Saturday, 17 November 2012

The Blessing of Christ

We have been, of all Christian people, the most privileged and blessed people around.  God has been exceedingly good to us and has blessed us beyond our wildest dreams.  He has given us great family and friends who have supported us fully; and He has met with us by His Spirit on a frequent basis.  At times we were not aware that He was near, but then there were other times when it was unmistakable that He was with us and in us.  It was nothing short of the witness of the Spirit of Christ with our spirits, which is the highest form of assurance.  To have missed this would have been absolute poverty.  Christ “manifested Himself to us,” and that is the greatest blessing of all.

Contrast this with the Old Testament evidence of God’s blessing (where many Christians live, alas) and there you will see that the signs of God’s blessing is in the acquisition of wealth – lands, property, herds, slaves.  These signs are all material signs.

However, in the New Testament, things are very much different.  John the Baptiser lived in the desert places and ate what he could from what creation provided – locusts and wild honey.  Jesus Himself was raised in poverty and lived in poverty.  During His public ministry, He did not even have anywhere to lay His head, the very birds of the air being better off than He was in this regard. The disciples renounced everything in order to follow Christ; they left all, homes, lands, families and friends, and threw in their lot with the Saviour of the world. 

Take the Huguenots in France under the tyrannical rule of Catholic King Louis XIV.  They were hounded because they embraced the true Protestant reformed faith, many losing everything, even their lives.  Yet were there holier people who witnessed for Christ than they?  The Puritans and the Scottish Covenanters experience similar things.  But as Paul tells us, “Everyone who lives a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” The Kingdom of heaven can only be entered by many tribulations.  Pity those who know nothing of persecution for their faith in this apostate and exceedingly wicked age where darkness reigns.

No, we are mightily blessed.  At the end of the day, nothing matters but being in fellowship with Christ, and knowing it.  Knowing Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings – that’s to be really blessed.  Material possessions and worldly success do not signify God’s favour – some of the most evil and depraved people in the world have all these things. 

How many there are who are like Job’s friends!  They can talk and talk, but they do not always know what they are talking about.  They are so self-righteous that all their talk does nothing to help poor Job.  They only plunged him into deeper depression.  For them to say that it was because of something in Job, something sinful he said or did, that explains his plight, was to get it totally wrong.  They spoke as if they had total knowledge of Job’s situation, but they knew nothing.  Isn’t it interesting that it is those who know least who talk most!  Empty barrels still make the most noise.

Job’s friends needed to have walked a few miles in his sandals for them to have known anything about him and his situation; but they didn’t.  Yet they talked and preached and advised and counselled and criticised this godly servant of God.  Job’s friends are still around today.  They jump to all kinds of wild conclusions as to why certain things happen, and only succeed in making life more difficult for those who are suffering. 

Do not look at external things to discover whether or not a man has been blessed by the Lord.  Is he enjoying felt fellowship with Christ, regardless of his circumstances?  Is his love for the Lord obvious?  Does he submit himself joyfully to God’s sure providence in his circumstances?  Does he love Christ more than everything else?  Is he experiencing Christ in a real way?  Does he know God’s Spirit witnessing with his spirit that he is a child of God (Rom.8:16)? 

Once you have tasted something of this, you know God is blessing you.  And you'll not be content until this is your constant experience.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Living Daylights

There is one thing in all the universe that is designed to scare the living daylights out of you and that's the wrath of God poured out on your sin.  No one has ever yet been that scared, but on that dreaded day, that fright will have reached its zenith. 

When an unsaved sinner stands before the thrice holy God - as he will do - he will then know what it is to be afraid, terrified and horrified.  When the all-seeing eye of God focuses on your sin, you will melt into nothingness without going out of existence.  When God parades all your doing, especially that done in secret, before the entire universe and the holy angels, you will know what it is to be afraid.  When all your evil doing are placarded before the world, then you will know shame really is.

That's very bad news, isn't it?  There's not much comfort in that, is there?  There's nothing in what you have written that has given us a 'feel good factor.'  It's all bad news.

But there is good news in all this.  And that good news is found only in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Yes, the wrath of God has been revealed from the most unlikely of places - from heaven - against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness, (Rom.1:18).  God has made known what He thinks of your sin - He hates it and must punish it.  That scares the living daylights out of me to just think of that. 

Yet, and here's the really good news, God sent His only Son into the world to be the world's Saviour.  Christ died on Calvary because "God has laid on Him the iniquity of us all," (Isa.53:6).  He now offers a real salvation to all mankind, and "whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

Have you called on God for mercy?  Have you seen your utter sinfulness in His sight?  Do you realise that you stink in His holy nostrils?  Are you aware that God hates you will a perfect hatred, yet loves you in Christ?  Can you hear His voice calling you to turn from your sins and trust the only Redeemer of the world, Jesus Christ? 

He is calling?  Are you listening?  Have you trusted Christ alone for your eternal salvation? 

Peace and Contentment

Better to have a little money in the bank and peace at home than to have a million dollars and a date in divorce court. A hard-driving, Type A corporate attorney happened to see a commercial fisherman in mid-afternoon, legs dangling off the pier as he helped his two young sons catch crabs. "Why aren't you out there fishing?" he asked. "Because I've caught enough fish for today," said the fisherman. "Why don't you catch more fish than you need?" "What would I do with them?" responded the fisherman. "You could earn more money and buy a better boat so you could go deeper and catch more fish. Then you could buy a fleet of boats. Soon you’d be rich like me." "What would I do then?" "You could sit down and enjoy life,” the attorney answered. "What do you think I'm doing now?" the fisherman replied.

This is not an argument in favor of indolence but a call for balanced living. The wise person realizes that some things matter more than other things, that your career is not the measure of your self-worth, and that having more money can’t replace the joy of spending time with people you love. Contentment means that you have everything you need right now. If you needed more, God would give it to you. Work hard but don’t make work your god. When you want what you already have, you’ve discovered the rare jewel of contentment.

Father, I praise you that I have everything I need for this moment. Teach me to enjoy what I already have. Amen.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

What Dr John Owen and Prof. Richard Dawkins Have In Common.

I have come across a very interesting thought in one of John Blanchard's books - Dealing with Dawkins - in which he claims that Prof. Richard Dawkins drew on work by an American physician, John Hartung, who believes that when Jesus taught 'Love your neighbour,' what He meant was '.Love other Jews.'  This is surely re-writing of the biblical data, and Blanchard is not impressed, describing it as a "bizarre idea."

Transfer this to reformed theology and the soteriological argument, and you see exactly the same re-writing of biblical data and its re-interpretation to suit a particular philosophical position as espoused by Dr John Owen.  Dawkins and Owen really are strange bed-fellows.  Or are they really?

Both these men, revered by their respective constituencies, dig from the same pit for their philosophical 'gems.'  The common ground between them is a particular philosophical methodology, one that allows for the re-writing of data so that it squares with their chosen philosophy.  Their common ground is a particular dogma that they hold, regardless of the data with which they are working.

How utterly different the methodology of Calvin is to both these men.  His approach is to come to the biblical data, and on the basis of exegetical accuracy, draws his theological conclusions.  Had both these men read and learned from Calvin, Owen's conclusions would approach those of Calvin much closer than they eventually did, and Dawkins would probably have been converted.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Christ Is Enough.

With the delay ... we are learning new lessons – or old lessons in a new way.  Through this trying time, we are learning to be content in Christ and with Christ – not always easy.  We want to let Christ satisfy us to the full that we might find our total satisfaction in Him alone.  As Charles Wesley put it:

Thou, O Christ, art all I want; More than all in Thee I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint, Heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy name; I am all unrighteousness,
False and full of sin I am; Thou art full of truth and grace

But be very, very careful; He might take you at your word, and withdraw everything from you, and leave you with Him alone, and nothing else.  It is then that you will prove Him as you’ve never done before.

When God, in His sure providence, takes your job from you, and with it your earning power, and when He threatens to take your wife and the mother of your children from you, life becomes profoundly serious.  It is then that you find yourself locked up to Christ alone.  He is enough, and we’ve proved that numerous times; but I’d still like to have **** around for many years to come.  It is a stark reality of God’s dealings with us that He sometimes takes us at our word, and gives us exactly what we have asked. He did that to us and we didn’t realise it.  We wanted Christ alone, and He is giving us that.  We have Him, and we are more than satisfied with Him.

But you can see the inconsistencies of this the moment you write something like this down.  Satisfied with Christ alone, yes; but we want our loved ones healed of their illnesses to be around us for many years to come.

I think Christ understands these inconsistencies and contradictions in our faith.  It is a case of “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief” (Mk 9:24).  We have put our faith in Him, but our lack of real trust when it is most needed is annoying.  And He does help us; He comes to our aid and assures us that we are His always.  That’s why we can say with the Psalmist in total honesty, “I love the LORD because He has heard My voice and my supplications.(Ps.116:1).  Israel was facing a great crisis, and was in a time of great need, so her response was to put the God Who is alive and sovereign first.

What a fine thing it is to be a Christian!  Why do sinful people not want to know and trust this wonderful Saviour?  What reason can they give for staying away from the Redeemer of the world?  There is none.  

If anyone reading this does not know Christ personally, ask yourself, why not?  Look how good He is, the Man Who went about doing good; the best Man the world ever knew.  Why are you staying away from Him?  He wants you to come to Him and trust Him with your soul.  My friends, He is altogether lovely, the bright morning star, and the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.  That’s our Saviour.  Our souls want nothing but Jesus, for in Him we have more than heart could desire.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Amyraldian Features in Welsh Calvinism

Amyraldian Association Conference 2013

Wednesday 10 & Thursday 11 April (DV) 

The Amyraldian Features in Welsh Calvinism  
[the tercentenary of Daniel Rowland’s birth if the original date of 1713 is followed -
 though some argue for 1711]

Venue yet to be finalised

Programme outline: 

1. Griffith Jones, Llanddowror, Don Elcoat

2. William Williams, Pantycelyn, David Bond
3. Thomas Charles, Bala, David Fox

4. Edward Williams, Rotherham, Nigel Westhead

5. John Jones, Talsarn, Alan Clifford

6. D. M. Lloyd-Jones, Hazlett Lynch

More information to follow.

The papers explore the ‘Amyraldian’ features of Welsh Calvinism. As well as a biographical outline, each speaker will investigate such theological features in the teaching of their subjects vis-à-vis the ‘Owenite’ character of the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Confession of Faith (1823).

To book your place at this important conference, please contact me at jehlynch [at] 
Early booking is advisable.

Beware of Rome.

The Roman Catholic Year of Faith began on October 11, 2012, and will conclude on November 24, 2013. The intent of Year of Faith is a beguiling deception cleverly presented. Nonetheless, in studying official documents outlining its agenda, it is seen to be a repackaging of the dogmas of Vatican Council II. Consequently, Ecumenical affiliation with Rome is a major factor of the whole endeavor; in fact, the Baptist World Alliance has already been ensnared.  In newspapers, magazines, videos, and across the Internet, there are invitations to people to participate. As Christians, it is our duty to withstand these assaults on the Lord’s Gospel of grace.  The article attached is a clear-cut analysis of what is defined in the Year of Faith. Please study the article, and forward it to others, and if possible post it on your Website or Blog. We request also that you prayerfully consider writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper regarding the Year of Faith.
Yours in Christ Jesus and for His Gospel,
Richard Bennett and Timothy F. Kauffman

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