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Showing posts from April, 2017

5 Minutes in Church History: Philip Melanchthon

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By Stephen Nichols "Philip Melanchthon is, after Martin Luther, likely the most prominent resident of Wittenberg, Germany. “Master Philip,” as Luther called him, was born on February 15, 1497. He came of age educationally just after Martin Luther did, but in many ways, Melanchthon’s education was very different from Luther’s. Luther was raised in medieval methodology, whereas Melanchthon’s early education was steeped in the new humanism. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Heidelberg and his M.A. from the University of Tübingen." Stephen Nichols Audio Link: https://soundcloud.com/5churchhistory/philip-melanchthon

God's Power Made Perfect in Weakness

By Pastor Geoff Ingrum - Posted at Sermon Audio: Series: Judges · 9 of 26 Description: God uses unlikely people with unusual weapons to accomplish unimpressive victories that demonstrate His extraordinary power and exceptional salvation. Scripture Text: Judges 3:31 31 And after him was Shamgar the son of Anath, which slew of the Philistines six hundred men with an ox goad: and he also delivered Israel. Link: http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=91116130382

Our Life is Hid with Christ

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Richard Sibbes   (1577–1635) Posted at This Day in Presbyterian History : Excerpt from Vol. 5 of the Works of Richard Sibbes : We are dead, and yet we have a life. A Christian is a strange person. He is both dead and alive, he is miserable and glorious. He consists of contraries. He is dead in regard of corruption and miseries, and such like, but he is alive in regard of his better part, and he grows two ways at once. It is a strange thing that a Christian does. He grows downwards and upwards at the same time; for as he dies in sin and misery, and natural death approaching, so he lives the life of grace, and grows more and more till he end in glory. This life is said to be a hidden life, ‘It is hid with Christ in God.’ The life of a Christian, which is his glorious spiritual life, it is hid. Among other respects, 1. It is hid to the world, to worldly men , because a Christian is an unknown man to them. Because they know not the Father that begets, therefore they know no

On Being “Called” to Ministry

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Posted at 9Marks.org: Being “called” to ministry isn’t entirely personal, internal, and subjective. It involves both the individual and a church, an internal desire and external confirmation. In this Pastors’ Talk episode, Jonathan [Leeman] asked Mark [Dever] about common misconceptions of pastoral calling, how pastors can cultivate an environment where callings get tested, and the role of the church throughout. (Download on iTunes here .) Read more at 9Marks and listen here. (Audio: approx. 26 minutes)

Less A Problem of What the Spirit is Doing and More a Problem of What We Say

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Revivalist Charles G. Finney - Wikipedia By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog : Since the early 19th century American Christianity has been largely dominated by a revival of the original Anabaptist theology, piety, and practice. One can transpose much of what took place in the 19th century over the fist generation Anabaptists (1520s) and it matches up quite well. The original Anabaptists would have understood completely the Millerite eschatological fervor of the 1820s–40s. They would understand completely the claims of continuing revelation made by Joseph Smith and the Mormons in the same period. At least some of the original Anabaptists would have understood the bald Pelagianism of Charles Finney (1792–1875). The Cane Ridge Revival (1801) would have made perfect sense to the original Anabaptists as it fit their vision of piety almost perfectly. Evangelical Christianity in America as it has been received in the 20th and 21st centuries is very much the product of th

The Sufficiency of Scripture

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By John MacArthur - Posted at Grace Community Church : It is significant that one of the biblical names of Christ is Wonderful Counselor (Isa. 9:6). He is the highest and ultimate One to whom we may turn for counsel, and His Word is the well from which we may draw divine wisdom. What could be more wonderful than that? In fact, one of the most glorious aspects of Christ’s perfect sufficiency is the wonderful counsel and great wisdom He supplies in our times of despair, confusion, fear, anxiety, and sorrow. He is the quintessential Counselor. This is not to denigrate the importance of Christians counseling each other. There certainly is a crucial need for biblically sound counseling ministries within the Church, and this need is met by those who are spiritually gifted to offer encouragement, discernment, comfort, advice, compassion, and help to others. In fact, one of the very problems that has led to the current plague of bad counsel is that churches have not done as well as they

Justice, Mercy, and Grace

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By T.M. Moore - Posted at The Fellowship of Ailbe : We need them all, and they're all there for us in Jesus. “Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.” - Matthew 5.7  If only you shape your own path and build up peace, you shall see no end to mercy. - The Advice of Addaon, Early Welsh Justice, mercy, grace: three words we use a good deal in the Christian community, each of which has a distinct meaning and impact. Yet none of which do we understand as well as we should. Justice can be summarized as getting what you deserve. On the one hand, because we are the image-bearers of God, all humans deserve respect, honor, love, encouragement, and so forth. On the other hand, because we are sinners, we deserve only wrath and judgment from our sovereign and holy God. These are the proper desserts of those who walk in rebellion against Him, denying that He is their Creator, ignoring His Law, or rationalizing it out of their Christian lives. Justice is what we deser

The Maryland Toleration Law

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Posted at This Day in Presbyterian History : Maryland Toleration Law Opens up Colony for Reformed Preaching April 21 was an important date in 1649 for the Reformed faith in the colony of Maryland. Originally, Maryland was a colony established as a refuge for English Catholics. But as more non-Catholics came into the colony, and indeed it became a Protestant colony, the Maryland Assembly on this date established the Maryland Toleration Law, or as it is sometimes known as The Act Concerning Religion. What it did was to mandate religious tolerance for trinitarian Christians. That adjective “trinitarian” is important. If a citizen of the colony denied the deity of Jesus Christ, for example, then the punishment was seizure of their land, and even death. Thus Unitarians, or Jews, or atheists were threatened by this law. It was meant more so as a protection for the Roman Catholics as it was for the Protestants, and specifically the Reformed faith. Read more here.

Waiting and Longing to Hear God’s Word

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Image from William Guthrie - CCEL Posted at Reformation Scotland : We’re so used to hearing sermons that it becomes ordinary and routine for us. Yet it is meant to be a life-changing and world-changing activity. Christ has sent someone to declare His Word to us in a special way. No words outside of Scripture are more significant than those we hear from the pulpit. The Spirit of God makes “the reading, but especially the preaching, of the word, an effectual means of convincing and converting sinners, and of building them up in holiness and comfort, through faith, unto salvation” (Shorter Catechism, Q89). We should therefore be longing and waiting for the sermons we hear. In what follows we will hear the heart-cry of a flock to a shepherd to come and feed them with God’s Word. This was a congregation who would experience one of Scotland’s most richly blessed ministries – ever. The parish of Fenwick, Ayrshire were calling a young man called William Guthrie. Writing a call to a pas

Samuel B. Wylie: The Duty of Christians Under Wicked Rule

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Samuel B. Wylie - Image source: RP Witness Posted at Purely Presbyterian : Samuel B. Wylie,  Two Sons of Oil , pp. 63-71 1. It is our duty to mourn before God over all the prevailing abominations. This is one of the characters of those who are marked with the broad seal of the Holy Ghost, Ezek, ix. 4. And the Lord said, “Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and cry for all the abominations that are done in the midst thereof.” We ought, also, to confess and mourn over our own sins, which, no doubt, contribute their share to the procuring and continuance of those evils. 2. We ought to pray for their reformation with earnestness at a throne of grace. 1st Tim. ii. 1, we are commanded to make prayer and supplications for all men; and, Jer. xxix. 7, the captives in Babylon are commanded to “pray for the peace of the city, and cry to the Lord for it, that in its peace they might have peace.” This prayer

"Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker— … Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’"

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Posted at Reformed Doctrine Daily Devotions : Today’s devotion comes from Isaiah 29:1-16.  Here is a link to this chapter – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+29&version=NASB I quote only the following verses. “Woe, O Ariel (Jerusalem), Ariel the city where David once camped! Add year to year, observe your feasts on schedule. 2 I will bring distress to Ariel, And she will be a city of lamenting and mourning; And she will be like an Ariel to me. 3 I will camp against you encircling you, And I will set siegeworks against you, And I will raise up battle towers against you. .. 13 Then the Lord said, “Because this people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote, 14 Therefore behold, I will once again deal marvelously with this people, wondrously marvelous; And the wisdom of their wise men will perish, And the discernm

What is Worship?

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Posted at Reformation Scotland : It is strange that we may engage in something so often and yet not stop to ask what it is. We could ask many different individuals to define worship and we would get a variety of responses. Some people think of praise as “a time of worship”. Others might add prayer together with that. Another response might stress that it is an attitude of heart more than specific activities. Then there are those who want to say that all of life is worship. What really matters, however, is not the range of personal opinion but how God defines it in His Word. The English word worship derives from “worth-ship” i.e. ascribing worth. In Scripture, the words for worship often indicate specific acts such as kneeling, falling down, doing reverence, paying homage (literally kissing towards). Sometimes they indicate fear, other times service and humbling ourselves. It is both attitude and action. There are also activities that are distinct from daily life e.g. a distinct

'My son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found'

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The Return of the Prodigal Son (1773) by Pompeo Batoni  (Wikipedia) Luke 15:11-32  (AKJV) 11 And he said, A certain man had two sons: 12 and the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. 13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. 14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. 15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. 17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, an

Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle?

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Psalm 15 (AKJV) A Psalm of David. 1 Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? 2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. 3 He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. 4 In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. 5 He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.

Without Fear of Man

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By C.H. Spurgeon - Posted at Daily Checkbook/Sermon Audio : "And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the Name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee" — Deuteronomy 28:10 Then we can have no reason to be afraid of them. This would show a mean spirit and be a token of unbelief rather than of faith. God can make us so like Himself that men shall be forced to see that we rightly bear His name and truly belong to the holy Jehovah. Oh, that we may obtain this grace which the LORD waits to bestow! Be assured that ungodly men have a fear of true saints. They hate them, but they also fear them. Haman trembled because of Mordecai, even when he sought the good man's destruction. In fact, their hate often arises out of a dread which they are too proud to confess. Let us pursue the path of truth and uprightness without the slightest tremor. Fear is not for us but for those who do ill and fight against the LORD of hosts. If indeed the name of the e

Rev. Asa Hillyer [1763-1840] 'Stand Still and See the Salvation of God'

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Posted at This Day in Presbyterian History : If God is going to bring a great turning from sin, it must and can only be His work. Excerpt: “But it may not be improper to remark here, that for some time previous to this, everything around assumed a gloomy aspect in regard to evangelical piety. All meetings for prayer except the first Monday in the month, were relinquished. Gambling, horse-racing, intemperance, and dissipation of every kind, threatened all social order with destruction. A moral society had been established for two years, the object of which was the suppression of vice and immorality; but no human effort was able to withstand the torrent of vice which threatened us on every side. At the same time the exertions of Christians were paralyzed; the wise were sleeping with the foolish. This state of things alarmed a few praying people; they agreed to resume a prayer-meeting which had, for the first time in forty years, been relinquished the spring before. This t

Where is the Glory

By Pastor Geoff Ingrum - Posted at Sermon Audio : Series: Judges · 8 of 26 Link: http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=9816025291 Scripture Text: Judges 3:12-30 (KJV) 12 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord: and the Lord strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the Lord. 13 And he gathered unto him the children of Ammon and Amalek, and went and smote Israel, and possessed the city of palm trees. 14 So the children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years. 15 But when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, the Lord raised them up a deliverer, Ehud the son of Gera, a Benjamite, a man lefthanded: and by him the children of Israel sent a present unto Eglon the king of Moab. 16 But Ehud made him a dagger which had two edges, of a cubit length; and he did gird it under his raiment upon his right thigh. 17 And he brought the present unto Eglon king of Moab: an

5 REASONS PASTORS SHOULD CARE ABOUT CHURCH HISTORY

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By Dayton Hartman - Posted at The Center for Baptist Renewal : Why should we care about “church history?” For me, the answer came early in my ministry. As I entered my second year in ministry, I was inundated with inquiries that required me to look to the past. Members of my church were asking questions like, “Did Constantine invent the Trinity and the deity of Christ?” and “What really happened at the Council of Nicaea?” At the time, I didn’t really care about the answers to these questions. I was suffering from a horrible case of what C. S. Lewis called “chronological snobbery,” a tendency to elevate contemporary ideas over ones from the musty, dusty past. Nevertheless, I had questions to answer. And finding the answers launched me into multi-year journey through church history that eventually changed my view of the creeds, preaching, discipleship, pastoral care, and cultural engagement. I am a different and, I believe, better pastor because of my study of church history. Now, mor

Why Are We Here?

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Posted at Reformation Scotland : Many struggle to get a satisfactory answer to such a simple question. Some have concluded that there is no such final answer and the meaning we seek cannot be found. If the ultimate reality is only matter shaped by random blind chance then seeking meaning is a pointless exercise. But an infinite personal God guarantees meaning and a satisfactory answer to this question. Hugh Binning taught philosophy at Glasgow University as well as being a minister. He was therefore well-qualified to answer this question. The following is an updated extract from one of his lectures. It focuses on the first question of the Shorter Catechism “What is the chief end of man?” The answer is “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever”. This is a simple but very profound answer to the question “Why are we here?” What Is Most Important for Us to Know? All that we are required to know may be summarised under these two headings: (a) our purpose and (b) how

We are lords! We don't need Him anymore!

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From GraceGems.org:  Source: Wikipedia ( Edward Payson , 1783-1827) "O my people, listen to the words of the LORD! Have I been like a desert to Israel? Have I been to them a land of darkness? Why then do my people say: We are lords! We don't need Him anymore! " Jeremiah 2:31 If men are indeed independent of God --then it may with safety be asserted that He is almost the only being or object in the universe on whom they are not dependent. From the cradle to the grave, their lives exhibit little else than a continued course of dependence. They are dependent on the earth, on the water, on the air, on each other, on irrational animals, on vegetables, on unorganized substances. Let but the sun withhold his beams, and the clouds their showers for a single year--and the whole race of these mighty, independent beings expires! Let but a pestilential blast sweep over them--and they are gone! Let but some imperceptible derangement take place in their frail bu