31 May 2008
28 May 2008
1. Is every sin done in God's sight? Yes: I did this evil in thy sight, Ps. 51:4. Is it heinous in God's sight? Yes: for he is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, Hab. 1:13. But is every sin alike heinous? No: He that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin, John 19:11. Are some sins in themselves more heinous than others? Yes: If a man sin against the Lord, who shall entreat for him? 1 Sam. 2:25. Are presumptuous sins more heinous than others? Yes: the soul that doeth aught presumptuously, that soul reproacheth the Lord, Num. 15:30. Was ever any sin so heinous as not to be forgiven? Yes: the Pharisees' blasphemy against the Holy Ghost was so, Matt. 12:32.
2. Are sins against knowledge aggravated sins? Yes: that servant that knew his Lord's will, and did it not, shall be beaten with many stripes, Luke 12:47. And sins against mercies? Yes: Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people, and unwise, Deut. 32:6. Especially against spiritual mercies? Yes: As Solomon, who turned from the Lord God of Israel which had appeared unto him twice, 1 Kings 11:9. Are sins against reproof aggravated sins? Yes: he that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, and shall suddenly be destroyed, Prov. 21:1. And sins against our vows and covenants? Yes: Thou saidst, I will not transgress, Jer. 2:20.
3. Are the sins of great professors aggravated sins? Yes: for the name of God is blasphemed through them, Rom. 2:24. And the sins of ministers? Yes: Thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Rom. 2:21. May the place be an aggravation of the sin? Yes: They provoked him at the sea, even the Red Sea, Ps. 106:7. And the time? Yes: They turned aside quickly, Exod. 32:8.
4. Is it an aggravation of sin, if it be done with contrivance? Yes: Woe to them that devise iniquity, Micah 2:1. And if it be done with delight? Yes: They rejoice to do evil, Prov. 2:14. And without blushing? Yes: They declare their sin as Sodom, Isa. 3:9. And if it be boasted of? Yes: Whose glory is in their shame, Phil. 3:19. And if it be often repeated? Yes: They have tempted me now these ten times, Num. 14:22. Should we take notice of these aggravations in our confessions? Yes: Aaron shall confess the iniquity of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, Lev. 16:21. - Matthew Henry
26 May 2008
24 May 2008
23 May 2008
22 May 2008
“Joe, we’re Reformed remember? Luck has nothing to do with it. Everything is in God’s Providence.”
“Well, I was just speaking in the vernacular. You know what I mean.”
Yes, I do know what he means. The above was a conversation that preceeded nasal surgery I had last Friday. I had not talked to Joe in years and in God’s Providence, talked to him about a week before my surgery and the above is part of that conversation.
You can probably see where I’m going with this. Joe has been a Christian for at least the last 25-30 years and has been through some difficult providences himself which would lead me to believe that he should now have a grasp on the doctrine of Providence which would, in my opinion, cause him to speak correctly. Nevertheless, he wished me “good luck.” If my surgery depended on luck I never would have left my bed last Friday morn.
To some this is a trivial matter. Everyone talks that way, “you know what I mean” Joe said. But as Reformed Christians I think its time to start talking like who we say we are. “Luck” should not be in our vocabulary. God is in control, not some wishy-washy, hopeful expectation of events, that I hope go my way. Let’s recall q&a #7 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism: What are the Decrees of God? The Decrees of God are His eternal purpose, According to the counsel of His will, whereby, for His own Glory, He hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass. (Q&A #11 of Keach’s Catechism is virtually the same.) And, how about a verse like Eph.1:11 which reminds us that all has been foreordained: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.
So why do we persist in using incorrect language as we go about our daily lives? Unbelief is one reason that comes to mind. We don’t really believe what we say we do. Laziness would be another. Lazy to the things of God. Embarassment is likely another reason. We don’t want to talk differently from others and bring attention to the fact that we are different from those around us. I think its time we take account of our speech and listen to ourselves. Its time to be faithful in the little things for how else can we be faithful in the bigger things?
21 May 2008
1. Are any in this world perfectly free from sin? No: for there is no man that sinneth not, 2 Chron. 6:36. Was Christ, who was not a mere man, perfect? Yes: he knew no sin, 2 Cor. 5:21. Was Adam before the fall perfect? Yes: for God made man upright, Eccl. 7:29. Are the saints in the other life perfect? Yes: the glorious church is without spot or wrinkle, Eph. 5:27. But is any mere man since the fall in this life perfect? No for there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not, Eccl. 7:20.
2. Are self-justifiers self-deceivers? Yes: If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, 1 John 1:8. And do they put a great affront upon God? Yes: for if we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, 1 John 1:10.
3. Are not we able to keep God's commandments better than we do? Yes: If I have done iniquity, I will do no more, Job 34:32. But are we able perfectly to keep them? No: For when I would do good, evil is present with me, Rom. 7:21. Though Noah was said to be perfect, yet did not he sin? Yes: for he drank of the wine, and was drunk, Gen. 9:21. And Job? Yes: for he cursed his day, Job 3:1. And Hezekiah? Yes: for his heart was lifted up, 2 Chron. 32:25. Was St Paul himself perfect? No: Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect, Phil. 3:12.
4. Do we sin daily? Yes: in many things we offend all, Jam. 3:2. Do we daily sin in thought? Yes: for, The imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth, Gen. 8:21. Are we guilty of many tongue sins? Yes: In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin, Prov. 10:19. Are the best guilty of many defects? Yes: for when the spirit is willing the flesh is weak, Matt. 26:41. And of many inadvertencies? Yes: They are overtaken in a fault, Gal. 6:1. Can we tell how often we offend? No: who can understand his errors? Ps. 19:13. Should we not therefore have recourse to Christ daily by faith and repentance? Yes: If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, 1 John 2:1. -Matthew Henry
20 May 2008
2. Read books that are challenging. It’s OK if you don’t understand every fifty cent theological term like presuppositionalism or infralapsarianism. You can start learning now.
3. Read dead guys. Like Mark Driscoll has said, “Read dead people. Living people could still blow it in the end, right? Dead people, they finished well. Ya gotta pretty good idea that they made it through…Read about dead people that loved Jesus…"
4. Read biographies. There is often nothing more inspiring than reading about someone like ourselves who God has used to do His Kingdom work.
5. Read everything by your favorite theologian/author. I think it was Iain Murray who once gave this advice. Find a theologian and make him your life’s work. Read everything written by him.
6. Read and write in your books. Jot notes in the margins, highlight the important bits, write notes in your journal – keep track of what you’re learning and where God is leading.
7. Read books that you don’t want to read. Let’s face it, there are areas of service and parts of our lives we don’t want to confront and yet those are often the places where God is just waiting to reveal Himself and to bless us. Don’t overlook these books.
18 May 2008
14 May 2008
Q. 79. Which is the tenth commandment?
A. The tenth commandment is, [Thou shalt not covet thy neighhour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighhour’s.]
Q. 80. What is required in the tenth commandment?
A. The tenth commandment requireth full contentment with our own condition, and a right and charitable frame of spirit towards our neighbour, and all that is his.
Q. 81. What is forbidden in the tenth commandment?
A. The tenth commandment forbiddeth alt discontentment with our own estate, envying or grieving at the good of our neighbour, and all inordinate motions and affections to any thing that is his.
Q. 1. What is the principal scope and aim of the tenth commandment?
A. It is to prevent all occasions of transgressing the other precepts of the second table, by restraining this sin of covetousness in the heart; Psalm 119:35-36. Make me to go in the path of thy commandments, for therein do I delight. Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.
Q. 2. What doth this tenth command require of us in reference to ourselves?
A. It requires of us perfect contentment and satisfaction with that estate and condition wherein God hath placed us in the world.; Hebrews 13:5. Let your conversation be without covetousness, and be content with such things as ye have, &c. Reckoning it to be good for us to be in that state we are, though never so low or afflicted; Psalm 119:67. Before I was afflicted, I went astray; but now have I kept thy word. And verse 71. It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes.
Q. 3. Is contentment with God’s appointments attainable in this life?
A. Some Christians have attained to a very great measure, and eminent degree of contentment in the midst of changeable and afflictive providences; Philippians 4:11. I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Psalm 16:5-6. The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance, and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places: yea, I have a goodly heritage.
Q. 4. Is there no danger of the sin of discontentment in a full and prosperous condition?
A. Fulness of the world secures no man from the sin of discontentment with his own, or covering that which is another’s; because the desires enlarge as the estate doth; Psalm 62:10. If riches increase, set not your heart upon them. An instance whereof we have in Ahab, 1 Kings 21: 4. And Ahab came into his house heavy and displeased, because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him: for he had said, I will not give thee the inheritance of my fathers; and he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread.
Q. .5. Whence doth discontent with our condition spring?
A. It springs partly from our ignorance of God’s wisdom and love in ordering all for our good; Romans 8:28. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, &c. Partly from our inconsiderateness of the vanity of the creatures; 1 Timothy 6:7-8. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment, let us be therewith content. And partly from our unbelief; Matthew 6:31-32. Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? Or what shall we drink? Or wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek;) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
Q. 6. Is contentment with our own estate all that this commandment requires?
A. No; it requires a charitable frame of spirit towards our neighhours also; Romans 12:10, 15. Be kindly affectionate one to another, with brotherly love, in honour preferring one another. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
Q. 7. What is the first sin forbidden in this commandment?
A. It directly and especially forbids all sinful and inordinate desires and motions after other men’s enjoyments; Colossians 3:5. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth, fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
Q. 8. What is the second sin forbidden in this commandment?
A. It forbids all cruelty and incompassionateness to others in necessity, and keeping back from them that relief which is made theirs by God’s command; Proverbs 11:24. There is that with-holdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. Leviticus 19:9-10. And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard: thou shalt leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the Lord your God.
Q. 9. What is the third sin forbidden in this commandment?
A. It forbids the detaining of the hirelings wages, when it is due; Habakkuk 2:9-11. Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the power of evil. Thou hast consulted shame to thy house, by cutting off many people, and hast sinned against thy soul. For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it.
Q. 10. What is the fourth sin forbidden in this commandment?
A. It forbids all inward grudgings at, and envyings of the enjoyments of others, whether they be inward goods of the mind, or outward, belonging to the body; 1 Corinthians 13:14. Charity envieth not &c.
Q. 11. What is the mischief of covetousness?
A. It distracts thy heart in duties; Ezekiel 33:31. And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them; for with their mouths they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. Provokes the wrath of God; Isaiah 57:17. For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him, &c. And where it reigns it becomes idolatry; Colossians 3:5. And covetousness, which is idolatry.
Q. 12. What is the first inference from hence?
A. It calls all men to humiliation for the inordinacy of their affections towards the world, their discontent with their own and envyings of others conditions.
Q. 13. What is the second inference from hence?
A. As ever we would keep clear from this sin, let us make God our portion; Psalm 16:5, 6. The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance, and of my cup; thou maintainest my lot. And labour to get the soul-satisfying comforts of his Spirit; John 4:14. But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst, &c. 2 Corinthians 6:10. As having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
Q. 14. What is the last inference from hence?
A. If God has given us a sufficiency of the things of this life for our necessity, let us be satisfied, though we want other things for our delight; 1 Timothy 6:8. And having food and raiment, let us be therewith content. And relieve ourselves by an expectation of those better things laid up in heaven for us, if we be believers; James 2:5. Hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, arid heirs of the kingdom, which he hath promised to them that love him. - John Flavel
10 May 2008
hours listening through all the T4G sermons, panel discussions and the Band of Bloggers panel discussion, what's next? The challenge from Piper for radical sacrifice really hit home. Some soul searching is due there.
The verses from Piper are still ringing in my ears:
Number two would be to re-read Packer's Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God and read for the first time Dever's The Gospel and Personal Evangelism (which I just received as a gift - thanks Darren!). Both recommended this year at T4G and both in my library - I have no excuse.
07 May 2008
Our study continues....
Q. 76. Which is the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment is, [Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.]
Q. 77. What is required in the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment requireth the maintaining and promoting of truth between man and man, and of our own and our neighbour’s good name, especially in witness-bearing.
Q. 78. What is forbidden in the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment forbiddeth whatsoever is prejudicial to truth, or injurious to our own or our neighbour’s good name.
Q. 1. What is the general scope and aim of the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth command aims chiefly at the preservation and promoting of truth amongst men; Zechariah 8:16. Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour, &c. This being of indispensible necessity to the subsistence and welfare of human society; Ephesians 4:25. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour, for we are mcrnbers one of another.
Q. 2. What is the first thing required particularly in this command?
A. This command requires every man to take care of preserving his own good name, by ordering his conversation in universal integrity; 1 Peter 3:15-16. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every one that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience; that whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
Q. 3. What is the second thing required in this command?
A. It requires all due care to preserve the good name and honour of other men as well as our own; for Christians are not to be of narrow and private spirits, which centre only in their own interests and concernment; Philippians 2: 4. Look not every man on his own things; but every man also on the things of others.
Q. 4. How are we to preserve the good names of others?
A. We are to preserve the good names of others by an inward esteem of all the good that is in them; Philippians 2:3. In lowness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. And manifesting our inward esteem of them by a wise and seasonable expression thereof for their encouragement in the ways of godliness; Romans 1:8. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.
Q. 5. How else are we to defend other men’s names?
A. By our readiness to receive with joy the reports of that good that is in them; 3 John 3. For I rejoiced greatly when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. And discountenancing all reproaches maliciously vented against them; Psalm 15:3. Nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.
Q. 6. But what if the report be evidently true?
A. In that case we are to grieve for their miscarriages, as the effect and fruit of our love to their souls; 2 Corinthians 2:4. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart, I wrote unto you with many tears, not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you. And to discharge our duties privately and faithfully, in order to their recovery; Matthew 18:15-17. Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone, &c. Winking at, and concealing in love, their lesser and common infirmities; 1 Peter 4:8. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: For charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
Q. 7. What is forbidden in the ninth commandment?
A. It forbids us to injure others, by raising or receiving lies, and false reports which are highly injurious to their good names; Colossians 3:9. Lie not one to another, &c.
Q. 8. What else is forbidden in the ninth commandment?
A. It especially forbids perjury, or false swearing, whereby not only the names, but estates and lives of the innocent are injured and ruined; Psalm 35:11. False witnesses did rise up. They laid to my charge things that I knew not; Proverbs 19:5. A false witness shall not be unpunished: And he that speaketh lies shall not escape. A sin which God will punish; Malachi 3:5. And I will come near to you to judgment, and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, &c.
Q. 9. What else is forbidden in this commandment?
A. It forbids all whispering and backbiting of others secretly; 2 Corinthians 12:20. Lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, &c. And all tale-carrying from one to another, to our neighbour’s injury; Leviticus 19:16. Thou shalt not go up and down as a tale-bearer among the people, &c. And 1 Timothy 5:13. And not only idle, but tattlers also, and busy-bodies, speaking things which they ought not.
Q. 10. What else doth the ninth commandment forbid?
A. It forbids all rash and unwarrantable judging of other men’s hearts and final estates which is usually accompanied with ignorance of our own; Matthew 7:1, 3. Judge not, that ye be not judged. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Q. 11. What else is forbidden in this commandment?
A. It forbids the eclipsing of the true worth and honour of others, by a proud exalting of ourselves; 1 Corinthians 13:4-5. Charity envieth not, charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, &c. Or by crying up one to the disparagement of another good man; 1 Corinthians 2:4-5. For while one saith, I am of Paul, and another, I am of Apollos, are ye not carnal? &c.
Q. 12. What is the first inference from hence?
A. That the best Christians have cause to be humbled for the sins of the tongue whereby God is dishonoured, and others are injured; James 3:2. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. And verse 5, 6. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things: behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth. And the tongue is afire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue amongst our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
Q. 13. What is the second inference from hence?
A. It is our great concernment to walk with that piety and justice towards God and men, as to cut off all just occasions of reproach from our names; 2 Corinthians 11:12. But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasions, &c. 1 Timothy 5:14. I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.
Q. 14. What is the third inference from this commandment?
A. To bless God that our names are kept sweet and honourable in the world among good men; 3 John 12. Demetrius hath a good report of all men, &c. Or if we be reproached, it is by none but wicked men, and that for our duty to God; Daniel 6:5. Then said these men, we shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God. - John Flavel