wish I could sit down and have a happy cry over this blessed truth that my God is at this moment forgiving me." ~ Spurgeon

MY FAITH RESTS ON HIS OMNIPOTENCE

: "My faith has no bed to sleep upon but omnipotence." ~ Rutherford

REMEDY FOR APPARENT FAILURE

What is God's remedy for dejection at apparent failure in our labours? This - the assurance that God's purpose cannot fail, that God's plans cannot miscarry, that God's will must be done. Our labours are not intended to bring about that which God has not decreed. A.W. Pink

 Nothing is too great and nothing is too small to commit into the hands of the Lord. A.W. Pink


 Unbelief, and a thousand evils, are still in our hearts: though their reign and dominion is at an end, they are not slain or eradicated; their efforts will be felt more or less sensibly, as the Lord is pleased more or less to afford or abate His gracious influence. A.W. Pink

UNLESS WE ARE CONVINCED

"Unless we are convinced that without Christ we are under the eternal curse of God, we shall never flee to him for refuge." ~ John Owen

Sunday, March 2, 2014

MEMBERSHIP AND BAPTISM

March 2nd, 2014.

a.  We made public membership vows to Sovereign Grace Redeemer Presbyterian Church; Hickory, OPC.

b.  Martin received covenant Baptism.