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Archive for April, 2011

Oh! happy day, when this toilsome warfare will all be ended, Jordan crossed, Canaan entered, the legion-enemies of the wilderness no longer dreaded; sorrow, sighing, death, and, worst of all, sin, no more either to be felt or feared!

Here is the terminating link in the golden chain of the everlasting covenant. It began with predestination; it ends with glorification. It began with sovereign grace in a by-past eternity, and no link will be awanting till the ransomed spirit be presented faultless before the throne! Grace and glory!

If the earnest be sweet, what must be the reality? If the wilderness table contain such rich provision, what must be the glories of the eternal banqueting house?

Source: John Ross Macduff, ‘The Faithful Promiser’

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John’s Gospel

The major presentation of Jesus in John’s gospel is as "the one sent from God".

John’s gospel is one of the most predestinarian books of the Bible.

First we are born from above i.e. regenerated by the Spirit then we believe

John 3:5,8 "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. … The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

First we are dead, then we are given life, then we hear, then we obey and believe.

John 5:25 "Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.

John 11:43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out."

First we are given by the Father to Jesus then we come to him (believe) then he preserves us.

John 6:37-40 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."

No one can come and believe in Jesus unless the Father first draws them.

John 6:44,47 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. … Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.

Jesus is the one who enables people who are totally in the dark, spiritually blind to see. First there is regeneration enabling sight then a person believes.

John 9 – the giving of sight to a blind man.

The reason why people believe or do not believe has to do with whether they are Jesus’ sheep or not, having been given to Jesus by the Father.

First the sheep belong to him, then they hear his voice and then they follow (believe).

John 10:26-29 … but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

John’s gospel presents Jesus as the good shepherd leading us as we follow him to the Father. Coming along side us is the Paraclete Spirit pointing us to the shepherd while supporting and enabling us to follow him.

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Election to eternal life, is a truth of Scripture which we must receive humbly, and believe implicitly. Why the Lord Jesus calls some and does not call others, quickens whom He will, and leaves others alone in their sins, these are deep things which we cannot explain. Let it suffice us to know that it is a fact.

God must begin the work of grace in a man’s heart, or else a man will never be saved. Christ must first choose us and call us by His Spirit, or else we shall never choose Christ. Beyond doubt, if not saved, we shall have none to blame but ourselves. But if saved, we shall certainly trace up the beginning of our salvation, to the choosing grace of Christ. Our song to all eternity will be that which fell from the lips of Jonah–"Salvation is of the Lord." (Jonah 2:9.)

Armed with such principles as these, we have no cause to be afraid of the doctrine of election. Like any other truth of the Gospel, it is liable to be abused and perverted. But to a pious mind, as the seventeenth Article of the Church of England truly says, it is a doctrine "full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort."

Source: J.C. Ryle, John 15:12-16

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How fast the weeks return! We are again upon the eve of a sabbath. May the Lord give us much of his own Spirit on his own day. I trust I have a remembrance in your prayers. I need them much: my service is great.

It is, indeed, no small thing to stand between God and the people, to divide the word of truth aright, to give every one portion, to withstand the counter tides of opposition and popularity, and to press those truths upon others, the power of which, I, at times, feel so little of in my own soul. A cold, corrupt heart is uncomfortable company in the pulpit.

Yet in the midst of all my fears and unworthiness, I am enabled to cleave to the promise, and to rely on the power of the great Redeemer. I know I am engaged in the cause against which the gates of hell cannot prevail. If He died and rose again, if He ever lives to make intercession, there must be safety under the shadow of his wings: there would I lie.

In his name I would lift up my banner; in his strength I would go forth, do what He enables me, then take shame to myself that I can do no better, and put my hand upon my mouth, confessing that I am dust and ashes—less than the least of all his mercies.

Source: John Newton, letter dated July 26, 1776.

Newton reminds us that pastors…

face a relentless repetition of pastoral responsibilities that come each week and culminate on Sunday

struggle to rightly divide Scripture with every sermon

strive to withstand the temptations that accompany opposition

struggle against the temptations that accompany popularity and success

earnestly long to see the truth of the gospel affect cold hearts

themselves face the reality that they often carry a cold heart of their own into the pulpit with them

Source: http://sovereigngraceministries.org/blogs/cj-mahaney/

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We are warned not to allow ourselves to become hardened, because if we look at the whole concept of hardening in its biblical perspective, we see that something happens to us through repeated sins. Our consciences become seared. The more we commit a particular sin, the less remorse we feel from it. Our hearts are recalcitrant through repeated disobedience.

When God hardens the heart, all He does is step away and stop striving with us. For example, the first time I commit a particular sin, my conscience bothers me. In His grace, God is convicting me of that evil. God is intruding into my life, trying to persuade me to stop this wickedness. If He wants to harden me, all He has to do is to stop rebuking me, stop nudging me, and just give me enough rope to hang myself.

Source: R.C. Sproul ‘Avoiding a Hardened Conscience’ Blog post Apr 03, 2010

Ask God to Incline our hearts to him, not to money or fame or power (Psalm 119:36),

and to Open our eyes to see wonderful things in his Word (Psalm 119:18),

and to Unite our hearts in the fear of God rather than let them be fragmented over a dozen concerns (Psalm 86:11),

and to Satisfy us with his steadfast love (Psalm 90:14).

Source: John Piper, blog post

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