Monday, October 31, 2011

A Clean Mouth

Passage Ephesians 5:3-4

Prayer
Dear Father,Keep me from talking about or thinking about illicit sex and pornography and covetousness, since you require that your people be holy, set apart for you, avoid referring to these things.
Keep me from filthy stories, silly or flippant talk, jesting and any other kind of conversation not fitting for one who follows you.
Instead, let my mouth be filled with - thanksgiving!
In the name of Jesus I ask for the purity of mind and spirit that was in him. And I give you thanks.
Amen.

imitating God

Imitating God

Passage Ephesians 4:29-5:2


Prayer

Dear Father, worthy of my love and obedience. Please let nothing evil come out of my mouth - only what is good for building others up. Let whatever I say fit the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear.
Don't let me do anything that would grieve your Holy Spirit within me, by which I have been sealed for the day of redemption.
Help me get rid of all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and slander, and especially anything malicious.
Help me to be kind to others, tenderhearted, and forgiving, even as you have forgiven me in Christ.
Father, I want to imitate you, as a loving child would imitate a father. And may I walk in love, even as Christ loved me and gave himself up for me, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to you. In the name of Jesus who sacrificed himself for my sake.
Amen.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Good Neighbours

Passage Ephesians 4:25-28

Prayer

Dear Father, worthy of my love and obedience, May the thought of deceit or falsehood never enter into my relations with my brothers and sisters in Christ. Let all of us speak the truth with our neighbors, since we are members of each other. Don't let my anger turn into sin. May I never let the sun go down on my wrath. Don't let grudge-holding and unforgiveness on my part give the devil any opportunity.

Help me never to covet anything that belongs to someone else, but rather to work with my mind and my hands to get the things needed by myself and others.In the name of Jesus who sacrificed himself for my sake.

Amen

My Old Nature Put to Death

Passage Ephesians 4:22-24

Prayer.

Dear Father, righteous and holy God, Enable me to put away completely my old human nature - the former lifestyle corrupted by deceitful desires.
Help me to be renewed in the spirit of my mind, to put on a new nature, created in your likeness and image in knowledge, true righteousness and holiness.
Father, make me holy like Jesus, righteous with his righteousness! In the name of the holy Jesus I pray for true holiness within me.
Amen.

My New Nature Made Alive

Passage Ephesians 4:17-21

Prayer.

Dear Father, righteous and holy God, Help me never to be tempted to live as worldly people live: futile in their thinking - darkened in their understanding - alienated from you because of the ignorance within them - hard-hearted and calloused -given over to licentiousness - greedy to practice every kind of uncleanness. I did not learn of a Christ like this! I learned of a righteous and holy Christ.
Help me ever to aspire to live as your holy people live: clear and decisive in thought - illumined in their understanding - reconciled to you by knowing your Son - tender-hearted and supple - self-controlled - hungering and thirsting for righteousness.Help me to follow him just as I was taught in him - as the truth is in Jesus. In his precious name I pray.
Amen.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A More Perfect Union

Passage Ephesians 4:14-16

Prayer

Dear Father, Giver of life and growth,We bless you, Father, because what you want for each of us your children is that we may no longer remain immature children but become grown-up children, no longer tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of strange teachings, by the cunning of men with their crafty and deceitful schemes.
Thank you, Father, rather for calling us to speak the truth in love and to grow up in every way in him who is the head, into Christ.
Thank you for putting Christ into us and us into Christ so that the whole body, with each part working properly and joined and knit together by every connection with which it is supplied, makes bodily growth and builds itself up in love.In Jesus' name.
Amen.

Christ's Gifts

Passage Ephesians 4:8-13

Prayer

Dear Father, giver of lasting gifts. Thank you for the gracious gifts bestowed by your Messiah on us when he descended into the depths for us and ascended into the heights to reign with you.
He gave us, his church, lasting gifts - apostles and prophets, evangelists, and shepherd/teachers for the equipment of the saints, for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.
Thank you for these gifts given until we all attain the unity he intends for us: faithful loyalty to Jesus, and full knowledge of the Son of God himself - to mature manhood- so that we can attain to the measure of the full stature of Christ himself.In Jesus' name.
Amen.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Above All, Through All, In All

Passage Ephesians 4:5-7

Prayer
Dear Father,Thank you, Father, for the unity you have provided for us: the one body, the one Spirit, the one hope that belongs to our calling, the one Lord, the one faith, the one immersion - and the one God!
For you, our God, are the one and only God and Father of us all. You are above all and through all and in all!
Thank you, holy God, for the measure of grace that you have given to me that I should be part of your universal fellowship. How gracious and good you are!
Please grant that I may be truly and be forever joined and united with you and your body, the church.
By Jesus' authority and in his name I boldly come to you, asking all this.
Amen.

Worthy of the Calling

Worthy of the Calling

Passage Ephesians 4:1-4

Prayer

Dear Father,You have called me to your kingdom and glory! Help me to live a life worthy of the calling I have received from you.Help me live the same life style that King Jesus lived. Let me live with humility and submission, with patience.Help me to forbear others out of love for them.Help me to be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit.Help me to be bound to my brothers and sisters in peace.By Jesus' authority and in his name I boldly come to you, asking all this.
Amen.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Love Surpasses Knowledge

Passage Ephesians 3:20-21
Prayer

Dear Father, transcendent in knowledge and wisdom,Grant that I may know the love of Christ, a love which surpasses knowledge, that I may be filled with the fullness which is yours.Now to you, my God, who by the power at work within your people are able to do far more abundantly than all I can ask or even imagine - to you be glory in the congregation of your holy people and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.In the name of Jesus Christ I honor you and ask these blessings from your hand.
Amen

Rooted and Grounded

Passage Ephesians 3:14-19

Prayer

Dear Father, transcendent in power and fullness,I bow my knees before you, Father, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.According to the riches of your glory strengthen me with your might in my innermost being, that Christ may dwell in my heart through the trust I have in him.Root me and ground me in love so that I may have the power to comprehend - along with all your holy people - what is the breadth and length and height and depth of your goodness.In the name of Jesus Christ I honor you and ask these blessings from your hand.
Amen.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Faith of Abraham

The Faith of Abraham

Passage Hebrews 11:8-19

Prayer

Holy Father, in whom all faith is safe,I cannot imagine what it would be like to be asked to do what you asked Abraham to do. He was willing to sacrifice the very son you had promised to him, the son through whom you promised to make a great nation.
He believed that you could do what he had never seen done before-raise someone from the dead.
May I stay so close to you that I will never doubt your instructions to me. Like Abraham, I want to be willing to follow you to unknown parts of the earth. Like Abraham, I want to trust you when you ask me to do difficult things.
Abraham believed you and you counted it to him as righteousness.
May my faith be counted to me as righteousness as well.In the name of Jesus I ask. Amen.

Spreading the Good News

Passage Ephesians 3:1-13

Prayer

Dear Father,Thank you for all the prayers Paul prayed for the Christians whom he brought to you in his day and for those who came to you through their preaching.Thank you for the impact that Paul has had on so many great churchmen through the ages. Thank you for the pure waters that I, even I, have drunk from the well of his teaching.Thank you, Father, for making provision to spread the Good News about Jesus over the whole earth, to every nation and language, that we might enter your kingdom. Thank you for allowing me to enter. I love you, Lord.In the name of Jesus I give you thanks and make these requests. Amen.

Wisdom Made Known

Wisdom Made Known

Passage Ephesians 3:9-12
Prayer

Dear Father, who gives wisdom so generously,How thankful I am that the congregation of your people has become the channel through which your multi-faceted and many-splendored wisdom will be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. It thrills me to know that it was your purpose eternally to realize this in Christ Jesus my Lord.Thank you that through him we have confident and bold access to you.Help me, help all of your people, not to lose heart over what we suffer and what our leaders suffer for us. Help us to see this as our glory!In the name of Jesus I give you thanks and make these requests.
Amen!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Conclusion of the Errors rejected!

The Canons of Dort, Conclusion

And this is the perspicuous, simple, and ingenuous declaration of the orthodox doctrine respecting the five articles which have been controverted in the Belgic Churches; and the rejection of the errors, with which they have for some time been troubled. This doctrine the Synod judges to be drawn from the Word of God, and to be agreeable to the confession of the Reformed Churches. Whence it clearly appears that some, whom such conduct by no means became, have violated all truth, equity, and charity, in wishing to persuade the public:
     That the doctrine of the Reformed Churches concerning predestination, and the points annexed to it, by its own genius and necessary tendency, leads off the minds of men from all piety and religion; that it is an opiate administered by the flesh and the devil; and the stronghold of Satan, where he lies in wait for all, and from which he wounds multitudes, and mortally strikes through many with the darts both of despair and security; that it makes God the author of sin, unjust, tyrannical, hypocritical; that it is nothing more than an interpolated Stoicism, Manicheism, Libertinism, Turcism; that it renders men carnally secure, since they are persuaded by it that nothing can hinder the salvation of the elect, let them live as they please; and, therefore, that they may safely perpetrate every species of the most atrocious crimes; and that, if the reprobate should even perform truly all the works of the saints, their obedience would not in the least contribute to their salvation; that the same doctrine teaches that God, by a mere arbitrary act of his will, without the least respect or view to any sin, has predestinated the greatest part of the world to eternal damnation, and has created them for this very purpose; that in the same manner in which the election is the fountain and cause of faith and good works, reprobation is the cause of unbelief and impiety; that many children of the faithful are torn, guiltless, from their mothers' breasts, and tyrannically plunged into hell: so that neither baptism nor the prayers of the Church at their baptism can at all profit them ; and many other things of the same kind which the Reformed Churches not only do not acknowledge, but even detest with their whole soul.

     Wherefore, this Synod of Dort, in the name of the Lord, conjures as many as piously call upon the name of our Savior Jesus Christ to judge of the faith of the Reformed Churches, not from the calumnies which on every side are heaped upon it, nor from the private expressions of a few among ancient and modern teachers, often dishonestly quoted, or corrupted and wrested to a meaning quite foreign to their intention; but from the public confessions of the Churches themselves, and from this declaration of the orthodox doctrine, confirmed by the unanimous consent of all and each of the members of the whole Synod. Moreover, the Synod warns calumniators themselves to consider the terrible judgment of God which awaits them, for bearing false witness against the confessions of so many Churches; for distressing the consciences of the weak; and for laboring to render suspected the society of the truly faithful.

     Finally, this Synod exhorts all their brethren in the gospel of Christ to conduct themselves piously and religiously in handling this doctrine, both in the universities and churches; to direct it, as well in discourse as in writing, to the glory of the Divine name, to holiness of life, and to the consolation of afflicted souls; to regulate, by the Scripture, according to the analogy of faith, not only their sentiments, but also their language, and to abstain from all those phrases which exceed the limits necessary to be observed in ascertaining the genuine sense of the Holy Scriptures, and may furnish insolent sophists with a just pretext for violently assailing, or even vilifying, the doctrine of the Reformed Churches.

     May Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who, seated at the Father's right hand, gives gifts to men, sanctify us in the truth; bring to the truth those who err; shut the mouths of the calumniators of sound doctrine, and endue the faithful ministers of his Word with the spirit of wisdom and discretion, that all their discourses may tend to the glory of God, and the edification of those who hear them. Amen.

No Condemnation - only if you trust in Christ.


There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
(Rom 8:1-2 ESV)

Are you in Christ Jesus? Be sure you are.

Have you been set free by the Holy Spirit from the law of sin and death?
Be sure you are by putting all your hope and trust in Christ Jesus - the able and willing Saviour.

The Reformed PASTOR: Ephesians2:17-22

The Reformed PASTOR: Ephesians2:17-22: No Longer Strangers Passage Ephesians 2:17-22 Prayer Dear Father, friend of the far and the near,I am so thankful that Christ came and...

Friday, October 21, 2011

WE REJECT DOCTRINAL ERRORS 8



The Canons of Dort, Fifth Head of Doctrine


The Perseverance of the Saints - Rejection of Errors



The true doctrine having been explained in No. 7, the Synod rejects the errors of those:


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     Who teach: That the perseverance of the true believers is not a fruit of election, or a gift of God gained by the death of Christ, but a condition of the new covenant, which (as they declare) man before his decisive election and justification must fulfil through his free will.
     For the Holy Scripture testifies that this follows out of election, and is given the elect in virtue of the death, the resurrection, and intercession of Christ: But the election obtained it, and the rest were hardened (Rom. 11:7). Likewise: He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth; who is he that condemneth? It is Christ Jesus that died, yea rather, that was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? (Rom. 8:32-35).

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     Who teach: That God does indeed provide the believer with sufficient powers to persevere, and is ever ready to preserve these in him if he will do his duty; but that, though all things which are necessary to persevere in faith and which God will use to preserve faith are made use of, even then it ever depends on the pleasure of the will whether it will persevere or not.
     For this idea contains an outspoken Pelagianism, and while it would make men free, it makes them robbers of God's honor, contrary to the prevailing agreement of the evangelical doctrine, which takes from man all cause of boasting, and ascribes all the praise for this favor to the grace of God alone; and contrary to the apostle, who declares that it is God, who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye be unreprovable in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ (I Cor. 1:8).

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     Who teach: That the true believers and regenerate not only can fall from justifying faith and likewise from grace and salvation wholly and to the end, but indeed often do fall from this and are lost forever.
     For this conception makes powerless the grace, justification, regeneration, and continued preservation by Christ, contrary to the expressed words of the apostle Paul: That, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, shall we be saved from the wrath of God through him (Rom. 5:8, 9). And contrary to the apostle John: Whosoever is begotten of God doeth no sin, because his seed abideth in him; and he can not sin, because he is begotten of God (I John 3:9). And also contrary to the words of Jesus Christ: I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who hath given them to me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand (John 10:28, 29).

Paragraph 4 
     Who teach: That true believers and regenerate can sin the sin unto death or against the Holy Spirit.
     Since the same apostle John, after having spoken in the fifth chapter of his first epistle, vs. 16 and 17, of those who sin unto death and having forbidden to pray for them, immediately adds to this in vs. 18: We know that whosoever is begotten of God sinneth not (meaning a sin of that character), but he that was begotten of God keepeth himself, and the evil one toucheth him not (I John 5:18).

Paragraph 5 
     Who teach: That without a special revelation we can have no certainty of future perseverance in this life.
     For by this doctrine the sure comfort of the true believers is taken away in this life, and the doubts of the papist are again introduced into the Church, while the Holy Scriptures constantly deduce this assurance, not from a special and extraordinary revelation, but from the marks proper to the children of God and from the very constant promises of God. So especially the apostle Paul: No creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:39). And John declares: And he that keepeth his commandments abideth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he gave us (I John 3:24).

Paragraph 6 
     Who teach: That the doctrine of the certainty of perseverance and of salvation from its own character and nature is a cause of indolence and is injurious to godliness, good morals, prayers, and other holy exercises, but that on the contrary it is praiseworthy to doubt.
     For these show that they do not know the power of divine grace and the working of the indwelling Holy Spirit. And they contradict the apostle John, who teaches the opposite with express words in his first epistle: Beloved, now are we children of God, and it is not yet made manifest what we shall be.  We know that, if he shall be manifested, we shall be like him; for we shall see him even as he is. And every one that hath this hope set on him purifieth himself, even as he is pure (I John 3:2, 3). Furthermore, these are contradicted by the example of the saints, both of the Old and the New Testament, who though they were assured of their perseverance and salvation, were nevertheless constant in prayers and other exercises of godliness.

Paragraph 7 
     Who teach: That the faith of those who believe for a time does not differ from justifying and saving faith except only in duration.
     For Christ Himself, in Matt. 13:20, Luke 8:13, and in other places, evidently notes, besides this duration, a threefold difference between those who believe only for a time and true believers, when He declares that the former receive the seed in stony ground, but the latter in the good ground or heart; that the former are without root, but the latter have a firm root; that the former are without fruit, but that the latter bring forth their fruit in various measure, with constancy and steadfastness.


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     Who teach: That it is not absurd that one having lost his first regeneration is again and even often born anew.

     For these deny by this doctrine the incorruptibleness of the seed of God, whereby we are born again; contrary to the testimony of the apostle Peter: Having been begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible (I Peter 1:23).

Paragraph 9 
     Who teach: That Christ has in no place prayed that believers should infallibly continue in faith.
     For they contradict Christ Himself, who says: I made supplication for thee (Simon), that thy faith fail not (Luke 22:32), and the evangelist John, who declares that Christ has not prayed for the apostles only, but also for those who through their word would believe: Holy Father, keep them in thy name, and: I pray not that thou shouldest take them from the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil one (John 17:11, 15, 20).

A Life of magnificent service- our example

Magnificent Service

Passage Ephesians 3:1-8

Prayer

Dear Father,Thank you for the great apostle Paul and for his life of magnificent service. I know that it was through your graciousness that he was called. It demonstrated the working of your great power to turn a human life from rebellion to obedience.
Thank you for such a man, who could count himself as the very least of all your people. Thank you for such humility. He boasted not of himself but of you!
My Father, let me imitate him completely in this!Thank you that through him, at least at first, the unsearchable riches of Christ were proclaimed, to make all men see what was the plan of the secret which you had kept hidden for ages in yourself, the God who created all things.
In the name of Jesus I give you thanks and make these requests.
Amen.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ephesians2:17-22

No Longer Strangers

Passage Ephesians 2:17-22

Prayer

Dear Father, friend of the far and the near,I am so thankful that Christ came and preached peace to those who were far off and to those who were near, so that we both can have access to you in the one Spirit, that we can enjoy peace together.
It is so wonderful that we who are not Jews no longer have to be strangers and foreigners.
How good of you, Father, that we now can be citizens with the saints, that we can be members of your household, Christ's church.
What a wonderful church! You built it on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined and grows together into a holy temple in the Lord.
Thank you that in him even I personally can be built into it in order to become a dwelling place for God in the Spirit.
In the name of Jesus.
Amen.

No Division!

No More Division

Passage Ephesians 2:14-16 Prayer

Dear Father, reconciler of humanity,Thank you for sending Jesus to break down the dividing wall of hostility between Jew and non-Jew. By the way he lived and the way he died - in his flesh - he rendered ineffective the law of commandments given as \"decrees.\"He lived a life unto you that went beyond obeying commands. He yielded himself in truly loving obedience from the heart.Thank you that he did this to create in himself one new man, one new humanity instead of the two, one Jewish and one not Jewish.Thank you for the peace and reconciliation we both have in you in his one body offered on the cross to bring our enmity to an end.In the name of Jesus, our Peace.
Amen.

The Gift of Faith

The Gift of Faith

Passage Ephesians 2:8-10
Prayer

Dear Father, perfecter of humanity,My God, even my believing was not something I was clever enough to do. It was your gift to me, not from my effort, lest I should boast of it.
In truth I am your workmanship, your creation, your starting and your finishing. You made me over in Christ Jesus so that I could perform the good works which you prepared beforehand for me to do, that I might walk in them.
Thank you, my awesome God and loving Father, for bringing me into sweet fellowship with you, your Son, your Spirit, and your people! Hallelujah! I love you.In the name of Jesus and by his authority I boldly ask you to make of us the completely holy people that you intend as your inheritance.
Amen.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Alive in Christ

Alive in Christ

Passage Ephesians 2:4-5

Prayer

Dear Father, ruler of heaven and earth,When you raised up Christ, you raised me out of my dead state as well. You set me on a throne of honor with Christ in the heavenly places. What you did showed the immeasurable riches of your grace even to me - just as you showed your kindness to those called first - through Christ!
Thank you for being so very, very gracious to me! Salvation by grace just by trusting in you!
In the name of Jesus and by his authority I boldly ask you to make of us the completely holy people that you intend as your inheritance.
Amen.

Dead in Sins

Dead in Sins

Passage Ephesians 2:1-3

Prayer

Dear Father, King of the Ages,Thank you for the new life you have infused into my being. I once was dead because of the misdeeds and sins in which I walked, following the course of this world, following the commander-in-chief of evil, the spirit that now energizes all who disobey.Among these lost people - and as a lost person - I once lived in the passions of my flesh. I followed the desires of my body and the passing whims of my mind. I was by nature a doer of evil doomed to destruction, like the rest of mankind.
But you were rich in mercy! Because of your great love with which you loved me - even when I was dead through my transgressions - you made me alive together with Christ! It is by your grace, that I am not worthy that I am saved!
In the name of Jesus and by his authority I boldly ask you to make of us the completely holy people that you intend as your inheritance.
Amen.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Power of God

The Power of God

Passage Ephesians 1:22-23

Prayer
Dear Father, God of our Lord Jesus. Help me to directly experience the power of what you did when you made Christ head over all things for the congregation of your people, the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.My Father, I am part of that body, your church on the basis of faith in CHRIST. How I thank you for that!
I bless your holy name always! Never let me take it for granted, never let me neglect it!
Thank you, Father, thank you, thank you!
In the name of Jesus.
Amen

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Acceptable Worship


Acceptable Worship

“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:24)

God seeks those who will worship Him since He created people that they may worship and glorify Him. He is to be worshiped as God – who is the Almighty. He is not to be worshipped as if He is like man because He is different from men in terms of His Person, His Character, wisdom and time. He has prescribed the manner in which People ought to worship Him in His Word.

Firstly, those who worship Him, must worship in Spirit
Because God is spirit, then those who worship Him must worship Him in the manner that will reveal this. Spiritual worship means that the faculties involved are inward like the heart, the conscience and the mind involving both the desires, affection, intellect and all the essence of man.
How do we worship in Spirit? This question is very well answered in Romans 12:1, where a very strong appeal is made to the Christian brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Spiritual worship is presenting oneself to God for service. It is the inward reality manifested in the body so that the Lord is pleased to make it an acceptable sacrifice. The offering up means giving oneself completely without any reservation. Obviously, this is only possible for one who has experienced the mercies of God. In worship we throw away anything that may hinder us from being in the presence of God – this is sin.

Secondly, we are to worship in truth.
To worship in truth is to use the instruction of the Bible to be our manual for delivering the worship that is acceptable to the Lord. How fitting it is when the Lord is worship as He has prescribed in the Bible! Why should anyone feel to be at liberty to worship the Lord in accordance to his own imagination? We are to be concerned that so many congregations seem to be more interested in pleasing men rather than God by offering worship according to their own inventions. Jesus is the ‘truth’ (John 14:6) and He came full of grace and truth (John 1:14) and so we ought to worship Him in accordance to His revealed character. Moreover, He has given us His Spirit to guide us into all truth so that we are able to worship in the truth the He leads, otherwise it would be blasphemous.

Some of the ingredients of worship include:
·         Prayers
This is where one of the worshipers leads the prayers by speaking audibly in a known language so that the rest join in heart in the devotions and supplications. An example would be the way Solomon lead the prayers in the dedication of the temple in 2Chronicles 6. In the early church, we find that it was devoted “to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). The work of the Apostles was primarily the ministry of the Word and prayer (Acts 6:4). This means that they prayed privately (just as the deacons and all the people would pray privately) but particularly led the congregation in public prayers as well as the ministry of the Word. It is the will of God for us all to pray, and men to lead in the public worship in prayer (1Tim. 3:8). According to this verse women are not expected to lead in public worship prayers.
·         Songs of praise
Christians are always known to sing when they are gathered as a way of responding to the Word of God. So every time the church is gathered they are to offer songs of praise – addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, (Eph 5:19). This clearly indicates that singing forms part of the public worship. We read the same in Col. 3:16 and we are expected to sing to express the joy of the salvation we have received from the Lord and so worship Him (James 5:13).

·         Public reading of Scripture
We are instructed in the Bible not to neglect the public reading of Scripture (1Tim. 4:13). Therefore, we are to have the reading of the Bible verse by verse, chapter by chapter through the Bible read publically to the congregation because it is the Word of God written to the church so that the church may be built up to be the ground and pillar of truth (1Tim 3:15). Moreover, there are those who may be illiterate in the congregation who might not be able to know how to read, who would be so much profited by this exercise. Through the public reading of the Bible, there is a unity of purpose in as far as listening from God corporately is concerned.
·         Exposition of Scripture
The preaching the Word is the climax of worship because the Word is brought with the authority of those who have received from God. The preacher ought to be faithful in bringing forth the Word of God so that the people would be instructed, taught, rebuked, corrected and trained in godliness (2Tim. 3:16,17) and for the instruction of others. This is because we are God’s family and He is our Father who we delight to hear.
We are therefore, charged with this command to preach with all authority (2Tim. 2:15) in and out of season (2Tim. 4:2). We should never be tired of preaching because it is commanded by the Lord and so it honors Him, but also because it is God’s power to the salvation of those who believe (Rom. 1:16).
·         The Sacraments such as Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
Baptism is an instruction from the Lord where one identifies with Christ publically and God attest to this inward reality. Furthermore, during the baptism the one baptized receives it as a sign of his fellowship with Christ, in His death and resurrection; of his being engrafted into Him [Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2:12; Gal. 3:27]; of remission of sins;[Mark 1:4; Acts 22:16] and of giving up into God, through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life.[Rom. 6:4] (London Baptist Confession of Faith, chapter 29.1)

5 Solas - My convictions


WE REJECT DOCTRINAL ERRORS 7



The Canons of Dort, Fifth Head of Doctrine


The Perseverance of the Saints - Articles of Faith



Article 1 
     Those whom God, according to His purpose, calls to the communion of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and regenerates by the Holy Spirit, He also delivers from the dominion and slavery of sin, though in this life He does not deliver them altogether from the body of sin and from the infirmities of the flesh.

Article 2 
     Hence spring forth the daily sins of infirmity, and blemishes cleave even to the best works of the saints. These are to them a perpetual reason to humiliate themselves before God and to flee for refuge to Christ crucified; to mortify the flesh more and more by the spirit of prayer and by holy exercises of piety; and to press forward to the goal of perfection, until at length, delivered from this body of death, they shall reign with the Lamb of God in heaven.

Article 3 
     By reason of these remains of indwelling sin, and also because of the temptations of the world and of Satan, those who are converted could not persevere in that grace if left to their own strength. But God is faithful, who, having conferred grace, mercifully confirms and powerfully preserves them therein, even to the end.

Article 4 
     Although the weakness of the flesh cannot prevail against the power of God, who confirms and preserves true believers in a state of grace, yet converts are not always so influenced and actuated by the Spirit of God as not in some particular instances sinfully to deviate from the guidance of divine grace, so as to be seduced by and to comply with the lusts of the flesh; they must, therefore, be constant in watching and prayer, that they may not be led into temptation. When these are neglected, they are not only liable to be drawn into great and heinous sins by the flesh, the world, and Satan, but sometimes by the righteous permission of God actually are drawn into these evils. This, the lamentable fall of David, Peter, and other saints described in Holy Scripture, demonstrates.

Article 5 
     By such enormous sins, however, they very highly offend God, incur a deadly guilt, grieve the Holy Spirit, interrupt the exercise of faith, very grievously wound their consciences, and sometimes for a while lose the sense of God's favor, until, when they change their course by serious repentance, the light of God's fatherly countenance again shines upon them.

Article 6 
     But God, who is rich in mercy, according to His unchangeable purpose of election, does not wholly withdraw the Holy Spirit from His own people even in their grievous falls; nor suffers them to proceed so far as to lose the grace of adoption and forfeit the state of justification, or to commit the sin unto death or against the Holy Spirit; nor does He permit them to be totally deserted, and to plunge themselves into everlasting destruction.

Article 7 
     For in the first place, in these falls He preserves in them the incorruptible seed of regeneration from perishing or being totally lost; and again, by His Word and Spirit He certainly and effectually renews them to repentance, to a sincere and godly sorrow for their sins, that they may seek and obtain remission in the blood of the Mediator, may again experience the favor of a reconciled God, through faith adore His mercies, and henceforward more diligently work out their own salvation with fear and trembling.

Article 8 
     Thus it is not in consequence of their own merits or strength, but of God's free mercy, that they neither totally fall from faith and grace nor continue and perish finally in their backslidings; which, with respect to themselves is not only possible, but would undoubtedly happen; but with respect to God, it is utterly impossible, since His counsel cannot be changed nor His promise fail; neither can the call according to His purpose be revoked, nor the merit, intercession, and preservation of Christ be rendered ineffectual, nor the sealing of the Holy Spirit be frustrated or obliterated.

Article 9 
     Of this preservation of the elect to salvation and of their perseverance in the faith, true believers themselves may and do obtain assurance according to the measure of their faith, whereby they surely believe that they are and ever will continue true and living members of the Church, and that they have the forgiveness of sins and life eternal.

Article 10 
     This assurance, however, is not produced by any peculiar revelation contrary to or independent of the Word of God, but springs from faith in God's promises, which He has most abundantly revealed in His Word for our comfort; from the testimony of the Holy Spirit, witnessing with our spirit that we are children and heirs of God (Rom. 8:16); and lastly, from a serious and holy desire to preserve a good conscience and to perform good works. And if the elect of God were deprived of this solid comfort that they shall finally obtain the victory, and of this infallible pledge of eternal glory, they would be of all men the most miserable.

Article 11
     The Scripture moreover testifies that believers in this life have to struggle with various carnal doubts, and that under grievous temptations they do not always feel this full assurance of faith and certainty of persevering.  But God, who is the Father of all consolation, does not suffer them to be tempted above that they are able, but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that they may be able to endure it (I Cor. 10:13), and by the Holy Spirit again inspires them with the comfortable assurance of persevering.

Article 12 
     This certainty of perseverance, however, is so far from exciting in believers a spirit of pride, or of rendering them carnally secure, that on the contrary it is the real source of humility, filial reverence, true piety, patience in every tribulation, fervent prayers, constancy in suffering and in confessing the truth, and of solid rejoicing in God; so that the consideration of this benefit should serve as an incentive to the serious and constant practice of gratitude and good works, as appears from the testimonies of Scripture and the examples of the saints.

Article 13 
     Neither does renewed confidence of persevering produce licentiousness or a disregard of piety in those who are recovered from backsliding; but it renders them much more careful and solicitous to continue in the ways of the Lord, which He has ordained, that they who walk therein may keep the assurance of persevering; lest, on account of their abuse of His fatherly kindness, God should turn away His gracious countenance from them (to behold which is to the godly dearer than life, and the withdrawal of which is more bitter than death) and they in consequence thereof should fall into more grievous torments of conscience.

Article 14 
     And as it has pleased God, by the preaching of the gospel, to begin this work of grace in us, so He preserves, continues, and perfects it by the hearing and reading of His Word, by meditation thereon, and by the exhortations, threatenings, and promises thereof, and by the use of the sacraments.

Article 15 
     The carnal mind is unable to comprehend this doctrine of the perseverance of the saints and the certainty thereof, which God has most abundantly revealed in His Word, for the glory of His Name and the consolation of pious souls, and which He impresses upon the hearts of the believers. Satan abhors it, the world ridicules it, the ignorant and hypocritical abuse it, and the heretics oppose it. But the bride of Christ has always most tenderly loved and constantly defended it as an inestimable treasure; and God, against whom neither counsel nor strength can prevail, will dispose her so to continue to the end. Now to this one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be honor and glory forever. Amen.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Holding Firm to the Trustworthy Word


Holding firm to the trustworthy word

He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. (Titus 1:9)

Brethren, it is obvious that much has been committed to us as church in terms of the teaching that we receive here. Therefore much is required. The Lord was categorical that “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required ...” (Luke 12:48)

Every believer has responsibilities in the church – that is why the Lord placed such a person in His church. Men has specific duties to discharge in the church for the Lord has ordained that His church is to be lead particularly by men in the two offices – pastors (not pastor-esses) and deacons deaconesses. Women have their roles to play in the church – that of teaching younger women and children.
As to doctrine
Man who would be called into the ministry of the gospel is expected to “Hold fast the faithful word, as he has been taught, keeping close to the doctrine of Christ, the word of his grace, adhering thereto according to the instructions he has received - holding it fast in his own belief and profession, and in teaching others. (Matthew Henry’s Commentary) those who are to lead the church of Christ must know what He has said about how His church is to be governed. There is a constant exhortation for brothers to ‘stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter. (2Thess. 2:15)
In the right context of these words, this is part of the pastoral qualification for those who are to minister the Word of God. We read in 1Timothy 3:2 that such must be apt to teach for the pastors and for the deacons, “They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.”(1Tim 3:9).  Surely every Christian must be able to teach others privately so that He may present Christ as the One and only Saviour.
To show how important this one is, consider how much Paul rejoicing for the Romans response to the faith, ‘But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, (Rom 6:17)
It is obedient not only to be transformed by the Word of God but also have a commitment to teach it to others. This is what all men are called to do to learn with the purpose of committing it to other faithful men who would be able to teach it to others (2Tim. 2:2). The cycle is not complete until what you hear is heard by your friends and relatives whenever the Lord gives you the opportunity.
Why is this important?
First is so that they may teach it to others. They are to teach that which is true and it is the Word of which is truth and so able to sanctify men (John 17:17). That he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort, and to convince, both to teach and refute those who teach untruth – that He may build the church of Church as well as tear down the kingdom of darkness.  The Word of God, revealed in the scripture, is a true and infallible Word. The Word of Him that is the Amen, the true and faithful witness. The Bible is the product of a spiritual superintendence for those who committed it to the paper were guided the Holy Spirit - Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2Peter 1:21).

Brethren, We are privileged that we have the Word of God committed to us. We are to rejoice in this wonderful truth. That although lives were lost and so much suffering by such men as John Wycliffe and William Tyndale yet we have copies of Bibles in languages we can understand. Praise the Lord that He has given us His Word so faithfully preserved for us. Although, we do not have the original manuscripts, yet we can rejoice that God by the superintendence of the Spirit has kept His Word pure and even though there are so many manuscripts, the points of disagreement are so minimal that the truth is always retained by vast majority of the translations.
May I also challenge you to give yourselves first of all to study the Word more than you would study for an examination? Give specific times to the Word of God. Look back and compare the time you gave to make it to the position that you have or the time you are investing to boost your opportunities of employment and the time you invest in the Word of God that is able to make you wise for salvation; the Word that is from God for you to know Him so that you will be in all eternity with Him. Imagine God has so much revealed Himself to us! Paul said of Himself that I had kept the faith… (2Tim._4:7),  because he knew it so that he was able to declare the whole counsel of God (Act_20:27).
Finally what would you is what you have done with all that you have been reading and hearing here? Have you been a faithful witness? Have you committed it to others who are to the same? I know of a number of Christians who are very good scientists of world standard and good Christians for that matter. If you were called for an interview by a TV stations would you even remember to say anything about your faith?