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Archive for May, 2011

A lady once asked John Wesley that suppose he were to know that he would die at 12:00 midnight tomorrow, how would he spend the intervening time. His reply: “Why madam, just as I intend to spend it now. I would preach this evening at Gloucester, and again at five tomorrow morning; after that I would ride to Tewkesbury, preach in the afternoon, and meet the societies in the evening. I would then go to Rev. Martin’s house, who expects to entertain me, talk and pray with the family as usual, retire to my room at 10 o’clock, commend myself to my heavenly Father, lie down to rest, and wake up in Glory.”

Summarised as: When John Wesley was asked what he would do if he knew he were to die that night, he said that he would eat his supper, preach at the candlelight service, say his prayers, and go to bed.

John Wesley was asked what he would do if he knew his Lord would return at that time the next day. He said in effect, "I would go to bed and go to sleep; wake up in the morning, and go on with my work, for I would want Him to find me doing what he had appointed."

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Regeneration

Regeneration is a sovereign work of God (Jn. 1:12-13; 3:3-8; Jas. 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:3) a radical work or total transformation (Ezek. 36:26-27; 1 Jn. 3:9) not just an addition.

The source of regeneration is Christ (1 Pet 1:3; Eph 1:3, 2:4, 4:24; 2 Cor 5:17).

The agent of regeneration is the Holy Spirit (Jn. 3:3-8; Titus 3:5).

The instrument of regeneration is the Word of God (Jas. 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:23, 25) which precedes and causes faith (Jn 6:63-65, 1 Jn 5:1, Eph. 2:5; Col. 2:13)

source: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Monergism-Books/15086969948

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The second coming is one further example that the sheep hear the voice of the Shepherd, and they follow him (John 10:3) … The simultaneous explosion of cemeteries across the globe is a globalization [of] Jesus’ calling of Lazarus from his grave. Just as then, in Jesus’ death defying voice we see the glory of a God who always hears his Son (John 11:40–42).

source: Moore to the Point – A Pre-Tribulational Rapture?
http://www.russellmoore.com/2011/05/19/a-pre-tribulational-rapture/

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1Ti 5:21  In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels …

that the holy angels shall not now fall does not proceed from an indefectibility of nature, but from the election of God; they are elect angels.

source: Matthew Henry on Hebrews 7

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Sorrows

God sanctifies our sorrows.

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Justification, the outstanding blessing of salvation, is the Triune God’s counterintuitive gift of forensic acquittal and right status, an end-time decision announced now in the middle of history, consisting of Christ’s own righteous obedience freely imputed to sinners united to Christ through self-divesting and Christ-riveted faith.

source: Dane Ortlund after several moths of pondering Herman Bavinck’s writings on justification. His attempt at a single (run-on) sentence articulating Bavinck’s view. http://hermanbavinck.org/2011/04/06/bavinck-on-justification/

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The crying need of the church today is for men who will preach the Word with passionate conviction and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Then hurting churches will heal, many will be saved, Christian fellowships will be formed, the world will take note (Psa 126:2) and above all, God will be glorified.

What he did through the preaching of men like Calvin, Rutherford, Edwards, Whitefield and Spurgeon – to name but a few – he can do again: ‘The LORD’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save’ (Isa 59:1). The hammer of his Word can break the hardest heart (Jer 23:29).

… when you read the Bible, or hear it read and expounded, Christ is speaking to you; this is his Word. And God the Father says, ‘Hear him’, ‘Listen to him’ (Mark 9:7). Hear him now as he speaks in grace and love; do not wait until he speaks to you in judgement – for it most certainly will be the one or the other.

Source: Frederick Leahy, Is it nothing to you? : the unchanging significance of the cross (Edinburgh ;Carlisle  Pa.: Banner of Truth Trust, 2004), 125-126.

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Justification is an eschatological verdict that has been declared in advance of the last day. This is not to say that the verdict announced now only refers to a future reality. Believers are already justified, and yet at the same time they await the final declaration on the day of judgment when the verdict that God has already announced becomes public (Gal 5:5).

In the same way, the cross of Jesus Christ has launched believers into the age to come, even though they live in the present evil age (Gal 1:4). In other words, the new exodus promised in the OT has become a reality through Jesus as the crucified and risen Lord (Isa 40:3-11; 42:16; 43:2, 5-7, 16-19; 48:20-21; 49:8-11; 51:10-11).

The resurrection in Jewish thought also signals the end of the old evil age and the coming of the new age of peace and plenty (cf. Isa 26:19; Ezek 37:1-14; Dan 12:2-3).

The resurrection is not a prominent theme in Galatians, and yet it appears in the first verse of the letter (Gal 1:1), signifying that the age to come has invaded the present age. The old evil cosmos has lost its hold over believers through the cross of Jesus Christ (6:14). Therefore, believers now belong to the new creation (Gal 6:15). The new creation has not been consummated (Isa 65:17; 66:22), but it has been inaugurated through the work of Jesus Christ. The gift of the Holy Spirit represents the arrival of the new creation (Isa 32:15; 44:3; Ezek 11:18-19; 36:26-27; Joel 2:28). The Spirit is a gift of the last days, and his presence and indwelling among the Galatians shows that the final days have begun.

Eschatological contrasts dominate Galatians, so that we have a contrast between the old age of the flesh and the new age of the Spirit. The flesh in Paul represents the old age and who human beings are in Adam, whereas the Spirit signifies the inbreaking of the age to come.

We see the same eschatological contrast between the law and the gospel. The Mosaic law belongs to the former era and believers are no longer under the law (see esp. Gal 3:15-4:7). To be under the law is to be enslaved to the power of sin (Gal 3:10,22,23,25; 4:3,21-31; 5:18). Such slavery belongs to the former age. Now that the gospel of Christ (a fulfillment of the promise of the new exodus! Isa 40:9; 52:7) is proclaimed, the age of the law is obsolete. Believers live in the era of the cross, the resurrection, and the gift of the Spirit.

Second Corinthians 5:17 rightly summarizes Galatians: If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone; the new has come!

source: Thomas Schreiner, Galatians (Grand Rapids  Mich.: Zondervan, 2010), 394–395.

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In John 18 both Judas and Peter are said to have been "standing among" the servants and officers of the high priest who arrested Jesus. Both have aligned themselves with those who are opposed to Jesus. Both Judas and Peter turn from Jesus – Judas betrays and Peter denies.

Despite appearances there is a great difference between these men – one is called ‘a son of destruction’ (17:12) who dies to go to ‘his place’ in hell while the other is restored to his apostolic office.

Why the different outcomes? John’s gospel indicates that the difference between Judas and Peter is that Peter belonged to Jesus in a way that Judas did not. Peter is a sheep whom the Father has given to Jesus (John 10:26-27). Jesus loses none of those who are given to him.

"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat (the idea is one of being ruined and left in pieces), but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." (Luke 22:31-32)

Satan must ask God’s permission to tempt and test us. If granted permission he may only tempt to the degrees that God has permitted him (as seen in the life of Job also).

Peter is not lost because he belongs to Jesus who has prayed that his faith not fail. Although Peter’s faith seemed to fail momentarily around the charcoal fire, his faith does not ultimately fail due to Jesus’ prayer and initiative. Jesus never loses any of his sheep.

"We can, like Job and Peter, find the sifting painful and bewildering. … When the sifting was over, Job and Peter were humbler and stood closer to God. It was good for them that they had been afflicted (Psa 119:771). A conversation in heaven between Job and Peter would be interesting to hear. (Leahy, The Victory of the Lamb, 68-69).

Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 17, Of the Perseverance of the Saints

They, whom God hath accepted in His Beloved, effectually called, and sanctified by His Spirit, can neither totally, nor finally, fall away from the state of grace: but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved (Joh_10:28, Joh_10:29; Phi_1:6; 1Pe_1:5, 1Pe_1:9; 2Pe_1:10; 1Jo_3:9).

This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father (Jer_31:3; 2Ti_2:18, 2Ti_2:19); upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ (Luk_22:32; Joh_17:11, Joh_17:24; Rom_8:33-39; Heb_7:25; Heb_9:12-15; Heb_10:10, Heb_10:14; Heb_13:20, Heb_13:21); the abiding of the Spirit, and of the seed of God within them (Joh_14:16, Joh_14:17; 1Jo_2:27; 1Jo_3:9); and the nature of the covenant of grace (Jer_32:40): from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof (Joh_10:28; 2Th_3:3; 1Jo_2:19).

Nevertheless, they may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalency of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins (Mat_26:70, Mat_26:72, Mat_26:74); and, for a time, continue therein (Psa_51:14 and title): whereby they incur Godìs displeasure (2Sa_11:27; Isa_64:5, Isa_64:7, Isa_64:9), and grieve His Holy Spirit (Eph_4:30), come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts (Psa_51:8, Psa_51:10, Psa_51:12; Son_5:2-4, Son_5:6; Rev_2:4), have their hearts hardened (Isa_36:17; Mar_6:52; Mar_16:14), and their consciences wounded (Psa_32:3, Psa_32:4; Psa_51:8), hurt and scandalize others (2Sa_12:14), and bring temporal judgments upon themselves (Psa_89:31, Psa_89:32; 1Co_11:32).

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"Christian, has not God taught you, by his word and Spirit, how to read the short-hand of his providence? Do you not know that the saints’ afflictions stand for blessings?"

Source: William Gurnall (1617-1679), Christian in Complete Armor

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