An Overview of Habakkuk

Have you ever noticed that strange and terrible things are happening in the world? The answer to that question is really obvious. It would be really hard not to notice. But what’s not always obvious is why strange and terrible things are happening. Sometimes things happen and we simply have no answers. One of the most common questions we ask is “Why?” Continue reading An Overview of Habakkuk

A Prayer for Australia before the 2016 Federal Election

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Our Father, the Creator, Sustainer and Sovereign of all things. Blessed be Your Name forever and ever, to You belong wisdom and might. You alone are the Lord, the great, the mighty, and awesome God. By Your power You change times and seasons; and remove kings and set up kings. You are the One who gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. I ask that You forgive us for our sins. Our nation has ignored Your ways and has chased after corrupt things. As a nation we have rebelled against You and chosen evil rather than good. According to Your great loving kindness and mercy, I pray for Your forgiveness. Continue reading A Prayer for Australia before the 2016 Federal Election

What is God’s Will?

 

1578087736_ecdbe1ebd3_zWhen it comes to the topic of God’s will, we would do well to know the important truth of the following text,

“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Duet. 29:29).

This verse places the will of God into two categories – “the secret things” and “the things that are revealed“. To put it another way, we will consider God’s secret will and God’s stipulated will. Continue reading What is God’s Will?

Thomas Watson and Divine Providence – Part 2

a-body-of-divinityIn Thomas Watson’s, A Body of Divinity, his chapter on providence provides the reader with seven propositions concerning Divine providence. These propositions work as a helpful framework to build upon in forming an understanding of the Puritan’s theology of providence. Significantly, these propositions are an excellent illustration of what the Puritan’s did with their theology. After considering these propositions, I will conclude with a brief consideration of Watson’s exhortations that come as a result. This is an indication that for the Puritan’s true theology must lead to a practical divinity. Theology must never be disconnected from practice.

What is Providence? Continue reading Thomas Watson and Divine Providence – Part 2

Thomas Watson and Divine Providence – Part 1

Divine-Providence

Meet Thomas Watson
The date and place of Thomas Watson’s birth are unknown. However, it is believed that he was likely born in Yorkshire, England. Watson earned both a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1639 and a Master of Arts degree in 1642 at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. After this, Watson was a lecturer for about ten years and served as pastor at St. Stephen’s in Walbrook, London. In his early years at St. Stephen’s, he married Abigail Beadle. In 1662, as a result of the Act of Uniformity, Watson, along with two thousand other ministers, was ejected from his ministry. However, he continued to preach in private settings whenever the opportunity was available.  Continue reading Thomas Watson and Divine Providence – Part 1

God’s Providence: Our Comfort

God's Providence: Our Comfort

John Calvin writes about our “knowledge” of God’s providence in his Institutes of the Christian Religion:

‘Gratitude of mind for the favourable outcome of thing, patience in adversity, and also incredible freedom from worry about the future all necessarily follow upon this knowledge.’ (see 1.17.7)

By knowledge he means that we properly understand and see the ramifications of the doctrine. By “providence” he means that as described by many passages of scripture (e.g. ), and by the 1689 London Confession 5:1, which says that God “upholds, directs, organises and governs all creatures and things, from the greatest to the least … ” I wrote about God’s providence recently here.

With that in mind, read the quote again. Calvin says that when we know and trust God in his providence, we should be 3 things.

1. Thankful for all of the good things that come about in our life,

2. Patient in difficult times in our life, and

3. Free from worry.

God is in control, says Calvin. So, be thankful! Be patient! Don’t worry!

Picture credit: John Calvin’s church in Geneva, by Mark Gstohl. Some rights reserved.

10 declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
11 calling a bird of prey from the east,
the man of my counsel from a far country.
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
I have purposed, and I will do it.

The Sovereign of the Church

HBC

Who is the head of the church? Or to ask another question, who gives the marching orders? Sadly, many view human leaders as the head of the church. Some may say the pastor, the elders, the congregation or even a denomination is. The truth is, none of these are the head of the church. Well, who is the head of the church? In the Lord Jesus Christ made the clear and authoritative statement, “I will build my church” (emphasis mine). This makes it clear that the church is His possession – it belongs to Him.

As the Head of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ exercises His sovereignty over it. As the sovereign of the church He is thoroughly acquainted with everything that goes on in the life of its members. Nothing escapes the attention of the Head of the church. On seven occasions to the seven churches in and 3 the Lord Jesus uttered the words, “I know your works.” These words reveal His omniscience – that is His knowledge of all things. Such a statement is both a comfort and a threat. For those who are faithful, it means that He is aware of your service. However, for those who are unfaithful, He is aware of your compromise.

Concerning His sovereign rule Paul writes that Christ is “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come” (). This verse reveals that the Lord Jesus Christ is above all powers and authority – He rules as sovereign. Paul continues by saying, “And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all” (). That is to say, the One who is sovereign over “all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named” has been given to the church. The sovereign Christ is the head of the church. He is the ruler of the church, He alone exercises absolute authority in the church, He alone determines what it should do and He is alone is the One who builds the church. For this reason, we are to submit to the rule of the Head of the church and give Him our allegiance.


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18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

2:1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.

“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.

“‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’

12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.

13 “‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. 15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’

18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.

19 “‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. 24 But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. 25 Only hold fast what you have until I come. 26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.

22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Inerrancy of Scripture

[This introduction1 written by Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary — the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world.]

“More than twenty years ago, theologian J. I. Packer recounted what he called a “Thirty Years’ War” over the inerrancy of the Bible. He traced his involvement in this war in its American context back to a conference held in Wenham, Massachusetts in 1966, when he confronted some professors from evangelical institutions who “now declined to affirm the full truth of Scripture.” That was nearly fifty years ago, and the war over the truthfulness of the Bible is still not over — not by a long shot.

With current challenges to the inerrancy of Scripture in view, I convened a panel of theologians to revisit the question. In one sense, the challenges to inerrancy are more direct than ever, with figures associated with some evangelical institutions calling for a straightforward repudiation of the doctrine. Other assaults are more subtle, but all of these challenges demand our close attention.”

The panel was convened on Thursday, September 27, 2012, in Alumni Chapel at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.


 1albertmohler.com

Fearing God puts our Worldly Fears to Rest

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I was recently reading and was struck by an aspect of our relationship with God that we maybe don’t talk about enough… fearing God. This doesn’t seem to be spoken of much in Christian circles, as more often than not, people tend to focus on the “God” of love always being there for us and providing for us. However, this passage takes a different approach. Luke bluntly says, “don’t fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!” This sort of teaching about God can sound unfamiliar and foreign to many church congregations today.

However, we must remember that although God is merciful, gracious and loving… clearly highlighted by Jesus’ sacrifice for us, not to mention continual patience to the Israelites in the Old Testament… God is also to be feared and revered. He is righteous and holy. He hates sin and will punish it… His nature demands it. He will cast into hell those who choose to turn from Him and not to accept Jesus as their savior (, , ). That last statement sits very uneasy with many people. ‘A loving God will not send people to hell??!!’ However, in thinking that we miss two points: Continue reading Fearing God puts our Worldly Fears to Rest

“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.

Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, 11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. 12 But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, 13 suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. 14 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! 15 Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, 16 but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.

17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. 18 For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. 20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”