31 July, 2008

Pre-Election Presbyterian Thoughts

“Every nation ought to recognize the Divine institution of civil government, the sovereignty of God exercised by Jesus Christ, and its duty to rule the civil affairs of men in accordance with the will of God. It should enter into covenant with Christ and serve to advance His Kingdom on earth. The negligence of civil government in any of these particulars is sinful, makes the nation liable to the wrath of God, and threatens the continued existence of the government and nation.”

Testimony, 23.4

30 July, 2008

A Free Offer Poem By Ralph Erskine

One of the greatest parts of our Associate Presbyterian history is the emphasis on the free offer of the Gospel.

Grace is offered freely to all men and the doors of salvation are proclaimed to all who will hear. Ralph Erskine was one of the greatest Gospel preachers of his time, maybe of all time.

Here is a poem based on Isaiah 55.1-3 which shows the biblical nature of the free offer of the Gospel. God offers grace in Christ sincerely to all who will come:

"Ho, every thirsty soul, and all
That poor and needy are,
Here's water of salvation's well
For you to come and share.

Here's freedom from sin and woe,
And blessings all divine,
Here streams of love and mercy flow,
Like floods of milk and wine.

Approach the fountain head of bliss,
That's open like the sea,
The buyers that are moneyless,
To poorest beggars free.

Why spend you all your wealth and pains,
For that which is not bread,
And for unsatisfying gains,
On which no soul can feed ?

While vain ye seek with earthly toys,
To fill an empty mind,
You lose immortal solid joys,
And feed upon the wind.

Incline your ear, and come to me;
Hear and your soul shall live:
For mercies sure as well as free,
I bind myself to give."

26 July, 2008

Sabbath a'Brakel: Two Kingdoms

Calmly consider first of all that there are but two kings in this world, each having a kingdom: the kingdoms of Christ and of the devil, which are mortal enemies to each other. A third kingdom does not exist. Every person upon earth or is either a subject of King Jesus or of the devil, the prince of darkness. No matter who you are individually, you are truly a subject of one of these two kingdoms. You are neither neutral nor a subject of both kingdoms simultaneously. Therefore, to which kingdom do you presently belong? What do you have to say for yourself? If you neither know nor have ever given this any thought, come and sit next to me for a moment; let us consider this matter, and then make a heartfelt and eternal choice. Whose subject do you wish to be? Whom do you choose to be your king? (II: 56).

23 July, 2008

Reformed Presbyterians Sing!

Anyone who has spent time around the RP Church knows that singing of Psalms is something that is loved. I wanted to capture one of the songs from the International Conference to show how the singing is really a 'foretaste of heaven', as so many say. Enjoy 1600 RPs praising God!

21 July, 2008

Reformed Presbyterian International Conference

This week my family and I are at the RP International along with 1600 other Reformed Presbyterians from around the globe. There are people there from the US, Canada, Australia, Scotland, Ireland, England, Cyprus, Japan, the Sudan, and others.

The singing is phenomenal and should be experienced if you are in the Grand Rapids area. It is actually overwhelmingly beautiful. I hope to get a video of it up tomorrow.

Today Dr. Dennis Prutow preached from Colossians 3.16 on how to meet Christ by 'letting His Words dwell in you richly'. The two main points (or moves as he would say) were by heeding the preaching (teaching and admonishing) and the singing of Psalms. Heeding includes hearing and making it change your life. It was a great sermon!

The children also have classes to attend which focus on the same topic. (There are over 150 preschoolers present!)

There are also 'break away sessions' which are attended later in the morning. I went to one on preaching (by Dr. Prutow as well) and Lydia, my wife, went to one on 'keeping our youth', which was led by Pastor Andy McCracken. Some of the others from our congregation attended sessions on 'dealing with conflict in the church' and 'the mercy ministries of Jesus'. Everyone had good feedback on what has been taught thus far.

What an opportunity to meet with like-minded Christians for fellowship, encouragement, and Christ honoring teaching!

19 July, 2008

Sabbath a'Brakel: The Temperment of the Truly Converted

God is the moving cause of meekness. Man is naturally inclined to lose his temper, be angry, be rancorous, and to be as prickly as a sticker bush which cannot be touched without being injured by it. However, when God regenerates a man according to the image of the meek Jesus, He grants him a meek heart. The apostle therefore also lists meekness among the fruits of the Spirit. "But the fruit of the Spirit is...gentleness" (Gal. 5:22) [IV: 82].

17 July, 2008

Is Your LIFE hid with Christ?

Colossians 3:1-3 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

It is worthy of observation, that our life is said to be hid, that we may not murmur or complain if our life, being buried under the shame of the cross, and under various distresses, differs nothing from death, but may patiently wait for the day of revelation. And in order that our waiting may not be painful, let us observe those expressions, in God, and with Christ, which intimate that our life is out of danger, although it does not appear.

1. For, in the first place, God is faithful, and therefore will not deny what has been committed to him, (2 Timothy 1:12,) nor deceive in the guardianship which he has undertaken; and,
2. secondly, the fellowship of Christ brings still greater security. For what is to be more desired by us than this — that our life remains with the very fountain of life. Hence there is no reason why we should be alarmed if, on looking around on every side, we nowhere see life. For we are saved by hope. But those things which are already seen with our eyes are not hoped for. (Romans 8:24.)

Nor does he teach that our life is hid merely in the opinion of the world, but even as to our own view, because this is the true and necessary trial of our hope, that being encompassed, as it were, with death, we may seek life somewhere else than in the world. -Calvin

05 July, 2008

Sabbath a'Brakel: The Lord's Supper

1) A true believer will perceive within himself that with all his heart--albeit the one time more perceptibly than at other times--he yearns for the Lord Jesus in order to be justified by His blood, to be clothed with His holiness as merited by His fulfillment of the law, and to be renewed and sanctified by His Spirit. He will perceive that he yearns for, longs for, cries after, flees to, waits upon, and surrenders himself to Him. He wrestles against unbelief in order that he may bring Jesus into his heart, and to be assured that he believes in Him and is a partaker of Him and His benefits.

(2) He will perceive that he cannot be satisfied with believing that he has received grace. He desires with all his heart the possession, the enjoyment, and the relish of the benefits of the covenant. He will perceive that he is enamored with being truly united to God, with a life in which there is an impression of the Lord's presence, with peace of conscience, and with the love and fear of the Lord. When he misses this, he is troubled, and if he has lost this, he cannot rest until he receives it by renewal; for this is his life, delight, and felicity.

(3) He will perceive within himself a hatred and distaste for sin, a grief when he sins, a repeated rising again and a fleeing to the blood of Jesus unto reconciliation, and a delight and love to live a life which is pleasing to the Lord. He perceives within himself a warfare between the flesh and the spirit. The lusts of the world continually draw him to the world and away from God, whereas the spirit--that which has been regenerated, his spiritual life within him--continually draws him away from sin unto God. He also perceives, to his grief, that the flesh at times has the upper hand in this battle, whereas at other times, to his joy, the spirit prevails.

01 July, 2008

The City of Angels

My family and I will be leaving for Los Angeles, California, at 6 AM Wednesday. We have been asked to come and visit the LA Reformed Presbyterian Church's members as a part of the candidating process. We will gone for two weeks. I will be preaching on the Lord's Days as well as having various teaching responsibilities. Pray for God's will to be made clear as to where He would have us to minister.